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PRUSSIA-NORTHERN GERMANY-THE RHINE, &c.
46. Passports. -47. Custom Houses. 48. Prussian Money. · ling in Prussia; Posting or Extra Post; Roads; Tolls. -50. Schnellposts. 51. Inns.
(The names of places are printed in italics only in those Routes where they are described.)
THE Prussian minister in London rarely gives passports to any but Prussian subjects; but he will countersign a Dutch or Belgian passport, and there is no difficulty in procuring one from the Prussian consul for 7s. (see Introduction, d. PASSPORTS).
PASSPORTS are seldom demanded in the Prussian dominions except on the frontier, where travellers' names, &c. are entered in a book kept for the purpose at the police office. The arrangements of the passport department are such, that at whatever hour of day or night the traveller may arrive, his papers can be countersigned at once, without delaying him on his journey. Should the traveller take with him from London any other than a Prussian passport, he should at least secure, there or elsewhere, the signature of a Prussian minister or consul. On the whole, the police regulations are by no means troublesomely strict. The stranger is not stopped and questioned at the gate of every town he enters, but gives his passport to the landlord of his inn to forward to the authorities.
The one-headed black eagle, and the alternate black and white stripe on toll-bars, doors, and sentry-boxes, invariably announce the Prussian frontier, and the vicinity of the douane (zollhaus).
The Prussian custom-house system (§ 32.) now prevails in the greater part of Germany, and is sometimes administered by Prussian officials, even in the states of other princes. The examination is strict, without being vexatious. The Prussian douanier (often an old soldier invalided) is above taking a bribe, or rather, government regulates matters so as to prevent his taking one. person offering a bribe is even liable to punishment by law. Strangers are treated with invariable civility, provided they conduct themselves becomingly.
The Hanse towns (excepting Frankfurt), Hanover, and Mecklenburg, have not acceded to the Prussian tariff.
48. PRUSSIAN MONEY.
The Prussian Silver Coins in use are
The Dollar (Thaler), containing 30 silver groschen (S. gr.), or 24 gute (good) groschen, about 3s. English. (In Brunswick and Hanover accounts are still kept in good groschen). The Double Dollar.
The dollar is divided into pieces of
Paper Money (Kassen Anweisungen or Scheine) is issued in notes of the value of 1 thaler, 5 thalers, 50 thalers, and upwards, which are very convenient for carrying, though sometimes dirty. As they are often called in, travellers should not retain them in their possession, as they might do, for another journey, as there is no chance for obtaining value for them afterwards.
Accounts must now be kept in Silver Groschen (S. gr.); but sometimes, in private transactions, the old division of the Dollar into 24 good (gute) groschen is made use of, especially in shops. Care should be taken not to pay in gute groschen an account which may have been made up in silver gr.
Prussian Gold Coins are —
Double Friedrichs d'or 10 thaler 11 dol. 10 S. gr.
Single Friedrichs d'or
5 dol. 20 S. gr.
17. 138. 7 d. 16s. 93d. 8s. 4d.
The Silver Dollars of Prussia go through all the states of the Zollverein ($32.); also the paper currency, but not the Gold, nor the subdivisions of the Dollar.
Some of the States of the Union, especially those of South Germany, have retained the gulden or florin as the unit; 7 gulden
are not so easily passed in N. Germany.
The Kassen Scheine of other states do not pass readily in Prussia. "It may be useful to warn English travellers, that the values marked on German coins are sometimes not the value at which the coin passes. Thus the double Friedrichs d'or (not of Prussian coinage), though current at 11 dollars 10 S. gr., are marked X. Thaler; and the silver pieces marked 10 and 20 kreutzers, and which are current at that value in Austria, are worth 12 and 24 in Bavaria, Baden, Wurtemburg, Frankfurt, and wherever the currency consists of gulden of the value of 20d. English.
Value of Foreign Coins in Prussian dollars and S. gros. :
49. TRAVELLING IN PRUSSIA POSTING OR EXTRA-POST.-ROADS.—TOLLS.
Posting or Extra Post.—A copy of the printed Posting Regulations for Prussia may be obtained at every post-office. The traveller will find them very much in his favour, and in no country is he better protected against imposition.
The posting establishments of Prussia are managed by the government, and are very well conducted. The postmasters are a respectable class of men, often retired officers: in any disputes with postilions, &c., the traveller may generally refer to them with safety. Travellers have seldom to wait at the station for horses, even on the less frequented roads. At every stage the postmaster must present (without its being asked for) a printed receipt (quittung), including the charge for horses, according to the number; for greasing wheels (schmier-geld), ostler (wagen-meister), and tolls (Chaussée, Damm, and Brucke-geld), which must be paid in advance before setting out.
Every horse costs 12 S. gr. per German mile, in the provinces bordering on the Rhine, and in Westphalia, which is the same rate as in France, but the Prussian horses are better. In other parts of Prussia, the charge is only 10 S. gr. per horse.
By the new Prussian posting regulations of 1838, the number of horses to be attached depends on the character of the road (whether macadamised or not), on the kind of carriage, and the weight of the carriage and the baggage it contains. In case of any dispute about the weight, the traveller may demand that the packages be weighed (gratuitously) in his presence. In computing the weight, the passengers are included in the ratio of 50 lbs. for a child from 5 to 12 years old, 100 lbs. for a young person under 16, and 150 lbs. for all above that age. As a general rule, a light calèche, open barouche, or britzka, holding 4 or 5 persons, with little baggage, requires only 3 horses; with fewer than 4 persons, 2 horses will suffice. Fewer than 3 horses are never attached to a close carriage, landau, or berline. 1 postilion is allowed to drive 5 horses, but, if the traveller require it, he may have 2: with 6 horses 2 postilions are indispensable. When
the carriage is drawn by only 2 horses, if the postilion cannot drive from the box, a third horse must be taken for him to ride on. The postilion is allowed 40 minutes for driving each German mile (nearly 5 Eng. m.) on good roads. Postilions' Trinkgeld. The postilion is entitled by the tariff to receive for 2 horses, 5 S. gr.; for 3 or four horses, 7 S. gr.; and for 5 or more horses, 7 S. gr. for each postilion per German mile. The postilion is not allowed to ask for any thing above the tariff; but he expects something extra. In the Rhenish provinces they are usually paid at the rate of 1 horse; in Old Prussia they get from 8 to 10 S. gr. per German mile.
Post Calèches. Travellers not having a carriage of their own can be accommodated with a calèche (equivalent to our post-chaise, but open, and not equally clean) at every post station. The charge for such a carriage per stage varies from 7 to 10 S. gr.
Down to 1814, the only good road was that from Berlin to Magdeburg. In no country in Europe, probably, were worse roads to be found than in Prussia, 20 years ago. In that space of time an immense improvement has been effected; all the main roads have been macadamised for the greater part of their extent, and are almost equal to the best in England.
Travellers desirous of getting over their ground expeditiously should without fail have recourse to the Laufzettel (§ 34.).
Tolls. In posting, all charges for roads and barriers are included in the postmaster's ticket, and paid to him—a great convenience.
The Prussian Mail-coaches are called Schnellposten (§ 35.); they are gene. rally well managed, being under the direction of the government, and the coachoffice and post-office are usually in the same building; they go at the rate of about 6 miles an hour on an average, and are on the whole roomy and comfortable vehicles. The usual cost of travelling by them is 9 or 10 S. gr. per German mile, including postilions and every thing else. It is entirely optional to give any thing to the conducteur. The passport, properly signed, must be shown before a place can be taken, and the fare must be paid beforehand: a receipt is given in acknowledgment of it.
The Prussian coaches have no outside places; and no difference is made in the price of the front or back part of the carriage, as is done in France. The places are all numbered, and those who apply first have the corner seats. In most cases, when all the places in the coach are taken, a traveller will be forwarded in a bye-chaise, which starts at the same time, even if there be only one person to be conveyed in it. Smoking is not allowed, unless the passengers
themselves permit it.
The allowance of luggage is very small indeed, too small; usually only 30 lbs. may be taken free of expense, and 20 lbs. more by paying for it. The regulations respecting over-weight (§ 38.) are very strictly enforced at the Prussian post-offices. Every article is weighed before it is placed on the coach, and a heavy charge is made for extra weight. Large wooden boxes are generally rejected, and must be sent by the Packwagen. The luggage must be conveyed to the office one hour before the coach starts, in order to be weighed and packed. Each package must bear the name and address of the owner. Great care is taken of the luggage the moment it has been consigned to the post-office, and the porters belonging to the establishment will convey it to, and from, the owner's lodgings at a charge fixed by government, and never exceeding 5 S. gr. (6d.)
Throughout the Prussian dominions, at every inn or post-house where the
Schnellpost stops, a room, called Passagier Stube, is provided for the reception of passengers, where they can obtain such refreshments as bread and butter (butterbrod), a sandwich, and a cup of coffee. A tariff fixing the prices of refreshment is hung up in the traveller's room, and a control-book is kept for entering complaints, should it be found necessary.
Travellers in Prussia are protected by a regulation of the police from the impositions of innkeepers, who are compelled to hang up in every apartment, or at least in the public room, a Tariff, or list of charges for lodging, food, fuel, servants, valets-de-place, &c. This is inspected periodically by a proper officer, who regulates the price of each article, and ascertains that none of the charges are exorbitant. The rule of hanging up the tariff is generally infringed on the Rhine, but the traveller may insist on seeing it, if necessary.
The usual charges are-for a room on the first floor, 15-20 S. gr.; 2d or 3d floor, 10-12 S. gr.; table d'hôte, 24 S. gr. with wine; breakfast, coffee, or tea, with bread and butter, 8 S gr. (beefsteak or eggs, 6 S. gr.); tea, 8 S. gr.; valet-de-place, 15-20 S gr., or 1 florin per diem. A good custom prevails (or rather did prevail) in the inns at Berlin and elsewhere, of sending in your bill every morning for the previous day. This prevents any error arising from lapse of time, and it is by no means meant that the stranger should pay his bill every day, unless he wishes it. Some English people have taken offence at this custom, not perceiving that it is intended to prevent disputes and fraud. In a great many of the best hotels of the principal towns in Germany, the custom has been introduced of inserting in the bill a regular charge, per day, for the servants. It is a custom which relieves the traveller from much perplexity and annoyance. This charge ought not to exceed 8 S. groschen, or a forin, or 1 franc a day for each person.