Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/562

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water is now found, there will be no impeding of intercourse between the larger cities that now enjoy boat communication.

One would expect to see the financial features well considered. The Commission asks the State to pay annually $758,000 for 33 years, and to raise this amount by the issue of Zuider Sea bonds of 100 florins (about $40) each. These bonds to be sold in the open market or given in exchange for deposits in the Postal Savings Bank. The bonds are to yield 2.6 per cent, and be legal tender in payment for ground rent. No one sees any difficulty in this plan of procuring the means. Dutch credit is good and the State finances have been so well managed that since 1850 the public debt has decreased by an amount in excess of what is deemed necessary to carry out this great plan.

The plan is not only feasible from a financial as well as from a technical standpoint—it is almost a necessity to the State. At the present time only 56 per cent, of the land is cultivated by the owners, and the number of small farms—less than two acres, has increased at the rate of 2,072 per year during the past ten years. The demand for land is so great that rents are growing larger with the result that less surplus food stuff is available, and the people are therefore affected by the fluctuation in foreign markets. Then too the country is annually losing 5,000 of the strongest inhabitants who are forced from home in search of work.

In the immediate future a large proportion of these people could find work in the draining operations and, as the lands become available, the surplus population that must now seek homes in foreign lands, could find land in their own country and that, too, close to Amsterdam, its best market.

Holland has suffered more from storms on the inland waters and inundations therefrom than from the seas that skirt her coasts. The drying up of the Haarlem Lake removed one great source of danger and loss, but immunity will not come until the Zuider Sea, which has been a constant menace since 1440, yields her 787 square miles to the tillers of the soil.

The Dutchman is especially fitted for work of this sort. He calmly sits down, reckons up the cost of the undertaking, devises means and appliances and then proceeds with the work without troubling himself whether it will require one year or twenty. He does not expect to play the part of Canute and command the waters to recede, but ever conscious of the inroads that the sea has made upon Ms country, his work is sweetened perhaps by a feeling of revenge that he will reconquer all that has been lost and levy tribute for the 371 lives that were lost in 1885 by the breaking of some of the dykes.

The Government is willing to appropriate the requisite money just