In ancient times the Pope, with a word, might have stayed the slaughter. Now I am impotent and forced to see the spectacle of my own children, even those who yesterday worked here with me, leaving for the war and abandoning their cassocks and cowls for soldiers’ uniforms. Yesterday, although belonging to different nationalities, we were here studying in sympathetic companionship. Now we are in different fields, armed against each other and ready to take each other’s lives.
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Addressed to Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, Aug. 7.
I consider it my duty, Sir, to inform you, as the most notable representative of the principles of humanity, that after the capture of the French fort of Longwy my troops found in that place thousands of dumdum bullets, which had been manufactured in special works by the French Government. Such bullets were found not only on French killed and wounded soldiers and on French prisoners, but also on English troops. You know what terrible wounds and awful suffering are caused by these bullets, and that their use is strictly forbidden by the generally recognized rules of international warfare.
I solemnly protest to you against the way in which this war is being waged by our opponents, whose methods are making it one of the most barbarous in history. Besides the use of these awful weapons, the Belgian Government openly incited the civil population to participate in the fighting, and has for a long time carefully organized their resistance. The cruelties practiced in this guerrilla warfare, even by women and priests, toward wounded soldiers, and doctors and hospital nurses—physicians were killed and lazarets fired on—were such that eventually my Generals were compelled to adopt the strongest measures to punish the guilty and frighten the bloodthirsty population from continuing their shameful deeds.
Some villages and even
the old town of Louvain, with the exception
of its beautiful town hall, (Hotel de Ville,) had to be destroyed
for the protection of my troops.
My heart bleeds when
I see such measures inevitable and when I
think of the many innocent people who have lost their houses and
property as a result of the misdeeds of the guilty.
WILHELM I. R.
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Made by President Wilson at Washington, Sept. 16.