The Hartlib Papers

Title:Memo On "The Interest Of The English In The Sound", Anon
Dating:17 May 1660
Ref:19/1/10A-11B
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  The Interest of the English in the Sound, as affaires now stand.
           written the 17 of May Anno 1660/
1.   All strangers {but especially English} ships, that come into any port in the United Provinces are now made to pay, [letter deleted] 1 per cent. by <a> new Impost, towards the maintaining of the Hollanders Fleet now in the Sound, which is conceived to amount to at least 25000 lb a yeare, for the English share alone; But with what[altered] reason, the English may doe well to demand of them, & why the English are more bound to helpe to maintaine the Hollanders fleete, then the Hollanders the English Fleet.
2.   The Hollanders receive the Toll in the Sound from all English Merchant ships, which pass that way, though in the steed & name of the King of Denmarck, & that in consideration of the Costs & charges which they haue beene at, in prosecution of his affaires. by which meanes they are become able to maintaine a Fleete there constantly & so ballance those Northerne <great> affaires according to their pleasure.
3.   The Hollanders having formerly farmed the Toll in the Sound, from the King of Denmarck, & by that meanes making the English not only to pay the usuall Toll, {: which doubtlesse will now bee very much raised upon pretence of the greate charges of the late warres, as Denmarck hath often used to doe:} but also by long delayes upon divers pretences, & vexations also intolerable searches, & taking out of the Ships such wares as they like, they haue poure to spoile the Trade of the English. & hinder them of the Materiall needfull for warre & Shipping as Pitch, Tarre, Masts, Cordage, Hempe, Flax, Wood, Copper &c. Now the Hollanders owne Merchants being not made to pay any Toll in the Sound, & consequently beeing not detained there one houre, but left to pay it in Holland. they thereby gaine a great deale of time, And the English are made to stay so long in the Sound, that they many times lose their wind, & faire weather, & perhaps their Market & so the whole advantage of their iourney.
4.   But chiefly it concernes the English to consider, that the Hollanders doe very much labour to get Drontheim in Norway, & the Island of Bornholm in the middle of the Baltick into their hands, & improve Drontheim so as to make it like Holland, besides the securing of the Greenland & the rest of the Northerne trade to themselves, & on the contrary make the English Trade into those parts more hasardous, & chargeable, but also would bee able to Keep their Fleets at Drontheim & Bornholm, where they might lie at catch for all that Trade either to the North or into the Baltick sea, & thereby hinder the conjunction of England & Sweden; though these two Kingdomes had never so much need of it. All which the English are much concerned to hinder, &
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to reduce the Toll in the Sound, to what it was anciently, Which was but a Rose Noble per Mast. there being no reason that Men should be made to pay merely for passing through the Streight, where they come into no Haven, nor breake bulke, for by the same Reason England might make all Ships pay that passe betweene Calis & Douer, which yet was never attempted.
5.   If the English should suffer the Hollanders to become Masters of Drontheim, there would thereby accrue to the Hollanders an Incredible Strength at Sea, seeing that the said Province alone {by occasion of the great fishing that is upon that Coaste} is able to set forth in a short time some thousands of Seamen[capitalised], wereof the English haue to their cost had the proofe in the War betweene them & the Hollanders, at which time they had only the King of Denmarck's permission to levie Seamen there. And thence we may easily guesse, what is to be expected if[altered] the Hollanders should come to be wholly Masters there & make it the Staple of the Northerne Trade, because of its convenient situation both for the fishing & Land Trade.
6.   Not to speake of the Necessitie[altered from Necessity], that all the Ships which trade to Greenland or Northwards, or into the Baltick Sea, will be put to, there not being places for them to anchor in, except where the Hollanders, by this meanes, will either be Masters, or bee at least able to infest any of our ships.
7.   By All which and diuers other things, it appeares, that the greate Endeavour of Holland now is, & hath beene all along to ruine Sweden, & by consequence to ingrosse the whole Trade to themselves, & so by little & little to make themselves Masters get the Dominion of the Sea into their Hands, to the Inestimable damage of the English, who well know, that though the Hollanders & they should trade upon equall termes, yet the Hollanders would driue them out of such Trade, by their more thriftie management of their Voyages, which consists in their more sparing diet & equipping of their ships &c: Whence it appeares, it was not the Interest of the English to insist so much upon the ratification of the Treatie at Elbing betweene the Swedes & the Hollanders, as when time was they dide, notwithstanding the frequent admonitions of divers well affected persons. But it is not yet too late to interpose, if the English fleete goes to the Sound, because the Hollanders haue not yet delivered in their Ratification of the foresaid Treatie at Elbing
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8.   But aboue all things it concernes the English to get into their hands the Staple & Præemption of the Swedish wares[altered], as Pitch, Tarr, Masts, Cordage, Copper, &c: which will be the sure way to curbe the Hollanders who cannot subsist without the foresaid Wares/
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          The Interest of the
          English in the Sound
          as affaires now stand
          written by Impartiall
          hands & wellwishers to
          the Publick good.
          Mense Majo Anno 1660
          [flourish]