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an improved condition to other countries. A nation can only become rich from trade when its exports for the use of foreign states is in a greater proportion than its imports for its own consumption. An impression has gone forth, that a nation cannot be impoverished if the importation of foreign merchandize be purchased abroad by native commodity and not with specie; whereas upon a nation striking the balance of her account with the country she may have dealt with, it will be found that the deficiency on the side of her exportation must be made up in specie. Hence an industrious and frugal people like the Dutch will, when their country is in a state of tranquillity, possess great advantages over most other nations. Industry increases the native commodity, whether it arises from the soil or the manufacture, and increases the exportation. Frugality will lessen the consumption, and of course increase the exportation of native, and reduce the importation of foreign produce, for home consumption. The excess of all native commodities is sure of a market, of which those who can sell the cheapest will be the masters: hence a frugal and industrious people will be able to live and accumulate, where those who are neither could not live. This spirit of industry and frugality has been for ages, and still continues to be the guardian of this nation, by which it was enabled to support its many, long, and costly wars, and finally to force the king of Spain, its ancient master, to recognise its independent sovereignty. Although the Hollanders, before the last war, were the undisputed proprietors of the Indian spices, of the silks of India and China, and of the fine cotton manufactures of Indostan, till a period at no great distance the common people wore plain woollen cloth, and fed on fish and vegetables. So universally powerful was this propensity'to economy, that formerly the common people, and even opulent merchants, never changed their fashions, and left off their clothes only because they were worn out. They have been known to purchase the coarse English cloth for their own wear, and sell their own fine Leyden cloths to Germany, Turkey, Portugal, and other countries: they also bought the cheapest butter and cheese in the north of England, and in Ireland, for their own consumption, and sent the best of those articles pro
duced in their own country to foreign markets. The wealth which many individuals accumulated by their parsimonious habits was astonishing. The following anecdote will place this part of the national character in a striking point of view. As the marquis of Spinola and the president Richardot were going to the Hague in the year 1608, for the purpose of negotiating a truce with the Dutch, they saw on their way eight or nine persons step out of a little boat, and seat themselves upon the grass, where they made a frugal repast upon some bread, cheese, and beer; each person taking his own provisions from a wallet which he carried behind him. Upon the Spanish ambassadors inquiring of a peasant who these travellers were, he replied, to their no little astonishment," they are the deputies of the states, our sovereign lords and masters." Upon which the ambassadors exclaimed, “ We shall never be able to conquer these people; we must make peace with them.” In the history of Sparta we can only look for a similar instance of virtuous simplicity.
Another source from which Amsterdam derived great wealth was the exchange and banking business. From her peculiar situation, vast credit; and extensive correspondence with every nation upon the face of the globe, this city has been the channel through which nearly three parts of the money remitted from one state to another in Europe have passed, and which have enriched the merchants by the customary commissions upon such remittances: to which may be added the duties payable upon all imports received from the manufactures of the western part of Germany, upon all goods which in their transit by the Rhine and by the Maas to foreign markets must pass through Amsterdam or Rotterdam, from which Holland must have derived a considerable revenue. In short, in other and better times, the trade with Great Britain, Persia, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Cochin and its dependencies, Molucca, China, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Pomerania, Livonia, the possession of that important promontory the Cape of Good Hope, and the commerce of the Elbe, the Weser, and the Maas, all contributed to raise Amsterdam to the commercial renown which she once enjoyed. Yet, notwithstanding, under all her difficulties, arising from her territorial and marine losses by the
war, the severity of the English blockade, the activity of the English cruizers, and of the French privateers, Holland still continues to carry on a considerable intercourse with her old connexions through the medium of neutral bottoms, secured by insurances effected frequently at the enormous premium of 2010 per cent.
To return to the Exchange of this great city: I was much struck with the confluence of people which surrounded one gentleman, who stood with his back towards one of the pillars, and were very eager to get a word or a whisper from him: upon inquiry this proved to be the acting partner of the house of Messrs. Hope; a house that, before the last war, could at any time dictate the exchange to Europe. This place is infested by a great number of Jew fruiterers, who practise all sorts of stratagems to set off their fruit, such as pinning the stalk of a fresh melon upon the bottom of a stale and rotten one, which had nearly succeeded with me. The melon's in Holland are remarkably fine; and as a proof of their cheapness, I need only mention, that one morning, when strolling through the streets, I gave no more than the value of ten pence for a very large one, exquisitely flavoured.
I was much pleased with seeing the marine school, which, although its object is to form a nursery for naval officers, was, strange to relate, much neglected by the stadtholderian government, and was originally instituted, and afterwards supported, by the patriotic spirit of private individuals. The pupils are the children of citizens of all classes, and are received from seven to twelve years of age, upon the payment of a very moderate yearly stipend. Their education and treatment are the same as in similar institutions here and in other countries. In the yard is a brig completely rigged, for the instruction of the boys.
In the north-east part of the city stands the Rapshuys, or rasphouse, in which criminals, whose offences are not of a capital nature, are confined. A narrow court receding from the street, in which are the keeper's lodge and apartments for the different officers, form the entrance of this prison. Over the gate are some insignificant, painted, wooden figures, representing criminals sawing logwood, and Justice holding a rod over them. The gaoler, apparently a good natured, merry fellow, showed me into the inner court, forming an oblong square, on three sides of which the cells of the prisoners, and on the fourth side the warehouses, containing the ground dying wood, are arranged. This yard is very much encumbered with piles of log-wood, which sadly reduce the miserable pittance of space allotted for the prisoners to walk in. In one corner, in terrorem, is a whipping-post, with another little figure of Justice holding a rod. In this yard I saw some of the men sawing the Campeachy-wood, with a saw of prodigious large teeth, which appeared to be a work of extreme labour; and upon my so expressing myself to the gaoler, through my lacquais de place, he informed me, that at first it required a painful exertion of strength, but that the prisoners by practice were enabled to saw it with ease, and to supply their weekly quota of two hundred pounds weight of sawed pieces, and also to make a variety of little articles in straw, bone, wood, and copper, to sell to those who visited the prison. The prison dress consists of a jacket, or surtout of white wollen, white shirts, hats, flannel stockings, and leather shoes. The conduct of these unfortunate persons is annually reported to the magistrate, who regulates the period of their confinement, where the case will admit of an exercise of discretion, by such report.
In a corner of the yard I was shown a cell, in which, if the person who is confined in it does not incessantly pump out the water let into it, he must inevitably be drowned; but the gaoler informed me, that it had not been used for many years, and that it was now only an object of terror. In the warehouses, which are very shabby, were piles of rasped wood for dyeing various colours; amongst others, the Evonymus Europaeus, the Morus Tinctoria, and the Hæmotoxylum Campechionum. I was informed, that women who are attached to the prisoners, are permitted to visit them at stated periods, without any restraint, by which one of the great political objects of Holland, the encouragement of population, does not suffer by this wholesome separation of the faulty from the blameless members of society. The number of prisoners amounted to 124; they were far from looking healthy; this I attributed more to the height of the walls enclosing the yard, which, as well as the
number of logwood piles, must greatly impede the circulation of the air, than to excess of toil and severity of treatment. The prisoners are not encumbered with irons, and I should think an escape from such a prison might be easily effected.
From the rasp-house I proceeded to the work-house, in the east quarter of the city, close to the Muider and Prince Gragts, an establishment which I believe has no parallel in the world. It is a vast building: the purposes to which it is applied are partly correctional and partly charitable. The number of persons within its walls, when I saw it, amounted to seven hundred and fifty of both sexes, and the annual expense is about one hundred thousand florins. In the rooms belonging to the governors and directresses, are some exquisite pictures by Vandyke, Rembrandt, and Jordaens. In a vast room very cleanly kept and well ventilated, were an immense number of women, occupied in sewing, spinning, &c.; amongst them was a fine, handsome, hearty looking Irish woman, who had been confined two years at the instance of her husband, for being more fond of a little true Schidam gin than of her liege spouse. In another vast apartment, secured by massy iron railing and grated windows, were about seventy female convicts, who appeared to be in the highest state of discipline, and were very industriously and silently engaged in making lace, &c. under the superintendency of a governess. From the walls of the room were suspended instruments of punishment, such as scourges, irons for the legs, &c. which, we were informed, were not spared upon the slightest appearance of insubordination. These women are always kept apart from the rest. The wards of the men, and the school-rooms for a great number of children, who are educated and maintained under the same roof, as well as the dormitories, were in the highest state of neatness. In another part of this building, never shown to strangers, were confined about ten young ladies, of very respectable, and some of very high families, sent there by their parents or friends for undutiful deportment, or some other domestic offence. They are compelled to wear a particular dress as a mark of degradation, obliged to work a stated number of hours a day, and are occasionally whipped: they are kept apart by themselves, and no