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The New International Encyclopædia/Barneveldt, Jan van Olden

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BARNEVELDT, bär'ne-vēlt, Jan van Olden (1547-1619). A Dutch statesman. He was born at Amersfoort, in Utrecht, and at an early age showed great ardor in the cause of his country's independence. He was an able ally of William the Silent in the struggle against Spain, and after the Prince's death, succeeded, through wise alliances with England and France, in preserving the independence so dearly gained. As Advocate-General of the Province of Holland, he proved equally his insight into public affairs and his address in diplomatic negotiations. Penetrating the secret designs of the young Prince Maurice of Orange, whom he had caused to be made Stadtholder of five provinces, he made himself the leader of the Republican party, which aimed at subordinating the Stadtholder to the Legislature, and saving the Netherlands from a monarchy. It was he, also, who opposed the warlike tendencies of Maurice, and concluded a treaty with Spain (1609) which later saved the country from the horrors of the Thirty Years' War. Maurice of Orange, ambitious and unscrupulous, became Barneveldt's bitterest enemy, and a fierce political struggle was fought out between the two men, under the guise of a religious dispute. The country was, at that time, split up into the rival factions of the Arminians or Remonstrants, who stood for the doctrine of Free Will, and comprised the magistracy of the country, with Barneveldt at their head, and the Calvinists, who were known as Gomarists or Contra-Remonstrants, of whom Maurice, for political reasons, now assumed the leadership. With the view of obviating a civil war, Barneveldt caused an ecclesiastical assembly to be called, which established general toleration. The States at first concurred in this wise measure, but the partisans of the Orange faction brought about a change of views by representing the Remonstrants as secret friends of Spain. Barneveldt was attacked in scurrilous publications, and was insulted, even in the meetings of the States, by the mob whose idol Maurice was. The strife between the Remonstrants and the Gomarists, that is, between Barneveldt and Maurice, finally culminated in violence on the part of the Prince of Orange. On August 29, 1618, Barneveldt was illegally arrested, together with Grotius and Hoogerbeets, and thrown into prison. In November Maurice procured the summoning of the Synod of Dort (q.v.), which condemned the Remonstrants with the utmost rigor. In March, 1619, while the Synod was still sitting, Barneveldt was brought to trial before a special commission of twenty-four judges, unlawfully appointed, who condemned as a traitor the innocent man to whom the country owed its political existence. The friends of Barneveldt, the Princess of Orange, and the French Ambassador interceded for him in vain. On May 13, 1619, the venerable man—the grandest figure of his time—mounted the scaffold and laid down his head with the same firmness that he had shown through all his life. Four years after their father's death, Barneveldt's two sons, Wilhelm and Reinier, took part in a conspiracy against the life of Maurice. The conspiracy was discovered; Wilhelm escaped, but Reinier was seized and beheaded. Consult Motley, Life of Barneveldt, of which numerous editions have been published (London and New York, 1874).