VII Neues Palais Potsdam 25/X/95.

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VII
Neues Palais 25/X/95.


Dearest Nicky

Uncle Micha's[1] most joyful and unexpected arrival who just lunched with us, gives me an agreeable opportunity to warmly thank you for your kind letter Moltke brought home. He is still quite full of all your kindness and quite enraptured by your whole person and your ways. Your ideas about the press in general are exactly the same as mine, it has done and still continues to do a deal of harm and we must bear with a great amount of spite, lying and nonsense. Still the influence it horribile dictu has must be judged from the spirit of the People of the different races are brought up and read it. Your subjects and mine are slower at thought, sober and quieter in their conclusions they draw as for instance Southerners or the French. The Roman or Gallic races are more easily roused, incensed and more ready to jump to conclusions, and once having flared up are more dangerous to peace than the Teutonic or Russian Race. Again in England the Press is more the mouthpiece of Public opinion than on the Continent and goes in more for the interests of its Country.

Lobanows visit[2] was most interesting to me, he is no doubt a very able Diplomatist and a splendid causeur, and what he told me was "sehr beruhigend"[3] about France. I thought it right to talk quite openly about France with him as he told me you had communicated with him. In one respect I took pains to show him that I did not wish to be misunderstood. That it is not a fact of the "Rapport" or friendship between Russia and France that makes one uneasy -- every Sovereign is sole master of his country's interests and he shapes his policy accordingly -- but the danger which is brought to our Principle of Monarchism through the lifting up the Republic on a pedestal by the form under which the friendship is shown. The constant appearance of Princes, Granddukes, statesmen, generals in "full fig" at reviews, burials, dinners, races with the head of the Republic or in his entourage makes Republicains -- as such -- believe that they are quite honest excellent people, with whom Princes can consort and feel at home. Now what is the consequence at home in our different countries were the Republicans are Revolutionists de natura and treated -- rightly too -- as people who must be shot or hung, they tell our other loyal subjects: "Oh we are not dangerous bad men, look at France! There you see the Royalties hobnobbing with the Revolutionairesl Why should it not be the same with us?" The R.F.[4] is from the source of the great Revolution and propagates and is bound to do so, the ideas of it. Don't forget that Faure -- not his personal fault -- sits on the throne of the King and Queen of France "by the Grace of God" whose heads Frenchmen Republicans cut off. The Blood of their Majesties is still on that country! Look at it, has it since then ever been happy or quiet again? Has it not staggered from bloodshed to bloodshed? And in its great moments did it not go from war to war? till it soused all Europe and Russia in streams of blood? Till at last it had the Commune over again? Nicky take my word on it the curse of God has stricken that People for everl We Christian Kings and Emperors have one holy duty imposed on us by Heaven, that is to uphold the Principle "von Gottes Gnaden"[5] we can have good relations with the R. F. but never be intime with her! I always fear that in frequent and long visits in France people without feeling it imbibe Republican ideas. Here I must tell you an example! I remember a few years ago a gentleman -- no German -- telling me full of horror that when he was at a fashionable salon in Paris he heard a Russian General answer a French ones question whether Russia would smash the German Army, answer "Oh nous serons battu à plate couture, mais quesque ça fait - Nous aurons alors,aussi la Republique"![6] That is what I am afraid of for you my dear Nickyl Dont forget Skobelew[7] and his plan for carrying off the Imperial family at a dinner once? Therefore take care that your Generals don't like the R. F. too much. Please forgive my being so open but I want you to see how warmly I feel for you and how anxious I am about you, and that you should fully know what my motives are.

The next point of interest was the news Lobanow told me about Turkey; that he had cause to suspect England was after the Dardanells and therefore had revived the Armenian question.[8] I confess that I was utterly stupefied at this piece of news. No doubt since Salisbury's advancement England's foreign policy has become most mysterious and unintelligible, and the quaint way in which the Fleet sulks around the Dardanells indicates that it means something there. But if they do that they violate the Treaty of Berlin and this they cannot be allowed to do without the permission of all the other signatory Powers; which they never will do. But it seems that they have some Idea or other of changing their Policy in the Mediterranean, for two days ago Malet[9] on paying his farewell visit to our Foreign Office used very blustering words, about Germany behaving badly to England in Africa, that it would not stand it any longer and that after buying off the French by concessions in Egypt they were at liberty to look after us. He even was so undiplomatic to utter the word "war." Saying that even England would not shrink from making war upon me if we did not knock down in Africa.[10] I have made an answer to the effect that the British were making themselves ridiculous in this case, but obnoxious to everybody, and if they got into trouble with anybody else I would not move a Pomeranian Grenadier[11] to help them. I suppose that will cool them. It is the same thing I told Lobanow. I told him besides that if Russia should be seriously engaged in the Far East I looked upon it as my duty to keep your back free from anybody in Europe and to see that all kept quiet, and that nothing would happen from me also to France, provided I was not attacked. He warmly thanked me for this. I share his fear that Japan has some sort of understanding with England and that is why it is so stiffbacked.

Before concluding let me express my most heartfelt sympathy for the I of November[12] now approaching. God alone can soother the pangs of sorrow that will rend your hart on mourning such a kind father and such an excellent and good man, so like my poor Papa. May I propose something to you which I have at heart ? Considering our near relations and the constant exchange of letters and messages, which would unecessarily always put the Embassy machines in motion, would not you like to renew the old custom our Forefathers had for nearly a century and have again a personal aide de camp attached to our respective staffs? The more private and "intime" affairs could as in olden times go directly by them, which makes matters much simpler? I shall take with pleasure anybody whom you really trust into my Maison militaire, would you like Moltke? Now I shan't trouble you any longerl

Goodbye dearest Nicky, my best love to Alix and the "future," and believe me allways

Your most devoted and aff-ate friend and cousin
Willy

Notes

  1. Grand Duke Michael.
  2. Lobanow or Lobanoff, the Russian Foreign Minister. He visited the Kaiser at Hubertusstock on October 13th, 1895.
  3. Very reassuring.
  4. Republique Française.
  5. By the grace of God.
  6. Oh, we will be smashed to pieces, but what does that matter? We will then also have a republic.
  7. The famous Russian General who before his sudden death in 1882 was reported to be the author of a plot to arrest the Czar and proclaim a constitution.
  8. Frightful Armenian massacres that occurred in 1895.
  9. Sir Edward Malet, British ambassador at Berlin; had a special audience with the Kaiser on October 21st in order to present his letters of recall after eleven years in Berlin.
  10. At this time it was believed that German agents were trying to obtain a footing in Matabeleland. Another source of friction was Germany's persistence in maintaining direct relations with the Transvaal.
  11. This is a reference to Bismarck's declaration that the Eastern Question, so far as Germany was concerned, was not worth "the sound bones of a single Pomeranian Grenadier."
  12. The anniversary of the death of Czar Alexander III.

Return to 'Willy-Nicky' Letters VI - XX (26 November 1895-13 June 1901)


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