Page images

IV. HOLLAND.—The Dutch are, if possible, worse off than the English. The debt of Holland in 1840 amounted to 800,000,000 German dollars, and that of Belgium to 120,000,000. The solvency of Holland is very doubtful; for her expenses since 1830 have almost invariably exceeded her income, and thus her debt has been constantly increasing. The Dutch have tried every expedient to extricate themselves, reducing the perquisites of royalty so low as to make their king little more than a burgomaster, and paring down their protective duties so as to secure the largest possible amount of revenue; yet, after all, bankruptcy is staring them in the face. What a catastrophe for a nation that once stood at the head of the commerce of the world!

V. SPAIN.—The profligacy of Spain in repudiating or evading her obligations, renders it impossible to tell how much she now owes ; but, according to semi-official statements, her entire debt, in October, 1841, was $775,000,000: This sum is divided into an internal and an external debt. The latter is near $316,000,000, chiefly due to English capitalists; but even the interest has not been paid for a long period.

VI. PORTUGAL.—The financial condition of Portugal resembles that of Spain. Her whole debt amounted in 1840 to 144,500,000 German dollars; and her income the same year was rated at 8,000,000 Spanish dollars, while her expenses were estimated at $11,000,000.

VII. DENMARK.-Of the Danish debt, we can form no certain estimate; but, at the close of 1839, it was put at 62,786,804 rix dollars unfunded debt, 5,390,385 funded debt, and 1,423,841 annuities, with an internal debt of 69,601,031; in all, 134,202,061.

We have not space to give in detail the debts of other countries. The different principalities of Germany owed in 1840, a sum total of 650,000,000 German dollars; Austria, 733,200,000 convention florins; Prussia, 130,000,000 rix dollars; Bavaria, 126,550,907 florins; Naples, 108,000,000 ducats, and Sardinia, 87,000,000 crowns.

The sum total of European debts exceeds ten thousand millions of German dollars; and, if we inake due allowance for the countries omitted, and for estimates below the truth, the whole in 1840 would probably not be less than the same number of Spanish dollars. Ten thousand millions! What an amount of war-debts for Europe alone! Five times as much as all the coin on the globe; the bare interest, at six per cent., $600,000,000 a year, almost two millions every day! the simple interest nearly as much every day as all Christendom is giving annually for the spread of the gospeł!

These liabilities we call war-debts. So they are; they were contracted almost exclusively for war purposes ; had there been no war, there would have been no debt; and, were the war-system now discarded, all Europe could in fifty years, most of her states in far less time, pay off the last farthing of her enormous obligations, and thus start, unfettered and unclogged, upon a new, unparalleled career of prosperity

We subjoin a general view of European debts in German dollars, equal to about eighty-two cents each. Country.


Inhabitants. Aver. to each inhab. Holland, $800,000,000 3,000,000 $266.67 England, 5,556,000,000 25,000,000 222.24 Frankfort,

5,000,000 55,000 90.91
France, 1,800,000,000 33,000,000 54.55

3,000,000 55,000 54,55
Hamburg, 7,000,000 155,000 45.16
Denmark, 93,000,000 2,100,000 44.57

44,000,000 1,000,000 44.00

144,000,000 3,800,000 38.63 Lubec,

1,700,000 45,000 37.78

467,000,000 13,000,000 35.92
Austria, 380,000,000 12,000,000 31.67
Belgium, 120,000,000 4,000,000 30.00
Papal States, 67,000,000 2,500,000 26.80
Hesse-Hamburg, 587,000 25,000 23.48
Saxe-Meiningen, 3,000,000 140,000 21.43
Anhalt-Kothen, 800,000 39,000 20.51
Brunswick, 5,000,000 260,000 19.23

72,350,000 4,250,000 17.00
Naples, 126,000,000 7,600,000 16.58
Saxe-Weimar, 3,000,000 240,000 12.50
Hanover, 19,000,000 1,700,000 11.47
Prussia, 150,000,000 13,500,000 11.1]

3,700,000 370,000 10.00
Russia & Poland,5 15,000,000 60,000,000 9.09

11,000,000 1,250,000 8.80 Wurtemburg, 14,000,000 1,600,000 8.75 Parma,

3,700,000 430,000 8.60 Hesse-Darmstadt, 6,250,000 800,000 7.81 Modena,

3,000,000 403,000 7.44 Sardinia, 32,000,000 4,500,000 7.11 Saxony,

11,000,000 1,700,000 6.47 Saxe-Altenburg, 700,000 120,000 5.83 Norway

4,125,000 1,000,000 4.13

2,000,000 600,000 3.38
Saxe-Coburg, 1,600,000

1,256,000 700,000 1.79
Schwarzburg, 150,000 116,000 1.29

$10,499,710,000 201,053,000 $52.23

P. S.-For further information on this subject, see McGregor's Commercinl

. Legislation, McCulloch’s Statistical Dictionary, Hunt's Merchants Magazine for 1893, Conversation's Lexicon der Gegenwart.





War has ever been a mass of evils; and a review of its history would exhibit, in every age and clime, essentially the same results, physical, political and moral. Every reader of history is familiar with the so called Thirty Years' War, which raged in the heart of Europe from 1618 to 1648. . It was a religious war, and involved the great mass of Papists and Protestants,—the former under their Catholic League, the latter in their Evangelical Union. Schiller, in his history of this war, says, “ from the interior of Bohemia to the mouth of the Scheldt, from the banks of the Po to the coasts of the Baltic, it desolated countries, destroyed harvests, and laid towns and villages in ashes ; extinguished, during half a century, the rising progress of civilization in Germany; and reduced the improving manners of the people to their ancient barbarism.”

We have been wont to regard the wars consequent on the French Revolution, as teaching lessons of atrocity and horror unknown before; but the following items, taken from the biographer of Wallenstein, furnish some parallels even to the Russian Campaign.

Thirty years of war, carried on not with the surplus population and resources of the country, but with its very capital and substance, had brought the empire to the verge of ruin and barba-" rism; and the pictures of desolation handed down to us by writers and chroniclers of the period, are absolutely frightful to contemplate.

Of all the commanders who appeared during the war, Gustavus Adolphus was alone able to preserve in his army a strict and humane system of discipline. In most of the armies, the mercenary soldiers, irregularly paid, and worse supplied, were obliged to tear by force from the citizens and peasants, the means of subsistence. The country people resisted wherever they were strongest; acts of violence followed; the peasantry slew and, in Catholic countries, tortured straggling soldiers, and attacked even small detached parties. The military avenged their comrades, neglecting too often to distinguish between the innocent and the guilty, till ruin and devastation tracked at last the progress of

The war was carried on without plan or system. Expeditions were undertaken, apparently with no other view than to desolate hostile provinces; and, in the end, provisions and winter quarters formed the principal objects of the summer campaigns. Want,

P. T.

every march.


sickness, distress, and the total absence of discipline, by which these evils were fearfully augmented, destroyed far more troops than the sword, and entire armies were swept away before they had even seen an enemy. Soldiers left the ranks singly, or in bands, as it suited them, and generally took to plundering; in 1642 the whole of Marshall Gubriant's army dispersed itself, and broke into robber hordes that committed the most fearful depredations.

The enormities charged against the French troops of the period, are equal to those charged even against the Croats; but Gubriant's army was in fact the remains of the army which had been raised by the Duke of Weimar, and was composed of adventurers from all countries. It must also be observed, that the French soldiers of the early part of the seventeenth century, were in a great proportion vagrants and vagabonds, taken up as bad subjects by the police, and sent to the army, either because troops were wanted, or because the individuals pressed could give no satisfactory account of themselves.

Historians mostly assert, that Europe was thrown back a whole century by the ruinous consequences of this war. In many parts of Germany learning was no doubt retarded, in others altogether swept away along with the population. An entire generation grew up amid scenes of strife, licentiousness, and the uncertainty of the morrow. But the amount of knowledge existing could

not be destroyed; and thousands of learned, able and industrious Germans emigrated, and carried along with them into other and less enlightened countries, the arts and knowledge for which their own was already distinguished. The Danes, Swedes, Poles and Scots, who fought in Germany, there came in contact with a state of civilization superior to what existed in their own countries; and, along with much unworthy spoil, some fair and honorable booty would at least be carried home by the military adventurers.

But, whatever advantage Europe may have gained by the contest, Germany purchased its share of the benefit at a fearful price. Law, justice, equity, in many places, all the decencies of life, had entirely vanished from a land in which force alone wielded the arbitrary sceptre of command. The country is said to have lost twelve millions of inhabitants by the contest; and the population, which amounted to sixteen millions when the troubles first broke · out, counted hardly more than four millions when the war closed ! Though this statement may perhaps be exaggerated, it seems pretty well ascertained that the population of the Dutchy of Wirtemberg was reduced from half a million to forty-eight thousand; that of Bohemia had already been reduced from three millions to eight hundred and ninety thousand before the death of Ferdinand

and Saxony and Brunswick suffered in the same proportion;a reduction in one case of nearly three-fourths, in another of more than nine-tenths!

In the Electorate of Hesse, seventeen towns, forty-seven castles, and three hundred villages had been burnt to the ground. In the


Dutchy of Wirtemberg, eight towns, forty-five villages, and thirtysix thousand houses, had been laid in ashes, and seventy thousand hearth fires completely extinguished. Seven churches, and four hundred and forty-four houses, had been burned at Eichsted. Many towns that had escaped destruction, were almost depopulated. Three hundred houses stood empty at Nordheim; and more than two hundred had been pulled down at Gottingen, merely to serve for fuel. The wealthy city of Augsburg, which contained eighty thousand inhabitants before the war, had only eighteen thousand left when it closed; and this town, like many others, has never recovered its former prosperity. No less than thirty thousand villages and hamlets are said to have been destroyed; in many others the population had entirely died out; and the unburied corpses of the last victims of violence or disease, were left exposed about the streets or fields, to be mangled, and torn to pieces by birds and beasts of prey.

In the last campaign of the war, the French and Swedes burned no less than a hundred villages in Bavaria alone; and the skulls of St. Cosmas and St. Damianus had to be sent from Bremen to Munich, in order to console Maximilian for the ruin he had brought over his beautiful country. But even these pitiable relics failed to allay the fears of the unhappy Elector; the share which he had taken in bringing about this desolating contest, pressed heavily on the latter years of his life. In vain he prayed and fasted; the dreadful future was constantly before his sight, and the once valiant soldier and ambitious prince died at last a trembling and despairing bigot.

The crimes and cruelties of which the troops were frequently guilty, would appear almost incredible, were they not attested in a manner to render doubt altogether impossible. But independent of private accounts, we have various reports from the authorities of towns, villages and provinces, complaining of the atrocities committed by the lawless soldiery. Peaceful peasants were hunted for mere sport, like the beasts of the forest ; citizens were nailed up against doors and walls, and fired at like targets ; while horsemen and Croats tried their skill at striking off the heads of young children at a blow! Ears and noses were cut off, eyes were scooped out, and the most horrible tortures contrived to extract money from the sufferers, or to make them disclose where property was concealed! Women were exposed to every species of indignity; they were collected in bands, and driven, like slaves, into the camps of the ruffian soldiery, and men had to fly from their homes to escape witnessing the dishonor to which their ives and daughters were subjected!

Houses and villages were burnt out of mere wantonness, and the wretched inhabitants too often forced into the flames, to be consumed along with their dwellings. Amid these scenes of horror, intemperance, dissipation and profligacy were carried to the highest pitch. Intoxication frequently prevented the Austrian General, Goltz, from giving out the countersign; and General

« PreviousContinue »