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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Let's go to Canada. It will be beautiful and convenient and nothing will get too crazy.

Hi! Len and I returned home at 1:30AM from our 15-day road trip through eastern Canada and Maine and more.  

In case you ever wondered, you CAN go to the “Glazed and Confused” donut shop in Syracuse, NY at 9 in the morning, peruse the  Erie Canal museum https://eriecanalmuseum.org/ and then drive back in Waukesha - all in one 16-hour day. We are generally closer to interesting places than we know.

But I get ahead of myself.

An afternoon in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Sault is a French word that mean topsy-turvy as in the rapids on the St. Mary river that tumbles between the US and Canada. Or summersaults. Isn’t that cute?

We walked a lot that first day. We thought the Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site; which is two old houses that we wanted to see, were just around the corner from where we parked. Nope; more like two miles there and two miles back.  But it was a brisk day and after our hot, humid Wisconsin summer it was delicious to wear a jacket and not sweat.

Mountain Top Toddler

We drove to Chicago to help care for our 2-year old granddaughter. There is a lot going on in their family as is true of any family with a toddler, a new infant, and two working parents. Such as; my daughter went back to work the same week their daycare center closed for a 10-day break. A perfect storm of domestic hoopla. 

We only watched her from 7:30AM until 4PM on Monday and Tuesday. When our son-in-law came home from work, he took over. Other relatives are watching her the next few days. 

Here are three things I noticed about taking care of a toddler.

"Death Comes for the Archbishop" and How to drive to the Y without a map.

I read Willa Cather’s “Death Comes for the Archbishop” when I was in high school. I heard it was an important book which made me curious (still does), so I borrowed it from the library and read the whole thing.

It was mud. I didn’t care about the characters; two middle-aged priests who go to the American southwest to build and strengthen the Catholic church. Snooze. Nothing cohesive happens. They do a bunch of walking around in the desert followed by episodes of trying to be helpful a few days here, a few years there. Yawn.

When Weaving is NOT a Metaphor

I wrote this 12 years ago.  It's long and even I get confused as to what I wrote when one gets about half way through this  - and I was there!   But some of you will be interested to read how those "ethnic weavings" from Guatemala begin.  Next time you buy something hand woven, for less than $20, you will understand that price is not right.

.....

Retirement Smackdown

I just made a list of fourteen friends who have retired in the past five years. Of the fourteen, SEVEN retired early and abruptly when their employer’s business practices, for various reasons, changed or failed.

There is a myth out there that retirement is a fixed event with a date one knows years in advance. Then at the desired retirement age there will be a company party where one gets a memento from their employer - and after that they live aimlessly, trying to find purpose.  

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