Sovereign and Quasi-Sovereign States

Sovereign and Quasi-Sovereign States

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Excerpt from Sovereign and Quasi-Sovereign States: Their Debts to Foreign Countries

Among other operations, the Greshams, under the title of the king's exchanger, appear to have been engaged in raising temporary loans at Antwerp, and its allied bourses. As late as 1800 United States dividends were paid at Antwerp, and there is still a small foreign bourse, but supplanted by Brussels.

The merchants of the Hanse Towns and Low Countries had already been engaged in these operations in succession to the Italians, when the independance of Holland concentrated them in that country, which likewise became a refuge for the Jews driven out of Spain.

The accession of William of Orange to the throne of England, by putting a stop to the naval rivalry, brought England again into its old and close relation with Holland, and on the establishment of the funding system here, the Hollanders took a large part in our consolidated debt, bank stock, and in India stocks.

All through the last century, Holland was the great centre for the trade in foreign loans, one means by which that country was much enriched. In 1778, Holland was reputed to hold 62,000,000l. in the stocks of France, England, &c., but this is doubtful. McCulloch in his "Taxation," p. 412, is wrong in his deductions from this as to the position of Holland, for the people of Holland continued to accumulate capital down to the French Revolution, but other countries grew more rapidly in population and production. The French Revolution, attended by wide repudiation, to a great degree destroyed this branch of accumulated capital, and the yoke of the Empire still further impoverished Holland. At the Great Peace, Holland was restored, but it was no longer in the same relative position, England in particular having largely grown.

One class of operations of which we have an account, is for the then new United States, for which Holland was for some time the money market, and where United States railway bonds are still placed in conjunction with Frankfort.

During the war the United States borrowed in Holland at 4 per cent., under the guarantee of the French court, 400,000l. This serves to show how moderate the rate of interest then was, and how the credit of France stood.

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