THE COMMERCIAL TREATY WITH AUSTRIA.
'WnEN it was announced that a treaty of commerce had been con- cluded with Austria on principles of reciprocity—not a reciprocity of exclusiveness, but of liberaliq--we welcomed it as a measure of wise statesmanship. It is emmently the interest of this great trading and manufiteturing country to be on terms of mutually pro- fitable exchange with every nation on the thee of the globe. The more wealthy, populous, and extensive the territory with which friendly relations are created and maintained, the more advan- tageous must the connexion be to England. With an immense dominion, embracing some of the finest portions of Italy and Ger- many—the deficiency of external ports being in a considerable degree compensated by the litcilities of internal communication afforded by the Danube and other streams—with an industrious population, and a political position which renders an alliance with England most desirable and important—Austria appears to be .admirably fitted for the introduction of British products into the heart of Europe, and to afford more than compensation for the
• losses which the Prussian Commercial League inflicts upon us.
From an article in the British and Foreign Review for the pre- sent month, which contains more useful and original information on the subject than we have met with elsewhere, it appears that the sagacious councillors of the Emperor FEUDINAND, Prince MET- TERNICH and Count KoLEownATn, have resolved to enforce the treaty in the fullest accordance with its spirit. " The Austrian Government," says the Reviewer, " have resolved to follow up these negotiations by a complete change in their internal commercial system."
'• We have it in our power to st ate, that an Imperial rescript has received the Emperor's sanction, and will perhaps be in operation before these pages are in the hands of our readers, by which the entire pr,:hibitory system nr Austria is abolished. We lament that we are at present unable to give the details of this great measure ; but such are the shirtier hallits of the Imperial Government in these matters, that even an net at this public importance is only allowed to transpire by degeees, and to be learned by the world from the agents who are ordered to put it in execution. We are able, however, to affirm, that the change is of the hest and most extensive kind. Duties ad valorem, upon no immoderate scale, are to he substituted in all instances fin. the existing prohi- bitions of the tariff ; and the commercial policy of Austria is actually about to -place her on the footing of the most enlightened natiohs."
• We hope that this information may be entirely credited; for the duties imposed by the existing tariff' amount to -a prohibition • of some staple articles of British matuditcture. It is unneces- sarv to detail the particulars of the treaty ; but its main provi- sions may be stated in a sentence. All productions of Aus- tria, including those exportable through the Northern out- let of the Elbe and the Eastern outlet of the Danube, may be imported into the British possessions in Austrian vessels, on the same terms as British products may be imported to the Austrian dominions ; all Austrian vessels arriving from the ports of the Danube, as jitr as Galacz inclusively, shall with their cargoes be admitted into British ports exactly in the same mummer as if' such vessels came direct from Austrian ports ; and British ves- .sels and cargoes shall be on the same footing as Austrian vessels enter- ing into or departing from the same ports qf the Damtbe. It is not necessary that the vessels of the contracting powers should have cargoes consisting of the produce of the countries of either to en- title them to the privileges of the treaty, but the productions of the -soil and industry of Asia or Africa, situated within the Straits qf Gibraltar, which shall have been brought into the ports of Austria, may be reexported from thence in Austrian vessels directly to British ports ; and British vessels arriving with cargoes from foreign countries will be admitted into the ports of Austria without paying any other duties whatever than those paid by Austrian vessels. That part of the treaty which allows the reexportation of the products of Asia and Africa in Austrian vessels to British ports, is intended to encourage the trade of Trieste, especially in the cotton of Egypt. The commerce of Trieste is very considerable. In 1834, 944 vessels, of which 462 were Austrian, entered her port ; and eight years ago, in 1831, the imports were 4,000,000/. sterling, the ex- ports 2,000,000!.; of the imports, British goods amounted to nearly 600,0001., including 346,000/. of cotton manufactures. The trade of Trieste must now, however, be considerably enlarged, though there are no recent returns of its extent. The Reviewer says that the Americans have lost a great part of the carrying trade of the Mediterranean, which is now transferred to Austrian vessels. Pur- chases of cotton for the Liverpool market have been made at Trieste; and it is probable that this port will become the great cotton mart of the Mediterranean. In connexion with these facts respecting the Mediterranean trade, the Reviewer presents some pleasing anticipations of renewed prosperity to the most beautiful and interesting part of Europe.
" In noticing the maritime strength of the Mediterranean powers, it is im- possible not to take into account the very remarkable crisis in which the com- merce of that inland sea is now placed. The piratical states of Barbary have disappeared, to make way for what our French neighbours call ' civilization ;' and if the blood and treasure which Algiers has cost to France are ever repaid her, a modern Carthage is to rise on the shores of Africa. But to conic to more certain and tangible results : the course of policy recently adopted by the Colonial Office to the island of Malta, will probably make that position not a mere fortress, but a great depbt and counting-house for British commerce. The strong impulse given to the Eastern trade by the abolition of the Turkish Monopolies, and by the conclusion of the new commercial treaty between Turkey and England, is already felt by the Levant houses in the City. The admirable system of steam conummication which has been organized by the French Government from Marseilles and Toulon to Italy, Malta, Syria, Egypt, and Greece, has brought all those countries into direct intercourse. The time is assuredly not far off when the Black Sea will send through the Dardanelles, in Austrian and English as well as Russian vessels, the rich exports of Trebi- sond, the useful stores of Odessa, and the increasing produce of Hungary. , Above all, the line of communication with India seems, after the lapse of cell- turies, to have returned to that channel which it fertilized with the wealth of Asia and the industry of Europe in the most splendid days of antiquity and of the middle ages. These great changes in political restrictions and pliysieal means of transport will, it may be confidently predicted, loosen the disastrous spell which bad governments have been able to throw upon the inactive popo. ';. lations of those beautiful lands ; and the policy of Austria will lead her to aspire to an important part in the commercial destinies of the Mediterranean—a put in which she may fairly rely on the support of Great Britain."
In return for the important advantages ceded by England to Austria in the Mediterranean trade, the navigation and commerce . of the Danube are opened to the enterprise of this country. " That great river is the artery of the whole Austrian empire. Provinces divided by language, religion, and race, are united by the channels of those waters ; and the destinies of an empire with less of sea- coast than any other in the world are connected by that river with the commercial liberties of Europe." Galacz, or as we find it on the maps, Galatz, is the lowest point on the Danube belonging to Austria : the Danube thence flows through Turkish or Russian ter- titory into the Black Sea ; but by the treaty, Austria engages that It all British vessels with their cargoes shall continue to be placed upon the satin: footing as Austrian vessels, whenever such British vessels shall enter into or depart from " the ports of the Danube as far as Galacz inclusively. How this stipulation is to be fulfilled, is not quite clear. The Princes of WALLACHIA and MommviA, it would seem, should be parties to the treaty ; they are vassals of Turkey ; and Turkey has been entirely, and is now to a great extent, under the influence of Russia, whose interest is to counter- act the treaty. And it would seem that she has the power almost to prevent the navigation of the Danube at certain seasons. By the treaty of Adrianople, Russia obtained the right to establish quarantine regulations ; which she uses as a sort of armed sur- veillance over the navigation of the Danube. The entrance to the river by the mouth of St. George was conceded to Turkey ; but the Russian Government has allowed that entrance to be choked up by sand, so that there is scarcely water sufficient to float a gun- boat, and last summer a large number of vessels were detained at Gaines for want of water to pass the bar. Unless something be done to clear the passage for ships on the Danube to the Black Sea, the purpose of Russia will in a few years be entirely accomplished, and the Danube become useless for the purposes of foreign com- merce. Under these circumstances, it is proposed to cut a canal from one of the elbows of the Danube to the port of Kustendji on the Black Sea ; which would pass through a country a hundred miles south of the Russian frontier, and render the passage front the Danube to the sea two hundred miles shorter. The canal might be of the same width and depth, but it need not be half so long, as that which the Dutch have cut from Amsterdam to the Helder to avoid the Zuyder Zee. It is understood, though we are unable to affirm it as a positive fact, that the firman for the execution of the canal which would connect the bend of the Danube at Rassova with the port of Kustendji, has been issued by the Sultan ; it is also reportod that the undertaking will be intrusted to a company of en- gineers appointed by the Austrian Government ; and we know that when this intelligence was brought to the Emperor Nicholas, be exclaimed Eh bien ! ii n'y a plus qu'un pas a faire.' file conduct of Russia on the Bessrirabian shore of the Danube, from the Froth to time sea, will, of course, be observed by the Governments of Austria and England with the utmost vigilance. The Da- nube below Galacz flows through the Russian territory. She will watch with a jealous eye the vessels and cargoes which will sail past her own inconsiderable ports of Ismail and Reid. The strictness of her quarantine regulations and the restlessness of her customhouse officers will increase in the same ratio es her hatred of the influence of Great Britain. The contact of two elements so hostile needs no great event to bring about a rupture ; and the British Govern- ment has certainly not proceeded thus far in the affairs of time Black Sea with- out lying distinctly aware that a mere accident to the jolly-boat of a brig, or the inconsiderate insolence of a subordinate officer, may, in the present state of feeling between Russia and England, kindle an eruption of fearful violence and extent ; au eruption which we believe neither the policy of England nor the presumption of It ussia render probable, if no external occurrence hastens the col- lision. Come what may, England has taken up her position. More than free- dom of commerce and security of territory for herself and her allies she does not ask ; but these rights will be steadfastly maintained, carefully protected, and, if need be, strenuously defended."
This extract brings us to the more immediately political part of the subject ; on which, however, we have no intention to dilate. We agree with the Reviewer, that by the treaty with Austria, connected with that recently concluded with the Porte, Russia has received a serious check. But it is going rather far, to prophesy the ultimate restoration of Poland from the disposition now manifested by Austria to baffle the policy and obstruct the progress of Russia. Austria may have dis- covered, that in acceding to the distnemberment of Poland she committed an "atrocious mistake ;" but the reconstitution of the Polish kingdom would deprive Prussia as well as Russia of a large portion of territory. It is admitted that France, at the best, would be neutral; and how England and Austria are to compel Russia and Prussia to relinquish their share of the Polish spoil, it is not easy to show even on paper. Should the enterprise prove successful, how many centuries of commercial profit would be required to repay England for the expenditure to be incurred in such a contest, and one, too, mainly for the security and advantage of Austria ? In the meanwhile, the British Government has enough on its hands in the East of Europe. Let the treaties with Turkey and Austria be acted upon in their full extent; let every attempt of Russia to obstruct their free performance be at once resisted and put down; and the grand political object of arresting the progress of Russia towards the South will be attained, and the commerce of England extended.