1 SEPTEMBER 1866, Page 1

Count Bismark has surprised Prussia and startled Europe by announcing

in committee on the annexation Bill, that "very probably it may be necpaaat7 for Prussia to defend her possessions after she has incorporated them, as was the case with Silesia in the last century. He should not therefore allow any doubt to arise as to his full determination to adhere to the annexations." Whether this is aimed really, as it is apparently, at Austria, or at France, it is clear that Count Bistnark thinks it necessary to give out with some ostentation that Prussia will be quite prepared to meet any assailant who is merely waiting till her own breech-loaders are ready. His speech was marked by the curious frankness of the diplomatists of the Napoleonic school. He was willing to accept ad referendum Herr Rohden's proposal that the Prussian Constitu- tion should be introduced into the annexed territories not later than the 1st October, 1867, but he was rather anxious not to be too closely bound, even on this point. There were " intelligent men," he said, in the annexed countries who would support the annexa- tion, but " the masses of the countries in question still adhered to the old dynasties." The first thing to introduce into the newly annexed countries was the " Prussian military law." Count Bismark is true to theone principle of his official life, that Germany, even more than any other country in Europe, needs a hard sub- stratum of physical power,—a perfectly organized army,—at the core, in order to be able to afford a complex parliamentary life and popular freedom.