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dividing it into 95 islands, united by no less than 295 bridges. The principal canals are from one to two miles long. These are lined with handsome houses equal to any seen in the finest streets of London or Paris. The whole city is founded upon piles. The canals are usually about three to four feet deep, and I should have liked them better had they been cleaner, for as the barges pass along them they stir up the mud in such a way as to leave a trace of their passing by a very unpleasant scent. Sometimes, however, the sea is let in which partially cleanses the canal, and then the unpleasant exhalations are for a while stayed; and in winter, when the water is frozen, it is delighful to see the Hollanders travelling to market, skating with their wares on their heads.
attacking it, but in 1787, when threatened by a Prussian army of only a moderate size, it was obliged to surrender after the capture of the fortified villages in the vicinity. In consequence of the changes which have taken place in the mode of conducting sieges, it can be defended only by the inundation of of the surrounding country.
One of the principal buildings in Amsterdam is the Exchange, which was built between 1608 and 1613. It rests upon five vaulted arches, underneath which the river Amstel flows into the Damrach water. It is 246 feet long, and 140 wide. The East India House, of which a whole wing used for granaries fell down some years ago, and is now in progress of restoration.
There is, in Amsterdam, a Society established by the merchants, called Felix Meritis : this promotes the study of every thing that can occupy and instruct the mind. There is also the Society Doctrina et Amicitia devoted to the liberal arts and sciences: and numerous reading rooms, which prove the taste of the inhabitants for science and learning.
The palace, formerly called the Stadthaus, is a large edifice, standing upon more than thirteen thousand piles. It contains, or rather did contain, a good many excellent pictures, but these have recently been sold off and distributed through Europe. The present king sometimes resides at the palace, but it is not of so much importance as formerly.
The churches in Amsterdam are very numerous ; among them the Dutch Reformers have ten; the French one; the English one; the Roman Catholics eighteen; and even the Greeks and Americans have each a church. The most splendid of all the churches is the new church upon the Damm, in which the pulpit and organ are masterpieces. Here you see the ornaments of the Admiral de Ruyter, of the valiant Von Galen, and of the great poet, Vondel; here also, after so many storms, the fabric of the state was strengthened by the adoption of the constitution, and by the allegiance sworn to
the late sovereign. The Oude Kerke in the Wadmoes Straat is remarkable for three very fine windows of painted glass, executed as memorials of several Dutch admirals, and containing a list of the persons killed in Amsterdam by the Anabaptists in 1535. The organ of this church is also highly esteemed, and said to be scarcely inferior to that of Haarlem. It seemed very curious to see the church doors of Amsterdam, they put me in mind of the entrances of our theatres, as they give a kind of programme of the sermon, singing, &c.; and the ministers of religion brought me back to the days of the Common-wealth, for the dress is exactly like that of the puritans in the time of Charles I, a black cloak, short breeches, buckle shoes, black stockings, and above all, a ruff.
Everybody goes to see the Museum or picture gallery, which is placed in the Trippenhaus. It is open to the public, Thursday and Friday, and you give the keeper a guilder, for which he gives you a catalogue. It is quite a national affair, as nearly every picture is Dutch, and some of them are the finest of what is called the Dutch School. Among those that struck me the most forcibly was that beautiful one by Gerard Dow, prints of which you have no doubt seen, called the Evening School. It is a painting, in which the effect of candle-light is wonderfully pourtrayed—no less than five different lights are introduced into the picture, and variously thrown upon the twelve figures that compose it. There is also a beautiful landscape with cattle, by Paul Potter, and the Bear Hunt, said to be very fine. I saw also a very pleasing picture by a painter named Schalken. It represents two boys, one eating soup and the other an egg, with his face slabbered over by the yolk, and called “Every one to his liking." One of the best pictures, however, to my fancy, was a view of Amsterdam, taken from the Schreyershock Tower, by W. Vanderveld. The same artist has also several pictures of fights between the English and the Dutch, in which the Dutch were victorious, and also several pictures of “Sea Calms,” painted with wonderful effect.
There were also some other famous pictures by a Dutch Artist, named Jan Steen; one is of a barber at a window, and a boy blowing a horn to let the people know the rolls are ready, and another of the Fête of St. Nicholas. The feast day is devoted by kind parents to making presents of bonbons to their children who behave well, while the naughty ones are left without anything, and receive a whipping. The story is excellently told in the picture, it would make you laugh heartily if you were to look at it.
But there are matters even more worthy of admiration in Amsterdam than pictures ; these are the numerous charities or charitable institutions with which it abounds. There are Alms-houses of various kinds, one for Protestant old men and women looks more like a palace than lodgings for poor people. There are very numerous Orphan Asylums. There is also a class of Provident Institutions here called Provenieds Huiser, for the comfortable maintenance of aged persons of either sex, who pay a small sum proportionable to their age, that is persons between the ages of from 50 to 55 years pay 2,000 guilders, which is about £200 of English money, those between 55 and 60 pay 1,500 guilders, and those above 70 years pay 500 guilders for admittance; and being once admitted are supported in respectability to the end of their days. These are excellent institutions, and Peter Parley would like to introduce such an institution into this country.
There is another Society which I should also like to see attempted in this country. It is called in Holland, “The Association for the promotion of the public good.” Its object is the instruction and improvement of the condition of the young by education, by books, and book-societies, by popular writings, by lectures, savings' banks, and by bestowing medals on such as have risked their lives in preserving those of others. The Society is very successful, and was extended to Belgium, but since the revolution in that country it has been totally suppressed by the priests.