Tablet commemorative of Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol

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Tablet commemorative of Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol


The Holland Society
of New York
1909


Report of the Committee of The Holland Society of New
York on a Tablet Commemorative of the Services Rendered
by Baron Joan Derck van Capellen Tot den Pol, of
Overyssel, Holland, on Behalf of the North American
Colonies in their Struggle with Great Britain in the Revolution,
which Resulted in the Recognition of their Independence
as a Nation by the States-General of Holland.


_____

Bronze Tablet Designed and Cast by the
Gorham Company of New York.
Unveiled and Installed at Zwolle,
Overyssel, Netherlands,
June 6th, 1908

_____


COMMITTEE: John R. Van Wormer, Chairman Henry L. Bogert, Secretary

Arthur H. Van Brunt, Treasurer



Report of the Committee on Tablet Commemorative of the services rendered to the North American Colonies during the Revolution of 1775-1783, by Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen Tot den Pol, of Holland.


To the Trustees of the Holland Society of New York:


Bronze Tablet Erected at Zwolle, June 6th, 1908 by The Holland Society of New York, Commemorative of the Services Rendered to the United Colonies of North America in the Revolution against Great Britain by Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen Tot den Pol, of Overysel, Netherlands.

On behalf of the Committee on a Tablet to commemorate the services rendered by Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen Tot den Pol, of the Provinces of Overysel, in the Netherlands, to the North American Colonies during the Revolution against Great Britain, I beg to submit the following:

March 2, 1898, the members of the Holland Society were advised in this wise:

In the time of our strength and prosperity as a nation we may well recall one of the most critical junctures in the struggle of the North American Colonies with Great Britain, when Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen Tot den Pol, of Holland, rendered to our severely beset patriots services which were of signal importance, because without foreign help the situation was well-nigh hopeless. The fearless, aggressive, and persistent fight which the Baron made upon English intrigue and unscrupulous court dominance at The Hague; his success in placing before the Dutch and English people concise recitals of the facts and merits of the conflict from the American point of view; the emphasis laid by him upon the disreputable methods of the English King and his Prime Minister in their Continental diplomacy, in their employment of German mercenaries, and in their infamous alliances with the savages of North America; the ultimate winning over to the point of acquiescence at first of the provincial legislatures and then of a part of the Orangist coterie, inspired and dominated as it was by the English Minister, thus paving the way for the ultimate recognition of the independence as a nation of the North American Colonies; the influence brought to bear upon the merchants and bankers of Amsterdam to secure for the colonists gold loans of substantial amounts, to which Van der Capellen contributed liberally from his own not too ample fortune, the avails of such loans having reached the treasurer of the Continental Congress in season to be of immeasurable help to Washington; the wise and persistent methods by which the Baron opposed the Orangist party and the court, and persuaded the provinces to pass strong resolutions in their local Legislatures, demanding of the States General the recognition of the young republic as a nation, and the triumphant accomplishment of this purpose in the face of apparently insuperable obstacles; the skilful manner in which the way was prepared for the reception of the first Minister of the United Colonies of North America at The Hague, John Adams, who arrived without credentials or potential friends, save Van der Capellen, and a few other patriots, though Van der Capellen alone among them never for one moment lost faith in the cause he espoused and in its final success ― these were indeed notable achievements only accomplished at the sacrifice of health, position, and fortune, for the partisans of the Orangists were not squeamish as to their revenges and reprisals. In life, indignities were heaped upon Van der Capellen; after death his place of burial was desecrated, though, fortunately, the remains of the great patriot and his consort had been removed by relatives before the sacrilegious act was committed. What Van der Capellen and his liberty-loving and fearless patriot friends did for humanity at large and for the Colonies in particular were matters of world-wide note in the history of the period. Thus far neither the Congress of the United States nor its people have erected in the Netherlands an appropriate and enduring monument commemorative of the obligation which the colonists were under to the eminent statesman of Holland.

Is it not fitting that this omission should be rectified by the Holland Society of New York, whose freedom-loving and intrepid ancestors participated in the Revolutionary conflict, and left their imprint on the social and political institutions of the new republic?

In the days of Van der Capellen's fatiguing struggle against intrenched and inherited wrong he received expressions of cordial appreciation from Governor Jonathan Trumbull, of Connecticut, Governor Livingston, of New Jersey, Benjamin Franklin, the Colonial Agent Plenipotentiary to France, John Adams, of Massachusetts, Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia, and George Washington and other mainstays of one of the noblest and most unequal conflicts ever waged against entrenched tyranny. Much of this significant correspondence is to be found in the famous museum of antiquities in the city of Zwolle, the capital of the province of Overysel in the Netherlands.

It has been determined by resolution of the Board of Trustees of the Holland Society of New York, and confirmed by vote of the members at an informal gathering at the Hotel Astor in November last, that there should be erected at Zwolle, on the walls of the house No. 12 Bloemendal Street, occupied by the Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen Tot den Pol, and his lady, until shortly before his death in 1784, under the auspices of the President of the province of Overysel, the Burgomaster of Zwolle, and the Overysel Society for the Study of Jurisprudence.

View of the former Van der Capellen House, 12 Bloemendal Street, with Tablet between the windows and those who had participated in the ceremonies.

In order that the purpose of the Society might be consummated speedily the Board of Trustees authorized the President of the Society to appoint a Committee of three to undertake the work involved. The Committee consists of John R. Van Wormer, President of the Society when appointed, Henry L. Bogert, Secretary, Arthur H. Van Brunt, Treasurer. The Committee was made perpetual and clothed with all necessary authority in the premises. The chairman was credentialled to represent the Society in conducting all foreign correspondence pertaining to the situation.

The Gorham Company of New York submitted a beautiful design of the proposed tablet, which was accepted, and the work of giving it concrete form rapidly proceeded.

It was to be of solid bronze, five feet high and three feet wide. When completed in the latter part of April 1908, the tablet even surpassed the most sanguine expectations and proved to be a rare example, of the highest American art in bronze work.

Arrangements were made to have the tablet forwarded to Zwolle sufficiently early to admit of its being unveiled and installed June 6, 1908, on the one hundred and twenty-fourth anniversary of the death of Baron Van der Capellen.

The Chairman of the Tablet Committee was fully credentialled to represent the Society on the occasion of the above-referred-to ceremonies.

The inscription on the Tablet is:

ERECTED BY THE HOLLAND SOCIETY

OF NEW YORK
A. D. 1908
TO
JOAN DERCK VAN DER CAPELLEN
TOT DEN POL.
RIDDER IN DE RIDDERSCHAP
VAN OVERYSEL

1741-1784
IN GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF THE SERVICES RENDERED BY HIM DURING THE WAR OF THE REVOLUTION ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED COLONIES OF NORTH AMERICA, 1775-1783, WHICH MATERIALLY CONTRIBUTED TOWARD THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THEIR INDIPENDENCE AS A NATION.

Immediately in the centre of the upper arch of the Tablet was inserted in bass-relief the impressive historic insignia of the Holland Society of New York. On the left-hand upper corner of the ornate oak-leaf border enclosing the inscription were the arms of the United States of America; on the opposite corner the arms of the Netherlands; on the lower left-hand corner were the arms of the State of New York, and on the other corner the arms of the province of Overysel.

The cost of the Tablet was defrayed by a popular subscription of the members of the Holland Society of New York at large as a patriotic love contribution to perpetuate in the Netherlands the fame and nobility of a compatriot across the sea whose magical preachments were the very essence of the gospel of light.

The Board of Trustees and the Committee on Tablet, on behalf of the Society, utilized the circular as the convenient and appropriate medium of expressing the extreme gratitude of the Society to the Rev. William Elliot Griffis, D.D., LL.D., of Ithaca, N. Y., for being the first to impress upon the Society's officers the peculiar propriety of such an organization recognizing in a fitting manner Baron Van der Capellen's inestimable service to the United Colonies of North America, and for the preliminary correspondence inaugurated by him with gentlemen of eminence in the Netherlands, through the medium of which considerate and efficient assistance the work of the Committee was brought to a satisfactory realization.

Mention was also made of the politeness and interest manifested in the Tablet project by Mr. J. A. Sillem, of Amsterdam, biographer of Baron Van der Capellen Tot den Pol, and of Mr. W. H. de Beaufort, of Utrecht, publisher of his Life and Letters. Similar recognition was extended to the Honorable P. Lyclama à Nyeholt, President of the province of Overysel; to Dr. N. A. Cramer, Secretary of the Society for the Study of Jurisprudence and History in Overysel, to whose zeal, intelligence, and efficiency the Committee is profoundly indebted for the masterly accomplishment of its mission in Zwolle. Unhappily it is our painful duty to announce that he died, in Zwolle, November 2nd last, from the attack of a fatal disease, and while still engaged in an important supplemental enterprise of the Committee and. of our Society, of which more will be said later.

The chairman of the Tablet Committee will venture to recount what transpired in connection with the unveiling and installation ceremonies in Zwolle, Overysel, June 6, 1908, and add certain interesting data in respect to the object of the Society's homage.

The chairman of the Committee on Tablet, as the credentialled representative of the Trustees and members of the Society, proceeded to Amsterdam a few days before the date fixed by the civic authorities of Zwolle and the Society for the Study of the Jurisprudence and History of Overysel, which was, as has been before remarked, Saturday, June 6, 1908, the anniversary of Baron Van der Capellen's death.

The morning after my arrival in Amsterdam, Mr. J. A. Sillem, the biographer of Baron Van der Capellen, a cultivated gentleman, who occupies high official position, both in a general and in a local way under the governments of Holland and Amsterdam, called upon me to be his guest at luncheon and to visit with him the famous Ryks Museum, of whose Board of Trustees he is President. A previous correspondence had familiarized me with his perfect command of the English language and his graceful penmanship, but the meeting itself was the beginning on Mr. Sillem's part of unceasing and delicate attentions which only terminated upon my departure from the country. He is what one calls, with every reason, a highly educated gentleman, whose reading has been comprehensive, whose information is broad and exact, whose wit and humor are winsome and captivating. His command of the English language is perfect for one who has an opportunity to speak it so infrequently. Twenty-seven years ago Mr. Sillem travelled widely in the United States and is its cordial and appreciative friend, in season and out. In Amsterdam his name is an open sesame, as I found out to my profit.

Before starting for Zwolle I received a cordial note from the de Heer Lyclama à Nyeholt, President of the province of Overysel, whose impressive official residence is situated in a beautifully wooded park in the above city, inviting me to pass the evening before the unveiling of the Tablet with him, "in order that I might become acquainted with his family." I reached my destination on the afternoon of June the 5th, and became the guest of the Society for the Study of Jurisprudence and History in Overysel, at the Hotel Keizerskrook, Zwolle, where I dined with Dr. N. A. Cramer, its Secretary and one of the leading educators of Overysel. Like numerous other Dutch gentlemen I had already met, the Doctor spoke English with scholarly finish. From the moment we clasped hands there was an unchecked flow of consideration and cordiality on his part, which had ripe fruit in helpful kindnesses and service.

The evening spent at the official residence with President Lyclama and the various members of his charming family was replete with absorbing interest, and was signalized with brilliancy of conversation and amplitude of theme, accompanied by a delightful hospitality, which could not fail to sound the depth of one's appreciation, and which was protracted until a late hour, though one could not be, under such agreeable circumstances, conscious of the lapse of time. One incident was significant. President Lyclama, as he is conventionally designated, excused himself for a moment and visited his library, returning to the reception-room with a copy of "The Holland Society's Year Book," which contained the account of the visit to the Netherlands of a considerable number of the members of the Society, their wives, daughters, relatives, and friends, in the summer of 1888. There was produced in this volume a medallion of Mr. Lyclama, with his official regalia as Burgomaster of the commercial and shipping city of Rotterdam, it having been his proud privilege at that time to have entertained the visitors.

During the night of the 5th, and in the early morning of the 6th, there were heavy rains and high winds which were not propitious omens for the day's ceremonies. Fortunately, however, as early as ten o'clock the sun emerged from the clouds, the rain ceased, the wind moderated, and a day of perfect weather was guaranteed.

In accordance with the order of ceremonies previously agreed upon by President Lyclama, Burgomaster Van Royen, and the officers of the Society for the Study of Jurisprudence and History in Overysel there was to be a formal luncheon at the official residence of the President at half past twelve o'clock. A committee of prominent officials and citizens of Overysel and Zwolle escorted me from the hotel to the residence.

The luncheon was served in the dignified and imposing State Dining-Room. The President occupied the principal seat on one side of the oblong table, which was fitted with nice regard for everything that beautified the board, and his good lady the one directly opposite. The guest of honor, the representative of the Holland Society of New York, was placed on the right of the lady of the house, after the usage of time-honored Dutch courtesy. Those at the table were:

De Heer Lyclama à Nyeholt, Mevrouw Lyclama à Neyholt, de Heer J. A. Hoefer, Y. A. van Royen, Burgomaster of Zwolle, W. H. de Beaufort, of Utrecht, former Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Government and publisher of the Life and Letters of Baron van der Capellen, J. A. Sillem, of Amsterdam, biographer of Van der Capellen, C. W. van der Pot, an official of the province of Overysel, Dr. W. W. van der Meulen, historian Den Haag, Dr. N. A. Cramer, E. Baron Mackay, M. Baroness Mackey, G. Y. ter Kuile, Dr. Y. C. van Slee, clergyman of the Dutch Reform Church at Deventer, de Heer W. A. Englebrecht, Y. Nanniga Utterdyk, and John R. Van Wormer.

In every possible respect the luncheon was a suitable introduction to the dignified program of the day. The representative of The Holland Society of New York could not have been the recipient of more distinguished attentions under any circumstances which he is capable of conceiving. In every sense The Holland Society was essentially honored and there were convincing evidences that its purposes were intuitively and thoroughly understood. This was an especially satisfactory phase of the situation under the circumstances, which had a more or less diplomatic significance.

At a proper stage of the luncheon President Lyclama made the following apposite remarks:


Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Holland Society of New York is an interesting, important, and powerful Club, consisting of members descendants of Dutch families who lived in America before the second English possession. The Society does much to vivify the historical recollections and friendships with Holland. Nearly twenty years ago many members of that Society visited Holland, and on that occasion I became acquainted with some of them, and ever since I have enjoyed the friendship of Mr. Hasbrouck, Rev. Howard Suydam, and others. I am glad to be able to receive once more in my house a member, even an old President of that Society, again about to perform a deed of devotion and gratitude, consecrated to the memory of a fellow-countryman.

"I hope that The Holland Society may ever be inspired with such spirit as is testified to-day by the ceremony that will take place in the Bloemendalstraat in honor of and to perpetuate the memory of Joan Derck van der Capellen Tot den Pol. "I hope that The Holland Society of New York may continue to prosper, and propose to drink the health of its representative here, Mr. John R. Van Wormer."


Mr. Van Wormer addressing the Governer of the Province of Overyssel and the Burgomaster of Zwolle after the Van der Capellen Tablet was unveiled.

To these gracious sentiments the representative of the Society made the most appropriate response of which he was capable.

At this stage of the proceedings de Heer J. A. Hoefer, Master of Ceremonies, took charge. Seldom does one have the privilege of observing better methods, greater promptitude, and more satisfactory results than his management insured.

The participants were quickly seated in carriages and driven to No. 12 Bloemendal Street, where was located the house in which Baron Joan van der Capellen Tot den Pol had lived just before his death.

The first duty of the representative of the Holland Society was to unveil the Tablet and commit it to the custody of the civic authorities of the city of Zwolle, who were present in the person of their most prepossessing Burgomaster, Y. A. van Royen.

The substance of Mr. Van Wormer's address was as follows:


"Mr. President Lyclama, Mr. Burgomaster, and Gentlemen of the Association for the Study of Jurisprudence and History in Overysel:

"I have the honor to represent the Holland Society of New York, United States of America, as a Trustee and former President, and as chairman of the committee appointed to provide a suitable Tablet commemorative of the services rendered by Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen Tot den Pol of the Netherlands, to the North American Colonies, in their struggle against Great Britain from 1775 to 1783, it being ultimately determined that such a Tablet should be affixed to the walls of the house at No. 12 Bloemendal St., Zwolle, Province of Overysel, Netherlands, where Van der Capellen lived prior to his death, and on behalf of that Society to present the Tablet to the proper authorities at Zwolle. I have also been charged to express the great consideration which the officers, trustees, and members of the Holland Society entertain for Her Majesty the Queen, for the people of the Netherlands, for the President of the province, the Burgomaster of the city and the officers of the Society for the Study of Jurisprudence and History in Overysel.

"In order that the motive prompting the erection of the Tablet may be understood I shall briefly explain why the Holland Society of New York undertook such a mission. The Society was organized in the city of New York, in 1885, by eminent citizens whose ancestors came to America from the Netherlands under the auspices of the Amsterdam Merchants and the West India Company, which was chartered by the States General in 1621. These men believed that it was their duty to bring into existence a society whose members should be descended in a direct male line from ancestors who emigrated to America as Dutch settlers, speaking the Dutch language; from ancestors who found a home or refuge from persecution elsewhere in Holland; or from ancestors who acquired the rights of Dutch citizenship during the period of the Dutch administration in America prior to 1675, the date of the second English possession.

"It had been apparent for a long time that the true history of the Dutch regime in New Amsterdam and New Netherland had not yet been written, and that whatever history had been written with few exceptions emanated from professors who were hopelessly narrow in their view and whose judgments were warped by their worship of the church oligarchy that in the early days dominated New England, and forbade general participation in the processes of government of those who, when at home in England, were fullfledged citizens and whose rights were supposed to be protected in the compact vouchsafed to the Puritan ecclesiastics, though those individuals were comunicants of the State Church of England.

"A society was successfully organized. Its constitution defined the requirements as to membership, and declared that the objects and purposes should be the promotion of acquaintance and sociability among its members; the collection and preservation of documents, memorials, manuscripts, letters, public and private records which set forth and depicted the domestic and public life of their Dutch ancestors in America; to urge upon the descendants the study of the history of the Netherlands and of New Netherland; to promote and perpetuate Dutch methods and practices, and ultimately, when proper material had been collected, to cause to be written and published a Memorial History of the Dutch in America, compiled and treated from a Dutch point of view, and setting forth clearly the full part which the Dutch took in the organization of society, the establishment of the customs of the people, and the framing of the original articles of confederation under which the Revolutionary struggle was conducted, and also in the construction of the Constitution of the United States in 1788.

"Material progress has been made in this direction. For about twenty years a comprehensive and efficiently edited 'Year Book' has been published, which embraces the addresses delivered at the annual dinners in New York, by scholars, historians, and orators, on the achievements, characters, and influence of the Dutch settlers and of their descendants; the rescue, translation, and printing of the birth, christening, marriage, and death notices of all Dutch churches; the discovery and preservation of the archives of the Dutch Governors-General, which had been overlooked or not properly understood. This done, there would be an imperishable record of what the Dutch in America contributed towards securing the blessings of personal liberty, the dissemination of education and religious training among the masses of the people, the fixing of the principle of the rights of property and personal liberty, the influence of the example of the Netherlands in the struggles and sacrifices of its people for religious and personal liberty. The Articles of Confederation under which the war of the Revolution was fought bore a striking similarity to the Union of Utrecht; and the provisions of the written constitution framed in 1787-1788 were materially supplied from the experiences of the statesmen of Holland.

"The Dutch colonial records contained many allusions to the name of Van der Capellen. The descendant of one who was both Burgomaster of Zutphen and a subscriber to the Union of Utrecht signed the commission of Governor-General Petrus Stuyvesant, in his capacity as chairman of the committee of the States General, which regulated the relations of that body with the West India Company. Another Van der Capellen and his brother were primarily interested in the patroonship of Staten Island and the Highlands of the Navesinks, which interest finally passed to the Amsterdam Company. State papers and records, in a slight degree the proceedings of Congress and particularly the correspondence of General Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Johathan Trumbull, John Adams, Governor Livingston of New Jersey, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, and others testify to the appreciation in the united Colonies of the assistance rendered by Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen and his friend Van der Kemp and others, in bringing about the recognition of the North American Colonies as a nation; the raising, principally in Amsterdam, of substantial gold loans which were paid to the treasurer of Congress, or, more correctly speaking, to Robert Morris, the financial agent of the government, from time to time, and which materially assisted Washington in preventing mutiny at Newburgh and elsewhere among the officers and troops, by reason of the failure of the Continental Congress to keep faith with them; the help rendered in paving the way for the reception of John Adams as the first Minister of the new nation to the Netherlands; his constant efforts to cause the true merits of the American cause to be understood by the people of Holland and England. It would not be thoughtful or consistent in this connection to omit mention of what the Amsterdam merchants and others of like leaning did in supplying small arms, ordnance, powder, and all sorts of military supplies for the Continental troops when not procurable elsewhere. Dutch vessels carried these supplies to a depot on one of the Dutch islands of the south sea, and they were transferred with great celerity and discretion to America's swift schooners and delivered at whatever point on the coast that Washington or Robert Morris indicated. Where else in the world could these indispensable essentials have been secured save in Holland and from and through these fearless and friendly patriots? And this does not comprehend the usefulness of the suggestions made to Washington and his generals by the experienced and practical Dutch army officers.

"A conspicuous fact in American history is the great achievement of that resourceful genius Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury of the new government, who brought about, through the operation of what was known as the 'Assumption Act,' the taking over by the new government of the debts of the provinces, now called States, which were hopelessly involved, morally demoralized, and without pecuniary resources; the result of which in due course of time was that the merchants and bankers of Amsterdam and their associates who had made the original loans to the Continental government were repaid principal and interest in gold.

"At that time the conditions in Europe as to the relations of the various nations were of a perturbed and ominous nature, which induced the merchants and bankers of Amsterdam to be unwilling to invest so large a sum on the markets available. But it occurred to them, from their very recent contact with the representative men of the United States, that it would be wise, and neighborly, and helpful, if a considerable proportion of their money were to be invested in the new country and, through the purchase of the unused lands of some of the States, to encourage the settlement of a considerable portion of the unoccupied territory. In this way the Holland Land Company was organized. The men who inspired and perfected this potential instrumentality were the same, or descendants of the, merchants who were the original contributors to the loans to the North American Colonies. In its operation in Pennsylvania, in the Mohawk Valley, and in a large portion of what is now the State of New York, a sum approximating six millions of dollars was disbursed. The benefaction conferred upon the callow nation, the encouragement to settlement under extraordinarily fair and just conditions, contributed amazingly to the development which was so much needed at the time. As to the Holland Land Company something will be said elsewhere later.

"In order to be specific in respect to one point, it is desirable to say that the people of the colonies had the keenest kind of appreciation of the way in which Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen had looked after the interests of the country in the early days of Adams's discouragement on arriving at The Hague. So many obstacles confronted him that he was disposed to give up his mission in despair, and had it not been for the firm confidence and knowledge of the temper and purposes of the Dutch people displayed by Baron Van der Capellen ,it the critical junctures, it is difficult to say what might have happened in the way of disaster.

As has been previously stated, in 1906 the Rev. William Elliot Griffis, the historian who has written so much and interestingly about the history of the Netherlands, suggested that the Holland Society of New York should erect, at a proper place in the Netherlands, a tablet commemorative of the services of Baron Van der Capellen to America in the Revolution. The suggestion being favorably entertained, correspondence ensued between Dr. Griffis, J. A. Sillem of Amsterdam, biographer of Van der Capellen, and W. H. de Beaufort of Utrecht, publisher of his life and letters. Through the friendly interposition of these gentlemen with the Hon. P. Lyclama à Nyeholt, President of Overysel, the Society for the Study of Jurisprudence and History in Overysel undertook to locate the house in Zwolle where Van der Capellen lived until shortly before his death. This was done, and the Society kindly volunteered to secure the consent of the present owners and occupant of the house to the affixing of the Tablet to the walls, and to attend to other necessary arrangements when it was completed and received.

"The sole purpose of the Holland Society of New York in erecting a tablet was to commemorate the services of this heroic and liberty-loving Netherlander to the people of an infant country, far away across the ocean, who were fighting desperately to retain their liberties, and to secure freedom from oppression, in the veins of many of whose members ran the fighting blood of their Dutch ancestors, and whose Revolutionary forebears were loyal to the Continental cause and to George Washington. Moreover, this act did not seem to be inconsistent with the purposes of the Society, and I am delighted to discover that this is the Dutch view of the matter.

"It gives me signal pleasure to consign this Tablet to the keeping of the authorities of Overysel and Zwolle."


Burgomaster Van Royen responded as follows:


The Church at Gorssel, Gelderland, where the remains of Baron Joan Derck Van der Capellen and Consort are believed to repose.

"Mr. Van Wormer:

"I assure you that it has been with the greatest interest that we have both listened to the words you have spoken and watched you unveil the Tablet placed on the walls of this house in honor of Mr. Joan Derck van der Capellen Tot den Pol. We people of Overysel are well aware that at all times we have numbered among us men whose influence has not been confined to the narrow limits of our town or our province, but has extended to other lands, even beyond the seas; and the fact of your presence here to-day, the anniversary of the death of Mr. Van der Capellen, proves beyond doubt that this was also the case even after those glorious times of the United States of the Netherlands in which was founded New Amsterdam, now the commercial and financial capital of your great and mighty United States of North America. We feel that our best thanks are due to you for crossing the ocean, and for coming so great a distance to pay a tribute of esteem to a former inhabitant of Zwolle. Such an occasion as this cannot fail to make us feel the bond which exists between us and our kinsmen in America; and we realize that, no longer speaking the same language, yet we both have the same good old Dutch blood in our veins. On your return to America, carry with you this message to your committee and Society, that the memorial will always speak to us of the Holland Society, and we shall be happy to hear of its growth and prosperity. In conclusion, let me assure you that the authorities of this town will feel it both a duty and a pleasure to preserve this Tablet, an outward token of the link which exists between North America and the Netherlands."


What Transpired at Zwolle after the Ceremonies in Bloemendal Street were Concluded.


(Two admirable photographs of the scene at the ceremonies of the unveiling and installation of the Tablet are reproduced and printed here.)

Zwolle, the capital of Overysel, has about 31,800 inhabitants, and is situated on the Zwarte Water, a small river which falls into the Zuiderzee. One of the features of the city is the spacious Gothic Church of St. Michael (Groote Kerk: Protestant), begun in 1406, which contains a fine carved pulpit executed by Adam Straes van Weilborch ujt dat Duyts Land Nassauwe, about 1620, and excellent organ. The choir screen dates from 1592. Beside the church is the picturesque Guard House of 1614.

The Stadhuis, built by Master Berend in 1447 (exterior modernised), contains on the ground floor a handsomely painted and fitted up Gothic Council Room, with a fine Gothic chandelier (15th century) and chimney-piece. The carved figures supporting the roof are said to be caricatures of Councillors of Kampen. Next to the little Gothic Bethlehem Church, in Sassen-Straat, is a handsome guild house of 1571.

The Roman Catholic Church of St. Michael (15th century) has a massive tower. The other Roman Catholic church contains a monument, by W. Meugelberg (1897), to Thomas à Kempis, the author of the Imitation of Christ (translated into almost every known language), who lived for nearly sixty-four years in a monastery on the Agnetenberg, three miles from Zwolle, where he died in 1471, in his 92d year.

From Bloemendal Street the gentlemen of the party were driven to the Protestant Cathedral of the Great Kirk. The venerable President of the Board of Trustees met the party at the entrance of the Cathedral and gave his arm to the chairman of the Tablet Committee, and as they proceeded on their tour of inspection the mammoth organ pealed out a series of American patriotic airs in honor of the occasion. The chairman would find it difficult to describe the sensation he experienced and how keenly he appreciated the thoughtful consideration involved on the part of his hosts. After seeing and having explained the numerous antique and historical features of the vast edifice, a visit was paid to the ancient Stadhuis, where the representatives of the provinces of Overysel met in early days; where the Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen inaugurated his opposition to the still existing abuses of the land barons, and attacked the alliances between the then house of Orange and Great Britain against the sorely beset North American Colonies ; where he was deposed from his representative functions and from his baronetcy; where, after four years, by the irresistible force of public sentiment, the Baron was unanimously restored to his usefulness in the legislature and the Stadholder was compelled to consent to the reconferring of his baronetcy. The petition of his fellow-citizens and fellow-workers in the legislature of the provinces demanding the restoration had been temporarily borrowed from the archives and I was permitted to read it. After leaving the Stadhuis I was taken to inspect what had been for an extended period of time the residence of a distinguished and influential Dutch family, which had finally been converted into a museum in which was assembled a remarkable collection of family relics, scientifically arranged and catalogued. Taken as a whole this domestic museum was a pictorial history of the home life, domestic regime, and great influence of several generations of men and women of distinction. Even the clothes and playthings of the children were amply in evidence.

The next visit was to the Roman Catholic Church of St. Michaels, and another church of the same denomination adjoining, in which there was the comparatively recent monument of Thomas à Kempis, author of the Imitation of Christ, which was translated into almost every known language. Then we went to the wonderful Museum of Zwolle, the attractions and treasures of which could not be appropriately comprehended or appreciated in the all too brief hour devoted to its inspection. Much of the civic, religious, and domestic life, prowess, and achievement of the Dutch were compacted, emphasized, and perpetuated here. Conspicuous among all other features of interest was the series of rooms devoted to the collection of relics, souvenir medals, portraits, woodcuts, cartoons, family documents, and a perfectly formidable array of the Baron's correspondence with distinguished public men at home, in France, Germany, England and, not the least, in the North American Colonies. This correspondence was all-embracing and it demonstrated how absolutely and thoroughly Van der Capellen understood and sympathized with the trials and tribulations with which the patriots in the Colonies were beset. Trumbull's letters were beautiful in penmanship and were in truth a perfect constitutional treatise. All of this correspondence is enlightening and in most cases a revelation to an American who has not had a partiality for the history of the Netherlands and his own country for the period covered. I could not but be both impressed and gratified with the pride and modesty which characterized the fine presentation by our chairman of the meaning of this mass of data, literature, printed evidence and indisputable proof of the greatness, elevation of purpose, and fearlessness in devotion to the humane cause which he advocated while bodily and mental capacity held out.

President Lyclama took us to the State House of the province of Overyssel where its two legislative bodies meet and where the business of the province is administered by the dignified and competent gentlemen whose courtesy we were enjoying.

Last, but not least, the amazingly efficient, courteous, and expeditious Master of Ceremonies, de Heer J. A. Hoefer, whose guest for dinner we were to be, at his charming and picturesque country place, a few miles by rail out of Zwolle, placed us in a private car and debarked us within walking distance of what was to me the fullest realization of a perfect home of coziness and comfort. After being presented to Mevrouw Hoefer, a view of the house, pictures, tapestries, adornments;, etc., a stroll was taken through the grounds and along the parapets of the original wall which defended Zwolle in times of military stress.

The dinner was one of continued animation, brilliant conversation, and of varied flow of wit, humor, and reminiscences of events, in course of which some episodes of thrilling moment at home and abroad were recounted, for most of those at table had travelled widely. The lady of the house, on whose right I had the privilege of sitting, was accomplished in rare respects, and her acquaintance with different languages was accounted for readily when one ascertained how eminent her social position had been from advanced girlhood forward. Her associations at Court and The Hague were particularly intimate and responsible. She had, it seems, almost the entire charge of the early education of her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina.

One was reluctant to leave such delightful entertainment and such a magnetic hospitality, but it was necessary for me to return to Amsterdam that night, which involved taking a reluctant leave of my new friends and hosts. Everybody was enthusiastic over the events of the day and all with whom I came in contact expressed themselves as hoping they might at some future time have the privilege of visiting New York and the United States, and becoming acquainted with the personnel of the Holland Society at large.

Before leaving Zwolle I had an understanding with Doctor N. A. Cramer that he would, on behalf of The Holland Society and its Tablet Committee, take upon himself the additional labor of visiting the church at Gorssel, where was the Capellen family's marble slab on the walls of the interior, have a transcript made of the inscription thereon and the best possible photographs of the exterior and interior of the edifice. Besides, Dr. Cramer was to ascertain to whom application should be made for the privilege of having an inscription placed on the tablet setting forth the date of the decease of Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen and his consort. With the Doctor's zeal, diplomacy, and influence I felt sure that the problem would be solved.

View of the Interior of the Gorssel Church with Marble Tablet in corner to the left.

Shortly after returning to New York I wrote Dr. Cramer about his visit to Gorssel, urging haste, asked to have photographs of the exterior and interior of the church, and for an accurate transcription of the Dutch inscriptions on the Van der Capellen tablet, and for information as to the best course which the Committee on Tablet should take to secure the consent of the surviving representative descendant of the Van der Capellen line, who might consider the application of the Committee for the privilege of having such an inscription concerning Baron Van der Capellen and his consort added to the record as would meet with his or their approval; also the form of application for the consent of the church authority, etc., and that immediately upon his report to me the realization of the object in hand would be expeditiously prosecuted.

September 17, 1908, Dr. N. A. Cramer wrote that in concert with my wishes he had visited Gorssel some days before, taking with him a photographer, who had made three photographs of the church and of the Van der Capellen marble tablet, which were sent; under another cover, and an exect copy of the inscriptions in Dutch already on the tablet, whose dimensions were indicated. The information was conveyed that only two of the male descendants of the line represented by inscriptions on the Gorssel church tablet survived, amid that such communication in respect to the project of The Holland Society of New York as was; required would be had immediately.

On the 24th of October, 1908, Dr. Cramer wrote informing m e that he had been able to secure the consent, of R. H. O. Baron Van der Capellen, Cavalry Colonel, Laan van Meerdervoort 19, The Hague, who had consulted with his brother, to the placing upon the Van der Capellen marble tablet, in the church at Gorssel, in conformity with the wish of The Holland Society, of the following inscription, which would conform to other inscriptions now on the tablet:

"Joan Derck van der Capellen tot den Pol. Overleden [died] 6 June 1784, en Zyne [his] gemalin [consort] Hillegonda Anna Bentinek overleden 5 Juli 1785."

The formalities of communication with Baron and Colonel Van der Capellen of The Hague and with the Kerkvoogden der Nederduitsch Hervormde Gemeente to Gorssel, Gelderland ― the church wardens at Gorssel, is being proceeded with.

Following is an English translation of the inscription on the marble tablet in the church of Gorssel of one line of the Van der Capellen family down to 1781:


"To immortality.

"This tomb has been erected by Fred. Baron Vander Capellen Knight of the fief deceased in MDCCVI (1706) and by Phil. Otto Baron Van Coeverden, colonel deceased MDCXC (1690). Their consorts Iud. Ermg. Baroness Vander Scheuren and Anna Sophia Trisia baroness Vander Cappellen Rysseld, sister of Fred. are resting here besides them. The remains of many of their descendants are deposited here. Alexander baron Van der Capellen Knight of the fief, son of Fred. died in MDCCXXX (1730), his consort Sophia Marg. Cath. baroness of Wilich and his brother Fred. Benj. Naval and Army Captain MDCCXXVIII (1728) Godart Phil. baron of Lynden d' Aspremont major-general in MDCCXXXV (1735) his consort Anna Cornelia Isabella baroness Van Coeverden-Rysselt. Also the son of this couple Iasp. Carel baron Van Lynden d'Aspremont with his consort Charlotte countess of Limburg Bronkhorst Styrum deceased in MDCCXXX. Fred. Rob. Every baron Vander Capellen Knight of the fief son of Alexander aged XLVI years deceased July XXVIII (28) MDCCLV (1755), several of his children who died young and his son Godart Phil. Corn. at, Zutphen aged XLVI (46) years, deceased May I, MDCCLXXIX (1779). Anna Marbar. Elizab. Baroness Van Lynden d'Aspremont dowager of Frede. Rob. Evrt Baron Van der Capellen, deceased May VI (6) MDCCLXXXV (1785).

"The four surviving sons of Fred. Rob. Ev. Brothers of Godart Phil. Corn. Theod. above mentioned descended from the House Van der Capellen which during five centuries has furnished Knights, governors of countries and towns, statesmen, commanders, military leaders etc. have erected this monument in honor of the deceased ones MDCCLXXXI (1781)."


Shortly after my return from abroad, June 30, 1908, my intimate personal friend and associate for over thirty years, who is a native of Utica, Oneida County, New York, General Thomas L. James, who was apprenticed as printer to Wesley Baily, publisher and proprietor of The Liberty Press, of Utica, N. Y., and who at the expiration of his apprenticeship became the proprietor of a weekly newspaper at Hamilton, N. Y., and later filled the positions of Deputy Collector of the New York Custom-house, Postmaster of New York, and Postmaster-General under President Garfield, and who for twenty-seven years has been President of the Lincoln National Bank and the Lincoln Safe Deposit Company of New York, advised me of the publication, for private circulation, by Mrs. Helen Lincklaen Fairchild (Mrs. Charles S. Fairchild) of Cazenovia, N. Y., in 1903, by Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons, of two volumes with the following titles:

Travels in the Years 1791 and 1792 in Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont. Journals of John Lincklaen, Agent of the Holland Land Company, with a Biographical Sketch and Notes, illustrated. Also the same year: Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 1722-1829. An Autobiography, Together with Extracts from His Correspondence. Edited, with a historical sketch, by Helen Lincklaen Fairchild.

General James is noted for the reminiscent and historical contributions of the observations and experiences of a mature, varied, and well spent life under the nom de plume of "Occasional." The letters are written in New York in the intervals of a busy man's leisure, and are published in the paper of his closest friend and boyhood comrade Dr. E. Prentiss Bailey, proprietor of the Utica Observer. In one of these articles, prepared in June last, during my absence abroad, "Occasional" incorporated into one of his breezy communications a letter of mine describing the ceremonies of the unveiling and installation of the Tablet to Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen at Zwolle, Overysel, Netherlands, June 6, 1908, in which I participated as the representative of The Holland Society of New York and as chairman of its Committee on Tablet. Mrs. Fairchild, as a reader of the Observer saw this "Occasional" article, and, being acquainted with General James, wrote him and sent him a copy of the volume containing the autobiography of Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, Baron Joan Derck van der Capellen of Pol's close friend in Holland and a refugee from persecution to the Colony of New York.

I quote from page 81 of the autobiography of Van der Kemp what follows:

"On the night of August 7, 1788, the birthday of the princess of Orange, on the eve of the day on which Baron van der Capellen Marsch was sentenced to death, the whole structure (the Van der Capellen family tomb) was blown, with gunpowder, to the four winds of heaven.

"To-day the stranger who asks in Gorssel for the tomb of Baron van der Capellen of Pol is led to the tiny church, and is shown a marble on the wall. It has a long inscription to certain members of the family of another line, the latest dated 1781, but no word on its wide blank spaces of the bold liberal who helped the struggling American Colonies.

Van der Capellen Family Marble Tablet in the Church at Gorssel in Gelderland.

If here indeed he lies, the genius of America night, take up her style, and fill the silent tablet with a tribute to his name.

"The Patriot movement is said to have aided the disintegration of the old Republic and 'to have produced nothing stable, and to have been speedily forgotten,' possibly because it has also been forgotten that popular representation, no military usurpation of civil authority, and the freedom of the press are matters of course, instead of being watchwords of a perilous cause to which the Patriotic Regents solemnly pledged their lives and fortunes.

"Had Baron van der Capellen lived as long as did Van der Kemp he would have seen the demonstration of his theory of law and order resting on the authority of the people in the new and wonderful political fabric which he and his party had aided to be founded beyond the Atlantic, and he would have rejoiced as did Van der Kemp and Mappa in 1814, when with tears of joy and gratitude they received in their American home the news of the independence of the Netherlands and the announcement of the new Dutch Government, although it, was with the person of a king. This was not, as has been assumed, because they had come to a different mind, but because William I. was granted a Constitution which brought in its train liberty greater than that of which the most ardent Patriots had ever dreamed.

"See Acte de Confederation entre un grand nombre Regens Patriots, Memoirs R. J. van der Capellen, J. A. Sillem."

After a reading and rereading of Mrs. Fairchild's two meritorious, exhaustive, thoroughly enlightening books, it would be difficult for any fair-minded and well informed student of the history of the period in the Netherlands, old and new, with which they deal, to refrain from expressing the highest appreciation and approval of the exhaustive and scientific research displayed; the numerous reference works consulted in this, country and abroad; the entirely fair and comprehensive grasp, and. admirable statement of the vital principles involved in the valiant struggle of the Patriots in Holland for personal liberty and rights, the opposition to concentrated militarism in the government at The Hague, and the maintenance of a reasonable independence of the people of the various provinces in the regulation of their own affairs. The value of this contribution to the meagre information and knowledge of this generation in respect to the vital and fundamental importance of the services of those Patriots in Holland and here cannot be overestimated or too highly commended. It would be in the nature of a benediction if the books could be made more widely accessible than is possible under existing circumstances.