Samuel Iperusz. Wiselius - Life - Batavian Republic

Batavian Republic

When French troops had approached the rivers Rhine and Meuse in November 1794, the Patriots started to prepare for a revolution and to stockpile weapons. The hiding place was discovered, and Jacobus van Staphorst and Cornelis Rudolphus Theodorus Krayenhoff had to leave the city to avoid being captured. The society in the Kalverstraat was closed down by the police and Wiselius, the president, had to announce the message to its members. In January 1795 Wiselius and Nicolaas van Staphorst were part of the revolutionary committee that occupied the townhall. Wiselius stood before the city government in the nearby townhall on the Dam Square to state that the time had arrived for them to resign. The next morning, the new leaders moved in without much ado and voted Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck as their president. Stadholder William V escaped by boat from the beach near the Hague to England; there were no casualties and it is known as a velvet revolution.

Together with Pieter Paulus, Wiselius advocated an entirely new order, with more powerful central leadership. He distanced himself clearly from the Union of Utrecht, which in his view was only "a weak, barely coherent, and in many senses useless treaty violated almost daily" (een zwak, weinig samenhangend, veelszins nutteloos en schier dagelijks geschonden tractaat). The vast powers which the Provincial States (the highest authorities in the provinces) had wielded over the past two hundred years were to be reduced to those of mere clerical institutions.

In 1796 he was appointed one of the twenty-eight members of the Committee on the East-Indies Trade and Possessions (Committé tot den Oost-Indische Handel en Bezittingen), along with Wybo Fijnje, with whom he quarrelled two years later. The committee had to come up with a way of dealing with the bankrupt VOC, a symbol of the Ancien Régime's power. The Dutch East India Company was nationalised, its so-called Outer Chambers in Middelburg, Delft, Enkhuizen and Hoorn closed down and its surplus employees dismissed. In 1798 the Unitarists Wiselius, Von Liebeherr, Wybo Fijnje and Quint Ondaatje were involved in the plans of a coup by Daendels. The French ambassador Charles Delacroix was willing to help if the Dutch came up with a substantial financial reward. In 1801, Wiselius wrote a pamphlet making a laughing-stock of Guillelmus Titsingh, a former Dutch East India Company-administrator. As a result, Wiselius was not re-appointed as one of the nine members of the Council of Asian Possessions and Establishments (Raad van Aziatische Bezittingen en Etablissementen). A furious Wiselius accused his former colleagues of mismanagement. Wiselius had more respect for Dirk van Hogendorp, a precursor of Multatuli. In 1807 Herman Willem Daendels was sent to Batavia to prepare for the necessary changes.

Read more about this topic:  Samuel Iperusz. Wiselius, Life

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