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Maese in their course, have in consequence sent | at last a kind of natural instinct-outliving many down unusual supplies, and have thus, by land- others, and carrying him, when wearied with the freshes alone, lifted the surface of the river to the cares and toils of busy life, willingly back again to very lips as it were of the inclosing dykes; if, at his paternal farm-or, where no ancestral acres such a moment as this, the unrelenting sea-wind tempt him, making him more earnestly toil in his charges onward from the west—or if it do so when other adopted calling, that he may at length be the shattered ice chokes up the channel, and the come the possessor of fields of his own, to which inelting snows struggle against the opposing barrier he may in peace retire ? What can rich merchants,
—then sure destruction awaits the dykes, and re- as a body, do with their wealth? How can a rich sistless floods force forward their certain way. mercantile country best employ its accumulating
It is thus easy to understand how, upon the gold? To traffic there is a limit. Hoarded gold Rhine, and the Elbe, and the Neva, great epochal does not fructify. Ships and stores of merchandise risings of the rivers at uncertain intervals come to cannot alone secure permanent power and greatbe recorded. A fortuitous concurrence of circum- ness. Venice and Genoa—what European cities stances is required to produce these remarkable richer and more powerful once—what of equal hisdisasters—a concurrence which can neither be fore- toric fame are poorer and humbler now? Broad
nor controlled—which, according to our and fertile acres are necessary as the permanent present knowledge, may happen to-morrow, or may basis of a country's power.
Sudden defeat cannot be delayed till the birth of a new generation. impoverish them-hostile inroads cannot remove
A still more rare union of causes is necessary to them; the produce of the year may be destroyed, produce disasters of the severest kind in the north- but when the storm of war has swept over them, ern and southern provinces at once-on the shores the elements of future power remain. of the Zuyder Zee, and at the same time along the Under this higher instinct-for we may call it more inland banks of the river. Such was the such-the individual and political wisdom of the case, however, in 1825, when a higher flood was people of the Netherlands sought investments for experienced, wider in its range, and more destruc- their increasing wealth in the country they loved tive, than any other in modern times.
so well, and for which they had so bravely fought. But these calamities are not wholly evil. From A community of active merchants, whose yearly these physical disasters, as from all the more strik- gains rendered them independent of agricultural ing dispensations of Providence, moral good arises. profits, was well fitted to subdue the wide extent They are, probably, one of the most real and nat- of sandy heath and down, of lake and marsh and ural sources of that bond of sympathy and political bog, and sea-washed slime, which their several union by which the United Provinces have so long provinces presented, and, by long perseverance, to been kept together. Common fears and common add them to the fixed capital and permanent wealth sufferings beget common feelings. Those who of the nation. appeal to, and help each other by turns, or who The history of agriculture everywhere exhibits at times partake together in one more wide calam- two periods—the mechanical and the chemical. ity, naturally come to regard themselves as of one Distinctly succeeding each other at first, they befanily—the sharers of one family fate. Gratitude come finally blended, for the enlargement of all the is awakened on the one hand, affection for those resources which our increasing population requires, you have served on the other, and a constant sense and which instructed intelligence can supply for of mutual dependence. The voluntary contribu- the production of human food. The mechanical tions thus collected in the Netherlands are often period expends its efforts first, in draining marshes, very great. The sum contributed in aid of the and bogs, and lakes ; next, in tapping springs ; distressed amounted in 1809 to nearly a million, then in the more refined drainage, which is at and in 1825 it exceeded five millions of florins. present enveloping Great Britain and Ireland with
Commerce was the source of the rapid rise of a network of covered ditches; and, lastly, in the the modern kingdom of the Netherlands. The contrivance of machines by which the works of wealth of the Indies was snatched from Spain dur- the husbandman may be at once hastened and pering the war of independence. Further and further fected, his labor lightened, and his money econtowards the American main, the Dutch commanders omized. Sweden is in the first stage of the penetrated, in quest of the richly-freighted ships of mechanical period ; vast marshes, in some instances their former masters. By degrees they founded fifty thousand acres in extent, stretch themselves colonies of their own, and established on a surer over Smaland on the east, and in Helsingland, basis that extensive commerce, which, after the Angermanland, &c., towards the north, while struggle for freedom was over, continued to pro- numberless lakes conceal improvable tracts of vide the means of permanently increasing the na- land. Hence the main agricultural efforts of that tional strength and greatness.
rising country are directed towards the removal of Whence comes the love of rural life—the affec- their superfluous waters. France, and Germany, tion for green fields—the strong desire for the and Ireland, are barely as yet in the second stage simple pleasures of the country—of which at one of drainage. Great Britain, and especially Scuttime or another almost every one is more or less land, has fairly reached the third. conscious ? To till the earth-was this so laid But in combating the permanent influence of upon man as a curse, or duty, as to have become water upon the surface of their country, no people in the world have hitherto done so much-so boldly, In forming an idea of the power which will be so perseveringly, or so expensively, as the Dutch. required to bale out the water from a lake, or to Their works, too, have a remarkable peculiarity maintain it in the state of a polder, three considerIn other countries the draining of a lake involves ations are to be taken into account. First, the only one operation of limited expense and duration. depth of water in the lake at its mean level, which It is done once for all. A cut is made, the water will indicate the power necessarily to be kept in is let out, and springs and rains flow away from operation for a certain time, merely to dry the the drained spot forever after, by their own grav- lake. Second, the average yearly fall of rain at itation. But, in the Netherlands, the labor is not the spot, and the average yearly evaporation, the to make an exit for the water, but to close up difference between which is the amount of water every avenue for its entrance, and to bale out, by from heaven which is to be removed yearly by unsleeping machinery, what falls from heaven on permanent pumpings. And, lastly, the quantity the new land, or rises from uncontrollable springs. of spring or ooze water which is likely to make The dykes prevent the entrance of waters—but its way into the hollow land. the pumps and canals are equally necessary to Six, eight, and ten feet, are mean depths of coinpel the exit of those which are already present. water which have frequently been removed from
Few persons have an idea of the magnitude and the surface of lands, now long empoldered and cost of the larger dykes. The foundation of a sea- kept dry by machinery. In the Zuid plas, near dyke is from 120 to 150 feet in width. It is cased Gouda, the pumping of which was begun in the externally with stone, usually from the rocks of summer of 1838, the mean depth of the water to Norway; and a road runs along the top, or im- be pumped out was 131 feet, and the level of mediately within it. Where the exposure is great, this water was eight and two fifths feet below the expense of repairs is in proportion to it. Of that of high water in the Yssel. To this latter the well-known dyke at West Capelle, in the island level the whole was raised into a high basin or of Walcheren, it is said, that, had it been originally reservoir, that it might flow away on the opening made of solid copper, the actual cost would have of the sluice, as the water in the river fell--80 been less than has been already expended in build- that the thirteen feet of water being pumped out ing and repairing it.
in the first instance to dry the bed, all the superThe inclosures, called polders, consist either of fluous rain and ooze water must subsequently conland which is naturally low, or of bogs from which tinue to be raised to a height of twenty-two feet. the peat has been dug for fuel, and which have (Simons, p. 142.) Such a height of lift is by no afterwards been embanked and artificially dried. means uncommon in other parts of Holland. We have been unable to learn the extent of pold- Though its frequent mists convey the impression ered land in the Netherlands ; and we are not that the climate of the Netherlands is excessively aware that it has ever been accurately ascertained. moist, yet the annual fall of rain is by no means Simons, in his work on the application of steam to excessive. The mean deduced from the observathe pumping of the polders, names 436 polders tions of nearly a hundred years, is 25 and one containing 194,000 bonders or hectares, which are tenth inches, while the mean annual evaporation worked or kept dry by 815 mills. This gives 445 amounts to 22 and six tenth inches : leaving only hectares, or 1100 acres, to each polder ; and, with two inches of rain to be pumped from the polders in out taking into account the successive lifts which, the course of the year. To lift such a quantity of in most parts of the country, the same water has water from the land, would seem to demand no 10 undergo, it allows 238 bonders, or about 600 great outlay of power ; but the rain falls most acres, to be drained by each mill.
largely in winter, and the evaporation is greatest It is stated, we do not know on what author- in summer. Occasional very heavy falls of rain ity, that there exist about 9000 of these mills in also come down, which alone would for a length Holland. Assuming this number, and that each of time flood the land ; and it is of especial consemill drains 600 acres, the extent of poldered land quence that the surface should be laid dry early in would amount to five millions four hundred thou- spring, and should be kept long dry in the autumn sand acres. That this is greatly beyond the truth, and early winter. All these circumstances demand is obvious from the fact, that, in 1833, the total the provision of a much greater amount of mecultivated land in the kingdom of the Netherlands, chanical power, than, from a mere comparison of exclusive of Limburg and Luxembourg, amounted the average annual fall and evaporation, might be only to five millions three hundred thousand acres, considered necessary. while two millions lay uncultivated. All we are The spring or ooze water varies with the nature safe in concluding, therefore, with our present in- of the soil, with the substance and construction of formation, is, that a very large proportion of the the dykes, with the proximity of high canals and surface of the low countries owes its agricultural
* The fall of rain and the evaporation respectively in value and its habitable condition to the operation the two halves of the year, is nearly as follows, in of countless windmills. By slow degrees only can inches :the vast capital have been amassed, by which, Fall of rain,
10.5 inch. through the addition of polder to polder, the pro- Evaporation, dactive surface and agricultural resources of this
Rain-water to be part of Enrope have been so largely increased. pumped out,
+ 7.95 = 2.55 inch.
Total. 25:15 22.6
rivers, and with the age of the polder itself. entire management, of all these dykes, canals, and Therefore, no correct estimate can be made of it drainages, has, from the earliest times, been inore from purely theoretical considerations. Expe- or less a care of the government for the time being. rience must be the main guide in ascertaining the Long before the Spanish dominion, the provincial increase of power which different localities may dukes and governors knew how to extend and from this cause require. The average result of strengthen their power by the improvement and experience, in reference to the rain and ooze extension of the dykes. In the Spanish times, the taken together, is, that all the water which is to general oversight of every extensive local drainbe removed from 1500 acres of land, may be lifted age was in the hands of the crown ; and the apone ell (3.28 feet) by one first-rate windmill ; or pointment of bailiffs, dýkgraafs, and heemraads to that, if steam be employed, one horse-power is each, was a valuable part of the patronage of the equal to lift, one ell high, all the natural water actual governor, or viceroy, of the Netherlands. from 300 acres of land.—(Simons, p. 25.) Once, During the war of independence, when evtherefore, erect the dykes, canals, reservoirs, slui- erything which belonged to the church and the ces, and pumps—thus clear the land of water crown was confiscated, and, to meet the national and to keep it dry afterwards does not appear to wants, as far as possible converted into money, be a very herculean task.
these appointments were sold. Previous to 1576, But the height to which the water is to be lifted the despair of the Prince of Orange had been so must be taken into account ; and on this indeed great, that he had seriously proposed to the pathe question of probable profit or loss in all drain-triots of Holland and Zealand, that they should ing speculations, especially turns. If the water, destroy their dykes and “ abandon to the waves a as in the Zuid plas, has to be lifted nearly seven soil which gave no security to freedom.” But ells, or twenty-two feet, then every 300 acres will in this year, when hope began again to animate require the employment of seven horses' power to them, and the spirits of the people were risingkeep it dry ; and the annual minimum profit from when a new confidence in the stability of their the drained land must be greater in like proportion, country had been created, and the states were before the necessary expenditure can prove remu- making new efforts to raise the means of prosenerative. The cost of erecting a mill varies from cuting the war—the city of Rotterdam purchased sixteen to twenty-eight hundred pounds, while that of the states of Holland the bailieship or dýkgraafof maintaining and working it is about sixty pounds ship of Schieland for four thousand pounds, of a year. But the dykes, ditches, and sluices, have forty groats to the pound. The polders of Schiealso to be made and maintained. Yet the total land are drained by the Rotte and by the Schie, annual expense of maintaining mills and dykes two canals which terminate, or have their most rarely exceeds five or six shillings an acre, even important sluices, in the town of Rotterdam. It when the list is eighteen or twenty feet.
was, therefore, for the general benefit of all parties The draining of a plas (lake) or marsh, and the that the chief authority over them should be vested transformation of it into a polder, is usually exe- in the city—but especially important that the pacuted in one of two ways. Certain individuals triot burghers should have the command of the consider the speculation worth entering into ; upon chained-up waters, which it might, on occasion, which, having obtained from government, or pur- be necessary to let loose for their own preservation, chased from private parties, the necessary conces or for the destruction of the enemy. sion or authority, they form themselves into a Now that better times have come, and social decompany. They fence the plas round with a velopment proceeds withont immediate reference to double dyke and a ring canal ; they erect mills, hostile invasion, the functions of local boards of make the land dry, and then divide it among them- management are confined to the application of the selves, or sell it to others. The purchasers nom- cheapest and most efficient methods of preserving inate a dýkgraaf, who presides over a board of the canals and dykes, and of maintaining the polmanagement, under whose directions the dykes, ders in the most profitable condition. But the mills, and sluices, are kept in an efficient state, at special supervision of the sea-walls and great river the joint expense of all.
dykes, and of all canals and sluices, in so far as Or, when the undertaking is large, and the they concern the national good, continues to be in profit doubtful—as in the case of the Zuid plas, the hands of the government and the general the Haerlem sea, and others—the work is under states. taken by the government. The land is dyked and For this important national service a special delaid dry at the public expense, and is then sold ; partment of civil engineers has been created—the the purchasers being bound to maintain the dykes Water-staat, Water-staff, Etat d'eau. They receive and pumps at the common cost. In nearly all a special instruction in the new college at Delft; cases of poldering, the new land is exempt from from which they are transferred to various parts of taxes for the first twenty years, and, in special in the country, and are made responsible for the constances, other privileges are also granted. It is dition of the works placed under their care. All found politic to give public encouragement to un- national works they both advise upon and execute : dertakings which so manifestly add to the material concerning the state and efficiency of private works, wealth of the country.
they only advise ; it is the right of the proprietors The general superintendence, supervision, or to administer.
The Dutch are proverbially a slow, but they | body of water, and, with double speed, a second are a progressive, people. The physical character barrier is overcome, until a third and a fourth lake of their country has moulded and fashioned their in succession are merged in one widening expanse.* habits ; and the one idea to which its early con- Thus the watery dominion kept extending itself dition gave birth, has regulated every important over the entire country. The Haarlem meer had step in their social progress. They began, as is leaped from lakelet to lakelet, engulfing a large done now on the coast of Sleswick, to enclose the tract of land ; in the same manner, that the northfat, slimy, self-raised banks of the rivers, and the ern waters had long ago broken the broad southern shores of their stiller seas, that the higher waters barrier by which they were separated from the and tides might no longer overflow them. Dykes historical lake of Flevo, and had given rise to the were next drawn round those portions of land present wide and salt southern sea (Zuyder Zee.) which were dry only at the lowest waters. Then To preserve the existing soil, therefore, as well as the thought occurred of employing machinery to acquire new, and to lessen the cost of erecting worked by the wind, to dry such land more effec- and maintaining barriers against the roughening tually, and at all times. This again taught them waters of so many lakes, it became a matter both to be independent of a natural outfall or of unsteady of economy and national policy, to convert them tides, and still lower lands were drained, till by de- into polders. grees they have come to lift the water from twenty The progress of general knowledge has greatly to twenty-five feet; so that at present it is the facilitated the execution of such works. The first expense of lifting which chiefly limits the depth polders were comparatively small inclosures. Amof their poldered fields.
bacht (manor) after ambacht was secured. These From the rich slimes of the sea and rivers, they were gradually united into Heemraadschaps and ventured upon marshy bogs, where a black peat- Hochheemraadschaps—that is, into large districts, unmixed in some cases, in others partially solidi- superintended by separate heemraads, or inspectors, fied by sand and clay-presented less inducement and single boards of management. Larger encirto the cultivator. The shallow lakes with peaty cling canals and reservoir canals of many miles in bottoms succeeded these ; and though the balance length,t formed time after time, increased the effioften trembled when profit and loss were placed cacy of the drainage, while the cost per acre was in the opposing scales, yet still adventure went on, diminished. It thus became evident that great and the wealth brought in by commerce procured undertakings were most likely to remunerate, and for many a landless merchant the comfort of a pri- that wealthy companies would reap the surest vate Jagt, or hunting-ground.
profits. The limited extent of any private means The natural fuel of the Netherlands is peat— has compelled the government occasionally to exethe brown spongy peat of Frieseland, and the black, cute the more extensive drainages ; disposing of solid, and more earthy peat of North Holland. them afterwards to private individuals.
Such was The surface of the bogs of the latter country is the case with the Groot Zuid plas; by the drying rarely above the level of the sea. From Rotter- of which the extent of water between Rotterdam dain to the Helder they cover a very large area, and Gouda has been greatly diminished, and the and have proved rich mines of fuel for many ages. danger from it lessened. This work was begun But where the peat was extracted, stagnant water in 1836, and has now been for some time comtook its place. Scooped up from beneath this pleted. gathering water, as long as any available turf ex- Two questions about this time began to be agiisted, or as long as it could easily be reached, the tated in the Netherlands. In various parts of the quaking bogs of old time were succeeded by lakes country attempts had been made, from time to time, -often deep, sometimes of considerable extent, on a small scale, to supersede the wind-mill by the scattered in numbers over the country, and fre- steam-engine in the draining of the land—but withquently separated only by narrow intervals of out any satisfactory success. Through the influunsteady land between. Could not the drainage ence chiefly of Mr. Simons, a more skilful trial was of natural lakes be extended to the exhausted bogs? made at the expense of government, by the erecWould not the more solid bottom of a worn-out tion of two engines of thirty horse power on the turbary yield a better soil than the surface of a Zuid plas. By the use of proper precautions, this native moss? The depth of the water was now trial was attended with complete success. The no objection ; and soon, where peat earth had for- advantages of steam are, that the power is under merly been fished up, cattle were seen to graze, and flax and corn to luxuriate and ripen.
*We can form à priori very little idea of the actual
power of the wind in propelling bodies of water, and causAnother consideration also guided their pro-ing them to accumulate in its own direction. Smeaton ceedings. Their many lakes and lakelets are states, that in a canal four miles long, the water at one swept over by an unresisted wind.
end has been raised four inches higher than at the other, Unlike the
by the blowing of the wind along the canal; and Rennell lakes of Goldsmith's “ Traveller," which“ slum- mentions, that in a lake ten miles broad, and six feet ber in the storm,” their waters roughen, and fret, deep, one side has been driven to the other by a strong and dash themselves against their feeble banks. while the wind ward side was laid entirely dry.
wind in such volume as lo render it sixteen feel deep, The peaty soil gives way—the water flows on + In North Holland there are about eighly polders com. gladly, and two lakes become united into one. which are now all pumped up into a common canal reser
prising upwards of one hundred and fifty thousand acres, Another storm propels with greater force the larger voir, the Schermer Boezem.
perfect control, and can be exactly adjusted to the Russia, and Germany, and America, for her defiwork that is to be performed. During wind and cient corn, and upon the world at large for outlets calın it is equally ready for work, and can be set to her manufactures. Let railroads annihilate on or let off as the exigencies of the seasons require. inter-national barriers, making the broad land as The number of machines to be erected is also very free to pass over as the sea, and let the post-office much fewer; the cost of erecting and maintaining and the electric telegraph mingle by millions the them is less, and their work is always more effect- kind thoughts, and the more serious reflections, ually done. But the customs of many generations and the tidings of mental and physical progress, are not easily changed, nor the tools forsaken with from all the corners of the earth—and then, neither which, for hundreds of years, our forefathers have the whims of autocrats, nor the squabbles of royal perforined the work which still remains for us to houses, nor disputed marriages, nor dyspeptic mindo. But in the battle of the powers, the victory isters, nor polemical differences, nor desert corners is now palpably with steam ; and the winds must of land, will long be permitted to endanger the lives be content slowly to recede.
and comfort of millions of human beings. Under Another obstacle, however, not wholly discred- the possibility, in which the patriotic Hollanders itable to so patriotic a people, rose up against the have discerned an obstacle to the general introducemployment of steam. The boiler fire must be tion of steam into their national works, we see only fed, and fuel must be provided. The digging of a sign and beginning of further good—the first the native fuel has formed many of the lakes which heating of the bar from which a new link is to be the steam-engine is to be employed to dry. Will formed, to bind her more closely to the community you make new lakes in order to feed your fires ? of nations. They need never fear being deprived or will you work your engines with imported coal, of fuel. Even on the supposition of hostilities with and hazard the entire drainage of the country upon all coal-producing countries at the same time, as the doubtful maintenance of European peace? If they are said to have once sold gunpowder to their nation is to be forever separated from nation--if, enemies, their enemies will find ways of letting dwelling apart in proud and distinct individuality, them get their coal. they are grudgingly to recognize the virtues and As soon as experiment and discussion had satisdeserts of those from whom only a river, or a strait, fied the public mind of the powers and capacities or a custom-house, divides them—if the brother- of steam in the draining of lakes and maintaining hood to which Christianity appeals, is never to of polders, the recollection was revived of certain become more than a name—if the bountiful pro- greater undertakings which had at times been provisions of Providence are to be forever thwarted, jected, but which, on account of their difficulty and what one corner of the world produces abun- and expense, had been delayed or abandoned. dantly, another shall not be permitted to share in, The meer of Haarlem, in the course of the sixlest the one should cease to force the growth of teenth century, began to assume a very formidable the same produce from its own unwilling soil, or aspect. At first comparatively inconsiderable in the other, upon any whim of its rulers, should size, the wind caught its waters, lifted them over refuse to part with its excess—if such things are its natural bounds, and at once united five adjoining the best, then let England gird her wooden walls lakes in one broad expanse. Every new storm more tightly round her, let Holland heighten and added to its conquests from the adjoining land ; strengthen her dykes, let railroads and Atlantic and it threatened, at no distant period, to convert steamers be forbidden, and let coast-guards and Horth Holland into a separate island. This catasZollbeamten more jealousy watch all shores and trophe has been averted, only perhaps by the lofty frontiers, that man hold not inter-communion with downs which separate its northern extremity from man, and communities be thus gradually drawn the sea. At present, the meer covers an area of into dependence on each other.
about seventy square miles, and the works of defence But if national independence be consistent with erected from time to time to arrest its ravages, the largest amount of mutual demand and supply require an annual outlay of four or five thousand between kingdom and kingdom-if commerce and pounds to maintain them. intercourse forge common links among communi- It was in the beginning of the seventeenth centies, whether near or distant, which it will equally tury, when so much was daily occurring to aniinjure all suddenly to snap asunder—if general mate and inspire the Hollanders, that the greatest traffic create new wants everywhere, which home of their existing drainages were performed. Withproductions cannot satisfy—then the more one out a rival on the seas -possessed of twelve hunnation, in this sense, is made to depend upon an- dred large merchant vessels, and seventy thousand other, the more numerous will become the guar- seamen-building two thousand vessels of all sizes antees for that lasting peace by which the highest in a year, and enriched by the prodigious success adrancement of our race is to be promoted. of their Indian trade, there was no attempt to which
Let Holland then depend upon England and their spirit was unequal--nothing which wealth Belgium for the coal which is to dry her polders. could accomplish that they were unable to achieve. Let Norway, and Russia, and Belgium, and the Among the remarkable men of this active period United States of America, depend upon the Eng- was Jan Adrianszoon Leeghwater. Born in 1575, lish market for the sale of their timber, their hemp, in De Ryp, a village of North Holland, he early and flax, and cotton. Let England depend upon distinguished himself as an engineer and mill