De Achttiende Eeuw 44 (2012) nr.1
Eveline Koolhaas-Grosfeld, Verklaring der Plaat
Egbert de Haan, ‘Ligtgeloovigheid’ en ‘Verschynzelen in de lugt’. Aspecten van wetenschap, religie en het publiek bij de planetenvrees van 1774 in Friesland
The astronomical phenomenon that occurred in the spring of 1774 caused fear amongst the public in the Dutch province of Friesland. According to the preacher Eelco Alta, the conjunction of the planets Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury and the Moon would disturb the orbits of the planets, and mark the beginning of the end of our solar system. He based these radical conclusions on the gravitational theory developed by Isaac Newton as well as on biblical explanations. The periodical press, which was rooted in Enlightenment thought, brushed aside his conclusions as food for superstitious beliefs. This ‘superstition’ was, however, itself rooted in Enlightenment thought because it presupposed the truth of Newtonian science. This Frisian fear of an astronomical phenomenon reveals interesting interconnections between science, the public, enlightened thought and religion. The episode demonstrates in a nutshell the intellectual complexity of the late eighteenth-century Enlightenment.
Jos Koning & Marieke Lefeber, ‘Een fraey staend horlogie speelende differente airtjes’. Hollandse deuntjes in speelklokken en muziekboeken van de betere burgerij
During the eighteenth century, bell-playing clocks were popular among wealthy Dutch citizens. At regular intervals, these clocks played a melody on a series of tuned bells. The musical repertoire that these clocks played can also be found in popular eighteenth-century printed works and manuscripts. These sources appear to have been used by the same social category. Analysis of the repertoire shows that many of these melodies in fact refer to a lower social group. This article asserts that our potential surprise about this might be culturally determined. Moreover, eighteenth-century bell-playing clocks and musical books are presented as new evidence for the interest of the wealthy in a lower social category and an attempt is made to explain this interest.
Dossier: De eerste Nederlandse democratie
Matthijs Lok, Inleiding: ‘de Bataafse democratie’
Joris Oddens, De burger bedankt. Lastposten in de Nationale Vergadering (1796-1797)
The last two decades of the eighteenth century witnessed a shift in the perceived nature of public office in the Netherlands. Most notably, after the introduction of representative democracy in 1796, the relation between the exercise of public office and the exertion of power was no longer considered self-evident. Public office was no longer primarily seen as beneficial to the office holders, but in the eyes of many inhabitants of the Batavian Republic had become a public burden, especially for the occupants of the seats in the new national parliament. Though this was exactly what many had hoped for since the emergence of the reformist patriot movement of the 1780s, it soon became clear that the Batavians had not foreseen all possible consequences of this change in perception. This article deals with the embryonic understanding of a problem that we have now come to know as a disagreeable but inevitable side-effect of the political system of representative democracy: the more the exercise of public office is indeed perceived as a burden, the less inclined talented citizens will be to take this burden upon themselves.
Mart Rutjes, De Staatsregeling van 1798 als maatschappelijk verdrag. De eerste Nederlandse grondwet en de politieke cultuur van de Bataafse Republiek, 1795-1801
In 1798 the first Dutch constitution was ratified. The ‘Staatsregeling’ was drafted during the revolutionary Batavian Republic (1795-1806), the successor of the Dutch Republic. This article argues that the most important reason for the Batavians to draft a constitution was their belief that a constitution acted as a social contract that formed the foundation of society and politics. This was meant to be a contract not only between the citizens themselves but also between the citizens and their government. By acknowledging that the Batavians saw the constitution as some form of social contract we can explain many characteristics of the (debates about the) ‘Staatsregeling’, such as its ratification process, its content, length and style.
Erik Jacobs, ‘Het volk zal over de constitutie beslissen’. De strijd om de publieke opinie van 1797
The 1797 constitutional referendum was the first moment in Dutch history when the entire (voting) population decided what the country’s political future was to look like. By the same token it was the first moment when public opinion had to be taken seriously by politicians. A fierce debate ensued between supporters and opponents of the draft constitution, each side using different strategies to sway public opinion. The opponents’ strategies in the end proved to be the more successful.
Mara van der Lugt, ‘I will utter dark sayings of old’. John Toland, pantheism and pathos of secrecy
This paper examines the themes of pantheism and secrecy in the writings of the Irish philosopher John Toland (1670-1722), especially ‘Clidophorus’ and Pantheisticon (1720). Although several scholars have read these works as containing a theory of dissimulation and a key for reading Toland, this paper argues that it is unwarranted to draw hermeneutical principles from Toland’s own writings, which sometimes manifest a pathos of secrecy that surpasses the need for concealment. If this element of pathos is indeed active in Toland’s works, it is suggested that his case demonstrates a necessity for greater caution in the interpretation of early modern philosophical texts.
De Achttiende Eeuw 44 (2012) nr.2
Themanummer: ‘Centre and Periphery in the Enlightenment’
(op de omslag foutief weergegeven als volume 45)
Edwin van Meerkerk, Verklaring der Plaat
Matthijs Lok and Alicia C. Montoya, Centre and Periphery in the Enlightenment
Lissa Roberts, Rethinking centres and peripheries in the Enlightenment: toward a global history of science
This essay begins with a focus on how centre-periphery relations have been construed by historians of science since the middle of the twentieth century. It then suggests an alternative view of the historically embedded networks within which knowledge has circulated. Instead of adopting an a priori geography in which scientific ‘progress’ flowed from the ‘centre’ to the ‘periphery’, it argues for recovering the original indeterminacy of historical events as they unfolded by investigating ‘centres of accumulation’ around the world. This approach, illustrated by the cases of eighteenth-century Canton and Nagasaki, allows us to examine how local and quite mundane efforts to manage processes of accumulation and exchange fed the productive circulation of knowledge and material goods. Rather than constructing the history of science out of the rare and unique building blocks provided by scientific ‘heroes’ and their breakthroughs, daily activities are here shown to provide science’s fundamental bricks and mortar.
Edwin van Meerkerk, Visions of a new colonial system. The Van Hogendorp brothers’ utopian ideas
As early modern colonialism started developing into modern imperialism, the debate on the treatment of slaves and indigenous peoples also took on momentum by the end of the eighteenth century. During this period, Dirk and Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp, two Dutch statesmen, developed their own ideas on colonial policy and slavery. Their ideas on the ideal colony and the relationship between European and non-European peoples differed from the mainstream thought of their time. This article analyses their ideas and describes their sources for the first time.
Ivo Nieuwenhuis, Outsiders on the inside. The eccentric Enlightenment of Pieter van Woensel
This article discusses the Dutch author and navy physician Pieter van Woensel (1747-1808) as a representative of a broader European trend of so-called outsiders on the inside, eccentric figures who try to distance themselves from the mainstream intellectual discourse of their age, but at the same time obviously form part of that discourse. This trend is presented as a factor complicating the issue of centre and periphery within the context of the Enlightenment. Through an analysis of several text fragments and prints taken from Van Woensel’s satirical almanac De Lantaarn (The Lantern), it is shown that this author poses as both an adherent and an opponent of the Enlightenment. As such, the case of Van Woensel and his Lantaarn reveals the complex relationship between being eccentric and being ‘Enlightened’ within the European intellectual world at the dawn of the nineteenth century.
Carolina Armenteros, From centre to periphery: monarchism in France, 1791-1831
Although a vast literature exists on republican political thought, almost nothing has been written on its monarchist counterpart. Our democratic loyalties partly explain this lacuna, but so do the frequently indirect means that monarchists chose to develop and present their political reflections. This roundaboutness and the creativity it required were particularly pronounced in the highly contested field of French politics during the revolutionary era (ca. 1780-1830). At that time, monarchists could not express themselves wholly through political theory, but they did articulate their political ideals through the philosophy of history, the sociology of sacrifice, and new paradigms of love and marriage. This essay surveys these various themes, revisiting familiar authors – Ballanche, Bonald, Chateaubriand, Genlis, Lamennais, Joseph de Maistre – and recovering unfairly forgotten ones – Bonnetty, Eckstein, Legroing de La Maisonneuve, Robert de Lézardière, Constance de Maistre, Saint-Victor. In so doing, it makes a first attempt at defining post-revolutionary French conservative monarchism.
Alicia C. Montoya and Wyneke de Gelder, The view from the periphery: French pedagogy and Enlightenment in Russia (Leprince de Beaumont’s Magasin des enfants)
The pedagogical works of the London-based French governess Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont enjoyed enormous success throughout Europe. This article documents her reception in eighteenth-century Russia, where her works were sponsored by the court of Catherine the Great and were adapted to a Russian audience by prominent Enlightenment thinkers, including Peter Svistunov in 1761 and Andrey Bolotov shortly thereafter. The popularity of Beaumont’s works can be explained by the synthesis they offered between a religious worldview and Enlightenment ideals of social utility and participation in the public sphere. As such, they can be viewed as representative of the mainstream, religious Enlightenment.