Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. II. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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CHAP. II. - 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 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.
[* ]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.