« PreviousContinue »
obtained, the growth of hops is in some measure displacing that of tobacco. The hops of North Germany and of Prussian Poland are of altogether inferior quality, and not likely to find favour in this country. American hops may also be dismissed in a few words. Like American grapes, they derive a coarse, rank flavour and smell from the soil in which they grow, which no management, however careful, bas hitherto succeeded in neutralising. There is little chance of their competing in our markets with European growths, except in seasons of scarcity and of unusually high prices.
Poperinghe, the district of which Reynold Scot was patriotically jealous, lies south-east of Ypres, close to the French frontier, and is still the metropolis of Belgian hopgrowing. The next and most important plantations are those of Alost, but considerable quantities of hops are also raised between Liege and Namur. As in Bavaria, so in Belgium, the gardens are usually the properties of small holders, and are cultivated by the hands of the owner and his family. Contrary, however, to the prevailing custom in Germany, large quantities of manure are employed, and heavy crops, varying usually from ten to seventeen cwt. per acre, are raised. Most of the hops are kiln-dried, the practice having been for the merchant to receive them from the grower when picked, and convey them to the town to be dried. Oast-houses are now, however, to be found in the country, in which the planters dry on their own account. The merchants often use sulphur in their kilns, and are suspected of employing ether, or some chemical preparation, which not only swells the hops, giving them a false appearance of bulk, but imparts something of that clammy feeling which is taken as an indication of condition.'
Since the days of Elizabeth, the British growers have surpassed their then masters, the Flemings. The bulk of the Belgian produce is now-a-days scarcely equal to the inferior classes of English ; even Poperinghe hops only hold a rank intermediate between the best German or Kentish and the more ordinary British growths. Not long since, the increasing importations from England so alarmed the Belgian planters, that they petitioned the Chamber of Representatives, complaining that the small duty of lf. 20c. per 100 kilogrammes levied on hops imported exposed them to a competition with the English growers they were utterly unable to maintain, and which must prove ruinous. These petitions were reported upon by a committee of the Chamber, which disapproved of any increase of duty, but recommended that efforts should be made to obtain from foreign governments reciprocal freedom of trade
in hops. The growers of the two countries were, like children in the dark, frightened at each other. For at the same time a section of English planters was sending petitions to Parliament, averring that competition with foreign hops, more especially with those of Belgium, must before long drive many of the plantations of Kent, Sussex, and Worcester out of cultivation.
In most, if not all, the beer-drinking countries of Europe, the thirst of the people for their favourite beverage is turned to good account by their government. In France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, and Hanover, a duty is levied on the manufactured article. In Bavaria, Prussia, Saxe-Weimar, and elsewhere, on its chief constituent, malt. During the spring of the present year, the propriety of a duty upon hops was canvassed by the American press; but Mr. Chase, if he ever entertained the idea, abandoned it, and has contented himself with a charge of one dollar per barrel upon beer. England alone has enjoyed at once a tax on beer itself, and a tax upon each ingredient of which beer is composed.
The first excise upon hops was, as we have seen, a device of the parliamentary party during the civil wars. It appears to have been bitterly opposed, even in those early days. In 1654 that sturdy patriot, William Prynne, published the Declaration and Protestation named at the head of this article. This effusion is eminently characteristic of the man and of the times. The writer first gives vent to his indignation by setting forth many Old Testament texts and precedents (or “presidents'), and some classical quotations against plunder, oppression, and tyranny in general. He then proceeds to state that the subcollector had served a notice upon him to appear upon a certain day, ' at the Greyhound, in Bath,' to make entry of the hops he had growing, and to pay the excise for the same ; that, on • repairing to the lecture at Bath, he sent for the sub-collector 'to the inn where the ordinary for the lecture is kept before the • sermon began,' and took this officer, as it subsequently appears, roundly to task. With a profusion of arguments, precedents, and cases, legal and historical, interspersed with biblical quotations, the summary of which alone extends over thirteen folio pages, Prynne expounded to the sub-collector that he held the demand to be an intollerable oppression,'' a detestable innova* tion,' and 'fit to be eternally damned.'
He at last summed up :
Upon all these grounds and Reasons, I declared and protested to the Exciseman that I was resolved upon no terms whatever to pay any Excise at all for Hopps, but to question and oppose it to my power, according to my Protestation, Vow, Solemn League and
Covenant, for my own and the whole Nation's future ease from this oppressing, illegall grievance and Dutch Devill, which I conceived all patrons of publique Liberty would now cordially and unanimously joyn to conjure down to Hell again, from whence it was first raised,' &c.
Whether the exciseman was convinced, or wearied out, or perceived that payment was hopeless, does not appear; but after an interview, which must have lasted many hours, he told the recalcitrant planter, with much civility and respect,' that in consideration of his having been so eminent a sufferer for liberty and religion, and of his crop of Hops being so mean,' he would demand nothing from him. So Prynne went to church to his lecture, chuckling, however, somewhat over a suspicion he evidently entertained, that the collector would keep an eye on those hops, and make the first buyer pay the duty he had failed to extract from the hop-master.
It is remarkable how exactly several of the arguments directed against the excise upon hops by the old puritan are anticipations, sometimes almost in the same words, of those employed by recent speakers, both in and out of Parliament, and by Mr. Bacon in his above-named pamphlet. This latter is a complete armoury of all the weapons that can be brought to bear against a duty upon hops. As Uncle Toby said of the Pope's oath, it was so comprehensive that he defied a man to swear out of it, so may Mr. Bacon defy any one to curse the hop duty out of his work. Its interest has of course passed away with the tax, and clear statement and pointed argument will not save it from soon becoming as forgotten as Prynne's declaration. The Secretary to the Hop-Duty Repeal Association may, however, lay down his pen and take up his glass of bitter beer, with the satisfaction of feeling that, unlike Prynne, he has not seen the exciseman beaten off for once only, but has heard Mr. Gladstone proclaim the whole nation's future ease from Sthis oppressing grievance.'
VOL. CXVI. NO. CCXXXVI.
Art. X.-1. Prinz Eugen von Savoyen. Nach den handschrift
lichen Quellen der kaiserlichen Archive. Von ALFRED AR
NETH. Drei Bänder. Wien : 1858. 2. Prinz Eugen von Savoyen. Drei Vorlesungen von HEINRICH
von SYBEL. München: 1861. PRINCE Eugene of Savoy may be called almost an English
hero, so often did he lead English troops to battle and victory. The fame of Marlborough can scarcely be recalled to mind without that of Eugene—the two forming together a sort of double star of military glory. The volumes of Herr Arneth have been compiled from a diligent investigation of the State Papers in the Imperial Archives of Vienna, as well as of original documents in other collections. With their assistance, we shall endeavour to condense, as far as possible, within the limits of an article, the eventful history of a man whose achievements were so great in the cause of Europe and of Christendom; but allowing the merit of conscientious and laborious workmanship to the author, it were to be desired that he had taken a less official tone in the treatment of his subject, and had endeavoured to achieve a more life-like and characteristic portrait of the great man whose biography he has undertaken to write.
Prince Eugene was the great-grandson of Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy, and the grandson of the youngest son of that duke, Thomas Francis of Savoy, the founder of the line of Carignano. The grandfather of Prince Eugene married Marie de Bourbon, the sister and heiress of the last Comte de Soissons. The eldest son of this marriage founded the house of Carignano. The second son took the title of Comte de Soissons, and, on account of his possessions in France, was brought up at Versailles, taking rank as a Prince of the Blood. He married Olympia Mancini, one of the five sisters Mancini, the celebrated nieces of the Cardinal Mazarin.
These sisters all figure largely in the memoirs of the time, but, of all, none commenced life under more brilliant auspices than Olympia. When a child, she was the playfellow of Louis XIV., and was distinguished for her sprightliness, her wit, and her graceful manners. She was a piquante brune, according to Madame de Motteville, who adds, somewhat spitefully, Son âge de dix-huit ans, son embonpoint, ses beaux bras, ses belles mains, la faveur et le grand ajustement donnèrent du “brillant à sa médiocre beauté.' Her story is one highly indicative of the pestilential atmosphere of ennui, vice, and immorality which was engendered beneath the magnificent and glittering appearance of the French monarchy when in the noonday of its splendour. The mother of Eugene was a lady who united the fire and spirit of an Italian with the intriguing and ambitious nature of her uncle Mazarin, and a due share of all the follies, lax morality, and necromantic superstitions of the time and Court of Louis XIV. The monarch himself had been in love with her in his youth. When his transitory passion yielded to other attractions, Olympia Mancini gave her hand to the Comte de Soissons, a descendant of the House of Bourbon, general-in-chief of the Swiss regiments in the Royal service, and Governor of Champagne. The count appears to have been a brave bonhomme ; he had served well under Turenne, and was always ready to fight a duel on his wife's behalf, and think no scandal. To him was ascribed by the wits the honour of being the first inventor of M. Jourdain's great discovery - that he talked prose for forty years without knowing it. The marriage, however, was a good one for Olympia. As the wife of a Prince of the Blood she had a splendid position and establishment. Though she lost the love, she preserved the friendship, of the King,
who, when the fervour of his first amourettes was exhausted, became a daily visitor at her apartment, which was the haunt of the most brilliant society of France. On the marriage of the King she was made surintendante of the Queen's household, and, as dame de la cour, was one of the chief ladies in France. But so exalted a position was, for a woman of her intriguing and domineering nature, a perilous one. All her artifices, all her intrigue, Italian passion and resentment, were called into activity, one after another, to retain her position in the King's favour, and to undermine the increasing influence of a La Vallière or a Montespan. Failing to achieve her ends by natural means, she had recourse to supernatural ones. The countess placed herself under the guidance of La Voisin - one of the quacks, fortunetellers, and astrologers then most in vogue; infamous also for the sale of succession powders. The whole of the reign of Louis XIV. was haunted with a ghastly suspicion of secret poisoning. At a time when sudden deaths were most frequent and rumour most rife, La Voisin was arrested.
In her revelations, among a crowd of persons, she implicated the Comtesse de Soissons. The countess, with her husband, had, in consequence of her intrigues, already been banished from Court. After the count's death, in 1673, she returned, to make herself more obnoxious than before. She had, moreover, rashly incurred the enmity of Louvois, then all powerful, by refusing to marry