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began in the same reign to extend their trade, by which it became necessary to watch the commercial progress of their neighbors, and to hinder their own traffic from being impaired by too great an increase of that of their rivals. They then likewise settled colonies in America, which was become the great scene of European ambition ; for, seeing with what treasures the Spaniards were annually enriched from Mexico and Peru, every nation imagined that an American conquest, or plantation, would pour the same quantity of riches into the mother country. This produced a large extent of very distant dominions, the advantage or incumbrance of which was not at this time foreseen. Every state, however, concluded itself more powerful as its dominions were enlarged.

The discoveries of new regions, which were then every day made, the advantages of remote traffic, and, consequently, the desire of long voyages, produced in a few years a great multiplication of shipping. The sea came to be considered as the element of wealth; and by degrees a new kind of sovereignty arose, called naval dominion. As the chief trade of the world, so the chief maritime power was at first in the hands of the Spaniards and Portuguese, who, by a compact to which the consent of other princes was not asked, had divided the newly-discovered countries between them; but the crown of Portugal having fallen to the King of Spain, or being seized by him, he was master of the ships of the two nations, with which he kept all the coasts of Europe in alarm, till the Armada which he had raised at a vast expense for the conquest of England was destroyed; which put a stop, and almost an end, to the naval power of the Spaniards.

At this time the Dutch, oppressed by the Spaniards, and fearing yet greater evils than they felt, resolved no longer to endure the insolence of their masters, and after a struggle, in which they were assisted by the money and forces of England,

erected an independent and at that time powerful commonwealth. When the inhabitants of the Low Countries had formed their system of government, and some remission from the war gave them leisure to form schemes of future prosperity, they easily perceived that, as their territories were narrow and their numbers few, they could preserve themselves only by wealth, and that this wealth was to be acquired only by commerce.

From this necessity so justly estimated, arose a plan of commerce, which was for many years prosecuted with industry and success, perhaps never seen in the world before. By this, the poor tenants of mudwalled villages and impassable marshes erected themselves into high and mighty states; who put the greatest monarchs at defiance, whose alliance was courted by the proudest, and whose power dreaded by the fiercest nations. By the establishment of this state, England saw a new ally, but at the same time a new rival.

At this time, which seems to be the period destined for the change of the face of Europe, France began to rise into power; and instead of dreading the insults and invasions of England (as was formerly the case), she was not only able to maintain her own territories, but prepared on all occasions to invade othersdead to every sense of liberty herself, yet disposed to deprive all others who possessed it.

Such was the state of England and its neighbors, when Elizabeth left the crown to James of Scotland. The union of the two kingdoms happened at a very critical juncture. Had England and Scotland continued separate kingdoms when France was established in the full possession of her newly acquired power, the Scots, upon every instigation of the French court, would have raised an army with the money of France, and harassed England with an invasion, in which they would have thought themselves successful, whatever numbers they might have left behind them

To a people warlike and indigent, an incursion into a rich country is never hurtful. The pay of France, and the plunder of the northern counties, would always have tempted then to hazard their lives; and England would have been subject to continual alarms, from ambition on one side and avarice on the other.

This trouble, however, we escaped, by the accession of King James; but it is uncertain whether his natural disposition did not injure us more than this accidental good fortune benefited us. He was a man of some speculative knowledge, but no practical wisdom; he was able to discern the true interest of himself, his kingdom, and his posterity, but sacrificed it upon all occasions to his present pleasure or his present ease; so conscious of his own knowledge and abilities, that he would not suffer a minister to govern, and yet so very inattentive or so timorous, that he was unable to govern himself. With such dispositions, James calmly saw the Dutch invade our commerce; the French grew every day stronger and stronger, and the Protestant interest, of which he boasted himself the head, was oppressed on every side. James, however, took care to be flattered at home, and was neither angry nor ashamed at the figure he made, and at the jests thrown out against him in other countries. England, therefore, grew weaker, or, what amounts to the same thing, saw her neighbors grow stronger, without receiving proportionable additions to her own power. Not that the chief mischief was so great as is generally conceived or represented; for to the attentive it will appear, that the wealth of this nation was at that period considerably increased, though that of the crown was less. Our reputation for war was impaired; but commerce seems to have been carried on with great industry and vigor, and nothing was wanting but a generous spirit of resentment, or rather self-defence. The inclination to plant colonies in America still continued ; and this being the only project in which men of

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adventure and enterprise could exert their qualities in a pacific reign, multitudes who were discontented with their condition in their native country—and such multitudes there will always be—sought relief, or at least change, in the regions of America, where they settled on the northern part of the continent, at a distance from the Spaniards—at that time almost the only nation that had power or will to obstruct us.

Such was the condition of this country at the accession of Charles I. During a reign so turbulent, it was not to be expected that commerce could flourish; wherefore, while the English were, during these unhappy times, embroiled among themselves, the power of France and Holland was every day increasing. The Dutch had overcome the difficulties of their infant commonwealth, and, as they still retained their vigor and industry, every day increased in riches and power—the attendant of well regulated opulence. They extended their traffic, and had not yet admitted luxury; so that they had the means and the will to accumulate wealth, without any incitement to spend it. The French, who wanted nothing to make them powerful but a prudent regulation of their revenues and a proper use of their natural advantages, by the successive care of skilful ministers, became every day stronger and more conscious of their strength. They turned their thoughts to traffic and navigation, and seemed. like other nations, sensible of the advantages of an American colony.

All the fruitful and valuable parts of the western world were already either occupied or claimed, and nothing remained for France but what other navigators had thought unworthy of their notice: she was contented, therefore, to fix upon Canada, a desolate northern country, as yet claimed by no other power; for she was not yet arrived at that pitch of influence as to seize what the neighboring powers had already appropriated.

When the parliament of England had at length prevailed over the king, the interest of the two commonwealths of England and Holland appeared to be opposite, and the new government declared war against the Dutch. In this contest was exerted the utmost power of the two nations, and the Dutch were finally de feated, yet not with such evidence of superiority as left us much reason to boast of our victory; they were obliged, however, to solicit peace, which was granted them on easy conditions, and Cromwell, who was now possessed of the supreme power, was left at leisure to pursue other designs. The European powers had not yet ceased to look with envy on the Spanish acquisitions in America, and therefore Cromwell thought that if he gained any part of those celebrated regions, he should exalt his own reputation and enrich the country. He therefore quarrelled with the Spaniards upon such pretences as were only the result of an inclination for war, and sent Penn and Venables into the western seas. They first landed in Hispaniola, whence they were driven off with no great reputation to themselves; and that they might not return without having done something, they afterwards invaded Jamaica, where they found less resistance, and obtained that island, which was afterwards consigned to us, being probably of little value to the Spaniards, but which to us is the source of great wealth, and a retreat for the discontented at home.

The endeavor to distress Spain was at this time an error in the politics of Cromwell. They had, for more than half a century, fallen from their pristine greatness, while France seemed as if rising upon their ruins. To distress them, therefore, was the only way to increase the power of France: but our own troubles gave us little time to look upon the continent, nor did 'we consider that, of two monarchs, neither of which could be long our friend, it was our interest to have the weaker near us; or, that if a war should happen, Spain, however wealthy or strong

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