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the earlier history of the Portuguese in India Sir W. Hunter's investigations are in many respects outweighed by Mr. Whiteway's researches, so, with regard to the later history of the Portuguese and with regard to his Dutch chapters, do several of his statements stand corrected by the third volume of · East India Letters, and the two volumes, edited for the Hakluyt Society, containing and illustrating the embassy of Sir Thomas Roe. Neither Sir W. Hunter's battle scenes nor his heroic portraits are in drawing. His somewhat detailed narrative of Captain Downton's exploits in Swally Roads is already superseded." The whole perspective seems to us lost, with regard to the Dutch as compared with the English activity, during the seventeenth century: the sketch of the general movement is at fault and distorted, and so is the delineation of the individuals who took part in it. Thus the one man of whom in Sir W. Hunter's first volume we have anything like an original picture is the Dutch Governor-General, Jan Pieterszoon Coen. 'A really great book,' exclaims Sir W. Hunter,' might be written on Coen.' Possibly, but it would not be the biography of a really great man. He will either win the horse or lose the saddle,'as the English of his own day reported Coen to have said, "expel the English or be expelled himself. From the Dutch point of view much was to be urged, at such a moment, for such a policy. But the manners and measures of the man, what did they but tempt to still more ruffianly and brutal courses creatures like the unhappy van Speult, and, in a later age, van Gysels, van Deutekom, Demmer, and the rest-blots on the history of civilisation and colonisation, on the history of the Dutch and the Moluccas ?
Let us grapple at once with Sir W. Hunter's main topic and our own, and enquire what was the circumstance which brought the Dutch East India Company and the English East India Company upon the scene.
It was the unification of the Iberian Peninsula, in its bearing upon the conflict, in which both Netherlanders and English were engaged, with Philip II. The annexation of Portugal to Spain, which lasted till 1640, took place in 1580. A sudden stop and block occurred in the business of the world, in the trade between Lisbon and Antwerp and
* A History of British India,' i, 319-26. Cf. 'Letters received by the E. I. Co, from its servants in the East,' mi, xiv-xvi.
Amsterdam. For a moment the Dutch were in despair. They recovered their equanimity, and they threw their whole strength for a hundred years into a course of un
precedented daring and almost fabulous prosperity. The a earliest incidents are the following. In 1591, some English
merchants sentout a tentative expedition to the East Indies. Between 1595 and 1600 the Netherlands merchants sent out larger and more fortunate fleets. Then, in 1600, the English East India Company secured its charter, and commenced its operations, with a capital of, say, 70,0001., to be speedily overtaken and outstripped, in 1602, by the Dutch East India Company—the venture, so to speak, of a whole nation-with a capital of, say, 550,0001.
It was, accordingly, as an incident in the great war of with Spain, on the Spanish seas, on the sea-frontiers, that
this armed enterprise of the Dutch and English merchants and skippers began, this irregular advance, as of seafaring sharpshooters and squatters, apart from, to some extent, and independent of, the regular conduct of the war in
Europe. The year in which the smaller Dutch companies 1
were fused into the great Dutch East India Company had
been already marked by fighting in the East Indies bebetween Dutch and Spanish ships. The conflict had been
not unlike that carried on in the Channel, fourteen years d before, during the Great Armada’season. The triumph
was immediately utilised for purposes of commerce and settlement. The Company stepped in. Trading stations were founded. The war, from the first, paid, and far more than paid, its expenses. Besides, the Dutch appeared at the outset, in the Indian Archipelago, as deliverers of the natives,
as sworn opponents of the Portuguese and Spanish prie tyranny, in the guise—which in the East they soon lost
-of champions of freedom. Jacob van Heemskerck,
the noblest of the Dutch naval captains of those times, he
the Francis Drake of the Netherlands--who had braved every climate and conquered in every sea, who had spent a winter in Nova Zembla, and who was to meet his death at the moment of victory in a great battle in the Bay of
Gibraltar-Jacob van Heemskerck distinguished himself, he
in this same first year of the Dutch Company's undermed takings, by seizing a splendid prize, a Portuguese carrack,
at Malacca, and coasting in her as far as Macao. From Java the Dutch sailed to Banda, everywhere intent on making Vol. 193.-No. 385.
treaties with the local potentates, which were to transfer the monopoly of trade from Portugal to Holland; while, at the same time, the Dutch met the natives on equal terms, professing, at all events at first, to have no intention of interfering with their religion, their customs, or their liberties. Indeed, the king of Acheen, or Sumatra, was invited to send a royal embassy to Holland, to inform himself as to the Western World, to assure himself of the feud between the Dutch and the Spaniards and Portuguese, and of the general revolt on the European seaboard against the theories and practices, ecclesiastical, civil, and mercantile, of Rome, Madrid, and Lisbon. Arrived in Europe, these envoys were presented to Prince Maurice in the lines before Grave at a conjuncture when the fortune and discipline of the Dutch army-and, not least, of the English contingent-had reached the highest point of fame, while their opponents were at the other extreme of military repute, disorderly and dispirited, and, to a large extent, in declared mutiny.
The whole Dutch community, firm after firm, city after city, province after province, embarked in the enterprise of the East India Company. It was a way of both beating the enemy and bettering the trade, of weakening war at close quarters while accomplishing distant conquests; it obtained immediately gigantic commercial returns; it opened out upon almost defenceless and unbounded tracts of sea and land. The Universal Dutch East India Company was a great national venture for a century-indeed, for centuries in which the spirit of association passed from the States-General and the municipal councils to the ships, from port to port, animated the cabin and the factory, bound up the whole cause of the Netherlands with the acquisition and administration of one another of the islands of the East Indies. Three years, we may say, sufficed for the capture of the richest little cluster of colonies, the most compact and productive island realm on our planet. What had been the central mine of wealth in the King of Portugal's monopoly was now to be worked by, perhaps, the keenest, the shrewdest, the boldest, and, as it ere long became, the most grasping and the least scrupulous commercial confederacy Christendom has ever seen. Europe looked on amazed here and there the old-fashioned Dutch citizen
fer must have shared with sad foreboding the amazementle at this state within and beyond the state, this republic
within and beyond the republic, at this attempt to direct first a particular and then a universal commerce from the counting-houses of Amsterdam, at war waged explicitly for treasure, at treasure extorted methodically by war. Thus Holland passed into the room of Portugal, and with a wider and more vast, if a vaguer, a coarser, a more commonplace ambition. What Venice had been, when mistress of the Mediterranean waters, Holland became; what had been the maxims and measures of Venice became the maxims and measures of Holland, only more cynical and more cruel, in the Indian Archipelago. A great insular isolated colonial Power the Dutch gained, organised, and have maintained to this day. A great imperial policy they have never instituted; nor is anything more foreign to the Dutch national genius as such than the bare conception of such a policy.
There was this difference from the beginning, a difference strongly marked even in the first quarter of a century, in the history of the two companies, when militant Prince Maurice was Dutch Stadtholder and pacific James Stewart
was English king. They died in the same year, 1625, it within a month of each other. Prince Maurice, for it all his forcefulness, could not keep in check his sea
captains in the East; King James, for all his flightiness, never let his London company slip out of his control. And James, here, was even willing to hazard much; he had a plan, from which we do not know that he ever quite re
ceded, for amalgamating the Dutch and English companies. T
It may be that, if the English had been able to displace the Dutch in the Spice Islands, they themselves might never have cared, in those regions towards which the
Cape of Good Hope points and leads, for inland, contilie
nental, imperial sway. It is probable that, in such a case, nud
the English would have been content to be merely in touch with sites like Sierra Leone, the Cape itself, Zanzibar,
Aden, Ormuz, and Ceylon; naturally, what they would have st' most affected and preferred would have been a lordship
of the isles. They would thus in time have dispossessed the French of Ile Dauphine, Ile de France, Ile de Bourbon -Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion; they might have come into collision with Spain for the Philippines, and with
China for Formosa ; they might have anglicised Japan. But the Indian Peninsula, especially as experiences in America grew monitory and menacing, we can imagine them anxious to leave alone, ready to resign. Think what might then have happened! The path of conquest might have lain open and unencumbered before a Dupleix and a Bussy; the French might have become, in politics and arms, as influential on the continent of Asia as on the continent of Europe-more revolutionary, more imperial. A Napoleon, for whom not only the revolutions of Paris and of Europe, but those of Bengal, of the Deccan, and of Delhi, had paved the way, might, indeed, have eclipsed Cæsar, and left to his marshals more to divide than Alexander left to the Diadochi.
As it was, the English had to retreat before the Dutch from the Malay Archipelago, and from the Spice Islands. Bit by bit the Dutch occupied the ground; over one island circle after another they established their authority. In proportion to their means, and judged at the moment of their ascendency, the Dutch, as seafarers and as speculators, have never been surpassed. We have seen how, as against the English, they had gained, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, as it were by only a few steps a ship's length or two-precedence and predominance in the East, how they claimed and secured the richest market in the world, how they held the posts of advance towards further discoveries. Just as, three or four generations previously, the West Indies, the Bahamas, the Bermudas, Newfoundland, had guarded or revealed the approaches to one New World, so did the Spice Islands, the Moluccas, Japan, lie on the threshold to another. The progress would soon begin-and the Dutch would lead it-into Melanesia, into Polynesia, towards the colonisation of the Pacific. But here again the history of final settlement, the inland, continental, imperial history, was fated to belong not to the Dutch but to the English; the acknowledged capitals in the remoter future were to bear such names as Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart. The Dutch lived in the present-no nation, in the first quarter of the seventeenth century, so much and so successfully. And throughout the seventeenth century they pressed and pursued the speeding steps of fortune with the whole array of their national resources and reserves.