31 AUGUST 1878, Page 1

The German Anti-Socialist Bill has been altered, probably rather for

the worse. It now provides that the police autho- rities of the various States, and not the central federal authorities, shall be competent to prohibit Socialist asso- ciations. This is a victory for Particularism, and may no doubt, in individual cases, tend to diminish, while in others it may increase, the stringency of the measure. But in any case it will make the responsibility for whatever is done less clear, and concentrate it less on a given point,—so that there will be less odium attaching to the use of a power thus distributed, and less hope of swiftly putting an end to it. It seems also only too probable that the National Liberals and the Progresaist party in the new Parliament are quarrelling, and will not unite heartily to oppose this most noxious measure,—the effect of which will be to stimulate Socialism tenfold, instead of to suppress it. If you want to weaken the power of rhapsodical dreams on working- men's minds,—air them well. If you want to inflame the minds of the poor with them,—make it a political crime to indulge them. Prince Bismarck is making the third great blunder of his life.