The atmosphere in which Bismarck took up office was truly that of a coup d’état. He knew that he had no friend among politically influential people, except Roon and, if necessary, also the King. Men saw in him ‘ the type of a prime minister who concealed a uniform under his frock-coat ’ or ‘ the last and sharpest arrow of “ Reaction by the Grace of God ” ’. Those who did not hate him as their opponent saw in him, as Napoléon had done, ‘ not a serious man’. The reserve of the moderate liberal Press was in contrast to the lust for battle of the progressive newspapers. In these the hope was expressed ‘ soon to see him spinning wool for the benefit of the state’ (as prisoners did). Here originated the proposal which at the beginning of 1863 was adopted in the House of Deputies by a large majority, that ‘ cabinet ministers should be liable in person and property for expenses contrary to the constitution ’. Bismarck consequently thought of ‘ handing over his landed property to his brother in order to save it ’. He only refrained from taking this measure because ‘ his seat in the Upper House was bound up with the land he owned ’ and because the transfer of the property ‘ would have given an impression of nervousness and anxiety about money matters which was obnoxious to me ’. That he did not regard this step as either intrinsically unacceptable or as uncalled for by the situation shows in what a serious light he regarded the position. His belief in God came again more strongly into the foreground. ‘ My faith remains firm that God will not allow me to fall into disgrace in this position.’ But his old friend, the strong believer Ludwig von Gerlach, who had once welcomed Bismarck into the Pomeranian circle of Pietists, had now lost something of his trust in the genuineness, of Bismarck’s religion. ‘ May God protect him against himself,’ he writes in his Memoirs, ‘ and let him learn in time that the Short Catechism is valid also for statesmen.’ He added with a sigh, two months later, ‘ Bismarck’s energy gives little or rather no guarantee.’