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[Extracted from The British and Foreign Review, or EUROPEAN
QUARTERLY JOURNAL, No. XXVII.]
PRINTED BY RICHARD AND JOHN E. TAYLOR,
RED LION COURT, FLEET STREET.
1. Statistische Uebersicht der Bevölkerung der Oesterreich
schen Monarchie. Von SIEGFRIED BECHER, Doctor der
Rechte. 2. Statistik des Oesterreichschen Kaiserstaates. Von Jo
HANN SPRINGER, Professor an der Universität zu
The advantages which never fail to result from the publication of authentic statements of the resources of a country and of their application, appear of late years to have been appreciated by the Austrian government. Statistical surveys of considerable value have from time to time been communicated to authors, and even to foreign travellers, with unusual liberality by a government which had the reputation of seeking to wrap its proceedings in secresy. But the step of publishing at full the details prepared and long preserved in the statistical bureau at Vienna in an authorized shape was scarcely expected by those who have not followed the recent proceedings at that capital, and who consequently are not aware that the accession of the present emperor to the throne marks an epoch in the history of the Austrian empire, of good omen for the country and for the civilized world.
The first fruits of the advance made by the government in the career which has thus been opened of a sound domestic policy, by courting the salutary influence of public opinion upon
the institutions of the state and on those to whose guidance they are entrusted, are given in the works named at the head of these pages, the details furnished by which we have the means of knowing are strictly authentic. In both works it is impossible not to recognise a remnant of that timidity which the severe rules of the censorship impresses upon all writers on domestic subjects in Austria ; but as there is no doubt that the government possesses the most extensive and accurate information on every point which M. Springer has left in doubt, it may be expected that future publications, similar to that of M. Becher, will clear them up.
Statistical returns have been regularly required from the
provinces of Austria by the government as long as since the middle of the last century. A census has regularly been taken, in order to form an estimate of the number of troops disposable, in all the provinces but Hungary and Transylvania. These arrangements were improved and rendered stricter by the Emperor Joseph II. But it was only as late as 1828 that a regular statistical bureau was instituted by the late Emperor Francis, with the charge to furnish him annually with an accurate survey of the population, state of agriculture, schools, clergy, and the financial resources of the empire. The first survey was prepared for 1829, with the results of twenty years preceding, and the bureau has completed a similar statement for every year since, down to the close of 1839.
To attempt to bestow due commendation on the statesmen who have adopted this truly grand measure of holding so faithful a mirror of the state up to the regards of their countrymen, would be foreign to our province as strangers and reviewers.
As Englishmen, however, who set a high value upon the natural alliance with Austria which the bond of mutual interests has so long cemented, we rejoice infinitely at seeing that fine empire, by the improvement of her domestic policy, secure the foundations of her power, and by one sole act, so consonant to the wants and wishes of the age, give a pledge that she is cultivating the means of demanding the attachment of the subject and the respect of neighbours and rivals.
M. Becher, a member of the statistical board, has received the honourable commission to publish successively a number of the most important results of the labours of that board. In every point of view these details are a most acceptable addition to our knowledge of human nature; but they must possess a peculiar interest from the condition of the inhabitants of so large a portion of eastern Europe, and respecting which so little has been written that could lay claim to authenticity,
a condition which differs so much in the different provinces from each other, and in all from the state of social life in the west, that the possibility of the continuance of such inequality forms a problem of the most difficult nature. We trust, by the collation of the facts relating to the population of the Austrian provinces, which the work named at the head of our