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Other and minor German princes were more compliant with the wish of George III, and in Hesse and elsewhere thousands of soldiers were procured, who formed the majority of the British army all through that war. These soldiers did not, of course, enter the service voluntarily. They were sold by their rulers, like so many cattle, at so many
dollars a head. Nor did their rulers thus sell them because of any anti-American feeling. It was simply a sordid matter of business. Many of the soldiers were reluctant to come hither, and some of them deserted at their first opportunity. Most of those who were taken prisoners preferred at the close of the war to remain here rather than be repatriated, and many of them became excellent American citizens.
It must be remembered, however, that the Germans who fought through that war under the British flag were as a rule characterized by brutality and lack of humanity. Most of the excesses and outrages against non-combatants were committed by them-such as the murder of the wife of Caldwell, the pastor of the church at Springfield, New Jersey, who, because of that atrocity rushed into his church and brought out hymn-books for the patriot troops to use for gun wadding. Indeed, because of the tragic deeds of those days the name “Hessian” has ever since been in this country a synonym for lawlessness and brutality.
STEUBEN AND DE KALB Occasional attempts have been made in recent years to attribute to Germany great helpfulness to the American cause, on account of the services of Steuben and De Kalb. There is no question of the splendid value of their services
to the American army, or of their whole-hearted devotion to this country. But they are not to be credited to Germany.
Steuben, for whom no praise could easily be too high, was a Prussian, and was one of the most brilliant of the great Frederick's lieutenants. But he came to this country from France, where he had been living, and at the urging of a Frenchman, the Count St. Germain; and by so doing he incurred the displeasure of the Prussian King to such an extent that at the end of the war he deemed it best not to return to Germany, but to become an American citizen and remain here, which he did.
De Kalb was also a brave and efficient soldier. He was a Bavarian, whose entire military career before coming hither had been in the French army, largely fighting against Prussia, and he came to America as a French officer, in company with Lafayette.
Excepting, therefore, for the accident of their place of birth, America was not indebted to Germany for either of these fine soldiers, but directly and solely to France.
German immigration to America may be said to have begun in the decade from 1831 to 1840. Before that time it was a negligible quantity, as was all immigration but that from the United Kingdom. Thus in the preceding eleven years, 1820 to 1830, more than 75,000 came hither from the British Isles and only 6,761 from Germany, and fewer than 100,000 from all the world. But in 1831-40 the number from all Europe rose to nearly 500,000. More than half of them were from the United Kingdom, chiefly from Ireland, but no fewer than 152,454 came from Germany.
Then in the next decade, the revolutionary era
on the continent, there came nearly 1,600,000, of whom two-thirds were from the United Kingdom and 434,600 from Germany. Finally, in the next decade, that just preceding our Civil War, immigration from Europe totaled nearly 2,500,000, more than half being from the British Isles, and 951,667 from Germany.
Since that time the influx of Germans has not been large; in late years it has been almost nil. But the multitudes of that nationality who came hither before the Civil War have formed with their descendants an important element of the American nation, and have contributed much to our statesmanship, scholarship and business and industrial progress. They have generally been regarded as forming one of the most substantial and valuable elements of the body politic.
GERMAN IMPERIAL UNFRIENDLINESS
Because of this great influx of Germans and their generally excellent character, strong ties of sympathy arose between this country and Germany. American sympathy was with Prussia against Austria in 1866, and it was also largely with Germany in 1870. Indeed, it was practically altogether with Germany at first, until after the fall of Louis Napoleon, and even after that it was given to the new German Empire no less than to the French Republic; and thenceforward for many years the relations between the two countries were of the most amiable description. There was a little friction in Samoa, but it caused no ill will toward Germany as a whole.
But in 1898 the German Government suddenly assumed an attitude of decided unfriendliness toward the United States. Just before the declaration of war with Spain, it formed a cabal of the great powers, to seek mediation
of some description. That was a most offensive impertinence, since for two-thirds of a century we had made it clear that we considered our relations with Spain in respect to Cuba as a matter of concern to no other power; but the gentle forbearance and tact of President McKinley passed it over without the sharp rebuke which it really deserved. This course was taken by the President because Germany had persuaded the British Ambassador, under a plausible pretext, to act as the spokesman of the cabal, in order that the odium might fall upon Great Britain and cause bad blood between the United States and that country. The complete failure of the scheme, either to secure mediation and thus let European powers meddle in purely American affairs, or to cause trouble between us and Great Britain, so angered the Kaiser that he presently recalled his luckless Ambassador in disgrace.
SPANISH WAR MEDDLING The Kaiser at that time began to broach the arrogant principle that no important international business should be transacted anywhere in the world without taking him into consultation. His displeasure with the United States therefore waxed hot. The press of Germany, taking its cue from the Wilhelmstrasse, raged against the “Yankee Pigs” more savagely than that of Spain itself. Antici
sing our seizure of the Philippines, the Kaiser sought to avert it by himself occupying them first. So he rushed a fleet thither, and great was his wrath to find that Dewey had got there first and had destroyed the Spanish fleet. In his anger he ordered the commander of his fleet to ignore Dewey's authority. He violated international custom and courtesy by sending thither a much stronger fleet than ours, and in having it not only disregard Dewey's
authority but also actually give aid and comfort to the besieged Spanish garrison. Two German vessels went to a neighboring port and materially assisted the Spanish by firing upon Filipino troops which were co-operating with the Americans.
The climax came when the German ships committed a particularly flagrant breach of Dewey's orders, and Dewey curtly informed the German Admiral that if he wanted war he could have it, there and then. The German thereupon consulted the British commander, Admiral Chichester, and strove to inveigle him into concerted action against the Americans. The Englishman's reply was,
that he was acting under orders the purport of which were known to only himself and Dewey, and he thereupon moved the British squadron to a position between the German and American ships, so that the German Admiral, with his superior force, could not attack Dewey without firing over the British vessels. There is no doubt that Chichester's orders from the British Government were, in case of a clash between the German and American fleets, to place himself and his ships at Dewey's command.
PRINCE HENRY'S PROPAGANDA Thus foiled, the Kaiser tried new tactics. He sent his brother, Prince Henry, to America, ostensibly on a mission of courtesy and friendship, but in fact to found and promote a German propaganda in the United States. A vast German-American League was formed, with semimilitary organization, the chief objects of which were to keep alive devotion to the Fatherland, to prevent Germans here from becoming Americanized, and to remind them that under the anomalous laws of Germany they were still German subjects despite the fact that they had formally