Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XI. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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CHAP. XI. - 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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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.
[* ]Which were transported beyond the seas, and dealt in by the East-countrypeople.