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Austria-Hungary page 2

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The railways of Austria have a total mileage of fourteen thousand. The post-office conveys on an average twelve letters for each of the population - rather less than the average for Ireland, and less than one-third that of England. The people have not yet learned to avail themselves freely of the telegraph, and the messages delivered average only one to seven of the population.

Austria has been notable among the impoverished Continental states for the unvarying insufficiency of her revenue. During the last ninety years her revenue has on no single occasion been equal to her expenditure. The result has been, an enormous increase of her national debt. In 1789 her debt was only thirty-five million sterling; it is now three hundred and fifty-three million. Her total expenditure is sixty-four million sterling - not very much less than that of Great Britain. Among the sources from which she gains the means of this huge expenditure are two which may be accepted as evidences of very unenlightened finance. One is a sum of nearly two million sterling earned by a state lottery, and the other a similar amount drawn from a tax laid on salt. There is, however, the redeeming feature in the budget of an expenditure upon education of one million and three quarters sterling (This is only a small portion of the amount expended on education. A much larger amount is provided locally. It should be noted that the revenue and expenditure, and also the debt, spoken of in the above paragraph are those of Austria alone, - not of Austria and Hungary combined).

In conformity with the barbarous usage which still prevails among the European powers, Austria expends a large amount of her insufficient revenue upon military preparations. All her males are trained to arms. Three years of his youth have to be spent by every citizen in active service, and for a further term of seven years he stands enrolled in the reserve, liable to be called out in case of war. The army numbers, on its peace-footing, nearly three hundred thousand men, and may be increased to one million when danger is held to be at hand. Although her relations with the sea are inconsiderable, Austria has indulged in a fleet of war-ships of enormous cost and slender utility. A large proportion of her force is ironclad - a contrivance which promises to be gradually discredited by improvements in the methods of attack.

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