THE TRANSFERENCE OF COLONIAL POWER. TO THE UNITED PROVINCES AND ENGLAND.
By HUGH E. EGEUTON, M.A., Beit Professor of Colonial History, Oxford.
The Spanish and the Portuguese colonial systems . 728
The English and the Dutch in the East . 729
The English East India Company . 730
Foundation of the Dutch East India Company . 731
Comparison between the rival Companies . 732
Operations of the Dutch in the Eas,t . 733
English and Dutch rivalry . 734
Operations in the Banda Islands .735
Foundation of Batavia . 736
Agreement between the Dutch and the English . 737
Attempt to prevent the failure of the agreement . 738
The " Massacre at Amboina" .739
English and Dutch factories in Japan . 740
Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe .741
Position of the English East India Company . 742
Gradual overthrow of Portuguese power by the Dutch .743
Advance of the Dutch East India Company . 744
Difficulties of the English East India Company . 745
The rival Powers in the East .746
English and French colonisation in North America . 747
Uncertain character of English colonial policy . 748
Foundation of Dutch West India Company. 749
Operations in Brazil . 750
Joan Maurice Governor of Brazil . 751
Peace between Portugal and the United Provinces . 752
Loss of Brazil by the Dutch .753
Ralegh's second expedition to Guiana . 754
Dutch and English on the Amazon and in Guiana . 755
The English in the West Indies .756
Democratic character of the English colonies . 757
The French and Dutch in the West Indies . 758
The English, French, and Dutch in West Africa .759
THE TRANSFERENCE OF COLONIAL POWER TO THE UNITED PROVINCES AND ENGLAND.
THE Papal Bull of Alexander VI, whatever its shortcomings, juridical or geographical, succeeded in its main object. Under it the colonial energies of Spain and Portugal were diverted to different channels. With the entrance, however, upon the world's stage of new sea Powers, hostile to Rome's spiritual authority and to its temporal champions, there could not but occur a disturbance of the existing settlement. The union of Portugal with Spain, in 1580, cleared -the way for the struggle for colonial leadership. The Spanish colonial empire, although in some ways resting on rotten foundations, was for the most part impregnable against attacks by sea Powers. The islands, which were of course vulnerable, formed no great portion of the Spanish dominion. So long as war lasted Spain might indeed be robbed of the fruits of her colonies, and undoubtedly the crippling of her financial resources by the action of the sea Powers was the main cause of Spain's political impotence in the seventeenth century. Nevertheless, neither the United Provinces nor England were able to strike at the heart of her colonial system.
The Portuguese dominion was of a very different character. The existence of organised kingdoms in the East had prevented the full realisation of Albuquerque's ideals, and the basis of Portuguese influence was to be found in sea power. The Portuguese dominion, by passing into the hands of Spain, was laid open to attack on the part of the United Provinces and England, whose strength was on the sea. Moreover, the material interests of the United Provinces were attacked. Hitherto their ships had been allowed to call at Lisbon, and had secured the profit from the lucrative coasting trade with the European ports. With the closing of Lisbon to their ships the Netherlander were confronted with the choice of either being deprived of the sinews of war, or else of seeking trade for themselves in the East. For years, however, caution was necessary, and the aggressive policy did not finally prevail till the foundation of the Dutch West India Company
While the Dutch strength was being developed another Power was appearing upon the scene. The English merchants had not been blind to the promise held out by the Eastern trade. At first hopes were placed upon an overland trade from Turkey to the East ; to obtain which was the object of the mission of William Harborne to the Court of Amurath III in 1579. The establishment of the English Turkey Company in 1581 was the consequence of this mission. The letters of the English Jesuit Stevens, who had settled at Goa (1579), aroused interest in the East. The difficulties in the way of overland trade were great, and, after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the English merchants determined to risk the chance of Portuguese opposition to a sea voyage. The royal leave was obtained, and three ships, under George Raymond, sailed for the East. The expedition was a failure, only one ship, under James Lancaster, accomplishing the voyage. Yet more disastrous was the venture of 1598, under Benjamin Wood, when "not one of the company ever returned to give an account of the rest."
Though the English may have been first in the field, when once the Netherlander entered it, it was with more serious determination and on a grander scale. " The Company of Foreign Merchants " was formed in 1594, and in the following year an expedition was sent out, with Cornelis Houtman as merchant. It reached Bantam in safety, and returned in 1597 with a cargo. The quarrels between the rival commanders had, however, prevented its commercial success. A rise in the price of pepper in the English market, consequent on this voyage, was the immediate cause of the memorable meeting of English merchants in 1599, which resulted in the foundation of the English East India Company. The need was indeed urgent, if rivalry with the Netherlands was to be attempted. Between 1595 and 1601 no less than sixty-five ships were sent out from the United Provinces in fifteen separate voyages. The Dutch, further, sought to buy English ships. In addition the English merchants were seriously hampered in the race by political considerations. In 1599 negotiations were on foot for a treaty with Spain, so that the moment was inopportune to throw down the gauntlet to Spanish pretensions. By the following year the political situation had altered; and the English East India Company was incorporated on December SI, 1600.
In both England and the Netherlands the Chartered Company was the natural outcome of circumstances. It was but the application to new needs of the principles which had given birth to the Merchant Adventurers and the other trading companies. In England the failure of Gilbert and Ralegh to profit by private grants had emphasised the need of collective effort. The form of monopoly, which later times resented, seemed natural to the men of the time. Nor, indeed, in the special circumstances of the case was the claim to some kind of monopoly unreasonable. If the State had no settled revenue for the purpose of extending the area of the national influence, and if the individual trader left to himself was powerless to encounter the risks, the company which provided against these might well ask in return some compensation; for the private trader if able to trade in peace, because of the security afforded by the company's ships and forts, would by his freedom from such expenses be enabled to undersell the company in the home market. To what difficulties the practical application of this argument led, where international relations were concerned, will be noted hereafter.
The monopoly of the East India Company, though granted for fifteen years, could be terminated at any time, after two years' notice, should it be found unprofitable to the nation. The government of the Company was placed in the hands of a Governor and twenty-four Committee-men, who were elected by the grand assembly of the members. The Committee might elect from their members a Deputy-Governor. The East India Company at first consisted of City merchants, with whom were associated some seafaring adventurers. The only nobleman among the subscribers, the Earl of Cumberland, was of this character. When Court influence tried to foist Sir Edward Michelborne upon the stockholders for a position of trust, the attempt was met by the reply that the Company had resolved "not to employ any gentleman in any place of charge"; because such employment might drive a great number of the adventurers to withdraw their contribution. In 1609, however, when the Charter was renewed, the profits of the trade had become patent to all, and the Lord Treasurer, Lord Admiral, and many other influential noblemen were glad to become members of the Company. The limit of time to the Company's monopoly was removed, although the power still remained of terminating it after three years' warning. Joint-stock ventures were substituted for the separate voyages of the first period ; subscriptions being no longer raised for a single voyage, but for a certain period of time. This system avoided the clashing of interests which had marked the first, but there was still room for overlapping between the joint-stock ventures and general voyages ; nor was the plan of a continuing joint-stock finally adopted till after the Restoration in 1661. Strong as was the position of the Company, it remained subject to the caprice and impecuniosity of the Stewart Kings. A license to Michelborne in 1604, and to Sir James Cunningham in 1617, directly invaded the
Company's monopoly ; and though very little came of these, the subsequent license granted to Sir William Courteen (1635), out of which developed the Assada Association, brought the East India Company very near to ruin.
The first expedition sent out by the Company consisted of four vessels and a victualler, with James Lancaster as General of the fleet. The Company refused officially to consider the question-what should be done in the way of reprisals, should the Portuguese attack?-but allowed Lancaster to make such private agreement with the seamen as seemed advisable. The fleet set sail on February 13, 1601, and arrived at Achin on June 5, 1602. The letter from the Queen delivered to the King of Achin was a fine specimen of Elizabethan English, and contained an admirable statement of the advantages of mutual trade. How much the King of Achin may have understood of this excellent economic doctrine is doubtful, but he assented readily to articles securing liberty of trade and freedom from customs dues. It did not occur to the English to ask how far " the mighty King of Dachim and Sumatra " had authority to enforce his decrees throughout the island. Lancaster, after capturing a powerful Portuguese vessel in the Straits of Malacca, proceeded to Bantam, where he arrived on December 16,1602. He obtained leave to trade, and established a factory. Not being able to proceed to the Moluccas, Lancaster started for home on February 20, 1603, and arrived in the Downs in the September following. The value of the East India trade was attested by a cargo of over a million pounds of pepper.
While the English Company was thus quietly coming into life, its light was soon eclipsed by a more powerful rival. The Netherlanders recognised that the fierce competition of individual traders was acting against the general interest. Such competition both raised prices in the East and lowered them in the home market till the margin of profit reached a vanishing point. In this state of things the incorporation of the rival traders into a single body working for the common good became a matter of necessity, and the United East India Company was founded (1602), with a monopoly of the Eastern trade for twenty-one years. The task of welding into a single body jealous and conflicting interests was very difficult, but it was achieved. The complicated organisation of the Company reflected the history of its origin. It was in form a federation of companies rather than a single company. Six separate Provincial Chambers had separate control of ships and wares. To each there belonged a fixed proportion of the total trade, but as the share of Amsterdam was one-half from the first, there was no real equality among the Chambers. Moreover, above the separate Chambers was the Committee of Seventeen, which decided upon the general policy and the measures to be carried through the separate Chambers. This consisted of delegates from the Provincial Chambers ; but, inasmuch as Amsterdam was
Compared to this mighty engine the English Company seemed a small thing. Its capital was about £540,000, whereas the English Company started with a stock of little over £30,000. Up to 1610 the English had only sent out seventeen ships in all to the East ; between 1602 and 1610 the Dutch Company sent out sixty. In fact the Dutch East India Company was the embodiment of the national needs, whereas the English represented but one side of English policy. Throughout the period in question the same note of uncertainty marked the relations of England to the Spanish-Portuguese power. The truce signed between England and Spain in 1604 served but to emphasise this uncertainty. Under it-and the Treaty of 1630 could devise no better expedient-free commerce was allowed between the two nations "where commerce was held before the breaking out of the war." The Portuguese maintained that this provision excluded the English from the trade with India. The English contended that there could be no case for exclusion except with regard to places which were in the actual occupation of the Portuguese. It was the weakness rather than the will of the Portuguese which caused, for the most part, a kind of sulky acquiescence in the presence of the English in the East. But neither were the English inclined to a bold policy. It is noteworthy that, in spite of the traditional hatred of Spain and the numerous causes of dispute in the East, the single act of conspicuous aggression committed by the English in the East was the capture of Ormuz in 1622. But this was an act dictated by trade interests, the Shah of Persia requiring this return for leave to trade in his dominions. The ambiguous situation is reflected in the conduct of Downton in 1614. He found himself obliged to refuse to cooperate with the Great Moghul against the Portuguese, unless directly attacked, although the seizure by the Portuguese of a ship of the Moghul's had been occasioned by his reception of an English Embassy. Fortunately, the folly of the Portuguese in themselves attacking the English saved Downton from an intolerable position. Of course the settled
Contrast with this picture of tepid enmity, culminating in final friendship, the attitude of the United Provinces. It was this complete difference of aim which led no less than commercial jealousy to inevitable misunderstandings between the new rival Powers. The vigour of the Dutch onslaught is attested by the evidence of the Portuguese. Already in 1604 they had quite spoiled the commerce in the southern parts, and no man dared budge forth or adventure anything. In 1607 the great damage suffered in the East caused Portugal to long for peace. Amboina had been taken from the Portuguese in 1605 and their fleet burnt at Malacca in the following year. From their first arrival in the East the Dutch fastened upon the Molucca Islands as at once the seat of Portuguese power and of a very lucrative trade in spices. Allying themselves with the King of the independent island of Ternati, they attacked Tidor (1605). The destruction of the Spanish-Portuguese fleet (December, 1615), commanded by the Spanish Governor of the Philippines, finally established the Dutch dominion in the Molucca Islands.
Although the operations in the Spice Islands were directed against the Portuguese, they necessarily reacted upon the relations between the Dutch and the English. The conflict between the two Powers was perhaps inevitable. Such a solution of the difficulty as was afterwards found, viz. the recognition by each Power of special spheres of influence, was at the time impossible. The chances of establishing a lucrative trade upon the continent of India were, at the time, too doubtful to allow the English to abandon without an effort the more immediate gains from the Eastern Archipelago. It is clear from the figures given in Mun's Discourse of' Trade to the East Indies that the returns from pepper, cloves, nutmegs, and mace were greater in proportion to their cost than those from silk, indigo, and calicoes, but the former were mainly
Unhappily the inevitable trade conflict was rendered more bitter by peculiar circumstances. Each nation cherished a special grievance against the other. The English regarded the Dutch as ungrateful parvenus, who, after having attained their freedom largely by means of English help, now sought to injure and ruin their benefactors. The Dutch, on the other hand, who had grasped the nettle of Portuguese dominion and were winning their way by force of arms, felt naturally indignant that the English should reap where they had sown and gather where they had strawed. It must be remembered that in 1609, according to Sir Thomas Overbury, the Dutch held three ships for every one possessed by the English. Dutch jealousy had appeared from the first. Davis, the English pilot to the Dutch expedition of 1598, gives numerous proofs. Already, according to Dutch notions, the English were "to be thrust in the corner." Nevertheless at first the relations between the rival merchants were, upon the whole, friendly. Edmund Scott, the first English factor at Bantam, received from the Dutch much kindness, in grateful recollection of the past history ; and it was not till the arrival of Captain Siverson in 1605 that cordial relations were interrupted. The claim to commercial monopoly in the Spice Islands-a claim by no means perhaps unreasonable from the economic standpoint of the times-fanned into a flame the sparks of dissension. The changed atmosphere of the day is vividly reflected in the contemporary diaries and letters. When even the urbane Roe could write of the Dutch as " unthankful drunkards that we have relieved from cheese and cabbage, or rather from a chain with bread and water,1' we can imagine the language of the average Englishman. The Netherlander in return regarded the English no whit more favourably. " If one dared," a Dutch admiral wrote in 1623, " to do only one-tenth of what they do he would not escape the cat o1 nine tails.1' To the Dutch, who were achieving a mighty present, the English allusions to their past were especially galling. Thus Cocks claimed that " there was no comparison between their small State, governed by a county, with the mighty and powerful government of the King of England, which did, in some sort, govern them, keeping garrisons in their chiefest places.11 The English boasts were indeed ridiculous to those who only regarded the situation in the East. The establishment in 1609 of the office of Governor-General gave the Dutch rulers a prestige, in the face of which the English Presidents seemed of slight importance. A succession of able and ambitious men, mostly risen from the lowest classes, was not likely to make smoother the paths of diplomacy. But if the fissure
The tiny Banda Islands were the scene upon which the struggle began. Successive English commanders had obtained cargoes in the Spice Islands, though with increasing difficulty. Their position, however, was a difficult one in the face of Dutch rivalry. A feeble attempt to establish a footing in the Banda Islands was met by the erection by the Dutch of Fort Nassau on Banda Neira (1609). After this Amboina and the Moluccas had fallen a prey to the Dutch, through native hatred of the Portuguese ; but little was gained by the change of masters, and the Bandanese had every reason to maintain their cherished independence. Meanwhile the financial position of both Companies was making for conflict. The huge expenses entailed by forts and military preparations were compelling the Dutch to enforce a monopoly of the trade in spices, while the glut of pepper in the English market was emphasising the necessity of new commodities. In 1613 attempts were made to establish factories at Amboina and at Lochoe and Kambeloe in Ceram ; but Dutch influence prevailed to bar their establishment. Better things might be expecbed from the Banda Islands, when the natives were at open war with the Dutch and were anxious " to live and die with the English." In 1615 Ball attempted unsuccessfully to start a factory on Great Banda Island. The interview between Ball and Reynst, the Dutch Governor-General, gives a vivid picture of the international situation. " He, then, standing up, fluttering his papers at my face, saying we were rogues and vassals, not having anything but from Thomas Smith of London,...saying that our King's Majesty had...replied that they had all the right that might be and no others to these places in Banda, Sir T. Smith then in presence silenced." In truth the proverb was applicable, qui veut le fin, veut les moyens. The English had the choice either to fight for the trade or else to retire with dignity. Unfortunately they did not recognise this. When the inhabitants of Pulo Ai offered a monopoly of their spice trade, in return for an offensive and defensive alliance, the merchants at Bantam could only answer, " for help to recover Neira we could not do it without order from England "; and yet an English factory was established on the island. In 1616 a small English fleet under Castleton sailed for the Banda Islands. Arriving at Pulo Ai, they found the Dutch in great force at Neira. The inevitable but inglorious sequel was that the English agreed to remain neutral in the struggle between the Dutch and Bandanese, having been granted leave to remove their goods without molestation in
Welcome as of course would have been a genuine reconciliation of English and Dutch interests in the East, the agreement of 1619 merely hid a sore which continued to fester underneath. Already in 1613 and 1615 negotiations had taken place in London and the Hague. No result had been arrived at, partly because the King was averse from
The agreement of June 2, 1619, applied the sponge to the past ; and the officers of the two Companies were for the future to act in cordial cooperation. The commerce of the East was declared free to either Company, and excessive duties were to be regulated and lessened. The practice of " liberal gifts " was also to cease. The staple commodities were to be sold at prices fixed by the representatives of the two Companies, and the pepper crop in Java was to be divided in equal shares. The English were to share in the trade of Pulicat, and in return pay half the expense of fortifications. In the Moluccas, Banda Islands, and Amboina the English portion in the trade was limited to one-third; the cost of forts and garrisons was to be defrayed by a duty on exports. For purposes of general defence each Company was to furnish ten ships-of-war, with such auxiliary vessels as should prove necessary. A council of defence was instituted, consisting of eight members, four from each Company ; the president to be chosen from each in monthly rotation. Fortresses were on both sides to remain in the hands of their present possessors. The question of the right of the English to build new forts, where such rights had been disputed by the Dutch, was to remain in suspense for two or three years ; but forts taken " by the industry and common forces of both Companies" were to be held in joint possession. Thenceforth neither Company was to exclude the other either by fortifications or by contracts from any part of the Indies. The treaty was to hold good for twenty years, and any dispute that could not be settled either by the Council in India or by the Companies at home was to be referred to the King and the States General.
A most cursory perusal of the treaty serves to show that it was drawn up by men who either did not know or wilfully ignored the actual situation in the East. To talk of a friendly settlement without securing the foundations of such settlement was to waste words. Either the interests of the two Companies should be identical, or they must remain hostile. But, while they remained hostile, something more effective was
The fault was assuredly not all on one side. "All in all," the Batavian authorities wrote home, " a disagreeable wife is bestowed on us, and we do not know how to keep you out of disputes." The Seventeen were themselves urgent for conciliation. They were conscious of the risk of losing " our small portion of the Netherlands, thinking to make a conquest of the Indian world.1' They were encumbered with a loan of eight million guilders and their credit could stand no more. They feared that the jealousy of rivals might prevent the renewal of their charter. Nevertheless the arrangement proved unworkable. The English factors preferred "the time of our unfortunate war before a troubled peace.1' At Batavia and elsewhere the will of the Dutch was law. They carried themselves as in a settled kingdom of their own. Nor were matters mended by the prolonged negotiations which took place in 1622-3 between the Dutch Commissioners and the English authorities. A 'modus vivendi on paper was arrived at, but Chamberlain rightly opined that the East India Company would be never the better for the new agreement. The real right of the Dutch lay in the enforcement of their might against the Spanish-Portuguese power ; and, unless the English were prepared to share the full burden, the Dutch would continue to hold them craven interlopers.
A ghastly commentary on the agreement was afforded by what is known as the "Massacre at Amboina." Amboina, "lying as a queen between the isles of Banda and the Moluccas," had been won from Portugal by Dutch blood and treasure. Under the new arrangement English trading was to be suffered gladly in this sacred spot of Dutch
Lamentable, however, as was the tragedy, its political consequences
The English factory at Firando in Japan owed its origin to an English sailor, William Adams, who had served as pilot to a Dutch expedition in 1598. Landing on the coast of Japan, he soon found favour with the Emperor, who employed him in shipbuilding and as a pilot. A Dutch factory was started at Firando in 1609 ; and Adams wrote home in 1611, urging his countrymen to obtain a share in the Japanese trade. In 1613 an English expedition arrived under Saris, and a factory was started with Richard Cocks in control. It proved a failure. Cocks, though well-meaning, was ill-fitted for the post. Before his eyes there was always dangling the will o' the wisp of a profitable Chinese trade. Probably, however, the English factory could have succeeded under no circumstances. The position of the Dutch was different. They were carrying on war against the Chinese junks, and were thus able to fling down goods in Japan at a nominal price. Their position in Firando was also useful in connexion with the war in the Moluccas. They procured thence provisions and armaments and also "succours of men both for sea and land," the Japanese being "a desperate warlike people and ready to adventure for good pay." The position of Christians in Japan was becoming more difficult owing to the intrigues of the Jesuits and the refusal of the Spaniards to allow Japanese to be in New Spain, which things had prejudiced the new Shogun against Christianity In this state of things, it was decided, after the coalition with the Dutch, to withdraw the English factory. « The people of the land " their first English observer found " good of nature, courteous out of measure, and valiant in war."
The doings in the Far East, as has been already shown in a previous chapter, decided for the time the question of Dutch hegemony. It remains briefly to sketch the small beginnings of the English dominion on the continent of India. No attempt was made to establish a trade
Roe's position was always precarious. The idea of an embassy presupposes a certain recognition of the principle of a balance of power, but it was difficult to make Jehangir believe that there were States with
Thus, in spite of mistakes and failures, and of the enmity of both the Portuguese and Dutch, the East India Company was able slowly to lay the foundations of that system the final outcome of which was British India. By 1616 there were already four factories in the dominion of the Moghul at Ahmadabad, Burhampur, Ajmere and Agra (the Court factory), and Surat. On the east coast there were factories at Masulipatam and Petapoli. The capture of Ormuz from the Portuguese in 1622 added greatly to English prestige, though it was not retained in English hands. Still, throughout this period the Company remained a mere trading company, and in 1634 the factors could still write from Surat, " In all the times of their trade in these parts the Company have not gained one place of note to keep their servants from being insulted over as they are in divers places, especially in Surat.1' Although a fort had been built at Armagon a few years earlier, in one sense British India may be said to date from 1640. The foundation of Fort St George in that year marked the first milestone on that long road which was to lead an unconscious and reluctant trading company to the goal of an empire.
Still there was little to show the promise of the future. The settlements on the Bengal coast started in 1633 seemed unlikely to be able to continue. Everywhere were to be found weakness and uncertainty. The contrast between these results and those achieved by the Dutch Company is very striking. In 1616 the latter had already two forts in Ternati, three in Machian, two in Gilolo, one in Bachian, one in Tidor, three in Amboina, one in Banda Neira, and one in Pulo Ai. In Java there was a fort at Jacatra. Nor did the Netherlander confine their
But while the Dutch East India Company was helping to win for the fatherland colonial supremacy its own financial position was far from secure. It appears impossible to trace that position at any given time. A double set of books was, it seems, kept, in which the business done in the East and in Europe was accounted for separately, and a real balance was never drawn. The published accounts were in fact untrustworthy. The payment of high dividends did not of necessity mean prosperity, as dividends might be, and sometimes were, paid out of borrowed money.
It was inevitable that the heavy military charges should encroach on profits. So early as 1630 the Seventeen were " ready to be smothered in the great expense which we have to bear single-handed." The Dutch no less than the English Company suffered from the private trading of its ill-paid agents. Neither did the vast plans of its more able Governors-General make for economy. Koen saw visions of a large European immigration such as should " complete the beautiful work " and enable the Dutch " to keep their stand against all pressures from outside " ; but the task of empire-building does not mean working for quick returns.
Although the English Company played a less important part in our political history during the period now under survey, the same tendencies were impairing its financial position. The trade had opened under auspicious circumstances ; but the aggressive attitude of the Dutch and the steady growth in the amount of the fixed charges soon altered the complexion of affairs. In 1621 the serious nature of the situation prompted the sending of Thomas Mun on a special mission to the East. The commission, however, was not to his mind ; and five years later we find him recording the same bad results. According to Mun "the excessive charge " was " the cause of the Company's declination." A "gaining " trade, he explained, required a return of three and a half to one upon real commodities. In fact, the Company was on the horns of a dilemma. Doubtless it throve best when it sent out only ships with stock to sell and owned no settled factories ; but under this system it would everywhere be supplanted by the Dutch. The prophets of evil might retort that keeping ships and factories in the East would soon drive the Company out of existence. So serious was the situation that the Company were nearly retiring from the struggle. In 1627 nothing was attempted, the East India Company " being indebted, disabled, and disheartened by former losses done by the Dutch." In addition to the political troubles, there was the continuing canker of private trade, an evil which could only have been met by such an increase in the salaries of the factors as would secure the services of trustworthy men. Error versatur in generalibus ; and doubtless there were among the factors, as well as among the sailors, men of the type of the devout Downton, the dour Courthope, and the efficient Methwold. But upon the whole the conclusion is forced upon us that, so far as the servants of the English India Company were concerned, the first half of the seventeenth century was the day of small things. The quarrelsome, arrack-drinking factor may have been in a minority : but assuredly he makes a poor figure by the side of the clean-living, energetic young civil servant of to-day. Nor is the reason of this state of things far to seek. The great wave of Elizabethan enterprise, upon the flood of which Drake, Cavendish, and their fellows had hurled themselves against the power of Spain, was on the ebb, and new national aspirations were giving rise to new forms of national energy. In the confused brain of James I notions of tolerance
Although during the period in question the struggle in the East was confined to the Portuguese, Dutch, and English, French ships had appeared in the East as early as 1602, and a French company for the Eastern trade with a stock of 4 million crowns was proposed in 1609. This project came to nothing ; partly owing to the hostile attitude of the Dutch. French ships from time to time sailed to the East ; but France was unable to push forward in the East as well as the West. In fact the task in the West was too great for her, as the small results during the period in New France abundantly proved. A Danish East India Company was chartered in 1614, and we hear of the appearance of Danes at the mouth of the Gulf of Bengal " with great store of men, women and children, proposing, it appears, to inhabit there"-a good example of the character of seventeenth century views as to colonisation. The Danes remained for some years in Bengal and had a fort and factory at Tranquebar; but they suffered greatly from want of capital and were unable to achieve much, except to carry on a " pillage," for which the Dutch were blamed by the native rulers.
While in the East the power of Portugal was slowly breaking under the pressure of its northern rivals, in the West the struggle for colonial
Meanwhile in North America a struggle for pre-eminence seemed already pending between the new Powers. The existence of vague grants, covering overlapping areas, involved inevitable difficulties, should the endeavour be made to enforce such grants seriously. Already in the period in question the first round in the contest between England and France for mastery in North America began with the struggle for Acadia. Nevertheless that struggle partook something of the nature of
But while the various colonies existed rather in promise than in fulfilment, their future was being largely decided by the different methods of colonial government employed by the different Powers. The form of a trading company never satisfied the French temperament, and French Canada never took real shape till she became an autocracy founded on the model of the parent State. The beginnings of English North America, on the other hand, resembled the uncertain gropings of one in the dark. The failure of individual effort, in spite of the genius and perseverance of Ralegh, rendered natural the resort to the means of a trading company ; but the numerous experiments made in methods of colonial government by James I and Charles I reflect the uncertainty of contemporary thought. In 1606 a kind of Council for America, after the model of the Spanish Council for the Indies, was started, and the attempt was made to separate trade and political functions. Three years later this attempt was abandoned, and the Virginia Company was left master in its house. The summoning of a popular Assembly in 1619 called forth no protest from the home authorities. The resumption of the Virginia Charter in 1623 and a grandiloquent proclamation of Charles I in 1625 seemed to foreshadow a more active colonial policy; but the grant to the Massachusetts Company in 1629, and, still more, the return to Elizabethan methods in the patent of Baltimore (1632), again showed the absence of any settled principles of action. Yet more significant was the acquiescence in the transfer of the seat of government of the Massachusetts Company from England to America-a measure which in effect secured the practical independence of the New England colonies.
It was, however, perhaps this slovenly inconsequence in the home policy which allowed English North America to develop in a way that no foreign Power could imitate. It is probable that the profits of the East India trade may have reconciled Sir Thomas Smith and other directors of the Virginia Company to the absence of dividends, just as without the returns from the Kimberley diamond mines the development of Rhodesia could not have been attempted by private efforts. In any case the experience of the Virginia Company during its early years served to enforce the moral that, in the absence of the precious metals or of staple products, the empire-builder builds for posterity and not for himself. In spite of all that was said and written as to the need of emigration, it proved in fact extremely difficult to find men ready and willing to embark upon the untrodden paths of colonisation. Too often the Virginia Company, against its will, was obliged to yield to the theory which regarded the new world as the natural home for the failures of the old. With the appearance upon the scene of the religious motive
The story of the relations between the English and Dutch colonists well illustrates our meaning. So early as 1598 the American coast had been frequented by the Dutch, especially by members of the Greenland Company ; but at first no fixed settlements were made. An imposing grant of the whole coast, from Chesapeake Bay to Newfoundland, made in 161e to two private individuals, became in 1621 the property of the newly-formed Dutch West India Company. Although some settlements were founded and efforts made to bring in new colonists, New Netherland remained throughout its history a matter of very secondary interest to the West India Company. The aim and object of the Company had from the first been to carry on active war with Spain. " The expected service for the welfare of our fatherland and the destruction of our hereditary enemy could not," they scornfully asserted, " be accomplished by the trifling trade with the Indians or the tardy cultivation of uninhabitable regions." They recognised that "the colonising of such wild and uncultivated countries demands more inhabitants than we can well supply : not so much from lack of population, in which our provinces abound, as from the fact that all who are inclined to do any sort of work here procure enough to eat without any trouble, and are therefore unwilling to go far from here on an uncertainty." The special circumstances of the English on the other hand enabled them to follow the advice given by Sir William Boswell, the English representative at the Hague, in 1642, to "crowd on, crowding the Dutch out of those places where they have occupied, but without hostility or any act of violence.1' The only credit which Adam Smith allowed to the policy of Europe in establishment of colonies was that it had been magna virum mater. The main reason why the English prevailed was that under the English system, or no-system, the necessary men were obtained as they were under no other. Lack of population in any case prevented the Netherlands from disputing with England the heritage of North America.
We have already said that other concerns than the peaceful development of over-sea colonies occupied the minds of the Dutch West India Company. It was started as a move in the war game, and its fate was that without war it could not maintain a profitable existence. Under its charter the Company enjoyed a monopoly for twenty-four years of the trade with the western coast of Africa and with the West Indies and America. The Company consisted of the five Chambers of Amsterdam, Zeeland, Rotterdam, the northern district
Hitherto the method of government in Dutch Brazil had been unsatisfactory. The military commander had been ineligible for the post of President of the Political Council, and the civil and military officers sent home separate reports, the one to the Directors of the Company, the other to the States General. Everywhere there was occasion for friction and misunderstandings. The appointment of Count Joan Maurice of Nassau to the chief command, civil and military, was an attempt to mend matters. The seven years of Joan Maurice's government of Brazil (January, 1637, to May, 1644) may be considered as the high-water mark in the flood of Dutch colonial ascendancy. Hitherto the officers of the two Companies, though often very able men, had, as a rule, belonged to a low social class, and had been strongly imbued with the defects of their qualities. Count Joan Maurice of Nassau was by rank the superior of any of the viceroys of the haughty monarchs of Spain. Although contemporary gossip accused him of avarice, the best witness to his character is the esteem with which he was regarded by all classes, Portuguese no less than Dutch, in Brazil. His reputation stood so high in Portugal that it was seriously proposed, at the time of the restoration of the Portuguese independence, that he should be appointed commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces in Brazil ; by which means common action might have been secured against the Spanish enemy.
The first business of Joan Maurice was to make good the Dutch hold on the province of Pernambuco. Porto Calvo was taken, and a Dutch fort named after Joan Maurice was erected on the north bank of the San Francisco River. The rebuilding of the new capital, Reciff, proclaimed the permanence of the Dutch dominion. At the same time Joan Maurice recognised the pressing need of Dutch or German immigration if these claims were to be made good. He obtained a revenue from the sale to Portuguese owners of the abandoned sugar plantations. The conquest of Elmina (1637) secured a Dutch depot for the traffic in slaves, without which the sugar industry could not be made profitable. In the same year the conquest of Siara and Sergipe del Rey extended the limits of Dutch Brazil. Meanwhile, in spite of these successes, there was another side to the shield. From the first Joan Maurice
In June, 1641, peace was at last made between Portugal and the United Provinces ; but in the event it proved no obstacle to Dutch aggression. Under this treaty a truce of ten years was to take effect in the colonies. This provision, however, did not come into force until the ratification of the treaty by the King of Portugal had been transmitted to the Netherlands and published in Brazil. The news of the ratification did not reach the Netherlands till February, 1642 ; so that the Portuguese had no legal cause for complaint at the Dutch doings of 1641. In that year, besides taking Angola, the Dutch had also conquered the province
The contrast between the methods of the Dutch and those of the English in dealing with the Spanish-Portuguese colonial empire was strikingly shown in the action respectively taken by them in South America. We have seen how the Dutch struck straight at the heart of Portuguese dominion, and, though failing, failed by the intrusion of a new force which in time would destroy both Spanish and Portuguese power in the New World. The melancholy story of Ralegh's second expedition to Guiana (] 617) represents the most conspicuous English effort to be set against Dutch achievements. In his memorable Discovery of the Empire of Guiana (1596), Ralegh had clearly pointed out "a better Indies for her Majesty than the King of Spain hath any." He had boldly asserted: " That Empire, now by me discovered, shall suffice to enable her Majesty and the whole Kingdom with no less quantity of treasure than the King of Spain hath in all the Indies, East as well as West, which he possesseth." Guiana was "a country that hath yet her maidenhead, never sacked, turned nor wrought......it has never been entered by an army of strength and never conquered or possessed by any Christian Prince." It was moreover so defensible that two forts at the mouth of the Orinoco would prevent the entrance of any hostile vessels. According, then, to Ralegh's original policy Guiana was to become an English possession, just as Peru belonged to Spain. The tragedy of the situation in 1617 lay in the fact that this empire-builder found himself cabined within the four corners of a squalid search for gold-mines. It does not follow that the forward policy of the inheritors of the Elizabethan tradition was right. Ralegh himself may be cited for the contrary view. At his trial, in 1603, he said : " I knew the state of Spain well ; his weakness, his poorness, his humbleness at this time......I knew that when beforetime he was wont to have forty great sails, at the least, in his ports, now he hath not past six or seven......! knew his pride so abated that, notwithstanding his former high time, he was become glad to congratulate his Majesty and send unto him." It would be ridiculous to compare the bungling policy of James I or Charles I with that of the great French statesman ; nevertheless time was in favour of their hesitating caution as it was of the far-seeing aims of Mazarin. But though much might be said for the policy of leaving the overgrown Spanish dominion to die, James' behaviour towards Ralegh is by no means therefore justified. There can be no doubt that the expedition of 1617 was first encouraged and then disavowed. It was notorious that there were Spaniards inhabiting along the Orinoco. The size of the fleet was such as to make it seem unlikely that a mere peaceful exploration was intended. Moreover Ralegh refused the Spanish ambassador's offer that, if he would undertake to go with only one or two ships, he should receive a safe convoy home for himself and the discovered gold. James allowed the expedition, then gave Gondomar detailed information with regard to it, and awaited the event. When the expedition had failed in its overt
Ralegh's failure did not wholly deter Englishmen from schemes of colonisation in South America. A colony was attempted at Wiapoco by Charles Leigh in 1605. In 1609 Robert Harcourt started a colony in Guiana, receiving four years later a grant of the country between the rivers Amazon and Dollesquebe. In 1619 a further attempt was made to plant a colony on the Amazon under the direction of Roger North, who had served in Ralegh's expedition. Upon complaint by Gondomar the commission was revoked and North committed to prison (1621). Some five years later he wrote to Buckingham that on the first occasion he had left on the Amazon one hundred gentlemen and others, many of whom still remained dispersed among the Indians. At this time (1626) a new patent was obtained. Buckingham became governor of the Company, and the grant included Guiana and the royal river of the Amazon. Although English settlements for some time maintained a precarious existence on the Amazon, in this quarter also the energy of the Dutch produced greater results. Already about 1600 two small forts named Nassau and Orange were built by them on the Amazon, and in 1616 a Zeeland expedition added another. This was abandoned in 1623, and the same year witnessed the reduction by the Portuguese of Nassau and Orange. The Dutch West India Company attempted to retrieve the situation ; but the Portuguese had at their disposal superior forces, and at so early a date as 1631 Dutch trading on the Amazon had been a thing of the past. The conquest of Maranhâo by the Dutch in 1641 held out the promise of extending their dominion northward. But Maranhäo was lost in the following year, and henceforth no attempt could be made to dispute with Portugal the mastery of the Amazon.
To the north, however, in Guiana there was still room for the new Powers to plant colonies. We have seen that many Jews had emigrated to Surinam, and an English colony was started here in 1650 by Lord Willoughby of Parham, the Governor of Barbados. It " soon became a hopeful colony," and appears to have flourished. (In 1667, after conquest by the Dutch, it remained under the Treaty of Breda a Dutch possession.) In West Guiana the Dutch had been for long active. Groenewegen founded a colony on the Essequibo in 1616, and was its presiding genius for forty-eight years. " He was the first man," we are told-herein emulating Ralegh, " that took firm footing in Guiana by the good liking of the natives." Another settlement on the Pomeroon was founded in 1650, and received in the following year a great accession of strength from an influx of Dutch and Jews driven from Brazil by the Portuguese successes. In South America the French
But, while in Guiana no less than elsewhere the Dutch doings eclipsed the English, the English found their main work in the development of their West Indian Islands. The policy of settling upon islands which had been left untouched by the Spaniards in their various expeditions was reasonable ; but the actual settlements were due to the initiative of adventurous individuals rather than to any deep-laid scheme on the part of the English Government. Although the first flush of the Elizabethan dawn was no longer in the sky, a glow of romance still hung round colonising efforts. For example, Daniel Gookin in 1631 gravely requests the grant of the island of St Brandon, and the grant is no less gravely made. The Duke of Buckingham himself, when the virtual ruler of England, seems to have contemplated, if his fortunes failed at home, retiring to the West Indies, there to found an independent principality under the segis of Gustavus Adolphus.
The Bermudas, the Leeward Islands of Antigua, St Kitts, and Nevis, and the island of Barbados were settled between 1609 and 1632. Yet even here the English displayed their economic inferiority to their Dutch rivals. Of all the English West Indian islands Barbados was at the time by far the most important. But the settlement of Barbados was mainly due to Sir William Courteen, a London merchant of Flemish origin, who provided the funds for the expedition sent out in 1625, which took possession of the island in the name of the Earl of Pembroke in 1626. Moreover, Barbados owed its prosperity chiefly to the introduction of the sugar-cane about 1637 by a Dutchman, and to the active trade carried on by Dutch ships. Some remarkable results from the introduction of sugar are stated by a contemporary observer. He affirms that the population was thereby reduced from over eighteen thousand to some eight thousand fighting men, one-half of whom were "dissolute English, Scotch, and Irish." The number of landed proprietors was reduced from over eleven thousand to some seven hundred and fifty. The island was seventeen times as rich as it was before the making of sugar, and " not so defensible." On the important economic questions here suggested it must suffice to note that Dutch enterprise was in this instance the propelling force. Throughout the period English policy was, for the most part, haphazard and tentative. The conscious beginning of the mercantile system dates from the passing of the first Navigation Act in 1651.
But if, in the field of economics, the English were the followers of the Dutch, in another direction they broke new ground. The democratic character of the English American colonies has become a historical commonplace. The manner in which self-government permeated New England was noted with amazement and envy by the Dutch colonists of
New Netherland. They asked in vain for " suitable municipal government." and that " those interested in the country may also attend to its government." In New England they noted that there were neither patrons, lords, nor princes, only the people ; and thus government rested on a basis of popular goodwill unknown elsewhere. The real difference between New Netherland and the English colonies lay in the fact that, while the latter, more or less, owed their origin to the economic interests of persons in the mother-country, in every case such interests came to be secondary under the pressure of the conflicting interests of the new populations. New Netherland, on the other hand, so long as it lasted, remained a strictly commercial venture, run on commercial lines. The peculiar character of the English colonial system puzzled the English statesmen of the time. " To plant tobacco and Puritanism only " seemed to Cottington a grotesque form of national expansion. Nevertheless, in the fashioning of the outline of future world-power, the evolution, however clumsily and reluctantly effected, of a self-governing empire had a higher importance than could have belonged to the most prosperous balance-sheet of secured profits.
For it was not only in the American colonies-where, for various reasons, the spirit of independence was indigenous-that we find the claim for self-government. The West Indies were, for the most part, settled by men who were neither nonconformists in religion, nor in politics adherents of the party opposed to the prerogative. Barbados, according to Clarendon, " was principally inhabited by men who had resorted thither only to be quiet and to be free from the noise and oppressions in England, and without any ill thought towards the King": and yet in these islands, and especially in Barbados, popular assemblies developed no less naturally than in the American colonies. The exact date at which the first popular assembly was summoned in Barbados is uncertain, but in the articles of surrender of January 11, 1652, it was explicitly affirmed that " the government of this island be a Governor, Council, and Assembly, according to the ancient and usual custom here.(tm) Government by an assembly, as well as governor and council, was always claimed by the inhabitants as their birthright derived from the King's patent to the Earl of Carlisle ; and the Assembly is described by a contemporary as "semblable to the Parliament of England." Sir Thomas Modyford, whose defection to the side of Parliament was a contributing cause to Willoughby's peaceful surrender of the island in 1652, wrote that the people would delight to have the same form of government as was in England, and added " the immodest suggestion " that two representatives should be chosen by the island to sit and vote in the English Parliament. The independent attitude of Barbados is further attested by the report (June 80, 1652) that some persons had " a design to make this place a free state, and not run any fortune with England either in peace or war."
The same spirit is found active wherever Englishmen settled. In 1639 the Earl of Warwick attempted the desperate business of sending a colony to the island of Trinidad. The precariousness of their position, however, did not lead the colonists to forget their political rights. They claimed the right to elect their own governor as one of the privileges " which were the grounds of their leaving their mother-country.1" In the same spirit, among the inducements put forward by Warwick to attract in 1647 emigrants to Tobago was the promise that, as the island became inhabited, every hundred or some other convenient number should have power to elect yearly a fit person to be of the General Assembly of the island ; such assembly to consist of not less than thirty, nor more than sixty, members. The records of the Company, consisting of Lord Warwick, Pym, and other leaders of the Puritan party, which planted a settlement on Providence Island, near the Mosquito coast (1630), point the same moral. The island was held of great importance from its position, and in 1635 successfully resisted an attack from a Spanish fleet. Nevertheless, in this quasi-military possession, the government lay with a council chosen by the principal inhabitants. Here, as elsewhere, the English colonist discussed politics, and allowed himself to be distanced by the Netherlander in the economic race. The alarm at Dutch influence is very noticeable. No Hollander could own land, though he might hold it as occupier. Dutch names for forts or bays were forbidden ; but such measures were powerless to prevent the trade of the island from remaining in Dutch hands. So hopeless proved the financial position of the Company that in 1637 we find negotiations for the sale of its interests to the Dutch West India Company. Nothing, however, came of this transaction, and in 1641 the English were driven from the island by a Spanish force.
But while in the West Indies the Dutch were generally content to extract the marrow, leaving the English the bone, the French were already rivals in the political field. While in England projects for a West India Company came to nothing, the French " Company for the Islands of America " was incorporated in 1626, and through it Martinique and Guadeloupe were settled in 1635. The first regular settlement of the French in the West Indies was made at St Kitts in 1625, two years later than the arrival of the English under Thomas Warner. The amicable arrangement under which the French and English divided the island, further covenanting to remain at peace though their mother-countries should be at war, well illustrates the political situation. The power of Spain was still too great in the West Indies, and the danger from Caribs too immediate, to allow of hostilities between the intruding Powers. It was not till a later date that the conflict between France and England arose in these parts.
Besides Curaçao, the Dutch possessed Santa Cruz (1625), St Eustatius (1632), and other islands. The appearance of other Powers in the West
Indies belongs to a later date. Gustavus Adolphus indeed aimed at colonising unoccupied territories in the West Indies, when, urged by the indefatigable Usselincx, who had for the time abandoned his ungrateful country, he founded (1627) a South Sea Company. The Company, though it maintained a lingering existence for some years, was a failure, and European politics forbade the further advance of Gustavus Adolphus into the field of colonial expansion. But Oxenstierna carried on, so far as he was able, his master's policy, and the foundation of a Swedish colony on the Delaware (1638), and the Swedish African Company started in 1647, entitled Sweden to rank among the colonising Powers. But here again the impetus to Swedish efforts was given by Dutch traders, who, with the view of wreaking their resentment on the monopolies of the Dutch East and West India Companies, induced the Swedes to plant settlements in the very midst of the Dutch West African forts and factories.
The connexion between West Africa and the West Indies was so close that, as we have seen, Maurice proposed that the Dutch conquests in the former should be placed under the government of Brazil. Nevertheless, the full extent of that connexion did not appear till the slave trade became more and more an organised industry. The object of the English Company founded in 1618 was to adventure "in the golden trade.'' Forts were erected on the Gambia and at Cormentine and on the Gold Coast. The object of the Company, however, was to open up a trade in gold with Timbuctoo, and in these circumstances its success was naturally not great. The second African Company, founded in 1631, seems to have sent some slaves to the West Indies, but the development of the trade belongs to a later period. Although tradition connected the French with West African exploration, they restricted themselves for the most part during the period in question to the region of the Senegal. A French West African Company, founded in 1626, was in 1664 merged in the reconstituted French West India Company. The Dutch were later in the field than either the French or the English, but when they came it was with greater energy, and with the intention of ousting the Portuguese. The island of Goree, off Cape Verde, was acquired in 1617, and in 1624 Fort Nassau was erected at Mouree, on the Gold Coast. The capture of Elmina (1637) was followed five years later by the taking of the Portuguese fort at Axim, and henceforth the Portuguese recognised the predominant position of the Dutch upon the Gold Coast.