Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART I. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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PART I. - Pieter de la Court, The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland 
The True Interest and Political Maxims of the Republic of Holland (London: John Campbell, Esq, 1746).
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Wherein are laid down the general political maxims which tend to the prosperity of all countries: and some reasons to make it evident, that the same do aptly agree to Holland and West-Friesland.
THAT we may not abruptly speak of the true interest and political maxims of Holland and West-Friesland, nor yet surprize the reader with unknown matters, I judge it necessary to begin with a general discourse of the universal and true political maxims of all countries: that the reader being enlightned by such reasoning, may the better comprehend the true political maxims of Holland and West-Friesland. And seeing that almost all the people in Europe, as the Spaniards, Italians, French, &c. do express the same by the word interest, I shall often have occasion to use the same likewise here for brevity sake, in the same sense that they do; viz. seeing the true interest of all countries consists in the joint welfare of the governors and governed; and the same is known to depend on a good government, that being the true foundation whereon all the prosperity of any country is built;The true interest of all countries consists in the prosperity of all the inhabitants. we are therefore to know, that a good government is not that where the well or ill-being of the subjects depends on the virtues or vices of the rulers; but (which is worthy of observation) where the well or ill-being of the rulers necessarily follows or depends on the well or ill-being of the subjects. For seeing we must believe that in all societies or assemblies of men, self is always preferred; so all sovereigns or supreme powers will in the first place seek their own advantage in all things, tho’ to the prejudice of the subject. But seeing on the other hand true interest cannot be compassed by a government, unless the generality of the people partake thereof; therefore the publick welfare will ever be aimed at by good rulers. All which very aptly agrees with our Latin and Dutch proverb, that, Tantum de publicis malis sentimus, quantum ad privatas res pertinet; i. e. We are only sensible of publick afflictions, in so far as they touch our private affairs; for no body halts of another man’s sore.
Whereby it clearly follows, that all wise men, whether monarchs, princes, sovereign lords, or rulers of republicks, are always inclined so to strengthen their country, kingdom, or city, that they may defend themselves against the power of any stronger neighbour. The rulers welfare therefore does so far necessarily depend on the welfare of the subject; else they would soon be conquer’d by stronger neighbouring princes, and be turn’d out of their government. Those monarchs and supreme powers, who by bad education, and great prosperity, follow their pleasures, suffer their government to fall into the hands of favourites and courtiers, and do commonly neglect this first duty; the said favourites in the mean time finding themselves vested with such sovereign power, do for the most part rule to the benefit of themselves, and to the prejudice, not only of such voluptuous and unwary chief magistrates, but also of their subjects; and by consequence to the weakning of the political state; so that we have often seen revolutions of such monarchies by the ill government of favourites. But such princes as are wife, and do not entrust their power in other mens hands, will not omit to strengthen their dominions against their neighbours as much as possible. But when monarchies, or republicks are able enough to do this, and have nothing to fear from their neighbouring states or potentates, then they do usually, according to the opportunity put into their hands by the form of their government, take courses quite contrary to the welfare of the subject.
Whence ’tis the interest of monarchs to weaken and impoverish the subject, that they may assume to themselves what power they please. Arist.For then it follows as truly from the said general maxims of all rulers, that the next duty of monarchs, and supreme magistrates, is to take special care that their subjects may not be like generous and metalsome horses, which, when they cannot be commanded by the rider, but are too headstrong, wanton, and powerful for their master, they reduce and keep so tame and manageable, as not to refuse the bit and bridle, I mean taxes and obedience. For which end it is highly necessary to prevent the greatness and power of their cities, that they may not out of their own wealth be able to raise and maintain an army in the field, not only to repel all foreign power, but also to make head against their own lord, or expel him.Polit. l. 5. c. 11. And as little, yea much less may prudent sovereign lords or monarchs permit that their cities, by their strong fortifications, and training their inhabitants to arms, should have an opportunity easily, if they pleas’d, to discharge and turn off their sovereign. Bot if herein a sovereign had neglected his duty, there’s no way left for him, but to wait an opportunity to command such populous cities and strongholds by citadels, and to render them weak and defenceless.L. 7. c. 11. ibid. And tho’ Aristotle says, that it very well suits an oligarchical state to have their cities under command of a castle, yet this is only true of a great and populous city, that hath a prince over it, and not of a city that governs itself, or hath a share in the supreme government; for in such a republick, the governor of that citadel would certainly be able to make himself master of that city, and to subjugate or overtop his rulers. And we see that this reason is so strong and clear, and confirm’d by experience, that the history of all former ages, as well as the age we live in, teach us, that the rulers of republicks, whatever they are, have wisely forborn erecting citadels, and do still continue to do so. So that it appears that the said maxim tending to the overthrow of great and populous cities, may be attributed to monarchs and princes at all times, but never to republicks, unless when they have inconsiderately subdued great cities; and tho’ not willing to demolish them, yet are willing to keep them distinct from the sovereiggn government. But if the inconsiderate reader be so far prepossess’d in favour of monarchy and against common freedom, that he neither can nor will submit himself to this way of reasoning, nor to the venerable and antient lessons of old and renowned philosophers, then let him know, that the christian and invincible monarch Justinian has for ever established the said monarchical maxim by form of law in the corpus juris, now become the common law-book of all civiliz’d people, and especially of Christians. As the Emperor Justinianus in his corpus juris, inform of a perpetual law, has establish’d it.* For the said emperor having by his captain general of the east, Belisarius, reconquer’d from the Goths that part of Africa which he had formerly lost, and brought it under his subjection, gave him no order that the inhabitants of great cities should be better disciplin’d and provided with arms, or strengthned by good walls, that they might jointly with ease defend themselves, and their great and populous cities, against the assaults of those barbarous people: but on the contrary, he commands the said captain general Belisarius (and consequently, according to the Roman laws, all his other governors of provinces) to make such provision, that no city or strong hold lying on the frontiers be so great as it could not be well kept; but in such cases so to order them to be built, that they may be well defended with few soldiers, and particularly such as were in pay, and depended only on the emperor of Rome.
And tho’ weak, voluptuous, dull and sluggish monarchs neglect all these things, yet will not the courtiers who govern in their stead, neglect to seek themselves, and to fill their coffers whether in war or in peace: and thus the subjects estates being exhausted by rapine, those great and flourishing cities become poor and weak. And to the end that the subject should not be able to hinder or prevent such rapine, or revenge themselves, those favourites omit no opportunities to divest those populous cities of all fortifications, provision, ammunition of war, and to hinder the exercising of the commonalty in the use of arms. Since it appears from the said maxims, that the publick is not regarded but for the sake of private interest;The interest of republican rulers, is to procure rich and populous cities. Arist. and consequently, that is the best government, where the chief rulers may obtain their own welfare by that of the people: It follows then to be the duty of the governours of republicks to seek for great cities,Pol. l. 7. c. 11. l. 5. c. 11. and to make them as populous and strong as possible, that so all rulers and magistrates, and likewise all others that serve the publick either in country or city, may thereby gain the more power, honour and benefit, and more safely possess it, whether in peace or war: and this is the reason why commonly we see that all republicks thrive and flourish far more in arts, manufacture, traffick, populousness and strength, than the dominions and cities of monarchs:* for where there is liberty, there will be riches and people.
Holland’s true interest consists in promoting fishing, manufacture, traffick, &c.To bring all this home, and make it suit with our state, we ought to consider that Holland may easily be defended against her neighbours; and that the flourishing of manufactures, fishing, navigation, and traffick, whereby that province subsists, and (its natural necessities or wants being well considered) depends perpetually on them, else would be uninhabited: I say, the flourishing of those things will infallibly produce great, strong, populous and wealthy cities, which by reason of their convenient situation, may be impregnably fortified: all which to a monarch, or one supreme head, is altogether intolerable. And therefore I conclude, that the inhabitants of Holland, whether rulers or subjects, can receive no greater mischief in their polity, than to be governed by a monarch, or supreme lord: and that on the other side, God can give no greater temporal blessing to a country in our condition, than to introduce and preserve a free commonwealth government.
But seeing this conclusion opposeth the general and long-continued prejudices of all ignorant persons, and consequently of most of the inhabitants of these United Provinces, and that some of my readers might distaste this treatise upon what I have already said, unless somewhat were spoken to obviate their mistakes, I shall therefore offer them these reasons.
Altho’ by what hath been already said, it appears, That the inhabitants of a republick are infinitely more happy than subjects of a land governed by one supreme head; yet the contrary is always thought in a country where a prince is already reigning, or in republicks, where one supreme head is ready to be accepted.
The interest of courtiers and soldiers is directly against them.For not only officers, courtiers, idle gentry, and soldiery, but also all those that would be such, knowing, that under the worst government they use to fare best, because they hope that with impunity they may plunder and rifle the citizens and country people, and so by the corruption of the government enrich themselves, or attain to grandeur, they cry up monarchical government for their private interest to the very heavens:1 Sam. 1. 8, 12. altho God did at first mercifully institute no other but a commonwealth government, and afterwards in his wrath appointed one sovereign over them.Which is not believed by some, Yet for all this, those blood-suckers of the state, and, indeed of mankind, dare to speak of republicks with the utmost contempt, make a mountain of every molehill, discourse of the defects of them at large, and conceal all that is good in them, because they know none will punish them for what they say:Because among others, the manner of judging among all common subjects, tends to the advantage of monarchy. wherefore all the rabble (according to the old*Latin verse) being void of knowledge and judgment, and therefore inclining to the weather or safer side, and mightily valuing the vain and empty pomp of kings and princes, say amen to it; especially when kept in ignorance, and irritated against the lawful government by preachers, who aim at dominion, or would introduce an independent and arbitrary power of church-government; and such (God amend it) are found in Holland, and the other United Provinces, insomuch, that all vertuous and intelligent people have been necessitated to keep silence, and to beware of disclosing the vices of their princes, or of such as would willingly be their governors, or of courtiers and rude military men, and such ambitious and ungovernable preachers as despise God, and their native country.
And how dangerous it is for the wiser sort to declare themselves to the prejudice of governments by single persons.Nay there are few inhabitants of a perfect free state to be found, that are inclinable to instruct and teach others, how much better a republick is than a monarchy, or one supreme head, because they know no body will reward them for it; and that on the other side,* kings, princes, and great men are so dangerous to be conversed with, that even their friends can scarcely talk with them of the wind and weather, but at the hazard of their lives; and kings with their long arms can give heavy blows.Which yet out of love to my native country, I have here performed, and enquired, And altho’ all intelligent and ingenuous subjects of monarchs, who have not, with lying sycophantical courtiers, cast off all shame, are generally by these reasons, and daily experience, fully convinced of the excellency of a republick above a monarchical government; yet nevertheless, many vertuous persons, lovers of monarchy, do plausibly maintain, that several nations are of that temper and disposition, that they cannot be happily governed but by a single person, and quote for this the examples of all the people in Asia and Africa, as well as Europe, that lie southerly.Whether any people naturally are to be governed by one person. They do also alledge, that all the people who lie more northerly, are more fit to be governed by a single person, and with more freedom; as from France to the northward, all absolute monarchical government ceaseth; and therefore maintain or assert, with such ignorant persons as I mentioned before, that the Hollanders in particular are so turbulent, factious, and disingenuous, that they cannot be kept in awe, and happily governed, but by a single person; and that the histories of the former reigns or government by earls, will sufficiently confirm it.
Whether the Hollanders are so peevish, that they cannot be governed but by a single person?But on the other side, the patriots, and lovers of a free-state will say, that the foregoing government by earls is well know to have been very wretched and horrid, their reigns filling history with continual wars, tumults, and detestable actions, occasioned by that single person. And that on the contrary, the Hollanders, subsisting by manufactures, fishing, navigation, and commerce, are naturally very peaceable, if by such a supreme head they were not excited to tumults.Deduct. Part 2. ch. 3, 4, 7, 13. Whether this be so or not, may be learned and confirmed too in part from those histories.
But here it may be said, that things are much altered within these 100 years last;Whether they would be happier under a stadtholder, than formerly under earls? for Holland then subsisted mostly by agriculture, and there were then no soldiery, treasure, or fortified places to be at the earl’s disposal. But when he had wars, it was with the help of his homagers and tenants, only subsidies or money being given him at his request by the states of the country: And moreover, the cities of Holland, and castles of the nobility were (according to the then method of war) so strong, that they could not be taken by the said earls, without great forces imployed against them; so that the states of Holland in their assemblies, have boldly contended for their rights against the earl’s encroachments. Therefore these earls, on the other side, by reason of their dignity, had many adherents that depended on them, which must needs make that government by earls every way unsteady, weak and tumultuous.
To this an approver of monarchical government may further add, that Holland now wholly subsists by traffick, and that one supreme head, captain-general, or stadtholder, would have his own life-guards at the Hague, the place of assembly, and likewise the assistance of a great and well-paid army, and of all the preachers, and by them the love of the whole populace; and that at his pleasure he may dispose of all the impregnable frontier towns of those provinces that have no suffrages or voices in the state, tho’ he should not increase his strength by any foreign alliances, or by collusion and flattery with the deputies of the other provinces of the generality; insomuch that the states of Holland would not dare, no not in their assemblies, to open their mouths against the interest of such a supreme head, or if they did, he would order his souldiers to take them by the collar, and might easily overpower most of the cities of Holland, the people being unaccustomed to arms, and moreover divided, fortifications but slight and mean in comparison of the present way of fortifying: so that one may truly say, that the Hollanders by setting up one supreme head over themselves, may now with ease, and without tumult, be govern’d like sheep, by an irresistible sovereign, against whom they durst not speak one word, when he should think fit to sheer, flea, or devour them.
Now what there is in this, and whether the Hollanders would be happy in such a condition, I shall at large hereafter give you my judgment.
Whether they are too stupid naturally to be governed as a commonwealth.But as to the stupidity of the Hollanders, whether that be so great, as that they have not wit enough to form a free commonwealth; and having found that precious jewel of freedom, would, with Esop’s cocks, prefer a grain of corn before it: This is what hath not been judged so hitherto, but on the contrary. Which that it may be evident to the reader, he may be pleas’d to observe the prudent conduct of the states of Holland, at their great assembly in the years 1650 and 1651, as also seriously to ponder and weigh the manifold reasons and examples produced to this end in their deduction of the year 1654.The States of Holland, since the year 1650, having manifested the contrary by manifold acts, as also All this is yet further confirmed by that magnanimous resolution of the 23d of January 1657, wherein the states of Holland unanimously declared, after consulting the general assemblies, or common-halls of the respective cities in that province, to hold for a fundamental and certain maxim, “That to place a perpetual head, chieftain, or general over the army, is not only needless, but likewise exceeding prejudicial, and that accordingly in this province all things shall be thus directed; that whenever in a time of war, and pressing necessity, the states of Holland, with the other provinces, shall think fit to proceed to elect a general for the army, or that upon any other occasion a captain-general should be chosen, then not to chuse such a chieftain as shall have a perpetual commission, but for such an expedition, campaign, or occasion only as may happen, &c.” And moreover, you may there fee, that these, and other vigorous resolutions of the like nature, were taken with this special proviso, “that the said resolution shall not be dispensed with, but by the unanimous consent of all the members of the said assembly.”
By this you may perceive, that the supposition of the Hollanders being phlegmatick and dull, and of a slavish nature, is altogether groundless; for seeing they became not free but by the death of the last stadtholder and captain general, and that it was unseasonable and imprudent before that time, for them to shew their commendable zeal for their freedom, and their skill in point of government: and seeing it is evident, that a generation of men that are in freedom, must be overcome, before we can pass a right judgment thereof, and stop the mouths of opposers; we must therefore, leave it to God and time: and if such as like monarchical government, and those base and slavish opposers of liberty survive those times, they will then be able to discern which of the two governments is founded on best reason.
It shall not satisfy me to have said thus much in general; for seeing the states of Holland in their deduction, Chap. 6. Art. 29. declare, that they will not lose their freedom, but with their lives;Because the states of Holland, in their deduction, affirm the contrary. Deductie. Par. 2. Chap. 6. Art. 29. I shall therefore presume to give my opinion of the political maxims of Holland, hoping that my sincere zeal and uprightness to express the same for the benefit of the publick, will be so acceptable to our lawful rulers, that tho’ I may have failed in some things, and by stating the true interest of my country, have been necessitated to reflect on persons, who seek their advantage to the prejudice of Holland, as it is now governed; the said rulers, and true lovers of their native country, will so favour this work, and its author, against the said malevolent persons, that it shall never repent him to have been the first generous and bold undertaker of so commendable a work. But howsoever things happen, or times oppose it, recte fecisse merces est, & ipsa sui pretium virtus; (i. e. to do good is a reward of it self, and virtue carries its own recompence along with it) I shall then, having done my duty as an honest man, good citizen, and upright christian, that may not bury his talent, be able to take comfort in my sincere endeavours: and posterity, into whose hands these writings may fall, will, in spite of all the present powers that oppose it, be able to judge impartially, and that with a sound judgment; because by that time they will have learned, by joyful or sad experience, whether Holland’s interest can be settled upon any other foundation or maxims than those herein exprest; and whether these reasons of mine will not be confirmed by the experience of following ages.
That the true interest, and political maxims of Holland and West-Friesland may be well understood; Holland must not be considered so, as in speculation it should be, but as it now stands at present.
BEING now about to enquire into, and lay down some maxims for Holland’s continual prosperity; it seems at first view to be necessary, that we consider the nature of the country, forasmuch as it is in it self perpetual; and what means may be found to improve it to its best advantage, and what good fruits and effects are to be expected from such improvement.Concerning all which, expedients may be found, whereby Holland may be improved to the most perfect republick. In order whereunto, we are first to consider the soil, rivers, meers of Holland, and its situation upon the sea, with the communication it may have with other nations. And next we are further to consider, what people Holland ought to be inhabited with, viz. whether with few, or many, in order to earn their bread: as also how the rulers ought to deport themselves towards foreign princes and governments: and lastly, by what form of government, and how the people ought to be governed.Wherefore such speculations would produce little benefit. But because such speculations use to build rempublicam Platonis, Aristotelis, eutopiam mori, a philosophical republick in the air, or such a one as was never yet found, the thoughts of it will afford little benefit: nor is this strange, considering that so many people cannot be suddenly brought to an uninhabited country, to erect a political state, according to the said speculation, and keep it on foot when it is establish’d. And since in all populous countries there is some form of government; therefore I say again, those speculations are for the most part useless. For if inquiry be made into the polity of all established governments, we shall always find, that there are ever an incredible number of ignorant and malevolent people, enemies to all speculation, and remedies, how good soever, which they conceive or really foresee will be prejudicial in any wise to themselves; and rather than admit them, they will press hard to embroil the state more than it was before. Besides, there is an endless number of political maxims which have so deep a root, that it is great folly to think any man should be able, or indeed that it should be thought fit to root them out all at once: and consequently it would be yet a greater piece of imprudence, if in Holland, tanquam in tabula rasa, as on a smooth, and in a very clean and good piece of ground, we should go about to sow the best seeds, in order to make it an angelical or philosophical republick:Because in affairs of polity we must ever strike the ball as it is found lying. so true is that good and ancient political maxim,* that in polity many bad things are indulged with less inconveniency than removed; and that we ought never in polity (as in playing at tennis) to set the ball fair, but must strike it as it lies; it being also true, that on every occurrence a good politician is bound to shew his art and love to his native country, that by such constancy the commonwealth may by degrees be brought to a better condition. I do therefore conceive myself oblig’d to consider Holland in the state as it now is, and hope that those thoughts will produce the more and better fruits, since those that duly consider the present state of it, will find that they agree for the most part with the climate, soil, rivers, meers, situation, and correspondence which such a country ought to have with other dominions, and especially with a free commonwealth government, which we have now at present in being: and I hope I shall not digress from it.What is understood by Holland’s interest. By the maxims of Holland’s interest, I understand the conservation and increase of the inhabitants as they now are, consisting of rulers and subjects. I shall likewise diligently enquire by what means this interest may be most conveniently attained. And tho’ in the first place the interest of the rulers ought to be consider’d, because distinctly and at large it always seems to occasion the subjects welfare and prosperity;Namely, and especially the prosperity, and in crease of the subjects. and a good form of government is properly the foundation whereon all the prosperity of the inhabitants is built: I shall nevertheless consider in the first place the preservation, and increase of the number of subjects, not only because it is evident in all governments, and especially in all republicks, that the number or paucity of subjects is the cause of an able or weak government; but also because ambitious spirits can seldom find a multitude of people living out of civil society and government, that will subject themselves to them: and on the contrary, where many inhabitants are, there will never want rulers, because the weakness and wickedness of mankind is so great, that they cannot subsist without government; insomuch that in case of a vacancy of rulers, every one would stand candidates for it themselves, or elect others.Seeing the prosperity of the rulers of the republick in Holland depends on the subjects. And above all, I find my self obliged more fully to consider and promote the welfare of the subjects in Holland above that of the rulers; because in this free commonwealth government, it is evident that the durable and certain prosperity of the rulers does generally depend on the welfare of the subjects, as hereafter shall be particularly shewn. And to give the unexperienc’d reader some insight at first, it is convenient to premise that Holland was not of old one republick, but consisted of many, which in process of time chose a head or governor over them by the name of Earl or Stadtholder;Because Holland was not of old one country, but consisted of many republicks; and also because of the diverse situations of the cities, it cannot possibly have one and the same interest. but seeing he had of old no armed men or soldiery of his own as dukes had, but was to be content with his own revenues, and to rule the land, or rather administer justice to each country according to their particular customs, and laws, they nevertheless continued so many several republicks. And tho’ in process of time they were jointly brought to a sovereign republic, yet is it also true that the members of this Dutch republic are of different natures and manners. For Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Horn, Enchuysen, Medenblick, Edam, Monnikendam, Dort, Schiedam, Briel, &c. lying on the sea, or on rivers where ships of great burden may conveniently arrive; Haerlem, Delf, Leyden, Grude, Gorcum, Schoonhoven, Alkmaer, Purmereynde, &c. lying within land, are not to be come at but with vessels that draw little water: besides which, the gentry who live in the plain or open countries of Holland, having great estates, and being not under any government, seem to have a quite particular interest. Wherefore every intelligent person may easily judge that a diversity of rules, subjects, countrys, and situations, must needs cause a diversity of interests, so that I cannot write of Holland’s prosperity as of a distinct country:And yet forasmuch as they all centre and agree in one, the interest of Holland is made evident nevertheless I incline, and do intend to bring it under one title, as far as all its cities or lands can be comprehended in one interest, to the best of my knowledge and skill. Which to do methodically, I shall in the first part inquire into, and show the maxims tending to the welfare or damage of Holland within its own confines. In the second part I shall propose how Holland must procure its own welfare as to foreign princes. And in the third part I shall enquire, and shew by what form of government such a country and inhabitants ought to be governed according to their true interest, seeing this is the general foundation whereon all the prosperity or adversity aforesaid is founded.
Of Holland’s natural burdens and hinderances.
Holland’s Situation.HOLLAND lying in the latitude of 51 to 53 degrees, north latitude upon the sea; having many inland rivers, and being besides a very low and plain country, is thereby subject to many inconveniences.
And inconveniences thence proceeding, even in a time of perfect peace.First, There are sharp and very long winters, so that there is need of more light, firing, cloathing, and food, than in warmer countries: besides which, all the cattle of our pasture-land must be then housed, tho’ thereby we bestow more cost and pains, and yet reap less profit of milk-meats than in summer, or in other adjacent lands, where the cattle remain longer, or perhaps all the winter in the field.
By the seasons.Secondly, The seasons are here so short, that they must be very punctually observed, to return us any profit by our plough’d lands; for the seed in this moist country being rotted and consumed in the earth, cannot be sowed again conveniently.
By the prepinquity of the sea.Thirdly, By the vicinity of the sea, and plainness of the land, it is subject in spring, and autumn, not only to unwholesome weather for the inhabitants, but in the spring the sharp cold winds blast most of the blossoms of the fruit-trees; and in and about autumn much unripe fruit is blown down by our usual storms of wind.
And lowness of the country.Fourthly, It is to be considered above all, that these lands lying for the most part lower than the floods of the sea, and rivers, must withstand the terrible storms of the ocean, and shoals of ice, against which it must be defended with great expence: for the making of one rod long of a sea dyke costs sometimes 600 guilders. On the rivers also, the charge of maintaining the banks is very great; and the most chargeable of all is, that notwithstanding so great an expence, the water of our dykes and lowlands sometimes breaks thro’, and overflows the country; so that above all this extraordinary charge, and damage, they cannot drain the country by mills in some years. And touching the ordinary charges in maintaing dykes and sluces, &c. how great an expence this must be, we may well imagine by the yearly charges of Rynland, which is about 80000 acres or * morgens in compass, which hath not much communication with the sea, nor with running, but only with standing waters: and yet as to acredg-money and inland charges, every acre must pay at least two guilders; besides, for draining out of the rain-water by mills to turn it out by trenches, each acre 30 stivers; likewise towards foot-paths, highways, and maintaining the ditches, at least 20 stivers more. And lastly, they are liable to many fines, and troubles, when they chuse their Bailiffs, Dyk. graves, and Heemraden for life, who are wholly ind pendent on the landed-men; tho’ they may elect their judges yearly, or continue their Heemraden.
Also poorness of land.Fifthly, It is evident that Holland affords no minerals, or the least product of mines; so that out of the earth there is nothing to be had but clay and turf, nor even that, but with the spoiling or disfiguring of the ground.
Holland thus contending and wrestling with the sea, rivers, and drained meers, can hardly make 400000 profitable acres, or morgens of land, down and heath not included. For according to the calculation taken in the year 1554, there were found about 300000 morgens, and some hundreds more.Smallness of territory. Likewise the states of Holland and Zealand, in a remonstrance since made to the earl of Leicester, say, that these two provinces, with all their heath, down, and grounds delved out, could make in all but five hundred thousand morgens. So that I conjecture Holland may now make in all four hundred thousand morgens, or acres of land. Seeing the chronicle of Zealand (according to the account given in by the surveyor Eversdyke) testifies, that in 1643. all the islands of Zealand contributed to the yearly poundage, no more than for one hundred eighty three thousand three hundred and fifty gemeeten, and sixty three rods of land: the gemeetens of the down-lands being reckoned after the rate of three for two So that if two gemeetens are reckoned against one Holland acre, then all the above-mentioned gemeetens would make out no more that 91675 morgens, and 63 rods.
Poorness of the soil.And seeing the ground in Holland is for the most part every where either sand, moor, or fenn, it must necessarily be inriched; and because such improvement of it, by reason of the loosness of the land, sinks down, it requires it the oftner.
So that the mischiess caused by war, are intolerable.This is the condition of Holland in a time of perfect peace; what will it be then when we consider, that the Hollanders must not only scour, or clear the sea from enemys, and defend their towns and country against all foreign force, but that they have also charged themselves with much more than the union of Utrecht obliged them to, with the keeping of many conquered cities, and circumjacent provinces, which bring in no profit to Holland, but are a certain charge, being supply’d by that province with fortifications, ammunition-houses, victuals, arms, cannon, pay for the soldiers, yea, and which is a shameful thing to mention, with guardhouses, and money for quartering of soldiers?
And how heavy the said burdens must needs be to the Dutch, may be easily imagined, if it be considered, that besides the customs and other revenues of the earls or states of Holland, in the year 1664.For by the ordinary taxes the inhabitants pay to the state about 14 millions of guilders yearly. by the ordinary charge which was levied of the inhabitants, one year with another, was paid
And in time of war they pay for the 200th penny, 2400000, and for half poundage 1200000, and for hearth or chimney-money 600000, guilders.And if it be considered that since that time, by reason of the wars, there were new ordinary taxes imposed; and that the extraordinary, namely, the two hundredth penny brings in 2400000, and the half verpondinge, or poundage, 1200000; and lastly, the chimney-money six hundred and seventy thousand Holland guilders; and that all those burdens are born by the inhabitants, besides the many excises and great sums of money which they must pay in their cities for their maintenance: these things I say considered, we may well conclude, that the inhabitants of Holland are exceeding heavily burdened and charged.
Of the natural product and advantages of Holland.
The natural growth of Holland and what it yields.TO ballance these heavy burdens beforementioned, the inland waters yield nothing but fish, water-fowl and their eggs, the downs only conies: four hundred thousand acres, or morgens of land, nothing but brick-earth, turf, corn, herbs and roots, fruit of trees, flax, hemp, reeds, grass, madder, cattle, sheep, horses. But the downs may be also said to yield lime and sand. And how unsufficient all these products from so small and inconsiderable a bottom are in themselves for the subsistence of so many inhabitants, every one may easily imagine.
That the inhabitants of Holland cannot be fed by its own product.
Whereby it appears that Holland, whether in peace or war, cannot feed, or sustain itself.BUT if we should suppose that all the land in Holland could be, and were sowed with the most necessary grain, viz. wheat; and that every morgen in Holland produced fifteen sacks of wheat, yet would not four hundred thousand acres of land yield for two millions of people, each a pound of bread per day. And possibly there are now more people imployed about the manuring of land, than can be fed on it. So that if we should make a calculation of all the fruits which the earth yieldeth, with what else is necessary for the use of man, and continually imported, it would evidently appear that the boors, or husbandmen and their dependents would fall very much short of food, drink, apparel, housing and firing. Therefore if the Hollanders did not by their industry make many manufactures, or by their labour and diligence reap much profit by the seas and rivers, the country, or land of Holland, were not worthy to be inhabited by men, and cultivated, no not tho’ the people were very few in number, and no subsidies, imposts, or excises raised on them, for their common defence against a foreign enemy. On the other side, Holland being now inhabited by innumerable people, who bear incredible heavy taxes, imposts and excises, and must necessarily be so inhabited, the easier to bear so great a burden, and to defend themselves against all their neighbouring potentates: we may safely say, that Holland cannot in any wise subsist of itself, but that of necessity it must fetch its food elsewhere, and continually invite new inhabitants from foreign parts. I therefore find myself obliged to search into, and more particularly demonstrate the ways and means by which the same may be procured.
That Holland lies very commodiously to fetch its provision out of the sea, and to provide itself by other arts and trades: and how great a means of subsistence the fisheries may prove to us.
So that the inhabitants must seek their bread out of the sea by fishing, or ashore by manufactures, and arts.HOLLAND is very well situated to procure its food out of the sea, which is a common element; it lies not only on a strand rich of fish, near the Dogger-Sand, where haddock, cod, and ling may in great abundance be taken, and cured; but also near the herring-fishery, which is only to be found on the coast of Great-Britain, viz. from St. John’s to St. James’s, about Schet-Land, Pharil, and Boekness; from St. James’s to the elevation of the cross about Boekelson or Seveniot, from the elevation of the cross to St. Katherines in the deep waters eastward of Yarmouth. And this herring fishing, which it is now 250 year ago since William Beakelson of Biervliet first learned to gill, salt, and pack them up in barrels, together with the cod-fishery, is become so effectual a means of subsistence for these lands, and especially since so many neighbouring nations, by reason of their religion, are obliged upon certain days and weeks of the year, wholly to refrain from eating of flesh; that the Hollanders alone do fish in a time of peace with more than a thousand busses, from 24 to 30 lasts burden each, and with above one hundred and seventy smaller vessels that fish for herrings at the mouth of the Texel; so that those thousand busses being set to sea for a year, wherein they make three voyages, do cost above ten millions of guilders, accounting only the buss with its tackle, at 4550 guilders, and the setting forth to sea 5500 guilders, there remaining nothing of all its victuals and furniture the second year, but the bare vessel, and that much worn and tatter’d, needing great reparation. So that if these 1000 busses do take yearly forty thousand last of herrings, counting them at least worth 200 guilders per last, they would yield in Holland more than eight millions of guilders.
And seeing that of late men have begun to make very much use of whale-oil, and whale-fins, which are taken to the northward not far from us, insomuch that with southerly winds, which are common in this country, we can sail thither within six or 8 days: the trade of fishing, and salt, may easily be fixed and settled with us;The great number of inhabitants is a powerful means to fix traffick in Holland. for to fix those fisheries, and several manufactures, and consequently the trade and returns thereof depending on navigation and ships let out to freight, we ought duly to consider, that the greatest difficulty for so innumerable a people to subsist on their own product, proves the most powerful means to attract all foreign wares into Holland, not only to store them up there, and afterwards to carry them up the country by the Mase, Waal, Yssel, and the Rhine (making together one river) to very many cities, towns, and people, lying on the sides of them (the most considerable in the world for consumption of merchandise) but also to consume the said imported goods, or to have them manufactur’d: it being well known, that no country under heaven, of so small a compass, has so many people and artificers as we have; to which may be added, that no country in the world is so wonderfully divided with rivers and canals, whereby merchandize may be carried up and down with so little charge.
Emanuel van Meteren says, that in the space of three days, in the year 1601, there sailed out of Holland to the eastward, between eight and nine hundred ships, and 1500 busses a herring fishing;How considerable the fisheries of Holland are, is mentioned by certain English writers, which is easy to believe, if we may credit what the English authors mention, viz. Gerard Malines in his Lex Mercatoria, and Sir Walter Rawleigh, and which Lievin van Aitzma, anno 1653. pag. 863. doth in some measure confirm, viz. That there are yearly taken and spent by the Hollanders more than 300,000 last of herrings, and other salt fish: and that the whale fishing to the northward, takes up above 12,000 men, which sail out of these countries. For since the Greenland company, or (to express myself better) the monopolizing grant thereof was annulled, and the whale-fishing set open in common, that fishery is increased from one to ten: so that when we reckon that all these fishing vessels are built here at home, and the ropes, sails, nets, and casks made here, and that salt is furnish’d from hence, we may easily imagine that there must be an incredible number of people that live by this means, especially when we add, that all those people must have meat, drink, clothes, and housing; and that the fish, when caught, is transported by the Hollanders in their vessels through the whole world.Who out of envy nevertheless overrate this means of our subsistence. And indeed if that be true, which Sir Walter Rawleigh (who made diligent inquiry thereinto, in the year 1618, to inform king James of it) affirms, that the Hollanders fished on the coast of Great Britain with no less than 3000 ships, and 50000 men, and that they employed and set to sea, to transport and sell the fish so taken, and to make returns thereof, nine thousand ships more, and one hundred and fifty thousand men besides: and if we hereunto add what he saith further, viz. that twenty busses do maintain eight thousand people, and that the Hollanders had in all no less than 20000 ships at sea; as also that their fishing, navigation, and traffick by sea, with its dependencies since that time, to the year 1667, is encreased to ⅓ more: I say, if that be so, we may then easily conclude, that the sea is a special means of Holland’s subsistence; seeing Holland by this means alone, yields by its own industry above three hundred thousand lasts of salt fish. So that if we add to this, the whale-fin, and whale-oil, and our Holland manufactures, with that which our own rivers afford us, it must be confessed, that no country in the world can make so many ships-lading of merchandize by their own industry, as the province of Holland alone.
That in Europe there is no country fitter for traffick than Holland; and how great a means of subsistence commerce is to it.
HAving thus considered Holland’s conveniency for the fishing trade, and it coming into my thoughts, that all the traffick of Holland seems chiefly to have risen out of it, and still to depend upon it;Of the traffick of Holland. I shall now give my opinion wherein that aptness or conveniency mostly consists.
But first let me say, that by the word traffick, I mean the buying of any thing to sell again, whether for consumption at home, or to be sold abroad, without altering its property, as buying in foreign countries cheap to sell dearer abroad; the most considerable part of which is what I understand by the word traffick.
Holland’s convenient situation for trade.Secondly, I say that Holland is very conveniently seated for that end, lying in the middle of Europe, accounting from St. Michael the Arch-Angel in Muscovia, and Revel, to spain. And as to our lying further off from Italy and the Levant, and more to the eastward, it is a thing very necessary, inasmuch as most of the bulky and coarse goods, as pitch, tar, ashes, corn, hemp, and timber for ships, and other uses; as also Pomerania and Prussia wool must be fetch’d from thence, and brought hither; because the better half of those goods is consumed or wrought up in this country: and because very many wares may be sent up and down the rivers of the Rhine and Maese, whereby it appears, that the Hollanders sail with as many more ships to the eastward, as they do to the westward.
To which the conquests of the East-India company contribute.Thirdly, The conquer’d lands, and strong holds of the East-India company are now become very considerable, in order to secure to Holland the trade of all spices and Indian commodities, which is already pretty well fixed to it. And this improvement of trade might be made much more considerable, if the said conquerors would not, by virtue of their grant or patent, hinder all the other inhabitants of these lands from trading to those conquests, and to innumerable rich countries, where the said conquerors, for reasons of state may not, or for other reasons cannot, or perhaps will not trade. Yea, tho’ the said free trade of our inhabitants (to the greater benefit of the participants) were in some measure limited, and circumscribed to those lands and sea-ports lying in their district, to which they never yet traded, I should then expect to see much more fruit of that trade, and monopoly together, than of their monopoly alone: for if our East-India company could find some expedient, either as to freight of goods, to permit all the inhabitants of these lands freely to lade their goods on board the company’s own ships, or to import and export all manner of goods to the places of their conquests, and back to this country, or in process of time, by laying imposts on the consumption of the inhabiting planters, who would resort thither in great numbers by reason of a free trade, or by any other imaginable means tending to give it an open trade, they would thereby reap much more profit than the poor participants now commonly and with much uncertainty do enjoy; and then, if afterwards the said participants would be persuaded to deny themselves so much of their privilege, or authorized monopoly, as to set open that trade in some good measure to the inhabitants of these United Provinces, it would questionless produce to our industrious and inquisitive nation, so many new and unheard of consumptions of all our manufactures, especially of wool, and so great a trade, navigation, and commerce with that vast land of Africa, and the incredible great and rich Asia, which lies so convenient for trade, that many hundred ships would yearly make voyages thither, and bring their returns hither, especially from and to Amsterdam;And the advantage Holland hath, would be incredibly augmented, if the trade to the Indies were free for all the inhabitants. and by means of which alone, we should certainly, and very easily, work all other foreigners out of those Indian seas. Whereas on the other hand, to the end we may preserve our East-India trade, consisting yearly of no more than 10 or 16 ships going and coming, we find ourselves continually drawn into many quarrels and contentions with those foreign nations, with eminent danger of losing by such dissensions and wars, not only our European trade, but also those conquered Indian countries, and consequently that trade also for want of planters, and by the excessive great expences which they must be at more and more yearly, by reason of such great numbers of soldiers as lie in their garisons, and which will and must increase with their conquests, as (God amend it) hath but too plainly appeared by the West-India company of this country.
This advantage which Holland hath for commerce and traffick, would be yet more improved, if the West-India company, in all places of their district, would also set that trade open:An open trade to the West-Indies would increase traffick and navigation. And in case things are so constituted, that the East and West-India trade cannot be preserved but by mighty companies, as some indeed affirm, who understand the India trade, and have the credit of affirming what they say, with good shew of reason; yet this however must be confess’d, that the said companies, as now constituted, do attract and preserve to Holland all the trade which depends on their vast equipages, ladings, and returns.
The low interest of money helpful here-unto.Fourthly, it is a great advantage for the traffick of Holland, that money may be taken up by merchants at 3½ per cent. for a year, without pawn or pledge; whereas in other countries there is much more given, and yet real estates bound for the same: So that it appears, that the Hollanders may buy and lay out their ready money a whole season, before the goods they purchase are in being, and manufactur’d, and sell them again on trust (which cannot be done by any other trading nation, considering their high interest of money) and therefore is one of the greatest means whereby the Hollanders have gotten most of the trade from other nations.
The chargeable living in Holland constrains the inhabitants to merchandising.Fifthly, There being many duties and subsidies to be paid in Holland, and little got by lands, houses, or money let out at interest; and we having also no cloisters, and but few lands in fief, or held by homage; and the women moreover being very fruitful of children, and men making equal dividends of their estates among them, which can therefore be but small, and so not fit to be put out to interest: all this, I say, is another great cause of the advancing of our traffick.
That Holland, by fishing and traffick, hath acquired mannfacturies and navigation; and how great a means of subsistence manufactory, and ships let out to freight prove to them.
THO’ it is evident by our histories, that in many cities in Holland great quantities of manufactures were made, when all the European traffick and navigation was mostly driven by the Easterlings and Hans-Towns, and before fishing, traffick, and freighting of ships were settled in these provinces;Traffick depends on fishing and manufacture. and that consequently we might say with good reason, that fishing and traffick, together with ships sailing for freight, took their rise rather from the manufactures, than the manufactures took their rise from them:Manufacture depends on fishing and traffick. yet generally it is certain, that in a country where there is fishing and traffick, manufacturies and freight ships may easily be introduced. For from them there must of necessity rise an opportunity of bringing commodities to be wrought up out of foreign parts; and the goods so manufactured may be sent by the same conveniency beyond seas, or up the rivers into other countries.
Thus we see that in Holland for the same reason, all sorts of manufactures of silk, flax, wool, hemp, twyne, ropes, cables, and nets, are more conveniently made, and yield better profit than in any other country, and the like; coarse salt boiled; and many ships are built by that means with outlandish timber. For it is evident, that shipwright’s work in Holland, must not be considered as a mere consumption, but as a very considerable manufacture and merchandize, seeing almost all great ships for strangers are built by the Hollanders. Besides which manufactures, there are others of necessary use, as well as for pleasure or ornament; which are of such a nature, that most of them require water, whether it be to work them, or for cheapness of carriage: and when by the shallowness of the waters there would be otherwise a defect, that want is supply’d by the constant winds that blow upon our low and plain land, which joining to the sea are thereby replenished.
Navigation, or shares in shipping depend on manufactures, fisheries and commerce.And as to the owning of parts of ships let out to freight, it appears that a ship lying for freight in a country where fishing, manufactury, and trading flourish, will be able to get its lading in a very short time: and that in countrys where they don’t flourish, such ships must sail from one port to another, and lose much time in getting freight: so that such as are owners of ships must necessarily fix in such a country where shipping may soonest find their full lading.
The climate of Holland very proper for manufacture.Besides all which, Holland lies in so cold a climate, that the people are not hindred from working, by reason of the heat of the country, as elsewhere: and seeing for the most part we have but a gross air, eat coarse diet, and drink small beer, the people are much fitter for constant work; and by reason of the great impositions, they are necessitated to use all the said means of subsistance, viz. to make manufactures by land, to fish by sea, to navigate ships for trade at home and abroad, and to let out their great and small vessels to freight.
A free republican government in clines all to get estates.And seeing the inhabitants under this free government, hope by lawful means to acquire estates, may fit down peaceably, and use their wealth as they please, without dreading that any indigent or wasteful prince, or his courtiers and gentry, who are generally as prodigal, necessitous, and covetous as himself, should on any pretence whatever seize on the wealth of the subject; our inhabitants are therefore much inclined to subsist by the forenamed and other like ways or means, and gain riches for their posterity by frugality and good husbandry.
That the inhabitants of Holland, being in a state of freedom, are by a common interest wonderfully linked together; which is also shew’d by a rough calculation of the number of inhabitants, and by what means they subsist.
That the forementioned means of subsistence, and also the inhabitants are linked together.WE are moreover well to consider, that fishing is not the sole cause of traffick, nor fishing and traffick the cause of manufactury; as also that these three together do not always give occasion for the shipping that is to let out to freight, which is meant by navigation: but that fishing flourishes much more in those parts, because traffick, navigation and manufactures are settled among us, whereby the fish and oil taken may be transported and consumed. Likewise that more than the one half of our trading would decay, in case the trade of fish were destroyed, as well as all other sorts of commodities about which people are imployed in Holland; besides that, by consequence the inland consumption of all foreign goods being more than one half diminished, the traffick in those parts would fall proportionably.
Namely the greatest traders in fish and makers of manufacture.It is also certain, that of necessity all sorts of manufactures would be lessened more than a moiety, if not annihilated, as soon as this country should come to be berest of fishing, and of trading in those commodities which are spent abroad. And concerning owners of ships let out to freight, it is evident that they wholly depend on the prosperity or success of fishing, manufactury, and traffick: for seeing our country yields almost nothing out of its own bowels; therefore the ships that lie for freight, can lade nothing but what the merchants or traders put on board them of fish, manufactury, or merchandize.And the owners of shipping of those three together. And as little would foreign ships carry goods to Holland, in case no fishermen, merchants, or traders dealing in manufactury dwelt there. And contrariwise it is certain, that our fishers, manufacturers and traders, find a mighty conveniency and benefit in our great number of freightships, which continually lie for freight in all parts of the world, and are ready to carry the same at an easy rate to any place desired. So that the English and Flemish merchants, &c. do oft-times know no better way to transport their goods to such foreign parts as they design, than to carry them first to Amsterdam, and from thence to other places, especially when our admiralties, according to their duty, take care to convoy and defend our merchant ships, with men of war, against all pirates, or sea-robbers whatsoever.The husbandmen and artificers not concern’d in manufactures, are as a necessary consequence of all other inhabitants. It is also evident, that the husbandmen, or boors of Holland, can very well sell all the product or profit of their land, cattle, firing, &c. to the inhabitants that are fishers, mafacturers, traders, navigators, and those that depend on them; which is a great advantage beyond what all other boors have, who for the most part have their commodities spent abroad, and consequently must bear the charges of freight, and the duties outwards and inwards, and must also allow a double gain to the merchants and buyers. So that this great number of people, that are not husbandmen, are I think the only cause that those country boors, tho’ heavily taxed, are able to subsist. And seeing all the said inhabitants have need of meat, drink, cloathing, housing, and of the gain gotten by foreign consumption that is needful to support it; it is evident, that all the other inhabitants depend and live upon the aforesaid fishers, traders and navigators.
And how remarkable it is, that all rulers and others, who for any service depend on them, have a benefit by their great numbers, is so clear, that there needs no more to be said for proof:Our magistrates prosperity depends on the success of all their subjects. for when there were but few inhabitants in this country, within less than 100 years, the most eminent offices of burgomaster, and schepens or sheriffs, were even in the principal cities so great a burden as not to be born without much charge; whereas it is now become profitable to be but a city messenger, or undertaker to freight ships, seeing men are thereby enabled to maintain their families.
Furthermore, having a mind to convince the reader, not only by my reasoning, but by his own experience, that the prosperity of Holland is built upon the foresaid means of subsistence, and on no other; I find myself obliged to make a calculation of the number of people in Holland that are fixed inhabitants, or depend upon them;All which is set forth by a rough calculation, how the people in Holland maintain themselves. and at the same time, as far as I am able, to reckon in what proportion those people are maintain’d by the means of subsistence before-mentioned. In order to this I shall on the one hand consider, that Sir Walter Raleigh, endeavouring to move king James of England to advance the fishing trade, manufactures, and traffick by sea, hath possibly exceeded in his account of the profits arising from it, and augmented the number of the people that live upon it somewhat above the truth.
And likewise is considered how many inhabitants there are in Holland.And on the other hand I shall consider what Gerard Malines saith, in his Lex Mercatoria, Ann. 1622. that in Flanders there were then counted one hundred and forty thousand families; which being reckoned, one with another, at five persons each, they would amount to seven hundred thousand people. I shall likewise consider that in Holland that same year, the states laid a poll-tax upon all inhabitants, none excepted save strangers, prisoners, and vagrants, and those that were on the other side the line; yet were there found in all South-Holland that same wise no more than four hundred eighty one thousand nine hundred thirty and four: altho’ the commissioners instructions for that end were very strict and severe, to prevent all fraud and deceit. However that we may make the better guess whether this was a faithful account, I shall give you the particulars of it as registred in the chamber of Accounts.
But because possibly none but intelligent readers, and such as have travelled, will believe, what we see is customary in all places, that the number of people in all populous countries is excessively magnified, and that the common readers will think, that since many would be willing to evade the poll-tax, there was an extraordinary fraud in the number given in: I shall therefore follow the common opinion, and conclude, that the number of people was indeed much greater, and that these countries are since that time much improved in the number of inhabitants;And with what proportion they live by the said means. and accordingly I shall give a guess as by vulgar report, that the whole number, without excluding any inhabitants whatsoever, may amount to two millions and four hundred thousand people, and that they maintain themselves as followeth, viz.
And tho’ this calculation, whether considered as to the number of the inhabitants, or their proportionable means of subsistence, is very rough and uncertain; yet I suppose it to be evident, that the eighth part of the inhabitants of Holland could not be supplied with necessaries out of its own product, if their gain otherwise did not afford them all other necessaries:’Tis the happiness of Holland to have such as are linked together in interest. so that homo homini deus in statu politico, one man being a god to another under a good government, it is an unspeakable blessing for this land, that there are so many people in it, who according to the nature of the country are honestly maintain’d by such suitable or proportionable means, and especially that the welfare of all the inhabitants (the idle gentry, and foreign soldiers in pay excepted) from the least to the greatest, does so necessarily depend on one another: and above all, it is chiefly considerable, that there are none more really interested in the prosperity of this country than the rulers of this aristocratical government, and the persons that live on their estates.
For fishers, boors, or country people, owners of ships let to freight, merchants and manufacturers, in a general destruction of a country, could easily transport themselves into foreign parts, and there set up their fishing, agriculture, or husbandry, shipping, merchandize and manufactures: But such as have lands, or immovable estates cannot do this; and supposing they could, and should sell their estates and remove into other countries, yet would they there have no calling to subsist by, much less can they expect to be made use of in the government, or procure any office or advantage depending upon it.
And the greatest unhappiness, that the prosperity of all the inhabitants may be ruined by one single error of state.However, this excellent and laudable harmony and union may be violated, even to the ruin of all the inhabitants, none excepted but courtiers and soldiers, and that by one sole mistake in government, which is the electing one supreme head over all these inhabitants, or over their armies. For seeing such a single person for the increase of his grandeur, may curb and obstruct Holland’s greatness and power, by the deputies of the lesser provinces of the generality, who also may in their course check the great and flourishing cities in their own provincial assemblies, by the suffrages or votes of the envious gentry.Namely by advancing a single person over the civil magistracy and soldiery. And the lesser cities, and the great persons, courtiers and soldiers being all of his party, and depending on him, must needs prey upon the industrious or working inhabitants, and so will make use of all their power for their own benefit, and to the detriment of the commonalty. And to the end they may receive no let from the great and strong cities of Holland, it follows that they would either weaken or lessen all such cities, and impoverish the inhabitans, to make them obedient without controul. Which if so, we have just cause continually to pray, A furore monarcharum libera nos Domine; God preserve Holland from the fury of a monarch, prince, or one supreme head: But what there is of reality in this, shall be handled hereafter in a chapter apart.
That question consider’d, why the heavy taxes, occasioned by war, have not driven fishing, trading, manufactury, and shipping out of Holland?
Why traffick has not fix’d in other countries.IT is not enough to know how happy in general this country is, in finding imployment for so many hands, and affording them sustenance, seeing there have been many causes which would have hindred the success of our fishing, navigation and traffick, had there been but one country among the many that are near us, well situated for fishing, manufactury, traffick and navigation, which during our wars and troubles had seen and followed their own true interest; most of our neighbouring nations, all that time being in a profound peace, seemed to have less hinderance for promoting manufactures, traffick, employing of ships for freight and fishing, than our nation. So that to pursue the true interest and maxims of Holland, we ought particularly to know the reason, why the great inconveniencies of taxes and wars that we have laboured under, have not occasioned the fishing, manufactury, traffick and navigation, to settle and fix in other countries; as for example in England, where if all be well considered they have had far greater advantages of situation, harbours, a clean and bold coast, favourable winds, and an opportunity of transporting many unwrought commodities, a lasting peace, and a greater freedom from taxes than we have.
Before we answer the said question, we shall relate the ancient state of manufacturies, fisheries, and navigation in Europe.
THAT I may from hence derive some light, I shall premise a brief relation how these affairs stood in antient times.
Above 700 years ago there were few merchants in Europe.It is well known, that 6 or 700 years ago, there were no merchants in all Europe, except a few in the republicks of Italy, who lived on the Mediterranean, and traded with the Indian caravans in the Levant; or possibly there might be found some merchants, tho’ but in few places, that drove an inland trade: so that each nation was necessitated to sow, build and weave for themselves to the northward and eastward, where there were then no outland nor inland merchants;How great inconveniences thence arose. and therefore in case of superfluity of people, they were compelled by force of arms for want of provision, and to prevent ill seasons, and hunger, to conquer more land. And this caused the irruptions of the Celiæ, Cimbri, Scythians, Goths, Quades, Vandals, Hunns, Franks, Burgundians, Normans, &c. who till about the year 1000 after Christ’s birth, were in their greatest strength; all which people, and in a word, all that spake Dutch or German, exchanged their superfluities, not for money, but, as it is reported, thus:Em. Suiero ann. de Flandes. two hens for a goose, two geese for a swine, three lambs for a sheep, three calves for a cow; bartering of corn was then also in practice, by which they knew how much oats was to be given for barley, how much barley for rye, and rye for wheat, when they wanted them; so that except for eatable wares there was neither barter nor traffick.
The Flemings were here the first traders in manufactures.The Flemings lying nearest to France were the first that began to earn their livings by weaving, and sold the same in that fruitful land, where the inhabitants were not only able to feed themselves, but also by the superfluous growth of their country could put themselves into good apparel; which young Boudewyn of Flanders, about the year 960, considerably improved, by setting up yearly fares or markets in several places, paying no duty or toll for any goods either exported or imported. By which means that way of merchandize improved 300 years successively, altho’ those commodities were only consumed in France and Germany, ’till the many prejudicial or hurtful laws of the Halls, which at first were fram’d on the pretence of preventing deceit, and the debasing of commodities, but were in truth intended to fix those manufactures to the cities: but at last having by force, which is ever prejudicial to traffick, driven much of this weaving trade out of the cities into the villages; the wars between France and Flanders drove it back from the villages to Tienen and Lovain in Brabant;Next them the Brabanders. notwithstanding which the Brabanders being nothing more prudent, did by the same occasion, viz. the laws of the halls, and imposts on manufactury during the war against France, occasion many tumults and uproars among the weavers about 100 years after in Flanders, where at Gent in the year 1301, in a tumult occasion’d by some coercive laws and orders about their occupation, there were slain two magistrates, and eleven other inhabitants. And at Bruges the next year after, for the same cause, there were slain above 1500 in a tumult. Likewise at Ypres, upon the same occasion, there being a mutiny, the Vohgt, or chief magistrate, with the ten scheepens (being all the magistrates of the city) were killed. And such like accidents happened afterwards in Brabant, amongst others at Lovain, where, in a great tumult of the clothweavers with their adherence, divers magistrates were slain in the council-house, and several of the offenders fled into England, whither they first carried the art of drapery: but many other clothweavers, with their followers, as well Brabanders as Flemings, dispersed themselves into the countries beyond the Mase, and into Holland;Lastly, the Hollanders and the English. and amongst other places, many of them fixed at Leyden. Mean while, the German knights of the cross, after the year 1200, under pretence of reducing the Heathens to the Christian faith, made themselves masters not only of barren Pomerania, and the river Oder, which they suffered the converted princes to enjoy, but of rich Prussia and Lyfland, and the rivers Weissel, Pregol, and Duina, and consequently of all those which fall into the sea, out of fruitful Poland, Lithuania, or Russia. By which conveniency the eastern cities that lay nearest to the sea, began to fetch away their bulky and * unwrought goods, and to carry them to the Netherlands, England, Spain, and France, and likewise from thence to and fro to export and import all the goods that were superfluous or wanting.
And seeing by the wars about the year 1360, between Denmark and Sweden, they suffered great losses by sea, and amongst others were plundered by the famous Wisbuy, sixty-six of their cities covenanted together, to scour or cleanse the seas from such piracies, and to secure their goods:When, and how the association of the Hanstowns was erected. and thus they became and continued, by that eastern trade, the only traffickers and carriers by sea, beating by that means all other nations out of the ocean, till after the the year 1400, that the art of salting and curing of herrings being found out in Flanders, the fisheries in these Netherlands being added to our manufactures, proved to be of more importance than the trade and navigation of the Easterlings, and therefore encreased more and more with the traffick by sea to Bruges, which lasted to the year 1482, when Flanders had wars with the arch-duke Maximilian, about the guardianship of his son and his dominions, which lasted ten years. Mean while Stuys, the sea-port of Bruges, being for the most part insested, those of Antwerp and Amsterdam, to draw the trade to their cities, assisted the duke in his unbridled tyranny, and barbarous destruction of the country, thereby regained his favour, and attain’d their own ends.And how the trade fell to them of Bruges, Antwerp, and Amsterdam. And seeing the Italians by their Levant trade, had gotten some seed of silk-worms from China and Persia, and raised such abundance of those worms, and mulberry trees, that they wove many silk stuffs, and in process of time had dispers’d their silks every where, and began to vent many of them at Antwerp: and moreover, when the passages to the West and East-Indies by sea were discovered, and the Spaniards and Portuguese fold their goods and spices at Antwerp; as also that the Netherlandish drapery was much of it removed into England;How great a merchandizing city Antwerp formerly was. and the English also settling their staple at Antwerp, these things produc’d many new effects.
1. Tho’ Antwerp was, in respect of its good foundation, and far extended traffick, the most renowned merchandizing city that ever was in the world, sending many ships to and again from France, England, Spain, Italy, and making many silk manufactures; yet Brabant and Flanders were too remote, and ill situated for erecting at Antwerp, or near it, the fishery of haddock, cod, and herring, and for making that trade as profitable there, as it might be in Holland.The trade of which, by reason of our fisheries and manufactures, withdrew into Holland.
2. Tho’ the Easterlings built their eastern houses, and set up their staple at Antwerp, yet had they not the conveniency at once of transporting their corn so far from the eastward, in pursuance of their new correspondence with the Spaniards and Italians, but were necessitated to have it laid up anew in Antwerp, to prevent its spoiling; especially when we add this consideration, that those remote lands had not occasion to take off whole ships ladings of fine wares which Antwerp afforded, as the Antwerpers could take off whole ships ladings of herring and salted fish, besides the rough and manufactur’d eastern and many other commodities, which are manufactur’d and spent in this country.
3. The Hollanders fishery of haddock, cod, and herring, and the great conveniency they have of selling them all at home, and transporting them abroad, was the reason that the Eastern countries took off very much of our herrings and salt. The trade to that country, since the breaking in of the inlet or passage into the Tixel, about the year 1400, when the river Ye began to be navigated with great ships, settled it self by degrees mostly at Amsterdam, and part of it in England.
For answer to the former question, it is here particularly shewn, that fishing and traffick must entirely settle in Holland, and manufacturies must do the like for the most part, and consequently navigation, or sailing upon freight.
THIS was the state of trade till the year 1585, when Antwerp was taken by the prince of Parma. For that city being thus wholly shut up from the sea, and the king of Spain very imprudently neglecting to open the Scheld, being desirous, according to the maxims of monarchs, to weaken that strong city, which he thought too powerful for him, and to disperse the traffick over his many other cities;How the trade fell from Antwerp to Amsterdam. he bent all his strength against the frontiers of Gelderland, England, and France, whereby the merchants of Antwerp were necessitated to forsake their city, and consequently to chuse Amsterdam to settle in, which before the troubles was, next to Antwerp, the greatest mercantile city of the Netherlands. For when we rightly consider the innumerable inconveniences sound in all islands, and especially northward, by reason of storms and long winters, in the consumption of goods bought, and the necessary communication with many inland neighbours; every one may easily imagine why the Antwerpers sat not down in the adjacent islands of Zealand;Why not to the Zealand islands, and besides, neither in France nor England was there any liberty of religion, but a monarchical government in both, with high duties on goods imported and exported. And tho’ the protestant merchants, by reason of the great peace and good situation of England, would have most inclined to settle there;Nor to France nor England. yet were they discouraged from coming into a country where there were no city-excises or impost on lands, or any other taxes equally charging all, whether inhabitants or strangers; but heavy taxes and customs laid on all goods imported and exported, by which foreigners and their children and grandchildren, according to the laws of the land, must pay double as much as the natural English; yea in the subsidies of parliament, which extend to perpetuity on foreigners and their children, they must pay double assessment: besides which all strangers are excluded from their guilds and halls of trade and manufactures; so that none have the freedom there to work, either as journeyman or master-workman, save in that whereof the inhabitants are ignorant.Nor to any Eastern cities. And all these discouragements were also for the most part in the Eastern cities; yea in England as well as in the Eastern cities, a foreigner, tho’ an inhabitant, was not suffered to sell to any other but citizens; nor to sell wares by retail, or for consumption, or to buy any sort of goods of strangers, or of inhabitants that are strangers, neither by wholesale nor retail: all which made them think England no fit place for them to settle in.
It happened also at the same time, that the king of Spain allowing no where a toleration of religion, but making continual war, and utterly neglecting the scouring and cleansing of the seas, the fishing, and remaining traffick of the Flemish cities, which they drove into foreign parts, did wholly cease; so far were they from recovering the lost trade of Antwerp.Why all the manufactures did not abandon Flanders and Brabant, to fix with the traffick and navigation of Holland. So that the Flemish fishing also fell into Holland: but the manufactures were thus divided; one third of the dealers and weavers of says, damask, and stockings, &c. went casually into England &c. because that trade was then new to the English, and therefore under no halls nor guilds. Another great part of them went to Leyden; and the traders in linnen settled most at Haerlem. But there were still a great number of traders in manufactures that remained in Flanders and Brabant: for seeing those goods were continually sent to France and Germany by land carriage, it was impossible for us to prevent it by our ships of war, or any other means imaginable.
Namely by reason of the heavy taxes in Holland.On the other side, seeing that in Flanders and Brabant, especially in the villages where the manufactures are mostly made, there are but small imposts paid, and in Holland the taxes were very great, they might therefore have borne the charge of carrying those goods by land into some French harbours, from whence they might have been transported to any part of the world: and therefore upon good advice we thought it our interest to permit those Flemish manufactures, tho’ wrought by our enemies, to be brought into our country of Holland, charging them with somewhat less duty than they must have been at by going the furthest way about. And thus did those manufactures of foreign countries, by means of immunities from imposts and halls, greatly improve and flourish in those villages, because they could be made as cheap or cheaper than ours, which from time to time were more and more charged with duties on the consumption. Yea, and which is worthy of admiration, they were charged with convoy-money and other taxes upon exportation, till about the year 1634. when by the French and Dutch wars, and winter-quarters, all the most flourishing villages of Flanders, Brabant, and the lands beyond the Meuse were plundered, and the richest merchandizing cities obstructed from sending away their goods. So that the cities of Holland were hereby filled with inhabitants and their manufactures sold there; which was the greatest cause of the increase of trade in this country, and the subsequent riches of the inhabitants.
That Amsterdam is provided with better means of subsistence, and is a greater city of traffick, and Holland a richer merchandizing country, than ever was in the world.
Why Amsterdam is become the greatest city of traffick in Europe.BUT above all Amsterdam hath thriven most in all sorts of merchandizes, and means of subsistence and enlargement. For tho’ it seems not to be so well situated as many other towns in South and North-Holland, for receiving goods that come from sea, and transporting others beyond sea, as also because of the shallowness of the Pampus, for which ships must lade, or unlade most of their goods, and wait for winds in that unsafe road of the Texel;Namely by reason of its situation for trade. yet in this particular of the greatest consideration, Amsterdam lies better than any town in Holland, and possibly better than any city in Europe, to receive the fish manufacture, and other commodities which are taken and made by others, and especially to receive from the shipping into their warehouses store-goods to be spent at home. And it is well known to all persons whether owners of ships sailing for freight, or merchants, that this is a very great conveniency for readily equipping and full lading of ships, and selling their goods speedily, and at the highest price, which is ten times more considerable than a conveniency of importing or exporting goods speedily, or than the damages suffered by the storms, which may happen (tho’ but seldom) in the Texel. For men having an eye to their ordinary and certain profit according to true information of the present opportunity of gain from abroad, whether remote or near at hand, by export and import, they are ever moved more by such an opportunity, than deterred by such misfortunes, especially if they have kept or reserved such an estate or credit as to be still able to continue their traffick. At least it is certain that misfortunes depending on such unknown and uncertain causes, and happening so seldom, are ever little apprehended, and easily forgotten by those that have not had any loss by that means.Which causes a quick sale of all imported goods. And if any one should doubt whether Amsterdam be situate as well and better than any other city of Holland for traffick, and ships let out to freight, let him but please to consider in how few hours (when the wind is favourable) one may sail from Amsterdam to all the towns of Friesland, Overyssel, Guelderland, and North-Holland, & vice versa, seeing there is no alteration of course or tides needful: and in how short a time, and how cheap and easily one may travel from any of the towns of South-Holland, or other adjacent inland cities to Amsterdam, every one knows. And it hath evidently appeared how much the convenient situation of Amsterdam was esteemed by the Antwerp merchants, since the trade of Antwerp fixed no where but at Amsterdam. And after that the Antwerp trade was added to their eastern trade and fishing, the Amsterdammers then got by their sword the whole East-India trade, at least the monopoly of all the richest spices, and a great trade to the West-Indies; and upon that followed the whale-fishing: as also by the German wars, they acquired the consumption of the Italian silk stuffs, which used to be carried by land, and sold there. And besides, the raw silks have given them a fair opportunity of making many silk stuffs, as did the halls of Leyden, and an ill maxim of not early laying out the ground of a city, or not suffering any out-buildings beyond the place allowed for building, which was the only occasion that the weaving of wool was practised, not only in many other provinces and cities, but also throughout Holland, and especially at Amsterdam. And at last thereupon followed the troubles in England, and our destructive tho’ short war with them, and theirs against the king of Spain; as also the wars of the Northern kings among themselves, which were so prejudicial to us. By those eight years troubles the inhabitants of Holland probably lost more than they had gain’d in 20 years before.
The Hollanders are become the only carriers and navigators of the seas, which is a great blessing for all our inhabitants.It is nevertheless evident, that the Hollanders having well-nigh beaten all nations by traffick out of the great ocean, the Mediterranean, Indian, and Baltick Seas; they are the great, and indeed only carriers of goods throughout the world; catching of herring, haddock, cod and whale, making many sorts of manufactures and merchandize for foreign parts. Which is so great a blessing for the inhabitants, and especially for the rulers of the land, and those that are benefited by them, that a greater cannot be conceived. And seeing I may presume to say that I have clearly shewn, in the foregoing chapter, that Holland’s welfare and prosperity wholly depends on the flourishing of manufacturies, fishery, navigation of ships on freight, and traffick; it seems that the order of nature obliges me to give my thoughts in particular of all matters whereby the Holland manufacturies, fisheries, ships let out to freight, and traffick, may be improved or impaired. But seeing that would afford us endless matter of speculation, exceeds my skill, and is inconsistent with my intended brevity; I shall satisfy myself in laying down the principal heads thereof, and that in short.
That freedom or toleration in, and about the service or worship of God, is a powerful means to preserve many inhabitants in Holland, and allure foreigners to dwell amongst us.
By liberty of conscience many people may be drawn out of other countries to inhabit Holland.IN the first place it is certain, that not only those that deal in manufactures, fishing, traffick, shipping, and those that depend on them, but also all civilized people must be supposed to pitch upon some outward service of God as the best, and to be averse from all other forms; and that such persons do abhor to travel, and much more to go and dwell in a country, where they are not permitted to serve and worship God outwardly, after such a manner as they think fit. And also that as to freedom about the outward service of God, during the troubles, and shortly after; when the manufacturies, trading, and navigation for freight began to settle in Holland, the magistrate was so tender and indulgent, that there were very few useful inhabitants driven thence by any rigour or hardship, much less any foreigners: so that it brings that maxim into my mind, that* the surest way to keep any thing, is to make use of the same means whereby it was at first acquired.
And among those means, comes first into consideration the freedom of all sorts of religion differing from the Reformed.Seeing the clergy in all neighbouring nations generally persecute those that differ from the publick sentiments. For in regard all our neighbours (except Great Britain and the United Provinces) and for the most part all far remote lands, are not of the reformed religion; and that the clergy under the papacy have their own jurisdiction: and seeing, if not all those that are called spiritual, yet the clergy at least that differ from us, have in all countries a settled livelihood, which depends not on the political welfare of the land: we see that through human frailty, they do in all these countries think fit to teach and preach up all that can have a tendency to their own credit, profit, and ease, yea, tho’ it be to the ruin of the whole country; and moreover, when the doctrine, counsel, and admonition of these men is not received by any of their auditors, these clergymen do then very unmercifully use to prosecute them odio theologico. Whereas nevertheless all christian clergymen ought to rest satisfied, according to their master’s doctrine, to enlighten the minds of men with the truth, and to shew them the way to eternal life, and afterwards to endeavour to perswade, and turn such enlightned persons in all humility and meekness into the path that leads to salvation.Which yet oppugns the doctrine of the gospel. It is evident that all people, especially Christians, and more particularly their publick teachers, ought to be far from compelling, either by spiritual or bodily punishment, those that for want of light and persuasion are not inclined to go to the publick church, to do any outward act, or to speak any words contrary to their judgment; for potestas coercendi, the coercive power is given only to the civil magistrate; all the power and right which the ecclesiasticks have, if they have any, must be derived from them, as the same is excellently and unanswerably shewn by Lucius Antistius Constans, in his book de Jure Ecclesiasticorum lately printed.
Indeed the essential and only difference between the civil and ecclesiastical power is this, that the civil doth not teach and advise as the other doth, but commands and compels the inhabitants to perform or omit such outward actions, or to suffer some certain punishment for their disobedience;Whose authority is only to teach and exhort so that they have dominion over the subject, five volentes, five nolentes, whether they will or no. Whereas on the other side, the duty of christian teachers is to instruct and advise men to all christian virtues, as trusting in God our Saviour, the hope of possessing a future eternal blessed life, and the love of God and our neighbour.1 Cor. 13. Which virtues consisting only in the inward thoughts of our minds, cannot be put into us by any outward violence or compulsion, but only by the inlightning and convincing reasons of ministers, who to effect this, must on all occasions comply with the state and condition of their hearers, and be the least amongst them: and thus making themselves the least, and thereby converting most, and bringing forth most good fruits, they shall be the first in the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.Matt. 20 27. And besides, it is well known that our Lord Christ pretended to no other kingdom or dominion on earth (his kingdom not being of this world) than that every one being convinced of this his true doctrine,John 18. 36. and wholesome advice, and of his holy sufferings for us, should freely be subject to him, not with the outward man only, to do or omit any action, to speak or be silent, but with the inward man in spirit and truth, to love God, himself, and his neighbour;John 4. to trust in that God and Saviour in all the occurrences of our lives, and by his infinite wisdom, mercy and power, to hope for a blessed and everlasting state for our solus. So that it became not his disciples, or followers, and apostles, much less our present publick preachers, to set themselves above their spiritual lord and master, to lord it over others. The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; but ye shall not be so.Luke 22. 25, 26. The gospel also teacheth us, that they should not lord it over the people, but ought to be their servants, and ministers of the word of God. But notwithstanding all this, we see, that by these evil ambitious maxims of the clergy, almost in all countries, the dissenters, or such as own not the opinion of the publick preachers, are turned out of the civil state and persecuted;So that many, to escape that persecution, forsake their native country, and come into Holand. for they are not only excluded from all government, magistracies, offices and benefices (which is in some measure tolerable for the secluded inhabitants, and agrees very well with the maxims of polity, in regard it is well known by experience in all countries to be necessary, as tending to the common peace, that one religion should prevail and be supported above all others, and accordingly is by all means authorized, favoured, and protected by the state, yet not so, but that the exercise of other religions at the same time be in some measure publickly tolerated, at least not persecuted) but are so persecuted, that many honest and useful inhabitants, to escape those fines, banishments, or corporal punishments, to which by adhering to the prohibited service of God they are subject, abandon their own sweet native country, and, to obtain their liberty, chuse to come and sit down in our barren and heavy tax’d country.
Yea, and which is more, in some countries these churchmen will go so far, as by an inquisition to inquire who they are that differ from the opinion of the authorized preachers; and first by admonition and excommunication, bereave them of their credit, and afterwards of their liberty, estate or life.Which persecution for worshipping of God, is very detrimental to the state. And as heretofore the Romish clergy were not satisfied with obstructing the divine service of those that dissented from them, but laboured to bring the inquisition into all places; so would it be a great wonder if the ecclesiasticks in Holland should not follow the same worldly course, to the ruin of the country, if they conceiv’d it tended to the increase of their own profit, honour, power and grandeur. At least we see it in almost all countries, where the best and most moderate, yea even where the reformed clergy bear sway, that dissenting assemblies are prohibited. And seeing that the publick divine worship is so necessary for mankind, that without it they would fall into great ignorance about the service of God, and consequently into a very bad life; and since man’s life is subject to many miseries, therefore every one is inclined in this wretched state to nourish or comfort his soul with the hope of a better: and as men hope very easily to obtain the same by a free and willing attention to a doctrine they think to be built on a good foundation;And hinders the conversion of the erroneous. so every one may easily perceive how impossible it is to make any man by compulsion to hope for such advantage, in that which he cannot apprehend to be well grounded; and accordingly the dissenting party clearly discover the vanity of all manner of force in matters of religion.
Moreover, seeing all matters of fact, and likewise of faith, must in some measure be proved by testimony of good credit, such as is irreproachable, or beyond exception; and that all that are thus persecuted, whether by excommunication, fines, banishment or corporal punishments, reproach and hate their persecutors, to wit, the publick authorised preachers, as their enemies; it is evident that those persecutors lose all their weight to persuade people in matters of faith by means of their publick authority, which otherwife would be great among the common people. And besides, we see, that all persecuted people continually exercise their thoughts upon any thing that seems to confirm their own judgment, and oft-times out of mere stomachfulness and animosity will not ponder and sedately consider their enemies reasons: so that the persecuted people being wholly turn’d aside from the truth of God’s worship by such violence and compulsion, become hardned in their error. By this means manifold wars, miseries and removals of habitations have been occasioned since the reformation: and the like actions will still have the like effects.And hurtful to the civil state. How prejudicial such coercive practices are, especially in rich trafficking cities, Lubeck, Collen, and Aix la Chapelle may instruct us, where both the rulers and subjects of those lately so famous cities have since the reformation lost most of their wealth, and chiefly by such compulsion in religion; many of the inhabitants being thereby driven out of their respective cities, and strangers discouraged from coming to reside in them. And tho’ according to clear reason, and holy writ, the true glory and fame of all rulers consists in the multitude of their subjects, yet do these churchmen (forgetting their credit, their country, and their God, which is a threefold impiety) continue to teach, that it is better to have a city of an orthodox or sound faith, ill stocked with people, than a very populous, and godly city, but tainted with heresy. Thus it is evident that to allow all men the exercise of their religion with more freedom than in other nations, would be a very effectual means for Holland to allure people out of other countries, and to fix them, that are there already;So that especially in Holland toleration of Religion is needful. provided such freedom be not prejudicial to our civil state and free government. For, as on the one side those of the Romish religion have their spiritual heads, and the K. of Spain (heretofore Earl of Holland) for their neighbour, who may help the Romanists in the time of intestine division;Pol. disc. of D. C. lib. 4. Disc. 6. p. 320. so on the other side it is manifest, that our own government by length of time is enlarged, and the Spanish Netherlands become weak; and that notwithstanding the renunciation of the said superiority over Holland we are in peace with them, it is also certain that by persecuting the Romanists we should drive most of the strangers out of our country;Likewise for the roman catholicks. and the greatest number of the dissenting old inhabitants, viz. the gentry, monied-men and boors, who continue to dwell amongst us, would become so averse to the government, that in time it would be either a means to bring this country into the hands of our enemy, or else drive those people out of the country:Because our wars against Spain are grounded on the like reason and equity. which cruelty would not only be pernicious, but altogether unreasonable in the rulers and reformed subjects, who always us’d to boast that they fought for their liberty, and constantly maintain’d, that several publick religions may be peaceably tolerated and practised in one and the same country; that true religion hath advantage enough when it’s allowed to speak, errantis pæna doceri, and that there is no greater sign of a false religion (or at least of one to the truth of which men dare not trust) than to persecute the dissenters from it. So that it appears that toleration and freedom of religion is not only exceeding beneficial for our country in general, but particularly for the reformed religion, which may and ought to depend upon its own evidence and veracity.
A second means to keep Holland populous, is a plenary freedom for all people that will cohabit with us, to follow any occupation for a livelihood.
Freedom to be given to all inhabitants to set up, and live by their trades;NEXT to a liberty of serving God, follows the liberty of gaining a livelihood without any dear-bought city-freedom, but only by virtue of a fixed habitation to have the common right of other inhabitants: which is here very necessary for keeping the people we have, and inviting strangers to come among us. For it is self-evident that landed-men, or others that are wealthy, being forced by any accident to leave their country or habitation, will never chuse Holland to dwell in, being so chargeable a place, and where they have so little interest for their mony. And for those who are less wealthy, it is well known, that no man from abroad will come to dwell or continue in a country where he shall not be permitted to get an honest maintenance. And it may be easily considered how great an inconveniency it would be in this country, for the inhabitants, especially strangers, if they should have no freedom of chusing and practising such honest means of livelihood as they think best for their subsistence; or if, when they had chosen a trade, and could not live by it, they might not chuse another. This then being evident, that strangers without freedom of earning their bread, and seeking a livelihood, cannot live amongst us: and as it is certain, that our manufacturies, fisheries, traffick and navigation, with those that depend upon them, cannot without continual supplies of foreign inhabitants be preserved here, and much less augmented or improved; it is likewise certain, that among the endless advantages which accrue to Holland by strangers, and which might accrue more, our boors may be likewise profited. For we see that for want of strangers in the country, the boors must give such great yearly and day-wages to their servants, that they can scarcely live but with great toil themselves, and their servants live rather in too great plenty. The same inconveniencies we are likewise sensible of in cities amongst tradesmen and servants, who are here more chargeable and burdensome, and yet less serviceable than in any other countries.
It is certain, that in all cities, tho’ they invite strangers to cohabit with them, the ancient inhabitants have advantage enough by the government and its dependencies. And it is evident, that the old inhabitants, who live by their occupations, have a great advantage over the new comers, by their many relations, customers and acquaintance, most of the old manufactures, and great inland consumption: all which particulars yield the old inhabitants certain gain.Is more beneficial in Holland than in most other countries. But new comers leaving their own country upon any accident, and besides their moveable goods, bringing with them the knowledge of what is abounding, or wanting in their native country, and of all sorts of manufactures; they cannot live in Holland upon the interest of their money, nor on their real estates: so that they are compelled to lay out all their skill and estate in devising and forming of new fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation, with the danger of losing all they have. For he that sits idle in Holland, must expect to get nothing but certain and speedy poverty; but he that ventures may gain, and sometimes find out and meet with a good fishery, manufacture, merchandize or traffick: and then the other inhabitants may come in for a share in that new occupation, which is also very needful, because the old handicraft works being beaten down lower and lower in price, yield less profit. And therefore is is necessary that all strangers that are masters, journey-men, consumptioners, merchants, traders, &c. should live peaceably amongst us, without any disturbance, let, or molestation whatever, and use their own estates and trades as they shall judge best.
To a few old inhabitants it is detrimental.And tho’ this will be ever detrimental to some old inhabitants, who would have all the profit, and bereave others of it, and under one pretext or other exclude them from their trade; and therefore will alledge, that a citizen ought to have more privilege than a stranger; yet all inhabitants who have here a certain place of abode, or desire to have it as they are then no strangers, but inhabitants, so ought they to be permitted, as well as the burghers, to earn their necessary food, seeing they are in greater want than their opposers. And it is notorious, that all people, who to the prejudice of the common good would exclude others, that are likewise inhabitants of this land, from the common means of subsistence, or out of the repective cities, and for that end would have some speculiar favour from the rulers beyond the rest, are very pernicious and mischievous inhabitants: it is also certain, that a state which cannot subsist of itself, ought not to deny that strangers should live amongst them with equal freedom with themselves, under pretence of privilege and right of cities; nor should they exclude any strangers, but endeavour continually to allure in new inhabitants; else such a state will fall to ruin. For the great dangers of carrying on new designs, of being robb’d at sea, of selling their goods by factors to unknown people, on twelve months credit, and at the same time running the hazard of all revolutions by wars and monarchical governments against this state, and of losses among one another, are so important (yet all to be expected) that many inhabitants concerned in the fisheries, traffick, manufactury, and consequently in ships set out to freight, will give over their trade, and depart the country when they have been so fortunate as to have gained any considerable estate, to seek a securer way of living elsewhere. On the other hand, we are to consider, that there will ever be many bankrupts and forsaken trades, both by reason of the dangers of foreign trade, and intolerable domestick taxes, which cannot be denied by any that knows that in Amsterdam alone there are yearly about three hundred abandoned or insufficient estates registred in the chamber of accompts of that city; and therefore there are continually many inhabitants, who finding the gain uncertain, and the charge great, are apt to relinquish it. So that it is ever necessary that we leave all ways open for people to subsist by, and a full liberty, as aforesaid, to allure foreigners to dwell among us.Yea this freedom is profitable to the government of the land. Moreover, tho’ it be not convenient in general for strangers (i. e. such who, tho’ they dwell in Holland, and have continued there some considerable time, are not natives) to partake of the government, yet is it very necessary, in order to fix them here, that we do not exclude them by laws.
That monopolizing companies and guilds, excluding all other persons from their societies, are very prejudicial to Holland.
How hurtful select companies and guilds are,MUCH less ought we to curb or restrain our citizens and natives, any more than strangers, from their natural liberty of seeking their livelihoods in their native country, by select and authoriz’d companies and guilds: for when we consider, that all the trade of our common inhabitants is circumscribed or bounded well nigh within Europe, and that in very many parts of the same, as France, England, Sweden, &c. our greatest trade and navigation thither is crampt by the high duties, or by patent companies, like those of our Indian societies; as also how small a part of the world Europe is, and how many merchants dwell in Holland, and must dwell there to support it; we shall have no reason to wonder, if all the beneficial traffick in these small adjacent countries be either worn out, or in a short time be glutted with an over-trade. But we may much rather wonder, why the greatest part of the world should seem unfit for our common inhabitants to trade in, and that they should continue to be debarred from it, to the end that some few persons only may have the sole benefit of it.To all those means of subsistence, whereby to deprive them and lessen their number. It is certainly known that this country cannot prosper, but by means of those that are most industrious and ingenious, and that such patents or grants do not produce the ablest merchants. But on the other hand, because the grantees, whether by burghership, select companies, or guilds, think they need not fear that others, who are much more ingenious and industrious than themselves, and are not of the burghership, companies and guilds, shall lessen their profits; therefore the certain gains they reap make them dull, slow, unactive, and less inquisitive. Whereas on the other side, we say that necessity makes the old wife trot, hunger makes raw beans sweet, and poverty begets ingenuity.Who out of their abundance become wastful, dull and slothful. And besides, it is well known, now especially when Holland is so heavily taxed, that other less burdened people, who have no fisheries, manufactures, traffick and freight ships, cannot long subsist but by their industry, subtilty, courage, and frugality. In a word, these patent companies and guilds do certainly exclude many useful inhabitants from that trade and traffick. But those that possess those privileges with sufficient knowledge and fitness, need not fear that others that are more industrious and ingenious than themselves, shall prevent them of their profit by the exercise of the like abilities and parts;So that the inhabitants of other countries may the easier and sooner draw our means of subsistence to themselves. neither can it be so fully carried on and improved for the common benefit of the country, by a small number of people, as by many: so that in the mean time other people that we cannot exclude from that traffick or manufacture by means of our grants and guilds, have a great opportunity of profitably improving that which so foolishly, and with so much churlishness is prohibited to our common inhabitants.Enquiry made, whether if all countries have the freedom of an open trade, it would diminish our traffick in general, or quite destroy it. Whereas otherwise, the provident and industrious Hollanders would easily draw to them all foreign trade, and the making of incredibly more manufactures than we now work on. That which is objected against this is, that the Hollanders are a people of such a nature, that if the trade were open into Asia, Africa, and America, they would overstock all those countries with goods, and so destroy that trade to the prejudice of Holland; which is so far from the truth, and all appearance thereof, that it is hardly worth answering. For first, so great and mighty a trade by the Hollanders, in those vast and trafficking countries, would be the greatest blessing to them that could be wished for upon earth; would to God any of us could ever see Holland so happy. And next it cannot be denied, that even in this small Europe, the overstocking of countries with goods may indeed lessen the gains of some particular merchants;And the impossibility thereof is made manifest. but yet after such a manner that the said overstocking with the said goods really is, and can be no other than an effect or fruit of a present overgrown trade of this country, in proportion to the smallness of those countries with which we are permitted to traffick. And thirdly, it is evident, that the Hollanders by such overstocking have never yet lost any trade in any country or place of Europe, nor can they lose it so long as that trade remains open, because that superfluity of goods transported is soon spent, and that same trade is by the same or some other of our merchants immediately reassumed and taken up, so soon as by a following scarcity in those countries there is any appearance of making more profit by those, or other commodities.
But supposing it to be true, that the Dutch merchants by overstocking those trading countries should run a risque of losing that trade in some parts; yet considering the smallness of those lands, it would then be doubly necessary to prevent the same by setting open the trade to Asia, Africa and America, for all the merchants of Holland.As also that trading companies by charter have ever lessened trade and navigation, and oftentimes quite ruined both. But on the other side, it is certain that the licensed monopolizing companies, by the unfaithfulness, negligence, and chargeableness of their servants, and by their vast, and consequently unmanageable designs, who are not willing to drive any trade longer than it yields excessive profit, must needs gain considerably in all their trade, or otherwise relinquish and forsake all countries that yield it not, which nevertheless would by our common inhabitants be very plentifully carried on.
In this respect it is worthy observation, that the authorized Greenland company made heretofore little profit by their fishing, because of the great charge of setting out their ships, and that the train-oil, blubber and whale-fins were not well made, handled, or cured;Which appears by vacating of the Greenland company’s charter. and being brought hither and put into warehouses, were not sold soon enough, nor to the company’s best advantage. Whereas now that every one equips their vessels at the cheapest rate, follow their fishing diligently, and manage all carefully, the blubber, train-oil, and whale-fins are imployed for so many uses in several countries, that they can sell them with that conveniency, that tho’ there are now fifteen ships for one which formerly failed out of Holland on that account, and consequently each of them could not take so many whales as heretofore; and notwithstanding the new prohibition of France, and other countries, to import those commodities; and tho’ there is greater plenty of it imported by our fishers, yet those commodities are so much raised in the value above what they were whilst there was a company, that the common inhabitants do exercise that fishery with profit to the much greater benefit of our country, than when it was (under the management of a company) carried on but by a few. It is besides very considerable, that for the most part all trades and manufactures managed by guilds in Holland, do sell all their goods within this country to other inhabitants who live immediately by the fisheries, manufacturies, freight ships, and traffick: so that no members of those guilds, under what pretext soever, can be countenanced or indulged in their monopoly, or charter, but by the excluding of all other inhabitants, and consequently to the hindrance of their country’s prosperity. For how much soever those members sell their pains or commodities dearer than if that trade or occupation was open or free, all the other better inhabitants that gain their subsistance immediately, or by consequence by a foreign consumption, must bear that loss. And indeed our fishermen, dealers in manufactures, owners of freight-ships, and traders, being so burdened with all manner of imposts, to oppress them yet more in their necessity by these monopolies of guilds, and yet to believe that it redounds to the good of the land, because it tends to the benefit of such companies, is to me incomprehensible. These guilds are said indeed to be a useful sort of people; but next to those we call idle drones, they are the most unprofitable inhabitants of the country, because they bring in no profit from foreign lands for the welfare of the inhabitants of Holland. Esop hath well illustrated this folly by a cat, who first lick’d off the oil from an oiled file, and continued licking, not observing that she had by little and little lick’d her tongue thorough which was given her to sustain her life, and carry nourishment into her body, nor that she fed not on a file which did not consume, but on her own blood before her tongue was totally consumed.
On the contrary, I can see no good, nor appearance of good, which the guilds in Holland do produce, but only that foreign masters and journeymen artificers, having made their works abroad, and endeavouring to sell them to our inhabitants, thereby to carry the profit out of our country into their own, are herein check’d and opposed by our masters of guilds or corporations. But besides that this is more to the prejudice than advantage of the country, since by consequence our fishers, manufacturers, traders, and owners of ships let to freight, are thereby bereft of the freedom of buying their necessaries at the cheapest rate they can; it is also evident, that this feeding of foreigners upon the Hollander would be more strenuously and profitably opposed and prevented, in case all handicraft work and occupations were permitted to be made, sold and practised by all, and no other people, except such as have their settled habitations in this country.
That fishers, dealers in manufactures, merchants, and owners of freight-ships as such, ought not at all to be charged by paying any imposition to the country, under what pretext soever.
IF it be granted that the forementioned means of subsistence, namely, fishing, manufactury, traffick, and freight-ships, are so necessary in, and for Holland, as hath been above demonstrated; and if the Hollanders, who have no native commodities, must yet hold markets equally with other nations, who may deal in their own wares, or manufactures made of their own materials; then it follows, that our rulers ought not, under any pretence whatsoever, to charge or tax their own inhabitants, fishers, dealers in manufactures, owners of freight-ships, or merchants as such. And I suppose every one will easily grant me this conclusion in the general, because of its own perspecuity: for indeed, how fully and fixedly soever fishing, manufactury, navigation, and commerce seem to have settled themselves in Holland; yet it is evident, that one stiver of profit or loss, more or less, makes a commodity which is in æquilibrio, and that happens very often (namely when it is hardly discerned whether the profit be sufficient to continue the making of that commodity) wholly to preponderate, or be at a stand;Especially about traffick in Holland. even as a pair of scales wherein ten thousand pounds or less is weighed, being ballanced, one of them is as easily weighed down with a pound weight, as if there were but a hundred pounds in each scale. And by consequence it is evident, that our own fisheries, and manufactures, with their dependencies, as also the traffick in those wares, whether imported or exported, ought not at all to pay for tonnage, convoy, or other duties, nor any thing when brought to the scale, unless they are sold. I know that all such impositions, through the ignorance of those that are unacquainted with trade, are counted very light and insignificant; but those that are more intelligent and concerned therein, do know* that you may pull a large fowl bare, by plucking away single feathers, especially in Holland, where with light gains we must make a heavy purse.Illustrated by fable. The antients have compared these inconsiderate people to mice, who being to live on the fruit of an orchard, found that the roots of the trees relish’d well, and were of good nourishment, so that they made bold to eat of them; whereby the trees, for want of sufficient root, being depriv’d of their usual nourishment, bore less fruit: and the wisest of them told the others the reason of it, but were not believed by the foolish and greedy mice that continued gnawing and devouring of the root. And when in the following year, besides this unfruitfulness, those trees that had lost many of their roots and fibres, were either blown down by the storms, or kill’d by the frost; the wise mice did thereupon once again warn their imprudent brethren against it, who answered, that it was not their undermining and eating the roots, but the sierce storms and sharp winter that was the cause of it. So that they continued feeding on the roots, ’till the trees were so diminished, that both the wise and foolish mice must either die of hunger, or seek a better habitation.
Besides this, antient history teacheth us, that Antigonus king of Macedonia being imprudently covetous, was not content with the health of his subjects, and the profit which he and they receiv’d from the imposts paid by strangers, who came to drink his mineral waters, but he would needs tax the very fountain it self, by laying a duty upon every measure of water: which was so unacceptable to God and nature, that the fountain dried up, insomuch that he thereby lost not only the health of his subjects, but the impost on the consumption; and for this super-impost on the well, he was cursed and derided by his subjects and strangers.
From the fisheries, manufactures, and traffick, is drawn from all parts, what the other inhabitants pay to the magistracy.And indeed if we consider, that all duties levied on consumption must at the long run be born by the fishermen, manufacturers, traffickers and owners of ships, who for the most part employ all the people here directly or indirectly, we must acknowledge, that they alone are above measure burdened thereby, and discouraged by imposts above all others; which will evidently appear, if you consider it in an example or two, and inquire how much wages is here paid for building and setting to sea a ship of 200 lasts, or rather how many carpenters, smiths, rope-makers, sail-makers, &c. must be employed about such a vessel, and how much in the mean while they must altogether pay to the state, whether for imposts, or for poundage of house-hire.As the building of shipping. For I doubt not but it will charge a ship with some hundreds of guilders more than if we had no imposts, and consequently it must be sold so much the dearer. And if moreover we consider, that the owners who set to sea such a ship to seek a freight, must afterwards victual her with our provision and drink for the seamen, upon which our imposts charge very much, you will the easier discern it. And this would likewise appear manifestly, if we consider, that the price of weaving half a piece of ordinary home-made broad cloth, amounts to seventy guilders, and that this money is presently spent, (for such workmen, tho’ they can, will not lay up any thing) then we should see, that of this 70, more than twenty guilders is paid for imposts, and poundage upon house-hire;And drapery do manifest. for a half piece of cloth requires the labour of twenty-eight people for fourteen days, or at least so many may thereby be fed by the heads of families (reckoning five to a family) and then we see that a half piece of cloth is thereby charged with twenty guilders.
And tho’ the fisheries and traffick are not opprest near so much with such imposts, yet it certainly is, and continues an intolerable error, and thwarts the welfare of the whole state, to burden any dealers in manufactures, fishers, or merchants, as such; for we do not take care for the prosperity of the country, unless by all ways and means we lighten their burdens, and remove what makes them uneasy.
That freedom of religion is against all reason obstructed in Holland.
HAving hitherto spoken of four considerable ways of preserving the prosperity of Holland, I think it not fit to go over any more tending to the same end, ’till I first briefly hint how Holland hath governed itself as to the said expedients.Toleration of religion was formerly more obstructed. And first as to freedom of religion, it is certain that having ’till this time been greater in Holland than any where else, it hath brought in many inhabitants, and driven out but few; yet it is also certain, that since the year 1618. we have begun to depart from that laudable maxim more and more.
Namely by placaets against the Remonstrants and Roman catholicks.First with the Remonstrants, persecuting them by placaets, fines, and banishments, and driving them into other lands: afterwards with the Romanists, by disturbing them more and more in their assemblies with severe placaets, and more rigorous execution, notwithstanding that by the prosperity of our own government, the great increase of the protestants, the peace, and the king of Spain’s renunciation of any pretence, right, or title for himself, or his heirs after him, to these United Provinces;Altho’ the moving reasons of the first placaets now wholly cease. the moving reasons of our first placaets against the Romanists, seemed to have been taken away. So that now, in order to enjoy their liberty, they must pay a heavy tax annually, to the profit of the bailiffs and schouts, which seems to be imposed for them, and for no other cause; for the government reaps no benefit by it. This is no less unreasonable, than detrimental to the land: for if we cannot spare the benefit which accrues to us by their abode and traffick, why should we prohibit that which is not hurtful to the state, and whereof the Romish inhabitants make so great account, and without which they cannot dwell amongst us? If we permit none but small assemblies in cities, in the houses of known citizens, with such priests as are best approved of by the rulers, that inconvenience would have an end, and peace and friendship increase more and more among the good inhabitants, yea and the true religion too. And moreover, our state would avoid that vexation which now by disturbing those prohibited meetings may happen: and on the contrary, the state could incur no danger by those well known assemblies, where every one might have free access, and no matter of secrecy could be consulted of, but the publick safety would every way be better secured. But what shall we say? not only the politicians, but also the clergy are men; and commonly the sweet temper of such as have suffer’d under persecution is changed into force and violence, so soon as they become masters of others: then they forget the evangelical lesson, and the law of nature to do nothing to others but what they would have done to themselves; and on the contrary, they remember and practise that old tyrannical and accursed maxim, As he hath done to me, so will I do to him; and he that hath the power, let him use it.Psal. 119. 71. And to speak all in a word, what the psalmist says, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes, is not truer in adversity, than in prosperity.Psal. 73. 5, 6.They are not in trouble, neither are they plagued like other men; therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain, and violence covereth them as a garment.
That the freedom of fishery and traffick in Holland, is likewise in some measure unjustly restrain’d.
THE freedom of fishery and traffick, is greater in this country than elsewhere, and yet heretofore there were many placaets published concerning the herring, and other fisheries, which tend altogether to the benefit of foreign fishers, who are not bound to obey them. We formerly manag’d the whale-fishing by a monopolizing company, exclusive of all others; and how mischievous that proved to Holland, appears now, that that fishing is open to all men, whereby it is advanced from one to ten, yea to fifteen, as was before shewn more at large. But erecting an East, and a West-India company, was a quite different thing; for it appeared to be a necessary evil, because our people would be trading in and about such countries where our enemies were too strong for particular adventures:Sometimes a monopoly charter is useful to settle a trade. so that this seemed to have been necessary in all respects, to lay the foundation of that trade by a powerful arm’d society. And seeing this country, engaged in war against the king of Spain, had need of using all its strength, it was very prudently done to erect those two societies. But that trade being now so well settled, we may justly make it a doubt, whether the said companies ought any longer to continue on the same foot. Some wise statesmen do with probable reasons maintain, that the politic rule of* preserving a thing best, by the same means whereby it was acquired, cannot agree with these companies: for it is certain, that the first moving reason of those grants to them, which was the war with the king of Spain, now ceaseth, and that in case of any new war against that people, they would no longer be formidable to us, but we to them.As appeared by the East-India Company. And secondly, as it is well known that it was necessary at first to make some conquests upon the spice islands of the said enemy, because the more lands they conquered, the more right and ability they would acquire to the trade which might happen in those parts:But that trade when settled, if manag’d by a select company, runs counter to the general good. so it cannot be denied, that when those good and necessary conquests are made, the grounds and maxims of the prosperity of the said companies begin to justle and oppugn the general good of this country, which is manifestly known to consist in a continual increase of our manufactures, traffick and freight ships: whereas nevertheless the true interest of such companies, consists in seeking the benefit of all the members, even with foreign, as well as our own manufactures, and (to the great prejudice of all other our inhabitants) by importing manufactures and other mechanick works into this country, and vending them throughout Europe; and in short, by making the greatest profit with the least traffick and navigation. As it is acknowledged, that if the East-India company can gain more by importing Japan garments, Indian quilts and carpets, &c. than raw silk; or if the company, by causing a scarcity of nutmegs, mace, cloves, cinamon, &c. could so raise the price of them, that they might gain as much by one hundred lasts as by a thousand: we ought not then to expect that those raw silks, and unnecessary and great disbursments which they are at, should cause a greater trade and navigation than those hundred lasts would just require, but that they would rather, to shun greater traffick and navigation, destroy all the superfluity they have in the Indies.
And it can be as little denied of such companies, that the more lands they conquer, the more of their stock they must necessarily spend for the preservation and defence of such lands; and the more dominion they have, the less are they able to mind and augment their traffick: whereas on the contrary, our particular inhabitants by those manifold conquered strong holds and lands, would have so much the more conveniency and security to trade in the Indies. We have now, to say no more, quite lost our open trade of Guiney, and that of salt in the West-Indies, which were heretofore so considerable by the erecting of the West-India company; and the mischief which was done to the king of Spain in the West-Indies, is recoil’d back, and fallen upon us:So that that monopoly ought then to have been taken away. so that we cannot cry up that company, who have bound the hands of particular men, and made war instead of traffick, unless at least they would in the mean time suffer all our inhabitants freely to trade in all their conquests. On the contrary, that company hath impoverish’d many of our good inhabitants. Whereas by an open trade, and consequently well settled colonies, we should not only, with small charge have easily defended those vast lands of Brazil, Guiney, Angola, St. Thomas, &c. against all foreign power, but (which is more considerable) have been able to carry on a very great trade with our own nation, without fear that any foreign potentate should seize our ships, goods or debts, to which those Hollanders that trade only in Europe are continually exposed.Else we wholly lose that trade, for land-conquests carried on by merchants are not at the long run tenable against all enemies. And how profitable and secure that trade would have been, may easily be apprehended, if it be well consider’d, that the said lands yield the best sort of commodities that are in request over all Europe, and are not to be had so good elsewhere, viz. sugar, brazil-wood elephants-teeth, gold, &c. and that which those inhabitants have need of in return, Holland could for the most part have supplied them with, as victuals, drink and apparel, yea even with most materials for building of houses, ships, &c. whereas now we are deprived of all these advantages. This is the ordinary fruit and punishment of monopolies and conquests, which for want of colonies they must keep up at a continual great charge. May our East-India company consider this effectually, before it be too late.
That manufactures, and other mechanick Works, are no less imprudently restrained.
The freedom of manufactures is more and more obstructed.BY the freedom allow’d men to gain a livelihood by such things as are liable to consumption, or by handicrafts, it’s certain that we have kept an infinite number of people in the country, and have besides drawn in many foreigners to it: for in most cities of Holland there has been sufficient liberty given. But afterwards people withdrew from many cities, through the mischievous nature of some men, who rather chuse a sudden profit, tho’ to the general damage of their native country, than that which comes in by degrees with continued gain to the republick: for private or peculiar profit is the chief foundation (tho’ it always goes under the notion of a general advantage) of all those restrictions and burdens imposed on the citizens by corporations or guilds, which serve to no other end but to keep good people out of their cities, and in the mean while to give the members of such corporations a lasting opportunity of being enrich’d by their fellow inhabitants, and of selling their goods and manufactures the dearer to their neighbours, and so of levying as it were an impost upon them.
At least it cannot be denied, but that halls relating to manufactures, or any other sort of handicraft ware, with overseers or inspectors appointed by common consent; or the chief men of the guilds to circumscribe or limit the same; or by publick acts of state to appoint how those wares must be made which we fell into foreign lands, are as ridiculous as prejudicial. For it supposeth two very impertinent things: first, that the foreign buyers must needs purchase of us such manufactures and mechanick works as we shall please to make, be they what they will: and, secondly, that in other countries they must not make those sorts of manufactures, and handicraft wares which we prohibit. Whereas on the contrary it may be said, that the makers of them have hit the right mark, when they can best please the buyer, and the buyer can gain most by them. And it is certain that all our manufactures and other mechanick works, may be made and spent not only in the country villages and towns of Holland, but also in very many neighbouring countries; and that they may be there made with far less imposts on the consumption than with us: by which it appears that it would have been much better for Holland never to have laid on those restrictions and Prohibitions.
That the heavy and manifold imposts will at last destroy the prosperity of this country.
Taxes on consumpand merchandize in Holland too burdensome.AS to imposts upon imported or exported goods, and taxes upon consumption, and real or immoveable estates; I suppose former ages levied none such in time of peace. For when the earls of Holland supposed they should have occasion for an extraordinary supply in time of war over and above their revenues, they came in person, and according to their privilege desired it of the assembly of states; who sometimes granted it for a short time, and sometimes refused it, and were ever very cautious of granting any standing supply of money, as knowing their liberty could not subsist but under such an earl as had neither forces nor money beforehand. And our historians count it a great offence in our earls, that they endeavoured to make these lands tributary: for which reason the emperor Charles the fifth desiring a stiver to be imposed upon each acre or morgen of land, could not obtain it; and his son Philip, not without great trouble, got an impost for nine years to help to defray the charge of the war against France, but on this condition, that all sums so levied, should be received and disposed by such as the state impowered to do it. And on the same ground the states of Flanders and Brabant have to this day preserved their liberty of granting the king such requests, or (as it most commonly happens) of denying them. It makes nothing against what I have now said, that the earls of Holland have heretofore received customs upon goods imported and exported, seeing according to their privilege the citizens of the trading cities of Holland, viz. Dort, Haerlem, Delf, Leyden, Amsterdam, &c. are custom-free; so that such duties do only concern strangers, and even for them they are very easy. But in the time of the stadtholders government in the United Provinces, says Grotius, “By* endeavouring not to give the duke of Alva the tenth penny, we afterwards gave all”. After which being in banishment, he wrote to his friends here in this manner: “We† bore all manner of taxes and imposts, without preserving the least shadow of our common freedom.” For the same taxes are by the long continuance of the wars now screw’d up so high, that the like was never seen in any republick, much less in a trafficking country:To be able to continue long, and the country to thrive. so that it will be the greatest wonder in nature for us to sustain those intolerable burdens long, and, driving no trade with our own native commodities, to be able to traffick as other nations do. Nevertheless I willingly acknowledge, that if we must needs raise no less than fifteen millions of guilders yearly in this country, we have hit upon the most convenient course for it, viz. to charge the oldest inhabitants most, as being most fixed to the country by the advantage of the government, and their immoveable estates: for land is most liable to pay poundage, the 40th penny upon sale, and the 20th penny of inheritances, by those of the collateral ascending line, as also the tax of the 200th penny most strictly levied. But those manifold, yea innumerable imposts upon consumption, concern merchandize and manufacture only so far as those who are maintain’d by them are men, and must live by them. Besides it is well known, not only that in consumptions there may be great variety, but also that people do manifestly spend most of their income upon pomp and ornament, superfluity, wantonness, pleasure and recreation. So that fishermen, manufacturers, seamen and watermen, who are mostly poor, pay but little to this tax; whereas the richer inhabitants pay very much: and it cannot be denied but that they seem voluntarily to pay those imposts on consumptions.
But in real burdens and taxations, the favour and hatred of the first assessors has not only an influence, but those that are oppress’d by them, cannot free themselves from them by prudential forethought and frugality.Or poundage and the eighth penny. Moreover it is apparent that he who increases his estate by industrious and frugal living, is most burdened: and he that by laziness and prodigality diminisheth his estate will be less taxed. So that virtue is unjustly opprest, and vice favoured. Whereas on the contrary, the imposts on consumption fall heavy upon the riotous, and indulge and incourage the virtuous. But tho’ in all events the forementioned sums of money yearly demanded for defence of the country, be raised after the easiest way possible;That the inhabitants ought as soon as possible to be eased. yet the immenseness of the sum will not suffer us to imagine that our people continuing to be thus burdened, shall always be able to sell their merchandize at as low, or lower rates than other foreigners, who are charged less, and work up their own growth and manufactures ready for the merchant. So that it is absolutely necessary that our inhabitants be eased of such burdens as soon as possibly may be.
The grounds and reasons upon which the greatest caution is to be us’d in laying the tax of convoy-money, or customs.
Some exported and imported goods, and ships, may possibly he charged to the benefit of Holland.BUT the impost on goods imported and exported, and that on shipping, is a quite different thing; for some may possibly be laid for the benefit of the state, some without prejudice to it, and some cannot be laid without great and certain detriment to Holland. I shall therefore express my sentiments particularly upon this subject, and do premise, that so long as our polity about sea-affairs is built upon the same foundation as it was in the year 1597, that prohibition of any ships or merchandize whatever, whether imported or exported, must always be of great concernment to Holland.Holland ought to be very wary as to prohibited goods, and taxing of merchandize or shipping. The like may be said of laying any new or higher duty of tonnage, or convoy-money for clearing the seas; seeing we daily find that some provinces, admiralties, and cities, intending to tolerate the same among themselves, do privately connive and suffer them to be smuggl’d, or brought in custom-free, in order to gain that trade of navigation and commerce to themselves; and yet will be sure to be the most zealous in causing such prohibitions, and the laying in of higher convoy-money and taxes for clearing the seas, to be imposed by the states-general.See the grievances of the magistrates of Zierickzee in the year 1668. in Novemb. So that commonly the fairest dealing provinces, admiralties and cities of the United Provinces, and the most upright merchants suffer by the said placaets, while the most fraudulent and dishonest merchants do generally so contrive matters, as to get friends at court, by whose favour they find means to benefit themselves to the prejudice of honest men.
In the first place it is worthy observation, that in this affair, nothing can be more detrimental than to charge all ships, or goods coming in or going out with tonnage-duty, without distinction: for tho’ it be pretended to be taken of the shipping only, yet it is evident that all the goods they carry must pay for it. And to pay for clearing the seas, and thereby charging all goods, according to their value, with one per cent. or the like, is still more prejudicial. To make this more evident, I shall insist the longer upon it. Seeing Holland of it self yields almost nothing, and the greatest part of our traffick consists in fisheries, manufactures, mechanic works, and their dependencies, so that we must take those fish, and fetch the unwrought materials for manufactures, and all that is necessary thereunto from foreign parts; and likewise most of our fish, and wrought goods must afterwards be transported to foreign parts.Last-money, as now laid, is very detrimental, because it charges all without distinction. And seeing it is evident that the fisheries, manufactures, and other mechanick wares, may be practised and made in other countries, it is an inexcusable weakness to burden those necessary means of livelihood, and all other merchandize without distinction, and thereby indanger the driving them into other nations where they are less charged. How much this thwarts all good maxims of polity, I shall shew by an example or two.As is instanced by particular examples; viz. of inland broad-cloth. It was antiently very wisely considered, how much we were concerned in the manufactury of woollen-cloth, and therefore a half-inland made cloth was charged with no more than 4 stivers for exportation; whereas if it had paid 1 per Cent. for clearing the seas, it would have paid 30 stivers. So that every one may perceive the disparity, and into what danger we run by such errors, of losing this trade, and driving out of our country a very great number of people, as washers of wool, pickers, scourers, carders, spinners, weavers, dressers, fullers, dyers, nappers, pressers, &c. with the makers of the instruments necessary to those imployments. And lastly, it is the way to cause the trade of unwrought goods, thereunto subservient, and made use of likewise in the manufactures, to withdraw very readily into other countries, especially if besides all this, we do in the same impolitick manner tax the unwrought goods serving to the same end, which is against all good polity, and the great prudence of our ancestors, who having well considered how much weaving concerns us, very wisely ordered all wooll imported to be free, and all yarn woven here to pay but 15 stivers the 100 l. and but one per Cent. to be paid for clearing the seas;Of worsted yarn for weaving. the wool for an inland half-cloth ten stivers, and the yarn for a home-made camlet 45 stivers the piece: which yet by the ordinary convoy or customs (counting 15 stivers for 100 pounds) is charged but with one half stiver the piece; at least according to the first intent of the confederate states, it ought to be charged with no more. So that it is an inexcusable folly, and would be a very prejudicial exaction to charge the importer with more than 15 stivers convoy-money for 100 pounds of Turkey-yarn brought into this country to be woven. And it is no less imprudent so greatly to burden raw silk imported, as if it were of no concern to us, which by winding, throwing, and weaving, is so profitable to this country.Of raw silk. From all which I suppose every one will easily perceive how prejudicial this great difference is.
But in all events, whether for payment of convoymoney, direction, or tonnage-money, or for clearing the seas, it would be needful for the greater improvement of the navigation of Holland, that all foreign imported goods should be less charged than those that come in by land: whereas on the contrary we see daily that very many Levant, Italian, &c. fine wares are brought in by the land-carriage.To increase navigation, it were needful to charge such goods as come by land-carriage. And how much it concerns our inhabitants we may easily imagine, when we consider that the ships built here, are set to sea victual’d and mann’d, but the carriers and their waggons are foreign, and of no concern to us: and besides, our merchandize on board ships is always in our power, or at least we may convoy and defend them with our men of war as they go and come, whereas those that go by land-carriage are in the lands and power of other princes, so that they may at all times make seizure of them.
As also some foreign shipping.2. All ships and wares, coming out of countries where our inhabitants lade not at all, or at least not without paying duties, ought in proportion to be charged here with as much impost as our advantagious situation, and great consumption can bear: And where ours pay more impost than is taken in the country where the foreign masters of ships do live, we ought likewise to take as much of them here as was taken of ours. And thus having the navigation to ourselves, we may preserve the same, as also the passage on the rivers.
And foreign made wares.3. All wrought goods which we can make in this country, should be charged when imported with so much, and no more than the traffick may bear. And all foreign made goods ought to be charged with more than those made at home, being sold for consumption or wearing; and also the same goods in passing upon rivers into other countries, ought to be charged again so much, as they may not be carried with less charge thro’ other dominions to those rivers.Raw imported goods ought to be little charged. We are moreover duly to observe, that we ought not to charge any foreign goods that are to be transported again, whether manufactured or not, so as that our merchants should find it their advantage to pass by our havens, and chuse rather to carry those goods from one foreign country to another, which might perhaps be effected, especially in very coarse goods, whose lading and unlading cost more than ordinary.Those that come by or upon rivers more. But the wares imported or exported by the rivers, we may charge much more, especially all coarse or bulky goods, which cannot be brought hither by land: for the rivers we have under our command. And again, by charging the goods brought in by rivers, our navigation and traffick is favoured; and the cities that lie upward have for many years past bereft the Netherlandish vessels of their freight on those rivers by their staple duty. Of which great hardship we cannot complain with any reason, while any cities in Holland practise the like.
We ought to ease all imported unwrought goods, whereof our manufactures are made.4. All imported rough goods, which our inhabitants are to work up, ought not at all to be charged: but rough goods, as aforesaid, exported, we ought to charge so much as they can bear.
5. Goods manufactured in this country, and exported, ought not at all to be charged. But on the contrary, we should charge all foreign made goods, either imported or exported, as much as may be, without hazarding the loss of that traffick.And to ease our own, and charge outlandish manufacture.
As for charging foreign goods, and manufactur’d wares, ships, and masters of ships, tho’ it be a matter of great weight, yet I know not of any thing that hath been done in it.Which maxims the English have much better follow’d than we. See their book of rates of tonnage and poundage. But the English, anno 1660, settled their rates of customs and convoy-money so well, according to these maxims, to favour their inhabitants as much as they could, and to burden all foreign masters of ships, and merchants; that if we continue charged in this country so unreasonably as at present, and there too, and the English on the other hand continue to be so favourably used, both here and at home, they will bereave us of much of our trade, unless the merchants there under that government, be for other occasions oppressed with many and heavy taxes, whereunto traffick, under monarchs and princes, is always wont to be much exposed.
That in levying Convoy-money, we in Holland deviate in many particulars from these maxims, and in many things have observed them well.
First, it hath been very detrimental to Holland, that they there prohibited the exportation of gold and silver.FIRST it is well worthy observation, that the inhabitants of Holland can trade in no countries but by carrying goods thither, which having sold, and turned into money, they convert it into other goods which they find there, or failing that, return their money into Holland by exchange: but if such foreign lands have little or no occasion for our goods, but afford rich commodities, then is it evident that we cannot trade with them to any purpose, unless we carry thither gold and silver in coin, or bullion. And since by consequence every one knows that Norway, the East-Country, Smyrna, Persia, India, China, &c. do afford us infinitely more merchandize than they take of us, we cannot trade with them but by gold and silver; and that moreover, these provinces, at least that of Holland, cannot subsist without the said traffick. Therefore we cannot enough wonder at the ignorance, or ill conduct of the states-general, who by many repeated placaets in the years 1606, 1610, 1611, 1612, 1613, 1621, &c. prohibited the exportation of coined or uncoined gold and silver. And tho’ it may be said, that the said placaets being well known to be detrimental, had no long duration, yet it is certain that the scouts, and advocat fiscal, did for a long time, nay and sometimes still make use of them to molest and disquiet our trading inhabitants.
But the not charging of fisheries, and the Eastern trade, is reasonably well ordered.But as to what concerns the freedom and advantages of fishery, and the Eastland trade, as also other unwrought goods imported, they are indifferently well ordered, seeing they pay little or nothing of duty, either on import or export, except that the herring-busses to secure themselves against sea-robbers, or pyrates, do yearly at their own charge, set out seven ships of war:See the rates of the convoy-money. which, for a fishery of so much importance to the country, is too heavy a burden, or at least a very great charge. But foreign salt imported or exported, is not at all charged. Fish of our own taking, herring, wood, ashes, pitch, tar, hemp, pay nothing inward, and but very little outward.But not the corn-trade. But corn, against all reason, pays duty inward, some more, and some less, and likewise when exported is too much charged.
If we consider how much must necessarily be gained in this country, by owners of ships, masters, mariners, corn-porters, hirers out of granaries to stow the same, and corn-shifters, before it is sent by our merchants into other countries:And how much Holland is concerned in having the staple of corn. we ought in all respects to ease, and be more favourable to our stores or staple of corn, merchandize, and fishery, and to keep the staple of corn within our country; that so during bad seasons, and the scarcity thereof in other nations, we may have it always cheaper with us than in any other countries; and besides that, we might enjoy many other publick advantages, which out of so redundant a treasure as is the store and staple of corn, might in very many cases and accidents be improved by wise magistrates. Whereas on the contrary, if by an imprudent burdening of that commodity we lose that staple; this indigent and populous country would in many cases, as bad harvests, and cross accidents of this world, fall into many extraordinary and unforeseen inconveniencies. But manufactures are too much charged.But above all it is to be lamented, that our own manufactures are so unreasonably charged with convoy-money, or customs, and much more with the duty of clearing the seas; but they are chiefly opprest by the imposition laid on the consumption; so that the interest of the manufactures and mechanick works is very ill look’d after. For tho’ undrest wool pays but 1 per Cent. of its worth at importation, yet certain it is that it pays too little at exportation. Flax, silk, and yarn are also too much charged upon importation, and no more (against all reason) at exportation.See the rates of convoy-money. The treaty of the English court in Holland, and L. V. Aitzma’s Hist of the year 1656. pag. 635. And as to weaving, or to speak plainer, all woven goods; it is wonderful why we should charge woven goods, whether imported or exported by sea, or rivers, so high as we foolishly do, or (in respect of their great value) much more than foreign commodities; yea (which is a shameful thing) the undrest English cloths are at importation not charged at all, and the English traders enjoy every way more freedom, and exemption from taxes in Holland, than even our own inhabitants.
As also our husbandmen.The interest of our husbandmen, or boors, is also much neglected; for what solid reason can be given, that the Holland butter exported is double as much charged as that of Friesland? Likewise, that all foreign butter and cheese may be imported duty free; but all foreign cheese exported, is charged with no more than that of Holland.
But especially we may wonder, that the rulers of Holland could ever find it good to charge all merchandize, without distinction, at importation with 1 per Cent. and at exportation with 2 per Cent. of its value: as if it were not enough to subject the merchant by the rated convoy-money, to the charges, pains, loss of time, and seizures, which must and will lawfully oftimes happen, and sometimes also to the unjust vexation and trouble of many,And especially the interest of merchants has been much neglected, by paying one and two per Cent. upon goods imported and exported. and delays of the custom-house officers, searchers, collectors, and fiscal, whereby many times fit opportunities of sending away or selling of their goods are lost: so that by the said one and two per Cent. of the value, all merchandize, even those which ought by all means to be favoured, are so heavily charged, as in the foregoing chapter is shew’d. And besides, power is given to the said fiscal and head customer or collector, to seize all goods for their own use, paying one sixth part more than the importer values them: which is a mischievous thing to the merchant;Which appears plainest by raw silk, and grogram yarn for in far more remote countries (for example, at Smyrna, or Messina, grogram yarn or silk) goods being bartered or bought, and not knowing whether those goods may be damaged in the voyage or not, and much less whether the same are so bartered or bought in, as to yield profit or loss, yet are they bound blindly to rate these goods. Whereas on the other side, the fiscal or collector may take or leave them at their pleasure. Besides, this one and two per Cent. is for the merchant so great a charge, and deprives them of so much profit, that by this alone very many goods that come from abroad, and will not sell off here, pass by our country, and are carried to other ports.
The truth is, when we consider all these heavy burdens upon the merchandize and manufactures of Holland; and then on the other hand, that we can in no wise subsist long without them, I cannot sufficiently wonder at that folly; for it is too nice and ticklish a case to lay any restraints upon the mouth, through which all nourishment must pass into the body. We ought to suspect and be jealous of all things which have any tendency, either to bereave or straiten us of life; especially seeing we can fail but once, and those that guess at things are apt to mistake. Perhaps it may be said, that necessity justifies all things, and that the wars brought a fear upon us of losing both country and trade at once.Which may be excused because necessity breaks law. Indeed he that is straitened by water or fire, will leap through the fire, or catch hold of a naked sword to preserve his life: but they must be fools when there is no such necessity, that will suffer their bodies to be harm’d by sword or fire.See Aitzma’s treaty of peace. That late puissant neighbouring enemy, in respect of whom merchandize was so heavily charged, is (God be praised for his mercy) so weakned by making war against us, that for eighteen years together he was necessitated to offer us a peace that was shameful for him, and glorious for us, before we would grant it him.But it is imprudent to continue that tax forclearing the seas of enemies when there is no need.
And these provinces, that may be accounted to have been formerly unarmed, in respect of their present condition, as Groeningen, Friesland, Overyssel, Guelderland, &c. have always been able to defend themselves against foreign force, and were very hardly by dissension among themselves brought to stoop to that mighty emperor Charles the fifth. So that now there is no shadow of reason to believe that being provided for the most part by the money of Holland with fortification, cannon, arms, and ammunition, they are not now able in a profound peace to defend themselves with their own force against the attempts of a weaker neighbour.And we in perfect peace by land. On the other hand it is true, that some of them being sensible of their own power, are not concern’d for the uneasiness of the Hollanders by sea, nor will they contribute a penny to ease them, but contrary to the terms of the union of Utrecht, as if that union were only made against the king of Spain’s attempts by land, pretending that all wars and robberies by sea, ought and may be sufficiently maintained, prevented and defended by convoymoney, and consequently sufficiently provided for by the merchants of Holland. Whereas nevertheless the said Holland merchants, besides their particular burdens as men and inhabitants, bear all impositions, whereby Holland is not only defended by land against all men, but likewise all the other united inland provinces: which in truth hath continued to this day, at the charge of much more contribution for Holland, and much less for the other provinces, than by virtue of the union of Utrecht they are obliged to.Art. 5. 6. So that it is high time for Holland to mind her own advantage, and discharge her self of all needless expences for these provinces, and bestow them on her own defence, whereof she hath every way, and evermore occasion by land, and especially by sea.That the sea must drip or maintain it self, is a very detrimental maxim for Holland. For if in truth that maxim used by the other provinces be true, That the sea must maintain it self, and that consequently all means to clear the seas, and to regain the merchants loss after such plunderings by foreigners, and damage sustained by sea, must cause the rates of convoy-money to be rais’d higher in proportion to that necessity; all which must be fetch’d from the merchant.Because the Turk will ever continue his depredations at Sea. If so, I say, Holland must necessarily decay and fall to ruin, considering that by the constitution of the trade at sea, and the many countries about us, not only in the Sound and Channel, but also by the fundamental government of Tunis, Tripoli, and Algier, they must be for ever pirated on by sea. For by this rule it would follow, that Holland should always bear its own burdens, and those of the other provinces too by sea, and so in a time of peace, as well as war, should also bear most of the charge by land:Voyage to the Levant, par le Sir des Haye. and that the others on their parts should wallow in idleness and gluttony with the wealth of Holland.
What professions of the inhabitants of Holland, ought to be more or less burdened with taxes, or favoured by the politick magistrate.
But if Holland by a formermisgovernment, must be burdened with a yearly payment of 15 millions of guilders;BUT some will perhaps object against what I have affirmed, that during the time of the late monarchical government in these provinces, and the remainders of it, as also when we waged an offensive war, and seemed to leave our navigation as a prey to the Dunkirkers, Holland was burdened by money taken up at interest, and other taxes to the sum of fifteen millions yearly; therefore to rid ourselves of so great a burden under a free government, it was necessary to levy money of the inhabitants by several ways and means.Then no wonder if some hurtful ways of raising money have been used, and still be continued. And secondly it may be objected, that when easy or indifferent levies will not raise money enough for securing the country, and navigation against any sudden attempt, then we must find out other ways and methods which at present would be hurtful, but if continued any considerable time, would be mischievous to the state, yea ruin it. And therefore we in Holland have very prudentially practised all those and no other means and ways of raising money, but such as are now used by the state.
It will be fit to lay down same method in such cases of taxings.But tho’ the first objection be true, yet we may doubt whether the second be so. Therefore I find it good to examine here what ways or expedients are fit to be used to procure money in such an exigence, that so the reader himself may more exactly judge whether, and when the magistrates of Holland, have in this particular taken care of the welfare of the land in general, or have been neglective of it: and having expressed the same in as few words as may be, I shall afterwards, because of the general concernment of the thing, consider more fully whether all estates of the inhabitants of this country can be equally favoured; and in case they cannot, which of them ought more or less to be cherished and conniv’d at.
Under this head we ought first to raise money by way of impost.Namely, seeing all people do naturally endeavour to discharge and free themselves of burdens, tho’ even by burdening of others, or when that cannot be fully obtained, then will they seek to ease themselves of that burden by procuring partners to bear it: every one will then immediately judge that we should charge those of foreign nations that frequent Holland, who are no members of our political body, which we call the state, with all imaginable taxes, and by all means to ease our own inhabitants, as being true members of our own body. But seeing we have shewn you before, that Holland cannot subsist without commerce and merchandize with foreigners, we might by so doing take such methods as would prevent them from coming into Holland, to our great prejudice; and therefore we ought to be very wary and cautious about it, especially considering, that an extraordinary charge upon those strangers would not much ease us: so that consequently there is no other way, but to bear so great a burden with as many helpers as we can procure.All wares that are consumed at home. And it cannot be denied but we shall procure more supporters, if we charge all goods with some impost that are usually worn or consumed by the people as they are men and women.
And seeing those imposts which are most freely and spontaneously paid, are least offensive and irksom; we should therefore observe this order, viz. first, and most, to charge such goods as tend to ease, pleasure and ornament: and then such as no man can be without, as meat, drink, housing, firing and light, seeing strangers hereby will pay alike with the inhabitants, and none will be favoured or exempted.
And also all inhabitants of Holland.And seeing by all these means the said sum of fifteen millions cannot be levied, we should then afterwards in taxing the people, so charge them, as that all may bear their parts equally, none excepted. But since this is not practicable, but by taxing all peoples estates to make men pay alike without distinction, or by a blindfold poll; both which means of raising money being so unequal, and full of hardship, do ever cause great distaste among the people: we ought therefore to proceed to the charging of some particular sort of inhabitants, who bring in no profit to the country, but on the contrary live upon the other inhabitants.
But especially such as have any publick imployments and business of profit in Holland, excluding others.And among them are first all inhabitants, who from or on behalf of the state, or cities, open countries, drainers of water, makers of dykes, have any benefit of power, honour or reward, more than other inhabitants. For seeing they may refuse such offices, dignities and employments, to escape those taxes, and that we need not give them but to such inhabitants as are qualified for, and petition to have them; no inhabitant therefore to evade such taxes, will need to abandon the country, nor have any reason to complain of a burden which he annually loadeth himself with: and yet by this expedient much money may be raised for the common good, without burdening any of the other inhabitants the more.
And after them all inhabitants that live upon other inhabitants.Next to them should follow such inhabitants as are teachers, artists, and their instruments, for so much as they are imployed about matters of ease, pleasure, ornament, &c. that are made use of in this country. And after these former, all masters and journeymen of such trades who live by our own inhabitants only; such as bakers, brewers, sellers of wine and fish, butchers, taylors, shoemakers, carpenters, masons, smiths, and glasiers, &c. But in such a case it were needful, for the keeping of our provision, and to suffer strangers to live upon us as little as is possible, to charge all their goods or manufactures imported into Holland for consumption, so high, that our own may go better off than those that are foreign.
And next them those that live upon our lands or fund.Next would follow some charge or tax to be laid upon such inhabitants as live upon our own lands; such as are our husbandmen, grasiers and inland-fishers, for they will hardly forsake us because of our taxing them, seeing they may always be eased in better times.
And since all these means of raising money will burden none but such as are inhabitants in this country, and while they find their maintenance amongst us; it is evident that all the said ways for raising of money will excite the commonalty to ingenuity, diligence and frugality, and then they will be easily borne.
As also all immoveable Holland goods.But in case all these expedients will not raise money sufficient, we may then charge either ordinarily or extraordinarily all immoveable goods, lands and houses, with yearly taxes, or by impositions upon alienations and inheritances of them; wherein nevertheless there be those difficulties, that those taxes will not be paid with any freedom, but wholly by compulsion: and that the said immoveable goods being for that end to be valued, that valuation cannot be made without partiality, and these burdens will be then very unequally born. Besides, that by the accidental unfruitfulness of the lands, and standing empty of their houses, the owners and tenants of them wanting a great part of their yearly rent on which they depend for the maintenance of their families, they must necessarily suffer these two unavoidable inconveniencies. But seeing all owners of immoveable estates who dwell out of the land must also help to bear these burdens, without any prejudice to the estates of our common inhabitants; and the owners of land that dwell in the country, are so tied to Holland by their immoveable estates, that they cannot but with great difficulty remove their habitation to other countries: this means therefore of raising money, may be used without hurting the state.
By taxes on all moveable and immoveable goods jointly.Finally, in an extreme necessity of money, there may be impos’d a general tax on all the moveable and immoveable estates of the inhabitants, whereby they may pay the thousandth, two hundredth, and one hundredth penny: I say, in an unusual great necessity, because by these taxes there would fall a greater hardship upon the common inhabitants, and damage to the state, than could fall by any other expedient of this nature; for foreigners would bear nothing of this, but our inhabitants only. And seeing the assessors are wholly ignorant of mens personal estates, and what the inhabitants do owe, or is owing to them; and if they did know the value of them, yet could they not tax them so equally as may be done in the case of immoveable goods: we may therefore easily see, what by favour and hatred, and by ignorance of the assessors, especially in the trading province of Holland, where riches are very transitory and uncertain; that there must be an intolerable inequality in bearing this tax.Which notwithstanding is a very hard and unequal tax. Those that would honestly declare their estates might lighten the tax; but the fraudulent will unavoidably make it heavier. Besides, many inhabitants possessing neither immoveable estates nor merchandize, but living here on the interest of their money, to elude these heavy burdens, may remove to some neighbouring country, to the greater prejudice of this state than if any other of the forementioned inhabitants should forsake us; for such people frequently drawing their revenues from other parts, and spending them here, they gain not by our inhabitants, but they gain by them. Nevertheless, seeing such persons as live on their rents, are in respect of the other inhabitants but few in number, and do not set many people at work for a livelihood, therefore the said tax may and can be raised without any remarkable prejudice to the state.
We ought to be cautious of weakning the four pillars of our state, viz. manufactures, fisheries, traffick, and freightships.And it is more especially to be observed, that if by reason of all these taxes many inhabitants should forsake Holland, and settle in other countries, yet they, or other such persons, when the tax after a while should be released, might easily be drawn to return to Holland, or others would succeed them out of our own country, so long as our manufacturies, fisheries, traffick, and freight-ships remain and flourish amongst us: seeing they are the four main pillars by which the welfare of the commonalty is supported, and on which the prosperity of all others depends, tho’ they earn not their living immediately by them. This will not be denied, if we rightly apprehend, that many people are brought into our country that are strangers, or were formerly inhabitants, teachers, artists, consumptioners, tradesmen, and such as live on their rents, because there are many people here that live, or have lived by manufactures, fisheries, traffick, and freight-ships, and do all of them afford work, or a livelihood for the other inhabitants before-mentioned. But that on the other side the manufacturers, merchants, fishers, and owners of ships let to freight, will not return from foreign lands to these parts, or be invited hither because there are, or have been in Holland many teachers, artists, consumptioners, tradesmen, and men that live on their rents, seeing these do set to work or employ the foresaid people, and have their greatest profit from foreign parts, at least not from these last mentioned people that are natives.
But nevertheless upon an urgent necessity thereunto pressing, we should charge them least.But supposing the general necessity of levying money to be so great, that we could not raise enough by all the fore-mentioned taxes, or could not find out any expedient to raise the same but what were prejudicial; so that to defend the commonwealth, or preserve our body politick against some formidable enemy, we should be so put to it, as to tax the above-mentioned pillars of the land, and be pinch’d in our chiefest means of livelihood for a short time, in hope that such urgent and pressing necessities will soon have an end, and that then those taxes will be taken off; and doing thus, we may both secure our country and our estates: let us then see what order we are to take in pursuit of this method. And in the first place to express myself clearly, by the words manufacturers and fishers, I understand all such as live by any trade in or about fishing, making, transporting, and selling of our Holland manufacturies and fisheries. And by the word traders, I mean all such merchants that sell nothing by retail; but such as trade solely, whether at home or abroad, in all or any commodities, except Holland manufacturies and fisheries, and such as depend on them. And by the word owners of ships, I understand no other owners than such as set ships to sea, either for our own service, or for other merchants upon freight.
And now to come to the matter in hand, we ought well to consider, that we must lay the least tax upon that means of subsistance which most concerns us, and which we are apt soonest to lose, and being lost is not easily retrieved, and which might besides draw away with it other trades or means of subsistance.The manufactures. So that seeing in Holland there are six hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants who are maintained by manufactures, and such as depend on them, and those manufactures are not certainly fixed to us, since we cannot furnish ourselves with the unwrought materials of them from our own country, but from other parts; yea the greater part of them being easily carried by land, may be made, carried, and sold in foreign upland countries. And if this should happen, our merchants and owners of freight-ships would be oblig’d to remove and betake themselves, either to them, or to the countries and sea-harbours next to them; and if we should once lose those manufactures, and that our merchants and owners of ships should go over to another country which affords those materials for the making of them, they would probably never return to us. Wherefore it appears that we must charge them little or nothing, and the rather, seeing our manufactures are already charged with imposts on the consumption, much more than our fisheries, traffick, and freight-ships.
The fisheries more.And seeing our fisheries, by the propinquity of the coasts, where haddock, cod, herring, and whale are taken, are more fixed to us, and always will be so than to most other countries; and that by our over-taxing them, we have neglected and disregarded them, they may possibly return to us again if we ease their charge, considering our convenient situation; whereby it appears that we ought to tax them sooner, and more than our manufactures: nevertheless seeing there are four hundred and fifty thousand people employed in the fisheries; and the loss of the said fisheries to our merchants and owners of ships, would give them occasion to remove into those countries where the said fisheries might be establish’d: It appears therefore that we ought not inconsiderately to charge our fisheries too much.
Traffick yet more.But forasmuch as it cannot be apprehended, that while Holland preserves her manufactures and fisheries, she should lose all her traffick in foreign manufactures, fisheries, and other merchandize; and that this traffick does not at most maintain above one hundred and fifty thousand people in Holland: it therefore again appears, that we ought sooner, and more to charge those trafficks than our manufacturies and fisheries. Yet seeing those trafficks being removed into other countries, our owners of ships might first send their ships thither, and many of themselves follow after: it likewise appears, that we ought to charge that traffick less than the owners of ships.
And seeing the owners of freight-ships inhabiting these provinces do receive incomparably more advantage from our inland manufactures, and our own fisheries and trade, than any foreign owners of ships can do; yea, for as much as there be no supporters of the countries prosperity, but what are servants to our manufacturies, fisheries, and traders: it is not therefore imaginable that we can lose them so long as we can preserve our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick; so that the said ships may be charged sooner, and more than manufactures, fisheries, and trafficks.And the part-owning of shipping most of all. Yet since those ships lie for freight in foreign countries, and there raise money from strangers, they may in some measure be esteemed a support of our prosperity; and since there may possibly be fifty thousand people maintained that way, and that by their being charged too much our own manufactures, fisheries, and traffick, for which we are most concerned, might in some measure come to suffer at long run: we ought not therefore to proceed inconsiderately to the charging of them. Tho’ we should lose our freight-ships, yet we should not therefore lose our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick; but on the contrary, by their means, and by lessening the taxes at any time, the freight-ships would easily be induced to return to Holland.As appears by many reasons. We know that heretofore in Flanders, Brabant, and Holland, many inhabitants were maintained by manufactures, fisheries, and traffick, when the Easterlings were the only carriers and mariners by sea: as also that the said owners of freight ships were for the most part gradually compelled by our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick, to forsake those Easterlings, and to settle in Holland. And we still find every day, not only that our owners of freight-ships are serviceable to the manufacturers, fishers, and traders of other countries; and to that end send their ships from one harbour to another, to transport their goods at a price agreed on; but also that there are always strangers here, who for the sake of our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick, by reason of some freedom and privileges they have above us, either in their own countries, or in their voyage, do come and enter their ships for freight amongst ours.
And as these four pillars of the country’s prosperity may be more or less charged;So that it being now shewn at large what estates of our common inhabitants ought most or least to be charged with imposts, in order to levy fifteen millions of guilders yearly, we may from the same reasons in some measure calculate upon all occasions which of the inhabitants ought to be most or least favoured by the magistracy, and consequently I should finish this chapter: but seeing the welfare of the inhabitants most certainly depends on the good maxims of the rulers in that matter, I shall enlarge somewhat more upon it.
So in all events the rulers ought to favour them proportionably.Altho’ civil rulers are very well termed fathers, and the subjects their children, yet herein is the difference, that parents do indulge and take equal care of their children to their utmost power, or at least ought not to favour one to the prejudice of another, and in no case to ruin one child to provide for others, tho’ better children: and that contrariwise the politick governors making up with the generality one body politick, which we call the State, must shew more or less favour, yea hurt and ruin, to some who are more or less profitable, or pernicious to the state. As for instance, those that commit theft and murder, &c. who are punished with death or otherwise, for the good of the rest, and to deter them from committing the like evils.
Namely, first the things themselves before their dependencies.From which it follows; first, that all inhabitants, none excepted, ought to be favoured more than strangers, as much as is proper. Yet so, that none be favoured, who by any imployment can earn their living by others their fellow-subjects, to the prejudice of those by whom they procure their bread: because in such a case it would be foolish, that those who depend upon any thing should be favoured to the prejudice and ruin of that very thing whereon they depend. And besides, it is necessary, that we always remember to favour most, and consequently preserve in Holland such inhabitants, who can with more ease than others get their livings in other countries, and transport themselves thither.
2ly. The foreign before the inland traders.Secondly, it follows by the said maxims, that all inhabitants who seek their profit and livelihood from other countries, ought more to be favoured than those who in this country live on their fellow-inhabitants.
3ly. The masters ever before the servants.Thirdly, it follows from hence, that such inhabitants, who by their gains acquired by foreign countries contribute most to the subsistence of the inhabitants, and consequently of the state, ought most to be favoured; but with this caution, that the master should be more favoured than the servant; and our merchants who traffick in our own manufactures, and fisheries in foreign countries, above all others who are employed about the making or taking of the same. All which being well considered, it unanswerably appears, that the politick rulers of Holland ought least of all to favour strangers with any power or privilege, and consequently more and more to favour the inhabiting mechanicks, masters, journey-men, teachers, artists, consumers of any goods in the land, husbandmen, grasiers, inland-fishers, such as live on theit estates, owners of ships, merchants, fishermen, and finally almost all such inhabitants who are employed about manufactures spent in foreign parts.
And altho’ some may object, that the said advantages and disadvantages cannot be procur’d or avoided, unless, as abovesaid, the high and subordinate government consists of so many rulers and magistrates, that none of them could benefit himself to the prejudice of the community:Especially to erect colleges of persons according to the proportion, that are interested for themselves. yet it is very well known, that any violent change in the welfare of the common inhabitants of Holland, would at least much sooner ruin the best and most useful subjects, than improve them. And consequently, it ought to satisfy the lovers of their country, if the rulers and magistrates take so much care that the subordinate colleges of polity, treasury and justice, about the manufacturies, fisheries, trade and owning of ships, be so formed, that such persons as are employed therein, be most interested in the prosperity of manufactures, fisheries, traffick and freight-ships, and consequently least in any other way of subsistence; because otherwise every one will, to the prejudice of others, tho’ they ought more to be tendered as more profitable, draw the water to his own mill, and lay his burden on another man’s shoulders.About manufactures. So that there ought to be among the directors that are the superintendents, or have the oversight of manufactures, at least, as I conceive, four for foreign consumption, two to oversee the making of such manufactures, one over the inland-consumption, and one over the service depending on those manufactures. As for example, among the directors for the woolen cloth-trade, there ought to be four merchants dealing in cloth, two clothiers, one draper, one dyer or cloth-worker, &c.Fisheries. Likewise among the directors concerning our foreign fisheries, there ought to be in proportion at least four merchants that trade in those commodities, two over the setting out of the vessels and causing the fish to be taken, one over the inland-consumption thereof, and one over the fishing itself.Especially a college or merchant-court for trade. And if the rulers of these lands, or any cities thereof in particular, were inclined for preservation and increase of traffick in general, to erect a common council with authority to make statutes and laws relating thereunto; then such a council ought to be form’d after this proportion, viz. of twenty four merchants dealing in Holland manufacturies, sixteen merchants in Holland fisheries, six merchants in other commodities which belong not to our manufacturies and fisheries, and at most but two owners of ships, because such owners and the masters of ships in that quality are for the most part servants to the others, and depend on them, and without them are of small consideration.Else private interest will be sought against the common good: And if among the judges or commissioners set over the making of manufactures, fisheries, assurances, maritime affairs, &c. there should be some interested persons, it is evident, that in all such colleges the same proportion ought to be observ’d, that in case partiality should take place among the judges, the loser should at least have this comfort in his misfortune, that his loss would tend to the benefit of the community, in advancing manufacturies, fisheries, traffick and freight-ships: whereas otherwise the trouble of seeing himself divested of his livelihood and goods, by undue orders, and unjust sentences, and all to the loss and detriment of the commonwealth, would be intolerable.
As appears by the directors of the Levant trade, who are genenerally concern’d in ships let to freight.And that this may appear not to be spoken at random, let us please to remember that Roelof Martinson Vygeboom of Horne, a ship-master, or the owner of the ship called the Emperor Octavianus having in the year 1663, suffered his vessel laden by the Turkish emperor’s subjects, to be taken for a prey by some ships of war belonging to Malta, Leghorn and Venice, for which they paid him a very great freight;See the judicial and political considerations of the Turkish avenie, printed 1663. the said emperor of Turky required of Livinus Warnerus our resident at Constantinople satisfaction for the same: he by his faintheartedness, treachery or covetousness, made a promise within three months and fifteen days, to pay the Turks seventy eight thousand four hundred and forty-five lyon dollars for satisfaction; and that the said sum might the sooner be obtain’d, the said resident commanded, and thereupon the consul ordered, that not only all Holland ships set out to freight should be seized in all the havens of the Levant, which hath some glimpse of equity in it, but also all the goods of the innocent Holland merchants, who were constrained to pay that money for their redemption. It is easily imagined that this happened, because the resident and consul knew that the directors of the Levant trade living in Holland, were mostly concerned in the ships let out to freight that use the Levant, that it would have been very ill taken by them, and that they might have sat on the skirts of the resident and consul, if their ships had been seized for that reason.Who have favoured these freight ships more than the Holland manufactures and traffick; We afterwards saw the strength of this particular interest clearer in Holland: for these merchants who were unjustly forced to lay down this money, and being to be discharged, the said directors, who give their advice to the states-general in many cases, laid down in this particular no expedient, nor any think like it, whereby to procure this money to the least loss of the land, or charging themselves or other owners or masters of the Levant ships; no, nor to charge themselves together with the merchants; but on the contrary, have totally freed the said owners and masters of the same, and to the greater prejudice of the country, yea, and the spoil of our manufactures, charged one per cent. upon all goods outward and inward, not excepting Holland cloth, raw silks, and yarn, making together two per cent. So that the states following their advice, traffick and manufacture will be for so much imprudently charged to perpetuity, since the said oppressive tax will hardly ever be releas’d.Bringing the charge of the resident and consuls avenies, &c. on all our manufactures and traffick. And if we add hereunto, that all other traffick of the common inhabitants of the provinces, that is not under the tuition or care of such directors, being driven into countries where our consuls reside, the masters and owners of each ship going or coming in, must pay to the consul a certain fee for his consulage. But that the said directors of the Levant trade, for as much as they are owners of ships, have cast that burden from off their own shoulders, and laid it upon our own merchants, yea on our manufactures and all manner of Levant wares, without distinction of clothes, grogram yarn, raw silk, &c. going or coming to or from the Levant, to the benefit of the resident at Constantinople, and the consuls that reside in those havens on the behalf of this state, charging them with 1 ½ per cent. being together going and coming three per cent. which upon so rich a trade makes up a princely revenue, and royal maintenance.And that by cutting too large thongs out of others leather; And altho’ the said residents and consuls take their reward of the Holland Levant merchants, and having no other business to dispatch but the concerns of their traffick and navigation, ought to have remembred, that they being only clothed with a character of the state,Whereby the residents and consuls carry it as if they were lords over the Levant merchants. the better to effect the same, and for no other end, unless for order and decency, are really and indeed but ministers of the Levant merchants, and so must continue, seeing they have at the port of Constantinople in effect not any the least business of state to negotiate, as peace, war, alliances, assistance, &c. between the respective states. Nevertheless this shadow of their monarchical administration, and assuming an authority, and taking example by the ministers of monarchs, who likewise reside there:Which mismanagement may soon ruin the Levant trade. adding hereunto, that this too great income for citizens of a free commonwealth, hath all along raised in them a monarchical pride, and besides occasions oft-times other heavy taxes, and continual quarrels against the said Holland merchants, who are not willing nor able to endure so chargeable and oppressive a power, which will destroy our important Levant trade in a short time.
Let none object, that all that money is not exacted to the rigour, nor comes into the residents and consuls purse; for they enjoy most of it, and the factors charge the their principals with it, insomuch that this considerable Levant trade, and our manufactures depending upon it, by this prejudicial management of those chargeable residents and consuls, and by five per Cent. unnecessarily charged, and without any reason to favour and clear the owners and masters of ships, tho’ they cause more troubles in those parts than the merchants themselves, and also in other respects are subject to them, and consequently have more occasion of our residents and consuls advice than our traders, and are the cause of their much greater charge.
So that you may see by what I have said, that if the courts of justice relating to the fisheries, manufactures, traffick, insurances, and maritime affairs, are no better ordered according to the maxims of Holland’s prosperity, whereof I know none as yet:So that we may expect the like inconveniences from all other ill reformed colleges. Then certainly our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick in this country, being too little favoured, and too much opprest; and that all concerned therein having any difference with their labourers, servants, messengers, letter-carriers, ship-masters, or owners of ships, they have great reason ever to comply with them, or to fear a mischievous verdict or sentence, tho’ their cause be good. For since we cannot bereave judges of their human nature, we ought in such cases to expect that they will take more care for themselves, or their friends, than for the publick good.
And thus by degrees I am come down to matters of justice about traffick, whereof I purpose to speak more at large.
The antient state of justice in Holland and West-Friesland being here related, it is likewise at the same time shewn, that the laws and order of justice ought to be framed for the most advantage of traffick.
IT is well known that the German emperors drove out of these lands the Normans, and according to their custom divided the provinces among twelve or thirteen lords their favourites, making one of them the earl, who, as the* emperor’s stadtholder, was to govern this country with the assistance of the said nobility, without soldiery. And in case of war, if he and these noblemen, and common inhabitants, were not able to defend themselves against a foreign power, he was to be assisted by the duke of the next adjacent mark-lands, who was always arm’d and had 12 earls under him, and at his disposal.
Relation made of the state of justice, as in the times of the earls of Holland, who were sovereign lords.Pursuant to this our earls, with consent of the states of the land, framed and appointed all the laws or orders over the whole province; and their respective dykegraves, bailiffs and schouts, with their counsellors, homagers, judges, and sheriffs, made all peculiar laws and ordinances for the respective waters in the country, open lands, villages, and cities, and omitted not in their laws to express the punishment and fines which the offender was to suffer or pay. And moreover, our earl had power, with all other earls, as being chief judge himself, or by bailiffs and judges depending on him, and in his name, to give sentence and judgment between the inhabitants. It is observable, that all criminals, who had forfeited their lives, were to forfeit their estates also, and that all confiscations and fines came to the earls, or to the bailiffs and schouts, who for that end held their offices by farm. And to the end that those miserable subjects might undergo trial before the judges that were parties; we are to take notice, that our earls following the ungodly maxims of monarchical government in administring justice, stood much upon the enlarging of their power and profit, and but very little on the welfare of the common people:’Tis shewn how defective and tyrannical it then was. for they empowered these bailiffs and schouts, according to their will and pleasure, to take cognizance of all crimes and offences, whether really committed or not, to favour or prosecute all the inhabitants, without appeal to any but the patron, viz. the earl. And tho it was very necessary for the gentry, common people, and citizens, the better to obtain just sentences, to appoint upon all occasions a very great number of judges, and to give them a liberty, without respect of persons, to vote with balls or otherwise privately: or if few judges were appointed in those courts and places of justice, with command to vote publickly, that then at least those bailiffs, schouts and judges at certain times being complained of, were obliged to give an account of their actions before a very great number of them.By reason of the paucity of judges. Yet our said earls upon all, yea the most weighty occasions, would place no more but here and there an Azing, or five or seven judges in the open country, and about so many sheriffs or aldermen in the cities; obliging them, whether in criminal or civil causes, ever to deliberate or vote openly in presence of the earl, his bailiffs or schouts, and to give no account or reason to any but himself for what they acted.
By which form of justice, the earls and their bailiffs and schouts might favour or oppress all the inhabitants, under pretext of administring that sacred justice to which they were sworn.And their passing sentence as the earls and their bailiffs and schouts pleased. For they could give what sentence they pleased by reason of the paucity of judges, which they were fain to comply with, if they would hold their annual employments, and escape the resentment of their said lords. And when at best the said earls, bailiffs, and schouts did not concern themselves with the matter in question, if one of the parties, whether plaintiff or defendant, were favour’d or hated by the judges, and the other not, then in such case, * an upright sentence was seldom passed.
What little amendment hath been for the publick good since these times, about matters relating to justice.And tho’ since that time, by the abjuration of the government of earls, and especially since the death of the late stadtholder of Holland, the greatest occasion of favour or hatred in respect of judges and sheriffs, and consequently the greatest occasion of unrighteous sentences, either in greater or lesser affairs, was taken away; yet nevertheless the bailiffs and schouts in regard of the common people, and especially in criminal affairs, hold their former power and respect. By which remainder of that tyrannical government by earls, the inhabitants may be very much oppressed upon this account, because the judges and Scheepens being continued in their former small number may be misled, unless we should suppose them to be divested of their human nature, and not to be mov’d by their familiarity with, or hatred of the said bailiffs and schouts, or by the bribes, and love or hatred of the plaintiff or defendant; and because no further appeals, or account is to be given to higher powers at appointed times and places, upon the complaint of any persons thereunto impowered, and likewise because they are not obliged to suffer any punishment in case of error.
But my aim being chiesty at trade, I shall shew,But because I purpose more especially to consider our administration of justice, as it tends to the benefit and increase of our fishery, manufactures, traffick and freight-ships, I shall pass over all these common defects and faults in other matters of justice, and pursue my aim and purpose in this only.
Next to the perfect freedom of the people, and the more or less taxing and favouring the several trades or estates of the people of Holland, it is necessary that justice be equally administred against all open violence which may be acted in the land: which seeing it would be hurtful, not only to the merchants of our manufactures, and fisheries, and traders in foreign commodities, together with the owners of freight-ships, but also to other inhabitants, both subjects and rulers;How detrimental designing bankrupts are, so that no assembly, or body of men whatever, without securing themselves against it, can possibly subsist; there is of antient times an order of justice appointed, tho’ very defective. But tho’ fraud (whereby we may wrong a man of his due as well as by force) ought not to be less punished, and that merchandizing depending especially on the probity of men, yet by false deceit may be perfectly ruined; it is therefore to be wondered at, that Holland hath been able to preserve its traffick, as it must here be carried on with so many laws, or by the help of laws derived from the maxims of the warlike Roman republick, which give the merchants here an opportunity to gain more by fraud than by honest dealing.And how little provision is made against them. And on the other hand, here is so little care taken by good orders and laws to defend the honest merchant against the fraud and deceit of those who bear the name of merchants, and to help them to recover their own; that we may well ask the reason, why all the bad people of foreign countries come not into Holland, that under pretext of merchandizing they may openly learn to cheat in the beneficial way now so much practised, and that with impunity? For, * ’tis the rod makes the children good.What order might be taken to prevent it. Now to establish some better order in this, it would seem needful, that none should be suffered to drive any traffick in Holland, ’till first he hath entered the place of his abode in a publick register, which would have this effect.Which comes in here. First, that the parents and kindred of the said merchant, if they have not made a contrary entry in the same register within a year, shall not be allowed by any last will and testament, to leave to the said merchant a less legacy than without a will they might, to the prejudice of his creditors. Moreover, it shall not be lawful for any merchant, especially a bankrupt, in any case to refuse any profitable bequest or legacy. For this he cannot be supposed to do but in order to defraud his creditors; and for that reason he ought to be prohibited legally to alienate any estate, save for a gainful title, and that he hath receiv’d the value of it beforehand. I understand hereby, that if he happen to be a bankrupt afterwards, all his donations, conveyances and portions given for marriage, or estates bequeathed or consigned to his children, ought to be applied to the benefit of his creditors. For we see here too often the truth of this English proverb, Happy is that son whose father goes to the devil.
And settlements before marriage.And as it ought to be unlawful for a merchant to endow his wife with a marriage jointure to the prejudice of his creditors, so ought the wife to be prohibited to covenant to have her option of part in profit or loss: for there is nothing more rational than that he * who will have the profit, must bear the loss. Yea, the parents, and nearest kindred of such a wife, ought to demean themselves in all things in respect of inheritance, as the relations of the husband himself: and excluding community of estate, or the bringing in of engaged estates, they ought to be entred in the publick register.
The ordinary register or books of accounts of such merchants who are in reputation for honesty, and corroborated by oath, ought in all respects to be equivalent to any notars acts, and nothing ought to be preferred to it except special mortgage; seeing the custom of the country is such, that to prefer orphans, rent, or jointure, &c. to be first paid, is prejudicial to traffick, and consequently to the whole republick. But if at any time it be found that a merchant hath falsified his books or register, and confirmed them by perjury, he ought then in all respects to lose his life as a false coiner, that all men may be terrified by so severe a punishment, not to enrich themselves falsly and treacherously with other mens estates, to the prejudice of the commonwealth.
A debtbook under oath ought to be a sufficient ground for an immediate execution.Yea, it seems to me that traffick, and the accounts of a credible merchant, is of so much concernment, seeing the constitution of the same is such here, that it neither allows or permits of any other evidence: that therefore upon the said register alone confirmed by oath, there ought immediate execution to be taken as for money due to the state. For if traffick is with us salus populi, the country’s safety, what reason can there be of not using the like means (pari passu) as the state doth?
Vindications and evictions.It is also very prejudicial, that a sale should be counted for ready money, when after delivery of the goods the money is not immediately paid. For when the seller gives up his right of the goods by trusting of the buyer, he gives such knavish buyers great opportunities of making great bankrupts: and he who on the other side by his imprudence is in the greatest fault, does afterwards, by his unjust vindication or prosecution for his goods, take away the estate of the other creditors.
Present justice by a court-merchant is very necessary.There ought in each city to be at least one particular court of justice to decide matters between buyer and seller, that so such suits may not only be speedily ended, but that the judges apprehending the way of trading the better, may give or administer the better justice and sound judgment for the land: whereas the merchants now find, that their suits caused by difference in accounts, are almost never ended but by agreement of the parties when they grow weary of the law, and that mostly to the benefit of the unrighteous caviller, according to the proverb, The cavillers are gainers.
But the beneficium inventarii is detrimental, as areIt is very unreasonable and prejudicial to the merchant, that the estate of one deceased should be suffered to have beneficium inventarii, the right of making an inventory of the estate, when the common creditors will become his heirs; * seeing the creditors must bear the loss if the estate falls short of their debts, they ought to reap the profit when there is more: whereas otherwise those unmerciful greedy heirs by that course of justice, in the first case they cast off the burden from their own backs, and in the second case they carry away the profit.
Letters of cession, or attermination.And no less hurtful are letters of cession, or attermination, renouncing the estate, and gaining of time. And since no persons are prosecuted by the publick for particular debts, it is reasonably to be presumed, that the creditors will not prejudice themselves by taking over-rigorous courses with any person that cannot really pay, but is willing to do it; nor to bereave them of their good name, and drive them into extremities. But on the contrary, a dishonest man having concealed and made over his estate, will enrich himself, and seek ease, by delivering up his whole estate upon a false oath.
On the contrary, it would be profitable for the commonwealth, if upon the least complaint of a debtor’s non-payment, they should forthwith make him give in security; or in case of refusal, to keep him and his books of account in close ward. For in case he should then shew himself able to pay, he might soon be released upon security;What severe punishments are necessary against designed bankrupts, viz. to deprive them of their liberty. and being unable, we should be able to prevent his running away, and his giving in a false account of his debts, and his thievish making over and absconding his books and estate. In all such events, it ought to be lawful to imprison knavish debtors, with their wives and adult children, by publick authority, and to keep them in a publick workhouse, to make them earn their own bread, according to the law of Moses, and the Roman laws of the twelve tables.Exod. 22. Yea, and in case the wickedness of eminent and great debtors be aggravated by foul and knavish circumstances, we ought, according to the proclamation of the emperor Charles in the year 1540, to use them as we do thieves for burglary, hang them on a gallows, without suffering in any wise, as now it often happens, that such bankrupts remain dwelling among us, and continue driving their traffick under another’s name; according to the proverb,*Let him pay with his person, that cannot pay with his purse.
But in case the bankrupt be fled with his books and estate, without the jurisdiction and reach of Holland, and is protected by the civil authority of that place; I should think it convenient for the benefit of Holland to proceed thus. First, by virtue of a general law, all such persons ought to be prosecuted as publick betrayers of their country, amounting to as much as† being guilty of high-treason; the rather, seeing such a villainous bankrupt hath no less need of help to carry on his wicked design, than to betray his country: at least he cannot so have concealed matters, but that the accomptants and cashiers, his men-servants and maidservants must have some knowledge of it; and therefore they ought all of them to be apprehended, and if upon examination it were found that they had assisted in conveying away such thievish bankrupts, it were good to examine them upon the rack more strictly if there were cause of suspicion of the thing; or else upon their oaths according to the occasion. For if the rack be of any good use, it must be in cases whereon the prosperity of the country depends, and where it’s known there must be aiders and assisters in such gross knaveries.
And all creditors and debtors ought to be obliged by laws and publications.We might also at the same instant publickly proclaim throughout the whole land, that whosoever hath any estate of, or owes any thing to the person so fled, should immediately discover it, on pain of being punished as betrayers of their country, and concealers of that villany: and all persons should forthwith be examined upon oath who are suspected to know any thing of it; declaring by promise, that all those who shall uprightly purge themselves, should be accounted men of probity, altho’ they had formerly assisted in that wickedness; and if otherwise, they shall at all times be proceeded against and punished as perjured betrayers of their country, when by a third person it shall come to be known.
To bring in all their claims, whether to the benefit or charge of the deficient estate.And all such as claim, and pretend to any thing of the fugitive’s estate, ought also to be oblig’d immediately to lay claim to it upon great penalties, whereby two very great evils would be prevented; for seeing* no man becomes wicked to the highest degree all of a sudden, therefore all such who were lately possessed of the estate of such bankrupts, and consequently had not used or employed it as their own, should immediately bring in the same: the rather, that while the act was fresh, they could not arrive at so exact a knowledge of their estates and books as they might afterwards, by the seizing and examination of the offenders and their associates. And,
2dly, All those that pretend to any thing of the bankrupt’s estate, being also ignorant of what might come to be known of his condition, and whether there were any appearance at any time of compounding with him, should be necessitated to give in their real debts: whereas we see now, that all such estates are grasp’d by dishonest persons in such a manner, that there is seldom any thing left for the honest creditors, because people may conceal all debts with impunity, and on the other side, may enlarge their pretences after they see the matter brought to an issue.
This being done, the bankrupt ought to be summoned on a certain prefix’d day and hour, in which time the creditors ought to have leave absolutely to compound with him, and to stop their proceedings at law. But if the bankrupt neither appears nor agrees, he ought to be hanged in effigie on a gallows, and all his children old and young declared infamous.
By all which means jointly applied, many designed bankrupts would be prevented.If all these particulars could take effect immediately upon the fresh act, and before people could have laid aside the shame of such a new piece of knavery, I judge it would be of great influence to make men honester: whereas now they learn by degrees, that it is better to have other mens estates than none at all; and* that we can spend another man’s estate with much more pleasure than our own. Having overcome all shame, men can live easier and quieter in an infamous condition than to trouble themselves about points of honour, and pay so dear for them too.And likewise better agreements made with fugitive bankrupts. But seeing in all these prosecutions the benefit of the creditors ought to be aimed at, since it is purely an endeavour to make the most of it for them, therefore they ought to be enabled after that time to agree with their creditors, and to annul the sentence; for fiat justitia & pereat mundus, becomes a judge’s mouth very well; for they not being sovereigns, are for the sake of their honour, oath, and office, bound to judge by the laws, and not contrary to them: wherein if they fail, they are in all well-ordered republicks to be complained of, and punished. But the proberb does not at all become wise politicians, where salus populi, and not the peoples ruin, must be the supreme or highest law.
There ought to be given to an honest, tho’ insolvent merchant, a reasonable allowance.And seeing we ought on the one side to compare these fugitives, and base and unworthy cheats, to those vagrant and thievish drones among the bees, which by all means ought to be kept out of the land, or to be pursued and destroyed: so on the contrary we ought to look on all honest merchants, who through want of foresight, by the injustice or breaking of others, by storms, misfortunes, robberies at sea, or war, have lost their own estates, and part of others, and so cannot pay their debts. I say, we ought to regard them as profitable bees with compassion, declaring and promising them, that all such persons, making their losses appear, and not withdrawing themselves from justice, shall reserve, and hold to their own use the tenth part of what they had to begin to trade with at first, and not be troubled at all by their former creditors, and may remain in good name and fame with their children, tho’ they had enjoyed great portions or other gifts, as being a righteous fruit of their uprightness, and a comfort in their adversity. But seeing between these mischievous thieves, and their children, and these unfortunate losers who are much to be lamented, there is no difference either in punishment or infamy, it causeth many who otherwise would be honest, through necessity to step out of the honest way, and to take ill courses. For if opportunity makes a thief, necessity does it much more.
But supposing all useful laws were made for the benefit of traffick and navigation, and the inferior judges were well inclined to cause them to be put in execution, nevertheless as things now go in Holland, they may for the most part be made of none effect by appealing to a higher court.Our courts of justice ought to consist of many counsellors. For as our courts of judicature consist not of above ten or twelve judges, so they cannot hear and give judgment at more than one bench, and much less have their understandings exercised to comprehend all differences that occur, whereby the suits, because of the great number and trouble of them, remain depending there almost to perpetuity, and at last are all of a very uncertain issue. To redress which it were necessary, that the number of judges should be so encreased, that for some particular cases there may be some appointed out of that number, who according to the weightiness of the causes may bring in and report the same in full court, to have sentence pronounced upon them.That might give more dispatch, and pass juster sentences. By these means quicker and better justice would be administred, not only among the commonalty, and especially the merchants; but likewise among all other the more eminent inhabitants, whether secular or ecclesiastic, who might be minded to promote treason or sedition,And might be a terror to all seditious and traiterous persons. would be deterred by so considerable a court, that is accountable to none but their lawful sovereigns, that is, the assembly of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, and would carefully watch against such villanous practices as abovementioned, which now, impunitatis spe, by the length of suits, and slow justice, are but too frequent.
That it would be very advantageous for the rulers and people of Holland, and for traffick and commerce, as well as navigation, to erect Dutch colonies in foreign countries.
BUT supposing all the expedients before-mentioned, to attract or allure foreigners to become inhabitants of Holland, were practised, and those inhabitants made to subsist by due administration of justice, yet would there be found in Holland many old and new inhabitants, who for want of estate and credit, live very uneasily, and therefore would desire to remove thence.In all countries there will ever be found many distressed persons. It is evident, first, as to persons and estates, that the inhabitants here are not only exposed to the ordinary misfortunes of mankind, of not foreseeing future events, weakness, and want; but besides, they make very uncortain profit by manufactures, fishing, trading, and shipping. And on the other side, by sickness, wars, piracies, rocks, sands, storms and bankrupts, or by the unfaithfulness of their own masters of ships, they may lose the greatest part of their estates, while in the interim they continue charg’d with the natural burdens of Holland, as great house-rent, imposts and taxes:Thro’ the uncertain profit, and certain taxes born by the inhabitants: nor have they any reformed cloisters to provide creditable opportunities for discharging themselves by such losses of maintaining their children, or according to the proverb, to* turn soldier or monk; so that by such accidents falling into extreme poverty, they consequently lose their credit and respect among men: for to† have been rich is a double poverty, and nothing is less regarded than a poor man’s wisdom; in such cases he would find himself in the most lamentable condition that can befal a man in this world.
Is also by the oligarchical governmentAnd, 2dly, as to reputation: it is well known that in this republick, the government consists of very few men in proportion to the number of inhabitants, and that the said government is not by law annexed or restrained to any certain family, but is open to all the inhabitants: so that they who have been eight or ten years burghers, may be chosen to the government in most cities, and have the most eminent employments of scheepen or burgomaster. Whence we may infer, that many that are the offspring of those that were heretofore made use of in the government, and also many others, who by reason of their antient stock, and great skill in polity, and extraordinary riches, thro’ natural self-love and ambition, conceive themselves wronged, when other new ones of less fitness and estate, are chosen to the government before them; and therefore thinking themselves undervalued, seek a change, and would be induced to transport themselves to other countries, where their qualifications, great estate and ambition, might produce very good effects.Which male-contented inhabitants might occasion great evil to the land. Whereas on the other side, whilst they continue to dwell in these lands, they speak ill of the government and rulers in particulars. And if by this, or any other accident, tumults should be occasioned against the rulers in particular, or the government itself, they being persons of quality, might become the leaders of the seditious, who to obtain their end, and to have such insurrections tend to their advantage, would not rest till they had displaced and turned out the lawful rulers, and put themselves in their places, which is one of the saddest calamities that can befal the republick, or cities: seeing* rulers, who became such by mutiny, are always the cause of horrible enormities before they attain the government, and must commit many cruelties e’er they can fix themselves on the bench of magistracy.
And seeing we have already made many conquests of countries in India, and finding how hardly (and that with great charge of soldiers) they must be kept; and that the politicians of old have taught us, that there is no better means, especially for a state which depends on merchandize and navigation, to preserve foreign conquests, than by settling colonies in them: we may easily conclude that the same method would be very useful and expedient for our state.
Especially because the poorest people come into Holland from the adjacent lands.Thirdly, it is well known, that the poorest people of all the countries round about us, come to dwell in Holland in hope of earning their living by manufactury, fisheries, navigation, and other trades; or failing that, they shall have the benefit of almshouses and hospitals, where they will be better provided for than in their own country. And altho’ in this manner very many poor people have been maintain’d, yet in bad times it could not last long; but thence might easily arise a general uproar, with the plunder, and subversion of the whole state:So that we ought to give those male-contents and over-taxed people, some vent by colonies. to prevent which, and other the like mischiefs, and to give discontented persons and men in straits an open way, the republicks of Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Greece and Rome, &c. in antient times, having special regard to the true interest of republicks, which were perfectly founded on traffick, or conquests of lands, did not neglect to erect many colonies: yea even the kings of Spain, Portugal, and England, &c. have lately very profitably erected divers colonies, and continue so doing in remote and uncultivated countries; which formerly added an incredible strength to those antient republicks, and do still to Spain, Portugal, and England, &c. producing besides their strength, the greatest traffick and navigation. So that it is a wonderful thing that Holland having these old and new examples before their eyes;Whereunto Hol and hath had a fair opportunity; and besides by its natural great wants, and very great sums of money given yearly for charity to poor inhabitants, and being yearly press’d by so many broken estates, and want of greater traffick and navigation, hath not hitherto made any free colonies for the inhabitants of Holland; tho’ we by our shipping have discovered and navigated many fruitful uninhabited, and unmanured countries, where, if colonies were erected, they might be free, and yet subject to the lords the states of Holland, as all the open countries, and cities that have no votes amongst us are: and it might cause an incredible great and certain traffick and navigation with the inhabitants of Holland.
It is well worthy observation, that these colonies would no less strengthen the treasure and power of the states in peace and war, than they do those of Spain, Portugal, and England, which during the manifold intestine dissensions and revolutions of state have always adhered to their antient native country against their enemies.And yet would have, in case the East and West-India companies would make use of them; And by this means also many ambitious and discontented inhabitants of Holland might conveniently, sub specie honoris, be gratified, by having some authority in and about the government of the said colonies. But some may object, that heretofore the rulers of Holland in the respective grants or charters given to the East and West-India, companies, have given them alone the power of navigating their districts, with exclusion of all other inhabitants, which extend so far, that out of them the whole world hath now no fruitful uninhabited lands, where we might erect new colonies; and that those districts are so far spread, because our rulers trusted that the said companies could and would propagate and advance such colonies: tho’ supposing those colonies must indeed in speculation be acknowledged singularly profitable for this state, yet nevertheless those respective districts and limits, bounds of the said companies, were purposely extended so far by the States General, and especially by the States of Holland, effectually to hinder the making of those colonies, since our nation is naturally averse to husbandry, and utterly unfit to plant colonies, and ever inclined to merchandizing.
Who neither will nor can trade in all the countries under their district.To which I answer, that it’s likely the first grants or charters, both of the East and West, and their copious districts, were probably made upon mature deliberation; but that the rulers perceiving afterwards how very few countries the said companies do traffick with, and what a vast many countries and sea-ports in their districts remain without traffick or navigation, they cannot be excused of too great imprudence in that they have, notwithstanding the continuance of such districts to this day, kept their common trading inhabitants consisting of so great numbers from those uninhabited countries by our companies:While the Holland merchants being too narrowly confin’d ix Europe, all cry out for more trafficking countries or colonies. so that by reason of the want of trafficking countries, or new colonies in little Europe, and its confines, the Hollanders are necessitated to overstock all trade and navigation, and to spoil and ruin them both, to the great prejudice of such merchants and owners of ships on whom it falls, altho’ Holland during that time of their trades being overstock’d, had a greater commerce, and deterred the traders of other countries from that traffick which the Hollanders with the first appearance of gain do, and must reassume, if they will continue to live in Holland; where all manner of foreign trade, since the erecting of the said companies, was necessitated to be driven, notwithstanding the uncertainty of gain, and fear of over-trading our selves.
But those companies incline not thereto, because the directors of them can thereby reap no profit.And that the said companies neither have, nor do endeavour to make new colonies for the benefit of the lands, and the inhabitants thereof, hath hitherto abundantly appeared, and we must not lightly believe that they will do otherwise for the future; which, I suppose, will also appear, if we consider, that the directors, from whom this should proceed, are advanc’d, and privately sworn to promote the benefit of the subscribers of the respective companies: so that if the colonies should not tend to the benefit of the subscribers in general, we cannot expect the companies should promote them; yea supposing such colonies should tend to the greatest profit of the said subscribers in general, yet such is the common corruption of man, that those plantations should not be erected unless such directors or governors can make their own advantage by them.
Nor yet the participants.And seeing all new colonies in unmanured countries, must for some years together have necessaries carried to them ’till such plantations can maintain themselves out of their own product, begin to trade and go to sea, and then there is some small duty imposed on the planters and their traffick or navigation, whereby the undertakers may be reimbursed: yet the partners having expended so much, are not assured that their grant or lease of years shall be prolonged and continued to them on the same terms. Moreover, in regard of these new colonies, the directors ought therefore to have less salary, seeing by this free trade of the planters and inhabitants, they may be eased of the great pains they take about their general traffick and equipage of ships, which concerns them much in particular, for many considerable reasons, not here to be mentioned.
And as concerning our people in the East and West, they being hitherto of so loose a life, are so wasteful, expensive, and lazy, that it may thence seem to be concluded, that the nation of Holland is naturally and wholly unfit for new colonies; yet I dare venture to say it is not so: but certain it is, that the directors of the said companies, their mariners and soldiers, and likewise their other servants, are hired on such strait-lac’d and severe terms, and they require of them such multitudes of oaths, importing the penalty of the loss of all their wages and estate, that very few inhabitants of Holland, unless out of mere necessity, or some poor ignorant slavish-minded and debauched foreigners, will offer themselves to that hard servitude.The worst, sort of foreigners that yield to the hard slavery of the said companies, are not fit for colonies. It is also true, that all such as are in the Indies, especially the East-Indies, do find, that not only while they serve, but after they have served their time for which they are bound, they are under an intolerable compulsive slavery; insomuch that none can thrive there but their great officers, who being placed over them, to exact the oaths of the mercenaries or hirelings, and to put in execution the companies commands, and being without controul, to accuse or check them, they commonly favour one another, and afterwards coming home with great treasures, are in fear that they will be seized and confiscated by the directors. He that will be further convinced hereof, let him but read the following placaet or proclamation, which was, and is yearly to be published at Batavia.
By the yearly placeat published at Batavia, it is ordered,THE governor general, and council of India, to all that shall see, hear, or read these presents, greeting. Know ye, that whereas the directors of the general Netherlandish East-India company settled by patent, at the assembly of seventeen, for divers good considerations, have found it useful and necessary that the orders and proclamations which we do yearly publish, and affix to the usual place against the time of the fleet’s return to our native country, after having first explained the points therein contained, and enlarged others, by some needful additions contracted all into one placaet, and so to publish it to the people, to the end that every one, whether in or out of the company’s service, travelling to the Netherlands, may thereby the sooner and better understand by what rules he is to govern himself before he leaves this country. We therefore, in pursuance of that order, having contracted all the foresaid orders and placaets (after previous elucidation and amplification, as aforesaid) into one, have found it requisite, now afresh to ordain and appoint, and by these presents we do ordain and appoint, that all such persons as intend to sail to the Netherlands, of what state, quality or condition soever they be, and purpose to have any claim or pretence upon the said company, proceeding from what cause or thing soever, shall be obliged to make the same known, none excepted, or reserved, before their departure hence, unto us, or our committees;That all pretensions on the company must be first adjusted by the companies own servants.that so having heard and examinedthe same, they may take such order about it as shall be found just and reasonable, upon pain that all those that shall have neglected or omitted the same, shall be taken and held to have had no action or pretence at all, and shall for ever be and remain void and of none effect. As likewise none arriving in the Netherlands unto the seventeen lords or their particular chambers, shall be heard concerning the same, unless they shew our special act of reference, which shall be granted if the matter be found of such a nature as is not proper to be decided and determined in this country. Likewise those that have any defect or error in their accounts, or may have lost the same, are to address themselves to the said lords commissioners; who after they have taken cognizance thereof, may provide therein as becometh. Likewise all such company’s servants or freemen that desire to receive any salary here as due to them, are likewise to address to the lords commissioners, and declare it to them, that so it may be signified to the lords our principals, that we may desire and receive authority for payment thereof.
That none may bay or sell any debt due by the company.No persons being in or out of the company’s service, of what state, quality or condition soever he be, that either here in India, or on their voyage homewards, buy, or sell any accounts proceeding of salaries, or monthly wages, either for himself or others, or as a pawn or pledge of friendship or debt, to accept or engage, and make it over, on pain that the buyers and sellers, transferrers and transferrees, that renounce their accounts, shall both of them, not only lose their right and title to the same, but also the buyers and transferrees shall be fined thrice as much as the ballance of the account so bought or pawn’d shall amount unto.
Likewise no person in or out of the company’s service, departing out of India, shall either for himself, or others, take with him any silver orgold, coined or uncoined, into his native country, or keep it by him;That none may carry away thence any money to the Netherlands, but deliver it to the company to receive it by exchange in Holland.much less may he conceal it, by delivering it to seamen, soldiers or others, whether here on shore, or upon the voyage, or lend it out, or put it to interest, upon forfeiture of all such money to the benefit of the company, where, and with whomsoever the same shall be found. But such as have money to spare, may discharge themselves of it at the chamber of accounts, that in conformity to the letter of articles, they may receive bills of exchange for the same.
Every one is therefore hereby forewarned, that those that will make over money to the Netherlands, whether he remains in India, or travels thither, shall beware of taking other ways or courses, than by the said chamber of accounts, to the end they may as aforesaid receive it by exchange; that is to say, by means or assistance of any European nation: and that none remit money over to England, or elsewhere, either directly or indirectly, on what pretence soever, under the penalty, that such who shall be found doing the same, shall besides the loss of his imployment and service, and loss of the salary which then shall be due, viz. if he remains in the company’s service, he shall further forfeit such sum as shal be proved he paid, or privately made over to anly other European nation.
That none may depart thence, unless they have twelve months wages due to them.Moreover it shall not be allowed for any person, being in the company’s service, to depart to the Netherlands, unless he shall have at the least twelve full months salary due to him, and that by original account, unless he shall have paid the contents thereof in ready money into the chamber of accounts here, upon exchange, to be repaid him by the company in the Netherlands.
Those that purpose to depart to the Netherlands, shall before such departure from hence, sell all their moveable and immoveable estates, as houses, gardens,lands and pedakkens, none excepted;Those that go home, are to sell their immoveable estates.whether they were sold publickly, or privately; and pay the proceed thereof into the chamber of accounts aforesaid, to be made good in the Netherlands; upon pain that the offender shall immediately forfeit all his right to the said goods to the company’s use.
Likewise those that are entrusted with the administration and disposal of any immoveable estates, whereof the proprietors are departed hence, shall be bound to sell the said goods, and turn them into money before the departure of the next returning ships, and to bring the proceed thereof into the chamber of accounts, to receive the same by exchange as aforesaid, upon pain as aforesaid.
And pay for the freight of their persons 300 guilders.The people that are free, and not in the company’s service, and disposed to return to the Netherlands, whether single, or with their families, shall before their departure from Batavia, pay for their freight and transportation money, at the general chamber of accounts as followeth, viz.For their diet in the great cabin, 30 stivers per diem.For all men and women, being twelve years of age and up wards, three hundred guilders; and those under that age, one hundred and fifty guilders: and be sides for their diet, for men that are accomodated in the great cabin, thirty stivers; those in the round house, eighteen stivers;For diet in the round-house 18 stivers, and before the mast 9.and those before the mast, nine stivers per diem. The women that are above twelve years of age, and eat in the cabin, twenty stivers; in the round-house, twelve stivers; and before the mast, nine stivers per diem: so that no person, whether man or woman, being either above or under twelve years of age, children included, shall pay any less than nine stivers a day. The said payments shall be made for the time of six months, and accordingly they shall have receipts thereof. But yet under this condition and promise, that if any such person should happen to die in the voyage, there shall be restored at the East-India chamber in the Netherlands, whereunto that ship goes consigned, to the right heir or executor, &c. of the deceased, so much of that sum as shall be in proportion to the money paid, to be accounted from their departure hence to their death.
That none may carry off any merchandize; but for freight of their houshold-stuff, must pay 2000 guilders per last.And seeing that notwithstanding our repeated prohibition, not only the said free people, but even the company’s servants, with their wives, widows, and others that are of their family, do carry over much houshold-stuff, and other bulky goods for their own provision and other uses, in the company’s ships, and do thereby greatly pester them. All such goods therefore that are no merchandize (seeing they ought in no wise to be carried with them, and that they ought to be seized by the company for their use without any favour shewn, whether they be found out in the road, or on the voyage, or discovered in the Netherlands) shall be declared and mentioned by inventory before their departure, and going on board; that after they have been visited and valued by our commissioners thereunto appointed, they may pay for freight at the rate of two thousand guilders for each last, being estimated or rated by bulk or weight; which accordingly is to be paid at the chamber of accounts. Which inventory being signed by our commissioners, with the receipt of having paid the freight, and being shewed to the lords our principals in the Netherlands, such goods being no merchandize as abovesaid, shall be delivered unto him; but upon pain that all such goods not mentioned in the inventory so taken with him, shall be, and remain confiscate to the said company’s use. All this being intended and spoken of the company’s servants for so much as pertains to the merchandize of such exceeding three months wages, which they are allowed to carry with them by the letter of articles which they carry along with them.
None may carry any Indians with them.And for as much as it hath ever been prohibited to carry hence into the Netherlands any black native Indians, whether free or bond, men and women, as the lords states general have likewise by their proclamation prohibited to bring the same into their dominions: we have hereby once again thought fit to interdict, and prohibit all persons to transport any such native blacks, whether men or women, from this place, or to conceal them on board ships, and that (for as much as it may concern the servants of the company) upon forfeiture of all the wages which shall be due to them on their voyage homeward; and for free people, upon pain of forfeiting one thousand guilders: and this, over and above the transportation and diet-money of such blacks for the sum before-mentioned, which at their arrival in the Netherlands shall by the master of such natives be made good to the company in the said Netherlands; with condition also, that besides the former sums, the said blacks being willing to return to the Indies, shall pay in the Netherlands the like sum for transportation and diet-money, as before is specified. Provided nevertheless, that in case any one for good reasons should desire to take with them a black nurse for his child or children, and it being granted, such person shall be bound to pay into the chamber of accounts her diet-money at 30 stivers per diem for the time of six months, allowing her for the same to have her passage back again gratis out of the Netherlands.
And to the end that none may pretend ignorance of any the premises herein mentioned, we have published this our ordinance after the ringing of the bell at the publick and usual place. We therefore charge and command the advocate fiscal of India, the bailiff of this city, and all other officers of justice, to take care strictly to observe the same, and to proceed against all offenders and transgressorswithout favour, connivance, dissimulation or forbearance; for we have found the same to tend to the service of the said company. Given at the castle of Batavia upon the island of Java Major, the—&c.
By this account no colonies can be made there.So that it is no wonder that so few good, and so many ignorant, lazy, prodigal and vicious people take service of the East-India company. But it is doubly to be admired that any intelligent, frugal, diligent and virtuous people, especially Hollanders, unless driven by extreme necessity, should give up themselves to that slavish servitude.
The Hollanders are naturally inclined and fit to erect new colonies.All which being true, let none think it strange, that the scum of Holland and of most other nations, having by their service become freemen there, and yet not permitted to drive any trade by sea, or with foreign people, are very unfit, and have no inclination at all to those forced colonies, and do always thirst after their own sweet and free native countries of Holland: whereas notwithstanding on the contrary, the ingenious, frugal, industrious Hollanders, by those virtues which are almost peculiar to them, are more fit than any nation in the world to erect colonies and to live on them, when they have the liberty given them to manure them for their own livelihoods. And those that doubt hereof, let them please to observe, that the Hollanders, before and since these two licensed companies, even under foreign princes, have made very many new colonies, namely in Lyfland, Prussia, Brandenburgh, Pomerania, Denmark, Sleswick, France, England, Flanders, &c. And moreover, have not only manured unfruitful unplanted lands, but also undertaken the chargeable and hazardous task of draining of fenlands. And it is observable, that in all the said places, their butter, cheese, fruits and product of the earth, are more desired, and esteemed than those of their neighbours.Fitter than any nation of the world. And if we farther observe, that no countries in the world, whether the land be for breeding or feeding, are so well ordered as those of our plain lands in Holland; and that no other boors or husbandmen do travel so many countries as ours do; we shall be convinced, that no nation under heaven is so fit for setting up new colonies, and manuring of ground as our people are. And if in our nation there is also to be found (which however is unjustly and unwisely denied by the opposers of these new Holland colonies) a very great aptness and inclination to merchandising and navigation, then we may in all respects believe, that we under our own free government might erect very excellent colonies, when it shall please the state to begin and encourage the same on good foundations, and to indulge them for a short time with their favour and defence. Having spoken thus far of the true political maxims to be observed concerning the inhabitants, I shall here conclude the first part of my treatise.
The End of the First Part.
[* ]Belisario magistro militum per orientem, &c. Interea vero fi aliquas civitates seu Castella per limites constituta providerit tua magnitudo nimiæ esse magnitudinis, & propter hoc nox posse bene custodiri ad talem modum ea construi disponat, ut possint per paucos bene servari, &c. Cod. l. 1. Tit. 27. par. 14.
[* ]Quippe ubi libertas, ibi & populus & divitiæ.
[* ]A morgen is about two English acres.
[* ]Which were transported beyond the seas, and dealt in by the East-countrypeople.
[* ]Res facile iisdem artibus retinentur quibus initio partæ sunt.
[* ]Res facile iisdem artibus retinentur quibus initio partæ sunt.
[* ]Omnia dabant, ne decimam darent. Grot. Hist.
[† ]Omnia datis, & ne quidem liberatis umbram retinetis.
[* ]Tanquam Cæsaris præsidem ejus provinciæ. Annal. Dousæ
[* ]Quia favor aut odium in judice plus valet quam optima lex in codice.
[* ]Oderunt peccare mali (quales omnes natura sumus) formidine pœnæ.
[* ]Quem commoda, eum incommoda sequantur.
[* ]Secundum naturam est commoda cujusque rei eum sequi, quem sequentur incommoda.
[* ]Qui non habet in ære, luat in pelle.
[† ]Læsæ majestatis reos.
[* ]Nemo repentè fit pessimus, aut fuit turpissimus.
[* ]Qu’il n’y a chere, que de gens a l’arriere.
[* ]Desperatio facit militem aut monachum.
[† ]Divitem suisse duplex paupertas.
[* ]Res dura, & regni novitas me talia cogunt, &c. Virg.