Dutch palace Soestdijk and seventeenth century monarchist-republican conflicts

Cornelis de Graeff, his wife Catharina Hooft and their sons Pieter and Jacob de Graeff, at Soestdijk, between 1656 and 1660

Today, to the Amsterdam Museum. It had changed a lot since I was there was there for its exhibition on the history of sugar.

One point today was about seventeenth century Amsterdam mayors and other rich people starting country estates. Some were near Haarlem city; some along the Vecht river. And some in the Utrecht hills region. Like the De Graeff family, with their Soestdijk estate.

Wikipedia writes, about Amsterdam councillor Jacob de Graeff:

During the summers the family spent a lot of their time at the Palace Soestdijk, and he and his brother played with the young William III of Orange – who later became King of England, Scotland and Ireland and stadtholder of the United Provinces of the Netherlands – at the lake and woods at Soestdijk. … In 1674 Jacob sold the hunting lodge and its surrounding fields, now the Soestdijk Palace, for only 18,755 guilder to William III.

Wikipedia does not say why Jacob De Graeff sold the later Dutch royal palace Soestdijk to Prince William III for so little money. The Amsterdam museum says this was a forced sale. In 1672, there had been a coup d’état by the monarchist supporters of William III. A monarchist gang, probably organised by William III, had murdered the two most prominent leaders of the Dutch bourgeois republican party, Johan and Cornelis de Witt, in a horribly cruel way.

1672, The Hague: mutilated dead bodies of the De Witt brothers

Somewhat like during the British Restoration, when republicans were tortured to death.

William III forced the De Graeff family, relatives and fellow republicans of the De Witt brothers, out of the Amsterdam local government, and forced them to sell Soestdijk.

7 thoughts on “Dutch palace Soestdijk and seventeenth century monarchist-republican conflicts

  1. Dear Peter, I’ve never before heard that ‘Republicans were tortured to death during the Restoration”… they were normally called Parliamentarians, and Charles the 11 was notably merciful when he was restored to the throne in 1660, the only revenge for the beheading of his father, being the trial and death of the regicides who signed the death warrant.,,, and my memory – which may be faulty- is that not all them were brought to justice…


  2. Thank you for this Petre, and for putting my mind at rest.
    I hated to think that ‘ Republicans had been tortured to death in 1660,” and I see from your info, that poor John Cooke was in fact one of the regicides who sent Charles 1 to the scaffold. Apart from him, no-one was tortured to death in England for being a parliamentarian.

    Charles11 pardoned everyone and tried to save the regicides, and fought Parliament over it. Of the sixty or so regicides who signed the death warrant, a third were already dead,a third had fled, and twenty remained. The King fought for clemency, and in the end, nine were executed.
    But Republlcanism retained the power it had gained under Cromwell, and the King was now the servant of Parliament

    Things weren’t good anywhere back then… I’m just reading the Salem Witchcraft Trials in 1692 in the US, where apart from the hangings of innocent people, ,one innocent man was ‘pressed’ to death because he wouldn’t admit he was guilty…
    Not that things are good in the 21 st century in some places, either!!!


    • Dear Valerie, Wikipedia writes about the Restoration:


      “At the English Restoration in 1660, six Commissioners and four others were found guilty of regicide and executed; one was hanged and nine were hanged, drawn and quartered. In 1662 three more regicides were hanged, drawn and quartered. Some others were pardoned, while a further nineteen served life imprisonment and three already dead at the time of the Restoration had their bodies desecrated.

      Of those regicides and associates who escaped Charles II, seven fled to Switzerland, four to the Netherlands, and four to Germany. Three Commissioners, John Dixwell, Edward Whalley and William Goffe, reunited in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1661. All died (or were presumed to have died) of natural causes in the 1670s or 1680s (the last being Dixwell in 1689) and are commemorated by three intersecting major avenues in New Haven (Dixwell Avenue, Whalley Avenue, and Goffe Street 41.313094°N 72.932920°W), and by place names in other Connecticut towns.”

      So, you write: “Apart from him [Cooke], no-one was tortured to death in England for being a parliamentarian.” However, the Wikipedia data say that in 1660 “nine were hanged, drawn and quartered.” Plus 3 more in 1662. So, eleven others were tortured to death horribly, just like happened to Cooke. Three others, including Oliver Cromwell, had their dead bodies desecrated.

      One person, Francis Hacker, Officer of the Guard, was hanged without the drawing and quartering torture. Was he hanged for not belonging to the nobility; as was the rule before the French Revolution in many countries: hanging for commoners, and the more “honourable” beheading for the nobility?

      Wikipedia writes:

      ” Sir Henry Vane the Younger served on the Council of State during the Interregnum even though he refused to take the oath which expressed approbation (approval) of the King’s execution. At the Restoration, after much debate in Parliament, he was exempted from the Indemnity and Oblivion Act. In 1662 he was tried for high treason, found guilty and beheaded on Tower Hill on 14 June 1662.

      Shortly after the Restoration in Scotland the Scottish Parliament passed an Act of indemnity and oblivion. It was similar to the English Indemnity and Oblivion Act, but there were many more exceptions under the Scottish act than there were under the English act. However most of the Scottish exceptions were pecuniary, only four men were executed (all for treason but none for regicide) of whom the Marquess of Argyll was the most prominent. He was found to be guilty of collaboration with Cromwell’s government, and beheaded on 27 May 1661.”

      Having King Charles I beheaded by the parliamentarians was not without precedent. British monarchs themselves had made precedents by having Queen Lady Jane Grey and Mary Queen of Scots beheaded.

      Arguably, Charles I in 1649 got a fairer trial if compared to the killing of these two women.

      Wikipedia writes:

      “After the first English Civil War, the parliamentarians accepted the premise that the King, although wrong, had been able to justify his fight, and that he would still be entitled to limited powers as King under a new constitutional settlement. By provoking the second Civil War even while defeated and in captivity, Charles was responsible for unjustifiable bloodshed. The secret “Engagement” treaty with the Scots was considered particularly unpardonable; “a more prodigious treason,” said Oliver Cromwell, “than any that had been perfected before; because the former quarrel was that Englishmen might rule over one another; this to vassalize us to a foreign nation.”[1] Cromwell up to this point had supported negotiations with the king but now rejected further negotiations.[1]

      In making war against Parliament, the king had caused the deaths of thousands. Estimated deaths from the first two English civil wars has been reported as 84,830 killed with estimates of another 100,000 dying from war-related disease.”[2] The population of England in 1650 was only an estimated 5.1 million,[3] meaning that the war casualties totalled an astonishing 3.6 percent of the population, almost double the proportional deaths of the American Civil War.”



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