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[218] islands, failed only through the incompetency or want
Chap. VI.}
of concert of his agents.

It is as the rival of Holland, the successful antagonist of Spain, the protector of English shipping, that Cromwell laid claims to glory. The crown passed from the brow of his sons; his wide plans for the possession of commercial places on the continent were defeated; Dunkirk was restored; the monarchy, which he subverted, was reestablished; the nobility, which he humbled, recovered its pride:—Jamaica and the Act of Navigation were the surviving monuments of Cromwell.

The protection of English shipping, thus permanently established as a part of the British commercial policy, was the successful execution of a scheme, which many centuries before had been prematurely attempted. A new and a still less justifiable encouragement was soon demanded, and English merchants began to insist upon the entire monopoly of the commerce of the colonies. This question had but recently been agitated in parliament. It was within the few last years, that England had acquired colonies; and as, at first, they were thought to depend upon the royal prerogative, the public policy with respect to them can be found only in the proclamations, charters, and instructions, which emanated from the monarch.

The prudent forecast of Henry VII. had considered the advantages which might be derived from a colonial monopoly; and while ample privileges were bestowed on the adventurers who sailed for the New World, he stipulated that the exclusive staple of its commerce should be made in England.1 A century of ill success had checked the extravagance of hope; and

1 Hazard, i. 10, and 13, 14. Biddle's Cabot, 309.

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