Min Heer T. Van C's Answer to Min Heer H. Van L's Letter of the 15th of March, 1689.
Representing the true Interests of Holland, and what they have already gain­ed by our Losses.


YOU may think me very rude in making no quicker a return to your obli­ging Letter. But the Truth on't is, my apprehensions at that time, lest the late King James should return, by the Aid of the French and Irish, were so great, that they blinded my understanding, and made me so stupid, that I could not see any probable appearance of those glorious advantages which you affirmed would accrue to our Country, though he should regain his Kingdoms, and force His present Majesty to abdicate as He had done; and therefore I declined writing, till Actions might convince us whether you or I were in the right.

But now, Sir, I must confess my errour, and acknowledge that we almost feel what you then foresaw. 'Tis true we have some amongst us, who are still as blind as I was then, and these occasion no small divisions here as well as with you, and an inclination in some persons to renounce his Authority, and acknowledge him no more to be our Statholder. Against these I oppose your Arguments, and many more of my own, which I shall here subjoin, hoping they may be of use with you, and have the same effect they begin to have with us. For I assure you, Sir, our leading men begin now to look upon him with another eye; and they who con­sider what he has hitherto done, what he is now acting, and what we have just rea­son to hope he will effect to our advantage, before he quits them and returns, are ready to prepare golden Statues for him, as for one that has procured us a long wished for Liberty at Sea, freed his Native Country from the greatest Obstacles to their Trade, suppressed those who have always been the Objects of our Envy, ren­dred them for ever uncapable of standing in competition with us, diverted the Channel of Traffick to our own Merchants, and all this in one years time, with­out any charge to us; nay, on the contrary, with a considerable reward from our Adversaries for their own destruction. To evince all which

I. First, I shew them the good he has done for us.

In order to which, I beg of them to consider the condition we were in before this Revolution, and to compare it with that we are in at present.

'Tis certain England had robbed us of our Trade in the two last Kings Reigns, who by an unlucky Neutrality had made the stream of Traffick run that way. 'Tis certain also, the late King James was taking most mischievous measures to continue and augment their Trade, and ruine ours; for if the Liberty of Conscience, which he was going to establish, had not been prevented, the most considerable of our Merchants (who live amongst us, because they are not molested in the free exer­cise of their Religion) would have removed, and drawn their effects to England, where the Ports being more secure, they would, without hazarding their Religion, have run less danger of their Goods. 'Tis manifest also and foreseen, by our wife men, that (whilst it was impossible for us io stave off a War with France) K. James, whose industry and application to the Advancement of Trade, made him embrace [Page 2] all occasions to incourage it, would have preserved a Neutrality to our utter ruin. These and many other considerations (as I assirm) made us willing to pluck the Thorn out of our own foot and put it into anothers; and therefore after much Consultation, nothing was found so expedient, as to heighten the divisions in En­gland, and joyn with the Male-contents: So that what the Ridderscap (i.e. Nobility) together with the Deputies of other Cities, have here lately alledged against the Resolutions of the City of Amsterdam (p. 6, 7.) is now manifest, though formerly kept as a secret, and stoutly denied to the late King by our Ambassador in England; That the Prince did not undertake that Expedition without the previous Communication, full Approbation, and good pleasure of the States; and that the States General were mo­ved so considerably to assist him therein, principally for the Liberty and Prosperity of our dear Native Country.

Moreover, I tell them in our States words (pag. 9.) That this Expedition having been effected by the Assistance of the Arms of the States General, and with an aim at the saving of the State, ought not to be accounted a Foreign Expedition. And that (pag. 7.) seeing by the admirable Providence of Almighty God, under the Wise and Valiant Con­duct of His Majesty of Great Brittain, it had that success which is known to all the World, the States expect no other but that it should necessarily tend to a narrower and stricter union of those Kingdoms with this State, and that the States shall be thereby made more fit and able to grapple with all the ill designs with which the Enemies of these Lands have threatned us.

Having thus represented to them the condition we were in, and the benefit we hoped to reap by the Expedition, I proceed to shew that we were not out in our Politicks; and that however His present Majesty has behaved himself to others, he has still been true to our Interest, and faithful to the promises he has made us.

And to prove this, I shew them how careful he has been (notwithstanding the urgent occasions he has had for Money) to repay us the 600000 l. which our States laid out upon the Expedition; whereas, being now K. of England, he might, with Justice enough, have discounted it upon the old scores betwixt us and that Nation, ever since Queen Elizabeths Protection.

How speedily he sent us succours; 12000 of their best men to weaken their strength, and fortifie us, even before he took care to establish his own footing in Scotland, or proceeded to the reduction of Ireland,

How careful he has been to put the strongest places of Trust into the hands of our Countrymen, or at least such as our Ambassadors and the E. of Portland were secure of, who, in case of a turn of times, will be able to hold them out till we can power in fresh supplies.

How religiously he has observ'd his promise of making no advance without the advice and approbation of our Ambassadors, and Min Heer Bentingh, to whom he has caused all the strength and weakness, together with all the commodious Ports, landing places, and Creeks of that Kingdom, to be imparted.

How by their advice he has dispers'd the English Troops, some even to both the Indies, that he may more easily govern by a Foreign Force, and have no depen­dance upon such as had no regard to their natural Allegiance, and repeated Oaths of Fidelity, to a Prince that loved them.

I also represent to them the condition of the English Fleet and Merchants: How many thousands have died this Summer foy want of wholsome Provisions, and even [Page 3] through scarcity of them also (which destruction of Seamen is of mighty importance to us) how many Men of War have been lost. How the Merchant-men have had their Seamen Press'd from their Ships, and by that, and Embargoes and Storms this year, have lost above two Millions: And desire them to consider, that he who has been brought up amongst us, is not a stranger to what belongs to a Fleet and Trade; so that the miscarriages of both these, cannot be attributed to his want of Judgment or Application, but to a further design of weakning that Kingdom, and advancing us.

I tell them how he was once going to remove all, or most of the English Captains of Ships, and put ours in their places, which had certainly been done; but that it would too soon have made the secret known to the Nation.

I also shew them, that notwithstanding the vast stock he has in Bank amongst us, he has been so cautious, both for his own concern and ours, as not to touch one penny of it, but has made the people of England furnish him, even beyond their powers, and yet runs daily in debt there, for Stores and Provisions, nay, even for his Souldiers pay; by which means, if he increase not his own stock (of which I have at present no positive account) he at least impoverishes them to our wish, so that hereafter they will be able to do nothing without our assistance.

'Tis true, he has given out there, that the E: of Portland is to draw 200000 l. out of his stock, in the East-India Trade; but we know when that money was sent from England, and what Plate was melted down to help to make up the summ, and that this at least shall be hereafter added to his Bank, is more than probable.

These things I demonstrate to them as done for us; and then shew what benefit we have already reaped by these proceedings.

That we have (as I said before) established our Interest upon a firm and lasting foundation, by their utter ruine, being now Masters of the whole Trade of the In­habitable World.

That whilest he has denied Convoys to their Merchant Ships, press'd their Sea­men, and, after promises to the contrary, clapped Embargoes upon all their out­ward bound Ships, we have sent out ours with all freedom, and have by that means got the choice of all Foreign Commodities at easie rates, if not the sole emption of them, and vended our own at our own price.

That by these means, and his permitting us to carry all sort of Commodities in­to England in our own bottoms, our Country is enriched by this years War, treble to what we expended for the Expedition, besides the prospect of a perpetual enjoy­ment of a free Sea and Traffick. Nay, we may hope in time (as I shall show here-after) to ride Masters of the Brittish Sea, and make them lour their Topsails to us.

II. In the second place, to shew what he is now doing to our advantage, I tell them that I need only mention these Actions, by which 'tis manifest he has our Interest in his eye, and uses all means to give us a lasting ensurance of all these good things he has procured for us; but besides all these, has he not moreover sent the E. of Portland amongst us with fresh proposals, if we will further lend him our assistance?

Are not these proposals so advantageous to our Interest, that our States, who know them, are more than willing to assist him with greater numbers of Men and Ships this Summer than they did the last? Again,

Does he countenance their Merchants, or hearken to their proposals, for the ad­vancement of Trade, any more now than he did the last year?

[Page]Is he not raising fresh Recruits, and daily sending them hither in exchange for ours? And does he not pay both the one and the other (or at least engage for the pay­ment) by which a good part of our Army is maintained for us? Has he not all the last Summer been at two thirds of the charges for maintaining the War by Sea, notwithstanding that it was principally entred into upon our Accounts, and that we are likely to be the only gainers?

Has he not of late Prorogued and Dissolved their Parliament, that he may espouse the Church of England's Interest, by which means the Liberty of Conscience we so much dread, can never be establish'd, and by which means all conscientious Dis­senters will, with the Jews, be again forced to take their retreat amongst us?

Are not these, and many more, which he does for us, and permits us to do for our selves, such things as no Kings of England would ever have suffered, and such as would have caused a War betwixt our States and them. And yet these things he does for us, and has done, and we are not satisfied. Let us therefore see

III. Thirdly and lastly, what good we may hope he will do for us, if we obstruct not his designs.

This depends much upon future contingencies; and measures are taken to fit all occasions.

If he find it possible to maintain his ground against the late King James, and the power of France, he knows it cannot be without our help, and our Confederates assistance; and we know upon what Terms we will lend him such as will be Effi­cacious. We have (as I have already mention'd) long wish'd for a Mare liberum, and could not endure the Kings of England should be Kings at Sea, and make us Lour our Topsails to them, or be subject to such Laws as they prescribed: And will we, think you, lose so happy an opportunity of stripping them of that prerogative, or if we can, of making use of it our selves; We know he is of a changeable humour, but yet we know also his Ambition, and he cannot gratifie his Pride without being kind to us, and no kindness can endear us so much, as to give us up that Prerogative by which we may have a free Sea, and a plentiful Trade above our Competitors.

For this it is our States are now labouring, and I hope all the opposition some of them seem to make, is but to facilitate this and the other concessions we would have.

But if he find it impossible for him to keep the Throne (as it is most likely) his designs we now know are what you formerly told me. To fleece that proud and pamper'd Nation, and leave them neither Men nor Money, nor Ammunition, nor Ships, nor any thing to enable them to make War against us, or carry on a Trade.

Indeed, by all appearances, we may conjecture that he gives up the Crown as lost, and that this is the reason why he has already emptied the Forts of Arms and Ammunition, the Exchequer of Money, and his Palace of Plate, Furniture, and Jewels. He has borrowed immense summs of the Merchants, and is still borrow­ing more, and yet pays no body, scarce his own Guards, because 'tis supposed he re­serves a City plunder for their recompence. He has prepared 500 Waggons, un­der pretence to go for Ireland; but we know that measures are already laid, how (if K. James should Land, and the Nation return to their Allegiance) he may carry off all the Booty, with the remainder of our Army, and a considerable part of the Fleet, and return to his dear Native Country, which will then receive him with open Arms, notwithstanding all jealousies that are now cast amongst us. I am

Min Heer, Yours
T. Van C.

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