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And of the Protecting of the NETHERLANDS.
May it please your Majesty,
T belongeth not to me to judge whether the King of Spain hath done wrong
to the Netherlands, or whether the Ne-, Vi therlands have failed in Allegiance to
So wards the King. The King pretendG
ing absolute Sovereignty, they pretending a condicional Obedience.
But it seems to me, without question, that both Holland and Zealand did of Right belong to the Lady Inquelin of Haynault; who, to save her own Life, was forced to relinquish her Estate ; and that Zupthen and Guelders did as rightfully belong to the Duke of Arnold, who being Prisoner with that Duke of Bur. gundy that died before Nantz, the said Duke intruded VOL. II.
upon his Poffefsion to the Prejudice of Adolfe his Son and lawful Succeffor.
But leaving their Quarrels to their own Consciences; whether it itandeth with your Majesty's Safety to relinquish them, Yea, or No, is the Argument which I presume to offer to your Majesty's great Wisdom.
The Hollanders and Zealanders, with the rest of the United Provinces (which altogether we call by the Name of Netherlands) are your Majesty's near Neighbours, and most industrious People ; they are near, and may, with a Blast of Wind, in twenty-four Hours depart their own Coasts and enter ours.
And a poor Neighbour's House set on fire, is to be better guarded, or watched, than a great City afar off.
They are strong by the Situation of their Countries, strong in Cities, Mariners, and Shipping ; by reason of the Country and fortify'd Towns, they are able to defend themselves ; and by reason of the Multitude of their Ships, they are in a Condition to offend others.
There are no People more industrious in all Things, for more provident. Witness these two Particulars : The first, That having in Holland neither Timber nor Iron, they build more Ships, and cheaper, than either England or Spain, which have Plenty of both. .
The second is, That whereas their Grounds are in effect all Pastures, and have no Wheat growing of their own, they not only serve themselves cheap, but have us'd (when the Trade was open) to furnish both Spain, Portugal, and Italy with the fame Grain. Now whether it will stand with your Majesty's Safety to abandon a Nacion so near, so strong, and so industrious will be the Queflion? I answer, That for your Ma. jesty to leave the Netherlands to themselves, as they are consider'd strong, can bring no other Danger to your Majesty than is common to all Princes that have · strong Neighbours.
But if they cannot subsist of themselves, nor without their Subjection to some other Prince, or State, they
shall not be able to defend themselves ; then the Peril which may ensue is very likely, or rather assur'd to Britain. It is first therefore to be enquired, Whether they can subsist, or no? If they can, it is formerly answer'd ; if they cannot, on what Prince they are likeliest to rely ?
First, That they have means to defend themselves, Experience denies ; and that Experience is grounded upon good Reason: For as your Majesty best knows it, as from the Beginning of their Revolt, they have made Strangers to their Bodies, their Defenders ; so are their own People altogether unapt for Soldiers : If they were otherwise, yet have their Estates now such Dominion, as they can employ them otherways ; most part of their People are Mechanics, and live by their Handy-crafts, their Crafts-men maintain their Trades, and Navigation produces their Revenues, which maintain their Wars. And though there have been certain Troops erected of Fryfons, and out of other Inand Parts; yet these do rather serve to make up their Numbers, and furnish their Garrisons, than that they have us'd them in any important Service, or in the Field : So that the Strength of their Armies have consisted, for the most part, of English, Scotch, and French.
If then, such be the Composition of their Armies : It is first apparent, that they cannot defend themselves by their proper Forces; and that they will rely and give themselves to one of these Princes; viz. to the Engliß (accounting now England and Scotland all one) or French; or else return again, in the End, to the Arch-Duke, or to the Spanish King.
The Reason why they bind themselves to this Choice is, Power and Neighbourhood: Your Majesty, and the French being best able, and the next adjoining.
To expect Succour from the Germans, or from other Princes which are remote, they cannot ;
First, Because those Princes have Dependance on the Emperor.
Pan be the Comp cannot defend
Secondly, Because they are not of Ability to maintain the Quarrel.
And Thirdly, and chiefly, Because their Succoup cannot come so far, being to march Over-land, the Charge being double to all Armies that pass through the Territories of other Princes; which must either be able to master the Territories, or pass by safe Conducts whither they march.
So great Armies, as shall master Countries, the States need not; and the lefser will be always in danger to be cut off, or resisted. The Neighbouring Princes being more fearful of the Spaniard's Greatness, than careful of the State's Amity..
But the Netherlands require often Supply, and few in Number, such Troops as may be transported by S:a, in the Netherlands own Shipping, and at an easy Rare, and in leffer Time: For as England, Scotland and France, may supply them in twenty-four Hours ; so from any Prince or State else, they may be, in coming Over-land, cwenty-four Wecks. It is therefore likely, that if your Majesty refuse them, they will offer themselves to the French, or return to the Spanillo Obedience ; both which will bring equal Danger to your Majesty's State.
The Reasons are many ; but I will rehearse them in a few Words, because your Majesty can better judge by a Word, than another can by a Volume.
There are two Ways by which England may be afflicted.
The one by Invasion, being put to the Defensive, in which we shall but caft Lots for our own Garments.
The other by Impeachment of our 'Trades; by which Trades all Commonwealths flourish, and are enrich’d.
Invaded or impeach'd we cannot be, but by Sea ;. and therefore that Enemy which is strongest by Shipping is most to be suspected and feared.