XI Letzlingen 12/xi/96.

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Letzlingen 12/xi 96.

Dearest Nicky

Wladimir[1] is so kind as to take this lines with him to hand them over to you and will also be the bearer of my warmest "Grusse."[2] I am glad you are safe home again and that the brilliant tour[3] you made through Europe has not tired you too much.

I am deeply sorry for the awful Bismarkian behaviour[4] which though it is a "coup" solely aimed against me personally nevertheless represents a breach of loyalty to your Government, and casts a slur on the memories of my beloved grandfather as well as on that of your beloved father. I have allready instructed my uncle the Chancellor how to speak in Parliament[5] and hope you will be satisfied with the manner in which the whole treasonable affair is treated. I suppose that by this last stroke of the Prince and by the shameless way he is treating me in his press-- especially trying to make the people believe that I was and still am under "English" influence -- the clearer heads will begin to understand that I had reasons to send this unruly man with his mean caracter out of office. I place implicit faith in the hopes that you will kindly trust me as you did till now and that nothing has or can change between us two since we arranged our line of action at Breslau.[6] Wladimir has come from Paris with the best of impression that all is quiet there, which I can corroborate from the reports of my ambassador[7] who is on the best of terms with the Government and is quite full of admiration for the capabilities and sang froid of Hanotaux.[8] The latter I hear is rather nervous about Turky, but as I have heard nothing alarming from there I suppose there is no real cause, he, I hear, is strongly opposed to any conference about Turky and in that is perfectly right.

On our frontier in Lithuania we have discovered and lokalised several cases of leprosy. Some people have brought the infection over from the next places in the Baltic Provinces. I consequently have ordered a hospital to be built at Memel to place the poor wretches in it. The illness is a terrible one, and very catching, and I propose to you wether our frontier Provincial authorities could not combine in watching and looking for cases, by combining some Doctors for medicine supervision?

We have had magnificent sport and fine weather and were very glad to see Wladimir here in his old place. With best love to Alix.

Your affectionnate friend and cousin


  1. A dinner was given in honor of the Grand Duke Wladimir at the New Palace, Potsdam, on November 11th. On the following day the Grand Duke accompanied the Kaiser on a shooting expedition to Letzlingen where this letter was written.
  2. Greetings.
  3. The Czar and Czarina had visited Austria, Germany, Denmark, England and France, returning to Petrograd on October 31st, 1896. The Czar met the Kaiser at Breslau on September 5th and again on his return journey at Wiesbaden on October 29th.
  4. Bismarck was at the time asserting in his press that under his guidance the relations between Russia and Germany were friendly and that his successors were responsible for the deterioration of these relations.
  5. The debate on the Secret Reinsurance Treaty took place in the Reichstag on November r6th, four days after this letter was written. The Chancellor, Prince Hohenlohe, took refuge behind the pledge of absolute secrecy given with regard to the Russo-German negotiations between 1887 and 1890, until which year there was an understanding between the two Powers that if one of them were attacked the other would preserve a benevolent neutrality. The Chancellor expressed the conviction that since 1890 when the secret treaty was said to have lapsed there had been no unfavorable modification in Russo-German relations.
  6. It was believed at the time of the Breslau meeting that the Kaiser and Czar had reached complete accord concerning the Eastern Question and decided to maintain the status quo in Turkey.
  7. Count von Munster-Ledenburg, German ambassador in Paris since 1885.
  8. Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Méline Cabinet.

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