Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VII. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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CHAP. VII. - 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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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.