THE “Cologne Gazette,” we learn via Holland, yesterday published a telegram from Munich recording the reception of an important civic deputation by the King of Bavaria. The message is carefully worded, but it nevertheless reveals a great deal.

Professor Von Gruber, a Privy Councillor, read an address “explaining the views of the deputation on the military and political situation,” but the only inkling we get of those “views” is the reply of the King, who told his visitors that “the intelligent and united cooperation of all classes and parties was absolutely necessary in such “a serious time,” and he begged of them “to have confidence in the Imperial Government.”

He “warned them against carrying dissension into the German nation,” as the only effect of this would be to “render it more difficult to hold on till an honourable peace was gained.”

Twelve months ago such a deputation would not have been received, and even six months ago it is doubtful whether the King of Bavaria would have spoken of the difficulty of holding out.

Manifestly all hopes of a victorious issue of the war have been abandoned by the Central Empires, and the highest remaining aspiration is a defensive obstinate and long enough to secure such peace terms as will leave Germany sufficient vitality to recuperate and to prepare for another war a decade or 20 years hence.

Such hopes are doomed to disappointment. There will be general agreement, one imagines, with the view expressed by Mr Walter Long last night that “it is essential the war should be brought to an absolutely triumphant end,” and, with the knowledge of what has happened during the past two months, we may also believe with Mr Long that “today the German Empire is approaching dissolution.”

On the main battlefields East and West smashing blows have been struck and when we add to this the crushing defeat of the Turks in the Egyptian desert and the latest brilliant success of the Italians on the Isonzo front, the actualities of the military situation must present themselves to Berlin and Vienna with irresistible force.

It will be noticed, however, that the deputation to the Bavarian King dwelt also upon the “political” situation, which, being interpreted means the economic conditions now prevailing.

A few days ago certain authentic information was given here regarding the internal state of Austria-Hungary. It may be stated with a greater assurance than formerly, that Germany is also suffering to a degree which only a bountiful harvest can partially alleviate.

The organisation heralded with such a blare of trumpets, for the distribution of food, has broken down lamentably. Despite the utmost efforts of Herr von Batocki and his coadjutators food continues to grow scarcer and rations smaller, and the contention that the shortage was due to hoarding is no longer advanced.

It is unnecessary to give in detail the evidence before us – the broad facts must suffice – but it is permissible to say that potatoes are running short, that fats are almost unobtainable, that sugar for jam-making cannot be got, that the meat ration has been reduced to half-a-pound weekly, that eggs are limited to two a week, and only the bread ration has been slightly raised to make good to an insightful extent the grave deficiency of all the other necessaries of life.