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