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European History Quarterly http://ehq.sagepub.


1848: Revolutionary Reform in the Netherlands

Siep Stuurman European History Quarterly 1991 21: 445 DOI: 10.1177/026569149102100402 The online version of this article can be found at:

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Revolutionary Reform

in the

The Dutch merchant vessel Gertrude sailed from Batavia in the first week of 1848. Winds were intermittent and, at best, weak, so the voyage around Africa took a long time and the ship reached St Helena at the end of February. Some days later, having crossed the Equator, the Dutchmen encountered an English brig. In passing the Englishman signalled to them: France revolution/king shot dead/republic. This was all they could make out. At first the men aboard the Gertrude were simply amazed. After some time, however, they decided that the message was too fantastic to be true, and that the Englishman had obviously been pulling their leg. A month later, sailing off the French coast, they learned that there had in fact been a revolution. Finally, in the Channel, an Irish pilot came aboard. Eagerly the Dutchmen asked for news of their own country. Holland, the Irishman said, Holland, let me see ... yes, to be sure, from one of the small states of Germany the king ran away too, but I dont know which king it is. This was none too clear and somewhat alarming, but inquiries among French and Belgian fishermen did not get the Dutchmen any further. Finally, on one of the last days of April, a Dutch pilot came aboard. He knew nothing about the state of European politics but he told the crew that all was quiet in the Netherlands; i there was merely a new Ministry in The Hague. The reactions of the Dutch to rumours of revolution follow a pattern: first amazement, then incredulity followed by apprehension and fear, and finally relief when the play seems to be over before it has even really begun. In other countries revolutions take place, but in The Hague only the Ministry is changed. This pattern neatly fits the dominant myth of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Dutch history. Gradualism, sedateness and an instincEuropean History Quarterly (SAGE, London, Newbury
Vol. Park and New



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446 tive distrust of wild schemes are held to be ingrained in the national character. A deferential attitude on the part of the popular classes further serves to blunt political and social conflict. The role of violence in politics is therefore marginal, and institutional change is accomplished within the safe confines of elite politics. There is an element of complacent, inward-looking nationalism in this historical myth. A sharp contrast is imagined between the Dutch and those unfortunate other people who somehow lack 2 the good sense to keep out of trouble.2 There is certainly some truth in this Dutch version of a Whig Interpretation of History. The political elites in 1848 engaged in what we today would call successful crisis management. Things did not get out of control in the French style. On the other hand, there was a real crisis. It even exhibited some revolutionary overtones, and resulted in a drastic transformation of the basic political institutions of the country. The constitutional reforms of 1848 laid the groundwork for the modern Dutch state as we know it today. Terms like gradualism and moderation are, of course, only meaningful in a comparative context. To say that Dutch politics in the mid-nineteenth century were relatively placid really amounts to an assertion that the Netherlands was more like Britain than like France. In this context, the political crisis of 1848 seems a most appropriate subject for analysis. Its coincidence with, indeed dependence on, the tide of European revolution makes a comparative analysis both feasible and fruitful. The older historiography of the Dutch crisis of 1848 largely belongs to the genre of old-style narrative history and does not engage in a broader analysis of the political process. The most recent major study is Boogmans book Rondom 1848.3 Boogmans study appeared in 1978 and since then no new research has been published. Moreover, the existing historiography tends to underplay the revolutionary overtones of the political crisis and there is no sustained analysis of the interconnection between the process of decision-making at The Hague, the broader movement of opinion in the country, and the rhythm of European politics. Finally, neither in the Dutch historiography nor in the general studies of 1848 in Europe has there been any comparative analysis of the 4 1848 crisis in the Netherlands.4 To put the events of 1848 in perspective I shall first give a short outline of the pre-1848 political system and the development of

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opposition within it. Thence I will proceed to a somedetailed analysis of the political crisis in the spring and summer of 1848, followed by a short account of the subsequent development of the political system. In the concluding section I



shall compare the course of events in the Netherlands in 1848 with those in France and Britain. By means of a comparative analysis I shall attempt to arrive at a more sober assessment of the dynamics of revolutionary reform, avoiding the opposing pitfalls of revolutionary romanticism and complacent Whiggery. The inclusion of the Dutch case can, moreover, serve to support a more general conjecture about the crucial importance of the relationship between the middle classes and the governing elites in the political crises of 1848. I shall conclude with some remarks on the significance of 1848 in the larger pattern of state-formation in the Netherlands.

Liberalism in the 1840s The post-1815 political system in the Netherlands was a bizarre mixture of Napoleonic centralization and some of the features of the old Republic of the United Provinces.5 The former federal structure was replaced by a monarchy, and some of the French departments of state were retained. The Code Napol6on remained in force until 1838, when it was supplanted by Dutch legal codes which closely followed the French model. (The Code Penal was only replaced by Dutch law in the 1880s.) There was a twochamber parliament, named the States-General for the sake of tradition. The First Chamber was composed of members of the nobility and great notables, who were appointed by the king. The representative element of the system was to be found solely in the Second Chamber, and it was here that the persistence of the institutions and the spirit of the Ancien Regime was most strongly felt: the members of the Chamber were elected by the Provincial Estates, who were in turn elected by the three estates: the nobility, the towns and the so-called landed estate.6The nobility, comprising from about 10 to about 100 persons according to province, voted directly for their representatives; but for the other two estates the suffrage was indirect. The landed estate elected a college of electors, while the system for the towns was even more cumbersome. The burghers elected a college of electors which sat

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448 for nine years; this college elected the Stedelijke Raad whose members sat for life; and this council in turn elected the members of the Provincial Estates. The closed, oligarchical character of the system was enhanced by the fact that the lifelong members of the council could, and did, hold seats in the College of Electors. Cooptation had been a marked feature of town politics during the Republic, and it was continued in the post-1815 system. Another Republican practice also returned, namely that whereby the Governors of the provinces, appointees of the king, would normally influence the elections. Moreover, a large proportion of members of the Second Chamber were also office-holders of one sort or another and in that capacity they were, of course, vulnerable to government pressure. Finally, the representative bodies deliberated in secret. Oppositional journalism was considered a subversive activity, and the government frequently tried to prosecute 7 newspapermen for libel. The king possessed a fair amount of personal power. There was no ministerial responsibility. Monarchical centralization acted as a countervailing power to the particularistic tendencies in the system of representation. The institution of the monarchy and the administrative apparatus, the legacy of the Napoleonic period, precluded a return to the political fragmentation which had so often paralysed the decision-making process in the Dutch Republic. In their actual conduct of politics both William I (1814-40) and William II (1840-9) employed formal procedure as well as informal tactics to get their way with the parliament and with the 8 interests in the country.8 The command of financial resources was, of course, of major importance. Parliamentary control of the budget was minimized by a number of devices, like ten-year budgets and a special syndicate for the administration of the national debt. Moreover, the king considered the government of the colonies a personal prerogative. Under the so-called Cultures System the government, or rather the king, acted as a monopolistic landholder and commercial entrepreneur. There was no parliamentary control over the finances of the West and East Indies. The sources of information about the situation in Java, the richest and greatest of all the overseas possessions, were wholly in government hands, there being no independent press in the East Indies. Official reports from Batavia were sometimes unreliable, and in any case arrived with a delay of three years. Each year the government reported

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of the East Indian administo less 9 than 20 per cent of the actual amount.9 King William I sometimes employed his authority to force innovations on the reluctant oligarchy.10 But in many fields, notably those of appointments and taxation, the royal policies accorded quite well with the interests of the big merchant and banking families who, together with the landed proprietors, made up the core of the oligarchy. The Belgian revolution of 1830, part of the general European turmoil of that period, was the first blow to this unwieldy system. In the northern Netherlands the force of the Liberal opposition was speedily neutralized by the patriotic backlash to the secession of the southern part of the kingdom.&dquo; It was only towards the end of the 1830s that a durable Liberal opposition emerged. Public opinion began to exert some influence, and an oppositional press developed; the foremost Liberal newspapers were the Algemeen Handelsblad, based in Amsterdam, and the more radical Arnhemsche Courant, published in the east of the country. The men who would occupy the centre of the stage in 1848 first caught the attention of the nation in the 1830s. One of the most radical among them, Dirk Donker Curtius, castigated the existing system in strident terms: &dquo;You give me this appointment, and I will get you that place&dquo;; this shameful camaraderie usurps the towns, the Boards of Account, the Mint, the States-General... .12 Johan Rudolf Thorbecke, who was to be the principal architect of the constitutional reforms of 1848, succinctly stated that the Constitution ought to be a national force, but noted that it was not. 13 The radical Liberals would often employ a political language that harked back to early-modern times. In all constitutions, they maintained, three principles were present: the monarchical, the aristocratic and the democratic. The first two were certainly to be found in the Netherlands, but the third was entirely lacking. No sound equilibrium could therefore emerge, and the influence of the aristocratic principle in particular tended to develop at the expense of the interests of the burghers, the members of the industrious middle classes. 14 The term aristocracy was frequently used in a rather unspecified sense, referring sometimes to a mercantilist elite, sometimes to the noble and patrician families, and often simply to the political oligarchy. It also carried the odium conveyed by the memory of the closed political system of the


batig slot,

the financial



Parliament, but this official surplus amounted

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argued that the Netherlands, in conEngland, had never had a noble estate of the realm, and that the separate representation of the nobility constituted an anomaly in the Dutch political systems. 15 The constitution was partially reformed in 1840; ministers of the Crown would henceforth be legally but not politically responsible. This half-hearted improvement did not satisfy the Liberal opposition at all. They now wanted full ministerial responsibility, direct elections and full control by Parliament over finances, taxation and colonial affairs. The financial state of the kingdom was Republic.
trast to France and




making up

shambles, with payments on the enormous national debt some 47 per cent of government expenditure. The tax

burden fell heavily on the middle classes and the common people, while the rentiers and financiers paid only 17 per cent of tax revenues. 16 The complaint that the middle ranks of society were overtaxed was frequently voiced by Liberal newspapermen and pamphleteers, who seldom failed to point out that the existing system unfairly benefited those who also monopolized the seats of political power and patronage Another occasion for Liberal annoyance was railway construction, which had hesitantly commenced in 1838. About 60 per cent of construction costs went on the purchase of land. The law on compulsory sale was unwieldy and favoured landed interests. Landowners could, and would, often force the railway companies to purchase large tracts of land at inflated prices, alleging that the smoke and ashes would damage their properties. 18 After 1840 the government deficit steadily increased. The financial reforms of 1844 certainly avoided state bankruptcy, but they left the tax structure essentially intact and did nothing to prevent fresh financial misadvantures. Parliament, pressed by Minister Van Hall, a moderate Conservative from the Amsterdam banking milieu, who threatened new taxes if his loan proposal was not approved, passed the reforms by a small majority. Those whose Liberalism was confined to financial retrenchment were contented for the time being. But the Liberal press and the opposition inside and outside Parliament thought the reforms a mere sham. The influential and radical Arnhemsche Courant condemned Van Halls measures in very strong terms. 9 At the close of 1844 nine members of the Second Chamber introduced a proposal for a reformed constitution. It was drafted by Thorbecke, who was by now the principal spokesman of the

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Liberal opposition. Thorbecke and his allies asked for direct elections and ministerial responsibility. The Arnhemsche Courant supported their demands and urged the citizens to petition the Parliament and the king. This call to arms yielded 122 petitions with a total number of 4520 signatures.2 The majority in Parliament, however, declined to discuss the proposal of the nine men. The impetuous reaction of King William II was: This proposal? Never! Even if the scaffold were the alternative!21 The Liberals always contended that they spoke for the nation or the people, but also frequently stressed the pivotal role of the middle classes. By middle classes or middle ranks they usually meant all those who belonged neither to the aristocracy nor to the uncivilized multitude. This broad intermediate stratum was also known as the burgerstand.22 This self-image was probably not far from the truth; the adherents of Liberalism were intellectuals, newspapermen, members of the professions, numerous academics, notables in smaller towns, merchants, some industrialists, the well-to-do farmers and some of the artisans.23 The influential Amstel Society, a Liberal club with members all over the country, counted some 200 adherents in the years between 1846 and 1851. Among these there were 37 lawyers, 34 merchants, 12 partners in insurance firms, 10 solicitors, 17 members of the medical profession, 11 professors, 6 teachers and 27 politicians and civil servants. Industrial capitalism was represented only by 9 manufacturers and one engineer .24 The Liberals thus did not represent a bourgeoisie in the economic sense of the term. The big merchants and bankers were in most cases not Liberals, but made up the core of the established oligarchy. Industrial capitalists were few and far between, and anyway politically not very vocal. The Liberals certainly felt themselves to be speaking for industrial progress, but their actual rank and file consisted of the much broader middle rank, the respectable and industrious burgerstand. A large part of the small bourgeoisie as well as the prosperous farmers would belong to this Liberal middle class, or so, at any rate, Liberal spokesmen thought. They always took great care, however, to keep a safe distance from democracy and popular radicalism, which manifested itself chiefly in vituperative periodicals and tracts as well as in short-lived bread riots and tax revolts.25 In the final analysis, the middle classes were both a socioeconomic substratum and a creation of Liberal discourse.26 It was

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in the fusion of these two elements that movement was formed.


as a


Liberalism, especially radical Liberalism, was more entrenched in the peripheral regions than in the old province of Holland, where the established patrician families had their strongholds. Of the four major cities in the western part of the country, only Amsterdam and Rotterdam produced a viable Liberal opposition, whereas The Hague and Utrecht were bulwarks of Conservatism.2 In the petition movement of 1845, Groningen, Zeeland and Guelderland were much better represented than North and South Holland.28 The oppositional press exhibited a similar pattern. The Amsterdam-based Algemeen Handelsblad defended a moderate Liberalism, and the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant made its appearance on the scene only in 1844. The radical Liberal papers were published in the outer provinces. The Arnhemsche Courant had its headquarters in Arnhem, the capital of Guelderland. The two other influential radical papers were based in Vlissingen (Zeeland) and Kampen (Overijssel). In the northern provinces both Liberalism and democratic radicalism were well developed.29 The nine MPs who launched the reform platform of 1845 were also overwhelmingly from the periphery; only one of them was a Hollander.3 Some had a typically Patriot family background.3 This regional pattern is apparently a long-term phenomenon, which can be traced back to the Patriot movement in the late eighteenth century.32 Both the Patriots in the 1780s and the Liberals in the 1840s exhibited some features of a revolt of the peripheral elites against the old establishment in the central region. Radical strongholds were situated in the towns of the eastern provinces and in both the towns and the countryside in the northern provinces of Groningen and Friesland. The overall regional pattern persisted up to the end of the nineteenth censome further complications. The old Dutch Reformed Church was a semi-state institution, and the Church establishment was predominantly conservative. Protestants of many other varieties, as well as Jews and Catholics, were represented in the Liberal movement. The Catholics, who made up some 40 per cent of the population and were mainly concentrated in the two southern provinces, had acquired full civil rights in the Batavian revolution of 1795-6. But Catholic schools and Church organization were still subject to severe legal con-

tury. 33 Religious cleavages produced

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453 straints. The great majority of the Catholics were certainly not Liberals, but there was a sizeable amount of Catholic sympathy for some Liberal goals, especially for freedom of education and the separation of Church and State. There were also pronounced Liberal leanings within the local elites in some of the southern towns. Finally, the important Catholic minority in Amsterdam included some Liberals who in the 1840s launched an influential newspaper which was widely read by Catholics in all parts of the


thus situated within

complex web of political,

social, regional and religious tensions. It

was not a unified movement, in fact it was only weakly organized in this period. What united all sorts of Liberals was a common enemy, the established elites who profited from the unfair tax system, who were concentrated in the centre of the country and who controlled the Reformed Church. Constitutional reform became the rallying cry of all those who harboured discontent against the policies of the old


The Political Crisis of 1848

Immobility and a hardening of political tensions reinforced each other after 1845. The material hardships of those hungry years led to intermittent popular violence, which was especially virulent in 1847. Parliament and the king turned a deaf ear to the demand for reform.35 In the autumn of 1847 only two members of the Chamber supported a motion for constitutional reform.36 On his birthday, 6 December 1847, the king, toasting the welfare of the country, sneered about the Liberal schemes which would certainly not do the country any good. 17 In December Van Hall, himself by no means a Liberal, was replaced in the cabinet by a more die-hard Conservative. The king announced revisions to the Constitution, but nobody took such empty promises seriously. The nation and the government are now diametrically opposed to one another, the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant wrote in its first issue of 1848.3& And the Arnhemsche Courant stated that since the reigning Conservatives were now more conservative than ever, the sitting Chamber would never be willing to pass any reform whatsoever.39 But outside the Netherlands the storm was gathering. It was

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the victory of the revolution in Naples, in the first week of February 1848, that provided the first hint of change. The Algemeen Handelsblad immediately pointed out that the king of the Two Sicilies would now be forced to grant the people much more than would have been gratefully accepted earlier, and concluded: This might give some pause to princes and politicians outside Naples too!4 Little more than two weeks later the lesson was brought home with even greater emphasis. The news from Paris shook the nation. The Liberal press generally took the line that timely reform was the true antidote to violent revolution. In France the consequences of an obdurate conservatism were there for all the world to see.41 The Conservatives contended that order and calm were more needful than ever before. The Handelsblad agreed with this to some extent. In an editorial the paper warned the opposition that it should in no case try to enlist the popular masses in the cause of reform, for the entry of the rough multitude into politics was extremely dangerous. 42 The Arnhemsche Courant, however, greeted with scorn the appeals for moderation and national unity. Its editors conceded that republican ideas were not popular with the Dutch people, who loved the House of Orange, but then hinted darkly that this could change in the near future unless the king heeded the lessons of history. 43 Fainthearted and irresolute people were admonishing the populace to unite around the throne and the government, but this was to reverse the proper order of things: It is not the people that must submit to the government, but the government that must submit to the people.44 And some of the radical democratic periodicals used even stronger language. In the meantime the mood in government circles was changing. In the first week of March the majority of the Second Chamber had come to accept the urgency of reform, although MPs could not agree on a positive course of action.45 The cabinet meeting of 29 February concerned itself mainly with the attitude of Belgium and the need to reinforce the militia. A general mood of waitand-see still predominated.~ The next day, the Dutch envoy in Brussels reported two things to The Hague: that the new regime in France was consolidating itself, and that the Belgian government had introduced a proposal to extend the franchise drastically; il vaut mieux prdvenir que detre prevenu, commented the envoy. 47 Two days later The Hague learned in a secret missive that the Belgian king had even contemplated abdication but was

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persuaded by the Liberal ministers to stay.~ During the first days of March disquieting messages began to arrive at The Hague from the envoys in Berlin, Frankfurt and finally Vienna. On 6 March the Dutch Foreign Office was informed that Mettemich was depressed (atterrd) . It was clear that some of the German princes had started to make concessions to the opposition, and every day the press reported new disastrous occurrences.
In the meantime, the Parliament was in session. On 7 March the Minister of the Interior announced that in view of the events in France an extra levy for the National Militia would be called. Two days later the old, modest and partial proposals for constitutional reform were introduced. The reaction of public opinion to these measures was negative in the extreme. In the same week popular disturbances occurred in Amsterdam on the occasion of the trial of two radical-democratic journalists. During the night of 8 March placards were posted all over the city with slogans like Down with the Ministers and Long live the Republic. The next day the crowd was on the streets again, the police were out in force, but violence was avoided. A latent tension remained, however, marked by sporadic demonstrations and the singing of the Marseillaise .49 The Liberal press found the proposed reforms totally insufficient, and the tone of their comments was decidedly hostile. The Ministry, stated the Arnhemsche Courant on 12 March, was inexperienced, unpopular and generally distrusted in the country. The European situation was perilous: We, who are no advocates of violent revolutions and who do not long for a republic, we pray: May God grant wisdom to the King!50 Public confidence was definitely shaken. Stocks and public securities fell, and a number of business failures added to the general nervousness. The Director of Police at The Hague thought the situation so critical that he doubted whether law and order could be maintained unless constitutional reform along Liberal lines were undertaken. King William received his memorandum on 12 March.51 It was in this rather alarming atmosphere that the king, on 13 March, opted for reform. In a confidential talk with the President of the Chamber he declared that he was now willing to accept a far-reaching reform of the Constitution. The king insisted that speed was important to preclude the impression that they were being forced to act in this way. 52 Some MPs got wind of the news on the morning of 15 March; one of them leaked it to Rotterdam, and the evening edition of the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant

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published the joyful tidings.53 In the harbour at Rotterdam flags were hoisted on ships and public buildings, and similar manifestations of joy took place in Amsterdam In many provincial
change of heart of course and both shocked by king indignant. The Handelsblad the next the Algemeen published day following cableThe 15 2.15 some Ministers seem to grams : Hague, March, pm: have resigned. 2.32 pm: all the Ministers have resigned; 3.30 pm: Mr Luzac is summoned by the King.S6 Luzac was a leading Liberal who was very close to Thorbecke and the other radical Liberals. The pace of change now began to accelerate. On the evenings of 15 and 16 March popular demonstrations in The Hague helped to maintain the pressure on the king. The Princess Sophie, wife of the kings son, noted on 17 March that strange doings were taking place at The Hague, unsavoury figures roamed the streets and the city looked so different now. 57 These demonstrations

towns similar reactions were observed The ministers who had not been informed of his

organized by artisans, but Adriaan van Bevervoorde, a democratic journalist, took over the leadership. Behind the scenes Donker Curtius was also active. He and some other radical Liberals had met with Van Bevervoorde on the afternoon of 15 March. The Liberals encouraged the popular agitation and provided some money. Donker Curtius is reported to have remarked that good order ought of course to be maintained, but that it would do no harm if some windows were to be smashed at the homes of the ministers who had not yet resigned. 58 The king now sought the counsel of this very same Donker Curtius. They met on 16 and 17 March, and the crucial decree on the procedure for constitutional reform was drafted by this radical Liberal who held no official position, who was not even a member of the Chamber, and who only a few weeks earlier had been regarded as the nightmare of all the supporters of the established order.59 There was in fact no official government during those days. The President of the Chamber urged the British envoy to intervene with the king, lest William deliver himself entirely into the hands of extreme Liberalism, but it was already too late.60 The king appointed a committee of five Liberals, among whom Thorbecke and Donker Curtius were the most prominent.61 They were entrusted with the drafting of a new constitution and the formation of a new Ministry. Some days later, Donker Curtius was appointed Minister of Justice ad interim. Among his first actions was a secret

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457 but forceful call for moderation to Van Bevervoorde and his friends which was quite effective.62 But to Conservative observers the world had turned upside-down in less than ten days, and the total victory of Thorbecke and his friends seemed imminent.63 On 22 March Thorbecke wrote to his wife that his appointment as Minister of the Interior was certain, and the next day the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant reported the appointment as fact.64 On his way to an engagement on the evening of 23 March Thorbecke ran into Schooneveld, a Conservative-Liberal member of the Chamber. Schooneveld averred that the fate of the country was now wholly in the hands of Thorbecke and his colleagues: He, and Parliament as well, would swallow anything we proposed, realizing that all would be lost if we resigned In the meantime a countermove of the Conservatives was under way. The king had summoned the London ambassador, Count Gerrit Schimmelpenninck, to The Hague to help in the formation of a new government (a task he had simultaneously entrusted to the committee of the five Liberals!). Schimmelpenninck was a conservative individual who disliked the Liberals. In his journal he termed Donker Curtius one of the most fanatical ultraLiberals, while Thorbecke was by far the most evil member of the clique of Dutch Jacobins.66 Schimmelpenninck thought the committee of the five Liberals a revolutionary committee, and he strove to impede its establishment as a new government. He succeeded in keeping Thorbecke out, but had to accept Donker Curtius. Thorbecke was furious: his prattling colleagues and the king who behaved like a child had freed the way for Schimmelpennincks move to exclude him. 61 The Ministry finally took office on 25 March, immediately after a day of street demonstrations in Amsterdam.68 It was composed of Conservatives, Liberals and one Catholic. Schimmelpennincks main public statement was to the effect that Dutch institutions ought to be reformed along the lines of the British Constitution. The Liberal press greeted the new Ministry with mixed feelings. All the important papers were disappointed by Thorbeckes absence from the Cabinet and the Arnhemsche Courant adopted from the outset an extremely hostile tone toward Schimmelpenninck.69 In the meantime Thorbecke and his committee had not been idle. The draft of a new constitution was ready on 10 April. The next morning Thorbecke went to the king and obtained his permission to have the draft published immediately by the

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458 Government


Office. 70


the trusted Liberals in the

Government, Luzac and Donker Curtius, had previously read the

draft. Schimmelpenninck learned about this move too late to be able to prevent it.1 Thorbeckes ploy worked. It gave the draft semi-official status before the Cabinet had even seen it, and the Liberals could now mobilize public opinion in its favour. The Liberal press was indeed nearly unanimous in its praise of Thorbeckes constitutional draft. Moreover, from the end of April a steady and growing stream of petitions began to flow to The Hague. A pamphlet war commenced in which the Liberals held the upper hand. A former editor of the Arnhemsche Courant, Roest van Limburg, even proposed that the constitutional draft should be submitted directly to the enfranchised citizens, bypassing the Chambers who had forfeited their title to a real representation of the nation?2 The Liberal press, however, disapproved of this advocacy of plebisci-

tary democracy.3

Schimmelpenninck began to feel distinctly uneasy. He could colleagues in the Cabinet, the upsurge of Liberal public opinion put great pressure on the decision-making process, and he thought Thorbeckes constitutional draft unacceptable. It was anti-monarchical and de facto amounted to a republic or even a democracy?4 But Schimmelpenninck was unable to muster an anti-Liberal majority in his own Cabinet because the Catholic Minister, Lightenvelt, went over to the Liberal side under strong pressure from Catholic public opinion which wanted the freedom of religion and education the new constitution would guarantee. 75 Meanwhile, the European situation was hardly reassuring, with democratic and revolutionary movements continuing unabated in Germany, Austria and Italy. In France universal suffrage seemed to have come to stay. Only the failure of the great Chartist demonstration in London on 10 April offered
not trust all of his

consolation to conservative minds. Schimmelpenninck now decided to make a last attempt to halt the march of events. He told the king that he himself was prepared to incur great risks if only William would give him unwavering support. He assured the king that if only he would personally commit himself to a strong line, he could count on political allies. It would be a dangerous undertaking, but some people had exaggerated the risks that were involved. The king reacted hesitantly and gave no definite reply. Schimmelpenninck knew then that

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459 the cause was lost and communicated as much to his allies. 76 The last week of his government coincided with the mounting tension in Paris, which culminated in the great journee of 15 May.&dquo; The king dared not separate himself from the Liberals, although he hinted that it was sometimes possible to make concessions and retract them at a later time, a remark Donker Curtius did not like.78 For Schimmelpenninck there was nothing left but to resign, and on 13 May Donker Curtius, who was now the de facto leader of the government, announced to the Chamber that the Cabinet would be reconstructed. He appealed to the country for support, and stated that general opinion and a great number of petitions were in favour of the proposed reform. He also referred to political developments abroad which were in accord with Liberal doctrines .79 The Constitutional Reform Bill was finally introduced in Parliament on 20 June. But the play was not yet over.



of the New Constitution

From April to September 1848 a veritable deluge of pamphlets and petitions flooded the country, and the daily press published numerous comments on the struggle for reform. It soon became clear that there were four main points of contention. First and most salient was the issue of direct versus indirect elections; second came religious freedom, especially for the Roman Catholics ; the third contested point was freedom of association; and finally there was the long-standing problem of colonial administration. Although opinions were somewhat divided on the desirability of a First Chamber, a fair amount of consensus seemed by now to reign on the issues of ministerial responsibility and the total abolition of the old Estates representation. The majority of the sitting MPs, who owed their political existence to the system of indirect elections, rightly feared that the introduction of direct elections would mean the end of their political careers. The government, on the other hand, had been since 13 May a staunch defender of the direct vote. The king seemed to approve of the course of Donker Curtiuss new Cabinet, and the affairs of Europe were still in flux. In these circumstances public opinion was able to exert considerable influence. The Liberal press steered a straightforward course, supporting the reforms, insisting on speed, and thus urging on both Cabinet and Parliament. The Arnhemsche

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460 Courant criticized the government from the left, alleging that Donker Curtius was watering down some of Thorbeckes radical proposals. The entire Liberal press considered the Colonial paragraphs of the new constitution insufficient. The Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant and the Arnhemsche Courant wanted to abolish the First Chamber, while the Algemeen Handelsblad was willing to retain that institution in a modernized guise. Some Conservative pamphleteers concentrated their attack on direct elections. Three objections were voiced: the broad mass of citizens would be vulnerable to corruption; many honest citizens were capable of grasping only local or regional affairs at the most; and finally direct elections would in the end lead to manhood suffrage because a tax census would always remain an arbitrary boundary, inviting criticism from those who were excluded. In addition, there was the old, Montesquieuian argument that the aristocratic principle was a necessary intermediary power between the monarch and the demos.80 Another critic of direct elections maintained that the fundamental cause of the recent political catastrophes was the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people. Direct elections and majority rule were actually the first step on the road to the violent overthrow of all authority.81 The Liberals turned these arguments upside-down. It was the stubbornness of the political oligarchy which had caused the revolution in France; it was the British aristocracy which, by clinging tenaciously to its privileges, had provoked the Chartist outbursts; and the system of indirect elections in the Netherlands only served the purpose of barring the way to outsiders and influencing elections, precisely those things which had led to the fall of the French monarchy.82 Jongstra, a Frisian lawyer, invoked both France and Britain. In France the censitary qualification had been too high, creating a very small electorate which could be intimidated and co-opted by the government. The case of Britain demonstrated the opposite peril, for the endemic corruption in English politics was caused by the inclusion of economically dependent men in the electorate. A reasonable census would avoid both these dangers and at the same time enhance civic virtue. The recent history of Belgium demonstrated that such a system was feasible.83 And an Amsterdam lawyer reminded his readers of the historical origins of indirect elections: these had been the keystone of the ill-fated provincial sovereignty through which the oligarchy had ruled the

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former Dutch

Republic. He Montesquieuian elements in

conceded the need for the three a moderate political regime, but added that a proper balance could only be achieved if the democratic element was strong and independent, that is, in a system of direct elections. By democratic, however, he did not mean suffrage universel but a reasonable census.~ Although most Liberals would not defend popular sovereignty in all its rigour, some did, like the youthful philosopher Cornelis Opzoomer who stated that universal suffrage would arrive in due course, although at present it was not yet a realistic option.85 Democracy and manhood suffrage were of course defended by the Radical Democrats, but these were outside the orbit of respectable Liberalism.86 Another contested issue was freedom of association. The Conservatives wanted this right restricted. One of them warned that the people were stirring everywhere: the French Banquets riformistes, which were the immediate cause of the revolution in Paris, and the Chartist agitation in England were both instances of the nefarious use malcontents might make of an unlimited freedom. 87 But this generalized critique of the right of free association was politically not a very salient issue. Things were different, however, when anti-Papist fears were aroused. Freedom of religion and education was attacked by many Protestants who were afraid of further Catholic emancipation. For the same reason it was of course enthusiastically defended by the Catholics, who were the chief allies of the Liberals throughout the political struggles of the year. Meanwhile an increasing number of petitions from all over the country were arriving at The Hague. In the first half of May only petitions in favour of reform arrived. During the months of May and June a total number of 838 petitions came in. Most of these were signed by between twenty and one hundred persons, but greater numbers were also found. In 325 petitions the reforms were generally supported, whereas only 25 petitions attacked the entire reform project. Public opinion was, however, sharply divided on the issue of religious and educational freedom. In 306 petitions these freedoms were deemed undesirable, while 179 petitions argued in favour of them. The provinces most in favour of the reforms were Groningen, Friesland, Guelderland, North Holland, and the Catholic southern province of North Brabant (of the 179 petitions pleading the cause of religious and educational freedom, 137 originated in North Brabant). The anti-Liberal

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opposition was most pronounced in South Holland and Utrecht, but anti-Papist hostility to the granting of educational and religious freedom was more widespread. In most petitions other demands were also expressed. Those from the northern part of the country frequently contained radical demands such as the abolition of the First Chamber and total parliamentary control over colonial affairs. The abolition of slavery was also mentioned fairly often. In many petitions from all parts of the country the abolition of a number of indirect taxes, the accijnsen, was demanded.88 Four conclusions are warranted: (i) Conservative opposition against the whole reform programme was weak; (ii) the Catholic south was massively pro-Liberal during these crucial months; (iii) it was only on the issue of religious and educational freedom that the Conservatives had something like mass support; and (iv) there was considerable support for demands which were more farreaching than the proposals for reform which the government had introduced in Parliament.89 It took a final, but minor, political crisis to get the old Chambers to pass the reforms. Donker Curtius had to threaten resignation, and the king personally appeal to the Members of Parliament. Even then some parts of the reform programme passed by bare majorities. In October, nevertheless, the new constitution was at last a fact. Its main features followed the ideas of Thorbecke and the Liberals. On three issues, however, some concessions had been made to the Conservative opposition. The most important one concerned freedom of education, where public schools were favoured over those run by Catholics or orthodox Protestants. This satisfied mainstream Protestant opinion, which had expressed itself so strongly in the petition movement. A second concession was the maintenance of a First Chamber whose members were to be elected by the Provincial Estates instead of the general electorate. Only those who paid quite a large sum in direct taxes were eligible for this First Chamber, which can thus be regarded as a last remnant of the old aristocratic element. Finally, parliamentary control over colonial affairs was established but there remained some leeway for independent rule by the crown. The centrepiece of the new constitution was the system of direct elections for the Second Chamber of Parliament and for the municipal councils. The elections in the autumn of 1848, organized on the basis of an interim law, yielded a Liberal majority. In the autumn of 1849 Thorbecke, the architect of the new

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was at last called upon to form a Cabinet9 and it his government that produced the final Electoral Law. The country was divided into sixty-eight constituencies, and for the first time in the history of the Netherlands the rural districts could outvote the cities.91 The qualification for voting varied from the constitutional minimum of 20 guilders in the country constituencies to about 50 guilders in medium-sized towns, 100 guilders in The Hague, and 112 guilders in Amsterdam. For the municipal elections this level was halved. The Belgian Constitution had obviously served as a model.92 There was a secret ballot in all elections.93 The electorate of 1850 comprised 10.7 per cent of all male inhabitants above the age of 22 years.94 For municipal elections the figure was 18.8 per cent.95 If we project these figures on to the class structure of Dutch society around 1850, we can safely conclude that, apart from the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, a large section of the small bourgeoisie would also have had the vote in national elections In some towns even artisans would occasionally vote, and well-to-do farmers, especially in the north, would also have been enfranchised. After 1848, the social composition of the Parliament became somewhat more bourgeois. Before 1848 about 40 per cent of MPs belonged to the nobility; thereafter the figure fluctuated between 20 and 29 per cent. 97 The Liberals certainly benefited from the whole affair. Before 1848 they had always remained a rather modest minority in the Parliament, but in the remaining half of the century they obtained 40 to 60 per cent of the vote in most general elections. It is only fair to add, however, that many of the new Liberals were moderates whose Liberalism was of a rather thin variety. Many of those who had been moderate Conservatives before 1848 now reappeared as moderate Liberals. None the less, the 1848 reforms gave rise to a new forward momentum in the political culture of the country. Improvement and reform had made their entry on the political scene and were there to stay. A half-hearted attempt to turn the clock back was made in 1853, but that proved to be the last stand of old-style Conservatism.98 After 1848 the Liberals replaced the old Conservative establishment in many municipal governments. But it took another twenty years to attain full parliamentary supremacy. Characteristically, colonial reform arrived in the same years (1868-70) which witnessed the disappearance of the last vestiges of the personal power of the king. In the field of economic policy things changed slowly:


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measures were

enacted in the 1860s and

1870s, but

tax reform had to wait until the very end of the cen-

Conclusion: The Netherlands between France and Britain

Although the Netherlands did not experience anything like violent revolution in 1848, the political events of that year assuredly deviated from the normal course of Dutch politics. The reforms of 1848 were by no means the logical outcome of the tendencies of Dutch political life during the 1840s.100 A profound change in the political regime, which nobody had envisaged as late as February 1848, was implemented with great rapidity. Normal constitutional procedures were repeatedly disregarded and the majority of Parliament and the established political elite either circumvented or intimidated. The fundamental cause of the non-violent revolution in the Netherlands is without doubt to be found in the European revolutions, notably those in France, Germany and Austria. The upsurge of Liberal and Democratic movements, accompanied by popular violence, frightened the Conservatives as much as it emboldened the opposition. The influence of public opinion, expressed in the press, in pamphlets and in the massive petitioning campaign, increased dramatically within the space of a few months. The Conservatives, who enjoyed comfortable majorities in the formal power structure, were suddenly seen to represent only a minority of the citizenry of the country. Finally, the popular disturbances in March caused an undefined but nevertheless very real anxiety in the ranks of both the Conservatives and the Liberals. The behaviour of the king was a crucial factor during the entire crisis. His unexpected conversion to a course of reform created a void in the Conservative camp. The Conservatives had always aligned themselves with the throne, and their political psychology made it extremely hard for them to contemplate action against the king. William II himself was temperamentally a conservative man, but he was no astute politician, and in perilous circumstances he was susceptible to the influence of others.101 But this, of course, explains only that he was influenced. Both his choice of advisers and the political nature of the advice itself were clearly related to the course of the European revolutions. There have been some

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conjectures about the relative importance of French and German influence, but in my opinion this is beside the point. It was clearly the cumulative impact of the succeeding waves of revolution, starting with the February insurrection in Paris, which shook the
confidence of the Conservatives. The first stage of the Dutch political crisis (March) coincided with the spread of revolution from France to Germany and the Austrian empire. The second stage of the crisis, Schimmelpennincks failure to enforce a Conservative strategy, followed in the first half of May when French politics were moving towards a new revolutionary climax. Only the last, minor crisis (August) coincided with the beginning of the downturn of the European revolutionary movement; but to contemporary observers it was not clear whether this would be more than a temporary lull in revolutionary activity. Without the support of the king the Conservatives felt themselves isolated. Their obstruction never turned into outright resistance to all reform and their politics therefore lacked the firm resolve of those of their adversaries. The petition movement clearly demonstrated that they were isolated in the country at

Both Conservatives and Liberals lived in fear of a popular upheaval, but the Liberals could employ this mood of insecurity for their own ends whereas the Conservatives could not. This fear of popular revolt is a most interesting phenomenon, for the real extent of popular agitation was extremely modest. It was an imagined rather than an actual insurrection which occupied the minds of the politicians. The placid artisans marching through the streets of The Hague assumed alarming shapes to men haunted by the pictures of Parisian barricades. From March to May, and possibly much longer, the political imagination of the sedate Dutch burghers wavered and seemed to become kaleidoscopic. Utterances about the dangerous multitude are to be found side by side with reassuring talk about the Dutch peoples traditional love of order. The press published admonitions against the erroneous doctrines of socialists and communists, although such opinions were found only among tiny minorities of artisans, many of them Germans living in Amsterdam. 102 It was precisely the vagueness of this apprehensive mood which made it a very real political agency. It created an atmosphere in which a great number of people felt that something ought to be done, without having any very clear idea of what. The radical Liberals, with Thorbecke

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466 and Donker Curtius in the lead, benefited from this psychological climate. They were the only ones who knew precisely what they wanted and where they were going. Can the Dutch crisis be situated in the context of the European revolutions of 1848? Do the Netherlands belong to the group of countries without revolution, or do they occupy an intermediate position? Britain and Belgium are frequently mentioned as instances of countries without revolution, and this is sometimes explained by their relatively industrialized economies.101 Such an explanation could scarcely apply in the case of the Netherlands, where modem industry was in its infancy. Another approach would place the Netherlands in the same class as Britain, both being old nations which experienced an early growth of commercial civilization. Both countries are often supposed to possess an ancient tradition of interest representation, compromise and bargaining, which acts as an antidote to political violence. There is some truth in this conjecture but it is rather too vague and general. The late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth-century political trajectories of both Britain and the Netherlands were definitely less cataclysmic than that of France, but neither were they entirely devoid of violence, rebellion or even the threat of revolution.104 A comparison of the Netherlands with the classic cases of revolution and non-revolution, France and Britain, might shed some light on the problem. In treatments of the 1840s in France the deepening estrangement between the small governing elite and the broad strata of the middle classes is usually emphasized. 105 In this one respect the Dutch situation was not very different. Throughout the 1840s the middle classes had been either apathetic or hostile to the established political elite. The causes of middleclass discontent were essentially the same in both countries: economic policies which benefited only a restricted upper class, attempts to curb the freedom of the press, the involvement of the government in real or alleged corruption, and scandals in high places.6 In both countries the government became isolated as the major newspapers turned against it.l In France as well as in the Netherlands the Liberal opposition was based in the broad strata of the middle and lower bourgeoisie.108 In neither of the two countries could the government count on middle-class support in the case of grave popular disturbances. At the very least, the ruling elites felt extremely unsure of the political reliability of the middle classes. In the Dutch case the attitude of the Catholics

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further weakened the established regime. They supported the Liberals for reasons of their own but thereby effectively neutralized the conservative potential of the Catholic establishment. There were also some crucial differences between France and the Netherlands. There existed in the Netherlands hardly any tradition of independent political movements of the popular classes. This can partly be explained by the more powerful dynamic of the French economy which had spawned a sturdy and self-conscious artisan class.109 Still, both countries went through a period of crisis and severe material hardship, and the divergent political responses of Dutch and French artisans cannot be reduced to an offshoot of the differences in socioeconomic structure. The entire revolutionary tradition of 1789, 1793 and beyond went into the making of the French popular movement. Public monuments celebrating revolutionary events were erected in the centre of Paris during the reign of Louis Philippe.10 The memories of 1830, and even of 1793, were still alive for many people. This kind of political culture was entirely absent in the case of the Netherlands. The cleavages within the French upper class were, moreover, more complicated than those in the Dutch governing class. First, there was no republican party of any consequence in Dutch politics. (The Liberal aversion to aristocracy was definitely not a republican sentiment.) Then there was the predicament of the monarchy. This was rather more precarious in France because of the long-standing feud between the Legitimists and the Orleanists within the Monarchist camp. Attacks on the person of the king could easily turn into a crisis of the institution of monarchy itself. Finally, the position of the Dutch king himself was different; he did not, like Louis Philippe, owe his throne to a revolution, nor was he the prisoner of a strong minister, as Louis Philippe was of Guizot. But the major difference was that the House of Orange was much more solidly rooted in the history of the nation than was the House of Orldans in France. In the final analysis, the entire structure of the major political conflicts was more clear-cut in the Netherlands. There was thus no danger of a glissade along French lines, from the gauche dynastique via the Republicans to the democratic republic. All these factors, in their interaction, explain why the king could defuse the Dutch imbroglio by one early and decisive concession to the Liberal, middle-class opposition, while this would have been much

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difficult to achieve in the French case. The amorphous character of the popular movement actually benefited the Dutch Liberals. They did not have to face the kind of proto-socialist demands their French counterparts found so hard to answer effectively. The cleavage between the popular and the Liberal forces, which in the end proved fatal to the French Second Republic, could therefore not occur in the Netherlands. The Dutch institutional reforms proved durable, while in France the cycle of major regime changes did not end with 1848. The weakness of the popular movement is thus in itself not sufficient to explain the non-revolutionary course of reform in the Netherlands. A comparison with Britain will make this clearer still. The Chartist movement in Britain was, in terms of popular support, organizational development and political sophistication, stronger than anything on the Contingent. 111 Even though 1847 and 1848 did not represent the high point of Chartist activity, the deployment of mass rallies was still impressive, with election meetings all over the country in 1847 and meetings in fifty-six cities and towns in March 1848.12 Finally there was, of course, the mass demonstration of some 150,000 people on 10 April 1848.113 But in the end it proved that this immense popular movement was unable to challenge the British political establishment. In a recent study of the relations between Chartism and the state in 1848, Saville has argued that the decisive point was the overwhelming support for the government among the middle strata of society, of whom some 80,000 volunteered as Special Constables. 114 The entire course of British politics, from the great Reform Act to the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, had blunted the edge of Liberal discontent. Sir Robert Peel, who lost the leadership of the Tory party as a result of his concessions to the Liberals in the matter of the Corn Laws, wryly commented on hearing about the fall of the French monarchy:
comes of trying to govern the country through a narrow representation in Parliament, without regarding the wishes of those outside. It is what this party behind me wanted to do in the matter of the Corn Laws, and I would not do


it. &dquo;s

By 1848 the British middle classes were firmly attached to the existing political system. This was reflected in the attitude of the major newspapers, who were vehemently hostile to the Chartists

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469 1848. The Chartist press was no match for the combined power of the metropolitan and provincial presses. 116 Here we have a crucial difference from the situation in France and the Netherlands, where the most influential papers were aligned against the government. While the Dutch press intimated that the events in France demonstrated the urgency of timely reform, the British papers stressed the need for a firm stand in the face of popular demands. Louis Philippes neglect of the National Guard was emphasized rather than his obdurate immobility. 117 Both Dutch and British journalists were busy drawing lessons from Paris, but they arrived at almost diametrically opposite conclusions. The Dutch crisis of 1848 was in some respects more similar to the British turning point of 1832 than to the British 1848. Popular radicalism in the years preceding the great Reform Act was certainly vigorous, but it was decidedly weaker than Chartism and it lacked a common political platform. 118 Nevertheless 1832 constituted a profound rupture in British political development while 1848 did not. Moreover, in 1832 the radical wing of British Liberalism exploited the fear of revolution for its own ends, just as the Dutch Liberals did in 1848.19 In both cases we witness the juxtaposition of middle-class defection and popular unrest. In both cases the political crisis was set against the background of a European upheaval of which Paris was the symbolic epicentre. In this type of crisis it is the image of a revolutionary threat that counts, rather than the real thing. Quinault has recently contended that the events of 1848 did not represent a total fiasco for the Chartists and that their agitation had, after all, some tangible consequences, even though the outcome forced them to relinquish their revolutionary hopes and aspirations. Chartist militancy enabled the radical Liberals to put the issue of parliamentary reform back on the political agenda. The political consensus on the finality of the 1832 settlement was destroyed. 120 Quinaults argument seems unexceptionable, but the difference between the French and Dutch cases where major regime changes ensued, and the British one where such a change failed to occur, remains considerable. In this respect the Netherlands clearly conformed to the French pattern and not to the British one. In my opinion the crucial factor explaining the difference is to be found in the nature of the political system and the relationship


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470 between the middle classes and the old governing class. The governments that fell were deserted by the middle strata of society, despised by journalists and intellectuals, and generally felt to be ineffective and obsolete. Tocquevilles concise verdict, cette fois, on ne renversait pas le gouvernement, on le laissait tomber, applies with equal force to the Dutch cases Where this type of political conjuncture obtained, a major change of regime ensued. The British case shows that in the absence of such conditions even a very strong popular movement proved unable to effect a major modification of the political system. The Dutch case, on the other hand, demonstrates that, where such conditions did prevail, even the fears engendered by the image of a rather weak popular movement were sufficient to do the job.122 The comparison of the Netherlands with France shows, moreover, that the internal structure and the prior history of the political system itself are also relevant. The stronger dynamic of the French economy and the popular movement are assuredly essential to any explanation of the difference here, but it was only the conjunction of the artisan movement with specific weaknesses of the political system and certain aspects of French political culture that resulted in the violent and spasmodic trajectory of the Second

the Dutch 1848 does not neatly fit the French or a British model. The peculiarities of the Dutch case are best explained by situating the reforms of 1848 in the longer process of state-formation in the Netherlands. The democratic Patriots of the 1780s had envisaged the destruction of the oligarchical edifice of the Dutch Republic. The Batavian revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic administrations effectively demolished it. 123 The restoration of 1815 was from the very beginning an ambiguous undertaking. The administrative machinery established by the Napoleonic reforms was largely retained for the sheer want of a viable alternative. But the system of political representation was partly fashioned on the provincialoligarchic model of the Republican past. The Stadtholderate, however, did not return. It was replaced by a monarchy, in order to preclude a resurgence of federalist particularism. 124 The king was invested with a considerable amount of personal power which might also be used to keep oligarchical tendencies in check. In part it did so, but at the same time a new clientelist system of cliques and deals developed, with the king at its centre.
In the final


dichotomy of a

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The Liberals were thus hard pressed; looking one way they faced a representative system which tended to exclude them, and in the other direction they ran into the barrier of the autocratic practices of the king. At the same time, realizing that the aristocracy was their main enemy, they would not hesitate to ally themselves with the king against the oligarchy of the established families. Thus the modernizing policies of William I, frequently enforced over the opposition of a majority in Parliament, elicited Liberal sympathy. The Liberals, discovering the virtues of political economy, felt that the real enemies of economic progress were the rentiers, bankers and those who held places in the state apparatus, in short the unproductive and parasitic heirs of the merchant oligarchy of Republican times. This is what they meant by the aristocratic element, and they always hoped that the monarchical element would act as a counterforce. The policies of William II in 1848, however idiosyncratically motivated, can thus be seen to fit into the larger historical pattern. It is also easy to understand why the issue of direct elections was more controversial than ministerial responsibility, for the former demand was directly aimed at the foundation of the oligarchys political power, while the pragmatic Conservatives had experienced their own share of trouble with the personal rule of capricious kings. Another reason for the centrality of the demand for direct elections was the deeply-held Liberal conviction that the public will could only flourish in a self-governing community, and that the democratic element was therefore a necessary precondition for the material and moral progress of the nation. The reforms of 1848 put an end to both the political monopoly of the oligarchy and the vagaries of personal government. It was the concluding act in the series of political crises and institutional transformations which had begun in the 1780s. Throughout these sixty years the forward momentum of Dutch politics was either enhanced or impeded by the European cycle of revolution and restoration; this was so in 1787, 1795 and 1798, and again in 1815, 1830 and 1848. The year 1848 thus marks the final demise of the Ancien Regime in the Netherlands.

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472 Notes
1. Het Leven van een Vloothouder: Gedenkschriften van M. H. Jansen (Utrecht 235-7. 2. Dutch historians have frequently stressed the minor role of violence in Dutch history. In a broad comparative framework this is not unjust, but one should not underestimate the political importance of many violent episodes in the history of the Dutch Republic. On this see W. Ph. te Brake, Violence in the Dutch Patriot Revolution, Comparative Studies in Society and History 30 (1988), 143-63, where further references can be found. Since the Napoleonic wars the role of violence in politics has indeed been minimal, with the important exceptions of the Belgian revolution and a whole series of colonial wars. Generally, the importance of revolutionary ruptures has been rather played down in Dutch historiography. The Patriot movement of the 1780s was seen as rather ineffective, and the Batavian revolution considered a result of the importation of French politics. Largely thanks to the work of De Wit and Schama the autonomous causes and effects of these episodes are now much better recognized. See C. H. E. de Wit, De Strijd tussen Aristocratie en Democratie in Nederland, 1780-1848 (Heerlen 1965); S. Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780-1813 (New York 1977); for some representative recent views, H. Bots and W. W. Mijnhart, eds, De Droom van de Revolutie: Nieuwe Benaderingen van het Patriottisme (Amsterdam 1988); Th. S. M. van der Zee, J. G. M. M. Rosendaal and P. G. B. Thissen, eds, 1787: De Nederlandse Revolutie? (Amsterdam 1988). The political cnses of 1830 and 1848 have not yet been included within this broader framework: see, for example, the rather summary treatment of 1848 in E. H. Kossmann, The Low Countries 1780-1940 (Oxford 1978), 192-5. The assessment of the importance of discontinuity within Dutch history is further complicated by the fact that all important political crises, from 1787 to 1848, were induced and/or resolved by foreign intervention or the impact of European political conjunctures. Some scholars have attributed the successful resolution of crises such as that of 1848 to a typically Dutch style of politics, in which elite bargaining and popular deference reinforced each other. For diverging views of this matter, see H. Daalder, The Netherlands: Opposition in a Segmented Society, in R. Dahl, ed., Political Oppositions in Western Democracies (New Haven and London 1966), 188-236; S. Stuurman, Verzuiling, Kapitalisme en Patriarchaat: Aspecten van de Ontwikkeling van de Moderne Staat in Nederland (Nijmegen 1983), esp. 307ff. There is a useful overview of English-language studies of Dutch history and politics in West European Politics, Vol. 12, No. 1 (January 1989), 162-85. 3. The constitutional reform of 1848 is a familiar landmark in Dutch political history. More or less detailed treatments include: J. de Bosch Kemper, Geschiedenis van Nederland na 1830, Vol. V (Amsterdam 1882); B. D. H. Tellegen, 1848: Het Voorspel van de Herziening der Grondwet, De Gids , Vol. I (1883), 1-33; H. T. Colenbrander, 1848, in idem, Historie en Leven , Vol. II (Amsterdam 1915), 181-251; K. E. van der Mandele, Het Liberalisme in Nederland: Schets van de Ontwikkeling in de Negentiende Eeuw (Arnhem 1933), 46-71; C. de Ru, Jhr. Mr. Willem Boreel van Hogelanden, Lid en Voorzitter van de Tweede Kamer omstreeks 1848, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 60 (1947), 156-86; C. W. de Vries, Politieke Invloeden op de Grondwetsherziening 1848, Tijdschrift voor Geschie-


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denis 71 (1958), 51-79; J. C. Boogman, The Dutch Crisis in the Eighteen Forties, in J. S. Bromley and E. H. Kossmann, eds, Britain and the Netherlands (London 1960), 192-203; G. D. Homans, Constitutional Reform in the Netherlands in 1848, The Historian 28, (1965-6), 405-25; N. Cramer, Keerpunt 1848: het Binnenhof in de ban van het Buitenland, De Negentiende Eeuw, Symposiumreeks 1 (1978), 2-22; M. J. F. Robijns, Radicalen in Nederland 1840-1851 (Leiden 1967); J. J. Giele, De Pen in Aanslag: Revolutionairen rond 1848 (Bussum 1968); see also the books by De Wit and Kossmann quoted above, as well as W. Verkade, Thorbecke als Oost-Nederlands Patriot (Zutphen 1974). The most recent study is J. C. Boogman, Rondom 1848: de politieke Ontwikkeling van Nederland 1840-1858 (Bussum 1978); Boogmans book is an expanded version of his contribution to the Algemene Geschiedenis der Nederlanden, Vol. 12 (Haarlem 1977). Some memoirs and journals of important participants have been published: Dagverhaal van Thorbecke, maart 1848, De Gids , Vol. I (1903), 466-92 (hereafter Thorbecke, ); Schimmelpennincks Notanda, Onze Eeuw, Vol. IV (1904), 173-210 Dagverhaal (hereafter Schimmelpenninck); Herinneringen van Jhr. Mr. W. Boreel van Hogelanden, Bijdragen en Mededelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 52 (1931), 321-96 (hereafter Boreel). 4. In general surveys of 1848 the Netherlands are seldom mentioned: W. L. Langer, Political and Social Upheaval 1832-1852 (New York 1969); P. Robertson, Revolutions of 1848: A Social History (Princeton 1952); P. N. Stearns, 1848: The Revolutionary Tide in Europe (New York 1974); R. Price, The Revolutions of 1848 (London and Basingstoke 1988). Stearns and Price give some information on the Netherlands, which is unfortunately for the most part factually wrong. The Englishlanguage article by Homans, quoted in note 3 above, largely confines itself to the
at The Hague. 5. Within the space of this article I cannot treat the complications in the system caused by the union with Belgium which lasted from 1815 to 1830. For a short treatment, see C. H. Church, Europe in 1830 (London 1983), 79-94; see also E. H. Kossmann, België en Nederland, 1780-1830, Bijdragen en Mededelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 77 (1963), 27-49. 6. The distnbution of seats among the three estates was different in each province. Just as in the Republic, the share of the towns was highest in Holland and lowest in Guelderland. The Republican system had had no separate landed estate; its existence served to bolster the position of the nobility and the established great families as the inhabitants of small townships and villages were susceptible to their influence. For details of the operation of the system, see L. Blok, Stemmen en Kiezen: Het Kiesstelsel in Nederland in de Periode 1814-1850 (Gron-

decision-making process

ingen 1987).
7. For notable




Radicalen in Nederland, 130, 142-3,

192-3, 222-8.
8. See N. C. F. van Sas, Het Politiek Bestel onder Koning Willem I, Documentatieblad Werkgroep Achttiende Eeuw 49-50 (1981), 110-33. 9. See C. Fasseur, Kultuurstelsel en Koloniale Baten: De Nederlandse Exploitatie van Java 1840-1860 (Leiden 1975), 41-2, 46-7. The colonial revenues were of strategic importance, for they enabled the government - barely - to avoid a financial deficit. R. T. Griffiths, Industrial Retardation in the Netherlands 1830-1850

(The Hague 1979), 49.

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10. See H. R. C. Wright, Free Trade and Protection in the Netherlands 1816-30 214-21. 11. N. C. F. van Sas, Het politieke Klimaat in Noord-Nederland tijdens de Crisis van het Verenigd Koninkrijk, 1828-1830, Acta Colloquium over de Gesch. v.d. Belgisch-Nederlandse Betrekkingen tussen 1815 en 1945 (Gent 1982), 103-27; E. H. Kossmann, Is het Nederlandse Volk door de Scheiding van 1830 wakker geschud?, De Negentiende Eeuw 5 (1981), 179-88. 12. D. Donker Curtius, Orde (Arnhem 1839), 19-20. In another pamphlet Curtius stated that the Constitution was illegal because the kingdom was de facto dissolved by the Belgian secession: De Onbevoegdheid van de Helft der Leden van de Staten-Generaal van het gesloopte Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Arnhem 1839). He had also inveighed against the failure of the government to promote the building of a railway network linking the Dutch markets with Germany and France: lets over het Nut der Ijzeren Wegen voor Nederland (The Hague 1837). 13. J. R. Thorbecke, Aanteekening op de Grondwet (Amsterdam 1839), preface. 14. This theme is found in T. M. Roest van Limburg, Ontwerp van Regtstreeksche Verkiezingen en Zamenstelling der Staten-Generaal in Nederland (Arnhem 1839); J. F. Zijlker, Gemeenzame Brieven over het wenschelijke van Hervormingen in het Staatshurshoudelijk Bestuur van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Winschoten 1840). Donker Curtius had stated that the separation of powers of the great Montesquieu was not always respected in the Netherlands: De Regtsmagt der Hooge- en Andere Heemraadschappen Betwist (The Hague 1834). 15. Thorbecke, Aanteekening op de Grondwet, 2nd edn (Amsterdam 1841), 219-20. Later on he also stated that the ridderschappen were destroyed once and for all in the Batavian revolution: Aanteekening , 2nd edn, Vol. II (Amsterdam 1843), 19. 16. Griffiths states that there was thus a significant transfer of income from other sources of revenue to the holders of non-productive wealth. Griffiths, Industrial Retardation , 48-53. 17. Cf. Donker Curtius, Orde, 11. 18. Griffiths, Industrial Retardation, 73. 19. M. A. Kok and C. Scheffers-Van Lingen, De Belastingvoorstellen van F. A. van Hall en de Arnhemsche Courant, 1843-1844, in G. A. M. Beekelaar et al., Maar Wat is dat toch voor eene Courant, de Arnhemsche? (Arnhem 1981), 167-80. 20. L. Canisius, Negen Mannen en één Courant, in Beekelaar, Maar wat is dat toch voor eene Courant?, 212. 21. L. C. Suttorp, F. A. van Hall en zijne Constitutioneele Beginselen (Amsterdam 1932), 61. 22. Burgerstand is a difficult term to render in English: it refers both to the bourgeois and the citoyen, and it carries a distinct cultural surplus meaning The typical burger is a thrifty, sober, industrious, religious but not overzealous, useful member of society. He - not she - is a family father who cares for the future wellbeing of himself and of those who are entrusted to him. Cf. the entry for burgerstand in the first nineteenth-century Dutch encyclopedia, the Algemeen Noodwendig Woordenboek der Zamenleving , by P. G. Witsen Geysbeek, Vol. I (Amsterdam

(Westport 1971),

to the

Boogman, Rondom 1848, 30. Many of the Liberals , 28; younger generation: Blok, Stemmen en Kiezen


of the 1840s also Th.


belonged Tijn,

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Tien Jaren Liberale Oppositie in Amsterdam, 1844-1854, Bijdragen voor de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden 17 (1962), 195ff; J. H. von Santen, De Amstelsociëteit : liberale Organisatie in Nederland in de Jaren 1846-1851, in Figuren en

Figuraties (Groningen 1979).

24. Calculated from data in Von Santen, De Amstelsociëteit, 134-41. 25. See A. Doedens, Collectief Verzet in de Nederlanden 1813-1848: een terreinverkenning, in idem, ed., Autoriteit en Strzjd (Amsterdam 1981). 26. The discourse of respectability, productivity and industriousness is generally found in European Liberalism in this period. It served both to generate a critique of the idle and parasitic aristocracy, and to exclude the uncivilized multitude. See D. Nicholls, The English Middle Class and the Ideological Significance of Radicalism 1760-1886, Journal of British Studies 24 (1985), 419; J. Kocka, ed., Burgertum im 19. Jahrhundert (Munich 1988), 20ff.; A. Daumard, Les Bourgeois et la Bourgeoisie en France depuis 1815 (Aubier-Montaigne 1987), 44ff. 27. On Amsterdam: Van Tijn, Tien Jaren Liberale Oppositie; on Utrecht: J. H. von Santen, Politiek Leven in de Stad Utrecht rond het midden van de negentiende Eeuw (1840-1860), Jaarboek Oud-Utrecht (1985), 110-65. 28. Signatures per 1000 inhabitants: Groningen 6.4; Zeeland 4.2; Guelderland 2.8; South Holland 1.8: North Holland 1.0; calculated from figures in Von Santen, De Amstelsocieteit, 145. North and South Holland were the two parts into which the old province of Holland was now divided. 29. Cf. W. J. Formsma, Historie van Groningen Stad en Land (Groningen 1976), 425-56; H. J. Prakke, Deining in Drenthe (Assen 1951), 81. In his travel journal of 1823 Jacob van Lennep complained that the spirit of Liberalism and Jacobinism had perverted the religious sense of the inhabitants of Friesland, Nederland in den Goeden Ouden Tijd (Utrecht 1942), 75. 30. Boogman, Rondom 1848, 43. 31. For Thorbeckes Patriot background, see Verkade, Thorbecke als Oost. Two others of the nine men with Patriot connections were Nederlands Patriot Count J. H. van Rechteren, who was a grandson of Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol, and E. W. van Dam van Isselt, whose father was removed from all his public offices in 1787 and whose grandfather fled to France in the same year. 32. See Schama, Patriots and Liberators , 74-5; W. Ph. te Brake, Burgers and Boeren in the Dutch Patriot Revolution, in Van der Zee et al., 1787: De Nederlandse revolutie? , 84-99. 33. Th. van Tijn, The Party Structure of Holland and the Outer Provinces in the Nineteenth Century, in J. S. Bromley and E. H. Kossmann, eds, Britain and the Netherlands IV (The Hague 1971), 176-207. 34. On Liberalism and the Catholics see G. A. M. Beekelaar, Rond Grondwetsherziening en Herstel der Hierarchie (Hilversum and Antwerpen 1964); A. F. Manning, Mr L. D. Storm, Katholiek en Overtuigd Liberaal, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 72 (1959), 84-107. 35. On the reactionary tide of 1845-7 see K. E. van der Mandele, Het Liberalisme in Nederland , ch. 5. 36. De Bosch Kemper, Geschiedenis van Nederland na 1830, Vol. V, 208-9. 37. Boreel, 329. 38. Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant (hereafter NRC), 1 Jan. 1848. The NRC was the third great Liberal daily paper, founded in 1844. 39. Arnhemsche Courant, 1 Jan. 1848, 19 Jan. 1848.

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40. Algemeen Handelsblad, 12 Feb. 1848. 41. Arnhemsche Courant, 29 Feb. 1848; Algemeen Handelsblad, 28 Feb. 1848; the NRC reacted more cautiously. Boogman (Rondom 1848, 51) says that the first reaction was to postpone the constitutional reforms in the face of the tense international situation. This is not true of the main Liberal papers, neither of Thorbecke or the other leading Liberals. 42. Algemeen Handelsblad, 4 March 1848. 43. Arnhemsche Courant, 4 March 1848. 44. Arnhemsche Courant, 11 March 1848. 45. Boreel, 334. 46. Bescheiden Betreffende de Buitenlandse Politiek van Nederland, Vol. I, 1, 1848 (The Hague 1972), 11-16. 47. Bescheiden Buitenlandse Pol. 1848, 19. The number of voters in Belgium rose from 46,000 to 79,000 thanks to this measure which passed the Chambers on 12 March. This had been one of the main demands of the Belgian Liberals for

years. 48. Bescheiden Buitenlandse Pol. 1848, 24. It was later revealed that this rumour was unfounded, but at the time it was believed; see M. Huisman, La Crise Révolutionnaire de 1848 et le Rapprochement Hollando-Belge, Bijdragen v. Vaderlandsche Geschiedenis en Oudheidkunde, VII, 3 (1932), 11-12. 49. Giele, Pen in Aanslag, 69-74. 50. Will Louis Philippe be a warning to William II?, Arnhemsche Courant , 12 March 1848. 51. Robijns, Radicalen in Nederland, 246-7. 52. Boreel, 335-6. 53. NRC, 15 March 1848. 54. NRC , 16 March 1848. 55. Cf. W. J. Formsma, Groningen en 1848, in idem, Geschiedenis tussen Eems en Lauwers (Assen and Maastricht 1988), 207-35. 56. Algemeen Handelsblad, 16 March 1848. 57. H. S. Haasse and S. W. Jackman, eds, Een Vreemdelinge in Den Haag : uit de brieven van Koningin Sophie der Nederlanden aan Lady Malet (Amsterdam

1984), 67.
58. J. P.


Uit de Geheime




Mackay (Houten

1987), 37.
59. Mr. H. van der A, Herinneringen van Vroeger en Later Leeftijd , en aan Gedenkwaardige Land- en Tijdgenooten (Tiel 1884), 185; Donkers role is related by L. C. Luzac, who was present at both meetings, Journaal van Luzac, De Gids Vol. 1 (1883), 34-7.

60. Boreel, 346; G. D. Homan, Sir Edward C. Disbrowe and the Prelude to Constitutional Reform in the Netherlands in 1848, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis

(1966), 64-9. 61. The other three were Luzac, J. M. de Kempenaer, and the Catholic Liberal L. D. Storm. All of them were champions of direct elections. 62. Van Bevervoorde himself has testified to this: Brief aan Mr. Dirk Donker Curtius, aan hem uit Parijs geschreven, door A. van Bevervoorde (Amsterdam 27 July 1848); this pamphlet contains the text of a letter Van Bevervoorde addressed to Donker Curtius on 23 March, in which he pledged his support to the new


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administration. See also Boreel, 351, who mentions the fact that the Arnhemsche Courant stopped calling for the removal of the existing Chamber. 63. The atmosphere is well conveyed in some dispatches of American diplomats; these are printed in P. R. D. Stokvis, Amerikaanse Ooggetuigen over het Revolutiejaar 1848 in Nederland, Bijdragen en Mededelingen voor de Geschiedenis der Nederlanden 92 (1977), 394-405. 64. Thorbecke: brieven aan zijn verloofde en aan zijn vrouw (Amsterdam 1936), 75-7; Thorbecke, Dagverhaal, 471-85; NRC 23 March 1848.

65. Thorbecke, Dagverhaal, 480. 66. Schimmelpenninck, 181. 67. Thorbecke: brieven aan zijn verloofde en zijn vrouw, 79. 68. From the end of April to mid-July there were intermittent outbursts of

rioting and pamphleteering in Amsterdam; Giele, Pen in Aanslag, 85-94. 69. Algemeen Handelsblad, 28 March 1848; NRC, 29 March, 5 April 1848; Arnhemsche Courant, 28 March, 2 April, 6 April 1848. 70. Thorbecke, Dagverhaal, 486. Thorbecke personally supervised the printing and corrected the proof sheets. 71. Schimmelpenninck, 203. 72. T. M. Roest van Limburg, Aan wie zal het, door de Koning goedgekeurde, Ontwerp van Grondwet worden voorgelegd, aan de Staten-Generaal of aan de stemgeregtigde Natie? (The Hague 1848; prob. beginning of April). 73. Algemeen Handelsblad, 6 April 1848; NRC, 4 April 1848. An influential Liberal from the northern city of Groningen published a counter-pamphlet: B. Tellegen, Zal de Herziening der Grondwet willekeurig of wettig tot stand worden gebragt? (Groningen, 7 April 1848). 74. Schimmelpenninck, 203. 75. Beekelaar, Rond Grondwetsherziening en Herstel der Hierarchie , 66. 76. Schimmelpenninck, 207. This conversation took place between 27 April and 4 May. See Colenbrander, 1848, 242-3; C. de Ru, Willem Boreel van Hogelanden, 168. Boogman, Rondom 1848, 57, does not mention it. See also De Wit,
Aristocratie en Democratie , 375-8. 77. When the king asked the President of the Chamber on 4 May whether the Chamber would be willing to go along with far-reaching reforms or not, Boreel answered that this would also depend on the European situation. Boreel, 358-9. 78. Schimmelpenninck, 209. 79. Handelingen Tweede Kamer , 1847-8, I, 313. 80. These arguments were all marshalled by G. W. Vreede, De Regtstreeksche Verkiezing van de Nationale Vertegenwoordiging Bestreden (Amsterdam 1848). This pamphlet elicited some Liberal counterattacks, which were answered by Vreede in two additional pamphlets on the same topic. 81. J. de Bosch Kemper, Volkswil en Volksbelang (Amsterdam 1848), 18-19. 82. De Regtstreeksche Verkiezing tot de Nationale Vertegenwoordiging verdedigd tegen Mr. G. W. Vreede, door J. van der Veen, lawyer at Leeuwarden (Leeuwarden 1848). 83. A. F. Jongstra, De Regtstreeksche Verkiezing, ook voor de Nationale Verteg-

enwoordiging, verdedigd (Heerenveen 1848). 84. A. S. van Nierop, Regtstreeksche Verkiezingen (Amsterdam 1848). 85. C. W. Opzoomer, Volkswil en Vrije Verkiezingen (Leiden and Amsterdam

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1848); Het Regt der Geschiedenis in het Vraagstuk der Vrije Verkiezing (Leiden and Amsterdam 1848). 86. On the radicals, see Robijns, Radicalen in Nederland. 87. Staatkundige Opmerkingen van Ohvarius, nr. VII (Amsterdam 1848), 29-30. Olivarius was a pen-name of the former Conservative Minister F. A. van Hall. 88. All these figures are calculated from the reports in the Handelingen van de Tweede Kamer , 1847-8. See also J. Talsma, Geeft met verschuldigde Eerbied te kennen: petities over kiesrecht en kiesstelsel uit de periode 1848-1850, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 92 (1979), 438-51. On the failure of tax reform in 1848, see A. C. J. de Vrankrijker, Belastingen in Nederland 1848-1893 (Haarlem 1967), 16-43. 89. Thorbecke himself was in favour of some of these radical demands, especially total parliamentary control over the colonial administration and the abolition of the First Chamber; J. R. Thorbecke, Bijdrage tot de Herziening der Grondwet (Aug. 1848; The Hague 1921), 24, 46. 90. King William II died in March 1849. His successor, William III, was antiLiberal and personally disliked Thorbecke. It took a lot of bickering to get him to agree to the appointment of Thorbecke; see C. B. Wels, De Formatie van het Eerste Ministerie-Thorbecke, Bijdragen en Mededelingen van het Historisch Genootschap 76 (1972), 263-317. 91. H. Daalder, Consociationalism, Center and Periphery in the Netherlands, in P. Torsvik, ed., Mobilization, Center-Periphery Structures and Nation-Building (Oslo 1981), 201. 92. On the details, see L. Blok, Rond de Kieswet van 1850: gedane zaken namen geen keer, in Figuren en Figuraties (Groningen 1979), 155-67. 93. The Electoral Law obliged those who counted the votes to mix the ballot papers of the sub-constituencies before starting with the count, to preclude inquiries into the voting behaviour of certain town-quarters or villages; Handelingen Tweede Kamer 1849-50, Bijlagen, 259. The ballot was apparently not a contested issue in the Netherlands (as it was in Britain). I have found no arguments for or against it in the newspapers, pamphlets or petitions of 1848. 94. Thorbecke stated that he had put the census as low as was compatible with local circumstances. After 1850 the Dutch franchise was actually wider than the , 253; R. van Eenoo, De evolutie van Belgian one. See Blok, Stemmen en Kiezen de kieswetgeving in Belgie van 1830 tot 1919, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 92
(1979), 333-52. 95. Boogman, Rondom 1848, 101.
96. On the class structure,
denis 5 (1976), 167-87. 97. Blok, Stemmen en

J. Giele and G. J.


Oenen, Theorie


praktijk van het onderzoek naar de sociale structuur, Tijdschrift v.

Sociale Geschie-

, 28; J. Th. J. van den Berg, De Toegang tot het Kiezen Binnenhof (Weesp 1983), 48. 98. For contrasting views of the political crisis in 1853, see L. J. Rogier, Schrikbeeld van een Staatsgreep in 1853, Mededelingen Koninklijke Ned. Acad. v. Wetenschappen, 22, 6 (Amsterdam 1959); C. B. Wels, Kanttekeningen bij Schrikbeeld van een Staatsgreep in 1853, Bijdragen voor de Geschiedenis der
Nederlanden 17 (1962), 70-7. 99. See S. Stuurman, Liberalismus, Gesellschaft und Staat m den Niederlanden 1870-1940, in J. P. Nautz and J. F. E. Blasing, eds, Staatliche Intervention und gesellschaftliche Freiheit (Melsungen 1988), 161-85.

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100. This was stressed by Boogman, The Dutch Crisis in the Eighteen-Forties. 101. William II was blackmailed by intriguers, some of them democratic Radicals, during the 1840s; there were allegations about homosexual scandals. It is unclear whether these intrigues, which reached a new pitch in March 1848, influenced the kings political attitude, but they certainly contributed to his somewhat timid state of mind; see Robijns, Radicalen in Nederland, 242-8. 102. See Robijns, Radicalen in Nederland, 257ff; H. Stein, Der Amsterdamer Arbeiterbildungsverein von 1847 und die Vorlaufer der Modernen Sozialen Bewegung in Westeuropa, International Review for Social History II (1937), 105-70, esp. 142-55. In the 1840s Socialism was hardly present in the Netherlands although it attracted some intellectual curiosity as an international phenomenon. In 1846, De Gids, a leading Liberal review, ran a series of articles on the ideas of
Louis Blanc. 103. D. Geary, European Labour Protest 1848-1939 (London 1981), 33-4; E. J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Capital 1848-1875 (London 1977), 23. It is, moreover, doubtful whether the degree of industrialization was really the decisive factor in the case of Belgium and Britain. Both countries experienced Liberal victories over crucial issues in the years immediately preceding 1848. The British Repeal of the Corn Laws can be regarded as analogous to the victory of Belgian Liberalism in 1847. Finally, the impact of the Paris revolution was not entirely nil: after all, the Belgian electorate was almost doubled in March 1848. See A. R. Zolberg, Belgium, in R Grew, Crises of Political Development in Europe and the United States (Princeton 1978), 99-138; B. D. Gooch, Belgium and the February Revolution (The Hague 1963). 104. For the Netherlands, see note 2 above. For Britain, see M. I. Thomis and P. Holt, Threats of Revolution in Britain 1789-1848 (London 1977). In the eighteenth century it was Britain rather than France that was seen to be the home of insurrection: E Halévy, England in 1815 (London and New York 1970), 148-9. 105. Stearns, 1848 , 74; Price, Revolutions , of 1848 20-1; H. A. C. Collingham, The July Monarchy (London and New York 1988), 335ff; R. Price, The French Second Republic: A Social History (London 1972), 31-94. 106. R. Price, ed., Revolution and Reaction: 1848 and the Second French Repubhc (London and New York 1975), 9-12; Collingham, July Monarchy, 393ff. 107. Collingham, July Monarchy, 391. 108. Price, Second Republic , 38, 91-4. 109. It is by now well established that the artisans and not the factory proletariat made up the core of the early-nineteenth-century popular movement. See J. Breuilly, Artisan Economy, Artisan Politics, Artisan Ideology, in C. Emsley and J. Walvin, Artisans, Peasants and Proletarians, 1760-1860 (London 1985), 187-225. 110. Compare M. Agulhon, 1848 ou lApprentissage de la République (Paris 1973), 7. 111. Price, Revolutions of 1848, 31-2; Geary, European Labour Protest, 25; Ch. Tilly, L. Tilly and R. Tilly, The Rebellious Century (Cambridge 1975), 275-6. For an overview of the extent of Chartist activities and organizations see D. Thompson, The Chartists (New York 1984), 341-68. 112. Thompson, Chartists, 310-11; J. T. Ward, Chartism (London 1973), 200. 113. On the size of the meeting of 10 April, see D. Goodway, London Chartism 1838-1848 (Cambridge 1982), 136-42.

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114. J. Saville, 1848: The British State and the Chartist Movement (Cambridge 1987), 112-29, 227-9. 115. Quoted in G. M. Trevelyan, The Life of John Bright (London 1913), 145; see also N. Gash, Sir Robert Peel (Totowa NJ 1972), 646 and esp. 683. 116. J. Stevenson, Popular Disturbances in England, 1700-1870 (London and

New York 1979), 269-70. Belchem also stresses the Chartist failure to win the battle for public opinion before April 1848: J. Belchem, 1848: Feargus OConnor and the Collapse of the Mass Platform, in J. Epstein and D. Thompson, The Chartist Experience: Studies in Working-class Radicalism and Culture, 1830-1860 (London and Basingstoke 1982), 269-310. 117. Saville, 1848, 228. 118. See G. Rudé, Why was there no Revolution in England in 1830 or 1848?, in M. Kossok, Studien uber die Revolution (Berlin 1969), 231-43; I. Prothero, Artisans and Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century London (Folkestone 1979), 268-99. 119. On these Liberal tactics in 1832, see J. Hamburger, James Mill and the Art of Revolution (New Haven and London 1963). 120. R. Quinault, 1848 and Parliamentary Reform, Historical Journal 31 (1988), 831-51. 121. A. de Tocqueville, Souvenirs (1849-50; Paris 1978), 81-2. 122. Cf. the symposion on 1848 in Theory and Society, 12, 4 (1983), with contributions by M. Traugott, R. J. Bezucha, C. Calhoun and G. Stedman Jones. See esp. Stedman Jones, The Mid-Century Crisis and the 1848 Revolutions: A Critical Comment (505-19), who also concludes that the political framework within which distress occurred was decisive (516). The comparison of the Netherlands with France and England clearly supports this conclusion. 123. De Tocquevilles famous thesis that the French revolution only completed the centralizing effort of the Old Regime would certainly not be true of the Batavian revolution. The Dutch nineteenth-century Liberal historian Fruin remarked that politically the revolution represented in the Netherlands a sharper rupture than in France itself, whereas socially it was the other way around: R. Fruin, De Dne Tijdvakken der Nederlandsche Geschiedenis, De Gids , Vol IV (1865), 248. 124. Schama, Patriots and Liberators, 648-50.



is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of books on political theory and modern Dutch history, and of articles in the Journal of the History of Ideas, History of European Ideas and numerous Dutch journals. His current research is on European and Dutch Liberalism.

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