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Rare satirical political broadside, warning the Dutch of the risks of trading with the English during the American Revolution.

This satirical broadside lampoons the Anglo-Dutch dispute over free trade with America shortly before the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War.

The image shows characters scattered across the coastline between England and the Netherlands, covering “Brest” (left) to “Amster[dam]” (right), with the Channel and “Portsmouth” in the upper part of the image. Each of the figures have numbers explained in the text below, “showing what each person is supposed to say” and serving as a continuation to the “Letter of Cato-Batavus”. Off Portsmouth the names “Bÿland” and “Fielding” are engraved, indicating the encounter of December 31, 1780.  Opposite Brest is engraved “Hollandsche Schepen met Scheeps materialen”, indicating “the arrival of Dutch naval stores”.

The affair of Fielding and Bylandt was a brief naval engagement off the Isle of Wight on December 31, 1779, between a Royal Navy squadron, commanded by Commodore Charles Fielding, and a naval squadron of the Dutch Republic, commanded by rear-admiral Lodewijk van Bylandt, escorting a Dutch convoy. The Dutch and British were not yet at war, but the British wished to inspect the Dutch merchantmen for what they considered contraband destined for France, then engaged in the American War of Independence.  Bylandt attempted to avoid the engagement by offering to allow the British to inspect the ships' manifests, but when Fielding insisted on a physical inspection, Bylandt put up a brief show of force, before striking his colors. The British squadron then seized the Dutch merchantmen and took them as prizes to Portsmouth, followed by the Dutch squadron. The incident worsened the already strained diplomatic relations between Great Britain and the Dutch Republic. It also contributed to the formation of the First League of Armed Neutrality to which the Dutch acceded in December of 1780.

On the extreme right, near Amsterdam, are two men, one gesticulating, the other, behind him, is smiling. They are (left) “some well-known merchants calling out with great passion 'Restitution, Satisfaction, unlimited convoy'. Yet one of these, turning round, says smiling, 'We have meanwhile already won some little capital, but however it is good to complain, in order to embitter people's minds, although the English pay for what falls into their hands, and a war with England, the greatest of our allies, would probably harm us, and our possessions in the East would be endangered'.”

The Stadtholder (2), wearing a sword and holding his hat and a cane, turns his head in profile to the right towards the merchants; he is “His Highness pointing out to the merchants the lion . . .'See Sirs what is happening, this have I long foreseen, and for that reason although without success, have I tried to put the Republic in a state of defence. We are lost if we let ourselves be deluded by passion and cunning! Yet I shall at last be obliged to let the ship drift'.”

Between (1) and (2) stands (3), Sir Joseph Yorke, wearing a ribbon and star, and holding out his left hand towards the merchants: “The English Ambassador, shrugging his shoulders, says, 'I am sorry about the incident, but I tried to avoid it and warned you resolutely. It is hard on an ally to see the enemy supplied with everything by force of arms while the help due to us is refused. Yet the die is cast, and things will probably not remain as they are'.”
Immediately under the Stadtholder's feet is the Dutch lion, holding in his right fore-paw the sheaf of seven arrows symbolizing the seven United Provinces which are bound by a ribbon symbolizing the bond of union.

The French Ambassador (4), his coat dotted with fleur-de-lys, holds his hat before the animal's eyes, while (5) a well-dressed man stoops forward to take one of the arrows: “The French Ambassador full of compliments, strokes the lion with one hand, and with the other holds a hat before his eyes, saying, 'All will go well if I can only keep the Lion blind and bring the Dutch gradually to the dance with England [cf. BMSat 5664]. Oh what a fine part shall we play, when we have added to our land-power the dominion of the sea'.”

(5), an “ex-Jesuit, following the Society's grand rule, divida & impera, loosens the bond of union, and has already pulled out one of the seven arrows, saying, 'That goes well, when, disguised as a Patriot, I shall succeed in taking unnoticed some arrows from the Lion, and then might the Pope indeed restore our order, if the Dutch, who are less easy to beguile than our good Spaniards, do not smell a rat before our work is completed!'" Near (4) is a small serpent with a forked tongue. Near (5) are some papers inscribed “III. Art. Goed Patri ...” and “Certificat.”

Behind the lion (6), a Spaniard (right) in slashed doublet threatens him with a spear, saying “Who knows if once again now we shall bring our old Beggars to their knees? Yet first must Neighbour France have accomplished his crafty business for we are now of one family, though this has not been exactly to our advantage [cf. BMSat 5642]. But when we have once got Gibraltar back, then shall we be able to dictate the law finely to the other Powers. Meanwhile we have made a beginning and have given the Dutch some pinches.” He is perhaps La Herreria, the Spanish Minister at the Hague.

A plainly-dressed man wearing a hat holds a pen in his right hand, his left arm is outstretched. He is (7) "A Minister of State looking with pain on the blinded lion". He says, "Oh Heavens, where will all this end for the beloved Fatherland! Yet I cannot do more than truly make known my discoveries."

A man stands in back-view, right arm outstretched, looking towards the Channel. He is (8) another Minister of State, looking at the convoy being taken to Portsmouth and saying "That's bad. Although we have given the English some grounds for complaint. Is it possible to remain friends with two contending parties? What is to be done now? For by force of black-magic and to the joy of some of our windy poets, all our light frigates are turned into three-deckers, where shall we find sailors to man them! The Northern Powers themselves are in want of sailors. Meanwhile we are on the hook and must pay the reckoning, at which France will laugh heartily!"

A monk (9) drags (left to right) a little cart containing emblems of "Popery", probably the original of the cart in BMSat 5702, but decorated with fleur-de-lys; the monk, dragging a sledge in place of a cart, appears in BMSat 5713. Its contents are a gallows, a wheel, an axe, faggots, tar-barrels, an iron-bound chest, and shackles. In front sits a courtesan holding in her hand a high-feathered head-dress; she represents the "Whore of Babylon" or the Church of Rome. The monk is "joyfully journeying to Holland on the rumour of a breach between England and the Republic". He says, "our object is reached thanks to our pretended tolerance now that we have set the Dutch at variance with their old ally, and the heretics have been brought into a scramble, a game in which we should indeed again become masters, and to which purpose I bring good provisions!"

In the upper right corner, close to "Amsterdam", two men stand in conversation. They are "A", a naval commissary from "Fr------k [France] in Amsterdam] looking for certificates to help the sailor". He is fashionably dressed and holds out a paper to "B", a Dutch skipper in bulky trousers, who is dancing with rage, saying, "if this piece of paper should be found on me by the English, then they will make a prize of my ship and cargo, in place of paying for the one and giving me back the other as they have done till now".