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NOTES OF A TRAVELLER,

&c.

CHAPTER I.

TRAVEL-WRITING. HOLLAND. THE SUBLIME IN SCENERY. THE PICTURESQUE IN HOLLAND. GARDEN HOUSES. DECAY OF HOLLAND. CAUSES OF DECAY.-COMMERCIAL DECLINE. -MANUFACTURING STABILITY.— USEFUL ARTS.-FINE ARTS. USEFUL AND FINE ARTS COMPARED. — USEFUL AND FINE THE POOR IN HOLLAND. THE POOR IN MANUFACKINGLY POWER IN HOL

ARTS.
TURING TOWNS.-POOK COLONIES.

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BELGIUM.

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FEDERALISM.

UNION OF THE TWO THE FEDERAL PRINCIPLE. ITS WORKING IN

IN the social state of the Continent, as it has settled itself since the great political and moral epoch of the French Revolution, there is a vast field to explore, which has scarcely been looked at by our Continental travellers. No period since the introduction of Christianity will be considered by posterity of equal importance with this half of the nineteenth century of equal influence in forming the future social and moral condition of the European people. All the great social influences, moral and physical, which have sprung up from the ashes of the French Revolution, and all the influences accumulating in prior times;-the diffusion of knowledge by the press; of sentiments of religious and civil freedom by the Reformation; of wealth, wellbeing, and political importance in the middle class, or those between the nobility and peasantry of the feudal ages, by trade, manufactures, and industry; the influence over all ranks, of acquired tastes, and wants unknown to their forefathers; the influence

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of public opinion over the highest political affairs; and the influence of all the vast discoveries of the preceding 4.00 years, in navigation, science, and the useful arts; are, in reality, only coming into full play and operation now, in this half century, upon the social state of Europe. The French Revolution was but the first act in the great social drama. Travellers complain that travel-writing is overdone that the Continent is exhausted of all its interest. Is it not possible that they themselves are blind to the great interests and influences which would attract the public mind; that they are continuing to feed the man with the panada and watergruel of the child? In these our locomotive days, the hurried public has no leisure to sit listening to the traveller of the old school, piping the little song of his personal adventures in countries as familiar to their imaginations as the county of York. He pours his tale into a sleeping ear, if he has nothing to pour but his personal feelings and adventures, or his voracious doings on the tea and toast of the village inn: he is like a blind beggar trying to amuse the children of the deaf and dumb asylum with a tune on his fiddle.

I am an excellent travel-reader myself. I eat, drink, and sleep, for my part, with my traveller. I mourn with him, by land, over all the calamities of jolting roads, saucy landlords, scanty dinners, and dirty tablecloths; and am enchanted, at sea, with the gale, the calm, the distant sail, the piece of sea-weed floating past, the solitary sea-bird skimming round, and all the other memorabilia of a voyage across the Queensferry or the Atlantic. But this school of readers is almost extinct. The reading public of the present day labours under a literary dyspepsia, and has no appetitite for the former ordinary fare. Diaries, journals, narratives, descriptions, feelings, and wisdom of the first quality, from every corner of the world, have so satiated the omnivorous reader, that results only, the concentrated essences of the traveller's observations, are in demand, not the detail of petty incidents by which they have been obtained;

the sums total and products, not the items and units of his account current. This fastidiousness of the public taste places the traveller, especially in well-known lands, in an awkward dilemma. The little trivialities of travel, duly recorded as they occur, were very agreeable writing and reading; although they certainly mix very discordantly with statistical details, or speculations on political and social economy, which not only the philosopher, or the historian, but the ordinary reader of the present day, expects from the Continental traveller. These are not the results or observations of a single incident, or a single forenoon, or a single tour, and cannot, with any truth, be interwoven in his accounts of any one day or place. He is obliged to concentrate his observations for the sake of truth, and to meet the public taste; yet he runs the risk, in doing so, of producing a work which will lull to sleep, not amuse the reader. The risk must be run. A great field of inquiry and observation on the Continent is open. The traveller may not be the most suitable literary labourer to explore it; but if his views should be narrow and incorrect, his conclusions ill founded or egregiously wrong, still they may be useful by inducing men of higher capacity to take the same path, to examine the same subjects, and discover what is right and well-founded. In political philosophy the road to truth lies through error.

Holland, the land of cheese and butter, is to my eye no unpicturesque, uninteresting country. Flat it is; but it is so geometrically only, and in no other sense. Spires, church towers, bright farm houses-their windows glancing in the sun; long rows of willow treestheir blueish foliage ruffling up white in the breeze; grassy embankments of a tender vivid green, partly hiding the meadows behind, and crowded with glittering gaudily painted gigs, and stool waggons, loaded with rosy-cheeked laughing country girls decked out in ribands of many more colours than the rainbow all a-streaming in the wind; - these are the objects which strike the eye of the traveller from seaward, and form

a gay front view of Holland, as he sails or steams along its coast and up its rivers. On shore, the long continuity of horizontal lines of country in the back ground, each line rising behind the other to a distant, level, unbroken horizon, gives the impression of vastness and of novelty. It is curious how differently we are impressed by expansion in the horizontal and expansion in the perpendicular plane. Take a section of this country spread out horizontally before the eye, four miles or five in length, and one or two in breadth, and it is but a flat, unimpressive plain. But elevate this small unimpressive parallelogram of land to an angle of sixty degrees with the horizon, and it becomes the most sublime of natural objects; it surpasses Mont Blanc — it is the side of Chimborazo. Set it on edge, and it would overwhelm the beholder with its sublimity. It would be the Hymalaya mountains cut down from their dizziest peak to the level of the ocean-a precipice so sublime, that the mind would shrink in terror from its very recollection. Now why does this section of land, which would be but a small portion of the extent of flat plain under the eye at once from any little elevation, such as a dyke or a church tower, in this country, pass from the unimpressive through the beautiful, the grand, and to the utmost sublime, by mathematical steps, one may say, and according to its angle of elevation? The only solution of this fact in the sublimity of natural objects is, that terror is not, as has been assumed by Burke and our greatest philosophers, the cause of the impression of sublimity in the human mind. Terror must be the effect of the sublime; not its cause, source, or principle. In this supposed instance of the sublime in nature, power is evidently the cause of that impression-the intuitive mental perception that great unknown power has been exerted to produce this sublime object. It is the feeling, or impression, of this vast power, which produces that feeling of terror allied with and considered the cause, although in reality only the effect, of the sublime. This impression of power received from any great and rare

deviation from the usual, makes the perpendicular more sublime than the horizontal, the Gothic cathedral than the Grecian temple, the mountain than the plain, the cataract than the lake, the storm than the calm. Unusual vastness, such as the great extent of flat country seen from any of the church towers in Holland, is also an expression of power, and is not without its grandeur; but it never reaches the sublime, because the mind, accustomed to the sight of extension developed horizontally, perceives not the principle of power in it at once. This sentiment of power may possibly have something to do even with our impression of the beautiful in natural objects. The waved line-Hogarth's line of beauty-is agreeable, and the angular, broken, or jagged line, the contrary; because the one expresses a continuity of power in its formation the other a disturbance, or break, in the action of the forming power. The latter would reach the sublime, if the disturbance, or break, were on a great scale indicating vastness of power.

Holland can boast of nothing sublime; but for picturesque foregrounds - for close, compact, snug home scenery, with every thing in harmony, and stamped with one strong peculiar character, Holland is a cabinet picture, in which nature and art join to produce one impression, one homogeneous effect. The Dutch cottage, with its glistening brick walls, white painted wood work and rails, and its massive roof of thatch, with the stork clappering to her young on her old-established nest on the top of the gable, is admirably in place and keeping, just where it is at the turn of the canal, shut in by a screen of willow trees, or tall reeds, from seeing, or being seen, beyond the sunny bight of the still calm water, in which its every tint and part is brightly repeated. Then the peculiar character of every article of the household furniture, which the Dutch-built house-mother is scouring on the green before the door so industriously; the Dutch character impressed on every thing Dutch, and intuitively recognised, like the Jewish or Gipsy countenance, wherever it is met with; the people, their dwellings, and

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