The rise and fall of the Dutch domination of European trade

Malcolm Redfellow

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Of history and just story

Before I bury the events of 1672-3, a couple of bits of trivia:
  • It's another chance to notice another major figure: Friedrich Wilhelm, the "Great Elector" of Brandenburg. He'd been building his dukedom through numerous treaties and alliances (all to his benefit, and none of them too permanent). He evolved Führen mit Auftrag — setting the objectives, then letting the field-officers get on with it (what is still the basis of "Mission Command" in western armies). Events like the 1678 "Great Sleigh Drive" (somehow Die große Schlittenfahrt works wonders for me) against the Swedes seem as near to legend as any school-history should go. He was a significant figure by allying himself with the Stadtholder against Louis.
  • And a real live legend: Charles de Batz-Castelmore. Who he? Well, to gain admission to the élite Mousquetaires de la garde he adopted his mother's family name, de Montesquiou d'Artagnan. With me now? At the siege of Maastricht, 25 June 1673, d'Artagnan took a fatal bullet in the throat. There's an annual celebration, Festival d'Artagnan Wolder, where the south-west suburbs of Maastricht budge up against cabbage fields. This is based on the dubious belief that Sint-Petrus en Pauluskerk is d'Artagnan's burial plot.

    In 1700 an otherwise-obscure French hack-writer and sensationalist, Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, concocted a fictitious memoir of d'Artagnan. Courtilz de Sandras repeatedly ran foul of the law (and public decencies), so was serially incarcerated. In the Bastille he pumped the warden for stories about d'Artagnan (and — allegedly — repaid the compliment by doing the nasty with the warden's wife). In and after 1844 Alexandre Dumas plundered Courtilz de Sandras for his character of d'Artagnan.
 


Mitsui2

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Thanks. I ve been interested in this ever since
O level history when our Scottish Master casually enquired "When was the last time England was successfully invaded?" and we replied "1066". "Wrong."

The resonance is deep because of course - Norn Iron. Treasonous lot that we are.
You'll appreciate the bit of the programme that covers Norn Iron so. Quite delicately done, really (by Lucy's recent standards anyway) - though when it comes to snowflakery, as you well know....

EDIT - PS, have you read Lisa Jardine's account of the Glorious Revolution and its impact, Going Dutch? I think that was the book that set this hare running again in recent years.
 
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Mitsui2

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Before I bury the events of 1672-3, a couple of bits of trivia:
  • It's another chance to notice another major figure: Friedrich Wilhelm, the "Great Elector" of Brandenburg. He'd been building his dukedom through numerous treaties and alliances (all to his benefit, and none of them too permanent). He evolved Führen mit Auftrag — setting the objectives, then letting the field-officers get on with it (what is still the basis of "Mission Command" in western armies). Events like the 1678 "Great Sleigh Drive" (somehow Die große Schlittenfahrt works wonders for me) against the Swedes seem as near to legend as any school-history should go. He was a significant figure by allying himself with the Stadtholder against Louis.
  • And a real live legend: Charles de Batz-Castelmore. Who he? Well, to gain admission to the élite Mousquetaires de la garde he adopted his mother's family name, de Montesquiou d'Artagnan. With me now? At the siege of Maastricht, 25 June 1673, d'Artagnan took a fatal bullet in the throat. There's an annual celebration, Festival d'Artagnan Wolder, where the south-west suburbs of Maastricht budge up against cabbage fields. This is based on the dubious belief that Sint-Petrus en Pauluskerk is d'Artagnan's burial plot.

    In 1700 an otherwise-obscure French hack-writer and sensationalist, Gatien de Courtilz de Sandras, concocted a fictitious memoir of d'Artagnan. Courtilz de Sandras repeatedly ran foul of the law (and public decencies), so was serially incarcerated. In the Bastille he pumped the warden for stories about d'Artagnan (and — allegedly — repaid the compliment by doing the nasty with the warden's wife). In and after 1844 Alexandre Dumas plundered Courtilz de Sandras for his character of d'Artagnan.
Jayzez, Malcolm, even your "useless" information is fascinating - and I can think of no higher compliment!
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Thanks. I ve been interested in this ever since
O level history when our Scottish Master casually enquired "When was the last time England was successfully invaded?" and we replied "1066". "Wrong."
And conquered.

After the installation of William-and-Mary and continuing until the EU stamped on such imposts, for political reasons, imported spirits (which at first meant French brandy) were heavily taxed.

Since this had a knock-on effect, encouraging the local product — gin made from good English corn — the agricultural squires (i.e. English Tories) were not unhappy. Particularly since that financed their intake of the other less-legal stuff:
Five and twenty ponies,
Trotting through the dark —
Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk.
Laces for a lady; letters for a spy,
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by!

Running round the woodlump if you chance to find
Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wine,
Don't you shout to come and look, nor use 'em for your play.
Put the brushwood back again — and they'll be gone next day!
In true Trumpishness, the Williamite government de-regulated gin production. The London Guild of Distillers was suppressed and — hey, ho! — within a couple of years gin production reached half-a-million gallons a year. By 1721 a quarter of London workers were employed in the gin-business, producing 2 million gallons a year.
 

GDPR

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It's another chance to notice another major figure: Friedrich Wilhelm, the "Great Elector" of Brandenburg. He'd been building his dukedom through numerous treaties and alliances (all to his benefit, and none of them too permanent).
Of note might be that Friedrich Wilhelm spent four years in the Dutch Republic as a teenager. While it's unclear exactly how much it influenced him, the education in the Republic does seem to have influenced his allegiance to what Clarke calls the Calvinist cause. He received instruction in law, history and politics at the University of Leiden. But of particular interest is what Friedrich Wilhelm observed outside of his lectures. Clarke writes, and I quote:

"In the early seventeenth century, the Republic was at the height of its power and prosperity. Over more than sixty years, this tiny Calvinist country had fought successfully to assert its independence against the military might of Catholic Spain and establish itself as the foremost European headquarters of global trade and colonization. In the process, it had developed a robust fiscal regime and a distinctive military culture with recognizably modern features: the regular and systematic drilling of troops in battleground manoeuvres, a high level of functional differentiation and a disciplined professional officer corps. Frederick William had ample opportunity to observe the military prowess of the Republic at close hand (...) Throughout his reign Frederick William strove to remodel his own patrimony in the image of what he had observed in the Netherlands. The training regime adopted by his army in 1654 was based on the drill-book of Prince Maurice of Orange."

He goes on to note that Friedrich Wilhelm became obsessed with the idea that the link to the Baltic would enliven and commercialize Brandenburg and would bring the wealth and power that was so on display in Amsterdam. In the 1670s a Dutch merchant helped him acquire a fleet of ships and a share in the west African trade in gold, ivory and slaves by establishing a small colonial fort on the coast of modern-day Ghana.
 

Franzoni

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Lucy Worsley (who grows increasingly irritating with every series she fronts but does know her stuff) had an excellent summary of William & Mary's accession to the British throne on the BBC the other night. It was primarily about the deliberate use of what we'd now call "spin" to manufacture the whole "bloodless Glorious Revolution" myth.

There wasn't anything new in it as such for anyone who's read up on the history (certainly from the Dutch side), but it did reinforce the impression I've always had that that particular Willem was a very smart cookie indeed, whose own agenda had bugger-all to do with "saving England for Protetantism" except in so far as that meant depriving Louis of the British navy and getting it under his own control.
The whole religious angle to me anyway was always a giant con to get the ignorant riled up to put themselves in harms way for the wealthy and their power struggles...

The recent reemergence of the famous painting in Stormont which lay hidden from view for many years of the Pope sanctioning Williams war against James II should give indication to even the more ignorant of history that things are never as they seem and with some investigation we should be learning from our mistakes..

The Stuarts eventually retreated to Rome and are buried in the Vatican....mental......:)
 

Lempo

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Thanks. I ve been interested in this ever since
O level history when our Scottish Master casually enquired "When was the last time England was successfully invaded?" and we replied "1066". "Wrong."

The resonance is deep because of course - Norn Iron. Treasonous lot that we are.
Did he happen to express an sentiment on the subject of Bonnie Charlie by chance?
 

Mitsui2

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And conquered.

After the installation of William-and-Mary and continuing until the EU stamped on such imposts, for political reasons, imported spirits (which at first meant French brandy) were heavily taxed.

Since this had a knock-on effect, encouraging the local product — gin made from good English corn — the agricultural squires (i.e. English Tories) were not unhappy. Particularly since that financed their intake of the other less-legal stuff:

In true Trumpishness, the Williamite government de-regulated gin production. The London Guild of Distillers was suppressed and — hey, ho! — within a couple of years gin production reached half-a-million gallons a year. By 1721 a quarter of London workers were employed in the gin-business, producing 2 million gallons a year.
Wasn't the gin-racket started in England because of the popularity of smuggled Dutch jenever in the first place?

I think I recall reading about that somewhere.
 

Mitsui2

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The whole religious angle to me anyway was always a giant con to get the ignorant riled up to put themselves in harms way for the wealthy and their power struggles...
Plus ca change, huh?

The recent reemergence of the famous painting in Stormont which lay hidden from view for many years of the Pope sanctioning Williams war against James II should give indication to even the more ignorant of history that things are never as they seem and with some investigation we should be learning from our mistakes.
Do I sense a certain wistfulness in your use of the word "should," Franzoni?

:) (I still think we need a "wry smile" emoticon!)
 

Morgellons

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Wasn't the gin-racket started in England because of the popularity of smuggled Dutch jenever in the first place?

I think I recall reading about that somewhere.
That's a load of Bols.
 

GDPR

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I think it helped that the Dutch didnt really leave much of a social imprint on Britain, though as I mentioned they certainly empowered the City of London.

Unlike the Norman Conquest. Most people who made out like bandits then are still in the top percentile of wealth-owners in Britain and this does not mean just the Dukes and Earls, but anyone of Norman descent.
 

Cellachán Chaisil

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Oddly enough one of my most pleasant early realisations about Dutch people in general was the opposite or rather the complementary aspect of that same mechanism, i.e. by and large when Dutch folk don't want to do something they'll actually say they won't do it - and why - rather than that dreadful thing we Irish have of saying "Of course I will! Of course I will!"... and then doing nothing.

I always found it a wonderfully refreshing quality. Saves a lot of time and energy.

After many years of thinking about the noted Dutch tendencies to pragmatic tolerance and straightforwardness I came to ascribe them to the simple fact that for 500 years or more they've lived with the knowledge that if they foostered and faffed around the way we do they'd all bloody drown.

You can see how knowing that would concentrate the mind a hell of a lot.
That quality may not be solely a Dutch quality, just not an Irish one.

A French friend of mine states categorically that when an Irish person says they "might" or "i'd say so" they generally mean no.

She also had trouble when I tried to explain to her that in order to get a cup of tea off someone she should refuse it at least twice. :)
 

Mitsui2

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That's a load of Bols.
Bols me @rse! It's Bokma for me every time.

Mrs M had the son bring her four bloody litres of the damn stuff when he was home in January. He was ashamed of his life buying it at Schipol!

It's not that she drinks a lot, but we've always found jenever virtually impossible to source in Ireland outside Dublin (& it's pot luck even there)
 

Cellachán Chaisil

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Cellachán Chaisil

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I do find Dutch history very interesting but I've a greater grá for the Prussians/Brandeburgians, especially for the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Albert von Hohenzollern, who had a sudden Damascene conversion to Lutheranism which allowed him to turn his military order into a hereditary demesne. Handy that?
 

Mitsui2

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I'd say so :)
To be sure.

Maybe it's just diplomacy gone too far. They're running this ad on Radio 4 at the moment for an upcoming series that's a history of diplomacy, and in the ad someone gives a definition that runs along the lines of "A diplomat is a person who, if he says "yes," means "perhaps"; if he says "perhaps" means "probably not"; and if he says "no"... isn't a diplomat."

Every time I hear the ad it actually reminds me of my mother: by that definition (and pretty much any others I know) she wasn't a diplomat at all.
 


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