Зображення сторінки

tended with England for the dominion of the seas, and, with proudly remembered triumphs, checked the ambitious hopes of the Grand Monarque. The numerous monuments in their churches to the memory of their heroes, and the trophies that their public buildings display, have kept alive this spirit; the late conduct of their fleet before Algiers, and the praises conferred on it by our Exmouth, have blown into a flame a spark, which French oppression had never totally extinguished.

* In Belgium, on the other hand, the name of independence has for three centuries been unheard; submission to masters over whom they had no check, by whom a forced obedience was required, and who administered none of those consoling flatteries which the most rigid despots find it necessary to use towards their subjects, was their sole duty, and in that duty they were fully instructed. Instead of investigating they submitted, instead of inquiring they yielded, and thus sunk in mental acquirements, to a state in which they were fitted to be either the instruments or the subjects of oppression, as best suited the purposes of those governors who happened to obtain authority over them. Of every religion we should speak with respect; but whilst that of Holland was reasonable, sincere, and tolerant, that of Belgium was even below the general level of the corrupt church, of which they formed the most irrational part, in every thing that was childish, superstitious, and persecuting." (P. 71, 72)

Upon leaving Holland, Mr. Jacob entered the district, which constituted formerly the bishoprick of Munster. The roads are bad, and the agriculture negligent and unskilful. The mode in which the lands are held, opposes here a powerful bar to improvement. The farms are very small: the occupiers are bound to perform certain services to the lord, who is often entitled to the feed of the whole land after harvest. This seems to indicate

a very

rude state of society: yet even with us traces of a similar practice are to be found; for we have towns, where the freemen have a right to put their cattle after harvest into the adjacent fields. In some of the larger villages manufactures are attempted : and there the manufacturer complains of the introduction of English goods; the consumer, of the heavy duties with which they are burdened. Such are the prejudices which every where exist, in consequence of the apparent opposition of the interests of different classes. No rulers can eradicate them: yet all should avoid fostering them into strength by taking part with either side.

No district of Europe has, within the last few years, changed masters more frequently than this. It has been an independent sovereignty, afterwards part of the kingdom of Holland

at one time annexed to Prussia-next-incorporated with the French empire-then included in the kingdom of Westphaliaand finally, by the treaty of Vienna, transferred to Prussia


Each successive master has harassed it with taxation and conscription; and discontent runs high at present on account of the increase of the public burdens. In spite of all this, " the numerous marks of recent improvement are very visible. New houses, barns, and inclosures, with young plantations of great extent, are indications that cannot be mistaken. They cannot have come into existence without some increase in the capital of the country. They appear every where and are conclusive evidence in favour of the opinion, that wealth and comfort have increased, notwithstanding the frequent complaints I heard of deterioration having taken place.” (P.88.) Throughout this district the principal crop is rye. · Rye and potatoes. form the common food of the inhabitants. Wheat is grown only for a distant market: and as distant markets are uncertain, the farmers prefer a crop which finds its consumers in their own families and immediate vicinity.

The three Westphalian provinces of Prussia, together with the bishoprick of Osnabrück, now annexed to Hanover, contain above a million and a quarter of inhabitants. This population is frugal and parsimonious in the extreme; and a part of it migrates during the summer months into Holland, allured by the attraction of high wages. The land is in general fertile'; yet in spite of these advantages, the exports are calculated not to exceed 350,0001. annually; and the produce so little exceeds the actual consumption, that a season of dearth is followed by the most frightful misery. The cause of this misery is to be found, not, as many will suppose in the mal-administration of the government, but in the internal structure of society. Farms seldom exceed 40 acres in extent; they descend from father to son; the occupiers reside in villages, and the labour is performed by the members of the family. The rent is paid in produce, and in the labour of the tenant and his horses, rarely, in money. Where a small money payment is reserved as part of the rent, it is discharged frequently by monthly instalments. The effect of such a system is, that each spot of ground must have a greater number of men and horses, than would be requisite, if the farms were large enough to give scope for the division and skilful application of labour. The consumption is thus increased. No surplus remains to the cultivator: he can accumulate no capital, and introduce no improvement. He exists, but he can do no more: it is scarcely possible for him to ameliorate his condition without exertions of diligence and foresight, to which he will neither be encouraged by example nor stimulated by competition.

We may quote here an instance of those inadvertencies, not a little perplexing to the reader, which occasionally present themselves in Mr. Jacob's work. At page 103 he says " that the products of Westphalia beyond the consumption amount to five shillings and eight pence per head on each inhabitant, or twelve shillings and sixpence per acre on the extent of land.” In the preceding page he has informed us, that this country contains 1,262,730 inhabitants, and 6,186,000 acres of land. According to the first statement, the population is in the ratio of one person to is of an acre ; according to the latter, it is nearly in the ratio of one to every

five acres.

We cannot reconcile the inconsistency.

We have not followed Mr. Jacob into the towns which he visited ; because his notices of them are in general very meagre and

cursory. At Hanover he enters more into details. That city deserves all he says in its praise. It is perhaps the most agreeable among the second rate towns of Germany. Such places as Cassel, Darmstadt, Carlsruhe, or Potsdam, strike the spectator as mere excrescences of courts : take away the court, and the city dwindles into a paltry village. Hanover on the -contrary seems of natural growth; there is nothing in it to suggest the idea of its being merely an accumulation of appendages to a palace. The manners of the people are mild; the women are highly accomplished. Add to this, that they have one powerful recommendation to an Englishman—the pride they take in their connection with England, and their strong attachment to their royal family.

The library at Hanover seems to have attracted Mr. Jacob's particular attention. He enumerates the curiosities that are to be seen in it, but forgets or overlooks the most interesting of them all; we mean the immense collection of the manuscripts of Leibnitz. These manuscripts are so numerous, that the mere manual labour of writing them, without the task of meditation and study, would have been ample employment for the life of any ordinary man. They are under the particular charge of the conservator of the library.

Mr. Jacob visited three farming establishments in the vicinity of the town. The following is an account of the best of them.

The high reputation of Amtman Meyer, who resides about eight miles from Hanover, induced me to visit his establishment, where I was not so fortunate as to meet the proprietor, who had been described to me as the most scientific agriculturist in the vicinity. His amt was still more extensive than that of Calenburg, and included within the area, besides his dwelling, and those of the superintendents of his farm and the barns, stables, sheep-house and cattle-stalls, a very neat church. The land round this establishment shows more abundant marks of good cultivation, and more proofs of the liberal application of manure, than I had before witnessed in Hanover.

“ The kohl-rüben had attained a good size, and were flourishing, whilst a considerable breadth of mangel-wurzel was growing; but both of these crops appeared to me not sufficiently hoed to give the roots space to extend to the dimensions which they would attain by a different mode of culture. I observed here the first stack of clover-hay that had met my sight since I entered Germany. Around the borders of some fields were small patches of tobacco, such as I had indeed before noticed in the course of my rides. I was told the quality of it was bad, and too weak for any but boys to smoke it. They seem to learn this abominable practice at a very early age. I was surprised one day, by being asked by a shepherd boy, of whom I had made some inquiry, and who appeared not more than twelve years of age, if I could give him any fire, or the materials for supplying him with it, as he had lost either his flint or his steel, and could not light his pipe.

Contrary to the usual course in such establishments, the cows here are farmed to a Dutch dairy-man, who professes to make butter and cheese of the same kind as is produced in Holland. The cows, from ninety to one hundred, are let to him for one thousand rix dollars anrually. In the summer months they are depastured on the meadow lands, by the side of the river. In the winter, they are allowed ten pounds of hay, and fourteen pounds of straw, daily. I heard sad lamentations on the dryness of the present summer, of the want of food on the meadows, and the consequent scarcity and poverty of the milk. The contrivances of the Dutchman to save labour, were very admirable.

The milk and cream were in a cool cellar, the butter was churned by a very simple machine worked by a wheel, in the apartment at the top of the house; this was turned by a boy, and by it one hundred pounds of butter were at some seasons made daily, in about two hours. The presses for the cheese were worked by the same machine which churned the butter.

“ The attempt to make various kinds of cheese from the same land is necessarily futile. Cheese denominated Swiss, Dutch, Cheshire and Gloucester, is made by this man. I tasted each, but could perceive no similarity to those of either of the districts by the names of which they were distinguished, nor any great difference betwixt one and another; for all, if not absolutely bad, were at least very indifferent.” (P. 123–125.)

In Hanover religion is in a more flourishing state, than in the rest of Germany. Every candidate for holy orders, after a classical education at a grammar school, must have passed three years at a university, two of which must have been spent at Göttingen. The livings, though the most of them are nominally in the gift of the crown, are left to the disposition of the consistories, who give them according to seniority of application, with a preference, however, of those who have distinguished themselves in the university examinations. After remaining seven years in his first benefice, a clergyman may apply to be removed to a better. He then undergoes a rigorous examination, and, if found to have neglected his professional studies, loses all chance of promotion.

The population of Hanover is stated at 1,325,000, and the annual deaths, at 31,264. The deaths are therefore not quite in the proportion of one in forty-three; a circumstance, which, if correct, proves the existence of a great degree of comfort among the people. This proportion of deaths, however, is so much below the general rate of mortality in Europe, that we suspect the accuracy of Mr. Jacob's information. The population of Brunswick is said to be in a better state than that of Hanover; vet in the town of Brunswick (and in so small a place the town cannot be much less healthy than the country at large) the annual mortality amounts to one in thirty.

Mr. Jacob passes from his description of Hanover, to some statistical details respecting the population, agriculture, and commerce of Brunswick. One of his statements is extraordinary. “ Brunswick,” says he, “ is favourably situated for the passage of goods to the great fairs of Leipzig, as by going through it, they escape the Prussian dominions, whose many vexatious regulations are impediments to the transit trade.” How it is possible to go from Brunswick to Leipzig without traversing Prussian territory, we know not. Mr. Jacob surely would not lead us to the Bavarian frontier, and so make us enter Saxony on its south-western limit.

From Brunswick, Mr. Jacob passed into Prussia. This kingdom is composed of many different provinces, extremely unlike each other in their aspect, and in the natural qualities of the soil. Our author's rout gave him no opportunity of remarking this variety: He went by Magdeburgh to Berlin, about 100 English miles, and from Berlin to Dresden, which is about an equal distance, but of which only are in Prussia. Thus he saw but little of Prussia, and that little was by no means the most interesting part of it. The tract of country, which he passed through, is extremely monotonous. It exhibits only dreary sands, covered sometimes by scanty crops of rye, sometimes by vast forests of fir, and sometimes expanding in naked deformity to the eye. After the harvest is over, the traveller might without much difficulty believe himself transported into the wilds of Arabia. Our author has wisely said little on this part of his journey: but in recompense he is more minute than usual in his description of Potsdam and Berlin, and gives both of them much more praise than is their due. He speaks of them as cities of palaces. It is true, they have a showy air which strikes at the first entry, but their splendour palls upon the spectator in a few hours, and their dead monotony is all that remains. At Potsdani, Mr. Jacob in his des

« НазадПродовжити »