21 NOVEMBER 1908, Page 17

We have dealt fully in our leading columns with the

chief foreign events of the week. Here we will oniy say that the situation in the Near East seems on the whole improved, though there are still grounds for grave anxiety. In Germany the Emperor's endorsement of Prince Billow's promises for more "reserve" in the future have produced a calming effect. Public opinion, however, still shows signs of very considerable excitement and suspense. The fact that the Government are obliged at once to ask the Reichstag to impose some twenty-five millions of new taxation will no doubt tend to prolong the Constitutional unrest. The Chancellor in the Reichstag on Thursday, when introducing the new fiscal proposals, made a very characteristic speech. Acidity and honey, calculated indiscretions and discreet economies of truth, were blended in a most remarkable melange. We wonder whether Prince Billow was merely misinformed as to our present financial position, or whether be was indulging in a piece of very delicate irony, when he held us up as affording an example to Germany, especially in our persistent efforts for the reduction of our Debt. We wonder also whether Mr. Asquith and Mr. Lloyd George will be able to hear such praises "with unwounded ear," con- , sidering what are their predatory intentions in regard to the Sinking Fund.