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that society suffers greater evil by fixing the value of the use of the precious metals, than it would by permitting them to command their own price, regulated by the price of other commodities.
A BRIEF CHARACTER OF THE LOW COUN.
TRIES UNDER THE STATES ;
of the inhabitants.
, (Concluded from page 27.]
DOLOMON tells of four things, that are small and full of wisdom; the pismire, the grasshopper, the coney, and the spider."
For Providence they are the pismires of the world, and, hav. ing nothing, but what grass affords them, are yet, for almost all provisions, the storehouse of whole christendom. What is it, which there may not be found in plenty, they making by their industry all the fruits of the vast earth their own ? What land can boast a privilege, that they do not partake of ? They have not of their own enough materials to compile one ship; yet how many nations do they furnish? The remoter angles of the world do by their pains deliver them their sweets ; and, being of themselves in want, their diligence hath made them both Indies nearer home.
They are frugal to the saving of eggshells, and maintain it for a maxim, that a thing lasts longer mended, than new.
Their cities are their molehills; their schutes and flyboats creep and return with their store for winter. Every one is busy, and carries his grain, as if every city were a several hive, and the bees not permitting a drone to inhabit ; fepidle persons must find some other mansion. And lest necessity bereave men of means to set them on work, there are public
banks, that, without use, lend upon pawns to all poor, that want.
There is a season, when the pismires fly; and so each summer they likewise swarm abroad with their armies. ,
The ant, says one, is a wise creature, but a shrewd thing' in garden or orchard. And truly so they are for they look upon others too little, and upon themselves too much ; and wheresoever they light in a pleasant or rich soil, like suckers and lower plants, they rob from the root of that tree, which gives them shade and protection ; so their wisdom is not indeed heroic, or numinal, as courting an universal good ; but rather narrow and restricted, as being a wisdom but for themselves; which, to speak plainly, is descending into craft, and is but the sinister part of that, which is really noble and celestial. Nay in all they hold so true a proportion with the emmet, as you shall not find they want so much, as the sting.
For dwelling in rocks they are conies ; and, while the Spanish tumbler plays about them, they rest secure in their own inaccessible berries. Where have you under heaven such impregnable fortifications ; where art beautifies nature, and nature makes art invincible? Herein indeed they differ; the conies find rocks, and they make them ; and, as they would invert the miracle of Moses, they raise them in the bosom of the waves ; where within these twenty years ships furrowed in the pathless ocean, the peaceful plough now embowels the fertile earth, which at night is carried home to the fairest mansions in Holland.
Every town hath his garrison ; and the keys of the gates in the night time are not trusted but in the state house. From these holds they bolt abroad for provisions, and then return to their fastnesses replenished.
For war they are grasshoppers, and without a king go forth in bands to conquer kings. They have not only defended themselves at their own home, but braved the Spaniard at his. The Indian mastiff never was more fierce against the angry lion, nor can cock, in his crowing valour, become more prodigal of his blood, than they.
There hardly is upon earth such a school of martial discipline. 'Tis the christian world's academy for arms, whither all the neighbour nations resort to be instructed ; where they may observe how unresistible a blow many small grains of powder will make, being heaped together, which yét, if you separate, can do nothing, but sparkle, and die.
Their recreation is the practice of arms ; and they learn to be soldiers sooner, than men. Nay, as if they placed a religion in arms, every Sunday is concluded with the trained bands marching through their cities.
For industry they are spiders ; and are in the palaces of kings. Of old they were the guard of the person of the Roman Emperor, and by the Romans themselves declared to be their friends and companions. There is none have the like intelligence. Their merchants are at this day the greatest of the universe. What nation is it, where they have not insinuated ? Nay, which they have not almost anatomized ; and even discovered the very intrinsic veins on't ? .
Even among us they shame us with their industry, which makes them seem, as if they had a faculty from the world's creation out of water to make dry land appear. They win our drowned grounds, which we cannot recover, and chase back Neptune to his own old banks.
All, that they do, is by such labor, as it seems extracted out of their own bowels; and in their wary thrift they hang by such a slender sustentation of life, that one would think their own weight should be enough to crack it.
Want of idleness keeps them from want ; and 'tis their diligence makes them rich. A fruitful soil increaseth the harvest; a plentiful sun augmenteth the store ; and seasonable showers drop fatness on the crop, we reap ; but nó rain fructifies more, than the dew of sweat.
You would think, being with them, you were in old Israel, for you find not a beggar among them. Nor are they mindful of their own alone, but strangers also partake of their care and bounty. If they will depart, they have money for their convoy. If they stay, they have work provided. If
Vol. II, No. 2.
unable, they find a hospital. Their providence extends ever from the prince to the catching of flies ; and, lest you lose an afternoon by fruitless mourning, by two of the clock all burials must end ; wherein, to prevent the waste of ground, they pile coffin upon coffin, till the sepulchre be full.
In all their manufactures they hold a truth and constancy ; for they are, as fruit from trees, the same every year, that they are at first; not apples one year, and crabs the next, and so forever after. In the sale of these they are also at a word; they will gain rather, than exact; and have not that way, whereby our citizens abuse the wise, and cozen the ignorant ; and, by their infinite overasking for commodities, proclaim to the world, that they would cheat all, if it were in their power.
The deprivation of manners they punish with contempt; · but the defects of nature they favor with charity. Even their
Bedlam is a place so curious, that a lord might live in it. Their hospital might lodge a lady. So that safely you may conclude, among them even poverty and madness do both inhabit handsomely. And though vice makes every thing turn sordid, yet the state will have the very correction of it to be neat ; as if they would show, that though obedience fail, yet government must be still itself, and decent. To prove this they, that do but view their bridewell, will think it may receive a gentleman, though a gallant. And so their prison a wealthy citizen. But for the poor it is his best policy to be laid there ; for he, that cast him in, must maintain him.
Their language, though it differ from the higher Germany, yet hath it the same ground, and is as old, as Babel ; and albeit harsh, yet so lofty and full of tongue, as made Goropius Becanus maintain it for the speech of Adam in Paradise. And surely, if there were not other reasons against it, the significancy of the ancient Teutonic might carry it from the primest dialect. Stevin of Bruges reckons up 2170 monosyllables, which being compounded, how richly do they grace a tongue ? A tongue, that for the general profession is extended farther, than any, that I know. You may hear in
what honorable terms Tacitus mentions them, where, speaking of the several people of Germany, he says, “ omnium " harum gentium virtute præcipui Batavi. Nam nec tribu. “tis contemnuntur, nec publicanus atterit ; exempti oneri« bus et collationibus, et tantùm in usum præliorum sepositi, « velut tela atque arma bellis reservantur." Of all these nations the principal in valiant virtue are the Batavians ; for neither are they become despicable by paying of tribute, nor oppressed too much by the farmer of public revenues ; but, free from taxes and contributions of servility, they are specially set apart for the fight, as armor and weapons only reserved for war,
All this even to this day they seem to make good. For of all the world they are the people, that thrive, and grow rich by war, like the Porepisce, that plays in the storm, but at other times keeps sober under water.
War, which is the world's ruin, and ravins upon the beauty of all, is to them prosperity and ditation. And surely the reason of this is their strength in shipping, the open sea, their many fortified towns, and the country, by reason of its lowness and irriguation, becoming unpassable for an army, when winter approaches. Otherwise it is hardly possible, that so small a portion of mankind should brave the most potent monarch in christendom, who in his own hands holds the mines of the war's sinews, money; and hath now got a command so wide, that out of his dominions the sun can neither rise nor set.
The whole seventeen provinces are not above a thousand English miles in circuit, and in the state's hands there is not seven of those ; yet have they in the field sometimes 60,000 soldiers beside those, which they always keep in garrison, which cannot be but a considerable number, nearly 30,000 more. There being in the whole countries above two hundred walled towns and cities ; so that, if they have people for the war, one would wonder, where they should get money to pay them, they being, when they have an army in the field, at a thousand pounds a day charge extraordinary.