Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. III. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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CHAP. III. - Pieter de la Court, The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland 
The True Interest and Political Maxims of the Republic of Holland (London: John Campbell, Esq, 1746).
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That Holland hath antiently received these maxims of peace.
The maxims for peace have anciently been well known in Holland.AND that the trading provinces of the Netherlands have always followed these maxims, manifestly appears in antient history: for the sovereigns of the country were never suffered by their own authority to make war, or lay any imposition for maintenance of military forces, nay not to do it in the meetings of the states, by plurality of voices. For in these excessively prejudicial affairs, they would not hazard their being over-voted. Whereof we have had very many examples, not only in that rich trading province of Flanders, but also in Holland, especially with relation to England; with which country the Netherlands could formerly deal well enough. For before the halls and tumults had removed the weaving trade thither, the English were shepherds and wool merchants; and their king received few other imposts than from wool exported, no less depending on the Netherlands (the only wool weavers of Europe) than the weavers on them.
And amongst others we read in the year 1389, that duke Albert of Bavaria, as earl of Holland and Zealand, &c. having brought these provinces, without the consent of Dort and Zierickzee, into a war with England, the English took many ships with wine coming from Rochel; and not only released all those that belonged to Dort and Zierickzee, but came to those places to sell their prizes, because they had not consented to the war.
Which is demonstrated by the Incursus Magnus,And on this foundation is built the great intercourse (called intercursus magnus) between England and the Netherlands, containing expresly, That the same covenant is not only made between the sovereign lords of both sides, but between the vassals, cities and subjects also; so that those who had done the injury, and not others, should be punished, the peace and covenant remaining in full force, for the benefit of all others, who had not consented to the war, or injury done. So that if a ship had sailed out without the prince’s commission, or the commission of any city, that city was to make good the damage done by that ship. And this treaty (which is very observable) was not only signed by plenipotentiaries, on the behalf of the king of England, and the arch-duke as prince of these lands, but also sealed and signed by the burgo-masters of the cities of Ghent, Bruges, Ipres, Dunkirk, Newport, Antwerp, Bergen, Dort, Delft, Leyden, Amsterdam, Middle-burgh, Zierickzee, Veer, Mechelen, Brussels, and Brill, anno 1495.That was signed by all the trafficking cities. All which those on both sides affirm to have been transacted for the greater security of amity and trade.
For the council of the cities did not use to be under oath to the lord or prince who usurped, and acquired the nomination of their magistrates only by means of differences arising among the cities; but the cities might of antient times, without approbation of the earls, entertain soldiers in their own service.And it appeared also by the earls of Holland having no standing force, especially in peace: On the other side, the earls used in times of peace to have no garrisons, soldiers, magazines, or treasure, which, with the divisions of the cities of Amiens and St. Quintin formerly mort-gaged, were the cause that they fell from the house of Burgundy into the hands of the king of France, their antient lord, in 1470, of which Philip de Comines thus speaks: Charles Duke of Burgundy, holding an assembly of the states in his country, (viz. these provinces) represented to them the great prejudice he had suffered, by having no soldiery in pay on his frontiers, as the king had, and that the frontiers could have been well kept with 500 men at arms, and might have continued in peace.As also by Philip de Comines.He farther acquainted them with the great dangers which hung over their heads, and pressed hard for a supply to maintain 800 lanceers. In the end, the states agreed to allow him 120000 crowns annually, over and above what he received of his ordinary revenues, not including Burgundy.D. Charles of Burgundy the first who kept standing forces.But his subjects scrupled much to take that burden upon them, tho’ to distress France with this body of horse (for Lewis XI. king of France, was the first in Europe, who in a time of peace kept armed forces on foot). And indeed the states of the Netherlands scrupled it not without reason: for hardly had the duke raised 5 or 600 of his horse, but his desire of encreasing their number, and of invading all his neighbours, grew to that height, that in short time he brought them to the payment of five hundred thousand crowns, keeping in pay great numbers of horse, so that hissubjects were thereby greatly opprest. Thus far Comines.
But at the death of the duke those standing horse, in time of peace, were disbanded till the year 1547, when that formidable emperor Charles V. erected a certain number of standing troops, consisting of 4000 horse, commanded by colonels and captains, to be ready at all times, upon any attempt, on the frontiers, with their horses and arms. But Philip II. of Spain, being jealous of these armed inhabitants, neglected to pay and muster them: so that these regiments of the militia coming to nothing, and he purposing in lieu of them, to maintain a standing army of Spaniards in these countries, was opposed in that attempt by the states of the Netherlands, which was one of the principal occasions of our commotions and wars that ensued.
And lastly, by the union of Utrecht it appears how careful these Netherlands were to avoid a new war.And with the union of Utrecht, Holland neglected not altogether its interest in this particular: for according to the ninth article, no plurality of votes takes place in affairs of a new war, contribution, and peace. Which freedom the particular members of Holland have constantly kept, as well as in the assembly of the states; and not without reason: for seeing it is contrary to the law of nature, for men to give another the power of taking away their lives, on condition and promise that he will use it wholly for their benefit; but yet that if he makes an ill use of that power, and will take away their lives, they may not in self-defence use their natural strength against him: it follows, that all obligations which do so powerfully oppose and prejudice the welfare of our country, must be null and void, so long as we are masters of our own government.