from the despotic and cruel precedents of the past
to the more intelligent and more humane spirit of advancing civilization.
Neutral nations believed in their right ‘to carry in their vessels, unmolested, the property’ of belligerents; but Britain, to give efficacy to her naval power, ‘seized on the enemy's property which she found on board neutral ships.’
With the same view, she arbitrarily invaded the sovereignty of Holland
, capturing its vessels whose cargoes might be useful for her navy.
The treaties between England
stipulated expressly that free ships should make free goods, that the neutral should enter safely and unmolested all the harbors of the belligerents, unless they were blockaded or besieged; that the contraband of war should be strictly limited to arms, artillery, and horses, and should not include materials for ship-building.
But Great Britain
, in the exercise of its superior strength, arbitrarily prohibited the commerce of the Netherlands in naval stores; denied them the right to become the carriers of French colonial products, and declared all the harbors of all France
to be in a state of blockade, and all vessels bound to them lawful prizes.2
Such was the rule of 1756. ‘To charge England
with ambition,’ said Charles Jenkinson
an Oxford scholar, who had given up the thought of entering the church, and hoped for success in public life; ‘to charge England
with ambition must appear so absurd to all who understand the nature of her government, that at the bar of reason it ought to be ’