Page images

transported down the Vistula. The houses are well built, of stone or brick, and 6 or 7 stories high. The inhabitants are chiefly Lutherans, and amount to 50 or 60,000 souls.

447. Breslaw. Breslaw, the capital of Silesia, is situated on the Oder, at the conflux of the Ohlau. It is a large city, with many regular squares, broad streets, and stately edifices. The inhabitants, who are 50,000 in number, are chiefly Lutherans, with a mixture of Calvinists, Catholics, Greeks and Jews. It is a place of considerable trade, and some valuable manufactures, especi. ally of linen.

448. Warsaw. Warsaw, which before the partition of Poland, was the capital of that kingdom, is now a Prussian city, upon the Vistula, with a population of 66,000 souls. It is partly on a plain, and partly on a declivity. The streets are broad, but ill paved ; the churches, palaces, and other public edifices, large and magnificent ; but the houses in general mean, and the whole city presents the gloomy aspect of poverty and decline. This city was taken by the Russians under Suwarrow in 1794, and the inhabitants of Praga, a town on the opposit side of the river, were mostly slain by the ferocious soldiers after the conflict had ceased.

449. Smaller Towns. Potsdam, 12 miles west of Ber: lin, is situated on an island, and decorated with royal magnificence. It contains 26,000 inhabitants; with numerous elegant edifices, and is occasionally the residence of the Prussian kings. Magdeburg, upon the Elbe, is a strong city, with many manufactures of wool and silk, and a considerable trade. Here is the mausoleum of Otho the Great, and the principal founderies and arsenals of Prussia. Stettin, in Pomerania, on the Oder, contains 18,000 inhabitants; Thorn, on the Vistula, 10,000; and Elbing, 14,000.

450. Manufactures and Commerce. The principal manufacture is the linen of Silesia, but the manufactures of glass, iron, brass, paper, wool and silk are considerable. The silk manufactures are valued at 2 millions of dollars, and part of the silk is produced in the country: Water mills are erected for spinning silks, wool and thred. The flax and hemp produced in the country furnish the materials for the linen manufactures, the exports of which are valued at 6 millions of dollars a year. Amber is an article of export, as are timber, skins, lether, flax and hemp, and especially wheat. Some cotton is manufactured in Prussia, as are porcelain, harda ware, pipes, starch, bleached wax, gloves, tapestry, and many articles of less value.

NETHERLANDS. 457. Name and Division. The territory usually called Netherlands or Low Countries, from their situation in regard to Germany, or the lowness of the lands, was described by the Romans under the names of Batavia and Belgica. The whole territory was formerly divided into 17 provinces, and subject to the king of Spain ; but being much oppressed, the inhabitants revolted, and after a war of many years, seven of the provinces established their independence. These seven are usually styled Holland, or the states of Holland, from hole, a cavity, and land, so called from their low situation. The other ten provinces were called Austrian Netherlands, and remained subject to Austria till conquered by France in 1793.

HOLLAND, OR BATAVIA. 452. Division, Situation and Extent. The provinces. or states of Holland are, Holland, Overyssel, Frisland, Zealand, Utrecht, Groningen, Gelderland and Zutphen, the two latter being united in sovereignty, are called one state. They form a territory of nearly 150 miles. square, between the 50th and 54th degrees of north late itude, and between 3 and 7 east longitude. This territory is bounded on the west and north by the German sea or ocean ; on the east by Germany, and on the south by the Austrian Netherlands or Belgica, or more pro-. perly by France, since Belgica is annexed to that mone archy. The whole population is 2,758,000.

453. Names and History. The territory of Holland, when Cesar conquered Gaul, was inhabited by the Batavi, a people of Teutonic origin. But the original in

habitants were Celts, who had been expelled by the Teutonic invaders. In addition to other names which have been mentioned, the people are called Dutch, or Teutsh, which is supposed to be derived from Teuth or Teut, a celebrated deity or leader among the Germans.* After the Romans abandoned their northern conquests, the risians conquered a part of this territory, and gave name to Frisland. The Franks also overrun a part of the country, but both these tribes were of Teutonic ori. gin, and mingled with the Batavi. After being subject to various princes, this territory fell by marriage to the house of Austria. In 1566, these provinces revolted from Philip, and became ultimately independent. In 1795, Holland was subdued by France, and it has lately been erected into a monarchy under a French king.

454. Face of the Country. Climate. Most of Holland is one continued plain, so low that many parts are below the surface of the ocean at full tide ; the lands having been reclaimed from the ocean, which is shut out by dykes. To the east, however, the land rises gradually into hills, which are covered with wood. In many parts of this territory there are marshes, and the whole is vasiegated with rivers, canals, and cultivated fields. The air, as must be expected in such a low and marsby coun. try, is humid and cool.

455. Rivers. In Holland are two large rivers, the Rhine and Meuse. Just at its entrance into Holland, the Rhine divides into two branches; the northern ono is called the Leck, which originally was a small stream, but receiving the waters of the Rhine, it is now a main branch, which unites with the Meuse in an estuary between Dort and Rotterdam. From this branch formerly issued a large current to the north, formed by the cas nal of Drusus, which connected the Rhine with the Issal, and a lake called Flevo, now the Zuider Zee. But this being afterwards nearly filled with mud, the river returned to the Leck. The southern channel of the Rhine is called the Waal, which unites with the Meuse. The Scheldt also enters Holland, and opening to an estuary,

This word is the radical also of the Greek theos, and the Latin Deus.

washes the south side of Zealand. The Issal and the Wecht are smaller rivers from the borders of Germany.

456, Lakes and Inland Waters. The lakes in Holland are not large, except the sea of Harlem, and the Y, which are hardly to be regarded as lakes of fresh water. The small lakes and morasses are numerous. The Zuider Zee or southern sea, is a large bay or expanse of water, which is said to have been a lake, but has now a communication with the ocean, between the Texel and Holland, and by other channels. By this bay ships pass to Amsterdam. The Dollaat sea is a bay between Groningen and Frisland, said to have been formed by an inundation in 1277, when 33 villages were overwhelmed and destroyed.

457. Religion. The religion of Holland is Calvinism, but all denominations are tolerated. The ecclesiastical persons are of four orders, professors in universities, preachers, elders and deacons. The church is governed by consistories, classes and synods. The consistory is composed of the clergy and elders of a town ; a class is composed of deputies from several towns, and commonly meets three times in a year, a part of its business being to visit the churches and inspect the clergy. The synods are provincial or national, the latter being assembled only on extraordinary occasions. The Catholics have 350 churches in Holland, and there are many Jews, Lutherans, Anabaptists, and a few Quakers.

458. Government. The government is a confederation of republics. Each state has its own council, consisting of nobles and burgesses ; and each sends deputies to the States General, which have the general superintendency of all common concerns, But each state has only a single vote in the States General, and the negative of one state defeats a measure. This caution, which doubtless sprung from a laudable jealousy at first, renders the proceedings of that body too slow for times of difficulty and danger. The chief magistrate was formerly called Stadtholder; but the constitution of Holland has been modelled by the French, and materially altered.

459. Literature. There are five universities in Hole land, at Leyden, Utrecht, Harderwyck, Franecker, and

Groningen, with two inferior colleges at Amsterdam and Deventer, and an academy of sciences at Haerlem. This country has produced many men of eminence in learning, among whom may be named Erasmus, Gro. tius, Boerhaave, Merula, Vossius, Grevius, and others. The Dutch have been remarkable for controversial divinity, and for excellent criticisms on the classics. From the Dutch presses also we have some of the best editions of the Greek and Roman authors. The university of Leyden is the largest and most celebrated ; and many foreigners are invited by the sober, frugal habits of the Dutch, to place their sons at the universities in Holland.

460. Chief Towns. Amsterdam, upon the river Amstel, from which it takes its name, was in 1204 a small castle only, and a retreat for a few fishermen. In 1490 it was first surrounded by a brick wall, and in 1675 was enlarged to its present extent. It is fortified by a ditch 80 feet wide, filled with water, and a brick wall with 26 bastions, on each of which is now a wind-mill. The city is built on piles driven into the mud, and secured from inundations by dykes. The city is crossed by canals, which are lined with hewn stone, and bordered with rows of trees. Over these are numerous stone bridges. The houses are constructed of brickor stone, and kept remarkably clean. None but physicians and great men are permitted to use carriages in the city, and goods are conveyed from place to place on sleds.

461. Edifces. Amsterdam, which contains 220,000 inhabitants, who are of all religious denominations, has 11 Calvinistic churches, 27 chapels for Catholics, with many other houses of worship for other denominations.

The new church, dedicated to St. Catharine, is a mag. nificent structure, with windows elegantly painted, and a pulpit ornamented with various sculpture, and especially a representation of the four evangelists. The organ is one of the best in the world, having 52 stops, besides half stops, two rows of keys for the feet, and three for the hands, with a set of pipes that counterfeit the human'voice. The stadthouse is 282 feet long, 255 feet broad, and 116 feet to the roof, and is erected on 14,000 piles. Its round tower, 50 feet high, contains a harmoa

« PreviousContinue »