Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART II.: Of the Interest of Holland, in relation to foreign Princes and States. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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PART II.: Of the Interest of Holland, in relation to foreign Princes and States. - 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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Of the Interest of Holland, in relation to foreign Princes and States.
That an open and free navigation ought carefully to be kept and defended, against all pirates and enemies. How this may be put in practice; and after what manner heretofore it has been done or omitted.
HAVING in the first part of this treatise seriously considered and represented the true interest and maxims of the republick of Holland and West-Friesland, relating to their affairs at home, I shall now enquire how the welfare of their inhabitants may be secur’d with reference to foreign powers. And tho’ very many particulars do here again present themselves to my thoughts, which are of weight, and deserve mention; yet I shall lay down but few, and those the most important.
And whereas in the preceding book I have shewn, that the far greater part of things necessary to our manufacturers, fishers and traders, are imported from foreign parts, either upon carts, and rivers, or else by sea in ships let out to freight, and that they must again transport most of them, manufactur’d or unmanufactur’d, by the same means beyond the seas:Most merchandize being imported and exported from Holland to foreign parts; it necessarily follows, that the highways, rivers, and seas, must by all means be kept free and open, for the constant use and conveniency of the inhabitants. Yet because the highways and rivers in this respect are of least concernment, and so much in the power of other princes, that the securing and clearing the same cannot be expected from the governors of Holland, I shall therefore say nothing more of them.Aitzma’s Hist. b. 22. p. 463. But seeing the seas are of so great importance to this end, that the council of state in their request for a supply in the year 1643, did represent, that the whole state of the United Provinces depends on the guarding and clearing of the seas; that other things without this, would be but as a body without a soul, and a land without inhabitants, &c. And that the Hollanders alone do navigate the seas more, and have more to lose on them, than all their allies and other people of Europe put together.Bentivoglio relat. lib. 1. cap. 7. And moreover, seeing the seas are so common for all men to navigate, that they are always infested by pirates and enemies, and may be and are also cleared by our governors, and free passage given for ships and fishers, and so kept and maintained; I purpose therefore to treat largely and closely of this matter.
And our fishers trading there, and our ships that sail northeasterly and westerly being mostly of no defence;’Tis well known that our fishers of haddock, doggers, sailers of busses, and Greenland men, fishing at certain times and places, do always meet with sea-robbers, and enemies ships of war; and that they, and the Northern and Eastland ships, yea, and our salt and wine-ships, bringing bulky, cheap, and low-priz’d goods, are not able to bear the expence of well manning and arming their ships to repel such robbers and enemies. And tho’ it cannot be denied, that our Spanish, Italian, and Levant ships, are often freighted with such rich and profitable goods, that they may well be so mann’d and arm’d as to defend themselves against the smaller sort of pirates; yet the riches which they carry, invite whole fleets of such men of war to lie in wait for such ships;And the Turkish pirates ever infesting the Straits Mouth and Mediterranean; and this falls out the rather, and will always so happen, because the bassas of Tripoli, Tunis, and Algier, must pay the Turkish janisaries under them out of their own purses; or if they failed, would certainly be strangled by the mutinous soldiery. So that to procure that necessary pay, they always collect by force of arms, the fifth part of the growth of the country, and permit them to go to sea as free-booters, with condition to allow them the moiety of all the ships, and the eighth part of all the goods they take in the same.
Therefore we must necessarily scour the north sea from pirates,This being certain, it follows naturally, that the North Belt, and North sea, as also the channel being continually fished and navigated by vast numbers of our unarm’d and undefensible ships, ought of necessity to be wholly freed from such robbers and enemies by our governors. And because the great Spanish and Mediterranean seas are likewise navigated by few rich ships of force, it is by all means advisable to convoy our said merchant ships with ships of war to defend them from those Turkish pirates; but it would by no means be convenient to free the Mediterranean of them, for we should thereby reap no more profit than the Eastlanders, English, Spanish, and Italians do, who by that means, and other advantages, might easily deprive us of our traffick and freight ships, and possibly drive us out of our whole navigation; because the greatest Eastern traffick depends on the consumption of the Eastern commodities in the Western parts:And keep the Mediterranean clear by convoys. all which nations nevertheless thro’ want of ordinary convoy-ships, do not traffick so much in those parts as we do, and would trade less if it were ordered that none of the captains of our convoy-ships should take money to protect and defend any foreign merchant-ships under their convoy, or suffer them to sail in their company: so that if we should leave this thorn of the Turkish pirates in their sides, they will be sufficiently distress’d both in that and all their other trade, whilst we by those ordinary convoy ships of war, may wholly engross all the European traffick and navigation to Holland.
Having thus represented how necessary it is to keep the seas open and free for the inhabitants of Holland, and endeavouring now to find out the means whereby it may certainly be effected, this infallible political maxim offers itself to my thoughts, viz.Which will be effected or not, as the rulers employ’d are inclined to it. When men would procure or hinder the doing of a thing, the matter must be so ordered, that such people who are so resolved, may have sufficient authority, power, and strength to effect or obstruct the same. Whence it unanswerably follows, that seeing our inhabitants, who live by manufactures, fisheries, traffick, and shipping let to freight, and which are or may be taken at sea by enemies, are certainly willing to defend themselves from such losses, they ought therefore to have such authority and strength as may enable them to clear the said seas. But because every one knows, that such abstracted speculations, and general reasonings in well-grounded political governments, neither may nor can be practised, let the reader therefore please to take notice, that I use this infallible political maxim, only to build a second upon it, namely, that such cities and countries whose rulers ought to be presumed to be less or more inclined to clear the seas, ought also to have more or less authority and power in the polity, treasure, justice, and militia relating to the seas. And seeing kings, princes, courtiers, and soldiers are frequently gainers, but never losers by goods pirated at sea, and reap the least advantages by an open and free navigation: and on the contrary, most of the inhabitants of the free republick of Holland, whether rulers or subjects, may suffer great losses by robberies at sea, and subsist by the flourishing of manufactures, fisheries, trade, and freight ships; we may well conclude, that such governors must be presumed to be well inclined to keep the seas clear, and consequently ought to be entrusted with all that power and authority which is necessary to effect it, either by themselves or their commissioners.
And tho’ in pursuance of this position it seems requisite to shew in what manner this ought to be done in every city of Holland, and jointly in a way suited to the states assembly; I shall nevertheless (partly because it requires more knowledge than I am master of, and partly because I would avoid the great labour and odium which might ensue) only touch on the several ways by which men formerly endeavoured in Holland to clear the seas, and whether the inhabitants, by building on the said foundations, or by departing from them, have gained more or less.This maxim is confirmed, not only by reason, but by experience: for before 1300, our earls and gentry neglected navigation.
Whereas before the year of our Lord 1300, the cities of Holland were few and small, the government, and consequently the clearing of the seas, depending chiefly on the earl and gentry, who were little concern’d in things of this nature, and if they had attempted it, must have done it at their own cost and charges, we find little thereof in their antient records; and therefore may safely believe, that the Hollanders at that time never undertook the guarding or clearing of the seas.
But after the cities were concern’d in it, they took it to heart, under the mad earl (so called.)But the cities of Holland soon after, by the removal of the Flemish and Braband manufactures, increasing daily both in greatness and number, and the inhabitants by that means growing to be much concerned in the free use of the sea, and perceiving that the earl and gentry neglected to defend or protect them from piracy, they agreed with duke Albert of Bavaria, as stadtholder for William earl of Holland, for leave to scour the seas themselves, and to lay that charge on the country.M. Vossius in annalibus, lib. 15. pag. 126. And in the year 1408, when the seas were infested by certain East-Friesland pirates, those of Amsterdam, and some of the cities of North-Holland, with the assistance of the Lubeckers, Hamburgers, and Campeners, suppressed those robbers.
Soon after this the Hollanders being greatly annoyed by the Flemish rovers, complained to count William;The old written chronicle. yet we read not that he did any thing to prevent it, but sent them away with this answer, Go you to sea too, and let others complain of you. The Hollanders accordingly went to sea, and did more hurt to the Flemings than they had suffered by them;Philip of Burgundy. whereupon these sea-robberies soon ceased. We read also that about thirty years after, in the time of Philip of Burgundy, earl of Holland, the Hollanders lost to the value of fifty thousand guilders by the Easterlings upon the seas, and could obtain no satisfaction or compensation;J. F. le Petit’s chronicle des Pais Bas. which caused the cities of Dort, Haerlem, Amsterdam, Gouda, Rotterdam, Horne, Enchuysen, Middleburgh, Veer, Flushing, and Armuiden, to set out many ships to sea; with which having beaten the Easterlings twice, and taken great riches, they obtained of them in the year 1441, a very advantageous peace, and also of their allies the Spaniards, Venetians, and Prussians; the other Netherland provinces, who were also under the subjection of Philip of Burgundy, not concerning themselves in these matters. And it is also true, that the Hollanders and Zealanders in the year 1464, endeavoured without Philip’s consent, to surprize the famous pirate Rubempre, who infested their coast with his robberies.Phil. de Comines. And it is observable that no convoy-money was in those times ever required of the merchant for clearing the seas, but the expence was borne by the country, or by the earls themselves, and was constantly deducted from the subsidies granted to him; nor were there any other except the ordinary judges to determine of matters concerning prizes and goods taken.
All which, except the last, remained constantly in use in the times of the earls, who were of the house of Austria;J. F. le petit cronique. for the Eastern cities in the year 1510, making war against the king of Denmark, prohibited the Hollanders, Zealanders, and Frieslanders, to trade in those countries; who not complying, and the Eastlanders thereupon taking eight Holland ships, the province of Holland alone fell into an open war with them; which the other Netherland provinces took so little notice of, that the Easterlings having at several times during the war taken fifty Holland ships, went to sell some of their prizes even in Zealand and Flanders. And tho’ they were sued there by the owners, and the goods restored by the admiralties as unlawful prizes, yet ’tis evident that this was obtained rather on the account of favour than justice.
Emp. Charles V. Borre, lib. 21. p. 7.The emperor Charles V. in the year 1531, having recommended queen Mary of Hungary his sister to the government of the Netherlands, and chosen a good council of state for her, caused these words to be inserted in their instructions: “That they should continue to the cities their former customs, that in time of need, and when matters can suffer no delay, they may set out ships of war at the charge of the country, that so they may resist all pirates and such like enemies of the commonwealth, and take and make prize of them, provided that the punishment be left to the judgment of the admiralty.”J. F. le petit ibid. Whereupon, in the year 1532, it happened, that the Hollanders, by order of the said emperor, as earl of Holland, put certain ships into the hands of his brother-in-law, Christiernus of Denmark, in order to recover his kingdom, from which he had been expelled. Upon this the Easterlings forbidding all Holland ships to pass the Sound, caused great poverty in Amsterdam, and the northern quarter, without redress from the emperor, or any other province, till the Lubeckers, in the following year, taking a ship of Edam upon the coast of Zealand, the Amsterdammers, to whom the lading belonged, complained at the court of Brussels, and obtained a general seizure of all the ships and goods belonging to the Lubeckers and Hamburghers, that were to be found in the Netherlands. For seeing, notwithstanding the wars with Holland, they continually kept their traffick going in Brabant and Flanders, they by this seizure suffered so great a loss, that immediately peace was clapped up, yet with this condition, that the Hollanders should not assist king Christiernus, nor during the war use his havens of Norway.
By all this we may easily perceive how slenderly the free navigation was then defended or secured; and things will never be better in Holland whilst courtiers have any command there. On the other side, we may also see what singular care the states of Holland took on the 26th of August 1547, and would always take for a free navigation whensoever that matter should be intrusted to them; for tho’ their condition was then low, and the times peaceable, yet they fitted out eight ships of war for the defence of our herring fishery, and for their payment established that tax which is called the great impost.Semein’s herring fishery. And even in the time of that tyrant king Philip II. it is evident by the advice of the provincial court to those of the secret council, relating to the admiralty,King Philip 2d. “That pursuant to the privileges, judgments, and antient customs, the stadtholders of Holland used to take cognizance of all matters pertaining to the admiralty, and are subject to no other admiral; and that the placaet transmitted by Adolph of Burgundy ought not to take place, till the stadtholders and states of Holland were first heard concerning it; and that all the power given by the same placaet ought to be attributed to the stadtholder; and that count Horn being appointed admiral-general of the Netherlands by the king of Spain, answered thereupon in the year 1562. That he desired first to see the forenamed privileges, and then would give his further answer thereunto.”
Pr. William took care to scour the seas, because he could not subsist but by the prosperity of our inhabitants. P. C. Hoosd. Hist. p. 197. P. Borre, book 6. fol. 282.But during the troubles which soon after followed, this affair took quite another course. For count Horn the admiral general being beheaded, and prince William of Orange as stadtholder of Holland, Zealand and Utrecht, being in the year 1568, banished the country; and knowing no expedient to raise men and money in order to his return, made use of his own authority, anno 1569, and as admiral-general gave out commissions to take all Spanish and other ships that sailed without his commission: and afterwards in July 1572, obtained liberty of the states of Holland to appoint a lieutenant-admiral, who, by the advice and approbation of the maritime towns, should make choice of the captains of the ships of war: and moreover obtained leave to constitute commissioners to take cognizance of maritime affairs, who were to receive the tenth part of all the prizes for the commonwealth, and the fifth of that tenth part for the admiral-general.
E. V. Reyd. hist. pag. 15. in quarto.Whereupon in October that same year, the first duties of customs were introduced in Zealand; the government there prohibiting, upon pain of consiscation, all transporting of goods to and from the enemy’s country, unless they paid for each species as much duty as they could in any measure bear without the loss of their trade. In the next year and month of April, this was imitated, and practised by those of Holland. And being thus begun, in order to distress the enemy and weaken the Antwerpers, as well as to increase the trade and navigation of Holland and Zealand, it yielded in custom the first year eight hundred and fifty thousand guilders: and this pleased them so in that great necessity of money for their common and necessary defence, that soon after they found it expedient to charge all goods exported or imported to and from neutral places, sailing out or coming into these countries, with convoy-money. And tho’ this tended to the extreme prejudice of the trade and navigation of Holland, yet there was no remedy, partly because all Holland would otherwise have been conquered by the Spanish forces; and partly because by the pacification of Ghent, anno 1576. customs or licence-money was to cease, whereby the Antwerpers were most of all burdened with convoy-money.
P. Borre. b. 8. p. 119.In the mean time prince William had on July 11. 1575, procured a power of the states of Holland during the war with Spain, either in the king’s name, or his own, to command or prohibit any thing as he thought good, both in polity, contribution or war, by water or land:Book 9. p. 138. and on the 25th of April 1576, by the union of Holland with Zealand, he there obtained the like authority. On the 22d of September, in the year 1576, the college of admiralty of Zealand was erected, where one Holland and six Zealand counsellors were to determine by the plurality of voices all matters that might occur; yet so, that the lieutenant-admiral of Zealand should be obliged to obey the said prince, or his lieutenant-governor count Hohenlo, in all things.B. 9. p. 164. Which orders were continued both in Holland and Zealand to the year 1584, without any great prejudice to the inhabitants. For tho’ the prosperity of the country, and clearing of the seas from enemies, depended merely on the care and will of one person only, and that there was no reason to expect they should be employed to the advantage of the people, but so long (and no longer) than it agreed with that person’s own benefit, and tended to the augmentation of his power: yet the people of Holland and Zealand were then very fortunate herein, all the Netherlandish havens revolting from the king, we being still permitted to drive our trade with Spain, and very few piracies being committed: and besides, the said prince could not attend, support and augment his own private interests and grandeur against that great and formidable power of Spain, but in conjunction with the prosperity of those despised small countries, and their poor inhabitants; which on that account he endeavoured to promote.
The clearing of the seas entrusted to count Maurice and the E. of Leicester jointly. P. Borre, 20. p. 85, 86.Notwithstanding which, after the death of the said prince William, the states of Holland and Zealand thought not fit that the prosperity of the land, and clearing of the seas, should be wholly in the hands of one single person. For tho’ they did on the 1st of November, anno 1585, make his son Maurice stadtholder of Holland and Zealand, and consequently also admiral of the said countries; yet they limited him by his commission and instructions, commanding him to execute all affairs relating to war and polity with advice and consent of the gentry and council of the said countries, who were to assist his excellency, and also to consent to such further instructions as should be given him.Book 20. folio 7. And besides, on the 1st of February 1586, they placed Robert Dudly earl of Leicester above him, as governor, captain, and admiral-general; to whom they added the council of state, with instructions importing among other things, artic. 121. and 13. That
“The money proceeding from convoys shall be every where equally levied, and the charges of such convoys first paid, with the cost of equiping the ships of war, and all that belongs to them, as they were designed and originally appointed; and that the said convoy-money shall not be employed to any other use than for payment of the said charge, and setting out the said ships of war; for which end also shall be added whatever sums shall proceed from prizes, and customs, in case his excellency shall at any time think fit, pursuant to the act of consent agreed on by the states-general, in relation to the matter of contribution.
“Nevertheless, the cities have, and shall continue to have, the liberty (as often as shall be found necessary) and when the matter can bear no delay, to arm themselves for the sea, and set out ships of war at the cost and charge of the country, against pirates and other enemies of the commonwealth, to withstand, take and seize them, provided the cognizance and punishment of such crimes, with the ships and goods so taken, be left to the decision and disposal of the admiralty, which his excellency shall chuse and commissionate out of the provinces that subsist by maritime traffick.”Placaet Book p. 530.
Moreover the said governor and captain-general declared, on the 30th of April of the same year, by placaet, touching the payment of convoy and custom;
“That the states general of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, to support the charge of setting out such ships of war as are necessary for the defence and security of the foresaid United Provinces, have consented, given and put into his hands, the produce of certain impositions, and publick revenues, which they have consented to be given, and received for convoy, upon goods imported into and exported out of these said countries, according to the book of rates already made, or to be made; as also the profits and sums which we may levy upon merchandize, that under the title of licence, or safe conduct, may be permitted to be carried to the havens and places of the enemies jurisdiction.”
But the earl of Leicester neglected it, and greatly prohibited our navigation.But the earl of Leicester was not so irreconcileable to Spain as the prince of Orange, and relying on the power of the English, designed to defend these countries against Spain, and then to divide and share the whole seventeen provinces with the prince of Parma, whom he had tempted to comply; well knowing, that if the worst should happen, he could return to England and live upon his estate: so that the defects of this order soon appeared, and that too great an authority in maritime affairs was intrusted to a person who was not sufficiently concerned for the prosperity of Holland’s navigation, and who, to establish his tyrannical power with the English of his faction about him, favoured strangers and foreigners, more than the natives of Holland.P. Borre hist. book 21. p. 47. For about two months after, he prohibited, by publick proclamation, not only our navigation to Spain, and all the enemies countries, but even to carry to neutral places all provisions, and ammunition of war, whatever is necessary for shipping: he also strictly prohibited the sending of any kind of merchandize out of these countries by the Maese, Rhine, &c. or by sea, on this side of Rouen and Bremen; notwithstanding the states of Holland and Zealand earnestly represented to him how much this would tend to the benefit of all adjacent foreign countries, and in particular of England, and to the great detriment of our own inhabitants. So that if this earl of Leicester had not the next year after been necessitated to depart out of these countries to England, by the courage and resolution of the states of Holland, and there, by command of queen Elizabeth, to deliver up his commission of governour, captain, and admiral-general, these countries had been utterly ruined.
After his departure, that care, in regard of pr. Maurice’s minority, was devolv’d on the states and cities concern’d therein.Prince Maurice had almost the same powers conferred on him nominally, but the whole management was really in the states of the several provinces, and governors of the maritime cities during his youth. In which time the affairs of the sea were so well look’d after, that in our histories we read of very few, or no sea-robberies, ’till the month of June in the year 1595, when some Holland ships of war that were lying on the watch before Dunkirk, and about the Maese, were commanded away to France by the prince (who was then at the age of 28 years) to bring over the old princess of Orange.P. Borre, book 32. fol. 38. In 1593, we began, for the prince’s pleasure, to neglect the sea-saring inhabitants. The Dunkirkers taking that opportunity, took many of our herring-busses, and merchantmen, for the most part before our own ports.
And altho’ the admiralties, especially those of Amsterdam and Horn, complained of this ill court-government at the Hague to the committee of council and deputies at their general assembly, and above all others had the greatest reason to complain of prince Maurice, at whose pleasure our good people that live by trade and fishery, were left for a prey; yet durst they not blame him for it, but only desired to have better orders kept for the future. But the dread of this prince, increasing with his years, was already become so great, that in lieu of better orders, his favourites under that pretext obtain’d an order whereby the authority and power of those Holland cities that had suffered most, and must still suffer in time to come, were curb’d and broken;Tiassen’s sea-polity. In 1957. Holland was berest of much of its strength by sea, and how. and on the other side, the authority and power of the generality, and especially of the prince, who are little or not at all affected by losses at saa, was greatly increased. For in the year 1597, prince Maurice, the states-general, and the five admiralties agreed on an order, which for the most part is still in being, pretending it would be an expedient for the better management and executing the affairs of the admiralty and its dependances. But because kings and princes, and inland provinces, never use to consider the guard of the sea, but always to neglect it, unless they fear that for want of a free navigation they cannot subsist on the land, the mischief of this order was soon discovered; for by it prince Maurice (being now as the age of 30, and conceiving that these countries were brought into such a condition, that they could very well subsist against the power of Spain) had power to do all things, since no persons without his commission could set out any ships of war against pirates or other enemies, and that he could make choice of all captains and superior officers to command the ships of the states, out of a double list laid before him, and indeed without it;The prince of Orange, and the inland provinces, tho’ little or nothing concern’d, were vested with a power in sea affairs. and besides, might sit as admiral-general, and his lieutenant-admiral, of Holland and Zealand, or Friezland, in all or any of those admiralties, and vote at the upper end of the board to direct all affairs relating to the treasury, justice and war, as well as the sea.
And moreover, the inland provinces, whom the navigation concerned not at all, obtain’d nevertheless by that order a right of electing from among themselves; viz. Guelderland three, Utrecht two, Overyssel likewise two commissioners for the affairs of the admiralty: and Holland, which alone frequents the sea ten times more than Zealand, Friesland, and Groningen, must by that rule permit in all their three admiralties, that to their four commissioners, three out of the other provinces be added; Holland in lieu thereof only having the privilege of chusing one commissioner to the admiralty of Friesland; which admiralty for want of ordinary revenue doth not use to set out any ships for clearing the seas, even in time of the greatest general necessity, and consequently could avail them nothing. For tho’ the province of Zealand frequent the sea more than Friesland, and therefore by its revenue can set out ships of war; and supposing Holland might send two commissioners of admiralty thither, yet would it not tend to the benefit of Holland, seeing the states of Zealand, with whom prince Maurice could do what he pleased, when he should in earnest advise them to it, cannot now be moved by the states of Holland, and of the other provinces, to range themselves in that order with Holland.And tho Zealand would not communicate those maritime affairs to the other provinces that concern’d themselves; Aitzma’s hist. book 32. p. 724. But the Zealanders will continually govern all affairs at land and sea by their seven commissioners, assuming the name of Commissioners of the admiralty, when two commissioners out of Holland, one for Utrecht, and one for Groningen are joined with them. So that these seven commissioners of Zealand, with the additional power of the states of Zealand, as also by their former separate assembly and deliberation, do often exclude the other commissioners from all matters; and thereby always so easily overvote them, that they can do no service for the common good and for Holland, but when it pleaseth the Zealanders. And before they may serve, or take the charge of their offices in the respective admiralties as commissioners, those that are so elected must receive their commissions of the states-general, and there make oath, as well as the receivers general of the respective quarters, fiscals, secretaries, head-commissioners, collectors and comptrollers; who nevertheless being nominated by the respective admiralties, are chosen by the states-general out of a double number. But the respective admiralties do each in their quarters absolutely dispose of the offices of the equipagemaster, and vendu-master, door-keepers, messengers and searchers, &c.
And moreover by these new orders, comptoirs or offices were erected, as well in the inland provinces, as in the other, and on the rivers and inlets of the sea, in all those countries that have no vote to receive money for convoy and custom of all goods going to and from Holland, and other United Provinces situate on the sea, and that by officers and licence-masters depending on the said states-general, or the respective admiralties. So that tho’ the inhabitants of Holland paid seven parts of eight of all customs and convoy-money, which used to be employed for the service of Holland, or at least at the pleasure of that province alone; yet since that order they are all nevertheless made subject to the admiralties, or to the states-general, where Holland hath but one vote; or to the other provinces, where Holland hath no vote. of all which revenues, and of extraordinary subsidies, the admiralties are not bound to give account to the states of the provinces wherein they reside, but to the states-general, among whom there are so many persons unconcern’d; and besides, considering the deficiency of those from whom they have their commissions, in bringing in their quota’s or shares of money, it must be presumed that they will always keep none of the best accounts against themselves, and consequently are unfit to keep other colleges so under the bridle;Yet have they obtained a great power of direction about the maritime affairs of Holland. and especially consisting of so few as seven persons, they may enrich themselves with the publick money, and be able to play at the game of hodie mihi cras tibi.
On the other side, Zealand holding all its administrative power of maritime affairs within itself, sent nevertheless into all admiralties one commissioner, who was to continue there during life, with the triennial commissioners of Holland, by that long continuance or perpetuity, subtilly to encourage the Hollanders to assist them in managing all maritime affairs according to their particular interest. Therefore that this new order might not be too offensive to Holland, it was proposed by the states general, and prince Maurice of Orange, that it should take place but for a year, without any intention of prejudicing the provinces in general, or any of the provinces, cities, or members in particular, or creating to themselves any new power; tho’ all men might easily imagine, that the power of the States General, and prince of Orange, being sufficient to introduce this order for a year, would be also sufficient to continue the same so long as it tended to their profit.
And indeed we have found by the continuation of this order, that the states general, or the other provinces, together with the admiralties that were out of Holland, have done very little towards the guard of the seas;All which is very detrimental to Holland. but on the contrary have, to the prejudice of Holland, and for the benefit of their own inhabitants, so managed their courts and admiralties, in order to draw the trade to themselves, or at least the passage of the merchandizes of Holland, that they have suffered goods coming in, or going out, to pay either none sometimes, or at other times much less duty of convoy and customs, than is expressed in the book of rates; and yet have given inland passports and discharges as if the duty had been fully paid, that so they may by the way of Bergen, and Sas van Gent, Sluys, &c. and Zealand, without further question, carry them into Holland. Nay, we have often seen that when the states general, with the united suffrages of our common allies, have prohibited some certain commodities to be imported into, or exported out of the United Provinces;L. V. Aitzm. book 16. p. 301. yet hath the admiralty of Zealand by their own authority, suffered such goods to be imported and exported, to the great benefit of their inhabitants, and the intolerable burden of ours. And in like manner when the states general have thought fit to distress the common enemy, by tolerating privateers, or freebooting ships;A remarkable example of the perfidiousness of the Zealand capers. Aitzma, book 42. p. 723. we have then always heard complaints of the judicature of the admiralty of Zealand, viz. that not only the goods of strangers in amity with us, but even the goods of Holland, under pretence of having saved the duty, are too slightly and unjustly seized, and confiscated; partly in favour of their privateering inhabitants, and partly by such vexation and trouble, to draw the trade from Holland into Zealand.
And as to what relates to all the colleges of the generality, as well as the admiralties residing in Holland, it is well known that the other provinces, in order to obtain more power and authority to their respective principals, tho’ to the prejudice of the common freedom, and of Holland in particular, * do send and continue all their commissioners for the most part during their lives, or at least for many years;Especially when the Zealanders or other strangers are permitted to be the Gecommitteerde Raeden ad vitam, or for very many years. whereby they being strangers in Holland, do often carry things against our triennial commissioners of Holland, even in the disposal of our own affairs, conferring most of the offices and benefices depending on colleges upon their favorites, and often also upon strangers.
And this is found to be most of all prejudicial to Holland, when the fiscals, secretaries, receivers, chief customers, commissioners of the navy and prizes, &c. belonging to the said colleges of the admiralty, who serve in those offices for the most part during life, and besides are strangers in Holland, through a natural love to themselves, their own country, or their own college, or by an innate envy to the welfare of Holland, use their authority and power to the utmost against the Holland merchants, to the prejudice of our trade, but very faintly against the inhabitants of their own province.Seeing they are too hard for our Holland Raeden, which are settled but for three years. Yea, tho’ the advocate, fiscal, or chief customer be a Hollander, yet if his habitation lie on the Maese, or in the Northern quarter; by the same evil inclination and envy he can so plague the merchants of the rich city of Amsterdam, by seizing their goods, and so greatly favour those of the Maese, or the Northern quarter, in the entries of their imported and exported goods, that they are compelled forthwith to transport their trade, and passage of their goods from the places where they are opprest, to those parts or colleges of admiralty where they may be justly dealt with.
Holland and its cities having so little authority for scouring the seas,And tho’ Holland at the beginning of these new orders of the year 1597, was so happy, that our enemies had only two havens on the north sea, Sluys (lying between Ostend and the island Walcheren) and Dunkirk, at that time without the Scheurtjen, having so narrow and shallow a haven, that our laden flyboats and busses which they took, or their very gallies, could not lie in safety; so that both these sea ports could do us but little damage, when we would take care to lie before them, or pick up those petty capers in these narrow seas. And tho’ we happen’d to lose Ostend, yet in recompence we took from the enemy the city of Sluys, and its mischievous gallies. Notwithstanding all this, I say, the Dunkirkers did us continually much greater damage after these admiralties were erected, than ever before.The Dunkirkers began to infest the sea. So that the merchants in the year 1599 complain’d, “That they could not at all weaken the enemy by so many ships of war, and so much convoy-money paid and raised for that end. That the sea captains were chosen more for favour than fitness;E. Reyd. hist. p. 636. and that in the admiralties men were placed who understood nothing of maritime affairs, nor valued them, as having nothing to lose that way.”
And tho’ all these accusations might have been more justly laid to the charge of the states general, and the prince of Orange, than on these new commissioners of the admiralty; yet neither the merchants, nor our fishers, durst make the least complaint of his excessive power, nor of their own losses;Ema Meeteren, book 21. tho’ in the year 1600, many of their ships and busses were burnt and sunk; and their three convoys were by fourteen Dunkirk ships of war taken, or forced to fly.And some were not willing to make use of the states power to defend onr traders, who probibited traffick beyond the cape of Good-Hope. After which the states general, in lieu of better defending the trading inhabitants of these countries, took upon them in the year 1602 to prohibit them to traffick beyond the Cape de Buona Esperanca, in any of those incredibly great and rich Asatick countries, by granting that commerce wholly to an East-India company for the term of one and twenty years then next ensuing.
And as the states general, in the year 1603, seemed publickly to acknowledge the insufficiency of these new admiralties, partly by making the first ordinances for the arming and manning out of all ships failing upon account of merchandize or fishing, together with the admiralties;See the placaet book of that year. and partly seeing the inhabitants of these countries were by these new ordinances unmeasurably taxed, and yet no better defended than formerly against piracy, and enemies at sea, they were necessitated to give such inhabitants as desired it, commissions to set out ships of war to weaken the enemy.And inveiged them to sail on free-booting. In which it was observed, that the said privateers sought rather for the enemy’s merchant-ships, where they might meet with great prize, and few blows, than their ships of war and pirates, where there was small prize and many blows to be expected. And accordingly our own merchant-ships and fishers were little or nothing relieved thereby; and likewise our own privateers molested and damaged, as well as the good inhabitants of the United Provinces, as the subjects of kings, princes, and republicks in amity with us, both in their persons and estates.See the placaet books. Upon which the States General in the year 1606, found it necessary to revoke and call in all such commissions, and to raise four hundred thousand guilders by an extraordinary subsidy, to set to sea more ships of war against the enemy; which notwithstanding did not perform the designed work aimed at of scouring or clearing the seas.
’Tis a matter very worthy observation, that before the year 1597, when the sea was render’d safe and navigable by those governors who were most concerned, there was very little damage suffered; and the great overplus of the convoy and custom money, was imployed in getting things necessary for the war by land: and that since the erecting of these new admiralties, we have not only continually suffer’d great losses by sea;The Hollanders about the Mediterranean much plagued by pirates. but besides the convoy and custom money, very many extraordinary subsidies have been levied upon the people for the guard of the sea.
And thus the state of these maritime affairs continued till the truce was made; at which time the states supposing that all robbing at sea would cease, greatly lessened the duties upon imported and exported goods, in favour of trade and navigation. And on the other side, by our security and want of ships of war, the Moors of Algier, Tunis, and Sally, who had been expelled from Spain about that time, as well as our discharged seamen, who then served under Simon den Danser, Capt. Ward, Nicholas Campane, and others, had great opportunities of taking our richest ships, in and about the Mediterranean sea, both during and after the truce.See the Netherlandish wars, by D. H. D. in 1612, printed at Arnhem, p. 199. And because this happen’d so very frequently, I shall not detain the reader with the relation of those accidents, but leave him to calculate how great and prejudicial those piracies were, since the Algerines in the years 1620, and 1621, within the space of thirteen months took of Holland ships alone 143 sail;Baudart, pag. 116.Amsterdam alone esteemed their loss at 124 tuns of gold, and the whole was computed at 300 tuns of gold.
Our whale-fishers much damaged by the English. Baudart. hist.And whereas during the truce with Spain, our whale-fishing increased much, it usually happened that the English, when they were strongest to the northward, drove away our fishers, and took some of their ships and fish; and king James refused to give satisfaction for the same, insisting that his subjects had the sole right of fishing in those seas. And on the contrary, when the Hollanders were stronger, tho’ first attacked, yet the English ships taken by us, and brought into these countries, were by order of the states general restored again to the English; which disorder, and taking our whale-fishers, continued still after the truce, and was much increased by the king of Denmark, who pretending to the right of those Northern seas, did great damage to that fishery.
So that I shall think it worth while to shew the means which the states general, the prince of Orange, and the admiralties used to free our inhabitants, who subsisted by the sea, from those mischiefs and molestations.To redress this, the desperate polity was used of pardoning criminal pirates. And first as to our trade and navigation in the Mediterranean: after Simon Danser, Nicholas Campane, and others had taken and plunder’d great numbers of our ships, and were grown weary of pirating, it was found convenient to save the expences of taking and punishing them;Wassenar’s historical relation. and on the contrary, to grant them pardons, and to permit them to return to their own country, where all the good people that had sustained losses by them, have seen those pirates with aking hearts, and not without fear, that by such impunity other debauched persons might be encouraged to the like villainous attempts.Several others of that gang were pardon’d during this new sea-polity. Aitzma on 1637. p. 630. And as to the Turkish pirates, who could not be invited to come in, and leave their piracies, it was found expedient, anno 1612, to send Haga ambassador to Constantinople; and in the year 1622, to send Pynaker to Algier and Tunis. Which ambassadors arriving with great presents, and fleets of ships of war, easily obtained capitulations and agreements of free commerce; upon which our inhabitants relying too much, the pirates fell again to their usual trade, as soon as our ships of war were sailed away;Baudart, hist. p. 182. of 1612. and p. 118. of 1623. and we suffered more losses from time to time, than if there never had been any peace or accord made. Upon this the states general endeavoured by our ambassadors in France, Spain, and England, to move those kings to suppress those pirates with some ships of force.As also our absurd polity of rooting out the Turkish pirates. But seeing those monarchs valued not their subjects so much as to be at that charge for them, and that the freedom of the seas from piracy was not so much their concern as ours; or that the Turks being not able, by reason of their inconsiderable navigation, to depredate so much on their subjects as they could on ours, and would much rather make peace with France and England, and keep it better too than with us; the states general caused the admiralties successively to set to sea ships of war to destroy the pirates, in the years 1614, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, &c.
But taking few pirate ships, because most of them, while our men of war cruis’d in the Mediterranean, came not out of their harbours; this answered not our ends, till finally after the year 1650, during the free government of Holland, it was observed that we could neither make any firm and durable peace with those pirates, nor root them out; and that if we suppress’d them at our own charge, yet our traffick and navigation would not, according to our aim and desire, be at all encreased but rather diminish. Upon which the admiralty of Amsterdam, and afterwards other admiralties, pursuing closely the true interest of Holland, sent out yearly a number of ships of war to convoy our merchant ships (which according to certain rules agreed on, were to be well mann’d and arm’d) through the streights of Gibraltar, and out and home from the Levant. So that the Hollanders since that time have sustained very little loss, and have very much increased their navigation and trade into those parts.
And to pray and entreat the English.In the 2d. place concerning the disturbing of our whale-fishery, ’tis plain that the states general have done nothing more, than by their ambassadors to pray the respective kings, that such actions might cease in time to come.See the placaet book, and Tiasser’s sea polity. And afterwards observing such addresses to prove ineffectual, they thought fit in the year 1622, to grant a patent to a Greenland company, excluding all others from taking of whale, that so the said company by their own power and strength might defend themselves against the molestations and robberies of strangers. Which grant continued till the year 1643, when the English by reason of their intestine wars, and the Danes, either by reason of the growing power of the Swedes, had more need of our favour than formerly, or fearing our arms, and consequently being less dreaded by our whale-fishers, all the inhabitants of these countries were permitted to fish on the said north coast; and the said fishing by that freedom improved so incredibly, that the states general in the second war against England, being not able to defend them there, prohibited them to fish, principally for the use they had of mariners to man out our ships of war, for the defence of our country and free navigation.
But thirdly, of the many robberies committed by the Dunkirkers, and the means used against them, it is necessary to speak more largely.
In Flanders upon the expiration of the truce, the Spaniard had built at the enterance into Dunkirk upon the arm of the sea, the fort of Mardike, and also that which is called the Houte Wambais, or Wooden-doublet, so that great ships might at all times sail out and bring their prizes in thither.After pr. Maurice would allow of no prolongation of the truce, and the Scans of Mardike was built, the Dunkirkers endamav’d us greatly by sea. The king of Spain caused likewise twelve ships of war to be built in Flanders, and encouraged the Flemings to privateering against us by sea. And besides this, till the year 1625, he sent such powerful armies into the field, that Gulick and Breda were taken from us, to the eternal shame of the states general,Aitzma’s hist. book 1. pag. 88, 89. or to say better, of the new and violently intruded deputies of the generality, and of Maurice prince of Orange, who, since they would admit of no prolongation of the truce at the desire of the Spaniard, or the arch-duke, ought not to have rejected their offer so suddenly, but have hearkned to it, or at least feign’d to have done so, that by this means they might have excited the kings of France and England, who were then very jealous of the power of Spain, and feared that by continuation of the truce the Spaniard would fall upon them, to assist us with a yearly number of men and a sum of money, in case we had reingaged in a war against Spain. Or lastly, those deputies of the generality, and the said prince should have made use of that delay to put our frontiers into a better state of defence, and to fall upon the enemy when they would grant him no further cessation: and no less prudence had been necessary to increase our traffick, freedom of navigation and fisheries.And tho’ the states general ought to have protected our inhabitants, they prohibited trading within the tropick to the south and north, or to fetch salt from thence. See the placaet book. Wassenar’s hist. Whereas on the other side, they prohibited all our inhabitants to trade in America and Africa, by erecting a West-India company anno 1621, under colour of distressing the enemy more in those parts. And in the said year they likewise prohibited our inhabitants to sail to the Mediterranean, or to Cabo del Rey in the West-Indies for salt, unless in consortship, promising them ships of war to convoy and defend them back again. But this promise was without effect: for to free the admiralties of those charges, and to favour the said company with that salt-trade, the states general, prince Maurice, and the admiralties very easily found it convenient to deprive the inhabitants of these countries of that most considerable trade of salt, in favour of the West-India company, where it continued only to the year 1623, when the K. of Spain, fearing that the said company, by fortifying themselves, and by their own power, would engross those salt-pans, caused a fort to be raised there himself. So that our inhabitants by the placaet of the states general, and our West-India company, and by means of that fort, were utterly deprived of that salt-trade.
And instead of protecting and defending our navigation from piracy, with better order and more strength, they again drew in the inhabitants to fit our privateers, reducing the wonted duty out of the prize goods, to the admiralties and admiral general, from 30 per cent, to 18 per cent. viz. 12 to the state, and six for the admiral-general.See the placaet book. Orders were also published, that none should sail to the east country, and Norway, but in fleets of 40 or more ships with two convoyers, or else with ships of defence without convoy.And the select East-India company had their charter prolonged. Yea, the states and the prince of Orange thought it convenient to continue that mischievous grant or charter to the East-India company for 21 years to come. So that the states general and the admiralties discharged themselves of scouring the seas, as far as concern’d Asia, Africa and America, and the traffick of those parts, together with the northern whale fishing, upon supposition that all those respective companies were sufficient to drive on their trade without convoys from the state, and to take care of their own affairs.To the great detriment of all the in-inhabitants of Holland so exluded. But on the contrary, they found that the trade of these societies was carried on with so great prejudice to the rest of the people, who were excluded, that if our governors had then or should now deal in the same manner with the trade of Europe, by erecting companies exclusive of all others; for example, one company for the dealers in the Mediterranean, a second of the French and Spanish merchants, a third for the Eastern and Northern merchants, a fourth for the British and Irish traders, a fifth for the haddock, cod and herring fisheries, &c. I say, if they had done this, one tenth part of our inhabitants would not have been able to live, and earn their bread. So that Holland would soon have been ruin’d, even tho’ the trade of those companies had been carried on with so great industry, that notwithstanding any resolutions taken by France, England, Sweden, and the states of Italy, to disturb, prohibit and prevent foreign manufactures, and consequently those of Holland to be brought into their countries, yet each of those companies in the small compass of our Europe had driven a greater trade than the whole East India company now drives to the incomparably greater, mightier and richer Asia, both in goods and money. For it cannot be denied, that the free Eastern trade alone, the herring-fishing alone, and the French trade alone, produce ten times more profit to the state, and the commonalty of Holland, than twelve or sixteen ships which yearly sail from Holland to the East-Indies do now yield to the state, and the inhabitants.
See Aitzma’s hist.And as to the administration and care of our admiralties with respect to the sea, after the expiration of the truce, and during the life of prince Maurice, a million of florins was raised for the year 1623, and 600000 for 1624, by extraordinary subsidies, with admiralty and convoy-money, and product of customs, which were again levied as in the year 1603.And yet loaded the commonalty of Holland more than ever with extraordinary subsidies for scouring the seas, as much infested as before. With these aids they fitted out ships of war, ordering some to lie before the Flemish havens, and others to convoy our merchantmen to the eastward and westward: yet such was the management, that our ships of war came often so late before those havens, that the enemy’s ships were put out to sea before their arrival; or else to avoid the usual storms of autumn, or to be revictualled, left the Flemish coast so early, that commonly before, or at least in the winter, the enemy with many of their ships of war, would go out sometimes by night, or even by day-light in sight of our ships, and confidence of their better sailing, or of our captain’s negligence or cowardice;See Wassenar’s hist. and not only got ten times more booty from our merchant ships, than our captors and ships of war could take from the enemy, but also sometimes would take, or put to flight, our ships that were appointed for guards and convoys.
All which losses were not attributed to the deputies of the generality, and the admiral-general, who, after the death of the Heer Opdam, lieutenant-admiral of Holland, which happened September 1623, till June 1625, when young William of Nassau was chosen, had put all the naval power of Holland under the command of the Zealand lieutenant-admiral Hautain; nor was it imputed to the provinces who were deficient, or backward in bringing in the money they had consented to give, by which means the ships designed for the service were either delayed, or not fitted out at all;Aitzma, p. 780. but the blame was wholly laid at the door of the admiralty’s disorderly management and negligence.This was more evident when pr. Henry had the administration of these lands. So that thereupon a regulation was made in the year 1624, but with little success; for prince Maurice dying in April 1625, and prince Henry being hastily chosen captain-admiral-general, and stadtholder of Holland, Zealand, &c. we soon saw that he concerned himself little in husbanding the treasure, or providing for a free and open navigation, in which the welfare of Holland consists.
Statholders government, p. 58.And now that the reader may see what ground there was for that assertion, which some of our writers have delivered as a known truth, viz. that the said prince Henry during the whole time of his government, as much as in him lay, endeavoured to exhaust the treasure of Holland, and by the burden of her debts to break her back: it will not be amiss to represent in short from authors of credit what was done and suffered in this matter to the year 1632, and so forward to the time of our peace with Spain, and the decease of the said prince Henry.See the petition of the West. India company of 1668. The treasure and power of Spain was, by the chargeable sieges of Bergen op Zoom and Breda, and especially by our vigorous carrying on the war against him by our West-India company, who greatly annoyed him in those parts, so broken and exhausted, that since that time he has not been able to carry on an offensive war against us; and therefore year after year seriously and really made offers to these United Netherlands of a peace, very honourable for this state, and necessary for our trading inhabitants, as well as desired by all the rest. But those offers were as often rejected by the deputies of the generality at the instigation of the prince of Orange,Aitzma’s treaty of peace Aitzma’s hist. p. 637. Pr. Henry obstinately continued the war beyond Holland’s ability. Aitzma, pag. 59. and in their room our taxes were continually increased with prince Henry’s government, both by the addition of soldiery, and otherwise by his ill husbandry, from 12 millions 543840 guilders, to 15 millions 433800 guilders, according to a petition of the council of state in the year 1626, and were successively granted year after year, rather more than less.
And tho’ Holland alone bore of this charge 58 per 100, and by these heavy burdens, and ill husbandry, our treasury from the expiration of the truce to the year 1632, was found to be 55 millions in arrear:So that Holland was in the 7 years after his administration, 51 millions in arrears. yet nothing at all was done for the benefit of the inhabitants of that province thus needlessly and purposely oppressed beyond their abilities by their unnecessary offensive field-armies: unless they could believe that it was very advantageous to them that Oldenseel was taken that same year, Grol in 1627, and in the year 1628 many chargeable fortifications were made about Bergen op Zoom, and Steenbergen: and that thereupon, in 1629, Boisleduc was taken for the state, and Weesel for the elector of Brandenburg; for which our country smarted severely, by the Spaniards falling in, and plundering in and about the Veluwe; add to this, that notwithstanding the continued high demands for money to carry on the war in the year 1630, our soldiery stirred not out of their garrisons; and that in the year 1631, we got nothing by a chargeable attempt upon Flanders but disgrace, which nevertheless was somewhat lessened by the unsuccessful shallop-design of the Spaniard upon Zealand. And lastly, that in the year 1632, Ruremond, Venlo and Maestricht were taken from the enemy, more by count Henry Vanden Bergh’s means, than the conduct of the prince of Orange.
Aitzma, hist. pag. 323.In the mean time most of the provinces except Holland were so backward in consenting to contribute money, and the charges were so enlarged above what was consented to be given, that the council of state in their petition complained yearly on behalf of their honest creditors, who had trusted them for three or four years, that they became so troublesom and importunate, that those counsellors were hardly safe in their own houses; and that all things necessary for the publick service, might be bought or made for the ½ or ⅓ part cheaper, if ready money were paid; and that also for want of pay, the captains, who had really ⅓, yea ½ less number of soldiers in service than were paid for, must be connived at.
During all which confusions by land, the maritime affairs were carried on after the following manmer. First, concerning the treasury;See those particular petitionary demands in Aitzma’s hist. the admiralties did in the year 1625, petition for 600000 guilders; for the year 1626, 800000 guilders; for the year 1627, 1000000 guilders; and for the years 1628, 1629, 1630, 1631, 1632, yearly and successively, two millions of guilders extraordinary subsidies for guarding the seas.And the inhabitants paid their subsidies. See the particular placaets in the book of the states general. And moreover, the states general deviated so far in the years 1625 and 1631, from the true grounds and maxims of maintaining trade and navigation, that they did not only considerably raise the duties of convoy and customs, ordering the fourth part of them to be farmed out to those that bid most, and consequently, as much as in them lay, made all traffick and navigation subject to those innumerable and unimaginable vexations of farmers. But besides, in the front of their placaet they roundly declared, that of all the publick revenues, the convoy and customs were the most tolerable and least hurtful, that are laid on goods imported and exported; whereas the rates then imposed, and yet in force, are known to be the most intolerable, and for the country the most prejudicial of all the revenues of Holland, as has been already shewn in our 23d chapter of part I.
All which [Editor: illegible text] convoys and customs so augmented, produced yearly, as by example in the year 1628,
But the admiralty of Friesland, bearing the yearly charges of the college, and watching, fell short, with all its revenue, twelve thousand guilders, which were to be made good out of the extraordinary subsidies: and therefore they not sending ships to sea, those provinces of Friesland and Groeningen, with the inland provinces, became very unwilling to consent to the subsidies, very backward in bringing them in, and always very slowly.
See the placaet book of those years.Moreover in the year 1625, on the 24th of June, all ships sailing to the Mediteranean, were by placaet commanded to pay sixteen stivers per last every voyage to the benefit of the agents in the Levant, which in the year 1630 was raised to twenty stivers; and successively in the years 1625, 1627, 1628, 1629, 1630, 1632, the arming and manning of ships sailing for merchandize or fishing was from time to time charged upon the inhabitants of these countries by placaets.
And yet the seas never the more cleared.But to look further, and enquire what hath been done with great subsidies and taxes (which oppressed all the inhabitants of Holland, and especially the merchants) for the benefit of free navigation: so soon as prince Henry was made admiral-general, he placed and appointed young William of Nassau Heer van de Lek his lieutenant-admiral of Holland; who was likewise obliged to serve as colonel in the war by land, and went very little to sea, till in August 1627, when he was killed by a shot before Grol.Wassenar pag. 87. And instead of defending our merchantmen and fishers, the lieutenant admiral of Zealand, Hautain, was sent with twenty-two sail of ships anno 1625, to reduce our protestant brethren of Rochel under the obedience of the king of France; and at the same two ships of war only were allowed to secure one thousand busses in their fishing.Ib. p. 86. Besides as to trade, the seas were more infested than ever: for six Dunkirk ships of war meeting our fleet which came from the northward in June, anno 1625, without convoy, drove them back to Norway; and having taken two Eastland, and three other ships, came all six to an anchor before the Texel, and lay there a long time, as our ships used to lie before Dunkirk, taking all vessels that came in, or sailed out; which caused such a consternation among our people, that none durst venture to sea. And soon after the departure of these Dunkirkers, arrived happily eight northern and eastland merchant ships, with one convoy only.
Again, in the same year 1625, after our ships of war were withdrawn from the Flemish coast, and come into harbour, the Dunkirk ships steered directly away to our fishers, as knowing they were provided but with two convoyers; and scattered our busses, taking and sinking many of them: by which accident those of Enchuysen alone lost at the least 100, and other places in proportion; and at least 150 masters and mates of those busses were made prisoners, and carried to Flanders. So that the directors of that great fishery observing from time to time how little the securing of their livelihood was regarded, soon after resolved at their own charge, to set out seven great and well-arm’d ships of war, and to put them all under their own commander of the busses;The directors of the great fishery necessitated to provide convoys at their own charges. of which seven those of Enchuysen were to set out and pay 4, and the buss-owners about the Maese three, that they might fish in more safety under their guard, seeing the chief trade of the land, viz. fishing, was neglected.
Aitzma’s hist. p. 204.And to the end the deputies of the generality and Prince Henry might not always seem to neglect the sea, it was resolved that they would set forth for the year 1626, thirty well appointed ships of war, and set a reward for the taking and destroying of any ship of war belonging to the enemy, being of 100 or more last, the sum of guilders — 30000
Ibid. p. 96. the states general, with the prince of Orange, resolv’d to cast over-board all our enemies at at sea.’Twas also resolved to put the law in execution, that commands the men of Dunkirk to be thrown over-board. But those provinces that were least concerned in securing the seas, remaining backward in bringing in the money necessary for the said equipage and rewards, and the states general having deprived the admiralties of a great part of their revenues, by prohibiting the importation of some goods, and yet on the other side requiring to set forth a greater strength to sea than ordinary, with the profuseness of prince Henry as captain and admiral general, there arose in all the colleges of the generality, and especially in the admiralties, an arrear of two millions five hundred and eight thousand and fifteen guilders running on at interest, besides three millions nine hundred twenty and three thousand two hundred ninety and five guilders in debts; which caused the seamen, who not getting their wages, were necessitated to sell their debentures at very low rates, with many of our mariners who were not able to live for want of pay, and therefore not willing to serve here any longer, to go over to the Dunkirkers and sail with them upon free-booting. And our fleet under the admiral of Zealand, Jonker Philips van Dorp, came not before the Schuurtjen of Dunkirk upon the watch till about the month of July, when most of their men of war were gone out to sea, and according to their old custom, had taken many of our merchant ships, and very many busses, which they sunk and burnt; insomuch that all that could escape, fled for safety to to the English harbours.Which proved dangerous to our fishers and merchantmen. And our doggers of the Maese hearing that the Dunkirk capers threw over-board all the men of the merchant ships and fishing vessels which they took, in revenge of what we had done by their men, durst not go to sea to follow their occupations.
And notwithstanding Van Dorp lay with the fleet before Dunkirk, many small frigats and shallops sailed out for prize; so that at last in October that year, young William of Nassau, as lieutenant-admiral of Holland, was charged to keep that post: which he performed till December following, but no better than Van Dorp had done. And as to our cruisers and other convoyers, it is observable that we do not know that they ever took any one of the twelve new built king’s ships of Dunkirk, pretending they were better sailers; which is altogether incredible, for our ships from time to time could take ships of less force, and better sailers, and throw their men over-board: whereas on the other side the Dunkirkers, as well before as since, fighting several of our ships of war, forced our captains, after quarter promis’d, to surrender themselves, So that it is rather to be believed, that our admirals and sea-captains, fearing much more the Dunkirk ships of war, and their requital of throwing them over-board, rather than our remiss justice for the neglect of their duties, sought not out those Dunkirkers but where they were not to be found.The infesting of the sea proceeded from ourselves. However it is true, that they did commonly, as well heretofore as afterwards, and particularly in this year 1626, come to the assistance of the merchantmen and fishers, when ’twas too late. Wherefore John Vande Sande in his history says, that the sea-captains kept themselves usually on the rivers where no enemy came, and fled from those they met: so that the council of state, in their petitionary demand of supply for the following year, declared, “that the poor people are hence forward afraid to go to sea to follow their callings, the throwing them over-board making a great cry and alteration among those that earn their bread so hardly at sea.”
The enemy on the other hand resolved to cast our fishers and merchantmen over-board, and give quarter to our ships of war.And tho’ it be true, that the greatest part of all these hardships of our inhabitants was caused by the ill government of the deputies of the generality, and the prince of Orange, who used the power of these countries to make new conquests, not to defend trade and navigation; and yet as if we had been the only masters at sea, and had no unarmed ships abroad, nor the Dunkirkers any ships of defence, we followed those incredibly foolish councils, of resolving to throw over-board all Dunkirkers taken at sea in ships of war: whereas on the contrary, the Flemings used very prudent maxims about this matter, namely to throw the men of undefensible vessels over-board, and to give quarter to our armed ships of war. Nevertheless none dared to complain of this evil government of the states general, and the prince of Orange, no not even of young William of Nassau.See the petition of the council, 1629.* But the pigs were fain to pay for the sow’s offence; and therefore upon the ill conduct of the admiralties, and especially of the college of Rotterdam,To quiet the commonalty, some of the admiralty were punish’d, and new orders given out. the Heeren Berk, Vander Mast, Segwaars, Verheuel, Nicolai, Vroesen, and Duifbuysen, who had done no more than what was in mode during prince Henry’s wastful administration in all the colleges, especially that of the generality, were nevertheless declared infamous by judges delegated for that end, and condemned in great fines to allay the discontent of the multitude. The states general also declared, that the following year they would set out more ships of war in order to clear the seas;Aitzma of that year, B. 6. p. 97. and would make the people to believe, that a competent number of ships should lie on the watch before Dunkirk, to prevent the coming out of those ships, while another number should lie between Dover and Calais, and another at the Schager Rif, to watch and prevent all sea-robbers sailing to the Spanish sea, or to the northward. And besides all these, another number of our ships of war should cruise in the narrow part of the north sea; so that the enemy should not be able by any means to interrupt or disturb our navigation.
But because no better order was settled about the affairs of justice, nor any thing determined about the finances, from whence the payment of the new appointed rewards for taking of enemy’s ships should proceed, nor any of our maritime affairs better managed than formerly;But without effect, because they would not leave their ill principles in sea-affairs. the hopes of the too credulous commonalty soon vanished, especially when the Dunkirkers in the year 1627, infested us again before our sea-port towns, and took as many prizes as formerly, seizing several busses, and two of the busses convoyers, whilst young William admiral of Holland was killed before Grol, and Jonker Philip van Dorp lieutenant admiral of Zealand cruised at sea, and none of our ships before Dunkirk to keep in their capers; who coming to lie on our coast about the Texel, the Maese, and Zealand, swept away all, together with the ship of captain Bagyn, who heretofore on many occasions had behaved himself bravely and valiantly, and from a cloth-worker was by degrees preferred to the honour of having the command of one of our best ships of war: but now finding himself alone in the midst of fourteen of the enemies ships of war, he yielded his new and well appointed ship without making one shot.
Wassenar, p. 31. on that year. Whereby these countries were reduc’d lower than ever since the truce.The politicians of those times judged, “That the trade of these countries was never since the truce in so ill a condition: for Spain could do no good; Portugal was without trade; France by the king’s edicts was shut up; England detained all ships that passed the channel, and seized sixty or eighty tuns of gold belonging to the free Netherlanders: the rivers of Weser or Elve, Trave, Oder, and Wissel, were so infested and block’d by the Danish and Swedish ships of war, that little or no trade could be driven with Bremen, Hamburgh, Lubeck, Stetin, and Dantzick; and the north sea was render’d impracticable by the Dunkirkers. By which means the commonalty were as much dissatisfied as ever, when our ships of war came in and had done nothing; insomuch that those of Flushing fell into a mutiny, and at Terveer threw stones at lieutenant admiral Van Dorp. So to pacify the people, they were necessitated to fine the pigs once again; and some sea-captains were dismiss’d, and poor captain Bagyn having no friends at court, summo jure, lost his head.
In the year 1628, for the greater safety of our navigation, three vice-admirals were created in Holland; who nevertheless were to be commanded by the lieutenant-admiral of Zealand.So the states of Zealand deposed their admiral. Aitzma’s hist. B. 9. p. 730. But the Dunkirkers, according to their old custom, seized many Strait ships, with other merchant-men, and at two several times took 34 busses, tho’ lieutenant admiral Van Dorp with a squadron of ten ships had lain ten weeks upon the coast of England without hearing of an enemy, and our coast ships and cruisers were likewise at sea.Lib. 8. p. 627. Which the states of Holland took so ill, that they dismissed Philips van Dorp at his return without a hearing. The council of state had also sent a letter in April of the same year to the provinces, complaining of the confusions in the “publick revenues, which was the cause of the arrears due to the military forces both by sea and land;And the council of state complained of this confusion of affairs. and that the revenues and charges of the country were not duly considered and weighed one against the other: that disorders increased more and more; that the credit of the country was daily sinking; that the soldiery was mutinous and disobedient, and that all military discipline and justice were trodden under foot, &c.
Both which things prince Henry took very ill.These proceedings were taken very ill by the deputies of the generality and the prince: and Heer Van Dorp was still continued in the land service. Strict enquiry was also made among the counsellors of state, to know who they were that durst be the chief promoters of the complaining letter before mentioned: and all this was done to deter others from complaining against the government of the deputies of the generality, and especially of the cabinet lords, who together with the prince look’d after nothing more in this confusion, than their own profit and grandeur.
But upon the continual complaints of the merchants of Amsterdam to their burgo-masters, of the unexpressible damages which they sustained in their bodies and goods by continual piracies, and the little care taken of their redress;The rulers of Amsterdam would have scour’d the seas with ten ships of war, but it was denied them. them. See Aitzma’s hist. B. 8. p. 679. and the said burgomasters, and council, made offers to the states general and prince of Orange to set to sea ten or twelve men of war well mann’d and furnished, to secure their shipping, which should receive instructions from the states general, and a commission from the prince; provided the money disburbed upon this design might be defalked from the contribution of that city; and that no other person might have any power, or be any way concerned about that equipage and money but themselves. And tho’ formerly, under the insupportable government of the earls of Holland, all the cities of that province used by their own authority to do the same; yet nevertheless this good and useful offer was rejected under the present stadtholder’s government, as if that city would by this means obtain too great a power at sea. Whereas on the contrary it appeared that the sea became more and more unnavigated, because the country and cities which were most concerned to keep the sea uninfested, had no authority put into their hands, as they had under the government of their earls.
Aitzma’s hist. B. 9. p. 709.And to the end that the deputies of the generality, and prince of Orange, might shew their usual zeal in this affair, the articles for the war at sea were anno 1629, inspected and made more severe. A project also of an insurance company was brought in;But the pr. of Orange, and the deputies of the generality manifested their wonted zeal. according to which all ships outward and inward bound, should pay for insurance, from one to thirteen per cent. in proportion to the conveniency of the sea ports to or from which our ships were to sail; and the said company was to be bound to make good all losses sustained. After which Peter Hein was chosen lieutenant admiral of Holland,Ibid. p. 730. who for the redress of maritime affairs desired many new powers relating to the militia, justice, and expences on board ships; and did not only obtain those, but also more authority than had ever been given to any lieutenant admiral of Holland.
But he being killed by a shot two months after, whilst with eight ships he was in pursuit of three Dunkirkers;But without any good issue. there can be no account given of the fruits of this new order, save that the charges were increased, and yet the seas remained as much infested as before.Aitzma, B. 10. p. 171. ’Tis uneasy to me to enumerate the losses sustained by our poor inhabitants, which were so exceeding great, that the states of Holland, on the 18th of January 1630, remonstrated to the states general, “That the strength, vigour, and reputation of this state by sea was wholly decayed, and the navigation signally diminished: that many mariners, for want of care and due defence, were gone over to the enemy, and many more taken and kept in close imprisonment, or cruelly thrown into the sea:So that the states of Holland moved that they would postpone paying the unnecessary land-forces, the better to keep the sea clear. and that the said states of Holland, to prevent such mischiefs for the future, had resolved, and now signified to the other provinces, that they would from this time take as little care for the payment of the land forces that were garison’d in the frontier cities out of their province, as they observed was taken about the conduct and affairs of the sea.”
But the states of Holland were under that awe and dread of the prince of Orange, and the deputies of the generality, that they durst not deny or detain their part of the publick contributions to be imployed in securing the seas; and so nothing was done but a little dust thrown into the eyes of the poor innocent inhabitants of Holland: for the states and the prince sent letters with their decrees about that affair to the other provinces. But our want of payment, and the disorders about the mariners, and neglecting the guard of the seas still continued, and increased in the year 1631.Aitzma, B. 11. p. 354. For though the states general had granted, that the burgomasters and magistrates of the cities of Amsterdam, Horn, Enchuysen, Edam, Medenblick, Harlingen,Such shipping as sailed northward and eastward, had convoys paid by themselves, but not without hard conditions. &c. should chuse certain directors, who might collect of all ships and goods sailing to the eastward or Norway, one half per cent. and returning from the same, one per cent. to enable them to set out some extraordinary convoys to secure the trade of the said countries. Yet this imposition produc’d only a part of the expected fruit, chiefly because the directors were in all weighty matters of the militia, justice, and prizes taken, to be wholly subject to the prince of Orange, and the respective admiralties, depending on their orders and judgments.Ibid. p. 350. And the deputies of the generality devolv’d the authority of clearing the seas on pr. Henry. And the deputies of the generality continuing to advance the prince’s grandeur, and their own, more than the welfare of Holland, resolved in the name of the states general, to equip, over and above the usual number, 35 ships of war, and 10 yachts to lie upon the Flemish havens, and to cruise and keep the north sea clear of Dunkirk robbers. And that they might with more certainty perform this (as they pretended) they brought all the said ships under one head, and put them under the direction and orders of the prince of Orange, without obliging them to obey the commands of any other: they ordered them to be paid by him, and that all money necessary for wages, rewards, and provisions, should be brought to the Hague in specie. And to the end that during the summer-season these ships might be kept in continual action, the respective colleges of the admiralties of Holland, Zealand and Friesland, should by turns keep one of their commissioners at Helvoetsluys, in order to hold a constant correspondence with the prince, and the prince’s commander on the coast, as occasion should require, touching the victualling and repairing of the said ships; and the commissioners of the admiralty were not to intermeddle in the least with the disposal of the said ships.
Ibid. p. 360.And this went so far, that vice-admiral Liefhebher, instead of going to cruise, having convoy’d some merchant ships out of the channel, tho’ by order of the admiralty of Rotterdam, was threatned to be severely punished if for the future he followed any other orders save those of the states general and the prince.Ibid. p. 144. By this means our countrymen were oppressed, and the Dunkirkers so encouraged, that they ventured to take a merchant ship even from under the cannon of Flushing, and in the north sea two of our ships of war;But the inhabitants never more exposed to the Dunkirkers than then. and afterwards falling in among our doggers, took two convoyers, besides the doggers. So that the insurances from Rochel and Bourdeaux rising to 8 and 10 per cent. the sea became useless to the inhabitants of these countries.
Historical narration of 1632. p. 56.Bernard Lamp, having observed in his history, “That formerly a small number of our ships kept the sea so clear against all the naval power of the king of Spain, that till the year 1612 these countries had very few losses, wonders that all the states ships of war, being little less than an hundred sail, either could not, or would not keep the seas clear of the Dunkirkers only, for the king’s ships were not employed there in those days, but some particular owners set out for the most part small ships for booty:So that our histories doubt whether the state was willing to scour the seas, for the prince was not to spoken of. and adds farther, that a few years after that time, so many rich laden merchant ships were taken by the Dunkirkers, that the loss was valued at more than one hundred tuns of gold.
But if we consider how great the difference is, whether the care of scouring the seas be entrusted to those who are much concerned in having them kept clear, and who on that account will use the best of their endeavours, or be devolved on such as are not at all concerned in navigation; we shall cease to wonder, when so much power was put into the hands of such as were not interested at sea, and were not a little suspected to fear and envy the prosperity and power of Holland, that they did not guard the seas against a few pirates, who for their own profit sought their booty where it was to be found.
But at last some privateers being perswaded by great rewards, it appeared how easily the narrow seas could be scour’d. See the placaet book 11 of March 1632. Aitzma, p. 145.In the mean time, to deceive the poor innocent commonalty once more, the directors appointed to take care of the shipping designed to the eastward and Norway, were by placaet continued, and private ships of war by great rewards persuaded to take and destroy the enemies ships. Upon which divers good patriots fitted out ships for that end; and this small strength being in the hands of those who really intended to destroy the enemies ships, it was observed, especially of two ships of Flushing, the one called the Samson mounted with 24 guns, 100 seamen, and 30 soldiers, and the other called the Flushing, mounted with 22 guns, 100 seamen, and 30 soldiers, that they took so many of the enemies ships, and prisoners, that by their means a general release was thrice made on both sides, the Dunkirkers so discouraged and weakned, and the seas so well cleared, that the insurances from Rochel and Bourdeaux fell to three in the hundred.And by the ill payment of so small a sum it was seen that the pr. of Orange and the deputies would not keep the seas uninfested. Aitzma p. 146.
But because these worthy patriots, among whom Adrian and Cornelis Lamsins were the chief, for want of Dunkirk privateers, could fight for no more booty, but chiefly by reason of the too slow, or refused payments of the promised rewards, they fitted out no more ships, and the clearing of the seas coming again to depend on the deputies of the generality and the prince of Orange, the Dunkirkers returned again to sea as strong in the following years as before, and made it equally dangerous;Ibid. p. 512. the rates of insurance rising as high as formerly. And it was very observable, that tho’ for the payment of this so necessary and well-deserved reward only two hundred thousand guilders were demanded yearly by the council of state, yet the same council, and the states of Holland and Zealand jointly, for the year 1643, before prince Henry’s doating old age, could not obtain that sum of the the generality to pay the promised reward to the new cruizers, whilst, for the following years, until our peace with Spain, the same, or greater petitions for money by land and sea, were granted to the council of state, and consented to, and borne by the Hollanders. So that Holland, from the year 1632, to the year 1647, was necessitated to take up sixty-nine millions, making, with the forementioned fifty and one, one hundred and twenty millions of guilders at interest, besides thirteen millions that were to be paid for current debts, that the prince and the deputies of the generality might proceed in their offensive wars by land.
And their ill influence especially appear’d about the West-India company.And as if it were not enough that the good people of these countries, and the state of Holland itself were every way opprest by land with so many imposts, taxes, and immense sums of money taken up at interest, as well as by continual and unexpressibly great losses by sea, the deputies of the generality, and the prince of Orange likewise desired, and from time to time very subtilly, and with promises of gratuities to the directors of the West-India company, that they would desist from their trade which was driven for the common benefit of the subscribers, and which according to their oath might not cease, and would employ that money for the indispensible service of the country, by carrying on a more vigorous war against the king of Spain.See the remonstrance and request for continuing their charter, 1668. p. 3, 4, &c. And by such powerful solicitations, and artificial promises, they were induced to make not a merchant-like, but a prince-like war, and to make those royal conquests of Brazil, Angola, St. Thomas, &c. for the benefit of the states general, and of the prince, as indeed was* at first designed.
By this means the greatest part of their capital stock was consumed and embezzeled, and the honest subscribers, with other inhabitants concerned in that company, lost above one hundred and eighteen millions of guilders:They made the participants poor, and then deserted them. J. de Laat’s short relation, p. 25. Aitzma p. 198. and when the said company afterwards were grown so weak, that they could no longer keep those vast conquests by their own power, the deputies of the generality, and the successive princes of Orange, for whose benefit those lands were conquered, meanly abandoning their own interest, suffered these excellent and vast countries to fall into and continue in the hands of the false and treacherous Portuguese; whereby our inhabitants lost (besides the foresaid vast sums) in goods, chattels, houses, debts, &c. fifty millions of guilders more, and were also utterly excluded from that advantageous trade and navigation. But to return to the government and conduct of publick affairs in our Netherlands, I say, that tho’ Holland was thus intolerably opprest, and borne down, yet in the year 1633, Rynberg was taken;Chusing rather to keep up the war by land, to run the treasury of Holland 120 millions in debt. and in the year 1634, Breda and Mastricht were besieged in vain, and our chargeable army lay a long time in the Langestraat. And in the year 1635, with a very great army, and more charge, we did nothing in the field, only Tienen was plundered, and Schenkenschans lost. Likewise in the year 1636, our army with many ships lay about the Schans of Voorn, and afterwards in the Langestraat to no purpose.See Aitzma upon the respective years. And in the year 1637, Breda was taken with very great charges: and on the other side, Venlo and Ruremonde were lost. As also in the following year, after great expence, we lost much reputation before Calloo, where the enemy killed 2000 of our soldiers, and took 1200 prisoners, with all our cannon, eighty ships, and much baggage. And tho’ our army that lay before Gelder was much stronger than the enemy, yet we quitted the siege, with the loss of six demi-canoon, and two standards. In the year 1639, our army with fifteen hundred vessels in Flanders effected nothing, and were again compelled to retreat from before Gelder, and march to Rynberg. The same army did afterwards no better at Hulst; nor in the following year 1640, at which time count Henry of Friesland was there killed; and our army, tho’ intrenched, drew off a third time in a flying posture from Gelder, without daring to encounter a much weaker enemy, the prince of Orange having then the conduct and command in person, who, notwithstanding many expensive and fruitless expeditions into Flanders, Brabant and Gelderland, had, by his excessive power in these countries, gained the name of a very wise and valiant general.J. V. Veen Rymes. But in Flanders and Burgundy he was derided, even in their comedies, for a coward; in one of which he was anatomized, and upon search his heart found in his heels, the rabble having nothing more frequently in their mouths than the following rhyme,
However in the year 1641, with excessive expences he took Genniper-house, after a bloody siege of seven weeks. And in the year 1642, as also in 1643, our army was in the field about six months without effecting any thing; but in the year 1644, after six weeks siege, and much blood spilt, the Sas van Gent was taken. And finally, in the year 1645, after a long campaign, and six weeks siege, Hulst was yielded. And tho’ our army lay in the year 1646 about Antwerp, and afterwards before Venlo, yet we got nothing but dishonour in those attempts.
All which sums were mostly employ’d to aggrandize France, while the sea was neglected.And it is observable, that all our chargeable campaigns, and taxes for the army, tended chiefly to increase the power of the French, (who in the mean time took many cities from the Spaniard) but not at all to the benefit of our own people, either by sea or land. For tho’ the province of Holland contributed in extraordinary subsidies two millions yearly for scouring of the seas, and continued so to do to the end of the war; yet the other United Provinces were not so forward.Aitzma. And tho’ for some years past, the governments of Spain and Flanders set not out any ships for booty against us, but left that work to be carried on by private capers, yet the sea remained still infested in such a manner, that the Dunkirkers in the year 1635 took all the buss-convoys, and many busses, while most of our ships of war for want of payment lay by the walls.
And tho’ the council of state, and the states of Holland complained of this neglect at sea, and prayed that some better order might be settled for prompt payment of the premiums promised to the particular privateers, by whom we had reaped great advantage;Ibid p. 344. yet the deputies of the generality, or rather those of the prince’s cabinet, according to their old way, found it convenient once more to delude the well-meaning people;Polity of the cabinet lords was only to aggrandize the prince, and to lessen Holland. and to appease them, anno 1636, they accused and dismissed fourteen sea captains, with some further punishment, making a new regulation concerning the guarding of the Flemish coast, and keeping the narrow seas uninfested by twenty-two ships and ten yatchts, which were to be under the inspection of the prince of Orange, and such deputies of the generality as he should please to choose. These depending on the prince’s favour, and making that their aim and interest more than the service of their native country, labouring by all means to augment the prince’s authority, and lessen that of the states, by this means had the name of the cabinet lords given them by the lovers of their country’s freedom: and so you will find them named sometimes in the following discourse. And this was really* what Tacitus said of Augustus Cæsar: “This prince raised himself by degrees, grasping into his own hands the business of the senate, of the magistrates, and of the laws; while no body dared to oppose him: for the stoutest were cut off, either by being sent to the army, or by proscription. The rest of the nobility, by how much the more they were slavish in temper, by so much the more were they advanced to wealth and honours, chose rather to sit down contented with their present state of security, than to venture the recovering of their antient liberty with running any hazard.” The usual way of all crafty and arbitrary usurpers.
So that to enlarge the authority of the prince of Orange over the navigation of Holland, and to put it effectually under his power, eleven hundred and eight thousand eight hundred and seventy guilders were yearly levied, and superintendants appointed for that service, with purveyors or victuallers, who were to be accountable to the chamber of accounts of the generality. Also all commanders and captains were chosen by the said prince, who were to be punished by a council of war of his nomination, and a narrow scrutiny to be made into their conduct. And to encourage them to do their duties, their wages were raised. So that according to this new order, the respective admiralties had nothing to transact, but to be judges of the prizes taken, to collect the convoy and custom-revenues, with which, and with two millions of subsidies, they were to set out ships of war, to be convoys to the westward.
So that Jonker Philips van Dorp laid down his commission of admiral. Ibid. B. 7. p. 619.But it soon appeared that this new authority, which was put into the hands of those who had nothing to lose at sea, produced worse effects than ever: for, before the year 1637, there was so little care taken, that Jonker Philips van Dorp, lieutenant-admiral of Holland, going to sea with this princely fleet very late, and his provisions being spent in a very short time, was compelled to return home;Ibid. p. 621. and finding that the commonalty accused him, and not the victuallers, nor the prince of Orange, who really were in the fault, and would possibly have punished him rather than the guilty, he laid down his commission.
Selden’s mare clausom. Aitzma B. 16. p. 266. Ibid. p. 277. Mr. Semeins Harink Vissery.In the mean the English challenged the sovereignty of the narrow seas, alledging, that the fishery belonged solely to them. But their intestine divisions, and not our sea forces, put a stop to that work, and their herring-fishing, then newly begun, ceased. It is observable, that when they had taken their herring at one and the same time and place with the Hollanders, and sent them to Dantzick in the years 1637 and 1638, and found that the herring taken and cured by the Hollanders was approved and good, and that the English herring to the very last barrel were esteemed naught; they then changed their claim upon the whole fishery, into that of having the tenth herring, which the diligent and frugal inhabitants of Holland reputed no less than to fish for, and pay tribute to a slothful and prodigal people, for a passage by the coast of England,And the K. of England pretended to the dominion of the narrow seas which yet must have been paid, had not the free government of the states of Holland, in the year 1667, brought those maritime affairs into another state and condition.
Aitzma, Book 17. p. 622.In the same year ’twas publickly shewn, “That the inhabitants of these countries could not possibly keep the sea any longer after this manner, and amongst others, they brought the example of Maesland-Sluice, whence there used every harvest season about fifty vessels for haddock to go to sea, which number was in the last harvest 1636, diminished to ten, out of which also two were taken.And when our ruined inhabitants complained of their losses by sea, and imprisonment of their persons, That their dogger-fishing, which was not to be parallel’d in Europe, was now become so inconsiderable, that it was doubted whether in the year 1637, so much as one dogger would go to sea for salt cod, seeing since the first of January 1631, there had been taken of the Maesland Sluice vessels by the Dunkirkers alone, above two hundred ships, each of them, one with the other, worth above 5000 guilders: there having the like loss happened in other havens, or vessels set out for fishing; so that the general cry of the people of those places ascended to the heavens, and was sufficient to melt a heart of stone.”
And seeing the merchants who sustained the loss, and the wives, children, parents, and relations of the imprison’d sea men, and fishers continually upbraided the admiral, vice admiral, and captains of ships, with their ill conduct;It was little regarded by pr. Henry. Aitzma p. 343. on the year 1636. prince Henry seemed to lament their case, more than that of the miserable commonalty, saying, that there is no condition more wretched than that of the admiral, and sea captains, seeing that the meanest fisher-wife having lost her husband, exclaimed, that the admirals and sea captains did not their duty, &c. and yet to pacify the people, who foolishly conceiv’d that the gentlemen Opdam, Hautain, Nassau and Dorp, were successively the sole cause of their past calamities, the prince of Orange chose two tarpaulins (as some call them) Martin Harperson Tromp, and Witte Cornelissen de Witte, for admiral and vice admiral.To pacify those innocent persons he placed tarpaulins for admirals, instead of yonkers or gentlemen. But it soon appeared, that those mentioned losses were but sorrily provided against by the continual ill management of publick affairs at land, and the neglect of securing the seas. For tho’ the king of Spain and the government of Flanders, had for a long time forborn to set out ships of war to prey upon us in the narrow seas, yet did not the owners of privateers at Dunkirk neglect to set out the capers;Aitzma, Book 18. p. 91. and Book 19. p. 172. but in the year 1638, by reason of their disorders about our coast-ships, and clearing of the seas according to the old practice, they did not only go to sea, and take many merchantmen, but also about the end of October dispers’d all the busses, which fled home very much disabled, and some without their nets;When yet the losses by sea continued, the states of Holland complained that the money collected to clear the seas was imploy’d for land service. while admiral Tromp coming on shore himself to be revictualled, accused vice admiral Berkhem, who came in likewise without the least necessity, and for which he was dismissed by the new council of war, tho’ unheard, and the poor suffering commonalty were with this punishment once again appeased in some measure: but not so the states of Holland, who knowing that the prince of Orange, and deputies of the generality had now, as often before, made use of the product of the convoys, customs and subsidies, which were only to be applied to maritime affairs, for carrying on the war by land, (by which means the guarding and clearing of the seas came to be neglected) earnestly desired that all sums of money which had formerly been appropriated to the service of the sea, might be effectually applied that way.
And several cities in Holland, together with the province of Utrecht, taking notice of the disorder and ill management of the prince, and his assumed cabinet council, in our maritime affairs, shew’d their unwillingness to bring in their portion of the 1108870 guilders, which were yearly demanded by the prince for that end;It is no wonder that the Dunkirkers took ships before our ports. yet on account of his great power, Holland and divers other provinces were obliged to bear the burden, to the year 1647, and our peace with Spain. And tho’ at the beginning of the year 1639, in a sea-fight about Dunkirk, we got the victory, in which the Dunkirkers lost two ships of war;Aitzma, Book 14. p. 168. yet did Tromp then with the ships under his command, very imprudently leave the sea; so that the Dunkirkers came and brav’d us before our harbours, where, by reason of our defective management in refitting and victualling, they lay ’till mid-June, and took 13 of our ships in a short time.
And whilst Tromp afterwards waited for the great Spanish fleet, anno 1639, between the two piers of Dover and Calais and before Dunkirk, our merchant-men and fishers were abandoned, thirty or forty privateers of Dunkirk lying at the mouth of our harbours, so that none of our merchant ships or busses durst go to sea.Pag. 229. And upon this followed in October the engagement about the Downs, where the Spaniard having lost by sinking, burning, stranding and taking, 40 ships, most of ours came home;Even after our victory in the Downs. and having left the sea, the Dunkirkers came again before our harbours, and in few days took twenty seven prizes, of which 11 in one day. And thus by continual disorders and losses at sea, the trade of these countries was so diminished,Ibid. p. 230. See the placaet book. that the revenues of the admiralties, in the year 1628, having yielded about sixteen hundred thousand guilders, those very duties, to the 24th of October this year, notwithstanding the new impositions, produced to the state only twelve hundred thousand guilders. And therefore it was thought necessary to erect a new tax of tonnage, which should amount to five hundred and ninety eight thousand five hundred and seventy five guilders; and also another new tax to clear the seas, which might produce five hundred eighty-one thousand and seventeen guilders.
Aitzma, p. 230.However the deputies of Holland, in the assembly of the states general, and presence of the prince of Orange, declared, “That it was the intention of their principals, that the cruisers or privateers, by whom the country had been so signally served, and who had only declared that service because they were not paid their promised rewards, should be invited to return to sea, and that a certain fund should be appointed for their immediate payment.” But this just and useful motion was neglected.
Matters standing thus, prince Henry and the deputies of the generality, endeavoured to persuade the states of Holland, and privately the cities in an unwarrantable manner, that the colleges and orders of the admiralties were not sufficient to clear the seas from enemies;Which the deputies of the generality, and pr. Henry proposing to secure with many new expedients; Aitzma, Book 19. p. 230. and therefore moved the said cities to consent, that the equipage of ships might be continued at Helvoetsluys, and for that end, that a new college of admiralty might be erected to reside at the Hague; and that an insurance company might be established, as before mentioned, and settled by patent. And moreover, that the revenues of the admiralties might be farmed to such as should bid most. And lastly, that all persons being under oath to the generality, should be tried for their faults and crimes by the council of state, or the respective admiralties.
In opposition to which the states of Holland shewed how prejudicial those equipments, or setting out ships to sea, had been by means of the superintendants and purveyors, or victuallers at Helvoetsluys;The states of Holland, and especially the magistrates of Amsterdam, set themselves stoutly against it. and also that the admiralties of Zealand and Friesland respectively had never consented to have any equipments made there: that most of the provinces, except Holland, in the payment of their proportion of 1108870 guilders designed thereunto, were always slow and remiss, as to the whole, or else deficient in part: and that the admiralties would and could better equip or set forth ships to sea than others; and that an insurance company would so burden and clog our trade, that our inhabitants would not be able to sell so cheap as our neighbours: and that the farmers would not have any regard to the durable prosperity of commerce, but to their present profit, and possibly might value themselves upon the seizure of goods, whereby they might so plague the merchants, that they would rather cease trading, or leave the country. And concerning the point of jurisdiction to be granted to the generality, and to the respective admiralties, that ’tis a matter of so great importance, that the whole sovereignty of the provinces would necessarily be thereby transferred to them.
Aitzm. B. 19. p. 176. So that they proceeded no further; the sea in the interim being as much infested as before, tho’ the states of Holland represented how easily it might be kept clear.But the prince of Orange and the deputies of the generality were not well pleased with the representation made by the states of Holland and West-Friesland, and still resolved to carry on their design, and by their greatness to overpower them, sending no table addresses, however illegal, for that end, to the particular cities, and especially to the burgomasters and council of Amsterdam; by whose good management and firm opposition, as also by prince Henry’s smooth and easy maxims which hitherto he had followed, that he might be thought unlike his hated brother, together with a fear of being reputed as arbitrary as Maurice had been, this design failed, and went no further.
And tho’ Holland was thus saved from sudden ruin, yet the uneasiness and losses of the trading and maritime inhabitants still continued: so that the council of state, and the states of Holland, once more remonstrated, that the private capers of Dunkirk had done us more mischief than ever the king’s ships had done; and that we on our side had seen that our cruisers fitted out by private men, in hopes of the reward promised fortaking the enemies ships, had in a short time purged the seas from depredations; and that those robbers were again abroad, perceiving our capers, for want of such payment, went out no more against the Dunkirk robbers, but only against merchant ships; and therefore the said states most instantly desired to have the placaet renewed, whereby the said rewards may certainly and immediately be paid. But this was not granted.
By means of all which disorders it was no wonder that little less than nineteen millions was granted according to the petitionary request of the council of state for this year, and yet nothing done. On the contrary, lieutenant admiral Tromp, on the 14th of March of the ensuing year 1640, gave advice, that the Dunkirkers had then 40 sail of ships at sea, taking rich prizes, and skimming the seas by squadrons: so that the very convoys of this state were unsecure, and often taken;All which losses and taxes occasioned a vast number of bankrupts. and that on our side vice admiral de Witte was at sea with 6 or 7 sail only: so that the great losses of the merchants, which had continued so many years, produced in the years 1639, and 1640, in the province of Holland, and chiefly at Amsterdam, more bankrupts of the richest and worthiest traders than ever had been known or heard in these countries. And for this reason those of Holland proposed to the assembly of the states general, in presence of the prince of Orange, and concluded, that the respective admiralties should, as formerly, set out ships for guard of the coast, and cruisers;Aitzma, B. 22. p. 190. and that four receivers should be appointed to receive the money required to that end, that so it might not be mixed with other monies, or employed to pay the debts of the admiralties.
The states of Holland again threatned to defer paying the unnecessary land forces, the better to clear the seas, but for fear omitted it.And in regard every one could perceive that this order was not effectual enough to clear the seas, 159 of the principal merchants of Amsterdam, in the beginning of the year 1641, joined with the states of Holland, and besought the states general, that better care might be taken to keep in the Dunkirkers than formerly; adding, that in case it were not done, they would detain their money given for payment of 50 companies of soldiers, levied in the year 1628, and clear the seas themselves. But at that time the prince of Orange, and the deputies of the generality, who were supported and encouraged by him, were still so much dreaded, that the states of Holland durst not undertake to intermeddle with a matter so much for the advantage of our trade and fishery.Aitzma Book 22. p. 360. Wherefore the Dunkirkers continued going to sea, and not only so, but took prizes at the mouth of our harbours:So that the Dunkirkers gain’d ground upon us. J. V. Sand. hist. particularly in April, 1642, with 22 frigates they seized all they met with, and among others, eighteen ships belonging to Zierickzee. And on the 5th of November 10 Dunkirk frigates were so bold, that they fell upon the whole Russia fleet; and having taken of them eighteen merchant ships, and a man of war, the other convoy with eight Russia men more, hardly escaped.
And altho’ the deputies of the great fishery had complained in June to the deputies of the generality of their losses, and desired better protection; yet we may easily perceive how little the prince of Orange, and the deputies regarded the loss, and complaints of the seamen, and trading inhabitants, since instead of redressing matters, they had not only in the foregoing year employed the money granted for that end, in setting out a fleet of twenty ships for the assistance of Portugal;And that in lieu of redressing our merchants and fishers complaints, their money was diverted to assist Portugal. but also, tho’ that fleet had effected nothing for the benefit of these countries, nor could do it, yet nevertheless for the same end, the generality made a new demand of 600000 guilders. So that we may justly say, that the prince of Orange, with the deputies of the generality, and the inland provinces, made it their principal business to pay their land army, and in case of any deficiency,Aitzma, B. 21. p. 195. B. 22. p. 374. to connive at false musters; taking all possible care so to order matters, that the taxes for the army might be well paid, or else Holland was put to find money or credit for that purpose.And the officers of the army paid to the full, and liberally rewarded besides. Yet for all this, when the states of Holland had freely and readily levied many and great taxes to clear the seas, they were forced to let them fall into the hands of those who employed them to other ends: the states of Holland continuing in such an awful reverence for the prince; and some others who laboured more to advance his interest, and get his favour, than to procure the prosperity of the country, that they durst not make use of their own money to clear the sea. Only those of Holland and Zealand consulted together to scour the seas at their own charge distinct from the other provinces;New taxes proposed to defend the Western navigation, under direction of particular persons. but would not execute their project for fear of offending the prince. Yet those of Zealand took a vigorous resolution to erect a western society, to set out 24 ships of war, out of the produce of a duty of one per Cent. upon all goods inward, and one half per Cent. upon all goods outward bound, to maintain convoys for all ships to the westward, forwards and backwards.
By all which it appears how much the trade and navigation of our people was at that time abandoned by the government: for the East and West-India companies, together with the Greenland company, prohibited them failing into those seas. The great fishery northward and eastward, were forced to pay their own convoys.As if all other taxes were paid for nothing, and all the inhabitants that used the sea were perfectly abandoned of the state. The Straits ships were to defend themselves against the Turks by their chargeable manning and arming, according to the new regulation. And yet they deliberated to put the charge of convoying westward upon the merchants, as if all duties raised for convoys, customs, and subsidies, as well as all other imposts, were paid for nothing, and ought to be wrested from the trading inhabitants, and other people of Holland, to the end that province might not increase, but decay in power and riches.
But at last the states of Holland and Zealand procured a certain fund for the premium.But the western society not going on, those of Holland and Zealand jointly remonstrated so earnestly the necessity of better clearing of the seas, and the usefulness of private ships of war, if care were taken that the rewards so often promised might be readily paid, that at last in the year 1643, out of certain new imposts a fund was raised of 200000 guilders to pay the reward promised for all the enemies ships of war that had been taken. So that by renewing the placaet, the inhabitants and magistrates of the cities of Holland were encourged to set out ships of war for that service.Aitzma, p. 578.
And tho’ the commonalty during this long and ill government of publick affairs, were made to believe that the sea was so wide and vast, that it could not be cleared from the Dunkirkers; yet by these new cruisers which were set out by the magistrates of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the cities of North-Holland, and some particular persons of Zealand, it soon appeared that not only the narrow seas, but the ocean also could very well be freed of them: for so soon as the clearing of the seas was effectually undertaken, and men encouraged by the reward, there were so many Spanish men of war taken, and beaten out of the seas, that in lieu of giving 8 or 10 per cent. for insurance to Rochel or Bourdeaux, it fell to two or three only.
And tho’ by their free and open navigation thus procured, and the increase of commerce both in Holland and Zealand which followed thereupon, those provinces were likely to grow so strong, as to be too high to crouch to the captain and admiral general; yet prince Henry, weakened with age, could not remedy that growing inconveniency, as he had formerly done.See the placaet book of the states general. Which was so well known to the states, and particularly to those of Holland, that in the year 1645, the new cruisers were encouraged to continue their care of the seas, by more advantageous conditions than before: till in the end a peace with Spain was concluded in the year 1648, which put an end to the war, and Flemish privateering.
But whilst the prince of Orange, and his cabinet council, the deputies of the generality, transported with ambition and jealousy of Holland’s greatness and power, help’d to break the ballance between France and Spain to the prejudice of all Europe, and of us in particular, making the crown of France visibly to preponderate the other, and too long favouring their arms with so great imprudence, that admiral Tromp with his princely fleet of coast-ships, holding in the years 1644, 1645, and 1646 successively, Graveling, Mardike, the Schuurtien, and Dunkirk itself block’d up by sea, caused them to fall into the hands of the French.See Aitzma on those respective years. In recompence of which they burdened our countrymen residing in France with higher duties than any other nation paid. Besides which they shew’d their thievish nature, by seizing in the Mediterranean seas as many as they could of our merchant ships, especially the richest; and manifested their unfaithfulness against their even too faithful allies.At last we had peace with Spain, but France began to prey upon us by sea. So that whereas in times past we had traded in some parts of Italy belonging to the king of Spain with freedom, and without search, the French caused all our ships to strike; and having by letters or bills of lading found any enemy’s goods on board, they did not only confiscate them, but also all the Holland goods with them: whereby the merchants of Amsterdam alone, as they have owned, lost more than ten millions of guilders.Which caused a vast number of bankrupts. Which added to the revolt of the treacherous Portuguese in Brazil, Angola, and St. Thomas, lay so heavy upon them, that in the years 1646, and 1647, bankrupts were become frequent and great; our traffick and exchange banks being at a stand for some time, no man knowing whom to trust. And indeed how great those losses must have been that were able to ruin so many rich and worthy merchants, may appear, if we consider that the English, during the war of the years 1652 and 1653, having taken in the Channel and North-Sea an incredible number of our merchants ships, nevertheless very few bankrupts were seen amongst our merchants, and almost none except among the insurers.
But how these French depredations ceased after the death of the last captain-general, shall be explained hereafter among the good fruits of the free and easy government of Holland.And these new troubles by sea lasted till after the death of pr. William. And now for conclusion, I shall desire the reader, if he doubt of the truth here related concerning our affairs of state and war by sea and land, to examine the same more amply and fully by the books of Lewis van Aitzma (by the confession of all an authentick historian) from whence these particulars are for the most part extracted, and to consider at the same time whether the increase of the riches of the inhabitants of Holland in general, during the government of those cabinet lords, and successive princes, be not very impertinently attributed to that government, seeing that increase, next to the blessing of God, was caused by our good situation on the sea, and rivers, and, as is usual, by the* destructive wars which lasted very long in other parts, and especially in the neighbouring countries:The objection answered, that these provinces were advanced under the government of the said princes. for in the time of old prince William, the ruin of Brabant and Flanders, and afterwards in the times of the princes Maurice and Henry, those lasting wars, and terrible devastations of Germany, and many other adjacent countries, supported and supplied our cities with manufactures, merchants and mechanicks; who finding here the states manner of government not quite overthrown, have under those remains of publick freedom, erected many new manufactures and trades, and have been able to keep up the old imployments and traffick of Holland, especially through the diligence, vigilance, valour, and frugality, which are not only natural to the Hollanders, but by the nature of our country is communicated to all foreigners that inhabit among us, according to the old saying,*There is a certain secret virtue natural to the country of Holland.Our thriving proceeds from the wars of our neighbours, our situation and shadow of liberty, &c. So that our inhabitants by the said qualifications for the promoting of traffick and navigation, having excelled all other neighbouring people, ’tis a wonder that by our before-mentioned ill government in maritime affairs, we were not utterly ruined.
’Tis also to be well considered, whether the inhabitants of Holland in such cases, and indued with such qualifications, would not have been much more happy under a free government by states, than under the conduct of the three successive princes before mentioned, and such deputies of the generality as continually sought to promote the prince’s grandeur, and consequently their own, more than the welfare of the country.
And whether our own sad experience hath not abundantly taught us the truth of the maxim proposed at the beginning of this chapter, viz. That such cities and countries, whose rulers ought to be presumed to be more or less concerned to keep the seas clear of enemies, ought also to have more or less authority and power about maritime affairs, treasure, and militia, by which the seas are to be kept free and open:That Holland ought not to intrust the scouring of the seas to any but themselves. and consequently that the magistrates of the cities, who are any ways concerned in the flourishing of the manufactures, fisheries, traffick, shipping, and guard of the seas, ought to be intrusted with them, and no other persons in the world.
Above all things war, and chiefly by sea, is most prejudicial, and peace very beneficial for Holland.
BUT if the scouring of the seas against sea robbers or enemies is so necessary for Holland during peace, then much more peace itself.Peace is very necessary for Holland. For besides that all sea robbing is more frequent in war, it deprives our inhabitants at once of all their trade to the enemies country, and carries it to the inhabitants of neutral nations; besides which, all ships, goods and debts of the Hollanders that are in the enemies country are confiscated, which may give this people an incredible great blow: for the Hollanders do not wait as other people till men come to buy their goods in their own country, and give ready money for them, but they transport their goods through the world, and keep them there in warehouses waiting for chapmen; and that which is most grievous, when they sell, in Europe they usually give a year’s time for payment.And war detrimental. And moreover, when in any foreign country the growth and manufactures of that place are very plentiful and cheap, such commodities are presently bought up by our merchants, paid with ready money, and kept in their magazines there, till the season of exportation and shipping presents for other places;Because our debts are confiscable in an enemies country, so that the enemy may easily make seizure of many of our goods, which we can by no means retaliate.
And then it also commonly happens, that our enemies either by whole fleets do intirely obstruct our trade by sea, or by privateers may make incredible depredations upon us.And our navigation obstructed and disturbed. For by reason that our fishery and foreign trade are so greatly dispersed, Holland is not able to defend them in all places, and be masters at sea at one and the same time; tho’ we had nothing else in charge but only to clear the seas. Whereas we on the contrary can find little or no booty at sea, because we are the only great traders there.
And for war by land, tho’ it be not so prejudicial to Holland as by sea, yet ’tis manifestly disadvantagious to the merchant, and greatly mischievous to all the inhabitants in general, but especially to those that drive a foreign trade. And whosoever doubts of this, let him only consult the registers of the admiralties of Amsterdam, with those of other places, and he will see that since our peace with Spain our navigation and commerce is increased one half.Aitzma, Chap. 3. The reader may also remember, that during the war, the convoy and customs together did at most amount to but 1588763 guilders, yet when we had peace, our convoy-money alone of all the admiralties, did in the year 1664, produce 3172898 guilders, when by calculation it was concluded that the admiralty of Zealand had yearly 400000 guilders of revenue.Thereby adding 400000 guilders for the revenue of the admiralty of Zealand, at which value it is yearly esteem’d here. And that is not strange, for the war with Spain being carried on both by sea and land, our merchants were put to great troubles and straits: and ’tis a great burden to our inhabitants to bring into the field so great and chargeable an army as to gain fortified cities from our neighbours by long sieges: but it is doubly ridiculous to endeavour to make men of understanding believe that it tended to the benefit of Holland, when an honourable peace, or a long truce was every year offered to us, as often to reject and refuse it, and yet Holland was forced to take up a vast sum of money at interest, and then to take up another sum to pay those interests, and all this to carry on an offensive war to gain conquests and victories;Because land conquests would hasten Holland’s ruin. which are not only useless, but must needs be very burdensome to a country whose frontiers, by means of the sea and rivers, are for the most part every where so easy to be fortified and kept, that by purely standing on its own defence, it would certainly be able to confound all foreign power that should attack it. Whereas on the other side it is certain, that generally all republicks, especially those that subsist by commerce, have been ruined by offensive wars and conquests.
And that this was well known to those that sided with the prince against those of Barnaveli’s party in this state, the president Jeannin testified on the 29th of August 1608, in a letter to monsieur Villeroy, secretary of state in France, as follows: It is certain that the states, how weak soever they are, do not lose their courage, but rather chuse to return to war, than accept a peace or truce for many years upon other conditions than those formerly mentioned. They (I conceive he means such as by all means desired a war, and those were, as is well known, of the prince’s party) say among themselves, if France abandons us, we must ruin,demolish, and abandon some cities, and parts of the remotest provinces, which, by reason of the great charge of keeping them, will more weaken than strengthen us;Which formerly those that were of the prince’s party, as alsoand we must also dismantle some places of least importance. And moreover they say, that all this being done, they should have wherewith to continue in service 40000 foot and 2500 horse, besides the navy, thirty years longer: and that therewith they should be strong enough so to tire the king of Spain, and after such a manner to exhaust his treasury, that he will be necessitated to grant the conditions which now he rejects.
Prince Maurice knew well enough.And that prince Maurice himself knew very well that these countries might be better and with less expence defended against the enemy with few frontier places than many, appears by a letter written about two months after, to the said prince by the king of France: in which, among other particulars, is this passage, The great charge that the war requires you have experimented, and found that the states alone were not able to bear it, nay hardly with the help of friends, who formerly contributed of their own to bear those expences. And if it should happen that you by weakness, or want of money be necessitated to quit and leave some part of the country to the enemy, whereby to defend the rest the better, as the said Lambert (the prince’s envoy) hath declared to me on your behalf, that you are resolved to do so rather than enter into the said treaty, unless it be first express’d in plain terms, That the sovereignty shall ever be and remain in the states, &c.
And yet many cities have been taken since.All which particulars above-mentioned being in those days agreed by statesmen and experienced soldiers, ’tis as certain that since that time by the conduct of prince Henry, very many remote places about the Scheld, Maese and Rhine, have been taken in and fortified, and that the generality out of all the lands and cities situate out of the voting provinces (for some of them are not allowed to have their suffrages) about the year 1664, had only one million of guilders annual revenue, and yet the keeping of them cost more than four millions yearly;Which altogether yield a million yearly, and require four millions. so that those that are of the prince’s party must in all respects acknowledge, that the states of Holland did, in the year 1640, very well represent the matter to prince Henry, by telling him, that it deserved consideration, whether it were not better to make no more conquests, or even to lose some that are already acquired, than by long sieges, and consequently great charge to the state, to suffer them suddenly to sink and fall in like an undermined hill. Upon which there was nothing replied by the prince, but only that he could not be well pleased to see the conquests which had cost the country so much blood and treasure, so little esteemed.So that all offensive wars are to be forborn. Aitzma hist. p. 104. From all which, it is certain, that Holland’s interest is to seek after peace, and not war.
That Holland hath antiently received these maxims of peace.
The maxims for peace have anciently been well known in Holland.AND that the trading provinces of the Netherlands have always followed these maxims, manifestly appears in antient history: for the sovereigns of the country were never suffered by their own authority to make war, or lay any imposition for maintenance of military forces, nay not to do it in the meetings of the states, by plurality of voices. For in these excessively prejudicial affairs, they would not hazard their being over-voted. Whereof we have had very many examples, not only in that rich trading province of Flanders, but also in Holland, especially with relation to England; with which country the Netherlands could formerly deal well enough. For before the halls and tumults had removed the weaving trade thither, the English were shepherds and wool merchants; and their king received few other imposts than from wool exported, no less depending on the Netherlands (the only wool weavers of Europe) than the weavers on them.
And amongst others we read in the year 1389, that duke Albert of Bavaria, as earl of Holland and Zealand, &c. having brought these provinces, without the consent of Dort and Zierickzee, into a war with England, the English took many ships with wine coming from Rochel; and not only released all those that belonged to Dort and Zierickzee, but came to those places to sell their prizes, because they had not consented to the war.
Which is demonstrated by the Incursus Magnus,And on this foundation is built the great intercourse (called intercursus magnus) between England and the Netherlands, containing expresly, That the same covenant is not only made between the sovereign lords of both sides, but between the vassals, cities and subjects also; so that those who had done the injury, and not others, should be punished, the peace and covenant remaining in full force, for the benefit of all others, who had not consented to the war, or injury done. So that if a ship had sailed out without the prince’s commission, or the commission of any city, that city was to make good the damage done by that ship. And this treaty (which is very observable) was not only signed by plenipotentiaries, on the behalf of the king of England, and the arch-duke as prince of these lands, but also sealed and signed by the burgo-masters of the cities of Ghent, Bruges, Ipres, Dunkirk, Newport, Antwerp, Bergen, Dort, Delft, Leyden, Amsterdam, Middle-burgh, Zierickzee, Veer, Mechelen, Brussels, and Brill, anno 1495.That was signed by all the trafficking cities. All which those on both sides affirm to have been transacted for the greater security of amity and trade.
For the council of the cities did not use to be under oath to the lord or prince who usurped, and acquired the nomination of their magistrates only by means of differences arising among the cities; but the cities might of antient times, without approbation of the earls, entertain soldiers in their own service.And it appeared also by the earls of Holland having no standing force, especially in peace: On the other side, the earls used in times of peace to have no garrisons, soldiers, magazines, or treasure, which, with the divisions of the cities of Amiens and St. Quintin formerly mort-gaged, were the cause that they fell from the house of Burgundy into the hands of the king of France, their antient lord, in 1470, of which Philip de Comines thus speaks: Charles Duke of Burgundy, holding an assembly of the states in his country, (viz. these provinces) represented to them the great prejudice he had suffered, by having no soldiery in pay on his frontiers, as the king had, and that the frontiers could have been well kept with 500 men at arms, and might have continued in peace.As also by Philip de Comines.He farther acquainted them with the great dangers which hung over their heads, and pressed hard for a supply to maintain 800 lanceers. In the end, the states agreed to allow him 120000 crowns annually, over and above what he received of his ordinary revenues, not including Burgundy.D. Charles of Burgundy the first who kept standing forces.But his subjects scrupled much to take that burden upon them, tho’ to distress France with this body of horse (for Lewis XI. king of France, was the first in Europe, who in a time of peace kept armed forces on foot). And indeed the states of the Netherlands scrupled it not without reason: for hardly had the duke raised 5 or 600 of his horse, but his desire of encreasing their number, and of invading all his neighbours, grew to that height, that in short time he brought them to the payment of five hundred thousand crowns, keeping in pay great numbers of horse, so that hissubjects were thereby greatly opprest. Thus far Comines.
But at the death of the duke those standing horse, in time of peace, were disbanded till the year 1547, when that formidable emperor Charles V. erected a certain number of standing troops, consisting of 4000 horse, commanded by colonels and captains, to be ready at all times, upon any attempt, on the frontiers, with their horses and arms. But Philip II. of Spain, being jealous of these armed inhabitants, neglected to pay and muster them: so that these regiments of the militia coming to nothing, and he purposing in lieu of them, to maintain a standing army of Spaniards in these countries, was opposed in that attempt by the states of the Netherlands, which was one of the principal occasions of our commotions and wars that ensued.
And lastly, by the union of Utrecht it appears how careful these Netherlands were to avoid a new war.And with the union of Utrecht, Holland neglected not altogether its interest in this particular: for according to the ninth article, no plurality of votes takes place in affairs of a new war, contribution, and peace. Which freedom the particular members of Holland have constantly kept, as well as in the assembly of the states; and not without reason: for seeing it is contrary to the law of nature, for men to give another the power of taking away their lives, on condition and promise that he will use it wholly for their benefit; but yet that if he makes an ill use of that power, and will take away their lives, they may not in self-defence use their natural strength against him: it follows, that all obligations which do so powerfully oppose and prejudice the welfare of our country, must be null and void, so long as we are masters of our own government.
Some cases laid down, in which it seems advisable for Holland to engage in a war; and yet those being well weighed, it is concluded, that Holland nevertheless ought to seek for peace.
Enquiry made whether it be advisable,HAVING in the two last chapters clearly shewed what Holland’s maxims ought to be, and have been of old, viz. peace for her inhabitants, to pursue the same by all convenient means, and decline war: yet in several cases whereby our people might be incumbered, or vexed, or in danger to be so, and when it may be presumed that our free-state by revolution of time and affairs, may run the hazard of being ruined; it may be doubted, whether it would not be advisable for Holland to begin an offensive war.
To make no war, tho to free our selves from foreign taxes?I shall therefore give you my thoughts about some of them, and do say, that we ought never to undertake a war by reason of any foreign imposition or toll whatsoever upon goods; for those remedies will always be worse for Holland than the disease. And the same seems to be with much more conveniency removed, by charging their commodities as much here, as our wares, merchants and mariners are charged in those parts. In all such cases we generally find, that either the high impositions are prohibitions of themselves, or that the traffick in those over-burdened commodities thrives as well as before: for if by those tolls the commodities burdened are prevented from being imported, he then that so charged them, immediately finds thereby so great a loss, that of his own accord he usually takes off this imposition.
And of this we have innumerable examples; for histories are filled with wars which have been in vain carried on, by reason of the raising such tolls, as the erectors themselves have at last been glad to lessen, or take wholly away: as lately in September 1662, the republick of Venice perceiving how much their traffick by sea was diminished, of their own motion discharged two tolls, the one named 6 per cent. and the other on goods that came westward from sea.
Not to ballance the states of Europe?On the other side, there occurs to my thoughts another great piece of folly, viz. that the merchants of Holland, and the state itself being founded upon traffick, should yet make use of it for a perpetual maxim, and continue in their present unfortified condition, in which often, for fear of a future and sharper war, they will be contriving to balance the states of Europe.We must endeavour first to grow strong and healthful. For when we have impregnably fortified all our cities and frontiers, as we ought, we may then, according to the interest of our state say to all people, give peace in our days, O Lord. And if the worst happens, by sitting still we shall so strengthen and improve our land, sea-forces, and treasure, that no power will be easily brought to attack us, but rather some weaker state. Whereas now on the contrary, we exhaust our treasure, and weaken ourselves every way, not knowing whether we shall ever overcome these inconveniences, which, either by want of fortifications, or our obstinacy, we pull down upon our own heads: and being weaker by our own negligence or wantonness, we may, after having wrestled with those difficulties, more easily fall from one weakness into another, and so be at last over-powered.
As all skilful physicians hold it for a good maxim,* that one means of preserving health, is to refrain from health-drinking: so they always dissuade from taking physick in time of health, for fear of future sickness, because thereby we frequently bring sickness and death upon ourselves; whereas by good fortifications, and temporizing, we may escape, chi ha tempo ha vita. And in all cases physick weakens the body, and the continual use of it shortens a man’s life. And therefore we may well make use of that wholesom counsel, as most agreeable to our provinces, viz. of using no physician: for if Holland takes care to provide every thing necessary, and then stands in its own defence; it is not to be overpowered by any potentate on earth. If we run to quench every fire, for fear the war should pass over others, and kindle in our own buildings, we shall certainly consume ourselves by degrees, and by our own actions be ruined.
Holland’s interest, since the weakness of the Spaniard, is perfectly another thing.In short, Holland taking due care of things, is so powerful as not to be conquered by any, except perhaps by England, if that nation shall be willing to ruin itself: so that we may truly say, that if Holland, for fear of a war, shall begin a war, it must for fear of the smoak leap into the fire. And this folly cannot be excused in any measure by that maxim which we used here, in the beginning of our troubles, *war is better than uncertain peace: for seeing we then made war for our freedom, or at least the shadow of it, against our own prince, it is certain that all peace, of what nature soever, would have disarmed the states of these provinces, and deprived them of their strength. And on the other side, the king of Spain remaining prince of these countries, and able to keep on foot some standing forces in all his other territories, might have made himself, at any time, absolute lord of these parts, without regard either to promises, oaths or seals; and then have punished all those at his will and pleasure, who at any time had opposed him.
But now, God be praised, the states of Holland living in a time of peace, are alone in possession of all the strength of the country, and are able to govern it better than in war, without the controul of any, according to their own pleasures:Whether an uncertain peace be worse than a war. so that the contrary is now true in Holland,* war is much worse than an uncertain peace, and among all pernicious things, except the intollerable slavery of being governed by the will of a single person, nothing is more mischievous than a war: for if war be the very worst thing that can befal a nation, then an uncertain peace must be bad, because a war is likely to ensue.
But some may further ask, seeing peace is so necessary for Holland, whether out of a strong desire of a firm and lasting peace, we ought not, when once engaged, to continue in war, till we have compelled the enemy to a well-grounded peace?
No such thing as a certain peace.To this I answer; if we consider the uncertainty of this world, especially in Europe, and that we by traffick and navigation have occasion to deal with all nations, we ought to hold for a firm and general maxim, that an assured peace is, in relation to Holland, a mere chimera, a dream, a fiction, used only by those, who, like syrens or mermaids, endeavour, by their melodious singing of a pleasant and firm peace, to delude the credulous Hollanders, till they split upon the rocks.
Therefore it is, and will remain a truth, that next to the freedom of the rulers and inhabitants at home, nothing is more necessary to us than peace with all men, and in such a time of peace to make effectual provision for good fortifications on the frontiers of our provinces; to keep a competent number of men of war at sea; to husband our treasure at home, and, as soon as possibly we may, to take off those imposts that are most burdensom, especially that of convoys; holding ourselves assured, that without these means, whereby to procure a firm peace, and to preserve our country in prosperity, as far as the wickedness of this world will admit, all other expedients will be found prejudicial to Holland; and that we on the contrary, relying on these maxims and means, ought always to wait till others make war upon us, directly and indeed; because by our diligent and continual preparation, they would soon understand, that there is more to be gotten by us in a time of peace and good trading, than by war, and the ruin of trade.
That ’tis unadvisable to stand only on one’s defence, answer’d.But because these conclusions concerning the prosperity of Holland, seem to oppose the known rules of polity; 1st, That a defensive war is a consumptive war; and 2dly, That no rulers can subsist, unless they put on the skin of a lion, as well as that of the fox; I shall give you my thoughts upon these two maxims. And truly if we may say of subjects, as the Italians,
we may with as good reason say of those that govern,
It is true of monarchs and sovereign lords, not of free republicks.But he who looks further into matters shall find, that in using these maxims there is great distinction to be made. For tho’ it be true of monarchs and princes, who will suffer no fortifications, that a defensive is a consumptive war; yet in republicks which live by traffick, and have fortified themselves well, all offensive war is prejudicial and consuming: so that such countries can never subsist without good fortifications in this world, where the lovers of peace cannot always obtain their wish.
Because they are single, and do greatly oppress their subjects.The truth is, great monarchs are justly compar’d to the lion, who is king of beasts, never contented with the produce of their own country, but living upon the flesh of their enemies, I wish I could not say subjects, conquering and plundering their neighbours, and burdening their own people with taxes and contributions.Whereas the rulers of a republick are many, and govern more gently. Yet tho’ they appropriate to themselves all the advantages of the country, they would still be deficient in strength, if by means of the fox’s skin they could not sometimes answer their enemies, and even their own subjects, and escape the snares laid for them by others. Whereas republicks governing with more gentleness, wisdom, and moderation, have naturally a more powerful and numberless train of inhabitants adhering to them than monarchs, and therefore stand not in need of such maxims, especially those that subsist by trade, who ought in this matter to follow the commendable example of a cat: for she never converses with strange beasts, but either keeps at home, or accompanies those of her own species, meddling with none, but in order to defend her own; very vigilant to provide for food, and preserve her young ones:They must naturally be shy of a war. she neither barks nor snarls at those that provoke or abuse her; so shy and fearful, that being pursued, she immediately takes her flight into some hole or place of natural strength, where she remains quiet till the noise be over. But if it happens that she can by no means avoid the combat, she is more fierce than a lion, defends herself with tooth and nail, and better than any other beast, making use of all her well-husbanded strength, without the least neglect or fainting in her extremity. So that by these arts that species enjoy more quiet every where, live longer, are more acceptable, and in greater number than lions, tygers, wolves, foxes, bears, or any other beasts of prey, which often perish by their own strength, and are taken where they lie in wait for others.
Holland, tho’ she stoutly defended herself against Spain, rather to be compar’d to a cat than a lion.A cat indeed is outwardly like a lion, yet she is, and will remain but a cat still; and so we who are naturally merchants, cannot be turned into soldiers. But because the cat of Holland hath a great round head, fiery eyes, a dreadful beard, sharp teeth, fierce claws, a long tail, and a thick hairy coat, by means of our merchants; our stadtholder and captain-general from time to time, and after him some of our allies or rulers, who had reaped profit by war, have made use of all the said features, and the stout defence which this cat made when she was straitned and pinch’d by the Spanish lion, as so many reasons to prove that she was become a lion; and have made her so far to believe it, against most manifest truth, that they have prevailed with her for fifty years successively to fall upon other beasts, and fight with them.Tho’ by bearing impositions she may be compared to an ass. But the sad experience of what is past, the decay of all inward strength, the death of the last captain-general, and the free government of the state, which by God’s unspeakable goodness ensued, ought certainly to take off the scales from the eyes of the stupid Hollander, and so make him see and know, that Holland by so doing was no lion, but a burden-bearing ass.In times of our stadtholders. For the conquests obtained by her labour and blood, have not served to feed her, but to break her back, and to make our former captain-general, and the stadtholders, so to increase in power, that they became formidable to their masters, the states of the respective provinces, and especially to the states of Holland; and still serve to make some of the crafty allies of our union, and some few slavish rulers to live voluptuously, knowing how to procure many military employments and profits for their children and friends, and are therefore continually advising Holland to prosecute the war.
And therefore must by degrees leave that ill custom.And tho’ Holland, since the last sixteen years, seems very well to have apprehended the mischief received by the lion’s skin, yet she seems not to have discerned the fraudulent damage of the fox’s, which will be found well nigh as mischievous: for Holland hath very imprudently made use of the fox’s skin in Poland and Denmark. Upon the whole matter, ’tis certainly best for Holland to strengthen her frontiers and inland cities so soon as may be; and when they are impregnably fortified, let her not engage herself with any but her next and oldest allies, of the other United Provinces, and leave the rest of the world to take their course: and this done, let us only concern ourselves with our own affairs, according to the good proverb, That which burns you not, cool not. And because it seems to me that such evident truths make the deepest impressions, and are best apprehended by proverbs and fables, I shall conclude this chapter with the following fables.
The first fable.
The lion, king of beasts, having heard many complaints of his subjects concerning the cruel persecution and murders committed by the huntsmen, and fearing that if he should any longer bear such unrighteous dealings, he should lose his royal honour and respect among his subjects, went in person to fight the huntsman, who first by his shooting, afterwards by his lance, and lastly with his sword, so wounded the approaching lion, that he was necessitated to fly;Which is illustrated by certain fables. First, of the lion and huntsman. and having lost much of his strength by his wounds, and more of his honour and esteem by his flight, said, with a lamentable voice, to my sorrow I find the truth of this proverb, * The strength of Samson is not sufficient for one that is resolved to revenge evil with evil: but he that can wait, and be patient, shall find his enemy defeated to his hand.By gaining time many evils may be overcome. What need had I to streighten this crooked piece of wood? It had been better for me to have left those injuries to time, and perhaps some tiger, wolf, or bear, having with like imprudence sought out the huntsman, might have been strong and fortunate enough to have killed him in the fight.
The second fable.
A fable of a wise man and a fool.A certain strong wise man, meeting a strong fool, who had undertaken to force a stiver from every man he met, gave him a stiver without a blow or a word. Whereupon some of his acquaintance, young people, blam’d him for it, using these words: God hath given you at least as much strength, and more wisdom than to this leud fellow, whereby you would undoubtedly have had the victory, and delivered the world from this rascal; whereas contrarily, * you will be despised, if you do this. But the wise man answered, they that buy their peace do best; and besides, I know it is ill fighting with a strong fool; but you know not the value of your own peace, welfare and lite, and much less the manner of the world.For peacesake we ought to yield somewhat. For tho’ I were not an old merchant, but a prudent soldier, yet I shall tell you, that he who will not bestow a stiver to keep peace, must have his sword always drawn. And he that will be always fighting, tho’ with the benefit of ten advantages against one danger, must certainly lay out more than ten stivers to buy arms: and as where there is hewing of wood, there will be splinters flying on every side; so after a man hath suffered the smart, he must give a good reward to the chirurgeon and physician, even when the best happens: the bucket will come broken home at last; and the best fighters at last find their masters; for the stoutest Hercules is sometimes soonest beaten. Next said he, time will inform you that I am not to streighten all the crooked wood I shall meet in this world:Confirm’d by the fable of a frog and a crab. for I assure you it will happen to this strong fool, as it did formerly with the foolish frog, who finding a wise crab swimming in the water, threatened to kill him if he found him any more there. The good-natur’d crab thinking, as those who willingly shun a mad ox which they might kill with a gun, that he would also shun this creature, gave the frog good words, swimming immediately backward according to its custom, and giving place to him. But because stupidity causes boldness and self-conceit, the frog concluded that he was stronger than the crab, and so fell upon him. The crab defended herself stoutly, and at last pinch’d the frog immediately dead. And seeing the world is full of fools, I tell you that this coxcomb growing too confident by a few good successes, will soon find another fool who will knock him o’the head, and rid the world of him. It is certainly much better that a fool, and not a wise man, should put his life in the ballance with this fool. Which prediction was soon after verified by experience; for a while after this fool setting upon other people, found at last as foolish, cross and strong a fellow as himself, that would rather fight than give him a stiver, who knock’d him down and kill’d him. Upon which the wise man caused some sayings to be engraven over him, among which were these:And some old proverbs.The number of fools is infinite; and to cure a fool, requires one and a half; for without blows it cannot be done.
The third fable.
The fable of a fox, wolf and bear.A certain fox conceiting himself not able to subsist, if the wolves and bears lived in mutual amity, stirred up the one against the other; and afterwards fearing lest the wolf which favour’d him less, should get the better, and then finding himself without enemy, should destroy him, resolved to strengthen the bear privately with food, which he had spared for himself, and to see the fight between them, under pretence of being mediator, but really to feed upon the blood of the conquer’d; which when he tasted, he was so transported with the relish, that rather than forbear the blood, he let the bear have so much of his other natural food, that he was grown weak. But the two combating beasts, observing this ill design of the pretended mediator, and his weakness together, destroyed this blood thirsty fox, the one premeditately, the other by the fortune of the war; besides, he fell unpitied. For suppose the wolf and bear had grown so weak by the fox’s artifices, that they could not have hurt him; yet there were lions, tigers, and other beasts of prey, which could as certainly and easily have devoured him, because he had lost his strength, and could no longer in any extremity run to his hole, and thereby save and defend himself.
Thus God and nature punisheth those that abuse their strength, and takes the crafty in their own subtilty. * As false selt-love is the root of all mischief, so prudence and well-grounded self-love is the only cause of all good and virtuous actions. Pursuant to which, as we say, Do well, and look not backward, is the greatest polity Holland can use. And the richest blessing which God can pour down upon a nation, is to unite the interests thereof to peace, and the welfare of mankind: according to the good rule, *He that loves himself aright, is a friend to all the world.
The fourth fable.
Of the fox, cat and huntsman.A certain self-conceited fox in a deriding manner asking a well-meaning cat, how she could free her self from all the ill accidents of this world; the cat answered, that she was not offended when any thing was said of her in deriding way.
Small business with uprightness is much better,In a word, said she, I shew those that would hurt me the greatest kindness, by which I avoid all enmity: for my only art of all arts is, to avoid harm. Upon this the fox flouted with the cat, saying, † This is indeed a very pretty science becoming an unarmed roundhead; but I that am witty and crafty will lord it over others: and besides that, I live without want and care, for in an instant I can shake out a bag full of artifices. But while he was thus braving it out, and negligent, a huntsman with his dogs was come so near him, that not being able to escape, he was taken in his subtilty by the dogs, and killed, while the cat with her only slight, and ever necessary fortification, fled for her life, running up a lofty tree and so saved her self:Than much clutter with great craft. and from thence saw the case of the fox pulled over his ears, comforting her self in the mean time with this song,
It is again concluded, that peace above all things is necessary for Holland.This therefore is the great and necessary art for Holland, notwithstanding the maxims before objected, viz. to maintain peace, and fortify our frontiers, and never unnecessarily to meddle with parting of princes that are in war by our ambassadors and arbitrations: for by these means we shall be certainly drawn into the charge of a war, and besides are like to gain the reward of parters, and bring the war or the hatred of both parties upon our selves, besides the consumption of our treasure in expensive embassies, even when the best happens. And tho’ the troubles of this world cannot be avoided always either by force or art, yet we ought to keep out of them as much as we can with all our strength, prudence and polity. And if notwithstanding all this, war should be made upon Holland, she will gain a double reputation, when with the encouragement of her own strength, long before provided, together with the justice and necessity of her defence, she shall overcome the danger. Besides, the opposition we should be able to make, as well as the just hatred that always attends the aggressor, and the consequences that might follow the conquest of this country, would alarm other princes, and give them time to deliver us.
And tho’ I know these maxims will always be rejected by most of the idle gentry, soldiers of fortune, and the sottish rabble, as if we relying only on our impregnable fortifications, and standing on our defence, should by that means lose all that name and reputation we have acquired; to which I shall only say that all is not gold that glisters, and rusty silver is more valued by men of understanding than glittering copper: so whatever is profitable to a nation, brings also a good reputation to perpetuity. ’Tis likewise certain, that whatever reduceth Holland to weakness, tho’ it were under the most glorious title of the world, will really cause it to lie under an everlasting shame and reproach. All which God grant may be rightly apprehended by the upright, and (now) really free magistrates of Holland, while this leaky ship of the commonwealth may yet by labour be kept above water.
Enquiry is made, whether, and how the welfare of any country may be preserved by treaties of peace.
To comprehend what a treaty of peace, orBUT seeing it appears in the preceding discourse, that treaties of peace importing mutual promises of not prejudicing one another, and allowance of trade and commerce reciprocally, are very necessary for Holland, and that the like articles are by many intermixt with treaties of alliance, or covenants among neighbours, which nevertheless, as I conceive, have for the most part been pernicious to Holland, and will be found so; I find myself therefore obliged to express my thoughts on this subject, and to say, that a treaty of peace is a mutual promise of doing no hurt to each other; to which likewise nature obligeth us.An alliance is, But on the contrary, an alliance or covenant obligeth to do something, which often without such alliance men would not do, or omit something, which without such alliance they would not omit.
Since then all things past are so much beyond the power and conduct of man, that human actions and force, cannot make the least alteration therein;We ought to consider, that all actions look either at the future, or the present; as also, it appears that all mens thoughts ought to be employed about the obtaining of something that is good, or defending themselves from future evil, which especially takes place in our consultations, and transactions with other people. For even in a free and generous gift, where all necessity or obligation of any thing to be done for the future seems to be excluded; yet is it evident, that it is done either out of hope of gaining some body’s friendship, or serviceableness, or obtaining the name of being kind and liberal.What care is to be taken in making of mutual obligatory contracts, which ought to take place But aboveall, those thoughts must take place for things future in mutual covenants, seeing the essence thereof consists therein, and hath its eye upon it, as appears by all the examples of it. I give or promise to give, because you promise to give; I do or shall do, because you promise to do; I give or shall give, that you shall not do; I do or shall do, that you may not do, &c. And when we are on both sides subjected to one and the same sovereign power, those agreements are freely entered into;With particulars, and and here the difficulty is not great, tho’ we perform the covenants first, because the other party may be compelled by the judge to perform his engagements, tho’ no body would willingly be the compeller, but every one would ride on the forehorse: having is better than hoping; and what he hath before hand is the poor-man’s riches. And when the respective covenanters are subjected to a different supreme power, then distrust begins to encrease: but because men know that he that is unfaithful may be punished, they are unwilling to put it to the venture.
With sovereigns.But all the difficulty lies here, and then appears, when sovereign powers enter into mutual covenants and alliances; seeing the strongest potentate always enjoys the fruit of a peace concluded, and likewise the benefit covenanted; which Ovid* very ingeniously shew’d: so that tho’ there be sometimes peace, yet ’tis always necessary for the weakest to be so watchful, as if no true peace were ever made by such powers, on which the weaker party might rely. And if on the other side, in time of peace each party should fortify and guard his frontiers, and by intelligencers endeavour to inform himself of his neighbours designs, in order to behave himself accordingly: it is then evident that all treaties of peace must be presumed by all sovereign powers (who expect more advantage by war than peace, and consequently are not founded upon peace) to serve only for a breathing time, and to wait an opportunity of attacking their neighbour with more advantage, and so to overpower him.
And when and how long those contracts are to be kept,And so long as those opportunities present not, the peace lasteth among the potentates of the world, not by virtue of promises, oaths or seals which they can at all times easily infringe without suffering any present punishment, but by virtue of their fear, lest some future evil should befal the peace-breaker. So that a true and real peace among sovereign princes, especially for the weaker party, is but a fiction or a dream, on which he must not rely.
Especially with monarchs.For in this wicked world (God amend it) ’tis very evident, that most men naturally are inclined by all imaginable industry to advance their interest, without regard to hand, seal, oath, or even to eternity it self; and above all, such inclinations and aims are principally found in monarchs, princes and great lords: for we are taught that Sanctitas, pietas, fides, privata bona sunt; ad quæ juvant reges eant:
Who seldom know what is just and fit,For having never been private persons, nor educated or conversant with men equal to themselves, they learn nothing of modesty or condescension: neither does the authority of judges imprint in them a reverence to sacred justice. Which is quite contrary in all republicks, where the rulers and magistrates being first educated as common citizens, must daily converse with their equals or superiours, and learn that which is just, otherwise they would be compelled to their duty by the judge, or other virtuous and powerful civil rulers;As the civil rulers do. which inward motions of modesty, discretion and fear leave always some remains in them, when they come afterwards to be preferred to the government and magistracy, for* custom is a sacred nature, which is not easily altered.
In treaties of alliance men are apter to be wrong’d, than by treaties of peace.But in all events, if in treaties of peace, when neither of the covenanters do any thing but only restrain each other from all hostile acts, there is little certainty that the covenants will on both sides be kept; it is as certain, that in alliances, wherein there are engagements on both sides, for assistance of soldiery, arms, or money, that there is a greater uncertainty of obtaining what is covenanted, and that there can be no trust reposed in the treaties of sovereigns; all advantages of alliances consisting only in this, that one part may possibly be drawn to perform what is covenanted before the other:And when most: and when this happens in matters by which he that performeth is really weakened, and the other strengthened, with bare hopes only of advantages to accrue from him afterwards, he is then a traitor to himself, because he foolishly gives things and realities, for words, hand, and seal;Especially when they are made with kings or sovereigns. which put all together hold no proportion to preponderate and resist the ambition and covetousness, lust, rage and self-conceit of great princes.Because they have a superintendency over religious worship, and value it little.Dat pænas laudata fides. For because ambition exceeds all other affections, and monarchs order all externals, and especially the publick religion, which is strengthened, or weakened according to the prosperity of their government, it is therefore rightly said, that the state has neither blood nor religion; and that integrity is always deceived or circumvented. So that the best way is not to trust them, and then we shall not be cheated.
All which being most certain, it is strange that any supreme powers should imagine that they can oblige a formidable sovereign prince to gratitude for benefits received without any preceding promises, impoverishing themselves by liberalities, in order to enrich and strengthen those they fear: for we ought always to presume, that kings will ever esteem themselves obliged to any thing but their own grandeur and pleasure, which they endeavour to obtain, without any regard to love, hatred, or gratitude.
So that it is a madness to make princes considerable presents.Certainly if we affirm, that it is a cursed religion which teacheth men to sacrifice to the devil, that he may do them no mischief; we may likewise say, that nothing less than the utmost despair can reasonably induce a government to discover its own weakness to a dreaded neighbour, and to make him stronger by giving him money to buy off a feared evil, which ought to be resisted by the best arms, and most vigorous efforts; according to the Spanish proverb,* To give to kings, is a kingly, that is, a monstrous great folly: for the holy wood, the blunt cross of prayers and remonstrances, is of small force among men of power; and the money sacrificed o the idol of gratitude, is yet of less value. But he who in these horrid disorders, betakes himself for refuge to the iron, and sharp two-edged cross, the sword, makes use of the true cross of miracles against sovereign princes; and this rightly applied, is only able to heal the king’s evil, or state agues.
But to favourites, tho’ seldom, it may be advisable.But if kings, whilst they follow their own inclinations and pleasures, will suffer favourites to govern their kingdoms, it is then clear, that such favourites will by all means endeavour, during their uncertain favour, to enrich themselves: and therefore by private bribes to such creatures, dangerous resolutions may be prevented; and if a dangerous war be at any time very much feared, may be well and profitably bestowed. But yet this is not to be done ’till the utmost extremity. For we are taught, that courtiers may very well be resembled to hungry biting dogs, who as they will soon observe, when their bread is given for snarling at, or biting the giver:Which the fable of the hungry dogs, to which courtiers were resembled, plainly teaches us. so courtiers who are always wasting their estates, and always hungry, will, in hopes of obtaining new presents, be always most ready to threaten such generous givers, nay and bite them too, unless such open handed persons take a good resolution to arm themselves, in order to resist their menaces and attempts by force, and by that means to obtain peace.
The general causes of all contentions and treaties, are peace,And to express my self more amply in this particular, I shall say, that all treaties and capitulations between supreme governors and states, arise by reason of a mutual diffidence of one and the same neighbour, or of several stronger neighbours, and by a mutual desire to be able to defend themselves against one or more mighty potentates.
Or, secondly, through a desire of the some thing, appertaining to a third person, and to enrich themselves by an alliance and conjunction with another:Hope and vain-glory. or thirdly, through arrogance, vain-glory, and ambition.
Yet it matters not much upon what reason these dissentions and alliances arise, but whether the covenanters and allies do equally fear, or have need of one another; and whether they are equally concerned in that which they desire to obtain or defend. For we learn, that* damage parts friendship, and complainers have no friends.
In a word, all consists in this, whether they that enter into a league, have a common interest to avoid or obtain that which they both have in their eye. For where that is not, alliances and covenants are made for the benefit of the strongest, and to the prejudice of the weakest:It is not advisable to make alliances with greater than themselves. so that if he cannot withstand the strongest, without entering into capitulation with him, he will by such capitulation be the sooner overthrown, if by virtue thereof he makes war upon a neighbour that is stronger than he. For it is better to have many mighty neighbours than one, according to the fable, which says, that a bear may easily be taken by one able huntsman, but that his hide or skin cannot be divided among many before he be caught, and therefore he is suffered to live.
No alliance with a greater is good, unless he first perform his contract.Whence it necessarily and irrefragably follows, that all states and sovereigns ought not to enter into alliances with those who are stronger, but rather with such as are inferior to themselves in power, by which means they may always covenant, that the weaker shall first make good his engagement; and in all doubtful cases, where mention is made of enjoining him to do any thing, he may interpret them to his advantage, at least afterwards, so as to do no more than he will: according to the Italian proverb,*Be quick to receive, slow to pay; for an accident may happen whereby you may never payany thing. And according to that,*It is good riding on the fore-horse, and being a master; for you may always transfer, or give away as much of your right as you will, and make your self less.
Secondly, from hence may be inferred, that when an inferior power treats with one superior to him, he injures himself, if he do not contract, that the stronger shall first perform that which he promises. And if the alliance be grounded upon a common interest, the superior hath little reason to fear, that when he hath performed his engagements, he shall be deceived by the weaker: so that if he be not willing to do this, he gives great cause to the weakest not to trust him, and so not to enter into such a treaty, which like a rotten house is like to fall upon his head.
Some considerations particularly relating to alliances between Holland and inferior powers.
All alliances for conquest detrimental to Holland,HAVING premised in the foregoing chapter, that the interest of Holland consists in peace, because our fisheries, trade, navigation, and manufactures will increase more by peace than war, and that these are the pillars on which our state is founded; it follows, that all covenants and alliances founded upon conquest and glory are prejudicial to Holland, since by such alliances the peace is wilfully broken, and wars made to the ruin or decay of the said pillars of our country.
As also for advancing trade, if made with republicks.2dly. It also naturally follows, that no alliances, except such as are grounded upon mutual fear and defence against a much superior power, can be profitable, for Holland, because by this means either the peace will be more lasting, or the war that may happen will have a better and speedier end.
3ly. If we consider the states of Europe in their present condition, ’tis true, all republicks being founded on peace and trade, have the same interest with Holland, to preserve and maintain peace on every side: but they by continual endeavours to draw our trade, and its dependencies to themselves, always obstruct one principal design, which is the encrease of traffick. And considering also that they are of so little power to assist Holland, when in distress, against a greater force, ’tis wholly unadviseable to enter into an alliance with any of them for common defence. For as to the defence by land, relating to the United Provinces themselves, we have found how fruitless a thing, and burdensome a load the union for our common defence has always been (I will not say as it was made, but as that union was formerly managed by our captains-general and stadtholders) to the province of Holland.
The union of Utrecht has been misused, to the prejudice of Holland.And tho’ during our free commonwealth government, all those abuses of the said union which have been so prejudicial to us, and arose merely from fear of offending the late heads of our republick, ought to have ceased; yet by long continuance they have so much tended to the advantage of our separate allies, and their deputies of the generality, and taken so deep a root, that our republick of Holland and West-Friesland can hardly compass or obtain any reformation, or any new and profitable orders for their own particular benefit, tho’ with never so much right demanded, without being subject to the undue oppositions and thwartings of the said allies of our union; and their deputies with whom we are forced to be always contending. And of this I could give the reader infinite examples, particularly by means of Zealand and Friesland, from that faithful and excellent history of L. V.See L. V. Aitzma’s hist. on those respective years, and especially the considerations of the publick prayers, and Holland’s deduction concerning the seclusion, &c.Aitzma, wherein the debates about the seclusion of the prince of Orange in 1654, and about the order made anno 1663, concerning the publick prayers for the superior and inferior magistracy, as also for the foresaid allies, and their deputies in the generality, and council of state, are fully related.
And if we should make alliances with the remote Germanic republicks, we should find them both chargeable and useless; for being weaker than we, they are the sooner like to be attacked, and then we by their means should be engaged in a war contrary to our own interest.
Other republicks, whether German or Italian, would be much less serviceable to us.And as for the republicks of Italy, it is well known, that in our wars by land, they neither could, nor would give us the least assistance, which was formerly made evident by our alliance with Venice. And except in the Mediterranean, they can give us less help by sea, being not at all interested therein. And for the Hans republicks, it is certain that they are not only very weak and unfit to undertake a war for our sakes against those who are too strong for us; but on the contrary, they always love to see us disturbed and obstructed at sea, that in the mean time they may trade the more: so that we can be assisted by no republicks in a war against a stronger power. And because by covenanting with them for mutual assistance, and common defence, we may very easily fall into a war; we must never enter into any other agreement with them, save of friendship and traffick; and in the mean while stand upon our guard, as if we were to be assisted by no republicks in the whole world in our necessity. For tho’ indeed those republican allies and friends are good, yet woe to us if we stand in need of them, and ten times more woe to us if we wilfully and deliberately order matters so, as at all times, and for ever to stand in need of our neighbours and allies.
What alliances are to be held with lesser monarchs.As for such monarchs and princes, who by alliances might have some communication with us; I conceive that their true interest carries them, as well as their favourites and courtiers, to hate all manner of republicks, especially such as are lately established, and are their neighbours, because they are a perpetual reproof to them, and bring the ablest and most discerning of their subjects to dislike monarchical government. And therefore, if we will enter into an alliance with any of the neighbouring kings and princes, or are already in league with them, we must stand much more on our guard, than if we were to make an alliance with a free republick, or had done so:Who hating republicks, especially ours, we must always be upon our guard. so that it is hardly advisable to enter into any alliance with kings and princes. Yet seeing things may so happen, that some such alliance might for some short time be advantageous to us; ’tis necessary to speak of such kings and princes distinctly. And first, the emperor and king of Poland are not considerable to us, and the crown of Denmark so weak and unfit for war, that as we have nothing to fear from thence, so we cannot hope to be assisted by them in our troubles. Sweden and Brandenburgh are so deficient, that we shall never cause them to take arms against our enemies, unless we will furnish them with great sums by way of advance: and, as I said before, all such alliances are unsteady and wavering, as we have lately learned by Brandenburgh; and France by Sweden; who after they had received the money advanced, applied it purely to their own affairs, without any regard to their contracts. Besides, they are both of so small power, that if they should become our enemies, we might ruin them by prolonging the war, and always give them the law by sea.
We may more safely make alliances with weaker, than with stronger.So that they would soon perceive, that they could gain nothing by us, that their traffick would be spoiled, the war mischievous to both sides, and consequently peace and friendship would be best for both. But in all cases, having made alliances with republicks or monarchs that are weaker than ourselves, which, by alteration of conjunctures of time and interests, would certainly tend to ruin the state, or our native country; sufficient reasons may always be given to those weaker allies, why, with a saving to honour, a nation may depart from them, and neither may nor will either ruin themselves or their subjects by such leagues; and thereby make good the proverb, * An ill oath displeaseth God: and he that deceives a deceiver, merits a chair in heaven. And indeed all alliances made and confirmed by oath between sovereign powers, ought to have this tacit condition, to continue so long as the interest of the nation will admit. So that if nevertheless a prince would punctually observe such alliances to the ruin of his country, he is no more to be esteemed than a silly child that knows nothing of the world, whilst he ought to govern the land as a guardian to his orphans; for according to the rule in law, †Orphans must suffer no loss. On the other side, the ally in such a case neither may, nor ought to perform his part, if it be against his first oath and duty as a ruler and guardian, and to the ruin of his subjects who are his orphans; and therefore it must be understood, that he will not maintain it.It oppugns not the honour and oath of a regent, but agrees well with it. A regent or guardian ought not to be ignorant of this; but if he be so, ’tis then evident that he ought to be governed himself, and be put under wardship. Woe be to those countries, cities, and orphans that must nevertheless be governed by such rulers and guardians!
Some Considerations touching the Alliances which Holland might enter into with mightier Potentates than themselves. And first with France.
What alliances with mighty monarchs are to be kept, viz. with France.BUT touching the three great powers of France, Spain and England, is all the difficulty, since each of them by their own strength can always be armed; and knowing how much we are concerned for peace, neither of them fear us, but we must fear them. And therefore it is very necessary that we behave ourselves very prudently towards them, as to the point of alliances; which to effect the better, I conceive it necessary, as formerly, particularly to consider how much good and evil those three kingdoms may receive or suffer from the Hollanders, and likewise what good or evil can befal Holland by each of them.
France did wholly subsist by agriculture, not so now.As to France, we are to observe, that formerly that country subsisted wholly by tillage, and therefore could suffer little damage by a war at sea. But since the reign of Henry IV. many heavy impositions have been laid upon all imported and exported manufactures; and the weaving of silk, wool and linnen, with many other mechanick works, is so considerably improved there, that the French can supply others with more made stuffs, and other manufactures, than foreigners take off. So that a war against us, would be more prejudicial to them than to us.
But because this first point is of extraordinary weight, and perhaps not so well understood by others, I find myself obliged to draw up a list of manufactures and commodities exported out of France into foreign parts, especially into Holland, according to a scheme presented to the king of France by the society of merchants at Paris, when a new and very high imposition was laid upon all foreign imported goods, and especially manufactures, fearing lest the like imposition would be laid by Holland and England upon all French goods: and also from an information exhibited by the lord ambassador Boreel in 1658, to the lords states general of the United Provinces.
Which appears by this list or account. See L. V. Aitzma on the same year.1. In the first place, great quantities of velvet, plushes, satins, cloth of gold and silver, taffaties, and other silk wares, made at Lyons and Tours, which amount to above six millions.
2. In silk ribbands, laces, passements, buttons, loops, made about Paris, Roan, and those parts, to the value of two millions.
3. Bever-hats, castors, hats of wool and hair, which are made in and about Paris and Roan, to the value of one million and a half.
4. Feathers, belts, fans, hoods, masks, gilt and wrought looking-glasses, watches, and other small wares, to the value of above two millions.
5. Gloves made at Paris, Roan, Vendome, and Clermont, to the value of above a million and a half.
6. Woollen-yarn spun in all parts of Piccardy, worth more than one million and a half.
7. Paper of all sorts, made in Auvergne, Poitou, Limousin, Champagne and Normandy, for upwards of two millions.
8. Pins and needles made at Paris and Normandy, and combs of box, horn and ivory, for a million and a half.
9. Childrens toys, and such as Nuremburg ware, or, as the French call them, Quincaillerie, made in Auvergne, for upwards of six hundred thousand florins.
10. Linnen sail-cloth made in Brittany and Normandy, for upwards of five millions of florins.
11. Houshold-goods, beds, matrasses, hangings, coverlids, quilts, crespines, fringes and molets of silk, above five millions of florins.
12. Wines from Gascony, Xaintoigne, Nantois, and other places, for above five millions.
13. Brandies, vinegars and syder, for fifteen hundred thousand livres.
14. Saffron, woad, soap, honey, almonds, olives, capers, prunes, prunellas, for above two millions.
Of these goods there are yearly transported above 30 millions, whereof Holland takes off the greatest part.15. Salt, yearly the lading of five or six hundred ships, exported from Rochel, Maran, Brouage, the islands of Oleron and Ree.
And if we add to this the French companies of train and whale fins, of cod and pickled herrings, of refining and fining sugars, of all spices and Indian wares, with prohibition to all that are not of the company to import any into France; every one may then observe, that by a French war against us, the inhabitants of France will be much more prejudiced than those of Holland in their navigation and traffick.
Secondly, It is apparent, that the French have very few of their own ships and mariners; so that all their traffick is driven (some few English ships and traffick excepted) by Holland ships to Holland, or at least unlading there. And moreover, when any goods are to be transported from one French harbour to another, they are put on board Holland vessels.
Holland takes off most of the goods which France produces.Thirdly, It is clear, that the Hollanders do buy up most of the French wines and salt that are exported; and that salt might be had in other countries, and particularly in Portugal, Spain and Punto del Rey. As it is likewise true, that we can better forbear those wines in Holland, than the French nobility and ecclesiasticks (to whom most of the wines belong) can forbear our money. And besides, by reason of the peace in Germany, in case of war with France, the greatest part of that trade may be supplied with Rhenish wines, and possibly continue so alienated, altho’ the same were not so profitable for Holland, as the trade by sea in French wines would be.
France formerly took off many Holland goods, but not now.Fourthly, ’Tis well known, that in France very many Dutch cloths, says, linnen, herrings, cod, and other wares, transported thither by our ships, were formerly spent there; which now by new impositions is much lessened, or wholly prohibited.
Fifthly, It is evident that France cannot attack us by land, nor by sea, for want of good shipping, and on account of the danger of our coast:Cannot hurt us by land, and by sea is not considerable. so that, if they seize our goods, debts and ships, they can do us no further mischief, except by small capers at sea, which we may easily prevent by keeping convoy-ships about Ushant, and sending some few cruizers to pick up the privateers that ply about the Garonne, and the Loire, and clear the north sea of them.But in the Mediterranean But the greatest harm that the French can do the Hollanders, would be in the Mediterranean seas, where, by reason of our remote situation, we cannot without great expence over-power them in shipping. But our good orders, according to which our ships must be armed and manned, would preserve them from many depredations.
Our naval and land forces may keep France in a continual alarm.Sixthly, It cannot on the other side be denied, that Holland with its great strength of shipping, would be able to plunder all that far extended French sea-coast from the north-sea to Italy, and take those weak towns and burn them, unless they were prevented by an extraordinary force of soldiery by land; there being in France on the sea-side very many weak towns and villages, and no ships of war that dare keep the sea against ours.So that Holland is able to compel the French to a peace. Besides which, we should destroy all their trade to the East and West-Indies, and indeed through all Europe; which is at present of so much importance to France, as hath been formerly declared. And when we further consider, that in all governments of a single person, the treasure in a time of war is miserably wasted, as shall be farther demonstrated when we come to speak of England; we shall have reason to believe, that we should be able either to ruin the French, or compel them to a peace.
By all which it clearly appears, that a king of France may not make war upon us, for fear of receiving great damage from us, or others in our behalf, nor in hope of conquering us, nor yet through vain glory: but that on the contrary, a war against us would immediately cause all French traffick and navigation to be at a stand, and endanger the loss of it for the future.
And therefore we may pursue our own interest against France.And moreover, if we observe that Spain in some measure, and England yet more, used to be formidable to France, it will further appear, that we never ought, by any threatnings of France to make war against us, to suffer ourselves to be drawn in to make any league with France, which we conceive would be prejudicial to us. And much less ought we, to please France, to suffer ourselves to be brought into any war, by which the strength of Spain or England should be impaired by the French: for having once done so, we should meet with more bold and troublesome rencounters from them, and expect at last a more severe war from that kingdom
Considerations concerning Holland’s entering into Alliance with Spain.
Spain subsists by its commerce with the West-Indies.AS to Spain, it is very observable, that all the welfare of that kingdom depends on their trade to the West-Indies: and that Spain affords only wool, fruit and iron; and in lieu of this, requires so many Holland manufactures and commodities, that all the Spanish and West-Indian wares are not sufficient to make returns for them.Yields wool, and takes off more of our manufactures.
So that the Holland merchants, who carry money to most parts of the world to buy commodities, must out of this single country of all Europe carry home money, which they receive in payment for their goods, without benefit and by stealth, over that raging and boisterous sea.
Has no ships nor mariners.2. It is well known that Spain during our wars, lost most of their naval forces; and that we during our peace, have for the most part beat the Eastern merchants and English out of that trade. So that it is now certain, that in Spain all the coast is navigated with few other than Holland ships; and that their ships and seamen are so few, that since the peace they have publickly begun to hire our ships to sail to the Indies, whereas they were formerly so careful to exclude all foreigners thence.
Its dominions much dispers’d.3. It is manifest, that the West-Indies, being as the stomach in the body to Spain, must be joined to the Spanish head by a sea-force: and that the kingdom of Naples, with the Netherlands, being like two arms, they cannot lay out their strength and vigour for Spain, nor receive any from thence but by shipping. All which may be very easily done by our naval power in a time of peace, and may as well be obstructed in a time of war.
And therefore our naval power can hinder their mutual communication.4. It is likewise certain, that Holland by its naval strength, is able wonderfully to incumber and perplex this whole dispersed body in time of war, and accordingly put them to the charge of maintaining an incredible number of land-forces in garrisons.
Spain stands in fear of France.But on the other side it is likewise true, 1. That the king of Spain must continually maintain a great military strength against the mighty kingdom of France, and in those great and jealous Netherlandish cities, or else lose his countries.
Hath had pretensions upon Holland.2. It is known, that the said king has pretensions to Holland, and a very powerful adherence of the Roman catholicks; tho’ the strength of both these since our peace, and his laying down all pretensions to our country, and especially by the expiration of so many years, and our own confirmed and improved government, is very much diminished, and almost annihilated.
It bounds upon Holland.3. It is likewise evident that Spain, by Brabant’s bordering on Holland, and by means of the Flemish sea-havens, is able to disturb our fisheries and traffick, in this small north sea.
Offensive wars hurtful to Holland.4. It is certain, that this state of free government will not think it advisable, tho’ they should fall into a war with Spain, to take any more Netherlandish cities by exceeding chargeable sieges.
We are in a good condition for a defensive war.5. It is manifest that all the frontiers of the United Netherlands are so well fortified, that we are not likely to lose any of them unless by their great number; and yet if they are in any wise well defended, they would hardly pay the damage to Spain.
Moreover, Spain would then have reason to expect that we should excite France, according to the interest of the kingdom, to prevent any additional increase of Spain by making war on his frontiers, which would always in such cases be very terrible to Spain.
Whereby we may pursue our interest against Spain.So that by all that hath been said, it is manifest, that Spain may receive many great advantages by Holland in time of peace; and that a war is very prejudicial for both sides: yet so, that there is much more appearance for the king of Spain to gain upon us by land, than for us upon him, unless we should reckon the plundering and burning of his cities in Spain, and the losing his galleons at sea to balance it. Because, as we have said before, our free rulers having their eye upon trade do always decline an offensive war, and will carry on none but what is necessary and defensive only.
Whence we may also infer, that out of fear of a war we ought never, against the interest of this state in itself considered, to make alliances with Spain; and much less should we suffer ourselves to be led away to make the least war against any of our neibours who are formidable to him; since the greatest quiet of this state consists in this, that France be formidable to Spain, and England a friend to us.
Considerations touching Holland’s entering into Alliance with England.
England subsisted formerly by husbandry, without naval strength.AS for England, we are to know, that heretofore it wholly subsisted by husbandry, and was wont to be so naked of any naval power, that the Hans towns being at war with England, they compelled king Edward in the year 1470, to make peace upon terms of advantage to them.See Phil. de Comines. And so long as the English used to transport nothing but a few minerals, and much wool, which they carried to Calais by a small number of their own ships, and sold only to Netherlandish clothiers, it would have been so prejudicial for the king to forbear his customs of wool (which at Calais alone amounted to 50000 crowns per annum) and likewise to the subject, in case he had made war upon the Netherlands, that we read not that these trading provinces ever broke out into a perfect open war against England.And in some measure depended on the drapery of the Netherlands. For tho’ sometimes war happened between the princes of the respective countries, nevertheless most of the cities concerned in traffick and drapery, continued in amity. In so much that all the wars of that rich and plentiful country broke out against France, and consequently against Scotland, or else against Wales and Ireland, and sometimes against Spain.
But now not at all; and why.But afterwards, when the compulsive laws of the Netherlandish halls, and the tumultuous rising against them which followed, together with our inland and foreign wars, had first driven the cloth-weaving into our villages, and thence into England, and, by the cruelty of the duke of Alva, the say-weaving went also after it; the English by degrees fell to vend their manufactures throughout Europe, became potent at sea, and began no longer to depend on these Netherlands. Then by the discovery of that unexpressible rich cod-bank of Newfoundland, those of Bristol in particular made use of that advantage; and ballasting their ships with English lead, tin, and other wares, when they had compleated their fishing of cod on the said bank, they sailed with it to Spain, and throughout the Mediterranean, to vend their English wares with their Baccaleau, or Poor-John, in all those parts, and in return carried other goods of those lands to England.
Finally, we may add the long persecution of the puritans in England, which causing the planting of many English colonies in America, hath given England a very great conveniency to drive a mighty foreign trade with the Indies and the said colonies.
Is become formidable to all the princes of Europe, and why.So that this mighty island, united with the kingdom of Ireland under the government of one king, seems not to have need of any garisons to repel a foreign enemy, is situated in the midst of Europe, having a clean deep coast, furnished with good harbours and bays, in so narrow a sea, that all foreign ships that sail to the eastward or westward, are necessitated even in fair weather to shun the dangerous French coast, and sail along that of England, and in stormy weather to run in and preserve their lives, ships, and goods, in its bays. So that it is easy to judge, that the said king having acquired a considerable naval power, and being independent on all his neighbours as to trade, is very considerable to all that are concerned in navigating the said narrow seas.
For its exceeding convenient situation, to have the dominion of the sea.For according to the proverb, * A master at sea is a lord at land; and especially a king of England, seeing he is able both by whole fleets of ships, and private ships of war, at all times to seize ships that sail by that coast; the westerly winds which blow for the most part on this side the tropick, giving the English great opportunities to sail out of their numerous bays and harbours at pleasure, to infest our navigation. And if this commerce to the eastward and westward were stop’d, or prevented, it would certainly prove the ruin of Holland.
Which formidable power of the kingdom of England, king Henry the 8th was so sensible of, that he dared to use this device, † He whom I assist shall be master: and accordingly made war as he listed, sometimes against France, sometimes against Spain; which was then strengthened with the German empire, and these Netherlands; making peace at his own pleasure both with Francis the first, and Charles the fifth, whom he durst so horribly despise, as to repudiate his aunt.
So that England now, by a conjunction with Scotland, being much increased in strength, as well as by manufactures, and a great navigation, will in all respects be formidable to all Europe, so soon as an absolute king shall make use of that power against his neighbours, without the check and controul of a parliament.
How much England may be benefited by a peace with Holland, or damaged by a war.But on the other side, it is also certain that England in a time of peace has great advantages by the Hollanders, who in their passage are necessitated to frequent their havens. And there are now in Holland many more English commodities, which we could very well spare, that are transported and used by us, than Holland hath wares in England, because the Holland and other foreign manufactures have for the most part long since been prohibited. And since the prohibition in England of importing any goods, save those of the growth and manufacture of the country, by foreign ships into England, all our navigation to that kingdom is at a stand.
2. It is evident, that the rivers in England are very small, and remote from one another; so that all mutual traffick, and transporting of goods there, being necessarily done upon the open sea, the English may suffer great losses by our private ships of war.
By our great naval power.3. It is certain that the English traffick by sea being so great, and remote, may be most prejudiced in the Mediterranean sea, and the East-Indies, by the Holland ships, which during our free government are much augmented, and must and will be increased more and more.
4. It is clear, that considering our small and dangerous coast, the English by land can make no conquest upon Holland, unless they can get footing by means of our intestine divisions; nor we on them, for another reason. Besides, kings will ever be conquering of lands, and prudent republicks which thrive best by peace, will never do so, but rather erect colonies.
A war by sea, too chargeable for England, when we have a great naval strength.5. It is therefore consequently true, that the English cannot make war upon us but by sea. And since those wars must be carried on purely with money, because naval power cannot subsist by plundering, and quartering in an enemy’s country, and that the king of England cannot employ his revenue for that end, having occasion for that and more to maintain his court: It also follows that he would have need of another standing revenue or fund, to be enabled to carry on the said war by sea.
Because that king can carry on that war no other way than by taxes.6. It will be granted, that the said king having a new standing revenue to maintain those wars, he would never after call a parliament to desire subsidies from them, and consequently the parliament will never suffer that any perpetual important tax be established in that kingdom; because the establishment of such a tax would utterly divest them of so weighty a privilege, as is the assembling of parliaments, in which all abuses are to be redress’d, and the extortions, briberies, and other oppressions of ministers and courtiers prevented or punished, and right done to the people, before they will engage by an act of parliament to pay those heavy subsidies.
Which would be intolerable to the English.7. It is evident, that so long as we effectually take care of our naval power, and increase it as opportunities offer, a war with us would require so great and chargeable fleets, that they could not be set to sea, and maintained by subsidies or taxes only, because the burden would be so great, so unexpected, and so uneasily born by the inhabitants, that the king would be in continual apprehension and fear of an insurrection of his subjects, if he should obstinately persist to make war against us.
And a war by sea is very unserviceable to the courtiers.8. It is certain, that the courtiers and favourites who possess the king’s ear, may make great profits by this war at sea, by prizes taken, and subsidies granted, as long as they continue on shore to manage the same. But if they go to sea themselves to command in the fleet, they put themselves in as much danger of their lives as the least person there, by storms, shipwracks, fireships, bullets; and moreover, run the hazard of having all their endeavours during their absence from court misconstrued, and misrepresented to the king by other courtiers. In a word, if those favourites, and courtiers, remain on shore during the war against Holland, they will be necessitated to see the admiral carry away all the honour of good successes, and they the blame of the bad; whilst instead of carefully providing all things necessary, they study to enrich themselves by the subsidies and prizes; and the nation would gain little honour or profit by such a chargeable naval war. And on the other side, if they go to sea to command the fleets, they must necessarily part from the court, and be absent from the king, and consequently run a great hazard, lest in the mean time some malevolent private enemy, who hath the king’s ear, may so manage the matter, that tho’ they went to sea in the king’s favour, yet they may be called home with disgrace.
Besides, England may be plundered landward, and compelled to redeem their towns from firing, but Holland not.9. It is certain, that England, Scotland, and Ireland, having in all parts a deep and bold coast, their cities, towns, and villages in the country being weak, or without walls and fortifications, they may in all places be attacked, and our men may be landed under the shelter of our cannon, and so plunder and burn those places. Whereas the English cannot do the like in Holland, because our small coast can easily be guarded and secured by our own forces, and is so foul and shallow, that the enemies ships of war cannot reach our strand with their cannon; and in case they should attempt to land with their boats, they would soon be overset by the high surges of the sea, or at least have their powder spoil’d. So that what we should fall short of in our privateering by sea, we should ballance by our plundering by land, and burning of towns, and thereby be richly recompensed. Besides, such plundering and burning will strike a greater terror and consternation into the inhabitants there, than any losses at sea would operate amongst us.
All monarchs, especially the English, are very lavish of their treasure, aaa withal thievish.10. It cannot be denied, but that in all monarchical governments during a war, especially by sea, vast sums of money are ill laid out, and embezel’d by courtiers, sea officers, and soldiers, and the stores provided for the navy frequently misemploy’d and wasted; so that in a little time the money raised will fall short; more especially in England, where the subsidies granted by the parliament, being always limited to a certain sum, are indeed sufficient but not superfluous; and an English court, above all others, is prodigal and thievish. Whereas on the other side, in a free commonwealth, and in a time of war by sea, such exact accounts are kept, and regulation used, that neither those that are entrusted to provide things necessary, nor those that make use of them, can either mispend or embezzel the publick money or provisions; and this may in a particular manner be expected from the Hollanders, who have always been famous for frugality and parsimony.But all republicks, especially Holland, are frugal. And it is observable, that this prodigality of the one nation, and the frugality of the other, is not only visible in the publick treasure, but is also discerned in the private way of living, both of the English and Hollanders: so that by a war at sea the taxes upon the commonalty of both sides increasing, and the profits decreasing, Holland, in proportion to the country and purse of the inhabitants, by well husbanding the publick treasure, would easily hold out longer than England, as appeared manifestly in the year 1667.
A war with England will be detrimental both to us and them.All which particulars being true, it naturally follows, that a war is for both nations very mischievous; yet so, that England will be able to take many prizes from us by sea, and little by land; we on the other side, few prizes of the English by sea, but great booty by land. But we should be sufficiently prejudiced by them, if we had not a competent number of ships of war to match their naval strength, and by that means should be forced to quit the sea to the English, especially if their kings and parliament would not lavish the strength of that island on their luxury and favourites, but rather in ships and mariners.
So that our only safety is grounded upon the increase of our naval strength to such a degree, that the English fleets may either be over-ballanced by ours, or not able to hurt us, as likewise upon those accidents to which a monarchical government is always subject, and that a war with us would be extremely pernicious to the subjects of England; and likewise that London, by means of greater traffick and navigation, would be more formidable to the kings of England, than any of his foreign neighbours.
So that we ought to give the English good words.So that in order to avoid a war, we must in all our differences give them good words, and gain time, in hopes that in these monarchical governments the kings will either follow their pleasures, or through excess of luxury, and court-robbery, waste all their revenues, and run themselves into debts, or die, or perhaps fall into a foreign or intestine war.
But we are to take care, that we do not suffer ourselves, for fear of a war with England, to be inveigled into an alliance, jointly to carry on an offensive war against any nation, which may be very formidable to that country, and not so much to us. For in so doing we should make ourselves considerably weaker, and England stronger; who having that thorn pull’d out of their foot, might afterwards with less fear oppress and trample upon us, while we remain deprived of that refuge by our own folly.Notwithstanding a war threatned. The truth is, since England is more formidable to us than any country in the whole universe, it were an unpardonable fault in us, to make them yet more formidable to ourselves.
And above all, we are to observe, that in order to shun or avoid a war with England, we must not suffer ourselves to be seduced to alter the commonwealth for a monarchical government; for*The free lion will not be bound again, was used to be Holland’s device and sense. And if now under a free government, we should be necessitated to make some steps that way to please the king of England;Above all we ought not to please England by altering our free government I would then ask how we should be able to make the least resistance against such a head, as would in a manner become lord of the country, through our weakness and chains, when he shall by an innate hatred (which all monarchs bear to republicks) attempt to ruin our formidable naval strength and trade, and deprive us of our navigation, under colour of favouring a prince related to him, and a head of his own making, whilst he designs the supreme power for himself: he would, I say, by this means make us the most miserable nation that ever was governed by any monarch; for such a government would infallibly strip us of all our natural advantages proceeding from the seas and rivers, and not only leave us charged with intolerable taxes, but oppress us also with an expensive and luxurious way of living, together with those other infinite mischiefs which are found ever in those governments. From whence it evidently follows, that we must defend our free government, tho’ it should be by a war against England.But to preserve the same sound, whole, and intire. for ’tis better and more commendable to fight for our lives, tho’ with the utmost hazard of perishing, than to hang ourselves like Judas, for fear of receiving some smarting wounds in the battle, and to murder ourselves by a double death of soul and body, without hopes of a resurrection; seeing if the worst befal us, and we be weakened by an English war, yet still living under a free government, we might wait for accidents and alterations, and hope to have better success at another time: whereas on the contrary, by a monarchical government we should for ever be deprived of our fisheries, manufactures, and trade, to the ruin of ourselves and our posterity, who might justly curse such base and cowardly parents.
And to have no offensive alliances with England.In all events it is evident, that England fearing no potentate of Europe, except the king of France, can make no alliance with us grounded upon a common fear, but that only; and consequently all other alliances with that kingdom, will be prejudicial to us.
Because such conquests would be pernicious to us.’Tis also as evident, that we are not to make any alliance with England, out of a desire of conquest; for at the best, when we have employ’d our utmost strength in pursuit of their game, we should at last most certainly differ with the English lion about dividing the prey; who taking the whole to himself, might soon after devour the wretched Holland ass; or at most we should only be like jackals, or ferrets, or drive the game into the English net.
It were therefore in truth much better, that Holland in her actions should imitate, not those two silly and unhappy beasts, but rather the shy and wary cat, that hunts only for her self.
But a defensive alliance with them against France may be very proper.Since then we can make no advantageous alliances with England, neither for common conquest, nor common defence, except against France only, we may rationally conclude, that all alliances with that kingdom, unless defensive against France, are useless to Holland, even those which might proceed from fear of a war with England: for it is evident that whatever advantageous conditions that king acquires from us, we must immediately make them good; and yet expect that he will nevertheless threaten us with a war, unless we will do many harder things for him.
And indeed he that will not defend his subjects in their lives and liberties, tho’ by troublesome and dangerous wars, is so unworthy of government, liberty and life, that in all respects he ought to be esteemed the off-scouring of the world, and his posterity never to be named by succeeding generations, without curses and detestations.
Some general and particular inferences drawn from the foregoing considerations, touching all our allies.
OUT of all which foregoing particulars, I conceive we may draw the following corollaries.
General maxims against the three most potent monarchs,First, that all alliances which Holland might make in a time of peace with any neighbouring princes of Europe are wholly unserviceable to us; since in our necessity we shall never receive aid from them, but rather be drawn into a war. But in times of war and trouble we should consider, according to what I formerly mentioned, whether Holland were able to defend itself, and continue to do against its most potent neighbours, France, Spain, and England, without any assistance from abroad. And seeing I suppose we can, it then follows, that if we are attack’d by a weaker power, we must not seek help from those great potentates mentioned, because they would thereby become greater and mightier. And on the contrary, a good patriot of Holland ought to wish, that France and England may decrease, and that Spain may not increase in strength.
And if it should so fall out, that one of the three abovementioned kingdoms should make war upon us, it is not at all needful that we therefore should seek aid from abroad against them by alliances, unless they of their own accord, and decently offer themselves; for otherwise we shall get nothing but a number of good words;France. and if we rely on them, we shall be much hindered, as we lately found in our English war, when we were allied with France, and have learned from that inferior and ungrateful Denmark. But when those alliances fall into our laps, then, I say;
England.2. When Holland is fallen into a war with England, all alliances with other potentates are good, in order to escape, provided our allies first perform their engagements.
Spain.3. When Spain makes war with us, an offensive alliance with France is good, provided the French comply first with their engagements; and if they will not, it is better to stand upon our own bottom, and to labour that we run not aground: and seeing we must run the adventure, it is better to endeavour with full sail to pass over the flats, than in expectation of foreign pilots, who all may promise to assist us with their skill, to let our vessel drive slowly, but certainly on the sands, and perish.
That in matters of polity, relating to an enemy, none ought to be faint-hearted.It is always more decent and honourable for men to show that courage they have, and effectually to exert their utmost strength against an enemy, in order to preserve their rights, than to surrender all through cowardice and fear. For tho’ they may lose by the war, yet they sell every advantage so dear to the enemy, that afterwards neither he nor any other will rashly come on again. But he who for fear, and want of courage, gives up any part of his estate and right, invites and pulls down upon his own head all that a covetous enemy can desire, and is despised by all men.
Contracts with lesser states are the best.4. All these disturbances and wars, whether against France (unless that kingdom were strengthned by devouring the Spanish Netherlands, and so become our neighbour) or against any other potentates, may more easily be overcome without any alliance; tho’ in such a case the lesser republicks and potentates may, in favour of Holland, be drawn into the war by some preceding alliance, because we having gotten what we aimed at, will ever interpret the alliance made to our best advantage.
And a good alliance with a republick, is better than with a king.5. It is cæteris paribus more useful either for Holland, or other potentates, to have alliances with a republick, than with a prince or king, because such alliances being grounded upon a common interest, they may assure themselves that they will always be so understood by the governors of a commonwealth, who besides are immortal and perpetual. Whereas on the other side, single persons have seldom so much understanding and knowledge, as to apprehend their own interest, much less will they take the pains to govern by that rule; and besides, they are very inconstant and mortal, and naturally hate all republicks.
6. It is, and always will be dangerous for Holland to make alliances with France, Spain, or England, because ’tis probable that they who are more esteemed only because they are kings, and possess larger territories than we, will always oblige us to perform our engagements first, and expound all ambiguous points to their own advantage.But alliances with France, Spain, and England, are dangerous. But so long as we are in the least fear of France, that is, so long as Spain can keep the Netherlands, we may best enter into alliance with that kingdom for common defence, against those that might wrong, or make war against the one or the other.Yet that we may not have France for our neighbour, almost all alliances are good. But when France is like to be master of the Netherlands, and become our neighbour, it is not only necessary for Holland to prevent that potent, and always bold and insolent neighbour, and to take great care not to make any league, by which France may in any measure increase in power; but all the potentates and states of Europe ought to combine together to hinder the further growth of that kingdom, which hath already overgrown all its neighbours.
Above all things we ought to make no alliance with England save against France.Likewise so long as we must dread England in the highest degree, it is perfectly useless to make the least alliance with that kingdom, save such as is grounded upon a common fear of agreater power, as now France is; seeing all written alliances, without common necessity, are interpreted in favour of the greatest, as happens in all doubtful cases: besides that England will thus find more cause with appearance of right to make war against us. For if that be found true, which mean persons conclude, that all that are in partnership have a master; and that all such partnerships begin In the name of God, but use to end in that of the devil: ’tis much more true of kings and princes, who have outgrown all justice; and consequently as true, that so long as England intends to have the quiet or disquiet of Holland at their own disposal, she would be the worst and most tyrannical ally for us that were to be found in the whole world, unless the dread of a more powerful neighbour should curb that pernicious inclination.
To sum up all: so long as Holland can stand on its own legs, it is utterly unadvisable to make any alliance with those who are more potent; and especially it is not good to perform any thing first, or be before hand with those unconstant monarchs and princes, in hope that they will perform with us afterwards, according to the old saying, They that eat cherries with great men must pay for them themselves; and besides, suffer them to chuse the fairest, and expect at last to be pelted with the stones, instead of thanks for the favour received.
Benefit of alliances consists in never performing first.7. And consequently it is certain, that all the advantage in articles of an alliance consists in this, that Holland do always covenant that the other allies shall first perform their engagements. All other sort of alliances are very prejudicial to us: for by the proper constitution, or antient custom of our government, the deputies of the provinces upon all occasion will, where they can expect any private benefit, suffer themselves to be moved by foreign ambassadors to draw in Holland to their party, when they can see no detriment to accrue thereby to their particular provinces.
Especially because our generalities colleges are not settled according to our interest.And the following proverb takes place with those especially (whose commissioners for the generality are not concerned for the publick, so long as their provinces remain unburdened) That it is very easy to lie in the ashes with another man’s garment, and be warm. So also ’tis not difficult to take generous resolutions at the cost of another, to keep promise, to be liberal and merciful towards our neighbours, while all other potentates and states continue to deal openly and fairly with us. But supposing the other provinces might be somewhat concerned therein, yet is their interest so inconsiderable, that among their deputies we ever find that a general evil is weighed according to the weigher’s particular interest and no otherwise, how heavily soever another may be oppressed thereby; especially here, because they are seldom called to account by their superiors for their transactions.
And if any one doubts of the truth of these inferences, viz. That all superior powers, especially the monarchs and princes of Europe, play with their allies as children do with nine-pins, which they set up, and immediately beat down againas they please;For potentates trifle with oaths. and that he that first performs is ever the loser, and suffers shame, let him read the histories of Francisco Guicciardino, and Philip de Commines. And if these two famous politicians, the one an Italian, the other a Netherlander, writing of matters in which they had the profoundest skill, and in which they were very often employed; if they, I say, do not remove these doubts, much less will it be effected by any reasoning from me.
In the mean time, to conclude what hath been alledged above (viz. seeking our preservation by alliances) I shall lay before you that which the antients have figured out by the ensuing fable.
The general conclusion illustrated by a fable of an old and rich man, and a young country fellow.“A rich but weak countryman, observing that his poor and strong neighbour, contrary to preceding promises made of assisting each other, did notwithstanding steal his apples, and robb’d his orchard; told him of the injustice and perfidiousness of the thing, desiring that he would be satisfied with what he had. To this the strong boor answered, that this sermon very well became a rich unarmed man; but that he being hungry, could not fill his empty belly with such food. And as to his former promises and engagements for mutual defence, such kind of necessity is ever excepted, and that he could not comply therewith. Upon this the other weak and old boor having gathered a nosegay of sweet herbs and beautiful flowers, threw them to the plunderer, saying, I present you with these fruits, that you may not rob my orchard, which I use to sow and plant for the use and refreshment of friends. The impudent young fellow thinking with himself, that he must needs be very silly, who being able to take all, will be content with so small a matter, robb’d him more and more of all that came to hand; insomuch that the owner became impatient, and in great haste gathered up some stones, and threw them at the plunderer; who being grievously hurt, was necessitated to leap down from the tree and fly.Weak states improving their natural strength-do commonly defend themselves against a bold aggressing neighbour The old boor finding himself alone, broke out into these words, Formerly we used to say, in words, herbs and stones, there are great virtues; but now I really find the weakness of words and herbs, i. e. alliances, and gifts to knavish men. For all gifts and receipts are good for the physician, and the true antidote in all politick distempers, is good arms and treasure: so that to make an end, I say, that no body can defend his goods against wicked men, but by stones, that is, good arms, which are the only things left us, whereby we can bravely defend our lives and estates.
But seeing these conclusions do affirm, that Holland is able to defend itself against all foreign power, and yet the same is not sufficiently proved; there fore I shall do it in the following chapters more fully, with this reserve, that Holland notwithstanding ought for its own interest always to maintain the union of Utrecht, so long as the other provinces forsake not Holland, nor assault it in a hostile manner.
That Holland heretofore, under the government of a single person, was in continual tumults and broils. And that under a free government it ought, and can defend it self against all foreign power better than formerly.
Advisedly to consider whether Holland can subsist against all potentates,BEcause in the foregoing chapters, which treat of Holland’s making or not making alliances with its neighbours, it could be shewn only in part and by accident, that Holland effectually minding its own interest, can make a state in Europe independent of any other, and not to be overpowered by any foreign force: and that on the other side, there are many magistrates of opinion, or at least have been so, that Holland ought not only to be joined by the union of Utrecht, but also by a governor or captain-general, to all the other United Provinces; because if that province should happen to be abandoned by the rest, they say, it would by no means defend itself in time of war against a powerful enemy:We must not regard what flattering courtiers have given out; but to whom we may add the courtiers, and other flatterers of the stadtholder’s court, who have for a long time made the common inhabitants of the United Provinces believe, that all those countries united would not be able to repel the force of Spain with their own strength; and that therefore one permanent illustrious captain-general and stadtholders is very necessary for us, that by his interest and favour we may be able to obtain succours of France, England, or Germany, against Spain. For these reasons, and on account of the weight of the subject, upon which most of all that is here treated, or shall be said hereafter, depends, I find myself obliged to represent the same more at large, and that effectually.
A ruler that governs as if his state could not be secure, acts like a monster;In the first place it is evident, that there can be nothing more shameful nor prejudicial for a sovereign free government, than to hold for a maxim in the publick management of their affairs, that in a time of war they are not able to subsist against all their neighbours and states, whoever they be: for such governors do thereby make the welfare of their native country dependent upon those more powerful states, and content themselves of rulers to become subjects: which is the most miserable condition that any country can fall into by unsuccessful war.
And indeed if we may justly blame a sick person, who because he thinks he is mortally sick, will therefore use no physician;Because he not only neglects himself, but also his innocent subjects. we ought much more to blame those rulers, who by base and degenerate maxims lay aside the use of all wisdom, care and power, to strengthen and defend their country to the utmost extremity: for we might excuse the folly of a sick person, because what he does is at his own peril. And because every one is lord of his own, neither can it be simply said that he increases his distemper by neglecting the use of physick. But a magistrate, who is by nature and by his oath to provide for the welfare of his subjects, and to defend them against all force, ought to be accounted the most infamous of men if he neglects that duty.
If then by such ill maxims he uses the strength of his own country and subjects to give advantages to another, and is not only careless of his own, but of the welfare of his innocent people, he tempts his insolent neighbours, and perfidious allies, to attack and ruin his country in that unarmed condition: whereas, if he had made such provision for the publick defence as he ought, they would have been deterred from any attempt, and have continued peaceable and quiet. For as occasion makes the thief, and every one will climb over into the garden where the wall is lowest; so likewise the goods of unarmed people are ever common: but one sword keeps another in the scabbard; and two curst dogs seldom bite one another.
Deduction, part 2. ch. 3. fol. 6. Holland hath stood of it self 700 years together.But to come nearer to the matter in hand, I shall premise in the general, from the credit of undoubted history, that most of these Netherlandish provinces, especially Holland, whilst for many ages they were governed by earls and captains-general, not only lived in continual dissention and division, but were in perpetual war one against the other, as well as against their lords, and those that depend on them, unchristianly shedding one another’s blood: and the reason of it is very evident;It had breaches and tumults during the government of the earls and capt. generals. for tho’ the interest of such lords is often different from that of the state, and contrary to the common good of the people, yet have they very many persons that depend on them, and are of great power in the government; by which means it infallibly happens, (unless such lords could be divested of human nature) that they will endeavour many times to advance their own particular interests, with the assistance of their favourites and dependents: against which all good magistrates, who value the common happiness above all things, and esteem the welfare of the people to be the supreme law, are necessitated, in discharge of their duty, to exert themselves vigorously against such persons, without fear of their displeasure; and by this means the community falls into great divisions. For on the one side, the lord will not, and, according to the rules of the world, may not bow or comply, because his honour and authority stands engaged. And on the other side, the honest magistrates, relying on their consciences as on a wall of brass, will not be drawn from their necessary resolution;Because in those divisions they sought their own advantage. and if in so dangerous a conjecture the lord happen to be of a violent temper, or apt to be seduced by violent counsels, that country is often brought to great extremities.
And yet we know that notwithstanding these intestine disorders, suspicions and animosities, the Hollanders preserved and defended themselves against all foreign force. And it appears, by the negotiations of the president Jeannin, that prince Maurice, and his partisans, in the year 1608, was of opinion, that Zealand alone, parted from the other United Provinces, was able to defend itself against all the power of Spain; upon which the other provinces declared not to agree to a truce, but to continue the war.
Holland anciently much weaker than at present.This being premised in general, I come now to the matter in particular. In the first place, antient histories inform us, that Holland, before the breaking in of the inlet of the Texel, about the year 1170, according to Goederd Pantalcon, published by M. Vossius, or, as others say, about the year 1400, being destitute of the Zuyder-Sea, lay joined to Friesland, Overyssel and Guelderland, or at most was parted by the Rhine and Vlie, as before the year 1421; and before the land near Dort was overflown, Holland on that side lay joined to Brabant, and consequently had many more frontiers than now. And moreover it is evident, that these inland provinces had fewer cities, and less populous, and was therefore, in respect of their neighbours, every way weaker and poorer than at present.
Yet hath at all times defended it self well. P. Borre, book 23. fol. 56.And yet the states of Holland and West Friesland, from the unanimous consent of all our antient historians, inform us in their remonstrance to the earl of Leicester in 1587, that these lands (their lordships speaking of Holland with West-Friesland and Zealand) have for the most part been victorious against all their enemies, and have so well defended their frontiersagainst their adversaries, however powerful, that they have always had a good esteem and reputation among their neighbours: at least we may say with truth, that the countries of Holland and Zealand, for the space of 800 years, have never been conquered by the sword, or subdued either by foreign or intestine wars. Which cannot be said of any other dominions, unless of the republick of Venice. Thus far the said states.
Even against the king of Spain, heretofore very formidable.2. It is notorious, that the provinces of Holland and West-Friesland never had more powerful neighboursthan the kings of Spain, who having been earls of Holland and Zealand, and still claiming a right to that dominion, had an incredible advantage above all other neighbours to reduce these countries under their power, which were very much divided by many differences about religion and other matters; and yet Holland and Zealand alone, after they had supported a few sieges with resolution, so broke the formidable power of that wise and absolute monarch Philip II. of Spain, that other provinces afterwards by their example dared to resist him.
So that the other United Provinces have not brought Holland and Zealand into a condition of freedom, but Holland and Zealand them. And it is to be considered, that the other provinces (Utrecht excepted) have added nothing to strengthen and fortify the free government of Holland, or to free that province from any inconvenience to this day.Who was not only beat off, but other united provinces in the mean time fortified by Holland; But, on the contrary, Holland alone erected the commonwealth-government for the benefit of the other provinces, and has done so much for the other provinces, that every one of them (except Utrecht, which has always run the same adventure with us, is now provided with well fortified cities, magazines, ammunition of war, provision, and soldiers in garrison; or, to say better, inhabitants, who daily receive their pay out of Holland. And moreover, divers cities and forts in Brabant, Flanders,Cleve, East-Friesland, Drente, and Netherland, have been conquered, fortified, and provided with soldiers, provisions, and ammunition of war necessary for their defence at the expence of Holland.
In comparison whereof what the other provinces contributed was of little value.Against this, if any will object that Holland in the distribution of taxes pays no more than fifty-eight guilders six stivers 2½ pence in the hundred for their share, and consequently the other United Provinces have in some measure helped to bear the charge of the war: we might truly answer, that Guelderland and Overyssel contributed nothing to the charge of the army to the time of the truce; and that to the year 1607, we were necessitated at our own charge to compel Groeningen to bring in its proportion for the war by means of a castle and garrison. And it is certain that afterwards the yearly demand, or request of the council of state for taxes to pay the armies in the time of Frederick Hendrick prince of Orange, was purposely raised so high, that half the sum would very near defray that charge.Aitzma’s hist. lib. 32. pag. 774. So that when the said captain-general had once obliged the province of Holland to give their consent to the sum required, he used not much to trouble himself for that of the other provinces. And we have often seen, that in the hottest of the war against Spain, and in the former war against England, together with the eastern and northern war, as well as in the last English war, they have often refused to consent to the publick supplies; and more often have only given their consent for form-sake, in order to induce the province of Holland to consent to the charge; and having done so, because they dared not to deny their consents for fear of incurring the prince’s displeasure, they remained in default of payment, without being compelled to bring in their promised proportions; because our captain-general had rather by such favours keep the other provinces at his devotion, and especially their deputies of the generality (amongst whom were several who with good reason were called the cabinet lords) that by them he might be able perpetually to over-vote the province of Holland, and make them dance to his pipe.See in the year 1662. Sept. 26. Resolution of the states of Holland by L. V. Aitzma, B. 42. p. 481. And this is the true reason of the many arrears of taxes which those provinces consented to raise, but have not brought in to this day. Tho’ (if we relapse not again under a new captain-general) expedients may be found and put in execution for recovery of them, and for prevention of the like for the future.
Holland in the interim compelled to bow and groan under the yoke of the captain gegerals.3. It is to be observed, that Holland during all these broils and hardships, was under the government of earls and stadtholders or captain-generals, who have ever sought their own private interest to the prejudice of these countries, and have from time to time raised and fomented those endless intestine divisions, in order to make a conquest of the estates and rights of the gentry and cities of Holland and West-Friesland; so that it remains abundantly evident, that all foreign wars have been carried on and finished only by a part, or divided power of this province.
Most of the provinces inriched with the money of Holland.4. It is likewise observable, that almost all the United Provinces have continually lived upon Holland, not only by their deputies in some college of the generality and other offices of judicature, polity, and the revenues; but also by great numbers of their gentry, and other inhabitants, who, by favour of the captain-general have found means to get into the most profitable commands in the army, and are to be paid by the states of Holland and West-Friesland;See catalogue of the generalities officers, in Aitzma B. 41. p. 232. and for that reason, even after the peace was concluded, kept those land-forces long in great pay against the will of Holland, tho’ they had during the war endlesly multiplied those offices, and profits. And ’tis yet more remarkable, that almost all the United Provinces have continually preyed upon Holland, by bringing in very many mere provincial charges to the account of the generality, in the annual petition of the council of state, that under this pretext they might make Holland pay yearly more than 58 per cent. of divers sums, of which in truth Holland owed not one penny.Deduct. 1. part. c. 9. §. 15. 2. part. c. 6. §. 17, to 26.
Holland has cast of the yoke of all its enemies, but that of her own ministers.So that I shall finish all these considerations with concluding, that the stout and powerful lion of Holland had formerly strength enough to repel all his foreign enemies, and those of his allies, viz. of the other United Provinces: but (God amend it) I must add, that this strong and victorious creature, to the year 1650, had not the soresight, or fortune to escape the snares which were laid by his own ministers and servants. For our histories tell us, that the earls of the house of Burgundy and Austria, did by degrees more and more bridle and curb the Holland lion; and it is also as evident, that our former stadtholders and captain-generals have very well been acquainted with the politick maxim of lording it over a country, and bringing it under subjection: that the most powerful provinces and the strongest cities, together with the best and most venerable magistrates, were most insulted and brought into the greatest slavery.
So that every one may judge, whether the said stadtholders, and captain-generals might not without difficulty lessen and depress Holland, with its antient and considerable gentry, strong cities, and venerable magistrates, and by that means increase their own power, since, in all colleges of the common union or generality, they could very easily engage the most voices, to over-vote and compel the province of Holland, even in such matters wherein plurality of votes should have no place, neither by the right of nature, right of justice, or the common union.
And let the reader enquire, weigh and consider, whether the stadtholders and captain-generals following the same maxims, have not in all the provinces, and especially in Holland, very often taken off the meanest and most indigent magistrates from seeking the country’s welfare, and drawn them to their party; that in conjunction with others like themselves, they may either over-vote those who are more able, and more affectionate to the lawful government, or by force of arms turn them out of their magistracy, and introduce other needy persons, and sometimes such as fly from justice, to serve in their places.
Besides which, our stadtholders and captain-generals have left our lion undefended against the new invented military arts; or to speak clearer, have left the cities without any more than their old fortifications, so that they are not tenable against the new invented art of taking towns.The states of Holland never so much opprest under the earls of Burgundy or of Austria, They have also fettered and manacled these countries, by means of garrisons and citadels placed in the conquered cities; and have so ordered matters, that most of the governments and chief military offices in Holland have been put into the hands of strangers, but ever of their relations, or creatures, and very seldom intrusted with the gentry of Holland, and lovers of their country.
So that the power of the captain-generals was even in the year 1618, grown so far above the former power of the antient earls;As under the stadtholders and captain-generals of the house of Orange. and on the other side, the power of our nobility and cities so much diminished, that tho’ many of them for very small usurpations and encroachments of their earls, dared to exclude them out of their castles and cities, yet there was not one city of Holland (tho’ they knew that prince Maurice as captain-general came to put out of office all magistrates that were lovers of their common freedom, and to remove them from their benches) that durst shut their gates, much less make head against, and drive him from their walls.Aitzma b. 33. pag. 809. So that about the year 1650, it might still be asked, * whether these countries, by their servants of the house of Nassau, or their lords of that of Austria, were in greater servitude. And farther, it is well known to all, that some ministers of this unhappy lion of Holland have endeavoured to break and destroy all its inward power, by causing the union made for general defence to be so ordered, that in reality it had the same effect in the state as a continual hectick fever in the body, causing us to take up so much money yearly at interest, and for payment of yearly interest already due, that in very few years it would have proved as a canker, and have consumed all its vital strength.
Holland now is better surrounded by the sea and rivers.And on the other side, it is remarkable what advantage time hath since given us, viz. first, That Holland is wholly surrounded with seas, or mighty rivers: in particular to the eastward by the north sea; to the southward by many islands, and great rivers, as the Maese, the Rhine, the Issel, in part begirting Holland; to the westward, and to the northward, by the mighty inlets of the Texel, and the Vlie, and likewise the Zuyder-Sea, and the Vecht encompassing this country in part towards the west: so that Holland is now in all respects inaccessible, or would be in time of war, unless to one that is master at sea. At least it is evident that Holland hath no community at all with the frontiers or limits of the land, save with some few conquered cities in Brabant, with a very small part of Guelderland, as also and especially with the province of Utrecht.
And provided with great and populous cities.Secondly, It is clear, that Holland is now more than ever furnished with many great and populous cities and towns, whose inhabitants, by trading in all the commodities of the world, have incredibly enriched themselves; while on the other side, Brabant and Flanders are become poorer and weaker.See Bentivoglio Relat. b. 1. c. 7. And it must be confessed, that the said traffick by sea hath improved Holland’s strength of shipping to a higher degree than ever it was formerly.
And with a free government.Thirdly, It must be acknowledged, that Holland is now governed after a free republican manner; and therefore its inhabitants are able to pursue their own interest with an undivided and unbroken power, and not to be terrified or constrained in time to come by any one eminent servant of the state with his adherents, or, by any ill-practised union or mis-led allies, to be over-voted, ensnared, and depressed to its own ruin.
While the Burgundian and Spanish princes remain in Spain.Fourthly, It is observable, that the formidable Burgundian and Austrian power, which formerly was so grievous to us, is now fixed in Spain, to govern from so great a distance those Netherlands that join to our frontiers, by delegated governors, and appointed captain-generals, officiating in their respective employment for a very short time. Since therefore they with slow and limited instructions, and tied up hands, cannot perform that service to those extreme jealous kings and councils of Spain to the prejudice of us, we in that respect need not to fear them.
And their power is every way diminished.Fifthly, It is evident that the king of Spain, heretofore our old and most formidable neighbour by land, is not only weakn’d in his dominions, by the defection of Portugal, but by his manifold losses of territories, and cities situate in Brabant, Flanders, Artois, &c. is become so inconsiderable, that to obtain a peace of us, he in the year 1648 found it his best course to resign up his right to the United Provinces, and especially to that of Holland, with whatever he might any way pretend to; so that we are now wholly fearless from that side.
So that Holland is now better able than ever to defend itself.All which past mischiefs, and present advantages of Holland, being thus well weighed, methinks I might generally infer, that Holland is much abler now than ever ’twas formerly to defend itself against all foreign enemies.
Against which it is objected, that Holland landward is worse fortified than ever, and the adjacent provinces and cities are very strong.But some may object, that Holland for fifty years past having abandoned its own defence, and reversed all good maxims, has so contrived and constituted matters, that we cannot be safe unless by means of the other provinces; and that all our great advantages of good situation, populousness, and God’s unspeakable blessings upon the diligence and frugality of the Hollanders, have only served to strengthen the other provinces and conquered cities, so as to render them impregnable: insomuch that they now have no more need of us, unless to draw money from us; and that on the other side, we have left ourselves naked of all means, both of defence and offence.
Deduct. Milit. §. 75. And hath not kept its right of giving commissions to her own officers without the province of Holland.They may also say, that at the great assembly held in the Hague in the year 1651, Holland granted to the generality, and the other provinces, the right of giving patents or commissions to all the military officers of the respective allies: so that it may be affirmed, that this province hath utterly divested themselves of all kind of respect or esteem from the soldiery, who yet are paid out of our purse; tho’ they are for the most part in garrisons out of the province of Holland, and that we have not preserved that natural right which we have over them. So that if we should want any companies for the service of our province, we should be forced as it were to petition to have them of our said allies.
To which may be added, that we have been burdened with so many impositions, that it is impossible they can be long born by a country that subsists not of its own fund, but of manufactures, fishing, trade and shipping, whilst we are burden’d with endless incankering sums taken up at interest. So that we might hence conclude, that Holland is not indeed esteemed considerable by any of her neighbours, or allies by land; and that we on the contrary must stand in fear of all our nearest neighbours that are well armed. And he that doubts of this, let him but consider that divers provinces during the first and second war, dared roundly to declare, that they would not bear the charge of any war by sea whatsoever it were.Aitzma, hist. of 1654. p. 144, 357, 358. Let them likewise take notice that the province of Holland to this day could never find any means to compel the provinces that are in arrear of their quota’s, to bring in their multiplied arrears, to which they gave their consent: and therefore Holland in respect of all its adjacent neighbours by land, seems in all regards to be weaker than ever it formerly was.
How this happened against all rules of good government.And in truth, if the province of Holland had not heretofore been compell’d by a captain-general and stadtholder, to suffer the things before-mentioned, I should much wonder that we have continued so long in such an ill state of government: for it has always been a custom in the world, that the weak, to the end they might be assisted in their distress against their enemies, should enrich the strong in a time of peace by a yearly payment of money; and that the strong having received much money and tribute, whether in times of peace or war, should for all that never assist their weak allies in their necessity, farther than might agree with their own interest:While our fishers and merchants are taken at sea. and certainly he is a fool in grain, who carries water to his neighbour’s house, whilst his own is burning. Moreover Holland hath been for more than fifty years successively either made, or left disarmed, to strengthen its neighbours, and to make them rather than themselves considerable: so that in case of a war with them, we might fear lest our small unfortified, and unprovided frontier cities, and possibly the other great cities too, because of their want of fortifications, and exercise of arms, tho’ they are stronger inwardly, might be surprized, and fall into our neighbours hands.
For, to speak truly, tho’ we have been like good wrestlers and fencers, able to defend ourselves with our own strength, yet we have suffered ourselves to be deluded into a belief, that we should be better defended in case we gave up our arms to certain famous fencers, or to neighbours that boast themselves to be better able to wrestle and fence than we, and consequently to expel an enemy; whereas they are visibly weaker of body than ourselves. So that we having for so long a time delivered up, and lent out our arms, are, for want of exercise and using the sword, really become totally disarm’d and weak; insomuch that in case our weak champions should come to a battel, not only they but we also should fall by the sword: and besides, our weak neighbouring champions who have borrowed our swords, are no less mischievous than any other people. And therefore we are to expect, that they not only design their own advantage, and neglect ours, but also will conceive and esteem their own burdens very heavy, and ours very light; for I would not say, they will use the arms and power they have borrowed of us to our ruin, whenever they can effect it to their advantage. By all which it appears, that Holland is now less defensible than ever.
But he that examines this general position on both sides, must acknowledge, that as this weakness of Holland was caused by their own stadtholder and captain-general: and on the other side, Holland by the present free government is enabled to make use of all its abundant inward strength for its own preservation, and with more ease than ever to repel all intestine and foreign force whatsoever. Now to the end this conclusion may the better appear, I shall in the next chapter endeavour to shew, that Holland distinctly, and in regard of all her neighbours, not comparatively, but effectually, may very well defend itself against all inward and outward force whatsoever.
That Holland, during its free government, cannot be ruined by any intestine power.
An enquiry whether Holland may be ruin’d by factions.’TIS evident that no domestick power can subvert the republic of Holland, nor destroy the welfare of the inhabitants, except by a general conspiracy, sedition, insurrection, and civil war of the people and cities of Holland against one another, because they are so wonderfully linked together by a common good, that those homebred tumults and wars are not to be supposed able to be raised, except by inhabitants of such eminent strength, as is able to force the magistracy of the country to the execution of such destructive counsels.In case one province should take the prince of Orange for their head. And seeing now in Holland and West-Friesland there is no captain-general or stadtholder, nor any illustrious person except the prince of Orange; therefore we will consider, whether if the said prince, who is in no office of the generality, continuing in these provinces, might be able to cause or effect such ruinous and destructive divisions in Holland.
And indeed as I have a prospect, that if he should happen to get into any administration, he might occasion such divisions and breaches: yet on the other side, I cannot see how without employment, either from the generality, or this province, he could obtain so great an interest in the government of these countries, as to be able to cause a civil war, and make himself master of them, either with the old or a new title: for he being no general, nor having any military dependents, and out of all command, tho’ he might by seditious preachers cause a few of the rabble to rise against their lawful rulers;It is answered in the affirmative, but else not. yet this would not be like to happen at one time, and in so many places together, as to make an alteration in the provincial government. And that free government remaining intire, the new magistrates obtruded on the people upon this rising, would be turned out, and the seditious every time signally punished. And this would also tend to the great prejudice of the honour of the prince of Orange; besides, that by this means he would lose all hopes and appearances of ever being imployed in the country’s service; and on the other side might fear, that he and his posterity should for ever be excluded from all government and service in these United Netherlands by a perpetual law.
Much less could the deputies of the generality, depriv’d of such a head, be able to cause commotions.And if the prince of Orange be not able to cause such seditions and divisions, I suppose it could less be done by any college of the generality: for I would fain know in which of the cities of Holland would the states general, or the council of state, without a military head, be now able to alter the present free government by force or faction? Assuredly not in any one city. And from the lesser colleges of the generality such mischiefs are less to be feared.
But perhaps some may say, that the rulers or states of this province, of their own accord, or seduced by promises and gifts, forget that warning, fear those who are accustomed to do ill, especially when they make presents* , and will bring in the Trojan horse. But yet the arm’d men concealed in his belly, will never be able, by the conspiracy of some magistrates, to destroy our province, and to subdue and burn our cities by uproars against the rulers;Whether the free Holland rulers are likely to bring in the Trojan horse. but possibly they may by bringing in the horse, weaken our lawful governors, and leave our cities without defence, and then the horse may be drawn into the inward court, and into the feeble and weak assembly of the states. As Ruy Gomaz de Silva says of the Netherlands in general, “That they are more fiery than they should be for the preservation of their liberties, when by force they are attempted to be taken from them; and yet never any people have been so easy almost wholly to resign them.See F. Strada. lib. 6. And the emperor Charles the fifth used to say, that no people were so averse from servitude as the Netherlanders, and yet in the world no people suffered the yoke to be so easily laid on them, when they were gently treated.”See Bentiveglio, relat. lib. 3. ch. 7, 8. Besides which, cardinal Bentivoglio endeavours to shew by many reasons, that the United Netherland Provinces cannot long preserve their free government; but seeing the Netherlanders have never before been in the quiet possession of a free republick, at least not the Hollanders, there can be no example given of their neglecting their own freedom, or of corrupting them with money for that end. For when formerly it happened in Holland by unavoidable sad accidents, that we were necessitated to draw the Trojan horse into the inward court, we saw the fire and flame, snorting, neighing, and armed men spring from his body at pleasure, without regard either to the benefit or damage of the inhabitants. So we shall always find it true, in all chargeable and necessitous countries, governed by a few aristocratical rulers, and provided with but few unrewarded annual magistrates, that a great person obtaining there any power in the government or militia, will easily draw to his party all rulers and magistrates by the most considerable and profitable offices and benefices which he can confer;Why this happened in part in these Netherlands. or if any dare to stand it out against him, he would keep him out of employment, or deter him from maintaining the publick liberty: so that every one to obtain those advantages, or to evade those hardships, will be tempted to give up the freedom of his country; and it is no wonder that we have seen such dealings so often practised in these parts.
Viz. Because the earls, stadtholders, &c. were to be flattered, not contradicted.But it is also true, that when the princes of these countries were raised to such a degree, that they conceiv’d it was no longer needful for them to oblige the rulers and magistrates of the gentry, and cities, not doubting to bear them down by their great popularity among the inhabitants, or to suppress them by their military authority; it hath often appeared, that beyond expectation many good patriots, and lovers of liberty, especially many prudent, ancient, and experienced merchants, have then evidenced their zeal for the defence of their privileges, well knowing they should be forced to part with them under a monarchical government; and therefore joined with such rulers and magistrates as encouraged them to maintain their freedom, as far as they possibly could, nay, even the shadow of liberty, with their lives and fortunes.
It is not probable it will now happen so in Holland.All which ought to persuade us, that the assembly of the states of Holland, and the subordinate magistrates of this present free state, having in their own power the bestowing of all honourable and profitable employments; and which is more, not needing now to fear their own military power, and being able without scruple to command them, and by them to reduce other mutinous and seditious inhabitants to obedience, will not now be inclined to call in, or set up a head, which they would immediately fear no less than idolaters do the idols of their own making;Because all worthy rulers may perceive it would be their ruin. and not only so, but they must reverence his courtiers too, and beseech them that they would please to suffer themselves to be chosen and continued in the yearly magistracies, and bestow some offices and employments on them and their friends, changing the liberty they now enjoy as magistrates of a free state, into a base and slavish dependance. Which things well considered, we ought to believe that the Hollanders will rather chuse to hazard their lives and estates for the preservation of this free government.
As the states of Holland have plainly expressed it in Deduct. part. 2. c. 1. §. 9. &c.But if any one should get doubt of this, let him hear the states of Holland and West-Friesland speak in that famous deduction now in print, where their lordships have published their sentiment in this matter: for having been accused by some of the provinces to have done something repugnant to their dear bought freedom, they very roundly and plainly declared “That they are as sensible of those allegations as any others; and that they purpose, and are resolved to preserve and maintain the said freedom, as well in respect of the state in general, as of their province in particular, even as the apple of their eye. And that as they were the first and chief procurers of freedom both for themselves and their allies, so they will never suffer it to be said with truth, that any others should out do them in zeal for preserving and defending the common liberty.
§. 9. Nay, that it can hardly enter into the head of any man, according to the judgment of all political writers, who have sound understanding, That in a republick, such great offices of captain-general, and stadtholder, can without signal danger of the common freedom be conferred upon those, whose ancestors were clothed with the same employments.
“§. 10. Laying it down as unquestionable, and well known to all those that have in any measure been conversant with such authors as treat of the rise, constitution, and alteration of kingdoms, states and countries, together with the form of their governments, that all the republicks of the world, without exception, which departed from such maxims and customs, more particularly those who have entrusted the whole strength of their arms to a single person during life, with such others as continued them too long in their commands, have been by that means brought under subjection, and reduced to a monarchical state. And after very many examples produced for confirmation of what is alledged, their lordships further add:
They will not easily forget the violence of their own stadtholder and captain-general.“§ 22. And have we not seen with our own eyes, that the last deceased captain-general of this state endeavoured to surprize the capital and most powerful city of the land, with those very arms which the states entrusted to him? And moreover, that he dared so unspeakably to wrong the states of Holland and West-Friesland, whose persons he, as a sworn minister and natural subject, was bound to revere? that he seized six of the principal lords, whilst they were sitting in their sovereign assembly, and carried them away prisoners? And hath not God Almighty visibly opposed, broken and frustrated the secret designs concealed under that pernicious attempt, by sending out of heaven a thick darkness, with a great and sudden storm of rain, by which we were preserved?
“§ 23. And all things well considered, it might be questioned, according to the judgment of the said politicians, whether by advancing the present prince of Orange to that dignity, and those high offices in which his ancestors were placed, the freedom of this state would not be remarkably endangered: for God does not always miracles, neither are we to flatter our selves that these countries shall always escape that destruction which has ever attended all those nations that have taken the same course without exception.
“And lastly, the states of Holland and West-Friesland do thus express their unalterable resolution upon the last article. At least their lordships will on their own behalf declare, and do hereby declare, that they are firmly resolved to strengthen the foresaid union, viz. of Utrecht, for the conservation of the state in general, and for maintaining the publick liberty, together with the supremacy, and rights of the respective provinces, according to the grounds here expressed; and at all times, and upon all occasions, will contribute their help, even to the utmost, towards the preservation and defence of their dear-bought liberty, and the privileges of these countries, which are so dear, and of such inestimable value to them, that they will not suffer themselves to be diverted from their resolution by any inconveniences or extremities;They will not lose their free government but with the loss of their lives. nor will lay down their good intentions but with their lives, trusting that they shall be duly seconded herein upon all occasions by our other allies; for which the said states will send up their servent prayers to Almighty God. Amen”. This done and concluded by the said states of Holland and West-Friesland in the Hague, the 25th of July 1654, by command of the said states, was signed.
Herbert van Beaumont.
To which we shall add the perpetual edict of the 5th of August 1667. containing as follows,
In 1667, they made a perpetual law to preserve their free government.“The several states of Holland and West-Friesland, after several adjournments, and mature deliberation, and communication with the knights and gentlemen, and likewise with the councils of the cities, unanimously, and with the general concurrence of all the members, for a perpetual edict, and everlasting law, in order to preserve the publick freedom, together with the union and common peace, have enacted, as they do hereby enact and decree, the points and articles following
Prohibiting the electing of any magistrates,“1. That the power of electing and summoning in the order of the knighthood and nobles, together with the nomination and choice of burgomasters, common-council, judges, and all other offices of the magistracy in cities, shall remain in the power of the summoned knighthood and gentry, together with the cities respectively, as by antient custom, privileges and grants is confirmed or granted to them, or might still be confirmed or granted, with the free exercise of the same, according to the laws and privileges. And that the fore-mentioned nomination, or election, or any part thereof, shall not for ever be convey’d or given away.
Or confering any imployments, or admitting the same.“2. That all offices, charges, services or benefices, which are at present in the disposal of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, shall be, and continue in them, without any alteration or diminution, excepting only the military employments and offices which may become vacant in the field, and during any expedition by sea or land, concerning which the states of Holland will by a further order determine, not only of the provisional settlement, but also principally of the disposal thereof, so as shall be most for the service and benefit of the land.
“3. That the states of Holland and West-Friesland, shall not only deny their suffrages to the contrary, but also move the generality with all possible efficacy, that it may be enacted and established with the unanimous consent and concurrence of our allies, and by a resolution of the states-general; that whatever person shall be hereafter made captain or admiral-general, or have both the said offices; or whoever shall among any other titles have the chief command over the forces by sea or land, shall not be, or remain stadtholder of any province, or provinces. And forasmuch as concerns the province of Holland and West-Friesland, not only such person who shall be entrusted with the chief command over the forces by sea or land, but also no other person whatever shall be made stadtholder of that province;And secluding all stadtholders of any of the provinces from being capt. general. but the aforesaid office shall be, and remain suppressed, mortified, and void in all respects. And the lords commissioners of the council, in their respective quarters, have it recommended to them according to their instructions, to give all necessary orders, and to use such circumspection and prudence, as is requisite in affairs that may happen in the absence of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, wherein speedy orders might be absolutely needful.
And also swearing never to suffer any thing repugnant hereto.“4. That for the greater stability of these resolutions, and, for the mutual ease and quiet of the gentry and cities, all those who are at present elected into the order of knighthood, or that may hereafter be elected, together with all such as may be hereafter chosen in the great council of the cities, shall by their solemn oath declare that they will maintain the foresaid points religiously and uprightly, and by no means suffer that there be any incroachment or infraction made against the same; much less at any time to make, or cause to be made, any proposition which might in any wise be repugnant thereunto. Likewise the oath of the lords that shall appear at the assembly of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, shall be enlarged in the fullest and most effectual form. And the counsellor-pensionary for the time being, shall also be obliged by oath to preserve and maintain as much as in him lies, all the said points, without ever making any proposal to the contrary, or putting it to the question, either directly or indirectly, much less to form a conclusion.
And that all captain generals must swear to maintain all above-written, &c.“5. That moreover, for the further stability of the said third point, the same shall be expresly inserted in the instructions to be given to a captain or admiral-general; and he that is so elected, shall be obliged by oath, not only to seek it at any time directly or indirectly, much less to form a design to obtain it directly or indirectly; but on the contrary, in case any other should do it beyond expectation, that he shall withstand and oppose it: and if the dignity of stadtholder should at any time be offer’d to him by any of the provinces, that he will refuse and decline the same.”
And truly this solemn declaration, and perpetual edict of our lawful sovereigns, which passed with the unanimous consent of all the members of the assembly, who were in perfect freedom to form their own resolutions touching the preservation of their liberties, ought to be of greater weight with every one, and especially with us, than any other declaration made by the states of Holland and West-Friesland, when they were under the servitude of a haughty governor;All good patriots admire and value this liberty. or than the declaration of that formidable emperor Charles the 5th made to his own advantage, even tho’ we should add the foreign testimony of Ruy Gomes de Silva, or that of cardinal Bentivoglio, since they were not capable of experiencing or feeling how intolerably those shoes pinch’d us; much less could they be sensible how well pleased the understanding Netherlanders are, whether rulers or subjects, to find* themselves in a condition to declare with freedom their sentiments concerning the welfare of the nation; and living by the laws of the country, need to fear no man, as before they did. But above all other inhabitants, our vigilant rulers, who heretofore durst not open their mouths for the privileges of the land, the lawful government, and liberty of the people without incurring the danger of being sent prisoners to Lovestein castle, may consider with themselves, that they can now freely speak their minds for the benefit of their country, and themselves: and let this be well weighed by every one that has but one drop of free Netherland blood in his veins.
Whether our free cities, if at variance, could ruin each other.Lastly, it is to be considered, whether the prosperity and free government of Holland would not probably be destroyed, unless they have an illustrious head for life, even by the freedom which the members of Holland do now actually use, in giving their voices with the states of Holland, at the pleasure, and for the benefit of their respective principals, and by cross and contrary interests, dissentions, and wars of the cities among themselves; which some great men say, cannot be well prevented or quieted without such an illustrious head.
All republicks that have such a head, will come to ruin.To which I answer; that indeed all republicks without exception, which have constituted chief governors for life, vested with any considerable power in civil, and especially in military affairs, have been subject to continual intestine dissensions and wars, and have fallen for the most part into monarchical governments. This was the fate of all the Italian republicks, except some few that by those divisions and tumults had the good fortune to expel their tyrants, and by that means an opportunity of introducing a better form of government without the controul of such an insolent master. This was also the the fate of all the republicks in Germany, and these Netherlands, under their dukes, earls, stadtholders, bishops, and captain-generals.See Deduct. Part 2. ch. 3. §6. Which is not strange; for divide and reign being the political maxim of such heads, they will use all their art and power to raise and foment divisions in their territories, and fish so long in those troubled waters, ’till they overcome both parties; as all ages can witness.
But republicks without a head never will;2. I have considered, but cannot remember so much as one example of a republick without such a head, which ever fell into any mischievous intestine commotions that lasted long; but on the contrary, we ought to take notice, that the free imperial cities, or republicks in Germany, never make war against one another;As appears in Germany and Switzerland. and that the Cantons of Switzerland being mutually bound to a common defence (even as we are by the union of Utrecht) do very seldom contend among themselves, and if they do happen to take arms, very little blood is shed; and in a short time, without prejudice to their free government, they are reconciled by the mediation of the other cantons: so that their republicks have now stood near 400 years. Which can be attributed to no other cause than that the differing parties, mutually sensible of the mischiefs they felt, were not necessitated by any such chief head or governor to continue a prejudicial and destructive war: for those cantons have been always careful not to elect any commander or general during life over the confederated forces of the union.Who are cautious of chusing a political or military head. Neither have any of the said cantons ever thought fit to place a perpetual commander in chief over their own soldiers in the field, but always for the design in hand only; tho’ after their revolt from their lords of the house of Austria, they were necessitated to support a war, as long and dangerous as that we had against those of the same family.Deduct. Part 2. 3. §. 14. And for so much as concerns these United Provinces, let the reader please to hear the states of Holland and West-Friesland, who after many strong and weighty reasons add, “So that their lordships conceive they may firmly conclude, that in these lands hardly any other differences and divisions have ever existed, at least not of great importance, but such as have been formed on the account of those heads, or by their means.”While our political and military head has caused well nigh all our divisions, which can no more happen in our republicks, and why.
3. The cities of Holland by intestine wars would on both sides suffer infinitely more loss than the Swiss-Cantons, or any other cities far remote from one another. For all the inland cities of Holland, hardly one excepted, do as well subsist by trade, as those that are nearer to the sea; and the least sea-city would by that means be able to make the greatest booty of the strongest: as it is also known, that the least city of Holland may in a short time so well fortify itself, that it could not be taken by the greater. So that our cities lying so close together, the adjacent lands would in case of war be immediately ruined, and all the ways by land or water that lead towards the cities, would be so infested, that all trading would immediately cease. Wherefore both parties would forthwith be moved by the other disinterested cities to chuse a more profitable peace, in lieu of such an unprofitable and pernicious war.
Lastly, I observe, that all the cities in Holland are governed by few standing magistrates or city-councils, but rather by annual magistrates; and that so few persons as serve for magistrates so little a time, could not make so great and mischievous a war upon their neighbouring cities, and maintain themselves in their obstinacy, without being turned out of the government by their own inhabitants, who would not suffer such a temper to their prejudice to continue amongst them; at least they would be kept out of the magistracy by their competitors. And I believe no example can be brought of a few aristocratical rulers of a city, or republick purely subsisting by trade, who have ever long maintained an offensive war, without causing at the same time their own subjects to mutiny on that account, and to turn them out of the government.
Holland without a head can never be inwardly ravish’d.And accordingly I shall not only conclude, that Holland during its free government shall never be more subject to any durable, destructive, intestine dissention, much less to intestine wars, than the Switzer and German republicks: but I will add, that as the perpetual and true maxim of a government by a single person, is divide & impera, by raising and fomenting divisions among the rulers, magistrates and inhabitants, to make one party by degrees master of the other, and then to rule both: so it is also the true and steady maxim of all republicks, * to create a good understanding and mutual affection between the magistrates and people, by a mild and gentle government, because the welfare of all commonwealths depends upon it, and is destroyed by the contrary. And accordingly I shall finish this chapter by saying, that we should have reason to wonder, if any wise man ever believed that it is the interest of free republicks to chuse an illustrious head, vested with authority for life, in order to compose the differences that may arise among them: for I think we have already proved, that no surer way can be taken to introduce perpetual divisions into republicks, with foreign and domestick wars, and at last a monarchical government, than by setting up such an eminent commanding head.
That Holland during its free Government is very well able to resist all foreign Power.
What must be supposed that Holland may repel all force from without.I Shall now endeavour to shew that the republick of Holland, while an entire free government, can very well defend itself against any foreign force whatever. But first I must premise and suppose, that this is a sure effect of a free government, viz. that all the great cities of Holland must fortify themselves, and be provided with all things necessary for their defence; as also that the states of Holland must out of the common stock strengthen all the avenues and frontier cities of the provinces, which of themselves are too weak effectually to repel an enemy. For otherwise we may well be of opinion, that Holland will not be able to deal with the force of Spain by land; and that it might by surprize be overrun by the power of some other of the United Provinces; yea, that it might be easily plundered by its own conquered cities. But not to cut out more work, I shall, in pursuance of that position, look upon Holland, and all the other provinces, as being without union, league, or alliance with its neighbours: for as other countries may join in making war upon Holland, so Holland may make leagues with foreign powers to make war upon others: which cases would cause endless thoughts and considerations; and therefore I will presuppose, that when Holland shall have difference, or wars with any one of its neighbours, all the rest shall be neuter.
Therefore to come to the point, I say, that it seems needless for me to shew that Holland can very well subsist and endure all the force of France, Spain, England, and other lesser remote countries, since I think I have done it sufficiently in the foregoing chapters, when I treated of Holland’s alliances. So it remains only to be considered, whether Holland be strong enough to defend itself against the power of the neighbouring United Provinces, and of the associated or conquered lands and cities?
Holland can easily stand against the other United Provinces.Upon which I shall premise in the general, that Holland being so well surrounded by the seas and rivers, and broken by waters; so populous, so full of great, well fortified (for this must be supposed) and impregnable cities lying near one another, every one of which can produce an army; this being considered, I say no potentate in the world could invade us with an army: or suppose he were entered the country, it is clear that the said enemy, by the continual unexpected attacks of the adjacent cities, and, by the beating of his convoys, or such as bring in forage, would in a short time be necessitated, by the continual lessening of his forces, shamefully to relinquish the attempt and march away. All which they ought to foresee and expect, and much more of the forces and incursions of our neibouring Netherlands, and conquered cities.Because, those provinces gain more by peace and suffer more by war, than Holland. See a general catalogue of offices. Aitzma Book 41. p. 231.
Again, I must say, that all the said provinces do receive incomparably more advantage by Holland, than Holland does from them; which benefits would all cease by a war, namely, by virtue of the union, which, as it has been practised, the rulers and inhabitants of the other provinces draw profits from Holland; namely by embassies ordinary and extraordinary, by commissions and deputations in the colleges of the joint allies; or by offices or benefices in and about the government; in the courts of judicature, treasuries, and affairs of war depending on the generality, which are paid by the joint allies, by which they accordingly receive above 58 per cent. of all that they enjoy. To which we may add the profits they reap by administration, or offices about regulation of trade, and maritime affairs, whether at home depending on the admiralties, or abroad by being residents and consuls, &c. So that it is evident enough that all rewards must proceed from Holland alone; and by the traffick of Holland, and its wonderful populousness and vicinity, they consume all the manufactures and superfluous products of the inhabitants of the other provinces at high rates, and they receive out of Holland all that they want at easy rates: whereas Holland on the other side, in case of a war with this or that province, would not be sensible, or suffer in its traffick or consumption. And besides we see, that from the provinces of Guelderland, Friesland, Overyssel, &c. the poor young men and maids that are not able to live there by their trades and service, subsist in Holland very well. So that all the provinces are sensible, that a good and firm peace is at least as much necessary for them as for us, to maintain the prosperity of both. And yet it might happen, that some provinces may be so ill advised as to be drawn aside to make war against Holland; and therefore I must consider, and take a view of all the United Provinces in particular, viz.
Groningen and Friesland are now both by interest of government and situation, separated from Holland.Groningen and Friesland, with the conquered places of the generality, Bourtagne, Bellingwolde, Langakkerschans and Coeverden; which they have found means to bring under their particular power. Now, seeing they appoint or chuse their commanders there, remove or change their garrisons, and give commissions to their military officers, whereby it appears they need nothing of ours; and that they can sufficiently defend themselves against all foreign force. So that if they have a governor in chief, which in time might induce them to take mischievous resolutions, we might expect a destructive war to both parties most from that quarter, if it had not pleased God to divide us by the Zuyder-Sea, and the provinces of Utrecht, Guelderland, and Overyssel. So that from that side we need expect no hurt; and the rather, seeing by our strength of navigation we may presently stop all the commerce and navigation of Groningen and Friesland.
Overyssel being without a head can never make war upon Holland.As to Overyssel, it is well known that it is divided from Holland by Guelderland, and has no communication with us but by the Zuyder-Sea: and moreover, the strength of Overyssel is so inconsiderable, and their land behind lies so open, that they cannot make war against us but by sea; nor so neither, without hazarding their sudden ruin by the loss and want of all their traffick.And being now a free republick, will probably never chuse a head. So that while they have a free government, we are not to expect it. And if they duly consider the horrid intestine and foreign wars and discords, which they suffered in the times of their bishops, and governors of their republicks, and likewise the violent usurpation that they suffered afterwards under their lords and stadtholders, there is not the least appearance that they will ever consent to the choice of such a head or ruler; but if it should so happen, and they be prest by a contentious governor to war against us, it would be strange if such a war should be long-lived; for it is evident they could endamage Holland but little, if Holland would use its force against them.
Guelderland may make war upon us,As for Guelderland, it is manifest it hath much more communion with Holland than any of the foresaid provinces; for it joins to Holland about Asperen and Gorcum, and towards Bommelar is divided only by the Maese from the land of Heusden and Altena. Moreover it joins to the Zuyder-Sea, and hath under its power the mighty rivers of the Yssel, Rhine, Waal and Maese; whereby it should seem those of Guelderland are able to infest the traffick of Holland through the Zuyder-Sea, and by means of the said rivers to stop all traffick from above: and besides, the men of Guelderland were of old famous for their soldiery, especially for horsemen. So that it seems to lie conveniently for gaining of great booty from Holland by sudden incursions, and to make war upon us.
But on the other side it is as evident, that Holland having all the passages into the sea from the said rivers under their power, would straiten Guelderland more in all its traffick;But not without greater damage to itself. for Holland could carry all its fine goods in carts above the confines of Guelderland towards the Maese and Rhine, and there likewise receive the fine upland goods. And considering Harderwyk and Elburg are the only sea-ports of Guelderland, which notwithstanding are without havens, their robberies at sea would signify little, and besides be easily over-powered by Holland’s great maritime strength. As to their incursions by land, whether with horse, or foot; it is clearly impracticable by reason of Holland’s populousness, and being so full of canals, which would easily put a stop to the Guelderlanders.
Which cannot be confuted by the incursion of Martin van Rossem, and the booty he made in Holland.Their bold presumption of plundering the Hague, and carrying away the booty thereof in the year 1528, does not contradict what I say. For tho’ the duke of Guelder gave those of Utrecht assistance against their bishop, and for that end sent his general, Martin van Rossem, with armed men into that town; and that on the other side, the emperor Charles assisted the bishop against Utrecht; yet was there no open war between Guelderland and Holland: but the duke found it good to begin the first hostility, or be the aggressor, by Martin van Rossem, and to cause 1300 soldiers out of that garrison to fall suddenly into Holland, and having gotten a rich booty declared war against it. So that the Guelderlanders were then to be accounted to have made an unexpected treacherous incursion upon Holland from that bishoprick, when Holland had but few inhabitants, and was weakned by the Hoeksche and Cabbeljeausche factions; nay was indeed indefensible by reason the emperor Charles employed only the gentry and soldiery of Holland in his Italian, and other foreign wars. Besides it may be said, and not without reason, that Martin van Rossem did this by the privity of the emperor Charles the fifth earl of Holland, or the connivance of Margaret, because the states would not at that time consent to the money she would have Holland to raise:See Meer Beck Hist. p. 78. and Lamb. Hortens, p. 140. for the said emperor, or his governess Margaret, would send no soldiery to suppress the said Guelderlanders, nor suffer the Hollanders to pursue them. Besides, Martin van Rossem did not the least prejudice to the ministers of the court, nor to the officers of the earldom.
Guelderland lies perfectly open to Holland.And on the contrary it is well known, that all Guelderland, except the city of Zutphen, and the district of Nimeguen, lies wholly open to Holland; so that from Lovestein one might plunder the whole Bommelerwaad, yea and cut down its banks; and it would be the same with the Tielerwaad and Betuwe, and that quarter of the Veluwe must always expect incursions, and plunderings by our shipping. So that this war, which would be more prejudicial to Guelderland than Holland, would soon be ended by a firm peace on both sides, while they continue under a free government, and while the respective cities of Guelderland, especially Nimeguen, the chief of that province, do now find the sweetness of their own government, after having felt the weight of the late yoke of the stadtholders, or that of captain-generals, and must again suffer their legally elected magistrates to be violently turned out. Therefore ’tis to be believed that they will not precipitately elect a tyrannical head over them.
The province of Utrecht wholly indefensible.As to the province of Utrecht, it is well known that it lies wholly open, and jetting into Holland, and subsists purely by husbandry; and in that it bounds upon the Lek and Zuyder-Sea, seems in some measure to be able to disturb the trade of Holland, and for a great way to disturb the champion country. But he that will take notice of the great strength of Holland’s shipping, may easily conceive that the Lek, and Zuyder-Sea, lying before the province, might be made useless to them by our soldiers ravaging those parts by their sudden incursions and shipping. And that Holland being a broken country, by reason of its many waters, might not only plunder their open country much more, but also because it runs or jets so far into Holland, it may be absolutely seiz’d and kept by them, by which means those of Utrecht will be deprived of their best champion country.
Besides it is very observable, that all the cities of that province are wholly undefensible, without any appearance that they shall ever be fortified:And so will always continue. for Amersfort, Reenen, Wyk, and Montfort, are not only unable to bear the charge of it; and the city of Utrecht will not bestow their money to fortify cities, which afterwards will have less dependance on them; nay possibly they might injure that undefensible city the sooner: for we ought to know that that long square inland city being deprived of the sea, and all great rivers, will be ever chargeable to fortify and keep. And as if this were not enough to bridle that great city, their bishops of old suffered houses to be built without the gates; whence came those four very great suburbs upon all their considerable avenues, by which their fortifications are made of no use. And tho’ every one may see that this is the usual polity of the heads of a republick to weaken cities that are too strong for their purpose; yet afterwards when men have the good luck of having a compleat free government, it continues remediless.It will never make war upon Holland or endanger her liberty by such a head And accordingly I shall conclude, that the province of Utrecht being wholly undefensible, will never make war against Holland. And seeing it is the interest of Holland ever to seek after peace, and that all sparks of war so soon as they arise may be supprest during a free government: and seeing the mighty city of Utrecht of old, in the time of its episcopal government, and in the time of the last wars against the king of Spain, felt more than any town in the Netherlands, the manifold tumults and mischiefs caused by their bishops of the house of Burgundy, and other great families, and afterwards by the usurpation of the captain generals, or stadtholders, over their lawful government: it is therefore most unlikely that they will easily dissolve their free government by electing such a ruler over them.
If the two vassal cities in Zealand depend on the first Noble, then is Holland not only by situation but interest almost divided from Zealand.As for Zealand, it is known to consist in very fruitful populous islands, separated by mighty streams of the sea from all its neighbours; and besides it hath acquired by its power, divers cities and strong places, lying on the land of the generalities in Flanders and Brabant: so that the lords of Zealand have the disposal of the commands, and changing of the garisons of Lillo, Liefkenshoek, Axel, ter Neuse, and Biervliet. Insomuch that Zealand seems to be able to defend itself very well against all its neighbours with its own strength: besides which, the two good havens of Walcheren, Flushing and Veer, lie very commodiously to annoy the trade of Holland to the westward with their men of war.
On the other hand it is also true, that the inhabitants of Middleburgh and Flushing drive a great trade by sea;However it could not make war upon us but to its own ruin. and that those of Zierickzee and Veer do subsist most by their fishing; all which would be immediately ruined by the great naval power of Holland, which would be far more considerable against them, than their ships of war against us. And it is as certain, that the traffick of Zealand will produce them greater and more certain profit than any privateering at sea can do. Moreover, Holland hath by Bommene sure footing on Schouwen, whereby they might ruin all the rich husbandry of that island. Goes would at least have no benefit by that war, and is not able to resist the naval power of Holland in case they came to plunder it, or to burn their harvest. And on the other side, the Zealand islands have not strength of shipping sufficient to land and plunder Holland: wherefore I conceive that under their free government, every one would be ready to cry out, in a case of a war, nulla salus bello, peace is best for both parties.
Which by means of a chief lord might happen.But some may perhaps say, that the prince of Orange might, by means of the cities of Flushing and Veer, and possibly hereafter, by being the chief lord, and giving his vote first, in name of all the gentry in all the assemblies of the states, and in all colleges of the provincial government, having the first and the two last voices: so that having three of the seven, he must be thought sufficient to overrule that whole province;Tho’ come which will Holland can easily repel Zealand’s force and therefore the welfare or adversity of the people of that province, whether in peace or war, will not come so much into consideration as the interest of some court sycophants, and of such a powerful lord, who having so great a stroke in the government of Zealand, would be able to carry on very mischievous resolutions. I shall not need answer any thing to this, save that from what has been said already it appears, that Zealand would not really have more, but much less power by such a supreme governor, than by a free republican government; and that accordingly it would soon appear, Vana sine viribus ira, that Zealand could not repel the power of Holland, but Holland could very well repel the power of Zealand.
And the conquered cities being on the generality’s fund, are less able to make war against Holland.As to the conquered lands in Flanders, and about the Rhine and the Maese, it is evident, that they are so far distant from Holland, and so divided from one another, that they cannot hurt Holland. But Holland is much concerned in the conquered cities of Brabant, which are very strong: and altho’ Holland hath born most of all the charges to subdue and fortify them, yet during the former government of the captain-generals or stadtholders, they would and could keep Holland so low, that this province which bears most of the charges of the common union, was not allowed in any one place of the generality any separate power; whereas nevertheless those provinces that contribute so little in respect of Holland, as Zealand and Friesland do, have so many fortified places belonging to the generality, to dispose of separately, and whereof the other allies have no power to take cognizance. But God be praised that our frontiers are so well fortified against Brabant, that they cannot be taken by the towns of the generality any otherwise than by treachery: and besides we are so well divided and separated from Brabant by the Maese, Biesbos, and arms of the sea, that we need fear no enemy that way, altho’ those cities should rebel, yea revolt to the king of Spain.So that Holland is able to subsist against them all. So that by what has been said it appears, that Holland alone is well able to stand against all its neighbours.
That Holland, tho’ she don’t fortify her cities, if she keep united with Utrecht only, is able to defend herself against all the mighty potentates of the world.
Holland with Utrecht, able to secure itself against the worst that can happen,BUT now supposing the very worst that could happen, viz. that the rulers of the great cities of Holland neglect to put their cities into a sufficient state of defence; and that the states of Holland do not fortify the other lesser cities of Holland or their avenues. And moreover I will take it for granted, that the rulers of the respective provinces of Guelderland, Zealand, Friesland, Over-Yssel and Groningen, shall be so improvident and ill-minded, as to chuse one and the same person to be stadtholder, and captain-general of their republicks;If the other provinces should elect one head, and have foreign forces to join with them against us and that the deputies of the generality shall combine with that ruler to make him lord paramount of the said republicks. And I will also suppose that his blind ambition shall be as great as that of Lewis Sforza; who to preserve the usurped dukedom of Milan against the weak king of Naples, who pretended a right to it, invited the powerful king of France to make war against Naples; who, as strong auxiliaries usually do, first swallowed up the kingdom of Naples, and afterwards the dukedom of Milan. So that I shall now suppose as certain, that such a ruler of the other United Provinces, with some victorious French and Swedish forces, or any others joining with them, may endeavour on the sudden to bring into the heart of Holland a mighty army to subdue it, and divide it among them: supposing I say all this, yet I shall endeavour to shew, that Holland making due provision beforehand, shall be able to subsist against all those forces, as soon as the inhabitants shall be brought to a sufficient uniform sense of the matter, and that both rulers and subjects make use of their unanimous care and strength to repel all foreign hostilities; otherwise it is certain that no country in the world being divided and rent asunder can long subsist.
Yet we could be able to repel them, and how.But seeing that upon such an accident there would follow innumerable alterations among the other potentates of Europe, and those changes I should be obliged to guess at, which would be of great difficulty, and not suitable to my purpose of making observations upon the present state of Holland; I shall; that I may not miss my aim, and to clear myself of that trouble, say briefly, that the two provinces, viz. Holland and Utrecht, might in a little time, by making a graft, trench or channel, from the Zuyder-Sea into the Lek, order it so by sluices, that the country may all be overflowed at pleasure: this might be done with little charge, and yet be so strong a defence against any force, that humanly speaking, it would be impossible to subdue it by any outward power. This position is strengthned by the judgment of William the elder prince of Orange, who, as I have either read or heard, was ever of that sentiment, and had schemes of it made by the best ingineers of that age.
Viz. by making a graft, which would render us invincible by land.They that are skill’d in these affairs, will find it practicable in the following manner, viz. If a summer were spent to surround Holland with such a graft or channel, beginning at the Zuyder-sea, between Muyden and Muiderberg, running from thence south to the Hinderdam, from thence to the east side of the Vecht through the Overmeerse Polder to the Overmeer; from thence within the east or west side of the Vecht, about a hundred or more rods from the same, or close by it along to the fittest place; and in that manner following the Vecht to the city of Utrecht, and to run east about the city, and inclose it in the line; from thence along the new Vaert unto Vreeswyck, digging throughout a graft ten rods wide; and the walls, bulworks and proper flankings taking up one place with another the like breadth of ten rods: such walls and grafts would certainly be invincible in so populous a country against all the potentates of world. And supposing it might be taken by approaches, yet would the whole land be entirely open behind, that in the mean while new intrenchments might be made. Yea moreover, supposing that were not done, what army in the world would dare to force a breach, where a whole army of the enemy should be ready on the inside to resist the stormers, as would here be the case?
And if any object, that this graft is either not practicable, or too chargeable; I shall add, that this line would take up twelve thousand Rhynlandish rods, which would enquire 400 morgens or Dutch acres of land; this being valued at 700 guilders each, it would amount to guilders 280000
But the said graft might likewise be digged after the following manner, which would be less chargeable, and would best suit with the unfortifiable part of the province of Utrecht; namely beginning at the Zuyder-sea along, or within the west-side of the Eem, and to the eastward of the city of Amersford;After another manner not above 1400000 guilders. passing there over the Eem, and to the eastward of the city of Amersford, to comprehend it in the line; and thence forward south to the fittest place over Woudenburg, along unto the Lek, about and to the eastward of Wyk to Duursteede, for the taking of that city likewise in; which line would be in length eleven thousand Rhynlandish rods.
If the first way be taken, then the Lek between Vreeswyk and Hondwyk, is to be kept with redoubts to the length of about twelve hundred rods. If the second way be taken, the Lek would then be to be kept between Wyk to Duurstede and Hondwyk, the length of about four hundred rods.
’Twould yet be necessary to lay out in fortifications 470000 guilders, and why.Moreover, when it were needful for securing the land of Gorcum, Vianen, and the Alblasserwaard, there may be digged another such like graft and wall from the Lek about Hondwyk, to the wall about Lovestein, and that over Akkoy along the borders of Holland: which line would be about six and thirty hundred Rhynlandish rods, and by consequence there would be taken up one hundred and twenty morgens of land, each valued
And lastly 430000 guilders to be paid once for all.From Lovestein to the city of Heusden, the Maese would be serviceable for the preservation of the land of Altena, which should be provided with redoubts the length of about 4000 rods.
All which would be but one sixth part of the yearly demands of the council of state for 1629.This in all would amount to two millions, and five hundred thousand guilders, in case it was begun about the Vecht; and if it were begun about the Eem, two millions three hundred thousand guilders, besides the fortifications which might be raised along the Lek and the old Maese.
And if it be observed, that the money which the council of state yearly demanded in the time of prince Henry of Orange, did oft-times amount to more than sixteen millions;And then there would be less to be kept by garisons than Bolduke, Bergen. and Breda now require. and that the same for the year 1629, when the Bosch was taken, came to twenty-one millions, and seven hundred eighty-two thousand two hundred sixty-eight guilders, you will then clearly see that those campaigns and sieges in that offensive war, even when they succeeded best, and we made bonfires for joy, cost the province of Holland alone, omitting the other United Provinces, four or five times more than such a graft would amount unto; besides that the Bosch or Boisleduc, with its circumjacent forts, Breda, Bergen-op-zoom, and Steenbergen, with their outworks and adjacent forts, do make together a far greater line, which either in peace or war will cost abundantly more: and it is evident, that many of the honest Hollanders have been made to believe, that such conquests have been very advantageous, if not necessary. So that it seems to me that such a graft and walls, which will last Holland and the province of Utrecht for ever, and sufficiently free the country from further charge, will be found exceeding more profitable for these two republicks, when it is effected.
Utrecht inseparably link’d to Holland’s interest both by situation and government.Lastly, it may be objected, that it is here taken for granted, that the province, or at least the city of Utrecht, ought always to join with Holland; whereas it may happen, that that city may join with the enemy to ruin Holland. I acknowledge, if the sky fall we should catch store of larks, because all those things are possible, but it would be a great wonder if all those things should happen: at least it is not likely that the city of Utrecht enjoying a free government will ever make war against Holland, because the interests of these two republicks are perpetually link’d together, and the province of Utrecht has of old been, and is at this day, the most faithful ally to Holland, as lately appeared by their readily bringing in their quota agreed on for carrying on the last war against England, as also in mortifying the stadtholdership.
And by mutual inclination, having of old run the same fortune with us.And besides that great city hath of old found the government of a single person so uneasy, that it hath always been of Hock’s faction, and endeavoured more than any other after a free government, being neither able nor willing to submit their necks to the bishops, lords or stadtholders yoke. And it is observable, that for that very reason the inhabitants have gotten the name of mutineers. For those that eat cherries in common with great spiritual or temporal lords or princes, must suffer them to chuse the fairest, and yet be pelted with the stones; or if they oppose it, they will be forthwith excommunicated for hereticks, and punished as seditious fellows.
Lastly, the province is in itself very weak by its inland situation; and continues still unfortified as well as Holland, by reason of the maxims of the lords stadtholders and captain-generals: so that there is nothing more to be wish’d for by them, than their maintaining a free government, and erecting such fortifications. And seeing experience and a well-known political maxim teacheth us, That there is no state in this world so secure, that has nothing left unsecure; I have already given so many reasons and instances to prove that the republick of Holland can subsist of itself against all its neighbours, and that it is a hard matter to name any other state in the world of which the like may be said with more certainty: but if the reader hath any doubt remaining, I shall endeavour in the next chapter to clear it.
That every great city in Holland, whether it be well or ill fortified, is able to defend itself against all force from without.
Every great city in Holland can subsist of itself,I Shall now endeavour to shew that each great city in Holland is able, no less than other republicks consisting of one city, to stand against all the potentates in the world. To which end this rule of politicians and engineers comes into my mind, that all great cities that can abide a siege of a whole season, must be counted invincible; because, tho’ all things succeed well with the besiegers, they can in no wise compensate the charges of the siege; and that that power and expence might with much more benefit and certainty be applied against cities which are not so strong nor so well fortified.
Because it-is able to stand out a winter’s siege.Besides which, for the taking such a city a very great force of men and money is required, which is seldom found among monarchs, because of their living so magnificently, and that the treasurers of kings and princes consume all their revenues; and we seldom find such republicks so foolish (unless they are ridden by some tyrant) to make such detrimental conquests. For an incredibly great army is necessary to surround so great a city; and while one side of it is attack’d with a great strength, those on the other side may make such terrible sallies, that the enemy shall not be able to keep any watch in the approaches or redoubts, so that thereby whole armies may be ruined.
In which time the city may be reliev’d or the siege raised.And lastly, tho’ all things succeed well with the besiegers, it is certain that scaling of walls causeth great destruction among the assailants, because the besieged, with the great military power which they have in readiness in the places of arms, or about the breaches, as a reserve, may easily beat back the assailants: therefore such places are usually taken by famine; and seeing the besiegers cannot without difficulty cast up lines of circumvallation, or intrench a city, and yet with more difficulty intrench themselves well in so great a compass of ground, as to be able to defend themselves against a great and populous city, and to supply their own army with all the necessaries requisite for the famishing of the city: we therefore see for the most part, that those obstinate besiegers do melt and consume away, and their great armies come to nothing. And moreover the neighbouring potentates are commonly very jealous, hodie tibi, cras mihi, of such formidable growing conquerors; so that in time succours happen to come from whence it is not look’d for, according to the proverb, time gained, much gained;Which is proved by examples. and in truth, the life of all men depends upon these political maxims, that no man will ruin himself to undo another: so that the contrary hereof is neither to be credited nor practised in the great cities of Holland, so as to make them continue in a defenceless posture.
For besides all the reasons abovementioned, this political rule is established by experience, that all great cities that can hold out the siege of a whole season, ought to be considered to be able to subsist for ever, seeing at this day many republicks, consisting of no more than one city, have maintained themselves some hundreds of years against all their enemies, altho’ many amongst them are but meanly fortified, and others tho stronger are but small.
And moreover among the said republicks, consisting but of one city, there are several republicks, wherein there are neither great nor fortified cities, and yet by their own government, the jealousy of their neighbours, and other circumstances, or human accidents, have stood very long. We are indeed strong when we dare be our own masters, and when the inhabitants begin to know the metal or strength of a people that will fight for their freedom, and when the people of a republick understand aright the weakness and mutableness of a monarchical war, and that the republicks do oftentimes ruin the great armies of monarchs by good fortifications and orders; or can quietly sit down, and be spectators of the great desolations, and ruinous revolutions which monarchs do continually cause among themselves by their field battels.
Moreover, supposing the great cities of Holland were so improvident, as that during their free government they should neglect the strengthening themselves with good fortifications, gates, walls, and grafts, but took care only to furnish themselves sufficiently with good arms for their inhabitants, and to exercise them thoroughly, those cities might subsist very well against all foreign power;Tho’ the great cities be not fort fied, yet might they resist foreign forces. and according to the political maxim which teacheth us, that all populous cities which can raise an army out of their own inhabitants, cannot be either besieged or conquered; because a dispersed army without shelter, must needs give way to one within that is united and sheltered by a city. Vis unita fortior dispersa [Editor: illegible text] an united force is stronger than a scatter’d one.
All which appears by examples.All that hath been said, whether of fortified or unfortified populous cities, that provide their inhabitants with arms sufficient, and train them up in the use of them, is strengthened by experience: and we shall say, that lately, during that great devastation of countries and cities of the great and potent electors and princes of the empire, all the free imperial cities have very well secur’d themselves, as Francfort, Strasburg, Ulm, Nuremburg, Breslaw, Lubeck, Hamburg, Bremen, Cologn, &c. against the emperor, Spain, France, &c. except poor innocent Straelsond, which tho’ really impregnable, yet terrore pannico, dreading the imperial victorious arms, took in a Swedish garison for its defence, but in truth leap’d from the smoak into the fire, and so lost her dear liberty.Of the free imperial cities of Germany. Thus have those inconsiderable, or small Switzer republicks and cities, viz. Zurich, Bern, Bazil, Schaffhuisen, Friburgh, Lucerne, Solothurn, St. Gal, &c. preserved themselves some hundreds of years successively against Austria, Spain, France, Savoy, and Burgundy;The Cantons of Switzerland. yea, even little Geneva hath done the like.
Ragousa.Thus that small city of Ragousa subsisted very well against the great Turk, Austria and Venice, which is not above 2000 paces in circumference, and in its greatest prosperity could not be inhabited by more than ten thousand souls, men, women, and children.Lucca. Thus subsists little Lucca, which hath not above twenty-four thousand souls in it; yet by its republican government, and good fortifications, keeps its ground against the Pope and Genoa, and the duke of Tuscany, and the king of Spain as duke of Milan.
It is not strange to see such incredible fruits of a free government: because for a man to be his own master, and consequently to feed, clothe, arm and defend his own body, which he always unfeignedly loves, and will provide for and defend to the utmost, is certainly an incomparable, if not an infinite advantage above slavery, where a single person hath the charge, takes care of or neglects other mens lives, healths, and safeties, according to his own will and pleasure.
The cities of Holland can better subsist than those forenamed.And if this be true, as it certainly appears to be, we ought in my judgment to esteem that not only all our great cities of Holland which are situated on havens and great rivers, are impregnable, yea not to be besieged or approach’d to, if once they can put themselves into a state of good defence, and convince their inhabitants, that their own strength is sufficient to repel all foreign force:Vid. Strad. l. 7. Which the example of Harlem taken in 1573. by the Spaniards doth not contradict. But methinks it is also consequently true, that all our great inland cities, as Harlem, Delft, Leyden, Alkmaer, &c. are sufficiently able to defend themselves against all force from without, under a free government, in case they neglect not to provide themselves with all necessaries according to their power.
And tho’ it may be objected, that Harlem being formerly besieged a whole winter by the Spaniard, was yet taken at last. I answer, that Don Frederico, who commanded there in chief, repented oft that ever he began that siege; and he himself was for abandoning it, and would so have done, had it not been for that obstinate and impolitick duke of Alva’s son, who wrote him contumelious and reflecting letters about it, and thereby compelled him to continue that siege. And besides it is notorious, that some such imprudent sieges, as that of Alkmaer, Leyden and Zierickzee, did occasion the breaking of the Spanish power, and the mutinies of the soldiers at that time, as it did afterwards to arch-duke Albert when he besieged other cities. And moreover, Haerlem at that time had not half the strength and number of men as it has now; for being newly revolted from its mighty prince the king of Spain, and the Romish religion at once, it must necessarily, by reason of that new government and religion, and especially by treating the Spanish and Romish inhabitants too hardly and reproachfully, have been at that time much divided and weakned, and not well able to bridle those discontented inhabitants. And yet with that divided force, and their weak walls, they were able to keep off the army of their old sovereign a long time.Because our cities have great advantages above others, therefore is that maxim the stranger. So that this example of Harlem seems rather to strengthen than weaken the said maxim, that all the great Holland cities continuing in a free state, that are able to form a well-armed and disciplined army out of their own inhabitants, are impregnable. And we lie in so cold a climate, that it is impossible, unless the enemy design to consume a whole army, to hold out a winter’s siege. Besides, those cities lie not above a league and a half from the sea on low and plain lands, which for the most part may be put under water in the winter: so that they have naturally and of themselves great advantages, and besides might easily be fortified; and men to defend such fortifications are easy to be found here from our own inhabitants, and those of neighbouring countries. These are natural advantages, which are not to be acquired by art or money; but all other necessaries depend on the provident care of the rulers, who I conceive ought ever to be employed about that work during their free government, without further loss of time; for (chi a tempo, non aspetti tempo) he that has time, and does not improve it, shall never be wealthy. If hereafter a stadtholder or captain-general be obtruded upon them, and they would then possibly make it their business to fortify themselves, they might have cause to fear his displeasure for it.
So that the rulers ought not to suffer suburbs to be built.For in the first place, the suburbs of cities in times of peace having all the privileges of cities, and paying no taxes, are like wens in the body, which attract much nourishment, and are very troublesome, and yet good for nothing; and on the other hand, the same suburbs in time of war do not defend the city from the enemy, but are commonly the occasion of their being lost, and so may be likened to cancers, which cannot be cut or burnt off but with the hazard of a man’s life, a great charge, loss and pain, to which extremities people are not commonly willing to come but when ’tis too late; so that one may truly say, that that maxim can never be sufficiently commended, that the rulers of free cities should prevent all out-buildings, or suburbs, under what pretext soever.
And to keep vacant places within the city,And consequently the second thing to be taken care of by rulers, is in time to enlarge their respective cities according to the increase of their inhabitants, or traffick, and continually to have many void places to set out for buildings within their walls, as for all publick known uses and accommodations, so for other unexpected occasions, whether in peace or war, and especially against a siege, to secure and harbour the country people with their cattle, fodder, corn and firing; which sort of people during a siege, can dig, and undergo rain, wind, cold and heat, and so may be singularly useful, while they have left the land round about them naked to the enemy;Which are necessary both in war and peace. who otherwise would, by the assistance of themselves and their provisions, be enabled to continue the siege longer, and to starve the city. And moreover by this method, if a city in time of war be well fortified, many inhabitants of the weaker neighbouring cities may there have protection, and many of them will afterwards settle there in time of peace, when by their losses they have learned the great advantages which in times of war, and the great conveniences and pleasure which in times of peace the inhabitants of great and strong cities do enjoy, above those small and weak ones. Rents would likewise be always kept low by reserving of ground in cities, to the exceeding benefit of them in times of peace, seeing thereby traffick and trades might be followed at a cheaper rate, and the inhabitants might dwell in healthful, convenient, and pleasant houses.
The magistrates ought to fortify their cities well,The third care of rulers ought to be to surround their cities with good walls and flankings, and provide great gates, and convenient watch-houses; and also that each gate have a fit place to draw up the soldiery in: and in the middle or heart of the city, near the town-hall, (whence all the vigour and strength must be dispersed over the whole body of the city) there ought to be placed the great guard, and place of assembly, with sufficient ground to draw up some thousands of men in order to lead them out thence, where they shall be most useful, whether against insurrections within, or assaults from without.
And to provide all necessaries against any enemy.The fourth care of rulers ought to be, to build houses for arms, and in time to provide them with all sorts of offensive and defensive weapons. It is probable that every great city would require 250 pieces of ordnance, and arms for ten thousand men: shovels, spades, waggons, spars and deals, are in such cases also necessary; as are likewise publick buildings for provisions, corn and fewel. This being once done, it might be maintained with very small charge. But provisions are perishable wares; corn is preserved with great charge; turf may always be had in a short time out of the country, so that in time of peace barns seem to be sufficient, which may be let out to the inhabitants at a small rent, who oft-times would themselves fill them with corn, seeing the traffick of Holland, and small or low interest, added to the free hire of garrets, might possibly cause many that live on their rents, when the prices of corn are low, to lay out their money upon it, in hopes of profit by raising of its price.
And constantly to exercise the rich citizens in arms.The fifth care of rulers ought to be, thoroughly to exercise their wealthy inhabitants in arms, for those you have always at hand in time of need; and the rich citizens will serve faithfully without pay to defend the lawful government and their dear-bought liberty, and will steadfully endeavour the preservation of other mens goods from all violence, whether domestick or foreign. The poor inhabitants ought in time of war to be taken into pay, tho’ it be but small, thereby to prevent their inclination of making mutinies or uproars, and they should be commanded by none but rich and trusty citizens.
Lastly to have in store some tho’ not much money.The sixth and last care of the magistrates of cities ought to be, to have some money, tho’ not much beforehand. And since some may wonder, considering that in the general opinion of men, money is the sinews of war, that I put it in the last place, and besides that I presume to advise the keeping only some money in cash: I shall therefore add, that the maxim, that money is the sinews of war, is never true, but where all means of defence and offence is provided. For every one knows, that toothless and unarmed gold cannot be defended but by sharp iron: and that great and unarmed treasures, or chests of money, entice mutineers within, and all enemies from without, to plunder.Because our government consists of too few to be long burdened with needless impositions, and not be subject to tumults. At least that maxim hath seldom any place but to make field-armies stand to it in sieges, or to cause men to keep their station at advantageous passes, and thereby to outstand or famish an enemy, and when the enemy gives way, to attack them. But in cities that maxim holds not, unless they have already provided themselves with that for which men gathered or laid up money. And seeing in governments where so few are rulers, as in the cities of Holland, money is so oft measured and striked, and so much of it sticks to the measure and striker as the rulers please; so that good regents and patriots must take special care, that the money be immediately imployed about things necessary to the durable welfare, ease and ornament, of the city, before it be expended through alteration of the government by indigent rulers, and haters of the liberty of our native country, to our ruin in building tyrannical castles, or by letting it drop through their fingers into the blew-bag.And that money may otherwise be ill expended.
And being provided with all necessaries, the rulers ought to lay up a stock against unexpected accidents.And when men have gotten all these necessaries, it’s then time to gather a stock of money. For in times of adversity, when things run cross, and unexpected accidents happen, money is very necessary to procure all that was neglected or esteemed useless in time of peace. But for great treasures, the cities of Holland should not aim at them, for these would cause great imposts and heavy taxes, which would make the rulers of a rich mercantile city, consisting of a small number of people, so hateful, that by such impositions, when necessity requires not, they would be lookt on by the subject as plunderers of the commonalty, and run the risque of being kickt out of the government. The people would easily think, that they had reason to believe, that if the rulers sought only the welfare of the subject, and accordingly depended on their defence, and to that end gathered of their own inhabitants the money thereunto necessary, that they could then also subsist with such small imposts as other republicks do. And the rulers ought to know, that many republicks have subsisted a long time against very potent neighbours without any imposts; and some with very few, but none in the world by such vast ones as are levied in the cities of Holland. So that it will be a miracle from heaven if it be long borne by cities that cannot live upon their own fund, or country, or unalterable situation, but where all the inhabitants must subsist and live upon fickle traffick, and the uncertain consumption of manufactures and fishing.
Little concern needful for good alliances,Lastly we may add what has been said already, that the rulers of the great Holland cities ought to provide themselves with good allies of some of the neighbouring cities and lands, who are most concern’d in their safety. But when all things are so well provided, such cities are usually helped without previous alliances or mutual obligations; but when unprovided, there is nothing for all their care and charge to be gotten but good words under hand and seal, which are all but feeble things, and are construed according to the sense of the strongest, or of him that hath no need of assistance. So that such alliances before necessity requires, need not be too anxiously sought after, especially with the advance of much money. Moreover it is well known how strictly and well bound all the United Provinces are by the union of Utrecht, and all the Holland cities by the provincial government.
For jealousy will occasion them of itself.And if the worst should happen, yet nevertheless all the great Holland inland cities by their vicinity, and communication with the North sea, might expect from thence in their extremity some succours; and if the besieged behaved themselves any thing well, one or other of the cities of Holland lying at a sea port, will be inclined to help them, were it but for enjoying the benefit of the consumption or transportation of their commodities, which they either supply them with or receive of them. But when all is well considered, it is most advisable for all rulers to provide themselves so well of all necessaries, as if none in the world would or were able to help them but themselves, which is a thing feasible enough, as hath appeared by what I have already laid down.
The conclusion of this chapter, that every great city can subsist of itself.And therefore I hope by what is before alledg’d, it is evident, that every great city of Holland, no less than other republicks consisting but of one city, may very well defend it self again all the potentates of the world; so that it is at last made evident that this republick, or all the gentry and cities of Holland and West-Friesland conjoined, may very well be able to defend themselves against all foreign power whatsoever: which is the thing I had undertaken to prove.
Thus having in the first part observed the interest and maxims of Holland in relation to its inhabitants within the country;That fisheries, manufactures, traffick, &c. chiefly ought to be indulged. and in the second part duly considered Holland’s interest as to all foreign powers, I shall now end this second part, laying before the reader a short view of all that has been said at once, and shew him the inferences and conclusions which every one ought to make from the same; viz. That in the first place, and before all other matters, fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation ought to be indulged and favoured.
Toleration in religion very useful to that end.And Secondly, That to that end, the freedom of all religions for all people is very necessary, viz. such freedom whereby all the rulers should be of the publick reformed religion, who are bound to defend and favour the same by all lawful means; yet so that the other religions may not be persecuted by placaet, but publickly tolerated or favoured, and defended against all the violence of the rabble.
Liberty for strangers,Thirdly, That necessary freedom be given to all strangers to dwell in Holland.
And all handicraft traders to deal with us.Fourthly, That it is necessary that every inhabitant of Holland have the liberty to follow and exercise merchandize, their own occupation, and mechanick trades, without the controul of any other inhabitants.
Freedom from imposts, &c.Fifthly, It is above all things necessary, that the rulers be prudently wary and cautious, how they lay imposts upon consumption, and especially that they be circumspect in charging of merchandize, or levying any convoy-money upon ships or goods imported or exported, without distinction, as also in charging of ships let to freight.
Impartial justice.Sixthly, That the justice of Holland be accommodated or framed, not to the benefit of the officers of justice, but of the inhabitants, as also e mercaturæ bono, more to the interest of the merchant.
Seventhly, Here is also shewn that which is necessary for all sorts of governments, and especially for republicks, which cannot subsist without continual attracting or alluring in of fresh inhabitants, and to keep them employed about manufactures, fisheries, traffick and shipping;Colonies. above all, it is absolutely necessary in Holland, to make new colonies in foreign parts, that from time to time they may discharge their supernumerary, poor, straitned, and discontented inhabitants with honour, convenience and profit, whereby also they may encrease commerce.
To keep the sea uninfested from rovers.And forasmuch as in the second part we have handled Hollana’s just aud true maxims relating to foreign powers; it is in the first place clear, that the narrow seas ought to be kept intirely free from pirates, and that merchants ships in the Spanish and midland seas be continually defended, and freed by ships of war from Turkish piracies.To pursue peace. As also that peace should by all means be sought with all people: but yet that Holland must not seek its preservation from alliances;And that Holland be fortified; which has all not only appear’d to to be necessary and true, for this is the sheet-anchor of the weakest republicks and potentates, whereas Holland subsists not by the jealousy of its neighbours, but by its own strength. And therefore not only the other provinces and the generality, but especially all the frontiers of Holland ought to be fortified and provided with all things necessary against any foreign attack or surprize. And above all, those great and strong cities of Holland ought to be put into a posture to hold out a year’s siege; because then they will be held impregnable, or at least stronger than many republicks of single inlandcities, situated in a hilly mountainous country, and therefore cannot be so well fortified.But been manifested by many examples to be so. As for example, all the free imperial cities of Germany, the Cantons, Geneva, Ragousa, Lucca; yea even those cities that are under princes, as Parma, Mantua, Modena, which must be somewhat the weaker by reason of their own princes, for one sword keeps another in the scabbard; and in this sense it is true, that two curst dogs don’t bite one another, but the good natur’d toothless ones are always bitten by the curst curs.
The End of the Second Part.
[* ]Libertatis enim interest ne magna imperia diuturna sint.
[* ]Dat veniam Corvis vexat censura Columbis.
[* ]Tibi Roma subegerit orbem.
[* ]Princeps insurgere paulatim, munia senatus, magistratuum, legum in se trahere, nullo adversante: cum ferocissimi per acies, aut proscriptione cecidissent. Cæteri nobilium quanto quis servitio promptior, opibus & honoribus extollerentur: ac novis ex rebus aucti, tuta & presentia, quam vetera & periculosa mallent. Tacit. Annal. l. 1. c. 1.
[* ]Crescit interea Roma Albæ ruinis. Liv.
[* ]Occulta est Batavæ quædam vis infita terræ.
[* ]Una salus sanis nullam potare salutem.
[* ]Pace dubia bellum potius.
[* ]Bellum pace dubia pejus, & malorum omnium pessimum.
[* ]Bonis nocet quisquis pepercerit malis: & malum quod quis impedire potuit, nec impedit, fecisse videtur; veterem ferendo injuriam invitas novam.
[* ]Qui sibi vere amicus est, hunc omnibus scito amicum.
[† ]Lepidum caput sed cerebrum non habes.
[* ]Pax licet interdum est, pacis fiducia nunquam.
[* ]Es nec edad real, dar a reyes.
[* ]Idem velle idem nosse, ea demum firma amicitia est. Ter.
[* ]Al pigliar pronto, al pagar taido; perche puo nascer inconveniente che non si paghi niente.
[* ]Præstat prevenire quam preveniri. Il fait bon estre maistre, car on est tousjours valet quand on veut.
[† ]Pupillus pati posse non intelligitur. Dig. l. 40. tit. 17. Reg. Jur. 110.
[* ]Imperator maris, terræ dominus.
[† ]Cui adhæreo præest.
[* ]Leo revinciri liber pernegat.
[* ]Servire auriacis famulis, dominisque Philippis, Dic mihi conditio durior utra fuit?
[* ]Timeo Danaos, & dona serentes.
[* ]Concordia res parvæ crescunt, discordia maxime dilabuntur.