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for the conduct of the police and the administration of justice, set out with great advantages. The incredible number of vessels fitted out by the private associations had contributed to make all the branches of eastern commerce perfectly understood; to form many able officers and seamen, and to encourage the most reputable citizens to become members of the new company. Fourteen ships were accordingly fitted out for India, under the command of admiral Warwick, whom the Dutch look upon as the founder of their lucrative commerce and powerful establishments in the east. He erected a factory in the island of Java, and secured it by fortifications, he founded another in the territories of the king of Jahor, and formed alliances with several princes in Bengal. He had frequent engagements with the Portuguese in which he was generally successful's. A furious war ensued between the two nations.
During the course of this war, which lasted for many years, the Dutch were continually sending to India fresh supplies of men and ships, while the Portuguese received no succours from Europe. Spain, it should seem, wished to humble her new subjects, whom she did not think sufficiently submissive, and to perpetuate her authority over them by the ruin of their wealth and power: she neither repaired their fortifications nor renewed their garrisons. Yet the scale remained even for a while, and the success was various on both sides; but the persevering Hollanders, by their unwearied efforts, at length deprived the Portuguese of Ceylon, the Moluccas, and all their valuable possessions in the east, except Goa, at the same time that they acquired the almost exclusive trade of China and Japan. The island of Java, however, where they had erected their first fortification, and early built the splendid city of Batavia, continued to be, as it is at present, the seat of their principal settlement, and the centre of their power in India.
15. Id. ibid.
16. Salengre, ubi, sup.
But these new republicans, flushed with success, were not satisfied with their acquisitions in the east. They turned their eyes also toward the west; they established a colony, to which they gave the name of Nova Belgia, on Hudson's river, in North-America; they annoyed the trade, and plundered the settlements of the Spaniards, in every part of the New World; and they made themselves masters of the important colony of Brazil in South-America. But this was not a permanent conquest. When the Portuguese had shaken off the Spanish yoke in Europe, they bore with impatience in America that of the Dutch: they rose against their oppressors; and, after a variety of struggles, obliged them finally to evacuate Brazil, in 16547. Since that æra the Portuguese have continued in possession of this rich territory, the principal support of their declining monarchy, and the most valuable European settlement in America.
The English East-India company was established as early as the year 1600, and with a fair prospect of success. A fleet of five stout ships was fitted out the year following, under the command of captain James Lancaster; who was favourably received by the king of Achen, and other Indian princes with whom he formed a commercial treaty, and arrived in the Downs, after a prosperous voyage of near two years. Other voyages were performed with equal advantage. But notwithstanding these temporary encouragements, the English East-India company had to struggle with many difficulties, and laboured under essential inconveniencies. Their rivals, the Portuguese and Dutch, had harbours of which they were absolute masters; places of strength, which they had built, and secured by garrisons and regular fortifications; whole provinces, of which they had acquired possession either by force or fraud, and over which they exerted an arbitrary sway. Their trade was therefore protected, not only against the violence or caprice of the natives of India,
17. Hist. Gen. des voyages, tom, xiv.
but also against the attempts of new competitors. They had every opportunity of getting a good sale for the commodities they carried out from Europe, and of purchasing those they brought home at a moderate price; whereas the English, who at first acted merely as fair traders, having none of these advantages, were at once exposed to the uncertainty of general markets, which were frequently anticipated or overstocked, to the variable humour of the natives, and to the imperious will of their European rivals, who had the power of excludieg them from the principal ports of the east18.
A. D. 1616.
In order to remedy these inconveniences, the English company saw the necessity of departing from thier original principles and of opposing force by force. But as such an effort was beyond the resources of an infant society, they hoped to receive assistance from government. In this reasonable expectation, however, they were disappointed by the weak and timid policy of James I. who only enlarged their charter: yet by their activity, perseverance, and the judicious choice of their officers and other servants, they not only maintained their trade, but erected forts and established factories in their islands of Java, Poleron, Amboyna, and Banda19.
The Dutch were alarmed at these establishments. Having driven the Portuguese from the spice-islands, they never meant to suffer any European nation to settle there; much less a people, whose maritime force, government, and character would make them dangerous rivals. They accordingly endeavoured to dispossess the English by every possible means. They began with attempting, by calumnious accusations to render them odious to the natives of the countries where they had settled. But finding these shameful expedients ineffectual, they had recourse to force: and the Indian
18. Ibid. tom. ii. Raynal, tom. I.
Ocean became a scene of the most bloody engagements between the maritime forces of the two companies20.
A. D. 1619.
At length an attempt was made to put a period to those hostilities by one of the most extraordinary treaties, recorded in the annals of mankind: and which does little honour to the political sagacity either of the English or Dutch, if the latter, as is alledged, did not mean it as a veil to their future violences. It was agreed, that the Moluccas, Amboyna, and Banda, should belong in common to the companies of the two nations: that the English should have one-third, and the Dutch two-thirds of the produce at a fixed price; that each, in proportion to their interest, should contribute to the defence of those islands; that this treaty should remain in force twenty years, during which the entire trade of India should remain equally free to both nations, neither of them endeavouring to injure the other by separate fortifications, or clandestine treaties with the natives; and that all disputes, which could not be accommodated by the councils of the companies, should be finally settled and determined by the king of Great Britain and the States General of the United Provinces12.
The fate of this treaty was such as might have been expected from one party to the other. The avarice of the Dutch prompted them to take advantage of the confidential security of the English, and to plunder the factories of Lantore and Poleron, after exercising the most atrocious cruelties on the servants of the company. The supineness of the English government encouraged them to act the same tragedy, accompanied with still more horrid circumstances of barbarity, at Amboyna22: where confessions of a pretended conspiracy were extorted, by tortures at which humanity shudders, and which ought never to be forgot or forgiven by Englishmen.
A. D. 1623.
20. Id, ibid.
21. Harl. Collect. ubi sup.
P. 2. Id. ibid.
In consequence of these unexpected violences, for which the feeble and corrupt administration of James I. obtained no reparation, the English East India company was obliged to abandon the spice-Islands to the rapacity of the Dutch; and though they were less unfortunate on the coasts of Coromandel and Malabar, the civil wars in which England was involved toward the latter part of the reign of Charles I. and which took off all attention from distant objects, reduced their affairs to a very low condition. Their trade revived during the commonwealth; and Cromwell, on the conclusion of the war with Holland, obtained several stipulations in their favour; but which, from the confusions that ensued, were never executed. On the accession of Charles II. they hoped to recover their consequence in India. But that needy and profligate prince, who is said to have betrayed their interests to the Dutch for a bribe, cruelly extorted loans from them, at the same time that he hurt their trade, by selling licences to interlopers, and by these means reduced them to the brink of ruin.
The English were more successful in establishing themselves, during this period, in North-America and the WestIndies. As early as the year 1496, John Cabot, a Venetian mariner, in the service of Henry VII. had discovered the island of Newfoundland, and sailed along the northern shore of the American continent, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Cape Florida. But no advantage was taken of these discoveries before the middle of the reign of Elizabeth; when the bigotry and ambition of Philip II. roused the indignation of all the protestant powers, but more especially of England, and incited many bold adventurers to commit hostilities against his subjects in the New-World. The most distinguished of those was sir Francis Drake; who, having acquired considerable wealth by his depredations against the Spaniards in the Isthmus of Darien, passed with four ships into the South Sea, by the Straits of Magellan, took many rich prizes, and returned to England, in 1579, by the Cape of