Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VII. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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CHAP. VII. - Pieter de la Court, The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland 
The True Interest and Political Maxims of the Republic of Holland (London: John Campbell, Esq, 1746).
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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