Title


[492]

CHAPTER XV.

FROM PEST TO FIUME.

Departure from Pest. -- Notary of Tetény. -- Volcanic District. -- Bakonyer Forest. -- Subri. -- Hungarian Robbers. -- Conscription -- Wine of Sorulyo. -- Keszthely.- -- Signs of Civilization. -- Costume of Nagy Kánisa. -- The Drave. -- Death of Zriny. -- Croatia and Sclavonia. -- Slate of the Peasantry. -- Agram. -- Croatian Language. -- Public Feeling in Croatia. -- Smuggling. -- Karlstadt. -- Save and Kulpa.- -- -The Ludovica Road -- its Importance. -- Fiume. -- English Paper Mill. -- . Commerce. -- Productions of Hungary. -- Demand for English Goods in Hungary. -- Causes which impede Commerce, and the means of their removal.

SOON after the frost bad disappeared, and before tbe ice had fairly cleared away from tbe Danube, we heard tbat a new steam-boat was about to leave Trieste for Constantinople, touching at Corfu, Zante, and Athens in her way. As we had already seen so much of the Danube, and intended to return by it again through Wallachia to complete our tour in Transylvania, we determined to avail ourselves of this opportunity to visit Turkey. Another inducement too, was the route we might take through Croatia and by Fiume to Trieste, which would show us another very important part of Hungary with which we were as yet unacquainted. [493]

Instead of starting early in the morning of the 28th of February, as we had intended, we were delayed for some time by the ice. It had now become too rotten to be used as a bridge, and a ferry had been established wherever an open space was left; but the ice was so constantly moving, that the ferry had frequently to be changed, and one of these changes detained us several honrs. At last the ferry was declared open, the carriage embarked, and we had nothing to do but shake hands with our friends, and express a hearty wish that we might soon meet them again, -- and so we started on our way.

Our first drive did not afford us a very favourable prospect for the rest of the journey. It was a cold wet night, and the roads were so deep in mud, that it was as much as six good horses could do to drag us through it. Before we had got half over one station too, the iron-work supporting the dickey gave way, and we were obliged to fasten it up with ropes. Under these circumstances, we determined to stop at the first village, Tetény, for the night, and as there was not a bedroom to be had in the inn, we gladly availed ourselves of the offer of the notary to sleep in his house.

The notary was a very civil and obliging person, and from a couple of violins and a pianoforte which we found in the room, and from some music of Rossini's, which was lying about, I should judge a man of taste also. He was master of the parish-school, [494] and told us that all the children attended it very regularly. The peasants are Germans. He declined receiving anything next morning for the hospitality he had offered us, but the "gude wife" was "mair canny," and allowed herself to be prevailed on.

As we pursued this same route before, at least as far as Veszprim, when we visited Füred, I need say nothing more in regard to it here, than that the carriage broke down three or four times on the way, and caused as many disagreeable pauses before we could get it mended. Whether it was the severe frost which bad affected the iron-work, or whether it was that the Vienna iron was itself bad, I cannot tell, but it is certain that the unusual straining caused by the state of the roads was too much for it, and great was our annoyance in consequence.

Instead of turning off to Füred, we now continued along the high road which runs parallel witb the Balaton, but at some distance from it, to Tapoleza. For the greater part of the last stage we had been struck with a new appearance in the mountains, which seemed to rise alone, and in isolated masses from the plain. This, of course, led us to suppose them of volcanic origin, though they were too far off to enable us to make sure of the fact. Before long, however, we found the road itself had changed colour, and on looking more minutely, it turned out to be composed of volcanic tufa, instead of the new limestone we had seen before, and a little further on, we came to basalt itself, and thus [495] the difficulty as to the appearance in these mountains was at once solved. As we proceeded, we noticed that some of the hills presented the appearance of truncated cones, while others were quite conical, and on turning to our books afterwards, we found that we had fallen in with a well-known volcanic district, in which some of the mountains are said to have distinct craters.

We had now entered the Bakonyer forest, a hilly tract of country, extending nearly from the Danube to Croatia, and covered with thick woods, affording shelter to the bands of robbers by whom it is generally infested. I am not very credulous on the subject of robbers, but I do believe that this neighbourhood is rarely quite free from them, and I must confess I did not very much like the look of some half-score fellows who followed the carriage as we entered Tapolcza, inquiring very eagerly if we would not go on further that evening. On talking with the waiter at the inn, as to how far our suspicions might be well founded, he said he thought them groundless, though, on being pressed further, he allowed that only a day or two before, fourteen of Subri's men had been seen in the village dressed as women, and he said that patrols were out through the whole country, for the purpose of arresting them. Though we had been staying so long in Hungary, we had scarcely ever heard the name of Subri before, into whose territories we now appeared to have intruded. Since that time, however, Subri [496] has obtained an European reputation, and his death has rendered him a worthy subject of popular song. After having been watched for a long time by a body of troops quartered all through the country, he was at last betrayed while drinking with his men at a public-house. Before they were aware of it, a detachment of cavalry had surrounded them; but they nevertheless made the attempt to escape to the woods by fighting their way desperately through the soldiers. Several, both of the robbers and soldiers fell, and the officer of the detachment had a very near escape. On approaching Subri, with the intent to seize and take him alive, the robber drew a pistol from his belt, and placed it close to the officer's head. Subri, however, had vowed that he would never be taken alive, and seeing that escape had become impossible, he deliberately turned the pistol against himself and blew out his own brains.

Many are the tales which have been told of this Subri, but they are too doubtful to be worth repeating. Like most others of the great robbers of Hungary -- the Angyal Bandi, Zöld Marczi, and Becskereki -- Subri bad many of those notions of wild justice, which render our own Robin Hood so dear to the recollections of the people. To rob from the rich and give to the poor; to punish the strong, and protect the weak; to ill-treat proud men, and behave with gallantry to pretty women; -- such are the characteristics of the great robbers of [497] Hungary, and such the traits that have filled the songs of the peasantry with their names and deeds. There is another cause, too, which has tended to increase the popular sympathy with robbers in Hungary. They are, for the most part, young men who have been taken for soldiers, and who, having run away, have no other means of existence left. Even the sympathies of the nobles themselves are often engaged in their favour, and there are few, who, either from weakness or mistaken kindness, refuse to send provisions or money to an appointed place, when the Hungarian Captain Rock demands them.

The mode of raising the conscripts is so brutal, that it is impossible not to pity those who are exposed to it. When the county has issued its orders to the under-officers to raise the required number of men, they proceed to the villages, and commence a levy by main force. Their common plan is said to be to take, at first, only the sons of the richest peasants, because they are certain of obtaining a handsome sum for their release. As soon as this is accomplished, they set about catching all the loose fellows iti the parish, who, knowing what they have to expect, and pretty certain that nobody will release them, have already taken to the woods and mountains, and cannot be got at without a regular hunt. When once caught, these poor fellows are chained in long lines, and thus literally driven more cruelly than the same men would treat their own beasts, to the headquarters [498] of the army. It is not to be wondered at, that a service so recruited should be detested, or that the men should try to escape; nor is it matter of surprise that a human heart, whether noble or simple, should sympathise with the poor fellows, whom such brutality as this has driven to a life of crime. This system of recruiting is a deep disgrace to Hungary, and it is the duty of every friend of his country to uso his utmost endeavours to reform it.

But to return to Tapoleza. The waiter's conversation, alarming as was the subject, did not prevent us duly appreciating the excellence of the wine he had set before us; -- possibly it made us apply to it the more steadily. It was Schomlauer, and one of the very best white wines I ever drank. It is grown, about a short day's journey from this place, on the hill of Somlyo, near Vásárhely, and a little to the west of it. If I am not mistaken, this hill must belong to the volcanic range wo saw in this neighbourhood; for I doubt if any other soil could give its wine that high flavour which it boasts. The Schomlauer, is a white wine, full-bodied and strong. It would, I think, suit the English market well, and it would probably bear the carriage without injury.

Our route led us over a boggy plain, interspersed with volcanic mountains, rising abruptly from it, till we came to the shores of the Balaton, and so continued as far as Keszthely. The scenery at the [499] lower end of the Balaton is mountainous, and must present many points of great beauty, which in a more favourable season we should have been delighted to ransack.

Keszthely is a thriving little town, and of considerable importance, from the great school of agriculture founded here by Count George Festetits, and known as the Gcorgikon. Though no longer in so flourishing a state as formerly, the Georgikon has still several professors and practical teachers maintained at the expense of Count Festetits. There are few countries in which more philanthropic endeavours to better the condition of the people have been mado than in Hungary; but, unfortunately, these endeavours have wanted a character of permanency, and they have, in consequence, almost always declined on the death of their first founder.

From Keszthely, we started about mid-clay with six horses, hoping to get on two or three stages before night. But we were mistaken; we were again in the Bakonyer forest, and the road, if road it can he called, had become so bad, that at last the horses stuck quite fast, and we were obliged to wait patiently till Miklós returned, who had gone off, on one of the leaders, for fresh horses. We did not complete the fourteen miles to Kis Komárom, in less than seven hours and a half. We passed, in the course of the day, several waggons guarded by soldiers, which our drivers told us [500] were conveying money to Pest. Patrols, too, we observed several times in different parts of the forest.

The next day's journey was still worse; with eight horses and four drivers we had hard work to get to Nagy Kánisa. The whole country in this neighbourhood is exceedingly wild and uncultivated. It is principally composed of forest and boggy grass-land, which is naturally rich, and only requires a little cultivation to produce abundance. For wood scenery, -- such as one loves to fancy when hearing of Robin Hood, -- I have never seen anything finer. In many parts of this forest, I do not suppose an axe was ever used; and even close by the road side, thousands of fine trees are rotting from age. They are mostly oaks, mixed with a few birches. The mistletoe was in wonderful luxuriance; the dying tops of the oaks seemed quite borne down by it. Where the surface is clear of trees for a few yards, a fine turf springs up naturally, though the pigs, with which these forests are filled in winter for the sake of the acorns, root it up most unmercifully. It is wonderful to what a depth these fellows will go in search of roots, which they can smell from the surface. Their power of scent must be very much finer than that of the dog. We passed several villages belonging to the bishop of Veszprim. The state of the peasantry -- in great part Sclaves -- is deplorable, in spite of the richness of the land. I do not think [501] we have seen anywbere worse cultivation, and greater misery, than in this district.

During this journey, it so rarely happened that we could calculate on arriving at a village at any fixed time, that we always took care to start with a good loaf of bread and a bottle of wine, besides some raw bacon and salami, which, although not the most elegant viands, were exceedingly palatable to hungry travellers. When, after dining three successive days on this diet, we arrived at Nagy Kánisa about mid-day, and, instead of a miserable village, found it a bustling little town, and when we heard that a dinner was to be got, it was no wonder that we regarded it as a god-send. S------, after luxuriating on the five good courses -- soup, boiled beef, salt pork, and saur Kraut, some pastry, and a loin of veal and salad -- exclaimed, " Well! if any one ventures to tell me, after this, that Hungary is not a very civilized country, I shall beg to differ from him. I should be glad to know where else such a dinner as this, and a good bottle of wine to it, could be had for twenty-pence, -- I am sure not in England!" I do not think I have anywhere entered my protest against the veal, which is always the first dish the landlord -- especially if he be a German -- offers you in Hungary. It is a most villanous affair, red, tough, and tasteless, and not to be compared to an honest Magyar gulyás hús, or paprika kendel.

[502 ]

WOMEN'S HEAD-DRESS
NAGY KÁNISIAN WOMEN'S HEAD-DRESS

The women of Nagy Kánisa are remarkable for the peculiar character of their head-dress. It is formed of white linen, disposed in flat folds, so much resembling that worn in the neighbourhood of Rome, that one can scarcely help fancying that the one people must bave derived it from the other. I leave it to the speculative antiquary to determine whether a Roman colony taught the fashion to the Nagy Kánisians, or whether some of their barbarous ancestors carried it with them into the villages of the Campagna.

As we were about to leave this place, an English gentleman, who had accidentally heard of our arrival, came and introduced himself to us. lie had been living with his wife, an Italian lady, in this neighbourhood, for two or three years, and he gave a tolerably favourable account of it. His neighbours, he says, are polite and friendly, living is very cheap, and the shooting particularly good.

[503]

It took us seven days of tedious travelling, before we arrived at the river Dravc, which forms the boundary of the ancient kingdom of Croatia. Between the Muhr and Drave we passed through some exceedingly flourishing villages, which offered a very striking contrast to many we had previously seen. This district, called the "Island," from its position between the two rivers, although by no means one of the most rich, is yet one of the most fruitful and prosperous in Hungary. The wine, the tobacco, the corn, the flax, every product grown here is better than what is produced in the districts on either side of it. All this prosperity seems to depend entirely on the greater industry of the people. How tins has been produced it is difficult to say, but I suspect it is owing to the good management of the Count or Counts -- for I could not make out whether it was one or many -- Festetits, to whom the greater part of it belongs. In one of these villages we observed a farm-yard and farm buildings which would not have been a discredit to Norfolk.

It is in this neighbourhood that the Zriny family -- those Zrinys who figure in so many pages of Hungarian history -- took their origin, and possessed large estates. The glorious death of Zriny Miklós has earned for him the name of the Hungarian Leonidas. Zriny was intrusted with the command of the castle of Sziget, near Fünfkirchen, ami having cut off some of the Turkish troops, Solyman the Magnificent determined to march against him with all [504] his forces. Although Zriny had but a small garrison, and was left quite unsupported from without, be sustained the siege with the most extraordinary valour. Tbe enemy was driven back in no less than twenty attempts to storm tbe castle, sixty thousand of the Turkish forces had perished, and Solyman himself had sickened and died -- still Zriny liuld out; but now only three hundred of his men were living, and hunger was fast destroying even them. Determined not to yield, Zriny and bis brave band rushed out on the Turks, and were all killed fighting to the last. This heroic resistance so far weakened the Turkish army, that they were obliged to retire without attempting any further invasion.

Near Csákatornya, at Nedelicz, is a custom-house for goods passing from Austria into Hungary. A great part of the transport trade -- especially that carried on in the lighter waggons, between Trieste and Hungary -- is said to pass through this place. The chief articles are colonial produce, particularly sugar and coffee. Laden waggons generally occupy seven days from Trieste to Nedelicz, and from thence to Pest or Vienna about eight more.

The Drave is a fine wide river, but apparently not very deep; with a little artificial aid, however, I should think it might be rendered navigable considerably higher up than the point at which we crossed. Directly on the other side, lies the town of Varasdin ; but as we did not remain longer than was required to change horses, I must content [505] myself with saying that it is a pretty town, of eight thousand inhabitants, with clean well-paved streets, and a great number of handsome buildings.

While we are hastening on to Agram, the capital of Croatia, I may as well say a word or two about the country itself.

Croatia and Sclavonia -- for they are always reckoned together -- form the south-western portion of Hungary, to which country they have been united ever since the eleventh century. Their population, which may be estimated at something less than a million, without the borderers, is entirely of Sclavish origin, and of the Roman Catholic and Greek religions. Croatia and Sclavonia have the same laws and constitution as the rest of Hungary, except in one or two particulars, in which they enjoy special privileges. The counties send deputies to the Diet just as other parts of Hungary and the county meetings arc held in the same way; but in addition to this, they sometimes hold what they call Diets of the Kingdoms of Croatia and Sclavonia -- Comitia Regnorum Croatiæ et Sclavoniæ. What the exact use of these Diets is, or how far their functions extend, I was not able to make out, -- indeed, I believe it is a disputed point, the Croatians wishing to consider themselves as confederates of Hungary, the Hungarians reckoning them as part and parcel of themselves. They sometimes, however, exercise the right of refusing to obey, or to adopt the acts of the General [506] Diet, when they interfere with their own peculiar privileges.

A case has lately arisen with respect to one of these privileges, which has given it a very unenviable notoriety. It is the privilege of excluding all Protestants from the possession of property, and I believe, of refusing them even the right of living within the boundaries of the two countries. This question has been mooted before the General Diet, and a more tolerant law passed; but as yet no change has been effected, for the Croatians have refused to sanction or adopt it. The only other distinction of any importance is the existence of the Banat Table, a court of justice, answering to the district courts of Hungary, to which causes are referred from the county courts.

The soil of Croatia, though less rich than that of many parts of Hungary, is by no means a poor one, but it is badly cultivated, and is in consequence unproductive. The peasants whom we met on the road were generally small in size, and poor in appearance. Their dross is somewhat similar to that of the other peasants of Hungary, but it is more coarse in material and rude in fashion. The men wear brown cloth jackets, trimmed with red, a round sheepskin cap on their heads, and trowsers made of thick white cloth. The women have their heads wrapped in a piece of white linen, arranged without taste and hanging down over the shoulders. Their only ornament is a bow of red ribbon fastened [507] on the breast. In winter, over the linen gown, they wear a shapeless white great coat.

At a small village where we stopped to dine, we fell into conversation with the landlord, -- a bluff, jolly-looking fellow. -- who turned out to be a Croatian Radical, and by no means too content with the manner in which things are managed. He said that the peasants are much more poor and miserable than in Hungary, and that this is more especially the case in the mountainous districts. Nor did he attribute it so much to the poverty of the soil, or the smaller size of the peasants' fiefs, as to the oppression of their seigneurs. It is a very common tiling, according to his account, for a landlord to seize his peasants' land on some frivolous pretext, and keep it from them altogether, or oblige them to pay a heavy sum to be allowed to retain it. Sometimes a vineyard which has been entirely formed by the labour of the peasant, and which is often worth two or three hundred pounds, is taken away, and a barren plot of ground, of the same size, offered as an equivalent. The courts of law, he said, afforded them no protection whatsoever. What rendered this man's testimony of greater value was the fact, that he himself was noble. Notwithstanding all this poverty and wretchedness it should be remarked, that we saw here more large churches, and more images of saints, than in all the rest of Hungary together. I do not assert that this was cause and effect, but if [508] not, it was a curious coincidence, and it is one which I have observed more than once in the course of my travels.

The road leading into Agram is so bad that we nearly stuck fast in the suburbs; and this was the more remarkable, because, till within a few miles of the town, the roads had been far better than in most other parts of Hungary. Agram itself is a town of ten thousand inhabitants, and wears an aspect of bustle and activity, which speaks well for its prosperity. In strolling about, the Catholic Bishop's palace was the first object which attracted our attention. It was formerly a fortified castle, of such an extent as to include the cathedral within its walls. The fosse, however, is now converted into gardens, with lakes, and winding walks, and temples which, if a little fantastic, are still pretty, and are very liberally thrown open to tLe public. The Bishop is said to have about twenty-five thousand pounds per annum, the greater part of which ho derives from his estates in the Banat. Although but indifferently regarded as an absentee landlord, lie is very popular as a resident bishop, and is said to do a great deal for the good of the town. He has a regiment of grenadiers of his own, which is composed entirely of his tenants from the Banat, each of whom is obliged to serve two years. It is no wonder that such soldiers have not a very martial bearing, and I certainly never saw anything more ludicrous than the Bishop's clodhopper sentinels [509] in their scarlet pantaloons, brown coats, and high grenadier caps. The cathedral is a fine old Gothic structure, but the interior is spoiled by a profusion of rich marble altars, in the Italian style. The pulpit is quite covered with altorilievos in white marble.

From the palace we climbed the hill, on which stand the middle and upper towns -- for Agrani consists of three towns, in the lower of which our hotel is situated. The Stadt, or higher town, was formerly the fortress, and contains the palace of the Ban of Croatia, and many fine houses of the nobles. We found some good shops, chiefly kept by Itaitzcn ' (Servians) and Jews, who are among the richest of the inhabitants, and have the trade almost entirely in their own hands. Of Germans there are but few here. The drapers' shops were particularly well supplied with German, Italian, and a few English goods.

One of the booksellers' shops which we entered was large, and bespoke a thriving trade. It contained almost all the standard German works, and German translations of Bulwer, Marryat, and some others of our popular novelists. There were a few works in French, and one or two English works with engravings. The bookseller, who was an intelligent man, told us that all the higher classes speak French and German, but very few English. One small shelf contained all the Hungarian books, among which were, the works of Count Czéchenyi.

[510] Of books in the Croatian language, there are only three or four existing. The Croatian language is a dialect of the Sclavish, more resembling, however, that of Poland than those of Bohemia, Russia, or even the Sclavack dialect of the north of Hungary. Till within the last few years, it has been totally uncultivated, and its use confined exclusively to the peasantry. Since, however, the Hungarian Diet has proposed to enforce the use of the Magyar language instead of the Latin, in public transactions throughout all Hungary, a spirit of opposition has been excited among the Sclavish population, which threatens very serious consequences. The first effect of the measure proposed by the Diet was, the rousing up in Croatia of a strong sentiment of nationality, which found vent in the establishment of a periodical, something like the "Penny Magazine" in form, in the Sclavish language. This is the "Danica Ilirska," edited by Dr. Gay. It is published once a week, is very respectably got up, and contains national songs, original articles, and translations.

They are now endeavouring to improve the language by introducing new words in use among the Illyrians, whose language was originally the same, but which is now more polished. The Illyrian language is soft and agreeable to the ear, and no doubt, to them, contains a thousand beauties which no other language can possess. There seems too to be some idea among the téles exaltées here of [511] an Illyrian nationality. It is no uncommon thing to hear them reckoning up the Croats, Sclavonians, Bosnians, Dalmatians, Servians, Montenegrins, and Bulgarians, and then comparing this mass of Sclaves with the three or four millions of Magyars, and proudly asking why they should submit to deny their language and their origin because the Magyars command it.

I am very far from wishing this party success, though I cannot help in some degree sympathising with a people who resist, when they think a stronger power is willing to abuse its strength by depriving the weaker of those objects -- language and religion -- which they hold as most dear. No one can doubt how highly conducive it would be to the good of Hungary that Croatia should be made completely Hungarian; or that it is disgraceful to the age in which we live, that Protestants should be excluded from a whole country on account of their faith; yet indubitable as are these facts, it may nevertheless be Tery impolitic to seek to remedy them by violent means.

The act has passed, however, which declares that in ten years' time no Croat shall be eligible to a public office who cannot read and write the Magyar language, and the consequence has been, the creation of a feeling of hatred against the Magyars, which bodes but very ill for the speedy Magyarising of the Croatian people. I have no doubt that some portion of this opposition is connected with Russian [512] intrigue; for it is particularly strong among the members of the Greek church, and it is so much the interest of Russia to weaken Austria, by disorganising her ill-united parts, that we may be sure such an opportunity for the attainment of her objects would not be lost. That many of those who are influential in spreading the discontent, arc unknowingly instruments in the hand of Russia, I feel certain; -- they profess indeed a most hitter hatred of Russia, and I have no doubt feel it too; but they are as certainly working out her objects as if they were her paid agents.

Among the communicants of the Greek religion, Russia has still more power in Croatia than in Transylvania, because of the similarity of the languages; and this influence is increased by the circumstance of the prayer-books of the Croats having been formerly all printed in Russia. They consequently contained many Russianisms, which remain to the present time, though it is no longer allowed to print them out of Austria. It is a curious circumstance, too, that the Catholic and Greek religionists, generally such bitter enemies, are said to agree exceedingly well in Croatia.

We had observed, in walking through the town, a great number of gentlemen in full costume, and on inquiring the reason, found they had been present at a county meeting, which had excited great interest, from the circumstance of a royal commissioner having been sent down expressly to attend [513] it. It appeared that Government, having found it impossible to check smuggling, by means of its officers, on the frontiers of Croatia, had determined to station them at different places within the country, with power to seize suspected goods wherever they might find them. This, however, would have been a gross violation of the Municipal Constitution, which places the whole executive power in the elected officers of the county; and the Croatians declared, accordingly, that they would not submit to it. In the face of such direct opposition, Government had not ventured to put its plan into execution, and had sent down a commissioner to explain its intentions, and, if possible, to persuade the Croatians to consent. One of them, however, with whom we fell into conversation, observed, " We know better than to let Government officers in amongst us, because, when once there, it is no such easy matter to get rid of them again; and besides, the very laws which the Government wishes to support by illegal means, are themselves contrary to our rights; -- let them restore to us our free trade, -- till they do that, I for one will aid the smuggler by every means I possess."

From Agram to Karlstadt, our next resting-place, we passed through a rather uninteresting country, occasionally showing symptoms of activity and cultivation, but in general much neglected. The Save, which we crossed by a wooden bridge just on the outside of Agram, is a fine river, and we were told [514] contains water enough at all seasons to float barges of two hundred tons, bearing merchandise. A great quantity of corn and brandy comes up the Save every year from the Banat, for Croatia, Trieste, and Italy; but of late years it is said to have been diminished by the competition with the corn from Odessa. The manner in which many of the forests are destroyed by bad management in this country, is really melancholy, and the destruction has gone to such an extent that firewood has become exceedingly dear. We were told at Agram that a klafter -- a email cart load -- costs as much as eighteen or twenty shillings, and this in a country more than half of which is in wood.

Karlstadt is on the Croatian military frontier, and is rather a pretty town, with many good houses, inhabited chiefly by the border officers. It lias a kind of fortress, but it is by no means capable of holding out against artillery for a moment. The river Kulpa, which flows through the town, and the Ludovica road -- the Hungarian Simplon -- are the chief sources of its wealth and importance.

From the communication which the road and the Kulpa were expected to lay open, by means of the Save and Danube, between the Adriatic and the Black Sea, great commercial results were anticipated; but hitherto it lias disappointed the expectations which were formed. A gentleman whom we met here, told us that the Save is navigable at all times of the year, and for almost any craft, and that [515] the Kulpa, even in its present state, is open for large boats in spring and autumn, and for smaller ones all summer, and that, with very little expense, it might be rendered much more useful than it even now is. As yet steam-boats have not been established, even on the Save, but great hopes are entertained that they will be ere long.66

66 The Athenæum contains a letter, dated Vienna, 11th October 1838, containing a very interesting notice of the first attempt to navigate the Save and Kulpa with steam. I extract a portion of it: --
" The steam-boat (of forty-horse power) was named the Archduchess Sophia, and started from Semlin as follows : --
Date of Departure. Place and Hour of Arrival. Remarks
Kupinova,
7th Sept. 4 A.M.
Witojercze ...8 A.M.
Mitrovitz ...12
Bonora Adicza ...2½
Gunza ...7¾
An Island
The ancient Syrmium
7 floating mills.
Pass the night
Gunza, 8th Sept.
3 A.M.
Supanye ...7½
Schamacz ..12½
Brood ...5
10 Aust, 2 Bos mills.
Junction fo the Bosna.
Pass the night.
Brood, 9th Sept.
3½ A.M.
Swinar ...8
Alt Gradisca ...12
Jessenovacz ...5¼
Puska ...7¾
Junction of the Verbas.
Austrian fortress.
Junction of the Unna.
Pass the night.
Puska, 10th Sept.
7¼ A.M.
Lonya ...8½
Czaprak ..1½
Sissek ...2
Retarded by a fog.
Enter the Kulpa.
Termination of the Voyage.
DESCENT
Sissek, 11th Sept.
8½ A.M.
Jessenovacz ...3 A.M. Pass the night, and
take in wood.
Jessenovacz, 12th Sept.
5 A.M.
Alt. Gradisca ...8¼
Jaroge ...6½
The Save very narrow.
Pass the night.
Jaroge, 13th Sept.
4¾ A.M.
Supanye ...8
Mitrovitz ...4½
Topola ...5¾
Brisk salute.
Take in wood.
Pass the night.
Topola, 14th Sept.
5½ A.M.
Semlin ...1¼ Termination of the Voyage
The voyage was perfectly satisfactory ; and there seems no reason for apprehending interruption to the navigation, either from want of water in summer or floating ico in winter, as the experiment has been made during the driest month of the year ; and the frosts of winter last only from the beginning of January to the beginning of February. The first day's voyage passed oft' without incident. On the 7th, when approaching Mitrovitz, the Save was narrow and deep, and the vessel for some time ascended very slowly. This town will become the point of embarkation [517] for the famous Schiller, or red Syrmian wine, which is by many thought equal to Tokay. On the forenoon of the 8th, especial circumspection became requisite, as at Wuchijak, a place between Supanye and Schamacz, the river became broad and shallow, having two long sand-banks; but luckily both were got over without once grounding, and the reception of our smutty Argonauts in the evening at Brood was in the highest degree gratifying. This is an important Austrian fortress; a salute was fired, on the occasion, and the natives turned out en masse. The appearance of these people, with their long shaggy black locks, and their short black caftan (Gúyacz), was striking. Their language is a curious mixture of Sclavonic and Latin ; for example, Kakasyte dormirali -- how did you sleep ? The vessel was visited by Major-Gen, von Neumann, the commandant of the fortress, and the evening was spent in festivity. On the 9th September, two officers of the fortress accompanied the vessel as far as Alt Gradisca, which is opposite Berbir, formerly an Austrian tête de pont, but now a Turkish fortress. A picturesque chain of hills, rising from the river, rendered this the most agreeable part of the voyage. At Jessenovacz, nine hujas farther up, tho right bank ceases to be Turkish territory. The town is built of wood ; and, as it stands on piles, has been sometimes called New Amsterdam. On the 10th, at two o'clock, the boat reached Sissek, and was received with waving banners, joyous music, and firing of muskets. In the evening there was a public dinner, when the healths of the Emperor, the Empress, and the Arch-duke Palatine, were drunk with loud applause; and on the 11th, accompanied by twenty-three individuals, the vessel started again on her downward voyage.
Should this experiment be followed up with spirit, the advantages which may flow from it can scarcely be overrated. The [518] present trade on the Save and Drave is limited to barrel hoops, staves, firewood, &c., although the country could produce vast quantities of corn, wine, and iron. It is true, that the central parts between the two rivers are so thickly wooded, that the old Hungarian proverb is still applicable, -- "Si lupus essem, nullem alibi quam in Sclavonia, lupus esse;" -- but all along the Save, nature has poured forth her choicest blessings. On questioning my informant as to the quality of the soil, "fat and black" were the adjectives he used. It would be out of place to enter into an examination of those peculiar laws and institutions of Hungary, which hinder the influx of capital and the devclopement of the national resources. I shall, therefore, content myself with remarking how curiously the interfering with the laws that regulate production and distribution, operates in two countries so different from each other. In England, land intended by nature for pasture, is devoted to the plough; and in Hungary, millions of acres of what might he garden ground, are abandoned to swine and cattle. Sissek is only forty English miles from Karlstadt, between which and Fiume is the splendid road constructed under the direction of Baron Bukassawich; and I am informed that if the little cataract at Oauil were blown up, the Kulpa would bo navigable to within thirty or forty miles of the sea. As it is, Fiume may become the port of a great part of Hungary. I find, by the last returns in the Commercial Gazette, that, in the month of August, the imports of this place were 227,111 florins; and the exports, consisting principally of corn and tobacco, 349,904. Should then this experiment be properly followed up, the Save will be the great highway between the Adriatic ports and Semliu, the Banat, Transylvania, Szegedin, and all the towns on the Theiss and Maras."
[515]

As we were sitting down to our supper the landlord [516] introduced an officer of the Borderers, who having heard that two Englishmen had arrived in Karlstadt, and being himself of English descent, wished to see them. His name was Samson, and we found him a very good-tempered agreeable acquaintance. He spoke of the Borderers with all the enthusiasm a good officer might be supposed to feel for his men. Those of the Croatian frontiers, he said, though not such fine large men as those of the Banat, were very clever in the use of their weapons, to which they [517] were accustomed from their childhood. In such constant danger are they from incursions from the Turkish Croatiaiis and Bosnians, that they never go out to tend their sheep, or even to plough, without being armed. As might be expected, they become better soldiers than agriculturists. On pressing our [518] friend very closely as to the subject of their honesty, he confessed that they were rather apt to mistake other people's property for their own, -- " not," he said, " that they steal like those rascally infidels, -- they only take things, just in play, as children do!"

Karlstadt, he said, was so near the frontier, and so ill-defended, that a party of Turks might, by [519] a sudden incursion, pillage and burn it any day. Government, however, was intending to fortify it more strongly. He seemed to have a sincere hatred of his Turkish neighbours, and described them as a most barbarous, cruel, and rapacious set, who would be continually at war if they dared. " I think, however," he observed, " we have quieted them for a while; for in return for their last attack, we followed them home, and burnt one of their largest villages, containing two hundred houses, to the ground."

The next day we commenced the passage of the mountains to Fiume, along the line of the Ludovica-road. This road was formed by a private company under the direction of General Vukassovics, but rather as a patriotic undertaking than as a commercial Speculation. It extends eighteen German, or about eighty-five English, miles. Nothing can be more beautifully constructed than it is; there is not a sudden elevation of any consequence from one end to the other, and the slopes are so gradual that a carriage may be driven at a trot up and down them without danger or difficulty. The body of the road itself is perhaps a little too arched, but the parapet walls, drains, water-courses, and bridges, arc most beautifully executed, and maintained in excellent order.

Our first stage of two posts brought us by gradual ascents into as wild and mountainous a district as I ever saw. The stratum is entirely a compact limestone [520] presenting in many places those vast cauldron-shaped hollows which are so frequent near Trieste.

We were surprised, on inquiring in German if anything in the shape of dinner could be got at the station-house, to be answered in very good Irish, " Sure there is, your honour, -- eggs and bacon in plenty, and a chicken if your honour's not in a hurry." Our respondent, we found, was the daughter of an Irishman who had served under Napoleon, and she herself had been many years in General Count Nugent's family, She had married an Italian fellow-servant, and Count Nugent had set them up in this inn, which is situated on a part of his own estate. We were the first Englishmen she had seen since her settlement in this place, and how she managed to make us out by the blue ends of our noses, which was all that could be seen out of our fur cloaks, is more than 1 can guess. She was glad enough to see us, and did her best to make us comfortable with such poor means as were within her power.

We got on as far as Skrad before night, which, like all the other villages in this district, is a miserable place. The whole country we passed through is mere rock and wood; and though clearing and cultivating might do something towards improving its dreary aspect, it must ever remain a very barren district. We passed some long trains of waggons in the course of the day, chiefly laden with timber, rags, and some corn, which they were [521] conveying to Fiume. Others which we met returning were quite empty.

We ascended still higher in the course of the second day, not that we could observe it by the road itself, -- for it is so beautifully laid out that the ascent is quite imperceptible, -- but we found the snow, which had been all melted in the lower regions, still clinging, as we advanced, to the mountain sides. As we began to descend we were roused from a doze by a sudden cry from Miklós, of "a great water! a great water!" and starting up, we found the Adriatic, studded with beautiful islands, and sprinkled over with fishing-boats, directly beneath us. For some moments after his first exclamation, Miklos remained quite silent, from awe and wonder, till at last he said, "Your Grace, that must be the Danube again, no other water can be so large; and see, there are wild ducks swimming all about," He could not believe, even when we told him, that it was the sea he saw, and that his ducks were large boats, which the distance only made appear so small.

The descent to Fiume was one succession of beauties, increasing as we advanced. The construction of this part of the road is exceedingly fine, quite equal to anything of the kind in Europe. In one place it 1ms been cut straight through the rocks, and forms a kind of gateway called the Porta Un-garica. In the course of the descent, on one side the road we observed a large plain, completely surrounded [522] by mountains, and forming a colossal amphitheatre. It was in this spot that the Tartars, after having overrun all Hungary, encamped, and where they were fallen upon by the people, who had collected on the mountains round, and cut to pieces. Eight thousand are said to have remained on the field.

When we had nearly finished the descent, we came to a barrier, and were desired to show our passports; and no sooner did the officer find from them that we were foreigners, than he demanded a toll of six shillings and four pence for having passed over the road. "You ought," he said, "to have paid at the other end, but the man there probably mistook you for Hungarian gentlemen, and so let you pass." We, of course, paid it, and in a few minutes after rattled over the stones of Fiume, till we came to a stand before the hotel door.

And while we are settling down there, let us say a few words as to the prospective advantages of this road. We have stated, that hitherto it has been little used, partly on account of the high tolls, partly from the want of further improvements for facilitating the navigation of the Save and Kulpa -- but most of all from the want of commerce between Hungary and other countries. Supposing for a moment all these drawbacks removed, it still remains a question whether Fiume can ever become the port of Hungary, and the Ludovica road its great artery. We doubt if it ever will, though we by no means condemn it to languish for ever [523] in its present shite. The trade of Hungary must follow the course of the Danube, and find its port on the shores of the Black Sea. The superior richness of the country through which the Danube flows, the ease of transporting heavy goods up and down a stream of such size, almost without any land-carriage, the number of its tributary streams, and the wealth and importance of the towns on its banks, render this unquestionable. The only difficulty which presents itself is the passage of the Iron Gates ; and with fifty miles of road for towing or transport, this will henceforth be of little consequence. It is true, that warehouses are necessary at Scala Gladova, Orsova, and Moldova; that a consular agent ought to be stationed at Orsova; that, in fact, many arrangements arc required to render commercial intercourse perfectly easy and convenient ; but, sooner or later, they will be marie, for by this route alone can a great commerce ever be carried on. At the same time Croatia and Sclavonia may transport a part of their timber, hemp, rags, and tallow by Fiume, and receive in return the manufactures of the west. But there is another light in which, in the present aspect of European affairs, this road may be regarded. At every moment we hear of tremendous armaments, on the part of Russia, collecting in Bessarabia and alung the banks of the Danube;. of great fleets manoauvring in the Black Sea, ready in a moment to overwhelm the dependencies of Turkey, but [524] intended, probably, only to frighten European diplomatists into the belief that she could do so. Suppose, for a moment, that these troops had marched, and these vessels had sailed; suppose even that the Dardanelles were closed to our fleet; what means does this road afford to Austria of controlling the fate of Turkey ? Austria, on the first alarm, could throw a body of troops into Transylvania and along the Wallachian frontiers, where they would occupy a position confessedly impregnable. She could them admit through Fiume a French or English army which, after a march of eighty miles over the Luclo-vica road, could be placed on board the large corn-boats on the Kulpa or Save, and transported without fatigue or loss down the Danube into the heart of AVallachia in about ten days. She would thus have placed an overwhelming force iu the rear of the Russian army, with the power of intercepting, in winter, when the ports of the Black Sea are frozen, the only route by which that army could receive supplies. In this point of view the Ludovica road may still be of European importance. It is well known too that we are dependent on Russia for a vast quantity of raw produce, without which our trade could not get on. As we shall see hereafter, these articles can be furnished as well by Hungary, and by the Fiume road they could always reach the Mediterranean in spite of Russia.

On presenting our letters of introduction, we were very politely received by the deputy-govern or, [525] Count Almasi, and everything worth seeing at Fiume was at once laid open to us. In truth, the sights of Fiume are no great matters. It is a pretty little seaport town, with a good harbour; but, although possessing the advantages of a free port, it was un-tenanted by a single vessel of any size. Nothing can be more beautiful than the situation of Fiume; it is backed by immense rocks, the sides of which are covered, wherever a particle of soil can rest, with vineyards ; while in front is the Adriatic and its lovely islands. The town has quite an Italian air about it, and nothing but Italian and lllyrian is heard in the shops and streets. Fiume lias a club and theatre, and the social life of its inhabitants is said to be pleasant enough. It has a little semi-diplomatic society, too, of consuls, to which we were introduced, and from some of the consuls we obtained a good deal of information. It had formerly a very extensive sugar refinery, occupying one thousand persons; but, as it had originally been created by a royal privilege, so it was destroyed when the privilege was withdrawn. The only productive industry at present existing, is the paper-mill of our countrymen, Messrs. Smith & Co. We visited their mill, which is placed near the end of the Ludovica road, and is worked by the torrent which rushes down from the mountain. Mr. Smith told 119 that they employed about two hundred and fifty people, who worked pretty well, and were easily kept in order, and that every day they were obliged to [526] refuse applications for work. All their machinery is brought direct from England. They produce a fair writing paper, though nothing of a very superior character, which is almost entirely consumed in the Levant.

About a mile or two south of the town, a large Lazaretto has been built, in one of the most beautiful bays I almost ever saw. They say the arrangements of this Lazaretto are perfect -- there is nothing wanting but ships to fill it. Ten miles still further south, is Porto Ré, a large and commodious harbour, built by Charles VI., and acknowledged to be the safest and best in the Austrian dominions. A war-steamer had just been built there. The small portion of sea-coast between Istria and Dalmatia, has often figured in the gravamina of the Hungarian Diet as the Litorale. For a long time Austria refused to give it up ; and though she has yielded with respect to this part, Dalmatia and the islands, equally demanded by the Hungarians as a portion of their dominions, are still refused to them.

We have met a stout liberal here, who is at the name time a Sclave and a strong supporter of the Sclavish nationality. He speaks with great admiration of the talent with which Napoleon seized on this point when he formed his kingdom of Illyria, and the power that this idea still exercises over the minds of the people. Dalmatia he describes as an exceedingly interesting country, though the people are in a very wild and savage state. If we had had [527] time, we should have liked to have accepted this gentleman's offer to show ua the most important parts of Dahnatia: but the steamer was to leave Trieste in a few days, and Pola and its amphitheatre had still to be seen.

The commerce of Fiume is said to be very insignificant, and to be confined almost exclusively to rags, staves, corn, and tobacco. Of late years the com trade has fallen off considerably, the Odessa merchants having, from their facilities for trade, been enabled to undersell the Fiume merchants, not only in the ports of Italy, but sometimes even in Finnic itself. The best part of the Fiume trade is with the smugglers; and smuggling is so far recognised, that an Englishman, who set up to trade here in an honest manner, received a friendly warning from high authority to imitate his neighbours, if he did not wish to be ruined. As Fiume itself is a free port, of course it is surrounded on every side by customhouse officers, who are so numerous, for this place alone, as to cost sixty thousand florins (6000l) per annum. Not that they are of any use; for, as one of the authorities observed, "ten pence a day is all they get for doing their duty, and, of course, twenty pence will easily induce them to neglect it." The coast, too, is of so mountainous a character, that it would be almost impossible to protect it, except by introducing a more liberal commercial system.

And now, before we close these volumes, -- for at Fiume our Travels in Hungary may be said to have [528] finished, and Pola and Trieste are too well known to require description, - we must say a few words on the commercial resources and prospects of Hungary. It is so singular a fact that a country overflowing with natural productions, and in want of every article of manufactured industry, should be quite unknown to the merchants of England, that some explanation of it seems required. In the first place, we shall enumerate the chief productions of Hungary, and shall then endeavour to show why these have not been, sought for by the English, and point out what the chief advantages are which we might derive from a trade with Hungary.

Hungary and Transylvania, - for we shall now speak of the two together, -- with a population of twelve millions, occupy a surface of about one hundred and ten thousand English square miles. This surface is exceedingly various in its nature, but on the whole it may be set down as one of the most fruitful portions of Europe, as well as one of the most rich in natural productions.

We have already said so much of mines and mining, that it is scarcely necessary to state here how extensive the veins of gold and silver are which run through the whole country. It has been stated by Beudant, that there is more gold and silver found in Hungary than in all the rest of Europe besides. The privilege of working the mines is open to every one on the payment of a [529] tenth of the produce to the Crown; the only other restriction being the obligation to have the precious metals coined in the country, for which a small per-centage is charged. From the number of places in which we have seen iron hammers, it must be evident that iron abounds throughout extensive districts; but hitherto the iron mines have been very badly worked, and the iron so ill-wrought as to be extremely dear. For the erection of the new chain-bridge at Pest, it has been found cheaper to have the iron-work cast in England, sent by water to Fiume or Trieste, and from thence by land to Pest, than to have it manufactured either in Hungary or in any other part of the Austrian dominions. Such is the advantage which commercial habits and scientific knowledge give over cheap labour. I have heard it stated that the iron of Hungary possesses qualities superior to that of any other part of Europe, except Sweden, for conversion into steel; yet it is so badly wrought that worse cutlery cannot exist than that of Hungary. Hungarian iron is quite unknown in tho English market.

Copper is found in great abundance -- forty thousand hundred-weight yearly. Lead, and indeed every other metal, is obtained, but rather more sparingly. Sulphur occurs in eight different counties ; but it is often not worked from the want of demand for the article; I have myself seen mines given up from no other cause. This is of importance [530] at the present moment when the Sicilian monopoly is in the hands of Frenchmen, who are said to have raised the price of their sulphur, and thereby inflicted a considerable injury on many branches of English industry.

The quantity of salt which these countries can produce seems quite unlimited; and from the fine condition of the mines, the pure state in which the salt occurs, and the position of the beds near navigable rivers, it might be procured as cheaply as from any part of the world. Soda, alum, potash, and saltpetre, are all abundant, but particularly soda, which occurs in great purity and plenty on the plain near Debreczen.

Coal, as I have already said, is found in several districts, and I believe it is the only coal in Europe which can contest the field with that of England for the use of steam-engines. That it is at present as dear as English coal imported via Constantinople is entirely attributable to bad, or rather dishonest, management.

Of wood, Hungary, and the neighbouring countries, Bosnia and Servia, are capable of furnishing vast stores. At present, England receives a large portion of her timber from the Baltic, which might be aa well obtained from these countries, by Flume or the Black Sea, and the navy of England would then be no longer dependent for its supply on the country which is most likely to place itself in rival-ship with her. The forests of Hungary, particularly [531] the Bakonyer, arc almost entirely composed of oak, which is of two kinds, -- the red, a quick-growing soft wood, of little use except for firing; and the white, a firm lasting timber, well adapted for shipbuilding, or other purposes requiring durability. In those parts of the country where the roads are too bad to allow of the transport of large blocks of timber, the wood might be cut into staves, for which therc is always a great demand, am! so conveyed to the coast in smaller loads for exportation. A considerable trade is already carried on in this article between Fiume and Marseilles, most of the staves being procured from Bosnia and brought by land-carriage to Fiume. The opening of the Save and Drave would considerably reduce the cost of carriage, and wood might then be transported, nearly the whole way, by water to the Black Sea.

Another article connected with our shipping interest, to which we have already alluded, is hemp. All the hemp used in the navy is of Russian growth, and it is one of the chief of our imports from tliat country. The hemp of Hungary is both cheaper and better; and instead of taking it from a rival, we should take it from a safe ally.67

67 Some months since, I heard that a part of the navy contract was to be given to Baron Eskeles of Vienna for a supply of Hungarian hemp, hut I am not aware that the arrangements are jet concluded. No exertions ought to be spared either by Austria or England to carry them out.

Hides and tallow are also articles of Russian [532] commerce, in which Hungary might prove a formidable rival.

Of the Hungarian tobacco we have spoken at length elsewhere. Although the tobacco of Hungary is an article which, from the peculiar position in which we stand with respect to our Colonies, can scarcely gain a footing in the English market; yet it is one which the German and Italian merchants would gladly avail themselves of, if they were allowed.

Horse-hair, bristles, gall-nuts, and rags, are all articles of Hungarian commerce; and of the latter very large exportation to this country already take place annually.

Spirits of wine are produced at a low rate, and are exported to Germany.

It is always a difficult matter to decide how far any wine will suit a particular market; but I have a strong suspicion that a really good wine will suit all; and, if I may trust my own taste, I should say that much of the Hungarian wine deserves that diameter. Hungarian wines may be divided into two classes, the sweet wines, or Ausbruch, and the red and white table wines. The most celebrated of the sweet wines is that of Tokay, which for delicacy of flavour and brightness of colour is unequalled. Next to Tokay comes the Ménes wine, but though rich and strong, it has a coarse taste when compared with Tokay. Among the best dessert wines, after these, are reckoned those of Ruszt, Karlowitz, St. Georg, and Œdenburg. These [533] wines are commonly drunk only in very small quantities, a glass or two taken with the sweets being the extreme. As there is so very little taste for sweet wines in England, I doubt if these wines would find any great number of admirers amongst us, at least until our habits are changed.

Of the table wines it is difficult to give any description, they arc so numerous and so little known. The wines of Buda (Offner in German) and Erlau, are those I prefer of the red wines; indeed, I think I have drunk old Buda equal to the best Burgundy. Those of Pösing, St. Georg, Sexö, Miskólez, Neustadt, and many others, are celebrated, but I cannot recollect them sufficiently to speak of their merits.

Among the white wines, I can answer for those of Somlyo (Schomlauer in German) and Neszmély being equal to any of the white wines of France (excepting, of course, champagne), and they are better to my taste than the generality of the sour products of the Rhine. Others of note are those of Ratzischdorf, Badacson, Szekszárd and Sirak. Of the Transylvanian wines I have spoken at sufficient length already. The white wines of that country are certainly not inferior to those of Hungary.

The characteristic qualities of the Hungarian wines are their strength and fire. They almost all of them require keeping some time before they rome to their prime. It is supposed that of the [534] 24,400,000 eimers grown in the country, not more than 80,000 are exported, and these go almost exclusively to Silesia, Poland, and Russia. Vienna consumes also a considerable quantity of Hungarian wine. It was long questioned whether these wines would bear transporting across the sea, but Count Széchenyi tried the experiment by sending a cask to the East Indies, and when it came back, it was found perfectly sound at the end of the voyage. The addition of a little brandy might be required by some of the lighter sorts; but with that and with more care in the preparation of the wine and the cleaning of the casks, I have no doubt they would be perfectly safe.

Wool is at present one of the chief articles of Hungarian commerce, chiefly because its exportation is tin taxed. It is scarcely twenty years since the Merino sheep have been introduced into Hungary, and the quantity of fine wool now produced may be judged from the fact, that at the last Pest fair there were no less than 80,000 centners offered for sale. The greater part of this wool is bought by the German merchants, and much of it is said to go ultimately to England, after having passed by land quite across Europe to Hamburg. Of late years, a few English merchants have made their appearance at the Pest fairs, which are held four times in the year; but I have not yet heard of any wool being sent to England by the Danube and Black Sea. Besides the Merino wool, there is a considerable [535] quantity of a long coarse wool grown, which is chiefly sold for the manufacture of the thick white cloth worn by the peasants, and which might be found very serviceable for our carpet fabrics.

A still more important article of Hungarian produce is corn, and it is one from which, it is to be hoped, England ere long, by the abolition of her corn laws, will enable herself to derive the full benefit. At present, the quantity of grain annually produced in Hungary is reckoned at from sixty to eighty millions of Presburg metzen. This calculation, however, is of little importance, as at present scarcely any is grown for exportation ; but, were a market once opened, it is beyond a doubt that the produce might be doubled or trebled without any difficulty. I have heard it stated by one well able to judge, that at the present time one quarter of the whole country is uncultivated, although the greater part of it is capable of furnishing the richest crops at a very slight cost. The wheat of Hungary is allowed to be of an excellent quality. Where the land has little or no value for other purposes, and the labour costs nothing, it is difficult to see how it can be produced anywhere at a cheaper rate than here.68 Nor do I think an increased demand would materially raise the price to the [536] foreign consumer; as improvements in the art of cultivation, greater industry on the part of the [537] cultivators, and increased facilities in the means of communication, would be sufficient to raise the profits of the grower without increasing the cost to the consumer.

68 In an article in a late number of the British and Foreign Quarterly, it ia stated that Hungarian wheat from Fiume can he brought to England at a lower rate than from any other country. I quote the statement as it stands, without being able however to vouch for its accuracy : -

NOTE 68

NOTE 68 CONTINUE

No corn-growing country has such means of communication prepared by nature as Hungary, and it requires only a demand for her productions to bring them into full use. The richest parts of the country are the Banat, the plains on either side the Thciss, the country north of the Maros, and the districts about the Save and Drave. Now every [538] one of these rivers is navigable, so that it is impossible to conceive a country placed under more favourable circumstances than Hungary.

The causes which have hitherto prevented a country so rich in productions, and possessing these advantages, from reaping the rich fruits of foreign commerce, must next be considered.

One of the most important of these we believe to be, the restrictive laws arbitrarily imposed on Hungary by Austria. Hungary has the right to tax herself, but from time immemorial the king has enjoyed the privilege of imposing a duty called, from its amount, Vigesima Regalis (the King's twentieth), or five per cent, on articles imported into, and exported from Hungary. Soon after the accession of the house of Hapsburg, however, attempts were made to change this into a system of indirect taxation ; attempts which, despite the complaints of the nation, have been persevered in ever since. Bat the most tremendous blow to commerce was given by Joseph, who entertained the idea of forcing the country to manufacture for it-gelf, -- by the imposition of a duty of sixty per cent, on all foreign articles. Even then none but a noble was allowed to import, and lie only on the understanding that the articles imported were for his own use. Of course, this regulation was evaded either by the merchant's purchasing nobility, or by some noble lending his name to a merchant for the same purpose.

[539]

Although the same amount of duty was not levied on all articles exported, yet as exchange is absolutely necessary for the prosperity of commerce, its effects were equally disadvantageous as regards exports. On some articles, however, the export duty was much higher than sixty per cent.; and the Hungarians soon perceived that if, notwithstanding these obstacles, a market was, from some peculiar profit to be derived from it, found for their produce, the Government was sure to step in, and to impose so heavy a burthen as to destroy it in a very short time. The constant changes, too, which were made in the tariff, rendered trade so uncertain, that no one could be induced to cultivate, or speculate, where an arbitrary act of an irresponsible minister might at once change the whole circumstances on which his calculations must be founded. The end of all this has been two national bankruptcies, the destruction of all commerce from without, and of all energy and enterprise within, an empty exchequer, and a people almost in a state of barbarism.

At last Austria appears to have opened her eyes to some of her errors. Thanks to Mr. Mac-gregor's plain straightforward exposition of the frauds and losses to which her present system exposes her, she has at last consented to revise her tariff, and to change it where possible. Unhappily, however, that is no such easy task. She is surrounded by swarms of leeches in the shape [540] of contractors, collectors, and rogues of every kind and class, who have long lived on the corruptions of the system, and who now cling to it so firmly, that it is a life-struggle to shake them from their hold. Manufactures, too, have been encouraged under this false system, and now claim protection and support from those who have hitherto fostered them.69 Still a change has been begun. Every man can now import and export for the purposes of trade, be he of what class he may. Absolute prohibition can scarcely any longer be said to exist, and the duties on upwards of a hundred articles of commerce have been materially reduced.

69 I have heard, however, that some of the manufacturers of Vienna were exceedingly ready to aid Mr. Maegregor in opening trade, declaring that they could compete better with the fair trader on a moderate duty, than with the smuggler on none at all.

Still all this has reference to Austria in general, not to Hungary in particular, and there are many circumstances peculiar to the latter country which demand separate legislation. The export duties on Hungarian produce, even into Austria, remain as before. But even these obstructions, serious as they are, and deeply as it behoves Hungary to struggle for their removal, are still light compared with others, dependent on the Hungarians themselves. I allude to the peculiar state of the Hungarian laws affecting credit. Without entering

[541] into these, many of which have been alluded to before at some length, I shall only here enumerate one or two of the more important.

The law by which the absolute alienation of property is rendered impracticable, while at the same time it is allowed to load it with debt, is one of the most injurious. In consequence of this law it becomes impossible to give good security, and the price of money is therefore exorbitant. The enforcement of a contract against a noble, too, is rendered so difficult and tedious that strangers are unwilling to deal with them.

All the laws interfering with the free purchase and sale of the produce of the land, as the excise of bread and meat, the seigneurial monopoly of selling wine, and others, tend materially to impede commerce. The privilege of the nobles, of exemption from taxation, interferes with the expenditure of large sums on public works, as roads and bridges, and thus renders communication, the first requisite for commerce, difficult and expensive. If to these be added the want of good faith in their dealings, on the part of many of the Hungarians, and the want of commercial habits in the mass of the people, we have the chief causes assigned by the English merchants of Trieste, for not dealing more extensively with Hungary. There is another reason, however, which these gentlemen did not mention, but which was no less manifest from their conversation, namely, their own ignorance of [542] Hungary, and the exaggerated notions they have been led to form of the difficulties attending communication with it.

The question remains, how can these impediments be removed ?

As the Austrian Government sees more clearly the importance of strengthening the Danuhian provinces, -- as she becomes more perfectly convinced of the immense losses her revenue sustains by the present prohibitory system, and by the armies of custom-house officers and smugglers, both of which she in fact maintains, -- as the German union begins to press more heavily on her towards the west, and renders the importance of a free communication on the east more palpable, -- as the necessary progress of events shows her that it is only by establishing commercial relations between Hungary and the rest of Europe that the Danube can remain an open river, there can be little doubt that Austria, though slowly and reluctantly, will apply herself to reform her system, and to foster all which can tend to the developement of the resources, and which can strengthen the position of Hungary.

With respect to the difficulties in the way of commerce arising out of the state of the laws of Hungary, the removal of these must depend on the honest and enlightened exertions of the Hungarians themselves. The writings of Count Szechenyi and others have already had a great [543] influence in dissipating the prejudices which formerly opposed reform, and a little more intercourse with the rest of Europe, especially if that intercourse were commercial, would very soon do the rest.

The ignorance of English merchants on the subject of Hungary is by no means a trifling impediment to their engaging in commerce with that country. The productions of Hungary are almost unknown, except in Austria and some parts of Germany; travelling in the country is difficult, and believed to be even more so than it is. The German language is as yet but little known among our merchants; and the reports which they hear from the Germans, who are anxious to keep the trade in their own hands, are so discouraging, that few have the courage to make a personal examination of their truth.

With the existing laws of Hungary, it is not safe, it is true, for the foreign merchant to go into the market with the same confidence he would in other countries. He can neither enforce the fulfilment of a contract, nor recover a debt without great difficulty and expense. It is necessary, therefore, that he should know something of the parties with whom he deals, in order that his confidence in their faith and honour may supply the place of commercial laws. For, much as T like the Hungarians, I am bound to confess, that the strict integrity demanded in mercantile [544] transactions, is not to bo found in the body of the nation, -- men of honour there are, and many of them, but I here speak of the mass. There is no certainty that the foreign merchant, if he orders a certain quantity of wine, or wheat, or hemp, from the Hungarian grower, of the same quality as the sample furnished, should not receive a sour wine, a damaged wheat, or a hemp weighed with rubbish. Such things have occurred, and might occur again; but they have happened in other countries, too, in the infancy of their commercial relations, especially where the buyer did not take the trouble of acquainting himself with the character of the sellers. As others, however, have found a remedy for this, I do not see why we could not do so too.

To effect this object, it is necessary that the merchants should have agents in Hungary who would make themselves well acquainted with it, and that the Government should appoint a consul, who could aid and foster their efforts, as well as afford them the protection of his presence. That such an appointment would be justified at the present moment is, I think, undeniable. We have already seen what the productions of Hungary are, and in many cases how advantageously they might be substituted for those of Russia in our market. How materially tins change would weaken the power of England's most dangerous enemy, and strengthen one of England's [545] oldest and firmest allies, is self-evident; and its political importance is therefore clear; nor is its commercial less so. Hungary manufactures scarcely anything; and in her present position, as a country deficient in population and rich in soil, it would not be wise to attempt it, or indeed possible to accomplish it. The manufactures of Hungary at present are confined to coarse cloths, linens, leather, and the commonest articles of household use. Yet in Hungary there is not only great luxury in dress and personal ornament, but a growing taste for the comforts of convenient and elegant furniture; nor is the consumption of such articles confined to n few. It is true the peasant has little money to exchange for such matters; hut that is only because there are no merchants to buy his wine and corn ; while amongst the class of country gentlemen, and amongst the richer citizens, the demand is very considerable. The taste is decidedly in favour of everything English, so much so, indeed, that the Vienna manufacturers have English labels printed in England to affix to their own goocis, and so deceive the purchasers. The articles from England for which there would be the most immediate sale, it is difficult to enumerate ; but all articles of cutlery, everything in iron or brass, as implements of husbandry, carriage-springs, locks, parts of furniture, &c., fine linen and cotton goods, woollen stuff's and cloths, carpeting, saddlery, [546] stationery, china, and fine earthenware, may be safely set down.

That the present moment is a favourable one for opening commercial relations with Hungary is shown, not only from the recent disposition of Austria to strengthen her alliance with England, but by the strong wishes expressed on the subject by the Hungarians themselves, and which, if properly responded to on our part, might induce them to hasten the removal of those obstructions which at present stand so much in the way. When the news of Mr. Macgregor's treaty was communicated in Hungary, the county meetings sent addresses of thanks to Prince Mctternich for the unexpected boon; and during the present Diet it has been actually proposed to send a commercial agent to England, and to request that an English agent may be sent to Pest to arrange commercial intercourse- between the two nations. Our Government ought to respond to this call with the greatest alacrity. A consul-general established at Pest, with power to correspond with the consuls along the whole line of the Danube, and to establish such arrangements as are required for securing free intercourse between the different parts of that river, would be of immense use both to England and Hungary; and should an English minister neglect to take up the matter -- as where the subject is unconnected with party, it is more than probable he will -- it becomes the [547] duty of the English merchants to insist on it. Would that my appeal might reach them ! A little exertion on their part might secure to England not only a good customer, but, what is more important, a true and faithful ally.

FIUME FROM THE PORTA UNGARICA
FIUME FROM THE PORTA UNGARICA

Chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 P.S.




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