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[215] maritime restrictions, which humanity denounced as
Chap VI.}
contrary to the principles of social intercourse; which justice derided as infringing the clearest natural rights; which enterprise rejected as a monstrous usurpation of the ocean and the winds. The relinquishment of navigation in the East Indies was required as the price at which her independence should be acknowledged, and she preferred to defend her separate existence by her arms, rather than purchase security by circumscribing the courses of her ships. The nation, which by its position was compelled to acquire skill in commerce, and, in its resistance to monopoly, was forced by competition to obtain an advantage, succeeded in gaining the maritime ascendency. While the inglorious James of England, immersed in vanity and pedantry, was negotiating about points of theology; while the more unhappy Charles was wasting his strength in vain struggles against the liberties of his subjects,—the Dutch, a little confederacy, which had been struck from the side of the vast empire of Spain, a new people, scarcely known as possessed of nationality, had, by their superior skill, begun to engross the carrying trade of the world. Their ships were soon to be found in the harbors of Virginia; in the West Indian archipelago; in the south of Africa; among the tropical islands of the Indian Ocean; and even in the remote harbors of China and Japan. Already their trading-houses were planted on the Hudson and the coast of Guinea, in Java and Brazil. One or two rocky islets in the West Indies, in part neglected by the Spaniards as unworthy of culture, were occupied by these daring merchants, and furnished a convenient shelter for a large contraband traffic with the terra firma So great was the naval success of Holland,

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