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CHAP. I. - 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.
[* ]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.