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287 obeyed. In vain did the heroic Alexander endeavour to impart to other chiefs, whose humiliation, if not destruction, must be the fruits of their supineness, that divine energy which actuated his own bosom. The historian, whilst with rapture he dwells upon the valor and the disinterested energy of Alexander, with burning blushes will relate the mournful results which followed the dire neglect of his solemn and unexampled appeal. To his renewed struggles in this mighty and august cause, the eyes of England, with whom his name will ever be consecrated, and of prostrate nations panting, without the spirit to contend for their deliverance, are turned with ardent anxiety. May glory crown the arms of such a prince, and may his days be long in the land !
: The exchange here is in the same style of architecture as that of Rotterdam, but larger. My astonishment here was even greater than what I experienced at the latter place ; for, at the exchange hour, it was overflowing with merchants, brokers, agents, and all the busy motley characters who belong to commerce. From the prevailing activity, the appetite for accumulation here appeared to have experienced no checks from the inevitable calamities of war. My surprise was 'augmented by reflecting, with these appearances before me, upon the present and former commercial condition of the country.
The principal causes which contributed to render Amsterdam so rich before the two last wars, were the invincible industry, the caution, and frugality of the people. The antient merchants of Amsterdam preferred small gains with little risk, to less probable, and to larger profits : it was their creed, that more fortunes were raised by saving and economy, with moderate advantages, than by bold, expensive, and perilous speculations. This golden rule they transmitted to their posterity, who have exhibited no great disposition to deviate from it. A Dutch merchant of the present day almost always calculates the chances for and against his success in any undertaking, which he will immediately relinquish unless they are very greatly in his favor, and as nearly reducible to certainty as possible: he very rarely over-trades himself, or extends his schemes beyond his capital : such was the foundation upon which the commerce of Amsterdam was raised.
The principal sources of commercial wealth to Holland, arose from her herring and Greenland fisheries, which employed a great portion of her population. The superior manner in which the Dutch pickle and preserve their herrings is peculiar to themselves, nor has it been in the power of England, or any other country, to find out the secret which lies, it is said, in the manner of gilling and salting those fish. The persons who are acquainted with the
289 art, are bound by an oath never to impart it, hitherto religiously adhered to, and the disclosure of it is moreover guarded against by the laws of the country. This national source of wealth has been greatly impeded, in consequence of the Dutch having no herring fisheries of their own, but being obliged to seek them on the English coast at the proper season, where, particularly off Yarmouth, the herring shoals have been known to be six and seven feet deep with fish. The permission granted to the Dutch fishermen, to prosecute their occupation unmolested on our coasts, notwithstanding the war, was frequently withdrawn by our cruisers. Last year a private agreement took place between the two countries, and the indulgence was renewed, by which the Dutch were very abundanly supplied with their favorite fish : so much esteemed is it, that the first herring cured was always presented to the stadtholder, and opulent families have been known to give seven shillings, and even a guinea, for the first herrings brought to market.
· CHAPTER XVII.
FORMER COMMERCE OF THE DUTCH-BATAVIA—ANECDOTES OF NA
TIONAL FRUGALITY-EXCHANGE AND BANKING BUSINESS-COMMERCIAL HOUSE OF MESSRS. HOPEJEW FRUIT-SELLERS-MARINE SCHOOL—THE RASP-HOUSE-THE WORK-HOUSE-THE PLANTATION -PRIESTS HOW SUPPORTED—-PARISH REGISTERS—THE POOR-LITERARY SOCIETIES-FELIX MERITIS-MODERN DUTCH PAINTERS.
FOR more than a century the Dutch EastIndia Company enjoyed the monopoly of the fine spices, comprehending nutmegs, cloves, mace, cinnamon, &c. which constituted the principal branch of the Asiatic as well as the European commerce of Holland : 360,000 cloves were annually sent to Europe, and about 150,000 were sold in India ; 250,000 lbs. of nutmeg, the produce of the island of Banda, used to be sold in Europe, and 100,000 lbs. in India. In Europe also 400,000 lbs. of cinnamon used to be brought to market, and 200,000 lbs. consumed in India. Batavia presents a wonderful instance of the enterprize of the Dutch, who, born themselves in a marshy country, below the level of the ocean, erected a kingdom in the fifth degree of north latitude, in the most prolific part of the globe, where the fields are
covered with rice, pepper, and cinnamon, and the vines bear fruit twice a year. Although this colony remains to Ilolland, the Dutch spice-market must have very materially suffered, from the vigilance of our ships of war in various parts of the world, and particularly from the recent capture of her valuable spice ships returning home richly laden from that colony. The Dutch also carried on a large trade in rice, cotton, and pepper, and the Java coffee, which was thought to be second only to that of Mecca. The reader may, perhaps, be surprised to find that the amount of the spice exports should every year be the same. The Dutch East India Company was enabled to make this calculation in consequence of having acquired a tolerably exact knowledge of the quantity of each kind of spice that would be necessary for the consumption of the European markets, and never permitting any more to be exported. In this branch of trade they had no competition, and they were enabled to keep the price of their spices as high as they chose, by ordering what remained unsold at the price they had fixed upon it, to be burnt. Their spices gave them influence upon the trade of the north of Europe, in consequence of their being highly prized by the different nations on the shores of the Baltic, who furnished the Dutch with their grain, hemp, flax, iron, pitch, tar, masts, planks, &c. The surrender of Curaçoa to the British arins must also be severely felt. This island was