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not only as a private, but as a public, good. Of the many applications of enterprise and science which surround us at the present day, some cannot be said to have produced unmixed benefits; but in the case of life assurance, at all events, the good to society has been unspeakable; and but for the evils attendant on a few unsound and reckless competitions that have generally been fleeting as well as false, its benefits would have been absolutely unalloyed.
It is curious to compare the gigantic development of life assurance in the reign of Queen Victoria with its small beginnings in that of Queen Anne, when only one or two of the offices now existing had been established. Contingencies that do not seem to have been contemplated in the early days of life assurance are now commonly provided for; and it is a remarkable result of the perfection attained in the system in our day, that some office or other suits the case of every intending insurer; that terms of payment with regard to the yearly premium are found in operation which are suited to the peculiar circumstances of almost every policyholder; and that where he assures with participation of profits (for nearly all the established companies divide a stated portion of their profits with those who are assured for the term of life), he has the choice of various tempting alternatives, inasmuch as his share (or bonus) can be applied either as a reversionary addition to the amount assured, or in reduction, or even (when sufficient) in extinction, of future annual payments, or as a present payment in money. The increase and perfection of life assurance form, indeed, a striking and significant feature in the "Progress of the Nation."*
Mr. H. W. Porter, in this able and interesting essay, points out as a guide the chief differences in the constitution of assurance companies, and calls attention to the substantial nature of the security afforded by the proprietary companies in their constitution and invested capital. He does not discuss the relative merits of the "proprietary" or the "mutual" systems of assurance, nor is he the advocate for any particular office or class of companies-indeed, he has very properly abstained from mentioning the name of any one office; but he furnishes the intending insurer with valuable information for directing his inquiries, and warns him against the unsound pretences of new and reckless competitors who offer unheard-of advantages, equally "crafty, catching, and unfair.” Mr. Porter most properly points out that the information required by the offices, in the declaration which forms the basis of the assurance contract, demands the utmost truth and candour. This, we may remark, is the more to be insisted on, as it is laid down by the courts that a fraudulent concealment which would vitiate the policy, may consist not merely in answering untruly any specific question, but in the suppression of any material circumstances affecting the life proposed. Depending as it does on the principle of averages, life assurance has been truly enough described as the combination of small sums contributed for beneficial investment, with a contract among the proprietary that those who do not live their average time shall share the good fortune of those who
* The author of the essay now before us is a relation of the late Mr. George R. Porter, of the Statistical Department of the Board of Trade, the author of the valuable work well known under the title of "The Progress of the Nation."
live beyond it. Mr. Porter mentions the fact that, according to the "Carlisle Tables," of 10,000 children born alive, only 8461 attain the age of a year, and only 5000 remain alive at the age of 41; that of 500 at that age 7 will die within a year, and only one of the 10,000 will attain 104 years of age. While writing these remarks we observe a striking illustration by Dr. Letheby of the present strain upon life, especially in our large towns. In his report on the sanitary state of the City of London, he says that whereas at 45 a man elsewhere in England might expect to live to 68, the expectancy of life in the City is only to 62. Life assurance is daily becoming of more vital importance to a large proportion of the people, and it seems as if the increased facilities for it were a compensation due to mankind, when so many special agencies recognised by physicians as tending to increase the uncertainty of life are in operation, not to mention Revivalism and Dr. Cumming, long sermons and the activity of unpaid lecturers, the weariness of the British Museum galleries, the Civil Service examinations, the Incometax, bad cookery, and the speeches of Mr. Bright, as evils of the day tending to shorten life. In all seriousness, however, be it said that moral principles are brought into action by life assurance-prudence, for example, and present self-denial, for the attainment of future benefits→→→→ and if it be a virtue to assure one's life for the future benefit of those for whose welfare we are bound to provide, it finds its reward in the comfort of present security against the chances of this mortal life; a matter of the highest importance to that large portion of the community whose incomes are terminable with their lives.* Life assurance has been made a useful security in commercial transactions, it is often part of the machinery of marriage-settlements, and it was shown, not long since, in a publication by a Conveyancer, that tenants for life of a landed estate, charged with portions for younger children, might preserve the inheritance, and at length even benefit in point of income, by resorting to life assurance rather than to mortgages.
Heartily commending, therefore, Mr. Porter's popular and persuasive plea for life assurance, we shall only say, in conclusion, to all whom it may concern, Insure! insure! insure! remembering what is said by Horace, who unconsciously advocated life assurance in the admonition which Lord Ravensworth has thus translated:
* We are glad to see that arrangements are made for assisting officers of the Post-office to assure their lives. Similar arrangements are, we believe, in force in many other public departments; and in the North of England the coal-owners are now urged by their labourers in the hazardous operations of mining to assist them in forming an insurance-fund.
THE THIRTY YEARS' WAR.*
THE Muse of History is decidedly assuming very liberal opinions, and during the past twenty years she has gradually doffed her purple robes, and busied herself about the concerns of the people, while dressed in modest homespun, here and there set off by the tasteful ornaments of pleasant and forcible writing. Time was when history condescended to none beneath kings and their ministers, but with Macaulay we gained a startling proof that his predecessors had been mistaken, and that a more living interest could be aroused by a description of the social progress of the country, than by the most gorgeous catalogue of royal progresses and court intrigues.
But what our historians have effected for England by their diligent research, and application of the rich stores of documents amassed in our government offices, has hitherto found but few imitators on the Continent. In Germany, a vast amount of information has certainly been dug out, but it is scattered through the different states, and no one has hitherto set himself the task of forming a current and brilliant narrative from the abundant materials. Possibly, the enormous quantity has terrified the most painstaking Dryasdust from undertaking a task which was beyond his strength. A striking instance of this will be found in merely one esection of German history-the Thirty Years' War: the only work emeployed as a text-book is still Schiller's narrative, which, though written with extraordinary power, is not adapted to fill all the requirements of the historical student. We rise from the perusal with a perfect knowledge of Gustav Adolph, Wallenstein, and other great leaders; but we have learned nothing of the feelings and temper of the nation during the awful period of trial. We are glad, then, that M. Freytag has taken a step in advance-though only a step-by collecting from various contemporary writers illustrative passages describing the state of the country. These materials, which must prove invaluable to the next writer on the Thirty Years' War, will supply the subject-matter of the present article.
Prior to the outbreak of the war, the condition of the German nation was eminently satisfactory; the victory of the Protestant party had taught the people the power they held in their hands, and they were not disposed to have it wrested from them without a struggle. The material prosperity of the nation was also well established. Luther's bold efforts to suppress all democratic tendencies had been remarkably successful, and civil and religious order almost universally prevailed. But all these fair prospects were menaced by the unhappy introduction of the Jesuit system into Germany in 1542; true to their policy, they had crept on gradually, until they became the spiritual lords of the domains of the Habsburgs: the tocsin was sounded for the German St. Bartholomew. The results of their dark intrigues will be found in the fact, that when the sons of Loyola first arrived in Germany, the entire nation was on the road to Protestantism. At the beginning of the Thirty Years' War three
*Bilder aus der Deutschen Vergangenheit. Von Gustav Freytag. Vol. II.
fourths of the Germans were still Protestants, but by 1650 the whole of the empire had become Catholic, as well as more than one half of the rest of Germany.
The war, then, began between despotism and liberty, and lasted such an enormous time, because none of the contending parties were enabled to strike a decisive blow. The largest armies at that time did not exceed a modern corps d'armée. Tilly considered 40,000 men the largest number a commander could desire. Even though Wallenstein once stood at the head of 100,000 men, they were scattered over the whole of Germany, and could never be concentrated. The truth was, there was not a single German prince capable of supporting even 40,000 men for three months from his own revenues. King Frederick of the Palatinate-the Winter King-was unable to pay his troops, even by the aid of subsidies. In the winter of 1620, half the army perished through lack of food, and they had more than 4,500,000 florins owing them. Nor was the emperor much better off, though he received large aid from Spain. Saxony, in borrowing 12,000 florins of the Fuggers, paid 50 per cent. interest, while Maximilian of Bavaria, and the League, paid 12 per cent. to the Genoese merchants, though having the guarantee of the Fuggers. But, as if this were not bad enough, the maintenance of the troops cost twice as much as it does now. Documents of the time prove that the annual expense of a foot soldier was 375 thalers, or nearly 60%. of our money. This may be explained by the fact that every soldier was accompanied by his wife and family. Those soldiers who could not afford such luxury, had always a parcel of footboys to wait upon and loot for them. Wallhausen, "in his "Defensio Patriæ," gives an excellent description of the scenes that took place:
When the horses are put to in the baggage waggons, the wives, children, and girls fall on them like a flock of crows. The girl who first enters the waggon takes the first place; then comes the boy, with his master's bundle so full of stolen goods that a horse can scarce carry it. The girl then sits down on it, and others press in. If, then, a soldier's wife finds no room, and is obliged to go afoot, she will cry, "Oh, you bad girl, you want to ride, and I have been a soldier's wife so many years. I have made so many campaigns, and yet you want to take my place." Then the girls and wives fall on each other, throw stones and sticks, and when the followers have been fighting thus a while, the soldier's wife runs to her husband with her hair hanging on her neck, and crying, "Look, Hans! there is So-and-So's girl sitting in the waggon, and wanting to ride, and I must walk, who am your wife." Then the soldier catches hold of the girl, and tries to pull her out, but her soldier comes up, and says, Now, just you let my girl alone; I love her as much as you do your wife;" and thereupon the soldiers begin fighting, pull out their whingers, stick and smite each other, some being killed and others crippled. On the march, hardly a day passes that ten soldiers are not ruined for the sake of the women. When this is over, the waggons are often so heavily laden that the horses or oxen cannot move from the spot. Ten or twelve women, so many children and boys, are crammed together, like caterpillars in a cabbage. And if the horses cannot get up hill, not one will get out, for other wives and girls would jump up directly, saying they had as much right to ride.
How the poor peasant must have blessed the ladies! If his cattle did not die on the road, he was frequently forbidden returning from the next station, and, as a general rule, his horses and harness mysteriously disappeared.
The army followers were under the special protection of an old invalid soldier, known by a far from flattering name, who took charge of all the plunder on the march. It was his duty to keep them from straggling and spreading over the villages like "gipsies or Tartars." In return for this protection, the followers were called upon to cover the rear of the army in action, do all the dirty work of the camp, and dig the trenches. Attempts were made to free the regiments from this plague of locusts, but in vain. On one occasion, when crossing a river, the colonel left all the women on the other side, but the men mutinied, and he was forced to give way. After that, he ordered that, under penalty of death, only married women should remain with the regiment. The result was, that more than 800 wretched creatures were married in the course of two days. With the war this pestilence naturally spread. In 1648, General Gronsfeld reports that his army consisted of 40,000 men drawing rations, and 140,000 followers, who received nothing. How they contrived may be guessed from the following pages of a rare tractate by Adam Junghaus:
Every colonel and captain is well aware that no doctors, masters, or Godfearing people will join him, but only a band of bad men from all sorts of nations. All who will not obey their parents must follow the calfskin stretched over the drum, till they are led into battle or to a storm, where thousands are shot or stabbed; for a Landsknecht's life hangs on a hair, and his soul sits on his hat or sleeve. At the same time three sorts of weeds grow up in warfare: they are sharp discipline, fifty forbidden articles, and a quick verdict, which costs many a man his neck.
It is not enough that a warrior should be strong, upright, manly, tyrannical, bloodthirsty, make himself out a fire-eater, and ready to eat up the devil without giving his comrades a morsel. Such cockscombs lose their lives through their stupidity, and kill other good fellows with them. Another is a snorter and kicker, tosses about on the straw like a horse, but when he goes into action he is a martyr and poor sinner, and in his fright drops his weapon. When they sit in the tap, they have seen a great deal, and do nothing but quarrel; a fly on the wall annoys them, and they must kill it. Such bear-stabbers are most frequently met rarely is there one who has not injured hands or arms, or a slash on his cheek, but he never stood fairly before the enemy. Such men a captain must guard against, for they are all grumblers and mutineers. A sensible soldier avoids quarrelling and fighting when he can, so that he may carry his skin uninjured, if possible, into action. But the man who knowingly injures his health must listen to ridicule, and is of no use to an army. Such a guest must remain for life an egg-and-cheese beggar; he runs up and down the country, begs bread, sells it again, must support himself like a wolf, and if rats and mice are drowned in the milk, he gets the cheese, and remains with other beggars to his end. Furthermore, there are many who wish to be soldiers-mothers sons and milksops. They come from a good kitchen, have sat behind the stove and baked apples, and slept in warm beds, like young calves who know no sorrow. When they are led into a foreign country, and receive all sorts of strange food, they are like soft eggs which run through the fingers, or paper laid in water. If they go a fighting in countries where all is eaten up and destroyed, they pine away, or, if they eat the strange food, they are attacked by manifold diseases. Such fellows ought to bide at home, attend to the farm, live like their fathers and mothers dd, have a bellyful every night, and then they will not be killed in war. For it is true, as they say, soldiers must be hard and firm fellows, like steel and iron, and wild beasts that eat every sort of food. A Landsknecht must be able to digest horseshoe stubs: he must not grin if forced to eat dog or cat, for hunger teaches a man to eat if he has not seen bread for three weeks. Drink is