Online Library of Liberty

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.

Advanced Search

Pieter de la Court, The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland [1662]

0428 tp
Title Page
0428 toc
Original Table of Contents or First Page

Edition used:

Pieter de la Court, The True Interest and Political Maxims of the Republic of Holland (London: John Campbell, Esq, 1746).

Available in the following formats:
Facsimile PDF 20.1 MB This is a facsimile or image-based PDF made from scans of the original book.
Facsimile PDF small 10.3 MB This is a compressed facsimile or image-based PDF made from scans of the original book.
Kindle 695 KB This is an E-book formatted for Amazon Kindle devices.
EBook PDF 1.27 MB This text-based PDF or EBook was created from the HTML version of this book and is part of the Portable Library of Liberty.
ePub 428 KB ePub standard file for your iPad or any e-reader compatible with that format
HTML 1.26 MB This version has been converted from the original text. Every effort has been taken to translate the unique features of the printed book into the HTML medium.
Simplified HTML 1.26 MB This is a simplifed HTML format, intended for screen readers and other limited-function browsers.

About this Title:

A strong defence of the benefits of free trade and an open and tolerant society in which economic, social and religious liberties go hand in hand to make a vibrant society like late 17th century Holland. The book angered some clerics when it appeared but it nevertheless became of best seller.

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

Fair use statement:

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
THE TRUE INTEREST AND Political Maxims, OF THE Republic of Holland. VIZ.

I. Of the Nature, Product, and Advantages of Holland.

II. Of the Fishing-Trade, &c. of Holland.

III. Why heavy Taxes have not drove the Fishing-Trade, &c. out of Holland.

IV. Of the antient State of Manufactures, Fisheries, and Navigation in Europe.

V. That Holland is a richer merchandizing Country than ever was in the World.

VI. That all Monopolies are prejudicial to Holland.

VII. The great Advantages of Colonies to Holland.

VIII. Of the Interest of Holland in Relation to foreign Princes and States.

IX. That a free Navigation ought to be kept.

X. Of Alliances, particularly with England.

XI. That Holland, under a Stadholder, was in continual Broils and Tumults.

XII. That Holland, during its free Government, is very well able to resist all foreign Power.

XIII. That Holland, united with Utrecht only, is able to defend herself against all the Potentates of the World, &c. &c. &c.

Written by that great Statesman and Patriot, JOHN De WITT, Grand-Pensioner of HOLLAND.
Translated from the Original Dutch.
To which is prefixed, (never before printed)
Historical Memoirs of the Illustrious Brothers CORNELIUS and JOHN de WITT.
By John Campbell, Esq;
Printed for J. Nourse, at the Lamb, opposite Katherine-Street, in the Strand.
Edition: current; Page: [ii] Edition: current; Page: [iii]


’TIS now full ten years, since the infinitely wife and good God, in the course of his over-ruling providence, was pleased to visit me with afflictions which produced such melancholy thoughts in me, that if they had continued might have proved fatal to my health. But because things past cannot be amended by sorrow or complaint, I accounted it a part of wisdom to compose the disorder of my mind, by applying my thoughts to things more agreeable. And whereas from my tender years I had been delighted with nothing more than the study of history, philosophy and political government, I soon concluded that one of these would be very much conducing to my present purpose and recreation. Edition: current; Page: [iv] And whilst I was deliberating with my self about the choice, I was desired by some good friends to set down in writing such political thoughts as I had at several times communicated to them. Partly therefore for my own sake, and partly for the satisfaction of those to whom I owed the greatest deference, I undertook, among other things, to consider the fundamental maxims of the republic of Holland and West-Friesland.

These thoughts drawn up in haste, and without the least ornament of language, I caused to be transcribed for the use of those friends who had prevailed with me to write them, and of some others, who having a part in the government of our native country, stand obliged to promote the publick welfare, and consequently to enquire into the means conducing to that end. And I doubted not that if any thing set down in those papers should be esteemed serviceable to my country, they would Edition: current; Page: [v] upon occasion offer’d, make use of it to advance the publick interest.

But contrary to my expectation, a copy of this rough and imperfect draught, fell into the hands of those, who without my knowledge gave it to a printe, in order to be published to the world.

And this I found to be done by persons of an eminent character, who not only condescended to peruse my papers, but also to strike out some things and to add divers others, in parcular the 29th and 30th chapters of that edition, treating of the reasons why the liberty enjoyed in Holland since the death of the prince of Orange hath produced no more good; and what publick advantages have already risen from the free government. And indeed the stile of these additions, as well as the subject, plainly discovers, that whatever had been altered, added or diminished, was done by persons of so great and profound knowledge of all affairs relating to the united Netherlands and government of Holland, that they Edition: current; Page: [vi] seem to have transacted all those things themselves, or at least to have been the principal persons concern’d in them.

But when the printer, in hopes of more profit, had surreptitiously reprinted this imperfect work, which was never designed for the press, I resolved carefully to review it, to make divers additions, and to reduce the whole into a better order; and having kept it by me about nine years (the full time prescribed by one of the most judicious among the *antients) to print and publish it to the world.

And because the additions above-mentioned have been highly esteemed by many, and are accounted by me to be of great moment, I shall incorporate them without alteration in this impreffion, which I own exclusive of all other, and insert them in the fifth and sixth chapters of the third part. I shall likewise omit all such matters as were expunged, out of the singular deference I owe to the Edition: current; Page: [vii] judgment of those who did me that favour.

To the truth of this I think my self obliged to add, that I was never disobliged by any monarch, prince, or great lord, much less by any of the family of Orange: neither have I ever received any particular favour from the governours of any free state, or desire any. So that it would be an apparent deviation from truth to affirm, that this work was undertaken with a design either to flatter the governours of this great and powerful commonwealth, or to dishonour the memory of the princes of Orange, who were formerly captains general and stadtholders of these provinces. As if my intention had been only to shew that the monarchical administration of those princes was more prejudicial to Holland, than that of any other could have been.

On the contrary, the service of my country, which I value above all human concernments, was the only thing I had in view when I wrote Edition: current; Page: [viii] these papers. I am no slavish courtier, who can be unconcerned for the welfare of his country, and learns to speak or be silent, as best pleases his master. I am a true Hollander who always calls a spade a spade, and hates all indirect paths. That I might therefore be in some measure serviceable to my country and friends, and like a good citizen instruct such as perhaps have less experience, I have endeavoured to inquire into the true interest and maxims of our republick, and to follow the thread of truth to the utmost of my power.

And since all men know that the preservation and prosperity of a country depends upon such a government as is consistent with itself; and reason informs us, that the welfare of Holland is founded upon manufactures, fishery, trade and navigation, I think myself obliged particularly to consider those means of subsistance and pillars of the state, with some observations upon the late government of a stadtholder Edition: current; Page: [ix] and captain general, which some ignorant and mistaken Hollanders still desire.

This did at first bring me under some uneasiness, because these united Netherlands, and particularly the province of Holland and West-Friesland, having had no other stadtholders and captains general, except the princes of Orange and Nassau, I doubted not that many ignorant and disaffected persons, more inclined to the increase of a prince’s power, than to the freedom and prosperity of their country and themselves, would not fail to say, that I had written this treatise with no other design than to traduce and calumniate those illustrious houses. But when I considered, that no difficulties ought to discourage a man from performing his duty, and that ill men, as well as ill things, were to be *resisted, I resolved to go on, without any regard to those who had always opposed the liberty of this country, and to write for the Edition: current; Page: [x] common good, tho’ great names should happen to be concerned.

At least I may justly say, that in all that I have written either for my self, or my friends of the magistracy and others, touching these weighty matters, I have always avoided and abhorred the flatteries of some writers, which I think not only destructive to nations, but to reason itself; and could never offer violence to my judgment, or slavishly lay aside my pen. For a good man ought in due time and place to speak the truth in the cause of his country, tho’ with the hazard of his life.

I conceive the publication of these papers cannot be blamed, unless by those, who maintain the monarchical power of the princes of Orange to have been so great in Holland and West-Friesland, that the shadow of it still remaining among us, ought to be sufficient to deter all men from writing any thing against the interest of that power, or to the disadvantage of any persons of that family, tho Edition: current; Page: [xi] in other respects highly tending to the publick service.

But if this were our case, we might confess, that no country ever fell into greater slavery than Holland lay under during the service and government of those princes. Which I conceive our greatest admirers of monarchical government will not allow, because they used to extol the said princes for assisting the states to resist the king of Spain, in order to deliver this country from oppression, and not to exalt themselves into his place; comparing them to Virginius Rufus, who having suppressed the tyranny of Vindex, desired only the following words tob engraven on his monument;

Here lies Virg. Rufus, who expell’d the tyrant, not for himself, but for his country.

Prince William and his son might in like manner have commanded their heirs to cause this their immortal atchievement Edition: current; Page: [xii] to be engraven on their tomb,

Here lies . . . . . who assisted to defend his country against our earl Philip II. king of Spain, in order to deliver us from servitude, and not to be our master;

if the states general had not order’d more words to be added, tho’ to the same effect, which may be seen upon a marble monument erected at Delft 1620.

But because I trust my country will not suffer herself to be brought under the like intolerable servitude, at least not in this age, I have presumed to speak of the true interest and maxims of Holland as far as I thought necessary. And this after the consideration and mature deliberation of divers years, I have delivered to be printed, not without the knowledge and allowance of my natural superiors, the states of Holland and West Friesland.

Edition: current; Page: [xiii]

I have always been, and still continue to be a lover of the princes of Orange, both as they were men, and as far as their actions might tend to the advantage of Holland and the rest of the United Provinces. I willingly acknowledge that prince William the first, with his sons Maurice and Henry, have generally been esteemed in these countries as men endued with noble and princely virtues, and blemished with few monarchical vices.

La Pise. Bentivoglio. Van Rheid.For history informs us that prince William I. in the 11th year of his age, by the last will of Rene de Chaalons, became heir to all his vast possessions: that at twelve he was placed by his father in the service of the emperor Charles V. as his page, in order to secure that great inheritance to himself, by complying in the point of religion, and getting the favour of the emperor. By this means he became so acceptable to Charles, that he found no difficulty to take possession of those great revenues in due time. We are also told that he carried Edition: current; Page: [xiv] himself with much prudence and evenness of temper as well in adversity as prosperity; that he had a good understanding, a tenacious memory, and a magnanimous spirit; was not at all insolent, but rather modest, affable, and of easy access, by which he gained the good-will of all sorts of men. In short, we are inform’d that he was a person of few words, and knew very well how to conceal both his thoughts and his passions, tho’ he designed to pursue them with the utmost constancy. He is said to have been neither cruel nor covetous; not wasting his time in gaming or hunting, but on the contrary, free from most of those vices that reign in the courts of princes.

Concerning prince Maurice the historians of that time say, that his elder brother Philip then living, and by virtue of the will of Rene de Chaalons, as well as in the right of his mother, and that of primogeniture, claiming the inheritance of his father, as necessarily devolved to him, he so Edition: current; Page: [xv] acquainted himself during the troubles of the Netherlands, with all manly and princely exercises, that he became a person of great ability. And tho’ at the death of his father he exceeded not the age of 17 years, had no sums of money in stock, saw his father’s estate encumbred with many and great debts, and his own affairs as well as those of these countries in a very low condition; yet being naturally of great penetration and sagacity, prudent, frugal and laborious, he overcame all those difficulties, and was not blemished with many court vices; not delighting in musick, dancing, hunting, gluttony or drinking.

As to prince Henry, his elder brothers Philip and Maurice were heirs to the paternal estate and lordships which his father left, and the latter possessed all the great offices of prince William in this country (except the stadtholdership of Friesland and Groningen, which fell to his nephew William Lodowick) so that there was little appearance during his youth, Edition: current; Page: [xvi] that he should ever have been advanced to those honours he attained to, and therefore it must be acknowledged, that the courtiers had little reason to corrupt him in his education.

This prince was forty years of age before he was advanced from the command of colonel of the horse, to take possession of the great offices, or rather monarchical power that had been introduced by ways of violence into the government of Guelderland, Holland, Utrecht, and Overyssel; and might have learned by the conspiracy which had been formed against his brother upon those alterations, that the sovereign power of these provinces might be sooner and more certainly obtained by real or at least seeming virtues, than by opening force and avowed vices; because the legal magistrates and the inhabitants of these countries had not yet been accustomed to commend all the vices and blemishes of princes for virtues. ’Tis therefore said in praise of prince Henry, that he was affable and courteous, Edition: current; Page: [xvii] of a good understanding and great application to business; and used not to mispend his time in the pleasures and luxury so common in courts. And these three princes having had a better education, and a more free and useful conversation with men than other monarchs and princes usually have, they became more commendable and better monarchs and princes, than they would otherwise have been.

And if, notwithstanding all this, any one will go about to asperse the lives, services and government of these deserving monarchs, as if they were common;Hoosd. Strada. Rheid. and maintain that prince William I. was much addicted to drinking after the German manner; if they should accuse him of incontinency and riot in keeping such a court as very much impaired his estate, in order to procure creatures to favour his ambitious designs; whilst pressed by ambition on one side, and want on the other, he used all kind of arts to make himself lord of these provinces, Edition: current; Page: [xviii] in prejudice to the king of Spain, whose right he who was his stadtholder stood obliged to maintain, or else to lay down his commission, fomenting our intestine disorders, that he might render himself sovereign of all the Netherlands, and more especially of those parts which were under his own government.

And tho’ this might be excused by saying, that* illustrious ambition, accompanied with poverty, may violate laws and equity: yet his three sons Philip, Maurice, and Henry, can hardly be justified, who mutually engaged in the year 1609 to take possession of their paternal and maternal estates, and to divide them equally, with the exclusion of all their sisters and creditors, who had any just pretences upon their father’s estate.

Neither can these hardships be excused or removed, by alledging that at the instance of these princes, the Edition: current; Page: [xix] states of the United Provinces were moved to allow their sisters an annual pension, and the creditors of the father recommended to the same states for payment. For we cannot from hence infer any great virtues of these princes, but only the goodness, generosity, and bounty of the states general, and especially of the states of Holland and West-Friesland.

But to return, if it be said that prince Maurice was not only scandalously incontinent, but withal so ambitious, that forgetting what he ow’d to the province of Holland, and to the best patriots in the Leicestrian times, who next under God was the principal cause of his safety and future greatness, he took away his life in a most unwarrantable manner, and contrary to the laws of that province.

Lastly, If any man should accuse prince Henry of shameful lewdness, and affirm that when he had inherited the vast possessions of his two brothers, and been advanced to all Edition: current; Page: [xx] those great and profitable offices which prince Maurice had enjoyed, he became riotously profuse and extravagant in his expences: that he manifested his insatiable ambition on many occasions, by assuming much more power than ever had been conferred on him, intruding himself into the stadtholdership of Groningen in the year 1640, and wresting the survivorship of that of Friesland from his own nephew count William;Aitzma. more especially by taking the field for so many years together with vast armies, at a prodigious expence, to make his own name famous by conquest, tho’ to the prejudice and oppression of Holland; and this in order to make himself or his son sovereign of these provinces. I say, if such things should be said, some men would return the following answer.

Such accusers ought to know that the princes of Orange, who are men and not angels, should not be blamed for such faults as are common to all men, or at least to those of great Edition: current; Page: [xxi] birth, together with all such as are advanced to the greatest dignities. Inferior lords usually and without scruple take possession of their paternal estates without paying any debts; and all young and healthy men are violently inclined to women. Besides, ’tis not just to require moderation in the sons of princes; and indeed two of these having either never married at all, or not ’till they arrived to a considerable age, could not be guilty of so great a crime as if they had been engaged in marriage.

As to the profusion and excess of drinking used in their court, to the great diminution of its revenues, ’tis a thing so universally practised, especially in the Northern parts, that none of these princes ought to be so much blamed for it, as prince Maurice deserves to be commended for the frugality and sobriety of his family.

And we have no reason to wonder at the ingratitude of the said prince, but on the contrary ought rather to Edition: current; Page: [xxii] wonder that any wise man, after he has obliged princes in the highest manner, should expect any better recompence, since reason and experience, with all the histories of antient and modern times, do unanimously teach us, that no other rewards are to be expected from kings and princes for extraordinary services. For princes being persuaded that their inferiors are always bound to do them much more service than they perform, it would be a rare and unexampled thing to find one who should think himself obliged to any. And if by chance a prince of such understanding were found, he would hardly like such a benefactor, and for that very reason send him out of the world upon the first fair opportunity.

And therefore if the words of Louise princess of Orange, may be taken for true, “That the services and good offices performed by the advocate Barnefelt to the house of Orange and Nassau, were so great, that he had acted not only like a Edition: current; Page: [xxiii] friend but a father, and that the family was obliged to acknowledge all they had received from those of Holland to have been procured by his means;” then, according to the usual course of things of this nature, neither he nor the province of Holland ought to have expected any other reward than they received.

Lastly, concerning the ambition of these princes, ’tis well known that all men spread the sails to a fair wind. Ambition in princes meets always with applause; and when they either encroach upon a free people, or advance their conquests by successful wars abroad, they are exalted to the heavens, stiled always august, enlargers of their empire, and the most glorious of monarchs. And many will be ready to say that the princes of Orange deserve as much praise for increasing their authority in the government of these countries, as industrious merchants for their ingenuity in augmenting their estates by navigation and trade. For the whole business Edition: current; Page: [xxiv] and employment of princes consists in endeavouring to increase their power.

If any man say, that as fraudulent merchants are to be abhorred with all their profits and ill-gotten goods, so deceitful and tyrannical princes ought not to be commended for their successful frauds and violences; ’tis answered, that princes are not usually esteemed for their truth, justice and integrity, like other men, but for their power, and knowledge how to exert both force and fraud upon a happy conjuncture.

For an instance of this, Philip the second of Spain, by fixing his residence in that kingdom, and calling home 4000 Spaniards, who were the only military force he had in these provinces, gave a fair opportunity to William prince of Orange, who was then in the vigor of his years, and about 30, possessed of a vast estate, and by the king made stadtholder of Holland, Zealand and Utrecht, to engage the states, together with the Edition: current; Page: [xxv] inferior magistrates and other inhabitants in his party. On the other hand, the said prince had great opportunities to make himself master of these countries, because the states themselves, as well as the inferior magistrates and commonalty, had been for many years oppress’d under their lords of the houses of Burgundy and Austria; none had experienced the happiness enjoyed under a free state, and few understood the advantages of a republic above the government of a single person. So that he had great cause to hope he might not only withdraw himself from the obedience he ow’d to his masters, but bring the states themselves under his power, together with all the inferior governours and inhabitants of these provinces, which would certainly have happened in the year 1584, if the hand of a murderer had not put an end to his life.

However the princes of Orange have understood so well how to manage their own affairs, as to obtain Edition: current; Page: [xxvi] an increase of power to be conferred upon them from time to time under colour of necessity, or this failing, to break through all rights, privileges and laws, and yet deserved not so much blame, as the states and inferior magistrates, who were intrusted with the government of these countries, and who, by making four of those princes captains general for life, so ill maintained and preserved the free and legal government, that nothing could be denied to them, without hazarding that liberty, or rather shadow of freedom, which they seemed yet to possess. Unless perhaps one might say, and prove by former experience, as well as by latter complaints of our inhabitants, that the power of the captains-general and stadtholders has been so great, even from the beginning of our troubles, by reason of their numerous adherents, together with the common people and standing army, that men may more reasonably wonder, how the states of Holland and West-Friesland have so Edition: current; Page: [xxvii] often adventured to shew their zeal to maintain their legal government and liberties, with the apparent hazard of their lives and estates.

If these things are true, the reader may conclude, that if the states of Holland and West-Friesland, with the inhabitants, manufactures, fishery, trade and navigation, have been intolerably burdened, and yet greatly neglected and discouraged during the power of those officers; whilst Holland in the mean time was left without defence either by sea or land, tho’ necessitated to take up incredible sums of money at interest to carry on their ambitious designs: I think I have to my power declined to publish the defects of the princes of Orange, since I make no other than a general mention of their insatiable desire of dominion, which has exhausted our treasure, and weakened the frontiers as well as the inland cities of the province of Holland.

Edition: current; Page: [xxviii]

Besides it is hoped a prudent reader will easily conceive what pernicious effects might be expected from a succession of such princes in the government of Holland, and at the same time consider, whether the late prince William would not have proved another monarch both in his life and government, if God, who is our deliverer, had not taken him away before the 25th year of his age; since he, being the eldest son of his father, was to inherit his vast possessions and princely dignities: and to this end in the year 1631, before he had attained the age of five years, he was placed among the governours of the United Provinces, who seemed unwillingly willing to give up the liberty of their country; and in all respects to be able, willing and necessitated to bear an universal slavery, by granting and promising to a child the future succession of all his father’s offices; and whether the said prince William the second, who was continually conversant with foreigners, Edition: current; Page: [xxix] and other slavish courtiers, had any better education or conversation with men than other ordinary monarchs use to have: or whether, after the reversion of the stadtholdership of Friesland had been taken from count William, in order to qualify the prince to obtain the eldest daughter of the king of Great-Britain in marriage, this prince would not of necessity have been sovereign of these United Netherlands.

An understanding reader will also consider, whether our late stadtholder of Holland and West-Friesland had not spent his time in such a manner, tho’ he died before the 25th year of his age, as to furnish me with abundant matter of writing, if I were inclined to publish the blemishes of his life and short government; and whether I have not spoken of him with as much regard and temper as my design of explaining the interest of Holland would permit: and I conceive on this Edition: current; Page: [xxx] subject I have fully manifested my moderation.

But to return from this long digression; the reader is desired impartially to read this book, which was written by me not only with a composed and sedate mind, but with a sincere affection to truth and to my country: and by weighing and considering what is here said concerning the true maxims and interest of Holland, he will be able to judge whether I have effected my design. And if he thinks otherwise, I desire him however to believe that I have used the best of my endeavours to that end; and contenting my self to have done what I could, I think I cannot but deserve thanks from my native country, for exciting by this attempt some abler hand to rectify my mistakes, and finish the work.

And tho’ the matters treated in this book have been carefully weighed and considered since the year 1662, Edition: current; Page: [xxxi] and indeed so much altered and enlarged, as to make the whole composition to seem new; yet I would not have any reader think that I believe it must of necessity please him; since in some respects I myself am not contented with it, and particularly because it fell too hastily at first from my pen: and tho’ afterwards it was maturely considered and review’d, yet many pieces were inserted, accommodated and fitted to several parts, as well as my leisure would give me leave, whilst I wanted either time or application to peruse the whole, as if it had not been composed by me, or to invent and write with more order and method.

So that there is reason to believe that divers accidents may give occasion to review this subject, which concerns the prosperity of the most powerful republic at this day in the world. Which that it may be done successfully, may our gracious God Edition: current; Page: [xxxii] grant us such happy times, as may encourage men, both in public and private, to conceive and write whatever shall tend to the service of our native country.

Edition: current; Page: [xxxiii]

MEMOIRS OF Cornelius de Witt and John de Witt,

From their Entrance on the Administration of Public Affairs in Holland, to the Time of their Unfortunate Deaths.

IF fame be a reasonable incentive to patriotism, it may be safely averred, that there is no virtue to which it is so firmly attached. For if it ever happens, that the people are mad enough to mistake it in one age, these mistakes are amply over paid by the tribute of praise and gratitude offer’d by posterity in the next. This we see in the famous case of the Athenian patriot Phocion, in the history of the illustrious Gracchi; and in the celebrated brethren of whom I am to speak, who fell short of the Greek and Roman hero’s in nothing, and who go beyond them in this, that they lived so lately as to leave us without doubt, as to their true characters, which it shall be the business of the following pages to explain; with due respect to truth, and to Edition: current; Page: [xxxiv] the sacred memory of these martyrs in the noble cause of Libertya.

Cornelius and John De Witt were the sons of a very worthy and honest citizen of Dort, who as he had reason to glory in being their father, so he might justly think it his misfortune to outlive them as he did. His name was Jacob de Witt, and he had given incontestible proofs of his integrity and abilities both as a member of the states, and in the several embassies in which he had been employed before he was raised to the dignity of burgomaster of Dort and deputy to the states of Holland. In this capacity we find him in the year 1650, when his highness William II. prince of Orange thought fit to arrest him and five other Deputies whom he sent prisoners to the castle of Louvestein, for no other crime than that of endeavouring to free their country from the heavy burthen of taxes and impositions with which she was oppressed, under colour of public necessity, but in reality to promote and secure the interest of the stadtholderb; and from hence the Dutch patriots were denominated, by the friends of the house of Orange, the Louvestein Faction. Their imprisonment however did not last long, a method being found to compromize matters with his highness, at least for the present, Edition: current; Page: [xxxv] in consequence of which the prisoners were discharged upon a voluntary demission of their offices, by which their persons were delivered out of danger, and the prince of Orange freed from the apprehensions he had entertained of their influence.

cThis extraordinary act of power however, with some others, of which the reader will find very clear and impartial accounts in the succeeding work would probably have been attended with consequences fatal to the very being of the republic, if the death of the prince, which happened on the 13th of November 1650d, had not given a new turn to affairs, and enabled the popular party in Holland to put the government into such hands as they thought fittest for restoring their affairs, by lessening the debts and taxes with which the people were loaded, and introducing such a spirit of liberty as is necessary to support a free commonwealth, which had been in a great measure stifled under the administration of the last princes of Orange, and which was chiefly effected by the courage, wisdom and vigilance of these two brothers, of whose tempers, capacities and other personal qualifications we will endeavour to give a short and clear account.

Cornelius de Witt was born on the 25th of June 1623. His person was very agreeable, and he had an air of majesty in his looks Edition: current; Page: [xxxvi] which very well became the employments he afterwards filled. His temper was very lively, his parts quick, his judgment penetrating, and his eloquence warm and unaffected. He discovered in his youth a great genius for academical exercises; when he grew up he applied himself to the study of the law, and amused himself with looking into martial affairs. He afterwards travelled to improve his natural talents, and give the last polish to his education, which having effectually done, he returned home in 1650, and married Mademoiselle Mary de Berkel, daughter to the receiver-general of the province of Holland. Soon after the death of prince William II. he came into the management of affairs, being advanced to the dignity of burgo-master of Dort, deputy to the assembly of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, Ruard, that is, governor and intendant of the dikes of the county of Putten, bailiff of Beyerland, intendant of the dikes of the country of Meerkerken, and curator of the university of Leydene. But of all his titles he is best known by that of Ruard Van Putten, by which he is called in most of the Dutch histories, to distinguish him from his brother the pensionary, of whose character we are next to speak.

John de Witt was born the 25th of September 1625. He had in his infancy a seriousness in his countenance and manners that was very singular. He applied himself to his Edition: current; Page: [xxxvii] studies with incredible diligence, and the quickness of his parts, joined to an indefatigable industry, rendered him, in the very beginning of his life, the wonder of all who knew him. Yet with all this steadiness and love of learning, he joined not only the accomplishments proper for a gentleman, by being perfectly versed in his exercises, but whenever he thought fit to unbend himself, had such a chearfulness in his conversation as rendered him the most agreeable companion in the world. But amongst all the great and truly amiable qualities with which the mind of this extraordinary person was adorned, his modesty and his magnanimity deserve particular notice. The first was so settled and so unfeigned, that he took more pains to conceal his abilities, than a vain man would have done to have displayed them; of which we have a remarkable instance, in his engaging Francis Schooten to publish his Elementa curvarum linearum, one of the deepest books in mathematics that had in those days appeared, and which was written by our author at twenty-three. As to his greatness of mind, I will not pretend to give any single instance of it, since every fact that will be taken notice of in these memoirs may be consider’d as a proof of it. After receiving at home the degree of doctor of laws, he travelled for some years, and on his return, in 1650, he became pensionary of Dort, and distinguished Edition: current; Page: [xxxviii] himself very early in the management of public affairsf.

The war between the English and Dutch republics commenced before John de Witt had acquired that influence which he afterwards obtained in the councils of Holland. He opposed it however as far as he was able; he shewed the ill consequences it must necessarily have which ever way fortune inclined: and when events justified his discourses to such a degree as that they seemed to be a kind of oracles or predictions, all who had the interest of the republic at heart endeavoured to promote his advancement, and to raise him to that high station in which for so many years he held the helm of the commonwealthg. An opportunity offered very early for the gratifying their desires. The Sieur Paw van Hemstede, pensionary of Holland, died in the end of the month of February 1653; and the states of Holland being assembled in order to elect a successor, the town of Dort, which is the first in the province, named the Sieur Ruyil, pensionary of Harlem, and the deputies from Harlem returned the complement, by proposing John de Witt, pensionary of Dort, though he was not then full twenty-eight years old: and he was unanimously chosen, first to officiate provisionally, and afterwards absolutely into the officeh.

Edition: current; Page: [xxxix]

Upon this occasion he consulted his friends and relations whether it was fit for him to accept this honour or not. Many of them, charmed with this mark of distinction, advised him not to hesitate a moment; but the wisest among them, without entering into long arguments, put him in mind of the fate of his predecessor Barneveldt, who lost his head for serving his country, thinking that a sufficient caution to one who was known to have the same sentiments in respect to government that Barneveldt hadi. John de Witt heard patiently all they had to say, and then delivered his own resolution, in these Words: “You all agree, that an honest and upright man may render great service to his country in this office; but you say, that this will be attended with much trouble and danger to himself. I know not how we can pass through this world without exposing ourselves to much trouble and danger, and since the thing is so, what cause so honourable as that of our country? I am resolved then to accept the office, and to serve the republic, whatever return I may meet with: this depends upon others, and that on myself alonek

The pensionary de Witt had not been long in his office before an occasion offered which sufficiently demonstrated how just a choice they had made in bringing him into that employment. King Charles II. who was then Edition: current; Page: [xl] in exile at Paris, prevailed upon M. Boreel, the Dutch minister there, to inclose a letter from him to the states-general, in which he informed them, that he had reason to believe that many of the officers in the English navy were well inclined to his service; and therefore he offered to serve on board the fleet of the republic as a volunteer, till such a number of English ships should come over to him, as might enable him to assist them as an ally. When this letter was read in the assembly of the states-general, the friends of the house of Orange warmly espoused his majesty’s proposal, as a thing of the greatest consequence to the state, and most likely to weaken the English, who by this time had shewn themselves visibly an over-match for the Dutch at sea. M. de Witt opposed it, and, after having made a very handsome panegyrick on the courage and generosity of the king, he advanced two reasons against accepting his proposal, which to him, he said, appeared conclusive. The first of these was, that his near relation to the house of Orange must render his presence on board the fleet fatal to the peace of the republic, by reviving those disputes which had already been so detrimental to the interest of the state. His second, that by embracing this offer they would perpetuate the war, since, in return for such a service, it must be naturally expected that they should unite their interest with his, and make the destruction of the commonwealth of England a common cause. These reflections gave the Edition: current; Page: [xli] assembly such a notion of the consequences that must, or at least, might attend this step, as induced them civilly to excuse themselves from accepting the king’s offer; and from hence we may easily judge, not only of de Witt’s maxims in government, but of his great capacity in bringing over others to his opinionl.

The continuance of the war was so visibly destructive not only to the commerce but to the very being of the republic, that the pensionary de Witt and his friends employed all their skill to set on foot a negotiation, at the same time that they omitted nothing that could be thought requisite for putting their naval force on a good footing, that they might be able to sustain the reputation of the commonwealth, so long as, in spight of all their endeavours, this war should last. With respect to the first, they found a way to get a letter from the states of Holland put into the hands of Lenthall, then speaker of the parliament; and this had in some measure the desired effect, since it brought about a negotiation, though not immediately a peacem. On the other hand, finding the people and the nobility equally inclined to declare the prince of Orange admiral, as if, under the auspice of a child of three years old, the arms of the republic were like to be more successful than when directed by the most experienced generals, Edition: current; Page: [xlii] they determined to satisfy the nobility, and to restrain the people. With this view they resolved to raise a nobleman to the post of lieutenant-admiral, then vacant by the death of the great Van Tromp, though none of the nobility were seamen enough to form any pretensions to it. But the English had set them an example, by conferring the highest commands in their fleet on Monk and Blake, who never were seamen, but on the contrary had always served in the army. This resolution once taken, the Seur de Witt was appointed, with some deputies of the states of Holland, to offer this command to baron Opdam, whom they persuaded with much to do to accept it, which proved of infinite consequence to the peace of the republic, and which could not well have been maintained without itn.

Yet these temporary expedients could only have served to delay the ruin of the state, without affording means to preserve it, if the pensionary and his friends, amongst whom we may reckon the ambassador sent to Cromwell, who by this time had turned out the Rump and set up a new parliament, not only authorized to sit by him and his officers, but also chosen by them. The Dutch ministers were directed to apply to them, but they quickly found them a sort of people by themselves, with whom no rational creatures could deal; for they entertained the ambassadors with long prayers, and discovered such a total ignorance of business, and withal such a spirit of pride Edition: current; Page: [xliii] in their discourses, that the Dutchmen plainly told the general, that it was impossible for them to deal with such folks, but that if he would assume the supreme authority, they might soon come to a right understanding. This was precisely what Cromwell wanted, and though he rejected their advice in words, declaring himself an humble creature of the parliament’s, yet he soon after found means to be rid of them, and took upon him the government under the title of Protector; and then made a peace with the Dutch, the most remarkable thing in which was, the adding a secret article for the exclusion of the house of Orange, to which the states of Holland, after great debates, and notwithstanding several towns protested against it, consented by a solemn acto.

The friends of the house of Orange, to inflame the minds of the people, insinuated, that this article of the exclusion did not flow naturally from Cromwell, but was privately suggested to him by the Sieur de Witt, by the assistance of M. Beverning; but of this the pensionary cleared himself, first by explaining the reasons why Cromwell had as much cause to be apprehensive of the power of the princes of Orange, as either himself or any of his friends; and next by the testimony of M. Beverning, who gave as full satisfaction as could be desired in this particular. Thus Edition: current; Page: [xliv] much however is certain, that Cromwell, by his natural sagacity, or by his conversations with the Dutch minister, came to have a clear knowledge of the strict connection there was between their interest; which made it as reasonable for them to secure him, as far as they were able, against the attempts of Charles II. as for him to protect them, as by this article it was stipulated he should, against the pretensions of the prince of Orange. This lets us into the true reason why king Charles II. always considered the de Witt administration as opposite to his interest in Holland, and why, on the other hand, the de Witts and their friends considered king Charles as an implacable enemy; and chose rather to repose a confidence in France than to enter, after the breach of the triple alliance, into any of his viewsp.

The article of the exclusion had raised such a clamour in Holland, that the de Witts and their friends had much ado to carry points that were absolutely necessary for the service of the people, such as the disbanding foreign troops, now they were no longer of use, that they might be thereby able to remit some of the heaviest taxes; and this for no better reason than that, as the opposite party gave out, the principal motive thereto was the being rid of such as were suspected to be in the interest of the house of Orange. The clergy too began Edition: current; Page: [xlv] to meddle with the affairs of state in their pulpits, and, instead of instructing the people how to serve God, were for directing their superiors how to govern their subjects; but the firmness of the pensionary got the better of all these difficulties, which raised his reputation to such a height, that he was chosen arbitrator of the differences that had arisen among the nobility of Friesland, and having happily composed these, he was called to the like good office in Overisselq.

Many untoward affairs, which fell out in the space of a few years after this, served only to heighten the character of the pensionary, and to shew that he wanted not the courage of the hero, with all the abilities of a consummate politician. He advised the states of Holland to make, independent of the other provinces, reprisals on the French king; and as he entered on this arduous affair with great spirit, so, notwithstanding the haughtiness of the French court, he brought his country out of it with honourr. In the great contest in the north between the crowns of Sweden and Denmark, he managed all things with such wisdom and dexterity, that, notwithstanding the eagerness and obstinacy of both parties, and the intrigues of the protector Cromwell, who, from certain secret views of his own, encouraged the Swedes to continue the war, Edition: current; Page: [xlvi] all things were happily adjusteds. On the restoration of king Charles II. he was complimented by the pensionary de Witt in terms equally respectfull to the king, and honourable for the republic, which made such an impression, at that time, on this prince, that soon after he gave all the assistance in his power to the conclusion of a treaty between the Dutch and the Portuguze, extremely advantagious to the states, which had been in a manner solely negotiated by the pensionaryt.

Things continued for some time in this amicable situation, and king Charles II. thought himself so much obliged to the states-general, to the states of Holland, and to the pensionary De Witt, for the respect shewn him in seizing at the request of Sir George Downing, Corbet, Okey, and Barkstead, three of his father’s judges, that he found himself obliged to thank the Dutch embassadors in very strong terms, and added, at the close of his discourse, these words. “I must also, upon this occasion, inform your excellencies, that I have a very particular account of the share Mr. De Witt had in this affair, with which I am extremely well satisfied, and shall always preserve a grateful remembrance of it, and with this I desire you would acquaint him”. This seemed to be so much the intention of that monarch at this time, that soon after he concluded a treaty with the Edition: current; Page: [xlvii] states-generalu. The affairs of the prince of Orange still gave the states of Holland a good deal of disquiet, in which however the pensionary acted with such prudence, that while he steadily pursued the interest of his master, he preserved, in a great measure the good will of the wisest persons about that prince, and so far overcame all the strong prejudices that the Orange party had formerly against him, that when his second five years were exspired, he was unanimously continued in his high office, by a resolution of the states dated September 15, 1663w.

Our statesman was now in the height of prosperity, and seem’d to have vanquished even envy herself. In all difficult cases his ministry was made use of, and when the prince of East-Friesland quarrelled with his subjects he was put at the head of that deputation which was sent by the states to terminate these disputesx. When their differences with England were risen to such a height that a war could not be avoided, and the states of Guelder and Overissel, absolutely refused to contribute their proportions towards the expence of it, the states of Holland found it necessary to send a deputation consisting of Mess. De Witt, Crommon and Kan, to explain to them the nature of the war, and the danger of their continuing in their former resolution, which they did with such effect, Edition: current; Page: [xlviii] that those states not only agreed to furnish their quota, but did it immediately, and even borrowed money for that purpose; this was so remarkable a proof both of his zeal and his capacity, that the states general thought fit to name him one of their commissioners for the direction of the navy, in which capacity he went to Amsterdam and other places, where he made such vigorous dispositions, that the fleet was soon in much better condition and more fit to go to sea than it was judged possible by the admirals themselves, and by some of the ablest seamen in Holland, who expresed the greatest astonishment at the address with which the pensionary managed all things relating to naval affairs, though ’till called to the inspection of them on this important occasion, he had never concerned himself about them, as desiring all the servants of the state should act in their proper spheresy.

The French, who were the only gainers by a war betwen the maritime powers, pretended to manage a negociation for peace at London, which however went on very slowly, and this gave the Orange party great advantage in the states. Mr. De Witt saw clearly what was intended, and therefore advised that positive orders should be sent baron Opdam to fight; for, as the pensionary observed, a battle could not but be advantagious to the state. If they were victors it would probably put an end to the war, and if they were vanquished Edition: current; Page: [xlix] it would oblige the French to join them immediately. This determined the states to send such orders to Opdam, who as he was well affected to the house of Nassau obeyed them very unwillingly. On the 3d of June, 1665, he attacked the English fleet, but had the misfortune to lose the greatest battle that had hitherto been fought between the two nations, himself and his ship being blown up just as he was upon the point of boarding that of the Duke of York. This struck a great terror into the Dutch seamen, and before the states could fit out another fleet they found themselves under a necessity of appointing some of their own deputies to command it, which was a new thing, and had therefore the greater effectz.

This commission was given to Mess. Huygens, De Witt and Boreel, and among other marks of their high authority, the state assigned them guards. The friends and relations of the pensionary de Witt advised him to decline this new post as a command invidious in itself, and which must be attended with bad consequences. He answered that the safety of a private man ought not to enter into competition with that of the republic, and that he never considered his personal hazard or advantage, but only in what manner and how far he might be able to serve his countrya. When he came on board the fleet he found it shut up in the Texel, so that Edition: current; Page: [l] though it was absolutely necessary for it to put to sea, in order to secure the safe passage of the outward bound East-India fleet, yet the seamen unanimously agreed that the thing wasimpossible, as the wind then stood. The pensionary de Witt was alone of another opinion, and he made no difficulty of declaring it, though in this he oppos’d his own sentiment to the common judgment of those who ought to have been best skilled in their own professions. As this has been always esteemed one of the most remarkable actions of his life, and has in some measure contributed to render his memory immortal, I think myself obliged to give a particular account of it.

bThere are at the mouth of the Texel three passages between the sands, by which vessels may go out to sea, and these are the Landsdiep, the Slenk, and the Spaniards-gat. It was the received doctrine of the seamen, that there were but ten points of the compass from which, if the wind blew, ships could go out, and that twenty-two were against them; but the pensionary de Witt, as he was a great mathematician, soon discovered the falsity of this notion, and that there were in reality no less than twenty eight points in their favour, and but four that could hinder them from going out, viz. W. NW. by W. NW. NW. by N. The pilots however perceiving that he reckoned upon all the passages, declared positively that in the Spaniards-gat there was not above ten or twelve feet water, and that therefore it was Edition: current; Page: [li] impossible to carry out large ships by that passage. Their assertion did not satisfy the pensionary, he went through it in a long-boat in person at low water, and without trusting the lead out of his hand, found it at least twenty foot deep every where, and free from those incumbrances which the pilots had hitherto talked of. The pensionary therefore engaged that himself and M. van Haaren would carry out the two greatest ships in the fleet through the Spaniards-gat with the wind at SSW, which he performed on the 16th of August 1665, and the greatest part of the fleet followed him without the least accident, since which that passage has been called, and very deservedly, Witts-diepc.

Very soon after, he came with the other deputies on board the fleet, the differences which had arisen between de Ruyter and Tromp were adjusted, and of open enemies they became in appearance sincere friends. The seamen however were still not a little discontented at this novelty of being commanded by the states deputies. However, after they had been some time at sea, and meeting with a dreadful storm on the coast of Norway, which lasted two days, M. de Witt brought them wholly over to his party, for he remained upon deck all the time, never changed his cloaths, or took any refreshment, but in common with the men, gave his orders with the greatest calmness and presence of mind, Edition: current; Page: [lii] and when he saw there wanted hands, obliged his officers to work by his own example. This made him the darling of the sailors, and thenceforward they paid him more respect of their own accord than the severest orders of the states could ever have extorted, and indeed they had good reason, for he was continually suggesting regulations in their favour, and shewed as tender a concern, both for their safety and their interest, as if they had been his children; and yet he did all this without giving the least offence to the admirals, by causing those alterations to be published in their namesd. Such was the happy temper of this great man, that he was always zealous in doing good, without affecting to be popular, and had such high notions of his duty as quite excluded vanity.

All the care and pains the pensionary took on board the fleet could not hinder his enemies from spreading stories among the people, which irritated them extremely against him. Sometimes it was pretended that the misfortunes which had happened to the navy were owing to the deputies intermeddling with things they did not understand. To obviate his calum ny de Ruyter wrote a letter to the states, in which he not only vindicated the deputies in general, but M. de Witt in particular, whose assistance he acknowledged in the clearest and most honourable termse. M. de Witt himself wrote a plain and accurate relation of all that had happened during his Edition: current; Page: [liii] continuance on board the fleet, and at his return, he verified every article of this account so fully to the states-general, that they not only gave him solemn thanks for his good service, but intended likewise to have made him a considerable present, which he waved by declaring that he sought the service of his country only, and not a gratification for his servicesf. Then his enemies gave out, that he had continually thwarted de Ruyter, and that their quarrels had occasioned no small detriment to the state. But this story, tho’ dress’d out with very great art, was entirely ruined by an unforeseen accident. Admiral de Ruyter had ocasion to come to the Hague, and during his stay there lodged in the house of M. de Witt, which absolutely undeceived the very mob, who would not be brought to believe that a man of de Ruyter’s temper could be induced to dissemble on any account whateverg.

King Charles II. having found means, by the help especially of very large subsidies, to engage the bishop of Munster in his interest, and that to such a degree as to engage him to declare war against Holland, the states found themselves under a necessity of raising fresh troops in order to the maintenance of a land war, which gave them no less trouble than that in which they had been engaged so long by sea. Prince John Maurice of Nassau was general of the forces employed Edition: current; Page: [liv] against the bishop of Munster; but tho’ the states placed very great confidence in him, who was an old veldt marshal of their armies, yet they thought proper to send their deputies with him into the field, and amongst these they named Cornelius de Witt, who had already given high testimonies both of his courage and capacityh. He discharged his duty on this occasion in such a manner, as not only merited the applause of those who had given him this commission, but acquired him also the esteem of prince Maurice, which he testified upon all occasions; yet the people clamoured against this deputation as they had done against that which had been sent on board the fleet. But whilst Cornelius de Witt was thus employed in the army, his brother the pensionary was secretly negotiating a peace with the bishop, which when it was least expected took effect, and proved so manifestly advantageous to the republic, that for a moment the enemies of the de Witts were silenced, and the great services of the two brothers were universally confess’di.

A little after the pensionary de Witt was again appointed one of the deputies for the management of the fleet, and in fitting it to fea he used such expedition, that on his return to the Hague, he received the thanks of the statesk. On the [Editor: illegible text] of June 1666, happened the famous battle between the Edition: current; Page: [lv] Dutch, under the command of de Ruyter and Tromp, and the English, under prince Rupert and the duke of Albemarle; and on this occasion the pensionary was sent by the state to take a full account of the whole affair, that they might be the better enabled to do justice to every one according to his merit. In the execution of this commission, M. de Witt drew up, from the best authorities he could obtain, an exact account of those three days fight, which is justly esteemed a master-piece in its kind, and will ever remain a proof of his being as capable of recording great exploits, as of atchieving theml. He was scarce returned to the Hague after making this enquiry, before he was called again on board the fleet on a less pleasing occasion. Another battle had been fought [Editor: illegible text] in which the Dutch had suffered severely; and which was worse, their admirals threw the blame upon each other. Tromp accused de Ruyter; de Ruyter threw all the blame upon Tromp; as if the states could see with no eyes but those of M. de Witt, he was immediately dispatched, with other commissioners, to look into this unlucky business, and to report the thing as it appeared to them, which was done accordingly; and upon this admiral Tromp was laid asidem

Edition: current; Page: [lvi]

I shall not enter here into the prosecution of M. Buat, who was beheaded for betraying the councils of state, though this affair was discovered by M. de Witt, because it is pretty generally known; and though many reflections have been cast upon the pensionary, yet as the evidence against him was perfectly clear, and indeed in a great measure under his own hand, one cannot but be satisfied that this clamour was purely the effects of partyn. That it had very little effect on those who were the best judges, appears from his being sent immediately afterwards sole deputy to the fleet, where he commanded in chief for some time, and then returned to the Hague, where very soon afterwards he concluded the quadruple alliance between the republic on one side, the king of Denmark, the elector of Brandenburgh, and the duke of Lunenburgh on the other, whereby all the differences between those princes were absolutely adjusted, and the pensionary received thereupon, not only the thanks of the states general, but also the complements of all the foreign ministerso.

The war with England began now to be considered by all the provinces, except that of Holland, as an intolerable burden; and the pensionary finding that the storm bore heavy upon him, and that he was generally pointed Edition: current; Page: [lvii] out as the great enemy of peace, shewed an inclination to embrace it on reasonable termsp. But when King Charles proposed treating of the peace at the Hague, it alarmed the pensionary not a little, from an apprehension, that if the English ministers were there, they might enter into intrigues with the deputies to the states general, which might have been of dangerous consequence, and therefore it was rejected, and the town of Breda proposed; to which the ambassadors both of the king and of the states resortedq. But as they found it by experience no safe thing to rely either upon king Charles or upon king Lewis, they thought fit to equip early a stout fleet, on board which the Ruard Van Putten, with other deputies, was to command in chiefr. But as the provinces did not think fit to name their deputies, the Ruard took his post on board the fleet, and commanded it alones. All the world knows that it was at this time, and by the contrivance of Cornelius de Witt, that they executed the famous design of entering the river of Thames, and burning our ships at Chatham, which it is certain ruined the reputation of king Charles II. and raised that of the states general to a very great heightt. We need not wonder therefore Edition: current; Page: [lviii] that Cornelius de Witt received compliments from all quarters, that the states general should pass a vote of thanks, as they did on the 13th of Sept. 1667; or that the states of Holland should make him, in conjunction with M. de Ruyter, each a present of a gold cup; or that the town of Dort should receive him at his return thither with extraordinary, and perhaps extravagant marks of joy and satisfaction, which however did him little service in succeeding timesu.

In the meantime the peace was negociating at Breda, where it was resolved to conclude it, in order to draw the fleet of the states from the English coasts, so that this looked like forcing England into a peace; and thereupon the spirits of the states were full as much raised as those of the De Witts, for they pretended thenceforward to give laws to Europe, and to prescribe bounds to the French king’s ambitionw. This was indeed a very delicate enterprise, and required all the penetration and address of our great statesman, who finding the court of England at that time well inclined, and perfectly apprized of the danger of the French king’s over-running the Spanish Netherlands, devised, in conjunction with Sir William Temple, the means of covering these provinces before the French king should so much as Edition: current; Page: [lix] suspect there was any negociation set on foot for that purpose; in which, by his prodigious dexterity and absolute command of his temper, he happily succeededx. While these schemes were carrying on the pensionary thought there could scarce happen a fitter conjuncture for his carrying into execution the great design of the warm republicans, and therefore now he brought on the establishing of that which was called the perpetual edict, whereby the office of stadtholder was for ever extinguished, and, as it was supposed, the liberty of Holland fixed on a eternal basisy. This edict is dated the 5th of August, 1667, but it was not absolutely confirmed until the December followingz.

The French king continuing his resolution of attacking the low countries, Sir William Temple was sent over in the beginning of the year 1668 to finish the negociations that had been secretly carried ona. He presented his letter of credence on the 8th of January, and he signed the triple alliance on the 13thb. This alliance between England, Sweden and Holland had the desired effect, and if it had never been dissolved Europe had remained safe, in spite of all the pernicious schemes of Lewis the fourteenthc. Though we are Edition: current; Page: [lx] so much streightened for room in these memoirs, yet it seems absolutely necessary to take notice of a grand entertainment given by the pensionary de Witt on the conclusion of this treatyd. It fell out on the third of February 1668, and amongst the other guests, there were invited the prince of Orange, prince Maurice of Nassau, and Sir William Templee. There was a ball in the evening which was opened by the prince of Orange, but two things particularly surprized all who were present; the first, that the pensionary de Witt danced the best of any man theref; the second, that so many tokens of friendship and esteem passed between him and the prince of Orange, insomuch that when the company broke up, the pensionary attended his highness to his coach, where he conversed with him near a quarter of an hour, and just before he drove away, the prince was heard to express himself in these words: “Sir, I am thoroughly persuaded of your affection towards me, and I promise you that I shall never be wanting in suitable returns of gratitude to you and to your family, upon all occasions so long as I liveg.”

In the midst of these fatigues the 15th year of M. de Witt’s ministry expired, and he thereupon testified a desire of resigning, but the states pressed him so warmly to execute Edition: current; Page: [lxi] the office of grand pensionary for five years longer, that he could not resist their sollicitations, though he absolutely refused a present of a large sum of money that was intended himh. On the 17th of July 1668, he entered on the last five years of his administration, his appointment being increased from three to seven thousand guilders per annum; and withal he had a present made him of fifteen thousand by the nobles of Holland in consideration of the long and faithful services he had rendered to the statei. In the beginning of 1669 the French renewed their intrigues in Holland in order to procure the breach of the triple alliance, at first indeed without success, but afterwards, when it was known that the system of affairs was changed in England, the French schemes were more successful, but this was so far from being agreeable to the pensionary, that he went into it with great reluctancy, and not ’till many of his old friends were absolutely drawn over to the interest of the house of Orangek. As a full proof of this, we need only consider the extraordinary confidence reposed in Sir William Temple, with respect to a difference which had arisen between the Edition: current; Page: [lxii] crown of Portugal and the republic about a debt due from the former to the latter of 2,500,000 cruzado’s, the method of paying which was referred to Sir William, who decided it so as to receive the thanks of the Portugueze ambassador, as well as of M. de Witt in the name of the statesl.

It is to be observed, that the pensionary de Witt went no farther with the French ministry than to credit the professions which they made in the name of their master, and to endeavour to adjust, by way of negotiation, the disputes which that crown had artfully started with the states. But in the mean time, the French had carried their point in England, and Charles the second made such alterations in his ministry as put public affairs entirely into the hands of men who were equally his subjects enemies and his ownm. This ministry will be infamous to all posterity by the name of the CABAL, and was composed of papists, sectaries, and atheists, pensioners to France while at the head of the British government, and conspirators against their king whilst they sat in his privycouncil. These were the men who brought about that monstrous conjunction between England and France, to the ruin of Holland, contrary to the interest of the English nation, in direct violation of treaties, and accompanied with such base and black circumstances, that even those who had the wickedness to Edition: current; Page: [lxiii] contrive it had not the impudence to avow it, but endeavoured to conceal their designs as long as possible by the vilest prostitution of their own and their country’s honour, giving the strongest assurances to France of their resolution to destroy the state, and at the same time, protesting in Holland the sincerity of their affection for the republicn.

The pensionary de Witt, though he was not entirely blinded by the delusive representations of France and England, yet it is certain that it was a long time before he perceived in how great danger the republic stood. The regard he had for Sir William Temple; and his confidence in the declarations made by him, kept this statesman long in suspence, and the great consideration he had for the French embassador contributed not a little to the keeping him fixed in these sentiments, notwithstanding the strong appearance there was of foul dealing Besides the prince of Orange being introduced into the council of state, his party gained ground daily, and there were likewise so many who were grown jealous of the pensionary’s authority, that he found himself scarce at liberty to act, when he discerned the danger; but however he applied himself diligently to the putting both the sea and land forces of the republic into the best condition possible, in which he met not with more difficulties from the avowed Edition: current; Page: [lxiv] opposition of his enemies than from the differences and intrigues which broke out among his friends, who could not help disputing about posts and preferment, when the very being of the state was in danger, and thereby sacrificed not only the interest of the republic to their private views, but also their own interest, as friends, to the establishment then subsisting, and the exclusion of the power of a single person, in the direction of the commonwealthp.

The state was at this time torn by three different factions. The first were for restoring the old government, and placing the prince of Orange at the head of the republic adorn’d with the same title, and invested with the same power that his ancestors had enjoyed. The second, which were at that time stiled the faction of the De Witts, were for keeping close to the perpetual edict, and extinguishing the stadtholdership, which they looked on as an office incompatible with the freedom of the state. These were generally held direct enemies to the prince of Orange, whereas they certainly meant him well, only they thought they were oblig’d to mean their country better; the two great offices of captain-general and admiral they were content his highness should possess, provided he took the usual oath for abjuring the stadtholdership, and this they judged was as much power as the commonwealth could lodge in the hands of single person safely. The third party Edition: current; Page: [lxv] were a kind of trimmers, who from principle favour’d the De Witts, but to gratify private resentments, or for the sake of present conveniences, could sometimes go along with the other party. These last were by far the least powerful, and yet by a well or rather ill timed shifting, they constantly turn’d the scaleq.

When the war appear’d to be inevitable, the states of Holland first, and afterwards the states-general elected the prince of Orange captain and admiral-general, in the latter end of February 1672, and in that quality he soon after took his seat in the assembly of the states, and at the same time the oath for abjuring the stadtholdership, which within a few months after he accepted. This was certainly against the pensionary’s judgment, since he would rather have given his highness that command in a time of peace. To attain this great offers were made to the king of England. He was promis’d satisfaction as to the flag, the redress of all the grievances complained of by his subjects in the East and West Indies, and as a proof of their sincerity in this respect, the states ordered all the gilding on the Royal Charles to be taken off, and as far as in them lay, to extinguish all memory of what had passed at Chatham, they offer’d to recall the medals struck on that occasion, and to melt down the two golden cups given to admiral Ruyter, and the Ruard Van Putten. But all Edition: current; Page: [lxvi] this came too late, the French king had made the English ministry sensible of his bounty, to the full extent, and they repaid him by involving their master first in an attempt on the Smyrna fleet, and then in an open war, which was declared in the latter end of March, in conjunction with Francer.

The states in this distress appointed deputies to go to the army, and at the same time named Cornelius de Witt sole deputy on board the fleet, to which he went immediately, and was attended there with a guard, and all other marks of sovereignty, as representing the states general. He behaved bravely in the battle of Southwold-Bay, sitting on the deck of the admiral and giving orders, under his canopy surrounded by halberdeers. But this pomp did him hurt, for the people at Dort were so provoked at the sight of these unusual honours, that they not only abus’d him, when he retired thither from the fleet, on account of a fit of sickness, but also broke into the town-house, where they cut to pieces a fine picture of the expedition at Chatham, and having sever’d the head of the figure of M. De Witt from the body, they carried it out and nailed it to the gallowss. On the 11th of June the same year, the pensionary De Witt Edition: current; Page: [lxvii] was assassinated at the Hague, by four persons, one of whom was an advocate, his name Jacob Vandergraef, who was taken and lost his head for it on the 29th of the same month. He said at the place of execution, “that he made a solemn prayer to God before he attacked the pensionary, that if he was such a one as he thought him, he might succeed, and if otherwise, that he might lose his own life.” The other three assassins fled to the prince of Orange’s army, where they were safe. After this attempt, in which the pensionary was dangerously wounded, the states, at his request, gave him a coadjutort.

Soon after this act of violence there happen’d a tumult at Dort, in which the people declared they would have the prince of Orange for stadtholder, and obliged two of their magistrates to go and invite his highness thither. The prince of Orange was then at the head of the army, where his presence was absolutely necessary, yet he had the goodness to accept of this invitation; and on his arrival the people rose again and obliged the council to declare him stadtholder, tho’ he had sworn never to accept that office. It happened that Cornelius de Witt was still at Dort, sick of the distemper on account of which he had left the fleet. To make the thing yet stronger they would needs have him sign the act Edition: current; Page: [lxviii] for declaring the prince stadtholder, and obliged the magistrates to carry it to him for that purpose, but he rejected the proposal with a generous disdain, and when they endeavour’d to frighten him into it, by observing to how great danger his refusal must expose him, he answer’d, “In the last sea-fight I heard so many balls whistle about my ears that I am no longer afraid of them, and I had rather receive my death’s wound than play in such a manner with the oath I have taken, by setting my hand to such a writing”. Yet at last, moved by the prayers and entreaties of his wife and children, he subscribed; adding after his name, the letters V. C. i. e. Vi coactus; constrain’d by force; but this being perceived by one of the ministers who came with them, he was forc’d to put these letters out againu.

The example of Dort, was very soon follow’d by most of the other towns in the province, and every sedition arose from these pretences, that the De Witts plundered the state, and the prince of Orange was not stadtholder. On the 2d of July, the states of Zealand removed the latter of these causes, and the very next day the states of Holland repealed the perpetual edict and declared the prince their stadtholder also, which dignity he very readily receivedw. The cries of the people against the de Witts became louder and louder, and that they might not seem to clamour Edition: current; Page: [lxix] without cause, they gave out that the pensionary had diverted the secret service money to his own use, and had thereby defrauded the state of above 80,000 guilders a year. The pensionary upon this applied himself to the prince, and besought him, since all power was now in his hands, to suppress these insolencies, and to do him justice to the people. His highness answer’d with his usual coldness, that as to libels the pensionary must learn to bear them as he had done; and as to doing him justice, it was not in his power, since he knew nothing of the matter. This answer had, as might have been expected, a bad effect, as it seemed to give some degree of credit to the chargex. The pensionary however soon manifested his innocence by presenting a memorial to the states-general, wherein he suggested, that tho’ the disposal of the secret-service money had heretofore always belong’d to his office, yet he had never meddled with it, from a foresight of what might happen, and for the truth of this, he appeal’d to their noble mightinesses the states of Holland, who having verified this assertion, he was declared innocent of this charge.

The prince of Orange, when rais’d to the so long sought for honour of stadtholder, would willingly have gain’d the pensionary de Witt to his party, and to that end, he employed some of his best friends to break the Edition: current; Page: [lxx] matter to the pensionary, who answer’d, “that his highness did him a great deal of honour, but that he was sensible it was not in his power to do the prince any service. The people, said he, hate me, and their hatred must be the more violent as it is absolutely without a cause. They will therefore dislike every thing that passes through my hands, and instead of yielding any assistance to his highness, I shall be a constant dead weight on his interest. As to the compliment he is pleased to make me, that my authority under a stadtholder shall be as great as it was before, it is what I least desire. I never sought power, but as it might enable me to serve my country, and I sincerely wish that his highness may be able to render the republic greater and more successful services, and that from a heart as faithful, and as warm with zeal.” To shew however how easily he could acquiesce in whatever appeared to be the will of his sovereigns, he went on the first of August, which was the day after his first going abroad since his being assassinated, to wait upon the prince of Orange, in order to felicitate him on his being raised in the statholdership. His highness received him very dryly, and though he conversed with him an hour, yet the pensionary saw plainly, that it was impossible to gain his friendship, but at the expence of being his creaturey.

Edition: current; Page: [lxxi]

On the 4th of August Mr. John de Witt addressed himself to the states of Holland, in order to procure his dismission from the post of pensionary, which they granted, after they had thanked him for his faithful services for the space of 19 years. After this he employed his time in drawing up a state of the finances, for he was not satisfied with having clean hands, he thought that one who had exercised so long the office of first minister to so powerful a republic, ought not only to be guiltless, but exempt from all suspicion. This was the great thing he had in view, and this he lived to accomplish, for he so little affected public business, when he saw it was no longer in his power to benefit the public, that tho’ he was still a member of the great council, yet be very seldom went thither, but deplored in secret the misfortunes of his country, which from the highest prosperity, fell as it were, all at once, to the very brink of ruinz.

It is not strictly my business, and if it were I should not find it very easy to assign the causes of those mischiefs which befell Holland in 1672. It is clear that the perfidiousness of the French court, and the venality of king Charles’s ministers, ere among the chief of them, but it is no less true, that the state might have made much greater resistance than she did, if it had not been for her intestine divisions. This it was that spread Edition: current; Page: [lxxii] that terror and confusion, which every where appear’d on the invasion of the French, and occasion’d in a few days the loss of places that might have withstood an enemy for many months; but the reader must not suppose that this at all weakens what our author suggests in the ensuing worka. Since he there takes it for granted, that men would be sensible of the blessings they possess’d, and join unanimously and heartily in supporting the government to which they owed them, and it is upon this hypothesis he affirms what would have been found true, that Holland might have defended herself even against France.

I cannot but observe upon this occasion that the prince of Orange’s party heightened these confusions in order to ruin the de Witts. The mob were encouraged to pull down a house in which the pensionary was suppos’d to lie sick, and an attempt was made to assassinate Cornelius de Witt in his house at Dort, on the very same day his brother had been attacked in the street. Peter Grotius, the son of the great Hugo, lately returned from his embassy in France, sav’d his life by flight, but his house was plunder’d, and the prince of Orange himself caused the count de Montbas, who had married the sister of the de Witts to be arrested in his camp, and if he had not escap’d, would have condemned him as a traytor, tho’ he had behav’d himself as bravely as any man Edition: current; Page: [lxxiii] could do, which increased the storm, that was but already too greatb.

While the common cry was strong against the de Witts, a barber whose name was Tichlaer, came to the prince’s camp, and in-inform’d the lord Zuylestein, natural uncle to the prince, that Cornelius de Witt, the antient burgomaster of Dort, had given him money, and promis’d him a great reward to poison the prince, because, as he said, they could not otherwise preserve their liberty, the prince being now made stadtholder, contrary to the perpetual edict; and that they might come to fall under a foreign power by a match betwixt some foreign potentate and a daughter of the prince, if he should have anyc. The barber having given this upon oath, the prince communicated the same to the court of Holland, who thereupon committed de Witt to prison, and after having examined both parties, confronted them, and enquired into the matter by torture and otherwised, considering all circumstances, with Edition: current; Page: [lxxiv] the steadfast adherence, when confronted, of the barber to his accusation, and the answers of the defendant and his defence, they condemned the latter to lose all his offices and employments, banish’d him for ever out of Holland and West-Friesland, and order’d him to depart as soon as possible, without ever returning, on pain of severer punishment, condemned him in costs of suit, and set his accusers at libertye.

The wife, brother and friends of Cornelius de Witt presented several petitions and informations to the court to vindicate the defendant; insisting upon the services he had done to the state for a great many years, and that he was but just returned home from the fleet, where his very enemies would bear witness to his courage and conduct. They alledg’d also the whole tenor of his conversation, as a sufficient defence against this calumny, and referr’d to the records of several courts, where the barber had been condemn’d for perjury, and scandalizing several persons of note, that he was under sentence at the same time for a rape, for which he was answerable to a court of the defendant’s jurisdiction, who was thereby entitled to his forfeiture, for which Edition: current; Page: [lxxv] he ow’d the defendant a grudge; that the defendant never saw him but once, which was soon after his return from sea, when the barber, after several applications, was admitted to his bed-chamber, on pretence of having something of importance to discover to him, without any body’s being by; that Mrs. de Witt distrusting the fellow because of his ill looks, and because of the universal clamour that was rais’d against her husband and his brother, who had narrowly escaped being murdered by assassins a very little before, she ordered the chamber-door to be kept open, and her son and servant to stay in the next room, in view of the bed upon which her husband lay, because of his indisposition; that they heard all that pass’d betwixt her husband and the barber; that the latter, after some discourse about the calamities of their country, and the present posture of affairs, said, he had something to propose to him, if he would keep it secret and give him assistance. To which her husband answered, that if what he had to propose was good, he would do what he desired; but if otherwise he might get him gone. To which the barber replied, Since you will not hear me, Sir, I’ll be gone. And so bidding him farewel, he was let out of the house by her servant, after he had staid about a quarter of an hour. That de Witt, reflecting upon what had passed, sent for the town clerk, gave him an account of what the fellow had said, and desired him, since he was not able to go himself, that he Edition: current; Page: [lxxvi] would go to the present burgo-master, and get a warrant to take up and examine the barber. A warrant was accordingly taken, but the witness could not be found ’till after he had given in his accusation upon oath, to which he was encourag’d by the clamours of the people against her husbandf.

It happen’d unfortunately that the barber being at liberty, and publishing it loudly at the Hague, that the Ruard Van Putten had been convicted on his evidence, the people grew tumultuous, especially after they heard the sentence, which they said was cruel if he was innocent, and contrary to justice if he was guilty. When the barber saw them in this disposition he trump’d up another tale, that if they did not prevent it, Cornelius de Witt would be quickly rescued out of prison. Upon this the people instantly arm’d, and surrounded the place where he was confined. It fell out very unfortunately that the pensionary, who had been sent for by his brother, went to him, contrary to the advice of his friends; and as he was bringing him out of prison, in order to depart, according to his sentence, a woman cried out to the guard of burghers, who stood before the prison door, What the Devil! men, there’s the traytors going off, drive them up again, or strike them dead. Upon which, the guard order’d them both to go up again, or they would fire upon them; and tho’ Edition: current; Page: [lxxvii] the pensionary spoke to them with authority to forbear, they forc’d them both in again, and oblig’d their coach to drive off, in which their father sat, in order to have carried them to dinnerg. In mean time the the tumult increas’d, and the report being spread, that Cornelius had escap’d, the people would not be pacified ’till two of the burgo-masters and four burghers went up and satisfied them to the contrary. The pensionary prevail’d with the magistrates to dine with him and his brother. But in the mean time all the companies of burghers came in arms about the prison, drew up in good order, and would suffer no man to go in, for fear of an uproar. Three troops of horse which then lay in the Hague also mounted: one of them went to the usual place of rendezvous, and the other two endeavoured to get into the outer court of the prison, but the people kept them off with their pikes and muskets, and the armed rabble got up to the tops of the neighbouring houses, to see that neither of the de Witts should escape, and perceiving that the officers staid long in the prison, and apprehending them to be murdered, they began to throw stones and to fire their pieces at the doors and windows, Edition: current; Page: [lxxviii] ’till the officers spoke to them out of the windows, and told them, all was wellh.

A groundless report was in the mean time spread, that the mob of the neighbouring villages and towns had taken arms, and were coming to plunder the Hague. This increased the tumult, and some of the burghers cried out, We stay here to guard a couple of rogues, who will certainly be rescued before tomorrow, by force or fraud; and if they escape, the town will be next day all in blood and confusion, and our houses plunder’d. Upon which many requested, that the de Witts might be carried to the town-house, where they would be kept securely, without any trouble. Others cried out, let us tie them to the gibbet and shoot them. Upon which one of the mob bid them follow him, and he would he their leader; and then with their muskets and smith’s hammers they broke up the doors, and came to the chamber, where they found the pensionary sitting upon the foot of the bed, reading his bible, and his brother laid down in his night gown. The pensionary ask’d them what they would have, and why all that violence? one of them answer’d, You must walk down, for we will have your livesj. Cornelius Edition: current; Page: [lxxix] rising from the bed, spoke roughly to the fellow, and bid him go down; but the pensionary seeing that no reason would do, he took his brother by the hand to go down stairs, where he was wounded by a pike over the eye; upon which he held up his hands and eyes to heaven, recommending his soul to God; and as he went out, was forc’d by the mob to the very place where he had been assassinated two months before, and barbarously murder’d, covering his face with his cloak, as Cæsar did; and his last words were, well, men! well, citizens! and soon after his brother underwent the same fate. Upon this, the companies retired under their respective colours in good order, while the barbarous mob carried their dead bodies to the gallows, where they hung the pensionary a foot higher than his brother, and afterwards mangling their corps, cut their cloaths in a thousand pieces, and sent them about the country, as if they had been trophies of a conquest; and some of them cut out large pieces of their flesh, which they broil’d and eatk. Thus fell these two great men by popular fury; Cornelius de Witt in the 49th, and the pensionary in the 47th year of his age, both equally zealous for the glory and liberty of their native Edition: current; Page: [lxxx] country, and formerly as much belov’d, as now they were hated by the people, who look’d upon them to be the causes of all the calamities with which their country was at that time overwhelm’dl.

The Ruard van Putten left behind him a daughter who was afterwards married to her cousin Mr. John de Witt, son of the pensionary, who gave signal proofs of his extraordinary abilities, tho’ to the sorrow of his relations, and indeed of all who knew him, he died in the flower of his age, leaving behind him two sons and a daughter. The names of the sons were Cornelius and John, and they resembled in every respect their grandfather so nearly, that all the true friends of their country saw with delight these worthy representatives of a family, which had done and suffered so much for the safety and liberty of their countrym.

As very unusual pains had been taken first to excite, and then to augment that spirit of rage and fury which brought these great mento so undeserved an end, and as after their deaths it had been given out that a full discovery had been made of some traiterous correspondence carried on by the pensionary; the states of Holland thought fit to appoint a solemn deputation, who were directed to seize and seal up all the papers of the late minister, and to bring them to the chancery of the Hague, where they were examin’d by M. de Witt’s Edition: current; Page: [lxxxi] successor in the office of keeper of the seals, who declared, that he found nothing criminal in any of the pensionary’s papers, but on the contrary many fresh marks of his fidelity, and one extraordinary instance of his care, correctness and assiduity, since in the whole of his transactions for nineteen years there was not a single paper but what was in its proper place, so as that it might be immediately referred ton.

The truth is, the virtues of these great men were so resplendent, and the services they had rendered their country so many, and of such high consequence, that when death had exempted them from the pursuits of envy, even those who had persecuted them living, did justice to their memory. When king Charles II. heard of the death of the de Witts, he enter’d into a discourse of the hazard a man run in accepting the office of pensionary. “I am heartily sorry, said he, for the fate of John de Witt, but he was cloath’d with the most dangerous character in his country. That character of which Barnevelt felt the pain; Paaw experienc’d the clamours and calumnies, which are usually rais’d against him who enjoys it, and of which Cats alone enjoy’d the pleasure. This last when he threw himself on his knees before the states, to procure his dismission, could not forbear on their granting it, breaking out into tears of joy that flow’d from a just sense Edition: current; Page: [lxxxii] of his happiness in escaping safe and sound from such a posto”.

The prince of Orange, who had only a political aversion for the de Witts, when he heard of their barbarous murder, instead of shewing the least approbation of it, or even attributing their fate to their own fault, reproved such as spoke disrespectfully of Cornelius de Witt, and then applying himself to a person of distinction who was near him; “We have lost, said he, in the pensionary a great minister and a great man. His genius was equal to his employments, and the virtues of his private life added lustre to his talents for public businessp”. His highness had reason indeed to say this, for the pensionary de Witt was much more careful of his education than any of his own family. “I know, said that great statesman, that the prince will be one day set at the head of affairs, and therefore, out of regard for my country, I would willingly contribute, as far as in me lies, to his attaining every quality which may render him equal to those employments, to which he may be hereafter calledq.”

Mr. Samson, who wrote the life of king William, has therein drawn the following character of the pensionary “He was, says Edition: current; Page: [lxxxiii] he, “a person of universal abilities, and the greatest genius of his age, the ablest politician in war, as well as peace, the Atlas of the commonwealth, of which, even his enemies look’d upon him as the great oracle. He was industrious, vigilant and indefatigable in business, sober, modest, always serious, but withal courteous, easy, affable and agreeable in every thing he did. As disinterested as a man could possibly be, since all he propos’d was the prosperity of his country, and the maintainance of its liberty. Tho’ he was very easy of access, and extremely civil to every body, yet he was far from courting popularity by any mean or base submissions to the people. Always equal to himself, and never shaken even amidst the greatest misfortunes: his mind retain’d its usual composure, and even to his last breath he manifested that heroic firmness as such men are only capable of, whose consciences are void of offence. To sum up his character in few words, I shall say, that in whatever could demonstrate either abilities of soul, or address of body, he excell’d. He was a great mathematician, a good philosopher, and an universal scholar. In a word, he had an exquisite judgment and an admirable memory, at the same time that he possessed, in the highest perfection, those qualities which books and study never can bestow, and which are however absolutely necessary to a minister of state, who is at the head of Edition: current; Page: [lxxxiv] affairs, and who administers as he did, in a manner alone, the government of a great republicr.”

Bishop Burnet has given us a very large character of the pensionary, but it is not very exact. He says, that he was rais’d to that office by that time he was 26, whereas he was nearer 28. He observes he was defective in the knowledge of modern history, but the reader will perceive, by the ensuing pages, how much the prelate erred in that point; and he erred still farther in affirming him to have hated the house of Orange, which it is most certain he never did, but lov’d, as became him, his country’s safety better than the interest or grandeur of any princely family; and to prove this, one need do no more than cite the bishop’s character of him at large, which indeed is so particular, and contains so many curious circumstances, that notwithstanding these little slips, I shall recommend it to the reader’s perusal.

After having mentioned his family, he proceeds to tell us, “that his breeding was to the civil law, which he understood very well. He was a great mathematician; and as his Elementa Curvarum shew what a man he was that way; so perhaps no man ever applied algebra to all matters of trade so nicely as he did. He made himself so entirely master of the state of Holland, that he understood exactly all the concerns of their revenue, and what sums, and in what Edition: current; Page: [lxxxv] manner could be raised upon any emergency of state. For this he had a pocket-book full of tables, and was ever ready to shew how they could be furnished with money. He was a frank, sincere man, without fraud, or any other artifice but silence; to which he had so accustomed the world, that it was not easy to know, whether he was silent on design or custom. He had a great clearness of apprehension: and when any thing was proposed to him, how new soever, he heard all patiently, and then asked such questions as occurred to him: and by the time he had done all this, he was as much master of the proposition, as the person was that had made it. He knew nothing of modern history, nor of the state of courts, and was eminently defective in all points of form. But he had laid down this for a maxim, that all princes and states followed their own interests: so, by observing what their true interest were, he thought he could, without great intelligence, calculate what they were about. He did not enough consider how far passions, amours, humours and opinions wrought on the world, chiefly on princes. He had the notions of a commonwealth from the Greeks, and Romans. And from them he came to fancy, that an army commanded by officers of their own country, was both more in their power, and would serve them with the more zeal, since they themselves had such an interest in the success. Edition: current; Page: [lxxxvi] And so he was against their hiring foreigners unless it was to be common soldiers to save their own people. But he did not enough consider the phlegm and covetousness of his countrymen; of which he felt the ill effects afterwards. This was his greatest error, and it turned totally upon him. But for the administration of justice at home, and for the management of their trade and their forces by sea, he was the ablest minister they ever had. He had an hereditary hatred to the house of Orange. He thought it was impossible to maintain their liberty, if they were still stadtholders. Therefore he did all that was possible to put an invincible bar in their way, by the perpetual edict. But at the same time, he took great care of preserving the young prince’s fortune, and look’d well to his education, and gave him, as the prince himself told me, very just notions of every thing relating to the state. For he did not know, but that at some time or other he would be set over them. Therefore he intended to render him fit to govern well.”

The famous Sir William Temple, than whom no man was better acquainted, either with the personal character of the pensionary de Witt, or with the Dutch government in general, speaks of him on various occasions, with the utmost esteem, and with the highest testimonies of praise and admiration. He observes, that when he was at the head of the government, he differed nothing in his manner Edition: current; Page: [lxxxvii] of living, from an ordinary citizen. When he made visits he was attended only by a single footman, and on common occasions he was frequently seen in the streets without any servant at alls. This moderation indeed was very agreeable to the nature of that government which he laboured to support; for in an equal commonwealth there ought to be little or no distinction amongst citizens, and the posts in the administration should rather be accounted honourable burthens than employments to be sought for profit. These were absolutely the sentiments of the grand pensionary, whose office for the first ten years, brought him in little more than 300 l. and in the latter part of his life not above 700 l. per ann. When he refused a gift of 10,000 l. from the states general, it was because he thought it a bad precedent in the government, and when he accepted from the nobles of Holland 1500 l. it was with a view to the public service, which he would have been the less able to attend, but for that convenient supply, his fortune being much inferior to what, in our times, we see commonly rais’d by an under clerk in a great office. With great reason therefore, Sir William Temple speaking of his death observest,

“He was a person that deserved another fate, and a better return from his country after eighteen years spent in their ministry, without any care of his entertainments or Edition: current; Page: [lxxxviii] ease, and little of his fortune. A man of unwearied industry, inflexible constancy, sound, clear and deep understanding, and untainted integrity, so that whenever he was blinded, it was by the passion he had for that which he esteemed the good and interest of his state. This testimony is justly dueto him from all that were well acquainted with him, and is the more willingly paid, since there can be as little interest to flatter, as honour to reproach the dead.”

But why do I trouble the reader with authorities in support of his character, who in the following sheets has erected a never-fading monument to his own immortal memory. This book contains those maxims of government upon which he acted; it shews us the true and genuine principles of policy, on which alone it is possible to erect an administration, profitable at home, and which must command respect abroad. Here on the one hand are pointed out the mischiefs of tyranny, arbitrary power, authority derived from faction, monopolies, and every other species of corruption. On the other hand, here is explain’d the true method of acquiring and securing power, riches and peace, and of managing and extending trade; of supporting liberty without running into licentiousness, and of administring the commonwealth in such a manner, as that the possessors of power shall not be either envied or fear’d. Such is the work, and such was its author, a great good man, Edition: current; Page: [lxxxix] who after overcoming such domestick difficulties as were thought insuperable, and triumphing over foreign enemies, perish’d at last by popular fury, who coming to the government in distress’d and perilous times, by his skill, his probity and indefatigable industry, first rendered his country safe, then happy; who owed his destruction to the wantonness of that prosperity he had procured, and was buried in the ruins of that fabrick which none but his own incomparable genius could erect. Would you see the model of this superb edifice, behold it in his book, and know that the author of these memoirs considers it as his greatest felicity, that he has lived to pay this tribute to the memory of these martyrs, the common friends to liberty and to mankind, whose virtues have been so imperfectly known to Britons, that many look upon them as just victims to their own ambition, whereas they were absolutely sacrifices of state, which ought to teach every free people to reflect, when they are stirred up against such as have been long esteem’d patriots, since it is easy to commit such an action as was that of the murder of the de Witts, while the stain of it is scarce ever to be wiped out.

Edition: current; Page: [xc]

To the Memory of the Grand Pensionary.

  • HOW high, and yet how just, de Witt thy fame!
  • Who would not die like thee for such a name?
  • Yet ev’n that death could no such honour give,
  • He who would reach thy fame must like thee live.
Edition: current; Page: [xci]


  • PART I.
    • Chap. 1. WHEREIN are laid down the general political maxims which tend to the prosperity of all countries: and some reasons to make it evident, that the same do aptly agree to Holland and West-Friesland, Page 1.
    • Chap. 2. That the true interest and political maxims of Holland may be well understood, it must not be considered as in speculation it should be, but as it stands at present, 13.
    • Chap. 3. Of Holland’s natural burdens and hindrances, 17.
    • Chap. 4. Of the natural product and advantages of Holland, 20.
    • Chap. 5. That the inhabitants of Holland cannot be fed by its own product, 21.
    • Chap. 6. That Holland lies very commodiously to fetch its provision out of the sea, and to provide it self by other arts and trades: and how great a means of subsistence the fisheries may prove to us, 22.
    • Chap. 7. That no country in Europe is fitter for traffick than Holland; and how great a means of subsistence commerce is to it, 25.
    • Chap. 8. Holland by fishing and traffick has acquir’d manufacturies and navigation: how great a means of subsistence manufactury, and ships let out to freight prove to them, 29. Edition: current; Page: [xcii]
    • Chap. 9. That the inhabitants of Holland, being in a state of freedom, are by a common interest, wonderfully linked together; which is also shew’d by a rough calculation of the number of inhabitants, and by what means they subsist, 31.
    • Chap. 10. Why the heavy taxes occasioned by war, have not driven fishing, trading, manufactury, and shipping out of Holland, 38.
    • Chap. 11. The antient state of manufacturies, fisheries, and navigation in Europe, 39.
    • Chap. 12. It is particularly shewn, that fishing and traffick must entirely settle in Holland, and manufacturies for the most part, and consequently navigation, or sailing upon freight, 43.
    • Chap. 13. That Amsterdam is provided with better means of subsistence, and is a greater city of traffick, and Holland a richer merchandizing country, than ever was in the world, 46.
    • Chap. 14. That freedom or toleration in and about the service and worship of God, is a great means to preserve many inhabitants in Holland, and to allure foreigners to dwell amongst us, 49.
    • Chap. 15. A second means to keep Holland populous, is a plenary freedom for all that will cohabit with us, to follow any occupation for a livelihood, 56.
    • Chap. 16. That monopolizing companies and guilds, excluding all other persons from their societies, are very prejudicial to Holland, 60.
    • Chap. 17. That fishers, manufacturers, merchants, and owners of freight ships, ought not as such to be charged, by paying any imposition to the country, under any pretext what soever, 65.
    • Chap. 18. That freedom of religion is, contrary to all reason, obstructed in Holland, 68.
    • Chap. 19. That the freedom of fishery and traffick Edition: current; Page: [xciii] in Holland is in some measure unjustly restrain’d, 70.
    • Chap. 20. That manufactures and other mechanic works, are imprudently restrain’d, 73.
    • Chap. 21. That the heavy and manifold imposts will at length destroy the prosperity of this country, 75.
    • Chap. 22. The grounds and reasons upon which the greatest caution is to be us’d in laying the tax of convoy-money, or customs, 78.
    • Chap. 23. That in levying convoy-money, we in Holland deviate in many particulars from these maxims, and in many things have observ’d them well, 83.
    • Chap. 24. What professions of the inhabitants of Holland ought to be more or less burden’d with taxes, or favour’d by the politick magistrate. 89.
    • Chap. 25. The antient state of justice in Holland and West-Friesland being related, it is likewise shewn, that the laws and order of justice ought to be fram’d for the greatest advantage of traffick, 115.
    • Chap. 26. That the settling of Dutch colonies in foreign countries, would be very advantageous for the rulers and people of Holland, and for traffick and commerce, as well as navigation, 117. Edition: current; Page: [xciv]
  • PART II. Of the interest of Holland in relation to foreign princes and states.
    • Chap. 1. THAT a free navigation ought to be carefully kept, and defended, against all pirates and enemies. How this may be put in practice; and after what manner it has been heretofore done or omitted, 132.
    • Chap. 2. Above all things war, and chiefly by sea, is most prejudicial, and peace beneficial to Holland, 195.
    • Chap. 3. That Holland has antiently receiv’d these maxims of peace, 119
    • Chap. 4. Some cases laid down, in which it seems adviseable for Holland to engage in a war; and yet these being well weighed, it is concluded, that Holland nevertheless ought to seek for peace, 203.
    • Chap. 5. Inquiry made whether and how the welfare of any country may be preserv’d by treaties of peace, 216.
    • Chap. 6. Some considerations particularly relating to alliances between Holland and inferior powers, 223.
    • Chap. 7. Some considerations touching the alliances which Holland might enter into, with mightier potentates than themselves, and first with France, 228.
    • Chap. 8. Considerations concerning Holland’s entering into alliances with Spain, 233.
    • Chap. 9. Considerations touching Holland’s entering into alliance with England, 235. Edition: current; Page: [vc]
    • Chap. 10. Some general and particular inferences drawn from the foregoing considerations touching all our allies, 245.
    • Chap. 11. That Holland heretofore under the government of a single person was in continual tumults and broils: and that under a free government it can defend it self against all foreign power better than formerly, 252.
    • Chap. 12. That Holland, during its free government, cannot be ruin’d by any intestine power, 266.
    • Chap. 13. That Holland, during its free government, is very well able to resist all foreign power, 280.
    • Chap. 14. That Holland, tho’ she does not fortify her cities, if she keeps united with Utrecht only, is able to defend herself against all the potentates of the world, 290.
    • Chap. 15. That every great city in Holland, whether well or ill fortified, is able to defend it self against all force from without, 296.
    • Chap. 1. IN which enquiry is made in what the interest of the free rulers of Holland as to all the particulars by which the people may live happily, consists, 310.
    • Chap. 2. Wherein is consider’d the interest of the monarchical government in Holland as to all the foregoing matters, by which the commonalty may thrive or prosper, 336.
    • Chap. 3. Wherein is examined whether the reasons alledged in the two preceding chapters, receive any confirmation from experience, 335. Edition: current; Page: [vci]
    • Chap. 4. Reasons why the inhabitants of Holland were no more damnified under the government of the captains general or stadtholders, 370.
    • Chap. 5. The reason why the general liberty in Holland hath caused no more benefit since the death of the prince of Orange, the last stadtholder of Holland, and captain-general during life, 380.
    • Chap. 6. What good fruits the beginnings of a free government have already produc’d, from the death of the stadtholder, to the year 1662, 394.
    • Chap. 7. The third and last part concluded with this, That all good inhabitants ought to defend the free government of Holland and West-Friesland with their lives and estates, 480.
    • Chap. 8. The conclusion of the whole book, with a declaration of the author’s design, and a caution both to the ill and well affected readers, 487.
Edition: current; Page: [1]

The True Interest, and Political Maxims of the Republick of Holland and West-Friesland.



Wherein are laid down the general political maxims which tend to the prosperity of all countries: and some reasons to make it evident, that the same do aptly agree to Holland and West-Friesland.

THAT we may not abruptly speak of the true interest and political maxims of Holland and West-Friesland, nor yet surprize the reader with unknown matters, I judge it necessary to begin with a general discourse of the universal and true political maxims of all countries: that the reader being enlightned by such reasoning, may the better comprehend the true political maxims of Holland and West-Friesland. And seeing that almost all the people in Europe, as the Spaniards, Italians, French, &c. do express the same by the word interest, I shall often have occasion to use the same likewise here for brevity sake, in the same sense that they do; viz. seeing the true interest of all countries consists in the joint welfare of the governors and governed; and the same is known to depend on a good government, that being Edition: current; Page: [2] the true foundation whereon all the prosperity of any country is built;The true interest of all countries consists in the prosperity of all the inhabitants. we are therefore to know, that a good government is not that where the well or ill-being of the subjects depends on the virtues or vices of the rulers; but (which is worthy of observation) where the well or ill-being of the rulers necessarily follows or depends on the well or ill-being of the subjects. For seeing we must believe that in all societies or assemblies of men, self is always preferred; so all sovereigns or supreme powers will in the first place seek their own advantage in all things, tho’ to the prejudice of the subject. But seeing on the other hand true interest cannot be compassed by a government, unless the generality of the people partake thereof; therefore the publick welfare will ever be aimed at by good rulers. All which very aptly agrees with our Latin and Dutch proverb, that, Tantum de publicis malis sentimus, quantum ad privatas res pertinet; i. e. We are only sensible of publick afflictions, in so far as they touch our private affairs; for no body halts of another man’s sore.

Whereby it clearly follows, that all wise men, whether monarchs, princes, sovereign lords, or rulers of republicks, are always inclined so to strengthen their country, kingdom, or city, that they may defend themselves against the power of any stronger neighbour. The rulers welfare therefore does so far necessarily depend on the welfare of the subject; else they would soon be conquer’d by stronger neighbouring princes, and be turn’d out of their government. Those monarchs and supreme powers, who by bad education, and great prosperity, follow their pleasures, suffer their government to fall into the hands of favourites and courtiers, and do commonly neglect this first duty; the said favourites in the mean time finding themselves vested with such sovereign power, do for the most part Edition: current; Page: [3] rule to the benefit of themselves, and to the prejudice, not only of such voluptuous and unwary chief magistrates, but also of their subjects; and by consequence to the weakning of the political state; so that we have often seen revolutions of such monarchies by the ill government of favourites. But such princes as are wife, and do not entrust their power in other mens hands, will not omit to strengthen their dominions against their neighbours as much as possible. But when monarchies, or republicks are able enough to do this, and have nothing to fear from their neighbouring states or potentates, then they do usually, according to the opportunity put into their hands by the form of their government, take courses quite contrary to the welfare of the subject.

Whence ’tis the interest of monarchs to weaken and impoverish the subject, that they may assume to themselves what power they please. Arist.For then it follows as truly from the said general maxims of all rulers, that the next duty of monarchs, and supreme magistrates, is to take special care that their subjects may not be like generous and metalsome horses, which, when they cannot be commanded by the rider, but are too headstrong, wanton, and powerful for their master, they reduce and keep so tame and manageable, as not to refuse the bit and bridle, I mean taxes and obedience. For which end it is highly necessary to prevent the greatness and power of their cities, that they may not out of their own wealth be able to raise and maintain an army in the field, not only to repel all foreign power, but also to make head against their own lord, or expel him.Polit. l. 5. c. 11. And as little, yea much less may prudent sovereign lords or monarchs permit that their cities, by their strong fortifications, and training their inhabitants to arms, should have an opportunity easily, if they pleas’d, to discharge and turn off their sovereign. Bot if herein a sovereign had neglected his duty, there’s no way left for him, but to wait an opportunity to command such Edition: current; Page: [4] populous cities and strongholds by citadels, and to render them weak and defenceless.L. 7. c. 11. ibid. And tho’ Aristotle says, that it very well suits an oligarchical state to have their cities under command of a castle, yet this is only true of a great and populous city, that hath a prince over it, and not of a city that governs itself, or hath a share in the supreme government; for in such a republick, the governor of that citadel would certainly be able to make himself master of that city, and to subjugate or overtop his rulers. And we see that this reason is so strong and clear, and confirm’d by experience, that the history of all former ages, as well as the age we live in, teach us, that the rulers of republicks, whatever they are, have wisely forborn erecting citadels, and do still continue to do so. So that it appears that the said maxim tending to the overthrow of great and populous cities, may be attributed to monarchs and princes at all times, but never to republicks, unless when they have inconsiderately subdued great cities; and tho’ not willing to demolish them, yet are willing to keep them distinct from the sovereiggn government. But if the inconsiderate reader be so far prepossess’d in favour of monarchy and against common freedom, that he neither can nor will submit himself to this way of reasoning, nor to the venerable and antient lessons of old and renowned philosophers, then let him know, that the christian and invincible monarch Justinian has for ever established the said monarchical maxim by form of law in the corpus juris, now become the common law-book of all civiliz’d people, and especially of Christians. As the Emperor Justinianus in his corpus juris, inform of a perpetual law, has establish’d it.*For the said emperor having by his captain general Edition: current; Page: [5] of the east, Belisarius, reconquer’d from the Goths that part of Africa which he had formerly lost, and brought it under his subjection, gave him no order that the inhabitants of great cities should be better disciplin’d and provided with arms, or strengthned by good walls, that they might jointly with ease defend themselves, and their great and populous cities, against the assaults of those barbarous people: but on the contrary, he commands the said captain general Belisarius (and consequently, according to the Roman laws, all his other governors of provinces) to make such provision, that no city or strong hold lying on the frontiers be so great as it could not be well kept; but in such cases so to order them to be built, that they may be well defended with few soldiers, and particularly such as were in pay, and depended only on the emperor of Rome.

And tho’ weak, voluptuous, dull and sluggish monarchs neglect all these things, yet will not the courtiers who govern in their stead, neglect to seek themselves, and to fill their coffers whether in war or in peace: and thus the subjects estates being exhausted by rapine, those great and flourishing cities become poor and weak. And to the end that the subject should not be able to hinder or prevent such rapine, or revenge themselves, those favourites omit no opportunities to divest those populous cities of all fortifications, provision, ammunition of war, and to hinder the exercising of the commonalty in the use of arms. Since it appears from the said maxims, that the publick is not regarded but for the sake of private interest;The interest of republican rulers, is to procure rich and populous cities. Arist. and consequently, that is the best government, where the chief rulers may obtain their own welfare by that of the people: It follows then to be the duty of the governours of republicks to seek for great cities,Pol. l. 7. c. 11. l. 5. c. 11. and to make them as populous and strong as possible, that so all rulers Edition: current; Page: [6] and magistrates, and likewise all others that serve the publick either in country or city, may thereby gain the more power, honour and benefit, and more safely possess it, whether in peace or war: and this is the reason why commonly we see that all republicks thrive and flourish far more in arts, manufacture, traffick, populousness and strength, than the dominions and cities of monarchs:* for where there is liberty, there will be riches and people.

Holland’s true interest consists in promoting fishing, manufacture, traffick, &c.To bring all this home, and make it suit with our state, we ought to consider that Holland may easily be defended against her neighbours; and that the flourishing of manufactures, fishing, navigation, and traffick, whereby that province subsists, and (its natural necessities or wants being well considered) depends perpetually on them, else would be uninhabited: I say, the flourishing of those things will infallibly produce great, strong, populous and wealthy cities, which by reason of their convenient situation, may be impregnably fortified: all which to a monarch, or one supreme head, is altogether intolerable. And therefore I conclude, that the inhabitants of Holland, whether rulers or subjects, can receive no greater mischief in their polity, than to be governed by a monarch, or supreme lord: and that on the other side, God can give no greater temporal blessing to a country in our condition, than to introduce and preserve a free commonwealth government.

But seeing this conclusion opposeth the general and long-continued prejudices of all ignorant persons, and consequently of most of the inhabitants of these United Provinces, and that some of my readers might distaste this treatise upon what I have already said, unless somewhat were spoken to obviate their mistakes, I shall therefore offer them these reasons.

Edition: current; Page: [7]

Altho’ by what hath been already said, it appears, That the inhabitants of a republick are infinitely more happy than subjects of a land governed by one supreme head; yet the contrary is always thought in a country where a prince is already reigning, or in republicks, where one supreme head is ready to be accepted.

The interest of courtiers and soldiers is directly against them.For not only officers, courtiers, idle gentry, and soldiery, but also all those that would be such, knowing, that under the worst government they use to fare best, because they hope that with impunity they may plunder and rifle the citizens and country people, and so by the corruption of the government enrich themselves, or attain to grandeur, they cry up monarchical government for their private interest to the very heavens:1 Sam. 1. 8, 12. altho God did at first mercifully institute no other but a commonwealth government, and afterwards in his wrath appointed one sovereign over them.Which is not believed by some, Yet for all this, those blood-suckers of the state, and, indeed of mankind, dare to speak of republicks with the utmost contempt, make a mountain of every molehill, discourse of the defects of them at large, and conceal all that is good in them, because they know none will punish them for what they say:Because among others, the manner of judging among all common subjects, tends to the advantage of monarchy. wherefore all the rabble (according to the old* Latin verse) being void of knowledge and judgment, and therefore inclining to the weather or safer side, and mightily valuing the vain and empty pomp of kings and princes, say amen to it; especially when kept in ignorance, and irritated against the lawful government by preachers, who aim at dominion, or would introduce an independent and arbitrary power of church-government; and such (God amend it) are found in Holland, and the other Edition: current; Page: [8] United Provinces, insomuch, that all vertuous and intelligent people have been necessitated to keep silence, and to beware of disclosing the vices of their princes, or of such as would willingly be their governors, or of courtiers and rude military men, and such ambitious and ungovernable preachers as despise God, and their native country.

And how dangerous it is for the wiser sort to declare themselves to the prejudice of governments by single persons.Nay there are few inhabitants of a perfect free state to be found, that are inclinable to instruct and teach others, how much better a republick is than a monarchy, or one supreme head, because they know no body will reward them for it; and that on the other side,* kings, princes, and great men are so dangerous to be conversed with, that even their friends can scarcely talk with them of the wind and weather, but at the hazard of their lives; and kings with their long arms can give heavy blows.Which yet out of love to my native country, I have here performed, and enquired, And altho’ all intelligent and ingenuous subjects of monarchs, who have not, with lying sycophantical courtiers, cast off all shame, are generally by these reasons, and daily experience, fully convinced of the excellency of a republick above a monarchical government; yet nevertheless, many vertuous persons, lovers of monarchy, do plausibly maintain, that several nations are of that temper and disposition, that they cannot be happily governed but by a single person, and quote for this the examples of all the people in Asia and Africa, as well as Europe, that lie southerly.Whether any people naturally are to be governed by one person. They do also alledge, that all the people who lie more northerly, are more fit to be governed by a single person, and with more freedom; as from France to the northward, all absolute monarchical government ceaseth; and therefore maintain or assert, with such ignorant persons as I mentioned before, that the Hollanders in particular are so turbulent, factious, and disingenuous, Edition: current; Page: [9] that they cannot be kept in awe, and happily governed, but by a single person; and that the histories of the former reigns or government by earls, will sufficiently confirm it.

Whether the Hollanders are so peevish, that they cannot be governed but by a single person?But on the other side, the patriots, and lovers of a free-state will say, that the foregoing government by earls is well know to have been very wretched and horrid, their reigns filling history with continual wars, tumults, and detestable actions, occasioned by that single person. And that on the contrary, the Hollanders, subsisting by manufactures, fishing, navigation, and commerce, are naturally very peaceable, if by such a supreme head they were not excited to tumults.Deduct. Part 2. ch. 3, 4, 7, 13. Whether this be so or not, may be learned and confirmed too in part from those histories.

But here it may be said, that things are much altered within these 100 years last;Whether they would be happier under a stadtholder, than formerly under earls? for Holland then subsisted mostly by agriculture, and there were then no soldiery, treasure, or fortified places to be at the earl’s disposal. But when he had wars, it was with the help of his homagers and tenants, only subsidies or money being given him at his request by the states of the country: And moreover, the cities of Holland, and castles of the nobility were (according to the then method of war) so strong, that they could not be taken by the said earls, without great forces imployed against them; so that the states of Holland in their assemblies, have boldly contended for their rights against the earl’s encroachments. Therefore these earls, on the other side, by reason of their dignity, had many adherents that depended on them, which must needs make that government by earls every way unsteady, weak and tumultuous.

To this an approver of monarchical government may further add, that Holland now wholly subsists by traffick, and that one supreme head, captain-general, Edition: current; Page: [10] or stadtholder, would have his own life-guards at the Hague, the place of assembly, and likewise the assistance of a great and well-paid army, and of all the preachers, and by them the love of the whole populace; and that at his pleasure he may dispose of all the impregnable frontier towns of those provinces that have no suffrages or voices in the state, tho’ he should not increase his strength by any foreign alliances, or by collusion and flattery with the deputies of the other provinces of the generality; insomuch that the states of Holland would not dare, no not in their assemblies, to open their mouths against the interest of such a supreme head, or if they did, he would order his souldiers to take them by the collar, and might easily overpower most of the cities of Holland, the people being unaccustomed to arms, and moreover divided, fortifications but slight and mean in comparison of the present way of fortifying: so that one may truly say, that the Hollanders by setting up one supreme head over themselves, may now with ease, and without tumult, be govern’d like sheep, by an irresistible sovereign, against whom they durst not speak one word, when he should think fit to sheer, flea, or devour them.

Now what there is in this, and whether the Hollanders would be happy in such a condition, I shall at large hereafter give you my judgment.

Whether they are too stupid naturally to be governed as a commonwealth.But as to the stupidity of the Hollanders, whether that be so great, as that they have not wit enough to form a free commonwealth; and having found that precious jewel of freedom, would, with Esop’s cocks, prefer a grain of corn before it: This is what hath not been judged so hitherto, but on the contrary. Which that it may be evident to the reader, he may be pleas’d to observe the prudent conduct of the states of Holland, at their great assembly in the years 1650 and 1651, as also seriously to ponder and Edition: current; Page: [11] weigh the manifold reasons and examples produced to this end in their deduction of the year 1654.The States of Holland, since the year 1650, having manifested the contrary by manifold acts, as also All this is yet further confirmed by that magnanimous resolution of the 23d of January 1657, wherein the states of Holland unanimously declared, after consulting the general assemblies, or common-halls of the respective cities in that province, to hold for a fundamental and certain maxim, “That to place a perpetual head, chieftain, or general over the army, is not only needless, but likewise exceeding prejudicial, and that accordingly in this province all things shall be thus directed; that whenever in a time of war, and pressing necessity, the states of Holland, with the other provinces, shall think fit to proceed to elect a general for the army, or that upon any other occasion a captain-general should be chosen, then not to chuse such a chieftain as shall have a perpetual commission, but for such an expedition, campaign, or occasion only as may happen, &c.” And moreover, you may there fee, that these, and other vigorous resolutions of the like nature, were taken with this special proviso, “that the said resolution shall not be dispensed with, but by the unanimous consent of all the members of the said assembly.”

By this you may perceive, that the supposition of the Hollanders being phlegmatick and dull, and of a slavish nature, is altogether groundless; for seeing they became not free but by the death of the last stadtholder and captain general, and that it was unseasonable and imprudent before that time, for them to shew their commendable zeal for their freedom, and their skill in point of government: and seeing it is evident, that a generation of men that are in freedom, must be overcome, before we can pass a right judgment thereof, and Edition: current; Page: [12] stop the mouths of opposers; we must therefore, leave it to God and time: and if such as like monarchical government, and those base and slavish opposers of liberty survive those times, they will then be able to discern which of the two governments is founded on best reason.

It shall not satisfy me to have said thus much in general; for seeing the states of Holland in their deduction, Chap. 6. Art. 29. declare, that they will not lose their freedom, but with their lives;Because the states of Holland, in their deduction, affirm the contrary. Deductie. Par. 2. Chap. 6. Art. 29. I shall therefore presume to give my opinion of the political maxims of Holland, hoping that my sincere zeal and uprightness to express the same for the benefit of the publick, will be so acceptable to our lawful rulers, that tho’ I may have failed in some things, and by stating the true interest of my country, have been necessitated to reflect on persons, who seek their advantage to the prejudice of Holland, as it is now governed; the said rulers, and true lovers of their native country, will so favour this work, and its author, against the said malevolent persons, that it shall never repent him to have been the first generous and bold undertaker of so commendable a work. But howsoever things happen, or times oppose it, recte fecisse merces est, & ipsa sui pretium virtus; (i. e. to do good is a reward of it self, and virtue carries its own recompence along with it) I shall then, having done my duty as an honest man, good citizen, and upright christian, that may not bury his talent, be able to take comfort in my sincere endeavours: and posterity, into whose hands these writings may fall, will, in spite of all the present powers that oppose it, be able to judge impartially, and that with a sound judgment; because by that time they will have learned, by joyful or sad experience, whether Holland’s interest can be settled upon any other foundation or maxims than those herein exprest; Edition: current; Page: [13] and whether these reasons of mine will not be confirmed by the experience of following ages.


That the true interest, and political maxims of Holland and West-Friesland may be well understood; Holland must not be considered so, as in speculation it should be, but as it now stands at present.

BEING now about to enquire into, and lay down some maxims for Holland’s continual prosperity; it seems at first view to be necessary, that we consider the nature of the country, forasmuch as it is in it self perpetual; and what means may be found to improve it to its best advantage, and what good fruits and effects are to be expected from such improvement.Concerning all which, expedients may be found, whereby Holland may be improved to the most perfect republick. In order whereunto, we are first to consider the soil, rivers, meers of Holland, and its situation upon the sea, with the communication it may have with other nations. And next we are further to consider, what people Holland ought to be inhabited with, viz. whether with few, or many, in order to earn their bread: as also how the rulers ought to deport themselves towards foreign princes and governments: and lastly, by what form of government, and how the people ought to be governed.Wherefore such speculations would produce little benefit. But because such speculations use to build rempublicam Platonis, Aristotelis, eutopiam mori, a philosophical republick in the air, or such a one as was never yet found, the thoughts of it will afford little benefit: nor is this strange, considering that so many people cannot be suddenly brought to an uninhabited country, to erect a political state, according to the said speculation, and keep it on foot when it is establish’d. And since in all populous countries there is some form Edition: current; Page: [14] of government; therefore I say again, those speculations are for the most part useless. For if inquiry be made into the polity of all established governments, we shall always find, that there are ever an incredible number of ignorant and malevolent people, enemies to all speculation, and remedies, how good soever, which they conceive or really foresee will be prejudicial in any wise to themselves; and rather than admit them, they will press hard to embroil the state more than it was before. Besides, there is an endless number of political maxims which have so deep a root, that it is great folly to think any man should be able, or indeed that it should be thought fit to root them out all at once: and consequently it would be yet a greater piece of imprudence, if in Holland, tanquam in tabula rasa, as on a smooth, and in a very clean and good piece of ground, we should go about to sow the best seeds, in order to make it an angelical or philosophical republick:Because in affairs of polity we must ever strike the ball as it is found lying. so true is that good and ancient political maxim,* that in polity many bad things are indulged with less inconveniency than removed; and that we ought never in polity (as in playing at tennis) to set the ball fair, but must strike it as it lies; it being also true, that on every occurrence a good politician is bound to shew his art and love to his native country, that by such constancy the commonwealth may by degrees be brought to a better condition. I do therefore conceive myself oblig’d to consider Holland in the state as it now is, and hope that those thoughts will produce the more and better fruits, since those that duly consider the present state of it, will find that they agree for the Edition: current; Page: [15] most part with the climate, soil, rivers, meers, situation, and correspondence which such a country ought to have with other dominions, and especially with a free commonwealth government, which we have now at present in being: and I hope I shall not digress from it.What is understood by Holland’s interest. By the maxims of Holland’s interest, I understand the conservation and increase of the inhabitants as they now are, consisting of rulers and subjects. I shall likewise diligently enquire by what means this interest may be most conveniently attained. And tho’ in the first place the interest of the rulers ought to be consider’d, because distinctly and at large it always seems to occasion the subjects welfare and prosperity;Namely, and especially the prosperity, and in crease of the subjects. and a good form of government is properly the foundation whereon all the prosperity of the inhabitants is built: I shall nevertheless consider in the first place the preservation, and increase of the number of subjects, not only because it is evident in all governments, and especially in all republicks, that the number or paucity of subjects is the cause of an able or weak government; but also because ambitious spirits can seldom find a multitude of people living out of civil society and government, that will subject themselves to them: and on the contrary, where many inhabitants are, there will never want rulers, because the weakness and wickedness of mankind is so great, that they cannot subsist without government; insomuch that in case of a vacancy of rulers, every one would stand candidates for it themselves, or elect others.Seeing the prosperity of the rulers of the republick in Holland depends on the subjects. And above all, I find my self obliged more fully to consider and promote the welfare of the subjects in Holland above that of the rulers; because in this free commonwealth government, it is evident that the durable and certain prosperity of the rulers does generally depend on the welfare of the subjects, as hereafter shall be particularly shewn. And to give the unexperienc’d reader Edition: current; Page: [16] some insight at first, it is convenient to premise that Holland was not of old one republick, but consisted of many, which in process of time chose a head or governor over them by the name of Earl or Stadtholder;Because Holland was not of old one country, but consisted of many republicks; and also because of the diverse situations of the cities, it cannot possibly have one and the same interest. but seeing he had of old no armed men or soldiery of his own as dukes had, but was to be content with his own revenues, and to rule the land, or rather administer justice to each country according to their particular customs, and laws, they nevertheless continued so many several republicks. And tho’ in process of time they were jointly brought to a sovereign republic, yet is it also true that the members of this Dutch republic are of different natures and manners. For Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Horn, Enchuysen, Medenblick, Edam, Monnikendam, Dort, Schiedam, Briel, &c. lying on the sea, or on rivers where ships of great burden may conveniently arrive; Haerlem, Delf, Leyden, Grude, Gorcum, Schoonhoven, Alkmaer, Purmereynde, &c. lying within land, are not to be come at but with vessels that draw little water: besides which, the gentry who live in the plain or open countries of Holland, having great estates, and being not under any government, seem to have a quite particular interest. Wherefore every intelligent person may easily judge that a diversity of rules, subjects, countrys, and situations, must needs cause a diversity of interests, so that I cannot write of Holland’s prosperity as of a distinct country:And yet forasmuch as they all centre and agree in one, the interest of Holland is made evident nevertheless I incline, and do intend to bring it under one title, as far as all its cities or lands can be comprehended in one interest, to the best of my knowledge and skill. Which to do methodically, I shall in the first part inquire into, and show the maxims tending to the welfare or damage of Holland within its own confines. In the second part I shall propose how Holland must procure its own welfare as to foreign princes. And in the third part I shall enquire, and shew by what Edition: current; Page: [17] form of government such a country and inhabitants ought to be governed according to their true interest, seeing this is the general foundation whereon all the prosperity or adversity aforesaid is founded.


Of Holland’s natural burdens and hinderances.

Holland’s Situation.HOLLAND lying in the latitude of 51 to 53 degrees, north latitude upon the sea; having many inland rivers, and being besides a very low and plain country, is thereby subject to many inconveniences.

And inconveniences thence proceeding, even in a time of perfect peace.First, There are sharp and very long winters, so that there is need of more light, firing, cloathing, and food, than in warmer countries: besides which, all the cattle of our pasture-land must be then housed, tho’ thereby we bestow more cost and pains, and yet reap less profit of milk-meats than in summer, or in other adjacent lands, where the cattle remain longer, or perhaps all the winter in the field.

By the seasons.Secondly, The seasons are here so short, that they must be very punctually observed, to return us any profit by our plough’d lands; for the seed in this moist country being rotted and consumed in the earth, cannot be sowed again conveniently.

By the prepinquity of the sea.Thirdly, By the vicinity of the sea, and plainness of the land, it is subject in spring, and autumn, not only to unwholesome weather for the inhabitants, but in the spring the sharp cold winds blast most of the blossoms of the fruit-trees; and in and about autumn much unripe fruit is blown down by our usual storms of wind.

And lowness of the country.Fourthly, It is to be considered above all, that these lands lying for the most part lower than the floods of the sea, and rivers, must withstand the terrible storms of the ocean, and shoals of ice, against Edition: current; Page: [18] which it must be defended with great expence: for the making of one rod long of a sea dyke costs sometimes 600 guilders. On the rivers also, the charge of maintaining the banks is very great; and the most chargeable of all is, that notwithstanding so great an expence, the water of our dykes and lowlands sometimes breaks thro’, and overflows the country; so that above all this extraordinary charge, and damage, they cannot drain the country by mills in some years. And touching the ordinary charges in maintaing dykes and sluces, &c. how great an expence this must be, we may well imagine by the yearly charges of Rynland, which is about 80000 acres or *morgens in compass, which hath not much communication with the sea, nor with running, but only with standing waters: and yet as to acredg-money and inland charges, every acre must pay at least two guilders; besides, for draining out of the rain-water by mills to turn it out by trenches, each acre 30 stivers; likewise towards foot-paths, highways, and maintaining the ditches, at least 20 stivers more. And lastly, they are liable to many fines, and troubles, when they chuse their Bailiffs, Dyk. graves, and Heemraden for life, who are wholly ind pendent on the landed-men; tho’ they may elect their judges yearly, or continue their Heemraden.

Also poorness of land.Fifthly, It is evident that Holland affords no minerals, or the least product of mines; so that out of the earth there is nothing to be had but clay and turf, nor even that, but with the spoiling or disfiguring of the ground.

Holland thus contending and wrestling with the sea, rivers, and drained meers, can hardly make 400000 profitable acres, or morgens of land, down and heath not included. For according to the calculation taken in the year 1554, there were found about 300000 morgens, and some hundreds more.Smallness of territory. Likewise the states of Holland and Zealand, in a remonstrance since Edition: current; Page: [19] made to the earl of Leicester, say, that these two provinces, with all their heath, down, and grounds delved out, could make in all but five hundred thousand morgens. So that I conjecture Holland may now make in all four hundred thousand morgens, or acres of land. Seeing the chronicle of Zealand (according to the account given in by the surveyor Eversdyke) testifies, that in 1643. all the islands of Zealand contributed to the yearly poundage, no more than for one hundred eighty three thousand three hundred and fifty gemeeten, and sixty three rods of land: the gemeetens of the down-lands being reckoned after the rate of three for two So that if two gemeetens are reckoned against one Holland acre, then all the above-mentioned gemeetens would make out no more that 91675 morgens, and 63 rods.

Poorness of the soil.And seeing the ground in Holland is for the most part every where either sand, moor, or fenn, it must necessarily be inriched; and because such improvement of it, by reason of the loosness of the land, sinks down, it requires it the oftner.

So that the mischiess caused by war, are intolerable.This is the condition of Holland in a time of perfect peace; what will it be then when we consider, that the Hollanders must not only scour, or clear the sea from enemys, and defend their towns and country against all foreign force, but that they have also charged themselves with much more than the union of Utrecht obliged them to, with the keeping of many conquered cities, and circumjacent provinces, which bring in no profit to Holland, but are a certain charge, being supply’d by that province with fortifications, ammunition-houses, victuals, arms, cannon, pay for the soldiers, yea, and which is a shameful thing to mention, with guardhouses, and money for quartering of soldiers?

And how heavy the said burdens must needs be to the Dutch, may be easily imagined, if it be considered, that besides the customs and other revenues Edition: current; Page: [20] of the earls or states of Holland, in the year 1664.For by the ordinary taxes the inhabitants pay to the state about 14 millions of guilders yearly. by the ordinary charge which was levied of the inhabitants, one year with another, was paid

To the states of Holland 11000000
To the admiralty of the Maese 472898
To the admiralty of Amsterdam 2000000
To the admiralty of the Northern quarter } 200000
In all— 13,672898

And in time of war they pay for the 200th penny, 2400000, and for half poundage 1200000, and for hearth or chimney-money 600000, guilders.And if it be considered that since that time, by reason of the wars, there were new ordinary taxes imposed; and that the extraordinary, namely, the two hundredth penny brings in 2400000, and the half verpondinge, or poundage, 1200000; and lastly, the chimney-money six hundred and seventy thousand Holland guilders; and that all those burdens are born by the inhabitants, besides the many excises and great sums of money which they must pay in their cities for their maintenance: these things I say considered, we may well conclude, that the inhabitants of Holland are exceeding heavily burdened and charged.


Of the natural product and advantages of Holland.

The natural growth of Holland and what it yields.TO ballance these heavy burdens beforementioned, the inland waters yield nothing but fish, water-fowl and their eggs, the downs only conies: four hundred thousand acres, or morgens of land, nothing but brick-earth, turf, corn, herbs and roots, fruit of trees, flax, hemp, reeds, grass, madder, cattle, sheep, horses. But the downs may be Edition: current; Page: [21] also said to yield lime and sand. And how unsufficient all these products from so small and inconsiderable a bottom are in themselves for the subsistence of so many inhabitants, every one may easily imagine.


That the inhabitants of Holland cannot be fed by its own product.

Whereby it appears that Holland, whether in peace or war, cannot feed, or sustain itself.BUT if we should suppose that all the land in Holland could be, and were sowed with the most necessary grain, viz. wheat; and that every morgen in Holland produced fifteen sacks of wheat, yet would not four hundred thousand acres of land yield for two millions of people, each a pound of bread per day. And possibly there are now more people imployed about the manuring of land, than can be fed on it. So that if we should make a calculation of all the fruits which the earth yieldeth, with what else is necessary for the use of man, and continually imported, it would evidently appear that the boors, or husbandmen and their dependents would fall very much short of food, drink, apparel, housing and firing. Therefore if the Hollanders did not by their industry make many manufactures, or by their labour and diligence reap much profit by the seas and rivers, the country, or land of Holland, were not worthy to be inhabited by men, and cultivated, no not tho’ the people were very few in number, and no subsidies, imposts, or excises raised on them, for their common defence against a foreign enemy. On the other side, Holland being now inhabited by innumerable people, who bear incredible heavy taxes, imposts and excises, and must necessarily be so inhabited, the easier to bear so great a burden, and to defend themselves against all their neighbouring potentates: we may safely say, that Edition: current; Page: [22] Holland cannot in any wise subsist of itself, but that of necessity it must fetch its food elsewhere, and continually invite new inhabitants from foreign parts. I therefore find myself obliged to search into, and more particularly demonstrate the ways and means by which the same may be procured.


That Holland lies very commodiously to fetch its provision out of the sea, and to provide itself by other arts and trades: and how great a means of subsistence the fisheries may prove to us.

So that the inhabitants must seek their bread out of the sea by fishing, or ashore by manufactures, and arts.HOLLAND is very well situated to procure its food out of the sea, which is a common element; it lies not only on a strand rich of fish, near the Dogger-Sand, where haddock, cod, and ling may in great abundance be taken, and cured; but also near the herring-fishery, which is only to be found on the coast of Great-Britain, viz. from St. John’s to St. James’s, about Schet-Land, Pharil, and Boekness; from St. James’s to the elevation of the cross about Boekelson or Seveniot, from the elevation of the cross to St. Katherines in the deep waters eastward of Yarmouth. And this herring fishing, which it is now 250 year ago since William Beakelson of Biervliet first learned to gill, salt, and pack them up in barrels, together with the cod-fishery, is become so effectual a means of subsistence for these lands, and especially since so many neighbouring nations, by reason of their religion, are obliged upon certain days and weeks of the year, wholly to refrain from eating of flesh; that the Hollanders alone do fish in a time of peace with more than a thousand busses, from 24 to 30 lasts burden each, and with above one hundred and seventy smaller vessels that fish for herrings at the Edition: current; Page: [23] mouth of the Texel; so that those thousand busses being set to sea for a year, wherein they make three voyages, do cost above ten millions of guilders, accounting only the buss with its tackle, at 4550 guilders, and the setting forth to sea 5500 guilders, there remaining nothing of all its victuals and furniture the second year, but the bare vessel, and that much worn and tatter’d, needing great reparation. So that if these 1000 busses do take yearly forty thousand last of herrings, counting them at least worth 200 guilders per last, they would yield in Holland more than eight millions of guilders.

And seeing that of late men have begun to make very much use of whale-oil, and whale-fins, which are taken to the northward not far from us, insomuch that with southerly winds, which are common in this country, we can sail thither within six or 8 days: the trade of fishing, and salt, may easily be fixed and settled with us;The great number of inhabitants is a powerful means to fix traffick in Holland. for to fix those fisheries, and several manufactures, and consequently the trade and returns thereof depending on navigation and ships let out to freight, we ought duly to consider, that the greatest difficulty for so innumerable a people to subsist on their own product, proves the most powerful means to attract all foreign wares into Holland, not only to store them up there, and afterwards to carry them up the country by the Mase, Waal, Yssel, and the Rhine (making together one river) to very many cities, towns, and people, lying on the sides of them (the most considerable in the world for consumption of merchandise) but also to consume the said imported goods, or to have them manufactur’d: it being well known, that no country under heaven, of so small a compass, has so many people and artificers as we have; to which may be added, that no country in the world is so wonderfully divided with rivers and canals, whereby merchandize may be carried up and down with so little charge.

Edition: current; Page: [24]

Emanuel van Meteren says, that in the space of three days, in the year 1601, there sailed out of Holland to the eastward, between eight and nine hundred ships, and 1500 busses a herring fishing;How considerable the fisheries of Holland are, is mentioned by certain English writers, which is easy to believe, if we may credit what the English authors mention, viz. Gerard Malines in his Lex Mercatoria, and Sir Walter Rawleigh, and which Lievin van Aitzma, anno 1653. pag. 863. doth in some measure confirm, viz. That there are yearly taken and spent by the Hollanders more than 300,000 last of herrings, and other salt fish: and that the whale fishing to the northward, takes up above 12,000 men, which sail out of these countries. For since the Greenland company, or (to express myself better) the monopolizing grant thereof was annulled, and the whale-fishing set open in common, that fishery is increased from one to ten: so that when we reckon that all these fishing vessels are built here at home, and the ropes, sails, nets, and casks made here, and that salt is furnish’d from hence, we may easily imagine that there must be an incredible number of people that live by this means, especially when we add, that all those people must have meat, drink, clothes, and housing; and that the fish, when caught, is transported by the Hollanders in their vessels through the whole world.Who out of envy nevertheless overrate this means of our subsistence. And indeed if that be true, which Sir Walter Rawleigh (who made diligent inquiry thereinto, in the year 1618, to inform king James of it) affirms, that the Hollanders fished on the coast of Great Britain with no less than 3000 ships, and 50000 men, and that they employed and set to sea, to transport and sell the fish so taken, and to make returns thereof, nine thousand ships more, and one hundred and fifty thousand men besides: and if we hereunto add what he saith further, viz. that twenty busses do maintain eight thousand people, and that the Hollanders had in all no less than 20000 ships at sea; Edition: current; Page: [25] as also that their fishing, navigation, and traffick by sea, with its dependencies since that time, to the year 1667, is encreased to ⅓ more: I say, if that be so, we may then easily conclude, that the sea is a special means of Holland’s subsistence; seeing Holland by this means alone, yields by its own industry above three hundred thousand lasts of salt fish. So that if we add to this, the whale-fin, and whale-oil, and our Holland manufactures, with that which our own rivers afford us, it must be confessed, that no country in the world can make so many ships-lading of merchandize by their own industry, as the province of Holland alone.


That in Europe there is no country fitter for traffick than Holland; and how great a means of subsistence commerce is to it.

HAving thus considered Holland’s conveniency for the fishing trade, and it coming into my thoughts, that all the traffick of Holland seems chiefly to have risen out of it, and still to depend upon it;Of the traffick of Holland. I shall now give my opinion wherein that aptness or conveniency mostly consists.

But first let me say, that by the word traffick, I mean the buying of any thing to sell again, whether for consumption at home, or to be sold abroad, without altering its property, as buying in foreign countries cheap to sell dearer abroad; the most considerable part of which is what I understand by the word traffick.

Holland’s convenient situation for trade.Secondly, I say that Holland is very conveniently seated for that end, lying in the middle of Europe, accounting from St. Michael the Arch-Angel in Muscovia, and Revel, to spain. And as to our lying further off from Italy and the Levant, and more to the eastward, it is a thing very necessary, Edition: current; Page: [26] inasmuch as most of the bulky and coarse goods, as pitch, tar, ashes, corn, hemp, and timber for ships, and other uses; as also Pomerania and Prussia wool must be fetch’d from thence, and brought hither; because the better half of those goods is consumed or wrought up in this country: and because very many wares may be sent up and down the rivers of the Rhine and Maese, whereby it appears, that the Hollanders sail with as many more ships to the eastward, as they do to the westward.

To which the conquests of the East-India company contribute.Thirdly, The conquer’d lands, and strong holds of the East-India company are now become very considerable, in order to secure to Holland the trade of all spices and Indian commodities, which is already pretty well fixed to it. And this improvement of trade might be made much more considerable, if the said conquerors would not, by virtue of their grant or patent, hinder all the other inhabitants of these lands from trading to those conquests, and to innumerable rich countries, where the said conquerors, for reasons of state may not, or for other reasons cannot, or perhaps will not trade. Yea, tho’ the said free trade of our inhabitants (to the greater benefit of the participants) were in some measure limited, and circumscribed to those lands and sea-ports lying in their district, to which they never yet traded, I should then expect to see much more fruit of that trade, and monopoly together, than of their monopoly alone: for if our East-India company could find some expedient, either as to freight of goods, to permit all the inhabitants of these lands freely to lade their goods on board the company’s own ships, or to import and export all manner of goods to the places of their conquests, and back to this country, or in process of time, by laying imposts on the consumption of the inhabiting planters, who would resort thither in great numbers by reason of a free trade, or by any other Edition: current; Page: [27] imaginable means tending to give it an open trade, they would thereby reap much more profit than the poor participants now commonly and with much uncertainty do enjoy; and then, if afterwards the said participants would be persuaded to deny themselves so much of their privilege, or authorized monopoly, as to set open that trade in some good measure to the inhabitants of these United Provinces, it would questionless produce to our industrious and inquisitive nation, so many new and unheard of consumptions of all our manufactures, especially of wool, and so great a trade, navigation, and commerce with that vast land of Africa, and the incredible great and rich Asia, which lies so convenient for trade, that many hundred ships would yearly make voyages thither, and bring their returns hither, especially from and to Amsterdam;And the advantage Holland hath, would be incredibly augmented, if the trade to the Indies were free for all the inhabitants. and by means of which alone, we should certainly, and very easily, work all other foreigners out of those Indian seas. Whereas on the other hand, to the end we may preserve our East-India trade, consisting yearly of no more than 10 or 16 ships going and coming, we find ourselves continually drawn into many quarrels and contentions with those foreign nations, with eminent danger of losing by such dissensions and wars, not only our European trade, but also those conquered Indian countries, and consequently that trade also for want of planters, and by the excessive great expences which they must be at more and more yearly, by reason of such great numbers of soldiers as lie in their garisons, and which will and must increase with their conquests, as (God amend it) hath but too plainly appeared by the West-India company of this country.

This advantage which Holland hath for commerce and traffick, would be yet more improved, if the West-India company, in all places of their Edition: current; Page: [28] district, would also set that trade open:An open trade to the West-Indies would increase traffick and navigation. And in case things are so constituted, that the East and West-India trade cannot be preserved but by mighty companies, as some indeed affirm, who understand the India trade, and have the credit of affirming what they say, with good shew of reason; yet this however must be confess’d, that the said companies, as now constituted, do attract and preserve to Holland all the trade which depends on their vast equipages, ladings, and returns.

The low interest of money helpful here-unto.Fourthly, it is a great advantage for the traffick of Holland, that money may be taken up by merchants at 3½ per cent. for a year, without pawn or pledge; whereas in other countries there is much more given, and yet real estates bound for the same: So that it appears, that the Hollanders may buy and lay out their ready money a whole season, before the goods they purchase are in being, and manufactur’d, and sell them again on trust (which cannot be done by any other trading nation, considering their high interest of money) and therefore is one of the greatest means whereby the Hollanders have gotten most of the trade from other nations.

The chargeable living in Holland constrains the inhabitants to merchandising.Fifthly, There being many duties and subsidies to be paid in Holland, and little got by lands, houses, or money let out at interest; and we having also no cloisters, and but few lands in fief, or held by homage; and the women moreover being very fruitful of children, and men making equal dividends of their estates among them, which can therefore be but small, and so not fit to be put out to interest: all this, I say, is another great cause of the advancing of our traffick.

Edition: current; Page: [29]


That Holland, by fishing and traffick, hath acquired mannfacturies and navigation; and how great a means of subsistence manufactory, and ships let out to freight prove to them.

THO’ it is evident by our histories, that in many cities in Holland great quantities of manufactures were made, when all the European traffick and navigation was mostly driven by the Easterlings and Hans-Towns, and before fishing, traffick, and freighting of ships were settled in these provinces;Traffick depends on fishing and manufacture. and that consequently we might say with good reason, that fishing and traffick, together with ships sailing for freight, took their rise rather from the manufactures, than the manufactures took their rise from them:Manufacture depends on fishing and traffick. yet generally it is certain, that in a country where there is fishing and traffick, manufacturies and freight ships may easily be introduced. For from them there must of necessity rise an opportunity of bringing commodities to be wrought up out of foreign parts; and the goods so manufactured may be sent by the same conveniency beyond seas, or up the rivers into other countries.

Thus we see that in Holland for the same reason, all sorts of manufactures of silk, flax, wool, hemp, twyne, ropes, cables, and nets, are more conveniently made, and yield better profit than in any other country, and the like; coarse salt boiled; and many ships are built by that means with outlandish timber. For it is evident, that shipwright’s work in Holland, must not be considered as a mere consumption, but as a very considerable manufacture and merchandize, seeing almost all great ships for strangers are built by the Hollanders. Edition: current; Page: [30] Besides which manufactures, there are others of necessary use, as well as for pleasure or ornament; which are of such a nature, that most of them require water, whether it be to work them, or for cheapness of carriage: and when by the shallowness of the waters there would be otherwise a defect, that want is supply’d by the constant winds that blow upon our low and plain land, which joining to the sea are thereby replenished.

Navigation, or shares in shipping depend on manufactures, fisheries and commerce.And as to the owning of parts of ships let out to freight, it appears that a ship lying for freight in a country where fishing, manufactury, and trading flourish, will be able to get its lading in a very short time: and that in countrys where they don’t flourish, such ships must sail from one port to another, and lose much time in getting freight: so that such as are owners of ships must necessarily fix in such a country where shipping may soonest find their full lading.

The climate of Holland very proper for manufacture.Besides all which, Holland lies in so cold a climate, that the people are not hindred from working, by reason of the heat of the country, as elsewhere: and seeing for the most part we have but a gross air, eat coarse diet, and drink small beer, the people are much fitter for constant work; and by reason of the great impositions, they are necessitated to use all the said means of subsistance, viz. to make manufactures by land, to fish by sea, to navigate ships for trade at home and abroad, and to let out their great and small vessels to freight.

A free republican government in clines all to get estates.And seeing the inhabitants under this free government, hope by lawful means to acquire estates, may fit down peaceably, and use their wealth as they please, without dreading that any indigent or wasteful prince, or his courtiers and gentry, who are generally as prodigal, necessitous, and covetous as himself, should on any pretence whatever seize on the wealth of the subject; our inhabitants are Edition: current; Page: [31] therefore much inclined to subsist by the forenamed and other like ways or means, and gain riches for their posterity by frugality and good husbandry.


That the inhabitants of Holland, being in a state of freedom, are by a common interest wonderfully linked together; which is also shew’d by a rough calculation of the number of inhabitants, and by what means they subsist.

That the forementioned means of subsistence, and also the inhabitants are linked together.WE are moreover well to consider, that fishing is not the sole cause of traffick, nor fishing and traffick the cause of manufactury; as also that these three together do not always give occasion for the shipping that is to let out to freight, which is meant by navigation: but that fishing flourishes much more in those parts, because traffick, navigation and manufactures are settled among us, whereby the fish and oil taken may be transported and consumed. Likewise that more than the one half of our trading would decay, in case the trade of fish were destroyed, as well as all other sorts of commodities about which people are imployed in Holland; besides that, by consequence the inland consumption of all foreign goods being more than one half diminished, the traffick in those parts would fall proportionably.

Namely the greatest traders in fish and makers of manufacture.It is also certain, that of necessity all sorts of manufactures would be lessened more than a moiety, if not annihilated, as soon as this country should come to be berest of fishing, and of trading in those commodities which are spent abroad. And concerning owners of ships let out to freight, it is evident that they wholly depend on the prosperity or success of fishing, manufactury, and traffick: for seeing our country yields almost nothing out of Edition: current; Page: [32] its own bowels; therefore the ships that lie for freight, can lade nothing but what the merchants or traders put on board them of fish, manufactury, or merchandize.And the owners of shipping of those three together. And as little would foreign ships carry goods to Holland, in case no fishermen, merchants, or traders dealing in manufactury dwelt there. And contrariwise it is certain, that our fishers, manufacturers and traders, find a mighty conveniency and benefit in our great number of freightships, which continually lie for freight in all parts of the world, and are ready to carry the same at an easy rate to any place desired. So that the English and Flemish merchants, &c. do oft-times know no better way to transport their goods to such foreign parts as they design, than to carry them first to Amsterdam, and from thence to other places, especially when our admiralties, according to their duty, take care to convoy and defend our merchant ships, with men of war, against all pirates, or sea-robbers whatsoever.The husbandmen and artificers not concern’d in manufactures, are as a necessary consequence of all other inhabitants. It is also evident, that the husbandmen, or boors of Holland, can very well sell all the product or profit of their land, cattle, firing, &c. to the inhabitants that are fishers, mafacturers, traders, navigators, and those that depend on them; which is a great advantage beyond what all other boors have, who for the most part have their commodities spent abroad, and consequently must bear the charges of freight, and the duties outwards and inwards, and must also allow a double gain to the merchants and buyers. So that this great number of people, that are not husbandmen, are I think the only cause that those country boors, tho’ heavily taxed, are able to subsist. And seeing all the said inhabitants have need of meat, drink, cloathing, housing, and of the gain gotten by foreign consumption that is needful to support it; it is evident, that all the other inhabitants depend Edition: current; Page: [33] and live upon the aforesaid fishers, traders and navigators.

And how remarkable it is, that all rulers and others, who for any service depend on them, have a benefit by their great numbers, is so clear, that there needs no more to be said for proof:Our magistrates prosperity depends on the success of all their subjects. for when there were but few inhabitants in this country, within less than 100 years, the most eminent offices of burgomaster, and schepens or sheriffs, were even in the principal cities so great a burden as not to be born without much charge; whereas it is now become profitable to be but a city messenger, or undertaker to freight ships, seeing men are thereby enabled to maintain their families.

Furthermore, having a mind to convince the reader, not only by my reasoning, but by his own experience, that the prosperity of Holland is built upon the foresaid means of subsistence, and on no other; I find myself obliged to make a calculation of the number of people in Holland that are fixed inhabitants, or depend upon them;All which is set forth by a rough calculation, how the people in Holland maintain themselves. and at the same time, as far as I am able, to reckon in what proportion those people are maintain’d by the means of subsistence before-mentioned. In order to this I shall on the one hand consider, that Sir Walter Raleigh, endeavouring to move king James of England to advance the fishing trade, manufactures, and traffick by sea, hath possibly exceeded in his account of the profits arising from it, and augmented the number of the people that live upon it somewhat above the truth.

And likewise is considered how many inhabitants there are in Holland.And on the other hand I shall consider what Gerard Malines saith, in his Lex Mercatoria, Ann. 1622. that in Flanders there were then counted one hundred and forty thousand families; which being reckoned, one with another, at five persons each, they would amount to seven hundred thousand people. I shall likewise consider that in Holland that Edition: current; Page: [34] same year, the states laid a poll-tax upon all inhabitants, none excepted save strangers, prisoners, and vagrants, and those that were on the other side the line; yet were there found in all South-Holland that same wise no more than four hundred eighty one thousand nine hundred thirty and four: altho’ the commissioners instructions for that end were very strict and severe, to prevent all fraud and deceit. However that we may make the better guess whether this was a faithful account, I shall give you the particulars of it as registred in the chamber of Accounts.

Dort with its villages, 40523
Haerlem with its villages, 69648
Delft with its villages, 41744
Leyden and Rynland, 94285
Amsterdam and its villages, 115022
Goude and its villages, 24662
Rotterdam with its villages, 28339
Gornichem with its villages, 7585
Schiedam with its villages, 10393
Schoonboven with its villages, 10703
Briel with its villages, 20156
The Hague, 17430
Heusden. 1444
And supposing that West-Friesland might yield the fourth part of the inhabitants of South Holland, it would amount to 120483
In all 602417

But because possibly none but intelligent readers, and such as have travelled, will believe, what we see is customary in all places, that the number of people in all populous countries is excessively magnified, and that the common readers will think, that since many would be willing to evade the Edition: current; Page: [35] poll-tax, there was an extraordinary fraud in the number given in: I shall therefore follow the common opinion, and conclude, that the number of people was indeed much greater, and that these countries are since that time much improved in the number of inhabitants;And with what proportion they live by the said means. and accordingly I shall give a guess as by vulgar report, that the whole number, without excluding any inhabitants whatsoever, may amount to two millions and four hundred thousand people, and that they maintain themselves as followeth, viz.

By the fisheries at sea, and setting them out with ships, rigging, cask, salt, and other materials, or instruments, and the traffick that depends thereon, 450000.450000.
By agriculture, inland-fishing, herding, hay-making, turf-making, and by furnishing those people with all sorts of materials as they are boors, or husbandmen, 200000.200000.
By making all manner of manufactures, shipping, works of art, mechanick or handicraft works, which are consumed abroad; as likewise by trade relating to the said manufactures, 650000.650000.
By navigation or sailing for freight and trade jointly, by which I mean carriage into foreign parts for selling and buying; as also carrying to and from Holland all such wares and merchandise as relate not to our fishing and manufactury, nor depend thereon: and lastly, I include herein also all inhabitants that are any ways serviceable to such traders, and ships let out to freight, amounting in all to. 250000.250000.
By all these inhabitants, as being men, women, and children, that must be provided, and by working about what is spent in this country, as food, drink, cloathing, housing, and by making or selling houshould stuff, and all other things for art, ease, pleasure, or ornament. 650000.650000.
By the labour and care of all the above-mentioned persons, being gentry without employment or calling, civil magistrates and officers, those that live upon their estates or money, soldiers, the poor in hospitals, beggars, &c. 200000.200000.
In all 2400000.2400000.

And tho’ this calculation, whether considered as to the number of the inhabitants, or their proportionable means of subsistence, is very rough and uncertain; yet I suppose it to be evident, that the eighth part of the inhabitants of Holland could not be supplied with necessaries out of its own product, if their gain otherwise did not afford them all other necessaries:’Tis the happiness of Holland to have such as are linked together in interest. so that homo homini deus in statu politico, one man being a god to another under a good government, it is an unspeakable blessing for this land, that there are so many people in it, who according to the nature of the country are honestly maintain’d by such suitable or proportionable means, and especially that the welfare of all the inhabitants (the idle gentry, and foreign soldiers in pay excepted) from the least to the greatest, does so necessarily depend on one another: and above all, it is chiefly considerable, that there are none more really interested in the prosperity of this country than the rulers of this aristocratical government, and the persons that live on their estates.

For fishers, boors, or country people, owners of ships let to freight, merchants and manufacturers, in a general destruction of a country, could easily transport themselves into foreign parts, and there set up their fishing, agriculture, or husbandry, shipping, merchandize and manufactures: But such as have lands, or immovable estates cannot do this; and supposing they could, and should sell their estates and remove into other countries, yet would Edition: current; Page: [37] they there have no calling to subsist by, much less can they expect to be made use of in the government, or procure any office or advantage depending upon it.

And the greatest unhappiness, that the prosperity of all the inhabitants may be ruined by one single error of state.However, this excellent and laudable harmony and union may be violated, even to the ruin of all the inhabitants, none excepted but courtiers and soldiers, and that by one sole mistake in government, which is the electing one supreme head over all these inhabitants, or over their armies. For seeing such a single person for the increase of his grandeur, may curb and obstruct Holland’s greatness and power, by the deputies of the lesser provinces of the generality, who also may in their course check the great and flourishing cities in their own provincial assemblies, by the suffrages or votes of the envious gentry.Namely by advancing a single person over the civil magistracy and soldiery. And the lesser cities, and the great persons, courtiers and soldiers being all of his party, and depending on him, must needs prey upon the industrious or working inhabitants, and so will make use of all their power for their own benefit, and to the detriment of the commonalty. And to the end they may receive no let from the great and strong cities of Holland, it follows that they would either weaken or lessen all such cities, and impoverish the inhabitans, to make them obedient without controul. Which if so, we have just cause continually to pray, A furore monarcharum libera nos Domine; God preserve Holland from the fury of a monarch, prince, or one supreme head: But what there is of reality in this, shall be handled hereafter in a chapter apart.

Edition: current; Page: [38]


That question consider’d, why the heavy taxes, occasioned by war, have not driven fishing, trading, manufactury, and shipping out of Holland?

Why traffick has not fix’d in other countries.IT is not enough to know how happy in general this country is, in finding imployment for so many hands, and affording them sustenance, seeing there have been many causes which would have hindred the success of our fishing, navigation and traffick, had there been but one country among the many that are near us, well situated for fishing, manufactury, traffick and navigation, which during our wars and troubles had seen and followed their own true interest; most of our neighbouring nations, all that time being in a profound peace, seemed to have less hinderance for promoting manufactures, traffick, employing of ships for freight and fishing, than our nation. So that to pursue the true interest and maxims of Holland, we ought particularly to know the reason, why the great inconveniencies of taxes and wars that we have laboured under, have not occasioned the fishing, manufactury, traffick and navigation, to settle and fix in other countries; as for example in England, where if all be well considered they have had far greater advantages of situation, harbours, a clean and bold coast, favourable winds, and an opportunity of transporting many unwrought commodities, a lasting peace, and a greater freedom from taxes than we have.

Edition: current; Page: [39]


Before we answer the said question, we shall relate the ancient state of manufacturies, fisheries, and navigation in Europe.

THAT I may from hence derive some light, I shall premise a brief relation how these affairs stood in antient times.

Above 700 years ago there were few merchants in Europe.It is well known, that 6 or 700 years ago, there were no merchants in all Europe, except a few in the republicks of Italy, who lived on the Mediterranean, and traded with the Indian caravans in the Levant; or possibly there might be found some merchants, tho’ but in few places, that drove an inland trade: so that each nation was necessitated to sow, build and weave for themselves to the northward and eastward, where there were then no outland nor inland merchants;How great inconveniences thence arose. and therefore in case of superfluity of people, they were compelled by force of arms for want of provision, and to prevent ill seasons, and hunger, to conquer more land. And this caused the irruptions of the Celiæ, Cimbri, Scythians, Goths, Quades, Vandals, Hunns, Franks, Burgundians, Normans, &c. who till about the year 1000 after Christ’s birth, were in their greatest strength; all which people, and in a word, all that spake Dutch or German, exchanged their superfluities, not for money, but, as it is reported, thus:Em. Suiero ann. de Flandes. two hens for a goose, two geese for a swine, three lambs for a sheep, three calves for a cow; bartering of corn was then also in practice, by which they knew how much oats was to be given for barley, how much barley for rye, and rye for wheat, when they wanted them; so that except for eatable wares there was neither barter nor traffick.

Edition: current; Page: [40]

The Flemings were here the first traders in manufactures.The Flemings lying nearest to France were the first that began to earn their livings by weaving, and sold the same in that fruitful land, where the inhabitants were not only able to feed themselves, but also by the superfluous growth of their country could put themselves into good apparel; which young Boudewyn of Flanders, about the year 960, considerably improved, by setting up yearly fares or markets in several places, paying no duty or toll for any goods either exported or imported. By which means that way of merchandize improved 300 years successively, altho’ those commodities were only consumed in France and Germany, ’till the many prejudicial or hurtful laws of the Halls, which at first were fram’d on the pretence of preventing deceit, and the debasing of commodities, but were in truth intended to fix those manufactures to the cities: but at last having by force, which is ever prejudicial to traffick, driven much of this weaving trade out of the cities into the villages; the wars between France and Flanders drove it back from the villages to Tienen and Lovain in Brabant;Next them the Brabanders. notwithstanding which the Brabanders being nothing more prudent, did by the same occasion, viz. the laws of the halls, and imposts on manufactury during the war against France, occasion many tumults and uproars among the weavers about 100 years after in Flanders, where at Gent in the year 1301, in a tumult occasion’d by some coercive laws and orders about their occupation, there were slain two magistrates, and eleven other inhabitants. And at Bruges the next year after, for the same cause, there were slain above 1500 in a tumult. Likewise at Ypres, upon the same occasion, there being a mutiny, the Vohgt, or chief magistrate, with the ten scheepens (being all the magistrates of the city) were killed. And such like accidents happened afterwards in Brabant, amongst others at Edition: current; Page: [41] Lovain, where, in a great tumult of the clothweavers with their adherence, divers magistrates were slain in the council-house, and several of the offenders fled into England, whither they first carried the art of drapery: but many other clothweavers, with their followers, as well Brabanders as Flemings, dispersed themselves into the countries beyond the Mase, and into Holland;Lastly, the Hollanders and the English. and amongst other places, many of them fixed at Leyden. Mean while, the German knights of the cross, after the year 1200, under pretence of reducing the Heathens to the Christian faith, made themselves masters not only of barren Pomerania, and the river Oder, which they suffered the converted princes to enjoy, but of rich Prussia and Lyfland, and the rivers Weissel, Pregol, and Duina, and consequently of all those which fall into the sea, out of fruitful Poland, Lithuania, or Russia. By which conveniency the eastern cities that lay nearest to the sea, began to fetch away their bulky and *unwrought goods, and to carry them to the Netherlands, England, Spain, and France, and likewise from thence to and fro to export and import all the goods that were superfluous or wanting.

And seeing by the wars about the year 1360, between Denmark and Sweden, they suffered great losses by sea, and amongst others were plundered by the famous Wisbuy, sixty-six of their cities covenanted together, to scour or cleanse the seas from such piracies, and to secure their goods:When, and how the association of the Hanstowns was erected. and thus they became and continued, by that eastern trade, the only traffickers and carriers by sea, beating by that means all other nations out of the ocean, till after the the year 1400, that the art of salting and curing of herrings being found out in Flanders, the fisheries in these Netherlands being added to our manufactures, proved to be of more importance than the trade and navigation of the Easterlings, Edition: current; Page: [42] and therefore encreased more and more with the traffick by sea to Bruges, which lasted to the year 1482, when Flanders had wars with the arch-duke Maximilian, about the guardianship of his son and his dominions, which lasted ten years. Mean while Stuys, the sea-port of Bruges, being for the most part insested, those of Antwerp and Amsterdam, to draw the trade to their cities, assisted the duke in his unbridled tyranny, and barbarous destruction of the country, thereby regained his favour, and attain’d their own ends.And how the trade fell to them of Bruges, Antwerp, and Amsterdam. And seeing the Italians by their Levant trade, had gotten some seed of silk-worms from China and Persia, and raised such abundance of those worms, and mulberry trees, that they wove many silk stuffs, and in process of time had dispers’d their silks every where, and began to vent many of them at Antwerp: and moreover, when the passages to the West and East-Indies by sea were discovered, and the Spaniards and Portuguese fold their goods and spices at Antwerp; as also that the Netherlandish drapery was much of it removed into England;How great a merchandizing city Antwerp formerly was. and the English also settling their staple at Antwerp, these things produc’d many new effects.

1. Tho’ Antwerp was, in respect of its good foundation, and far extended traffick, the most renowned merchandizing city that ever was in the world, sending many ships to and again from France, England, Spain, Italy, and making many silk manufactures; yet Brabant and Flanders were too remote, and ill situated for erecting at Antwerp, or near it, the fishery of haddock, cod, and herring, and for making that trade as profitable there, as it might be in Holland.The trade of which, by reason of our fisheries and manufactures, withdrew into Holland.

2. Tho’ the Easterlings built their eastern houses, and set up their staple at Antwerp, yet had they not the conveniency at once of transporting their corn so far from the eastward, in pursuance of their new correspondence with the Spaniards and Edition: current; Page: [43] Italians, but were necessitated to have it laid up anew in Antwerp, to prevent its spoiling; especially when we add this consideration, that those remote lands had not occasion to take off whole ships ladings of fine wares which Antwerp afforded, as the Antwerpers could take off whole ships ladings of herring and salted fish, besides the rough and manufactur’d eastern and many other commodities, which are manufactur’d and spent in this country.

3. The Hollanders fishery of haddock, cod, and herring, and the great conveniency they have of selling them all at home, and transporting them abroad, was the reason that the Eastern countries took off very much of our herrings and salt. The trade to that country, since the breaking in of the inlet or passage into the Tixel, about the year 1400, when the river Ye began to be navigated with great ships, settled it self by degrees mostly at Amsterdam, and part of it in England.


For answer to the former question, it is here particularly shewn, that fishing and traffick must entirely settle in Holland, and manufacturies must do the like for the most part, and consequently navigation, or sailing upon freight.

THIS was the state of trade till the year 1585, when Antwerp was taken by the prince of Parma. For that city being thus wholly shut up from the sea, and the king of Spain very imprudently neglecting to open the Scheld, being desirous, according to the maxims of monarchs, to weaken that strong city, which he thought too powerful for him, and to disperse the traffick over his many other cities;How the trade fell from Antwerp to Amsterdam. he bent all his strength against the frontiers of Gelderland, England, and France, Edition: current; Page: [44] whereby the merchants of Antwerp were necessitated to forsake their city, and consequently to chuse Amsterdam to settle in, which before the troubles was, next to Antwerp, the greatest mercantile city of the Netherlands. For when we rightly consider the innumerable inconveniences sound in all islands, and especially northward, by reason of storms and long winters, in the consumption of goods bought, and the necessary communication with many inland neighbours; every one may easily imagine why the Antwerpers sat not down in the adjacent islands of Zealand;Why not to the Zealand islands, and besides, neither in France nor England was there any liberty of religion, but a monarchical government in both, with high duties on goods imported and exported. And tho’ the protestant merchants, by reason of the great peace and good situation of England, would have most inclined to settle there;Nor to France nor England. yet were they discouraged from coming into a country where there were no city-excises or impost on lands, or any other taxes equally charging all, whether inhabitants or strangers; but heavy taxes and customs laid on all goods imported and exported, by which foreigners and their children and grandchildren, according to the laws of the land, must pay double as much as the natural English; yea in the subsidies of parliament, which extend to perpetuity on foreigners and their children, they must pay double assessment: besides which all strangers are excluded from their guilds and halls of trade and manufactures; so that none have the freedom there to work, either as journeyman or master-workman, save in that whereof the inhabitants are ignorant.Nor to any Eastern cities. And all these discouragements were also for the most part in the Eastern cities; yea in England as well as in the Eastern cities, a foreigner, tho’ an inhabitant, was not suffered to sell to any other but citizens; nor to sell wares by retail, or for consumption, or to buy Edition: current; Page: [45] any sort of goods of strangers, or of inhabitants that are strangers, neither by wholesale nor retail: all which made them think England no fit place for them to settle in.

It happened also at the same time, that the king of Spain allowing no where a toleration of religion, but making continual war, and utterly neglecting the scouring and cleansing of the seas, the fishing, and remaining traffick of the Flemish cities, which they drove into foreign parts, did wholly cease; so far were they from recovering the lost trade of Antwerp.Why all the manufactures did not abandon Flanders and Brabant, to fix with the traffick and navigation of Holland. So that the Flemish fishing also fell into Holland: but the manufactures were thus divided; one third of the dealers and weavers of says, damask, and stockings, &c. went casually into England &c. because that trade was then new to the English, and therefore under no halls nor guilds. Another great part of them went to Leyden; and the traders in linnen settled most at Haerlem. But there were still a great number of traders in manufactures that remained in Flanders and Brabant: for seeing those goods were continually sent to France and Germany by land carriage, it was impossible for us to prevent it by our ships of war, or any other means imaginable.

Namely by reason of the heavy taxes in Holland.On the other side, seeing that in Flanders and Brabant, especially in the villages where the manufactures are mostly made, there are but small imposts paid, and in Holland the taxes were very great, they might therefore have borne the charge of carrying those goods by land into some French harbours, from whence they might have been transported to any part of the world: and therefore upon good advice we thought it our interest to permit those Flemish manufactures, tho’ wrought by our enemies, to be brought into our country of Holland, charging them with somewhat less duty than they Edition: current; Page: [46] must have been at by going the furthest way about. And thus did those manufactures of foreign countries, by means of immunities from imposts and halls, greatly improve and flourish in those villages, because they could be made as cheap or cheaper than ours, which from time to time were more and more charged with duties on the consumption. Yea, and which is worthy of admiration, they were charged with convoy-money and other taxes upon exportation, till about the year 1634. when by the French and Dutch wars, and winter-quarters, all the most flourishing villages of Flanders, Brabant, and the lands beyond the Meuse were plundered, and the richest merchandizing cities obstructed from sending away their goods. So that the cities of Holland were hereby filled with inhabitants and their manufactures sold there; which was the greatest cause of the increase of trade in this country, and the subsequent riches of the inhabitants.


That Amsterdam is provided with better means of subsistence, and is a greater city of traffick, and Holland a richer merchandizing country, than ever was in the world.

Why Amsterdam is become the greatest city of traffick in Europe.BUT above all Amsterdam hath thriven most in all sorts of merchandizes, and means of subsistence and enlargement. For tho’ it seems not to be so well situated as many other towns in South and North-Holland, for receiving goods that come from sea, and transporting others beyond sea, as also because of the shallowness of the Pampus, for which ships must lade, or unlade most of their goods, and wait for winds in that unsafe road of Edition: current; Page: [47] the Texel;Namely by reason of its situation for trade. yet in this particular of the greatest consideration, Amsterdam lies better than any town in Holland, and possibly better than any city in Europe, to receive the fish manufacture, and other commodities which are taken and made by others, and especially to receive from the shipping into their warehouses store-goods to be spent at home. And it is well known to all persons whether owners of ships sailing for freight, or merchants, that this is a very great conveniency for readily equipping and full lading of ships, and selling their goods speedily, and at the highest price, which is ten times more considerable than a conveniency of importing or exporting goods speedily, or than the damages suffered by the storms, which may happen (tho’ but seldom) in the Texel. For men having an eye to their ordinary and certain profit according to true information of the present opportunity of gain from abroad, whether remote or near at hand, by export and import, they are ever moved more by such an opportunity, than deterred by such misfortunes, especially if they have kept or reserved such an estate or credit as to be still able to continue their traffick. At least it is certain that misfortunes depending on such unknown and uncertain causes, and happening so seldom, are ever little apprehended, and easily forgotten by those that have not had any loss by that means.Which causes a quick sale of all imported goods. And if any one should doubt whether Amsterdam be situate as well and better than any other city of Holland for traffick, and ships let out to freight, let him but please to consider in how few hours (when the wind is favourable) one may sail from Amsterdam to all the towns of Friesland, Overyssel, Guelderland, and North-Holland, & vice versa, seeing there is no alteration of course or tides needful: and in how short a time, and how cheap and easily one may travel from any of the towns of South-Holland, Edition: current; Page: [48] or other adjacent inland cities to Amsterdam, every one knows. And it hath evidently appeared how much the convenient situation of Amsterdam was esteemed by the Antwerp merchants, since the trade of Antwerp fixed no where but at Amsterdam. And after that the Antwerp trade was added to their eastern trade and fishing, the Amsterdammers then got by their sword the whole East-India trade, at least the monopoly of all the richest spices, and a great trade to the West-Indies; and upon that followed the whale-fishing: as also by the German wars, they acquired the consumption of the Italian silk stuffs, which used to be carried by land, and sold there. And besides, the raw silks have given them a fair opportunity of making many silk stuffs, as did the halls of Leyden, and an ill maxim of not early laying out the ground of a city, or not suffering any out-buildings beyond the place allowed for building, which was the only occasion that the weaving of wool was practised, not only in many other provinces and cities, but also throughout Holland, and especially at Amsterdam. And at last thereupon followed the troubles in England, and our destructive tho’ short war with them, and theirs against the king of Spain; as also the wars of the Northern kings among themselves, which were so prejudicial to us. By those eight years troubles the inhabitants of Holland probably lost more than they had gain’d in 20 years before.

The Hollanders are become the only carriers and navigators of the seas, which is a great blessing for all our inhabitants.It is nevertheless evident, that the Hollanders having well-nigh beaten all nations by traffick out of the great ocean, the Mediterranean, Indian, and Baltick Seas; they are the great, and indeed only carriers of goods throughout the world; catching of herring, haddock, cod and whale, making many sorts of manufactures and merchandize for foreign parts. Which is so great a blessing for the inhabitants, and especially for the rulers of the land, and Edition: current; Page: [49] those that are benefited by them, that a greater cannot be conceived. And seeing I may presume to say that I have clearly shewn, in the foregoing chapter, that Holland’s welfare and prosperity wholly depends on the flourishing of manufacturies, fishery, navigation of ships on freight, and traffick; it seems that the order of nature obliges me to give my thoughts in particular of all matters whereby the Holland manufacturies, fisheries, ships let out to freight, and traffick, may be improved or impaired. But seeing that would afford us endless matter of speculation, exceeds my skill, and is inconsistent with my intended brevity; I shall satisfy myself in laying down the principal heads thereof, and that in short.


That freedom or toleration in, and about the service or worship of God, is a powerful means to preserve many inhabitants in Holland, and allure foreigners to dwell amongst us.

By liberty of conscience many people may be drawn out of other countries to inhabit Holland.IN the first place it is certain, that not only those that deal in manufactures, fishing, traffick, shipping, and those that depend on them, but also all civilized people must be supposed to pitch upon some outward service of God as the best, and to be averse from all other forms; and that such persons do abhor to travel, and much more to go and dwell in a country, where they are not permitted to serve and worship God outwardly, after such a manner as they think fit. And also that as to freedom about the outward service of God, during the troubles, and shortly after; when the manufacturies, trading, and navigation for freight began to settle in Holland, the magistrate was so tender and Edition: current; Page: [50] indulgent, that there were very few useful inhabitants driven thence by any rigour or hardship, much less any foreigners: so that it brings that maxim into my mind, that* the surest way to keep any thing, is to make use of the same means whereby it was at first acquired.

And among those means, comes first into consideration the freedom of all sorts of religion differing from the Reformed.Seeing the clergy in all neighbouring nations generally persecute those that differ from the publick sentiments. For in regard all our neighbours (except Great Britain and the United Provinces) and for the most part all far remote lands, are not of the reformed religion; and that the clergy under the papacy have their own jurisdiction: and seeing, if not all those that are called spiritual, yet the clergy at least that differ from us, have in all countries a settled livelihood, which depends not on the political welfare of the land: we see that through human frailty, they do in all these countries think fit to teach and preach up all that can have a tendency to their own credit, profit, and ease, yea, tho’ it be to the ruin of the whole country; and moreover, when the doctrine, counsel, and admonition of these men is not received by any of their auditors, these clergymen do then very unmercifully use to prosecute them odio theologico. Whereas nevertheless all christian clergymen ought to rest satisfied, according to their master’s doctrine, to enlighten the minds of men with the truth, and to shew them the way to eternal life, and afterwards to endeavour to perswade, and turn such enlightned persons in all humility and meekness into the path that leads to salvation.Which yet oppugns the doctrine of the gospel. It is evident that all people, especially Christians, and more particularly their publick teachers, ought to be far from compelling, either by spiritual or bodily punishment, those that for want of light and persuasion Edition: current; Page: [51] are not inclined to go to the publick church, to do any outward act, or to speak any words contrary to their judgment; for potestas coercendi, the coercive power is given only to the civil magistrate; all the power and right which the ecclesiasticks have, if they have any, must be derived from them, as the same is excellently and unanswerably shewn by Lucius Antistius Constans, in his book de Jure Ecclesiasticorum lately printed.

Indeed the essential and only difference between the civil and ecclesiastical power is this, that the civil doth not teach and advise as the other doth, but commands and compels the inhabitants to perform or omit such outward actions, or to suffer some certain punishment for their disobedience;Whose authority is only to teach and exhort so that they have dominion over the subject, five volentes, five nolentes, whether they will or no. Whereas on the other side, the duty of christian teachers is to instruct and advise men to all christian virtues, as trusting in God our Saviour, the hope of possessing a future eternal blessed life, and the love of God and our neighbour.1 Cor. 13. Which virtues consisting only in the inward thoughts of our minds, cannot be put into us by any outward violence or compulsion, but only by the inlightning and convincing reasons of ministers, who to effect this, must on all occasions comply with the state and condition of their hearers, and be the least amongst them: and thus making themselves the least, and thereby converting most, and bringing forth most good fruits, they shall be the first in the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.Matt. 20 27. And besides, it is well known that our Lord Christ pretended to no other kingdom or dominion on earth (his kingdom not being of this world) than that every one being convinced of this his true doctrine,John 18. 36. and wholesome advice, and of his holy sufferings for us, should Edition: current; Page: [52] freely be subject to him, not with the outward man only, to do or omit any action, to speak or be silent, but with the inward man in spirit and truth, to love God, himself, and his neighbour;John 4. to trust in that God and Saviour in all the occurrences of our lives, and by his infinite wisdom, mercy and power, to hope for a blessed and everlasting state for our solus. So that it became not his disciples, or followers, and apostles, much less our present publick preachers, to set themselves above their spiritual lord and master, to lord it over others. The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; but ye shall not be so.Luke 22. 25, 26. The gospel also teacheth us, that they should not lord it over the people, but ought to be their servants, and ministers of the word of God. But notwithstanding all this, we see, that by these evil ambitious maxims of the clergy, almost in all countries, the dissenters, or such as own not the opinion of the publick preachers, are turned out of the civil state and persecuted;So that many, to escape that persecution, forsake their native country, and come into Holand. for they are not only excluded from all government, magistracies, offices and benefices (which is in some measure tolerable for the secluded inhabitants, and agrees very well with the maxims of polity, in regard it is well known by experience in all countries to be necessary, as tending to the common peace, that one religion should prevail and be supported above all others, and accordingly is by all means authorized, favoured, and protected by the state, yet not so, but that the exercise of other religions at the same time be in some measure publickly tolerated, at least not persecuted) but are so persecuted, that many honest and useful inhabitants, to escape those fines, banishments, or corporal punishments, to which by adhering to the prohibited service of God they are subject, abandon their own sweet native country, and, to obtain their liberty, chuse to come and sit down in our barren and heavy tax’d country.

Edition: current; Page: [53]

Yea, and which is more, in some countries these churchmen will go so far, as by an inquisition to inquire who they are that differ from the opinion of the authorized preachers; and first by admonition and excommunication, bereave them of their credit, and afterwards of their liberty, estate or life.Which persecution for worshipping of God, is very detrimental to the state. And as heretofore the Romish clergy were not satisfied with obstructing the divine service of those that dissented from them, but laboured to bring the inquisition into all places; so would it be a great wonder if the ecclesiasticks in Holland should not follow the same worldly course, to the ruin of the country, if they conceiv’d it tended to the increase of their own profit, honour, power and grandeur. At least we see it in almost all countries, where the best and most moderate, yea even where the reformed clergy bear sway, that dissenting assemblies are prohibited. And seeing that the publick divine worship is so necessary for mankind, that without it they would fall into great ignorance about the service of God, and consequently into a very bad life; and since man’s life is subject to many miseries, therefore every one is inclined in this wretched state to nourish or comfort his soul with the hope of a better: and as men hope very easily to obtain the same by a free and willing attention to a doctrine they think to be built on a good foundation;And hinders the conversion of the erroneous. so every one may easily perceive how impossible it is to make any man by compulsion to hope for such advantage, in that which he cannot apprehend to be well grounded; and accordingly the dissenting party clearly discover the vanity of all manner of force in matters of religion.

Moreover, seeing all matters of fact, and likewise of faith, must in some measure be proved by testimony of good credit, such as is irreproachable, or beyond exception; and that all that are thus Edition: current; Page: [54] persecuted, whether by excommunication, fines, banishment or corporal punishments, reproach and hate their persecutors, to wit, the publick authorised preachers, as their enemies; it is evident that those persecutors lose all their weight to persuade people in matters of faith by means of their publick authority, which otherwife would be great among the common people. And besides, we see, that all persecuted people continually exercise their thoughts upon any thing that seems to confirm their own judgment, and oft-times out of mere stomachfulness and animosity will not ponder and sedately consider their enemies reasons: so that the persecuted people being wholly turn’d aside from the truth of God’s worship by such violence and compulsion, become hardned in their error. By this means manifold wars, miseries and removals of habitations have been occasioned since the reformation: and the like actions will still have the like effects.And hurtful to the civil state. How prejudicial such coercive practices are, especially in rich trafficking cities, Lubeck, Collen, and Aix la Chapelle may instruct us, where both the rulers and subjects of those lately so famous cities have since the reformation lost most of their wealth, and chiefly by such compulsion in religion; many of the inhabitants being thereby driven out of their respective cities, and strangers discouraged from coming to reside in them. And tho’ according to clear reason, and holy writ, the true glory and fame of all rulers consists in the multitude of their subjects, yet do these churchmen (forgetting their credit, their country, and their God, which is a threefold impiety) continue to teach, that it is better to have a city of an orthodox or sound faith, ill stocked with people, than a very populous, and godly city, but tainted with heresy. Thus it is evident that to allow all men the exercise of their religion Edition: current; Page: [55] with more freedom than in other nations, would be a very effectual means for Holland to allure people out of other countries, and to fix them, that are there already;So that especially in Holland toleration of Religion is needful. provided such freedom be not prejudicial to our civil state and free government. For, as on the one side those of the Romish religion have their spiritual heads, and the K. of Spain (heretofore Earl of Holland) for their neighbour, who may help the Romanists in the time of intestine division;Pol. disc. of D. C. lib. 4. Disc. 6. p. 320. so on the other side it is manifest, that our own government by length of time is enlarged, and the Spanish Netherlands become weak; and that notwithstanding the renunciation of the said superiority over Holland we are in peace with them, it is also certain that by persecuting the Romanists we should drive most of the strangers out of our country;Likewise for the roman catholicks. and the greatest number of the dissenting old inhabitants, viz. the gentry, monied-men and boors, who continue to dwell amongst us, would become so averse to the government, that in time it would be either a means to bring this country into the hands of our enemy, or else drive those people out of the country:Because our wars against Spain are grounded on the like reason and equity. which cruelty would not only be pernicious, but altogether unreasonable in the rulers and reformed subjects, who always us’d to boast that they fought for their liberty, and constantly maintain’d, that several publick religions may be peaceably tolerated and practised in one and the same country; that true religion hath advantage enough when it’s allowed to speak, errantis pæna doceri, and that there is no greater sign of a false religion (or at least of one to the truth of which men dare not trust) than to persecute the dissenters from it. So that it appears that toleration and freedom of religion is not only exceeding beneficial for our country in general, but particularly for the reformed Edition: current; Page: [56] religion, which may and ought to depend upon its own evidence and veracity.


A second means to keep Holland populous, is a plenary freedom for all people that will cohabit with us, to follow any occupation for a livelihood.

Freedom to be given to all inhabitants to set up, and live by their trades;NEXT to a liberty of serving God, follows the liberty of gaining a livelihood without any dear-bought city-freedom, but only by virtue of a fixed habitation to have the common right of other inhabitants: which is here very necessary for keeping the people we have, and inviting strangers to come among us. For it is self-evident that landed-men, or others that are wealthy, being forced by any accident to leave their country or habitation, will never chuse Holland to dwell in, being so chargeable a place, and where they have so little interest for their mony. And for those who are less wealthy, it is well known, that no man from abroad will come to dwell or continue in a country where he shall not be permitted to get an honest maintenance. And it may be easily considered how great an inconveniency it would be in this country, for the inhabitants, especially strangers, if they should have no freedom of chusing and practising such honest means of livelihood as they think best for their subsistence; or if, when they had chosen a trade, and could not live by it, they might not chuse another. This then being evident, that strangers without freedom of earning their bread, and seeking a livelihood, cannot live amongst us: and as it is certain, that our manufacturies, fisheries, traffick and navigation, with those that depend upon them, cannot Edition: current; Page: [57] without continual supplies of foreign inhabitants be preserved here, and much less augmented or improved; it is likewise certain, that among the endless advantages which accrue to Holland by strangers, and which might accrue more, our boors may be likewise profited. For we see that for want of strangers in the country, the boors must give such great yearly and day-wages to their servants, that they can scarcely live but with great toil themselves, and their servants live rather in too great plenty. The same inconveniencies we are likewise sensible of in cities amongst tradesmen and servants, who are here more chargeable and burdensome, and yet less serviceable than in any other countries.

It is certain, that in all cities, tho’ they invite strangers to cohabit with them, the ancient inhabitants have advantage enough by the government and its dependencies. And it is evident, that the old inhabitants, who live by their occupations, have a great advantage over the new comers, by their many relations, customers and acquaintance, most of the old manufactures, and great inland consumption: all which particulars yield the old inhabitants certain gain.Is more beneficial in Holland than in most other countries. But new comers leaving their own country upon any accident, and besides their moveable goods, bringing with them the knowledge of what is abounding, or wanting in their native country, and of all sorts of manufactures; they cannot live in Holland upon the interest of their money, nor on their real estates: so that they are compelled to lay out all their skill and estate in devising and forming of new fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation, with the danger of losing all they have. For he that sits idle in Holland, must expect to get nothing but certain and speedy poverty; but he that ventures may gain, and sometimes find out and meet with a Edition: current; Page: [58] good fishery, manufacture, merchandize or traffick: and then the other inhabitants may come in for a share in that new occupation, which is also very needful, because the old handicraft works being beaten down lower and lower in price, yield less profit. And therefore is is necessary that all strangers that are masters, journey-men, consumptioners, merchants, traders, &c. should live peaceably amongst us, without any disturbance, let, or molestation whatever, and use their own estates and trades as they shall judge best.

To a few old inhabitants it is detrimental.And tho’ this will be ever detrimental to some old inhabitants, who would have all the profit, and bereave others of it, and under one pretext or other exclude them from their trade; and therefore will alledge, that a citizen ought to have more privilege than a stranger; yet all inhabitants who have here a certain place of abode, or desire to have it as they are then no strangers, but inhabitants, so ought they to be permitted, as well as the burghers, to earn their necessary food, seeing they are in greater want than their opposers. And it is notorious, that all people, who to the prejudice of the common good would exclude others, that are likewise inhabitants of this land, from the common means of subsistence, or out of the repective cities, and for that end would have some speculiar favour from the rulers beyond the rest, are very pernicious and mischievous inhabitants: it is also certain, that a state which cannot subsist of itself, ought not to deny that strangers should live amongst them with equal freedom with themselves, under pretence of privilege and right of cities; nor should they exclude any strangers, but endeavour continually to allure in new inhabitants; else such a state will fall to ruin. For the great dangers of carrying on new designs, of being robb’d at sea, of selling their goods by factors to unknown Edition: current; Page: [59] people, on twelve months credit, and at the same time running the hazard of all revolutions by wars and monarchical governments against this state, and of losses among one another, are so important (yet all to be expected) that many inhabitants concerned in the fisheries, traffick, manufactury, and consequently in ships set out to freight, will give over their trade, and depart the country when they have been so fortunate as to have gained any considerable estate, to seek a securer way of living elsewhere. On the other hand, we are to consider, that there will ever be many bankrupts and forsaken trades, both by reason of the dangers of foreign trade, and intolerable domestick taxes, which cannot be denied by any that knows that in Amsterdam alone there are yearly about three hundred abandoned or insufficient estates registred in the chamber of accompts of that city; and therefore there are continually many inhabitants, who finding the gain uncertain, and the charge great, are apt to relinquish it. So that it is ever necessary that we leave all ways open for people to subsist by, and a full liberty, as aforesaid, to allure foreigners to dwell among us.Yea this freedom is profitable to the government of the land. Moreover, tho’ it be not convenient in general for strangers (i. e. such who, tho’ they dwell in Holland, and have continued there some considerable time, are not natives) to partake of the government, yet is it very necessary, in order to fix them here, that we do not exclude them by laws.

Edition: current; Page: [60]


That monopolizing companies and guilds, excluding all other persons from their societies, are very prejudicial to Holland.

How hurtful select companies and guilds are,MUCH less ought we to curb or restrain our citizens and natives, any more than strangers, from their natural liberty of seeking their livelihoods in their native country, by select and authoriz’d companies and guilds: for when we consider, that all the trade of our common inhabitants is circumscribed or bounded well nigh within Europe, and that in very many parts of the same, as France, England, Sweden, &c. our greatest trade and navigation thither is crampt by the high duties, or by patent companies, like those of our Indian societies; as also how small a part of the world Europe is, and how many merchants dwell in Holland, and must dwell there to support it; we shall have no reason to wonder, if all the beneficial traffick in these small adjacent countries be either worn out, or in a short time be glutted with an over-trade. But we may much rather wonder, why the greatest part of the world should seem unfit for our common inhabitants to trade in, and that they should continue to be debarred from it, to the end that some few persons only may have the sole benefit of it.To all those means of subsistence, whereby to deprive them and lessen their number. It is certainly known that this country cannot prosper, but by means of those that are most industrious and ingenious, and that such patents or grants do not produce the ablest merchants. But on the other hand, because the grantees, whether by burghership, select companies, or guilds, think they need not fear that others, who are much more ingenious and industrious than themselves, and are not of the burghership, companies and guilds, shall Edition: current; Page: [61] lessen their profits; therefore the certain gains they reap make them dull, slow, unactive, and less inquisitive. Whereas on the other side, we say that necessity makes the old wife trot, hunger makes raw beans sweet, and poverty begets ingenuity.Who out of their abundance become wastful, dull and slothful. And besides, it is well known, now especially when Holland is so heavily taxed, that other less burdened people, who have no fisheries, manufactures, traffick and freight ships, cannot long subsist but by their industry, subtilty, courage, and frugality. In a word, these patent companies and guilds do certainly exclude many useful inhabitants from that trade and traffick. But those that possess those privileges with sufficient knowledge and fitness, need not fear that others that are more industrious and ingenious than themselves, shall prevent them of their profit by the exercise of the like abilities and parts;So that the inhabitants of other countries may the easier and sooner draw our means of subsistence to themselves. neither can it be so fully carried on and improved for the common benefit of the country, by a small number of people, as by many: so that in the mean time other people that we cannot exclude from that traffick or manufacture by means of our grants and guilds, have a great opportunity of profitably improving that which so foolishly, and with so much churlishness is prohibited to our common inhabitants.Enquiry made, whether if all countries have the freedom of an open trade, it would diminish our traffick in general, or quite destroy it. Whereas otherwise, the provident and industrious Hollanders would easily draw to them all foreign trade, and the making of incredibly more manufactures than we now work on. That which is objected against this is, that the Hollanders are a people of such a nature, that if the trade were open into Asia, Africa, and America, they would overstock all those countries with goods, and so destroy that trade to the prejudice of Holland; which is so far from the truth, and all appearance thereof, that it is hardly worth answering. For first, so great and mighty a trade by the Hollanders, in those vast and trafficking countries, would be Edition: current; Page: [62] the greatest blessing to them that could be wished for upon earth; would to God any of us could ever see Holland so happy. And next it cannot be denied, that even in this small Europe, the overstocking of countries with goods may indeed lessen the gains of some particular merchants;And the impossibility thereof is made manifest. but yet after such a manner that the said overstocking with the said goods really is, and can be no other than an effect or fruit of a present overgrown trade of this country, in proportion to the smallness of those countries with which we are permitted to traffick. And thirdly, it is evident, that the Hollanders by such overstocking have never yet lost any trade in any country or place of Europe, nor can they lose it so long as that trade remains open, because that superfluity of goods transported is soon spent, and that same trade is by the same or some other of our merchants immediately reassumed and taken up, so soon as by a following scarcity in those countries there is any appearance of making more profit by those, or other commodities.

But supposing it to be true, that the Dutch merchants by overstocking those trading countries should run a risque of losing that trade in some parts; yet considering the smallness of those lands, it would then be doubly necessary to prevent the same by setting open the trade to Asia, Africa and America, for all the merchants of Holland.As also that trading companies by charter have ever lessened trade and navigation, and oftentimes quite ruined both. But on the other side, it is certain that the licensed monopolizing companies, by the unfaithfulness, negligence, and chargeableness of their servants, and by their vast, and consequently unmanageable designs, who are not willing to drive any trade longer than it yields excessive profit, must needs gain considerably in all their trade, or otherwise relinquish and forsake all countries that yield it not, which nevertheless would by our common inhabitants be very plentifully carried on.

Edition: current; Page: [63]

In this respect it is worthy observation, that the authorized Greenland company made heretofore little profit by their fishing, because of the great charge of setting out their ships, and that the train-oil, blubber and whale-fins were not well made, handled, or cured;Which appears by vacating of the Greenland company’s charter. and being brought hither and put into warehouses, were not sold soon enough, nor to the company’s best advantage. Whereas now that every one equips their vessels at the cheapest rate, follow their fishing diligently, and manage all carefully, the blubber, train-oil, and whale-fins are imployed for so many uses in several countries, that they can sell them with that conveniency, that tho’ there are now fifteen ships for one which formerly failed out of Holland on that account, and consequently each of them could not take so many whales as heretofore; and notwithstanding the new prohibition of France, and other countries, to import those commodities; and tho’ there is greater plenty of it imported by our fishers, yet those commodities are so much raised in the value above what they were whilst there was a company, that the common inhabitants do exercise that fishery with profit to the much greater benefit of our country, than when it was (under the management of a company) carried on but by a few. It is besides very considerable, that for the most part all trades and manufactures managed by guilds in Holland, do sell all their goods within this country to other inhabitants who live immediately by the fisheries, manufacturies, freight ships, and traffick: so that no members of those guilds, under what pretext soever, can be countenanced or indulged in their monopoly, or charter, but by the excluding of all other inhabitants, and consequently to the hindrance of their country’s prosperity. For how much soever those members sell their pains or commodities dearer than if that trade or occupation Edition: current; Page: [64] was open or free, all the other better inhabitants that gain their subsistance immediately, or by consequence by a foreign consumption, must bear that loss. And indeed our fishermen, dealers in manufactures, owners of freight-ships, and traders, being so burdened with all manner of imposts, to oppress them yet more in their necessity by these monopolies of guilds, and yet to believe that it redounds to the good of the land, because it tends to the benefit of such companies, is to me incomprehensible. These guilds are said indeed to be a useful sort of people; but next to those we call idle drones, they are the most unprofitable inhabitants of the country, because they bring in no profit from foreign lands for the welfare of the inhabitants of Holland. Esop hath well illustrated this folly by a cat, who first lick’d off the oil from an oiled file, and continued licking, not observing that she had by little and little lick’d her tongue thorough which was given her to sustain her life, and carry nourishment into her body, nor that she fed not on a file which did not consume, but on her own blood before her tongue was totally consumed.

On the contrary, I can see no good, nor appearance of good, which the guilds in Holland do produce, but only that foreign masters and journeymen artificers, having made their works abroad, and endeavouring to sell them to our inhabitants, thereby to carry the profit out of our country into their own, are herein check’d and opposed by our masters of guilds or corporations. But besides that this is more to the prejudice than advantage of the country, since by consequence our fishers, manufacturers, traders, and owners of ships let to freight, are thereby bereft of the freedom of buying their necessaries at the cheapest rate they can; it is also evident, that this feeding of foreigners upon the Hollander would be more strenuously and profitably Edition: current; Page: [65] opposed and prevented, in case all handicraft work and occupations were permitted to be made, sold and practised by all, and no other people, except such as have their settled habitations in this country.


That fishers, dealers in manufactures, merchants, and owners of freight-ships as such, ought not at all to be charged by paying any imposition to the country, under what pretext soever.

IF it be granted that the forementioned means of subsistence, namely, fishing, manufactury, traffick, and freight-ships, are so necessary in, and for Holland, as hath been above demonstrated; and if the Hollanders, who have no native commodities, must yet hold markets equally with other nations, who may deal in their own wares, or manufactures made of their own materials; then it follows, that our rulers ought not, under any pretence whatsoever, to charge or tax their own inhabitants, fishers, dealers in manufactures, owners of freight-ships, or merchants as such. And I suppose every one will easily grant me this conclusion in the general, because of its own perspecuity: for indeed, how fully and fixedly soever fishing, manufactury, navigation, and commerce seem to have settled themselves in Holland; yet it is evident, that one stiver of profit or loss, more or less, makes a commodity which is in æquilibrio, and that happens very often (namely when it is hardly discerned whether the profit be sufficient to continue the making of that commodity) wholly to preponderate, or be at a stand;Especially about traffick in Holland. even as a pair of scales wherein ten thousand pounds or less is weighed, being Edition: current; Page: [66] ballanced, one of them is as easily weighed down with a pound weight, as if there were but a hundred pounds in each scale. And by consequence it is evident, that our own fisheries, and manufactures, with their dependencies, as also the traffick in those wares, whether imported or exported, ought not at all to pay for tonnage, convoy, or other duties, nor any thing when brought to the scale, unless they are sold. I know that all such impositions, through the ignorance of those that are unacquainted with trade, are counted very light and insignificant; but those that are more intelligent and concerned therein, do know* that you may pull a large fowl bare, by plucking away single feathers, especially in Holland, where with light gains we must make a heavy purse.Illustrated by fable. The antients have compared these inconsiderate people to mice, who being to live on the fruit of an orchard, found that the roots of the trees relish’d well, and were of good nourishment, so that they made bold to eat of them; whereby the trees, for want of sufficient root, being depriv’d of their usual nourishment, bore less fruit: and the wisest of them told the others the reason of it, but were not believed by the foolish and greedy mice that continued gnawing and devouring of the root. And when in the following year, besides this unfruitfulness, those trees that had lost many of their roots and fibres, were either blown down by the storms, or kill’d by the frost; the wise mice did thereupon once again warn their imprudent brethren against it, who answered, that it was not their undermining and eating the roots, but the sierce storms and sharp winter that was the cause of it. So that they continued feeding on the roots, ’till the trees were so diminished, that both the Edition: current; Page: [67] wise and foolish mice must either die of hunger, or seek a better habitation.

Besides this, antient history teacheth us, that Antigonus king of Macedonia being imprudently covetous, was not content with the health of his subjects, and the profit which he and they receiv’d from the imposts paid by strangers, who came to drink his mineral waters, but he would needs tax the very fountain it self, by laying a duty upon every measure of water: which was so unacceptable to God and nature, that the fountain dried up, insomuch that he thereby lost not only the health of his subjects, but the impost on the consumption; and for this super-impost on the well, he was cursed and derided by his subjects and strangers.

From the fisheries, manufactures, and traffick, is drawn from all parts, what the other inhabitants pay to the magistracy.And indeed if we consider, that all duties levied on consumption must at the long run be born by the fishermen, manufacturers, traffickers and owners of ships, who for the most part employ all the people here directly or indirectly, we must acknowledge, that they alone are above measure burdened thereby, and discouraged by imposts above all others; which will evidently appear, if you consider it in an example or two, and inquire how much wages is here paid for building and setting to sea a ship of 200 lasts, or rather how many carpenters, smiths, rope-makers, sail-makers, &c. must be employed about such a vessel, and how much in the mean while they must altogether pay to the state, whether for imposts, or for poundage of house-hire.As the building of shipping. For I doubt not but it will charge a ship with some hundreds of guilders more than if we had no imposts, and consequently it must be sold so much the dearer. And if moreover we consider, that the owners who set to sea such a ship to seek a freight, must afterwards victual her with our provision and drink for the seamen, upon which our imposts charge very much, you will the easier discern it. And this Edition: current; Page: [68] would likewise appear manifestly, if we consider, that the price of weaving half a piece of ordinary home-made broad cloth, amounts to seventy guilders, and that this money is presently spent, (for such workmen, tho’ they can, will not lay up any thing) then we should see, that of this 70, more than twenty guilders is paid for imposts, and poundage upon house-hire;And drapery do manifest. for a half piece of cloth requires the labour of twenty-eight people for fourteen days, or at least so many may thereby be fed by the heads of families (reckoning five to a family) and then we see that a half piece of cloth is thereby charged with twenty guilders.

And tho’ the fisheries and traffick are not opprest near so much with such imposts, yet it certainly is, and continues an intolerable error, and thwarts the welfare of the whole state, to burden any dealers in manufactures, fishers, or merchants, as such; for we do not take care for the prosperity of the country, unless by all ways and means we lighten their burdens, and remove what makes them uneasy.


That freedom of religion is against all reason obstructed in Holland.

HAving hitherto spoken of four considerable ways of preserving the prosperity of Holland, I think it not fit to go over any more tending to the same end, ’till I first briefly hint how Holland hath governed itself as to the said expedients.Toleration of religion was formerly more obstructed. And first as to freedom of religion, it is certain that having ’till this time been greater in Holland than any where else, it hath brought in many inhabitants, and driven out but few; yet it is also certain, that since the year 1618. we have begun to depart from that laudable maxim more and more.

Edition: current; Page: [69]

Namely by placaets against the Remonstrants and Roman catholicks.First with the Remonstrants, persecuting them by placaets, fines, and banishments, and driving them into other lands: afterwards with the Romanists, by disturbing them more and more in their assemblies with severe placaets, and more rigorous execution, notwithstanding that by the prosperity of our own government, the great increase of the protestants, the peace, and the king of Spain’s renunciation of any pretence, right, or title for himself, or his heirs after him, to these United Provinces;Altho’ the moving reasons of the first placaets now wholly cease. the moving reasons of our first placaets against the Romanists, seemed to have been taken away. So that now, in order to enjoy their liberty, they must pay a heavy tax annually, to the profit of the bailiffs and schouts, which seems to be imposed for them, and for no other cause; for the government reaps no benefit by it. This is no less unreasonable, than detrimental to the land: for if we cannot spare the benefit which accrues to us by their abode and traffick, why should we prohibit that which is not hurtful to the state, and whereof the Romish inhabitants make so great account, and without which they cannot dwell amongst us? If we permit none but small assemblies in cities, in the houses of known citizens, with such priests as are best approved of by the rulers, that inconvenience would have an end, and peace and friendship increase more and more among the good inhabitants, yea and the true religion too. And moreover, our state would avoid that vexation which now by disturbing those prohibited meetings may happen: and on the contrary, the state could incur no danger by those well known assemblies, where every one might have free access, and no matter of secrecy could be consulted of, but the publick safety would every way be better secured. But what shall we say? not only the politicians, but also the clergy are men; and commonly the sweet Edition: current; Page: [70] temper of such as have suffer’d under persecution is changed into force and violence, so soon as they become masters of others: then they forget the evangelical lesson, and the law of nature to do nothing to others but what they would have done to themselves; and on the contrary, they remember and practise that old tyrannical and accursed maxim, As he hath done to me, so will I do to him; and he that hath the power, let him use it.Psal. 119. 71. And to speak all in a word, what the psalmist says, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes, is not truer in adversity, than in prosperity.Psal. 73. 5, 6. They are not in trouble, neither are they plagued like other men; therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain, and violence covereth them as a garment.


That the freedom of fishery and traffick in Holland, is likewise in some measure unjustly restrain’d.

THE freedom of fishery and traffick, is greater in this country than elsewhere, and yet heretofore there were many placaets published concerning the herring, and other fisheries, which tend altogether to the benefit of foreign fishers, who are not bound to obey them. We formerly manag’d the whale-fishing by a monopolizing company, exclusive of all others; and how mischievous that proved to Holland, appears now, that that fishing is open to all men, whereby it is advanced from one to ten, yea to fifteen, as was before shewn more at large. But erecting an East, and a West-India company, was a quite different thing; for it appeared to be a necessary evil, because our people would be trading in and about Edition: current; Page: [71] such countries where our enemies were too strong for particular adventures:Sometimes a monopoly charter is useful to settle a trade. so that this seemed to have been necessary in all respects, to lay the foundation of that trade by a powerful arm’d society. And seeing this country, engaged in war against the king of Spain, had need of using all its strength, it was very prudently done to erect those two societies. But that trade being now so well settled, we may justly make it a doubt, whether the said companies ought any longer to continue on the same foot. Some wise statesmen do with probable reasons maintain, that the politic rule of* preserving a thing best, by the same means whereby it was acquired, cannot agree with these companies: for it is certain, that the first moving reason of those grants to them, which was the war with the king of Spain, now ceaseth, and that in case of any new war against that people, they would no longer be formidable to us, but we to them.As appeared by the East-India Company. And secondly, as it is well known that it was necessary at first to make some conquests upon the spice islands of the said enemy, because the more lands they conquered, the more right and ability they would acquire to the trade which might happen in those parts:But that trade when settled, if manag’d by a select company, runs counter to the general good. so it cannot be denied, that when those good and necessary conquests are made, the grounds and maxims of the prosperity of the said companies begin to justle and oppugn the general good of this country, which is manifestly known to consist in a continual increase of our manufactures, traffick and freight ships: whereas nevertheless the true interest of such companies, consists in seeking the benefit of all the members, even with foreign, as well as our own manufactures, and (to the great prejudice of all other our inhabitants) by importing manufactures and other mechanick works into this country, and vending them Edition: current; Page: [72] throughout Europe; and in short, by making the greatest profit with the least traffick and navigation. As it is acknowledged, that if the East-India company can gain more by importing Japan garments, Indian quilts and carpets, &c. than raw silk; or if the company, by causing a scarcity of nutmegs, mace, cloves, cinamon, &c. could so raise the price of them, that they might gain as much by one hundred lasts as by a thousand: we ought not then to expect that those raw silks, and unnecessary and great disbursments which they are at, should cause a greater trade and navigation than those hundred lasts would just require, but that they would rather, to shun greater traffick and navigation, destroy all the superfluity they have in the Indies.

And it can be as little denied of such companies, that the more lands they conquer, the more of their stock they must necessarily spend for the preservation and defence of such lands; and the more dominion they have, the less are they able to mind and augment their traffick: whereas on the contrary, our particular inhabitants by those manifold conquered strong holds and lands, would have so much the more conveniency and security to trade in the Indies. We have now, to say no more, quite lost our open trade of Guiney, and that of salt in the West-Indies, which were heretofore so considerable by the erecting of the West-India company; and the mischief which was done to the king of Spain in the West-Indies, is recoil’d back, and fallen upon us:So that that monopoly ought then to have been taken away. so that we cannot cry up that company, who have bound the hands of particular men, and made war instead of traffick, unless at least they would in the mean time suffer all our inhabitants freely to trade in all their conquests. On the contrary, that company hath impoverish’d many of our good inhabitants. Edition: current; Page: [73] Whereas by an open trade, and consequently well settled colonies, we should not only, with small charge have easily defended those vast lands of Brazil, Guiney, Angola, St. Thomas, &c. against all foreign power, but (which is more considerable) have been able to carry on a very great trade with our own nation, without fear that any foreign potentate should seize our ships, goods or debts, to which those Hollanders that trade only in Europe are continually exposed.Else we wholly lose that trade, for land-conquests carried on by merchants are not at the long run tenable against all enemies. And how profitable and secure that trade would have been, may easily be apprehended, if it be well consider’d, that the said lands yield the best sort of commodities that are in request over all Europe, and are not to be had so good elsewhere, viz. sugar, brazil-wood elephants-teeth, gold, &c. and that which those inhabitants have need of in return, Holland could for the most part have supplied them with, as victuals, drink and apparel, yea even with most materials for building of houses, ships, &c. whereas now we are deprived of all these advantages. This is the ordinary fruit and punishment of monopolies and conquests, which for want of colonies they must keep up at a continual great charge. May our East-India company consider this effectually, before it be too late.


That manufactures, and other mechanick Works, are no less imprudently restrained.

The freedom of manufactures is more and more obstructed.BY the freedom allow’d men to gain a livelihood by such things as are liable to consumption, or by handicrafts, it’s certain that we have kept an infinite number of people in the country, and have besides drawn in many foreigners to it: for in most cities of Holland there has been sufficient Edition: current; Page: [74] liberty given. But afterwards people withdrew from many cities, through the mischievous nature of some men, who rather chuse a sudden profit, tho’ to the general damage of their native country, than that which comes in by degrees with continued gain to the republick: for private or peculiar profit is the chief foundation (tho’ it always goes under the notion of a general advantage) of all those restrictions and burdens imposed on the citizens by corporations or guilds, which serve to no other end but to keep good people out of their cities, and in the mean while to give the members of such corporations a lasting opportunity of being enrich’d by their fellow inhabitants, and of selling their goods and manufactures the dearer to their neighbours, and so of levying as it were an impost upon them.

At least it cannot be denied, but that halls relating to manufactures, or any other sort of handicraft ware, with overseers or inspectors appointed by common consent; or the chief men of the guilds to circumscribe or limit the same; or by publick acts of state to appoint how those wares must be made which we fell into foreign lands, are as ridiculous as prejudicial. For it supposeth two very impertinent things: first, that the foreign buyers must needs purchase of us such manufactures and mechanick works as we shall please to make, be they what they will: and, secondly, that in other countries they must not make those sorts of manufactures, and handicraft wares which we prohibit. Whereas on the contrary it may be said, that the makers of them have hit the right mark, when they can best please the buyer, and the buyer can gain most by them. And it is certain that all our manufactures and other mechanick works, may be made and spent not only in the country villages and towns of Holland, but also in very Edition: current; Page: [75] many neighbouring countries; and that they may be there made with far less imposts on the consumption than with us: by which it appears that it would have been much better for Holland never to have laid on those restrictions and Prohibitions.


That the heavy and manifold imposts will at last destroy the prosperity of this country.

Taxes on consumpand merchandize in Holland too burdensome.AS to imposts upon imported or exported goods, and taxes upon consumption, and real or immoveable estates; I suppose former ages levied none such in time of peace. For when the earls of Holland supposed they should have occasion for an extraordinary supply in time of war over and above their revenues, they came in person, and according to their privilege desired it of the assembly of states; who sometimes granted it for a short time, and sometimes refused it, and were ever very cautious of granting any standing supply of money, as knowing their liberty could not subsist but under such an earl as had neither forces nor money beforehand. And our historians count it a great offence in our earls, that they endeavoured to make these lands tributary: for which reason the emperor Charles the fifth desiring a stiver to be imposed upon each acre or morgen of land, could not obtain it; and his son Philip, not without great trouble, got an impost for nine years to help to defray the charge of the war against France, but on this condition, that all sums so levied, should be received and disposed by such as the state impowered to do it. And on the same ground the states of Flanders and Brabant have to this day preserved their liberty of granting the king such requests, or (as it most commonly happens) Edition: current; Page: [76] of denying them. It makes nothing against what I have now said, that the earls of Holland have heretofore received customs upon goods imported and exported, seeing according to their privilege the citizens of the trading cities of Holland, viz. Dort, Haerlem, Delf, Leyden, Amsterdam, &c. are custom-free; so that such duties do only concern strangers, and even for them they are very easy. But in the time of the stadtholders government in the United Provinces, says Grotius, “By* endeavouring not to give the duke of Alva the tenth penny, we afterwards gave all”. After which being in banishment, he wrote to his friends here in this manner: “We bore all manner of taxes and imposts, without preserving the least shadow of our common freedom.” For the same taxes are by the long continuance of the wars now screw’d up so high, that the like was never seen in any republick, much less in a trafficking country:To be able to continue long, and the country to thrive. so that it will be the greatest wonder in nature for us to sustain those intolerable burdens long, and, driving no trade with our own native commodities, to be able to traffick as other nations do. Nevertheless I willingly acknowledge, that if we must needs raise no less than fifteen millions of guilders yearly in this country, we have hit upon the most convenient course for it, viz. to charge the oldest inhabitants most, as being most fixed to the country by the advantage of the government, and their immoveable estates: for land is most liable to pay poundage, the 40th penny upon sale, and the 20th penny of inheritances, by those of the collateral ascending line, as also the tax of the 200th penny most strictly levied. But those manifold, yea innumerable imposts upon consumption, concern Edition: current; Page: [77] merchandize and manufacture only so far as those who are maintain’d by them are men, and must live by them. Besides it is well known, not only that in consumptions there may be great variety, but also that people do manifestly spend most of their income upon pomp and ornament, superfluity, wantonness, pleasure and recreation. So that fishermen, manufacturers, seamen and watermen, who are mostly poor, pay but little to this tax; whereas the richer inhabitants pay very much: and it cannot be denied but that they seem voluntarily to pay those imposts on consumptions.

But in real burdens and taxations, the favour and hatred of the first assessors has not only an influence, but those that are oppress’d by them, cannot free themselves from them by prudential forethought and frugality.Or poundage and the eighth penny. Moreover it is apparent that he who increases his estate by industrious and frugal living, is most burdened: and he that by laziness and prodigality diminisheth his estate will be less taxed. So that virtue is unjustly opprest, and vice favoured. Whereas on the contrary, the imposts on consumption fall heavy upon the riotous, and indulge and incourage the virtuous. But tho’ in all events the forementioned sums of money yearly demanded for defence of the country, be raised after the easiest way possible;That the inhabitants ought as soon as possible to be eased. yet the immenseness of the sum will not suffer us to imagine that our people continuing to be thus burdened, shall always be able to sell their merchandize at as low, or lower rates than other foreigners, who are charged less, and work up their own growth and manufactures ready for the merchant. So that it is absolutely necessary that our inhabitants be eased of such burdens as soon as possibly may be.

Edition: current; Page: [78]


The grounds and reasons upon which the greatest caution is to be us’d in laying the tax of convoy-money, or customs.

Some exported and imported goods, and ships, may possibly he charged to the benefit of Holland.BUT the impost on goods imported and exported, and that on shipping, is a quite different thing; for some may possibly be laid for the benefit of the state, some without prejudice to it, and some cannot be laid without great and certain detriment to Holland. I shall therefore express my sentiments particularly upon this subject, and do premise, that so long as our polity about sea-affairs is built upon the same foundation as it was in the year 1597, that prohibition of any ships or merchandize whatever, whether imported or exported, must always be of great concernment to Holland.Holland ought to be very wary as to prohibited goods, and taxing of merchandize or shipping. The like may be said of laying any new or higher duty of tonnage, or convoy-money for clearing the seas; seeing we daily find that some provinces, admiralties, and cities, intending to tolerate the same among themselves, do privately connive and suffer them to be smuggl’d, or brought in custom-free, in order to gain that trade of navigation and commerce to themselves; and yet will be sure to be the most zealous in causing such prohibitions, and the laying in of higher convoy-money and taxes for clearing the seas, to be imposed by the states-general.See the grievances of the magistrates of Zierickzee in the year 1668. in Novemb. So that commonly the fairest dealing provinces, admiralties and cities of the United Provinces, and the most upright merchants suffer by the said placaets, while the most fraudulent and dishonest merchants do generally so contrive matters, as to get friends at court, by whose favour they find means to benefit themselves to the prejudice of honest men.

Edition: current; Page: [79]

In the first place it is worthy observation, that in this affair, nothing can be more detrimental than to charge all ships, or goods coming in or going out with tonnage-duty, without distinction: for tho’ it be pretended to be taken of the shipping only, yet it is evident that all the goods they carry must pay for it. And to pay for clearing the seas, and thereby charging all goods, according to their value, with one per cent. or the like, is still more prejudicial. To make this more evident, I shall insist the longer upon it. Seeing Holland of it self yields almost nothing, and the greatest part of our traffick consists in fisheries, manufactures, mechanic works, and their dependencies, so that we must take those fish, and fetch the unwrought materials for manufactures, and all that is necessary thereunto from foreign parts; and likewise most of our fish, and wrought goods must afterwards be transported to foreign parts.Last-money, as now laid, is very detrimental, because it charges all without distinction. And seeing it is evident that the fisheries, manufactures, and other mechanick wares, may be practised and made in other countries, it is an inexcusable weakness to burden those necessary means of livelihood, and all other merchandize without distinction, and thereby indanger the driving them into other nations where they are less charged. How much this thwarts all good maxims of polity, I shall shew by an example or two.As is instanced by particular examples; viz. of inland broad-cloth. It was antiently very wisely considered, how much we were concerned in the manufactury of woollen-cloth, and therefore a half-inland made cloth was charged with no more than 4 stivers for exportation; whereas if it had paid 1 per Cent. for clearing the seas, it would have paid 30 stivers. So that every one may perceive the disparity, and into what danger we run by such errors, of losing this trade, and driving out of our country a very great number of people, as washers of wool, pickers, scourers, carders, spinners, weavers, dressers, fullers, Edition: current; Page: [80] dyers, nappers, pressers, &c. with the makers of the instruments necessary to those imployments. And lastly, it is the way to cause the trade of unwrought goods, thereunto subservient, and made use of likewise in the manufactures, to withdraw very readily into other countries, especially if besides all this, we do in the same impolitick manner tax the unwrought goods serving to the same end, which is against all good polity, and the great prudence of our ancestors, who having well considered how much weaving concerns us, very wisely ordered all wooll imported to be free, and all yarn woven here to pay but 15 stivers the 100 l. and but one per Cent. to be paid for clearing the seas;Of worsted yarn for weaving. the wool for an inland half-cloth ten stivers, and the yarn for a home-made camlet 45 stivers the piece: which yet by the ordinary convoy or customs (counting 15 stivers for 100 pounds) is charged but with one half stiver the piece; at least according to the first intent of the confederate states, it ought to be charged with no more. So that it is an inexcusable folly, and would be a very prejudicial exaction to charge the importer with more than 15 stivers convoy-money for 100 pounds of Turkey-yarn brought into this country to be woven. And it is no less imprudent so greatly to burden raw silk imported, as if it were of no concern to us, which by winding, throwing, and weaving, is so profitable to this country.Of raw silk. From all which I suppose every one will easily perceive how prejudicial this great difference is.

But in all events, whether for payment of convoymoney, direction, or tonnage-money, or for clearing the seas, it would be needful for the greater improvement of the navigation of Holland, that all foreign imported goods should be less charged than those that come in by land: whereas on the contrary we see daily that very many Levant, Italian, Edition: current; Page: [81] &c. fine wares are brought in by the land-carriage.To increase navigation, it were needful to charge such goods as come by land-carriage. And how much it concerns our inhabitants we may easily imagine, when we consider that the ships built here, are set to sea victual’d and mann’d, but the carriers and their waggons are foreign, and of no concern to us: and besides, our merchandize on board ships is always in our power, or at least we may convoy and defend them with our men of war as they go and come, whereas those that go by land-carriage are in the lands and power of other princes, so that they may at all times make seizure of them.

As also some foreign shipping.2. All ships and wares, coming out of countries where our inhabitants lade not at all, or at least not without paying duties, ought in proportion to be charged here with as much impost as our advantagious situation, and great consumption can bear: And where ours pay more impost than is taken in the country where the foreign masters of ships do live, we ought likewise to take as much of them here as was taken of ours. And thus having the navigation to ourselves, we may preserve the same, as also the passage on the rivers.

And foreign made wares.3. All wrought goods which we can make in this country, should be charged when imported with so much, and no more than the traffick may bear. And all foreign made goods ought to be charged with more than those made at home, being sold for consumption or wearing; and also the same goods in passing upon rivers into other countries, ought to be charged again so much, as they may not be carried with less charge thro’ other dominions to those rivers.Raw imported goods ought to be little charged. We are moreover duly to observe, that we ought not to charge any foreign goods that are to be transported again, whether manufactured or not, so as that our merchants should find it their advantage to pass by our havens, and chuse rather to carry those goods from Edition: current; Page: [82] one foreign country to another, which might perhaps be effected, especially in very coarse goods, whose lading and unlading cost more than ordinary.Those that come by or upon rivers more. But the wares imported or exported by the rivers, we may charge much more, especially all coarse or bulky goods, which cannot be brought hither by land: for the rivers we have under our command. And again, by charging the goods brought in by rivers, our navigation and traffick is favoured; and the cities that lie upward have for many years past bereft the Netherlandish vessels of their freight on those rivers by their staple duty. Of which great hardship we cannot complain with any reason, while any cities in Holland practise the like.

We ought to ease all imported unwrought goods, whereof our manufactures are made.4. All imported rough goods, which our inhabitants are to work up, ought not at all to be charged: but rough goods, as aforesaid, exported, we ought to charge so much as they can bear.

5. Goods manufactured in this country, and exported, ought not at all to be charged. But on the contrary, we should charge all foreign made goods, either imported or exported, as much as may be, without hazarding the loss of that traffick.And to ease our own, and charge outlandish manufacture.

As for charging foreign goods, and manufactur’d wares, ships, and masters of ships, tho’ it be a matter of great weight, yet I know not of any thing that hath been done in it.Which maxims the English have much better follow’d than we. See their book of rates of tonnage and poundage. But the English, anno 1660, settled their rates of customs and convoy-money so well, according to these maxims, to favour their inhabitants as much as they could, and to burden all foreign masters of ships, and merchants; that if we continue charged in this country so unreasonably as at present, and there too, and the English on the other hand continue to be so favourably used, both here and at home, they will bereave us of much of our trade, unless the merchants there under that government, be for other occasions oppressed with many and heavy taxes, whereunto traffick, Edition: current; Page: [83] under monarchs and princes, is always wont to be much exposed.


That in levying Convoy-money, we in Holland deviate in many particulars from these maxims, and in many things have observed them well.

First, it hath been very detrimental to Holland, that they there prohibited the exportation of gold and silver.FIRST it is well worthy observation, that the inhabitants of Holland can trade in no countries but by carrying goods thither, which having sold, and turned into money, they convert it into other goods which they find there, or failing that, return their money into Holland by exchange: but if such foreign lands have little or no occasion for our goods, but afford rich commodities, then is it evident that we cannot trade with them to any purpose, unless we carry thither gold and silver in coin, or bullion. And since by consequence every one knows that Norway, the East-Country, Smyrna, Persia, India, China, &c. do afford us infinitely more merchandize than they take of us, we cannot trade with them but by gold and silver; and that moreover, these provinces, at least that of Holland, cannot subsist without the said traffick. Therefore we cannot enough wonder at the ignorance, or ill conduct of the states-general, who by many repeated placaets in the years 1606, 1610, 1611, 1612, 1613, 1621, &c. prohibited the exportation of coined or uncoined gold and silver. And tho’ it may be said, that the said placaets being well known to be detrimental, had no long duration, yet it is certain that the scouts, and advocat fiscal, did for a long time, nay and sometimes still make use Edition: current; Page: [84] of them to molest and disquiet our trading inhabitants.

But the not charging of fisheries, and the Eastern trade, is reasonably well ordered.But as to what concerns the freedom and advantages of fishery, and the Eastland trade, as also other unwrought goods imported, they are indifferently well ordered, seeing they pay little or nothing of duty, either on import or export, except that the herring-busses to secure themselves against sea-robbers, or pyrates, do yearly at their own charge, set out seven ships of war:See the rates of the convoy-money. which, for a fishery of so much importance to the country, is too heavy a burden, or at least a very great charge. But foreign salt imported or exported, is not at all charged. Fish of our own taking, herring, wood, ashes, pitch, tar, hemp, pay nothing inward, and but very little outward.But not the corn-trade. But corn, against all reason, pays duty inward, some more, and some less, and likewise when exported is too much charged.

If we consider how much must necessarily be gained in this country, by owners of ships, masters, mariners, corn-porters, hirers out of granaries to stow the same, and corn-shifters, before it is sent by our merchants into other countries:And how much Holland is concerned in having the staple of corn. we ought in all respects to ease, and be more favourable to our stores or staple of corn, merchandize, and fishery, and to keep the staple of corn within our country; that so during bad seasons, and the scarcity thereof in other nations, we may have it always cheaper with us than in any other countries; and besides that, we might enjoy many other publick advantages, which out of so redundant a treasure as is the store and staple of corn, might in very many cases and accidents be improved by wise magistrates. Whereas on the contrary, if by an imprudent burdening of that commodity we lose that staple; this indigent and populous country would in many cases, as bad harvests, and cross accidents of this world, fall into many extraordinary and unforeseen inconveniencies. Edition: current; Page: [85] But manufactures are too much charged.But above all it is to be lamented, that our own manufactures are so unreasonably charged with convoy-money, or customs, and much more with the duty of clearing the seas; but they are chiefly opprest by the imposition laid on the consumption; so that the interest of the manufactures and mechanick works is very ill look’d after. For tho’ undrest wool pays but 1 per Cent. of its worth at importation, yet certain it is that it pays too little at exportation. Flax, silk, and yarn are also too much charged upon importation, and no more (against all reason) at exportation.See the rates of convoy-money. The treaty of the English court in Holland, and L. V. Aitzma’s Hist of the year 1656. pag. 635. And as to weaving, or to speak plainer, all woven goods; it is wonderful why we should charge woven goods, whether imported or exported by sea, or rivers, so high as we foolishly do, or (in respect of their great value) much more than foreign commodities; yea (which is a shameful thing) the undrest English cloths are at importation not charged at all, and the English traders enjoy every way more freedom, and exemption from taxes in Holland, than even our own inhabitants.

As also our husbandmen.The interest of our husbandmen, or boors, is also much neglected; for what solid reason can be given, that the Holland butter exported is double as much charged as that of Friesland? Likewise, that all foreign butter and cheese may be imported duty free; but all foreign cheese exported, is charged with no more than that of Holland.

But especially we may wonder, that the rulers of Holland could ever find it good to charge all merchandize, without distinction, at importation with 1 per Cent. and at exportation with 2 per Cent. of its value: as if it were not enough to subject the merchant by the rated convoy-money, to the charges, pains, loss of time, and seizures, which must and will lawfully oftimes happen, and sometimes also to the unjust vexation and trouble of Edition: current; Page: [86] many,And especially the interest of merchants has been much neglected, by paying one and two per Cent. upon goods imported and exported. and delays of the custom-house officers, searchers, collectors, and fiscal, whereby many times fit opportunities of sending away or selling of their goods are lost: so that by the said one and two per Cent. of the value, all merchandize, even those which ought by all means to be favoured, are so heavily charged, as in the foregoing chapter is shew’d. And besides, power is given to the said fiscal and head customer or collector, to seize all goods for their own use, paying one sixth part more than the importer values them: which is a mischievous thing to the merchant;Which appears plainest by raw silk, and grogram yarn for in far more remote countries (for example, at Smyrna, or Messina, grogram yarn or silk) goods being bartered or bought, and not knowing whether those goods may be damaged in the voyage or not, and much less whether the same are so bartered or bought in, as to yield profit or loss, yet are they bound blindly to rate these goods. Whereas on the other side, the fiscal or collector may take or leave them at their pleasure. Besides, this one and two per Cent. is for the merchant so great a charge, and deprives them of so much profit, that by this alone very many goods that come from abroad, and will not sell off here, pass by our country, and are carried to other ports.

The truth is, when we consider all these heavy burdens upon the merchandize and manufactures of Holland; and then on the other hand, that we can in no wise subsist long without them, I cannot sufficiently wonder at that folly; for it is too nice and ticklish a case to lay any restraints upon the mouth, through which all nourishment must pass into the body. We ought to suspect and be jealous of all things which have any tendency, either to bereave or straiten us of life; especially seeing we can fail but once, and those that guess at things are apt to mistake. Perhaps it may be said, that necessity Edition: current; Page: [87] justifies all things, and that the wars brought a fear upon us of losing both country and trade at once.Which may be excused because necessity breaks law. Indeed he that is straitened by water or fire, will leap through the fire, or catch hold of a naked sword to preserve his life: but they must be fools when there is no such necessity, that will suffer their bodies to be harm’d by sword or fire.See Aitzma’s treaty of peace. That late puissant neighbouring enemy, in respect of whom merchandize was so heavily charged, is (God be praised for his mercy) so weakned by making war against us, that for eighteen years together he was necessitated to offer us a peace that was shameful for him, and glorious for us, before we would grant it him.But it is imprudent to continue that tax forclearing the seas of enemies when there is no need.

And these provinces, that may be accounted to have been formerly unarmed, in respect of their present condition, as Groeningen, Friesland, Overyssel, Guelderland, &c. have always been able to defend themselves against foreign force, and were very hardly by dissension among themselves brought to stoop to that mighty emperor Charles the fifth. So that now there is no shadow of reason to believe that being provided for the most part by the money of Holland with fortification, cannon, arms, and ammunition, they are not now able in a profound peace to defend themselves with their own force against the attempts of a weaker neighbour.And we in perfect peace by land. On the other hand it is true, that some of them being sensible of their own power, are not concern’d for the uneasiness of the Hollanders by sea, nor will they contribute a penny to ease them, but contrary to the terms of the union of Utrecht, as if that union were only made against the king of Spain’s attempts by land, pretending that all wars and robberies by sea, ought and may be sufficiently maintained, prevented and defended by convoymoney, and consequently sufficiently provided for by the merchants of Holland. Whereas nevertheless the said Holland merchants, besides their particular Edition: current; Page: [88] burdens as men and inhabitants, bear all impositions, whereby Holland is not only defended by land against all men, but likewise all the other united inland provinces: which in truth hath continued to this day, at the charge of much more contribution for Holland, and much less for the other provinces, than by virtue of the union of Utrecht they are obliged to.Art. 5. 6. So that it is high time for Holland to mind her own advantage, and discharge her self of all needless expences for these provinces, and bestow them on her own defence, whereof she hath every way, and evermore occasion by land, and especially by sea.That the sea must drip or maintain it self, is a very detrimental maxim for Holland. For if in truth that maxim used by the other provinces be true, That the sea must maintain it self, and that consequently all means to clear the seas, and to regain the merchants loss after such plunderings by foreigners, and damage sustained by sea, must cause the rates of convoy-money to be rais’d higher in proportion to that necessity; all which must be fetch’d from the merchant.Because the Turk will ever continue his depredations at Sea. If so, I say, Holland must necessarily decay and fall to ruin, considering that by the constitution of the trade at sea, and the many countries about us, not only in the Sound and Channel, but also by the fundamental government of Tunis, Tripoli, and Algier, they must be for ever pirated on by sea. For by this rule it would follow, that Holland should always bear its own burdens, and those of the other provinces too by sea, and so in a time of peace, as well as war, should also bear most of the charge by land:Voyage to the Levant, par le Sir des Haye. and that the others on their parts should wallow in idleness and gluttony with the wealth of Holland.

Edition: current; Page: [89]


What professions of the inhabitants of Holland, ought to be more or less burdened with taxes, or favoured by the politick magistrate.

But if Holland by a formermisgovernment, must be burdened with a yearly payment of 15 millions of guilders;BUT some will perhaps object against what I have affirmed, that during the time of the late monarchical government in these provinces, and the remainders of it, as also when we waged an offensive war, and seemed to leave our navigation as a prey to the Dunkirkers, Holland was burdened by money taken up at interest, and other taxes to the sum of fifteen millions yearly; therefore to rid ourselves of so great a burden under a free government, it was necessary to levy money of the inhabitants by several ways and means.Then no wonder if some hurtful ways of raising money have been used, and still be continued. And secondly it may be objected, that when easy or indifferent levies will not raise money enough for securing the country, and navigation against any sudden attempt, then we must find out other ways and methods which at present would be hurtful, but if continued any considerable time, would be mischievous to the state, yea ruin it. And therefore we in Holland have very prudentially practised all those and no other means and ways of raising money, but such as are now used by the state.

It will be fit to lay down same method in such cases of taxings.But tho’ the first objection be true, yet we may doubt whether the second be so. Therefore I find it good to examine here what ways or expedients are fit to be used to procure money in such an exigence, that so the reader himself may more exactly judge whether, and when the magistrates of Holland, have in this particular taken care of the welfare of the land in general, or have been neglective of it: and having expressed the same in as few words as may be, I shall afterwards, because of the general Edition: current; Page: [90] concernment of the thing, consider more fully whether all estates of the inhabitants of this country can be equally favoured; and in case they cannot, which of them ought more or less to be cherished and conniv’d at.

Under this head we ought first to raise money by way of impost.Namely, seeing all people do naturally endeavour to discharge and free themselves of burdens, tho’ even by burdening of others, or when that cannot be fully obtained, then will they seek to ease themselves of that burden by procuring partners to bear it: every one will then immediately judge that we should charge those of foreign nations that frequent Holland, who are no members of our political body, which we call the state, with all imaginable taxes, and by all means to ease our own inhabitants, as being true members of our own body. But seeing we have shewn you before, that Holland cannot subsist without commerce and merchandize with foreigners, we might by so doing take such methods as would prevent them from coming into Holland, to our great prejudice; and therefore we ought to be very wary and cautious about it, especially considering, that an extraordinary charge upon those strangers would not much ease us: so that consequently there is no other way, but to bear so great a burden with as many helpers as we can procure.All wares that are consumed at home. And it cannot be denied but we shall procure more supporters, if we charge all goods with some impost that are usually worn or consumed by the people as they are men and women.

And seeing those imposts which are most freely and spontaneously paid, are least offensive and irksom; we should therefore observe this order, viz. first, and most, to charge such goods as tend to ease, pleasure and ornament: and then such as no man can be without, as meat, drink, housing, firing and light, seeing strangers hereby will pay Edition: current; Page: [91] alike with the inhabitants, and none will be favoured or exempted.

And also all inhabitants of Holland.And seeing by all these means the said sum of fifteen millions cannot be levied, we should then afterwards in taxing the people, so charge them, as that all may bear their parts equally, none excepted. But since this is not practicable, but by taxing all peoples estates to make men pay alike without distinction, or by a blindfold poll; both which means of raising money being so unequal, and full of hardship, do ever cause great distaste among the people: we ought therefore to proceed to the charging of some particular sort of inhabitants, who bring in no profit to the country, but on the contrary live upon the other inhabitants.

But especially such as have any publick imployments and business of profit in Holland, excluding others.And among them are first all inhabitants, who from or on behalf of the state, or cities, open countries, drainers of water, makers of dykes, have any benefit of power, honour or reward, more than other inhabitants. For seeing they may refuse such offices, dignities and employments, to escape those taxes, and that we need not give them but to such inhabitants as are qualified for, and petition to have them; no inhabitant therefore to evade such taxes, will need to abandon the country, nor have any reason to complain of a burden which he annually loadeth himself with: and yet by this expedient much money may be raised for the common good, without burdening any of the other inhabitants the more.

And after them all inhabitants that live upon other inhabitants.Next to them should follow such inhabitants as are teachers, artists, and their instruments, for so much as they are imployed about matters of ease, pleasure, ornament, &c. that are made use of in this country. And after these former, all masters and journeymen of such trades who live by our own inhabitants only; such as bakers, brewers, sellers of wine and fish, butchers, taylors, shoemakers, Edition: current; Page: [92] carpenters, masons, smiths, and glasiers, &c. But in such a case it were needful, for the keeping of our provision, and to suffer strangers to live upon us as little as is possible, to charge all their goods or manufactures imported into Holland for consumption, so high, that our own may go better off than those that are foreign.

And next them those that live upon our lands or fund.Next would follow some charge or tax to be laid upon such inhabitants as live upon our own lands; such as are our husbandmen, grasiers and inland-fishers, for they will hardly forsake us because of our taxing them, seeing they may always be eased in better times.

And since all these means of raising money will burden none but such as are inhabitants in this country, and while they find their maintenance amongst us; it is evident that all the said ways for raising of money will excite the commonalty to ingenuity, diligence and frugality, and then they will be easily borne.

As also all immoveable Holland goods.But in case all these expedients will not raise money sufficient, we may then charge either ordinarily or extraordinarily all immoveable goods, lands and houses, with yearly taxes, or by impositions upon alienations and inheritances of them; wherein nevertheless there be those difficulties, that those taxes will not be paid with any freedom, but wholly by compulsion: and that the said immoveable goods being for that end to be valued, that valuation cannot be made without partiality, and these burdens will be then very unequally born. Besides, that by the accidental unfruitfulness of the lands, and standing empty of their houses, the owners and tenants of them wanting a great part of their yearly rent on which they depend for the maintenance of their families, they must necessarily suffer these two unavoidable inconveniencies. But seeing all owners of immoveable estates who dwell Edition: current; Page: [93] out of the land must also help to bear these burdens, without any prejudice to the estates of our common inhabitants; and the owners of land that dwell in the country, are so tied to Holland by their immoveable estates, that they cannot but with great difficulty remove their habitation to other countries: this means therefore of raising money, may be used without hurting the state.

By taxes on all moveable and immoveable goods jointly.Finally, in an extreme necessity of money, there may be impos’d a general tax on all the moveable and immoveable estates of the inhabitants, whereby they may pay the thousandth, two hundredth, and one hundredth penny: I say, in an unusual great necessity, because by these taxes there would fall a greater hardship upon the common inhabitants, and damage to the state, than could fall by any other expedient of this nature; for foreigners would bear nothing of this, but our inhabitants only. And seeing the assessors are wholly ignorant of mens personal estates, and what the inhabitants do owe, or is owing to them; and if they did know the value of them, yet could they not tax them so equally as may be done in the case of immoveable goods: we may therefore easily see, what by favour and hatred, and by ignorance of the assessors, especially in the trading province of Holland, where riches are very transitory and uncertain; that there must be an intolerable inequality in bearing this tax.Which notwithstanding is a very hard and unequal tax. Those that would honestly declare their estates might lighten the tax; but the fraudulent will unavoidably make it heavier. Besides, many inhabitants possessing neither immoveable estates nor merchandize, but living here on the interest of their money, to elude these heavy burdens, may remove to some neighbouring country, to the greater prejudice of this state than if any other of the forementioned inhabitants should forsake us; for such people frequently Edition: current; Page: [94] drawing their revenues from other parts, and spending them here, they gain not by our inhabitants, but they gain by them. Nevertheless, seeing such persons as live on their rents, are in respect of the other inhabitants but few in number, and do not set many people at work for a livelihood, therefore the said tax may and can be raised without any remarkable prejudice to the state.

We ought to be cautious of weakning the four pillars of our state, viz. manufactures, fisheries, traffick, and freightships.And it is more especially to be observed, that if by reason of all these taxes many inhabitants should forsake Holland, and settle in other countries, yet they, or other such persons, when the tax after a while should be released, might easily be drawn to return to Holland, or others would succeed them out of our own country, so long as our manufacturies, fisheries, traffick, and freight-ships remain and flourish amongst us: seeing they are the four main pillars by which the welfare of the commonalty is supported, and on which the prosperity of all others depends, tho’ they earn not their living immediately by them. This will not be denied, if we rightly apprehend, that many people are brought into our country that are strangers, or were formerly inhabitants, teachers, artists, consumptioners, tradesmen, and such as live on their rents, because there are many people here that live, or have lived by manufactures, fisheries, traffick, and freight-ships, and do all of them afford work, or a livelihood for the other inhabitants before-mentioned. But that on the other side the manufacturers, merchants, fishers, and owners of ships let to freight, will not return from foreign lands to these parts, or be invited hither because there are, or have been in Holland many teachers, artists, consumptioners, tradesmen, and men that live on their rents, seeing these do set to work or employ the foresaid people, and have their greatest profit Edition: current; Page: [95] from foreign parts, at least not from these last mentioned people that are natives.

But nevertheless upon an urgent necessity thereunto pressing, we should charge them least.But supposing the general necessity of levying money to be so great, that we could not raise enough by all the fore-mentioned taxes, or could not find out any expedient to raise the same but what were prejudicial; so that to defend the commonwealth, or preserve our body politick against some formidable enemy, we should be so put to it, as to tax the above-mentioned pillars of the land, and be pinch’d in our chiefest means of livelihood for a short time, in hope that such urgent and pressing necessities will soon have an end, and that then those taxes will be taken off; and doing thus, we may both secure our country and our estates: let us then see what order we are to take in pursuit of this method. And in the first place to express myself clearly, by the words manufacturers and fishers, I understand all such as live by any trade in or about fishing, making, transporting, and selling of our Holland manufacturies and fisheries. And by the word traders, I mean all such merchants that sell nothing by retail; but such as trade solely, whether at home or abroad, in all or any commodities, except Holland manufacturies and fisheries, and such as depend on them. And by the word owners of ships, I understand no other owners than such as set ships to sea, either for our own service, or for other merchants upon freight.

And now to come to the matter in hand, we ought well to consider, that we must lay the least tax upon that means of subsistance which most concerns us, and which we are apt soonest to lose, and being lost is not easily retrieved, and which might besides draw away with it other trades or means of subsistance.The manufactures. So that seeing in Holland there are six hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants who are maintained by manufactures, and such as Edition: current; Page: [96] depend on them, and those manufactures are not certainly fixed to us, since we cannot furnish ourselves with the unwrought materials of them from our own country, but from other parts; yea the greater part of them being easily carried by land, may be made, carried, and sold in foreign upland countries. And if this should happen, our merchants and owners of freight-ships would be oblig’d to remove and betake themselves, either to them, or to the countries and sea-harbours next to them; and if we should once lose those manufactures, and that our merchants and owners of ships should go over to another country which affords those materials for the making of them, they would probably never return to us. Wherefore it appears that we must charge them little or nothing, and the rather, seeing our manufactures are already charged with imposts on the consumption, much more than our fisheries, traffick, and freight-ships.

The fisheries more.And seeing our fisheries, by the propinquity of the coasts, where haddock, cod, herring, and whale are taken, are more fixed to us, and always will be so than to most other countries; and that by our over-taxing them, we have neglected and disregarded them, they may possibly return to us again if we ease their charge, considering our convenient situation; whereby it appears that we ought to tax them sooner, and more than our manufactures: nevertheless seeing there are four hundred and fifty thousand people employed in the fisheries; and the loss of the said fisheries to our merchants and owners of ships, would give them occasion to remove into those countries where the said fisheries might be establish’d: It appears therefore that we ought not inconsiderately to charge our fisheries too much.

Traffick yet more.But forasmuch as it cannot be apprehended, that while Holland preserves her manufactures and fisheries, Edition: current; Page: [97] she should lose all her traffick in foreign manufactures, fisheries, and other merchandize; and that this traffick does not at most maintain above one hundred and fifty thousand people in Holland: it therefore again appears, that we ought sooner, and more to charge those trafficks than our manufacturies and fisheries. Yet seeing those trafficks being removed into other countries, our owners of ships might first send their ships thither, and many of themselves follow after: it likewise appears, that we ought to charge that traffick less than the owners of ships.

And seeing the owners of freight-ships inhabiting these provinces do receive incomparably more advantage from our inland manufactures, and our own fisheries and trade, than any foreign owners of ships can do; yea, for as much as there be no supporters of the countries prosperity, but what are servants to our manufacturies, fisheries, and traders: it is not therefore imaginable that we can lose them so long as we can preserve our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick; so that the said ships may be charged sooner, and more than manufactures, fisheries, and trafficks.And the part-owning of shipping most of all. Yet since those ships lie for freight in foreign countries, and there raise money from strangers, they may in some measure be esteemed a support of our prosperity; and since there may possibly be fifty thousand people maintained that way, and that by their being charged too much our own manufactures, fisheries, and traffick, for which we are most concerned, might in some measure come to suffer at long run: we ought not therefore to proceed inconsiderately to the charging of them. Tho’ we should lose our freight-ships, yet we should not therefore lose our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick; but on the contrary, by their means, and by lessening the taxes at any time, the freight-ships would easily Edition: current; Page: [98] be induced to return to Holland.As appears by many reasons. We know that heretofore in Flanders, Brabant, and Holland, many inhabitants were maintained by manufactures, fisheries, and traffick, when the Easterlings were the only carriers and mariners by sea: as also that the said owners of freight ships were for the most part gradually compelled by our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick, to forsake those Easterlings, and to settle in Holland. And we still find every day, not only that our owners of freight-ships are serviceable to the manufacturers, fishers, and traders of other countries; and to that end send their ships from one harbour to another, to transport their goods at a price agreed on; but also that there are always strangers here, who for the sake of our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick, by reason of some freedom and privileges they have above us, either in their own countries, or in their voyage, do come and enter their ships for freight amongst ours.

And as these four pillars of the country’s prosperity may be more or less charged;So that it being now shewn at large what estates of our common inhabitants ought most or least to be charged with imposts, in order to levy fifteen millions of guilders yearly, we may from the same reasons in some measure calculate upon all occasions which of the inhabitants ought to be most or least favoured by the magistracy, and consequently I should finish this chapter: but seeing the welfare of the inhabitants most certainly depends on the good maxims of the rulers in that matter, I shall enlarge somewhat more upon it.

So in all events the rulers ought to favour them proportionably.Altho’ civil rulers are very well termed fathers, and the subjects their children, yet herein is the difference, that parents do indulge and take equal care of their children to their utmost power, or at least ought not to favour one to the prejudice of another, and in no case to ruin one child to provide for others, tho’ better children: and that contrariwise Edition: current; Page: [99] the politick governors making up with the generality one body politick, which we call the State, must shew more or less favour, yea hurt and ruin, to some who are more or less profitable, or pernicious to the state. As for instance, those that commit theft and murder, &c. who are punished with death or otherwise, for the good of the rest, and to deter them from committing the like evils.

Namely, first the things themselves before their dependencies.From which it follows; first, that all inhabitants, none excepted, ought to be favoured more than strangers, as much as is proper. Yet so, that none be favoured, who by any imployment can earn their living by others their fellow-subjects, to the prejudice of those by whom they procure their bread: because in such a case it would be foolish, that those who depend upon any thing should be favoured to the prejudice and ruin of that very thing whereon they depend. And besides, it is necessary, that we always remember to favour most, and consequently preserve in Holland such inhabitants, who can with more ease than others get their livings in other countries, and transport themselves thither.

2ly. The foreign before the inland traders.Secondly, it follows by the said maxims, that all inhabitants who seek their profit and livelihood from other countries, ought more to be favoured than those who in this country live on their fellow-inhabitants.

3ly. The masters ever before the servants.Thirdly, it follows from hence, that such inhabitants, who by their gains acquired by foreign countries contribute most to the subsistence of the inhabitants, and consequently of the state, ought most to be favoured; but with this caution, that the master should be more favoured than the servant; and our merchants who traffick in our own manufactures, and fisheries in foreign countries, above all others who are employed about the making Edition: current; Page: [100] or taking of the same. All which being well considered, it unanswerably appears, that the politick rulers of Holland ought least of all to favour strangers with any power or privilege, and consequently more and more to favour the inhabiting mechanicks, masters, journey-men, teachers, artists, consumers of any goods in the land, husbandmen, grasiers, inland-fishers, such as live on theit estates, owners of ships, merchants, fishermen, and finally almost all such inhabitants who are employed about manufactures spent in foreign parts.

And altho’ some may object, that the said advantages and disadvantages cannot be procur’d or avoided, unless, as abovesaid, the high and subordinate government consists of so many rulers and magistrates, that none of them could benefit himself to the prejudice of the community:Especially to erect colleges of persons according to the proportion, that are interested for themselves. yet it is very well known, that any violent change in the welfare of the common inhabitants of Holland, would at least much sooner ruin the best and most useful subjects, than improve them. And consequently, it ought to satisfy the lovers of their country, if the rulers and magistrates take so much care that the subordinate colleges of polity, treasury and justice, about the manufacturies, fisheries, trade and owning of ships, be so formed, that such persons as are employed therein, be most interested in the prosperity of manufactures, fisheries, traffick and freight-ships, and consequently least in any other way of subsistence; because otherwise every one will, to the prejudice of others, tho’ they ought more to be tendered as more profitable, draw the water to his own mill, and lay his burden on another man’s shoulders.About manufactures. So that there ought to be among the directors that are the superintendents, or have the oversight of manufactures, at least, as I conceive, four for foreign consumption, two to Edition: current; Page: [101] oversee the making of such manufactures, one over the inland-consumption, and one over the service depending on those manufactures. As for example, among the directors for the woolen cloth-trade, there ought to be four merchants dealing in cloth, two clothiers, one draper, one dyer or cloth-worker, &c.Fisheries. Likewise among the directors concerning our foreign fisheries, there ought to be in proportion at least four merchants that trade in those commodities, two over the setting out of the vessels and causing the fish to be taken, one over the inland-consumption thereof, and one over the fishing itself.Especially a college or merchant-court for trade. And if the rulers of these lands, or any cities thereof in particular, were inclined for preservation and increase of traffick in general, to erect a common council with authority to make statutes and laws relating thereunto; then such a council ought to be form’d after this proportion, viz. of twenty four merchants dealing in Holland manufacturies, sixteen merchants in Holland fisheries, six merchants in other commodities which belong not to our manufacturies and fisheries, and at most but two owners of ships, because such owners and the masters of ships in that quality are for the most part servants to the others, and depend on them, and without them are of small consideration.Else private interest will be sought against the common good: And if among the judges or commissioners set over the making of manufactures, fisheries, assurances, maritime affairs, &c. there should be some interested persons, it is evident, that in all such colleges the same proportion ought to be observ’d, that in case partiality should take place among the judges, the loser should at least have this comfort in his misfortune, that his loss would tend to the benefit of the community, in advancing manufacturies, fisheries, traffick and freight-ships: whereas otherwise the trouble of seeing himself divested of his livelihood and goods, Edition: current; Page: [102] by undue orders, and unjust sentences, and all to the loss and detriment of the commonwealth, would be intolerable.

As appears by the directors of the Levant trade, who are genenerally concern’d in ships let to freight.And that this may appear not to be spoken at random, let us please to remember that Roelof Martinson Vygeboom of Horne, a ship-master, or the owner of the ship called the Emperor Octavianus having in the year 1663, suffered his vessel laden by the Turkish emperor’s subjects, to be taken for a prey by some ships of war belonging to Malta, Leghorn and Venice, for which they paid him a very great freight;See the judicial and political considerations of the Turkish avenie, printed 1663. the said emperor of Turky required of Livinus Warnerus our resident at Constantinople satisfaction for the same: he by his faintheartedness, treachery or covetousness, made a promise within three months and fifteen days, to pay the Turks seventy eight thousand four hundred and forty-five lyon dollars for satisfaction; and that the said sum might the sooner be obtain’d, the said resident commanded, and thereupon the consul ordered, that not only all Holland ships set out to freight should be seized in all the havens of the Levant, which hath some glimpse of equity in it, but also all the goods of the innocent Holland merchants, who were constrained to pay that money for their redemption. It is easily imagined that this happened, because the resident and consul knew that the directors of the Levant trade living in Holland, were mostly concerned in the ships let out to freight that use the Levant, that it would have been very ill taken by them, and that they might have sat on the skirts of the resident and consul, if their ships had been seized for that reason.Who have favoured these freight ships more than the Holland manufactures and traffick; We afterwards saw the strength of this particular interest clearer in Holland: for these merchants who were unjustly forced to lay down this money, and being to be discharged, the said directors, who give their advice to the states-general Edition: current; Page: [103] in many cases, laid down in this particular no expedient, nor any think like it, whereby to procure this money to the least loss of the land, or charging themselves or other owners or masters of the Levant ships; no, nor to charge themselves together with the merchants; but on the contrary, have totally freed the said owners and masters of the same, and to the greater prejudice of the country, yea, and the spoil of our manufactures, charged one per cent. upon all goods outward and inward, not excepting Holland cloth, raw silks, and yarn, making together two per cent. So that the states following their advice, traffick and manufacture will be for so much imprudently charged to perpetuity, since the said oppressive tax will hardly ever be releas’d.Bringing the charge of the resident and consuls avenies, &c. on all our manufactures and traffick. And if we add hereunto, that all other traffick of the common inhabitants of the provinces, that is not under the tuition or care of such directors, being driven into countries where our consuls reside, the masters and owners of each ship going or coming in, must pay to the consul a certain fee for his consulage. But that the said directors of the Levant trade, for as much as they are owners of ships, have cast that burden from off their own shoulders, and laid it upon our own merchants, yea on our manufactures and all manner of Levant wares, without distinction of clothes, grogram yarn, raw silk, &c. going or coming to or from the Levant, to the benefit of the resident at Constantinople, and the consuls that reside in those havens on the behalf of this state, charging them with 1 ½ per cent. being together going and coming three per cent. which upon so rich a trade makes up a princely revenue, and royal maintenance.And that by cutting too large thongs out of others leather; And altho’ the said residents and consuls take their reward of the Holland Levant merchants, and having no other business to dispatch but the concerns of their traffick and navigation, Edition: current; Page: [104] ought to have remembred, that they being only clothed with a character of the state,Whereby the residents and consuls carry it as if they were lords over the Levant merchants. the better to effect the same, and for no other end, unless for order and decency, are really and indeed but ministers of the Levant merchants, and so must continue, seeing they have at the port of Constantinople in effect not any the least business of state to negotiate, as peace, war, alliances, assistance, &c. between the respective states. Nevertheless this shadow of their monarchical administration, and assuming an authority, and taking example by the ministers of monarchs, who likewise reside there:Which mismanagement may soon ruin the Levant trade. adding hereunto, that this too great income for citizens of a free commonwealth, hath all along raised in them a monarchical pride, and besides occasions oft-times other heavy taxes, and continual quarrels against the said Holland merchants, who are not willing nor able to endure so chargeable and oppressive a power, which will destroy our important Levant trade in a short time.

Let none object, that all that money is not exacted to the rigour, nor comes into the residents and consuls purse; for they enjoy most of it, and the factors charge the their principals with it, insomuch that this considerable Levant trade, and our manufactures depending upon it, by this prejudicial management of those chargeable residents and consuls, and by five per Cent. unnecessarily charged, and without any reason to favour and clear the owners and masters of ships, tho’ they cause more troubles in those parts than the merchants themselves, and also in other respects are subject to them, and consequently have more occasion of our residents and consuls advice than our traders, and are the cause of their much greater charge.

So that you may see by what I have said, that if the courts of justice relating to the fisheries, manufactures, traffick, insurances, and maritime affairs, Edition: current; Page: [105] are no better ordered according to the maxims of Holland’s prosperity, whereof I know none as yet:So that we may expect the like inconveniences from all other ill reformed colleges. Then certainly our manufactures, fisheries, and traffick in this country, being too little favoured, and too much opprest; and that all concerned therein having any difference with their labourers, servants, messengers, letter-carriers, ship-masters, or owners of ships, they have great reason ever to comply with them, or to fear a mischievous verdict or sentence, tho’ their cause be good. For since we cannot bereave judges of their human nature, we ought in such cases to expect that they will take more care for themselves, or their friends, than for the publick good.

And thus by degrees I am come down to matters of justice about traffick, whereof I purpose to speak more at large.


The antient state of justice in Holland and West-Friesland being here related, it is likewise at the same time shewn, that the laws and order of justice ought to be framed for the most advantage of traffick.

IT is well known that the German emperors drove out of these lands the Normans, and according to their custom divided the provinces among twelve or thirteen lords their favourites, making one of them the earl, who, as the* emperor’s stadtholder, was to govern this country with the assistance of the said nobility, without soldiery. And in case of war, if he and these noblemen, and common inhabitants, were not able to defend themselves against a foreign power, he was to be assisted by the duke of the next adjacent mark-lands, who was always arm’d and had 12 earls under him, and at his disposal.

Edition: current; Page: [106]

Relation made of the state of justice, as in the times of the earls of Holland, who were sovereign lords.Pursuant to this our earls, with consent of the states of the land, framed and appointed all the laws or orders over the whole province; and their respective dykegraves, bailiffs and schouts, with their counsellors, homagers, judges, and sheriffs, made all peculiar laws and ordinances for the respective waters in the country, open lands, villages, and cities, and omitted not in their laws to express the punishment and fines which the offender was to suffer or pay. And moreover, our earl had power, with all other earls, as being chief judge himself, or by bailiffs and judges depending on him, and in his name, to give sentence and judgment between the inhabitants. It is observable, that all criminals, who had forfeited their lives, were to forfeit their estates also, and that all confiscations and fines came to the earls, or to the bailiffs and schouts, who for that end held their offices by farm. And to the end that those miserable subjects might undergo trial before the judges that were parties; we are to take notice, that our earls following the ungodly maxims of monarchical government in administring justice, stood much upon the enlarging of their power and profit, and but very little on the welfare of the common people:Tis shewn how defective and tyrannical it then was. for they empowered these bailiffs and schouts, according to their will and pleasure, to take cognizance of all crimes and offences, whether really committed or not, to favour or prosecute all the inhabitants, without appeal to any but the patron, viz. the earl. And tho it was very necessary for the gentry, common people, and citizens, the better to obtain just sentences, to appoint upon all occasions a very great number of judges, and to give them a liberty, without respect of persons, to vote with balls or otherwise privately: or if few judges were appointed in those courts and places of justice, with command to vote publickly, that then at least those bailiffs, schouts and judges Edition: current; Page: [107] at certain times being complained of, were obliged to give an account of their actions before a very great number of them.By reason of the paucity of judges. Yet our said earls upon all, yea the most weighty occasions, would place no more but here and there an Azing, or five or seven judges in the open country, and about so many sheriffs or aldermen in the cities; obliging them, whether in criminal or civil causes, ever to deliberate or vote openly in presence of the earl, his bailiffs or schouts, and to give no account or reason to any but himself for what they acted.

By which form of justice, the earls and their bailiffs and schouts might favour or oppress all the inhabitants, under pretext of administring that sacred justice to which they were sworn.And their passing sentence as the earls and their bailiffs and schouts pleased. For they could give what sentence they pleased by reason of the paucity of judges, which they were fain to comply with, if they would hold their annual employments, and escape the resentment of their said lords. And when at best the said earls, bailiffs, and schouts did not concern themselves with the matter in question, if one of the parties, whether plaintiff or defendant, were favour’d or hated by the judges, and the other not, then in such case, *an upright sentence was seldom passed.

What little amendment hath been for the publick good since these times, about matters relating to justice.And tho’ since that time, by the abjuration of the government of earls, and especially since the death of the late stadtholder of Holland, the greatest occasion of favour or hatred in respect of judges and sheriffs, and consequently the greatest occasion of unrighteous sentences, either in greater or lesser affairs, was taken away; yet nevertheless the bailiffs and schouts in regard of the common people, and especially in criminal affairs, hold their former power and respect. By which remainder of that tyrannical government by earls, the inhabitants may Edition: current; Page: [108] be very much oppressed upon this account, because the judges and Scheepens being continued in their former small number may be misled, unless we should suppose them to be divested of their human nature, and not to be mov’d by their familiarity with, or hatred of the said bailiffs and schouts, or by the bribes, and love or hatred of the plaintiff or defendant; and because no further appeals, or account is to be given to higher powers at appointed times and places, upon the complaint of any persons thereunto impowered, and likewise because they are not obliged to suffer any punishment in case of error.

But my aim being chiesty at trade, I shall shew,But because I purpose more especially to consider our administration of justice, as it tends to the benefit and increase of our fishery, manufactures, traffick and freight-ships, I shall pass over all these common defects and faults in other matters of justice, and pursue my aim and purpose in this only.

Next to the perfect freedom of the people, and the more or less taxing and favouring the several trades or estates of the people of Holland, it is necessary that justice be equally administred against all open violence which may be acted in the land: which seeing it would be hurtful, not only to the merchants of our manufactures, and fisheries, and traders in foreign commodities, together with the owners of freight-ships, but also to other inhabitants, both subjects and rulers;How detrimental designing bankrupts are, so that no assembly, or body of men whatever, without securing themselves against it, can possibly subsist; there is of antient times an order of justice appointed, tho’ very defective. But tho’ fraud (whereby we may wrong a man of his due as well as by force) ought not to be less punished, and that merchandizing depending especially on the probity of men, yet by false deceit may be perfectly ruined; it is therefore to be wondered at, that Holland hath been able to Edition: current; Page: [109] preserve its traffick, as it must here be carried on with so many laws, or by the help of laws derived from the maxims of the warlike Roman republick, which give the merchants here an opportunity to gain more by fraud than by honest dealing.And how little provision is made against them. And on the other hand, here is so little care taken by good orders and laws to defend the honest merchant against the fraud and deceit of those who bear the name of merchants, and to help them to recover their own; that we may well ask the reason, why all the bad people of foreign countries come not into Holland, that under pretext of merchandizing they may openly learn to cheat in the beneficial way now so much practised, and that with impunity? For, *’tis the rod makes the children good.What order might be taken to prevent it. Now to establish some better order in this, it would seem needful, that none should be suffered to drive any traffick in Holland, ’till first he hath entered the place of his abode in a publick register, which would have this effect.Which comes in here. First, that the parents and kindred of the said merchant, if they have not made a contrary entry in the same register within a year, shall not be allowed by any last will and testament, to leave to the said merchant a less legacy than without a will they might, to the prejudice of his creditors. Moreover, it shall not be lawful for any merchant, especially a bankrupt, in any case to refuse any profitable bequest or legacy. For this he cannot be supposed to do but in order to defraud his creditors; and for that reason he ought to be prohibited legally to alienate any estate, save for a gainful title, and that he hath receiv’d the value of it beforehand. I understand hereby, that if he happen to be a bankrupt afterwards, all his donations, conveyances and portions given for marriage, or estates bequeathed or consigned Edition: current; Page: [110] to his children, ought to be applied to the benefit of his creditors. For we see here too often the truth of this English proverb, Happy is that son whose father goes to the devil.

And settlements before marriage.And as it ought to be unlawful for a merchant to endow his wife with a marriage jointure to the prejudice of his creditors, so ought the wife to be prohibited to covenant to have her option of part in profit or loss: for there is nothing more rational than that he *who will have the profit, must bear the loss. Yea, the parents, and nearest kindred of such a wife, ought to demean themselves in all things in respect of inheritance, as the relations of the husband himself: and excluding community of estate, or the bringing in of engaged estates, they ought to be entred in the publick register.

The ordinary register or books of accounts of such merchants who are in reputation for honesty, and corroborated by oath, ought in all respects to be equivalent to any notars acts, and nothing ought to be preferred to it except special mortgage; seeing the custom of the country is such, that to prefer orphans, rent, or jointure, &c. to be first paid, is prejudicial to traffick, and consequently to the whole republick. But if at any time it be found that a merchant hath falsified his books or register, and confirmed them by perjury, he ought then in all respects to lose his life as a false coiner, that all men may be terrified by so severe a punishment, not to enrich themselves falsly and treacherously with other mens estates, to the prejudice of the commonwealth.

A debtbook under oath ought to be a sufficient ground for an immediate execution.Yea, it seems to me that traffick, and the accounts of a credible merchant, is of so much concernment, seeing the constitution of the same is such here, that it neither allows or permits of any other evidence: that therefore upon the said register Edition: current; Page: [111] alone confirmed by oath, there ought immediate execution to be taken as for money due to the state. For if traffick is with us salus populi, the country’s safety, what reason can there be of not using the like means (pari passu) as the state doth?

Vindications and evictions.It is also very prejudicial, that a sale should be counted for ready money, when after delivery of the goods the money is not immediately paid. For when the seller gives up his right of the goods by trusting of the buyer, he gives such knavish buyers great opportunities of making great bankrupts: and he who on the other side by his imprudence is in the greatest fault, does afterwards, by his unjust vindication or prosecution for his goods, take away the estate of the other creditors.

Present justice by a court-merchant is very necessary.There ought in each city to be at least one particular court of justice to decide matters between buyer and seller, that so such suits may not only be speedily ended, but that the judges apprehending the way of trading the better, may give or administer the better justice and sound judgment for the land: whereas the merchants now find, that their suits caused by difference in accounts, are almost never ended but by agreement of the parties when they grow weary of the law, and that mostly to the benefit of the unrighteous caviller, according to the proverb, The cavillers are gainers.

But the beneficium inventarii is detrimental, as areIt is very unreasonable and prejudicial to the merchant, that the estate of one deceased should be suffered to have beneficium inventarii, the right of making an inventory of the estate, when the common creditors will become his heirs; *seeing the creditors must bear the loss if the estate falls short of their debts, they ought to reap the profit when there is more: whereas otherwise those unmerciful greedy heirs by that course of justice, in the first Edition: current; Page: [112] case they cast off the burden from their own backs, and in the second case they carry away the profit.

Letters of cession, or attermination.And no less hurtful are letters of cession, or attermination, renouncing the estate, and gaining of time. And since no persons are prosecuted by the publick for particular debts, it is reasonably to be presumed, that the creditors will not prejudice themselves by taking over-rigorous courses with any person that cannot really pay, but is willing to do it; nor to bereave them of their good name, and drive them into extremities. But on the contrary, a dishonest man having concealed and made over his estate, will enrich himself, and seek ease, by delivering up his whole estate upon a false oath.

On the contrary, it would be profitable for the commonwealth, if upon the least complaint of a debtor’s non-payment, they should forthwith make him give in security; or in case of refusal, to keep him and his books of account in close ward. For in case he should then shew himself able to pay, he might soon be released upon security;What severe punishments are necessary against designed bankrupts, viz. to deprive them of their liberty. and being unable, we should be able to prevent his running away, and his giving in a false account of his debts, and his thievish making over and absconding his books and estate. In all such events, it ought to be lawful to imprison knavish debtors, with their wives and adult children, by publick authority, and to keep them in a publick workhouse, to make them earn their own bread, according to the law of Moses, and the Roman laws of the twelve tables.Exod. 22. Yea, and in case the wickedness of eminent and great debtors be aggravated by foul and knavish circumstances, we ought, according to the proclamation of the emperor Charles in the year 1540, to use them as we do thieves for burglary, hang them on a gallows, without suffering in any wise, as now it often happens, that Edition: current; Page: [113] such bankrupts remain dwelling among us, and continue driving their traffick under another’s name; according to the proverb,* Let him pay with his person, that cannot pay with his purse.

But in case the bankrupt be fled with his books and estate, without the jurisdiction and reach of Holland, and is protected by the civil authority of that place; I should think it convenient for the benefit of Holland to proceed thus. First, by virtue of a general law, all such persons ought to be prosecuted as publick betrayers of their country, amounting to as much as being guilty of high-treason; the rather, seeing such a villainous bankrupt hath no less need of help to carry on his wicked design, than to betray his country: at least he cannot so have concealed matters, but that the accomptants and cashiers, his men-servants and maidservants must have some knowledge of it; and therefore they ought all of them to be apprehended, and if upon examination it were found that they had assisted in conveying away such thievish bankrupts, it were good to examine them upon the rack more strictly if there were cause of suspicion of the thing; or else upon their oaths according to the occasion. For if the rack be of any good use, it must be in cases whereon the prosperity of the country depends, and where it’s known there must be aiders and assisters in such gross knaveries.

And all creditors and debtors ought to be obliged by laws and publications.We might also at the same instant publickly proclaim throughout the whole land, that whosoever hath any estate of, or owes any thing to the person so fled, should immediately discover it, on pain of being punished as betrayers of their country, and concealers of that villany: and all persons should forthwith be examined upon oath who are suspected to know any thing of it; declaring by promise, Edition: current; Page: [114] that all those who shall uprightly purge themselves, should be accounted men of probity, altho’ they had formerly assisted in that wickedness; and if otherwise, they shall at all times be proceeded against and punished as perjured betrayers of their country, when by a third person it shall come to be known.

To bring in all their claims, whether to the benefit or charge of the deficient estate.And all such as claim, and pretend to any thing of the fugitive’s estate, ought also to be oblig’d immediately to lay claim to it upon great penalties, whereby two very great evils would be prevented; for seeing* no man becomes wicked to the highest degree all of a sudden, therefore all such who were lately possessed of the estate of such bankrupts, and consequently had not used or employed it as their own, should immediately bring in the same: the rather, that while the act was fresh, they could not arrive at so exact a knowledge of their estates and books as they might afterwards, by the seizing and examination of the offenders and their associates. And,

2dly, All those that pretend to any thing of the bankrupt’s estate, being also ignorant of what might come to be known of his condition, and whether there were any appearance at any time of compounding with him, should be necessitated to give in their real debts: whereas we see now, that all such estates are grasp’d by dishonest persons in such a manner, that there is seldom any thing left for the honest creditors, because people may conceal all debts with impunity, and on the other side, may enlarge their pretences after they see the matter brought to an issue.

This being done, the bankrupt ought to be summoned on a certain prefix’d day and hour, in which time the creditors ought to have leave absolutely to compound with him, and to stop their Edition: current; Page: [115] proceedings at law. But if the bankrupt neither appears nor agrees, he ought to be hanged in effigie on a gallows, and all his children old and young declared infamous.

By all which means jointly applied, many designed bankrupts would be prevented.If all these particulars could take effect immediately upon the fresh act, and before people could have laid aside the shame of such a new piece of knavery, I judge it would be of great influence to make men honester: whereas now they learn by degrees, that it is better to have other mens estates than none at all; and* that we can spend another man’s estate with much more pleasure than our own. Having overcome all shame, men can live easier and quieter in an infamous condition than to trouble themselves about points of honour, and pay so dear for them too.And likewise better agreements made with fugitive bankrupts. But seeing in all these prosecutions the benefit of the creditors ought to be aimed at, since it is purely an endeavour to make the most of it for them, therefore they ought to be enabled after that time to agree with their creditors, and to annul the sentence; for fiat justitia & pereat mundus, becomes a judge’s mouth very well; for they not being sovereigns, are for the sake of their honour, oath, and office, bound to judge by the laws, and not contrary to them: wherein if they fail, they are in all well-ordered republicks to be complained of, and punished. But the proberb does not at all become wise politicians, where salus populi, and not the peoples ruin, must be the supreme or highest law.

There ought to be given to an honest, tho’ insolvent merchant, a reasonable allowance.And seeing we ought on the one side to compare these fugitives, and base and unworthy cheats, to those vagrant and thievish drones among the bees, which by all means ought to be kept out of the land, or to be pursued and destroyed: so on the contrary we ought to look on all honest merchants, who through want of foresight, by the injustice Edition: current; Page: [116] or breaking of others, by storms, misfortunes, robberies at sea, or war, have lost their own estates, and part of others, and so cannot pay their debts. I say, we ought to regard them as profitable bees with compassion, declaring and promising them, that all such persons, making their losses appear, and not withdrawing themselves from justice, shall reserve, and hold to their own use the tenth part of what they had to begin to trade with at first, and not be troubled at all by their former creditors, and may remain in good name and fame with their children, tho’ they had enjoyed great portions or other gifts, as being a righteous fruit of their uprightness, and a comfort in their adversity. But seeing between these mischievous thieves, and their children, and these unfortunate losers who are much to be lamented, there is no difference either in punishment or infamy, it causeth many who otherwise would be honest, through necessity to step out of the honest way, and to take ill courses. For if opportunity makes a thief, necessity does it much more.

But supposing all useful laws were made for the benefit of traffick and navigation, and the inferior judges were well inclined to cause them to be put in execution, nevertheless as things now go in Holland, they may for the most part be made of none effect by appealing to a higher court.Our courts of justice ought to consist of many counsellors. For as our courts of judicature consist not of above ten or twelve judges, so they cannot hear and give judgment at more than one bench, and much less have their understandings exercised to comprehend all differences that occur, whereby the suits, because of the great number and trouble of them, remain depending there almost to perpetuity, and at last are all of a very uncertain issue. To redress which it were necessary, that the number of judges should be so encreased, that for some particular cases there Edition: current; Page: [117] may be some appointed out of that number, who according to the weightiness of the causes may bring in and report the same in full court, to have sentence pronounced upon them.That might give more dispatch, and pass juster sentences. By these means quicker and better justice would be administred, not only among the commonalty, and especially the merchants; but likewise among all other the more eminent inhabitants, whether secular or ecclesiastic, who might be minded to promote treason or sedition,And might be a terror to all seditious and traiterous persons. would be deterred by so considerable a court, that is accountable to none but their lawful sovereigns, that is, the assembly of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, and would carefully watch against such villanous practices as abovementioned, which now, impunitatis spe, by the length of suits, and slow justice, are but too frequent.


That it would be very advantageous for the rulers and people of Holland, and for traffick and commerce, as well as navigation, to erect Dutch colonies in foreign countries.

BUT supposing all the expedients before-mentioned, to attract or allure foreigners to become inhabitants of Holland, were practised, and those inhabitants made to subsist by due administration of justice, yet would there be found in Holland many old and new inhabitants, who for want of estate and credit, live very uneasily, and therefore would desire to remove thence.In all countries there will ever be found many distressed persons. It is evident, first, as to persons and estates, that the inhabitants here are not only exposed to the ordinary misfortunes of mankind, of not foreseeing future events, weakness, and want; but besides, they make very uncortain profit by manufactures, fishing, trading, and shipping. And on the other side, by sickness, Edition: current; Page: [118] wars, piracies, rocks, sands, storms and bankrupts, or by the unfaithfulness of their own masters of ships, they may lose the greatest part of their estates, while in the interim they continue charg’d with the natural burdens of Holland, as great house-rent, imposts and taxes:Thro’ the uncertain profit, and certain taxes born by the inhabitants: nor have they any reformed cloisters to provide creditable opportunities for discharging themselves by such losses of maintaining their children, or according to the proverb, to* turn soldier or monk; so that by such accidents falling into extreme poverty, they consequently lose their credit and respect among men: for to have been rich is a double poverty, and nothing is less regarded than a poor man’s wisdom; in such cases he would find himself in the most lamentable condition that can befal a man in this world.

Is also by the oligarchical governmentAnd, 2dly, as to reputation: it is well known that in this republick, the government consists of very few men in proportion to the number of inhabitants, and that the said government is not by law annexed or restrained to any certain family, but is open to all the inhabitants: so that they who have been eight or ten years burghers, may be chosen to the government in most cities, and have the most eminent employments of scheepen or burgomaster. Whence we may infer, that many that are the offspring of those that were heretofore made use of in the government, and also many others, who by reason of their antient stock, and great skill in polity, and extraordinary riches, thro’ natural self-love and ambition, conceive themselves wronged, when other new ones of less fitness and estate, are chosen to the government before them; and therefore thinking themselves undervalued, seek a change, and would be induced to Edition: current; Page: [119] transport themselves to other countries, where their qualifications, great estate and ambition, might produce very good effects.Which male-contented inhabitants might occasion great evil to the land. Whereas on the other side, whilst they continue to dwell in these lands, they speak ill of the government and rulers in particulars. And if by this, or any other accident, tumults should be occasioned against the rulers in particular, or the government itself, they being persons of quality, might become the leaders of the seditious, who to obtain their end, and to have such insurrections tend to their advantage, would not rest till they had displaced and turned out the lawful rulers, and put themselves in their places, which is one of the saddest calamities that can befal the republick, or cities: seeing* rulers, who became such by mutiny, are always the cause of horrible enormities before they attain the government, and must commit many cruelties e’er they can fix themselves on the bench of magistracy.

And seeing we have already made many conquests of countries in India, and finding how hardly (and that with great charge of soldiers) they must be kept; and that the politicians of old have taught us, that there is no better means, especially for a state which depends on merchandize and navigation, to preserve foreign conquests, than by settling colonies in them: we may easily conclude that the same method would be very useful and expedient for our state.

Especially because the poorest people come into Holland from the adjacent lands.Thirdly, it is well known, that the poorest people of all the countries round about us, come to dwell in Holland in hope of earning their living by manufactury, fisheries, navigation, and other trades; or failing that, they shall have the benefit of almshouses and hospitals, where they will be better provided for than in their own country. And altho’ in this manner very many poor people have been Edition: current; Page: [120] maintain’d, yet in bad times it could not last long; but thence might easily arise a general uproar, with the plunder, and subversion of the whole state:So that we ought to give those male-contents and over-taxed people, some vent by colonies. to prevent which, and other the like mischiefs, and to give discontented persons and men in straits an open way, the republicks of Tyre, Sidon, Carthage, Greece and Rome, &c. in antient times, having special regard to the true interest of republicks, which were perfectly founded on traffick, or conquests of lands, did not neglect to erect many colonies: yea even the kings of Spain, Portugal, and England, &c. have lately very profitably erected divers colonies, and continue so doing in remote and uncultivated countries; which formerly added an incredible strength to those antient republicks, and do still to Spain, Portugal, and England, &c. producing besides their strength, the greatest traffick and navigation. So that it is a wonderful thing that Holland having these old and new examples before their eyes;Whereunto Hol and hath had a fair opportunity; and besides by its natural great wants, and very great sums of money given yearly for charity to poor inhabitants, and being yearly press’d by so many broken estates, and want of greater traffick and navigation, hath not hitherto made any free colonies for the inhabitants of Holland; tho’ we by our shipping have discovered and navigated many fruitful uninhabited, and unmanured countries, where, if colonies were erected, they might be free, and yet subject to the lords the states of Holland, as all the open countries, and cities that have no votes amongst us are: and it might cause an incredible great and certain traffick and navigation with the inhabitants of Holland.

It is well worthy observation, that these colonies would no less strengthen the treasure and power of the states in peace and war, than they do those of Spain, Portugal, and England, which during the manifold intestine dissensions and revolutions of Edition: current; Page: [121] state have always adhered to their antient native country against their enemies.And yet would have, in case the East and West-India companies would make use of them; And by this means also many ambitious and discontented inhabitants of Holland might conveniently, sub specie honoris, be gratified, by having some authority in and about the government of the said colonies. But some may object, that heretofore the rulers of Holland in the respective grants or charters given to the East and West-India, companies, have given them alone the power of navigating their districts, with exclusion of all other inhabitants, which extend so far, that out of them the whole world hath now no fruitful uninhabited lands, where we might erect new colonies; and that those districts are so far spread, because our rulers trusted that the said companies could and would propagate and advance such colonies: tho’ supposing those colonies must indeed in speculation be acknowledged singularly profitable for this state, yet nevertheless those respective districts and limits, bounds of the said companies, were purposely extended so far by the States General, and especially by the States of Holland, effectually to hinder the making of those colonies, since our nation is naturally averse to husbandry, and utterly unfit to plant colonies, and ever inclined to merchandizing.

Who neither will nor can trade in all the countries under their district.To which I answer, that it’s likely the first grants or charters, both of the East and West, and their copious districts, were probably made upon mature deliberation; but that the rulers perceiving afterwards how very few countries the said companies do traffick with, and what a vast many countries and sea-ports in their districts remain without traffick or navigation, they cannot be excused of too great imprudence in that they have, notwithstanding the continuance of such districts to this day, kept their common trading inhabitants consisting of so great numbers from those uninhabited Edition: current; Page: [122] countries by our companies:While the Holland merchants being too narrowly confin’d ix Europe, all cry out for more trafficking countries or colonies. so that by reason of the want of trafficking countries, or new colonies in little Europe, and its confines, the Hollanders are necessitated to overstock all trade and navigation, and to spoil and ruin them both, to the great prejudice of such merchants and owners of ships on whom it falls, altho’ Holland during that time of their trades being overstock’d, had a greater commerce, and deterred the traders of other countries from that traffick which the Hollanders with the first appearance of gain do, and must reassume, if they will continue to live in Holland; where all manner of foreign trade, since the erecting of the said companies, was necessitated to be driven, notwithstanding the uncertainty of gain, and fear of over-trading our selves.

But those companies incline not thereto, because the directors of them can thereby reap no profit.And that the said companies neither have, nor do endeavour to make new colonies for the benefit of the lands, and the inhabitants thereof, hath hitherto abundantly appeared, and we must not lightly believe that they will do otherwise for the future; which, I suppose, will also appear, if we consider, that the directors, from whom this should proceed, are advanc’d, and privately sworn to promote the benefit of the subscribers of the respective companies: so that if the colonies should not tend to the benefit of the subscribers in general, we cannot expect the companies should promote them; yea supposing such colonies should tend to the greatest profit of the said subscribers in general, yet such is the common corruption of man, that those plantations should not be erected unless such directors or governors can make their own advantage by them.

Nor yet the participants.And seeing all new colonies in unmanured countries, must for some years together have necessaries carried to them ’till such plantations can maintain themselves out of their own product, begin to trade Edition: current; Page: [123] and go to sea, and then there is some small duty imposed on the planters and their traffick or navigation, whereby the undertakers may be reimbursed: yet the partners having expended so much, are not assured that their grant or lease of years shall be prolonged and continued to them on the same terms. Moreover, in regard of these new colonies, the directors ought therefore to have less salary, seeing by this free trade of the planters and inhabitants, they may be eased of the great pains they take about their general traffick and equipage of ships, which concerns them much in particular, for many considerable reasons, not here to be mentioned.

And as concerning our people in the East and West, they being hitherto of so loose a life, are so wasteful, expensive, and lazy, that it may thence seem to be concluded, that the nation of Holland is naturally and wholly unfit for new colonies; yet I dare venture to say it is not so: but certain it is, that the directors of the said companies, their mariners and soldiers, and likewise their other servants, are hired on such strait-lac’d and severe terms, and they require of them such multitudes of oaths, importing the penalty of the loss of all their wages and estate, that very few inhabitants of Holland, unless out of mere necessity, or some poor ignorant slavish-minded and debauched foreigners, will offer themselves to that hard servitude.The worst, sort of foreigners that yield to the hard slavery of the said companies, are not fit for colonies. It is also true, that all such as are in the Indies, especially the East-Indies, do find, that not only while they serve, but after they have served their time for which they are bound, they are under an intolerable compulsive slavery; insomuch that none can thrive there but their great officers, who being placed over them, to exact the oaths of the mercenaries or hirelings, and to put in execution the companies commands, and being without controul, to accuse or check Edition: current; Page: [124] them, they commonly favour one another, and afterwards coming home with great treasures, are in fear that they will be seized and confiscated by the directors. He that will be further convinced hereof, let him but read the following placaet or proclamation, which was, and is yearly to be published at Batavia.

By the yearly placeat published at Batavia, it is ordered,THE governor general, and council of India, to all that shall see, hear, or read these presents, greeting. Know ye, that whereas the directors of the general Netherlandish East-India company settled by patent, at the assembly of seventeen, for divers good considerations, have found it useful and necessary that the orders and proclamations which we do yearly publish, and affix to the usual place against the time of the fleet’s return to our native country, after having first explained the points therein contained, and enlarged others, by some needful additions contracted all into one placaet, and so to publish it to the people, to the end that every one, whether in or out of the company’s service, travelling to the Netherlands, may thereby the sooner and better understand by what rules he is to govern himself before he leaves this country. We therefore, in pursuance of that order, having contracted all the foresaid orders and placaets (after previous elucidation and amplification, as aforesaid) into one, have found it requisite, now afresh to ordain and appoint, and by these presents we do ordain and appoint, that all such persons as intend to sail to the Netherlands, of what state, quality or condition soever they be, and purpose to have any claim or pretence upon the said company, proceeding from what cause or thing soever, shall be obliged to make the same known, none excepted, or reserved, before their departure hence, unto us, or our committees;That all pretensions on the company must be first adjusted by the companies own servants. that so having heard and examined Edition: current; Page: [125] the same, they may take such order about it as shall be found just and reasonable, upon pain that all those that shall have neglected or omitted the same, shall be taken and held to have had no action or pretence at all, and shall for ever be and remain void and of none effect. As likewise none arriving in the Netherlands unto the seventeen lords or their particular chambers, shall be heard concerning the same, unless they shew our special act of reference, which shall be granted if the matter be found of such a nature as is not proper to be decided and determined in this country. Likewise those that have any defect or error in their accounts, or may have lost the same, are to address themselves to the said lords commissioners; who after they have taken cognizance thereof, may provide therein as becometh. Likewise all such company’s servants or freemen that desire to receive any salary here as due to them, are likewise to address to the lords commissioners, and declare it to them, that so it may be signified to the lords our principals, that we may desire and receive authority for payment thereof.

That none may bay or sell any debt due by the company.No persons being in or out of the company’s service, of what state, quality or condition soever he be, that either here in India, or on their voyage homewards, buy, or sell any accounts proceeding of salaries, or monthly wages, either for himself or others, or as a pawn or pledge of friendship or debt, to accept or engage, and make it over, on pain that the buyers and sellers, transferrers and transferrees, that renounce their accounts, shall both of them, not only lose their right and title to the same, but also the buyers and transferrees shall be fined thrice as much as the ballance of the account so bought or pawn’d shall amount unto.

Likewise no person in or out of the company’s service, departing out of India, shall either for himself, or others, take with him any silver or Edition: current; Page: [126] gold, coined or uncoined, into his native country, or keep it by him;That none may carry away thence any money to the Netherlands, but deliver it to the company to receive it by exchange in Holland. much less may he conceal it, by delivering it to seamen, soldiers or others, whether here on shore, or upon the voyage, or lend it out, or put it to interest, upon forfeiture of all such money to the benefit of the company, where, and with whomsoever the same shall be found. But such as have money to spare, may discharge themselves of it at the chamber of accounts, that in conformity to the letter of articles, they may receive bills of exchange for the same.

Every one is therefore hereby forewarned, that those that will make over money to the Netherlands, whether he remains in India, or travels thither, shall beware of taking other ways or courses, than by the said chamber of accounts, to the end they may as aforesaid receive it by exchange; that is to say, by means or assistance of any European nation: and that none remit money over to England, or elsewhere, either directly or indirectly, on what pretence soever, under the penalty, that such who shall be found doing the same, shall besides the loss of his imployment and service, and loss of the salary which then shall be due, viz. if he remains in the company’s service, he shall further forfeit such sum as shal be proved he paid, or privately made over to anly other European nation.

That none may depart thence, unless they have twelve months wages due to them.Moreover it shall not be allowed for any person, being in the company’s service, to depart to the Netherlands, unless he shall have at the least twelve full months salary due to him, and that by original account, unless he shall have paid the contents thereof in ready money into the chamber of accounts here, upon exchange, to be repaid him by the company in the Netherlands.

Those that purpose to depart to the Netherlands, shall before such departure from hence, sell all their moveable and immoveable estates, as houses, gardens, Edition: current; Page: [127] lands and pedakkens, none excepted;Those that go home, are to sell their immoveable estates. whether they were sold publickly, or privately; and pay the proceed thereof into the chamber of accounts aforesaid, to be made good in the Netherlands; upon pain that the offender shall immediately forfeit all his right to the said goods to the company’s use.

Likewise those that are entrusted with the administration and disposal of any immoveable estates, whereof the proprietors are departed hence, shall be bound to sell the said goods, and turn them into money before the departure of the next returning ships, and to bring the proceed thereof into the chamber of accounts, to receive the same by exchange as aforesaid, upon pain as aforesaid.

And pay for the freight of their persons 300 guilders.The people that are free, and not in the company’s service, and disposed to return to the Netherlands, whether single, or with their families, shall before their departure from Batavia, pay for their freight and transportation money, at the general chamber of accounts as followeth, viz.For their diet in the great cabin, 30 stivers per diem. For all men and women, being twelve years of age and up wards, three hundred guilders; and those under that age, one hundred and fifty guilders: and be sides for their diet, for men that are accomodated in the great cabin, thirty stivers; those in the round house, eighteen stivers;For diet in the round-house 18 stivers, and before the mast 9. and those before the mast, nine stivers per diem. The women that are above twelve years of age, and eat in the cabin, twenty stivers; in the round-house, twelve stivers; and before the mast, nine stivers per diem: so that no person, whether man or woman, being either above or under twelve years of age, children included, shall pay any less than nine stivers a day. The said payments shall be made for the time of six months, and accordingly they shall have receipts thereof. But yet under this condition and promise, that if any such person should happen to die in the voyage, there shall be restored at the East-India Edition: current; Page: [128] chamber in the Netherlands, whereunto that ship goes consigned, to the right heir or executor, &c. of the deceased, so much of that sum as shall be in proportion to the money paid, to be accounted from their departure hence to their death.

That none may carry off any merchandize; but for freight of their houshold-stuff, must pay 2000 guilders per last.And seeing that notwithstanding our repeated prohibition, not only the said free people, but even the company’s servants, with their wives, widows, and others that are of their family, do carry over much houshold-stuff, and other bulky goods for their own provision and other uses, in the company’s ships, and do thereby greatly pester them. All such goods therefore that are no merchandize (seeing they ought in no wise to be carried with them, and that they ought to be seized by the company for their use without any favour shewn, whether they be found out in the road, or on the voyage, or discovered in the Netherlands) shall be declared and mentioned by inventory before their departure, and going on board; that after they have been visited and valued by our commissioners thereunto appointed, they may pay for freight at the rate of two thousand guilders for each last, being estimated or rated by bulk or weight; which accordingly is to be paid at the chamber of accounts. Which inventory being signed by our commissioners, with the receipt of having paid the freight, and being shewed to the lords our principals in the Netherlands, such goods being no merchandize as abovesaid, shall be delivered unto him; but upon pain that all such goods not mentioned in the inventory so taken with him, shall be, and remain confiscate to the said company’s use. All this being intended and spoken of the company’s servants for so much as pertains to the merchandize of such exceeding three months wages, which they are allowed to carry with them by the letter of articles which they carry along with them.

Edition: current; Page: [129]

None may carry any Indians with them.And for as much as it hath ever been prohibited to carry hence into the Netherlands any black native Indians, whether free or bond, men and women, as the lords states general have likewise by their proclamation prohibited to bring the same into their dominions: we have hereby once again thought fit to interdict, and prohibit all persons to transport any such native blacks, whether men or women, from this place, or to conceal them on board ships, and that (for as much as it may concern the servants of the company) upon forfeiture of all the wages which shall be due to them on their voyage homeward; and for free people, upon pain of forfeiting one thousand guilders: and this, over and above the transportation and diet-money of such blacks for the sum before-mentioned, which at their arrival in the Netherlands shall by the master of such natives be made good to the company in the said Netherlands; with condition also, that besides the former sums, the said blacks being willing to return to the Indies, shall pay in the Netherlands the like sum for transportation and diet-money, as before is specified. Provided nevertheless, that in case any one for good reasons should desire to take with them a black nurse for his child or children, and it being granted, such person shall be bound to pay into the chamber of accounts her diet-money at 30 stivers per diem for the time of six months, allowing her for the same to have her passage back again gratis out of the Netherlands.

And to the end that none may pretend ignorance of any the premises herein mentioned, we have published this our ordinance after the ringing of the bell at the publick and usual place. We therefore charge and command the advocate fiscal of India, the bailiff of this city, and all other officers of justice, to take care strictly to observe the same, and to proceed against all offenders and transgressors Edition: current; Page: [130] without favour, connivance, dissimulation or forbearance; for we have found the same to tend to the service of the said company. Given at the castle of Batavia upon the island of Java Major, the—&c.

By this account no colonies can be made there.So that it is no wonder that so few good, and so many ignorant, lazy, prodigal and vicious people take service of the East-India company. But it is doubly to be admired that any intelligent, frugal, diligent and virtuous people, especially Hollanders, unless driven by extreme necessity, should give up themselves to that slavish servitude.

The Hollanders are naturally inclined and fit to erect new colonies.All which being true, let none think it strange, that the scum of Holland and of most other nations, having by their service become freemen there, and yet not permitted to drive any trade by sea, or with foreign people, are very unfit, and have no inclination at all to those forced colonies, and do always thirst after their own sweet and free native countries of Holland: whereas notwithstanding on the contrary, the ingenious, frugal, industrious Hollanders, by those virtues which are almost peculiar to them, are more fit than any nation in the world to erect colonies and to live on them, when they have the liberty given them to manure them for their own livelihoods. And those that doubt hereof, let them please to observe, that the Hollanders, before and since these two licensed companies, even under foreign princes, have made very many new colonies, namely in Lyfland, Prussia, Brandenburgh, Pomerania, Denmark, Sleswick, France, England, Flanders, &c. And moreover, have not only manured unfruitful unplanted lands, but also undertaken the chargeable and hazardous task of draining of fenlands. And it is observable, that in all the said places, their butter, cheese, fruits and product of the earth, are more desired, and esteemed than those of their Edition: current; Page: [131] neighbours.Fitter than any nation of the world. And if we farther observe, that no countries in the world, whether the land be for breeding or feeding, are so well ordered as those of our plain lands in Holland; and that no other boors or husbandmen do travel so many countries as ours do; we shall be convinced, that no nation under heaven is so fit for setting up new colonies, and manuring of ground as our people are. And if in our nation there is also to be found (which however is unjustly and unwisely denied by the opposers of these new Holland colonies) a very great aptness and inclination to merchandising and navigation, then we may in all respects believe, that we under our own free government might erect very excellent colonies, when it shall please the state to begin and encourage the same on good foundations, and to indulge them for a short time with their favour and defence. Having spoken thus far of the true political maxims to be observed concerning the inhabitants, I shall here conclude the first part of my treatise.

The End of the First Part.
Edition: current; Page: [132]

PART II.: 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 Edition: current; Page: [133] 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 Edition: current; Page: [134] 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 Edition: current; Page: [135] 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 Edition: current; Page: [136] 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 Edition: current; Page: [137] 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 Edition: current; Page: [138] 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 Edition: current; Page: [139] 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 Edition: current; Page: [140] 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 Edition: current; Page: [141] 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 Edition: current; Page: [142] 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 Edition: current; Page: [143] 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 Edition: current; Page: [144] 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 Edition: current; Page: [145] 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 Edition: current; Page: [146] 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 Edition: current; Page: [147] 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 Edition: current; Page: [148] 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 Edition: current; Page: [149] 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 Edition: current; Page: [150] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [151]

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 Edition: current; Page: [152] 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, Edition: current; Page: [153] 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 Edition: current; Page: [154] 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 Edition: current; Page: [155] 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 Edition: current; Page: [156] 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 Edition: current; Page: [157] 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 Edition: current; Page: [158] 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 Edition: current; Page: [159] 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, Edition: current; Page: [160] 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 Edition: current; Page: [161] 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 Edition: current; Page: [162] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [163]

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 Edition: current; Page: [164] 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,

To the admiralty of Rotterdam, 330737
Amsterdam, 803659
The northern quarter, 125000
Zealand, 329367
All charges incident to those colleges and their offices deducted 1588763

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 Edition: current; Page: [165] 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 Edition: current; Page: [166] 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

From 70 to 100 20000
50 to 70 15000
50 to 30 10000
30 to 20 8000
Mounted with four guns of 20 lasts or under, } 4000

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 Edition: current; Page: [167] 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, Edition: current; Page: [168] 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 Edition: current; Page: [169] 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 Edition: current; Page: [170] 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; Edition: current; Page: [171] 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 Edition: current; Page: [172] 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 Edition: current; Page: [173] 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, Edition: current; Page: [174] 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 Edition: current; Page: [175] 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 Edition: current; Page: [176] 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 Edition: current; Page: [177] 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, Edition: current; Page: [178] 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 Edition: current; Page: [179] 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,

  • *Prince Henry has no courage,
  • Takes neither town nor village.

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 Edition: current; Page: [180] 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 Edition: current; Page: [181] 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 Edition: current; Page: [182] 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 Edition: current; Page: [183] 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 Edition: current; Page: [184] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [185]

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, Edition: current; Page: [186] 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 Edition: current; Page: [187] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [188]

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 Edition: current; Page: [189] 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 Edition: current; Page: [190] 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 Edition: current; Page: [191] 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 Edition: current; Page: [192] 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 Edition: current; Page: [193] 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, Edition: current; Page: [194] 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 Edition: current; Page: [195] 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 Edition: current; Page: [196] 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 Edition: current; Page: [197] 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, Edition: current; Page: [198] 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 also and 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 Edition: current; Page: [199] 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 Edition: current; Page: [200] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [201]

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 his Edition: current; Page: [202] subjects 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.

Edition: current; Page: [203]


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.

Edition: current; Page: [204]

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 Edition: current; Page: [205] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [206]

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, Edition: current; Page: [207] 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,

  • *One half the year they live by fraud and art,
  • By art and fraud they live the other part:

we may with as good reason say of those that govern,

  • One half the year they live by force and art,
  • By art and force they live the other part.

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 Edition: current; Page: [208] 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 Edition: current; Page: [209] 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 Edition: current; Page: [210] 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 Edition: current; Page: [211] 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, Edition: current; Page: [212] 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 Edition: current; Page: [213] 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, Edition: current; Page: [214] 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,

Edition: current; Page: [215]
  • Poca Brigata,
  • Vita Beata.
  • Casa mia casa mia
  • Pur Piccola che tu sia
  • Tu mi pari un abadia.

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 Edition: current; Page: [216] 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 Edition: current; Page: [217] 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 Edition: current; Page: [218] 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:

  • Abriles y sennores
  • Los mas son traydores.
Edition: current; Page: [219]

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 Edition: current; Page: [220] 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 Edition: current; Page: [221] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [222]

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 pay Edition: current; Page: [223] any 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, Edition: current; Page: [224] 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 Edition: current; Page: [225] 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 Edition: current; Page: [226] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [227]

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, Edition: current; Page: [228] 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 Edition: current; Page: [229] 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 Edition: current; Page: [230] 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 Edition: current; Page: [231] 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 Edition: current; Page: [232] 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

Edition: current; Page: [233]


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.

Edition: current; Page: [234]

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.

Edition: current; Page: [235]

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 Edition: current; Page: [236] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [237]

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 Edition: current; Page: [238] 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 Edition: current; Page: [239] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [240]

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 Edition: current; Page: [241] 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, Edition: current; Page: [242] 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 Edition: current; Page: [243] 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 Edition: current; Page: [244] 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 Edition: current; Page: [245] 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 Edition: current; Page: [246] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [247]

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 Edition: current; Page: [248] 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 Edition: current; Page: [249] 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 Edition: current; Page: [250] 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 Edition: current; Page: [251] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [252]


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, Edition: current; Page: [253] 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 Edition: current; Page: [254] 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 Edition: current; Page: [255] 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 frontiers Edition: current; Page: [256] against 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, Edition: current; Page: [257] 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 Edition: current; Page: [258] 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 Edition: current; Page: [259] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [260]

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 Edition: current; Page: [261] 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 Edition: current; Page: [262] 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 Edition: current; Page: [263] 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 Edition: current; Page: [264] 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 Edition: current; Page: [265] 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 Edition: current; Page: [266] 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, Edition: current; Page: [267] 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 Edition: current; Page: [268] 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 Edition: current; Page: [269] 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 Edition: current; Page: [270] 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 Edition: current; Page: [271] upon those, whose ancestors were clothed with the same employments.

Ҥ. 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.Ҥ 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?

Ҥ 23. And all things well considered, it might be questioned, according to the judgment of the said politicians, whether by advancing the present Edition: current; Page: [272] 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.
Edition: current; Page: [273]

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 Edition: current; Page: [274] 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 Edition: current; Page: [275] 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 Edition: current; Page: [276] 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, Edition: current; Page: [277] 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 Edition: current; Page: [278] 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, Edition: current; Page: [279] 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: Edition: current; Page: [280] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [281]

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 Edition: current; Page: [282] 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, Edition: current; Page: [283] 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 Edition: current; Page: [284] 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 Edition: current; Page: [285] 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 Edition: current; Page: [286] 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 Edition: current; Page: [287] 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 Edition: current; Page: [288] 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 Edition: current; Page: [289] 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.

Edition: current; Page: [290]


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 Edition: current; Page: [291] 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 Edition: current; Page: [292] 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

And would cost but 1600000 guilders.The digging of every rod of this graft, with the forming of the wall and flanking, 100 guilders each, which in all would cost no more than } 1200000
To those concerned, and for extraordinary charges } 120000
Total 1600000

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 Edition: current; Page: [293] 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.

The graft and the walls, taking them of the same breadth as before, and they taking up about three hundred and fifty morgens at 500 guilders each, amount unto guilders 180000
The digging of the graft, at 100 guilders the rod, for eleven thousand rods, } 1100000
For extraordinary charges, 120000

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

at 500 guilders, is 60000
The graft and wall as above 360000
Extraordinary charges 50000
Edition: current; Page: [294]

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.

From the city of Heusden along and by the old Maese to little Waspik, lying at the Biesbos, for preservation of the land of Altena, the making of a graft and wall as above, and being about three thousand rods, it would require about one hundred morgens of land, each reckoned at 500 guilders amounts to 50000
Digging of the graft, and forming of the wall at 100 guilders the rod as above, is} 300000
Extraordinary charges as above, 80000

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, Edition: current; Page: [295] 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 Edition: current; Page: [296] 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 Edition: current; Page: [297] 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 Edition: current; Page: [298] 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, Edition: current; Page: [299] 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, Edition: current; Page: [300] 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 Edition: current; Page: [301] 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; Edition: current; Page: [302] 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, Edition: current; Page: [303] 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 Edition: current; Page: [304] 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, Edition: current; Page: [305] 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 Edition: current; Page: [306] 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 Edition: current; Page: [307] 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 Edition: current; Page: [308] 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 Edition: current; Page: [309] 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.
Edition: current; Page: [310]



Wherein enquiry is made in what the interest of the free rulers of Holland, as to all the particulars by which the people may live happily, consists.

Before we treat of the interest of rulers in general, we shallbriefly repeat what hath been discoursed of.HAVING hitherto shewn, that the welfare of the inhabitants of Holland is grounded upon the preservation and improvement of fisheries, manufactures, traffick and shipping, and that the same cannot be acquired nor kept but by liberty, or to speak plainer, a toleration of all religions, tho’ differing from the reformed, and by a free burgher-right for all strangers that will cohabit with us, with licence to follow all their trades and occupations whatever without trouble or molestation from their fellow inhabitants, in respect of any societies, companies, halls, guilds, or corporations: and by such moderation about convoy-moneys and tolls, that no ships or goods coming in, or going out, may be charged with, or eased and freed from all taxes, otherwise than as it may be subservient to the improvement of fisheries, manufactures, traffick Edition: current; Page: [311] and navigation. Moreover, having shewn that all the things before-mentioned are not sufficient to preserve and keep up the said fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation, unless the courts of justice, and laws be constituted and executed more than hitherto in favour of the inhabitants, and of traffick. And lastly that in foreign countries, colonies of Hollanders ought to be established and protected.

And in the second book having likewise shewn how necessary it is that the sea be cleared of all free-booters and pirates, and that peace be sought with all men. And moreover, having shewed that Holland is to beware of entring into any prejudicial alliances with its neighbours and potentates, but rather to strengthen their own frontiers, and inland cities, and exercise their inhabitants well in arms, and to keep the sword in their own hands, against all domestick and foreign power, which would be as great a strengthening and security to them, yea and more than any other country.The power of raising or ruining a people is in the magistrates hands. Therefore I judge it now useful, deliberately to examine whether a land having such interests, ought to be governed by a republican or monarchical form of government: for it is certain that all publick power to improve, or impair the interest of a land, and to preserve and enlarge, or diminish and ruin a state, must be, and is in the hands of the lawful rulers of a country, whether they be monarchs, princes, statesmen, or the common burgers.

And tho’ I have in many places of the two first parts of this treatise seemed to have said enough, that Holland and its inhabitants ought to be governed by a free republican government; yet seeing it was done but cursorily, and as aliud agendo, and that on a government that is well or ill constituted, according to the interest of the people, depends all Edition: current; Page: [312] their prosperity or adversity: it seems to me that in the third part of this treatise my best endeavours should be employed to enquire what kind of rulers would be most profited by the welfare of the fisheries, manufactures, traffick, and navigation, and all their consequences, or be most injured by the decay or weakning of them.As also that all rulers seek their own benefit more than another’s. For seeing it is true generally speaking, that all rulers whether high or low are alike in this, that in seeking their own profit, they do not aim at the benefit of the people to their own loss, but on the contrary (as no man halts of another man’s sore) will out of the common misfortune seek their own advantage; it is therefore evident, that of the two proposed governments, that will be best for Holland in which the well or ill being of the rulers depends upon, or is join’d with the well or ill being of the fishing, manufactures, traffick and navigation, and with all the necessary consequences or dependences of the same.

And upon that foundation we shall considerAnd tho’ several kinds of government might here come into consideration, yet, I conceive, that of the land of our nativity is the fittest, and agrees best with my brief undertaking, to guide my thoughts upon the government which is now there in being, and upon that which we lately had, and by many is desired again.What a republick and a monarchy really are. And to that end, I conceive it needful to express what we ought to understand by the words republick and republican governors, or monarchy and monarchical rulers.

By the word republick and republican rulers, I mean, not only such a state wherein a certain sovereign assembly hath the right and authority for coming to all resolutions, making of orders and laws, or to break them, as also of requiring or prohibiting obedience to them: But I understand thereby such a state wherein an assembly, tho’ possibly without any right, yet hath the power to Edition: current; Page: [313] cause all their resolutions, orders, and laws to be obeyed and put in execution.Not where the name of freedom or slavery is, nor yet where the right and the name alone is, but where the power also thereof is present. And again, by the word monarchy and monarchical rulers, not only such a state wherein one single person hath all right and power for the taking, making, or revoking all resolutions, orders, and laws, and to cause obedience to be given to them, or to hinder the observing of them: but I mean, thereby such a state wherein one only person, tho’ without right, yet hath the power to cause obedience to be given to all his orders, resolutions, and laws, or to suspend or hinder all orders, resolutions, and laws of the true and lawful highest assembly, that they be not executed, and this according to his own pleasure.

For tho’ it be true, that the republican form of government is so acceptable to the merchants, and all wise and vertuous men, that many will object, that the bare name, shadow, and appearance of freedom hath been able to encourage the traffick and navigation of Holland; yet to me it seems to be no less true, that we ought to expect many more good fruits from the thing it self, than from the appearance of it: and besides, it cannot be denied, but that the name and the shadow must, and shall always give way to, and vanish before the power, effect, and thing it self.The right and the name vanish by degrees, before the power and effect. So that he that will narrowly enquire into the good or bad fruits which are to be expected of such or such a kind of government, would do very ill if he should not let his thoughts and observations, in this particular, run more on the power which can operate without right, than upon right which without power is insignificant, and when violence or force comes, must always cease.

And that this may more clearly appear, the reader may please to consider, that by the word [lawful government] is meant, and must be meant, the right of compelling obedience to that government; Edition: current; Page: [314] Which is demonstrated by manifesting,and that this is grounded upon ancient possession, or upon laws, customs or oaths, or upon all together, which are of themselves weak, unless they be back’d by persons authorized, that are willing and ready at the command of the lawful rulers to punish such rebellious or perjured subjects. Whereas on the other side, a greater or stronger adherence of people to a governor, or some leading men, and without the least right, may have so great a power, that they shall destroy all good orders and customs; and such are wont to cast all the ancient and virtuous lawful rulers out of their right and possession.

Of what importance the love of the people is,Which adherence of the people I shall consider more at large, because thereby the being and power of all government is either made or broken. I shall first consider and fix upon an unarmed state, wherein the power of governing used to reside in those who can force obedience from the greater number, and especially of the meanest people. For in such a case one man is not only a person to be accounted as good as another, but then besides the poor, the ignorant, and the worst people will be always sooner ready to help to oppress lawful rulers than the other few rich, prudent, and virtuous inhabitants to defend them against that violence.

Or that of the soldiery.And as to an armed state, it is held by all men of understanding for an infallible maxim, that he that is master of the soldiery is, is consequently master of all those places where they lie in garrison; and he that is master of those places of strength, and of the soldiery, is likewise master of the state, or may make himself so when he pleases. For the soldiers have always their officers, whose commands they are daily accustomed to receive and obey, or else are severely punished for their disobedience. And seeing for their disobedience, Edition: current; Page: [315] or crimes against the polity of a people, they are not wont to be punished at all, or but very slackly, even when the illegal and wicked attempts of the captain generals miscarry, as also because they have nothing to lose; and lastly, seeing they have thereby also much more advantage in tumults and wars, than they can hope to gain in times of rest and peace;The rulers, as well as the people, used to be sway’d by the soldiery. therefore he that can get to be their chief head and master, tho’ by the greatest injustice of the world,* may suddenly set on foot all manner of undutiful practices and undertakings against the lawful and unarmed rulers, and fall upon them in hostile manner before they have time so to fortify their cities, and exercise the burghers and boors in arms, as to drive away the seditious soldiery from their gates and walls.

And if the said maxim, that he that is master of the places of strength and soldiery, is also master, or may make himself so, of the state, be infallibly true;Especially by him that has the soldiery, and at the same time the rabble on his side. then it is a more material truth, that he who, besides the command of the soldiery, possesseth the favour of most of the inhabitants, or the rude rabble, can make himself master of the state, when he assembles the said soldiery for that end. So that if any one may do this by a deputed power, we must consider him, tho’ a servant or minister to the state, as having in all respects the power of the republick in his hands;Because the strength of a government consists of such parties. and therefore the thing itself being duly considered, he is already sovereign monarch of that state, and is so to be understood, that the name and the right of that free republican government will likewise soon vanish, and consequently after that, not any of the fruits of the free government, or any thing like it ought to be expected. But on the contrary, all that useth to proceed from a monarchical government, must be supposed to happen; and Edition: current; Page: [316] therefore such a government ought no more to be called a republick, but a monarchy in practice and in fact.

See Aitzma, how the states were fain to demean themselves towards pr. Henry.And the more, whilst the governors of a country, where there is such a commander in chief, during that colour or appearance of a free government, must always have an eye upon him, and in all weighty matters, sycophant like, repair to his profound wisdom, and take special care that they oppose it not, unless that miserable and humble suppliant means immediately to be deposed, if not worse handled by the rulers in power;Which we may clearly discern by the Roman republick. wherein *Rome may and ought to serve us for an example: for if Rome, which was provided with so many hundred counsellors of state ad vitam, and so many hundred thousand sprightly citizens that loved their liberty, was not able to preserve her freedom against the tyranny of one such head, it is then impossible for others to do it in the like case.

Which could not preserve its freedom under several heads of the soldiery.Especially when it is considered, that that high-spirited republick having always had several warlike general officers, who did ever mutually envy one another, and therefore were too weak to master the republick; yet was it fain at last to bow the neck under them, and serve them after a slavish manner, as soon as one of those principal officers became too strong for all the rest, or that three of them conspired together, and divided the republick amongst them. So that a republick, where one single person or head possesseth the general favour of the rabble and soldiery, according to the said maxim of state, may be accounted to have lost its universal freedom, or shall certainly lose it.

Edition: current; Page: [317]

The common freedom in Holland cannot subsist under a perpetual head over all its forces.And this infallible maxim will of all countries be found truest in Holland, when the said republick shall maintain a considerable army of foreign soldiers in constant pay, that are born and educated in monarchical countries, such as France and England, &c. and put them into impregnable cities, and strong-holds, which surround the republick of Holland: and on the other side, Holland consisting of cities wholly unfortified, and governed by a very few aristocratical rulers, and mostly inhabited by a people so ill informed in the grounds of their own welfare, and in the lawful government of the country, that they will expect much more prosperity under such a potent head, than from a free republick; and besides, will conceive, that they owe more obedience to the master of the soldiery, and strong-holds, than to the said aristocratical rulers; in such a condition we shall find, that* where force comes, right ceaseth; and that a government cannot be safe without the possession of the sword.

Seeing the ministers of government and justice can never preserve their own against a hired soldiery.According to the known truth and maxim of politicians, the sword of war in the hand of a captain-general is always sharper, and reacheth farther than the sword of justice in the hands of political or civil rulers and judges. This might be confirmed by numerous examples which I shall not mention, because they are pertinently related in that unanswerable deduction of the states of Holland, and likewise in the political ballance of V. H. where it is shewn that all republicks, which have had a military or political head, have not long preserv’d their liberty, especially when the son of such a head shall come to be vested in the same office and dignity. And now to the matter in hand; the reader is in the first place earnestly Edition: current; Page: [318] desired maturely to consider, whether the author of the said political ballance has not abundantly shewn, that a republican government in all countries of the world, and especially in Holland, would be much more advantageous to the people than a government by a single person.See the second part, c. 1. §. 10.

Fisheries, manufactures, &c. depend upon having free rulers.Secondly, It is very well worth observation, that in republicks the rulers, magistrates, and other publick ministers, have very little reward and salary for their service, who while they are in the condition of citizens, neither may nor can enrich themselves with the revenues of the land, and therefore are necessitated by others ways than that of magistracy, and publick imployments, to maintain themselves and their families, as by merchandizing, &c. Thus it is still, or was lately in the republicks of Venice, Genoa, Ragousa, Lucca, Milan, Florence, &c. At least it is well known that in Holland very many rulers and magistrates maintain themselves by the fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation.

Or if some of the rulers and servants of the republick of Holland do possess such estates as to be able to live at ease on their lands and revenues, yet it is evident that the reformed religion, permitting no cloisters or spiritual revenues, and the publick worship being performed by ministers for a very small reward or salary, and by the elders and deacons gratis, there is no relief to be had thence for distressed, impoverished relations and families. So that many rulers being sensible, that according to the proverb, many swine cause but thin wash;Because the government and magistracy yield little profit here. either they themselves, or at least their posterity in the third or fourth generation, must in this naturally poor, tho’ for merchandize well situated country, rise again by traffick. And hence it is that all the rulers in Holland are derived of parents that have lived by the fisheries, manufacturies, Edition: current; Page: [319] traffick or navigation, and so their children after them;They oft breed up their children to merchandizing, or marry them to merchants children. and that the said rulers do still daily to maintain their families find it proper to marry their children to rich merchants, or their children. So that such rulers, whether considered in themselves by their consanguinity or affinity, are in all respects interested in the welfare or illfare of the fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation of this country.

Which is the more credible in the cities of Holland, because the common-council, and the magistrates consist but of a few persons thereto elected in such a manner, that the government, and those particular imployments being fixed to no particular families, those who by accident come to get the greatest authority or administration, do use, out of natural love, ambition and jealousy, to advance their own friends, and to exclude the friends of the deceased rulers and magistrates, most of them having already had their turn in the government and magistracy: so that from time to time new families come into the government, and the magistracies of cities, which yield for the most part but little profit, and that only during some yearly magistracy or commission, fall vacant so seldom, that all those new families cannot be provided for, much less maintained by them. Wherefore it is and will be necessary, so long as the government is not tied or intailed to any particular family, that many of the relations of the rulers in the cities of Holland must live by merchandizing.

And accordingly we must believe, that the said rulers and magistrates, under a free government, whether in their own cities, or at the assemblies of Holland, will, by their counsels and resolutions, endeavour to preserve and increase the same means of subsistence for the country in general; unless it could be proved, that the republican form of government, Edition: current; Page: [320] and by its necessary consequences, (viz. liberty of conscience, freedom of burgership, and from monopolies, laying aside all trafficking companies, halls and guilds, which defraud other inhabitants of that way of living;Whatever is necessary for the prosperity of the country, will be profitable for the rulers. likewise moderating, or taking away of convoys and tolls, ordering and directing justice to the benefit of the common inhabitants, and merchandizing, by colonies, by their keeping the seas open and free from privateers; by peace, fortified cities, and arming the inhabitants) unless I say it could be proved that the inhabitants are more endamaged by these, or put into a better condition by using compulsion in matters of religion, by secluding from burgher-right, by monopolies, societies, or companies of merchants, by patents, halls and guilds, unreasonable high convoy-money, and tolls, corrupt justice, sea robberies and wars for want of colonies, and by weak cities and unarmed inhabitants. So that I find myself bound to enquire a little more strictly into all the parts thereof, and yet with all the brevity I can.

Freedom of religion not hurtful to free rulers.As to the administration or service of the church, by the preacher, elder and deacon in Holland; it must be confessed that those services there are of so little profit and credit, that the rulers and magistrates, or their friends, are very seldom inclined to perform those functions: so that the freedom and toleration of the assemblies of different worship in Holland, cannot be expected (from such a supreme head) by rulers or magistrates, because the dissenters, under pretence of assembling for the service of God, would endeavour to make insurrections, and thereby depose the rulers to domineer over the state, and the established religion. Against which it may be said, that the honest dissenting inhabitants, who fare well in this country, or possess any considerable estates, ought not to be Edition: current; Page: [321] presumed to fall into such seditious thoughts, so destructive to themselves and the country, so long as they are not imbittered by persecution;Seeing it would not so much occasion as hinder tumults. but on the contrary will be obliged by such liberty, easy and moderate government, to shew their gratitude to so good a magistracy. Wherefore the rascally people, or those of mean estates, and ambitious and seditious inhabitants, would be deprived of all adherents,V. Thuan. Hist in Præfat. ad Regem. whom otherwise under the cloak of religion they might the more easily gain to carry on their ill designs.

The heads of the seditious make use of the tongues and pens of preachers, as the cat’s paw.And moreover it is well known to all prudent men, that such persons as seek after sovereignty, do usually favour seditious preachers, and zealous devotees, that by the help of those tumultuous spirits they may arrive at that dignity; and yet no sooner do they acquire that sovereign power, but presently they are sensible how unfit those stubborn and imprudent devotees and seditious preachers are to be made use of in magistracy or government; insomuch that they then use to desert them, and in lieu of preferring and inriching them, use to punish them for their sedition.

Hereof we have lately had very remarkable examples in France, when King Henry IV. had so long favoured the preachers and people of the reformed religion (there called Hugenots) as he needed them, and then abandoned and curb’d them as he saw fit: so that now among their offspring we may see the miserable state of the Hugenots in that country. And later than that we have seen the like in England, where Oliver Cromwell having craftily made use of, first of the Presbyterians, and then of the Independant preachers, and those of their party to favour him, and by their multitude to gain the protectorship, yet afterwards wholly forsook them, and often punished them severely.

Edition: current; Page: [322]

And that prince William the elder would have taken the same course, appears clearly by our histories, which testify that the reformed preachers, who in the beginning of those tumults were very kind to him, afterwards, when he was arrived at his highest pitch of grandeur, they hated and spoke injuriously of him, because he was not kind enough to them, and gave more liberty to those of different perswasions in the service of God than was pleasing to them; and things went so far, that the principal and most refined of the reformed preachers did in their pulpits openly exclaim against him for an atheist, and ungodly person: and therefore in the year 1580, he found himself constrained to move the states of Holland and Zealand to make good and found laws about church-government, declaring, that unless some good order were taken about the same, the reformed religion, and the country too, would fall to ruin. And accordingly they proceeded so far with these spiritual laws, that we may truly say, the only reason why they remained imperfect, was the sudden death of the said prince. In the mean time he could very hardly maintain his power against those ecclesiasticks, and kept it up only by his numerous adherents, whom he acquired by his great moderation as aforesaid towards the other inhabitants that were of different judgments and opinions. And this aversion of the reformed preachers and zealots towards prince William went so far, that for that reason they greatly affected the earl of Leicester, and hated his son Maurice whom he left behind him, and became stadtholder of Holland and Zealand, &c. till he and the most refined of the ministry were afterwards reconciled and united, and at last colluded together about the political government and church-service in those sad unsettled years of 1618, and 1619. Wherefore it is not to be believed Edition: current; Page: [323] that the lawful authority of this republick being now delivered from a single person that aimed at the sovereignty, will give much countenance to the most politick and chief churchmen, or that a toleration of religions would easily give occasion of an uproar here.

Prudent toleration of the Romish religion in Holland, would not be detrimental to the civil government.But if any should conceive that the papists, who are the strongest sect in number, order, and combination (as having the pope for their chief head, and others their spiritual heads amongst them, and being generally inclined to our powerful neighbour the king of Spain, who formerly was lord of this country) might be able, in case they had more liberty to exercise their religion, to subvert so mild a government, and possess it themselves. In answer hereunto it may truly be said, that the Roman Catholicks in their religion are governed in a monarchical manner, and consequently where they are supreme, suffer no other sects; so that in such a case all other dissenting inhabitants of our land would join with the rulers of our republicks, whereby more than 4/5 [Editor: illegible text] parts of the said inhabitants would adhere to the lawful civil power, to quell those seditious persons at their first rising.

But coercion in religion would prove hursful.But in case of compulsion there might follow a concurrence in points of faith among the inhabitants; it were fit then to be considered, whether when this difference in matters of religion ceased, the churchmen who have their office during life, and not for some few years, by their sermons to their hearers, who for the most part suppose, they hear nothing but god’s word out of the ministers mouths, and therefore believe they obey God when they obey the ministers; and also on the other side, when the obey political commands and laws, they obey men only: I say, it ought well to be considered, whether in a short time they might not acquire a greater number of followers or adherents Edition: current; Page: [324] when they give themselves out for God’s ambassadors, and teach men that scriptural saying, That we must rather obey god and his embassadors than man; and this out of a corrupt self-love, and natural ambition; and so find it good corruptly and impiously to instruct their auditors, thereby to magnify themselves as it hath oft happened, and may again happen; and whether their adherents might not consequently make such ambitious churchmen so powerful, as to cause the civil governors, who exercise the magistracy here but for a short time, to truckle under them.

The ecclesiasticks thereby gain too great a party against the civil powers.We have examples of the primitive times, that the spiritual persons of those days, having first converted the Roman emperors to christianity, and by degrees brought under the heathen opposers more by that political power, than by a holy life, and strong reasons, did afterwards make use of their sermons to aggrandize their acquired ecclesiastical power to the detriment of the civil authority, by erecting an hierarchy, or church-power independent from the political, such as is now under the papacy.

From this ambition of churchmen the proverb rose, *that the clergy always fear and hate the supreme authority; or to vary the phrase, it hath been an old game; my nunkle is ever plucking my lord’s staff out of his hand, not only to evade being beat therewith himself, but also to beat others and make them submit to him.

Lib. 7. Chron.This is also confirmed by Otto Frisingensis, tho’ a Romish bishop, who said, that the empire, by reason of its love to religion, impaired itself, yea was exhausted;The same happened in the Roman and German empire. and that it had so aggrandized the church, that it was not only deprived of the spiritual, but also of the temporal sword, which evidently belongs to the empire; adding thereunto very ingeniously: “And altho’ it be above our power to Edition: current; Page: [325] treat hereof, so as to give sentence, yet methinks the clergy are very blame-worthy who endeavour to injure the state, viz. the German or Romish empire, with a sword which they have acquired of the rulers, and by the favour of the emperors; unless they will herein imitate David, who, when he had felled the Philistine by the spirit of God, cut of Goliab’s head with his own sword.”

Which might not proceed from an ecclesiastical, but a general human frailty.But the truth is, if you please to enquire diligently into the reasons of these broils and jealousies, between the sovereign rulers and magistrates on the one side, and the clergy on the other, we shall find, that tho’ the imprudence and ignorance of the rulers, and their love to the clergy, might at first have contributed somewhat towards it, yet that ignorance and favour was not so great for a long season after their first conversion to christianity, as to effect it. And as to the clergy’s self-love and ambition, we shall find that they are not defects peculiar to the clergy only, but common to all mankind.

Heathen priests and Jews have not caused so many seditions against the state as Christian priests.So that they that will enquire into the causes why of late times there have been more dissentions and enmity between the civil rulers and the publick teachers of christianity than before, during heathenism and judaism, must observe, that heathenism and judaism consisted mostly in sacrifices, without publick sermons and common-prayers, and much more convocations; and that those sacrifices, for divers things not happening daily nor weekly, but once a-year, or seldom, required so little time, that among the Heathens, the kings, burgo-masters, and principal field-officers, whether all together or successively, might officiate as easily as priests.The heathens least, because they used not to preach. Wherefore as no reason can be given, why one person vested with those two offices, should be seditious to magnify his service in the church, by diminishing that to the state; so we cannot see how those heathen priests, being divested of all secular power, Edition: current; Page: [326] could have caused insurrections, without being immediately suppressed by the supreme power.

The Jewish priests more because they preach’d sometimes.We ought likewise strictly to observe, that the Jewish high-priests became such partly by birth, and that by virtue of that office in the time of the Israelitish free government, they might be chosen the second, and in the time of the kings, the first person or president of the supreme court of government and justice called the Sanhedrim;See Schikard’s Jus Reg. Heb. p. 10. and besides, they had all the priests and the whole tribe of Levi to follow them, whereby they had great opportunities to alter the political state after their own pleasure, when they could acquire the reputation of being gifted with the spirit of prophesy, and be suffered to prophesy publickly before the people. So that indeed there were also many tumults and changes that happened in the state when some impious priests, and false prophets abused the power of the church to make themselves great.Ibid. p. 8, 9, 10. But in regard nevertheless that the ordinary Jewish worship consisted in sacrifices, and that the high-priests were not always chosen members of the Sanhedrim, or did not get the opportunity of prophesying before the people, they could not therefore put their projects in execution to the prejudice of the civil power, and advantage of the priestly state.

The Christian preachers most of all, by their sermons and prayers.But it is very observable on the other side, that the christian worship doth mostly consist in a verbal application to God, by such as are no civil or armed teachers, and in their sermons apply themselves to a great assembly of people. Which administration, considering its weight, and constant preparation by study and employment, takes up the whole man, and the abuse hereof may be very mischievous to the civil magistrate. The higher powers have therefore appointed particular persons to exercise the civil and military offices, and others to take the charge of the worship of God in manner Edition: current; Page: [327] aforesaid, and to abstain from all secular employments;See the 12 first titles of the Codex de Novell. of Justinian, and the constitutions of the emperor Leo. so that it necessarily followed hence, that in all those places where such publick teachers and their hearers were of the same mind or belief, those preachers have had a great power and influence to quiet or disquiet the minds of the subject.

So that rulers (seeing how the preachers influenced the people) were compelled to favour them in tumultuous times, if they would be obeyed by their subjects, who will in such times be more moved by the admonition of the preachers, than by the commands of the civil magistrate.Being always able to irritate or appease their auditors. For tho’ rulers might easily perceive that this increase of ecclesiastical power will be very prejudicial in future times to their successors, yet they chuse to enjoy the present benefit, to keep up their own grandeur, and hereby many times great, civil or military officers have attempted to obtain the supreme power.

Especially in countries where the subjects are of one religion, and which is monarchically governed.So that it is not strange if preachers, being sensible of their own strength in countries where there are no dissenters from them, have always opposed the crown; and yet by reason of their weakness in the government, their exclusion from civil employment, and their being unarmed, they have hardly attained their ends, but have been able continually to raise tumults and dissension. And tho’ since the reformation, the clergy in the German and Switzer republicks have not by their sermons, and the unanimity of the inhabitants in matters of faith, been able hitherto to over-top or equal the civil power of the numerous free rulers, great councils, &c. yet I conceive, that in case of such an unanimous sentiment of the inhabitants in the cities of Holland, our small number of magistrates or city-councils could not be able to keep their yearly magistracy without prejudice by those preachers. For every one would clearly discern that the party who adhere to the clergy do far exceed the civil magistrates adherents, Edition: current; Page: [328] in natural strength;Why the same above all republicks should be seared in Holland. so that such preachers would not always be kept under by mercenary soldiers: wherefore they and those of their church-councils could never have an opportunity of withdrawing themselves from under the civil power.

And seeing the preachers and their adherents by such by opportunities, are daily capable of putting their ill designs in practice when they please;See that excellent book Luc. Antist. Cons