His measures for obtaining the stadtholderate succeeded. On the 4th of July 1672, it was re-established in the person of William III.; and all the dignities and rights enjoyed by his predecessors were conferred upon him. These, in 1674, were made hereditary in his family. His subsequent conduct is entitled, on many accounts, to the warmest praise.

In vain had Cromwell required of Holland the abolition of the stadtholderate in the house of Nassau, in vain had John van Witt obtained the voting of the perpetual edict, William of Orange lived and died stadtholder of Holland and king of that England which had wanted to close against him forever the approaches to the throne in his own native countiy.

Before this event, William V. died, leaving a son, called from his pretensions to the stadtholderate, William VI. We have seen that, on the death of the Emperor Charles V. all the seventeen provinces, composing the Netherlands, devolved to Philip II. his son; the successful defection of the Seven United Provinces has been mentioned; the ten remaining provinces were afterwards transferred to the House of Austria, and were inherited by the Emperor Joseph II. The French made an easy conquest of them in an early stage of the Revolution.

During the illness of which he died, he had, through the Duke of Brunswick, declared to the Marquis de la Fayette, who was then at Berlin, that he meant not to support the English interest in Holland: that he might assure the government of France, his only wish was, that some honorable place in the Constitution should be reserved for the Stadtholder and his children, and that he would take no part in the quarrel, unless an entire abolition of the Stadtholderate should be attempted.

The reverses of the United Provinces continued, and the aggrandisement of the Stadtholderate increased proportionally. As yet William IV. had no male issue. In 1748, the Orange faction proposed that the Stadtholderate should be declared hereditary; and that, in default of males, females should be admitted into the succession.

They still leave a good deal to discussion. However, it is probable they will end in peace. The party in Holland, possessed actually of the sovereignty, wish for peace, that they may push their designs on the Stadtholderate. This country wishes for peace, because her finances need arrangement.

This strengthened his cause; but the general spirit of the United Provinces was so averse to the Stadtholderate, that it was not till the invasion of Holland, by the French, in 1747, that the prince's party judged it advisable to bring forward his claim.

The object was the establishment of a democracy and the extinction of the Stadtholderate, or at least its suppression as a hereditary dignity. The court of France was busy in this democratic intrigue; and its partial success unquestionably added new combustibles to the pile on which that unfortunate monarchy, in the hour of infatuation, was preparing to throw itself.

Upon the decease of William III. a general wish to discontinue the stadtholderate was expressed in most of the provinces; those of Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, Gueldres, and Overyssell, came to a formal resolution to this effect They recognised the supreme power of the States General, and conferred the direction of their political concerns on Heinsius, the actual Grand Pensionary, a person of great learning, uncommon talents for business, and acknowledged integrity.

Immediately after that event, his mother claimed for him the stadtholderate, and all the other dignities, pre-eminences, and rights, which his father and grandfather had enjoyed; but, so great, at that time, was the public jealousy of the ambitious views of the house of Orange, that the States General would not even take her claims into deliberation.