Full text: Religion, colonising & trade

reason why the treatise had not been published in his 
lifetime. Contrasting his own countrymen most 
unfavourably with the Dutch, he spoke of the lewd 
idleness * of his fellow-citizens of late years besotting 
ourselves with pipe and pot, sucking smoke and drink- 
ing healths.”1 It seems strange that this was written 
shortly after the Petition of Right in 1628, at a time 
when the strife between King and Parliament was 
beginning, when Puritanism inspired by religion was 
gathering strength and men of the type of Winthrop 
were for conscience’ sake crossing the Atlantic and 
making their homes in New England. It is well to be 
reminded that even in the middle years of the seven- 
teenth century religious and political activities and 
antagonisms were far from covering the whole field or 
absorbing the whole life of England, and that with 
those who were concerned in commerce and who 
managed the affairs of trading companies trade was 
the dominant consideration. Mun had the highest 
admiration for ‘the industrious Dutch,” whose 
provinces he described as ‘ the magazines and store- 
houses of wares for most places of Christendom,’ 2 and 
he discerned, as did others afterwards, that they were 
the rivals whom England had most cause to fear. His 
banker friends in Italy, he wrote, wondered why Spain 
and France only should be regarded by Englishmen as 
their enemies and the Netherlanders embraced as their 
best friends and allies, ‘ when in truth (as they well 
observe) there are no people in Christendom who do 
more undermine, hurt, and eclipse us daily in our 
navigation and trades, both abroad and at home.” 3 
t Pp. 178-9. 2 P. 183. 3 Pp. 204-5.

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