Title


[317]

TOLL-BAR NEAR WAITZEN
TOLL-BAR NEAR WAITZEN

CHAPTER XII.

SCHEMNITZ AND THE MINES OF HUNGARY.

Waitzen Schlag-baum.—Bishop and Bigotry.—Deaf and Dumb School. — Austrian Financial Measures. — Tobacco.— Inn at Terény and Magyar Host. — Nemeti. — The Hack-bred. — Entrance to Schemnitz.—The Calvary Hill.—Legend of the Miner's Daughter.—Mines.—School of Mines. —Mining Students. — Visit to the Mines. — Roman Mines. —Method of Mining among the Romans.—Direction and Management of the Mines.—Pay of the Miners.—Joseph the Second's Mit. —Washing Mills.—Prince Coburg's House.—Magistrates of Schemnitz. —Impertinence of an Ober-notair.—The Castle.— The Dwarf and his Spurs.—The Haiduk's Roguery.

OUR road from Pest to Schemnitz the capital of the milling districts of Hungary, led us along the sandy banks of the Danube to Waitzen. As we crossed the small stream before entering the town, [318] BISHOP. -BIGOTRY. we had to wait till the Schiag-Mum, a ponderous bar formed of a whole tree hung across the road for a toll-gate, was slowly raised to let us pass. An unfortunate little town that Waitzen is ! Its illpaved wide streets look poor, and contrast sadly with the rich episcopal palace, splendid church-built they say, after a model of St. Peter's—and large convents, which tower high above the more modest dwellings of its citizens. In fact, the town is entirely the property and under the government of the bishop and chapter. Monopoly ruins its trade : the bishop interferes in everything : he kindly fixes the price of wine, to insure the sale of his own, —and I can answer for its dearness and badness. Now this Catholic bishop is of opinion that he may do what ho will with his own, and accordingly he suffers none but true believers to dwell within his walls ; the unfortunate Protestants being confined to the suburbs, and the Jews driven to a village at some distance, and allowed to enter the town only at certain stated times for trading. Oh intolerance! intolerance! no matter what thy nation or thy creed, thou art still the same relentless foe to freedom meet it in what form thou mayest.

In rambling over the town, out of temper with the bishop and his bigotry, I fell in with another object, which excited my antiquarian ire against him not a little. The present, or some former occupant of the see, has collected a considerable number of Roman antiquities in Waitzen and its neigh- [319] ANTIQUITIES.-HUMANITY. bourhood ; and has placed them—can you guess where, reader? Perhaps you think in some public museum,—for there are such things in Hungary ;— or in his library ;—or, at least, in the town-house. No ; he has built them into the outside of his gardenwall, just about a foot from the ground, where every little child can conveniently knock off a bit, and every passing wheel obliterate a line of Roman history ! They are mostly monumental remains, with basso-relievos and inscriptions. One, of Mars descending to visit Venus, is not without spirit. There are several with figures of Hercules. Among the inscriptions are at least three, which, I think, refer to soldiers of the second legion. (Mil. Leg. II. Af.) A piece of frieze is elegant, though not in the purest taste. So much for Pannonian antiquities !

It was pleasant to turn from such objects as these to an institution which would do honour to any country or age,—a school for deaf and dumb children ; first founded, I think, by Maria Theresa, and afterwards enriched by private contributions. Unfortunately the capital was not invested in land, and in consequence nearly the whole was lost when the great changes in the currency took place ; and the institution was ruined, till the late Emperor restored it a few years since to something like its pristine state.

It now contains about fifty pupils, including the Jews, who are admitted to learn, but not to live in the house. Some of the children are on the [320] DEAF AND DUMB SCHOOL. foundation ; others, whose parents are sufficiently rich, pay 121. per annum for their board and education.

The professors were exceedingly polite, and showed me over the institution with the greatest readiness. The younger children were at work, and I saw their method of teaching them. They learn to write and read letters, to express them by signs on their fingers, and also to pronounce them, though of course imperfectly. They are instructed to associate the ideas of words, or certain combinations of letters, with things, by means of pictures ; qualities of objects by comparison. How they are made to understand moral qualities I forgot to ask ; but the professor assured me they had very correct notions on moral and religious subjects, and that it was a matter easily taught.

They learn to utter vowels by observing the form of the mouth of the teacher when he speaks ; and consonants by the form of the mouth, the action of the larynx, and the force with which the air passes out as the sound is uttered.

The usual time occupied in their education extends to six years ; during which time the girls are taught to sew, and the boys to practise any trade they choose by which they can gain an independent subsistence. Of course there is a great difference in the relative facility with which they learn ; one pretty, clever, little girl pointed out to me England and London on the map, and answered her ques- [321] DEAF AND DUMB SCHOOL. tions with the greatest readiness. They have apparently less shyness than other children ; probably because they are more kindly and rationally treated, for shyness has its origin in fear. As soon as they knew I was an Englishman, they flocked round me, and examined my dress and appearance with the greatest curiosity; and the professor assured me that I should for a long time serve as the dumb child's idéal of the people who lived on the island. They have curious signs for certain words: for instance, " Hungarian " is expressed by touching the upper lip, indicating a mustache ; " German," by touching the knees, because the Austrian soldiers wear knee-breeches; "an Englishman," by imitating the action of scissors at the back of the head, because they say the English wear their hair cut short behind—a sign probably adopted before pigtails were out of fashion in Austria.

While our horses are slowly dragging us up the long hill which leads from Waitzen, and as we pause to take a last look at the Danube we are now quitting for some time, I may as well tell you, reader, something of that change in the currency, as I delicately called it, to which in a former paragraph I alluded. During the long and unsuccessful wars which Austria waged for the cause of legitimacy, her treasures became exhausted, her resources dried up, and her credit quite ruined. To have redeemed herself from this position, but one honourable way was open ;—to have called together the States, to [322] AUSTRIAN FINANCES. have laid before them her distress, to have granted a redress of grievances, and to have demanded support from the interest and affection of her subjects. She preferred committing one of the greatest political crimes by which any government has ever dared to surrender itself to the execration of posterity. This was no less than the reduction of the value of paper-money successively from 100 to 20, and from 20 to 8 !—so that a person possessing 100 florins in 1811, found himself in every part of the Austrian dominions, in 1813, worth just 8 ? When it is considered that all contracts, loans, trusts, and debts were to be paid off with the same proportionate diminution, the reader may have some idea of the confusion and misery produced by this infamous act. That hospitals and public institutions, of which Government was the banker, should have been ruined, was a trifling inconvenience, compared to the blow inflicted on commerce, the destruction of public and private credit, and the insecurity which man felt towards man in the fulfilment of the most binding obligations. Had the spirit of evil sought by one act to demoralize a whole people, his ingenuity could scarcely have found a more happy means of accomplishing his object than this master-stroke of policy of the Austrian financier.

The road we were pursuing offered few objects to interest us : it is true, we passed the ruins of the two old castles of Neográd and Honth, but [323] TOBACCO. they are remarkable only as giving their names to the two counties in which they stand. It was August, and the peasants were busy in some places gathering the tobacco-leaves. This harvest occupies more than a month ; as they only pluck the leaves at intervals as they ripen, taking first those from below, and rising as the upper leaves expand and get ready. The first gathering had been finished some time, and its produce was hanging to dry in long festoons under the eaves of the cottages. I know no garlands whose effect, either on the moralist or painter, can be more pleasing than those of the green tobacco-leaf and the bright yellow maize as they cluster in fine contrast round the dark wooden cottage of a rich contented peasant. The best tobacco, however, is not grown here, but in the county of Heves, where its cultivation and preparation are well cared for, and a very superior article is produced. As an old smoker, I must declare that I know nothing equal to a pipe of good Hungarian tobacco, except, perhaps, some of the best Turkish.57

57Csaplovics (Gemitlde von Ungern) gives the following information on the tobacco of Hungary :—Two sorts are known in commerce : first, the dry yellow leaves for smoking. The best of this kind grows in the county of Heves, and is called the Debröer. Of this, about 15,000 cent. is produced yearly. Debreczin and the neighbouring counties afford from 50,000 to 80,000 cent. ; and the county of Honth, from 8,000 to 12,000. Of the second class, —the brown leaves for snuff,—that produced in the counties of Szegedin and Csongrád, known in commerce as the Fünfkirchner, is.the most esteemed, and may be reckoned at from 50,000 to 80,000 cent. Besides this, in other parts, from 12,000 to 16,000 cent. of the same kind is grown. A small quantity of fine tobacco, principally known and used in the country, is grown in several different districts to the amount of about 10,000 cent. In round numbers, the whole quantity of tobacco grown may be estimated at 250,000 cent. of which 150,000 may be used in the Austrian manufactory, 40,000 reckoned for exportation, and 60,000 for home consumption. As Government allows no tobacco to be grown in any other part of the Austrian dominions except Hungary, and as all her subjects are smokers, she buys nearly at her own price in Hungary, and sells absolutely at her own price in Italy, Bohemia, &c. It is difficult to ascertain how great a revenue she obtains from this monopoly : the expense of collection, the roguery of her contractors (said to exceed all belief), and the contraband trade, must considerably diminish it : but, I believe, it does not average more than from 600,000l. to 800,000l.! The expense of collecting this paltry sum alone, is said to equal the expense of collecting all the customs revenue of Great Britain ! Yet the smuggling carried on is now immense ; and it is well known that little tobacco is smoked by the higher classes in Vienna but smuggled Hungarian. Hungarian tobacco has very lately been admitted into Austria, but only at an exorbitantly high duty.
[324] INN AT TERENY.

We pulled up at a poor-looking little village, Terény ; where our driver, however, assured us we should find a good inn, and an honest Magyar host. I had so often heard from Germans that there was not a tolerable inn in Hungary but what was kept by a German, and that the Magyar was too lazy and careless for such work, and so often observed that my Hungarian friends seemed to doubt if the independent spirit of Magyarism suited the duties of the paid host, that curiosity aided the darkness of the night in determining me to try my fortune at [325] NEMETI. the peasant's recommendation. Nor did be deceive us: the landlord himself was a stout bluff-looking fellow, as polite as a good will and honest purpose could make him ; and his house was much cleaner than most of those we had been in. Our supper, too, was good and abundant, though a little rude in appearance. It is true, we heard the unhappy fowls killed to furnish it ; but that could not be helped, as the lien-roost was close to our room, and the chickens had not the good manners to die quietly. I should not forget, that our bill next morning was a fair one: a compliment we could not always pay to more obsequious landlords. In justice to the Magyar, I must say he cheats less frequently than any of his neighbours. He is too proud to be dishonest, — except, indeed, in horse-dealing ; and there, I believe, his reputation is little better than a Yorkshireman's.

Our horses arrived by good time in the morning, and we followed the small stream which, rising at Schemnitz, falls into the Ip6ly, watering in its course a narrow and pretty valley, which occasionally opens into fine meadows, and then again closes on the road and rivulet. We amused ourselves by shooting at the turtle-doves and earless marmots, which occur frequently on the dry hillsides. At Nemeti, the first stage, we heard with consternation that all the horses of the village were at work, two hours off, on Robot, and that we must wait till they were fetched back. What was to be [326] NEMETI. - THE HACK-BRED. done ? There was no inn ; and the village was but a miserable collection of Sclavack cottages, ill-built, ill-thatched, and ill-kept. In the centre of the village stood the wheelwright's shop ; and that, too, bore little but signs of dilapidated waggons. H___ found amusement in sketching the misery, while I summoned up my most patient humour, and wrote my notes. The only variation to our occupation,

NEMETI
NEMETI

during the four hours we remained at Nemeti, was when the soldiers, who were quartered on the peasants, came out and beat the call. We had often before seen at the cottage-doors a small board fixed between two poles, called a Hack-bred, to which a couple of small hammers were appended, but had never been able to make out its use. It [327] ENTRANCE TO SCHEMNITZ. now appeared that it was used to show that the soldiers were in their quarters ; for at a certain hour every one was obliged to come out, and, by drumming on the board, testify to his presence.

Some time before we arrived at Schemnitz, the traces of mining were visible at every step ; roads made of the broken slag, drunken miners, washing-sheds, smelting-houses, heaps of broken ore, and the heavy sound of the crushing-mills, all told us where we were. The town itself is entered by an old and strong gateway which conducts to a long, narrow, steep street, which was once evidently a mountain torrent, and is so hemmed in by the sloping hills that there is scarcely room for a single row of houses on either side. At the end of this street the mountains form a magnificent amphitheatre, the proscenium of which, to follow out the simile, is occupied by the churches and other large buildings; while the hill-sides are covered with the white cottages of the miners peeping out from amongst the green trees in which they are almost buried, giving to this part of the town the prettiest appearance possible. The whole of this mountain is traversed by veins of silver ore, and it has been so worked that one might walk to almost any part of it under ground. The pavement of the long street we had to traverse was so bad, and the ascent so steep, that we took pity alike on the poor horses and our own bones, and walked up it. I really do not know how to give any idea of its badness to [328] SCHEMNITZ. an Englishman : to an Hungarian I should say that it was much worse than that of Presburg, which is allowed to be the worst in the world. The reason they give for it here is, that in winter, which lasts seven months, the street is often one sheet of ice; and the holes and hillocks, which I complained of falling into and over, are then their only protection against a slide from the top of the town to the bottom every time they set foot out of doors. I pleaded for a Macadamized road ; but they said it would not hold against the torrents of rain which flood the street in a few minutes several feet high, and which come down with such force as to carry men and every thing else before them. I suspect, however, there is another reason : the expense would fall on the town, and not on the peasants ; and the honest burghers, like the nobles, have too great an affection for their own property to expend it on benefiting the public at large.

After engaging rooms in Schemnitz' best inn, the Holcen Haus, and changing our dusty vestments, we found we had still time for a walk before sunset ; and following the plan of an old officer, who always mounted a hill or a steeple to reconnoitre the ground before he took up his position and commenced action,—as he called hunting out and seeing sights,—we strolled up to the square watchtower, from which we had a fine view of the town. After the dry brown plain of Pest, it was refreshing to see the cottages stuck on the mountain's side [329] CALVARY HILL. like swallows' nests, each in a pretty garden and half hidden amongst fruit-trees, with here and there a fantastic steeple, the ruins of a fine old castle-to be ransacked at our leisure—or the high roof of a modern smelting-house. Beyond the town a magnificent view opens over wild mountains and pretty valleys to an interminable extent; while, nearer, the Calvary hill rears its steepled crest and bids its devotees approach.

I know not whether the reader is aware what a Calvary hill is ; but in every part of the Austrian dominions, as well as in Hungary, they are very common. A steep, but not high, hill is generally chosen, on which a chapel is built, or three crosses erected, bearing a representation of the crucifixion in a manner generally disgusting both to good taste and religion. The ascent is often formed by steps ; and at certain distances are placed small chapels, each containing a picture or statue of one of Christ's sufferings. In Lent, the penitent sinner is commanded to pay his devotions here, and sometimes to ascend the hill on his bare knees ! The one at Schemnitz has a handsome church, and, being in repute, is rich in offerings.

But I must not leave the old tower without mentioning the tradition which is connected with it, as it is characteristic enough of mining fortunes and miners' superstitions.

There lived in Schemnitz, many years ago, when the mines were so good and the miners so rich [330] LEGEND OF that all of them had silver nails in their bootsoles, a lucky fellow who had found out a way of getting rich faster even than his neighbours; so that they strongly suspected it was not all so honestly come by as it should, for in a very short time he became so rich that he could not count his own money. And this was the more readily believed, because his only son died suddenly, and soon after he himself dropped off, and then there was no one left to inherit all the money but his daughter Barbara. Now, during his life the old man had kept his daughter in a very quiet and modest manner ; but no sooner was he gone than Miss Barbara determined to be a great lady and enjoy herself. She soon found a set of " loose lemans " who were glad to feed upon the rich miner's daughter; and a sad life they led of it. At last, some of these gentry went so far that they got into the judge's hands, and from his into the hangman's; and sure enough they were gibbeted on this very hill.

Now, although the ill-luck of her friends rather checked Barbara for a moment, she soon fell into the same evil courses again. It so happened, that from the windows of her house, where she and her companions were wont to feast and revel after their unholy fashion, the bodies of their former friends could be seen dangling to and fro on the leafless tree; and at times the rattling of chains was heard above their loud mirth, and gave rise to disagreeable pauses in their merriment. In vain did Barbara [331] THE MINER'S DAUGHTER. solicit the judges to remove the ghastly corpses ; they had sent them there for her benefit, and there they must hang. At last, however, she promised to build a strong castle on the spot, and to leave it to the town after her death, if they would consent ; and so the judges yielded, and the present tower was built.

But poor Barbara did not live long to enjoy her castle. Notwithstanding many warnings, she still led a lewd life, and continued to make an open mockery of holy things. As she was entertaining a large part of her friends on the pleasant banks of the Gran on the very day the foundation-stone of the tower was laid, a letter came from a priest, one of her relations, warning her of her sins, and the certainty of poverty if she did not give over her riotous mode of living. " As sure as I shall never see this ring more," said she, casting a valuable ring into the river, " so sure will my riches last as long as I want them." When the tower was finished, another great dinner was given ; but in the midst of the feast Barbara turned pale with fear ; for, on carving the fish set before her, she found on her plate the very ring she had thrown into the Gran.

From this time, nobody could tell how, but Barbara's money vanished as it were from her,—all her wealth seemed to be melting away in spite of her. Another misfortune, too, fell upon her ; her favourite lap-dog—on which she had bestowed all that care and charity which she ought to have given to the [332] SCHEMNITZ. poor — died; and a great trouble its death was to her, though everybody else was glad enough that such an ill-tempered cur was gone. Nothing would content its mistress, however, but that it should be buried like a Christian ; and a great to-do they made of it. The very next night a terrible storm arose, and a flame of fire came out of the dog's grave, and in the morning a bottomless pit was found where the grave had been ! What with her poverty and her loss, and the bad things her former friends now began to say about her, Barbara fell sick too, and died, without so much as confessing her sins. Some charitable souls were still willing to bury her, and off they took her in secret to the churchyard ; but a terrible hail-storm arose on the way, and the thunder rolled, and the lightning shot over them, so that they were forced to lay the body down and to seek for shelter. No sooner had they done so than a cry was heard in the air, and the hailstones seemed turned into dogs, which all fell on the carcass of poor Barbara, and carried it elf to the bottomless pit, where they disappeared and were never seen more. " This," adds Mednyánsky, " happened in the year of our Lord 1570, and was written in the chronicle of Schemnitz ; and, as proof thereof, the maiden's tower may still be seen."

On our return we fortunately met an old acquaintance, who introduced us to some of the students and professors of the school of mines, and made us at once free of Schemnitz. Some of the [333] SCHOOL OF MINES. information we gathered from these sources, relative to the mines, I may as well now put together, and give the reader the benefit of it.

Schemnitz may be considered as the mining capital of Hungary. The mines are divided, from their position, into four districts, the Schernnitzer, Schmölnitzer, Nagy Bányaer,and Banater; of which the first is by far the most considerable. Each district has its government, and its separate establishment of smelting-houses; but all send their produce to Kremnitz, in the Schemnitzer district, to have the gold and silver separated, and the crude metal coined.

A school of mining, in imitation of that of Freyberg in Saxony, was founded at Schemnitz in 1760, and has attained considerable celebrity. It now contains about two hundred students, who receive their education free of cost, many of them being assisted with an annual donation of from twenty to thirty pounds for their support, and all being supplied with drawing-paper and pens, &c. at the expense of Government.

There are five professors, who deliver lectures on chemistry, Hutte-kunst or metallurgy, mineralogy, mining, mathematics, surveying, and drawing. The course of study lasts three years, besides two years' practice in the mines ; after which an examination must be passed in public before a certificate can be obtained.

The lectures are entirely in German, and indeed most of the students are German or Sclavackish. [334] MINING STUDENTS. The professors give a very favourable account of the state of the school and the industry of its scholars. The students have access to a good library, where every new work of importance bearing on the subjects studied may be obtained, and where a considerable number of French and German periodicals are received.58 The students give rather a different account. The younger students, they say—of course my informants were seniors-are generally better acquainted with the coffee and billiard rooms than with the halls of their professors; and the public examination is a farce, as it is well known that any one can purchase the primam classem (the highest certificate) by a bribe to the professors. How far these statements may be true, I know not ; but I am inclined to believe that Schemnitz not only does not lead, but is far behind Freyberg, and indeed most other schools, in the adoption of modern scientific improvements. A strong proof of this is the very bad manner in which the Austrian mining establishments are said, by those who understand the subject, to be conducted in almost every part of the Emperor's dominions, and particularly in Hungary.

The students wear a neat uniform of dark green cloth turned up with red. The jacket has padded sleeves from the shoulder to the elbow, to protect

58To the disgrace of Schemnitz be it spoken, there is no good collection of minerals, either public or private; that of the college is below criticism. There is no dealer in minerals in the place.
[335] MINING STUDENTS. the arms from the sides of the mines, with buttons bearing the crossed hammer and pick-axe. Behind is a large piece of leather, something like the tails of a coat, strapped round the waist, and forming in fact a posterior apron. In frill dress they have gold epaulettes and a sabre.

MINING STUDENTS OF SCHEMNITZ
MINING STUDENTS OF SCHEMNITZ

Of course, one of our first objects was to see the far-famed silver mines. One of the Practicants, or more advanced students, accompanied us, to show and explain what was most interesting. To those totally unacquainted with mining operations, few things can be more uninteresting than to grope along wet narrow passages under ground, with a [336] MINES. greasy candle stuck between the fingers ; alternately breaking their heads against the top, or their shins against the bottom of the level. To me, however, it was interesting, from being able to compare these mines with those of England and some other countries. But the miner and geologist will be disappointed if they expect a scientific description of them ; I neither possess nor pretend to the necessary knowledge : to know sufficient of a science to amuse oneself in its pursuit, and to be able to instruct others, are very different things.

With the usual mining salutation " Glück auf ! " we entered the Spital gang, a fine nine-foot level, where we visited some of the new workings. Below this level a greater quantity of ore is obtained than from any of the other mines which properly belong to the town of Schemnitz. There is little difference between the manner of working here, and in England; and, though a miner might find the hammer heavier or longer in the handle—very important points—in one place than the other, they seemed to me to knock and blast the rocks just as we do. The ore contains gold, silver, and lead, and is often mixed with iron, copper, zinc, and arsenic, though the three first only in any considerable quantity. To raise the ore and clearings to this level, an ingenious water-wheel has been constructed,—I believe the first of its kind. It is furnished with a double set of buckets, one of which would turn it forwards, the other backwards; [337] MINES. and the wooden canal, conveying the water, moves readily from one to the other, so that a constant motion is maintained. As soon, therefore, as the laden scuttles of one side arrive at the level and are emptied, the action of the wheel is reversed by the water being directed on the other buckets; the empty scuttles descend, and at the same time other full ones come up. An interesting point was remarked to us, where the green-stone is traversed by a gang of shale, with slight traces of coal. From this point a fine railroad level runs to the daylight, as the miners call the opening; on which horses are employed, with trains of low carriages. The ore is broken to a certain size, by hand labour, before it goes to the crushing-mills ; and is assorted by passing through a riddle, about the shape and size of the ordinary wooden bridges in England.

As we came out by the railway level, we found ourselves just without the gate at the bottom of the town. We then ascended the hill ; and, about the middle of the town, entered the Theresia level, now little worked, and without much interest ; this, however, as well as one higher up, is connected with the lower ones by shafts and workings.

The Rosalia is the highest and oldest of these mines, and is said to have been worked before the time of the Romans. Many of the ancient levels still exist in parts, and are easily known by being worked out with the chisel and hammer, instead of being blasted with gunpowder. The labour which [338] ROMAN MINES. this must have cost, is scarcely conceivable, as they are mostly ten feet high, made very wide at the bottom, and narrower towards the top. In many parts, both of Hungary and Transylvania, I have seen the same work, which, from its beauty and durability, cannot be mistaken, and it is always ascribed to the Romans; indeed, the Roman lamps, coins, instruments, and articles of dress, frequently found in such mines, place the matter beyond doubt. Further on, we came to an immense cavern, ascending to a great height beyond what the eye could follow, aided only by the feeble light of the miner's lamp. This is supposed also to have been the work of the Romans, but to have been effected by fire, as many rounded holes are observed, in which form the fire would have softened and broken up the rock. Going oí1' from this cavern are many small passages, scarcely large enough for a man to creep into, which were probably formed in following offsets from the main vein. It is believed that nothing was taken away by the ancient miners but the pure silver, as the cavern is filled to a great height with the refuse of the workings, which is said to contain a large quantity of ore.

I must confess, I had for a long time considerable doubt as to the employment of fire in the mines. That the Romans did make use of fire in breaking up rocks in other circumstances, the well-known passage of Livy (" Ardentiague saxa iy'icso ace to putrefaciunt "), in the account of Hannibal's crossing [339] ROMAN METHOD OF MINING. the Alps, is sufficient proof,—notwithstanding what ill-natured critics say of that historian's disposition for romance; but I had great doubts as to the possibility of its application to mining. The want of a draught of air, and the impossibility of making the huge fire Live speaks of, and, more than all, the dreadful sufferings which the miners must necessarily have endured from the quantity of smoke and sulphurous vapours created, were such strong objections, that it required nothing less than the express words of Pliny to convince me ; but they are too clear to be denied. " Hard rocks occur everywhere," he says ; "these they split by means of fire and vinegar59 (igni et aceto rumpunt) ; and, lest the smoke and vapour should be too great in the passages of the mine, the masses thus loosened are broken up with a hammer of one hundred and fifty pounds' weight ; the ore is then carried out on men's shoulders day and night ; they pass it in the dark from one to another ; only the last sees the daylight." The miseries of the poor

59I am aware that these statements of the use of vinegar have been ridiculed ; but, although unable to explain in what way it could have been applied, I do not think we have the right to deny two such positive assertions of its use. I have been told that fire is still used in the Hartz mountains. A great fire is made by the workmen on the Saturday evening, and allowed to continue till Monday, when the men return to their work. From the quantity of sulphur contained in these rocks, there is no difficulty in making them burn, though it is often very difficult to extinguish them when once ignited.
[340] ROMAN METHOD OF MINING. captives who were thus forced to labour, must have been frightful. Bishop Hene,60 who has collected some interesting information on the government of the Boman mining establishments, and the then state of mining, quotes the following passage from Lucretius (lib. vi.), as confirmative of their miserable condition.

" Quidve male fit, ut exhalent aurata metalla ?
Quas hominum reddunt facies, qualeisque colorer?
Nonne vides, audisve perire in tempore parvo
Quam soleant ; et quam vitae copia desit,
Quos opere in tali cohibet vis magna ?"

I need not tell the reader that here, as well as in England, the state of the miner in the present day is quite as good as that of the peasant or labourer. In 5chemnitz, he does not work more than eight hours a day ; his occupation is healthy, and he lives as well as he could by any other employment.

The management of all the mines in Hungary, which belong to Government, is under a chief, called the Oberst Kammer-Graf, assisted by a council composing the Oberst-Kammergrafenampt, which itself is subject to the Hof-Kammer in Vienna. Each district has besides this its own Bergampt, or council, composed of the chief mining officers of the district. The number of inferior officers is much greater than with us, and this is probably necessary on account of the voluminous written reports which they are obliged to draw up. This

60Beytrge zur Dacischen Geschichte.—Hermannstadt, 1836; p. 97.
[341] DIRECTION OF THE MINES. has the disadvantage, not only of adding much to the expense, but of lessening also the feeling of individual responsibility, and consequently, the stimulus to individual exertion. In general, the Oberst Kammer-graf, who is of high rank, understands nothing at all of the matters he directs ; and, therefore, of course, trusts them to others ; and it is allowed that they have been, and even still are, grossly mismanaged. Many of the officers themselves are best aware of, and most lament this state of things ; but so many petty interests and ignorant prejudices impede improvement, and the Austrian Government itself has so unmeasured a dread of change, that the exertions of individuals avail but little. From the new Oberst hammer-Graf, however, whose appointment was very recent, great hopes were entertained. I believe he is a man possessed of considerable scientific knowledge, united to a strong desire for improvement.

Austria has not yet learned that it is good economy to pay her servants well. The salaries of the mining officers, which even in reformed England would run from 100l. to 1,000l. a year at least, do not average more than from 50l. to 100l. ; and though provisions are cheap in Hungary, yet the clothes which the station of these officers obliges them to wear, cost as much there as here. Where so much gold and silver slips through the fingers, it is not, therefore, wonderful that some has occasionally stuck to them. A few years since, a [342] DIRECTION AND MANAGEMENT well-conceived, and long-undiscovered system of robbery was laid open, in which six of the Government officers of Schemnitz were concerned, and by which they had defrauded the state to a large amount.

The amalgamation process, which is universally acknowledged to be the best for separating the gold and silver from the baser metals, was obliged to be given up, because the officers could not resist the opportunity which it offered them, of defrauding their employers in the article of quicksilver. Let me state, however, that such of the officers as I had the pleasure of knowing, appeared to be men quite incapable of any such conduct, and they lamented the badness of a system which threw so many temptations in the way of the needy.

The common miners, amounting in the Schemnitz district to twenty thousand, are exposed to the same temptation. They are not allowed to gain more than three florins per fortnight, or three shillings a week ! As if it were to check any disposition to industry, it has been reckoned how much the miner can do comfortably in the fortnight, working eight or sometimes six hours a day. This quantum he is bound to perform, but he is allowed to perform no more ; the Government finding him in oil, gunpowder, and instruments. This gives the miner many opportunities of peculation in these articles, which do not tend to improve his honesty, though rather a useful quality where gold and silver are in the case. The loss sustained in these articles [343] OF THE MINES. alone, by the united rogueries of the labourer and his superiors, is said to be considerable. The method of paying the miner is not less defective : he is sometimes paid according to the amount of the material brought out without regard to quality, in which case he defrauds his employers by working where it is most easy to himself; sometimes according to the quantity of metal produced, when he is apt to work the mine unfairly, taking only the richest parts and leaving much good material behind. In either case a premium is offered for roguery.61

I have often heard it stated that Government gains so little by these mines, that it does not allow more work to be done than is just sufficient to maintain the miners ; how far this may be true it is difficult to say, for they are not too anxious at Vienna that Hungary should know precisely the state of her revenues ; but after what I have stated, it would not be astonishing if such were the case. The private enterprises, however, main-

61I am sorry that I cannot contrast with this, the system adopted by John Taylor, Esq., in the mines under his management in England, but it would lead me too far away from my present subject. It must suffice to say, that he has made the master's and workman's profit coincide; and while he enables industry and talent to gain its due reward, he so excites the attention and enterprise of all engaged, that every head is working for the discovery of new sources of profit and means of economy. To those who are interested in this subject I may refer to a lecture of Mr. Taylor's in the Mining Journal, No. X. and to Mr. Babbage's little work on Manufactures.
[344] DIRECTION OF THE MINES. tain themselves, in spite of the ten per cent. they pay the king, and the losses in smelting, &c.—a pretty good proof where the fault lies if those of his majesty do not succeed better.

One of the Government officers, after a tour of inspection through the principal mines of England, in which he had been at first much astonished to find such comparatively great improvements, and such certain profit, from such very inferior means, solved the problem thus before he left our shores :—" The reason of your advance and gain, and of our delay and loss, is simply this : when it is necessary to do anything, you do it at once, while we are obliged to send long written reports to the Bergampt, to wait till those who know little of the immediate circumstances deliberate about them, and if consent is at last obtained, it is frequently so late, that the advantages to be derived from it are lost." Without confidence in subordinate agents it is impossible to act with effect. One would have fancied Austria had proved in her wars the truth of this proposition too bitterly ever to have forgotten it.

About one half of the Schemnitz district is in the hands of private individuals or companies, who are said generally to lack capital and spirit. The laws of Hungary, respecting mining, are exceedingly liberal. Any one, on applying to the Kammer (as the exchequer is called), may receive permission to work any mine which does not interfere with other workings, no matter on whose [345] JOSEPH THE SECOND'S ADIT. estate it may be, paying only a moderate sum to the proprietor for the land used for buildings or necessary works. Likewise, any mine already worked, if left unworked during fourteen days, may be taken up by any one else. One-tenth of the clear produce is payable to the Crown, and generally speaking, though I think not necessarily, the ore is smelted in the Government smelting-houses, for which a deduction is also made. The metal must all be coined in the country. I remember an old gentleman, who was telling me some of these facts, was very bitter against the English for not having sent some of their superfluous cash to Hungary instead of South America, whence there would have been some better chance of a return. I do not know that the Austrians would look on an English company with jealousy, and if not, I think their chance of success would be very great.

I had an opportunity, thanks to the politeness of the chief of the surveying department, of seeing the plans of the mines, which, however, would be unintelligible from description. The most interesting plan was that of Joseph the Second's adit, a magnificent work. It is twelve mining feet high, by ten broad, and extends from Sehemnitz to the valley of the Gran, a distance of nearly ten English miles. This adit will carry off the water from mines now quite unworkable, and will lay open great riches to the miller. It is so constructed [346] WASHING-MILLS. also, as to be used either as a canal or railroad, by which the ore may be carried to a point better adapted for smelting than Schemnitz. It has already been forty years in hand, and is estimated to cost 400,000l. before it is finished. The most difficult part, under the hill of Schemnitz and the Erzberg, has yet to be encountered.

The next day we dedicated to visiting some of the more distant works, and one or two interesting geological points in the immediate neighbourhood of Schemnitz. We followed the road to St. Antal, by the Francis shaft, and went from thence to the smelting-house, where there is a curious steam-engine, with a movable cylinder, apparently a whim of the engineer's. There is but little smelting carried on at Schemnitz, for want of wood, most of the ore being sent to Neusohl, where fuel is in great plenty. Not far from the smelting-house, they have discovered a vein of coal, of which they have obtained some, but in very small quantities, and of an inferior quality. Another great desideratum at Schemnitz is water, to supply which immense reservoirs have been constructed in the hills; but after a dry season, they are quite inadequate to supply all the crushing-mills and washing-machines. Nothing can be more rude than the washing process as carried on in Schemnitz ; it is a disgrace to a school of mining, especially when it is managed so much better in the duchy of Salzburg, and even in other parts of Hungary itself.

[347] PRINCE COBURG'S PRISONERS.

We passed a quarry of fine greenstone porphyry, and further on, in the trachyte, examined a vein of opal. I should have said that the Erzberg (mountain of ore), containing the principal mines, is of greenstone, which generally, in Hungary, bears the richest ores, and below it lies the trachyte. The trachyte covers a great extent of country, and we observed it several times in the course of our walk ; in one place, near Kolpack, it occurs of a fine red colour. About mid-day we stopped at St. Antal, a village of Prince Coburg's ; and wandering through the gardens of the castle, found a green spot too tempting for rest and lunch to be passed at such an hour. As we crossed the court I observed a curious-looking bench, the use of which did not immediately occur to me; but on inquiring of a gardener, his answer " the flogging-board," and his look of surprise at my ignorance, reminded me that at Arva I had seen something very similar. We called to a man who was at work in the gardens to bring us a pitcher of water, and were not a little struck to find he was a prisoner, wearing heavy irons. I have often seen in German and Italian towns, the disgusting spectacle of a string of chained prisoners, employed in sweeping the streets or in other public works, but this was the first time I bad seen them in the employ of private persons. Every Hungarian noble had formerly the right to have his prison, and to confine his own peasants, both before and after condemnation : how far he may have the power of [348] MAGISTRATES OF SCHEMNITZ. appropriating their labour during this period I know not; but it would seem to be a power liable to great abuse, and it is one therefore of which the greater number have been wisely deprived. In some few families the right still exists. But we will leave the subject of prison discipline, or rather want of discipline, for another time, and return to Schemnitz, which we reached after a long walk, late in the evening, quite ready for our suppers and pipes.

I must not forget to state, however, as I have mentioned this subject, that an exhibition of public flogging takes place every Sunday morning at Schemnitz, and it rarely happens that some women are not among the sufferers. As far as I know, such barbarity as the public flogging of women is confined to Schemnitz, and the plea urged there for its necessity is, the protection of the young students' morals. Sceptics may doubt whether the exhibition of brutality by those who from their position ought to be respected and imitated, would tend materially to moralize the youth they govern, unless indeed the worthy magistrates of Schemnitz choose to take upon themselves the part imposed by the Spartans on their slaves,— but then those sceptics doubt everything.

Another circumstance, which occurred the day before we quitted this " City of the seven hills," as some father-land-loving writer calls it, gave us no great idea of the wisdom of its municipal ofli- [349] IMPERTINENCE OF AN OBER-NOTAIR. cers. As H___ was quietly sketching the ruins of the old castle, a bustling little body who called himself "Ober-Notair of the royal burg of Scheinnitz," came up to him and demanded with great impertinence, by whose authority or permission he had ventured to draw there. Swelling with all the pomp of offended dignity, and growing more loudly indignant as he felt the quiet contempt with which H___ treated his remonstrances, he threatened the utmost vengeance of the law against one who had taken such a liberty with so important a place ; and hastening off to the inn, denounced us as a party of spies, who lie declared should not leave the town till he had examined their passports, and discovered their villanous intentions. To be taken for a spy by the peasants in Hungary would be to run a fair risk of ill-treatment, if not of death, and therefore, the moment I returned, I hastened to the Stadt-Hauptman (the captain or mayor of the town), and mustering up all my very wickedest words in German, placed so forcibly before his worship the enormity of the Notair's crime, that he put himself into a dignified rage at the unlucky Wight, and promised us most summary satisfaction,—nay, if we would wait till the next day, the pleasure of witnessing it. Our revengeful feelings, however, were not strong enough to detain us, but we left him with the persuasion that the next traveller in search of the picturesque would meet with a more civil reception.

[350] THE CASTLE.

Of course we could not leave Schemnitz without visiting the castle; and, accordingly the custode, who was wondrous proud of the dignity of his office, attended with his huge keys, and led us to its ruined gateway. The castle itself is a square building of no great size, inclosed by a high wall with four bastions, besides the new tower which the town has erected for a watchman, whose shrill whistle gives evidence four times within the hour of his noisy vigilance. The centre building was formerly a church, and traces of its original destination are still visible. In the part formerly used as the chancel, is the date 1491 ; while in another, evidently later, and added for the accommodation of soldiers, is 1559. Sufficient still remains to show that the church was built in a good and somewhat rich style of pointed Gothic, which in England would be considered to belong to the fourteenth century : one of the spiral staircases has much beauty. The governor, for I believe the honest man considered himself rather as such than as simple custode, told us bloody tales of Turks and Templars,—how the Christians fought, and the heathens fled ; and, when he showed us in one of the under rooms a mill, he assured us the knights had ground the corn there during the siege with their own hands; and a seven barrelled fieldpiece, a quantity of hand-grenades, small arrows for the steel-bow, spears, swords, and a heap of old weapons, which are still preserved here, were all [351] THE DWARF AND HIS SPURS. he said to "discomfit the heathen, and drive the wicked ones from the walls." I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this account, as I was too lazy to make application to examine some half-burned archives which still exist in the public library, nor, indeed, am I quite certain it would have been worth while—is not the romance of history its better part ?

In one of the bastions some prisoners were confined, among whom was one shocking villain, then in chains, for a most extraordinary and horrible crime,—no less than that of hammering some score large nails into the sitting part of an old woman !

One of the oddest of the wonders of Schemnitz is a large-headed, broad-mouthed, bow-legged, deaf and dumb dwarf, just one of those caricatures of humanity which so often fill up a foreground of Paul Veronese, and set off so well the elegance of the figures which surround it,--a merry creature, with a strong predilection for spirits and tobacco. In early childhood he was stolen from Schemnitz, and travelled over great part of Europe as a show. Restored by I know not what accident to his native land, he vegetates to cherish an enormous pair of steel spurs, which, by day, he attaches to his legs by a strange complication of straps, and at night lays under his pillow lest some one should rob him of his treasure. I could not help thinking, that, if some Hungarian friends of mine had seen the little dwarf in his spurs, they would scarcely have main- [352] THE HAIDUK'S ROGUERY. tained their own so pertinaciously, especially as they were no cavaliers, and made as little use of them as he did.

We had spent nearly a week at Schemnitz, and it was time for old Stephan to repack, and for us to recommence our wanderings ; but I must tell one tale more against the Schemnitz police before I quit them. The Haiduk, or town-servant, who had been sent to order horses for us, and to whom, as is frequently the case, the vorspann money was paid in advance, had pocketed an extra sum allowed on this station, on account of the distance the peasants had to come, and only given them the ordinary sum, of which they justly complained. I left a note for our friend the City Captain, with a recommendation not to forget the Haiduk, when he called the Notair to account ; the which, some of his fellows assured me, would procure him his five and twenty blows. I had no mercy for one who robbed the peasants, and I should not have been sorry to have extended the punishment to some others of their oppressors.

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