In a beautiful structure near Sans Souci, known as Friedenskirche or the Church of Peace, Frederick the Noble sleeps in death, beside two sons who died in childhood. It is an inspiring place for those who reverence manly qualities and upright character. That Frederick III. loved peace rather than war is no proof that he was lacking in noble, chivalrous, and manly qualities; for the most famous warrior of recent times, Field-Marshal Von Moltke, wept beside his coffin, and mourned him as a pupil, man, and sovereign.
Closely adjoining the Thiergarten stands the house occupied by Prince Bismarck, when he was a resident of Berlin. Now that he lives in retirement on his estate near Hamburg, this building has merely an historic value to the tourist; but there was a time, before the present Kaiser had dispensed with Bismarck's services, when this plain, unpretentious dwelling almost rivaled in interest and importance the abode of royalty.
Jagerstrasse And The Bank.
It was here, for instance that, in 1878, the Berlin Congress of European diplomats assembled for the settlement of the Eastern question. A crowd of people often waited near this residence, in the hope of seeing its owner; for, notwithstanding his occasional arrogance, no one could doubt, in Bismarck's later life, his popularity with the German people. When, for example, he appeared in public at the reception given in Berlin to the King of Italy, the streets were crowded with humanity, and the cry of " Bismarck! Bismarck! " was louder than that which greeted either King or Emperor. On that occasion, when Bismarck's carriage turned into Linden, the roar of acclamations became deafening.
The Residence Of Prince Bismarck.
In 1885, also, the Germans made of Bismarck's seventieth birthday almost a national festival. Four thousand veteran soldiers and ten thousand students from all parts of the Fatherland joined in a procession to his house, and, in the evening, the greatest number of torch-bearers ever united in Germany took part in the celebration.
The Scene At Versailles.
On these occasions, as on subsequent anniversaries of his birth, it was not merely Bismarck as an individual whom his compatriots thus saluted. He is to the Germans a conspicuous reminder of their nation's glory. The sight of him recalls to them a hundred scenes forever memorable in their history. They see him as he appeared when, on the morning following the battle of Sedan, he sat beside the Emperor of France. A mouse within the clutches of a cat could not have better typified then the situation of Napoleon III.; for in his very declaration of war he had been merely a puppet in Prince Bismarck's hand, acting as Bismarck pulled the string, until he found himself a helpless prisoner, his individual destiny and that of France depending largely upon Bismarck's will. Nor is this all. When the good Prussians greet their Chancellor with cheers, they see him also in his greater hour of triumph at Versailles, when he declared his ultimatum to the dismayed and hopeless diplomats, Jules Favre and Thiers, demanding unrelentingly the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, and an indemnity of five thousand million francs. Enormous as this was, Prince Bismarck was in one respect outwitted by the Frenchmen. In drawing up that most humiliating treaty, Thiers contrived to insert an apparently innocent clause, whereby the time of paying the indemnity was left to France. This was deemed by Germany unimportant, for Bismarck never dreamed that such a sum could be collected before the expiration of ten years; but in less than one year, Thiers had paid the last centime, and every Prussian soldier had left the soil of France.
" After Sedan."
There can be no doubt that Bismarck's influence will be felt in Europe for centuries. Moreover, time will gradually soften his defects, and show posterity a man who, notwithstanding many faults, was perfectly devoted to the Fatherland.