XLV Berlin 6/lI/1905
Your kind letter reached me on the morning of my birthday so early that your wishes were the first I received. Please accept my warmest thanks for them and God grant they may be fullfilled! Your letter reached me in a moment of dire anxiety, for just then my poor boy was seriously ill and it was then a matter of life and death! The whole following week was a terrible trial and my poor wife suffered agonies watching near the bedside of the patient; thanks be to God that he heard our prayers and saved our boys life!
My brother in law is deeply grateful for your kind permission accorded to him that he may at last start for the front. On his way out he is to report himself to you and give you these lines. His entourage has been limited as you wished and he is instructed to keep quite in the background, so as to in no way hamper the Commander in Chief, and he begs that the latter may take no undue notice of him, and not to forget that he is a simple spectator who wants to learn the art of war earnestly. You have been through serious troubles from the effervescence and agitation among the lower classes; I am glad your soldiers showed themselves reliable and true to their sermon to their Emperor. The reception of the deputation of workmen -- who seem to have been ill advised and partially goaded into striking by agitators -- made a good impression everywhere, as it showed them that they could see in the face of their "Väterchen" if they asked for this honour in due form! Many and most vague are the plans for reform in your country -- as far as I can make out -- but the most sensible and best adapted to its people and their customs, seems to my humble notion, the formation of a body of men chosen from the best and ablest heads in the different "Zemstovs." This body would be attached to the "Imperial Council" and to it could be given any question of importance having a vital interest for the whole of Russia to be worked out and prepared for the "Imperial Council"; also men well versed with the special theme under discussion, could be called upon to give their advice, beeing chosen from every part of the people ad hoc. And the comble would be if you from time to time presided yourself so as to be able to hear as many different men as possible, in order to be able to form a correct judgment on the question before them. Just like I did in 1890, when I called in the great Comittee for the elaboration of the "Social Laws" for the working classes, after the great Strike and which I presided for weeks. In this manner this body would be able to provide the "Imperial Council" with every information it wants, enabling you in the same time to remain in touch with the great bulk of the lower classes; thereby ensuring to the latter every means to make themselves heard in matters appertaining to their welfare and thus forming a direct canal of communication between the simple folk and their "Emperor and Father." Besides you would be able -- on account of your own information -- to keep good watch and control on your "Imperial Council" and the "Comittee of Ministers" to see the work by them is done as you wish and you PEOPLE want; this way ensures the executive once for all to the "autocratic Czar" not to a leading minister with a board of helpless Colleagus blindly following his lead.
On my birthday my tallest aide-de-Camp -- well known to you -- H. v. Plüskow in Paris the ladies called him "Plus que haut"!~ has been made Colonel of your Alexander Grenadiers; they gave the Guard of Honour for my birthday Razwod and looked magnificent, as you will see on the enclosed photos. In due time when things have calmed down and it suits you the new Colonel will report himself to you.
As I heard that Serge had mentioned that your authorities were annoyed vvith Krupp for not keeping his time to furnish the batteries ordered by Russia I caused an inquiry to be made at his works and send you the copy of the report I received, showing that there is no grounds for the above mentioned complaints. Inquiries made at the Offices of the Hamb. Americ. Line equally show that the roumours to the effect, that they have taken guns and ammunition out in their ships for Japan, is totally unfounded; they have not taken arms or stores of war of any kind to or for Japan. It seems that the clouds of French and English Agents besieging the Admiralty and War Office -- angry at our firms furmshing your Government well and better than theirs are able -- are starting no ends of canards "au detriment" of the Germans; I venture to suggest they should be less believed and kicked into the Newa besides.
The Japs have just ordered 4 Line of Battleships in England; they are to be copies of the newest type in England between 18000-19000 Tons with 25 cm. guns as medium artillery and 30 cm. guns as heavy artillery. With best wishes for a better outlook for you and your country and much love to Alix.
I remain ever Your
most aff-ate cousin and friend
P.S. End of next month we shall take our boy to the Mediterranean and to Sicily.
- Prince Eitel Friedrich, the Kaiser's second son, had been suffering from inflammation of the lungs.
- Prince Frederic Leopold reached Petrograd however, only to be sent back to Berlin instead of Manchuria.
- A reference to the Bloody Sunday, January 9-22, when a terrible massacre of the people who had gathered to present a petition to the Czar in front of the Winter Palace took place.
- The Kaiser apparently confused the word "sermon" with the French word "serment," which means "oath."
- The Czar received later, on February 1st, a deputation of workmen, to appease the anger caused by the massacre of the petitioners.
- Little Father.
- The Kaiser is alluding to the beginning of his reign, when for a time he posed as the Arbeiter-Kaiser, the Workmen's Emperor, and called an international congress to Berlin for the benefit of the German workers in March, 1890.
- A pun on Pluskow's name. In the Great War Pluskow, now a Lieutenant-General, commanded the 25th division.