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come into favour. After a lengthened examination of these wines in the cellars of Hungary, in the year 1855, I said at once that they were the finest materials for wino which I had over seen. They will, with skill and careful manipulation, come out when in perfection, in an unbrandied state, like a very rich and full Sauterne or Burgundy, but stronger in body than either, and these are the wines we want in England.' *
We have moreover the authority of one of the first winemerchants in the city of London for stating that whenever he is in a position to sell a really good Hungarian wine for 16*. per dozen, he will undertake to drive all the low-priced French wines out of the market. That price will, he believes, give an ample profit both to the grower and the importer.
In the Austrian Catalogue we observe that a chemist of Pesth sent to the Exhibition a variety of essences and oils 'adapted for the production and improvement of wines,' from which we infer that the art of imitating the juice of the Hungarian grape is not altogether unknown in the country of its growth, notwithstanding the assertion of M. de Szemere that his countrymen have, and really sell, old and pure wine, and, as a people of primitive manners, 'treat it like a holy virgin which it would be a deadly sin to pollute.' It is to be hoped that this sentimental morality will bear the trial of a more extensive intercourse with the world. It is however satisfactory to learn that any tampering with the dry table-wines of Hungary is, owing to their inimitable characteristics, almost impossible; but a purchaser of the liqueur wines, into which spices and herb-decoctions often largely enter, might possibly fail to obtain the genuine juice of the grape. Much remains to be accomplished before the Hungarian wine-growers can reasonably calculate on an extensive demand for their produce in England, but we believe it to be in their power to secure it. Several of the prices current of these wines now in the British market are before us. They are offered at rates ranging from 15*. to 60s. a dozen, which give them little chance at present of competing with Rhenish and French wines, for the few lowpriced wines advertised are not of a quality to give satisfaction.
Manufactures in Austria have been artificially stimulated, while the agricultural resources of the country have been comparatively overlooked. The most fatal blow ever dealt to a healthy commercial intercourse between nations was that given by the Emperor Joseph in 1784, when he aimed at making Austria manufacture for herself by a system of prohibition, and thus created interests which have since stood in the wav
* Report, 1861.
both both of commercial progress and financial prosperity. Frequent changes in the tariff afterwards rendered foreign trade so uncertain and hazardous, that very little produce was ever grown with a view to exportation. The finances of the country have naturally felt the effects of this commercial isolation. Austria, with a population of about 36,000,000,* possesses a customs revenueof only 1,300,000/.; while Great Britain, with a population of 29,000,000, possesses a customs revenue of 23,000,000/. The effect of the prohibitive system of Austria was to divert the capital and industry of the country into artificial channels, instead of allowing them to take their natural course. To take for illustration the production of beet-sugar. Tempted by the high duty imposed on colonial produce, and encouraged by the success of the cultivators in France, the landed proprietors in Hungary and in several other provinces laid down immense tracts in the growth of this root. The production of beet-root sugar therefore attained a most unfortunate development, and importations of colonial sugar have almost ceased. To reduce the excessive duties on colonial produce would prove one of the wisest and most beneficial measures which the Austrian Government could adopt. The saving to the population would be a great boon, while the diversion of much of the agriculture of the country into a more profitable course would in time largely benefit the landed proprietors themselves. The eagerness of the people to purchase the better article was proved in 1854, on a temporary reduction of the duty on refined sugar, when the quantity imported was four times greater than in the previous year. The desire of the people to consume colonial' produce when they can obtain it may be further illustrated by coffee. In 1844 the duty was reduced by nearly one half, the consumption thereupon increased threefold, and the revenue was very little impaired. In England we are familiar with the almost miraculous effect of reductions of duties in increasing consumption. That the revenue too may be increased by lowering the tariff, within certain limits, has now become a financial axiom. We could crowd our pages with proofs of the success of this policy. A considerable advance in Austria upon the system tried in 1854 would, there is no reason to doubt, produce equally striking results. Applied to colonial produce, it would certainly drive out of the market many indifferent if not noxious substitutes for coffee, which appear to be largely consumed.
Many of the manufactures of Austria are certainly of great merit, and the increased activity of these establishments is proved by the great increase in the annual consumption of coal, which
* See p. 9, sttpra.
has risen since 1839 from 10 million to 70 million cwts. As little coal is used for domestic fuel, this increase may be fairly taken as an index of the increase of manufactures. Austria, with her great staple productions, wool and flax, and by means of her central position in Europe, and her abundant supplies of iron and coal, is doubtless justified in regarding a manufacturing interest as one of her legitimate sources of wealth. There are several branches of industry in which her excellence is undoubted, and she has no cause to fear competition. Her woollen, worsted, and mixed fabrics are admirable. The wool of Austria is almost wholly worked up by home industry, and in woven fabrics generally she possesses a large export trade. In leather and its allied manufactures her exports are also considerable, as are those of her highly esteemed glass and earthenware productions. Of the foreign overland trade, three-fifths are carried on with the German States, a seventh with Turkey, a tenth with Italy, a tenth with Switzerland, and a twentieth with Russia and Poland. Of trade by sea, one-fifth is carried on with Great Britain, one-fifth with Turkey and Italy respectively, and one-fifteenth only with France.
The cotton manufacture of Austria was not like those of wool and flax, a natural growth. It took its rise from the linen manufacture, and was encouraged under the mistaken belief that a country which has succeeded in the one must necessarily succeed in the other. Bohemia, the principal seat of this manufacture, labours under considerable disadvantage. Its inland position is unfavourable for the importation of the raw material; but under the stimulus of prohibition the cotton manufacture has been fostered into an interest incompatible with that of the population at large. There are now 350,000 hands employed in this branch of industry, representing an amount of capital deserving every consideration on the part of the Government, and requiring caution in dealing with it so as not to inflict serious losses upon the persons who have been injudiciously encouraged by the State to embark in it.
In approaching the subject of the Austrian tariff, and in considering its bearing upon the commerce of the United Kingdom, we cannot but^admit the difficulties by which Austrian statesmen are surrounded in regard to those interests which have grown into large proportions under the forcing stimulus of a prohibitive system. A reliance upon high protective duties has been hitherto the main support of the manufacturing interest in Austria. They have been almost invariably conceded by the Government whenever the manufacturers thought it for their interest to demand them; and other interests, which neither the manufacturers nor
the the Government considered, have suffered in proportion. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to the rapid development of Austrian resources is the high duty levied on foreign iron. There is scarcely a single production into which the price of iron does not enter; the cheapness of this metal is therefore one of the chief causes of the unparalleled prosperity of England. It is certain that unless the communications of the empire are speedily placed in a more satisfactory state, Austria must draw large supplies of iron from England for the construction of her railways. It is well known that the materials for the construction of the suspension-bridge at Pesth were imported from England, it having been found cheaper to procure the ironwork even from that distance than to manufacture it at home. Notwithstanding the abundance of the ore throughout the country, many of the districts which produce it are so remote from good roads that they cannot be regarded at present as available sources of supply. This discouragement of the importation of an article at present of the first importance to Austria is in the highest degree impolitic. Any apprehension that the mining interests of the empire would sustain permanent injury is groundless. Such an apprehension was entertained in France after the late commercial treaty, but it has proved imaginary. The ground on which a reduction of the iron duties was demanded by the agricultural interest in France, was that the then existing tariff enabled French manufacturers to force upon the market instruments and machines of bad quality. The result of the reduction was an almost immediate increase even in the export of articles in the manufacture of which it was maintained that Fiance could never compete with other countries. The exports of machinery of various kinds, the year after the importation of iron was admitted at a reduced duty, were nearly doubled; * and so far were the iron manufactures from sustaining any injury, that the production of cast iron in France has risen from 880,000 tons in 1860 to 1,053,000 tons in 1862, and of wrought iron from 520,000 tons in 1859 to 700,500 in 1862; while the coal-mines, instead of being closed and abandoned, as was predicted, in consequence of the unrestricted admission of British coal, have increased their production from 8,039,109 quintals in 1860 to 9,400,000 quintals in 1862.
A committee which was appointed at Vienna in 1859, to consider the customs tariff of the empire, had under its consideration the state of the iron duties; and a proposition which was then made to lower them slightly on raw iron was negatived by a
* From the value of 1,28-',000 fratcs, they rose to 2,000,000 francs.
large large majority. A proposition' that machine-makers, builders, and proprietors of estates, who required iron for building or repairing houses, shops, or manufactories, should be allowed to import it at a reduced duty, was rejected by a still larger majority. Attempts were at the same time made to increase the high duties upon English cotton yarns, but the exorbitant desire for protection exhibited in this instance received a check from the Government. It should be noted as an illustration of the shortsighted views of the persons then assembled to deliberate on the commercial interests of the empire, that a proposal for admitting engines for cleaning and refining hemp, even for a limited period of five years, was rejected. Hemp might become one of the most important exports of the empire, but it is so coarsely dressed that the foreign demand for it is by no means what it would otherwise be. Good English hempdressing machines only are needed to bring Austrian hemp into general use. The agricultural interests of the country were thus sacrificed for the sake of a few machine-makers, who, under the stimulus of a little competition, would probably have succeeded in turning out from their workshops articles quite as good as any that could be imported from England or Belgium. On silk manufactures the duties are enormous, and they must be as unnecessary as they are exorbitant. The gorgeous silks and tissues displayed at the International Exhibition, and their moderate prices, prove that Austria can need no protection in that branch of her manufactures. We will only add that the vast and cumbrous commercial system of Austria is maintained by 515 frontier Custom-house establishments; that it gives occupation to an army of officials whose reproductive industry is thus lost to their country; and that the total Customs revenue of the empire is, as before stated, under 1,300,000/.
The commercial movement between Austria and Great Britain is quite disproportioned to the wealth and mutual wants of the two countries. In 1847 the exports of British produce were of the value of 537,000/.; in 1861 they had risen only to 968,416/., being an increase of only a little more than 400,000/. in fourteen years. The total exports from the United Kingdom to Austria in 1860 did not exceed 1,488,008/. in value; while the exports to the little kingdom of Sardinia were of the value of 2,297,132/., and to Portugal 2,041,236/. Now let us compare this almost stationary condition of our commerce with Austria with the recent gratifying increase of our mercantile dealings with France. Our exports to France, chiefly the effect of the commercial treaty, have risen from 6,391,456/. in 1854, to 17,417,413/. in 1861, of which