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

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?

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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Not Admiring Duty

Duty without empathy and imagination is handsome.

And dangerous.

This is what Robert E. Lee said. “Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more; you should never wish to do less.” 

This is what I say. “Duty” is a clichéd moral value lobbed at us by men (sic) who seem to assume leadership is about getting other people to do the work and take the risks at hand.”

What's in that Museum?

Do you go to museums? I enjoy them, but I think they are more complicated than we give them credit for.

This past weekend Len and I and our daughters, plus Len’s sister and her teenage sons, spent the day at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. At 400,000 square feet, the MSI is a huge old place; the buildings were part of Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 that were re-purposed into the Museum during Chicago’s 1933 Century of Progress. (An aunt once told me about seeing a black and white electrical show in a box at the Century of Progress. They called it television.)

Surprise Dancing Lessons 1/7/2018

This is almost a quote from Kurt Vonnegut. “Unexpected travel is a dancing lesson from God.” (Vonnegut said “Peculiar travel suggestions are…” or some such; I need to reread Cat’s Cradle.)

December Seen Things 12/31/2017

Happy New Year's Eve!

Here is the latest edition of Things Seen in December.

You need to click on the icon to open it. It's small. 

PDF icon12-31-17_vol_1.pdf

My New Year’s Resolution

I mentioned to Len this morning that this year I am going to make a New Year’s resolution. Usually I don’t make resolutions because I don’t believe people change (very much) by determining to “do better starting tomorrow.”  The person who works mightily to stop eating cookies tonight - while there are still cookies in the house - is probably going to become healthier than the person who is going to Stop Eating All the Sugar and Only Eat Roasted Brussel Sprouts … starting tomorrow.  Don’t ask me how I know.

A Request for More Readers

A Request from Me to You

I just finished the She Writes post about being more courageous and stubborn on my own behalf.

This fits right in. I’m asking you to consider doing something on my behalf.

Do you know a person who might like to read this website?  If you are here you already know I write about frugality, I write random essays, I tell you about places I went and books I’ve read. I am fascinated by colonial American history. I repost things I wrote ages ago. Sometimes I write short stories.

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