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United States Department of State / Index to the executive documents of the House of Representatives for the second session of the forty-fifth Congress, 1877-'78
(1877-1878)

Netherlands,   pp. 124-130 PDF (4.1 MB)


Page 130


    FOREIGN RELATIONS-APPENDIX.
ndividual enterprise. --it has ordered and controlled the
ufficient number of lines"of railroads to accommodate the
business of the country. It operates these by the agency of companies,
who. are joint stockholders; and although it has fixed the tariff of travel
at a rate not exceeding one cent per mile for third-class passengers,
which forms 75 per cent. of the whole amount of travel, yet it has not
suffered a deficiency, and on the trunk-routes distributes satisfactory
dividends." Pilfering by officials rarely,, if ever, occurs. It grants
no free
passes, and when an officer of the road:wishes to give his friends a ride
or
an excursion he pays for the tickets as he would if he had no connection'
with the road. The greatest possible care is taken to avoid accidents.
At every road-crossing a guard attends upon the passing of every train.
A telegraph-bell notifies the guard fr9m the last station of the approach
of each train. He then closes the gate, and renders it impossible for
ordinary vehicles to cross the track when the train is passing.
  The government, through its post-office department, delivers by car-
riers, for two cents each, letters to every house in the kingdom--not
only in the cities, but in the entire country. The report of the receipts
and expenditures of this department, laid before me by the postmaster-
general of Holland, embracing the time between the years 1849 and
1877, shows that for each year the receipts have been largely in excess
of the expenditures, Take, for example, the year 1876. The receipts
were $1,308,035.78, the expenditures were $865,690.19, giving to.the
state a profit of $442,345.59. The eXcess on the side of profit has been
about in the same proportion during the past twenty-five years..
   The government provides throughout the realm the best of wagon-
roads. They are paved with stone or a very hard clinker brick. They
are kept in perfect repair by a force that is constantly traversing them
for that purpose. As!- the heavy freight is more cheaply carried by
canal, the roads are better preserved. The streets of the city in which
this is written are swept within every twenty-four: hours, and the sweep-
ings are sold for nearly enlough to pay the expense. They are used.for
fertilizing the farminIg-land.
  The government maintains an army of 60,000 men, besides 23,000 in
one of the coloilies. . The soldiers are wellclothed and fed while under
training, but receive but nominal pay,
   The state relies upon religious, societies for the care of the poor within
their districts. It has no general system of houses or farms for pau-
pers.
   As to education, the obligation the government assumes is to require
 municipalities to provide abundant schools for all youth between the
 ages of six and twelve years. The option remains with the munici-
 pality whether to make tuition free or to charge a moderate rate.
   After this cursory statement of the price of labor and what the gov-
 ernment is enabled to do for the people onan economical basis, it is not
 for me to discuss further the causes of this stable condition of affairs.
 Suffice it to say that, within the range of my observation, the inhabit-
 ants, as a whole, of no country appear more prosperous, more com-
 fortable, or more contented.
   The prices of nearly all- commodities are placed upon their merits,
 without artificial props, and the markets of all the world are accessible
 for the introduction of whatever may be cheapest and most needed.
       I have, &c.,
JAMES BIRNEY,-
      Minister Resident.


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