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Meeting of German Sovereigns.

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Meeting of German Sovereigns. There is a rumour current in the diplomatic world that before the present understanding between Austria and Prussia, and at the time when a conflict between the two Governments seemed probable, M. von Beust, the Saxon Minister, sounded M. von Mensdorff on the project of declaring war against Prussia, and of redu- cing that Power to the limits to which it was confined before the Seven Years' War. He promised Austria, it is alleged, the military help not only of Saxony but of several other middle States, which would all have put their armies under the command of Austria. Two reasons, it is said, prevented the latter Power from accepting this offer first, the fear that a struggle ] between Austria and Prussia would lead to a Euro- pean war; and secondly, the refusal of Bavaria to form part of a league against Prussia. According to our Vienna 'correspondent, M. von Bismarck knew of the diplomatic intrigues of M. von Beust, thanks to certain indirect and very clever indiscretions of some Austrian statesmen. M. von Bismarck, it is stated, then advised the King to be reconciled with Austria, to prevent this coalition of the rest of Germany. M. von Beust, who went to Vienna with the idea that Saxony might reconquer the Saxon Provinces which the King of Prussia seized on the fall of Napoleon I., has returned to Dresden, convinced that M. von Bismarck will never forget what has happened.-L' International (London French paper). Gladetonian Wines versus Humble Folk's Beer. No man knows better how to work upon his audience —no man is more capable of enveloping his subject in a cloud of words and a canopy of images than Mr. Gladstone, and when he has once determined upon the course to be taken, no man is more resolutely bent upon supporting his case by every possible means, drawn from every conceivable source. We may, after this la,pse of time, pass by, almost without comment, Mr. Gladstene's laboured but ineffectual attempt to support the now notorious "per centage" theory of the President of the Board of Trade. It is simply im- possible that so shrewd a calculator as Mr. Gladstone should not have been fully aware that in estimating the per centage of the malt-tax upon beer instead of upon barley, he was evading the real point at issue whilst his implied defence of the tax on the ground that it was only a farthing" in the cost of a pot of porter was neither more nor less than one of the old stock arguments of the Protectionists in the days of the Corn-law agitation. We were then told that the repeal of the Corn Laws would be inoperative in affecting the price of bread, or that it would make a difference of only a farthing in the quartern loaf. In those days, however, the Corn-law repealers showed the fallacy of all such calculations, and based their advocacy of the removal of restrictions upon the admission of corn into this country not upon the fact whether the loaf of bread would be sold at a farthing more or less in price, but upon the broader ground that the trade in corn would be set free. No man living is more thoroughly cognisant than Mr. Gladstone that a mere question of a fractional differ- ence in the selling price of an article forms no consideration in a measure directed to setting free the trade in any given commodity. The grand point-indeed the point-is to remove impediments and clear away restrictions. The cost and the selling price are matters rightly left to find their own level, and no statesman now-a-days can be so utterly lost to the lessons of the last twenty years as to attempt to measure the operation of a tax, or estimate the mischief it entails, by a reference to its fractional incidence in retail transactions. If the malt-tax is to be repealed, the consideration of the subject must be approached from a very different point of view, than the mere infinitesimal saving to be effected in a pint of beer. And this Mr. Gladstone knows full well. The right honourable gentleman, however, when bringing forward his budget, was desirous of marshalling in serried array all the argu- ments he could adduce to deprecate the proposal for dealing with the malt-tax, and question of reduction in price to the consumers of beer was by no means the only fallacy to which he condescended with a view to attain his object.-Anti-Mc&lt-ax Circular.

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