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Ex-minister Birney On Holland

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The New York Graphic interviewed the ex-minister upon his arrivrl in New York port with the following result: Hollanders he regards as among the happiest, freest and most contented people in Europe, the government while flrm, is exceptionally mild and liberal. America and the Americana, he said, stood high both with the royal family and among the people, and the indications were tliat the friendly relations would grow firmer and stronger as tho trade relations, which already are important, increased. He attributed much of Holland's good will to America to the recent abolition by congress of discriminating duties upon the producía of the countries east of the cape of Good Hope, which now enables American merchants to purchase coffee and sugar from Java at Amsterdam without the expense of sending ships to that íar ofE island, as heretofore, and i to bring the same to the United States without the payment here of the 10 per cent. custorn dues lieretofore exacted. "The abrogation of this tax." said Mr. Birney, "is of great importanee in two ways. First, it savea American importers large expenses, and second, it makes Amsterdam the grand depot for American supplies of Java cpffee and sugar, and ensures the best quality of these producto of Holland's colonies for the American market. The Holland government regards the aution of congreso as a friendly concession in acknowledgment of lier abolition of certain duties in 1874, and will not soon forget the courtesy and spirit of Eair dealing which prompted it." Mr. Birney said that the people of Holland idolized the name of the late James Lothrop Mottey on account of liis eminent literary services in behalf of the country, as was exemplilied in his "History of the Dutch Republic." "Mr. Motley's book," he said, "is the standard of authority historically throughout the kingdom. The late Queen Sophia was Mr. Motley's ürm iïiend and admirer and the portrait of the distinguished American historian occupies to-day a post of honor in the royal palace." The American trade in petroleum witli Holland, was growing more important yearly, and would, it was his impression, in time equal in value the importations of Java coffee and sugar into this country. There had been some talk at The Hague concerning the aggressive policy of the Germán government, but no f ears were entertained there that Prince Bismarck would dare to attempt to carry out his scheme of amalgamating Holland with the Germán empire. The attempt, lf ever made, he said, would be resisted to the bitter end by the people of Holland, who were opposed to being denationalized. "The people of Holland," he added, "are intensely patriotic; they love their king, their government and their country. Their civil service is carried out to perfection, and a change of rulers and of ministry has no effect upon the public servant who has faithf ully performed his duties. The politics of the country is singularly free from corruption, the laws are just and great crimes are rare. In Holland, if a nominee for the oational parliament should canvass his district as in England and the United States he would be looked upon with disgust, and would stand no possible show of success, and if a candidato should expend a florín toward his election he would be regarded as little better than a knave. By adhering to this strict standard of honor the Dutch members of parlianient stand exceptionally high and are above suspiciou or reproach. The postal system of Holland, was equal if not superior to tliat of any other country on the continent. Letters were forwarded under this system to all parts of the realm for two cents, and the new plan of sending pareéis of merchandise through the mails at an extremely low tariff gave great satisfaction. Both, he said, not only paid expenses, but netted a handsome reverme for the government. The persecutions of the Jews in Russia are infamous ; the persecutions ot' unoffending evangelista iii Sweden arenothing less. In the Jatter country they have the sanction of law, but it is the disgrace of Sweden that law and public opinión tolérate persecution. Any preacher, not authorized by the kiug, may there be íorbidden, fined, imprisoned, and kept on bread and water, if only the priests and parish authorities consider his preaching as Hable to lead to a separation from the State Church. The high dignitaries of tho church co-operate with the King's or City's magistrates to enforce a petty and illegai tyranny, and bo breign to the popular conceptions is any just idea of religious liberty, that a meeting of' men and women in a private house for prayer aud singiug ia rudely interrupted by the eivi! officers, instigated by State Cburch priests, and commanded to disperse. One ray of light, however, comes i'rotn Sweden, emanatiug, not from its King, Couri, or Churcb, but from an influeatial paper in Gothenburg, the Journal of lts editor and a few of its friends, to save Sweden from the disgrace of liniug a Baptist preacher, or confa'uing hitn in prisun twenty-eight days on bread auii water, just for preaching the gospel without the permission of' the state authorities, paid the fine themselves. Sweden has niore to hope from its editor thau from its King or Archbishop, for he better understands,.and more truly sympathizes with the rights of man. But are not editors always in the van in reform work?


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Ann Arbor Democrat