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the wonder and admiration of every traveller. And it is also certain that this school must have achieved a high character for proficiency in this department, since we find Antonello of Menina, an Italian artist, travelling into Flanders in order to acquire a knowledge of it, though, two hundred years previously, oil painting had been practised in Italy.
With the works of Van Eyck and his brother must be associated Hans Hemling, or Memling, another artist of the same school, whose chefs d'ouvre exist in Bruges, in the Academy and Hospital of St. John.
In studying the productions of the early Flemish school we must not forget that their path was a new and entirely original one. Without the classic works of antiquity to guide them, or the great models of later times to imitate, they were forced by the necessity of circumstances to fall back upon the volume of nature; from it they took their models, and hence that formality and stiffness and meagreness of outline, so unpleasantly combined with a want of refinement in their works, which defects are more than covered by the elevated sentiment, sacred solemnity and truthful force of expression marking them. Through the works of Quentin Matsys, Frans Floris, Van der Weyden, Van der Goes, Mabuse, Coxcie, Breughel, Jordaens, De Vos, the Bringhaes, &c., down to Otto Vennius, Breughel, Teniers, and Rubens, we can distinguish the progress of the Flemish school.
SCHOOL OF RUBENS.—Rubens and his illustrious pupil Vandyke may be looked upon as the presiding geniuses of the second epoch in the history of the Belgian or Flemish school. We cannot, in any language of our own, better exbibit the character of the school, than that in which the head of it is described by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the following extract:- _“ The elevated situation in which Rubens stands in the esteem of the world, is a sufficient reason for some examination of his pretensions. His fame is extended over a great part of the Continent without a rival; and it may justly be said that he enriched his country, not in a figurative sense alone, by the great examples of art which he left, but by what some would think a more solid advantage—the wealth arising from the concourse of strangers whom his works continually invited to Antwerp. To extend his glory still further, he gives to Paris one of its most striking features, the Luxembourg Gallery ; and if to these we add the many towns, churches, and private cabinets, where a single picture of Rubens confers eminence, we cannot hesitate to place him in the first rank of illustrious painters.”
In the present age, Belgium possesses a School of Living Artists, whose productions, especially those historical ones of Wappers de Keyzer, Bufre, Maes, Gallait, &c., can bear competition with the best productions of the other schools of the present day.
ARCHITECTURE has been carried to its highest degree of perfection in the construction of the cathedrals and town halls of Belgium, which display the finest specimens of the ornamental Gothic style of the middle ages. In England, Gothic architecture is confined chiefly to churches, but in Belgium it is shewn to be equally suitable to civic edifices and private dwellings. Fronts richly decorated with quaint and fantastic sculptures, lofty sloping roofs, full of windows, pointed gables, castellated towers, battlements, and projecting windows, combine to produce a general effect, which, from its grandeur and intricacy, delights the spectator.
PRODUCTS.-Of 7 million acres, one-half is arable, one-fifth meadow, and another fifth is woodland. It yields wheat, rye, barley, flax, hemp, tobacco, potatoes ; copper zinc, lead, iron, and coal.
MANUFACTURES.—The industry of the Flemings has, within 200 years, converted a tract of land, once a sandy and barren heath, into a beautiful garden ; and the product of its wheat is often not less than sixteen to one, and oats ten to one, whilst scarcely in any part of Britain does wheat give more than eight or ten to one. East and West Flanders alone produce, annually, flax to the amount of £1,600,000, employing above 400,000 persons. Hops, beetroot, chicory, and tobacco are also grown. The coal mines of Hainault, etc., produce annually 12,000,000 tons, valued at £5,000,000 sterling; about 3 million tons are exported. About 1,000,000 tons of iron ore are annually raised. The cloth manufactures of Verviers employ 4,000 men; and the cotton manufacture, notwithstanding the loss of the Dutch colonial markets, has improved steadily since 1830, and now represents a capital of £3,000,000 sterling. The woollen manufacture may be said to constitute the staple manufacturing trade of Belgium ; at all events, it is the object of immense industry, and a quantity of foreign wool, to the value of 14,000,000 francs, or about £600,000 sterling, is consumed annually. Hardware, cutlery, and fire-arms are produced at Namur, Mons, and Liége ; lace at Brussels, Malines, Louvain, and Bruges. Carpets, flax, and linen also constitute important items in the manufactures of Belgium. Its cotton manufacture represents a capital of 60,000,000 francs in buildings and machinery, and the number of hands employed is at least 122,000. A brisk trade is likewise carried on in silk, ribbons, hosiery, hats, leather, oil-cloth, paper, and lithography, &c.
COMMERCE has greatly increased in Belgium lately. The principal Exports are the productions of its flourishing agriculture and numerous manufactures, such as corn, bran, coal, oil, lace, woollen and cotton cloths, linen canvas, arms, cutlery, and ironmongery. The average amount of value of the Imports and Exports is £220,000,000 sterling, of which £27,700,000 are with England. The external commerce of Belgium suffered greatly by the revolution in 1830, as Holland has since retained and monopolised the trade with all the colonies which belong to the kingdom of the United Netherlands. Its mercantile marine numbers 67 sailing and steam vessels.
RELIGION.—Leopold I., when chosen, was a Protestant; but the Roman Catholic is the religion of the State. Every other form of faith has free exercise.
RAILWAYS.—Belgium is the first State in Europe in which a system of railways has been planned and executed partly at the public cost; and certainly it is an honourable distinction to have given the first example of such a national and systematic provision of the means of rapid communication. The undertaking was first projected in 1833, and the object proposed was to unite the principal commercial towns on one side with the sea, and on the other with the frontier of France and Prussia. In this respect Belgium is most favourably situated for the experiment of a general system of railroads. It is compact in form, moderate in size, and is surrounded on three of its sides by active commercial nations, and on the fourth by the sea, by which it is separated only a few hours' voyage from England. On the west are the two large and commodious ports of Antwerp and Ostend, and its east frontier is distant only a few leagues from the Rhine, which affords a connection with the nations of central and southern Europe. It is therefore in possession of convenient markets for its productions, and of great facilities for an extensive transit trade. The surface of the country is also most favourable, being for the most part very flat, and requiring but few of those costly works of railway tunnelling, and embunking, which serve to increase so enormously the expense of similar undertakings in England.
In 1875, there were about 2,060 miles of Rail in Belgium, forming a complete network between all the towns, large and small; of which four-sevenths belonged to the State. The average cost was £14,000 a mile. There were 574 TELEGRAPH Stations in 1875; and 479 Post-OFFICES in 1874.
HAND-BOOK TO BELGIUM AND THE RHINE.
1.-B EL GIU M.
ROUTE 1.-LONDON TO BRUSSELS,
BY DOVER, CALAIS, LILLE, COURTRAY, GHENT, AND MALINES,
TRAINS leave by the London, Chatham, and Dover is situated in a very barren and non-picturosque Line, from Victoria at 7 40 mrn. (1 & 2 class) and district. It has latterly been re-fortified, and its 8 35 aft. (1st class), and Ludgate Hill at 7 38 mrn. works strengthened considerably, particularly to (1 & 2 class) and 8 33 aft. (1st class); and by the the sea coast. Its harbour, which has been much South Eastern Line, from Charing Cross, at 7 40 | improved and lengthened, is defended by several mrn. (1 & 2 class) and 8 45 aft. (1st class), and small forts, and consists of a large quay, terminated from Cannon Street at 7 45 mrn. and 8 50 aft.; by two long wooden piers, stretching into the sea. arriving at Dover at 9 30 mrn. and 10 35 aft. Its inhabitants are chiefly engaged in the herring Steamers start from Dover at 9 35 mrn. and 10 40 and cod-fishery trade, and carry on a considerable aft.; arriving at Calais about 11 15 mrn. and 12 30 traffic in Dutch spirits. Calais has lately taken to night. There is also a Special Fixed Night Service encourage manufacturing establishments - the (3rd class) as follows, viz.:-From Victoria, 6 25 bobbin-net (tulle) trade is carried on there with aft.; Ludgate Hill, 6 20 aft.; Charing Cross, 6 35 great vigour, in opposition to a similar branch of aft.; Cannon Street, 6 48 aft.; arriving at Dover trade in England. Several mills have been estabat 9 45 aft.; leaving Dover at 10 40 aft., and reach- lished, steam-engines have also been introduced in ing Calais at 12 30 night.
increased numbers, and factories have been erected Calais (Station).-Hotels :
within the inner rampart. It is stated that Paris Hotel, kept by A. Louis. The nearest 55,000,000 of eggs are annually exported from this hotel to the steam packets and the railway station. place to England.
Hotel Meurice, Rue de Guise, open for night The pier of Calais is three-quarters of a mile in trains and boats; moderate charges.
length, and is used as an agreeable promenade. The Buffet Hotel, at the railway station; con- On a spot of it is seen the pillar erected to comveniently situated; sleeping, refreshments, and memorate the return of Louis XVIII. to France. accommodation at moderate charges.
It originally bore the following inscription :-"Le De Flandre; Du Sauvage; De Londres; Quillacq; 24 Avril, 1814, S. M. Louis XVIII. debarqua vis-àMarine, &c.
vis de Cette Colonne et fut enfin rendu a l'amour Calais is a second-class fortress, and contains des Francais; pour en perpétuer le souvenir la ville about 15,000 inhabitants. It is surrounded by de Calais a élevé ce monument," i.e., His Majesty sand-hills on one side and by morasses on the Louis XVIII. disembarked beside this column on other, which, though detracting from its beauty, the 24th April, 1814, and was at last restored to the yet add much to its military strength. The town love of the French people, etc. The town of Calais
erected this column to commemorate the event Travellers proceeding to Belgium or Germany will A brazen plate was fixed on the exact spot where avoid much trouble by informing the authorities the monarch's foot stepped, in order to further of their place of destination, and by what train commemorate the act; but at the revolution of | they intend to proceed; their luggage should then 1830 both plate and inscription were effaced, be duly marked for transit, and they will avoid the leaving the pillar to stand as a monument of the annoyance of a custom-house search in France. capriciousness of French enthusiasm. Calais has Steamers ply thrice each day between Calais very little to interest; and though one or two inci- and Dover, making the voyage in about one and dents in its history are fraught with deep interest, a half to two hours. Steamboats sail direct to particularly the recent embarkation of French London twice a week, performing the voyage in troops on board of English ships for the Baltic, from 10 to 12 hours. yet its objects of attraction are few, and may be visited in about two hours. Its principal gate,
Calais to Lille, 65 English miles. built in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, and figured Leaving the station at the end of the pier, near by Hogarth in his celebrated picture, is worth a
to the gate, short inspection. The Hôtel de Guise will also
St. Pierre (Station), in the suburbs, is passed, interest the English traveller, as having been the
and place where Henry VIII. lodged, and as the original Ardres (Station) arrived at. It is a small building where was established the Guildhall of
fortress, situated on a canal. A little to the west the mayor and aldermen of the “staple of wool,"
of the road, between the town and Guisnes, is the founded in 1363 by Edward III. The Hôtel de
spot called by historians the “Field of the Cloth of Ville, or Town Hall, situate in the market place, Gold,” where Henry VIII. of England and Francis will repay a visit. Within it are all the public 1. of France met in 1520. It is so called from the offices, and the front of it is ornamented with
cloth of gold covering the tents and pavilions busts of St. Pierre, of the Duke of Guise, and of occupied by the two monarchs and their suites, Cardinal de Richelieu. It is surmounted by a
comprising 5,696 persons, with 4,325 horses. belfry containing a chime of bells. The tower and
Andruicq (Station). Watten Station. steeple of the principal church, built when Calais
St. Omer (Station).-Hotels : appertained to England, deserve attention. Im
Hotel de la Porte d'Or, Rue St. Bertin.-New mediately to the rear of the choir is a modern
proprietor, D. Coolen. Very attentive and charges circular chapel, and the church itself is a fine
moderate. structure, built in the early Gothic style.
Hotel d'Angleterre; Du Commerce. English service at Trinity Church and in St.
Population, 22,000. Pierre.
A third-rate fortress, situated in a marshy disThe ramparts around the town and pier form
trict on the Aa, well built and strongly fortified admirable promenades. The Basse-Ville, or lower streets wide and well made. A plentiful supply town, is a pleasant walk on a fête day. The new
of refreshing water is afforded from 12 fountains in lighthouse should be visited. It is one of the most
different quarters. The Hôtel de Ville is situated beautiful works of mechanism in the world. The
in the Place d'Armes. Beyond the walls are two view from the summit of the tower presents a
considerable suburbs, between which and Clairpanoramic scene of great beauty, comprising, on a
marais are situated, amid extensive marshes, elear day, the distant cliffs of England and the
several floating islands, covered with trees and outlines of Dover Castle. The public cemetery
excellent pasture. The proprietors row them like outside the town contains the ashes of Lady a boat to land their cattle or take them up. The Hamilton (Nelson's Emma), who expired here, town is on the line of railway from Calais to Lille. destitute and impoverished.
Living is said to be cheap. It possesses two The railway from hence to Lille enables pas- ecclesiastical buildings well worthy of notice sengers to proceed direct by rail to Brussels and the Cathedral, and Abbey Church of St. Bertin. all parts of Belgium; also to Douai and Paris. The former is a magnificent construction, exhibit