The Quality Of Mercy
: Winning A Cause World War Stories
There is an old saying, Like king, like people, which means that the
king is usually not very different from the people whose executive he
is. If this is true of kings, it surely must be true of American
presidents. With this in mind, contrast the German Kaiser, William II,
with Abraham Lincoln. The first constantly talked of himself and God
as ruling the world. Boastfully declaring that he was the greatest of
en and that he ruled by divine right, the former German emperor
brought upon the world the greatest evil that has ever befallen it
through selfish ambition for himself, his family, and for the German
autocracy; the other claiming to be a common man, a servant of men,
seeking no riches, no throne, no personal power, entirely unselfish,
gave his life at last to save a united democracy. Shall we not say
that Lincoln served by the right of the divine qualities in him, while
the Kaiser turned the world into a hell because of the selfish aims of
his nature--aims that are just the opposite of divine?
During the American Civil War, Mrs. Bixby, a Massachusetts mother, lost
five sons. President Lincoln wrote her the following letter:--
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of
the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five
sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak
and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile
you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain
from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks
of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may
assuage the anguish of your bereavement and leave you only the
cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must
be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
During the World War, Frau Meter, a German mother, lost nine sons.
Kaiser William wrote her the following letter:--
His Majesty the Kaiser hears that you have sacrificed nine sons in
defense of the Fatherland in the present war. His Majesty is immensely
gratified at the fact, and in recognition is pleased to send you his
photograph, with frame and autograph signature.
Is it necessary to add a word to make one who reads the two letters
understand the difference between the two rulers and the two ideals
they represent? God is man's highest ideal of good. Which represents
this ideal, Lincoln or the Kaiser? The United States or Germany?
A poet says of the Kaiser's letter:--
What bit of writing plainer tells
That neither love nor mercy dwells
Within his heart? What picture grim
Could better paint the soul of him?
The Kaiser was reported to have said that no family in Germany had
escaped loss. Perhaps he was gratified at this as he was at the fact
that Frau Meter had lost nine sons. One family in Germany lost neither
father nor any one of the six adult sons,--the family of Kaiser William
II. Certainly no other family in Germany of such a size escaped loss.
Would the Kaiser have felt equally gratified if his six sons had
given up their lives in fighting Germany's war of plunder and conquest?
In the last days of the war, American soldiers found upon a German
prisoner a postal card with a picture of Quentin Roosevelt lying dead
beside his airplane. Below was printed in German the statement that
America was so short of fliers, that she had to use her presidents'
sons. Germans could not understand that in America the presidents'
sons would be the first to offer their services and for work of the
most dangerous kind. The sons of the Kaiser were carefully kept out of