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“The Government of the United States is not the result of special creation but of evolution.
"In the deepest and widest sense our American history does not begin with the Declaration of Independence, or even with the settlement of Jamestown and Plymouth; but it descends in unbroken continuity from the days when stout Arminius in the forests of northern Germany successfully defied the might of imperial Rome.”
"The State of New York, once New Netherlands, affords us the remarkable phenomenon of a land settled by one body of Teutonic settlers and afterwards by the accidents of warfare transferred to another. The two sets of colonists were both of the same original stock and the same original speech; but the circumstances of their several histories had made them practically strangers to each other. On the NetherDutch of Holland and Zealand transplanted to the New World came in the NetherDutch of England.
Here is a field of special interest."-Freeman. "But they (the Dutch) brought the patience, the enterprise and the courage, the indomitable spirit, and the hatred of tyranny, into which they had been born, into which their nation had been baptized with blood.
"Flucation came with them; the free schools, in which Holland had led the van of the world, being early transplanted to these shores;
an energetic Christian faith came with them, with its Bibles, its ministers, its interpreting books."—R. S. Storrs.
“ The Netherlands divide with England the glory of having planted the first colonies in the United States; and they divide the glory of having set the example of public freedom. If England gave our fathers the idea of a popular representation, the United Provinces were their model of a federal union.”-Bancroft.
HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE
HERBERT B. ADAMS, Editor.
History is past Politics and Politics present History – Freeman
erprise and the courage, the
h Holland had led the via
an energetic Christian
BY IRVING ELTING, A. B.
N. MURRAY, PUBLICATION AGENT, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY
DUTCH VILLAGE COMMUNITIES
No two rivers have been oftener compared than the Rhine and the Hudson, and the latter has sometimes been termed the “Rhine of America.” In interest, in importance, and in beautiful scenery, they have much in common. Yet the comparisons between them, likely to be made by travellers, are chiefly of difference rather than of likeness. The Rhine which, rising in the Alps, pushes its way between France and Germany, through the Netherlands and, with divided channel, out into the Northern Sea, is a narrower, swifter running, more tortuous stream than the Hudson, which in fact is, in its later course, not properly a river but a fjordan inlet of the sea—with one hundred and fifty miles of tidewater ebbing and flowing in a broader bed, and between higher mountains, than the Rhine can boast. The Rhine is famous for its castle-crowned hills, illustrating with their ruins an historical tale begun in the time of Cæsar. About the Hudson, our own Washington Irving has thrown a grace
* In the preparation of this paper much of the material has been gleaned from records in County Clerks' offices, but special acknowledgments are due to the writings of Laveleye, Sir Henry Maine, J. R. Green, Dr. O'Callaghan, Mr. Brodhead, and Gen. J. Watts de Peyster; also to the assistance, generously rendered in the loan of books, documents, and MSS., by Mr. Samuel Burhans of New York, by the officers of the Huguenot Bank, the Rev. Ame Vennema, Messrs. Jacob Elting and Edmund Eltinge of New Paltz, and by Messrs. Wallace Bruce, C. B. Herrick, and Frank Hasbrouck of Poughkeepsie.
ful mantle of later romance and legend, and in variety and grandeur of natural scenery, the “Rhine of America” surpasses her foreign sister.
Between these two rivers, there exists, unnoticed by the traveller, and unnoted, for the most part, even by the historian, a bond of union formed by the institutional relationship of the village communities which have had their existence, with similar customs, similar laws, and similar forms of government, upon the banks of each stream.
It is only within a comparatively few years that, by reason of the researches of Von Maurer, Sir Henry Maine, and Laveleye, the term “village community” has gained a special and instructive significance for the student of institutional history. It has come to represent a civil unit, universal to all peoples—at least to those of Aryan stock—at a certain stage of the progress in civilization ; with collective property or ownership of land in common, and with a representative governing body chosen by, and from, the co-owners of the domain, to administer the common affairs, as its distinctive characteristics. Absolute and individual rights in land, as we know them, Von Maurer and his followers assert to be of recent origin; separate property, they say, has grown, by a series of changes, out of common or collective ownership.
* The writer of this paper states this theory of the origin and growth of property rights among the Aryan peoples, because it is held by the majority of students who have given their attention to the subject ; but he is not unmindful of the fact that the pains-taking and scholarly researches of his friend Dr. Denman W. Ross in America, and the investigations of others, e.g. Fustel de Coulanges, in Europe, have led them to oppose the view taken by Sir Henry Maine and to maintain that separate individual ownership preceded the various forms of ownership in common. A decision of this question, if it were possible, is not necessary for the present purpose of examining the village communities on the Hudson River. Whether or not the distribution of common lands among the primitive Germanic tribes was originally per stirpes and not per capita --was, in short, collective tenure and not communism,--the local institutions of the Dutch villages in New York can hardly fail to impress the disciple of either theory with the closeness, and consequent importance, of the relationship of Old World and New World types of government.