DIRECTOR   Constance Delay


Since the Author of the Considerations is pleased to conceal his name, and suffer his book to pass as the work of a private person; it seems requisite, that I do declare this ensuing Treatise to proceed from an hand, not less private, if not more; and this I am the more obliged to own, lest by any mistake of mine, through haste, ignorance, or misinformation, some prejudice might be created against the just and unquestionable rights of his Majesty. The interests of Princes are not proper subjects for ordinary pens; yet in this juncture of our affairs, in these times of universal danger, I hope my attempt shall not be liable to misconstruction, since it hath no other source and original, than the service of my King and native country ; and I do profess, that I have not, to my knowledge, made use of any officious untruths, nor in any allegation, or asseveration, imposed upon the credulous reader; nor have I asserted the less probable opinions at any time, out of compliance with the present exigencies of state, in opposition to those which are strengthened with greater authority and reason. I have thoroughly convinced myself in the first place, and therefore hope the discourse may prove more satisfactory unto all others. The infant repubhek of the United Netherlands, after that it had got some considerable strength by tht'assistance of England, began to be sensible of the advantages they drew from navigation, and how necessary it was for them, not only to open the commerce unto both Indies, but to secure themselves of the fishing in the British seas. The death of Queen Elisabeth (who would otherwise have been jealous of their growing power, and tender of her own rights) together with the peaceable disposition of King James, seemed to make way for th ir ambitious designs; and the cabal of Holland, whereof Grottos was one, d«d publish an anonymous Treatise, called, * Mare Liber um,* wherein the Ireedoai of the sea, to navigate, or fish in, was maintained as a due right of mankind, according to the law of nature, and nations: which foundation they esteemed more suitable to their ends, than it they should depend upon a revocable privilege', or tacit permission. The book was the less resented at that time, because il was in appearance levelled against the Spanish Indies, and the prohibition of commerce there ; and then all Europe was willing to see the pride and power of Spain abated by any means. Howsoever, King James was anL'ry at the pretended liberty of fishing, and his ambassador Charleton complained thereof to thff Slates; bill they never avowed the principles, but owned the rights of King James, though indeed sliyhted them, and usurped upon the fishing, in such manner, as I have shewed in this Treat ise. That single book halh occasioned a multitude of discourses upon that subject; Mr. Seiden defended the English dominion over the British seas : O'hers that of Venice, and Genoa: The Dutch advocates undermining by their writings all the regali icsof Princes, as their masters have done by their actions. After that the troubles of Scotland and England had disabled King Charles the First, from attending unto the doinipionofthe sea, according as he most generously purposed, the Dutch thought that the English, being weakened with the civil wars, and distracted with intestine factions, by reason of the alteration of the government, could not resist their ambition, should they usurp the universal dominion of the seas; and to secure themselves therein, they sent Van Tronip to destroy the English navy, without declaring any war; but neither did that attempt, nor the war ensuiug thereupon, prosper, as they hoped they would. But ever since that fierce war, they have determined upon the ruining the English navigation, and not only to exclude the English trom the East-India trade, but to expel them from, and deprive them of the dominion of the British seas.