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All the principal country-houses have a wooden letter-box standing upon the margin of the canal, into which one of the boatmen, upon the treckschuyt being steered close to the adjoining bank, without stopping, drops the letters and parcels directed to the family residing there. In no part of the continent is social intercourse and communication so frequent, cheap, and certain.

For keeping the dams and roads in repair, turnpikes are established at proper distances, and the care of their repair is confided to directors, who are always gentlemen of high respectability, and receive a fixed salary for their services. The principal roads are kept in good condition; and, on account of the flatness of the country, are very easy for the horses, but the bye roads are intolerably bad.

In the steerage I found three very handsome and well-bred Dutch young ladies seated, one of whom spoke English very well: they all insisted upon my being an Englishman the moment l'entered the boat; how they could think so, the spirit of physiognomy, if there be such a spirit, must explain; for in my best hours of health and delight, Jolin Bull would scarcely acknowledge me for one of his family.

My charming companions talked much of Shakspeare and Milton, with both of whom they seemed to be familiar. They entered with much ability on Desdemona's wish, alluding to her passion for Othello, “ that Heaven had made her such a man." Two of the three fair disputants contended that she would have been more happy had Providence made her a man, and such a man as Othello; the other observed that was impossible, for as she was deeply in love with the Moor it would have been irreconcileable to her passion to wish to be of his own sex, by which she could have felt only friendship for him. I was so pleased with my fair voyageurs, who talked, sung, and laughed, with so much talent, taste, and vivacity, that our two hours or six miles, the distance from Delft to the Hague passed rapidly away, and tempted me not to quit the vessel to visit the village of Ryswick, which lies about half way, and is only about half a mile from the canal, and, I am told, abounds with beauty and richness of scenery. It is known to the

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political world for the celebrated peace concluded there at a little palace of William III. called the House of Neubeurg, after a nine years' war, on the 20th September, 1697, between Louis XIV. and the confederate powers, called the Treaty of Ryswick. I mention this as a guide for strangers who may follow me, and who may not be fascinated as I was by my situation in the boat and content with the highly cultivated and embellished scenery around me. A man must be in bad humour with nature indeed, who can pass, in the summer, from Delft to the Hague without emotions of strong delight.

As we approached the Hague, the scenery became more refined and beautiful, and the last light of a setting sun purpled the lofty edifices of that celebrated city; it was quite dusk as we passed the water-houses, in which the royal yachts are contained, the rich gilded carving of which was just visible through the grated doors; and after gliding along the suburbs, which were well lighted though not in this respect comparable with London, I disembarked, bade adieu to my charming companions, and proceeded with my usual attendant, through the greater part of the city to the Mareschal de Turenne, an excellent hotel, but at a most inconvenient distance from the place where the Delft boats stop, and where those for Leyden or Haerlem start from.

The morning after my arrival there was a grand review of the Dutch troops, who presented a very soldierly appearance; that of the body-guard, both horse and infantry, was very superb in military appointments. I was well informed that the king felt so secure in his government, that there were not at this time twenty French soldiers in the country, and that, accompanied by his queen, he was attending to his health at the waters of Wisbąden, in the south of Germany. The French interest, however, was predominant, and it was indispensably necessary that the passport of every foreigner should be countersigned by the French consul, whose fiat upon all such occasions was final.

The king had been at the Hague, or rather at his palace in the wood adjoining, only about six weeks, in the course of which, I was credibly informed, he had displayed uncommon activity and talent in the discharge of the great duties of his station. Although an invalid, he was at his bureau with his ministers every morning at six o'clock, which he never quitted until the busine

of the day was completed. The poor-laws occupied much of his attention, and they are, I hear, to undergo a considerable amelioration. I have already mentioned his abolition of useless offices, sinecures, and unmerited pensions, the reduction of excessive salaries, and an extension of the time devoted to the service of the state in the public offices. These advantages could only be expected to flow from that vast power which revolutions, after their effervescence has subsided, generally deposit with some fortunate individual, who, if he has talent and good inclination, is enabled to consult the prosperity of a state, by measures at once prompt, summary, and efficacious, unretarded by forms, clashing interests, or hoáry prejudices. The first of the new has ever this advantage over the last • of an old dynasty.

The hereditary successor of a long line of princes is like the owner of an ancient mansion devolved to him by hereditary right; he must take the edifice as it is, with its commodious and inconvenient chambers, its fantastic turrets and heavy chimney-pieces, its dark and its cheerful passages; or if he alters, it must be with a cautious and gentle hand, otherwise the whole fabric will fall about his ears; whilst he who is elevated by revolutions to command, may choose his ground, build wholly with new, or partly with the old materials of the prostrate constitution.

In order to appreciate the present constitution, it may be necessary to take a slight review of the old one. Anterior to 1747 the United Provinces subsisted in one common confederacy, yet each province had an internal government or constitution, wholly independent of the others, called the States of such a Province, and its delegates the States General, in whom the supreme sovereignty of the whole confederacy was lodged; and notwithstanding the number of delegates which a province might send, yet in every constitutional measure each province had only one voice, and the sanction of every firovince, and of every city within it, was necessary before such a measure could pass into a law, and every reso:

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lution of the states of a particular province required unanimous adoption. The Council of State consisted also of deputies from the several provinces, but differed in its constitution from the States General; it was composed of twelve persons, of whom Holland sent three; Guelderland, two; Zealand, two; Utrecht, two; Friesland, one; Overyssel, one; and Groningen, one. Such deputies could only vote personally: it was their department to prepare estimates, and ways and means, &c. to be submitted to the States General. The states of the provinces were styled “ Noble and Mighty Lords;" those of Holland, “ Noble and most Mighty Lords;" and the States General, “ High and Mighty Lords,” or " the Lords of the States General of the United Netherlands," or “their High Mightinesses.” Queen Elizabeth called them in her time Messieurs the States. The Chamber of Accounts, in which all the public accounts were audited, and composed of provincial deputies, was placed under these two bodies. The executive part of the Admiralty was committed to five colleges, in the three maritime provinces of Holland, Zealand and Frieseland. In Holland the people were excluded from choosing their representatives or magistrates. In Amsterdam, which had precedence in all public deliberations, the magistracy was lodged in thirty-six senators chosen for life, and every vacancy filled up by the survivors, and the representatives for the cities in the province of Holland, were elected by the same senate.

Such a complicated piece of machinery must have proceeded slowly if it proceeded regularly, and must have been constantly exposed to the peril of being disordered, without a principal head to guide it, which led to the stadtholdership becoming hereditary' in the year 1747. The wonderful and constant vicissitudes to which Holland has been exposed, rendered such an expedient, however, objectionable; it afterwards proved to be in many instances necessary to the preservation of the country. The history of the republic for 147 years, namely, from its first entering the field of battle in 1566 to the peace of Utrecht in 1713, is a tissue of battles lost and won. The twelve years' truce which produced an hiatus in her many wars with Spain, did not extend to the Indian possessions


of the Dutch; and after a prodigal effusion of blood, the peace obtained in 1648 lasted only four years. The first war with Great Britain continued to 1654; and scarcely had the republic tasted of the sweets of peace before she was roused to resist at the same time the arms of Portugal, Denmark, and Sweden; and in the North their hostilities continued till 1660, and in the South to 1661: then immediately followed a fierce contest with Great Britain, which did not close till the treaty at Breda in 1667, and the moment that was concluded, the country was invaded by Louis the Fourteenth.

A respite of three years followed, when the republic was unexpectedly attacked by the united forces of England and France, both on the sea and shore; and after a carnage of six years more, the peace of Nimeguen was concluded in 1678; which, however, was fettered with several severe stipulations imposed by the French monarch. In 1688 the Prince of Orange sailed for England, to occupy its vacant throne; an event which involved the Dutch in a nine years' war: the peace of Ryswick was scarcely signed, when the Spanish succession again called them forth to arms, which they did not lay down tin after a slaughter of eleven years.

The peace of Utrecht gave them a slight repose, which was frequently disturbed by the insults and predatory attacks of the African corsairs upon the Dutch flag in the Mediterranean. The internal troubles of the republic, from its revolution, and its final submission to the French arms followed. Such is the brief history of a country which, in a political and physical view, may be truly called extraordinary.

The first princes of the House of Orange, by the illustrious services which they rendered the state by their wars and negotiations, were rewarded by its confidence and employments of the highest dignity and trust, which were conferred upon them by the grateful approbation and concurrence of the most rigid republicans.

These princes, in obedience to that law of nature which seems to be pretty equally predominant amongst all her sons, extended the power they enjoyed as often as they had the means, and what they gave to themselves was taken from the liberties of the people;

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