Barneveldt, Jan Van Olden

Barneveldt, Jan Van Olden, grand-pensionary of Holland, whose influence upon the religious history of his country entitles him to a place here, was born at Amersfoort, in the province of Utrecht, in 1547. He studied law, and commenced practice as an advocate at The Hague in 1569. He felt deeply his country's wrongs under the yoke of Spain, and served as a volunteer at the sieges of Haarlem and Leyden. In 1576 he was appointed counsellor and chief pensionary of Rotterdam. On the death of William the Silent in 1585, Barneveldt, as ambassador to England and France, offered: these governments the protectorship of the Confederated States. On their refusal, he exerted all his powers to carry through the election of Maurice of Nassau as stadtholder of five provinces. He was then raised to the dignity of advocate-general of Holland and West Friesland. At the close of 1586 the earl of Leicester, who had been invested with absolute power in the provinces, was recalled to England. The official career of Barneveldt was one of eminent success and of satisfaction to the States; and when he proposed to resign his post in 1592, he was urgently entreated to remain. In 1598 the treaty of Vervins called Barneveldt to France, where he obtained from Henry IV a large promise of pecuniary help. In the same year he arranged with Elizabeth the public debt and securities' which England then held from the republic. In 1603 he again appeared at the English court and secured an alliance with James I, to which Sully, as the representative of France, was a party. He next secured the treaty of peace between Spain and the republic, dated April 9, 1609, and to continue twelve years. Although the foundation of Dutch political independence, this treaty brought upon him the suspicions of the bigoted clergy and the sworn enmity of the stadtholder Maurice. The struggle of Arminians and Gomarists was already raging, and the two parties were led by Barneveldt and Maurice respectively. Maurice was aiming at the sovereign power; Barneveldt resolutely maintained the freedom of the republic. The clerical party, with Maurice as their leader, were determined to have Calvinism adopted as the state religion, and to tolerate no other. Barneveldt and the Arminians contended that each province should be free to adopt the form which it preferred. Barneveldt was the champion of the supremacy of the civil authority and the primeminister of Protestantism. New difficulties arose in the question of the National Synod, or of the right of the States- General to enforce Calvinism on the seven provinces by means of an ecclesiastical synod; the enlisting of Waastgelders in the state of Utrecht; the occupation of Overvssel and Guelderland by the prince. In 1618 Barneveldt was illegally arrested, along with Grotius and Hoogerbeets, by a secret order which was afterwards adopted by the States-General. During the sittings of the Synod of Dort, he was brought to trial (March 7, 1619) in the most illegal and oppressive manner; found guilty of asserting the right of the provinces to settle each its own religion, and executed at The Hague, May 13, 1619. See Deventer, Gedenkstukken van Olden Barneveldt en zijn Tijd (The Hague, 1862-65, 3 vols.); Motley, Life and Death of John of Barneveld (N. Y. 1874); Groen Van Prinsterer, Maurice et Barnevelt, Etude Historique (Utrecht and Lond. 1875).

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