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one but a father, mother, brother, or sister, can see them during their confinement, and then only by an order from one of the directors. Husbands may here, upon complaint of extravagancés drunkenness, &c. duly proved, send their wives to be confined and receive the discipline of the house; and wives their husbands, for two, three, and four years together. The allowance of food is abundant and good; and each person is permitted to walk for a proper time in the courts within the building, which are spacious. Every ward is kept locked, and no one can go in or out without the especial permission of the proper officer.
Close to this place is the plantation, a very large portion of ground within the city, laid out in avenues, and a great number of little gardens, formed into several divisions by streets of pretty country and summer-houses; and the whole is surrounded by canals. To this rus in urbe, such of the citizens and their families repair in the summer to dine or drink tea, whose finances, or spirit of economy will not admit of their having a house in the country. To render these rural indulgences as cheap as possible, three or four families join in renting one small cottage, or perhaps a summerhouse and garden. Never did any spot devoted to the pleasure of nature exhibit more silence and solemnity: no sports, no pastime, no laugh nor gambol : the females drink their tea and work, and the men smoke in peaceful taciturnity, and scarcely move their, eyes from their different occupations, unless some very animating and attractive object passes.
In my way from the plantation to the elegant country residence of a Dutch merchant of high respectability, I passed, a few miles from Amsterdam, two burial places of the Jews, who wisely bury their dead in the country; the other inhabitants follow the baneful practice of burying in the churches and church-yards in the city, where the catholics deposit their dead very frequently in protestant churches. In Holland the honours of funeral pomp are scarcely ever displayed: the spirit of economy, which seems to be the tutelar saint of these moist regions, seldom incurs a further expense than a plain coffin, which costs little, and some genuine tears or sighs, which cost nothing. To describe the numerous churches,'s Chapels, and conventicles of the religious of all persuasions, who since the revolution live in cordial amity with each other, and with the government, under which they enjoy the rights of equal citizenship, would be a laborious and not a very interesting labour. The quakers here, and in every other town in Holland, are very few: the Jews and the anabaptists are very numerous, and there are many Roman catholics. Before the revolution the clergy of the established church were paid by the government; they, as well as every other priest or pastor, are now supported at fixed salaries, raised rateably amongst the inhabitants of the parishes in which they officiate, each sect supporting its own minister. In every parish registers of births, marriages, and deaths are regularly kept. The church-yards are not disgraced, like ours, with low facetious epitaphs, more calculated to make the living merry, than to lead them to serious meditation. Each parish maintains its own poor, under the control of a council. They have also, as with us, outdoor
poor. The sabbath is kept in Holland with the same solemnity as in England. The great number of noble charitable institutions in Amsterdam, in which the sick and the friendless of all persuasions are received and cherished, without any recommendation but that of affliction, cannot fail to impress a stranger with admiration, though to enumerate them here would not be very entertaining to the reader.
There are several literary societies in Amsterdam, which are supported with equal spirit and liberality. The Felix Meritis is the principal public institute; it is supported by private subscriptions: no money is paid upon admission; foreigners are admitted with a subscriber's ticket, but no native can be received unless he is a subscriber. This place is a large building, containing some fine apartments, particularly the music-room, which, during the concerts, is much resorted to by the most opulent and fashionable families, many of whom play, with the assistance of professional performers. There are also rooms devoted to philosophy and the arts. In the painting-room I was shown some works of the modern Dutch painters, which were not above mediocrity; they appear to have lost that exquisite art of colouring, which so emi. nently distinguished their predecessors. This circumstance is very singular, considering how many ingenious artists this city has produced, amongst whom may be enumerated the three Does, Griffier, Schellinks, the celebrated Adrian, and William Vandervelde, &c. M. Smit, and Mr. De Winter, very opulent merchants, have a fine collection of paintings. Mr. Van Brenton has also a valuable cabinet, in which are the only Venetian pictures sup. posed to be in Holland; and in the surgery is a noble picture by Rembrandt.
THE DUTCH THEATRE....THEATRICAL TRAFFIC....THE RONDELL
...SINGULAR VILLAGE OF BROCK.....SAARDAM.....COTTAGE OF
PETER THE GREAT....CLIMATE, DIVISIONS, AND POPULATION OF HOLLAND...JOURNEY TO ZEYST....DUTCH FOND OF COFFEE.... SMALL FARMS....PICTURE OF A DUTCH PEASANT'S NEST....EF
THE Dutch theatre is large and handsome, and has a noble front. On the night I was there, Madam Wattier performed : she occupies the same place in the public estimation in Holland as the immortal Siddons does in that of England: she is advanced in years, but still continues to display great tragic qualities : at the same time her manner is rather too vehement for an English auditor. The principal dancer in the ballet was Mademoiselle Polly, who dances with great agility. The scenery is good. During the interval between the acts, the people quit the house, to take refreshments and walk in the open air: upon these occasions the national spirit is again displayed : as there is no half-price, little boys hover round the doors, and bid upon each other for the purchase of the re-admission tickets of those who come out, for the purpose of re-selling them at a profit. The French theatre is small but neat, and tolerably well supplied with perforiners. After the play it is usual to go out to the Rondell, where the higher classes of the women of the town assemble to waltz. This assembly-room, like the spill-house of Rotterdam, is frequented by tradesmen, their wives and their children. After hearing so much of this place, I. was greatly disappointed on viewing it. The assembly-room is small and shabby, the music wretched, and adjoining is a small square court, with three or four trees in it, scantily decorated with about a dozen lamps. Such is the celebrated Rondell of Amsterdam, which the Dutch who have never visited England contend is superior to our Vauxhall.
With a large and very agreeable party, I made an excursion into North Holland, where we visited Brock, one of the most curious, and one of the prettiest villages in Holland. The streets are divided by, little rivulets; the houses and summer-houses, formed of wood painted green and white, are very handsome, though whimsical in their shape, and are all remarkably neat. They are like so many mausoleums, for the silence of death reigns throughout the place. The inhabitants, who have formed a peculiar association amongst themselves, scarcely ever admit a stranger within their doors, and hold but little intercourse with each other. During our stay, we saw only the faces of two of them, and those by a stealthy peep. They are very rich, so much so, that many of their culinary utensils are of solid gold. The shutters of the windows in front of the houses are always kept shut, and the principal entrance is never opened but on the marriage or the death of one of the family. The pavement of the street is tesselated with all sorts of little pebbles and cockle-shells, and is kept in such exquisite order, that a dog or a cat is never seen to trespass upon it; and it is said, that formerly there was a law which obliged all passengers to take off their shoes in the summer when they walked upon it; that a man was once reprimanded for sneezing in the streets; and latterly, a clergyman, upon being appointed to fill the church on the demise of a very old predecessor, was treated with great shyness by his flock because he did not (unwittingly) take off his shoes when he ascended the pulpit. The gardens of this village produce deer, dogs, peacocks, chairs, tables, and ladders, cut out in box. Such a museum of vegetable statuary I never witnessed before. Brock represents a sprightly ball-room well lighted up, without a soul in the orchestra or upon the floor. From Brock we proceeded to Saardam, which at a small distance seems to be a city of windmills. The houses are principally built of wood, every one of which has a little fantastic baby-sort of garden. Government has discon