18 JANUARY 1879, Page 2

It is still extremely doubtful whether the German Liberals will

resist Prince Bismarck's Bill for punishing the free expres- sion of opinion by Members of the Reichstag within the walls of Parliament. It is reported in some quarters that the Opposition will reject the Bill without discussion, but the more general opinion seems to be that they will demur to the clause authorising the Committee of Discipline to send a Member before the Courts, but if that is withdrawn, will accept the remainder of the Bill. That is, they will allow a Committee, sure to be governed by the Chancellor, to reprimand, suspend, expel, or disqualify a Member, for any sentence in any speech which he may deem contrary to order or to good government. More- over, this Committee may prevent the report of any speech or of any discussion upon the disciplinary incident. If such a law passes, Germany will have lost its Parliamentary freedom. We ourselves believe that the Bill will pass, though it will be limited in duration, like the anti-Socialist Bill; but there is some indica- tion of weakness or doubt in the semi-official statement that the Emperor ordered the Bill to be proposed. Prince Bismarck does not often shelter himself behind his Imperial master, and is per- fectly capable of threatening to resign, rather than propose a measure he disapproves. Indeed, a resignation was, a little while ago, his regular method of announcing that he meant to go his own way, in spite of everybody. There is still a month to elapse before the German Parliament meets.