Oldenbarneveldt, Johan Van
OLDENBARNEVELDT, JOHAN VAN (i 547-1619), Dutch statesman, was born at Amersfoort on the 14th of September 1547. The family from which he claimed descent was of ancient lineage. After studying law at Louvain, Bourges and Heidelberg, and travelling in France and Italy, Oldenbarneveldt settled down to practise in the law courts at the Hague. In religion a moderate Calvinist, he threw himself with ardour into the revolt against Spanish tyranny and became a zealous adherent of William the Silent. He served as a volunteer for the reUef of Haarlem (1573) and again at Leiden (1574). In 1576 he obtained the important post of pensionary of Rotterdam, an office which carried with it ofticial membership of the States of Holland. In this capacity his industry, singular grasp of affairs, and persuasive powers of speech speedily gained for him a position of influence. He was active in promoting the Union of Utrecht (1579) and the acceptance of the countship of Holland and Zeeland by William (1584) On the assassination of Orange it was at the proposal of Oldenbarneveldt that the youthful Maurice of Nassau was at once elected stadholder, captain-general and admiral of Holland. During the governorship of Leicester he was the leader of the strenuous opposition offered by the States of Holland to the centralizing poUcy of the governor. In 1586 he was appointed, in succession to Paul Buys, to the post of Land's Advocate of Holland. This great ofiice, which he held for 32 years, gave to a man of commanding ability and industry unbounded influence in a many -headed republic without any central executive authority. Though nominally the servant of the States of Holland he made himself pohtically the personification of the province which bore more than half the entire charge of the union, and as its mouthpiece in the states-general he practically dominated that assembly. In a brief period he became entrusted with such large and far-reaching authority in all the details of administration, as to be virtually " minister of all afiairs."
During the two critical years which followed the withdrawal of Leicester, it was the statesmanship of the advocate which kept the United Provinces from falhng asunder through their own inherent separatist tendencies, and prevented them from becoming an easy conquest to the formidable army of Alexander of Parma. Fortunately for the Netherlands the attention of Philip was at their time of greatest weakness riveted upon his contemplated invasion of England, and a respite was afforded which enabled Oldenbarneveldt to supply the lack of any central organized government by gathering into his own hands the control of administrative affairs. His task was made the easier by the whole-hearted support he received from Maurice of Nassau, who, after 1589, held the Stadholderate of five provinces, and was likewise captain-general and admiral of the xmion. The interests and ambitions of the two men did not clash, for Maurice's thoughts were centred on the training and leadership of armies and he had no special capacity as a statesman or inchnation for politics. The first rift between them came in 1600, when Maurice was forced against his will by the states-general, under the advocate's influence, to undertake an expedition into Flanders, which was only saved from disaster by desperate efforts which ended in victory at Nieuwport. In 1598 Oldenbarneveldt took part in special embassies to Henry IV. and EUzabeth, and again in 1605 in a special mission sent to congratulate James I. on his accession.
The opening of negotiations by Albert and Isabel in 1606 for a peace or long truce led to a great division of opinion in the Netherlands. The archdukes having consented to treat with the United Provinces " as free provinces and states over which they had no pretensions," Oldenbarneveldt, who had with him the States of Holland and the majority of burgher regents throughout the county, was for peace, provided that Uberty of trading was conceded. Maurice and his cousin William Louis, stadholder of Frisia, with the military and naval leaders and the Calvtnist clergy, were opposed to it, on the ground that the Spanish king was merely seeking an interval of repose in which to recuperate his strength for a renewed attack on the independence of the Netherlands. For some three years the negotiations went on, but at last after endless parleying, on the 9th of April 1609, a truce for twelve years was concluded. AU that the Dutch asked was directly or indirectly granted, and Maurice felt obhged to give a reluctant and somewhat sullen assent to the favourable conditions obtained by the firm and skilful diplomacy of the advocate.
The immediate effect of the truce was a strengthening of Oldenbarneveldt 's influence in the government of the republic, now recognized as a "free and independent state"; external peace, however, was to bring with it internal strife. For some years there had been a war of words between the rehgious parties, known as the Gomarists (strict Calvinists) and the Arminians (moderate Calvinists). In 1610 the Arminians drew up a petition, known as the Remonstrance, in which they asked that their tenets (defined in five articles) should be submitted to a national synod, summoned by the civil government. It was no secret that this action of the Arminians was taken with the approval and connivance of the advocate, who was what was styled a libertine, i.e. an upholder of the principle of toleration in rehgious opinions. The Gomarists in reply drew up a Contra-Remonstrance in seven articles, and appealed to a purely church synod. The whole land was henceforth divided into Remonstrants and Contra- Remonstrants; the States of Holland under the influence of Oldenbarneveldt supported the former, and refused to sanction the summoning of a purely chiirch synod (1613). They likewise (1614) forbade the preachers in the Province of HoUand to treat of disputed subjects from their pulpits. Obedience was difficult to enforce without military help, riots broke out in certain towns, and when Maurice was appealed to, as captain-general, he declined to act. He did more, though in no sense a theologian; he declared himself on the side of the Contra-Remonstrants, and established a preacher of that persuasion in a church at the Hague (1617).
The advocate now took a bold step. He proposed that the States of Holland should, on their own authority, as a sovereign province, raise a local force of 4000 men (waardgelders) to keep the peace. The states-general meanwhile by a bare majority (4 provinces to 3) agreed to the summoning of a national church synod. The States of Holland, also by a narrow majority, refused their assent to this, and passed (August 4, 161 7) a strong resolution (Scherpe Rcsolutie) by which all magistrates, ofiicials and soldiers in the pay of the province were required to take an oath of obedience to the states on pain of dismissal, and were to be held accountable not to the ordinary tribunals, but to the States of Holland. It was a declaration of sovereign independence on the part of Holland, and the states-general took up the challenge and determined on decisive action. A commission was appointed with Maurice at its head to compel the disbanding of the waardgelders. On the 31st of July 1618 the stadholder appeared at Utrecht, which had thrown in its lot with HoUand, at the head of a body of troops, and at his command the local levies at once laid down their arms. His progress through the towns of Holland met with no opposition. The states party was crushed without a blow being struck. On the 23rd of August, by order of the states-general, the advocate and his chief supporters, de Groot and Hoogerbeets, were arrested.
Oldenbarneveldt was with his friends kept in the strictest confinement untU November, and then brought for examination before a commission appointed by the states-general. He appeared more than sixty times before the commissioners and was examined most severely upon the whole course of his official life, and was, most unjustly, allowed neither to consult papers nor to put his defence in writing. On the 20th of February 1619 he was arraigned before a special court of twenty-four members, only half of whom were Hollanders, and nearly all of them his personal enemies. It was in no sense a legal court, nor had it any jurisdiction over the prisoner, but the protest of the advocate, who claimed his right to be tried by the sovereign province of HoUand, whose servant he was, was disregarded. He was allowed no advocates, nor the use of documents, pen or paper. It was in fact not a trial at aU, and the packed bench of judges on Sunday, the 12th of May, pronounced sentence of death. On the following day the old statesman, at the age of seventy-one, was beheaded in the Binnenhof at the Hague. Such, to use his own words, was his reward for serving his country forty-three years.
The accusations brought against Oldenbarneveldt of having been a traitor to his country, whose interests he had betrayed for foreign gold, have no basis in fact. The whole Hfe of the advocate disproves them, and not a shred of evidence has ever been produced to throw suspicion upon the patriot statesman's conduct. AU his private papers fell into the hands of his foes, but not even the bitterest and ablest of his personal enemies, Francis Aarssens (see Aarssens), could extract from them anything to show that Oldenbarneveldt at any time betrayed his country's interests. That he was an ambitious man, fond of power, and haughty in his attitude to those who differed from him in opinion, may be granted, but it must also be conceded that he sought for power in order to confer invaluable services upon his country, and that impatience of opposition was not unnatural in a man who had exercised an almost supreme control of administrative affairs for upwards of three decades. His high-handed course of action in defence of what he conceived to be the sovereign rights of his own province of Holland to decide upon religious questions within its borders may be challenged on the ground of inexpediency, but not of illegality. The harshness of the treatment meted out by Maurice to his father's old friend, the faithful counseUor and protector of his own early years, leaves a stain upon the stadholder's memory which can never be washed away. That the prince should have felt compeUed in the last resort to take up arms for the Union against the attempt of the province of Holland to defy the authority of the Generahty may be justified by the plea reipublicae saliis suprema lex. To eject the advocate from power was one thing, to execute him as a traitor quite another. The condemnation of Oldenbarneveldt was carried out with Maurice's consent and approval, and he cannot be acquitted of a prominent share in what posterity has pronounced to be a judicial murder.
Oldenbarneveldt was married in 1575 to Maria van Utrecht. He left two sons, the lords of Groeneveld and Stoutenburg, and two daughters. A conspiracy against the hfe of Maurice, in which the sons of OldentDarneveldt took part, was discovered in 1623. Stoutenburg, who was the chief accomplice, made his escape and entered the service of Spain; Groeneveld was executed.
Bibliography. - L. v. Deventer, Gedenkstukken van Johan v. Oldenbarneveldt en zijn tijd (1577-1609; 3 vols., 1860-1865); J. van Oldenbarneveldt, Historic Warachtige van de ghevanckennise . . . lesCe wonder ende droevige doot van J. v. O. . . . uyt de verklaringe van Z. E. dienaar Johan Francken (1620); Historic van het leven en slerven van den Heer Johan van Olden Barneveldt (1648); Groen van Prinsterer, Maurice et Barneveldt (1875); J. L. Motley, Life and Death of John of Barneveldt (2 vols., 1874). lioo)] -.xi^C^E))'! OLDENBURG, a grand-duchy of Germany, with an area of 2479 sq. m. It consists of three widely separated portions of territory - (i) the duchy of Oldenburg, (2) the principahty of Liibeck, and (3) the principality of Birkenfeld. It ranks tenth among the states of the German empire and has one vote in the Bundesrat (federal council) and three members in the Reichstag.
I. The duchy of Oldenburg, comprising fully four-fifths of the entire area and population, lies between 52° 29' and 53° 44' N. and between 7° 37' and 8° 37' E., and is bounded on the N. by the North Sea and on the other three sides by Hanover, with the exception of a small strip on the east, where it is conterminous with the territory of the free city of Bremen. It forms part of the north-western German plain lying between the Weser and the Ems, and, except on the south, where the Dammergebirge attain a height of 478 ft., it is almost entirely flat, with a slight inclination towards the sea. In respect of its soil it is divided broadly into two parts - the higher and inland-lying Geest, consisting of sandy plains intermixed with extensive heaths and moors, and the marsh lands along the coast, consisting of rich but somewhat swampy alluvial soil. The latter, which compose about one-fifth of the duchy, are protected against the inroads of the sea by dikes as in Holland; and beyond these are the so-called Watten, generally covered at high tide, but at many points being gradually reclaimed. The climate is temperate and humid; the mean temperature of the coldest month at the town of Oldenburg is 26° F. of the warmest 66°. Storms are numerous, and their violence is the more felt owing to the almost entire absence of trees; and fogs and ague are prevalent in the marsh lands. The chief rivers are the Hunte, flowng into the Weser, and the Hase and Leda flowing into the Ems. The Weser itself forms the eastern boundary for 42 m., and internal navigation is greatly facilitated by a canal, passing through the heart of the duchy and connecting the Hunte and the Leda. On the north there are several small coast streams conducted through the dikes by sluices, the only one of importance being the Jade, which empties itself into the Jade Busen, a deep gulf affording good accommodation for shipping. The duchy also contains numerous small lakes, the chief of which is the Diimmer See in the south-east corner, measuring 4 m. in length by 25 in width. About 30°/o of the area of the duchy is under cultivation and 17% under pasture and meadows, while the rest consists mainly of marsh, moor and heath. Forests occupy a very small proportion of the whole, but there are some fine old oaks. In the Geest the principal crops are rye, oats, potatoes and buckwheat, for which the heath is sometimes prepared by burning. Large tracts of moorland, however, are useful only as producing peat for fuel, or as affording pasture to the flocks of small coarse-woolled Oldenburg sheep. The rich soil of the marsh lands produces good crops of wheat, oats, rye, hemp and rape, but is especially adapted for grazing. The cattle and horses raised on it are highly esteemed throughout Germany, and the former are exported in large numbers to England. Bee-keeping is much in vogue on the moors. The live stock of Oldenburg forms a great part of its wealth, and the ratio of cattle, sheep and horses to the population is one of the highest among the German states. There are few large estates, and the ground is mostly in the hands of smaU farmers, who enjoy the right of fishing and shooting on their holdings. Game is scarce, but fishing is fairly productive. The mineral wealth of Oldenburg is very small. WooUen and cotton fabrics, stockings, jute and cigars are made at Varel, Delmenhorst and Lohne; cork-cutting is extensively practised in some districts, and there are a few iron-foundries. Trade is relatively of more importance, chiefly owing to the proximity of Bremen. The agricultural produce of the duchy is exported to Scandinavia, Russia, England and the United States, in return for colonial goods and manufactures. Varel, Brake and Elsfleth are the chief commercial harbours.
II. The principality of Liibeck has an area of 209 sq. m. and shares in the general physical characteristita of east Holstein, within which it lies. On the east it extends to Liibeck Bay of the Baltic Sea, and on the south-east it is bounded by the Trave. The chief rivers are the Schwartau, a tributary of the Trave, and the Schwentine, flowing northwards to the Gulf of Kiel. The scenery of Lubeck is often picturesque, especially in the vicinity of the Plon See and the Eutin See, the most important of the small lakes with which it is dotted. Agriculture is practised here even more extensively than in the duchy of Oldenburg, about 75% of the area being cultivated. The population in 15(05 *ks III. The principality of Birkenfeld, 312 sq. m. in extent, lies in the midst of the Prussian province of the Rhine, about 30 m. W. of the Rhine at Worms and 150 m. S. of the duchy of Oldenburg. The population in 1905 was 46,484. (See Birkenfeld.)
The total population of the grand-duchy of Oldenburg in 1880 was 337,478, and in 1905 438,856. The bulk of the inhabitants are of the Saxon stock, but to the north and west of the duchy there are numerous descendants of the ancient Frisians. The differences between the two races are still to some extent perceptible, but Low German (Platt-dcutsch) is universally spoken, except in one limited district, where a Frisian dialect has maintained itself. In general characteristics the Oldenburg peasants resemble the Dutch, and the absence of large landowners has contributed to make them sturdy and independent. The population of Oldenburg is somewhat unequally distributed, some parts of the marsh lands containing over 300 persons to the square mile, while in the Geest the number occasionally sinks as low as 40. About 70% of the inhabitants belong to the " rural " population. The town of Oldenburg is the capital of the grand-duchy. The war-harbour of Wilhelmshaven, on the shore of the Jade Busen, was built by Prussia on land bought from Oldenburg. The chief towns of Birkenfeld and Lubeck respectively are Birkenfeld and Eutin.
Oldenburg is a Protestant country, and the grand-duke is required to be a member of the Lutheran Church. Roman Catholicism, however, preponderates in the south-western provinces, which formerly belonged to the bishopric of Miinster. Oldenburg Roman Catholics are under the sway of the bishops of Miinster, who is represented by an official at Vechta. The educational system of Oldenburg is on a similar footing to that of north Germany in general, though the scattered position of the farmhouses interferes to some extent with school attendance.
The constitution of Oldenburg, based upon a decree of 1849, revised in 1852, is one of the most hberal in Germany. It provides for a single representative chamber (Landtag), elected indirectly by universal suffrage and exercising concurrent rights of legislation and taxation with the grand-duke. The chamber, which consists of forty members, one for every 10,000 inhabitants, is elected every three years. The executive consists of three ministers, who are aided by a committee of the Landtag, when that body is not in session. The local affairs of Birkenfeld and Lubeck are entrusted to provincial councils of fifteen members each. All citizens paying taxes and not having been convicted of felony are enfranchised. The municipal communities enjoy an unusual amount of independence. The finances of each constituent state of the grand-duchy are managed separately, and there is also a fourth budget concerned with the joint administration. The total revenue and expenditure are each about £650,000 annuaUy. The grand-duchy had a debt in 1907 of £2,958,409.
History. - The earliest recorded inhabitants of the district now called Oldenburg were a Teutonic people, the Chauci, who were afterwards merged in the Frisians. The chroniclers delight in tracing the genealogy of the counts of Oldenburg to the Saxon hero, Widukind, the stubborn opponent of Charlemagne, but their first historical representative is one Elimar (d. 1108) who . is described as comes in confinio Saxoniae et Frisiae. Ehmar's descendants appear as vassals, although sometimes rebelhous ones, of the dukes of Saxony; but they attained the dignity of princes of the empire when the emperor Frederick I. dismembered the Saxon duchy in 1 180. At this time the county of Delmenhorst formed part of the dominions of the counts of Oldenburg, but afterwards it was on several occasions separated from them to form an apanage for younger branches of the family. This was the case between 1262 and 1447, between 1463 and 1547, and between 1577 and 1617. The northern and western parts of the present grand-duchy of Oldenburg were in the hands of independent, or semi-independent, Frisian princes, who were usually heathens, and during the early part of the 13th century the counts carried on a series of wars with these small potentates which resulted in a gradual expansion of their territory. The free city of Bremen and the bishop of Miinster were also frequently at war with the counts of Oldenburg.
The successor of Count Dietrich (d. 1440), called Fortunatus, was his son Christian, who in 1448 was chosen king of Denmark as Christian I. In 1450 he became king of Norway and in 1457 king of Sweden; in 1460 he inherited the duchy of Schleswig and the county of Holstein, an event of high importance for the future history of Oldenburg. In 1454 he handed over Oldenburg to his brother Gerhard (c. 1430-1499) a turbulent prince, who was constantly at war with the bishop of Bremen and other neighbours. In 1483 Gerhard was compelled to abdicate in favour of his sons, and he died whilst on a pilgrimage in Spain. Early in the 16th century Oldenburg was again enlarged at the expense of the Frisians. Protestantism was introduced into the county by Count Anton I. (1505-1573), who also suppressed the monasteries; however, he remained loyal to Charles V. during the war of the league of Schmalkalden, and was able thus to increase his territories, obtaining Delmenhorst in 1547. One of Anton's brothers, Count Christopher (c. 1506-1560), won some reputation as a soldier. Anton's grandson, Anton Gunther (1583-1667), who succeeded in 1603, proved himself the wisest prince who had yet ruled Oldenburg. Jever had been acquired before he became count, but in 1624 he added Knyphausen and Varel to his lands, with which in 1647 Delmenhorst was finally united. By his prudent neutraUty during the Thirty Years' War Anton Gunther secured for his dominions an immunity from the terrible devastations to which nearly all the other states of Germany were exposed. He also obtained from the emperor the right to levy tolls on vessels passing along the Weser, a lucrative grant which soon formed a material addition to his resources.
1 When Count Anton Günther died in June 1667 Oldenburg was inherited by virtue of a compact made in 1649 by Frederick III., king of Denmark, and Christian Albert, duke of HolsteinGottorp. Some difficulties, however, arose from this joint ownership, but eventuaUy these were satisfactorily settled, and from 1702 to 1773 the county was ruled by the kings of Denmark only, this period being on the whole one of peaceful development. Then in 1773 another change took place. Christian VII. of Denmark surrendered Oldenburg to Paul, duke of HolsteinGottorp, afterwards the emperor Paul of Russia,' and in return Paul gave up to Christian his duchy of Holstein-Gottorp and his claims on the duchies of Schlesmg and Holstein. At once Paul handed over Oldenburg to his kinsman, Frederick Augustus, Bishop of Liibeck, the representative of a younger branch of 2 His father, Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp (1700-1739), a descendant of Christian I. of Denmark, married Anne, daughter of Peter the Great, and became tsar as Peter HI. in 1762.
the family,^ and in 1777 the county was raised to the rank of a duchy. The bishop's son William, who succeeded his father as duke in 1785, was a man of weak intellect, and his cousin Peter Frederick, bishop of Liibeck, acted as administrator and eventually, in 1823, inherited the duchy. This prince is the direct ancestor of the present grand duke.
To Peter fell the onerous task of governing the duchy during the time of the Napoleonic wars. In 1806 Oldenburg was occupied by the French and the Dutch, the duke and the regent being put to flight; but in 1807 William was restored, and in 1808 he joined the Confederation of the Rhine. However, in 1810 his lands were forcibly seized by Napoleon because he refused to exchange them for Erfurt. This drove him to join the Allies, and at the congress of Vienna his services were rewarded by the grant of [the principality of Birkenfeld, an addition to his lands due to the good offices of the tsar Alexander I. At this time Oldenburg was made a grand duchy, but the title of grand-duke was not formally assumed until 1829, when Augustus succeeded his father Peter as rulec Under Peter's rule the area of Oldenburg had been increased, not only by Birkenfeld, but by the bishopric of Liibeck (secularized in 1802) and some smaller pieces of territory.
Oldenburg did not entirely escape from the revolutionary movement which swept across Europe in 1848, but no serious disturbances took place therein. In 1849 the grand-duke granted a constitution of a very Uberal character to his subjects. Hitherto his country had been ruled in the spirit of enhghtened despotism, which was strengthened by the absence of a privileged class of nobles, by the comparative independence of the peasantry, and by the unimportance of the towns; and thus a certain amount of friction was inevitable in the working of the new order. In 1852 some modifications were introduced into the constitution, which, nevertheless, remained one of the most liberal in Germany. Important alterations were made in the administrative system in 1855, and again in 1868, and church affairs were ordered by a law of 1853. In 1863 the grand-duke Peter II. (1827-1900), who had ruled Oldenburg since the death of his father Augustus in 1853, seemed inclined to press a claim to the vacant duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, but ultimately in 1867 he abandoned this in favour of Prussia, and received some slight compensation. In 1866 he had sided with this power against Austria and had joined the North German Confederation; in 1871 Oldenburg became a state of the new German empire. In June 1900 P'rederick Augustus (b. 1852) succeeded his father Peter as grandduke. By a law passed in 1904 the succession to Oldenburg was vested in Frederick Ferdinand, duke of Schleswig- HolsteinSonderburg-GlUcksburg, and his family, after the extinction of the present ruhng house. This arrangement was rendered advisable because the grand-duke Frederick Augustus had only one son Nicholas (b. 1897), and his only brother George Louis (1855) was unmarried.
For the history of Oldenburg see Runde, Oldenhurgische Chronik (Oldenbuig, 1863); E. Pleitner, Oldenburg im ig Jahrhundert (Oldenburg, 1899-1900) ; and Oldenburgisches Quellenbuch ( Oldenburg, 1903). See also the Jahrbuch fiir die Geschichte des Herzogtums Oldenburg (1892 seq.).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)