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PRODUCE, MANUFACTURES, ETC. The soil is well cultivated, and grain is raised in quantities more than sufficient for the supply of the inhabitants. The Flemish horses, though too sluggish for the saddle, are admirably fitted for draught. Coal is very abundant, and is exported in large quantities, chiefly to France; mines of iron are numerous, and copper and lead are found in several of the provinces. Excellent marble and millstones are supplied in abundance. The woollen and linen manufacture is carried on briskly in many places, and in Ghent the cotton. The laces of Brussels and Mechlin retain their celebrity. The foreign trade is centred in Antwerp.
PROVINCES. Limburg, Antwerp, East Flanders, West Flanders, Hainault, South Brabant, Namur, Liege, and part of Luxemburg
TOWNS. Brussels, the capital, on the Senne; noted for its lace and carpets:
here Charles V, abdicated his throne in 1555 : the field of Waterloo is twelve miles to the south; a large mound of earth, surmounted
with a lion cast in metal, marks the spot. Pop. 100,000. Antwerp is strongly fortified on the land side ; its cathedral is the glory
of the Low Countries : it has a good foreign trade, and its inland is promoted by its connection with Mechlin, Louvain, and Brussels by canals, and with Ghent by the Schelde; it exports flax and bark to
Great Britain : birth-place of Rubens and Vandyke. Pop. 75,000. Ghent, a city fifteen miles in circuit, but a great part is occupied by
gardens and fields ; it was from Ghent that the woollen manufacture was introduced into England, in the reign of Edward III., whose son, John of Gaunt, was born here: a canal to Bruges : university. Pop. 84,000.
Liege, on the Meuse; coal and iron works, fire-arms ; Spa, celebrated
for its mineral waters, is to the west of Liege. Mechlin, (French, Malines,) on the Dyle; lace and linen. Mons, in Hainault, a strong fortress; coal mines. Bruges, in West Flanders, once a city of great trade; the spire of its
cathedral may be seen from the mouth of the Thames: the art of
cutting diamonds invented here. Ostend, a sea-port of declining importance. Steam packets to London. Namur, at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre; marble, cutlery,
Upwards of four millions.
MANNERS AND RELIGION. The character of the Belgians resembles that of the Dutch, but partakes of the gaiety of their southern neighbours. The Catholic religion is almost universally professed, but the ministers of other denominations are supported by the state.
GOVERNMENT. The Netherlands remained a part of the Spanish monarchy till the beginning of the 18th century, it then became the possession of Austria, with whom it remained till conquered by the French in 1794 and 1795. It is now for the first time a separate and independent kingdom.
Its government is a constitutional monarchy, consisting of a hereditary king, a senate, and a chamber of deputies. The senate is elected for eight years and the chamber for four. Its present monarch is Leopold of Saxe Coburg.
The present kingdom of Belgium occupies a large part of the Gallia Belgica of Cæsar.
BOUNDARIES. N. by Germany. - E. by Austria.-S. by Italy. - W. by France.
EXTENT. Between 469 and 48° N. lat., and 69 and 102° E. long. Length 200 miles, breadth 130 ; contains 19,000 sq. m.
FACE OF THE COUNTRY. This is the most mountainous country in Europe; the Alps stretching over a considerable part of it. It also contains several lakes, as Constance, Geneva, Neufchatel, Zurich, and Lucerne. It gives rise to two of the grandest rivers in Europe, the Rhine and the Rhone.
There are various passes between the highest elevations of the Alpine mountains, as the Great St. Bernard, by which Hannibal is supposed to have entered Italy; the Little St. Bernard; and the pass of the Simplon, which is 6,574 feet high, but which Napoleon converted into a carriage-road. The height of perpetual congelation on the Alps is about 9,000 feet in summer, in winter it is of course lower. This al. teration of the snow line causes the glaciers, which are described as resembling a stormy sea suddenly congealed. These immense masses of snow and ice are sometimes detached from their beds and carry devastation with them. The falling glaciers are termed avalanches.
The various parts of this country, according to their elevation, exhibit all the changes of climate from the frigid to the southern parts of the temperate zone. Thus the native plants of Greenland and Lapland are found growing not far distant from those of Italy and Spain.
PRODUCTIONS, ETC. The valleys and lower parts of the mountains in Switzerland are remarkably fertile; vineyards are common, and fruits of the choicest kinds come to perfection. The country in general is naturally barren, yet persevering industry has done much for it. Pasturage is the chief object of the farmer.
PROVINCES. Switzerland is divided into 22 cantons, the most extensive of which are Grisons, Bern, Valais, Vaud, Tessin, Zurich, St. Gaul and Lucerne.
TOWNS. Geneva, on the western extremity of Lake Geneva, is the most import
ant town in Switzerland; and is noted for watch-making : Calvin
resided here. Population 26,000. Berne, on the Aar: birth-place of Haller. The armour of Tell is pre
served in the arsenal. Population 21,000. Basle, (pr. Bahl,) on the Rhine; a commercial town: paper said to
have been invented here. Euler and Holbein born here. Zurich, at the head of Lake Zurich ; has flourishing manufactures of
muslins, cottons and silk handkerchiefs. Lucerne, the capital of the canton of that name. Lausanne, near Lake Geneva: here Gibbon long resided. Altorf. In this town the tyrant Gesler, the Austrian governor, placed
placed his hat upon a pole, with orders that the inhabitants should pay the same deference to it as to himself; this so enraged the people, that under the celebrated William Tell, they threw off the Austrian yoke, and laid the foundation of the liberties of Switzerland.
CHARACTER, The Swiss have long been distinguished for their honesty, steadiness and bravery; and above all, for their attachment to the liberties of their country. Every man is trained a soldier, and when not required at home may enlist in the service of foreign nations.
The German language is general in those parts bordering on Germany, whilst French and Italian are spoken on the confines of France and Italy.
GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION. Switzerland, originally divided into a number of independent lordships, became eventually attached to the crown of Austria. In 1308 three of the cantons threw off the yoke, and united together for mutual defence; they were shortly after joined by others. In the present day the same confederation subsists.
Each state governs its own internal affairs; but the general business of the Union is managed by a diet consisting of representatives chosen from each canton. The diet meets by turns in Zurich, Bern and Lucerne ; each
of these towns is for successive periods of two years capital of the Confederation.
The majority of the Swiss are Protestants, but the Roman Catholics form a large and increasing minority.
GERMANY IN GENERAL. Germany is not one country, but a confederation of several, which at a very early period united together for mutual defence.
Germany occupies the centre of Europe, from the Baltic to the Gulf of Venice *, and from France to Russia.
MOUNTAINS, ETC. The Hercynian and Carpathian mountains run through the centre of Germany, and separate the streams which run into the Baltic from those that run into the Black Sea. The country to the north of this range gradually inclines to the Baltic, and is in general flat; it contains extensive sandy plains and marshy districts. The country to the south is more diversified and more mountainous.
Germany is watered by numerous rivers, as the Danube, Rhine, Elbe, Weser, Ems, and Oder.
The Danube, after leaving Baden, in which it rises, crosses Wirtemburg; at Ulm it enters Bavaria, where it receives from the south the Lech, which passes Augsburg, and the Iser, which passes Munich; rolling on to Passau it receives the Inn from Switzerland, and enters Austria Proper. After watering Vienna and Presburg it passes Buda; before reaching the Turkish frontier, which it does at Belgrade, it receives three large rivers, the Drave, the Theiss, and the Save.
The Rhine, in its passage through Western Germany, receives the Neckar at Manheim, the Maine (which passes Frankfort) at Mentz, and the Moselle at Coblentz.
* Hungary, Bohemia, Lombardy, &c., do not strictly form part of Germany, but as they virtually belong to Austria, it will confuse the subject less to consider them along with that empire.