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and gave to the stadtholder power and orders, in conjunction
with a committee of their body, to take the necessary steps
to prevent this ;—such was the meaning of their language.
The efforts to induce the towns of Holland to revoke the
votes of the estates were fruitless ; and the stadtholder made
a wild attempt, after arresting six members of the estates of
Holland, to seize on Amsterdam, through his relative, Fred-
eric of Nassau, stadtholder of Friesland. The attempt failed,
and soon the prince died eight days before the birth of a son,
who was afterwards William III., of England as well as of
stadthoidership Holland. From this time until 1672, the proy-
vacant.               ;nces were without a general governor. The
disposal of places and the pardoning power were now given
to the estates of the separate provinces. At the meeting of
the states-general in 1651 the provinces of Friesland and
Groningen claimed that the decision of disputes between the
provinces required the decision of a stadtholder, but in the
reply of the others several ways were mentioned of compos-
ing the difficulties.
For about twenty years the affairs of state in the provinces
John DC witt.    were managed by the very able John De Witt,
The perpetual Srand pensionary of Holland.     In   1667,  the
edict.                   estates of Holland under his influence passed
what was called the perpetual edict. Its articles were in-
tended to abridge the power of appointment of a (future)
stadtholder, and to prevent such an office from being united
with that of general-captain. In fact, it aimed at doing
away altogether with the stadthoidership. In the other prov-
inces, in which an Orange party was stronger, an act called
the act of harmony was substituted for this, by which the
stadthoidership was allowed, but was forever to be separated
from the offices of general, and of admiral in chief. In 1672,
the quarrels between the Orange and the De Witt parties
came to be very high, especially in the province of Overyssel.
War also had been declared by France against Holland ; and
England with Sweden were her allies in a most flagitious
attempt against the republic. Its territories were invaded by