Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VIII. - The True Interest and Political Maxims, of the Republic of Holland
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CHAP. VIII. - 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 conclusion of the whole book, with a declaration of the author’s design, and a caution both to the ill and well affected readers.
THESE my remarks upon the three premised parts of the true political maxims of the republick of Holland and West-Friesland, happening to be made publick, tho’ very imperfect, under the title of The interest of Holland in the year 1662;The whole concluded with this affirmation, and afterwards in the years 1667 and 1668, being more carefully perused, and more maturely deliberated upon, the reader ought to be forewarned, that sometimes the affairs of those respective years ought to be adverted to in the reading. And that my intent was, both in general and particular, to shew briefly wherein the interest of Holland consists, viz. That as in all countries of the world, the highest perfection of a political society, and in a land by accident labouring under taxes, and naturally indigent, as Holland is; there is an absolute necessity that the commonalty be left in as great a natural liberty for seeking the welfare of their souls and bodies, and for the improvement of their estates, as possible. For as the inhabitants of the most plentiful country upon earth, by want only of that natural liberty, and finding themselves every way encumber’d and perplexed, do really inhabit a bridewel or house of correction, fit for none but miserable condemned slaves, and consequently a hell upon earth.That Holland’s interest consists in the freedom of all its inhabitants. Whereas a power of using their natural rights and properties for their own safety, provided it tends not to the destruction of the society, will be to the commonalty, tho’ in a barren and indigent country, an earthly paradise: for the liberty of a man’s own mind, especially about matters wherein all his welfare consists, is to such a one as acceptable as an empire or kingdom.
That this interest agrees well with that of the rulers.I have likewise shewn, that such a liberty and prosperity of the subject does very well consist in Holland with the present uncontroled power of the free government, and with none other.
So that all good patriots and true lovers of our native country, who peruse this book, are earnestly intreated to consider deliberately whether the two most weighty points before mentioned, are not strongly and sufficiently demonstrated.
But whether, when, and how the particulars here treated of, may all at once, or at several times, be set about or perused, was not my intention in the least to direct.The author’s aim was not to prescribe any thing to the rulers as a pattern. For the higher powers, whom it only concerns in a republick to conclude of these matters, and all politicians know* that such things as may be borne with less inconvenience than removed or changed, ought to continue, and remain in being. And when such wise and good patriots will make any alteration, they must go by degrees, and as far as they conveniently may; yet they must rather stand still, or remain as they are, than run their heads against a wall.
For that would be worthy of a severe punishment.And indeed reformation in political affairs depends on so many, and such various circumstances, namely customs, times, places, rulers, subjects, allies, neighbouring and foreign countries, that such a reformation is either proper, or improper to be undertaken, according as the several circumstances are well weighed, such especially in a free republic which is governed and managed by prudent assemblies of the states, venerable city councils, and reputable colleges;Especially in this country, where are so many sage and prudent rulers. in which it would be a great presumption and self-conceit, yea, indeed a crime for a private person to dare to conclude any thing, and in so doing to arrogate it to himself, or to put a hand to that work, which properly and of right belongs only to the states of Holland, and those that are thereunto authorized.
If any man should object by way of reply, that throughout the whole book I use no doubtful proposals, but positive reasonings, and a conclusive cogent way of argument: I answer, that all matters which not only consist in knowing something, but also and chiefly in desiring or opposing any thing, and which moreover thwarts the prejudices and interests of many men, neither can, nor ought to be otherwise handled. For if an angel from heaven should propose to mankind such matters doubtfully and faintly, he would have but little audience upon earth, and gain no credit by people that have imbibed such prejudices beforehand. So that being desirous of having what I write of such matters to be read with consideration, and maturely weighed, and to make some impression on the reader, I have been necessitated to use this manner of writing. And therefore I find myself likewise obliged at the end of this book, when I I presume all hath been read, and duly weighed, to declare thus much, and to give this caution, that the same may be made use of for the good, and not for the hurt of our native country.
I shall add, that such a circumspect censure of the readers is the more requisite, because I shall have done much, if in proposing matters which relate to the prosperity of Holland my judgment hath in the general been rightly directed: for it would be incredible, and almost above human power, not to have err’d and mistaken in proposing and relating so many several particular matters. But since notwithstanding my aim hath been to set nothing before you but truth, which might tend to the benefit of my native country, I hope I have not always strayed, and run into mistakes. God grant that in the judgment of my several readers, and especially those of the lawful magistracy, and true fathers of their country, I may have come so near the mark in many things, that my errors, which in such a case I renounce, may be so overlooked by them, as they may commend my laudable zeal, and be excited to greater matters themselves, or may employ others that have more ability and leisure; that by such countenance and favour they may be encouraged to write something necessary for the service of their native country, and that more amply, methodically, and solidly than I have done. If this be effected, I have my principal end and design.
But in case any reader be so ill minded, though neither willing nor able to effect such a commendable work himself, as to oppose and despise what I have here laid down; let him remember, that I desire nothing of him but to judge of mine and other writings with consideration and circumspection; and that I shall be far from such foolish ambition as to write an answer which would neither be serviceable to my country, the reader, nor myself: for I intend to follow this perpetual maxim during my short and transitory life, to make no man master of my time and repose but myself, and particularly never to grant or yield so much to any ill-designing person, as for their sakes to fall into troublesome, contentious and unprofitable scribling. For whether my errors be truly discovered, or peevishly and falsely laid to my charge, the several readers must be the judges.
Farewel, and remember this saying,* It is the duty of a good citizen, to preserve and defend the common freedom of his native country, as far as in him lies.
[* ]Multa facere non oportet quæ facta tenent. Multa scire pauca exequi.
[* ]Boni civis est liberum reipublicæ statum tueri[Editor: illegible character] nec cum mutatum velle.