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PART 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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Wherein enquiry is made in what the interest of the free rulers of Holland, as to all the particulars by which the people may live happily, consists.
Before we treat of the interest of rulers in general, we shallbriefly repeat what hath been discoursed of.HAVING hitherto shewn, that the welfare of the inhabitants of Holland is grounded upon the preservation and improvement of fisheries, manufactures, traffick and shipping, and that the same cannot be acquired nor kept but by liberty, or to speak plainer, a toleration of all religions, tho’ differing from the reformed, and by a free burgher-right for all strangers that will cohabit with us, with licence to follow all their trades and occupations whatever without trouble or molestation from their fellow inhabitants, in respect of any societies, companies, halls, guilds, or corporations: and by such moderation about convoy-moneys and tolls, that no ships or goods coming in, or going out, may be charged with, or eased and freed from all taxes, otherwise than as it may be subservient to the improvement of fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation. Moreover, having shewn that all the things before-mentioned are not sufficient to preserve and keep up the said fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation, unless the courts of justice, and laws be constituted and executed more than hitherto in favour of the inhabitants, and of traffick. And lastly that in foreign countries, colonies of Hollanders ought to be established and protected.
And in the second book having likewise shewn how necessary it is that the sea be cleared of all free-booters and pirates, and that peace be sought with all men. And moreover, having shewed that Holland is to beware of entring into any prejudicial alliances with its neighbours and potentates, but rather to strengthen their own frontiers, and inland cities, and exercise their inhabitants well in arms, and to keep the sword in their own hands, against all domestick and foreign power, which would be as great a strengthening and security to them, yea and more than any other country.The power of raising or ruining a people is in the magistrates hands. Therefore I judge it now useful, deliberately to examine whether a land having such interests, ought to be governed by a republican or monarchical form of government: for it is certain that all publick power to improve, or impair the interest of a land, and to preserve and enlarge, or diminish and ruin a state, must be, and is in the hands of the lawful rulers of a country, whether they be monarchs, princes, statesmen, or the common burgers.
And tho’ I have in many places of the two first parts of this treatise seemed to have said enough, that Holland and its inhabitants ought to be governed by a free republican government; yet seeing it was done but cursorily, and as aliud agendo, and that on a government that is well or ill constituted, according to the interest of the people, depends all their prosperity or adversity: it seems to me that in the third part of this treatise my best endeavours should be employed to enquire what kind of rulers would be most profited by the welfare of the fisheries, manufactures, traffick, and navigation, and all their consequences, or be most injured by the decay or weakning of them.As also that all rulers seek their own benefit more than another’s. For seeing it is true generally speaking, that all rulers whether high or low are alike in this, that in seeking their own profit, they do not aim at the benefit of the people to their own loss, but on the contrary (as no man halts of another man’s sore) will out of the common misfortune seek their own advantage; it is therefore evident, that of the two proposed governments, that will be best for Holland in which the well or ill being of the rulers depends upon, or is join’d with the well or ill being of the fishing, manufactures, traffick and navigation, and with all the necessary consequences or dependences of the same.
And upon that foundation we shall considerAnd tho’ several kinds of government might here come into consideration, yet, I conceive, that of the land of our nativity is the fittest, and agrees best with my brief undertaking, to guide my thoughts upon the government which is now there in being, and upon that which we lately had, and by many is desired again.What a republick and a monarchy really are. And to that end, I conceive it needful to express what we ought to understand by the words republick and republican governors, or monarchy and monarchical rulers.
By the word republick and republican rulers, I mean, not only such a state wherein a certain sovereign assembly hath the right and authority for coming to all resolutions, making of orders and laws, or to break them, as also of requiring or prohibiting obedience to them: But I understand thereby such a state wherein an assembly, tho’ possibly without any right, yet hath the power to cause all their resolutions, orders, and laws to be obeyed and put in execution.Not where the name of freedom or slavery is, nor yet where the right and the name alone is, but where the power also thereof is present. And again, by the word monarchy and monarchical rulers, not only such a state wherein one single person hath all right and power for the taking, making, or revoking all resolutions, orders, and laws, and to cause obedience to be given to them, or to hinder the observing of them: but I mean, thereby such a state wherein one only person, tho’ without right, yet hath the power to cause obedience to be given to all his orders, resolutions, and laws, or to suspend or hinder all orders, resolutions, and laws of the true and lawful highest assembly, that they be not executed, and this according to his own pleasure.
For tho’ it be true, that the republican form of government is so acceptable to the merchants, and all wise and vertuous men, that many will object, that the bare name, shadow, and appearance of freedom hath been able to encourage the traffick and navigation of Holland; yet to me it seems to be no less true, that we ought to expect many more good fruits from the thing it self, than from the appearance of it: and besides, it cannot be denied, but that the name and the shadow must, and shall always give way to, and vanish before the power, effect, and thing it self.The right and the name vanish by degrees, before the power and effect. So that he that will narrowly enquire into the good or bad fruits which are to be expected of such or such a kind of government, would do very ill if he should not let his thoughts and observations, in this particular, run more on the power which can operate without right, than upon right which without power is insignificant, and when violence or force comes, must always cease.
And that this may more clearly appear, the reader may please to consider, that by the word [lawful government] is meant, and must be meant, the right of compelling obedience to that government; Which is demonstrated by manifesting,and that this is grounded upon ancient possession, or upon laws, customs or oaths, or upon all together, which are of themselves weak, unless they be back’d by persons authorized, that are willing and ready at the command of the lawful rulers to punish such rebellious or perjured subjects. Whereas on the other side, a greater or stronger adherence of people to a governor, or some leading men, and without the least right, may have so great a power, that they shall destroy all good orders and customs; and such are wont to cast all the ancient and virtuous lawful rulers out of their right and possession.
Of what importance the love of the people is,Which adherence of the people I shall consider more at large, because thereby the being and power of all government is either made or broken. I shall first consider and fix upon an unarmed state, wherein the power of governing used to reside in those who can force obedience from the greater number, and especially of the meanest people. For in such a case one man is not only a person to be accounted as good as another, but then besides the poor, the ignorant, and the worst people will be always sooner ready to help to oppress lawful rulers than the other few rich, prudent, and virtuous inhabitants to defend them against that violence.
Or that of the soldiery.And as to an armed state, it is held by all men of understanding for an infallible maxim, that he that is master of the soldiery is, is consequently master of all those places where they lie in garrison; and he that is master of those places of strength, and of the soldiery, is likewise master of the state, or may make himself so when he pleases. For the soldiers have always their officers, whose commands they are daily accustomed to receive and obey, or else are severely punished for their disobedience. And seeing for their disobedience, or crimes against the polity of a people, they are not wont to be punished at all, or but very slackly, even when the illegal and wicked attempts of the captain generals miscarry, as also because they have nothing to lose; and lastly, seeing they have thereby also much more advantage in tumults and wars, than they can hope to gain in times of rest and peace;The rulers, as well as the people, used to be sway’d by the soldiery. therefore he that can get to be their chief head and master, tho’ by the greatest injustice of the world,* may suddenly set on foot all manner of undutiful practices and undertakings against the lawful and unarmed rulers, and fall upon them in hostile manner before they have time so to fortify their cities, and exercise the burghers and boors in arms, as to drive away the seditious soldiery from their gates and walls.
And if the said maxim, that he that is master of the places of strength and soldiery, is also master, or may make himself so, of the state, be infallibly true;Especially by him that has the soldiery, and at the same time the rabble on his side. then it is a more material truth, that he who, besides the command of the soldiery, possesseth the favour of most of the inhabitants, or the rude rabble, can make himself master of the state, when he assembles the said soldiery for that end. So that if any one may do this by a deputed power, we must consider him, tho’ a servant or minister to the state, as having in all respects the power of the republick in his hands;Because the strength of a government consists of such parties. and therefore the thing itself being duly considered, he is already sovereign monarch of that state, and is so to be understood, that the name and the right of that free republican government will likewise soon vanish, and consequently after that, not any of the fruits of the free government, or any thing like it ought to be expected. But on the contrary, all that useth to proceed from a monarchical government, must be supposed to happen; and therefore such a government ought no more to be called a republick, but a monarchy in practice and in fact.
See Aitzma, how the states were fain to demean themselves towards pr. Henry.And the more, whilst the governors of a country, where there is such a commander in chief, during that colour or appearance of a free government, must always have an eye upon him, and in all weighty matters, sycophant like, repair to his profound wisdom, and take special care that they oppose it not, unless that miserable and humble suppliant means immediately to be deposed, if not worse handled by the rulers in power;Which we may clearly discern by the Roman republick. wherein *Rome may and ought to serve us for an example: for if Rome, which was provided with so many hundred counsellors of state ad vitam, and so many hundred thousand sprightly citizens that loved their liberty, was not able to preserve her freedom against the tyranny of one such head, it is then impossible for others to do it in the like case.
Which could not preserve its freedom under several heads of the soldiery.Especially when it is considered, that that high-spirited republick having always had several warlike general officers, who did ever mutually envy one another, and therefore were too weak to master the republick; yet was it fain at last to bow the neck under them, and serve them after a slavish manner, as soon as one of those principal officers became too strong for all the rest, or that three of them conspired together, and divided the republick amongst them. So that a republick, where one single person or head possesseth the general favour of the rabble and soldiery, according to the said maxim of state, may be accounted to have lost its universal freedom, or shall certainly lose it.
The common freedom in Holland cannot subsist under a perpetual head over all its forces.And this infallible maxim will of all countries be found truest in Holland, when the said republick shall maintain a considerable army of foreign soldiers in constant pay, that are born and educated in monarchical countries, such as France and England, &c. and put them into impregnable cities, and strong-holds, which surround the republick of Holland: and on the other side, Holland consisting of cities wholly unfortified, and governed by a very few aristocratical rulers, and mostly inhabited by a people so ill informed in the grounds of their own welfare, and in the lawful government of the country, that they will expect much more prosperity under such a potent head, than from a free republick; and besides, will conceive, that they owe more obedience to the master of the soldiery, and strong-holds, than to the said aristocratical rulers; in such a condition we shall find, that* where force comes, right ceaseth; and that a government cannot be safe without the possession of the sword.
Seeing the ministers of government and justice can never preserve their own against a hired soldiery.According to the known truth and maxim of politicians, the sword of war in the hand of a captain-general is always sharper, and reacheth farther than the sword of justice in the hands of political or civil rulers and judges. This might be confirmed by numerous examples which I shall not mention, because they are pertinently related in that unanswerable deduction of the states of Holland, and likewise in the political ballance of V. H. where it is shewn that all republicks, which have had a military or political head, have not long preserv’d their liberty, especially when the son of such a head shall come to be vested in the same office and dignity. And now to the matter in hand; the reader is in the first place earnestly desired maturely to consider, whether the author of the said political ballance has not abundantly shewn, that a republican government in all countries of the world, and especially in Holland, would be much more advantageous to the people than a government by a single person.See the second part, c. 1. §. 10.
Fisheries, manufactures, &c. depend upon having free rulers.Secondly, It is very well worth observation, that in republicks the rulers, magistrates, and other publick ministers, have very little reward and salary for their service, who while they are in the condition of citizens, neither may nor can enrich themselves with the revenues of the land, and therefore are necessitated by others ways than that of magistracy, and publick imployments, to maintain themselves and their families, as by merchandizing, &c. Thus it is still, or was lately in the republicks of Venice, Genoa, Ragousa, Lucca, Milan, Florence, &c. At least it is well known that in Holland very many rulers and magistrates maintain themselves by the fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation.
Or if some of the rulers and servants of the republick of Holland do possess such estates as to be able to live at ease on their lands and revenues, yet it is evident that the reformed religion, permitting no cloisters or spiritual revenues, and the publick worship being performed by ministers for a very small reward or salary, and by the elders and deacons gratis, there is no relief to be had thence for distressed, impoverished relations and families. So that many rulers being sensible, that according to the proverb, many swine cause but thin wash;Because the government and magistracy yield little profit here. either they themselves, or at least their posterity in the third or fourth generation, must in this naturally poor, tho’ for merchandize well situated country, rise again by traffick. And hence it is that all the rulers in Holland are derived of parents that have lived by the fisheries, manufacturies, traffick or navigation, and so their children after them;They oft breed up their children to merchandizing, or marry them to merchants children. and that the said rulers do still daily to maintain their families find it proper to marry their children to rich merchants, or their children. So that such rulers, whether considered in themselves by their consanguinity or affinity, are in all respects interested in the welfare or illfare of the fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation of this country.
Which is the more credible in the cities of Holland, because the common-council, and the magistrates consist but of a few persons thereto elected in such a manner, that the government, and those particular imployments being fixed to no particular families, those who by accident come to get the greatest authority or administration, do use, out of natural love, ambition and jealousy, to advance their own friends, and to exclude the friends of the deceased rulers and magistrates, most of them having already had their turn in the government and magistracy: so that from time to time new families come into the government, and the magistracies of cities, which yield for the most part but little profit, and that only during some yearly magistracy or commission, fall vacant so seldom, that all those new families cannot be provided for, much less maintained by them. Wherefore it is and will be necessary, so long as the government is not tied or intailed to any particular family, that many of the relations of the rulers in the cities of Holland must live by merchandizing.
And accordingly we must believe, that the said rulers and magistrates, under a free government, whether in their own cities, or at the assemblies of Holland, will, by their counsels and resolutions, endeavour to preserve and increase the same means of subsistence for the country in general; unless it could be proved, that the republican form of government, and by its necessary consequences, (viz. liberty of conscience, freedom of burgership, and from monopolies, laying aside all trafficking companies, halls and guilds, which defraud other inhabitants of that way of living;Whatever is necessary for the prosperity of the country, will be profitable for the rulers. likewise moderating, or taking away of convoys and tolls, ordering and directing justice to the benefit of the common inhabitants, and merchandizing, by colonies, by their keeping the seas open and free from privateers; by peace, fortified cities, and arming the inhabitants) unless I say it could be proved that the inhabitants are more endamaged by these, or put into a better condition by using compulsion in matters of religion, by secluding from burgher-right, by monopolies, societies, or companies of merchants, by patents, halls and guilds, unreasonable high convoy-money, and tolls, corrupt justice, sea robberies and wars for want of colonies, and by weak cities and unarmed inhabitants. So that I find myself bound to enquire a little more strictly into all the parts thereof, and yet with all the brevity I can.
Freedom of religion not hurtful to free rulers.As to the administration or service of the church, by the preacher, elder and deacon in Holland; it must be confessed that those services there are of so little profit and credit, that the rulers and magistrates, or their friends, are very seldom inclined to perform those functions: so that the freedom and toleration of the assemblies of different worship in Holland, cannot be expected (from such a supreme head) by rulers or magistrates, because the dissenters, under pretence of assembling for the service of God, would endeavour to make insurrections, and thereby depose the rulers to domineer over the state, and the established religion. Against which it may be said, that the honest dissenting inhabitants, who fare well in this country, or possess any considerable estates, ought not to be presumed to fall into such seditious thoughts, so destructive to themselves and the country, so long as they are not imbittered by persecution;Seeing it would not so much occasion as hinder tumults. but on the contrary will be obliged by such liberty, easy and moderate government, to shew their gratitude to so good a magistracy. Wherefore the rascally people, or those of mean estates, and ambitious and seditious inhabitants, would be deprived of all adherents,V. Thuan. Hist in Præfat. ad Regem. whom otherwise under the cloak of religion they might the more easily gain to carry on their ill designs.
The heads of the seditious make use of the tongues and pens of preachers, as the cat’s paw.And moreover it is well known to all prudent men, that such persons as seek after sovereignty, do usually favour seditious preachers, and zealous devotees, that by the help of those tumultuous spirits they may arrive at that dignity; and yet no sooner do they acquire that sovereign power, but presently they are sensible how unfit those stubborn and imprudent devotees and seditious preachers are to be made use of in magistracy or government; insomuch that they then use to desert them, and in lieu of preferring and inriching them, use to punish them for their sedition.
Hereof we have lately had very remarkable examples in France, when King Henry IV. had so long favoured the preachers and people of the reformed religion (there called Hugenots) as he needed them, and then abandoned and curb’d them as he saw fit: so that now among their offspring we may see the miserable state of the Hugenots in that country. And later than that we have seen the like in England, where Oliver Cromwell having craftily made use of, first of the Presbyterians, and then of the Independant preachers, and those of their party to favour him, and by their multitude to gain the protectorship, yet afterwards wholly forsook them, and often punished them severely.
And that prince William the elder would have taken the same course, appears clearly by our histories, which testify that the reformed preachers, who in the beginning of those tumults were very kind to him, afterwards, when he was arrived at his highest pitch of grandeur, they hated and spoke injuriously of him, because he was not kind enough to them, and gave more liberty to those of different perswasions in the service of God than was pleasing to them; and things went so far, that the principal and most refined of the reformed preachers did in their pulpits openly exclaim against him for an atheist, and ungodly person: and therefore in the year 1580, he found himself constrained to move the states of Holland and Zealand to make good and found laws about church-government, declaring, that unless some good order were taken about the same, the reformed religion, and the country too, would fall to ruin. And accordingly they proceeded so far with these spiritual laws, that we may truly say, the only reason why they remained imperfect, was the sudden death of the said prince. In the mean time he could very hardly maintain his power against those ecclesiasticks, and kept it up only by his numerous adherents, whom he acquired by his great moderation as aforesaid towards the other inhabitants that were of different judgments and opinions. And this aversion of the reformed preachers and zealots towards prince William went so far, that for that reason they greatly affected the earl of Leicester, and hated his son Maurice whom he left behind him, and became stadtholder of Holland and Zealand, &c. till he and the most refined of the ministry were afterwards reconciled and united, and at last colluded together about the political government and church-service in those sad unsettled years of 1618, and 1619. Wherefore it is not to be believed that the lawful authority of this republick being now delivered from a single person that aimed at the sovereignty, will give much countenance to the most politick and chief churchmen, or that a toleration of religions would easily give occasion of an uproar here.
Prudent toleration of the Romish religion in Holland, would not be detrimental to the civil government.But if any should conceive that the papists, who are the strongest sect in number, order, and combination (as having the pope for their chief head, and others their spiritual heads amongst them, and being generally inclined to our powerful neighbour the king of Spain, who formerly was lord of this country) might be able, in case they had more liberty to exercise their religion, to subvert so mild a government, and possess it themselves. In answer hereunto it may truly be said, that the Roman Catholicks in their religion are governed in a monarchical manner, and consequently where they are supreme, suffer no other sects; so that in such a case all other dissenting inhabitants of our land would join with the rulers of our republicks, whereby more than 4/5 [Editor: illegible text] parts of the said inhabitants would adhere to the lawful civil power, to quell those seditious persons at their first rising.
But coercion in religion would prove hursful.But in case of compulsion there might follow a concurrence in points of faith among the inhabitants; it were fit then to be considered, whether when this difference in matters of religion ceased, the churchmen who have their office during life, and not for some few years, by their sermons to their hearers, who for the most part suppose, they hear nothing but god’s word out of the ministers mouths, and therefore believe they obey God when they obey the ministers; and also on the other side, when the obey political commands and laws, they obey men only: I say, it ought well to be considered, whether in a short time they might not acquire a greater number of followers or adherents when they give themselves out for God’s ambassadors, and teach men that scriptural saying, That we must rather obey god and his embassadors than man; and this out of a corrupt self-love, and natural ambition; and so find it good corruptly and impiously to instruct their auditors, thereby to magnify themselves as it hath oft happened, and may again happen; and whether their adherents might not consequently make such ambitious churchmen so powerful, as to cause the civil governors, who exercise the magistracy here but for a short time, to truckle under them.
The ecclesiasticks thereby gain too great a party against the civil powers.We have examples of the primitive times, that the spiritual persons of those days, having first converted the Roman emperors to christianity, and by degrees brought under the heathen opposers more by that political power, than by a holy life, and strong reasons, did afterwards make use of their sermons to aggrandize their acquired ecclesiastical power to the detriment of the civil authority, by erecting an hierarchy, or church-power independent from the political, such as is now under the papacy.
From this ambition of churchmen the proverb rose, * that the clergy always fear and hate the supreme authority; or to vary the phrase, it hath been an old game; my nunkle is ever plucking my lord’s staff out of his hand, not only to evade being beat therewith himself, but also to beat others and make them submit to him.
Lib. 7. Chron.This is also confirmed by Otto Frisingensis, tho’ a Romish bishop, who said, that the empire, by reason of its love to religion, impaired itself, yea was exhausted;The same happened in the Roman and German empire. and that it had so aggrandized the church, that it was not only deprived of the spiritual, but also of the temporal sword, which evidently belongs to the empire; adding thereunto very ingeniously: “And altho’ it be above our power to treat hereof, so as to give sentence, yet methinks the clergy are very blame-worthy who endeavour to injure the state, viz. the German or Romish empire, with a sword which they have acquired of the rulers, and by the favour of the emperors; unless they will herein imitate David, who, when he had felled the Philistine by the spirit of God, cut of Goliab’s head with his own sword.”
Which might not proceed from an ecclesiastical, but a general human frailty.But the truth is, if you please to enquire diligently into the reasons of these broils and jealousies, between the sovereign rulers and magistrates on the one side, and the clergy on the other, we shall find, that tho’ the imprudence and ignorance of the rulers, and their love to the clergy, might at first have contributed somewhat towards it, yet that ignorance and favour was not so great for a long season after their first conversion to christianity, as to effect it. And as to the clergy’s self-love and ambition, we shall find that they are not defects peculiar to the clergy only, but common to all mankind.
Heathen priests and Jews have not caused so many seditions against the state as Christian priests.So that they that will enquire into the causes why of late times there have been more dissentions and enmity between the civil rulers and the publick teachers of christianity than before, during heathenism and judaism, must observe, that heathenism and judaism consisted mostly in sacrifices, without publick sermons and common-prayers, and much more convocations; and that those sacrifices, for divers things not happening daily nor weekly, but once a-year, or seldom, required so little time, that among the Heathens, the kings, burgo-masters, and principal field-officers, whether all together or successively, might officiate as easily as priests.The heathens least, because they used not to preach. Wherefore as no reason can be given, why one person vested with those two offices, should be seditious to magnify his service in the church, by diminishing that to the state; so we cannot see how those heathen priests, being divested of all secular power, could have caused insurrections, without being immediately suppressed by the supreme power.
The Jewish priests more because they preach’d sometimes.We ought likewise strictly to observe, that the Jewish high-priests became such partly by birth, and that by virtue of that office in the time of the Israelitish free government, they might be chosen the second, and in the time of the kings, the first person or president of the supreme court of government and justice called the Sanhedrim;See Schikard’s Jus Reg. Heb. p. 10. and besides, they had all the priests and the whole tribe of Levi to follow them, whereby they had great opportunities to alter the political state after their own pleasure, when they could acquire the reputation of being gifted with the spirit of prophesy, and be suffered to prophesy publickly before the people. So that indeed there were also many tumults and changes that happened in the state when some impious priests, and false prophets abused the power of the church to make themselves great.Ibid. p. 8, 9, 10. But in regard nevertheless that the ordinary Jewish worship consisted in sacrifices, and that the high-priests were not always chosen members of the Sanhedrim, or did not get the opportunity of prophesying before the people, they could not therefore put their projects in execution to the prejudice of the civil power, and advantage of the priestly state.
The Christian preachers most of all, by their sermons and prayers.But it is very observable on the other side, that the christian worship doth mostly consist in a verbal application to God, by such as are no civil or armed teachers, and in their sermons apply themselves to a great assembly of people. Which administration, considering its weight, and constant preparation by study and employment, takes up the whole man, and the abuse hereof may be very mischievous to the civil magistrate. The higher powers have therefore appointed particular persons to exercise the civil and military offices, and others to take the charge of the worship of God in manner aforesaid, and to abstain from all secular employments;See the 12 first titles of the Codex de Novell. of Justinian, and the constitutions of the emperor Leo. so that it necessarily followed hence, that in all those places where such publick teachers and their hearers were of the same mind or belief, those preachers have had a great power and influence to quiet or disquiet the minds of the subject.
So that rulers (seeing how the preachers influenced the people) were compelled to favour them in tumultuous times, if they would be obeyed by their subjects, who will in such times be more moved by the admonition of the preachers, than by the commands of the civil magistrate.Being always able to irritate or appease their auditors. For tho’ rulers might easily perceive that this increase of ecclesiastical power will be very prejudicial in future times to their successors, yet they chuse to enjoy the present benefit, to keep up their own grandeur, and hereby many times great, civil or military officers have attempted to obtain the supreme power.
Especially in countries where the subjects are of one religion, and which is monarchically governed.So that it is not strange if preachers, being sensible of their own strength in countries where there are no dissenters from them, have always opposed the crown; and yet by reason of their weakness in the government, their exclusion from civil employment, and their being unarmed, they have hardly attained their ends, but have been able continually to raise tumults and dissension. And tho’ since the reformation, the clergy in the German and Switzer republicks have not by their sermons, and the unanimity of the inhabitants in matters of faith, been able hitherto to over-top or equal the civil power of the numerous free rulers, great councils, &c. yet I conceive, that in case of such an unanimous sentiment of the inhabitants in the cities of Holland, our small number of magistrates or city-councils could not be able to keep their yearly magistracy without prejudice by those preachers. For every one would clearly discern that the party who adhere to the clergy do far exceed the civil magistrates adherents, in natural strength;Why the same above all republicks should be seared in Holland. so that such preachers would not always be kept under by mercenary soldiers: wherefore they and those of their church-councils could never have an opportunity of withdrawing themselves from under the civil power.
And seeing the preachers and their adherents by such by opportunities, are daily capable of putting their ill designs in practice when they please;See that excellent book Luc. Antist. Const. de Jure Ecclesiasticorum, printed 1665. we are therefore to expect that all preachers will not keep within their due bounds, but that many of them in seditious times will extend their legal and limited employment under pretence of their ecclesiastical power, to the chief or sovereign command in the affairs of the church, and to an impudent boldness of expounding in the pulpit all political acts or laws, under the pretext of God’s word, and so to say whatever they have a mind to:Preachers are but men as well as others. unless we had reason to believe, that the reformed preachers pretending to a revelation and special assistance of God’s spirit, or a special godly call to the ministry, and accordingly being sufficiently qualified to that service, consisting in an extraordinary holiness and obedient reverence towards God, and their lawful magistracy, are not so subject to ambition and covetousness as other clergymen are.
But God amend it, says our proverb, ministers are no saints, and therefore the same temptations that ensnare others, mislead them too, which hath often appeared in these countries formerly, and since the reformation, by frequent political corrections and banishments of preachers from cities for their offensive sermons and prayers; and every one still remembers what happened about the same in our times at Amsterdam, Utrecht, Delft, Goude, the Hague, &c. And tho’ those that are good preachers should not be oppressed for the said defects, weaknesses and ambition, yet it is necessary that rulers so govern the state, that seditious and proud preachers shall not be able to subvert the republick, and ruin the prosperity of the land.
And therefore we may presume, that our wise free rulers will ever continue to indulge and permit the religious assemblies of dissenters, hereby to invite over continually more dissenting people into Holland; and will plant and improve the reformed religion, not by compulsion but moderation, and soft means among their good dissenting inhabitants; and that they will always preserve, and maintain in like manner our present publick worship, without ever admitting of an episcopal, or any other coercive spiritual authority.
A free burgership would do more good than harm to free rulers, because it would cause populous cities.An open or free burgership, with a right for all foreign inhabitants to follow their employments, being added to liberty of conscience in matters religious; it will certainly cause very great and populous cities, and incredible many conveniences and divertisements for all foreign inhabitants: so that all civil magistrates ought for that reason, were there no other, to endeavour it; and the more the better, if we observe that in such lands and cities, offices do exccedingly multiply, and are made profitable, and that then the rulers would have the power to prefer many, if not all their friends to make them to live in credit and ease.And consequently many offices and benefices for their friends.
Moreover, in such lands and cities there will be found naturally among the inhabitants diversities in religion, nations, tongues and occupations: so that there would be no occasions ministred to the few aristocratical rulers who govern our republick and cities, of dividing the people by artificial, and often impious designs, in order to govern them:And those rulers will thereby have an easy government. for by these natural divisions, and the diversity of the peoples occupations, they may as peaceably and safely govern them, as in the open country; for in the great cities of Holland, and other cities filled with foreign inhabitants, as Amsterdam, Leyden, Haerlem, &c. there have been nothing near so many seditions against the rulers, as in other countries, and much less and worse peopled cities, unless when they have been stirred up to mutiny or sedition by a sovereign head. For in such a case, I confess that no countries or cities, great or small, are or can be at rest, and without uproars of the subjects against their rulers and magistrates, any longer than such a head pleaseth to leave such lands and cities in peace.
And be better settled against foreign power.Finally, it is to be observed, that the rulers of such populous open countries and cities, are also much better able to defend themselves against all foreign power, whether by an army formed of their own inhabitants, or by strengthening their respective cities by good fortifications, and repelling all enemies from their walls. And seeing on the other side the rulers of Holland will not be advantaged by a burgership that excludes all foreigners, we may therefore believe that they will easily approve of it.
Select Companies, &c. excluding other inhabitants, are very prejudicial to free rulers.As to societies or companies erected by patents, halls and guilds, upon manufactures, trades, fisheries, commerce and navigation; it is certain that the rulers, governors, and masters of guilds, having power at their pleasure, or certain times and places, to call assemblies, and by a general interest having an united number of dependents, members and their followers, whether of mariners, soldiers, clothiers;Because they may cause uproars. and brethren of the guild or workmen may have fair opportunities by sedition to displace a few aristocratical rulers, and put themselves into their places, as hath been in all Netherlandish cities, where heretofore such halls and guilds have been erected, viz. Ghent, Bruges, Iper, Loven, Antwerp, Dort, Liege, wherein there were many tumults proceeding from that cause.
And tho’ hitherto there hath arisen no seditious commotion of note from the patent companies, yet it is certain that they tend only to the advantage of some very few persons, and to the detriment of all other inhabitants of that way of dealing;And lay the grounds of one government in another. and having laid the foundation of one government within another, they may in time expect from thence, especially under a free government, more commotions, unless the civil rulers be so prudent and happy as to appoint their deputies in all the said assemblies, who will not seek their own welfare in the government by faction or combination, but by a praiseworthy desire after the welfare of their native country, to seek the common good.
So that if on the other hand we do rightly conceive that the rulers of the Holland cities, by erecting of companies, halls and guilds, have not the prospect of a considerable benefit to arise thereby to themselves; we may presume to say, that hereafter they will have little inclination to bar the freedom of their commonalty by new grants, and consequently that the old grants and restrictions which hereafter shall be prolonged or continued, will be in such a plight, that they cannot, according to the proverb, without prejudice to the nation, be either altered or annuled.
Free rulers ought to set the rates on goods paying convoy money with great caution.Concerning the rates of convoy-money, or customs upon goods exported or imported; let them be laid on with such prudence and moderation, that they may be calculated purely for the benefit of our manufactures, fisheries, traffick and navigation. I have already shewn how much the rulers of Holland are concerned in the flourishing of those particulars. Wherefore on the other side it is evident, that during a free government a very good account of all monies received ought to be given, and that the same ought to be employed for the clearing of the seas.Because they may not put the money into their own purses. It is self evident, that the rulers cannot enrich themselves with the money issuing thence; and therefore the said rulers of the Holland cities will not henceforth be inclin’d to charge goods with such high and prejudicial rates, but rather in process of time to favour the merchants in that particular; and that the seas be cleared by such moneys as are the publick revenue of the land, raised of all the inhabitants as such, and to defend the merchant from oppression by sea.
Courts of Justice should be better regulated by republick rulers, because they tend to their own advantageMoreover, from what is said before it may be fairly inferred, that such interested free rulers should incline to enact good orders and laws, and so to frame justice, that there may be quicker dispatch made, and better justice done, and that knavish bankrupts be punished and the honest merchants protected in their right: for the civil rulers by encreasing the number of subordinate judges and counsellors, may be able to bestow on their best friends more honourable and profitable employments, and by that means the better settle themselves in the government and magistracy. Whereas by the contrary, such judges will rather be prejudiced than advantaged by bribes, and the favour or disfavour of the rulers, because possibly they would not give so much money on that score as others would.
They should erect new colonies for the same reason.As to colonies, it is evident that the rulers of republicks do not pay out of their own purses the expence of erecting and protecting them from outward violence; but it is paid out of the publick treasury, and in the mean while they would reap this benefit for their indigent relations to send them to such colonies, when they are not able to prefer them all in Holland: and the like might be done with many other inhabitants that are ambitious of government, or publick imployment; and the said colonies would in no other regard be hurtful to the republican rulers. So that since those colonies would be so generally profitable for the land, and inhabitants of Holland, as is heretofore described, we are then rationally to expect that they will be erected by our rulers.
And the seas ought to be kept clear from pirates or enemies.As to the clearing of the seas against enemies and piccaroons; it is certain that during a free republican government, the treasure requisite for building and setting forth of ships, proceeds not out of the rulers purses; and that they and their friends that trade at sea, being as liable as other inhabitants to lose their goods by such enemies, and that this may be prevented without putting them to any charge, we may likewise expect the same of them. And that the sea may with honour and safety for the state be cleared by the free rulers, cannot be denied.Without prejudice to republican rulers. For tho’ the admiral of a fleet going to sea without a sufficient strength, should lose the said fleet to the enemies of the state, and thereby might exceedingly mischieve our republick, yet would it not totally bereave us of our liberty, nor should it be dissolved by such a treachery; but on the contrary, our republick has ever been able to be recruited, and has oft-times been reinforced by our land forces, when they have been intrusted to captain-generals; and even when they have thought fit to use their strength to conquer the cities of Holland, and to seize their deputies when they were assembled by summons. And therefore since the free rulers will not incline to carry on an offensive war, and consequently to send a chargeable army into the field to take cities from our neighbours; it is not credible that the said convoy-monies paid for clearing the seas, will be taken from the admiralties, to make therewith any needless and yet chargeable conquests by land, and in the mean while to abandon our inhabitants, or their goods, to the depredations of the sea-robbers.
Lastly, it is certain that the rulers of Holland, and all their trafficking subjects would fare much better in times of peace than in war, because then they would be reverenced and obeyed by them without any opposition.The free Holland rulers ought especially to aim at peace. And besides, our city magistrates cannot receive any considerable profit by war, either by land or sea, but must bear all new burdens and taxes thereby arising, as well as the other inhabitants, and cannot be freed from the same, as the late heads of our republick were. It is evident the soldiery, and their officers, who are for monarchical government, and an illustrious general ad vitam, would not use their due and strenuous endeavours to perform the commands and counsels of the republick, or those that are in authority for the state:Because they as well as the common inhabitans must bear all the burdens of a war, so that the rulers of the republick of Holland, in case of an unsuccessful war, would soon see their respect from the subject diminished, and be every way aspersed by the sottish ill-natur’d rabble, who always judge of things by the success, and ever hate, and are ready to impeach the aristocratical rulers of their republick; with whom some lavish, ambitious and debauched people, whether rulers or subjects, might join themselves to stir up fedition, and under pretence of being of the prince’s or captain-general’s faction, turn this republick into a monarchy, in hope of attaining the most eminent and profitable employments under the monarch.
And of a captain general.And above all, the present free governours would be liable to that hazard in case they should make use of such a field general in their wars by land, whose ancestors have had the same trust reposed in them; for then, whether in good or bad successes, those few citizens that rule in Holland during life, and serve in the magistracy but a year or two, would soon find that none amongst them would dare to to tie the bell about the cat’s neck, to discharge such a captain-general with so many dependents and adherents, when they have no further need of his service, or to punish him when he deserved it, whether by disobedience, correspondency with the enemy, or any attempt against the free government, even tho’ an open endeavour to gain the sovereignty; so that thereby alone our republick would be really changed into a monarchy.
Yea be kick’d out of employment by a common field officer.And moreover, suppose we should chuse a meaner person to be our capt. general, and give him the command of the whole troops of this state, and that but for a short time, yet it is evident that the rulers of Holland would put themselves in great danger of being overmastered by that captain-general, as by innumerable examples which happened here and in other countries may be perceived; unless men could make the dull Hollanders to believe that God hath indued them with two miraculous privileges above all other people in the world: the first is, that they shall never chuse any captain-general but out of such excellent and blessed families, that tho they could, yet differing from all other men, they would not rather chuse to be lords than servants;Unless God would continually work miracles for our country. and that therefore that ambition that is natural to all men, even to their very graves, should find no place in him during his whole life. And the second is, that the Hollanders having at first, whether voluntarily or inadvertently, and after that by succession or constraint, placed over themselves a monarch in fieri, that then God from heaven will snatch away such a monaach suddenly, and by an unexpected judgment deliver a people from slavery, who are so unworthy of liberty, as indeed hath sometimes happened.
But it would be cursed divinity, which instead of forewarning us, that if we love the danger, and will not avoid the places where plagues do reign, we shall find our certain ruin in those places; and moreover instead of teaching us to be thankful to God for that great and undeserved mercy, should continue to instigate us to seek mercy once again, and provoke him by publick and private prayers, tending to cause us to return to Egypt out of that free land of promise, and there obstinately to pull down upon our own heads a heavy yoke, under which our forefathers were constrained to groan, and from which we by the mercy and blessing of God were wonderfully delivered.
Republican rulers ought to make good alliances with foreigners.And concerning alliances with foreign princes and potentates, it is apparent that princes have not so much interest in the welfare of their subjects as in a republick; nor is there that wisdom or virtue in a monarchy, as in a free government: we shall here more and more shun those prejudicial engagements.
And to fortify the cities sufficiently, and provide them with arms.And as touching the interest of the rulers of a free republick, or of kings and princes about fortifying the frontiers and populous cities, as also about exercising the commonalty in arms: I suppose it hath abundantly been shewed you in the first chapter of this book, that it is only to be expected of rulers of republicks, but not at all from kings and princes; so that it is needless to speak any more of it here.
Wherein is maturely considered the interest of the monarchical government in Holland as to all the foregoing matters, by which the commonalty may thrive or prosper.
Monarchical government would be very chargeable to Holland by its court.I Come now to enquire whether manufactures, fishery, traffick, or shipping, and all the means before-mentioned, that are necessary or useful for the prosperity of the country, would be well managed and laid to heart by monarchical rulers; or on the contrary neglected and ruined by them.
For the solution of this question, we ought to consider, that so small a country producing nothing of its own for which foreigners bring money into Holland; and on the other side, being charged with all the natural taxes mentioned in the third chapter of the first part of this book; it would be farther charged by a monarchical government, whose family expences would yearly consume many millions. And it is also certain that the good inhabitants, out of whose purses those sums must be squeezed, would moreover at the same time be subject to all manner of uneasinesses, which necessarily attends a monarchical government, and are expressed in a book intitled, The Political Ballance of V. H with many circumstances, so that I shall be but short in relating them here.
And would both lessen and weaken great cities.It is acknowledged, that an intelligent prince will by all means endeavour to bring the great cities of Holland into such a state or condition, as to lord it over them without any controul; and at the best it would follow, that to weaken the power of the old rulers and natives, such a sovereign would, as much as in him lay, bring in new upstarts or foreigners into the government; and would moreover continually favour the villages and smaller cities, to the prejudice of the great and strong ones.
And keep them in awe with castles;And seeing neither the rulers nor inhabitants of such great cities could with any patience look upon their own ruin: He will therefore fill their garrisons with foreign troops to force them to bear it, at least so long as those troops are too strong for the citizens. And since this would not give him sufficient satisfaction, and would besides be extraordinary chargeable, he would therefore force such populous cities by erecting citadels over them.
As we have seen by the Spanish monarchs.Thus the wife and absolute Spanish monarchs, Charles the fifth, and Philip the second, knew no better course to make those great and trading cities of Naples and Milan, Antwerp and Gent submit to their yoke, than by forcing them with citadels. Moreover we have seen, and may still see in our own days, that the late king of France going yet further, and following the maxims of the famous cardinal Richelieu, he intirely dismantled and berest of all strength that maritime and frontier city of Rochel.And the French. And upon the same motive Lewis the fourteenth, in the year 1667, having taken the two trading and populous cities of Dornick and Rissel, gave command immediately to overawe and curb them with castles.
So that it is no wonder if the city of Amsterdam in the year 1571, being then about the bigness of 200 morgens or acres of land, tho’ the rulers thereof were no less faithful to the king than other zealous Roman Catholicks were, gave occasion to the said Philip of Spain to intend to build a citadel there, because of the flourishing of their Eastern trade, their populousness, and formidable greatness, or apt situation to defend itself against all foreign power:See Vigl. Ep. 136. ad Hopperum. but the king was moved to leave that castle unbuilt, not so much by the Amsterdammers offering him two hundred thousand guilders for the building of the castle at Flushing which was then begun, as by reason of the sudden troubles which soon after ensued, with the loss of the Briel and Flushing, when he had no more occasion for the Amsterdammers favour.Above all places Amsterdam would have been under the power of Castles. And therefore ’tis not improbable, that our last captain general and stadtholder, following these maxims of sovereignty, designed in the year 1650 to force the city of Amsterdam, which was then enlarg’d to 600 morgens or acres of land in circumference, and inhabited by three hundred thousand souls, by building a castle on the Vigendam, and another on the Voolwyk.
But it very seldom happens that monarchs and princes do rule by themselves, and not by others; there are also children, weak-brain’d, and old doting persons that bear the name of Rulers, and yet in effect must be ruled by others;Guardians favourites and courtiers will rifle and drain the people. and such monarchs and princes that are in the flower of their age, take greatest pleasure in fulfilling their fleshly lusts: so that while they are orphans, and old men, those that are their favourites or guardians, whether women, princes, or nobles, and sometimes courtiers, whores and rogues, who minister fuel for their lord’s or lady’s debauches and lusts, and so gratify their delights and pleasures, use to rule all.As is set forth in the politick Weeghscale van V. H. And therefore it is reasonable to believe that all these persons, whether guardians and favourites, or minions and courtiers, that for some time govern the land instead of their sovereign, do not in that time wholly forget to enrich themselves and their relations by all imaginable means, and many times by rapine out of the estates of the rich trading inhabitants. All which being discoursed at large in the Political Ballance of V. H. I shall not hear speak of it in general, but go over in particular, and examine how much the manufactures, fisheries, traffick, and navigation of Holland, and its dependences, are likely to be prejudiced or improved by a monarchical government.
And in the first place I conceive, that neither such rulers as do actually govern, whether men or women, their guardians, favorites or courtiers, princesses or nobles, will regard or concern themselves in the least for the manufactures, fisheries, traffick or navigation, and what depends upon them: for according to the calculation or number of the few families of the courtiers, compared with all those of Holland, there are an incredible number of both honourable and profitable employments and benefices belonging to the government of the populous countries, and great trading cities; and these courtiers would make them much more beneficial for themselves than they now are, under pretence that the monarch’s revenues would thereby be improved. Whereas indeed, when all the revenues of the monarch are summ’d up, the bestowing of such profitable, yea and creditable offices, which may always be made profitable, are therein included.Courtiers will drive no trade. And therefore such guardians, favourites and courtiers, being able to inrich themselves and their friends after this manner, none will be so sottish as to seek their maintenance by an uncertain gain, and with the danger of losing all in that ever laborious and anxious way of merchandizing.
If they merchandize it must be to the prejudice of others.But supposing that the sovereign, or his guardians, favourites, courtiers, and their relations should seek their gain by manufactures, fisheries, traffick, and navigation, or what depends on them, they would then make such orders and laws by their overswaying power, or would manage it so that it might tend to their own benefit, tho’ all the other trading inhabitants of Holland should be thereby prejudic’d.
Hollanders having a natural aversion to court flatterers,And besides it is certain, that the rich, and naturally clownish Hollanders, would not be so apt to gain the love and favour of our monarchs, princes, or nobles, by courtly services, as the indigent younger, and ingenious sons of the French and English gentry, or the adjacent beggarly laborious, and slavish Moffen, or Eastlanders; who being accustomed to accost their lords and gentry with great humility, and many flatteries, and to serve in their own country, are oft-times compelled by poverty to forsake it;A Dutch prince will ever entertain foreigners to the ruin of Holland. and then by by introducing those genteel foreign recreations, and debaucheries, as well as their slavish manner of services, they endeavour to render themselves acceptable to our monarchs: while on the other side a monarch or prince of Holland would sooner and more expect, that such indigent strangers (who would be indebted to him for all they have of estate and office, and which without his favour they could not hold, as being an incroachment upon our privileges) should be always inclined to encrease the authority of the monarch, or prince, tho’ to the ruin of the commonwealth.
All which cannot be expected from natives who are in the government or magistracy of the land, and are generally wealthy, and as such pretend to a right to the said government and magistracy, especially when their parents have served in the government. And then Holland will be continually ruled and served by foreigners, who have neither by themselves nor by their relations ever been in any measure concerned in the prosperity or decay of the manufactures, fisheries, traffick and navigation, and their dependencies: so that those courtiers would, and must by all endeavours seek themselves, tho’ to the neglect, yea subversion of the foundations of Holland’s prosperity, and the annihilation of the commonwealth government;Church government consisting of councils, classes and synods will offend monarchs, as well as the freedom of religion. See A. Constantes de jure ecclesiasticorum. Because a prince would oft be silent at so great an assembly. and accordingly we may conclude, that the same would certainly happen.
As for the liberty of religion, or toleration, it is clear that under a monarchical government, it is not to be expected; for no bishop, no king, is a common maxim. As it is certainly and ever very dangerous for kings, their minions and courtiers, to have subjects, that under pretence of right will not be subject to the civil government in being, but assemble to order matters of weight by majority of votes: so it is principally hazardous under a monarchical government, in affairs which in the highest degree concern all men, viz. religion, where the ecclesiasticks who oft times dare undertake to demonstrate that their spiritual authority is deriv’d, neither from the higher, nor subordinate magistracy of the land, would soon under pretext of such a holy league draw in a number of discontented, ignorant, indigent, and consequently most seditious persons. So that if they are but resolved to countenance their discontents against kings, their favourites, &c. in their sermons and publick prayers, they will soon invite into them a number of considerable tho’ poor mutinous people, that are inclined to them as their hearers, who then term them nursing fathers, and men of God, and so appoint them captains and superior officers to make head against their sovereign, his favourites and courtiers.
And by having bishops placed and displaced by himself, would acquire a great power over his subjects.But on the other side, kings gain a great power in matters of religion, and in the affection of their subjects, if by their own authority they may place or depose bishops or superintendants that may be chosen by them in all the parish churches in their diocesses, viz. such pastors and preachers, as will and must teach the subject that which best agrees with the power of the monarch. Moreover, seeing the bishops or pastors are not to have their peculiar church-councils under a monarch, such kings and princes may in case of disobedience easily and suddenly depose them.
Wherefore it is probably the main reason why under the Roman and Grecian emperors an episcopal or monarchical government was every where introduced;Which is particularly proved. which afterwards by the papacy, and the bishops, extended to other free countries northward. And thus, in the preceding age, we found that king Philip II. of Spain intended to assume a greater monarchical power in these Netherlands by new bishops of his own election. And at this day the English protestants that are for regal government, see no means of preserving the king’s monarchical power by a presbyterian church-council, or republican church government: so that they did not only think fit in England now of late years to annul the same where it was set up in the late troubles, but even in Scotland, where that government stood firm since the beginning of the reformation, even against the inclination of very many English, and all the Scotish nation almost, to erect in lieu of a church-council, a monarchical or episcopal church-government. And thus likewise in Germany at this day, we see that the protestant princes have possession of the jura episcopalia, all the power of the bishops whom they have cast out; and none of those princes have suffered or set up any church-councils, classical or synodical assemblies independant of them.
And moreover we have in all ages under the papacy observed, that episcopal government is very dangerous in republicks;Bishops are intolerable in republicks, and much desired in monarchical governments. so that the bishops in many places, especially in Germany, and in these Netherlands, where, at the time when the christian faith was received, there was for the most part a free popular government, have been able, by little and little, by their pretended holy sermons to the people, to make so great a party among them, as to get the temporal government of cities and countries; and in other republicks, as Ragusa, Venice, &c. there were many laws made against such bishops to prevent the like usurpation. Yea among all the Switzers, German, or Netherlandish republicks, that have received the reformed religion, there is to my knowledge not one of them that have not expelled their bishops, and erected in their stead a church-council, or republican ecclesiastical government, whereby the freedom of the republick might be better preserved.
So that now we may conclude, that if the monarchs of Holland, or their favourites and courtiers, should introduce episcopal government into the church; we are to observe that the bishops who are elected, and deposed by such monarchs and princes, must needs have friends at court, and continually make more. And if such bishops become not the minions of the monarchs, and princes of Holland, we may then well suppose that at least they will use all the interest of their friends at court to enlarge their own power, honour and wealth, which would chiefly consist in this, that all the subjects should acknowledge and repute them for orthodox spiritual fathers. And seeing it might very well consist with the supreme magistrates interest, that the subjects who chiefly depend on him, be revered by the inhabitants as holy and orthodox persons; the bishops might easily by this means obtain all that they desire of the sovereign tending to that end:Bishops are enemies to all toleration of dissenters. and then such bishops would never rest, till they had procured a law to have all dissenters from them in matters of religion, to be either brought over to their opinion and faction, or banished the country; as we have had experience in former ages under the bishops, and may at this day see it take place every where. Insomuch that under them there will never be any freedom of religion for dissenters, but only for the Jews who indeed have liberty for theirs, which they purchase for money.
Moreover, tho’ kings and princes by such christian bishops, superintendants, and political church-councils depending on them, seem to be secured against the danger of christian preachers; yet such is their aptness to raise seditions, that oft-times by their licentious sermons, and publick prayers, many terrible changes might have been occasioned in that government:Popish princes will easily change the way of preaching studied sermons into reading of set forms, homilies, &c. as appears in the foregoing age at the time of the holy league, for the Romish religion in France, and in our times in Scotland and England, by the holy covenant for the reformed religion. And therefore many protestant kings and princes, especially those who own themselves heads of the church, and disown the pope of Rome, did for their greater safety find it convenient to prohibit all publick extemporary sermons and prayers, and in lieu thereof appointed others by their sovereign power to be read verbatim.
This was begun in England encreased in Transylvania, and antiently practised in Muscovia.This the political martyr, Charles I. king of England, had in part effected, by taking away the sabbath day’s afternoon’s sermons, or changing them for the reading of the book of common-prayer. And as I have understood, the protestant prince of Transilvania, Ragotzki, went yet further, and, by advice of four of his most learned, wise and virtuous preachers, having caused some sermons and prayers to be composed suitable to all occasions, which being afterwards examined by a synodical assembly, and judged by unanimous consent very solid and edifying sermons and prayers; he laid aside the vizard, and ordered that no other sermons and publick prayers should be used, but that they should have them word by word read to the people in the churches.Vide Thuan. hist. l. 69. p. mihi 305. Atlas of J. Blaw, part 1. fol. 7. As of antient times also in Muscovia, where by command of the czar there were some old homilies of the Greek fathers suiting all occasions translated into the Sclavonian tongue, and upon occasion of war, famine, or plague, &c. appointed to be read by his metropolitan; so that all the preachers there were compelled to use no other prayers or sermons, and forced to read them verbatim.
And among all Mahometan princes.Which maxim likewise very well suits all the monarchs and supreme rulers in Asia and Africa that are addicted to Mahometanism, and therefore acknowledge neither pope nor any other head superior to themselves: for tho’ that religion by reason of the differing expositors of the Alcoran is divided into several sects, insomuch that the Moors, Turks, Persians, &c. in that behalf do very much differ, and hate and persecute one another; and that the Mahometan religion being a mixture or collection of the heathenish, judaic, and christian worship, acknowledge no sacrifices, and in lieu thereof each sect seems to be maintained by the publick speeches or declarations of the priests or teachers; yet it is certain, these priests may do nothing in the churches, but sing some well-known publick prayers, or read the same, or the Alcoran to the people.
But never yet in free christian republicks.And on the contrary, I cannot remember that any free republick of the christian religion, separated from the pope of Rome, and that by consequence hath acquired the supreme right and power about the publick order of ecclesiastical affairs, ever prohibited extemporary publick prayers and sermons, and in lieu thereof caused any set form of prayers, or sermons to be read verbatim.
Monarchs will ever use foreigners in their government,As to liberty for all foreigners to dwell in Holland, and live by their trades, and also to be taken into all places or employments of the government; I must acknowledge it would prove an accession of strength to a king or supreme head, and his favourites and courtiers: and therefore we ought to conceive, that under a monarchical government strangers would be every where placed in the government; as heretofore those of Haynault, Burgundy and Flanders, under the government of the earls, and the German, French and English, under the captains-general, or stadtholders of Holland, have had the greatest employments in the country But that this tends to the benefit of manufactury, fishery, commerce and shipping, I cannot imagine;To the ruin of trade. but on the contrary, it is easier to believe, that those strangers, whether favourites or courtiers, having any employment in the militia, law, civil government, treasury, as captains of foot and horse, colonels, governors of cities and forts, schouts, bailiffs, &c. would use all their power to rob the richest trading inhabitants, upon one pretence or other, of their wealth, and thereby enrich themselves with the sweat and blood of other men. For because these indigent lavish new upstarts will have need of it every where, therefore it is certain they will seek it where it is to be had, and so they may easily borrow, or take it from unarmed people.And the destruction of the government by states. And it is also certain, that the said strangers will not rest till they have broken down, and destroyed both the substance and shadow of the states manner of government, to the end that in time to come they might not be subjected to any punishment for their crimes, and destroying the liberty of the country, and turned out of their ill-gotten employments.
Monarchies promote monopolies.As concerning the freedom of all inhabitants to set up their trades every where in Holland, without molestation from the burgers, select companies, and guilds; this is not at all to be expected under a monarchical government. For every one knows, that at court all favours, privileges and monopolies, are to be had by friendship, or else by gifts and contracts, for the king’s profit, and that of the favourites and courtiers. This is an epidemical evil, and in continual vogue in all princes courts, not one excepted; so that there needs no proof of it. But yet I confess that no grants by patents of so great companies as our West-India company have been, and our East-India company still is, would be tolerable under a monarch; so that the grants of both, for these and many other reasons, would be voided or annulled before the governors or members should arrive to be so powerful as now they are. And then those monarchs would make money of those grants again, by selling them to others to make new and weaker companies of, and so make more money of the new grants or charters, than they could do by continuing the old ones.
Under a single person in Holland, customs would be very much beightened.Moreover, as to the charging of convoy-monies, and customs upon goods with such moderation and prudence, that our manufactures, fisheries, traffick and navigation, may be thereby increased; it is apparent that this cannot be expected under a monarchical government:To lessen the greatness of their cities. for seeing kings with their favourites and courtiers, have good reason to fear, that the prosperity of such manufactures, fisheries, commerce and navigation, with the numerous advantages arising thereby, will cause such mighty and flourishing cities, as could not easily be forced by a sovereign and his courtiers, therefore they will endeavour to keep them as low and mean as possible.
For monarchs and their courtiers, in lieu of affecting the welfare of manufactures, fisheries, traffick and navigation will envy the most fortunate owners of freight-ships, merchants and traders, because by their honest gain and riches they obscure the lustre and pomp of the court and gentry, and because all that they force from the merchant and owners of freight ships for convoy-money and customs, can presently be put into the king’s or their own purse, and not as by a general imposition, equally burdening all the inhabitants alike:And in the mean time put the customs into their own coffers. so that it is not strange, if under all monarchs it be affirmed as a good political maxim, that no impositions are less hurtful than those that are laid upon goods imported and exported, because they are for the most part borne by strangers, and therefore all goods coming in, or going out, are unreasonably charged; as it appears in Spain, Portugal, France, Sweden, and also in these provinces, there being still a remainder of our rigorous government. It was the like also formerly in England: but since the last troubles there have in some measure increased the power of parliaments, and consequently of the people, such duties are considerably abated, and were with great circumspection imposed on merchandize, anno 1660.
And justice would be corrupted thereby.We are much less to expect under a monarchical government, that laws and justice will be better framed to the benefit of the community, and especially of the merchant: for (as was formerly said) besides that the rich merchants will be pillaged and exhausted by those rulers, or at least envied and hated by them; the rulers, schouts and bailiffs, have moreover such friends at court, that they publickly sell justice, and none that are wronged dare complain of them. Yea, seeing all laws and judgments are made and pronounced in the king’s name, and according to his pleasure; we cannot therefore expect under such a government, but that all things will be carried for the benefit of the sovereign and his courtiers. As the scripture-teaches us, that a prince asks not so soon what his lust dictates, but the judge as readily granteth it, that they may do evil with both hands.Micah 7. So that it is no wonder, if in all monarchical governments these verses be found true, which were made by one Owen an Englishman:
And if any one will alledge, that this tends no more to the prejudice of a monarchy than of a republick, let them please to consider, whether all the monarchical cities belonging to the Hollanders, as Culenburgh, Vyanen, Ysselstein, &c. do not so practise their justice to the prejudice of the merchants of Holland, as that they might be aptly resembled to Algier, Tripoli, Tunis, Sallee, &c. yet with this difference, that those pirates being inhabitants there, do take the goods of the Dutch by force, and carry them away as good and lawful prize.Whereof Culenburgh, Vyanen, &c. are very sensible examples for Holland. Whereas on the other side, our inhabitants, of strangers, having by fraud gotten some merchants goods into their power, can secure them in their own monarchical cities, to the prejudice of the honest Hollander, they giving but some part of their treacherous booty to the servants of justice. But in both cases, whether by force at sea, or by deceit, and such undue countenance or protection given to cheats by land, the Holland merchants are equally sure to lose their goods. And therefore we have no reason to expect an amendment in justice under the government of a single person or monarch, to the benefit of the trade of the inhabitants in general.
Few colonies made by monarchs, and less defended.And tho’ colonies would be very useful for monarchs, thereby to ease themselves of their discontented people, which daily increase by their rigorous government; yet is it true, that the old monarchical lands are thereby more depopulated, and improve not so much by foreign traffick and navigation as republicks use to do. Besides, generally kings and princes are too indigent and inconstant, and of too short lives, to be at those lasting expences often required in erecting colonies. And when such colonies are planted, if they be not strong enough to defend themselves against any foreign power, it is not rationally to be expected that the indigent, mutable, and mortal prince will out of his own purse protect such foreign colonies by vast expences, and continual care for the common good of his people, and to the prejudice of his courtiers: so that the same, for the most part, under such a government would fall to ruin, and tend to the great loss of the inhabitants.
Which is not refuted by the Portugal, Spanish and English colonies.Against which reasons it cannot rationally be objected, that the Portuguese, Spanish and English colonies in the Indies have had better progress and success than ours; and consequently, that republicks are neither so inclinable, nor fit for the planting and preserving of colonies, as monarchies are; seeing those monarchs have borne little or no charges towards the planting and defending of them.Seeing those monarchs have contributed very little to the colonies.
But in answer to this, we may with truth affirm, that the subjects of the said monarchs are governed with more severity in their native country, than in the Indies. And moreover, the people in those colonies enjoying every where a greater freedom to plant lands, and exercise traffick, than in their own country, they are excited alone by that, and not put into any better capacity to erect or improve such colonies, by the act or favour of their prince.
Our India companies only have hindred the erecting of colonies.It is likewise certain, that the inhabitants of Holland enjoy a much softer or milder government than they do in the Indies, where our privileged companies, by their single generals and governours, do rule over some particular cities and lands with a monarchical severity, and oft-times despotically; not by way of laws, and general commands, but by separate or different commands and declarations: and moreover, they have there the trade to themselves, with exclusion of all the other inhabitants. So that it appears, that this letting and incumbring of our colonies in the Indies, ought not to be ascribed to the free government of Holland, but to those privileged companies, and their monarchical government, as also to the monopolies in those parts; or else to the prince of Orange, or his deputies of the generality, by following whose counsel or command the West-India company have so weakned themselves, that they have not been able to maintain that colony they begun.
The sea would not at all be scour’d.All that has been said being found true under a monarchy, and well apprehended, I suppose none will be so foolish as to believe, that kings or their favourites and courtiers, will out of their own purses set out ships to clear the seas, for the benefit of the merchant; I say, out of their own purses: for seeing all that is by monarchs levied from the subject, comes into their own purse, to manage as they please;Because those princes would give no money out of their own purses. See chap. 1 part 2. and those sums go not into the publick treasury, wherein no person has a particular interest, but must be employed only for the service of the country; the difference between monarchies and republicks is in this respect so great, that none can shew us any monarch that ever kept the seas clear, only for the benefit of the merchant. On the contrary it is certain, that during our stadtholders government, when we possessed a shadow of freedom, the monies that were received of the merchant, applicable only for clearing the seas, were very often wrested from the admiralties for the use of unnecessary land armies, and not to the profit of Holland nor the merchant, while in the interim the honest inhabitants shamefully lost their ships at sea.
But Holland would be ever falling into wars.Lastly, It is evident, that monarchies of themselves are more subject to wars than republicks, whether by inheritances, or to secure their relations, or to assist them in the conquests of foreign countries. And moreover, these princes and captains-general are much more inclined to war than* republicks: insomuch, that they often are the aggressors, or pick a quarrel to make glorious conquests; and at the same time by their forces, which they have in readiness, they cause all their great cities to be curb’d and made to bow to them with the greatest humility, or to render themselves so necessary to their republick or state, that they cannot be disbanded.
Make bad alliances.And as to alliances with foreign nations and potentates, it is clear, that if Holland were governed by a single person, or his favourites and courtiers, he might easily, either by ambition or foreign coin, be moved to make very hurtful offensive alliances: since such a single governor of Holland would for his great naval power upon all occasions be sought to by countries and potentates far and near for that end.
And continue unfortified and undisciplined. Which our earls have taught us, by razing the castles of the gentry.Lastly, a king, or prince of Holland, would not hasten his own ruin, by fortifyingg the great cities of Holland, and exercising their inhabitants in arms, to repel other forces as well as his own: whereof, I suppose, I have spoken sufficiently. But in case any man should yet doubt of this, I shall affirm, that formerly our earls have demolished many of the castles and strong holds of the gentry, even when the strength of Holland consisted in them. And further, to break the strength of the gentry, in whom only (conjointly with the earls) the lawful government of this republick first consisted, they have from time to time, and especially since the year 1200, built several cities in Holland, and given freedom to the inhabitants of certain places and towns of the adjacent open countries, or even to foreigners, who would come and dwell in those cities, and have freed them when they had dwelt therein a year and a day, from the vassalage they were under to their lords, or even to our own gentry;And by raising cities whereby the inhabitants might be able to curb the gentry. and likewise freed such inhabitants from all taxes due to the earls, and from the jurisdiction of bailiffs with their assistants, and other persons, and from the domination of others. And those earls did, especially in those days, indulge the said cities, by giving them privileges, viz. that their schouts, and schepens should be free of those cities, and that they should make their own laws and statutes for all their freemen; according to which the said inhabitants (by their fellow-citizens, schouts and schepens, with those who were before chosen by the earl according to his pleasure, or out of a great number of men nominated to him by the people) were to have justice done them.
And tho’ those burgers did moreover continue masters of their own money, provision and arms, and by virtue of that natural equity did, with the inhabitants, chuse by plurality of voices, some of the freemen their own counsellors and burgo-masters, to order and govern the government, treasury and militia of their own city;And not suffered the cities to be wall’d. yet the inhabitants of the cities might not, tho’ at their own charge, set up gates and walls to preserve their cities, but with the special favour and privilege of the earls, which was obtained commonly against their own true interest, by giving money to those lavish and indigent earls, whose design was not to strengthen those cities, as the castles of the gentry had been, but to bring the old powerful gentry to their bow, by the number of those inconsiderable freemen.
But to beat down their walls.And hence proceeded the difference between walled and unwalled cities in Holland, as also that the earls of Holland being afterwards jealous of their walled cities, by reason of their increasing power, thro’ this freedom, did totally burn and destroy Vroonen, Gaspaarn, Luick, &c. and pull’d down the gates of Utrecht, Delft, Ysselsteyn, Alkmaer, &c. with special command to the citizens never to set them up again. And this is that which Pontus Heuterus, a friend of those earls and princes, did acknowledge of our earl Charles of of Burgundy, namely,* that he as earl of Flanders had firmly resolved to make of that great and potent city of Gent, a very weak and small town, that it might not oppose its earl any more. Wherefore I again conclude, that Holland by such a monarchical government, according to the true interest of such a head, will not be more strengthned, but rather weakned, and bereft of its strength.
Wherein is examined, whether the reasons alledged in the two preceding chapters, receive any confirmation from experience.
HAVING thus laid before you the true interest of the republican and monarchical governments, relating to manufactures, fisheries, traffick, and shipping, and their dependencies; it is necessary that we relate historically what hath happened as to those maxims of our state, both in republican and monarchical governments, that so the reader may see, whether our former reasonings can be confirmed by experience. In order to this, it is very necessary to observe, that to the best of my knowledge, merchandizing, and the general staple of traffick, and publick exchange-banks were never found, or continued long under a monarchical or princely government.History teaches that trafick has thriven little in America Asia and Africa. See Acosta of the cities in America. So that manufactures, fisheries, traffick and navigation have thriven very little in those monarchical lands of America, Asia, and Africa, and that the great and strong cities of those lands have been enlarged by the residence of great monarchs courts, and consequently by the exhausting, plundering, and sacking of all adjacent countries, whether of enemies, or their own subjects. Which we may perceive by the cities of Cusco, Quito, and Mexico, &c. in America; as also in the Asiatick great cities of Japan, China, Persia, India; and lastly, by Morocco, Fez, Jerusalem,Ninive, Cairo, and other great cities on the coasts of Europe, or in Asia and Africa.The atlas of J. Blaw, and P. Martinus of China. And not at all but in republicks.
Moreover History tells us, that the flower of the traffick of these mighty countries is no where found but in republicks, as Sydon, Tyre, Carthage, Banda, Amboyna, &c. and that traffick hath exceedingly flourished in those lands, only so long as they enjoyed their free government. But because these three first places are known to be the first and most antient trafficking cities of the world, I shall therefore speak particularly of Sydon and Tyre, supposing it will not displease the reader to touch on them, seeing those matters are not much known abroad, and yet are very useful to confirm what we have advanced.
Gen. 10.Sydon being a city in Syria, upon a coast abounding with fish, and good havens, tho’ without rivers, built by Sydon a grandson of Cham, who was son to Noah, was in the earliest times that we have any notice of, a merchantile or trafficking city, which according to the Jewish computation of time, was in the year 2500 after the creation of the world;Josh. 11. and in the time of Joshua was so improved, that it was termed, the great city of Sydon.Judg. 18. And it appears that 220 years after, viz. in Sampson’s time, it was a very plentiful, strong, and well fortified city, whose inhabitants lived in profound peace and safety in a free republick, having no king or sovereign head over them, which might have weakned them. And about 210 years after Sampson, the Sydonians were much commended by Homer for great artists.
Isa. 23. Ezek. 16. 27, 28.And that Sydon afterwards in the time of the prophet Isaiah, and Ezekiel (who lived the first about 180 years after Homer, and the last about 225 years after Isaiah) was very famous for her traffick, we may see in their prophecies. Now this city of Sydon having flourished above 1500 years, and raised many colonies, it was about the year 3590 after the creation, besieged by Artaxerxes Ochus king of Persia, with a mighty land army, 300 galleys, and 500 ships of burden by sea, till they were betrayed by the chief head of the republick Tennis, as also by their general Mentor.As first of all at Sidon, when it was a free government. Diod. Sic. l. 16. So that the Sydonians seeing no way to escape, and bearing a deadly hatred to a general slavery or monarchy, they set their own city on fire, wherein 40000 of their inhabitants perished; and the king of Persia sold the rubbish of this incredibly rich city for many talents. And yet we read in Q. Curtius, that Sydon about 25 years after, became very considerable again;But under its heads of the republick it suffered much Just. l. 11 when as the head of the republick Strato, having first joined with Darius king of Persia, was afterwards compelled by the people to yield up the place to Alexander the Great, who in the room of Strato set up an inconsiderable person called Abdalonimus, giving him power of life and death over the citizens.
But in regard Alexander soon after died, and his monarchy was so rent and divided under his several chief commanders, that most of all the republicks by him conquered, recovered their freedom;Strabo lib. 1. Geog. we may therefore suppose the Sydonians did the same: for Strabo, who lived about 340 years after, says, that Sydon was in all respects comparable to Tyre in greatness, skill in navigation, and many other sciences and arts relating to traffick. And in regard he writes at large of these two cities at once, it may be understood of the Sydonians, who are by him spoken of in common, tho’ with more regard to those of Tyre, viz.Lib. 16. ib. That they were not only left to their freedom in the time of the old kings of Phænicia, and had their own government; but that under the Romans, by giving a small sum of money, they preserved their liberty.
It lost all its trade by sea, when it fell under a monarchDuring the reign of the Roman emperors there was little mention of Sydon, nor yet in the time of the Saracens afterwards, or of the Christian kings of Syria, save that that city was taken, sometimes by one, and sometimes by another, ’till at last with their hereditary prince, formerly tributary to the Saracens, and the Mamalukes of Cairo, they were upon the same conditions brought under the monarchy of the Turks, about the year of Christ 1517.
And tho’ since its old flourishing state, viz. about the year 600 after Christ’s birth, the silk-worms in those parts, and afterwards the Turkish yarn came to be known; so that now much silk is found there, and in the adjacent places of Begbasar and Angori, much of the yarn of goats-hair is spun, and therefore they are able to set up a much more considerable traffick and navigation, by means of the manufacturies and fisheries: yet on the other side it is certain that Sydon now yields no manufactures of their own, nor ships, nor traffick, because the inhabitants under the present monarchical government could not peaceably possess their wealth, and follow their trades; insomuch that most of their traffick in raw silk is now driven by strangers, who have their own consuls, and are always ready to depart from thence, when by the government they find themselves too much oppressed: and it is said, that there are continually at least 200 French factors that reside there to manage that important silk trade.
Tyre lying within sixteen English miles of Sydon, was first built upon the continent; from whence the inhabitants fled to an island lying within a quarter of a mile of it, to withdraw themselves from the attempts of the Israelites who were then possessing the land of Canaan under the conduct of Joshua, where they built Tyre, who by taking of the purple fish which were mostly in those seas,At Tyrus traffick and navigation flourished, so long as it kept its free government. Josh. 19. and thereupon dealing in the dying of purple, making of garments after the manner of Tyre, and trafficking or using navigation, became so famous during their free government, as you may see in the holy scriptures, where Tyre is said to be a crown of glory, or pearl of cities, and her merchants princes, and her traders the noblest of those lands. That city and the traffick thereof, is likewise mentioned by Ezekiel, of whose ruin he likewise prophesied, which happened after it had flourished 880 years, about 3360 years after the creation;Isa. 23. Ezek. ch. 26, 27, 28. at which time the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnizzar, after thirteen years siege, took the said city and destroyed it.
We read also, that about this time the men of Tyre had in their republick two officers called Suffetes, or yearly burgomasters and rulers, who served in the chief magistracy: and that this republick soon after got its head above water again;Q. Curt. l. 4. Diod. Sic. for about the year of the world 3615, and when about 255 years were expired, viz. in the time of Alexander the Great, it was according to Q Curtius, and Diodorus Siculus, the greatest and most renowned city of all Syria; and so considerable in respect of its navigation, that the people and council of Tyre had the courage to repulse that victorious commander from their city, which in no less than seven months siege, and incredible opposition, was at last overpowered and burnt, and almost all the inhabitants were either destroyed or sold. Nevertheless the men of Tyre, in a short time after the death of Alexander the Great, by means of their old free government, diligence and frugality, arrived to their former power and riches.Just l. 18. Strab. Geogr. l. 16. We likewise read in Strabo, that this city of Tyre during their republican government, and in the process of 350 years after, arrived at its antient lustre and riches, by means of traffick and navigation.
And tho’ the emperor Septimus Severus about 170 years after sacked the city of Tyrus, and demolished it, yet Ulpianus about thirty years after this tells us, namely about 220 years after Christ, “That Tyre, his native city, was an ally of the Roman empire, and was very considerable and mighty for war.Dig. l. 50. Tit. 15. l. 1 And that they of Tyre had obtained of the emperor Alexander Severus, the right of the free citizens of Italy; and according as a free state had power of chusing and making their own laws and magistrates.After that it lost all its traffick. And to this day Tyre hath been exposed to all the same accidents by monarchical governments, which those lands were subject to in the following times of the Saracens, Christians, and Turks, which we before mentioned at Sydon: so that Tyre is now inhabited by almost none but strangers and merchants, who for some small time reside there; among whom are many Frenchmen that deal in silk.
Q Curt. l. 4. Strabo. l. 16.And thus we see these two republicks lost their traffick and navigation, not by wars or earthquakes, by which they were more than once overthrown and ruined; but by the loss of their free government, whereas otherwise they as often resettled themselves.As is seen by Sandys his voyage, p. 209, to 214. And in what condition those two cities are at this time, we may be inform’d by the travels of that worthy English writer Sandys, who says, “That the Emer, or hereditary prince of Sydon and Tyre, was sprung from the old French that went thither with the Christian king Godfrey de Bouillon to conquer the holy land; who besides several taxes and imposts he exacted of his subjects, takes the fifth part of their revenue.” And tho’ he takes for custom but three per cent. of foreign merchants for their imported and exported goods, yet we may easily observe how little traffick and navigation can prosper there, seeing, as Mr. Sandys says, “The said Christian tributary prince, named Facardyn, keeps continually in his service forty thousand soldiers, and lately, viz. in 1611, caused false Holland lion dollars to be coined, and made them pass current in receipts and payments as if they had been made of good alloy; and that it is usual with him to seize the goods of merchants that die there, yea even the goods of foreign factors, so that the right owners, or inheritors cannot get them out of his hands, unless they agree to pay him half the value. And besides, those cities are wholly unfortified, having only a castle for the prince to keep his court in.” It is not therefore to be wondred at what Sandys says, “That these two cities are so ruined, that they scarce retain a shadow of their antient grandeur and renown; therefore they deserve to have no more said of them.”
I should leave off here, but that I foresee it will be objected, That Sydon had certainly one supreme visible head of their republick. And besides, the kings of Tyrus are by sacred and profane history represented as very famous: from whence we may conclude, that such a government very well consists with the flourishing of trade and navigation. I I answer, that the said histories do clearly inform us, that the said sovereign princes of Sydon, namely Tennis, Mentor and Strato, were in their respective times the ruin of Tyrus. And as to the king whom Diodorus Siculus, and Arrianus report in in their histories to have been in Tyrus when Alexander the Great besieged that city, the learned affirm, that ’tis a mistake, and must be understood of Sydon, and its last government.
And that we may clearly expound what the holy scripture speaks of the kings of Tyre, without contradicting what I affirm of their being a free state, I shall translate a passage out of the 16th book of that authentick writer Strabo; and the rather, since I conceive that the state of these two republicks are there well express’d. “Next to Sydon, Tyre, says he, “is the greatest and oldest city of Phœnicia, may be compared with it for largeness, beauty and antiquity, and is famous in many histories. And tho’ poets extol Sydon more, yea and so far, that Homer makes no mention of Tyre at all; yet is Tyre by its colonies extending as far as Africa and Spain, without the straits of Gibralter, become more famous. So that these cities, both now as well as of antient times, are so eminent for gallantry, lustre, and antiquity, that at this day it is unquestioned which of them ought to be accounted the chief city of Phœnicia. Sydon lies on a sea-haven, on the continent; but Tyre is an island, and is almost as well inhabited as Aradus; it is joined to the continent by a bank or causey made by Alexander when he besieged this city. It has two havens, one of which was called the inclosed haven, the other named the Egyptian, or open haven. It is said, that the houses here have more stories than those at Rome, and therefore that city was sometimes well nigh destroyed by earthquakes, as it was by Alexander. But it overcame all those disasters, and restored it self by means of its navigation, wherein, as also for its purple dye, those of Phœnicia exceeded all other nations. The purple of Tyre is accounted the best, and that fishery lies very near them, as do all the other necessaries for dying; and tho’ the great number of dyers made the city uneasy to other inhabitants, yet they were thereby enriched. They did not only under their kings preserve their own free state, and power of making what laws they pleased, but also among the Romans, who for a small tribute established their council. Hercules is extravagantly honoured by them. How powerful they were at sea, appears by their numerous and large colonies.” So much of Tyrus.
“The Sydonians are famous for their manifold and excellent arts, whereof Homer also speaketh; they are moreover renowned for their philosophy, astronomy and arithmetick, having begun it upon observations and sailing by night: for those two arts are proper for traffick and navigation. It’s said the Egyptians found out the measuring of land, which is needful to set limits and bounds to every man’s ground, when the overflowing of the Nile destroys the landmarks. It is believed, that this art came to the Greeks from the Egyptians, as the Grecians learned astronomy and arithmetick from the Phœnicians; and all the other parts of philosophy may be fetch’d out of those two cities: yea if we may believe Possidonius, that ancient learned piece (de Atomis) concerning the indivisible parts of all bodies, was written by Moschus a Sydonian, who lived before the Trojan war. But I shall let these old things pass and say, that in our time Boethius, with whom we practised Aristotle’s philosophy, and his brother Diodorus, both excellent philosophers, were Sydonians. Antipater was of Tyrus, as also Apollonius, a little before our time, who made a catalogue or list of all the philosophers, and of the books of Zeno, and of all them that followed his philosophy.” Thus far Strabo.
I shall now turn to the other republicks of Asia; amongst which those small islands of Banda and Amboyna are very remarkable, because they were formerly governed in an aristocratical manner by the most considerable inhabitants of those respective islands; which during that government drove so great a trade in their spices, of cloves, mace, nutmegs, and the return and dependencies of them, that tho’ the third part of the spices were not carried by shipping to Calicut, that great staple or storehouse of India;Grot. Hist. l. 15. The inhabitants of Banda and Amboyna great merchants during their republican government. Maffei Hist. Ind. Grot. l. 11. and being sold, were carried to Bassora, and from thence to Cairo, with caravans; and lastly from thence transported to Europe by shipping: nevertheless the sultans of Syria and Egypt, through whose lands the same were brought hither, as also the cloves of the Molucca islands, were wont to receive yearly above eighty thousand ducats for custom; so that the said islands flourished then in riches.
But in 1512, when the Portuguese first navigated those seas, and afterwards fought with the people of Banda, the inhabitants were so terrified by these new people, and their unheard of military art, that, conceiving themselves unable to withstand that formidable outlandish power, they rashly agreed to elect out of their own people the most considerable persons for their better defence, and thereby immediately lost much of their freedom; and afterward they were, partly by the jealousy they had of each other, viz. of the free inhabitants against their respective heads, and of such superiors among themselves; and being in part likewise overcome by the Portuguese, they were at length forced to submit to that foreign yoke.
And lastly, there was some freedom still remaining in those islands, when the Netherlanders that were enemies to the Portuguese began to frequent them; and these people of Banda, who greatly affect their liberty, looked upon the Dutch as angels sent from heaven to defend them, and to deliver the other islands from the slavery of the Portuguese. For which end the natives entered into alliances with us for common defence;Grot. Hist. ib. covenanting, that we might not only build houses and warehouses, and dwell there to trade in their spices, but expresly agreeing that they of Banda and Amboyna should sell their spices to no other people: whence proceeded all that usually happens when weak states or potentates call in too powerful assistants, viz. that not only the Portuguese lost their power over these islands, but the natives lost their free government and trade, and are now under the dominion of the Dutch East-India company.And are now under a miserable subjection. Grot. l. 15. It is also very observable, that the spices of those islands, when brought into Europe by way of Portugal, produced yearly to the king above two hundred thousand ducats. But the said islands being ruin’d by the forces of the Portuguese, and those of the Dutch East-India company, and the said company destroying their spices which produced too great a quantity for them to vent, their plenty by degrees decay’d, and their commerce is now mightily diminished, as we may understand by the histories of India, and from those that have been lately there.
The city of Carthage kept its navigation and trade so long as it enjoy’d its free government.Hitherto I have at large insisted upon the causes of the ruin of traffick, and navigation in the republicks before mentioned, because they were not common. But seeing the cases of the following republicks, together with their navigation and commerce, are sufficiently known by most men, I shall use no more words about them than may serve to the purpose we aim at. It is well known that the city of Carthage was built by a colony from Tyrus, about the year of the world 2940; and that it was governed by its own free popular government, under two Suffetes, or yearly burgomasters, and judges, who jointly for that time were supreme magistrates, and had a council consisting of some hundreds of persons, without any supreme head; and about 800 years successively was very famous for navigation and commerce, and became incredibly wealthy and populous. So that after the said republick and city by manifold wars, and especially by its last against the Romans, had lost an infinite number of burghers in several unfortunate battels, and was near its ruin, yet by what Strabo credible testifieth, there were remaining in Carthage at least seven hundred thousand inhabitants, who also at the same time in a very short space, built and made an extraordinary number of ships, and arms.Geogr. l. 17. And besides, it is well known, that the Carthaginians, living in great plenty, were by their two powerful nobility involv’d in many wars, to make conquests, by which at last they were so overborne by the Romans, who were more warlike than they, that Carthage was wholly destroyed;And lost by war, and the slavery thereupon following, all traffick and navigation. and tho it were afterwards rebuilt, and again ruined, yet being divested of its free government by the Romans, and the succeeding monarchs, it was never afterwards famous for merchandize or navigation. Those that desire to know more of Carthage, let them read Justin, Diodorus, Polybius, Livy, Strabo, and especially Appianus Alexandrinus.
Thus went matters with the traffick of the Grecians,Afterwards, commerce and navigation did incredible flourish in the Grecian republicks and islands; amongst which Athens and Rhodes were very considerable. And it deserves our notice, that all that country, when under the Romans as their allys, did still retain a great part of their government, together with their commerce and navigation; but lost all after they were brought to submit to the succeeding monarchs.
And the Italians.After this, commerce, navigation and manufactures, settled and continued in the Italian republicks, so long as they enjoyed their liberty.Viz. Milan, Florence, Pisa &c. have lost their liberty and traffick. But we may easily perceive, that Florence and Milan, tho’ they became the courts of monarchs or stadtholders, did much decrease in their commerce during the monarchical government. It is also known that Pisa under a free government was famous for a foreign trade, but now since its subjection has lost all its commerce;Genoa, Lucca, and Venice, retaintheir liberty and trade. and so in truth have all the old great Italian cities since the loss of their free government, so that they are fallen almost to nothing, unless where the princes or stadtholders by their train, and the consumption of their courts or families, have in some measure prevented the same. Whereas those two-ill situated towns, Venice and Genoa, by their free government, notwithstanding the loss and removal of the India trade, have preserved their greatness and traffick, as much as possible, and little Lucca keeps her trade still.
And the Hans towns.It’s known that afterwards by the conversion of Prussia and Liefland, much foreign traffick and navigation settled in the Hans republicks; and that all those that were not able to hold and preserve their freedom in former ages, lost all their traffick; so that Straelsond, Riga, Stetin, Koningsberg, and other cities which are under a monarchical government, or have lost their liberty, can expect no more trade than what necessarily depends on their own situation. Whereas on the contrary, Lubeck and Hamburgh, with a free government, have had a greater trade and navigation than their situation necessarily required. As we see it still in Germany that Bremen, Embden, Munster, &c. being continually put to wrestle or contend with their prince or head, are much obstructed in their trade; and that the traffick there could not keep its footing in any monarchical inland cities, but only in the free imperial towns, as Nuremburg, Ausburg, Frankfort, &c.
In the Netherlands merchandizing and navigation have been both advanc’d and ruined.In the Netherland provinces it is manifest by the manufactures, fisheries, and foreign traffick, that commerce thrives best in free governments. For when the earls or dukes were so weak and illarmed, that they were forced to submit to those cities that flourished by traffick, and could not oppose the true interest of the merchants, merchandize flourished: but when the earls or dukes became so powerful as to make war against the great trading cities, cloth-trade, fishery and traffick, were by little and little driven out of the land. Thus about the year 1300, and after, the cities of Gent, Bruges, and Ipres lost much of their trade in manufactures; and about the year 1490, the city of Bruges lost most of her trade by sea, when the arch-duke Maximilian brought that town into subjection. And lastly, all the other Flemish sea-ports lost their fishery, when they were forced to submit to the king of Spain; and yet during our wars, they would rather turn all their force to invade us by land, than bestow their money to clear the seas for their own inhabitants, by which they could have done Holland and Zealand much more mischief.
In Brabant manufactures and trade did formerly flourish.Thus those of Brabant also, particularly in Brussels, Tienen and Lovain, lost much of their trade in manufactures about the years 1300 and 1400; and in the following age under the house of Burgundy, when those dukes were so powerful as to force those towns. Thus we saw in the following age, that the duke of Anjou being an illustrious prince, and a great warrior, was no sooner become duke of Brabant, than the mighty mercantile city of Antwerp run a great hazard by the French fury of losing all its traffick.Likewise in Holland manufactures throve whilst the earls were weak. And lastly, it actually lost all its traffick by sea about the year 1585, when Philip II. took the city by the prince of Parma: and built a castle with a Spanish garrison there, without ever endeavouring to restore to the merchants their trade, by opening the Scheld.
Thus were most of the antient cities of Holland opprest, so long as they had their particular lords, who used to curb the cities, and open country, by forts and castles, but would not suffer them to be walled and fortified for the security of the inhabitants; as appears by Haerlem, Deift, Leyden, Amsterdam, Goude, Gorcum, &c. But those cities afterwards enjoying more freedom under their indigent unarmed earls, when they made use of them to overpower the antient Holland gentry and nobility, who likewise oppressed their small cities; they did about the year 1300 begin to gain the Flemish and Brabant manufacturies, which forsook their places of abode; and they lost most of them again about the year 1450, or soon after, when our earls and dukes of Burgundy were able by their forces to subdue all those citys. And tho during the last troubles, and compulsion in matters of religion, many Flemish and Brabant clothiers and merchants retired and settled in Holland about the year 1586, yet were they presently in great danger of being driven out again by the zealous, and seemingly pious activity of our captain-general, otherwise called the government of the earl of Leicester, who by the interest of the clergy with his courtiers, and English soldiery, endeavoured to make himself lord of the country: and for that end having reviled the states, and the merchants for libertines, and despicable interlopers, issued very prejudicial placaets against traffick and navigation; and lastly, design’d by surprizal to have taken and seized the three greatest trading citys, viz. Amsterdam, Leyden, and Enchuysen.
At last the the stadtholders would have driven away traffick out of Holland but were prevented.So that if this governour and captain-general had not perceived that our soldiery were incensed against the English forces under him, and that the government of the land was by this means able to oppose him, by setting up another military head, whether it were count Hobenlo or count Maurice of Nassau: and again, if this earl of Leicester had not ben a subject to queen Elizabeth of England, whose favour he much needed to make himself sovereign here; and besides, if afterwards he had not found himself constrained to leave these lands by command of the said queen, he had certainly by this his monarchical government, driven away our manufacturies, fisheries, traffick, and navigation.
The same were afterwards in great danger under the succeeding captain-generals (when we might have had a peace) by the continual high convoy-monies, and the no less formidable piracies of the Dunkirkers upon our merchant-men and fishers, and also by the needless and intolerable imposts raised in the year 1618, but especially in the year 1650, at which time the cities were brought under by our own hired military forces, as is yet fresh in memory.
Reasons why the inhabitants of Holland were no more damnified under the government of the captains-general or stadtholders.
Object. Has not Holland prospered under the conduct of captains general?BUT some may object, that all these reasons and examples cannot weigh down a contrary example taken from ourselves, viz. That Holland having a governour for life, or a continued captain-general, carrying on a constant war both by sea land, with a great army in pay, obtained the trade which removed from Antwerp, and keeps it still. That during the said form of government Holland hath advanced itself in all sorts of commerce, manufactures, fisheries, and navigation, incomparably above all other adjacent countries, and especially above Flanders and Brabant, where the trade of manufactures and traffick had some time before mightily flourished: so that the said form of government seems to consist very well with the interest of the country. Tho’ this objection is perhaps sufficiently refuted in the foregoing chapters, yet it will not be amiss to answer it distinctly.
First, it is to be noted in general, that at the time when Antwerp lost its traffick, as also afterwards, there were in all the adjacent countries much greater obstructions to trade than in Holland, viz.That flourishing state may be attributed to other causes, Namely to the monopolies and ill government of the bordering countries. among all the monarchs and princes, whose lavish government prays upon all burgers and peasants, and lays upon the merchant the intolerable burdens formerly mentioned, without toleration of religion, save only in Poland. And that in all the republicks on the Eastern sea, and land cities, all strangers were, by the monopolies of the burgership, and guilds, excluded from traffick, from being owners of ships, and medling in manufactures; and besides they tolerated but one religion. that at the beginning of the troubles especially,And the outward appearance of our republican government. So there being no such apparent monarchical government in Holland, but the shadow of liberty, the prince of Orange and his favourites, to encrease his party, and make them adhere more close to him, continually boasted that he had no other intent but to defend the common freedom, and to encrease it in these countries. And indeed there being at that time in Holland freedom of religion, burgership, and guilds, with small charge of convoy and customs applicable to the clearing of the seas, which were then very little infested; it is no wonder that traffick and navigation settled here.
For it is evident, that all the forementioned vexations, viz. that violent oppression of the lawful government, and all those taxes with which the common inhabitants are now burden’d, were introduced gradually, and from year to year increased; so that they were heaviest in the year 1650, in a profound peace;See the Deduction, part 2. chap. 1, § 22. and likely to continue so for ever, when the captain general openly set himself against his lawful sovereign, and not only impiously trampled upon his masters that paved him his wages, but also upon the sacred rights of the people, and their representatives; six of whom from the cities of Dort, Haerlem, Delft, Horne, and Medemblick, legally appearing at the assembly of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, his sovereign, he dared to imprison, only for having the courage to refuse to keep on foot some taxes for maintenance of the soldiery; which said representatives he released not till they had renounced all government in Holland: so that every one might see what a terrible thing a tyrannical monarch, prince during life, or stadtholder was in Holland, and how little appearance there was, that the inhabitants of the country should ever be eased of their taxes.
We ought to consider when the captains general, or stadtholders have done good or harm. And first as to prince William who placed his safety in some measure in Holland’s prosperity.Secondly, as to the captains general, or stadtholders in particular; I say, seeing these lands under our first captain-general, prince Willam of Orange, who was a prudent lord, were oblig’d to make war against their own puissant prince, who was irreconcilable to the captain-general, he was in no condition of saving either his own life or estate, but by promoting the prosperity of these small countries as far as he was able, in order to keep his footing in them. For in case the said general had in those days not been careful to gain the good will and affection of the rulers and inhabitants, by providing for their universal welfare and preservation, he had certainly run the risk, which might have ensued upon the people’s makking their peace with their sovereign; which how advantageous soever the terms might have been for the captain-general, yet it would necessarily have drawn on his ruin sooner or later.
And afterwards the earl of Leicester who did not so.Our second captain-general, the earl of Leicester, proved so detrimental to us during his two years government, that if he had not stood in awe of the states of Holland and Zealand, who were still obey’d by prince William’s lieutenant the count of Honelo, and had he not been afraid of the army, most of whom were not English, and dreaded queen Elizabeth of England, he would certainly, by continuing such maxims, have driven away our trade and republican government, and ruin’d the whole country.
Prince Maurice being young and so obedient to the states, did much good.As to our third captain-general, prince Maurice, it is confess’d, that in the 18th year of his age, when he became stadtholder of Holland and Zealand, by the conduct chiefly of John van Oldenbarnevelt; and because in his youth he followed that gentleman’s grave advice, and obey’d his masters the states, he did them great service, and help’d to conquer many of the enemies cities in a little time, and with small expence: but it is no less true, that the said prince, especially after the year 1600, being 32 years of age and following no longer the command of the states, nor the counsel of the said Barnevelt, of honourable memory, but his own maxims, or those of count William, he was hardly able, with much greater expence, to keep what he had gotten.
But grown older, and following bad counsel, did afterwards much harm.At least, as soon as the said prince conceiv’d that the countries under him could subsist against the king of Spain, he not only neglected, but opposed and withstood the welfare of the country, thinking thereby to increase his own. Thus did he set himself so violently against the truce with Spain, that in the year 1608 he wrote to the particular cities and members of the government of Holland, and to Henry IV. of France, contrary to the laws and order of the government, to perswade them and him against the treaty for a truce; yea, and threatned to continue the war against the king of Spain, tho he should have no assistance but that of Zealand only.See Negotiat. de Jeanin. Nor could the said truce be concluded till arch-duke Albert had first promised to pay him or his heirs the sum of three hundred thousand guilders, to take him off from his unrighteous designs, or from his unjust pretensions, as the ambassador Jeanin wrote to Henry IV. and that the states of these United Provinces had moreover engaged to continue him, during the suspension of arms, as they did formerly in the war, in all his military offices, and other advantages, which he receiv’d by the occasion of the war, and likewise in all his annual ordinary and extraordinary salaries or entertainments; and moreover presented him with a yearly hereditary revenue of twenty five thousand guilders, which at twenty years purchase would be five hundred thousand guilders, (see the negotiations of Jeanin, who as ambassador of France, was mediator in that treaty of truce.) And which is more, the said captain-general prosecuting severely several persons under pretext of establishing the true religion, the most zealous lovers of Holland’s we fare were forcibly ruin’d out of the government, imprisoned, and slaughtered, and many inhabitants driven out of the country.
See part. 2. chap. 1. of this book, &c. Under Henry’s government all Holland merchant ships, and fishers, were a continual prey to the Dunkirkers. He sought to continue a chargeable war by us, ’till a peace was concluded at Munster. Aitzma p. 233.In the time of the 4th captain general or stadtholder, the reader is desired maturely to consider, whether for twenty years together the clearing of the seas, in as much as it concerned the fisheries, manufactures, traffick and navigation of Holland, was not designedy neglected: and therefore whilst the Dunkirkers were very strong, and did us much damage by sea, those monies where withdrawn from the admiralties of Holland, which were necessarily designed for scouring the seas, and levied for that end on goods imported and exported. And moreover, we have seen those manifold imposts raised, all the forces of the land made use of, and also incredible sums of money taken up at interest, to make conquests as advantageous for the captain general as ever they were hurtful and chargeable for Holland. And how little the captain-general, or he who, in respect of his great age and unfitness, had then the administration, and really ruled in his stead, was inclined to this present peace with Spain, appears by this, that in the year 1646, the 25th of August Monsieur Knuyt made a report to the prince, and assured him, that he had covenanted at Munster for his own or his lady’s particular satisfaction, to have the value of upwards of five millions of guilders.Making clandestine covenants of several lordships to himself. Which if true, we may perceive that in the said private treaty of peace by the prince of Orange, his pretensions that were annihilated at the charge of the King of Spain, served only for a cloke to his frivolous actions, that under pretext of a treaty he might gain the lordships of Montfort, Sevenbergen and Turnhout, with the castle called Bank of Schoenbroek; as likewise a yearly increase of revenue of more lorships, to a very considerable sum.
And how much the exchanging of some meaner lordships belonging to the prince of Orange, has tended by a fair pretext to gain the mighty strong city and marquisate of Bergen op Zoom, may be guessed, if it be observed that the countess of Hohensolern, being unwilling to quit her right to the marquisate, and he in the mean while dying, the executors of the succeeding, and now reigning prince of Orange, in October 1651, adjusted with the king of Spain upon that point, viz. that the prince of Orange should continue in possession of all those lorships which by exchange were covenanted to him, and moreover should receive in money the sum of two hundred thousand guilders; and 5 months after the signing of the covenant, three hundred thousand guilders more: and lastly, besides these five hundred thousand guilders, a yearly rent of eighty thousand guilders for twenty years to come. So that it seems by this covenanted exchange of some lordships against the marquisate of Bergen alone, the said prince should receive the value of twenty one hundred thousand guilders.
Of the king of Spain’s.And therefore it is evident, that the king of Spain has been oblig’d to do much to move the prince in particular to agree to this present peace; which for many years has been so frequently offered to Holland by the king, and was so necessary for us: as those continual and extraordinary robberies of the Dunkirkers, and the taking of our fishermen in great numbers, and our exhausted and indebted treasury do at this day testify. But if nevertheless it should be objected, that it is lawful and commendable for any man, and consequently for the prince of Orange, to obstruct a peace which would be disadvantageous to himself, and afterwards during the treaty of Munster privately to covenant with the enemy of this state for his particular profit, to obtain as much as possibly he could, I desire it may be observed, that the states of Holland and West Friesland give quite another construction of this affair, viz.Part 1. ch. 7. §7. Which tho’ contrary to the instructions given with an oath, yet,
“That when Monsieur Knuyt, plenipotentiary of this state, at the treaty of Munster, by command and instruction of the prince of Orange, of laudable memory, without the knowledge of the state, managed and concluded the forementioned treaty; he was nevertheless bound up to the instructions agreed on for him, and the other plenipotentiaries of this state upon the 28th of October 1645, viz. That no secret instruction, without the previous knowledge of the states of the respective provinces, should either be given, or sent to the ambassadors extraordinary, and p’enipotentiaries. And in case either of the provinces, or any other person, should beyond expectation attempt or endeavour such a thing; they the ambassadors extraordinary, and plenipotentiaries, shall not receive, but forthwith reject it, and give immediate notice thereof to the states general. And that the said Monsieur Knuyt in pursuance of the 91st article of the forementioned instructions, had solemnly sworn thereunto.” Whereunto the said states of Holland and West-Friesland in the 9th chapter do add.
“§. 8 That the states and the respective provinces, were certainly well informed, what great care and vigilancy hath been us’d on behalf of the state, that in all places, none excepted, comprehended in the treaty of peace to be made with the king of Spain, it should be covenanted, that the sovereign disposal in matters of religion should remain in the states;For the magnifying of himself to the detriment of the United Netherlands, especially of Holland, it was carried on and effected. and by what serious and express orders the foresaid intention of the state was recommended to the said ambassadors extraordinary, and plenipotentiaries, and consequently to Monsieur Knuyt. Nevertheless the states, and the respective provinces do find in the foresaid treaty of the 8th of January 1647, that the said Monsieur Knuyt, in the name of his said highness, did expresly grant and agree, that in all places which by the said treaty were conceded and granted, either to his said highness, or to his lady the princess of Orange, the Roman catholick religion should be maintained, as the same was at the time of concluding of the foresaid treaty; and also the spiritual persons should be maintain’d in their estates, functions, free exercises, and immunities.
And unknown to the states, there was promised on the prince’s behalf to the king of Spain, that the Romish religion should be maintain’d in several places.“§ 9. So that in regard of the city of Sevenbergen only (over and above the other places in the foresaid treaty mentioned) the said city being within the province of Holland, and lying under the sovereign command of those states; there was granted much more to the king of Spain, than was made over by the act of seclusion to the said lord protector.
“§. 10. It is unquestionable that the most valuable effect of the sovereignty consists in the free disposal of matters of religion; which by the said treaty, as far as it is there specified, is quitted, and yielded up to the king of Spain.
“§. 11. Besides, the aforesaid resignation is made by, and on behalf of them who have no disposal thereof at all. So that the foresaid contractors did as much as in them lay clandestinely, to deprive the states of so sensible a share of their sovereignty.
“§. 13. That tho’ the states being afterwards inform’d of the contents of the said particular treaty, did expresly declare, that they would not be subject to the said intolerable stipulation, in respect of the practice of the said religion in Sevenbergen; yet they afterwards fell into many inconveniencies by that means.
And lastly, the said states of Holland and West-Friesland do say:
“§. 15. That so notable a part of their sovereignty and right as the free disposal of matters of religion within their dominons without their knowledge, by him who had not the least power or qualification to grant it, was without any apparent cause yielded to the King of Spain.
So that it doth unanswerable appear, that our captain-general and stadtholder, his secret treaty was concluded for his private benefit, and to the prejudice of Holland and the peace thereof.
’Tis well known that she ruin of Holland was design’d by our last stadtholder.Yea, after the last captain-general had in a full peace seized and imprisoned six deputies of Holland assembled upon summons at the Hague, because according to their duty they had dared to refuse the payment of some companies of soldiers, and to resolve to disbind them as far as concerned the province of Holland, he miscarried in the design of seizing our principal city by surprize. So that if he had not died about three weeks after, we should in a few years have seen that Holland, and Amsterdam first of all, would have lost all their traffick, by contending against their own Governnor and captain-general, or would have been compelled to submit to his yoke; as formerly Flander., Bruges, Brabant and Antwerp were bereft of their traffick by the quarrels between them and the arch-duke Maximilian, and king Philip.
For tho’ our said captain-general’s attempt on Amsterdam succeeded not, yet all the flourishing cities of Holland that were unarm’d, and much more those many cities which had garisons mostly of foreign soldiery at his command, would have been forced eternally to have submitted to his monarchical yoke, if his unexpected death had not delivered them from that slavery.
Deduct. of 1654 part 2. ch. 2. § 13. &c.He that doubts of this, let him hear the states of Holland and West-Friesland, as speaking of this matter to their allies: “But especially let the said provinces please to remember what happened in the year 1650, within our own body. Did not in the same year the rulers of the city of Amsterdam, to prevent greater evils, grant by capitulation to his highness prince William of immortal memory, father of the present prince of Orange, that the Heeren Andries, and Cornelis Bikkers, should quit their offices of burgermasters and counsellors, and become private men, and never be readmitted into the government? And were not the cities of Dort, Haerlem, Delft, Horn and Medemblick, because of some honest regents, or magistrates in their cities, compelled afterwards to do the like?Who domineer’d extremely over Holland. Altho’ God Almighty so ordered matters by his providence, that some few days after the same persons were restored to their former dignities. Those were the true tokens of an usurped power; and so much the more intolerable, because he to whom such conditions were granted, was, by the nature and virtue of his commission, and likewise by his oath therewith taken, only a subject of that body, whose members he thus endeavoured to bring under subjection. It was then indeed the true time for unfeigned patriots, and true lovers of liberty to appear upon the stage, and with heart and hand to make head against such usurpation. But what zeal did the foresaid provinces then exert? were not they the men, who on June 5. of the foresaid year 1650, granted that authority to be lawful, at least so far, that under pretext thereof the said prince of Orange undertook those actions? and were not they also the men who afterwards, when those actions were in part executed, did by special resolution or letters missive declare, that they judged the resolution aforesaid of the 5th of June 1650 to be applicable thereunto: and who in pursuance thereof expresly avowed, approved, and commended the foresaid actions; yea even thanked his highness for it, and besought him (tho’ ’tis scarcely to be believed) to persevere in such a a laudable zeal?
And had the thanks of the other provinces for it.All which being true, and the rulers of the other provinces, who ought to have offered their helping hand to Holland against these violent oppressions, having on the contrary either of necessity or willingly flattered the prince in this, and sought to bring our province to a greater thraldom: no rational man could have expected but that traffick and navigation, &c. would have had its overthrow here, as in other monarchical countries; and that consequently all the inhabitants of Holland in a few years would necessarily have sunk into unexpressible misery.
The reason why the general liberty in Holland hath caused no more benefit, since the death of the prince of Orange, the last stadtholder of Holland and captain-general during life.
Reasons why Holland has enjoyed but little fruit by its free government.BUT it may be objected, that God hath given us peace with Spain, and snatched away our captain-general and stadtholder, without leaving one of age enough to be his successor; which seem to be the two most desirable things that the inhabitants of Holland could wish for, seeing they are thereby become a people really free, subject to none of what quality soever, but only to reason, and to the laws of their own country, that can only be governed by the interest of their own province or cities: and yet for all this we can see no alteration, but only in this, that the lives, estates, and reputation of the inhabitants, do not depend upon one man’s will; and that the cities cannot by their soldiery suddenly be surprized.See R. Scheele Gemeene Uryheit. So that the rulers, and ministers of the republick of Holland and West-Friesland, as well as those of the particular cities, are now, inasmuch as concerns every man’s person and transactions, liable only to the laws and constitution of the republick, and the cities thereof; and being absolutely their own masters, they need fear no more by ruling well to offend a single head, and consequently to lose their authority, life, and estate for so doing.
Why there was no easing of the imposts.In answer to this I must acknowledge, that the much wished for accident aforesaid hath not hitherto produced such wholesome fruits as might rationally have been expected, especially since hitherto there hath been no ease given to the people from such heavy taxes and impositions. But when the reason of it is rightly scanned, we shall find the cause is not to be imputed to the present free rulers, but to the former usurpation of the stadtholders, governors and captains-general, together with the remaining disorders that had their rise from thence. Yea, it is to be admired, that matters in the present conjuncture are already brought to so good a condition: for when the known and evident causes of what is before expressed are looked into and enumerated every one may soon perceive these four good effects.
In the first place, that at the time of the death of the last stadtholder and captain-general, the province of Holland being of so small a compass, and so poor in treasure as is before expressed, was left charged with so dreadful a capital debt upon interest, and such an excessive number of daily incident debts, that it will not be believed by other nations, nor possibly by our successors in Holland, that so small a province could subsist under such great and heavy taxes; and that the inhabitants thereof could bear, not only the annual interests of such an immense sum, but so many taxes besides for the defence of themselves and their allies:Because Holland was in debt 140 millions, &c. it being remonstrated by the states of that province to prince William, a little before his death, and also afterwards for justification of their proceedings, anno 1650, That the province of Holland was then charged with money taken up at interest, amounting to the sum of one hundred and forty millions of guilders, besides other debts amounting to thirteen millions.
Secondly, That the good inhabitants of the said province, driving their trade to the Levant about the same time, and especially in the years 1650 and 1651, were by the French Corsairs in the Mediterranean extremely endamaged, even so far, that a part only of the foresaid loss, viz. as much as the merchants of Amsterdam by publick command brought in, amounted to above one hundred tuns of gold, or ten millions of guilders.
Together with the English war,Thirdly, That this state in the year 1652, fell into and continued in open war with the English until 1654, which occasioned a remarkable decay of trade, and many great losses to the traders of the said province.
And the eastern war.Fourthly, The eastern wars soon after happened between the kings of Sweden and Denmark; and this state became engaged in it as auxiliaries. All which must be acknowledged by every one for reasons of what I said before; but the right grounds and true causes are curiously enquired into but by very few, and therefore are looked upon by many as the effects of the present government. I have therefore thought it necessary to shew, to the best of my knowledge, how those things came about.
Our former capt. generals with their dependants, the cause of our dreadful taxations. For the sums so taken up were mispent for the conquest of cities. And thereby to keep Holland in slavery.And first concerning the one hundred and forty millions of guilders, with the other undischarged debts above-mentioned; it is well known, and easy to be comprehended, that that debt was forcibly occasioned by the captain-general and his flatterers; the said immense sums being wasted to promote his ambition and glory, by having great armies in the field, and undertaking great sieges to take such cities, as at this day tend to the heavy burdening of Holland. And that which is most to be bewailed was, that the frontier cities were intrusted to the sole command of the captain-general, who placed therein governors and garrisons; so that they served only for so many citadels to hold poor Holland in fetters. And we have often with grief been forced to see, that whilst so many millions were sacrificed by land to the ambition of the captain-general, the necessary defence of navigation and commerce, must depend upon the revenue of the convoys and customs, which are received only of the merchant; and sometimes a part of the said money too was diverted to carry on the war by land.
Which is illustrated by a similitude, how much the country under this free government fares better than under the stadtholders.I know very well, that this way of management was not afterwards discommended, because many of our inhabitants had the good fortune not to be damnified by losses at sea, and the ill conduct of the West-India company, whereof mention is made in the first chapter of the second part of this book; so that they sared at least as well or better than at present, and found there was then money to be got Besides, those manifold destructive wars which happened in most of the neighbouring as well as remote countries, inclined many rich fugitives to settle in Holland.Then money was taken up at interest to consume and waste. But I wish those poor people would have a little foresight, they would then consider that it went with the affairs of the commonwealth, as I once remember it hapned in a certain family that was blessed with a fair estate. The parents being dead, the children were put under the care of a lavish guardian, who giving no account, spent the estate hand over head; and when there was no more money in cash, immediately took up a good sum upon interest, at the charge of the poor orphans; so that not only the foresaid children, but all the children and servants of the neighbourhood liv’d most bravely, and had and did every thing that their hearts could wish for.But now we husband it to pay off the debts contracted by the former lavish housekeeping. But it afterwards hapned, that the wasteful guardian died, and the said children fell under the care and tuition of the chamber of orphans, who kept a continual eye over them, and plac’d them under the daily care of an honest, diligent and sober man, who regulated the house after a quite different manner, without any waste. So that whereas, in the time of the foresaid guardian, there was yearly more spent than the revenue amounted to, and every time money taken up at interest, the revenue did afterwards considerably exceed the expence; and the surplus was laid out to pay off a part of the debt which the former guardian had contracted.
Which displeases many unthinking and ill-meaning inhabitants.But then the children murmured, saying, that their condition was much impaired, that they had a pleasant life under the former guardian; and so did the neighbours, children and servants, they said they could enjoy themselves with delight in that family under the former guardian, but that it was now become a barren place. But those poor orphans little thought, that in case the former management had lasted longer, it would have proved fatal to them in their riper years, And we, poor simple Hollanders, who may with reason be called orphans, how long shall we remain in our childhood and minority; not observing that the plenty we then were sensible of, proceeded from the ill husbandry of a prodigal guardian or steward, which hath run us in debt as aforesaid? at least we ought to conceive, that we must now still be taxed and fleec’d to pay off the interests of that great sum;And neighbours and other stranby our wastfulness use to live at case. which taxes alone under our present governors, would defray the whole charge of the government. So that all that we must now pay for our subsistance and defence, and which lies so heavy upon us, must be look’d upon as the bitter fruits of that tree of wantonness, which that lavish guardian hath planted among us, and which we silly children danc’d about with so much delight; and our neighbours children of Guelderland, Utrecht, Over-Yssel, and others, to whom plenty was no burden, and our hired soldiers, with whole regiments of French, English, Scots and Walloons, who lived in our family, were very well pleased with that kind of life, and it makes their hearts to rejoice when they talk of reviving those times. It is good cutting large thongs out of another man’s hide. But that we Hollanders should be so stupid as not to perceive that the present government is our safety, and that the former would infallibly have procured our ruin, is indeed not to be comprehended.
The French and English depredations by sea happen’d by means of the late government.As to the second cause, viz. the depredations committed in the Mediterranean seas, and thereabouts: it is first apparent, that seeing all the wealth of Holland, as well the said borrowed capital sum, as that which is squeezed out of the sweat and blood of the good inhabitants of the said province, was sacrificed to the ambition of the captain-general; and by his neglect of a vigorous defence by sea, there was a fair and open field given to all nations greedy of prey, to set our men of war against our rich laden ships. Who knows not that the great inticement to evil is the hopes of impunity? He that will always be a sheep, must expect to be eaten of the wolf at last.Seeing by their endeavours our ships of war were sold. To which is to be added, that under pretext of a peace concluded with Spain, as if there were no more ill people in the world, and as if all coveting of one anothers goods would have thereby ceased, the captain-general, by his creatures and flatterers, had so subtilly contrived matters, that several of our ships of war were sold, and thereby we were left naked of our necessary defence by sea. Our honest and most provident rulers could the less oppose it, because there was another mischief impending over them by the captain-general, viz. That as soon as he (who then passed his time chiefly in hunting, hawking, tennis-playing, dancing, comedies, and other more infamous debaucheries) should begin to apply himself to affairs of state, he would imploy the remaining naval power of the land against the government of England for the advancing the interests of his own family, but certainly to the oppression of all the inhabitants of Holland, especially of the trading part.
Upon which it also followed, that some of our ships which were thus sold, became the chief of the foresaid Corsairs against us: which brings to my remembrance, that which was publickly spoken in the year 1651, and probably very true, viz.That the pirates might bring Holland, and especially Amsterdam, to be divided and weakned. That the aforesaid depredations, and others were to be made by shipping, that were to sail out of the Sorlings (or islands of Scilly) and elsewhere by our captain-general’s appointment; and that some of the earwigs of that young prince had persuaded him, that robbing at sea was the surest, yea the only expedient to bring the Amsterdammers, with whom he had been for some time before his death at great variance, to his lure or devotion: It being accounted a sure maxim among such great persons to weaken and ruin all great and strong cities which may oppose their designs; yea, and when private methods are wanting, to make use of open violence for that end: as all histories and examples, both antient and modern, do clearly testify. And that consideration alone ought to be sufficient for us Hollanders (whose welfare entirely consists in flourishing, mercantile, and populous cities) to take a firm resolution, never to put ourselves under a perpetual chief head, by what name or title soever, and to persist therein immutably.
The war with England was brought upon us for the sake of the house of Orange.To the 3d cause, viz. the war against England; I may well say, and that truly, that we have suffered that for the sake of the house of Orange. For those of the parliament of England having cut off the head of their own good king, and being therefore exceedingly hated by all the monarchs in the world, and likely, in all human appearance, to be called to account and punished for it by neighbouring princes, lest such a crime remaining unrevenged, their own subjects might be thereby excited to act the same thing against them: they therefore found themselves under a necessity to seek the friendship of this state;For the English sought for our friendship first. and for that end, soon after the death of the prince of Orange, they sent a considerable embassy hither, without shewing the like honour to any other potentate or state in the world.
I shall not here particularize all that they offered to settle a friendship between both nations; it will be sufficient to observe, that they did by commissioners, earnestly insist with the states general to renew that well known treaty of intercourse made between both nations An. 1495. Tho’ I am of opinion, and have before amply proved it, that it is wholly unadviseable for this state to enter into any farther league with England;Some rulers still remaining slaves to the prince of Orange set themselves against the alliance with the English. The Enlish ambassadors suffering great contempt. yet by renewing the said treaty we should not only settle a friendship, but also at the same time have established our commerce and fishery; as to which the articles of the said treaty (especially in regard of the fishery) are expressed in the most desirable terms. Yet those that conceived themselves bound as slaves to the house of Orange, did not only oppose the concluding of the foresaid desirable treaty, but also sent away those ambassadors with all manner of reproach and dishonour:Which the states of Holland were willing but not able to prevent. first, by opposing them in the publick deliberations of the state against the progress of the said treaty, especially by framing delays, alledging that we first ought to see the issue of the designs of the present king of Great Britain (then declared king in Scotland) and on the other side exciting the rabble against the persons of the said embassadors to such a degree, that the states of Holland perceived the aversion, and daily threats that were uttered against their persons, were necessitated, for preventing of greater mischief, to appoint a corps de guarde to be erected before their house, to secure them from the like mischief which befel Dr. Dorislaus, envoy from the said parliament, at the Swan inn in the Hague.
On which those ambassadors parted discontented. One of whom predicted, that we should repent to have rejected the friendship of England.What aversion such proceedings might have caused in the said ambassadors, is easy to be apprehended, as it also followed; who have observed after they had stayed here a considerable time, that the zeal of the honest and upright government, especially in the province of Holland and Zealand, was not able to ballance the faction of Orange; they returned in great discontent to England; one of them, viz. Mr. St. John (upon taking his leave) told the states commissioners: “My lords, you have your eye upon the the issue of the affairs of the king of Scotland, and therefore have despised the friendship we have profered you; I, will assure you, that many in the parliament were of opinion, that we ought not to have come hither, or to have sent any ambassador ’till we had first overcome our difficulties, and seen an ambassador from you. I now see my fault, and perceive very well that those members of parliament judged right;As we have found by experience most true. you will in a little time see our affairs against the king of Scotland dispatched, and then you will, by your embassadors, come and desire what we now so cordially come to profer. But assure yourselves, you will then repent you have rejected our kindness.” Would to God that experience had not verified the foresaid discourse to our great loss: for the king of Scotland’s affairs being determined by a battel, and a war with this state following upon it; the wounds and losses occasioned by that war effectually brought to pass the repentance aforesaid; but fronte capillata, post est occasio calva: It is in vain to shut the well’s mouth, when the calf is drowned.
And this is the real cause of the first English war.This is the true reason of that lamentable war; to which may be added the intolerable humour of that nation, their continual jealousy of our flourishing traffick, and the innate hatred of Cromwel against the prince of Orange, as a sister’s son of that king, whom of all the world he had most reason to dread. So that every one may easily imagine, what pain and care it hath cost our honest rulers to regain a peace with that nation.
The remaindert of the former government, the cause also of the Eastern wars, so far as related to Holland.Lastly, As to the fourth point, viz. that of the Eastern war: it is certain in case this state had had the good fortune to have framed its consultations according to its true interest, without having in their breasts the same evil which had occasioned the war with England, the growing flames in all probability might easily have been quenched at the beginning, at least in all events the war between Sweden and Denmark had certainly been prevented;The D of Bradenburg, and those that were slavishly inclin’d to the prince, wheedled Holland into it. but it is to be lamented, that all the deliberations that happened in the government, were traversed and thwarted by the fluctuating and changeable humour and interest of the elector of Brandenburg, only because that prince was related to the house of Orange by marriage, and acted a considerable, but a very strange part in that tragedy.
For at the beginning, when the king of Sweden was preparing his attempt against Poland, the duke of Brandenburg opposed it with a more than ordinary animosity; and accordingly seeking to strengthen himself by friends and alliances, those that were inclined to the house of Orange here, were able to effect so much, that the states obliged themselves firmly by a treaty of the 27th of July, 1655, to defend the said elector against the foresaid king of Sweden, having after a few days deliberation undertook the guaranty of the electoral Prussia;First causing us to enter into an alliance with the D. of Brandenburg. a point, which ever till then tho’ it was uncertain whether there would have been any attack to be feared about it in a long time) was looked upon to be of so great weight and importance, that for that reason only, the alliance profered by the said elector for diverse years together with such a clause of guaranty, never took effect. The states by this means being visibly left out of the neutrality, could be no effectual mediators to end the war between Poland and Sweden, which by their interposition and direction had ever been formerly accommodated.Who having receiv’d a good sum of us, got out of that alliance, and took part with the Swede.
But it soon appeared that we were not a little mistaken; for after the said duke began to enjoy the effect of the foresaid treaty, especially after he had received a good sum of the promised subsidies, he suddenly, and without the privity of this state, joined with the king of Sweden, cast off the oath of vassalage he had sworn to the king of Poland, expresly renounced the foresaid alliance with us; and soon after, joining his forces with those of the king of Sweden, gave the Polish army battle near Warsaw.
Which caus’d here a great aversion to that elector.It is true, this action being in itself odious, and extremely contrary to the genius of our nation, rais’d in them so very great an aversion to this elector, that the best affected to the house of Orange were for a long time ashamed openly to patronize the interests of his electoral highness;And caused the advantageous treaty of Elbing for us. by which it happened that the faithful rulers, taking to heart the true interest of this state beyond all others, their wholesome advices took place afterwards so much the better.
The advantages that would have accru’d by that treaty were, viz. tolls no higher than in 1640.And accordingly with great prudence, and upon right maxims for a country subsisting by trade, that treaty was carried on with Sweden, on the 11th of September 1656, at Elbing in Prussia, between the ambassadors of this state, and commissioners of the king of Sweden; whereby it was firmly agreed, that seeing the Swedes had for some years raised the customs excessively high over their whole country, and especially had charged the inhabitants of these Netherlands to pay more than their own subjects; therefore for redress thereof, the customs and other taxes under the power of the Swede, as well without as within the kingdom, should be brought to the same rate they were at about the year 1640.
And no higher than the Sw de himself pays.In the second place, that in case of the raising of customs, and new taxes, the inhabitants of these United Provinces shall be no higher or more charged than the Swedes themselves: so that as to that point, there shall be kept a perfect equality in all things between both nations.
Thirdly, That the inhabitants of these Netherlands in all places under the Swedes command, as well in regard of customs, as to all other advantages, none excepted, shall be treated as well as any other nation shall be treated by the Swede.And as low as any strangers pay, including all other lands where we are concern’d. Whereby much harm would have been prevented.
Fourthly, That all those on whose preservation and peace this state, and the commerce of its inhabitants, is especially concerned, as among others principally the king of Denmark and his kingdoms, the elector of Brandenburg and his dominions, as also the city of Dantzick, and all places belonging to them, be comprehended in the foresaid treaty, with an express covenant, that neither the king of Sweden, nor his subjects and inhabitants, directly nor indirectly, shall give them any molestation, or hindrance in their traffick, much less make war against them.
Would to God, that these affairs so well commenc’d, had been pursued to perfection! Then should the king of Denmark at this day have been master of the province of Schonen, and other countries which were taken from him; and the good inhabitants of Holland have been in possession of many millions, which in the last war were consumed on behalf of the publick, and lost by private persons at sea.
And the reason why the same was not ratified, viz. Holland’s omission caused by their affection to the E. of Brandenburg.But altho’ a treaty concluded by those that are imployed and duly authorized, ought to be ratified by those who gave such full powers under their hands and seals; yet after the conclusion of the said treaty, there was such a fluctuation of humours, that it could not be ratified here. I cannot with truth affirm that the province of Holland was altogether blameless in this matter; but what authority was made use of underhand, the sequel plainly discovered. For when the good king of Denmark, being privately excited to it, had put on his rusty armour, and drawn the king of Sweden that way, then did the elector of Brandenburg effectually shew what that occasion was worth to him: for as soon as the king of Sweden had turned his back upon Poland and Prussia, he made no more scruple again to break the covenant of vassalage he had made with Sweden, than he formerly made conscience of solemnly renouncing the alliance he had made with this state;Who to obtain the sovereignty of the electoral Prussia, fell again from the Swede and join’d the Polander. and accordingly by that opportunity entered into a new treaty with the king of Poland, and covenanted to have the sovereignty of the ducal Prussia, which he formerly held of that king in fee, with other advantages that are not necessary here to enumerate.
But since by not ratifying the treaty of Elbing, we help’d the king of Denmark to put on his armour to so little purpose, and procured those notable advantages to the elector of Brandenburg, the kingdom of Denmark (God amend it) hath cost us dear enough:To our great damage. but that which most troubled us, was, that the said elector again arming himself against the Swede, and this state being in manner beforementioned drawn into the war between Sweden and Denmark, the interest of Brandenburg was so powerful, that it was impossible for us afterwards either to get out of that war, or to put an end to it, till not only Brandenburg, but Poland, and the whole house of Austria, to whom the elector of Brandenburg had obliged himself to make no peace without them, had first concluded their treaty, and had obtained their ends by the arms of this state. So that for the interest of Brandenburg we were just at the point of falling into a war with France, England, and Sweden, all at once, and consequently of fixing ourselves to the party of Austria and Spain, which would have tended to our utmost ruin.Who to please Brandenburg have been in the utmost danger. From which being at last delivered by the sage direction and management of the faithful rulers of Holland, tho’ not without their signal and personal danger, we have great cause to be highly thankful to God for it.
What good fruits the beginnings of a free government have already produced, from the death of the last stadtholder and captain-general, to the year 1662.
Notwithstanding the foresaid remainders of the stadtholders government is is evident, The fruits enjoy’d by the free government are, first, the not taking up money at interest. The reducing of five to four, wherewith to discharge the capital taken up. To the loss of the rulers, and the great benefit of the merchants, &c.AND now that I may more fully shew, that notwithstanding the sad effects of the relicks of the former stadtholders, governors, and captain-generals; yet that our affairs since the death of the last, are by the prudent management and zeal of our faithful rulers, brought very far on towards the welfare of these provinces. And first, as an eminent token of it, it is worthy observation, that not only a vigorous opposition is made against that ruinous course of taking up excessive sums continually upon interest, but that in the year 1655, by the zeal of our good rulers, an expedient was found to discharge the said province of the one hundred and forty millions of guilders, viz. by reducing the yearly interest of the said sum from the 20th to the 25th penry, or from five to four per cent. and employing the yearly advance of it towards discharging those sums: which advance increasing yearly, that formidable sum of one hundred and forty millions, will, in twenty-one years (whereof a sixth part is now expired) under God’s blessing, be totally discharged.
But that which is most to be gloried in is, that tho’ the greatest part of the regents of that province have lent a considerable part of their estates to Holland and West-Fri stand, nevertheless the consideration of their own profit did not hinder them from cutting off a fifth part of their revenue for the necessary service of the publick, and among others to so many thousand merchants, artizans, and others, who have no estate in the hands of the government at interest: so is it also to be greatly lamented, that there are still inhabitants of Holland, who either cannot or will not be sensible of the benefit and necessity of so doing.It is a pity that many of our people comprehend not this benefit. They ought in truth to consider that this country is an orphan, and that the rulers being guardians, they cannot with a good conscience suffer money to run at so high an interest at the charge of that orphan,And understand not that this country’s guardians must give no higher interest for the orphans use than for their own. when the credit of the said orphan is so great, that he can take up money sufficient at 4 per cent. and it would above all be inexcusable in the guardians to keep their own money still at the orphan’s charge, and require 5 per cent. for the same, when others, and perhaps the elder brothers and sisters of the orphan, are ready to lend him their money at 4 per cent.
But above all they ought to consider, that the revenue of Holland in itself was of little or no value; and if it be now otherwise, it doth purely and merely depend on the blessing of God upon its commerce and traffick;Especially when the revenue of Holland by those high interests would have been swallow’d up. and that if any considerable diversion or diminution of it should happen, ’twere impossible to raise the seven millions from it, which before the foresaid reduction were yearly demanded by petition for payment of the foresaid one hundred and forty millions; which by continuation of such an oeconomy as was kept in the time of the stadtholders and captains-general, would in time have been so much increased, that at length it would have exceeded all the revenue and product of their trade: and the neat revenue of Holland, being, by this means, brought to less than nothing, and its credit thereby necessarily at a stand, the faid province must have sunk and come to nothing of a sudden.
I can compare those people to nothing better than to a certain crack’d-brain’d son of an industrious husbandman, who seeing his father once and again take a great quantity of corn out of his barn, and carry it to his land and scatter it upon the earth, his crazy understanding began greatly to murmur, saying,Howgreat the fruits of this discharge of the debts are, is set forth by a similitude. that they had wont to take the corn out of the barn only by the handful, to bake bread and cakes, whereof he, his brothers and sisters were daily to eat; but by this way of taking so much together, it would shrink and come to nothing; and that his father ought not to have denied them their former liberty.Viz. By seed-corn, which cast into the earth seems to be lost. But that silly fellow understood not that the corn scattered upon the land was in no wise wasted or destroyed, but sowed in the earth in order to a great increase the year following; and that his father had taken sufficient care to leave so much in the barn as would bring the year about without want:But afterwards produces abundance whereas if they had taken corn out of that barn from time to time for bread and cakes, without sowing any, it might indeed for some time have caused a merry life, but the event would have been sudden misery and famine.So does that reduction bring a great benefit to the country. Even so those weak people perceive not that that which seems to be withheld from them or their neighbours by the aforesaid reduction, is by no means squander’d away, but laid up as good seed, to produce more fruit from year to year, that it may, by the blessing of God, be truly said to be only our surplusage; and in case that be neglected, according to the fancy of such foolish persons as aforesaid, and the extremity be taken, we may for a time live in jollity, but at length the burden of it would have ruin’d us all.
And further, to discover the difference between the present frugal and the former lavish government, we may remember that in our time there was another reduction made of rents and interests from 16 to 20, and from 6 ¼ to 5 per cent. But the benefit of it presently dropt through our fingers, even to the raising of more horse and foot, that were employed contrary to the desire of most of the honest rulers of Holland, and to the great detriment of that province sacrificed to the ambition of the captain-general;Which under the stadtholder were converted to the levying of many needless soldiers. so that the foresaid reduction may be truly said, not to have served to the easing of the country, but to a new and heavy taxing of the commonalty.
Yet out of its profit, had it been managed, Holland would now have been out of debt.And had we then been so fortunate, that the good rulers at that time had been able to have made use of the advance of the foresaid reduction (as they do now) for discharge of the capital sum, and reducing the yearly charge (with the interest upon interest) without running ourselves again into new negotiations to the prejudice of Holland, we should in lieu of being so vastly in debt as at present, have been free and on even ground.And have subsisted without any imposts on consumption. And if therewith we can discharge ourselves of seven millions of yearly imposts, and all taxes on consumption, which lie so heavy upon the commonalty, and do so remarkably hinder the increase of our trade and commerce, and withal a good part of the poundage upon lands and houses, and of the customs and convoys, and yet after that have a better and clearer revenue than we have at present; besides the benefit we should enjoy of having all handycrafts-men, manufacturers and traders, who would resort to us from other countries, under the advantages of having the foresaid taxes discharged:To the unutterable benefit of all trades. if this were, I say, so ordered, this state would, humanly speaking, have been already, or at least in a few years be the most considerable, puissant, and most formidable republick of the whole world.
And as we should certainly have possessed and tasted that prosperity, in case the former government had had the freedom of making the best use of the interest of Holland; so in all probability we may yet enjoy and be sensible of it in our own persons, or at least our children after us, if we do not shamefully suffer that golden liberty which is put into our hands by heaven, to be plucked from us, and don’t with the sow return to the mire.Which blessing we hope, preserving our liberty, to bequeath to posterity. This certainly no generous Hollander can rightly consider, without being inflamed with an ardent zeal to hazard his estate and life for the preservation of the present government, and maintaining our true liberty, and thereby to leave our children at leastwise that happiness which we, in case our predecessors could have effected that which in our times, as aforesaid, is so commendably settled, should now effectually enjoy.
Let none imagine that during the war with the king of Spain, it would have been impracticable to employ the advance of the foresaid reduction for discharging part of the monies taken up at interest, and to continue it till the whole were paid off, and the country out of debt; seeing the contrary hath effectually appeared, that during the forementioned eastern war, where in proportion of time there was more than twice as much extraordinarily raised and paid by the province of Holland as, since the foresaid first reduction, ever happened in the war with Spain;The third fruit of this free government is, a great part of the superfluous soldiery &c. is disbanded whereby Holland saves yearly 500000 guilders. yet the last reduction from five to four in the hundred, by the care and vigilance of the present rulers, hath continued by the yearly advance thereof, without any intermission or diversion, and is employed for the discharge of the capital debt.
In the next place we may observe, as a singular effect of the present free government, that by their prudence and good direction a good part of the supernumerary and useless land-forces, and especially of the foreign soldiery, is reduced and discharged, to the ease of the province of Holland in particular, of the sum of near five hundred thousand guilders per annum. Concerning which it is specially to be noted, that the foresaid reduction and discharge was effected by the good conduct of Holland, with the universal satisfaction and approbation of all the other provinces. Whence therefore (by comparing it with what passed in the year 1650) may be inferred, that the present time is much better than that, when our own captain-general thrust his sword into our bowels, for no other reason, but because the upright and faithful rulers, according to justice and duty, did only disband and reduce some part of the said forces for ease of the country, and as preparatory to the necessary disburdening of the poor commonalty.
The profit of which is converted to the discharge of debts.It is also at present firmly resolved for our good, that the benefit of the said reduction, as also that of rents and interests, shall be employed for discharging that intolerable burden which the ambition of our captain-general laid upon our backs.
Whereby the sums that opprest Holland will be the sooner discharged.By this means the above-levied capital sums will be sooner paid by six years than otherwise they could: so that now in that respect about a full fifth part of the time requisite for the payment of the whole is expired; besides, that a part of the above-said one hundred and forty millions, which were many years since negotiated upon rents for life, and likewise grow less every day, will infallibly expire in a few years. So that we do visibly approach the land of promise;The fourth fruit of this government is, that all contentions of cities and provinces are ended to satisfaction. and if by reason of our unthankfulness, and murmuring against the Almighty, and against our Moses, he does not cast us back into the Egyptian slavery, the remainder of the journey through the wilderness will soon be at an end.
Fourthly, Let us observe, as another singular effect of the present free government, that tho’ it was formerly judged and maintained by many, that it would be impossible, without stadtholders or governors of the provinces, to compose and reconcile the differences and disputes of province against province, quarters against quarters, cities against cities, and rulers in cities with one another, which will infallibly arise from time to time; and that by this means the state for want of such stadtholders and governors, will e’er long fall into great dissentions and civil wars, and in time come to ruin;Tho’ such differences are mostly coused by such as affect slavery. yet experience hath taught us, that on the contrary, the many and great disputes and differences that have broken out, and were mostly caused by the instigation of those that long after slavery, have since the death of the last prince of Orange been laid down and appeased with much better order and effect than formerly. Yea, and which is wonderful, almost all the foresaid differences and disputes were so well allied, by the authority and good conduct of the lawful government, that at one and the same time the differing parties have found their satisfaction and contentment in laying them aside.
Whereas on the other hand the stadtholders caused many differences, and generally wrong’d the injur’d parties.Whereas, on the other hand, we have formerly seen, that the stadtholder irritated and stirred up such differences, at least cherished them, when it was for his interest and advantage; and at last made the parties who had most right, submit to the sword, because he knew best how to arrive at his ends by those who least regarded right, and consequently made little conscience, so they could please him in obstructing justice, and the welfare of the land: it being the maxim of all great persons, divide & impera; for in troubled waters they have best fishing.
All which appears by examples, viz. by the amnesty of 1651.If ever any governor or stadtholder, and his adherents, had had such cause of offence as was given to the province of Holland, anno 1650, and in case the same stadtholder and his adherents had had the same power to revenge themselves as the states of Holland had after the death of the last prince of Orange; who can doubt but their desire of revenge would have made the whole state to tremble, and that much christian-blood would have been sacrificed to their passion? But seeing the common good is more regarded and pursued by the rulers of a free republick, than the satisfying of any violent passion; and that by executing that revenge, or rather just punishment, it would have sustained a signal damage, the said crime was wisely and prudently buried by a general amnesty or pardon; and so that great breach, made on purpose to keep the whole state a long time in a troublesome alarm, was presently repaired.
And the allaying the dissension in Over-Yssel.The most considerable dissension and rent which in the memory of man hath happened in these United Provinces, was that of the province of Over-yssel into two considerable parties about the beginning of the year 1654;Which had broke out into an open war, which was of such a nature, that both the differing parties behaved themselves as states, and as the lawful sovereign powers of that province, insomuch that they made war against one another in that quality, and after such a manner, that the city of Hasseld was, after a formal siege, taken by one of the parties. In this dissension (according to the forementioned maxim of great men) the stadtholder of Friesland had concerned himself, and was received by one of the parties for stadtholder, governor, and captain-general of Over-yssel, by which the dissention was brought to that extremity, and lasted between three and four years.
And yet by intercession of the H. R. pensionary it was first stopt,But at last those lords observing, that their disputes were infinitely multiplied, so that the wound was almost incurable, they submitted at the mediation of the pensioner of Holland, to refer all their differences to the decision and determination of two persons appointed by the states of the same province, who were the Heer van Polsbroek burgo-master of the city of Amsterdam, and the said pensioner; who reconciled the contending parties of the said province in most of their differing points in an amicable manner:And afterward amitably ended. and afterwards all the necessary regulations, orders, instructions and affidavits as to affairs of the government of the said province, being set down in writing, a solemn sentence and decision was made and pronounced upon the 20th of August 1657, of all the said differences, in the name of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, and all confirmed under the great seal of the said states, inserting therein the foresaid regulations, orders, instructions and oaths, for preventing the like inconveniencies for the future; and all with that prudence and moderation, that both parties received entire satisfaction. Hereupon the divided government was immediately consolidated and healed up, and the quiet and peace of the said province restored, and so continues to this very day.
What happened in Groningen is worthy observation.In the province of Groningen and Ommelanden, there arose likewise a notable dissension at the beginning of 1655, and again at the end of 1656; insomuch that the body of the foresaid Ommelanden, and half of the province being divided, all government and administration of justice was at a stand. Upon this occasion it manifestly appeared whether such dissentions could be best composed and quieted by stadtholders, or by the authority and conduct of other rulers.Where the stadtholder not able to allay the differences desir’d the states to do it by their deputies. The states general having gotten information of those differences at two several times, did immediately desire the stadtholder of that province to be present in person, and allay the difference if possible. But experience taught us, that it was but like oil cast into the fire: so that the stadtholder was necessitated to return answer to the states general, that he found it impracticable, and desired the states would depute some of their number for that end. Which having performed, those deputies composed and allayed the said differences, to the satisfaction and contentment of both parties; and the government of the country was settled and confirmed, in the name, and under the seal of the states general, with consent of the said country.Which also was amicably effected.
It would be too tedious to mention circumstances, how prudently and happily, by the wise direction of the states of Holland or those authorized by them, all the commotions that happened in the cities of the same province, and all differences, as well between the said cities against one another, as between the rulers of one and the same city, were every time extinguished and allayed.And in Holland many differences that arose have been happily ended. Yea even old disputes, that from the time of the last troubles had been carried on with much heat between some members, and which under the stadtholders could never be allayed, were by the states of Holland amicably decided to the satisfaction of the parties concerned.At Dort, Enchuysen, Gornichem, Rotterdam, Briel, &c. Which examples in respect of the commotions that have heretofore, and now lately happened at Dort, Enchuysen and Medenblick, as likewise the appeasing of the differences between the governors of Gornichem and Schoonhoven, about the chusing of their magistrates; and of those of Rotterdam, and the Briel, about the pilotage of the Maese, and the passage into Goeree;As also in West-Friesland, and the North quarter. as also the old disputes about the investiture of the colleges of the generality, between the members of West-Friesland and the north quarter, which were depending beyond the memory of man, are very notable instances.
Where the beginnings of mischief were contriv’d by our last stadholder.Here might also be shewn, that the beginnings of all the said commotions and dissentions were first designed or contrived by the last deceased stadtholder; and others were excited and fomented by his creatures that he left behind him: so that all that are lovers of peace and quiet, and would rather have all discords composed by wife and mild conduct, than carried on and increased by passion, or decided by the sword, have need carefully to beware of electing a stadtholder or new baitmaker.
The most considerable fruit of this free government is, that the powers of Holland are disposed to strengthen our naval forces.But the greatest and most valuable benefit of the present free government, is, that now, according to the true interest of Holland, all the revenues of the land, both ordinary and extraordinary, that remain over and above the payments of the principal and interest of the publick debts, are applied for the increasing and strengthening our naval power; whereas it was heretofore wasted upon unprofitable, nay and oft-times pernicious sieges and other expeditions, according to the vain glory of the captain-general. It is particularly observable, that at present the ordinary naval power of this state is above three or four times more formidable than ever it was during the war with the king of Spain. And as after the conclusion of the peace with the said king, during the life of the prince of Orange, the first design was (as I formerly mentioned) to sell the most considerable of our ships; so after his death, one of the first cares of the states was, to put the colleges of the admiralty in a posture of acting offensively at sea:Considering that in two years, 60 new ships of war were built. the states having (which is a thing incredible) during the chargeable war against England, from 1652 to 1654, built in the space of two years, sixty new capital ships of war, of such dimensions and force, as were never before used in the service of this state.And new magazines built, provided with all necessaries for shipping, cannon &c. And thus they have proceeded with the like provident care to build other ships, to buy cannon, to erect vast magazines and store-houses for securing and preserving naval stores, and making of publick rope allies, and the like, and for providing all things necessary for the equipping and setting of ships to sea; and generally have done all that’s fit for the strengthning of our naval power, which hath been continued diligently from time to time.
This is known to be the only means whereby, under the blessing of God, this state may progressively increase in fishing, commerce and navigation, and draw an incredible concourse of people out of all countries, as we daily experience to our great joy.Whereby much pirating by sea will be prevented, For who can be ignorant, that the awful regard to our foresaid naval power alone hath, next under God, been the cause of putting a stop to the aforementioned intolerable piracies of the French in the Mediterranean seas, by which the government is brought into a posture to be able, yea and did resolve to attack, take and destroy, not only common pirates, but even the king’s ships of war which were made use of for that end? so that two of the king of France’s ships being taken by vice-admiral de Ruyter in the Mediterranean in 1657, his majesty, who had caused all our ships and effects throughout his dominions to be seized, was thereby readily brought to free us from that inconveniency.Especially in the Mediterranean.
And the Eastern affairs dispatched.Without the influence of this naval power, it would in all human probability have been impossible to deliver our selves with any reputation out of the Eastern war formerly mentioned, without being expos’d to many more difficulties.And our traffick and navigation considerably encreased. In short, by this means the commerce and navigation of these provinces have, notwithstanding the heavy burdens forementioned, been kept in a tolerable good posture and condition, and do now considerable improve.
The stupidity of those who complain of our affairs is inexcusable,So that the folly or malice of some people is intolerable, who dare complain of our present state of affairs, and esteem the former times better than the present. If those stupid or ill meaning people cannot or will not be at the pains to consider the noble effects of the present free government, yet they should at least suffer themselves to be convinced by the evident prosperity of the cities of Holland. What could they answer if they were asked, whether it be not a manifest token of prosperity, that the most considerable and greatest mercantile city of the province, viz. Amsterdam, hath been enlarged two parts in three; and that none can observe, that either the houses or inheritances are thereby lessened in value;Seeing the prosperity of the country appears by other symptoms. yea that it is so augmented in buildings of houses, that the imposts on the bulky goods of that city only, in the last farm, yielded above thirty thousand guilders more than in the former, and yet the said impost was in the foregoing years considerably improved? We may affirm the same of Leyden and Dort, and other cities in proportion.By laying out the ground of cities. And that the riches, and plenty of many cannot be kept within the walls of their houses; but that over and above their costly and stately buildings, they are visible in their coaches, horses, and other tokens of plenty in every part.Gallantry and magnificence of the inhabitants. There are but very few in the cities of the foresaid province, that do not yearly increase their capital. Yea, if the foresaid complainers and murmurers look but into their own books, I assure myself that most of them (unless they are profuse, negligent and debauched)And the few bankrupts of honest merchants. shall find their stock, one year with another, considerably increased.
The third and last part of this book concludes with this, That all good inhabitants ought to defend the free government of the republick of Holland and West-Friesland, with their lives and estates.
THEN since we have already enjoyed such noble fruits of the present free government, notwithstanding the grievous obstructions before-mentioned, and that we are as yet but in the winter of this happy change, wherein a great part of the said good and fruitful seed lies still hid in the ground, and the other part is but preparing to be sowed in the spring; who is there that may not easily apprehend, how noble and happy the approaching spring and summer will be; but especially the harvest, when that horrible burden of one hundred and forty millions will be paid off and fully discharged, and when the taxes upon consumption, commerce, and immoveable estates, will be lessened by seven millions, and yet the treasure of the land not one stiver less.
And if at present, under so many intolerable burdens as are expressed in the 5th chapter, and what we have since the year 1662 befaln us (of which we might give a large account) our cities and inhabitants have under a free government been visibly enlarged and increased; who will not easily apprehend, that by continuing the same government we shall in time, with god’s blessing, be the most happy and mighty country for strength that is to be found upon the face of the earth?All the inhabitants of Holland ought to support their free government. And therefore we are obliged to pray servently to God Almighty, that he would be pleased not only to keep us in the same state, but also upon occasion to make us willing to hazard our lives and estates, and that joyfully, to maintain the same; that so our children may at least possess that full happiness, and that compleat worldly felicity which they cannot fail of, (without God’s extraordinary judgment) unless we should by our revolt to a stadtholder, governour, or captain-general, pull up the stately foundations which have so prudently been laid by the present free government, and which without such defection will the more easily by continaunce be kept up, yea and may from time to time be improved.
With this general conclusion, I might now end the third part of this book, were it not that the great weight of this affair presseth me to say further, that upon this foregoing argument, illustrated by antient and modern histories, and also by our own experience of the many mischiefs of the former compulsive government, and of the many good fruits of the present free government, we might well hold it for an unchangeable maxim, that a country having such interests or advantages as Holland now hath, ought in all respects to be governed by a free republick and states: and that all the good rulers of this land, and especially all the inhabitants that are in any measure concerned in the prosperity of manufactury, fishery, commerce and shipping, ought to maintain the present free government with all their might, and by no means to suffer, and much less to occasion that any inhabitant, of what quality soever, do under any specious title or denomination, acquire so great a power, that the gentry and cities of Holland should submit unto, or truckle under him, or not dare by their deputies at their assemblies to speak out, and declare that which tends to the true interest of the country, and the respective cities of Holland, when it thwarts the interest of a political or military head; or when they having declared it, dare not maintain it, without running into imminent danger.
Especially those of the reformed religion.And above all, we may conclude, that the ecclesiasticks, who in any wise regard the true interest of the reformed religion, that do not impiously trample upon the honour of God, and shamelesly sell the reverence due to themselves for a mess of pottage, ought to support this free government, and with their spiritual weapons defend it against the encroachments of such a ruler; considering that the reformed religion will be surer and better preserved by the prudent, immortal, and almost immutable sovereign assembly of the states of Holland and West-Friesland, and other colleges subordinate to them, than by those voluptuous, lavish, transitory and fickle monarchs and princes, or their favourites, who alter the outward form and practice of religion as may be most consistent with their pleasures or profits; and besides, when they die, do often bequeath their lands to inheritors of others, and especially of the Romish religion, who by their high places, politick conduct, and the eminency of their ecclesiastical honour and extraordinary riches, attract to themselves great persons, and especially the surviving poor daughters and younger sons, who by them may easily arrive to great inheritances, as we have often seen in this and the foregoing ages, in France, England, Germany, Orange, &c.Because a republican government can hardly alter, but a single person may change the religion of the place he lives in. And seeing the consistories, classes and synods being in some measure inclined to obey this lawful government as the sovereign power set over them by God himself, have a plenary and ample freedom allow’d them in all their ecclesiastical determinations, and are likely so to continue, pursuant thereunto each minister doing his duty during life, and preserving or voting among the yearly elders, deacons and members that depend upon him, and he himself being subject to none save the sovereign power, is in effect a little bishop, and so will continue; and moreover the said ministers will retain the due freedom of expounding God’s holy word left us in the writings of the old and new testament, in spirit and truth, and may frame their expositions, and publick prayers according to the occasion, time and place, to the greater advancement of God’s honour, and the edification of the church, wherein the greatest comfort, and highest praise of an upright reformed minister does consist. Whereas on the other side, a monarchical governour, tho’ not acknowledging the pope of Rome, must and would necessarily turn off, and discharge such a church-council, to make way for the ruling of bishops, or a political church-council, to cause them, and all other preachers to depend on himself as head of the church. And moreover, a single person would for his greater security, and quiet in his government, deprive the ministry of their freedom to expound the word of God according to the best of their skill, and to suit their publick prayers to the edification of the people, and instead thereof give them formed or composed sermons and prayers; or if the prince found himself not strong enough to introduce this church-government, and thereby to curb proud and seditious preachers, he would then perhaps rather endeavour to make such ministers and clergy submit to the pope of Rome, than suffer them to be their own masters, in hopes that by length of time, and manifold accidents, and by an ecclesiastical government, in some measure regulated by a foreign head, it would be more tolerable to him than these upstart seditious people, whom no body knows how much power they will pretend to, and of whom, as of a hidden distemper, and a secret enemy, the sovereign is always in jealousy and fear.
Lastly, we may well conclude, that all the forementioned evils would certainly befal these lands, as soon as any one single person, under what specious pretence or title soever, shall have the command of our forces, either during life, or for a long time. We must consider, that in these unfortified provinces, where foreign hired soldiers are continually entertained in all the adjacent strong holds, such a soldiery will not only obey him in despite of the civil magistrates who are their directors and pay-masters, and in despite of the honest ministry, and to the ruin of such as live on their rents, trades and husbandry; but likewise all other ill disposed inhabitants, as well as the rabble, will always be ready, tho’ not stirred up by any wicked and seditious preachers, to join themselves with the party of such a courteous, liberal and valiant captain-general. So that the most honest and virtuous rulers and magistrates must be forc’d by constraint to demit, and others to prevent the losing of their lives, honours and estates; or else, to gain more wealth and honour, and authority, must concur with him, and dissolve such a government.
The contrary hereof would be treason.The matter being thus, we must say, that all persons, who for their particular interest do wilfully introduce such a monarchical government into our native country, will commit a crime which afterwards can never be remedied, but like Adam’s original sin be derived from father to son to perpetuity, and produce such pernicious effects, that all the good order and laws of these provinces, whether civil or ecclesiastical, must at length be subverted.By this crime alone all the laws of the land are in danger at once of being subverted. And seeing crimen majestatis is properly committed against the laws of the sovereign power, namely either to assault the legislator himself, or to endeavour to alter the sovereign government; we must therefore conclude, that the said inhabitants will by so doing make themselves guilty of crimen majestatis & perduellionis non fluxum sed permanens in æternum, the most grievous, most durable and endless treason against their country.
To conclude: We must grant that this republick of Holland and West-Friesland being deprived of their free government by erecting a stadtholder or captain-general for life, would in a few years lose both the name and appearance of a free republick, and be changed into a downright monarchical government;The welfare of all the inhabitants would be likewise obstructed hereby. which the merchants perceiving, they would leave our country as they have done others, that they might be under a free government. But God forbid and divert it, that being the greatest worldly mischief that can befal us; for this country, which subsists by manufacturers, fishermen, merchants, owners of ships, and others depending on them, who by this means must be all bereft of their livelihood, will become a land desolate and uninhabited, a body without a soul, and a lamentable fountain of unspeakable misery.
The conclusion of the whole book, with a declaration of the author’s design, and a caution both to the ill and well affected readers.
THESE my remarks upon the three premised parts of the true political maxims of the republick of Holland and West-Friesland, happening to be made publick, tho’ very imperfect, under the title of The interest of Holland in the year 1662;The whole concluded with this affirmation, and afterwards in the years 1667 and 1668, being more carefully perused, and more maturely deliberated upon, the reader ought to be forewarned, that sometimes the affairs of those respective years ought to be adverted to in the reading. And that my intent was, both in general and particular, to shew briefly wherein the interest of Holland consists, viz. That as in all countries of the world, the highest perfection of a political society, and in a land by accident labouring under taxes, and naturally indigent, as Holland is; there is an absolute necessity that the commonalty be left in as great a natural liberty for seeking the welfare of their souls and bodies, and for the improvement of their estates, as possible. For as the inhabitants of the most plentiful country upon earth, by want only of that natural liberty, and finding themselves every way encumber’d and perplexed, do really inhabit a bridewel or house of correction, fit for none but miserable condemned slaves, and consequently a hell upon earth.That Holland’s interest consists in the freedom of all its inhabitants. Whereas a power of using their natural rights and properties for their own safety, provided it tends not to the destruction of the society, will be to the commonalty, tho’ in a barren and indigent country, an earthly paradise: for the liberty of a man’s own mind, especially about matters wherein all his welfare consists, is to such a one as acceptable as an empire or kingdom.
That this interest agrees well with that of the rulers.I have likewise shewn, that such a liberty and prosperity of the subject does very well consist in Holland with the present uncontroled power of the free government, and with none other.
So that all good patriots and true lovers of our native country, who peruse this book, are earnestly intreated to consider deliberately whether the two most weighty points before mentioned, are not strongly and sufficiently demonstrated.
But whether, when, and how the particulars here treated of, may all at once, or at several times, be set about or perused, was not my intention in the least to direct.The author’s aim was not to prescribe any thing to the rulers as a pattern. For the higher powers, whom it only concerns in a republick to conclude of these matters, and all politicians know* that such things as may be borne with less inconvenience than removed or changed, ought to continue, and remain in being. And when such wise and good patriots will make any alteration, they must go by degrees, and as far as they conveniently may; yet they must rather stand still, or remain as they are, than run their heads against a wall.
For that would be worthy of a severe punishment.And indeed reformation in political affairs depends on so many, and such various circumstances, namely customs, times, places, rulers, subjects, allies, neighbouring and foreign countries, that such a reformation is either proper, or improper to be undertaken, according as the several circumstances are well weighed, such especially in a free republic which is governed and managed by prudent assemblies of the states, venerable city councils, and reputable colleges;Especially in this country, where are so many sage and prudent rulers. in which it would be a great presumption and self-conceit, yea, indeed a crime for a private person to dare to conclude any thing, and in so doing to arrogate it to himself, or to put a hand to that work, which properly and of right belongs only to the states of Holland, and those that are thereunto authorized.
If any man should object by way of reply, that throughout the whole book I use no doubtful proposals, but positive reasonings, and a conclusive cogent way of argument: I answer, that all matters which not only consist in knowing something, but also and chiefly in desiring or opposing any thing, and which moreover thwarts the prejudices and interests of many men, neither can, nor ought to be otherwise handled. For if an angel from heaven should propose to mankind such matters doubtfully and faintly, he would have but little audience upon earth, and gain no credit by people that have imbibed such prejudices beforehand. So that being desirous of having what I write of such matters to be read with consideration, and maturely weighed, and to make some impression on the reader, I have been necessitated to use this manner of writing. And therefore I find myself likewise obliged at the end of this book, when I I presume all hath been read, and duly weighed, to declare thus much, and to give this caution, that the same may be made use of for the good, and not for the hurt of our native country.
I shall add, that such a circumspect censure of the readers is the more requisite, because I shall have done much, if in proposing matters which relate to the prosperity of Holland my judgment hath in the general been rightly directed: for it would be incredible, and almost above human power, not to have err’d and mistaken in proposing and relating so many several particular matters. But since notwithstanding my aim hath been to set nothing before you but truth, which might tend to the benefit of my native country, I hope I have not always strayed, and run into mistakes. God grant that in the judgment of my several readers, and especially those of the lawful magistracy, and true fathers of their country, I may have come so near the mark in many things, that my errors, which in such a case I renounce, may be so overlooked by them, as they may commend my laudable zeal, and be excited to greater matters themselves, or may employ others that have more ability and leisure; that by such countenance and favour they may be encouraged to write something necessary for the service of their native country, and that more amply, methodically, and solidly than I have done. If this be effected, I have my principal end and design.
But in case any reader be so ill minded, though neither willing nor able to effect such a commendable work himself, as to oppose and despise what I have here laid down; let him remember, that I desire nothing of him but to judge of mine and other writings with consideration and circumspection; and that I shall be far from such foolish ambition as to write an answer which would neither be serviceable to my country, the reader, nor myself: for I intend to follow this perpetual maxim during my short and transitory life, to make no man master of my time and repose but myself, and particularly never to grant or yield so much to any ill-designing person, as for their sakes to fall into troublesome, contentious and unprofitable scribling. For whether my errors be truly discovered, or peevishly and falsely laid to my charge, the several readers must be the judges.
Farewel, and remember this saying,* It is the duty of a good citizen, to preserve and defend the common freedom of his native country, as far as in him lies.
[* ]Nulla fides pietasq; viris qui castra sequuntur.
[* ]Inter arma silent leges. Parum tuta est sine viribus [Editor: illegible text] Liv.
[* ]Cæsares timere & odisse proprium esse ecclesiæ.
[* ]Quod si regum, atque imperatorum animi virtus in pace ita ut in bello valeret, æquabilius atque constantius sese res humanæ haberent, neque aliud alio ferri, mutari, & misceri omnia cerneres. Sallust.
[* ]Decreverat ex urbe Gandavo oppidulum facere. Rerum Austriac. p 45.
[* ]Multa facere non oportet quæ facta tenent. Multa scire pauca exequi.
[* ]Boni civis est liberum reipublicæ statum tueri[Editor: illegible character] nec cum mutatum velle.