During the first Anglo-Dutch war, it was obvious that the Dutch fleet was incapable of fighting with England. The commercial elite in Holland hated war and wanted to stop it by all means. The Westminster Peace Treaty ceasing the hostilities contained a lot of concessions to the Dutch party. It was the softest version of what the English had offered. Oliver Cromwell mainly intended to oust the Prince of Orange heading the royal military faction aspiring to control Holland.
The wife of William of Orange was Maria Stewart, the daughter of Charles I. The Orange faction supported the English royalists and craved restoration of the English monarchy. The Prince of Orange was the nephew of Charles II, the son of Charles I. So the aspirations of Cromwell and the Dutch commercial faction coincided.
The conditions discarding the Orange dynasty formed the secret Act of Seclusion attached to the Westminster Treaty. Following the Treaty, Yohan de Witt actually came to power as head of the Dutch merchant faction in 1653. Originally, Yohan de Witt was a lawyer who shaped the ruling party as a union of highly educated regents.
The following decade became a period of peace between the English Commonwealth and the Dutch Republic. For the Dutch, it was the Golden Age. For the English, another war followed after the previous ones. That was the war with Spain of 1654-1660. It was devastating for the English commerce, especially with Spain and Italy. Meanwhile, Holland obtained a temporary carte blanche for marine trade and domination.
It was the time to compare the English and Dutch business environments. The English commerce was overburdened with fees and duties. The Dutch built free trade underlying success in homeland and overseas colonies. The Dutch exports and imports were cheaper and thus more competitive all over the world.
Marine business competition caused the war of 1654-1660 between England and Spain. This conflict was marked with an English submarine campaign in the Caribbean region. In this war, England temporarily became an ally of France as part of the Franco-Spanish armed conflict.
The Anglo-Spanish naval war in the middle of the 17 th century deserves our separate attention and will be featured in our next articles.