that it engrossed the commerce of the European
nations themselves; English mariners sought employment in Dutch
vessels, with which the ports of England
were filled; English ships lay rotting at the wharves; English ship-building was an unprofitable vocation.
The freedom and the enterprise of Holland
had acquired maritime power, and skill, and wealth, such as the vast monopoly of Spain
had never been able to command.
The causes of the commercial greatness of Holland
were forgotten in envy at her success.
She ceased to appear as the antagonist of Spain
, and the gallant champion of the freedom of the seas; she was now envied as the successful rival.
The eloquence of Grotius
was neglected, as well as the pretensions of Spain
disregarded; and the English
government resolved to protect the English
desired to confirm the maritime power of his country; and St. John
, a Puritan and a republican in theory, though never averse to a limited monarchy, devised the first act of navigation, which the politic Whitelocke
introduced and carried through parliament.
ward, the commerce between England
and her colonies, as well as between England
and the rest of the world was to be conducted in ships solely owned, and principally manned, by Englishmen.
Foreigners might bring to England
nothing but the products of their own respective countries, or those of which their countries were the established staples.
The act was leveled against Dutch
commerce, and was but a protection of British shipping; it contained not one clause relating to a colonial monopoly, or specially injurious to an American colony.
Of itself it inflicted no wound on Virginia
or New England
In vain did the Dutch