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maker; and in this capacity was employed from by the statement, that both to keep dry and to 1608 to 1612 in draining the Beemster—a large maintain the dykes around this large area, when polder in North Holland, which alone contains brought into the state of a polder, would not ex18,000 acres. He worked also at various times ceed in yearly expense the cost of maintaining the as a mill-wright, and as a carver in stone, wood, existing barrier dykes. and ivory; he was a skilful mechanician, and built The drainage of the lake was, accordingly, clocks and carrioles; he was a professed drainer, resolved upon by the states-general. A navigable a land-measurer, and was cunning in the construc- ring canal was begun, we believe in 1840: and tion of dykes and sluices. He possessed the art this, we understand, is now completed. At three (which he exhibited at different times before per- distant points on the borders of the lake, as many sons of rank, but never revealed) of descending and inonster engines are to be erected. These, it is remaining for a length of time below the surface calculated will exhaust the waters, and lay the bed of the water-eating, writing, and playing on inu- of the lake dry, by fourteen months of incessant sical instruments the while. He visited and was pumping ; at a total cost, for machines and labor, employed in various countries—Denmark, Germa- of £140,000. The expense of maintaining the ny, France, and England—and lived to be nearly dykes and engines afterwards, will be nearly five eighty years of age, though the year of his death thousand pounds a year. The cost of maintain is not recorded.
ing the old barrier dykes, amounted, as we have The success which had attended the drainage of already stated, to about the same sum. The land to the North Holland polders, suggested to Leegh- be laid dry is variously estimated at from fifty to water the bolder idea of applying a similar remedy seventy thousand acres. Taking the lowest of to the larger sea or lake of Haerlem ;-wall in these estimates, the cost of reclaiming amounts to the limits of the lake, pump out its waters, and £3 sterling per imperial acre, and that of subsethe danger of future encroachment will be removed. quently maintaining to two shillings per acre.* InAccordingly, in 1640, when his experience was dependently, therefore, of the other advantages fully matured, he published his “Het Haerlemmer which will attend it, there will be an actual money Boek;” in which he suggests that the lake might profit from the undertaking. be economically and profitably drained, and details The quantity of water to be lifted is calculated the methods he would recommend for successfully at about a thousand millions of tons. This would accomplishing this gigantic work. Occupied as have required a hundred and fourteen windmills the country then was with Spanish wars, the of the largest size stationed at intervals round the phamphlet of Leeghwater attracted considerable lake, and working for four years, at a total cost of attention. It went through three editions : but upwards of £300,000 ; while at the same time, the project was one which required time to be after the first exhaustion of the waters was comdigested; and before it had been adequately dis- pleted, the greater number of these mills would cussed, there came the peace of 1648. New have been perfectly useless. How wonderful apadjustments, commercial and political, took place. pears the progress of mechanical art!-three Many previous calculations were now falsified- steam-engines to do the work of one hundred and many projects deferred. Later still, the disas- fourteen huge mills—in one third of the time, and trous wars with Louis XIV. and with England, at less than one half the cost ! intervened ; and the project of Leeghwater was One of these monster engines—of English manlost sight of or forgotten.
ufacture-working, polypus-like, eleven huge suckBut the success of the steam trials on the Zuid ers at the extremity of as many formidable arms, plas, and the discussion to which the works of has been already erected, and tried at the southern Simons and Greve gave rise, lately recalled the extremity of the lake in the neighborhood of Leyden. idea of draining the Haerlem sea, proposed and To this first machine the not ungrateful name of recommended two centuries before. If wealth no The LEEGHWATER has been given. Vain honors longer poured into the country so fast as when the we pay at last to the memory of men whose minds scheme was first promulgated, the work itself, by were too forward and too capacious for their time the progress of art, had now become infinitely —who were denied by their contemporaries the easier. They were offered the agency of a new few kind words of sympathy which would have instrument, before which the powers of their wind- done so much to comfort, sustain, and strengthen mills quailed ; and the most slow and sceptical them! began to confess, that what Leeghwater had so The annual drainage of the lake is calculated at sanguinely pronounced to be possible, might now fifty-four millions of tons, of which twenty millions be comprehended among the reasonable expecta- will require in some seasons to be lifted in the tions even of cautious and calculating men. course of one or two months. Had our railway
The arguments at present advanced in favor of undertakings not sprung up to rival or excel it, we the work, comprised one element, which Leegh- should have unhesitatingly claimed for this work water himself had been unable to urge with equal the praise of being the boldest effort of civil enforce. The annual expense of caging and confin- gineering in modern times. ing the waters of the lake, was now known by long experience. The practical minds of the Hol- vious page, about 70 square miles, it contains only 45,000
* If the area of the lake be, as we have stated in a prelanders, therefore, were naturally much influenced acres, and the cost of reclaiming is still about £3 an acre.
But, now that the national mind has been once canals and tidal sluices would easily discharge its stirred at the picture of these mechanical and social superfluous waters into the Northern Ocean. triumphs, the sober Hollander appears to be pass- We by no means doubt the possibility of this. ing at once into the extreme of daring; and he has Though the cost is roughly calculated at five milventured to suggest projects, which cautious men lions sterling, we believe even in the ultimate may be excused for looking upon with distrust. pecuniary profit of the scheme, if it were success
The Zuyder Zee is a salt sea; bounded towards fully executed. We do fear, however, for the the north by the chain of islands which stretch from power of any dykes to stand, for long, the brunt the Helder to the Dollart, and on the south by the of the northern billows. But what may not adsemi-circular shores of Utrecht and Guelderland. vancing art accomplish? May not the yielding In the time of the Romans, the Yssel, in reality asphalte, or the elastic caoutchouc, yet be seen an arm of the Rhine, which now falls into the mantling the sea-washed walls, and, “yielding to Zuyder Zee below the town of Zwolle, emptied conquer," withstand the persevering tide more itself into Lake Flevo. So far as we can ascertain, gallantly than the stubborn masses of stone and it appears that beyond this latter lake towards the iron ? Still the proposed experiment appears to west and south, the Zuyder Zee, then also a fresh- press more closely than we have sufficient warrant water lake, discharged itself by a river, the Vlie, for at present, on the limits within which nature is which occupied nearly the course of the present as yet more than a match for man. We merely channel of that name, and joined the Northern notice the idea of completing by art the natural deOcean, between what now forms the island of Vlie- fences of this sea, further towards the north. By land and Ter-schelling. But the natural action of uniting, through the means of intermediate dykes, the elements widened these lakes, and gradually the Texel, Vlieland, Ter-schelling, and Ameland, obliterated the intermediate tract of land. It is with the northern mainland, the German Ocean possible, too, if any faith is to be put in one of might be wholly excluded from the Frisian sea, those conjectures that of Elie de Beaumont-by and the available surface of the provinces of Holwhich geologists get over difficulties, that the whole land and Frieseland doubled. For this effort, at land of the Netherlands may have sunk, and as- least, we may safely say, that the knowledge and sisted the operation. At all events, it is upon the man have not yet arrived. Can we soberly record, that in 1170, during a great flood, the believe that they will ever come? waters of the southern lake rose to the very gates Such are the works, unquestionably great, of the city of l’trecht, so that fish could be caught which, by means of long, persevering, and costly with nets froin the walls of the town; and the labor, this people has already executed : and such Limits of the lake were greatly extended, especially are the still greater, which the progress of mechantowards the north, between the two Frieselands. ical art and the example of their forefathers have According to some authors, however, West Friese- led them to enter upon or to project. One reflecland still stretched continuously across the present tion, however, was continually present to our Zuyder Zee from Petten and Medemblik, to the minds, as we were surveying the monuments of Lauwer Zee. From that time, for upwards of 200 their skill and courage. How powerful is the years, it continued to increase, swallowing up will of man over the elements of nature, and yet “ whole forests, and many thousand acres of land, how feeble and evanescent is all he does! Let so thai large ships might be navigated where car- his hand cease to labor here for a single season, riages used to travel.” At last, in 1396, a large and the fruits of years upon years of victory are part of West Frieseland was swallowed up, lake lost. Withhold only for a few months his engiFlevo entirely disappeared, the existing islands neering industry, and the waters will resume their were formed or completely separated from the ancient dominion, and Holland in great part disapmainland, and the Zuyder Zee converted into an pear. Such a reflection as this ought to humble arm of the Northern Ocean.
us as men, without diminishing our zeal as good In its mean depth, this wide inland sea does not citizens. greatly exceed that of the lake of Haerlem. Full The enlightened and travelled agriculturist who of shallows, its channels are difficult to navigate. visits Holland, though he candidly confesses that At the same time being exposed to the sweep of no other country has done so much-so extensively far-stretching winds, it is dangerous to the sailor. and so well—for the mechanical part of agriculIts frequent ravages on the coast not only necessi- ture, will yet not fail to remark that even this tate an enormous outlay in the maintenance of branch of rural economy has hitherto only been dykes, but ever and anon it succeeds in swallowing blocked ont in the rough. Massive and magnifivast fragments of the land, which it again most recent operations have been executed, but the refined luctantly surrenders.
practices of what among us is called thorough If the Haerlem tiger can now be so easily sub- draining, are scarcely known. The improvements dued by the aid of steam, why, it is asked, not in agricultural machinery, which so strikingly dismuzzle also the lion of the Zuyder Zee? A sea- tinguish the present condition of purely English wall, drawn across from Medemblik or Enkhausen progress, have likewise been comparatively little to Stavoren, would inclose the large circular space attended to. The Netherland farmers, in general, which is the proper home of this southern sea ; and are entirely unacquainted with our best instruments
of cultivation, our clod-crushers, our drill machines, dried by wind or steam power, sufficient to lift the our manure-distributers and dibblers, our steaming water only the number of feet now considered apparatus, linseed-crushers, chaff-cutters, and the requisite. To lift it two or three feet higher, so host of new implements, to which the advance of as to reduce by so much the level of the water in the art in Great Britain has given birth.
the ditches, might require new adjustments, and In regard to thorough drainage, indeed, there further outlay which prudence would by no means are some nice questions to be solved, before it can recommend. In many localities, however, as we be pronounced with certainty, that it may or ought have ascertained by personal inquiry, the existto be introduced universally in Holland. In the ing ditches might be deepened, and the water in higher clay lands of the province of Utrecht, and them lowered, without any addition to the power of other districts, where there is a sufficient natural employed. Where such is the case, experience fall to admit of the introduction of tile and stone seems to say that the next profitable step in the drains at two to four feet from the surface, the mechanical improvement of the sea-born land, is to propriety and profit of such drainage are not to lower the water to a sufficient depth, and drain it be doubted. The accomplishment of this object thoroughly, according to our Deanston system. ought, therefore, to be one of the earliest cares of In other localities, where the capabilities of the their local and general agricultural societies. Those power employed are already exhausted, time alone who are aware of the millions of money we are can be expected to bring about a condition of now wisely spending for this object, will wonder things in which such thorough drainage can be that a covered drain or draining tile has hardly economically adopted. But by degrees the steamever been seen in the rural districts of Hol- engine, as in the flats of our eastern counties, will land.
supersede the windmill in nearly all parts of the Again, the high moorlands and heaths are not Netherlands ; and, should the practice we have beyond the reach of improvement from this mode suggested prove successful elsewhere, the adof drainage. Saturated with ochrey matter to ditional power can easily be provided in the new within a few inches of the surface, no plants can erections. entrust their roots to the unwholesome under-soil. There is, however, a counter experience to Hence they are barely verdant with a scanty herb- combat, before this recommendation will be lis age. But permit the rains to descend, and escape tened to among the practical men by whom the at regular intervals through systematic channels Dutch polders and the English fens are now underneath, and the poisonous ochre will be grad- farmed. The command of the water which they ually washed away, and the soil prepared for those now possess, enables them to throw it off when it further steps by which its permanent improvement is excessive, and to let it on to the land—that is, is to be brought about.
into the ditches—when in their opinion it is deBut the poldered or low-lying lands are in a ficient. To high-land farmers this latter practice different and more difficult position. The water seems extraordinary ; and yet a fair show of reain the open ditches, by which they are drained, son is advanced in its defence. When land of rarely stands more than twelve inches below the any kind is fully saturated with water, it shrinks general level of the fields, while in winter it not and cracks in the drying. The wettest land, unfrequently covers them altogether. In these therefore, cracks and yawns the most, when the circumstances, it appears at first sight impossible drought of summer comes. Clay soils especially to introduce anything like a system of thorough —the Oxford clay, for example, in England, and drainage. If the water is to stand so high, there the carse clays in Scotland-gape in an excessive can be no outfall for covered drains inserted at a degree, when a length of warm and dry weather depth likely to be useful in materially increasing occurs. The roots of plants are, in
consequence, the produce of the land.
compressed and parched, vegetation withers or is Our British experience has established, that the burned up, and the evil is naturally attributed to removal of the water to a depth of three feet from the want of water.* In fenny districts, therefore, the surface in all land from which an outfall can and in the Dutch polders, the farmer rejoices that be obtained, is profitable ; pays the expense of the operation, and leaves a fair profit on the under- * A singular effect of frost upon some of the fenny soils taking. Assuming, then, that this result of our in the Bedford level, is described by Mr. Clarke in the
Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society. “Through. home experience may guide our opinion concerning on the whole of the fens, the land which is not real peat what would follow in untried circumstances, we soil, having a portion of salt mixed with it, is liable to shall be justified in concluding that the fertility of honeycomb during frost, that is, the frost separates about
a two-inch stratum of the surface soil into a net-like as. the poldered lands of every kind in Holland would semblage of small lumps, the soil beneath this perforated be increased, by going deeper, and exhausting the crust remaining exceedingly soft and light. This hard water to a depth of three fcet below the level of in the loose earth below, appears to rise, and the young
crust pinching the blades of wheat whilst the roots are the cultivated or pasture land. In regard to the plants are thus drawn out from their roots, and laid on latter, perhaps a flooding in the winter, if not per- this process, but freezes into a solid piece ; on the lowest
the top of the land. The pure black soil is not subject to mitted to injure the under drains, might not only and weltest portions of silly peat it does immense mis. be allowable, but might even be attended with chief.” The evil effects of this honeycombing are in a good effects. The apparent difficulty is to effect stubbles, and sowing wheat without ihe previous use of the
great measure prevented by merely scarifying the rapethis new operation. The polders are at present plough.
it is in his power, from the high level canals, to does in rural economy, in retarding the introduclet the water occasionally flow into his ditches; tion of better and more profitable methods. and thus, by maintaining it at its usual, and, as In Lincolnshire and our other fenny districts, he considers, proper, height, to quench the thirst this practice of introducing fresh water, borrowed of his parching corn and pastures.
by them from the Dutch, is justified on three But though the practice is a good one undergrounds—that it serves as a fence by filling the the circuinstances, it will become not only un- ditches, that it gives drink to the cattle, and that necessary, but absolutely hurtful, whenever the it refreshes the growing herbage. Quick-hedges progress of improvement shall have changed the would do away with the first of these reasons, and circumstances for the better. In the present con- convenient watering places with the second ; dition of the land, over-saturated with water, the while, as we have shown, the third is in reality air penetrates only a short distance below its sur-only an obstacle to improvement. We ought to face; and the roots, either of natural herbage or mention, to the credit of the Stretham and Waterof sown crops, confine themselves to the few inches beach fens in Cambridge, that, contrary to the of upper soil which are freest from water, and in general opinion, the farmers there consider that soine degree mellowed by the air. They draw the waters should be kept as low as possible.
either moisture nor solid nutriment from the soil After the first slight evils which the change might below. When the summer's heat comes, there- occasion were once over, all, are satisfied, would fore, and dries up this shallow overlying soil, the soon come to the same conclusion. In the Deeproots are compressed and dried up. Deprived of ing, and, we believe, most other fens, the adventheir usual food and moisture, they naturally turers have a right to admit the water at their wither and die. Or suppose water to rise in small pleasure. The general trusts, or courts of sewers, quantity from below, by so-called capillary attrac- cannot prevent them; and thus it not unfrequently tion, it brings up unwholesome substances along happens, that, while the steam-engine is at work with it, which the roots cannot drink in with im- to drain the fen at one end, the adventurers are punity, and thus the plant is not only parched, but admitting the water by means of their sluices at also poisoned. Let in the water, however, to its the other! We have ourselves examined this usual level, and you both dilute the poison, and question on the spot, with a desire to arrive at the refresh your crops with wholesome fluid. truth ; and our present persuasion is, that, even
But amend the conditions ; permanently abstract on those more peaty portions of the fen country, the water by means of a thorough drainage, and where the clay for gaulting or top-dressing the the necessity for such supplies of under-water will surface is dug from a depth of three or four feet,
When thus drained, the land would nat- the necessity for fresh water, were the land propurally open in all directions, and allow the air to erly drained and managed, is in a great degree penetrate deeper. The roots, no longer deterred imaginary. by the presence of superfluous and stagnant water, In Holland, this thorough drainage is a question would gladly descend further in quest of more as important, perhaps, in a sanitary, as in an agriabundant food; and the increased luxuriance of the cultural point of view. The province of Zealand herbage would show that they were successful in -including all the islands at the mouths of the obtaining it. The summer drought may return Maese and Scheldt, formed of sea slime in the way and parch it again to the same depth as before ; we have described—is of almost inexhaustible richbut the soil, whether it be a stiff clay or a porous ness, fertile in corn and madder ; but prurient also peat, will now no longer open into wide fissures in fevers, and inhabited by a people of sickly as before, so as to compress the roots ; while these looks, feeble frame, and unhealthy constitution, again, stretched in all directions to a greater who are intolerant of fatigue. The young recruits depth, are drawing from a wholesome and un- for the army scarcely endure the weight of the parched subsoil the materials which are necessary musket, till a year's training in the higher country to their continued growth. In reality, the same has given a sounder tone to their lungs, and state of things will prevail there as in all our strength to their unsteady limbs. Dyked in, and, drained clay and boggy lands at higher levels, where necessary, scooped dry by water-wheels, the where no facilities have ever existed for letting on soil is still rife in pestilential miasmata. Cattle water during summer droughts. It is clear, there fatten, but sheep rot upon it; and, though in fore, we think, that though there may be good favorable years it yields excellent crops, yet the reason for introducing water artificially, where, by produce is greatly at the mercy of the seasons. the uniform presence of too much wet, the roots Deepen the main ditches, however, in these rich of plants are confined to that thin layer of surface polders, pump out the water to a lower depth by soil over which the sun may be supposed to be at least a couple of feet, insert covered drains so predominant; yet there is no good ground for sup- as thoroughly to dry them, and we are certain, posing that such a practice would be necessary, if that not only would the land be more cheaply deep draining could be once introduced into these worked, the harvests more secure, and the crops poldered districts. The practice appears, in fact, of every kind greater on the average of years, but only an evidence of a backward state of knowl- they would be reaped also and consumed by a edge, operating, as defective knowledge always healthier and happier, a more long-lived and more
numerous, race of men. In this aspect, the kind | especially by chemical research. They are all of drainage we are recommending is no longer a included, therefore, under what we call the chemmere question of rural economy: it must take its ical division of agriculture. place among the gravest considerations of philan- As respects this branch of agriculture, Holland thropy and national well-being.
has at least as much lee-way to make up, as in We have said that the progress of agriculture regard to her thorough drainage. We do not say in every country is marked by two periods—the this by way of disparagement, but as a matter of mechanical and the chemical. In Holland, the fact, which has fallen under our personal obserrough portion of the mechanical period has been vation. She has therefore another great step 10 passed through magnifiently, while its inore take, by which not only the produce of her fields refined after-operations have not yet been suffi- may be increased, but the intelligence also of her ciently studied. The force of the country has rural population enlarged, and their intellectual hitherto been expended in adding to the available position elevated. Rescue the practice of agriculsurface of the kingdom. It has not been so gen- ture from the trammels of a dull routine, the timeerally recollected, that, when we make a given honored custom of the country ; convert it into an breadth of land yield a double produce, we con- experimental art, by making the proceedings upon tribute as much to a country's strength and great- the farm consist of a series of well-devised and ness, as by adding another equal breadth to its thoughtful trials, of which the results are carefully actual area.
observed and accurately recorded : do this, and the The chemical period occupies itself exclusively farmer is unconsciously raised into the intelligent with the means of inducing this increased produc-cultivator of a most interesting branch of natural tiveness. Mechanics having done its part, says to science. Chemistry, “ Here is dry land—clay, or gravel, or A large portion of the surface of Holland is sindy down, or naked heath, or elevated peat.covered with peat, naturally dry and somewhat How are we to grow remunerating crops on each j elevated, (the hooge veenen ;) while another conof these soils? How are those already remuner-sists of sandy downs and unproductive heath. ating to be rendered still more profitable ?" Yet, even in Sir William Temple's time, there
In early times, chemistry returned no scientific must have been great exaggeration in his stateanswer to questions such as these, and undertook inent, that “they employed more men to repair the to prescribe neither rules nor systems, by which dykes than all the corn in the provinces would the objects specified in them might be attained. maintain.” The ignorance of Davies is far more As a science, it was then unknown, and its re- inexcusable, since it regards a point so easily ascersources and appliances unsuspected. But, at pres- tained. He asserts, in his History of Holland, that ent, every successful practice struck out by the "the soil snatched from the ocean is too poor and tentative or trial method, and from time to time ungrateful to be worth the labor of cultivation ;" included in the approved code of rural operations, the truth being, that it yields easy and rich finds its explanation in the discoveries of modern returns of wheat, flax, tobacco, madder, and other chemistry. Errors of practice are corrected, and valuable crops. causes of failure made clear. The rocks and reefs It is nevertheless true, that many parts of Holwhich lie in the way of agricultural improvement land yield little agricultural produce. The reader are mapped out; deeper and more direct channels will readily understand how one or more branches brought to light; and new methods suggested, by of improvement may be neglected in a country, which not only are known ends to be attained more when its whole mind and energies are turned into completely and more economically than before, but another. How have the cold uplands in Scotland objects also realized, which have hitherto been and the intractable clays in England been neg. considered unattainable.
lected during the last half century, in favor of the The doctrine, economy, composition, prepara- more easily managed turnip and barley soils! And tion, and skilful use of manures—how wonderfully so the high veens of Frieseland and Groningen, have all these points been illustrated and developed the sandy tract of the Veluwe between Arnheim in late years! What the plant consists of-how, and the Zuyder Zee, and the heaths of North and with what substances it is fed—what the soil Brabant, have suffered from the want of skilful naturally contains-how it is to be improved, so chemical cultivation. Upon these tracts, the pruthat what is present in it may be made readily dent applications of this branch of science are, we available to the plant, and what it lacks be in the believe, likely to succeed beyond the most sanguine best way supplied—where the kinds of food neces- expectations. sary to the plant are to be obtained most abun- The high veens of Frieseland are chiefly valuadantly, and how applied most profitably to the soil ble as mines of peat, which, by the construction of
- what effects climate, situation, and tillage exer- canals through them, is shipped on the spot, and cise upon the fertility of the land, and upon the thence conveyed to the southern and western marfertilizing virtues of whatever is laid upon, or kets. The surface, however, is extensively cultimixed with it;these, and hundreds of similar vated for the growth of buckwheat. It is pared questions, all involving or suggesting peculiar modes and burned, the ashes spread, and the seed sown of practice, are arising daily, where culture is pros- and harrowed in, and in due course the harvest ecuted as an advancing art—and they are solved) reaped. But no manure is added; and after the