The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 532 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10.
this class of people to be highly estimable, and from a minister’s point of view exceedingly desirable, because they combine wealth with that degree of diffidence which keeps them from all tainted or dangerous enterprises.  The man who pays a large tax and loves peace is from the ministerial point of view the most agreeable of citizens.  He must, of course, not try to escape the burdens which his easily collected income should bear in comparison with others.  And you will see that he really does not do it.  He is an honest man, and when we shall at last have outgrown the finance-ministerial mistrust of olden times—­which my present colleagues no longer share—­we shall see that not everybody is willing to lie for his own financial benefit, and that even the man who cuts coupons will declare his wealth honestly, and pay his taxes accordingly.  The Honorable Mr. Bamberger also asked:  “Where will you find the necessary money?” This law really implies few new expenses, as I have already said, because all the government asks is to be permitted to substitute the State for the communities, which at present are taking care of the poor, and to make a very modest allowance to those who cannot earn their living.  This allowance should be entirely at the disposal of the recipient and be inalienable from him.  It will thus secure for him independence even when he is an invalid.  The increase over the present cost of caring for the poor is slight.  I do not know whether it should be estimated at half of one-third—­one sixth—­or even at less.

I am, therefore, of the opinion that a State which is at war with the infernal elements recently described to you here in detail, and which possesses among its citizens an overwhelming majority of sincere adherents of the Christian religion, should do for the poor, the weak, and the old much more than this bill demands—­as much as I hope to be able to ask of you next year.  And such a State, especially when it wishes to demonstrate its practical Christianity, should not refuse our demands, for its own sake and for the sake of the poor!

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February 6, 1888


[In view of the constantly increasing armaments in France, the government had secured from the Reichstag of 1887 an increase also of the German army.  Danger, however, was threatening from Russia as well as from France, and it became necessary to arrange matters in a way which would place the full strength of the German people at the disposal of the government.  A bill to this effect was introduced in the Reichstag on December 9, 1887, and another bill, which was to procure the money for this increase in armaments, was introduced on January 31, 1888.  Both bills were on the calendar of February 6.  Prince Bismarck opened the discussion with the following speech, the effect of which was electric, and resulted in the Reichstag passing both bills by a unanimous vote.]

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The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 10 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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