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JS9 7 


?ounftc* in 1878. 

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2. Specified Volumes approved by the counselors. Many of 

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4. A Monthly Magazine, The Chautauquan, with ad- 

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For all information concerning the C. L. S. C. address 

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Imperial Germany (illustrated) . By Sidney Whit- 
man $1.00 

The Social Spirit in America. By Professor 
Charles R. Henderson, The University of Chicago 1.00 

Roman Life in Pliny's Time (illustrated). By 
Maurice Pellison 1.00 

A Short History op Mediaeval Europe. By 
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From a photograph by E. Hitber, Berlin, reproduced by penn. 

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Copyright, 1897 
By Flood & Vincent 

The Chautauqua- Century Press, Meadwlle, Pa., U. S, A. 
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The required books of the C. L. S. C. are recommended by a 
Council of six. It must, however, be understood that 
recommendation does not involve an approval by the 
Council, or by any member of it, of every principle or 
doctrine contained in the book recommended. 

' \ 




Books — things that are born of toil and a nervous 
sanguine temperament — have, as a rule, but a short 
time to live. Indeed, in proportion to the increase of 
the literary output of the world does the life of the 
average book — I am assured — shrink from a span of 
years into one of a few months only. 

In such circumstances it is only natural that a distant 
publisher's request to a writer to reedit and bring up 
to date a book of his, which has already passed the 
Methusalatine age of eight full years, should be a source 
of the liveliest gratification to him and nerve him to do 
his best. 

Therefore in supervising this latest English edition of 
' ' Imperial Germany ' f I have gladly done all in my 
power to correct previous errors and to add here and 
there a few pregnant data. Of valued assistance to 
me in this work has been a personal memento — the 
very copy of "Imperial Germany" which Prince Bis- 
marck read and annotated with remarks and corrections 
in his own handwriting. Among the latter are several 
important historical data, which I have thus been able 
to rectify in the present edition. I have also endeav- 
ored to carry the subject up to date, as far as I deem 
this last course to be possible. For the three most 
striking events — if I may call them so — which have 
taken place in Germany since the book was first written, 
I hold to be the increase of social democracy, the vast 

vi Preface to the Present Edition. 

growth of German commercial prosperity, and, lastly, 
the rise in the estimate of the historian of the person- 
ality of Emperor William the First 

In conclusion, I may add that it has afforded me par- 
ticular satisfaction to assist my American publishers 
in their spirited intention of illustrating this edition. 
For this purpose I have placed a number of autograph 
portraits of eminent Germans — presented to me from 
time to time — at their disposal. I trust that these 
much- valued tokens of personal friendship, gained in 
the exercise of my literary calling, may contribute 
somewhat to the interest of the book. 

Sidney Whitman. 

London^ January \ 1S97. 



Germany is a giant in its cradle,, whose growth and develop- 
ment will some day astonish the world. — A.J. Mundella, M.P., 

Those whom circumstances have enabled to glean a 
more than superficial knowledge of other countries than 
their own are often struck by our general apathy toward, 
or at least want of touch with, nationalities that have 
much in common with us, not to mention close prox- 
imity of geographical position. Even more than this ; 
many of us must often have been painfully surprised to 
note how such want of touch has contributed to warp 
the judgment of men far above the average in intellect 
and culture, as well as those in responsible political 

When I say want of touch, I mean it to apply more 
to intellectual than to material matters ; and when I say 
ignorance or apathy, I also mean it to apply more to the 
affinities of race and character than to the mere utilita- 
rian subjects of every-day life. 

I do not aim to draw attention to the material aspects 
of German life, except indirectly and in so far as they 
are the result of something deeper. This something I 
endeavor to present with its advantages and its draw- 
backs — namely, the general character, ethical and 
aesthetical, of the great people to whom we are allied 
by ties of blood as well as by tradition. Thus, it has 
not been my aim to write an all-round work on Ger- 

• • 

viii Preface to the First London Edition, 

many, such as Mr. Escott's comprehensive work on 
England, but rather to deal with a few of the leading 
characteristics of Germany, which I have observed 
closely in the country itself, and which I think likely 
to interest Englishmen generally ; and if I only succeed 
in inspiring in a few of my readers an increased interest 
in the great Teutonic nation whose power, in our day, 
is one of the safest guarantees of European peace, I 
shall not have written in vain. 

Some of the conclusions I have reached may seem, at 
first sight, somewhat contradictory, but they will be 
seen to depend upon the varying points of view from 
which they are regarded. It has been my aim to speak 
the truth fearlessly. 

Sidney Whitman. 

London, November i, 1888, 



I. The German Character in Politics . 15 


II. Intellectual Life 36 

III. Educational • ... 66 

IV. The Prussian Monarchy 77 

V. Paternal Government 102 

VI. Bismarck * 129 

VII. The Army 158 

VIII. The German Aristocracy 191 

IX. German Society 211 

X. Womankind and Family Life .... 228 

XL The Philistine 243 

XII. Commerce and Manufacture .... 256 

XIII. The German Press 276 

XIV. Summary and Conclusion 290 

Appendix 307 



The German Confederation at the Peace of Vienna, 1815. 

(Two-page colored map) Front lining pages 

Emperor and Empress of the German Empire . . Frontispiece 


The Imperial Palace, Strassburg 17 

Building in which the Old German Kings and Roman 

Emperors were Crowned, Frankfort-on-the-Main . . 21 
The Door of the Wittenberg Church against which Luther 

Nailed his Famous Theses 22 

The Palace of the Grand-Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, 

Schwerin 28 

Hermann von Helmholtz 39 

Dr. Robert Koch 40 

Prof. Wilhelm C. Rontgen 41 

Dr. Theodor Mommsen 42 

Statue of Goethe, Berlin 43 

Heinrich von Sybel 45 

Paul Heyse 47 

Gustav von Moser 49 

The University of Konigsberg, where Kant Taught ... 51 
The Brandenburg Gate, through which the Victorious 

Troops entered Berlin in 187 1 57 

Richard Wagner 62 

Wagner's Theater, Bayreuth 64 

Adolf Menzel 65 

The University of Bonn, where the Present Emperor 

Studied 69 

The University of Strassburg 73 

Palace of Emperor William I., Berlin 78 

The New Imperial Palace, Potsdam 82 

Emperor William 1 87 

Emperor Frederick III 93 

The Royal Palace at Charlottenberg, where Emperor 

Frederick III. Died 95 

Emperor William II 97 


xii Maps and Illustrations, 


Emperor William II., his Mother, the Empress Frederick, 

his Grandmother, Queen Victoria, and Three English 

Uncles 98 

Grand-Duke of Baden 100 

Albert, King of Saxony 101 

The Reichstag Building, Berlin . . . 105 

The Coronation Hall of the Hohenstaufen Emperors, in 

the Town Hall at Aix-la-Chapelle 114 

General Post-Office, Bremen 122 

The New Railway Station, Cologne 123 

The Imperial Yacht "Hohenzollern" at Anchor in the 

Kaiser Wilhelm Canal 125 

Prince Bismarck 131 

Princess Bismarck 138 

Prince Bismarck, his Wife, Children, and Grandchildren, 

and Lenbach and his Wife 147 

Herbert Bismarck 153 

A Cavalryman 159 

A Prussian Officer 161 

Alfred Krupp 164 

Officers of the First and Second Cavalry Regiments of the 

Prussian Guard 166 

The Helmet worn by Bismarck during the War of 1870 . 168 

An Officer of the Hussars, Saxony 171 

An Orderly of the Cuirassiers 173 

An Officer of the Guard, Prussia 175 

Moltke before Paris, in company with his Aides-de-camp . 179 

Monument of Victory, Leipzig 181 

Count von Moltke 187 

Count von Moltke and Friends at his Country-seat, Creisau 189 

The Royal Festival Hall, Carlsruhe 196 

Neuschwanstein, one of the Castles of the late King Lud- 

wig of Bavaria 202 

The National Gallery, Berlin, with Frederick's Bridge in 

the Foreground 207 

The Royal Theater, Wiesbaden 213 

Opera House, Frankfort-on-the-Main 219 

The Strassburg Cathedral 223 

The "Frauenkirche," Dresden, the Finest Protestant 

Church in Saxony 226 

Maps and Illustrations. 


^!^ ar * u ?! where Luther translated the Bible .... ^233 



rp, XT T - » aui UU3 v«suc un uie Knine 252 

• The New Exchange, Konigsberg 258 

Courtyard of the Wartburg . 2 _ Q 

Museum and Lustgarten, Berlin . .' 2 % 

Rheinstein," a Famous Castle on the Rhine 

The Royal Palace of Saxony, Dresden ... \ '.'.'' 262 

Mainz Cathedral ' ' 266 

The Ducal Palace, Brunswick . . .' 2y2 

The Fountain of Professor Begas, in front of the' Em- 

peror's Palace, Berlin ... 278 

The Cathedral of Cologne . 28s 

The Town Hall, Hamburg 28 X 

The Court Theater, Dresden 

Bridge over the Elbe, Hamburg ^ 

The Royal Palace am 

The German Empire 3 o 7 

*" — -x,, liOlllUUIg 2QQ 

The Royal Palace and Grounds, Carlsruhe 303 

The German Empire, 1871. (Two-page colored map) ' 

End lining pages 


Suggested Readings. — Europe in the Nineteenth Century, 
by H. P. Judson, Chaps. V., VI., VIII., XIII., and XXX. ; 
The Nineteenth Century, a History by Robert Mackenzie, Book 
III., Chap. III. ; Appendix of this volume, page 307. 



Nie war gegen das Ausland 

Ein anderes Land gerecht wie Du ; 

Sei nicht allzu gerecht ! Sie denken nicht edel genug, 

Zu sehn, wie schon Dein Fehler ist. 1 

— Klopstock. 


Eighteen centuries ago Tacitus exclaimed, ' ' May 
the Germans, as they cannot love us, at least retain their 
hatred of each other, so that, when Rome begins to 
totter, she may at least find support in the discord of 
that race." 

On March 23, 1887, Bismarck said in the Prussian 
Herrenhaus (House of Lords), "The German lives by 
quarreling with his countrymen." 

The opinion held by the Roman historian, coinciding Lack of 
almost word for word with that of the greatest German among the 

# Germans. 

politician of our time, might well illustrate the undying 
tenacity of popular characteristics, and banish optimistic 

1 Ne'er was a people just towards the stranger as thou art. 
Be not too just ; they think not nobly enough to see 
How fair thy failing is. 



Imperial Germany, 

Unreadiness a 



This trait 
illustrated in 

Admixture of 
Slavpnic blood 
a benefit. 

expectations from the recent constellation of German 

Allied to this traditional incapacity for united action, 
history records a strange unreadiness for action of any 
decisive kind. The French knew this by experience, 
and always associated the idea of unreadiness with the 
Germans — they were always waiting to be attacked. 
Napoleon aptly suggested this in a letter during one of 
his campaigns. * * Send me biscuits and brandy for 
50,000 men ; it is easy enough to beat the Germans, but 
not without the biscuits, ' ' etc. Ludwig Borne tells us a 
German will wear his coat threadbare while making up 
his mind whether to have a new button sewn on it. 
Their sayings, " Nach und nach" (Little by. little), 
" Eile mit Weile" (Haste with leisure), reflect this 
national idiosyncrasy. 

Thus Shakespeare is supposed to have portrayed the 
typical German in Hamlet — the philosophizing prince, 
who utters the wisest axioms without being able to bring 
himself to act upon them. 

If this portrayal be true, then an explanation is found 
for the fact that the Germans could never help them- 
selves until men were found at the head of affairs who 
united the idealism of a Hamlet with the bold decision of 
an Anglo-Saxon Cromwell. 

More than this, the salvation of Germany had to come 
through a people that was not purely German by race. 
Bismarck himself has stated his conviction that to the 
admixture of Slavonic blood in the old Prussian prov- 
inces are due those blind, dog-like, tough qualities of 
devotion and obedience that enabled Frederick the 
Great to win his famous battles, and thus to lay 
the foundation of Prussia's hegemony of to-day. The 
inhabitants of the old provinces of Prussia are in unity 

The German Character At Politics. 17 

of patriotism and power of recovery more like the 
French than those of any other part of Germany. 

This material, led by genius, has always done its work 
cleanly. It met the Austrians at Leuthen, in the slant- j 
ing battle-line of Epaminondas, 36,000 against 85,000. 
It drove the French like hares at Rossbach. The 
French never properly realized this, and only remem- 
bered Jena, when this same material, defectively organ- 

ized and led by hopeless imbecility, went down before 
the greatest captain of the age. The French remem- 
bered the Germans only as a disunited herd, that 
always waited to be attacked and never took the offen- 
sive. They forget that those days are gone forever, ipecUJUy. ' 
since Prussia, who always took the initiative, leads the 
van. The defensive is an Austrian speciality ; it is 
typical of that brave, but unready, indolent nation 


Imperial Germany. 

indolence vs. 

Prussian virtues 

A gradual 
change in the 

which in 1866, true to its old instincts, gloated over its 
cleverness in enticing the Prussians into Bohemia in 
order to eat them on arrival. 

Formerly, this Austrian characteristic distinguished all 
Germany ; to-day, Prussia is striving hard to eradicate 
it. Yet even now, wherever Prussia is not directly 
administrative, a trace of that delightful little German 
quality, procrastination or unreadiness, shows its cloven 
foot, not to mention the still older idiosyncrasy of 
discord and doctrinarism. This leads us to believe that 
if the Prussians had not brought the Germans salvation 
they would never have had it, and that without Prus- 
sia's guidance they would forfeit it again to-morrow and 
let their country once more become the battle-field of 

Yet these procrastinating, unready Austrians were 
always popular with the masses in the same proportion 
as the Prussians were disliked, even in provinces such 
as those of the Rhine, which but recently came under 
Prussian sway. Only the intellectual few long ago 
recognized the superb qualities of honesty, economy, 
order, and devotion to duty which everywhere marked 
the Prussian administration. Thus the recognition has 
been a slow process based on respect, the safest of 
foundations. And those who turned their sympathies 
to Austria have had time to discover that, in this 
instance, the head offered little justification for the lean- 
ings of the heart. 

It would seem that national characteristics — which, 
like all other characteristics, according to Darwin, must 
be the result of infinitely long-standing influences — die 
hard. Happily, a national character is not composed 
of one or even two unfortunate traits, but of many 
qualities, some of which neutralize or nullify the work- 

The German Character in Politics. 19 

ing of others. Thus the Germans, whom only yester- 
day we witnessed reddening their fields with blood in 
fratricidal strife, we have beheld in our time throng- 
ing around the great emperor William in a genuine 
outburst of patriotic ideality, ready to call out, * * Ha\J, 
Caesar, we, about to die, salute thee ! ' ' 

All well-wishers of Germany must hope that this 
genuine feeling of patriotism will long form a rallying- 
point around which all shall gather who are prepared to 
do and die for their country. 


It is a peculiar fact, and one that speaks highly for 
the intellectual capacities of the race, that, whereas all Germans their 

j . • 1 • j j •*.• own severest 

times and many countries have produced severe critics critics, 
of the German character, the bitterest censors have 
been found among eminent Germans themselves. The 
nation of thinkers and critics has indeed produced 
severe critics of themselves — anatomists who have 
studied the anatomy of character from their own body 
politic. It is scarcely necessary to do more than men- 
tion the names of Frederick the Great, Lessing, Goethe, 
Schopenhauer, and, to-day, Bismarck himself. These 
men have accused the nation of its dilatory failings; its 
doctrinarism, and its tendency to discord. And yet 
this very German people has always had a word of 
appreciation, sometimes even an extravagant admira- 
tion, for the good qualities of other nations. 

Yet it is only fair to ask : may not this old-time in- 
capacity of rallying around one central personage, this 
doctrinarism, be the unfortunate result of that anxious The German 
and hopeless pondering over and striving for an impos- ^hfndrancelo 11 
sible ideal which has enabled the Germans to achieve JJJJJjJJjJ 1 
such wonders in the fields of science and philosophy? 


Imperial Germany, 

Result of 
incapacity in 

National unity 
a long-coveted 

Has not this politically unfortunate characteristic been 
intensified by exceptionally unfavorable historical cir- 
cumstances? And may we not assume that the fact 
that the old German Empire was an elective kingdom 
for so long a period largely fostered national discord ? 

There is only one other example of an elective king- 
dom in history with which to draw a parallel, and in the 
very mention of its name the moral is self-evident — 
Poland ! The incapacity of the exalted few in whose 
hands the national destinies were collectively placed, to 
subordinate their pretensions to rule to the claim of any 
one family in the interests of all, has had in both in- 
stances similar, though fortunately not equal, results. 

Surely there is something interesting and instructive 
in the above, for there is no denying the long-standing 
popular longing for national unity. Does not the 
legend of the emperor Barbarossa bear witness to it? 
Does not a gleam of romance break through the Middle 
Ages and show us the ideal figure of the Hohenstaufen 
emperor Frederick II. (A. D. 1250)? And has not 
popular sentiment woven a wreath of undying poetry 
around the person of this cultured and unfortunate 
champion of national greatness against papal suprem- 

Since that time the Germans have ever been fighting 
for union, and often in the agony of strife have they 
forgotten what they were striving for, and thought only 
of feud and batde. 


After the death of the emperor Frederick II. of 
Hohenstaufen the power of the petty princes and of 
the aristocracy increased so immeasurably that there 
failed to rise to the surface any one predominant influ- 

The German Character in Politics. 21 

ence for long. The German king and emperor of the 
Holy Roman Empire, elected from the many rulers, 
was always powerless to further the consolidation of 
national unity. Yet the national longing still survived . 
and embodied itself in the myth of the Kyffhauser, ' 
where Barbarossa sat in somnolent state, guarded by 
ravens, biding the time of the reawakening of national 
unity and splendor. 

o Roman Emj*kkoks 

We require an effort of the imagination even to recall 
that there was a time when the German emperor ruled a j 
country on which the sun ne'er set, when Germany was ' 
the home of merchant princes who helped their monarch 
from their private means, 1 when German architecture 
was the most splendid, when German life was the 
most luxurious, and German manufactures the most 
renowned. It was the time of Charles V. of Hapsburg, 

"The rich Fuggers of Augsburg, who assisted Charles V. with their wealth. 

Imperial Germany. 

when France's king was Germany's prisoner, when 
Spain, with its newly discovered American possessions, 
and the whole center of Europe, from the Netherlands to 
the frontier of Poland to the east and unto the Alps to 
the south, bowed to German sway. 

That was the moment for a great political figure to 
appear, and, rallying the nation around it, to consolidate 
a strong hereditary empire in the center of Europe. The 
dawn of a new 
era full of bright 
hope had begun, 
for Luther had 
appeared on the 
sceneand, single- 
handed, stood his 
ground against 
the powers of 
Rome. "Yes, I 
will go to Worms , 
even if the house- 
tops are crowded 
with devils," said 
this mighty Ger- 
man. A spiritual 

The Door of the Wittenberg Church against Bismarck was 
which Luther Nailkd his Famous Theses. , 

there to point to 
a new God, but the Hapsburg emperor was no King 
William to draw the sword in his name. 

Thus the Reformation, instead of uniting Germany, 
led to its deepest political degradation— the "Thirty 
Years' War" — out of which it emerged with its popu- 
lation reduced from sixteen millions to less than five, 
and with a loss of national wealth from which it has 
even now only partially recovered. 

The German Character in Politics. 23 

For centuries the kaiser was mqre or less a foreign 
potentate. The national feeling longed for a German 
kaiser,, not for a Spaniard or even an Austrian. 
Through long ages the Germans were like the frag- 
ments in a kaleidoscope, without cohesion, yet present- 
ing brilliant, unexpected pictures, rarely colored, but 
repeated at the will of a stranger. Bismarck has said, 
1 1 The Germans are capable of everything if once anger 
or necessity should unite them." 

This we have seen to be true, but it wanted the uniting 
central personalities, and only when these came could 
the best capacities of the race find expression. That an 
indomitable spirit worthy of a great nation was never Military worth 

• • iii«. tm r 1 . • • • °f the Germans 

wanting is proved by history. The fighting capacities proved by 
and fidelity of even mercenaries of German blood at lsory ' 
all times and in all parts of the world — in Rome, the 
Italian republics, and America — are attested by many 
writers. Even in recent times, when Napoleon I. was 
deserted by his followers, those with German names 
were most true to him. When in 1821 the news reached 
Paris of the death of Napoleon at St. Helena, General 
Rapp, one of his most faithful Alsatian followers, burst 
into tears. It was in a crowded drawing-room, and 
everybody present immediately withdrew from the 
vicinity of the sturdy Teuton and left him standing 
alone in his honest grief. The company included many 
who had served Napoleon in his time, but one and all 
were afraid of showing sympathy with their dead master. 
This German militant fidelity (Deutsche Treue) is no A n example 
vain boast, though through the lack of unity it had little j^Sty?" 1 
to hold to or to encourage it. In the " Thirty Years' 
War, ' ' the Germans fought the battles of others. The 
" Seven Years' War," which first gave Protestant Ger- 
many a chance, yet failed to afford a rallying-point to all. 


Imperial Germany. 

Lack of 
mirrored in the 

Strange, indeed, it is that the rich German language, 

although it has a word for " patriotism, ' ' has none for 

1 ' patriot. ' ' Yet, strangely significant, it has even a 

word for being without a country, a unique word, 

Vater/ands/os, thus pointing to the history of its past. 

The hope of 
unity not lost. 

Its expression 
in the Revolu- 
tion of 1848. 


After Napoleon I. had made a clean sweep of the 
political chessboard, and he in his turn had vanished to 
eat out his ambitious heart in a desert island, the diffi- 
culty still remained — whom to invest with the national 
aspirations. Had a Cavour arisen then to champion 
the nation's legitimate rights against the jealousy of the 
allied powers, Germany would certainly have annexed 
Alsace in 1815, Lorraine might still be French, and the 
War of 1870 might never have taken place ! 

However, the idea of unity, nurtured at all times at 
the universities, lived on among the true aristocrats of 
the nation and among the best of every class, from the 
highest to the humblest. But it maintained itself most 
vigorously in the middle class, and, stronger than ever 
through the sad period of reaction from 18 15 to 1848, . 
it found popular vent in that noble song, ' ' Was ist der 
Deutschen Vaterland ? ' ' which answered the question in 
the refrain : 

Where'er the German tongue doth sound, 
There must the Fatherland be found. 

This national feeling culminated in the Revolution 
of 1848. The people asked not for a republic; they 
longed for unity. And its expression was not thrown 
away ; although fruitless at the time, the Frankfort Par- 
liament prepared the way for Prussia. 

In the foreground stood Austria and Prussia, con- 

The German Character in Politics. 25 

scious of the national longing, jealously confronting 

each other. But until the latter had shown, as if by 


When Prussia's eagles swept fair Austria's lands 

in seven days, that she could beat the former, few could 
discern in her the realizer of popular dreams. The Prussia's 

r r victory. 

hopeless misery of the past had left the petty fear of be- 
coming ' l Prussianized ' ' to obscure the greater goal : to 
rise through Prussia to a greater Germany. 

Only when the late emperor William had fulfilled the 
promise he held out in 1866, that he would hold the in- 
terests of Germany paramount and highest, did the 
gradual revolution of feeling become complete — the 
recognition by the vast majority that the national receives™ 06 
ideal had at last been in a great measure realized by rec °sn itlon - 

Such are the broad outlines of fact bearing on the 
realization of the national longing for unity. Yet it 
would be gross superficiality to think that the lucky 
rolling of the iron dice alone brought it about. When 
Napoleon I. vanquished Prussia and humbled her to the 
dust in one day, the best qualities of a nation awoke 
from a long sleep. 

Prussia was not allowed to keep a standing army 
above 42,000 men. Stein, Scharnhorst, and Von der 
Knesebeck (a weighty man, little known to popular 
readers) planned a secret system by which the greater 
part of the male population was speedily drafted through 
the army between the years 1807 and 18 13. This sys- 
tem was secretly and successfully carried out without a test of 


coming to the knowledge of the French. A people loyalty. 
that could act thus was worthy to form the nucleus of a 
new empire. It remains one of the grandest traits of 
national character in history, this instance of not one 


Imperial Germany, 

The key to 



single traitor being found among a whole people. This 
effacement of the individual before the interests of the 
community runs like a red thread through the history 
of civil as well as of military Prussia. It found its high- 
est manifestation in the year 1813, when six per cent of 
the entire population of Prussia rushed to arms — a pro- 
portion never before attained by any state, except, per- 
haps, that of Sparta. 

It is in the grit of the Prussian character, and its 
gradual recognition by Germany as a whole, that we 
must seek the real key to what the thoughtless crowd 
would put down as the mere natural results of fortunate 
soldiering alone. 

The House of Hohenzollern has fostered the hardiest 
qualities of a strong, hardy race, and forged a sword for 
it. The genius of its leaders has guided the. working 
out of its highest destiny in our time. 

institutions an 
obstacle to 


German unity has been fought for and gained in spite 
of desperate opposition from within and from without ; it 
has still to encounter many more or less inimical in- 
fluences from within. In addition to the difficulties 
arising from unfitness of character were differences of 
institutions both social and legal. The North, princi- 
pally Protestant, is still in part intensely aristocratic, 
and, recently, has been honeycombed by socialism ; 
whereas the West and the South, which felt the waves 
of the French Revolution, are democratic, besides be- 
ing largely Catholic. There are millions of Germans 
who place their allegiance to the pope above that to 
their sovereign. It is German stubborn doctrinarism 
which makes this possible — instinctive doctrinarism in 
those who do not even know the meaning of the word. 

The German Character in Politics. 27 

For Catholics in other countries have rarely allowed 
their religion to nullify their patriotism. 

The pope himself soon dropped his attempts to side Irish Md 
with the English government against the Irish peasants ^™Jg^ 
when the latter, through their Protestant representa- 
tives, plainly intimated that they would have none of his 
interference. But Irish patriotism is doubtless a hardier 
plant than German Vaterlandsliebe (love of country) has 
hitherto been. It is only in Germany that a man such 
as the late Dr. Windhorst, a sworn hater of Germany 
united under Prussia, could have the following he had. 

But sentiments which owed their origin to Catholic 
or papal partisanship have often been taken up by 
those who had no other excuse for sharing them than 
blind party passion and envy. They have often been 
adopted by men who were neither separatist Alsatians 
nor Catholic Poles, but bona-fide, self-asserting Ger- 

Because advocates of social reforms cannot have them 
carried out in their own way, jealousy bids them do 
their best to asperse the motives of others equally well 
intentioned as they themselves (though this must be jealousy a 
admitted to be also a parliamentary characteristic nearer nationaHmity. 
home). It is even on record that a Heidelberg pro- 
fessor of world-wide reputation, who had preached the 
gospel of unity all his life, rushed away to Italy in 
the sulks when it came in a form different from that 
which he had prescribed for it ! 

Because the ' ' Iron Chancellor ' ' was diffident of the 
practicability of the theories of political economy, which 
Liberal enthusiasts would have had him accept as the 
crowning of the state edifice, therefore every initia- 
tive of the state must be opposed, and this only too 
often in a petty venomous spirit. It is not so much 

Imperial Germany. 

opposition itself as the spirit of it which is to be 
deplored. The long- in creasing hate and estrangement 
■ between the different political parties are already showing 
the incapacity of parliamentary government to harmo- 
nize the differences of feeling in the community ; if any- 
thing, it only tends to accentuate them. Even if some 
of these elements do not direct their energies against 
unity itself, they have often been directed against the 
avowed policy of its immediate founders. 

Still, we are in fairness bound to ask ourselves : may 
not some of the opposition Bismarck always encountered 

The Palace of the Grand-Duke of Mecklbhburg-Schwerin, 

in the execution of his far-seeing plans often have been 
an exaggerated manifestation of that independence of in- 
dividual conscientious thought which will not yield itself 
captive even to the glamor of military prowess ? And, 
if it be so, can we help bestowing a mite of admiration. 

The German Character in Politics. 29 

even where we feel bound to condemn its results? 
Can we, again, refuse a tribute of respect when we 
meet such instances of personal unselfish devotion to 
a lost cause as from time immemorial every turn of the Effect of 

. loyalty to a 

political wheel of fortune has called forth in Germany ? lost cause. 
We may deplore the attachment to a lost cause that 
obscures the vision for a broader and nobler one which 
has grown into a splendid reality, but we cannot con- 
demn the instinct that blinds those to the future whose 
hearts unselfishly cling to a past, be it never so poor 
in the eyes of the onlooker. 1 

But, besides opposition of the kind hinted at above, 
there remains much that cannot be put down either 
to noble or unselfish motives. 

The petty but honest feeling of narrow state loyalty 
has been Germany's political curse, for it obscured the 
horizon of a broader national firmament ; but the idea of 
unity has had other enemies to deal with. These, if not 
so powerful in the aggregate, have yet caused Ger- 
many's leaders many a pang of sorrow and disappoint- 
ment. We mean that spirit of Philistinism, of envy and Thc "P' 1 ]} 1 5 f 

. . . . J envy and dis- 

distrust, alternating with indifference, which only the trust an enemy 
stirring hours of a death-grapple cast temporarily in the 
background. It comes to the front again in all its ugli- 
ness with the return of peace and security. 

Such are some of the dangerous elements Germany 
will still have to grapple with when those mighty men 
have all passed away to whom the Fatherland is so 
immensely indebted. 


Misfortune has taught the Germans many a lesson, 

1 Many of the faithful partisans of the late king of Hanover would, after 1866, 
have had only beggary to look forward to, Had it not been for the far-sighted 
policy of reconciliation of Bismarck. 


Imperial Germany, 


and doubtless benefited them ; still, they have not 
passed through the fire of the past without the develop- 
ment of peculiarities of character which are more or less 
distinctly traceable to the sufferings they have endured. 
Germany's It is difficult to believe that some of the petty failings 

recentgrow?h° of to-day were existent in the olden times of national 

splendor. In those days German life could not show 
that amount of littleness, of hyper-sensitiveness, of per- 
sonal spite and petty malice and envy, which have often 
been noticed and deplored in later times. 

Such qualities could not flourish amidst the pomp 
and panoply of national prosperity. They could only 
be the ugly offshoot born of oppression, poverty, and 
misery. And now that there seems a great future in 
store for Germany, her friends can but hope that quali- 
ties which owed their existence to misfortune — as 
disease owes its presence to dirt — will gradually dis- 
appear before the reawakening of the best instincts of 
a mighty race. This is the more to be wished for as 
such qualities are largely answerable for the perpetua- 
tion of the oldest German national failing, discord. 
That a broader national feeling has steadily increased 
since 1870 is admitted on all sides. Yet these are not 
the only effects of victory ; it has put many off their 
guard as to the dangers to be provided against in the 

The history of a thousand years is not nullified by 
the victories of one generation, even though such victo- 
ries be the result of a long-sustained system of discipline 
and a universal acceptation of heroic duty. The defects 
of the national character which bade Teutons themselves 
desert their national hero, Arminius, which enabled a 
Richelieu to sway the conduct of the * i Thirty Years' 
War, ' ' defects which have made Germans slavishly bow 

Discord the 
oldest national 

Influence of 
past history 
not easily 

The German Character in Politics. 31 

down to rulers whose titles were gained in return for the 
slaughter of their own countrymen 1 — such may have 
been scotched, but they were not killed at Sadowa or 
Sedan. Nor were they choked by the proclamation of 
the German Empire at Versailles. 

The political pauperism of the past, the petty and 
half-dormant, if not torpid, social life of centuries, have 
generated idiosyncrasies that will only be gradually 
obliterated by sustained moral effort. The constant 
danger arising from these is intensified when we bear in 
mind what has just been noted — the social and political 
differences in the population of North and South. 

The Germans are a sensitive people, and yet, with this i m p art iaiity of 
and all their peculiarities, they possess a dispassionate iatfonaftrait. 
impartiality of judgment in some things which is in many 
ways remarkable. The Germans often use the word 
Objectivitat (objectiveness), and they have some reason 
for doing so. Bismarck has accused them of being 
ashamed of their nationality abroad and of adopting 
the bad qualities of the people among whom they live. 
With regard to the first accusation, a foundation for it 
in the past cannot be denied. But there was also some- 
thing to explain it ; the national tendency to objective- 
ness explains it. 

Germans abroad have generally come from a class why Germans 
that has more acute perceptions for material than for the?r a patriot- 
ideal advantages. Thus, in coming abroad, seeing larger 
practical and material conditions of life, they looked 
back with contempt on the petty parochial character of 
life in their native land ; those that leave their country 
do not, as a rule, possess sufficient ideality to cherish 

1 The present titles of the rulers of Saxony, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Baden, 
and Hesse-Darmstadt were the creations of Napoleon I. In each case they 
signify a step in advance on the previous one held by their possessors. 



Imperial Germany. 

Practicality vs. 

toward their 

their country for the sake of that quality, though there 
have been at all times exceptions. The German abroad 
becomes more practical, but he generally loses in a spir- 
itual sense ; he assimilates the utilitarian features of the 
country he lives in, only too often to lose touch with the 
ideality of his native land, which should make him 
prouder of his country than of her recent victories. 
This bewildering outward aspect of practical life in Eng- 
land and America also explains why traveling English- 
men are so often unable to appreciate what is in reality 
the strong side of German life — its mental and ethical 
culture. They see the outside only, and, as this has 
hitherto been more striking in our country, the average 
Englishman's opinion of Germany has ever been a shal- 
low one. 

This German objectiveness is shown in their estimate 
of their enemies. The English and French either hate 
and slander their enemies or when they have beaten 
them hold them in contempt. Napoleon I. always 
felt a strong contempt for his enemies. Not so the 
Germans. They invariably speak with respect of their 
opponents, even be they those they have beaten — 
such as the Danes, the Austrians, and the French— or 
the Russians. It is perhaps one of their soundest 
national traits, from a military point of view, that they 
invariably over-estimate their foes, for this characteristic 
has certainly not made them afraid to meet them. Even 
the inimitable Boulanger they at first took seriously 
and only spoke of him with contempt when he showed 
characteristics that would have ruined him in twenty- 
four hours had he been a German. 

Bearing the character of the military successes of 
Germany in mind, we have always been impressed with 
the ' * comparative ' ' absence of national self-assertion. 


The German Character in Politics. 33 

The Prussians, who used to be considered individu- 
ally and collectively arrogant and overbearing, even by JSJSance 
the Germans themselves, have largely lost the reputation 
for these attributes now that their worth has been more 
generally recognized, for in the lack of honest recogni- 
tion such qualities often have their origin. We shall 
deal with the Philistine by himself, but the more intelli- 
gent the individual we meet, the more moderate the 
views invariably held ; and even among the compara- 
tively uncultured that senseless bounce which we often 
deplore in other nations is for the most part absent. 

Up to the present, whatever may be said to the con- 

« .... , . 1 ./-» r •*• The Germans 

trary, chauvinism 1 is not a national German failing, notchauvin- 
Some affect to deplore the marked military — not to say 
nationally assertive — tendencies of the present emperor, 
and look back with regret to the liberal and humani- 
tarian temperament of his father. But one thing seems 
certain : as long as in certain quarters humanitarianism 
and liberalism imply a possibility of yielding one inch 
of what has been gained by such sacrifices of blood and 
treasure, so long Germany cannot afford to indulge too 
readily in those excellent qualities. It is a sad truth, 
but it is an important one. That arch-wiseacre, General 
Ignatieff, has told the world that immediately after 1870 
he ironically congratulated the Germans on having 
annexed * ' an open wound ' ' in Alsace and Lorraine ! 
As if the French did not harbor revenge against 
England during nearly half a century after Waterloo, 
although England did not despoil France of an inch of 

1 This term is derived from the name of a brave soldier, Nicholas Chauvin, 
who was so devpted to Napoleon I. and so demonstrative in the display of 
loyalty that the name has come to stand for an absurd or exaggerated patriot- 
ism and military enthusiasm. 


Imperial Germany. 

Criticism of a 



Use of the 
language in 

territory ! but, on the contrary, did all in her power to 
prevent Germany generally from reaping the fruits of her 
enormous sacrifice in fighting the first Napoleon by 
retaking Alsace from the French. When will reason- 
able beings be able to see that French vanity would 
have been as irrevocably wounded by the loss of one 
battle as by the loss of half a dozen provinces, and — 
the most important point — that she would have re- 
mained more powerful to resent it ! 

Immediately after the War of 1870, a brilliant Paris 
journalist of German birth, Albert Wolff, wrote a book, 
gingerly putting the French in the wrong, but closing 
with the declaration that he was ashamed that his 
native land had not used its victory to be generous and 
forborne to wrest territory from France ! It is indeed a 
sad inheritance from the past that such ideas should 
find serious acceptance. People never think of suggest- 
ing or expecting that the English, or the French, or the 
Russians, are going to forego the fruits of victory or to 
yield up the price of their blood. The Germans have a 
right to be taken with equal seriousness, and their well- 
wishers will not easily quarrel with the means they use 
to attain that legitimate end. 

Let the Germans taboo the French language, let them 
decline to be addressed in that tongue. The time may 
come when it will be considered as inconsiderate to 
address Germans on equal conditions in any other 
language than their own as it is now the case with 
Frenchmen, Americans, or Englishmen. When that 
comes to pass, then the nonsense of treating political 
Germany as the poor boy of the nursery book will 
cease, and until then it will be quite time to speak 
of German chauvinism. 

Amidst much mist and darkness there is a bright star 

The German Character in Politics. 


in the national character that has not shown itself of 
late, for it requires defeat and national humiliation in 
order to witness its brilliancy. It is German valor and 
fidelity under defeat. It is one of the fairest attributes ^J-}*" 
of the national character ; it is ideal. History is full of 
it, and well may the nation be proud of its record. 
Even that rabid chauvinist historian, Thiers, 1 has gone 
out of his way to bear testimony to the fighting endur- 
ance of defeated Germany, and to its fidelity to its 
unfortunate leaders. 

i " Histoire du Consulat et de PEmpire." 




Its type in 

We classify a range of mountains according to the altitude of 
its highest peaks. — Anon. 


If we follow the history of intellectual development in 
England, and its bearing on the material achievements 
of the English people, we perceive that one of the 
reasons why they have achieved so much is that they 
have rarely striven but for what they could grasp. Like 
Bismarck in this, they have ever taken one thing practi- 
cally in hand at a time. 

There is comparatively little dreamy ideality in our 
race ; and, in the higher Grecian sense of the word, of 
that ceaseless striving after the ideally true and beauti- 
ful, next to none. But, instead of this, we English have 
ever possessed the great secret of attaining practical 
success in what we soberly undertook. The wisdom of 
common sense, thoroughly consistent with genius, has 
alway3 been ours in a preeminent degree. 

Darwin — perhaps the most typical Englishman of the 
century — of all others, might have been justified in con- 
juring up imaginary pictures of the past and evolving 
ideals for the future ; yet he remains satisfied with 
the positive — not to say negative — results of his re- 
searches, and leaves ideal speculation to others. It has 
been reserved for the Germans, and notably for Profes- 
sor Haeckel, of Jena, to speculate where Darwin had 
been content to glean facts. 


Intellectual Life. 37 

Thus, German idealism — in this instance revealing 
itself in materialistic speculation — tells us what we -J^JjfJj, 
' ' might ' ' attain, while our want of idealism is per- 
haps the cause of what we * * have ' ' achieved. 

But idealism does far more than this. It instinctively 
bids us feel that knowledge of every kind is power to be 
used for a high purpose. It embodies the highest aspi- 
rations of genius, and is the key to the full understand- 
ing of its loftiest flights. It is, strange to say, almost a 
monopoly of the German race ; in fact, the people who 
are nearest to them, such as the Dutch, notably lack it. 
It is true, idealism has often spelt failure and reminded 
us of Ikaros with the waxen wings. And yet the rest- 
less striving after an — often unattainable — ideal is at the 
root of some of the greatest thoughts of the Teutonic 
muse, of German science, as well as of some of the best 
manifestations of German character. 

In science, the idealizing principle is perhaps more 
active than anywhere else. It supplies initiative im- its service to 
pulse, the interest of new colors and of knowledge 
touched with wonder. The spectrum analysis is only 
one of many illustrations. One of the most amazing in- 
ventions of the century — the spectroscope — is the work 
of two Germans, Bunsen and Kirchhoff. 

German idealism places science on so high a pedestal 
that money- making by its votaries is looked upon as 
almost degrading. 1 In practical England, the more 

1 Those organs of public opinion both here and abroad which have taken 
part in a recent controversy, and in so doing have spoken disparagingly 
of German men of science, have hardly shown a deep insight into their lead- 
ing characteristics. They are a sensitive body of men, not devoid of pedantry, 
and one individual is no sufficient measure to judge them by; but when the 
consensus of their action is taken, it may safely be said to be above suspicion 
of motive. For, generally speaking, though doubtless exceptions will be found 
here as elsewhere, Germany's leading scientific men are of a stamp that would 
not jeopardize the sincerity of their conviction for any worldly advantage 



Imperial Germany. 

money a man of science can make the higher he is 
and^iTiish esteemed. We are more likely to worship outward 
contrasted success in a thing than the thing itself. Hence, we are 

more likely to accept charlatans than the Germans, and 
science lacks with us the true spiritual dignity it pos- 
sesses in Germany. Faraday — in this a rare exception — 
held up a tradition which, alas ! has had no followers. 
The simple, even humble, life that eminent men of 
science often lead in Germany would seem astonishing 
to us, who are accustomed to see men of science be- 
coming social lions. 


Though many are of the opinion that the fine arts and 
belles-lettres in Germany are to-day, with few excep- 
tions, represented by a number of merely talented 
persons, there can be no doubt of the array of great 
names in the domains of science. ! Here we are met by 
capacities of the very first rank, and that in almost every 
branch. To mention a few names at random : We have 
gr e ea?scientists. already referred to Bunsen and Kirchhoff, who conclu- 
sively proved the existence of terrestrial matter in the 
sun. To Professor Czermak Germany owes the discov- 
ery of the laryngoscope. To Professor Helmholtz she is 
indebted for the ophthalmoscope, which has revolution- 
ized ophthalmic medicine, for many wonderful discov- 
eries relating to the natural laws that govern acoustics, 

i The following is from the pen of an American authority on the state of 
science in Germany in the present day : " Three countries divide the scientific 
world between them — Germany, England, and France. The writings of each 
bear the stamp of their special character and qualities. Germany to-day is at 
the head of the scientific world. At the beginning of the century it was France, 
but German influence is now greater than ever that of France was. The 
students that used to go to Paris now go to Germany. They come back 
imbued with German doctrines, and with but one aim, that of propagating and 
following these doctrines' out. Thus they have spread all over the world, and 
have become accepted by nearly every European country." 

Intellectual Life. 


and for his philosophical works. The discoveries of 
salicylic acid, cocaine, and, latest of all, saccharine, [ 
must be credited to German science of to-day. The re- < 
cent discoveries of Dr. Koch have attracted the scientific 
interest of the civilized world. The "X rays" of Pro- 
fessor Rontgen need only be mentioned in order to 
mark the epoch-making importance of the latest German 
scientific triumph. 

In Professor Virchow Germany has not only one of 
the most eminent 
anthropologists of 
our time, but a 
physiologist of 
unique standing, 
In surgery the 
names of Langen* 

of I 


Billroth, of Vienna, 
Nussbaum, of Mu- 
nich, Scanzoni, of 
Wurzburg, Es- 
march, of Kiel, 
speak for them- 
selves. In jurispru- 
dence the names of 
Professor Wind- 

I ... it- • Hhruamn von Heluholtz. 

scheidt, of Leipzig, 

Professor Gneist, since dead, and Dr. von Holtzendorf, -j?™ 61 
of Munich, are of cosmopolitan renown, as may also be menol 
said of the two eminent statisticians, Dr. Ernst Engel and 
Laspeyres. In history Mommsen is still living to carry 
on those earnest researches connected with the name of 
his late compeer and master, Leopold von Ranke. In 
geology the names of Professor Zirkel, of Leipzig, and 

40 Imperial Germany. 

Professor Rosenbusch, of Heidelberg, are as highly 
esteemed as that of G. von Richthofen, of Berlin, is in 
geography. In speculative science and metaphysics 
men such as Eduard von Hartmann, who is of the 
school, but with 
a perhaps un- 
conscious leaning 
toward Herbert 
Spencer, and 
whose influence 
is largely felt 
throughout the 
length and 
breadth of the 
Fatherland, and 
Moritz Carriere, 
the champion of 
the so-called re- 
alistic ideal 
school, are more 
or less represent- 

Dr. Robekt Koch. . .... , 

ative. With 
these we must mention the late Professor Paul de La- 
garde, a man little heeded while he lived, but who since 
his death has been largely recognized as one of Ger- 
many's most original political thinkers, and Frederick 
Nietzsche, now hopelessly insane, whose brilliant philo- 
sophical writings have attracted the attention of think- 
ers throughout Europe. 

Although it is beyond our purpose to do more than 
mention a few of the representative men of Germany 
to-day, there is one reflection we cannot suppress, and 
that is that almost all the above-mentioned eminent men 

Intellectual Life. 

are serving the state in some public capacity. There is 
hardly one of Germany's great scientific exponents of J 1 *,"" 
speculative thought' who is not drawn away from the 
drudgery of mere money-making and installed in some 
position most fitted to enable him to spread and propa- 
gate the fruits of his genius. Further, it is largely owing 
to such men that theory has developed into method in 
Germany and served the purpose of increasing the prac- 
tical results of every kind of work in the country. 

In literature the greatest works of Lessing, Herder, 
Goethe, and 
Schiller show f 
signs of a restless 
craving to find a 
higher and nobler 
channel for ex- 
pressing their 
ideas. Literature 
was to these men 
a medium of con- 
veying philoso- 
phy under pleas- 
ant and even 
playful forms. 
All had one end 
in view — to strike 
a chord of broad 
common con- 

■ 7 te 

Prof. Wilhhlm C. Rontgkn 

Herder was one 

of the most egotistically ideal of men in native consti- 
tution, yet we see him for years sacrificing his original 

42 Imperial Germany. 

powers of production to collecting the "folk-songs" of 
his own and other nations, because his egotism was sub- 
dued by an intel- 
lectual German 
sense of the com- 
mon interests in 
life, which should 
be reflected in 
song and story. 

Lessing, in- 
deed, always pro- 
tested that he 
was not a poet, 
and that people 
made a mistake 
in calling him 
one ; that he was 
merely a poor 
critic, seeking 
the best channel 
to communicate 
his ideas, which 
he found in the 
drama. Thus, 
his "Nathan the 
Wise" is still the 
most eloquent 
appeal in favor of 
| The corre- 
spondence be- 
tween Goethe 
Dr. thhodos mommseu. and Schiller 

Intellectual Life. 43 

proves how much their individual bent in this respect 
was at one with the lessons of their greater works ; the 
discipline of a high ideal was to be found in its applica- 
tion in the commonest things. "Wilhelm Meister," in JgiitfL 1 * 
its first aspect, seems the most ideal of books, and yet, schiner, 
in its second part, it passes into a glorification of ordi- 
nary domestic life and duty. Still more surprising is 
the fact that Faust, after all his dreams and aspirations, 
has to become 
a reclaimer of 
land and a road- 
maker, and in 
this to find the 
way of his sal- 
vation — con- 
tentment and 

No men of 
equal eminence 
were ever so lit- 
tle pleased with 
their efforts as 
Goethe and 
Schiller, for the 
picture of some- 

.l- -ni.- 1_ Status of Goethe, Bhklin. 

thing still higher 

was constantly before them to make them dissatisfied Their dissal 

with their attempts and urge them on to greater efforts. ^"ir^k 1 ' 

This peculiarity of the German mind impresses us the 

more when we recall Shakespeare, whose stupendous 

genius apparently seems to have thrown off its immortal 

products almost unconsciously. 

According to the late Friedrich Bodenstedt, the emi- 
nent German poet and translator of Shakespeare, the 


Imperial Germany. 




dramatic poetry of his own country cannot compare in 
originality with that of England. But German litera- 
ture can boast of a speciality which, though far from 
original, is yet unique and of far-reaching importance 
as a means of culture. 

We refer to the splendid array of literary men who 
have devoted their whole life's work to the translation 
of the masterpieces of foreign literature into German. 
Their name is legion, and men among them, such as 
Tieck, the two Schlegels, Voss, and Bodenstedt himself, 
can be said to have contributed more to the culture of 
the people by their translations than many well-known 
writers by their original productions. Even a monarch 
ranks among their number ; for the late king John of 
Saxony translated Dante into German. No country can 
compare with Germany in its array of literary talent, 
which, led by true idealism to open up new channels of 
literary wealth to the nation, devoted its labor in un- 
selfish earnestness to the comparatively thankless task of 
reproduction. Among such we must not forget to 
mention one who is still living, Otto Gildemeister, of 
Bremen, whose translations of Lord Byron and also of 
several of Shakespeare's works are noted for their excel- 

preference for 
English novels. 


At the present time other elements and a more cos- 
mopolitan run of public taste have put their stamp on 
the literary productions of the day. 

Figuratively speaking, Teuton stomachs have been 
satiated and German brains weary of the interminable 
discursive novel of the first half of the century, dragging 
its serpentine existence through eight or ten volumes, 
and have long sought refuge in excellent translations of 

Intellectual Life. 45 

Walter Scott, Bulwer Lytton, Dickens, and other Eng- 
lish writers. 

Other branches of literature, too, suffered from heavi- a new d*- 
ness of style when, about the time of the new order of compwii™. 
things, a number 
of bright essay- 
writers came to 
the front in Ber- 
lin and offered 
the public a taste 
of the bright, 
concise, and yet 
light style of nar- 
rative and essay 
common in Eng- 
land and France. 
And the good 
Berliners, who 
had long chafed 
under the bit of 
cumbersome phi- 
losophizing in 
the name of 
SchelHng and 
Hegel, welcomed 

the new depart- From an autograph portrait. 

Hkikrich von Sybkl. 

In this direction there can be no doubt that the late 
Heinrich von Treitschke in the * ' Prussian Year- Cemta nsay- 
Books," Paul Lindau in the "The Present," and many 
others have not only done good work but have almost 
founded a style of literature in which Germany had 
hitherto been lamentably deficient. It is in part their 
doing if we can no longer with justice smile at the un- 


46 Imperial Germany. 

varying * * ponderosity ' ' of German letters. Of course, 
such masters of sparkling German prose as Heine, Scho- 
penhauer, Borne, David Strauss, and Johannes Scherr 
had preceded and influenced the public far more, even 
by the mere form of their productions. Still the fact 
remains that the German essay-writers of the last 
twenty-five years have contributed their share toward 
a more airy and crisp tone in the light literature of the 

In the late Gustav Freytag we name the most gifted 

Freytag. and sterling of all German writers of fiction of our time. 

He excelled in the portrayal of German life, not only 
in the present, but in the past, and that with an un- 
rivaled power and truth of interpretation. Freytag 
possessed the genius of the true born romancist allied 
to the conscientious thoroughness of the German pro- 
fessor, without his pedantry. He never lent his pen to 
pander to the sentiment of the hour, and his writings 
are appreciated and admired by high and humble alike. 
Some years ago the late emperor William conferred on 
him the highest distinction — the order " Pour le M£rite" 
(for merit), the same order that Thomas Carlyle was 
proud to accept, although he refused the Grand Cross 
of the Bath from his own sovereign. Next to Gustav 
Freytag, Spielhagen perhaps stands highest among 
German novelists. 

Paul Heyse as a poet, a novel-writer, and dramatist 

Paul Heyse occupies a very prominent position in the literary world. 

A born poet, he strongly inclines toward the sentimen- 
tal — not to say hyper-sentimental. Starting as a novel- 
ist at an early age, he at once became the favorite of 
German womankind. His descriptive power is southern 
in its luxurious richness and dreaminess ; but, unfor- 
tunately, most of his tales — for he is a story-teller more 

Intellectual Life. 47 

than a novel-writer (Germans, in their thoroughness, 
making a great distinction between the two) — show a 
want of manly ruggedness in conception and execution. 
That is doubtless the reason his dramatic works have 
hitherto only had a success really due to his other 
work. Some of his lyric poems are remarkable for 
their beauty of sentiment and diction. 

Professor Ebers is another typical figure in literature. GeorgEi 

HU SUCCeSS has novels. 

been largely due 
to his appeal to 
that instinct — so 
strong in the Ger- 
man character — 
which loves to 
idealize the his- 
tory of the far- 
removed past. 
Professor Ebers 
is an eminent 
scientific Egyp- 
tologist, and his 
novels, weaving 
historical matter 
into the form of 
narrative ro- 
mance, have not 
only found count- 

Germany, but they have been widely read in English 
and other translations. 

The late Friedrich Bodenstedt was not only a dra- Bodmitedt, ti 
matic poet of signal culture and power, but was the Ii " c p m1 ' 
author of a somewhat exceptional feat in the history of 

48 Imperial Germany, 

literature, to which he owes his chief fame. He lived 
for many years in the East, and besides a fascinating 
account of life in Asia Minor, entitled "A Thousand 
and One Days in the East,'* he published a collection 
•« The Songs of of exquisite lyric poems under the title of ' ' The Songs 

MirzaSchafly." qJ M j rza Schaffy> » It would lead us too f ar to dweU 

on the excellence of this unique volume ; suffice it to 
say that it was published under circumstances which 
left the impression that the poems were nothing more 
than translations of oriental poetry, such as the ' * Songs 
of Hafiz ' * and others. This impression was the more 
likely to gain ground on account of Bodenstedt's recog- 
nized position as a translator of Shakespeare. However, 
such was not the case ; the work is entirely original. 
11 The Songs of Mirza Schaffy " have run through more 
than one hundred editions, and are destined to remain 
a lasting monument to Bodenstedt's genius. 


In dramatic literature, although its critics continually 

rail against the shallow taste of the day (as they have 

done at all times), Germany possesses a long list of 

names, which, if hardly in one instance equal to the 

dramatists kest dramatic writers of France, are yet far above any 

single one we could put forward among English living 

Ernst von Wildenbruch is a dramatic author of depth 
and power. In him the German ideal romantic tend- 
ency is very strong, but, unfortunately (as is so often 
the case with German writers), his characters lose them- 
selves completely in philosophic concentration at the 
expense of the action of the play. 

Arthur Fitger is another writer of great dramatic 
force and originality. His tragedy "Die Hexe" (The 

Intellectual Life. 49 

Witch) is a play of classic dimensions, and deals with 
the religious intolerance oi past ages. 

Richard Voss, Oscar Blumenthal, L'Arronge, Franz 
von Schonthan, and Hugo Lubbliner, although scarcely £?£)!" ptay ~ 
typical enough to call for special notice, are yet original 
and fertile writers 
of great popular- 
ity, and many of 
their plays have 
been honored by 
translation and 

Baron Gustav 
von Moser is typ- 
ically representa- 
tive of a light and 
airy dramatic 
style, unembar- 
rassed by heavy 
ethical aims, and 
yet far removed 
from pruriency, 
the former quali- 
ties being at all 
times rare in Ger- 
man literature. He is entirely original both in his work- The : of 
manship and in the characters he has drawn. The latter M ™*- 
are taken from life, and include almost every type to 
be met with, from the Prussian martinet general down 
to the "boots" of a country inn. Not only do his plays 
enjoy an unprecedented popularity in Germany, but 
some of them have been even more successful in other 
countries, and made large fortunes for English and 
American theater proprietors, notably "Ultimo" (On 


Imperial Germany. 

Philosophy of 
Hegel ana 


" categorical 


Change) and "Der Bibliothekar ' ' (The Private Secre- 

Among more recent dramatists and novel-writers 
Hermann Ludermann may be mentioned as enjoying 
great popularity. Whether, however, his writings are 
destined to last is a question which time alone can 
answer. Nor must we omit to cite Dr. Max Nordau, 
the gifted and versatile writer, whose recent work, 
" Degeneration,' ' has enjoyed an extraordinary vogue 
both in England and America. 


In philosophy we find again the ideal influence pres- 
ent. Especially is this noticeable in the works of 
Schelling and Hegel, whose endeavor to solve the 
dread secrets that surround us was strongly mingled 
with the desire to find a solution which best accorded 
with their ideal of the beautiful. But as the human 
mind seems doomed to failure before these master- 
problems, so also the philosophy of Hegel and Schelling 
has but remained as a monument of the inability of 
idealism alone to solve them. It was reserved for Kant 
to pin down idealism to the realization of the call of 
duty. In his own words thus defined : * * Duty— won- 
drous thought that workest neither by fond insinuation, 
flattery, nor by any threat, but merely by holding up 
thy naked law in the soul, and so extorting for thyself, 
always reverence, if not always obedience, before whom 
all appetites are dumb, however secretly they rebel!" 

Since Immanuel Kant spoke his last word, and 
wedded ideality with the stern duty of ethics, no one 
has been able to add to it. His dictum of the * * cate- 
gorical imperative," the call of duty on us all to regu- 
late our race toward the unattainable, remains to-day 

Intellectual Life. 

the key-note of German intellectual and ethical life. In 
fact, it is impossible to study the ethical and intellectual 
life of Germany without being impressed by the vast 
influence which the teaching of the Konigsberg phi- 
losopher still exercises over its best minds, and through 
them almost unconsciously over the minds of the 
masses. Even the sublime thoughts of Goethe and, 
in our day, the speculations which the Germans draw 
from the researches of Darwin seem only to have interi- 

Thh University op KSnicsbbrc, where Kant Taught. 

sified the influence of Kant. It seems as if, in a sea of 
conflicting speculation, the intellect of the nation were 
forced to turn back to that strong, courageous brain, 
who said in effect : 

We are unable to pierce the past, the future is hidden from 
us, but the categorical imperative call of duty to be performed h'losno 

stares us in the face — the obligation of one and all of us to do 
our share, and to live up to the highest ethical and sesthetica! 
standard we can formulate, without regard to reward or pun- 
ishment, and before the worship of every other ideal. 

52 Imperial Germany. 


Thus we find the sense of duty meeting us every- 
where in Germany in a strength hardly realized by 
of duty. other countries. The narrow-minded selfishness of the 

individual, the jealousy, the envy of the unit, shrink be- 
fore the supreme spirit of altruistic virtue embodied in 
this acceptation of the supremacy of duty. 

The late Professor Billroth — a great German surgeon 
and professor at the Vienna University — was once, years, 
before his decease, given up by the doctors. He called 
his younger colleagues around him and said : 

We doctors mustn't deceive ourselves with regard to an 
illness. We are familiar with death ; I more than you, for 
I am nearer to it. I asked you to come here in order to say 
good-bye to you. Who knows whether to-morrow* I shall 
be able to do so ? I thank you all for your labors ; remain 
faithful to science ; devote yourselves to it as hitherto. 

This reference to duty — this key-note struck in the 
supreme moment, with an entire forgetfulness of meaner 
self — is one that finds an echo through the length and 
breadth of the Fatherland in the hearts of its best and 
noblest sons. It has a familiar sound to us, when we go 
back to those annals that record the growing greatness 
of England. Was it not the ever-memorable key-note 
The key-note of Nelson' s message at the battle of Trafalgar ? It even 
history. conveys a lesson to us in these latter days, when many 

are groping their way to find an ethical standard to live 
by ; for, according to a recent writer, "such knowledge 
of God as he has vouchsafed to us is revealed to us by 
our perception of causation and our idea of duty. ' ' * 

Yet men like Billroth — and he was a representative 
type — are not melancholy psalm-singers, who walk 

l Article entitled " Sins of Belief and Sins of Unbelief," by St. George Mivart, 
in the Nineteenth Century, October, 1888. 

Intellectual Life. 53 

through life crushed with the oppressive weight of a 
dread ordeal ever staring them in the face. Far from it. 
Billroth in private life was an accomplished musician and 
painter. And this recalls another striking feature of 
German intellectual life : its affinity to the spirit of 
ancient Greece, the people of which were so gifted in 
beautifying the life they led. 


In politics — that one science that people everywhere 
take to without a question as to knowledge or fitness — pontics? 
German idealism has counted its saddest failures. Nota- 
bly was this so when, in the hopeless attempt to evolve 
a system that would help the Fatherland, it was driven 
to seek models abroad, and, above all, to fall in love 
with the English methods of parliamentary government ! 
Luckily, the man of the hour put an end to that 
when he told his countrymen, ' ' No, gentlemen ; only 
with blood and iron shall we get what we are all striving and 
for — a great united Fatherland. ' ' In the emperor polcy - 
William and in Bismarck we find, for the first time in 
Germany, the national tendency to idealize allied to the 
rugged common sense of action, and the result has been 
the fulfilment of a national dream that wanted this rare 
union of qualities to find its realization. It was the 
ideality of a great aim, nurtured in youth, that nerved 
the late emperor William in those weary years of 
struggle, and enabled him to organize his army and 
join at last in the popular longing for unity. It was 
this trait in his character that enabled him to feel 
its echo in the hearts of the nation, and to build up the 
national edifice. 

But, while dwelling on the results achieved in the 
present day, it is but just to refer to that high-minded- 

The" blood- 

iron " 


Imperial Germany. 

An instance of 
. German 

Its presence in 
great men. 

ness, even among German politicians of the past, that 
did so much to make what has come to pass possible. 
In connection with this we wish to translate a letter 
of General Gneisenau to his king, Frederick William 
III., in the year 1811 : 

In my saying this, your Majesty will again hold me guilty of 
poetry, and I will gladly own the impeachment. For religion, 
prayer, the love for our sovereign, for our country, are nothing 
but poetry ; no elevation of the heart without the sentiment of 

He who acts according to cool calculation must become 
a confirmed egotist. ' 

The safety of the throne is based on poetry. How many of 
us who look up with sadness to the tottering throne might find 
a happy and peaceful position in modest retirement, some even 
a life of luxury and ease, if, instead of feeling, he only wished to 
calculate. Any master would suit him equally well, but the ties 
of birth, of devotion, of gratitude, hatred against the foreign 
invaders, attach him to his old master ; for his sake he will live 
or die, for his sake he resigns his family happiness, for his sake 
he will sacrifice life and property unto the uncertainty of hope. 

This is poetry ; yes, even of the truest kind. Under its 
influence I will endeavor to buoy myself up as long as I live, 
and I will look upon it as an honor to belong to that enthusias- 
tic band ready to surrender everything in order to regain all for 
your Majesty. For truly such a resolve must be born of an en- 
thusiasm that scorns every selfish consideration. Many are 
there who think thus, and, conscious as I am of my incom- 
petence in comparison, I will endeavor to act in their spirit. 

Such is an instance of German poetic idealism. To it 
we owe some of the most sympathetic traits of character 
in modern German annals. It is notably present in 
some of the well-known friendships of great men : in the 
communion of minds, never so free from envy, of Luther 
and Melanchthon, of Scharnhorst and Stein, of Bliicher 
and Gneisenau ; in letters, in Goethe and Schiller, the 
two Schlegels, the two Grimms ; and in science, the two 

Intellectual Life. 55 

Humboldts ; in our time, most glorious instance of all, 
in the emperor William with his great paladins, Bis- 
marck, Von Roon, and Moltke. 

It is this ideal Germany that gained the admiration, 
the enthusiasm, of Carlyle — the dreaminess of high- 
souled poetry allied to the moral and nervous strength 
for action. 


If it be permissible to think that the English, by their 
love of sport, of outdoor exercise and games, by their 
cultivation of body generally, carry on the physical 
traditions of ancient Greece, so we may say the Germans 
in some measure represent the Greek element in an in- 
tellectual as well as in an ethical sense. 

An influence, if not directly derived from, yet dis- TheGreek 
tinctly akin to that of Greece, is traceable, not only in German" 1 
German thought, in literature, in the cultivation of the thou « ht - 
fine arts, but also in the general spiritual acceptation of 
life. It is embodied in the ethical and aesthetic feeling 
of the people. Even their language has many affinities 
with that of the Greeks, as is proved by their happy 
renderings of Homer, the Greek dramatists, etc. But 
if they offer us these affinities to the countrymen of 
Plato, the practical lesson of their literature and phi- 
losophy — self-renunciation in the delights of the ideal in 
the one, and Kant's "categorical imperative' ' in the 
other — will save them from the fate of the Greeks. 

It is this culture — this truly classic sentiment — which r . _ 

J Its influence on 

is reflected in literature and manifests itself in every German life, 
walk of German life. It often strikes us as revealing 
a relationship to an ethical creed of its own. It tends 
to strengthen those feelings of veneration for the best 
and highest which are so large a part of every sense of 


Imperial Germany. 

Ethical nature 
of public 

A noted 
instance of 

religion — the love of the beautiful of the Greeks allied 
to the true ethical feeling of Christianity. Its result 
is the so-called Gemuthsliben of the Germans, an un- 
translatable term which signifies * ' the life of heart and 
mind combined." In its manifestation it tells us that 
whatever individual coarseness of manner and feeling is 
to be found in the Fatherland — and there is enough of 
this — there yet dwells a spirit in Germany the posses- 
sion of which other nations might well envy. 

The sentiment of piety which we are accustomed to 
seek for only within the walls of churches we find 
present in the every-day life of the nation. That which 
finds no scope in dogmatic casuistry seeks an oudet in 
events of public and private life. 

The public festivals of the nation have something truly 
ethical in their character. . The celebrations of important 
national events have a grace and dignity peculiar to 
themselves ; the commemorations of great victories have 
nothing boastful or vainglorious attached to them. 1 

When war was declared in 1870, the inhabitants of 
Berlin in their thousands sang patriotic songs and 
cheered in front of the palace of their king, who came 
to the historical corner window again and again to ac- 
knowledge their greetings. At last one of his officers 
came out and said to the people, ' ' Children, the king 
must work with his staff right through the night, and 
begs you will go home now, so that he may be undis- 
turbed.' ' And, as if by magic, the whole vast place 
was deserted. 

Then, again, who that had the good fortune to wit- 

1 We have heard, though we cannot believe it, that it is the intention of the 
present emperor to discountenance the further annual celebration of the vic- 
tory of Sedan. All those who have witnessed the harmless, simple character 
of the Sedanfest—iox it is mainly a school festival— could only regret such a 

Intellectual Life. 57 

ness in 1871 the triumphal return of the troops could jun 
ever forget a scene as impressive as it was free from 
every element of vainglorious ness and vulgarity? 

When the old emperor William I. died, and shortly 
afterward his noble son, were not all, poor and rich 


e Victorious Tkoops 

alike, admitted to look at them in death once more? 
And what a lesson their conduct conveyed ! 

Such incidents are instructive as showing us the in- 
stincts of heart and mind of a people. In fact, it is 
almost necessary for a foreigner to have seen some such 
great national manifestation of feeling in order to under- 
stand the spirit that dwells beneath the rough outer 

Although some of the annual church festivals, such observance 
as Easter, Whitsuntide, Christmas, no longer appeal in f e sSvaS, h 
their ecclesiastical character to the masses as of old, yet 
they are kept either in the form of a family festival, such 
as Christmas, or in the open air in their relationship to 
the reawakening of nature, as in the case of Easter and 
Whitsuntide. On these two great festivals the people 


Imperial Germany. 


for the dead. 

Character of 
the national 

swarm out into the green fields, not to drink and run 
riot, but instinctively to worship God in the contempla- 
tion of his works, so beautifully described by Goethe in 
the first part of ' ' Faust. ' ' The Germans are lovers of 
nature in a sense that is perhaps only met with among 
the Japanese, who have* special festivals all the year 
round whenever certain flowers are in blossom — the 
cherry, the plum, the iris, the chrysanthemum, and the 
sacred lotus : it is part of their religion. 

In the care the Germans bestow on the graves of 
their dead, and in their, affectionate reverence, they 
stand preeminent, as is evidenced by the beautiful 
monuments erected all over the Fatherland in memory 
of their brethren fallen in battle. He who could gaze 
on the monument on the Niederwald in commemoration 
of 1870-71 without feeling a thrill of piety can possess 
little Gemuth, little sense of the ideal, no matter to what 
nation he belongs. The German words for cemetery — 
Friedhof (The court of peace), Gottesacker (God's 
acre) — breathe an ideal sentiment peculiar to the 
German nation. Even in familiarly speaking of the 
dead, the German word selig (resting in God) has a 
peculiar charm of its own. In this, as in many other 
ways, the Germans remind us of the ancient Greeks. 

That eminent Scotch thinker, Fletcher of Saltoun, 
once said, "If I may make the songs of a people, let 
who will make the laws. ' ' And no wonder, for it is far 
easier to promulgate fifty laws than to make one song 
which shall reach the heart of the people and reflect its 
best aspirations. The best instincts of the German 
people are embodied in their songs. Their ideality, 
their patriotism, their love of the beautiful, their intense 
love of nature, and even indirectly their very history, 
all are reflected in their Volkslieder — the harmonious 

Intellectual Life. 59 

blending of poetry and song. A Volkslied, as distinct 
from an evanescent popular ditty, is not made in the 
ordinary meaning of the word ; it is created ; its origin 
is divine. It is divine in the sense that it owes its 
origin to that supernatural instinct in us which belies 
our meaner nature, and bids us feel that there is some- 
thing higher, something spiritual, in store for us. 



Germany is the country of the inimitable Volkslied, 

A German 

the home of musicians and composers, and yet it was a criticism on 
celebrated German author, Karl Gutzkow, who wrote 
thus : 

In fact, what is music to us, these mathematics of sound ? 
In great musicians I have always found people who, although 
conversant with keys, can solve nothing for us. If listening to 
music influences me to believe in the immortality of the soul, 
it may influence others at the same time to take an opposite 
view. No ; music will cease to belong to the highest arts. 
Does it not already in the opera approach more and more to 
mere declamation ? 

The following sentences of Hermann Presber, the 
novel-writer, are even more scathing : 

Sound \der Ton] is the vibrating soul. But vibrating souls 
are mostly devoid of intellect. Music is the only art in which, opinion 
side by side with talent, stupidity gets on cheerfully, and may 
even assert itself with arrogance. Yes, yes ! Music is the 
most social and sociable of the arts. It is only a question 
who is able to feel at home long in purely musical society. 
Only give an individual the high C and the low C, and he, like 
Philip of Macedon's gold-laden ass, will soon penetrate every 
town and every boudoir. 

These are strange words to us who are accustomed 
to believe that a want of the appreciation of music 
betokens a want of heart. But in some things we are 
childlike enthusiasts compared to the Germans, par- 

A novelist's 

60 Imperial Germany. 

ticularly as critics. For they, even when carried away, 
are too likely to stop and inquire into the psychical 
causes of their emotion. 

Thus, not against music itself, but against the excess 

musical of its cultivation, to the exclusion of more important 

matters, many sober thinkers in Germany 1 have been 
raising their voices of late. They are of opinion that, 
excellent as the influence of music undoubtedly is in 
itself, its excess is often injurious, and is indulged in at 
the expense of the development of reading, sound think- 
ing, and, above all, of high-mindedness. They know 
by daily experience that a man may be an excellent 
musician, and yet, in every other particular, a fool. 
More than that, they see that the kingdom of Saxony, 
the home of music preeminently, is also the head- 
quarters of the German Philistines and of their dread 

aifexampie^" 13 s P ecter social democracy. In Austria the music-gifted 

Bohemians are on a very low level of morality and edu- 
cation ; and in Vienna, where Beethoven and Schubert 
lived and died, the cultivation of music has not, accord- 
ing to all accounts, increased the logical powers or the 
moral perceptions of its good inhabitants. 

Music is of all arts the one that appeals most exclu- 
sively to the senses, and, except in the case of its higher 
walks, it can scarcely be said to be tp the ethical advan- 
tage of the community. 

Its excess is distinctly baneful to the mental develop- 

its effect on ment of a nation. In Hungary, for instance, the culti- 

deveiopment. vation of music goes hand in hand with the idleness for 

which that pleasure-loving people are noted. Thus it is 
not surprising to find that great and petty despots have 
ever encouraged music, for it prevented their subjects 

1 1n Prance similar expressions of opinion are to be found, viz., " Contrela 
Musique" (Against Music), by Victor de Laprade (1881). 

Intellectual Life. 61 

from thinking seriously. Music has always been the 
favorite art of oppressed nationalities. It may be a 
civilizing element — a tamer of the savage breast — in a 
low order of things ; but it is often cultivated in an 
advanced community to the neglect of more important 

The record of the lives of great musicians shows a 
strange medley of eccentricity and of the dominant Peculiarities 

... of great 

effects of an undue excitability of the nervous system, musicians. 
Also great composers, with few exceptions, are remark- 
ably short-lived. Liszt, Verdi, and Rossini are the ex- 
ceptions among a list that includes such instances of 
short-lived men as Mozart, Schubert, Weber, Mendels- 
sohn-Bartholdy, Chopin, and even Schumann, whose 
life was one constant misery of nervous depression. 

In Germany to-day musicians are more or less a class 
by themselves, and a very peculiar irritable type they 
often represent. For if even creative musical genius 
shows a sad record of mental peculiarity, it is not 
surprising that mere executants are remarkable for many 
petty manifestations of an ill-balanced nervous system. 


Germany is now suffering from a plethora of music 
and musicians, 1 and yet one of its noblest specialities, 
the " oratorio,"* and one of the most complete musical 
instruments, the organ, are much less cultivated than in 
England. Against that, however, may well be put the 
beautiful church music of the Catholics and the impress- church music, 
ive vocal chorals of Protestant churches. The Volks- 
lied, also — that unique manifestation of the national love 

i Although those instruments of torture — street bands and organs — are 
fortunately prohibited. 

s Germany does not possess any musical institutions like the Handel Choir, 
the Bristol Musical Festival Society, or those of Worcester and Birmingham. 

62 Imperial Germany. 

for poetry and music combined, to which reference has 
already been made — may be classed as one of the 
highest and most precious forms of music in Germany. 
Next to these forms of music which touch the chord of 
national life must be mentioned the splendid and cheap 
orchestral concerts, of violin quartettes, male chorus 
unions, for their excellence and wide diffusion are 
beyond comparison with those of any other country. 
Also, the operas of Richard Wagner have become 
distinctly nation- 
al, and as such 
may well be said 
to belong fittingly 
to the period of 
national reawak- 
ening in our time. 
They strike a 
strong patriotic 
Teutonic key, 
and thus their 
continued per- 
formance at Bay- 
reuth is wisely 
encouraged by 
the emperor. 
Wagner's stand- 
ard operas fill the 
richa«d wacneb. theaters from 

stalls to gallery all over the country wherever operatic 
music is heard. 

It is not these noble forms of music themselves that 
pique the critical pessimist — they are a- precious heir- 
loom of national genius ; it is the over-addiction of the 
masses to fritter away their time and to dull their 

Intellectual Life. 63 

energies for thought in running after every form of 
music, and also the dreadful mania for pianoforte- piayingSSinia. 
playing which exists in Germany. It has been well 
pointed out that the pleasure-loving south of Germany 
(including Austria) has produced its great musicians, 
whereas the North must be credited with its thinkers. 1 
The piano-playing mania, however, extends from the 
North Sea down to the Alps ; it is universal and omni- 

In Weimar it is forbidden to play the piano with the 
window open, under a penalty of two marks.* And this 
is no wonder, for in German towns every floor of a 
house harbors at least one family and at least one piano, 
not to mention stringed instruments of torture. 

The excellent German musical academies (Musik- 
conservatorien) were originally designed to train mu- 
sicians for the orchestra, piano-playing being looked 
upon as a secondary branch of the musical profession. 
This intention has been partly frustrated of late, as we 
find on comparing the numbers of students of the piano 
with those of other instruments. Thus at the academy 
in Vienna in the year 1880 there were 400 pupils in 
piano-playing, and of these 350 were girls. It is this ^"nuFofu s in 
advent of the female element that has particularly con- 
tributed to the present craze of piano-playing. It has 
conquered the profession of music in Germany, as in 
England novel-writing has come to assert its sway. 

Yet even in music, the art in which the mind leans 
over to ungraspable sentiment and lends expression to 

1 It is strange to note the great number of hard thinkers that hail from the 
northeast of Prussia— Im. Kant, and Schopenhauer, also Copernicus and 
Kepler; whereas Germany's greatest poets, except Heine, almost all hail 
from the South. Schiller, Goethe, Uhland, Victor von Scheffel, were born in 
the south of Germany. 

* About fifty cents in United States currency. 

64 Imperial Germany. 

the emotions in greater measure than to the intellectual 
faculties, we have but to glance at the prose writings of 
Robert Schumann and Richard Wagner in order to 
note dissatisfaction with the whole method of musical 
expression and aim of the time. We observe that rest- 
less and yet ideal striving for something higher, some- 

Waqnhr's Thhatkr, Bavkeuth. 

thing truer, as the motive power that nerved the efforts 
of these two monarchs of the realms of sound. Wag- 
ner's theater at Bayreuth, built expressly for the per- 
formance of his musical dramas, was the last and out- 
ward embodiment of an instinct that led him to seek the 
most congenial forms in the models of ancient Greece. 
His genius ransacked the folk-lore of Scandinavia, the 
history and the myths of the Middle Ages, only to find 
its last spiritual expression in the legends of early 
Christianity, "Parsifal." 

The great past supplies us with a splendid record of 
German ideal striving in music. From Bach's Passion 
music to Handel' s oratorios, the idealization of Christian- 

Intellectual Life. 65 

ity is the golden thread that runs through German music. 
Nor ought we in fairness to omit a short reference to 
the distinction Germany has attained in the sister arts 
of architecture and painting. Are not the Cathedrals Germany's 
of Strassburg and Cologne mighty testimonies to the »nd painters 
boldness of thought and conception of Germany's 
imperial past? Who but can recall the name of a 
Holbein, an Albrecht Durer ? In the first half of this rarer, 
century, as if fitly 
to herald in the 
great events still 
slumbering in the 
womb of time, we 
note Peter Cor- 
nelius at work on 
his colossal fres- 
coes illustrating 
the mythological 
past of Germany; 
Wilhelm von ' 
Kaulbach, also a 
proclaiming the 
' ' Triumph of the 
Adolf Menzel's 
pencil busy with 
the congenial 

task of bringing Adolf Menzio.. 

Frederick the Great and his paladins back to life again ; 

and, last but not least, artistic genius in Franz von Len- Lenbach. 

bach to hand down to posterity the speaking portraits 

of the great men who collaborated in the unification of 






conservators of 


to Bismarck. 

Now 'tis the spring, and weeds are shallow rooted ; 
Suffer them now, and they'll o'ergrow the garden, 
And choke the herbs for want of husbandry. 

— Shakespeare, 


If the schools are the cradle, the universities are the 
training-ground of intellectual life, in Germany more 
even than elsewhere. There the national ideals have 
slumbered on through times of devastating war and 
misery, in order to awake to new life with the returning 
sunshine of peace. 

The German universities have at all times cherished 
the idea of national unity, and have kept it alive when it 
had been lost sight of almost everywhere else. In fact, 
they have supplied the impulse that has kept the current 
of patriotism healthily circulating when without them 
stagnation and indifference might have prevailed. This 
great fact must be borne in mind as an offset against 
some of the sad political pedantry of German professors. 

Thus, Bismarck's partiality for the universities is only 
natural ; when, on the occasion of his seventieth birth- 
day, deputations from nineteen universities greeted him 
with enthusiasm, he replied, ' ' I will gladly die, now 
that I see this flower of youth before me. ' ' And even 
more recently still, when Bismarck celebrated his eigh- 
tieth birthday, or, to be more correct, when the whole 
of Germany, except a majority of the Reichstag, joined 


Educational, 67 

in the celebration of his birthday at Friedrichsruh, it 
was the deputations from every university and high 
school throughout Germany — over five thousand strong, 
with their rectors at their head — which lent most im- 
pressiveness to the national character of the scene. 

The realization of the German Empire has given 
an extraordinary impulse to university life, and to-day it Their growth 
can be said with more truth than ever that Germany 
is the classic land of universities. Elsewhere may be 
found special schools and academies which present ex- 
ceptional features of excellence, but nowhere can uni- 
versities be found similar to hers. 

There are twenty-two universities in the German Their number 
Empire, of which eleven fall to Prussia proper. These and influence - 
twenty-two universities are so many active centers of 
knowledge, and include a staff of two thousand profes- 
sors and over thirty thousand students. 

The following remarks on the spirit that pervades the Theirs irit 
German universities of to-day, made by a French Catho- Frenchman 1 
lie priest who studied at Leipzig in 1882, seem to carry 
more weight than anything we could say, as they are 
those of a witness not likely to be biased in their favor. 1 

In order to become acquainted with the soul \Vdme — der 
Grist] of Germany it is necessary to see that community in its 
daily life — that is, attracted to the university — from every class 
of the nation. Here they meet in absolute fraternal equality. 
The common devotion to knowledge, without destroying the 
distinction of birth and fortune, yet creates above them a 
higher unity, where the most intelligent and laborious take the 
first place. 

Then again : 

It is only possible to understand the high civilizing power of 
the universities in Germany when we have gained a full picture 
of the curriculum of instruction followed out there. 

l " Les Allemands " (The Germans), by Le Pere Didon. Paris, 1884. 


Imperial Germany, 

The breadth of 

Increase of 

The course of instruction embraces the universality of sci- 
ence ; it extends to the limits of human knowledge. . . . The- 
ology and philosophy, metaphysics and the positive sciences, 
their systems and their facts, doctrine and history, literature 
and languages, everything is included in its essentially encyclo- 
paedic domain. More than that, certain arts the exercise of 
which presuppose talent of a high order, such as painting, 
sculpture, architecture, music, the science of agriculture, the 
art of war, are all comprised in this limitless domain of superior 
instruction. In truth, this world in itself contains everything 
that is necessary to cultivate the human brain. 

It must be frankly admitted that, among no people in the 
world, even among the most intelligent and best educated, 
is the universality of knowledge cultivated as in Germany. . . 
Nowhere do universities so thoroughly justify their tradition of 
centuries, their great name of Alma Mater. ... In ex- 
amining the intellectual life of Germany the twenty-two univer- 
sities of the empire appear as the culminating-points of its 
scientific organization. These twenty-two summits form, in 
the region of intellect, the high chain of mountains which gov- 
ern the plain from afar, and from whose heights the supply 
of modern thought and knowledge runs like limpid crystal 
through endless channels to within the reach of all. 


But every result must be purchased, and just as we 
see the culture of music leading to its excess, so the 
price Germany pays for its extended university system 
may be said to consist in an annually increasing contin- 
gent of intellectual proletariat 1 to be found in the 
country. This increase is even attracting the notice 
of German public opinion. Lawyers without practice, 
doctors without f patients, men of science without pupils 
— all these elements find no scope in practical life, and 
go to swell the army of poverty and blighted hopes. 

What Germany owes to her splendid system of school 
education is so well known that it may seem superfluous 

i This term is applied on the Continent to the lower working classes. 

Educational, . 69 

to recapitulate it here. On the other hand, it may be 
useful to point to a few of its peculiarities, if only to 
guard us against blindly accepting it as a model, as we 
seem at times too much inclined to do. 

Amidst all the nebulous theories of speculative phi- 
losophy that raise the smile of foreigners, it remains a ' 
fact that the German people have carried more philoso- 
phy into everyday life than any other nation. Uncon- 
sciously, the categorical imperative of Kant, "Duty," 
forms the basis of Germany's intellectual character and 

The University ok Bonn, where the Present Em furor Studied. 

action. For if we at most produce individuals above 
the vulgar race for wealth, the Germans produce whole 
classes whose aims are entirely distinct from money- 
making, and the most prominent class is that of the 
German schoolmaster. 

It is true that before 1866 the English type of the 
speculative schoolmaster had sprung up in Germany, 
but the rigid Prussian educational test requirements for 
military service soon put an end to amateur educational- 
ism as a means of making a fortune. Whereas English 
schoolmasters are nothing if not speculative money- 

70 Imperial Germany. 

makers, the German pedagogue is as poor as a church 
mouse, but devoted to his work heart and soul. It 
is impossible to find his equal elsewhere in the world. 

But the opinion is gradually gaining ground that he is 
grinding the youth of the country to powder, and that it 

examinatTons * s ** me to P ut t ^ ie break on# The very high school 

qualifications required to pass the examination for the 
one-year service in the army are drilled into the boys at 
so early an age as to put almost too great a strain on 
their physical system. These tests have become more 
severe of late, as well as the complicated examinations 
that have to be passed in order to obtain any civil or 
military appointment later on. 

But we are chiefly concerned with the enormous 
strain put on boys during their younger years, and 
of this it may be said that it is so excessive as, in many 
instances, to affect them physically and stunt their 
growth intellectually. 

A German paper says : 

The over-burdening of our youth with school-work is again 
Excess of work, the subject of wide discussion with our pedagogues, as well as 

with those other philanthropists who are anxious for the wel- 
fare of our youth. We have collected a few opinions of author- 
ities on the subject, which we append : 

"Our monopolized gymnasium, 1 with its devotion to the 
dead languages and their grammar, has brought us to such 
a pass that we — the so-called best educated classes — are 
strangers in our own century, unable to free ourselves from a 
dead and abstract world amidst which we have passed our 
youth in order to obtain certain examinatory qualifications. It 
is questionable whether we are ever able to free ourselves from 
the consequences, let alone the bodily and ethical damage 
done to us by this enforced torture. - <s 

" Dusskldorf, May, 1886. " Hartwig. 1 

iThe German term for schools in which the usual classical curriculum 
is followed. 

* A well-known German philologist. 

Educational, 7 1 

"We seem to have forgotten too readily that the word 
gymnasium originally means a place set apart for athletic athietfcs^ 
exercise. Lothar Bucher. 1 

Berlin, May, 1886. 


" Schools ought to be fitted to the requirements of humanity. 

" Oppolzer. 
" Vienna, June, 1886. 

" The gymnasium with its two dead languages cannot last ; 

the only alternative is to drop either Greek or Latin. 

" Eduard v. Hartmann.* 
Gr. Lichterfelde, May, 1886. 


"I accuse our schools of unfair competition, for they only 

bring out two-legged encyclopaedias. 

"Hermann J. Meyer. 8 
"July 13, 1886. 

"True culture does not consist of dead knowledge and hoi- Definition of 
low tests of memory, but in the true development of the heart true c ul *ure. 

and of the reasoning faculties of the brain. 

" Ernst Haeckel. 4 
"Jena, June, 1886. 

"An excess of heterogeneous knowledge weakens our senses 
and lames our will. " William Jordan. 5 

Frankfort-on-the-Main, July, 1886. 

<< ' 

"Those who look after the condition of light and fresh air in 

our schools, when they see that the number of diseased eyes 

and lungs does not decline, forget that in numberless cases the 

bad air and bad light at home in the evenings undo all the good 

of light airy schoolrooms. Therefore, reduce the amount of 

work to be done at home in the evening. There it is. Teach 

in school, but give youth its freedom at home. 

"J. Reuleaux.* 
"Berlin, May 28, 1886." 

1 Privy Councillor Lothar Bucher, until lately Bismarck's right-hand man 
in the Foreign Office. 

1 The best known ofliving German philosophers. 

» Compiler of the best known German encyclopaedia. 

• Professor of natural sciences at Jena ; well-known Darwinian. 

• Philologist and poet of reputation. 

• Privy councillor and member of the Prussian Chamber of Commerce. 


Imperial Germany, 


An important 

Cultivation of 



It, is, however, only fair to add that a number of pro- 
fessors of the University of Heidelberg have recently 
signed a declaration to the effect that they do not be- 
lieve in the evil consequences of the present system of 
school education. Yet there can be no doubt that one 
of its outcomes is a large amount of so-called Halbbild- 
ttng (half-education), which carries imperfectly digested 
theories into the community and tends to swell the 
ranks of Social Democrats. 

Besides, a large amount of this burdensome school 
knowledge is utterly lost and thrown away in after-life 
by those who have been forced to attain it in order to 
pass the one-year-service examination for the army — 
and the ambition to do so is found down to the humblest 
walks of life. Then again, the leaning toward intel- 
lectual knowledge too often dies away in the practical 
battle of life, and thus we find a great amount of stunted 
intellect in the country among those who have not been 
able to realize the promise of their school-days. 

One definite omission we are convinced they ought 
to supply, and this is a greater study of political 
economy and of political science. These are the things 
which, percolating the masses through the younger gen- 
erations, will do more than the newspapers to form the 
judgment of the people and produce a well-balanced 
popular opinion. 


There are other points which call for remark. In 
the strain of over-study the cultivation of character is 
neglected.- The masters are so engrossed with the in- 
tellectual progress of their pupils that they have little 
attention to bestow on the development of their char- 
acter, a point far better attended to even in ' ' good-for- 

Educational. 73 

nothing-else " English schools. The German masters 
are excellent instructors (Lehrer), but rarely educators German 
{Erzieher). One of the causes of this is that the educators. 
German boys do not pass so much of their free time 
— of which they have very little — in the company of the 
master, as in England. If English boys spend too 
much of their time in play, the German boys spend too 
little. 1 And this is to be deplored for two reasons: the 

first is that outdoor games are so necessary for the 
bodily health and development of youth ; the second, 
that it is principally by companionship and joining in 
the games of their pupils that English schoolmasters 
are able to exercise a healthy influence on the character 
of their charges. 

The German pedagogues prematurely develop the J 
brain at the expense of the physique, and without ' 


Imperial Germany. 

A comparison 
in outward 

In intellectual 

enough attention to the character; the English peda- 
gogues develop the character and the physique to the 
neglect of the brain. 

A comparison of the outward appearance of a class 
of English and German schoolboys, say between the 
ages of twelve and fifteen, will at once impress an ob- 
server, and would prove the best answer to the recent 
declaration of the Heidelberg professors. The English 
boys look far healthier and more active than their Ger- 
man brothers, and their manners are much more easy 
and engaging. 

Further, we have no hesitation in saying that, admit- 
ting that the schoolroom knowledge of a German youth 
of twenty is, on an average, far above that of the Eng- 
lish lad of the same age, it is by no means certain that 
the same holds good when they are both forty or fifty. 

On the contrary, from our observation we should say 
that as they grow older the intellectual attainments of 
the two tend to equalize, and when they come to the 
prime of life, the Englishman, whose life is generally 
more active and practical, is quite on a par in intellect- 
ual power with the better educated German. And from 
fifty upwards we are even inclined to think the German 
goes stale sooner than the Englishman. And if such be 
the case, it must be owing to the fact that the English 
on an average lead a more healthy life, for where the 
Germans do lead a healthy outdoor life we see the 
remarkable vitality of their military commanders. 

German education forces too much at too early an 
age not often to affect the elasticity of the brain in after 
years, unless it is compensated by the healthiness of 
later life, as in the army. 

Besides those already noted, there are other distinct 
contrasts between English and German school systems. 

Educational. 75 

The English master devotes all his attention to the most 
gifted and diligent boys, neglecting the less intelligent 
ones, for it is important for him to become known 
through the success of his pupils at examinations in 
order to secure further patronage. German masters 
devote themselves equally to the instruction of all, with- 
out money interest, and also without holding forth 
prizes as an incentive. Prizes and scholarships are 
almost unknown in German schools as well as in univer- 
sity life. 

As German boys play hardly any outdoor games, school friend- 
compared with English boys, so also those friendships ^{££i y ein 
among themselves, which in England so often last 
through after-life, are comparatively rare. As stated 
above, the system does not tend to bring out the char- 
acter, but, on the contrary, rather to subdue and sup- 
press the natural effervescence of youth. At the same 
time, it must not be forgotten that what the school 
omits the university makes amends for. The German 
university has a most powerful influence in developing 
the character of the student for good, as also sometimes 
for evil. It is there that the sentiment of honor is most 
rigorously instilled, and although we must deplore the 
excrescences which show themselves in undue sensitive- 
ness- and quarrelsomeness, in the brutality of duelling — influence of the 

* ' . . university m 

the foundation of it all — the care for the honest dignity developing 

J character. 

of character which we find exemplified in the best 
German is still a priceless possession of German man- 
hood. It is also at the university that the German 
youth imbibes his idealism, it is there that he often 
forms his most lasting friendships. One cause of vitiating 
character in England, the one English school and uni- 
versity vice, is as yet comparatively unknown in Ger- 
many — viz., toadyism, inculcated by English parents 

76 Imperial Germany. 

themselves in sending their boys to school and later on 
to the university merely to pick up connections to help 
them to get on socially in after-life. 

In conclusion, it is interesting to emphasize that 

System of 

prizes prizes and scholarships being unknown both at Ger- 

unknown. ,... - ... , P 

man schools and universities, the astonishing results of 
German education are gained without appealing to the 
instincts of rivalry or competition — a most instructive 
fact. The sense of duty attains here single-handed a 
result which with us has to be brought about by rivalry 
and the hope of reward. 



The Sovereign is the Sovereign of all. The proper leader of 
the people is the individual who sits on the throne. — Lord 


Englishmen who have gained their liberties by cen- Absolutew# 
turies of struggle against the pretensions of the crown monarchies.* 1 
are loth to admit the advantages of a strong monarchy, 
even if they are not instinctively suspicious of it. Yet 
who can say, supposing that, instead of the Stuarts, they 
had been ruled by a royal house of the stamp of the 
Hohenzollerns — who can say that the monarchy might 
not be as powerful in England to-day as we have seen it 
to be in Prussia? 

If an elective monarchy of old made possible the 
Thirty Years 1 War, which brought Germany from its 
position of the first power of Europe down to a waste 
desert inhabited by hardly five millions of half-starving 
human beings, on the other hand the stability of the £ h £ Hou ?, eof 

° ' J Hohenzollern 

House of Hohenzollern has proved the salvation of Germany's 

r t salvation. 

Germany in our time. What the English would deem 
a curse for themselves has turned out a blessing for Ger- 
many, and what they would have thought likely to 
benefit the Germans — namely, their own parliamentary 
institutions — would in all probability have proved pow- 
erless to help them. 

From the first burgrave of Nuremberg, who bought 
the margravate of Brandenburg from the impecunious 

, 77 

78 Imperial Germany. 

Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund, down to the Prussian 
rulers of our day, the family of Hohenzollern supplies 
us with a series of extraordinary instances of the descent 
of certain qualities from father to son. 

Of Suabian origin — and Suabia is the traditional 
home of canniness and thrift — the Hohenzollerns have 
almost all been distinguished by the possession of these 
useful qualities, allied to strong common sense which 
prevented them from turning to diseased niggardliness. 
On the contrary, the characteristics of the Suabian 
family only seem to have hardened in a northern soil 

until they burst forth in the full effulgence of genius in 
Frederick the Great. By a strange freak of fortune, 
even the one Hohenzollern of a long line of rulers who 
formed an exception to the family characteristic of 
closeness in money matters benefited his country by his 
extravagant vanity. For he it was — Frederick I. — who, 
again profiting by the impecuniousness of the emperor 
Leopold, gained the title of King of Prussia, if he did 
not even do a little bribery in the affair, and thus attained 

The Prussian Monarchy. 79 

that recognition for his country of which his successors 
took such great advantage. Yet even in this particular 
the Hohenzollerns show to advantage compared with 
other German sovereigns, almost all of whom owe their 
present titles to having sided with the French against 
their own countrymen. 

Thus we have in this extraordinary family hardly a 
single ruler who did not in one way or another add his 
mite to the foundation of Prussian power. 


To understand the position of the Hohenzollerns of 
to-day it is necessary to look at the past, and, before 
referring to their doings, just cast a glance at the nega- 
tive merit of what they refrained from doing. Allow- 
ing for the times they lived in, it will be found that, superiority of 

. Honenzollern 

man for man, from the days of the Great Elector down rulers, 
to our own time, they have been individually far supe- 
rior to their compeers on the German thrones. 

Whereas the successive rulers of the one German state 
which might at one time have made itself the head of 
Protestant Germany — Saxony — had missed their politi- 
cal opportunities, King Frederick William I. was quietly 
drilling his soldiers, filling the national coffers, and or- Frederick 

,,,.... . . William I. 

ganizing a model administration in every department of 
the state. The amiable Guelphs, just called to rule over 
the English, were indulging their favorite tastes, cursing 
the English, making themselves hated, and thus consol- 
idating the power of the English aristocracy. At that 
very time the Duke of Wiirtemberg was ruining his 
country by an extravagant imitation of French court 
life and immorality. Later on, when Frederick the of Frederick 
Great was consolidating the fruits of his victories, the t e reat ' 

1 Frederick William (1640- 1688), the founder of the Prussian state. 


Imperial Germany. 




" Monarchs of 
the poor." 

landgrave of Hesse-Cassel was amassing a private for- 
tune of forty million dollars by selling his subjects to 
England to be employed in coercing the American col- 

But the coarse vagaries of the Guelphs in Hanover, 
the splendid extravagances of the courts of Wiirtemberg, 
Bavaria, Hesse, and Saxony, are only interesting as they 
enable us to see how the Hohenzollerns managed to 
wade through the rottenness of the times and remain, 
on the whole, unsoiled. For their record, side by side 
with such, is a comparatively clean one. 

But freedom from rascality is only an indication of a 
superiority the Hohenzollerns invariably possessed and 
showed by their actions. They have proved true to the 
motto of the greatest of them all, that the king is the 
first servant of the state. They have ever set their am- 
bition to work out the development and welfare of the 
entire nation instead of that of a class. The humblest 
have felt it to be so, as is proved by the celebrated 
answer of the miller to Frederick the Great, who, when 
the king threatened to expropriate him unjustly, replied, 
" There are still judges in Berlin, your Majesty ! M Can 
we imagine a French miller threatening Louis XV. with 
a judge? 

To be a monarch of the poor is even to-day the boast 
of the Hohenzollerns. Against the pretensions of the 
aristocracy they have always sided with the rising citizen 
class, however strongly personal ties may have bound 
them to the nobility. Whenever the vital interests of 
the people have been at stake the Prussian monarchs 
have seen that justice was done. And it is perhaps in- 
directly owing to this distinction that the Prussians and 
their rulers have always been most cordially hated by 
certain elements in politics. Those of doubtful moral 

The Prussian Monarchy. 81 

standing in particular have ever been fiercest in their 
dislike, to Prussia. In our time the Prussians have 
known no greater enemies than those morganatic ladies 
who infest the little courts of Germany, and who have 
wielded considerable political influence from time to 

In the beginning of the last century the Hohenzollerns 
introduced obligatory education amidst the derision of refonns e made. 
foreigners, and gradually abolished medieval serfdom. 
So also in our day we see them breaking entirely new 
and hitherto untrodden ground, introducing economic 
measures for the welfare of the masses. 

It has ever been their supreme merit to recognize that 
a nation does not consist of a small minority of privi- 
leged persons, but rather that the meanest and the 
humblest have an equal claim on the care and solicitude 
of the sovereign. In this traditional and truly royal 
acceptation of the duties of a monarch lies the secret of Jrossia's* ° f 
the sovereign's power in Prussia. This it is that has P° wer - 
enabled Prussia from time to time to bear the strain put 
upon the very existence of the state, and to face a world 
in arms. 

The Hohenzollerns from the first have been the 
nurturers and educators of their people. It is they who 
have impressed their administration with that stamp 
of incorruptible rectitude, that iron sense of duty and 
care for the welfare of all classes of the community, so 
that one and all are ready to recognize now that military 
success has drawn the attention of the world to its 
causes. But long ago there were observers who needed 
not military success to quicken their perceptions, and 
one of them was the late Lord Lytton, who in 1840 
declared that Prussia was the best governed country in 
the world. 

Imperial Germany. 

About the same time that Charles II. was in receipt of 
a yearly bribe from Louis XIV. through the hands of a 
French courtesan, the Great Elector of Brandenburg, the 
victor of Fehrbellin, was offering shelter to the French 
Protestants whom the revocation of the Edict of Nantes 
had driven from their homes. He it was who, after the 
Thirty Years' War, finding his country swarming with 
titled do-nothings, put a firm if despotic stop to 
gambling and profligacy, and gathered the scions of 

The Nkw Imperial Palace, Potsdam. 

the poor nobility to the standards of his victorious 
army. Such despotism has now and then done good 
service in history, and in this instance it laid the founda- 
tion of that devotion of the poor Prussian aristocracy to 
the throne and the army which has borne such splendid 
fruit in our time. 

Frederick William I. found his kingdom not only im- 
poverished by the extravagance of his predecessor, but 
still showing the traces of the devastation of a previous 

The Prussian Monarchy. 83 

century of warfare. Whole districts were still untilled 
waste, and even as late as the eighteenth century the 
pest had fearfully devastated East Prussia. It was the 
king himself who by proclamations and patents attracted 
foreigners from Saxony and Wurtemberg, from the 
Palatinate, from Switzerland and Bohemia, and, to- 
gether with the Protestants who were driven from 
Austria, turned them into industrious and contented 

He cut canals, laid out highroads, caused heather 
land to be furrowed by the plow. He extended the U ncier Vemen s 
postal system. Model farms and cattle-breeding estab- wniiam C i. 
lishments were fostered and encouraged, and the cele- 
brated stud of Trakehnen, which was destined to 
improve the breed of horses all over the country, owed 
its existence to the solicitude of the king. 

Frederick William was far more a king of the poor 
than a "soldier king," as one-sided historians long 
declared him ; the hardness and harshness for which he 
has been blamed were often necessary in his reforming 
work. The landed aristocracy rebelled when he sought 
to abolish the serfdom of the peasantry, and he only 
succeeded in diminishing the unjust exactions of the SSeSdS^to 
landowners. When the petty nobility refused to pay a Prussia - 
land-tax, and demanded that their grievance should be 
put before the Provincial Diet, he wrote the memorable 
words : "I shall gain my point, and plant the sov- 
ereignty of the crown as firm as a rock of bronze, 
and let these gentry indulge in their windy talk in the 
Diet. We can afford to let people talk when we gain 
our point." 

Compulsory education, the official system, and uni- 
versal military service, which he introduced, have since 
become part of the flesh and blood of the nation. 

8 4 

Imperial Germany. 

the Great's 

His works of 


It was Frederick the Great who, in the midst of the 
dogmatic and philosophic contentions of the time, 
quietly said : ' ' In my country everybody can secure 
his salvation in his own fashion.* * ■ To him it was that 
one of his great territorial nobles, Count Schaffgotsch, 
wrote apologizing for having changed his religion. He 
explained how the acquisition of the estate of Schlacken- 
werth was bound up with the condition of his becoming 
a Catholic. Frederick, in his reply, dryly put it : "I 
have taken cognizance of your lordship's action, to 
which I have no objection. Many roads lead to heaven ; 
your lordship has struck out on the road by Schlacken- 
werth. Bon voyage / ' ' 

In every department of political and social reform 
Frederick the Great took the initiative. He continued 
his father's work of creating a free and independent 
peasant class, particularly through his edict of 1764, 
which led the way to the total abolition of peasant serf- 
dom. He advanced capital to the peasant soil-cultivator, 
saw that whole districts were drained, laid the founda- 
tions of new villages, and gained arid tracts of land for 
the plow. 

The reign of Frederick William III. was one of deep 
national misfortune and degradation. Still, the personal 
qualities of the king command our highest respect. At 
a time when the pretensions of the aristocracy, particu- 
larly in the army, were an unbearable nuisance, the 
for his subjects, king promulgated the following cabinet order : 

I have noticed with great displeasure that young officers in 
particular endeavor to take precedence of civilians. I shall see 
that the army is duly esteemed and recognized in its proper 
place at the seat of war, where it is called upon to risk life and 
limb in the defense of the country. Otherwise, no soldier, 

William III.'s 

The Prussian Monarchy, 85 


whatever his rank, is to dare to ill-treat even the humblest 
of my citizens, for it is they, and not I, who keep the army. In 
their service are the soldiers the command of whom is confided 
to me, and arrest, dismissal, and even the penalty of death 
await those who act in contravention to my orders. 

This is in the true Hohenzollern spirit of protecting the 
weak from the strong, and explains the attachment 
of the people to the king notwithstanding the trials 
Prussia underwent during his reign. 

In his reign, too, domestic virtue, so sadly outraged 
by society at the time, gained a shining example in his Queen Louisa, 
own family. The divine figure of Queen Louisa stands 
out for all time as a model of a royal wife and mother. 
Has not the .late emperor William borne eloquent testi- 
mony to the influence of that mother, who at all times 
was his guiding star? 

Even before the turn of the tide came, and the wave 
of French invasion was hurled back which was destined 
in course of time to exhaust itself on a barren Atlantic 
island, that happy gift of the Hohenzollerns, the capacity 
of choosing the best advisers, shone out anew, and 
Stein, Hardenberg, and Scharnhorst helped to prepare 
the rebuilding of the shattered national edifice. 


To admit that, after 181 5, a period of reaction set in 
that bade many patriots grow anxious for the prospects *"£!£ ° ( 
of their country is only to say that there are periods of 
dull apathy in the life of nations as well as in that of in- 
dividuals. But even during the reign of Frederick 
William IV., dimmed as it was by Prussia's abject 
political r61e, we can still trace that endeavor of the 
crown to raise the culture and increase the happiness 
of the people. 


Imperial Germany. 

Character of 
William IV. 's 

William I. 
the greatest 

While an iron tyranny marked the administration of 
Austria, as well as of the minor German states, there 
was at least an earnest good-will on the part of Fred- 
erick William. The impetus he gave to science and 
philosophy, though perhaps not visibly productive at 
the time, yet did its share in preparing the public 
mind for the great events that were to follow. His 
romantic idealism, which in its aberration unselfishly 
and modesdy looked up to an old-fashioned political 
oracle such as Metternich 1 as an authority in the art of 
making a people happy — even this weakness was not 
without its useful lesson for his successors. For it indi- 
rectly tended to emphasize the growing conviction on 
the part of the select few that sooner or later only a 
struggle of life and death could unite Germany. 

This and more we have witnessed in our time, and 
here again we find a Hohenzollern king at hand, the 
first to recognize the signs of the times, with almost 
supernatural instinct in the detection of merit, taking 
the foremost place in the onward march of events, and 
realizing the German dream of centuries of national 
unity and independence. For although without a Bis- 
marck the Germany of to-day might have been, without 
the late emperor William it could not have been. 

In him truly Germany produced a great character, 
a force often far more decisive in the shaping of destiny 
than all the arts of Machiavelli. And in his case the 
words of Goethe, that only men of eminence are cap- 
able of recognizing the truly great, find their fit appli- 

i Metternich was a diplomatist who was supreme in Austria's councils and 
by his craft largely controlled the policy of Europe from 1815 until 1848. He 
represented the "reaction," i. e., the effort of continental monarchs to reassert 
and reestablish the " divine right " which the French Revolution had virtu- 
ally destroyed. The main efforts of the reaction were to exercise censorship 
of the press, regulate university teaching, refuse or curtail constitutional gov- 
ernment, and forcibly to suppress political revolutions throughout Europe. 



Imperial Germany, 

His apprecia- 
tion of the 

Their devotion 
to him. 

cation in the relationship of the emperor to his paladins. 

Brought up in the feudal ideas of a monarchy existing 
by the grace of God, he lived to discern the sterling 
character and strength of that people he had once 
contemptuously treated as populace. And that people 
in its turn learned to understand, to appreciate, and 
lastly to idolize the grand old warrior who amidst every 
additional luster of his reign remained the same in 
God-fearing modesty and in his attachment to what 
he conceived to be his mission and his duty. 1 This 
enthusiasm of the people increased as the old hero ex- 
ceeded the age usually allotted to man ; and when his 
ninetieth birthday came around it seemed as if the relig- 
ious element had mingled with the loyalty of a nation 
before an historical figure whose career can find no 
parallel in fiction. On that day well might the German 
students, 2,000 strong, bear torches in his honor, and 
halting before his palace windows cheer to the address 
of their leader : ' ' His Majesty, our most gracious kaiser, 
the victorious leader in numerous battles, the unifier of 
Germany* s princes and people, the father of his country, 
the custodian of the peace of Europe, the creator of a 
new ideal world — long may he live ! ' ' • 

The incidents of his death, which followed so soon 
afterward, are still familiar to us all. We remember 
hpw, after calling in vain for his suffering son, " Fritz, 
lieber Fritz,' ' almost the last words of the old warrior 
were a key-note to his entire life : " I have no time to be 
tired. ' ' But let us give place to one with rare powers of 
judgment as well as opportunities of exercising them, 

1 History will not omit to note what was perhaps one of the noblest traits of 
his character, when in 1870 the old king preferred to accept a diplomatic defeat 
— almost a personal humiliation— rather than inflict the misery of war on his 
people. We know now how difficult it was to bring him to subscribe to the 
declaration of war. — Vide Emperor Frederick's diary. 

The Prussian Monarchy. 



and whose verdict, if that of a stanch patriot, is at least 
not that of a time-server — of a Saxon, and not of a Prus- 
sian : * 

The emperor William I. reached the highest pinnacle of 
worldly fame gradually in one continually rising progress, 
showing himself equal to every new task as it came before Verdict of a 
him. The man who united Germany, and gave her for the 
first time for centuries the unsullied joy of victory, has only 
sunk to rest to unite a whole people in sorrow round his 

In the years during which the character of man is supposed 
to shape itself, his highest ambition could scarcely have ex- 
ceeded the hope of commanding the troops of his father or of 
his brother. In these years he lived in retirement, sharing the 
views of Prussia's best intellect, that the constitution of federal 
Germany was as unsatisfactory as the state of her west frontier, 
and that only a last decisive struggle could give the German 
nation independence. He held on to this hope, and saw clearly 
that only a strong Prussia would be able to break the pressure 
of powerful surrounding states, and fulfil the national destiny. 

Thus he became a soldier, heart and soul, loved for his per- 
sonal amiability, and feared for his severity in matters of dis- 
cipline, which showed even the humblest subaltern that an 
exacting and stern eye was upon him. Others slightingly mis- 
took for useless play-soldiering what was in reality a deep 
political game. 

Public opinion indulged in radical dreams ; it went into 
ecstasies in brotherly enthusiasm for Poles and Frenchmen, 
and hoped for a millennium of peace. In its conceit it could not 
understand the rough military ardor and sense of duty of this 
Prussian prince in its bearing on the future of the country. 

In his opposition to organic changes in the constitution he 
encountered all the hatred of party; he warned his brother A loyal Drotner * 
that Parliament would abuse its power of granting taxation by 
weakening the army. His warnings were not heeded, and as 
he had before given up the love of his youth to the call of duty 
to the state, so now he ceased all opposition when once the de- 

1 "Zwei Kaiser," by Heinrich von Treitschke, professor of history in the 
University of Berlin. Vol. LXII. of " Preussische Jahrbiicher" (Prussian 

A true soldier. 

An exile. 

90 Imperial Germany. 

cision of the king his brother was taken. And like a knight of 
old he, as the first subject, took on his own shoulder all the 
unpopularity that threatened to discharge itself upon the crown. 
The revolution broke out. A rabid hate, a storm of miscon- 
ception, poured over his head and drove him into exile ; only 
the army that knew him never wavered in its devotion, and at 
the bivouac fires in Schleswig-Holstein the soldiers sang : 

Prince of Prussia, brave and true, 
Return and cheer thy troops anew, 
Much-beloved general. 

And when he returned from the exile which he had accepted 
for his brother's sake, he honestly and unreservedly cooper- 
ated in the spirit of the new order of things. 
Years afterward, the illness of Frederick William IV. put 
p! te e ^!» ng of h* m at tne head of affairs. Two years later the death of the 

king placed the crown on his head. After short days of popu- 
lar joy and uncertain expectation, he had to feel the fitful char- 
acter of popular favor and to begin that battle which, as heir to 
the throne, he had foreseen — the battle for his own work, the 
reorganization of the army. The hatred of party grew to such 
intensity as was only possible among the descendants of the 
sufferers by the Thirty Years' War ; the German comic papers 
even represented this manly, true-hearted soldier's face as that 
of a tiger. The struggle reached such a height that only the 
decisive power of military success could cut the knot, and 
prove the rights of the monarch. 

And these successes came in those memorable seven years 
which summed up the results of two centuries of Prussian his- 
tory. Blow after blow, all these questions found their solution, 
to the attainment of which the diplomacy of Prussia had 
worked for generations. 

The last of German boundaries in the North was torn from 

Scandinavian grasp ; the battle of Sadowa secured what had 

been missed at Kolin, 1 the liberation of Germany from the 

hegemony of the House of Austria. Then at last, by a se- 

The emperor of quence of unrivaled victories, the coronation at Versailles set 

Germany. tne sea j on an( j exceec j e( j w hat in days gone by the men of 

1813 had fondly hoped for. 

1 Kolin, the severest defeat Frederick the Great sustained during the Seven 
Years' War at the hands of the Austrian commander, Field-Marshal Daun. 

The Prussian Monarchy. 91 

Gratefully the Prussians recognized that their institutions 
were now more safeguarded than ever under a powerful 
sovereign ; for, immediately after the War of 1866, the king, 
who had shown himself to be so thoroughly in the right, volun- 
tarily offered atonement for the technical breach of the consti- 
tution, and not a word of bitterness ever came to his lips to call 
up the differences of the past. The whole German people had 
for the first time gained the feeling of national pride and, in the 
joy of their new condition, forgotten the discord of centuries. 

Through all these wondrous events — events that might have 
intoxicated even the brain of the most sober — King William His virtues, 
comes before us unchanged in kindliness, firmness, and 
modesty. He himself believed that only a short span would 
be granted him to see the first beginning of the new order 
of things. But it was ordained otherwise, and far more benefi- 
cially. Not only did he live to complete the legal groundwork 
of the new empire, but to add to the stability of the edifice 
by the power of his individuality. At first the allied German 
princes only saw a diminution of their own power in the new 
order of things. But soon they learnt to regard it as an extra 
guarantee of their own rights ; for one of their own number it 
was who wore the crown, and his fidelity was a bond of safety 
for all. Thus through the emperor's doing, and even against 
the opinion expressed by Bismarck, it came to pass that the 
Bundesrath, which at first had been looked upon as the seed- 
bed of dissension, in a few short years became the most reliable 
guarantee of unity, while the Reichstag drifted into a helpless 
plaything of parties. 

The emperor never possessed a confidant who advised him 
on every subject. With rare knowledge of mankind, he dis- Jj,a|j52f? y 
covered the best men to advise and assist him. With the free- 
dom from envy only belonging to a great heart, he left full 
scope to those he had tried, but each one, even Bismarck, only 
in his own department. He always remained emperor, by 
whose hands alone were held all the threads of power. 

The highest happiness of his life came to him when, after 
having escaped assassination as if by miracle, he met the 
enemies of society with that generous imperial message 1 which 
aimed at striking at the root of the fundamental evils of society 

1 The message of February, 1881, to the working classes. 

92 Imperial Germany. 

in our time. Only since then has the nation thoroughly realized 

what it possessed in its emperor. A current of popular affection 

hereafter carried him along. Europe came to look upon the 

The guardian old warrior as the guardian of the peace of the world. At 

of peace. home the strong monarchical character of his government was 

confirmed year by year. The personal will of the sovereign 
wielded its good right side by side with that of Parliament, and 
now with the warm approval of better informed public opinion. 
The Germans knew that their emperor always did what was 
right and necessary, and in his simple unadorned language 
always " said what was to be said," as Goethe has it. Even in 
fields of effort for which he had originally no natural bent, his 
innate discernment soon found its bearings. How much the 
ideal work of the nation owes to him ! Yet among artists and 
men of science he never distinguished an unworthy one. 


We all remember how the hopes of more than one 
Frederick iii.'s nation centered around the sick bed of his dying son, as 
ism. we ^ know j low they were doomed to disappointment. 

The grave closed over the purest embodiment of what 
is noble in the German character, for Frederick retained 
the idealism of youth even in middle age. Had he 
lived, the world would have seen how far such a nature 
would have been able to reconcile the differences and 
antagonisms still latent in the Fatherland. 

He was the hope of the advanced Liberals, not only 
opinions as to m Germany, but beyond its borders. On the other 
a ! ru1er! lty as hand, there are some, and by no means the least high- 
minded, who inclined to the belief that his goodness 
might have been abused, his trust misplaced, and' that 
he did not possess the hardness necessary to guide the 
national helm in troublous times. There are some who 
hold that a noble nature is not identical with a good 
and great ruler. It is no guarantee against one of the 
greatest dangers of sovereigns — the misplacing of confi- 
dence. A trivial matter in a private citizen, in a ruler 

94 Imperial Germany. 

it is often one of supreme national importance. Some 
critics point to the late emperor William — in this 
respect — as almost of superhuman discernment, and 
compare him with the emperor Frederick, who many 
believe not only misplaced his confidence in a physi- 
cian, but, of greater moment, misplaced his confidence 
in one, at least, to whom he confided his diary. 
Some, again, aver that the influence of the empress 
his wife — so well intentioned — was not happy in this 
respect. Many think Germany is hardly ripe for that 
cosmopolitan breadth and generosity of view and sym- 
pathy which distinguished Frederick III. 

Through his rare simplicity and affability of manner 

His popularity, he gained the popular heart as none had done before 

him ; but whether that kindliness of disposition, that 
earnest, almost feverish, desire for the welfare of all, 
would have enabled him to carry out his benevolent 
plans, none can tell. Some think that a man of his 
romantic bent would have strongly resented a mis- 
judgment of his aims. That he was capable of strong, 
almost passionate, decision, the sudden dismissal of 
Herr von Puttkamer 1 — the one noticeable act of his 
short reign — seems to prove. 

His was essentially the generous temperament of the 

2mp^ment. romantic idealist ; whether he would have shown the 

same unimpassioned front to opposition and misjudg- 
ment, the same greatness of character in forgiving it, as 
his great father, the world can never know. Had he 
lived, we believe his rule would have proved a bitter 
disappointment to some of those who foolishly tried to 
claim him as a partisan. 

l A Prussian politician and an extreme Conservative, who was vice-presi- 
dent of the ministry from 1881 to 1888. His dismissal arose from his objection 
to certain reform measures promulgated by Emperor Frederick III. 

The Prussian Monarchy. 95 

In many things the late emperor reminds us of that 
noble and romantic Hohenstaufen, the emperor Fred- J 
erick II. Full of the most ideal and romantic yearn- ' 
ings, and himself of the highest cultivation of the mind, 
he lived to see his plans thwarted, and then to die of a 
broken heart. 

Germany cannot yet afford to be ideally romantic or 

cosmopolitan in sentiment. She is still — perhaps more 
than ever — in want of a strong rallying-point, at all 
hazards, which shall unite the nation and enable it to 
rise above meaner interests in moments of supreme 

Even a superficial glance at what the Hohenzollerns 
have been to their country bids us understand that the t 
backbone of the Prussian nation has been loth to pin its j 
faith to foreign models of parliamentarism. It clung to 
its own monarchy, in which the sovereign was not only 
the first servant of the state, but its true beacon-tower in 

9 6 

Imperial Germany. 

Strength of 



Patronage not 
limited to the 

victory as well as in adversity. While republicans con- 
sistently choose to do without heaven-born authority, 
there may be some people who would prefer to live in a 
country where the fountain of grace is a high-minded 
monarch rather than the temporary chief of a party. 
The loyal Prussians have hitherto had more than an 
excuse for preferring the cooperation of Parliament to its 
autocratic supremacy, as we have it in England. 

Hitherto they have been justified in so doing. With 
them loyalty was not a middle-class myth, but a reality 
pulsating in the heart of the peasant, the educated 
classes, as well as in that of the noble next to the throne. 
And no wonder it was so, for during generations, while 
some royal families have done everything to extirpate 
such a feeling in their own countries, the Hohenzollerns 
have uniformly fostered and strengthened it. From 
Frederick William I. — the creator of Prussia's official 
organization — down to the present day, this was ever 
strongly marked. 

While the German aristocracy still clings to its tradi- 
tions of birth-privilege, the Hohenzollerns have bridged 
the old lines of demarcation, and have hitherto striven 
to attract intellect and merit of every class within their 
circle. Authors, painters, and men of science — in- 
variably the best of each class — were often not merely 
patronized, but distinguished in a manner reminding us 
of the times of the Medici, and of Pope Julius II., who 
followed the sulking Michael Angelo to Bologna : "In 
the stead of your coming to us, you seem to have 
expected that we should attend upon you." 

Even here we find an analogy in the visit of the late 
emperor William to Bayreuth, although that ungrateful 
egotistical genius, Richard Wagner, showed himself 
anything but appreciative of imperial favor. 

The Prussian Monarchy. 97 

Not only is every Prussian prince bound to learn 
a handicraft, as if to bring his sympathies within scope The privilege 
of the humblest, but the very poorest subjects have ever appeal, 
been able to petition the sovereign directly. Thus, 
loyalty is not a sentiment of vague attachment to an 
unknown, unseen lay-figure, but is distinctly personal. 
It shows itself, not in the gratification of vulgar curi- 
osity — the hunting after a show ; it is sunk deep in the 
heart as an impetus to strengthen patriotism and duty. 

The action of the 
Hohenzollerns has 
strengthened the 
monarchical princi- 
ple far beyond the 
borders of the 
Fatherland. Form- 
erly a spark would 
have sufficed to con- 
sume most of the 
German petty royal 
courts. TheSaxon 
monarchy was only 
saved in 1849 by 
the Prussian guards 
sweeping the streets 
of Dresden with 

musketry. Since EMPEROR WlLL,AM IL 

then the loyalty of the people of the petty principalities The 
has become stronger, under the guiding sun of Prussia. "riSSpil 
Formerly many of the best intellects of Germany were slren K llK;ned - 
democratic, if not republican ; they have since become 

Thus stood tradition and actuality when the present 
emperor, William II., succeeded to the throne at the 

98 Imperial Germany. 

death of his father — now more than eight years ago. 

Public opinion, which had been ready to credit the 

wuu™Ti* f ' ate em P eror Frederick with every imaginable virtue, 

Duke of Saxe-Coburg. 
Duke olConnaugbt. Que 

Emperor William II., His Motf 

showed its usual hasty partiality in estimating his son. 
If the general impression was one rather mingled 
with doubt and fear, on the other hand, those who had 

The Prussian Monarchy. 99 

enjoyed the privilege of personal intercourse with Prince 
William were extravagantly optimistic with regard to 
what the nation might confidently expect from him as 
German emperor and king of Prussia. While many 
were inclined to credit the young monarch with belli- 
cose leanings — and this was perhaps the most prevalent 
impression also outside Germany — those of his admirers 
who had enjoyed opportunities for forming a personal An optimistic 
opinion did not hesitate to aver that their youthful 
monarch would turn out to be nothing less than a 
Frederick the Great all along the line. Already to-day 
it is sufficiently apparent that those who distrusted the 
emperor because of his supposed warlike proclivities 
did him an injustice. With regard to the more flatter- 
ing estimate of his character the emperor William has it 
still in his power to prove its justification. For the 
present it is obviously too early to judge him either as a 
man or as a ruler, although now that he has had over 
eight years' experience as a sovereign he is hardly in a 
position to claim indulgent criticism for his actions on 
the score of youth and inexperience. His position is 
an exceedingly difficult one : for Germany was never Difficulty of his 
more in need of a strong character at the helm than posl lon * 
at the present moment. Nor can it in common fairness 
be contested that the emperor William has always 
shown an earnest desire to act up to the high standard 
expected of him and to prove himself to be the man 
Germany is in want of for the greater happiness and 
welfare of the Fatherland. 

It would scarcely be fit to take leave of this chapter 
without a word of appreciation for two men, who, next 
to the Hohenzollerns themselves, have of royal princes 
done most for the cause of German unity. The first is 
the ruling Grand-Duke of Baden, the son-in-law of the 

Imperial Germany. 

late emperor William. In him Germany possesses a 

high-minded prince. In the most democratic state of 

Germany he is the most popular sovereign. He it was 

. who, in 1871, helped more than any one in the creation 

of the German Empire,' and gave the late half-crazy 

king of Bavaria the option of proposing the measure, 

determined to do so himself in case of refusal. And, 

again, at the accession of the present emperor, it was 

he who, hastening to Berlin, gave the example that 

induced every 

ruling sovereign 

of Germany to be 

present at the 


King Albert of 
Saxony is to-day 
the one royal 
prince left who 
held high com- 
mand in the 
memorable War 
of 1870-71. In 
fact, Count 
Moltke's opinion 
of his strategic 
abilities was of 
the very highest, 

Grand-Duke or Baden. ( ■. . , 

for it stands on 
record, vouched for by Moltke himself, that at the 
battle of Sedan the then crown prince of Saxony in- 
stinctively foresaw and on his own responsibility acted 
upon the exact instructions which, thought out by the 

1 This assertion has since been amply proved by the publication of the late 
emperor Frederick's diary. 

The Prussian Monarchy. 

chief of the staff, led to the results of that momentous 
day. But King Albert's reputation as a soldier does Hii 
not rest alone on his achievements in the War of 1870. 
In 1866 in Bohemia his handling of the Saxon army has 
been admitted on all hands to have been excellent. 
Although he „. — _. 

must in earlier 

days have been | 

a strong anti- 
Prussian, King 
Albert has loy- 
ally accepted the 
leadership of 
Prussia and to- 
day there is no 
more trusted ad- 
viser of the em- 
peror, no man 
individually j 
more respected | 
in Germany than j 
he. For he has 1 
not only ever i 
shown a bold 
face to the foe, ^ 
hut his remark- 
able and honest 
career bears elo- 
quent testimony to the victory he must have achieved 
over his narrower self. 

rem a photograph by Otto Mayer, photographer 
tht king 0/ Saxony. 



The "let-alone" 

The aggressive 

For forms of government let fools contest ; 
Whate'er is best administered is best. 



Among students of history, as well as of political 
science, two schools of thought stand at daggers drawn. 
The one would have us believe that every ripple of the 
tide in the affairs of man is the result of infinite, remote, 
collective, and at last overpowering influence ; some- 
thing like the cracking of the earth's crust when the 
gases in its bowels seek and find an outlet. Therefore, 
this particular school is against all undue and premature 
initiative and interference of the state in the affairs of the 
community. This is the thought underlying the English 
national political organization of the present day, and, if 
human temperament may be brought into analogy with 
an intellectual conviction, it may safely be put down as a 
manifestation of the phlegmatic, unimaginative, negative 
disposition. It may be an unattractive creed to some, 
but England's insular position has allowed her to be- 
come the nation she is while practicing it. 

The other school leans on the past, on the lessons of 
the great epoch-making figures in history, those who 
were not so much children of their time as themselves 
part creators of the events they directed. It pins its 
faith to a strong and high-minded monarchy, assisted 
by capable advisers, and working out its ruling mission 


Paternal Government. 103 

by harmonizing a strong traditional state power with 
the just pretension of the present time. This school 
holds that parliamentary party government is unsuited 
to direct the destinies of a great nation ; that the 
opinions of a majority offer no guarantee of its sound- 


It has been said that we are never so thoroughly in 
the right that our opponents are wholly in the wrong. 
May it not be so with two opposing schools of political 
thought? May not both be right in much, while each 
bears distinct evidence of its peculiar shortcomings? 

An aristocratic monarchy run to seed was the cause Caug ofVru 
of the battle of Jena and the temporary effacement of sia's decline. 
Prussia from the map of Europe as a great power. 
The history of the decay of republics is equally sug- 

The form of government which succeeds best in de- 
veloping the central idea of the state, backed up by the 
best instincts and unselfish devotion of its subjects, is the 
best ; and every form of government, except, perhaps, 
an elective monarchy, has from time to time succeeded 
in solving the problem, and high-minded men have 
always been the means of its solution. The first condi- The first 
tion of every government is the purity of the fountain- of government, 
head. Every plan for the happiness of man suffers 
shipwreck when mean natures are allowed to influence 
its working. The United States does not owe its great- 
ness merely to the chance of its being dubbed a republic. 
America is studded with rotten republics, but the United 
States owes its stability to the fact of its founders having 
been great characters sprung from one of the finest races 
of manhood in the world. Purified by a baptism of 


Imperial Germany, 

The greatest 
factors in a 

political creed. 

blood, they framed a great constitution, which tended to 
bring out what was good in the people and to render 
impotent what was vile. This constitution was suited to 
the Anglo-Saxon race. 

But are not, after all, the natural conditions of a 
nation's existence the deciding factors in the choice of 
the means of its salvation ? In other words, are not the 
race, the climate of a country, its geographical position, 
greater factors than a chance constitution? Is the con- 
tinuity of England's national independence and progress 
not owing more to natural conditions than to any set 
political creed ? Our political system may have suited 
our requirements, but the silver streak that separates us 
from the Continent fixed its character. 

One of the reasons why some nations have an instinct- 
ive antipathy to a powerful executive is that they have 
never known any that was not at the same time 
thoroughly rotten and corrupt. If the choice lie be- 
tween a vicious paternal government and a corrupt 
Parliament, it is natural to hesitate. 

Thus, in England we are brought up to look askance 
at state interference and, above all, at ' ' grandmotherly 
legislation." Up to the present, circumstances have 
enabled us to feel that we were justified in doing so, and 
Manchester theories 1 may be all very well when there are 
no frontiers to guard, no external enemies that threaten. 
If, however, such be not the fortunate condition of 
a nation, and its whole destiny and policy are not to be 
evolved from the free expression of public opinion, then 
the success of Louis XIV. dragonading the Palatinate, 
and the ease with which the left bank of the Rhine sub- 
sequently became French in sympathies, show us what 

i The so-called Manchester school of political economists stands for a policy 
of non-interference by the state in industrial and commercial affairs. 

Paternal Government. 105 

to expect. High aims dwell only in the few high-strung 
natures, whatever their birth. 


One consideration we cannot ignore — namely, that no . 
country can possibly formulate its laws and policy by * 
the gradual, irresistible expression of public opinion, 
unless the following essential conditions are present, 
and allow a strong healthy public opinion to come 

into existence : national independence ; strong, healthy, 
national self-consciousness ; final subordination of class 
interest to the welfare of the state. 

Till lately Germany possessed none of these three in- 
dispensable qualifications, and without them it was use- j™J™' 
less to talk of a nation's public opinion. The want jj™j!{jjj 
of them not only caused the dismemberment of the old 
German Empire and made Germany the . battle-field 
of Europe for two centuries, but precluded the possi- 
bility of a public opinion coming into existence which 


Imperial Germany, 

The need of 
genius and 

The price of 



could have materially helped to produce them. They 
had to be created against the machinations of old and 
powerful enemies at home and abroad. If France had 
understood her true policy, German unity would never 
have been accomplished. Thus the three necessary 
qualities of national life had to be conquered, and genius 
alone could hold aloft the banner around which those 
should congregate who were resolved to do or die in 
their attainment. Men had to be called upon who would 
be ready to shed blood — their own and their enemies' . 

The wealthy middle classes of to-day, for instance, are 
distinctly averse to blood-letting. And yet in time and 
season there is no cement like blood. Even the history 
of the greatest republic of our time — the United States, 
a country the practical philanthropy of which none can 
deny — absolutely proves that. 

Thus the Germans shed blood — rivers of it — and 
attained national independence. But even now they 
hold it only by the power of the sword ; for national 
consciousness has not yet had time to form, and the 
feeling of subordination of class interests is still very 
weak, as also, in many places, the feeling of patriotism. 
Yet the Germans can only hope to retain what they 
have gained by strengthening those qualities which are 
still unreliable. Hence the straining of every nerve by 
their rulers to attain that end, and paternal government, 
based on the cooperation of all, is the means to that end. 


A strong, healthy, public opinion, born of a long and 
prosperous political education, which might dispense 
with paternal government and work out its own will 
unfettered, does not, and cannot, exist as yet. Among 
other things, the small interest shown by the voters 

Paternal Government. 107 

at elections proves this. For the Social Democrats are 
at present the most earnest political party in Germany, 
judging by polling results. It should also be remem- 
bered that public opinion in Germany was never in- T ubi/^ u ?nk>n° f 
tended to rule directly, as it does with us ; but at most ""*»«**. 
only indirectly, by intrusting men of mark with the direc- 
tion of affairs. When public opinion has no longer the 
1 ' touch ' ' to recognize leaders," it is time for it to give 
way, and allow something better to take its place. 

Yet, notwithstanding that what has been gained is 
distinctly traceable to the action of genius guiding the 
sword, there was till recently a strong party in Germany 
which believed in English political methods. These 
people would fain have seen our principles adopted, and 
prophesied all sorts of evil from their non-acceptance. 
Their adherents failed to see that their countrymen had 
no choice ; they had either to accept salvation the way methods, 
it came, or go on in the hopeless helplessness of the 

The Germans never had independent leisure to work 
out their political and economical life according to 
laissez-faire 1 principles. They could not afford to ask 
themselves whether great men come too rarely to 
intrust one, when he does appear, with powers that 
might descend to reckless or unworthy wielders. The 
circumstances of the country's existence left them no 
choice but to be thankful when light did appear. 

It was individual genius that burst the shutters of 
medieval darkness, and hailed the dawn of a new era, 
when Luther uttered those memorable words at Worms: 
i l Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. 
Amen ! " It was the lack of national consciousness, the 

1 Laissez-faire ("let alone") is the classical phrase which describes the 
non-intervention policy. 


Imperial Germany. 

Struggle for 



want of national independence, and of the due subordi- 
nation of petty ruling interests which robbed the Ger- 
man nation of the first fruits of what has since become 
the common property of mankind. It was the possession 
of those requisites in England which enabled us to hold 
up the standard of the Reformation against the power of 
Catholic Spain. 

Again, in our time we have seen political genius in 
Germany, having achieved national independence, striv- 
ing honestly to attain national well-being and endeavor- 
ing to strengthen the sentiment of national consciousness. 
It asked all classes alike to cooperate in the work of 
national greatness. No country was in such need of 
great men, and in few countries hitherto have the masses 
been so unable to realize the imperious necessity of their 

Whereas there is not an Italian living who does not 
mourn the death of Cavour, there are yet many men in 
Germany who would welcome the death of a Bismarck ! 
Others appreciate great men. Germany has produced 
them in our time. 

Nature of 




To judge the atmospherical conditions of a room full 
of people, you must come in from the open air, and you 
will quickly be able to make a comparison. A nations 
civilization is like artificial temperature : you must gauge 
it from outside ; you must compare it. 

Is Germany's greatness a plant of recent and tender 
growth which requires constant care in order to enable 
it to develop in the future and stand on its own merits, 
a bulwark of civilization in Europe ? We think it is. 

Are those who are responsible for its destinies con- 
scious of the difficulties of the task before them, and 

Paternal Government. 109 , 

honestly intent on meeting them? We feel convinced 
that they are, and we shall endeavor to point out in how 
far we can show reason for this belief. 

One of the reasons why the French so easily gained 
popularity on the left bank of the Rhine at the begin- French 

, popularity. 

ning of the century was, that they represented a young, 
healthy, popular principle and the Germans an old, 
antiquated, feudal system. 

The principal reason why the Alsatians so soon lost 
the old ties with the German Empire (for Strassburg 
was treacherously seized upon by Louis XIV. in the 
midst of peace) and still partially cling to France was, 
that they grew into the traditions of the powerful state 
they joined. The old German Empire was effete, if 
not rotten to the core, and when the French Revo- 
lution came it found the Alsatians belonging to a nation T h e 
that proclaimed the " rights of man," and, casting Alsatians - 
medieval lumber to the flames, declared every channel 
open to the ambition of the humblest. Small wonder 
that the good Alsatian peasants and burghers were 
proud of their new country, and forgot the violent 
manner in which their new paternity had been foisted 
on them ! 

Now all this has changed, and the Alsatians have 
only to rub their eyes in order to see that in coming 
back to their original Fatherland they have come back 
to the victorious mother- country with far more to tempt 
them than the country which treated them so step- 
motherly while they belonged to it. If the Alsatians 
were practical Englishmen they would see the position 
of affairs in a trice, and, after the last fair stand-up 
fight, make the best of it and be friends with the new 
order of things. But the poor Alsatians are sentimental 
Germans ; they feel the sorrows of their late fellow- 


Imperial Germany. 

Desire of the 

Danger of 
through public 

countrymen, and, in their sympathy, are still blind to 
their own interests, and to the real facts of the case. 
Time will enlighten them, and a strong, healthy, 
paternal government — not one ct la Metternich, but 
conducted in harmony with the spirit of the age — will 
assist in doing so. 


German Liberals chafe under the restraints of their 
paternal government, and doubtless the stern system 
which holds them together has its drawbacks. They 
would prefer public opinion, expressed through their 
party, to rule the nation and supply its needs. A look 
at their past efforts in this direction and at their latest 
action does not lead an outsider to feel that Germany is 
ripe for that humanitarian democracy which substitutes 
the tyranny of the many for the honest and conscien- 
tious effort of a concentrated executive. 

If it be granted that a strong military government is 
essential to the nation's existence — and that cannot 
be denied, though it may be deplored — then the dis- 
satisfaction at its unavoidable drawbacks must be taken 
for what it is worth. Without underrating the great 
value of a strong, and healthy public opinion, it is yet 
permissible to hold that its expression is not the only 
source of salvation of a country, the less so as it is 
likely to wield as much power when diseased as when it 
is sound. England herself has been saved more than 
once by miracle from the consequences of some of its 
diseased manifestations. The cry of misery and despair 
of millions has forced public opinion to remedy some of 
our imperious wants, but much remains undone that 
paternal government in Germany has accomplished, as 
a few illustrations later on may enable us to judge. 

Freedom of 

Paternal Government. in 

An English member of Parliament writes to the 
Times deploring that a public meeting cannot be held 
in Berlin without the presence of a police agent, who 
can close it at a moment's notice. This is "a sad truth ; 
but the freedom of talk has not yet led to a millennium speech 
in other countries. Far from it. The unlimited free luxury, 
expression of public opinion is all very well where there 
are no enemies at the gates ; but it is a dangerous 
pastime for a nation which might be called upon to- 
morrow to fight for its existence, and which would be 
jeopardized by talk. Germany is not stable enough to 
allow itself such a luxury. 

If the happiness of the greatest number be — once End and aim of 
national independence is secured — the end and aim of government, 
all government, it is but fair to glance backward and 
determine, as far as possible, in how far paternal gov- 
ernment endeavors to secure that end. 

In the first place, the ascendency of Prussia, which 
led to German unity, was gained against the almost 
universal expression of public opinion. Public opinion 
has since recanted in this instance, and thus the book is 
closed ; but history is nevertheless bound to take note 
of the fact. 

Unity accomplished, Germany expected to see capa- 
ble, conscientious men at the head of every department 
of the state. We know how uniformly these expecta- 
tions have hitherto been realized. This has all been 
done without the assistance of public opinion to guide 
the choice of the directing minds. But neither was it 
necessary. Without the action of public opinion, the 
shaft of duty is sunk deep in the heart and mind of the sense of duty* 
people and their rulers. 

With us public opinion is invariably " surprised* ' and 
extravagantly " grateful 1 ' when it finds anybody equal 


Imperial Germany. 

Success of 
foreign policy. 

Policy of 

The case of 



to the emergencies of a position of responsibility. And, 
unfortunately, ignominious failure, even involving dis- 
aster and national humiliation, still allows a man to con- 
tinue posing in public as the expresser of the sentiments 
of the nation. 

The uniform success of German foreign policy under 
Prince Bismarck's guidance is well known and admitted 
on every hand, even down to that mysterious little Bul- 
garian- Battenberg incident, ten years ago, which public 
opinion was only too willing to fan into a European con- 
flagration, until stopped by a jet of cold water from 

Not so well known may be the success of Prussia in 
conciliating the countries annexed in 1864 and 1866. 
Schleswig-Holstein, which certain powers wished to pro- 
tect against itself, is thoroughly German to-day. The 
electorate of Hesse-Cassel is thoroughly Prussianized, 
and as for Hanover, the great center of Guelphic mem- 
ories and partisanship, the freely elected Parliament 
(Landtag) of Hanover recently showed only three 
Guelphic adherents, against twenty-eight belonging to 
the Bismarckian National Liberal party. Alsace, it is 
true, is a long way from such a satisfactory state of 
things; but it will come — gradually, but surely. 

Even the conciliation of a single town has not been 
beneath the earnest attention of paternal government. 
The town of Frankfort, after being terribly frightened 
and feeling the grip of the conqueror round its neck, 
has since been petted and pampered in every conceiv- 
able way. Showy cavalry regiments were quartered in 
the town to see what effect bright colors and the accom- 
plishments of the pick of officers could have on the 
female heart ; the late emperor William came repeatedly 
in person ; even the treaty of 1871 was signed in Frank- 

Paternal Government 113 

fort-on-the-Main. Thus, the commerce-gorged citizen 
of that ilk, after raving at the wickedness of Prussia, and 
accepting Swiss naturalization in order to avoid military 
service, has long since come back to the Prussian sheep- 
fold, humble and full of contrition. And to-day the 
bleary eye of the regulation type of Frankfort patrician 
lights up when he is privileged to pour his sing-song 
dialect into the ear of the youngest long-suffering Prus- 
sian subaltern. Thus the Prussians, after meeting a 
world in arms, have shown that they understand the success of 
more subtle art of stroking the backs of their newly diplomacy, 
annexed subjects ; x and to-day no more loyal subjects 
exist than the good burghers of the town of Frankfort- 


The victory was won ; but it only urged paternal 
government to criticise and amend a system the success 
of which had dazzled the world. All Europe was 
anxious to copy what had produced such results ; it 
impressed everybody but its authors. They set to work 
to improve it, and the result is that the army of to-day 
is no longer the army of 1870. The military authori- 
ties have devoted twenty-six years' unremitting work to improvement 
its improvement. What this means will be brought in earmy * 
home to the reader when we recall the historical fact 
that the organization and armament of the English army 
on the outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854 differed 
very little from that of the time of the battle of Water- 
loo in 1815. 

What paternal government has done for the defenses 
of the country is patent to the world. But its silent, 
hidden action is even more instructive than its outward 
achievements. While public opinion in France is de- 

H4 Imperial Germany, 

lighted with the perforating effects of a new rifle on pau- 
T dJJmutJ2!d P er corpses, while the English wake up to find the 
ofpstemai millions spent on their rifles, ships, and guns squan- 
dered, paternal government in Germany has quietly seen 

to the efficiency of the last button of the Pomeranian's 
uniform ! 

Public opinion breathes not a word — no newspaper 
propaganda — but eyes that never close watch the fron- 
tiers of the Fatherland. In the west the fortresses of 
Metz and Strassburg look so radiantly innocent on a 
bright summer's day, you would hardly fancy that, un- 

Paternal Government. 115 

heeded by public opinion, they have been so strength- 
ened and enlarged that those who were familiar with 
them now hardly recognize them. But strategists know 
that a sea of a quarter of a million of men might well 
pause for fear of breaking its waves against their but- 
tresses in vain ! 

Whereas England, after converting the Enfield rifle 
into the Snider, discarded it and spent millions on the 
Martini only again to find it obsolete to-day, paternal 
government immediately after 1870 introduced the 
Mauser rifle, 1 which even now, after twenty-six years, 
can still be safely looked upon as equal to any emer- Superiority of 

Att • , , ,, her weapons. 

gency. And here we are impressed by a marked con- 
trast. While we in England make the best articles, 
our government generally secures the worst at the 
dearest price. In Germany, the home of the cheap 
and poor, the government always secures the best 
article at a low price. 

Nothing, however trivial, is too small for the atten- 
tion of paternal government. Ever since 1871 a cease- 
less, but severely systematic, series of trials has been 
going on to improve every article of equipment of 
the common soldier. Companies are sent on forced 
marches to test the value of new knapsacks, new 
gaiters; even new drinking flasks are tried, and the 
common soldier is interrogated by the emperor as to 
how he is satisfied with them. In England, according Attention to 


to occasionally recurring newspaper disclosures, the 
soldiers are defectively fed in time of peace. In Ger- 
many only lately a new kind of bread has been tested 
to replace the old military army bread. It is not sub- 
mitted to the apathetic eye of some mighty official, 

1 This statement is not invalidated by the recent introduction of the repeat- 
ing rifle. 


Imperial Germany, 

Severity of 
army training. 

changes in 
official ranks. 

backed by the recommendation of those who have an 
interest in getting the contract to supply the army with 
bread. Paternal government does not work like that. l 
The advantages possessed by the new bread are set 
forth, and after their conscientious scrutiny, the Minis- 
try of War gives orders that it shall be tried for a 
period of three months in a number of large garrisons, 
and the reports collected and compared. If these are 
favorable the new bread will be immediately introduced 
into the whole army. 

If such attention is bestowed on details, the reader 
can imagine what the work of paternal government has 
been with regard to more important matters. A friend 
of ours, the beau-idial of a Prussian officer, who had 
passed through the War of 1870 as a lieutenant, had 
lately gone through the six' weeks* training necessary to 
qualify him for the rank of captain. He assured us : 
' ' It is simply unbelievable what they ask of us now. I 
only wonder I was able to live through it all. ' ' Such 
are the tests of efficiency required nowadays in the 
Prussian army ! If such be the severity with regard to 
petty officers, nobody will be surprised to learn that 
the weeding out that has been going on in the higher 
branches of the service is of a stern and radical kind. 
As pointed out elsewhere, neither past services, nor 
influence, nor family connections, have hitherto been 
allowed to sway the dispositions of paternal government. 

1 As pointing against the spirit of the above, we are reminded of cases of 
bribery and corruption in the Prussian army and other departments of the 
state service which now and then become public. To that we reply that even 
Prussian institutions are only human and not infallible. But there is this 
great distinction to be noted in their working. In Prussia abuses are dis- 
covered and sought to be remedied at all times. In other countries only too 
often they come to light in the moment of supreme danger amidst a battle of 
life and death. We need only refer to the condition of things in England 
revealed during the Crimea, during the last Egyptian campaign, with the 
French in 1870, and with the Russians in the 1877 Bulgarian campaign. 

Paternal Government. 117 

Since the accession of the present emperor already a 
number of changes have taken place, many of which the 
old emperor William, from personal ties, could not 
bring himself to make. 

What paternal government has done for the education 
of the country, primary, classical, and technical, has 
been referred to elsewhere, and is besides too well 
known to require further mention. 

Having provided the nation with food for the mind, 
the best of its class, paternal government proceeds to Governmental 

1 ° , r supervision of 

see that the food of the body is not adulterated — no food products, 
slight task among a people which, in commerce, lays its 
hands upon everything and counterfeits everything it 
can lay its hands on. 

While in new-born Italy, 1 constitutional Austria, par- 
liamentary England, republican France, and democratic 
America adulteration of every article of food is rampant, 
the paternal laws of Germany are of a nature to stop the 
most hardened offender. For the law provides that those 
who sell an adulterated article — even if shown to be igno- Adulteration of 
rant of the offense — are liable to fine and imprisonment. °° ' 
And how that law is administered ! In England the 
spirit of the middle classes tells us, through John Bright, 
that adulteration is only a form of competition ! 

While public opinion in England allows not only the 
legitimation of quack medicines, but the realization also 
of $1,200,000 a year 2 to the revenue by their taxation, 

1 The chemical examination of a so-called Italian " Magliani " cigar, made 
by the government in Piacenza, will give an idea to what extent adulteration is 
practiced in the sunny South. The cigar in question contained (i) a piece of 
lime, (2) powdered gypsum, (3) a quantity of humus, (4) a piece of wood, (5) a 
piece of string. As a Roman newspaper sarcastically put it, a mason with his 
trowel was only wanting in conjunction with a dozen such cigars in order to 
"build a six-storied palace ; the necessary materials were all there. 

* Statistics dealing with amounts paid to the British government in the form 
of a tax on patent medicines in the financial year 1895-96. 


Imperial Germany. 

Exposition of 



Local govern- 


the Prussian government either forbids their sale if 

poisonous, or analyzes them and causes their worthless- 

ness to be made officially public, as in the following 

instance : 

Warning against Patent Medicines. — An official scientific 
analysis of a medicine advertised under the name of " Schlag- 
wasser," manufactured by Roman Weissmann in Vilshofen, 
has shown the following : It consists of nothing else save 
a little tincture of ratanhia, or kino, mixed with tincture of 
arnica, the value of which is between 5 cents and 7 cents, 
whereas it is sold at $2 a bottle. It is self-evident that this 
decoction does not possess the virtues attributed to it. 

In England, such beneficial announcements are left to 
the initiative of the press, which (except in rare cases, 
such as, some years ago, the Saturday Review) does . 
not publish them, because some papers draw a large 
income from advertising patent medicines. 


After safeguarding the national existence and its 
bodily health, paternal government energetically pur- 
sues its care for the well-being and happiness of the 
greatest number in all the branches of this difficult task. 

Subordinate to the Imperial Reichstag, but inde- 
pendent in its own sphere of action, each German state 
possesses its own parliament. And instead of con- 
tributing to foment petty rivalries, as of old, these 
parliaments now attend to the legitimate satisfaction 
of local wants — the most perfect form of local govern- 

The Bundesrath (Federal Council), in which every 
smaller state is represented and can exercise a fair share 
of influence, has proved itself an excellent guardian of 
the national interests. 

When Germany was reorganized after 1870, a perfect 

Paternal Government, 119 

Babel of conflicting law codes were found in force. For 
instance, Bavaria alone possessed seventy-eight different 
civil codes, such towns as Bamberg, Nuremberg, and 
Augsburg each having a special law code of its own. In 
the beginning of the eighties a commission was appointed 
and worked for eight years at the new uniform civil code 
for the empire. The results of its labors, after being sub- 
mitted to the criticism of practical lawyers, were passed The n « w civil 

iawr code 

into law and gradually, in the course of three years, 
adopted throughout the country. The new commercial 
and criminal laws {Reichsgesetz) are already in force; 
the highest tribunal is situated outside of Prussia proper, 
in Leipzig. It is indeed, according to universal testi- 
mony, a marvelous monument of erudition and honest 
effort to reconcile conflicting interpretations of law, and 
to meet the legal wants of the nation in the spirit of the 

Not only is law cheap in Germany — perhaps in some 
ways too cheap — but it is in stern reality the same impartiality 
for the rich and the poor. The system of admitting to 
bail, one that tends to favor the rich, and one that is so 
often abused, is very limited. No offense punishable 
by more than a year's imprisonment is bailable at all. 
This may be a hardship in a few cases, but it is a strong 
point nevertheless. Whether it be an ambassador or a 
professor — for the higher the position and capacity 
of doing harm, the greater the crime — who is accused of 
a serious crime, he stands on no better footing than the 
humblest transgressor of the laws. 

The transfer of land, in England one of the costliest 
and most doubtful parts of our conveyancing system, is 
prompt, sure, and cheap in Germany. 

As a result of the dire experience of speculation 
and commercial ruin in the years 1873-74, the laws 




Imperial Germany. 

Revision of 
certain laws. 

control of 

affecting commercial companies, fraudulent bankruptcy, 
and embezzlement have been entirely recast, whereas in 
England we are still unable to get two judges to agree 
to one definition of the law on embezzlement. Thus it 
is not surprising that, since the great " crash" {Krach) 
of 1873, there has been comparatively little stock- 
company swindling in Germany, although, in the mean- 
time, Berlin is fast outstripping Paris as a money 
market. During the same period we have witnessed in 
England the failure of the Glasgow Bank, of the Cardiff 
Savings Bank, of Greenways' Bank — not to mention the 
many millions the public has lost through other limited 
liability companies — bringing ruin and misery to thou- 

Again, while the administration of many English 
petty savings banks, of hospitals, and other charities 
has been impeached in public and shown to be wasteful, 
if not worse, the same classes of institution in Germany 
are more or less controlled by the state, and show a 
wonderfully clean record. 

The social laws concerning divorce and illegitimacy 
have not the draconic character of our own ; they are 
more humane, and yet we have to learn that there is less 
domestic happiness and more immorality in Germany 
than in England. 

The guardianship of lunatics is under the direct con- 
trol of the state. Spendthrifts are, and habitual drunk- 
ards soon will be, deprived of the unlimited control 
of their fortunes, and although we in England are 
suspicious of such laws, fearing they might be abused, 
as they inevitably would be with us, there is no dan- 
ger of their perversion in Germany. 

In fact, the one failing of this stern paternal govern- 
ment is its human itarianism. Its criminal code is far 

Paternal Government 121 

more merciful than our own, and until lately there was a 
strong probability of the total abolition of the death Q^man ^ 
penalty. The murderous attempts of the socialists criminal code, 
came in time to furnish a suitable occasion to reinstate 
it. But the attempts on the late emperor William's life, 
far from blinding the government to the misery of the 
poor and the legitimate aspirations of the working 
classes, only seemed to direct attention to them ; not in 
craven cowardice, but in genuine concern for the welfare 
of the people. The imperial message of February, 1881, 
to the Reichstag brought forward the earnest wish of 
the emperor himself to initiate legislation to improve the 
lot of the workingman. Since then the laws for the 
benefit of the working classes have come into existence. 
It is as yet impossible to gauge their benefit ; but the 
imperial recognition of the right of the humblest to the 
consideration of the state must remain a grand monu- 
ment to the honor of paternal government. 


Passing from a consideration of the laws of the A odel 
country again to the activity of the state as an ad- bureaucracy, 
ministrator, we find a model bureaucracy doing in civil 
life the part of the army as a defender against outward 

The German postal service has become the pattern for 
all other countries. Nothing is too trivial for its atten- service? a 
tion, and nothing too remote to escape its eye. Whereas 
we have for many years put up with the disgraceful 
mail service between England and the Continent via 
Belgium, ' and paid a ridiculous price for its transit via 

i Not to forget the scandalous passenger service through Prance and Bel- 
gium. Here German paternal government, by its cooperation with the Dutch 
government, succeeded in starting the quick through service via Flushing to 
Berlin, and has thus rendered signal service to the traveling community. 

Imperial Germany. 

Ostend, the Germans took the initiative by sending; their 
mails via Flushing; and now that the English authorities 
have joined their protests against the scandals of the 
Ostend line, the Belgians have been forced to put on 
new steamers. 

The express service shows a surplus, whereas the 
English, which was copied from it and is cheaper, shows 

a deficit, fn the telegraph system the Germans were 
the first to lay the wires underground on a large scale, 
fn England public opinion is still fighting a con- 
tinuous battle against the pretensions of private railway 
company monopolists. The price paid to the land- 
owners for the privilege of running the lines over their 
property has saddled the public with the most expen- 
sive railway system in Europe. The cost ol forcing the 
concessions through Parliament has in course ol time 
cost the companies millions. Thus we are not surprised 

Paternal Government. 


to read that, although the five largest railway com- 
panies in' England are virtual gold mines to the lucky 
shareholders, of 258 railways in England and Wales, 
137, or more than one half of the whole, paid no 
dividends whatever in 1884. 1 Yet the Times plain- 
tively exclaims : "Our commerce is being throttled by 
the enormous cost of internal carriage ; goods often 
cost more for a short transit to the coast than they 

The Kew Railway Station, Cologne. 
subsequently do for sea-carriage to the ends of the 
earth. ' ' 

Not only are the English railways more expensive English™ 
than the German lines, but, except where competition {JSwUji, 
forces a keen rivalry, they cannot compare for cleanli- 
ness, comfort, or punctuality. The dirt and unpunctu- 
ality on some of the English southern lines would be 
sought for in vain all over Germany, and the power of 

1 And things have not Improved much in this respect since. 

I2 4 

Imperial Germany, 

State owner- 

Excellence of 




the press has hitherto proved unavailing to secure a 
remedy for these things. 

One of the greatest tasks of paternal government has 
been the taking over of the railways by the state. It is 
still incomplete, ! but almost all lines in Prussia proper 
are now state property. Hence there is now one sys- 
tem and one tariff where formerly close upon a thousand 
existed. How this one system works we hear from the 
best of English authorities, " Bradshaw's Guide,* ' 
which states that the German railways are uniformly 
excellent. That the carriages of each class are better 
than those in England has long been admitted ; and 
lately the American saloon-carriages are being widely 
introduced, not for one class only, as in England, 
but for all classes alike. 

It would lead us too far to enter into every point of 
the German railway system ; we will only mention that 
the minutest details for the comfort of the public are 
not beneath the direct notice of the minister of public 
works, Dr. von Maybach, who is the supreme head of 
the Prussian railway system. Whereas one of the 
latest postal reforms in England consists in being 
allowed to post a letter in a postal train with an extra 
stamp, in Germany not only has it long been permissi- 
ble to do so without any extra stamp, but all trains 
carrying the mails accept telegrams also without extra 

The railway refreshment rooms — in England one of 
the crying scandals of the railway system, where the 
favored contractor is allowed to poison the public with- 
out let or hindrance — are regulated in Prussia with the 
utmost care and conscientiousness. Not only is every 

i In Bavaria the railways are still noted for their irregularity and ineffi- 

Paternal Government. 125 

article which is sold tested, but the price charged is 
regulated by the authorities. Besides that, in every 
railway refreshment room all through the country (and 
most stations have one) a book is kept to enter any 
complaint made. 

Only a short time ago a Liberal member of the Reichs- 
tag accused Dr. von Maybach of having disposed of a f 
railway refreshment license by favor to an unqualified * 


person. Dr. von Maybach proved that under his rule it 
was simply impossible that even the contract for a little 
refreshment room at a side station could be given away 
through influence of any kind. In England there are 
no refreshment rooms unless the traffic is large enough 
to insure a good profit to the lessee, and then they are a 
disgrace to the railway system. But the end and aim of 
all the English railway companies is to secure big divi- 


Imperial Germany. 

The Kaiser 
Wilhelm canal. 

protection to 

Not only roads by land, but navigable rivers and 
canals show signs of the unceasing care of the govern- 
ment. The former are uniformly kept in an excellent 
state of repair, and, in reference to the latter, the fact of 
the government piercing a canal from Kiel to Wilhelm- 
shafen, at an expense of $39,000,000, speaks volumes 
for its initiative. l This canal, which is now completed, 
shortens the steam voyage from Hamburg to. Cronstadt 
by forty-four hours, from London by twenty-two, and 
from Hull by fifteen. It has infused new life into the 
Baltic, and will do much to revive the prosperity of 
ancient cities like Dantzig on the Prussian coast, besides 
increasing the effectiveness of the German fleet. 

Even the cultivation of fish is not beneath the attention • 
of the government, and a state fish-breeding establish- 
ment at Huningen in Alsace is the nucleus from which 
the pisciculture of the country receives fresh impulse and 


The protectionist policy pursued with regard to native 
industries has yet to justify itself by results ; in the mean- 
time there can be no doubt of the temporary impulse it 
has given to trade. The Germans, like the Americans, 
sought in protection a means, if only temporary, of 
building up their industries. Whether it will in every 
respect, and in the long run, yield all the results 
anticipated from it remains to be seen. Also, a new 
dramatic copyright treaty with England has secured 
protection for German authors which they have long 

Bismarck has said that the fear of responsibility is one 
of the diseases of our time. This fear he certainly was 

1 Prussia contributes $12,500,000 on her own account, and the empire gener- 
ally the remainder, penurious Prussia thus paying twice over. 

Paternal Government. 127 

not insensible to when he shared the responsibility with 

his sovereign of introducing, one by one, the well-known of^"}^ 011 

laws for the benefit of the working classes. He knew workingmen. 

that the vested interests of the country, the landowners, 

and the well-to-do middle classes would never take the 

initiative, so he determined to do so himself. To many 

it is a dangerous doctrine to admit that social problems 

of the character in question can be solved by the state, 

and the attempt to do so will have to be judged by its 

results in the future. Still, it was a bold attempt, made 

in a noble spirit. 

That the state cannot exercise the power it does in 
Germany without bringing disadvantages in its train is of paternal 
natural. Nor is it our aim to judge finally in how far 
the advantages outweigh the disadvantages ; that can be 
shown by time alone. We only wish to point out that 
honest paternal government has done a deal of really 
good work, such as even a parliamentary majority might 
be proud of having accomplished. Who, one hundred 
and thirty years ago, seeing Frederick the Great return 
in triumph to his half-ruined and starving Berlin popula- 
tion after the Seven Years' War, would have ventured 
to prophesy the future greatness of Prussia, which, after 
all, owes so much indirectly to those years of struggle 
and national suffering ! 

So also in pur time there was something anomalous in 

Dancers to be 

seeing the state of siege proclaimed in the capital and averted, 
other large towns ; to know that the laws which govern 
the expression of political opinion are almost as severe 
as under a reactionary despotic government ; to know 
that social democracy is feared, and subterraneously 
spreading and powerful. It is but permitted to hope 
and believe that the disadvantages may be temporary, 
while the advantages may be permanent. If these ex- 

128 Imperial Germany. 

pectations be realized, the Germans can justly retort on 
the Manchester school : * * Has it with you prevented the 
land drifting, year by year, into fewer hands ? Has it 
not assisted to exterminate the small free-holders ? Has 
it arrested the terrible depression of forty millions ster- 
ling in the annual value of English land ? Has it been 
able to banish or lessen to any perceptible extent the 
squalor, dirt, and misery to be met with in every large 
town in the richest country of the world ? ' ' 

To many it might well seem as if despotic laws were 
Power of the now and then as necessary in an over-civilized country 

majority. .... . . 

as in a primitive one. It is obviously as absurd to say 
that force is no remedy as that unlimited liberty must 
necessarily be an unalloyed boon. The opinion of the 
majority is, after all, the expression of force — the will of 
the many. 



A great nation is a nation that produces great men. 

— Lord Beaconsfield. 


About a hundred years ago there lived a German 
author who wrote : l * Oh, that we only possessed na- 
tional pride and unity, and we should have been one 
nation, the first, the most powerful, in Europe. One A p? r |7 a g 
nation ! For that alone I wish I could come back again 
in a hundred years, to see my countrymen as a nation, 
or to hear of a German William Pitt. ' ' l 

If poor old Weber could come to life again, he would 
see much to rejoice over in his Fatherland; much that 
his honest old patriot' s heart never dared to hope for ; 
but, above all, he could still see Otto von Bismarck- 
Schonhausen Prince Bismarck, Germany's Iron Chan- 
cellor ! 

Those who only admire this great man because the 
fates always turned the critical quarters-of-an-hour of Eiementsin 
history in his favor do not understand or can hardly ap- character, 
preciate him. For in Bismarck's character, boldness, 
perspicacity, and dogged determination are allied to 
astute caution in a degree hardly equaled in history. 
These in their union give rise to a moderation in success 
equally remarkable. 

For years we follow him, from his modest ancestral 

i Karl Julius Weber, " Democritos." 



Imperial Germany. 

A Prussian 

Period of 

home to his entry into politics ; everywhere the rough 
and sturdy Prussian squire, ready to break an oppo- 
nent's head or to save a man from drowning ; every- 
where strong, demonstratively aggressive in his un- 
bridled animal spirits. Here and there short glimpses 
of family affection relieve the picture of its harshness. 
A descendant of a hardy northern soldier family, he 
seems born out of his time ; a paladin longing for the 
jousts of tournament, or for foray, or adventure by field 
or flood. 

He steps into a position of responsibility, and gradu- 
trlnsformation. ally, very gradually, the strong wine passes through 

fermentation, and the old nature is as if clarified into 
a new character. ' * May it please God, ' ' he wrote to his 
wife (July 3, 1851), ' ' to fill this vessel with strong and 
clear wine, now that the champagne of youth has effer- 
vesced uselessly and left stale dregs behind.' ' Those 
who had known Bismarck only during these earlier years 
hardly recognized the man later on at the head of affairs. 

Called to the Frankfort Diet in 1851, 1 as the repre- 
sentative of Prussia, he was a square peg in a round 
hole for the condition of things as they then were. 

In a letter to the prime minister of Prussia dated July 
5, 1 85 1, Bismarck's predecessor in Frankfort, Herr 
von Rochow, tells the following respecting Bismarck's 
appointment as his successor, and the comments of the 
then prince of Prussia on his visit to Frankfort : 

The latter said, " And this lieutenant of the Landwehr is to 
be our ambassador at the Diet?" "Yes," I replied, "and 
I believe he is well chosen ; Herr von Bismarck is spontaneous, 
energetic, and I believe he will come up to every expectation 
of your royal highness." 

1 The various German states, including Austria, were loosely combined in a 
federation. The Diet was a representative body of delegates from the 
different states. Austria wielded the chief power. 

in the Diet. 

From an autograph portt 


Imperial Germany, 

A soldier by 

Power of 
reading men. 

The prince had nothing to say in return, but in general 
he was favorably impressed with this excellent champion 
of right and true Prussian sentiments. I fancy his royal high- 
ness would have wished Herr von Bismarck might have been 
a little older, with gray hairs, but whether with these attributes 
it would be exactly possible to meet the expectations of his 
royal highness I hardly dare to say. 

As yet he is but feeling his way — the possibilities 
of Prussia as a governing influence had not revealed 
themselves to him. The aristocratic leanings of Austria 
were indeed sympathetic to his Junker 1 nature, even 
though this same Austria lorded it over his own 

At first we only see the militant nature — the fighting 
man, ready to resent hostility by retort or blow from 
whatever point of the compass it comes. The hauteur 
of the Austrian ambassador, Count Thun, the president 
of the Diet, receives its quietus incidentally, 8 while 
our hero is feeling his way and learning still to ap- 
praise facts fully. 

Gradually he awakens to the emptiness which under- 
lies the Austrian pretensions. The man who since has 
hardly ever looked at an opponent without reading him 
through and through was not long in forming his 
opinion of the Austrian representative. To those who 
wrote to him warning him of the political astuteness of 
his opponent, he replies, " My good folks, why he is a 
thoroughly stupid fellow ! ' ' 

But he had yet to clarify and formulate his ideas, and 
to gain that statesmanlike view of affairs which enabled 
him to subordinate everything to his purpose. He saw 

l Term for Prussian squire. 

s This refers to the well-known anecdote of Bismarck taking away the 
breath of the Austrian ambassador by quietly asking him for a light for his 
cigar at a time when none of the German representatives dared smoke be- 
fore the president of the Diet. 

Bismarck. 133 

himself recognized only as the representative of a 
second-rate power, and his strong nature rebelled at the 
position ; but he bore the unpopularity of Prussia with a 
light heart, and even seemed to take pleasure in the 
feelings that he evoked. 

A Count Isenburg, irate at some remark of Bis- Count 
marck's, was said to be coming to Frankfort to thrash Jhreat! rgs 
him. But those who knew Bismarck chuckled at the 
idea. He himself, hearing of Isenburg* s murderous 
intentions, writes, * 1 1 cannot make out what I have 
done to the good man ; I always took him for a harm- 
less person." 1 It need hardly be said the irascible count 
thought the matter twice over. 

The gossip of the period teems with illustrations of 
his bold action and boisterous language, the tenor of 
which openly revealed his political views and plans. 
Many of his frank, blunt opinions on high personages 
in those days are deeply instructive even now as show- 
ing with how little wisdom the world is ruled. For 
they have invariably proved to be incisive and true. 
During these years of petty bickering and enforced 
idleness the idea took possession of him that Austria Bismarck an 

enemy to 

must be turned out of Germany, and henceforth he be- Austria, 
came her death enemy. 

The Italian war of 1859 broke out and witnessed 
Austria's defeat. Public opinion in Germany strongly 
-expressed itself in a wish to help Austria ; but Bis- 
marck, even before the war had begun, was already 
half inclined to take the opportunity to join hands with 
France in humbling her. As this wish, openly ex- 
pressed, was in direct opposition to the views held in 
responsible quarters in Berlin, Bismarck was no longer 
the right person to represent the latter in Frankfort, 

1 " Preussen im Bundestag," page 159. Leipzig, 1885. 


Imperial Germany, 

His popularity 
in Russia. 

The " National 

The king 
decides upon 

and was transferred to Petersburg as Prussian ambas- 
sador, where he arrived in March, 1859. 

There the reputation of his opposition to, and even 
hatred of, Austria had preceded him, and made him 
highly popular in Russian court circles, still smarting 
under the sense of the equivocal conduct of Austria 
during the Crimean War. 

In the meantime the Italian campaign had shown the 
hopeless divisions of the German Federal States in a 
stronger light than ever. The victory of France over 
Austria was the consequence of this helplessness, and 
caused a popular clamor for union to break out anew 
in Germany, particularly in the Liberal party. On Sep- 
tember 15, 1859, the " National Union* ' was formed in 
Frankfort-on- the- Main, which included in its program 
the representation of the German people, and asked the 
central power in Germany to be conferred on Prussia. 

But time sped on, while King William saw that the 
sword would need to be sharpened before anything 
could come of this. It was imperative to strengthen 
the army. Parliament refused to lend itself to a pro- 
longation of the period of military service, as also to the 
granting of the increased military budget ; at least, 
unless the government would declare that it was pre- 
pared to use the increased armaments to secure national 
unity. In view of the jealousy of Austria and France, 
that concession was impossible. The king saw that a 
foreign minister who would have to unfold all his plans 
to a critical, inquisitive representative assembly must 
needs give up, or at least must delay, their fulfilment. 
The king, at the risk of losing his crown, determined to 
carry out his plans for the reorganization of the army 
against the opposition of the majority in Parliament, 
and to obtain the necessary funds and spend them with- 

Bismarck. 135 

out its consent. Thus arose a conflict between crown 
and Parliament. In carrying out this determination to 
face the opposition of the majority of his subjects, the 
king looked around for a ministry to stand by him. 
One by one they fell in this bloodless battle against 

King William stood alone. In this dilemma he was Bismarck 
advised to send for Herr von Bismarck, who had J**© 11 "* his 
already gained the reputation of a bold and determined 
politician. Thus originated Bismarck's relationship to 
his sovereign, which lasted unbroken from 1862 till the 
death of the king. 


The years of struggle with Parliament from 1862 to 
1866 are matters of history, and they tell us that Bis- 
marck showed the same courage and pertinacity as his 
royal master. 

History shows us with what dexterity during this pe- 
riod he hoodwinked his opponents, charming them, as it 
were, into a false sleep of security from which they 
woke only to find the irrecoverable moment of action 
past. We learn how, during his short stay in Paris in 
1862, he confided his plans to the emperor. 1 "He is 
mad, ' ' the latter said ; and the empress thought him a 
funny fellow. The French ministers with one accord 
agreed that he was not by any means a man to be 
taken seriously into account. 

The preliminary fight for the standard took place in Cession f 
1864, when Austria joined Prussia in the campaign Hoiteinf" 
against Denmark, which ended in the cession to Ger- 
many of Schleswig-Holstein. 

It is again a matter of history how Bismarck and the 

1 Napoleon III. 

His diplomacy. 

136 Imperial Germany. 

king, still acting in opposition to the parliamentary ma- 
jority of the country, twisted the division of the spoil 
into a rope that coiled itself around the throat of Austria 
•'Seven Weeks' on the field of Sadowa in 1866. We find Bismarck 


starting for Bohemia on the outbreak of this war, the 
object of universal hatred, if not of execration. He has 
told us himself that had Prussia lost he would have un- 
failingly committed suicide. 

So far we see only the bold political gambler playing 
for a great stake. The victory won, he is suddenly re- 
vealed in a new character ; for he who had been mainly 
change C of S instrumental in bringing this war about, in the moment 
^ lcy ' of victory turns around and boldly opposes his royal 

master and his military advisers in their wish to despoil 
Austria. He himself has told us how, during the nego- 
tiations of Nickolsburg, he had to encounter such oppo- 
sition that his nervous system was thoroughly unstrung. 
The man of iron threw himself on his bed and sobbed 
like a child. 

We have seen the political leader in the making ; we 
will now take a glance at the man. First and foremost 
among his characteristics we note the rare power of 
rising at every crisis above his narrower self, and 
making the interests of his country supreme. 

The man who opposed the spoliation of Austria after 
Sadowa might well call out with Lord Clive, ' * I stand 
appalled at my own moderation. ' ' For it was not the 
His moderation * ear °* France, as some erroneously suppose, that die- 
not without tated such wise moderation, but that prophetic instinct 

reason. ' * r 

of his — that instinct which often leads genius to be 
stoned by one generation in order to be adored by 
posterity — that enabled him to see that a day was near 
when it would be policy to be friends with the present 

Bismarck, 137 

Austria has bitten the dust before — in fact, she must 
almost have become accustomed to it by force of habit — 
but the Austrians had never before been humbled by a 
foe who, within a generation of laming their arms, suc- 
ceeded in gaining their hearts. Yet such is the present i ts reward, 
state of things in parts of Austria — where the hatred of 
Prussia prior to 1866 was most intense — that Emperor 
William and Prince Bismarck compete in popularity 
with her reigning house. 

Such is the first result of the working out of this trait 
of sagacious magnanimity in a great object in Bismarck. 
Although he may not be able to say on his death-bed, 
with Richelieu, that he had never had any personal 
enemies, his only enemies having been the enemies of 
the state, he can point to even rarer characteristics. 
The subordination of his own strong passions has often 
taken a far higher form. If we can picture him as Sylla, 
the Roman dictator, crushing his rivals ruthlessly, ex- 
terminating their adherents, we cannot quite credit him 
with that stoicism which enabled Sylla to bear in silence modem C Syiia. a 
the opprobrious epithets of that young patrician who 
followed the ex-dictator, reviling him, through the 
streets of Rome. But our appreciation must increase 
in proportion the more we bear in mind his passionate 
temper, when we come to consider that no single in- 
stance is on record of Bismarck's ever allowing his 
strongest personal leanings, antipathies, or passions to 
influence seriously his action when the welfare of the 
state was in question. 



The War of 1866 concluded, Bismarck returns to 
Berlin with the king, and takes share inj;he ovations 
of the people. He first seeks, side by side with his 

138 Imperial Germany. 

sovereign, the con- 
donation of past 
breaches oi the let- 
ter of the constitu- 
tion, and the Bill of 
Indemnity is passed 
with acclamation by 
a Parliament de- 
lighted with national 
victory. ' 

Now begins the 
new phase in his ac- 
tivity — the work of 
consolidating what 
had been gained — 
the strengthening of 
the North German 
Confederation, the 
conciliation of the 
popular assembly, 
and the smoothing 
of the way to a bet- 
ter understanding 
with the South. 

At the beginning 
of this period falls 
that masterstroke of 
Bismarck's which 
was only revealed 
to the public and 
princess BisMAnc*. to France like a 

clap of thunder in 1867— the secret treaty with the 

1 The government In violation of the constitution had, in spite of the oppo- 
sition of Parliament, carried out Its policy of organizing and strengthening 

Bismarck, 139 

South. 1 The result of this would have been that even 
had the French tardily provoked war in 1866, they 
would have found Prussia at the head of all Germany, 
a fact they were loth to believe even in 1870, notwith- 
standing the previous publication of the treaty. 

The years from 1866 to 1870, in their creative and 
consolidating fertility, belong to history ; it suffices for Four years of 
our purpose that they were years of unremitting work 
and successful effort with Bismarck. Their calm was 
only once disturbed by the Luxemburg quarrel in 1867, 
which would have led to war then had it not been for 
Bismarck's moderation. This, again, must be regarded 
as a striking instance of that self-control and moderation 
in success so conspicuous in Bismarck's character ; 
doubly so, when we bear in mind that he already 
regarded war as inevitable. 

The leading facts of the War of 1870 and the after- 
results of these unprecedented campaigns are too well The war of 
known to require that we should dwell on them. It 
suffices for our purpose to point out that, onerous as 
were the conditions imposed on the vanquished in the 
eyes of the placid onlooker, it was notoriously the work 
of Bismarck that they were not far more so. Here, as 
in 1866, Bismarck was opposed by Moltke, of whom a 
most impartial French writer says, " Had Moltke had his Mo i t k e 's 
way, France would have been annihilated. ' ' And let opp 08111011 - 
there be no mistake : there was nobody to stop the 
way ; Austria was powerless, Russia passive, and the 
offers of England's interference had been coldly de- 
clined. The calm, dispassionate moderation of Bis- 
marck in success, although perhaps hardly perceptible 
to our eyes, has yet been recognized as one of his strik- 
ing characteristics, even by individual Frenchmen. 

1 That is, with the South German states— Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Baden. 

140 Imperial Germany. 

It is beside our purpose to enter chronologically here 
into the details of his latter-day internal administration ; 
we wish only to summarize. 

The supreme position he gained for himself and 

pe£ce. c> ° helped to gain for his country has, since 1870, been 

utilized in the interests of peace, so that it has been well 
said that never before has such immense political power 
been used with such moderation. This is, perhaps, the 
brightest jewel in Bismarck's crown of glory, even if in 
justice we must admit that he only shares it with his late 
imperial master. This moral position led to what was 
perhaps, in one sense, the greatest triumph of his life, 
when, after the late Turco-Russian War, Europe seemed 
on the eve of a desperate struggle, and Russia and 

Berlin England met at Berlin, and sought the adjustment of 

Congress, 1878. their differences at the hands of the ' ' honest broker. ' ' 

Side by side with the unparalleled ovation on the part 
of all Germany which greeted Bismarck on the attainment 
of his eightieth birthday — April i, 1895 — we cannot re- 
sist the temptation of referring back to a letter the late 
emperor William wrote to him in September, 1884, on 
the occasion of conferring on him the military insignia 

Bismarck of the order " Pour le M6rite. M For its spirit breathes 

reccivea a ... 

military order, the due recognition of services such as rarely have been 

rendered to a state by a subject, and is doubtless unique 
in history as the tribute of a sovereign, who thus hon- 
ored himself as much as him whom he distinguished : 

Although the significance of this order is intended to be 
essentially military, still you ought to have had it long ago. 
For, in truth, you have shown the highest courage of the 
soldier in many hard times, and, besides, in two wars you have 
shown at my side that, beside all other distinctions, you have 
the fullest claim to a high military one. Thus I make up for 
* omissions ( Versdumtes) in sending you herewith the order 

" Pour le Mente," with oak leaves (Eichenlaub) added, if only 

Bismarck. 141 

to express thereby that you ought to have had it before, and 
that you have deserved it again and again. I so fully appreciate Emperor 
in you the heart and mind of a soldier that I hope, in sending SbufeT' 8 
you this order, which many of your ancestors wore with pride, 
to give you pleasure. In doing so it affords me satisfaction to 
feel that I am thereby granting a deserved distinction as a 
soldier to the man whom God's gracious providence has 
placed by my side, and who has done so much for his country. 


Thus the people, who were so slow to recognize the 
man, had come to look upon everything that had oc- 
curred, good of bad, as directly foreseen by or emanating 
from him. Of course this is as far from being the case 
as the estimate of public opinion is ever far from being 
the verdict of history. No human being foresees every 
turn of the wheel of time ; in nine cases out of ten even 
to the ken of genius it is the unforeseen that occurs. 
But great men meet the unexpected, while mediocrity is 
overtaken and crushed by it. Nor are Bismarck's great 
successes alone the most remarkable feature in the man. 
The way he has repeatedly turned an awkward occur- 
rence to his advantage supplies us with subject for sagacity, 
admiration. When German colonial annexations caused 
an outburst of patriotism in Spain to defend her rights 
to the Caroline Islands, public opinion thought that at 
last Bismarck had got into trouble. But lo! he proposes 
the arbitration of the pope, and by that single move 
does more, without loss of dignity, to conciliate the 
Catholic world than a series of reactionary laws might 
have attained. 

Uniformly successful abroad, he failed but once — 
namely, in his struggle with a foe of a thousand years, 
the power of Rome. And yet even here, although he 
failed to conquer, neither was it a defeat ; concessions 


Imperial Germany. 

His struggle 
with Rome. 

sacrifices for 

were made on both sides. Here he failed because suc- 
cess was hardly possible. Yet just this failure supplies 
us with a forcible illustration of a great trait in the man. 
After being identified for years with open antagonism to 
the papal see, it must have cost his pride no trifling 
pang to step out lustily on the road to Canossa 1 — he, a 
stanch Protestant — smoking the pipe of peace with the 
placidity of an honest purpose. 

After leaning for years for support on the best intellect 
of Germany, after being hailed as the torch-bearer of the 
modern spirit of enlightenment against the temporal pre- 
tensions of medieval papacy, it cannot have been with a 
light heart that he threw in his lot with many elements 
of superstition and class prejudice. But those elements 
meant support against the wild dream of anarchic social- 
ism, against the petty spirit of Particularismus y * which 
is not dead even up to the present day. 

If personal ambition — a word that reads so close to 
egregious vanity — had been his motive power, is it to be 
supposed that a passionate, vindictive nature like Bis- 
marck^ would have taken such a step? 

History is only too rich in instances to show how 
much easier it is for ambitious natures to be ' 'consist- 
ent* ' in their self-willed aims than to turn back in the 
face of friend and foe and boldly cry out : ' c I was 
wrong; I underrated the power of the spirits I raised 
too readily. I must retrace my steps.' ' 

Now, although Cicero long ago warned his com- 
patriots that no liberal man should impute a charge of 

1 This refers to the struggle between Pope Gregory VII. and Henry IV., 
emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It was a contest between church and 
state, in which the pope finally compelled the emperor to sue for mercy. 
Henry sought the pope at the castle of Canossa. Hence one who tries to 
conciliate the Vatican is said to " take the road to Canossa." 

s A German expression denoting the individual interest of each separate 

Bismarck. 143 

unsteadiness to another for having changed his opinion, * 
that dreadful German pedantic fad, Uberzeugungstreue 
(fidelity to conviction), has laid hold of Bismarck on the 
score of his changed opinions, and reproached him with 
it. He has been accused of his former leanings toward 
Austria, of his conversion to protection, besides his 
change of front toward the Vatican. Well did he retort 
to such charges, that he thought he had therein the ad- Change of 

. opinions a 

vantage over those who still remained where they were mark of 

. . progress. 

a generation ago. And this must seem well founded to 
all those who do not share the belief of the supernatural 
prescience of statesmen, but rather see their genius in 
the capacity of profiting by experience and of turning 
the unforeseen to their advantage. 

Napoleon, who wrote to his brother Joseph, king of 
Spain, ' * I know I shall find the Pillars of Hercules in 
Spain, but not the limits of my power/ ' would have 
come down to posterity a far greater man if bitter ex- 
perience had taught him to recant in time, and that the 
limits of his power were confined to somewhere about 
the Rhine. Has history dealt kindly with him because 
the warnings providence sent were lost on him? Has 
history not denied him the adjective of " Great,' ' 
notwithstanding his * ' consistency ' ' in refusing to see Napoleon's 
the chances within his reach, of rising above his ambi- "consistency." 
tious self, and of profiting in time by the dreadful lessons 
of his aberrations ? 

Herein is to be found the main difference between the 
intellectual power as well as the ambition of a Napoleon 
and that of a Bismarck — namely, in the difference in 
meaning of the latter word. To many, Bismarck is the 
very archetype of an ambitious nature ; and so he may 

l Our own statesmen — Lord Beaconsfield, Mr. Gladstone, and Lord Derby — 
supply striking instances of changing convictions. 


Imperial Germany. 

The nature of 



be, only with the proviso which his enemies forget — 

ambidon 1 "^ ° f name ty» *h at there is such a thing as an almost divine 

ambition. What is, after all, the potentiality of all 
earthly ambition compared to the one ambitious hope 
most of us confess to and earnestly strive to realize — 
that of a happier future hereafter ? Bearing the latter 
ambition in mind, how can we ride roughshod over the 
definition of ambition, and qualify it as a questionable 
quality? To some, the will to serve one's country 
at the risk or certainty of unhappiness in this world may 
seem as worthy as the ambition that prompts us to 
be anxious for our personal welfare hereafter. 

If there is such a thing as a noble ambition to serve 
one's country, surely that quality in its highest accepta- 
tion is to be found in Bismarck. And, as far as we can 
judge, we may even qualify his desire to serve his 
country as one that has its origin in the rights of man ; 
the right to exist as an independent country, free to 
develop its institutions in peace. For the idea of serv- 
ing his country by despoiling alien races, which has 
been the excuse of so many victorious conquerors, has 
never been one that found favor in his eyes. Without, 
perhaps, being one of those fanatical believers in the 
gospel of nationalities — for he is far too clear-sighted to 
be a blind believer in any set doctrine — it is well known 
that he regretted the military necessity of annexing 
purely French territory in 1870. All his previous con- 
quests have been limited to territory to which the 
empire of Germany was legitimately entitled by ties 
of race and historical traditions. We have only to 
gauge the extent of the German military successes 
by historical comparisons in order to become convinced 
of the clear-headed, sagacious moderation of the man in 
the midst of world-striking success. It is interesting to 

His great 

Bismarck, 145 

note how fortune favors those who have not exhausted 
her kindness, and how she totally forsakes those who 
have once abused her. This is strikingly illustrated by 
the careers of Napoleon I. and Bismarck. The peculi- 
arity of the latter is that he has lived to prove that 
he deserved the smiles fortune reserved for him. 

It seems but natural to turn to history for compari- 
sons, and few characters offer so tempting a subject Definiteness of 

r & J Bismarck's 

for drawing parallels as that of Bismarck. For every- character., 
thing about the man is definite and powerfully outlined, 
down to the exact number of his hirsutory adornments, 
the popularly accepted three hairs, no more nor less. 
And this is, in its way, symptomatic. Nothing is too 
trifling for his individual attention, and he brings the 
same amount of dogged determination to bear on his 
efforts to protect the obscure German trader in East 
Africa as if a great interest were at stake. 

To our mind the character in English history which 
personally offers most affinity to him is that of Lord 
Clive. The story of Clive' s boyhood is such as we bianceto 
could fancy Bismarck' s. And if the child be the father 
to the man, Bismarck, again, in his schoolboy days, 
sitting among the branches of a tree and declaiming the 
Iliad to his schoolfellows, reminds us of Clive. Bis- 
marck's youthful predilection for Ajax Telamon among 
all Homeric heroes seems to strike a common key in the 
two men's characters — the hearty fighter, less intent on 
playing a leading part than in giving play to the un- 
bounded animal spirits of strife for its own sake, but 
withal honest and trustworthy, if somewhat rough. In 
daring allied to cunning, again, they resemble each 
other, though it was only in their maturity that they 
were called upon to play the Homeric part of Ulysses. 
The history of Clive' s manipulation of Surajah Dowlah 


Imperial Germany. 

His personal 

His deference 
to the crown. 

and the doubtful treaty with Omichund offers some 
resemblance to Bismarck's hoodwinking of Napoleon 
III. and his diplomatic agents. 

Clive* s marriage and the close ties of intellectual sym- 
pathy that bound him to Lady Clive during his whole 
life again present many points of resemblance with what 
we know of Bismarck. And, lastly, the judgment of 
popular opinion, if not analogous in both cases, is 
at least curiously suggestive. 

The following description of Bismarck's personal 
appearance is interesting as coming from the pen of a 
Frenchman : 

The outward aspect alone of the man denotes something out 
of the common ; the round face has something of the bull-dog : 
the broad bald forehead ; the deep-seated eyes beneath thick 
brows, with their impenetrable depth of expression ; the 
sardonic mouth, badly hidden beneath the moustache ; enor- 
mous ears, as if to catch every sound ; the broad chin — every- 
thing gives the idea of power and brutality. He is colossal. I 
have seen him on horseback in the white uniform of the 
Magdeburg Cuirassiers ; I seemed to see one of the mythi- 
cal sons of Haimon. 


Bismarck is a stanch believer in the monarchical 
principle, and is thoroughly German in his anxiety to 
guard the privileges of the crown. In fact, his char- 
acter as a whole, exceptional as it is, is in many 
respects distincdy typical of his country, even down to 
his bursts of irritability. His deference to the crown is 
the result of honest conviction, for there is not an ounce 
of the courtier or self-seeking opportunity hunter in his 
composition. The stubborn honesty of his nature ex- 
cludes all possibility of such qualities. With the courage 
of one who knows not the meaning of fear, instead of 
blinding himself to the demands of the Social Demo- 




Imperial Germany, 

His encourage- 
ment of manu- 
factures and 

His desire for 

crats, while combating them, he has yet tried to gain for 
himself the knowledge of what is practicable in their 
demands ; and out of it we see the system of insurance 
against sickness, in case of accident, and, lastly, the 
project of pensions in old age, come one after the other 
for the benefit of the working classes. 

He has tried hard to stimulate the manufacturing 
classes of the country, and, rightly or wrongly, he 
sought the assistance of protection for that purpose. 
His aim was plain — to make his country independent of 
foreign manufacturers, and to force others to accept 
German products. His colonial policy, whether suc- 
cessful or not in the future, has at least already had the 
one result of giving an enormous moral impetus to the 
trade of the country. 

While party government shows everywhere a craven 
anxiety to employ only its own partisans — as if position 
were a reward of the nature of a bribe — Bismarck has 
sought cooperation among every shade of opinion down 
to that of formerly ostracized Republicans. He himself 
has put it : * * I welcome cooperation gratefully from 
every side, and ask not what party it comes from. ,, 

This, however, from no mere accommodation to self- 
interest. Every action of his was intended to kindle 
the national spirit, and in this conciliation was but a 
means to an end. Thus, if Bismarck is in part re- 
sponsible for a certain boisterous self-assertion in the 
academical youth of Germany, the increase of students' 
pugnacity, etc. , it must be taken in this light. Also his 


well-known refusal to receive a German book printed in 
Roman characters, which well might seem surprising to 
us in its pettiness if judged from a personal point of 
view, was doubtless part of a well-weighed system of 
national propaganda. 

Bismarck, 149 

As he has never disdained to avail himself of the 
smallest advantage in foreign politics, so also no means t ^fl e g egard for 
are too trifling to gain the end in view nearer home, for 
the end justifies them. 

But narrow natures — political faddists — who ride 
about on the broomsticks of ragged principles, would 
fain judge Bismarck according to their intolerant stand- 
ards, while recommending their own methods as to how 
to raise a people out of the political mud of the past. 
His opponents have not shown that they possess the 
magnanimity they pretend to find lacking in him. 
There has been too much wounded vanity turned to 

Much of the opposition Bismarck ever encountered in 
his home policy may be traced to the spirit of jealousy opposition 
felt by advocates of social reform because they were not jealousy, 
allowed to carry out their own measures — a feature of 
parliamentary government in all countries. Many also 
have been too sensitively anxious to show that they were 
not led captive by the glamor of military success, and in 
some notable instances this feeling has been the result of 
•excessive vanity. The average Germans have acute per- 
ception, and yet they have never been appreciators of a 
great man. A sort of self-consciousness makes them 
loth to surrender their judgment to unqualified admira- 
tion for home genius. Goethe, Schiller, and other 
great Germans knew something of this ; and Bismarck 
himself has spoken sarcastically on this subject, as 
referred to elsewhere. 

Thus, although long all-powerful, he has been the 
subject of venomous hatred in his own country, which, it h a h t re^ ectof 
must be admitted, he has given back in current coin. It 
was perhaps only natural, in an age that loves to make 
itself believe everything can be done in kid gloves, that 


Imperial Germany. 

Bismarck and 
Count Arnim. 

Bismarck a 
good hater. 

Bismarck's remark to Count Beust, that when once we 
get our enemy in our power it is our duty to crush him, 
should have caused surprise to some and horrified 
others. (This animus does not seem to nullify an- 
other saying of his, that we ought to be outwardly 
polite to our enemies even to the steps of the scaffold !) 

The memorable conflict between Bismarck and Count 
Arnim is a case in point. He pursued the count even 
to the jaws of death, and there can be no doubt that the 
punishment of Arnim seems to some to have been out of 
all proportion to his guilt. But we must remember that 
behind Arnim stood the violent hatred of an entire 
clique, whom Bismarck struck at in their leader. This 
was well known at the time, for the emperor declared 
himself powerless to save Arnim from the hatred of the 
chancellor. Yet even here it is necessary to bear in 
mind that, let Bismarck's resentment against Count Ar- 
nim have been never so violent, this in itself was insuffi- 
cient to secure the latter* s legal condemnation and pun- 
ishment in Germany. These were impartially meted 
out to Count Arnim by the legal tribunal of the land, 
which on a later occasion — that of the prosecution of 
Professor Geffcken by Bismarck — clearly demonstrated 
its independence by acquitting the accused. 

There are battles in political life in which the price of 
defeat in some countries must be annihilation. That 
Bismarck is a good hater — enough so to delight the 
heart of Dr. Johnson — he has abundantly proved ; and 
that his nervous irritability — his impatience of opposi- 
tion — largely increased as he grew older is generally 
understood. That he allowed himself to be carried 
away by the opposition of his enemies, even to impugn 
their motives without sufficient cause, notably in the de- 
bate on the tobacco monopoly, will hardly be denied. 

Bismarck. 151 

Yet even here Bismarck never allowed personal pique to 
sway his acts when his sense of duty was called into play. 

For all that, we do not believe that a wound to his 
self-esteem alone could ever have led Bismarck to show 
personal animus in a political matter. There are plenty 
of incidents known when he rose superior to it, among 
them the following : 

Count d*Herisson, an officer of the French general 
staff, tells us in his book, "Journal of an Artillery d'Hensson's 

r^rr 'J ^ j stratagem. 

Officer, how he was sent to Versailles to deliver to 
Prince Bismarck the document signed by the French 
government embodying the capitulation of Paris. On 
the road thither he conceived the bold idea of endeavor- 
ing, on his own account, to obtain the release from one 
onerous condition of the capitulation — namely, the sur- 
render of the flags of the Paris garrison. He therefore 
told Bismarck that he had brought the document ready 
signed, but with instructions only to deliver it up if the 
Germans would relinquish their claim to the French 
flags. At first Bismarck was very irritated and excited, 
but gave in at last ; thus Count d'Hensson's stratagem 
was successful. When his book appeared, this passage its success, 
was met with strong doubts by the public. But it 
turned out to be perfecdy true, for Bismarck caused a 
letter to be written to Count d' H£risson telling him that 
he had read his book with great interest, and he compli- 
mented Count d' HeVisson on the patriotic victory he 
had gained over him. In this, as in many other in- 
stances, Bismarck has shown a generosity of feeling 
toward foreign foes that he has rarely shown to op- 
ponents of his own nationality. 

Even Bismarck's deficiencies are interesting and often 


Imperial Germany. 

Bismarck's dis- 
like of the press. 

Bismarck not 
an orator. 

arouse our sympathies. At a time when many states- 
men divide their energies between the task of ruling and 
horse-racing, the collecting of old china, casuistic discus- 
sion, and other pastimes, it is almost refreshing to find a 
man who honestly tells you that he understands nothing 
of the old masters, that he is too old to learn to ap- 
preciate ' * high art, ' ' that he does not know the inside of 
an opera-house or of a concert hall, and that he prefers 
an Italian organ-grinder to a remarkable tenor. 

Bismarck's dislike of the press is well known, but 
is not surprising when we bear in mind how he has been 
treated by his pen-wielding enemies during the greater 
part of his political career. How often during his tenure 
of office public opinion expressed through the press 
announced his approaching decline, only to see him rise 
through each succeeding crisis higher and higher in 
influence and power. But strong characters, such as 
his, are not so likely to be appreciated by those of whom 
Spencer says : 

Therefore the vulgar did about him flocke, 
And cluster thicke unto his leasings vaine, 

(Like foolish Flies about an Honey crocke,) 
In hope by him great benefite to gaine, 
And uncontrolled Freedome to obtaine. 

Also, Bismarck has been denied the dangerous gift of 
oratory, of which its detractors say, with some reason, 
that it has done more harm than good in the world. 
Orators have rarely been statesmen. Curiously enough, 
too, history teaches us that most great orators have ap- 
peared coeval with a nation's decay : witness Demos- 
thenes and Cicero. Also the thunderbolts that the late 
M. Gambetta hurled from his jaws only served to re- 
echo the cry of a defeated country ! Neither Richelieu 
nor Cromwell nor Washington was an orator, yet his- 

Bismarck. 153 

Cory does not tell us that their statesmanship suffered 
from the lack of this accomplishment. 

Bismarck's is not a nature we can imagine delivering 
well-turned periods or emitting polished Ciceronic shafts. v ' £or h of •* 
But if his periods are nervously jagged and lack rotund- 
ity, they fly as straight as a dart, and, where they strike, 
they pierce the enemy through and through, and thence 
pursue their 
winged course 
right across the 

The question 
of Bismarck's re- 
ported dislike of 
England and the 
English has been 
too often mooted 
not to warrant a 
passing refer- 
ence. If we may 
draw our con- 
clusions from 
many references 
to England in his 
private corre- 
spondence, from 
the fact of both 

his SOnS receiving From an autograph portrait. 
English baptis- HmmBwuia 

mal names (Herbert and William 1 ), as also from the HisBt , ilude 
many opportunities the writer has been privileged to Bn35iu b ' 
enjoy of conversing with Prince Bismarck of late years, 
we should say that, next to Germany, there is no coun- 

1 He 19 called " BUI " in the family circle. 

154 Imperial Germany. 

try and no people he originally felt so much sympathy 
with as England and the English. On the other hand, 
there are some who aver that the continual upholding 
of English doctrines and methods he has had to en- 
counter in Parliament, not to mention certain occult 
English influences constantly brought up in even higher 
places to counteract his plans, have had their share in 
prejudicing him against England. That Bismarck is 
only too happy if he comes in contact with a repre- 
sentative of England who is congenial to him is abun- 
dantly proved by his studied attention and courtesy to 
Lord Beaconsfield 1 during the Berlin Congress. 

To many it may come as a surprise when we say that 
His religious Bismarck's nature is in its root essentially religious. 

The categorical imperative of Kant is by him translated 
into a dominating influence, and in the light of his own 
private confession we must regard him as drawing his 
strength and foresight from the constant sense of de- 
pendence on a higher will which has called him to his 
place at the head of the German people. For instance, 
we find this frank and almost brusque statesman thus 
writing in the autumn of 1870, while the victories of the 
war were yet fresh : 

If I were not a Christian, I would not serve my king another 
hour. If I did not obey my God and put my trust in him, my 
respect for earthly rulers would be but small. I have enough 
to live upon, and, as a private man, I should enjoy as much 
consideration as I desire. Why, then, should I exhaust myself 
with unwearying labor in this world, why expose myself to 
difficulties, unpleasantness, and ill-treatment, if I had not the 
feeling that I must do my duty before God and for his sake ? If 
I did not believe in a divine government of the world which 

1 It may be interesting to English readers to remember that Lord Beacons- 
field— at all times a great judge of character— was one of the few who were im- 
pressed with Bismarck's frank statement of his ambitious aims in 1862, and 
anticipated their fulfilment. 

Bismarck. 155 

had predestined the German nation to something great and 
good, I would abandon the trade of diplomacy at once, or, 
rather, I should never have undertaken it. I do not know His sense of 
whence my sense of duty should come except from God. duty God-given, 
Titles and decorations have no charm for me. The confident 
belief in life after death — that is it — that is why I am a Royalist; 
without it, I should by nature be a Republican. All the stead- 
fastness with which I have for ten years resisted every conceiv- 
able absurdity has been derived only from my resolute faith. 
Take this faith from me, and you take my country too. . . . 
How willingly would I leave it all ! I am fond of country life, 
of the fields and the woods. Take away from me my belief in 
my personal relation to God, and I am the man to pack up my 
things to-morrow, to escape to Varzin, and look after my 
crops ! 

To us these words bear the impress of deep sincerity. 
They are clear water welling down the old gray rock, 
fresh, sweet, pure, and beautiful, round whose course as 
it flows fragrant flowers may grow, making the hard, 
harsh outline soft and radiant. 


It is indeed no easy matter to gain a clear, unbiased x 
estimate of the gigantic personality of Prince Bismarck, estimate of 
To a contemporary it is nearly impossible. It is as if we impossible, 
stood before an imposing Alpine landscape, near enough 
in order to perceive the rifts in the rocky structure, but 
not far enough away to appreciate the majestic beauty 
of the outlines and the harmony of color of the whole. 

If this be true of his contemporaries, how much more 
so must it be the case with those who stand nearest to 
him — his own countrymen. The aspect is blurred by 
the many points of attack of his political opponents. 
But one fact stands out preeminent amid the chaos of 
criticism, hatred, and admiration, namely, that since 
1870 the many years of Prince Bismarck's political pre- 


Imperial Germany. 


His service to 
Germany yet 

ponderance meant peace in Europe and increasing pros- 
perity in Germany. 

And now that this Titanic figure of our century has 
retired into the seclusion of private life — to live on and 
to witness still the stability of his work outlast the period 
of his own personal direction — who can say that the fitful 
glimpes we get of his mighty individuality contradict the 
essentially harmonious human estimate we have formed 
of his character? 

The cry of anguish, * ' I cannot lie down like a hiber- 
nating bear, ' ' does not lead us into temptation to quibble 
and sling arrows at the human weakness of a man whose 
foibles are sometimes fraught with more greatness than 
the life achievements of many a popular hero. 

Bismarck has never assumed the placidity of the Stoic. 
As we ventured to point out, when still in the height of 
his power, we do not seek his counterpart in the stoicism 
of the Roman dictator. His heart, his blunt honesty, 
his instincts, were ever German to the core. In order 
to accomplish his work it was as imperative that they 
should have been so as it was that Martin Luther should 
have been able to throw his mighty German individu- 
ality in the scale against the cunning of the priesthood 
of Rome. Genius even cannot mark the records of a 
people for all time, unless its inspiration is fraught with 
the fragrance of the soil of its birth. Thus the heart- 
burnings of this great man only bring him nearer to us 
from the liuman nature of their source. 

It has been well said that no one can know the utter 
contemptibility of human nature like a fallen minister. 
But even others need but have studied the past in order 
to have expected the howl of triumph of his enemies 
which followed the fall of this great man. Are we not 
even told that the* death of Frederick the Great — the 

Bismarck. 157 

policeman of Europe — was greeted with a sigh of relief 
by the community at large? And yet who heeds old 
Frederick's detractors to-day, while the luster of his 
deeds is more resplendent now than at the time of their 
execution. Thus it is ever the fate of truly great men ; 
they gain by the perspective succeeding ages lend to 
their contemplation. 

Still, even Bismarck's fall fortunately affords, now that 
he is still living, an opportunity of qualifying a pessi- 
mistic estimate of mankind in general. 

There was a glorious ray of human sunshine in that 
manifestation of sympathy when the grand old paladin His retirement 
left Berlin, amid the beautiful German cry, "Auf Wie- 
dersehen." 1 It does us good to hear of mothers hold- 
ing up their children, to catch another glimpse of those 
mighty features. This is a privilege enjoyed by many 
thousand patriots since, who from time to time have 
made their pilgrimage to Friedrichsruh in the hope of 
seeing once more Germany's Iron Chancellor in his 
rural retreat — retired from business, but still living on 
lustily in the hearts of his countrymen. 

It is not for us — in fact it is too early for any man — 
to presume to judge of what is hidden from our gaze a lapse of time 

_ * necessarv to si 

and ken. The details of internal politics of a great clear judgment 
foreign country may call forth our interest, but they are, 
at least for the time being, beyond the scope of our 
judgment. However, time need not roll on in order to 
enable us to feel that no incident with which we are 
acquainted can detract from our estimate of the genuine 
human nature underlying the vast genius of Germany's 
greatest statesman. 

1 " Until we meet again." 



Nullus mortalium armis aut fide ante Germanos esse. 1 

— Tacitus. 

. I. 

Victory has given the German army a unique posi- 
tion in the eyes of the world. There is no denying that 
its composition and characteristics excite an interest the 
extent of which can only be compared to its achieve- 

If a great standing army be a grim, unavoidable evil, 

An army of at least it can be said of the German army that its end 
justifies the means that called it into existence. It is an 
army of peace. It is a nation in arms to secure peace. 
Its moral standing is by far the highest of any army the 
world has yet seen. Armies are too often sources of im- 
morality and rowdyism in all times and countries, but 
this one is a decided agent of discipline and morality. 
The habits of punctuality, of obedience, of discipline, 
the inculcation of the instincts of honor in the humblest, 

its effect on the the meeting of all classes in the nation on one common 
rman peop e. g rounc i Q f feeling- and duty, have physically and morally 

strengthened the whole German people. This fact is 
visible to the naked eye of any observant traveler who 
crosses the German frontier at different points, and com- 
pares the populations of the different countries. 

We English, who are proverbially slow to recognize or 
to acknowledge foreign prowess — and not without some 

i None surpass the Germans in war and faithfulness. 


The Army. 159 

excuse, for we have plenty of our own to look back 
upon — we even have come to look upon the German 
army as something to be admired. "The sternest man- 
slaying system since the days of Sparta," one of our 
most able periodicals termed it. 

Even a Frenchman could not help saying that 
although the German soldiers could not, "of course," 
compare with the French, still there was no denying the ' 
merit of the German officers ! "I have seen them 
driving their men forward with sword-blows," he said. 
But not alone Frenchmen ; it has often seemed to 
Englishmen that the victories of the Germans have 
failed to impress many others with 
the idea of their individual prow- 
ess. When we say individual 
prowess, we mean that glamor of 
individual valor and dash in the 
rank and file that has ever had a 
touch of romance to the eyes of 
the crowd. 

If failure to impress in this way 
be a fact, and one that was based 
on accurate observation, then in- 
deed the qualities of supreme ani- 
mal courage are not answerable 
for the superiority of the Germans 
in the field ; qualities which John 
Bright once told us can be bought 
to any extent in the world's mar- 
ket at $10 a week ! 

It is well to dwell on this fact, 
and to endeavor to draw from it 

the only legitimate inferences that — 

present themselves — namely, that a cavalryman. 


Imperial Germany. 

The German 


Germany owed her success in the field to far higher 
qualities than those which of old weighed down the 
scales in the victors favor. 

Althbugh some nations are still infected with Homeric 
traditions of vainglorious martial prowess, the days of 
the professional hero are gone forever. The old type, 
that ever utilized a portion of its energies to vilify and 
diminish an antagonist, has yielded to a better model. 
To-day the peasant, the plain citizen, takes his place in 
the ranks and, steeled in the ordeal of battle, returns as 
a true type of a hero : a man who has quietly and 
unostentatiously done his duty. 

It is significant that- you will never hear mention of a 
brave officer in Germany. We constantly hear of ' ' ein 
tapferer Soldat, ' ' a brave soldier, but we fear the Ger- 
mans might look upon the term a "gallant officer,' ' to 
which we are so accustomed, as slightly tautological — 
not to say savoring of platitude and vulgarity. They 
realize a dutiful officer, the other is assumed as a matter 
of course. A German member of the Reichstag referring 
to an officer as the ' ' gallant member, ' ' as is the custom 
in England, would be laughed out of countenance. 

Bismarck boasted, in his speech of February 6, 1888, 
that the Germans fear nobody but God. If we might 
be pardoned differing from him in this particular in- 
stance, we would venture to say that the average Ger- 
man fears even a current of fresh air, which he calls 
a draft, more than anybody else in Europe. Unlike 
the French, who are intoxicated by martial glory, if he 
does not fear fighting, at least it has no charms for him ; 
he dislikes it. But the strength of the Germans lies 
in the fact that at the call of duty they overcome their 
antipathy, and stand — a nation in arms— ready to meet 
those who have put them to the trouble of doing so. 

The German army 
is not meant to pro- 
duce pugnacious 

heroes ; it has a higher 
aim, for it succeeds in 
even training the cow- 
ard to overcome his 
timidity and to do his 
duty. And what this 
"doing his duty" 
means, even the enemy 
occasionally bears wit- 
ness to. Thus Count 
d'Hensson 1 draws the 
following picture of an 
episode of the battle of 
Villiers Champigny : 

The Germans, who 
were truly splendid under 

fire, advanced in dark 
masses and at the mo- 
ment of debouching in 
loose sharpshooter for- 
mation suddenly as one 
man lilted their muskets 
above their heads amid a 
deafening "hurrah." 
This seemed to magnify 
their ranks as if by some 
pantomimic circus effect. 
Our mobile guards, who 
had never seen anything 
similar, were cowed. A Prussian Officer. 

But if the popular idea of heroism is rather scouted 
than valued in the German army, on the other hand 

1 D'Hirisson, "Journal of ail Artillery Officer" (Paris), page 180. 


Imperial Germany. 

Cultivation of 
chivalry in the 
German army. 

An instance 
at Sadowa. 

Appreciation of 
chivalry in 
other countries. 

in no army is the spirit of true chivalry more cultivated 
than there. It was consistent with the best Prussian 
traditions that when French public opinion sought a 
scapegoat in Marshal Bazaine, his antagonist in war 
(Prince Frederick Charles), a royal prince and doughty 
soldier, offered to testify to his worth. 

During the battle of Sadowa a company of the second 
Prussian Foot Guards stood to the right of the village of 
Rosberitz. A regiment of Austrian cuirassiers advances 
at full charge. Captain von Gorne orders his men to let 
them come on within two hundred yards. A well-aimed 
volley ! Saddles are emptied, the horses fall. Fresh 
reserves rush forward in quick succession only to bite the 
dust before the unerring aim of the Prussians. A pile 
of wounded horsemen and horses covers the ground. 
Suddenly a single cuirassier jumps qp, runs toward the 
Prussian lines, and, vaulting into the saddle of a stray 
charger, tries to regain his comrades. ' * Let nobody 
fire at that man," the Prussian captain calls out in a 
voice of thunder, and a mighty ' * Bravo ' ' from the 
Prussian ranks reechoes in answer after the flying 

Even in peaceful incidents this chivalric sentiment 
now and then manifests itself. An instance may be 
found in the recent impressive ceremony of transferment 
of the body of the French general Carnot from Magde- 
burg to France. 

In the inculcation of chivalry and the higher forms of 
the fulfilment of duty the Prussian authorities are not 
merely content with precept drawn from the deeds of 
their own countrymen, but have long cultivated a cos- 
mopolitan spirit of appreciating such wherever found. 
Thus when the well-known harrowing disaster occurred 
of the foundering of the English troop-ship the Birken- 

The Army. 163 

head, ' the splendid instance of discipline evinced on that 
occasion by the English troops on board was singled out 
by the king of Prussia and the account of it ordered to 
be read out aloud to every Prussian regiment in parade 
as a shining example worthy of emulation of the noblest 
fulfilment of duty. 


With the vast improvements in our time in firearms 
generally, other instincts must be called upon to face 
the shock of battle ; not, perhaps, opposite instincts, but O f e modeni ents 
certainly qualities of a higher order than hitherto wa 
required. The soldiers who of old would show the 
wild beast roused within them in the heat and excite- 
ment of a hard-fought, hand-to-hand grapple might not 
be equally ready to stand at ease quietly for hours while 
the pitiless ' ' ping ' ' of bullets — fired at a range of one 
thousand yards — dealt death and devastation in their 
sullen lines. Troops in days gone by were seldom 
called upon to make forced marches to the degree that 
is often called for in the present day ; nor were human 
beings ever expected to lie down and sleep on the bare 
fields for weeks together, and that mostly in the pouring 
rain, as was the case in 1 870 from Weissenburg to Pr i vat ion in the 
Gravelotte and then on to Sedan. Animal courage Warofl8 7<>- 
alone, however high, can never hope to meet such 
requirements as are now asked of the rank and file of a 
great European army in the field. That readiness in 
getting killed is not the only quality required is shown 
by the fact that thirty-six German cavalry regiments did 
not lose a single man during the whole campaign of 1870 ! 
The Sixth-Army Corps was hardly under fire at all. 

1 The royal troop-ship Birkenhead foundered off the south coast of Africa in 
February, 1852, with the Seventy-fourth Highlanders commanded by Colonel 
Seton on board. 

164 Imperial Germany. 

Besides perfect organization, it was the lofty spirit — 
the stern sense of duty — which alone, under leaders 
of consummate genius, made those victories possible. 
And these leaders, in their turn, were nothing else but 
the outcome and 
result of that su- 
preme sense of 
consc 1 entiousness 
and duty which 
is the one key- 
note of the whole 
organization of 
Prussia, civil and 
military. This 
trait is striking, 
from highest to 
humblest — from 
the king, who 
declared himself 
ready for duty, 
down to the 
humblest Pome- 
ranian peasant, 
who, at the trum- 
pet call of war, 
quietly reported 
Alfred krupp himself at the 

F OUn d«or.hei r on Bn ds t «lw rl« a tE !Sen . ^^ ^ q{ 

enrollment and exchanged the hoe for the musket. This 
trait is visible everywhere in those iron hoops of the Ger- 
man army, the sergeants and non-commissioned officers. 
It reaches, perhaps, its most pregnant significance in the 
full captain, the company leader. The young lieutenant, 
eften an easy-going fop, is invariably a changed man 

The Army. 165 

when intrusted with the responsibility of a captain's duty. 
If Danton truly characterized •" audacity , ' ' again and 
again " audacity," as the watchword of successful revo- 
lution, we might with equal justice define "duty," 
"duty" again and again, as the key-note, the rallying- 
point, of Prussia's success in the field. This feeling 
is even unassisted by the traditional ' * contempt ' ' for an 
enemy which has ever been inculcated in the breast 
of the common soldier elsewhere. This undervaluing of 
the enemy has been supposed to increase the moral Valuation of 

J rr the enemy. 

strength of an army, although history does not show 
that it ever prevented a defeat turning into a rout. The 
Prussians, both officers and men, are intuitively taught 
to overrate an enemy. Both in 1866 and 1870 the pre- 
vailing opinions were of the superiority of the Austrian 
cavalry, of the French infantry, etc. The soldiers 
themselves used to make these assertions dispassion- 
ately, but with a strongly expressed reservation that, 
notwithstanding probable first defeats, they hoped to 
win in the end. The true value of this sobriety of 
spirit could, however, only have been fully demonstrated 
by temporary defeat — in an involuntary defensive posi- 
tion — and we feel sure that. the nation which, above all 
others in Europe, individually hates war and bloodshed 
would have shown to advantage under such adverse 
conditions. For this steadiness in adversity is more 
readily found in troops which respect their enemies than steadiness in 
in those that despise their foe and may have to over- 
come the disenchantment of finding out their mistake 
suddenly and possibly too late. 


The Bohemian campaign of 1866 brought one Prus- 
sian name prominently to the front— that of General 


i66 Imperial Germany. 

Steinmetz, the lion of Nachod. He was a splendid ex- 
ample of that type of stubborn soldier ready to sacrifice 
any number of his men in his dogged determination 
to rout the foe. This type of soldier has been common 
to all times and countries. The Prussian army had seen 
no active service worth mentioning for generations, and 
a man of General 
was well adapted 
to help it over 
the first squeam- 
ishness in tasting 
blood. Therefore 
it was but natural 
, that this rugged 

soldier of the 

Bliicher school 
(if it be fair to 
compare him to 
so modest a char- 
acter as old 
Marshal " Vor- 
warts ' ' ) should 
have come out of 
the Bohemian 
campaign to find 
his name a house- 
Officbrs of tub First and Second Cavalry hold word at 
Rhcimbnts of ihb Prussian Guard. , . 

home. In any 
other country we should have had that frail female com- 
monly called "public opinion" pointing to General 
Steinmetz as the man to lead supreme in future strug- 
gles. Not so in Prussia. A higher standard than that 
of public opinion directed and watched over the des- 

The Army. 167 

tinies of Germany. General Steinmetz' s achievements 
were recognized and rewarded as they deserved to be, 
but not beyond their deserts. When, in 1870, a nation 
in arms crossed the Rhine to the strains of " Die Wacht His part in the 

War of 1870. 

am Rhein," it found General Steinmetz in command of 
the First Army. He was not a man to wait long for 
orders when an enemy was in sight. He stormed the 
heights of Spicheren and achieved a brilliant victory, 
though at the price of a terrible loss of life. But the 
workmanship that was good enough in 1866 was no 
longer to be tolerated in 1870. General Steinmetz had 
attacked without, if not against, orders, and, although 
victorious, had disconcerted the plans of his superiors, 
which, if properly carried out, were intended to cut off 
the army he had beaten at such heavy cost. 

In any other country "public opinion" would have 
lifted the victorious general into her lap, and he would 
have been on the high road to further honors and re- 
wards. Not so in Prussia; General Steinmetz was com- 
manded to appear before the Red Prince and hear his 
fate. * * Your excellency, although an old soldier, has 
presumably forgotten what it is to obey! " words which, 
translated into their subsequent meaning, conveyed the His dismissal, 
order to go home at once, stripped of his command, in 
disgrace : ' * Cassio, I love thee ; but never more be 
officer of mine. ,, 

At the battle of Le Bourget (before Paris), October 
30, 1870, the storming column, consisting of the 
Queen Elizabeth Regiment, the first battalion of the 
regiment Queen Augusta, and the second company 
of the pioneers of the Guard, was led by Colonel 
Count Kanitz. They were exposed to a murderous fire 
while the pioneers had to work their way gradually 
through every obstacle in their path. The second bat- 

1 68 Imperial Germany. 

talion of the Elizabeth Regiment advances with flying 
■ttie™ " ae c °l° rs ' when its standard-bearer falls ; another non- 
* Bou IK «. commissioned officer seizes the standard, but he, too, is 
struck down. At that moment General von Budritzki 
dismounts, seizes the flag, and rushes on in advance of 
his grenadiers. Around him fall in quick succession 
Colonel von Zaluskowski, the commander of the Eliza- 
beth Regiment, and Count Waldersee, who had only 
rejoined the army a 
few days, cured of 
the wound he had 
received at Grave- 
lotte. The papers 
were full of this deed 
of valor of General 
von Budritzki, but 
in spite of it he was 
not promoted to an 
independent com- 
mand. Heroism is 
not enough in Prus- 
sia to be intrusted 
with the welfare of 
vc a Prussian army 
It is even reported that, although General Herwarth 
von Bittenfeld commanded the vanguard column in 
1866, Moltke refused to grant him a corresponding 
command in 1870, notwithstanding the repeatedly ex- 
pressed wish of the king himself, with whom he was an 
especial favorite. 

A Prussian officer does not hold a responsible com- 
mand because of his bravery, but because of his sup- 
posed talent for the disposition of troops {Dispositions- 

The Army. 169 

talent), his capacity to take the initiative, to act with 
judgment under unforeseen conditions — in short, bis 
fitness for command. 

These incidents are instructive as showing how heroes, 
however exalted, who disobey orders, or who — even far 
less — are judged incompetent although in appearance 
successful, are dealt with by the competent directing 
minds in the German army. So little, however, are 
these facts understood by public opinion in other coun- 
tries, that after the retirement of the late Prince Alexan- 
der of Battenberg from Bulgaria some of its exponents 
busied themselves with his probable nomination to the 
command of a Prussian army corps. 


Neither the efficiency of the German army nor the In fl uenceof 
choice of its leaders depends on the watchfulness of {^JheG^rman 
public opinion ; it is perfectly independent of it, and army - 
this is one of the chief causes of its excellence. Neither 
Count Waldersee nor Count Schlieffen, the two men 
who have been appointed to succeed Count Moltke as 
chief of the staff, was known to the public at large and 
neither has ever yet held an independent command in 
action. The one supreme condition, the purity of the 
fountain-head, no public opinion can guarantee ; only 
the ' ' spirit ' ' that dwells in the immediate confidence of 
the ruler and makes itself felt down to the common 
soldier can do that. 

What public opinion is capable of doing with regard 
to an army we have witnessed in France, even since the i?m h y e . French 
crushing lesson of 1870. General Boulanger was in- 
stalled at the War Office, his popularity daily on the 
increase. If, during that period, one of those frontier 
squabbles had led to war, General Boulanger would 

170 Imperial Germany. 

have been called by public opinion perhaps to the chief 
command of the army. In this instance public opinion 
might have placed the fates of weal and woe of a nation 
of 38,000,000 in the hands of an intriguer of doubtful 
ability. Another recent instance of the line adopted 
by public opinion in army matters in Austria is related 
farther on. 

If we are to judge by our own experience of public 
opinion in England, we -may fairly assume that, if we 
were engaged in a serious struggle, we should be bur- 
dened with heroes. Not so in the case of Prussia in the 
War of 1870. The mightiest war of modern times hardly 
produced a dozen men around the brows of whom 
public opinion could weave its meretricious wreaths. It 
was not intended it should. It was looked upon as bad 
form in the army to be thought a hero ; quiet duty was 
the watchword. 

It is eminently characteristic of the above that when 
Bismarck's Bismarck inquired after his sons during the war, he did 
not ask their superior officer whether they had distin- 
guished themselves y but only whether they had done their 
duty. Strange reading this, for many of those who feel 
the craving — the lust — for individual distinction. 

Cheap heroism— distinction — would often have been 
easier to gain than to fulfil quiet duty. Men who had 
been too anxious to distinguish themselves were looked 
at askance by their comrades. After the war a silent 
etiquette was promulgated that conversations relating to 
individual prowess were to be avoided. Everybody was 
Duty the expected to do his duty and nothing more. The result 

proved that it had been fairly done. The directing mind 
saw that it was not done in vain. The campaigns of 
1864, of 1866, of 1870, came and passed. Their 
butcher's bills were quietly settled without swords and 


The Army. 171 

bayonets bending, cartridges jamming, and fighting men 
being poisoned by rotten provisions. Would that our 

historians could say 

the same of the re- 
cent English brawls 
with savages ! 

It may be thought 
that the Iron Cross 1 
was, after all, a pre- 
mium on personal 
distinction, and so 
it was in one sense, 
but not in a vulgar, 
sporting sense. The 
Iron Cross came as 
a reward for duty 
done more than for 
personal distinction 
achieved, and in its 
application and dis- 
tribution a truly 
democratic spirit 
prevailed. The Iron 
Cross was in many 
instances on the 

breast of the ser- < ■&. 

geant and common I ■'- -' ; 

soldier before it was 

affixed to the uni- AN 0l "" CER OF TBH ""^"^ SAXOKV " 
form of those in responsible command. Leaving the 
ranks to carry wounded comrades to the rear — a com- 
mon form of distinction in some countries — was hardly a 

1 An order bestowed on Ihose in the German army who ire deemed worthy of 


Imperial Germany. 

Heroism vs. 

An instance of 
duty exceeded. 

passport to the Iron Cross in 1870. Bismarck is said to 
have jokingly remarked to a German prince, who like 
himself wore the Iron Cross, that they had both received 
it as a compliment. 


But as everything has its two sides, so too the aspects 
of personal achievement. Nor do we mean to say that 
there was no element of individual prowess in 1870. We 
only mean to imply that the cheap sort of meretricious 
heroism at the expense of duty, which has been and 
would again be ruin in serious battle, was not encour- 
aged nor rewarded. To prove that every rule may 
have its exceptions, we cannot help mentioning one 
of the few facts that have come to our knowledge in 
which the limits of duty were almost exceeded in a 
quiet, unostentatious, and chivalrous manner. It was at 
the hard-fought battle of Gravelotte that a company 
of the Alexander Guard infantry regiment was standing 
under a withering hail of bullets. The men were 
ordered to lie down under cover. The officers alone, 
as if by a superhuman instinct, remained upright, to 
show the men that, although they were not to be need- 
lessly exposed, there was even more expected of those 
who were placed above them. Of twenty officers eigh- 
teen were killed or wounded on that occasion. If their 
action was an excess of duty, it was not of a meretri- 
cious character. It was done quietly, unostentatiously, 
with no reporters in sight, and with no individual re- 
ward to follow. The true reward was, however, found 
in the devotion of the troops themselves. For a few 
days afterward, on the road to Sedan, this very com- 
pany marched twenty-three hours out of the twenty-four 
without leaving a single man behind. 

The Army. 173 

Few things call more for our attention than the won- 
derful marching capacity of the German army. It is an Matching 

i , , . ■ , , . «paclty of the 

unerring proof of the moral strength of an army, for its German army, 
source is far more of a moral than of a physical nature. 
When the War of 1870 broke out, a friend of ours, who 
had three brothers who were officers in the Prussian 
army, expressed himself thus : "Think of me, we shall 
march the French to death." And the battle of Sedan 
proved he was right. For it was above all this tremen- 
dous capacity for marching which enabled the German 
army to surround that unfortunate town as with an iron 
ring. One of the most striking instances of this march- 
ing aptitude and the moral force connected with it 
was Bliicher's junction with Wellington 
two days after the former's defeat at 
Ligny. Heinrich von Treitschke has writ- 
ten the following regarding it : ' 

The emperor Francis said to the officers of 
Bliicher's staff: "You Prussians are devilish 
fellows." And Mettemich admitted to Frei- 
herr vom Stein that an Austrian army would 
have required at least six weeks to recover 
from such a defeat — whereupon Stein answered 
with emphasis: "There you see what moral 
force can do!" 

It is not so much success as the causes 
which lead to it that must interest the ob- 

The English monthly periodicals dwell 
from time to time on the efficiency of our 
army, and draw comparisons between it 
and those of continental nations. Lately 
a writer in the Contemporary Review 



174 Imperial Germany. 

stated that "the German armies were defeated bv the 
First Republic and by the empire of France because 
they were living on the ' old traditions * of Frederick, 
and had not adapted themselves to the new conditions. 
For precisely the same reasons the Austrians in 1866 
and the French in 1870 went down before the Germans." 
This statement is all very well as applying to certain 

The "new problems of militarv science ; but the ** new conditions" 

mentioned are not identical, nor covered bv any new 
systems of military tactics or strategy. For instance, in 
1866 the Austrian artillery was superior to the Prussian, 
and in 1870 the French rifles were again far superior to 
the German needle-gun. The fact is that the "new 
conditions '* are as old as the days of Sparta ; besides all 
tactical innovations and strategical skill in the leader- 
ship, they mean the fighting condition of a healthy, 
strong community with a great cause, and full moral 
confidence in that cause, at its back. The * * old tradi- 
tions" are as old as Darius and the battle of Arbela, 
and mean the going down of an order of things that has 
outlived itself through age or unfitness or corruption be- 
fore the onslaught of health and strength. 

The '* old traditions " are alive in our midst in Eng- 

SSitkim" land, as shown by the evidence of the Royal Conimis- 

sion to inquire into the weapons and ammunition of our 
army after the late Egyptian campaign, and it reported 
that the bayonets, the swords, as well as the ammuni- 
tion, supplied were partly defective or useless. The 
flour was rotten, the biscuits mildewed, and almost 
every other article of food inferior or adulterated. 
And yet there was nobody to hang ! When a regi- 
ment was to embark from an Irish port, it was found 
that half the men were dead drunk. These are the old 
traditions ! 

The Army. 175 

In Prussia, such is the honest thoroughness and 
efficient solicitude for the army that, when the War of ^'"SSI™ ' 
1870 broke out, as if by magic the whole army was conditions." 
found supplied with an excellent food, the very name of 
which — the now-celebrated "pea-sausage" — had never 
before been heard of by the public. Such is an instance 
of the "new conditions" of modern warfare. It is this 
wondrous efficiency, 
this honest and effect- 
ive administration 
and devotion to duty, 
which arrest our at- 


We repeat, it is the 
honest devotion to 
duty of the unit in the 
army which im- 
presses us more than 
the genius of its lead- 
ers. The one must 
pass away, and men 
will come forward 
who are compara- 
tively untried, but the 
other can, and must, 
remain at all hazards. 

The German subal- 
tern officer works in 

An Officer of the Guard, Prussia. 

the midst of his men ; 

he presides not only over the drill, which in England 

is left to non-commissioned officers, but he is their officers 

moral as well as their technical instructor. His whole 


Imperial Germany. 

The value of 
time in army 

Of conduct 
and example- 

heart is in his profession and with his men, like a fore- 
man in a workshop. Thus he exercises an influence 
over the character of the rank and file confided to his 
care that remains with them in after-life. The- Prussian 
army has been the means of raising the moral as well as 
the physical standard of the masses of the country. 

The following extract from the German Field Service 
Regulations for 1887, issued for the use of the rank and 
file of the army, may prove interesting : 

The soldier may learn to march and to handle his weapons 
by practice ; also his body and his mental powers may be de- 
veloped and steeled ; but time alone can produce that discipline 
which is the key-stone of the army. This is the first condition 
of every success, and must be cultivated and nurtured above 
everything else. A superficial cohesion merely gained through 
practice will give way in critical moments and under the influ- 
ence of unforeseen occurrences. Only by the most thorough 
training of the unit can the necessary cohesive action of the 

many be attained The officer is the teacher and 

leader in every department. This necessitates his possessing 
superiority of knowledge and of experience, as well as superior 
strength of character. Without fear of responsibility, every 
officer in every crisis — even the. most exceptional — must devote 
his whole being to the task of carrying out his instructions, 
even without waiting for orders respecting details. The per- 
sonal behavior of the officer is the most decisive influence on 
the rank and file, for the inferior is subject to the impression 
that coolness and determination make all along the line. It is 
not sufficient to command ; the manner of the commanding ex- 
ercises a great influence over subordinates. Conduct and ex- 
ample create confidence, and nerve the troops to action that 

commands success Every one — from the highest 

officer down to the youngest soldier — must always bear in mind 
that omission and neglect are more punishable than a mistake 
in the choice of means of action. 


In the Prussian army such a thing as appointment by 

The Army. 177 

"public form" and promotion by favoritism — not to 

speak of nepotism — has hitherto been comparatively un- ^™?ttem f 

known. An officer might enjoy the intimate personal 

friendship of the old emperor William without its having 

the slightest influence on his preferment. It would have 

even been powerless to avert his premature retirement, 

if he had been judged unequal to the responsibility of a 

higher command. A rigid system of continually testing 

the capacity of officers was ever at work. No length of 

service would have entitled a man to promotion, unless 

his superiors in command were thoroughly convinced he 

was in every way fitted for it. After ten or twelve years' 

service as a lieutenant, a man may be judged fitted to 

lead a company, and thus receives the rank of captain. 

He may be the best company leader in the Prussian serv- Capacity of 

officers severely 

ice, and yet not have the material for a field officer. If tested, 
such be the opinion of his superiors, he has no hopes of 
ever becoming a major. When his turn for promotion 
comes he receives a quiet hint to retire, and, as a sop, 
he carries the titular distinction of major into private life, 
and silently vanishes from the scene. Service in the 
Prussian army is a national duty, and not necessarily a 
career for the individual. The dismissal may mean shat- 
tered hopes, or a lost career it may be, but it is inevi- 
table, in the interest of the community, in the interest of 
the huge man-slaying machine, in which each man is the 
tiniest little rivet, and nothing more. 

This same test is rigorously applied to every promo- 
tion up to the rank of full general. That such a merci- 
less system of mutual observation and criticism can exist 
without degenerating into a hot-bed of intrigue and 
favoritism, is, in itself, the highest testimony to the 
moral qualities of the Prussian officer. In other coun- 
tries the command of a whole army is often given to an 

ijS Imperial Germany. 

incapable general, and the results are invariably such as 
might be expected- 

There is no regard tor individual sensitiveness in the 
German army. There they root it out stump and branch 

ferbmiifaad m tn e interest of the country. No title, no familv con- 

nections, however powerful, are able to do more than 
enable an officer to serve in one of a few exclusive regi- 
ments, but are by no means able to guarantee his pro- 
motion therein. And vet, when we bear in mind what 
the Prussian aristocracy has done toward making the 
army what it is, we could even understand a litde favor- 
itism, for they have had their bones broken for genera- 
tions in the army service, hardly ever earning any 
material reward in return. If pride of birth be pardon- 
able, it is so in this instance of generations of unselfish 
devotion to a hard service. To be nearlv related to a 
great Prussian commander is, if anything, a drawback, 
for the spirit of rigid impartiality toward one's own kith 
and kin has before now been the means of even hindering 
an officer's advancement- 
Bismarck's two sons went into the Franco-German War 

a notable as privates in the Dragoon Guards, and — most remark- 

able — in Germanv it was onlv taken as a matter of course. 
William Bismarck, the younger, had even served nearly 
a whole year previously in the same humble capacity. 
Such an absence of nepotism is to be found only in Prus- 
sia. It is looked upon as a matter of course ; it exists 
in all branches of the state service and is one of the 
reasons the Prussian administration works so thorough*. 
One of Field-Marshal Moltke's aides-de-camp through- 
out the Franco-German War — his brother-in-law — came 
out of it with no higher rank than captain, and retired 
some years later through ill-health as major on half-pay. 
(The number of those whose health was subsequendy 

The Army. - 179 

shattered by that struggle almost equaled those of the 
killed and wounded. ) 

This very poverty is one of the hoops of steel that 
binds the Prussian army. The day the Prussian officers ofpove 


cease to be poor, that day the supremacy of the Prussian 
army will be on the wane. The danger of luxury is Thtd; 
a greater one than any foreign combination. The 
present young emperor, when still Prince William, 
said as much when he gave those peremptory orders 


Imperial Geivnany. 

of the point 
©f honor. 


of the " new 

Importance of 
moral influence. 

to his regiment against gambling that created such a 
sensation at the time. The key-stone of the moral 
influence and of the position of the Prussian officer is to 
be sought in the rigid cultivation of the point of honor 
that may seem almost exaggerated to our eyes. The 
slightest slur on the character of a Prussian officer is 
fatal to his chances of promotion, even if it does not 
entail his immediate dismissal. Thus cases of suicide 
are very frequent from causes that would appear trivial 
indeed to those who are not conversant with the rigidity 
of Prussian notions on this subject. For an officer to 
become implicated in a brawl or quarrel connected with 
personal violence, even if innocent, often entails ruin, as 
it is the uniform he wears that must be kept sacred at all 


So much for a few of the characteristics of the * ' new 
conditions. ' ' But there are other questions besides merely 
those of efficiency of commissariat, conscientiousness in 
the performance of duty, intellectual acquirements of 
the officers and leaders, and freedom from foul patron- 
age and nepotism which come up for consideration when 
we examine the qualifications of a victorious army. It 
is not only the old tactical traditions which go down 
before the modern improved ' * system ' ' ; it is the 
meaner impulse that invariably succumbs to the higher, 
the morally effete to the strong and healthy. As the 
Persians went down before the Greeks, and as they 
in their turn succumbed to the Romans, so the latter in 
their effeminacy bit the dust before hardy barbarian 

How clearly the importance of the moral influence 
is shown by Oliver Cromwell in his letter : 

The Army. 1S1 

How can we expect loafers and tapsters to stand up against 
gentlemen with a keen sense of honor and loyalty to their 
sovereign? We must give them an even higher impetus ; we 
must appeal to their God ! 

And from that day forward, even without new tactical 
systems, down went the Royalists ! They went down 
before the fierce Covenanters, who sought death at their 
hands, but kept their powder dry. 

In later times, we see the same "spirit" at work 
deciding the fate of nations. In the American War j 
of Independence the oft- victorious English had to lower 
their standard to their own kin. The watchword of 
"God save the 
King" was unable 
to stifle the cry of 
men fighting for 
their existence. 

The young 
French Republic 
singing the "Mar- 
seillaise'' and 
throwing off the 
tyranny of a cor- 
rupt feudalism was 
victorious as long , 
as it fought against 
such, for it was not 
so much the old 

- . . Monument op Victohv, Leipzig. 

fighting system 

that lowered Prussia's flags at Jena as the fact of its 
army having become a haughty, self-indulgent, separate 
caste, no longer identical with the nation. But as soon 
as the French watchword of "glory" was seriously i, 
tested against the devoted religious fanaticism of the c 


Imperial Germany. 

power of 

Russians, not even the genius of a Napoleon could pre- 
vail. And once the German nation rose to Luther's 
hymn, "Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott" (A strong 
fortress is our God); when once Ernst Moritz Arndt 
gave out his ' ' Der Gott, der Eisen wachsen liess, der 
wollte keine Knechte " (The God who bid that iron be, 
could never wish for slaves); when this spirit rose, 
the day of glory ("le jour de gloire ,, of the " Mar- 
seillaise ' ' ) had sunk into night and the French marshals 
were beaten in every engagement in which the great 
Napoleon did not command in person until the battle of 
Leipzig gave him the finishing stroke. 

It may be an effect of the imagination, but when 
we remember the soul-stirring sounds of the famous 
1 ' Watch on the Rhine ' ' we think we hear the manifes- 
tation of that invincible spirit against which it was but 
natural that the ' ' Marseillaise ' ' should shriek in vain. 
When we recall those public gatherings in Carlsruhe, 
Berlin, and elsewhere after the news of the first victories, 
when the bare-headed crowd joined in those soul-stirring 
chorals of Luther's, we feel that such a spirit was bound 
to conquer. ' 

So much for the action of the divine instinct which 
binds us to the unseen and unknown in its influence 
on the affairs of man in war. It is divine inasmuch as it 
appeals to and draws its strength from something higher 

i Regarding the spirit that animated the German troops in 1870, we hold the 
following testimony from W. McKellar, an English surgeon, who accompanied 
the German troops and was taken prisoner by the French at Orleans : " There 
was any amount of heroic courage among the French, an indescribable enthu- 
siasm animated the Germans. I met several, mortally wounded, who gloried 
in their wounds to the exclusion of all meaner thought of self. One young 
fellow of the artillery — one of four brothers, two of whom fell during the war — 
was brought in to me at Orleans with a thigh crushed. Quite forgetting his 
mortal suffering, he raised his head and pointing to the eagle on his helmet, 
cried out : 4 With God for King and Fatherland ' " (the motto on the Prussian 

The Army. 183 

than our every-day selfishness and vanity — the devotion 

of each unit to the welfare of the entirety. Where this influence of 

. devotion to 

spirit prevails in the administration as well as in the dutv * 
people, cartridges will be found to go off, there also 
provisions will be found adequate, and there will victory 
incline. May that stern sense of devotion to duty, may 
that rare efficiency and integrity in its administrators, 
may that earnest enthusiasm for an independent, united 
Fatherland, long distinguish the Germans and preserve 
them the great nation they deserve to be ! 

IX. • 

Others may try to copy the system which has shown 
such excellent results, but they cannot suddenly appro- 
priate the qualities that have made the German army 
what it is. The one and the other are too much bound 
up in the qualities of the people, and are the result of 
the laborious work of generations. Parliamentary legis- 
lation born of an excited expression of public opinion 
cannot supply such to order. 

To take but one special feature that has done so much 
to raise the moral value of the rank and file of the Ger- 
man army — the leavening of the mass with the educated 
element — the one-year service. It has been tried in Theone-year 

J , service. 

France, and had to be given up. The rank and file 
of that land of equality, instead of benefiting by its asso- 
ciation with the educated classes, were envious of the 
favored elements, sneered at them as ' ' aristos ' * (aristo- 
crats), and made their life a misery to them. The con- 
sequence is that everybody in France now serves equally 
his full time in the ranks, and many of the educated F^nce 1 "" 1 
classes leave the army thoroughly disgusted with the 
hardship and coarseness of the life and its associations. 
The career of General Boulanger in itself throws a lurid 

1 84 

Imperial Germany. 

The recipe for 

Inferiority of 
the Austrian 

light on the incapacity to raise the higher ranks of the 
army to a level that could inspire confidence in their 

The French have copied the cunning of espionage, 
but the unity of moral purpose does not seem yet to 
be theirs. They have a great military history, and they 
love war; the imagination of the race is captivated by 
it, but it is doubtful whether the temperament of the 
people fits them for its requirements in our day. The 
next struggle will solve that question. But one thing 
is certain : the days of the " handsome soldier" of pop- 
ular imagination — the prize-fighting warriors of old — are 
gone from the scene of modern warfare forever. The 
tactical training of the unit under a model organization 
of the whole, led by the comprehensive mind, more 
surely than ever wins the day. The highest discipline 
without red tape seems to be the recipe for victory 
nowadays, for nowhere is independence of judgment, 
freedom of initiative, from the leader of army corps down 
to the non-commissioned officer, so cultivated and en- 
couraged as in the German army. The French temper- 
ament possesses these qualities to an eminent degree, 
but it lacks one of the most important qualities that 
lead to success always — the due subordination of the 

Of Austrian military affairs we do not often hear 
much, but that little is usually of a derogatory nature. 
At the time of the occupation of Bosnia and the Herze- 
govina after the treaty of Berlin, their cavalry not only 
managed to receive a check at the hands of irregulars, 
but, almost amusing to relate, their soldiers were on 
several occasions in danger of starvation. Poor, simple 
souls ; their leaders had doubtless heard of the wealth of 
Prussia during the War of 1870, and, with true Austrian 

The Army, 185 

cunning, they had provided themselves with money ! 
The unimportant fact that Bosnia is not identical with 
wealthy agricultural France had not suggested itself to 
these strategic thinkers. 

But far worse than all this was the little episode at 
Graz in 1888. Austrian public opinion was in a fever An episode at 
of surmise at the sudden retirement of General von 
Kuhn. The journals of the dual monarchy expressed 
their surprise, and united in the hope that the army 
would not lose the services of such an eminent soldier 
in the hour of need. No sooner had public opinion 
let us into its high estimate of General von Kuhn than 
that distinguished officer himself assists us to form an 
estimate of its egregious folly. In his speech to five 
hundred officers at Graz who made a demonstration in 
his favor, carrying him home on their shoulders and 
flourishing their swords, he proved himself to be a brag- 
gart, as the following few excerpts prove : 

My prowess at Santa Lucia is known ; it belongs to history. 
It is less known, perhaps, that at Custozza I stood with only General von 
two guns and without any cover against a whole army corps, u speec ' 
and thus partially contributed to the success of the day. . . . 
In the year 1859 I had the intention of taking the offensive. 
That it did not take place was not my fault. If the offensive 
had been followed up, things would look different in Europe 
to-day ( !). If we had taken the offensive at Sadowa the victory 
would have been ours. 

Of such stuff are some officers who hold the highest 
commands still made in Austria, and such is the 
standard of the rank of the officers that five hundred 
of them could be found to applaud it. No wonder the 
Austrian emperor judged it was time to retire such a 
man ! 

It is not too much to say that the conduct of General 
von Kuhn, as well as that of the five hundred Austrian 

1 86 

Imperial Germany. 

Von Moltke. 




officers, was as discreditable as it would be impossible in 
Germany. It only proves how far the Austrians are yet 
from that ideal standard of efficiency which they fancy 
they have learned by their defeats from the Prussians. 

What a contrast to a man such as Von Moltke ! Lord 
Wolseley does not believe he will go down to posterity 
as one of the greatest captains ; but strip him of strategic 
exploits that seek in vain in history for a parallel to the 
magnitude of their scale, strip him of the literary ability 
that has given us charming books of travel, and a purity, 
a terseness, a dignity of style that has earned a compar- 
ison with Tacitus for the history of the War of 1870 
issued by the Prussian General Staff; strip him of all 
this, and a character remains, unsullied in its spotless 
integrity as in its sober simplicity : a cultivated intellect 
of the highest order. 

The man whose iron, unquestioned, supreme decision 
winged the flight of Prussian victory was almost a hermit 
in the privacy of his Silesian retreat. In her greatest 
strategist Germany produced a character of the very 
highest type, one far removed from the feverish self- 
advertising egotism of our time. One who stood nearest 
to him by the ties of relationship and friendship once 
assured us: "The field-marshal is above all a man of 
almost childlike purity of mind, one to whom the shady 
sides of human nature have remained, so to say, un- 
known.* ' No wonder that even victory and worldly 
glory were powerless to affect the character of such a 
man. His estimate of the value of popularity is best 
recorded in his own words : ' ' When I have to listen to 
the boundless flatteries bestowed on one by the public, I 
cannot dismiss for an instant the thought, How would it 
have been if success — unexampled success — had not 
crowned our enterprise ?' ' 

From an autograph por, 

1 88 Imperial Germany, 

When this silent warrior spoke, for whom the Ger- 
^^^ nt mans have found in their expressive language the beauti- 

ful words, der Schlachtenlenker, der Schlachtendenker 
(the battle-ruler, the battle-thinker) , it was the trumpet- 
blast of war that called for his utterances. They crys- 
tallized ; they^turned to granite to mark the mile-stones 
of history in which his country figures victoriously. 

Our Wellington in Spain, and Cincinnatus in Rome, 
unite to furnish historical parallels to Count Moltke's 
character. His example is the proudest possession of 
the Prussian army. 

On the eve of his ninety-first birthday (October 25, 
1890), the Reicksanzeiger brought the following tribute 
to his fame : 

Field-Marshal Count von Moltke completes his ninetieth 

year on Sunday. In accordance with the will of his majesty 

A tribute to his the emperor and king, and the feelings of all classes of the 

people, all Germany celebrates this birthday as a national fes- 
tival. For the nation owes it in no small measure to the deeds 
of the veteran field-marshal that it is united in a powerful em- 
pire, that its prestige among the nations of Europe has been 
greatly enhanced, and that it has now long been able to devote 
itself undisturbed to the labors of peace. It is a tribute due to 
the field-marshal, glory-crowned, undefeated, and yet great 
also in simplicity and modesty, when, on this day of honor, 
princes and people with one accord express their gratitude to 
him in the most convincing manner. Ninety years of a precious 
and blessed, but also laborious, life lie behind him. They form 
a reflection of the destinies of Germany. To Mecklenburg be- 
longs the honor of having given the Fatherland not only Queen 
Louisa and the national hero of the Wars of Liberation, Prince 
Blucher of Wahlstatt, but also the greatest general of this age. 

After giving a detailed account of the field-marshal's 
career, and describing the manner in which the emperor 
and the people were preparing to do him honor, the 
Reicksanzeiger concludes : 

The Army. 

But above and beyond all outward festal arrangements, our 
eyes are raised in prayers of thanksgiving for all that Heaven 
has given the German people in and with "our Moltke," and 
also in the earnest hope that the venerable field-marshal may 
long be permitted to enjoy the gratitude of his Icing and Father- 

col'nt von moltkb and fb1ends at his country-seat, crei5au, 

October, iBSS. 
Moltke b to be distinguished by the woman's hat. 

land, and that the German nation and the German army may 
long be destined to see him among them, their brightest ex- 

And here let us add the official text of the emperor's i 
congratulatory speech to Count Moltke on the same t 
occasion : 

My dear Field-Marshal— I have come to-day, with many 
illustrious personages and the leaders of my army, to express 
our heartiest and most deep-felt congratulations. For us, 


Imperial Germany. 

His gratitude. 

A mark of 

to-day is a day of retrospect, and especially of gratitude. First 
and foremost, I express my thanks in the name of those who 
worked and fought along with you, and who are gone, and 
whose faithful and devoted servant you were. I thank you for 
all you have done for my house, and for the promotion of the 
greatness of our Fatherland. We greet in you not only the 
Prussian leader who has won for our army the reputation of 
invincibility, but also one of the founders and welders of our 
German Empire. You see before you high and illustrious 
princes from all parts of Germany — above all, his majesty the 
king of Saxony, who was a faithful ally of my grandfather, and 
who has not let slip the opportunity of proving his attachment 
to you in person. We are reminded of the time when he was 
permitted to fight side by side with you for the greatness of 

The high distinctions which my late grandfather bestowed 
upon you have left me no means of specially testifying my own 
gratitude ; I, therefore, beg you to accept one mark of respect, 
the only homage I can do you in my youth. It is the preroga- 
tive of the monarch to have the emblems on which his soldiers 
take the oath, which fly before his troops, and symbolize the 
honor of his arms and the valor of his army, standing in his 
ante-room. It is with peculiar pride that I renounce this right 
for to-day, and beg you to allow the colors of my Guards, 
which have so often waved under you in many hard-fought 
battles, to find a place in your dwelling. A lofty history lies in 
the ribbons and tattered colors that stand before you, a history 
which has been written chiefly by yourself. 

I beg you to accept this token of your rank [the emperor 
here presented the baton] as a personal souvenir of myself and 
as a memento of this day. The real field-marshal's baton, 
which you earned under fire before the enemy, has long been 
in your hands. This is only a sign and symbol of my respect, 
veneration, and gratitude. I beg you, gentlemen, to join me 
in the cry, "God bless, preserve, and cherish our venerable 
field-marshal, long a blessing to the army and the Fatherland.' ' 
We are grateful to him for being great enough not to stand 
alone, but to form a school of military leaders who, trained in 
his spirit, will be the strength and glory of our army. 



Unde superbit homo, cujus conceptio culpa, 
Nasci poena, labor vita, necesse mori ! 1 


Not only in its character, but in its very composition, 
the German aristocracy shows a marked contrast to that and English 
of England. With us many of the most eloquent pane- ans ocracles * 
gyrists of aristocracy are to be found outside its own 
charmed circle ; in Germany it would be difficult to find 
many sympathizers with the nobility among the middle 
classes or among the masses. And the explanation is 
not to be sought only in the difference of the two aris- 
tocracies themselves. Differences of evolution, of tradi- 
tion, and of influence account for this and many other 
peculiarities of the German aristocracy. 

We remember the surprise of a great Prussian land- 
owner on being told of the almost tyrannical power our p OW er of the 
land laws and our leasehold system give to an English En * llsh lord - 
territorial grandee. ' ' How can your people put up with 
it?" he exclaimed. And yet such is the case. We 
have long put up with things that have produced revo- 
lutions elsewhere. And yet the English aristocracy still 
has a large following in the country, while in Germany 
the nobility has next to none. Weighty causes must be 
found to account for this, quite independent of any 
amount of servility in the English character, or any 

i Wherefore is man proud, whose conception is a sin, whose birth is a pen- 
alty, whose life is a toil, and for whom death is inevitable. 



Imperial Germany. 


What a title 
represents in 

want of that amiable compound in the German ; both 
nations, to start with, may have little to reproach them- 
selves with on that score. These causes will be found 
to exist to a large extent in the following facts and their 


The German aristocracy, notwithstanding its many 
strong points, has been not only guilty of great class 
selfishness — like privileged classes in other countries — 
but it has been the victim of its own short-sighted and 
narrow class feeling. In England a far-sighted policy 
of sacrificing its units has strengthened the power for 
good and for evil of an aristocratic caste. In Germany 
the anxiety of each unit to retain its shadowy advan- 
tages has resulted in the loss of what was most valuable 
to retain, and in the retention of much which, though of 
small value to-day, has contributed not a little to reap 
for its holders that lack of sympathy of which we find 
the German aristocracy the object in its own country. 

In olden times a title meant more than a mere empty 
attribute of privileged birth ; it meant a position of 
power, either personal or inherited. Not so many 
centuries ago even the offspring of royal blood in 
England — not to mention the sons of the nobility — were 
commoners. Royalty has in our day adopted the fiction 
that every son of a king is born a prince. The main dif- 
ference between the aristocracy of England and that of 
Germany is to be found in the fact that the German 
aristocracy has slavishly adopted the example of royalty, 
whereas the English aristocracy has, up to the present 
day, held to the original idea that a title must represent 
power. Primogeniture is the key-note of English aris- 
tocratic power ; the title is reserved to the eldest son, 

The German Aristocracy. 193 

who inherits the bulk of the property. Thus an English 
title usually means a large landowner. A German title T - 

t J ** In Germany. 

means in most cases nothing more than an amiable 
descendant of one of many who once, perhaps, owned 
land and power. The English aristocracy lives on its 
estates in the country, and there forms centers of social 
and political life. The small percentage of the German 
aristocracy which lives in the country, even if rich, 
usually leads a life of economy, solitude, and intellectual 
stagnation. It wields neither great social nor political 

Not only in the transmission of titles have the Ger- 
mans copied the example of royalty, but in other points intermarriage, 
of scarcely minor importance. The modern royal cus- 
toms — even laws — of intermarrying only with equals, 
which were originally designed for political purposes 
only, have found servile followers among the German 
aristocracy, without any excuse or pretense of policy. 
The consequences of such action have shown themselves 
to be disastrous in more senses than one. They have 
resulted in the gradual erection of a barrier which in our 
day may be said to divide the aristocracy of birth from 
the aristocracy of intellect and the middle classes more 
than they are so divided in any other European 

The Germans, who before now have been accused „ , . 

7 m # Pedantry and 

of pedantry and doctrinarism, have proved themselves doctrinarism. 
essentially pedantic and doctrinaire in the constitution 
of their aristocracy. * It is an unduly extended and yet 
a closed oligarchy with a weak action of the heart. In 
England the aristocracy is constantly strengthened by 
the admission -.of new blood. Not only that, but the 

1 This applies even with greater force to the Austrians, who in this as in so 
many other points are one with the Germans. 

i 9 4 

Imperial Germany. 


The result in 

younger branches of a great house pass untitled and un- 
noticed back into the commonalty, and carry with them 
into the middle classes their sympathies for their power- 
ful relations. The German system has had the precisely 
opposite effect. Each scion of a noble family inherits 
the title, the social status, and the obligation to marry 
according to his station (standesgemass) . This erects a 
barrier between him and the untitled which has proved 
disastrous in its results all around. What would a Ger- 
man petty baron think of the son of an English duke, 
whose ancestry might put half the "Almanach de 
Gotha" 1 to shame, marrying a commoner's daughter, 
or entering a wine merchant's or a stockbroker's office? 
And yet the former very often happens, and the latter 
has happened, in England without lessening by one iota 
the prestige of the aristocracy. The well-connected 
English member of the middle classes may well look 
upon a peer as only his superior by chance of primogen- 
iture ; he is of the same stock — of the same flesh and 
blood. The German untitled citizen is cut off from the 
aristocracy without even an imaginary connecting link. 
In Saxony, indeed, so distinct is the line that sepa- 
rates the aristocracy from the people that the former 
can even be seen to be of an entirely different race from 
the latter. The Saxon nobility is a tall, fair-haired race, 
with the true Germanic cast of features, whereas the 
mass of the population is rather short and thickset, with 
features bearing distinct traces of Slavonic blood. 

German pedantry hugs the magical word von, * the idea 

i An annual publication containing among other data lists of the royal fami- 
lies and aristocracies of Europe. 

*Von (of) is prefixed to the names of titled persons as originally indicating 
the possessor of an estate or castle which formed the last name. 

The German Aristocracy. 195 

of quarterings — even if they be emblazoned on empty 

space — and, in so doing, has often, here as elsewhere, c^maii «iS» 

sacrificed the substance for the shadow. Thus, German 

pedantry has no idea of the English feeling which 

classes untided families among the proudest aristocracy 

of the country — such as have refused titles, but are 

well known by their honorable standing of generations. 

It is the von that does it, not the distinction of the 

family. Though, once the von possessed, it must be 

admitted that an old, inferior title stands far higher than 

a modern one of more ambitious sound. 

Far be it from us to lose sight of the splendid qualities 
to be found among the German aristocracy. Still, we 
cannot help deploring what we must consider the weak 
points of an institution which must reform, or lose much 
that its well-wishers would gladly see it retain. 

Even German royalty has of late set the German aris- 
tocracy a shining example of rising superior to class 
prejudice, not only in the matter of marriage (this it has 
often done), but in another direction. 

Duke Charles Theodore of Bavaria has set up in 
regular practice as an oculist at his own expense. He An instance 
has built a regular hospital for eye diseases, in which superiority to 
the poor receive advice gratis. He himself has his daily 
hours of consultation from two till five o'clock in his 
own house, where, assisted by a young doctor in his 
employ, patients of every station are given free advice. 
It is stated that in the course of a few months he gave 
advice to 2,800 patients and performed 290 operations, 
among them some of difficulty requiring great skill. It 
is interesting to note that his wife, a princess of Bra- 
ganza, thoroughly enters into her husband's profession, 
and constantly performs the duties of nurse to his 

class prejudice. 

196 Imperial Germany. 

Another Bavarian prince, Louis Ferdinand, uncle of 
VsJcbn tne P resent king — married to the Spanish infanta Maria 

de la Paz — studied medicine in Munich and Heidelberg. 
The Bavarian government waived the state examination 
in his favor and he is now entering on regular practice. 
Princess Hel- 
ene of Schleswig- 
Holstein — aunt 
of the present 
German empress 
— is not only 
married to Pro- 
fessor von Es- 
march, the emi- 
nent surgeon, but 
he is recognized 
by the imperial 
relatives of his 
wife, including 
the emperor, and 
is on the best of 
terms with them. 

Thh Royal Festival Hall, Carlsruhb. . .. Wiir 

temberg princess is married to a Breslau doctor, and, 
strange to say, instead of raising himself in the profes- 
sion by such a match, he is even said to be looked 
upon askance by his colleagues for having married out 
;asie. of his sphere of life. 

What the untitled intellectual class of Germany thinks 
of the prejudices and privileges of the German aristoc- 
racy is well illustrated by the following words of the 
eminent writer, Gustav Freytag:' 

The German Aristocracy. 197 

m 1 1. — ■■ ■ ■ 1 — ■--■■■■■■■■■ ■ ■ . - ■ ■ — 

The German commoner will ever be an uncompromising 
opponent of all those political and social privileges by which Attitude of the 
the aristocracy still claim an exceptional position among the ^moner. 
people. Not because he is envious of these usages, or that he 
would wish to put himself in their place, but because he recog- 
nizes sadly (okne Freude) that in their consequence they are 
apt to warp their judgment, their knowledge of the world, and 
also their firmness of character. Not only that, but because 
some of these antiquated traditions, such as the privileged 
position of the aristocracy at court, even expose our princes to 
the danger of sinking down into the narrow horizon of the Ger- 
man Junker. For the noblest force, the leadership in the 
domain of ideal and practical affairs, lies with the citizen class. 


Changes are more easily suggested than carried out, 
especially when, as in the case of the German aristoc- 
racy, a good deal is to be said for things as they are. 

Its very poverty has called forth special virtues, and 


in many other ways the German aristocracy has been power of an 


able to retain much that is valuable and in danger of 
being swept away in our democratic age. But even 
taking the good manners and breeding, so beneficial in 
social intercourse — the sense of chivalry often communi- 
cated from father to son — at their highest estimate, we 
must deplore the more that narrow spirit which has so 
limited their sphere of influence. 

The English aristocracy is popular because, side by 
side with the greatest possible development of class source of 
power, it has retained its connection with the people by &ngiish y ° 

« . , , . • i * aristocracy. 

its younger sons, who mingle and intermarry with the 
middle classes. It is popular because its ranks are con- 
stantly recruited from the people, even if in a somewhat 
eccentric fashion. But, above all, the sources of its 
popularity must be sought in the extraordinary in- 
stances of strong characters it has always had the 


Imperial Germany, 

Its hold on the 

German vs. 



good fortune to produce. And not only this, but 
because the peculiarities of its constitution have ever 
allowed such characters to wield political power, and 
thus to attain great personal popularity. English nobles 
have dazzled the popular imagination by their liberal 
ideas, by their generosity, by their individual superiority 
to class selfishness. They have not weakened the 
power of their class by so doing, but strengthened its 
hold on the feelings of their countrymen. And to what 
an extent they have been successful in so doing may be 
judged by those who fully realize what the power of a 
title is to-day in England in our democratic age of trans- 
ition. An unworthy subserviency of the middle classes, 
a base instinct of cringing and toadying to the fountain 
of many favors, may explain some, but it does not 
explain by any means all the hold the English aristoc- 
racy has retained on the imagination of the people. 
Least of all does it explain the hold it has on the 
uneducated masses. That influence is partly due to 
many excellent qualities which the English privileged 
class has shown from time immemorial. 

English popular feeling rightly or wrongly looks upon 
the aristocracy as a curb on the pretension of royalty. 
The German people look upon their aristocracy as the 
toadies of royalty. English nobles do not care to hang 
about a court like German nobles, for the German 
nobles, as a class, feel it their vocation to serve the 
crown. They have less sentiment for the country at 
large, less of a broader patriotism. 

The quarrel of Bismarck with the late Count Arnim re- 
vealed some of those characteristics of the Prussian court 
noble which are so distasteful to the people at large ; in 
fact, it may be said that the popular feeling that Bis- 
marck was fighting an aristocratic court intrigue upheld 

The German Aristocracy. 199 

his popularity through this memorable trial. Rich Eng- 
lishmen of position do not like the scraping and bowing 
of court life ; it is foreign to the best English character. 
They either mix with princes on terms of semi-equality 
or avoid them. 

But we are not writing a treatise on the English aris- ^^ of class 
tocracy, and we only mention some of its strong points Germany. 1 " 
and their results in order to show more markedly how 
similar evidences of class influence are absolutely non- 
existent in Germany. We can but draw our conclusions. 
Whoever would expect a noble German landowner to 
head a subscription list for any scientific or charitable 
purpose? Whoever thinks of asking a noble in Ger- 
many to preside at a public dinner? The German 
Philistine would feel his dignity offended by so doing, 
though he might be willing to toady quickly enough to 
a high-placed official ; but to subordinate himself to a 
mere title would revolt his nobler self. The German 
will bow and cringe to a powerful official, but not to 
a mere empty tide. The same may almost be said of 
the highly cultured professional and mercantile classes. 
The feeling of reverence for the aristocracy does not ex- 
ist in the form we know it. 

As for the lower orders, their sentiments for the 
nobility are such that the least said of them the better. 
The distrust felt toward the nobility by the masses is so 
great that the German Conservative party has to take it 
into account, and is often forced to put forward parlia- 
mentary candidates without tides, fearing that it would 
be impossible to carry through one of its own order. In 
England a personal connection of a prominent public 
man or of a great landlord is sure of a following among 
the electorate. Even a man like Mr. Gladstone had to 
fight hard in a Liberal constituency against the influence 

Distrust of the 

200 Imperial Germany. 

of the young and politically unknown son of the great 
Scotch landowner, the Duke of Buccleuch. In Ger- 
many being the son of a great landowner would avail a 
candidate next to nothing. Even the son of a Bismarck 
has found it no easy matter to court a German constitu- 


It would indeed be reading the signs of the times 
wrongly if we deduced this marked difference only from 
a greater independence of the German people. It is 
not that, for the German Philistine can be as debasingly 
fawning as any smiling Briton. The main explanation 
lies in the difference of the German aristocracy from our 

It no longer has any power to wield for good or 

Limited * or ^ a ^' exce P t m * ts own society. Elsewhere it has 

influence. little or no influence. It has nothing to give, no favors 

to confer, as the reward for being toadied to. Our aris- 
tocracy can still to some extent give and confer. The 
German nobility has rarely produced men who lead 
great movements, who stand in the front rank fighting 
for new ideas, rallying a large following around them, 
while casting a luster on the class they spring from. 
And if the cases of Stein and Bismarck are held up to us 
as proofs of the contrary, we submit that the popularity 
of these great men was, and is, purely personal, and as 
it did not spring from, certainly does not at all transmit 
itself to, the class to which they belong. The suscepti- 
bility to such a feeling does not exist. 

The German mind can grasp a popular noble only in 
German view of the lieht of one who is opposed to his class. The Ger- 

a noble. ° # % rr 

man middle-class mind, ever suspicious and critical, 
would refuse to believe in an aristocrat, as such, who 

The German Aristocracy, 201 

-- — — 

had not broken with his traditions and cast in his lot 
with the enemies of his class. This is a great misfortune 
for the aristocracy, and partly also for the people, as it 
robs it of the services of many noble-minded men who 
are driven to consume their high aspirations for the gen- 
eral welfare of the community in inactivity, knowing 
they are not able to come forth except to excite enmity, 
without any chance of doing correspondingly good work. 
That such is the case is largely owing to the short- 
sighted policy of the German aristocracy as a class from 
time immemorial. The individual exceptions to such 
policy have been too unimportant to be worth recording. 
The German nobility has held to the letter of its privi- 
lege, to its high-sounding titles, to its court sinecures, to Mistakes of the 
its cheap glamor, to its narrow-minded customs of inter- n ° y * 
marrying, and in so doing has lost, as before said, the 
substance for the shadow. It has done its best to 
deepen the ditch between itself and the middle classes, 
and by so doing has arrayed the latter among its envi- 
ous enemies. For he who says * ' envy ' ' may as well 
say " enemy.' ' The truth of this axiom is most clearly 
proved by the dying out of the French hatred for their 
nobility ; there is nothing left to envy since they have 
shrunk into the last refuge of good manners and chival- 
rous feeling. Such qualities are not striking enough to 
produce popular enmity. 

Let us hope that some day such qualities will awaken 
universal sympathy and respect in all countries, and 
produce that best form of flattery, when the flattered 
are worth flattering — imitation. 

It is well known that the German aristocracy has ever 
used its influence to ostracize the untitled, not only from ostracized, 
its own society, but from that of its sovereign. And the 
smaller the state the more petty and pertinacious have 

Imperial Germany. 

been its efforts in that direction. And the poorer its 
representatives the higher the value they have set on 
their fictitious possessions of privilege. 

It is hardly known outside of the Fatherland that, with 
the exception of the official world, only the tided are 
privileged to be received at court. And even of the 
official world itself, the female portion is (beneath a 
very high rank) excluded from the privileges often only 
temporarily enjoyed by their husbands — a striking con- 


trast to English social conditions, which do not preclude 
a wealthy shopkeeper escorting his ' ' lady' ' to a reception 
Er^iish at the prime minister's house if he be lucky enough to 

induce his employees to vote him into Parliament. But 
then wealth in England is a certain passport to Parlia- 
ment, and through Parliament into society. In Germany 
neither one nor the other is the case. 

Now, though many may think, and in Germany many 

The German Aristocracy. 203 

do so, that the importance of all these trivial distinctions 
is hardly worth mentioning, we beg to be allowed to 
hold a very different opinion. German merchants and 
men of culture will tell you, "We care not for court life, 
or for the society of our aristocracy ; they are not worth 
having.' ' We cannot share this opinion, even if we 
were willing to believe that it were always honest, and it 
did not remind us of the fable of the fox and the grapes. 
The German courts, and notably the aristocracy, are 
still the repositories of social tact and good manners, and Disadvantages 
it is a great disadvantage to the untided cultured to be restrictions, 
cut off from a free and unrestrained intercourse with 
such elements. If it does nothing else it keeps class 
jealousy and envy alive. But it does more than that ; 
it indirectly influences the excluded in many other ways 
than they might be prepared to admit — there are certain 
things people are so unwilling to admit. 


Can it be doubted that if the social influence of the 
great historic German houses — for they include many 
splendid names, though the acres they possess are rarely more easy 


as broad and as fat as those in England — could be 
brought more directly to bear by more easy intercourse 
on the cultured untitled, it would beneficially influence 
them mutually? Such an initiative would open up to 
the German nobility the full wealth of intellectual power 
and healthy vitality that is innate in the great German 
people. Such intercourse would broaden the views of 
many persons in high positions in Germany, and it 
would gradually help the German people to a more gen- 
erous appreciation of the many excellent traits of char- 
acter often hidden away in old crumbling chateaus or 
devoted only to useless court routine or sport. 


Imperial Germany. 

A new element 
of strength. 


To know is often to love, as ignorance is only too 
often the parent of hatred as well as of vice. A new 
departure in this direction would strengthen those ex- 
cellent feelings of solidarity with all the good in human 
nature that underlies much of the less amiable outward 
German characteristics. A mutual understanding be- 
tween the aristocracy (and through it with royalty) and 
the middle classes would be a new element of strength 
in the common battle to be waged against the subver- 
sive elements that are gradually coming to the fore 
in all European countries. Germany was the starting- 
point of the spiritual rebirth in the Reformation. Ger- 
many is in the center of Europe, and standing there 
must be the center of support to retain all that is worth 
retaining from countless generations of effort and strife. 

But, besides this more serious aspect, there are minor 
points to be considered which alone are well worth our 
wishing the barriers between the aristocracy and the 
middle classes might be somewhat removed. German 
manners in general would be greatly improved thereby. 
That constant feeling of anxiety as to our position is 
fatal to ease of manner, and not a little accountable for 
much petty unhappiness. 

Removing the class barrier would facilitate inter- 
marrying, and would tend to make commercial men 
look at aristocratic officers less as drones who can only 
marry for money. Rich commoners might marry aris- 
tocrats — a rare case now, when thousands of penniless 
titled women are doomed to celibacy, and often eke out 
their sad existence in those medieval institutions we 
find all over Germany — homes for old maids of noble 
birth. The daughters of the poor aristocracy are sadly 
handicapped in the competition for husbands. For the 
accomplished daughters of the supposed wealthy for- 

The German Aristocracy. 205 

eigners, the many comely English and American girls 
who swarm on the Continent, often prove too tempting 
to the poor German baron, and make him oblivious to 
the fact that their names lack the magic prefix von, 


Some of the manifestations of aristocratic class pride 
would be most amusing if they were not so unfortunate Absurd 

J manifestations 

in their results. It is not so long ago that at Hano- of class pride, 
verian watering-place dances a line was drawn between 
the nobility and the untitled. At a little Mecklenburg 
watering-place such as Heiligenbad a commoner was 
looked upon as next door to a culprit. And even nearer 
the large German towns, at public dances a marked 
division between the classes can still be easily noticed, 
as the foregoing will lead the reader to suppose. How- 
ever, these lamentable traits are only to be met with in 
the feudal North. Elsewhere, particularly in the demo- 
cratic South, they would not be tolerated. And even 
in the North there are many influences at work tending 
to lessen class prejudice. It dies hardest in the out- 
of-the-way capitals of some of the petty principalities, 
where national life pulsates too slowly to kick the beam 
of nonsense out of sight. 

The late emperor Frederick retained in middle age 

.i_ .j ,. r 1 .« TS i« Frederick III.'s 

the pure romantic idealism of early youth. To him aversion to 

r r . m j j j r class privilege. 

every form of privilege and undeserved favor was an 
abhorrence. He now and then even seemed to go out 
of his way to honor the untitled. For instance, his 
friend and aide-de-camp, General Mischke, was not of 
noble birth. This trait of the emperors character was 
one of the reasons of his great popularity with the intel- 
lectual classes. 

The late Count Alfred Adelmann, a talented writer, 

206 Imperial Germany, 

broke a lance for the untitled citizen classes and their 
excellent qualities. He told the aristocracy plainly that 
it must either work like the rest or go to the wall. To 
its honor it must be said that there are many more 
among the nobility who think likewise. 

A very amusing and, what is more, an authentic 
instance of class pride, is worth recording. It is in- 

An aristocratic structive as showing how the most vicious qualities of 

bankcr - t ,,*,.. 

a class are always to be found in its parvenus. A 

great Berlin banker, who had been ennobled, and whose 
son was serving in the army, had invited the officers of 
his son's regiment to dinner. During the dinner the 
colonel noticed that all the officers of the regiment were 
present except one who was not in possession of the 
noble prefix of von to his name. Asking his host why 
the officer in question was not present, the banker 
replied with a smile, * * I intended that we should be 
entirely of our own class ! ' ' Whereupon, at a signal 
from the colonel, all the officers rose and left the house. 
It seems a pity that such sentiments do not always 
meet with a like prompt rebuke. Still, we must say, from 
wide personal observation, that, notwithstanding the Ger- 
man popular prejudice against the army, as being the 
hot-bed of aristocratic class feeling, it is precisely among 
German officers that the more absurd prejudices are re- 
buked and often ludicrously exposed. It is true that there 
influence of are certain regiments the officers of which are almost ex- 
arm l y. tymt e clusively drawn from the nobility, but beyond that it 

would be the greatest mistake to suppose that a title 
forms a passport to advancement and positions of re- 
sponsibility in the German army ; nothing of the sort. 
The powers that be wink at and even encourage a harm- 
less class feeling among officers as far as it can be done 
without harm to the institution itself. And if it maketh 

The German Aristocracy. 207 

the noble's heart glad to know that all his brother 
officers belong to his set, surely the German military 
aristocracy has earned a right to such small concessions 
of sentiment. But there they stop. Once class privi- 
lege might interfere with the effectiveness of the huge umitof 
man-slaying machine, once ■ the sensitiveness of the ' 
noble born might endanger the bones of a Pomeranian 

j concession*. 

grenadier, it is swept away like cobwebs from the 
corners of a looking-glass. From the moment responsi- 
bility is attached to a post, class privileges count for 
nothing, and, whether in the army, in the civil service, 
or in any other walk of public life, untitled merit takes \ 
precedence of the highest birth. 

To the honor of the German aristocracy be it said, 
poor as it may be in coin of the realm, stripped as 
it may be of territorial, social, or political influence, 
it stands its ground in the army as well as in the ad- 


Imperial Germany. 

A captain of 
noble lineage. 

ministrative offices of the state with an iron sense of 
duty and with a high average of intellectual power. In 
fact, it may be said that the conscientious manner in 
which the German nobility has performed its duty of 
late in the army has served more than anything else to 
decrease the envy that undoubtedly is still felt for it in 
the Fatherland. 

We remember meeting a grisly-haired count of the 
Holy Roman Empire, a captain in a Prussian foot regi- 
ment — the oldest captain in the army, we were told. At 
first we could hardly understand a man of his lineage — 
for his family figured in the " Almanach de Gotha" — 
being only a captain at his age. The oldest captain in 
the army ! What a position of relegated fitness ! A 
glance at the expressionless bullock's eyes and five 
minutes' conversation solved the enigma. His intellect- 
ual gifts were limited to the leading of a company, and 
there he was, leading it. How apposite and fit, how 
truly Prussian ! That one little instance was well calcu- 
lated to supply us with the key to many a Prussian vic- 
tory, had we needed one. The aristocrats who guide 
Prussia's destinies are not in the habit of giving a son 
an important command to soothe the feelings of a father 
whom they feel they cannot again intrust with high 

The poor 


A class peculiar to Germany is the poor aristocracy, 
for a large percentage of the German nobility is very 
poor indeed, living from hand to mouth. Among them 
one long struggle goes on to uphold the privileges of 
birth against the power of money ; and tradition is the 
only weapon they can wield. Their children are brought 
up in the Spartan simplicity that inculcates self-denial at 

TTie German Aristocracy. 209 

an early age. The daughters are accustomed to give 
way to the sons,* who have to serve in the army, and to 
whose equipment every spare mark must needs be 
devoted. Outward appearances alone must be kept 
up at all hazards. 

The mother is the head of the family here more ^ . 

J m Their regard 

than elsewhere. She it is who nurtures the feeling of for heirlooms, 
pride for the noble descent of their family. The vener- 
ation for what has descended from bygone generations 
is excessive, and extends to the merest trifles. An 
ornament has no value if it can be bought at a jeweler's 
shop, whereas the most insignificant bit of jewelry is a 
treasure if it has descended from a great-grandmother. ! 
Yet this poor aristocracy, with all its prejudices, has 
done a great deal to form the sterling hardness of the 
German character. 

Although we must admire the many good points of 
the German aristocracy, we cannot help thinking their unenviable 
position and prospects as a class to be anything but en- 
viable. Whatever their merits as individuals, as a class 
they are only too likely to reap what has been sown 
by their forefathers. The more so that they do not 
possess a partisan, a worshiper, and an incense-burner 
in the state church clergy, as in England. 

With us, even if the aristocracy were deprived to- 
morrow of the popular sympathies it enjoys, it would 
still have the means of adding to its power by the con- 
stant addition to its ranks of wealthy commoners, and 
by our extravagant rewards for any services it may 
render to the state. In Germany both these sources of 
power are non-existent. Wealth does not lead to en- 

1 It may also be mentioned that the German nobility is not in the habit of 
letting their homes furnished to strangers in order to add to their income, as 
is nowadays regularly practiced in a country the inhabitants of which pride 
themselves upon the fact that "their house is their castle." 


210 Imperial Germany. 

noblement ; and services to the state, in whatever 
rcwaxds avagant ca P ac ity> have seldom ' been extravagantly rewarded. 

The case of Bismarck is unique ; for the dotations to 
Moltke and other great leaders in the War of 1870 were 
all but nominal according to our standard. The highest 
services are invariably rewarded only by the honorary 
distinction of high orders and the personal friendship of 
the sovereign, which accompanies its recipient into 
private life on his retirement on a frugal pension. The 
consciousness of having done his duty has to make 
amends for the lack of opportunity of acquiring worldly 

To-day, the greater number of aristocracy would, but 
Dependence f° r ^ e profession of arms, be absolutely penniless, if not 
P?ofe^i?n Sasa breadless. For, although they largely fill the higher 

government civil appointments, their number is limited, 
and the pay is so little at the start that only those 
can enter the service who have something to fall 
back upon. This can only be looked upon as a great 
national misfortune, and the more to be deplored when 
we remember the services the poor German aristocracy 
has rendered to the state as its military servants. 

We are almost inclined to ask ourselves, Would Ger- 
man unity ever have come about had it not been for the 
splendid staff of aristocratic, but poor, officers who have 
for generations devoted their lives unselfishly to the 
profession of arms and to the service of the state? 
The poor German aristocracy has contributed its fair 
share toward the creation of a powerful, united Father- 



Social intercourse cannot exist among honorable people 
without a certain sort of confidence ; it must be common 
among them. Each should have a sense of security and dis- 
cretion which never gives place to the fear that something may 

be said imprudently. 

— La Rochefoucauld. 


German society in its wider sense is a prism of 
many, but by no means harmoniously blended, colors. 
In few countries is the aristocracy of birth so cut off 
in social life from some of the best intellect of the land. 
Nowhere is intellect found so largely outside the circles Talent not a 
of wealth and high birth, for German society, unlike the passport * 
French, does not bow to talent alone. This distinct 
social feature is a result from within, for the tendency of 
the Prussian monarchy of late has been to recognize and 
raise the purely intellectual elements of the country even 
more than is done in England. But, whereas with us 
the recognition of brains is invariably followed by the 
social acceptance of its possessors family, in Germany it 
stops short of womankind. 

In England a great professor is distinguished by 
royalty, and the aristocracy follows suit (if it has not lionizing, 
preceded the recognition of royalty), and the upper 
middle classes follow in its wake, receiving and visiting 
the lion' s wife and family. 

In Germany this is far different. A great artist, a 
man of letters, an eminent man of science may be 



Imperial Germany. 

The test of 
social position. 

An arbitrary 

Exclusion of 

loaded with stars or appointed to high office ; he will be 
readily received either in his personal or in his official 
character, but the aristocracy will not visit him, nor will 
the nobility visit his wife. His wife has no social status. 
She is not hoffakig, which means she is not qualified to 
be received at court, the test of social position in Ger- 
many. Even more, should she be of noble birth 
herself, and previous to her marriage have been pre- 
sented to her sovereign, she forfeits this privilege on her 
marriage with a commoner ; this in marked contrast 
to the English social law : * * born a lady, always a lady. ' ' 
These facts may seem of small importance to the casual 
observer, and yet they are accountable for much that is 
peculiar to German society. They are at the root of, 
and partly explain, the inadequacy of woman 1 s social 
status in Germany. 

In England undoubtedly, too, as well as in France 
and America, there is a definite line drawn between 
those who belong to and those who are outside the nar- 
rower pale of polite society. Still, it is not so patently 
an arbitrary distinction as in Germany. In fact, it does 
not carry with it the sting of its injustice and its irre- 
movability ; for in those countries there are few individ- 
uals who, by wealth and a sufficient amount of tact, or 
by tacking the sails, cannot hope to enter the charmed 
circle, whereas in Germany these barriers are almost 

It is not the mere presentation or non-presentation at 
court which marks the difference. The arbitrary exclu- 
sion of many of the most cultured women in Germany 
narrows the circle of their social life, to which they 
naturally attach greater value than men, who are more 
actively absorbed in life's economical struggle. It 
causes German women to feel a kind of neglect, which 

German Society. 213 

in due course produces envy and jealousy. Thus in 
such circles we are often impressed with a tone of bitter- 
ness, if not of dislike, when the aristocracy, or even the 
crown, is mentioned. 

This feeling becomes doubly galling when the Ger- 
mans see strangers admitted to their best society who 
have neither birth nor breeding nor brains to recom- 
mend them. For the nicety of perception of the Ger- 
man mind is often wofully at fault when dealing with 
foreign elements. 

Insular assurance and American ''shoddy" force the 
gates of the minor German courts. English half-pay Entrance of 
military or naval captains — a refuse of the militia thrown foreigners. 
in — sometimes with a growing family, living abroad for 
economy on a third-floor flat above a butcher's shop, go 
to court, and 
have been known 
to answer the 
addresses of roy- 
alty with their 
hands in their 

A shabby- 
genteel coterie of 

Tmh Royal Theathb, Wibsbaden. 

sweepings who 

are distantly related to half the peerage, and let you 

know it in and out of season ; a poor, seedy, retired 

English diplomatist and his "good lady" ablaze with a 

Primrose League "jewel," and with the face of a cook 

in front of a Christmas joint — these are a few sped- ^*" apKi " 

mens of the foreign element in German society. For if 

refined natures are rare in any country, they are rarer 

still among the traveling representatives of a nation. 

214 Imperial Germany. 

But such are the elements that push their way in their 

own country, and, being admitted to court at home, can 

claim presentation abroad. Thus it is the fault of the 

T t h feSf rmans Germans themselves if they make much of foreigners in 

society. Why don't they make more of themselves? 
For, as long as the Germans exclude the untitled of 
their own nationality, an English, French, or American 
commoner, who at home has no barrier but the limits 
of his self-assertion, will be rightly accepted in German 
society, for he has perhaps the requisite standing in 
his own country. He forces his way into German 
society now and then even when he has no home cre- 
dentials to boast of. 

This can only be remedied in Germany when the in- 
tellectual classes in possession of means come more to 
the front. Unfortunately, present circumstances are 
little calculated to fit German womankind for an en- 
larged scope of social duties. 


Social dis- 

Other social results can also be traced indirectly to 

this artificial barrier erected between the professional, 

advantages of a scientific, and wealthy commercial classes on the one 

class barrier. ' J 

side and the nobility and royalty on the other. 

The German aristocracy is limited to the intellectual 
life to be found within its circle, which is slightly spora- 
dic. This state of things is disadvantageous to the aris- 
tocracy, besides narrowing its popularity, as shown 
elsewhere. The intellectual and wealthy classes are 
debarred from that contact with a certain urbanity and 
graciousness of manner, a deference to women, which 
still, whatever may be said to the contrary, is a marked 
characteristic of the best German nobility. It is true 
that the excluded classes do their utmost to ape aris- 

German Society, 215 

tocratic manners, but, like all imperfect imitations, they 
lack finish and are liable to be overdone. This applies 
especially to German womankind. 

The universities, the army, the public services are 
open to all classes alike, and there all Germans gain a 
certain cosmopolitanism of views and manners, which, if 
it now and then falls short of a standard which can only 
be attained in a highly refined family circle, yet com- 
pares fairly with that of similar classes in other coun- 
tries. The German women of the middle classes, on the _ fi _ 

/ # Results of 

other hand, show the painful results of their social restriction 

. . upon the 

restriction in more ways than one. The feeling of their women, 
derogatory position begets, as aforesaid — though it be 
never so much denied — a latent feeling of envy and 
jealousy, which shows itself in excessive sensitiveness. 
This again, in its turn, is the ever-recurring cause of 
exaggeration of manner and want of tact. Thus inter- 
course with the middle classes is far more difficult than 
with the aristocracy. Their manners are exaggerated in 
their punctiliousness and exaction, and you can inno- 
cently tread on toes while you fancy that you are 
gaining golden opinions. 

The middle classes are often exaggerated in their 
sensitiveness, and, besides that, are grievously given to sensitiveness, 
ill-natured small-talk. Hyper-sensitiveness is one cardi- 
nal characteristic of German society, as it is a marked 
one of German character generally. A broader and 
more cosmopolitan horizon of social life could not fail to 
diminish, if not entirely to banish it. 

To these facts may also be traced that want of prestige 
in society which marks German women of the untitled consideration 
classes. Contact with the highest society would soon ° women * 
show German women the consideration which their 
titled sisters enjoy, and which they would not be slow to 


Imperial Germany. 

Their limited 

Prevalence of 


strive for. Whether they would find the sterner sex 
ready to render it, or whether they would be able to 
wield the weapons that secure it, is another matter. The 
fact remains that, however well educated middle-class 
German women may be, they generally suffer from a 
pettiness of feeling and thought which is not calculated 
to make their lords bow down to them amidst the wear 
and tear of every-day life. And the proof of this is, that 
they do not succeed in being treated with that deference 
and regard in private life that ladies invariably meet 
with in the German aristocracy, as well as in the 
educated society of England, France, and America. 

Holding, as we do, that women should be the deposi- 
tories of all that goes to make up and regulate the 
smaller amenities of social life, we cannot but deplore 
that the influence of some of the best German women is, 
in that respect, very restricted and limited. 

Average Germans have a tendency to give way to 
their temper in dealing with the ladies of their family 
which can only surprise those to whom it is a novelty. 
The countrymen of Schopenhauer do not often err on 
the side of too much consideration for the fair sex as 
such. If a person is unpopular, it seems only to add 
bitterness to dislike if that person be a woman. Some 
journalistic attacks on the empress Frederick bear testi- 
mony to this. Such censors evidently think they are in 
the right, but they do not seem to incline to be gener- 
ous. It is indeed sad to note that slander, with regard 
to women, is easily set in motion and very prevalent 
in Germany. In fact, it reflects by no means a " nice M 
side of the national character. 

The wide prevalence of the custom of spending daily 
hours and hours in beer-houses is not without its conse- 
quences in roughening German manners, particularly 

German Society. 217 

toward ladies, and encouraging the love of small-talk 

and gossip. It is not that Germans are not scrupulously Jje beerhouse 

polite in outward form toward ladies ; it is in the in- custom. 

timacy of every-day life that they cast off too often 

those necessary little courtesies which mean so much. 

Among other disadvantages, we think the beer-house 
tends to foster a forgetfulness that honorable old age 
is also a patent of nobility to be honored. And as a 
straw is sufficient to show the direction of the wind, it 
may be noted that smoking is indulged in in the Thehabitof 
presence of ladies to a degree which is hardly con- smoking, 
sistent with scrupulous regard for the fair sex. Even 
hard smokers will admit that the capacity of self-denial 
in this respect might now and then be legitimately 
called for. The average German almost never stops 
to think of self-denial in such matters. Custom has 
made him essentially egotistical in the trifles of every- 
day life and a healthy female influence is not yet appar- 
ent to check him. 

Fault-finding may be a thankless task, but those who 
feel that they are riot blind to their own country' s short 
comings may claim some excuse for dwelling on those of 
others. Still, if our national reputation on the score 
of social manners hardly places us on an undisputed 
point of vantage to decry others, we may quote the 
opinion of a Frenchman 1 who has shown a rare appre- 
ciation of Germany : 

The German — unless belonging to the ideal race of great 
poets and thinkers — hardly knows the exquisite refinement of 
manner, the delicacy of pointed irony. When his heavy tern- FrSchrnan" * 
perament enters into a discussion, strong words accompany his 
arguments, and they fall fast like heavy paving stones. . . . 
Even genius does not always preserve them from these ex- 
cesses, and three centuries of culture have not deprived the 

1 " Les Allemands " (The Germans), by Le Pfcre Dtdon. Paris, 1884. 


Imperial Germany. 

Change of view- 
point makes a 


strong " table talk " of a Luther of its freshness and classicity. 

Farther on : 

The Germans, proud of their strength, show no sign of senil- 
ity in their national life. Their failings rather tell of barbarism 
than of decrepitude ; they offer a strange mixture of primitive 
coarseness and of civilization. The barbaric is in the blood, 
the superior and civilized nature is due to education. 

A Frenchman may perhaps be more justified in using 
such strong language than an Englishman, for the na- 
tionalities of Latin race, withal, still retain a grace of 
manner, even in the humblest sphere, to which the 
Teuton as well as the Anglo-Saxon may well aspire in 
vain. Still, the subject of manners is a peculiar one. 
Much that is uncongenial to us in the manners of an- 
other people ceases to be so when we come to live 
among them and understand their ways and methods. 
Some of our own insular peculiarities, usually put down 
to want of consideration for others, are often the result 
of a certain shyness which, once understood, generally 
reveals beneath the surface a far greater cordiality of 
feeling than that underlying continental scraping and 
hat-lifting. So, also, beneath the somewhat rough out- 
ward manner of the North German there is often far 
more fairness, if not generosity of sentiment, than is to 
be found among more readily <f taking" nationalities. 

Downright vulgarity is not often met with in Ger- 
many, but, when it is, it is far worse than in England. 
It is more often allied to intense sensitiveness combined 
with aggressive arrogance and Rechthaberei — the mental 
disease of feeling and asserting yourself to be always in 
the right. In England even the most vulgar feel a cer- 
tain nervousness, and are cowed before birth and posi- 
tion : it is not so in Germany. 

This brings us to the consideration of a German 

German Society, 219 

institution which, if not conspicuous for vulgarity, is not 
without a taint of barbarism — duelling. It is nurtured D »«"iii*. 
at the university, and is customary in all grades of Ger- 
man life, except the humble classes. Since the War of 
1870 it has perhaps been on the increase, and only a 
few years ago, two schoolboys, of the respective ages 
of sixteen and thirteen, were had up before the court of 

Opera House, Frankfort-on-thb-Main. 

justice in Stuttgart for fighting a most determined duel 
with pistols. They were both dangerously wounded. 

What can be said against duelling has been forcibly 
put by Schopenhauer in his essay on the meaning of 
honor, and his arguments are unanswerable — among 
them, that nations of such admitted virility as the 
Swedes, the English, and the Americans (now also the 
Russians) do without it. 

That the "touchiness" of the German character en- 
courages duelling is certain ; also that the university men 
authorities look upon it as a necessary means of incul- 


Imperial Germany. 

Duelling in 
the army. 

A barbarous 

eating a certain manliness. In this case German youth 
would seem to stand at a disadvantage compared with 
the youth of those nations which possess manliness with- 
out it. 

Then, again, it is asserted by military authorities that 
duelling is necessary to the discipline of the army. If 
such be the sad truth, it must be admitted that in Ger- 
many it is not allowed to degenerate into bullying ; it is 
kept within the narrowest possible limits, for no officer 
is allowed to fight a duel without previously asking the 
permission of the council of honor of his regiment, and 
an unprincipled duellist would soon, like Othello, find 
his occupation gone. 

But whichever way we look upon it, it seems a pity 
that this barbarous custom should exist practically unre- 
strained, and be answerable for much sorrow and wrong 
in the country. For German duels (except those at the 
university) are anything but child's play. The middle- 
aged professional man, at the slightest insult, remembers 
his university days, and is ready to meet the fiercest 
military fire-eater with sword or pistol. 

Changes in 
social life. 


Leaving duelling out of the question, the above strict- 
ures must, of course, not receive acceptance without a 
due reservation and allowance to be made. Except 
duelling they hardly apply at all to the best society of 
the wealthier cities of the empire, besides the former 
free towns of Hamburg, Bremen, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 
etc. There we find the patrician burgher supreme, and 
with him all the peculiarities of his supremacy. 

The days when the good Frankforters used to speak 
French in their social gatherings are passed ; also the 
ambition of the gilded youth of Hamburg and Bremen 

German Society, 221 

to pass itself of! as English has undergone a slight trans- 
ition. Nowadays the commerce-gorged types of Frank- 
fort sun their dull features in the blaze of stars and 
ribbons earned in the dust and glare of battle, and feel 
themselves belonging to a great military nation, against 
the creation of which they literally raved and whined. 

The social status of the well-educated and wealthy 
commoner in the above-mentioned towns, to which a Difference in 

social status. 

few others might be added, is a far higher one than 
where he is overshadowed and left in the cold by a court 
and its military surroundings. In capitals such as Dres- 
den and Stuttgart it is comparatively rare to see a 
civilian in the best society. Everywhere are glittering 
uniforms ; sets that are patronized by the flower of cav- 
alry regiments; others, more humble, that are content 
with the infantry, who hardly ever congregate socially ; 
official balls, where the subaltern and the minor civil 
official have to dance with the gawky daughters of their 
superiors till they wish themselves away. Here the male 
element reigns supreme, but in the towns where there is 
no dominating court society the fair sex exercises a con- 
trolling social influence, although it has not always been 
employed as well as it might have been. Still, anybody 
who has mixed in the best society of these towns cannot 
have failed to notice the well-bred ease of manner of the 
ladies and their high culture. With the possession of 
money there has grown a cultivation of the fine arts and 
a great diffusion of the social amenities of life generally. 
These towns mostly possess a patriarchal oligarchy con- a patriarchal 
sisting of the wealthiest families, some of them with a 
history reaching back many generations. There is less 
distinction to be found between the titled and the com- 
moner, and yet the petty spirit of cliques which is pecu- 
liar to social life in Germany shows itself even there, 


222 Imperial Germany, 

though in a special form. For the wealthy merchant- 
citizen has a class pride of his own, which is not always 
justified by the small attention he pays to externals. 
The wealthy citizen is deferential to his womankind j 
oahTweakh 08 w ^^ c ^ has a knack of exacting deference. But he has 
citizen. often a bumptious hauteur and purse pride which put to 

shame the pride of birth of the noble with sixty-four 
quarterings. A class which in England is often known 
for its toadying to the aristocracy now and then shows 
bloated arrogance in Germany. The wealthy consul — 
here and there a generous patron of the fine arts, com- 
bining the culture of intellect with the manners of good 
society — is often an arrogant type of hard-headed 
counting-house life. Never so uneducated as some of 
our city magnates, he is far more arrogant and offensive. 
This arrogance is too often the veil under which he tries 
to hide his conscious social inferiority to the noble of the 

Although the wealthy Frankfort er patrician will give 
you to understand that he is the equal of any count of 

Different planes 1TT1T ^ ,-, . i i • 

ofsodety. the Holy Roman Empire, he is yet conscious that his 

equality exists only in his own imagination as long as he 
is within the four walls of his beloved father-town. He 
has a distinct knowledge that though his daughters may 
receive the best society at home, they have only to 
marry a commoner in Berlin or Dresden or Munich in 
order to lose their social feathers and to be quietly rel- 
egated to a place outside the select circle. Thus the 
consciousness of his greatness is a very imperfect one, 
and, as such, shows all the drawbacks which imperfect 
convictions are apt to develop in the human breast. 
After all, the good German patrician town-folk are only 
human, and, as such, but the creatures of the petty 
character of their existence. 

German Society. 223 

Berlin is the one town in the empire where untitled 
intellect has from time to time held a distinct and recog- ' 
nized social position, and, hand in hand with rarely 
cultured women, exercised a distinctly beneficial social, 
if not even a political, influence. The intellectual society 
between the 
years 1830 and 
i860 in Berlin 
wielded more 
than local influ- 
ence. Men such 
as Prince Puck- 
ler, Varnhagen 
von Ense, the 
Lassalle, and 
women such as 
Rah el Levin and 
others, left their 
stamp on the 
thought of their 
time. They in- 
spired as well as 

entertained. The THB STRAS3BURC cathedral. 

fare then offered 

was of Spartan simplicity, invariably only tea and small 
cakes, and yet in their hands society offered the only 
analogy to a French salon (£ la Madame Rdcamier, or, 
in our days, d la Madame Mohl) which has ever been 
realized in Germany. If these ideal conditions no longer / 
exist, on the other hand some advantages remain to 
German cosmopolitan society which are worth noting. 
If, for example, you meet a man of note or exceptional 
position, you have not to run the gauntlet of a crowd of 


Imperial Germany. 

Absence of 

The Mendels- 
sohn family. 

middle-class nobodies — to steer through a miasmic at- 
mosphere of sycophancy — in order to get at him. The 
German middle classes have not yet taken to lion- 
hunting and its vulgarizing accessories as a trade, an 
aim in life. 


In Berlin in recent years the Duke of Ratibor unites 
the ilite of intellect and science under his hospitable roof. 
Countess Schleinitz until lately was a magnet that at- 
tracted and retained all that is eminent in the musical 
world. Postmaster Dr. Stephan receives the cream of 
Berlin society, as also do from time to time all the other 
ministers. Prince Bismarck's receptions while he was in 
office were, of course, familiar to the world at large. 

The late Professor Helmholtz occupied an exceptional 
position, and in his home he was the center of a circle 
which in the world of science could perhaps hardly be 
equaled for brilliancy outside the walls of Paris. Like- 
wise the family of Mendelssohn has for generations past 
held a high social position in Berlin. From the witty 
contemporary of Frederick the Great downwards, this 
family has produced a succession of cultivated men and 
women. To-day the Mendelssohns are a center of polite 
and intellectual society in Berlin. 

The wealthy plutocracy, here as elsewhere, cultivate 
the aristocracy of intellect and of the fine arts as a 
fashion, some vain vision of French salons of past days 
seemingly being the ideal they hopelessly strive to imi- 
tate. Besides the above, the wives of one or two celeb- 
rities of the world of letters hold receptions which 
partake of a cosmopolitan character. They endeavor 
to weld or fuse into a homogeneous social stratum the 
many characteristic elements of which Berlin society is 

German Society. 225 

composed. The experiment is said to be fairly success- 
ful, but those who are best acquainted with them aver ^ X p°rjment 
that a touch of bohemianism pervades the whole ; an 
exaggeration of stilted forms in some, flanked by a 
somewhat boisterous abandon in others — the whole pro- 
ducing the impression of a spasmodic experiment that is 
not indigenous to the soil. For behind all these Berlin 
efforts at social intermingling stalks the proud typical 
figure of Lieutenant von Strudelwitz, who would be hor- 
rifled if a celebrated musician or a literary magnate were 
seen in his house. To such as he — and he represents a 
distinct class — a man like Count Hochberg (brother of 
the wealthy Prince Pless) has soiled his escutcheon in 
accepting the superintendence of the various royal 
theaters, although by so doing Count Hochberg is in a 
position to influence the taste and culture of the public in 
as marked a manner as any six literary stars combined. 

Lieutenant von Strudelwitz is a type whose ancestral Lieutenant 
leanings may be traced in the direction of Mecklenburg, st ™ d eiwitz. 
in that favored duchy where, until recently, a mild form 
of the " cat," made of a good solid stick, now and then 
reminded the humbler inhabitants of the blessings of a 
patriarchal state of things. For there are even now 
authorities to be found who strenuously aver that the 
stick is not half so debasing as some of our more civil- 
ized forms of punishment. Lieutenant von Strudelwitz' s 
social ambition is the membership of the most exclusive 
club of the capital, the "Union," where gambling used 
to be indulged in by officers until young Prince William, 
now German emperor, one day prohibited it in decided 

In Major von K., until recently of the Alexander 
Guard Regiment, quartered in Berlin, we have one of 
the finest types of the Prussian officer. He, too, is 


226 Imperial Germany. 

noble by birth, but not necessarily narrow in brain and 
sympathies in consequence. If he admires England, it 
is the history of England's greatness, the English char- 
acter of energy, of manliness, which excites his admira- 
tion. He and his like invariably read, if not speak, 
English, and are 
pleased to re- 
member that it 
was a Scotch- 
man whose his- 
tory of Freder- 
ick the Great is 
the standard 
work on his 
country's great- 
est king. 
Although he 
! loves his profes- 
sion, which he 
considers one 
that ought to 
st be above the 
temptation of 
money-making and petty personal ambition, he yet is 
able to recognize the worth and honor that can be 
sought and found in every walk of life, however humble. 
If you refer to the privileges the aristocracy possess in 
the army, he will tell you it is at most a preference they 
enjoy, which, if not deserved by constant and unre- 
mitting work and attention, only goes for nothing. He 
admits the prefix of von does sometimes confer a pref- 
erence, but he does not boast of it, but rather seeks to 
excuse it by quoting the number of his ancestors and his 
relations who from time to time have shared the dark- 

German Society. 227 

est days of Prussia's eclipse in the service of the state. 

Except in some instances of self-asserting plutocracy, 
German society presents one particular negative ad- advantage, 
vantage. It is as yet comparatively free from that 
restless, vulgar cadging to be found in some countries. 

The toady, the tuft-hunter, the vulgar pushing 
matron, if not unrepresented, are almost non-existent. 
Not that human nature is different there from else- 
where. The conditions are healthier in this respect. 
German society offers little temptation to the vulgar 
who bow down to show and wealth ; a toady would 
seek in vain a profitable return for his efforts ; and, 
lastly, rich heirs are too rare to reward the endeav- 
ors of intriguing matrons. 



Willst du genau erfahren, was sich ziemt, 
So frage nur bei edlen Frauen an. 1 

— Goethe. 


man women. 

Tacitus — that supreme authority on the Germans 
oi old — mentions in enthusiastic language their defer- 
ence for their womankind. He also praises the German 
women for their severe chastity, in such striking con- 
trast to the Romans. 

Valerius Maximus tells us in reference to their 
Chastity of Ger- chastity that the Teuton female prisoners begged vic- 
torious Marius to allow them to devote themselves 
to the service of their holy virgin Vesta, assuring him 
they would preserve themselves unstained like this god- 
dess and her priests. In consequence of his refusal, 
they all strangled themselves in the following night. 
Bearing in mind the brutality of those times, the fierce 
passions and reckless life of the men, this trait of the 
chastity of the women stands out in bold relief, as also 
the honor paid to them. In fact, the veneration in 
which their women were held by the Germans runs 
right through history ; it is met with in the Middle Ages 
in the form of virgin worship, and also in the sentiment 
of the Minnesingers — the singers of love. It runs 
through German poetry down to the present day. It is 

l If you would know exactly what is seemly you need only ask the noble 


paid them. 

Womankind and Family Life. 229 

true that, in our matter-of-fact time, a little poetry goes 
to the wall ; but neither do we expect to find the heroic 
virtue of German vestals so ready to run to self-immola- 
tion as of old. Evil tongues have even been known to 
whisper that German women have not always had 
sufficient hatred for the enemies of their country to 
please their lords. In fact, many observers to-day fail 
to find that stern control of their feelings the old Roman 
historians credit them with. Perhaps the sickly kind of 
sentimental poetry of the last hundred years has had Demonstrative- 
something to do with the development of demonstrative- 
ness in German womanhood. However, no rule with- 
out an exception : the Germans of to-day are as loud as 
ever in praise of their womankind, and the testimony of 
a stranger may well be added to the chorus of praise. 
Madame de Stael, in her celebrated book "On Ger- 
many," says : 

The German women possess a charm that is peculiarly their 

... , . /«.i • c • t jj 1 • Madame de 

own, a sweet intonation of the voice ; fair hair and dazzling staeTs tribute. 

complexion. They are modest, their feelings are true, and 

their demeanor is simple. Their careful education and the 

purity of mind that is natural to them combine to make up 

the charm they exercise. 

If we may judge the intellectual capacities of a race 
by the history of its greatest men, so we can gauge the 
moral possibilities of a people by the character of its 
greatest and noblest women. In this sense the Germans 
may well be proud of their womankind. For although 
the Salic law has prevented them producing rulers of 
the type of our Queen Elizabeth — except in the one 
splendid instance of Maria Theresa — yet women of 
German blood have before now played a giant's part in 
history. Empress Catherine of Russia was a born Ger- 
man, Princess Auguste Fredericke of Anhalt-Zerbst. 

230 Imperial Germany. 

She was a fine instance of the power of will and in- 
tellect, though she can hardly be said to stand as a 
model of female virtue. But German history shows a 
Queen Louisa's fairer figure than her in Queen Louisa of Prussia, the 

beautiful char- & * ' 

acter - mother of the late emperor William. In her were 

united all the noblest characteristics of German woman- 
kind ; and her example, stirring the soul of an entire 
nation in her time, may be said to be one of the bright- 
est prototypes for the Germans of the future to dwell on 
and to live up to. It has even been stated that, without 
the moral purification which Prussian society underwent 
through the bright example of her domestic life, it is 
hardly possible that the rising of Prussia in 181 3 against 
Napoleon could have taken place. An author of the 
period says of her : 

The consort of Frederick William III. was endowed by- 
nature with everything that can be deemed charming in the sex. 
The fairest queen with a yet fairer soul : a whole woman in the 
words' deepest meaning. No wish to participate in the rule of 
her husband was in her character, only devotion to his person, 
nurtured by love, the purest type of innocence and high 
womanly modesty ; such were the principal traits in Louisa's 
character, which were destined to form the happiness of the 
king and to be the model of a wife to the nation at large. 

Herr von Another author like the one already quoted, a severe 

Lang's esti- observer of mankind, Herr von Lang, in his memoirs, 

says of the queen : 

She was in truth a woman who hovered like an ethereal 
being over us, in the form of an angel, with the sweetest per- 
suasive powers with which she cast the rays of her lovely 
nature around her, so that everybody was as if transfixed 
into a dream, charmed by this living, moving fairy picture. 

This is high, yes, even extravagant praise ; but it is 
fully borne out by every testimony of friend and foe, 
among the latter Napoleon and his councillor Talley- 

Womankind and Family Life. 231 

rand, who said of her : "I knew I should see a lovely 
queen ; but I have seen the loveliest of queens and the 
most interesting of women." 


Next to history, the literature of a country affords us 
a clue to the character of a nation' s women. At least, 
its poets show us what its ideals are like. The heroines 
of Walter Scott, Richardson' s ' ' Clarissa Harlowe, ' ' and, 
above all, the glorious creations of Shakespeare, are 
heirlooms to the end of time to show posterity what 
English womanhood resembled — in its purest ideality, 
perhaps, the rarest union of tenderness allied to strength 
of character yet revealed to man. 

A cursory glance at the German creations of fiction 
shows a marked difference from those of our country. German women 
No purer, no fairer types has literature created than 
those of Goethe and Schiller, yet they are distinctly Ger- 
man ; they are different from our own. Our ideal women 
show an independence of character that is absent from 
the German type. The German figure of poetry enables 
us to understand the national boast that there is nothing 
like German Weiblichkeit (womanliness). It is un- 
doubtedly a splendid quality, and yet we cannot bring 
ourselves to consider its uniqueness as always synony- 
mous with superiority to our own. Each type has 
its lights and shades, its strong as well as its weak 
points. But to our insular mind the German ideal is a 
little too self-forgettingly devoted, too slavishly worship- 
ing, not to make us feel a lack of that strong individual- 
ity we find, for instance, in women of Slavonic race. 

There is something: in the German ideal of woman- _. n 

& The German 

hood which bids us feel their devotion, once eiven, leaves ideal of . . 

' *> » womanhood. 

us no further fields to conquer. There is something in 


Imperial Germany, 


of German 

the English and Slavonic type which makes us feel it 
imperative not only to gain, but to retain, her devotion. 
Thus we are of opinion that English as well as Slavonic 
women hold their influence longer than their German 

Goethe's Gretchen (in " Faust") is essentially Ger- 
man in her simple-minded purity, but even more so 
in her childlike devotion, and, later on, in her remorse. 
Of his Clarchen (in "Egmont") almost the same may 
be said. They cause us to feel that it must have been 
easy to gain the love of such simple natures, and that 
we should have esteemed them lightly accordingly. 
And yet it is just this blind, simple, childlike devotion 
which looks up to an Egmont as a superior being that 
has the greatest charms for the German lover. 

It is interesting to note of Fredericke of Sesenheim, 
perhaps the sweetest of Goethe's characters — for she 
was a living reality — that it was her rural simplicity that 
cooled the poet, or at all events enabled him to tear 
himself away from her. 

In Lotte (in " Werther' s Sorrows " ) Goethe has given 
us another German type — the perfect housewife, cutting 
bread-and-butter all around. She is thoroughly honest 
and true to her husband, yet she leaves us with a sus- 
picion that, if poor Werther had not shot himself, her 
friendship for him might have presented her with psy- 
chological doubts as to how she should reconcile it with 
her love to her husband. 

If these female creations excite the admiration of the 
men, the lyric poetry of the nation has an inordinate in- 
fluence over the budding female mind. In fact, poetic 
sentimentality often fills them with far too many illusions 
to meet the realities of life. For it is an instance of the 
strange double nature of the German character that, 

Womankind and Family Life. 233 

while their poetry is so sentimental, their conduct in 
daily life is in such marked contrast Anybody can $JS?ilfc 
convince himself of this by a glance at the numberless 
advertisements with offers of marriage {Heirathsgesuche) 
which are to be found in almost every newspaper, not 
only at the present time, for the custom dates back over 
a hundred years. These productions are strangely 

matter-of-fact, sober, and sensible in tone, the princi- 
pal points in request being usually a little money and 
domestic virtues of manifold description. 

To our mind, German girls lack that freedom English 
girls enjoy, and, while the Germans are never tired < 
of vaunting the virtue of their women, the slightest 
intimacy with the other sex, unless followed by immedi- 
ate betrothal, is sufficient for gossip to lay hold of and 
discredit them. English women are said to be prudish, 
but in the art of feeling shocked Gretchen outdoes her 


Imperial Germany. 

Anxiety to 

Objection to 

English sister. At parties you can hardly dance several 
times with a young lady, or show a little preference for 
her, without gossip at once busying itself with its being 
a case of engagement. 

This is a great pity, and is one of the reasons girls 
are not brought up in greater independence of thought 
and character, and taught to look to their own energy 
as offering a possible career in life, outside wedlock. It 
is not only with us that women of the present day are 
often too anxious to get married to enable them to dis- 
criminate and choose wisely. On the other hand, we 
must admit that German girls are much less influenced 
by the hope of marrying money and position than the 
daughters of our well-to-do classes. This is all the more 
to their credit when we bear in mind that their men are 
much more anxious to marry money than our own. 

The daughters of the poor aristocracy have a far 
greater horror of marrying beneath them than our aris- 
tocracy, for even money and luxury fail to overcome 
their traditional objection to trade. They will marry 
poverty in almost any form sooner than that. But, side 
by side with this prejudice, they possess the virtues of 
order and economy in a rare degree, and, as a class, 
they have contributed their share to the present great- 
ness of Germany by being the mothers of the great 
majority of German officers. 


While we, perhaps, carry too little sentiment into our 
every-day life, German women have a longing for more 
than they usually get, and it is one of their good points 
that their disappointment rarely takes an aggressive 
form. They soon get reconciled to the reality, and 
make excellent wives and mothers. In fact, if only half- 

Womankind and Family Life, 235 

way well treated, no truer, no more dutiful or better 
woman can be found. She may not rise to that inde- JiJ^J^oJ' 
pendence of thought and conduct we now and then meet 
in our own country, but neither are her faults colored by 
the qualities she lacks. If she be not noted for that sub- 
lime union of breadth and boldness of character added 
to womanliness we behold in some of Shakespeare's 
heroines, neither is she the fiery termagant, the secret 
drinker, to be met with elsewhere. Even if not par- 
ticularly happy at home, her unselfish love of her family 
makes her submit to many things against which the 
women of other countries rebel, and instances of moral 
depravity are rarer than in almost any other country ; 
for, if we are to believe tradition, Irish women in this 
respect carry the palm. 

The circumstances of the German woman's life are 
not of a kind to produce those extraordinary instances 
of strong-willed initiative we meet with among Eng- 
lish women. Her education is more homely, her life 
more restricted ; the organization of German society 
does not give her a sphere of action such as many 
English women have found and shone in. Her life is 
comparatively uneventful, not to say monotonous, so Narrowness of 
that even her virtues, not to mention her shortcomings, hersphere - 
are tinged with the idiosyncrasies of her surroundings. 
But if she is inclined to gossip, if she often exasperates 
her husband by her exacting pettiness, and fails to im- 
press him with that tact or dignity which the French 
possess so preeminently, at the bottom she is honest, 
self-respecting, and reliable to a rare degree. 

It is only among the German aristocracy and plutoc- 
racy that we meet with anything like the independence 
of English women. Also, the women of the aristocracy 
are more cosmopolitan and less nationally typical than 


Imperial Germany. 

of divorce. 

Domesticity of 
the women. 

others. They are more free from the trivial qualities 
referred to above ; but, although superior in manner, 
they do not show so high a percentage of happiness in 
married life. Where the women of the middle classes 
gossip and sulk, those of the aristocracy rebel and in- 
trigue. Divorces are very common, and it is not un- 
usual to meet half-a-dozen divorced men and women at 
evening parties in large towns. The faults of the middle 
class are trivial and on the surface ; beneath it the body 
is healthy, and a little more self-control and attention to 
details of manner would considerably add to their sum 
of happiness. All in all, the average of married happi- 
ness seems to be higher in Germany than in England, 
and several conditions seem partly answerable for it. Of 
these, perhaps the most prominent are the longer dura- 
tion of engagement, enabling a better prior mutual 
acquaintance ; the later age at which Germans marry ; 
and, lastly, the greater aptitude of average German 
women for household work and occupation. 

In Germany the woman's place is at home : there she 
shines preeminent, self-sacrificing, devoted to her family. 
She is more domesticated than the women of any other 
nation. It must have been an ungrateful, dyspeptic 
German husband who invented the saying, "Woraen 
and dogs should be kept indoors/ ' 

Although in our days of luxury and pleasure-seeking 
the exceptions are many and daily increasing in number, 
yet, as a rule, German homes are centers of rare order, 
economy, and general comfort and happiness. And the 
words of Schiller still apply to the German housewife : 

And therein reigns 
The prudent wife, 
The tender mother ; 
In wisdom's ways 

Womankind and Family Life. 237 

Her house she sways, 
Instructeth the girls, 
Controlleth the boys, 
With diligent hands 
She works and commands, 
Increases the gains 
And order maintains. 1 

And even more than that, for although German hus- 
bands do not grant their wives that equality of com- 
panionship we witness in England and America, yet 
they share more of their husbands interests than the Frenchwomen! 
wives of those countries, and in this more resemble their 
French sisters. If her husband be deficient in the small 
considerations of every-day life, yet he turns to her for 
advice and moral support in all matters concerning the 
education of the children and affairs of business. She is a 
true mother to her children, and wields an influence over 
them which is, perhaps, only met with again in France. 

Rising almost as early as her servants, she sets them 
an excellent example, she superintends their work, is in- 
variably an excellent cook herself, and finds her happi- 
ness in her home activity. Although she exacts more 
of her dependents than we are accustomed to do, yet 
she asks her servants to do little she is not able and will- 
ing to do herself, although her education fits her for the 
society of the best. Even if her servants be poorly paid, servants, 
and only too often meagerly fed, they are made to feel a 
greater interest in the family than is common in England, 
and family festivities invariably include a greater recog- 
nition of the domestics than in our country. 

Hence her influence is decidedly beneficial on her de- 
pendents, the morality and happiness of whom are, we 
believe, above the average of the same class in England. 
That the circumstances of life are happier with them is 

1 Schiller, " The Song of the Bell." 


Imperial Germany. 

of German 

Absence of out- 
ward pretense. 

seen by the few German servants that go to England 
who can be induced to stay, as high wages cannot make 
up for their isolation. The habits of thrift and industry 
and cleanliness of person and the sense of self-respect 
among them are very strong, and lead to their becoming 
the useful wives of the working classes later on. As 
such they are in every way far superior to the same class 
at home. It is very unusual for a German servant girl 
not to have saved a snug little sum of money toward 
starting housekeeping, and it is nothing very unusual to 
find them enter the married state with a trousseau of linen 
worth over $250. Thus, it is not surprising to find a far 
smaller percentage of the female lower classes engulfed 
in the pitiless waves of social ruin than in England. 

If to our mind German wives may in many instances 
be considered little better than servants, on the other 
hand, they hold that English women incline to lux- 
ury and laziness. There is certainly less of outward 
pretense in German families than in English, and a far 
greater percentage of people in the middle classes who 
live well within their income with something to spare. 

But as everything has its drawbacks, so with the 
household work of the German wife. It is often the case 
that when you make your morning call and are told that 
the gnadige Frau — the gracious lady — will be with you 
at once, you have to wait half-an-hour till she appears ; 
or the * * gracious lady ' ' has a headache, or is engaged 
at her toilet, which often means that she is so hopelessly 
involved in household affairs that she cannot receive 
you at all. 


Of German husbands, the poet Heine, in one of 
his vicious moods, said : ' ' German married life is no 

Womankind and Family Life. 

true wedlock. The husband has no wife, but a servant, 

and he continues to live on in spirit his isolated bachelor 

life even in the family circle." We cannot agree with 

this, for in many respects the German husband is a JS^a" 

model of a family man. He upholds the sanctity of the 

family tie in all its most important bearings, and as an 

js, conscientious father of his children he has few 
equals. Englishmen, who so often lose sight of their 
sons in their teens, can form little idea of the moral in- 
fluence a German father exercises over his children, 
even after they have reached manhood. 

On the other hand, in the small matters of every-day 
life, he is not always as appreciative of his consort's appreciation. 
qualities as he might be. In fact, he is often uncon- 
scious of them, for, being brought up to expect so 
much, he has rarely the sad experience of what a curse 
a lazy, pleasure-seeking woman may become. And 


Imperial Germany. 


Restlessness of 

thus Bismarck's remark that "our wives are the only 
ladies we are rude to" has more than a passing 

Notwithstanding the many ethereal qualities love-sick 
Germans credit their women with, once married they 
generally become wonderfully sober and matter-of-fact. 
They know they are the stronger, and, except in rare 
cases of good breeding, do not scruple to show it when 
their sensitive nerves are irritated. They are slightly 
inclined to bully and domineer, and direct contradiction, 
such as "That is not true " {Das ist nichtwahr), is not 
at all uncommon, and is thought nothing of. Nor do 
they like to be told that they are often responsible 
for the petty weaknesses of their women. On the con- 
trary, they are nervously anxious that their helpmates 
should behold in their august countenances the efful- 
gence of Jupiter the thunderer, and recognize it to be 
their supreme function to serve and to obey. 

There is a certain restlessness in the temperament of 
Germans that bids them devote much of their time to 
the exclusive society of their own sex, which they do in 
the beer-houses, of which the number and the extensive 
patronage is beyond belief. Germans of almost every 
position of life frequent these beer-houses, and those 
who are married invariably justify this habit by telling 
their indulgent wives that it is necessary for the broader 
intellect of man to seek sweet converse and animation in 
the society of their own kind, that interchange of ideas 
is important to keep themselves abreast of the great 
questions of the day. Those who have enjoyed the 
privilege of German beer-house society are likely to 
hold a different opinion of the breadth and wealth of 
ideas that permeate the smoky atmosphere. However, 
the fact remains that German husbands spend more of 

Womankind and Family Life, 241 

their spare time in men's company without their wives 

than we do, and hence their women are much restricted Lackofcom- 

^ ^i_ r ^ • n>i • • 1 panionship. 

to the company of their own sex. This is the more to 
be regretted when we bear in mind that the education of 
women in Germany is so excellent that it only requires 
such social fostering as they often seek in vain, in order 
to make their society the most interesting one could 
wish, ten times more healthy and entertaining than that 
of any beer-house. As it is, ladies' tea-parties, so-called 
" Kaffee Klatsch," restrict them to small-talk and petty 
gossip, and thus cause a want of breadth of view and 
feeling entirely unworthy of the excellent education they 
have received. 

In this respect German husbands are often selfish, and 
rarely fight out that victory over their meaner nature by 
which an Englishman conquers his longing to spend an 
evening at his club, and submissively hurries home to a selfishness, 
fireside, where he does not always receive an adequate 
welcome. For the male type of the silent sufferer (der 
stille Dulder) is much more common with us than in 
Germany. These remarks, however, apply more to the 
so-called better middle-class; to the honor of the masses 
it must be said that their wives share more of their com- 
pany. In fact, they usually take their amusements, 
such as theater-going, country outings, beer-»drinking, 
together. This, indeed, is one of the reasons why, 
though rather heavy drinkers, they so seldom get in- 
toxicated. However humble the means, there are few 
workingmen's families that do not set aside a little week 
by week for common amusement. 

We have dwelt on the typical shortcomings, which, as 
everywhere, mark the majority. The exceptions are also 
distinctly typical, and nowhere reach a higher ideal of ^ ppy famUy 
happy family life than in Germany. Here we find sym- 


Imperial Germany. 

An illustration. 

Princess Bis- 

pathetic feeling blended with rare breadth of philosophic 
education and culture, skill in the arts, and delicate ten- 
derness of heart. 

An illustration of this is brought near to us, and in the 
loftiest social sphere, as all know who have read the 
journals of our queen. The little touches therein con- 
tained of family gatherings at Christmas, and on other 
occasions, are quite in the ideal German spirit ; no less 
than the prince's custom of allotting to each child a 
garden to be cultivated by its own hand, with the festi- 
val which was held when the products were by them- 
selves cooked and eaten. This is simply an instance of 
the idea of the Prussian prince learning a trade applied 
to the female side. 

The late princess Bismarck was indeed one of those 
typical German women, whose whole life was unremit- 
tingly centered in her family, her home. Those who 
enjoyed the privilege of her acquaintance and were per- 
mitted to visit at her home cannot but ever remember 
her kindness, her excellent qualities of heart and mind. 
Few women in exalted station were less worldly or more 
simple of heart. Her devotion to her husband, her 
children, was truly German, it was unique. She lived 
only for them and their happiness. 


Arrogance is a plebeian vice. 


We have endeavored to describe qualities that excited 
the admiration of Carlyle and many others. It is but 
meet to point to shadows, if only to set off the light. 

Those who have heard of the national self-sufficiency 
of the English after the battle of Waterloo, and those English and 

, - , i i • r i French conceit. 

who can remember the truculent bumptiousness of the 
French chauvinist element after the Italian campaign of 
1859, ought not to be surprised at any manifestation of 
national conceit in Germany after the victories of 1870. 
But it must be noted as one of the brightest sides of the 
German character that their best intellect seems to have 
remained wonderfully sober in the midst of intoxicating 
success. This is particularly the case in the army and 
in diplomatic circles, while here and there it is surprising 
to see a knot of university professors showing more of 
chauvinistic ardor than of calm philosophy. Even the its absence in 
occasional big words of a Bismarck have been invariably 
uttered with a purpose — as a means to an end. For 
though he has told us that the Germans only fear God, 
we know that they fear a few other things besides — 
notably, social democracy and the Philistine spirit. 

We can remember the rebuke administered to a man 
of letters who thought that the Germans would beat the 




Imperial Germany, 



French again. "You must not say that," remarked a 
high Prussian officer present ; "that is in God's hand." 

Unfortunately, this humility does not characterize the 
German Philistine, who is largely represented in the 
community. In him the Germans originally typified the 
small citizen-class which has had no higher education ; 
but his cast of mind is found to be present in other 
circles as well. His is that narrow, carping spirit, the 
existence and growth of which may be regarded as 
largely owing to the unhappy political condition of the 
past reacting on the weak sides of the national character. 

German unity was never his ideal, nor has its attain- 
ment yet shown many signs of ennobling him. When 
the advantages enjoyed by other countries only served 
to instruct and urge on the efforts of Germany's best 
intellect and character, the Philistine mingled his hatred 
{Schadenfreude) and envy with a cringing deference to 
foreign superiority; and when that did not suffice, he 
had a little of those qualities to spare for the best 
men of his own country. The speciality of hatred 
termed Schadenfreude is essentially a Philistine German 
quality, and is untranslatable. It means the gratifica- 
tion of pent-up envy — the joy over the misfortune of 
those we had previously cringed to and envied. It is 
allied to a craze for grumbling {das R'asonnireri) , which 
was ever a Philistine virtue. And yet, strange to say, 
while indulging in these feelings with regard to every- 
thing around him, the Philistine has ever been the sup- 
porter of the old fossilized order of things. 

When Aristides was being ostracized, an Athenian, 
who did not know him, asked him to mark his shell 
for him. ' ' What has he done to you that you should 
wish him to be banished?" Aristides inquired. " Oh, I 
am tired of hearing him called the Just," the Athenian 

The Philistine. 245 

Philistine replied. Neither does his German representa- j 
tive of to-day like to hear any one praised. 

In his temperament the querulous rowdy is ready- 
made. Yet his is the nature that makes his countrymen 
ridiculous by prizing and bowing to empty titles, while 
true distinction is beyond his ken. He alternates be- 
tween loud, aggressive arrogance and mean, cringing ser- 
vility. To this class Goethe is a haughty aristocrat, and 
even poor Schiller a prig. Formerly he would sneer at 
Prince Bismarck as an unscrupulous political trickster, 

and to-morrow he may boast that Bismarck is, after all, 
only the mouthpiece, the exponent of the ideas of such 
as he. Yesterday he ridiculed the idea of the Germans 
presuming to beat the French, and to-day he talks of his 
countrymen ousting the English from South Africa. 

A trait of his fretful sensitiveness leading to arrogance 
was illustrated the other day, when one of the fraternity Arrogance. 
received a communication from the imperial law courts 
at Leipzig in which he was merely addressed as "well- 
born," whereas he thought that the title of "high and 
well-born" was his due. He immediately stigmatized 


Imperial Germany. 




the omission as a " colossal want of tact, ' ' and paternal 
government, with an Argus-eye for its own dignity, was 
not long in returning the compliment in the form of a 
fine of $30, or twelve days' imprisonment. 

Another opposite manifestation of the Philistine spirit, 
well known and tolerated in other countries, has hardly 
done more than show its cloven foot in Germany. It 
did so at the accession to the throne of the present 
emperor, when the court shopkeepers of Berlin tried 
to present an address emphasizing their loyalty and 
devotion. Luckily, the attempt to gain signatures fell 
very flat ; so that we may well hope this insidious form 
of arrant Philistine flunkyism will not take root in Ger- 


The patriotism of the Philistine is of a peculiarly 
aggressive and arrogant kind, yet windy and empty 
for all that. It has not even the misdirected concen- 
tration of French chauvinism, for indifference is mingled 
with hatred and conceit. From this indifference, indeed, 
arises the fact that he is not impressed, much less car- 
ried away, by military glamor : he only suns himself in 
it, as a cheap form of patriotism. 

He speaks of the English as a nation of shopkeepers, 
yet conveniently forgets that no part of Bismarck's 
policy has earned such unqualified approval in the 
Fatherland as his endeavor to compete with the English 
as traders beyond the sea. 

The Philistine meets his boon companions in the beer- 
house, and will enlarge on the enormous strides German 
commerce has made of late, being able to laugh at Eng- 
lish competition, etc. He probably is not aware that 
the Germans still fail to outdistance the English, but he 

The Philistine, 247 

forgets what he ought to know and remember — that a 
good many branches of German trade would often have 
been in a sad plight if it were not for those very English 
who supplied them with orders. While, on the other 
hand, almost every English manufacturer's product is 
kept out of the German market — or at least severely 
handicapped — by strong protective tariffs, which con- 
veniently assist the Teuton in competing successfully. 

The Philistine boasts of the enterprising spirit of Ger^ 
man commerce, whereas the principal ' ' enterpriser ' ' in 
Germany is the state, whose competition in many ways 
cripples the initiative of the individual. 

He rides home from his favorite beer-house in a tram-™' 
way car, started and financed by an English company — inconsistency, 
for several of the German tramways were started by 
English enterprise and capital. 1 When he reads that 
the English company has sold the concern at a good 
profit and it has been taken over by local capitalists, he 
reviles the sordid instincts of the English and is dis- 
gusted at the huge profit they have made out of the 
poor Germans. Yet when this amiable individual in- 
sures his house or his life, the chances are he will do so 
with an English company, although the German institu- 
tions are perhaps to be preferred. 

A favorite war-horse of the Philistine is his hatred of 
the Jews — a hatred based on envy, because the Jews suc- 
ceed where he makes but a poor shift. Macaulay said the jews, 
that the Puritans hated bear-baiting, not because of the 
cruelty to the bear, but because of the pleasure given to 
the spectators. The German Philistine feels much in 
the same way. He would fain be rich. He dislikes 
the Jews because they are rich. And yet the chances 
are that the Philistine will even take his daily opinions 

1 As also were formerly many German gas companies. 


Imperial Germany. 

Harm fulness of 
the Philistine. 


from a Jewish paper, and vote for a Jewish town coun- 
cilman or member of Parliament. He will even at a 
pinch employ a Jewish lawyer and call in a doctor of 
the Hebrew persuasion ; in fact, it throws a lurid light 
on the helplessness of the Philistine that the Jews — a 
foreign but homogeneous element — have gained such 
ground in the midst of them, notwithstanding all such 


Such is the inconsistency of the German Philistine ; 
and yet, in the aggregate, he is a powerful animal for 
harm. He has given Prince Bismarck a lot of trouble 
in his time. He actually chuckled with delight in those 
days when the great man was irritated by the venomous 
onslaughts of Liberal orators. To-day he gloats over 
the discontent of the working classes as evidenced by 
the spread of social democracy ; he loves to exaggerate 
it and to foretell the ruin of the future. He does not 
know that the narrow-minded apathy and incapacity of 
his class are in part responsible for the growth of what he 
deplores. It is in part owing to his want of stamina and 
national feeling that the Social Democrats have had 
such easy play. In fact, the Philistine petty middle 
class is already being gradually absorbed by the Social 
Democrats; for many Philistine characteristics have 
found a congenial field in the new movement : one in 
particular, the gospel of hate. 

When imperial measures are proposed which seem to 
curtail the privileges of his own petty sovereign, he rails 
and throws himself in the breach, or, more literally, 
buries his head in his beer-mug and mutters his impre- 
cations at Prussian arrogance. Not that his meager 
loyalty will hold water, for in his own narrow circle he is 

The Philistine. 249 

the life and soul of opposition to the powers that be. 
He hates and detests the "beggarly" aristocracy, and 
sneers at its pretensions to refinement. And at the bot- 
tom of it all there is a sneaking fondness for the Aus- 
trians, and even for the French ; for until lately there 
was a Chinese wall of Philistinism between Prussia and 
some of the other states, where even to-day patriotism 
is yet a sickly plant. 

Bismarck is reported to have once said, * ' Germany is 
being ruined by the beer plague,' ' and beer is indeed a beer 
the spirit that inspires the Philistine, the beer politician 
par excellence! It nourishes his envy. He wonders 
how much money his neighbors are making. If he 
hears that one of them is in the habit of having hot 
suppers at home, he spreads the report that he is living 
beyond his means. If he thinks the proprietor of his 
favorite beer-house is making too much money, this 
also is apt to disagree with him, and he and his boon 
companions will suddenly transfer their patronage to the 
opposite side of the street, in order to show mine host 
that, although he may have taken their money, he is 
nobody after all. If anything irritates the Philistine 
more than the knowledge that anybody is making 
money, it is to have to admit the political success of an 
opponent. When a German member of Parliament 
told Bismarck that German unity had fallen like a ripe 
fruit into his lap — when Windhorst, the great Catholic 
parliamentary leader, told Bismarck that it was easy to 
do what he had done, with the Prussian army at his 
back — that sentiment found a ready echo in the Philis- 
tine heart throughout the Fatherland. 

Slander is the favorite pastime of the Philistine, and 
the smaller fry of local lawyers are supported by the £? n s fander. 
endless despicable quarrels which boil up and overflow 


Imperial Germany. 



Leniency of 
penal laws. 

out of the caldron of hate into the public press. German 
laws against defamation of character are so vexatious, 
and at the same time so inadequate, that although you 
can hardly say an unkind thing of a neighbor with- 
out being liable to pay a fine of three marks (seventy- 
five cents), yet you can indulge in a cataract of in- 
vective and insidiously endeavor to ruin a person's 
character, and the law is almost powerless to afford 
adequate protection to the slandered ; for the Philistine 
originates as well as propagates slander. This state of 
things suits the temperament of the Philistine, whose de- 
light is to serve out his neighbor in a mean, contempt- 
ible spirit. Thus, you can hardly turn over the leaves 
of the smaller provincial papers without " apologies' ' 
and " retractions' * of the flimsiest kind meeting your 
eye. A common form is the following : " Herewith I 
withdraw my slanders against X, and warn everybody 
against circulating them any further." We translate 
the following three notices from the columns of a single 
number of the leading Saxon newspaper : 

Declaration of Honor. — I regret the insults that I gave 

expression to, under excitement, with regard to Messrs. 

Kallmann, hotel keepers, in Leutewitz. 

A. O. Seifert. 

We herewith withdraw the insulting remarks made by us 
with regard to Mrs. Ida Schetel, tUe Schulze. 

(Signed) R. Bohme. 
H. Bohme. 

L. Hoenig herewith withdraws the vilifications expressed by 
him with regard to the Club. 

In Germany it cannot be said, "De minimis non 
curat lex " ; ' also, it is to be deplored that the compara- 
tive cheapness and leniency of the penal laws pander to 

i The law does not concern itself about very small matters. 

The Philistine. 251 

the Philistine and other vicious instincts. The law, 
to our idea, attacks the individual too readily in trivial 
prosecutions, and in serious offenses its punishments are 
not severe enough. In this, there is too much humani- 
tarianism. A form of crime very common in Germany 
— stabbing (often with fatal results) — is treated far too 
leniently. The policy of hanging a few to encourage 
the others would be efficacious. 

The founders of German unity are under no illusions 
as to the dangers to which their labors are still exposed Fear of the 
from the spirit of hatred, of envy, and of dogmatic 
obstinacy in the Philistine. They fear it more than 
French battalions and Russian Cossacks. And well 
they may. It is widespread, and although not particu- 
larly demonstrative at present, it is by no means ex- 
tirpated, much less powerless for harm in the future. It 
is doubly dangerous, as it appeals even to intellectual 
men on their weakest side — their vanity. Such an 
instance, already cited, is that of an eminent German 
professor, of European reputation, the strong advocate 
of ft great and powerful Germany, who hurried off to 
Italy in a fit of the sulks when once it came to be, 
merely because his vanity was wounded that it had 
not come about in his scholarly fashion. Men of this 
stamp are prone to hold forth on the sanctity of moral 
conviction, but fail to see the line that separates this qual- 
ity from an exaggerated sense of stubborn dogmatism 
and vanity. German vanity is a very different thing 
from French vanity, but it is none the better for that. 
If Bismarck had been possessed of more vanity, he 
would have also shown more consistency of the kind 
that passes current with the Philistines — the consistency 
of obliquity and greenness of vision. 

Those very elements in Germany that were most 

German vanity. 

252 Imperial Germany. 

obstinate in opposing Bismarck's plans are now the 
ones which are constantly lauding everything German, 
and rending the air on festive occasions with their 
appeals to every German virtue. A German steamer 
is wrecked in the Red Sea, and aggressive newspaper 
articles hasten to reassure the public that such disasters 
t , will not influence 

the " civilizing" 
mission (that bit 
of French prosti- 
tution of lan- 
guage) Germany 
has over the seas. 
We have even 
heard it soberly 
stated that the 
German lan- 
guage is rapidly 
gaining ground 
in the United 
States! Such 
talk is not natural 
to the hardy 
Pomeranian or 
"Inwn^-AFwm Castle o» the Rh,ne. VvoftnA men of 

arms, whose broken bones have furnished the cement of 
unity. Such stuff has been gleaned from the cosmo- 
politan braggarts of other countries, and finds parrot- 
like currency among German Philistines. It has not 
even the merit of originality. 

The Germans who go to the United States lose 
their national individuality, and that, together with 
their working capacity, goes to swell the great aggre- 
gate of the English- speaking race there. Alas, for the 

The Philistine. 253 

vain hopes of the Philistine ! Bismarck knows this, as 

he knows most other things — notably, the peculiarities 

of the German Philistines. He knows that, side by side 

with the great qualities of the nation, there lurks a 

good portion of paltry egotism in public as well as in Paltnr e « ot is m 

private life. He is the one great man of his time who 

has dared to tell his countrymen of their failings. We 

know of no other public man in any country who has 

had similar courage. But he could do it, and they have 

had to hear it, for they knew that they could not bluster 

and intimidate the man of iron. And many like him all 

the better for this. They instinctively feel that he has 

earned the right to tell them the truth, though they are 

loth to admit it. 

The late emperor William, as well as Bismarck, felt 
that the social evils of the age will not be met by ap- 
peals to the Philistine spirit, much less by any initiative 
from that quarter. This is why they strove to take the 
initiative, an act for which so many doctrinaires con- 
demn them. Whether it will succeed the future will 
show, but it only wants an acquaintance with the Philis- 
tine to understand the attempt being made. 


Although the Philistine is a coarse animal, he is yet a 
very sensitive one. For although education is supposed Philistine sen- 
to refine outward manners, it is mainly owing to the 
Philistine influence that we meet coarseness and arro- 
gance allied to a high standard of book education in 
Germany more than elsewhere. An average English- 
man will stand any amount of censure if he sees at the 
outset that he is in the wrong. Somehow common 
sense tells him that is the main issue, and the censure 
merely a natural consequence. Not so the German 

254 Imperial Germany. 

Philistine : you must not trespass on his sensitiveness, 
be he never so much at fault ; you must remember his 
dignity. Thus it will not surprise us to learn that the 

Lack of honor. Philistine is devoid of humor. Over-sensitive people 

never have any humor. True humor is good-natured 
and does not mind being the subject of laughter. In his 
soft moments he is sensible to lyric poetry, especially of 
a sickly, namby-pamby kind. In fact, it must have been 
a German Philistine recovering from one of his fits of the 
lyrical blues who invented the national proverb, "In 
money matters there is an end of sentiment,' ' a sober, 
utilitarian dogma, which cannot be surpassed in the 
works of the late John Stuart Mill or of Professor Clifford. 
But over practical utilitarianism the Philistine cannot 
afford to lose sight of the ' ' ideal, ' ' so he has initiated a 
crusade against the use of foreign words in the lan- 
guage. Everything foreign must be extirpated root 
and branch ! This would seem less unnatural were it 
not that, until yesterday, the Philistine would have 
hailed the French or Austrians with open arms if they 
had come and given the Prussians a thrashing. But 

Extirpation of that was yesterday ! To-day even the French language 

foreign words. 

must be tabooed, and, if possible, discarded. A con- 
gress of card-players is held in Leipzig, and although it 
hesitates to banish "all" foreign denominations from 
the popular game of scat, it yet decides to do away with 
every term of French origin. 

Naturally, such crazes find no footing in the army, 
where many denominations are French. In fact, a 
German army corps is a mighty German creation, al- 
though the name is French. 

The recognition and adaptation of what is foreign is a 
two-edged sword. It may be a sign of mental breadth, 
but it is likely to go too far ; with the Germans it 

The Philistine. . 255 

has often verged on the ridiculous. The opposition of 
the Philistines to the use of the French language will ^Kenc? 1 
not instantly obliterate that fact. They are the people language, 
who until lately would accept nothing indigenous with- 
out strong reservations of "ifs" and "buts," while 
often taking a worthless article unquestioned if guaran- 
teed English or French. 

That the preference for what is foreign has been a 
great failing of the Germans is undoubted. The intelli- 
gence of Germany has endeavored to derive benefit 
from its attention to foreign matters, whereas the Phil- 
istine has learned nothing but the cheap art of ranting 
in unison with the beer-house cry of the time. 


The far-sighted genius of Germany foresaw that the 
French would sooner or later endeavor to obtain the 
left bank of the Rhine. The Philistine saw nothing of 
the sort : he would even have preferred the rule of Louis 
Napoleon to the hegemony of Prussia. But Germany's 
leaders knew even more than that : they knew that, 
once the French gained the left bank of the Rhine, it The left bank 
would not take long to Frenchify it. The left-bank 
Philistine would not have taken long to assimilate ; are 
there none living now who still remember the French 
sympathies on the left bank of the Rhine long after 
1 8 1 5 ? But God willed it otherwise, and to-day the Philis- 
tine on the banks of the Rhine is strictly German, and as 
such is at liberty to impair his digestion and to muddle 
his brain with his mixture of beer and cheap patriotism. 

The late Lord Lytton praised the Germans as critics. 
No wonder they have become celebrated in that capacity, 
for have they not one half of the critic's functions — the 
quality of detraction ready-made in the Philistine? 


Nil sine labore.* 


There can be no doubt that the manufacture, export, 
increase of Ger- and general consumption of German goods has increased 

man commerce. ° . r ... 

enormously, in one steady rising tide, say for the last 
fifteen years. But quite as interesting as these un- 
doubted facts are some of their causes, and with regard 
to these very hazy notions seem to exist. 

It is not that England no longer alone possesses the 
qualities that made her merchants and manufacturers 
the greatest of the globe : it is not that the mantle with 
these qualities has suddenly fallen on the shoulders of 
Germany, or that technical education, or that state 
assistance, or that protective tariffs, or cheap labor, 
either are, in themselves, the only causes of this high 
tide of German commerce, though they all undoubtedly 
have something to do with it. 
Chan esin ^he * act * s > tne con ditions of trade have changed 

o?trade ns almost as completely as has the method of traveling 

1 The fact that this chapter was first written nearly nine years ago lends, I 
venture to think, more interest to the yiews expressed and the data cited 
than if compiled to-day ; they had thus not yet stood the test of time. There- 
fore, in revising its contents, I have strictly confined myself to a few correc- 
tions, suggestive foot-notes, and unimportant eliminations, preferring to leave 
the reader to form his judgment by the light of to-day on the presentation of 
the subject as it impressed me at the time of first conception. The additional 
matter which might possibly have been included in this chapter will be found 
in the Summary and Conclusion. 

2 Nothing is gained without labor. 


Commerce and Manufacture, 257 

since the introduction of railways. The spirit of enter- 
prise, which was long England's monopoly, has spread 
all over the world. The earnest honesty which delights 
in producing the best possible article as a matter of pride 
is hers still ; the commercial aptitude in subdividing and 
controlling labor is hers still; the splendid machinery 
in all branches of manufacture is also hers still j 1 but 
these are no longer, as formerly, her monopoly. We England 

. . , r j commercially 

have had too good a time of it in the past ; we have spoiled, 
been commercially spoiled, and hence have little experi- 
ence of the trouble and effort it requires to wrest a 
market from the grasp of a rival who has hitherto 
monopolized it. This task the Germans have had. 
Other nations, and especially the Germans, doubtless 
assisted by their excellent technical schools, 2 have learned 
from us, and with this our supreme advantage under, 
these headings, in the past, have gone from us, possibly 

That all this means a comparative retrograde move- 

A retrograde 

ment there can be no doubt. That is to say, although movement, 
our returns increase, they do not increase in the same 
proportion as those of other nations, who up to yester- 
day showed no export trade worth enumerating. This 
state of things has been held up both here and in Ger- 
many — here by alarmists, and in Germany by enthu- 
siastic optimists — as meaning that the days of our 
commercial and manufacturing superiority are over. 

1 This is only true to a certain extent to-day. In many branches of manu- 
facture the machinery in Germany and also in America is far ahead of that in 
use in England. 

2 Not only their splendid colleges {Polytechnikum) for teaching engineering, 
chemistry, and physical science applied to commerce call for mention, but 
also their art-industry schools {KunstgewerbeschulerC). These are most num- 
erous in the South, where in towns such as Frankfort, Nuremberg, Carlsruhe, 
Stuttgart, Pforzheim, Hanau, these schools have contributed to an extraor- 

1 dinary development in designing and particularly modeling, a specialty Eng- 

! lish skilled workmen are most deficient in. 

258 Imperial Germany. 

Nothing could be farther from the truth, as a little 
insight will tend to show. 

To begin with, material advantages alone do not 
make a great commercial nation, or Austria and Spain 
or Turkey might be on a level with England, and the 
Germans would be nowhere. Breadth of character and 
conception count for a great deal — in fact, are insepa- 
rable from great commercial enterprise. All great 
commercial communities of the past have possessed a 
backbone of strong, far-seeing character. 

The lack of that daring necessary to successful trade 
is noticeable among the Latin nations, who have not the 

boldness to throw a sixpence out of the window in order 
that a shilling may come in at the door. Neither do 
they possess, in the same degree as the Germans and 
English, the discipline and character which are neces- 
sary to control labor. Hence these nations do not 
excel in the production of manufactured goods ; and 
even in France it is peculiar to note how many great 


Commerce and Manufacture. 259 

manufactories are owned by names of German origin. 

In this particular the Germans are rivals England has 
every reason to take note of, but that does not say that 
they are likely to supplant her, notwithstanding their 
excelling in the production of medium-class goods. In 
the meantime, our sudden newspaper panic has pro- 
vided them with an excellent advertisement wherever 
newspapers are read. 

Some people aver that even now there are very few 
items the Germans produce which do not owe their 
latest improvements to English or American ideas. 


We are aware that German commerce has invaded 
many domains hitherto more or less English, but that eSSS coin- 
is far from showing that they are equal or on equal 
terms. This we doubt. Even up to the present day it 
is an open question how far they would be able to 
compete, if excellence of quality and cheapness were the 
only things in request. Unfortunately for us they are 
not always the only points to be considered, and that 
brings us to the main explanation of Germany's success 
in foreign trade ; it is to be sought and found not so 
much in the cheapness as in the superior ' 'adaptability* 
of the German as a producer. As a German has ever "adaptability." 
been apt to lose his nationality and adapt himself more 
readily to the country of his adoption, so also in his 
manufacturing produce he has a greater talent for adapt- 
ing his wares to the demands and taste of the hour than 
the more conservative Anglo-Saxon. 

It is not cheap labor alone that can explain the latest 
trade successes of the Germans, 1 for there are depart- 

l The truth of this statement has been since abundantly demonstrated by the 
different English trade commissions which, from time to time, have visited 
Germany and found wages in some special trade even higher than in England. 



Imperial Germany. 

Cheap labor. 

of pianos. 

merits in manufacture in which our home production has 
been partly ruined by countries where labor is far dearer 
than in our own. Witness the depression in the Eng- 
lish watch trade, caused not by cheap German articles, 
but by the importation of American watches. The 
Swiss themselves were, it may be remembered, being- 
beaten out of the field by the United States until they 
adopted the American system of manufacture. Does 
not England take her sewing machines from America 
still, although the Germans in their own protected 
country are supposed to manufacture a much cheaper 
kind? Yes, it is the English race — not so much the 
Germans — which in America often shows a greater skill 
in the utilization of labor-saving contrivances and con- 
trol of skilled workmen than at home. Among the 
advantages the Germans possess cheapness of their 
labor must certainly be noted, but we must not forget 
their excellent technical school nor, above all,, their 
adaptability in applying their skilled knowledge to the 
changing demands of the market. 

One branch of trade in which the Germans have 
made extraordinary progress is the manufacture of 
pianos.' The most expensive and elaborate pianos in 
the world are made in New York, and the Germans 
have not been slow to adopt the mechanical improve- 
ments one by one as they appeared in America. Pos- 
sibly many of them were the inventions of hard-working 
German mechanics in New York ; in every case there 
can be no doubt that the Germans lost no time in cast- 
ing the framework in one piece, and adopting one after 
the other all the little mechanical improvements that 
go to make the best pianos what they are. 

l According to the Cologne Gazette \ 7,500 German pianos, and only 900 Eng- 
lish ones, were sold in Australia in 1877. 

Commerce and Manufacture. 261 

During all this time most of England's conservative 
piano-makers Have been content to revel in the unctuous ri3f«"market 
satisfaction of being the happy possessors of the richest 
market in the world. They allow heavy trade discounts 
to fashionable musicians who recommend their pianos 
and negotiate a sale, and in the meantime the grand 
pianos of Bechstein, Bluther, and others have come over 
and invaded the concert-rooms, and divided honors, 
to say the least of it, with those of English make. 1 

Textile industries supply another instance of the for- 
midable character of German 4 ' adaptability, ' ' which is T« xtile . 

r J industries. 

the more remarkable, bearing in mind England's former 
supremacy. The textile industries are, moreover, the 
better suited to the Germans, as they enable them to 
avoid one of the disadvantages to which German labor 
is said to be specially exposed — namely, the tendency to 
produce inferior goods. In textile industries the supply 
can be strictly regulated by the demand. The plant of 
machinery is always, thanks to the excellent technical 
education in Germany, the latest and the best. With it 
can be produced the simplest and the most expensive 
and best goods, immaterial whether the works are situ- 
ated in Barmen or Crefeld, or on the Polish frontier, 
where we have seen the finest wool spun from plant that 
came from Muhlhausen in Alsace. 

And this is done in such towns as Crefeld, Barmen, 
and Elberfeld, which send tons upon tons of goods to Exports to 
England and her colonies. Cotton and woolen braids, 
silk and cotton galloons, bindings for tailors, Italian 
cloth, etc., etc., all find their way to English shores 
at the expense of Manchester and other towns. They 
almost monopolize the Chinese market with their me- 

i In the last nine years German pianos have practically conquered the Eng- 
lish home and colonial markets. 

262 hnfxrial Germany. 

ilium quality of Italian cloth and satin de Chine. This, 
not so much because they are cheaper, as because they 
are quicker and more dexterous in fitting their supply to 
the changing demands of the markets. - 

While English carpet manufacturers continue making 
the old-fashioned so-called Brussels, Axminster, Wilton 
pile, styles, and patterns, the German manufacturers, 
quickly discerning the modem taste for oriental carpets, 
make excellent and cheap imitations of the latter, and 

se::-.! them over to K~s;u«<i. In wvx>Iea. flannel, cotton, 
,i:;.i silk g.VvU the s.t:ne quickness of a-Urtinsr tbe article 
to the rt\;.: : .rt.:;:t":s of the d»y fe noticeable, whereas 
E^.si talkers are ones :.» conservative to nuke a 
:\i"em a: vaHasoe »::>. the character of their stock. I: 
:s vsrry r.irvlv £--'*;';?>. ™-axi'ts car. re ^■.■i^oed :o cnaie a 

Commerce and Manufacture. 263 

them, they say. The Germans do it readily. The 
advantage they reap in this respect is very noticeable in 
transoceanic trade. Our consular reports teem with in- 
stances to prove this. 

The British consul at Paramaibo tells us : 

The importation of hardware goods is, on the whole, satis- 
factory to British trade, but Germany is pressing very close on ofGerman* 
the heels of Sheffield by the production of wares which, being adaptability, 
cheaper, are also not as serviceable, but are so polished, 
painted, and put up as to please the eye, and the difference 
in price leads many of the people in this colony to buy these 
goods in preference to the more durable English manufactured 
goods. Merchants would do well to look to the manner of 
placing their goods. A card of German scissors, cheap, and of 
the poorest material, nicely placed on a pretty card, and hung 
up in a shop-window, will attract attention, while the better 
and higher-priced English article, done up in a brown paper 
parcel and put away on a shelf as not being an article for exhi- 
bition in the window, will lie for years unsold. 

This accuracy in l * measuring the market ' ' brings us 
to note the great assistance German commerce derives Governmental 
from the action of the government and its officials. A merce. 00 " 1 " 
government which we are taught to believe is only intent 
on turning its subjects into soldiers in reality strains 
every nerve to assist the foreign trade of the country. 

We have been informed that when the Chinese am- 
bassador went to Berlin, even Bismarck himself * l con- 
descended ' ' to try and influence him to place a large 
contract for steel rails with a German firm. 1 And the 
inventor of steel rails, Sir Henry Bessemer, although a 
born German, lived in our midst ! 

Although the Germans until a quite recent date 
hardly possessed a shipping yard that could turn out 
a first-class ocean-going passenger steamer, they com- 

1 Since this was first written the Chinese government has also ordered war 
vessels in Germany. 

264 Imperial Germany. 

pete with England successfully as goods and passenger 
carriers. This is perhaps the most striking instance of all 
of their talent for ' * adaptability. * ' They order some of 
their ships on the Clyde, and gauge so well what they 
require that their newest American liners can hold their 
own, if not even outdo the best of England's in speed. 1 

Thus the capacity or genius of ' * adaptability, ' ' com- 

Causes of Ger- - . . . . . . A . 

man com- bined with an extraordinary concentration and earnest- 

mercial success. f 1 • 1 1 •. ir 1 ,i 

ness of purpose, which ever shows itself down to the 
meanest details of commercial life, is one of the most 
striking causes of recent German commercial success. 
It is a quality that strikes the more readily when we 
bear in mind that some great nations seem to be sin- 
gularly destitute of it. The Italians, it is true, have of 
late shown great commercial energy, and many branches 
of manufacture have sprung up and adapted English, 
French, and German methods and models where they 
used formerly to rely almost solely on importation or 
inferior home-made articles. 

But the French are an instance in point of a great pro- 
The French ducing country that rarely goes out of its way to seek 

models or ideas beyond its frontier. Subversive in pol- 
itics, the French are wonderfully conservative in trade. 
They are patriotic to the degree of hardly seeming to 
wish even to profit by foreign enterprise. Their mission 
is to propagate their own specialties of manufacture as it 
has long been their privilege to promulgate their pet 
theories. Herein the French are in marked contrast to 

1 Since this was first written the Germans build their own warships as well as 
their passenger steamers. The Furst Bismarck is one of the largest and finest 
vessels afloat, and the tonnage of the North German Lloyd's in 1897 the largest 
of any shipping company in the world, not even excepting the English Penin- 
sular and Oriental Company, which is paid a subsidy of over $1,500,000 a year 
for carrying the English mails. 

in trade. 

Commerce and Manufacture, 265 

the Russians, who possess the capacity of adapting and 
assimilating to a remarkable degree. Although yet in 
their infancy as producers, another generation or two 
will reveal their powers of rivalry. 

Not only in the quality of commercial adaptability is 
to be found the explanation of Germany's success. The 
patronage and support of its government, so strange to 
individualists, we have referred to : the thorough com- Commercial 

' * ° education 

mercial education of its merchants, its clerks, and the in Germany, 
careful training and superior education of its workmen, 
supply us with additional evidence. Besides a complete 
theoretical commercial training, German clerks in their 
own country usually speak French and English, and a 
great number of those who come abroad have mastered 
Italian and Spanish as well. German merchants are to 
be found all over the world, taking rank beside our own. 
The training of their clerks can be seen in the city of 
London, where they oust the native element. 1 They 
are distinguished by sobriety, industry, and intelligence, 
and make these qualities imperative in those who would 
compete with them. This is the case particularly in 
England and the United States, and is becoming more 
so in South America, Japan, and in the English colonies 
every day. 

In these points England is at a disadvantage ; as in 
thrift, hard-plodding commercial training, not to men- 
tion the knowledge of foreign languages, our commer- 
cial classes are distinctly inferior to theirs. We are n g 
thoroughly alive to the excellent qualities of the much- 
maligned British workman, but his defects and his disad- 
vantages tell more against him and us now than before. 

We do not condemn trades unions ; in a country be- 

1 The great proportion of foreign (mostly German) firms in the city of 
London is well known, and is in so far explained by their close attention to 

266 Imperial Germany. 

lieving in the gospel of Manchester they were an iron 
necessity of self-defense, but their conservatism and the 
obstinacy of their policy, by which they oppose every 
innovation, have often done us more harm than their 
demands for high wages. Also the want of thrift, of 
self-respect, inseparable from the lower education and 
meaner social standing of the British workman, handicap 

r ■ ~— <■ 

us sadly, though this is being improved. These items 
go a long way toward nullifying other advantages we 
undoubtedly possess. We think it was the late Mr. 
Brassey who gave it as his opinion that the British 
workman more than earned his higher wages by the 
greater value of his labor. That may still hold good of 
unskilled manual labor, but in all kinds of labor which 
are influenced by education and by the moral character 
of the workmen, our workingmen cannot claim any 

Commerce and Manufacture. 267 

superiority, either over Germans, French, or Italians. 
From the foregoing it will be readily understood that 
the cry for technical education, which we hear on all 
sides, will not suffice to counterbalance many of the ad- 
vantages over us the Germans undoubtedly possess. 
But, even bearing these in mind, we think the notions 
that prevail in Germany with regard to their latter-day 
commercial achievements are exaggerated ones. 


In general, it may thus be said that a certain lack of 
originality of taste and production in commerce goes M 1 * * 
hand in hand with their skill in adapting the ideas of 
others, if the one be not actually an outcome of the 
other. It is not likely that they will be found to agree 
with this statement, but it is one that can be thoroughly 
proved, over and over again. Their new patent laws, 
which are excellent, provide efficient protection for their 
ideas, and yet we seldom come across a patented practi- 
cal (7. e. y commercial as distinct from scientific) inven- 
tion in Germany which does not turn out to be of 
English or American origin. 

The sudden prosperity, or rather habit of money- 
spending, which set in after 1870 caused a great increase p?J5?d§oii. 
of production everywhere, but brought forth little taste 
and almost no originality. Everybody went back to the 
past for models — to the Middle Ages for metal work, in 
which the Germans ever excelled ; and to the periods of 
renaissance and rococo for many other branches of pro- 
duction. There was certainly some explanation for this 
turning to the past. It was a time of national excellence 
in art industry. Yet even in those days the good Ger- 
mans were slavish copyists of the Italians, except, per- 
haps, in the one solitary instance, when Marc Antonio 


Imperial Germany, 

Slavish re- 

Lack of taste. 

of china. 

(Raimondi) pirated the engravings of an Albrecht 

But this gleaning from the past did not stop half-way 
and adapt itself to modern requirements. It often be- 
came ridiculous by slavishly reproducing the old an- 
gular, unpractical designs of bygone ages. 1 

Assisted by their excellent trained designers, the Ger- 
mans have made great strides in the manufacture of 
furniture. Also the importation of French furniture — 
a large business formerly — has almost entirely ceased, 
whereas the Germans now export largely to France 
and elsewhere. Their success in this, as in several 
other trades, has been assisted by the many German 
skilled workmen who were in Paris before 1870, and 
have since returned to their own country. 

Leaving out the fields of science as before mentioned, 
we are of the opinion that, besides want of originality, 
the German possesses little practical ability or taste as a 
producer. * It is very rarely you meet with an article in 
Germany that is practically fitted for the end in view. 
A glance at the German pottery trade will bear this 
out, for even their excellent schools for designers have 
not as yet been much use to them in this branch of pro- 

Although Germany was the first country in Europe in 
which china was made, it has long been distanced in its 
production by France and England. Meissen, the old- 

1 Architecture must be excepted from the above strictures. Here, as else- 
where, where the greater trained artistic faculties come into play, the Ger- 
mans generally excel. 

s It must, however, be admitted that this want of practical ability, noticeable 
at home, does not appear among Germans abroad. They soon adopt English 
and American practical methods, and even excel in them, as also as inventors. 
Sir Henry Bessemer, inventor of steel rails, was, as said already, a born Ger- 
man, and, above all, Sir William Siemens and Werner Siemens should not be 

Commerce and Manufacture, 269 

est manufactory in Europe, with all the prestige of royal 
origin and royal initiative, has done little else than live 
on an old reputation, and that reputation of a second- 
rate finikin kind. This factory, except for the curiosity 
of its old models of rococo figures, surely at best a 
trumpery application of the ceramic art, is simply no- 
where. And yet these antiquated styles are the staple 
fund of inspiration of the numberless fancy china-makers 
all over the country, particularly in Saxony. They are 
copied to death, down to the vilest imitations. The old 
pieces of Dresden, as being unique, have an antiquarian 
bric-a-brac value in the eyes of collectors ; but if 
nowadays an elaborate dinner service for five thousand 
dollars, or an expensive presentation ornament is 
wanted in the world's market, it is usually ordered of 
an English or of a French factory. The French factory 
at S&vres even to-day produces works of ceramic art French 
that are far beyond anything Germany has ever pro- superiority, 
duced. That the productions of Sevres in the past were 
artistically incomparably superior to anything Germany 
ever attempted, is too well known to require substanti- 
ation. ' 

The potteries of Silesia and Bavaria find a large home 
market for their goods — thanks to protection — although 
they are mostly clumsy in pattern and coarse in ma- 
terial — in fact, very inferior to the Austrian article of 
the same class. But a large amount of the better class 
of pottery used in Germany is made in Luxemburg, in 
Sarreguemines, as well as imported from France. 

It is interesting to note that in this special branch of 


manufacture, in which the Germans had the start of all cheapness and 
others, and in which they have long been renowned for 

1 Since this was first written the Royal China factory in Berlin has made 
enormous strides, as was seen and fully recognized at the Columbian Ex- 
position at Chicago. 

270 Imperial Germany. 

cheapness, they have not to any appreciable extent yet 
succeeded in point of excellence — a fact sufficiently 
proved by their inability to supply the best foreign 
market with articles for use or for ornament to any 
appreciable extent. They do a large business in pottery 
with America and England and the colonies, but almost 
entirely in medium and inferior goods. 

We can distinctly trace the benefit the Germans derive 
from their excellent trained designers to be confined to 
those industries where artistic conventional ornamenta- 
tion alone is required. From the moment the article 
wanted is one in which the designer is required to adapt 
his artistic knowledge to the production of some original, 
practical design, he generally fails. In this respect, the 
national art industry schools have hitherto helped him 
but little. This want of practical ability is, perhaps, one 
Lack oforac- of the reasons why the German instinctively turns abroad 

tical ability. J J 

for practical models as well as for ideas, and is forced to 
import a quantity of articles he is unable to produce. 

The want of practical ability in the nation is abun- 
dantly proved by the almost medieval character of their 
beds, with those dreadful feather counterpanes (plu- 
meaux), and also by their strange disregard of the 
laws of health in the lack of ventilation in their houses, 
though in this respect great improvements are to be seen. 

Although we hear so much about the cudery of Solin- 
gen and their barefaced imitations of English goods, it is 
a fact that a large proportion of German carpenters, 
locksmiths, cabinet-makers, etc., until quite recently 
used English-made tools. 


We must now take note of some instances in which 
German talent for ' ' adaptation ' ' leads to downright 

Commerce and Manufacture, 271 

piracy, and even fraudulent imitation. Not that we in- 
tend to reproach the Germans as a nation with the dis- German piracy, 
honesty of sections of their traders, or think them less 
scrupulous than others. The fact is, our laws were 
hitherto too lax, and the Germans too quick to avail 
themselves of their laxity. We should do the same if 
the conditions allowed of our doing so with success. 
We know too well that a certain percentage of humanity 
of every land and clime is equally ready to turn an 
' ' honest ' ' penny by doubtful means. And when we are 
able to turn German ideas to account without paying for 
them, we do it as readily as they ; witness our piracies of 
German theater pieces, and of other property of an intel- 
lectual or artistic kind. Still, it is the duty of our laws 
to check where we cannot change the sordid side of hu- 
man nature ; and bearing this in mind, it is not without 
reason that we state the opinion that the German talent 
for adaptation, for producing colorable imitation, and 
their great want of originality in commerce, place their 
manufacturers in stronger temptation than our own to 
seek their designs, their models, and patterns in other 
countries, and thus occasionally to trade on the ideas of 
others to a degree that is as astounding as it is stoutly 
denied in the Fatherland. 

Not only this, but the loose construction of the Ger- 
man laws for the protection of trade-marks and designs 
{Musters chutz) is very often productive of injustice 
among themselves as well as to the foreigner, which can 
never have been contemplated by the high-minded men 
who framed them. 

If their registration system does not work wonders in 
protecting their own mental property among them- 
selves, it is not surprising that it affords little protection 

272 Imperial Germany. 

when the mental property pilfered hails from beyond 
the sea. 

II we took closer at German manufacturers, we find 
that they fail uniformly to reach the highest standard to 
be met with in other leading countries. Also the large 
importation of their goods has had a deteriorating effect 
on the public taste, though it has, in many instances, 
put our own makers on their mettle. They have made 
the public and the producer consider cheapness before 
everything else. 

Besides copying the English, they honor other nations 
with equal attention. Whatever is brought out in 

The Ducal Palace, Brunswick. 

Vienna in the special trades the Viennese excel in — 
fancy bronzes and leather goods — -is immediately copied 
in Offenbach and elsewhere. 

American sewing machines are kept out by German 
imitations. The so-called "articles de Paris" of the 
past almost all come from Berlin now, even including an 
enormous trade in ready-made costumes. 

It seems strange, indeed, that in a country whose 

officials are such models of high-minded rectitude and 

duty, whose thinkers and men of science stand so high, 

such slavish imitations in commerce should be so com- 

* mon. For it is mainly in certain fields of < 

Commerce and Manufacture, 273 

which are closely allied to science, such as chemistry, 
electricity, and the manufacture of scientific instruments 
and artillery, that the Germans excel. In chemistry 
they have made some of the most remarkable inventions 
in our time. Their chemical factories also, and those of 
Austria, are legitimately outdoing us in this branch 
of commerce. In these instances doubtless the natural 
bent of the national mind for science and their unrivaled 
technical schools go for something, whereas, in so many 
other branches, they are little better than imitators of an 
inferior but earnestly painstaking kind. It is hard to 
have to say that the people who gave mankind the 
greatest discovery of the age — the spectroscope of 
Kirchhof and Bunsen — are the arch commercial pirates 
of our time. 

Some years ago the Prussian government sent Pro- 
fessor Reuleaux as their commissary to report on some Character of 
distant international exhibition. On his return he 
startled the Fatherland with the verdict that German 
goods were distinguished by being uniformly cheap and 
bad (Jbillig und schlechf). This created a great stir at 
the time, and may have been a somewhat exaggerated 
verdict ; but there was some truth in it, and matters 
have not materially changed since, although many 
patriots fondly pretend that they have. 

It is not that the Germans are alone in producing 
rubbish — every commercial nation does the same ; but 
the Germans have a special faculty for copying the 
rubbish of other nations, besides producing their own. 


Besides imitating everything foreign, whether an idea 
or a mere pattern, the Germans trade on each other's merclaUrau" 
ideas to an extent that is perhaps unequaled in the 


Imperial Germany. 

An example. 


world. In fact, were it not for the restraining influence 
of their somewhat unpractical trade-mark laws, it would 
be even worse than it is. 

Some years ago a certain Dr. Jaeger traveled about 
the country holding lectures to popularize his system of 
woolen clothing, and recommending patterns of his own 
design made by a certain Stuttgart maker. His propa- 
ganda created a great demand for the article, which was 
at once copied by several rival makers, who adopted his 
designs and denominations. 

Although not stricdy commercial, the following is 
apropos. Some years ago a delightful sketch of Berlin 
middle-class town life, * * The Buchholz Family, ' ' by 
Julius Stinde, achieved great popularity and ran through 
many editions. It will scarcely be believed that the 
very title was pirated by a compatriot, and a book was 
offered to the public under the title of the ' * Buchholz 
Family in Paris" ! 

We have already referred to the Offenbach imitations 
of English and Viennese leather goods patterns ; for the 
Viennese are far ahead of the Germans in fancy leather 
goods, ! as they are also in artistic bronzes. But it does 
not stop here ; the Berlin leather workers copy the 
Offenbachers, and undersell them in the cheaper Ger- 
man home market. The manufacturers of Offenbach 
evidently think there is nothing like leather, for some of 
their leather goods are among the few German articles 
that seem fairly able to compete with English-made 
ones, and the trade between Offenbach, England, and 
America is very large indeed. 

The process of copying and underselling each other 
is observable in almost every German trade, and pro- 

i The above, although strictly true, may need some qualifications, inasmuch 
as the South Germans are lately producing goods in embossed leather which 
need fear no comparisons. 

Commerce and Manufacture, 275 

duces a keenness of competition often of a kind that 
is far from elevating. 

No wonder the Germans are continually complaining 
of over-production. But, as the only thing that is SSSucuon 
eternal is change, so the Germans may well look for- 
ward with hope to the future as likely to bring them 
more independence of ideas in commerce, as our time 
has already brought them national independence. The 
consciousness of the latter must, sooner or latter, react 
on their manufacturing industry. A nation that for 
generations had been accustomed to look abroad for 
many things besides manufactured articles cannot create 
in a moment an original supply for all its wants. 

In the meantime, it must be a source of gratification 
to all well-wishers of the Fatherland that the splendid 
penal laws against adulteration of food have preserved 
this one vital branch of human production in Germany 
from the scandalous manipulations we constantly wit- 
ness in England and America. 

In the foregoing we have endeavored to draw an im- 
partial pro-and-con picture of the growth of commerce 
and industry in Germany of recent years. The facts 
and figures which are brought forward can necessarily 
give but a very limited and only temporarily applicable 
idea of so vast a matter. There remains a broader and 
wider deduction to be made as the sum of the subject. 
In their commerce and industry the Germans have 
already succeeded in transforming theory into method Resirit of 
and practice on a gigantic scale. To judge by what |^™af policy, 
they have already done, the time cannot be very far 
distant when German goods will not only be generally 
recognized in consequence of their cheapness and adapt- 
ability to the market, but also, as in the Middle Ages, 
by their honest excellence as well. 



Er ltigt wie gedruckt. 1 — Popular Saying. 

the press. 


Junius was of the opinion that Englishmen should 
sooner give up their Parliament, the responsibility of 
their ministers, the Habeas Corpus Act, even the right 
of taxing themselves, than surrender the freedom of the 
press ; for that alone would bring back all these boons. 
•Many Anglo-Saxons would be prepared to subscribe 
Attitude toward to that even now, but few Germans. They fear the 

power of journalism, but, as a rule, do not respect it. 
Not that the German press is one whit less honorable 
and self-respecting than the English, but the German 
temperament does not look upon "print" with the 
same awe that Englishmen do. As shown by the pop- 
ular saying, ' ' He lies like print, ' ' the critical German 
mind instinctively feels with Bismarck, when he said in 
the Reichstag, February 6, 1888 : 

As far as the press is concerned, I cannot attach any decisive 
weight to it. They say in Russia it means more than in France. 
I am of the opposite opinion ; in France the press is a power 
that influences the decisions of the government ; in Russia it is 
not the case, nor can it be ; but in both cases the press is, in my 
eyes, only printing ink on paper, against which we do not war. 
For us there can lie no challenge in such materials. Behind 
every article in the press there is but one individual, who 
handles the pen in order to publish this article to the world; 

1 He lies like print. 



The Germayi Press. 277 

the same in a Russian paper — let us assume it is an independent 
Russian paper that is in connection with French secret funds, 
that is perfectly immaterial. The pen that indites therein an 
anti-German article has nobody at its back but he who holds it 
in his hand, the single individual, who produces this lucubration 
in his study, and the protector that a Russian paper usually pos- 
sesses, some high official who has got entangled in party poli- 
tics, and who perhaps happens to grant this paper his protection, 
both weigh but as a feather against the authority of his majesty 
the emperor of Russia. 

The above sentiments, not only Bismarck but Ger- 
mans in general apply to the press of every country 
more or less, and hence the German press never had, Power of 

the press. 

and never will have, the power the press wields in Eng- 
land. This leads us to believe that the Germans as a 
nation are much more mentally phlegmatic than Eng- 
lishmen. Although perhaps more nervously irritable 
and excitable in some ways, their judgment is more 
sober and placid ; they think more for themselves than 
Englishmen do. 

A German will read a violent newspaper article, and, 
instead of being carried away by it, like one of ourselves, 
will say to himself : ' 'This is written by that virulent 
rascal X ; what can be the matter with him to-day ? ' ' 
On the other hand, he will casually read a journalistic 
opinion at variance with his own from mere intellectual 
curiosity, where an Englishman will studiously avoid 
reading any paper but the one holding his own views, 
and will generally blindly adopt the views of his favorite 
paper, even if they happen to differ from his own. The 
German reader retains his independence of judgment far 
more, and will unhesitatingly stop taking a paper whose 
views no longer suit him. 

The late emperor William could never again be in- Emperor 
duced to look at the Kreuzzeitung after it had once resentment. 

278 Imperial Germany, 

taken a line that offended him, though this single act 
was strangely at variance with that great and good 
man's character, always so free from every personal 
feeling of resentment. 

The Berlin National Zeitung, for instance, in one day 
lost thousands of readers when it adopted a line of its 
own that did not agree with their views. The journal- 

istic tactics so common in England, of advocating what 
was previously opposed, are decried in Germany, and 
looked upon as proofs of want of principle. A news- 
paper that avowedly changes its views with, or in ad- 
vance of, the current of public opinion, would wield 
little influence in Germany, its opinion would not com- 
mand respect or weight. The journalistic ambition of 

The German Press. 279 

shaping public opinion — admirably as it works in Eng- 
land — does not succeed there. 

In their anxiety for * ' conscientious conviction ' ' Ger- 
mans are often exaggerated and unpractical, and become 
Principienreiter — u e. , men that ride about on a broom 
labeled * ' Uberzeugungstreu ' ' (fidelity of conviction!). 
The Liberal politician who before the battle of Sadowa 
had dared to hint at the possibility of Bismarck's being 
in the right, was morally a dead man. The same fate 
awaited him who twelve years ago dared to find fault 
with the notorious May Laws against the Roman Catho- 
lics which are condemned to-day by all parties. 

Also, the Germans carry far more personal feeling into 
their political opinions than we do, and journalists of The personal 
opposite ways of thinking are not always ready to give 
their opponents that credit for honesty of purpose Eng- 
lishmen concede, except in reference to Irish affairs. In 
the latter they come very near to German virulence and 
invective, as to which the following is an example taken 
at random from the next papers at hand. 

A polemic between the Democratic Frankfort Gazette 
and the North German Gazette ', Bismarck' s official organ 
at the time, yields the following amiable buds of rhetoric: 

When some weeks ago the North German Gazette undertook 
to cast a vile aspersion on the Frankfort Gazette, and we in re- 
turn accused that sheet of shameless lying, the voluntary gov- 
ernment organ quietly pocketed the accusation. We were not 
surprised at this, as there is no accounting for tastes. Still we 
could hardly have expected that the North German Gazette 
would have the barefacedness to bring up that same lie again. 
(Extract Frankfort Gazette, July 24, 1888.) 

Pretty severe this, but the North German Gazette 
had aggravated its original aspersion by coolly stating ' 
that the Frankfort Gazette was not a German paper at 

An instance. 


Imperial Germany. 

all. Now, as that influential journal is the property 
of a Jew, that was distinctly hitting below the belt, and 
calculated to exasperate the party receiving the blow ! 
The North German Gazette seems to have had a rather 
lively time of it, for almost on the same day we find the 
ultra-Conservative New Prussian Cross Gazette declar- 
ing it to be "impertinently arrogant/ ' "untruthful," 
and again " impertinent. ' ' 

Yes, political partisanship in the press is very violent 
strong political i n Germany. The Prussian Conservative papers, in their 

partisanship. m J m r r ' 

blind hatred of everything Liberal, attack even those 
harmless and charitable convivialists, the Freemasons. 
The Liberal and Democratic press become figuratively 
black in the face at the mere reference to a Prussian 
feudalist, and, sad to say, many are the journalistic 
elements in the Fatherland who would often have wel- 
comed a humiliation to Bismarck, even if it included an 
injury to the country. Thus party politics show no more 
amiable characteristics in Germany than elsewhere. 

Bismarck's estimate of the press has been referred to, 
but in its manipulation he showed his usual skill. The 
master mind, that has used all parties and in turn cast 
them in the shade, played sad havoc with German jour- 
nalistic conscientious fads. He drove his opponents 
wild. He used his press organs either to coax or to 
threaten, to butter or to bully, to draw a red herring 
across their path, or to set up a scarecrow in their fields. 
It is all the same — it invariably answered the purpose he 
had in view. 

Some years ago all Europe was kept in a state of 
anxiety by a general cry of the German government 
press that the Russians were massing troops on their 
eastern frontier. Since then all has long been silence on 
that subject, and although in all probability not a Cos- 


control of 
the press. 

An example. 

The German Press. 281 

sack has since those days been withdrawn from the Ger- 
man frontiers, any paper venturing to hint at Russian 
troops would be roundly accused of either trickery or 
want of patriotism. 

Now and then the public saw through it, and when 
the North German Gazette was unusually " ram- 
pageous/ ' and the Cologne Gazette joined in, it was 
generally understood that the tum-tum at the village 
fair was being beaten. Something is coming, and soon 
we shall be invited by the ' ' strong man ' ' at the booth 
to hurry up, pay our pennies, and see him throw his 
hundredweights in the air, swallow fire, and otherwise 
prove again and again that he is the strongest man 
alive, and the rest of humanity mere black-beetles. 


Thirty years ago the English press possessed nearly 
its present power, and that of France numbered some of Former status 
her most brilliant writers as contributors. In those press, 
days the press of Germany was in a very backward 
condition, its news of antediluvian flavor, and its com- 
mercial enterprise at the minimum. 

The last twenty years have wrought a great change 
in this as in so many other matters. Although the 
press is hardly, as with us, the road to fame or fortune 
(except in very rare cases), although comparatively 
few men of known literary attainments contribute to it 
(except in the feuilleton 1 as essay- writers), to-day it is 
an energetic exponent of public opinion, its news is 
almost as varied as our own, and although without 
much political influence, it is carried on on broad com- 
mercial principles. 

i The part of a continental newspaper that is devoted to light literature, 
serial stories, or criticisms. 

Its advance. 

282 Imperial Germany. 

Germany does not, like England, possess one intel- 
lectual and political capital, but rather a number of 
such, and thus no one exposition of opinion could 
possibly command the influence or enjoy the circulation 
possessed by any of our great daily papers. The Berlin 
newspapers permeate the north of Germany, but Saxony 
clings with strong local feelings to those of Leipzig and 
Dresden. The Breslau papers are read in Silesia and 
Eastern Prussia, the Cologne Gazette circulates prin- 
Most important cipally in the West, besides possessing, like the Berliner 


Tageblatt and the Frankfort Gazette^ a large foreign 
circulation. The Frankfort Gazette is the most im- 
portant paper in South Germany (with the Cologne 
Gazette it is perhaps the best edited paper in all Ger- 
many), which possesses but few other papers of note 
— the Allgemeine Zeitung of Munich and the Neueste 
Munchner Nachrichten. Nor must we forget the 
Hamburger Nachrichten, which since Prince Bismarck 
is popularly supposed to contribute to its columns is 
read all over the Continent. 

Thus it will be seen that there is no strong centrality 
in the press, as in England ; for although one or two of 
Lack of cen- the Berlin papers may be the most widely circulated, no 

single one of them has the political or literary standing 
of one or two provincial papers. Also certain of these, 
including the Vienna Free Press, l have a more diffused 
circulation all over the country than some of the Berlin 
papers, the two most popular of which are perhaps the 
Berliner Tageblatt and the Lokalanzeiger, the latter 
boasting of as many as 200,000 subscribers. 

Although no German newspaper can be mentioned 
for commercial enterprise beside English or American 

1 Although in reality Austrian, this paper must be considered German in the 
same sense that many other things in Austria are German. 


The German Press, 283 

leading journals, yet there are a few that have out- 
stripped all home competitors in this respect. Here 
may be mentioned as preeminent in this respect the 
Berliner Tagedlatt t the Berliner Lokalanzeiger, the 
Vossische Zeitung, the Frankfort Gazette, the Cologne 
Gazette, and the Vienna New Free Press. 

German newspapers are, unlike English, chiefly sub- 
scribed for and received regularly, and taken in this way 
cost about two cents daily. Some of them appear as 
often as three or four times a day, in morning, after- Distribution, 
noon, and evening numbers, with various supplements. 
Bought singly, they are somewhat dearer. The system 
by which all German papers can be ordered, paid for, 
and delivered through the post-office, works admirably. 
As the price of the newspapers does not exceed the 
cost of paper and printing, their principal income is 
derived from advertisements, and hence, too, they 
cannot afford to offend the interests that advertise, or 
take an independent line that might jeopardize their 
circulation, and are forced to adhere to the plain com- 
mercial principles that alone enable them to exist. To 
increase their circulation almost all German papers 
adopt the feuilleton with its anecdotal gossip, and many 
of them are forced to publish serial stories, as that gives 
them a greater chance of gaining subscribers than any 
other literary merit or loftiness of purpose or principle. 


From a literary point of view, there is a great differ- 
ence between German and English papers. In that 
peculiar form of editorial writing, that talent for group- literature* 1 
ing of ideas which enables them to put a question super- 
ficially, but pithily and clearly, before the reader, so 
cleverly that he almost loses sight of the fact of its being 

284 Imperial Germany. 

written from a party standpoint (and thus without im- 
infcriority. partial logical value), the Germans do not come up to 

the English. Also, as graphic reporters of passing 
events, the field of the special correspondent, they can- 
not compare with English or American writers. 

On the contrary, in the dispassionate, thorough 
risumi of a political or social question, as well as in 
criticism, particularly on art and science, they surpass 
the English. Passing over those sheets that seem prin- 
cipally to live on a continual round of political squab- 
bling, there are some papers — notably, the Munich 
Allgemeine Zeitung — that not only reach a high stand- 
ard of literary excellence, 1 but also combine a rare im- 
partiality of opinion with serious breadth of treatment. 

The Allgemeine Zeitung is one of the few German 

The AUremeine P a P ers tnat nas traditions. It was formerly published in 
Zeitung. Augsburg, and to its columns the poet Heine con- 

tributed his well-known Paris letters. Also for a long 
time it withstood the temptation of adding to its circula- 
tion by the introduction of the feuilleton. In fact, we 
cannot but consider the Allgemeine Zeitung an orna- 
ment and a credit to the journalism of the country. For 
solidity of information on the scientific topics it touches, 
it is unrivaled among daily papers, and reminds us 
in this of some of our best reviews without their party 
bias. It contains more solid intellectual information, as 
distinct from news, than any paper we know of. Daily 
it brings exhaustive articles, sometimes in a series, on 
all sorts of topics of cosmopolitan interest, and the 
reader is sure to learn something on whatever subject it 
treats. In London it is only in the leading papers that 
we find now and then special articles, chiefly reviews, of 

1 In this respect the Berlin National Zeitung also deserves to be mentioned ; 
many of its articles are signed by the writers. 

The German Press. 285 

a similar exhaustive character. The following headings 
of leading articles, taken at random day by day, will jj^^' 
enable the reader to judge of the scope of its matter : 
"Prussia's Agricultural Administration in the Years 
1884-87"; " The Inundations of Hwangho" (giving a 
graphic description of the inundations of this great 
Chinese river during the last thousand years, and its 

Ths Cat bed hal op Cologne. 

bearing on the civilization of the country); "The Con- 
stitution of Japan " ; "King Louis I. of Bavaria, as the 
Educator of his People," etc., etc. Many of these 
articles are signed, run through several numbers of the 
paper, and are written by well-known authorities on the 
subjects of which they treat. 

That a paper of the stamp of the Allgemeine Zeitung 
must be a popular educator as well as a means of keep- 
ing its readers conversant with the current news of the 


Imperial Germany. 

The feuilleton. 

Moral aspect 
of the German 

day goes without saying ; and we can only express the 
wish that some capitalists could see their way to start a 
newspaper on similar lines in other countries. 

The main typical distinction between English and 
German papers consists in the feuilleton — it includes the 
matter printed under the black line that runs horizon- 
tally across the middle of the paper. Although often 
devoted to sensational or other novels and personal 
anecdotes, notes on art and literature, it also includes 
serious criticisms of current art topics. Pictures, 
theaters, and above all music, are treated and criti- 
cised in the feuilleton ; although the value of German 
criticism on painting is disputed by some there can 
be no doubt of the invariable excellence of the average 
theatrical and musical articles. In fact, a regular perusal 
of them is almost a liberal education on these subjects. 
Also such names as Liibke, Schnase, Jordan, Frenzel, 
Avenarius, Pietsch, as feuilleton writers, speak well for 
the standard which is current in the German feuilleton. 


Let us take last a point of view of journalism that 
journalists are fond of presenting to us before all else — 
the moral aspect. With regard to the publication of in- 
decent tales and anecdotes, the German press stands far 
purer than the French. A paper that would publish a 
serial story such as "La Terre" of Zola, which appeared 
first in the Gil Bias (and was even confiscated in Rus- 
sia), would be seized immediately and excluded hence- 
forth from every respectable German household. 

In regard to the publication of obscene trials, the con- 
cise laws on the subject remove the most enterprising 
newspaper proprietors out of the reach of temptation. 
The public is excluded from such trials, and, although 

The German Press. 287 

the press is admitted, the law ordains that no press 
reports of such trials are allowed, except with the con- 
sent of the court, and after perusal of such reports by 
the state advocate. There are some people left in Ger- 
many who think these officials are more likely to know 
what is good for public consumption than enterprising 
newspaper proprietors. 

In theory the powers possessed by the court are 
certainly liable to be arbitrarily used, for they go be- 
yond the right of forbidding the publication of inde- Forbidden 
cency, they apply to high treason and other matters ; 
hence here the captious critic may well detect the cloven 
foot of paternal government. But the high character 
of the German bench has hitherto proved to be a suffi- 
cient guarantee against bias and undue influence ; and, 
after all, the benefit of the community being safe from 
sewer filth and flooding is very great and cannot easily 
be paid for too dearly. The idea of a discretionary 
limit of publicity endangering the liberty of the subject 
nowadays is one only fit for the nursery. 

There are also here and there a few Germans left who 
think it a doubtful testimony to a country's institutions 
to have to admit that its vilest abuses can only hope to 
be remedied, and its filth to be cleansed away, by the 
indiscriminate action of the press pandering to the sen- 
sational cravings of a half-educated public. 

The German press has not yet, in its self-conscious- 
ness, come to regard itself as the Augean stable- 
cleansing Hercules of the community. The Germans cleansing 
look abroad, and do not feel impressed by the success JressT° * e 
of the press in that character in other countries. How- 
ever dreamy and unpractical they may be in some 
matters, they have common sense enough to suspect an 
indignation, the source of which doubles the circulation, 

288 Imperial Germany. 

for the time, of the righteous organ of public opinion. 

The one moral blot on German journalism is the 

character of its advertisements ; they are not always 

character of above suspicion, though flagrant cases of impropriety 

are rare. Still, in the advertisement columns of the 
German press, the petty spirit of hatred, spite, and 
slander of the Philistine airs itself. Anonymous attacks 
on personal character are occasionally met with such as 
an English jury would deal with severely. But this 
occurs more in places outside the main stream of 
national life, in places where the press is intellectually 
poor, spiteful, and contemptible. There we find sheets 
that appeal to every local prejudice, alternately cringing 
and slandering, blatant with beery patriotism while 
living on envious tittle-tattle and scandal. Wherever 
such sheets are found, it is interesting to note the want 
of healthy public life, the low state of morality of the 
population, and the underground spread of socialism 
among the working classes. Thus, if a sound press be 
not always an infallible mentor of public morals, a 
vicious newspaper is a certain indicator of popular 

One tendency of the German press merits reproba- 
tion : the proclivity to comment on cases under judg- 

An evil ment, in contrast with the English press, which, in this 

respect, is well restrained. This latter assertion as 
regards the self-restraint of the English press can, how- 
ever, we fear, hardly be upheld in its entirety since 
recent events in South Africa. But while on important 
matters restriction is advisable, needless interference is 
certainly irritating and impolitic. It is a question 
whether even Bismarck might not, in some instances, 
have magnanimously followed the example of Frederick 
the Great, who, when offensive pasquils were issued 

The German Press. 289 

against him, would order the placards to be put lower 
down on the walls, that the people might read them the 
more easily. 
We have referred to the strong personal and passion- 

, , _ , Toneoflhe 

ate character of the German press to-day, but we cannot p«ss during 

, . r J the War 011870 

conclude without 

a word of admi- 
ration for its tone I 
during the War I 
of 1870. It was 
worthy of a great 1 
nation. Its earn- j 
est tone, totally j 
removed from j 
bounce and blus- 
ter, in those 
days was as ad- 
mirable as some 
of its excess of 
passion, when 
dealing with in- 
ternal party pol- 
itics to-day, is to 

be regretted. But Thb Towk Hal ^ Hamwro 

even in dealing 

with our own time there is one more word to be said. 
Whatever the shortcomings of the German press may 
be, it is at all events not yet venal. What that means 
will be best understood when the historian of the last 
quarter of this century comes to handle the interesting 
subjects of Panama and South Africa. 



If circumstances lead me, I will find 

Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed 

Within the center. 

— Shakespeare, 


' We have striven to point to a few characteristics of 

Germany in the present day. In conclusion, we will 
endeavor to review our impressions and add to them. 
For we believe that, without being blind to its social, 
political, and other shortcomings, there is much in Ger- 
many to-day of the deepest interest to us. 

Far be it from our thoughts that Germany is ever 
destined to distance the Anglo-Saxon race in the com- 
petition for the world's markets. The mass of the 
aggressive German people have hitherto not shown themselves to 
vitality. possess that peculiar aggressive vitality which has made 

the English race the pioneers of colonization all over the 
world. Though the Germans spare no pains in tapping 
trade, if hard work can do it, they have hitherto not 
been eager in risking human lives, and above all money, 
in order to secure remote ultimate commercial results. 
If this has to be done on any large scale, it will soon 
mark the limits of their transoceanic enterprise. 1 

l The last ten years have revealed an unexpected fund of energy and in- 
dividual enterprise on the part of Germany. It is in every case, even to- 
day, much too soon to mark the limits of the " likely " or the " possible " 
as far as the future of German trade is concerned. Thus it is only fair to state 
that the above expression of opinion can only be accepted with reserve. 


Summary and Conclusion. 291 

The present preponderant position of Germany is 
owing to her great men, to the organization they have ^StS!& 
effected, and to the excellent qualities of the race which *"■* men - 
have made that organization possible. Whether these 
qualities are likely to distance the Anglo-Saxon in the 
long run only time can tell. 


We have found a nation on a high level of education, 
and of healthy material prosperity, and whose best sons 
are imbued with a rare ideality of aim and purpose. 
The people are animated by a sense of duty and an 
earnest devotion to work which are hardly to be sur- „ 

. Superior 

passed in the world. In this sentiment every difference qualities, 
of creed and party is submerged, until it forms a para- 
mount law of ethics of universal practical application. 
We see this particularly in the honesty of the adminis- 
tration of the country as well as in the high standard of 
rectitude and honor observable in all the educated — 
notably in the professional classes. It is the moral 
force underlying all this that is more instructive than 
any outward success, which is merely its result. We 
have found an absence of pauperism, of drunkenness, 
and other forms of degradation, as striking as they are 
pleasant to note. 

The physical appearance of the male population when 
compared with that of Austria and France shows, par- 
ticularly in the North, a healthy, sturdy manliness of 
bearing that is partly due to the beneficial hygienic 
effects of universal military service. Also the observer 
is met almost everywhere by outward evidences of prog- 
ress and prosperity. 

Berlin, which numbered only 100,000 inhabitants at Ber i ilL 
the beginning of the century, and hardly half a million 


Imperial Germany. 




in 1870, possesses now a population of 1,500,000. The 
Berlin University, only founded at the beginning of the 
century, to-day boasts the£/£feof intellectual Germany in 
its staff of professors, and attracts the greatest number of 
students of any German university — over four thousand. 

Whole suburbs have sprung into existence — to the 
west, consisting of beautiful private houses ; elsewhere, 
factories and works have arisen, reechoing the sound of 
the hammer and anvil and steam. The town that only 
yesterday was noted for its monotonous, lifeless streets, 
has now outstripped every town in Europe, except Lon- 
don, in the plenitude of its bustle and life. 

Public buildings, such as the head post-office, the 
new town-hall, the different barracks, strike the eye by 
their vast dimensions, and the new Reichstag building 
when finished bids fair to become the grandest building 
of its kind in the world. 

Nor does Berlin stand alone in the outward signs of 
increased prosperity. Towns such as Frankfort-on-the- 
Main, Munich, Magdeburg, Breslau, Stuttgart, Carls- 
ruhe, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dresden, Leipzig, and many 
others, have wonderfully improved in appearance, as 
also gained in material riches. Everywhere new streets 
of palatial buildings have risen, and there are now 
dozens of towns in Germany the shop windows of which 
could vie with any in England outside London. 

Hamburg, the Venice of the North, has become one 
of the finest towns of Europe. Over $40,000,000 have 
been expended upon her harbor and warehouses ; and 
her commercial activity can be gauged by the one fact 
that within the last few years she has outstripped Lon- 
don as a coffee mart. Hamburg has become one of the 
largest seaports in the world. The tonnage of her ship- 
ping already exceeds that of Liverpool. 

Summary and Conclusion. 

As for Strassburg, the German rule in ten years has stni9Sbu „ 
done more than the French did in two hundred. The 
new university building alone well repays a visit. 

Modern public buildings of every kind in Germany 
show a grandeur and solidity of monumental architecture 
rarely met with elsewhere. That the soldiers' barracks 
to be found in almost every large town are gigantic barracks. 
structures will surprise no one. In towns such as Ber- 
lin, Dresden, and Munich, they form almost separate 
quarters of their own. But it is the cleanliness and 
order that particularly strike the eye. The town-halls, 
the post-offices particularly, and even the police-stations, 
and the prisons of even second-rate towns, are generally 
imposing edifices and models of order and cleanliness. 
Even the day-schools are large buildings, uniting excel- 
lent practical accommodation with chaste architectural 

The theaters of towns such as Dresden, Frankfort, 
Leipzig, Berlin, and many others, hardly need a word 

The Court Theater, Dresden. 

of encomium on the score of their elegance and solidity. 
Whether large or small, their construction and adminis- Thettaa, 
tration are such, that, whereas hundreds of lives have 
been lost by theater fires in England, France, Italy, 


Imperial Germany. 


Bridges and 

Austria, and even in America, during the last twenty- 
years, no such misfortune has happened in Germany. 

Those who look closer for indirect evidences of 
healthy national life cannot fail to be impressed with the 
excellent municipal organization that regulates town life. 
Everywhere unexceptional order and cleanliness have 
replaced the old sleepy conditions of the past. Part of 
this is undoubtedly due to the very superior class of 
men from whom are chosen the mayors and town coun- 
cillors of the larger German cities. Men of the stamp of 
Von Forckenbeck, late mayor of Berlin, Dr. Miguel, 
some years ago mayor of Frankfort-on-the-Main, to-day 
Prussian Minister of Finance, have undoubtedly done 
much to raise the character of municipal administration 
in Germany. 1 

The splendid bridges over the Rhine and other rivers 
are notable instances of excellence of design combined 
with solidity of work. The railway stations, even of 
towns such as Hanover, Magdeburg, and Strassburg, 
are beyond anything we have to show outside London ; 
while Berlin, Munich, and Frankfort-on-the-Main and, 
latterly, Cologne, each possess a station on a larger scale 
than our largest — the Midland, at St. Pancras. The 
Frankfort station — the largest in the world — covers an 
area of 33,852 square yards, and is, we believe, a third 
larger than St. Pancras. It cost over $7,500,000, half 
of which was contributed by the state and the other half 
by the town. The new railway stations at Dresden on 
both sides of the river Elbe will, when completed, be 
unique. With their approaches and other work con- 
nected with their construction they are expected to cost 

l As an instance of the healthiness of municipal government in Germany, it 
may be mentioned, that the Berlin municipality closed the financial year of 
1887 with a surplus of $955,000. 


Summary and Conclusion, 295 

the enormous sum of $16,500,000. This is poor mili- 
tary tax-ridden groaning Germany. 

Everywhere, over hill and dale, are to be found fresh 
evidences of the vital energy pulsating through every 
artery of the country. Even country roads are uni- 
formly kept in such order as contrasts strongly with the 
fate of some of our splendid old highways since the 
introduction of steam. In fact, to the naked eye as far 
as the observer is able to judge of a nation's material 
condition by the outward evidence of her prosperity, 
Germany is materially far and away the most prosper- 
ous country in Europe. 


Turning from these outward tangible evidences of 
national life, we find, on closer examination, that the 
population itself is far better off than we were accus- 
tomed to believe. If the happiness of a people be 
judged by its savings, the German masses seem to 
stand almost as well as the English of their own class. 
According to statistics, there are 525 million dollars 
in German savings banks, whereas, in English savings 
banks there are only 400 millions. And this does not 
include the numerous small investors in German govern- 
ment stock, a class (until lately, through the Post-Office 
Savings Bank) practically non-existent in England. 

According to another series of statistics, the wealth of Wea i t h 
England is calculated as representing $1,245 to each in- P erca P lta - 
habitant, whereas every German is only credited with 
$700. Now if it be borne in mind that the enormous for- 
tunes of England are practically unknown in Germany, 
that, in fact, incomes even of $5,000 a year are compara- 
tively rare there, the above-quoted average must show a 
high standard of income for the masses of the population. 

296 Imperial Germany. 

With regard to the indebtedness of the state the 
following authentic tabulation of figures is also very 

suggestive : 

SuteindcU- Up to the year 1875 the new German Empire found itself in 

the most enviable position of being entirely free from debt. 
In that same year, however, the empire borrowed the modest 
sum of $2,425,000, but it did not really spend this amount 
until three years later. From 1875 down to the present year 
the empire has contracted loans every year without exception, 
so that on April 1, 1895, twenty years alter the first loan was 
effected, the imperial debt had attained the respectable total of 
$507,128,125. The sum received amounted to $31,339,135 less 
than the nominal figure. Of the present debt $109,125,000 
are at four per cent, $189,271,250 at three and one half per 
cent, and $206,246,250 at three per cent. In the current finan- 
cial year 1896-97 the German government has borrowed rather 
less than $10,790,000, being the smallest loan it has contracted 
since 1S75. In the financial year 1888-89 i* borrowed $95,- 
726,875 ; in 1890-91, $74,265*625 ; in 1887-88, $53,835.«» ; in 
1893-94, $48,500,000; in 1892-93, $35,708,125; and in 1894-95, 
$29,172,750. Of the total amount received by way of loans 
$304,216,250 have been spent on the army, $67,596,875 on the 
navy, $63,535,000 on railways and military defenses connected 
therewith, and $15,216,875 on postal and telegraphic service. 
Cost of the ^ ne B^tic Canal has cost the empire $25,523,125, while 

Baltic Canal. $i2, have been expended on bringing the free ports of 

Bremen and Hamburg into the Imperial Customs Union. It is 
pointed out that though the German Empire has thus within 
twenty years run up a national debt of nearly $525,000,000, 
nevertheless, it possesses valuable assets as the result of this 
expenditure. The lands and buildings which it has acquired 
through the loans for the army are estimated to be worth 
$218,250,000. The railways ^and property relating thereto) 
which it has secured are valued at $169,750,000, and the 
postal and telegraphic offices at $72,750,000. Apart from this, 
however, the imperial government possesses a war treasure in 
hard cash amounting to $29,100,000, besides various other 
items, including unspent balances and credits amounting to 
more than double the value of the war treasure. 

Summary and Conclusion. 297 

Aristotle said, long ago, that the salvation of a 
country in a crisis must lie in its middle classes : in Jhe P ^ddie e ° f 
their increase lies its hope of permanence and pros- classes - 
perity. The tendency in England is to increase prop- 
erty in the hands of a few individuals, leaving an 
impoverished middle class, and cutting off the hope of 
the poorer classes ever rising into the middle class. 
The problem of the moment is to prevent this accumu- 
lation of immense fortunes in few hands and to spread 
the wealth throughout the country. This problem the 
Germans seem to be in the way of solving more satisfac- 
torily than the English. 

How comes it then, will be asked, if so many things 
are satisfactory in Germany, that a party such as the the social 
Social Democrats, bent on the subversion of everything 
existing, has so many followers that it has been able to 
send over forty of its representatives to the Reichstag ? 
How comes it that Germany has had to use such repress- 
ive measures against the socialists that towns such as 
Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Stettin, Frankfort, Offenbach, 
etc. , have been proclaimed in a continued modified state 
of siege in order to enable the authorities to cope with 
them V 

The main reason why it has become so seems to us to 
be in the main : First, because of the high and yet Three causes, 
politically most defective education of the masses; 
second, because the introduction of universal suffrage 
has enabled them to make their opinions felt. (This 
measure has been considered a grave precipitancy on 
the part of Bismarck ; but neither he nor anybody else 
could have foreseen that within ten years of attaining 
national unity, a million of voters would pin their faith 

1 This is no longer the case since the retirement of Prince Bismarck — but 
the suggestiveness of such a recent state of things remains. 


Imperial Germany. 

The gospel 
of bate. 

A social 

to a party to which the idea of national existence even 
seems a secondary consideration.) Third, because of 
the very character of the masses themselves, who are 
less influenced by military splendor, in some senses more 
sober and less enthusiastically patriotic than elsewhere. 
Hence their care for the supremacy of their class inter- 
ests is less interfered with by other considerations. This 
is distinctly proved by the great strides the movement 
has made amidst victory and commercial success. Part 
of the spread of socialism must also be put down more 
to the gospel of hate than to that of hope ; for, although 
some of the socialist leaders are men of undoubted high 
principle and purity of motive, yet much of the envy and 
Schadenfreude — malicious joy — peculiar to Philistinism 
have gone to swell the number of their adherents. Eng- 
lishmen talk of class hatred ; but it is in Germany that 
true class hatred exists. 

In England the trades unions, which had their origin 
in the unspeakable social misery of the working classes, 
have acted as valves, carrying off superfluous steam. 
Such have been to a great extent prevented in Germany, 
and as life is of a less depressing character to the work- 
ingman, secret combinations of this kind have been less 
resorted to. Socialism has more of an abstract or philo- 
sophic basis than the narrower aims of English trades 
unions. As a high Prussian legal authority expressed 
it, we educate the masses to look upon the will of the 
majority as law. What can we say, when the time 
comes for them to turn round, and, using our own argu- 
ments, to aver that being in a majority their will is law? 
This is the problem the statesmen of the future will have 
to face. Not the dearth or plenty- of wages will influ- 
ence its course. We find the Knights of Labor in 
America, where wages are high and employment plenti- 

Summary and Conclusion. 299 

fill. It is part and parcel of the increased fierceness of 
the struggle for existence of our time. 

Whereas in Austria active brains have stiH an easy 
victory over laziness and stupidity, in Germany — partic- ^JJjgJjl^ 
ularly in the North — intelligence is already grappling 

Bridge over the Elbe, Hamburg. 

with intelligence in the fierce struggle for existence, and 

breeds socialism in all the great centers of commerce and 

As it fell to the French in the last century to deal with 
feudal aristocracy, so it will probably fall to the lot of 
Germany to grapple with the problem of this century 
first. Not because the conditions of its laboring classes 
are the most onerous — far from it ; but for the reasons 
given above, which place them in the front rank in 
clamoring for recognition. 

The late emperor William, in his message of February, 

3<x> Imperial Germany. 

1 88 1, to the working classes, recognized their right to be 
considered by the state, and the subsequent laws in favor 
of insurance in case of sickness, in case of accident, and, 
lastly, for provision for old age, have since emphasized 
his words. How far these measures will answer, the 
future alone can show. Those who prophesy a black 
future for the country from socialism may be right, but 
they would be strangely short-sighted if they surmised 
that these social problems will have to be solved only in 
Germany. They will come to the fore in all other coun- 
internationai tries, ! and it is very questionable whether they will find 

other countries in the long run more prepared to meet 
the shock. For in Germany there exists a counter- 
weight in the fact that the land is largely in posses- 
sion of the people, which will tell its tale in favor of 
compromise ; whereas those countries will feel the inev- 
itable upheaval of the masses most in which the people 
are most dissatisfied with the social and economical 
conditions of their existence. 


The short reign of Frederick III. and its sequels have 
thrown a lurid light on the bitter party divisions of the 
country. Of the socialists we have spoken, though they 
are little understood in England. You must have lived 
in Germany to understand. The ultra-Liberals are only 
in a degree less opposed to every measure on which 
German parties, authority rests in Prussia. The Roman Catholics have 

proved that they recognize an allegiance beyond the 
Alps, above the loyalty to the sovereign — yes, even 
perhaps above national interests. The Conservatives, 
although possessing many lofty characters in their 
ranks, are as a party too selfish, narrow-minded, and 

l The events of the last ten years have tended to confirm this view. 

Summary and Conclusion. 301 

slow ever to be able to wield decisive parliamentary 
influence. The intellectual backbone of the country is 
perhaps to be found in what until recently was the 
National-Liberal party, though, in its turn, it is any- The National- 
thing but a homogeneous body to-day and sadly dimin- Llberal party - 
ished in members. Doctrinarism is the plague-spot of 
the National- Liberal and Liberal parties. The con- 
scientious politician-professor is the bugbear of German 
politics, and his enthusiastic admiration of English insti- 
tutions not the least suspicious element of his creed. 
It is invariably derived from book-knowledge, or from 
a very short stay in England. Nor must we omit the 
old ' ' Particularistic ' ' element — the term which signifies The « Particu- 
the feeling of loyalty the German possesses for his dement" 
particular petty sovereign. This sentiment has grown 
in intensity — more particularly in Bavaria — since the 
retirement of Prince Bismarck, and with it a certain 
ill-concealed antagonism toward the spirit of northern 

These irreconcilable parties and currents of feeling 
and the very character of the German people, of which 
they are typical, do not hold out a guarantee that par- 
liamentarianism, particularly that of a single, all-powerful 
chamber, is suited to the character or requirements of 
the nation. 1 On the contrary, it is the seed-ground of 
peril for the future. In its bosom are the future allies 
of the socialists — the Catholics. 2 The danger that lies 
in a possible social propaganda of the Catholics can be 
surmised when we look at Ireland. It is a democratic, 
almost socialistic, movement. 

1 Since Prince Bismarck's retirement the attendance of the members of the 
Reichstag has dropped off to such an extent that the caterer in the building 
finds his occupation gone — he cannot make it pay. 

s This statement, hazarded nearly ten years ago, has come very near to 
being an accomplished fact to-day. 


Imperial Germany. 

Power of the 

Catholic party. 

Division of its 

The Catholic Congress at Freiburg in September, 
1888, distinctly pointed in the direction of Catholic par- 
ticipation in projects of social reform — the care for the 
masses. It is only necessary to bear in mind the power 
of the Catholic party in the country and in the Reichs- 
tag to feel that, once it joins hands with the democratic 
faction, it will be a hot time for the moderate Liberals 
representing the resisting bulk of the middle classes. 
On these lines there is undoubtedly a powerful opening 
for the Catholic party. ' 

For, if it is strong in itself, it is even stronger by the 
hopeless divisions of its political opponents. A party 
that presents a united parliamentary phalanx literally, in 
the words of Lord Tennyson, stands 

Four square to every wind that blows — 

even when the object of its policy is almost anti-national; 
it may well bid its enemies beware, if once its policy 
should be such as to attract the sympathies of large 
classes of the population. 

The many endeavors to lessen the services of Prince 
Bismarck by seeking to increase the credit of others 
has, like previous attempts, signally failed. Surely his 
reputation has no need of borrowed plumes. But public 
opinion has always wanted to know exactly whence 
everything originated. It can never be believed that 
the late emperor Frederick wished the world should 
know, by his diary, that he had been far more in 
the work of unity than had hitherto been acknowl- 
edged. This would be in too striking contrast with the 
conduct of his great father. 

People already ask themselves what will become of 

1 This was written first in 1887 ; to-day the Catholic party is the most 
powerful in the Reichstag. 

Summary and Conclusion. 303 

the country and these elements oi discord in times 
to come when Bismarck has long passed away. Why ' 
has he trained no successors ? But surely neither Pitt, 
Canning, nor Wellington left any successors either. 
The state is like a ship that has been guided through 
shoals, Bismarck at least has left it with a model work- 
ing system. If he somewhat lavishly used up the ad- 
ministrative capacity of the country, in one particular, 
the working material of the nation stands untarnished, 

supreme — the army. Amidst all the bitterness of politi- 
cal discussion, its chief, Field-Marshal von Moltke, 
recendy passed like a classic shadow of antiquity from 
the scene, after himself appointing his successor. Thus 
all those who are intent on retaining the means of de- \ 
veloping everything that is to be valued in a nation must ' 
group themselves around the army. The time may 
come when all this may be sufficiently safeguarded by 

304 Imperial Germany. 

the free expression of public opinion, but it is not yet. 

In the meantime the temper of the nation makes it 
very unlikely that it will embark in Quixotic adventures, 
such as the French, by their constitutional, periodical 
bloody outbreaks, have indulged in and suffered from. 

Perhaps the most useful lesson the study of Ger- 
many teaches us to-day is, that laissez-faire as a system 
An important of social and political advancement — between an aristoc- 


racy of the past and a democracy of the future playing 
at cross purposes — is no longer the only shibboleth 
to swear by. A few additional watchwords can hardly 
fail to be suggested by an impartial study of Germany 
of to-day. 




The history of Germany since 1815 has been one of 
continual growth from monarchical toward "constitu- 
tional government, and of the unity of the many Central 
European states under one head. 

At the outbreak of the French Revolution Germany 
was a composite of nearly three hundred petty states, 
principalities, and cities loosely bound by ties of race 
but without political unity. 

After Napoleon had fallen, the Congress of Vienna Him 
was called together to settle all European disputes and ' ' s 
define bounda- 
ries. Then came 
a federation 
of the German 
states under the 
guidance of a 
Diet of sixty -five 
members and ; 
committee of 
seventeen which 
filled the places 
of an Upper and 
Lower House. 
Austria presided at all sittings, and the powers of these 
two bodies were curtailed as much as possible in order 
to leave greater independence to the individual states. 

1 From "Governments of the World To- Day," by Hamblen Seats, published 


Imperial Germany. 

Demand for 

The " Holy 

In time of war the federation put itself under the guid- 
ance of the Diet entirely, and this central authority- 
settled the difficulties between the states. The king- 
doms of Denmark and the Netherlands had each a 
membership. Owing to the unsettled condition of 
affairs and the incomplete powers given it, the federa- 
tion soon lost caste. 

It was not long before a reaction from the settlements 
agreed upon by the sovereigns at the Vienna Congress 
set in, and the people of Germany began to think and 
act for themselves. The students all over the north 
and south of Germany formed a party of reform, de- 
manding free press, universal suffrage, individual con- 
stitutions, etc., and in 1818 they won a constitution in 
Bavaria. In the next year Wurtemberg followed 
Bavaria's example. To curtail this republican tendency 
Metternich, prime minister of Austria, called the Carls- 
bad Congress in August, where the monarchical idea 
was enforced. Censorship of the press followed, and 
the rule of princes was pushed forward on all sides. 
From that time until 1830 there was a conflict between 
the two parties, ever growing stronger and fiercer. On 
the whole, through the influence of Metternich, the 
monarchical idea gained the ascendency. He formed a 
union between Austria, Prussia, and Russia, called the 
"Holy Alliance/ ' which had for its object the destruc- 
tion of constitutions and the enforcement of the rule of 
irresponsible ministries. Assemblies were closed ; the 
rights of the press were curtailed, and in all parts of 
Germany the student element of free thought was sup- 

All through the years from 1830 to 1848 there came 
individual cries for freedom of speech and suffrage. It 
was the modern demand of each man to be allowed to 

Appe?idix. 309 

govern himself, fighting against the medieval practice of 
making the mass of humanity subservient to a few 
hereditary princes, and it came naturally from the 
growth of popular education. At a meeting in 1847, 
Heppenheim, an advanced leader in the South, proposed 
a representative government for all Germany. This 
was followed at Heidelberg on March 5, 1848, by a 
self- assembled meeting which decided to call a national 
congress to consider a proposition of a parliament of 
the many independent states of Germany. The result 
was the famous National Assembly at Frankfort, which The Frankfort 

J Assembly. 

came together May 1, 1848, and was composed of three 
hundred and twenty delegates. 

This was the first body of reformers that had gained 
any standing, and it was the first result of the struggles 
since 18 16. The old German Diet had already lost 
caste. John, archduke of Austria, became president of 
the Assembly and administrator of Germany, and all 
seemed to promise well for a solution of the great ques- 
tion. Unfortunately for the peace of Germany, the 
Assembly never came to any satisfactory conclusions, 
though it sat for many months, on account of the fact 
that it could not settle who and what should be the head 
of Germany itself. Out of the discussions, however, 
grew two parties that ruled the politics until 1871. 
Germany must be united. This could be accomplished 
in one way by putting Austria at the head of the Con- Austria vs. 
federation or in another by throwing out Austria 
altogether and forming a union under Prussia. Caused 
partly by the elections for the National Assembly, and 
partly by the same ideas that suggested the Assembly 
itself, an era of popular feeling and the demand for pop- 
ular sovereignty gained the ascendency in 1848-49. It 
was the same in all Europe. After the February Revo- 



Imperial Germany. 

Revolution of 


lution in Paris, there came a revolution in Germany. In 
Vienna, on the 13th of March, the students gained con- 
trol of the city. Emperor Ferdinand was forced to 
abdicate. Immediately following came similar scenes in 
Prague, and on the 18th a revolution broke out in 
Berlin. King Frederick William IV. was forced to 
grant a constitution to Prussia, which went into effect 
February 26, 1849. 

At this point Prussia began to take a more important 
place in German affairs. It was now a contest between 
Austria and Prussia for the leadership. Count Bismarck 
of Prussia had been at the National Assembly and had 
there made up his mind that the only way to unite Ger- 
many was to create an authority strong enough to com- 
pel obedience to its will, and then to unite the many 
states into a confederation under its leadership. He 
proposed to make Prussia that power. From 1850 to 
1 87 1 the growth of that power was the direct outcome 
of Bismarck's policy, and it became the final means of 
accomplishing the German Empire. 

The Schleswig-Holstein question is a difficult one to 
understand, and is to-day of little importance. It was, 
however, the cause of open hostilities between Austria 
and Prussia, and the consequent settlement of the diffi- 
culties arising from their rivalry. Prussia and Austria 
took possession of both Schleswig and Holstein on be- 
half of the Confederation, which claimed jurisdiction 
over both, by force of arms in 1864, on account of a 
dispute in regard to the question of succession there. 
Christian IX. was obliged to sign a treaty ceding both 
duchies to Prussia and Austria jointly. Hence Prussia 
and Austria came to rule in the North in common. This 
could not last long when the two powers were rivals, 
and it was less than two years before Prussia, charging 

Appendix. 311 

Austria with breaking the treaty in calling an assembly 
in Holstein on her own authority, interfered and forced 
her to declare war. Meantime, in 1861, William, the 
future emperor, had become king of Prussia and with Prussia defeats 

*■ t & . Austria. 

the aid of Bismarck as chancellor had been steadily 
increasing and strengthening the army, so that in 1866 
Prussia was able in seven weeks totally to defeat Austria 
by one of the most remarkable campaigns in history. 
The North German Confederation was formed with 
Prussia at its head and all the small states of Northern 
Germany as members. Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, and 
Baden still held aloof, but they formed treaties with 
the Confederation — Austria was compelled to with- 

From that time until 1870 Prussia was increasing in 
power and the Confederation was uniting within itself 
more firmly until the final act toward the unification of 
all Germany came in the war with France. Napoleon 
III. was hostile to Prussia and its wonderful growth ; 
and in his uncertain position as usurper in France, 
he was obliged to win some victory to impress his power 
upon the French and keep their confidence. An oppor- 
tunity offered itself in the neutralization of Luxemburg, 
which was contrary to Napoleon's wish ; and, finally, 
when William I. refused to prevent, at Napoleon's 
solicitation, one of his own family, Prince Leopold of 
Hohenzollern, from becoming king of Spain, war was Prussian War. 
declared on the 15th of July, 1870. Prussia at once 
sent her forces to Strassburg and Metz, and after the 
defeat of the French at Saarbriick and the retreat to 
Metz, came the three fights about the city which ruined 
that portion of Napoleon's army. The final fight at 
Sedan on September 2, and the surrender of Paris on 
January 28, 187 1, ended the war. Bavaria, Wiirtem- 

312 Imperial Germany. 

berg, and Baden immediately joined the North German 
Confederation on January 1 8 at Versailles in offering the 
crown of emperor to King William, and Germany was 
united at last under one head. France ceded Alsace 
and Lorraine to Germany and paid five milliards of 
francs as a war indemnity. 

The constitution of the empire, adopted at the close 
Constitutions, of the war with Austria in 1867, was accepted with few 

changes on April 16, 1871, by all the twenty-five states 
of the empire. It is unique in history, being as it is a 
union of states of different forms of government under 
an hereditary head with imperial powers. After the 
preamble and the list of states in the Confederation, the 
constitution provides that all federal laws take prece- 
dence over state laws. Equal rights are to be held by 
citizens of all the states. The matters over which the 
legislative part of the government has jurisdiction are 
then classified under fifteen heads. They include all 
jurisdiction in the matter of posts and telegraph, rail- 
roads, waterways, military and naval affairs, measures of 
public health, and a common system of weights, meas- 
ures, and money ; also the establishment of measures 
relating to the rights of citizens and foreigners within 
the empire or their movements between the states or 
into and away from the frontier; the establishment of 
laws for the purpose of revenue and customs or internal 
taxes, of banking, patent and copyright laws, and the 
protection of German commerce abroad by consular 
representation ; finally, the establishment of a common 
code for the punishment of crime and for civil pro- 
cedure, the enforcement of judicial documents in the 
different states, and the protection and care of traffic on 
interstate waterways and roads. The legislative part of 
the imperial government is in two houses, the Federal 


Appendix. 313 

Council (Bundesrath) and the House of Representa- 
tives (Reichstag). 

The Bundesrath is composed of sixty-two members, 
who are appointed by the governments of the different Bundesrath. 
states, each state having a certain number in proportion 
to its magnitude and having only the number of votes 
equal to its membership. Any member may propose 
motions and the president must bring them before the 
body. The chancellor of the empire is the president, 
and the Bundesrath sits with closed doors. It appoints 
seven permanent committees, viz., army, navy, taxa- 
tion, commerce, railways, post and telegraph, justice, 
and finance, and the appointments are so arranged that 
two states at least are represented in each committee 
exclusive of the president. The Bundesrath meets 
annually, and no man can be a member of both houses 
at once, though the members of the Upper House can 
take seats in the Reichstag. 

The Reichstag meets annually also and is composed 
of three hundred and ninety-seven members elected by 


universal suffrage, about one to every one hundred and 
seventeen thousand, but if a member receives any 
government office he must be reelected to the Reichs- 
tag. The debates are public and verbatim reports 
are published. The Reichstag can propose measures 
and send them up to the Bundesrath, as well as any 
petitions submitted to it. Its term is five years (before 
1890 three years). It can only be dissolved by a vote 
of the Bundesrath, and must then be summoned within 
sixty days and meet again within ninety days of dissolu- 
tion. The Reichstag regulates the power of its mem- 
bers under the constitution, and the members while in 
active service are free from any indemnity or arrest, 
unless taken in the act. All votes are by absolute 


Imperial Germany. 



majority of the total number of members, and as each 
member represents the whole country he cannot be 
held by any decree of his electors or of any one else. 
No member, as such, receives any salary. 

The supreme authority is hereditary in the crown of 
Prussia, and the emperor has the right to receive and 
credit foreign ambassadors and emissaries, curtailed 
somewhat by the advice and consent of the Bundesrath. 
He calls the Bundesrath and Reichstag together and 
dismisses them. He appoints the chancellor of the em- 
pire and with him the ministers of state. The emperor 
sees to the execution of the laws after they have passed 
both houses, and he has the power to bring forward 
bills in the Reichstag and in the Bundesrath. In his 
office of executor of the decrees of the legislatures he 
has authority to carry them out in all the states, even to 
the use of force. 

In the matter of customs the empire is a unit and all 
legislation is for all parts of the country, except in the 
free cities of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck, and they 
are at present free within their small city limits. Fed- 
eral authority, also, has the legislation of tariff and 
excise on all kinds of produce. The expenses are 
estimated by a budget voted by the two houses in 
advance and submitted annually. In case of need, the 
exchequers of the several states may be drawn upon or 
a loan negotiated by the passage of a federal law. The 
emperor is obliged to render an account of receipts and 
expenditures annually. 

There is a circuit court (Amtsgericht) in each large 
township, over which are Landsgerichte with a right of 
revision over the decisions of the Amtsgerichte. The 
Oberlandsgerichte stand above these in turn and are 
twenty-seven in number, extending over certain large 

Appendix. 315 

tracts of land that sometimes include several states. The 

final court of appeals and for trial of cases of treason— 

the Supreme Court of the empire — is situated at Leipzig, * 

where there are seventy-nine judges appointed by the 

emperor with the consent of the Bundesrath. They are 

divided into four criminal and six civil senates. 

The emperor as the executor of the empire appoints 
the ministers, who are responsible and who by custom Administration, 
resign when a vote is passed in both houses against 
them, or when their advice is not followed. These have 
charge under the chancellor of the different departments 
of state. They are : the minister of foreign affairs, 
minister of interior, of justice, of finance, of the post and 
telegraph, and of the navy. These ministers do not, 
however, constitute a cabinet, because much work is 
done by the permanent committees in the Bundesrath. 

The German army is the most thoroughly organized 
and scientifically arranged body of men in the world. It 

, . . - - . Army and navy. 

is composed in time of peace of 492,000 men and 
officers, and in time of war of 2,234,631, counting all 
branches. These are divided into nineteen Corps d' Ar- 
mee, besides a Prussian Guard , and they are distributed 
through the empire, eleven in Prussia and the rest 
among the other states. Every German who is seven- 
teen years old and able-bodied is liable under the con- 
stitution of the empire to service, and but for the peace 
limit would be obliged to serve seven years — three in 
active service and four in the reserves. Besides these 
seven years, he is obliged to belong to the Landwehr 
for ^\t. years more and to appear for drill for several 
weeks during each year. Owing to the necessity of 
having the army distinctly under one head, the Reichs- 
tag votes the money for its support once in seven 
years instead of annually. This is known as the Sep- 

3 J 6 

Imperial Germany, 

State con- 


tennate. Germany has seventeen fortified towns of the 
first class and nineteen more of different sizes and 
strength, and they are connected by underground tele- 
graph wires and by a strategic system of railroads. 

Since 1871, the German navy has had a large growth. 
The increase in colonial possessions has called for a 
navy to protect German commerce and German interests 
abroad. There are 213 ships with 18,500 men. 

The state constitutions of Germany have come down 
from feudal times and they have, therefore, totally 
different traditions and sources. The final union in 
1 87 1 found a heterogeneous group of independent 
states, therefore, so jealous of their prerogatives that it 
was necessary to make as few changes as possible in 
each case. The Prussian constitution, however, is a 
sufficiently good example to suggest the others. In 
the early part of the century there existed only an 
irresponsible ministry, as in all German duchies, with a 
council appointed by the king. After the revolution in 
March, 1849, came the grant from Frederick William 
IV. of a constitution. It went into effect in January, 
1850, and remains substantially the same to-day, sup- 
plying a basis for the formation of the imperial govern- 
ment. The king appoints a council, including a presi- 
dent — since 1871 he is also chancellor of the empire — a 
vice-president, and a minister of the interior, a secretary 
of state for the interior, a minister of war, of public 
works, of agriculture, of justice, of worship and finance, 
and these are all responsible to and removable by the 

The Herrenhaus, or the House of Lords, includes 
princes, nobles, distinguished persons raised to the 
peerage, representatives of the universities and of the 
church, and burgomasters of the large towns. There 

Appendix. 317 

are also some members appointed by the crown not . 
necessarily for life. The Abgeordnetenhaus contains Jb| eordne _ 
four hundred and thirty-two members, elected at the te ««»aus. 
rate of one for every sixty-six thousand inhabitants. 
Their system of elections is, however, different from 
that in the empire .; for the citizens vote by classes for 
electors, who in turn vote for the representatives instead 
of having direct suffrage by the people. 

The other states of the empire are governed by con- 
stitutions which vary in many details as a result of 
diverse social and political conditions. 

Alsace and Lorraine, acquired as a result of the 
Franco- Prussian War of 1871, are imperial provinces 
directly under the rule of the federal Parliament and 
presided over in the name of the emperor by a stadt- 
holder and an Upper House of twelve members ap- 
pointed by the emperor for three years. There is a 
Lower House of fifty-eight members elected by a 
limited suffrage. The inhabitants until within a few 
years have voted bodily against the empire and their 
enforced allegiance, and in the Reichstag their fifteen 
representatives have, until 1887, voted unanimously 
against the government, but of late there are signs of a 
division of opinion among them though the majority is 
still strong against the government. 

The history of Germany since 1871 is best followed 
briefly in the three or four important questions which H^ tor y since 
have consumed the attention of all interested in the 
political growth of the empire. After 1871 it became 
the work of the government to foster the unity and 
peace of the empire. Under the aged emperor, William 
I., and Prince Bismarck as chancellor, the establishment 
of a universal system of money, weights, and measures 
was the first work. These acts had to be discussed in 

31 8 Imperial Germany* 


the Reichstag and the feeling in the south of Germany, 
still strong against Prussia, added to the difference of 
faith, quickly created several parties among the mem- 
bers. The Prussian members, strongly in favor of the 
pouticai government, formed the Conservative ; the Catholics 

parties. formed what has been called the , Center ; those de- 

siring a more liberal interpretation of the laws of press 
censorship, worship, education, etc. , formed the National- 
Liberal party, and gradually the old republican-student 
sentiment throughout the empire created a party called 
the Social Democracy, which includes many of the 
dissatisfied and radical members. There are several 
subdivisions, but these four parties substantially repre- 
sent the great party divisions. 

In 1887, to secure the passage of the seven-year 
budget for the army, the Conservatives, the National- 
Liberals, and the German Imperialists combined at the 
elections in order to gain a greater number of voters 
and representatives. This Cartel, or Bund, was and is 
still called the Cartel party. 

On the 9th of March, 1888, the emperor died. Prince 
Emperor Frederick, who succeeded him, had been suffering from 

what finally proved to be cancer of the larynx and he 
survived his father only a few months, ieaving behind 
little work done, but having called forth a great venera- 
tion from his subjects on account of his peaceful, 
lenient spirit and his deep love for his countrymen* s 
welfare. He died June 15, 1888, and was succeeded 
by his son William, who took the title of William II. 
The young emperor is a soldier following the policy of 
his grandfather. He spent the first year and a half of 
his reign in traveling and visiting other crowned heads 
in Europe. In the spring of 1890 a disagreement be- 
tween him and the aged chancellor caused Bismarck's 


Appendix. • 319 

resignation and the appointment of General von Caprivi, 
who had been chief of the admiralty for several years. 

The principal question since the formation of the 
empire has been that of the position of the Catholics 
and the pope with reference to the government through- 
out the empire. 

The formation of the Center, or Catholic party, was 
the commencement of the struggle. Its original grew Kuiturkampf. 
out of the refusal of the emperor, in 1871, to acknowl- 
edge the doctrine that the pope was infallible and that 
he had the right claimed under the old empire to 
enforce decrees in temporal matters contrary to the 
laws of the empire. The specific cause of the trouble 
grew out of several acts similar to that of the bishop of 
Eruland, who excommunicated a man who refused to 
give credence to the infallibility doctrine. The bishop 
was summarily dismissed from his office by the state 
because of his contempt for its authority and disregard 
of free thought, and then followed the dismissal of the 
Catholic department in the ministry of public worship 
and education. Herr Falk, on January 17, 1872, was 
appointed to succeed Muehler in the position of minister 
of education and worship, because he was more in 
sympathy with the government. Then began a series 
of legislative acts replacing the authority of the state 
where the Catholics had exercised power over people of 
their faith in temporal matters. A law for the inspec- 
tion of schools by the state was passed first. At this 
the pope refused to receive Cardinal Hohenlohe as 
German ambassador in May, and when in June the 
Jesuits and similar branches of the Catholic Church 
were expelled from all Germany, the contest became an {^tweeli 
open one between the emperor and the pope. Was ^f 6 ™^ 
the imperial authority to be supreme, or was it to allow 


Imperial Germany. 

The " May 


a power to exist in its midst that it confessedly was 
obliged to obey? The next ten years was one long 
contest upon that point. In 1873, in the month of 
May, Herr Falk, at Bismarck's dictation, brought for- 
ward and carried in the Reichstag what are known as 
the May Laws, the repeal of which was the one task of 
the Center party in the Reichstag from that time forth. 
These May Laws made the discharge and exile of 
bishops legal when they acted against the decrees of 
the existing government. They made it obligatory that 
every bishop be educated in a gymnasium or public 
high school, according to the regular German system, 
and they established an imperial court for the settlement 
of ecclesiastical difficulties. This last virtually took the 
decision in religious matters away from the church into 
the hands of the state. In 1874 a supplementary law 
making it criminal for bishops who had been dismissed 
to persist in exercising their former prerogatives, was 
added to the list ; for after the laws of 1873, the 
Catholic clergy at the decree of the pope had gone 
on with their work as before. Finally, in 1875, January 
25, a law was carried through the Reichstag establish- 
ing civil as well as religious marriage. 

It became necessary to pass an act in March, 1875, 
prohibiting any payment to bishops who had not put in 
writing under oath their promise to obey all the laws of 
the state, and on February 10, 1876, the legislation 
against the Catholics finally reached its height in a law 
making it a criminal offense to use the pulpit for politi- 
cal purposes. Pius IX. issued an encyclical against the 
emperor and denied his right to make any such decrees, 
and the affair seemed likely to take all the attention of 
the empire. 

At this point there came a sudden change. Pius IX. 

Appendix. 321 

died in 1877. Leo XIII. and his cardinal, Franchi, be- 
gan in a more conciliatory manner, and then, too, the 
stability of the empire was much more firmly established 

than four years before. There began to appear in. one Reconciliation 

• •, • x 1 t with Rome - 

section and another a desire for some settlement. In 

May, 1878, the government filled several unoccupied 
bishoprics and Leo XIII. confirmed them all. At this 
time, several of the larger bishoprics were vacant, the 
press was under such a surveillance that the enforcement 
of the law caused constant imprisonments, and it be- 
came evident that the movement had gone too far. At 
the same time, in the Reichstag, Herr Windhorst, who 
was and had been since 1873 the indefatigable leader of 
the Catholics in all their opposition to Bismarck, had 
made so perfect a party organization of his followers 
that they could prevent any measure from going through 
the house that did not have the other parties unani- 
mously on its side. It is partly due to this obstructive 
power and largely to Bismarck's desire to put through 
his bills for raising revenue and for bettering the condi- 
tion of the laboring classes, especially the tobacco 
monopoly bills, that gradually an agreement was come to 
between Windhorst and himself, so that in 1879 mutual Mutual 
concessions became still more the order of the day. The 
pope granted the right of the government to demand 
allegiance to the civil laws from all bishops (the Anzeig- 
erpflicht). The dismissal of Falk followed on July 13, 
as a concession to the Catholics, for he had been their 
greatest enemy. In 1880 things began to promise 
better, when suddenly Cardinal Franchi died and Car- 
dinal Nina, an enemy to Germany, became the diplomatic 
minister of the church, and affairs came to a standstill 
again. Gradually, however, more concessions were 
wrung from Prussia and the enforcement of the May 



Imperial Germany. 

Power of the 
Catholic party. 


Laws was largely put into the emperor' s hands, with the 
power of using his personal judgment with regard to 
their strict interpretation. The fight could not be kept 
up, since the Center could prevent the government from 
doing anything else. It is, however, false to say that 
the spirit that had caused the May Laws in 1874 had 
completely died out. The stability of the empire was 
less uncertain now and the necessity for other legislation 
was more important. In 1881 the ambassador to the 
Holy See was reappointed, and the pope made some 
concessions. The Center joined the Conservatives in 
1884 and Bismarck had his long-sought majority for his 
revenue laws, so that in 1886 the Kulturkampf was just 
where it had been in 1873, except that the Catholics had 
a party upwards of a hundred strong under splendid 
drill. An act was then carried taking away the law 
requiring that the bishops be examined by the state. 
After 1887 Herr Windhorst took every occasion to state 
the principles of his party, not with any immediate hope 
of bringing about their adoption, but to keep the matter 
before the Reichstag. He demanded the absolute 
authority of the pope in matters spiritual within the em- 
pire, which implies the annihilation of the whole legisla- 
tion since 1872. The loss of their leader in March, 
1 89 1, was a great loss to the party. Windhorst had 
been firm and consistent since 1873 in his demands, and 
it cannot be denied that he totally defeated the govern- 
ment and almost brought the Catholics back to the posi- 
tion they occupied before the formation of the empire. 
His death has seriously weakened the Center. 

Prince Bismarck in his contest with the Ultramontane 
party had joined himself with the Liberals to secure 
a large enough majority to defeat the one hundred 
members of the Center in 1878. He had also previous 

Appendix, 323 

to 1873 encouraged the socialist feeling among the more 
radical members of the Liberal party for the same 
reason. Lassalle had been a great friend of his up to the 
time of his death. Consequently the little party, repre- 5»2 , SScSli»S* 
senting some three hundred thousand voters in the large 
cities of Germany, became toward 1876 a more notice- 
able feature in the Reichstag. While acknowledging 
the German emperor and their allegiance to him, they 
stipulated as their guiding principle the absolute free- 
dom of the press, regulation of the hours of labor, public 
education, self-government, and adjustment of the rela- 
tions of labor and capital. Such a party must necessarily 
contain most of the dissatisfied portion of any commun- 
ity, and there are, therefore, among the Social Demo- 
crats many who believe in community of goods, abolition 
of marriage, etc. They, however, do not represent the 
better class of electors in the party of the Reichstag. 
Under the patronage of the chancellor and the growth 
of the sentiment among the laboring classes, the little 
party grew until the government saw the necessity of 
checking it. It was just at this time that the two 
attempts on the emperor's life were made. He was 
riding one day in May, 1878, on the Unter den Linden, 
when one Hoedel shot twice at him without wounding AA K t . e 

° Attempt on life 

him, and on June 2 a man named Dr. Nobiling wounded of William 1. 
him in the face. A cry at once arose all over the empire 
charging the socialists with the instigation of the crime 
and this became sufficient cause for legislation against 

There were at the time about sixty thousand socialists 
in Berlin and perhaps a half million in the empire. 
They had thirty-five newspapers and periodicals, and a 
large number of associations. In the Reichstag twelve 
members had been elected in 1877, and Herr Bebel, the 


Imperial Germany, 


Growth of the 



leader, managed with his little body of followers to 
create considerable commotion at times. A bill was at 
once brought in against the socialists, but it called forth 
the censure of the Liberals, because it pointed in several 
clauses to the absolute suppression of free speech in the 
empire and left to local authorities to decide what was 
" socialist ' ' matter and what not, with the power to 
suppress it if they saw fit. On the 21st of October a 
modified bill was passed, but was restricted to three 
years. All the socialist meetings and newspaper organs 
were to be suppressed. In Berlin alone on the first 
day four organizations and thirty-five periodicals were 
stopped. The same plan was followed throughout the 
empire. On May 31, 1881, the law was renewed for 
three years more without any material change. The 
little party remained about the same, but the beginning 
of Bismarck's policy for raising the revenue by the 
tobacco tax, making it a government monopoly in Ger- 
many, drew upon him the censure of all Liberals and 
among them the socialists, and thus the latter' s vote 
came to be of more importance to him. In 1887 the 
feeling was still more in favor of the Social Democrats 
and it was with difficulty that the law was again passed. 
The party had eleven members in the Reichstag and 
their votes in the empire numbered something over a 
million. Labor unions and strikes occurred in spite 
of the authorities, and the Social Democrats returned to 
the Reichstag in 1890 with a party of thirty-six mem- 
bers. Publishing houses had been started in Zurich and 
in Geneva, and quantities of pamphlets were circulated 
from one end of the country to the other under the very 
eyes of the law. With such a growth the socialist law 
could not compete when in January and February, 1890, 
it came up for discussion again. A very much modified 

Appendix. 325 

bill was proposed and failed on the third reading, so that 
on the 1 st of October, 1890, the social democratic legis- 
lation and laws went back to the status of 1878. Noth- 
ing like freedom of speech is permitted, but meetings 
can be held and periodicals issued to a certain extent, 
and the emperor has distinctly recognized the claims of 
the laboring classes and the necessity for some legislation 
in their behalf. In his treatment of the question and in 
Caprivi's policy in regard to the legislation for the lower 
classes, Germany has taken the foremost ground in gov- 
ernment socialism within recent years. To-day, in spite 
of suppression, the social democracy stands with two 
able men at its head, Bebel and Liebknecht, and a party 
of magnificent organization over a million strong. 

In 1 88 1 William I. said in 'his message to the Reichs- 
tag that he was going to inaugurate a system of laws 
that should make the social condition of the poor better, insurance 
This proposal has crystallized into three compulsory in- ,egis ' ation - 
surance acts. 1. The first is known as the Act of Insur- 
ance against Sickness. 2. The second act, known as 
the Compulsory Insurance against Accident, was pro- 
posed and carried in 1884-85. It was at first confined 
to men working for the government but has been 
extended to the different trades. 3. The third law 
has recently been under discussion in the Reichstag. It 
is a system of old age and infirmity insurance which is 

These three acts embody in themselves a principle of 
socialism in its theoretical sense that makes them the 
most pronounced practical acts toward socialism that 
have been passed by any great power. They involve a 
matter of the deepest interest, coming as they do with 
the emperor's words at different times during the last 
few years. 

326 Imperial Germany. 

The modern German colonial system began in 1884. 
colonies. Th e growth of the knowledge of Africa and the interest 

taken in colonial possession by France and England had 
much to do with inducing Prince Bismarck to open 
a channel for colonial possession in that continent. The 
enormous emigration of Germans to the United States 
and elsewhere was one of the causes also. The govern- 
ment sought some method of keeping Germans under 
German rule. 

The colonial possessions of Germany and protecto- 
rates are at present as follows : . 

In West Africa : Sq. miles. Inhabitants. 

Togoland, Porto Seguro, Little 

Popo 16,000 500,000 

Cameroons 130,000 2,600,000 

In South Africa: 
Damaraland, Namaqualand, and 
Angra Pequena 342,000 250,000 

In East Africa : 
Usagara, Uhaim, Nguru, and Usequa 60,000 \ ~ 

Other territories 233,520/ 1,700,000 

In the Pacific: 

Kaiser Wilhelm Land 72,000 110,000 

Bismarck Archipelago 19,000 190^000 

Solomon Islands 9,000 80,000 

Marshall Islands 150 10,000 

Total 933,i5o 5,5<»,ooo 


Abgeordnetenhaus, 317. 

Adelmann, Count Alfred, 205. 

Albert, king of Saxony, 101. 

Alexander, Prince, of Battenberg, 169. 

Alsace, 24, 33, 34, 112, 312, 317. 

Alsatians, 27, 109. 

Amtsgericbt, 314. 

Aristocracy, the, 20, 84, 96, Chap. 
VIII., 234, 235. 

Army, the, 113, Chap. VII., 303, 315. 

Arndt, Ernst Moritz, 182. 

Arnim, Count, 150, 198. 

Bach, 64. 

Baden, Grand-Duke of, 99. 

Barbarossa, 20, 21. 

Bazaine, Marshal, 162. 

Bebel, 323, 325. 

Beer-houses, 216, 240. 

Beethoven, 60. 

Berlin, 120, 223, 291. 

Berlin Congress, 140, 154. 

Berlin, treaty of, 184. 

Berlin, University of, 292. 

Bessemer, Sir Henry, 263. 

Beust, Count, 150. 

Bill of Indemnity, 138. 

Billroth, Dr., 39, 52. 

Birkenhead, the, 162. 

Bismarck, 19, 23, 27, 28, 31, 36, 53, 55, 
66, 91, 108, 112, 126, Chap. VI., 160, 
170, 172, 178, 198, 200, 210, 224, 240, 
243, 245. 248, 249, 253, 263, 276, 277, 
279, 280, 288, 297, 301, 302, 303, 310, 
317, 3i8, 320, 321, 322, 324. 326. 

Bismarck, Herbert, 153, 178. 

Bismarck, Princess, 242. 

Bismarck, William, 153, 178. 

Bittenfeld, General von, 168. 

Bliicher, 54, 173. 

Blumenthal, Oscar, 49. 

Bodenstedt, Friedrich, 43, 44, 47. 

Borne, Ludwig, 16, 46. 

Boulanger, General, 32, 169, 183. 

Bucher, Lothar, 71. 

Budritzki, General von, 168. 

Bundesrath, 118, 313. 

Bunsen, 37, 38, 273. 

Capri vi, General von, 319, 325. 

Carlsbad Congress, 308. 

Carnot, General, 162. 

Carrifcre, Moritz, 40. 

Cartel party, the, 318. 

Catherine, Empress, of Russia, 229. 

Catholic Congress, 302. 

Cavour, 24, 108. 

Center, the, 318, 319, 320, 322. 

Charles V. of Hapsburg, 21. 

Charles Theodore, Duke, 195. 

Chopin, 61. 

Christian IX., 310. 

Clive, Lord, 136, 145. 

Colonies, German, 326. 

Commerce, 117; and man u fact ure, 

Chap. XII. 
Conservatives, 280, 300, 318, 322. 
Constitution, national, 312; state, 316. 
Cornelius, Peter, 65. 
Crimean War, 113, 134. 
Czermak, Professor, 38. 
Darwin, 36, 51. 
D'Herisson, Count, 151, 161. 
Duelling, 75, 219. 
Diirer, Albrecht, 65, 268. 
Ebers, Georg, 47. 
Education, Chap. III., 83, 117, 241. 
Engel, Dr. Ernst, 39. 
Ense, Varnhagen von, 223. 
Esmarch, Professor von, 39, 196. 
Falk, Herr, 319, 320, 321. 
Feuilleton, the, 281, 283, 284, 286. 
Fitger, Arthur, 48. 
Forckenbeck, 294. 
Franchi, Cardinal, 321 . 
Franco-German War, 178. 




Frankfort, 112, 221. 

Frankfort Parliament, 24. 

Frederick I., 78. 

Frederick II., 20, 95. 

Frederick III., 88, 92, 94, 98, 205, 300, 

302, 318. 
Frederick Charles, Prince, 162. 
Frederick, Empress, 216. 
Frederick the Great, 16, 19, 78, 79, 80, 

84, 127, 156, 224, 288. 
Frederick William I., 79, 82, 96. 
Frederick William III., 54, 84, 230. 
Frederick William IV., 85, 90, 310, 

French Revolution, 26, 109. 
Freytag, Gustav, 46, 196. 
Geffcken, Professor, 150. 
Gildemeister, Otto, 44. 
Gneisenau, General, 54. 
Gneist, Professor, 39. 
Goethe, 19, 41, 42, 43, 54, 58, 86, 149, 

Gome, Captain von, 162. 
Government, Chap. V. 
Gravelotte, battle of, 172. 
Grimm, Jakob and Wilhelm, 54. 
Gutzkow, Karl, 59. 
Haeckel, Ernst, 36, 71. 
Hamburg, 292. 
Handel, 64. 
Harden berg, 85. 
Hartmann, Eduard von, 40, 71. 
Hartwig, 70. 
Hegel, 45, 50. 

Heidelberg, University of, 72. 
Heine, Heinrich, 46, 238, 284. 
Helmholtz, Hermann von, 39, 224. 
Heppenheim, 309. 
Herder, 41. 
Herrenhaus, 15, 316. 
Heyse, Paul, 46. 
Hochberg, Count, 225. 
Hoedel, 323. 

Hohenlohe, Cardinal, 319. 
Hohenzollern, House of, 26, Chap. IV. 
Holbein, 65. 

Holtzendorf, Dr. von, 39. 
Holy Alliance, the, 308. 
Humboldt, Friedrich and Karl, 55. 
Ignatieff, General, 33. 
Imperialists, the, 318. 

Iron Cross, the, 171. 

Isenberg, Count, 133. 

Jaeger, Dr., 274. 

Jena, battle of, 17, 113. 

John, arch-duke of Austria, 309. 

John of Saxony, 44. 

Jordan, William, 71. 

Kanitz, Count, 167. 

Kant, Immanuel, 50, 55, 69. 

Kaulbach, Wilhelm von, 65. 

Kirchhoff, 37, 38, 273. 

Knesebeck, Von der, 25. 

Koch, Dr. Robert, 39. 

Kuhn, General von, 185. 

Kulturkampf, 322. 

Laggard e, Paul de, 40. 

Landsgerichte, 314. 

Landwehr, 315. 

Lang, Herr von, 230. 

Langenbeck, 39. 

L'Arronge, 49. 

Laspeyres, 39. 

Lassalle, 223, 323. 

Le Bourget, battle of, 167. 

Le Pfcre Didon, 67, 217. / 

Lenbach, Franz von, 65. 

Leopold, Emperor, 78. 

Leopold, Prince, 311. 

Lessing, 19,41,42. 

Levin, Rahel, 223. 

Liberals, the, 92, no, 248, 280, 300, 301, 

323i 324. 
Liebknecht, 325. 
Lindau, Paul, 45. 
Liszt, 61. 

Literature, 41, 231, 283. 
Lorraine, 24, 33, 312, 317. 
Louis Ferdinand, 196. 
Louisa, Queen, 85, 230. 
Lubbliner, Hugo, 49. 
Ludermann, Hermann, 50. 
Luther, 54, 107, 156, 182. 
Maria Theresa, 229. 
Maybach, Dr. von, 124. 
May Laws, 279, 320, 322. 
Meissen, 269. 
Melanchthon, 54. 
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, 61. 
Mendelssohns, the, 223, 224. 
Menzel, Adolf, 65. 
Metternich, 86, no, 173, 308. 



Meyer, Hermann J., 71. 

Miguel, Dr., 294. 

Mischke, General, 205. 

Moltke, Count von, 55, 100, 139, 168, 

169, 178, 186, 210, 313. 
Mommsen, Dr. Theodor, 39. 
Moser, Gustav von, 49. 
Mozart, 61. 
Muebler, 319. 
Music, 58, 60, 61. 
Nantes, Edict of, 82. 
Napoleon I., 16, 23, 24, 25, 32, 34, 143, 

145, 182. 230, 307. 
Napoleon III., 255, 311. 
National Assembly, 309, 310. 
National-Liberal party, 301, 318. 
National Union, 134. 
Navy, the, 316. 
Nietzsche, Frederick, 40. 
Nina, Cardinal, 321. 
Nobiling, Dr., 323. 
Nordau, Dr. Max, 56. 
North German Confederation, 138, 

3"» 312. 
Nussbaum, 39. 
Oberlandsgerichte, 314. 
Oppolzer, 71. 
Philistine, the, 33, 60, 199, 200, Chap. 

XL, 288. 
Pless, Prince, 225. 
if 4 Pour le Merite," 46, 140. 
Presber, Hermann, 59. 
Press, the German, 152, Chap. XIII. 
Protection, policy of, 126, 148, 256. 
Puckler, Prince, 223. 
Puttkamer, Herr von, 94. 
Railway system, the, 123. 
Ranke, Leopold von, 39. 
Rapp, General, 23. 
Ratibor, Duke of, 224. 
Reichstag, 118, 313. 
Reformation, the, 22, 108. 
Reuleaux, Professor, 71, 273. 
Revolution of 1848, 24. 
Richelieu, 30. 
Richthofen, G. von, 40. 
Rochow, Herr von, 130. 
Rontgen, Wilhelm C, 39. 
Roon, Count von, 55. 
Rosenbusch, Professor, 40. 
Rossini, 61. 

Sadowa, battle of, 31, 90, 136, 162. 

Scanzoni, 39. 

Schaffgotsch, Count, 84. 

Scharnhorst, 25, 54, 85. 

Schelling, 45, 50. 

Scherr, Johannes, 46. 

Schiller, 41, 42, 43, 54, 149, 231, 236, 

Schlegel, August and Friedrich,, 44, 54. 

Schleinitz, 224. 

Schleswig-Holstein, 90, 112, 135, 310. 

Schlieffen, Count, 169. 

Schonthan, Franz von, 49. 

Schopenhauer, 19, 46, 219. 

Schubert, 60, 61. 

Schumann, 61, 64. 

Science, 37, 38, 273. 

Sedan, battle of, 31, 100, 173, 311. 

Septennate, the, 316. 

Seven Days' War, 25. 

Seven Years' War, 23, 127. 

Social democracy, 127, 248, 318. 

Social Democrats, the, 72, 107, 146, 

248, 297, 323, 324. 
Socialists, 121, 297, 298, 300, 301 , 323, 324. 
Society, German, Chap. IX. 
Spielhagen, 46. 
Staelj Madame de, 229. 
State indebtedness, 296. 
Stein, Baron vom, 25, 54, 85, 173, 200. 
Steinmetz, General, 166. 
Stephan, Dr., 224. 
Strassburg, 293. 
Strauss, David, 46. 
Strudelwitz, Lieutenant von, 225. 
Talleyrand, 231. 
Thiers, 35. 

Thirty Years' War, 22, 23, 30, 77, 82, 90. 
Thun, Count, 132. 
Tieck, 44. 

Treitschke, Heinrich von, 45, 89, 173. 
Turco-Russian War, 140. 
Universities, the, 24, 66. 
Verdi, 61. 

Versailles, coronation at, 31, 90. 
Vienna, Congress of, 307, 308. 
Virchow, Professor, 39. 
Voss, Richard, 44, 49. 
Wagner, Richard, 62, 96. 
Waldersee, Count, 168, 169. 
War of 1866, 91, 1 01, 137. 



War of 1870, 24, 34, ioi, 116, 139, 170, 

173, 175. 184, 186, 210, 289. 
Weber, 61. 

Weber, Karl Julius, 129. 
Wildenbruch, Ernst von, 48. 
William I., 19, 22, 25, 53, 55, 57, 85, 86, 

94,96, 112, 117, I2i, 134, 135, 137, 140, 

177,230, 253, 277, 299, 311, 312, 317, 

3i8> 325. 

William II., 97, 179, 225, 318. 

Windhorst, Dr., 27, 249, 321, 322. 

Windscheidt, Professor, 39. 

Wolff, Albert, 34. 

Women, German, 210, 212, Chapter 

Wurtemberg, Duke of, 79. 
Zaluskowski, Colonel von, 168. 
Zirkel, Professor, 39. 


By H. P. Judson, Head Professor of Political Science in 
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because it deals with a subject of intense interest in a most admirable 
manner." — New York Times. 

" Professor Judson has written a graphic review of the great events which 
have crowded the last one hundred years of European history, and not of the 
events only, but of the social, political, and intellectual development in which 
the events have been incidents. . . . The reader who desires a world view 
of the nineteenth century at the dawn of the twentieth will find in this book 
the whole picture admirably perfected. Typographically the book is one of 
the finest products of The Chautauqua-Century Press. The illustrations, 
portraits, and maps are numerous and excellent ; they serve to e'nforce, as 
"well as to enliven the text." — Review 0/ Reviews. 


By Hamblen Sears. i2tno, cloth, 412 pp., with many 
tables and maps, $1.75. 

" No paper can pretend to explain that which the writers or the editors 
-must take for granted as familiar to their readers. Certainly, a volume to be 
used as a reference book was a well-known want, and just such a book has 
Mr. Sears compiled. . . . With the single volume on one's desk or on the 
library shelf, it takes the place of a dozen bulky books." — New York Times. 

" It gives in condensed form information as to every existing government of 
the world ; it gives maps of each, tables of present executive government, 
-with statistics of area and population of its political divisions. A history of 
each from 1800 gives an outline of the vital features necessary to make the 
reader thoroughly informed as to its changes. . . . The intelligent reading 
of even the morning newspaper requires the very knowledge this valuable 
commentary affords. The work is worthy of a place in every library, by the 
side of the dictionary and other ready reference books." — Current Literature, 
New York. 

" A very valuable and useful volume, one to have at hand every day in the 
year for constant reference. As a complement to ' The Statesman's Year 
Book ' it will be prized by every student of current literature. ... As its 
name indicates, it gives us a succinct account of every government, whether 
it be a monarchy or a republic, and all the peculiarities of legislation, the 
kinds of officials who control its several departments, and whether they are 
appointed or elected. . . . There are no long and wearisome dissertations, 
but short, sharp, and crisp accounts, which are as interesting as a novel." — 
The Herald, New York. 

\*Sent postpaid on receipt of price by the publishers, 


The Chautauqua-Century Press, MEADVILLE, PENN'A. 


By Katharine Coman and Elizabeth Kendall, Pro- 
fessors in Wellesley College. i2mo, cloth, 300 pp., with 
many maps and illustrations. College edition, $i..25 ; 
Chautauqua edition, $1.00. 

" A book of remarkable merit."— The Sun, New York. 

" The amazing- progress of the English nation in its island home from a 
weak and discordant group of local communities to maritime supremacy and 
world-wide empire, is well worthy of study. ... A narrative more fasci- 
nating than any romance." — Woman* s Journal, Boston. 



By George B. Adams, Professor of History in Yale Uni- 
versity. i2mo, cloth, 350 pp., with many maps and illus- 
trations. College edition, $1.50 ; Chautauqua edition,. 

11 An excellent risumi of French history, the chapter on the causes of the 
Revolution being especially good." — Public Opinion. 

" Professor Adams has written the best general history extant. . . . It is; 
brought up to the present time, and throughout is interesting and admirably 
adapted to the use of students."— Omaha Evening Bee. 



By H. P. Judson, Head Professor of Political Science in 
The University of Chicago. i2mo, cloth, 359 pp., with 
many maps and illustrations. College edition, $1.50 ;. 
Chautauqua edition, $1.00. 

"A distinct addition to American historical literature. It is emphatically 
multum in parvo. . . . The story of the American nation is told in the 
form of a continuous narrative, and the stupendous experiences involved in 
this evolution are vividly set forth by the author in a manner that makes his. 
work not only of the highest instruction but of really thrilling interest." — 
Boston Home Journal. 



By the Hon. Carroll D. Wright, United States Com- 
missioner of Labor. i2mo, cloth, 362 pp., with many 
maps and illustrations. College edition, $1.50 ; Chautau- 
qua edition, $1.00. 

"The author has undertaken to trace the development of the mechanical 
industries of our country. What we have before us is a clear, concise, trust- 
worthy exposition of data to which protectionists and free traders or capital- 
ists and socialists may alike recur." — The Sun, New York. 

"The author's mastery of the subject in all its departments, more particu- 
larly in its relation to labor, renders his work authoritative, while his style is 
so clear and flowing that the whole book, if we except a few statistical 
passages, may be read with interest. . . . We hope the book will be 
widely read."— The Critic, New York. 

\*Sent postpaid on receipt of price by the publishers \ 

The Chautauqua- Century Press, MEADVILLE, PENN>A*