The Evolution of States Part 53

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[Footnote 1189: Hallam, iii, 396, following Carte and Leland.]

[Footnote 1190: Bishop Trench (_Narrative of the Earl of Clarendon's Settlement and Sale of Ireland_, Dublin rep. 1843, pp. 84-93) declares that not only were all re-appropriations to be compensated, but the 54 nominees added to the original list of 500 loyalist officers to be rewarded had not received an acre of land as late as 1675. Hallam sums up on Anglican lines that the Catholics could not "reasonably murmur against the confiscation of half their estates, after a civil war wherein it was evident that so large a proportion of themselves were concerned." In reality, much more than half the land had been confiscated; and all the while the bulk of it remained in the hands of men who had themselves been in rebellion! The settlement was simply a racial iniquity.]

[Footnote 1191: Macaulay, ch. vi, Student's ed. i, 393.]

[Footnote 1192: _Id._ _ib._]

[Footnote 1193: For a full account of the procedure see Thomas Davis's work, _The Patriot Parliament of 1689_, rep. with introd. by Sir C.

Gavan Duffy, 1893.]

[Footnote 1194: Cp. the author's _Saxon and Celt_, pp. 160, 161, and _note_.]

[Footnote 1195: H.D. Traill, _Strafford_, 1889, p. 81.]

[Footnote 1196: Lecky, _History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century_, i, 174.]

[Footnote 1197: See Petty, _Essays in Political Arithmetic_, ed. 1699, p. 186.]

[Footnote 1198: The checking of the Irish wool trade was strongly urged by Temple in the English interest (_Essay on the Advancement of Trade in Ireland_, Works, iii, 10).]

[Footnote 1199: See Dr. Hill Burton's _History of the Reign of Queen Anne_, 1880, iii, 160-63. This measure seems to have been overlooked by Mr. Lecky in his narrative, _History of Ireland_, i, 178.]

[Footnote 1200: Green's ship and crew were first seized without form of law in reprisal for the seizure in England, by the East India Company, of a Scotch ship belonging to the old Darien Company, whose trade the India Company held to be a breach of its monopoly. The charge of slaying a Scotch captain was an afterthought.]

[Footnote 1201: On this see Burton, viii, 178-85; and cp. Buckle, 3-vol.

ed. iii, 160, as to the rise of the trading spirit.]

[Footnote 1202: Burton's _History of Scotland_, viii, 3, _note_.]

[Footnote 1203: _Id._ viii, 168.]

[Footnote 1204: "It is a marvel how the Edinburgh press of that day could have printed the mult.i.tude of denunciatory pamphlets against the Union" (Burton, viii, 131). "The aristocratic opponents of the Union did their utmost to inflame the pa.s.sions of the people" (_id._ p. 137, cp.

p. 158, etc.).]

[Footnote 1205: Following Hallam, _Middle Ages_, iii, 327.]

[Footnote 1206: Properly speaking, the action of "England" was the action of the merchant cla.s.s, which in this case most exerted itself and got its way.]



At all times within the historic period trade and industry have reacted profoundly on social life; and as we near the modern period in our own history the connection becomes more and more decisively determinant. In the oldest culture-history at all known to us, as we have seen, the commercial factor affects everything else; and at no time in European annals do we fail to note some special scene or area in which trade furnishes to politicians special problems. Thus the culture-history of Italy, as we have also seen, is in past epochs inseparably bound up with her commercial history. But as regards the north of Europe, it is in the modern period that we begin specially to recognise trade as playing a leading part in politics, national and international. The Mediterranean tradition is first seen powerfully at work in the history of the Hansa towns: then comes the great development of Flanders, then that of Holland, then that of England, which gained so much from the influx of Flemish and Dutch Protestant refugees in the reign of Philip II, but which was checked in its commercial growth, under Elizabeth and James alike, by their policy of granting monopolies to favourites.

Sir Josiah Child puts "the latter end of Elizabeth's reign" as the time when England began to be "anything in trade" (_New Discourse of Trade_, 4th ed. p. 73). Cp. Prof. Busch on English trade under Henry VII, _England unter den Tudors_, i, 71-85, with Schanz, _Englische Handelspolitik_, i, 328, where it is stated that in the latter part of the sixteenth century there were 3,000 merchants engaged in the sea trade. This seems extremely doubtful when we note that the whole foreign trade of London was stated in Parliament in 1604 to be in the hands of some 200 citizens (_Journals of the House of Commons_, May 21, 1604), and the total customs of London amounted to 110,000 a year, as against 17,000 from all the rest of the kingdom. As Hume notes (ch. 45, _note_), a remonstrance from the Trinity House in 1602 declared that since 1588 the shipping and number of seamen in England had decayed about a third. (Cit. from Anglesey's _Happy Future State of England_, p.

128.) This again, however, seems doubtful.

Broadly put, the fact appears to be that after a considerable development of woollen manufacture in the towns during the Wars of the Roses (above, p. 393), when sheep-rearing must have been precarious and wool would be imported, there was a general return to pasturage under the Tudor peace, the towns falling away, with their manufactures. Attempts were made under Henry VIII and Edward VI to develop the English mining industries by means of German workmen and overseers, but apparently with no great success (Ehrenberg, _Hamburg und England im Zeit. der Kon. Elisabeth_, 1896, pp. 4-6). It was after the persecution of Protestants in the Netherlands under Charles V had driven many tradesmen to England for refuge that manufacturing industry notably revived; and in 1564-65 we find the year's exports of England reckoned at 68,190 for wool and 896,079 for cloths and other woollen wares; the whole of the rest of the export trade amounting only to 133,665 (Brit.

Mus. Lansdowne MS. 10, fol. 121-22, cited by Ehrenberg, p. 8; cp.

Cunningham, _Industry and Commerce_, ii, 82-83; Gibbins, _Industrial Hist. of England_, 3rd. ed. pp. 132-33.) After the fall of Antwerp, again, much of the commerce of that city fell to the share of England, some of her commercial and artisan population following it (Froude, _Hist. of England_, ed. 1872, xii, 1-2).

In the same period the commercial life of north Germany, which had hitherto been far more widely developed than that of England (Ehrenberg, pp. 1-11), was thrown back on the one hand by the opening of the new ocean route to the East Indies, which upset the trans-European trade from the Mediterranean, and on the other by the new strifes between the princes and the cities (_id._ pp.

34-49); and here again English trade came to the front.

The "Merchant Adventurers," ready enough to accept monopolies for their own incorporations, were free-traders as against other monopolists;[1207]

and not till all such abuses were abolished could England compete with Holland. And though they were never legally annulled even under the Commonwealth, "as men paid no regard to the prerogative whence the charters of those companies were derived, the monopoly was gradually invaded, and commerce increased by the increase of liberty."[1208]

France at times promised to rival both Holland and England; but she at length definitely fell behind England in the race, as Flanders fell behind Holland, by reason of political misdirection. In the middle and latter part of the seventeenth century, all the northern States had their eyes fastened on the shining example of Holland;[1209]

and commerce, which as an occasion of warfare had since the rise of Christianity been superseded by religion, begins to give the cue for animosities of peoples, rulers, and cla.s.ses. The last great religious war--if we except the strifes of Russia and Turkey, which are quasi-religious--was the Thirty Years' War. Its very atrocity doubtless went far to discredit the religious motive,[1210] and it ranks as the worst war of the modern world. Commerce, however, for centuries supplied new motives for war to men whose ideas of economics were still at the theological stage.[1211] The eternal principle of strife, of human attraction and repulsion, plays through the phenomena of commerce as through those of creed. The profoundly insane l.u.s.t for gold and silver, which had so largely determined the history of the Roman Empire, definitely shaped that of Spain; and Spain's example fired the northern nations with whom she came in contact.

Prof. Thorold Rogers is responsible for the strange proposition (_Economic Interpretation of History_, p. 186; _Industrial and Commercial History of England_, p. 321) that the chief source of the silver supply of Europe, before the discovery of the New World, was _England_. He offers nothing but his own conviction in proof of his statement, to which he adds the explanation that the silver in question was extracted from sulphuret of lead. It seems well to point out that there is not a shadow of foundation for the main a.s.sertion. That the argentiferous lead mines were worked seems clear; but that they could produce the main European supply without the fact being historically noted is incredible. On the other hand, silver mines were found in Germany in the tenth century and later, and there is reason to attribute to their output a gradual rise of prices before the fifteenth century (Anderson's _History of Commerce_, i, 67). In any case, there is no reason to doubt the statement of the historians of the precious metals, that what silver was produced in Europe in the Middle Ages was mostly mined in Spain and Germany. See Del Mar, _History of the Precious Metals_, 1880, pp. 38-43 and refs.; also Ehrenberg, _Hamburg und England im Zeitalter der Konigin Elisabeth_, 1896, pp. 4, 9; Menzel, _Geschichte der Deutschen_, Cap. 276, _end_; and Kohlrausch, _History of Germany_, Eng. tr. 1844, p. 261.

The direct search for gold as plunder developed into the pursuit of it as price; and wealthier States than Spain were raised by the more roundabout method which Spain disdained.

This was soon recognised by Spanish economists, who probably followed the French physiocrats, as represented in the excellent chapters of Montesquieu on money (cited above, p. 363). See the pa.s.sage from Bernard of Ulloa (1753) cited by Blanqui, _Hist. de l'econ. polit._, 2e edit. ii, 28. Cp. Samber, _Memoirs of the Dutch Trade_, Eng. tr. 1719, pref. Apart from the habits set up by imperialism, the Spaniards were in part anti-industrial because industry was so closely a.s.sociated with the Moriscoes (Major Hume, _Spain_, p. 195); and the innumerable Church holidays counted for much. Yet in the first half of the sixteenth century Spain had a great development of town industrial life (Armstrong, Introd. to same vol. pp. 83-84). This is partly attributable to the new colonial trade; but probably more to the connection with Flanders.

Cp. Grattan, _The Netherlands_, pp. 66, 88. About 1670, however, manufacture for export had entirely ceased; the trade of Madrid, such as it was, was mainly in the hands of Frenchmen; the Church and the bureaucracy alone flourished; and although discharged soldiers swarmed in the cities, what harvests there were had to be reaped by the hands of French labourers who came each season for the purpose. Hume, as cited, p. 285. This usage subsisted nearly a century later (Tucker, _Essay on Trade_, ed. 1756, p. 25)

Holland in the seventeenth century presented to the European world, as we have seen, the new and striking spectacle of a dense population thriving on a soil which could not possibly be made to feed them.

"Trade" became the watchword of French statesmanship; and Colbert pressed it against a froward n.o.bility;[1212] while in England a generation later it had acquired the deeper rooting that goes with the voluntary activity and self-seeking of a numerous cla.s.s; and already the gentry freely devoted their younger sons to the pursuits which those of France contemned.[1213]

The turn seems to have been taken in the most natural way, after Parliament was able to force on James I a stoppage of the practice of granting monopolies. At his accession, the King had sought popularity by calling in and scrutinising the many monopolies granted by Elizabeth, which const.i.tuted the main grievance of the time.[1214] Soon, however, he conformed to the old usage, which had in some measure the support of Bacon;[1215] and in 1621 it was declared that he had multiplied monopolies twentyfold.[1216] The most careful historian of the period reports that though they were continually being abused,[1217] they were granted on no corrupt motives, but in sheer mistaken zeal for the spread of commerce.[1218] It would be more plausible to say that when interests either of purse or of patronage lay in a certain direction, those concerned were very easily satisfied that the interests of commerce pointed the same way. At length, after much dispute, the Lords pa.s.sed, in 1624,[1219] a Monopoly Bill previously pa.s.sed by the Commons in 1621;[1220] and though some of the chief monopolies were left standing, either as involving patents for inventions or as being vested in corporations,[1221] mere private trade monopolies were for the future prevented.

It was a triumph of the trading cla.s.s over the upper, nothing more. As for the corporations, they were as avid of monopolies as the courtiers had ever been; and independent traders hampered by monopolist corporations were only too ready to become monopolist corporations themselves.[1222] Under Charles I, for instance, there was set up a chartered company with a monopoly of soap-making, of which every manufacturer could become a member--a kind of chartered "trust," born out of due time--the price paid to the crown for the privilege being 10,000 and a royalty of 8 on every ton of soap made. For this payment the monopolists received full powers of coercion and the punitive aid of the Star Chamber. After a few years, in consideration of a higher payment, the King revoked the first patent and established a new corporation. Similar monopolies were granted to starch-makers and other producers; the Long Parliament pursuing the same policy, "till monopolies became as common as they had been under James or Elizabeth."[1223]

Part of the result was that about 1635 "there were more merchants to be found upon the exchange worth each one thousand pounds and upwards than there were in the former days, before the year 1600, to be found worth one hundred pounds each."[1224] The upper cla.s.ses, as capitalists and even as traders, were not now likely to remain aloof. But all the while there was no betterment of the lot of the poor. "That our poor in England," writes Child after the Restoration, "have always been in a most sad and wretched condition ... is confessed and lamented by all men."[1225] Child's theory of the effect of usury laws in the matter is pure fallacy; but his estimate of men's fortunes is probably more accurate than the statement of the Venetian amba.s.sador in the reign of Mary, that "there were many merchants in London with 50,000 or 60,000 each."[1226] Howell, in 1619,[1227] expresses a belief that "our four-and-twenty aldermen may buy a hundred of the richest men in Amsterdam." Yet, though it was also confessed that among the Dutch, and even in Hamburg and Paris, the poor were intelligently provided for,[1228] no such necessity was practically recognised in England,[1229] either by Puritan or by Cavalier, though before the Rebellion the administration of Charles had not been apathetic;[1230]

and a century later there were the same conditions of popular misery and vice, with a new plague of drunkenness added.[1231] By that time, too, the corporation monopolies were strangling trade just as the private monopolies had formerly done;[1232] while France, which in the latter part of the seventeenth century gave such a stimulus to English and Dutch industry by the suicidal Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, had recovered both population and trade,[1233] and was on a commercial footing which, well developed, might have given her the victory over England in the race for empire.

Everywhere in the seventeenth century, however, the new development meant new strife. Protestant England and Holland, Catholic France and Protestant Holland, flew at each other's throats in quarrels of trade and tariffs; and for the monopoly of the trade in cloves, Dutch and Spanish and English battled as furiously as for constraint and freedom of conscience. The primitively selfish and mistaken notion men had formed of commercial economy was on a level with the religious impulse as it had subsisted from the beginning of Christendom; and even as each Christian sect had felt it necessary to throttle the rest, each nation felt that its prosperity depended on the others' impoverishment. To spite the Dutch, the Cromwellian party in 1651 pa.s.sed the Navigation Act, prohibiting all imports of foreign goods save in English ships or those of the nations producing them. In practice it was a total failure, the effect being to injure the English rather than the Dutch trade; but the Dutch themselves, who were fanatical for their own Asiatic monopoly trade, believed it would injure them, and went to war accordingly.

The eulogy of the Navigation Act as "wise" by Adam Smith (put, by the way, with a "perhaps") is one of his worst mistakes. Roger c.o.ke in 1672 testified (_Treatise on Trade_, p. 68, cited by M'Culloch) that within two years of the pa.s.sing of the Act England lost the greater part of the Baltic and Greenland trades; and Sir Josiah Child's _New Discourse of Trade_ shows in detail that the English by about 1670 or 1690 had lost to the Dutch even much of the trade they formerly had. (See Preface to second and later editions, and compare M'Culloch, note xi to his edition of the _Wealth of Nations_, and McCullagh, _Industrial History_, ii, 340.) The one direction in which the Act seems to have been successful was in stimulating shipbuilding and seafaring in the American colonies.

(See Prof. Ashley in the _Quarterly Journal of Economics_, Boston, November, 1899, pp. 4-6.) Joshua Gee, in his _Trade and Navigation of Great Britain Considered_ (1730, 6th ed. p. 113), expressly ascribes a "prodigious increase of our shipping" to "the timber trade between Portugal, etc., and our plantations," one result being that English ships have "become the common carriers in the Mediterranean, as well as between the Mediterranean, Holland, Hambro', and the Baltic." He says nothing of the Navigation Act, but lays stress on the cheap building of ships in New England, and notes (p. 114) that the Dutch habitually hire English ships "to transport their goods from Spain, etc., to Amsterdam, and other places."

Even among expert merchants there was no true economic science, only a certain empirical knowledge, reduced to rule of thumb. Hence the traders were for ever tending to strangle trade, and the ablest administrators fell into the snare. Everywhere they tended to be possessed by the gross fallacy that they could somehow sell without buying,[1234] and so heap up gold and silver; and to secure at least a balance in bullion was considered an absolute necessity. This was the most serious error of the policy of Colbert, who secured a balance of social gain to France by stimulating and protecting shipping and new industries,[1235] but failed to learn the lesson that foreign commerce in the end must consist in an exchange of goods. Thus, though he resisted the ruinous methods of Louis XIV,[1236] he lent himself to the theory which, next to the hope of making the Netherlands a province of France and so an arm of French naval strength, stimulated the policy of war. By repeatedly raising his tariffs he forced the Dutch to raise theirs; whereupon France went to war. Had he known that the Dutch could not sell to France without buying thence, and _vice versa_, he would have rested content with establishing his new industries.

M. Dussieux (as cited, p. 127) frames a deplorable demonstration that Holland was impoverishing France and destroying all industry there by selling more articles than she bought. As if any country could go on buying in perpetuity without selling in payment. M.

Dussieux goes on to admit that France before Colbert had some great industries, and a great agricultural export trade, as must needs have been. His argument shows the survival of the mercantilist delusion that trade can drain a productive country of its bullion.

It is evident that Colbert helped trade more by checking fiscal abuses and promoting ca.n.a.ls and roads than by protecting new industries. On the whole he seems to have gravely injured agriculture (_id._ pp. 89, _note_, and 133); and Adam Smith's criticism (_Wealth of Nations_, bk. iii, ch. ii; bk. iv, ch. ix) remains valid. He was "imposed upon by the sophistry of merchants and manufacturers, who are always demanding a monopoly against their countrymen," and by prohibiting export of grain he depressed agriculture, the natural and facile industry of France, and so promoted the rural misery which at length inspired the Revolution.

It was essentially by way of reaction against his error that the Physiocrats fell into theirs--the denial that any industry was productive _except_ agriculture. Even if he had not prohibited export of grain, his import duties, in so far as they excluded foreign products, would have checked the grain exports which had formerly paid for these. Thus, as M. Dussieux admits, Colbert failed to secure prosperity for the peasantry while he was helping industry. (Cp. Brandt, _Beitrage_, as cited.) Colbert in the nineteenth century had the benefit of the doctrine that monarchism prepared for democracy in France, and there is some truth in the protest of Morin that on this and other grounds he became the object of "un culte ridicule qui brave les notions les plus elementaires de l'economie publique" (_Origines de la democratie_, Introd.--written in 1854--p. 48). Morin goes so far as to charge on Colbert equally with Louvois the misfortunes of France under Louis XIV (_id._ pp. 88, 120).

Of course the rival nations were equally self-seeking. Prohibitive tariffs were necessarily lowest with the most specifically commercial State, the Dutch; and the free trade doctrine began early to be heard in England.

_E.g._, from Dudley North. Macaulay, ed. cited, i, 253. See the quotations in M'Culloch, as above cited. Pepys, in his _Diary_, under date 1664, February 29, tells how Sir Philip Warwick expounded to him the "paradox" that it does not impoverish the nation to export less than it imports. For earlier instances of right thinking on the subject see the author's _Trade and Tariffs_, p. 65 _sq_. The repeal in 1663 of statutes against exporting bullion was carried in the interests of the East India Company, and apparently on a false theory; see it in Child, _New Discourse_, p.

173. Cp. Shaftesbury, _Characteristics_, Treatise II, pt. i, -- 2, _end_, as to the advantage of a "free port." This had been partially insisted on, as we have seen, by the Merchant Adventurers in the days of Elizabeth and James; and Raleigh strongly pressed it in his _Observations touching Trade and Commerce with the Hollander and other Nations_, presented to James. Works, ed. 1829, viii, 356-57. Raleigh, however, was a bullionist.

But whether rulers leant in the direction of free trade or strove to heap up import duties as did France, they went to war for monopolies and for imposts. Holland had as determinedly sought the ruin of Antwerp as England did that of Holland. And as the race-principle embroiled nations on the score of trade, so the cla.s.s-principle set up new feuds of cla.s.s in all the nations concerned. The new trading cla.s.s fought for its own hand as the trade gilds of the Middle Ages had done; and the fact of its connections with the gentry did not prevent animosity between gentry and traders or investors in the ma.s.s. Thus were the old issues complicated, for good or for ill.

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The Evolution of States Part 53 summary

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