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THE Dutch provinces, or Batavia, are stated by Zimmermann to be only 10,000 square miles in extent: and in that small extent they have a population of 2,360,000 persons, or 236 to a square mile.
This republic may be said to have been founded by industry on the basis of liberty.—The nature of their country, a great part of which is gained from the sea, appears to have concurred with climate and political circumstances to form the national character. Civil and religious liberty occasioned an abundant population; and industry and perseverance in commercial enterprise maintained it. Without continual exertion they could neither have excluded the ocean, nor have subsisted themselves, nor have maintained their independency of Spain.
For some ages, when commerce was less attended to by other nations, they were the common carriers of Europe.—Their East India trade is said to produce an annual profit of 12,700,000 florins, beside that of the trade to Japan, which is computed at 20,000 florins. They have moreover, a great trade to the West Indies, to the Baltic, and to other parts.
Their fisheries are another great source of wealth. The whale fishery, though much declined, employs one hundred vessels, and their cod fishery an hundred and forty.
Their soil, by continual labour and skilful cultivation, they render very productive. Among other articles of product is madder, of which the island of Schouwen alone is said to have produced 2,00o,00olb.—The
English have taken .=£.300,000 of this article, used for dying red colours. in one year.
Such is the effect of industry in overcoming difficulties, that we find an infinite number of rich manufactures established in this country, where there are comparatively few materials produced.—It is remarked by the author before cited that there are numberless artists employed in metals, where there is no mine, and thousands of saw-mills, where there is scarce any forest.—He informs us likewise that there are at Saardam nine hundred windmills, some used for grinding corn, others for sawing timber, and others for making paper.—Such was the wealth arising from all these sources, that we are informed upon the. same authority, that the revenue of the seven provinces when he wrote f amounted to more than 45,000,000 florins, nearly a£.4,500,000. *
A new constitution was framed, as we have already seen, in the year 1801. But the future destiny of the provinces appears to be yet uncertain. The opposition of the Louvestein party to the power of the prince of Orange, and their jealousy of Great Britain and Prussia as his partisans, threw them into the hands of France, and they are at present at the devotion of that state.
THE ancient monarchy of France being entirely subverted, we feel but little concern about the establishments or the measures of domestic government which immediately preceded the revolution, except such as enable us to judge of the merits of those persons whose fortunes were involved in it.
To those who are desirous of knowing the sentiments of men of judgment respecting the state of Europe before it took place, of knowing whether there were any symptoms from which it might have been presaged, the following will be interesting.—Six years only before that event, we find baron de Hertzberg, minister of state to the great Frederic, and his confidant, thus addressing the academy of Berlin, of which he was president, upon the happy state of Germany and of Europe. After doing honour to the German people, to whose valour and energy chiefly he ascribed it that their country had never been conquered, nor had ever undergone those revolutions which had happened in other states, and saying that the preservation of the Germanic system was essential to*the well-being of Europe, he proceeds thus: "the German empire, "situated in the centre of Europe, seems designed by nature to hold the "balance in this quarter of the world, to prevent the equilibrium from "being destroyed among the other powers, or any such revolution from "taking place as might endanger the general safety and independency.— "If Germany, on the contrary, were governed by one despotic and am
"bitious sovereign, it would not be impossible for him, at the head of a "warlike nation, the most numerous of any in Europe, to extend his "power on various sides, and, under cover of plausible pretensions, to "destroy the balance of .power himself, and effect great revolutions.^ "Happily for the general welfare, we may hope that this case never will "again take place, and that no revolutions are now to be apprehended, "either in the Germanic empire, or in the rest of Europe, since the Ger"manic body has been so well established by internal laws, by treaties with "foreign powers, by its various guarantees, and perhaps still more by the. "happy and well proportioned distribution of power and force of its "different members, and since all the powers of Europe have, after the "example of our sovereign, formed well-trained and disciplined standing "armies, which, although maintained at the expence of the several nations* "secure them from the far greater evil of those wars by which the finest "countries have been desolated. Those great revolutions, therefore, "are no more to be feared, but by nations at a distance from Europe, or "such as do not know how to govern or to defend themselves. History will "never be again rendered interesting by the brilliant but afflicting re"presentations of revolutions, conquests, battles, and those which are "improperly termed great events. Sovereigns can never again immor"talize their names and their reigns but by encouraging agriculture and "commerce, and promoting the prosperity of their subjects: but they "will, by these means, attain that fame which is more permanent and "• honourable than the most memorable conquests."'
Such were the sentiments of an intelligent statesman upon the general state of things, such were the halcyon days which he prognosticated, when the volcano was ready to burst which was to shake all Europe, to deprive the German emperor and states of a great part of that weight on which he felicitated them, which enabled them to hold the balance of Europe; at the eve of a revolution and war which have raised France to a greater degree of power than that which would have been possessed by a sole monarch of Germany, and which he deprecated as what would he • fatal to the general peace and independency.
If it be asked, what concern we have with these flattering presages
which have not been verified, an answer may easily be given: that every existing state may be admonished by them of the expediency of being constantly upon its guard against revolutions, even in times of the greatest apparent security; and especially in an age when science, by opening the minds of men, renders them more sensible of defects.
We have every reason to suppose, that, notwithstanding there were many men of republican principles in France before the revolution, they were not sufficiently numerous, nor of sufficient weight, to have effected their purpose, had not a sense of false security made the partisans of the old regime inattentive to the proper precautions to avert the evil; had they not rendered the assembling of the states-general absolutely necessary by the state embarrassment occasioned by their extravagance, their injudicious measures, and bad management; had the government been well administered; had proper financial regulations been adopted, and gross abuses been corrected. Disgusted by these and encouraged by the advocates of freedom, the nation, who had before been fond admirers of the parade of royalty, were seized with a delirious passion for liberty. With that warmth which marks their character, they passed from an ardent love of monarchy to the contrary extreme of democracy; and, becoming the dupes of the knavery of their demagogues and their own passions, they were guilty of a thousand enormities in the accomplishment of their purposes.
From these remarks the transition is easy to the measures adopted for the public good by a sovereign who would have saved the monarchy from ruin had he possessed firmness equal to his benevolence and his patriotism.
The first year of Lewis the Sixteenth's reign was memorable for the regulations made respecting the collection of the taille, or land-tax; by which the farmers were relieved from the oppression which they had before suffered; and for the abolition of the corvees, for the army and the repair of roads.b
In order to increase the product of grain and the farmer's profit, freedom was given to the commerce of grain within the kingdom by another regulation adopted at this time.f