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226                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
This very imperfect constitution was devised as a means of
Defects of this   common defense, and not without the hope,
union.               ft would seem, that some of the southern prov-
inces would give to it their adhesion. It had scarcely any
executive machinery and no general head. And when we
consider that each province instead of being a unit itself,
had estates of its own, consisting, like the other feudal terri-
tories of mediaeval Europe, of a nobility holding fiefs, of
towns, and of a few religious corporations, the complications
which might bring harm to the union were very serious,
especially since the war with Spain was still in its progress,
and the relation to the southern provinces were uncertain.
In order to supply one want of the constitution a land-raedy
or general council, was constituted, consisting of thirty mem-
bers, apportioned among the provinces and receiving their
appointments from the estates of each. Their consent was
necessary in making foreign treaties, but they were not to
offer opposition to the arrangements which had been begun
with the Duke of Anjou, in regard to becoming the sove-
reign of the united provinces (Jan. 13, 1581).* In a subse-
quent meeting at the Hague (July 26, 1581), independence
was declared and allegiance to the Spanish crown was for-
mally abjured.f The provinces of Holland and Zeeland
* Motley, Dutch Repub., iii., 501—Can H. Leo in his Niederl.
Gesch., ii., 649, speak (?) of the same council, when he makes it to
consist of thirty-one members, some of whom were from Brabant
and Flanders, others from Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, which, I
believe, were not concerned in the proceedings.
f In this act of abjuration it was said that the people were not made
by God for the prince, but the prince for the benefit of the people,
as a father for his children, etc. It may be worth our while to
quote Prof. Leo's outburst of anger against this harmless declaration
of an almost self-evident truth. " It is a completely stupid question
whether the prince exists for the people or the people for the prince,
—a question so stupid that every one who enters into it from any
side [as being a truth] can only bring out stupidities." Mr, Motley's
sober words (iii., 509, u. s.) are that " these fathers of the republic
laid down wholesome truths, which at that time seemed startling
blasphemies in the ears of Christendom. All mankind know—said
the preamble—a prince is appointed by God to cherish his subjects,