Przez ponad sto lat Holendrzy dominowali w handlu nie tylko europejskim, ale i światowym** – np. wyłączność na handel z Japonią zachowali przez 200 lat. Mimo to, uważali i uważają iż bałtycki handel zbożem był matką (po polsku raczej ojcem…) całego handlu. A centrum owego bałtyckiego handlu był oczywiście Gdańsk i Rzplita… Można o tej moedernegotie poczytać w książce Milji van Tielhof pt. The ‘Mother of All Trades’: The Baltic Grain Trade in Amsterdam from the Late Sixteenth to the Early Nineteenth Century. Jest tam np. taki fragment, z London School od Economics:
„…There is little doubt that Amsterdam was the most important grain market in Europe based more on its access to information and shipping services than on the actual storage of grain. This impression is reinforced by the degree of market integration between the main Baltic port of Gdansk and Amsterdam shown by the extraordinary correlation of prices between both markets, which according to van Tielhof was roughly stable over the period 1597-1808. …”
Piszę o tym aby podkreślić jak ważnym był dla całej Europy bałtycki handel Rzplitej, w tym oczywiście dla Anglii, której jednym z najważniejszym priorytetów „od zawsze” było utrzymanie politycznej kontroli nad Bałtykiem. Zaczęło się to nieco zmieniać dopiero w XVIII wieku, kiedy imperium brytyjskie nabrało prawdziwie globalnego rozmachu, m.in. dzięki likwidacji holenderskiej dominacji…
Pod koniec XVI wieku Londyn miał spory „kłopot z Rzeczpospolitą”, która zaczęła wyraźnie dominować we wschodniej Europie. To spowodowało ambiwalentny stosunek Londynu do Warszawy. Z jednej strony, jeśli Zygmuntowi III Wielkiemu udało by się utrzymać dominację, należało się z nim faktycznie i na serio, jak z partnerem, układać (bo handel bałtycki to matka…), ale z drugiej trzeba było robić wszystko, aby do tego nie doszło (ale tak aby nie zantagonizować ZIII).
Notabene, tak jak pisałem, podobny problem miał nasz francuski „przyjaciel”, Henryk IV. Tak oceniała sytuację ówczesna dyplomacja francuska:
„Z relacyi tej widać zupełnie wyraźnie, że dyplomacya francuska liczyła się na seryo z ewentualnością »rekuperacyi całej Szwecyi przez Zygmunta III i zastanawiała się poważnie (po Kircholmie), czyby przez to potęga Hiszpanii nie wzmogła się na wodach Bałtyku. Poseł S. Catherine, który miał bliżej zbadać stan rzeczy na miejscu, przyszedł do przekonania, że Zygmunt III a Hiszpania to nie jest jedno i to samo. W relacyi swej podkreśla też to wyraźnie, że w zajęciu Szwecyi przez króla polskiego nie trzebaby się dopatrywać zwycięstwa Hiszpanii i jakiejś szkody dla Francyi.”
W 1606, w momencie „spontanicznego” wybuchu wojny domowej Zebrzydowskiego, można było skończyć z ambiwalencją i jednak zdecydowanie poprzeć Szwecję. Jakub I (patrz wyżej) był bardziej ostrożny (bo miał więcej do stracenia) i wstrzymał się do 1611. Raporty weneckich ambasadorów w Londynie nieco odsłaniają kulisy angielskiej dyplomacji.
Zacznijmy od tego, iż Jakub początkowo poważnie rozważał wyswatanie Elżbietki z Władysławem:
1609 July 8. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives.
548. Marc’ Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
„His Majesty is considering the marriage of the Princess, who is now fifteen and growing daily in beauty and grace. After the marriage of the Margrave of Brandenburg’s daughter to the son of the Duke of Wirtemberg, to whom his Majesty had leaned on the ground of religion, it seems that he has turned his attention to the Prince of Poland, and possibly some movement may be made in that direction when the King’s book is sent to that country.”
Jednak wielkie sukcesy Polski w wojnie z Moskalami spowodowały poważny niepokój w Londynie, choć z nadzieją na lepsze:
1609 Nov. 12. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives.
700. Marc’ Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
„The war in Muscovy has completely ruined trade in those parts, so that of the twelve or more ships that used to arrive here from there hardly three have arrived, and those with light cargoes. In Holland twenty-three ships have come back from that voyage absolutely empty but for a little wood. However, as the defeat of the Poles is considered certain it is conjectured that the internal dissensions of the Muscovites will cease and trade be restored.”
No i tu dochodzimy już do szczytu „niezadowolenia” z polskich sukcesów, które określiłem eufemistycznie „zazdrością”. Wprawdzie Szwedzi to nie byli mili chłopcy, ale trzeba było zacisnąć zęby i zrobić „co trzeba”:
1610 Dec. 9. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives.
132 Marc’ Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
„The Court is in some anxiety about the negotiations in Germany for the union of Saxony to the “possessioners” in the Duchy of Cleves. Although many of the protestant party think it neither just nor honourable that the Duke should be made a sharer in the fruit of so much trouble and toil endured by others, still the desire to see that province quiet—towards which this step is considered to be the sole means—prevails over all other considerations. The German Princes are not in a state to sustain a war owing to their lack of money. The progress of the Poles in Russia is also causing anxiety, nor do they cease to note the movement of arms in the Duchy of Milan. As to this, however, they wait to see what will happen on the arrival of the Constable of Castile who, it is generally thought, and as Lord Salisbury told me, is coming with an olive branch in his mouth. But the success of the Poles is very displeasing to the King, to the Council, to the Dutch, and to all Protestants; and it is held by some that when the affairs of Germany are settled, something must be done to help the King of Sweden. Lately news has come to hand that the King of Sweden has cruelly ordered about three hundred of his troops—French and English, among them many persons of birth—to be cut to pieces for fear of mutiny. This is considered by all as a barbarous act, and has raised against him such hatred that he would find it difficult to levy other troops here for his service. The King has shown great resentment, and has uttered words of profound feeling. All the same, neither this displeasure nor his natural dislike for the King of Sweden would be enough to prevent his Majesty from supporting Swedish interests, which he thinks identical with his own and those of Denmark, his brother-in-law.”
1611 Feb 11. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives.
175. Marc’ Antonio Correr, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
„The differences between Denmark and Sweden on the subject of frontiers was to be arranged by Commissioners through the intermediation of the Duke of Brunswick; but as the Swedish Commissioners did not keep their appointment at Holstein the other Commissioners left in disgust and to the great wrath of their Sovereign. This has caused the greatest sorrow to the United Provinces, which did all that in them lay to bring about an accommodation. They wrote to the King begging him to omit no representations in favour of peace, and he has let the King of Denmark understand very clearly that he is not to count on help from England. A war between Sweden and Denmark would open the way for the aggrandisement of Poland, to which they are very much averse here.”
Wreszcie, co za ulga! Dzielny kupiec Kuźma Minin daje radę – Polacy w odwrocie! (Inne dokumenty donoszą o wielkiej radości w londyńskich kręgach, wręcz o fetach z tej okazji…)
1611 July 7. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives.
271. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
„The besieged in Kalmar on the Swedish frontier seeing themselves pressed by the King of Denmark and thinking to hold out better in the citadel, made a sudden sally and inflicted great loss on the Danes, who were taken for the most part unarmed. The sentinel and the guard were slain first; but the sally party could not hold their ground and so retired to the citadel, and the King of Denmark made himself master of the town and slew all who were in it down to the women and children. The King of Sweden is approaching with a powerful army and already some of his companies of horse have had sharp skirmishes with the Danish cavalry, who got the worst of it; so Kalmar has cost the King of Denmark much blood. Here they are glad at the slow progress of Poland in Russia, for this will prevent the Poles from attacking and making acquisitions in Sweden which could hardly resist if assailed from two quarters at once.”
1613 May 19. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives.
838. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
„The Muscovites, who are dependent on the Patriarch, have made large offers through the King to the English Merchant Company which trades there. They have sent agents and laid matters before the King and Council, but nothing has been settled as yet. (fn. 3) What the Muscovites ask is troops and orders to drive out the Poles; in return they offer to place ports in his Majesty’s hands, to depend on his orders and to pay the troops themselves. I am told that the King is inclined to the idea, but the Council is divided in opinion.”
1614 March 8. Senato, Secreta. Dispacci, Inghilterra. Venetian Archives.
203. Antonio Foscarini, Venetian Ambassador in England, to the Doge and Senate.
„The ambassador of Muscovy has requested the king to procure peace between his master and the kings of Poland and Sweden. The king immediately consented and has sent to Poland a Scotchman named Patrick Gordon with letters asking that king to send a special envoy with his reply. He has done the same in Sweden, because although the inclination of that king to peace is well known, yet he wishes to make sure of it. The ambassador returned from those parts reported that Charles, the king’s brother, was present with 10,000 combatants on the confines of Muscovy. In the spring the king himself is to go there, nevertheless he expresses himself ready for peace and the restitution of what has been occupied, that is Courland (Corelia), a large province, and the places of Russia if the Muscovites will pay him the money expended by his father and himself in seven years of war. That the parliament had met and provided for the necessary payment of 1,000 thalers to the king of Denmark within the time determined in the peace established by the king’s means, and he will send here the stipulations settled by him, which he has not yet done. In from two to three months the king will again send the same ambassador to Sweden, to arrange a peace with Muscovy as he has already done with Denmark. Soon afterwards the one who was in Denmark will set out for Poland with the same purpose, and it is expected that the persons sent will return with the replies of that king. I have seen the letter written to Poland. It is to the effect that the king being desirous of peace between Christian princes is sending an ambassador to treat between that king and Muscovy.”
**) Israel, J. Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
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