Journey from Vienna through Austria--Description of the Archdutchy--Bavaria--Munich-- Revenues and forces.--
JULY 1st, I left Vienna, and that day travelled forty miles to St. Poltu, through a very various country. Near Vienna, it is very gay, being lightly adorned with villas, which have extensive gardens, and planted groves about them, but all in a miserable taste. I stopped to view one pretty near the road, which the postilions told me belonged to a great nobleman at court; a description of the ground before the house will give a tolerable idea of the taste most prevalent here in ornamenting their country seats. A canal with a small bridge over it in the center, parted the area before the house from the road; from the bridge to the house door was about a hundred yards; a broad stone-way led from one to the other; on each side ranged in exact order a statue, an urn, and a cross interchangeably; these were on a slip of grass: on the other side two canals nicely laid out, like the former, by rule, and at each corner of the three, a statue. The ground on each side was formed
into a grass-plot, surrounded by a parterre of flowers, and in the center of each plot, a small fountain. From these particulars of the approach to a rural villa, all unseen may be very exactly guessed; and it evidently appears that the Austrians are at least one hundred years behind us in the art of gardening. It is the same with the French, and all the other nations of Europe. In some gardens I was shewn when in Italy, before I was told that they were executed in imitation of nature, upon the plan of my countryman Brown, whose fame had reached there; and it is not easy to be conceived how ridiculous every thing was; the least deviations from line and compass work, amidst a great deal of it, were esteemed exertions, in the art of imitating nature. A more ridiculous jumble was never seen; much worse than those made purely artificial.
Ornamenting a piece of ground, in the manner of our great gardener, and in the taste yet superior, in which some private gentlemen in England have laid out their grounds, is an art that requires genius, and more attention than will ever be given to it, in countries where they reside ten months out of the twelve in the capital, and very many, the other two also: where this is the case, the expence will not be spared, which we see in every thing that re-
lates to the country; no article about a nobleman while he resides in the country in England, but what infinitely exceeds the same with any foreign nobleman of equal fortune. Their wealth is all expended upon their town houses, and their town residence; it is not therefore to be wondered at any more, that the English have not such fine palaces in London, as that the French and Italians have not such fine country seats.
These forty miles do not exhibit an agriculture that is very flourishing; yet the country is not much in want of people, for the towns and villages are thick. The soil is in general very good; but they do not seem to have any ideas of cultivating it with neatness; wild shrubbery grounds are suffered to break into the corn, in ragged borders, and small waste spots, where the plough, upon account of some hillock, or hole, does not go, are left covered with weeds, to blow all over their fallows; they have no idea of cleaning such spots by way of prevention, and such numbers of them, as I saw in this day's journey, would not be met with in half an English county. They sow large quantities of saffron, which they reckon a profitable culture, an acre yielding a produce of about three pounds, if the crop is good. There are many vineyards,
but the wine sells so badly, that they assured me, corn and saffron stand in general much better; and they do not confine their vines to tracks improper for ploughing.
Wheat, barley, rye, pease and beans, are commonly cultivated, but no oats; the crops are but midling. Turneps, turnep cabbages, cabbages, and potatoes, are cultivated in large quantities; the former for cattle, and the potatoes for fattening hogs, for which they boil them. They have large herds of swine, which feed all summer long in the woods, many of which are extensive. Horned cattle are also very plentiful here, and as they house them in the winter, they raise large quantities of dung, which ought to ensure a much better husbandry than theirs. I passed a small farm, near St. Poltu, that was cut out of a waste, and to appearance a barren common, on the side of a large hill; disposed into ten fields by beautiful quick hedges, which put me in mind of the best cultivated part of England: the inclosures rising one above another, on the side of the hill, were seen distinctly from the road; they were covered with various crops, which appeared much superior to those of the cultivated parts of the country I had passed; the house was small, but extremely neat. As soon as I had looked attentively at this very agreeable sight, I was go-
ing to make up to it; but recollecting that I should be in the dark, I determined to go on to the stage, and come next morning to view that farm, which seemed a creation in the midst of a desart.
I accordingly put my intention in execution, the morning of the 2d, and returned about three miles to the place, and asking for the master of it, he appeared immediately; a fine tall open countenanced soldier, in an old suit of regimentals. I desired to see his farm, upon which he very readily walked with me into it. I went through all the ten inclosures; the hedges were regularly planted, and had each of them a ditch; the gates were all in good order, and every thing carried an appearance of neatness, most uncommon in Germany. He had three meadows, each of them watered by a small stream he had brought from the hill above his farm; it filled a little pond for watering the cattle, and might be conducted at pleasure in the proper season, over all parts of the fields for manuring them, which he practices in winter and spring. He had a field of wheat, another of barley, two of clover, and three of turneps and cabbages; and his fields were all much of the same size, being each about six English acres. Turneps and cabbages he grew on his fallow for cleaning the
land; succeeded them with barley, and then took clover, upon which he sows his wheat. This husbandry, which nearly resembles the best of Flanders, surprized me in the midst of Austria, where nothing of the kind is to be found. He keeps a dairy of cows; a small flock of sheep on the neighbouring waste, and oxen for ploughing and carting; he houses all his cattle in winter; his sheep every night in sheep houses; and litters every thing well with fern, which he cuts upon the waste. He is extremely attentive to raising large quantities of dung, which he manages by keeping as many cattle as he possibly can, and by mixing turf, and virgin earth with his dung as the cattle make it all winter long; by this means he is enabled to manure three fields, or eighteen acres very richly every year; but what gives a virtue to his dunghill, superior to any thing else is his bringing all the human ordure away from the little town of Poltu, for which, some of the inhabitants ignorant of its value, give a trifle for taking it away; he is at the expence of cleaning all the necessaries there, and of carting it to his farm; he mixes it up with his dung and virgin earth, and assures me that it forms the richest compost in the world; all the manure he raises in this manner, being applied to his turnep and cabbage grounds, he
gets prodigious crops of those vegetables; and I remarked that they were kept perfectly free from weeds by hoeing: his cabbages are all planted in regular rows on ridges, and the spaces between the rows ploughed several times while growing, as well to kill the weeds as to keep the land in good tillage, all which appeared to me to be an excellent system. His crops of wheat yield four quarters an acre; his barley five, his clover gives four tons of hay at two mowings; and his turneps and cabbages maintain a vast flock: an acre of the former he reckons sufficient to winter-feed two oxen or cows; one of cabbages will winter three or four; but the expences of them are higher. All these crops I suppose are equal to the best cultivated parts of England.
Upon returning to his house he gave me his history. He was a corporal in a regiment of foot, quartered, during six years; in Flanders, and Brabant, where, as he had always a strong bent towards husbandry, he remarked very minutely their practices, and often worked in the fields for Flemish farmers. Upon the war breaking out with the king of Prussia, he was early in that service, and made a serjeant, in which capacity he behaved so much to Marshal Daun's satisfaction at the battle of Hockchirken, in sight of him, that he gave him pro-
mises upon the spot, of promotion; but these were not thought of afterwards, till being presented by another person to the Empress Queen, and allowed by count Daun, she personally asked him in the presence of the whole court, if he had any particular request to make: upon which he asked his discharge, and a piece of this waste to cultivate, being born in the parish. It was granted at once; and further, his sovereign built him the house and offices directly, and gave him an hundred pounds to stock the farm with. With this small beginning he went to work directly, and in nine years has raised every thing to the state I saw. His industry is unbounded: though a continued success has attended all his undertakings, and his crops prove as fine as possible, bringing him in large sums of money, yet he continues to work with the same severity as ever, and does much the greatest part of all the business of his farm with his own hands; he has a son about twenty-five who executes the rest. The Empress has been twice to see him, and expressed the highest approbation of his conduct, and made him a handsome present. His methods have been put in execution under his own direction upon the estates of two noblemen in the neighbourhood, and with good success; so that this
worthy soldier is like to be of more benefit to his country than half a dozen generals; and shews that nothing is of more importance than to establish such examples as these in various parts of a dominion: for although they may spread slowly, yet they certainly will spread, and that they cannot do without being of very great public benefit.
By night, I reached a little town called Munsbery, being half way to Lintz, at the distance of thirty miles from Poltu, through a country that is cultivated in a very different manner from the soldier's farm I had left, whose name (by the way) is Picco. The crops are in general bad and very full of weeds; and they seem to plough the soil very badly, although their ploughs are drawn by six oxen, and they have two men, or a man and a lad to drive them, with another man to hold the plough; it is evident from this that the price of labour is low, or the farmer, that is the nobility, could not allow such a superfluity of hands; but while the time of the peasants belongs to their lords, without any pay, such instances will be very common; but the whole system makes a very different figure from my friend Picco's, whose farm is a contrast to the whole archdutchy. They cultivate many hops, saffron, and vines, and these articles exhaust all their
lands applied to common husbandry, of the dung which they ought to have, without yielding a return proportioned. Picco, when I asked him why he did not cultivate these articles, assured me that none of them equalled common crops in profit, provided the latter were managed in the manner they ought to be; and of this I have no doubt, for all these uncommon articles require a great deal of attention, and an infinity of labour, especially vines, while the produce is of such a bad sort, that the returns are inconsiderable. Near Lintz, the country improves much, being in itself finely variegated with hills and dales, wood and water; it is also better cultivated; there is a very little waste land, and many seats of the nobility are scattered about it, attracted I suppose by the agreeableness of the country.
Lintz is extremely well situated on the banks of the Danube: It is small, well built, and a neat place; the streets well paved, and kept very clean. What sets off the buildings in an unusual manner, is the materials of which they are raised; being a white stone that preserves its colour. The market-place is large and handsome; and is adorned with two fountains. The Empress has a palace here, well furnished, which from an high situation overlooks the course of the Danube very
beautifully; she used to come here often, but has not of late years. The Jesuits college is one of the best buildings in the place, and the library has the reputation of being remarkably well chosen. This place is the capital of upper Austria; for the states assemble no where else. For its size, it is very populous, which is owing to some manufactures they have that are flourishing; particularly that of woollen goods, and of silk and worsted; also gun-barrels, for which they are famous. The wool they work up is that of Austria, and much comes from Bohemia; all these fabricks employ six or seven hundred hands.
The 5th I got to Newberg in Bavaria, the distance forty miles. This line of country is all very agreeable; from the inequalities of the ground, and its open groves, with many rivers; nor is it wanting in numerous little towns and villages, the neighbourhood of the Danube drawing many inhabitants, by the constant trade carried on upon it; and by the numerous boats, barges, sloops, &c. which pass and repass upon all sorts of business. I observed hops, saffron, and vines were common culture, and some flax, which is made into coarse linnens in the neighbouring towns. Newberg is a little place, but very well built, and remarkably clean. The Elector Palatine is sovereign of the dutchy, of which it is the
capital and, has a small palace here, which however contains nothing worth seeing. The Jesuits church is the best publick edifice in the place. The only trade of Newberg is wine; but very little of it is good; several sorts are sold so cheap as three halfpence a quart.
The 6th I reached Muldorf, the distance fifty miles, through a very fine, populous, and well cultivated country, being part of the Electorate of Bavaria. There seems through this line of country, to be more industry, activity and happiness, than in any I had passed for a long while, and yet the peasants are in a state of villainage as well as elsewhere, but they are treated in a kinder manner; have more property and better houses; and many of them are also farmers, who by industry and frugality have saved money; and find out the means of disposing of it to good advantage. Much of this country is enclosed, than which there cannot be any improvement of so much consequence; and the present Elector has given many privileges and encouragements to all who enclose their farms, as well as exempting them from antient customs and rights, which were extremely injurious to open lands. There are many vineyards in this country, and the wine is better than that of Austria. Sheep seem to be a principal article in their husbandry; they keep great numbers, and of a better
breed than common; which I am told was originally owing to procuring some rams from Flanders. They yield large fleeces, and there are many manufactories for working up the wool, which receive great encouragement from the government. Every farm of any size, (that is, every division of an estate that is under a distinct steward or bailiff) has a large sheep house, with a roof, but open on one side to the south; in this house they fold their sheep every night the whole year round, and depend on it principally for manuring their lands: when they begin to fold, they spread over the floor light virgin soil, turf, sand, or peat earth, and fold upon it till it is very moist and dirty; then they make a fresh layer, and so go on; but to every eighteen inches of depth, (for they remove the heap but once a year) they litter with straw; and in extreme wet or snowy weather they do the same. This is upon the whole an excellent system for raising manure, and is a Flemish custom, though with one or two variations: but I should think the sheep lying upon such a dunghill, would be prejudicial to their health; however, the Bavarians assert the contrary, and say that the health of the animal does not suffer in the least; and that the wool is much better than it would be if the sheep were exposed to the weather.
Muldorf is a little town, agreeably situated, and regularly fortified, but it is not a place of any great strength; the streets are broad, strait, and well built, and the market-place spacious, and surrounded with several buildings that are a great ornament to it. There are several churches and convents, but none that contain any thing remarkable.
The 7th I got to Munich, the distance seven and thirty miles, and the country agreeable and well cultivated; there are many more nobility who reside constantly on their lands in this country, than in any I have seen in Germany, and to this I attribute the advantage of the superior cultivation: for as the nobles are the farmers, it is no wonder that estates there are managed better under the manager's eye, than in his absence. Although there are not many of them that are proficients in agriculture, yet a life passed in the midst of its business, must yield a greater knowledge of its circumstances than one which is entirely employed in the parade of a court. Besides, there can be little doubt but the nobles themselves treat their peasants better than the race of bailiffs, agents, &c. who usually oppress and squeeze them the more, in order to have the better opportunity of enriching themselves; and I find it evident, wherever I have been in Germany, that the landlords are the richest,
and their estates the best cultivated, where the peasants are allowed some degree of liberty and property. The happier that race of people, the better for the nobles; the latter will not in all cases be brought to believe this, but nothing admits of clearer proof.
Their corn through this track of country looked very well; and I observed particularly, that their fallows intended for next year were well ploughed, and clean; whereas they are full of weeds in many parts of Germany, and much such bad management as I had seen in Austria. The soil here is a rich loam, with some light tracks: they plough chiefly with oxen. They fallow their lands for wheat; and then sow barley; after the barley, they take pease or buck-wheat, and then turneps, or cabbages; but they do not sow any clover, which the Austrian soldier, and all Flanders and Brabant find so profitable. Wheat yields two quarters and an half per acre, barley three, and buck- wheat four; and their turneps and cabbages are applied to feeding their cattle and sheep; but all are housed in winter.
Munich I think without exception, the finest city in Germany; Dresden, while in its grandeur, I am told surpassed it; and some parts of Berlin are very beautiful, and al things considered, they now yield to this place. It is situated on the river Ifer; which dividing
into several channels, waters all parts of the town: so that little streams run through many of the streets, confined in stone channels, which has a most clean and agreeable effect. The streets, squares, and courts are spacious, and airy; which sets off all the buildings much, and makes them appear finer than others much more costly in other cities. The streets in particular, are so strait, that many of them intersect each other at right-angles, and are very broad, and extremely well built. There are sixteen churches and monasteries in it, many of them very handsome edifices; these with the electoral palace, and other publick ings, take up near half the city: so that it may easily be supposed the place is in general very well built.
The principal of all these publick edifices, is the electoral palace, which is rather a convenient than an elegant building. It is very large; having four courts in it, and all of them large, but there is a want of finishing in the insides of all the places in Germany, that cannot fail disgusting an Englishman, who has been used to see the houses of the nobility in his own country finished to the garrets, as compleatly as a snuff-box; and certainly it is a most agreeable circumstance. In the palace of Munich, the finest room, which is the grand hall, being an hundred and eighteen feet
long by fifty two broad, is open to the roof, so as entirely to destroy the effect which would result from such a size if finished: birds fly about in it as in a barn, and drop their favours on the heads of the company as they pass. I have in Germany seen many instances of unfinishing equal to this. There is a great profusion of marble in the several apartments, but it is not wrought in an agreeable manner. The furniture is in general old; it has been very rich, but has nothing in it striking; nor is the collection of pictures comparable to many others in Germany. The Museum is well filled with many curiosities; of which as Keyfler gives a lift, I shall therefore say no more of them.--The Jesuits college is among the finest buildings belonging to the church: it is very spacious. The great church, and the Franciscans monastery, are also worth seeing; the latter order is possessed of very great revenues. Several palaces of the nobility make a very good figure, and the town-house is better than many I have seen. The number of inhabitants is computed at fifty thousand.
The palaces most worth seeing are the Elector's country ones of Sleifheim and Nymphenburg, near Munich. Sleifheim is a fine building, and much better finished than that of Munich; the portico supported by marble pillars is fine; in the apartments, which are
furnished in an agreeable manner, is a very good collection of pictures, but they are chiefly by Flemish masters. Nymphenburg exhibits the German taste of gardening in perfection; the Bavarians holding them to be the finest in the empire; the situation, wood, and water would admit of something beautiful, but here is nothing but the old-fashioned fountains, statues, monsters, &c.
It is thought by most persons at Munich, as well as in other parts of Germany, the electorate of Bavaria has thoroughly recovered the mischiefs it suffered in the war of 1744, and is now as rich and populous as ever. The electoral revenues are reckoned to amount to six hundred thousand pounds a year, and are improving: the standing army consists of eleven thousand foot, and three thousand horse; but the Bavarians say, their prince could bring forty thousand men into the field; however, it is certain that, if he could bring them there he could not maintain them, without their being in the pay of foreigners. While the house of Bavaria continues on good terms with that of Austria, there is no danger of its suffering by the electorate being again made the seat of war.
F I N I S.