I am posting this essay by Koenraad Wolter Swart (1916—1992) both because it is still useful and in order to spare would-be readers the eye strain that results from reading it on microfiche.
THE MIRACLE OF THE DUTCH REPUBLIC AS SEEN IN THE SEVENTEETH CENTURY
K. W. SWART
PROFESSOR OF DUTCH HISTORY AND INSTITUTIONS
IN THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON
An Inaugural Lecture
Delivered at University College London
6 November 1967
PUBLISHED FOR THE COLLEGE
BY H. K. LEWIS & CO LTD LONDON
© UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON 1969
PRINTED BY T. S. A. CONSTABLE LTD EDINBURG
The new world of the Dutch republic made a profound impression upon the educated opinion of the seventeenth century. Contemporaries were offered the surprising spectacle of a small, newly independent nation playing a leading role in European economy and politics, as well as producing a vigorous and brilliant civilization with features peculiarly its own. At a time that much of the Continent’s economy was in a state of relative crisis and depression, the Dutch nation experienced a prodigious increase in prosperity. In its political development the Dutch Republic even more clearly deviated from the European norm. In an age that tended toward royal absolutism and administrative centralization, and in which most leading positions were still in the hands of a titled aristocracy, the Dutch Republic retained a semi-medieval, highly decentralized form of government and was ruled almost exclusively by members of the upper middle class. During the seventeenth century the country, moreover, enjoyed a remarkable degree of social and political stability that sharply contrasted with the widespread civil strife and the major changes in government that occurred elsewhere in Western Europe. The art of the young republic possessed equally distinctive features, especially its great school of painting, which was not governed by the Baroque and classicistic principles that ruled artistic production in the greater part of Europe.
The various differences between the Dutch Republic and the other European countries of the seventeenth century were exaggerated rather than minimized by contemporary commentators. Many Dutchmen of the time acknowledged the exceptional condition of their country by extolling it as a ‘demi-paradise’ of freedom and affluence. The unique features of the young commonwealth were even more clearly perceived by many foreign observers of the Dutch scene. The numerous reports made by Italian, French, English, and German visitors viewing the country from a perspective unavailable to the native inhabitant are still very illuminating to the modern historian.1
Many of these foreign writers were partial to the political and religious freedom which they saw realized in the Dutch Republic. They envied the Dutch for the vast size of their carrying trade and the huge profits of their fishery industry. They wondered how it was possible for the interest rate to be so low and the taxes to be paid so willingly. With unfeigned admiration they spoke of the new commercial metropolis of Amsterdam, aptly characterized by a Venetian ambassador in 1618 as ‘the very image of Venice in its prime.’2 Its busy port appeared to many foreign visitors as a forest because of the close-thronging masts and spars of its shipping. With equal amazement they described the Amsterdam Exchange, where almost all commodities of the world were for sale, often at prices not higher than in their places of origin, and the town’s recently established bank that contained more precious metal and cleared more bills of exchange than any other European institution of its kind.3
The abrupt rise of a country unendowed by nature to such heights of wealth and power was, indeed, frequently regarded as a ‘miracle.’ As early as 1600, a French Protestant, the Duc de Rohan, declared that nothing in his travels through Western Europe had impressed him more than the marvels of the small province of Holland.4 Some years later his compatriot, the economist Antoine de Montchrétien, asserted that there was no other example in world history of a country that within such a short span of time had risen from humble beginnings to a position of influence in almost all quarters of the world. Even Rome, he held, had needed many more years to conquer her empire.5
Such a sense of wonder, still fairly exception in the first decades of the seventeenth century, had become commonplace fifty years later. Sir William Temple summed up the opinions of many of his contemporaries when he stated in 1672 that no country could be found, either in his own time or in the record of history, where so vast a trade had been managed as in the narrow compass of the four maritime provinces of the Dutch Commonwealth. It was generally agreed, according to him, that more shipping belonged to the Dutch than to all other European nations taken together. This phenomenon, he added, was all the more remarkable since the country did not produce any exportable commodities besides cheese and pottery. ‘The United Provinces,’ was Sir William’s conclusion, ‘are the envy of some, the fear of others and the wonder of all their neighbours.’6
Many of the foreign admirers of the Dutch Republic hoped that by discovering the causes of the new nation’s prosperity they would be able to suggest policies conducive to the growth of trade and commerce in their own countries. The flourishing state of the Dutch economy has in this way served as an important stimulus to the development of the science of political economy. The very name of this new discipline first appears in the Traité de l’économie politique by Antoine de Montchrétien, whose laudatory description of the Dutch Republic has just been mentioned. English mercantilist theorists like Thomas Mun, Sir Josiah Child, and Sir William Petty were even more keenly interested in finding an explanation of Dutch commercial and financial strength.7 The most thorough and perceptive analysis of the spectacular growth of Dutch economy was perhaps made by Sir William Temple. According to him, a large number of factors had contributed to this situation such as the favourable geographical location of the country, the frugality of its population, the low rate of interest, the fairness of the administration of justice, and religious toleration. But he was convinced that, above all, demographic pressure was the underlying cause of the Dutch miracle. Holland’s relatively large population, he felt, would have been unable to survive if it had not found additional sources of income in fishery, industry, and commerce, and even after a certain degree of prosperity had been reached, the influx of immigrants from neighbouring countries had maintained the need for greater productivity.8
It was not only the phenomenal increase in trade and commerce that deeply impressed foreign visitors. The new republic was also hailed as a haven of freedom. This was the one feature that especially appealed to many scholars who had sought refuge in the Dutch Republic. ‘What other country,’ wrote Descartes to his friend J. L. G. de Balzac in 1631, ‘where you can enjoy such a perfect liberty, where you can sleep with more security … and where there has survived more of the innocence of our forefathers.’9 His compatriot Jean de Perivale, who also resided in Holland for many years, was even more emphatic in extolling the virtues of his adopted country. In his Délices de la Hollande (1658) he called it a terrestrial paradise full of delights, above all blessed with the precious gift of liberty shared by rich and poor alike. ‘I would have praised it even more highly,’ he said, ‘if I had been able to find the proper terms to express my feelings.’10
Almost all these laudatory accounts refer to the large number of prosperous towns with their attractive public buildings and well-kept private homes. In no other part of Europe, not even in Northern Italy, so it was noticed, did so large a part of the population live in cities, or was town life so bustling with activity and so efficiently organized.11 Most foreigners were struck by the absence of the hordes of beggars which infested other European towns of the period, and praised the numerous institutions taking care of the poor, the aged, and the diseased.12 ‘The alms-houses of the city of Amsterdam’, noted the English consul William Carr in 1688, ‘look more like Princes’ Palaces than lodgings for poor people.’13
Most foreign observers pointed to industriousness, thrift, and cleanliness as the outstanding Dutch national characteristics. Some of their reports seem to indicate that three centuries ago the Dutch nation was not radically different from what it is today. It was, for example, noted that Dutchmen were singularly lacking in any respect for authority: servants did not tremble for their masters, women had often the better of their husbands, and children dared to speak up to their teachers, who ran the risk of being sued if they resorted to corporeal punishment.14 ‘The Dutch,’ said an Englishman in 1658, ‘behave as if all men were created equal.’15 There was also lavish praise for the high level of elementary education and the excellency of the new Dutch universities, especially that of Leiden, the fame of which attracted students from all parts of Europe.16
Many persons in leading positions all over Europe acknowledged their high opinion of Dutch skills by making determined efforts to introduce Dutch practices in shipbuilding, the organization of foreign trade, the reclamation of land, and in a variety of other fields. According to the English historian William Cunningham, the middle and late period of English seventeenth-century economic history was that of a ‘conscious imitation’ of the Dutch.17 The Dutch contribution to the economic development of Scandinavian countries was even more substantial. In the area around the Baltic Sea, Dutch influence can also be traced in architecture, painting, and literature, and the Dutch language was understood, if not spoken, by many of the educated.18 This explains why in 1640 the lecture inaugurating the Finnish University of Åbo could be delivered by a Dutch professor in his native tongue.19 Dutch influence and prestige perhaps culminated in the Russia of Peter the Great.20 The tsar carpenter was certainly an unqualified if not the most discriminating admirer of Dutch civilization, making heroic attempts to speak the Dutch language, and adopting the dress and the drinking and smoking habits of a Dutch skipper. Such favourable views of the Dutch were not necessarily shared by the majority of the population in foreign countries. But in many parts of western and northern Europe Dutch merchants were welcomed because, unlike any of their competitors, they were able to guarantee a market for the regional produce and to extend ready credit to the local businessmen. A sizeable proportion of the inhabitants of these areas were convinced that their own prosperity was closely linked with that of the Dutch, and, therefore, favoured them in their armed conflicts with the English; even in some English coastal towns public opinion was pro-Dutch during the third Anglo-Dutch war.21
Needless to say, the reality of Dutch society fell far short of the foreign visions of primeval innocence and terrestrial paradise. The eulogists of the Dutch Republic were often guilty of exaggeration and seemed to have overlooked the numerous unscrupulous and ruthless practices by which the merchant and bourgeois oligarchy ruled the country. The only unfavourable characteristics they frequently mentioned were a slow, unimaginative disposition and a common indulgence in bouts of drinking, and these shortcomings were generally excused by attributing them to the country’s humid and chilly climate.22
Yet there was another side to the foreign view of the Dutch Republic. The image which one nation forms of another is generally little more than a caricature inspired by hatred and prejudice, and the seventeenth century was no exception to this rule. It is well known that at this time the Dutch populace still laboured under the delusion that the English were distinguishable from ordinary human beings by having tails.23 The average Englishman’s view of the Dutch was not much more complimentary. The large number of expressions in the English language of this period in which the word ‘Dutch’ had an unfavourable connotation—’Dutch courage’, ‘Dutch concert’, ‘Dutch window’—seem to indicate that many Englishmen considered the Dutch drunkards devoid of any real bravery and cultural refinement. They were also commonly designated as ‘cheesemongers’ and ‘butter-boxes’; or, as an English pamphleteer put it in 1664: ‘A Dutchman is a lusty, fat, two-legged Cheeseworm, a creature that is so addicted to eating butter … that all the world knows him for a slippery fellow.’24 Such derogatory notions of the Dutch were not confined to the illiterate masses, but are even found in works of literary distinction. Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘The Character of Holland’ is for example, almost unsurpassed in the grotesque distortion with which it portrays the Dutch way of life.
It was not in England alone that such contemptuous views of the Dutch were current. Wherever, in Europe or Asia, the Dutch went, they acquired the reputation of being a nation of uncouth sailors and unscrupulous merchants taking unfair advantage of their neighbour’s gullibility and robbing him of his legitimate profits. It was said of them that Mammon was their only God, and that for profit’s sake they would not hesitate to pass through Hell even at the risk of having the sails of their ships burned.25 Many Frenchmen denounced the Dutch as bloodsuckers and the Germans expressed their resentment in the saying: ‘Where a Dutchman treads, no grass will grow.’26 Among the Chinese the Dutch enjoyed a similar reputation. Because of their highhanded methods they became known as they ‘red-haired barbarians’. ‘They are greedy and shrewd,’ reported a Chinese source of the time, ‘if meeting them at sea, one is certain to be robbed.’27
A less purely emotional, but an often equally unfavourable point of view was expressed by numerous foreigners who were fairly well-informed on the main facts of Dutch life, but judged it by the political and cultural values of the dominant classes in their own society. The bourgeois civilization of the Dutch Republic was not likely to find favour in the eyes of all who firmly believed in the superiority of aristocratic refinement and who valued honour and glory above industriousness and efficiency. As a republic the new Dutch state was treated with condescension by the monarchical governments of Europe, who refused to accord it a rank commensurate with its economic and military power and bestowed less honour upon Dutch diplomatic representatives than upon those minor European potentates.28 The Dutch were, of course, despised for their mercenariness, preferring, as Oliver Cromwell put it, ‘gain to godliness’. Many foreigners took it for granted that the Dutch policy of religious toleration was solely inspired by commercial interest, and were horrified by the pullulation of esoteric sects living peacefully side by side.29 Thus, Amsterdam appeared to Andrew Marvell as ‘Turk-Christian-Pagan-Jew’:
That bank of conscience, where not one so strange
Opinion but finds credit and exchange.20
The same unscrupulous love of gain, so it was often alleged, induced many Dutchmen to divulge state secrets or to support the policies of foreign governments. A few French an English ambassadors went so far as to assert that almost any Dutchman in high position was ready to accept bribes.31 Many foreign critics, moreover, commented upon the boorish and dull manners of the Dutch burghers, who were reputed to be highly unaccomplished lovers and very deficient in most social graces.32 Dutch paintings portraying ordinary or comic scenes were derogatorily called ‘drolleries’ and considered to fall far short of the dignified style of the Baroque.33 Even such a sympathetic observer of the Dutch scene as Sir William Temple was convinced that there was far more wealth than pleasure in Holland, and that it was a better country to travel than to live in.34
Equally disparaging views were held by some Dutchmen themselves. Considering the fact that in the seventeenth century the Dutch nation was filled with such a remarkable spirit of enterprise and was in many ways far ahead of other countries of the world, it might seem surprising that many Dutchmen of the time had a low opinion of their nation. But there are always, even in a period when a country is seemingly at the height of its political and economic strength, persons to be found who, out of political animosity, religious fervour, or economic hardship, are unduly critical of their own fatherland. Thus the Dutch civilization of the seventeenth century was not highly regarded by many members of the ruling class of the urban patriciate. Risen within one or two generations to a position of great wealth and political influence, they often displayed the attitude of social upstarts, ashamed of their humble origins and more impressed by the aristocratic culture of neighbouring countries than by the bourgeois civilization of their own nation.35 They hankered after titles of nobility and became a kind of bourgeois gentilhommes, calling themselves ‘their Lordships’ (Heren), whereas the term of bourgeois (burger) acquired an unfavourable connotation, being exclusively used to designate the middle classes engaged in manual labour and petty business. The new social elite only lukewarmly admired the bourgeois virtues of industriousness and commercial enterprise. It was particularly sensitive to the accusation of rusticity which many foreign critics levelled against it, and made serious efforts to adopt the sophisticated manners of the European nobility.36 The Dutch ruling class readily accepted the superiority of the aristocratic, courtly civilization off France with its Baroque and classicistic style of life, and looked down upon Dutch painting and literature in so far as these did not live up to foreign standards. As a result, many of the most original works of arts which later generations have regarded as the Republic’s greatest claim to fame, went unappreciated in the time itself.37
It was, however, not among these admirers of French culture, but among Dutchmen of a moralist bent or of strong Protestant convictions that the bourgeois society of the Dutch Republic found its severest critics. It is a common misconception that Dutchmen did not find the traditional virtues of frugality and bravery wanting until the eighteenth century. Actually, as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century it was widely held that peace, luxury, and the adoption of foreign manners were enervating the nation’s strength.38 In 1621 it was, for example, asserted that as a result of the Twelve Years’ Truce nothing was left of the Golden Age of prosperity and learning that the nation had once enjoyed.39 In a similar vein, numerous Calvinist preachers complained that materialism, immorality, and atheism were leading the country to its ruin. With a marked anti-economic bias these alarmist criticized the merchant oligarchy for their un-Christian concern with gain and their tolerant attitude toward Catholics, Jews, and Protestant dissenters. It was especially the government of Amsterdam that was the target of their impassionate invectives.40 A scurrilous pamphlet of 1637 argued that by consistently opposing any policy furthering the cause of Protestantism, the town deserved to be known as ‘the political anti-Christ.’41 God-fearing Christians were also in the forefront in combating the new spirit of rationalism. They made valiant attempts to prevent the spread of Descartes’ philosophy and were even more adamant in branding Spinoza as an atheist. All that was pagan, sensuous, and exuberant in Dutch civilization met with their stern disapproval. The fading away of Dutch folksongs and of the once so flourishing art of music, was at least partly the result of their hostile attitude. It is, therefore, not surprising that modern scholars have argued that, in addition to the vogue of French classicism, Calvinism bears a heavy responsibility for the drying up of Dutch genius in art and literature.
In the course of the seventeenth century the official Reformed Church lost much of its militancy. But as Calvinist divines became more willing to compromise with the secularism of Dutch society, their role as censors of the spirit of the age was taken over by Protestant sectarians interpreting military defeats, inundations, and outbreak of plagues as manifestations of the Lords’ displeasure with the moral and spiritual degeneration of the Dutch nation.42
Such historical pessimism was an important aspect, but not the most significant one of Dutch self-evaluation in the seventeenth century. In the general European context, the Dutch were conspicuous not for their self-criticism, but for their self-praise. Elsewhere in seventeenth-century Europe national self-satisfaction was at a much lower ebb. At this time the old pessimistic philosophies of history of Christian or classical origin had yet lost little of their vigour. The military setbacks or the political and religious crises which most European countries experienced gave new life to the old view that degeneration was the law of history. It was especially in Spain, Italy, and Germany that political developments were conducive to the persistence of a strong sense of historical decline, but also in France civil strife, burdensome taxation, and a lagging economy caused widespread gloom and self-criticism.43
Compared with these other European nations the Dutch indeed viewed the state o their country with great complacency. One of the main reasons for Dutch self-pride was their nation’s good fortune in the long struggle against Spain. The fact that such a small nation had been able to carry out a successful war against a mighty empire seemed to many Dutchmen all the more miraculous because, at the same time, contrary to what could be expected during a period of protracted and destructive warfare, the country had prodigiously increased in prosperity and taken the lead in exploration, colonization, and many other fields of human endeavour.44
A new dimension was added to national self-pride when shortly after Spain had officially recognized the Republic’s independence, the new state began to play a leading role in European affairs. At no other time did the Dutch Republic appear more powerful to many of its citizens than in the late 1660s when Dutch arms and diplomacy prevailed over the aggressive designs of both England and France. In commemoration of these new triumphs many poets and preachers praised their country to the skies, and a medal was issued proudly stating that the Dutch had succeeded ‘in enforcing international law, strengthening the cause of religion, assisting, defending, and reconciling Europe’s monarchs, and restoring the Continent to a stable peace.’45
Yet it was not the new status of the Union Provinces as one of the European powers that the seventeenth-century Dutch regarded as their greatest blessing. As a matter of fact, the international position of the Republic was not always viewed with great confidence. In 1672, for example, the so-called year of disaster when France, assisted by England, Münster, and Cologne, overran the greater part of the Republic, and civil Strife seemed to paralyze any resistance against the French plans to conquer the other provinces, there was little, if anything, left of the high opinion that many Dutchmen had entertained of the power of their state a few years earlier.46 It is therefore not surprising that in Dutch eyes the freedom of their institutions was a far more precious gift than their influence in European politics. The ambiguous term of ‘freedom’ had, of course, to cover many distinct, often conflicting political and religious ideals. To numerous members of the urban patriciate it meant the opposite of a centralized monarchy. They, therefore, regarded the monarchical aspirations of the House of Orange as the greatest threat to freedom, and celebrated the stadholderless regime established in 1650 as ‘the system of true liberty.’ A nobler ideal of freedom was championed by some of Holland’s foremost intellectuals who valued freedom of religion and expression for its own sake, and counted themselves as fortunate for having been born in a country where there was so little suppression of unconventional views.47 ‘We have the rare felicity,’ wrote Spinoza in his Theological-Political Treatise (1670) ‘of living in a State where entire freedom of opinion prevails, where all may worship God in their own fashion and where nothing is held sweeter, nothing more precious than such liberty.’48 Such unorthodox concepts of freedom found, of course, no support among the strict Calvinists and the partisans of the House of Orange. Their ideal of liberty stood rather for a privileged position of the Reformed Church and restriction of the power of the urban oligarchies.49 One kind of freedom was, however, highly regarded by almost all Dutchmen, regardless of their political and religious persuasions, namely, their liberation from foreign tyranny. It is this freedom which they had in mind when they proudly designated their country as ‘the free Netherlands.’
Some of the most unqualified expressions of the young republic’s self-pride flowed from the pen of early seventeenth-century scholars. A Leiden professor, Boxhorn, for example, wrote in one of his poetic moods:
The Dutch Republic is the world’s ring,
And the ring’s pearl is Holland.
The Dutch Republic is the world’s eye,
And this eye’s apple is Holland.
The Dutch Republic is the world’s queen
And this Queen’s crown is Holland.50
Other intellectuals tried to prove that the Dutch language was the sweetest and oldest of all tongues, or that love of freedom was an innate national characteristic that could be traced to the times of antiquity when the forefathers of the present Dutch, the Batavians, had refused to submit to the Roman yoke.51 Such views were, fore instance, propagated by the most famous Dutch scholar of the period, Hugo Grotius, who went further than any of his contemporaries in glorifying the civilization of his country. In a youthful work comparing Holland with Greece and Rome, he claimed that his country equalled the ancients in the arts and sciences and far surpassed them in virtue and political wisdom. As for commerce and shipping, no country in the past or the present could even be compared with Holland. ‘What nation,’ he exclaimed, ‘has even possessed so many ships as the city of Amsterdam alone? On which part of the globe have we not set foot?’ ‘My mental powers,’ he confessed, ‘are insufficient to do justice to the vastness of Dutch trade.’52
Young Grotus’s exultation over the supremacy of Dutch trade and shipping was shared by most Dutchmen of his period. In 1608, for example, the directors of the new Dutch East India Company boastfully declared that the Dutch were ‘the best merchants and the most fearless seamen in the entire world.’ and, two decades later, other Amsterdam merchants claimed that trough the efficient and shrewd management of their affairs they had ‘sailed all nations off the seas.’53
One of the few attempts to discover the reasons for the commercial supremacy of the Dutch was made by the most original Dutch economic theorist of the century, Pieter de la Court, in his True Interest and Political Maxims of the Republick of Holland (1662). In his view, the rapid development of the Dutch economy owed much to the country’s favourable geographical location at the crossroads of trade and its excellent network of inland waterways, but in other respects, he felt, Holland had not been blessed by nature. The unfertility of Holland’s soil, the harshness of its climate, and the continuous threat of inundations had impeded the growth of agriculture. Accordingly, the population could not be fed by its own products and had been impelled to gain its livelihood in fishery, commerce, and industry. As a staunch supporter of ‘the system of true liberty,’ Pieter de la Court held that Dutch political institutions had been a great asset in the remarkable increase in prosperity. Freedom of religion, freedom of trade, and above all, the republican form of government had induced many enterprising foreigners to settle in Holland. Like many seventeenth-century economic theorists, De la Court was convinced that population increase had a favourable effect on the state of the economy. In this connection he attached the greatest significance to the numerous merchants, technical experts and skilled labourers who, after the outbreak of the Revolt, had fled from the once so prosperous Southern Netherlands and contributed their ingenuity and capital to the building up of Dutch trade and industry.54
Such a keen interest in the problem of the causes of Dutch material welfare was highly exceptional among seventeenth-century Dutchmen, who generally did little more than praise their blessings and attribute them to God’s mercy. Unlike other European nations of the time the Dutch were too pleased with the state of their economy to show any keen interest in the study of the alleged laws underlying the growth of trade and commerce. Dutch self-satisfaction, which became one of the salient traits of the national temper in the course of the seventeenth century, was vividly expressed by the popular poet Jacob Cats, who once rhetorically asked,
And what does any land or any island show
That Holland does not have, that Holland does not know?55
In view of the widespread sense of national complacency it is not surprising that many seventeenth-century Dutchmen came to look upon their times as a new ‘Golden Age.’ ‘Holland,’ wrote a poet on the occasion of the signing of the Peace Treaty of Münster in 1648, ‘is beginning as of old to blossom; and the Golden Age in which our forefathers lived, and which we have longed for so many years, is setting in.’56 The very same words were used in many other writings of the period to designate the blessed state of the United Provinces.57 The view that the seventeenth century was a Golden Age in Dutch history is therefore not merely a nostalgic retrospection of later generations. For the first time in European history a substantial body of public opinion no longer placed the Golden Age exclusively in the beginning of history, but began to feel that their own society was also entitled to this epithet. Such an opinion came very naturally to the older generation who had witnessed the horrors of the early struggle for independence and could not help but be impressed by the great blessings that had followed the ‘iron age.’ For example, the painter and art historian Karel van Mander, after having contrasted the desolation of the provinces suffering from Spanish warfare with the peace and prosperity now enjoyed by Holland’s cities and countryside, exclaimed: ‘Who will deny that this is an Age of Gold?’58
The same cheerful view of Dutch history is a recurrent theme in one of the most popular works of the seventeenth century. The Batavian Arcadia (1637) by Johan van Heemskerek.59 Although strongly influenced by Italian, French, and English poets, the author introduced a new element into arcadian literature by placing the scene of his pastoral love story not in an imaginary country or the far distant past, but in contemporary Holland. His work, therefore, lacked the nostalgic and melancholy note of its foreign models and created the impression that the arcadian paradise, if not yet fully come true, was at least within the reach of his compatriots.60 The unromantic nature of the book, so sharply differentiating it from foreign arcadias, was still more accentuated by the insertion of long digressions on the history and legal system of the Dutch Republic. This strange mixture of fiction and erudition might not have resulted in great literature, but it did evidently appeal to the taste of the general public, for Heemskerk’s book became a bestseller and found numerous imitators.61
The various ‘arcadias’ evoked the charming simplicity of life in the Dutch countryside. The architectural beauty and the feverish commercial and industrial activity of Holland’s towns constituted an even more powerful source of inspiration to many Dutch men of letters. Amsterdam, above all, was glorified by some of Holland’s most gifted poets. Constantijn Huygens, for example, characterized it as ‘the warehouse of East and West . . . two Venices in one.’62 The greatest of all Dutch authors, Joost van den Vondel, composed innumerable poems in honour of the wisdom of the city’s rulers, the courage of its sailors, and the enterprising spirit of its merchants.63 Amsterdam was for him the Queen and the capital of Europe to whom all countries of the world paid tribute, and to whom, next to God, the Dutch Republic owed all the blessings of a truly Golden Age. Under the wise government of its burgomasters, the poet asserted, vice was receding and virtue gaining ground, no one was any more oppressed, peace had been restored, and the arts and sciences were flourishing.64 Dutch pride in their leading town reached its climax on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Amsterdam Town Hall in 1655. Even before its completion, many prominent Dutchmen hailed the new edifice as the eighth wonder of the world, thus claiming for the Dutch the singular honour of being the only European nation that had succeeded in erecting a monument that was worthy to be compared to the most impressive buildings of antiquity.65
The evident element of exaggeration with which many Dutch scholars and poets sang the glories of their country indicates that Dutch men of letters did not altogether escape the hyperbolic spirit of the Baroque age. It is in its pictorial art rather than in its literature that a sincere and natural appreciation of the realities of the Dutch civilization found its lasting expression. Through the paintings, drawings, and etchings of the period we can still grasp much of the self-confidence and boisterous energy with which the recently established republic was filled. As is generally known, the Dutch painters of the seventeenth century were uniquely gifted in portrayed almost any aspect of everyday life: carousing peasants as well as sturdy burghers; tumultuous scenes of naval warfare as well the quiet atmosphere of still lives; panoramic views of the countryside as well as intimate interiors of town dwellings. In depicting these multifarious facets of Dutch life the great masters went beyond a merely photographic representation of reality. They primarily aimed at conveying their own vision of the world, and such works as Vermeer’s View of Delft and Hobbema’s Avenue in Middelharnis testify to the loving attention with which the painters viewed their immediate environment.
The attachment to one’s native city and region, as expressed in the literature and painting of the period, was much stronger in the seventeenth century than it has become thenceforth. It is therefore not surprising that some historians have been of the opinion that seventeenth-century Dutchmen knew no other fatherland than their own town or province. Yet the strongly developed local patriotism was not incompatible with a pronounced sense of Dutch nationality. However deeply rooted provincialism and particularism might have been in the political structure of the Dutch Republic, the many common experiences in war and peace, the spreading uniformity of language and habits, the unavoidable co-operation in commerce, religion, and education caused an increasingly large number of Dutch citizens to become nationally conscious.66 A forceful expression of this new national awareness is to be found, remarkably enough, in the writings of one of the staunchest advocates of the doctrine of provincial sovereignty, John de Witt. He asked:
Do the present seven United Provinces, not have one and the same interest in their preservation, and one and the same feat of all foreign powers? Are they not so closely tied and bound together by mutual alliances and marriages both of patricians and other inhabitants, and not so intricately intertwined by common undertakings in trade, commerce and other fields of mutual interest as well as by the ownership of each other’s territories and the adoption of each other’s habits that it would be well-nigh impossible to tear them apart? . . . Do the envoys and the delegates of these provinces not meet regularly in the States General, who harmoniously decide on all the important matters of war at sea and on land, and make treaties and alliances with other kings, republics, princes and potentates. . . ? And, above all, are their hearts and souls not united and tied together by the spiritual and religious bond of one and the same religion?67
The growth of a national sentiment in the period of the Dutch Republic has not yet been the subject of any thorough historical investigation, but the relative strength of Dutch patriotism in the seventeenth century is well attested by the general currency of the words ‘fatherland’ and ‘patriot,’ terms that were probably more widely used in the Dutch Republic than in any other European country of the time.68 The new republic was, moreover, commonly designated as ‘our blessed land,’ ‘the sweet Netherlands,’ or—most commonly of all—as ‘our dear fatherland.’ The widespread usage of such affectionate expressions suggest that patriotic fervour was a far from negligible factor in Dutch political life of the seventeenth century.
The various instances of Dutch self-esteem could be easily multiplied, but it is more pertinent to point out that the national mood was not one of excessive self-glorification. Most Dutchmen dwelling upon the good fortunes of their nation, praised God rather than themselves. Not only God-fearing Calvinists, but also Dutchmen highly critical of the clerical point of view like Grotius and John de Witt, saw God’s hand in the events of their time.69
It should also be noted that although most Dutchmen viewed their present state with complacency, they looked upon the future with less confidence. At this time Christian as well as humanists were still vividly aware of the transient nature of all worldly power and splendour. Such a view came naturally to a small, recently established nation like the Dutch surrounded by more powerful, often aggressive states.70 Even if in the seventeenth century the Netherlands played a more important role in European affairs than ever before or after, the strategic position of the country was highly exposed and many of its leading politicians realized that it could never hope to be ranked among the truly great powers of Europe.71 Such a relatively modest evaluation of Dutch strength led some writers to argue that Dutch foreign policy should not be regulated upon the bellicose behaviour of the lion (the animal appearing in Holland’s official coat of arms), but on the defensive tactics of a cat who flees in a tree when under attack by a superior power.72 It is perhaps this awareness of being a small nation that also explains that Dutch Calvinists, unlike many English Puritans of the time, did not assume that their nation was chosen by God to lead mankind to a glorious future.73 Seventeenth-century Dutch nationalism can be called complacent and selfish, but not messianistic and aggressive.
Within the time-limit prescribed by an inaugural lecture it is clearly impossible to present more than a representative selection of native and foreign views of the Dutch civilization of the seventeenth century. But it will be evident that, regardless of whether they were admirers or critics of the new state, contemporaries had a vivid sense of the uniqueness of the Dutch Republic, which they regarded as a kind of ‘brave new world’. In the light of the radical transformations that have taken place in all of Europe, including the Netherlands, since the seventeenth century—the emergence of a more democratic social and political order, of a highly industrialized economy, and of a secular outlook on the world—the difference between the Dutch Republic and other European countries of its time might seem less conspicuous. Thus, some modern historians have convincingly argued that in the aristocratic nature of its social and political structure, and in the basic organization of its economy the United Provinces had more in common with other West European states of the old regime than has been traditionally assumed. Similarly, the rise of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century does not appear any more as miraculous as it did to most contemporaries, since it is now realized that the Dutch leading position in world commerce grew out of solid foundation laid in preceding centuries and, moreover, owed much to the political and religious strife paralyzing vigorous economic policies in neighbouring states of the time. But such new insight, playing down the miraculous and unique character of the Dutch Republic, should not lead us to forget that contemporaries thought differently and that without knowing their feelings and opinions much of the history of the time is likely to be misunderstood.
In evaluating the civilization of the Dutch Republic, contemporary observers subscribed to highly diverse opinions, ranging from enthusiastic eulogies to bitter denunciations. A high esteem of the achievements of the new republic was more common among its own citizens than among the inhabitants of other countries, but fierce criticism of the Dutch Republic was, nonetheless, a strong undercurrent in Dutch society itself. Few Dutch critics, it is true, presented such a distorted picture of the state of their country as was given by many foreign censors. The national self-image was, on the whole, more complex and realistic if less sharply delineated than the foreign view of the nation. This does not mean that in their self-appraisal the Dutch were always very discriminating. They were frequently off the mark by either magnifying their virtues or disparaging some of their greatest accomplishments.
Native reaction to the rapid rise of the Dutch Republic was also different from that of the foreigner in that the Dutchman tended to be complacent and to praise the Lord for his nation’s blessings, whereas the outsider, if favourably inclined toward the United Provinces, was generally highly critical of his own nation and sought a human rather than a supernatural explanation of what was realized in the Netherlands.
On the other hand, both foreigners and Dutchmen were apt to believe that the Dutch Republic was unique in permitting an unprecedented degree of freedom in the fields of religion, trade, and politics. It was even more difficult to find any educated person in Holland or in other European countries who was not convinced of Dutch supremacy in shipping, fishery, commerce, and international finance. In the eyes of contemporaries it was this combination of freedom and economic predominance that constituted the true miracle of the Dutch Republic.
1. Save where otherwise stated, my chief sources for the foreign view of the Dutch Republic in the seventeenth century are: R Bruin; ‘De Nederlanders der zeventiende eeuw door Engelschen geschetst,’ Verspreide geschriften (11 vols., ‘s-Gravenhage, 1900-05), IV, 245-60: J. Huizinga, ‘Engelschen en Nederlanders in Shakespeares’ tijd,’ Verzamelde werken (9 vols, Haarlem, 1948-53), II, 358-81; R. Murris, La Hollande et les Hollandais au XVIIe siècles vus par les Français (Paris, 1925); G. Brugmans, Onder de loupe van het buitenland (Maarn, 1929); A.C. J. Vrankrijker, In andermans ogen (Utrecht, 1941); I. Hijmans-Tromp, De Nederlander door Italiaanse bril (Leiden, 1959); C. R. Boxer, The Dutch Seaborne Empire, 1600-1800 (London, 1965); J. Bientjes, Holland und der Holländer im Urteil deutscher Reisdener, 1400-1800 (Grongingen, 1967).
2. Antonio Donatio, ‘Relazione,’ in Relazioni veneziane. Venetiaansche berichten over de Vereenigde Nederlanden van 1600-1795, (cd. P.J. Blok; ‘s-Gravenhage, 1909), p. 112.
3. Cf. V. Barbour, Capitalism in Amerstam in the 17th Century (Ann Arbor, 1963), pp. 18, 35-42, 46-7, 95-6.
4. Henri, Duc de Rohan, Voyage faict en l’an 1600 en Italie. Allemagne, Pays-bas uni, Angleterre et Escosse (Amsterdam, 1646), p. 160.
5. Antoine de Montchrétien, Traicté de l’economie politique (ed. Th. Funck-Brentano; Paris, 1889), pp. 142-3. Many other authors of the time asserted that the Dutch Republic was equal or even superior to ancient Rome; cf. The Dutch Drawn to the Life (London, 1664); S. Tennulius, De Belgarum fortuna et earum cum Romanis comparatione (1667); E. H. Kossmann, In Praise of the Dutch Republic: Some Seventeenth-Century Attitudes (London, 1963), p. 19
6. Sir William Temple, Observations Upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands (1673) in Works (4 vols.; London, 1757), 1, 58, 182-3.
7. Thomas Mun, England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade (n.p., 1664); Sir Josiah Child, Brief Observations Concerning Trade and Interest of Money (n.p. 1668); Sir William Petty, Political Arithmetick or a Discourse Concerning the Value of Lands, People (London, 1690); cf. N. G. Pierson, ‘Beschouwingen over Holland’s welvaart bij Engelsche economisten der zeventiende eeuw,’ Verspreide geschriften (2 vols., Haarlem, 1910), pp. 209-46
8. Temple, op. cit., pp. 183-203.
9. R. Descartes to J. L. G. de Balzac, 5 May 1631, Oeuvres et lettres, (ed. Bibl. de la Pléiade; Paris, 1937), pp. 729-30; cf. Gustave Cohen, Ecrivains français en Hollande dans la première moitié du XVIIe siècle (‘s-Gravenhage, 1921), pp. 199ff., 270-4, 713-15.
10. Jean Nicolas de Parival, Les délices de la Hollande (Leide, 1662), introd., pp. 20, 186ff., 191.
11. Relazioni veneziane, p. 132ff.; Temple, op. cit., p. 185
12. Relazioni veneziane, pp. 57-8, 110, 134, 230; Hijmans-Tromp, op. cit., pp. 55-6; R. Elsner von Gronow, Die öffentliche Meinung in Deutschland gegenüber Holland nach 1648 (Marburg i. H., 1914), pp. 57-8.
13. William Carr, An Accurate Description of the United Provinces (London, 1691), p. 23.
14. Hijmans Tromp, op. cit., p. 5; Elsner von Gronow, op cit., pp. 57-8; R. Fruin, Tien jaren uit de Tachtigjarige oorlog, 1588-1598 (12th ed.; Utrecht, 1961), p. 176
15. J. Brickman, Oprechte beschrijvingh waerin alle de Nederlanders voornamelijk de Hollanders haer Aert, Mannier en Leven alsmede haer Policy nacktelijk wert ontledet. In ‘t Engels geschreven (Delft, 1658), p 9.
16. Cf. H Schnappen, Niederländische Universitäten und deutsches Geistesleben von der Gründung der Universität Leiden bis ins späte 18. Jahrhundert (Münster, 1960).
17. William Cunningham, The Growth of English Industry and Commerce (Cambridge, 1882), Book V, Ch. 2; see also, D. W. Davies, Dutch Influences on English Culture in the Seventeenth Century (Ithaca, 1964); G. N. Clark, The Seventeenth Century (New York, 1961), p. 14ff.
18. Cf. E. Wrangel, De betrekkingen tussen Zweden en de Nederlanden op het gebied van letteren en wetenschappen voornamelijk gedurende de zeventiende eeuw (Leiden, 1901). esp. Ch. X; Th. Weevers, Poetry of the Netherlands in its European Context, 1170-1930 (London, 1960), pp. 139-41; J. Huizinga, op. cit., 11, 360
19. W. J. Muller, De uitbreiding van het Nederlands cultuurgebied vooral in de zeventiende eeuw (‘s-Gravenhage, 1939).
20. B. Raptchinsky, Peter de Groote in Holland in 1697-1698 (Zutphen, n.d.), pp. ix, 44-5, 48.
21. Barbour, op. cit., pp. 97-103
22. Hijmans-Tromp, op. cit., p. 11; Templer, op. cit., pp. 160-3.
23. Cf. D. Th. Enklaar, ‘De gestaarte Engelsman,’ Mededelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van wetenschappe, Afd. Letterkunde, N. R., 18 (1955), pp. 124-??
24. Dutch Boare dissected or adescription of Hogg-Land (The Hollanders Unmasked) (London, 1665); cf. J Huizinga, op. cit., pp. 350, 357-66, the French philologist Claude Saumaise is reputed to have characterized Holland as ‘un païs où le demon de l’ór, couronne de tabac, est assis sur un tròne de fromage’ (Cohen, op. cit., p. 317).
25. Fruin, Tien jaren, p. 311; Ch. Wilson, Power and Profit. A Study of England and the Dutch Wars (Cambridge, 1957), pp. 20-3.
26. P Zumthor, Het dagelijks leven in de Gouden eeuw (2 vols., Utrecht, 1962), 11, 18; Barbour, op. cit., pp. 96-7, 98-9; Elsner von Gronow, op. cit., p. 25.
27. J. J. L. Duyvendak, Wegen en gestalten der Chineesche geschiedenis (s-Gravenhage, 1935), p. 246
28. J. Herigna, De eer en hoogheid van de staat. Over de plaats der Verenigde Nederlanden in het diplomatieke leven van de zeventiende eeuw (Groningen, 1961); F. H. Schubert, ‘Die Niederlande zur Zeit das Dreiszigjährigen Krieges im Urteil des diplomatischen Korps im Haag,’ Historisches Jahrbuch. 74 (1955), 252-64.
29. Boxer, op. cit., pp. 1 ?, 115, 131.
30. Cf. L. Knappert, “Het kerkelijk leven,’ in H. Brugmans (ed.), Het huiselijk en maatschappelijk leven onzer vooronders (2 vols., Amsterdam, 1914-15), 11, 103; Andrew Marvell, ‘Character of Holland,’ Poems and Letters (2 vols., Oxford, 1927); 1, 97; cf. J Stouppe, La religion des Hollandais (Paris, 1673); A Trip to Holland Being a Description of the Country, people and Manners and Some Select Observations on Amsterdam (n. p., 1699).
31. Cf. Boxer, op. cit., pp. 40-1; P. Geyl, ‘D’Estrades’ beweringen omtrent de omkoopbaarheid der Nederlandse regenten,’ Nederlandse historiebladen, 2(1939), 63-73.
32. J. Brickman, op. cit.,; Hijmans-Tromp, op. cit., p. 11; A. C. J. de Vrankrijker, in J Presser et al. De Tachtig jarige oorlog (3rd ed., Amsterdam, 1948), p. 260
33. Huizinga, loc. cit., 11, 379; R. Fruin, ‘De Nederlanders de zeventiende eeuw door de Fugelschen geschetst,’ loc. cit., IV, 249
34. Temple, op. cit., 1, 170.
35. Cf. Jan Romein’s discerning remarks in De Lage Landen bij de zee (Utrecht, 1934), p. 331ff.
36. Cf. P. Geyl, The Netherlands Divided, 1699-1648 (London, 1936), pp. 69-70; Fruin, Tien jaren, p. 177.
37. See S. Slive, Rembrandt and his Critics, 1630-1730 (The Hague, 1953), pp. 102, 161ff., 177ff.
38. Cf. H. C. A. Muller, Hugo de Groot’s ‘Annales en Historiae’ (Utrecht, 1919), pp. 53-4; Fruin, Tien jaren, p. 170; R. H. Schele Vertoog van de gemeene vrijheid (2nd ed. Amsterdam, 1666), pp. 5-6.
39. Twisten ende beroerten onder ‘t seghel van Hendrick van Nassau . . ., (n. p. 1621), as quoted in J. J. Poelhekke, ‘t Uytgaan van de Traves, Spanje en de Nederlanden in 1621 (Groningen, 1960), p. 5.
40. Ontdecking van den Nederlandtschen Cancker (n.p. 1653); J. Picardt, Korte beschrijvinge van eenige vergetene en verborgene antiquiteten (Amsterdam, 1660); Abraham van de Velde, De wonderen des Allerhoogsten (Middelburgh, 1668).
41. Een klare ende korte aanmerckinge op den tegenwoordingen Staat, religie ende Politic onses lieven Vaderlandts (n.p., 1637); cf. H. Visscher, Ondergang van de Republiek der Vereenigde Nederlanden (2nd ed., Amsterdam, 1944), p. 146ff.; Den Ommeganck van Amsterdam (Breda, 1650); Eenige aanmerckingen op een schandaleus en faemroovendt pasquil gengemdt Vindiciae Amsterdamenses (n.p. 1690).
42. C. B. Hylkema, Reformateurs. Geschiedkundige Studiën over de godsdienstige bewegingen uit de nadagen onze Gouden eeuw (2 vols., Haarlem, 1900-2).
43. See my Sense of Decadence in Nineteenth-Century France (The Hague, 1964), Ch. 11.
44. C. Pzn. Hooft, Memoriën en adviezen, in Werken uitgegeven door het Historisch genootschap, N. R., 16 (Utrecht, 1871), pp. 316-17; cf. Cohen, op. cit., p. 199ff.
45. Cf. Jacobus Lydius, Belgium gloriosum (Dordtrecht, 1668), to be distinguished from a work edited by the same Lydius, under the same title, consisting of a collection of Latin and Dutch poems celebrating the Dutch victory in the Medway and the Peace of Breda; Petrus Valckenier, ‘t Verwerd Europa (2nd ed., Amsterdam, 1742), I, 107-8; N. Japkse, Johan de Witt (Amsterdam, 1915), p. 268.
46. The sense of crisis and decadence is well expressed in numerous pamphlets published in the years 1672 and 1673 as well in P. Balckenier’s ‘t Verwerd Europa, 1, 226ff., 771.
47. For ex. by Joost van den Vondel; see Weevers, op. cit., p. 199
48. Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (London, 1862), pp. 22-3.
49. Cf. C. D. M. Cornelissen, Johan de Witt en de vrijheid (Nijmegen 1945).
50. M. Z. Boxhorn, tooneel ofte beschrijvinge der steden van Holland (Amsterdam, 1634), p. 33.
51. Petrus Scriverius in his introduction to Heinsius, Nederduytsche Poemata (1616) cf. H. Kampinga, De opvattingen over onze oudere vaderlandsche geschiedenis bij de Hollandsche historici der XVIe en XVIIe eeuw (‘s-Gravenhage, 1917). For similar views held by German humanists, see Hans Kohn, The Idea of Nationalism (New York, 1861), p. 139ff.
52. Parallelon rerumpublicarum, (cd. J. Meerman; 4 vols., Haarlem, 1801-3), 1, xivff., 3; III, 86, 134, 142, 147; cf. G. S. Overdiep, ‘Hugo de Groot en onze nationale Renaissance,’ Gids (1938), I, 188ff.; E. H. Kossmann, op. cit., pp. 13-14.
53. Emanuel van Metern, Historie van de Oorlogen en Geschiedenissen der Nederlanderen (10 vols., Gorinchem, 1748-63), IX, 367; J. E. Elias, Het voorspel van den Eersten Engelschen Oorlog (‘s-Gravenhage, 1920), I, 65; for similar statements see; Adriaen Valerius, Nederlandsche gedenck-clank (3rd ed., Amsterdam, 1947), p. 213; W. Usselinex, Waarschouwinge over den Treves met den Coninck van Spainien (Vlissinghen, 1630); [Pieter de la Court], The True Interest and Political Maxims of the Republick of Holland and West-Friesland in Political Maxims of the State of Holland (wrongly attributed to John de Witt) (London, 1743), Pt. I, Ch. 13; Schele, op. cit., pp. 170-2.
54. P. de la Court, op. cit., Pt. 1, Ch 3ff.
55. As quoted by Anthonie Donker, Karaktertrekken der Vaderlandsche letterkunde (Arnhem, 1945). p. 177.
56. ‘Trompet of lofrede,’ as quoted in K. Fremantle, The Baroque Town Hall of Amsterdam (Utrecht, 1959), p. 31
57. See, for example, J. van de Vondel, Werken, (cd. J. v. Lennep; Amsterdam, 1858). IV. 367; Th. Hogers, Redevoering gedann te Deventer den 5. May 1664 (‘s-Gravenhage, 1742). p. 254; J. I. Pontanus, Historische beschrijving der seer wijt broemde hoopstadt Amsterdam (Amsterdam, 1614). p. 105.
58. Den Nederduytschen Helicon (Alckmaar, 1611), pp. 97-8. Similarly, Jean le Petit, a former secretary of William the Silent, after dwelling upon the spectacular increase in prosperity and population of such Dutch cities as Amsterdam, Leiden, Rotterdam, Eukhuizen, Middelburg and Flushing concluded that the Dutch could now claim to be living in a Golden Age in which Justice and Piety once again prevailed (Nederland Republycke (Arnhem, 1615), introd.).
59. Batavische Arcadia (8th ed.; Leiden, 1765), pp. 113-14, 323-4.
60. Cf. J. ten Brink, Romans in proza (Leiden, n.d.); E. Panofsky, ‘Et in Arcadia ego,’ Philosophy and History. Essays Presented to Ernst Cassiver, (ed. R. Klibansky and H. J. Paton; Ne York, 1963), pp. 179-222
61. G. D. J. Schotel, “Beoordeeling der Arcadias gedurende de XVIIe en XVIIIe eeuw in ons vaderland uitgegeven uitgegeven’ in Bijdragen tot de backen-en menschenkennis, (cds. P.S. Schull en A van der Hoop; 1833); Woordenboek der nederlandse taal (‘s-Gravenhage, 1882), II, 605-6.
62. ‘Amsteldam’ (1624), in Constantijn Huygens, De Gedichten, (ed. J. A. Worp; 9 vols.; Groningen, 1892-9), 11, 69-70. Brederode and P. C. Hooft also wrote many verses glorifying their native city.
63. Cf. J. te Winkel., ‘Hollands Gouden eeuw door Vondel verheerlijkt,’ in his Ontwikkelingsgang der Nederlandsche letterkunde (7 vols., Haarlem, 1922-7), IV, 345ff.
64. J. van den Vondel, Volledige dictwerken en oorspronkelijk proza, (ed. A. Verwey; Amstedam, 1937), pp. 754-65.
65. K. Fremantle, The Baroque Town Hall of Amsterdam; J. Mens, Amsterdam. Paradijs ter Herinnering (Amsterdam, 1947), 157ff.
66. I cannot subscribe to the view expressed by G. J. hoogewerff in his article ‘Uit de geschiedenis van het Nederlandsch nationaal besef,’ Tijdschrift voor geschiedenis, 44 (1929), 134, that in the first half of the seventeenth century the prevalence of particularism undermined any kind of national consciousness. The term ‘Nederland,’ far from losing its popularity as this author asserts, continued to be commonly used in the political pamphlets of the time. Gradually replacing the older terms ‘Nederlanden’ (a synonym of ‘Low Countries’ and also designating the Southern provinces), it increasingly indicated only the territory of the Dutch Republic.
67. Deductie ofte Declaritie van de Staten van Hollandt ende West-Vrieslandt . . . dienende tot justificatie . . . van seeckere Act van Seclusiv (‘s-Gravenhage, 1654), p. 64.
68. Kossmann, op. cit., pp. 8-10.
69. Cf. H. C. A. Muller, op. cit., pp. 58-9; C. Busken Huet, Het land van Rembrandt (5th ed.; Haarlem, n.d.), 11, 74-5.
70. This conviction was expressed in such sayings as; ‘t kan verkeren’ (Brederode) and ‘Opgaan, blinken/En verzinken/Is het lot van ieder staat.’ (Vondel); see also Valckemer, op. cit., 1, 771.
71. For Oldenbarnevelt’s and Grotius’s modest evaluations of the country’s strength, see I. H. Gosses and N. Japikse, Handboek tot de staatkundige geschiedenis van Nederland (2nd ed., ‘s-Gravenhage, 1927), p. 434.
72. B. I. R., Den Hollandschen Verrekijker (Utrecht, 1671).
73. H. Smitskamp, Calvinistisch nationaal besef in Nederland voor het midden der zeventiende eeuw (‘s-Gravenhage, 1947).