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This island is fituated in twelve degrees north latitude, nine or ten leagues from the continent of Terra Firma, is thirty miles long, and ten broad. It seems as if it were fated, that the ingenuity and patience of the Hollanders should every where, both in Europe and America, be employed in fighting against an unfriendly nature ; for the island is not only barren, and dependent on the rains for its water, but the harbour is naturally one of the worst in America ; yet the Dutch have entirely remedied that defect ; they have upon this harbour one of the largest and by far the most elegant and cleanly towns in the West-Indies. The public buildings are numerous and handsome; the private houses commodious; and the magazines large, convenient, and well filled. All kind of labour is here performed by engines; some of them so well contrived, that thips are at once lifted into the dock.
Though this island is naturally barren, the industry of the Dutch has brought it to produce a confiderable quantity both of tobacco and sugar; it has, besides, good falt works, for the produce of which there is a brisk demand from the English islands, and the colenies on the continent. But what-renders this island of most advantage to the Dutch, is the contraband trade which is carried on between the inhabitants and the Spaniards, and their harbour being the rendezvous to all nations in time of war.
The Dutch ships from Europe touch at this island for intelligence, or pilots, and then proceed to the Spanish coasts for trade, which they force with a strong hand, it being very difficult for the Spanish guarda costas to take these vefsels; for they are not only stout fhips, with a number of guns, but are manned with large crews of chosen seamen, deeply interested in the safety of the vessel and the success of the voyage. They have each a share in the cargo, of a value proportioned to the station of the owner, fupplied by the merchants upon credit, and at prime coft. This animates them with an Urcommon courage, and they fight bravely, because every man fights in defence of his own property. Besides this, there is a constant intercourse between this island and the Spanish continent.
Curassou has numerous warehouses, always full of the commodities of Europe and the East-Indies. Here are all sorts of woollen and linen cloth, laces, filks, ribands, iron utensils, naval and military stores, brandy, the spices of the Moluccas, and the calicoes of In
dia, white and painted. Hither the Dutch Weft-India, which is also their African Company, annually bring three or four cargoes of Naves ; and to this mart the Spaniards themselves come in sınall velsels, and carry off not only the best of the negroes, at a very high price, bur great quantities of all the above forts of goods ; and the seller has this advantage, that the refuse of warehouses and inercers' thops, and every thing that is grown unfashionable and unsaleable in Europe, go off here extremely well; every thing being sufficiently recommended by its being European, The Spaniards pay in gold and filver, coined or in bars, cacoa, vanilla, jesuits bark, cochineal, and other valuable commodities.
The trade of Curassou, even in times of peace, is said to be annually worth to the Dutch no less than five hundred thousand pounds; but in time of war the profit is still greater, for then it becomes the common emporium of the West-Indies; it affords a retreat to ships of all nations, and at the same time refuses none of them arms and ammunition to destroy one another. The intercourse with Spain being then interrupted, the Spanish colonies have scarcely any other 'market from whence they can be well supplied either with flaves or goods. The French come hither to buy the beef, pork, corn, flour, and lumber, which are brought from the continent of North-Ame. rica, or exported from Ireland; so that whether in peace or in war, the trade of this ifland flourishes extremely.
The trade of all the Dutch American settlements was originally carried on by the West-India Company alone ; at present, such ships as go upon that trade, pay two and a half per cent. for their licenses; the company, however, reserve to themselves the whole of what is carried on between Africa and the American ilands.
The other islands, Bonaire and Aruba, are inconsiderable in them. selves, and Mould be regarded as appendages to Curassou, for which they are chiefly employed in raising cattle and other provisions.
The island of Saba, situated at no great distance from St. Eustatius, is small and hardly deserves to be mentioned.
DANISH WEST-INDIES. ,
ST. THOM A S.
An inconsiderable member of the Caribbees, fituated in Gxty, four degrees west longitude, and eighteen degrees north latitude, about fifteen miles in circumference, and has a safe and commodious harbour.
ST. CROIX, or SANTA CRUZ. Another small and unhealthy island, lying about five leagues eaft of St. Thomas, ten or twelve leagues in length, and three or four where it is broadest. These islands, so long as they remained in the hands of the Danish West-India Company, were ill managed, and of little consequence to the Danes; but that wife and benevolent prince, the late king of Denmark, bought up the company's stock, and laid the trade open ; and since that time the island of St. Thomas, as well as this, has been so greatly improved, that it is said to produce upwards of three thousand hogsheads of sugar, of one thou• sand weight each, and other of the West-India commodities in tolerable plenty. In time of war, privateers bring in their prizes here for sale ; and a great many vessels trade from hence along the Spanish main, and return with money in fpecic or bars, and valuable mer. chandise. As for Santa Cruz, from a perfect desert a few years since, it is beginning to settle fast ; several perfons from the English islands, some of them of great wealth, have gone to settle there, and have received very great encouragement to do fo.
The Dutch and the Danes hardly deserve to be mentioned among the proprietors of America; their possessions there are compara. tively nothing. But notwithstanding they appear extremely worthy of the attention of these powers, as the share of the Dutch only is worth to them at least six hundred thoufand pounds a year.
N fome observations on the animals of America; by that accounts for which we are indebted to the Abbé Clavigero, M. Buffon, and the ingenious Mr. Jefferson, it appears, that the continent of Ame. rica contains nearly one-half of the known species of quadrupeds, some of them common to North-America, and to the European and Asiatic parts of the eastern continent, and others peculiar to America: of these the greater part have not been accurately examined: it however appears, that those common to both continents are such as may be supposed to have migrated from one to the other. Comparing individuals of the same species inhabiting the different continents, some are found perfectly fimilar ; between others there is often found some trivial difference in size, colour, or other circumstances; in some instances the European animal is larger than the American, in others the reverse is true. A fimilar variety is often found among the same species in different parts of the same continent; this evidently arises from the temperature of the climate, quantity of food furnished in the parts they inhabit, and the degree of safety and quiet poffeffed ; the latter effect is evident on those animals hunted for their felh or fur, such as the moofe deer, beaver, &c. which have gradually diminished in their fize wherever they have thus been disturbed; but as we have neither a complete de. fcription nor complete catalogue extant, we are not warranted in making many observations. It is very probable, that many of the American quadrupeds are till utterly unknown, and others known only by common report from hunters and others, and the information, therefore, to be received with caution ; from this latter cause has sprung that multiplication and misapplication of names, which has produced numberless contradictions in the different writers on this subject. Our account will be little more than a catalogue, with a few remarks on those in particular which constitute that important
branch * Page 124, &c. of vol. i.