During the eighteenth century European governments began systematically using an international credit structure whose centre was the Amsterdam capital market. This book reconstructs that system and surveys its principal effects on the European and especially the Dutch economies. Eighteenth-century states borrowed chiefly to finance wars and, increasingly toward the century's end, debts from earlier wars. Military and naval spending and debt service together consumed up to eighty percent of peacetime revenues and more in war. Borrowing on international markets stabilised previously disruptive deficit financing techniques and moderated the economic consequences of sharply irregular war spending. This development however, eased the problems of war-making more than it developed national economies or enhanced prosperity. The Dutch, heretofore seen as having squandered the advantage of cheap credit, actually faced the difficult problem of finding productive uses for their savings at satisfactory returns.