The Grand-Pensionary, imagining that by making themselves masters of the election of the ministers, the States would insensibly appease these troubles, proposed the revival of an obsolete regulation, made in the year 1591, by which the magistrates and consistory were each to nominate four persons, who should chuse a Minister, to be afterwards presented to the body of Magistrates, who might receive or reject him.
Matters now converged to a crisis: we have more than once mentioned the opposite politics of Prince Maurice and Barneveldt, the Grand-Pensionary; the former wishing to draw the whole sovereign power to himself; the latter endeavouring to preserve and stabilitate the the constitution of the Provinces, as it had been settled by the Act of Union.
We noticed that the Gomarists sided with the Prince; the Arminians with the Grand-Pensionary.
Barneveldt was so much affected by the disturbances, and a view of the evils with which they appeared to threaten his country, that he sought to resign his place of Grand-Pensionary; but the States of the province of Holland, which needed more than ever the counsels of such an experienced minister, sent a deputation to him, beseeching him not to abandon them in times of so much difficulty.
In an evil hour, Barneveldt, the Grand-Pensionary, proposed to the States of Holland, that the magistrates of the cities of that province should he empowered to raise troops for the suppression of the rioters. Amsterdam, Dort, and other towns, that favoured the Gomarists, protested against this measure, styling it a declaration of war against the Contra-remonstrants.
This gave rise to a party, which was jealous of his power, and on many occasions thwarted, what they thought the projects of his private ambition. From their attachment to the constitution, they were termed the republican party: Barneveldt, the Grand-Pensionary of the States General, was their leader.
For by the Grand Pensionary the States see, hear, and act; and though he has no deliberative voice, and is the lowest in rank, his influence is the greatest. He manages Prosecutions, receives Dispatches, and answers them, and is as it were Attorney-General of the States: before he be called to be Grand-Pensionary, he is nominated Advocate of the States.