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Parts I, II, and III translated by Ruth Putnam and Parts 

IV and V by Oscar A. Bierstadt. 
Part I. From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of 

the 15th Century. 
Part II. The Gradual Centralization of Power, and 

the Burgundian Period. 
Part III. The War of Independence, 1568-1621. 
Part IV. Frederick Henry, John de Witt, William III. 
Part V. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. 






Professor of Dutch History in the University of Leyden 






Gbe fmtcfeerbocfeer press 

Copyright, 1312 



Ube ftnicherbocher press, Hew fiorfe 




WITH this volume is completed a work which was 
begun by me more than twenty years back. I 
realise that it has not been practicable for me to main- 
tain uniformly throughout the narrative the high stand- 
ard of accomplishment in historical comprehensiveness 
and in literary form which in my youthful ardour it had 
been my hope to secure, but I may hope that my book 
may serve to add to the knowledge of the history of the 
Dutch people not only with my fellow-countrymen, but 
with the circles of English-speaking readers on both sides 
of the Atlantic for whom this edition has been prepared. 

I hope in fact to have accomplished more than this. 
It has been my purpose to bring into our national his- 
tory the results of scientific research and investigation, 
which results have hitherto been scattered through numer- 
ous separate volumes and periodicals. The plan of 
my history provides for a consecutive narrative of occur- 
rences, or at least of the most noteworthy occurrences, 
the record of which has been critically examined and 
my conclusions in regard to which are based in part upon 
the work of others who have written before me. 

From time to time it becomes necessary for the his- 
torian to stand still in the work of the investigation of 
historical details, large and small, and, in taking a general 
survey over the centuries, to arrive at some estimate or 
conclusion as to the results actually attained. It is such 
a survey that on the threshold of the twentieth century 
I have myself attempted. Others will come in their turn, 

U<3 tf'O 



and, while extending their own investigations, will, I 
trust, find value in the material put into shape by myself. 
In this way, the final store of knowledge will increase not 
only in comprehensiveness but in thoroughness, and we 
shall at least take one step nearer to the ideal of final 
historic truth. Such an ideal we are always hoping to 
discern in the remote distance, although we may feel that 
it will never be fully realised. 

At the close of an undertaking which has called for 
a large part of my active life, I admit a feeling some- 
what akin to the " sober melancholy " felt by Gibbon on 
the completion of his Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire. It is like taking an everlasting leave of an old 
and an agreeable companion ; a sadness from which none 
of us is spared, and which must be constantly repeated 
as we journey along the path of life. 

P. J. B. 

October, 1911. 




I. — The Republic in the War of the Spanish 

Succession 1 

II. — Rule of the Regents in the First Half of 

the Eighteenth Century 42 " 

III. — Commerce and Industry about 1740 . . . 64 

IV. — Intellectual Life in the First Half of the 

Eighteenth Century .77 ~ 

V. — Regents and Citizens about 1740 . . . . 88 «*► 

VI. — Austrian Succession War 97 

VII. — Reforms under William IV 114 

VIII. — Princess Anne's Regency 127 

IX. — The Republic under the Duke of Brunswick 

and Young William V 142 


X. — Forerunners of the New Time .... 172 

XI. — The Fourth English War 193 

XII. — Patriots and Partisans of the Prince . . 218 

XIII.— The Crisis 239*-* 

XIV.— The Restoration 256 

XV.— Fall of the Republic 273 " ss 

XVI. — Organisation of the Batavian Republic . . 290 

vi Contents 


XVII. — Unionists and Federalists 304 

XVIII. — General Conditions about 1800 .... 321* 

XIX. — Last Years of the Batavian Republic . . 340 

XX.- — The Kingdom of Holland 356 

XXI. — Years of Annexation to France .... 374 

XXII. — Establishment of the New State .... 387 

XXIII. — First Years of the New Kingdom .... 399 

XXIV. — Kingdom of the United Netherlands Flour- 
ishing 406 

XXV. — Separation of Belgium 419 

XXVI. — End of King William I.'s Reign . . . .440 

XXVII.— King William II.'s Early Years . . . .448 

XXVIII. — Constitutional Revision of 1848 .... 455 

XXIX. — Establishment of the New Institutions of 

the State 464 

XXX. — Conciliation and Political Dissension . . 472 

XXXI. — Thorbecke's Last Years 479 

XXXII. — The Netherlands about 1870 489 

XXXIII. — Political Situation after Thorbecke's Death 494 

XXXIV. — Constitutional Revision of 1887 .... 502 

XXXV. — Netherlands at the End of the Nineteenth 

Century 507 

Appendix: Sources of Netherland History, 
1702-1900 523 

Index 537 





THE kiDg-stadtholder had made every preparation for 
the new European war that under the lead of Eng- 
land, the republic, and the emperor was to be begun in 
order to frustrate once more France's designs upon do- 
minion over the world. Europe could not allow the aged 
Louis XIV. by placing his grandson on the Spanish 
throne to bring the globe-embracing Spanish territory 
under French supremacy or in any case to make ready 
the union of the power of France and Spain in one hand. 
The stipulation that both crowns should never be on one 
head seemed to exclude the possibility of a union, but 
experience had proved that such conditions were valid 
only when the future heir lacked the strength to break 
them with impunity. Not alone was the political equi- 
librium of Europe menaced by the accession of Philip of 
Anjou to the throne of Spain. Commercial interests were 
closely connected with political interests. Since Colbert 
had shown the possibilities of France as a commercial 
power, following the path marked by Sully under 
Henry IV., since France had sought transmarine pos- 
sessions in east and west, in Louisiana and Canada, on 
the Antilles and in Guiana, in Hither India and Senegal, 

2 History of the Dutch People 

on Bourbon and Madagascar, since it had endeavoured 
to create a navy and a mercantile marine, it had be- 
come a rival not to be despised by the two great mari- 
time powers of the seventeenth century. The trade of 
the latter would be endangered, whenever France, closely 
connected with Spain, should be assured of commercial 
advantages there and in Italy, in the more distant parts 
of the Mediterranean, and in Spanish America, hitherto 
depending upon England and the republic for imports 
and exports. A predominant French influence in the 
southern Netherlands would be equally perilous. Under 
French guidance these provinces, economically weakened 
during a century, might throw off the yoke of the closed 
Scheldt and become the victorious competitors of the 
maritime powers. 1 Spain's extensive territory had been 
for half a century an inexhaustible mine of large com- 
mercial profits for the republic and England. Was this 
all to be risked by the establishment of the prevailing 
influence of France in the Spanish world's empire? This 
must be prevented at any cost. 

Political and economic considerations induced those 
governing the republic after the stadtholder's death to 
change nothing in the plans of the energetic Orange 
prince with regard to European matters in general. The 
alliance of the two maritime powers with the emperor 
was for the new administration a political and an eco- 
nomical necessity. There was no wavering in the atti- 
tude of the republic towards foreign affairs after the 
death of William III. The spirit of the departed stadt- 
holder continued to inspire the statesmen of the republic, 
because his foreign policy had been rooted in the similar 
interests of the two states, over which he had ruled. 
England also went on in the same course for some years 
under the tried leadership of the statesmen who had 

1 See Von Noorden, Europdische Geschichte im 18. Jahrh., i., 
p. 46. 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 3 

governed it with William, Queen Anne, succeeding him 
on the English throne, and the States-General followed 
the way indicated by him. John Churchill, earl of Marl- 
borough, who now became the chief statesman of England 
with the help of Anne's friendship for his wife, and 
Antonie Heinsius, who conducted affairs in the republic 
with great discretion after William's death, acted to- 
gether. But the republic may be said to have had a 
new government after the king's death. William III., 
monarch without the title, had during his absence allowed 
his trusted friends or creatures to rule over the country. 
The " republicans " had not ventured to lift up their 
voice against the abuses of the prince's favourites, not 
even against Odijk who played the tyrant in Zealand and 
enriched himself and his followers shamelessly. In Am- 
sterdam also all opposition was broken. Johan Hudde, 
the friend of Dijkveld, the prince's trusted servant, man- 
aged matters there with Witsen and Valckenier. The 
aged Dijkveld himself directed them in Utrecht. In 
Gelderland the burggrave of Nimwegen, Jacob van Rand- 
wijck, and other nobles were supreme; so it was in 
Overyssel; in Friesland and Groningen the king had 
his friends watching the actions of the princess dowager 
Amelia, the guardian of her young son, whom William III. 
seemed to have fixed upon for his successor. Only a 
few members of the former party of the States had 
maintained themselves in subordinate positions — a son 
of John de Witt was the influential secretary of Dord- 
recht 1 and Hugo de Groot's grandson was bailiff of 
Bergen op Zoom— but none of them had dared openly to 
oppose King William. They had lived in anticipation 
of better times, counting upon the increasing physical 
debility of the king. This had long been viewed with 
anxiety by faithful fellow-workers of William III., the 

1 Memoires de Monsieur de B., ed. Kramer, in Bijdr. en Med. 
Hist. Gen. te Utrecht, xix., p. 120. 

4 History of the Dutch People 

council pensionary Heinsius and Johan Hop, treasurer- 
general from 1698. With the able Simon van Slingelandt, 
secretary of the council of state from 1690, and the 
indefatigable clerk of the States-General, Francois Fagel, 
they were the chief officials of the republic. They had 
made themselves indispensable, so that amid the changes 
at the speedily approaching death of King William their 
continuance appeared assured. In communication with 
such influential magistrates as the pensionary of Amster- 
dam, Willem Buys, that of Rotterdam, Isaac van Hoorn- 
beek, that of Gouda, Bruno van der Dussen, and with 
men of like sentiments in other provinces than Holland 
as Sicco van Goslinga in Friesland, Van Rechteren in 
Overyssel, Welland in Utrecht, they formed under the 
lead of the council pensionary a nucleus of governing 
personages to rule the republic in the difficulties arising 
from the death of the king-stadtholder. 

At the head of the administration was the council 
pensionary now fifty-eight years of age, a man of uncom- 
mon ability, from years of association with William III. 
familiar with his ideas, a born diplomat, pliable and 
benevolent, calm and reserved, simple in manner, of good 
form and sound understanding, incessantly striving to 
attain his ends without personal ambition, without put- 
ting his own opinion too much in the foreground. As 
during the king's life he had been an excellent interpreter 
of his views in the republic, so he was after the king's 
death the faithful continuer of his work. 1 A new stadt- 
holder was not seriously considered, now that the wish 
of the dead Orange prince had remained unfulfilled and 
his Friesland cousin of fourteen studying at Utrecht, 
John William Friso of Nassau, was still too young to 
take the high posts suddenly vacated. The chances were 
even worse for the king of Prussia, who claimed the 

1 See the extensive correspondence preserved in the Heinsius 
archives, now in the Royal Archives at The Hague. 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 5 

entire succession of William III. as the son of Frederick 
Henry's eldest daughter, while the Frisian Nassau was 
only the grandson of a younger daughter. Dissension 
between the noble heirs hindered the aspirations of both. 
As the direction of the great war of the allies seemed 
safe in the hands of Marlborough, soon raised to acting 
captain-general of the union, there was no need of a real 
captain-general of the army of the republic, which, as 
after William II.'s death, could be commanded by a 
field-marshal cooperating with the council of state and 
deputies in the field. It had such a commander in the 
prince of Nassau-Saarbriick. 

The military leader of the allies, Marlborough, had 
hitherto been more of a courtier and statesman than a 
general, but nobody appeared so fitted as he, the queen's 
favourite, to make England and the republic work to- 
gether. It was not to be denied that the republic pos- 
sessed apparently superior generals in Godard van 
Rheede, earl of Athlone, in Nassau-Ouwerkerk, Slangen- 
burg, and others, but Marlborough speedily proved an 
able commander. Through the influence of Heinsius he 
was invested with the chief military command also in 
the republic. He had further the diplomatic talents, 1 dis- 
tinguishing the elegant courtier, the lively talker, the 
man of the world, so necessary to bring the three allies 
with their divergent interests towards the common goal, 
the war against France. A clever diplomatist, an ex- 
cellent general, a skilled intriguer, by no means indif- 
ferent to fame and wealth, but ambitious and covetous, he 
was enabled to play a great part in the history of this 
time. But in the eyes of the Dutch people John William 
Friso, as the bearer of the beloved name of Nassau, was 
the heir of the traditions of the extinct Orange house, 
with which his family had always been so closely con- 
nected, and the leading statesmen comprehended that 

1 See the character sketch in Goslinga, Memoires, p. 42. 

6 History of the Dutch People 

his claims might become of importance. A few days 
after William IIL's death, on March 25th, the States- 
General met at The Hague. Holland, guided by Hein- 
sius, declared it knew no better way " of healing this 
severe wound " than for the Estates of the provinces to 
act together with mutual confidence. The other now 
stadtholderless provinces responded with similar declara- 
tions, showing that none of them found any difficulty 
in governing without a stadtholder. Thus the condition of 
1050 was renewed. 

It was no more than natural that the regents deposed 
under William III. should now wish to be restored to 
honour and office. In Holland this occasioned little 
trouble. The voting cities, again intrusted with the elec- 
tion of their own government, saw some of the old, 
regents appear. Under the lead of Heinsius and his 
friends there was no thought of a violent exclusion of 
the opposing party. Elsewhere the difficulties were 
greater. In Zealand the long smouldering anger of the 
people broke out against the prince's representative, 
Odijk, and his favourites, prominent among them being 
Philips Hodenpijl, clerk of convoys and licenses. Odijk, 
the hated " foreigner " in Zealand, was on April 3d re- 
moved by the Estates from his office of representative of 
the first nobleman, and Hodenpijl had to give up his 
place. The dissension in Gelderland ran higher. 1 Here 
also the appointment of municipal officers was bestowed 
upon the magistrates. Men long deprived of influence 
by the governmental organisation of 1674 appeared un- 
willing thus to be permanently excluded. They stirred 
up the people and guilds at Nimwegen to demand the 
restoration of the tribunes established after Maurice's 

1 See Wagenaar, vol. xvii., pp. 135, 231, where these affairs 
are explained at length from the resolutions of the Estates of 
Gelderland and many printed memorials and deductions of the 


In the War of the Spanish Succession 7 

conquest of the city. Reduced from thirty-two to six, 
only two of the six surviving tribunes dared to side with 
the guilds. They had to contend with the opposition of 
the rest in striving to recover the power of their body 
and to fill up their number. This was effected in June, 
and the new tribunes immediately turned out the entire 
council and appointed a new one. Thus a " new order " 
was substituted for the "old order." Nimwegen's old 
regents, led by burgomaster Roukens, were not so easily 
to be suppressed. They asked to be maintained by the 
Estates of the province, which was accomplished with 
the aid of the increased garrison. In January, 1703, 
the people of Niinwegen forced the old government to 
evacuate the city hall again and to give way to the new 
government. At Arnhem and elsewhere the tribunes 
acted energetically and changed the governments of the 

The defeated party resolved to appeal to the States- 
General for the support of their rights according to the 
arrangement of 1674. But the New Order went back 
to ancient privileges of the time of the counts and denied 
that the States-General had any authority to interfere 
in the "domestic" affairs of the province. The dis- 
putes soon exercised an unfavourable influence upon 
the finances; taxes could not be collected regularly; the 
province's quotas were not paid, which could not be 
endured by the other provinces during the costly war 
of succession. Holland, threatened in its own financial 
interests by the absence of Gelderland's contributions to 
the general treasury, proposed to the States-General to 
restore " the government for the best service of the prov- 
ince " and to make both parties come to an agreement 
willingly or unwillingly. The proposition was adopted, 
though it was decided to send no soldiers. Holland, 
favouring generally the New Order, from which no at- 
tempt to revive the rule of the stadtholder needed to be 

8 History of the Dutch People 

feared, secured the reception of a deputation in Gelder- 
land. Four eminent magistrates of Holland appeared 
at Arnhem and, on December 13, 1704, effected an 
" accord " between the parties of the Veluwe, by which 
the relation between nobles and cities was made as it 
had been from 1651 to 1672, while the newly appointed 
governments remained everywhere in authority. These 
new governments were disturbed by the attitude of the 
opposing party, which appeared more and more inclined 
to set up a stadtholder and secretly agitated among the 
people. At Arnhem a corps of volunteers was raised to 
support the new government after the example of Nim- 
wegen. In a general convention at Zutphen a league was 
proposed between the cities of Gelderland to put down 
all opposition to the New Order, not to appoint a stadt- 
holder or captain-general except unanimously, and never 
to bestow both these dignities upon the same person. 
The hostile party opposed the formation of this league 
and tried by force to get possession of the government 
in the chief cities. This failed in Arnhem, Niinwegen, 
and elsewhere. At Nimwegen in August, 1705, the citi- 
zens took up arms to protect the government, drove the 
armed followers of the Old Order from the city hall 
occupied by them, and banished some of the old regents. 
The turbulent Roukens was beheaded in the market-place, 
and several of the participants in the affair were hanged. 
In the course of the year the Nimwegen and Zutphen 
quarters were thus gradually pacified. In the quarter 
of the Veluwe there were still some violent scenes in 
1706 and 1707 between the nobles and towns. Finally 
the Estates of the province thought best to interfere 
vigorously. The local volunteers were everywhere de- 
clared discharged ; Nimwegen and Arnhem had to receive 
a strong garrison ; some regents of the Old Order were 
deposed. The regulation made in 1706, that in all the 
cities of Gelderland the government should last only 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 9 

three years, continued in force until 1717. Finally it 
was determined that the regents should again be chosen 
for life and, as formerly, by the magistrates themselves 
from double the number nominated by citizens and guilds 
or tribunes. A general amnesty put an end to the long 
commotion. Thus in Zealand and Gelderland the agita- 
tion, which had here and there assumed a democratic 
character and was directed against the regent oligarchy 
ruling under William III., resulted in a new settlement 
in favour of other persons and families and of an aris- 
tocratic form of government, though in Gelderland at 
least the rights of the tribunes and guilds were recog- 
nised in name. The appointment of the regents for life 
created a new oligarchy in Gelderland, which soon united 
closely in the old way and brought the corporations of 
guilds and tribunes wholly in its power. It was not 
otherwise in Utrecht and Overyssel. 

Amid this trouble of years in some provinces many an 
eye was turned to the young heir of the traditions of 
the house of Orange. He was sixteen years old in 
August, 1703, had finished his studies at Utrecht, and 
now took part in the campaign with his cousin Nassau- 
Ouwerkerk. As " designated " stadtholder and captain- 
general of Friesland and City and Land he could not 
be content with a low rank. When the acting captain- 
general of the union, Marlborough, desired the appoint- 
ment of several high officers after the marshal's death 
in 1702, the two northern provinces urged the elevation 
of their young stadtholder to be general of infantry. 
Deputies from the States-General, led by Buys, appeared 
early in 1704 at Leeuwarden to negotiate with the 
Frisian Estates and the widowed princess. They ef- 
fected a compromise, by which Friesland agreed to Hol- 
land's proposition to appoint Henry of Nassau, lord of 
Ouwerkerk, 1 as field-marshal, Slangenburg, Noyelles, 

1 He was the grandson of Prince Maurice as the third son of 

io History of the Dutch People 

and the young prince of Nassau as' generals of infantry, 
the count of Tilly as general of cavalry. The young 
prince was not to take office and pay before his twentieth 
year and to have only a seat but no vote in the council 
of war. Heinsius, who wanted to see the prince a gen- 
eral, managed matters adroitly to accomplish the wishes 
of William III. and to secure to his cousin the place 
which the great Orange prince had destined for him. 
Zealand refused to recognise the prince as general. The 
young prince continued to participate in the war, wait- 
ing for the future. The history of young William III. 
was repeated in other forms. Towards his eighteenth 
birthday the question came up of his right to a place 
in the council of state. 1 Holland and Utrecht, remember- 
ing how William III. had gradually risen to the highest 
dignities, did not favour admitting him to the council. 
Friesland's appeal to the old custom and the former 
instructions of the council could not convince the two 
opposing provinces and Zealand, which naturally joined 
them. The affair dragged on until 1707, when the prince 
became twenty years old. Overyssel, Gelderland, and 
even City and Land were now persuaded to side with 
the three other provinces. So he was not yet admitted 
to the council of state, though he was allowed to appear 
in the army as acting general. His chances for the 
stadtholdership outside of the two northern provinces 
were evidently bad. But the prince did not lose courage. 
He continued in close relations with Heinsius and in the 
tone of the letters exchanged between them prevail 
mutual confidence and good will, on the prince's side 
gratitude for service already done, on that of Heinsius 

Louis of Nassau, lord of Beverweert, younger brother of Odijk 
and had distinguished himself in William III.'s wars, a good 
general but not of an extraordinary intellect, rather small- 
minded and jealous in disposition (see Goslinga, Memoires, p. 11). 
1 Wagenaar, xvii., p. 272. 

In the War of the Spanish Succession n 

readiness for further service. Friso married in 1709 
Maria Louisa of Hesse-Cassel, an able and energetic 
woman, who soon won the favour of the people of Fries- 
land and Groningen. He applied himself mainly to the 
military art and so distinguished himself in the field 
that he was looked upon as the proper commander of 
the Dutch army for the future. Once he attained that 
position, he would not stop there, but the high dignities 
of old in the republic would fall into his hands. All 
expectations concerning his future were annihilated by 
the untimely death of the young prince, as he was cross- 
ing the Moerdijk on July 14, 1711, when, at the request 
of "the States-General, he was going from the army to 
The Hague to meet there the king of Prussia for the 
purpose of settling the differences still pending with 
regard to the inheritance of William III. Just then 
there seemed some hope of his elevation to be stadt- 
holder in the other provinces, as the king of Prussia, 
whose help against France was needed by the allies, ap- 
peared ready to give that help for concessions by the 
prince in the inheritance matter, and he was expected 
to urge upon the States the elevation of his blood relative. 
The part, which England had played in William III.'s 
young days, was apparently now to be undertaken by 
Prussia. Under these circumstances an uncommonly 
hard blow for the weakly represented house of Nassau 
was the sudden death of the prince, who left a little 
daughter, his son William Charles Henry Friso not being 
born until after his demise, on September 1st. The de- 
sired agreement with Prussia remained in suspense, and 
it would be years before the newly-born prince could 
aspire to any higher dignity than the hereditary stadt- 
holdership of the two northern provinces. But the pres- 
entation of large sums of money to the young prince 
by Holland and the States-General proved that he could 
not be regarded merely as an "eminent nobleman who 

12 History of the Dutch People 

happened to be living in the republic," as the party of 
the States under Be Witt had wished to consider the 
young William III. 

Amidst all these internal troubles and others of an 
ecclesiastical nature the great war of the Spanish Suc- 
cession went on for years. In May, 1702, the States, 
England, and the emperor sent their declarations of war 
to France and Spain. The States asserted that France 
had not complied with the provisions of the peace of 
Kyswick concerning the commerce of the Dutch, but had 
obstructed it by oppressive tariffs, and furthermore had 
played a double game in the affair of the Spanish suc- 
cession, while Spain's new king had joined with his 
grandfather and received French troops in the Spanish 
Netherlands, expelling the Dutch garrisons which had 
been placed in the chief fortresses with the consent of 
Charles II. 1 The French troops, stationed in the Span- 
ish Netherlands under the marshal Boufflers, attempted 
soon after the outbreak of war to surprise Nimwegen, 
but this was prevented by the timely arrival of a force 
of the allies from Cleves under Godard van Rheede, earl 
of Athlone. Soon appeared there the earl of Marl- 
borough himself to undertake the management of the 
campaign, as commander of the Dutch and English 
armies, in conjunction with the five Dutch deputies in 
the field, which gentlemen under William III. had been 
little more than intendants of the army, but since the 
instruction of August 21, 1702, had more authority and 
sat in the army council of war with a decisive veto. 
These deputies in the field were a constant trial to 
the English general. Usually not soldiers but men of 
the council hall, they thought themselves called upon to 
set bounds to military ambition. They believed a vigi- 

1 Lamberty, ii., p. 107; Gachard, Histoire de la Belgiqne au 
commencement du XVIH e siecle (La Haye, Bruxelles, 1880), 
p. 25. 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 13 

lant watch necessary against the military spirit of the 
foreigner now in command of the Dutch armies. By 
their influence in the promotion of the Dutch officers 
they were in favour with the latter and became the 
authority, to which officers of all ranks addressed their 
complaints. The difficulties of this situation came to 
light plainly in the first campaign. But Marlborough 
proved himself a general. He expelled the enemy from 
Spanish Gelderland and captured one Meuse fortress 
after another: Venloo, Stevensweerd, Roermond, finally 
Liege, the Dutch generals Coehoorn and Obdam dis- 
tinguishing themselves also in these affairs. While re- 
turning along the Meuse in a small yacht Marlborough 
with his staff fell into the hands of a French patrol, but 
was unrecognised and released on displaying some pass- 
ports. In this first campaign he had shown himself a 
bold and able general and a clever mediator as well. 
Of this latter there was need not only in the camp but 
also in the council chambers of London and The Hague. 

The States, as formerly, did not wish to molest trade 
with the enemy's territory. The matter was differently 
considered, and prohibition of all trade with the enemy 
was demanded in England, which had not the same 
commercial interests and was willing to give a check to 
its Dutch competitors in order, after the peace, to obtain 
possession of the French and Spanish trade. The land 
provinces saw no great objection, but the three sea prov- 
inces opposed and only yielded towards the summer 
of 1703 on condition that the prohibitory edicts were to 
be valid but for one year. After that year the edicts 
were not renewed, as people in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, 
and Dordrecht discovered that trade was running off 
to the " neutrals," to Denmark, Sweden, and especially 
to Bremen and Hamburg. With French passports a 
brisk trade was carried on with French and Spanish 
ports. Trade connived at with the enemy brought new 

14 History of the Dutch People 

difficulties with England, regarding the activity of Eng- 
lish privateers. Many Dutch merchantmen were taken 
to England on account of trading with the enemy. Pro- 
tests followed from the Dutch merchants, and the Eng- 
lish government, desirous of harmony between the allies 
and not unwilling to yield, found itself in an awkward 
position against Parliament insisting sharply upon the 
prohibition of commerce. Not until the closing of the 
session of Parliament in April, 1705, did the government 
venture to release the Dutch ships and to allow com- 
merce in the Dutch manner, by means of licenses, contra- 
band alone being excluded. As it was not stipulated 
what goods' were contraband, complaints continued on 
both sides. They became no less serious, when English 
commerce with Spain began to develop after the victories 
of the allies on land and sea, which brought a part of 
that kingdom into the power of the king, Charles III., 
for whom they were reputed to be fighting, and the 
English naval power in those waters was increased far 
above the Dutch. 1 The old jealousy found new food, and 
the cooperation of the two allies could only be kept up 
by the good will of both governments and by the action 
of Marlborough and Heinsius. The former understood 
that without the latter's help he could not maintain his 
own wavering political power in England. Heinsius 
knew that the alliance with England would be en- 
dangered by Marlborough's fall, which would put into 
office a Tory ministry favouring France and the Stuart 
pretender, the so-called James III. As early as 1702 there 
was a Tory majority in the English Parliament, and 
only the personal influence of Marlborough and his wife 
with the queen prevented the appearance of the dreaded 
Tory government. How long would he be able to resist 

x In 1709 the Dutch statesman Goslinga (Memoires, p. 101) 
recognises fully la superiorite de leurs forces maritimes suv 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 15 

the unavoidable court intrigues ? This question was asked 
with anxiety by the Dutch statesmen. 

The war went on meanwhile on land and sea. In 
Bavaria, whose elector, Maximilian Emanuel, long sided 
with France, along the middle course of the Rhine, in 
northern Italy the imperial generals, Prince Eugene of 
Savoy at their head, fought against the French and their 
allies. The coasts of Spain, Portugal, and Italy shook 
with the roar of the cannon of the English and Dutch 
fleets, which repeatedly landed troops. The French 
coasts were menaced in conjunction with revolts of the 
last French Huguenots, the Camisards fighting desper- 
ately in the Cevennes. At the same time the torch of 
war was lighted in northern Europe. Here Sweden con- 
tended, under the adventurous young Charles XII., with 
its old enemies, Poland and Russia, the latter guided by 
the great czar Peter. More than during the Thirty 
Years' War Europe was in fire and flame at the beginning 
of the eighteenth century. The republic was deeply inter- 
ested, and the Dutch merchants eagerly read the reports 
of war coming in from all sides and bringing them profit 
and loss. A steady stream of pamphlets flowed from the 
Dutch presses, the diffusers of the news of the world in 
Europe and the willing servants of Dutch commerce. 

The great naval warfare ended in the first years, as 
France and Spain together were no match for the two 
allied, maritime powers. There was no thought of 
battles on the open sea, but only of attack and defence 
of the Spanish coast. A Dutch fleet of over forty vessels, 
under the lieutenant-admiral, Philips van Almonde, and 
his colleague, Gerard Callenburgh, with three thousand 
soldiers under General Sparre, joined an English fleet 
of equal strength commanded by Sir George Rooke, the 
duke of Ormonde having command of all the troops for 
landing. Rooke was to command on the sea, Ormonde 
on the land in the proposed attack on Cadiz. It was to 

16 History of the Dutch People 

be as a hundred years earlier under the young Essex. 
Cadiz was too strong, and the " unfortunate " expedition 
ended only in the burning and destruction of munitions 
of war and mercantile goods near the city. 1 But a bril- 
liant victory was won by a part of the united fleets on 
the voyage home, October 23, 1702, in Vigo Bay over 
the Franco-Spanish fleet lying there, the West Indian 
" silver fleet " falling partly into the hands of the allies 
or being destroyed or concealed. The powerful hand of 
William III. was soon missed, and the admiralties did 
not work well together. Cooperation with the British 
fleets left much to be desired. So there were not many 
naval engagements of importance, and the chief effort 
was to protect the North Sea from the French privateers 
of Dunkirk, Ostend, and smaller Flemish ports. Zealand, 
threatened close at hand, exerted itself specially. Pri- 
vateering took a fresh start in this province, after pre- 
miums were put upon it in 1702 by the States-General. 
Middelburg and Flushing alone equipped fifty in the 
same year, later increased to seventy-five with seventeen 
hundred cannon and nearly twelve thousand men. All 
the seas and bays of western and southern Europe were 
full of Dutch " commissioned ships," which chased after 
the enemy's merchantmen and privateers everywhere and 
left not even the war-ships unmolested. Hundreds of 
prizes were captured, frequently without respecting 
neutral and friendly powers. The disappearance of the 
enemy's merchant vessels from all seas caused privateer- 
ing to diminish about 1708, after it had produced great 
gains, particularly in poverty-stricken Zealand. To 
threaten the Spanish coast expeditions were undertaken 
in conjunction with English fleets. A small independent 
squadron under Captain Roemer Vlacq saved a hundred 
Dutch and English merchantmen from a superior force 
off the Portuguese coast near Setubal on May 21, 1703, 
1 De Jonge, iii., p. 578. 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 17 

though it was with the sacrifice of his life and his war- 
ships which had to strike their flags. In the following 
year a Dutch-English fleet under Rooke and Callenburgh 
succeeded in capturing Gibraltar, strong but badly de- 
fended by the "miserable" Spaniards (August 3, 1704). 
The conquest was nominally for the Hapsburg king, 
Charles III. of Spain, who was conveyed to his country 
by a Dutch-English fleet, but an exclusively English 
garrison was left in it, and since that time the town 
commanding the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea has 
remained English. A hostile armada under the count of 
Toulouse soon came from Barcelona to recapture the 
place. It numbered fifty large and thirty-eight small 
vessels, fire ships, and galleys, the only force that France 
could now put forth. The fleet of the allies was about 
as numerous, but less strongly armed and manned. The 
enemy was encountered off Malaga on August 25, 1704. 
The twelve Dutch ships greatly distinguished themselves 
in the ensuing battle, which resulted in the retreat of 
the badly damaged French fleet. At the conquest of 
Barcelona in 1705 the Dutch auxiliary fleet under Al- 
monde rendered important service, as later before 
Cartagena and Alicante. Almonde, a pupil of De 
Ruyter and Cornells Tromp, was the republic's chief 
admiral; in 1708 he obtained the dignity of lieutenant- 
admiral of Holland and West Friesland, then the highest 
post in the navy, and retained it until his death in 1711. 
There were no great French or Spanish fleets to fight 
against, and the naval war became a guerrilla. Almonde 
and the other lieutenant-admirals, Callenburgh and 
Geleyn Evertsen, were not sent to sea to avoid disputes 
with the English admirals concerning rank. The im- 
portance of the Dutch navy declined greatly under these 
circumstances. The largest and best ships remained at 
home with the highest admirals, and only small de- 
tachments under captains, rear-admirals, or vice-admirals 

18 History of the Dutch People 

upheld the honour of the republic in the insignificant 
engagements after the battle of Malaga. In general the 
republic confined itself to making the North Sea safe 
with convoys and squadrons, a task that gradually became 
difficult enough for the more and more neglected navy. 
Financial exhaustion resulting from the long war ren- 
dered the admiralties after 1710 unable to keep their 
engagements. The best ships were rotting in the docks, 
few new ones were built, the sailors were dispersed, and 
in a few years little more was left of William III.'s great 
fleet than old wood and rusty cannon. In the last 
years of the war the danger from Dunkirk and the 
Flemish ports diminished and with it the incentive to 
exertion on the sea. After 1710 no Dutch squadron 
sailed out, and the English government began to com- 
plain of the ever weaker cooperation of the republic. 
One thing and another caused the fame of the repub- 
lic as a great maritime power to decline considerably. 
No more Tromps and De Ruyters could spring up, 
although their pupils were still at the head of the fleet. 
The war on land may be called more important than 
the naval operations. The first successful campaign of 
Marlborough, now made a duke, was followed by a 
second less fortunate one. The Anglo-Dutch army was 
reenforced by twenty thousand men, mostly German 
troops obtained by treaties of subsidy with small German 
princes; but after the capture of Bonn little more was 
accomplished, owing mainly to disputes between the 
energetic duke and the Dutch deputies in the field 
jealous of their authority. General Obdam's proposed 
attack on Antwerp and the Waes district was thwarted 
by Boufflers, who surrounded him at Eeckeren and drove 
him back upon Breda after a sharp fight. Hoei and 
Limburg were taken by Marlborough, and Villeroy, the 
commander of the French troops in the southern Nether- 
lands, saw himself compelled to look after the safety 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 19 

of the chief cities of Brabant and Flanders. The refusal 
of the field deputies to consent to an attack upon the 
French army, the independent and often personally hos- 
tile attitude of Slangenburg and other Dutch generals 
towards the chief commander, the apparent purpose of 
the States to let their army fight as little as possible 
and to garrison with their troops the places captured in 
the south, w r hile they declined to have the oath taken 
there to King Charles III. — this all displeased Marl- 
borough, and the campaign ended with mutual reproaches, 
so that the general refused roundly to manage matters 
again in this way. Vehement pamphlets and confidential 
letters and memorials to the States-General, which in the 
existing system of government could not remain secret, 
imbittered the feeling on both sides, and the British 
general was plainly unwilling to allow himself to be 
bound by the field deputies mostly not military men. 
The appointment of Ouwerkerk as field-marshal restored 
a good understanding somewhat, but the institution of 
the deputies in the field remained a danger. It was now 
stipulated that for the following year Ouwerkerk with 
a part of the army was to guard the territory conquered 
in the Netherlands. The main army under Marlborough 
moved from Maestricht by rapid marches to southern 
Germany, where he soon appeared on the Danube and 
with the aid of the imperials under Prince Eugene de- 
feated the French marshal Tallard on August 13, 1704, 
at Hochstadt and Blenheim. The Franco-Bavarian army 
was destroyed: all Bavaria fell into the hands of the 
allies; the elector had to leave his country and sought 
refuge at the French court, which placed him in his 
former post in the southern Netherlands, now as gov- 
ernor for the king, Philip V. In this summer the Dutch 
general Sparre x had bombarded Bruges and Namur and 
laid the country far and near under contribution, but 
1 He was a Swede by birth, an experienced and brave soldier, 

20 History of the Dutch People 

little more had occurred than disputes between the Dutch 
generals, who blamed one another for doing nothing. 
Despite Marlborough's urgency, next year also brought 
nothing but marching to and fro and small victories 
over the enemy in Brabant; the energetic commander 
again had serious difficulties with the cautious deputies 
in the field and complained to the States of them and 
of some Dutch generals who had disapproved of his plans 
of attack as impracticable and rash. It was expected 
that a new instruction for the field deputies, with strict 
rules for discipline, would produce a better relation for 
1706. This instruction, 1 however, was not adapted to 
ending dissensions between Marlborough and the deputies. 
New field deputies were appointed by the various 
provinces, among them being the Frisian nobleman 
Sicco van Goslinga, 2 but these gentlemen were almost 
without exception not professional soldiers, and with 
them too the touchy Marlborough often had violent 

Before this year's campaign began, the aged king of 
France, now little desirous of war, had endeavoured to 
use public opinion in the republic for his advantage in 
order to persuade it to a separate peace. It was evident 
that in the way hitherto followed the war could not be 
continued much longer on the side of the republic. Gel- 
derland and the two northern provinces contributed al- 
most nothing more; Utrecht and Overyssel were usually 
much in arrears; Holland and Zealand bore nearly the 
whole burden of the war. In Holland commerce with 
the enemy's ports had revived only slowly. Amsterdam 
especially felt the weight of the great war, and its able 
pensionary, the influential Buys, called attention to it 

one of the best Dutch commanders (Goslinga, Memoires, p. 

1 Groot Placcaatboek, v., p. 66. 

2 Slothouwer, De staatsman Sicco van Goslinga, p. 9. 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 21 

constantly. This feeling was kept in view by the French 
government, always hoping to sunder the two allies so 
divergent in interests. In the autumn of 1705 it author- 
ised the marquis d'Alegre, a prisoner of war, to make 
offers of peace, which found open ears in Amsterdam and 
the land provinces. A deputation in the name of six 
provinces went to the council pensionary to advocate 
peace. The death of the old emperor, Leopold I., in this 
year influenced the peaceful disposition, as the new 
emperor, Joseph I., had no children and his brother, the 
proposed king of Spain, had now become the nearest 
heir to the Hapsburg crown. The revival of Charles V.'s 
empire — Spain, Italy, Germany under one head — was then 
a possibility. D'Alegre negotiated secretly with the gov- 
ernment leaders of the States and was aided by the 
young Helvetius of The Hague now residing in Paris. 
The French president of the chamber of accounts, 
Rouille, visited Holland secretly in November and talked 
with Heinsius, Buys, and others about an agreement, the 
substance of which was laid before England privately 
by Buys in the spring during an embassy there osten- 
sibly to arrange for the new campaign. It soon appeared 
that peace with the recognition of Philip V. as king of 
Spain — France's condition — would not be accepted v by the 
English, while the demand of the States for a number 
of fortresses in the south as a barrier against France 
had slight chance of being acceded to by Louis XIV. 
The emperor naturally wished to see the war con- 
tinued for his brother's sake and was averse to an 

The campaign of 1706, planned by Marlborough, who 
appeared in person at Vienna, was designed as a great 
attack upon the eastern frontier of France by the entire 
force of the allies. France itself being invaded, peace 
was to be prescribed to the proud Louis. But the Dutch 
leaders and generals would not consent to the grand 

22 History of the Dutch People 

plan and urged vigorous action in the Spanish Nether- 
lands near their border forts. Not until May was an 
agreement reached on this last, and Marlborough with 
a heavy heart placed himself at the head of the allied 
army, which was to attack the enemy stationed at Lou- 
vain under Villeroy and the elector Maximilian Emanuel. 
With English, Dutch, and German contingents he had 
sixty thousand men and defeated the equally strong 
enemy on Whitsunday, May 23d, at Rami Hies after a 
severe battle, in which the French army was driven like 
a flock of sheep. Louvain, Brussels, Ghent, all of Bra- 
bant and half of Flanders were the prize of the victory 
of the " Iron Duke," whose fame as a general was now 
established. There was no longer a French army in the 
Netherlands. In the course of the summer nearly all 
the rest of Flanders and the Hainaut fortress of Ath fell 
into the conqueror's hands. Brabant and Flanders swore 
allegiance to Charles III. as sovereign. In Spain the 
French were expelled from Madrid, and in Italy Prince 
Eugene after the great battle of Turin chased them from 
Piedmont and Milan. 

These defeats turned Louis again to negotiation, but 
the king of Sweden, having just conquered Saxony, 
seemed not inclined to mediate, and the secret peace 
proposals of the elector of Bavaria at The Hague had 
as little success. The French government's offers, brought 
to the knowledge of the allies by a burgomaster of 
Rotterdam, Hennequin, gave rise to serious negotiation. 
France was now ready to be content for Philip V. with 
the Spanish lands in Italy. But England declined to 
accept this proposition, in part because the States would 
become sole master of the southern Netherlands. By 
advice of Mesnager, experienced in commerce, the French 
government sought to entice the merchants of Amster- 
dam into a peace negotiation by an advantageous com- 
mercial treaty with Spain, to which might be joined a 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 23 

similar treaty with France. But France would have to 
make too great sacrifices and offer also political advan- 
tages to persuade the Dutch, as at Nimwegen, suddenly 
to withdraw from the war and thus to bring about a 
general peace. Mesnager did not get beyond discussions. 
The existence of secret relations between France and 
some Dutch regents interested in commerce afforded the 
best chance of peace, and the States had to be satisfied 
with the military success obtained, in consequence of 
which the conquered provinces were already treated as 
Dutch territory. The following year of the war was 
characterised by little of note. Marlborough, who had 
dissuaded the ambitious Swedish monarch from going 
farther into Germany, was impeded in his operations by 
heavy rains, and could not push the enemy back to the 
vexation of many in the army, who suspected him of 
selfish and treacherous plans. The enemy for the time 
did not press on his peace negotiations. The great de- 
feat inflicted at Oudenarde upon the French army, July 
11, 1708, by the forces of the allies under Marlborough 
and Prince Eugene, brought Louis to other thoughts. 
The French generals, the inefficient duke of Vendome 
and the king's inexperienced son, the duke of Burgundy, 
were beaten with a loss of no less than seven thousand 
prisoners. Then again Marlborough had proposed to 
penetrate far into France; but the Dutch deputies, this 
time supported by Prince Eugene, were too cautious to 
follow the bold commander in his plans. It was re- 
solved to besiege Lille, which after an unexpectedly long 
and arduous siege fell into the hands of the allies, as 
did the Flemish cities of Ghent and Bruges captured by 
surprise early in the campaign by the enemy. Dutch 
troops under the brave field-marshal Ouwerkerk took an 
important part in this campaign ; well they merited the 
honour of the brilliant review, in which Ouwerkerk, weak 
and dying, received the congratulations of the army after 

24 History of the Dutch People 

the battle of Oudenarde amid the conquered colours and 
standards. Ouwerkerk's death soon afterwards was a 
great loss to the States; Count Tilly succeeded him as 
field-marshal. Only Hainaut and Naniur in the Span- 
ish Netherlands were now in French hands, and both 
the question of the Dutch barrier in the south and that 
of peace again came to the fore. 

Two ideas lay at the base of the demand for a barrier 
against France. The grand alliance treaty of the powers 
of 1701 had only spoken generally of Belgium as a de- 
sired digue, rempart et barriere for the republic, which 
by it, in an eventual peace, would obtain security against 
France's design of centuries to extend to the north, and 
this was really William III.'s idea. After his death 
a second idea of an economic nature was added by 
the statesmen guiding the republic. Belgium, after the 
hoped for conquest by the maritime powers and the 
emperor, as compensation for the heavy war expenses, 
must be permanently subjected to the economic domi- 
nation of the northern republic, which feared the com- 
petition of the south. With an eye to the first purpose 
the occupation of the chief fortresses by Dutch troops 
was secured by William III. in the last war with the 
consent of the Spanish government and maintained after 
the peace of Ryswick. The second plan made necessary 
actual supremacy of the States over Belgium, though an 
appearance of authority might be allowed to the Haps- 
burg heir of the Spanish monarchy. The closing of the 
Scheldt was no longer regarded as sufficient. Complete 
subjection of the southern provinces to the republic's 
economic interests was required as the price of the un- 
commonly great sacrifices made in the war. The result 
was the immediate introduction of regular Dutch gov- 
ernment in conquered places, growing opposition of the 
imperial government, and hesitation on the part of the 
English. But the States let no opportunity pass to attain 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 25 

their object. Marlborough was mindful enough of Eng- 
land's interests to urge a joint occupation of the con- 
quered lands on behalf of Charles III. of Spain, but the 
maritime powers were to rule only temporarily. It was 
thought that he desired for himself the governorship in 
these provinces. With him the treasurer-general Hop 
and the Leyden burgomaster and field-deputy Johan van 
den Bergh, acting with a council of state consisting of 
Belgians, were intrusted with the government of the 
conquered provinces, while the provisional governor ap- 
pointed by the emperor, Count Goes, imperial ambas- 
sador at The Hague, was not even allowed in the south. 
An attempt of the imperial government to name Marl- 
borough as provisional governor with Count Goes as his 
adviser failed owing to the commander's refusal to per- 
mit his appointment against the wish of the States- 
General. The English government hoped by some 
concession in these matters to obtain from the covetous 
republic a guarantee for the Protestant succession in 
England, but Heinsius and his friends seemed to have 
exaggerated notions concerning the " barrier " and to 
want really the entire southern Netherlands, though it 
might be under the nominal supremacy of Charles III. 
Marlborough complained of these great demands, but 
had to yield much for the sake of cooperation between 
the maritime powers; for some months the Dutch pleni- 
potentiaries, thrusting aside the council of state, ruled 
without restraint in the cities of Brabant and Flanders. 
Their arbitrary conduct, their suppression of ancient 
liberties, their arrogance, the extortions of Marlborough 
and his generals and of the Protestant officials from 
the republic stirred up so much bad blood in the south 
that an English commissioner was appointed in Sep- 
tember, 1706, to act with the Dutch deputies in order 
to prevent a general uprising of the population. George 
Stepney, former ambassador at Vienna, was chosen, a 

26 History of the Dutch People 

sharp and vigorous representative of English interests, 
a trusted guardian over those of the Hapsburgs. 1 

In the peace discussions of 1707 the subject came up 
of a " barrier treaty " between the two maritime powers, 
by which the States-General should be restrained from 
a separate peace with France, but it was evident that 
England would only conclude such a treaty under con- 
ditions securing Hapsburg supremacy and English in- 
terests. Negotiations between The Hague and London 
continued nearly two years. The speedy death of Step- 
ney, succeeded by the energetic Lord Cadogan, Marl- 
borough's adjutant and friend, brought slight change in 
the mutual relation. The Belgian people grew ever 
more discontented over the oppressive guardianship of 
the maritime powers and the postponement of the res- 
toration of Hapsburg rule. The imperial government 
excited the discontent cleverly, and the hitherto insig- 
nificant Belgian council of state became a centre of 
violent opposition, while the French government omitted 
no promises and regulations concerning commerce by the 
mouth of its ally, the elector Maximilian Emanuel, and 
his confidential minister, count of Bergeyck 2 of the south- 
ern Netherlands, to win over the people of Brabant and 
Flanders. Conspiracies, protests, disturbances showed 
that the Belgian provinces would not willingly submit 
to the maritime powers, which wanted to treat them 
without paying much attention to their wishes. The 
barrier treaty played a great part in the peace nego- 
tiation resumed by the disheartened French government 
after the battle of Oudenarde and the fall of Lille. It 
began by secret correspondence between French agents 
and Dutch regents, between the zealous count of Berg- 

1 See regarding the situation in Belgium, Memoires du comte 
de Merode-Westerloo, ii., p. 1. 

2 Huisman, La Belgique commerciale sous Vempereur Charles 
VI. (Brux., 1902), p. 38. 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 27 

eyck and Van der Dussen, burgomaster of Gouda. The 
French minister de Torcy, who had despatched Mesnager 
in January, sent Rouille secretly in March, 1709, and 
Buys and Van der Dussen listened to the French pro- 
posals without agreeing to them. Later discussions led 
to no result, and the secret commenced to leak out, as 
was natural with the republic's form of government, so 
that de Torcy himself finally appeared at The Hague to 
continue the negotiation officially with the representa- 
tives of the allies. His presence produced a profound 

England and Austria feared that the republic would 
be persuaded by the offer of commercial advantages in 
Spain and Belgium. England was induced by this fear 
to consider further the barrier treaty desired by the 
republic, provided the latter would guarantee the suc- 
cession to the English throne. With this prospect the 
Dutch government, now again in cooperation with its 
allies, showed little indulgence towards France and 
made hard demands on Louis : the restoration of nearly 
all the conquests effected in Germany since 1648, a 
strong barrier for the States in the southern Nether- 
lands, the demolition of Dunkirk, improvement of the 
Savoy frontier, an advantageous commercial treaty, 
finally, in article 37, Louis's help in dethroning his own 
grandson. This was asking too much, or rather the 
severity of these demands showed that the States would 
not so easily leave their allies in the lurch as France 
had expected. But France was on the verge of the 
abyss. The conditions mentioned, now communicated to 
the allies, were approved by Heinsius in the name of the 
republic, by Prince Eugene and Count Zinzendorf for 
the emperor, by Marlborough and Lord Townshend for 
England, and de Torcy, objecting only to article 37, de- 
clared himself ready to go to Paris to confer with his 
government, while the Estates of the Dutch provinces 

28 History of the Dutch People 

one after another approved of the proposed treaty. So 
de Torcy left The Hague. But the French government, 
though inclined in its hopeless circumstances to accept 
the other conditions, refused to subscribe to the humil- 
iating article 37 and would only engage not to support 
Philip V. of Spain, provided he was indemnified in Italy. 
The allies were not content with such a promise, and 
the negotiation was broken off early in June, with the 
reservation of means to resume it by the intervention of 
the Hoi stein agent at The Hague, Von Petkum, and the 
Polish resident Mollo. The disappointment was great in 
the republic, and many like Goslinga disapproved of the 
insistence upon the hard article 37. 

The war, in June renewed in the Netherlands, soon 
became so unfavourable to France, that it was compelled 
to call in the planned mediation. Marlborough and 
Prince Eugene with a large army moved immediately 
upon the last French army, which Louis had stationed 
under the marshal Villars in a strong position on the 
French frontier, but which was only two-thirds as large 
as the force of the allies, who had brought this time 
120,000 men into the field. The intrenched camp 
of Villars in northern Artois appeared so strong 
that both generals hesitated to assail it and laid siege 
to Tournay, which city surrendered after a month. 
Villars now moved from Artois into Hainaut by express 
command of his sovereign, though feeling deeply the 
responsibility resting upon him. In this army lay 
France's only hope: the country was exhausted; dis- 
turbances arose in the chief cities; communications were 
cut off by the enemy on all sides; the finances were in 
confusion ; there was no more money in the public treas- 
uries ; taxes were put up as high as possible ; an appeal 
was made to the upper classes to deliver up their silver- 
ware for the service of the state; debasement of the 
coinage to secure funds for pressing needs occasioned 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 29 

universal trouble; famine and misery prevailed every- 
where. It was plain that a severe defeat would put 
France at the feet of the allies and would make the 
proud Sun King sue for peace. The crisis had evi- 
dently arrived. The allied commanders early in Sep- 
tember turned their attention to Mons and surrounded 
it. In the vicinity the French general posted himself 
in strong intrenchments, appreciating the importance of 
the conquest of Mons and of Hainaut by the allies, and 
ready to hazard all to save city and province for his 
king. At the little village of Malplaquet in the centre 
of this position on September 11th the bloodiest battle 
of the entire war took place. Villars and Boufflers, the 
best French generals of the time, withstood the first 
attack of a superior force with indomitable energy and 
unexampled bravery. But equally energetic and brave 
the swarms of the allies rushed upon the hostile intrench- 
ments. The young prince of Orange-Nassau, at the head 
of the disciplined Dutch infantry with colours in hand, 
threw himself heroically on the intrenched Aulnoit, the 
key of the position, but finally fell back in disorder with 
the loss of more than two thousand killed. The decimated 
Dutch force wavered, and Marlborough himself had to 
come and lead it to avert defeat. The heavy cavalry of 
Boufflers now stormed against the enemy's broad lines, 
which threatened to envelop the French positions in a 
deadly embrace, but the valour of Orange and his weary 
troops, the persistence of the English, the advance of 
Prince Eugene on the right flank rescued again the 
allies. Then the French generals at three o'clock in the 
afternoon broke off the battle, which was still far from 
lost, fearing to sacrifice their king's last army, and re- 
treated in good order. About eleven thousand French 
dead and wounded lay on the field over against nearly 
twenty-three thousand men of the allies, the Dutch di- 
visions having suffered severely in the desperate attack 

30 History of the Dutch People 

on the intrenchments. Malplaquet saw half of the ex- 
cellent Dutch infantry disappear. The young prince of 
Orange, nevertheless, with his remaining veterans and 
a number of English battalions conducted the siege of 
Mons, which fell into his hands at the end of October. 
This ended the campaign, the most arduous of the whole 

France's sad condition made the resumption of peace 
negotiations more than necessary, but first the maritime 
powers endeavoured to come to an agreement concerning 
the fate of Belgium. The English ambassador at The 
Hague, Lord Townshend, a friend of Marlborough, who 
with the help of his wife's influence over the queen had 
again brought the Whigs into power, was with the Eng- 
lish commander and the leading statesmen of the repub- 
lic to prepare harmony between the two allied but jealous 
States. In the negotiations of the spring France had 
virtually consented to a Netherlandish barrier on its 
frontier. Now that the Whigs ruled in England, the 
chance was good of obtaining 'there also an approval 
of the barrier. Negotiations between the two sea powers 
occupied the entire summer. The wish of the imperial 
government to see the rights of the Hapsburg dynasty 
limited as little as possible; its vain efforts to have 
Marlborough or better Prince Eugene assume the gov- 
ernorship in the southern Netherlands in order to check 
the aspirations of the Hollanders; England's desire not 
to extend the Dutch barrier over Ostend and other 
Flemish ports and to stipulate for itself the dismantling 
of Dunkirk and the guarantee of the Protestant succes- 
sion — all this played a part and made the negotiation at 
The Hague go slowly. Meanwhile England was secretly 
busy in Spain in obtaining from Charles III. not only 
a treaty for commerce with Spain and its colonies, but 
also, in addition to the possession of Gibraltar, that of 
Port Mahon on Minorca as a naval station, thus out- 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 31 

doing its Dutch ally. The Dutch statesmen learned of 
these negotiations through the imperial government, 
which dreaded the subjection of the Hapsburg authority 
to the maritime powers and therefore sought to sow 
distrust between its two allies. Heinsius complained 
earnestly to Townshend of the English double dealing. 
To avoid the necessity of a dissolution of the alliance 
loudly proclaimed by Heinsius and the consequent sepa- 
rate peace of the republic with France the English gov- 
ernment finally agreed to the desired barrier treaty, 
which was signed at The Hague on October 29th, but 
only by Townshend and not by Marlborough. 

The treaty gave the republic the right of garrisoning 
the fort De Paarl near Antwerp, the castle of Ghent, 
and Damme in order to dominate the old commercial 
cities of Ghent and Bruges ; the forts of St. Donaas and 
Knokke with Sluis were to guard the Bruges canal; 
Dutch garrisons in Nieuwpoort and St. Philips were to 
hold Ostend in subjection; those in Dendermonde, Lier, 
and Halle would serve to protect Brabant, those in 
Namur and Charleroi to defend the Meuse and Sambre 
districts. Furthermore, at the least danger of war the 
republic might place troops in all the cities and forts 
of the south deemed desirable. The ruler over the south 
was to pay annually a million livres for the ordinary 
garrisons, secured by mortgage. The frontier fortresses 
conquered or to be conquered from France: Lille, Conde, 
Tournay, Valenciennes, Furnes, Ypres, Maubeuge were 
designated as the republic's property to hold France in 
check by an iron girdle. The Scheldt was to remain 
closed, while the republie could establish commercial 
tariffs on the rivers and canals of Belgium at its will. 
By the execution of this treaty the republic would have 
acquired the military, financial, and economic guardian- 
ship over the south. Again the republic allied itself 
solemnly with England and promised to conclude no 

2,2 History of the Dutch People 

peace until Louis XIV. had recognised first Queen Anne 
and then the Protestant house of Hanover as entitled 
to the succession in England with the exclusion of the 
Stuarts. After some hesitation on the English side, the 
ratification of the treaty followed in December. It was 
called secret, but it could not long be concealed from 
the emperor and his brother in Spain. Great was the 
indignation at Vienna, and Prince Eugene declared that 
the Hapsburg heir might as well give up the southern 
Netherlands entirely; but the maritime powers were 
little disturbed by this feeling on the part of their ally 
so dependent upon them. 

The barrier treaty was all the republic could wish; it 
only remained to have it included in the definitive treaty 
of peace of the allies with France. The republic was 
inclined to negotiation with France, whenever the latter 
had no objection to the treaty just concluded. The last 
campaign had not entirely annihilated France, but this 
country needed peace, if it did not want to be ruined 
by internal difficulties and external dangers. The usual 
methods of the French government to come in touch 
with the Dutch regents, who had long been weary of 
the war, were now followed again. Von Petkum at The 
Hague was authorised in October to declare that Louis 
was ready for peace on the terms already discussed, pro- 
vided he was relieved of the engagement to drive his 
grandson from Spain. The ambassadors of the allies at 
The Hague, Townshend and Sinzendorff, deliberated on 
the new secret French offer with Heinsius, who seemed 
willing to drop article 37 of the proposition made in 
the spring, containing this engagement, but the English 
and imperial ambassadors insisted on it obstinately, and 
only after long negotiation, in February, 1710, the States 
were allowed a separate discussion with the French rep- 
resentatives at Geertruidenberg by the two allies on the 
basis of the preliminaries of May, 1709, with the excep- 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 33 

tion from the French side of article 37 to be further 
considered. Louis's fear of the complete expulsion of 
Philip from Spain by the allies victorious there also, of 
an invasion of France itself, brought him to this extremity. 
On March 10th the 1 first discussion was had in a yacht 
on the Moerdijk. Buys and Van der Dussen were the 
Dutch negotiators, both not to be bribed and inaccessible 
to the large French offers, proud of the government of 
the States and not hiding this pride from the allies. 
In the name of France appeared there the marshal- 
diplomat d'Huxelles and the shrewd and clever abbe" 
Polignac. Naturally article 37 formed the chief topic 
of discussion, but the desired end was not reached in 
four interviews. Louis was prepared for a partition of 
the Spanish monarchy, finally even for an unconditional 
renunciation from the French side, but he would never 
lend his hand to drive out his grandson. Repeatedly the 
Dutch envoys returned to The Hague, repeatedly they 
encountered there the unwillingness of the two allies to 
give up article 37, and the conferences were ended late in 
July with reproaches from the French plenipotentiaries 
on the way, in which they had been kept busy for months, 
while there had been no disposition to yield anything to 
Louis's sense of honour. They disclaimed responsibility 
for the blood still to be shed, but soon received a sharp 
answer from the equally disappointed States-General in 
a manifesto accusing Louis of ambition and double deal- 
ing. Intelligent observers, like Marlborough, Prince 
Eugene, and many Dutch regents, recognised that too 
much had been demanded of France and too little security 
had been offered. It would be long before France was 
humiliated enough to consent to such demands. The 
Vienna government was thankful for the course of events, 
and the emperor even wrote a letter to the States-General, 
addressing them as Celsi et potentes Ordines, " High and 
Mighty States," a title hitherto carefully withheld by 

VOL. V — 3 

34 History of the Dutch People 

the imperial court 1 in memory of the old dependence of 
these provinces on the Hapsburg house. 

So the war, already beginning its ninth year, had to 
be again continued. The two great generals once more 
headed the allies, pushing from Tournay into France's 
frontier provinces and laying siege to Douay, B6thune, 
and other fortresses. These were captured in the course 
of the year, while the weak army of Villars avoided every 
battle in the field. The most important events of this 
year, however, did not take place on the field of battle, 
or during the negotiations in the republic, but at the 
English court. Marlborough's numerous enemies had 
finally succeeded in robbing the powerful favourite of 
his influence over the queen. The Whigs had supported 
him and used this influence, but never trusted the in- 
triguing, proud, and ambitious duke; they had long tried 
to depose him and to escape from his hard dictatorship. 
His evident endeavour to secure the chief command of 
the army for life met with violent opposition. Shortly 
after the battle of Oudenarde the vigorous help of his 
wife at court was lost to him. In consequence of a palace 
intrigue, she was supplanted by Lady Masham, now high 
in the favour of the queen and working secretly with 
the Tories, and for a time she had to leave the court. 
The duke succeeded in having his wife return to court, 
but apparently, in the autumn of 1709, his personal 
influence with Queen Anne had suffered seriously; even 
his recommendations for high military posts were not 
accepted. He quitted the court and threatened to resign, 
if the queen did not dismiss the favoured lady of the 
chamber — a humiliating position for Europe's first gen- 
eral! A personal negotiation with the queen seemed to 
restore him to favour, but the reconciliation was only 

1 Lamberty, vi., p. 79. Portugal, England, and the northern 
courts had long used this title; France employed that of 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 35 

in appearance: the duchess of Marlborough remained in 
disgrace, and her mortal enemy kept the field. This was 
the more critical, because the expenses of the long war 
began to exceed England's resources and Godolphin, lord 
treasurer and Marlborough's friend, had to impose ever 
higher taxes. The Tory party, in league with the leaders 
of the Church of England, aspired more and more boldly 
to the government. The influential preacher Sacheverell 
opposed Marlborough and the Whigs sharply. Sachever- 
ell's trial by the government drew universal attention 
to his assertions; he was indeed condemned but revered 
throughout England as a hero and martyr; the queen 
also honoured him and his defenders openly. Gradually 
the Tories won. Godolphin was dismissed, the Parlia- 
ment dissolved, the new Parliament gave them a majority. 
Marlborough's fall was generally expected, but the inter- 
cession of the allies saved him, although his friends in 
the ministry were replaced by Tories in August and 
September, 1710. 

At Versailles this was viewed with great interest and 
joy ; the allies observed it all with anxiety equally great. 
There was already talk of an agreement between the 
winning party and the French court. Then, in April, 
1711, the emperor Joseph suddenly died; Charles III. of 
Spain would presumably succeed him in the German 
empire. Both England and the States now displayed 
alarm at the restoration of the empire of Charles V. and 
wore inclined, at least in Spain, to recognise Philip as 
Ling. They had not yet allowed homage to be done to 
Charles III. in Belgium to the vexation of the popula- 
tion much attached to the house of Hapsburg. On ac- 
count of these occurrences at the courts of London and 
Vienna the war was feebly carried on by the allies 
during the whole summer; Prince Eugene remained in 
Germany, and Marlborough obtained no other advantage 
than the conquest of little Bouchain, while in Spain 

36 History of the Dutch People 

Charles III.'s cause, weakly supported by the allies, fell 
behind, and all Aragon was lost. Late in 1711 Charles 
was chosen emperor by the electors, a fact considerably 
increasing the chances for peace. There was already 
negotiation between France and England. The French 
abbe Gaultier, who had been in England with Tallard in 
1698, began it in the summer of 1710 by applying secretly 
to Lady Masham and her friends in the name of de 
Torcy. In the spring of 1711 these secret relations led 
to private proposals from the French government to the 
new secretary of state, Henry St. John, Lord Boling- 
broke, in which de Torcy put in prospect for England 
the trade with Spain and the Indies, for the States the 
barrier, for the allies of the maritime powers proper 
satisfaction. 1 The States-General and Heinsius were in 
deep secrecy informed of these proposals by the English 
ambassador Raby, who had taken the place of Town- 
shend. These offers assumed greater significance in the 
autumn. England speedily appeared desirous of the prom- 
ised asiento de negros, the monopoly of the unchristian 
but lucrative slave trade with Spain's West Indian colo- 
nies, of the great commercial advantages to be obtained, 
and soon the experienced Mesnager appeared in London. 
Everything went on secretly until the end of the year, 
but in October the government at London had already 
agreed with France on the chief matters and had signed 
a very secret convention concerning peace and assuring 
England's interests. England had done what the repub- 
lic in 1709 at England's instigation had refused to do. 
The conclusion of a general peace thus became only a 
question of time. In the first place the republic must 
be persuaded to assent to the conditions adopted by 
France and England at London. 

With indignation the news had been heard in the 
republic, and the British government now did its best 

1 Weber, Der Friede von Utrecht, p. 30. 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 37 

to influence the principal statesmen there, Heinsius and 
Buys first, through the Scotch merchant Drummond of 
Amsterdam. Bolingbroke, the leader of all, was the right 
man for such intrigues. But worse trouble followed for 
tbe republic. England's new government was not dis- 
posed to carry out the barrier treaty, concluded in 1709 
with the Whigs. There was to be a barrier, but much 
less extensive than that stipulated. With great skill 
Heinsius and his friends were hoodwinked by the two 
powers. They were promised that the negotiation should 
soon take place on Dutch soil; half hints were given 
them of the progress of the secret discussions in Lon- 
don; the circumstance, that the Dutch ambassador there 
had just died and had not yet been replaced, aided the 
equivocal game of the English statesmen. Then fol- 
lowed in October the communication from the English 
that the preliminaries of 1709 must be considered as too 
severe for France and the barrier treaty as too oppressive 
on Austria for peace to be possible on this basis, while 
England wished to conclude no separate peace, it could 
not prosecute the war on the scale hitherto adopted, as 
its allies did not keep their promises. A long account 
showed that the republic also had been found wanting. 
What remained to be done was plain to everybody. Buys, 
long since selected as ambassador to London, departed 
for England in October to endeavour at the eleventh 
hour to disturb the understanding between France and 
England and to spare the republic the humiliation of 
merely approving what was there secretly agreed upon. 
But he did not succeed and returned home discouraged. 
He learned of the royal decree relieving Marlborough of 
the chief command. The political defeat of the States- 
General was thus accomplished. Prince Eugene, cross- 
ing over to England in January, 1712, to rescue his old 
friend, came too late and soon gave up hope of keeping 
England in the alliance. People at The Hague realised 

38 History of the Dutch People 

that they must submit to the inevitable, because the 
continuation of the war without England was an 

The peace congress arranged by England and France 
was to be held in Utrecht, so that the republic might 
retain an appearance of cooperation. In January the 
first envoys of the different powers appeared there. The 
States had representatives from all the provinces, from 
Holland Buys and Van der Dussen, among the others the 
Frisian Goslinga, and Van Rechteren from Overyssel; 
England sent the bishop of Bristol and the energetic 
Lord Strafford, then ambassador at The Hague; France 
d'Huxelles, Polignac, and Mesnager; the emperor Count 
Zinzendorf. The attitude of the States in the long nego- 
tiations was not strong. It could not be denied that 
peace was necessary, and that there was no longer any 
thought of removing Philip V. from Spain ; but a barrier 
must be obtained, and an effort had to be made to pre- 
vent England from keeping all to itself the trade with 
the Spanish colonies and especially the profitable slave 
trade. A bitter feeling against England began to prevail 
among the Dutch, and the war party even meditated 
going on with the emperor alone. What this would lead 
to was shown by the campaign of 1712, directed by 
Prince Eugene and Marlborough's successor, Lord Or- 
monde, with the Dutch field-marshal, against Villars, the 
last general of the last French army. Ormonde's atti- 
tude was as ambiguous as that of his government, which 
desired a truce. Little was effected, although Prince 
Eugene captured Quesnoy. Ormonde refused constantly 
to march against Villars and waited for word from his 
government to declare a truce. When he was able to do 
this, the greater part of his army had left him and 
joined Eugene, who now continued the campaign alone, 
but was compelled to give up the siege of Landrecies 
after the ignominious flight of the Dutch battalions under 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 39 

the earl of Albemarle, attacked by Villars with a su- 
perior force at Denain (July 24th). The unfortunate 
last campaign made a deep impression on the Dutch 
deputies at Utrecht and induced them to yield to Eng- 
lish pressure. The understanding between England and 
France became ever closer. Bolingbroke by a journey 
to Paris cleared away the last difficulties between the 
two powers and declared himself ready to conclude a 
separate peace with France, if necessary. Under these 
circumstances the negotiation at Utrecht was merely a 
side issue, and was broken off during four months. After 
the defeat of Denain it was taken up again, and under 
new pressure and the menace of a separate peace by Eng- 
land the States finally gave way reluctantly but com- 
pletely. On December 30, 1712, the Dutch ambassador 
in London announced the acceptance of the English pro- 
posals. The humiliation of the " High and Mighty Lords 
States " was sealed, but the alliance with England was 
once more confirmed. 

The maritime powers, now again allied for years, did 
not yet renounce the hope of persuading the emperor to 
conclude peace. For that purpose the negotiation at 
Utrecht, broken off again during months, was resumed 
in February, 1713. But the emperor refused steadfastly 
to accept the conditions, injurious to him and his house, 
stipulated by France and England without his knowledge; 
he went as far as he could to keep the support of the 
States-General, but this availed nothing. Then finally, 
on April 11, 1713, peace was signed at Utrecht in a 
number of separate treaties by England and the States, 
afterwards also by their allies, Prussia, Portugal, and 
Savoy. The emperor alone continued the war. With 
satisfaction France could look back upon the political 
results of the long war. Spain and its colonies, perhaps 
too a part of Italy, were won for the French royal 
house; the object of Louis's policy of the last half cen- 

40 History of the Dutch People 

tury was in great part attained, though he had to agree 
that the two crowns should not be united. The country, 
however, was exhausted, and years would be necessary 
for it to regain its former prosperity. But the fame of 
England had risen high. Military glory on land and 
sea, diplomatic victories, the possession of Gibraltar and 
Minorca in Europe, of Hudson Bay, Nova Scotia, 
and Newfoundland, the monopoly of the slave trade, the 
right of trading with Panama — these were the advan- 
tages obtained by the succession war ajjd the policy of 
William III. for the country, which from now on, as 
the first maritime power, as the inexhaustible source of 
subsidies to warring nations on the continent, was to 
play a decisive part in Europe. 

What the republic secured, as its share of the spoils 
in the treaty with France, was relatively little. The 
Spanish Netherlands were now to become the Austrian 
Netherlands and were to be put in the hands of the 
States to be delivered to the emperor Charles; Spanish 
Gelderland went to Prussia; the elector of Bavaria was 
to renounce all claims to Belgium and be restored in his 
Bavarian lands. As for the ardently desired barrier, 
which was to be granted by the emperor for the delivery 
of the Netherlands, it was considerably limited by the 
last agreement between the maritime powers (January 
30, 1713). France ceded for it Menin, Tournay, Furnes, 
De Knokke, Loo, Dixmuiden, and Ypres, while Hoei, 
Liege, Luxemburg, Namur, Charleroi, and Nieuwpoort 
were to remain garrisoned by Dutch troops. Further- 
more, the States were to receive for the maintenance of 
fortifications and soldiers a million guilders annually 
from the best revenues of the Spanish Netherlands. 
France was to arrange for the States a commercial 
treaty with Spain ; trade in the Spanish Netherlands was 
to be regulated by the three powers; between France 
and the States a special treaty of commerce for twenty- 

In the War of the Spanish Succession 41 

five years was to be concluded. Thus the great war 
came to an end which did not answer the expectations 
cherished as late as 1710. With a neglected navy, aff\ 
army weakened by the campaigns and losses of the last ' 
years, an almost exhausted treasury, the republic for 
many years would have to give up its importance as 
a great power; its commerce had suffered seriously and 
would hereafter, in the world's markets under less favour- 
able circumstances, have to meet its powerfully develop- 
ing rival on the other side of the North Sea that had 
quite surpassed the little neighbour. In the opinion of 
its best statesmen its only hope for the future lay in 
adherence to a close alliance with this fortunate com- 
petitor and in following the chariot of victory. Thus 
alone could it participate in the advantages secured every- 
where by this rival. The peace of Utrecht was rightly 
understood by Polignac, when he told the envoys of the 
States: On traitcra de la paix chez vous, pour vous et 
sans vous, a revenge for the humiliation of France shortly 
before at Geertruidenberg deeply felt by the same diplo- 
mat. The negotiation at Geertruidenberg was the last 
occasion, on which the republic had any chance of ap- 
pearing as arbitrator between France and England. At 
Utrecht it had to accept what both prescribed for 

d. At 
it. -J 



AFTER William III.'s death the government of the 
republic came into the hands of men calling them- 
selves " republicans " in opposition to the monarchical 
tendencies of the house of Orange. Indisputably the 
republicans were now lords and masters in the republic, 
and they seemed likely to continue so for years, since 
the young prince of Orange and Nassau, preparing to 
make his stadtholdership of the two northern provinces 
a step to higher dignities like his great cousin, had been 
drowned in the Moerdijk, and his posthumous son for a 
long time would not be able to take up the father's 
work. But there was still a young prince bearing the 
name of Orange. During his whole life the young Wil- 
liam Charles Henry Friso signed himself " prince of 
Orange and Nassau," like his father, and the Dutch peo- 
ple preferred to call him by the first name. The Orange 
party did not give up the hope of seeing the Frisian 
stadtholder take the " eminent " place of the renowned 
stadtholders from the old family; the mother-guardian, 
Maria Louise of Hesse-Cassel, was ever on the watch to 
have her son secure what her husband had failed to 

The republicans had little to fear from this side so 
long as they succeeded in conjuring the perils that might 
threaten the state. They knew that their opponents 


Rule of the Regents from 1700 to 1750 43 

would stir up the people again on the approach of danger. 
An unfortunate war might have such a fatal result for 
them, especially a war with France, the national enemy, 
which for half a century had assumed the place of Spain 
over against the republic. The conciliation of France 
and the preservation of peace in Europe appeared to 
them of the highest consequence. 1 Wherever fire might 
break out, the political interests of France could be 
disturbed. Restless Sweden, fermenting Russia, Spain 
eager for adventures under the first Bourbon must be 
kept in view; the military power of Prussia was rising 
on the eastern border. And the two allies, England and 
Austria, had to be watched. The sequel of the peace of 
Utrecht: the negotiations between France and the em- 
peror leading to the peace of Rastadt in March, 1714; 
those between the republic and Spain; the negotiations 
concerning the barrier begun with the emperor im- 
mediately after the peace of Rastadt— all had difficulties. 
The emperor would not hear to the interference of Eng- 
land in these last negotiations, and England wanted it on 
account of the agreement of 1709 with the republic ; the 
emperor refused to recognise what was stipulated at 
Utrecht without his consent; France secretly opposed 
the progress of the affair. So it was a long time before 
the imperial offers could be reconciled with the demands 
of the republic. The imperial government showed anger 
at these high demands and even assumed a threatening 

In the midst of these negotiations the queen of Eng- 
land died suddenly, and with the strong support of the 
government at The Hague the Whigs succeeded in bring- 
ing about the elevation of her chosen successor, the 

1 See for the foreign policy of the republic m these years 
Bussemaker's articles in the Gids of 1899, Hi., p. 33, and in 
the Bijdragen voor vaderl. gesch. en oudheidk. Vierde Reeks, 1., 
p. 263. 

44 History of the Dutch People 

elector of Hanover, as George I. This change brought 
the Whigs in England again into power and at once im- 
proved the relations between the maritime nations, as 
the new Hanoverian dynasty during its first years needed 
the republic's support. The old alliance was immediately 
renewed by the old friends of Heinsius and Slingelandt, 
among whom Lord Townshend occupied a prominent 
place; the Whigs did not forget that the Dutch states- 
men had advised their new king on his journey through 
to England to govern with them. Furthermore, George 
I., who was more of a Hanoverian than an Englishman, 
regarded the republic as the bridge from England to 
the continent, as an inestimable link for his policy 
directed more to the interest of Hanover than to that 
of England. Excessive was the joy in the republic at 
this change for the better in its relations with the ally, 
but this joy was quickly tempered by the English gov- 
ernment's attitude in the barrier affair. The negotiations 
regarding this were continued at Antwerp in October, 
1714, now with the cooperation of England, which mani- 
fested slight inclination to help the republic in its com- 
mercial plans. When the danger of a Jacobite invasion 
constrained England to ask aid of the republic, and the 
latter immediately offered its Scotch regiments, the Eng- 
lish government assisted in earnest, and the repeatedly 
interrupted negotiations were resumed. After more than 
fifty sittings these negotiations led on November 15, 1715, 
to the signing of the Antwerp barrier-treaty, which agreed 
in general with the arrangement made at Utrecht. 1 
Namur, Tournay, Menin, Furnes, Warneton, Ypres, and 
the fort De Knokke became barrier places garrisoned by 
the republic; in the strategically important Dendermonde 
there was to be a mixed garrison; in case of danger of 
war Dutch troops must be admitted into all the threat- 
ened fortresses; in barrier cities two-fifths of the neces- 
1 Du Mont, Corps Dipl, viii., i., p. 458. 

Rule of the Regents from 1700 to 1750 45 

sary garrison were to be furnished by the republic; the 
emperor paid 1,250,000 guilders for the support of the 
troops secured by the revenues of Brabant and Flanders ; 
Venloo, St. Michiel, Stevensweerd, and Montfort came 
entirely to the States; a rectification of the frontier in 
Flanders subjected in fact the whole country as far as 
Ghent to the republic ; a commercial treaty with England 
and the republic was to be concluded on the basis of 
the peace of Munster, thus closing the Scheldt ; England 
guaranteed the treaty, by which the henceforth Austrian 
Netherlands were recognised as the " inalienable posses- 
sion " of the house of Hapsburg. 

This was the poor remnant of the treaty made in 1709, 
sometimes lauded as a great diplomatic victory, but in 
reality a hindrance to the republic, which never had any 
good but much trouble from this already antiquated 
arrangement. This was the only tangible political ad- 
vantage brought by the republic out of the fatal succes- 
sion war, the chain binding it for over half a century 
to England and Austria. Austria and the southern 
Netherlands felt deeply the degradation of being subjected 
to the military guardianship of the republic; speedily the 
latter saw that, with the changed policy of France, the 
barrier had lost its military and political importance. 
France considered the barrier as a constant threat. It 
might have been of inestimable use in the days of De 
Witt and William III., but in those of Slingelandt and 
Walpole it was an anachronism. The republic could 
not be brought to go further than the conclusion of this 
treaty, and Heinsius and his friends would not listen 
to a renewal of the alliance between Austria and the 
maritime powers. More inclination was shown towards 
France. In January, 1717, the French regent, by send- 
ing his confidant, the abbe" Dubois, persuaded both the 
maritime powers to a triple alliance, concluded at The 
Hague, for confirming the peace of Utrecht with a 

46 History of the Dutch People 

guarantee of the possessions in Europe of the three 
powers. Thenceforth France called the States " High 
and Mighty Lords." From a commercial point of view 
the treaty of November 15, 1715, was as advantageous 
to the maritime powers as it was disastrous to the 
Austrian Netherlands. The latter's ships and sailors 
went over to Dunkirk; their industry moved to the 
neighbouring cities of France; their commerce ventured 
its capital now only in Dutch or English enterprises. 
The republic could be reassured ; from this side no further 
competition was to be dreaded. This was its great 
benefit from the peace. 

After the conclusion of peace and of the negotiations 
concerning the barrier, the republic, closely allied with 
England, was considered for years as a great power and 
as such was involved in all the political happenings of 
the world. The union between the maritime powers was 
carefully fostered from both sides, by the Whig states- 
men long dominant under the first Georges and by the 
Dutch politicians of William III.'s school, in the interest 
of the world's peace and in that of the Protestant Han- 
overian dynasty menaced until the middle of the century 
by Jacobite machinations. There was more anxious care 
on the Dutch side than on the English, because the 
republic's internal condition excluded all thought of in- 
dependent action. But the wealth of the Dutch state 
and its commercial power made it for twenty-five years 
longer an ally to be desired, if not a foe to be feared. 
Could not the republic, with its apparently inexhaustible 
riches, cause armies to rise out of the ground and fleets 
out of the ocean ? Had it not such excellent statesmen as 
Heinsius and Slingelandt, Hop and Fagel? The prestige 
of the republic, won in the beautiful days of the seven- 
teenth century, long endured. But its anxious striving 
for peace in the interest of its commerce and internal 
condition, its timid avoidance of difficulties, its dread 

Rule of the Regents from 1700 to 1750 47 

of asserting itself, speedily lessened the consideration 

it enjoyed. Finally it derived that consideration mainly 

from that of its ever more powerful ally, in whose shadow 

it drew back, and to whose initiative it left everything. 

Voluntarily it abdicated its place in the council of 

Europe's powers. Only its commercial interests ruled 

its policy; nothing else could entice it to political action. 

In just those days the political condition of Europe 

was incessantly changing. Sweden, under Charles XII. 

again disturbing the north and sending out privateers to 

prey upon Dutch and English commerce in the Baltic, 

might have been brought to reason by joint action of the 

maritime powers. The republic desired no war and was 

only ready for mediation between the nations at war 

with one another. The Dutch fleet of twelve ships under 

rear-admiral Veth, uniting with the British fleet at Elsi- 

nore in 1715, had orders to avoid hostilities against 

Sweden and only to protect the merchantmen. In the 

next year but six ships were sent under the commander 

Grave for the same purpose. It was manifest that the 

republic was of no mind to wave the torch of war in 

the north. A timely settlement was made of the affair 

of Charles XII.'s secret intrigues with the English 

Jacobites, 1 in which the Swedish king commissioned his 

agent, the adventurer, baron von Gortz, to work privately 

in the republic also for Swedish interests. In 1718 the 

republic confined itself to sending out a squadron of 

twelve ships for the protection of its merchant vessels. 

It managed to refrain from actual hostilities in the 

north, until the death of the restless king in November, 

1718, gave occasion for the confirmation of the seriously 

threatened peace, Hanover receiving Bremen and Verden, 

and the new Swedish queen, Ulrica Eleonora, stopping 

privateering. Not before 1721 did the peace of Nystad 

1 Bussemaker, in Tijdschrift voor geschiedenis, land-en volken- 
kunde, 1901, p. 65. 

48 History of the Dutch People 

put an end to the war between Russia and Sweden, 
which latter lost a large part of its Baltic provinces to 
the former and saw its supremacy in the north come 
to naught. 

The attitude of the republic in these affairs was not 
calculated to increase its prestige, yet this was neces- 
sary, because, though Denmark and Sweden were no 
longer to be feared, a new power was springing up in 
Russia. The republic had economic interests in Russia 
to defend from the end of the sixteenth century. At 
Archangel, Moscow, and the new St. Petersburg Dutch 
merchants were first. The creation of the Russian fleet, 
the establishment of industries, the construction of canals 
gave work to hundreds of Hollanders in Russia, especially 
after czar Peter's first journey. On the other hand Rus- 
sians came to Holland to learn. The republic might be 
called the cradle of the new Russia, which was growing 
to a great power under its energetic czar, who admired 
Holland above all, liked to show himself to foreigners 
in the garb of a Dutch sea-captain, and spoke the dialect 
of Dutch sailors. The first settled Russian ambassador 
at The Hague was appointed in 1(>99. Czar Peter's second 
visit to the republic and France, from November, 1716, 
to September, 1717, saw the mighty monarch glorified 
in quite a different fashion from the reception accorded 
to the " remarkable barbarian " of twenty years earlier. 1 
Once more Peter visited the beloved Amsterdam and 
Zaandam and greeted cordially his old friends and 
teachers. In the midst of his visits he did not forget 
politics. While viewing England's action in the north 
with distrust, he would not hear to further commercial 
advantages for the Netherlander. On the side of the 
States there was also caution. The interests of Dutch 
commerce in Russia and in the Baltic ports acquired 
by Russia were so considerable that the republic had 

1 Scheltema, Rusland en de Nederlanden, iii., p. 331. 

Rule of the Regents from 1 700 to 1 750 49 

every reason to live in friendship with Russia and made 
no difficulty about giving the czar the title of " emperor 
of Russia." but it abstained from a closer alliance with 
the not yet securely established new power of the north. 
Neutral, as in the north, was the republic also in 
the important affairs of Spain and Italy, which at this 
time attracted all Europe's attention. Cardinal Alberoni 
was then playing his adventurous part and was seeking 
to make Spain into a great power as of old. Amid the 
alliances dividing Europe into groups he hoped to find 
one for Spain that would put it once more in possession 
of the Italian lands lost by the peace of Utrecht. He 
stood in opposition to Austria, whose emperor still bore 
the title of Charles III., king of Spain, and mourned the 
loss of the Spanish crown. Suddenly Spain conquered 
the island of Sardinia (1717). This attack stirred up 
the whole of Europe. England, France, and the republic 
united with Austria for the maintenance of the Utrecht 
peace, and the triple became a quadruple alliance. 
Hesitatingly the republic consented to the quadruple 
alliance, and it left action against Spain to its allies. 
Spain's attack upon Sicily, assigned to Savoy by the 
peace of Utrecht, was beyond endurance (1718). The 
English fleet destroyed the weak Spanish one off Syra- 
cuse, and a great war threatened. The French armies 
were gathering, supported by English troops, and were 
invading Spain, while the Austrians restored order in 
Sicily. The banishment of Alberoni put an end to the 
brief splendour of the fallen monarchy, and February 1, 
1720, Spain submitted to the wishes of the four powers. 
The aged council pensionary, Heinsius, was still the 
leader but in quite another way than in the days of 
William III. Then the interest of a general policy, of 
the balance of power in Europe, stood in the foreground, 
now the interest of commerce predominated in all 
political relations, especially since the disadvantageous 

VOL. V — 1 

50 History of the Dutch People 

peace, to which England's attitude had constrained the 
republic. In general it cannot be said that the repub- 
lic's exertions were without good result. About 1720 
peace was everywhere assured, and Dutch commerce 
could spread its wings unhindered, except where Eng- 
lish and Hanseatic competition had profited by cir- 

There was less success to boast of in domestic condi- 
tions. These were anything but rose-coloured at the con- 
clusion of the peace of Utrecht. The finances, even of 
Holland, were quite exhausted by the long war. It was 
impossible to impose new taxes; new loans could only 
be made at a high rate of interest ; the " idle vermin of 
civil society," x the farmers of the revenue, were accused 
of gross abuses; the confusion in municipal and pro- 
vincial governments reached such a height that the need 
of a stadtholder was loudly proclaimed in many circles. 
Various remedies were considered for improving the state 
of the finances. Holland finally reduced its four per 
cent, bonds to two and a half per cent, by taxing them 
a hundredth and a two-hundredth penny, and the States- 
General in 1716 followed this example by diminishing 
the interest on their bonds by one per cent. There is 
no better account of the decline and of the means of 
remedying it than the Discourse on the defects in the 
present constitution of the government of the state of 
the United Netherlands, written in 1716 by Slingelandt, 
who was secretary of the council of state from 1690 to 
1725. 2 During nine months, from March 18th to De- 
cember 3, 1715, the office of the union, the public treas- 
ury, had to be closed, and afterwards this was again and 
again threatened. In short the machine of state stood 
still, and it was conceivable that the union would fall 
apart at the least shock from within or without. 

1 Lamberty, Memoires, viii., p. 532. 

2 Staatkundige geschriften, i., p. 171. 

Rule of the Regents from 1700 to 1750 51 

In these circumstances the Estates of Overyssel on 
April 4, 1710, * presented a plan for economy with a better 
mutual understanding for strengthening the union. This 
was recommended to the consideration of the provinces 
by the States-General, but when nothing came of it, 
Overyssel, where Adolf Hendrik, count van Rechteren, 
was the moving spirit, complained of the inaction and 
proposed the calling, as in 1651, of a Great Assembly. 
The council of state and the leaders of military affairs 
approved of the idea, and on August 7th the States- 
General summoned for October 1st such an assembly at 
The Hague for an exchange of thought concerning the 
number of troops, the removal of " discrepant senti- 
ments," and the restoration of order in the state. The 
consent of the provinces, excepting City and Land, came 
in before the end of August. But wrangling now began 
in the various Estates on all sorts of questions. At last 
the deliberations commenced on November 28th in the 
Treves Hall. Rechteren opened them with words of 
patriotism to the thirty-four members present. The slow 
beginning, the absence of deputies from City and Land, 
where all was in confusion, the fact that full authority 
was not bestowed upon the members, presaged little good. 
During nine months the debates were continued. An 
agreement was reached upon thirty-two thousand men 
for the militia. No resolution was taken respecting 
means of constraining unwilling provinces. The wretched 
state of the finances was not improved. In May, 1717, 
a threatened bankruptcy was averted by closing the 
treasury for three days ostensibly on account of the 
kirmess at The Hague. After everything had stood 
still during seven weeks, the assembly ended September 
14, 1717, with a speech by Rechteren again, who con- 
fessed with discouragement that nothing had really been 

1 J. G. de Vos, De tweede groote vergadering, in Bijdr. voor 
vaderl. gesch. en oudheidk., Derde Reeks, ix., p. 277% 

52 History of the Dutch People 

done. " With astonishment and extreme grief of soul," 
he declared, " that we think the republic lost, if things 
go on longer in this way." The council of state was of 
no other opinion, when it asserted : " It was to be justi- 
fied neither before God nor men, if miracles were always 
depended upon " in a state, which could only continue 
to exist as a " wonderful work of divine providence." 
Thus ended, to the despair of ail right-minded people, 
the second Great Assembly, which was to have saved 
the state. 

Fortunately the management of the state remained 
with the tried men who had led it during the war. The 
aged Heinsius was still living, disappointed more than 
ever after the peace of Utrecht, but he died August 3, 
1720, and was succeeded by Isaac van Hoornbeek, of like 
opinions but less able, hitherto pensionary of Rotterdam. 
Slingelandt and Fagel, Hop and Buys, Van der Dussen 
and Van Rechteren still stood shoulder to shoulder. 
Even a bad government may be conducted by exceptional 
personages without ruining the state. But it is more 
than plain that not much power could go out from the 
republic in these circumstances. There were other 
troubles also. A cattle plague ravaged the country for 
years, killing thousands of cattle, and the loss could 
only be made good slowly by importing Danish cattle 
on a large scale. Many considered this plague " God's 
sword of vengeance over the Netherlands." 1 Floods in 
the spring of 1715 and at Christmas of 1717 caused 
immense damage to houses and land in all the sea prov- 
inces, not least in discordant City and Land, where in 
the later flood were lost 2000 lives, 15,000 houses, 14,000 
cattle and horses, 22,000 swine and sheep. What the 
elements left unharmed was assailed by a serious financial 
crisis. The love of speculation found new food in the at 
first brilliant results of John Law's bank and Mississippi 

1 Title of Halma's poem of 1714. 

Rule of the Regents from 1 700 to 1 750 53 

Company in France from 1716 to 1720. The swindle 
spread from France to England and soon also to the 
republic, where the stock company was native and 
speculation had long been a burning evil. The speedy 
fall of Law's clever " system," in the spring of 1720, 
caused the bad effects to be felt less here, because the 
cautious Hollanders were among the first " realisers," 
who got out with a good profit. 1 It was worse with 
the much sought shares of the English South Sea Com- 
pany, whose rapid rise, in the summer of 1720, from three 
hundred to over one thousand per cent., made many " wind 
companies " spring up in Holland and Zealand during 
August and September. There was a madness as in the 
days of the tulipomania. Men wanted to form com- 
panies as freely as in France and England in order to 
grow rich quickly. Here also, as in England and France, 
rich and poor, statesmen and merchants, scholars and 
artists, citizens and peasants, mechanics and sailors, 
clerks and servants worshipped the golden calf and were 
often reduced to -beggary to enrich a few. Sensible men 
saw with anxiety the " stock fever " rise and endeavoured 
to prevent " the great picture of folly," but the desire 
for wealth, the gambling fever rapidly increased, favoured 
here and there by municipal governments infected with 
the fury for speculation. Commercial companies were 
the order of the day; great financial projects were put 
forth in the most extravagant terms; it is estimated 
that the total nominal capital amounted to 1150 million 
guilders. 2 The shares of the East and West India Com- 
panies participated in the inflation: the latter rose from 
40 in 1719 to 600 per cent, and suddenly dropped to 
100 per cent.; the former went up from 400 to 700 and 
1200 per cent. There were dreams of great wealth, of 

1 Vissering, Het groote tafereel der dwaasheid, in Gids, 1856, 
i., p. 654. 

2 Le Long, Koophandel van Amsterdam, ii. (1727), p. 554. 

54 History of the Dutch People 

making small cities as flourishing as Amsterdam; vast 
plans were formed for new harbours and canals and 
industries; Utrecht was to become a port, Enkhuizen to 
get back its splendour, Woerden to be a great manufac- 
turing city. The Israelites so zealous in speculation were 
attracted to small places by all sorts of advantages. 
Men literally fought to subscribe for shares. The French 
coffee-house at Amsterdam became too small for this 
business, which soon occupied all Kalver Street and the 
Dam and lasted far into the night amid tumult and vocif- 
eration. But speedily came the disillusion, the " terrible 
hurricane," the " pitiful tragedy." Law took to flight, 
and his company collapsed. The South Sea shares 
dropped in the summer to 130 per cent, and brought 
many to the beggar's staff. The fall of both the great 
foreign enterprises influenced those here. Many com- 
panies did not even come into being; others in a short 
time stopped ; and the end was that hundreds from sudden 
wealth fell into equally sudden poverty. There was one 
popular rising in Amsterdam (October 5th) against the 
English coffee-house, where the speculation in stocks was 
carried on most zealously. Many caricatures and pam- 
phlets, satires and dramas against the " mad trading in 
wind " held up to derision the folly of the " stockholders " 
of the " new-fashioned business." A folio, the Great 
picture of folly, included all kinds of projects. From 
them Pieter Langendijk derived the subjects for two 
of his best plays. The effect of the mad speculation was 
long felt. Signs were everywhere of the approaching 
ruin of the renowned republic. 

Was it strange that to many occurred the thought of 
the old remedy for trouble, the appointment of a stadt- 
holder, and naturally of the young heir of the Oranges? 
By birth he was hereditary stadtholder of Friesland. In 
City and Land the Frisian nobleman Sicco van Goslinga 
with other lords succeeded (1718) in conferring the dig- 

Rule of the Regents from 1700 to 1750 55 

nity of stadtholder upon the young prince of Orange. 1 
Drenthe followed four years later, and then the Orange 
party began to be active in Gelderland and Overyssel. 
The elevation of the prince to the ancestral dignities in 
Gelderland would have brought four provinces under 
the authority of a stadtholder. Maria Louise saw the 
great importance of this, but so too did the opposing 
party. Holland entered into consultation with Zealand, 
Utrecht, and Overyssel, which had years before declared 
in favour of a stadtholderless government. A sharp 
letter in the name of Holland was sent to Gelderland, 
warning against the proposed measure. Gelderland ap- 
pointed the prince on November 2d, but bound him to 
instructions that limited his power considerably in com- 
parison with that of William III. Not trusting the 
" paper harness " of limitations by instructions, etc., the 
four provinces resolved to oppose anything of the kind 
in their territory. Goslinga did his best to calm the 
agitation; he tried to reconcile the princess with the 
statesmen of Holland. But he could not prevent the four 
provinces in the spring of 1723 from resolving solemnly to 
adhere to the form of government without a stadtholder. 

Thus the power of the regents remained untouched in 
four provinces at least, and that of the future stadt- 
holder in the others was so abbreviated that the rule of 
the regents might still be spoken of there. In conse- 
quence of contracts, alliances, and agreements between 
the ruling persons and families this government of the 
regents assumed more and more the character of a close 
caste, owing to marriages among themselves exclusively 
that of a family domination, which must eventually 
bring the authority over the country into the hands of 
a small number of oligarchs. The families possessing 
the government of city and country soon regarded them- 
selves as having a right to that government; there was 

1 Slothouwer, Sicco van Goslinga, p. 99. 

56 History of the Dutch People 

no more talk of rights of the people or of ancient privi- 
leges after the failure of the efforts of the guilds and 
tribunes in Gelderland and elsewhere at the beginning 
of the century. ; ' The citizens are shut out of the ad- 
ministration of the high government, and no advice or 
vote is asked in affairs of state/' says Lieven de Beaufort 
in 1737 very justly. 1 Having gone so far, they did not 
hesitate to sweeten the toil of government by the en- 
joyment of profits from important offices, which fell to 
them now without opposition. The taxes became to them 
a resource to be disposed of at will, provided the ad- 
ministration and the first demands of personal and gen- 
eral security were cared for; justice was degraded to 
a means of establishing their authority or to a source 
of revenue for the judges; the army and navy were 
institutions for enriching children and members of 
families through lucrative posts ; even the church seemed a 
way to advance the income of members of the government. 
Gradually in appointments much less attention was 
given to ability than to relationship and personal or 
family profit. Intermarriages strengthened the bond. 
In every city there was a close union of a few families 
ruling the place, and it could only be broken by dissen- 
sions. These dissensions, cabals, and intrigues were for 
years the only corrective of the oligarchic, arbitrary 
power, with which city and country were governed by 
the little " kings " of the republic. 

There was danger also in the foreign policy. Fortu- 
nately the republic still disposed of some able statesmen 
of the old stamp. So long as Van Hoornbeek, Hop, 
Slingelandt, Fagel, Goslinga, and Buys stood at the head 
of the state, the republic retained a certain influence on 
the course of affairs in Europe. After Alberoni's fall 
Spain did not give up its designs upon Italy. A more 
adventurous man even became chief there, the Groningen 
1 De vryheit in den burgerstaet, p. 130. 

Rule of the Regents from 1 700 to 1 750 57 

nobleman, Johan Willera van Ripperda. 1 He early went 
over to Protestantism from the Catholic faith, that cut 
him off from government employment, and appeared in 
the government of his province and in the States-General. 
In 1715 he departed as ambassador for Madrid, where 
his ability attracted Alberoni's attention. He was soon 
involved in all political matters, became a Catholic again, 
resigned as ambassador, and then stood high in favour 
with the king and queen. Falling out with Alberoni, he 
was in disgrace for a time, but rose once more after 
that statesman's decline. In 1724 he persuaded the king 
to seek a reconciliation with Austria. Sent to Vienna, 
he brought about peace, April 1, 1725, and a close alliance 
between the two crowns. Spain's foreign affairs were 
now placed entirely in his hands, and he was the omnip- 
otent statesman, ennobled with a ducal title. But his 
sun of fortune was speedily eclipsed. His financial and 
diplomatic intrigues were disclosed, and he was im- 
prisoned in the summer of 1726. His part in Spain 
was at an end, but his work lived longer. 

While Heinsius was still living, a congress of the 
powers at Cambrai had been resolved upon, the republic 
taking no part in it. The purpose was to settle all 
disputes between the powers by negotiation. Spanish- 
Austrian questions were discussed there during four 
years. The Vienna treaties suddenly stopped these 
tedious negotiations, alarm being felt at the union be- 
tween the two crowns. The consequence was a defensive 
alliance at Hanover, for the maintenance of the treaties 
of peace, between France, Prussia, and England (Sep- 
tember, 1725). The republic was invited to join it, while 
a similar invitation came from the Vienna allies. The 
establishment of an East India Company at Ostend in 
December, 1722, had awakened great resentment towards 

1 W. A. van Verschuer, Het staatkundig bedrijf van Johan 
Willem, baron van Ripperda. (Leiden, 1861). 

58 History of the Dutch People 

Austria. At last (August 9, 1726) the States took the 
side of the allies of Hanover to support the treaties of 
Minister and Oliva, which had restored peace in central 
and northern Europe. In the diplomatic document the 
interest of commerce came again to the fore, and in 
behalf of it there was a willingness to risk a war against 
the Vienna allies. The army and navy were consider- 
ably strengthened. Ostend feared a possible siege or 
bombardment, because the maritime powers and France 
might easily have become masters of the Austrian Nether- 
lands. The two camps dividing Europe made ready for 
a general war, and the allies of Hanover were preparing 
a campaign in the southern Netherlands, when the 
peace-loving French minister, de Fleury, succeeded at 
the eleventh hour, in the spring of 1727, in conjuring 
the storm with the aid of Robert Walpole, the head of the 
English government, and with the cooperation of the 
republic averse to war. The emperor saw himself obliged 
in the interest of peace to suspend his flourishing Ostend 
company for seven years. A congress at Soissons was 
to remove the differences between the powers. Dutch 
deputies took part in this congress. It met first in July, 
1728, but helped little to bring about a general pacifica- 
tion. The republic was chiefly interested in the nego- 
tiations concerning the affairs of East Friesland and 
the Ostend company. From the emperor's side came the 
request that the maritime powers, his former allies, 
should recognise and guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction, 
by which his hereditary states at his death were to fall 
to his daughter, Maria Theresa. The negotiations had 
small result. A new Quadruple Alliance between France, 
England, and Spain (1729), that of Seville, which the 
republic joined in November, was directed against Austria 
and its commercial plans. A new war threatened, this 
time against Austria. The congress of Soissons began 
to break up, but Fleury managed to keep the peace, 

Rule of the Regents from 1700 to 1750 59 

sustained by the peaceful inclinations of the maritime 
powers, which, however, collected a fleet in the English 
Channel, including sixteen Dutch ships under vice- 
admiral Sommelsdijk, more of a naval force than had 
been equipped in years. 

The more vigorous action of the republio was due to 
the fact that its foreign affairs were ruled by two extraor- 
dinary men, Simon van Slingelandt and Francois Fagel, 
the pillars of the republic, whose personal consideration 
helped to make The Hague il centro di quasi tutti gli 
affari, as a Piedmontese diplomat testifies in 1723. 
Slingelandt became council pensionary, July 17, 1727, in 
place of Van Hoornbeek, who had died a month earlier. 
Like the secretary Fagel, his brother-in-law, he was well 
on in years, in the sixties, and had played a great part 
as secretary of the council under William III. Honest 
and able, an excellent speaker and writer, cautious and 
clever, experienced in diplomatic matters, a " living in- 
dex of all the events, in which the state has been inter- 
ested," he was one of the most influential statesmen of 
Europe. Cooperation with England in maintaining the 
European balance of power and peace was the chief aim 
of his foreign policy. With regard to his domestic policy 
he had to promise neither directly nor indirectly to work 
for any change in the form of government, and so long 
as he held office he was not to aid in the elevation of 
the prince. It was another case with his friend, the 
secretary, who was generally known as an adherent of 
the Orange party. The chances of this party increased 
with the years of the prince, who became of age in 1729. 
He had studied at Franeker and Utrecht and appeared 
a youth of an agreeable expression and bright blue eyes, 
much talent and grace, desirous of doing his duty, well 
but rather delicately brought up among women, de- 
veloped especially in law and economics, cultivated, 
acquainted with the language and literature of his own 

60 History of the Dutch People 

country, of England, France, Italy, and Germany, as 
well as with Latin, amiable, virtuous, and mild; he liked 
to write, and possessed some eloquence and an excellent 
memory. He was not a soldier; his weak body, his small 
and somewhat deformed figure made him little adapted 
to that, and his inclinations did not go that way; he 
was better suited to civil government; but his lack of 
independence and initiative, his too great confidence in 
men, his excessive gentleness and kindness gave little 
expectation that he would vigorously assert his rights or 
carry out necessary reforms. 1 The hopes of this party 
rose high in consequence of the marriage, proposed by 
his mother and not rejected by the English royal house, 
with the oldest daughter of King George II. of England, 
who had succeeded his father in 1727. When, after the 
prince's majority, the English government reverted to 
the subject at The Hague, it perceived that fortune was 
not favouring him in the republic. For the time the 
prince had to be content with the stadtholdership over 
four provinces, limited as his power was in them. In 
1729 he assumed that of Gelderland, City and Land, and 
Drenthe, in 1731 that of Friesland. His further course 
was prescribed by circumstances — to sit still and wait. 
He could not assert his rights to the marquisate of Veere 
and Flushing, as stadtholder to a place in the council 
of state, as captain-general of four provinces to the 
rank of general in the army of the States. His admirer, 
Duncan, an energetic Scotchman, succeeded in the 
summer of 1732 in ending the dissensions between Prussia 
and the prince. The latter gave up the principality of 
Orange, but reserved the right to call one of his lord- 
ships by this name and to bear its title and arms, thus 
terminating the long dispute about this inheritance. 

1 This character sketch is partly borrowed from that by his 
intimate friend Burmania, after his death sent to his wife 
(Private archives of the Queen, William IV., No. 301.) 

Rule of the Regents from 1700 to 1750 61 

The English marriage plans accomplished nothing to- 
wards making the prince a general of infantry. The 
representative of the English government at The Hague, 
young Lord Chesterfield, was a great admirer of Slinge- 
landt and followed his advice in everything. So the 
prince was urged by England also to keep still and wait. 
George II., like his father more of a Hanoverian than 
an Englishman, wished for nothing more than to respect 
the " inseparable interests " of England and the republic 
and to live with the latter " in the most perfect union." 

This union was greatly promoted by Slingelandt's en- 
deavours to restore the old agreement between the mari- 
time powers and Austria. His Pensees impartiales of 
1729, a memoir on European politics of the time, aimed 
to improve the relations of the emperor and the maritime 
powers by giving him the desired guarantees of his 
daughter's succession and obtaining in exchange some 
concession to Spain's demands in Italy. It was to the 
interest of the maritime powers to prevent the fall of 
the Hapsburg state, a counterpoise to France in Europe. 
Walpole, the leader of England's policy, soon commis- 
sioned Chesterfield with Slingelandt and the Austrian 
ambassador at The Hague, Zinzendorf, to make the 
draught of a treaty between the maritime powers and 
Austria. This treaty was received with great joy by 
Prince Eugene of Savoy at Vienna, and was concluded 
there March 18, 1731, between England and the emperor. 
In it the maritime powers guaranteed the Pragmatic Sanc- 
tion, by which the emperor, in default of sons, secured 
the succession in his hereditary lands to his oldest 
daughter, Maria Theresa ; on the other hand, the emperor 
allowed the occupation of Tuscany, Parma, and Piacenza 
by Spanish troops, and promised to stop all navigation 
to India from the southern Netherlands and to dissolve 
the Ostend company; in general each guaranteed the 
others' rights and possessions. The new Vienna treaty 

62 History of the Dutch People 

was definitively signed by the States on February 20, 1732, 
to the vexation of France, which saw itself again isolated. 
The renewal of the old alliance was politically of much 
importance. It was not the last important act of the aged 
council pensionary, who guided affairs five years longer and 
sought especially to maintain the neutrality of the repub- 
lic in European questions. In the Polish question, arising 
in 1733 on the death of Augustus of Saxony, king of 
Poland, and soon leading to a war of France, Spain, and 
Sardinia against Austria, he secured at first France's 
recognition of the neutrality of the Austrian Netherlands, 
refused Austria's requests for support, but finally with 
England's help and under a threat of action in favour 
of Austria brought about a truce that became a peace 
in 1735. As long as Slingelandt was living, his personal 
consideration in Europe was great enough to make the 
republic recognised in all events, even in the difficulties 
between Spain and Portugal, where it mediated with 
England. How little prepared it was to assert its rights 
vigorously, appeared most plainly from its weak attitude 
towards the Barbary piratical states, particularly towards 

There was weakness also in internal affairs. The 
Orange party had hoped that the prince's marriage would 
accomplish something in his favour, and on the occasion 
of the marriage (1734) George II. had intimated to 
the States-General that he wished by it to strengthen the 
union with the republic. But the States answered 
coolly that, appreciating the king's confidence in the 
" free republic," they received his daughter willingly in 
their territory. Soon after his marriage the prince went 
to Prince Eugene's camp on the Bhine to take part in 
the campaign as a volunteer, but this military experience 
did not procure his promotion to be a general of infantry. 
In the council pensionary and Fagel he found little sup- 
port: the former gave him only " fine words," complained 

Rule of the Regents from 1 700 to 1 750 63 

the prince, and the other had always " a heavy head." 
He thought of retiring to his German possessions, but 
this seemed wrong in view of the traditions of his family. 
He would not use vigorous measures to compel the re- 
gents to put him at the head, but he quietly waited in 
accordance with the advice of the cautious Fagel. The 
prince himself demanded nothing, but Gelderland repeat- 
edly urged the other provinces to appoint him to the 
offices of his forefathers, remarking upon the fall of the 
finances and credit, of the nation's military and naval 
strength, upon " the declining reputation of this state 
among the neighbouring powers." Holland was not per- 
suaded to change. The venerable council pensionary, 
long tormented by the gout, died on December 1, 1736. 
The country had " lost its head," the only man who could 
carry on affairs amid the growing confusion. His suc- 
cessor in the following spring was the treasurer-general, 
Anthonie van der Heim, able but not a man of force 
and energy, while he was bound down by a " report " 
that commanded him to have a care that the present form 
of government should be preserved in every respect, and 
to communicate to the States whatever came to his ears 
concerning plans against it. The continuance of the form 
of government seemed assured — so long as the state itself 
should be able to exist. 



THE long war at the beginning of the century with 
France and Spain had given a hard blow to Dutch 
commerce, especially to commerce with southern Europe 
and Spanish America, and a bad influence was exerted 
also upon commerce with the northern regions of Europe. 
Dutch commerce was still a carrying trade, selling the 
products of one country at a profit in another country 
and loading the ships with " returns " from the latter. 
Neutrals, Danes, and inhabitants of Bremen and Ham- 
burg, were now getting possession of the carrying trade. 
Not only commerce with Spain and France suffered seri- 
ous losses, but also that with Italy and the Levant had 
to contend with the same difficulties. Privateers from 
Dunkirk captured merchantmen that were not sufficiently 
armed or escorted. The general war in the Baltic lands 
impeded Dutch commerce there extremely. Further came 
the piracies of the Barbary corsairs and of the wild 
filibusters in the Antilles, the scum of all nations. 
Owing to privateering, piracy, and the stricter surveil- 
lance of the Spanish authorities the clandestine trade of 
the republic with the American colonies of Spain went to 
pieces. Even the naval victories off Cadiz and Vigo 
harmed instead of helped the Dutch merchants, because 
the goods captured and burned belonged in great part 
to them. 1 The great companies suffered also under these 
1 See Knuttel, pamphlet No. 16,231 : Korte schets van's Lands 

welvaren, p. 14. 


Commerce and Industry about 1740 65 

conditions, as they found it more difficult to dispose of 
their wares, and dividends and shares felt the effect. The 
transfer of commerce to the neutrals could not be pre- 
vented. These neutrals were the Danes and mainly Ham- 
burg and Bremen. Hamburg rose rapidly, so that after 
Amsterdam it might be called the most important com- 
mercial port of Europe. Once commerce chooses other 
channels, it does not so easily return to the old road. 
The Dutch merchants experienced this after the peace 
of Utrecht. Not only had they to fight Hamburg, to 
contend with the desire of Denmark, Sweden, young 
Russia, and growing Prussia to carry on business for 
themselves, to make head against the commercial com- 
panies springing up all over Europe like mushrooms, but 
France and England rose to an unprecedented commercial 

France, using its good understanding with Spain, 
secured privileges for its merchants in Spain, in Span- 
ish colonies, and in Spanish possessions in Italy. Eng- 
lish commerce developed even more vigorously, and the 
great city on the Thames soon boasted of a population 
twice as large as that of Amsterdam. The Whig govern- 
ment helped the English merchants, its strongest sup- 
porters. The union of England and Scotland in 1706 
brought the latter under the Navigation Act, favourable 
to domestic commerce and industry, but fatal to foreign 
competition, which in general only allowed the Dutch 
to import into England cattle, butter, and cheese. A 
powerful navy, greater than that of any other nation, 
protected English interests over the whole world. From 
the beginning of the eighteenth century dates a general 
uplift in England's economic and commercial life, that 
could only redound to the republic's disadvantage. 
Everywhere the Dutch merchant encountered the Eng- 
lish merchant and saw him slowly but surely obtain the 
upper hand. But Dutch commerce had not entirely dis- 

VOL. V — 5 

66 History of the Dutch People 

appeared in the first years after the peace of Utrecht. 
The republic still ranked with England as a commercial 
power. Every year 130 to 140 ships sailed to Spanish 
ports, 250 to 300 to French ports; the salt trade with 
Portugal employed 300 ships; the East India Company 
sent home annually 25 to 30 richly laden vessels; more 
than 1000 Dutch vessels sailed yearly through the Sound; 
the Dutch flag was shown in every harbour; and for at 
least half a century longer Amsterdam was a world ware- 
house. Complaints, however, were already heard of a 
falling off, and the exhaustion of the republic did not 
permit a revival of the old energy as in England. 

In these circumstances the plan of a new transmarine 
company in Ostend was one more menace to the com- 
merce of the republic, which it must oppose with all 
its might, if it did not wish to lose the last fruit of 
the war, its economic supremacy over the south. During 
the rage for great companies about 1720 some Belgian mer- 
chants at Antwerp planned the foundation of an " Im- 
perial and Royal Company " in Ostend. At the end of 
1722 the new company received its charter from the 
emperor, who was much inclined to promote the economic 
development of his states. The Dutch and English gov- 
ernments protested vehemently, and in opposing the 
Belgians the former denied the right of every nation to 
the " free sea," a principle that De Groot and his friends 
had defended a hundred years earlier. The Belgian mer- 
chants persisted in their commerce; from 1724 to 1728 
their ships appeared in the Indies and won large profits ; 
their wares sold in Europe and caused prices to drop 
in the Amsterdam market, so that the shares of the 
English and Dutch East India Companies fell tempo- 
rarily. The imperial government of Vienna was in a 
difficult position ; its general policy necessitated its being 
on good terms with the maritime powers, and the em- 
peror's wish to secure his hereditary lands to his daughter 

Commerce and Industry about 1740 67 

Maria Theresa made him respect the interests of his old 
allies. Through the mediation of France the maritime 
powers and the emperor agreed to preliminaries at Paris 
(May 31, 1727), by which the Belgian company was sus- 
pended for seven years. By the Vienna treaty of March 
16, 1731, followed by the act of concurrence of February 
20, 1732, it was stipulated that all commerce and naviga- 
tion of the Austrian Netherlands in the East Indies 
should cease, while commerce with the West Indies re- 
mained prohibited by the treaty of Miinster. Thus a 
dangerous rival was driven out of the market, and once 
more the southern Netherlands were economically sub- 
jected to the mercy of the north, which in this respect 
knew no mercy. 

Other rivals could not be removed so easily. On the 
contrary, they began everywhere to crowd out the Dutch 
merchant. About 1740 it was no secret that Dutch com- 
merce had long since passed its highest point. The 
Dutch merchant had fallen asleep upon his accumulated 
riches. He did not travel any more to distant lands or 
send his sons there, but sat in his office and relied on 
his old commercial relations. The sons lavished in 
luxury the money amassed by their fathers, engaged in 
pernicious speculations, and piled failure upon failure, 
so that the old Dutch credit was becoming a myth. The 
Dutch flag no longer waved over the fleetest sailers, the 
most capacious freighters; it was no longer carried by 
the most experienced seamen of the world in command 
of disciplined crews. English engineers and architects 
had to be called to help in the building of Dutch war- 
ships. It is not strange that as early as 1714 remedies 
were considered for improving the condition of Dutch 
commerce. Little came of them all, and, threatened by 
competition from all sides, commerce continued to lan- 
guish. Of great significance was the state of the post- 
office, in which personal interest, favouritism, and family 

68 History of the Dutch People 

government played an important part. 1 Postmasters' 
places were given to children or secretly leased or sold 
to the highest bidder for the benefit of the burgomaster 
or his family, while the appointed postmaster was intent 
only upon drawing as much as possible from the carriage 
of the mails. These were the consequences of the old 
system of intrusting the forwarding of letters to the 
municipal governments. For want of proper superin- 
tendence the secrecy of the mails was imperfectly pre- 
served, the charges on letters became heavier, the 
regularity of the service left much to be desired. Uni- 
versal was the demand for a better postal service, and 
finally salvation was seen only in the centralisation of 
the post-office, either in the hands of the States, or in 
those of the wished-for stadtholder. In 1725 under 
Slingelandt's influence there was an improvement in the 
collection of convoys and licenses, the States-General 
establishing a new list of them, by which they were 
reduced to about half the former amount. But this 
measure helped less than was expected. It was asserted 
that only one-third of the revenue actually reached the 
state treasury. More vigorous expedients were neces- 
sary, and the idea of making all the Dutch ports free 
gained ground. In Amsterdam, " formerly the centre of 
the world's commerce," everybody complained bitterly of 
its decline. A general reformation of the government 
was needed, a new birth of the republic. Who should 
undertake this, if not the prince of Orange? So it came 
about that many in commerce looked towards the " man of 
the future," although the leading commercial circles of 
Amsterdam and elsewhere saw slight hope in the eleva- 
tion of a prince of the old family which, excepting 
Frederick Henry occasionally, had never done much for 
commerce, but seemed rather to have injured it by mili- 
1 Overvoorde, Geschiedenis van het postwezen in Nederland, 
p. 87. 

Commerce and Industry about 1740 69 

tary and political aspirations. Among the prince's 
friends the conviction slowly penetrated that the free 
port system was the only remedy, especially when the 
Austrian Succession War, breaking out in 1740, threat- 
ened anew Dutch commerce with great dangers. 

Naturally the two great companies suffered also. The 
blows, hitting the entire commerce of the republic, the 
causes, resulting in its decline, had a bad effect upon 
their condition. In the East India Company the govern- 
ment by families was no less active than elsewhere, and 
the consequence was not absent: directors and officials 
never enriched themselves more shamelessly at the ex- 
pense of the company than in the first half of the eighteenth 
century. The shareholders at last perceived the dete- 
rioration in the lessening amount of their dividends, which 
in the war reached 25 per cent., in the first years after 
peace 40 per cent, again, but soon fell to 30 and 25 per 
cent, after 1737 to 15 and 12i/> per cent. The " agonising 
state of India," says a document of about 1730, is to be 
ascribed to the conduct of the directors themselves, who 
intrust the government of India " to a lot of lazy know- 
nothings," put down able men of less noble birth, and 
give their friends the most lucrative places in order to 
fill their pockets quickly. The family domination of the 
aristocratic Van Outhoorn, of his son-in-law Van Hoorn, 
director-general, from 1701 governor-general, succeeded 
by his second father-in-law, the director-general Abra- 
ham van Kiebeeck, had a bad reputation, and this dynasty 
of governors-general was too much for the directors, 
who prohibited thenceforth all relationship between the 
occupants of the two high dignities following one an- 
other. Riebeeck's successor, the active and honest Van 
Swoll, tried to improve matters, but neither he nor his 
energetic successor, Hendrik Zwaardecroon (1720-1725), 
succeeded in eradicating corruption, although they re- 
vived the Chinese tea trade and helped the company's 

70 History of the Dutch People 

commerce by promoting on Java the cultivation of coffee 
brought over by Van Hoorn from the coast of Malabar. 1 
Zwaardecroon resigned in discouragement. His insig- 
nificant successor, De Haan, was replaced in 1729 by 
Diederik Durven, who neglected the company's affairs 
for his own interests and was followed by the more re- 
liable Van Cloon. After Van Cloon and his successor, 
Patras, who came to India a poor soldier and died rich, 
the ambitious and arbitrary Adriaan Valckenier appeared 
in 1737 as governor-general. He was to see the danger 
impending over the company from the Chinese, pouring 
into Java by thousands since the commencement of the 
century. His personal enmity towards some members 
of the council of India caused serious troubles. 

With the extension of sugar cultivation on Java from 
about 1700 the number of Chinese there so increased — 
being estimated at about one hundred thousand in and 
around Batavia 2 — that placards were issued against this 
too great immigration. It became necessary to adopt 
measures against the vagabond Chinese sugar coolies in 
the neighbourhood of Batavia, bands of whom assailed 
the outposts and roamed plundering through the high- 
lands. When the Chinese went outside of the company's 
forts or posts, they were obliged to show " letters of 
permission " or be sent back to China. These letters of 
course were speedily made a source of rich revenue to 
officials of the company. The fear of the Chinese flood 
grew so great among the small European population that 
in July, 1740, upon motion of the influential baron Van 
Imhoff, the personal enemy of Valckenier, the council 
of India resolved to arrest all " suspicious wandering " 

1 Pieter van den Broecke first saw in 1616 at Mocha in Arabia 
the " black beans, from which they make black water and drink 
it warm"; in the middle of the century coffee was first intro- 
duced into the republic (De Jonge, viii., p. cxxxiv.). 

2 Van Deventer, Geschiedenis van Java, ii., p. 103. 

Commerce and Industry about 1740 71 

Chinamen in Batavia and the highlands and to " ex- 
amine " them in fetters. The Chinese were exasperated 
by exaggerated reports of extortions, tortures, and plans 
for their destruction. At the end of September some- 
thing leaked out of a proposed Chinese uprising, and 
Valckenier asserted he had received reliable reports con- 
cerning it. The council of India put little faith in 
them. Van Imhoff was commissioned with two other 
members to prevent the rebellion by " gentle means." 
Meanwhile the news of disturbances in the highlands 
became serious, so that Van Imhoff and the others went 
over to more vigorous action, and Batavia and environs 
were hastily placed in a condition to defend themselves. 
It appeared that the Chinese in the vicinity were in 
open revolt, were setting houses and plantations on fire, 
and were moving towards the city. A violent panic arose 
in Batavia, where the European population feared an 
uprising in the city. On October 9th, the governor- 
general put to the council the question, whether it was 
not time " to clear the city of the Chinese " ; the council, 
at the instance of Van Imhoff again, resolved to adopt 
milder measures to hold them in check. But while the 
meeting was in session, the excitement among the Euro- 
pean and native population over the report of a fire broke 
out into a bloody vengeance on the Chinese. Their 
houses were plundered and burned ; they themselves, with 
wives and children, sick and old, were cruelly murdered 
in street and house; the people, including soldiers and 
sailors, were not to be calmed; even the prisons were 
invaded, and the murderous scenes were repeated there, 
so that the streets streamed with blood for a week. The 
number of the killed was estimated at ten thousand. It 
was affirmed that Valckenier himself had given the order 
for the " deplorable massacre," but he always denied it. 
Four days later the council of India resolved by means 
of premiums on severed heads " to animate the native 

72 History of the Dutch People 

to destroy the turbulent Chinese outside of the city." 
Subsequent investigation has thrown no more light on 
the matter, and it is probable that no actual order was 
given, but that the anxiety and avarice of the European 
population, uncontrolled by the government, were the 
causes of the inhuman massacre. Serious dissensions 
followed in the council of India. On December 6th, 
Valckenier, after a violent scene, had the three most 
refractory members, Van Imhoff, De Haze, and Van 
Schinne, arrested, and a month later sent them to 
Europe as military prisoners. Meanwhile disturbances 
continued among the Chinese on Java. The Javanese 
population also began to rebel. It looked as if the 
authority of the company was coming to an end, and 
only with the utmost difficulty was some sort of order 
restored. Before this was effected, the report came from 
patria that Valckenier was recalled by the seventeen and 
replaced by Van Imhoff. Great was the astonishment 
and vexation of the seventeen, when they saw their ap- 
pointee arrive in Europe a prisoner. He was immediately 
requested to accept the post of governor-general, and 
news of this was written to India. Valckenier, on 
his way to Europe, found at the Cape orders to put 
himself under arrest, and was sent back to Batavia to 
be tried. Van Imhoff used his sojourn in the father- 
land to unfold a great scheme of reforms for India. He 
did this in his important Considerations on the present 
state of the Dutch East India Company, presented to 
the seventeen on November 21, 1741. In a series of sit- 
tings in the spring of 1742 they approved generally of 
his plans. A year later (May 28, 1743) the reformer 
arrived in Batavia, being deeply shocked by the decline 
since his departure, but confident of the possibility of a 
restoration. The company's charter in 1700 had been 
prolonged by the States-General for forty years on pay- 
ment of three million guilders, and in December, 1742, 

Commerce and Industry about 1740 73 

it was extended for twelve years more on payment of 
three per cent, of the dividends. A complete reformation 
of the company seemed possible only when the prince 
should take the management into his hands. Thus about 
1740, eyes here were directed more and more towards 
the man who, it was hoped, would bring rescue, the 
representative of the family, which had repeatedly saved 
the republic. 

The same causes made the West India Company suffer. 
Its dividends, from 5 per cent, about 1700, fell about 
1720 to 4 per cent., about 1740 to 2 per cent., in the 
few years when dividends were paid; its shares dropped 
from par before 1723 to a half and below. 1 But this 
lamentable retrocession had less influence upon the gen- 
eral prosperity than was the case with the East India 
Company, because the business of the West India Com- 
pany was far from being so extensive. Reforms ap- 
peared extremely desirable in the West Indies, and here 
also many people put their chief hope for the future in 
the prince. 

About 1740 industry was in anything but a flourishing 
condition. The wholesale industry, developed in the. 
latter part of the seventeenth century, had quickly 
diminished in consequence of the vigorous foreign competi- 
tion. The high wages paid, the heavy taxes on many 
manufactures, the obstacles thrown up by the cities 
against every attempt to transfer industry to the coun- 
try, were the main causes of the difficulty encountered 
by the Dutch manufacturers in their rivalry with foreign 
industry. There was further the constraint of the 
guilds, which impeded seriously the free growth of in- 

1 Netscher, Geschiedenis van Essequebo, Demerary en Ber- 
bice, p. 115, recounts that from 1735 to 1744 no payment took 
place. See Luzac, Holland's rijkdom, ii., p. 135. Generally 
excellent on the West Indies is: Hartsinck, Beschrijving van 
Guiana (Amsterdam, 1770). 

74 History of the Dutch People 

dustry and occasioned abuses by its laxity, connived 
at by municipal governments for the personal profit of 
the regents. One market after another was closed to Dutch 
goods, either by the action of foreign governments, or 
by competition. The cloth mills and the still numer- 
ous small cloth workers had especially to suffer. The 
new calico printing establishments in Hamburg, Bremen, 
Brabant, and Flanders, the sugar refineries in the same 
places inflicted great injury upon the Dutch ones, which 
at the end of the seventeenth century were almost the 
only factories of the kind in the world. The makers of 
hats complained of French, English, and Brabant com- 
petition. The silk industry, formerly so flourishing, now 
declining, made loud complaints. With the coming in 
of gin as a popular beverage at the end of the seventeenth 
century the beer industry suffered very much. About 
1750 there were not more than thirteen breweries in Am- 
sterdam. Whenever remedies were recommended, they 
were chiefly protective duties, but naturally these were 
not agreeable to languishing commerce, which was calling 
for free trade, lower taxes, and free ports. 

The fishery at this time was likewise in a state of 
decline. The whale fishery was continued during the 
war of the Spanish Succession, but later it was afflicted 
with the general troubles. The extension of the Greenland 
fishery to Davis Strait about 1720 afforded some compen- 
sation for the increasing French, English, Hamburg, and 
Danish competition. The number of ships sailing to Green- 
land, from 180 about 1717, dropped to below 100 around 
1740, soon to less than 50, while the navigation to Davis 
Strait employed over 100 ships. The growing trade with 
the Eskimo settlements in Greenland led in 1738 to diffi- 
culties with Danes, who claimed a monopoly of this 
trade and even began to seize the Dutch vessels. The 
old contest over the dominium maris seemed about to 
be revived against Denmark in the polar seas, and the 

Commerce and Industry about 1740 75 

old arguments were again employed. The same Nether- 
landers, whose merchants in opposition to Flemish rivals 
a short time before had voiced English ideas against 
the theory of the free sea, now saw their fishermen 
against the Danes appeal to the rights of freedom of 
motion in all seas and along all coasts, as they had done 
in the good days of De Groot and Graswinckel. The 
same opinions were championed or disputed, as hap- 
pened to be convenient. In 1741 there was almost war 
with Denmark, but it was averted by yielding on the 
Dutch side, so that the trade in these regions was given 
up in return for a secret allowance of the fishery. The 
Iceland fishery of cod, haddock, turbot, plaice, etc., which 
was carried on by more than one hundred hookers about 
1740, experienced prosperous days, though it demanded 
a lightening of the burdens imposed upon it. The herring 
fishery had more serious troubles, impaired as it was 
by high convoy taxes and the repeated attacks of French 
privateers during the succession war, while the coast 
fishery began to inflict injury upon the " great fishery " 
on the Scotch and English coast. The strength of the 
herring fleet in 1736 was estimated at two hundred and 
nineteen busses. In a century the business must have 
fallen off to about one-quarter or one-fifth of its former 

The increase of the poverty of the " sober tradesman " 
is remarked on all sides about 1740. A lack of progress 
is shown by the fact that in Amsterdam almost no house 
was to be had about 1730, while nearly nine hundred 
houses stood vacant in 1743. The terrible inundation of 
1717, the repeated plagues among the cattle about 1725, 
the severe cold of the winter of 1740, famine, dearness 
of provisions, misery among the working population, the 
breaking of the dikes in December, 1740, and the spring 
of 1741, had many sad consequences, so that the hands 
of charity were fall in helping the poor of the country 

76 History of the Dutch People 

and the cities. Wherever the eye was turned the picture 
presented by Dutch commerce and industry about 1740 
was one of decline and fall, another proof of the repub- 
lic's sad condition. Is it strange that among merchants 
and manufacturers a growing feeling of discontent was 
directed against the existing government, and that in 
those circles also the call was ever louder for reform, 
which could only be expected from the prince? Serious 
study had been devoted by the prince to the interests 
of commerce and industry ; he had considered favourably 
the question of free ports; he was ready to support in- 
dustry by protective measures; with the reformers in 
the companies he had long stood in close personal rela- 
tion. The only question was, under what circumstances 
he would be prepared to extend a hand to those desiring 
to place him in the breach. Of himself he would not 
come to that, but extraordinary circumstances might in- 
duce him to hasten to the help of the fatherland. 




MATERIAL decline is usually coupled with intellec- 
tual decline, and is often a sequel of it. The rule 
holds good for this period of the republic's history. The 
fundamental cause of the material and political decay 
was the general laxness of mind then assailing the Dutch 
people. At the end of the preceding century a -slacken- 
ing of energy made its paralysing influence felt upon 
almost every part of popular life; in dress, manners and 
customs, literature and art the extent of this influence 
could be measured. It was not the least noticeable in 
religious and ecclesiastical matters, so important in the 
history of the Dutch population, devoted to religion and 
church. In a time of universal weakness dogmatic dif- 
ferences give place to a prevailing moderation. But the 
moderation of such men as Coornhert, De Groot, Visscher, 
Spieghel, Hooft, De Witt, Heydanus, and Spinoza, spring- 
ing from independent consideration, is of a better nature 
than the weak moderation, proceeding from unsettled 
opinion, dread of dissension, longing for peace and rest, 
indifference to mooted questions, which characterised the 
Netherlands at the commencement of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. The zeal of an exiled French preacher, such as 
Jurieu of Rotterdam and Joncourt of The Hague, might 
kindle for a moment the old hatred between Voetians 
and Cocceians; Leenhof's book, Hemel op Aarde (1703), 
might raise a storm against Spinozism and Cartesianism ; 


78 History of the Dutch People 

Fruytiers' orthodox work, Zions worstelingen (1715), 
could bring down reproaches on him ; the pen war against 
the Cocceian Professor Lampe of Utrecht might become 
violent about 1725; but among cultured Dutchmen the 
liberal ideas became more prevalent of the learned 
refugee Pierre Bayle, compiler of the still useful Diction- 
naire historique et critique, the forerunner of the French 
Encyclopedic. The peaceful words of the old Voetian 
Mommers, whose Eubulus of goede raad (1738) con- 
tributed much to end the fraternal strife of a century 
in the reformed church, emphasised more the points of 
agreement than of difference ; it was a funeral sermon not 
only on Cocceianism but also on his own Voetianism. 
The old war of dogmas gave way to a striving for tolera- 
tion. The fiery Hattemists, mingling their doctrines with 
the ideas of Spinoza, found some adherents, but fell 
back before ecclesiastical hostility. The Herrnhuters, 
protected by Princess Maria Louisa and led by their 
founder, the Austrian Count Zinzendorf, were limited to 
a small circle, settled mainly at Zeist. With the increas- 
ing moderation the older sects ran into the general 
stream, which was gently led by intelligent, tolerant, 
worthy, but prolix middlemen like Professor Herman 
Venema of Franeker, the type of the theologian of those 
days, the founder of the scientific grammatical and his- 
torical exegesis as opposed to the old scholastic concep- 
tion of study. Beside the study of the Hebrew and 
Greek languages for a better understanding of the Scrip- 
tures that of philosophy came up again. Some preachers 
ventured to take notice of the new, " subtle," philosoph- 
ical principles and to apply them to theological questions, 
to the " mysteries of belief." 

People began everywhere to perceive the danger of a 
sharp conflict over fine dogmatic differences. The influ- 
ential Mennonite Johannes Stinstra x of Harlingen stood 

1 Sepp, Johannes Stinstra en zijn tijd, 2 vols. (Amsterdam, 

Intellectual Life from 1700 to 1750 79 

in this matter with Venema. In necessariis unitas, in 
non necessariis libertas, in omnibus prudent ia et charitas, 
the motto of moderation, cherished by Venema and his 
friends, became more and more the watchword among 
all Protestants. No more efforts were made to persuade 
the regents to put down " false doctrine," and only 
dreamers hoped to maintain the old Dort principles, 
which were given up for more tolerant ideas than the 
fathers had ever known. Such was the case among the 
cultivated residents of the cities, but the old differences 
were long talked of among the less educated classes in 
the country, and it was nothing unusual in the cabin 
of a canal-boat to hear Cocceian and Voetian peasants 
argue with one another or to hear tradesmen quote texts 
in support of the principles of Dordrecht or Rome, of 
Voetius or Cocceius. The placards against the Roman 
Catholics were no longer enforced. Men like Heinsius 
and Slingelandt did not think of endangering the alliance 
with the very Catholic Austria or the good understand- 
ing with France by opposing the Catholic religion. The 
old placards remained in existence, as rich sources of 
revenue to local authorities in city and country, but 
nowhere was it desired to execute them literally. 1 About 
St. John's day, 1734, a panic arose in the republic from 
the rumour that, in accordance with an ancient prediction, 
upon that day a general attack of the Catholics was to 
bring the whole country into their hands. People feared 
a new St. Bartholomew's night. It was asserted that 
the Orange party had spread the rumours in order to 
make use of the expected confusion for the elevation of 
the prince. The panic showed plainly that the Catholics 
were not trusted, and their attachment to the institutions 
of the fatherland was doubted. Reason for uneasiness 
among the adherents of the prevailing church was given 

1865-66), the best work on the ecclesiastical ideas of these days. 
1 See Knuttel, De toestand der Nederl. Katholieken, ii., p. 67. 

80 History of the Dutch People 

by the considerable number of Catholics in the country, 
where they formed one-third of the total population 
estimated at three millions of inhabitants, without com- 
plete liberty of worship, without share in the government. 
With interest the government took note of the violent 
dissensions in the Roman Catholic church at this time. 
The bitter strife resulted in a separation, in which the 
Old Catholics, persistently entitled Jansenists by the 
opposing party, could count upon the protection or favour 
of the government, dreading the interference of a foreign 
power, like the Roman curia, in the spiritual affairs of 
a large part of the population. The great majority of 
the Catholics, remaining faithful to the curia, was more 
than ever subject to the influence of the papal authority. 
Extensive cultivation of science, literature, and art 
seems to be favoured by periods of rest, moderation, and 
toleration, by periods also of prosperity which, despite 
the decline of commerce and industry, long left its mark 
upon the social life of the Netherlands, thanks to good 
years earlier and to the accumulated wealth of the 
fathers. No such geniuses appear as Christiaan Huygens 
and Nicolaas Heinsius in science, as Vondel and Hooft 
in literature, as Rembrandt and Verhulst in art. No 
great discoveries or inventions are made; no striking 
poems or plays see the light; no splendid works of art 
are produced; but a high level of general development 
has been reached and maintained. Many scientists are 
enabled to devote themselves calmly to the careful in- 
vestigation of what in the preceding century had been 
hinted at by genius or guessed by intuition. Willem 
Jacob van 's Gravesande, 1 ingenious student of the mathe- 
matical and natural sciences, enhances the fame of Leyden 
University by building up and introducing Newton's 
principles. Petrus van Musschenbroek, professor at 

1 Concerning these learned men see especially the travels of 
Uffenbach and Haller. 

Intellectual Life from 1700 to 1750 81 

Utrecht and later at Leyden, combines chemistry and 
physics, and lays the foundations for the knowledge of 
magnetic and meteorological phenomena, for the study of 
electricity and the graphic presentation of observations. 
Herman Boerhaave, botanist and chemist, gives new life 
to these studies at Leyden and, " a new Hippocrates," he 
increased by his uncommon skill as a physician the re- 
nown of this university, which attracted many foreigners 
in his day (1709-1730). The Amsterdam anatomist 
Ruysch finds a worthy successor in Albinus, the Leyden 
professor. Leeuwenhoeck, who knew no foreign lan- 
guages but was the great naturalist of his time, lives 
long enough (until 1723) to hand the torch of micro- 
scopical science to the gifted Petrus Lyonnet. The cele- 
brated jurists, Schultingh, Vitriarius, Noodt, and 
Westenberg at Leyden University, the president of the 
court at The Hague Cornells van Bijnkershoek, hold 
aloft, about 1725, the reputation of Dutch jurists. 
Abraham Schultens, the first of a dynasty of scholars, 
carries to an unprecedented height the study of Oriental 
languages. Sigbertus Haverkamp, Tiberius Hemsterhuis, 
and Frans van Oudendorp continue the classical studies 
prosecuted before them by Johannes Perizonius and 
Petrus Burman. German scholars, like the theologian 
Lampe at Utrecht, the jurist Heineccius at Franeker, the 
anatomist Rau at Amsterdam, such French exiles as 
Basnage, Bayle, Jurieu, Leclerc, Barbeyras, and others 
raise the fame of science in the republic, which outside 
the circle of professors could show men like Gerard van 
Swieten, Boerhaave's distinguished pupil. He was long 
a physician and teacher at Leyden, where he could not 
become a professor on account of his Catholic faith, and 
was called to Vienna in 1745 by Maria Theresa. About 
1725 Haller met at Amsterdam Fahrenheit, the Dantzig 
mechanic, who was making his thermometers and barom- 
eters. In Groningen lived the antiquarian burgomaster 

VOL. V — 6 

82 History of the Dutch People 

Menso Alting, in Deventer the noted literary man 
Gijsbert Cuperus, in Amsterdam the philologist and 
archaeologist Lambert ten Kate, forerunner of the 
Grimms. Thus the republic was still an important seat 
of learning, where more famous scholars were to be 
found than anywhere else in Europe. Leyden, swarming 
with bookshops and printers, with makers of instruments 
and mechanicians, was the centre of scientific develop- 
ment, whither hundreds of foreigners betook themselves 
to study law, literature, medicine, and natural history. 
Among the German visiting students two are especially 
to be mentioned: the scientific traveller and bibliomaniac 
von Uffenbach and the Swiss physiologist Albrecht von 
Haller. The records of their travels are invaluable 
sources for the knowledge of science and art in Holland. 
The scientific development of the republic bears more 
of an encyclopedic character than that of deep penetra- 
tion into the secrets of nature. Magnificent collections 
of animals and plants, aquariums and herbariums, collec- 
tions of rare shells, butterflies, insects, coins, engraved 
gems, medals, antiquities, manuscripts, books, auto- 
graphs form the pride of the learned. Works sumptuous 
in printing and illustration, complete to the smallest de- 
tails, awaken the admiration of foreign countries and 
still testify to the ability of the Dutch. The tendency 
of the Dutch scholars of the time was to accumulate, 
patiently and often without much judgment, everything 
that might be of use to science. This was notable in 
the department of historical research and writing. The 
Delft numismatist, Gerard van Loon, describes in an 
endless series the thousands of Dutch historical medals 
with inimitable accuracy, gives an excellent manual of 
numismatics, gathers materials on kirmesses and on the 
ancient history of Holland. First of all is the simple 
Amsterdam clerk Jan Wagenaar, the author of the Vader- 
landschc Historie in twenty-one volumes, a compilation 

Intellectual Life from 1700 to 1750 83 

of everything concerning the history of the fatherland 
to be learned from books and archives, a gigantic work 
that is still of value. Nowhere was there a greater 
interest in scientific matters than in the republic; every 
wealthy man possessed a library or collection; and for 
every publication there were interested buyers. Volu- 
minous works were not only written and bought, but also 
zealously read. Nowhere appeared so many criticisms of 
what was brought to light in the learned world. Pierre 
Bayle, the encyclopedic genius settling in 1G81 at Rotter- 
dam, founded there the Nouvelles do la repablique des 
lettres, soon followed by the Bibliotheque universelle of 
the Amsterdam refugee Jean Leclerc, which lived on until 
1727 as the great European critical journal in literary 
affairs. Literature at this time did not reach a great 
height. 1 The prolix dramatist Alewijn could boast of the 
success of his comedies ; he was surpassed by Pieter Lang- 
endijk, a master in the very popular farces. The verses 
of the " feminine Vondel," Elisabeth Hoofman, of her 
older contemporary Catharina Lescailje, of Lucas 
Schermer, pompous singer of the " bravery of the allies " 
in the war of the Spanish Succession, of the affected 
poet of rural life Huibert Poot, of the learned Balthasar 
Huydecoper are but a weak afterglow of the brilliant 
light shed by Vondel and his contemporaries. Not to 
be compared with the men of the preceding period are 
the lauded poet Jacob Zeeus, and Lucas Rotgans, who 
honoured William the. Third in a long allegorical epic 
poem and stood far below Brederoo in his flat Boereker- 
mis. Inferior also are Arnold Hoogvliet, who composed 
the poem Abraham de aartsvader in twelve pious but 
wearisome " books," his numerous imitators, and the 
critic of the period — Sybrand Feitama. They were fol- 
lowed by a long series of rhymesters, who took for their 
motto— ■" sweat buys glory " or " art is obtained by work." 
1 See Jonckbloet, Gesch. der Nederl. Letterkunde, vol. v. 

84 History of the Dutch People 

The Rotterdam official Dirk Smits, the Leyden " phenix " 
Jan de Kruyff, the Amsterdam " hero of art " Lucas 
Pater, the champion of " clearness and purity of lan- 
guage " Bernardus Bosch, the " glory of his race " Frans 
de Haes, the worthy Lucas Trip of Groningen — they are 
all more devoted to the form than to the substance of 
poetry. In the circles of the regents, who acted as 
Maecenases to the indigent poetical band, as well as 
among the opulent citizens the help of the poets was 
called in upon every occasion. Many " bread poets " 
were to be found, who made verses by the yard and sold 
them in their shops like " cakes at the bakery." Their 
" weaving of rhymes " flourished as the newest branch 
of trade and industry. The " incomparable " Jan van 
Gijzen of Amsterdam and the " matchless " Pieter van 
Wijnbeek of Leyden were the classical types. 

" Alas ! so is poetry true 
Scourged, pinched black and blue," 

says the poet Zeeus, speaking of the art " seized by the 
hair at weddings or anniversaries." What was an excep- 
tion in the seventeenth century now became the rule, 
and verses streamed over the republic, verses often ir- 
reproachable in rhyme and measure but empty of contents 
and lacking in poetry and taste. At the end of this 
period a reaction began and was represented by the 
Frisian nobleman, Willem van Haren, who surpassed 
others in real poetical feeling more in his lyrics than 
in his epic poem — De gevallen van Friso (1741). He 
and his younger brother Onno Zwier at the stadtholder's 
court turned attention from the classic French to the 
literature of the fatherland. But the court was only 
slightly touched by this reaction. William IV. himself, 
brought up according to the ideas of the French and 
English aristocracy of the eighteenth century, had little 
sympathy for native poetical productions. It was much 

Intellectual Life from 1700 to 1750 85 

that he wrote good Dutch in his numberless letters. 
Thus he set an excellent example to the many of high 
rank, who corrupted the purity of their language by the 
excessive use of foreign words. The old evil, that is noted 
in the Middle Ages under the influence of the French 
romantic literature, that is promoted by the princely 
courts in the Hainaut and Burgundian time, that in the 
seventeenth century invades further with the numerous 
French officers and the prevalence of French manners 
and of admiration for the French language and literature, 
had increased no less seriously with the coming of the 
refugees. One was not considered educated, if he could 
not express himself easily in French. French schools, 
springing up like mushrooms wherever poor refugees 
settled, French tutors and valets, barbers and tailors, 
maids and dressmakers helped to bring the Dutch lan- 
guage into contempt. From the society of The Hague 
the Frenchifying reached the commercial world of 
Amsterdam, from there the families of the regents and 
of the citizens, who imitated the example of the aris- 
tocrats. Fortunately about 1730 a vigorous reaction 
against this degeneration of the language went out from 
the literary men, which brought the evil to a stand, 
though it could not be entirely removed. 

In art and music this period was not of great impor- 
tance. Originality of invention and execution is lost. 
It is the golden time of the academical books of instruction 
of Hoogstraten and Lairesse, the time when Houbraken 
compiles his biographical work the Oroote Schotiburgh 
(1718), 1 the flourishing period of art erudition and strict 
schools of art, of technical perfection and artistic pov- 
erty. The honoured master of the period was the aged 
Lairesse; though blind during twenty years, he " put the 

1 See Hofstede de Groot, Quellenstudien zur hollandischen 
Kunstgeschichte (Haag, 1893) ; De la Barre de Beaumarchais, 
Le Hollandois (Frankf., 1738), p. 177. 

86 History of the Dutch People 

palette into the hands " of many young painters at Am- 
sterdam until his death in 1711; his Groot Schilder'boek 
and his Grondlegginge der TeekenJconst went through 
repeated editions; his academic conception of art ruled 
over almost the entire eighteenth century. His pupil 
Houbraken exercised influence by the art theories that 
he wove into his biographies of Dutch painters. Gerard 
Hoet of Utrecht wrote a popular Ontsloten deure der 
Tcckenkonst. Arnold Boonen (died 1729), pupil of God- 
fried Schalcken, himself the master of Quinkkart, Troost, 
and Philip van Dijk, is the last of the painters of regent 
pieces, and Peter the Great, the first king of Prussia, and 
Marlborough sat to him. He and his contemporary, 
Adriaan van der Werff (died 1722), were the most 
popular painters of their day and acquired wealth by 
their never-resting brushes. Jan van Huchtenburgh (died 
1733) painted cavalry combats for Prince Eugene and 
other noblemen. Willem van Mieris (died 1747) and his 
son Frans, the younger, continued the traditions of the 
Leyden school of fine painting and equalled Van der Werff 
in porcelainlike colouring. Jan van Huysum (died 1749) 
painted flowers in an elegant manner, and Rachel Ruysch 
worked no less skilfully. Miniature painting on glass 
and porcelain was much in vogue even among painters 
of repute. But all these young painters belong to the 
race of the decadents, worshipping form instead of in- 
spiration ; they are talented but not masters of art. 
There had never been more students of art than in this 
period. It became the fashion for any one aspiring to 
culture to study the technic of poetry or of one or more 
of the fine arts. The result was a widely diffused knowl- 
edge, a certain interest in art and science. Small talents 
were everywhere displayed in small fields of activity. 
Amateur theatricals and literary and art societies flour- 
ished in all the cities; the chambers of rhetoricians in 
the villages boasted of their prize contests ; houses over- 

Intellectual Life from 1700 to 1750 87 

flowed with the art products of the inmates or their 
friends. Every mansion of any importance had its 
library or art collection. These collections often changed 
owners by sale or inheritance; the Leyden book auctions 
and the Amsterdam sales of antiquities were known over 
all Europe. It was no great secret that fraud had crept 
into these affairs. Art dealers and brokers stood in bad 
repute. Fine frames served to pass off copies for origi- 
nals ; marks and names of artists were shamelessly forged, 
so that an ordinary work might be sold for a master- 
piece. Many a noted collection proved finally to be of 
little artistic value, and the country acquired a bad name 
as a market for paintings and antiquities. The presence 
of books and works of art in the houses of regents, mer- 
chants, and men of property could not fail to exercise a 
civilising influence. Though often superficial, this cul- 
ture was quite general among the citizen class. But it 
did not descend to the lower ranks. Small citizens and 
poor people had little or no share in it. Badly educated, 
scarcely knowing how to read and write, in their work 
adhering to old fashions, without desire for improvement 
or development, they grew up in ignorance, despised and 
rejected by the well to do, at most treated and viewed 
with a certain compassion, but not admitted to com- 
munity in the higher things of life. In the church alone, 
participating in the intellectual life of the nation, show- 
ing interest only in ecclesiastical matters, the lowest class 
of the people was still separated from the rich by a cleft 
that was becoming wider rather than smaller in the 
eighteenth century. The founding of schools for the poor 
about 1730 1 showed that there was some thought of 
making them share in the advantages of development. 
The time was still far away, when there was to be 
vigorous activity in this direction. 
1 Van Effen, Holl. Spectator, vii., p. 135. 



THE republic of the United Netherlands was at this 
time more than ever an aristocratically governed 
state, in which two classes were foremost, the patrician 
regents and the prosperous citizens. There was scarcely 
any consideration more of the nobles as a separate rank. 
What remained of the old nobility began to assume the 
character of a country nobility, of limited means, rude in 
manners, old-fashioned in dress and opinions, received 
with distinction only at the stadtholder's court, feeling 
at home only there, and appointed there to the old court 
offices — an honourable survival of vanished greatness. 
Of the poor tradesman also it may be said that he was 
of slight importance, in the life of the republic. The 
" fellow " had simply to obey and to take to heart the 
fatherly admonitions of the ruling patrician. So unre- 
garded was he in the sources that it would be difficult 
to sketch his daily life, bound down to the regulations 
of the guilds, with no change but his gin and his pipe 
of tobacco smoked over the lower door, ending his drudg- 
ery in the poor house or as an object of church charity. 
More fortunate might be esteemed the " peaceful " coun- 
tryman, sung by the poets, " who would not have given 
up his happy lot, however obscure, for a king's crown." 
With the absence of all rumour of war the security of 
the country was not disturbed ; floods and cattle plagues 
might temporarily darken the prospects; extortions of 


Regents and Citizens about 1740 89 

bailiffs and sheriffs might make life hard; seigneurial 
taxes and tithes might now and then recall the depen- 
dence upon the powerful lord of the land, in general the 
fate of the " milkman " and the " turf cutter " was not 
to be pitied. The poetically sentimental praise of the 
" Batavian Arcadia " exaggerated the idyl of rustic life 
in accordance with the French literary fashion; the pos- 
sibility of doing this proves that the reality was not in 
too sharp contradiction to such presentations. Experi- 
ence of life made good to the countryman what he lacked 
in mental development owing to defective education. 
Even the rudeness of the peasant kirmess in these days 
was somewhat less than the paintings of Brouwer and 
Ostade had depicted, perhaps in consequence of the pres- 
ence in the country of many city people in numerous 
resorts and villas. Another type of the seventeenth- 
century Netherlander, the seaman, was becoming lost 
with the decay of navigation. Nobody thought now of 
portraying the Hollander as the rough, round, horny- 
handed sea dog, but rather as the prosperous " seller of 
cheeses," with a Gouda pipe in his mouth and hands in 
his pockets, calmly calculating or enjoying his profits. 
The times were past, when every citizen family had at 
least one member roaming the sea, and naturally this 
change had a great influence on the national charac- 
teristics. The Hollander was still a shrewd merchant, a 
slow thinker, a peaceful citizen, but the virtue of quiet 
self-restraint, simplicity of life and language, and vigor- 
ous energy were visibly declining to the detriment of 
land and people. 

Far above tradesman, peasant, and seaman was raised 
the proud regent of the eighteenth century, now regarding 
himself as the equal of those Venetian and Florentine 
noblemen of the later Middle Ages, whose splendour had 
dazzled the world. He considered himself placed by 
God's grace in the legitimate possession of the supreme 

90 History of the Dutch People 

power in the republic. There was to be no interference 
of the prince of Orange, that " ambitious official," no 
participation in the government of the citizen, whom 
" divine and human law " had put under his authority. 
To God, to his conscience, to his own class alone was 
the regent responsible for his acts, and this haughty 
feeling was manifested in his outward appearance. His 
dress, in which the sober black gowns edged with fur 
of earlier days had given place to coloured coats, velvet 
breeches, lace ruffs, and sword at side ; his proud bearing 
with head thrown back to look down upon the citizen; 
his newly painted or embroidered coat of arms to dis- 
tinguish his family above others ; his genealogy carefully 
compiled by experts and eradicating all traces of vulgar 
origin; his measured way of speaking rendered more 
genteel by the excessive use of French words — all this 
elevated him high above the common multitude. His 
house was a palace recognisable from without by its 
freestone or marble gables and steps, its windows and 
doors in the best French style of Louis XIV. and 
Louis XV., no longer having the stiff old Dutch gables 
with steps. Within the magnificence had become no less. 
The rooms were filled with costly inlaid tables and cabi- 
nets, with elegant chairs, with Japanese and Chinese 
pottery, with treasures of Venetian glass, with the fashion- 
able pastel pictures and fine miniatures, with painted 
or stuccoed ceilings representing allegorical subjects ap- 
propriate to the use of the apartment, with rich hang- 
ings on the walls, with expensive Persian or Turkish 
carpets on the floors, with precious possessions in silver 
and porcelain transmitted from generation to generation 
and treasured with care and love. Such was the patri- 
cian house of the eighteenth century. Its grandeur was 
completed by a garden carefully arranged according to 
Le Xdtre's directions with fish ponds and parterres and 
much sunlight, not intercepted by the shade of trees, 

Regents and Citizens about 1740 91 

with fantastically shorn hedges and thickets, with 
gigantic vases and artful fountains, with grottoes and 
mosaics, coloured by the bright bloom of the fashionable 
hyacinth, the tulip and narcissus, and roses and lilies 
cultivated in all sorts of singular forms. Furthermore 
there was the country seat on the Amstel, Vecht, or some 
smaller canal, the Dutch Tempe of those days, described by 
Van Lennep in his Ferdinand Huyck. The Vecht district 
was full of sumptuous villas with monumental gates, with 
iron fences artistically forged, with broad lanes of 
beeches, elms, or lindens, adorned with long rows of 
orange trees, with freestone steps before the princely 
mansion, with extensive parks containing shaded alleys 
and bowers penetrated by no ray of the sun, with 
arbours of fragrant honeysuckle, with trees cut in curi- 
ous shapes, theatres of living verdure, artful grottoes, 
mosaics of shells and stones, endless labyrinths, mys- 
terious waterworks, hotbeds of fine fruits and flowers, gilt 
and marble garden statues, wonderful effects of light and 
colour, and grand distant views. Many a smaller city 
saw some country places of this kind not too far from 
its gates. 

Life was simpler in the smaller country dwellings to 
be found in the vicinity of every city of importance. A 
few sleeping rooms with beds and chairs, tables and 
mirrors of slight value, the walls covered with calico or 
paper, a larger dining-room, a small kitchen, and a deep 
cellar — that was the whole house. A plain flower garden, 
orchards, and kitchen gardens, a wide prospect, canals 
abounding in fish, chickens, and pigeons to the heart's 
content, finished the rustic resort of the common citizen. 
More modest purses had to be content with the ever in- 
creasing tea houses and gardens, where on summer even- 
ings the busy city man smoked his pipe peacefully in the 
midst of his family and amused himself by looking at 
the passing pedestrians, post coaches, or canal boats. 

92 History of the Dutch People 

Tranquil rest, the rest of the independent gentleman, the 
merchant, the manufacturer, living upon the interest of 
the Dutch municipal loans and government obligations 
— that is the general character of Holland's city society 
in these days. The whole life indicates a high degree 
of prosperity and speaks of satisfaction with what has 
been attained, of peaceful pleasures, of a desire to keep 
one's possessions without any great inclination to exert 
one's self further. It is a quiet life on all sides, easily 
continued in such a country as the republic " crammed 
with treasures," where the ownership of sixty to seventy 
thousand guilders was estimated as a " moderate capital." 
The daily life in the city presents in general the same 
picture as that in the country. Here also the impression 
is given of prevailing luxury and peaceful content in 
contrast with the simple worth and energetic activity 
of the fathers. The old Dutch character gave place 
slowly to the weak feeling of a citizen of the world, 
borrowing manners and customs from French, English, 
and less from the still backward German neighbours. 
The close political relation with England in William III.'s 
time had brought English clothes, food, drink, furniture, 
dances into vogue, but the French fashion, diffused every- 
where by the numerous French refugees, had kept the 
upper hand. The relations between man and woman, 
both in and out of marriage, had experienced the con- 
sequences. What in the seventeenth century had be- 
longed to the exceptions, became more and more 
customary in this "enlightened century"; gallantry in 
the bad sense of that time did not remain confined to 
some high circles, but reached into the families of the 
common citizens; adultery and unlawful attachments 
were quite frequent. The tone in the assemblies was 
often anything but edifying, and the societe galante 
counted admirers and imitators among young and old 
in this century. From The Hague and Amsterdam the 

Regents and Citizens about 1740 93 

assemblies found their way to the smaller cities of Hol- 
land and then to the other provinces. They were held 
in the afternoon from October to May and brought to- 
gether many young gentlemen and coquettish ladies. 
Showy pedants, dressed in knee-breeches with white 
stockings, coats with high waists and short skirts, vests 
embroidered in gold and silver, with lace ruffs on the 
sleeves and gold buttons, diamonds in the cravats, with 
pomaded and powdered hair and irreproachable wig and 
queue, the face plastered with patches, costly rings on 
the fingers, beautifully engraved gold knobs on the canes 
which they foppishly twirled in delicately gloved hands, 
with silver buckles on the shoes, muffs on the hands, and 
lace handkerchiefs, with ridiculously small hats folded 
under the arm and a little sword at the side, chattered 
airily there and were proud of their finely painted com- 
plexion and of their bows and grimaces practised before 
the mirror. Not otherwise did the ladies in their gigantic 
hooped skirts, farthingales, and panniers, painted also 
red and white, stuck with patches " like currant cake," 
as Rotgans says, with lace, gold, silver, and diamonds 
on breast, fingers, and ears, with towering coiffures on 
powdered heads, in dresses cut uncommonly low, jab- 
bering in a mixed French and Dutch about the latest 
horse-races, about the French novels just published, whose 
dubious character did not prevent their perusal, about 
scandalous and other news of the day, about noted actors 
and actresses. After this fashionable conversation, full 
of exaggerated compliments to the people of superior 
rank, with tea and coffee for refreshments, followed card- 
games, omber, quadrille, later whist, with all their temp- 
tation to gambling, not a little animated by excessive 
indulgence in wine, until the party broke up about the 
time of the evening meal. At the end of the winter 
the company usually had a fine banquet with a ball or a 
picnic, each person contributing to what was needed. 

94 History of the Dutch People 

The watchman did not end the festivities with his warn- 
ing that the clock had struck " ten " and everybody 
must look after his " fire and candle." A merry night 
was often the conclusion of the meeting. Then the 
ladies and gentlemen finally went home, preceded by a 
servant with a lantern to pick out the best way along 
the dark streets. Not without danger was this darkness 
over the badly lighted canals and shaky bridges in cities 
and villages, especially after such parties. Many a life 
was lost by a false step. Mention is sometimes made 
of criminal attacks that claimed victims, and the case is 
remembered of the young patrician of Hoorn, who went 
to Edam to visit his beloved and, owing to the inten- 
tional misplacement of a lantern, fell into the water 
and was drowned. 1 

The education of the young sons of the regents was 
patterned entirely after the French model. French 
schools, established by poor refugees in great number, 
came at once into favour. French governesses and the 
French tutor, the mossieu, became the teachers of aris- 
tocratic youth. What had begun in the seventeenth cen- 
tury was now rapidly developed. The speaking, reading, 
and writing of Dutch dropped out of use more and 
more in the circles of the regents, and although they could 
do little better than murder the French language, it was 
considered rude and uncultivated to employ in common 
intercourse the language of maids and servants. A jour- 
ney to Paris was the last finish of a young man's edu- 
cation. Though the young woman was usually deprived 
of this advantage, she was accustomed to the manners 
of French society. She learned to stammer out French, 
to rattle off exaggerated French compliments, to scribble 
French letters, in any case to mix her Dutch with French 
words and sentences. This Gallicising assailed the na- 
tional character aud threatened it with ruin from above 

1 Fruin, Verspreide Geschriften, vii., p. 10. 

Regents and Citizens about 1740 95 

downwards. The numerous servants carried some of the 
habits of the upper classes into the lower ones; the uni- 
versal wish to ape one's betters worked in the same 
direction. Fortunately the example of the higher classes 
was followed only with Dutch slowness. The healthy 
understanding, the practical and serious conception of 
life, the rather rough but in general unspoiled tone of 
social intercourse long continued to characterise the 
ordinary Dutch citizen. Moderation in eating and drink- 
ing was found oftener in these circles than among the 
more aristocratic people, whose doughty feats at table 
over the bottle did not fall behind those of their fore- 
fathers. The table was overloaded also at simple birth- 
day celebrations. There meats and pasties followed one 
another in an endless series, and no less plentiful were 
vegetables and fruits, among which the potato appeared 
in the middle of the century, 1 then healths were drunk in 
prose or poetry. Grace before and thanks after the meal 
did not prevent excessive indulgence, an extra glass pre- 
ceding the separation of the men and women, the former 
taking a little air and returning to more wine and beer 
and a long pipe, the latter playing cards and drinking 
tea. At the evening meal the glass went round merrily 
again, the conversation grew more lively and ended in 
a kissing party, varied by ditties from the duodecimo 
song-book that everybody had in his pocket, putting 
happy and unhappy love to old and new melodies. No 
less extravagant were often the christening banquets and 
even the funeral feasts, whose excessive luxury awakened 
remonstrance. In the country also abundant repasts 
were prepared in the house of the dead, so that the 
mournful ceremony ended in mad merriment and sport. 

1 Vegelin van Claerbergen planted it in 1736 at his Frisian 
country place, whence it was brought to the garden of Princess 
Maria Louisa, who set the vegetable on December 13, 1742, as 
a great rarity, before her son, the prince, and his wife. 

96 History of the Dutch People 

Noise and tumult made all solemnity disappear, and the 
guests, disputing and reeling, left the house late at night, 
or the pallbearers betook themselves to the nearest tavern 
to drink together " to the health of the dead man." 
Evidently the old popular sin, excessive drinking, was 
still one of the most notable characteristics of the 
Netherlander. In this respect both men and women dis- 
tinguished themselves, and the evil was strong in the 
upper and lower classes. The substitution of French and 
Spanish brandy in place of the less harmful beer and 
the increasing use of gin exerted an unfavourable influ- 
ence. Numberless kinds of wine, among which Rhenish 
wine began seriously to compete with the French prod- 
uct, found many worshippers, whose attachment to the 
bottle was not less than of old. The beautiful wine- 
glasses were not merely ornaments of the cabinet, but 
could boast of much practical use. The drinking mottoes 
engraved upon them testified to the countless pretexts 
for proposing healths at social dinners and public cere- 
monies; the menus preserved to us of official banquets 
of magistrates, dike and polder corporations, directors of 
charitable institutions, remind us, as well as the por- 
traits of this time, of the intemperance in eating and 
drinking that characterised the Dutch in the opinion of 
their neighbours in the eighteenth no less than in the 
seventeenth century. This all resulted from the high 
standard of living, which had driven out simplicity and 
economy. The time of hard work and incessant accu- 
mulation had been followed by the time of enjoyment, 
of living and letting live. It was the question whether 
circumstances would long allow this careless enjoyment, 
this domestic still life. The answer to this question de- 
pended not least upon the course of political events in 
Europe, which might have a decisive influence on the 
condition of commerce, the source of all this wealth and 



A DOCUMENT of 1736 shows how some European 
statesmen estimated the importance of the republic. 
rt The situation of the republic between Germany and 
France, its commerce, connection with England, strength, 
prudence, and impartiality in the last troubles attract 
for it the consideration and confidence of all the 
powers." * But the writer was little acquainted with 
the republic's real condition and was misled by outward 
appearances. Seven years later the judgment of Carteret, 
the English minister, was rightly otherwise: "There is 
no longer any government in the republic, and people 
know it," and William IV. repeated what Slingelandt 
had said before him : " If God does not preserve the 
fatherland in a wonderful way, its fall is near and un- 
avoidable." The weak hand of the new council pension- 
ary, Anthony van der Heim, was not fitted to avert this 
fall. After his death it could be said that he had quitted 
himself as a faithful and obedient servant of the States 
and nothing more. The republic confined itself at first 
to cooperation in efforts to establish general peace. The 
assent of the maritime powers was desired to the agree- 
ment between France and the emperor concerning Lor- 
raine, whose duke, married to the emperor's daughter, 
Maria Theresa, was to exchange his territory for 
Tuscany, where the house of Medici was dying out, while 
1 Report of my Journey to Italy, p. 81. 


98 History of the Dutch People 

Lorraine was to go to the ex-king of Poland, Stanislaus 
Leczynski, who in turn renounced the Polish crown to 
the elector of Saxony. But they refused to interfere, and 
in the spring of 1737 the exchanges were accomplished 
with the aid of Spain and its Italian secundo-genitures. 
France and Austria concluded the treaty of Vienna (No- 
vember, 1738), by which the former recognised the suc- 
cession of Maria Theresa in the Hapsburg territories — a 
great consolation to the old emperor, the chief aim of 
whose policy was the confirmation of this succession. 

Threatening was the relation of the maritime powers 
to Spain, which during years, in its endeavours to sup- 
press English and Dutch smuggling into its West Indian 
possessions, had molested legitimate commerce with its 
war-ships and in 1737 withdrew the permission granted 
by the treaty of 1713 for an English vessel to visit the 
Spanish ports of the South Sea annually. Dutch ships 
were seized by the Spaniards in the West Indies. The 
dissensions became so serious that a strong English fleet 
of fifty ships sailed in 1738 to the Mediterranean Sea 
to uphold English interests. The States limited them- 
selves to protests at Madrid. Finally Spain promised 
an indemnity to England, but demanded of the English 
Assiento company a large sum as duties upon the im- 
portation of negroes. This new demand angered Eng- 
land and led in October, 1739, to a war between the 
two powers, in which the States immediately declared 
neutrality. In 1740 some preparations were made on 
land and sea. It was resolved to add 11,500 men to 
the army and some ships to the navy. Meanwhile the 
danger of a general war became more serious in conse- 
quence of the death of the emperor, Charles VI., in 
October, 1740. He had long sought to assure the succes- 
sion in his hereditary lands to his daughter by securing 
from the chief kingdoms the recognition of his Pragmatic 
Sanction drawn up for that purpose. He had succeeded 

Austrian Succession War 99 

with England, the States, Spain, France, Saxony, Poland, 
Prussia, and a number of the smaller German states. 
When he was dead, the kings of France and Spain and 
several German princes wanted to withdraw their assent 
under all sorts of pretexts. Bavaria placed itself at the 
head of Maria Theresa's enemies in the German empire, 
appealing to the will of Emperor Ferdinand I., which 
bestowed the crown on his " lawful," i. e., as was asserted, 
male heir, that the elector Charles Albert of Bavaria 
claimed to be. Maria Theresa, who had made her hus- 
band Francis of Lorraine, now grand duke of Tuscany, 
co-regent, called for the support of her father's old allies, 
the maritime powers, which had readily recognised her 
but were not so ready to aid her with arms. Neither 
Great Britain, at war with Spain and distrusting France, 
nor the republic, ever longing for peace, was inclined to 
take her side openly. The sudden invasion by Fred- 
erick II. of Prussia into Silesia, from which he drove 
the Austrians in 1741, caused the allies only to make 
representations. At one time the king of Spain, as heir 
of the Spanish Hapsburgs, the king of Sardinia pretend- 
ing to Milan, the king of Poland, as elector of Saxony 
and heir of Emperor Leopold, began to let their claims 
be heard. Notwithstanding the peaceful disposition of 
the old Fleury and the young Louis XV., France seemed 
willing to take advantage of the circumstances and to 
help break up the venerable Hapsburg monarchy. The 
influential duke de Belle-Isle, anxious to play the part 
of Richelieu, urged the government to war and concluded 
in May, 1741, at Nymphenburg a treaty with Bavaria 
and Spain, soon also with Saxony-Poland and Sardinia, 
and finally an agreement with Prussia. Two French 
armies of forty thousand men penetrated in the summer 
into Germany, where de Belle-Isle, now a marshal of 
France, advanced with Bavarian and Saxon help to 
Prague and Linz and threatened the heart of the Austrian 

ioo History of the Dutch People 

hereditary states. Charles Albert's election as emperor 
in January, 1742, appeared to seal the fall of the 
Hapsburg monarchy. 

These events brought the maritime powers into great 
embarrassment. George II. pressed the States to join 
in supporting the brave queen of Hungary. But they 
were little disposed to engage in the war, and the two 
maritime powers at first confined themselves to nego- 
tiating at Vienna and Berlin for the restoration of peace 
between Prussia and Austria. The States, meanwhile, 
increased their army by 11,000, afterwards by 20,000 more 
men. They granted, like England, a considerable subsidy 
to the queen assailed on all sides. The English mediation 
relieved her of her Sardinian foe, then in July, 1742, of 
the Prussian enemy, to whom she had to cede Silesia. 
Maria Theresa succeeded also in conquering Bohemia 
and in subjecting Bavaria. France was alarmed at the 
preparations of the States. The French ambassador, de 
Fene4on, did his best to keep the different provinces from 
consenting to war measures, while the Austrian envoy, 
Baron Reischach, urged execution of the treaties. The 
latter was sustained by an extraordinary envoy from 
London, Lord Stair, with the ordinary ambassador 
Trevor, now that the war party in England had forced 
the peaceful Walpole out of the government (February, 
1742). An English army, composed of Danish and 
Hessian mercenaries and sent to the Flemish garrisons, 
showed that England desired to exchange neutrality for 
vigorous action in favour of the queen. On the other 
side de Fenelon, in the name of France, offered to the 
States neutrality, an arrangement concerning the Aus- 
trian Netherlands, and the possession of Dunkirk until 
the end of the war. The Dutch ambassador at Paris, 
Abraham van Hoey, recommended this proposal at The 
Hague. 1 But could the designs of France be trusted? 

1 De Jonge, Geschiedenis van de diplomatic gedurende den 

Austrian Succession War 101 

The question with many was whether help was actually 
pledged to Maria Theresa. The answer given by a com- 
mittee of the Estates of Holland in November, 1742, was 
that the queen ought to be aided, now that she appealed 
to the treaty of 1732; money was not sufficient, because 
the treaty spoke of five thousand men or more; in any 
event the money promised should be raised, and post- 
ponement must not be sought, as had been done in all 
the provinces except Holland and Zealand. The affair 
began to be serious. Pamphlets on both sides increased 
the agitation. Followers of the prince and adherents of 
the States opposed one another, the former insisting upon 
assistance to the queen in cooperation with England, the 
latter upon favouring France. The augmentation of the 
army naturally brought up again the old matter of 
the prince's promotion. The States-General promoted 
him from colonel to lieutenant-general, but this was too 
little for the captain-general of three provinces; he an- 
swered that he could take no office, which did not corre- 
spond with his dignity. Stadtholder of three provinces 
and Drenthe, by inheritance prince of Nassau-Dillenburg 
and Nassau-Siegen, consequently an imperial prince of 
importance, the prince of Orange and Nassau considered 
himself too high to occupy a subordinate office in the 
Dutch army, where his forefathers had taken the first 
rank. He remained in communication with friends in 
the different provinces, watching for an opportunity to 
win the place of those ancestors, when called by the 
regents themselves. But not for a moment did he think 
of hastening the course of affairs by vigorous action on 
his part; the confused state of the republic did not 
entice him to relinquish the character of a " forgotten 
citizen." At the end of 1742 England was allied with 
Prussia and Russia ; and Saxony-Poland and the republic 

Oostenrijkschen Successie-oorlog (Leiden, 1852), p. 62. He 
drew materials especially from the papers of Van der Heim. 

102 History of the Dutch People 

were invited to join this alliance. Finally (June 22d) 
the majority of the States-General recognised the en- 
gagement to support the queen with twenty thousand 
men, whom she might use anywhere except in Italy, and 
who were placed under command of Count Maurice of 
Nassau-Ouwerkerk, great-grandson of Prince Maurice. 

So the republic, which thus far had done nothing for 
the queen, was to enter into the war in conjunction 
with England, whose king, George II., was to go to 
Germany at the head of an army. The vexation of 
France was answered by pointing out the necessity of 
observing the treaties. The English army advanced to 
the Main, united there with the imperial troops as the 
" Pragmatic " army, and on June 27th defeated the 
French at Dettingen. Not until August did the Dutch 
troops move from Arnhem to the Main, but they accom- 
plished little and soon took up winter quarters in the 
frontier fortresses of Hainaut and Flanders, assurance 
being given to the French court that the States did not 
think of a war with France. This did not prevent de 
Fenelon from leaving The Hague, although his post was 
temporarily filled by the abb6 de la Ville. New difficulty 
arose from the more warlike attitude of France. After 
Fleury's death the war party gained great influence; a 
circle of courtiers and mistresses, supported by all the 
French nobility, urged war, and its leader was to be 
the brilliant young courtier, Count Maurice de Saxe, 
bastard of Augustus II. of Saxony and Poland and 
marshal of France. In spring something leaked out of 
French plans for an invasion of England by Charles 
Edward, the Stuart pretender. By virtue of old treaties 
the English government requested help from the States, 
which sent six thousand men over the North Sea before 
a storm had driven back the French landing fleet. 
France's declaration of war upon England followed in 
March. England now demanded the aid of twenty war- 

Austrian Succession War 103 

ships, and eight of them were made ready in all haste 
and, under command of the lieutenant-admiral, Hendrik 
Grave, aged seventy-two years, joined the English fleet 
in August. The squadron's condition was anything but 
brilliant, and the aged commander's conduct was so 
weak that his subordinates were ashamed and the Eng- 
lish government complained. Half of the squadron under 
the inefficient admiral returned home in the following 
spring, while the other half, commanded by the vice- 
admiral 'T Hooft, operated longer with the English fleet 
with little better result. The decay of sea power could 
not more plainly appear than by this wretched expedi- 
tion, which showed how right Chesterfield was in remark- 
ing that " all their Admiralties together cannot fit out 
another ship in the world " and that " arguments have 
little weight in the present anarchy." 1 

It looked as if the army would soon have an oppor- 
tunity to show its capacity. The French armies were 
preparing to attack the Austrian Netherlands, and de 
F£nelon, a lieutenant-general of those troops, came to 
The Hague to take leave of the States-General, where 
he had represented French interests during nineteen years. 
The States resolved upon an extraordinary embassy to 
France, and the commission was given to Unico Willem, 
count of Wassenaer-Twickel. The purpose was to learn 
on what terms peace might be restored. Baron van 
Boetselaer had already departed for England with the 
same object. While both negotiated without much suc- 
cess, the French forces captured one barrier fortress after 
another. The weak " Pragmatic " army, including Dutch 
troops under General Smissaert, did not venture to leave 
its quarters at Oudenarde owing to dissensions between 
the leaders. Both the army and the diplomacy of the 
republic showed themselves as little equal to their task 
as the navy. The attitude of the States-General was 

1 Jorissen, Chesterfield, in Historische Studien, p. 141. 

104 History of the Dutch People 

weak, for they declined France's repeated offer of neu- 
trality, but did not dare openly to declare war, as Trevor 
requested in the name of England, and they would not 
recognise the emperor in accordance with the desires 
of Prussia and Bavaria. More troops were raised after 
Frederick II.'s new attack, this time upon Bohemia. In 
the summer of 1744 the " Pragmatic " army, finally in- 
creased to eighty thousand men, moved from Oudenarde 
under the duke of Aremberg and forced the French back 
over their frontiers. The States were at last persuaded 
in March, 1745, to join in the alliance of Warsaw between 
Saxony, England, and Austria for the maintenance of 
peace in Europe and of the Pragmatic Sanction. The 
death of the emperor, Charles VII., seemed to offer a 
chance of peace, when his son and successor consented 
to a treaty, by which he received back his electorate and 
recognised the Pragmatic Sanction. In August the elec- 
tion of the Hungarian queen's husband as emperor under 
the name of Francis I. improved the prospect, at least in 
Germany, where the second Silesian war was concluded 
before the end of the year by the peace of Dresden. 
Affairs were less favourable to the allies in the southern 
Netherlands, where Maurice de Saxe had taken com- 
mand of the French armies. The allies, whose army was 
nominally commanded by the incapable duke of Cumber- 
land with the count of Konigseck as the real leader, were 
defeated by the French marshal at Fontenoy (May 11th), 
partly in consequence of the shameful flight of some of the 
Dutch cavalry. The weak Dutch force under the prince of 
Waldeck could put little weight in the scales. Brabant 
and Flanders fell into the hands of the French; the 
chief cities of Brabant alone held out. The Pretender's 
invasion of Scotland occasioned a new reduction of the 
allied armies, and Dutch troops helped frustrate this 
invasion. The approach of the French to the Dutch 
frontiers and the heavy losses of commerce by the war 

Austrian Succession War 105 

made the States ardently desire a resumption of peace 
negotiations. Hesitatingly Van der Heim, forming with 
some Dutch lords a sort of secret committee or conclave 
for foreign affairs, resolved upon a private embassy to 
Paris. Late in November Colonel De Larrey, a friend 
of the council pensionary, went secretly to Paris to 
settle with the marquis d'Argenson, there in charge of 
foreign affairs, the terms of peace. Cleverly were these 
terms indicated, for the peace concluded three years 
later deviated little from them, but they found no accept- 
ance at this time. After Larrey had returned in January 
without having accomplished his mission, the conclave 
determined on February 1, 1746, to send Wassenaer again 
to Paris. 

It was high time, because Maurice de Saxe had laid 
siege to Brussels notwithstanding the presence of Dutch 
troops at Antwerp under the prince of Waldeck. After 
a siege of three weeks Brussels fell on February 20th, 
and the oriflamme of Francis I., captured at Pavia by 
Charles V., could be sent with other trophies to Paris 
by the new tapissier de Notre Dame. Maurice de Saxe 
became the hero of France. The frontiers of the repub- 
lic now lay open to the enemy. If it chose the friend- 
ship of France over that with England and Austria and 
accepted the neutrality so repeatedly offered, that was 
the end of the Anglo-Austrian coalition. 1 If it con- 
tinued with its old allies, it had to expect an attack 
from the victorious enemy. Wassenaer found the French 
statesmen divided and somewhat inclined to concessions ; 
he favoured the neutrality of the republic and even a 
separate peace and cooperated with the ever active Van 
Hoey, who was intimate with d'Argenson and inces- 
santly praised the moderation of the French government. 
Wassenaer's offer of a truce was courteously declined, 

1 De Broglie, Maurice de Saxe et le marquis d'Argenson, i., 
p. 54. 

io6 History of the Dutch People 

but negotiations with him continued. His French lean- 
ings awakened distrust in the States-General, and it was 
resolved to put a second envoy at his side, the second 
secretary of the States, Jacob Gilles, being selected for 
the post. Both negotiators went on with the discussions, 
even when the court moved with the king to Brussels. 
There in May a new plan for peace was proposed by 
the French, and the States-General hastened to com- 
municate it to England. The French proposals were 
approved neither in London, nor in Vienna, nor in 
Madrid, and the campaign in the Netherlands was now 
prosecuted from Brussels. Louvain, Mechlin, the citadel 
of Antwerp fell, while the " Pragmatic " army remained 
on the heath around Breda; Mons, all Hainaut, finally 
Namur, the last of the barrier cities, were taken by the 
conquering French, and the battle of Rocoux (November 
10th) drove the army of the allies, now commanded by 
Prince Charles of Lorraine, eastwards across the Meuse. 
The republic's leading statesmen inclined more and more 
to the conclusion of a separate peace with France. On 
July 1st the conclave commissioned Wassenaer and 
Gilles to sign a peace, if England refused negotiation. 
The long series of defeats made the allies more ready 
for negotiations. England yielded, and so a beginning 
was made in August at Breda, the question first being 
considered whether Sardinia, Spain, and Austria should 
be drawn in and thus a general peace be striven for. 
Before the congress of Breda opened, the worthy but 
weak pensionary died on July 17th. In his place Jacob 
Gilles was elected in September, an able man but with 
little experience and still less personal influence. Two 
years earlier the venerable Francois Fagel, one of Slinge- 
landt's friends, had laid down his secretaryship and was 
succeeded by his less capable nephew Hendrik. The con- 
clave could go on its way, but had to be cautious, as 
was evident when the secret resolution of July 1st be- 

Austrian Succession War 107 

came known. Several provinces manifested deep indig- 
nation at this unprecedented action of a few members 
of the States-General in so important a matter, which 
concerned the entire Union. The peace negotiations of 
Breda progressed little, and with anxiety the States- 
General saw the enemy's arms turned more to their 
side. The army of the allies now amounted to 100,000 
men, while that of Maurice de Saxe, inspired by re- 
cent victories, numbered over 130,000 men. Meanwhile 
d'Argenson's weak policy had encountered serious oppo- 
sition at the French court. De la Ville, still represent- 
ing French interests at The Hague, long urged a more 
vigorous attitude towards the powerless republic. The 
energetic Maurice de Saxe, eager for greater military 
fame, wanted nothing more than war. The war party 
demanded the removal of the philosophical but not enter- 
prising statesman in charge of foreign affairs. D'Argen- 
son, dropped also by the powerful Madame de Pompadour, 
was replaced in January, 1747, by her favourite de 
Puysieulx, who immediately left Breda. Negotiations 
continued, but in the spring of 1747 the proposals and 
counter-proposals were too divergent to give any hope 
of peace. Under these circumstances it was not to be ex- 
pected that the French government would adhere to 
d'Argenson's maxim, that the republic's territory must 
be respected in any case. Maurice de Saxe received per- 
mission in April to move forwards but with instructions 
to use moderation towards country and people, as it was 
only desired to exercise a healthful pressure upon the 
republic's government and not to make any conquests. 
This was also the substance of the declaration delivered 
by de la Ville to the States on April 17th. It caused 
alarm in the assembly, which increased, when deed fol- 
lowed closely upon word and Count Lowenthall at the 
head of twenty thousand French troops crossed the fron- 
tier of Dutch Flanders. By the middle of May all Dutch 

108 History of the Dutch People 

Flanders was in French hands, including strong Axel, 
which surrendered at the first demand. Marshal de 
Noailles said : " It must be confessed that we have to 
do with some very obliging people." But this invasion 
had another consequence, as little expected on the French 
side as were the facile victories in Dutch Flanders. 

With the increase of danger in the southern Nether- 
lands many an eye was turned again to the prince of 
Orange. The uncertainty of Dutch policy, the complete 
helplessness of the government also under the new council 
pensionary gave occasion to violent Orange pamphlets 
against the stadtholderless administration, which threat- 
ened to expose the country to a repetition of the foreign 
troubles of De Witt's later days. Thus the ground was 
prepared for a popular movement that some leaders of 
the Orange party hoped would finally bring the prince 
to the place where he belonged. Prominent among them 
was Willem, Count Bentinck, lord of Rhoon and Pend- 
recht, the son of King William's friend. The events of 
the spring of 1746 induced him to point out to the prince 
the " opportune circumstances " and the desirability of 
no longer hesitating to use them. " A popular revolt 
where moderation and justice are always thrown aside " 
was in the prince's eyes a crime; he chose rather to 
remain " in his solitude." Bentinck began to despair 
of a happy ending of affairs, until suddenly the invasion 
of Dutch Flanders made them take a new turn. Fugi- 
tives from there caused disturbances in Walcheren. An 
English squadron under Robert Mitchell appeared before 
Flushing and undertook to guard the Scheldt. In Middel- 
burg the mob commenced plundering, and soldiers were 
summoned to the capital from Veere and Flushing. In 
the night of April 24th to 25th the militia of Veere took 
up arms and demanded a promise of the burgomaster 
Verelst, a partisan of Orange, that Veere should propose 
the prince as stadtholder of the province. Early in the 

Austrian Succession War 109 

morning the regents of Veere met and resolved unani- 
mously to propose the prince as stadtholder, admiral- 
and captain-general of Zealand. From Veere the move- 
ment spread to Middelburg, where after some hesitation 
the government yielded, as was soon the case in the 
other cities of Zealand. Within a few days all was over ; 
everywhere waved the Orange flag, everywhere men wore 
orange ribbons and bows, and on the 28th the Estates 
of Zealand resolved to offer the dignities to the prince. 
The Estates of Holland followed the example of Zealand 
on the 3d of May. So did the Estates of Utrecht on the 
same day, and some days later those of Overyssel. On 
the 4th the States-General appointed the prince captain- 
and admiral-general of the Union. This completed the 
revolution, to the prince's satisfaction without any shed- 
ding of blood or serious disorders. On the 10th the 
prince appeared at The Hague to take possession of his 
new dignities with his wife and his only daughter Caro- 
lina, amid the plaudits of the populace and greeted by 
an interminable series of poetical effusions after the 
manner of the time. The elevation of the prince produced 
naturally a bolder attitude towards France. The changed 
circumstances were shown by the almost immediate 
declaration of the French and Spanish plenipotentiaries, 
that they could no longer continue the negotiations at 
Breda, but were ready to do so in a safer place, suggest- 
ing Aix-la-Chapelle or other German cities. But would 
the prince really be able to rescue the republic? Chester- 
field, who knew him and it, did not think so, and at 
first events proved him right. The war went badly. On 
July 1st the French defeated Cumberland and Waldeck 
at Lafeld, not far from Maestricht, and afterwards sur- 
rounded Bergen op Zoom, which under the old baron 
Cronstrom had to sustain a siege, until on September 
16th the enemy captured it by surprise, making a pro- 
found impression everywhere, and causing a popular 

no History of the Dutch People 

movement against the regents of the States party and 
against the Catholics suspected of treason. It speedily 
appeared that the new government also was not in a 
condition to conjure the perils of the republic at one 
stroke. Domestic and foreign difficulties accumulated 
from all sides, and the prince, upon whose shoulders the 
whole burden pressed, had to free himself as best he could. 
Many people thought that his power ought to be much 
greater, and on the 7th of October the nobility of Hol- 
land proposed making the stadtholdership hereditary in 
the male and female lines, so that an " excellent head " 
would never be lacking in the state. This proposition 
met with approval everywhere; some believed even that 
the prince should be created count of Holland to put his 
sovereign power beyond doubt. To this idea others were 
joined. The complaints of the selfish exploitation of 
municipal and post offices by the regents had become 
very sharp. Universal improvement of these conditions 
was demanded by public farming out of the offices and 
by transfer of all postmasterships to the prince. The 
government acceded to the popular wish concerning 
the postmasterships in The Hague and elsewhere, but the 
prince disdained the rich revenues coming to him and 
turned them over to the States. Another matter agitated 
men's minds : the abuses in the farming out of the taxes 
upon consumption. The luxury and wealth of many 
farmers roused public opinion against them, and among 
the desired reforms was the replacement of the farming 
of the revenue by direct collection by receivers. It could 
not be denied that all sorts of injustices occurred in 
the farming and collection of the taxes and that many 
a regent profited thereby. The pamphleteers, springing up 
on all sides in troublous times, did not fail to point out 
these abuses; attention was called to them by the well- 
edited weekly journal of the refugee partisan of the 
prince, Jean Rousset de Missy, the widely read Mercure 

Austrian Succession War in 

historique et politique, which was enlightening public 
opinion as early as 1724. Excitement arose in Holland, 
and here and there disturbances took place, which were 
stopped by a display of military force or by a vigorous 
placard issued by the States with the prince's approval. 
Manifestly the prince was not disposed to play into 
the hands of such popular movements, especially now 
that the enemy stood at the door. There was little diffi- 
culty in making the dignities hereditary, and on November 
lfith the Estates of Holland and West Friesland agreed 
to this, which example was followed in Zealand, Gelder- 
land, Overyssel, and Utrecht. Before the end of the year 
the States-General also declared the posts of admiral- 
and captain-general hereditary in the male and female, 
lines. While domestic disturbances continued through 
1747 and the spring of 1748, while the power of the house 
of Orange was constantly growing, not least in oonse- 
quence of the birth on March 8th of a male heir, who 
received the name of William, foreign affairs and the 
war gave the new leader of the republic not an instant 
of rest. 

The elevation of the prince signified naturally a closer 
adhesion to England and the allies. Chesterfield, now 
influential again in England, wanted nothing more than 
peace, but the leader of the English policy, the duke of 
Newcastle, was of another opinion. The Orange party 
would not hear to peace, and, at the first report of 
negotiations between England and France in the French 
camp, Bentinck, the actual manager of foreign relations 
in the republic, was sent to London in August to oppose 
the peace plans and to urge support of the threatened 
republic. With lavish promises of cooperation he suc- 
ceeded in persuading England to break off negotiations 
with France and returned home in September. The em- 
ployment of thirty thousand Russians by the allies was 
accomplished by a treaty with Russia in December, and 

ii2 History of the Dutch People 

the prince promised that the republic in the ensuing 
spring would furnish seventy thousand men for the allied 
army, provided England did the same, and that it would 
formally declare war upon France. But how was money 
to be obtained for waging war? It was a fact that some 
provinces were millions in arrears and that all public 
treasuries suffered from a lack of money. Holland be- 
lieved it had found the means by issuing (September 
12th) a so-called voluntary loan over the whole prov- 
ince, amounting to 2 per cent, of everybody's property 
over 2000 guilders, to 1 per cent, on property between 
1000 and 2000 guilders, and a really voluntary gift on 
property of lower value. At the prince's instigation the 
other provinces soon followed Holland's example. Ex- 
pectations ran high, but serious difficulties arose in the 
winter. The republic's troops — veritable canaille Cum- 
berland called them — were not of the best quality; the 
prince had to give the chief command to Cumberland. 
While preparations for war went on, the negotiation with 
France was not entirely given up, although the repre- 
sentatives of the various powers did not meet in Aix-la- 
Chapelle until March. At the same time Bentinck's 
brother Charles crossed over to England to present a 
petition in the prince's name, which laid bare the repub- 
lic's unfortunate condition. It declared that the republic 
" since its existence has never been more exposed to being 
invaded or overwhelmed " ; danger of war, high prices, 
the ruin of commerce and navigation made peace indis- 
pensable, so the prince asserted ; peace alone could save 
the republic, for the war promised slight success, and 
there was no money. The voluntary loan had raised con- 
siderable, and Holland by a lottery had scraped together 
eight millions more, but the other provinces remained 
in arrears, and to escape bankruptcy it was necessary 
to have immediately eleven to thirteen million pounds 
sterling even at double interest. An appeal to the king's 

Austrian Succession War 113 

friendship for the poor republic closed the document, 
on which the prince's name made a pitiful impression. 
It awakened bitter disappointment in England. The 
" shameful document " opened people's eyes there to the 
true conditions, and from that moment Newcastle saw 
that peace must be concluded; Cumberland also, who 
could not find words enough to brand the Dutch army, 
desired peace. With merited reproaches to the prince 
and his friends England looked anxiously for the de- 
mands to be made by France. Fortunately for the allies 
the French government was in the weak hands of 
Louis XV. and his favourites and mistresses. Maurice 
de Saxe was not in a position to use the fine opportunity 
of crushing France's enemies. His subordinate Lowen- 
thall did not penetrate further into Brabant, but with 
him in April laid siege to Maestricht, which was defended 
by Baron van Aylva, while Cumberland's army was power- 
less to relieve it. The negotiations at Aix-la-Chapelle 
went on rapidly under these circumstances. Here too 
the republic's representatives cut a sad figure; England 
and France settled the chief points of the peace, and 
all the efforts of the Dutch to treat on an equal footing 
were repulsed both in the preliminaries of April 30th, 
stipulating the surrender of Maestricht, and in the peace 
concluded on October 18th after a long suspension of 
arms. The republic received back its fortresses, most 
of them demolished, but there was no talk of any advan- 
tage. It might reckon itself fortunate thus to have come 
out of the conflict, though with deep humiliation, the con- 
sequence of its shameful state of affairs. So deep had 
the republic of the United Netherlands sunk in 1748, a 
miserable spectacle to its friends, an object of ridicule 
to its foes. Could it ever rise again? The answer to 
this question depended upon that to another: would he, 
who now led it, be able to bring about the necessary 
reforms ? 

VOL. v — 8 



BEFORE the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle was actually 
concluded Bentinck in Holland and other " zealous 
defenders of the restored form of government " x in other 
provinces had attempted to effect a change in the entire 
government of the republic. The men, who had recently 
had in their hands the management of affairs, still sat 
in the governing boards. If the republic was really to 
undergo complete regeneration, new blood must be 
brought into the organs of government, and it was nat- 
ural that the Orange party, so long out of office, should 
be desirous of securing possession of the administration 
in town and country. The temper of the people, dis- 
satisfied with years of abuses, indignant at the ill success 
of the war, which was attributed to the corruption of 
the ruling regents, was favourable to such designs; it 
might be used to produce the desired changes. The 
Orange leaders were quite ready to take advantage of 
this temper and, after the example of what had been 
done in 1672, to stir up popular movements for the pur- 
pose of deposing the regents. The prince himself, unlike 
William III. and Maurice, was little pleased with such 
popular movements. But he lacked the strength of mind 
to resist the pressure of Bentinck and his friends and half 
unwillingly let himself be carried along on the stream. 
The " revolution " of 1747 and 1748 furnished to the 
1 Wagenaar, xx., p. 194. 


Reforms under William IV. 115 

fallen republic nothing but an increase of the stadthold- 
er's power and a change of persons in the various govern- 
ments. This alone was not sufficient to raise it from 
the depths, where it had sunk and was to continue for 
nearly half a century longer. There was great excite- 
ment on the occasion of the birth of the heir of the 
Nassau dynasty, who first saw the light on March 8, 
1748, under the title of Count of Burren. Excessive joy 
was manifested all over the country. Everywhere bells 
rang, cannon thundered, and tar barrels blazed. Songs 
were sung in honour of " Netherlands morning star," 
the " hereditary governor of the land," the young branch 
of " the Lord's vine in Netherland," 1 whose glorious 
future was vividly depicted. Assemblies of the Estates 
and municipal governments competed for the honour of 
being godfathers to the new-born babe, and annuities to 
the value of thousands of guilders were thrown as gifts 
into his cradle. The joyful disposition of the people, 
excited further by the signature of the " preliminary 
points " at Aix-la-Chapelle on April 30th, seemed to offer 
an opportunity of arousing a popular movement against 
the hated regents. 

The agitation against the farmers of the revenue, kept 
smouldering by Jean Kousset's weekly, first caused a 
rising against the government in Friesland. The de- 
mands of the populace were formulated at Leeuwarden 
in three points : stadtholdership hereditary also in the 
female line; abolition of the farming of the revenue; 
restoration of the " old laws " of the country. Im- 
mediately the Estates did away with the farming of 
the revenue. Later the stadtholdership was made hered- 
itary in the female line. Full authority was given to 
the prince to establish the state on a firm basis, to correct 
abuses, and to promulgate such laws as seemed best 

1 See the titles of the pamphlets in Knuttel, Catalogus, iv., 
p. 231. 

n6 History of the Dutch People 

to him. The prince was lord and master in Friesland, 
elevated by the almost childlike confidence of the people. 
Not otherwise went affairs in City and Land, where the 
doings of the ruling aristocracy had produced no less 
confusion and dissatisfaction. Agreeable to the wish of 
citizens and peasants the decision of everything was 
transferred to the prince. He promised to put affairs 
in order speedily. Even little Drenthe saw a popular 
movement, which was limited to demanding the heredi- 
tability of the stadtholdership in both lines, reform of 
some abuses, and regulation of the revenue farming. In 
Overyssel and Gelderland there was some opposition to 
the farmers, whose existence was continued for a time 
by the prince's advice. In Utrecht the Estates quickly 
yielded to the demand for abolition of the farming of 
the revenue. Order was maintained in Zealand. Affairs 
did not go so quietly in Holland. In this province also 
it was known, if not legally proved, that a large part 
of the money contributed by the citizens disappeared 
in the pockets of the regents, that the farmers of the 
revenue secured favourable terms by assuring profits to 
the ruling persons and families. The houses of farmers 
at Haarlem were plundered by a savage mob ; their books 
were burned; they themselves were maltreated, until 
courtiers of the prince came to exhort to peace. Disturb- 
ances now began at Leyden, so that the city government 
there had to suspend the farming of the revenue. At 
The Hague also the houses of the farmers were pillaged, 
while the prince, called upon for help, declared he was 
indisposed. The movement was especially violent in 
Amsterdam, where the militia fired upon the mob of 
plunderers and killed several, then allowed some finely 
furnished houses to be pillaged, and finally, from fear 
of worse things, acted vigorously again and shot down 
the robbers. The odious farming of the revenue could 
not be maintained in this province. The prince himself 

Reforms under William IV. 117 

came unexpectedly on June 25th to the meeting of the 
Estates of Holland and proposed doing away with the 
revenue farming. On the following day the farms 
were abolished after having existed over two centuries. 
It appeared to be very difficult to find a good and equi- 
table system of taxation, though it rained plans. Finally 
the Estates of Holland chose collection, and the instruc- 
tions for the collectors were drawn up, so that with 1750 
the old revenues in this province were thus collected, an 
important reform. The farmers of the revenue were 
indemnified for the plundering suffered with 300,000 
guilders. In this province, the seat of the regents' 
tyranny, people were not satisfied with a new system 
of taxation. There was much more to complain of. The 
disgraceful management of the municipal finances for 
the benefit of a few, the incredible abuses in conferring 
offices, the venality and partisanship of the judges awak- 
ened vexation at the rule of the regents, who would not 
hear to any influence of the people upon the government. 
On June 25, 1748, the prince urged removal of the evils 
in the bestowal of offices and the settlement of the affair 
of the post-offices in Amsterdam. The powerful council 
of Amsterdam, in which for years the families of the 
Corvers, Sixes, and Sautijns held all authority, showed 
slight willingness to consent. This aroused deep indigna- 
tion among the citizens of Amsterdam, who were stirred 
up by agents of Bentinck, not without the prince's knowl- 
edge, and by pamphlets. The surgeon Andries Boekel- 
man, the pattern-maker Hendrik van Gimnig, the publicist 
Rousset, and others met secretly and read these pam- 
phlets zealously. The most violent agitators frequented 
taverns and coffee-houses, appeared among the militia 
in the night watch, and so gathered followers, who soon 
wished to go further than the affairs of the offices and 
the post-offices and drew up eleven articles. Laurens 
van der Meer, a partisan of Orange and a baker at Rotter- 

u8 History of the Dutch People 

dam, was invited to Amsterdam to put his " friends on 
the right track," and the popular porcelain merchant, 
Daniel Kaap, thought matters had gone too far. In 
agreement with the court Van der Meer and De Huyser 
formulated three more moderate articles to be offered to 
the city council. The violent reformers would not accept 
them. They suggested meetings of the citizens, two, 
three, or four persons representing each section, to con- 
sider grievances and their remedies. A commission of 
five persons was to be appointed to present propositions 
to the proper authorities. It was resolved to hold the 
assemblies publicly in the shooting-gallery of the arque- 
busiers, and on August 9th a great crowd gathered there. 
Van Gimnig unfolded the eleven articles for restoring 
the liberties of the citizens and requested the appoint- 
ment of the commission from the sixty sections of the 
city. In opposition the moderates proposed the three 
articles approved of at The Hague. They embraced 
simply : transfer of the post-offices to the prince ; reform 
of abuses in giving offices ; restoration of the privileges of 
the guilds and appointment of colonels and captains 
of militia from the citizens. A contest arose between 
the outvoted moderates and the violent party. Van der 
Meer and Raap went to The Hague to secure the power- 
ful support of the court for their moderate views. The 
city government, meanwhile, requested the chief officers 
of the militia to assemble the citizens in their sections 
and to ask for their proposals or complaints. Raap 
brought word from The Hague that the prince gave the 
preference to the three articles of Van der Meer and 
De Huyser. The moderate party led by Van der Meer 
and Raap sought to calm the shooting-gallery people, 
who were angrily calling for arms. Finally the burgo- 
masters signed the request of the three articles with their 
fiat. The consent of the city council was now lacking. 
The multitude, incited by Boekelman and his friends, de- 

Reforms under William IV. 119 

manded this also, and the city council yielded on August 
28th, but at the same time declared it laid down its 
functions voluntarily, only one member continuing to 
act. An end had to come, if there was not to be a serious 
revolution, and the Estates of Holland passed a resolu- 
tion, by which the prince was authorised " to put all 
means at work to bring Amsterdam again to tranquillity 
and, if necessary, to change the government." On Sep- 
tember 2d he departed for Amsterdam with Bentinck, the 
clerk Fagel, and the secretary De Back. The meetings 
went on at the shooting-gallery even after the burgo- 
masters had been replaced and seventeen of the thirty- 
six members of the city council had been dismissed. In 
place of the dismissed members merchants were appointed 
from families that had never taken part in the govern- 
ment. They formed an honourable series of " patricians 
of '48." On the 15th the prince left the turbulent city, 
being followed by the blessings of the multitude. The 
whole popular movement resulted merely in a change of 
the government, unsatisfactory to the many, who accused 
Raap and his friends of being bribed. Among the people 
there was little more talk of the democratic principles 
championed so violently by Van Gimnig and his followers. 
The uncertainty at Amsterdam during this summer had 
caused much injury to commerce, and all engaged in 
commercial pursuits — that is almost all Amsterdam — 
had turned against the agitators of the shooting-gallery, 
blaming them for the heavy losses incurred. The au- 
thority of the prince rose ever higher. At the end of 
1748 the States-General had appointed him hereditary 
stadtholder of the generality lands and hereditary cap- 
tain-general and admiral. In March, 1749, the two great 
commercial companies made him their chief director and 

The political organisation of the republic was thus 
strongly developed in a monarchical direction, and the 

120 History of the Dutch People 

hereditary stadtholder was more powerful than any of 
his predecessors. His supreme authority was recognised. 
From him were now expected a better general guidance, 
a greater development of the state's resources, reform 
of army and navy, revival of the former prosperity, a 
regeneration of the entire nation — a hard task for the 
prince placed at the head of the republic. He could not 
hide from himself that the old machine of state was not 
broken, but his power of governing it was considerably 
increased, and so his responsibility was excessively en- 
larged. Supported as he was by the citizens, it lay in 
his hand to improve the machine of state by augmenting 
the influence of the citizens upon the government, as the 
great prince, William I., had indicated, but he did not 
desire this. He wished to maintain the old " aristo- 
cratical " form of government, redressing the most crying 
abuses, removing the most hated regents and replacing 
them by the later so-called " forty-eighters," and bal- 
ancing the still threatening oligarchy by increasing the 
powers of the " eminent head " of the republic. This 
balance the prince could alone secure by a pernicious 
system of secret correspondence with the foremost re- 
gents, by intrigues and favours that raised the lowest 
passions to means of government. The republic could 
not be permanently preserved in this way. The prince, 
who did not excel in independence of judgment, had 
followed the advice of his most trusted friends. First 
among them were the two Bentincks, especially Willem, 
the elder and abler, who hurt his influence by lack of 
tact, so that the prince gave free play to less able men, 
such as Onno Zwier van Haren, Sirtema van Grovestins, 
the baron van Gronsfelt, the intriguing secretary De 
Back, who had all been attached to the prince for years 
in Friesland. The council pensionary Gilles, a willing 
creature of the regents, had naturally to quit the field. 
On May 3, 1740, he resigned under pressure from Ben- 

Reforms under William IV. 121 

tinck and was succeeded, also on Bentinck's advice, by 
an extremely competent financier, the pensionary of 
Haarlem, Pieter Steyn, whose instructions made him 
promise to report all affairs of state to the stadtholder, 
so that this official of Holland might thenceforth be called 
the first minister of the hereditary stadtholder. Ben- 
tinck desired the establishment of a stadtholder's council, 
but during his absence his adversaries at court thwarted 
this plan. In its place came the harmful influence of 
irresponsible advisers. After the experience of the last 
war there was not the least doubt that the army needed 
reform. The prince, who was not very military, felt un- 
equal to this, and in 1747 he fixed his eyes 1 on the 
Austrian field-marshal, Duke Ludwig Ernst von Bruns- 
wick-Wolfenbuttel, who had attracted attention in tho 
succession war. Three times the duke declined to enter 
the Dutch service. In 1749 Bentinck went to Vienna to 
make him another offer, and the duke finally accepted. 
A salary of sixty thousand guilders and the promise of 
the governorship of Bois-le-Duc, while he kept the title 
of Austrian field-marshal and general of artillery of the 
German empire, seemed to compensate for what he gave 
up in the Austrian service. The new field-marshal 
arrived at The Hague on December 15, 1750, where he 
quickly complained of the army's miserable condition, 
of the desperate state of affairs in the fatally disordered 
republic, not least of the opposition of the dominant court 
clique and of the weakness of the prince's character. 
Some improvement of defence was to be made in 1751. 

There was less disappointment in the plans for re- 
forming the navy. The prince asked enlightenment of 
the able vice-admiral Cornells Schrijver, who did not fail 
to point out the sad fall of " naval power " in consequence 
of neglect and ignorance. The ships were largely un- 
seaworthy; shipbuilding had so declined that in 1727 the 

1 Nijhoff, De Hertog van Brunswijk, p. 4. 

122 History of the Dutch People 

Amsterdam admiralty had to take into its service Eng- 
lish naval architects; the crews were inexperienced and 
scanty; from shameful nepotism the officers were often 
incompetent; discipline on the fleet left everything to 
be desired. The establishment of a college for seamen 
at Amsterdam in 1747 was a good step forwards. The 
nomination of Schrijver as lieutenant-admiral and the 
appointment of a number of flag-officers improved the con- 
duct of naval affairs. In the short time of his gov- 
ernment the prince did what he could for this important 
interest, but evidently no great good could be accom- 
plished without comprehensive reforms. For this the 
prince was not the man, although later what his " fatherly 
care and never sufficiently praised zeal " had effected was 
remembered with gratitude. The restoration of pros- 
perity had to be taken in hand, the condition of com- 
merce and industry requiring serious measures of reform. 
Commercial treaties with foreign powers had to be 
renewed. De Larrey, in 1748, immediately after the peace 
sent to Paris with the Amsterdam merchant Marselis, 
found there slight disposition to grant good terms. The 
ambassador, Van Hoey, was soon replaced by the trusted 
partisan of the prince, Lestevenon van Berkenrode. A 
menace to Dutch interests was the establishment in Eng- 
land of a chartered fishery company, which enticed many 
Dutch fishermen to England, so that a placard of the 
States-General in 1750 was issued against taking service 
in the commerce or fishery of foreign powers. Prussia 
also began to appear as a competitor, a new East Indian 
and African company being formed, for which the king, 
Frederick II., vainly sought access to the Dutch com- 
pany's ports. Sweden drew away a number of Dutch 
manufactures and became a victorious rival in the tea 
trade. Commerce with Spain and Portugal had gone 
over into English, French, Swedish, Hamburg hands. 
That of the Mediterranean Sea was taken more and 

Reforms under William IV. 123 

more by merchants from Sweden, Hamburg, Liibeck, and 
Stettin. Trade with China threatened to slip away en- 
tirely. England and France commenced taking the re- 
public's place in a number of markets. Even in the 
Austrian Netherlands an effort was made to get free 
from Dutch commercial supremacy by digging canals 
and improving other means of communication. The 
growing foreign competition and the decline of com- 
merce and industry became ever more notable, and both 
branches of national prosperity called loudly for pro- 
tection. The complaints of the silk weavers of Amster- 
dam were followed in May, 1749, by a declaration from 
the prince that he had resolved thenceforth to use domestic 
stuffs only for himself and his court. 

It was almost the universal conviction that the interest 
of commerce demanded more freedom. De Larrey in the 
prince's name consulted some of the most noted mer- 
chants of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, including the firms 
of Marselis, Hope, Brouwer, Van Eys, Dull, St. Martin, 
Herzeele, and Wor, who nearly all believed that com- 
merce would be best served by complete abolition of 
import and export duties, by making the whole country 
a free port, as Hamburg and Bremen had already done. 
That alone could " keep us from total ruin." A council 
of commerce at The Hague, with chambers of commerce 
in the principal cities, was to give the stadtholder in- 
formation. Some exceptions to free trade might be made 
on behalf of agriculture and manufactures. The result 
of these deliberations was a Treatise on the commerce of 
the state of the United Netherlands, probably drawn up 
by De Larrey. 1 In this important work, after a survey 
of the causes leading up to the flourishing commerce of 

1 An abstract of it in Wagenaar, p. 412. The whole work in 
the Nederl. Jaarboeken, 1751, p. 894, and in Sloet's Tijdschrift, 
i., 3, p. 57. See De Beaufort, Engelsche en Hollandsche 
vrijhandelsplannen, in Geschiedkundige Opstellen, i., p. 154. 

124 History of the Dutch People 

the country, the present fallen condition was examined. 
Heavy taxes and sharp competition were the chief rea- 
sons of the fall. Four proposals were presented: free 
transit of all imported goods that were again exported; 
revision of the list of 1725; universal free port with a 
tonnage duty on vessels for the support of the admiral- 
ties; limited free port, indicating what goods should be 
wholly free, what should pay an import duty to be 
returned upon exportation (drawback). The prince de- 
livered this document to the States-General and to Hol- 
land on August 27, 1751, to be deliberated upon. Then 
it was sent to the other provinces and admiralties, and 
was printed. Observations of all kinds were made, but 
in general the project was received with satisfaction, and 
the various boards set about studying it. The time 
seemed to have come also for extensive reform and im- 
provement of the great commercial companies, at least 
of the East India Company, which possessed an energetio 
and reforming governor-general in Van Imhoff. Arriv- 
ing at Batavia, May 28, 1743, this governor immediately 
went to work, formulated regulations, had projects 
worked out and reports presented with almost feverish 
haste. In the midst of his efforts he had to contend 
with troubles in Java on account of his vigorous inter- 
ference in the affairs of the natives. Before Van Imhoff 
saw the ripe fruits of his plans for reform, he died on 
November 1, 1750, just when a rising of the natives 
was threatening the company's power. Director-general 
Mossel, later confirmed as governor-general, dropped all 
further reforms in order first of all to rescue the authority 
of the company in Java. 

While the first years of the prince's government were 
full of trouble, uneasiness and uncertainty continued also 
after many things were settled. It was felt that the 
supreme authority did not rest in strong hands, and 
there was regret that the prince lacked firmness of prin- 

Reforms under William IV. 125 

ciple, being sometimes under the influence of Bentinck, 
Steyn, Fagel, and De Larrey, and again yielding to the 
inspirations of the very influential cabal of Gronsfelt, 
De Back, and the Van Harens, 1 who found powerful 
support in the princess. In 1750 growing discontent 
became manifest with the way the desired reforms were 
applied under the only slightly changed governing boards. 
People complained of a want of earnestness, vigour, and 
order in the administration, of the venality of influential 
courtiers, of confusion in the prince's affairs, particularly 
in the finances, when many things remained undone in 
consequence of his increasing bodily weakness. The 
prince's health grew continually worse, and in May it 
appeared necessary for the princess to attend to many 
governmental matters. In summer his shortness of breath 
became so serious, the result of a curvature of the spine, 
that a sojourn at Aix-la-Chapelle seemed advisable in 
September. Returning half recovered, the prince again 
grew feverish; soon came attacks, alternating with 
periods of improvement, until on October 22, 1751, the 
prince died unexpectedly from erysipelas suddenly appear- 
ing in the head. He was somewhat over forty years old 
and left the remembrance of a good-hearted, honest, and 
kind man, not unwilling to reform abuses, but at the 
same time a man of mediocre gifts, little independence, 
and slight energy, not fitted for the hard task, which 
the disordered condition of the republic laid upon his 
shoulders, when it put itself wholly under his guidance. 
This was so evident that no noteworthy disturbance arose 
at his death, although an official eulogist spoke of the 
sorrow everywhere prevailing and some poetasters com- 
plained tragically of the acerba et immatura mors. More 
confidence is deserved by the cool utterance of a regent 
favourable to the prince : " No consternation in the 
world," and by Brunswick's declaration to the empress 
1 See Hardenbroek, Gedenkschriften, i., p. 64. 

126 History of the Dutch People 

Maria Theresa — " the great love, which the prince form- 
erly enjoyed among the people, is changed to coolness 
and contempt, indeed to something worse." And the 
worst was that the prince himself had to recognise that 
there was reason for this feeling. His death could not 
he considered a great loss to the republic, and more 
than one pamphlet doubted the desirability of wearing 



EVEN if the period of a regency were not an unsuitable 
time for extensive reforms, there would have been 
little thought of such reforms under the lead of the prin- 
cess, who now appeared at the head of the republic in 
accordance with the stipulations made and thanks to 
the powerful support of Bentinck and to the regents' fear 
of the attitude of the citizens. Princess Anne, reared 
in the traditions of the English court and feeling herself 
a born royal princess of England, had with all her sagac- 
ity too little insight into the necessities of the state, at 
whose head she stood with so extended an authority. 
Meaning generally to do right and stronger of will than 
her dead husband, indefatigable in work, simple and 
domestic, irreproachable in life, she suffered from weak 
health and lacked the independence to throw off the 
influence of her surroundings, particularly of the Frisian 
court cabal, which during the prince's life had so often 
exerted with her help a pernicious activity in affairs of 
state; her passionateness and obstinacy made her task 
still more difficult. She sought the highest political 
wisdom in tacking between the two parties, favouring in 
turn one and the other and hoping thus to thwart the 
influence of powerful Amsterdam. 1 The intriguing secre- 
tary De Back, the soul of the court cabal formed by his 
friends, Onno Zwier van Haren, Grovestins, Gronsfelt, 
1 Groen van Prinsterer, Handboek, 5 de druk, p. 517. 


128 History of the Dutch People 

Bigot, the officer of the guards De la Sarraz, and others, 
was soon the chief personage at court, while the Ben- 
tincks and the council pensionary, with the insignificant 
clerk Fagel, were thrust quite into the background, and 
even the duke of Brunswick, just the man to manage 
military affairs and advise the governess, was at first 
left unconsulted. The princess had a personal aversion 
to Willem Bentinck, whose ambition, lack of self-control, 
and conceit had been extremely disagreeable to her from 
the first; she mistrusted Brunswick, whom she suspected 
of endeavouring to place himself at the head of the 
republic. Bentinck and Brunswick did not yield the field 
to the court cabal : the former, a member of the council 
of state, leader of the nobility of Holland, and influ- 
ential still in foreign affairs, went on telling the princess 
hard truths, and the latter tried to overcome gradually 
the insulting distrust of the princess. With them the 
able Steyn, as council pensionary powerful in Holland, 
exerted his influence; an excellent financier, he made the 
greatest efforts, with the treasurer-general Jan Hop, to 
bring into a better condition the disordered finances of 
Holland, which in 1750 had a debt of seventy millions 
and a deficit of twenty-eight millions. 

Under these circumstances there was no talk of re- 
forms, not even of continuing what had been begun by 
the prince, and the princess was satisfied with pres- 
ervation of her power. The commercial plans went 
entirely into the book of oblivion. The admiralty boards 
of Holland answered in April, 1752, that they could not 
at once advise the adoption of a limited or complete free 
port, unless the administration of the admiralties was 
first reformed, but a trial of the limited free port might 
be made during five years. The advice of the Zealand 
board considered the interests of the province injured. 
It admitted that in theory much was to be said in favour 
of the project, but expressed serious doubt as to its 

Princess Anne's Regency 129 

desirability on account of the competition everywhere 
increasing. The Estates of Zealand warned against 
" overturning those principles and maxims, in which the 
republic has found and maintained itself so well," and 
pronounced the foundations of the new system " uncer- 
tain hope and pure hazard." The objections, shared by 
many merchants of Holland, gave rise to new delibera- 
tions, which had not come to an end, when in 1755 the 
great naval war between France and England broke out, 
the commerce of both these powers being harmed by it, 
while Dutch commerce began to flourish again in conse- 
quence of the republic's neutrality. Thus commercial 
affairs were delayed on account also of the complaints 
of industry. In Gelderland the paper manufacturers of 
the Veluwe asked for duties on foreign paper and rags. 
In Utrecht the protection of the tobacco industry was 
urged. In Overyssel the linen manufacturers of Twente 
mourned the neglect of their interests. In City and 
Land the owners of peat bogs requested duties on coal 
for the benefit of their turf. In Friesland support was 
desired for the limekilns. All complained that industry 
was put after commerce in the proposed plans. The 
landowners also opposed free trade, and the cattle-raisers 
feared foreign competition. Each looked at his own in- 
terest before that of the general public and demanded 
recognition of that interest. At a meeting of deputies 
from the admiralties at The Hague (March, 1754) it was 
resolved to propose a " limited free port," retaining ex- 
port duties on some goods and freeing comparatively 
few from import duties. But the draught, embracing 
two hundred and eight-four articles with a tariff annexed, 
got no farther than the States-General without ever being 
deliberated upon. So the plan for introducing complete 
or limited free trade or even a comprehensive revision 
of the tariff came to nothing, and commerce in the re- 
public remained fixed upon the same foundations as 

130 History of the Dutch People 

before. Commerce soon growing again made the adop- 
tion of extraordinary measures less necessary. Industry 
went down hill continually. It was calculated about 
1770 that in the last thirty years no less than 22,000 
workmen had left the country owing to lack of work; 
in Leyden of 80 cloth factories in 1735 more than half 
had disappeared sixteen years later; in 1757 alone 60 
families left that city to continue the manufacture of 
cloth in Spain. The herring fishery saw a falling off 
from 235 herring busses in 1750 to 119 in 1770. It was 
not otherwise with the great companies. Though some 
of Van Imhoff's improvements stood fast, his chief re- 
form, the introduction of free trade, was given up, and 
his successor Mossel resumed the standpoint of the mer- 
chant: "The Company is a distinguished merchant and 
therefore its commerce must be a distinguished, privi- 
leged commerce." Thus ended the reform period here, 
and men went on in the old way. By using cleverly the 
dissensions between the rebellious natives Mossel suc- 
ceeded in dividing them and in saving the company's 
authority. The treaty of Ganti, February 13, 1755, 
brought all Java under the company's rule. But this 
increase of power was attended by no internal improve- 
ment, and Mossel and his successors were content with 
the watchword soon universally heard in India: " It will 
last my time." And the managers of the company in 
the fatherland thought not differently. Loan upon loan 
had to put the company in a condition to keep its en- 
gagements, and the most shameful abuses remained rich 
sources of revenue to directors and officials — so long as 
the pitcher did not break. Things went somewhat better 
in the West Indies. 

Little was done to carry out the plans for reforming 
and improving army and navy. The princess angered 
the duke of Brunswick, the head of the army, by pre- 
senting to the Estates of Holland in December, 1752, 

Princess Anne's R.egency 131 

without his approval, a plan for reducing the troops 
considerably and for effecting economies. The plan was 
accepted, and the duke yielded. Now and then the prin- 
cess spurred on the admiralties to protect commerce 
better, particularly against the Algerine piracies. A 
formal declaration of war by Algiers in 1755 began a 
period of open hostilities with this powerful robber state. 
A squadron of eight ships, commanded by the rear- 
admiral Boudaen, succeeded in protecting navigation in 
the Mediterranean Sea, and in the following year and 
1757 similar squadrons under Wassenaer and Sels did 
likewise, so that the dey of Algiers saw himself obliged 
to conclude peace. Though reforms were not made, it 
was plain that more could be done with the navy than 
in recent years; but there was no naval strength equal 
to the importance of the republic as a maritime power; 
now, as in the years of admiral Schrijver's great plans, 
little more was accomplished than the scribbling of pam- 
phlets for and against. The chief mistake was that re- 
form of the government was not considered with the 
requisite seriousness. There was no real governmental 
council; for foreign affairs the princess continued to 
use the " conference," in which the Bentincks and De 
Larrey sat with the council pensionary and the clerk; 
for domestic matters she was guided mainly by the 
advice of unworthy favourites, who soon established the 
conviction that at her court everything could be bought 
for money. The rule of the princess, who as a foreigner 
was less respected than her husband, soon aroused gen- 
eral discontent and raised partisans against her, mena- 
cing the continuance of her authority. The pamphlets 
at Amsterdam against the princess began to take an 
insulting tone without any interference from the city 
government, so that she avoided the great city in a 
journey to Friesland. Warnings of all kinds were not 
wanting against the course of affairs. In his talks with 

132 History of the Dutch People 

the princess, Eentinck did not hesitate to point out to 
her the existing dangers ; De Larrey did his best to reduce 
the harm; Brunswick submitted to neglect in the hope 
of better days. The fury of the Amsterdam populace 
against the corpse of Daniel Raap on January 15, 1754, 
was directed not only against the former shooting- 
gallery leader but also against the adherent of the 
stadtholder form of government, which had given rise 
to so much disappointment. 

It needs no demonstration to prove that affairs went 
wretchedly and that the republic lost all consideration 
at home and abroad. The court cabal, led by De Back and 
Van Haren, manifested a strong inclination to be friends 
with France and Prussia and to renounce the old alliance 
with England and Austria. Of importance were the 
negotiations begun at Paris after the peace of Aix-la- 
Chapelle concerning the restoration of the favourable 
terms of 1739 for commerce with France. But the un- 
promising attitude of the regents of Holland towards 
the French ambassador made the French government 
less than ever disposed to yield anything, though it was 
plainly intimated at Paris that good conditions might 
be the price for closer political relations with France. 
Bentinck warned the princess against this, showing that 
the party of the regents of old friendly to France had 
not disappeared but was still working secretly, while 
the partisans of the " old system " of an alliance with 
England were not sufficiently united. An important 
question was what was to become of the barrier fortresses 
demolished by the French — Namur alone retaining its 
walls — which were in so sad a state that Austria refused 
to settle the subsidies in arrears. The French ambassador 
at The Hague, de Bonnac, did his best to prevent any 
restoration of the barrier. In the winter of 1752-1753 
Bentinck went to discuss the matter in company with 
the Dutch ambassador in Brussels, Willem van Haren ; 

Princess Anne's Regency 133 

but it was soon plain to them that the Austrian govern- 
ment in concluding a new barrier treaty would try to 
remove the obstacles to commerce and industry in the 
southern provinces. Bentinck appeared not unwilling to 
accept a commercial treaty between Austria and the 
maritime powers, desirous as he was to maintain the 
old alliance as long as possible. But Dutch commerce, 
led by the government of Amsterdam, would not hear 
to this, and Bentinck, financially embarrassed from long 
dissensions with his wife, was openly accused of having 
been bribed. So negotiations dragged, while the English 
ambassador appearing at The Hague in 1751, the harsh 
Sir Joseph Yorke, was not the man to help them on. 
The new French ambassador, d'Affry, keeping up close 
relations with regents friendly to France, excelled in 
clever statesmanship. The barrier remained, but the 
fortresses were not restored to a satisfactory condition. 
While Dutch statesmen took the " old system " as the 
basis of their policy, this system was far on the road 
to ruin. The struggle between Maria Theresa and Fred- 
erick II. of Prussia, in which she long asked in vain for 
the aid against France of the maritime powers allied 
with her, decided her to make advances to France. She 
did this at the instance of the leader of her diplomacy, 
von Kaunitz, who saw his plans crowned with success 
on May 1, 1756, by a treaty concluded at Versailles be- 
tween Austria and France. The barrier was thenceforth 
a mockery of existing relations. This sudden change in 
European politics gave a hard blow to the foundations, 
upon which the republic's foreign policy had been estab- 
lished for more than half a century. A speedy and to 
Dutch statesmen quite unexpected end was made of the 
" old system," which was founded by William III., ad- 
hered to by Heinsius and Slingelandt, followed by 
William IV., and apparently confirmed again by the 
coming over to the republic of the Austrian field-marshal 

134 History of the Dutch People 

Brunswick high in favour with Maria Theresa. The 
relations between France and England had become 
strained in consequence of difficulties in Asia and 
America. French colonial policy asserted itself vigor- 
ously after the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle. In Hither In- 
dia the able Dupleix was establishing French influence 
in opposition to that of England. From Canada efforts 
were made by a chain of posts through the Ohio valley 
to connect this important French possession north of 
the English colonies on the coast with Louisiana, the 
other French colony far away in the south at the mouth 
of the Mississippi, and thus to shut off the English 
colonies from the vast interior of America. On the 
West Indian islands a sharp competition prevailed be- 
tween the two powers. In eastern Africa the islands of 
Reunion and Mauritius, with the old settlement on Mada- 
gascar, were stations for France on the road to India. 
French ports possessed a flourishing colonial trade that 
aroused the uneasiness of England. Conducted by the 
energetic William Pitt on the way to universal su- 
premacy on the sea, England was firmly resolved to 
crush its growing rival, and in 1755 war actually began 
in America; an English fleet commenced capturing French 
merchantmen and did not even leave French war-ships 
unmolested. In the spring the great naval war between 
the two powers was a fact. 

This naval war was an extremely dangerous affair for 
the republic, so closely allied with England. The treaties 
with England, interpreted literally, would compel it to 
side with England. And not indifferent to it could the 
land war remain, in which Prussia took the initiative 
in August, so as not to be surprised, Russia and Saxony- 
Poland having become the allies of Austria against 
Prussia. But what could the republic do with its broken 
army and disabled navy in a war, where the greatest 
armies and most powerful navies of the world opposed 

Princess Anne's Regency 135 

one another? It stood defenceless against any power 
that might venture to attack it. Neutrality was the 
universal wish of the country. France, intending to 
operate on the Rhine and in Hanover, asked nothing 
better, and d'Affry maintained relations with leading 
statesmen and the influential court party, also dis- 
tributing liberally orders of knighthood to regents. Eng- 
land wanted the republic to adhere to the old treaties, 
engaging it, in case of an attack upon that country, to 
help with six thousand troops and twenty ships, and 
Austria urged participation in its new alliance. The 
princess, personally favourable to the king of Prussia, 
and the council pensionary Steyn, who with Amsterdam 
wished to avoid war at any price, were, like Brunswick 
and most other Dutch statesmen, of the opinion that the 
republic must finally go with England but that so long 
as possible the most complete neutrality should be ob- 
served. The press began its task of preparing public 
opinion ; both parties assailed each other in pamphlets 
and proved the desirability or undesirability of joining 
one side or the other. The able historian Wagenaar, in 
a series of anonymous pamphlets, asserted that the re- 
public was not pledged to aid England. To d'Affry's 
cautious inquiry in February, 175G, as to the side chosen 
by the republic, it was officially answered proudly * that 
the republic desired to remain neutral, provided the war 
was not carried over to England and in the hope that 
the barrier and Dutch territory would be respected by the 
French. Some days later Yorke insisted that the six thou- 
sand men should be furnished, England immediately send- 
ing the necessary transports for them, but he was told 
in great embarrassment after a sharp remonstrance from 
d'Affry that strict neutrality would be observed, while 

1 Vaderl. Historie, xxii., p. 253. D'Affry said in ridicule that 
it seemed as if the republic still had 650,000 men and 80 ships 
(Groen van Prinsterer, Handboek, p. 527). 

136 History of the Dutch People 

he was privately asked if help could be omitted without 
offending England too much. The English ambassador 
reported that his government would not press the demand 
for the present and sent back the transports already 
appearing at Hellevoetsluis. But England did not for- 
give the covered refusal and repeatedly threatened to 
repeal the treaties thus violated. 

The consequences of this weakness were not absent. 
While France showed satisfaction at the feeble attitude 
of the republic and in reward aided its commerce by 
favourable stipulations, England began to capture and 
to declare as prizes Dutch vessels reputed to carry " con- 
traband." It was not to be denied that many Dutch 
merchants in trading with the French islands in the 
West Indies gave good cause for such practices. Com- 
merce with the French coasts also afforded reason to 
legitimate complaints from the English side. English 
privateers everywhere attacked and captured Dutch ships ; 
English war-ships did the same. Vehement complaints 
followed on the part of the Dutch. The admiralties hesi- 
tated to furnish convoys for the protection of commerce 
from fear of difficulties like those leading to the first 
English war and from want of funds, as they were head 
over ears in debt. On land and sea care had to be 
taken to avoid hostilities from the belligerents, and at 
any moment trouble might arise. That this was no 
groundless fear appeared from many a movement of the 
French and Prussian armies towards the open eastern 
frontiers, always fortunately diverted in time by vic- 
tories of the opposing party to another part of the seat 
of war. Naturally the question came up whether both 
army and navy ought not to be strengthened in order 
to preserve neutrality. Dutch merchants wanted strong 
convoys for their merchantmen and constantly addressed 
vigorous representations to the States. Finally Holland 
proposed to fit out stronger convoys, and the States- 

Princess Anne's Regency 137 

General resolved to send to sea fourteen ships as con- 
voys with four thousand men. But the admiralties had 
no money to execute the order. The general petition of 
1757, drawn up by the princess and the council of state, 
remarked earnestly upon the sad fall of the sea power, 
counting not even thirty ships, so that the ruin of com- 
merce and navigation was at the door. The increase of 
the army was strongly pleaded in this notable general 
petition, it having dropped to thirty-three thousand men. 
The document made a deep impression. Four provinces 
assented to all its proposals, but Zealand declared itself 
unable, and Holland and Friesland, while confirming the 
necessity of augmenting the navy, refused to sanction 
any increase of the army, so that the affair remained in 
suspense, as the princess declined to provide for the 
navy without doing something also for the army. With 
difficulty the impoverished admiralties fitted out the four- 
teen ships required. Some of these ships upheld the 
honour of the flag in an admirable manner, but they were 
too few in number to protect Dutch commerce in all seas. 
From all sides came complaints and estimates of the 
losses already sustained, which were put at over twelve 
millions in a loss of fifty-six vessels sailing to Curasao, 
St. Eustatius, and other Antilles. While Holland, de- 
spite the occupation of Ostend and Nieuwpoort by French 
troops and the violation of Dutch territory on the Meuse, 
disputed the necessity of increasing the army and was 
supported by Friesland, while Yorke in England's name 
complained loudly of French activity in Belgium with 
the connivance of the Austrian government, the mer- 
chants of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Dordrecht began 
to apply to the princess. In June, 1758, a number of 
them went to court and received the promise of support 
in case proofs were given her. A new deputation 
brought them in July, but the princess had already 
visited the Estates of Holland twice and urged an in- 

138 History of the Dutch People 

crease of army and navy. Holland now resolved to 
fit out six frigates, and the land provinces requested 
an increase of the army by thirteen thousand men. 
So matters advanced not a step, and the losses at sea 
went on. 

Meanwhile the state of war made itself felt in the 
poverty of the families of seamen imprisoned in England, 
in the standstill of some export business, in the heavy 
losses of merchants. Again the merchants turned to the 
princess hoping through her intervention to obtain some- 
thing from George II., her father, or from the States. 
They offered her in November new lists of losses, which 
announced in addition to the twelve millions already 
mentioned further losses of thirteen millions through the 
capture by England of no less than sixty Dutch ships. 
The princess declared she had done what she could. She 
asked: "What do you want me to do?" and requested 
patience for a few weeks to wait for the effect of her 
new representations in London. But it soon appeared 
that England would never allow trade with the French 
islands in the West Indies and the importation of ma- 
terials for ships into France. The merchants now de- 
termined to send a numerous delegation to The Hague 
to make known what must be done there; on December 
7th, to the number of forty, they presented to the prin- 
cess a violent manifesto, calling for energetic efforts to 
persuade England to give back the captured ships with 
their cargoes and for " sufficient protection for naviga- 
tion over the whole world." The princess answered that 
it was not her fault but that of the regents opposing 
her in every way, that army and navy were not in a 
condition to do their duty; more might be heard from 
her councillor, De Larrey. But De Larrey could only 
say that the princess absolutely would approve of no in- 
crease of the navy without an increase of the army and 
further that there was little chance of England's return- 

Princess Anne's Regency 139 

ing the captured vessels. Some days later the princess 
complained in the States-General of the tone of the dele- 
gation towards her, while she once more urged " augmen- 
tation on the land" and "equipage on the sea" in her 
opinion not to be separated from one. another. The mer- 
chants of Amsterdam and Kotterdam, dissatisfied with 
the answer at court, did not stop at this, but applied to 
the Estates of Holland, while their address to the prin- 
cess, printed in thousands of copies, spread excitement 
and discontent with the government of the ruler, who 
was blamed for everything. The negotiations with Yorke 
brought nothing but exasperation, resulting in a very un- 
satisfactory remonstrance from the English side against 
trade with the French possessions and in materials for 
ships, while there was no mention of restoring the cap- 
tured ships. More and more people, even among the 
partisans of Orange, attributed the fault of the desperate 
state of affairs to the princess, whose obstinacy was 
generally disapproved of. She aroused anger also by 
her attitude in refusing to recognise the nomination sent 
to her for the appointment of four burgomasters at 
Haarlem in September, 1757. Minds were agitated 
further by a violent war of pamphlets concerning the 
character of John de Witt and his " faction," a vigorous 
revival of the old contest. 

Complaints of the powerful court party surrounding 
the princess and its creatures in the provinces were not 
lacking; the avarice of some courtiers, the intrigues in 
the distribution of important places, the management of 
foreign affairs by the " secret council " of the princess, 
in which had seats again the Bentincks, De Larrey, and 
Fagel with Brunswick, of domestic affairs by the favour- 
ites of the princess, excited much discontent. Her atti- 
tude towards England was ascribed to the English 
influence prevailing around her. In general it was be- 
lieved that at The Hague there were many English or 

140 History of the Dutch People 

French partisans but " no Hollanders," so that English 
or French and not Dutch interests decided matters. 
Many a sharp pamphlet of this time must have left the 
same impression. But the constant endeavour of the 
government to oppose the increasing excitement could 
not stop the rising current of popular opinion, which 
in the end must inevitably lead to a war with England. 
Amid this violent strife of interests and intrigues, amid 
internal difficulties and foreign dangers menacing the 
republic in its prosperity and very existence the princess 
could scarcely hold the reins of government in her hands. 
Her health, having grown weaker of late years and now 
showing plainly symptoms of consumption, was ever less 
equal to the heavy task resting on her shoulders. At first 
she had been unwilling to consider plans for regulating 
the guardianship over her young son and daughter, averse 
as she was to cooperation with Brunswick, the person 
indicated in case of her death to act as governor; her 
friends continually warned her against the duke's am- 
bition. But with the help of Steyn and the two Ben- 
tin cks he finally succeeded in overcoming her often 
insulting distrust and in obtaining her full consent to 
the plan of Holland, prepared in 1752, for intrusting 
him with the general guardianship. The dreaded event 
could not be much longer postponed, as people saw clearly 
at The Hague. The princess had hardly been able to 
stand at the reception of the merchants and on her last 
visit to the Estates of Holland. In the first days of 
1750, when she was preparing for the marriage of her 
daughter Carolina, sixteen years of age, to Prince 
Charles Christian of Nassau-Weilburg, major-general of 
the Dutch army and governor of Bergen op Zoom, 
and with an eye to the hereditary succession had 
asked the consent of the different provinces, her con- 
dition became such that all hope of improvement had 
to be given up. She died on January 12th, over forty- 

Princess Anne's Regency 


nine years old, in her last moments committing her 
two children to the duke, in whom they were to find 
a father, and whose advice they were to follow in all 

Kit* W3f^ 




» *% 







THE death of the princess made less impression than 
that of her husband. Even many partisans of the 
house of Orange did not regard her demise as a great 
loss. Her obstinacy, pride, accessibility to intrigue, and 
excitability threatened to throw into the scales the posi- 
tion of her son and of the entire stadtholdership. The 
party of the States, developing strength with every day, 
considered her death as a deliverance. The " plaintive 
accents " heard here and there were more utterances of 
sympathy for the orphaned children than laments over 
the loss of the " mother of the country." Now the stadt- 
holdership had to be saved for her son. In the eyes of 
the stadtholder and the States parties the duke of Bruns- 
wick was the man of the hour. With great dexterity he 
managed to secure the favour of both parties and to 
preserve undiminished the stadtholder's power for the 
future. The guardianship over the prince nearly eleven 
years of age was conferred upon him as " governing 
guardian " by the will of the princess and by solemn 
resolution of the States-General under supervision of the 
king George II. and the old princess Maria Louisa and 
with the aid of a council of trustworthy Orange partisans. 
The office of captain-general of the union was intrusted to 
Brunswick without difficulty; that of admiral-general 
was left unfilled to the great detriment of the navy, 


The Republic under Duke and Prince 143 

while the admiralties were placed under the immediate 
care of the States-General. Somewhat related to these 
matters was the marriage of Princess Carolina with the 
Lutheran prince of Nassau- Wei lburg, who by this union 
would obtain for his posterity claims upon the hereditary 
succession. The old Frisian cabal seriously thought of 
elevating the princess of sixteen to be governess in order 
to thrust out the hated duke of Brunswick, but the in- 
trigue was unsuccessful. In Utrecht and Holland diffi- 
culties arose concerning the prince's religion, yet they 
did not prevent the marriage from taking place in March, 
1760. So Brunswick, though not invested with the whole 
power of the stadtholder, was for a time the chief per- 
sonage in the republic, as he was consulted in everything 
as the young prince's guardian and the actual represen- 
tative of the stadtholder. 

The great difficulties continued, in which the republic 
was involved with the belligerent powers in and outside 
of Europe. Though convinced the old bonds with Eng- 
land and with his beloved Austria should be renewed, 
Brunswick was troubled by the losses inflicted on Dutch 
commerce by England in the war; towards Prussia and 
France he wished also a strict neutrality, knowing well 
that the republic was not in a condition to wage war. 
But the English depredations, which made impossible 
the once flourishing commerce with the West Indies and 
France, could not go on. At the entreaty of the mer- 
chants it was resolved in March, 1759, by the States- 
General to send an embassy to England. The embassy 
did not have the desired success. English privateering 
and searching of ships continued, and Yorke protested 
vigorously against the trade with the French coasts and 
colonies. The country must help itself, unless d'Affry's 
proposition was accepted to stop the wrong done to the 
Dutch flag with the powerful help of French vessels. On 
the last day of the life of the princess Holland proposed 

144 History of the Dutch People 

to fit out twenty-five ships, and with great difficulty the 
plan was carried out. Only twenty-one vessels were made 
ready, but now it was at least possible to furnish a 
sufficient convoy, and commerce at once derived great 
advantage, as the English acts of violence diminished 
at this vigorous attitude. In the years following a like 
power was put forth and with a like success. The 
neutral position of the republic constituted it an appro- 
priate mediator between the belligerents, who were 
growing weary of the war raging so terribly in Germany. 
After his great defeat at Kunersdorf by the united Aus- 
trian and Russian armies Frederick II. was so hard 
pressed that at the end of October, 1759, he requested 
Through English intervention the duke of Brunswick to 
mediate. Brunswick, after consultation with Steyn, 
Fagel, and Bentinck, assumed the honourable task and 
brought the Anglo-Prussian offer of negotiation to the gov- 
ernments of Russia, Austria, and France, but, encouraged 
by their successes, they answered unfavourably in the 
spring of 1700. The war seemed about to extend further 
early in 1702 by Spain's joining France and Portugal's 
siding with the English, when the political horizon was 
cleared by the sudden death of the Russian empress 
Elizabeth, who was Frederick II. 's personal enemy and 
was succeeded by his admirer Peter III. Russia and 
Sweden withdrew immediately from the war, and the 
former allied itself with Prussia ; the shameful murder of 
the new Russian ruler changed the outlook, but his suc- 
cessor Catherine II. maintained the policy of peace begun 
by her husband. So Austria, supported only by weak 
Poland and Saxony, while France had enough to do with 
the English war, had to accept the peace of Hubertsburg, 
by which it left Silesia to Prussia. The dangerous war 
on land thus came to an end. 

The maritime war, injurious to Dutch commercial inter- 
ests, developed more and more to the advantage of England 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 145 

ruling the seas. After the accession of George III. in 
1760 England exerted all its strength to cut down the 
colonial power of France and Spain. Under the manage- 
ment of William Pitt its fleet of over one hundred and fifty 
ships was everywhere victorious over the smaller French 
and Spanish navies ; the loss of Minorca, with which the 
war opened in 1756, was avenged from the English side by 
an efficient blockade of the entire French coast and re- 
peated attacks on French ports. In the colonies affairs 
were no better for the allies: Canada fell into English 
hands; in Hindostan Olive, as general of the English 
East India Company, destroyed what was left of the great 
French empire in India, of which Dupleix had dreamed, 
and in 1761 the old capital of the French power, Pondi- 
cherry, came into the enemy's possession; Senegal in 
Africa, Martinique, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Tobago in 
the West Indies went the same way. Secret discussions 
in Ryswick and at The Hague between French and Eng- 
lish diplomatists, under the mediation again of Dutch 
statesmen, led finally to negotiations concerning a sepa- 
rate peace, which was brought about in February, 1763, 
at Paris and sealed the fall of France as a colonial and 
maritime power. Canada, the forts on the Ohio and the 
left bank of the Mississippi excepting only New Orleans, 
various islands in the West Indies, nearly all Senegal, 
French Hindostan with the exception of Pondicherry 
and a few small places became English territory; Spain 
had to give up Florida and received in return the French 
possessions on the right bank of the Mississippi. Thence- 
forth England was lord and master in North America, 
as well as in the Antilles, western Africa, and Hindostan. 
It was evident that the English sea power far surpassed 
that of the Dutch and also that the English colonial 
power was the first in the world. Woe to the republic, 
if it wished to renew the old rivalry and should thereby 
change the protecting friendship of powerful England 

VOL. V — IO 

146 History of the Dutch People 

into enmity! The policy of the duke of Brunswick 
and the council pensionary Steyn aimed to preserve a 
good understanding with England, if possible to restore 
the old alliance of the maritime powers. 

The Seven Years' War had for the republic evil con- 
sequences. Dutch commerce had suffered notably from 
the long insecurity on the sea. Dreading heavy losses, 
wealthy merchants retired from business and lived upon 
their income. After the fall of the regents' party in 
1748 some of its younger members went again into trade, 
but many preferred dealing in money to trading in goods, 
and the number of banking houses in Amsterdam visibly 
increased. Capital, scared by the losses suffered in com- 
merce and industry, turned more and more to investments 
in government securities, especially those of foreign coun- 
tries, which paid a high interest. Amsterdam, formerly 
the seat of commerce, slowly became that of the money 
business, and with it speculation in stocks mastered the 
commercial world. In the eighteenth century requests 
for loans coming from all sides to Amsterdam could 
speedily find what was wanted. Foreign powers, from 
England," 1 France, and Austria to Russia, Denmark, 
Spain, Sweden, Poland, to the smallest German states, 
foreign princes for themselves personally, domestic and 
foreign companies, magistrates of city and country came 
to the Amsterdam Exchange to negotiate loans. Already 
reduced by increasing competition, Amsterdam commerce 
changed its character, and monetary transactions came 

1 Of the one hundred million pounds sterling, at which the 
English public debt was estimated, one quarter was in Dutch 
hands (Hardenbroek, Gedenkschriften, i., p. 217) ; furthermore 
many Netherlander possessed stock in English companies, so 
that it was calculated that fifteen million pounds in interest on 
English indebtedness was annually collected here. See De 
Koopman, vol. iii., passim, and Sautijn Kluit, De Amsterdamsche 
Beurs in 1763 en 1773 (Amsterdam, 1865), p. 76. 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 147 

to the fore in the old commercial metropolis. The busi- 
ness of exchange could thrive under these circumstances, 
so that hundreds made considerable profits by the dan- 
gerous discounting of bills of exchange. The Jews espe- 
cially went into this business energetically and showed 
themselves masters in it. But the old love of speculation 
asserted itself. As in 1720, small capitalists and rich 
merchants engaged in pernicious speculation on the rise 
and fall of " public effects." The Amsterdam Exchange 
was interested in the monetary transactions made neces- 
sary by the Seven Years' War in Germany, both for the 
military needs of the belligerents and for the payment of 
tribute levied on city and country. These transactions 
caused a gigantic expansion of the already flourishing 
business of exchange with Amsterdam and Hamburg as 
centres, which business soon, with the numerous indorse- 
ments on the bills of exchange, gave rise to an extensive 
jobbing in bills. Exchange on Germany and the northern 
kingdoms increased, so that thebills represented an amount 
calculated at fifteen times their actual value, without the 
funds for payment being in the possession of the drawers. 
This went well, so long as there was no settlement and 
money flowed abundantly, but must bring trouble in the 
end, and in the spring of 1763, when settlements were 
in progress after the peace, rumours were rife of failures 
to be expected in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and other cities. 
The great house of De Neufville in Amsterdam, long a 
pillar of the Exchange but deeply involved in bill job- 
bing and stock speculation, failed suddenly on July 25th 
with liabilities of nearly three millions and dragged down 
some fifty other houses. This hard blow to credit was 
felt immediately in Hamburg, where almost a hundred 
firms had to suspend payment and the bank was closed 
for a time. Not until September did the Hamburg Ex- 
change recover from the shock, which had effected also 
Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Leipzig. Fearing a 

148 History of the Dutch People 

general financial crisis, the governments considered mat- 
ters, and Frederick II. urged upon the States-General a 
speedy settlement at Amsterdam in order to save the 
house of De Neufville from ruin. But the States-General 
were unwilling to interfere in the " wind business," and 
the Estates of Holland let strict law take its course. 
The Amsterdam panic of August and September, 1763, 
which had left unharmed almost no important business 
house, slowly came to an end in the autumn. What had 
happened brought out a whole series of pamphlets, crowd- 
ing the bookstalls and directed mainly against the bank- 
rupts and against the Jews, who were thought guilty of 
having produced the crisis. A year later De Neufville 
promised to pay sixty per cent., and the house, suspected 
but envied on account of its great operations, was 

This all brought the duke of Brunswick into difficulties, 
and no less trouble was caused him by the French am- 
bassador's intrigues with some members of the govern- 
ment. Onno Zwier van Haren and Gronsfelt were 
intimate with d'Affry, and the latter acknowledges that 
Gronsfelt offered to sell himself for ten thousand livres, 
while Van Haren secretly deliberated with the French 
ambassador to combat the influence of the hated duke. 
But the Frisian statesman's far from brilliant part was 
soon played to an end. A wretched family history, cast- 
ing an indelible stain upon his moral character, became 
the means of removing him from The Hague and the 
government. To escape criminal prosecution he retired 
to his Frisian estates, where he lived for years and sought 
consolation in poetry. With him fell in the most shame- 
ful way the Frisian " cabal," which had obstructed first 
Bentinck and then the duke. Grovestins, Van der Mieden, 
and other members of the old Frisian party were thrust 
aside or removed from court. The victorious duke, sup- 
ported by Steyn, Bentinck, and Fagel, successfully op- 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 149 

posed elsewhere efforts to deprive him of his place. He 
succeeded in regulating his relation to the powerful gov- 
ernment of Amsterdam in a manner satisfactory to both 
parties by acceding as much as possible to the wishes 
and needs of commerce and by leaving the Amsterdam 
regents free in their actions. Slowly the duke managed 
everywhere in the cities and provinces of the republic 
to play factions and leagues against one another and to 
place in the chief offices a number of his trusted ad- 
herents, who remained in correspondence with him and 
warned him of any impending danger. So he continued 
to have the guidance of the young prince and, not letting 
him out of sight, by great care for his mental and bodily 
welfare, by economic management of his finances, he won 
the thanks of all qualified to judge him. Whatever may 
have been asserted later by the duke's enemies, there is 
no doubt but that such talk must be branded as calumny, 
although it is true that the prince, in consequence of 
the duke's constant supervision, learned more and more 
to see only through his eyes. From the diaries and 
correspondence of the duke it appears that the young 
prince received a careful education which, however, could 
not remove the defects of his character, that later came 
out plainly, any more than it could make up for his 
lack of intellect by a superabundance of knowledge. But 
the duke succeeded at least in gaining the good-will of 
the partisans of the States. When the young prince 
himself assumed the government on March 8, 1766, the 
duke stood in high favour with the regents. It rained 
thanks for his inestimable services, for his fatherly care 
which it was hoped might be continued for the country. 
The States-General, the council of state, the provincial 
Estates exhausted themselves in testimonials of gratitude, 
manifesting it also in considerable presents in money, to 
the amount of over six hundred thousand guilders, which 
came in very opportunely for his heavy debts. 

150 History of the Dutch People 

The system of government followed by the duke of 
Brunswick was after his retirement from the guardian- 
ship of the minor prince taken over by the latter without 
change. The hereditary stadtholder dignities, which 
William IV. had possessed, now went to his son. Not 
independent of judgment, this becoming worse by his 
reserve and obstinacy, with slight love of work and little 
insight into the great interests of state, while he had 
his eyes wide open for details, much attached to his 
prerogatives, simple, friendly, and inspired with the best 
intentions, but without " nerve in his soul," William V. 
in his own estimation was not the man to take up with 
a firm grasp the necessary reform of the state begun by 
his father. From fear of influences that might act on 
the young prince, soon after he became of age and appar- 
ently at the instigation of the duke, who had promised 
to remain in the country, a measure of importance was 
taken with the object of keeping affairs in the direction 
entered upon from the beginning of the duke's regency. 
And the young prince, mindful of the wishes expressed 
by both his parents on their deathbed, grateful for the 
fatherly cares of him who had guided his youth, was 
readily induced to approve this measure. Thus arose 
the " act of consultation " of May 3, 1766, by which the 
duke bound himself to assist the prince by word and 
deed in the conduct of the affairs of the military and 
all the other departments of the government. The docu- 
ment, signed by both the contracting parties and solemnly 
sworn to by Brunswick, was officially subscribed by the 
secretary De Larrey. Fagel and the Delft pensionary 
Van Bleiswijk were chiefly instrumental in drawing up 
the document. Only a few trusted men, as Bentinck and 
Steyn, were informed of the matter, which otherwise 
remained a deep secret. So the duke's influence upon 
the course of affairs in the republic continued, and the 
vicious system of government was established for an 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 151 

indefinite period, as it had been developed since Wil- 
liam IV. and particularly about 17G0. Under William V. 
also the government of the republic was one of intrigue, 
selfishness, and secret understanding between the hered- 
itary stadtholder and his avaricious creatures in city 
and country, who managed municipal and provincial 
interests and distributed offices at their own will. A 
fatal system was this that finally was to bring the repub- 
lic into a decline. The chief counterpoise to the stadt- 
holder's power was the independent government of 
Amsterdam, supported by other cities; so long as the 
stadtholder respected the interests of these cities and 
their regents, he could rule as he pleased. No such 
stadtholders council as Bentinck had suggested was 
formed. Fearing its influence, Brunswick would not con- 
sent to it, and the prince agreed; he believed affairs 
might be settled with the regular officials: the council 
pensionary, the clerk, the treasurer-general, and the 
secretary of the council of state, each of whom he could 
consult separately. The prince, who followed no rules 
in his labours and often threw state documents aside 
for days in order to enjoy himself, did not work regu- 
larly with them, gave them his advice instead of asking 
theirs, and left the rest to them, thus putting all the 
responsibility upon himself. In the first years the duke 
was the only constant adviser, whose advice was gen- 
erally followed, and whose influence behind the scenes 
was no longer contested, although dissatisfaction began 
speedily to spread among the citizens. When Steyn died 
in 1772, the duke replaced him by his creature, the 
vacillating but ambitious Van Bleiswijk, who promised 
to be a willing tool in his hands. The duke looked out 
that nobody around the prince should rise up against 
him and thus held the prince in subjection. 

The high-minded and vain Bentinck was vexed to see 
himself shoved aside. The man, who had been in 1747 

152 History of the Dutch People 

the restorer of the stadtholcler's authority, now became 
its opponent. But it went no further than personal 
wrangling and unpleasantness, which embittered still 
more the old stateman's life, saddened by financial and 
domestic difficulties, until death in October, 1774, relieved 
the duke of this enemy. His brother, Charles Bentinck, 
influential under William IV., belonged among the duke's 
adversaries and was banished from the prince's presence. 
So the duke of Brunswick remained actually the leader 
of the government in the republic, even now when the 
prince was reputed to reign. With great care he con- 
sidered the delicate affair of a marriage to be contracted 
by the prince; English, Danish, Brunswick princesses 
were mentioned, finally the young princess Frederika 
Sophia Wilhelmina of Prussia, the beloved niece of Fred- 
erick II., her mother being a Brunswick princess and 
the duke's sister. Frederick II. repeatedly sounded the 
duke concerning this marriage, and the latter consented, 
knowing well how unpopular another English marriage 
would be. The princess, scarcely sixteen years old, viva- 
cious, energetic, excellently educated, intelligent, and 
amiable, was united to the stadtholder in October, 1767, 
and came a month later amid general rejoicing to The 
Hague, where she at first kept in the background but 
quickly became tired of the duke's domination. The 
Prussian lady von Dankelmann was sent with her by 
her royal uncle in order to counsel the inexperienced 
girl and to protect her from Brunswick's influence, which 
brought down Brunswick's hatred upon the lady. Dur- 
ing the first years the princess refrained from any hostile 
action against the duke. The marriage with a " royal " 
princess of the now high house of Hohenzollern seemed 
to increase the prestige of the house of Orange, and in 
1708 there was serious thought of distinguishing the 
prince by a higher official title and of securing to him 
as " royal highness " the rank of his mother and his 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 153 

wife. This, however, was not accomplished. The bril- 
liancy of the court at The Hague was second to none 
in Europe, and the birth of a princess in 1770, soon 
followed by two princes, assured the future of the family 
actually ruling over the republic. 

The first years of Prince William V.'s reign passed with- 
out disturbance. Peace prevailing everywhere favoured 
the development of commerce and industry. The credit 
of the state, temporarily shocked by the panic of 1763, 
was only slightly assailed by a similar one of ten years 
later, when speculation in the stock of the English East 
India Company in consequence of the brilliant victories 
of the company under Clive in Hindostan brought about 
bankruptcies first in London and then at Amsterdam. 
The sudden failure of the old house of Clifford in Am- 
sterdam towards New Year's of 1773, dragging down 
other houses, was mainly the result of excessive specula- 
tion, which had many victims among the small capital- 
ists but was finally checked by cooperation between 
the bank and government of Amsterdam. There were 
some difficulties and dissensions, which had to be 
settled by the intervention of the young stadtholder, but 
they were not of a serious nature. That the condition 
of the country about 1770 might be called not unfavour- 
able, at least for the upper classes, appeared from the 
growth of commerce in the new period of peace and from 
the foundation of a number of learned societies for the 
study of literature and natural sciences, as well as from 
the drainage undertaken in the country of South Hol- 
land. More attention than ever was devoted to the care 
of the rivers under the guidance of the Leyden professor 
Lulofs, inspector of the country's streams. 

There was a pressing need of improving conditions in 
the navy, and at the end of 1707 the prince in presenting 
the petition to the States-General called attention to the 
extremely small number of ships of war. He urged 

154 History of the Dutch People 

the carrying out of previous resolutions for the construc- 
tion and equipment of twenty-five ships to be prepared 
for all contingencies. But the refusals of the provinces 
afforded slight hope for the accomplishment of these 
wishes, though the prince repeated them year after year. 
The Estates of Holland in February, 1771, declared that 
the navy was near ruin, if measures were not immediately 
taken for building ships and furnishing money to the 
admiralties ; otherwise the name of maritime power would 
become for the republic a " mere title." The council of 
state in April presented a plan for the building of twenty- 
four heavy ships of the line. Thus some sort of an 
appearance might be made with the sixty-six weaker 
vessels, which were still in service, though some of them 
were thirty or forty years old and hardly seaworthy. 
What a poor showing was this in comparison with the 
British navy, counting nearly three hundred ships with 
one hundred thousand men, or with the French fleet of 
over two hundred ships! But action did not yet come. 
The four millions required for building gave rise to end- 
less discussions in most of the provinces ; not until 1778, 
after six years, was the proposition finally accepted. 
Then, however, it was too late. 

New difficulties with England began. Its American 
colonies, much developed since the peace of Utrecht and 
grown to a connected territory on the eastern coast of 
North America with a million and a half of white in- 
habitants and hundreds of thousands of slaves, had 
become still more powerful in consequence of the favour- 
able course of the naval war with France and Spain. 
Their white population possessed a great feeling of 
independence, being the descendants largely of English, 
Dutch, French, German emigrants, who had left their 
country on account of religion, in the south of Spanish 
emigrants coming as early as the sixteenth century for 
other reasons, and having been steeled in the continuous 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 155 

wars against the Indians. The northern colonies of 
English and Dutch ancestry presented a peculiar, almost 
national type, which was distinguished as essentially 
" American." The commerce of Boston and New York 
upon their own coast and in the West Indies, the rice, 
tobacco, and indigo plantations of Carolina and Mary- 
land, the agriculture of Pennsylvania flourished and 
diffused prosperity and wealth; civilisation and science 
began to develop, not least at the universities founded 
in the seventeenth century, and the name of the great 
Benjamin Franklin resounded in Europe. This energetic 
population, further increased in importance through the 
annexation of the former French possessions, had serious 
grievances against the way, in which its interests were 
subordinated to those of the mother country in Europe. 
The English navigation laws, notably the old Navigation 
Act, which bound its import and export trade to the 
motherland and prohibited the use of other than English 
vessels, the accompanying strict customs regulations, by 
which American commerce and industry remained en- 
tirely dependent on the English, had repeatedly caused 
troubles, some proceeding from the smuggling with the 
Antilles as the point of departure. Now came, in 1765, 
an attempt, by the introduction of a stamp tax and more 
vigorous enforcement of the customs regulations, to make 
the colonies share more in the burdens of the mother 
country, which was suffering from the financial conse- 
quences of the last naval war waged for the great benefit 
of the American colonies. The Americans protested 
against this taxation without their consent, repugnant 
to the dearest traditions of the English and Dutch citi- 
zen. Their representative in London, Franklin himself, 
emphasised the fact that the colonies had no seat in 
the Parliament imposing this tax. During eight years 
they protested vehemently against this colonial policy, 
feeling more and more united in opposition to the mother 

156 History of the Dutch People 

country, and under the lead of such men as Franklin, 
John Adams, George Washington, Patrick Henry exhaust- 
ing all lawful means to demonstrate their right. But 
the English government, no longer guided by Pitt and 
his Whigs but by the Tories, did not comprehend the 
importance of the ever-increasing revolt. When it finally 
gave way somewhat to the pressure of the liberal oppo- 
sition and repealed the duties introduced with the excep- 
tion of that upon tea, just this tax became the cause 
of a tumult at Boston, where disguised colonists threw 
the cargoes of tea overboard into the harbour, while in 
other ports the tea could not be disembarked or rotted 
in the warehouses. The English government now re- 
solved to adopt vigorous measures and sent troops to 
America, whereupon the American colonists took up arms 
and in September, 1774, called together a congress at 
Philadelphia. Twelve colonies were represented there; 
they determined to maintain their rights and for a time 
to suspend all commerce with England. In the follow- 
ing spring the English troops at Lexington attacked the 
insurgent volunteers of Massachusetts, and thus began 
the American uprising against English tyranny, soon 
under the lead of Washington as chief commander in 
the name of the congress representing all thirteen states. 
England sent out armies and fleets to constrain the 
colonies to obedience, while the latter did not stop at 
opposition but declared themselves independent on July 
4, 1776. From the beginning divided among themselves 
by the resistance of many colonists attached to England 
and not equipped with the means for waging a great 
war, the colonies suffered in the first years, notwithstand- 
ing the brilliant leadership of Washington and his friends, 
severe defeats, which were only atoned for in part by 
a few victories. 

The course of these affairs was followed in Europe 
with great interest, especially in France, where it was 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 157 

hoped to take away the harm of the defeat suffered in 
the Seven Years' War. In the republic also there was 
interest, where people, mindful of their own revolt against 
Spain, felt sympathy for the new republican state and 
hoped to see a blow inflicted on the power of the formid- 
able competitor, still regarded by many as the arch- 
enemy across the North Sea in spite of a century of 
friendship. In both countries was the desire for prof- 
itable commercial relations with the rich American 
provinces, hitherto accessible only to English merchants 
and smugglers. The danger of England's supremacy on 
the sea seemed as threatening to the independence of 
other nations as that formerly of Spain or France on 
the land. France secretly aided the insurgents with 
money, arms, and clothing, and the young Marquis de 
Lafayette with a number of volunteers embarked for 
America amid the plaudits of all France. Franklin, now 
settled at Passy near Paris, was commissioned by the 
American Congress to negotiate an alliance, which was 
concluded on February 6, 1778, between France and the 
United States and was completed in the following year 
by the accession of Spain. The war in Europe actually 
begun, though without any declaration of war, compelled 
England to keep an eye on its coasts and commercial 
interests and had a decisive influence upon the course 
of the war in America; it gave Washington and his men 
new courage, aroused further by the appearance of a 
French auxiliary corps in America and a Franco-Spanish 
fleet in the Antilles; it paralysed also the activity of the 
insufficient English force in the colonies. Washington, 
whose army in 1777 was almost disbanded by want of 
money and bad organisation, was soon on the Hudson 
again, and his generals pushed the English into the 
southern ports. What attitude was the republic to take? 
Should it again remain neutral as in the maritime war? 
Should it give ear to English entreaty and come to the 

158 History of the Dutch People 

help of the old ally? Or should it, ardent for the new 
resistance to tyranny and desirous of opening new roads 
for commerce, join America, France, and Spain, and help 
inflict a telling blow upon its redoubtable rival in the 
world's market? These questions occupied its entire 
population, which watched the struggle across the ocean 
with lively interest and great sympathy for the enemies 
of its old enemy and submitted unwillingly to the cau- 
tious policy of the government striving for neutrality as 
in the last war. 

Since the end of the sixteenth century the Scotch 
brigade x had been in the Dutch service, a corps recruited 
mostly from Scotland and commanded by Scottish officers. 
On account of the great need of troops for the war in 
America, the English king late in 1775 requested the 
republic through the stadtholder to lend him this brigade, 
recruited from his own subjects and numbering about 
one thousand men. The prince in November presented 
this request to the States-General, which made the prov- 
inces acquainted with it, and it produced great agita- 
tion. The weak advisers of the prince shrank from the 
responsibility, and, though four provinces had consented, 
the matter was put aside by the prince in the spring with 
the answer that such a loan of troops seemed possible, 
if they were to be used in Europe only, provided England 
would replace them with German troops. England did 
not revert to the subject, and not unfounded appeared 
Brunswick's supposition that England had merely aimed 
to put an end to the enlistment of Scottish troops in 
the Dutch service. Soon came other troubles of a more 
serious nature to augment the difficulties. The Antilles 
became again the scene of a trade in contraband on a 
large scale, the more so as these islands had commercial 
relations with the English colonies on the American 
coast, whence they obtained their wood and provisions, 

1 See The Scot's Brigade in Holland (Edinb., 1899), ii., p. 468. 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 159 

and where they brought their products to market, so 
far as the strict English trade regulations allowed. The 
Dutch islands of St. Eustatius and Curasao were the centre 
of this trade, and the former in particular experienced 
prosperous times, having been hitherto *■ an insignificant 
bald rock, which might now be called a " magazine 
for all the nations of the earth." The population in- 
creased constantly; hundreds of merchants settled there; 
it was visited by many ships, sailing to and from the 
English and French colonies, in 1778-1779 by more than 
three thousand. The governor of the island, Heyliger, 
had to be replaced in September, 1776, at the demand 
of England, but his successor, the energetic De Graeff, 
was no more desirous of pleasing the English, and smug- 
gling continued unchecked at St. Eustatius. There on 
November 16, 1776, the new American flag was saluted 
by the newly appointed Dutch governor with the firing 
of cannon and was treated as that of an independent 
power on all the ships of the rebels. This virtual recog- 
nition awakened the just anger of England, and Yorke 
in February presented a strong protest with a demand 
for the dismissal also of this governor. Yorke expressed 
himself still more violently in his interview with the 
prince, the duke, and the council pensionary. The duke, 
well disposed towards England, was indignant at the 
conduct of the English ambassador, whose violent lan- 
guage had often hindered him. He desired " manly 
firmness " in opposition to Yorke. The States-General 
complained of the tone of the protest, acknowledged the 
obligation to watch against the transportation of contra- 
band, and summoned De Graeff home to vindicate himself, 
although he, alleging sickness, was soon able to return 
to his station. So St. Eustatius remained the smuggling 
centre, the rendezvous of everything the rebels needed, 

1 Jameson, St. Eustatius in the American Revolution (North 
American Review, July, 1903, p. 683). 

160 History of the Dutch People 

the staple of their own products; this trade was con- 
tinued on the appearance of a Franco-Spanish squadron 
in the Antilles despite the sharp complaints of Yorke. 
But this affair did not bring about war; for some years 
St. Eustatius was the " Tyre " of the Antilles, as Burke 
called it, the rich " mine of fortune " for Dutch and 
American, even for British merchants, who did not hesi- 
tate to seek gain wherever it was to be found. 

Everything showed that the unpleasant relation be- 
tween England and the republic of the early years of 
the Seven Years' War had sprung up again and that 
public opinion in the republic had turned more sharply 
than ever against the old ally. A number of pamphlets 
advocated joining France, Spain, and America; others, 
like the " letters " of the learned count of Nassau — La 
Lecq, a descendant of Prince Maurice, were limited more 
to proving the justice of the American cause. Sym- 
pathy was felt with the democratic spirit that raised its 
head in England and moved minds in America. The 
ideas of Montesquieu and of the French philosophers had 
here exerted some influence in this direction. Influential 
among the numerous students of French literature was 
Rousseau's book Le contrat social, which in 1762 brought 
to the front again the old notion, developed also by Hugo 
de Groot, of a government by agreement, the people 
originally transferring the power to the magistrates. 
The ideas of the English democrats worked more strongly 
upon the Overyssel regent, Joan Derk van der Capellen 
tot den Poll, and his friends. Richard Price's work, 
Observations on civil liberty, translated by Van der 
Capellen, and his idealistic Observations on the impor- 
tance of the American Revolution and the means of 
making it a benefit to the world were eagerly read in 
Holland; Van der Capellen was in correspondence with 
him and other Englishmen friendly to America. Priest- 
ley's philos®phical-theological views were immediately 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 161 

translated and perused. The new ideas found devoted 
adherents not least in the circles of the Mennonites, 
Remonstrants, and Catholics thrust aside by the ruling 
Reformed Church. In this popular movement they saw 
the means of freeing themselves from the ecclesiastical 
as well as the aristocratical yoke. Sympathy with the 
American insurgents was the feeling now prevailing over 
everything. Amsterdam's commerce, hoping for a prof- 
itable trade with the former English colonies, had its 
eye on America and readily seconded Van der Capellen's 
designs. People looked also to France, the powerful ally 
of the American rebels, which wished for nothing better 
than to act with the republic against the old enemy 
across the Channel and the North Sea. Of great im- 
portance was the sending as ambassador to The Hague 
of the diplomatist Paul Francois de Quelen, Duke de la 
Vauguyon (December, 1776). He was the man to induce 
the country to give up the anxiously desired neutrality 
and to throw itself into the arms of France. With 
friendly words to the regents of the Dutch cities, of 
Amsterdam especially, with threats, if necessary, against 
the stadtholder, suspected of English leanings, and the 
weak council pensionary, de la Vauguyon expected to 
attain his purpose. 

With the attitude of France the menace of war made 
an increase of the navy urgently necessary. The States- 
General were brought to hesitating action by the demands 
of Holland, which pleaded for the building of the twenty- 
four ships of the line long since spoken of and threat- 
ened, in case of refusal, to disband some of the troops 
in its pay in order to enable the admiralties to build. 
In 1777 Van Bylandt with a squadron was sent west- 
wards to hold the English privateers in check, and in 
May, 1778, the proposition made six years before by the 
prince and council of state was finally accepted. But 
" resolved " war-ships were not war-ships at sea ; though 

VOL. V — II 

162 History of the Dutch People 

some of these ships soon lay ready, they did not yet 
sail out as convoys. Into the negotiations with England, 
concerning the terms, on which this power would allow 
trade in the west, a new element had entered since 
France's declaration of war. Both France and the 
Americans endeavoured secretly to persuade the republic 
to an open alliance of commerce and friendship with the 
new United States. The first letter of the American 
representatives in Paris, Franklin, Lee, and Deane, was 
written in April to the council pensionary, but he merely 
sent the request privately to the cities of Holland. 
Amsterdam, however, went further and, in expectation 
of England's recognition of the independence of the 
" United States of America," had its pensionary reply 
secretly to the letter of the Americans that, as soon as 
this recognition had come to pass, it would cooperate 
in a treaty of perpetual amity and commerce. One of 
the merchants consulted by the Amsterdam government, 
Jean de Neufville, who did a great trade with America, 
had in conjunction with the Amsterdam burgomasters 
on September 4th at Aix-la-Chapelle drawn up with Lee 
a secret treaty, which must assure to the republic on 
its recognition an advantageous treaty of commerce. 
Yorke had heard enough of Amsterdam's sentiments to 
warn his government that it was quite time to influence 
vigorously the prince and Brunswick, while the wavering 
Van Bleiswijk would give no serious trouble. In order 
to satisfy the English government somewhat, and to do 
something for commerce, obstructed by English priva- 
teers and war-ships, Van Bleiswijk in the States-General 
proposed the expedient suggested by England of giving 
convoy to the threatened merchantmen, but excepting 
those which were laden with masts and wood suitable 
for building ships of war. Amsterdam declared against 
this " limited convoy." The merchants, fearing they 
could not dispose of the wood they had purchased, re- 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 163 

quested a hearing from the prince, as their predecessors 
had applied to the princess in 1758 during the naval 
war, and expressed themselves strongly against the Eng- 
lish, making the prince personally responsible for the 
consequences of a refusal to grant unlimited convoy. 
The perplexed prince answered generally that he took the 
matter to heart, that the petition for 1779 called for 
thirty-two ships, and that an effort would be made to 
give satisfaction to commerce. Two days later (No- 
vember 13, 1778) the States-General resolved to grant 
limited convoy, Amsterdam vehemently protesting. 

While difficulties increased on the sea, clouds began 
to accumulate also upon the land. The death of the 
elector of Bavaria at the end of 1777 seemed about to 
cause another great war between Austria, which hoped 
to bring the Bavarian hereditary lands under its influence, 
and Prussia, which feared so considerable an augmenta- 
tion of the Austrian power. The Prussian armies in- 
vaded Bohemia, but the intervention of France and Russia 
prevented the threatening war, and the peace of Teschen 
(May, 1779) put an end to the danger. The election of 
Archduke Maximilian, brother of the German emperor 
Joseph II., as coadjutor and future successor of the 
archbishop of Cologne, portended new troubles, as the 
young emperor was already thinking of an exchange of 
territory with the new Bavarian ruler, the latter to 
obtain the southern Netherlands in return for his elec- 
torate. In these circumstances it appeared advisable to 
increase both the army and the navy of the republic. 
The council of state after consulting the prince proposed 
in the spring of 1778 to enlarge the army by nearly 
fourteen thousand men. But Amsterdam, dreading a 
postponement of the increase of the navy more necessary 
in its opinion, opposed this plan vigorously. The old 
game commenced again : the land provinces desired a 
larger army, Amsterdam wished only for a stronger navy. 

164 History of the Dutch People 

Now matters were more favourable, as not the province 
of Holland but Amsterdam alone opposed providing for 
both, and the other provinces were not unwilling to 
strengthen also the navy. Amsterdam, however, could 
count upon the powerful support of France. De la 
Vauguyon presented, on December 7th, a sharp repre- 
sentation for the maintenance of complete freedom of 
trade, threatening a withdrawal by France of the com- 
mercial privileges allowed to neutrals. A few days later 
he came with a memoir urging the repeal of the resolu- 
tion concerning convoy. The States-General answered 
that the resolution aimed to uphold perfect neutrality, 
and appealed to the fairness of France. De la Vauguyon 
declined to accept this answer and announced that he 
had in his hands an ordinance limiting the republic's 
trade with his country. On January 18th the States- 
General maintained their resolution, but de la Vauguyon 
immediately proclaimed the edict, and several cities of 
Holland now began to hesitate. Holland, left to the 
intrigues of de la Vauguyon and Amsterdam, changed 
its mind on March 30th and declared for unlimited 

Matters became worse, when England showed itself 
dissatisfied with the resolution giving limited convoy, 
and went on capturing ships with contraband, even 
meditating a declaration of war upon the inconstant 
republic, now that it was far from ready for war. An 
immediate declaration of war might have thrown most 
of the Dutch colonies into English hands, while the Dutch 
navy was insignificant compared with that of England. 
Seriously wounded in America, England feared that the 
republic would give itself over entirely to France. It 
decided to wait, and declared it would permit no carry- 
ing of contraband, not even under convoy. France did 
not sit still. At once it rewarded Amsterdam and 
Haarlem by exempting them from the edict; in June, 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 165 

when Holland demanded of the States-General a repeal 
of the resolution within four weeks, it recompensed this 
province by suspending there the edict. Thus was 
friendship with France profitable. The government of 
the republic knew not what to do, having no statesman 
of importance, now that Brunswick was falling into the 
background, and the prince was in despair over the 
" mad " English policy that made all concessions im- 
possible. The four weeks went by, and nothing hap- 
pened. Not until the last days of 1779, in accordance 
with a resolution of the States-General of November 8th 
for the formation of a convoy, could Van Bylandt sail 
from Texel with five war-ships for the protection of a 
fleet of merchantmen; no ships carrying timber could be 
in it, consequently Holland was opposed. Throughout 
the whole year the matter of limited or unlimited convoy 
remained in suspense. The French ambassador and his 
Amsterdam allies took pains to win over the smaller 
cities of Holland to their side. But Yorke bestirred him- 
self also. After the official declaration of war of France 
and Spain had been received in June by England, he 
asked, on account of the approach of a Franco-Spanish 
fleet to Plymouth, for help from the republic by virtue 
of the old treaties. The Dutch government was hard 
pressed and found no expedient but to defer its answer 
as long as possible. England seemed to have brought 
up the subject merely to embarrass the republic, for it 
did not push through its demand. The coming of the 
noted American privateer John Paul Jones in October to 
Texel with some prizes gave new life but also new diffi- 
culties to the pending questions. England demanded the 
sending away of the privateer and the surrender of his 
prizes, but Jones declared he was no privateer but an 
officer of the American navy, continued at Texel, sold 
his booty, and repeatedly visited Amsterdam and The 
Hague, being everywhere received as a hero and ally. 

166 History of the Dutch People 

Jones remained at Texel three months, and when the 
States-General ordered his departure, he hoisted the 
French flag and showed a French commission granted 
him by de la Vauguyon. Meanwhile England, as if in- 
viting to war, went on searching and capturing unpro- 
tected Dutch ships. The question was what it would 
do with the merchantmen escorted by Van Bylandt. 
When they (December 31st) were off Wight, they were 
held up by a strong squadron under Fielding. After 
negotiation and refusal by Van Bylandt, Fielding began 
to search the merchantmen; this produced a skirmish, 
and the Dutch admiral suspended the fight against a su- 
perior force and struck his flag. Fielding took posses- 
sion of the merchantmen and sailed with them and Van 
Bylandt's ships to Portsmouth, where Van Bylandt re- 
ported what had occurred. There was great excitement 
in the country. Not only was Van Bylandt accused of 
neglect of duty, but the prince also of being an accessory ; 
indemnity and satisfaction were demanded for the insult 
to the flag on the country's war-ships; vigorous action 
was called for against the arrogant Briton, who made 
all commerce impossible. While this matter was still 
unsettled, England declared (January 28, 1780) that it 
would soon be obliged to abrogate the commercial treaty 
of 1671, if the republic persisted in its unwillingness to 
obey the 1678 treaty of mutual help by sending troops 
and ships. England would treat the republic no longer 
as an ally but simply as a neutral power, withdrawing 
all commercial advantages. War seemed to be at the 
door. The French policy was master of the situation, 
when two months later Yorke requested a decision within 
three weeks and on April 17th the English threat of re- 
pealing commercial advantages was carried out. The 
prince and the council pensionary were now forced to 
follow the stream, and they yielded to the majority of 
Holland led by Amsterdam. Not only was Van Bylandt 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 167 

brought before a council of war, but the States-General 
resolved upon a protest at London and upon a demand 
for indemnity on account of the seizure; they resolved 
(April 24th) to grant unlimited convoy and some days 
later to fit out fifty-two ships of the line and frigates, 
two-thirds of them being ready in October. When the 
convoys sailed out, a collision might be expected that 
would bring about war, unless England, as in 170-, 
recoiled before the republic's more vigorous attitude. 

There was one more chance of peace. The Russian 
empress, Catherine II., desired to mediate between the 
belligerents in western Europe and in any case not to 
let the rise of her mercantile fleet be endangered by the 
oppressive maritime supremacy of powerful England. In 
the line of her ideas was an often discussed alliance of 
the neutral powers: Russia, Denmark, Sweden, also the 
republic, and perhaps Austria, Prussia, Portugal, and 
Naples, for the maintenance of an " Armed Neutrality." 
France favoured this, having in 1778 adopted the rule 
of " free ships, free goods " advocated by the minister 
Vergennes. After the capture of a Russian ship by the 
Spaniards the empress on March 9, 1780, drew up five 
articles, which she wished to see approved by the neutral 
powers. They embraced the following points: free coast 
navigation for neutrals; free ships, free goods except 
for contraband; arms, powder, and lead are contraband; 
a blockade must be effective to be valid; prize courts 
and admiralties must adhere to these stipulations. The 
republic, solicited by the Russian ambassador Galitzin, 
hoped to gain time, to find help in an alliance of neutrals, 
to keep matters open for peace. In April Russia asked 
the republic to join the proposed alliance, but the summer 
passed without the republic's consent. Further delay was 
caused by the request of the States that the alliance 
should guarantee their possessions beyond the sea. The 
Russian empress seemed averse to such a guarantee, and 

168 History of the Dutch People 

so the alliance remained in suspense, though Amsterdam 
urged the signing of the Russian articles. But while in 
October, 1780, the affair had gone no further, an event 
occurred that changed the Dutch attitude towards Eng- 
land. On a vessel captured by an English frigate off 
Newfoundland (September 10th), upon which vessel was 
the American statesman Henry Laurens with an author- 
isation to conclude a treaty with the republic, the text 
was found of the treaty drawn up at Aix-la-Chapelle 
in 1778, proof of the complicity of the Amsterdam gov- 
ernment in the secret negotiations with the American 
rebels, and a number of letters from the correspondence 
between Americans and Amsterdam merchants and re- 
gents including Van der Capellen. The English govern- 
ment made the most of this capture. Yorke showed 
extreme anger and on October 16th placed the discovered 
papers before the prince, hoping at the eleventh hour 
to prevent adhesion to the Russian plan. The prince 
hesitated some days, and Amsterdam already iD formed 
made use of them to carry through the Estates of Hol- 
land an acceptance of the alliance without a guarantee 
of the colonies. Holland's resolution was approved in 
the other provinces, as Amsterdam justified its conduct 
of 1778 by declaring that the treaty at Aix-la-Chapelle 
was drawn up under the influence of a rumour that Eng- 
land was about to conclude peace with America and to 
recognise the independence of the rebels, provided Dutch 
commerce with America was not allowed. On November 
20th the States-General joined the alliance under protest 
of Zealand, Utrecht, and Gelderland. A few days later 
Amsterdam's conduct was disavowed by Holland and the 
States-General. This was in response to a complaint, pre- 
sented on November 10th by Yorke, of the culpable plan of 
a faction or cabal. A new representation by Yorke on De- 
cember 12th demanded exemplary punishment and com- 
plete satisfaction for the insult, and threatened to have the 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 169 

punishment inflicted by the English, if the States declined. 
Three days later Yorke came to demand an immediate 
answer in terms that seemed chosen to bring about war. 
The request for help for England was also made again. 
On the 10th immediate announcement of the republic's 
adhesion to the alliance of Armed Neutrality was re- 
solved upon, the ambassador at London, Van Welderen, 
to be given the authority in the vain hope of preventing 
a declaration of war by England. But the English gov- 
ernment recalled Yorke at once, refused to listen to Van 
Welderen, and drew up the declaration of war. It was 
aided by the fact that the sea was just then tempestuous 
and disturbed communication between London and The 
Hague, so that, while the declaration of war dated from 
December 20th, the packet for Van Welderen with the 
declaration of neutrality arrived too late and did not 
have to be accepted by England. Holland's resolution 
to put the affair of the Laurens papers in the hands 
of the Provincial Court was of December 21st, conse- 
quently too late to satisfy England. On the 23d Yorke 
left The Hague by command of his government. Four 
days later the English war manifesto reached there. 
War had broken out, and the French statesmen rejoiced 
at the success of their plan. 

In all this the prince's reputation had suffered very 
much. It was plain that not he but Amsterdam and the 
Holland majority, or rather the French ambassador, now 
had in hand the management of the republic's affairs. 
But he was blamed for all that occurred. The son of an 
English princess, he was suspected of favouring England. 
The weakness in face of the brutal English demands 
and the delay in joining the northern alliance were 
attributed to his unwillingness, to his aversion to France. 
He was reproached for the unsatisfactory state of the 
navy and the insult to the Dutch flag in the Van Bylandt 
affair. The prince's personal consideration had dwindled 

170 History of the Dutch People 

greatly : his childishness, obstinacy, carelessness, helpless- 
ness, and vacillation excited justifiable anger in his near- 
est friends. In opposition to him, whom many proclaimed 
a " rascal " and " traitor," the party of Van der Capellen, 
Van Berckel, and the Amsterdam regents working with 
the French ambassador boasted of their " patriotic " 
sentiments. The baron and his friends were more and 
more embittered against the prince and his followers. 
Thus a nucleus of discontent was formed in the 
country, that was directed first against the hereditary 
stadtholder's person, but soon against the hereditary 
stadtholdership itself. The Holland pensionaries De 
Gyselaer, Zeebergh, and especially Van Berckel, detested 
by the prince as his worst enemy, the Amsterdam regents 
and Van der Capellen and his friends, all supported by 
the French ambassador, were ever on the watch to thwart 
the prince- And among the high government officials the 
latter found nobody to give him the help so necessary 
to him. Whoever could look beneath the surface knew 
well that corruption and fraud, selfishness and intrigue, 
incompetence and ignorance prevailed everywhere, and 
that the government was really no better than it had been 
before 1747 — a combination of institutions based upon 
the supremacy of a few at the expense of the many. 
Some of the prince's friends said that it could not go 
on so much longer and that within a few years a " notable 
revolution " must come to pass. Great dangers, at home 
and abroad, threatened the disabled and helpless state of 
the United Netherlands, which like a wrecked ship drifted 
over the waves without rudder and without helms- 
man, a prey to all the storms and winds. There was no 
one at this time, who could act as steersman. Frederick 
the Great wrote — " There is no head in Holland." This 
was quite true, now that Brunswick, who at least knew 
what he wanted, had stepped into the background, and 
the energetic but inexperienced princess did not interfere 

The Republic under Duke and Prince 171 

in order to spare her husband's feelings. No guidance 
could come from any of the interested adherents of 
the prince, who satisfied his favourites with pensions and 
fat offices. Neither could it come from the chiefs of the 
opposing party. So the republic had to enter upon a 
dangerous war with the most powerful state of the world 
without leading, without a leader. 



AT the very moment that the republic was involved in 
this serious war, it found itself likewise at the 
beginning of a general social crisis. It was not merely 
affairs of foreign and domestic policy that divided its 
population into parties. Economic and intellectual ques- 
tions also came up and agitated men's minds. With the 
new ideas spread over Europe by French and English 
writers there was felt among a portion of the Dutch 
people a need of renewal, reform, regeneration. Culti- 
vated men asked what were their obligations towards 
human society. The defects were considered not only 
of the government but also of literature and science, of 
education and church, of commerce and industry. It was 
felt that an account must be rendered of the attitude 
towards the new ideas, the new time that seemed to 
have arrived for the civilised world. Nowhere in Europe, 
not even in France which was soon to stir up the world 
with its Revolution, did these new ideas assume fixed 
forms as early as in the Netherlands. Among the middle 
classes, held in subordination by the regents during two 
centuries, the necessity was felt of freedom, of recogni- 
tion of their importance ; the lower classes, intellectually 
and economically under age, were little accessible to 
such ideas and would be dragged along wherever cir- 
cumstances led. Encouraged by the example of the new 
state in America, guided by French and English philos- 


Forerunners of the New Time 173 

ophers and economists, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, 
and the Encyclopedists, Hume, Price, and Priestley, 
towards a renovation of state and society, the middle 
classes became more conscious of their real power 
and strove to secure its recognition. Here is plainly to 
be noted a strife of classes. The middle classes, the 
strength of the nation, had long been content with the 
elevation of some of their best elements to a share in 
the government of the republic. Now and then they had 
violently asserted themselves and sought a counterpoise 
to the arbitrary rule of the regents , in a prince of the 
beloved Orange family. Their prosperity had steadily 
increased, and were they longer to be satisfied with the 
crumbs thrown to them by the covetous patricians? 
Their guides in philosophy and law gave the answer to 
this question, and they began to see its meaning plainly. 
Many beheld the signs of the times with anxiety. At- 
tached to the past by strong ties of interest, they would 
not hear'to any change in the institutions ordained by 
" God's wise direction." They had a deep horror of the 
French " atheists," the frivolous preachers of a philos- 
ophy that in their opinion was at variance with the 
biblical institutions given by God himself to man. Thus 
were felt here also the two opposing tendencies of all 
times, the desire for change, improvement, and renewal, 
against that for conservation and strengthening of what- 
ever existed. A crisis was approaching, in importance 
to be compared only with that which these provinces 
had known in the days of the republic's birth, of the 
revolt against Spain. 

About 1700, precursors of the storm might be observed, 
particularly in ecclesiastical matters. The ideas of 
moderation in religion, prevalent in the first half of the 
century, penetrated ever deeper among the regents as 
well as among the common people. Powerful was the 
influence of foreign philosophy, particularly that of the 

174 History of the Dutch People 

English deist John Locke, whose Essay on human under- 
standing (1690) assumed as the basis of knowledge no 
innate ideas but sensation or reflection and set up 
experience as the source of knowing. The learned Re- 
monstrant professor Jean Leclerc and the celebrated 
naturalist 's Gravesande were the chief Dutch propa- 
gators of this philosophy, which was spread also by 
Bolingbroke's writings. The master of modern French 
philosophy, the aged Voltaire, who had repeatedly visited 
the republic and counted many friends there, had an 
important influence upon the thought of cultivated Dutch 
people not only by his classic dramas but also by his 
philosophical works. His Traite sur la tolerance, trans- 
lated in 1764, made a deep impression, not least on many 
preachers, and especially on Remonstrants and Mennon- 
ites always inclined to freedom of thought. Rousseau's 
Contrat social, appearing in 1762, and other writings of 
his found admirers of his " honest " mind and brilliant 
style — Betje Wolff calls him " the great, excellently good 
Rousseau." Already the ministers of the old church 
looked on with vexation at the progress of these ideas, 
and they vigorously opposed the " Voltairean " tendencies. 
They asked and obtained from the Estates of Friesland 
— the translation of Voltaire's work having appeared at 
Leeuwarden — the prohibition of this book " attacking the 
faith with its mockery." 1 But this prohibition had not 
the desired result, for as usual it drew more attention 
to the prohibited book, notwithstanding the dissatisfac- 
tion in moderate circles with the author's frivolous tone 
in ridiculing all revelation, which seemed to give to his 
toleration the character of indifference to or hatred of 
revelation. Soon was published the translation of an- 
other work, that angered the orthodox preachers, of 
Marmontel's Belisaire in 1768. On account of the prin- 
ciples of " natural religion," the praise of toleration, the 
1 Hartog, Uit de dagen der Patriotten, p. 143. 

Forerunners of the New Time 175 

recognition of the possibility of virtue among heathens, 
etc., announced in it, the book was condemned by the 
Sorbonne in Paris and raised a storm in the Nether- 
lands. The Rotterdam preacher and professor Petrus 
Hofstede immediately opposed what he considered its 
exaggerated and unchristian toleration. He published his 
— The Belisarius of Marmontel judged and the bad morals 
of the chief heathens shown (1769) . In opposition the Re- 
monstrant Nozeman came out with his Socrates's honour 
maintained, and the strife so extended in violent pam- 
phlets that the question arose whether it would not be 
necessary to take measures against the dangerous liberty 
of the press. Was there not a risk of a repetition of 
the unfortunate dissensions of the early seventeenth cen- 
tury? Were not Remonstrants and Calvinists opposing 
one another again? The Estates of Holland in 1765 and 
following years seriously considered the introduction of 
a censorship of books. In 1770 the court of Holland drew 
up a placard against all " blasphemous books and writ- 
ings," but restriction of the press was prevented by the 
opposition of the booksellers of Leyden and Amsterdam, 
led by the freethinker Elie Luzac, a lover of freedom and 
a facile writer. A placard of 1715 had already been 
renewed in 1761 against the publication of theological 
works without ecclesiastical approval. 

Heavy tomes and vehement pamphlets, sharp satires 
and hateful pasquinades thus followed one another in 
a long series. Not only ecclesiastical and philosophical 
principles or the virtue of a Socrates and a Marcus 
Aurelius and their chances of salvation, but also the 
political and social questions of the day became the 
subject of these fierce debates. The "Santhorstians," long 
standing in the odour of heterodoxy, so named from 
the villa of their leader, the Amsterdam professor Bur- 
man, having in the Yadcrlandsche letteroefeningen (1761) 
a periodical for the development of their ideas, conducted 

176 History of the Dutch People 

vigorously the contest against Hofstede and his friends, 
from whose circle in 1771 came the Advocaat der vader- 
landsche Kerk of the Dordrecht preacher Johannes 
Barueth for maintaining the rights of the " reformed doc- 
trine." At the head of the freethinking Santhorstians 
was the " baron " of Santhorst himself, Pieter Burman, 
derided by his enemies as an immoral mocker, a lazy 
epicurean, a second Voltaire, even a second Aretino. 
And he repaid with interest the contempt poured out on 
him and his " flock." His friends supported him with 
their influence. The talented Betje Wolff, wife of a 
Beemster domine, in 1772 put into rhyme the Santhorstian 
confession of faith and did not fail to reply to the 
calumnies accusing the sect of being enemies of " the 
stadtholder's authority " and " the church of the father- 
land." The adherents of the new ideas constantly in- 
creased in number; slowly but steadily these ideas made 
their way among the well to do and cultivated classes. 
From Germany and England came support for the new 
tendency in philosophy and theology. The German 
scholars, Ernesti, Michaelis, and Semler, introduced their 
independent research into the value of the biblical writ- 
ings no longer regarded by them as unquestionably 
divine; Leibnitz's and Wolff's juridical-philosophical 
theories with their foundation of natural law reached 
the academic halls of the land of Hugo de Groot and 
Bijnkershoek, of Arminius and Spinoza, and from there 
the court and pulpit. Men of character acknowledged 
readily having taken reason and not ecclesiastical belief 
as their rule of life. The fight for " common sense," for 
" philosophical necessity," begun from 1775 in England 
by the philosopher Priestley, Price's philosophical essays 
on education and the duty of man, excited as much in- 
terest as their political writings and prepared cultivated 
minds for the new time. The establishment of all sorts 
of societies in these years gave evidence of the vivid 

Forerunners of the New Time 177 

interest, with which these things were considered in edu- 
cated circles and made serviceable for the further devel- 
opment of the people. These societies showed how earnest 
was the endeavour to raise the nation intellectually 
as well as materially by the cooperation of all, whose 
" patriotic " feelings desired utterance without partisan- 
ship " for the general good." Prize treatises and other 
works appeared under the auspices of these institutions 
and proved how knowledge and science were diffused, 
how budding talents could be developed under their 

These efforts had a better success in literature than 
in art. Though long promoted in Dutch cities by many 
art societies, and practised more generally than ever 
under the old motto, which for the consolation of small 
talents says that it is " obtained by work," art was not 
developed to a higher point than it reached in the middle 
of the eighteenth century, and this was not to be com- 
pared with its rise in the seventeenth century. The 
great collections of the patricians and rich merchants 
of this period were composed of old or seventeenth- 
century art. Painters like Frans van Mieris the younger, 
who died in 17G3, might attempt the manner of their 
great predecessors, but it was only imitation, and this 
Leyden artist, the first painter of his time, is more 
known by his historical writings on his native city than 
by his insignificant paintings. Even the names of most 
painters of this time are as good as forgotten, while 
their works are regarded as scarcely worthy of a place 
in the museums. The Dutch school of painting had 
given way to the French school of Watteau and his 
like, whose sentimental portrait art, elegant, finely 
coloured, with an Arcadian background of rustic scenes, 
was imitated in the Netherlands by amateurs of both 
sexes. Drawing and painting were studied zealously, but 
the drawing-schools and academies of painting educated 

VOL. V — 12 

178 History of the Dutch People 

mostly imitators and copyists, and no longer original 
artists inspired by the example of a master of genius. 
The books of Lairesse and Houbraken were the gospels 
of the art students, who obeyed their rules slavishly, as 
the poets before them had bound themselves to the pre- 
scriptions of the handbooks of poetry. Clever drawings 
were made of the old masters of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. The eminent collector and engraver Ploos van 
Amstel, son-in-law of Cornelis Troost, who in 1764 " sur- 
prised the eyes of art connoisseurs " by the invention of 
an artistic method of putting drawings upon a plate 
with the greatest exactness, so that reproduction and 
original were hardly to be distinguished, is a type of the 
art of the period living by pleasing imitation and ac- 
curate copying. Excellent draughtsmen like Jacob Cats 
of Amsterdam devoted themselves to reproducing old 
masterpieces, seeking support in painting hangings for 
the chambers of the patricians. Accuracy and charm are 
the prominent characteristics of art in these days, but 
notable is the endeavour to prepare another flourishing 
period of art by studying the great national masters. 

Poetry stood higher, although the unfortunate motto 
of art and industry, zeal or work, under the protection 
of numerous poetical societies, gave existence to much 
trash that wanted to pass for masterpieces. The Am- 
sterdam merchant Van Winter and his gifted wife, 
Lucretia Wilhelmina Van Merken, understood that their 
lyre was not equal to Vondel's poetical trumpet, though 
they were masters of flowing rhyme and " dealt " in 
poetry. Neither Van Winter's Amstelstroom, nor Van 
Merken's much read Nut der Tegenspoeden had anything 
in common with real art but the name; this was true 
of David, of Germanicus, and of Lucretia's numerous 
patriotic tragedies interpreted by the talented actor 
Corver. Higher than this poetical couple are undoubt- 
edly the celebrated Van Haren brothers: the Brussels 

Forerunners of the New Time 179 

ambassador Willem, the gifted poet and thinker, friend 
of Voltaire, who described " human life " in rather rugged 
language and treated epically Friso's adventures in heavy 
but philosophical verses; the Frisian regent, after his 
scandalous affair at The Hague retiring to his country- 
place at Wolvega, who established his fame as a patriotic 
poet by his Geuzen (1772) and put his troubled soul into 
the strophes of this epic poem. They did not observe 
the rules and rhyme requirements, to which Christina de 
Neufville and Madame De Lannoy still submitted, and 
which by the Leyden occasional poet and critic Le Francq 
van Berkhey were held up to the cultivated poets and 
poetesses of his time, the " poetical poetasters " of Fei- 
taina's school. Berkhey, who did not succeed any too 
well in " the style " and was consequently attacked, be- 
gan to show opposition to the tyrannical " cabal of 
poets," the " obstinate and conceited schoolmasters " of 
the Dutch Parnassus, like a " stubborn scholar, who 
escapes the ferule." x In Elisabeth Wolff appeared a 
poetess of more than ordinary talent, who sought and 
found her own way. The Mcngelpoezy published in 1772 
and the celebrated Kindergedichten of the able but rather 
sweetish Hieronymus van Alphen show that the su- 
premacy of the stiff French predecessors was over, and 
better German models — Klopstock, Wieland — were com- 
ing up with purer though somewhat too sentimental feel- 
ing. The new spirit was proclaimed in two new critical 
periodicals, the Leyden Tacl-en dichtkundige Bijdragcn 
(1758) and the Vaderlandsche Letteroefeningen (1761), 
which imparted a powerful impulse to criticism. The 
former periodical came from a circle of Leyden and 
Utrecht students, who gave up established rules and 
dared to follow " nature, pure nature in all its beauty." 2 

1 See Jonckbloet, Gesch. der Letterkunde, v., 182. 

2 See my address in Hand, en Meded. van de Maatschappij 
der Nederl. Letterk., 1895-6, p. 64. 

i8o History of the Dutch People 

The young editors ridiculed the Dutch fondness for verse 
and declared openly that narrowness and self-admiration 
were the chief faults of Dutch literature, that they could 
best be cured by a knowledge of the modern literature 
among the neighbours and by a return to the long de- 
serted " natural tone." The founders of the latter 
journal, the Mennonite professors Cornells and Pieter 
Loosjes, endeavoured to diffuse moderate principles in 
literature, but they also speedily opposed the customary 
" false elevation " and the bad " incense of praise." No 
less influence was exerted in the right direction by the 
Maatschappij der Vaderlandsche Letterkunde of Leyden. 
Proceeding from the same students who had called into ex- 
istence the Bijdragen mentioned above, this society aimed, 
under the lead of Van Goens regarded as the " rescuer 
of Dutch literature," to reform the entire Dutch " literary 
republic " and to bring about for it the dawn of a new 
" golden age." This aspiration, though awakening in 
the beginning disappointment after disappointment, was 
not without support from other sides. In 1778 Van 
Alphen published his work Theory of the fine arts and 
sciences, modestly ascribing its paternity largely to the 
German sesthetician Riedel. He recognises freely the 
weakness of Dutch literature and sacrilegiously assails 
the mutually admiring company of poets. He declares 
that " the long desired revolution upon our mount of 
song" must finally come. What came first of all were 
many sesthetical speculations by Van Engelen, Feith, 
and others. About 1780 the fame of the old poetical 
societies began to dwindle very much. Then there came 
young poets to follow the way pointed out. Bellamy in 
1782 published his fresh Gezangen mijner jeugd and his 
inspired Vaderlandsche gezangen; Pieter Nieuwland sung 
his Orion. Though these two poets were quickly lost 
to their fatherland by death, Van Alphen himself pub- 
lished his Sterrcnhemel, Rhijnvis Feith his first ardent 

Forerunners of the New Time 


lyrics. And now came the long expected great poet of 
the new time, Willem Bilderdijk, the man of the new 
period " upon the border of two centuries," who left all 
the others far behind him; in his father's tax office in 
the years before 1785 he offers little but " fine promises," 
but he already shows the mastery over language, that 
will later distinguish him, and is admired as a poet of 
recognised celebrity at Leyden University, from which 
he graduated in 1782. In prose Wolff and Deken from 
1782, when their first novel Sara Burgerhart appeared, 
stood with Bilderdijk as the representatives of the new 
time. In literature at least the reformation, the re- 
nascence, talked of about 1780, had become something 
like a palpable fact. The time of the poetical societies 
was past as that of the old rhetoricians had gone by. 
Poetry, the language itself, the vehicle of thought, threw 
off the fetters binding it during a century. Whether 
this new flourishing period was to be what was expected 
of it depended upon other circumstances than intellectual 
currents alone. 

Academical science also went into new paths. Frans 
Hemsterhuis, son of the famous Leyden philologist 
Tiberius, though no professor but a government official 
at The Hague, exercised great influence on the teaching 
of the classics by his studies on Socrates and Plato. 
Philosophy and art history began to conquer a place in 
the study of the classics, and Lessing and Winckelmann 
made their action felt here and put an end to the almost 
exclusive rule of language study and text emendation. 
The Pomeranian David Ruhnkenius, succeeding Ouden- 
dorp at Leyden in 1761, is linguist and philosopher and 
scourges the narrow school learning of his days in his 
doctor umbraticus. His pupil, the Swiss Daniel Wytten- 
bach, who came to Holland in 1770, laid at Amsterdam 
the foundations for a more liberal conception of classical 
studies by his historico-philosophical method. The study 

182 History of the Dutch People 

of the mother tongue, led into new roads by the Amster- 
dam regent Balthasar Huydecoper, began to spread its 
wings and to devote attention to the rich vocabulary of 
Dutch. The study of history as a science, no longer as 
an amusement, finds an energetio leader in Adriaan Kluit, 
rector at Middelburg, soon professor in Leyden, who 
brings a period of intelligent criticism after that of 
the collection of materials. Science and practice go 
hand in hand more than formerly. The learned Petrus 
Camper of Leyden (1722-1789), pupil of Musschenbroek 
and 's Gravesande, professor at Amsterdam, Groningen, 
and Franeker, founder of the new anatomy, philosopher 
of European reputation, and talented artist, did not 
think it beneath him to write a treatise on " the best 
shoe." Both intellectual and natural sciences left the 
study to go more into society and to bring to the people 
in a broader circle the blessings that had hitherto been 
the portion of the privileged few. It could not be denied 
that the erudition, which shut itself up in the silence 
of the study from early morning until late at night and 
worked only for scholars, fell behind in this endeavour 
to popularise science, to apply practically what was dis- 
covered, and the universities likewise were in a decline. 
On the other hand, science asserted itself on all sides 
and made ready to exert a mighty influence upon the 
development of the new conditions soon to appear 
throughout the whole world. Theology, as we have seen, 
could not hold aloof from this current. The names of 
Socinian, Pelagian, Arminian resounded again as of old, 
" heretical " opinions concerning the doctrine of justifica- 
tion by faith aroused violent strife. The introduction of 
a new hymn-book by the States-General in 1775 caused 
disturbances. There was talk of the need of a new na- 
tional synod to settle theological and ecclesiastical dif- 
ferences. But the Estates of the different provinces and 
most classes would not hear to such an assembly after 

Forerunners of the New Time 183 

the Dordrecht model, and the Estates suppressed many 
a theological quarrel by prohibiting its discussion. 
Moderation and conciliation of the most extreme opin- 
ions were preached especially by the Mennonites and 
Remonstrant dissenters, vigorous champions of the new 
spirit. Among the Roman Catholics also many began 
to ask themselves if the time had not come to bury the 
old differences of belief. In any case the citizens became 
more and more convinced that an end must be made of 
the preeminence of the " ruling church " established 
politically in the seventeenth century. The cessation 
was desired of the extortions of sheriffs, bailiffs, burgo- 
masters, and regents, who regularly took money from the 
Catholics for conniving at their religious exercises and 
allowing them to hold office. Other sects were not satis- 
fied with that liberty of conscience; they demanded 
liberty of its " exercise " as their right, as the right of 
every man. Thus the day was prepared, when complete 
religious liberty would be granted to all sects without 
any restriction. The " ruling church " was living its 
" last days " ; such men as the Loosjes brothers and 
Houttuyn, as Noordkerk and Trotz exercised a wide in- 
fluence through spoken and written word; their intel- 
lectual allies Wolff and Deken no less so through their 
popular novels. 

From this circle came in 1784 the Maatschappij tot 
Nut van 't Algemeen or Society for Public Welfare, 
whose founder, honest Maarten Nieuwenhuyzen, Men- 
nonite preacher at Monnikendam, aimed to make the 
" common man," as well as the cultivated classes, share 
in the increased knowledge " both in civil and religious 
matters and in the department of the useful arts and 
sciences," and to educate the poor by publishing books 
and improving the schools. The new society in a few 
years numbered hundreds of members, covering the whole 
country and doing much for the enlightenment of the 

1 84 History of the Dutch People 

people. Young Swildens wanted also to be a teacher of 
the people and to devote his life to a reform of popular 
instruction. His Yaderlandsch A. B. boek (1781) was 
intended to diffuse necessary patriotic ideas. He wished 
to revive popular reading by issuing a new Almanack en 
politiek zakbockje in place of the silly almanacs that 
formed the chief pabulum of the reading public. He 
wanted to withdraw education from the church, which 
had hitherto ruled over it, and to transfer it to the state 
as the most important matter in its care. With Nieu- 
wenhuyzen and his friends, whose ideas were influenced 
by his A. B. Boek, 1 he believed that the diffusion of 
cheap and simple literature was of great use for the 
improvement of understanding and conduct. More and 
more the conviction gained ground that the lower classes 
of the people must be better educated, that free schools 
ought to be established in city and village by the gov- 
ernment. In Rotterdam, Hoorn, Utrecht, Middelburg 
such schools were founded, where children of both sexes 
were instructed in reading, writing, arithmetic, and sing- 
ing, and were accustomed to good order. Art, science 
for the people was the general watchword in union with 
the political ideas of the time, in which no longer the 
interest of princes or regents but that of the people came 
to the fore. What seemed to be approaching in the days 
of Prince William and Leicester, what was suppressed 
with a hard hand in the seventeenth century, what in 
1748 had made itself heard louder than ever in the re- 
public, came up now with greater force. The city 
burghers would no longer submit to being thrust aside 
by the patricians. The writings of the English and 
French democrats and the American W T ar of Indepen- 
dence had a great influence. Van der Capellen and his 
friends spoke enthusiastically of the " hearty food for 
men " served up to their contemporaries in a philo- 
1 Boeles, De patriot J. H. Swildens, p. 102. 

Forerunners of the New Time 185 

sophical form by Price, Priestley, Fletcher, and Tillotson, 
by Rousseau and the Encyclopedists. They wanted to 
put the omnipotence of the people in place of the aris- 
tocratic forms of government, the supports of those who 
thought themselves created with boots and spurs and the 
rest of mankind with saddles on their backs. They de- 
clared themselves in favour of a monarchy resting upon 
the popular will rather than for an aristocratic republic. 
They looked upon America as the ideal of a popular 
state, greeted by some as a " second fatherland," hailed 
in prose and verse as the land of promise and the birth- 
place of new liberties. Rousseau went further in his 
Contrat social, proclaiming the ideal supremacy of the 
individual in complete freedom obeying only reason modi- 
fied by sentiment. According to him men, born in free- 
dom, have tempered that freedom, voluntarily binding 
it by a " social contract " which makes it possible to live 
in freedom. Not the divine right of kings, not the vio- 
lence of aristocracies, but the free will of men is the 
foundation of all social relations. In poetical language 
he pictures the advantages of this new theory, directed 
primarily against monarchical despotism in France, but 
useful also against regents like those of the republic. 
There was a lack of clearness in these writers as to the 
application of their ideas. Van der Capellen and his 
friends had not settled with themselves or with one 
another how this popular influence was to be introduced. 
No programme of reform of the state had been worked 
out; the only purpose was to remove whatever seemed 
to conflict with the new theories of supremacy of the 
people. No arbitrary power of the stadtholder, no mili- 
tary jurisdiction, but above all no more tyranny of the 
regents, who sacrificed the welfare of the state to 
their own advantage and so had brought the nation to 
the edge of the abyss, intellectually and materially, 
politically, and socially! 

186 History of the Dutch People 

How stood this welfare now? In 1782 Van de Spiegel, 
council pensionary of Zealand, drew up for himself a 
memoir on the " intrinsic and relative strength of the 
republic." He opposed the assertion that the " internal 
strength " of the state was wholly in a decline. There 
was complaint of the falling off in commerce, but was this 
really so great? No such large profits were made now as 
in the most flourishing period of commerce about 1648, 
and this was owing mainly to competition. On the other 
hand the West Indian colonies, then rarely visited, now 
employed two hundred ships annually in their trade; 
monarchies like Russia and Poland were just reaching 
their full development in the eighteenth century; new 
articles, such as tobacco, coffee, and tea, brought treas- 
ures; money and exchange had grown with the wealth 
of capital in the country; the facilities of commerce 
were greatly increased. Some branches of commerce 
might have fallen behind, but from his study he thought 
it " absurd " to speak in general of a decline. However, 
the East India Company, that pillar of the state, was 
unmistakably languishing, and the highest principle of 
government, spoken of under the governor-general Mossel 
and his successors Van de Parra, Van Riemsdijk, and 
De Klerk, was: "It will last out my time." India was 
overflowing with " fortune-seeking " Europeans, whose 
only purpose was to fill their pockets. Former shoe- 
makers, tailors, butchers, runaway sons of regents, use- 
less subjects occupied the most lucrative offices, though 
they could scarcely read or write. Smuggling and steal- 
ing was a general fault with official and free citizen. 
Preachers were more interested in card-playing and drink- 
ing bouts than in their studies and church. In 1780 
Batavia's population dropped to twelve thousand (in 
1760 still sixteen thousand) souls, only a few hundred 
of them being Europeans and not half of those Dutch. 
Although these Europeans lived like princes, so that 

Forerunners of the New Time 187 

almost every one had a carriage and silverware, jewels 
and gold buttons on his clothes, so that a large number 
of slaves was common and every soldier had his slave to 
carry his sunshade, the company itself could not boast 
of abundant revenues. The company's capital was too 
small for the new commercial relations, hardly eleven 
to twelve millions, and its twenty-five vessels yearly were 
too few. Though it profited annually by its Indian com- 
merce between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 guilders, its mer- 
cantile system appeared more and more antiquated, and 
at the expiration of its charter in 1774 many voices 
called for reform. With the prince's aid the old charter 
was prolonged twenty years more on December 12, 1776, 
by the States-General. So the company's affairs went 
on declining. Its dividends, amounting in 1757 to 20 
per cent., did not rise over 12% per cent. ; its shares, in 
1750 at 594 per cent., had dropped in 1780 to little more 
than 300 per cent. Loan after loan had to bolster up 
its condition. Matters in Hither India, where the com- 
pany's offices came under the eyes of the English pre- 
dominant there since Clive had established the English 
authority and the inexorable Hastings followed in his 
steps, showed that the English company was ready to 
take the heritage of the Dutch company. Clive had 
threatened Mossel with a visit at Batavia, and English 
ships before that city had demanded the striking of the 
flag on the company's vessels. It was no longer to be 
doubted that the company would fall an easy prey to 
the English. Not the least provision was made against 
an attack, and a few ships would suffice to destroy the 
Dutch power in Asia. The company was, said Mossel, 
" a sinking ship, which is kept above water by the 
pumps." In no better condition was the languishing 
West India Company, whose shares had fallen to 35 to 
36 per cent., whose dividends were 3 to 4 per cent. Where 
these powerful commercial corporations were visibly sink- 

1 88 History of the Dutch People 

ing, the trade of the mother country long connected with 
them necessarily suffered severe loss, for the Dutch mer- 
chant travelled the same paths his fathers had gone 
before him under quite other conditions, and this was 
one of the chief causes of his fall. The old energy and 
daring were wanting, which had made the Dutch mer- 
chant great but now seemed to have become the portion 
of his vigorous rival across the sea. Infected with the 
mania for speculation, the Dutch merchant began to 
give up true commerce. He preferred putting his 
capital into a money business, risking it in dangerous 
speculations, in case he was not content with collect- 
ing interest on money loaned. The numerous bankrupt- 
cies of late years had inflicted a heavy blow on credit, 
the soul of all trade. The fact was irrefutable that 
commerce was declining, but with proper attention from 
the merchant himself the decline should not have been 
so great. 

About 1780 industry, for a long time declining, was 
in a bad state. A few trades only held their ground, 
such as salt works, oil mills, bleacheries, starch manufac- 
ture, diamond-cutting. Cheaper wares imported from 
abroad had crowded out of the market many articles 
made in the country. To set their own prices some 
merchants had long sold foreign articles below their 
value and thus had ruined many domestic factories. The 
higher standard of living, the consequence of the coun- 
try's greater wealth, had raised wages for a time and 
run up the prices of manufactured goods, so that it 
was harder to compete with foreign countries, although 
money was easily obtainable owing to the low rate of 
interest. Adriaan Rogge in his work Over den grond 
van Neerlands koophandel speaks of the considerable 
number of sugar refineries, dyehouses, weaving works, 
and the like, that on account of competition had removed 
to Hamburg, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Spain, and France. 

Forerunners of the New Time 189 

Shipbuilding was of little consequence, 1 ropewalks dis- 
appeared, Delft pottery gave way in the market to the 
porcelain of England and Rouen, hats made in Holland 
were superseded by those of Brabant. The countless 
breweries had lost much by the coming up of gin as a 
popular drink, though Schiedam with its distilleries was 
more flourishing than ever. The book business was now 
limited to the sale of Dutch books, that of French and 
Latin works having become insignificant. The paper 
manufacturers of Holland and Gelderland, formerly 
furnishing the world, were surpassed by French and 
Prussian makers in consequence of the prohibition of 
the exportation of rags from France and Prussia. The 
gold and silver stuffs, damasks, velvets, and brocades 
of Amsterdam belonged to the past. The beautiful and 
durable but dear cloths of Utrecht and Leyden were 
driven out by cheaper foreign sorts. The linen industry 
had mostly gone to Westphalia, Silesia, Belgium, though 
foreign linens still came to Haarlem to be bleached and 
were then put on the market as " Holland " linens. 
Luzac speaks sadly of the " deadness " of our once flour- 
ishing inland towns, which he viewed with tears in his 
eyes. Complaints come from all sides. Broek in Water- 
land, that formerly knew no poverty, saw every year its 
prosperity wane. Other quondam flourishing villages 
of North Holland, — Schagen, Assendelft, Wormer, and 
Sloterdijk,— ^were characterised as " half fallen " ; still 
others saw their frequented markets go into decline, their 
houses decay, their freight traffic move to other cities. 

Under these circumstances in many cities and villages 
poverty began to cause deep solicitude, now they were 

1 Luzac, h\, p. 327. But three hundred vessels were still 
built every year at Zaandam. What follows is chiefly from 
data in Luzaq, the continuation of Wagenaar's Amsterdam, vol. 
xvi. of the Verhandelingen der Holl. Maatschappij, and the 
magazine De Koopman, passim. 

190 History of the Dutch People 

filled with indigent people. The building up of the ruined 
factories with government help or as a charity was seri- 
ously considered. Attention was fastened especially 
upon linen weaving, which could be done at home by 
women and children. It was calculated that wages of 
seven or eight guilders, satisfactory for the time, might 
be thus earned by a family without injury to the in- 
dustry of the country. Poor-houses rose up everywhere; 
the sad lot of the common man, living on scanty wages 
in hovels and suffering for lack of bread, attracted gen- 
eral attention. It was no longer to be permitted that 
the children of the poor " rough and ungodly " should 
be brought up without intelligent development, that boys, 
going young to sea, then running from one trade to 
another, and finally wandering around without bread to 
eat, should fall a prey to all sorts of vices, that girls, 
who could neither read nor write nor knew any business 
but to peddle things along the streets, should go from 
bad to worse. The arrangement of the long standing 
deaconries was subjected to criticism and no less so 
the management of the considerable amounts acquired 
for them by collection or gift. Attention was directed 
to scandalous abuses, to the careless way the money was 
expended, to the sending of paupers from poorer prov- 
inces into Holland, famed for its wealth and charity, 
and from the villages into the cities, thus burdening 
them with a number of poor people out of proportion 
to the actual condition of their population. But it was 
understood that the old partial remedies could not help, 
that commerce and industry, the diffusers of prosperity 
and happiness, could not be saved by philosophical demon- 
strations, nor by the " offering of tearful prayers and 
urgent solicitations of heaven," from which one writer 
expected salvation. Causes enough were known of the 
lamentable decline of commerce and industry. Heavy 
taxes and the rise in wages combined with the generally 

Forerunners of the New Time 191 

higher standard of living, growing competition elsewhere, 
the importation of East Indian and American goods to 
the prejudice of similar European products, the increas- 
ing aversion to the vicissitudes of commerce and industry, 
dishonesty in trade, defects in the administration of 
government, the decline of the great companies and their 
colonies and possessions, the ignorance of merchants, the 
lack of skilful workmen, the numerous failures, the de- 
velopment of smuggling and fraud, the concentration of 
commerce in a few chief places: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, 
Dordrecht, Leyden, Haarlem — all this was mentioned as 
the cause of the deplorable condition. 

Renewal and reform became the universal wish. 1 The 
necessity of a reform of the government was first shown, 
of a restoration of the state's credit at home and abroad. 
Some ideas were taken up that had been already devel- 
oped in the proposals of William IV. For Luzac the 
system of a free port was the great means for restoring 
commerce and manufactures. Freedom seemed to be the 
panacea. Men demanded early government reform, relief 
of commerce, suppression of smuggling, taxation of lux- 
ury, temporary favours to manufacturers, freedom for 
manufactures and trade in the country to withdraw it 
from the stepmotherly treatment of centuries by the 
dominant cities, improvement of the colonies by better 
government, restoration of credit, legal restraint of usury 
and speculation in stocks, better ship-building, expulsion 
of peddlers from city and country, clearing of waste 
lands, increased planting of potatoes as a cheap food, 
obligation of the West Indian colonies to use Dutch goods, 
more general instruction in commerce, appointment of 
experienced consuls abroad, establishment of societies for 
the encouragement of commerce and industry, popular 
education in general. Against moral, political, and eco- 

1 Luzac, iv., p. 282. See the works of Rogge, Zillesen, Van 
den Heuvel, etc., on commerce and poverty. 

192 History of the Dutch People 

nomical causes there had to be also moral, political, and 
economical remedies, all in the spirit of freedom, which 
was the universal resource to win back the lost pros- 
perity, to make an end of the prevailing misery, to pre- 
vent the inevitable collapse of the state. The question 
was whether the political circumstances would allow 
these ideals to be realised, whether freedom would be 
in a condition to prepare all these advantages. There 
were many doubters and deniers. There were many 
among the people of the Netherlands, attached to old 
traditions perhaps more than any other nation, who 
would not hear to all these novelties, who neither wrote 
nor spoke against them, but opposed an obstinate resist- 
ance to the pressure of their eager advocates. The cau- 
tious old people shook their heads at the wild ideals of 
the younger ones. But the latter did not lose courage, and 
about 1780 they might still hope that the time was not 
far distant, when their ideals of renewal and reform 
were to be accomplished. In any case they were ready 
to suffer and fight for them and full of expectation as 
to the result of this fight for the true, the beautiful, 
and the good, of which their beloved authors had spoken 
to them in such eloquent language — an enthusiasm, not 
lacking in the sentimental character of the time, which 
was earnest in aim, no matter how bombastically and 
affectedly it might often be expressed. 



WITH spirit, with rashness said the opposition in 
Parliament, England had begun war against its 
old ally. The future did not look rose-coloured for the 
mistress of the seas with war in America, against France 
and Spain, in Hither India, with the disloyal disposition 
of the Irish, the dangerous attitude of the northern 
powers, and the increase of the public debts under a 
weak ministry. At the end of 1780 it was plain that 
England was playing a desperate game in raising up a 
new enemy still formidable by wealth. But Lord North, 
the head of the English Tory government, who during 
ten years, supported by the king's favour, had defied the 
opposition of the elder Pitt, the talented Burke, and 
young Fox, leaders of the Whigs, was not the man to 
give up. The English nation also, proud of its " empire," 
was ready to enter into a new conflict with the weak 
republic, which would become an easy and rich prey to 
any vigorous assailant. English merchants hoped this 
time to destroy the hated Carthago and to enrich them- 
selves with its spoils. Reckless self-confidence inspired 
the government and people of England in these years. 
Little different was the feeling of many in the republic. 
Many wanted war with England and hoped that coopera- 
tion between the allied enemies of the island kingdom 
would bring it down as low as it had been raised on 
high. These sentiments were kindled by fiery patriotic 

VOL. V 13 


194 History of the Dutch People 

pamphlets. In exaggerated language there was talk of 
reviving the old spirit, of the coming up of Tromps and 
De Ruyters, of a renewal of debilitated forces. Men 
acquainted with the real strength of the state avoided 
using such words. They knew that the neglect of the 
navy for years could not be repaired at once, that the 
colonies east and west lay undefended a prey to the first 
attack, that the French naval power was not equal to 
the English, and that a junction with the French fleet 
might be prevented by strong English squadrons in the 
North Sea and the Channel. 

But men had to do what they could. The committee 
on naval affairs from the States-General deliberated with 
the admiralty lords and found that there were ninety- 
four vessels mostly unseaworthy, which it was impossible 
to furnish with the requisite 18,500 men. It was advised 
to construct coast batteries, to guard the inlets with the 
existing ships, to begin the building of new ships, to 
prohibit all navigation in order to secure at least half 
of the necessary crews, to equip the arsenals, and for 
the payment of all this to urge the provinces to appro- 
priate fourteen and a half million guilders. The desired 
credit was granted, letters of marque were issued, and 
a beginning was made with other matters, but the 
energetic management of the days of De Witt and 
William III. was wanting. Two war-ships and many 
merchantmen fell into the enemy's hands before they 
really knew there was a war. To warn the West Indian 
Islands a small war-vessel sailed from the Tagus before 
the end of January, but it arrived soon enough only for 
Surinam and Curacao, because as early as February 3d 
a fleet under Rodney had appeared before St. Eustatius, 
which, defended by one ship commanded by captain Van 
Bylandt and a small garrison, could not do much against 
Rodney's fifteen large ships, other frigates, and three 
thousand men, and surrendered after a short resistance. 

The Fourth English War 195 

The rich spoils of one hundred and thirty merchantmen, 
warehouses filled with tobacco and sugar, all amounting 
in value to about forty millions, besides two thousand 
mostly American prisoners, were the reward of the victor, 
who enticed many more merchantmen by keeping the 
Dutch flag flying. The island was pillaged, and the ad- 
miral and his men enriched themselves in a shameful 
manner. A convoy of twenty-three merchantmen that 
had just sailed out from St. Eustatius was also captured 
after the death of the commanding rear-admiral Crul. 
Curacao under the lead of the rear-admiral Van Bylandt 
was properly defended and saved, but Demerara was sur- 
rendered by its governor Schuylenburg, who favoured the 
English, and Essequibo and Berbice suffered the same 
fate in March. In the East Indies fell in the summer 
Negapatam, the factories in Bengal, those on the western 
coast of Sumatra, later Trincomalee; the Cape was res- 
cued by a French fleet under de Suffren, who sailed for 
India in the spring of 1782, recaptured Trincomalee, 
and secured Ceylon and Java against English attacks. 
The sending out of a fleet was urged, but what could 
be done with fifty half-serviceable bottoms? Meanwhile 
commerce, especially the Baltic commerce, demanded 
convoy in March " without any harmful delay," and the 
States-General assented. But a meeting of admiralty 
lords and naval officers appointed by the prince decided 
that it was impracticable. Amsterdam's government did 
not venture to speak too loud, fearing a tumult among 
the Orange-loving populace, which reproached it for 
bringing on the war. In vain Capellen tot den Poll and 
others urged it to call for an investigation of the navy; 
it avoided even the appearance of a friendly attitude 
towards the American agent John Adams, who still re- 
mained in Amsterdam, hoping for a loan in behalf of 
America and for the recognition of his government. Com- 
plaints of the inactivity of the fleet became louder and 

196 History of the Dutch People 

were soon directed against the prince; Amsterdam ac- 
cused him of negligence and slowness and proposed to 
put at his side a council to consider with him how the 
republic's disgrace was to be wiped out and how a valiant 
defence might be made. The prince, shocked by this 
proposal, suggested on his side an invitation to the 
admiralties to begin an inquiry into the causes of the 
" lamentable state " — an idea that most plainly shows 
his innocence as well as his complete unfitness for his 

So it became summer, before anything of importance 
occurred. The report came only of a brilliant fight made 
by the captains Melvill and Oorthuys before Gibraltar; 
although the former had to surrender, the latter saved 
his ship and even compelled an English vessel to strike 
its flag. There was to be a convoy to the Baltic, though 
a numerous English squadron under Hyde Parker had 
been heard of, which was commissioned to destroy the 
small fleet off Texel. The rear-admiral Johan Arnold 
Zoutman and captain Jan Hendrik Van Kinsbergen re- 
ceived orders early in July to sail out from Texel with 
some seventy merchantmen. Parker was just then com- 
ing out of the Sound with two hundred English mer- 
chantmen. The two fleets met on the morning of August 
oth at Doggerbank, where the seven Dutch ships engaged 
in combat with the much heavier and equally numerous 
English vessels. 1 Eanged in two lines, they cannonaded 
one another for hours; the two squadrons fought val- 
iantly and suffered severe losses, until Parker at four 
o'clock with his disabled ships retreated without being 
in a condition to form a line again, and Zoutman, after 
waiting half an hour for another fight, returned to Texel 
with his no less disabled squadron, one ship having sunk. 
This battle raised the falling spirit of the republic. The 
bravery and unanimity on the fleet were highly praised, 

1 The details in De Jonge, iv., p. 513. 

The Fourth English War 197 

and great were the honours greeting Zoutman, Van Kins- 
bergen, and the captains Dedel, Van Braam, Bentinck, 
Braak, and Staring, with all the crews; Bentinck's death 
from his wounds awakened sorrow. General enthusiasm 
was manifested; people wore Zoutman medals; verses 
were written in honour of the heroes of Doggerbank; a 
" patriotic fund for the encouragement of the sea service " 
was raised, from which arose after three years the Am- 
sterdam Training School for Navigation. Although the 
honour of the flag had been brilliantly upheld, the mer- 
cantile fleet destined for the Baltic was obliged to return 
with the squadron, and the Indiamen shut up in Norway 
could not reach the fatherland without great danger. 
The merchants demanded convoy, for commerce was at 
a standstill, so that instead of two thousand only eleven 
Dutch vessels passed through the Sound this year. In 
the fall a squadron was ready at Texel, but the appear- 
ance of a large English one compelled the commander 
Van Braam to return as soon as he sailed out. A sum 
of over nine millions was appropriated for new equip- 
ment, later one of nearly eight and one half millions, in 
the spring of 1782 a third sum of over twelve millions 
to bring up the navy to one hundred and twenty vessels 
with twenty-five thousand men. The possibility of with- 
standing the British fleets independently was doubted, 
and the Amsterdam burgomaster Rendorp recurred to 
his proposal of a year earlier for making an agreement 
with France jointly to send a fleet to sea. Holland pro- 
posed cooperation with France in February, and the 
States-General consented to it in March. Now the Am- 
sterdam admiralty put itself in communication with de 
la Vauguyon. The dissatisfaction in the country at the 
continued inaction of the fleet, on which millions had 
been spent, increased hand over hand and was directed 
both against the commanding vice-admiral Hartsinck, who 
was supported by his flag-officers in his resolution to 

198 History of the Dutch People 

avoid the much stronger English, and against the prince 
himself, who finally ordered the fleet on July 5, 1782, 
to put to sea without delay. Two days later vice-admiral 
Hartsinck sailed out with Van Bylandt and Van Kins- 
bergen at the head of a fleet of thirty-three vessels to 
escort some merchantmen northwards. Again appeared 
a powerful English squadron and prevented further enter- 
prises. Commerce once more stood still for want of con- 
voy, unless a few ships had the luck to escape the 
vigilance of the English. The war-ships venturing to 
sea had always to return to port on the appearance of 
English squadrons. 

Finally in September there came a report that the 
strong English squadron on the coast had sailed to the 
Channel, presumably to join the large fleet destined to 
relieve besieged Gibraltar. Now was the time to sail out 
and escort the merchantmen to and from Norway and the 
Baltic. Something ought to be done with the fleet, for 
Zealand also addressed an urgent missive to the States- 
General, the other provinces, and the prince, complaining 
of the inaction of the ships, which " lay rotting at an- 
chor " shamefully blockaded by an inferior force. Indig- 
nant at this attitude of Zealand, which in sixteen years 
had built only one ship of the line and one frigate, the 
prince declared himself ready to explain matters, the 
more so as Holland began to stir and at the end of 
September resolved to appoint a commission to consider 
with the prince the condition of the navy. The prince 
proclaimed that he owed an account to the States-General 
alone and would soon make a report to them. This he 
did on October 7th in a " missive and memoir," giving 
a broad survey of the resolutions concerning the navy 
during his service as admiral-general and appealing to 
The impossibility of restoring in a few years what had 
been neglected during half a century. This important 
public document was widely circulated but encountered 

The Fourth English War 199 

contradiction and derision in anti-stadtholder journals 
and in violent pamphlets. Three days later the prince 
appointed a " navy department of His Highness " to stand 
by him in the management of naval affairs. Distrust of 
the prince's conduct was too deeply rooted for even this 
excellent measure to be of any help. It was hardly con- 
sidered in presence of the sensation occasioned by the 
failure of a plan proposed by de la Vauguyon. Before 
the prince had presented his missive, the French am- 
bassador (September 20th), mentioning the departure of 
the English fleet for Gibraltar, urged in conjunction with 
Amsterdam the prince to let the fleet sail for Brest, 
where a considerable French fleet lay. From there the 
combined fleets might either start for India or cruise 
along the English coast to injure English commerce. In 
any case Rodney returning from the West Indies with 
great spoils could be easily captured in the Channel. 
Some saw difficulties in the plan, because the fleet could 
not then be used for the so necessary protection of com- 
merce, and because it was hazardous to venture it so 
far away. With continuous pressure from the ambas- 
sador the States-General finally resolved on October 3d 
to send ten ships to Brest. Meanwhile all sorts of 
rumours were current about the speedy return of the 
English fleet from Gibraltar, severe storms on the French 
coast, and the favourable result of the siege for Eng- 
land, so that the fleet there became unnecessary. These 
reports diminished the none too great inclination of the 
commanding naval officers to let the squadron depart 
for Brest. Yice-admiral Van Bylandt, appointed com- 
mander of the squadron, on account of the want of sails, 
ropes, anchors, winter clothing, and provisions, declared 
it impossible to put to sea at once, while the captains 
of the ships and all the flag-officers at Texel asserted 
the same to the vice-admiral Hartsinck and declined 
responsibility for the expedition. In these circumstances 

200 History of the Dutch People 

the States-General in extraordinary session resolved to 
inform the French ambassador that owing to "a con- 
catenation of fortuitous circumstances " his wish could 
not be satisfied. 

Great was the indignation in the country at this ter- 
mination of the affair, which was attributed to the 
prince's partiality for England, to the negligence of the 
admiralties, to the unwillingness of the naval officers. 
The treaty of friendship and commerce concluded with 
America on October 8, 1782, could not atone for the dis- 
appointment. The French ambassador was furious; a 
committee from the Estates of Holland repeatedly called 
upon the prince for enlightenment; Friesland, supported 
by City and Land, addressed a sharp letter to the prince 
demanding an accounting. Holland desired to see an 
investigation by an extraordinary commission. After 
considerable wrangling this was resolved upon at the 
end of 1783. The commission undertook a thorough in- 
vestigation, which lasted fifteen months, and its results 
filled three volumes. So the affair came to the States- 
General in the summer of 1785 amid serious domestic 
disturbances; the vice-admiral Van Bylandt was prin- 
cipally accused, and Gelderland was interested in his 
fate, so that the question was not decided at the restora- 
tion of the stadtholder's power in 1787. Nothing more 
of importance occurred at sea in the war. Sometimes 
merchantmen were convoyed safely to and from the 
Baltic; privateering brought slight advantages in conse- 
quence of English vigilance in the North Sea and the 
inaction of the Dutch fleet. The republic's commerce 
suffered much from English privateers, two hundred 
Dutch vessels being captured in the first month of the 
war. The only resource seemed to consist in a sale of 
ship and cargo to neutrals. Vigorous action of a large 
navy could alone produce improvement, but ships and 
sailors could not be created from nothing. A new pro- 

The Fourth English War 201 

posal of January, 1783, to fit out a fleet, fourteen mil- 
lions being appropriated for forty-six ships of the line, 
twenty-six frigates, and seventy smaller vessels, was 
soon put aside by the conclusion of a truce. Peace seemed 
to be in sight. 

This peace was anything but advantageous to the state. 
During the war England had repeatedly tried to draw 
the republic from France and win it for a separate peace. 
The consul of Sardinia at Amsterdam, Triquetti, in Eng- 
land's pay, had offered to the Amsterdam burgomaster 
Rendorp negotiation from the English side, but his col- 
league Temminck, favouring France, would not hear to 
it; an attempt also made upon Rendorp by the English- 
man Wentworth had little success. The republic's evi- 
dent hesitation to enter into a closer alliance with the 
Americans caused the belief, that it would eagerly seize 
upon any chance for peace. Little was accomplished by 
the solicitations of Adams, appointed minister plenipo- 
tentiary to the republic in March, 1781, and by his 
memorial on the interest of the two republics in a closer 
connection ; the memorial, presented in April, 1781, was 
more than a year under consideration, as the peace party, 
headed by Rendorp, resisted all efforts of the friends of 
America to conclude an alliance in order not to imbitter 
England too much. The warlike temper in England ap- 
peared somewhat cooled, and the English nation began to 
see how dangerous the arrogant policy of its government 
was. An attempt was made to secure the mediation of 
Russia, but the terms offered were unacceptable, and a 
new journey of Wentworth to the republic only showed 
how firmly it was bound to France. In March, 1782, the 
English ministry fell, and now the chance of peace seemed 
to increase. Fox, the leader of foreign affairs, displayed 
a readiness to conclude a truce and then a peace upon 
the basis of the old treaties, even to come to a general 
peace with the sacrifice of the colonies in America. It 

202 History of the Dutch People 

soon appeared that only at Paris was anything to be 
obtained for England. The Dutch ambassador in Paris, 
Lestevenon van Berkenrode, was joined by a second am- 
bassador, the Arnhem burgomaster Brantsen. There was 
no more talk of a separate peace with England, and the 
French ally was not inclined to make sacrifices for 
the weak republic. So everything went on outside of 
the republic. On November 30, 1782, the Americans con- 
cluded a preliminary treaty at Paris with England, which 
recognised their complete independence, but declined, in 
relation to the republic, to adhere to the proposals of 
Fox, who had meanwhile resigned. There was no more 
chance that the republic would get back all its lost pos- 
sessions; the only hope was that France, ready to give 
back the Cape and St. Eustatius, might succeed in res- 
cuing some more. Finally, according to preliminaries 
signed January 20, 1783, Negapatam alone was to be 
permanently lost; the republic was included in the truce 
just concluded. Now the question was whether it should 
be taken into the peace. It refused to give up Negapatam, 
the seat of the cinnamon trade, though it was willing to 
grant free navigation for England to the Moluccas; it 
desired to see the armed neutrality maintained. Nego- 
tiation was long and broad, while France urged yielding. 
From the other side England would relinquish Nega- 
patam, if the Dutch came to London to negotiate and 
separated from France. The appearance once more of 
Fox as minister furnished a favourable opportunity to 
the republic, but no advance was made with England 
owing to the opposition of the friends of France. The 
prince's patriotic opponents did their very best to induce 
France to spare the republic the disgrace of such a peace, 
but it was in vain. The whole year 1783 and the follow- 
ing spring passed in fruitless negotiation with increasing 
differences in the republic itself, which gave England 
some hope of a victory for its champions there. This 

The Fourth English War 203 

l & 

hope grew constantly less. The English proposal to nego- 
tiate in London was declined in January after consulta- 
tion with France, and the young William Pitt now 
governed England with great ability, not concerning him- 
self about the continent any more than seemed absolutely 
necessary. The republic was handed over to France, and 
England drew back. The definitive treaty of peace, which 
the republic concluded at Paris on May 20, 1784, sealed 
its fall as an independent great power as well as the 
defeat of its diplomacy. Henceforth it was bound to 
the triumphal car of France, which under the guidance 
of the able Vergennes had secured for America indepen- 
dence, for Spain the restoration of Florida and Minorca, 
for itself the return of factories in Hindostan, four West 
Indian islands, and two establishments in Africa, but had 
inflicted upon the republic the loss of Negapatam and 
the admittance of the English into the Moluccas. 

The English war had most fatal consequences also for 
the internal condition of the republic. The inaction of 
the navy, attributed to the prince, caused opposition to 
his authority in the republic, especially to the hated 
duke of Brunswick, still considered his adviser and guard- 
ian. Amsterdam and the three pensionaries, allies of de 
la Vauguyon, took the leadership, being supported by the 
malcontents recognising Van der Capellen tot den Poll 
as their chief and by the many citizens who, weary of 
the rule of the regents and of the " spoiling hand " of 
the prince, desired reform of the government. They made 
use of the powerful weapon of the press and not alone 
in the ordinary pamphlet form, in which the " voice of 
the people " had spoken for more than two centuries, but 
now in the shape of political periodicals, weeklies, and 
dailies, which in and after 1781 came up like mushrooms 
and testified to the vivid interest, with which the still 
undeveloped population began to follow the course of 
political events. The newspapers existing since the 

204 History of the Dutch People 

seventeenth century in the principal Dutch cities had 
generally been limited to the announcement of what had 
happened in the political world. The most esteemed of 
them was the Gazette de Leyde, excellently edited by 
Etienne and Jean Luzac and considered over all Europe 
as the best informed reporter of what was doing in 
politics. In 1779 went out from the French embassy, 
which always made abundant use of the press in the 
republic, the publication of the Lettres hollandaises, " the 
first polemical work which has appeared on the present 
affairs of our nation." A. M. Cerisier was a co-worker on 
it, a clever author who in 1777 had begun to issue a 
remarkable Tableau de I'histoire generate des Pays-Bas. 
Probably it was these Lettres hollandaises, called later 
Xouvelles lettres hollandaises, and continued by Cerisier 
himself in Le politique hollandais (from February, 1781), 
that suggested to Dutch authors the establishment of a 
Dutch political weekly, which should no longer confine 
itself to relating what had occurred or to announcing 
auctions, etc., but would be emboldened to criticise events 
and the leading statesmen at home and abroad. The first 
weekly of this kind was the Post van den Neder-Rhijn, 
of which the first number, concerning the " Declaration 
of war by England on our republic," appeared on Janu- 
ary 20, 1781. It was printed by the Utrecht publisher 
Paddenburg and edited by Pieter 't Hoen, the circulation 
soon increasing to twenty-four hundred numbers per 
week. Besides in young and ardent workers like the 
turbulent student Ondaatje, an East Indian, 1 and other 
correspondents, 't Hoen found support and cooperation 
in Van der Capellen, Valckenaer, Van der Kemp, and 
their democratic friends, also in regents of Amsterdam 
and elsewhere. It was especially the journals and pam- 
phlets of this circle that adopted the honourable title of 

1 See Davies, Memorials and times of P. P. J. Q. Ondaatje 
(Werken Hist. Gen., No. 13). 

The Fourth English War 205 

" patriot " for themselves and their friends and made 
a party name of it, which was soon universally used, 
even by the partisans of Orange, to indicate all the oppo- 
nents of the stadtholder in the republic, democratic citi- 
zens and aristocratic members of the regents' party 
working together fraternally against the common enemy. 
The ordinary newspapers also began to be bold enough 
to vary their relations with criticisms. In the course of 
1782 freedom of the press gained ground, and Van der 
Capellen could exult in the evident increase of the 
i; opposition " ; he hoped to attain a state of liberty which 
would loosen the " golden chains " fettering men. Al- 
though many colonies should be lost by war, he declared, 
the securing of complete freedom of the press with a 
militia would be a sufficient gain. 

The adherents of the government and many moderates 
were naturally angered. " Nobody is free from attack," 
the Nederlandsche Jaarboekcn complained in 1782, " it is 
more like a market or other open place, where boys play 
and, getting into quarrels and fights, pelt one another 
with stones; hardly does an innocent passer come along, 
before he too receives a shower of them." Distrust aug- 
mented, because most of these journals appeared anony- 
mously. It went no further than admonitions from the 
States and municipal governments to the printers and 
publishers of the papers, and no attempt was made to 
bind the press by prosecutions and prohibitions. In these 
circumstances little remained to be done for defence but 
to use the same means that served for attack and to 
establish weeklies on the stadtholder side. The weak 
efforts in this direction soon showed that the talent and 
daring were not on this side. In the first months of 
1781 the scribbling had been mainly directed against the 
duke of Brunswick, whom the French party considered 
as the faithful ally and paid hireling of England. He, 
who in 1700 had appealed to the traditions of liberty 

206 History of the Dutch People 

against the plans for curbing the press, became now a 
sacrifice to excessive freedom of the press. The bitter 
reproaches of the newspapers obtained support, when on 
June 8, 1781, the Amsterdam burgomasters Rendorp and 
Temminck with their pensionary Visscher in an audience 
with the prince advised the stadtholder in a long memorial 
to dismiss from his presence the duke, who was regarded 
as the "cause of the country's misfortune"; then only 
could there be " good correspondence " between the prince 
and Amsterdam. Rendorp was now the leading person- 
age in Amsterdam and esteemed himself master of the 
situation, a man of talent but too conceited. His work 
it was that on May 18th Amsterdam had complained in 
the Estates of Holland of the inaction of the fleet and 
had proposed giving to the prince a council of provincial 
commissioners. Thus he hoped to make the prince and 
Amsterdam work together. But the duke of Brunswick, 
who was on bad terms with Amsterdam, would have to 
be removed. The memorial declared that the distrust 
was chiefly of Brunswick. The prince was warned that 
this distrust might be turned against him if he deliber- 
ated with a foreigner on " what was most necessary 
and useful for the preservation and service of the coun- 
try." It was evidently desired to drive away first the 
duke and then himself and his house, the prince com- 
plained; baseness was demanded of him in requesting 
him to expel from his court his " second father," as if 
he were a " villain and traitor." The prince thought best 
to communicate the memorial in its entirety to the duke, 
the memorialists asserting that they were not desirous 
of driving away the latter but wanted to procure for 
him an " honourable retreat " with retention of all his 
titles and emoluments. Brunswick considered himself in- 
sulted, and on June 21st in a letter to the States-General 
he requested that the accusations against him should be 
proved or condemned as calumnies, whereupon an in- 

The Fourth English War 207 

vestigation by the admiralties followed, and on July 2d 
the duke was acquitted by the States-General of the 
charges made in the memorial. Meanwhile Amsterdam 
in response to the duke's letter had published the 
memorial and thus persuaded Brunswick's numerous 
enemies to speak out. The duke was now assailed from 
all sides, and nothing came of the satisfaction demanded 
by him. The anonymous writers of pamphlets and pas- 
quinades directed their efforts more and more against 
the prince also. He was reviled as a simpleton beside 
the false duke; another lampoon declares him not worth 
a doughnut to the country, because he allows himself to 
be ruled so shamefully by a boor; a third advised him to 
kick out the cur, the rascally pilot, or to hang him up 
for a mirror. A " free Frisian " proclaimed his eager- 
ness to die, if Orange might sink into the grave with him. 
It could not go on longer thus. Vigorous measures 
had to be taken by the Orange party against this clever 
press campaign. Among the prince's adherents the only 
one equal to wielding the same formidable weapons was 
the former Utrecht professor and regent Van Goens, who 
replied to Calkoen's defence of the conduct of Amsterdam 
towards America in a sharp pamphlet attacking the 
avarice and ambition of the powerful commercial city, 
which by its shameful plan for a treaty with the Ameri- 
cans had involved the republic in a dangerous war. Soon 
Van Goens (August, 1781) undertook to edit an Orange 
weekly, the Ouderwetsche Nedcrlandsche Patriot, but 
could not get a circulation of more than seven hundred 
copies, and the paper died in a year and a half, while 
the patriotic newspapers and pamphlets found every- 
where eager readers. No writing of this sort made a 
deeper impression at that time than the pamphlet — 
Aan het Volk van Ncderland, flowing from the pen of 
Van der Capellen and distributed over the whole country 
by Van der Kemp, who had it thrown into the streets of 

208 History of the Dutch People 

all the cities on September 25 and 26, 1781. 1 This vio- 
lent pamphlet gives a series of so-called historical dis- 
closures concerning the real aims of the " ambitious 
men," who for nearly two centuries had been trying to 
put a hereditary yoke upon the free necks of the people. 
The successive Orange princes are depicted as tyrants, 
even William I., who aspired to the power of count. The 
writer refers to the bad government of William III., to 
the disturbances of the Orange faction in the stadt- 
holderless time, to the selfishness of William IV., finally 
to his son " who is now making us unhappy." He ac- 
cuses the prince of conspiring with England " to bring 
proud Amsterdam to reason." He declares that not the 
duke but the prince himself is the guilty one, who can 
do everything and consequently is responsible for every- 
thing. He advises that the people assemble in city and 
village and choose " good patriots " to command the 
States " in the name and on the authority of this nation " 
to investigate with them the " causes of the far-reaching 
inaction and weakness " in the war. There must be a 
general taking up of arms to make the " good cause " 
triumph with the help of " Jehovah, the God of Freedom." 
Not until our day was the real writer of the pamphlet 
discovered. The cabal against the duke went on with- 
out cessation. A number of pamphlets brought accusa- 
tions against him of treason and corruption. Finally 
the prince made it evident that the temporary with- 
drawal of the duke seemed to him the best solution. He 
wrote this to him at the end of April. So Brunswick 
departed on May 18, 1782, for his government of Bois- 
le-Duc to wait for better days. 

Amsterdam was now master of the field, but it soon 

1 See his autobiography, edited by Mrs. Fairchild (New York, 
1903), p. 54. On the authorship: the writings of A. Loosjes, 
Een krachtig libel (1886), and Nog een en ander over het 
pamflet Aan het Volk van Nederland (1891). 

The Fourth English War 209 

appeared that Rendorp could neither wage war vigor- 
ously nor conclude an honourable peace. He saw his in- 
fluence dwindle before that of Van Berckel supported 
by the club of young patriots. Among the patriotic Am- 
sterdam merchants was the head of the firm of Marselis, 
closely connected with the French government, the 
ambitious councillor Balthazar Abbema, and prominent 
with him was Jan Bicker of the old family favouring 
the States-General. The course of negotiations with 
England and that of plans for cooperation with France 
showed that Rendorp's party could not improve the situa- 
tion. The bloodthirsty language of the hotheads proved 
how high the exasperation had mounted. There was 
talk of a bloody revolution to save the republic. But the 
regents of Holland, who still expected to lead the demo- 
cratic party by means of the three pensionaries, would 
not hear to such violence. They wanted to maintain the 
form of government and only to avert the " spoiling 
hand" of stadtholder influence. Most willingly would 
they have seen the separation of the offices of stadt- 
holder and captain-general, the prince to retain only the 
power of executing orders received from the States- 
General. Although the pensionaries and regents would 
not venture upon a bloody revolution, the vanguard of 
their party numbered many a madcap who dreamed of 
a general overthrow of the rotten governments. The 
time was coming when it would no longer seem possible 
to resist this vanguard. The men around the stadtholder 
became uneasy. They desired to remain on good terms 
with Amsterdam and France and hoped to overcome the 
league of pensionaries by an opposing alliance of the 
stadtholder's partisans but were hindered by the in- 
capacity of many regents. De Larrey, Van Hees, Van 
der Hoop, and Rendorp met together often, from No- 
vember, 1782, until the following spring, in order to 
suggest plans for improvement to the prince. The grow- 

VOL. V — 14 

210 History of the Dutch People 

ing discontent of the citizens, the " small people," caused 
anxiety in this circle, and it was hoped that the prince 
might be brought to greater activity, to regular delibera- 
tion with a council comprising the chief officers of the 
republic with some able regents. All these plans had 
little success, as the prince could not be induced to adopt 
vigorous measures and the stadtholder party had no 
leader. The " faithful servants and good friends " of 
the prince saw their advice mostly thrown to the winds. 
The prince's policy at home and abroad lacked vigour 
and direction. 

In these circumstances the pensionaries in Holland, 
now leaders of the regents' party, moved more energetic- 
ally. The secret discussions in the patriotic party went 
over from April, 1783, under the lead of the Capellens, 
Abbema, and Bicker, into a meeting at Amsterdam, where 
seventy regents and citizens took part ; a second assembly 
in August produced a separation between " old well- 
known " patriots like Hooft, Abbema, the Van der 
Capellens and " new converts," who were not entirely 
trusted. In October a new meeting of thirty to forty 
" fatherland regents," as they called themselves, took 
place at Amsterdam. These meetings became the party 
assemblies of the democrats over the whole republic, al- 
though a difference of opinion quickly arose concerning 
the application of democratic ideas. Young hotheads, 
like Pieter Vreede, the Mennonite preacher Van der Kemp 
of Leyden, the Leyden town councillor Blok, the Mennon- 
ite preacher Wijbo Fijnje of Deventer, the young Frisian 
regent Van Beyma, the Utrecht law student Ondaatje, 
the Amsterdam publicist Hespe, could not long agree with 
Van Berckel and Zeebergh, nor especially with the cir- 
cumspect Holland regents, who were willing to make 
use of the movement among the middle class against 
the stadtholder's authority but had no desire to place 
the regents under the control of the citizens. The 

The Fourth English War 211 


October meeting arranged " correspondence " between 
the members with a central office at The Hague. The 
organisation was begun of free militia corps and of 
boards of deputies from the citizens. In opposition to 
the militia mostly commanded by Orange partisans and 
reformed officers new military companies were formed 
" to keep off violence from without and within." The 
free shooters, adorning their unions with such patriotic 
and liberty-loving names as Pro arts et focls, Pro patria et 
Wbcrtatc, For our dearest pledges, chose their own officers 
without regard to any difference of religion. At the 
close of 1783 these city companies joined together in 
the separate provinces, a year later all over the country 
— a national organisation, not unconnected with that of 
the "patriotic regents," which proved that many felt 
gradually like one people with one interest. The free 
corps repeatedly held " national " meetings at Utrecht, 
where the general interests of the country and its defence 
were discussed naturally from a democratic point of view. 
The citizen deputies had to make known the will of the 
citizens in opposition to the regents. The cause of democ- 
racy had made great progress in the course of the war. 
The newspaper edited by Hespe, De Politicke Kruyer, 
was the principal organ of the most violent democrats. 
Everywhere arose patriotic or democratic unions, which 
acted more or less openly against the regents, finding 
their members mostly in the middle class, among the 
Mennonite, Remonstrant, Lutheran, and Catholic citizens, 
while the aristocratic regents were generally connected 
with the " great church." These citizens in angry mood 
had turned away also from Orange, the protector and 
representative of the aristocratic form of government. 
Besides among the aristocracy itself and the small army 
this government found support alone in the lower ranks 
of the people, which still favoured Orange but could not 
be stirred up without opening the door to revolutionary 

212 History of the Dutch People 

excesses. The sole hope was fixed on the very great num- 
ber of order-loving citizens, who would not respond to 
the appeal of the democrats but were as little prepared 
to follow the corrupt aristocracy through thick and thin 
— they desired simply a vigorous government that 
would prevent all disorder. But these citizens, estimated 
by the young Van Hogendorp at three-fourths of the 
nation, were seriously shocked in their confidence in the 
existing government by the course of the war and increas- 
ing domestic disturbances. An important matter it was 
that the prince remained quite beneath his task. He did 
not think of far-reaching reforms or of suppressing dis- 
order. His attitude in these critical times was weak 
and unworthy. Drilling with his guards, making love 
to the ladies, amusing himself with banquets, balls, and 
other court festivities, where moderation did not prevail, 
in silly talk seeking distraction from dark thoughts of 
Charles I.'s fate and of a " retreat " to his Nassau 
domains, to-day under this, to-morrow under that in- 
fluence, now stubbornly refusing every concession and 
not inclined to give up any of his rights, then desperately 
asking himself and others what must be done, what he 
must sacrifice, the " eminent head " of the state did not 
conduct himself as such. 

In the beginning of 1783 the situation became worse. 
Emperor Joseph IT., after the death of his mother Maria 
Theresa succeeding as sovereign of the Netherlands 
(November, 1780), had visited incognito the republic in 
1781 after a journey to Belgium, which he made as 
" count of Falkenstein." * The visit of a sovereign of 
the southern Netherlands to those neglected provinces be- 
tokened something unusual, and Joseph II.'s uncommon 
personality made the affair more important. It was said 

1 Hubert, Le voyage de I'empereur Joseph II. (Bruxelles, 

The Fourth English War 213 

that he had already declared Ostend a free port and 
showed a willingness to grant freedom of worship every- 
where to Protestants. With interest he had listened to 
the bitter complaints of Antwerp. People had heard of 
his plans for the opening of the Scheldt, of his interest 
in Belgian industry, of a project for regulating the 
antiquated barrier. The emperor showed himself uncom- 
monly gracious in the republic; he avoided all close con- 
tact both with the duke of Brunswick and his adversaries. 
On his departure from Belgium his plans had become so 
little manifest that even the governor appointed by him, 
and his wife, duke Albrecht of Saxony-Teschen and the 
archduchess Maria Christina, knew nothing of them. Soon 
Joseph's reforms began, first in ecclesiastical then in 
political matters, which were suddenly to make the Aus- 
trian Netherlands, still ruled according to the ancient 
privileges and customs of the Burgundian-Spanish time, 
into a country governed in modern fashion, subjecting 
church to state, modifying the half mediaeval authority 
in the direction of centralisation. The barrier had also 
attracted his attention. He was determined to do away 
with the long row of fortresses and to keep only Ant- 
werp, Ostend, and Luxemburg. This plan might serve to 
end the republic's humiliating rights of garrison. On 
November 7th the Austrian government informed the 
ambassador at Brussels and the States-General at The 
Hague that the emperor had resolved to demolish most 
of the dismantled fortresses in the southern Netherlands, 
and expected the republic to give the necessary orders 
to the commanding officers. The States-General feigned 
not to understand, but received from Brussels shorter 
notice that the affair was to be carried out immediately. 
The States-General, convinced of the uselessness of the 
barrier now that the republic's relation to France had 
entirely changed, offered no further resistance and re- 
called the garrisons from most of the barrier cities in 

214 History of the Dutch People 

January, 1782. These troops, numbering six or seven 
thousand men, reenforced considerably the small army. 
The imperial government's method of action was felt as 
a deep humiliation. Rumours of plans for forcibly open- 
ing the Scheldt excited uneasiness among the merchants 
of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, who dreaded the com- 
petition of Antwerp. But the old plan of exchanging 
the Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria now kept the em- 
peror from such a measure, which might bring about a 
general European war. He began with another matter, 
the boundary regulation of Dutch Flanders never de- 
cisively fixed since the convention of 1718. In the night 
of November 3 to 4, 1783, an imperial regiment from 
Bruges occupied the forts St. Donat, St. Paul, and St. 
Job near Sluis on the frontier, drove out the Dutch garri- 
sons, and demolished the forts; the corpse of a Dutch 
soldier was dug up from a cemetery and thrown into the 
moat of the fort Liefkenshoek. The republic had to sub- 
mit to this new humiliation, as it was not in a condition 
to resist. The tone of the Brussels government con- 
trasted sharply with the humble manner, in which the 
States-General proposed a final settlement of these 
affairs. The prince would have liked a more decided 
answer and the gathering of troops, but the patriots in 
fear of war would not hear to it. Austrian diplomacy 
had under consideration a plan for ending all differences 
with the republic by a great quadruple alliance of the 
maritime powers with Austria and Russia, but the pa- 
triots were afraid of it. The opening of the Scheldt 
remained like a threatening sword over the republic. 

It appeared that no longer the prince but the patriots, 
especially the three pensionaries, had the management of 
the republic in their hands. The strong association of 
the patriotic party, supported by France, had made the 
party supreme. It did not cease attacking the prince's 
authority. The princess in these circumstances sought 

The Fourth English War 215 

aid from Prussia, but found little comfort there. At the 
most Frederick II. and his ministers were persuaded to 
draw up memorials, advising the prince to yield as much 
as possible to the demands of the patriots, to avoid the 
appearance of favouring England, to keep friendly with 
the French court, and to increase his popularity. Nothing 
was said of the duke, whose relations with the prince 
were far from broken off, but the prince and princess 
knew that Frederick II. would not hold out a hand for 
him. There seemed no longer to be any doubt about the 
victory of the patriots. Things began to look bad for 
the duke still residing at Bois-le-Duc. His ambiguous 
position as Austrian and Dutch field-marshal was with 
the emperor's attitude not a little dangerous, and the 
prince of Nassau-Weilburg, his old opponent, stood 
ready to take from him his post of field-marshal. The 
princess concerned herself little about him, and he could 
not depend upon the prince. In the spring of 1784 the 
cabal against the duke acted with redoubled fury. He 
was accused of intentionally neglecting the southern fort- 
resses, of treason for the sake of Austria, and finally in 
April the act of consultation was brought up. Once made 
known, it caused a profound impression on all sides, and 
the Estates of Holland, having already sent De Gyselaer, 
Van Berckel, and the council pensionary to the prince 
to inquire about Brunswick's attitude in the affair of 
the frontier fortresses, commissioned these gentlemen to 
ask about the act existing " according to rumour." The 
prince exonerated the duke with regard to the first point 
and on May 24th in a message to the States-General and 
the different provinces justified the act and took the 
duke's person under his protection. Then began a new 
storm against the duke, who was finally to give way 

before his fierce e nemies. . , 

About the time of these events the emperor came out 
with his demands, making use of the refusal of 

216 History of the Dutch People 

France to step into the breach on behalf of the republic. 
The patriots had hoped that France, their ally, would be 
ready to bind itself closely with the republic, and the 
prince also had agreed to this upon the advice of Prussia. 
With England nothing more was to be done; all hope 
was fixed upon France. But France hesitated, as it did 
not wish to be on a hostile footing with the emperor. 
It would conclude a treaty of commerce but nothing more. 
The pensionaries proposed to de la Vauguyon a great 
plan of alliance, by which France, in exchange for a 
guarantee against an attack upon the republic, might 
obtain in case of war the disposal of its fleet and colonies. 
Thus they would have delivered up to France the state 
bound hand and foot. Then came the emperor on May 
4th with his Tableau sommaire des pretentions, in which 
besides the frontier regulation of 1664 he asked: the 
cession of Maestricht and other territory, removal of 
the guard ship before Lilloo on the Scheldt, destruction 
of the Scheldt forts Kruisschans and Frederick Henry, 
partial destruction of Lilloo and Liefkenshoek, yielding 
to the demands of private individuals. Was war with 
Austria now to break out before peace was definitively 
concluded with England? What would then become of 
the republic? The Dutch plenipotentiaries were con- 
strained to sign the preliminaries at Paris and agreed to 
the terms proposed by England and France. The repub- 
lic's only hope against Austria was the mediation of 
France. No treaty of peace was more humiliating than 
that of Paris, none showed the republic in a more dis- 
ordered condition — a mockery of a state, hopelessly 
divided in itself, without influence abroad, without power 
on land and sea, without future, living alone in the 
remembrance of its great past and in the prosperity left 
by that past. That prosperity had suffered much during 
the war and the ensuing year of uncertainty. The neu- 
trals and the English had carried off the commerce of 

The Fourth English War 217 

the republic to their own ports. The southern Nether- 
lands had seized the opportunity and freighted ships 
from Ostend and Nieuwpoort for foreign countries. 
Hamburg and Bremen, the German, Danish, Swedish, 
and Russian ports of the Baltic had derived no less 
advantage. The two great companies had given up 
regular communication with the Indies, their trade had 
suffered heavy losses and had received the finishing 
stroke. Domestic industry was hit by the stoppage of 
the importation and exportation of raw materials and 
products. Without internal strength or external con- 
sideration the republic moved rapidly towards a fatal 
domestic crisis, which might cost its independent exist- 
ence, now that the three great neighbouring powers 
meddled so much with its internal affairs. 



WITH the peace at Paris the danger of a foreign 
war was far from over, and, so long as this was 
the case, it might be expected that the political differences 
at home — attracting most attention in the history of these 
years — would retain the character of quarrels rather than 
end in a civil war. People did not know what the em- 
peror meant with his Tableau, that had disturbed the joy 
over peace with England. But lively enough was the 
hope of the mediation of France in consequence of the 
new alliance contemplated with that now friendly power. 
The French government seemed inclined not to go so 
far and proposed a defensive alliance with mutual 
guarantee of all rights and possessions, yet made an 
exception of the rights disputed by the emperor. In the 
summer of 17S4 the help to be given in case of war was 
fixed at twelve thousand men and eighteen ships from 
the French and half of that from the Dutch side. In 
October the Dutch envoys were empowered by the States- 
General to sign the treaty, but France, guided cautiously 
by Vergennes, showed slight desire to do so. The repub- 
lic had explained its rights in reply to the imperial 
Tableau, but it soon appeared that France was disposed 
to settle the affair by a middle course. That middle 
course was indicated also from the emperor's side by a 
document of August 23d, in which the emperor demanded 
the opening of the Scheldt, free navigation to India for 
the southern Netherlands, liberty to fix import and export 


Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 219 

duties there, settlement of the boundary. The document 
was intended as an ultimatum. The States-General were 
emboldened to an uncommonly rapid display of vigour 
and rejected these demands a few days later, making 
ready to prevent by force the opening of the Scheldt and 
to defend the threatened southern frontier. Both prince 
and patriots would not hear to any further yielding, 
and war-ships assembled before Flushing under vice- 
admiral Reynst to oppose the imperial vessels an- 
nounced to appear on the Scheldt. The affair remained 
iu suspense over a month, but the imperial ambassador 
at Brussels, count Belgiojoso, proclaimed officially that 
about October 6th or 7th vessels would go along the 
Scheldt from Antwerp and Ostend and that obstruction 
of this navigation would mean war. On the 8th a ship 
left Antwerp for the sea, but was greeted by the fire 
of cannon before Saeftingen and went back; the ship 
from Ostend, departing for Antwerp on the 15th, was 
held up at Flushing. 

War was at the door. The emperor ordered an army 
corps sent from Austria to the Netherlands, and the 
Dutch began preparations in anticipation of the coming 
of these troops. Forts were garrisoned, frontier dis- 
tricts in Dutch Flanders were inundated, ships were 
posted on the Scheldt, and German troops were recruited 
But who was to conduct the war besides the inexperienced 
prince *> Brunswick could no longer head the army. The 
impression, aroused by the publication of the act of con- 
sultation, had been too profound. On October 14th 
Brunswick resigned his offices and departed from Bois- 
le-Duc for Aix-la-Chapelle, indignant at the treatment 
given him and embittered against the prince, who had 
left him in the lurch notwithstanding all his promises. 
Thenceforth his correspondence with the prince ceased, 
and his influence upon the government disappeared. Two 
years later he went to Brunswick and died in 1788 at 

220 History of the Dutch People 

Vechelde of apoplexy. Now who was to take his place 
as field-marshal at the head of the Dutch army? Neither 
the prince of Weilburg, nor the Rhine-grave of Salm, 
colonel in the Dutch army, nor any of the chief Dutch 
officers was fitted for the post. On the advice of Fred- 
erick II. choice was finally made of the experienced 
French count de Maillebois, who appeared in the follow- 
ing spring at the head of a corps of French officers. The 
enlistment of German troops to add twelve thousand men 
to the army, as had been resolved, progressed slowly. 
Everywhere, however, in the cities and country the militia 
was reformed ; a general taking up of arms was prepared ; 
and free corps were raised to defend the country against 
the expected attack of the half-wild Hungarians and 
Croats, the dreaded hussars and pandours of the im- 
perial army. The general arming was not without seri- 
ous difficulties. In Holland the preliminary registration 
of the male inhabitants from eighteen to sixty years of 
age met with resistance from the peasants, who favoured 
the prince and saw in the affair a patriotic plan to with- 
draw the army from him and his influence. In January, 
1785, here and there was a revolt against the resolution 
adopted to draw every third man for military service. 
The Estates prohibited the display of the Orange flag 
in token of opposition to their measures, but this caused 
new tumults, while the prince, though disapproving of 
the insurrectionary movements, objected to the designa- 
tion of his flag as a sign of rebellion. The Estates of 
Holland now put down opposition vigorously, accom- 
plished the drawing, punished offenders, and finally for- 
bade expressly the wearing of " ornaments of Orange 
colour." In the other provinces matters went no further 
as a rule than the registration, but this occasioned un- 
easiness for the result in case the emperor should carry 
out his threats. 

The emperor's threats were not carried out. Frederick 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 221 

the Great had never believed in them, but, unwilling at 
his advanced age to enter upon a great war, he refused 
to do anything of consequence for the republic, declaring 
France to be the proper mediator. France, on account 
of the condition of its finances, was unable to act vigor- 
ously on l^half of the republic. It was ready for media- 
tion, even to warn Austria that it would suffer no attack 
on the friendly republic. On November 20th such a 
warning was sent for the second time from Paris to 
Vienna, where preparations for war were supposed to 
be making. But old Fritz appeared to have been right. 
The emperor was occupied with the plan of persuading 
the ruler of Bavaria, elector Karl Theodor von der Pfalz, 
to exchange his whole territory for the southern Nether- 
lands, which were then to be elevated to an independent 
" kingdom of Burgundy." The elector, very devoted to 
France and by birth half a Belgian, was not averse to 
this exchange, as France of old preferred a weak, inde- 
pendent little kingdom on its northern frontier to an 
Austrian or Spanish possession. But the elector was 
childless, and his heir, Duke Karl von Pfalz-Zweibrticken, 
was not to be depended upon ; this prince, a partisan of 
Prussia, would not easily consent to the exchange, as 
the Austrian monarchy, thus possessing a large part of 
southern Germany, might regain its supremacy over 
Prussia in the German empire. Frederick II. was ready 
to use all means to make Joseph's plan fail and en- 
deavoured to bring together the German princes in a 
Fiirstcnbund against Austria. 1 Joseph II. offered to 
France, in case of the exchange, an extension of the 
French frontiers on the side of Luxemburg and Namur, 
including those important fortresses. At the end of 

1 See Ranke, Die deutschen Mdchte und der Fiirstenbund; 
Bailleu, Die Entstehung des Furstenbunds (Hist. Zeitschr., 
Bd. 41). 

222 History of the Dutch People 

1784 he transmitted a proposal of this sort to his sister 
Marie Antoinette. But France demanded the approval 
of Frederick II. and the heir of the Bavarian states, 
and there was not much chance of this approval, espe- 
cially after the German league of princes was formed 
in the summer of 1785. The plan of exchange, which 
would have brought some advantages to the republic, 
fell through. The difference with Joseph must be settled 
by negotiation with French mediation, and it would have 
to end in what Frederick the Great called un pourboire 
a VEmpereur. The emperor required for the " illegal " 
opposition to his ships on the Scheldt an apology from 
the republic by sending an embassy to Vienna, where 
there could be further negotiation; only on this condition 
would he let his troops turn back. A money indemnity 
seemed impending, some sixteen to eighteen millions, it 
was said. Upon the advice of France the republic de- 
cided in January to adopt this course. The apologetic 
embassy, consisting of Van Wassenaer-Twickel and Van 
Leyden, finally appeared at Vienna in June, but was treated 
with slight consideration, owing partly to the fault of the 
envoys themselves, who were caught smuggling tea and 
herrings in their calashes. At last the emperor was 
satisfied with their humble request in the name of the 
States to negotiate further at Paris. So the negotiation 
was resumed there, not without grievances and plans 
coming constantly from The Hague. The new English 
ambassador there, the able and energetic Sir James 
Harris, had a hand in these plans, and opposed to him 
was no longer de la Vauguyon, who had transferred his 
task to the less capable count de Verac, the tool of his 
secretary Berenger, closely connected with the patriotic 
pensionaries. There was talk of the republic's joining 
the German league of princes, of a closer alliance with 
England, of a revolution in the republic in favour of 
the prince. But the Paris negotiation seemed finally to 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 223 

hinge upon the brutally simple question : How great shall 
the fee of the emperor be? If the leading pensionaries 
with the French government could reduce the amount, 
the States-General might be induced to accept and get 
free from the danger of war. The Rhine-grave of Salm 
came in August to Paris to offer five million guilders 
in the name of the pensionaries. Vergennes communi- 
cated the offer to Austria and gave The Hague to under- 
stand that the French government would contribute 
something. The emperor's demand dropped from twelve 
to seven millions. Finally the States-General resolved, 
by a minority of three against four votes, to offer as 
much more than five millions as the French government 
should deem equitable. The imperial government re- 
quested a definitive answer on or before September 25th, 
threatening war in case of refusal; the Dutch troops 
moved southwards, and the prince appeared with Maille- 
bois in Breda to look after the defence of the southern 
frontier. The pensionaries feared the whole plan would 
fail. At the eleventh hour came the report that France 
was ready to help with several millions and the republic 
need pay no more than five millions. The preliminaries 
of these terms were signed at Paris on September 20th; 
the definitive peace was to follow quickly. Then the 
signing of the proposed alliance with France was 
expected, as it had not yet been accomplished. 

On October 17th the States-General approved the pre- 
liminaries of Paris. It came out that France had in- 
tended to give only one and one half millions and the 
republic had counted upon a French contribution of not 
less than four and one half millions. Peace with the 
emperor was signed at Fontainebleau on November 8th, 
the closing of the Scheldt being maintained, but with 
a sacrifice of the Scheldt forts, which were given to 
Joseph II.; the frontier in Dutch Flanders was to be 
that of 1064; Maestricht was kept by the republic. Two 

224 History of the Dutch People 

days later the alliance with France was concluded. The 
misunderstanding regarding the millions to be paid was 
made known to only a small circle in order not to en- 
danger the ratification, which was effected on December 
12th. After much wrangling came a secret agreement 
that France would really pay four and one half millions 
and would receive in return from the republic a present 
of two war-ships. The changed circumstances of the 
republic and France finally made the present super- 
fluous, and some years later the ships were sold to be 
broken up. Great was the joy of the friends of France 
over the " defensive confederacy/' which was celebrated 
by illuminations and other festivities, also by gifts to 
the leading French statesmen. The alliance with Eng- 
land had brought the state since William III. under the 
power of its old enemy and almost entirely destroyed 
its political influence in Europe; that influence was lost 
in the wretched war and the decline as a commercial 
power; the alliance with France, so the patriots pro- 
claimed, would restore the glory of former times. The 
beginning, the humiliating agreement with the emperor 
brought about by the intervention of France, was far 
from promising, but it was hoped that the good under- 
standing with France would quickly lead to an advan- 
tageous treaty of commerce and that France would help 
defend the "full freedom" against the attacks on it 
from the stadtholder party supported by England and 
perhaps by Prussia. With these illusions based upon 
the new political system, the future was entered upon 
duplici feeder e salva, as was engraved on a medal in 
memory of the two treaties. 

The patriotic movement had become more and more 
democratic. The regent aristocracy soon saw itself dis- 
appointed in its expectations. With great zeal it had 
helped to undermine the stadtholder's influence, hoping 
to drive him from his high position. The alliance with 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 225 

France seemed to the aristocratic regents a security 
against plans, favoured by competing England and 
monarchic Prussia, to develop the stadtholder's power in 
the direction of monarchy. They saw also in the desire 
for a "fundamental restoration" of the rights of the 
people, as understood by them, a chance of maintaining 
the old republican forms of government, under which the 
republic had once become great. They agreed with Van 
der Capellen : " The patriotic party is this nation." But 
they soon saw that they had yielded too much to their 
democratic allies. Van der Capellen and De Gyselaer 
did not think of restoring the old power of the regents. 
They wanted popular government, the sovereignty of the 
people as in America, no patching up of the old union, 
but a renovation of the whole system of the republic's 
government. Fortune served the democrats in that 
neither the stadtholder party nor the regent aristocracy 
possessed leaders of any importance. There was some 
thought of an agreement between the prince and the 
patriotic party. Through the mediation of the princess, 
acting upon the advice of Frederick II., interviews took 
place in October and November, 1784, between the prince 
and Van Berckel and De Gyselaer, in which the general 
condition of the republic formed the subject of discussion. 
But proper confidence was wanting on both sides, so that 
little came of this beginning of cooperation but mutual 
bitterness. So the democratic pensionaries in the course 
of 1784 were able to get the guidance of affairs wholly 
in their hands and to carry along with them the aris- 
tocratic regents, who did not yet see the danger to their 
own future of this association. Since the October meet- 
ing in 1783 of the patriotic regents there had existed a 
sort of permanent democratic party government, com- 
posed of six pensionaries of Holland : De Gyselaer, Zee- 
bergh, then Van Berckel and Visscher of Amsterdam, 
Van Wijn of Gouda, and De Kempenaer of Alkmaar, who 

VOL. V — IS 

226 History of the Dutch People 

were in regular communication with, correspondents in 
the other provinces. The French government instructed 
its new ambassador to side mostly with the patriots, " be- 
cause it is to their courage and perseverance that the 
king is indebted for the change which has been effected 
in the republic in favour of France." 

Meanwhile the power of the prince in Holland had to 
suffer many blows. Not only were the orange colour, the 
shouting of Oranje Bovcn, the singing of the Wilhelmus, 
etc., prohibited as signs of rebellion, while his protests 
were thrown aside by the States-General and by Holland, 
but encroachments were made on his right of pardon. 
In Rotterdam, where the militia was being reformed into 
free corps, riots arose under the lead of a notorious 
mussel woman, Kaat Mossel, ending in the imprisonment 
by the justices of this woman and her friend Clasina 
Verrijn. In 1785, when the patriotic sheriff of the city 
appealed to the court of Holland, the case came before 
that court, which took two years more to settle it and 
by the revolution of 1787 was finally compelled to release 
the two women, for whose defence the young advocate 
Willem Bilderdijk had taken much trouble. In one town 
after another the patriots managed to change the gov- 
ernment to suit their ideas, while here the choice, there 
the recommendation was taken from the prince. They 
made their friends and partisans triumph in the councils 
and magistracies and secured for them the most impor- 
tant offices. In the country of Holland as well as in the 
cities all seditious movements were vigorously suppressed. 
The new navy department undertook the reorganisation 
of the fleet, which soon numbered forty ships of the line, 
but the authority of the admiral-general fell into the 
background. The "commission of defence," established 
by the States-General in May, 1785, beside the already 
existing " secret " department of war affairs of the prince, 
together with another for revising the quotas of the 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 227 

provinces, aimed likewise to limit the prince's military 
power, while Maillebois, with great reforms in mind, 
could get nothing done. There seemed to be some chance 
of a better understanding from the intervention of the 
princess. It was known to her that in the summer of 
1784 the pensionaries had made secret overtures at Berlin 
and had suggested the transfer of the stadtholder's rights 
to the princess. In the spring of 1785 came other offers 
from the Utrecht democrats, and for a moment it ap- 
peared not impossible that Orange and the democracy 
might unite against the aristocratic regents. But the 
princess believed such a combination was impossible; she 
had no idea of the significance of the democratic move- 
ment and saw no salvation in such a cooperation as was 
proposed to her. Events in Utrecht occasioned a new 
meeting of the " patriotic regents " at Amsterdam on 
August 1, 1785, under direction of Capellen van de Marsch 
and De Gyselaer. At this meeting, where fifty-eight per- 
sons were present, a governing committee of seven mem- 
bers was appointed, one from each province, and several 
matters were taken up, the accomplishment of which was 
partly attempted in the following year. 

In September, 1785, the pensionaries succeeded in strik- 
ing a great blow. During the customary daily parade 
of the garrison of The Hague arose a collision between 
some men in the uniform of The Hague, Leyden, and 
Schiedam free corps among the spectators and the mob, 
an affair of no importance. But the patriots spoke of a 
plot that was hatched to kill Van Berckel and De Gyselaer 
after the manner of the De Witts. The matter was dis- 
cussed seriously in the Estates of Holland, and commis- 
sioners were authorised (September 8th) to make an 
investigation and to send around patrols to prevent pos- 
sible disturbances. The fact, that on a certain night 
windows were broken in the houses of Pieter Paulus, 
fiscal of the admiralty of the Meuse, and of other patriots, 

228 History of the Dutch People 

seemed of sufficient consequence to justify this measure. 
The commissioners did what they were told to do and 
commanded the watch to send out patrols from hour to 
hour without consulting the prince, who thought himself 
alone to have the right to give orders to the garrison. 
The captain of the watch applied to the prince for orders, 
and the latter, angry at this invasion of his military 
authority, came to protest to the meeting of the com- 
missioners and the same evening to the meeting of the 
Estates summoned at his request. But the Estates de- 
clared they had a perfect right to give orders to The 
Hague garrison, whereupon the prince, liking nothing 
more than his military functions at The Hague, left the 
city on the 15th with his family. He went first to Breda, 
and his family departed for Friesland. In his exaspera- 
tion he declared that he would execute his often cherished 
project of leaving the country and going to Nassau, but 
the alarmed princess, supported by the Prussian ambas- 
sador von Thulemeyer, dissuaded him from this plan. 
Thus the prince was temporarily driven from Holland, 
and the democratic party could take up its plans against 
the regents. The possibility of resuming negotiations 
with the princess was not excluded: Pieter Paulus had 
again approached her with proposals for an agreement 
with the democrats; Maillebois had offered her his ser- 
vices, if she would take the government into her hands; 
from Berlin had come hints to the same effect. But 
she put no confidence in this policy, and she was not 
moved by the English ambassador, who constantly ad- 
vised a more vigorous attitude, if necessary a counter 
revolution with the help of the Orange multitude which, 
openly appealed to by the prince, would not hesitate, as 
in 1672 and 1747, to impose its will on the regents, while 
army and navy would favour the prince. 

With Holland now stood Utrecht, especially the 
strongly democratic capital of the province. The pros- 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 229 

perous citizens of Utrecht x had long been dissatisfied 
with the rule of the regents settled by the regulations 
of 1074, fully restored again in 1747. The abuses here 
under Brunswick's favourite, De Pesters, the arbitrary 
rule of this lieutenant stadtholder, the exclusion of all 
who refused to submit to his arrogated authority, his 
avarice in keeping all the offices for himself and his 
friends, even for their liveried servants, and offering 
them for sale, the monstrous spy system had excited 
aversion to the government and the house of Orange. 
The partisans of Orange were insulted and annoyed, 
while Capellen and the free corps, the democratic leaders 
Ondaatje and von Liebeherr, the young student-poet 
Bellamy were boisterously applauded. The student On- 
daatje, born at Colombo in 1754, an ardent democrat and 
an eloquent leader of the people, became the chief person- 
age. As early as 1782 there was agitation in Utrecht 
against the regulations. In the following year the militia 
was reformed with the aid of a voluntary public enroll- 
ment, and a numerous and soon very popular free corps 
was organised under command of Ondaatje. The spirit of 
the time was shown in the removal (August, 1783) of 
the hot-headed Orangeman Van Goens from the town 
council. No longer safe in his home, Van Goens had to 
leave the city and retire to The Hague. William V. did 
not dare give him the employment promised, and the 
unfortunate Van Goens, hated and despised, misunder- 
stood and deserted, saw himself obliged in 1786 to bid 
farewell to his fatherland. He never beheld it again 
and died in solitude at Wernigerode in 1810. The city 
government was asked to abolish the stadtholder's right 
of recommendation. The result was that Voet van 

1 On conditions in Utrecht during these years: De Beaufort, 
Oranje en de democratie, in Geschiedk. Opst., ii., p. 34; Davies, 
Memorials and Times of P. P. J. Quint Ondaatje; Colenbrander, 
ii., p. 190. 

230 History of the Dutch People 

Winssen, a patriot, was appointed to the first vacancy. 
Then it rained petitions to the town council urging re- 
forms and restrictions of the stadtholder's influence. The 
Estates named (February 25, 1784) a commission of 
nine persons to examine the regulations of government, 
and the town governments in April invited the citizens 
to make known their grievances in writing within five 

Now the democratic movement began to be developed 
powerfully in Utrecht to the no small alarm of the re- 
gents. Ondaatje and his friends drew up the draught 
of regulations, limiting the stadtholder's influence on the 
appointment of the government and establishing a board 
of sixteen citizen commissioners, chosen by the taxpayers 
in the wards, to represent the citizens in the government 
and to protect their " ancient and traditional laws and 
privileges." This document was signed in other cities 
and even villages of Utrecht. The municipal government 
consented to the appointment of ten militiamen to in- 
vestigate grievances and resolved to consider itself con- 
tinued in office for another year. But Ondaatje and his 
followers, dissatisfied with the slow course of affairs in 
the Estates and with the report of the nine presented 
September 1, 1784, did more. To promote reforms in 
the province they drew up an " act of qualification," soon 
signed by over twelve hundred citizens, by which twenty- 
four " constituted " men were indicated to secure the 
rights of the people and the redress of grievances. The 
city government was forced to recognise this new board 
(February, 1785), soon supported by commissioners of 
the militia. Thus the democrats understood the idea of 
" fundamental restoration " to the dismay of the aris- 
tocratic patriots, who wanted to reduce the stadtholder's 
influence but were not prepared to let the influence of 
the people develop so far. At the filling of a vacancy 
on March 11, 1785, the dissension became plain. The 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 231 

Utrecht city council named for the vacant place in its 
midst the young Sichternian, a respectable but not very 
able man, whose appointment caused violent protests 
from the constituted men and the commissioners with 
the eloquent Ondaatje as speaker. His long address 
called upon " God, the People, and the Law » against the 
choice, and the council, though maintaining it, resolved 
not to admit the elected man to its sittings before the 
manner of election should be finally settled. This resolu- 
tion roused indignation among the democrats, who stirred 
up the people and obtained another meeting of the 
council in the evening of the same day, when the council, 
intimidated by the populace before the city hall and by 
Ondaatje's language, annulled the election. The author- 
ity of the regents was thus broken. Nineteen of them 
resigned from the council and threatened to .leave the 
city? The Estates, composed of the regent aristocracy, 
threatened to call in the help of other provinces to bring 
the " hot-heads " to reason. The council, encouraged by 
this support, retraced its way, allowed the nineteen re- 
signed members to take their seats again, and on March 
29th annulled the last resolution, adopted under compul- 
sion, to remove Sichterman. The discouraged Ondaatje 
resigned as a member of the constituted and officer of 
the " reformed " militia, but was soon summoned before 
the sheriff and justices as the chief instigator of the move- 
ment. This prosecution excited uneasiness in Utrecht 
and brought the democrats elsewhere under arms. The 
third "national assembly" of free corps, gathering in 
June at Utrecht, promised support. So did also the meet- 
ing of the " patriotic regents " under the lead of Capellen 
van de Marsch early in August, 1785, at Amsterdam. It 
inspired the Utrecht democrats to oppose the now united 
partisans of the States and the stadtholder aristocracy, 
who had to encounter a new difficulty in August. A 
demonstration of militia and people before the city hall 

232 History of the Dutch People 

on the introduction of municipal regulations, which only 
half-pleased the citizens, forced the government to rescind 
these regulations and to recognise the commissioners ac- 
cording to Ondaatje's plan. But the reaction quickly 
began. The occupation of Amersfoort with four hundred 
troops from Nimwegen at the request of the Estates 
roused agitation at Utrecht, to which the government had 
to yield. The city gates were closed and preparations 
were made for a siege. But the democrats of Holland 
and elsewhere dreaded civil war, in which the stadtholder 
with his army would have the best chances. The leaders 
of the " patriotic regents " in Amsterdam sought to 
mediate between people and regents in Utrecht. This 
had little result, as the Estates of Utrecht would have 
nothing to do with these gentlemen, and the Utrecht aris- 
tocracy seemed about to conquer with the help of the 
old party of the princes, which would have been a heavy 
blow for the democracy in the whole republic, when on 
December 19th the citizens again assembled at the sum- 
mons of Ondaatje and his friends and the militia sur- 
rounded the city hall, demanding that the council should 
adopt the democratic regulations and introduce them 
within three months. The council replied evasively and 
separated, but the people remained and called for a new 
session which took place. With difficulty the council 
procured a postponement until the next day, when the 
militia and populace once more encompassed the city hall 
and forced the council to yield completely. The Estates 
refused to recognise the consent secured by compulsion, 
they threatened to transfer their meetings to Amersfoort, 
and rumours were rife of an occupation of the capital 
by the stadtholder's troops, but the citizens persisted. 
On March 20, 1786, the end of the appointed period, the 
council came together under the eyes of two thousand 
armed citizens to approve of the popular demand. 
Twelve of its members took an oath to the democratic 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 233 

regulations, which were sworn to also by the militia. 
The Utrecht democracy had thus gained the upper hand 
and rejoiced over the victory, for which a medal was 
struck in the style of the time. Ondaatje took his place 
in the militia again, soon became captain, and then stood 
actually at the head of the city democracy. From 
Utrecht, the small province with scarcely seventy-five 
thousand inhabitants, thirty thousand of them being in 
the capital, the " fundamental restoration " of the " old 
rights of the people " was to be conquered from the 
regent aristocracy of the republic — so the real democrats 
among the " patriotic regents " hoped. 

The patriotic movement in Gelderland was at first of 
great importance. 1 Although the majority in the Estates 
favoured the prince, there was much dissatisfaction here 
also with the placing of foreigners in office, the bestowal 
of lucrative posts upon favourites of the regents, the 
suppression of the numerous Roman Catholics, etc., as 
well as with the general course of the government. 
Robert Jasper van der Capellen van de Marsch was the 
leader of the patriotic opposition. His attacks on Bruns- 
wick and the prince, on the conduct of the war, on the 
military jurisdiction left in vehemence little to be desired. 
He and his friends followed the plan of general request- 
ing discussed in the meetings of the regents and stirred 
up the citizens of Gelderland at the end of 1782. In the 
small towns even there was some agitation, especially 
against the regulations of government, a "national re- 
quest," drawn up by Capellen and signed by several 
thousand men, protesting strongly against them in April, 
1785. But the Estates of Gelderland had enough of these 
requests and movements. On May 11, 1786, they passed 
a resolution prohibiting the circulation of such requests 
and declared they would not accept any signed by more 
than six persons. This resolution, described by Capellen 

1 Weststrate, Gelderland in den Patriottentijd, Arnhem, 1903. 

234 History of the Dutch People 

van de Marsch as worse than the " blood placards," put 
an end to the requesting and protesting in this province. 
Most serious were affairs in Elburg and Hattem. Little 
Elburg numbering scarcely twelve hundred men, the no 
larger Hattem made themselves talked about in these 
days, and became known even in France and Prussia. 
The justice Rauwenhoff and the secretary Vitringa were 
with two preachers, Van Diermen and Hein, the chiefs 
of the patriotic majority in Elburg, who formed a drill 
company early in 1785 and stirred up the community 
against the abuses in the government. The town govern- 
ment found support in the Estates against the citizen 
commissioners and citizen war council. In 1785 and 
1786 there was repeatedly talk of sending a garrison to 
the town to support the government. The citizens would 
not hear to this ; they demanded the keys of the gates and 
the appointment of tribunes, while the people often took 
part in the sittings of the council and carried through 
their will. The Orange party opposed, but the patriots 
of Elburg went on their way, encouraged by the Capellens 
and the Holland democrats; they even bought ammuni- 
tion in the summer of 1786, deepened the neglected canals, 
and strengthened the walls, preparing for defence in 
case the stadtholder should wish to use force. In Hattem 
affairs progressed in a like manner under the lead of 
a young son of a regent, Herman Willem Daendels. Dis- 
appointed in his desire to become secretary of the town, 
he soon conducted a strong opposition to the stadthold- 
er's authority. Drilling began here in 1783, and late in 
the next year the fortification of the town was taken in 
hand. The people wanted to " obtain justice and freedom 
with cold steel." Guilds and citizens called for the ap- 
pointment of tribunes and demanded their old rights; 
they besought the prince to nominate young Daendels to 
the place of his dead father and requested and petitioned 
at a great rate. But the prince appointed young Dinck- 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 255 

greve of his body-guard, and this caused new excitement 
and preparation for defence under the guidance of 

The prince had settled at Het Loo after going to his 
wife and family at Leeuwarden and visiting Groningen, 
which visits struck a blow at the patriotic machina- 
tions in Friesland and Groningen, as it appeared 
that the great majority of the population still favoured 
the prince. A journey of the princely family to Zea- 
land had brought victory to the stadtholder party 
there, while the rapid progress of democratic ideas in 
the other provinces, even in Holland, had led the aris- 
tocracy to think of the consequences of their alliance with 
the democratic elements. More vigour came into the 
policy of the stadtholder party when Harris, the energetic 
English ambassador, took up for England the part, which 
Frederick the Great refused to play from fear of France, 
and began to support the stadtholder's authority. In 
the spring of 1786 Harris entered into relations with 
Kendorp who had vainly attempted to settle the affair 
of the command of The Hague. Rendorp and Elias, 
burgomasters of Amsterdam and having won there the 
majority for their plan to restore the command at The 
Hague to the prince, thought they were sure also of 
the majority in Holland. In March the Estates of Hol- 
land were to decide on the Amsterdam proposal. But an 
event occurred that spoiled Kendorp's plan. A turbulent 
crowd on the 17th attacked the carriage, in which De 
Gyselaer and Gevaerts, burgomaster of Dordrecht, were 
to ride through the stadtholder's gate at the Binnenhof, 
formerly used only by the stadtholder but now opened 
by resolution of the States. Indignant at this violation 
of the prince's " ancient rights," which seemed violated 
also by the demand of military honours for the members 
of the States going to or from their meetings, by the 
removal of the prince's arms from flags of the guards, 

236 History of the Dutch People 

from the officers' collars, from the post waggons', the 
people tried to prevent this ride, and there was an insig- 
nificant collision, which was called a revolt against the 
States. Rendorp dared not bring up the affair for dis- 
cussion, now that the aristocratic regent party was in 
exasperation over this " Orange riot " and the wig-maker 
Mourand, who had grasped the bridles of the horses, had 
brought upon himself a sentence of death, commuted to 
imprisonment for life. 

Harris wanted to make the prince take advantage of 
circumstances. He offered English money, and in Zea- 
land bribery won some regents, as French money had 
served to promote French plans in the provinces. Thus 
the wavering and hesitating prince and his party might 
be driven in the right direction. During the visit of the 
stadtholder's family to Zealand in June, 1786, Van de 
Spiegel, council pensionary of Zealand, won over the prin- 
cess for a better understanding of the house of Orange 
with England. A memorial proposed by him to Harris 
and only slightly modified was ready, in which England 
declared the independence of the republic in the regula- 
tion of its own affairs and promised support for " the 
maintenance of the present constitution." This memorial 
was presented on July 5th and surprised the patriots 
in the midst of preparation for strong democratic action 
in the agricultural provinces. The time had now come 
to put the entire democratic party in motion; it hoped 
for the support of France, finally convinced by the Eng- 
lish memorial of the danger, of which its agents in the 
republic had often warned it, that the patriots, whom it 
had to thank for the alliance of November, 1785, might 
be overcome. The ambassador de Verac, who had often 
advised his government to do something to prevent 
Prussia or England from action in the republic, and 
the Rhine-grave of Salm, who again went to Paris in 
the spring of 1786 to play his ambiguous part, secured 

Patriots and Partisans of the Prince 237 

a memorial from France (April 21st), in which, it de- 
clared it desired to abolish abuses but not to interfere 
in domestic affairs, although it would not allow others 
to do so. But a memorial from Prussia appeared (May 
15th), speaking of "the rights and prerogatives of the 
hereditary stadtholderate " and offering to give " its good 
offices, its counsels, and its intervention ... to help in 
assuring to the republic external and internal repose." 
Thus the neighbouring powers began to busy themselves 
with the course of affairs, which, as they saw plainly, 
would soon lead to a crisis, perhaps even to a civil war. 
And the crisis approached. In July there were discus- 
sions between the leaders of the democrats in different 
provinces and the French embassy. The " citizen corps," 
bound together as early as June, 1785, by an act of 
union for the defence of the republican constitution, en- 
tered into close connection with the organisation of the 
" patriotic regents." In Utrecht men were already in 
arms. In Gelderland began a movement of troops on 
the stadtholder's side for the purpose of subduing Hattem 
and Elburg. De Gyselaer in a journey to Utrecht and 
Gelderland offered to the democrats there the protection 
of Holland, while the patriots of Friesland, Overyssel, 
and Groningen promised cooperation. This cooperation, 
however, was far from being sure. There wasi a party 
treasury established April 21, 1786, by the patriotic re- 
gents in the National Fund, made up of voluntary contri- 
butions of from one to five guilders. The new general Act 
of Union, signed August 7, 1786, at a meeting of seventy- 
nine patriotic regents in Amsterdam, indicated what the 
revolutionary party desired : government by the people 
with representation, a subordinate stadtholdership hered- 
itary in the house of Orange, abolition of the family gov- 
ernment and opposition to democracy outside of repre- 
sentation, support of the true Christian Reformed religion 
with freedom for other denominations, abrogation of the 

238 History of the Dutch People 

illegal regulations of government, disapproval of the use 
of troops against citizens — all for the maintenance of 
" the true republican form of government." 

This was the foundation, upon which the leaders of 
the democracy stood, when they resolved to defend them- 
selves with arms in hand against the vio'ence threatened 
by the party of the stadtholder. The impending civil 
war was to be one between the citizen class, asking for 
a share in the government of the country and led by 
some democratic regents, and on the other side the stadt- 
holder's government, depending on the lower class of the 
people, on the army and navy. Between the two stood 
the old party of the States, the real regent aristocracy, 
dismayed at the consequences of its own action against 
the stadtholder government, in Holland and elsewhere 
hesitatingly and unwillingly following its former demo- 
cratic allies under the influence of fear of the vengeance 
of the opposing party, but already inclining to an agree- 
ment with the stadtholder's partisans, whenever they 
should get the upper hand, or whenever the democracy 
should become too powerful. The course of the civil 
war was to determine its definitive attitude. 



INHERE was little doubt but that in August, 1786, the 
parties would oppose one another with arms, both 
in Utrecht and Gelderland. The prince might be forced 
to yield. The French ambassador expected this, count- 
ing upon the prince's weakness of character and upon 
the free corps, whose strength he estimated erroneously 
at fifty thousand men. But the prince's affairs were not 
in so bad a state. He had in any case four of the seven 
votes in the States-General behind him; his adherents 
had taken courage under the lead of Harris and Van de 
Spiegel and were ready to fight. In Het Loo, where the 
stadtholder's family now resided, there was hesitation; 
but the death of Frederick the Great was expected every 
day, and then the brother of the princess would be king 
of Prussia and probably inclined to more vigorous action. 
Hesitation ruled also in Amersfoort, whither some mem- 
bers of the Estates of Utrecht had withdrawn on August 
7th and considered themselves as the Estates of the 
province. The death of Frederick on August 17th and the 
gracious words, in which the new king, Frederick Wil- 
liam II., offered his support, made all hesitation vanish. 
The Gelderland assembly resolved to request the prince 
to send soldiers to garrison Elburg and Hattem with a 
special commission " if necessary to repel force by force." 
Van der Capellen and other patriotic members of the 
Estates of Gelderland left that body and called for 
the help of Holland and the other provinces. But the 


240 History of the Dutch People 

prince went on and appointed the general Spengler as 
commander of the troops, which, numbering nine hundred 
to one thousand men, were gathered at Apeldoorn. On 
September 5th all was ready, and Spengler appeared 
before Elburg and Hattem, where some hundreds of the 
free corps had come together. Nothing seemed wanting 
to the " heroic valour " of the men of the free corps, 
who had left their hearths with the watchword of " dead 
or free " ; they declared they would sell their lives for 
" the dear fatherland " and the " rights of the free citi- 
zen," assailed by the " Nero " of Het Loo and the " brutal 
Spengler," the " incarnate devil." A lack of leaders in 
Elburg and Hattem produced very great confusion devel- 
oping soon into panic. At Elburg before the arrival of 
the troops the entire garrison dispersed and took to 
flight, leaving the cannon and many muskets behind; 
thousands of tears were shed, not a drop of blood. 
Things went little better at Hattem; the first grenades 
were answered with small shot from the few defenders ; 
the cannon carried to safety over the Yssel were fired 
off there but hit nobody. Spengler occupied both towns 
without difficulty and without loss of life on either side. 
The Estates of Gelderland had conquered as soon as they 
had shown some vigour. 

Holland made ready for a strong opposition. It sent 
orders on its own authority to the troops of its quota, 
mostly stationed in the generality lands, to come back 
to the province and demanded from the prince an account 
of his actipn in Gelderland. When the prince appealed 
to the invitation of the Gelderland Estates, Holland 
replied on the 22d with his " provisional " suspension 
as captain-general. His place at the head of military 
affairs in Holland was taken by a commission consisting 
of the three pensionaries, De Kempenaer of Alkmaar, 
and the lord of Wasseuaer-Starrenburg. The States- 
General, anxious to preserve their credit outwardly, had 

The Crisis 241 

besought the prince to let the troops of Holland, the half 
of the army, go to that province. And the docile prince 
had consented to the vexation of the troops themselves. 
There was no doubt but that the array, at the first out- 
break between Holland and the prince, would choose the 
side of the latter, and Holland could only rely upon its 
free corps, some foreign companies, and the legion of 
Salm, who aspired to command the troops of the prov- 
ince as "generalissimo." Not fully trusting Salm, 
Holland put in command of the troops on the frontier 
the moderately patriotic, pensioned major-general Van 
Rijssel, whereupon the disappointed Salm went to 
Utrecht to offer his services. Much depended upon the 
attitude of France and Prussia. Late in August Prussia 
sent count von Goertz to the republic to effect a recon- 
ciliation of the prince with the patriots, but this nego- 
tiation had little success. Cooperation between Prussia 
and France, while England remained neutral to the 
despair of Harris, seemed possible, when in November 
Vergennes sent de Rayneval to the republic also to pro- 
pose an agreement. De Rayneval and von Goertz de- 
liberated with one another, with the prince, with the 
democratic and aristocratic leaders. Out of all these 
deliberations came early in December to the prince a 
joint proposal of de Rayneval and von Goertz, also in 
the name of the pensionaries of Holland. The prince 
was to request the cessation of his suspension in Holland, 
to withdraw the troops from Amersfoort, Hattem, and 
Elburg, to give up the regulations of government. In 
consultation with the princess, Van de Spiegel, and the 
Gelderland Estates the prince refused curtly this " igno- 
miny " to the vexation of both Prussia and France. Von 
Goertz went away displeased, and de Rayneval, enraged 
at the prince's " imbecility," entered into closer relations 
with the Holland pensionaries, who now hoped for French 
support of the democratic demands, which were further 

VOL. V 16 

242 History of the Dutch People 

developed in Paris by himself, the agent Coetloury, and 
Salni. They found great disorder at Paris in con- 
sequence of the meeting of the States-General and foreign 
affairs no longer managed by Vergennes but by the 
incapable Montniorin, a creature of the frivolous courtier 
Calonne, who ruined things in the spring of 1787 and by 
his faults prepared the great revolution. 

Amidst these foreign intrigues the democracy in Hol- 
land spread its wings to the deep dismay of the aris- 
tocratic regents inclining more and more to the prince's 
side. The free corps, in their national meeting at 
Utrecht on November 15th, demanded the " fundamental 
restoration " ; the " patriotic regents," assembled in 
October also at Utrecht, went over more to the democ- 
racy and made ready for civil war. On January 30, 1787, 
Haarlem in the Estates proposed the appointment of a 
commission not only to investigate the limits of the 
executive power in the province but also to settle " gen- 
eral maxims " regulating " popular government by rep- 
resentation." The pensionaries saw no other chance of 
carrying out their plans than by changing the composi- 
tion of the town councils and governing boards. They 
determined to ask the approval of the French govern- 
ment, but the latter wished first to bribe the opposing 
regents and sent Salm with a large letter of credit, as 
it did not want to strike its old friends of the aristocratic 
regent party and felt only aversion to the democracy. 
De Kayneval, naturally the adviser in Paris, hoped to 
keep the Amsterdam regents and the wavering lords in 
Friesland and Utrecht from throwing themselves into 
the stadtholder's arms. In Amsterdam the militia, ap- 
pearing before the city hall on April 3d, compelled the 
council to leave the municipal deputation to the Estates 
henceforth to the pensionaries Van Berckel and Visscher. 
In April Amsterdam obtained " constituted men " chosen 
by the societies, the militia, and the free corps, as most 

The Crisis 243 

cities already possessed them. The Orange party no 
longer sat still but began stirring up the common people 
favouring Orange — the patriots called them the " Orange 
rabble " — against the mostly patriotic citizen class. 
Around the prince's birthday (March 8th) the Orange 
partisans made disturbances in different cities, of which 
the secret instigation was to be sought in Bentinck van 
Rhoou, always in consultation with Harris, and the 
turbulent noblemen of Gelderland. Here and there 
Orange societies were founded as a counterpoise to the 
patriotic unions and as centres of the expected reaction. 
In Zealand there were many signatures to an " act of 
association " in the prince's behalf drawn up by Harris 
and Van de Spiegel. In Amsterdam the prince's party 
believed it could rely on the " shipwrights," including 
not only the workers of the docks and wharves but also 
the sailors of the navy and merchant marine. Estimated 
at from seven to twelve thousand persons, they were will- 
ing to act for the prince but not for the regents. So 
the coalition between prince partisans and aristocratic 
regents encountered difficulties. The democrats recog- 
nised now that " removal " was the only way of getting 
Holland under their control. On the 21st of April they 
called out the militia and free corps in Amsterdam, 
occupied the Dam and the city hall, and demanded from 
the council the dismissal of nine of its members. The 
sparsely attended meeting yielded, and the nine deposed 
members remained away under protest. A few days 
later the removal took place at Rotterdam of seven 
members, immediately replaced by seven unsuspected 
patriots. Now the democrats had the majority in the 
Estates, which after some talk acknowledged the new 
patriotic deputations as legal. The victory of the de- 
mocracy in Holland encouraged its friends in Utrecht 
and elsewhere, who could now hope for armed help from 
the powerful province against the prince's army. 

244 History of the Dutch People 

In November, 1786, the prince with his family had 
moved from the badly protected Loo to the safe Niin- 
wegen, where he resided in the ancient Carlovingian 
castle of the Valkhof. Nimwegen now became the centre 
of the movement in favour of the prince kept going by 
Harris and the few active members of the party. When 
at the end of April Holland made preparations to let 
its troops cross the Utrecht border, the States-General 
dared to forbid this. A number of officers, putting the 
command of the States-General above that of Holland, 
were dismissed by the latter, disorganising the regular 
troops. Holland's plan of invading Utrecht brought the 
Estates at Amersfoort to action in conjunction with 
the prince, and they ordered their troops under general 
Van der Hoop to cut off the city of Utrecht from Hol- 
land. Civil war now began, and a fight near Vreeswijk 
between a division of the little Amersfoort army and a 
detachment of Utrecht citizens resulted in favour of the 
latter (May 9th). Holland had its troops really move 
into the province of Utrecht, and Salm took command 
of the regulars and free corps assembled in the threat- 
ened city. There were skirmishes in the environs of 
Utrecht, and affairs did not look hopeless for the pa- 
triots. But want of money quickly forced them to ask 
help from France. It appeared that France was not in 
a condition to carry out a vigorous policy in opposition 
to the aid for the prince expected from the English and 
Prussian side. The French government declared its will- 
ingness to interfere, but only at the request of the States- 
General, which was equivalent to a refusal. So the 
cause of the democrats stood still, as they did not dare 
to venture further without France. Little more progress 
was made on the prince's side. On May 26th he in- 
creased the number of his written memorials with a 
tedious declaration. It was apparent that he would have 
nothing to do with the democracy, while there was some 

The Crisis 245 

understanding between the common people favouring the 
prince and the regent aristocracy. If the prince could 
have been brought to vigorous action, it would have been 
better for his affairs. Harris, who had just gone to Eng- 
land to seek the support of Pitt, the Gelderland noble- 
men, the young courtiers urged on the prince, but 
as usual he was only ready " to lend himself to every- 
thing," not to act for himself. Comprehending that 
it was time, Harris took the lead into his own hands 
at the beginning of June. He called together the Orange 
leaders at The Hague and demanded energetic action of 
the majority in the States-General and of the troops 
against Utrecht, for which he promised a considerable 
sum of money from the English government; if neces- 
sary, the four provinces of the majority in the 
States>-General could declare themselves a separate state, 
independent of Holland, Utrecht, and Overyssel. But the 
Orange party at The Hague did not dare. When Van de 
Spiegel came over on the 6th from Zealand, more vigour 
was shown. The prince went to Amersfoort at the head 
of Van der Hoop's army. In Holland the confusion in- 
creased, and whole regiments went over to the prince. 
Holland appointed a commission of five members to pro- 
tect the province and to replace the deserting soldiers 
by free corps, which " commission of defence " established 
itself at Woerden. 

Matters stood thus at the beginning of June: the 
prince with his army hesitating at Amersfoort, dis- 
inclined to attempt the attack on Holland desired by the 
princess and the party of action, preferring to give up 
and retire to Nassau, which seemed to Van de Spiegel a 
shameful flight, unworthy of the " illustrious ancestry " 
of the stadtholder's family; Holland in confusion, dis- 
trusting itself and its friends. The execution of another 
plan, that the prince with a numerous suite should sud- 
denly appear in The Hague to work upon the States- 

246 History of the Dutch People 

General and the adversaries of the democracy, he 
considered injudicious so long as he was not formally 
summoned. The princess had previously offered to go 
to The Hague with her sons or her daughter, but the 
idea was rejected as bringing her personally into danger. 
Not knowing what to do, the prince called for her ad- 
vice. She came from Nimwegen to Amersfoort, where 
the various possibilities were once more examined. 
Finally the brave woman again proposed to go to The 
Hague to offer mediation. The prince now consented, 
and the princess departed immediately for Nimwegen, 
from where on June 28th she began her journey to The 
Hague. The secret was not completely kept. The order 
for post horses for a considerable company on the border 
was reported to the Gouda regent, De Lange van Wijn- 
gaerden, who became suspicious and warned the commis- 
sion at Woerden, whereupon a detachment of citizens 
was placed on the road between Schoonhoven and 
Haastrecht with orders to let no persons pass, " whose 
coming might be harmful to the peace." The princess, 
accompanied by a court lady and a chamberlain, ap- 
proached through Tiel and Nieuwpoort with two court 
carriages, furnished with footmen and preceded by the 
officers Bentinck and Stamfort. At Schoonhoven they 
crossed the river without being molested, until towards 
evening an hour after leaving that town they were stopped 
by the guard there stationed. The princess was cour- 
teously treated and brought by the commander to a 
farm, where she was requested to wait for the orders of 
the hastily warned commission of Woerden. This body 
declined to let her pass without authority from the 
Estates. She remained at Schoonhoven, where she took 
leave of the commission, giving thanks for the regards 
shown her, in which only a rude citizen lieutenant had 
been somewhat lacking. Next morning she sent a report 
of what had occurred to the council pensionary and the 

The Crisis 247 

clerk, requesting communication to be made to the 
Estates of Holland and the States-General. The latter 
desired the admission of the princess. Holland, approv- 
ing the conduct of the Woerden commission, answered 
the princess that no resolution had been taken concern- 
ing her admission. She departed on the 30th for Leer- 
dam, from fear of the attitude of Salm, who with 
hussars, sharpshooters, and artillery had hastened from 
Utrecht to Woerden to proffer his services; here she 
received at last the reply, that she could not be admitted, 
and travelled back to Nimwegen. 

This sensational affair accelerated the solution of the 
difficulties so long besetting the republic. The detention 
of the princess made a deep impression upon the Prussian 
court. 1 Soon it was learned that she had safely re- 
turned, but Frederick William II. wanted to demand 
full satisfaction for the insult and to support this de- 
mand with a show of arms. If England should side with 
the majority in the States-General, as seemed probable 
from Harris's attitude, it would have to go to war with 
France and perhaps also with Prussia. The question 
was whether Prussia would cooperate with France or 
with England. The demand for satisfaction in the name 
of Prussia was made on July 10th upon Holland by the 
ambassador von Thulemeyer, who inclined to coopera- 
tion with France. Counting upon French aid, Holland 
declared it could not punish, where no insult had taken 
place. This answer displeased the king, and he gave 
orders immediately to collect an army of twenty thousand 
men at Wesel, offering the command of it to the reign- 
ing duke Charles William Ferdinand of Brunswick. 
Finally the Prussian government was persuaded to take 

1 Colenbrander, iii., p. 229. See also Bailleu, Graf Herzberg 
in Bd. 42 of the Hist. Zeitschrift, and Pierre de Witt, Une in- 
vasion prussienne en Hollande, the former taken from Prussian, 
the latter from the Paris archives. 

248 History of the Dutch People 

the course laid out by Hertzberg and separate from 
France in order to go with England. The king desired 
to exhaust all mild measures towards Holland. A second 
memorial from Prussia demanded (August 7th) satis- 
faction again, more earnestly on account of the threat- 
ening military preparations, against which the patriots, 
relying upon France, only heard French plans spoken 
of remotely and of a gathering of troops at Givet. The 
French government wrote to Berlin to prevent a Prussian 
invasion, but it advised Holland at the same time to ask 
for the mediation of Prussia in domestic affairs — a 
proof that it felt too weak to do anything. The recall 
of de Verac in these days of crisis, leaving the conduct 
of the French embassy to the secretary Caillard, showed 
that France began to shrink from responsibility. More 
and more given over to the democrats, Holland would 
not hear to Prussian mediation. Upon the advice of the 
French government Holland with a majority of one vote 
(September 8th) consented to a last attempt to satisfy 
Prussia by declaring that it would permit the visit of 
the princess, as soon as it could take place without 
danger, but it denied all thought of an insult to her. 

It was too late. Prussia was already won over to the 
desire of the princess to maintain the demand for satis- 
faction and to put it in the form of an ultimatum. The 
taking of authority from the Woerden commission and 
an immediate invitation from Holland to come to The 
Hague would satisfy the princess; she would gratefully 
propose the joint mediation of the three powers to end 
internal dissensions. Brunswick, put in possession of 
the ultimatum by the Berlin government, sent it, as soon 
as he was ready for the invasion, to von Thulemeyer at 
The Hague, and the latter presented it to the council 
pensionary (September Oth), demanding an answer 
within four days. Great was the consternation in Hol- 
land, which had counted upon a contest with the stadt- 

The Crisis 249 

holder's array but not upon one with Prussian troops 
led by an experienced general. It was thought that 
France would still help. So the ultimatum was re- 
jected, and a courier was dispatched to Versailles for 
" immediate assistance." People did not really believe 
the Prussian threats were in earnest. They were mis- 
taken. On the 13th the Prussians crossed the frontiers 
near Nimwegen. 

The campaign that followed was nothing less than a 
triumphal march of the Prussian troops, promoted by 
the cooperation of the Orange party and the increasing 
disorganisation of the patriots. 1 The first corps under 
general von Knobelsdorf with the duke himself moved 
through the Betuwe upon Gorkum, which had been put 
at the eleventh hour under Alexander van der Capellen, 
formerly an officer of the prince's guard and his cham- 
berlain. The second division under the general Gaudi 
marched by way of Arnhem left and right of the Rhine 
upon Nieuwpoort and Schoonhoven, Vianen and Vrees- 
wijk. The third under general von Lottum was to 
threaten Amsterdam with numerous cavalry. Utrecht, 
which had taken no part in the insult to the princess, 
must be left on one side for the time being. This 
city, defended by Salm with seven thousand men and two 
hundred cannon, was the bulwark of Holland relied upon 
by the patriots, so the Prussian plan of attack confused 
the defence. Salm saw his hope of playing a decisive 
part spoiled. He determined to evacuate the city and 
secured the approval of the commission at Woerden. At 
the last moment came an official report that the French 
government was really about to help and had recalled 

1 See Knoop in Gids, 1876, ii., pp. 209 and 443, and Colen- 
brander, iii., p. 257. On the Prussian side: von Pfau, Ge- 
schichte des preuss. Feldzugs in der Provinz Holland (1790) ; on 
the French side: de Witt, Une invasion prussienne en Hollande 

250 History of the Dutch People 

its ambassador from Berlin; the French army supposed 
to have been collected at Givet might aid in defending 
the frontier of Holland. Salm acted ambiguously and 
hastily evacuated Utrecht, which was at once occupied 
by the stadtholder's army. The Woerden commission 
resolved to go with its troops to Amsterdam, which might 
long be defended by inundation, and to evacuate all 
frontier fortresses south of Woerden except Gorkum. 
But Gorkum did not hold out; on September 17th it 
was bombarded and surrendered after considering a few 
hours; the commander and the garrison were made 
prisoners of war. 1 The other deserted Holland lines 
were occupied by the Prussians and on the 19th the 
prince appeared at Schoonhoven ready to go to The 
Hague. It was not long before he made the journey. 
In conjunction with the Woerden commission the three 
pensionaries had called together the Estates of Holland 
for the morning of the 15th. The majority came and 
resolved to follow the commission to Amsterdam in order 
to remain there under protection of the free corps and 
the still faithful troops and to oppose the enemy until 
the promised French army should bring deliverance. The 
cautious council pensionary, who had long been weary 
of the yoke of the pensionaries, though he showed him- 
self their tool, postponed deliberation on the removal 
to Amsterdam until the 17th. On this day only six cities 
came to Amsterdam; eight remained at The Hague with 
the nobility and the council pensionary; the others did 
not appear. 

On September 18th the people of The Hague became 
tumultuous, fraternised with the garrison, decorated 
themselves with the Orange colour, began to plunder, 
and shouted Oranje boven. The Estates of The Hague 
repealed the resolution against the orange colour and, 

1 He was soon taken to Wesel and so badly treated there, 
that he died in December. 

The Crisis 251 

while the uproar approached the Binnenhof, began in the 
evening to deliberate upon the revocation of the other 
resolutions. Though lacking a quorum, the meeting 
voted a " provisional fiat " on the proposal to repeal 
everything and to invite the prince to The Hague. He 
came on the 20th, enthusiastically greeted by the mul- 
titude, whom he pointed out triumphantly to Bleiswijk 
standing near him in one of the windows of the Binnen- 
hof with the words : " There is now the voice of the 
people, Mynheer council pensionary ! " Elsewhere also 
the revolution was accomplished in a few days without 
serious difficulty. Amsterdam alone remained, and if 
it had persevered, there might have been some chance 
of the intervention of France. But things went badly 
at Amsterdam for the patriots. The Amsterdam govern- 
ment was ready for a settlement, and the " conference " 
of the six cities — they dared not call themselves Estates 
— grew less with the defection of one city after another. 
France, threatened by England in a circular to the courts 
with war in case it should want to help the patriots with 
an army, was not in a condition to wage war. The 
French government had to acknowledge to the patriotic 
ambassador from Amsterdam its complete inability to 
do anything, so that it advised the best capitulation pos- 
sible. Prussia and England joined in the convention of 
October 2d to regulate the affairs of the republic without 
France. Relying upon its six thousand armed citizens, its 
strong walls, its cannon, its inundations, and the numer- 
ous fugitives, Amsterdam had refused Salm and his legion 
from Utrecht, so that the intriguer, seeing his part played 
out, fled by ship to Jever. At the head of the defence 
the city put the experienced de Ternant, who had fought 
in America and had come with Maillebois ; but he would 
only remain if French aid arrived. He organised the 
defence, placed the cannon at threatened points, started 
the first inundations, and made ready for a siege. Mean- 

252 History of the Dutch People 

while the Amsterdam government began to negotiate in 
order to gain time for the still expected French interven- 
tion. A deputation from Amsterdam spoke with Bruns- 
wick and obtained a truce; then there was an embassy 
to the princess with an offer of satisfaction, but the 
princess rejected the offer as insufficient. The Prussians 
began the attack on October 1st, and in consequence of 
a flank movement at Halfweg it was immediately success- 
ful, so that the defenders after hard fighting were driven 
back. A bombardment of the city was impending, though 
Brunswick dreaded the " great inundation " from cutting 
of the dikes, by which he would have been forced to 
retreat. But the government and the citizens began 
to lose courage. They negotiated at The Hague and 
reluctantly gave way amid increasing confusion in the 
city, until finally on October 3d a letter from the French 
government was received with the report that it had " a 
multitude of obstacles " in furnishing help to Amster- 
dam. This decided the affair, and on the same day Am- 
sterdam submitted to the resolutions adopted in the 
meeting of the Estates. Brunswick consented to the 
occupation of the Leyden gate alone; the defenders dis- 
persed ; the " removed " members of the government 
took possession again of their posts; some patriotic 
newspapers were suppressed, while the orange colour was 
allowed everywhere. It cost some trouble to disarm the 
citizens, which was done only under the protection of 
a garrison of two thousand men requested of the prince 
by the government. Many patriotic leaders and mem- 
bers of free corps deemed themselves no longer safe and 
fled to Belgium and France. 

Now the question was, what satisfaction should be 
given to the princess, so that the Prussians would leave 
the country, and what guarantees should be provided 
against a repetition of the disturbances which must have 
led to a civil war? Only after an answer to these ques- 

The Crisis 253 

tions could the crisis be considered as ended, that had 
brought the republic to the verge of destruction. It was 
not long before these things were settled. On October 
Gth the Estates of Holland asked humbly what more the 
princess desired. She demanded the dismissal of all 
" authors " of her arrest, disarming of the free corps, 
discharge of the persons taking the places of the removed 
regents, the right to prosecute for misdemeanour against 
the laws of the state, so that " a rod of terror " would 
hover " over the heads of these factitious leaders," as 
Harris says, who appeared more and more as the adviser 
of the restored government. She added soon a list of 
the " authors," in all seventeen persons, who might on 
the 11th hear their sentence. The Prussian army did 
not yet depart, because the king wished payment by Hol- 
land or Amsterdam of the expenses incurred by Prussia 
in the war. Agreement was reached upon a " present " 
of half a million from Holland to the army, avoiding the 
name of war costs or indemnity. Brunswick hastened 
to lay down the task which he had undertaken with reluc- 
tance; although the princess would have liked less haste, 
he withdrew in the middle of November with most of his 
army to Wesel. At the request of the States-General 
four thousand of his troops under general Kalkreuth 
remained to support the disordered Dutch army in curb- 
ing the excesses of the populace and some garrisons 
thirsting for plunder. The Prussian troops in this re- 
spect gave reason for complaint, especially in the coun- 
try. There was still much to be done. The governments 
of the cities of Holland had to be changed, as prescribed 
by the princess. This was effected by virtue of a resolu- 
tion of the States (October 31st). From place to place, 
beginning with Amsterdam, young Bentinck van Rhoon 
and the aged councillor Meerens went around to execute 
the "removal" and to regulate the affairs of the guilds 
and militia. From all regents, governing bodies, civil 

254 History of the Dutch People 

and ecclesiastical officers, guild brothers and men of the 
militia, from all new citizens in Holland according to 
Van de Spiegel's plan an oath was required, by which 
they swore to the sovereignty of the States and to the 
hereditary stadtholdership on the basis of 1766, declared 
by the States as the " essential part of the constitution 
and form of government." The similar " act of guaran- 
tee," signed by all the provinces on June 27, 1788, was 
like a Perpetual Edict in favour of the stadtholder. It 
proclaimed " the high and hereditary dignities " as an 
"essential part not only of the constitution of each 
province but of the whole state," a " fundamental law in- 
dispensable for peace and security." This peace and 
security seemed not yet sufficiently assured by the 
changes in governments and officials; the democratic 
requests and meetings and the effusions of the press had 
to be suppressed. The court of Holland in September 
had begun an investigation into the "illegal meetings" 
and the participants in them, into the signers and makers 
of requests, etc. This threatening measure for the pa- 
triots caused many to fly from the country, and the 
plan of amnesty, presented to Holland by the prince 
November 21st, with its numerous exceptions, drove many 
more persons with their families over the borders. The 
amnesty finally proclaimed, February 15, 1788, showed 
more moderation than the plan, but many were still 
excepted. During a few years the patriots were every- 
where persecuted; some ventured then to return, but 
most of the fugitives remained abroad, filled with wrath 
against the reaction that had forced them from home. 
The number of the emigrants is estimated at not less 
than forty thousand, including women and children, the 
larger part going to Belgium and France, some settling 
in America, Germany, England, Russia. Thus ended the 
fatal strife of parties that had troubled the republic for 
five years. The manner of its ending presaged little 

The Crisis 255 

good for Hie future. The victory of the Orange party 
was only obtained by foreign interference and sealed by 
reactionary measures which did not fail to bring sad 
consequences. The patriotic disturbances had sprung 
from the necessity of a reform of state and society, 
deeply felt during three quarters of a century and advo- 
cated by the best men. The party finally prevailing, 
which now had all the power in its hands, must show 
whether it possessed the strength to subject rotten in- 
stitutions to thorough reform, whether it would have the 
courage to make personal and class interests give way 
to the general interest. If it did not succeed in this 
and all remained as before, the fate of the republic was 
signed and a new revolution was to be expected, more 
destructive in its action and results than the one now 
stopped in its beginning. But, as Mirabeau consoled a 
complaining patriot, he and his party could "prepare, 
wait for, and seize circumstances." And this they were 
to do. 



SO the cause was settled in favour of the stadtholder's 
preponderance in the republic existing since 1747. 
But this result was obtained with foreign help, and it 
was to be feared that the two powers giving help — 
Prussia by its army, England by its support to the stadt- 
holder party and threatening attitude towards France — 
would want to be paid for their cooperation by the estab- 
lishment of their influence on the republic's internal 
affairs. Complete restoration was to be expected of the 
" old system " of a close connection with England and 
rupture of the French alliance. Prussia would take the 
place of Austria now siding more with France; the new 
league of the maritime powers would derive strength from 
alliance with the Prussian monarchy, certainly superior 
to Austria in military importance. This coincided with 
the English policy on the continent, adopted by Pitt at 
the instigation of Harris, and with the policy of the 
Prussian minister Hertzberg, convinced as he was that a 
close alliance between Prussia and England, with the re- 
public as a bond of union and the German league of the 
princes as a further support, might assure the peace of 
Europe despite the plans of Russia, France, and Austria. 
Events in Holland thus stood nearly connected with gen- 
eral European political relations, and the victory of the 
Anglo-Prussian alliance was of great importance. Prussia 
did not desire to strengthen England's influence in the 


The Restoration 257 

republic. Von Thulemeyer was replaced by the energetic 
von Alvensleben, who was commissioned to balance the 
influence of England and France in the republic so that 
the decision would fall to Prussia. He was to enable 
Prussia to make a treaty with the republic independent 
of England. No triple alliance with Prussia and the 
republic was desired by England from fear of becoming 
too deeply involved in continental affairs. On the other 
hand the party now predominant in the republic wanted 
a triple alliance with guarantee of the state's posses- 
sions and the existing form of government. Van Bleis- 
wijk had been so mixed up in past events, that he could 
not possibly keep his place any longer. It was evident 
who his successor must be. At the request of Harris and 
the princess, who had learned to appreciate highly Van 
de Spiegel's abilities in the latest complications, the post 
was offered him, but he showed reluctance to enter upon 
" that wide field full of thistles and thorns." His ap- 
pointment was unanimous, and on December 3d he ex- 
changed his Zealand post for the most important ministry 
in the republic. Van de Spiegel, a man of uncommon 
intelligence, of great moderation, of spotless integrity 
and patriotism and energy, seemed the right person to 
take the helm of the disabled ship of state. With Harris 
he made use of the political circumstances to bring the 
two powers to the alliance, upon which the republic 
relied for maintenance of its international importance 
and domestic peace. Prussia would only conclude a de- 
fensive league with the republic for twenty years ; in wars 
across the sea it reserved the choice between financial 
aid and troops, but in Europe it was to help with 
10,000 infantry and 2000 cavalry; the republic might 
furnish half as many or only help in money; the money 
compensation was fixed at 100,000 guilders for each thou- 
sand of infantry and 120,000 guilders for each thousand 
of cavalry ; the guarantee proclaimed that the king would 

258 History of the Dutch People 

protect the hereditary stadtholdership as well as the post 
of hereditary governor in each province. The republic 
postponed the signature until its alliance with England 
was ready. This was the case on April 15th. The Eng- 
lish treaty comprised twelve articles. It was also a de- 
fensive alliance with a stronger guarantee of the form 
of government; the help was fixed at 8000 infantry, 2000 
cavalry, and 20 war-ships from England, against 5000 
men, 1000 cavalry, and 16 ships from the States, while 
money might be substituted for troops. 

Somewhat later the long desired alliance between Eng- 
land and Prussia was brought about. This treaty was 
signed on August 13th, and it aimed mainly at a joint 
protection of the republic. Thus the republic's position 
in Europe was confirmed, and it appeared henceforth in 
European politics leagued with the two great powers as 
its protectors — not a very honourable attitude but afford- 
ing security against foreign complications. It had been 
Van de Spiegel's purpose to bind the two powers to the 
republic and to one another without displeasing France 
by a formal triple alliance. Events in the north and 
east, in France and Belgium, were soon to show that 
the republic needed support. With vivid interest Van de 
Spiegel watched the rapid development of remarkable 
occurrences in France, which were to lead to a great 
revolution. No less attentively he followed the war 
waged by Russia and Austria against Turkey. The re- 
public now sought to mediate and to exhort to peace. 
Van de Spiegel's prudent policy aimed to restore or pre- 
serve peace everywhere, so necessary for the weakened 
republic and its fallen commerce. He wanted diplo- 
matic agents appointed to the chief small courts of Ger- 
many; with England he tried to keep the balance in the 
north, endangered by the ambitious Gustavus III. of 
Sweden ; he mediated in a dispute between England and 
Spain over the northwest coast of America; he en- 

The Restoration 259 

deavoured to moderate the Russian and Austrian de- 
mands on Turkey and to settle the dissensions between 
Austria and Prussia. In this way he brought again 
some political consideration to the republic. But the 
Belgian conditions excited the most interest. The visit 
of Joseph II. to the Austrian Netherlands had convinced 
him of the necessity of reform. 1 He resolved to intro- 
duce reforms as speedily as possible, counting upon the 
support of the citizen class as in his other states. The 
already limited power of governor and governess, the em- 
peror's representatives in Brussels, duke Albrecht and 
archduchess Maria Christina, were but slightly consid- 
ered. Unfortunately for the emperor he first directed 
his attention to the improvement of ecclesiastical con- 
ditions which he, more of a philosopher than a believer, 
wished to put under strict supervision of the state. Not- 
withstanding warnings from many sides, Joseph issued 
on October 13, 1781, a " patent of toleration " for all his 
states, which granted freedom of worship and political 
rights to others than Roman Catholics — something un- 
heard of in these provinces for two centuries. Soon 
came other measures. An imperial decree prohibited 
the influence of foreign orders on the convents; another 
subjected the commands of pope and bishops to the 
sovereign's approval ; a third abolished " useless " con- 
vents. The emperor regulated appointments to eccle- 
siastical offices, secularised the marriage law, had the 
monastic estates examined, prepared a new division of 
the parishes, substituted a general fraternity in place of 
many small brotherhoods, confined processions and other 
ceremonies within the churches, and (October 16, 178(5) 
replaced the seminaries of the bishops by two general 
state seminaries for the education of ecclesiastics. This 
last resolution excited serious opposition, but finally the 

1 Schlitter, Die Regierung Josefs II. in den Oesterreichischen 
Niederlanden (Wien, 1900). 

260 History of the Dutch People 

Belgian clergy gave way and sent their pupils to the 
new seminaries at Louvain and Luxemburg. No less 
violent was their hatred of the government. 

The talented monarch's plans for improving the ad- 
ministration of the government and justice were equally 
far-reaching. He encountered the resistance of the con- 
servative governor and strict Roman Catholic governess, 
who complained of the ecclesiastical measures and of the 
great power of the emperor's new minister at Brussels, 
count Ludwig Belgiojoso, a violent man, sympathising 
with the imperial plans of reform, as did also Kaunitz, 
the leader of the Austrian policy. Emperor Joseph 
wanted to form a strong central government by con- 
solidating the three great councils and the secretaryship 
of state into a " general council " under the lead of the 
emperor's minister at Brussels. The provincial Estates 
were to see their influence almost lost in the new division 
of the country into nine " circles," each under an in- 
tendant, with commissioners at the head of the sub- 
divisions or districts. Reforms were to go into effect 
on November 1, 1787. The emperor reformed the anti- 
quated administration of justice by establishing a sov- 
ereign council at Brussels as a court of revision, with 
two courts of appeal at Brussels and Luxemburg, and 
sixty-four tribunals. New legislation was prepared by 
the chancellor of Brabant, Crumpipen, in consultation 
with the emperor, Belgiojoso, and the jurist Leclerc. 
With May 1, 1787, this was all to be brought into 
operation. The whole country was violently agitated. 
Nobles and patricians, injured in rights enjoyed for cen- 
turies, sided with the clergy. The provincial Estates 
protested against the attack on the old form of govern- 
ment and privileges just sworn to by the monarch; it 
rained remonstrances, protests, petitions; halls and 
churches resounded with vehement utterances against the 
plans of reform. The emperor had expected some oppo- 

The Restoration 261 

sition, but not such an opposition as now arose on all 
sides. People were weary of being treated as an insig- 
nificant annex of the Austrian monarchy. Hence resist- 
ance in all ranks and classes — the first beginning of a 
Belgian nationality. It commenced with a student riot 
at Louvain. Three hundred Brabant and Flemish stu- 
dents created a disturbance at the opening of the lessons 
(December 1, 1786) in the new seminary by loudly object- 
ing to the government professors and their " heretical " 
opinions concerning the rights of the church; they de- 
manded restoration of the bishops' seminaries and rioted 
publicly, the governor using a military force against 
them. Evidently the higher clergy had a hand in this 
cabal, and the papal nuncio at Brussels was not innocent. 
The latter was removed from the capital. The submis- 
sion of the clergy was only in appearance, and they 
continued zealously to stir up discontent with the em- 
peror's reforms among the nobility, magistrates, and peo- 
ple, secretly helped by some influential personages in 
the government at Brussels. In the spring of 1787 the 
provincial Estates opposed the innovations more vigor- 
ously. Those of Brabant in April refused collection of 
the taxes, if infringements on the Joyeuse Entree were 
not stopped. At the head of the Brussels citizens stood 
the energetic advocate Van der Noot, a popular orator, 
who set up the ancient rights of the people guaranteed 
by privileges over against the centralising plans for 
strengthening the imperial power. Nobility and clergy, 
now supported and soon led by the citizens, were embold- 
ened to more violent resistance. The three estates in 
unison demanded the maintenance of the Joyeuse Entree, 
the palladium of their liberty. People spoke openly of 
taking up arms to defend old rights. The same opposition 
was encountered among the inflammable Walloons in 
Hainaut and Namur, even in quiet Luxemburg, while in- 
creasing agitation portended little better in Flanders 

262 History of the Dutch People 

enervated by long subjection. There was talk of bringing 
about the annexation of the Austrian Netherlands to 

The Brussels government became greatly embarrassed. 
It saw the necessity of concessions and suspended some 
of the resolutions, which could not be displeasing to the 
governor, who had shown little liking for the reforms. 
Intimidated by the multitude gathering before the palace 
on May 30th, and threatening riot, pillage, and death, the 
governor and governess, to whom people even wished to 
offer the independent sovereignty, promised to repeal 
them all and to do away with the changes made in the 
government of Brabant during the last two hundred 
years. In the other provinces also everything was set 
aside. Van der Noot was the actual leader of affairs 
in Belgium, and he united the triumphant opposition 
into a power highly dangerous to the plans of the im- 
perial government. But how would the emperor, then 
visiting the empress Catherine in the Crimea, receive 
these happenings? He disapproved of them and re- 
proached the Brussels government with cowardice and 
irresolution. He ordered the minister prince Kaunitz, 
at the head of affairs in Vienna, to summon deputies from 
the provinces to Vienna, and called there also the gov- 
ernor and governess besides Belgiojoso, who seemed to 
have lost his head. The Estates applied to France for 
help in maintaining their privileges, which was refused 
by Louis XVI., who had not the slightest wish to pro- 
voke his brother-in-law and ally. The retention of the 
provinces for the dynasty was at stake. Placed in a 
false position, the governor and governess soon left 
Brussels, transferring the government at Joseph's re- 
quest to the commander of the troops, general count 
Murray. Finally the deputies reached Vienna, but were 
treated with little cordiality, though the emperor prom- 
ised not to introduce the reforms without their consent. 

The Restoration 263 

Excitement increased in Brussels to revolutionary vio- 
lence, and in September, 1787, Van der Noot was no 
longer master of the situation, while Murray prepared 
to & use the troops. A misunderstanding in Brussels 
brought about on September 20th a bloody encounter 
between soldiers and citizens. Murray restored order, 
but appeared not equal to his arduous post and was soon 
replaced by count Trauttmannsdorff, a young diplomatist, 
who, supported by the new commander, general d' Alton, 
was' to restore the imperial authority and was invested 
with power to impose his will. 

Thus stood Belgian affairs, when the authority of the 
stadtholder was established in the republic by Prussian 
arms. Now the government of the republic could devote 
more attention to things in the south. It was not a 
matter of indifference, whether the southern Netherlands 
remained in the hands of the Hapsburg dynasty, or were 
united with France, or should become a separate state 
-the old questions of Louis XIV.'s time in a new form. 
Van de Spiegel would have liked to see the rising sup- 
pressed at its birth and, when this appeared impossible, 
he wanted to prevent France from becoming master of 
the southern provinces. The establishment by the three 
powers of an observation corps of thirty or forty thou- 
sand men in Dutch Brabant was advocated by him, but 
was not favoured by Prussia and England. Trautt- 
mannsdorff, commanded by the emperor to maintain the 
situation existing on April 1, 1787, including the resolu- 
tions adopted up to that time, demanded this of the 
council of Brabant, and when it did not proclaim the new 
decrees, he ordered the proclamation on January 22, 
1788, within twenty-four hours. D' Alton concentrated 
his troops, and after the bloody suppression of a riot 
at Brussels the council consented to the proclamation. 
Then the governor and governess returned to Brussels. 
Excitement among the population did not cease, and the 

264 History of the Dutch People 

clergy and the Estates continued to resist. The emperor 
ordered vigorous action and in January, 1789, pro- 
hibited further meetings of the Estates in Brabant and 
Hainaut. In the last session of the Brabant Estates on 
January 26th, when Trauttmannsdorff referred threat- 
eningly to the troops close at hand and exhorted to 
obedience in violent language, the third estate refused. 
The same happened in Hainaut. Then the Estates were 
dissolved, while the sovereign declared it should be 
treated as " conquered territory." In March he re- 
quested the Brabant Estates to modify the " incompre- 
hensible constitution." On refusal the emperor in June 
abrogated the Joyeuse Entree and all other privileges 
and dissolved council and Estates, while both in Brabant 
and Hainaut some eminent clergymen and laymen were 
imprisoned. General indignation arose in the whole 
country; everywhere there was a spirit of opposition; 
hundreds left the land of their birth, where they no 
longer felt safe under the imperial despotism. The pro- 
hibition of emigration on September 30th came too late. 
The exiles soon called in the help of England, Prussia, 
and the republic. Van der Noot, taking to flight in 
April, 1789, applied personally to Van de Spiegel in 
May for support, suggesting that Belgium might declare 
itself independent and under its own stadtholder, for 
example the second son of William V., might unite with 
the republic, perhaps as one state. Van de Spiegel re- 
ferred him to Hertzberg and Pitt. Soon Van der Noot 
appeared at Berlin as the " plenipotentiary agent of the 
Brabant people " and representative of the emigrants. 
There he found more encouragement than in London, 
where Pitt showed slight confidence in the Belgian 

Meanwhile affairs became more serious in Belgium. 
In Liege, where the population was at variance with 
the prince-bishop Van Hoensbroeck and was filled with 

The Restoration 265 

the democratic ideas of France, there was a revolution 
in August, a month after the fall of the Bastille. The 
prince-bishop left the diocese and appealed, as a prince 
of the empire, to the imperial chamber at Wetzlar, which 
commissioned the king of Prussia, as a member of the 
Westphalian circle, to maintain the legal authority. So 
Prussian troops moved into the bishopric and occupied 
the chief fortresses. The malcontents in the Austrian 
provinces again began to agitate. The Brussels advocate 
Francois Vonck, head of an organisation of reformers 
under the motto Pro aris et focis, migrated with some 
of his partisans to Liege territory and finally united with 
the emigrants at Breda. Thus Breda became the centre 
of an emigration hostile to the imperial government, the 
Prussians promising support against any attack by 
France or Austria. In October the emigrants under the 
former Austrian colonel Van der Mersch prepared for 
an invasion into Belgium. A manifesto of " the Bra- 
bantine people " on October 24, 1789, declared the em- 
peror deposed from the sovereignty of Brabant, and two 
days later Van der Mersch with some hundreds moved 
to Turnhout, where he drove back the Austrian troops 
on the 27th, but before a superior force had to take 
refuge in Dutch territory. Another band commanded 
by the young prince of Ligne was more successful and 
took possession of Ghent. This success was soon fol- 
lowed by a general insurrection against the Austrian 
authority in the chief cities of the country, and the 
governor saw himself compelled to quit Brussels and to 
retire to Luxemburg, whither had to come also Trautt- 
mannsdorff, who made in vain all possible concessions, 
repealed reforms, and proclaimed a general amnesty. On 
December 17th Van der Noot and Vonck with their par- 
tisans triumphantly entered the capital; the citadel of 
Antwerp, the last fortress with an Austrian garrison, 
surrendered at the end of January. It soon appeared 

266 History of the Dutch People 

that the two parties among the insurgents, the Statists, 
who wanted complete reaction, and the Progressists or 
Vonckists, who desired reform of antiquated institutions 
by legal methods, could not work together. Here also 
conservatives and reformers, aristocrats and democrats 
stood in sharp opposition to each other, and many of 
the latter, in imitation of France, demanded the calling 
of a national assembly and were not averse to a union 
with France. Before the end of the year the provincial 
Estates, in which the conservatives were predominant, 
took the administration into their hands. Gathering in 
January, 1790, at Brussels as the States-General, they 
established a federative republic under the name of the 
" United States of Belgium," bound together by the union 
of Brussels on the 11th, maintaining the old forms of 
government and privileges and introducing a permanent 
sovereign congress as the executive power in the name 
of the States-General. The leaders of this congress were 
Van der Xoot as minister of state and Van Eupen as 
state secretary. The Vonckists were disappointed at this 
course of affairs, by which the antiquated system of gov- 
ernment was fixed for good. They showed a readiness 
to work for an extension of the French frontiers over 
all Belgium, and, when busy France declined, to make 
friends with Luxemburg, the matter being settled by 
the sudden death of the emperor Joseph (February 21, 
1790) and the conciliatory disposition of his brother and 
successor, Leopold II. 

The three allied powers deliberated on their attitude 
towards the new republic, whose leaders had immediately 
asked their help. Prussia, anxious to weaken Austria, 
inclined to give that help, but England was unwilling, 
and the republic of the United Netherlands desired the 
greatest possible caution, preferring the restoration of 
the Austrian power on u limited conditions." Van de 
Spiegel would not listen to the plans for uniting the 

The Restoration 267 

two republics into one state; he could be won over to 
amity between them, as could the princess, still filled 
with the idea of putting her second son at the head of 
Belgium. In a convention at Berlin (January 9, 1790) 
it was resolved that the three powers should not meddle 
with Belgian affairs, unless the emperor requested their 
help, or unless " forced by the urgency of circumstances." 
Two days later the new Belgian republic was constituted, 
but the maritime powers were able to persuade Prussia 
to remain neutral despite the pressure of the Belgians 
in Berlin. So the intelligent emperor Leopold could 
continue his negotiations with the Belgian insurgents, 
although Hertzberg repeatedly begged the maritime 
powers to recognise the independence of Belgium. Every- 
where were complications, which, with war already begun 
against Turkey and in the north and with the pending 
Polish question, might lead to a general war, while the 
revolution in France caused uneasiness respecting pos- 
sible French plans against Belgium. Danger of war 
threatened during the whole spring of 1790, being averted 
in the summer by the conference of Keichenbach, where 
Prussia and Austria came to an agreement regarding 
the east, and by the treaty of Varela in the north. With 
reference to Belgian matters it was determined that 
Leopold should proclaim an amnesty and affairs should 
be restored to the condition they were in at the accession 
of the emperor Joseph, while the three powers promised 
to aid in maintaining the old form of government as 
they had done in the republic. This agreement was the 
death-blow of the Belgian republic, now entirely given up 
by the three powers, while Austrian troops were already 
marching to restore the imperial authority. Immediately 
after his accession to the throne Leopold had sent count 
Cobenzl to Luxemburg to regulate matters in Belgium 
on the basis of a return to the old form of government. 
A memoir of the new sovereign disapproved of the in- 

268 History of the Dutch People 

novations and violent measures adopted by his pred- 
ecessor. This conciliatory document was left without 
answer in Brussels, but the Statists and Vonckists there 
were soon quarrelling, and the powerful clergy opposed 
the new ideas. The Statists won the victory. The three 
powers advised conciliation, and a conference met at 
The Hague, in which Lord Auckland sat for England, 
count Keller for Prussia, count de Mercy d'Argenteau 
for Austria, and Van de Spiegel for the republic, in 
order to settle Belgian affairs. Leopold II. led this con- 
ference as best pleased him and used it in mediating 
between himself and his Belgian subjects. Ever harder 
pressed the Belgian congress tried to escape sad neces- 
sity. In October the emperor Leopold declared he would 
allow until November 21st for his proposals to be ac- 
cepted. When congress refused and the States-General 
at the eleventh hour chose his son archduke Charles as 
" grand duke " of Belgium, general Bender at the head 
of his army moved into Brabant and in a few days re- 
stored the Austrian authority. On December 2d he 
occupied Brussels. The government of Van der Noot 
and Van Eupen fled to the northern republic, and the 
Belgian revolution was at an end. The conference in 
The Hague on December 10th recognised Leopold II. as 
sovereign of Belgium. The governor and governess re- 
turned to Brussels in July, 1791, and count de Mercy 
d'Argenteau became the emperor's representative. In the 
autumn of 1790 the revolution in Liege also was sup- 
pressed with the restoration of old conditions. It was 
as if the rule of Joseph II. had never been, but in the 
provinces there lingered still a vague feeling of unrest, 
of dissatisfaction with the old institutions, of opposition 
to the monarchic leanings of the restored government. 

In the republic internal conditions excited anxiety. 
Everything was to be repaired or to be made over. The 
events of the last years had produced the greatest con- 

The Restoration 269 

fusion in government and society; an end had to be put 
to it. The recent troubles had at least this result that 
even in the Orange party the eyes of many were opened 
to the desirability of finally adopting measures of re- 
form. Van de Spiegel, in July, 1788, began upon a new 
regulation of the provincial quotas, as the republic's 
stand or fall depended on this matter, and the financial 
condition might be called extremely dangerous. The 
finances and the defence of the country were the chief 
points for serious consideration in the first years of the 
" restoration." The regulation of the financial quotas, 
finally accepted on September 7, 1792, was to last for 
twenty-five years. Immediately after the revolution the 
army was strengthened by the engagement of German 
troops, more trustworthy than those of France. Over 
and above the money paid to the troops, the German 
princes received an annual subsidy. The States-General 
would do nothing more for the army on account of the 
lack of money. The prince and his friends counted upon 
the allies in case of war. The consequences were soon 
to be experienced of the neglect of military interests. 
Naval matters did not go well at first, though here at 
least could be shown a slow improvement under the in- 
telligent guidance of such men as Zoutman and Van 
Kinsbergen. During the English war forty large ships 
were put on the stocks or finished, and from 1777 to 1789 
Holland paid over forty-four million guilders for the 
building of ships, so that the navy in the latter year 
numbered more than one hundred vessels of all sorts. 
But after 1790 the zeal slackened. It was thought that, 
now friendship with England was restored, a strong navy 
seemed less necessary — the old excuse that had caused 
so much misery. There was more talk than ever about 
the colonies. The war with England had brought the 
affairs both of the East India and of the West India 
Company into extreme confusion. The former's offices 

270 History of the Dutch People 

in Hither India were taken possession of by the English 
with all the goods in their warehouses, causing a loss 
of eleven millions. Many of its ships fell into the 
enemy's hands, so that in 1783 it had to declare it had 
lost ten millions on this account alone. In February, 
1781, it had announced a suspension of payment, as with 
debts of twenty-six million guilders it had not a cent in 
the treasury. Its shares dropped from 328 to 215 per 
cent. The East India Company was on the verge of 
failure. But it could not be allowed to fail, because 
upon its existence depended all commerce in the repub- 
lic, and its shares were everywhere the investments of 
institutions and individuals. It received help from Hol- 
land, in a less measure from Zealand, and from the 
generality. A commission of the Estates of Holland, 
appointed in June, 1783, investigated its condition and 
on October 30th presented a report which proposed to 
help the company with an advance of eight millions and 
a guarantee for thirty-eight millions of its debts. Hol- 
land, holding the strings of the purse, acted strongly 
upon the company, which continually applied to this 
province for money. There was no doubt but that the 
country's sovereign ought to meddle in the company's 
affairs. The governor-general Alting, now in authority 
there, was convinced of this amid the shameful extortions, 
of which he, his favourites, and family were guilty. The 
sole aim of the company's servants seemed to be to obtain 
as much profit as possible during the few years that 
the old system would continue to live. A fleet of six 
ships commanded by captain Van Braam, as soon as the 
truce with England allowed in April, 1783, restored the 
company's authority on Riou and the peninsula of 
Malacca; a second squadron under captain Silvester in 
1787 did the same on the west coast of Borneo and in 
the Moluccas; a third under captain Staring in 1789 
appeared with success in various parts of the archipelago. 

The Restoration 271 

But more was necessary than a naval demonstration, and 
Van de Spiegel took a hand in the company's affairs. 
With him as with many others the conviction ripened 
soon, that Indian matters should be established upon 
a new basis, that the company should no longer be 
sovereign but should confine itself to commerce and leave 
the administration of the Indian lands to the government. 
The extraordinary meeting of the seventeen, called by 
the prince in March, 1788, was to give its opinion. The 
seventeen came to the conclusion that the company with 
cautious management was in a condition to meet its 
engagements, but could not longer bear the burdens of 
defence, and applied to the States-General for the thirty 
millions desired. A commission appointed by Holland 
and Zealand in May, 1788, reached the same result. 
Meanwhile the company's need increased, and it sought 
and found help from Holland. In 1789 it owed seventy- 
four, in the following year eighty-five millions. A com- 
mission of six members from Holland and Zealand, 
appointed in May and June, 1790, proposed a new loan 
of eight millions and in a second report (January, 1791) 
ordered economies and new taxes in India. The seven- 
teen set to work in this direction. A commission was 
established (May, 1791) to consider possibilities. The 
idea was expressed that it would be best for the States- 
General or Holland and Zealand simply to buy the colo- 
nies from the company which could raise its commerce 
with the money received. This measure could not be 
carried out before the commission returned from India 
w T ith its report. The condition remained the same, al- 
though every honest statesman was convinced that 
thorough reform could not be longer deferred. 

It was the same with the West India Company. In 
consequence of the English war it got into serious diffi- 
culties; after taking over the colonies recaptured by the 
French fleet in 1784 it had immediate need of cash; 

272 History of the Dutch People 

year after year it implored help. Holland especially 
and Zealand did what they could to support also this 
company. Satisfactory aid could only be expected from 
a thorough reform, and these affairs too required the 
intervention of the " chief director " and the council pen- 
sionary. The company's charter expired in 1791, and 
the opportunity of regulating it came. The States- 
General on May 27, 1791, resolved to dissolve the com- 
pany with the end of the year, to take its possessions 
on behalf of the state, and to indemnify the stockholders 
for thirty per cent, of their capital with government 
bonds carrying three per cent, interest. A resolution of 
June 1, 1792, established " a council for the colonies in 
America and for the possessions of the state in Africa." 
Thus Van de Spiegel hoped to try an experiment with 
this company, which might later redound to the advan- 
tage of the East India Company, whose charter did not 
expire until 1796. Van de Spiegel's first quinquennial 
term as council pensionary ended, and on December 6, 
1792, he relinquished his duties, though ready to take 
them up again, if the Estates of Holland so desired. 
There was no doubt about this, and in the most honour- 
able terms the opinion of the Estates was made known 
to him. The pressure of the prince and the most emi- 
nent regents persuaded him to let himself be again elected, 
and with courage he girded himself for the continuation 
of his task. The methodical reformation of state and 
society upon the old foundations, of which Van de Spiegel 
had dreamed, was prevented by the fatal course of the 
war with France. When he gave up his place, he could 
rightly testify that he had done all in his power to 
restore what could be restored. What in this respect 
had occurred in the republic was more his work than 
that of the prince, who was led by him. 



THE meeting of the emperor Leopold and king Fred- 
erick William of Prussia at Pillnitz (August 25, 
1791) was to discuss their attitude towards the growing 
dangers, with which the French revolution menaced 
France and all Europe. Russia and Sweden urged inter- 
vention in France, and the representative of the emi- 
grating French noblemen, the king's brother, the count 
d'Artois, solicited a violent restoration by the powers of 
the old conditions in the country, whose king in the 
summer had vainly endeavoured by flight to escape from 
the compulsion laid upon him. The two monarchs re- 
fused Artois, but they declared the affair of the French 
king a common European interest, for which with other 
powers they would be willing to take up arms in case 
of necessity. The attitude of the two powers, disap- 
proved of by England, caused Van de Spiegel to warn 
that French patriotism might be awakened, all parties 
in France might unite against the country's enemy, and 
the revolution now confined to France might break out 
over all Europe. While the Legislative Assembly met in 
Paris on October 1, 1791, and the constitutional mon- 
archy lost ground before the republican ideas of Jacobins 
and Girondists, Louis XVI. secretly incited the two 
powers to intervene by force of arms, as did also the 
numerous emigrants sojourning in Germany and else- 
where, against whom the Assembly not unjustly issued 
a decree as " suspected of conspiring against the father- 

VOL. V — 18 273 

274 History of the Dutch People 

land." Louis XVI. and the emigrants believed that the 
armed intervention of Prussia and Austria was the only 
way of restoring order in France and averting the dreaded 
general revolution. Leopold died on March 1, 1792, and 
his young son Francis II. was less cautious and al- 
lowed himself to be led by warlike ministers. Again 
was it proved that it is less the monarchs than the 
ministers who make war. The war party among the 
revolutionists, the Girondists, won a victory over their 
opponents, and Dumouriez, now minister of foreign 
affairs, believed that Austria must be anticipated by an 
attack upon Belgium. On April 20th followed the 
declaration of war against the " king of Bohemia and 
Hungary," desired also by king Louis himself as the 
only means of rescuing him. Prussia, in alliance with 
Austria, prepared likewise for war. The French armies 
in the north suffered defeats, and confusion increased 
in France. But the Assembly declared " the country in 
danger," and a great popular movement was directed 
against the invading foe. The insulting manifesto, with 
which Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick prefaced his in- 
vasion of Lorraine in July, was equal to the death sen- 
tence of the king and brought all France under arms. 
In consequence of the revolution of August 10th in Paris 
Louis XVI. was suspended as a traitor and imprisoned 
with his family in the Temple. The Prussian invasion 
began, but was stopped by Dumouriez at Valmy on Sep- 
tember 20th, the National Convention at Paris proclaim- 
ing the republic on the very same day. The trial and 
condemnation of the king, who died on the scaffold Janu- 
ary 21, 1793, proved the development of revolutionary 
ideas. The fall of the relatively moderate Danton with 
the Girondists and the coming of the Jacobin reign of 
terror in August, 1793, signified the utmost agitation 
among the partisans of the revolution. 

With the deepest anxiety Dutch statesmen had watched 

Fall of the Republic 275 

these events. The French republicans were burning with 
desire to make the nearest " brother nations," especially 
Belgium, happy with the blessings of " liberty " and the 
" rights of man." Old French claims and new ideas led 
here to a policy of conquest, dangerous to all Europe. 
Dumouriez forced the Austrians back from before Lille, 
which they were besieging, and defeated them (November 
6th) at Jemappes in a bloody battle that put all Belgium 
into his hands. Enthusiasm inspired France, which 
wanted to free all Europe from the yoke of monarchs, 
declaring " all governments are our enemies, all the 
peoples are our friends." All Europe meant first Bel- 
gium, scarcely recovered from the effects of the Brabant 
revolution. A decree of the Convention of December 15, 
1792, ordered the ideas of the revolution to be carried 
out in the conquered countries under French supervision. 
Commissioners of the Convention took up the work of 
revolutionising in Belgium, aided by the Vonckists exiled 
to France and by the partisans of annexation to France. 
The moderate Dumouriez, dreaming of the part played 
by Mirabeau, would have preferred a separate federative 
republic, but had to give way before Danton and his 
followers, who wished to incorporate the country with 
France. Late in February the incorporation took place 
to the displeasure of many Belgians, but without serious 
opposition from fear of the sans-culottes overrunning the 
country. It was to be expected that the territory of 
the Dutch republic would not long remain unassailed, 
the more so as the patriot exiles residing in northern 
France had long urged at Paris a war with the republic 
or support to a revolution there. The republic, follow- 
ing the example of England and breaking off in August 
diplomatic relations with France, could not count upon 
the favour of the new French rulers. The fate of the 
exiles had not been an enviable one. First they had 
sought refuge in Antwerp, Brussels, and elsewhere in 

276 History of the Dutch People 

Belgium. Events there had driven them to France. St. 
Omer was the place where they at first settled. To 
care for their interests Van Beyma was made by the 
French government " general commissioner of the Dutch 
refugees," and, with Valckenaer as his secretary, he dis- 
tributed the slender weekly allowances to all who 
could show a "certificate of patriotism." The French 
government, after taking all the officers among them 
into the French army and navy, resolved to bring the 
rest of the exiles — about 2500 — into a colony on 
the coast and to let them shift for themselves. Valck- 
enaer headed the advocates, Van Beyma the opponents 
of a colony, and Valckenaerists and Beymanists were 
soon in sharp antagonism. From the colony fixed at 
Gravelines little good came, and the exiles dispersed, 
living as best they could. The French revolution gave an 
opportunity to many of them first in St. Omer, later in 
Paris. The events of 1792 encouraged them for the fu- 
ture, and Daendels now tried to form a Batavian legion, 
which as a " free foreign legion " was organised in 
August, 1792, under command of colonel Mascheck with 
Daendels as lieutenant-colonel, for the express purpose of 
bringing about a revolution in the republic. Mascheck 
received orders to allow no hostilities against the repub- 
lic to the vexation of Daendels and his friends, who 
assured that an invasion would immediately produce a 
revolution. This was saying too much, but there was no 
doubt that the ideas of the patriots in the republic had 
not disappeared. Van de Spiegel knew this and kept 
an eye upon the exiles in Paris and elsewhere as well 
as upon the suspected elements within the country. The 
opposition he complained of proceeded not least from 
the secret friends of the party vanquished in 1787, which 
spoke out in print. Mirabeau's essay, To the Batavians 
on the stadtholderate (1788), was composed partly from 
data furnished by patriots and passed from hand to 

Fall of the Republic 277 

hand in original and translation. By hundreds pam- 
phlets were smuggled over the frontiers, when men dared 
not print them in the country. Reading societies and 
clubs afforded secretly an occasion for meetings of mal- 
contents and for the diffusion of revolutionary reading 
matter. The moderate way, in which the government 
of city and country treated known patriots, was a thorn 
in the eye of many an Orange partisan. The excesses of 
the French revolution held back the well to do and the 
great multitude from vigorous action against the exist- 
ing government, and at the end of 1792 Van de Spiegel 1 
wrote that there was an uneasy minority, who wanted 
a revolution, but that the republic on the whole might 
be called " quite tranquil," as the intelligent patriots, 
like all who had anything to lose, were afraid of the 
French principles and preferred the present form of gov- 
ernment. He did not dissemble that an attack from 
without might cause a revolt from within, so that the 
garrisons in the cities could not be spared. 

If Dumouriez had ventured this attack immediately 
after the victory of Jemappes, Van de Spiegel acknowl- 
edges that possibly the enemy without a blow might 
have penetrated to the heart of Holland. By a declara- 
tion of war the republic would have come " into the 
greatest inconvenience." The exiles did their best to per- 
suade Dumouriez to an attack. It was. deferred, but 
might be expected in the spring, if not averted by nego- 
tiation and by recognition of the French republic. 
Dumouriez had already fixed his headquarters in Ant- 
werp. The government of the Dutch republic, not ready 
for war and anxious to keep peace, was inclined to such 
a negotiation and recognition and submitted on Novem- 
ber lfith to the opening of the Scheldt by decree of the 
Convention. The allies, England and Prussia, acted in 

1 Van de Spiegel, Brieven en Negotiation, iii., p. 39. See 
Jorissen, De Patriotten te Amsterdam in 179b, p. 40. 

278 History of the Dutch People 

anything but a vigorous manner. Fortunately the 
French ambassador at The Hague, de Maulde, who had 
not yet officially taken leave, agreed with Dumouriez that 
France ought not to molest the republic, provided the 
maritime powers really wished to remain neutral and 
would promote a general peace at a congress. His good- 
will was maintained by ample gifts of money for the 
payment of his debts. The sudden declaration of war 
of February 1, 1793, by the National Convention against 
" the king of England " and the " stadtholder of the 
republic," put an end to all wavering. England's sharp 
attitude towards the revolution after the death of Louis 
XVI. had embittered the Convention too much for it to 
keep peace any longer, and a war with England was 
also one with the republic. But the enthusiasm of the 
French nation and the belief in its calling to free Europe 
from the yoke of monarchs did not allow it to hesitate 
in taking up arms against almost all Europe. Dumou- 
riez, stopped in his plan for restoring the monarchy, was 
forced to attack the republic against his will. The attack 
was directed against the Brabant fortresses in order 
after their conquest to penetrate into Holland with the 
help of the exiles. This movement of the main army 
under Dumouriez after the blockade of Maestricht was to 
be supported by another under general Miranda, who was 
to invade Utrecht with twenty-five thousand men. To- 
gether Dumouriez and Miranda were then to compel 
Amsterdam to surrender. On February 16th Dumouriez 
moved across the frontiers with 14,000 young and undis- 
ciplined troops and 40 cannon, and his weak vanguard 
of scarcely 1000 men laid siege to Breda, which, with a 
garrison of 1600 men, abundant stores, and 360 pieces, 
under command of count van Bylandt, held out only a 
few days and cowardly capitulated on the 24th after a 
short bombardment. Captain von Kropff behaved better 
in De Klundert ; with a force of eighty men he gave way 

Fall of the Republic 279 

only before an assault and fell fighting valiantly on the 
retreat to Willemstad. The badly defended Geertrui- 
denberg had to surrender on March 4th. But Willem- 
stad, soon cannonaded to ruins, under the brave Karel 
van Boetselaer opposed the enemy, and the blockaded 
fortresses of Steenbergen and Bergen op Zoom also offered 
resistance. Daendels with eight hundred men hastened 
ahead to reach the island of Dordrecht across the Moer- 
dijk, but the admirable measures, adopted by Van Kins- 
bergen and the able general Dumoulin for the defence of 
the rivers, thwarted this project. Soon there were more 
than a hundred vessels guarding the streams. Maes- 
tricht, bombarded by Miranda, held out, and Venloo was 
occupied by the Prussians under the duke of Brunswick- 
Oels, so that the French could go no farther on that 
side. The defeat of the French troops by the Austrians 
under command of prince Josias of Saxe-Coburg at Al- 
denhoven in Jiilich (March, 1st) delivered Maestricht 
from the enemy. This victory and the advance of the 
Austrians into Belgium made Dumouriez leave his " camp 
of beavers " on the Moerdijk in order to drive the enemy 
over the Meuse. But the battle of Neerwinden (March 
18th) disappointed all his hopes; beaten again at Diest 
and Louvain, he fell back to the Scheldt, once more 
taking Antwerp for his headquarters. A few days longer 
the two fortresses of North Brabant were occupied, but 
on April 2d and 3d they were evacuated by the enemy. 
Van de Spiegel could testify that the critical days had 
passed. Great was the disappointment of the exiles, as 
there had been no sign of any movement within the 
country. They were still more vexed, when Dumouriez 
on March 12th sent a letter to the Convention, requesting 
that an end be put to criminal revolutionary violence. 
The defeated general was refused by the Convention, and 
now seeing no help, no longer sure of his army, he nego- 
tiated with Coburg, proposing together to take posses- 

280 History of the Dutch People 

sion of Belgium and thus to give himself an opportunity 
to march upon Paris and to restore the monarchy in 
favour of the young Louis XVII. Dismissed by the 
Convention and only followed by a few hundred of his 
soldiers, he sought safety on April 5th at Tournay in 
flight to the enemy's camp, after he had caused Belgium 
to be evacuated. 

If the Convention was thus saved, France seemed lost, 
and the allies at Antwerp deliberated on the distribution 
of its colonies and border provinces. The prince and 
his two sons, who had distinguished themselves in the 
defence of the rivers, the dukes of York and Brunswick, 
the prince of Coburg, Lord Auckland, count Metternich as 
the ambassador of Austria participated; Van de Spiegel 
could not be present on account of his poor health. Now 
it appeared that the coalition was to become a fact. The 
republic also, though not formally allied, was to take 
part. England, guided by Pitt, was to be the centre 
of the gigantic coalition, including Russia, Sardinia, 
Spain, Portugal, and Naples. Coburg was to be the 
Marlborough of Europe's new conflict against the su- 
premacy of France. Great plans were now to be carried 
out. In April twenty-two thousand Dutch troops, under 
command of the princes William and Frederick of Orange, 
went to French Flanders to assist in the military opera- 
tions of the coalition armies under Coburg and York. 
But these troops were not in good condition. Soon it 
appeared that much was lacking to cooperation between 
the allied powers, and that the republic could get only 
relatively slight results from the costly war. So Van 
de Spiegel was of the opinion, that the republic should 
not become too much involved in the great plans of the 
powers, and should rather work for the restoration of 
peace. Meanwhile the war was continued in French 
Flanders. Conde and Valenciennes fell after a long 
siege. The methodical, slow, and cautious Coburg was 

Fall of the Republic 281 

not the man to lead the allies against the French army, 
reorganised by the talented Carnot, which, carried up to 
an enthusiastic multitude of G50,000 men by the levy en 
masse at the end of 1793, under new generals and with 
the new tactics of attacks in force, soon had the upper 
hand. There was no more talk of a march of the allies 
upon Paris ; a part of their army went to besiege Cambrai 
and Quesnoy, another part Dunkirk. The French gen- 
eral Houchard forced the Hessians back at Hondschoote 
and afterwards (September 13th) at Meenen, Halluin, 
and Werwick put to flight the much weaker Dutch troops 
under the two princes. The young prince Frederick 
was seriously wounded, while the hereditary prince in 
the retreat saved his troops with difficulty from complete 
destruction. On hearing these Job's tidings William V. 
hastened to the Dutch troops. A general retreat to 
Hainaut was resolved upon, and the Dutch commanders 
deemed it best further to expose the troops of the republic 
no more than was absolutely necessary. The Austrians 
fell back to Hainaut, complaining of the attitude of the 
Dutch and of the bad management of the hereditary 
prince, who was also severely criticised in England, and 
the republic faced the possibility of a new French attack 
upon its territory. Prussia, threatening to conclude 
peace with France, gave little hope for 1794, although 
England took all pains to keep it in the coalition. In 
the winter Van de Spiegel did his best to bring the 
three powers into agreement and to hold them allied 
with the republic; if possible in a quadruple alliance, 
which might lead to better cooperation in military 

The threatening danger put all thought of reform 
measures into the background. First the necessary 
money must be provided, difficult though it was to be 
obtained. The powers and the republic itself seemed to 
possess a very poor credit on the Amsterdam Bourse, so 

282 History of the Dutch People 

afraid were people of the success of French arms. New 
engagements taken by the republic in a treaty with Eng- 
land (April 19th) for hiring sixty-two thousand Prussian 
troops made the affair no easier. Austria showed itself 
ready only for another campaign in the Austrian Nether- 
lands, general Mack planning it in conjunction with 
York, Coburg, and the hereditary prince. The republic 
did what it could, and in April its general besieged 
Landrecies, and conquered it. The French had time to 
guard the road to Paris and in May defeated the Aus- 
trians at Courtrai and the English at Tourcoing. The 
capture of Charleroi by the hereditary prince (June 3d) 
brought little change in the situation. Pichegru, now at 
the head of the French northern army, pushed into 
Flanders again, while the Sambre army under Jourdan 
drove back the Austrians and defeated them on June 
26th at Fleurus. Coburg drew back over the Meuse, and 
Charleroi was given up; news came from Berlin that the 
Prussian troops would not appear. York and the hered- 
itary prince were too weak to oppose alone the French 
armies and after a severe engagement at Waterloo (July 
6th) returned within the borders of the republic in Bra- 
bant, the Dutch troops reduced to less than sixteen 
thousand, the English to twenty thousand men. These 
borders were by no means well secured. Something was 
done to prepare the inundation in Dutch Flanders, and 
prince Frederick endeavoured to arm and man the fort- 
resses, but general Moreau, commanding a French divi- 
sion of twenty thousand men, sent his subordinate officers 
with superior force, drove the Dutch troops from Cad- 
zand, and laid siege to Sluis, which fell into the enemy's 
hands after a brave resistance of three weeks under 
general Van der Duyn on August 25th. Soon Dutch 
Flanders was entirely given up. In Brabant the English 
and Dutch forces fell back towards the Meuse, the latter 
being distributed among the fortresses. In July the 

Fall of the Republic 283 

prince had roused the States-General in manly language 
to vigorous resistance, to opposition also to domestic 
foes, who had risen up again. At Amsterdam, where in 
January Irhoven van Dam had replied to a letter from 
Uaendels, now a major-general in the French army, that 
a revolution was inconceivable, some patriots, including 
the physician Krayenhoff and the merchants Gogel and 
Goldberg, had given information to the impatient gen- 
eral. On the approach of the French armies they called 
for a meeting of their partisans in the Haarlem wood, 
which resolved to open communication with the French. 
The fall of Robespierre's reign of terror (July 2Gth) in- 
spired the hope that revolutionary ideas might be quietly 
developed. Pichegru, who knew how little Paris esteemed 
the patriots of Holland, hesitated to comply with their 
request to invade Holland without express permission 
of the French government, which permission Daendels 
was to seek in Paris. On September 1st the general 
came back with the consent, but Pichegru, now appar- 
ently having obtained a free hand, moved only slowly 
forwards in the direction of Breda and Bois-le-Duc, 
while York fell back at Grave behind the Meuse. The 
Dutch army, distributed over the fortresses of Brabant 
and Holland, could not oppose the enemy. 

The situation in September was thus about the same as 
in March, 1793, only there was less certainty of domestic 
tranquillity. Neither from Prussia, nor from Austria, nor 
from England was help to be expected this time for the 
Orange party. But the patriots did not desire to see 
the republic treated as a conquered country, as had hap- 
pened to the Austrian Netherlands. They wanted to be 
allies, not subjects of the great French nation. Sep- 
tember 15th was the day fixed for the French to invade 
Holland and Utrecht and for revolutions to occur in 
the cities. The Amsterdam committee placed men on the 
rivers to warn the conspirators, some twenty-five hun- 

284 History of the Dutch People 

dred in number. The general dissatisfaction with the 
government, the fear of the French troops, and the grow- 
ing love of the principles of liberty, equality, and frater- 
nity were relied upon to produce an outburst everywhere. 
Pichegru, having to let nearly half of his army support 
the movements of Jourdan in Liege, showed little desire 
to adopt the far-reaching ideas of the revolutionists. He 
confined himself at first to blocking, besieging, and bom- 
barding the Brabant and Meuse fortresses. Crevecceur 
fell September 27th, Bois-le-Duc October 9th. Maes- 
tricht had to surrender on November 3d after a valiant 
defence by landgrave Frederick of Hesse; Venloo on 
October 26th. Pichegru kept his eyes on the English, 
stationed near Nimwegen and Arnhem under the in- 
capable York. He refused to listen to Daendels and the 
revolutionary partisans, who had again prepared a revo- 
lution for the middle of October. St. Andries was occu- 
pied by the French, but it soon had to be given up. 
The patriot plans seemed to fail. The Amsterdam gov- 
ernment discovered the arms concealed there and began 
to prosecute the guilty conspirators. Following his own 
plan, Pichegru finally crossed the Meuse at Wijchen and 
laid siege to Nimwegen, which capitulated on November 
7th after a heavy bombardment. The republic's situa- 
tion became critical by the fall of Nimwegen, and Fries- 
land's resolution to urge negotiation in the States-General 
seemed to find more favour with the other provinces. 
The States-General and the stadtholder government 
judged that the republic "was not yet brought so low 
as to bend in a cowardly manner under the enemy's 
yoke," and hoped for more vigorous help from the allies. 
The hope of the patriots revived, and they were never 
weary of urging Pichegru to invade the Bommelerwaard, 
which would be the signal for a revolution in Holland. 
Neither Pichegru nor the French representatives in his 
camp were inclined to this step. The representative 

Fall of the Republic 285 

Lacombe, married to a Dutch woman, sought to con- 
clude peace and in conjunction with Daendels sent the 
receiver of Bois-le-Duc, Van Breugel, to The Hague 
(October 31st) to open a negotiation with the govern- 
ment of the republic 1 Thinking that negotiations might 
be begun over a general peace, Van de Spiegel sent Ocker 
Repefaer to the French headquarters. A last attempt 
was made to persuade England and Prussia to greater 
energy, and when it failed, the States-General resolved 
towards the middle of December to negotiate with the 
enemy. Repelaer and Brantsen, appointed on December 
10th to go to Paris, accepted the commission. They 
stopped for a time at Bois-le-Duc in the hope of obtain- 
ing from French headquarters a formal truce during the 
negotiation. Failing in this, the ambassadors on De- 
cember 30th went on their way to Paris, where they 
arrived on January 6th. 

Meanwhile much had changed. Since the fall of Nim- 
wegen the enemy had only besieged Grave, which held 
out bravely for a month under general De Bons and on 
December 30th had to capitulate. The negotiations begun 
filled the patriots with fear, lest nothing should come 
of the desired revolution and the republic might with- 
draw from the conflict with sacrifices of money or terri- 
tory. The Amsterdam committee resolved to form a 
revolutionary corps under command of the Dutch officers 
in the French army and under the supervision of a 
« national committee," which might figure as the begin- 
ning of a national representation. Van Dam, the former 
Leyden pensionary Jacob Blauw, the former Utrecht 
professor Van Hamelsveld, the Rotterdam broker De 
Fremery, the Dordrecht painter Webbers, and the Leyden 
student Jan ten Brink were appointed members of that 
1 Van Breugel, Memoires sur ce qui s' est passe de remarquable 
apres la capitulation de Bois-le-Duc (La Haye et Amsterdam, 

286 History of the Dutch People 

committee and met at Bois-le-Duc, the French head- 
quarters. Finding little favour there, they sent on De- 
cember 21st Blauw and Van Dam to Paris to oppose 
negotiations with the republic's government and to per- 
suade the Comite du salut public to support the plans 
of the revolutionists. The representatives of the Conven- 
tion urged the French generals to move against Hol- 
land. Moreau, temporarily in command of the northern 
army, gave his consent reluctantly. On December 10th 
operations began at different points, but the Dutch troops 
repulsed an attack upon St. Andries, and Daendels failed 
in an assault on Crevecceur, December 11th. Daendels 
repeated his solicitations to Pichegru who had returned. 
It began to freeze, and the Dutch commanders dreaded a 
renewal of hostilities. Everything seemed quiet during 
the Christmas days, but on the 27th the enemy suddenly 
made an attack on all the lines from Bergen op Zoom 
to St. Andries, and seized Zevenbergen and other posts, 
while Daendels this time succeeded in crossing the frozen 
Meuse and in driving back the surprised Dutch troops 
to the Waal. Bommel fell into his hands on the follow- 
ing morning. Great was the terror awakened by the 
report of this course of affairs. The prince again called 
upon the States-General to rescue the fatherland, but 
the Dutch troops, scarcely four thousand men and too 
weak to oppose the enemy, retreated to Gorkum and 
Leerdam. York and his Englishmen drew back over the 
Rhine. Pichegru refused Daendel's request to let him 
attack Holland. He had a poor idea of the patriots, as 
did the government at Paris. Blauw and Van Dam had 
noted this in the manner of their treatment by the Paris 
government, while Kepelaer and Brantsen were received 
with all honour. So Pichegru commissioned the Dutch 
general to capture Heusden, which was accomplished on 
January 13th. Once more the republic's government 
tried to induce the English troops to cooperate with the 

Fall of the Republic 287 

Austrians. On January 6th a conference was held at 
Utrecht, where the two young princes deliberated 
with the English and Austrian commanders. But what 
could be done with the small and disordered Dutch force 
and the eleven thousand scarcely better organised Eng- 
lish-Hessian-Hanoverian troops? A last attempt to push 
the enemy back from the Waal failed, and the French 
were already approaching Werkendam and Gorkum. On 
the 14th the English-Hessian-Hanoverian commanders 
gave notice that they could furnish no troops for the 
defence of Holland and for their own safety would im- 
mediately draw back to the Yssel. This decided the fate 
of Holland. 

Signs of dissolution appeared plainly. The Estates of 
Utrecht reported on the 13th, that they would negotiate 
for the surrender of their province, and advised the 
States-General either to ask a suspension of hostilities 
or to capitulate for all the provinces. The States-Genera! 
resolved upon the former and sent a verbal message to 
Pichegru. On the 15th Utrecht surrendered by means 
of a deputation to the French general Salme. In Hol- 
land itself there was a complete lack of government. On 
the enemy's approach the troops evacuated post after 
post without resistance. Gorkum, Loevestein, and Wou- 
drichem surrendered on the 19th. Everywhere the clubs 
became active, and not least so in Amsterdam. On Janu- 
ary 9th representatives of the Holland clubs held a 
meeting in Rotterdam, but it was evident that they dared 
not yet begin a revolution. The farther the French ad- 
vanced, the higher rose men's spirits, and the Amsterdam 
committee again made ready for an insurrection, which 
was appointed for the 19th. But it was not to be neces- 
sary. The prince had often considered what was to be- 
come of him and his. The English ambassador's offer to 
help the stadtholder's family cross over to England 
impressed him. Already he had hired twenty-one Schev- 

288 History of the Dutch People 

eningen pinks for the voyage, whenever it should be 
necessary. On January 13th the danger seemed so near, 
that measures were taken to receive the family in Eng- 
land. All sorts of rumours made the rounds. The 
ardent young prince Frederick thought of aiding to de- 
fend the last ditch and of dying there like so many 
of his ancestors. But his father would not hear to this. 
On the 17th a gloomy session of the Estates of Holland 
was held at The Hague. Asked what could be done, the 
prince replied " that according to human lights there was 
not much prospect " of defending the province any longer. 
Silently the members separated. Some of them, remain- 
ing behind with the council pensionary, resolved to do 
what was possible to conclude a truce or to admit the 
enemy into the province in hopes that he would respect 
the existing government. A deputation of the Estates 
was to try to obtain this. The States-General also 
resolved to send such a deputation. 

Meanwhile the report spread that the prince was to 
depart. Van de Spiegel refused to believe it and sent 
him a letter, in which he adjured him to think of " what 
he owed to himself, his house, and the fatherland " ; 
" the departure of Your Serene Highness is the signal 
of a general confusion, the consequences of which are 
not to be foreseen; it is an abandonment of all that 
honour and duty command to preserve until the last 
moment." It was too late. All arrangements had been 
made for the princess and the hereditary princess with 
her young son, the later William II., to leave. Before 
noon the court carriages had conveyed them to the pinks, 
which started out amid the tolling of the Scheveningen 
church bell. At noon of the 17th the prince called to 
an audience some members of the States-General, his 
household, and the foreign ambassadors. In their pres- 
ence and with his two sons beside him the prince de- 
clared that he was determined to go away, as it was 

Fall of the Republic 289 

reported to him that the French government would not 
negotiate so long as he was in the country. In reading 
the short address his voice gave way; he let a chamber- 
lain finish it, and left the room to go to the carriages 
waiting to bring him and his sons to the pinks. The 
prince's flag at half-mast on the towers, many houses 
closed, some of the gentry dressed in mourning, a silent 
and shocked crowd on the snowy streets — such was the 
picture presented by the departure of the Oranges from 
the fatherland. The pinks remained at anchor several 
hours, and the prince was enabled to receive the com- 
munication from the ambassadors in Paris assuring him 
that the French government would only negotiate, when 
the stadtholder family had quitted the country. Towards 
midnight the prince put to sea to cross over to England. 
It was all over with the old republic. 

VOL. V — 19 



WITH the departure of the stadtholder in the evening 
of January 18, 1795, the old republic ceased to 
exist in the form, in which it had prolonged its life dur- 
ing the last half century. The moderate spirit, which 
now prevailed in France after the fall of Robespierre, 
inspired the men also, who, with the French representa- 
tives, took affairs in the republic into their hands and 
among whom assumed prominence Pieter Paulus, living 
at Rotterdam without office, and the Amsterdam advo- 
cate Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck. In all the provinces 
the proclamation of the French representatives became 
the basis of the new conditions. Everywhere the change 
of government could now begin. The Amsterdam com- 
mittee took the lead. From Amsterdam and The Hague 
the watchword, maintenance of peace and replacement 
of Orange regents by patriots, went from city to city. 
So the changes for a time were limited to the appear- 
ance of patriotic members of the government in place 
of Orange partisans and to alteration of the names of 
municipal and provincial governing boards, while the 
States-General, composed of new persons, continued to 
bear their old name. This change of citizen bodies into 
communes, of town councils into municipalities, of 
Estates into assemblies of provisional representatives, 
of colleges into committees, under the motto " liberty, 
equality, and fraternity," took place under the auspices 


Organisation of the Batavian Republic 291 

of the patriotic clubs, the former reading societies, now 
called revolutionary committees. The festive dances 
around the liberty tree painted in the national colours, 
red, white, and blue, and with the liberty cap, the pas- 
sionate speeches, the meetings of citizens mostly in the 
churches, the illuminations and displays of flags, the 
shouts in honour of the revolution were everywhere of 
the same character. The Amsterdam revolutionary com- 
mittee, which had declared itself the committee of in- 
surrection in the Netherlands, managed everything by 
sending delegates. It also indicated the persons, who on 
January 20th took possession of the hall of the Estates 
of Holland and chose Pieter Paulus president. 

This new body replaced the commissioners by a com- 
mittee of general welfare, the chamber of accounts by 
a committee of accounts, established a military com- 
mittee and one of finances, abolished the office of council 
pensionary and transferred his functions to the presi- 
dent, annihilated the nobility of Holland, and had the 
country represented by deputies. It declared for a na- 
tional gathering of representatives of the whole people 
to settle upon a definitive form of government. The 
first year of Batavian liberty had dawned, and the three 
magical words — " liberty, equality, and fraternity," were 
to make their influence felt. In February the other 
provinces followed Holland's example. On the 27th the 
admiralty boards were replaced by a committee of naval 
affairs, consisting of twenty-one members from the whole 
republic; the council of state on March 4th changed its 
name to committee of the general affairs of the con- 
federacy on land. The stadtholdership was abolished by 
the States-General on February 23d, William V. being 
deposed. The former council pensionary and the hated 
Bentinck van Rhoon, considered as the heads of the old 
government, were arrested on February 4th. The great 
question was how a definitive end should be put to the 

292 History of the Dutch People 

war with France in fact really finished. Everything 
made a speedy arrangement with France very desirable. 
This was understood by the French representatives in the 
country and by the committee of public safety, which 
conducted the government at Paris; but the main ques- 
tion for them was, how France could draw the most 
profit from Pichegru's " brilliant conquest." The coun- 
try, still rich in capital, with an army of fifty thousand 
men and a navy that might be of great value to France, 
must be firmly bound to the conqueror. The indepen- 
dence of the republic could only be conditional and 
temporary, as a sort of purgatory preceding the paradise 
of incorporation. The ambassadors Blauw and Meyer, 
formerly scorned at Paris, received on February 20th an 
official appointment as ministers plenipotentiary. But 
the committee of public safety showed no inclination 
to recognise them or the States-General. It wanted to 
know first how affairs really were in the republic and 
what it could demand. It sent two experienced repre- 
sentatives — Cochon and Ramel, who appeared moderate 
and approved the measures of their colleagues in the 
conquered country. The sending of Richard as an extra- 
ordinary representative was to make French and Bata- 
vians gain equally by their revolution. There was a 
misunderstanding, for the Batavians imagined that the 
French had simply helped them as disinterested friends 
to do away with the old government, and this had not 
been the intention. Soon came to Paris reports on the 
standing of the republic. The public treasuries were as 
good as empty; the finances were in great confusion in 
consequence of the war. The population, estimated at 
two and a half million souls, might still be regarded 
as the richest in Europe, as rich as the French nation five 
times greater; its wealth consisted chiefly of money and 
personal property. The money invested was calculated 
to amount to fifteen hundred million livres, lent on in- 

Organisation of the Batavian Republic 293 

terest to the powers now waging war against France; 
this interest amounted to fifty million livres, but now 
remained unpaid, and was in danger of disappearing 
with the capital, if the war continued. Reliance might 
be placed on the merchandise, valued at one thousand 
million livres, but it had been seen to leave the country 
for Hamburg and elsewhere from fear of confiscation 
by the approaching French. The reporters believed that 
the advantage of the conquest for France was to be 
sought in the circumstance that the republic was of 
great strategic importance by reason of its situation 
between England and its allies on the continent. Cochon 
and Ramel thought that kindness must be used and the 
population be won over to France. So they proposed to 
impose upon the republic the maintenance of at most 
forty thousand French troops. A close offensive and 
defensive alliance between the two republics, as two in- 
dependent states, would be in the interest of both. A 
war contribution of eighty to ninety millions and a loan 
of one hundred millions might be stipulated. 

Early in March a basis of negotiation was laid by 
Merlin de Douai, Rewbell, and Sieves. Meanwhile the 
victorious patriots began to manifest a certain uneasi- 
ness, not only concerning the disposition of the popula- 
tion, but also with regard to French views and plans. 
They feared being delivered up again to Prussia and 
England, if the fate of war so decided, or being obliged 
to give up complete independence. Negotiations between 
Blauw and Meyer and the committee at Paris went on 
with excessive slowness in March and April. They and 
Valckenaer, working with them in Paris, were not fright- 
ened by the lofty tone of the committee. They knew that 
the French government was in an extremely difficult 
situation, so that a new revolution might be feared at any 
moment. At The Hague, however, where the govern- 
ment was anything but sure of its future, the opinion 

294 History of the Dutch People 

was quite otherwise, and the reports* of the French repre- 
sentatives induced the Paris committee not to cease its 
efforts by threats to make the Dutch government yield. 
Pichegru at the end of March was replaced by Moreau, 
and the latter did not consider himself bound by the 
promises of his predecessor concerning the relation of 
the French to the Batavians. Blauw, who was not edi- 
fied by the attitude of the men at The Hague, came on 
April 11th with Valckenaer to The Hague from Paris in 
order to advise vigorous resistance. The attempt was 
made to gain as much time as possible, although Blauw 
had brought a threatening letter from the committee 
allowing only ten days for a decision on an offered 
ultimatum. On April 21th Blauw was again in Paris 
and did not hasten to deliver the too yielding answer. 
The committee, informed about this answer from The 
Hague, forced a meeting upon the ambassador. New 
negotiations followed on these " preliminaries," but it 
soon appeared that Blauw and Meyer had not sufficient 
powers to conclude a peace. So the committee resolved 
to send its members Rewbell and Sieves to The Hague 
with full powers. They departed on May 4th and reached 
their destination four days later — a " bear," whose 
" paws," and a " fox," whose " wiles " were to be dreaded, 
wrote a Batavian agent to Pieter Paulus. The two 
ambassadors began by a military demonstration with 
Moreau's troops in the direction of Utrecht to confirm 
the impression of their mission to bring matters to an 
end. They received a report that the States-General had 
equipped four of their most able members with full 
powers. They saw their exertions crowned with suc- 
cess, for the affair had an unexpectedly rapid course. On 
May 11th negotiations began on Flushing and Dutch 
Flanders, and five days later an agreement was reached. 
The Hague gentlemen, acting under fear of the move- 
ments of the French troops, were sooner ready to give 

Organisation of the Batavian Republic 295 

way than their ambassadors at Paris. The bear and 
the fox were successful in their purpose to the great 
vexation of the Batavian ambassadors, who hoped to 
secure better terms by making use of dissensions in 
the committee of public safety. Thus The Hague treaty 
of May 16th was brought about. It became the basis 
of the relation, in which the Batavian republic was to 
stand thenceforth towards its French sister. 

The recognition of the republic of the United Nether- 
lands — so its title still remained — " as a free and inde- 
pendent power" was solemnly affirmed by the sister 
state. The "eternal peace" between the two countries 
until the end of the war was to be strengthened into 
an offensive and defensive alliance, which was to last 
always against England, while neither of the two states 
could conclude a separate peace with England — provi- 
sions that bound the Batavian republic to the French 
policy against the dreaded rival. The republic received 
back its ships, arsenals, and artillery besides all its 
territory excepting as a " just indemnification for the 
conquest" Dutch Flanders and Maestricht and Venloo; 
Flushing was to obtain a French garrison, and its har- 
bour was to be " common " to both peoples. As an 
indemnity France was to receive 100,000,000 guilders. 
The Dutch republic was not to shelter the emigrants, 
nor the French those of the Orange party. Within a 
month the French troops in the republic were to be 
reduced to twenty-five thousand men, which until the 
end of the war must be paid, clothed, and fed by it, 
sick or well, and after peace could remain in its service. 
The two republics guaranteed each other's colonial pos- 
sessions in the east and west. Thus the treaty stipulated 
great advantages for France, but it was a question 
whether these advantages could be drawn from the 
impoverished and paralysed Batavian republic. Victori- 
ously the two French envoys returned to Paris, proud of 

296 History of the Dutch People 

their success and of obtaining the ardently desired 
money, of which Sieyes boastfully laid down a Dutch 
guilder upon the committee's table. On the other hand 
the disappointment of the Batavian ambassadors at Paris 
was great. The numerous opponents of the humiliating 
treaty hoped that at least its ratification might be re- 
sisted. But the States-General at The Hague frustrated 
this hope. On June 5th appeared before the Convention 
the envoys bringing the ratification, and one of them 
spoke of this peace as the " happy presage of an un- 
known felicity, when each generation of Frenchmen and 
Batavians, fraternising again, will present to astonished 
Europe the striking but enchanting picture of the hitherto 
fabulous golden age." The applause of the Convention 
accompanied these pompous words, so little in agreement 
with the conditions, under which the peace was really 
accepted by the republic of the United Netherlands, 
from fear of annexation to France or of the return of 
the stadtholder with the help of Prussia and England. 
Sieyes and Rewbell had made a clever use of this fear. 
Relations with England naturally became hostile. 
Envoys sent to England could not prevent the constant 
capture and detention of merchantmen. The dangers 
threatening Hanover, the electorate of George III. of 
England, deterred him from declaring war on the Bata- 
vian republic, although he did not recognise it. Prussia's 
attitude appeared suspicious on account of the English, 
Hanoverian, and Hessian troops still stationed there 
and the reports concerning a secret understanding be- 
tween France and Prussia and concerning a gathering 
of Dutch emigrants near Bremen and Osnabriick. The 
stadtholder's youngest son, Prince Frederick, received 
from his father authority to prepare for an attack 
on the weak eastern frontier of the republic. The 
Prussian government, having just made peace with 
France, was unwilling to support this enterprise. Some 

Organisation of the Batavian Republic 297 

six hundred officers and twelve hundred men were col- 
lected. ' Finally the conviction forced itself upon Prince 
Frederick that neither Frussia nor England would help. 
At the end of October he gave up the project and went 
back disappointed to England. Meanwhile the revolu- 
tion within the country was vigorously promoted by all 
sorts of measures in the different provinces. In Holland 
the old count's tolls were abolished, as well as the ex- 
emptions from taxation granted to certain persons ; coats 
of arms in the churches, memorials of the rule of nobles 
and patricians, were removed in many places; the pro- 
hibition of liveries followed; the gallows and whipping- 
post disappeared from the highways as degrading to 
humanity. Attention had first to be fixed upon obtain- 
ing money for the almost empty public treasuries. Hol- 
land, followed by Overyssel and Zealand, began late in 
March with a forced collection of unminted gold and 
silver, " dead capital," which must be changed into coin 
the sooner the better. But this was far from being suf- 
ficient. Holland issued a five per cent, loan on June 
11th, and in July a tax became necessary of six and one- 
fourth per cent, on all property and incomes. After 
fruitless trials of "voluntary negotiations" other prov- 
inces resorted to compulsory taxes, that soon had to 
be followed by others. These taxes and the requisitions 
for the French troops, whose worthless assignats had 
to be accepted in payment, caused great trouble. On 
February 2d Holland resolved to have the assignats cir- 
culate only under certain limitations. But this aroused 
the indignation of the French representatives, who de- 
manded immediate repeal of the resolution. The govern- 
ment of Holland, as well as of the other provinces, had 
to yield and let the assignats circulate freely. Thus the 
blessings of French friendship were experienced. There 
was soon a less favourable opinion concerning the French, 
troops, who were constantly exchanged for new detach- 

298 History of the Dutch People 

ments, on their arrival in a neglected and miserable state, 
on their departure equipped, clothed, and provisioned, as 
was stipulated in the agreement of The Hague. These 
troops were not always within the frontiers. In Sep- 
tember thirty-six thousand men had to be paid, and 
only seven thousand of them were within the frontiers. 

After the conclusion of peace the organisation of the 
army was resumed. It had to be effected with caution, 
as many of the officers and subordinates still regarded 
the old captain-general as their chief. Daendels, Dumon- 
ceau, De Winter, the first a French general of division, 
the others brigadier-generals, received on May 25th leave, 
like all other Hollanders in the French service, to go 
over into the service of the United Netherlands. Daen- 
dels was designated as commander-in-chief. He wanted 
to bring up the army to twenty-four thousand men in 
peace, to thirty-six thousand in time of war; he urged 
also a general arming of the citizens. Daendels and 
Dumonceau succeeded in restoring order and discipline 
in the army and in beginning reorganisation after the 
French model. The naval committee under guidance of 
the experienced Paulus made the greatest efforts for the 
reorganisation of the fleet. It was resolved to abolish 
the admiralties and to establish five departments at 'Am- 
sterdam, Rotterdam, Hoorn, Flushing, and Harlingen; 
the entire navy was " licentiated " on account of the 
Orange partisanship of its officers, a large number of 
the chief officers voluntarily leaving the service and 
others not being appointed again. This change deprived 
the fleet of its best abilities, while less experienced officers 
of lower rank were rapidly promoted, and others were 
advanced for their patriotic opinions. Among the sailors 
all nationalities were represented, and there were not 
a few vagabonds and undesirable seamen, who could 
only be so called in name. The chief personage in the 
navy was Jan Willem de Winter, going into exile in 1787 

Organisation of the Batavian Republic 299 

as a naval lieutenant and afterwards becoming a general 
in the French service, but now intrusted with the reorgan- 
isation of the fleet. On the appointment of the new 
officers (June 20th) he was made vice-admiral and then 
chief commander of the fleet New regulations for the 
service were hastily put together. An official investiga- 
tion ordered by the States-General showed that the stadt- 
holder's government in its last years had not neglected 
the navy and that the fleet included twenty-four good 
ships of the line and twenty-four frigates. In August De 
Winter could sail out from Texel with some ships and 
send two squadrons to the Danish and Norwegian coast, 
of which the latter fought with an English squadron and 
suffered severe losses. Want of money and good seamen 
prevented the sailing of squadrons to the East and West 
Indies for the protection of the colonies. This protection 
was necessary, as the English had made immediate use 
of the order, which William V. directed to the governors 
in east and west on February 7th at Kew. This order 
of the " prince of Orange " commanded them to admit 
the troops of England and the English ships as those of 
a power " in friendship and alliance with Their High 
Mightinesses " and as coming to repel a French invasion. 
Great was the anger in the republic, when the order and 
its consequences became known in the summer of 1795. 
It was declared that William V. had had no other aim 
than " to deliver the colonies into the hands of the Eng- 
lish " and therefore was guilty of high treason. The 
English government promised formally to give back the 
regions and ships taken on the restoration of peace and 
of the old form of government. Although it is now estab- 
lished that William V. and the English government acted 
in good faith, the high treason remained under investiga- 
tion, and England went on its way, sent expeditions to 
the various colonies, and took possession in 1795 of the 
Cape of Good Elope. In April, 1796, followed Demerara, 

300 History of the Dutch People 

Essequibo, and Berbice without resistance on account of 
the order. The governor of Ceylon, Van Angelbeek, tried 
to defend the island, but had to surrender in February, 
179G. Malacca had gone over in August, the posts on 
Sumatra's western coast followed in November as well 
as those on the coasts of Hither India, again on account 
of the order. The Moluccas also fell into the hands of 
the English in the spring of 1796, except Ternate which 
held out for years under the energetic governor Budach. 
The two committees for East and West Indian com- 
merce, instituted at the end of the year, did not begin 
their work under favourable auspices. Even in Java 
the weak government neglected to take the necessary 
measures for resisting the English. 

In the meantime the new government personages in 
the motherland did all they could to organise the coun- 
try anew, mainly in the moderate direction they had 
shown at the beginning of the revolution. The clubs, 
formed everywhere in cities and villages, urged a speedy 
calling together of a National Assembly to be elected by 
the people and to accomplish here what the French Con- 
stituent Assembly had done for the sister republic — the 
establishment of a government built on new foundations, 
of a new state to take the place of the republic of the 
United Netherlands. The leaders of the revolution de- 
sired an indivisible republic under the immediate sov- 
ereignty of the whole people. But they understood that 
this desire would encounter serious resistance. In the 
local clubs, societies, reading circles, parish gatherings, 
citizen meetings, various matters were zealously dis- 
cussed. If the clubs were to exert an important influ- 
ence, they must work together. The idea of a " central 
meeting" of delegates of the clubs seems to have 
been suggested by the vehement Brabant pastor Witbols, 
one of the warmest revolutionary partisans of those days. 
Provincial meetings had preceded, when from Leeuwarden 

Organisation of the Batavian Republic 301 

on May 30th it was proposed to hold a general meeting 
of the clubs at Utrecht. There a meeting took place on 
June 11th, and with it was connected an assembly of 
the same kind at The Hague; a definitive "central" 
meeting at The Hague came together on the 2Gth to the 
number of fifty-eight members from different provinces, 
and by the Dordrecht democrat Gerrit Paape a plan of 
organisation was offered on the basis of " liberty, equal- 
ity, and the rights of the man and citizen." The purpose 
was to form a National Convention for the "establish- 
ment of a constitution, grounded upon the pillars of 
liberty and equality, the inalienable rights of the man 
and the citizen, and upon the unity and indivisibility of 
this commonwealth." The commission of the committee 
of general affairs, intrusted with the preparation of a 
general reform of the state, presented (May 29th) a 
regulation to the States-General for convoking a Na- 
tional Assembly, which should take the place of the old 
States-General, as a " representative body " of the whole 
people for drawing up a definitive constitution. The 
proposed regulation was discussed in the autumn, but 
Zealand opposed it, and Friesland appeared divided in 
opinion ; not until November 26th did the States-General 
by a majority resolve to hold a National Assembly. 
Zealand, Friesland, and Groningen protested jointly 
against the resolution adopted by a majority. Both sides 
persisted in their opinions. At the meeting of December 
30th Utrecht again had the National Assembly resolved 
upon by four against three votes. At the end of the 
year matters stood upon the same footing. But Holland 
was determined not to give way, and its representatives, 
led by Paulus, declared : " The National Convention or 
death ! " The province was vigorously supported by the 
French ambassador, who from the Executive Directory 
established at Paris (October 30th) had received instruc- 
tions to stand by, in word and deed, the moderate union- 

302 History of the Dutch People 

ists in their striving for a National Convention. Finally 
February 18, 1796, it was unanimously resolved by the 
States-General to have the National Assembly meet on 
March 1st in the manner desired by Holland. The regu- 
lation for this meeting, a sort of preliminary constitu- 
tion, was proclaimed by the States-General. It consisted 
of one hundred and forty-seven articles in eight chapters. 
In every province the population had to be divided into 
districts of fifteen thousand souls, with subdivisions of 
five hundred souls each, from which those entitled to 
vote were to assemble in a " primary meeting." Every 
citizen twenty years of age was entitled to vote, with 
the exception of those who had received charitable assist- 
ance more than three months in the last year and those 
who refused to declare that they " held only such a form 
of government for legitimate as is based upon the su- 
premacy of the whole people " and considered illegal 
" all hereditary offices and dignities." The voters in each 
primary meeting chose with closed ballots and by a 
majority an elector and a substitute. Thirty electors 
chose in the same way a representative and two sub- 
stitutes, who were to represent the people in the National 
Assembly. The Assembly was to manage the foreign 
relations, to possess the right of peace and war, to con- 
clude treaties and alliances, to fix the coinage, to govern 
the army and navy besides the colonies, to bring about 
the arming of the citizens, to administer the general 
finances. The provincial governments retained author- 
ity over justice, finances, police, and domestic affairs. 
A commission of twenty-one members must within six 
months draw up a constitution to be examined by the 
Assembly and within a year to be offered to the people 
for their approval or disapproval. Voting in the As- 
sembly must be by individuals, the deliberations public, 
the absolute majority decisive. Of the one hundred and 
twenty-six persons to be elected ninety were present on 

Organisation of the Batavian Republic 303 

March 1st in the former dancing hall of the stadtholder 
in the Binnenhof, now christened as the National Hotel. 
In the old forms the States-General sitting on the other 
side of the Hotel, represented by a commission of nine 
members, had the members of the National Assembly 
reviewed, led in by the chamberlain, and had them make 
the required declaration. Then followed the choice of 
a president, Pieter Paulus, who received from the chair- 
man of the States commission the three-coloured scarf 
and was installed by him. Paulus thereupon " in the 
name of the people of the Netherlands " declared amid 
deep stillness that this assembly was " the representative 
body of the people of the Netherlands." Shouts of 
" Long live the republic " within the hall and without, 
loud clapping of hands and the blare of trumpets, the 
firing of muskets and cannon announced the birth of 
the new republic, which was to take the place of the old 
United Netherlands. A festive procession and allegorical 
performances made the holiday more brilliant. The 
States-General, having received the report of what had 
occurred, had now only to declare their meeting dis- 
solved. With an appropriate speech their president ended 
the last session of the body, that for more than two 
centuries had represented the United Netherlands. The 
new state of affairs had begun. 



THE great assembly, that was to decide the future 
arrangement of the new republic, was composed of 
the most heterogeneous elements. Many belonged to 
what " the nation at this time possessed most excellent 
in scientific knowledge, talents, and eloquence," but it 
counted also "very mediocre members." The majority 
of the assembly consisted of moderate unionists, who 
chose the respected and able Paulus as the first president. 
Schimmelpenninck, though young, had a great personal 
influence on the course of affairs by his eloquent speech, 
his clever and moderate action, his cautious tacking be- 
tween the parties. Paulus, sick from the first days, could 
exercise slight influence. It was said of the assembly: 
" Never saw the Netherlands so much wisdom united 
under one roof." The commission for the regulation of 
the state was instituted on March 15th. While the com- 
mission set about its difficult work, the National As- 
sembly held important discussions on subjects of state 
policy amid the affairs of the day. The deliberation, 
from want of experience, led repeatedly to great con- 
fusion, especially after the lamentable death of the 
honoured Pieter Paulus on March 17th. The able pro- 
fessor of law De Rhoer managed to impress his conser- 
vative stamp on the draft that had an unmistakably 
federalists and anti-democratic character. The learned 
Simon Stijl presented the draft of the constitution to 


Unionists and Federalists 305 

the assembly on November 10th. Two chambers, the 
Great Chamber and that of the Ancients, with a council 
of state as the executive power, retention of the provinces 
renamed as departments, maintenance of the provincial 
quotas and financial arrangements in general, separation 
of church and state, sharp differentiation of the adminis- 
trative, judicial, and financial powers — these were the 
main points of the meritorious but rather federalistic 
draft, which was received with slight agreement by the 
great majority of the assembly. The discussion over 
the extensive draft kept the assembly busy five months 
amidst the treatment of daily affairs and amidst growing 
uneasiness. This uneasiness arose from the disappoint- 
ment of the revolutionists at the too great consideration 
shown their Orange and federalistic opponents and on 
the other side from the latter's fear of revolutionary 
measures constantly urged by the clubs. It was known 
that the unionists spared no pains to persuade the 
Directory at Paris to a vigorous intervention for up- 
holding the unionist principle and that Noel, the French 
ambassador at The Hague, was besought by the clubs 
to use his influence to the same end. The French gov- 
ernment resolved to exert its influence more secretly 
and to show only " the hand which protects and not 
that which compels." By the gentle pressure of its am- 
bassador it led the discussions in the spring of 1797 in 
the desired direction of moderate unionism. There was 
little need of regulating the colonies now that England 
had nearly all of them in its hands, and the squadron 
sent out under the rear-admiral Lucas to recover the 
Cape and what was lost in India, nine ships with three 
hundred and forty cannon and two thousand men, had 
been captured by the powerful enemy without defend- 
ing itself in Saldanha Bay on August 17, 1796, in con- 
sequence of the commander's incapacity and the Orange 
sailors' disobedience. The smaller squadron of Braak 

VOL. V — 20 

306 History of the Dutch People 

destined for the West Indies arrived there in time to 
save Surinam. The way, in which the whole draft con- 
taining nine hundred and eighteen articles, now ridiculed 
by the democrats as the " big book," — it was considered 
" finished " not by voting but merely by acclamation — 
was received, promised little good. The Batavian govern- 
ment securities falling in April, 1797, to twenty per cent, 
showed plainly that fear for the future was universal. 

The important discussions had this advantage, that 
people learned to think and deliberate on questions of 
state policy; the press brought under the eyes of the 
public the " Journal of the proceedings of the National 
Assembly," and both in clubs and in pamphlets and 
weekly newspapers men became more or less familiar 
with the subjects discussed. An active political life 
prevailed especially in the revolutionary clubs and so- 
cieties. They were in close relation with one another. 
The presidents of the clubs formed in each city a secret 
bureau of correspondence, which was in connection with 
the secret provincial bureaus, all under the lead of the 
very secret general bureau at Amsterdam. This secret 
league, including the whole country in its net of organisa- 
tion, assured a powerful influence to the revolutionary 
elements. According to one of the resolutions adopted 
at The Hague, in case of rejection by the primary meet- 
ings, a new National Assembly was to meet on September 
1st to draw up a new constitution. The fixing of the 
dates, August 1st and 2d for the elections to the new 
assembly and August 8th for voting on the draft of 
the constitution, showed that rejection was expected. 
This rejection, ardently desired by the partisans of the 
prince and the violent unionists and federalists, was ex- 
pected, because the former, though excluded from the 
primary meetings, had indirectly enough influence in them 
and the last two fractions were powerful among the revo- 
lutionists. Thus a sharp conflict of parties arose during 

Unionists and Federalists 307 

the summer of 1797 in the Batavian republic, and the 
French government mixed in it by having its ambassador 
in an official note of July 20th express the hope that 
the Batavian people would not hesitate " to receive favour- 
ably a social pact that promises to it such great advan- 
tages." Nine thousand copies of the document were 
posted up in the country, while eight thousand were 
offered to the primary meetings and six thousand to 
trade. In the clubs and primary meetings unionist and 
federalists principles were discussed most vehemently. 
A large number of those entitled to vote, estimated at 
400,000, were frightened away or excluded by the required 
declarations ; of the 136,710 appearing, 27,955 voted for, 
108,761 against, so that the fate of the draft was decided 
without doubt. Sharp also was the contest in the elec- 
tions of August 1st. The democratic party exerted it- 
self to obtain the victory and to overcome the opposition of 
the French government. It secured the election of many 
of its members, though it did not obtain the majority, 
and though many members of the first National As- 
sembly returned to the second. On the other hand the 
moderate party lost some able men. 

Immediately after the opening on September 1st a 
violent opposition arose against the old regulation. Soon 
a commission for the constitution of twenty-one members 
was appointed. In accord with the spirit of the new 
assembly this commission was of a predominant demo- 
cratic-unionist character. In the direction of democracy 
worked the new revolution at Paris, where on September 
4, 1797, the democratic members of the Directory by a 
coup d'etat removed the reactionary elements from this 
body and from the two chambers. The idea of a similar 
stroke was in the air of the Netherlands. The confusion 
and uncertainty were augmented, while waiting for the 
proposals of the constitutional commission, by warm dis- 
cussions of the great principles of unity and indivisibility, 

308 History of the Dutch People 

the consolidation of the provincial debts, the separation 
of church and state. Amidst discussions often tempes- 
tuous the nation was rudely alarmed by a portentous 
event. The reorganisation of the fleet under the committee 
of the navy had in 1706 increased it to a considerable 
force: sixty-six ships with seventeen thousand men 
were ready in the summer of that year. It was hoped to 
unite the various squadrons and then with the French 
fleet from Brest to undertake an expedition to Ireland. 
Early in March, 1797, the squadron of the Meuse was 
brought to Texel, and in April came proposals from the 
Directory for joint action in July of the French, Span- 
ish, and Batavian fleets in order to convey a considerable 
army to Ireland. The Batavian fleet was to sail out in 
its full strength and embark fifteen thousand French 
troops on transports, while the Franco-Spanish fleet from 
Brest was to furnish fifty ships of the line and fifty 
thousand men. The Batavian commanders, vice-admiral 
De Winter and lieutenant-general Daendels, went to 
Paris to settle matters and remove obstacles. Finally, 
as the Franco-Spanish fleet seemed far from ready, it 
was resolved at The Hague to undertake independently 
an expedition to Ireland with Batavian ships and troops 
—a reckless project, considering the superior force of 
the British navy in the North Sea. With zeal the work 
of preparation went on, and in July the whole fleet of 
eighty ships, with troops embarked, lay at anchor before 
Texel. But De Winter during weeks and weeks was 
prevented from sailing out by contrary winds, despite 
the constant urgency of the committee, and the English 
fleet under Duncan lay before the Marsdiep to obstruct 
the sailing. Thus the favourable season passed, and in 
September the soldiers were disembarked. The invasion 
of Ireland appeared to be given up. The disappoint- 
ment was great, and the government was of the opinion 
that the fleet, brought together with so much trouble and 

Unionists and Federalists 309 

expense, must go out to attack the English. The com- 
mission of foreign affairs esjiecially urged this. In spite 
of De Winter's warnings, he was at last compelled to 
obey a positive order of the commission and sailed out on 
October 7th. He remained on the coast off the Meuse, 
exercising his ships and crews in sailing and shooting, 
and in expectation of the English fleet, which appeared 
on the 11th. De Winter, sailing northwards, encountered 
it at Camperdown, under command of Duncan, as he 
had feared considerably stronger than his own, though 
the number of ships, twenty-four large and small, was 
about equal on both sides. The English admiral, ob- 
serving the Batavian fleet in irregular line of battle, 
pushed rapidly into that line and broke it in two places, 
after which the fate of the Batavians was decided. With 
great bravery De Winter and his men offered resistance; 
but one ship after another had to surrender, finally that 
of De Winter himself; ten ships fell into the enemy's 
hands. It was a severe defeat and made a deep im- 
pression. The only consolation was that the " old hero- 
ism, constancy, and perseverance " had been again 
displayed, which was readily recognised by the enemy. 
When some months later the prisoners of war returned, 
ovations greeted them. 

This defeat inflicted a heavy blow on the prestige of 
the National Assembly and of the government. The 
commission for foreign affairs was assailed from all 
sides on account of the order given by it. From the 
deliberations on measures to be adopted it was plain that 
federalism was still strong, and that the unionists could 
only win the indivisibility of the state by a hard fight. 
Petitions signed by more than two hundred thousand 
persons for continuing the salaries of the Reformed 
church preachers, in opposition to the unionist demand 
for complete separation of church and state, caused 
dissension and fear for the course of affairs. The Am- 

310 History of the Dutch People 

sterdam " Jacobin " club, under guidance of its corre- 
spondence bureau — The Outlook, dreading reaction and 
eager to see the example of Paris followed, resolved to 
take matters into its hands. It sent to Paris a former 
gin distiller of Schiedam Eykenbroek, who with the ex- 
officer Bode and the former page of the princess Wil- 
helmina, Eberstein, asked the Directory to replace Noel 
and Hoche by more reliable Jacobins and with the help 
of the radicals in the National Assembly to venture a 
coup d'etat. It found support, when to various members 
of the covetous new government at Paris it made financial 
offers of no small importance — there was talk later of 
eight hundred thousand guilders and more, to be paid 
from the funds of the Batavian republic. The Jacobin 
party in the National Assembly hesitated to trust this 
doubtful aid. Not until the Amsterdam club in De- 
cember threatened to take up the work, did the repre- 
sentatives of the people give way, at least some of them, 
while others, like Vreede, kept in the background. The 
twelve members, who under Vreede's lead had incor- 
porated in a proposition the principle of the unity of 
the state in the former assembly and in the second all 
had seats, were now determined to listen to urgency. 
They entered into secret relations with some thirty other 
members and with the Directory at Paris, which, after 
the honest general Hoche, had put the intriguing Jacobin 
Beurnonville at the head of the French troops in Utrecht 
and appeared inclined to lend a hand in more vigorous 
measures. A joint declaration of principles of forty- 
three members of the assembly appeared on December 
12th. As " men of honour " they affirmed themselves 
ready to fight for a programme laid down in nine points. 
This public declaration of principles of Vreede and his 
friends seemed a precursor of the coup d'etat, which was 
generally expected after September. The replacement of 
the cautious Noel by Charles Delacroix, former minister 

Unionists and Federalists 311 

of foreign affairs and an energetic Jacobin, with whom 
returned to the country the intriguing Ducange as ad- 
viser and secretary, appeared to presage important events 
with the French government's support and in favour of 
the unionists. The new ambassador brought a plan for 
the regulation of the state with authority to use force 
in securing its acceptance. The moderate majority of 
the assembly opposed sharply the signers of the declara- 
tion. Some moderates sought to find a middle way by 
urging the commission of the constitution to hasten its 
work. The commission declared (January 15, 1798) that 
it would present the new draft within six weeks. In a 
moment of spontaneous enthusiasm the entire assembly 
swore, " gathered harmoniously about the altar of 
liberty," either "to save the fatherland," or "to die at 
their posts." 

The time was approaching, when the signers of the 
December declaration, now increased to fifty, would want 
with Delacroix and Ducange to strike their decisive blow. 
The refusal of the majority to give the new French gen- 
eral, Joubert, command also of the Batavian army made 
Delacroix resolve to adopt the measure reserved for the 
last resort, in compliance with the wishes of the party 
of the most ardent unionists, the members led by Vreede 
and his friends. Delacroix declared that his govern- 
ment would not allow " a country which it has called to 
liberty to be any longer the prey of anarchy," and drew 
up with Ducange and the chief unionists a programme, 
in which the importance of a close connection with 
France was least of all forgotten. Delacroix did not 
consent to establish a constitution in the Batavian re- 
public after the model of the French Directory with 
the help of the moderates. He joined Ducange and the 
ultras and obtained from his government complete 
liberty of action. The plan of "essential principles," 
agreeing in the main with the December declaration, was 

312 History of the Dutch People 

signed by fifty members and sent to Paris for approval. 
It was desired to " close the revolution by a wise con- 
stitution and a strong government." Joubert was to 
lend a hand, and the commander of the Batavian troops, 
Daendels, declared himself ready to support this attempt 
to come to an end. In the East Indian house at The 
Hague meetings of the confederates took place, where 
details were discussed. The circumstance that their 
partisan Midderigh was chosen on the 19th as president 
of the assembly and consequently the command of The 
Hague citizen watch fell into his hands, led to the im- 
mediate execution of the coup d'etat on the 22d. In the 
night of the 21st to the 22d Midderigh with Joubert and 
Daendels took measures to occupy the chief posts. At 
four o'clock in the morning the hated members of the 
committee for foreign affairs were arrested in their 
houses, and the other representatives were summoned 
to a meeting towards nine o'clock. Meanwhile the fifty 
with the president had gathered in the lodging of the 
city of Haarlem, whither other representatives went, so 
that the great majority together marched under escort 
of Batavian soldiers and citizen watch and amid the 
plaudits of the people to the hall of meeting in the 
Binnenhof. It found there the doors guarded and in- 
fantry and cavalry with cannon posted on the neighbour- 
ing squares. The president read a speech asserting that 
the fatherland was in danger and not an hour was to 
be lost, that he wanted now to settle the important 
matter and appealed to the support of the assembly, 
which at once by a solemn declaration attested its " un- 
alterable aversion " to stadtholdership, federalism, aris- 
tocracy, and anarchy. Ten members refused this declara- 
tion and were sent away. Twenty others on arrival were 
conducted to the president's room and deprived of their 
membership. Not until eleven o'clock was the public 
session held, in which the old regulation was abolished 

Unionists and Federalists 313 

together with all provincial sovereignty. The assembly 
declared itself legal under the name of " Constituent 
Assembly, representing the Batavian People." Delacroix, 
received ceremoniously in the assembly, brought his con- 
gratulations on the " energetic measures " and in return 
was thanked for his cooperation. The assembly resolved 
to appoint an Intermediary Executive Council of five 
members and a new commission of seven members for 
the constitution, and it gave notice of what had hap- 
pened to the provinces and officials. A proclamation to 
the people testified publicly gratitude to France, and the 
Directors wrote to Paris : " Our vessels, our equipages, 
our treasures are yours. Dispose of them." At noon 
everything was over, the troops returned to their bar- 
racks, and the population of The Hague recovered from 
the confusion brought about by these events. 

The management of affairs now rested with the five 
members of the Intermediary Executive Council, all demo- 
crats who would hesitate at nothing to secure victory 
for their principles. No less than twenty-nine of the 
members and substitutes, who had sworn to the declara- 
tion of aversion, resigned one after another. They were 
immediately removed from their posts, deprived of their 
right to vote, and placed under watch in their dwellings. 
From all officials without distinction a declaration of 
aversion was demanded. The republic was little more 
than a French province. The Parisian Directors had 
not delayed long before making use of the invitation sent 
them from The Hague and on April 12th concluded a 
new treaty with the Batavian republic, by which the 
number of French troops to be maintained here was put 
at twenty-five thousand, with an annual subsidy of 
1,200,000 guilders over and above support, clothing, 
equipment, and lodging, while France might dispose of 
three-quarters of the Batavian army. This was — besides 
the presents in money to Delacroix, Joubert, the 

314 History of the Dutch People 

Directory, and others — the price of the proffered assist- 
ance. Before long the commission of seven was ready 
with its constitutional work. On March 6th it presented 
the draft that had been completed under the daily 
cooperation of Delacroix. The five hundred and twenty- 
seven articles were rapidly discussed and settled in the 
assembly. On the evening of the 17th all was over, and 
preparations could be made for the voting in the pri- 
mary meetings. From all voters the familiar declaration 
was demanded with the addition that nobody could be 
elected, who did not favour the desired principles, and 
with the exclusion of all known to think otherwise for 
the period of ten years. Emissaries of the Executive 
Council exercised supervision over the carrying out of 
this resolution adopted March 10th, and the work was 
often done rudely and arbitrarily. Of the 165,520 voting 
this time 153,913 declared for, 11,597 against the draft, 
which result on May 1st was communicated by the 
Executive Council to the Constituent Assembly. The 
constitution of the Batavian republic thus enacted began 
with general principles laying down the rights of the 
man and citizen. The endeavour to suppress federalism 
appeared in the division of the territory into eight de- 
partments of about two hundred and seventeen thousand 
to two hundred and forty-seven thousand souls, their 
boundaries agreeing as little as possible with those of 
the old provinces and their names, after the French model 
those of the rivers, recalling in no respect the old divi- 
sion. Each department was divided into seven circles 
of about thirty-three thousand souls, each circle into 
sixty to seventy communes. For the election of the two 
chambers the country had to be split up into ninety-four 
electoral districts of twenty thousand souls, divided into 
forty primary meetings of five hundred. The First 
Chamber was to consist of sixty-four members, with a 
salary of four thousand guilders a year, and to deliberate 

Unionists and Federalists 315 

on the laws proposed, which were to be approved or 
disapproved of by the Second of thirty members; to- 
gether they formed the Representative Body. Each pri- 
mary meeting named an elector, and the forty electors 
of the districts chose the representative. The Executive 
Council of five members, with a salary of twelve thou- 
sand guilders a year, was selected by the two Chambers ; 
the First Chamber nominated three persons, the Second 
chose one of them ; every year one member went out of 
office. The council was assisted by eight " agents " or 
ministers, with nine thousand guilders a year, for foreign 
affairs, war, navy, finance, justice, police, education, and 
economy. The financial resources were united, the debts 
consolidated, the taxes within two years were to be simi- 
larly apportioned ; the complete separation of church and 
state was pronounced, so that after three years all 
churches would have to provide their own expenses. 

The principles accepted in formulating this constitu- 
tion were in the main that in place of the old aristocratic- 
federalistic republic, as it had maintained itself during 
more than two centuries, a state was to be founded one 
and indivisible, governed in accordance with the will of 
the people manifested through a representation elected 
by all the citizens and meeting publicly, with a powerful 
central administration, with personal liberty in state, 
church, and society, and with freedom of the press. Thus 
it was hoped to put an end to the faults, under which 
the old government had so terribly suffered: lack of a 
central authority, mutual jealousy of the provinces, tyr- 
anny of a certain class of the people, secret governmental 
activity, arbitrary administration of justice according to 
antiquated laws, financial confusion. The new govern- 
ment was not wanting in vigour, but rather in moderation. 
Exasperation was roused by the resolution of May 4th 
declaring the remaining part of the National Assembly, 
now the Constituent Assembly, as the Representative 

316 History of the Dutch People 

Body stipulated by the constitution. Twenty members 
were immediately chosen for the Second Chamber, forty- 
three others formed the First Chamber. Daendels was 
very dissatisfied with the arrangement of the command 
over the Batavian army and the complete surrender in 
military matters to France; at the request of Delacroix 
the supreme command had been given to Joubert after 
the January coup d'etat. The tyrannical measures of the 
new men affronted Daendels and the commander of the 
fleet, De Winter, and it was desired to break Ducange's 
fatal influence, reproached for much of what had oc- 
curred. At a banquet given by Delacroix (May 16th) 
Daendels inveighed against Ducange, and the ambas- 
sador complained to the Executive Council. Joubert 
gave Daendels an opportunity to flee to Paris, secretly 
supported by the French secretary of legation at The 
Hague, Champigny-Aubin, who was commissioned by 
his minister of foreign affairs, the clever and unprincipled 
Talleyrand, to keep an eye on his ambassador, and who 
attributed the latest measures to the " infernal genius " 
and " perfidious machinations " of the intriguing Du- 
cange. The question with the Executive Council was 
how far the Directory at Paris would continue to lend 
its aid. Enlightened by Daendels and his friends, the 
Directory began to see that the Executive Council could 
no longer be supported; it had little confidence in Du- 
cange and treated with slight consideration the new 
Batavian ambassador Buys, appointed in place of the 
suspected Meyer. It was disappointed in its expectation 
that the millions of Holland would at last flow into the 
French treasury, and it blamed for this the rulers at The 
Hague, thus cutting the ground from under their feet. 
The Directory was not interested in having the Jacobins 
govern at The Hague, if they did not furnish what France 
needed : money and ships. Fearing Jacobin disturbances 
in France, it had allied itself with the moderate ele- 

Unionists and Federalists 317 

ments and could not be satisfied with Jacobinism at The 
Hague. It refused to arrest Daendels for desertion. 
The general cultivated influential personages in Paris, 
especially Talleyrand, while he kept informed of what 
was doing in the Batavian republic. He found favour 
with Talleyrand, who demanded the banishment of the 
dangerous Ducange from the Batavian republic and had 
Delacroix recalled. The Directory was convinced that 
a Representative Body must be legally elected and that 
the Executive Council should be replaced by another of 
more moderate disposition. The Executive Council felt 
somewhat safer after concluding a treaty (June 1st) 
concerning the French soldiers personally profitable to 
the members of the Directory. It summoned Daendels 
to appear in court before June 6th, and when he did 
not come, suspended him from his rank of lieutenant- 

On June 10th Daendels suddenly returned from Paris, 
with a silent consent to go on his own course, received 
with distinction by Joubert and taken under protection 
against the Council. A commission of " friends of the 
constitution " offered him a banquet on the 11th. The 
Executive Council resolved to arrest the givers of the 
banquet. In the two chambers several democratic mem- 
bers were ready to stand by the Executive Council in 
upholding authority by bloody means, if necessary, and 
the scaffold and the guillotine were mentioned. The 
two arrangers of the banquet, Pompe van Meerdervoort 
and Van Kretschmar, were captured by the police. The 
agent of war, Pijman, the head of the army, had finally 
joined the conspirators. With Spoors and Gogel he 
formed the company of three that now assumed the 
management. The three agents had a meeting with 
Daendels and some " patriotic citizens." By virtue of 
their office they appointed Daendels commander of the 
garrison at The Hague and ordered him to arrest the 

3i 8 History of the Dutch People 

five directors and eleven members of the chambers. With 
three companies of grenadiers Daendels went to the house 
of the Executive Council, which was sitting at table with 
Delacroix and Champigny. Van Langen resisted, but 
was overpowered and taken away; Vreede and Fynje 
hid in the garret ; Delacroix was removed from the build- 
ing after a brief resistance. Then Daendels betook him- 
self with his soldiers to the First Chamber, where he 
arrested the president with some others; in the Second 
Chamber the same took place, after the president had 
been pulled from his chair. The violent party govern- 
ment had fallen, and the three agents, joined by those 
of justice and police, Tadema and La Pierre, declared 
themselves an Intermediary Executive Council. They 
chose Spoors as their president, assisted the very next 
day by an Intermediary Representative Body of forty- 
four members, summoned by themselves. A proclama- 
tion announced the event to the population, which was 
on the whole satisfied. Daendels, " a second Brutus," 
was the hero of the day. As speedily as possible, accord- 
ing to the constitution, a definitive government had to 
be established agreeable to the French Directory. De 
Winter, the admiral of Camperdown, and the able Schim- 
melpenninck were sent to Paris, the latter to represent 
the Batavian republic more worthily than it had been 
hitherto represented. There was talk of punishing the 
members of the preceding government, some of them being 
suspected of fraudulent appropriation of the public 
money. But, Delacroix having now departed, the French 
charge d'affaires Champigny declared against such 
measures and urged moderation, as did soon also the 
new ambassador Roberjot. The elections took place 
(July 31st), and over the entire country they gave a 
considerable majority to the moderates. The new Rep- 
resentative Body was divided into two parts, and the 
new Executive Council was generally praised. " The 

Unionists and Federalists 319 

revolution is ended," said Van de Kasteele, and a vigor- 
ous development could now begin under the powerful 
protection of France. 

It was a long time before the passions roused in this 
turbulent year were quieted. The defeated democrats 
were not disposed to lay their heads in their laps, though 
some of them, including Vreede and Wiselius, withdrew 
in disappointment from public affairs. Naturally violent 
agitation arose in the clubs. Passionate declarations 
were published against the leaders of the coup d'etat of 
June 12th, by the party of the ultras regarded as traitors 
to democracy, against Daendels himself; with little less 
vehemence Daendels and others demanded the punishment 
of the authors of the coup d'etat of January 22d, the 
so-called " anarchists." Under these circumstances the 
opinion of the moderate fractions, that by a conciliation 
of conflicting views domestic peace must be restored, 
began more and more to gain the upper hand. The 
French government, enlightened by Schimmelpenninck 
and Champigny-Aubin as to the motives of the last 
coup d'etat, had approved of it. Above all it did not 
want sharp prosecutions of the fallen magistrates, nor 
any military dictatorship of Daendels. It desired to 
throw " a veil " over all that had happened. At the end 
of November a general amnesty was proclaimed. Thus, 
under the guidance of Van Hooff, Spoors, and Daendels, 
who were the chief personages, the way was opened for 
domestic pacification. The revolution was now ended, 
and, under the new state institutions after the French- 
unionist model, attention could be devoted to the further 
development of reforms, to the restoration of peace 
abroad, and to the improvement of national prosperity 
terribly diminished during more than three years. The 
cooperation of the French government, the support of 
the moderate-unionist party and of the well-intentioned 
part of the population would soon lead to this, it was 

320 History of the Dutch People 

confidently expected. But there were not a few, who 
were still unconvinced that the crisis was at an end; 
confidence in the new government was far from strong, 
and many awaited the uncertain future with anxiety. 
Some people considered annexation to France as the only 
remedy for the unfortunate state of affairs. And on 
the other hand there was still in number at least a strong 
Orange party, among the aristocratic nobility and the 
common people, which looked for an opportunity to throw 
off the French yoke and was even ready to sacrifice 
everything rather than to remain under French rule. 



AMONG the fatal consequences of the alliance with 
France in May, 1795, the naval war stood fore- 
most, which the young Batavian republic took upon 
itself. It was the beginning of an almost unbroken 
struggle of little less than twenty years, in which the 
Batavians saw themselves compelled to follow obediently 
all the vicissitudes of French policy, dependent as they 
were on the great sister republic, soon as a mighty 
empire fighting for hegemony in Europe, in the world. 
In this long and desperate war France had great expec- 
tations of the support, which the Batavian republic might 
furnish through its situation, its mariners, and its old 
sea power. The Batavian army could only play a sub- 
ordinate part in the wars on land on account of its 
smallness in comparison with the huge, new armies. The 
terrible defeat at Camperdown had caused deep disap- 
pointment, after the Spanish fleet in February at St. 
Vincent had been almost as seriously hit by the English 
under Jervis, Parker, and Nelson. The Egyptian expedi- 
tion of the young general Bonaparte, who had conquered 
Italy and forced Austria to the peace of Campo Formio, 
whereby the emperor had given up the Austrian Nether- 
lands, was paralysed on August 1 and 2, 1798, by Nelson's 
brilliant victory over the French fleet at Aboukir. Eng- 
land ruled the seas more than ever before. What re- 
mained of the allied navies of France, Spain, and the 

VOL. V — 21 321 

322 History of the Dutch People 

Batavian republic hardly dared venture outside of the 
harbours closely watched by English squadrons. 

This all signified the ruin of the country's commerce. 
In 1795, instead of forty-three hundred ships in the 
preceding year, little more than sixteen hundred had 
entered the ports, and in the years following it was 
worse. The blockade pronounced by England caused 
every Dutch vessel to be declared a lawful prize by the 
war-ship or privateer that could seize upon it; every 
neutral vessel also sailing to Dutch ports was liable to 
confiscation by England. Commerce with Russia, car- 
ried on in 1794 by three hundred and forty ships, was in 
the next year continued by only sixteen. French pri- 
vateers showed slight respect for Dutch goods in neutral 
vessels and were extremely troublesome to merchantmen 
daring to sail out. The only way of escaping trouble 
seemed to be secret navigating under a foreign flag. But 
even this was not always successful; false ship's papers 
could easily be recognised as such by English judges, 
which made the prize courts declare the vessel and cargo 
confiscated. The worst was that Dutch merchants did 
not hesitate to fit out secretly French or even English 
privateers, which chased after their own ships, so that 
they put in their pockets the insurance money, for which 
their property was insured, and moreover the value of 
the captured goods sold in France or England — a pro- 
cedure that had been far from uncommon in previous 
war-times. Finally recourse was had to the use of foreign 
ships, with foreign captains and agents, for the trans- 
portation of Dutch goods, and this developed foreign 
navigation at the expense of that of the country. The 
carrying trade was lost to the Netherlands. Thus dis- 
appeared the great Dutch grain and lumber fleets, the 
schooners and smacks of Groningen and Friesland that 
conveyed grain and lumber from the Baltic to France 
and Spain ; thus melted away the great commercial fleets, 

General Conditions about 1800 3 2 3 

which of old had everywhere displayed the Dutch flag. 
The East India Company, cut off from making returns, 
went rapidly towards ruin, and its abrogation by the 
constitution of 1708 was a necessary consequence of its 
wretched condition. Its goods lay rotting in the ware- 
houses for want of ships to transport them. Help was 
sought in " simulated " sales to neutrals. The Ameri- 
cans in particular made use of the opportunity and sent 
yearly three richly laden vessels from Batavia to Amster- 
dam. Commerce with the West Indies also stood still, 
and the conquest of Surinam by the English in August, 
1709, put an end to the chief Dutch possession in those 
regions. The complete decay of the republic's maritime 
commerce had naturally a fatal influence upon its in- 
dustry. Hundreds of manufacturers and workmen, con- 
strained by lack of bread, left the dead manufacturing 
cities and removed to foreign countries. The first to 
suffer were the provinces which lived almost exclusively 
by commerce on the sea: Holland, Zealand, Friesland, 
City and Land. On the other hand trade on land in- 
creased somewhat, particularly that in agricultural 
products and cattle. The Rhine commerce with Germany 
flourished; commerce with France increased, especially 
that with the former Belgian provinces. But this land 
commerce could not make up for the want of maritime 

Of no less importance was the loss of the extensive 
banking business over the whole world, in which so many 
people had engaged during the eighteenth century; the 
interruption of regular communication with the country 
and the uncertainty of foreign payments in a time of 
general war caused the money business of Amsterdam 
to decline in as terrible a manner as had been the case 
with the traffic in goods. In an investigation made by 
the new government in 1705 the Amsterdam Bank ap- 
peared to be in a dangerous condition on account of its 

324 History of the Dutch People 

great advances to the sinking East India Company. The 
city of Amsterdam supported its famous credit institu- 
tion by repeated loans, but the bank continued to fall 
off with the diminution of the commerce that usually 
fed it. Large losses were further suffered by the entire 
population in consequence of the non-payment, so long 
as the war in Europe lasted, of the interest on foreign 
government obligations now amounting annually to forty 
millions. English, Spanish, and Austrian securities, soon 
also Russian bonds, of which millions were here sold, 
inflicted great injury on the wealthy class and indirectly 
upon all society. Poverty increased frightfully; orphan 
asylums and poor houses were filled; at Amsterdam in 
1796 no less than one-quarter of the population was sup- 
ported as paupers; travellers in Holland were struck by 
the multitude of beggars. The cost of living rose to 
a dangerous height in the winter of 1798-1799, while the 
number of people assisted rapidly increased : at Amster- 
dam it amounted in this winter to eighty-one thousand 
out of a population of nearly two hundred thousand. The 
decline of The Hague after the stadtholder's departure 
was evidenced by the disappearance of costly carriages 
and clothing, by empty mansions, while the aristocratic 
families retired to cheap dwellings in back streets. The 
material condition of the Batavian republic could not 
be called wholly desperate. It possessed a population of 
two millions, or thirty-two hundred to the square mile, 
a density of population, with which that of France, Eng- 
land, and Saxony could not be compared. The national 
wealth was in 1800 estimated at three milliards of in- 
terest-bearing property, the annual income at two hun- 
dred millions. The continuous war, with the cessation of 
a large part of commerce and industry, demanded severe 
sacrifices from the nation, while the finances of the state 
had been in anything but a satisfactory condition in the 
last years of the stadtholder's rule. In 1795 the amount 

General Conditions about 1800 325 

of the ordinary revenue was over sixteen and a half 
millions, that of the expenditures fifty and a half mil- 
lions. In the first year of the consolidation of revenue, 
debts, and taxes of all the provinces (1799) the revenue 
amounted to 36,350,000 guilders and the expenditures of 
this year of war to 79,666,000. Such a deficit must in 
time result in the financial ruin of the state. All these 
unfavourable figures, as by a stroke of magic, would be 
modified, whenever there might be success in securing 
peace; then the idle capital would come up with the 
restoration of commerce and industry. Longingly men 
watched the course of the negotiations at Rastadt, Lune- 
ville, and Amiens, preparations for a peace that would 
include the republic as soon as France consented to it. 

Loud were the complaints of the decline of the nation. 
In 1791 Van Hamelsveld 1 drew a dark picture of the 
condition of the Dutch people. Neglect of education; 
marriage and the family no longer honoured and pure; 
society spoiled by etiquette and extravagance; honesty, 
thrift, good faith regarded as antiquated ideas; art, 
literature, and science languishing; religion and the 
church suffering from superstition, infidelity, and indif- 
ference; the great world going down in luxury, the citi- 
zens following after, the peasants living on in ignorance, 
the lower classes in the cities slavishly dependent or going 
to the bad, so that in Europe there was perhaps no com- 
munity more degenerate — to this he and others testify 
concerning the moral state of the nation at the end of 
the century. In the Dutch cities amid all the misery 
dissolute life prevailed; nowhere in the world were to be 
seen more open exhibitions of drunkenness and immo- 
rality. Money was the main thing in marriage, and men 
did not think of it in the upper classes until they had 
enjoyed life sufficiently; in the lower classes as a rule 

1 See Van Hamelsveld, Over den zedelijken toestand der 
Nederl. natie (Rotterdam, 1791). 

326 History of the Dutch People 

marriage was " from necessity " ; violation of the mar- 
riage vow belonged to the regularly appearing vices. 
Domestic life had changed from the former simplicity 
amidst the luxury that had doubled or tripled the costs 
of the citizen's housekeeping. Expensive fashions, pre- 
scribed every year from Paris, had now driven out the 
old national costume among the middle classes, and every- 
where French gentlemen and English ladies were seen 
with powdered hair, foreign coats, metal buttons, super- 
abundant gold ornaments. Luxury was remarked also 
in eating and drinking, when silver dishes, beautiful 
porcelain, choice food, foreign fruits and delicacies, fine 
wines and pastry appeared on the table of the middle 
class of citizens, while poorer men no longer lived on 
peas and beans but upon potatoes, weak coffee or tea 
alternating with gin becoming more and more the popular 
drink. The excessive smoking of tobacco was a national 
custom, and a Hollander without a pipe in his mouth 
was a rare sight. Smoking passed for a remedy against 
the " damp climate," and boys eight to ten years old 
were encouraged to smoke. The severe shocks given to 
society in the last twenty years had their effect and 
prevented the development of the germs of better con- 
ditions; party strife, a succession of dangers caused 
restlessness that did not fail to sow mutual mistrust. 
Let everybody look out for himself became the motto 
in the constant turning of the wheel of fortune. Art, 
literature, and science could not flourish in such an 
atmosphere. Coarse political lampoons, sharp magazine 
articles, bad reading formed the majority of what was 
printed; few scientific works of importance appeared. 
The numerous learned societies languished under the 
unfavourable circumstances; the universities fell behind, 
and some of them numbered almost as many students 
as professors. Literature experienced years of decline, 
in which the tasteless Arend Fokke Simonszoon with his 

General Conditions about 1800 327 

jests began to eclipse the serious novels of Wolff and 
Deken, and Feith and Helmers with their sentimental 
poetry enjoyed the preference over the gifted Bilderdijk. 
De Wacker van Zon and Van Woensel handled satire 
cleverly, the usual fruit of periods of decay, in their 
comical romances and magazine articles. The art of 
painting declined in importance, and the few painters, 
engravers, and draughtsmen of repute lived by copying 
examples of the good time. In all respects the time of 
about 1800 was a gloomy period, so that the question 
often rose whether the Batavian nation was not at the 
end of its course and was not speedily to disappear as 
a nation. 

The new machine of state did not work smoothly, and 
the laxness of the new government of moderate unionists 
after the victory of 1798 brought slight improvement. 
Great uncertainty was caused by the continual disturb- 
ances of the revolutionists, who looked for a new upset 
in France and a new imitation of it here. The Jacobin 
clubs in the large cities, which many Catholics had 
joined from fear of a Protestant reaction, vigorously 
opposed Orange and federalistic tendencies and put their 
hope in the new French ambassador Lombard. Amid 
the growing discontent with the government the Orange 
party began to cherish hopes of a restoration of the 
stadtholder's rule. Europe now stood in arms against 
France; the Russian emperor, Paul I., was to put into 
the scales the great power of his gigantic realm in oppo- 
sition to the hated revolution and cooperate with England 
and Austria, though Prussia still remained neutral under 
the new king, Frederick William III. The house of 
Orange might expect a change in its fate. William V., 
sojourning at Hampton Court and more occupied with 
court festivities than with political plans, began to see 
a chance of restoration. And his sons no less so. While 
the hereditary prince William, who looked for more from 

328 History of the Dutch People 

Prussia than from England, had entered the Prussian 
service as a lieutenant-general and had settled at Berlin 
with his family, the young prince Frederick was Aus- 
trian master of ordnance and commander of the army 
in Italy, where he died from a lingering illness on Janu- 
ary 6, 1799, at Padua. During negotiations at Lille 
the house of Orange was frequently considered; Lord 
Malmesbury tried to obtain good conditions for it. In 
August and September of 1798 there was thought of the 
possibility of an English landing in the Batavian repub- 
lic. In such an event the hereditary prince would ac- 
company the invading army. The hope of a rising in 
the Batavian republic and of Prussian assistance was 
not excluded. The plans were far-reaching: not only 
the Batavian republic but also Belgium, where a peasant 
revolt against conscription had just broken out, must 
be freed from France and united into a powerful 
double state as a bulwark against France, which was 
to be ruled according to the principles of the old 
Pacification of Ghent. If the republic only was liber- 
ated, the stadtholder's government was to be restored 
and the union of Utrecht to be adapted to modern 
times. Reliance was placed upon the growing aversion 
to the French, upon the prevailing dissatisfaction with 
the course of affairs, upon the numerous Orange parti- 
sans, upon the possibility of Daendels' cooperation. The 
general counter revolution must break out everywhere at 
once, as soon as a small English expedition of three 
thousand men should land at Scheveningen or a Russian 
or Prussian army should approach the eastern frontiers. 
Thus preparations were made under the deep impres- 
sion of the first victory of the Austrian army com- 
manded by archduke Charles at Stockach in Baden 
(March, 1799), while the Austrians and Russians in 
Italy drove back Moreau. It seemed as if France under 
the Directory would be ruined by domestic dissensions. 

General Conditions about 1800 329 

The revolution was drawing to an end, while its greatest 
general, Bonaparte, was consuming his forces in Egypt. 
Late in 1798 the plan of an Anglo-Russian landing in 
Holland was discussed by the powers, but England, offer- 
ing its money, preferred a Prussian-Russian attack from 
the east. Prussia refused, and so in May, 1799, the plan 
was again taken up of an Anglo-Russian landing to 
restore the old forms of government in the Batavian 
republic. By the treaty of June 22d Russia was to fur- 
nish seventeen thousand five hundred and England thir- 
teen thousand or at least eight thousand men ; an English 
fleet was to bring the Russians. The command of the 
campaign was to be put into the hands of the aged Eng- 
lish general, Ralph Abercromby, whose place was finally 
taken by the incapable duke of York, after the English 
corps had been raised to twenty-five thousand men by 
the unexpectedly numerous enlistments of volunteers. 
Abercromby was now to lead only the first division sent 
out, with which the Russian force under general Hermann 
was to act. The original plan was for the English to 
penetrate into South Holland, while the Russians ap- 
peared on the northeast and, as was still hoped, the 
Prussians on the eastern border. Concerning the Bata- 
vian fleet, the captains, Van Braam and Van Capellen, 
in case of an engagement were to excite a revolt in 
favour of Orange, and the fleet was then to join the 
English. In the Batavian republic and Belgium a rising 
prepared by secret agents must break out against the 
hated French and the existing government. At the end 
of July the hereditary prince left Berlin and went to 
Lingen in order from there to lead the expected rising. 
On August 13th the English landing fleet under admiral 
Duncan sailed for the Batavian republic with Aber- 
cromby's first corps of twelve thousand men and directed 
its course to Helder to destroy the Batavian fleet and 
to attack Amsterdam. In consequence of tempestuous 

33° History of the Dutch People 

weather it did not appear until seven days later at Texel, 
the vanguard of more troops under the duke of York. 

All these preparations naturally had remained no 
secret in the Batavian republic, and with anxiety the 
reports of the expected attack were received. The 
Executive Council at the head of the state formed a 
government that could develop little power. The de- 
fence on land was to be managed by the brave and ex- 
perienced French general Brune, thirty-six years old and 
a pupil of Massena, a zealous Jacobin and since January 
commander of the French troops about eighteen thou- 
sand in number in the Batavian republic, cooperating 
with the Batavian troops under Daendels and Dumon- 
ceau. When in the spring the reports of the expected 
landing became more definite, the Executive Council 
finally proclaimed a state of siege and called out the 
national guard of thirty thousand men. The Franco- 
Batavian army was divided by Brune into three corps: 
that under Dumonceau in Groningen and Friesland, that 
under Daendels in North Holland, that under the French 
generals Desjardins and Rewbell in Zealand. Brune was 
placed with a small reserve in and around The Hague. 
The fleet, which after the catastrophe of Camperdown 
had been brought up again to twenty-four war-ships, was 
in the early spring of 171)9 made ready in part at Texel 
for an invasion of Ireland, and, when this plan was 
dropped, for an expedition to Java. But the reports of 
the projected English landing caused the latter plan also 
to be given up, and the rear-admiral Samuel Story, a 
naval officer of repute, lay with his squadron of eight 
large ships and some frigates in the roadstead of Texel, 
when on August 20th an English fleet of fifteen large 
ships and fifty frigates hove in sight, and a British 
deputation of three officers came to him in the name of 
Lord Duncan, the English commander, to demand the 
surrender of the fleet for the prince of Orange, the " law- 

General Conditions about 1800 331 

ful sovereign," under whose flag the fleet might join 
the English. The deputation found an opportunity to 
circulate in the fleet some exciting proclamations, and 
the consequences appeared in the growing turbulence 
on some vessels, though Story proudly refused to sur- 
render as did also Colonel Gilquin, the commander of 
Helder. The hostile fleet put to sea for a few days on 
account of a storm but returned on the 26th under vice- 
admiral Mitchell to the number of eleven ships of the 
line and on the morning of the 27th undertook a landing 
at Keeten between Callantsoog and Huisduinen. The 
landing succeeded, and the Batavian troops under general 
Van Guericke stationed there by Daendels had to retreat 
after heavy losses; Gilquin evacuated Helder by order 
of Daendels, whereupon Story fell back to Vlieter amid 
increasing confusion on his ships. The evident hesita- 
tion of the commanders and the Orange flags on the 
land batteries had no good effect upon the feeling in 
the Batavian fleet. On the 30th the English fleet under 
the prince's flag began sailing to Vlieter, when the irres- 
olute Story, after a fruitless attempt to make his men 
fight, offered to remain at a sufficient distance and to 
wait for a decision from The Hague on the demand for 
surrender. While the crews were breaking out into 
mutiny, Story called his captains together; in face of 
the enemy's crushing superiority and of the treason upon 
the fleet the council of war resolved to surrender fleet 
and men, but as prisoners of war under the Batavian 
flag. Mitchell, however, took possession of the fleet for 
the prince and had the prince's flag hoisted on all the 
ships amidst the sailors' shouts of " Huzza ! " and " Up 
with Orange!" After an inspection by the hereditary 
prince, who was on Mitchell's fleet, the large ships sailed 
for England and remained under the prince's flag and 
their own officers in the prince's service as a separate 
division of the English navy. Great was the indignation 

33 2 History of the Dutch People 

in the republic at the conduct of the fleet's commanders. 
A naval council investigated it and punished some of 
the captains by dismissal. Story, Van Braam, and Van 
Capellen were by contumacy banished, with forfeiture 
of life and property, as " perjured, dishonourable, and 
infamous traitors." This was the inglorious end of the 
Batavian fleet formed at so great cost. The success 
of the English landing and Daendels' weak opposition 
to it brought him reproach as a proof of incapacity, even 
as a beginning of treason. He did not think of treason 
for an instant but was really surprised by events and 
by the enemy's superior force, as were Brune and the 
Batavian government, which applied to the French for 
help provided the independence of the country remained 
complete, this being readily promised by the new 
Directory. This promise revived courage, and the Execu- 
tive Council assisted in the defence of the threatened 
country. Invested with ample power, Brune commanded 
Daendels to defend the fatherland foot by foot. He 
arranged his troops in the best way to protect Amster- 
dam. The Batavian general submitted entirely to his 
judgment. Fortunately for the defenders there was in 
most provinces no disturbance; the hereditary prince's 
friends had exaggerated the Orange partisanship of the 
population. Many Orangemen were averse to a prince 
brought back by England, as he would naturally be 
dependent upon the old rival and would have to follow 
this rival's wishes just as was now done for France. 
What would be gained by a change of masters? they 
asked, remembering how England had acted five years 

Dangerous appeared the invasion of North Holland, 
where measures were taken to resist the enemy, espe- 
cially in Amsterdam formidably strengthened with in- 
undations and forts. The English force under command 
of Abercromby did not dare to venture far into the 

General Conditions about 1800 333 

country without the Russians, now that the general ris- 
ing did not occur. Daendels fell back slowly before the 
superior hostile army, which pushed him to Alkmaar. 
On September 9th Abercromby with his seventeen thou- 
sand men had come no further, while the French and 
Batavians about twenty-three thousand men strong were 
in number his master. Brune on the 10th made an 
attack on the enemy's position in Zijpe, but was repulsed 
with heavy loss. The arrival of new troops brought 
the English army up to twenty-two thousand men, now 
commanded by the duke of York, who on the 13th was 
joined by eight thousand, on the lGth by almost as many 
more Russians under the generals Hermann and Essen. 
With this superior force of nearly fifty thousand men 
York on the 19th attacked at Bergen the army of Brune 
and Daendels but after success at first and a bloody 
battle, in which Daendels distinguished himself, was 
defeated with the loss of twenty-three hundred killed and 
wounded and eighteen hundred prisoners mostly Russians, 
while Abercromby had to leave the already occupied Hoorn ; 
the Dutch troops lost twenty-six hundred, the French 
eight hundred men. The lack of discipline of the Anglo- 
Russian troops, particularly of the Russians, caused gen- 
eral indignation ; at Haarlem the Russian prisoners were 
even stoned. The hope of a complete victory was aroused 
among the allied French and Batavians, while the dis- 
couraged English and Russians began to blame one an- 
other for the defeat. The Executive Council at The 
Hague saw the presence of the English and Russians 
with growing anxiety. Fearing complete " destruction " 
of the country, now that war was waged on their own 
territory, some entered secretly into suspicious negotia- 
tions with Prussia and the hereditary prince. Some 
agents, especially that for foreign affairs, Van der Goes, 
and other members of the government were involved in 
these secret negotiations closely connected with the plan 

334 History of the Dutch People 

for restoring the Oranges. De Vos van Steenwijk was 
sent to Berlin to promote " good offices and intercession " 
among the belligerent powers in the interest of the so 
ardently desired neutrality. At The Hague the Prussian 
ambassador Bielfeld had obtained from Van der Goes 
information concerning the disposition of the Executive 
Council to throw itself into the arms of Prussia. There 
was readiness to restore the Oranges with an improve- 
ment of the old government and granting of the wishes 
of the patriots. De Vos referred to the American gov- 
ernment as the best form and to the hereditary prince 
as the proper president. But he met in Berlin with slight 
sympathy for his " chimerical negotiation." As France 
got wind of the affair, he received on October 1st the 
friendly " insinuation " to return to The Hague. At the 
same time Mollerus, a partisan of Orange, was sent to 
the hereditary prince. He went farther than De Vos 
at Berlin and in the name of his friends opened the 
prospect of a revolution, by which the house of Orange 
would secure the sovereignty under " a sort of English 
constitution." The hereditary prince dared not act with- 
out his father's consent, and Mollerus then went to Eng- 
land. These secret discussions did not remain unknown 
in Paris, and a second French ambassador, the former 
Parisian doctor Deforgues, appeared at The Hague to 
watch affairs with Florent Guyot, while Brune, reen- 
forced to thirty-three thousand men, took measures for 
defence. The English and Russians renewed the attack 
on October 2d in the vicinity of Alkmaar, where Brune 
after sharp fighting at Schoorl and Bergen and a loss 
of sixteen hundred men resolved to retreat. Soon con- 
ditions at the scene of war were completely changed. A 
new battle at Castricum (October 6th) ended unfavour- 
ably for the attacking English and Russians; in conse- 
quence of the breaking of their line by Brune at the head 
of his cavalry and of the good conduct of the Batavians, 

General Conditions about 1800 335 

they suffered severe losses, which made the easily dis- 
couraged York think of giving up the campaign. After 
a council of war he resolved, to the astonishment of 
Brune himself, to return to England and began by evacu- 
ating Alkmaar, followed by the French and Batavians. 
Retreating to Zijpe York, though in a strong position, 
saw himself obliged on the 14th to negotiate. The result 
was an agreement, which was confirmed on the 19th at 
Alkmaar and resembled very much a capitulation. For 
free retreat York promised the return of the batteries 
at Helder in good condition and the liberation of eight 
thousand prisoners. The embarkment of the troops took 
place from the last days of October to the end of No- 
vember. The hereditary prince deeply disappointed went 
to England on October 21st. The fortunate campaign 
— as Brune boasted — was " terminated by a profitable 
and glorious treaty," though remark was made upon 
the way he let York and his army go free and did not 
insist on the restitution of the Batavian fleet. He ended 
his reports by testifying to the " tranquil and methodical 
courage " of the Batavians with the " brilliant intrepid- 
ity " of the French as the decisive elements in the 
successfully finished campaign. 

The ambiguous attitude of the Batavian government 
had awakened suspicion among the Paris Directors, while 
Daendels showed dissatisfaction with the little confi- 
dence placed in him. The ambassador Florent Guyot 
was recalled, and Deforgues received orders to have re- 
moved the members of the government favouring Orange 
and in particular some of the agents. These latter were 
rescued by the events of the 18th of Brumaire (Novem- 
ber 9th), when the general Bonaparte, called back from 
Egypt by the Directory in its need, overturned the hated 
government easily and substituted for it the Consulate 
of three men with Sieyes and Rogier-Ducos — the last 
form of republican rule possible in France, and De- 

336 History of the Dutch People 

forgues was recalled with. Brune by the minister of 
foreign affairs Talleyrand. Deforgues was replaced by 
Semonville, who made himself notorious by his excessive 
desire to draw personal profit from his office, and Brune 
by Augereau, thoroughly acquainted with. Bonaparte's 
wishes. The tone, which the new leader of the French, 
government, the energetic Bonaparte, caused to be 
adopted at The Hague, proved that in Paris no opposition 
would be tolerated and that obedience was demanded: 
" He grants friendship, he requires confidence ; he as- 
sures protection, he desires fidelity; he promises benefits, 
he expects gratitude," said Semonville in his name. 
There seems to have been some thought at Paris of making 
Augereau the head of the Batavian state. The Executive 
Council showed plainly that it had had enough, of the 
close alliance with France and that it longed for peace 
or at least neutrality, so that commerce, by which alone 
the republic could exist, might be again restored. But 
Bonaparte was not to be dissuaded from his plan of 
using the Batavian republic for the benefit of France. He 
demanded the complete execution of the treaty of The 
Hague so far as finances and military affairs were con- 
cerned, and was not touched by the representations of the 
ambassador Schimmelpenninck or by the address brought 
by admiral De Winter telling of unbearable burdens, which, 
before 1800 had brought up expenditures to over one 
hundred millions, while the ordinary revenue scarcely 
amounted to thirty millions. The First Consul wanted 
money for his wars and was angry, when general Marmont 
sent by him to the republic could not place a loan of only 
twelve million francs in Amsterdam. It became worse, 
when an attempt to obtain fifty millions from the Bata- 
vians failed. He began to threaten: "We have right 
and might on our side," and Semonville urged acquies- 
cence in his wishes. The Executive Council saw itself 
compelled to furnish the troops desired. Bonaparte's 

General Conditions about 1800 337 

demands increased constantly, while Augereau acted as 
lord and master in the Batavian republic, roughly im- 
posing his will and extorting money for himself and his 
officers. The weak Council, working in Berlin and Paris 
for neutrality, got into an untenable position towards 
the population, which was financially exhausted and since 
171)5 had paid twenty-two and a half per cent, on its 
property and twenty-eight per cent, on its income in 
forced contributions. It was evident that so long as 
France continued to conquer, it would not hear to the 
complete independence or neutrality of the Batavian re- 
public. France needed the republic for its war with 
England or for possible trouble with Prussia; it did 
not want annexation, but required dependence and con- 
sidered the necessity of removing the stadtholder's house 
" an irrevocably settled affair," as Bonaparte expressed it. 
In these circumstances people began both here and 
at Paris to think seriously of a thorough change in the 
government of the Batavian republic. In August, 1800, 
Schimmelpenninck, whose position in Paris was becom- 
ing more difficult before the demands of the French 
government, appeared in the republic. It was evident to 
him that a change must come. Semonville was of the 
opinion that the disposition of the people and the interest 
of France required " the reconciliation of whatever was 
useful, that experience of the ancient system had intro- 
duced in the administration, with the institutions which 
healthful philosophy has planted on the tomb of pre- 
judices," which signified reaction against the excessive 
changes of 1798. Schimmelpenninck favoured a consti- 
tution modelled after that of the United States; Irhoven 
van Dam and Pijnian wanted executive power in the 
hands of a president with an insignificant Legislative 
Body and great independence of the departments. The 
committee of the Legislative Body to examine the plan 
of Pijman and Irhoven van Dam, that favoured by 

VOL. V — 22 

338 History of the Dutch People 

Augereau or Bonaparte, was ready in June but saw its 
proposition rejected by fifty-five votes against twelve. 
The Executive Council, knowing what Bonaparte wanted, 
chose on June 10th the energetic Pijman as one of its 
members. It was time, because Bonaparte was becom- 
ing impatient, and the revolutionary elements in the 
Legislative Body found reenforcement in the new elec- 
tions. On the other side the adherents of the house of 
Orange began to defend themselves; the majority of them 
showed a readiness to compromise, and some corre- 
sponded with moderate but discontented former patriots. 
This disposition of the Orange partisans hastened the 
plans promoted by Bonaparte for a coup d'etat, this 
time again in favour of the moderates of all parties. 
Augereau, who went to Paris in the summer, placed him- 
self on his return at the disposal of Pijman and his 
friends. It appeared that Bonaparte approved of the 
plan of Pijman and Van Dam, but desired to know who 
was to be elected president. For the moment there was 
no person suitable for the place. Van Dam proposed 
instead of the president to put at the head a State 
Government, and this was accepted. The expected coup 
d'etat began on September 14th. A proclamation of the 
Executive Council submitted to the primary meetings 
the modified plan of Pijman and Van Dam as " the 
happy mean " between the varying opinions. The First 
Chamber of the Legislative Body, on the 18th by twenty- 
eight against twenty-six votes, declared the proclama- 
tion illegal and referred the plan again to a commission. 
Two members of the Council refused their cooperation. 
The three others with Augereau's aid took the government 
into their hands, sealed the doors of the Legislative 
Body's building, declared by a new proclamation this 
college suspended, and promised to maintain order. The 
plebiscite of October 1st resulted unfavourably for the 
plan, as only 10,771 votes were cast for it and 52,219 

General Conditions about 1800 339 

against it, but there were 410,410 voters, and those staying 
at home were considered simply as voting for it, where- 
upon the new regulation of the state was promulgated 
on October 10th. The draught of one hundred and six 
articles thus adopted decreed that, a state government 
of twelve members should have the complete direction 
of the state. For the first time the three active mem- 
bers of the Executive Council were to select seven persons 
for it and these five others; later the governments of 
the departments were to nominate four persons for a 
place in the State Government, which was to present 
two of them for choice to the Legislative Body. This 
Body, deprived of all influence on the executive power, 
reduced to thirty-five members and meeting only twice 
a year, was merely to vote on laws offered by the State 
Government. The departmental governments, of seven 
to fifteen members, were to enjoy great independence, so 
also the communal governments. In place of agents 
" councils " of three to six members were to manage the 
branches of the general government. So it was hoped to 
strengthen the power of the central government without 
encroaching too much upon the old provincial autonomy. 



RECONCILIATION of parties was the watchword, 
under which the new regulation of the state was 
carried through : on one side yielding to the popular 
principles of provincial federalism and local indepen- 
dence ; on the other side approach of the elements favour- 
ing old institutions to the ideas of equality of all before 
the law, union of the state, and a powerful central 
authority. Compared with the regulation of 1798 the 
new constitution, giving citizens slight influence in the 
government, might be regarded as a work of reaction, 
and the extreme revolutionists disdained the compromise 
as treason to the cause of the revolution. On the con- 
trary many Orange partisans declared themselves not 
unwilling to take part again in the government together 
with the moderates among the men of 1795 ; so great was 
their number that people spoke of a revival of the aris- 
tocratic ruling party after the short victory of the now de- 
feated democracy. The names of the members of the State 
Government indicated the conciliation and the modera- 
tion of principles, which had characterised the entire 
coup d'etat of September, 1801. After the great vic- 
tories of Bonaparte at Marengo and of Moreau at 
Hohenlinden over the Austrians, who had to relinquish 
all Italy to the French, gave up southern Germany, and 
even saw Vienna threatened, Austria showed an inclina- 
tion for peace, while the French people also desired the 


Last Years of the Batavian Republic 341 

end of the long war. On February 9, 1801, at Luneville 
the peace of France and its allies with emperor and 
empire had been brought about, and both had confirmed 
the independence of the Batavian republic. Even Eng- 
land, after the murder of the Russian czar Paul I. and 
the accession of his son Alexander I. more favourable to 
France, standing alone and again menaced with a land- 
ing from Boulogne, had allowed Pitt, the champion of 
war against France, to retire and on October 1st had 
assented to the preliminaries of London. On the nego- 
tiations for the " continental peace " the Batavian re- 
public had had no direct influence. Prussia had now 
given up the idea of the restoration of the Oranges and 
thought only of an indemnity partly to be found in 
Germany, partly to be paid by the republic for the 
Nassau domains. When there was talk of a president, 
the house of Orange and the hereditary prince had been 
thought of, but Bonaparte would not hear to it from 
fear of the renewal of English or Prussian dynastic in- 
fluence in the sister state now dependent upon France. 
The negotiation based on the preliminaries at Amiens 
for definitive peace between France and England could 
hardly be finished without the interested Batavian re- 
public, the less so as England had offered in London to 
give back all the conquered colonies in east and west 
except Ceylon. So Schimmelpenninck might be admitted 
at Amiens as the Batavian negotiator. He received the 
invitation to take part in the discussions, begun three 
months earlier and in fact ended, on January 1, 1802. 
The French government regarded the signature of the 
treaty by the Batavian ambassador as indifferent to its 
validity. Among themselves the French diplomatists 
spoke contemptuously of such countries as the Batavian 
republic, " vanquished and conquered," which " ought 
to spare us the trouble of reminding them of the prin- 
ciple of their present existence; this existence they hold 

34 2 History of the Dutch People 

from us, we owe them nothing and they owe us every- 
thing." On January 11th Schimmelpenninck was ad- 
mitted to the negotiation. He tried to secure concessions 
both from the French negotiator Joseph Bonaparte and 
from the English Lord Cornwallis; numerous memoirs 
he presented in support of his requests. But all his 
eloquent remonstrances availed nothing, and as little 
did the attempts to win for the Batavian republic the 
favour of Semonville, Talleyrand, and Joseph Bonaparte 
by bribery, half a million being provided for the pur- 
pose. The Batavian government had to be content with 
a note from Talleyrand and an oral declaration from 
Joseph, both stating that after the signing of the final 
treaty the First Consul would be ready to negotiate with 
it on one thing and another. People longed for peace, 
however it might be. And so Schimmelpenninck signed 
at last on March 27, 1802, the treaty, which was to 
give the ardently desired peace. 

Least of all was this peace honourable, and for the 
nation it was necessary to provide the treaty with 
" notes." Against the loss of Ceylon mention was made 
of the return of Guyana and the Cape and other posses- 
sions; the old treaties with England were considered 
lapsed as well as the stipulation concerning the striking 
of the flag; claims on account of captured ships might 
be prosecuted before the English courts; nothing was 
said of the definitive loss of the fleet surrendered at 
Helder. The negotiator was greeted thankfully, because 
the chief aim, peace, had been attained. About the 
same time the house of Orange was finally provided 
for. William V., disappointed in his great expectations 
from England's support, had left that country and de- 
parted for his Nassau states to live in the castle of 
Oranienstein near Dietz. New combinations being pro- 
posed by France and Prussia, the hereditary prince went 
to Paris in February, the first of the German princes to 

Last Years of the Batavian Republic 343 

&how himself there after the revolution and to humiliate 
himself before the powerful Bonaparte. With the help 
of presents to Talleyrand and other French statesmen 
or their wives he obtained a result that was incorporated 
in the treaty of July 3d. As an indemnity for the loss 
of its position in the Netherlands, the house of Orange 
received possession of the bishopric of Fulda, the abbeys 
of Korvey and Weingarten, the imperial cities of Dort- 
mund, Isny, and Buchhorn, giving a yearly income of 
half a million guilders. William V. refused the " stolen 
goods," but the hereditary prince accepted and thence- 
forth could call himself prince of Orange-Fulda, while 
his father ruled Nassau only and had an English annuity 
for the war-ships and commercial vessels surrendered to 
England. All ties between the house of Orange and the 
Batavian republic were thus broken except those of his- 
torical tradition which were once again to bring together 
Orange and the Netherlands. 

The regulation of several matters awakened pleasant 
expectation of the new situation under guidance of the 
State Government. The desired peace was obtained, the 
independence of the country recognised by France and 
the other powers, the stadtholder government abolished 
with the consent of the stadtholder's family. People 
thought the period of conciliation and definitive settle- 
ment might now begin. Among the whole population a 
spirit of toleration of varying opinions was not to be 
mistaken, but on the other hand it encountered serious 
difficulties. The attitude of the First Consul at Paris 
towards the wishes of the unsympathetic State Govern- 
ment occasioned trouble. The finances remained very 
unsatisfactory. The estimates of 1802 put an ordinary 
revenue of thirty-one millions against expenditures 
amounting to nearly sixty-six millions; a new loan of 
thirty millions had to be issued to keep things going, 
while the First Consul made new demands. And where 

344 History of the Dutch People 

were new taxes to be found? " Excepting air and water 
there is almost nothing left that is not taxed," said an 
experienced financier. Although commerce revived im- 
mediately after the peace and four thousand ships en- 
tered the ports in this year, confidence in the permanence 
of peace was soon shaken by the prevailing political 
uncertainty. There was everywhere a conflict of inter- 
ests and views, in which the weak State Government 
stood powerless. In the summer of 1802 Schimmelpen- 
ninck on his annual visit to the fatherland was entreated 
to lend a hand towards a new change in the constitution. 
A pamphlet spoke of an interview between him and the 
dissatisfied generals Daendels and Dumonceau to pre- 
pare such a change. The State Government kept watch 
of the two generals, but Bonaparte for the time being 
wanted no more changes in the Batavian republic. This 
attitude of the Consul saved the State Government. In 
the autumn Daendels, accused in the highest court of 
" indecent language " concerning the government, re- 
signed and went to Heerde to devote himself to farm- 
ing. Schimmelpenninck in discouragement transferred 
his post in Paris to the inexperienced Karel de Vos 
van Steenwijk and had himself appointed ambassador 
to London. The removal of the influential diplomatist and 
the suspicious activity of the English and Russian am- 
bassadors at The Hague seemed to indicate that the 
Batavian republic, longing for neutrality and indepen- 
dence, inclined towards the enemies of France. Rumours 
of war revived owing to English hesitation to evacuate 
Malta, Alexandria, and some colonial possessions, while 
Bonaparte annexed Piedmont, caused himself to be elected 
president of the Cisalpine republic, and asserted French 
influence both in the Batavian republic and in Switzer- 
land, finally making his predominance felt in the reorgan- 
isation of the empire, so that it became dependent upon 
France. Already England was receiving the French 

Last Years of the Batavian Republic 345 

emigrants and furthering their plots; Bonaparte was 
beginning to exclude British industry from French ports 
and to announce the sending of more troops to the Bata- 
vian republic; a press war in England was being waged 
against the hated Consul. In March, 1803, George III. 
declared England's honour and interests threatened, and 
Bonaparte retorted with complaints of England's chal- 
lenge. Two months later England opened hostilities by 
seizing twelve hundred French and Batavian mercantile 
vessels, whereupon Bonaparte had Hanover occupied. 
Pitt and Bonaparte renewed the old duel. 

The occupation of Middelburg and all Walcheren by 
French troops under general Monnet in April was a 
result of these events. To all the chief cities French 
garrisons came unexpectedly, and at The Hague twenty- 
five hundred men appeared to the deep vexation of gov- 
ernment and people at this insult to the national honour. 
In very positive terms Bonaparte demanded cooperation 
in the new war. He asked the Batavian republic to 
support twenty-five thousand men under a French general 
as chief commander, besides strong Batavian-French 
squadrons at Texel and the mouth of the Meuse, and to 
prepare three transport fleets of three hundred vessels 
sufficient for sixty thousand men. An extraordinary 
deputation to Paris tried to reduce these demands, but 
Bonaparte remained inexorable, and on June 25th a con- 
vention had to be signed engaging to support at most 
eighteen thousand French troops in addition to a Dutch 
army of sixteen thousand men, all under a French gen- 
eral-in-chief. Furthermore it was agreed to build five 
ships of the line and five frigates with one hundred 
gunboats and two hundred and fifty flat-bottomed trans- 
ports destined for about sixty thousand men and four 
thousand horses. This force was to work with the great 
invading fleet made ready in the French ports. A com- 
mon peace only was to be concluded, and France guaran- 

346 History of the Dutch People 

teed the inviolability of Batavian territory in Europe 
and the restoration of colonies lost in the war. A depu- 
tation from the State Government humbly greeted the 
Consul at Brussels. " I am not your enemy, I wish you 
well, but you must follow my march," declared Bonaparte 
to the commission. Not for a moment would he give 
complete political independence to the Batavian repub- 
lic. If intriguers were listened to, he warned that he 
might have to annex the republic, which would not be 
difficult to do. The State Government fell in his esti- 
mation, though it submitted slavishly to his demands, 
because he believed it secretly hostile. It allowed Ver- 
huell to be raised to the chief command and gathered at 
Flushing in the spring of 1804 a great fleet of three 
hundred and seventy-eight ships. With this fleet Verhuell 
in the summer went to Ostend and Dunkirk in three 
divisions and fighting sharply with the enemy on the 
Flemish coast; nothing came of the proposed expedition 
against England, and so it was in the following spring, 
when Verhuell sailed from Dunkirk to Ambleteuse to 
await the French squadrons from Brest. But Bonaparte 
was not satisfied with this help; he always wanted more. 
Speedily he thought of a change in the Batavian govern- 
ment. The idea gained ground that a government of 
a single head was best, having a president invested with 
great power. The chief difficulty was, who should be 
made president. From all sides came complaints of the 
weak and inconstant State Government. It acted very 
incautiously and only gave way step by step to Bona- 
parte's demands, brought to The Hague by Verhuell and 
by Schimmelpenninck again placed in Paris. The State 
Government referred to the three hundred and forty 
millions added to the Batavian debt since 1795, making 
it now over eleven hundred millions, while the population 
declining in prosperity had contributed more than six 
hundred millions in eight years. 

Last Years of the Batavian Republic 347 

The great change in France, where Bonaparte became 
Consul for life from 1802 aDd Emperor on May 18, 1804, 
was the sign for a modification here, and threatening 
was the new emperor's voice, when he told his Senate 
that " the reunion of Holland to the Empire would have 
been the complement of our commercial system." Report 
came that Napoleon had summoned Schinimelpenninck 
to Aix-la-Chapelle to confer with him and Semon- 
ville. Schimmelpenninck met the emperor on September 
12th at Cologne and heard there that the latter was 
determined to put him at the head of Batavian affairs 
in place of the powerless State Government, threatening 
in case of refusal immediately to incorporate the republic 
with France. Schimmelpenninck, appreciating the diffi- 
culties of the position, hesitated, but quickly yielded and 
returned to The Hague, where he found the State Gov- 
ernment discouraged and ready to transfer the authority 
to him. The ruler, appointed by the emperor's com- 
mand, went to Paris at the end of October to make 
with the emperor the necessary preparations ; he declared 
himself willing to undertake the task, provided the 
fatherland were not brought to ruin by the ally's too 
heavy demands. Negotiations over the new constitution 
continued for some time. At Paris Schimmelpenninck 
hoped to obtain a reduction of the demands made upon 
the Batavian republic from year to year by Napoleon as 
Consul, and thus at least " to preserve a simulacrum 
of a national existence." Schimmelpenninck held out 
against the emperor and managed to convince him of 
the desirability of moderation in his demands. The nego- 
tiation concerning the form of government was difficult. 
The idea of an American constitution, ever in Schimmel- 
penninck's mind, found no favour in the emperor's eyes: 
" T do not care to see this form of government become 
contagious in Europe," he declared. While negotiations 
dragged along, the distress and confusion increased in 

348 History of the Dutch People 

the unfortunate republic; the passive attitude of the 
population became boundless indifference or dull oppo- 
sition ; commerce suffered, government securities fell, the 
finances were in the greatest disorder; the State Gov- 
ernment seemed about to end in complete chaos. Mean- 
while the general Marmont and Senionville went on with 
their arbitrary measures, until amid popular anger at 
this shameless violation of independence on November 
23d the State Government, energetic for a moment, sent 
out a mandate to obey no command of French military 
or civil officers unless relating to defence against the 
enemy. At the same time the Legislative Body rejected 
the estimates for 1805 and the issue of a new " voluntary 
gift " of forty millions. Marmont protested against the 
mandate and threatened to put a garrison in The Hague 
again, whereupon the State Government suspended its 
mandate " in expectation of the emperor's opinion." This 
was not long delayed and was embodied in a sharp note 
of December 10th, in which the emperor expressed his 
indignation at the " scandalous note " and demanded its 
withdrawal by the government " under penalty of being 
considered as having put itself in a state of war against 
France and of being treated accordingly." Within forty- 
eight hours satisfaction must be given with removal of 
four members of the State Government, whom he regarded 
as instigators of the affair. The despised Government 
bowed its head again and dismissed the four members, 
excusing itself by attributing all the blame to them. The 
emperor hesitated between annexation and maintaining 
an apparent independence, either under a president as 
Schimmelpenninck, or under a prince as the prince of 
Nassau-Weilburg, related to the house of Orange and 
friendly to France, or as one of the emperor's brothers 
or brothers-in-law — Jerome, Louis, Murat. Even Schim- 
melpenninck seems to have been thought of as prince, 
according to his own account. Later the emperor 

Last Years of the Batavian Republic 349 

acknowledged that he would not have postponed the 
annexation of the Batavian republic a moment, if he had 
not feared driving Prussia to war. At the end of Janu- 
ary, 1S05, the affair was not in order, though Schimmel- 
penninck then submitted his plan to the emperor with a 
treaty. The emperor consented to the new regulation 
of government under a council pensionary to be chosen 
for five years, but demanded an advance of fifteen million 
francs to be repaid after four years. He threatened: 
" I confess to you frankly ; I can take you whenever I 
wish, but I do not want to conquer you, free and inde- 
pendent you will remain, but you must be my allies 
and not England's." And further : " Go on your way, 
and if at last you cannot walk by yourselves, I will 
send you an officer to make you walk at my pleasure." 
With his proposals Schimmelpenninck in February re- 
turned to The Hague. The State Government laid no 
more obstacles in the way, but accepted the proposals 
from fear of worse. On March 22d the Legislative Body 
also accepted everything. The prescribed popular vote 
of all male inhabitants over twenty years old lasted from 
April 9th to lGth, but was only a ridiculous form. Of 
the 353,000 voters only 14,230 voted. On the 29th the 
magistrate named by State Government and Legislative 
Body for the post of council pensionary entered upon 
the government, left Amsterdam, and took up his 
residence at The Hague. 

The republic's new government had a constitution more 
monarchical than republican, and according to general 
opinion was approved by Napoleon as a measure of transi- 
tion to a real monarchy. At the head of the new con- 
stitution stood the solemnly proclaimed principles of 
liberty and equality with abolition of all rights by birth 
and feudal institutions, of all ecclesiastical precedence. 
The names of the " commonwealth's " departments were 
those of the old provinces. The sovereignty rested with 

350 History of the Dutch People 

the Legislative Body, again entitled " High and Mighty 
Lords," and with the council pensionary. The Legis- 
lative Body of nineteen members, chosen for three years 
by the departmental governments, fixed estimates and 
taxes and deliberated on the laws offered by the council 
pensionary. Elected for five years by the Legislative 
Body, the council pensionary ruled with a council of 
state of five to nine members appointed by himself, and 
with five secretaries of state. The new constitution at- 
tempted to unite a powerful central authority with local 
and provincial autonomy and personal freedom. The 
council pensionary, living in the Oude Hof and the Huis 
Ten Bosch with a brilliant retinue, splendid furniture, 
and many liveried servants, acted in some respects like 
a real monarch; he set up a guard of fifteen hundred 
soldiers and never showed himself except with a large 
suite, just as his wife held princely receptions. Thus he 
meant to heighten the government's prestige, but the 
people did not give him warm sympathy, although Kan- 
telaar, Feith, Kemper, De Bosch, and other poets sang 
his praise ; there was more of a tendency to ridicule the 
princely airs of " His Excellency," the former patriotic 
advocate. Ending the prevailing uncertainty, improve- 
ment of the finances by simplicity and economy, adoption 
of a fixed political system — so ran his programme. Im- 
partially he filled the offices with former patriots and 
partisans of the prince. In the same way the depart- 
mental and communal governments were composed of 
the best local elements. It was such a rule as the state 
had never had. Honest and able, talented in speaking 
and writing, acquainted with the opinions and institu- 
tions of his own country, with the attitudes of foreign 
countries, generally developed, clever, moderate, and in- 
telligent, quick and industrious, full of zeal and de- 
votion, Schimmelpenninck was the worthy head of such 
an administration. He was so regarded by Napoleon, 

Last Years of the Batavian Republic 351 

provided he took care that the " obligations of the Bata- 
vian republic as ally are fulfilled in all their extent and 
in all their points." The finances were a chief subject 
of regulation, and Schimmelpenninck, enlightened by 
Gogel, Van Stralen 4 and Canneman, sought measures to 
make up the annual deficit of forty millions. With ex- 
tensive financial reforms Gogel aimed at an equitable 
distribution of taxation over the whole territory. For 
1806 the estimates were forty-six and one-half millions 
of expenditures and revenue of forty-nine millions, so 
that with thirty millions of extraordinary war expenses 
the deficit was much reduced. No less important for 
the general condition of the people was the great reform 
in public school education. The council pensionary was 
active also in improving the government and the pros- 
perity of the people. New laws were promulgated for 
organising the government; departmental and communal 
administrations were duly regulated; justice was placed 
on new bases; industry ana agriculture were promoted 
by the construction of roads and canals; there was 
thought of concluding a concordat with the pope con- 
cerning the Roman Catholic church. 

In the matter of commerce there were most serious 
difficulties. On taking office Schimmelpenninck had 
humbly begged for " the favourable regards " of the 
powerful emperor for his fatherland and had hoped for 
" the continuation of his confidence." Napoleon had 
expressed his desire that the most perfect trust might 
prevail in " the measures which they should judge adapted 
for their respective advantages and for maintaining the 
general tranquillity of Europe." What this signified 
became speedily evident. With England not the least 
commerce was to be carried on, no relations were to 
be kept up — the system favoured by the French republic 
and carried to the extreme by the empire. The Legisla- 
tive Body issued a strict publication against all English 

35 2 History of the Dutch People 

commerce and merchandise. No less zealously were the 
emperor's demands satisfied in military affairs. In 
spring the energetic admiral Verhuell again gathered the 
vessels required for an invasion of England. On the 
Flemish coast he was active in bringing the Batavian 
flotilla to Ambleteuse amid repeated conflicts with the 
English off Calais and Cape Gris-Nez, but without suffer- 
ing important losses. At Boulogne one hundred and 
thirty-two thousand men were ready, from Brest and 
Texel French and Batavian squadrons of heavy ships 
were to come and support the " expeditionary armada/' 
while a large French fleet under Villeneuve was to cover 
the passage over. But this long-expected fleet, watched 
by Nelson in the Channel, failed to appear, and the whole 
enterprise, for which Verhuell with his entire flotilla 
had arrived at Boulogne, was given up. The relation 
of France to Austria, Russia, and Prussia became very 
unfavourable and in August the third coalition war broke 
out, which again set Europe in fire and flame. The Bata- 
vian republic once more was to share the fate of France. 
In the plans of the Austrian emperor and Prussia Hol- 
land took an important place. In negotiations from that 
side the demand was made that Holland should recover 
its complete independence. But Napoleon would not 
hear to this. The troops from Boulogne were already 
turning to the Rhine. Marmont, who had collected 
twenty-four thousand French and Batavians in the camp 
of Zeist and later had embarked them at Texel, now 
moved to Mainz and without giving notice to the govern- 
ment took with him Dumonceau and nine thousand of 
the best Batavian soldiers. In the movement of troops 
it attracted attention that the French northern army 
was put under command of Prince Louis Bonaparte, 
" constable " of France, and intrusted with the defence 
of the Batavian republic, his headquarters being at Nini- 
wegen. This was connected with the rumour that the 

Last Years of the Batavian Republic 353 

emperor wanted to place one of the imperial princes at 
the head of affairs here. Reports concerning Schimmel- 
penninck's growing weakness of sight in consequence of 
cataract gave rise to such suppositions, and after the 
glorious battle of Austerlitz (December 2d), which laid 
Austria at his feet, Napoleon finally grasped the bull 
by the horns. A note from Talleyrand, of January G, 
1806, suddenly informed Schimmelpenninck that the 
" institutions of Holland have been calculated for present 
needs," but that they now " must be calculated for a 
long future," for which the present form of government 
could not serve; the emperor therefore wished to receive 
Verhuell at Paris to talk with him about " a system 
which may assure forever independence and prosperity." 
Schimmelpenninck acted as if he did not feel the blow. 
After private consultation with the ministers he answered 
in the most friendly terms for the emperor's confidence 
and on February 16th sent Verhuell " on a secret mis- 
sion " to Paris. Verhuell heard at Paris the emperor's 
purpose already guessed and received from his mouth 
the assurance that the commonwealth, whose fate 
with the existing constitution did not seem certain enough 
to the emperor, had only choice between annexation and 
transformation into a monarchy under an imperial prince, 
mention being made of prince Louis. Verhuell brought 
this message back to The Hague. 

Deep was the impression, which the report made on 
the government of the country. The Legislative Body 
advised doing what was possible to look after the interest 
of the people and declared itself ready to deliberate with 
the council pensionary, the ministers, and the council of 
state. On April 10th a " Great Committee " from these 
persons and bodies met at the Huis Ten Bosch. It was 
resolved to send a deputation to Paris to dissuade the 
emperor from his plan or otherwise to obtain as condi- 
tions: independence, retention of the territory, of the 

354 History of the Dutch People 

mother-tongue, of freedom of conscience, of the ancient 
civil laws and liberties, of free justice, government only 
by natives, inviolability of the national debt, no foreign 
troops, lightening of financial burdens, mutually favour- 
able commercial regulations. The deputation was to 
make the emperor feel that the decision must finally 
rest with the Batavian people and was to return to The 
Hague, if these conditions were refused. The emperor 
vexed at the resistance offered would not even receive 
the commission, but let only Verhuell come to make plain 
that he would not give way, while Talleyrand let it be 
known that the Committee must immediately ask for 
Prince Louis as sovereign, and that in a new constitution 
the desired guarantees of independence and prosperity 
could be fixed; but that request must be made within a 
week, otherwise the emperor would adopt other " arrange- 
ments." The commission reported this threatening sen- 
tence to The Hague, whereupon the Great Committee met 
again on May 3d. It was resolved to yield to the de- 
mand, and the Parisian commission was to communicate 
this resolution and to declare its readiness to negotiate 
with the emperor or his representative concerning a 
" fundamental charter " to be submitted to the Great 
Committee and then to the approval of the nation. Dur- 
ing a few weeks the commission deliberated with the 
emperor and Talleyrand over the new constitution, which 
was ready May 23d. The council pensionary, wishing to 
consult the people in any case, refused his cooperation in 
the meeting of the Great Committee to consider the pro- 
posed constitution on May 28th. The great majority 
regarded opposition as useless and dangerous. The coun- 
cil pensionary declined to sign the state treaty already 
signed by the commission in Paris, so this was done in 
the name of the Great Committee by the recorder of 
Their High Mightinesses and the secretary of the council 
of state. Schinunelpenninck's resistance went so far that 

Last Years of the Batavian Republic 355 

in a worthy letter he laid down his office on June 4th 
and left The Hague, informing the French ambassador 
that " without the sanction of the people " he did not 
feel at liberty to transfer the government to the new 
ruler. The president of Their High Mightinesses then 
assumed the government with the ministers. In a " sad 
comedy " the affair was settled at Paris on June 5th. 
Surrounded by his brilliant court, the emperor received 
the Dutch deputation, of which Verhuell was the spokes- 
man. As concerted with Talleyrand, he said : " We beg 
Your Majesty to grant to us as supreme chief of our 
republic, as king of Holland, the prince Louis Napoleon, 
Your Majesty's brother, to whom we commit with entire 
and respectful confidence the preservation of our laws, 
the defence of our political rights, and all the interests 
of our dear fatherland." Napoleon answered graciously 
and recalled the magnanimity of France in not violating 
the conquered country's independence. The new sov- 
ereign was urged to " never cease to be French." Louis 
in official words expressed his willingness to accept the 
offered place, " since these peoples desire it and Your 
Majesty so commands." The weak prince allowed him- 
self to be raised to his dignity just as by order of his 
brother he had married the latter's stepdaughter, Hor- 
tense de Beauharnais. He knew not what he was begin- 
ning. The Dutch deputation entreated him " to bind his 
fate " to that of the Batavian state, which otherwise 
might fall into other hands and just then by the death 
of the former hereditary stadtholder at Brunswick 
(April 9th) was freed from all ties to the house of 
Orange. So he departed on June 15th with wife and 
children by way of Brussels for his destination. On the 
22d he arrived at The Hague among the people more 
curious than interested about him. Weary of hoping and 
fearing, the nation received its first monarch. Thus 
began the reign of the " king of Holland." 



WITH the best of intentions Louis Bonaparte under- 
took the task imposed on him. Still young — 
celebrating on September 2d his twenty-eighth birthday 
— he had hitherto attracted little attention, living near 
his powerful brother and employed by Napoleon in sub- 
ordinate military and civil posts. Desirous of a more 
important sphere of work, not insensible to the splendour 
of a royal court, inspired with the wish to be of use to 
his new subjects, weak in insight and inclined to follow 
sudden ideas, neither energetic nor independent in judg- 
ment, good-natured, kind, simple, and agreeable, but 
wavering before a stronger will than his own, and very 
suspicious, the new king had various qualities, which 
would not make his position easy. His weak health and 
unimpressive appearance worked unfavourably. Ver- 
huell was sent ahead to Holland to arrange the new 
government according to the treaty made at Paris on 
May 24th and the constitutional laws accepted with it, 
which were converted into a formal constitution and 
ratified on August 7th. The seventy-nine articles of this 
constitution began by declaring " the government of Hol- 
land is monarchical, modified, and regulated by the con- 
stitution." Equal rights with equal duties of all citizens, 
inviolability of the dwelling, imprisonment and sentence 
only according to law, protection for all religions, inain- 


The Kingdom of Holland 357 

tenance of existing laws, of the coinage, the public debt, 
the language, the unity of the kingdom were secured in 
the first articles. The crown was to be hereditary in the 
king's family. The council of state had to advise the 
king and to examine the proposed laws before they 
were submitted to the Legislative Body. In appointing 
ministers and councillors the king adhered to the system 
of conciliating the parties followed by the council pen- 
sionary. So the new government commenced, and the 
king's solemn declaration to Their High Mightinesses: 
" From the moment I set foot upon the soil of the king- 
dom, I became a Hollander," promised much. In the 
beginning the king seemed ready to rule in conformity 
with the ideas of Napoleon, but the views of both came 
immediately into conflict. Louis's first measures and 
plans were not to the emperor's taste. It was plain that 
the financial condition of the kingdom made necessary 
immediate provision, and the appointment of the able 
Gogel as minister of finances showed that the king was 
in earnest with his declaration that he wished to pro- 
mote the happiness of the new state. The public debt 
required thirty-five millions for interest, against which 
the income of fifty millions from taxes cut a sorry figure, 
as only fifteen millions remained for government and 
war, while the costs of government amounted to twenty 
millions, and the war expenditures were estimated at 
nearly thirty millions. Gogel proposed a reduction of 
interest, but was successfully opposed by the councillor 
of state Goldberg, who emphasised the injustice of sacri- 
ficing the interests of the inhabitants to those of France, 
for whose benefit half of the debt had been incurred in 
eleven years. But uncommon economy was demanded in 
the administration. Economy did not agree with the 
habits of the king, who had little understanding for 
financial considerations and, desirous of surrounding him- 
self with a brilliant court, was always thwarting the 

358 History of the Dutch People 

good designs of his ministers. And economy in expendi- 
tures for army and navy did not correspond to the wishes 
of Napoleon or to the state of war with England, Sweden, 
Prussia, and Russia. Louis called back a large part of 
the fleet from Boulogne, wanted to reduce it to ten ships 
of the line, to discharge the German regiments, to bring 
the army to twenty thousand men and to demolish some 
forts ; further he asked for the removal of the six French 
regiments maintained at the expense of his kingdom. 
These measures roused the emperor's anger. He scolded 
at the unwillingness and avarice of the Hollanders and 
reproached his brother for acting like a fool ; he de- 
manded a considerable fleet and at least thirty thousand 
troops for Holland. Speedily dissension arose between 
the two brothers, not the least on account of the king's 
plans to develop commerce with England in spite of the 
war. He proposed to strive for the restoration of peace on 
the sea so necessary to Holland and thus. to make the 
kingdom again one of the first commercial powers. These 
ideas did not agree at all with Napoleon's plan, just then 
developed from the old commercial policy of the revo- 
lution into a system of a " continental blockade " for 
the purpose of reconquering the colonies by land accord- 
ing to his principle, " that whoever possesses the land 
will in the long run possess also the sea." Holland was 
to play an important part against England and to make 
the gigantic commercial struggle end in favour of France. 
The closing of French ports to English goods and vessels 
in 1803 was not properly maintained here, and the taxa- 
tion of colonial wares had not yet had the desired result. 
In this contest England did not give way an inch; on 
November 11, 1S06, it declared blockaded all ports from 
Brest to the Elbe — applying the English system of a 
" blockade on paper," whereupon Napoleon answered with 
the famous decree, dated November 21st from conquered 
Berlin, prohibiting all intercourse with England and 

The Kingdom of Holland 359 

asserting: "The British Isles are declared in a state of 

War with the hitherto neutral Prussia and the intro- 
duction of the Continental System were disastrous for 
the finances of the young kingdom. Louis was com- 
pelled by the desires of his imperial brother to collect 
fifteen thousand men at Zeist. He was intrusted with 
the management of military matters for defending the 
French Rhine frontiers in the north and made his head- 
quarters at Wesel with ten thousand French and Dutch 
troops, maintaining communications with the marshals 
Brune at Boulogne, Mortier at Mainz, and Kellermann 
farther away on the Rhine and having, if necessary, to 
push on to Munster or Cassel in the rear of the " grand 
army " operating against Prussia. After the battle of 
Jena (October 14th) he was ordered to move through 
Westphalia and East Friesland upon Munster and Pader- 
born and to occupy everything as far as over the Weser, 
especially Hanover, while he had to help conquer Hesse 
and bring to Wesel the rear of his army left at Zeist 
under Dumonceau. Louis obeyed these orders but saw 
himself placed in fact under Mortier, while his com- 
plaints were ridiculed by his brother and his warnings 
against an English invasion of Holland now stripped of 
troops were answered by reproaches at his innocent fear 
for " the pretended penury of the Dutch, who have all 
the money of Europe." Indeed whoever visited the 
bourse in Rotterdam and Amsterdam after two o'clock 
in the afternoon was struck by the crowd despite the 
long years of war. Evidently it was more a money busi- 
ness than trade in goods that caused this feverish ac- 
tivity. An English traveller relates that the greatest 
crowd on the Amsterdam exchange was around the repre- 
sentative of the firm of Hope — the leading banking house 
of Amsterdam. The emptiness of Amsterdam's streets, 
the many mercantile vessels lying idle there and in 

360 History of the Dutch People 

Rotterdam showed that real commerce, the source of all 
prosperity in this country, had as good as disappeared. 
Napoleon noted the undeniable presence of capital and 
hoped to make it subserve his plans. 1 " A kingdom is 
well administered only when it is done with vigour and 
energy," Napoleon informed his brother, and he put him, 
the constable, under his marshal. This was too much 
for Louis. Under pretext of illness, he left to Mortier 
the command of Dumonceau's troops before Hameln in 
Hanover and returned discouraged in November to The 
Hague. No less trouble was caused by the Continental 
System, to which the king consented regretfully on ac- 
count of the ruin of many that must follow in Holland. 
A deputation was to try to appease the emperor. New 
threats and reproaches ensued, and on December 15th 
it was stipulated for the whole kingdom that no ship 
should leave the ports without special permission ; not 
even a fishing boat could go out or come in without 
being examined — all in the hope that Napoleon might 
approve of incorporating Westphalia with Holland as 
compensation for what the latter had lost in territory 
and colonies in and since 1795. The king's first speech 
from the throne did not sound very cheerful, although 
mention was made of the good service of the Dutch in 
" the grand army." The king ended with the significant 
declaration that he would do what he could " as long 
as we shall be at the post, where divine Providence has 
placed us." The innocent appointment of high officers 
and marshals of his kingdom, the institution of orders of 
chivalry aroused the emperor's wrath anew. He declared 
that in place of a good army people wanted to reduce 
the one existing and to count upon France for defence: 
" That is a pleasant idea : a state which wishes to be 
independent and does not wish to have an army. If 

i Carr, A tour through Holland (1806), pp. 287, 289, 296. 
See Niebuhr's Cirkularbriefe aus Holland (1808), passim. 

The Kingdom of Holland 361 

the Dutch have sold their colonies to the English, have 
let themselves be conquered by all the world, if they 
are without conscription, without energy, whose fault is 
it, if it is not theirs?" With the king's financial sup- 
port a French newspaper, Lc vrai Hollandais, was pub- 
lished to make Dutch affairs better known in France 
and elsewhere, but anti-French articles appeared in it. 
Napoleon demanded its suspension, and the king yielded. 
Even more angry was the autocrat, when he observed 
that, in spite of all decrees and promises, commerce with 
England was increasing. The king declared to his 
brother that he could not prevent trade through neutral 
territory and through America, that the embargo on 
English goods strictly enforced would ruin the country, 
and that smuggling prevailed on the French coast. 

This situation was humiliating, and the king, sur- 
rounded by French officers, constantly spied upon by the 
ambassador, General Dupont-Chaumont, was not safe even 
in his own circle. He found no help in the queen, the 
fickle Hortense, who adored her brother-in-law and step- 
father, and after the death of her eldest son she, not 
sympathising with the melancholy and sickly king, left 
the country to abide far from her sombre husband and 
his stiff court. Napoleon busied himself also with these 
domestic matters and exhorted his brother to treat better 
" the best and most virtuous of wives." The unfortunate 
monarch was not yet willing to give up his task and 
defended his governmental measures and his domestic life 
as well as he could. In the midst of this correspondence 
measures were continued in the spring of 1807 for organ- 
ising the new kingdom. At the head of a department 
was a governor with a department council ; at the head 
of the " quarters " of each department was a bailiff; the 
communes of the first class (over five thousand inhabi- 
tants) were headed by burgomasters with magistrates and 
town councils, all chosen by the sovereign; the com- 

362 History of the Dutch People 

niunes of the second class remained as rural communities 
under their old government. The king turned his at- 
tention to raising up the weakened national Dutch spirit. 
Sometimes amusing himself with literary work, he had 
this particularly in mind and hoped by aiding scholars 
and poets to call forth a new national literature. For 
this purpose he thought of using Bilderdijk, who had 
returned from Germany; he made him his librarian and 
his teacher of Dutch, gave him a pension, and showed him 
all kinds of favours, as to the noted poet, the " glory of 
his kingdom," who was winning a great name not only 
by a rapid succession of miscellaneous poems but also 
by his Sickness of the Learned, his Fingal, his Floris V. 
in epic and dramatic literature. Older poets like Feith 
and Le Francq van Berkhey saw themselves replaced 
by younger men recognising Bilderdijk as their master. 
Helmers and Loots, De Bosch, Tollens, and Van Hall 
followed his example. Moralists as Paulus van Hemert 
and De Wacker van Zon trod the path of the earlier Spec- 
tators ; Adriaan Loosjes wrote his old Dutch romance 
Maurits Lijnslager; the De Vries brothers, Meindert and 
H. W. Tydeman, Kinker, and others showed their power 
in literary criticism. For the promotion of literature, 
art, and science the king, in imitation of the Institute 
of France, founded on May 4, 1808, the Royal Nether- 
landish Institute. Plans were prepared for improving 
higher education. Circumstances did not favour this re 
vival. The basis of nationality, a strong and independent 
state could not be said to be present; at the beck of 
the mighty ruler of France the whole state could be 
swept away. Little came of the desired extension of 
the kingdom. Louis might organise Westphalia, Napo- 
leon undid this organisation at once; he forbade the 
annexation of Oldenburg, and in the negotiations Hol- 
land's claims did not win much. The defeats of Prussia 
and Russia in February at Eylau, in June at Friedland, 

The Kingdom of Holland 363 


where the Dutch troops fought valiantly, had led on July 
7th to the peace of Tilsit, in which Prussia ceded East 
Friesland and Russia Jever. In the treaty of Fontaine- 
bleau concluded on November 11th these lands were united 
with Holland besides others. Holland had to pay for 
the increase of territory by the complete cession of Flush- 
ing, long treated by Napoleon as a French possession on 
account of its importance for the defence of the Scheldt. 
To the king's great disappointment there was no mention 
of Westphalia or Cleves, the former destined for the new 
kingdom of Jerome Bonaparte, the latter for Murat's 
grand duchy of Berg. The humiliation of Prussia re- 
moved the sole obstacle to the plans for annexing Hol- 
land. With the peace of Tilsit the necessity of reckoning 
with Prussia disappeared. Napoleon could now aim at 
annexation. " Prussia no longer exists and I am freed 
from all those bonds," wrote the emperor later. At the 
end of May Louis had followed his wife to Pau, after 
asking the emperor's permission, leaving marshal Brune 
at the head of the army and his ministers as regents. 
His absence gave rise to violent dissensions between the 
imperial government and that of The Hague respecting 
measures against England, the treatment of French 
soldiers, etc. The French ambassador threatened French 
occupation, even annexation. Louis returned in Sep- 
tember by way of Paris and protested earnestly. So 
violent became the tone of Napoleon's letters, that Louis 
offered (October 9th) to resign his office. 

But the emperor did not yet want this; he did not 
answer the offer and continued his demands. The king's 
plan for economy to reduce the army from fifty thousand 
to thirty thousand men brought his brother again to an 
expression of displeasure. The king entreated his brother 
to help him and not to ruin him with the country; he 
declared he would suffer with the nation, but would not 
leave it in its misfortune. Napoleon replied by asking 

364 History of the Dutch People 

for an army of at least forty thousand men needed for 
Holland, and by calling for the introduction of the Code 
Napoleon. Well might Louis in his address of November 
28th from the throne speak of the arduous labours laid 
upon him. In his short sojourn Louis had really won 
the love and confidence of many. His benevolence, ap- 
pearing in the Leyden disaster of January, when the 
explosion of a powder ship destroyed an entire quarter, 
and in the flood of 1800 in the Rhine and Meuse region, 
his zeal in learning the Dutch language, his interest in 
national art, letters, and traditions had gained many 
hearts. Nobles and patricians rivalled one another in 
readiness to serve him and crowded the new court. The 
Continental System brought new difficulties, after a 
threatening French note had made the king in the council 
of ministers burst out angrily against his brother's tyr- 
anny. The emperor's will, however, was law, and new 
measures had to be taken to prevent absolutely trade 
with England or to guard against it more strictly. The 
government did what it could, and Napoleon showed 
himself satisfied for a time. After the renewal of the 
war between France and Sweden (July), the French con- 
sul-general at Amsterdam watching the Swedish trade 
as well as the American ships, which visited Dutch ports 
in increasing numbers, commerce was generally restricted 
to that on the Weser still possible with certificates of 
origin, or Dutch capital was secretly invested in English 
commercial ventures. Finally Holland was compelled to 
declare war again on Sweden. England defended itself 
vigorously. It sought to remain on good terms with 
America by giving up its right of searching neutral vessels, 
but on November 11, 1807, declared all ports and places of 
France and its allies blockaded, prohibiting all commerce 
with them and proclaiming as prizes all ships coming 
from them. A few days later the importation of all 
French merchandise into England was positively for- 

The Kingdom of Holland 365 

i & 

bidden. Napoleon answered with the Milan decree of 
December 17, 1807, by which the blockade of the British 
Isles by sea and land was once more proclaimed. It 
seemed as if Napoleon was right in asserting that " Hol- 
land would not emerge from its ruins," and something 
like a beginning of annexation was the emperor's offer 
(March 27th) to transfer Louis as king to Spain, which 
kingdom early in 1808 became a branch of the French 
empire. Louis declined the offer, affirming that he was 
no governor of a province to be moved at will, but the 
sovereign of a free country. He declared himself ready 
to respect the will of his brother. In a melancholy letter 
of January 21, 1808, he entreated the latter to treat him 
better. Without giving attention to Louis's representa- 
tions concerning the financial situation the emperor de- 
manded of his brother enlargement of the navy and its 
complete equipment for six months on account of a 
threatened English invasion. Reluctantly the Dutch gov- 
ernment resorted to a new domestic loan. Before long 
four squadrons were collected. The minister Gogel hoped 
to establish a good system of taxation, in which the 
burdens were brought from the poor upon the rich man, 
who had spared himself as much as possible under the old 
republic, but he did not find support enough from the king 
for his plans of economy and reform. In the course of 
1808 the relation became no better between the king and 
his able but obstinate minister of finance. Gogel wanted 
a free hand, but Louis, undesirous of too independent 
servants, would not give it, and demanded ooedience. 
Furthermore Gogel had remained a member of an Am- 
sterdam commercial house. This led to difficulties, and 
in April, 1809, the king requested this connection should 
be given up. Gogel refused, and his resignation was 
accepted in friendly terms. He continued to be a mem- 
ber of the council of state, and his successor was his 
old friend Appelius, who was to attempt to solve the 

366 History of the Dutch People 

" enigma " of the Dutch finances — a seemingly hopeless 

The relations between the king and his brother became 
no pleasanter in 1808. After a short stay in Utrecht 
Louis (April 20th) chose Amsterdam for his residence, 
as people thought, to punish the nobility of The Hague 
for their enmity, but, as he asserted, because Amsterdam 
was the actual capital. He made his entrance into the 
palace on the Dam, the old seat of the city government; 
he came alone, because Hortense at Paris was just giving 
birth to the prince, who was later to become Napoleon III. 
The appointment (April, 1808) of the duke de la Roche- 
foucauld as ambassador, a man of old and high nobility, 
related to Hortense by marriage, appeared like a mark 
of amity between the brothers. But the new ambassador 
had the same commission as his predecessor to watch 
against smuggling, regarding which Napoleon was so 
well informed that he could furnish the king with a 
list of smuggling firms. The embassy was a centre of 
personal intrigues against the king; the ambassador did 
not spare Louis observations on his weak and costly 
government. The year 1808 passed without any improve- 
ment in the condition of commerce and trade. Increas- 
ing discontent at Amsterdam and elsewhere produced 
riots among the impoverished working people. The 
smuggling of colonial wares by means of false papers 
and abuse of the neutral flag continued ; in Zealand espe- 
cially the execution of the decrees made trouble, the 
more so as England tried every means to break the gen- 
eral blockade, now trading freely with Sweden only, 
since America and the maritime nations of Europe had 
obeyed Napoleon's urgency. Strong measures could not 
kill smuggling in a country situated like Holland. " How 
can the skin be prevented from perspiring?" said Louis 
in despair. Amid difficulties the work of organising the 
kingdom went on. A criminal and a civil code, based 

The Kingdom of Holland 367 


upon modern principles, were drawn up in 1808; they 
comprised mostly the French law but somewhat modified 
in accordance with Dutch customs. In the spring of 
1809 followed the introduction of the French metrical 
system with Dutch names, the establishment of a court 
of accounts, the regulation of the constitutional nobility, 
composed of the old nobility and that created by royal 
patent. The government kept watch of what was left 
of the colonies. The squadrons in the Indies were not 
in a condition to defend Java. A French squadron under 
command of Linois did not bring the relief necessary 
against the ever developing English sea power. The 
enemy was soon master in the seas of the Indian archi- 
pelago, captured merchantmen, conquered the remote 
posts, and in October, 1806, ventured an attack upon the 
harbour of Batavia, where he first destroyed a few ships 
and afterwards, returning with a considerable squadron 
under Pellew, later Lord Exmouth, burned nearly all 
the unrigged fleet lying there, while the last ships left 
were taken by the same admiral in December, 1807, at 
Grisseh. King Louis was informed of the situation by 
the able Nederburgh and G. K. van Hogendorp and be- 
came convinced that first of all the defence must be 
considered of the remaining possessions, particularly of 
Java. He turned to the energetic Daendels, who had 
shown uncommon talent for governing in Westphalia and 
East Friesland, and on January 28, 1807, appointed him 
governor-general. Daendels went by way of Paris and 
Lisbon to the Canary Islands, from where on a small 
ship with a French captain he fortunately escaped the 
English and arrived at Anjer on January 1, 1808. It was 
a question whether Daendels, who had come without 
troops and ships, would be able to withstand circum- 
stances and to bring the colony to the ardently desired 
peace. He found Java relatively in a flourishing con- 
dition owing to the increasing cultivation of coffee over 

368 History of the Dutch People 

the entire island and to the commerce from and to 
neutral America. Under him the Javanese were terribly 
oppressed, and their chiefs were estranged by injudicious 
harshness. Vigorous work was done in improving the 
defences, organising the troops, building a fleet of small 
coasting vessels, manufacturing weapons, constructing 
forts and barracks, making military highways — all accom- 
plished with great sacrifices of money and human life, 
both of subordinate importance to the hardened soldier, 
while he showed little insight into commercial matters. 
With anxiety the time was awaited when England should 
seriously attack the colony, and there was apprehension 
in the motherland also over the way in which Daendels 
went to work. 

In February came the first reports of an approaching 
war between France and Austria. Napoleon gave warn- 
ing of an English invasion, against which Holland must 
alone defend itself. Now that twelve thousand Dutch 
troops were in Germany and three thousand in Spain, 
Louis had here scarcely three thousand men, his guard. 
In April hostilities commenced on the Inn, and Louis 
took measures to prepare Zealand and Brabant and to 
put the navy in order. In the summer the rising in Ger- 
many was put down, and the battle of Wagram (July 
5th and 6th) ended the war on land, as Austria was 
forced to a disadvantageous peace. A force of one hun- 
dred and sixty war-ships and fifteen hundred vessels for 
transporting thirty-eight thousand men was made ready 
in England under command of the young Pitt's older 
brother, Lord Chatham. English troops were landed on 
Walcheren, advanced on South Beveland, defeated the 
Dutch garrisons, which resisted at Bath under general 
Bruce, but retreated speedily to Brabant. Bruce was 
deposed from office for neglect of duty. By the end of 
August Louis gathered a force of almost thirty thousand 
men stationed in the Brabant fortresses. Napoleon ridi- 

The Kingdom of Holland 369 

culed his brother's measures and appointed as commander 
of the northern army marshal Bernadotte, under whom 
Dumonceau was to lead the Dutch troops. After a bom- 
bardment of two days with eleven hundred cannon the 
English captured Flushing on August 15th, but the prog- 
ress of negotiations at Schonbrunn made them lose 
courage, and they began to evacuate the occupied terri- 
tory. In the middle of September they gave up Wal- 
cheren and embarked their troops, some garrisons 
remaining until December 26th and destroying the forti- 
fications and docks of Flushing before departing. Napo- 
leon declared that " Holland has never been less useful 
than since it was a kingdom." Early in October he put 
the trusted marshal Bessieres in place of the intriguing 
Bernadotte and commissioned him to do what seemed 
to him necessary in Zealand and Brabant and to remember 
that the Hollanders were under his command. From the 
English invasion Napoleon had learned the importance 
of Antwerp, " the secret of the Scheldt," and he ordered 
it to be made a fortress and arsenal of the first rank. 

On November 22d Napoleon through the ambassador 
Verhuell at Amsterdam proposed that Louis should come 
to deliberate with him. The king, though fearing for his 
personal safety at Paris, decided to go. He transferred 
the government temporarily to the council of ministers, 
took leave of the Legislative Body on the 26th, and left 
for Paris with Roell, the minister of foreign affairs. The 
king had hoped to return before January 1st, but it was 
impossible; Napoleon held his brother virtually as a 
prisoner. The emperor's anger was great, and he called 
Holland " an English colony," which he would " devour." 
Soon the emperor acknowledged that he wanted annexa- 
tion, by force if necessary, should Louis not voluntarily 
abdicate. Hoping to appease his brother by concessions, 
the king offered to cede territory as far as the Meuse. 
Napoleon proposed that some thirty Dutch notables 

VOL. V — 24 

37° History of the Dutch People 

should come to Paris. In a letter of December 21st lie 
demanded cession of everything as far as the Rhine. The 
king asserting his desire to return to Holland with his 
oldest son, the emperor replied that he put them both 
under police surveillance and would prevent their de 
parture. New negotiations followed with the duke of 
Cadore, minister of foreign affairs, the king offering Bra- 
bant and Zealand for an indemnity in German territory, 
but the answer was a refusal of all indemnity and a 
threat that French troops might invade the kingdom 
without warning in case the affair was not speedily con- 
cluded. With suspense people waited in Holland for 
what was to happen. The crisis approached rapidly. 
The nonpayment of salaries and postponement of interest 
disbursements caused a general panic. The sending by 
Napoleon of marshal Oudinot, duke of Reggio, to Ant- 
werp as commander of the northern army seemed a 
measure for the incorporation of Holland, because the 
emperor desired for his empire the Rhine frontier, the 
" natural frontier " of France, of old the aim of French 
political ideals. Louis resolved to depart even against the 
emperor's will. A violent scene ensued between the two 
brothers, and Louis had to remain under guard. He con- 
sented to the cession of territory up to the Rhine and 
Waal, to the adoption of all the measures concerning the 
Continental System desired by the emperor. This plan 
was laid before a " Great Council " at Amsterdam, which 
submitted in discouragement. But Napoleon in Paris 
was making new demands upon his brother and more 
negotiation was necessary, so that the king lamented : 
" We are here in a den of cutthroats, from which we 
must get out at any price; when once I am out of it, I 
will not be caught a second time." At last Napoleon 
made his ultimatum known to the king, who had to 
yield the same day : " This farce must finish." Thus 
came about the Paris treaty of March 16th. A letter 

The Kingdom of Holland 371 

announcing the king's intention to give way reached 
Amsterdam in the night of February 27th to 28th and 
put an end to all ideas of defending the capital. By this 
treaty all commerce with England was prohibited until 
the revocation of the English orders of 1807; imperial 
licenses alone should authorise the carrying on of com- 
merce; eighteen thousand men, including six thousand 
Frenchmen, were to watch the mouths of the river with 
the French customs officers, all supported by Holland; 
the last frontier proposed, the "valley of the Rhine," 
was to separate the two realms. Napoleon's marriage 
to Maria Louisa of Austria detained the king several days 
longer in France. After the ratification of the treaty 
he left Paris on April 7th and four days later arrived 
in his capital. He was received with joy, as people either 
knew or suspected to what grievous treatment he had 
been exposed for the sake of independence. 

The joy did not last long. Only three months more of 
life were granted to the kingdom. A meeting of high 
officials on April 13th recommended the calling of a 
" provisional commission." This commission met on 
April 17th and received secret instructions, in which 
the king appealed to its members to tell him whether this 
<; wretched existence " should be continued and, if so, to 
seek with him the means for carrying out the treaty. 
Louis was as good as deposed from military authority 
and remained little more than administrative governor 
of some departments of France. The emperor impressed 
this upon him. He visited the incorporated districts in 
May, and the unfortunate king was compelled to do 
homage to him at Antwerp. But La Rochefoucauld ap- 
peared there also and was received with greater cor- 
diality and honour than Louis himself. The ambassador 
informed the king that in a week he would give over 
his post to his secretary Serurier. To this sudden de- 
parture, though it had been decided upon earlier, some 

37 2 History of the Dutch People 

ground was given by a complaint about a fight, in which 
a coachman of the embassy was insulted. After a stormy 
audience with the king the ambassador left Amsterdam 
on May 29th, while Napoleon declared he would only have 
a charge d'affaires there and wanted no Dutch ambas- 
sador at Paris, sending away Verhuell. The end was 
approaching. Louis undertook to prevent the occupation 
of Amsterdam at any price, but KrayenhofF s plans for 
defending it found no support from the ministers and 
generals. At the end of June the report came to Serurier 
that the emperor had determined to occupy Amsterdam; 
only a brilliant reception of the troops could accomplish 
something for Holland, Cadore believed. The king was 
resolved not to endure this and to abdicate on the " tri- 
umphal entry " of Oudinot. He had long been tired of 
the game of cat and mouse. On July 1st Louis laid down 
the government in favour of his oldest son and, in default 
of him, of the youngest son under the regency of the 
queen, in expectation of whose coming the ministers were 
to undertake the regency as Provisional Council of Re- 
gency. In the night of July 2d to 3d the king left 
Haarlem and went to Teplitz in Bohemia, putting himself 
under the protection of Austria, sorrowing over the 
failure of his good intentions, but hoping for the rescue 
of a nation, to which he had desired to devote his life. 
Never in later life did he rightly account for the reason 
of his failure. Knowing his brother's aims, he should 
have considered in assuming office that these aims, di- 
rected to the interests of France and against England 
and Germany, were not consistent with the illusions he 
cherished of an independent kingship over a free com- 
mercial people. As men do, he attributed the blame of what 
had happened to the tyranny of the powerful emperor. 

The ministers began their government on July 3d by 
calling together the Legislative Body. They offered the 
young king their congratulations. The following day 

The Kingdom of Holland 373 

Oudinot entered Amsterdam, solemnly received by the 
minister of war, who could not restrain his tears, and 
conducted to his dwelling by the municipal government 
amid the roar of cannon and the roll of drums. He 
assumed the management of affairs and assigned a French 
guard of honour to the young Napoleon Louis. General 
Janssens, sent with the report of the abdication of king 
Louis to the emperor, found him in an angry state of 
mind over his brother's action and accusing the king of 
the blackest ingratitude towards his benefactor. To the 
emperor no other solution was now possible but annexa- 
tion, even in the interest of Holland. Thus he spoke, 
suppressing the fact that this solution had been prepared 
by him. Dated July 9, 1810, the decree of Rambouillet 
in article 1 of its thirteen articles said : " Holland is 
reunited to the empire." Amsterdam was to be the third 
city of the empire ; the kingdom was to have six senators, 
six councillors of state, twenty-five deputies in the Legis- 
lative Body; Lebrun, duke of Plaisance, formerly consul 
with the emperor, was as lieutenant-general with a coun- 
cil of ministers to be settled at Amsterdam until Janu- 
ary, 1811, when the real French government would begin ; 
in July fifteen persons appointed by the Legislative Body 
must come as a commission to Paris to regulate debts 
and union with the empire. The emperor wanted a proc- 
lamation to be issued, summarising the benefits of an- 
nexation after the " temporary governments, which for 
sixteen years have troubled this part of the empire"; 
the ample field for Holland's activity, " from Amsterdam 
to Rome," would enable the population to wait for the 
opening of commerce, " which immortalised your fore- 
fathers and held so high the honour of the Batavian 
and Dutch name." With this salute to the glorious past 
the Dutch nation disappeared on July 13, 1810 from the 
list of peoples. The following morning Lebrun arrived in 
Amsterdam and assumed the government of the country. 



SO the affair was settled and the territory actually 
conquered in January, 1795, was attached to France. 
Many upright patriots, though lamenting with the poet 
Helmers that " the people's crown of honour lies in the 
dust, the land's fame has ceased to shine," had considered 
no other outcome as desirable. Great sacrifices would 
have to be made for military matters, but they might 
soon diminish, it was hoped, now the mighty empire of 
the west, under the greatest military genius of modern 
times, was to force a world's peace from stubborn but 
almost exhausted England, which saw a new enemy, a 
powerful commercial rival, rise up in the United States 
of America. Many were captivated by the magic of the 
personality of Napoleon " the Great," who had astonished 
the world during fourteen years with his victories and 
had established government and law on new foundations 
like Charlemagne a thousand years before. A new em- 
pire of the Franks seemed to be born at the word of 
the " Phenix, which after a thousand years springs up 
from great Charles's holy ashes," whose mouth, accord- 
ing to Bilderdijk's poem, shook the thrones of the earth. 
In the first place the new French territory had to be 
organised, and a commission was to give advice at Paris. 
This " Council for the affairs of Holland," appointed on 
July 22d, consisted finally of thirty members. Its meet- 
ings were ended by an imperial notice of October 18th. 


Years of Annexation to France 375 

To the head of the government came as lieutenant-general 
Charles Francois Lebrun, duke of Plaisance, a kind and 
cultivated man, who had served his country as a financier 
before he became consul under Bonaparte. He deserved 
better than Van der Palm's reproach that he " could hear 
everybody and help nobody " and " willingly would have 
done all the good that did not stand in his power." 
Napoleon wanted to govern the country himself, and the 
governor's task was " to see everything, get information, 
tell me all, receive directly my orders to have them exe- 
cuted." Though seventy-two years old, Lebrun did his 
best to prepare for the transfer of the government to 
the prefects, who were to replace him as actual governors 
after December 31st, while he would then have the super- 
vision as governor-general. With moderation and tact 
the imperial government went to work, as appeared from 
the great decree of October 18th at Fontainebleau 
organising the new departments. 

Of great importance was the matter of the colonies or 
rather of Java, where Daendels had caused general dis- 
satisfaction by his vigorous but arbitrary rule. The Eng- 
lish saw with pleasure that the natives " are disgusted 
with the Dutch in Java." Napoleon had received un- 
favourable reports concerning Daendels. His actions 
were investigated at Paris, and on November 24, 1810, it 
was resolved to dismiss him, Janssens being appointed 
his successor. Janssens arrived in Java on April 27th, 
and Daendels gave up the government to him without 
opposition. The new governor-general had brought five 
hundred men under general Jumel, the commander ap- 
pointed by Napoleon, a reenforcement quite insufficient 
to help defend the island against the daily expected Eng- 
lish expedition. After the Moluccas and other posses- 
sions were captured, a considerable fleet of thirty-two 
ships, sixty gunboats, and twelve thousand men, under 
command of general Auchmuty and accompanied by the 

376 History of the Dutch People 

English governor of India, Lord Minto himself, sailed 
slowly towards Java and arrived there at the end of 
July. Landing near Batavia on August 4th, Auchmuty 
occupied the undefended capital, defeated the army oi 
Janssens and Jumel at Weltevreden, and appeared before 
the camp of Meester Cornelis, which was exposed on the 
26th to a sharp attack and with many killed and cap- 
tured had to be evacuated. Auchmuty followed some of 
the troops to Sainarang and pursued the governor- 
general, who on September 17th after a desperate resist- 
ance was obliged to capitulate at Salatiga and to 
surrender the island and its dependencies. Thus the 
last of the Dutch colonies fell into English hands. 

Soon came the report that the emperor himself with his 
new consort was to visit the annexed departments. He 
believed that his visit would have a conciliatory effect 
and would remove the last traces of ill will, which seemed 
desirable on account of his purpose to bring Russia to 
reason by a great war, in which case an attack of England 
upon the coast might be considered possible. The jour- 
ney began on September 19, 1811, at Compiegne. The 
emperor went to Flushing and spent a few days inspect- 
ing the fleet on the Scheldt. After visiting Middelburg 
and Veere he greeted the empress at Antwerp, sent her 
on to Gorkum, and himself sailed to Willemstadt, from 
where he was rowed on October 4th to Hellevoetsluis. 
Then he came on a yacht to Dordrecht, received every- 
where with acclamation and honours, so that in a con- 
tented frame of mind he met his wife at Gorkum. In the 
humblest terms, partly brought out by the commands of 
the prefects to spare no mark of respect, the magistrates 
came from place to place to wait upon the ruler, ever 
testifying in almost servile words to their delight at 
his visit and their veneration for his person. It is not 
surprising that Napoleon, seeing everything in roseate 
colours, wrote to his stepson, Eugene de Beauharnais: 

Years of Annexation to France 377 

" I have been extremely pleased with Holland ; the people 
have kept the memory of their independence only to feel 
the advantages of the reunion and to find in it uniform- 
ity of laws, a moderate system of taxation, and a regular 
progress of affairs. They are more French than any 
inhabitants of the reunited countries." The imperial 
couple went in triumph to Utrecht, where people showed 
their devotion to the emperor by kissing his coat and his 
horse as of a saint. On October 9th it was the turn of Am- 
sterdam, at first indifferent to the high honour, but on his 
arrival exhausting itself in testimonials of respect and sub- 
mission, by official command lavishly decorated with green 
branches and arches, excelling in boastful memorials in 
Dutch, French, and Latin in honour of the " new Mars " 
on the white horse, the " modern Jupiter," the restorer of 
the " golden age of Saturn." Here also were guards of 
honour, enthusiastic speeches, salutes of cannon, ringing 
of bells, illuminations, fireworks, thundering applause. 
The emperor visited North Holland and Helder, return- 
ing by way of Alkmaar and Haarlem. On October 
24th Napoleon left the capital, and visited Haarlem 
and Leyden. Next came The Hague, by official com- 
mand beautifully decorated but in its desertion not in- 
clined to enthusiasm. By way of Delft and Rotterdam 
the journey was continued through Gouda, Oudewater, 
Utrecht, and Amersfoort to Loo, Zwolle, Deventer, and 
Nimwegen, the emperor and empress reaching Saint- 
Cloud again on November 11th. The triumphal progress 
of the sovereign had humiliated the feelings of many, but 
the greater part of the population had been carried away 
by the brilliant figure of the glorious emperor in the 
midst of his generals and courtiers, the "hero of the 
universe," who inspired Bilderdijk to lofty verses of 
praise. Arrived at the summit of power, Napoleon's 
world empire did not make the impression of being per- 
manently established, because England was still in arms, 

378 History of the Dutch People 

Russia had to be feared, the rising in Spain still con- 
tinued, and in France itself traces of growing discon- 
tent appeared with the heavy burdens of constant war, 
which exhausted the strength of land and people. The 
birth of the heir to the imperial dignity, the young king 
of Rome, on March 19, 1811, seemed, however, to have 
fixed Napoleon's dominion. In this country also dis- 
satisfaction increased among all classes of the population, 
now that the pressure was more felt of conscription and 
reduction of interest on the public debt to one-third, of 
police surveillance and customs duties, of excessive taxa- 
tion while commerce and communication stood still, of 
the unwonted grip of a vigorous administration, of the 
unfavourable condition of the land's finances. The pic- 
ture presented by the Dutch departments in 1812 is one 
of decline and fall, of misery in every branch of the life 
of the people. In the cities great numbers of houses are 
torn down, the population decreases, aristocratic families 
reduce their servants and leave their spacious mansions 
to dwell in side streets; in the country estates diminish 
and lie neglected for want of funds. The Dutch lan- 
guage, the vehicle of the national feeling, is treated like a 
dialect doomed to death, which is gradually giving place 
to the invading French. Literature, though represented 
by such talented men as Bilderdijk, Van der Palm, Hel- 
mers, Loots, Simons, the young Tollens, cannot bloom 
freely under the strict censorship; the theatre lives by the 
performance of popular pieces and translations; art is 
limited to landscape and portrait painting in a modest 
way. The new government was inspired with the best 
intentions, but did not make sufficient allowance for 
the manners and customs of the newly annexed people, 
for the peculiar needs of the country. The sovereign 
himself, accustomed to sacrifice everything to the de- 
mands of his far-reaching plans, threw to the winds the 
warnings and complaints of Lebrun and constantly 

Years of Annexation to France 379 

wanted more from the gradually exhausted populations, 
which groaned under the heavy yoke and longed for 

The year 1812 is one of gloom among the unfortunate 
years succeeding one another from 1795. But it saw 
the enterprise begin that was to ruin Napoleon's empire 
—the expedition to Russia. The help of that country 
alone could be decisive in the contest still waged by 
England against the conqueror. After the peace of Tilsit 
in 1807 the alliance between Napoleon and Alexander 
seemed based upon personal friendship; the meeting of 
the monarchs at Erfurt in 1808 had been the highest 
point of that alliance. But in the last Austrian war the 
czar of Russia had shown some coolness. Alexander re- 
fused Napoleon's request for the hand of his sister, but 
beheld with anger his Austrian marriage from fear of 
the increase of Austria's influence on the Balkan pen- 
insula ; he saw with uneasiness Sweden and Turkey come 
more under French influence and all central and southern 
Europe become either French territory or a French pro- 
tectorate. War threatened to break out in 1811. Nego- 
tiations prolonged the peace, but in April, 1812, Alexander 
presented at Paris an unacceptable ultimatum. In May 
Napoleon left Paris to go to the east at the head of the 
greatest army that Europe had seen for centuries, in 
all nearly seven hundred thousand men, of whom four 
hundred and twenty thousand men were destined under 
the personal command of the emperor to penetrate to 
the heart of Russia, which was waiting for him with not 
two hundred and seventy thousand men. The Dutch de- 
partments also had to furnish their share in the gigantic 
force brought together for the emperor's grand under- 
taking. At fifteen thousand men the number is estimated 
of the Dutch troops in the army operating in Russia. 
The Dutch divisions and officers had their full part in 
the glory as well as in the horrors of the famous cam- 

380 History of the Dutch People 

paign. On June 23d began with the crossing of the 
Nieinen " the second war of Poland," as Napoleon said, 
and a month later commenced the misery in the plains 
of Lithuania purposely laid waste by the retreating 
Russians, nearly a third of the army melting away. 
Under the walls of Smolensk the first great battle took 
place; on the Moskva the second and more important 
battle (September 7th), where the thirty thousand killed 
and sixty thousand wounded on the French side were too 
high a price for the victory. Napoleon reached Moscow 
on September 14th. The terrible conflagration and the 
ensuing pillage of the Russian capital made that success 
useless. Over a month the emperor remained in Moscow, 
hesitating whether to retreat before the nation in arms 
for " holy Russia," to stay there during the winter, or 
to advance upon St. Petersburg. The horrible Russian 
winter was rapidly approaching. Finally he resolved — 
too late — upon retreat and began it October 19th. That 
disastrous march ended amid frightful suffering. The 
army, assailed by countless Russians and disorganised 
by cold and hunger, came back to Smolensk on November 
12th scarcely thirty-four thousand men strong. With 
lion's courage it fought its way through the Russian hosts, 
joining at last the corps left behind. On the half-frozen 
Berezina (November 28th) a desperate battle was fought 
to make possible the passage over the bridges built by 
the Dutch pontoon engineers. In December the army, 
hardly eighteen thousand men, arrived again at the Nie- 
men. The number of the dead is put at 250,000, of the 
captured at 130,000, of the deserters at 50,000 men, 
gigantic losses that robbed the empire of its best soldiers. 
The Dutch troops suffered not least. A few hundred 
men only of the fifteen thousand came back; most were 
killed or died of privation, others fell into the enemy's 
hands and experienced the hardships of captivity. 

Aversion to military service was increased by the terri- 

Years of Annexation to France 381 

ble tales told of what had occurred in Russia. There 
was no well-organised general revolt. So the commander 
in these departments, general Molitor, was able to restore 
order with his slight means. In the spring the emperor 
had succeeded in gathering a considerable force to re- 
place the destroyed " grand army of Russia," forming an 
army of half a million. This was the last harvest of 
lives. The exhaustion of the empire became so great 
that in some parts of France farming was carried on by 
women and children only and the want of males was 
everywhere felt. With this last army the emperor was 
to meet the allies, risking all upon the last card. The 
Napoleon of 1813 was no longer that of 1796 or 1805. 
His physical and mental powers had not stood the hard 
work of years with impunity; a serious disease of the 
stomach troubled him, and he often fell into a state of 
dullness and drowsiness. The proud monarch was not 
of a mind to give up even a portion of his oppressive 
rule. If he had been willing, in the spring of 1813 Aus- 
tria and Prussia would probably have consented to some 
arrangement to support him, while exhausted Russia 
hesitated to cross the Vistula, and England began to 
foresee the end of its strength, being at war with the 
American republic and relying on the able general Well- 
ington to carry out Pitt's policy. But the emperor, 
trusting to his star, let the chance go by; he was de- 
termined to play his great game to the end. The popular 
movement in Prussia, roused by French tyranny, inspired 
by the fiery songs of Arndt and Korner, by the patriotic 
admonitions of Humboldt and Fichte, strengthened by 
the reforms of Stein and Hardenberg, by the military 
organisation of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, forced the 
wavering Prussian king to side with Russia, his army 
under Bliicher burning to wipe out the national shame. 
At Breslau on March 19th the king allied himself with 
the emperor Alexander and by an " appeal to his people " 

382 History of the Dutch People 

exhorted the Prussian nation to throw off the yoke. Be- 
fore the end of the month Hamburg fell into the hands 
of the Russians, Dresden to the Prussians. Napoleon 
now appeared at the head of his troops in Thuringia, op- 
posing two hundred thousand men against the somewhat 
stronger force of Russians and Prussians. Austria still 
hesitated, although by the secret intrigues of the crafty 
Metternich it urged the German princes and Denmark to 
quit the French colours. At Liitzen in May Napoleon 
defeated the allies under Wittgenstein and Blucher, at 
Bautzen he forced them to retreat behind the Oder, recon- 
quered Saxony and half of Silesia, while Davoust recap- 
tured Hamburg and Lubeck and Jerome Bonaparte 
returned to his revolted kingdom of Westphalia. Austria 
proposed an armistice. Napoleon consented and in June 
and July there were negotiations at Dresden. Meanwhile 
Prussia restored its losses, Bernadotte, hoping to fish in 
troubled waters, disembarked Swedish troops in Stral- 
sund, a Russian corps under Bennigsen hastened from 
Poland, England sent over millions more of subsidies. 
Austria also organised its army, for it was certain that 
Napoleon would not accept Metternich's proposal — the 
Rhine for the French frontier, release of Germany, giv- 
ing up of Spain and half of Italy. Though the armistice 
was prolonged until August 10th and a new peace con- 
gress met at Prague, it was soon evident that no peace 
would come. Finally Metternich, deeming Napoleon lost, 
threw off the mask, and Austria joined the allies. The 
second campaign of 1813 found three great armies op- 
posed to Napoleon : the Russian-Swedish-Prussian north- 
ern army under Bernadotte, the Silesian under Blucher, 
the Bohemian under Schwartzenberg, besides 240,000 men 
in northern Germany, 80,000 Austrians in Italy, 200,000 
English and Spaniards under Wellington around the 
Pyrenees, together a million soldiers, against them Napo- 
leon having somewhat over half a million, 300,000 in 

Years of Annexation to France 383 

Saxony under bis immediate command. He defeated the 
Austrians near Dresden (August 2Gth), but marshal 
Vandamme had to capitulate at Kulm in Bohemia, mar- 
shal Macdonald was beaten by Blucher on the Katzbaeh 
in Silesia, marshal Oudinot at Grossbeeren on the way 
to Berlin, marshal Davoust in Mecklenburg, marshal Ney 
at Dennewitz, all contending with the unwillingness of 
their soldiers. The three coalition armies in September 
united, and the "battle of nations" at Leipzig (October 
16th-18th) decided, after a hard fight against a crushing 
superiority, the defeat of the French, followed by a re- 
treat in panic. Only forty thousand men of the imperial 
army reached the Rhine at Mainz. 

This was the moment waited for abroad by the prince 
of Orange and at home by some brave patriots. Orange 
in London took new courage, though he could not dis- 
semble that the English government favoured him little 
and was more inclined to act on behalf of his son, prince 
William, who served in Spain under Wellington and was 
destined to marry the young princess Charlotte, heiress 
presumptive of the English crown. After the battle of 
Leipzig the desired subsidy was promised him by 
England, and he took measures to gather troops in 
Germany. From the Prussian side attention was fixed 
on Holland, and the strategic leaders of the Prussian 
armies considered the possibility of conquering this land 
by a rapid advance of Bliicher's Silesian force, compelling 
the French to evacuate Holland, if the people revolted 
and an English fleet appeared on the coast. But the 
Prussians feared that the unreliable Bernadotte with 
divisions of the northern army would make himself 
master of the country. The Prussian general Biilow, 
really under Bernadotte's command, was afraid of this 
and resolved in November to move up from Munster with 
the twenty-five thousand men at his disposal. His ad- 
vanced posts on the 17th were on the Dutch frontier. 

384 History of the Dutch People 

He issued a proclamation to the Hollanders calling for 
their cooperation, and on November 23d his vanguard 
crossed the border at Doetinchem. It was found that 
Cossacks of the northern army had already passed the 
frontier and been received with joy by the population. 
Btilow was invited to move forwards. In all these plans 
dependence was placed on a rising of the Dutch people. 
It did not have to be waited for, thanks to the initiative 
of Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp and his friends. At 
first Uhland's summons to arms : " Forward, Holland, 
Netherland! Up with the sword in free hands," found 
no echo. Then came the report of the battle of Leipzig, 
and a shock went through the minds of all. Had the time 
arrived? The evacuation of Amsterdam by the garrison, 
which Lebrun sent with Molitor to Utrecht on November 
14th, was the signal for the outbreak of a popular revolt. 
The enterprising Amsterdam sea captain Job May, who 
had consulted with Hogendorp and his friends at The 
Hague, came back to Amsterdam on the morning of the 
15th and stirred up the turbulent populace. Some cus- 
toms houses were soon in flames amid the singing of 
patriotic songs and shouts of Oranje Boven. Lebrun 
gave way, put the government in the hands of the munic- 
ipality, and betook himself on the 10th to Utrecht. 
Next day the governor-general transferred his authority 
to Molitor and departed for France. There was danger 
that the Dutch departments, if given up by the French, 
might be conquered by the allies, upon whom their fate 
would thenceforth depend. Van Hogendorp saw this 
plainly and resolved to act. Early on the 17th reports 
of the movement in Amsterdam reached The Hague. Van 
Stirum went with them to the house of Van Hogendorp 
and received from him a proclamation already made. 
With this proclamation in his pocket and the orange 
cockade on his hat Van Stirum walked into the street, 
had the document read before the city hall, and at the 

Years of Annexation to France 385 

head of the national guard marched with drum beating 
and colours flying through The Hague. There was some 
hesitation. Van Hogendorp could get no States-General 
together; the old regents were afraid and would appoint 
no provisional government in the prince's name. The 
undismayed leader drew up a new proclamation, that of 
the evening of November 20th, declaring that he and 
Van der Duyn took charge of the general government 
until the arrival of His Highness, entreating all brave 
Netherlander to support them, and ending with " God 
helps those who help themselves." Van Hogendorp with 
some men of courage rescued the uprising and the father- 
land. When on the morning of Sunday the 21st the 
officers of the new "Orange guard" appeared at Van 
Hogendorp's house, he read to them his third proclama- 
tion and they accepted the government that dared openly 
to throw off the French yoke. The sword was drawn 
and the scabbard thrown away. Commissioners were 
sent to Amsterdam to persuade the city to side openly 
with the revolt, and they succeeded on the 24th just as 
the first Cossacks under major Marklay appeared. Mark- 
lay took possession of the city for the allied powers, and 
the commissioners in a proclamation of the 25th affirmed 
for Amsterdam also " the restoration of our dear 

In these days of anxiety and uncertainty came the 
prince of Orange himself. He was still in London, when 
news of the rising in Holland reached him on November 
21st. The prince hesitated not a moment and resolved 
to cross over as speedily as possible. On the 26th he em- 
barked upon an English frigate at Deal, and in the after- 
noon of the 30th he arrived at Scheveningen. With 
general Van Stirum he rode through a shouting multitude 
to the house of Van Hogendorp, who at this historical 
moment " nailed to his chair by the gout, sat watching 
alone at home." In the evening there was feverish excite- 

VOL. V — 25 

386 History of the Dutch People 

ment at The Hague, and a brilliant illumination celebrated 
the great event of the day. Liberation from the French 
yoke, restoration of independence and prosperity was to 
be completed by the prince according to his proclamation. 
As of old Orange had " sprung into the breach " ; the 
prince and his son were to place themselves at the head 
of the "common fatherland." But in what rank? As 
stadtholder William VI. or as sovereign head of a new 
state, as "king" William I.? In the stirring days that 
followed this was the great question, to which the prince 
at first gave no answer. While he was still at The Hague 
and hesitated to give up the title of " prince of Orange " 
for that of " sovereign of the Netherlands," the matter 
was settled in Amsterdam. The commissioners there, 
Kemper and Scholten, on hearing of the prince's coming, 
issued a proclamation greeting William the First as 
sovereign prince by what was called " the summons of 
powerful Amsterdam — the voice of all the Netherlands." 
The prince hesitated still when he left The Hague for 
Amsterdam on December 2d. In Amsterdam he " yielded 
to the national desire," as he wrote to his mother next 
day, and allowed himself to be saluted as " sovereign 
prince of the United Netherlands." But he refused to 
take the title of king, believing that the allies would not 
like this " until a territorial augmentation enables us to 
be a consistent kingdom." Under the lead of William 
the First, sovereign prince of the United Netherlands, the 
work of liberation was now to be undertaken with the 
help of the allies. A new period in the life of the Dutch 
people had dawned, if only the enemy could be driven 
from the fatherland. 



WITH the elevation of the prince of Orange to 
sovereign prince of the new United Netherlands 
the proper chief was given to the rising against French 
rule. On December 6th he took over the authority from 
the general government of Van Hogendorp and Van der 
Duvn. The title of " Royal Highness " and the royal 
crown, with which his arms were decorated by resolution 
of January 14th, made it known that thenceforth the 
bearer of sovereignty was to be not the States-General 
but the prince himself. There was much to be done be- 
fore the revolution could be regarded as finished. In 
the first place the country had to be secured by getting 
possession of the fortresses still in French hands. The 
sovereign prince called for volunteer soldiers and made an 
appeal for financial sacrifice. The result of these meas- 
ures was bitterly disappointing. The young hereditary 
prince William, returned from Spain and during a short 
visit to the English court betrothed to the princess Char- 
lotte of Wales, arrived on December 19th and became 
general of infantry and inspector of arms continuing the 
organisation of the army. What could be done was 
done in haste, and the prince was restlessly active. In 
these days he showed a wonderful capacity for work and 
excellent talent for governing. It was fortunate that the 
prince could reckon, besides upon the plundering Cos- 
sacks, upon the cooperation of the energetic Biilow with 


388 History of the Dutch People 

his Prussian corps and of the eight thousand English 
troops under Sir Thomas Graham landed in December. 
While peasants and citizens, partly armed with pikes, mat- 
tocks, and scythes, blockaded some forts, Benckendorff s 
Cossacks from Rotterdam occupied Breda and pillaged as 
far as near Antwerp and Brussels. Biilow forced Molitor 
behind the Meuse, but halted on hearing that the French 
from Antwerp were trying to win back the lost ground. 
For this purpose a force of fourteen thousand men under 
general Lefebvre-Desnouettes moved northwards. Biilow 
concentrated his troops and informed the sovereign prince 
of the necessity of a more vigorous participation of the 
Hollanders in the war of liberation. At the end of the 
year the goal was still far away. The allies had ad- 
vanced to the Rhine with their armies, together almost 
a million of men, but there seemed to be a possibility 
that Napoleon, though disposing of scarcely eighty thou- 
sand men, might resist a long time and avert the invasion 
of the allies into France by consenting to the Rhine as 
a frontier. The war party among the allies triumphed 
over the more peaceful elements, and on January 1st 
Blucher crossed the Rhine. In the course of January the 
allies conquered all northeastern France and drove the 
army corps of Napoleon's marshals beyond the Rhone and 
Seine. Once more Napoleon showed his military genius 
and with his raw recruits defended the French territory 
against the superior armies of the allies — a hopeless 
struggle. The end was to be foreseen, and after the 
allies on March 31st had occupied Paris, Napoleon gave 
up the fight; on April 11th at Fontainebleau he signed 
his abdication, receiving possession of Elba and an an- 
nual income of two million francs with retention of the 
imperial title and four hundred men of his guard. On 
May 3d he arrived at his island on an English frigate, 
while in France the reign of the Bourbons was restored 
under Louis XVII I. After the defeats of Napoleon the 

Establishment of the New State 389 

Dutch and Belgian fortresses remaining in French hands 
were left to their fate, but their garrisons held out 
bravely until Louis XVIII. commanded them to sur- 
render. It was late in the spring before the territory 
of the state was entirely delivered from the enemy, and 
this delay must be attributed, besides to the fidelity of 
the French commanders to their beloved emperor, to the 
slow organisation of the Dutch army, which had grown 
to twenty-five thousand men and was preparing under 
the hereditary prince to move into France, when Napo- 
leon's fall removed the necessity of so doing. 

Of importance to the powers was it that the govern- 
ment of the state should be firmly established as speedily 
as possible, so that it could work with them as an inde- 
pendent power. The English government did not wish to 
concern itself with details, if only the central authority 
was made more powerful than under the old republic; 
it wanted a strong ally. Van Hogendorp in the early 
days of December had offered to the sovereign a " sketch " 
of a constitution for the new state. It was resolved to 
place this sketch in the hands of a commission appointed 
on December 21st to draw up a constitution. The com- 
mission met at the house of Van Hogendorp, who was 
tormented with the gout. The deliberations lasted two 
months. On March 2d the constitution was finally pre- 
sented to the prince. With its one hundred and forty-six 
articles this constitution formed a compromise between 
the old political principles, upon which Van Hogendorp's 
sketch was based, and the modern ideas coming into 
vogue since 1795 and 1806, especially those of a monarch- 
ical tendency. Six hundred " notables " were summoned 
to meet at Amsterdam on March 29th to consider the 
constitution. Within a few hours it was approved by 
four hundred and forty-eight against twenty-six votes, 
and this approval was proclaimed the same day. On the 
30th followed the taking of the oath and the investiture, 

390 History of the Dutch People 

and the herald concluded the ceremony with a — " Long 
live William Frederick, sovereign prince of the United 
Netherlands! " Thus the first constitution of the United 
Netherlands was accepted, so it was said, by the whole 

The year 1814 saw many important events. The peace 
of Paris, which on May 30th ended the coalition war 
against Napoleon, stipulated that Holland, " placed under 
the sovereignty of the house of Orange, shall receive an 
increase of territory." This agreed with the ideas advo- 
cated by the prince at London in 1813. Van Hogendorp 
also was convinced that the new kingdom of the United 
Netherlands, if it was to be Europe's bulwark against 
France, must be enlarged with Belgium. These views 
became those of the English government, which sent over 
Lord Castlereagh at the end of December to deliberate 
with the allies. The sovereign prince, whom Castlereagh 
visited at The Hague on January 8, 1814, persuaded the 
latter of the desirability of a union of all the Netherland 
provinces. Impatient to assume the government of Bel- 
gium also, the prince was advised to be patient and to 
use no other expedients than " by emissaries or other 
means quietly to encourage the people." Castlereagh 
arrived at Basel on January 18th. He began to develop 
English wishes concerning the Netherlands and to urge 
the annexation of Belgium to the territory of the old 
republic. At the congress of Ch&tillon (February 3d to 
March 15th) this question of European policy came up 
for discussion and was settled February 15th by the agree- 
ment of Troyes as desired by England. As covenanted 
with Austria and Prussia, Russia joining them later, 
Belgium was to be annexed to the old republic, and a 
further extension on the left bank of the Rhine was put 
in prospect. A ministerial conference at Chaumont 
(March 3d), where the foundations of a great European 
alliance for twenty years were laid, admitted the Nether- 

Establishment of the New State 391 

lands independently— the first official recognition of the 
new state. In Belgium a strong party wanted to renew 
the old bond with Austria and by a deputation at Chittil- 
lon secured the preliminary appointment of the Austrian 
general Vincent as governor-general at Brussels in the 
name of the emperor Francis (May 6th). This disap- 
pointed the prince, though it was merely a measure of 
transition. Not until the peace of Paris was Belgium's 
fate decided, and France also agreed to the union of that 
country with the old republic in a powerful monarchy. 
In the southern provinces there was great fear of annexa- 
tion to Holland on account of the heavy burden of Hol- 
land's debt, the possibility of closing the Scheldt, and the 
Roman Catholic religion. To overcome difficulties the 
prince resolved to go to Paris, accompanied by Falck, 
whose diplomatic talents he had learned to appreciate, and 
by his English adviser, Clancarty. There the powers were 
induced to accept eight articles drawn up by Falck con- 
cerning the union of the two countries. They left for 
Paris on May 20th and were back on June 5th, the prince 
all impatient to take possession of Belgium. Now that 
the troops of the allies had evacuated the country, came 
the opportunity for doing this with the secret London 
protocol of June 21st, established by the plenipotentiaries 
of the allies. The protocol asserted that the allies wished 
to unite Belgium and Holland in accordance with the 
points embraced in the eight articles advanced by Lord 
Clancarty. A month later these eight articles were 
signed in strict secrecy at The Hague by the Holland 
government " as the basis and conditions of the reunion." 
On August 1st the prince entered upon the government, 
if not with the title he wished to avoid, actually as 
governor-general of the powers, and appointed Van der 
Capellen (August 12th) secretary of state as head of 
the government. So the government of Belgium was 
regulated in expectation of the resolutions of the Vienna 

39 2 History of the Dutch People 

Congress. The difficulties between England, France, and 
Austria on one side and Prussia and Russia on the other, 
by which in the spring of 1815 a war threatened to arise 
over the division of Napoleon's spoils, influenced the 
final result and made the prince give up the left bank 
of the Rhine, while in exchange for the hereditary Nassau 
lands Luxemburg was adjudged to him as a grand duchy. 
With regard to the colonies England's idea was that: 
" It is for us to judge what must be returned or kept," 
because it was the owner by right of conquest. On 
August 13th in deep secrecy the treaty regarding the 
colonies was signed by Fagel. The United Netherlands 
by it obtained, with the exception of Ceylon, all the pos- 
sessions of the East India Company in the East Indies 
with an exchange of Cochin for Banka; the Cape had to 
be given up as well as Essequibo, Demerara 3 and Berbice. 
Three weeks later the treaty was ratified. 

The real leader of affairs was the prince with his innate 
desire of doing everything himself. A great disappoint- 
ment to him was the breaking of the engagement of the 
hereditary prince to the English princess, who sent her 
betrothed a letter of dismissal on June 16th. In the 
course of 1814 the state internally became more estab- 
lished. It may be said that the new state of the United 
Netherlands was a monarchy, in which the prince's great 
power was only slightly limited by a seemingly " liberal " 
constitution, and that under him the old aristocracy con- 
ducted the government. The union with Belgium was to 
make other arrangements necessary than could serve for 
the old United Netherlands alone. The demands of the 
Belgians with regard to the conditions of this union were 
excessive. In his first negotiations with the Belgians the 
sovereign prince made promises calculated to remove their 
fears. After the powers in February, 1815, had decided 
upon the complete union and this was announced in 
Brussels, the prince still hesitated to assume the royal 

Establishment of the New State 393 

title; he did not resolve to do so until March. The news 
that Napoleon had landed at Cannes made a speedy 
settlement of the matter desirable. So the States-General 
met in the Binnenhof on March 16th and were received 
by the prince with an address, in which he declared his 
resolution to take the supreme authority over all the 
Netherlands and the royal dignity over the realm, " from 
this moment the kingdom of the Netherlands." Van 
Hogendorp as president gave his congratulations, ending 
with — " Long live the king." A week later the powers at 
Vienna recognised the new " king of the Netherlands and 
grand duke of Luxemburg." On April 22d a new con- 
stitutional commission was established to " consider what 
changes would be necessary or useful " for the new situa- 
tion. It consisted of Van Hogendorp as president and 
twenty-three members, twelve of them being Roman 

Before the commission began its sittings on May 1st, 
the political circumstances had already taken a turn very 
dangerous to the existence of the new state. Napoleon's 
journey from Cannes to Paris was a triumphal progress, 
while Louis XVIII. and his court retreated to Ghent 
under protection of the Anglo-Netherlandish army of ob- 
servation in Belgium commanded by Wellington. The 
autocrat sought support in a liberal constitutional mon- 
archy, hoping thus to win over the French people for 
the new struggle against the powerful seventh European 
coalition. Europe refused absolutely to recognise the 
new empire; it declined to believe in the conqueror's love 
of peace, and the four great powers in March had once 
more allied themselves against him, burying their mutual 
dissensions in face of the common enemy, the son of 
the revolution. War stood again before the door, and 
here also the anxiety of spring was soon to end. On 
June 12th Napoleon left Paris to fall upon Belgium at 
the head of his army of one hundred and seventeen thou- 

394 History of the Dutch People 

sand men. His plan was to defeat first Blucher's army 
of one hundred and fifty thousand Prussians, then Wel- 
lington's Anglo-Netherlandish army of ninety thousand 
men, and afterwards the Austrians and Russians slowly 
moving to the Rhine. He wanted to anticipate his ene- 
mies, and they had committed the great fault of not 
attacking him before he was ready. In Wellington's 
army was the Dutch-Belgian force under the young prince 
of Orange and his brother prince Frederick, relatively 
weak and composed of hastily formed line regiments 
and undisciplined militia. In the middle of June the 
Netherlandish army in Belgium amounted to 31,000 men, 
including 3600 cavalry, with 72 cannon and 6600 horses. 
Is it strange that Wellington felt slight confidence in 
these troops? The English commander endeavoured to 
make up for the want of experience in a part of his 
army by uniting some divisions of the Netherlandish 
force with trained English troops. The prince of Orange 
had command of Wellington's first army corps of thirty- 
two thousand men, including two Netherlandish divisions 
of infantry under De Perponcher and Chasse besides one 
of cavalry under De Collaert, together twenty thousand 
men. On June 12th Orange with his corps stood in the 
vanguard at Braine-le-Gomte. In the second corps, that 
of Lord Hill, of the twenty-five thousand men ten thou- 
sand belonged to the Netherlandish troops under prince 
Frederick. The general reserve of over fifty-one thou- 
sand men under Wellington had its headquarters at 
Brussels. Wellington and Bliicher had to come to an 
understanding for the defence of Belgium. In the appre- 
hended attack by Napoleon Wellington wanted to secure 
Brussels and Ghent, while Bliicher from the Sambre and 
Meuse was to assail the advancing enemy in the flank. 
So the allies waited for the enemy. Wellington stood 
between the sea and the road from Brussels to Charleroi 
with the prince of Orange in the van, while prince Fred- 

Establishment of the New State 395 

erick was in the rear with Lord Hill. Mixed English, 
Hanoverian, and Dutch detachments occupied the chief 
fortresses in the south. The population there was not 
entirely to be depended upon. The French government 
of the last twenty years counted many friends and ad- 
mirers. It was related that shortly before the decisive 
battle banquets were ready for the French at Brussels 
and Ghent, and the orange cockades disappeared from 
the hats. During a few months the French and the 
allied troops had stood on the frontier opposite one an- 
other, when in the middle of June a suspicious activity 
was noticed among the French, and it was reported that 
Napoleon had arrived at Maubeuge with his guard. On 
the 15th he fell unexpectedly upon the Prussian van at 
Charleroi, eager to defeat Bliicher before Wellington could 
come to his help, and then to attack Wellington him- 
self. He surprised his adversaries, while Wellington 
and his officers in the evening of the 15th were amusing 
themselves at a ball in Brussels. The French succeeded 
in pushing Blocker's advanced guard back of Charleroi 
and next day in inflicting a severe defeat upon the aged 
field-marshal at Ligny, while Ney watched the Nether- 
landish-English troops at Quatre-Bras. Gneisenau in 
place of Bliicher led the retreat not in the direction 
of the Bhine but towards Brussels in order to aid Well- 
ington in case of necessity. Ney with his superior force 
might easily have defeated the prince of Orange on June 
10th at Quatre-Bras, but he began the fight too late and 
thereby lost his opportunity. Not until two o'clock did 
he with nine thousand men attack the weak Nether- 
landish and Nassau battalions under Orange and Bern- 
hard of Saxe- Weimar, which, thrust back at first but soon 
supported by cavalry under the personal lead of the 
gallant prince William, held out courageously, until more 
troops appeared and Ney in presence of too great a force, 
after a desperate assault, gave up the contest. Deep was 

396 History of the Dutch People 

Napoleon's wrath at his marshal's neglect, but he himself 
on the 17th missed a chance to defeat Wellington sepa- 
rately. Orange's valiant resistance at Quatre-Bras was 
of great importance to the subsequent course of events, 
though Napoleon's remark at St. Helena, that " all the 
honour of the campaign belongs to him," was evidently 
inspired by hatred of Wellington, and this deserves all 
the more notice, because Wellington himself first ordered 
the evacuation of the important point, and only the dis- 
obedience of general De Perponcher on advice of general 
De Constant Rebecque prevented the execution of this 
command. On the 17th the Prussians fell back farther, 
not upon Liege, as Napoleon had expected, but upon 
Wavre, in the best of order and ready to help the Eng- 
lish. Wellington, by the unexpected defeat of the Prus- 
sians forced also to retreat, took position with his whole 
army on the plain of Waterloo. Napoleon, instead of 
attacking bim on this day with all his force, sent marshal 
Grouchy with two army corps after the not entirely 
beaten Prussians and slowly followed with the other 
sixty-two thousand men the English army of sixty-nine 
thousand men into Brabant. Then was fought the de- 
cisive battle of Waterloo. In this famous fight, which 
did not commence until late in the morning at eleven 
o'clock, the Dutch troops defended themselves bravely at 
the farm La Have Sainte under Saxe-Weimar, at the 
tavern La Belle Alliance, and elsewhere, especially the 
militia of colonel Westenberg. But Napoleon was on 
the point of breaking the English order of battle at Mont- 
Saint-Jean, when suddenly about six o'clock in the even- 
ing Btilow appeared at Planchenoit on the field of battle 
with Bliicher's vanguard hastening from Wavre. By a 
last furious charge of his guard and a forward movement 
of his whole line Napoleon tried to win victory, before 
the entire Prussian force arrived. In this last attack 
under Ney upon the heights of Mont-Saint-Jean, stub- 

Establishment of the New State 397 

bornly held by the English, the prince of Orange fighting 
at the head of the Nassau troops was wounded in the 
left shoulder and had to leave the field. Soon after- 
wards the battle was decided, and the French troops fled 
in disorder through Hainaut to the frontier, taking the 
emperor along in their flight. At the last moment, while 
"Brussels was crowded with wounded and fugitives, the 
government stood ready to remove to Antwerp, and Wel- 
lington feared for the result of the combat, the coming 
of the Prussians settled the fate of the day. The last 
battle was lost and the destiny of the empire of the 
" Hundred Days " was decided. Hastening to Paris, 
Napoleon was compelled by the united chambers to ab- 
dicate. He hoped still to save the crown for his son 
and offered as a simple general to keep the enemy out 
of Paris, but it was too late, and the capital again went 
over to the allies (July 3d). Napoleon fled to Rochefort 
and sought refuge on an English frigate for protection 
against the " factions " in France and the " hostility of 
the powers." But he was not allowed to land in England 
and was taken with some of his faithful followers to St. 
Helena, far from the scene of his exploits, arriving there 
on October 16th. The Netherlandish troops took part in 
the new invasion of the allies into France. At Paris on 
September 26th the Holy Alliance was concluded between 
Russia, Prussia, and Austria at the instance of the 
romantic czar Alexander of Russia, who was sojourning 
with the king of Prussia in the French capital, where 
Louis XVIII. had returned on July 8th under the pro- 
tection of the allies. Other powers were gladly received 
in the Holy Alliance, and France, the English regent, 
and the Netherlands joined it. The Dutch troops re- 
turned home and the field army was disbanded (Decem- 
ber 22, 1815) by prince Frederick, while the prince of 
Orange journeyed to Russia there to marry Alexander's 
youngest sister Anna Paulowna, which marriage bound 

39 8 History of the Dutch People 

the reigning princely house to the most powerful monarch 
of Europe at that time. 

Amid the turmoil of war in the last Napoleonic time 
the new constitutional commission continued its activity. 
For accepting the constitution in Belgium it was resolved 
to summon an assembly of notables in the south also. 
Fifteen hundred to sixteen hundred notables were con- 
sidered sufficient for the population of three and a half 
millions. A report of what had been accomplished ended 
the work of the commission on July 13th. It could 
separate with the satisfaction of having done important 
labour, by which the constitution of 1814 was not only 
made ready for the south, but was also modified in a 
liberal spirit. On July 18th the draught was made known 
in a proclamation, together with the hitherto secret Lon- 
don articles. Between August 8th and 19th it was dis- 
cussed in the north by the States-General and was 
unanimously accepted. In the south the constitution gave 
more trouble. Violent opposition came from the clergy, 
who demanded that the Catholic clergy should have con- 
stitutional rights and asserted that the established equal- 
ity of religious worship was enough to call for rejection 
of the law. On August 18th of the 1573 notables 250 did 
not appear, 796 rejected the draught, of whom 126 declared 
it was on account of the articles concerning religion, and 
only 527 voted for the draught. Adding the 126 votes 
to the 527 and referring to the unanimity of the north, 
a royal proclamation put the constitution in force. So 
the constitution was accepted on August 24th. The estab- 
lishment of the kingdom of the Netherlands, of the com- 
plete realm of the seventeen provinces, Europe's bulwark 
against France, was thus accomplished. King William's 
ideal became reality. It was generally said that the 
unity of the new nation was confirmed upon the field of 
Waterloo. But many saw the difficulties, with which this 
mariage de convenancc would have to contend. 



UNDER all sorts of difficult circumstances William I. 
began his reign over the kingdom that seemed 
finally to° bring the realisation of his ideals. New order 
had to be created from the chaos left behind at the de- 
parture of the French. Altogether it was a labour of 
Hercules, to which the king with his staff of officials 
desired to devote his life. Indefatigable, sincere, and 
honest, accustomed to look after details, he was a con- 
scientious administrator. He was accessible to every- 
body, gifted with a good memory and a clear view of 
men and matters, simple, moderate, and frugal for him- 
self, penetrated with an earnest sense of duty, mindful of 
his great responsibility to his people, to God who had 
put him in this place, but often too confident of himself. 
He would have been taken for a Dutch burgher or mer- 
chant rather than for a monarch. His great fault: 
arbitrariness, stubborn adherence to his own opinion, 
made him want to do everything in his own way and to 
consider all opposition as disobedience or as lack of judg- 
ment. In the council of state and in the first session 
of the States-General the dissension between north and 
south was evident particularly in the treatment of finan- 
cial affairs. Many in the south, especially the disaffected 
clergy, acted as enemies of the king's rule. At the head 
of this opposition was Maurice de Broglie, bishop of 
Ghent, who placed many French priests in Flanders, in- 


400 History of the Dutch People 

veighed against the constitution, and in the autumn of 
1816 went so far as to publish a pamphlet against the 
bishop of Namur, who had prescribed prayers for the 
approaching confinement of the princess of Orange and 
thus had sinned against the principles of the Roman 
Catholic church. To Broglie and his friends the consti- 
tution remained a thorn in the eye. In April, 1816, Van 
Hogendorp drew up a memorial to the States-General in 
the form of an " advice." Printed and distributed to 
the members of the council of state and of the States- 
General, it aroused the king's anger. This was not be- 
cause it was unjust but on account of the sharp way, in 
which Van Hogendorp spoke of the difference of interests, 
of the almost insuperable difficulty of reconciling them, 
of the mutual sacrifices necessary to maintain the union 
between south and north. The king considered the cir- 
culation of this document, injudicious and not always 
fair to the south, as harmful to the interest of the state. 
On November 7, 1816, he gave — ostensibly so requested 
for reasons of health — to Van Hogendorp his dismissal 
as secretary of state and vice-president of the council of 
state, offering him a place in the insignificant First 
Chamber, which the deeply offended statesman declined, 
preferring his place in the Second Chamber, where he 
could make himself heard. More and more the king car- 
ried on a " personal government." Under the constitu- 
tion of 1815, adopted with such serious resistance from 
the side of the Roman Catholic church, the opposition 
increased, though the government made liberal allowances 
to churches and priests. With every inclination to 
remedy religious grievances, the king was not willing 
to accede to exorbitant demands and deemed it his duty 
as sovereign to accept the battle offered. The contest 
began with the prosecution of de Broglie before the coun- 
cil of state. The bishop refused to appear and took 
refuge in his native land. The case was referred to the 

First Years of the New Kingdom 4 01 

court of assizes, which affirmed the presence of a " po- 
litical crime" and condemned the bishop to deportation 
and costs, which sentence was posted on the scaffold at 
Ghent on November 19th. Not until bishop de Broglie 
died at Paris in 1821 could there be any thought of a 
new concordat, urgently desired by the government in 
place of that of 1802, for regulating Catholic affairs. 
The Dutch administration began to understand how im- 
portant it was to be on good terms with the papal see 
for the sake of its numerous Catholic subjects — of the 
five and one half millions of inhabitants little more than 
one million were Protestants and perhaps one half million 
were liberal Catholics or skeptics. 

The Belgian liberals, led by excellent orators and 
jurists, were vigorously heard in the Second Chamber, 
where they found opportunity to oppose some measures 
of the government regarding legislation and justice, 
prosecutions of the press and financial matters, the in- 
crease of Dutch influence in the south. Thus in the 
early years of the new kingdom there arose a beginning 
of parliamentary opposition, especially from the liberal 
and Belgian side. Many were the debates in the Second 
Chamber, where south and north violently opposed one 
another. The southern members pointed out the differ- 
ing conditions in south and north, which made it impos- 
sible to treat both alike or undesirable to subordinate 
the interests of the more populous south to those of the 
north. The resistance of the clergy in Belgium irritated 
the predominant Protestant northern members, who could 
scarcely accustom themselves to the complete equality of 
Catholics and Protestants. The government was able 
finally to come out of the strife unharmed. Inflicting 
blows on its liberal or clerical opponents by preventing 
their reelection, taking away their offices, bridling their 
press, removing them from the country; then yielding to 
pressure at some point; bending before resistance or 

VOL. V — 26 

402 History of the Dutch People 

proudly refusing to discuss its views, the government 
saw a chance to maintain its authority, so that about 
1820, when all Europe was agitated, a relatively exem- 
plary calmness prevailed in the new kingdom. The bal- 
ancing policy seemed about to conquer, and many admired 
the wisdom of the monarch, who with the support of his 
ministers appeared to approach his goal, his ideal — the 
mingling of the two parts into one whole. Under these 
circumstances the thought must have occurred to many, 
that it would not be possible to keep up the close union 
of such different parts and that the work of 1814 and 
1815 was a great mistake, as had been felt by some in 
north and south at the time of the union. Among the 
southern members of the States-General some did not 
hesitate to say openly that they did not wish to become 
Hollanders, which was paid back to them in the same 
coin. Some privately besought England, Prussia, or 
France to annex the southern provinces or aimed at com- 
plete independence. And it was no secret that the prince 
of Orange, not educated in Holland but growing up in 
the camps of Wellington, was not pleased with the direc- 
tion of the government, that he had slight sympathy with 
the reserved manner of the Hollanders and felt more at 
home among the lively Belgians in Brussels than at 
the stiff court of The Hague, where he seldom showed 
himself. The prince made it evident that he did not 
approve of the attempts at " Hollandification " of the 
Belgians. So he became the hope of the discontented 
Belgians, and this did not improve the sometimes strained 
relations with his father. His brother, the young prince 
Frederick, brought up in Germany and prejudiced against 
all French influences, was much respected in the north, 
and this opposition was considered hazardous for the 
future of the kingdom, though it could never disturb the 
friendship between the two brothers. In 1817 the Aus- 
trian ambassador von Binder wrote to his government 

First Years of the New Kingdom 403 

about " the false idea of a moral and political amalgama- 
tion of two countries diametrically opposed," about " the 
false political organisation of the kingdom." He tried 
to win favour for a new organisation, for " a federation 
between the two countries, each governed in a manner 
suited to its situation," at least for an administrative 
separation, and found support from Metternich, who 
advised him to discuss the subject with the influential 
English ambassador, Lord Clancarty, the king's con- 
fidant, while Vincent endeavoured to persuade Welling- 
ton at Paris. The plan had to be given up, as it was 
not to be carried out without England, and as Welling- 
ton and Castlereagh wanted as little interference as pos- 
sible of the powers in the affairs of the young kingdom. 
The king also would not hear to it, and his advisers in 
1820 did not yet despair of the possibility of making 
both parts go well together. Tacking between difficulties 
remained the watchword of the government. 

The young prince of Orange had not only had dealings 
with the French exiles, but had even listened to pro- 
posals for procuring the French crown for himself with 
the aid of Bonapartist elements in the French kingdom. 
But these plans did not coincide with his father's ideas 
and were ultimately given up. That they signified more 
than is usually supposed appears from the prince's corre- 
spondence with the exiled Carnot in Germany and others, 
especially from the secret reports of the French police. 
These adventurous schemes attracted the attention of 
the great powers of the Holy Alliance on account of the 
part prescribed in general European politics for the 
Netherlands as the " dike and rampart " against France. 
The four great powers of the Vienna Congress, meeting 
at Aix-la-Chapelle in September, 1818, resolved upon 
the evacuation of France and the admission of this coun- 
try as the fifth member of the " pentarchy," which was 
to determine the fate of Europe. The relation to the 

404 History of the Dutch People 

Germanic confederation gave rise to difficulties, not least 
by reason of the activity of the king's representative 
for Luxemburg in the diet, Hans von Gagern, the tireless 
leader of the smaller German states and champion of 
imperial union. In the first sessions of the diet at Frank- 
fort in November, 1816, he advocated eloquently the idea 
of a close union of the German " confederate state " 
with the Netherlands in a great " German empire." So 
ardent was his patriotic zeal that Metternich urged and 
obtained his dismissal in April, 1818. Relations with 
the powers remained good, but not more than that. 
Averse to Austria's policy under Metternich of reaction 
against all aspirations for liberty in various lands, the 
king was left out of the deliberations on the subject. 
He was considered a defender of liberal-monarchical prin- 
ciples and enjoyed ever less the confidence of the Holy 
Alliance and its leaders, who looked upon him and his 
kingdom as a dangerous example to other nations. With 
England relations were excellent, though they did not 
lead to the very friendly understanding expected by the 
English statesmen, when they consented to the sacrifice 
of the colonies conquered after 1802 " to keep up the 
popular feeling in Holland in favour of this country," 
as Lord Liverpool had written in January, 1814. In 
settling the actual surrender of the promised colonies 
it became evident that the old distrust, the old rivalry 
of the two North Sea states had not entirely vanished. 
The English lieutenant-governor-general, Thomas Stam- 
ford Raffles, who had now governed the colonies nearly 
five years, had taken the opportunity to introduce im- 
portant reforms in Java. But Raffles had powerful 
enemies, and they secured his recall to Europe to justify 
his rule, when he heard of the proposed restitution. This 
was a great disappointment to him, because he saw the 
value of these colonies and hoped to fasten a new bril- 
liant pearl to the crown of England's colonial possessions. 

First Years of the New Kingdom 405 

Not until August did the real surrender occur of Java 
and Macassar, while that of Banka and Palembang took 
place in November; that of the Moluccas held off until 
the spring of 1817, of Malacca and Padang until late in 
1818. Sent back to India as lieutenant-governor of the 
English Benkoelen, Raffles obtained for the British Com- 
pany Singapore, really a Dutch dependency, destined to 
be the centre of the Straits Settlements. He hoped to 
attain the ideal of his life, the establishment of English 
rule in the archipelago, where he already called himself 
" representative of the English government." The rela- 
tion remained friendly but not without danger of com- 
plications. Assured of England's protection, united with 
Russia and Prussia by dynastic bonds, friendly with 
France of the Bourbons, William I. could defy the re- 
actionary policy of Austria led by Metternich. This 
kingdom could not pretend to be a great power like the 
old republic. As one of the first among the powers of 
the second rank, it took its place, eminent by its dense 
industrial and commercial population and under a mon- 
arch who seemed worthy of his task. 



THE first trying years of the newly established state 
had fortunately passed by, and though many a man 
shook his head doubtingly over the mingling of the in- 
terests of north and south still unattained, over the 
government's action towards the Catholic clergy, over its 
mixed autocratic-constitutional character, with unfeigned 
admiration it had to be recognised that the government, 
under the guidance of the now almost universally praised 
monarch, had done very much in a few years to accom- 
plish its difficult task, especially to promote the country's 
material prosperity. Figures show that from 1824 to 
1827 Dutch exports increased from eighty-four and one 
half to nearly ninety-six millions, and imports from forty- 
six to almost sixty millions. New canals and ways of 
communication were taken in hand to make the chief 
commercial places as well as the country and the smaller 
towns share in the growing commerce. After the ex- 
ample of England the king did not wish to have Dutch 
commerce as before a carrying trade in foreign goods, 
but wanted to support it with domestic industry. This 
must be vigorously developed, then commerce would fol- 
low of itself. In the years before 1830 the Netherlands 
were the second maritime nation of the world, being 
surpassed only by England which possessed five times 
as many vessels, but it should be remembered that Eng- 
land's population was twenty-two millions, while that of 


The United Netherlands Flourishing 407 

the Netherlands was estimated at over six millions. The 
king gave special attention to the Indies as a market 
for the developing industry. The establishment (March 
29, 1824) of the Dutch Commercial Company promised 
to influence the growth of commerce and industry. Nego- 
tiations at London between the English and Dutch gov- 
ernments resulted on March 17, 1824, in a treaty, by 
which England was granted free navigation in India upon 
the footing of the most favoured nation, and the Nether- 
lands might enjoy the same rights in the English colonies. 
Van der Capellen, whose governorship in India had 
brought disappointments, was replaced at the end of 
1825 by Du Bus de Ghisignies, a Belgian, as commis- 
sioner-general, with the commander of the army, De Kock, 
as actual head of the government. In their time a dan- 
gerous insurrection of the natives under Dipo Negoro 
lasted years and injured Dutch commerce. A companion 
of the East India Company in a new form was to be 
the great American company with headquarters at Am- 
sterdam and warehouse at Curasao. There were great 
plans, and the digging of a canal across Nicaragua — if 
the one then proposed for Panama did not go through 
— was considered by general Verveer, one of the ablest 
engineers of the Netherlands. But political events pre- 
vented the execution of these plans. 

Numerous factories showed that industry, which in the 
southern provinces was undeniably flourishing, partic- 
ularly in Brabant, Flanders, and Liege, was coming up 
also in Holland. In many articles, of manufactures and 
metal work especially, competition with England could 
be maintained about 1830, and that with France was 
easy in articles of luxury and apparel. The first indus- 
trial city was Ghent, the picturesque capital of eastern 
Flanders, with its sixty-six cotton factories and thirty-five 
thousand workmen, its many sugar refineries, its great 
machine shop. Then followed Liege with its metal in- 

4-08 History of the Dutch People 

dustry and coal mines, from which sixty thousand men 

The watchful king directed his attention not alone to 
the material prosperity of the country. Art and science 
had much to thank him for, and he supported energetically 
the Dutch language and literature in their efforts to pene- 
trate into the south, so that Dutch might become the 
national language of that part of the kingdom also. 
The system of two languages (Dutch and French) was 
actually adopted in higher education in the south, al- 
though most of the lectures were given in Latin, as 
everywhere in Europe. At each of the six universities 
new professorships were founded in the sciences. The 
Leyden and Utrecht observatories were equipped with 
new instruments by the government, and a great observa- 
tory was to be established in Brussels. Libraries, labora- 
tories, and scientific museums were newly organised and 
enriched by the purchase and gift on a large scale of 
books and manuscripts, of entire collections. Soon the 
Dutch universities could measure themselves again with 
those of foreign countries, giving renown to Wyttenbach 
and Van Lennep, Cras and Brugmans, Haus and Warn- 
konig, Wageman and Cassel, to Van der Palm in theology, 
Van Hemert and Kinker in the Kantian philosophy, to 
the Platonist Van Heusde, the orientalist Hamaker, the 
botanist Reinwardt, the physician Suerman, the jurist 
Kemper, and many others. The government wished to 
promote " patriotism, civic virtue, and preservation of 
the national character," for which purpose it recognised 
as most important the study of the national history, lan- 
guage, and literature. For the development of art in 
the countries of Lucas van Leyden, the Van Eycks, Rem- 
brandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, and Frans Hals the govern- 
ment had eyes and purse open. Schools of drawing, 
music, and painting came up in the chief cities; at 
Amsterdam and Antwerp art academies were established ; 

The United Netherlands Flourishing 409 

promising artists were sent to Italy by the state, and 
works of art were bought. The young sculptor of Mechlin 
Louis Royer, the historical painter of the north Piene- 
man and his son, the young historical painter of Antwerp 
Wappers raised the fame of the new kingdom, and espe- 
cially in the south with the artistic temper of the people 
the future of art looked hopeful. On the other hand 
poetry flourished more in the north, while in the south 
the immoderate use of the acquired French language by 
the cultivated classes and of the Flemish, Walloon, and 
German dialects made all literary attempts difficult. The 
talented Bilderdijk, " who carried a whole world in him- 
self," showed his mastery over form, his profundity, his 
luxuriant imagination, his harsh ridicule, his receptive 
mind in many a lyric, in his philosophical poem De 
Dieren, in his masterly Ondergang dcr Ecrste Wareld, in 
his Muis-en Kikvorschkrijg. Disappointed in his expec- 
tations of honour and fame, too high and too deep for 
his people, who read him little or not at all, disturbed 
by the spirit of the time, he placed himself with con- 
scious power and fierce hatred over against his con- 
temporaries, hurled his passionate curses and tirades in 
poetry and prose against everybody and everything, 
against government and science, art and literature, philos- 
ophy and the politics of his time. In 1817 he settled 
at Leyden, where as private teacher in the university 
he unfolded the history of his country " legally, critically, 
diplomatically in an entirely new way," with deep respect 
for the great princes of Orange and with contempt for 
the opposing mercantile States. His lectures, directed 
against the " profound ignorance " of Wagenaar and the 
revolutionary spirit and self-sufficiency of his own days, 
awakened response in the minds of his disciples: Da 
Costa, Capadose, Willem and Dirk van Hogendorp, Groen 
van Prinsterer, Wap, Jacob van Lennep. As a poet he 
opposed the school of Feith and Loots, of Helmers and 

410 History of the Dutch People 

Tollens. He poured the vials of his wrath over the " bad 
and stupid " Borger, the " Judas " Nicolaas van Kampen, 
the " impious " Van der Palm, the " conceited " Kemper, 
the " pedantic spoiler of language " Siegenbeek, the " per- 
verse and crooked race " of the Kinkers and Van 
Hemerts, followers of Kant and Fichte. His last hope- 
lessly embittered years the old man spent in Haarlem, 
ever writing verse and scolding, until in 1829 his power 
for work gave way and after two years his life ended 
in voluntary solitude. He is the great literary figure 
of the young kingdom. His school, from which proceeded 
the mediocre poets, Van der Hoop and Wiselius and his 
wife Katharina Wilhelmina, furnished at last the young 
and ardent Isaac da Costa, who in 1823 threw his Griev- 
ances against the spirit of the age in the face of his 
liberal contemporaries. And with them worked and 
thought the gifted Willem de Clercq, whose talent be- 
came more and more a means of evangelisation. At some 
distance beneath Bilderdijk, Da Costa, and De Clercq 
stand David Jacobus van Lennep, the learned singer of 
the Hollandschen Duinzang (1820), and his son Jacob, 
whose Nederlandsche legenden (1828) transplanted here 
the romanticism of Scott and Byron, the not seldom 
affected Staring, the sentimental Spandaw. But the poet 
of the people is undoubtedly Hendrik Tollens, whose works 
were sold and read by thousands and assured him 
a popularity like that of Cats. With Messchert, the 
poet of the Gouden Bruiloft (1825), and Bogaers, 
the talented writer of De togt van Heemskerk naar 
Gibraltar (1836), he forms the Rotterdam trio. They 
and Kemper, Loots, Van der Palm, Borger, Siegenbeek 
mirror in literature the Dutch domesticity, sobriety, 
mediocrity, caution, self-sufficiency. Romanticism ap- 
pearing in poetry with young Van Lennep, with 
numerous novels translated from French, English, and 
German brought Dutch literature under the influence of 

The United Netherlands Flourishing 411 

Byron and Scott, Hugo and Lamartine, Tieck and 

Intellectually the opposition between south and north 
came plainly to light, to the advantage of the latter, 
which for more than two centuries had known a vigor- 
ous intellectual life in Protestantism, while in the south 
all mental development was suppressed under the power- 
ful influence of a clergy, which almost unrestrained had 
ruled over education, literature, and ecclesiastical life 
and had kept them certainly not over the scale attained 
soon after 1000. In the north popular education flour- 
ished and science and literature could compare with 
those of foreign lands, universal development prevailed 
as nowhere else; in the south stood an undeveloped mul- 
titude, intellectually satisfied with the fulfilment of their 
church duties, in presence of a French civilisation going 
with many to complete unbelief after the manner of 
Voltaire and the Revolution. Shortly before 1830 the 
general impression of those acquainted with what had 
been accomplished in the fifteen years of the kingdom's 
existence was that despite all difficulties the king had 
for the time succeeded in uniting the two parts of his 
realm into a whole. Freeing itself more and more from 
French influence, which in the eighteenth century had 
poisoned the life of the people of the north and threat- 
ened in the south to stifle all national independence, 
the kingdom of the Netherlands seemed on the way to 
become what had been the chief aim of its establishment : 
a powerful, political, and moral bulwark of Europe 
against the agitation of France? — a flourishing kingdom, 
liberally governed, with remarkable viability rising from 
deepest decline and vividly recalling the Burgundian 
realm of Charles V. Of this rise much of the honour 
was due to the monarch himself, lauded as a model for 
the princes of his time, as a wise, practical, and talented 
ruler, who in the full understanding of his duties and 

412 History of the Dutch People 

rights with gentle force and adroit statesmanship man- 
aged to escape the rocks threatening the ship of state 
and with firm hand to steer his vessel towards the safe 
harbour. The financial policy of the government con- 
tinually aroused opposition. The chamber members ap- 
parently left to the government the complicated financial 
questions which they did not understand. The tradi- 
tional indifference to the treatment of public affairs in 
the north worked into the hands of the government, 
though often it had to hear hard words from the south. 
Thus on the whole it could carry out its plans unhindered. 
The government encountered serious difficulties in its 
measures and policy concerning the Roman Catholic 
church. The opposition of the bishops and the result- 
ing dissension with the papal see influenced ecclesiastical 
relations in the south as well as in the north. On 
August 17, 1827, negotiations led finally to a new con- 
cordat, which in general confirmed the rules of 1801, 
while the education of the clergy was to be more fully 
regulated by deliberation with the bishops; the govern- 
ment was to have the right to exclude candidates for 
the bishoprics by its declaration that they were not 
agreeable, and the bishops had to swear allegiance to 
the king. By concluding the concordat the government 
had displeased the liberals in the south and the northern 
Protestants. Trying to satisfy all by yielding on one 
side and by adhering fast to its principles on the other, 
it was soon to experience that instead of making all its 
friends and helpers it had estranged all from itself — the 
necessary result of its ambiguous policy. 

The condition of the kingdom was not unfavourable. 
Its domestic difficulties seemed not to lead to serious 
complications, and relations with foreign countries were 
very satisfactory. Relations with England under the 
Whig ministry of Canning until his death (1827) left 
little to be desired. In 1828 the Tories came into power 

The United Netherlands Flourishing 413 

under Wellington, who was very friendly to the Dutch. 
Although no danger was apparently to be feared and 
nobody in the country thought of a revolution that would 
make the kingdom fall apart, in 1828 there was some- 
thing, which should have persuaded to great caution the 
government, that more than once had stood before a 
united Belgian opposition, the more so because in France 
the idea of an annexation of Belgium had not disappeared, 
but was beginning to revive again : the desire to extend 
the frontiers of France to the Rhine, in order to wipe 
out the shame of the defeat of Waterloo and to break 
apart the kingdom of the Netherlands established as 
the bulwark of Europe against the French lust of con- 
quest, was very strong in France and haunted the heads 
of rulers and ruled more than ever. From the liberal as 
well as from the Catholic side the Belgian press had 
repeatedly mentioned the points of agreement between 
the political grievances of both parties: the autocratic 
action of the government, its press prosecutions, its aver- 
sion to freedom of education, its slight fear of violating 
the constitution, its evident desire to guide the entire 
state in the spirit of the north — this all excited in the 
Belgian liberals and Catholics mutual friendliness, which 
was soon to bring them to open cooperation. The ex- 
ample of France spurred the Belgians to imitation. 
Against the " priest party," which had there obtained 
the government with Charles X., the opposition in 1827 
caused the fall of the hated Villele ministry. A liberal 
newspaper of Liege suggested in March, 1827, the drop- 
ping of religious differences of opinion in the interest of 
a common political opposition. The chief organ of the 
Belgian liberals, the Courrier des Pays-Bas, the paper of 
the talented De Potter, protested at first against this 
" monstrous alliance of the modern and the Gothic." The 
men of Liege proposed a union of liberals and Catholics 
to form an ecclesiastically neutral "national majority" 

4H History of the Dutch People 

in the Second Chamber (November, 1827). The Catholic 
organs clasped hands with the liberals in defence of the 
constitution rejected by them in 1815. The government 
— the strict Van Maanen possessing the king's confidence 
— relied upon the law of 1818 to curb the excesses of 
the press. But young Charles de Brouckere in the Second 
Chamber, supported by liberals and clericals, demanded 
the repeal of this law of exception. Press prosecutions 
began again, some against editors of the Courrier. This 
journal now opposed the government; formerly it had 
cried " Death to the Jesuits ! " now it said : " Let us 
ridicule, shame, pursue the ministers." In October, 1828, 
it published a so-called speech from the throne explain- 
ing the desires of the Belgian liberal opposition. On 
account of the article De Potter was sentenced to im- 
prisonment for eighteen months and a fine of one thou- 
sand guilders. A mob accompanied the carriage of the 
popular journalist to prison and smashed the windows 
of Van Maanen's house with shouts of: "Long live De 
Potter ! Down with Van Maanen ! " The government 
in December proposed a repeal of the press laws, but 
would not hear to ministerial responsibility and freedom 
of, instruction. In January, 1820, a general petitioning 
broke out, tens of thousands signing the petitions in the 
south, while the north took little part in the movement. 
The government's press proposal was accepted, and it 
sounded really very liberal. Its good effect was spoiled 
by the establishment of a government journal, Le Na- 
tional, managed by the notorious Italian swindler Libry- 
Bagnano. He found against him De Potter, who did 
not lay down the pen in prison. In the summer of 1829 
appeared De Potter's pamphlet Union of the Catholics 
and liberals in the Netherlands, saluting the cooperation 
between the two parties as a most important event in 
the country's political life. The movement was still on 
a constitutional basis ; there was no talk of a separation 

The United Netherlands Flourishing 415 

of the two parts or of a revolution. But the opposition 
began to be expressed in more violent terms. It was 
evident that things could not go on thus, if the govern- 
ment wanted to continue in power. Bend or burst seemed 
to be the watchword, and it looked as if the government 
would not succeed with its customary tacking policy. 
The session of the States-General of 1829-1830 began 
under auspices unfavourable to the state. The rejection 
of the financial laws was urged, if the government did 
not remedy the existing grievances. Against such a pos- 
sibility the king resolved upon an extraordinary meas- 
ure, consisting in a detailed royal message with the new 
press laws of December 11, 1829. It referred to the 
regulation of Catholic interests by the concordat. It ap- 
pealed for support of its educational measures. It de- 
clared that inconsiderate demands should be refused with 
firmness. The government would do its best henceforth 
to avoid conflicts and to settle the relation of local and 
provincial administrations to itself besides the finances. 
It called for harmony in the establishment of social order, 
which must be defended " against the usurpations of a 
misguided multitude as well as against the ambition of 
foreign violence." These sharp words made the best 
impression in the north as a " manly act " against Jesuits 
and Jacobins. In the south, however, they were greeted 
with doubt, especially when the government sent the 
message in a circular to all the governors to be dis- 
tributed among their subordinate officials for approval. 
The government continued its ecclesiastical concessions, 
which seemed to improve the situation. More Belgians 
were appointed to ministerial offices. The meetings of the 
States-General were more poorly attended and lost their 

This strong action of the government excited oppo- 
sition in the south. New means of popular agitation 
were constantly sought. On January 31, 1830, appeared 

416 History of the Dutch People 

in no less than seventeen Belgian newspapers a plan for 
a " national subscription " to indemnify members of the 
States-General deprived of their other posts. February 
3d there was a more extensive plan for a " patriotic con- 
federation " to recompense all officials taking part in 
the " legal resistance." This plan caused a new prose- 
cution of the imprisoned leader, whose papers being 
seized showed that he worked in collusion with others 
and that Tielemans, formerly an editor of the Courrier 
and now referendary in the ministry of foreign affairs, 
was the inventor of the plan of national subscription. 
The papers of De Potter and Tielemans brought about 
their trial, and things came to light that bordered upon 
conspiracy against the state. It became plain that the 
young liberals were hostile not only to the king, who 
was spoken of as a Philip II., a Charles I., a Louis XVI., 
with Van Maanen as Alva, Strafford, or Calonne, but also 
to the prince of Orange accused of complicity in a theft 
of jewelry to the injury of his wife. De Potter was 
condemned to eight years of exile, Tielemans to seven 
years. Three days later the seized correspondence ap- 
peared in print to show how the proposed " patriotic 
confederation " was to have established a state within 
the state. The disclosures in this trial strengthened the 
government's position. The Chambers separated on June 
2d. A royal resolution allowing the use of both lan- 
guages in Belgium made an excellent impression on the 
opposition there. The quiet here was the more remark- 
able, as a revolution had broken out in the neighbouring 
France. After the fall of the Villele ministry, which 
interpreted the meaning of the clerical king Charles X., 
the moderate Martignac ministry had vainly tried to 
satisfy the liberal opposition and in August, 1S29, had 
been succeeded by the reactionary Polignac ministry, 
which on July 20, 1830, proclaimed the noted ordinances 
— a coup d'etat against the constitution of 1815. On the 

The United Netherlands Flourishing 417 

second day afterwards the opposition resorted to arms 
and soon threw up barricades; on July 28th the com- 
mandant of Paris, marshal Marmont, acknowledged : " It 
is no longer a revolt, it is a revolution." Marmont 
tried in vain to restore order by violence. The repub- 
lican tricolour everywhere replaced the white flag of the 
Bourbons. Charles X. on August 2d abdicated in favour 
of his young grandson, the duke of Bordeaux, after he 
had declared his kinsman Louis Philippe, duke of Or- 
leans, the " lieutenant-general of the kingdom." But this 
was not sufficient. The replacement of the clerical Bour- 
bons by this son of Philippe Egalite, the liberal duke of 
Orleans, was demanded, and on the 7th he assumed the 
crown. The new king, Louis Philippe, no longer " king 
of France," but " king of the French," was to be a 
constitutional monarch, a " citizen king." Belgium 
seemed to have no inclination to follow the example of 
France. The great majority of the Belgian population 
was Catholic and did not like the new government in 
France, and the majority of the liberals since the dis- 
closures of the De Potter trial appeared more than ever 
convinced of the desirability of not quitting " the legal 
way." The grievances of the Belgians were not taken 
away, and the opposition watched for every opportunity 
to voice them loudly. On the other side the government 
with pride could point to the flourishing condition of 
agriculture and industry, commerce and communication, 
to the canals and roads, the universities, the excellent 
primary education, the revival of art and science, the 
growing prosperity — all apparently signs of the mon- 
archy's strength, its population having increased to over 
six million souls. Against a revolution, however, the 
government was from a military point of view powerless, 
and English or Prussian intervention would surely pro- 
voke a European war with France. With no uneasiness 
the king on August 21st left the southern capital in order 

4i 8 History of the Dutch People 

three days later to celebrate his birthday in the faithful 
The Hague. But preparation for an insurrection was 
making without the government suspecting anything. 
The liberals favouring France were resolved to venture, 
counting upon the French sympathies of many citizens 
and of the clergy and upon the moral, if not actual, 
support of France itself. 



THE French faction in the south did not sit still. 
Young Gendebien from Brussels urged the French 
government to annex Belgium. Early in August De 
Brouekere, De Stassart, and Le Hon went to Paris to 
negotiate over the union with the now liberal France. 
The offices of the Courrier des Pays-Bas became the centre 
of secret deliberations, and Gendebien, supported by the 
young lawyer Van de Weyer, took the lead in the pro- 
posed movement. The French government, however, was 
not ready and asked postponement. On account of the 
agitation the police of Brussels resolved not to allow 
the fireworks announced for the eve of the king's birth- 
day. All was quiet on the day itself, but during the night 
it became turbulent in the capital, and on the 25th threat- 
ening crowds moved to the middle of the city. In the 
evening there was great excitement at the theatre during 
the performance of the Muette de Portici with its songs 
of liberty and memories of Masaniello's insurrection at 
Naples in 1648, and it was soon communicated to the 
crowd outside. Shouting " Down with the king. Long 
live De Potter," a mob flocked to the office of Libry- 
Bagnano's newspaper Le National, broke the windows, 
and then went to his house and plundered it. Unchecked 
by police or garrison, the disturbance spread, and finally 
Van Maanen's house was set on fire. The small garrison, 
less than thirteen hundred men, was now called out, but 


420 History of the Dutch People 

the commanding general Van Bylandt ordered only guard 
duty. Early in the morning of the 26th bloody encounters 
took place, but the garrison withdrew to the park to 
guard the palaces. From that moment the plundering 
and burning increased. At the instance of some notables 
replacing the city council, the organisation of a volunteer 
citizen guard was begun under the ex-general Van der 
Smissen and the ex-officer Pletinckx, and it soon num- 
bered two thousand men. On the 27th the popular Eman- 
uel baron d'Hoogvorst was put at the head of this citizen 
guard, a few fights occurred, but next day order was 
restored, and Brussels resumed its ordinary appearance. 
A deputation on the 29th went from Brussels to The 
Hague with the report of the restoration of order respect- 
fully to remind the king that the discontent had deep 
roots in consequence of " the fatal system followed by 
ministers who mistake our prayers and needs." The 
king had held a council of ministers, and it was resolved 
to summon the States-General to The Hague for Sep- 
tember 13th and to send the two princes to Brussels 
with troops. The Brussels delegates were received by 
the king on September 1st, and he told them that min- 
isterial responsibility was against the constitution, that 
with the knife at his throat he could not dismiss his 
ministers, but that he would think of it; he refused to 
yield " to wild threats, to complaints, to grievances 
imagined by some disturbers of the public peace." 

The approach of the troops excited Brussels again, and 
the entire population took up arms. The princes at 
Vilvorde spoke with D'Hoogvorst and other deputies of 
the citizen guard and issued an imprudent proclamation 
announcing their entrance with troops. Immediately 
barricades sprang up on all sides under the lead of the 
former French general Mellinet and the Spanish officer 
don Juan van Halen, who had written a work on the 
defence of cities against regular troops; the stones were 

Separation of Belgium 4 21 

torn from the streets, the shops closed, and Brussels sud- 
denly assumed the appearance of a besieged city on the 
eve of a bombardment. A second deputation led by the 
prince de Ligne sought to persuade the prince of Orange 
to come into the city alone with his staff. The prince 
resolved to accede to this request, and on September 1st 
at noon he entered the city on horseback, seemingly calm 
and even smiling. He put himself at the head of the 
citizen guard, made his horse jump over the barricades, 
and pushed through a half-hostile crowd to his palace, 
accompanied by the deputation, answerable for his 
safety, and by his general staff. Personally popular he 
went through the streets, spoke with all sorts of men, and 
consulted with the authorities and some notables. On 
the 2d he put forth a reassuring proclamation. The 
prince decided to go to The Hague to mediate between 
the government and the Belgians. The Brussels garrison 
also left the city. The attitude of the population of the 
north showed that the feeling was anything but favour- 
able to a peaceful solution. The king himself, though 
he finally dismissed Van Maanen, was not more inclined 
to give way, as appeared from a proclamation of the 
5th with its appeal to the good citizens against the 
rioters. Agitation persisted in Brussels, stirred up by 
the club of French partisans from Liege, with Charles 
Rogier at the head, who urged complete separation and 
excited the people against the army under prince Fred- 
erick still remaining at Vilvorde. A " committee of 
safety" soon took the functions of the city government; 
in turn it had to give place to the Central Club, estab- 
lished by Charles Rogier, which assumed the manage- 
ment of affairs, arming the people and inciting them to 
resist the troops. The increasing excitement in the 
capital induced prince Frederick, who had moved his 
headquarters to Antwerp, to go with his army and occupy 
the city, on hearing that the well-to-do citizens of Brussels 

422 History of the Dutch People 

desired the coming of the troops to end the uncertain 
situation dangerous to their property after the disarm- 
ing of the citizen guard in accordance with the wish of 
the lower classes. He issued a proclamation on Septem- 
ber 21st announcing his project. The volunteers in 
Brussels made ready for armed resistance. So little in 
earnest was their organisation that in the night of the 
21st the city's walls and gates were unguarded. Dis- 
couragement prevailed among those who had hitherto 
led the movement. Prince Frederick's troops approached 
slowly and gave an opportunity to the chief political 
leaders to escape. Gendebien, Van de Weyer, Felix de 
Merode, Niellon, De Potter, Rogier, despairing of the 
possibility of resisting the ten thousand men of prince 
Frederick, fled over the French frontier. Only a few 
champions remained behind to fight the Dutch as best 
they could. In the morning of the 23d the Dutch troops 
appeared before four of the city gates and demanded 
admittance. They seized upon these gates and at ten 
o'clock were in possession of the entire upper town. 
Easily also the lower town might have been captured, 
although the leaders offered sharp resistance at the barri- 
cades. But the prince, averse to bloodshed, began to find 
difficulties in the barricade battle, which here and there 
made the unaccustomed regular troops fall back, and in 
which women, children, and old men fought savagely. 
All day the fight went on especially in the Rue Royale 
and on some of the boulevards, until evening came and 
the combatants withdrew; the barricades were deserted, 
and the Park, where the soldiers were lords and masters, 
was wrapped in deep stillness. At the prince's head- 
quarters in Schaerbeek there was disappointment, and 
D'Hoogvorst and others endeavoured to persuade him to 
stop the attack and retire the army, but the prince re- 
fused. On the 24th volunteers flocked early into Brussels, 
and some of the fugitives returned. The conflict was re- 

Separation of Belgium 423 

sumed and lasted through the day. Late in the evening 
it ended as before. For the following day the defence 
was placed under Van Halen, " commandant-in-chief of 
the active forces," so designated by D'Hoogvorst, Rogier, 
and the ex-officer Jolly, who took general charge as " ad- 
ministrative commission." Rumours of an intended 
pillage of the city by the Dutch troops excited the popu- 
lation on the 25th to continue the combat. In the night 
the Dutch had had every opportunity to take the deserted 
barricades, but the opportunity was neglected, and in the 
morning of the 25th the barricade conflict began anew; 
Van Halen even ventured an attack upon the Park, and 
his volunteers penetrated into it for a time. In the night 
the barricades were again unguarded and unmolested. 
A Provisional Government, consisting of the three men 
mentioned, De Merode, Gendebien, and Van de Weyer, 
was formed on the 2Gth. For the fourth time tke Dutch 
troops tried to push through the Rue Royale, but they 
were repulsed, and the volunteers established themselves 
in the Park, so that only the palaces with their immediate 
surroundings remained in the hands of the troops. Early 
in the night prince Frederick resolved to retreat and had 
the Park evacuated. When the volunteers in the morning 
again opened fire, the Park appeared deserted, and soon 
the flag of Brabant waved upon the royal palaces. The 
revolution was victorious, and the Dutch troops retreated 
to the frontier, counting seven hundred and fifty dead 
and two thousand wounded, while the Belgians had four 
hundred dead and eleven hundred wounded. 

While these events occurred in the south, the States- 
General met at The Hague. A royal message put two 
questions: Whether experience has shown the necessity 
of modifying the national institutions? Whether in that 
case the relations established by treaties and the constitu- 
tion between the two great divisions of the kingdom, for 
the promotion of the common interest, ought to be 

424 History of the Dutch People 

changed in form or nature. The great majority of the 
southerners declared for separation, that of the north- 
erners in the Second Chamber against it. After a state 
commission of sixteen persons was appointed on October 
1st to draw up " legal provisions " for the separation 
the session was closed on the following day. The com- 
mission had no chance to begin work at once. The Pro- 
visional Government at Brussels, strengthened by the 
popular De Potter, who was greeted as the " Belgian 
Lafayette," soon saw itself recognised by all Belgium 
and resolved on October 4th to establish an independent 
state of the Belgian provinces, to prepare a new constitu- 
tion, and to convene a national congress. The chance of 
reconciliation seemed not entirely lost, provided the popu- 
lar prince of Orange was intrusted with the management 
of affairs in Belgium. The king sent his oldest son on 
October 4th to Antwerp. The next day the prince issued 
a proclamation, expressing his desire to restore peace 
and promising a separate government under himself as 
ruler. The good impression of this proclamation was 
injured by the king's answer to the resolution of the 
Provisional Government : the " To arms " of the 5th in 
a fiery proclamation to the inhabitants of the faithful 
north to suppress the opposition and to protect their 
native country. From that moment the two parts stood 
in armed opposition, and a civil war was inevitable. On 
October 2d the king had applied to the four allied powers 
of the Vienna Congress " to deliberate in concert with 
His Majesty upon the best means of putting an end to 
the troubles which have broken out in his states." 
Armed help was requested, but it was quickly evident 
that this could not be counted upon, because France 
would not hear to it and threatened to send its own 
troops in case the former allies appeared with troops in 
Belgium, and England hesitated to endanger peace. 
Hence sprang a beginning of cooperation between these 

Separation of Belgium 425 

two powers. Before the king's request had reached the 
powers, the French government had sent the experienced 
Talleyrand, seventy-six years of age, to London to look 
after the interests of France in the " important affair 
of the moment." When the Dutch demand for assistance 
by the " immediate sending of troops " came to London, 
England and France agreed that means must be con- 
trived for the restoration of order. The idea of a con- 
ference, suggested by France, gained ground to the great 
disappointment of the king. The first meeting of the 
conference took place at London on November 4th, and 
Wellington declared its chief motive that " the powers 
must undertake to seek the means of conciliation and 
persuasion most suited to stop the effusion of blood in 
Belgium, to calm the extreme irritation of minds, and 
to restore domestic order." A truce seemed the first 
thing necessary, and king William, hoping to gain time, 
did not object ; he relied on England's cooperation under 
the lead of Wellington, one of the creators of his king- 
dom, the man who was accustomed to consider this crea- 
tion as " the chief work of his lifetime." The Provisional 
Government in Brussels and the king's government at 
The Hague agreed to the armistice on November 10th and 
17th. The English were satisfied that the wish of the 
Belgians for annexation to France was thwarted, now 
that France itself took part in the conference. 

Meanwhile the prince of Orange at Antwerp had at- 
tempted to save Belgium for the dynasty and to put 
himself independently at the head of the southern prov- 
inces. He was willing to become sovereign of Belgium, 
provided the king approved of this step. In a letter of 
October 13th the king consented on condition of an offer 
from the side of Belgium and of approval by the powers. 
The prince negotiated with the Provisional Government. 
He was induced to go further than his father had really 
allowed and on the 16th put forth a short proclamation 

426 History of the Dutch People 

recognising the Belgians as an "independent nation." This 
imprudent act could not bring him to the desired end 
of rescuing Belgium for himself and his house without 
his giving up his claims to the crown of the northern 
provinces; in the south it awakened no confidence in his 
wavering attitude; it angered the people of the north. 
The prince's position became so ambiguous that it was 
untenable. On the 25th he left Antwerp with a bitter 
proclamation, in which he admitted the failure of his 
mission and declared he was going away to wait for 
events. He saw his father secretly at The Hague and 
departed on November 2d for London to be near the con- 
ference of the powers, which seemed still to regard him 
as the future sovereign of Belgium. His chances, how- 
ever, dwindled with every day. The National Congress 
of Belgium was proclaimed, and the elections took place 
on the 27th under the deep impression of the bombard- 
ment of Antwerp by Chasse. After the departure of the 
prince of Orange the energetic Chasse was threatened in 
the Antwerp citadel by the volunteers of the city. When, 
on the 27th the gates and walls were evacuated and their 
garrison retreated to the citadel, it was shot at from 
the houses and suffered severe losses. Finally Chasse 
answered the violation of the truce, agreed upon between 
him and the leaders, by some drunken assailants of the 
arsenal, protected by his troops, with a heavy bombard- 
ment, which inflicted great damage on the commercial 
city and killed many people. Not until the 30th did a 
truce put an end to hostilities. The bombardment of 
Antwerp turned Belgium from the house of Orange, and 
when on November 10th the Congress opened at Brussels, 
led by the aged Liege nobleman Surlet de Chokier it 
again intrusted the Provisional Government with the 
executive power. On the 22d followed the establishment 
of a " constitutional and representative monarchy." De 
Potter, who had desired a republic, relinquished his share 

Separation of Belgium 4 2 7 

in leading affairs. The next day was pronounced the 
exclusion of the house of Nassau " forever from all power 
in Belgium " by a majority of one hundred and sixty-one 
against twenty-eight votes. The conference at London was 
far from pleased with this resolution. The young Sylvain 
van de Weyer, an eloquent diplomatist, went to London 
(November 1st) to win favour for Belgium and its plans. 
The fall of the Wellington ministry on November lGth, 
succeeded by the Whigs under the lead of Grey and 
Palmerston, was a great advantage for the Belgians, as 
they could count upon the moral support of these liberal 
ministers. And Palmerston was assuredly one of the 
ablest but also one of the most unreliable diplomatists 
of his time, ready to sacrifice the best grounded rights 
to the temporary interest of his country. 

In the conference Palmerston and Talleyrand repre- 
sented the two as good as allied powers. The Dutch 
government saw its ambassador Falck admitted to the 
deliberations only as a " witness." Talleyrand, clinging 
to his favourite ideas : cooperation with England and no 
intervention, but annihilation of the kingdom erected 
against France, managed cleverly to bring the confer- 
ence where he wanted it. He prevented the choice of 
the Austrian archduke Charles; already were mentioned 
the names of the duke of Nemours, the Napoleonic duke 
of Leuchtenberg, the Bavarian prince Otto, and prince 
Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, the former husband of the Eng- 
lish princess Charlotte. There were objections to all 
these princes, and the chances of the prince of Orange 
as independent sovereign of Belgium rose higher, though 
it appeared that the Belgian clergy wanted a Catholic 
monarch. Lord Ponsonby, who from early in December 
represented England in Brussels, played there with his 
secretary White a very ambiguous part and, while Eng- 
land officially supported Orange, he worked secretly for 
prince Leopold, from whose English sympathies much 

428 History of the Dutch People 

was expected at London. The Dutch government hoped 
still for the armed help of the powers. To act with 
the too pliant Falck it sent a second ambassador, baron 
Van Zujlen van Nyevelt, in order better to withstand 
the powerful Anglo-French alliance. That its fear was 
not unjustified appeared from the seventh protocol of 
the conference, of December 20th, by which it was re- 
solved definitively to dissolve the unsuccessful union of 
Belgium with Holland and to establish an independent 
Belgium " with the preservation of the European equilib- 
rium." The Belgian government sent Van de Weyer 
and count Vilain XIV. to London to take part in settling 
the conditions of the separation. Against this the Dutch 
government protested. It had Falck say that not the 
dismemberment of the kingdom but the reestablishment 
of order was its reason for asking the aid of the powers. 
The Belgians also were not satisfied with the decision ; they 
wanted to see Luxemburg, Limburg, Dutch Flanders, 
North Brabant recognised as Belgian territory. The con- 
ference in January resolved to make one more effort to 
have the prince of Orange accepted by the Belgians as 
their sovereign. Palmerston and afterwards the Austrian 
and Russian ambassadors at London offered the crown to 
the prince still sojourning there on January 11th, pro- 
vided he would accept it immediately. The prince 
grasped the opportunity with both hands. He issued a 
new proclamation to the Belgians offering himself as the 
safest candidate for the throne. When his father re- 
fused consent and demanded the maintenance of the 
unity of the kingdom with administrative separation of 
Belgium under the prince as viceroy or stadtholder, the 
latter held back and proposed this new plan to the con- 
ference. It saw the impossibility of this idea and ad- 
vised the prince to wait in London for the decision of 
the Congress at Brussels concerning the crown. This 
decision was a long time coming. On February 3d 

Separation of Belgium 429 

Nemours was actually chosen, not without the conni- 
vance of princess Adelaide, the energetic sister of king 
Louis Philippe, who neglected no intrigues to enhance 
the glorv of her family. A deputation departed for 
Paris but returned a fortnight later with an absolute 
refusal. Bound bv the resolutions of the conference, 
Louis Philippe dared not excite a European war and 
declined for his son. On the 23d the Congress chose 
temporarily Surlet de Chokier as regent. The confer- 
ence went on with its work of completing the separation. 
The protocol of January 20th laid down the "bases 
designed to establish the separation," stipulating that 
the boundaries of the Netherlands should again be those 
of 1790 with Luxemburg in the possession of the house 
of Nassau as a part of the Germanic Confederation; 
Belgium was to be « a perpetually neutral state," guaran- 
teed as such by the powers. The Congress declared that 
it desired to see " the integrity of the territory respected." 
On the other hand king William I. consented to a settle- 
ment of the affair by the powers and to complete separa- 
tion of the two parts, probably in the hope of saving 
the Belgian crown for his son. In Belgium some desired 
the elevation to the throne of Lafayette, Chateaubriand, 
Surlet de Chokier, or Rogier, of a member of the high 
Belgian aristocracy. A partition of Belgium was even 
discussed in the conference. The English government 
gradually gave up the party of the prince of Orange and 
exerted all its powers for prince Leopold of Coburg. At 
the end of March the disappointed prince returned to 
the fatherland, where he was received with evident 


Over two months passed before the Belgian Congress 
made a new choice of a king. Relations between the 
north and Belgium did not improve in this time. The 
Belgian regent had difficulty in holding back the Belgians 
from taking possession by force of arms of the desired 

43° History of the Dutch People 

territory; and the Dutch government could hardly re- 
strain the army and the volunteers on the Brabant fron- 
tier. The heroic death of the naval lieutenant Van 
Speyk, who on February 5th blew up his gunboat at 
Antwerp rather than let it fall into the hands of the 
insurgents, increased the warlike feeling in the north, 
excited by patriotic speeches and popular songs. The 
discussions over the Belgian constitution in the Congress 
led on February 7th to the adoption of a draught, by 
which Belgium became one of the most liberally governed 
states of Europe. It was plain that the prince of Orange 
had slight chance of success in Belgium. The candidacy 
of prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg attracted attention 
more and more. In May, 1830, he had refused the Greek 
crown, but he was ready to accept the crown of Belgium 
and with the aid of his physician and friend von Stock- 
mar had his cause advocated cleverly to the Belgians and 
the English government. In Belgium Leopold's candi- 
dacy won adherents by adroit intrigues. An official 
deputation went late in April to London and found him 
ready; though a Protestant, he promised to have the 
children by his proposed marriage brought up as Cath- 
olics, which satisfied the Catholics. Prince Leopold on 
June 4th was elected by one hundred and fifty-two votes, 
with fourteen for Surlet, nineteen not voting, and ten 
against. Great was the exasperation at The Hague over 
the attitude of the western powers. The king informed 
the conference that from June 1st he considered himself 
perfectly free. He made ready, either with the powers, 
or upon his own responsibility, to take military measures 
against the unwilling Belgium. England and France, 
now determined to finish the affair, bound themselves 
on the 16th to intervene in case of war between the 
two parts. The conference on June 2Gth adopted a new 
agreement to be laid before both countries in the interest 
of general peace, consisting of " Preliminaries of a 

Separation of Belgium 43 1 

treaty " in eighteen articles. Prince Leopold, now sure 
of the support of the conference, accepted the crown 
officially, provided the Congress at Brussels approved of 
the eighteen articles. The Congress assented on July 
9th. Then Leopold declared he had no further objec- 
tions, assured himself of his recognition by the five 
powers, and the 17th set foot on Belgian soil. Four 
days later after a triumphal progress from the frontier 
to Brussels homage was done him, and he swore to the 
constitution. King William declined absolutely to ac- 
cept the eighteen articles, adhering to the " bases of 
separation " approved by him in January. A note of the 
12th reported this refusal to the conference with the 
communication that whoever accepted the sovereignty 
over Belgium without submitting to the " bases " would 
be considered an enemy to Holland, and this country 
would defend its right with arms in hand. Arms were 
now to decide. A plan of campaign was made by the 
prince of Orange for the army concentrated on the borders 
of Brabant near Breda. On the 29th the prince was 
chosen commander-in-chief. Two days later he left The 
Hague, and on August 1st it was : " Forwards, with God 
for fatherland and Orange ! " The same day Van Zuylen 
announced at London that the Dutch ambassadors were 
empowered to sign a treaty on the basis of the January 
protocols, but that the king was resolved " to support the 
negotiation by military means." It must be acknowl- 
edged that he had every reason to act thus. 

Of the nearly eighty-seven thousand men of the Dutch 
army thirty-six thousand formed the portion available 
for a campaign. The Belgians could put against them 
only thirty-one thousand five hundred men: seventeen 
thousand under the former Napoleonic officer of hussars 
De Tiecken de Terhove, as the " Scheldt army," observed 
the citadel of Antwerp with its garrison of four thousand 
men under Chasse, and fourteen thousand five hun- 

43 2 History of the Dutch People 

dred commanded by general Daine, as the " Meuse army," 
held in view Dibbets garrisoning Maestricht with almost 
six thousand men. The plan of campaign adopted by 
the prince of Orange was simple. The intention was to 
push in between the two Belgian armies, to defeat them 
one after the other, and then to occupy Brussels. The 
blow had to be struck quickly, because the intervention 
of France was to be expected, since the conference on 
July 25th had declared it would prevent any " resump- 
tion of hostilities." King Leopold immediately called for 
French help. The Dutch troops in three divisions, under 
the duke of Saxe-Weimar and the generals Van Geen 
and Meijer, moved methodically from North Brabant into 
Belgium and drove back easily the Belgian advanced 
posts. A proclamation from the prince of Orange an- 
nounced that the aim of the campaign was no conquest 
but only the securing of " fair and equitable conditions 
of separation." Turnhout was occupied on the 3d, while 
king Leopold from Brussels summoned the Belgians to 
arms and assumed the chief command over his armies. 
He applied to the conference with an urgent request for 
the protection of neutrality, the maintenance of the 
armistice, violated by the sudden attack of the Holland- 
ers, and placed Antwerp under its especial guard. King 
Leopold, believing Antwerp was to be the object of at- 
tack, ordered Daine to unite with the Scheldt army. 
But the prince turned not westwards but upon Diest, 
which was occupied by Saxe-Weimar on the 5th, while 
Van Geen took possession of Gheel, and Meijer put the 
enemy to flight at Beringen, where the Leyden volunteer 
chasseurs distinguished themselves and had to mourn 
the death of the student Beeckman. In small fights 
Daine's advanced posts were pushed back to Hasselt, and 
there he made a stand instead of marching to join the 
Scheldt army. There on the 8th the Meuse army was 
beaten by a superior force and driven towards Liege in 

Separation of Belgium 433 

extreme disorder. Tiecken de Terhove endeavoured to 
unite with the remnants of the Meuse army but soon, 
by orders of his chief commander, moved to Louvain, 
now Leopold's headquarters, whither also Orange's army 
went without haste. A rapid march might have dis- 
persed the Scheldt army likewise in disorder. But the 
prince would venture nothing and not until the 11th at 
Bautersem did a skirmish take place with the van of 
the Scheldt army, the result again favouring the Dutch. 
On the following day the decisive blow might fall before 
Louvain. King Leopold hoped for French help just then. 
But this illusion was speedily taken from him. His 
troops, no match for the regular force of the prince of 
Orange, were quickly beaten again, and the flying Scheldt 
army would have undergone the same fate as that of the 
Meuse, when just at the chosen moment, that the attack 
on Louvain was to be combined with the pursuit of the 
enemy retreating on all sides, Lord William Russell, the 
prince's adjutant at Waterloo, in the name of the English 
ambassador at Brussels, Lord Robert Adair, came to 
offer an armistice with the information that the French 
marshal Gerard with an army of forty thousand men had 
crossed the Belgian frontiers and was already at Wavre. 
The Dutch government had given the assurance at 
Paris that its army would return within its borders on 
the report of the coming of the French troops into 
Belgium. Before the armistice Orange demanded the 
surrender of Louvain. The Belgian commanders, know- 
ing Brussels to be uncovered now that Gerard moved 
so cautiously, consented, and the Dutch army occupied 
Louvain. The strategic aim of the ten days' campaign 
was thus attained. The two hostile armies were driven 
apart, and Brussels lay open to the conqueror, whose 
troops would not have feared to fight with the approach- 
ing French army. Carefully watched by the French, the 
army on the 20th returned to the Dutch frontiers. The 

VOL. V 28 

434 History of the Dutch People 

whole campaign had cost the Dutch army seven hun- 
dred men. The conference now imposed upon both parties 
a new truce of six weeks in order to end the negotiations 
over the conditions of separation before October 10th, 
which period was later prolonged fourteen days. The 
result of the deliberations was the protocol of October 
14th, giving twenty-four articles as what could be in 
fairness demanded. The powers, appealing to the neces- 
sity of avoiding a European war, declared they would 
compel Holland to approve and would oblige Belgium to 
accept these " final and irrevocable decisions " of the five 
powers. The protocol divided Luxemburg into a Belgian 
and grand ducal part, and Limburg into a Belgian and 
Dutch part; the king of the Netherlands had to make 
an agreement with the Germanic Confederation concern- 
ing the two parts assigned to him; Belgium was to be 
a neutral state. Great was the anger and disappoint- 
ment in both countries. The Belgian newspapers pro- 
tested against the gross injustice of dividing Luxemburg 
and Limburg contrary to the will of the inhabitants, who 
had mostly declared for Belgium. On November 1st the 
twenty-four articles were accepted as " inevitable " in 
the Belgian Chamber of Deputies and Senate. The peo- 
ple of France were dissatisfied with the inglorious return 
of Gerard from Belgium, when not even the lion of 
Waterloo had been destroyed. The government at The 
Hague objected to the violation of its rights in the 
twenty-four articles. It asserted in a memoir of De- 
cember 14th, that the Luxemburg question, concerning 
alone the house of Nassau and the Germanic Confedera- 
tion, ought not to be mixed with the Belgian question, 
and that, according to the first principles of international 
law, the powers had no right to decide arbitrarily in a 
matter relating to the internal condition of the kingdom 
founded in 1S15. There was talk of a new campaign on 
the Meuse, for which the prince of Orange had the plans. 

Separation of Belgium 435 

But Prussia held such inclinations in check by its seri- 
ous warnings. An agreement seemed not yet impossible. 
On January 4, 1832, the conference answered with a 
defence of its action, to which the Dutch government 
replied in a proposition of the 30th. The conference 
did not even take the proposition under consideration, 
as France and England thought that the three other 
powers would ratify the twenty-four articles, as they 
themselves had done on January 31st. After Austria 
and Prussia had agreed (April 18th), the ratification of 
Russia was delivered to the conference on May 4th. 
Opinion in Holland supported the government; the 
Journal de la Haye, for which the Ley den professor 
Thorbecke worked on behalf of the administration, de- 
fended the government against the conference. On May 
4th the conference resolved to try a compromise con- 
cerning the execution of the twenty-four articles. The 
Dutch ambassador at London consented to a treaty to 
be concluded " under the auspices " of the powers em- 
bodying the twenty-four articles modified. The diploma- 
tists at the conference exhausted themselves in the attempt 
to satisfy the Belgians, who stood sharply on the twenty- 
four articles, and the Dutch, who would not accept them 
unmodified. This did not succeed, and while the mar- 
riage of king Leopold to Louise Henriette, daughter of 
Louis Philippe, in August bound France more closely 
to the Belgian cause, no progress was made. This did 
not much trouble Belgium, because it had a great ad- 
vantage in the status quo, by which almost all Limburg 
and Luxemburg remained in its possession. 

Finally a basis of agreement seemed to have been dis- 
covered. The so-called " Palmerston theme " was drawn 
up in August and was accepted by Belgium, as it left 
the twenty-four articles quite untouched, and on Sep- 
tember 6th it was privately offered to Van Zuylen, the 
Dutch ambassador, who answered on the 20th with a 

43 6 History of the Dutch People 

memoir refusing all further concessions. In the seven- 
tieth protocol of October 1st a more vigorous tone was 
adopted towards Holland. The measures of coercion 
often spoken of were put in prospect. England and 
France, under the lead of Palmerston and Talleyrand, 
went on their way. On October 22d the English govern- 
ment concluded with the French a treaty, by which was 
stipulated the giving to king William until November 
2d to evacuate the citadel of Antwerp, the only point in 
Belgium's territory still occupied by Dutch troops. In 
case of refusal an embargo upon all Dutch vessels, block- 
ade of the Dutch ports, and capture of the citadel by 
a French army were to follow. In the middle of No- 
vember the embargo was laid, and the French campaign 
was begun. Gerard with sixty thousand men appeared 
on November l!)th before the citadel, where Chasse with 
his five thousand men threatened Antwerp's safety. 
Chasse's defence, " a beautiful page in the military his- 
tory of our fatherland," could not prevent the surrender. 
After the French cannon had almost demolished the 
fortress, when the water was giving out and the chief 
bastion had to be deserted, Chasse capitulated on De- 
cember 23d. While the rear-admiral Koopman burned 
and sank his twelve gunboats, the troops garrisoning the 
citadel were taken to France as prisoners of war. The 
resumption of the conference was proposed. New notes 
led finally on May 21, 1833, to the London convention, by 
which the embargo was raised and a truce was con- 
cluded until the definitive treaty. But it was not for 
a moment doubtful that the final decision would have to 
be waited for years. The question was whether men must 
remain under arms all this time and must bear the great 
expense of a large army. The new conference at London 
held its first meeting on July 15th, but its work was 
obstructed on August 13th by Palmerston's sudden de- 
mand that the Dutch government should first ask the 

Separation of Belgium 437 

consent of the Germanic Confederation and the king's 
relatives for the partition of Luxemburg before going 
further. The conference was suspended. On November 
3, 1833, the king really requested the relatives and the 
Confederation to approve of the division of Luxemburg. 
But both refused, if no compensation in territory was 
offered to the Germanic Confederation. So the matter 
rested in the spring of 1834. The government desired to 
maintain its waiting attitude, although champions of an 
arrangement began to be more numerous. The uncer- 
tain situation worked more and more disturbingly in 
Holland, where people had enough of war taxes and 
made remarks upon the Luxemburg question, which con- 
cerned only the house of Nassau. But 1835 passed 
without bringing any change. Relations with England 
became no better, though for a time they had seemed to 
improve owing to the report of a proposed marriage of 
the young prince Alexander, second son of the prince of 
Orange, to the heiress of the English throne, Victoria. 
More and more it grew evident, that Belgium had an 
interest in prolonging the status quo and that Palmer- 
ston, now in the saddle for years and after the marriage 
of queen Victoria to prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg more 
closely than ever bound to king Leopold, wished to 
support the latter by calling together the conference. 

The feeling in Holland towards the attitude of the 
government began to change. People became tired of 
the long postponement and of maintaining the army. 
The government itself appeared to have slight hope of 
the revival of the old kingdom. But the king could not 
so quickly resolve to give up the ideal of his life and 
long resisted pressure, ever watching for the desired 
changes in the political condition of Europe. Urged by 
the increasingly sharper opinion of the Second Chamber, 
the king at last repented. In a general committee of 
March 13, 1838, he declared that on the following day 

438 History of the Dutch People 

he would offer at London a note, by which, he, " con- 
stantly frustrated in his just expectation of obtaining 
by way of negotiations better terms for his faithful sub- 
jects," consented to the " final and irrevocable condi- 
tions " of the conference and promised to sign the 
twenty-four articles. The conference met at London and 
prepared with the Netherlands to sign the twenty-four 
articles, when Belgium made trouble. The Belgians, dur- 
ing seven or eight years in actual possession of most of 
Limburg and Luxemburg, would not hear to ceding a 
considerable portion of this territory to king William 
and Holland. People protested, against the twenty-four 
articles as unworthy of Belgium. Preparations for war 
were made, and the Polish insurgent-general Skrzynecki, 
received with other Poles in the Belgian army, seemed 
the right leader for the conflict to be waged against con- 
servative Europe, if necessary, for upholding Belgium's 
rights to the threatened territory, first of all against the 
Germanic Confederation and Holland. The long expected 
crisis appeared at hand. While Palmerston reassured 
the powers concerning England's attitude and disap- 
proved of the " mad designs of the Belgians," France 
attempted to secure a modification of the twenty-four 
articles in favour of Belgium. Troops were assembled 
in Germany and France. War seemed to stand before 
the door, and the Dutch government, disturbed by the 
attitude of France and Belgium, prepared for defence. 
Belgium showed itself not unwilling to buy from Hol- 
land the coveted parts of Luxemburg and Limburg for 
sixty million francs. William I. refused the offer. The 
danger of war had not disappeared. The Belgian volun- 
teers gathered, the reserves were called out, manifestoes 
of the war party appeared, and the Dutch government 
began to use the nineteen millions granted it by the 
Chambers, when the peace-loving minister Mole at Paris 
defeated the opposition, favouring help to Belgium and 

Separation of Belgium 439 

led by Guizot and Thiers, secured the approval of his 
policy, and ventured to dissolve the French Chamber. 
On the day of this dissolution (January 22, 1839) the 
French ambassador at London signed the December pro- 
tocol. The conference offered the concluding protocol in 
The Hague and Brussels. On February 1st the Dutch 
government resolved to consent to it unreservedly. Only 
after strong resistance could the Belgian government 
bring the Chambers to yield to the demand of the powers. 
Finally on April 19, 1839, the mutual treaties between 
the powers, Belgium, Holland, and the Germanic Con- 
federation could be signed. The ratifications were not 
exchanged until June 8th. The difficult process of sepa- 
ration, which had lasted nearly nine years, was ended. 
The kingdom of the United Netherlands founded in 1815 
had now ceased to exist. Henceforth, within its old 
borders, Holland was to lead its own life, separated 
again from the southern provinces, with which it had 
been closely united during fifteen years. 



THE kingdom of the Netherlands could again go on 
its own way. The part it had to play would be 
more modest but would give land and people an oppor- 
tunity to develop according to their wishes and needs. 
King William in his private life received a hard blow 
through the death (October 12, 1837) of his gifted wife, 
the revered " mother of the country " Wilhelmina, who 
had enjoyed universal sympathy as wife and mother. 
He was more discouraged, when the social life at the 
simple court gave place to petty cabals and quarrels, 
particularly on account of his preference for one of the 
ladies of the court, Countess Henriette d'Oultremont. 
In the summer of 1839 he asked in marriage the countess, 
who was a Belgian and a Catholic, and this attracted 
notice in and outside of the court circle. A campaign 
of calumny was begun in the press, presenting the whole 
affair in a scandalous manner. Anger at the approach- 
ing marriage of the king to a Belgian Catholic became 
so great that signs of contempt were shown towards him 
in the streets and people advocated his abdication in 
favour of his popular eldest son. In March, 1840, the 
king resolved to yield and declared that he gave up the 
marriage. More important was the course of affairs re- 
garding the desired revision of the constitution. Now 
that the Belgian affair was brought to an end, constitu- 
tional revision must again become a subject for the 


End of King William I.'s Reign 441 

serious exchange of thoughts. The system of government 
in financial matters was closely connected with the way 
things were managed in India. The idea still prevailed 
that the colonies were designed only to furnish profit 
for the mother country. An extensive plan of the able 
general Van den Bosch found fruitful ground. In his 
book on the Dutch possessions in Asia, America, and 
Africa he had advocated a return in a modified form 
to the old principles of the East India Company. He 
wanted the maintenance of a " forced cultivation " as 
advantageous to the fatherland and the colonies and 
suited to the habits of the Javanese. The king appointed 
(October 26, 1828) Van den Bosch governor-general of 
Dutch India. The extension of compulsory cultivation over 
all Java was recommended, so that the Javanese would 
give as tribute to the sovereign a part (one-fifth of the 
crop, representing sixty-six days of work) of the product 
of his ground, while the Commercial Company might at- 
tend to the sale of the merchandise in Europe. Van den 
Bosch reached India in January, 1830, and began ener- 
getically to carry out his ideas, but opposition and the 
trying climate soon made him wish to return home, pro- 
vided his successor could work out his system. In J. C. 
Baud he found a willing colleague, initiated into his plans, 
which above all aimed to have remittances flow from 
India to the mother country, so that the government 
there might have sufficient means at its disposal without 
needing the help of the States-General in financial mat- 
ters. On returning to the fatherland in January, 1834, 
he could regard his system as established in India and 
was able to leave Baud in authority. At the end of the 
first year three millions could be sent as profit; in 1834 
the normal figure was placed at ten millions by Van den 
Bosch, who became minister of colonies in Holland and 
constantly urged the dependent governor-general to larger 
remittances. 'The best lands were seized for the forced 

44 2 History of the Dutch People 

cultivation; the power of the regent families increased 
hand over hand; the unwilling villagers were compelled 
to work, under penalty of death, far beyond the number 
of days originally fixed. Thus arose an odious system 
of compulsion, by which the European officials and the 
native chiefs fared well, and the farms furnished great 
profits to the government, but the poor Javanese, with 
hardly land enough for his rice, was terribly exhausted. 

Soon there was the government's need of advances from 
the Commercial Company. Privileged by the administra- 
tion, it experienced years of great gain and had the 
financial condition of the government almost entirely in 
its power. On December 30th the government by royal 
message offered its very limited proposals for the revision 
of the constitution, after which the Second Chamber was 
to be sent home for an indeterminate period, while the 
insignificant First Chamber, the " king's menagerie," 
would of course submit. The Second Chamber, compre- 
hending the gravity of the situation, refused to be dis- 
missed thus, and resolved to resume its sittings within 
a fortnight. As a result of the discussions in the 
Chamber the government, which with difficulty had per- 
suaded the king, modified its proposals into five and 
joined to them seven additional ones. While the first 
five made only the changes absolutely required by the 
separation, the new proposals were of more importance. 
They concerned the legal regulation of the right of suf- 
frage, the diminution of the crown's income to one and 
one half millions, the regular communication to the 
States-General of the statements of receipts and expendi- 
tures for the colonies, the introduction of estimates for 
two years with more control of revenue and outgo by 
the States-General, better arrangement of the militia for 
defence. Furthermore the too populous Holland was 
divided into two provinces. The Chamber declined to 
consider the estimates so long as the government had not 

End of King William I.'s Reign 443 

brought in a bill for amending the constitution by min- 
isterial responsibility. Reluctantly the government con- 
sented (May 10th). Then the discussion of constitutional 
revision began in the Second Chamber (June 2d). It 
continued three days, and the government's proposals 
were accepted. In accordance with the provisions of the 
constitution the Provincial Estates now appointed a 
Double Chamber to handle the revision of the constitu- 
tion. The deliberations of the Double Chamber from 
August 4th to September 2d were far more important 
than those in the old Second Chamber. The government, 
sure of a majority after its proposal of ministerial re- 
sponsibility, was not discouraged by the opposition of 
some members. It saw its proposals accepted by a large 

But the king did not plan to continue his reign under 
this constitution and under the changed circumstances. 
He perceived more and more that he stood in the midst 
of a new generation. People here began to come under 
the influence of ideas, which in foreign countries were 
already developed and had finally penetrated into the 
somewhat slow national spirit of the Dutch. This in- 
fluence made itself felt in every department. A growing 
party in the Dutch Reformed Church was no longer 
satisfied with the one-sided rationalistic mode of think- 
ing developed from the revolutionary ideas of about 
1795, of which the preacher Van der Palm might be 
called the talented spokesman. People were no longer 
content with church organisation under the guidance of 
the synod. The Arnhem preacher Donker Curtius, presi- 
dent of the synod from 1825 to 1830, worked in a direc- 
tion that might lead to a union of all Protestants in 
one church. There were two kinds of opposition to the 
synodal direction. On one side many wanted the victory 
of a devout conviction of belief over the merely formal 
in the Reformed Church; on the other maintenance of 

444 History of the Dutch People 

the old strict reformed doctrine was demanded. Bilder- 
dijk's disciples endeavoured, in opposition to revolution- 
ary ideas, to place " the sparkling light of orthodoxy " 
in the candlestick. The Jewish poet Da Costa, converted 
to the Christian faith, had in 1823 in his Bezwaren tegen 
den geest der eeuw testified against the apostacy from 
the faith of the fathers; the acute convert Dr. Capadose 
and the stylist Groen van Prinsterer supported this 
testimony. A little book by Molenaar, the orthodox 
preacher of The Hague: Adres aan alle mijne Her- 
vormde geloofsgenooten (1827), demanded vigorous main- 
tenance of the church doctrine. In all sorts of re- 
formed communities " exercises " outside of the church 
union began to come into vogue and were regarded 
with distrust by the authorities, conducted as they often 
were by unlearned men in opposition to what was pro- 
claimed by the regular preachers. Many thought of re- 
cent occurrences in Protestant Geneva, where over 
against the state church accused of Socinianism a com- 
munity of " some believers " had arisen, which might 
here also happen. There could likewise spring up what 
was called in Switzerland and France the " revival " or 
the " new gospel," which found excellent leaders in the 
Lausanne professor Alexandre Vinet, the Protestant 
Pascal, and the Genevan professor Merle d'Aubigne. The 
so-called " New Lights " of Zwijndrecht formed a half- 
communistic sect of peasants and labourers. These ex- 
ercises and conventicles were watched with suspicion 
by the ruling synodal party. The work of the young 
Groningen professor Hofstede de Groot: Oedachten over 
de bcschuldiging tegen de leeraars der Hervormde KerJc, 
made a sensation in the spring of 1834. He defended 
the assertion that there was no need of adhering to 
orthodoxy according to the Dordrecht synod, but the 
doctrine of the church was to be favoured only so far 
as it agreed with " God's word." It was not to be de- 

End of King William I.'s Reign 445 

nied that a serious movement was going on in church 
matters. Indignant at the inaction of the synod, some 
people formed the plan of seceding from the Reformed 
Church and founding a new church community on the 
basis of the " Dort principles." This project of separa- 
tion went out from the preacher at Ulruin, Hendrik de 
Cock, who from the pulpit assailed the lack of orthodoxy 
in his colleagues. His sympathiser Scholte of Doeveren 
in Brabant came to his help, and on October 14, 1834, 
De Cock with many adherents signed an act of separa- 
tion from the Reformed Church. In 1836 the number 
of the " Separatists " was estimated at several thousands. 
A meeting of Separatists, arranged as a " national synod," 
declared it wanted only to restore the " Dort church 
order" to honour and asked the king for recognition as 
" in truth a Christian Reformed Church " or rather as 
" the " Reformed Church. The royal resolution of July 
5th refused them the title of " true Reformed Church " 
and did not place the new organisation upon an equality 
with other church communities, though they might form 
local congregations and hold household meetings. Not 
until the end of 1838 did the Separatist community at 
Utrecht under Scholte submit to the conditions offered, 
soon followed by that at Groningen under De Cock and 
by others. Several others obstinately refused, and a 
number of their members, mostly peasants and workmen 
from the north, sought some years later (1840) in North 
America under lead of the preacher Van Raalte the com- 
plete liberty of worship, which they believed could never 
be obtained here. In Michigan they formed the nucleus 
of the later Dutch colonies in and around Grand Rapids, 
which were very flourishing in the second half of the 
century and about 1890 attained a population of 250,000, 
including over 8000 born in Holland. 

In literature an analogous movement brought clearness 
into the " misty atmosphere of the intellect " prevailing be- 

44 6 History of the Dutch People 

fore 1830. The antiquated Vaderlandsche Letteroefeningen 
no longer satisfied the needs of the newer literary men. 
The Recensent der Recensent en (1805) of Kemper, Kinker, 
and Wiselius had already blown " the first trumpet," and 
about 1820 Bilderdijk's followers sounded the second. 
The third trumpet was the appearance of the prospectus 
of De Gids in August, 1830, the manifesto of a young 
school, which desired to break off from narrowness and 
partisanship. Bakhuizen van den Brink, Heye, Potgieter 
were the talented leaders of a new critical magazine: 
De Gids (1837), which opposed mercilessly convention- 
alism and by unsparing criticism endeavoured to lay 
new foundations for the intellectual life of the time. 
What they and their friends gave in that young review 
promised much, though the tone was far from moderate. 
Their attempt was supported by the older stylist Geel, 
professor and librarian at Ley den, who in his Onderzoek 
en Phantasie (1S38) preached independence of opinion 
and breaking with old forms. And Kneppelhout's Stiiden- 
taiti/pen, Beets's Camera Obscura, Hasebroek's humour 
in his Waarheid en Droomen showed what was to be ex- 
pected from the future, which had had forerunners of 
importance in the dead young Aernout Drost, author of 
Hcrmingard van de Eikentcrpen, in Jacob van Lennep 
with his Pleegzoon and his Roos van Dckcma and his 
Ncderlandsche Legendcn, in Oltmans with his Loevestein 
and his Schaapherder. A new time seemed to dawn not 
merely in ecclesiastical and literary affairs. From the 
other side of the North Sea Stephenson's steam horse made 
its triumphal entry after 1830, preceded by the steamboat. 
On September 20, 1830, was opened the first railroad in 
Holland between Haarlem and Amsterdam. More and 
more it appeared that new thoughts and new forms were 
everywhere marching on, and the old king was too much 
a man of the eighteenth century to feel at home amid 
all the new things. He saw that his time was past and 

End of King William I.'s Reign 447 

derided to yield to the pressure. For a monarch as the 
father of his country there was no longer a place in the 
Holland of 1840. On September 12th quite unexpectedly 
he gave notice of his " firm and irrevocable " resolution 
to abdicate. Not only the necessity of reigning thence- 
forth with responsible ministers and under control of 
the States-General, but also the bitter disappointment 
with regard to Belgium, the personal opposition to him, 
and especially his general impression of all that was 
changing around him persuaded him to this step at first 
kept secret. On October 7th the king summoned the 
princes, the chief personages of the government, and 
the court to Het Loo and there abdicated in simple 
fashion. It was done in a proclamation declaring it 
desirable that " a firm vigorous masculine hand, a younger 
life, free from the pressure of advancing years and not 
wavering from earlier recollections " should assume the 
government of the country. The king transferred the 
authority to the prince of Orange, the legal successor, 
and, as king William Frederick, count of Nassau, de- 
parted for abroad, his abdication and departure being 
regretted by only a few. This was a sharp contrast to 
the manner of his return twenty-seven years before. 



WITH the constitutional revision of 1840 the Dutch 
government entered upon a new period, in which 
the king's personal rule, under ministerial responsibility 
and greater control of the States-General, could be 
limited within the bounds of better circumscribed con- 
stitutional provisions. But it soon appeared that in 
fact little more was changed than the person of the king, 
while the servants of the state and the forms of govern- 
ment remained about the same. William II. was quite 
a different man from his father. Chivalrous and amiable, 
hesitating at no sacrifice for the fatherland, communica- 
tive and friendly, captivating and good-natured, lively 
and alert, very sensitive to impressions, a man of taste, 
liberal and even extravagant, as little of a financier as 
a statesman by nature, not independent in judgment and 
often the victim of intriguers and bad advisers, wavering 
and nervous in anxious days, the new sovereign, with 
the best intentions, was not calculated for the difficult 
circumstances, in which he soon saw himself placed. His 
interesting personality, however, secured him a popu- 
larity that had not fallen to the lot of his father. His 
proud wife, the Russian princess Anna Paulowna, im- 
parted new splendour to his brilliant court. 

The king's inclination to spare the Catholics and to 
let other opinions come to their rights induced him in 
November to establish a mixed commission to investi- 


King William II.'s Early Years 449 

gate the grievances of Catholics and orthodox Protes- 
tants against the existing elementary education. Its 
report brought about the royal decree of January 2, 
1842, promising the appointment of members of the 
school committees and of teachers so far as possible from 
the different denominations and granting preachers and 
priests the right to examine and criticise the books used 
in the schools. The school contest was connected with 
the simultaneous new movement in the bosom of the 
Dutch Keformed Church. The opposition between Prot- 
estant and Catholic came to light with no less power 
after the separation from Belgium. Among the pending 
questions that of the not yet executed concordat of 1827 
took a prominent place. The question was whether it 
would now be valid for the northern provinces alone. 
On October 9, 1841, a secret agreement was signed, by 
which the king expressed his desire that the pope should 
appoint no regular bishops in the kingdom, but only 
bishops in partibus infidelium, and promised to regulate 
satisfactorily elementary education. Only one of the old 
ministers, Van Maanen, now remained in office, and his 
days as statesman were numbered. In the spring of 
1842 there was so much discontent with his extreme con- 
servatism, that he was finally forced to resign. He was 
replaced by the Amsterdam lawyer F. A. van Hall, who 
had shown himself a talented jurist, and a clever orator 
of liberal principles. With educational affairs and eccle- 
siastical interests the finances especially attracted at- 
tention. Financial reform and constitutional revision 
became more and more the subjects of talk and investi- 
gation. Among the pressing matters belonged the con- 
clusion of a final agreement with Belgium, upon which 
Falck, ambassador at Brussels, insisted from fear of a 
revival of the dreaded London conference, which had left 
the affair to the two countries concerned. After some 
hesitation Belgium had signed the treaty preliminarily 

45° History of the Dutch People 

(November 5, 1842), but it was sharply disapproved of 
there, while in Holland it was as little approved of. After 
violent opposition the treaty was accepted by the Second 
Chamber. In Belgium the same happened not without 
difficulty. The acceptance of this treaty resulted from 
the condition of the kingdom's finances, the regulation 
of which appeared urgently necessary, but would cause 
great difficulties, because little was to be expected from 
an increase of taxation in the languishing state of 
national prosperity, and the needful economies were not 
easily to be secured. At the king's request Van Hall 
took in hand the ministry of finance. He consulted some 
Amsterdam financiers and Rochussen, who had resigned 
his place of finance minister. Thus arose upon the basis 
of the minister's own ideas a plan for clearing off the 
arrears, providing for the needs of the current service, 
and finally improving the financial situation. The gov- 
ernment on December 11th offered three proposals : one 
to settle the arrears to 1840, one to cover the expendi- 
tures for 1841-3, a third to meet the estimated expendi- 
tures for 1844-5. Extraordinary measures were neces- 
sary to pay off the arrears amounting to over thirty-five 
millions. On December 28th again three proposals were 
presented for discharging the debt to the Commercial 
Company, for imposing an extraordinary tax of one 
and a half per cent, on property and its income, for 
issuing a " voluntary loan " of one hundred and fifty 
millions at three per cent. Great was the impression 
made by the six pending proposals. At first opinion 
was very unfavourable. But what else could be done? 
Amendments in the Chamber brought down the proposed 
loan to one hundred and twenty-seven millions. With 
clever statesmanship Van Hall succeeded (February 7th 
and 8th) in getting the bill passed concerning the deficit 
to 1840 and that on the deficit of 1841-3. On the 23d 
the deliberation commenced on the great tax and loan 

King William II.'s Early Years 451 

law. After a debate of six days the bill was passed 
by thirty-two to twenty-five votes, a few days later also 
in the First Chamber — a brilliant victory after a hard 
fight. The question now was whether the loan would 
really be subscribed for. The Amsterdam bourse gave 
powerful support, as the credit of the country was at 
stake. At the end of March the subscription was a suc- 
cess. The dread of an income tax with the accompany- 
ing official or secret inquiry into the actual fortune, 
which would otherwise be necessary, made the last diffi- 
culties disappear. Two resolutions for the conversion 
of the redeemable Indian debt from five to four per 
cent, followed in April and were accepted despite the 
opposition, in which was heard Thorbecke, sent to the 
Second Chamber late in March by South Holland as 
the successor of the deceased Van den Bosch. 

In the opinion of the government the constitution, 
under which so much could happen, was not in need of 
revision. The government came into antagonism with 
the political ideas of the middle classes, which insisted 
on the enlargement of their influence upon governmental 
administration. They desired a return to the principles 
of the revolutionary time but without its excesses. They 
fell more and more under the influence of modern po- 
litical notions, as they were proclaimed in France by 
liberal newspapers like the Journal des dcbats, by liberal 
statesmen like Thiers and other leaders of the July mon- 
archy. In Holland the liberal press united to lead the 
struggle against personal government and immovable 
conservatism, against aristocratic rule and limitation of 
popular influence. There was not the slightest desire 
to apply the socialistic-communistic principles of a 
Fourier, a Saint-Simon, a Proudhon, or to build up a 
new society on the ruins of the old. The existing society 
might be so improved that the action of individual in- 
itiative could develop itself in accordance with the philo- 

45 2 History of the Dutch People 

sophical-economic principles, which under the influence 
of Bastiat and J. B. Say, the two Mills, Bright and 
Cobden gave rise to grand plans of social reform on the 
basis of personal economic freedom. Political movements 
came up in various countries; in Italy the striving was 
for unity of the whole peninsula; in France liberalism 
opposed the conservative personal government of Louis 
Philippe; in Germany the wish for union of the empire 
stepped more to the foreground ; in England the Chartists 
asked for universal suffrage, the liberal economists de- 
manded from the ruling Tories repeal of the oppressive 
corn laws, and the terrible potato disease of 1845 brought 
the people to despair, so that the leader of the govern- 
ment, Sir Robert Peel, was converted in the following 
year to the principles of free trade. The same potato 
disease in Holland was the occasion in September, 1845, 
of riots and the plundering of bakeshops by hungry 
mobs, particularly at The Hague, Haarlem, Leyden, 
Delft. The considerable increase of emigration to 
America in these years, from a few hundred to some 
thousands, proved that the situation remained unfavour- 
able, because this increase could not be explained by 
the desire for freedom of worship alone or by the thirst 
for gold just then discovered in California. 

What had just begun to appear under the rule of 
William I. now came out more vigorously. Thorbecke 
and his pupils at Leyden championed liberal principles; 
Potgieter and Bakhuizen van den Brink in their maga- 
zine De Gids put more modern ideas into literature and 
politics. This young movement was not to be governed 
by a company, as was proved in 1843-4, when some 
literary friends in Braga revolted against the tyranny 
of De Gids, when Hecker published his Quos Ego and 
Jan de Rijmer (Gouverneur) his satirical rhymes. At 
Leyden Geel and Cobet upon new foundations estab- 
lished the scientific study of Greek and Latin, De Vries 

King William II. 's Early Years 453 

and Jonckbloet that of Dutch, at The Hague Groen van 
Prinsterer and Bakhuizen van den Brink that of history 
from the sources, at Utrecht Mulder that of chemistry, 
Scliroeder van der Kolk that of psychology, Bonders and 
Wenckebach that of physiology and mathematics. The 
attention of many was seized by what was happening in 
the still agitated Reformed Church in the direction of 
freedom of doctrine. One spirit inspired all, that of re- 
newal, improvement, regeneration, and with enthusiasm 
the academic youth especially, the younger generation 
in general gathered under the banner of progress. They 
were all inspired by one idea, freedom, personal freedom 
of thought and action. They lived in a new world of 
thought, carried along in the mighty stream that flowed 
through all Europe in these years and inspired poets and 
prose writers to splendid creations of the mind. In a 
people like the Dutch with strong attachment to the 
church, with deeply rooted religious convictions formed 
by the history of more than three centuries, the conflict 
must be on ecclesiastical as well as on political ground. 
The Groningen school could unhindered proclaim its 
liberal principles. The fervent Leyden professor Schol- 
ten went further and demanded perfectly free criticism, 
laying the foundation for the " modern " philosophical- 
theological school to be developed in later years. This 
liberalism was obstinately opposed by Groen and his 
friends, adhering to the " principles of Dort." As the 
eloquent manifesto of the opponents of the modern ideas 
may be considered Groen van Prinsterer's Ongcloof en 
Revolutie (1847). The Van Hall government evaded this 
contest of opinions and continued the regulation of the 
finances so well begun. It did not suit the character of 
the minister to go the way pointed out by the modern 
economists. It was a question how long would be pos- 
sible this system of evasion, of compromise, of sailing 
between the rocks, but the minister could boast of one 

454 History of the Dutch People 

success: making the state's finances balance. The esti- 
mates of 1846-7 showed, for the first time in seventy 
years, a surplus of three or four millions, and the gov- 
ernment thought that this fact would shut the mouth 
of the increasing opposition. The result was to shame 
the expectation; the movement of the new time was to 
carry Holland along in the victory of modern ideas; what 
would not bend, must break. 



IN all Europe prevailed dangerous agitation, which, made 
its influence felt in Holland also with the increasing 
discontent at the slight inclination of the existing gov- 
ernment for reforms. In France the approaching revo- 
lution was talked of openly; in England, where the 
Whigs were again in power, it was hoped by liberal 
measures to hold in check the Chartists and the turbulent 
factory operatives and by intelligent legislation to bring 
a better future to neglected Ireland; in Italy was still 
fermenting the risorgimento, the revival of the desire for 
political unity; in Germany and Austria there was grow- 
ing excitement among the workmen, strikes were the 
order of the day, and the liberal party, led by professors 
and journalists, did its best to promote the idea of Ger- 
man union under liberal institutions; in Switzerland 
Protestants and Catholics opposed one another; in Hun- 
gary was the wish for independence of Austria ; in Poland 
came up once more the hope that it would finally suc- 
ceed in throwing off the foreign yoke. Amidst all this 
was Holland to remain unmoved? The advocates of the 
revision of the constitution were not dismayed. With- 
out stirring up popular movements, as their partisans 
were doing in other countries, they endeavoured to 
awaken interest for their cause by means of the press 
and the increasing activity of the electoral unions and 
by propositions in the Second Chamber. The Amhemsche 


456 History of the Dutch People 

Courant, conducted by Dirk Donker Curtius, urged thor- 
ough revision with direct elections and a responsible 
homogeneous ministry as the first requisites for the fu- 
ture really parliamentary government. ' On December 10, 
1844, eight members of the Chamber joined Thorbecke 
in a proposal of constitutional revision. The Second 
Chamber on May 31st declared it was not willing to 
propose to the government a change in the constitution, 
and the proposition of the nine men was not further dis- 
cussed. The liberals were gradually coming together in the 
cities in electoral unions. Generally they regarded Thor- 
becke as their leader, with whom the liberal champions 
Luzac and Donker Curtius enjoyed the most considera- 
tion as heirs of the opposition of Van Hogendorp; they 
believed that safety for the country was to be found only 
in a timely revision of the constitution in a liberal spirit. 
But the government was far from consenting to any such 
revision. There was talk of a " black register," which it 
kept of all those who were not of its opinion. 

Not without reason was there complaint that the gov- 
ernment did little. While Belgium covered itself with 
a network of railroads, while England and the German 
ports hastened to bring commerce into harmony with the 
rapidly changing economic conditions under the influ- 
ence of the development of steam and machine industry, 
almost nothing was done here in this direction — a great 
difference in comparison with the energy shown by the 
government of William I. After an insignificant refusal 
of the majority in the cabinet council to modify a chapter 
of the constitution — on changes and additions — Van Hall 
saw himself obliged on December 19th to offer his resigna- 
tion, which was accepted before the end of the year. 
The newly constituted ministry, now relieved of Van 
Hall, was ready in a few days with its twenty-seven pro- 
posals of constitutional revision and presented them on 
January 9th to the council of state, which gave its opin 

Constitutional Revision of 1848 457 

ion on February 21st. This opinion was in slight agree- 
ment with the wishes of the king, who looked upon con- 
stitutional revision as " our misfortune " and felt him- 
self " betrayed and sold." After ample discussion all 
was ready on March 7th to be offered by the government 
to the Second Chamber on its return after the winter 
vacation. What leaked out caused disappointment to 
many, and it was evident that there was no chance for 
what Thorbecke and his partisans desired as guarantees 
of a parliamentary government, especially direct elections, 
homogeneous ministries, and dissolution of the Chamber. 
But the king himself, suffering from a serious disease of 
the heart and much affected by the departure of his 
second son Alexander for Madeira in the hope of restor- 
ing his shattered health, was not pleased with the whole 
affair and with nervous anxiety watched the growing 
movement in various European states, just then turn- 
ing into a dangerous crisis. Reports came of occurrences 
in Paris on February 22d and following days. Manifesta- 
tions made Guizot give way before the increasing 
opposition of the liberals. The republicans used the insur- 
rection started by the liberals, and soon it was no longer 
— " Long live reform," but — " Long live the republic." 
Louis Philippe, surprised by the revolution, signed his 
abdication in favour of his grandson. The chance of 
the latter's keeping the crown vanished speedily, and a 
provisional government assumed authority " in the name 
of the people." The movement in Germany attracted 
attention particularly, because the party, taking for its 
watchword Arndt's saying: das ganze Deutschland soil 
es soin, had not yet given up the hope of uniting the 
duchy of Limburg more closely to Germany and wished 
also to join all the Netherlands to the empire after three 
centuries of a separate national existence. Prussia's 
treatment of Denmark with reference to Schleswig- 
Holstein showed the perils menacing Holland, aside from 

45§ History of the Dutch People 

the possibility that in Belgium the old liking for France 
might revive. 

The king, growing more nervous and influenced by 
dangerous intriguers, furthermore confirmed in his fear 
of revolution by news from the German courts, had en- 
tered into relations with king Leopold not entirely trust- 
ing the future and had reassured him as to the possible 
attitude of Holland towards Belgium and had promised 
him support against France. King Leopold gave thanks 
for the " so cordial and truly chivalrous letter " of his 
old opponent. Under the impression of the events rapidly 
succeeding one another, the king was ready to prevent 
the " conflagration " in Europe from spreading into Hol- 
land. He allowed several persons to advise him on what 
he ought to do, among others the liberal ambassador to 
England, count Schimmelpenninck, who happened to be 
over from London. The prince of Orange and prince 
Frederick saw that it was necessary to go further than 
the twenty-seven proposals, and Schimmelpenninck offered 
to form a liberal ministry. At noon of March 13th the 
king, without the knowledge of his ministers, summoned 
suddenly the president of the Second Chamber, Boreel 
van Hogelanden. He informed the president that he had 
heard how the government's proposals seemed to have 
made no favourable impression, that now he requested 
the Chamber " to express its opinions and wishes con- 
cerning the modification of the constitution." This 
surprising resolution made a great sensation, and the 
ministers, ignorant of the latest facts, decided naturally 
to hand in their resignations on the 15th. The same 
evening the king called Luzac, the friend and colleague 
of Thorbecke. The event was communicated by the king 
to the assembled ambassadors of the great powers with 
the frivolous remark that in twenty-four hours he had 
become from a conservative a liberal. On the preceding 
evening the " popular mouth " had made itself heard in 

Constitutional Revision of 1848 459 

a loud manifestation of workmen and boys and on the 
16th in a procession with music and torches before the 
royal palace had shouted the names of the king, Luzac, 
and Thorbecke, whereupon the king and princes emerged 
from their palaces and shook hands with the leaders. 
The populace regarded Thorbecke as the man of the 
moment, and the Amhemsche Courant already spoke of a 
Thorbecke ministry. The king wanted neither Schimmel- 
penninck, nor Thorbecke, but Luzac. Somewhat en- 
feebled in mind and body, Luzac dared not become the 
head of the ministry and named several men as possible 
ministers. The Second Chamber, whose majority was 
still for moderate revision, discussed the king's unex- 
pected request. On the 16th it brought out a report 
including its wishes in fifteen points. The king signed 
on the 17th the decree establishing a commission of the 
constitution in order " with consideration of the wishes 
of the Second Chamber of the States-General to present 
to us a complete plan of constitutional revision and at 
the same time to communicate to us the ideas of the 
same concerning the composition of a ministry." Donker 
Curtius, De Kempenaer, Luzac, Storm, and Thorbecke 
were appointed members of the commission. An end had 
to be put to the prevailing confusion, and the coming of 
Schimmelpenninck from England offered the desired 
opportunity. Count Schimmelpenninck, an aristocratic 
lord, former member of the First Chamber, ambassador 
first at St. Petersburg and later at London, and as the 
son of his father one of the chief personages of the 
country, desired, in the consciousness of his dignity, not 
to submit to the decisions of the " commission of lawyers " 
and had a personal grudge against " the Jacobin " Thor- 
becke. He wanted a moderate constitution in its main 
features similar to the British; so only he thought could 
the crown be saved for the house of Orange. He asked 
the king in writing to appoint him as " cabinet-former " 

460 History of the Dutch People 

for the formation of a definitive " homogeneous and re- 
sponsible" ministry. The king answered Schimmelpen- 
ninck's letter by consenting to his proposal to prepare 
a " constitution in the main like the British, with those 
modifications which the nature of our country and the 
present circumstances require, and by which a position 
is assured to us similar to that of the sovereign of Great 
Britain." Thus came about the ministry of March 25th. 
Its rapid formation was in part the result of disquieting 
reports concerning a popular rising in Amsterdam on 
March 24th. Schimmelpenninck became president of the 
ministerial council and minister of foreign affairs and 
finance. Thorbecke was excluded. 

Meanwhile the commission of the constitution had set 
to work and sent in on April 11th its work with a report 
to the king. It bore distinct marks of the mind of Thor- 
becke, who had taken the lead. It embraced the con- 
ditions of a " general " revision of the constitution, giving 
the common people the idea that they helped in ruling. 
Direct elections as the best means of securing genuine 
representation in the local, provincial, and national gov- 
ernment, unity and strength of a monarchical authority 
in general affairs, coupled with self-government of the 
provinces and communities, complete liberty of church 
societies and education, full ministerial responsibility, 
census as basis of the right to vote were the chief points. 
Schimmelpenninck complained of the "republican colour" 
of the draught, urged the king to reject it altogether, and 
finally resigned. Donker Curtius now obtained the lead 
in the reconstructed ministry. Met by the moderates 
with mistrust, by the conservatives with aversion, by the 
united Thorbeckians and Catholics with opposition, the 
ministry had no easy task. While in the midst of all its 
difficulties it declined in consideration, the star of Thor- 
becke rose higher. At the periodical election in July he 
was again chosen a member of the Second Chamber. 

Constitutional Revision of 1848 461 

After examining the proposals of the constitutional 
commission, modified here and there by the council of 
ministers, the king offered them on June 19th to the 
Second Chamber. The impression made by them upon 
the nation in general was very satisfactory. The pre- 
liminary report of the Second Chamber (July 13th) 
gave reason to believe that the proposals would not 
come out of the parliamentary melting pot unchanged. 
There were repeatedly notes of modifications of the 
draught. The twelve proposals were at last ripe for 
the public discussion, which took place in the Second 
Chamber from August 16th to 24th. The conclusion was 
that all the proposals were accepted by a large majority. 
The First Chamber accepted them from September 6th 
to 8th almost unanimously. Serious anxiety was still 
felt with regard to the deliberation over the draught by 
the Double Chamber. The discussions continued from 
September 18th to October 7th, but they were of a very 
moderate character. On the 14th the consideration of 
the measures for carrying the law into effect was ended 
and the same day the king confirmed the revised con- 
stitution, which was solemnly proclaimed on November 
3d. With great gratitude the king recalled, on the 16th 
at the opening of the temporary sitting, " the happy out- 
come of the ever dangerous undertaking" and praised 
the compatriots " for their moderation, for their con- 
fidence, and for their attachment to law and order, as 
well as for their adhesion to the house of Orange." He 
asserted that the foundations of the government of the 
state had remained the same, but the arrangement was 
modified " in accordance with the need of the time." 
With pride could also the minister of internal affairs, 
De Kempenaer, declare on the 14th at the close of the 
session in the government's name that, in contrast with 
what occurred elsewhere in Europe, the " respected " 
constitution was " purified " without disturbance, the 

462 History of the Dutch People 

kingdom " established upon better foundations," " the 
material for dissension carefully cleared away." One 
might well speak of a new period after this revision of 
the constitution, much more thorough than that of 1840 
had been. The system of personal, " fatherly " govern- 
ment, such as William I. had conducted more or less 
after the manner of the German princes, who mostly 
had now been compelled to accustom themselves to the 
restraint of constitutions for their principalities, was 
now ended for good in the Netherlands. The ministerial 
responsibility fully introduced had bound the execution 
of authority to the cooperation of the ministers; the 
introduction of the right of investigation, amendment, 
and initiative had assured to the Second Chamber more 
vigorous interference with the course of the government, 
with legislation; a more active share in fixing the esti- 
mates was granted to the States-General; the direct 
elections made the Second Chamber a more immediate 
representation of the people, and its dissolution would 
afford the opportunity to learn more accurately the wishes 
of the nation ; to provinces and communities was returned 
the self-government, of which there had been little thought 
under the previous reign; education henceforth appeared 
among the various subjects to be cared for by the gov- 
ernment; great liberty of organisation was bestowed 
upon church communities; the colonies were brought 
more within the view of the parliament and withdrawn 
from the sole rule of the sovereign; the right of union 
and meeting could now be allowed in fuller measure to 
the population politically of age ; a number of the articles 
of the constitution were notably improved and made 
plainer. Under the revised constitution Holland was to 
take its place with Belgium, Switzerland, and the Scan- 
dinavian countries, with England among the states, which 
stood at the head in political development, and thus was 
to remain worthy of its great republican past, when it 

Constitutional Revision of 1848 463 

had gone to the front on the way to liberty and 
self-government. The new period of historical develop- 
ment was entered upon with joyful confidence in the 



WITH the introduction of the revised constitution a 
beginning only was made of what had to be done, 
and the question arose whether the definitive ministry 
appointed by the king (November 21st) would be strong 
enough to lead the further development of the accepted 
principles. An increasing number of liberals regarded 
Thorbecke, the real father of the renewed constitution, 
as the proper man and not Donker Curtius or De Kem- 
penaer. The great majority of the new Second Chamber 
was liberal, and Thorbecke was recognised as its chief. 
This result was owing partly to the cooperation of Cath- 
olics and liberals. A sad event brought matters tempo- 
rarily to a stand. The king's appearance in the last 
year had shown that his heart disease was becoming 
serious, and trying occurrences had certainly done it no 
good. Weak and weary he went on March 13th to his 
beloved Tilburg, where he was wont to seek rest amid 
very simple surroundings. He was feverish on arriving 
there and died on March 17th, mourned by the many 
who had learned to know his captivating personality, 
by the many he had helped, by the nation which long 
held him in pleasant memory as the amiable monarch, 
whose popularity had more than once won a victory over 
difficulties. The prince of Orange, now king William III., 
was sojourning in England; he returned on the 21st 
and immediately assumed the government. There was 


New Institutions of the State 465 

anxiety to see how William III., a man thirty -one years 
old, of whose autocratic leanings and inconstancy 
rumours were circulating, would commence his reign. 
Married in 1839 to his literary and scientific cousin, prin- 
cess Sophia of Wiirttemberg, he had two sons, William 
and Maurice. To Thorbecke the king did not show him- 
self friendly; it was affirmed that his father had warned 
him against this man as " dangerous to the dynasty." 
The States-General went on preparing their activities in 
April, and Thorbecke at the head of a powerful phalanx 
of liberal members, as master in the practice of parlia- 
mentary life, exerted a great influence on the course of 
affairs. It was to be expected that the ministry and the 
strongly organised majority in the Second Chamber would 
not long stand in opposition to one another without 
strife. De Kempenaer held the ministry together for 
some months amid repeated defeats alternating with 
small successes. The newspapers ridiculed a government 
that could only enact laws on the pharmacopoeia and 
macaroni factories — as Thorbecke bitingly observed. De 
Kempenaer, coining before the chamber with four organic 
laws, saw them unfavourably received by the majority, 
and resigned at the beginning of the new session in Sep- 
tember, soon followed by the whole ministry. The an- 
swer of the Second Chamber to the new king's first speech 
from the throne urged " unanimity " between government 
and representation, which did not now exist. What this 
meant was plain: a Thorbecke ministry was desired by 
the majority. All attempts to escape it failed one after 
another. At the end of October the king yielded to the 
pressure, and the Leyden professor was commissioned to 
form a ministry, which was effected on November 1st. 
Thorbecke himself became minister of internal affairs. 
Thus the path of parliamentary government was finally 
entered upon. With courage the " ministry of reform," 
as it was called, took its task in hand, ready to break 

VOL. V — 30 

466 History of the Dutch People 

any opposition to the " stream of innovation." The new 
ministers met the States-General proudly. They were 
without programme, because they reckoned upon the con- 
fidence of the in a great majority liberal representation. 
When Groen van Prinsterer on December 13th demanded 
" something positive," the governmental leader answered 
with one of those pithy sayings, of which he possessed 
the secret: "Wait for our deeds!" The difficulties of 
labouring with unwilling or inexperienced officials and 
a sickness of Thorbecke retarded the work of legislation, 
and the opposition sarcastically asked where the so 
proudly promised " deeds " were. Van Bosse's naviga- 
tion laws attracted general attention, taking a step in 
the direction of free trade by the abolition of differential 
and transit duties, of stipulations restricting foreign 
navigation and shipbuilding, and by lowering the tariff 
on raw materials necessary for this last. The principles 
of free trade now triumphed in the Chambers along the 
whole line, the beginning of the end of the protective 
system. From the shipping laws dates the free trade 
legislation, which for half a century raised commerce 
and industry in Holland to a height long unknown. 

Draughts of a new election law and a new provincial 
law were ready in June for public discussion. The fifty- 
five thousand voters were increased to one hundred thou- 
sand. The electoral law was proclaimed July 4th, as 
was the provincial law two days later. The law on the 
communities cost longer preparation. Groen, who char- 
acterised Thorbecke in these days as the " Napoleon of 
the law," mockingly set the "central autocracy" over 
against the local " automatons " and pleaded for " sov- 
ereignty in one's own circle." In June, 1851, the law 
was accepted by a large majority. Thorbecke repulsed 
victoriously all attacks upon his conduct. He succeeded 
in finding other ministers to replace several who had 
resigned. With the reorganised ministry Thorbecke 

New Institutions of the State 467 

made ready to secure the passage of other laws. While 
the ministry by the new laws developed further the prin- 
ciples of the constitution, accustomed commerce and 
industry as the chief sources of prosperity to new con- 
ditions, it had an eye also to the improvement of the 
care of the poor. The millions expended annually by the 
more than thirty-seven hundred charitable institutions 
could not alleviate the grinding poverty, in part on ac- 
count of the injudicious method of distribution. In the 
project offered to the States-General at the end of 1851 
Thorbecke wanted to bring all charitable institutions, 
even those of the church, under governmental super- 
vision. The relief of poverty was a state affair. By this 
arrangement the government came into collision with the 
very jealous church authorities. With pleasure the 
Catholics had greeted the Thorbecke ministry. They 
hoped for his cooperation in obtaining the complete 
recognition of their rights as citizens and liberty of 
education as well as of church regulation. Efforts had 
long been made to arrange here the Catholic church 
hierarchy in the usual way under bishops and to put 
an end to the organisation of the " Holland mission," 
existing for two and a half centuries, under archpriests 
in partibus infidelium and the general guidance of a 
vice-superior, as a rule the internuncio, an Italian prelate 
appointed by the Congregation of the Propaganda at 
Rome and working under its supervision. Slight desire 
was shown at Rome for the restoration of the hierarchy, 
from which a diminution of the influence of the holy see 
was feared, and the powerful orders, Franciscans and 
Jesuits, dreaded a stronger church organisation under 
episcopal rule, expecting from it a decrease of their own 
influence. In 1847 some " notable laymen " asked for 
the episcopal hierarchy in an address to Pope Pius IX., 
but found little encouragement in Rome or from the 
internuncio at The Hague Mgr. Belgrade In the autumn 

468 History of the Dutch People 

of 1850 some Catholic members of the Second Chamber 
brought the subject before the pope again, pointing out 
the good chance under the new constitution and the 
Thorbecke ministry. A great address movement in 1851 
showed how ardently many Dutch Catholics favoured 
the restoration of the hierarchy. The real significance 
of the measure was not understood in Protestant circles. 
Its intention was supposed to be the establishment of 
the papal power in the country; on the contrary with 
the hierarchy of the bishops the power of the papal inter- 
nuncio over the Roman Catholic Church in the Nether- 
lands would decrease and go over to the Dutch bishops 
and chief clergy, so that the Catholic Church would be- 
come more independent of Rome. In the fall of 1851 
Belgrado received orders from his court to prepare the 
organisation. He opened negotiations with the Dutch 
government in a note of December 9th. Not until March 
24, 1852, did the ministry report that it was ready to 
allow everything that could be asked. The Dutch gov- 
ernment (October 10th) recognised the liberty of the 
Catholic Church to revise its organisation in the way 
that it desired. In the negotiations the Dutch govern- 
ment had repeatedly given notice that it expected a 
" preliminary communication " concerning the plans to 
be carried out. This was not the design at Rome; the 
papal secretary of state Antonelli insisted to the inter- 
nuncio that the interference of the Dutch government 
was to be refused in this " purely church " settlement. 
Rome was ready on December 20th, and it was left to 
Belgrado to make the " preliminary communication con- 
cerning the fixed plan " whenever and in whatever way 
he pleased, but only as a " simple confidential communi- 
cation." According to Belgrado's declaration this com- 
munication was made January 12th to Thorbecke and 
two ministers. They denied it, however, and Thorbecke 
complained later that Rome had only " warned with 

New Institutions of the State 469 

the blow." The government did not wish a bishopric in 
the very Protestant Utrecht or in Haarlem. It expected 
a more official communication after the private and short 
announcement of the internuncio. At Rome Utrecht was 
chosen as the old centre of Christianity in the north. 
The pope is said to have exclaimed : " Utrecht, the seat 
of Willebrord ! I shall prove to Europe that the Cath- 
olics of Holland are not of yesterday." On March 7th 
Pius IX. held a secret consistory, and in the allocution 
Cum Placucrit he explained to the cardinals the con- 
tents of the brief Ex Qua Die signed on March 4th. The 
allocution spoke of the opportunity now offered in Hol- 
land and Brabant to restore the hierarchy, which was 
destroyed three centuries earlier by " hostile man," who 
" had sowed weeds upon that part of the Lord's ground." 
Now five bishoprics could be established, Utrecht being 
named as the seat of the archbishop, with Haarlem, Bois- 
le-Duc, Breda, and Roermond as suffragan bishoprics. 

Orthodox Protestants and anti-Catholic liberals com- 
plained of the neglect by the ministry of the interests of 
the " Protestant nation." Soon came the political oppo- 
sition of the conservative party, which hoped to defeat 
Thorbecke. In the first days of the month was the " April 
movement" against the government and the Catholics. 
Pastors and laymen, church councils and authorities put 
themselves at the head of the movement, which did not 
leave the Catholics unmolested on the streets and in 
the houses, caused Catholic servants to be sent away 
from Protestant homes, made Catholic shops avoided by 
Protestants. Holland was divided into two camps. Civil 
war seemed to be threatening, so that many urged modera- 
tion and the Synodal Commission of the Dutch Reformed 
Church disapproved sharply of the hatred against people 
of a different opinion. From Utrecht started a stream 
of addresses. More than two hundred thousand signa- 
tures were collected for them in a few weeks; they were 

47° History of the Dutch People 

sent to all the churches in the country, offered from 
house to house, and contained a protest against " the 
assumption of the title, rank, or dignity of bishop of any 
part of our fatherland granted by a foreign sovereign." 
They requested the king not to recognise the bishops 
and to uphold liberty of conscience against the intoler- 
ance of the Catholics. The opening of the session of 
the Second Chamber on April 13th was anxiously awaited. 
The government really convinced the majority ; a motion 
of order was passed, by which the Chamber, " having 
heard, that vigorous representations have been or will 
be made to the court of Rome," went over to " the order 
of the day " — a brilliant victory for the threatened min- 
istry. In a sharp speech Thorbecke asserted that the 
government had received no communication of the plans 
at Rome, but even if it had been in a position to make 
known its objections, the pope by virtue of the constitu- 
J ion had perfect liberty to do what he now had done. 
Thus the government had won the cause in the Second 
Chamber, but its fate was elsewhere decided. The king 
was accustomed in the spring to pay an official visit to 
Amsterdam, and when it was known that this visit would 
occur on April 11th, rumour had it that a great demon- 
stration against the ministry might take place there. A 
Protestant-conservative coup d'etat, directed not only 
against the ministers and the Catholics but even against 
the constitution, was feared. The king, who was little 
pleased with Thorbecke and impatiently looked for an 
opportunity to get rid of him and his friends, was al- 
ready in Amsterdam, when the ministry at The Hague was 
informed of the increasing excitement in the metropolis. 
It resolved on the 14th to propose to the king, that in 
case addresses on the restoration of the hierarchy were 
presented, to answer that such an arrangement needed 
no approval or recognition upon his part, nor would 
have any influence upon the interests of other churches 

New Institutions of the State 471 

or of the state. This proposition was brought to Am- 
sterdam and impressed the king very disagreeably as a 
sort of instruction how he was to behave, lie seems 
immediately to have summoned Van Hall, the political 
leader of the opposition, who was at The Hague. On 
the loth twelve members of a committee appeared to 
offer an address, bearing over fifty-one thousand names 
and urging the king not to approve the establishment of 
the hierarchy of the bishops. The king replied that he 
saw the gentlemen with the greatest pleasure, was deeply 
penetrated with the importance of the step taken, and 
amid the many sad moments of his reign found support 
in the cordiality and childlike love of his people; he 
ended by declaring that this day had more tightly tied 
the bond between the house of Orange and the father- 
land and had made it dearer to his heart. With this 
answer, little as it satisfied the committee, as it gave 
no promise, the king had deviated from the proposition 
of the ministers. On the lGth the king received Van Hall 
and offered him the ministry of foreign affairs, as soon 
as the existing ministry should be discharged. Van Hall 
accepted the offer under certain conditions, including the 
maintenance and " honest and loyal execution of the con- 
stitution," and the king consented. The ministers, having 
read the king's answer to the address committee in the 
newspapers, presented their resignation the same day, 
unless the king wished to remove the " misunderstand- 
ing " by a public declaration. Displeased also by this 
request, the king accepted the resignations on the 19th. 
Thorbecke had fallen, not by a parliamentary defeat but 
apparently by the king's will. Thus his ministerial career 
had come to a sudden and unexpected end. 



THE great question in Holland was now, how the 
agitation prevailing in the spring of 1853 was to 
be suppressed. A policy of conciliation was indicated, 
although it might not immediately calm the awakened 
passions. This was the task of the new ministry formed 
by Van Hall. The dissolution of the Second Chamber 
was a way of making the nation speak. And the nation 
spoke. The elections of May 17th brought strengthening 
to the conservatives, defeat to the Thorbeckians. The 
new Chamber contained, besides a great number of 
moderates and conservatives, twelve adherents of the 
antirevolutionary Groen van Prinsterer; it had a majority 
composed of conservatives and " Groenians." The watch- 
word of the conservatives was: "Preservation of the 
existing." Not that they wanted to remain immovably 
by whatever existed, but they desired slow development, 
no haste, no extensive change. What distinguished them 
from Thorbecke and his liberals was more a difference 
of temperament, of march tempo, than of principles; they 
wished to go forwards, but with a slow, measured step. 
Thorbecke and the liberals wanted a brisk advance on 
the road of progress pointed out by the law of 1848. 
Three men especially attracted the attention of the na- 
tion : Thorbecke, Van Hall, and Groen van Prinsterer. 
The first, the tall, badly dressed, thin, angular, stiff figure, 
a man cast in iron, for whom no line of ancestors had 


Conciliation and Political Dissension 473 

paved his path, who was supported by the faith of no 
church, the unselfish, the incorruptible, deeply penetrated 
by earnest love for his fatherland, believing in his calling 
for his people, the stern scientist, the independent thinker, 
whose sentences like the blows of a hammer fell merci- 
lessly upon his opponents in parliamentary debate, whose 
ideas frightened older men by their dogmatic and author 
itative form but inspired young men with enthusiasm for 
his ideal of a society founded on freedom. Opposed to 
him the tall, lithe, elegant Van Hall, always fashionably 
and carefully attired, accustomed to courtly etiquette, 
profound in the secrets of crooked statesmanship, a 
master of fine eloquence, fond of power, proud, vain of 
his services to his country, more a clever advocate and 
smooth debater than a thorough investigator or acute 
thinker, no man of fixed principles, ready to sacrifice his 
own opinion to the demands of the moment, respected 
for his abilities more than esteemed for his character, 
regarded rather as a necessary evil than honoured as a 
leader, ready as he always was to quit the conservative 
line for a more liberal one, whenever it was demanded 
by his policy characterised as " parasitic." And third in 
the row was Groen van Prinsterer, the classically formed 
scholar with fine features, not a statesman but a con- 
fessor of the gospel as he called himself, the many-sided 
dialectician, whose cutting sarcasm and sharp eye for 
the weak spots in the armour of the opposing party made 
him a formidable antagonist in debate; his uncommon 
knowledge and inexhaustible fertility of invention as- 
sured him often great success as an orator, when with 
gently sounding but deeply cutting words he attacked 
his " esteemed friend from Leyden." He found support 
in the great mass of the orthodox Protestant popula- 
tion, which honoured him as the champion of Calvinism 
sent by God, and in the nobility, which saw in him the 
man of the ardently desired reaction against the " revo- 

474 History of the Dutch People 

lutionary " citizen class of 1795 and 1848. In these three 
gifted personages was incorporated the crisis, which the 
Dutch people traversed in these years, and after which 
was to be settled in what direction its further develop- 
ment would move. With Thorbecke and his liberals it 
would go forward on the road of modern movement; 
with Van Hall and his conservatives it might take the 
same way, but slowly and without firm leading; with 
Groen van Prinsterer it might turn back to paths that 
seemed long deserted. 

It appeared speedily that the government in many 
respects would not deviate far from the liberal line fol- 
lowed since 1818. The elections of June, 1854, changed 
the majority into a minority, and the attacks on the 
ministry obtained a very serious character. The min- 
ister of foreign affairs had a hard task, and it was made 
more difficult by the danger of being involved in the 
Crimean War, which in aid of Turkey brought England, 
France, and Sardinia into the field against Russia and 
threatened to become a general European war. Every- 
thing showed that in material things the Dutch nation 
was going only slowly on the way, which the new insti- 
tutions of 1848 had opened; if it was to advance more 
vigorously, then it was necessary for the government to 
break with the system of protection in the practice of 
legislation. Intellectually these years are notable on 
account of the " modern " direction, the newer religious 
ideas of the Leyden professor Scholten and his friends, 
among whom his young colleague Abraham Kuenen came 
to the fore. In 1855 Scholten published his Historico- 
critical introduction to the 'New Testament, and Kuenen 
applied the critical principles to the Old Testament. 
Their sympathiser Robert Fruin in two pamphlets at- 
tacked the ecclesiastical-political ideas of Groen van 
Prinsterer and opposed the results of modern thinking 
to the dogmas of church orthodoxy, which in the bosom 

Conciliation and Political Dissension 475 

of the Reformed Church found champions at the uni- 
versity of Utrecht in Van Oosterzee and Doedes, at Leyden 
in the Walloon preacher Chantepie de la Saussaye. The 
division of minds came out in the political and ecclesi- 
astical struggle over the school, the relation of which to 
the government was again brought under discussion by 
a proposition of Groen van Prinsterer (May 13, 1850). 
The antirevolutionary leader wanted a request for the 
establishment of a separate school to be settled within 
six weeks by the government of the community or by 
deputies. It was this affair which brought the tottering 
ministry to its fall. The proposition was rejected by a 
large majority. A government bill of September, 1854, 
for regulating elementary education, bore the usual mark 
of the laws proceeding from this ministry, conciliation 
of the extremes by giving way to both sides. It main- 
tained the mixed public school, but recognised the liberty 
of separate instruction. Groen van Prinsterer opposed 
it with all his might. He demanded liberty of separate 
instruction, the public school rule, where possible sepa- 
rate for Protestants and Catholics, but never without 
religion to please the liberals or without the Bible to 
please the Catholics. It was the beginning of the po- 
litical school struggle, which for half a century was to 
occupy so important a place in the political, intellectual, 
and ecclesiastical life of Holland. 

In the ministry dissensions had broken out. Although 
the elections of 1856 went off with few changes of per- 
sons, Van Hall, constantly assailed from all sides, re- 
solved to resign ; his colleagues Van Reenen and Honker 
Curtius followed his example, and so the April ministry 
really fell (July, 1858). The new ministry had the 
Groenian Van der Brugghen as leader for the school 
affair. Groen himself would only take office, whenever 
his principles had some chance of acceptance, and so 
far they had not yet penetrated the nation. Van der 

476 History of the Dutch People 

Brugghen with his ministry was not strong. His school 
law was presented (February, 1857), and in it, to the 
vexation of the antirevolutionaries, the principles of 
1S06 were maintained with the adoption of the subsidised 
separate school to be established by law for children, 
whose parents had conscientious scruples against the 
neutral mixed school. Violent was the discussion early 
in July over this law, particularly over the formula: 
" Bringing up to Christian and social virtues " in the 
mixed school. The discussion ended on July 20th with 
the acceptance of the law. Groen, deeply disappointed, 
resigned at once as member of the Chamber and de- 
termined to confine himself to the written exposition of 
his views, especially in his review De Nederlander. The 
government evidently was not in agreement with the 
political ideas of the majority in both Chambers and 
encountered opposition there. Finally Van der Brugghen 
saw himself compelled to resign. With the passage of 
the primary education law the ministry's task seemed 
to be finished, and the way was open for Thorbecke's 
return to continue the work of reformation. But the 
ostracism was too strong to allow the liberal leader to 
come into the government. In March, 1858, Rochussen, 
the former governor-general, was commissioned to form 
a ministry. A government of " fusion " — some said 
" confusion "—between liberal and conservative was an- 
nounced. Colonial interests were now more in the fore- 
ground. The system of cultivation was not touched, as 
from 1831 to 1853 the mother country had to thank it 
for over two hundred and twenty-three millions. Though 
helped by the abolition of slavery in all India on Janu- 
ary 1, 1860, the Javanese remained in many places the 
victims of extortion. The talented official Douwes Decker, 
as " Multatuli," in his novel Max Havelaar (1860), awak- 
ened the Dutch nation and made it see the inside of 
this " girdle of emerald thrown around the equator." 

Conciliation and Political Dissension 477 

The rejection of proposals for railroads by the First 
Chamber was fatal to the weak ministry, and it offered 
its resignation to the king. As Thorbecke was not 
wanted by the king, the clever Van Hall was again 
ready to undertake the task. He succeeded in bringing 
together a ministry — the last, in which the statesman, 
now almost seventy years old, was to show his ability. 
A railroad law proposed the building of nine lines by 
the state and the expenditure on them of at least ten 
millions a year. This sum was to come from the profit 
balances of India, thus really from the cultivation sys- 
tem there. The law was enacted, and on August 18th it 
was confirmed. Van Hall was most sharply attacked 
by Thorbecke, who spoke of his policy "without con- 
stancy, without security for the day of to-morrow, with- 
out moral influence but of a very ample conscience, 
divested of everything but the title of power." It was 
plain that a ministry, supported by no party, could not 
long stand, however adroit its leader might be in " col- 
lecting a majority of votes." At last Van Hall under- 
stood that it was time for him to go and offered his 
resignation, which was accepted (February 23d). He 
died almost forgotten in 18G6 at The Hague. Thor- 
becke's time had not yet arrived. His former colleague, 
baron Van Zuylen, undertook to rule with a liberal min- 
istry. In drawing up the reply to the speech from the 
throne in September, 1861, the recognition of the young 
kingdom of Italy was discussed. The Catholics, indig- 
nant at the " robber king " Victor Emmanuel for despoil- 
ing the pope of most of his states, showed their disapproval 
plainly. They were estranged from the liberals, and 
their support of the cabinet was uncertain. Dissension 
arose in the cabinet itself. Van Zuylen, hated by the 
Thorbeckians as a deserter, resigned. What was now 
to happen in the political chess game? The king made 
every effort to escape a second Thorbecke ministry. But 

478 History of the Dutch People 

nobody else was left but Thorbecke. Van Reenen, influ- 
ential with the king, advised him to commission the 
liberal leader to form a ministry, and so the man long 
kept out of office came once more to the fore. It was 
evident that the king had given way unwillingly, hoping 
that the statesman, dangerous always to the monarchical 
power, would be less harmful as a minister than as an 
opponent and that he would not long be able to steer 
the ship of state. 


thorbecke's last years 

THE still active statesman, who after nine years took 
up again the task left unfinished in 1853, speedily 
found ministers ready with him to resume the work of 
reform. On January 31, 18G2, Thorbecke was appointed 
minister of internal affairs. He repelled the attack upon 
the " young " and " inexperienced " ministers with the 
remark that " for this office also an examination should 
be established." Soon the conservative opposition began 
to assert itself, incited by the reappearance of Groen van 
Prinsterer as a member of the Chamber. Soon again was 
seen the conflict of principles between the two great 
champions of liberal and antirevolutionary ideas, espe- 
cially on the subject of education, of the " neutral " 
school, opposed by Groen as an " irreligious " school but 
regarded by Thorbecke as the best guarantee for liberty of 
instruction and real education of the people in the service 
of the " neutral " state. With all the self-confidence of 
the leader the ministry in 18G5 was dangerously weak. 
Treated by the king with conspicuous coolness, supported 
by the majority with unanimity only on the colonial 
policy, vehemently assailed by the conservative minority, 
by many Catholics as liberal no longer considered an 
ally, it had to contend with great difficulties. There 
were rumours of dissensions between its members, be- 
tween the authoritative Thorbecke and the energetic 
Fransen van de Putte over the latter's colonial plans. 


480 History of the Dutch People 

Before long the ministry gave way in consequence of 
disagreement between Thorbecke and Olivier on one side 
and Fransen van de Putte on the other concerning legis- 
lation in India, the latter holding it might be regulated 
simply by royal decree, while the first two deemed a 
definite law necessary. It was evidently the end of a 
long-standing, personal difference. Thorbecke and Olivier 
resigned ; the " captain " was " thrown overboard " by 
the younger colleagues, who thought they might intro- 
duce the desired reforms without his cooperation, now 
his lead had failed and his personal qualities had seemed 
an obstacle to the carrying out of a series of liberal 
reforms, supported by the liberal majority and rendered 
possible by an incomparably favourable financial condi- 
tion. But the old fighter was not so easily to be beaten out 
of the field. In the liberal party arose a conflict which 
paralysed its strength for years. While Fransen van 
de Putte succeeded in bringing together a progressive 
ministry, Thorbecke appeared in the Chamber for Gron- 
ingen, thus giving the lie to the assertion that he " longed 
for rest." The cultivation law was in the foreground, 
the law directed against the condemned system of Van 
den Bosch, which was, however, defended by the con- 
servative party and the cautious financiers. The law 
aimed to assure to the Javanese personal landed property 
and free labour and to make the waste lands on the 
island ready for improvement. On May 1st the law came 
up for discussion in the Second Chamber and in the de- 
bate of fourteen days, weakly carried on by Fransen van 
de Putte recently recovered from sickness, the division 
of the liberal party appeared plainly. An attempt at 
conciliation failed and an amendment of the Thorbeckian 
Poortman against the spirit of article 1 of the law was 
accepted by a small majority. Thorbecke and some other 
liberals voted with some Catholics and the entire con- 
servative party against the principles of Van de Putte. 

Thorbecke's Last Years 481 

" And if a house be divided against itself, that house 
cannot stand," was the warning. It was verified on the 
liberal party, and it could be said that its leader himself 
had helped to promote the fall of his party. The min- 
istry resigned and for the moment no liberal government 
was possible. Thorbecke's " old guard " and the younger 
liberals were not in a condition to lead one. The time 
had come, for which the conservative party had longed : 
the government " fell into its lap." The former minister 
Mijer was intrusted by the king with the formation of 
the new ministry. He consulted the antirevolutionary 
count Van Zuylen, who took charge of the foreign affairs. 
The elections did not attract the attention suited to the 
great interests at stake. People did not realise that 
they stood before the choice between old and new, that 
the time had come for the nation t© decide whether it 
wanted to go on in the line of 1848 or to adopt only 
in part the principles then accepted. With growing un- 
easiness the population saw the political complications in 
Germany, where Prussia and Austria stood opposed so 
sharply that every moment war seemed inevitable, of 
which young Italy, impatient to drive Austria from the 
peninsula, and Napoleon III., desirous of expansion to 
the Rhine or into Belgium, would gladly make use. With 
distrust of Prussia's real aims under the guidance of 
Bismarck notice was taken of the rumours of secret 
agreements between France and Prussia, by which not 
only Luxemburg but also Belgium and Holland appeared 
in danger of losing their independence, and Limburg 
might come into trouble. While in the summer of 18G6 
the world events were taking place, which caused Aus- 
tria to withdraw from Germany and Italy, while there 
was bloody fighting at Koniggriitz in Bohemia, Custozza 
in Venetia, Lissa in the Adriatic Sea, but Austria's vic- 
tories over Italy did not make up for its complete defeat 
by Prussia, a new Germany was soon formed under 

VOL. V — 31 

482 History of the Dutch People 

Prussian lead, though still divided into a North and 
South Germany. What had become of the indemnity 
promised to France in the Rhine district or in Luxem- 
burg or Belgium? What of the concessions to Prussia 
against the Netherlands? Limburg and Luxemburg re- 
mained outside of the new arrangement of German re- 
lations according to the peace of Prague, which on August 
23d had ended the struggle decided in a few weeks by 
the Prussian needle gun and Prussian military discipline. 
Would Holland be able to uphold its independence be- 
fore the strong neighbour, now next to France the great 
power of the continent? People began to think of the 
defence of the country, of the changes in shipbuilding 
since the use of rams and monitors, of floating batteries 
and ironclad steamships in the American Civil War and 
the naval war in the Adriatic. 

The ministry astonished the whole country by the re- 
port that the minister of colonies Mijer had resigned on 
September 17th and had been appointed to the influential 
post of governor-general. Explanation was asked, but 
the government's answers were not satisfactory, particu- 
larly when it resented the interference of the Chamber 
with the appointment as an encroachment upon the rights 
of the crown. A motion of disapproval was passed. It 
attacked the government so seriously that the ministry 
proposed to the king the dissolution of the Second 
Chamber for " mistaking its calling." Before the elec- 
tions set for October 31st the government induced the 
king to issue a proclamation urging the voters to choose 
representatives, who would agree with the administra- 
tion and put an end to the " constant change of respon- 
sible counsellors.'' The proclamation was sent with the 
ballots to the voters. The purpose was evident to use 
the attachment to the house of Orange against the liberal 
party. The exasperation among the liberals was sharp 
at this meddling of the crown in the political contest. 

Thorbecke's Last Years 483 

The result was that some of the best liberals failed to 
secure election, and the ministry saw the number of its 
friends increased by only six. The majority showed it- 
self conciliatory, though Thorbccke appeared again in the 
Chamber to protest against the placing of the " royal 
authority " in opposition to the " constitutional liberties." 
In general an " armed peace " seemed to have ended the 
strife for a time. In the spring of 1867 foreign affairs 
entered upon a period disturbing to Holland. It was 
no secret that the sympathy of most Netherlander in 
the war just settled had not been on the side of Prussia 
but rather with Austria. The relation of the king as 
sovereign of Luxemburg and Limburg to the new North 
German Confederation was anything but clear. Prussia 
would not make any definitive declaration on the subject 
and maintained its garrison in the fortress of Luxem- 
burg on the borders of France. The government of Napo- 
leon III., persuaded to neutrality by Bismarck in 1866 
with clever intimations of an indemnity, saw itself after 
Prussia's victory deceived in its hope of enlargement 
with German territory. It seemed to be different with 
Luxemburg, to which Bismarck had directed attention 
in the first talks between French and Prussian diplo- 
matists, and with Belgium, which he thought might also 
be obtained, if France boldly pushed forward. The 
Prussian statesman evidently meant to use France's ad- 
vance in order to subjugate it in a new war, for which 
Prussia was ready and France was far from ready. 
Napoleon, knowing his weakness, did not venture to take 
hold but tried by negotiation to induce Prussia to evacu- 
ate and give over Luxemburg to France, but he was 
always referred by Bismarck to the grand duke. Thus 
the French ambassador Baudin at The Hague in Feb- 
ruary, 1S67, began negotiating for the cession or sale 
of Luxemburg to France, a plan that found willing ears 
there, as the king hoped in this way to prevent a Euro- 

484 History of the Dutch People 

pean war dangerous to his country and further to annex 
Limburg permanently to the Netherlands as a regular 
province. But king William III. would do nothing in 
the affair without Prussia, whose aims he mistrusted. 
Napoleon III. at The Hague on March 18th proposed an 
alliance with France in order to defend the possession 
of Limburg against Prussia, besides the cession of Luxem- 
burg for four to five million francs. But the king, grow- 
ing more cautious on account of Prussia's attitude, 
hesitated and declared on the 22d that he could make 
no sale without consulting the population of Luxemburg 
and the signers of the treaty of 1839. Berlin answered 
no questions but privately incited the French ambassador 
Benedetti to encourage his government to go on its way, 
while at The Hague it was adroitly hinted that no objec- 
tion would be made. The still mistrusting William III. 
consented finally on the 26th and sent the prince of 
Orange with the desired document to Paris on condition, 
however, that Prussia should approve officially of the 
affair. This country refused again, but in the supposi- 
tion that Luxemburg was already ceded, the fact was 
accomplished, and France and the grand duke were 
bound, Bismarck arranged for the influential Bennigsen 
in the Beichstag to address to him an interpellation on 
the matter in order to arouse feeling in Germany against 
France. William III. consented definitively on March 
31st, though the signing by the Luxemburg envoy was 
put off until the following day. On that April 1st Ben- 
nigsen made his interpellation, protesting against the 
cession of any German right or territory to the old 
enemy. Bismarck answered calmly, but a patriotic move- 
ment against France went all over Germany, whereupon 
at Paris it was declared by the Prussian government that 
the affair must be postponed and at The Hague (April 
3d) that a cession of Luxemburg meant war with Prussia. 
The king at the eleventh hour retracted his consent just 

Thorbecke' s Last Years 485 

in time to avoid the dreaded European war, which accord- 
ing to Bismarck's calculation was at the door and, with 
France's military weakness and Austria's impotence, 
while England held aloof and Russia looked after its 
eastern interests, would have gone off favourably to 
Prussia, which was secretly prepared for any contin- 
gency. Napoleon was disappointed at the failure of the 
negotiation in The Hague and now saw plainly the trap 
laid for him by Bismarck; making a virtue of necessity, 
he declared he would be content with the evacuation of 
Luxemburg by the Prussian troops and neutrality for 
the grand duchy. A conference met at London, sum- 
moned by the grand duke and consisting of envoys from 
the powers of 1839, with Holland as an interested party 
besides Belgium and the new great power Italy. In a 
few days (May 7th to 11th) the conference was ready 
with a treaty, upholding the rights of the house of Nassau 
to Luxemburg and declaring this territory neutral for 
all time " under sanction of the collective guarantee " of 
the five powers of 1839, while the capital after evacuation 
by the Prussians must be dismantled. Article 6 of the 
treaty declared that Limburg should form an integral 
part of the kingdom of the Netherlands. 

Over the Luxemburg question arose dissension in the 
Second Chamber, and Van Zuylen defended his action. 
On November 26th his estimates for foreign affairs were 
rejected, a slap in the face of the leading minister. At 
once the ministry resigned, and as the king did not want 
another Thorbecke cabinet, there was no resource but a 
new dissolution of the Second Chamber. The elections 
were appointed for January 23, 1868. The result was 
unfavourable for the ministry; its supporters came back 
to the Chamber in smaller number, although the united 
liberals only won a few votes. Thorbecke asked " what 
great, pressing, predominant interest of the country made 
the dissolution necessary?" A motion was passed, de- 

486 History of the Dutch People 

daring that no national interest had required the dis- 
solution. The ministry, supported by the king's favour, 
braved this vote some months, but saw again the estimates 
for foreign affairs rejected. Thus ended the contest of 
two years with the victory of parliamentary principles 
over the reaction against those of 1848. The president 
of the Second Chamber, Van Reenen, did not succeed in 
forming a ministry of conciliation. So Thorbecke had 
to be asked, but he and his friends did not think it 
advisable to take the government in hand. He managed 
to find a combination of mostly young liberals. The 
chief subjects to be handled were education and the 
colonies. The government declared itself unwilling to 
modify the school law, the intention being to execute it 
honestly and impartially. Van Bosse presented himself 
as the head of the government and announced its con- 
ciliatory policy. The opposition press ridiculed " Thor- 
becke's marionettes." Not longer than two years could 
the Van Bosse ministry maintain itself in the midst of 
the school contest ever increasing in importance. The 
elections of 1809 resulted actually in a defeat of the con- 
servatives. The long expected Franco-German war sur- 
prised the world suddenly in July, 1870, and still greater 
was its surprise at the crushing of the French armies 
in the campaigns of Worth and Metz, finally of Sedan, 
where Napoleon III.'s empire went to pieces on Septem- 
ber 2d. In Holland the news of the outbreak of war 
was received with great anxiety. A strict neutrality 
was desired, and soon the militia was called to arms, the 
fortresses were put in order, the coast defences were 
made ready. But the German victories, the confusion 
in France after the fall of the empire, the inaction of 
the French fleet, the siege of Paris and the continuation 
of the war on the Loire and in Brittany, the fall of 
Strasburg and Metz removed the danger of war from 
Holland. The mobilisation had shown that army and 

Thorbecke's Last Years 487 

navy were very defective in organisation and that exten- 
sive reforms were needed in the defence of the country. 
Several ministers resigned, and it appeared that the min- 
istry could no longer count upon the liberal majority. 
Even Thorbecke seemed to oppose rather than to support 
it. What was now to be done? An antiliberal govern- 
ment was not possible against the liberal majority of 
the Chamber, so finally Thorbecke in January, 1871, un- 
dertook the hard task of government, especially hard 
at his advanced time of life and with the arduous post 
of minister of internal affairs. But the man of seventy- 
two did not shun work, though his first ministerial 
speech showed that he no longer possessed the excessive 
self-confidence of former years. Speedily it appeared 
that the younger liberals could not adopt the ideas of 
the old statesman. The third Thorbecke ministry really 
did not bring out important measures. Its most note- 
worthy achievement was the agreement with England 
regarding Guinea and Sumatra. By the law of January 
20, 1872, the possessions on the coast of Guinea were 
ceded to England; on the other side a free hand was 
given us in Sumatra. Thorbecke's growing weakness in 
the spring of 1872 impaired seriously the activity of the 
ministry, which needed little more to fall. Discouraged 
by all the opposition, the ministry in May resolved to 
step out; the resignation was accepted, but it did not 
yet appear so easy to settle the crisis. While a new 
liberal combination was being sought, died unexpectedly 
on June 5th the great statesman, who during more than 
thirty years had played so important a part in the po- 
litical life of the Netherlands. The passing of the liberal 
leader made a deep impression in the country. Govern- 
ment and States-General, newspapers and magazines gave 
utterance to the general sympathy in the loss, which 
marked the end of what has been called " the flourishing 
time of the liberal party " under the working of the 

488 History of the Dutch People 

constitution of 1848. Not alone his party, but the na- 
tion also displayed sorrow. His opponent Groen van 
Prinsterer praised his genius and honoured him as " al- 
ways facile princeps." Thus disappeared from the po- 
litical stage the impressive figure that for over a quarter 
of a century had exercised such an important influence 
upon the government. Thorbecke created the forms, in 
which the government was to move for a long time; his 
strong hand had pointed out the way to progress in 
constitutional development, in material prosperity and 
intellectual emancipation. His name is bound to the 
history of this important period; his statue on the 
Thorbecke square in Amsterdam is the memorial of a 
remarkable phase of Holland's national history. 




HE small Netherlands with only a few million in- 
habitants could not possibly now play the part of the 
Seven Provinces in the world, but saw itself relegated to a 
modest place in the concert of nations with Sweden, Spain, 
Belgium, Denmark, and other states of the second rank 
in Europe, while the possession of its colonies alone gave 
it claims to greater importance than those countries. Be- 
tween three military and mutually jealous powers it 
endeavoured to keep out of complications that might 
threaten its independence or its colonies. The strained 
relations between Germany and France directed attention 
to the country's defence, but there was no agreement as 
to the best means for this. The possession of the Dutch 
colonies in the East Indies seemed assured by the agree- 
ment with England concerning Sumatra. The cultiva- 
tion system there apparently saw its days numbered and 
would sooner or later give way to free labour of the 
native and development of private industry under state 
supervision. In the West Indies also with the general 
abolition of slavery on July 1, 1863, reforms were intro- 
duced. In colonial matters the spirit of the constitution 
of 1848 appeared to penetrate, and the old conception 
was broken that colonies existed only for the benefit of 
the mother country. In general it may be said that 
Holland was now governed according to the principles 
of personal and constitutional liberty, of provincial and 


490 History of the Dutch People 

local independence in harmony with the ancient spirit 
of the people. The greatest difficulty for the government 
seemed to lie in the wishes of the " clerical " parties, the 
antirevolutionary party and the Catholic party, wishes 
relating mainly to education, which they wanted to see 
directed more towards religion, while the dominant 
liberals desired to keep religion as much as possible out 
of the principles of government. There was no danger 
for a time, as the conservatives also were averse to 
ecclesiastical influence on education. The liberal party 
carried out the separation of church and state so far as 
was feasible. 

The nation's intellectual life came more and more 
under the influence of decided liberal principles. The 
modern direction in church affairs gave the tone in cul- 
tivated Protestant circles. Scholten and Kuenen, Hoek- 
stra and Opzomer were the recognised leaders. De 
Genestet was the favourite poet, Van Lennep the most 
appreciated prose writer. In opposition to these was a 
growing company, which on the basis of the hypotheses 
of Darwin and Haeckel, of modern natural science, as- 
serted the necessity of going further in independent think- 
ing. Allard Pierson's aesthetic idealism was no longer 
satisfactory, neither was the merciless criticism of the 
talented Busken Huet, who with Pierson and other young 
preachers had turned his back on the real modernism. 
Multatuli's anticlerical Ideas stirred up young minds 
especially and found admirers on the benches of college 
lecture rooms as well as at office desks. These young 
men saw the practical philosophy of the future in Van 
Houten's heaven-storming book God, Eigendom en Familie 
and Feringa's work Democratic en Wetenschap. They 
thought the centre of a new movement was to be found 
in the Amsterdam society De Dageraad with its atheistic 
character. The Dutch world of workingmen, which so 
far had not participated in what was going on since 

The Netherlands about 1870 491 

1848 among the workmen of neighbouring countries, now 
began to take interest in the efforts for improving con- 
ditions and for mutual association. It was chiefly the 
workers, who had come under the influence of the new 
ideas and had liberated themselves from ecclesiastical 
bonds. Trades unions sprang up after the English 
model, the typographers in 18G6 uniting in a general 
society. As early as 18G7 there were reports of strikes 
among the typographers against the unwillingness of 
the employers to recognise the union. In October, 1871, 
at a meeting in Utrecht of trades and workmen's unions 
was formed the General Dutch Workingmen's League, 
the Amsterdam furniture maker Heldt being its founder 
and first president, and it was active in securing higher 
wages and cooperation. The workmen in this movement 
were almost exclusively democrats, in religion unbelievers 
or of modern opinions, growing up as they did in the 
liberal atmosphere of the neutral public school and under 
the powerful influence of the ideas of the most advanced 
radical elements. 

Among the Protestant middle class and workingmen 
the spirit of active opposition began to move against 
the conquering modern ideas. The antirevolutionary 
opinions of Groen van Prinsterer found here a fruitful 
soil, and his name was honoured as that of the cham- 
pion of orthodoxy against the pernicious modern illu- 
mination. With Groen was Da Costa, the ardent poet 
and apologist of the reformed orthodoxy, whose death 
in 1860 was a hard blow to his party. His place was 
soon taken by a young preacher of great talent, Dr. 
Kuyper, who, a pupil of Scholten, had come under the 
influence of Calvin's powerful spirit and, called in 1S67 
as preacher to Utrecht, had begun the fight against the 
existing organisation in the Keformed Church; two years 
later he became pastor in Amsterdam and a leader in 
church activity. Kuyper, master of pen and word, was 

49 2 History of the Dutch People 

the chosen successor of the aged Groen. So about 1870 
intellectual life was everywhere manifest: on one side 
the current going along with the modern conceptions, on 
the other opposition to the spirit of the century — the 
first embodied in Thorbecke, the second in Groen van 
Prinsterer, both combining ecclesiastical with political 
opinions as so often had been done in Dutch history 
since the sixteenth century. There was the party of 
progress, at whose head stood the small group of demo- 
cratic anticlericals with the aristocratic-conservative ele- 
ments in the rear-guard, while the moderate liberal 
middle class prevailing since 1848 formed the nucleus; 
the party, which in Thorbecke had lost its great chief but 
hoped for new leaders among his disciples, in politics keep- 
ing an eye upon Fransen van de Putte and Kappeyne van 
de Coppello, boasting in science of the theologians Schol- 
ten and Kuenen, the philologist Cobet and the honoured 
historian Fruin, the Utrecht naturalists Donders, Buys 
Ballot, and Harting, the Arabist Dozy, the jurists Buys 
and Vissering, the philologist De Vries, the philosophers 
Opzoomer, Hoekstra, and Loman, in literature of Mul- 
tatuli, Huet, Schimmel, Vosmaer, in art of Israels, the 
three Maris brothers, Mauve, and Bosboom. Over against 
the modern world was that of the moderate-orthodox 
party, the conservative Catholics, and the antirevolution- 
aries of Groen van Prinsterer. 

In material affairs the liberal leaven had permeated 
the popular life, and liberal principles had been active 
with more chance of a final victory among the popula- 
tion now risen to over three and one-half million souls. 
Now that the spirit of protection had given place to that 
of liberty, of the removal of impediments to private ini- 
tiative, prosperity had considerably increased, as was 
shown by the rise in the average duration of life, by 
the increase from four to eleven millions in savings bank 
deposits. In the development of Dutch prosperity com- 

The Netherlands about 1870 493 

merce still took the first place. With growing internal 
industry and better international communication through 
the powerful action of England converted to free trade, 
Dutch commerce began again to increase. The repeal of 
the old Navigation Act in 1849 opened English colonies 
and England more to Dutch ships. The redemption of 
the Sound duties (March 14, 1851) helped Dutch mer- 
chants, who sent nearly one thousand vessels to the 
Baltic. The world crisis of 1857, caused in part by the 
sudden outflow of gold from California and Australia 
and by wild speculation, did much harm in Holland, after 
it had passed from America and England to the con- 
tinent of Europe, but the breaking out of the American 
Civil War made good some of the losses by the temporary 
paralysis of the American spirit of enterprise. In all 
respects it appeared at Thorbecke's death that Dutch 
popular life was aroused, and it could not be denied that 
this was to be attributed mainly to the working of the 
liberal ideas of 1848. But this was only a beginning, 
and further development was to show whether the Dutch 
people had successfully been shaken out of the sleep over- 
coming them immediately after 1830. It was indis- 
putable that in the international struggle for sharing 
in the advantages of the world's trade Holland com- 
menced once more to take its proper place and in the 
free competition to regain its old energy. 



IN Thorbecke's last years it appeared plainly that there 
were two currents in the liberal party: that of the 
older men believing the principles of 1848 not yet ready 
for further development in social reforms, that of the 
younger men desirous of applying the old ideas to the 
rapidly transforming conditions. Groen's followers under 
the lead of Kuyper stood prepared under the banner of 
Calvinism to move against the modern view of the state 
and the world, relying upon the support of the Catholics. 
A period of violent party strife was approaching between 
two conflicting conceptions of the world — that appealing 
to the principles at the basis of the French Revolution, 
and that opposing them in the name of the ancient 
Christianity. The old leaders were wanting in this strife, 
since Groen van Prinsterer on May 19, 1876, had passed 
from the political stage, upon which he had long played 
so important a part, spurring his disciples to vigorous 
opposition to the liberal spirit in state and church, in 
school and science. Thorbecke's death had left in the 
summer of 1872 the divided liberal majority in the States- 
General and among the voters helpless. Van Reenen de- 
clined again the crown's offer to form a ministry and 
suggested G. de Vries, who was now to attempt the 
settlement of the pending questions. With this ministry 
of July, 1872, the defence of the country and finances, 
suffrage and higher education stood in the foreground. 


Situation after Thorbecke's Death 495 

Not much happened and the " parliamentary atmos- 
phere " remained calm. The opposition of the progressive 
younger liberals weakened the government, so that it 
often thought of going out of office. The moderate anti- 
revolutionary member of the Chamber, Van Lynden van 
Sandenburg, tried by the king's desire to form a mixed 
cabinet in the summer of 1873, but soon had to lay down 
the task, and the ministry continued its thankless ac- 
tivity in the " political tournament." In February, 1873, 
the report came that war threatened to break out with 
the powerful piratical kingdom of Achin at the north 
end of Sumatra. Secret efforts of the defiant sultan of 
Achin to obtain the protection of some great power 
against our measures to put down piracy caused troops 
to be sent to Achin to force immediate compliance and to 
secure our rights to Sumatra against any interference, 
e. g., of the urgently entreated United States or Italy. 
Early in April news came that a declaration of war 
had taken place. The government commissioner Nieuwen- 
huizen, appearing with four ships in March before Achin, 
had received only an evasive answer concerning the sul- 
tan's secret negotiations now with Turkey, France, and 
other powers and, being informed of those negotiations, 
had declared war on the 26th. The small expedition of 
thirty-six hundred men under general Kohler found an 
unexpectedly obstinate resistance in Achin ; the command- 
ing general lost his life, and the enterprise failed. In 
November under generals Van Swieten and Verspyck a 
strong expedition of seven thousand men was sent out. 
After an arduous march this expedition on January 24, 
1874, reached the deserted stronghold of the sultan. Van 
Swieten abolished the old government of the country after 
the sultan's death and established the Dutch rule in the 
stronghold now called Kota-Radja. The enemy had been 
too lightly estimated, and a complete subjection of the 
country was not for a time to be thought of. This war 

496 History of the Dutch People 

occasioned great expense to the state, and the Chamber 
showed its displeasure repeatedly. 

A month after king William III. had celebrated his 
twenty-five years of reign (May 12, 1874), when the mon- 
arch's popularity contrasted strongly with the growing 
unpopularity of the States-General, the ministry dis- 
couraged by the prevailing indifference in June, 1874, 
laid down its thankless work. The liberal party, though 
still a majority in the Chambers, seemed incapable of 
carrying on the government any longer, disunited as it 
had become after Thorbecke's death, a "suicide," who 
on his pitiful deathbed showed only a shadow of his 
former strength. The hard task in August fell upon the 
shoulders of Heemskerk, one of the ablest conservatives. 
With this ministry Heemskerk began anew political life, 
in which he, an able jurist, a fine judge of men, an ex- 
perienced executive, not too tenacious of his own opin- 
ion, a clever debater, was to have often a great influence 
on the destinies of the Dutch people — a new Van Hall, 
but less frivolous. The ministry found among its op- 
ponents the eminent young leader of the antirevolution- 
aries, Kuyper, who loudly proclaimed the principles of 
his democratic Calvinism, singing the cradle song of the 
new antirevolutionary party, which was to be supported 
not mostly upon Groen's aristocratic friends, upon the 
" men with two names," but upon the " little people." 
At the defeat of the third minister of war in the spring 
of 1876 the entire ministry offered to resign, but the king 
found the recognised leader of the opposition, Kappeyne, 
unwilling to take office. So the ministry remained, but 
the elections of 1877 strengthened the liberal party to 
a majority of forty-eight of the eighty members, and 
now the days were numbered of the " government from 
the minority." It had to give way to the opposition 
against its education policy, and on November 1, 1877, 
its resignation was accepted. The liberal party now 

Situation after Thorbecke's Death 497 

seemed strong enough to undertake the government led 
by the able jurist Kappeyne. It was expected that a 
new period of reform was coming. In connection with 
reforms was spoken the word constitutional revision as 
embracing the necessary conditions, under which alone 
the political and economic condition of the country could 
be improved. The ministry did not satisfy the advocates 
of extensive reform measures and could obtain a small 
majority only for some of its most important proposals. 
Ever louder grew the complaint among the liberals that 
they seemed to be able to come no farther than " to the 
borders of the promised land " of reforms. After the 
rejection of a canal law Kappeyne offered his resignation, 
and the ministry declared it would follow him. Amid 
the political uncertainty one blow after another fell 
upon the princely house. Queen Sophie, whose home, the 
House in the Wood, had been for years a centre of in- 
terest in art and science, died in 1877. Prince Henry, 
who after the death of the childless princess Amalia in 
1878 had married the Prussian princess Maria, died child- 
less half a year later in Luxemburg, where he had long 
been stadtholder. In consideration of the condition of 
the reigning house the king, though well on in years, had 
already resolved upon a second marriage. He found the 
young princess Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont ready to 
share the throne with him and married her in January, 
1879. This event was hailed with joy by the entire 
Dutch people, the more so as the prince of Orange now 
thirty-nine years old had remained unmarried, while 
prince Alexander, his younger brother, weak in body 
and mind, promised little for the future, and the aged 
prince Frederick, whose sons had died young, had to 
see his claims to the throne go over to the descendants 
of his two daughters, crown princess Louise of Sweden 
and princess Maria of Wied, who would share the chances 
of the succession with the progeny of princess Marianne 

VOL. V — 32 

498 History of the Dutch People 

of Prussia and grand duchess of Saxe-Weimar. News 
came that the prince of Orange had died suddenly in 
Paris on June 11th. The death of the crown prince in 
these circumstances was feared as the beginning of the 
end of the house of Orange, whose masculine members 
according to human calculation must pass away childless 
one after another. Would not the succession by the 
female line come into another house than that closely 
connected with the national history, unless the king 
by his second marriage should have a son? The birth 
of princess Wilhelmina (August 31, 1880) awakened great 
joy in the whole nation, now again hoping for long 
years of continuance of the house of Orange, without 
which the Netherlands could hardly be imagined. 

The king desired an investigation into the extent of 
the constitutional revision called for by Kappeyne, where- 
upon the ministry resigned again. An attempt to unite 
the liberals failed. Nothing remained but to appoint a 
" ministry of affairs," whose composition was undertaken 
by the able antirevolutionary Van Lynden van Sanden- 
burg. During four years Van Lynden accomplished his 
hard task, supported by the confidence of the king. The 
new government really succeeded in achieving important 
things. In these years attention was again drawn to 
the Dutch in South Africa. Since the transfer of the 
Cape Colony to England in 1806 the relations between 
the former motherland and the now English colony had 
never been entirely broken off. In spite of all repression the 
Dutch language had maintained itself there; Cape young 
men had studied theology, medicine, and law in the univer- 
sities of the Netherlands. Then in 1836 came the " great 
trek," which caused many colonists, weary of the English 
yoke, to seek new homes across the Orange river and 
the Vaal in the Kafir territory. After a conflict of years 
against English and Kafirs two independent Boer re- 
publics had finally arisen here, the South African Kepub- 

Situation after Thorbecke's Death 499 

lie (1852) and the Orange Free State (1854). Under 
president Burgers, who led the South African Republic 
from 1872 to 1877, there seemed a chance of strengthen- 
ing Dutch influence in this state, as the active president 
visited Holland with the ideal of establishing a " Great 
Netherlands " in the south and wanted to encourage on 
a large scale the emigration of Netherlanders to Africa. 
But the English government annexed the South African 
Republic in 1877. The Boers opposed this unjust act 
under Kriiger, Joubert, and the Netherlanders Bok, Joris- 
sen, and Hamelberg, and when no protests availed, the 
insurrection began at the end of 1880 against the hated 
British rule, being crowned in 1881 by the restoration of 
independence as the result of the brilliant victory of 
Majuba and of the appearance of a liberal government 
under Gladstone in England in place of Beaconsfield's 
conservative " imperialists." This insurrection excited 
enthusiasm in Holland. In May, 1881, the Dutch South 
African Union was formed at Utrecht with sections all 
over the country to strengthen the mutual relations. 
When president Kriiger with the fighting general Smit 
and the superintendent of education Du Toit came in 
1884 as a deputation to Europe, they were received cor- 
dially, but what the South African Republic most needed, 
capital, held back timidly. The attempt to place a Trans- 
vaal loan failed. Was not this again a neglected oppor- 
tunity to extend Dutch influence, as in the seventeenth 
century in Brazil, America, and Formosa? The future 
was to give the answer. 

The clever Van Lynden managed meanwhile to steer 
the ministerial ship safely past all the parliamentary 
rocks. With some changes the ministry, sitting fast in 
the saddle, felt itself called upon to be no longer simply 
a " ministry of affairs." The minister of colonies con- 
sented to the prolongation of a concession to the Billiton 
Company for mining tin on that island, and this was 

500 History of the Dutch People 

disapproved of by the Second Chamber, so that the min- 
ister resigned. Soon after the Chamber refused to con- 
sider a modification of the electoral law proposed by the 
ministry, and the whole cabinet resigned. Thus fell the 
Van Lynden ministry, which owed its origin to the power- 
lessness of the liberal party to govern. A strong hand was 
required to put an end to the hopeless confusion in the 
political relations, if necessary by means of constitutional 
revision. The eyes of all were turned to the pliant and 
able administrator, who had once before come to the 
rescue, to Heemskerk. He formed (April, 1883) an 
" extra parliamentary " ministry of persons not in the 
Chambers. About 1880 new elements laid claim to a 
share in the government. The socialistic Lutheran 
preacher of Amsterdam, Domela Nieuwenhuis, obtained 
a growing influence on the working class, especially after 
he laid down his office in 1879 and as editor of the new 
paper Recht voor Allen stirred up revolutionary antago- 
nism to existing conditions. In the Workingmen's League 
he and his friends spread the ideas of the International 
and the social democrats. In May, 1878, under the lead 
of the smith Ansing, a social-democratic union was estab- 
lished in Amsterdam. It was the modest beginning of 
a new political party. In 1880 at Amsterdam workmen's 
candidates were first set up in the elections. Amid demo- 
cratic and politico-ecclesiastical movements, amid the 
continued dissensions in the liberal camp and the conse- 
quent political uncertainty, Heemskerk held the reins of 
authority and showed matchless ability not seldom lack- 
ing in principle, as many thought. While the ministry 
kept things going, died (June 21, 1884) the sickly prince 
Alexander, since his brother's death prince of Orange. 
The crown princess Wilhelmina was now hardly four 
years old, and it seemed desirable to arrange the regency 
for the probable case of the aged king dying before his 
daughter became of age. This was done by the law of 

Situation after Thorbecke's Death 501 

August 2, 1884, which appointed the young queen as 
regent. The parliamentary situation grew more and more 
untenable; even the most unimportant proposals could 
only be driven through with the greatest difficulty, and 
people complained on all sides that nothing was accom- 
plished. Constitutional revision appeared the only means 
of bringing lasting order into affairs. But would Heems- 
kerk be able to make the crown yield and to induce the 
half-unwilling Chamber to confide the lead to him in this 
delicate work? The clever minister, not indifferent to 
the honour of leading this important affair of state, was 
ready to venture the uncertain chance. 



THERE was a great difference between the circum- 
stances, in which about 1840 the liberals made the 
necessity felt of a revision of the foundations of the 
state, and those of nearly half a century later, when 
the idea of revision was approached by them. Without 
enthusiasm the liberal party permitted revision rather 
than strongly desired it. The antirevolutionary-Catholic- 
conservative right was no more enthusiastic and de- 
manded as the condition of its cooperation concessions of 
the liberals on the subject of education. The crown lent its 
aid unwillingly, dreading a further limitation of its power. 
Much seamanship would be required, before the leading 
minister could count upon having brought the ship into a 
safe harbour. All depended upon whether Heemskerk was 
the man to bring the parties to a satisfactory compromise 
by giving and taking. The result was to show that the 
aged statesman possessed the desired talents. Under the 
guidance of the active Domela Nieuwenhuis the socialists 
bestirred themselves, promoted strikes, and attacked 
royalty, the great manufacturers and landowners, capital 
in general. Dissensions paralysed for a time the political 
activity of the antirevolutionary party just as division 
among the Catholics prevented their party formation. 
It was to be expected, however, that union would arise 
between these two parties against the liberal principles. 
But the liberal party was also divided. On principle it 


Constitutional Revision of 1887 5°3 

was not inclined to bind its adherents to a programme. 
Hence came its inability to make its fractions move to- 
gether against the other parties and to take advantage 
of the dissension among its opponents. The need was 
felt of augmenting its strength by holding together in 
one bond of party its more conservative, its progressive, 
and even its radical elements. This was the principle of 
the Liberal Union of 1885, aiming to unite all those who 
were averse to the policy of the church parties. The 
cooperation was obtained of many liberals of all shades 
of opinion in different parts of the country. Thus the 
various political parties, though divided among them- 
selves, stood in sharp opposition to one another, and 
many a man asked anxiously whither this political dis- 
sension would lead, if popular social movements should 
drag this country too into the whirlpool of a social revo- 
lution, or if international complications should mix it 
in the dangers of a great European war, which might 
come at any time with the ever active spirit of revanche 
in France for the defeat of 1870 and the loss of the prov- 
inces Alsace and Lorraine. Nothing more seemed to 
stand firmly. The old house of Orange appeared about 
to die out; independence was anything but established 
against possible contingencies; defence was generally re- 
garded as inadequate; the colonial empire in east and 
west was apparently approaching its end; domestic 
politics caused serious apprehensions; the economic con- 
dition of rural and factory population left much to be 
desired. What would the immediate future bring to the 
Netherlands ? 

The revision of the constitution, which at least must 
improve the general political situation and might lay the 
foundations for the desired reforms, was prepared by 
the government commission appointed in 1883, as ap- 
peared from its report presented January 25, 1884. In 
agreement with the suggestions of the commission the 

504 History of the Dutch People 

government (March 18, 1885) offered twelve proposals of 
revision. The right declared it would not assist in con- 
stitutional revision, unless chapter X., especially article 
194, treating of education, were first revised " in ac- 
cordance with its principles." It expected thus to force 
the government and the liberals. Did they not need its 
cooperation to accomplish anything, since by the con- 
stitution of 1848 two-thirds of the votes would be 
necessary in the Chambers to be elected anew after the 
desirability of considering the proposals offered had been 
affirmed? While the twelve proposals were debated in 
the sections and there called out amendments, the gov- 
ernment resolved (March 18, 1886) upon public discus- 
sion of the amended proposals — after a declaration from 
the antirevolutionary side that in the final vote over every 
proposal it would utter a non possumus, the Catholics 
joining in this in accordance with the wish of the right 
first to take up chapter X. The government proposal 
on education was rejected (April 9, 188G) after a hard 
fight and was then withdrawn. The ministry im- 
mediately offered its resignation. After the antirevolu- 
tionary Mackay had declined to form a new ministry, 
nothing remained but for the Heemskerk ministry to take 
matters in hand once more and by a dissolution of the 
Chamber to seek a change in the representation. The 
June elections gave a small liberal majority of four 
votes. New discussion of the proposals was now neces- 
sary ; it took a long time, owing to the ordinary prolixity, 
and in part because the bad state of health of the king, 
at seventy years of age attacked by a serious kidney dis- 
ease, caused uneasiness. Meanwhile among some mem- 
bers of the liberal party a spirit of conciliation began 
to show itself towards the advocates of separate educa- 
tion. On the right side also came some hesitation in 
carrying to extremes the non possumus policy, parti- 
cularly among the Catholics now inclined to a com- 

Constitutional Revision of 1887 5°5 

promise. Not until February, 1887, were the proposals 
again ready for public discussion, which during half a 
year busied men's minds and put all other things into 
the background. In the general consideration of the 
right of suffrage there appeared a great difference of 
opinion between the advocates of a democratic extension 
of the franchise and the more conservative elements in 
all parties. The government's endeavour was to assure 
the right to vote to the " settled workman " and to have 
about three hundred and fifty thousand new voters. 
After a long discussion an article was so formulated 
that the franchise should be given to those who should 
possess certain marks of fitness and social prosperity to 
be determined by the electoral law, and the article was 
accepted. The number of members of the Second Cham- 
ber was put at one hundred, that of the first at fifty. 
From fear of failure of the whole work the proposal con- 
cerning religious affairs was withdrawn. This was not 
the case with the proposals regarding the much debated 
tenth chapter, in which occurred article 194 on educa- 
tion. A proposition came in from the Catholic Schaep- 
man making it obligatory to subsidise separate schools 
in proportion to the number of school-going children in 
them. In the warm discussion it appeared that the left 
was no longer so attached to article 191 as formerly, and 
among the members of the right some favoured concilia- 
tion and were ready to take the hand held out from 
the liberal side. One schoolman considered the article 
" not worth the paper, on which it was written." After 
confused deliberations, in which the parties seemed to 
stand not so far from one another as at first, the amended 
Schaepman proposition was accepted. Then followed a 
sharp contest over the additional articles. On June 17th 
the last proposal was accepted. Thus after fifty-six sit- 
tings the "great work" was completed in the Second 
Chamber, and the president warmly congratulated the 

506 History of the Dutch People 

minister of internal affairs, who had spoken more than 
two hundred times. The First Chamber brought its 
deliberations to an end from August 4th to 9th. It 
accepted all the proposals but one. That concerning 
chapter X. found sharp opposition in the liberal party 
and was rejected. Now the eleven remaining proposals 
could be regarded as sufficiently considered to be taken 
up definitively according to the constitution, which had 
to occur after the dissolution of the two Chambers. The 
new elections brought back virtually unchanged States- 
General. At the end of September the second discussion 
began. With reference to education something of an 
agreement was reached, as it appeared that from the 
liberal side the subsidising of separate instruction was 
regarded as not entirely impossible with retention of 
article 194. The right side dropped its non possumns 
finally. After four days of new discussion in the Second 
and one day in the First Chamber the eleven proposals 
offered were all accepted. On November 30th the new 
constitution was publicly proclaimed. Much in the old 
constitution was improved, and therefore the constitu- 
tional revision of 1887 could be considered a work of 
importance, in the eyes of some the desired completion 
of the work of 1848, when liberal principles were laid in 
the foundation of the new structure of the state. In 
expectation of the result of the first elections under 
the revised constitution and under the lead still of the 
statesman who had directed the work of revision, the 
Dutch nation went on towards the twentieth century. 



THE constitutional revision of 1887 had brought no 
extensive change to the arrangement of the state. 
When the aged king in 1888 again fell into an alarming 
condition, it was necessary to settle the guardianship 
for the young successor to the throne. A council of 
guardianship was appointed of high officers and eminent 
men, who would stand by the queen-mother, the guardian, 
in the difficult task soon to await her. In April, 1889, 
the council of state according to the constitution had to 
take over temporarily the authority of the mentally dis- 
turbed monarch, but, before a regent could be named, 
the king recovered unexpectedly and resumed the govern- 
ment early in May, until in the autumn of 1890 a violent 
attack of the disease came upon him, and the physicians 
declared that in the immediate future he would not be 
able to handle affairs of state. On November 14th the 
States-General appointed the queen as regent. With the 
king's death on November 23d ended the sad uncertainty, 
which had made a deep impression on the nation; the 
queen now acted as regent for her daughter Wilhelmina. 
With how much tact the gifted princess accomplished 
her task during eight years is still fresh in the memory 
of the nation, which looks back with gratitude upon these 
years of the regency, ended with the accession of the 
young queen Wilhelmina on August 31, 1898, the 
sovereign, uncommonly popular at home and abroad by 


508 History of the Dutch People 

reason of her great gifts of mind and character, who 
now rules over the Netherlands. Her marriage to duke 
Henry of Mecklenburg-Sehwerin on February 8, 1901, 
was greeted with joy. With her respected mother and 
her young husband, the prince of the Netherlands, the 
queen continued the traditions of her renowned race in 
a worthy manner, fulfilling exactly her duties as a con- 
stitutional monarch and on every occasion giving evi- 
dence of her Dutch disposition, of her attachment to land 
and people, which from the beginning has adored her, the 
last of the Oranges. 

The conflict of parties did not stop after the revision 
of the constitution. The divided liberal party suffered 
a defeat by the united church parties in the elections, 
which had to follow the constitutional revision. The 
Heemskerk ministry now considered its task done and 
resigned at the end of March, 1888, when baron A. 
Mackay was intrusted with the formation of a new gov- 
ernment from the victorious coalition. A combination 
of antirevolutionaries, Catholics, and conservatives was 
brought together by him. The right side had come to 
the helm. Over three years this moderate antiliberal 
government remained in office, not always to the satis- 
faction of its own partisans. In 1889 the ministry offered 
a bill to improve the position of the " free school " over 
against the public school by subsidising the former with 
obligatory provision of school money also for the latter, 
and the bill became a law. In the elections of 1891 the 
liberals won, and the ministry had to go out (August 
21, 1891). The liberal majority could now get to work 
again. The " clerical monsoon " seemed over, the coali- 
tion of 1888 had fallen apart. A combination of progres- 
sives was formed by the Amsterdam burgomaster Van 
Tienhoven, who found a number of able liberals to govern 
with him. Two and a half years this ministry was able 
to work and in them to bring about reform in taxation. 

End of Nineteenth Century 5°9 

Tak van Poortvliet's proposed election law destroyed the 
illusions respecting further cooperation of the liberal 
fractions. The characteristics of fitness and social pros- 
perity prescribed by the constitution were in this pro- 
posal sought in the ability to read and write and to 
support one's self and family. In this way it was be- 
lieved that the number of voters would rise from three 
hundred thousand to eight hundred thousand. To many 
old liberals this seemed too sudden a leap into the dark, 
and under Van Houten they began a vigorous opposition 
to Tak's law. An amendment not desired by the minis- 
try was accepted. After the withdrawal of the law by 
Tak in the dissolution of the Chamber and the ensuing 
elections in April a desperate contest arose between 
" Takkians " and " Van Houtians," the liberal party keep- 
ing the upper hand. A ministry from the old liberals 
had to come to the great vexation of the progressives. 
The old liberal ministry brought together in May, 1894, 
by jonkheer Roell and Van Houten had to settle the elec- 
tion law. In the spring of 1896 the new Van Houten 
election law came under consideration. It gave the fran- 
chise to those, who paid a tax and satisfied certain 
conditions of dwelling and income. After a sharp discus- 
sion the bill was passed with the support of a great part 
of the antiliberals. There was a cutting up of nearly 
all parties into groups standing more or less sharply in 
opposition to one another. In the midst of growing 
party strife the Roell-Van Houten ministry approached 
the election of 1897, which in the first voting seemed to 
lead to a victory of the church parties and groups, but 
the later votings assured the majority to the liberals. 
The ministry of an old liberal colour had to give place 
to one of a more progressive direction, which was formed 
by Pierson (finances) and Goeman Borgesius (internal 
affairs) . The new ministry bore the character of a liberal 
concentration, and the hope was cherished that it might 

510 History of the Dutch People 

succeed in making the whole liberal party work together 
again as a reform party. Indeed it brought out some 
important laws. 

After the investiture of the queen, which ended the 
regency on August 31, 1898, one of the most notable 
affairs, with which the ministry had to deal, was the 
Peace Conference at The Hague assembled upon the 
initiative of the emperor Nicholas II. of Russia. Its 
purpose was to limit the alarming increase of expendi- 
tures in all countries upon armaments and by arbitration 
and extension of the international measures adopted at 
Geneva in 1864 to alleviate the miseries of war. In the 
old House in the Wood some fifty delegates from the 
independent states of Europe and Asia besides the United 
States and Mexico held their meetings from May 18th 
to July 29, 1899. Their deliberations led to the supple- 
menting of the stipulations of the Geneva Convention 
regarding the use of arms on land and sea, to the estab- 
lishment of a permanent Court of Arbitration at The 
Hague, and to the resolution to continue these meetings 
in the interest of peace. This seemed to make of The 
Hague again a centre of general diplomatic activity, but 
disappointed many who had hoped for universal dis- 
armament or the end of all war. This disappointment 
was all the more, when during the Conference efforts 
were made by England to subject to English authority 
the two Dutch republics in South Africa, which had 
become very flourishing under the presidents Kruger and 
Steyn and wished to preserve their independence. First 
to be involved was the South African Republic (Trans- 
vaal), where thousands of Hollanders had found a living. 
The demand of England, whose government early in 1894 
had connived at an armed invasion of English free- 
booters, for a modification of the election law in Trans 
vaal in order to give to the Englishmen temporarily 
settled there a preponderant influence upon the govern- 

End of Nineteenth Century 511 

ment of the country, supported by a threatening concen- 
tration of troops on the frontiers of the Republic, caused 
the unexpected ultimatum of October 10, 1899, by which 
the Republic declared it would consider the further disem- 
barkation of English troops as an act of war. Two days 
later the troops of Transvaal and the allied Orange Free 
State crossed the borders of Natal and the Cape Colony, 
where the population of Dutch descent commenced to 
take up arms. A bitter conflict between the English and 
Dutch elements in South Africa began, which soon fast- 
ened the eyes of the whole world on the two small re- 
publics that dared with their slight force to defy the 
English world-empire. The greatest interest and almost 
universal sympathy were awakened by the heroic fight of 
the Boers, who with an army of usually not more than 
thirteen thousand men in the field, under such leaders 
as Joubert, Cronj<§, Botha, De la Rey, and De Wet, in- 
flicted severe losses on the English troops increased in 
number finally to two hundred and forty thousand men 
commanded by generals like Roberts and Kitchener. Not 
least was this the case in the Netherlands, where since 
the war of independence of 1880-1881 a growing affec- 
tion had been shown for the people of the same race, 
supported by the South African Union. The old hatred 
of England revived, the memories of the war of liberation 
against Spain became more vivid, and the thought seemed 
not too bold of a general European war against the 
powerful maritime state, in which the Netherlands also 
would take part. The excitement increased here after 
the first victories of the Boers at Glencoe, Dundee, and 
the Tugela in Natal, at Belmont, the Modder River, 
Stormberg, and Magersfontein in the Cape Colony. But 
when the conflict continued months and years and the 
English superiority grew ever greater ; when Lord Roberts 
in a brilliant campaign after the defeat and capture of 
Cronj6 at Paardeberg occupied Bloemfontein in May, 

512 History of the Dutch People 

1900, and Pretoria in June; when Mafeking, Kimberley, 
and Ladysmith were relieved and the only chance ap- 
peared to lie in a guerrilla destructive to land and people ; 
when Kriiger on the war-ship Gelderland sent by the 
young queen went to Europe and made his hopeless ap- 
peal to the powers ; when Kitchener from the end of 1900 
mercilessly converted the territory of the two republics 
into a desert covered with blockhouses and wire lines and 
exposed the poor wives and children of the fighting Boers 
in the terrible " concentration camps " to hunger, sick- 
ness, and misery — then began to sink the hope of a good 
ending to the war. What could the weak Netherlands 
do against England? Indignation rose in England, where 
the national honour was at stake, not only at the stub- 
bornness of the Boers but also at the hostile attitude of 
the Netherlands. More than once the Dutch government 
was brought into embarrassment, and diplomatic skill 
was necessary to prevent the popular passions on both 
sides of the North Sea from being driven to extremes, so 
that the English government could find no reason to 
manifest its displeasure at the attitude of the Dutch 
people. After two years and a half of tension came 
peace at Vereeniging on May 31, 1902, which destroyed 
the independence of the two republics and promised their 
population in ambiguous words the preservation of their 
language and their own government. Deep was the dis- 
appointment in the Netherlands, where minds now calmed 
down, though bitterness long continued at the cruel war- 
fare and arbitrary action of the English government. The 
position of the liberal ministry was not strengthened, 
while it could not rely sufficiently on the cooperation of 
all shades of liberals. On the other hand the church 
parties under the vigorous leadership of Kuyper, Lohman, 
and Schaepman endeavoured to unite more closely. The 
" antithesis " arose more and more between the " Chris- 
tian " and the " paganistic " parties, and the sharp elec- 

End of Nineteenth Century 513 

toral campaign began that was to end in the summer 
of 1001 with the victory of the churchmen and the con- 
sequent appearance of a cabinet from the victorious 
coalition, this time composed and led by the energetic 
commander himself, Dr. Knyper, from whom could be 
expected, that with more force than the moderate cabinet 
of 1S88 he would apply antiliberal principles to the gov- 
ernment of the state, making an end to the liberal 
" dominion " or, as his friends said, " tyranny," which 
for over half a century had kept the upper hand in the 
Netherlands under a liberal constitution. The future 
was to show whether the liberal party had really had 
its time and must yield its place to a policy based upon 
difference in religious conviction. 

Despite all objections to the liberal policy, it could 
not be denied that in the second half of the century the 
Dutch nation under the liberal system of the constitu- 
tion has taken a worthy place in material and intellectual 
affairs. At peace with all states and peoples, gradually 
becoming the centre of a striving for international 
cooperation since the Peace Conference at The Hague, 
in the midst often of fierce political dissension it was 
able to maintain itself vigorously in the economic and 
intellectual rivalry of nations. The relations between 
Holland and its colonies are growing ever closer, and 
there is a better understanding of what both can be to 
one another. The General Dutch League (1808), which 
aims to advance the interests of the Dutch race in all 
parts of the world and to strengthen the connection of 
the scattered members of the Dutch nation, keeps the 
colonies in view. Whoever looks around in the Nether- 
lands is struck by the great percentage of Indian fea- 
tures, a living proof of the intimate relations formed in 
this half-century especially between the motherland and 
the regions of India ; in the Dutch life, language, litera- 
ture, art, in the altering character of the nation itself 

VOL. V — 33 

5H History of the Dutch People 

this influence of Insulinde is plainly marked. Who 
knows what India may become for the Netherlands, now 
the connection of centuries is so changed, now there are 
almost no Dutch families without relations in India, now 
Indian princes send their children to Holland to be edu- 
cated, now the Dutch language is made more accessible 
to the native in India, now government positi