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from the origin of their confederacy, the natural friends of intellectual freedom. Here thought ranged through the wide domain of speculative reason. Here the literary fugitive found an asylum, and the boldest writings, which in other countries circulated by stealth, were openly published to the world. But in their European relations, the Netherlands were no more a great maritime power. They had opulent free ports in the West Indies, colonies in South America, Southern Africa, and the East Indies, with the best harbor in the Indian Ocean: their paths, as of old, were on the deep, and their footsteps in many waters. They knew they could be opulent only through commerce, and their system of mercantile policy was liberal beyond that of every nation in Europe. Even their colonial ports were less closely shut against the traffic with other countries. This freedom bore its fruits: they became wealthy beyond compare, reduced their debt, and were able so to improve their finances, that
ed on foreign sugar, molasses, indigo, coffee, Madeira wine, imported directly into any of the plantations in America; also a duty on Portugal and Spanish wines, on Eastern silks, on Eastern calicoes, on foreign linen cloth, on French lawn, though imported directly from Great Britain; on British colonial coffee shipped from one plantation to another. Nor was henceforward any chap. XII.} 1765. May. part of the old subsidy to be drawn back on the export of foreign goods of Europe or the East Indies, except on the export of white calicoes and muslins, on which a still higher duty was to be exacted and retained. And stamp duties were to be paid throughout all the British American colonies, on and after the first day of the coming November. These laws were to be enforced, not by the regular authorities only, but by naval and military officers, irresponsible to the civil power in the colonies. The penalties and forfeitures for breach of the revenue laws were to be decided in courts