Mary Beth Writes

This is my take on a slow podcast that somewhere along the line became fascinating.  Ben Franklin’s World - https://www.benfranklinsworld.com/episode-161-smuggling-american-revolution/

From the early 1600’s through mid-1700, the English and other Europeans immigrated to the eastern shores of North America. You knew that. In that 150 years worldwide shipping developed as European nations jostled for dominion over everything they could get their white paws on. One of the fall-outs of all this empire-stealing/building was this; the Dutch were too small to manufacture much and they didn’t have enough population to amass an army, so how could they complete with the Big Boys? What Holland was rich in was: seafaring culture and skills, amazing harbors, and a live-and-let-live attitude towards religion. Their immigrant-welcoming attitude meant harassed but skilled workers from around Europe flocked to Holland to work. What a novel idea.

Holland became an ocean-going dynamo. They built excellent ships, called “fluyts”, which were light and maneuverable.  Fluyts could move more cargo with less crew which meant their shipping costs were 2/3 to ½ that of English ships. By 1670 there were more Dutch ships on the seas than those of England, France, Germany, Portugal, Scotland, and Spain – combined.  10% of Dutch men were sailors. https://faculty.history.wisc.edu/sommerville/351/351-08.htmThere

Remember the Seven Years War of 1754-1763? Of course you don’t. You have a life and it’s less than a month to Christmas. In brief, the outcome of that war was that England defeated France here on North American soil. This sounded great to American colonists. No more French and French-friendly Indians vs English and English-friendly Indians jockeying for the resources that the colonists wanted for themselves.

Except England was now massively in debt from years of war. The Brits had been ignoring a great deal of the day-to-day life of colonists for the past century and a half, now all of a sudden they needed taxes and duties and tariffs from those rascally colonists.

English Parliament made some decisions based on: “We just saved their bacon, they can jolly well pay us our due now. They need to get all their goods from OUR ships. They need to stop buying cheaper goods from those Dutch. They need to be loyal to us since they are, after all, OUR colonies.”

England put the colonies on notice to trade only with England. No more buying cheaper stuff from anyone else. Importing to and exporting from the colonies after 1763 became more expensive, unreliable, and aggravating.  

Any manufacturer can tell you how they get their raw materials and how they ship their completed goods - because that’s central information to a well-run business. Now tell that manufacturer that as of next week all their products have to come from one nation, on that one nation’s transportation systems, and they can only ship their stuff out via that one nation’s export system.

At first the business people are going to be frustrated and furious at new regulations that get in the way of doing things efficiently. After a while, this argument will break two ways.

1. Smuggling. Not pirates with striped t-shirts and eye patches – but professional shippers who can get your supplies in and out in a timely way for a reasonable cost. They may load or unload a half mile out just past a secret sandbar in the middle of the night, but they will get the job done.

2. The language of what’s going on will change. At first people will argue that they want to go back to well-established systems of trade with a multitude of nations – especially those Dutch. Time grinds on; the business guys buy some legitimate products and some smuggled items. They watch folks getting ahead who are collaborating with the English muck-a-mucks in charge - and that irritates them. They also watch some of the efficient smugglers get caught and then severely punished. What started as aggravation becomes anger at infringement of rights.

Language follows experience. When new and unaccustomed rules and regulations favor already powerful and self-serving families – it will get dicey.  When ordinary smart and hard-working citizens watch the already-rich stack the system against ordinary people – it might take some years – but change will happen.

Waiting to see how the House and Senate Tax Bill shakes out.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2017/nov/28/house-and-se...

Comments

Leonard's picture

When did Dutch people start making chocolate? Why them? Were the Dutch ever in a place that grew cocoa, or did they trade cocoa and then learn to make chocolate? Did the Dutch move a lot of sugar that was grown by the Spanish or the French?
Mary Beth's picture

From Wikipedia: "The new craze for chocolate brought with it a thriving slave market, as between the early 17th and late 19th centuries the laborious and slow processing of the cacao bean was manual.[2] Cacao plantations spread, as the English, Dutch, and French colonized and planted. With the depletion of Mesoamerican workers, largely to disease, cacao production was often the work of poor wage laborers and African slaves. " So yeah, those Dutch. Also, Around 1820 a Dutch guy at Groenigan figured out how to squeeze the fat out of cacao, so it was easier to grind into powder.

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Quarantine Diary #141 August 5, 2020 "Red Dust"

I just finished reading “Red Dust – A Path Through China” by Ma Jain. It is a quietly stupendous memoir.

Ma Jain was born in the 50’s, grew up very poor in a small Chinese city. He remembers when his mom would simmer stones for dinner - not because they were going to eat that - but so that the neighbors would see her cooking and not know how poor they were. A whole different take on the children’s tale "Stone Soup".

Quarantine Diary #140 7/31/2020 Wishing you a Merry Quarantine Weekend

When I’m in a certain mood I love how-to articles – and I’m in that mood right now. I think it happens at the intersection of reasonable weather and Friday ... when happiness still seems possible.

I googled “How to have a nice weekend in the time of Covid” and guess what? There are no Wiki-How articles on how to be happy in a pandemic.

Let’s invent this right here, right now.

Quarantine Diary #134 Written while sweating …

My best coping skill for appalling weather is to show it who is boss. 30 below?  Cool. Let me put on all my clothes plus a hat down to my eyebrows and another one up to my glasses, and I’ll go out there.

Quarantine Diary #131 7/23/2020 "Becoming Labrador"

Yesterday I forgot to write about a movie we watched which I think many of you might like to watch, also.  We’ve been talking here about what one can stand to read and watch these days when our spirits are stressed and anxious.

I thought I wanted to reprise some of our Canada travels.  FYI, if you’ve traveled in a place you loved, put that place into your streaming service Search window, find some great or mediocre documentaries about that place, and revisit your memories.  It’s fun.

Quarantine Diary #130 7/22/2020 What's in your glass?

In the last few weeks one of my knees has decided it is the current star of the MB show. I overused it one day, I know when that was, ever since it’s been wonky. I have to baby it otherwise it hurts more than a little. Aging isn’t for wusses. 

I am walking less because walking a lot makes it worse.  I CAN ride a bike as much as I want since that doesn’t exacerbate the situation. I’m trying to weigh less, which is its own comedy.

Quarantine Diary #124 7/17/2020 As if it makes sense …

Our family lost a friend this week. I won’t go into too many details other than Tom died of a bike accident on a sunny day while riding in the country with friends. His wheel somehow got stuck in gravel, he fell, the fall twisted, and he died.

This is not his obituary or eulogy. This is a just a reflection on losing friends and how do we make sense of this?

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