Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Bilingual Dutch Republic

The francophone history of the Netherlands is often described in terms of tolerance for religion. The Dutch generously received Huguenot refugees in the 18th century.

Based on the huge influence of both the Walloone Calvinists in the 16th century (first two Dutch Reformed Synods were bilingual) and the direct link between Guillaume d'Orange and French Huguenots it might be more helpful to propose a different reading; The Bilingual Republic.

So many hard to understand facts of Dutch history fall into place once we accept this heuristic. But let's add Emden to the mix.  At the 1571 Emden Synod three documents were adopted:
 'The synod affirmed the presbyterian character of the Reformed Church, organized churches within a geographical region into "classes", adopted the 1561 Confession of Faith (later known as the Belgic Confession), and approved use of the Heidelberg Catechism in Dutch-speaking congregations while promoting the Geneva Catechism for French-speaking churches'
The bilingual character of the Dutch Church is obvious from this short statement. The influence of Petrus Datheen is obvious as well. He became president of the bilingual synode in 1578. Also note the synods of 1566/1567 where armed revolt is authorized against a government that suppresses religious and civil liberties. The tensions between Petrus Datheen and Guillaume d'Orange that led to Datheen's eventual exile might have had a linguistic diminsension as well.

Did Datheen meet Knox in London and Frankfurt? Their Relationship and the refugee churches in Frankfurt might be of interest. Much emphasis has been placed on political thought and the Dutch revolt. Both a 19 century discussion of the proceedings of the 1571 Emden synod and Martin van Gelderen's misleading comment that the adoption of the French confession of faith was (merely) in recognition of the link with the French protestant churches are illustrations of how the French aspect of Dutch protestantism is not properly understood by most historians. Dutch historians dissmissing the factual claim concerning the Walloone origins of the founder of New York last year, illustrate this same phenomenon.

In Wyger Velema' 'Republicans: Essays on Eighteenth-century Dutch Political Thought' we read:
'The fact that in the third quarter of the century at least six French editions of the Esprit des Lois were published in Amsterdam alone therefore tells us very little about the Dutch reception of the book. What it does suggest, however, is that iti was readily avaible to the contemporary bilingual Dutch elite-readership, well versed in both French and Dutch.'
 Here we see, once again, clear evidence that the Dutch Republic was a bilingual republic. However, the reference to a supposed 'elite-readership' is a symptom of the popular and persistent myth in Dutch society that associates French with the elite. Margaret Jacobs argues that radicalization among the french speaking community in the Netherlands was directly related to the persecution in France and the subsequent, related invasion of England. William the third, a direct descendend of Gaspar de Coligny, recruited his guard almost exclusively from among the Huguenot community. That in itself tells us a lot. The story of the Walloons by William Elliott Griftis might give us additional information of the role of this large community in the Dutch Republic. In the first lines of his thesis, La Grande Arche des Fugitifs? Huguenots in the Dutch Republic after 1685, Michael Joseph Walker repeats the misleading assumption that the Walloons were refugees in the Netherlands. Without Walloons The Republic would not exist. But he also acknowledges the fact that :
in the Netherlands, the Huguenots retained their separate culture and identity for the longest time of any of the areas of resettlement,arguably into the nineteenth century'
A possibility is that Napoleons occupation ended this, in similar fashion as German separete identity in the US ended after the second world war.

The impressive list of Walloon pastors in the Netherlands in the acts of the Walloon Church of 1603 - 1697 does not mention the fact that Petrus van Mastricht was raised in a Walloon church in Cologne where his grandfather Nicolas de la Planque was pastor. There was a  College Walloon in Leiden (1606- 1699) where for example Hendricus Reneri studied with the huguenot theologian André Rivet, tutor of William II (Archibald Alexander discusses him). Hendricus Reneri also met Pierre Gassendi, who had worked in Aix-en-Provence. An article about this Walloon College states that Daniel Massis was it's director from 1643- 1668. Interesting details on how student life and the focus of the studies. The nomination as professor of André Rivet, who had been the moderator of the Vitré Synode (Synode Nationale de l'église Réformée de France), , 'after the purges at Leiden in 1620' might be an indication of the success of the Walloon Church's 'course of religious moderation in theological matters'(I would have to investigate to understand what 'moderate' means in this context) and it's close ties with the French Reformed Church (factual). In 1632, André Rivet 'came to The Hague as tutor to Prince William of Orange and brought with him a wealth of connections'. Throug Rivet Anna Maria van Schuurman connected with  the Palatine princess Elisabeth. His son Frederique Rivet became counsellor 'to the illustrious Raad van Prinsen van Oranje'.

van Mastricht started his career in a Cocejan congregation, after which he wrote a forerunner of his work TPT, and later moved to Frankfurt to a church with a lot of Hugenot members which reminds me of Walloon village of New Pfaltz, a name that refers to Pfaltz which hosted many Huguenots at the time. Petrus Datheen fled to Frankenthal(Pfalz) in the 16th century where he translated the Heidelberger Catechism. Note that van Mastrichts brother married a le Brun, who's brother was involved in William Penn's Pennsylvania company in Frankfurt. TPT clearly builds on Cocceius and is closely related to the controversies since the synod of Dordrecht and his experience in different churches.

Petrus van Mastricht's statement that 'the Voetius-Cocceius disagreements did not have to be as vitriolic as they were' confirms my impression that van Mastricht did not belong to either camp, worked in a Cocceian environment in Germany and deals with the same problems. John D. Heusden insists that 'Edwards favorite Mastricht continued to insist on the covenant ideas of Ames and Cocceius in a time of great theological change'.

In a way Petrus van Mastricht's synthesis of Voetius and Cocceius reminds of how natural law was merged with presbyterian thought by Francis Hutcheson and John Witherspoon. In the post-synod of Dort world of the late 17th century it's Petrus van Mastricht who provided the best solution to the Arminian question, although Paul Helm thinks otherwise. The link to Edwards  through the scottish students Erskine and Carstares.  Petrus van Mastricht connection to Voetius and Utrecht was through his pastor in Cologne Hoornbeek. The church in Cologne had regular meetings with the German and Huguenot members(see footnote on the international contacts of the consistory page 28 of this book).

- The Walloone archive in Leiden.

The history of the Collège Wallon by Posthumus Meyes might be great source. The College Wallon was closed in 1699 when the states stopped funding it. Bertrand Van Ruymbeke and Randy J. Sparks suggest this was caused by 'the intesified refugee problem'. A lot of conjecture in the book edited by these two. For example the claim by Willem Frijhoff that the States feared Huguenot (and Walloons) wanted to introduce theocracy:
'Obviously they quickly provoked ome irritation, be it for their moral claim, for their eschatological view of political reality, or simply for poverty, which presented a challenge to Dutch society'
'In the eyes of the Dutch, the true stanger was he who did not recognize the primary of the country's civil power but desired instead to promote that of the ecclesiastical authorities'
Which Dutch and which Huguenots? The ones that thought 'armed revolt is authorized against a government that suppresses religious and civil liberties'?. What evidence does Willem Frijhoff present to justify these strong claims? None. Amazing, such huge oversimplifications of the role of Calvinism in Dutch(and Huguenot) politics by this Free University professor. Let's read his CV to see what baggage he brings to his academic work. In the book Theology, Politics and letters at the crossroads of European civilization we can read the exact opposite: Dutch Reformed Church fighting 'heterodoxy' among the Huguenots inside the Walloon church.

Parking Guillaume d'Orange(Caspar Fagel introduced William Carstares to Guillaume d'Orange and Willem Bentinck, who's close friend he became) for a second, political philosopher Pieter de la Court sounds like an interesting entrance into tracing the political influence of French speaking protestants in the Netherlands. Let's see what David Onnekink has written on this topic in this article investigating how Huguenot exiles 'imagined their own identity'.

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