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The captain and the Kaiser

12 July 2019

July 11th, 1919.

WE HAVE seen in London many impressive sights in these years of tragedy, but few more impressive than the spectacle of Tuesday, when the body of Captain Fryatt was carried through the streets to St Paul’s. Tens of thousands of spectators lined the path of the procession, standing in absolute silence. There was no demonstration of anger or horror, but everyone seemed to be thinking what could not be expressed in words. Their thoughts, we may be sure, went back to the day three years ago when that gallant seaman was done to death in Bruges for having defended his ship against a German submarine which was trying to sink it though unarmed. And we can imagine many of them asking themselves where justice would be left in the world if the culprits responsible for this and countless other crimes were allowed to go scot free. But the lesser criminals could scarcely be punished if their master, who gave the word for the wounding, the maiming, and the slaughtering of twenty million men, should be spared, and left at liberty to hatch further mischief. Already there is a weakening of public opinion here on this matter, and we are being told that Wilhelm of Hohen-zollern has violated no law for the breach of which he can be tried. There may be no national or international law, it is true, but there is the common law of humanity that demands his punishment. We have no desire for a sensational trial in London, or for proceedings that would invest him with a martyr’s halo. A trial, short, coldly formal and ignominious will suffice, ending in perpetual internment in some place of exile

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