Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIX. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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CHAP. XIX. - 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 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.
[* ]Res facile iisdem artibus retinentur quibus initio partæ sunt.