by Thomas Colley Grattan
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The Netherlands form a kingdom of moderate extent, situated on the borders of the ocean, opposite to the southeast coast of England, and stretching from the frontiers of Prance to those of Hanover. The country is principally composed of low and humid grounds, presenting a vast plain, irrigated by the waters from all those neighboring states which are traversed by the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Scheldt. This plain, gradually rising toward its eastern and southern extremities, blends on the one hand with Prussia, and on the other with France. Having, therefore, no natural or strongly marked limits on those sides, the extent of the kingdom could only be determined by convention; and it must be at all times subject to the arbitrary and varying influence of European policy. Its greatest length, from north to south, is about two hundred and twenty English miles; and its breadth, from east to west, is nearly one hundred and forty.

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AcquafortisAcquafortis wrote a review
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They are liberal and progressive, and yet conservative
I downloaded this book from Amazon while I was in Holland. It took me some time to read over 400 pages of names, intrigues, assassinations, princes, kingdoms and alliances that changed as quickly as today's Italian parlament. I researched quite a lot on wikipedia to get all the information to understand all the old dynasties so at the end the pages read where double the book. Written in an old-fashioned way where personal consideration and comments added flavour and spice to the history, I really enjoyed this book. Although I still had difficulty trying to remember all the names and their various correlation and to which small or big kingdom they belonged. I particularly savoured the last chapter or else as he calls it Supplementary Chapter where the historian summarises all of his personal views about the Dutch country and its people. And I have to say the truth I quite agree with him. "They are, in their own degree, remarkably prosperous and comfortable; and they have the good sense to be content with their condition. They are liberal and progressive, and yet conservative;...and they are wisely indifferent to the affairs of others" Very true..what impressed me while in Holland is that they have no curtains and if they do have them they don't use them. "Their nature seems to partake of the scenic traits of their country; its picturesque, solid serenity, its unemotional levels, its flavour of the antique: and yet beneath that composure we feel the strength and steadfastness which can say to the ocean, Thus far and no further, and can build their immaculate towns, and erect their peaceful windmills, and navigate their placid canals, and smoke their fragrant pipes on land which, by natural right, should be the bottom of the sea" Yes, as my Dutch friend said to me "Why complicate your existence, we are in Holland!"