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very considerable. But, centrically situated, it has often been the theatre of contention the charnelhouse of Destruction from the wars of the Duke of Murlborough, in the time of Queen Anne, down to the perturbed æra of The French Revolution.
It was over-run, at an early period of the Revolution, by the French, who annexed it to their Republic; but it has been restored since the bloody and decisive battle of WATERLOO !
Entering the country by Ostend, the principal cities of THE NETHERLANDS are Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Mechlin and Brussels. Their population is not proportioned to their extent; but the towns themselves have an air of grandeur and antiquity attached to them. By the sixty-sixth article of the Congress of VIENNA, it is declared, that “ The old United Provinces (Holland) and the former Belgic Provinces, together with the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg, shall form, under the Prince of Orange Nassau, the Kingdom of THE NETHERLANDS."
The inhabitants of Holland are Protestants, but the inhabitants of Belgium are of the Catholic religion. This country was the theatre of the bloody tragedies of the execrable Duke of Alva, in subserviency to his
INTRODUCTION. still bloodier Master, Philip The Second, King or Spain. Eighteen thousand fell, during the short space of Five Months, by the hands of the Executioner ; and many thousand more by the edge of the sword ! Such are the appalling horrors of Religious PerseCUTION.*
Beneath the auspices of their present Monarch, the Prince of Orange, professing the Reformed Religion, may the Protestant of HOLLAND be quickened to the indulgence of a liberal and enlightened zeal—whilst the Catholic of Belgium, abhorring the sin of Intolerance, becomes more disposed to the exercise of EVANGELICAL FORBEARANCE and CHRISTIAN CHARITY!
JOHN EVANS, Sen”.
Islington, July, 1817.
* See Watson's History of Philip the Second, 3 vols.-a most interesting Work, of sterling reputation.
PART THE FIRST.
Thursday, Sept. 5. I LEFT Botolph Wharf, near London Bridge, at 2 p.m., in the Marquis of Anglesea, Captain Brown, accompanied by my friend Mr. B., who, well acquainted with the modern languages, was 'a most fit associate for the journey. Between seven and eight o'clock we arrived off GRAVESEND, where the gentlemen went on shore. We were conducted to the White Hart Inn, and there asked our names, designations and reference, by a person apparently connected with Government. Returned on board be. tween nine and ten o'clock and set sail again.
Friday, 6th. - Passed the North Foreland with a little swell, and most of the passengers were squeamish. Near midnight we approached OSTEND, which was only distinguishable by its three lights; two of which serve as common lights, the third shewing whether
there is water enough for vessels to enter the harbour. The vessel quickly reached the pier, and we disembarked about two. Having landed on the right-hand side of the harbour we came to la Barrière, where the centinel called a person who demanded our passport and kept it, saying, it should be returned to us next morning. On paying two shillings we passed through into the town, a man accompanying us to shew us the way. We repaired to the Grand St. Michel, Rue de Quai, rung for some time, and at length roused the landlord, M. Gaspar Moens. Being shewn into a chamber, up stairs, we took some brandy and water (none of the best) and went to bed.
OSTEND. Saturday, 7tk.-Rose this morning at eightcoffee for breakfast, and then took our baggage from the vessel. After a considerable conflict among the porters on the quay, our trunks were taken to a little shed (elose at hand) belonging to the customs, and there examined. An Irish Officer, at the inn, gave us some useful hints as to inns, &c., and told us an interesting account of an old servant of his who had found his daughter at Bruges after she had been absent from him twenty-five years! We wrote home, and gave our letters to him, as his servant was to leave that day for England. Mr. B. and I walked through the principal streets of the town and round by the fortifications and lighthouse, where we viewed the wreck of the Britannia packet which was lost on the pre
ceding Monday at the entrance of the harbour ! The air of the town very unpleasant; the general character of the place was marked by the long windows and Scotchified gable ends of the houses. Here is a good town-hall.
Ostend endured a dreadful siege (from 1601 to 1604) which occasioned to the assailants the loss of 100,000 men, and 10,000 to the inhabitants ! Southey thus alludes to it
Peace be within thy walls thou Famous Town
For thy brave bearing in THOSE TIMES of old!
And prosp’rous merchants day by day behold
Paid our bill and set out at half-past two o'clock to the Slyken (or Sluices) at Sasse, whence the barge starts, about a mile from the town, accompanied by two lads to convey our luggage. Our boxes were there again examined previously to our entering the canal boat. The Boat started about half past three o'clock with three horses, on one of which rode the driver. The country very flat, like the marshy parts of Essex. Saw the steeple of Ghestel to the right; paid a frane
* The FORTIFICATIONS have lately undergone improvements. There has been an addition of two Demilunes on the southward and eastward, and on the west a fort, called Fort WELLING