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communication ; every little town and village having its own system of canals, which connect it with all the places around. 2dly, as drains to carry off the superfluous water of the country. 3dly, in the place of walls and hedges : fields, gardens and houses, are surrounded by canals or moats, as, in other countries, by fences; and they afford an equally good protection,

The canals differ considerably from those of England, which are measured out so as barely to admit two narrow barges to pass, and interrupted at short distances by locks. In Holland, as the canal is the drain as well as the highway of the country, and rids the land of its superabundant moisture, there is no restriction to its breadth; and as there is little variation of level, few locks are required : but those canals which empty themselves into the sea are provided with sluice-gates to prevent 'the influx of the tides, which are often higher than the waters of the canal itself.

The principal canals are 60 ft. broad and 6 ft. deep. Not only the surface, but even the bottom, is frequently higher than the adjoining land. The North Holland ship canal is truly one of the marvels of the country, and should be viewed by every traveller who visits Amsterdam. In its dimensions, it is not only the largest in Holland, but in Europe. (Route III.)

Botany. — The botanist will experience in Holland a pleasure more peculiarly his own, in meeting with some of the rarer plants of the English flora.

The beautiful Menyanthes nymphæoides floats in the greatest profusion on the waters of the Dutch canals; and a plant of still more unfrequent occur. rence, the Senecio paludosus, is occasionally to be detected on the banks. In general, throughout Holland, he will find the vegetation similar to that of his own country. --D. T. .

11. POLDERS. Polder is the name given to a piece of ground below the level of the sea or river, which, having been once a morass or lake, has been surrounded by embankments, and then cleared of the water by pumps. So large a part of Holland and Belgium was originally in the condition of morass, that whole districts are composed entirely of polders partitioned off by dykes or ramparts; and the ground thus drained is usually remarkable for its richness and fertility.

To drain one of these morasses, or inland seas, and render it fit for cultivation, the first operation consists in damming it in with a rampart of earth sufficiently strong and high to prevent the water from flowing into it. This being done, windmills are erected on the edge of the dyke, each of which works a water-wheel. Pumps are very seldom used in draining, as, owing to the friction, they are only suited for drawing water from very great depths, such as mines. The instruments employed are, the scoop-wheel, the screw of Archimedes, and the inclined scoop-wheel, or Eckhardt wheel. When a great undertaking of drainage is going on, houses are erected in a convenient situation on the dyke, where the engineers and a committee of the proprietors constantly reside, and carefully watch the progress which their obedient workmen, the windmills, are making. In most cases the undertakers are compelled by government regulations to complete the drainage at a certain period of the year; for the very obvious reason that, if the ground were not cleared of the water until the beginning of the summer heat, the exhalations would materially increase the marsh fevers, which generally prevail in the first years of an extensive drainage.

“ As the mills drain the water from the marsh, they empty it into a canal, opened on the other side of the dyke, which conveys it to a river or to the sea. But most frequently the whole of this great operation cannot be performed at once; and, where the marshes are of too great a depth below the surrounding country, two or three dykes and as many canals are made, at different levels, rising by degrees to the upper canal, in which the whole terminates. In the Schermer-Meer, for instance, there are four stages of canals. Every piece of ground forms a long parallelogram, is separated from the next by a broad deep ditch, which, in reality, is a first canal. It serves to convey part of the harvest; to carry off the water which, but for this, would continue on the ground; but, above all, as an enclosure, which renders it unnecessary to guard the flocks, which seldom attempt to pass over this obstruction. The canals communicate, by means of the above-mentioned mills, with those of the second stage along the roads; lastly, two or three upper canals traverse the whole of the polder, like great arteries, carrying all these lower waters into one grand canal made below the dyke, and immediately connected with the sea. Nothing can be more curious than the sight of these masses of water, situated side by side, on four different levels. In general completely separated, they are made to communicate whenever it is desired, and the precise proportion which is thought necessary may be established between them. This girdle of windmills, which announces at a distance the frontiers of the polder, has the appearance of sentinels placed to guard the entrances; and Don Quixote would have been quite at home among them.

" It is easy to conceive the extreme fertility acquired by land managed in this manner. Formed originally of mud, which was itself rich, it is covered almost all the year round with herbs which contribute to its fertility. All the water which might be injurious is drawn off at pleasure, by means of the mills, and a regular and gradual irrigation is introduced at the most favourable moment.

“ The appearance of the polder itself, when you have got into it, is very different from the upper country; and though more remarkable, it is decidedly less agreeable. Each object reminds you that you are at the bottom of a lake, on a factitious soil, where every thing is calculated. When the draining is finished, the undertakers have very regularly portioned out the conquest they have made from the waters ; they have divided and subdivided it into perfectly equal parts; they have dug canals, made roads, planted trees in perfect right lines, proscribed all curves, all variation in the distance, and placed at the head of each farm a square habitation, which is always similar to its neighbour. Very accurately surrounded with twenty trees, often fine, but never graceful, these redoubts resemble neither farm houses, which would be less carefully kept, and more animated, nor country seats, where something could be dedicated to pleasure. Their large roofs, coming down nearly to the ground in four equal slopes, rest upon brick walls, which are always neat but never elegant. They look as if they had just sprung up like mushrooms among the tufted grass which surrounds them, and which seems never to have been trodden under foot."- A Journey in North Holland.

The better class of polders, with a good soil, when richly manured, and carefully cleared of weeds, especially those recently redeemed from the sea, are of great value, and highly productive as arable land; but the greater part furnish pasture or hay for the cattle, and are by no means of inferior value in this grazing country.

Many polders are subjected to annual inundations in the winter time, which, however, do no harm, if the water which covers them be not salt, and provided it can be removed by the end of May.

It may, at first sight, appear singular that the polders, the source of agricultural wealth and fertility, should be equally important to the couutry in a military point of view; this is, however, the case. By opening the sluices, cutting the dykes, and inundating the low meadows they enclose,-a measure fraught with ruin, and therefore only resorted to at the last extremity, - the Dutch may bid defiance to the strongest force brought against them; as, though the depth of water and mud upon a submerged polder is sufficiently great to check the advance of an army, it is too shallow to admit the passage of any but small boats. It is true, that a hard frost sometimes converts the water which serves as a defence in summer, into a bridge for the invading foes in winter. By availing themselves of the desperate resource of drowning the land to save it, the Dutch purchased their freedom from the yoke of Spain; and Europe beheld with astonishment the most powerful monarch in the world, upon whose dominions the sun never set, baffled by the hardy efforts of the inhabitants of a country which in extent is not much greater than Yorkshire. In a following age, 1672, at a time when most of the provinces had opened their gates in consternation to Louis XIV., Holland opened to him her sluices, and was thus preserved from French tyranny. They have made the same sacrifice with equal success at various other periods of their history; and even in 1830-32, every thing was prepared to inundate the country, in the event of an inroad of the French army into Holland, which was at that time threatened.

12. DUNES. The Dunes, or sand-hills, which extend along the coast of Holland from Dunkirk, nearly without interruption, to the Helder, varying in breadth between 1 and 3 miles, and rising sometimes to 40 or 50 ft. in height, are formed entirely by the action of the wind blowing up the sand of the sea-shore: they are a source of good and evil to the country; they serve as a natural barrier to keep out the ocean ; a benefit which, but for the ingenuity and contrivance of man, would be more than counterbalanced by the injury done by their progress inland. On the sea-shore they are mere loose heaps, driven about by every blast, like snow-wreaths on the Alps; and, were they not restrained, would move onward year after year, and inundate the country. In passing over a desert of this kind at Schevening, on a windy day, the atmosphere appears dim with the particles of sand blown like smoke through the air. The height of the dunes depends upon the fineness of the sand, as the wind has, of course, the most power in transporting the minuter particles, Camperdown, memorable in the naval annals of Britain, is one of the loftiest on the whole coast, owing to this cause.

To cheek the dispersion of the sand, and the evil attending it, the dunes are sowed regularly every year with plants congenial to it, for even sand has a vegetation peculiar to itself, which may be called luxuriant : but a species of reed grass which grows near the sea (Arundo arenaria) is principally employed, and to greatest advantage. In a short time, the roots spread and combine so as to hold fast the sand, and cover the surface with a succession of verdant vegetation, which, growing and decaying on it, accumulates upon it a layer of earth capable at length of producing a crop of excellent potatoes, and even of supporting plantations of firs. Most of the plants, thus cultivated on the Dunes, may be seen in the Botanic Garden at Leyden.

Before the attempt was made to arrest the progress of the sand, it had advanced, in the course of centuries, far into the interior; and it has recently been found worth while, in some instances, to dig away and remove the

sea. But most frequently the whole of this great operation cannot be performed at once; and, where the marshes are of too great a depth below the surrounding country, two or three dykes and as many canals are made, at different levels, rising by degrees to the upper canal, in which the whole terminates. In the Schermer-Meer, for instance, there are four stages of canals. Every piece of ground forms a long parallelogram, is separated from the next by a broad deep ditch, which, in reality, is a first canal. It serves to convey part of the harvest; to carry off the water which, but for this, would continue on the ground; but, above all, as an enclosure, which renders it unnecessary to guard the flocks, which seldom attempt to pass over this obstruction. The canals communicate, by means of the above-mentioned mills, with those of the second stage along the roads; lastly, two or three upper canals traverse the whole of the polder, like great arteries, carrying all these lower waters into one grand canal made below the dyke, and immediately connected with the sea. Nothing can be more curious than the sight of these masses of water, situated side by side, on four different levels. In general completely separated, they are made to communicate whenever it is desired, and the precise proportion which is thought necessary may be established between them. This girdle of windmills, which announces at a distance the frontiers of the polder, has the appearance of sentinels placed to guard the entrances; and Don Quixote would have been quite at home among them.

“ It is easy to conceive the extreme fertility acquired by land managed in this manner. Formed originally of mud, which was itself rich, it is covered almost all the year round with herbs which contribute to its fertility. All the water which might be injurious is drawn off at pleasure, by means of the mills, and a regular and gradual irrigation is introduced at the most favourable moment.

" The appearance of the polder itself, when you have got into it, is very different from the upper country; and though more remarkable, it is decidedly less agreeable. Each object reminds you that you are at the bottom of a lake, on a factitious soil, where every thing is calculated. When the draining is finished, the undertakers have very regularly portioned out the conquest they have made from the waters; they have divided and subdivided it into perfectly equal parts; they have dug canals, made roads, planted trees in perfect right lines, proscribed all curves, all variation in the distance, and placed at the head of each farm a square habitation, which is always similar to its neighbour. Very accurately surrounded with twenty trees, often fine, but never graceful, these redoubts resemble neither farm-houses, which would be less carefully kept, and more animated, nor country seats, where something could be dedicated to pleasure. Their large roofs, coming down nearly to the ground in four equal slopes, rest upon brick walls, which are always neat but never elegant. They look as if they had just sprung up like mushrooms among the tufted grass which surrounds them, and which seems never to have been trodden under foot.”- A Journey in North Holland.

The better class of polders, with a good soil, when richly manured, and carefully cleared of weeds, especially those recently redeemed from the sea, are of great value, and highly productive as arable land; but the greater part furnish pasture or hay for the cattle, and are by no means of inferior value in this grazing country.

Many polders are subjected to annual inundations in the winter time, which, however, do no harm, if the water which covers them be not salt, and provided it can be removed by the end of May.

Or what by th' ocean's slow alluvion fell,
Of shipwreck'd cockle and the muscle-shell;
This indigested vomit of the sea

Fell to the Dutch by just propriety.
66 Glad, then, as miners who have found the ore,

They, with mad labour, fish'd the land to shore,
And dived as desperately for each piece
Of earth, as if 't been of ambergris ;
Collecting anxiously small loads of clay,
Less than what building swallows bear away;
Or than those pills which sordid beetles roli,

Transfusing into them their dunghill soul.
« How did they rivet with gigantic piles,

Through the centre their new-catched miles !
And to the stake a struggling country bound,
Where barking waves still bait the forced ground;
Building their watery Babel far more high

To reach the sea, than those to scale the sky,
“ Yet still his claim the injur'd Ocean lay'd,

And oft at leapfrog o'er their steeples play'd ;
As if on purpose it on land had come
To show them what's their mare liberum.
A daily deluge over them does boil;
The earth and water play at level coil.
The fish ofttimes the burgher dispossessid,
And sat, not as a meat, but as a guest;
And oft the tritons and the sea-nymphs saw
Whole shoals of Dutch served up for Cabillau ;
Or, as they over the new level ranged,
For pickled lierring, pickled herring changed.
Nature, it seem'd, ashamed of her mistake,

Would throw their land away at duck and drake." The author of Hudibras describes Holland as

“ A country that draws fifty feet of water,

In which men live as in the hold of nature,
And when the sea does in upon them break,

And drowns a province, does but spring a leak.”
And its inhabitants

" That always ply the pump, and never think

They can be safe, but at the rate they sink :
That live, as if they had been run aground,
And when they die, are cast away and drown'd:
That dwell in ships like swarms of rats, and prey
Upon the goods all nations' ships convey;
And when their merchants are blown up and crack,
Whole towns are cast away in storm and wreck:
That feed like cannibals on other fishes,
And serve their cousin-germans up in dishes.
A land that rides at anchor, and is moored,
In which they do not live, but go aboard.” - Butler.

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