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A serious study of the Dutch influence on schools, government and human rights in the New World.
No two rivers have been oftener compared than the Rhine and the Hudson, and the latter has sometimes been termed the " Rhine of America." In interest, in importance, and in beautiful scenery, they have much in common. Yet the comparisons between them, likely to be made by travellers, are chiefly of difference rather than of likeness.
The Rhine which, rising in the Alps, pushes its way between France and Glermany, through the Netherlands and, with divided channel, out into the Northern Sea, is a narrower, swifter running, more tortuous stream than the Hudson, which in fact is, in its later course, not properly a river but a fjord an inlet of the seawith one hundred and fifty miles of tidewater ebbing and flowing in a broader bed, and between higher mountains, than the Rhine can boast. The Rhine is famous for its castle-crowned hills, illustrating with their ruins an historical tale begun in the time of Caesar.
About the Hudson, our own Washington Irving has thrown a graceful mantle of later romance and legend, and in variety and grandeur of natural scenery, the " Rhine of America" surpasses her foreign sister.
Between these two rivers, there exists, unnoticed by the traveller, and unnoted, for the most part, even by the historian, a bond of union formed by the institutional relationship of the village communities which have had their existence, with similar customs, similar laws, and similar forms of government, upon the banks of each stream.
It is only within a comparatively few years that, by reason of the researches of Von Maurer, Sir Henry Maine, and Laveleye, the term "village community" has gained a special and instructive significance for the student of institutional history. It has come to represent a civil unit, universal to all peoples, at least to those of Aryan stock, at a certain stage of the progress in civilization; with collective property or ownership of land in common, and with a representative governing body chosen by, and from, the co-owners of the domain, to administer the common affairs, as its distinctive characteristics. Absolute and individual rights in land, as we know them, Von Maurer and his followers assert to be of recent origin; separate property, they say, has grown, by a series of changes, out of common or collective ownership.
Nowhere does this development of property rights in their successive forms exhibit itself more clearly than among the Germauic tribes which the Romans first met as pastoral groups moving from place to place, and subsisting upon the results of the chase, or upon the cattle which they herded on the common lands where they chanced to be. In this stage of race development there is essentially no holding of landed property, not even in common. That comes when the pastoral period is succeeded by the agricultural. The tillage of the soil brings with it ownership of land, but in the first instance a common ownership. The pastoral habits clung to the tribes, and they moved about, cultivating fresh lands of the unoccupied territory each year. As the agricultural system became more important, the village community crystallized.
The territory of the tribe was the Mark, in which each family was entitled to the temporary enjoyment of a share. The woodland and pasturage were entirely common, and so continued even after the arable land had, in the progress towards individual property, been allotted and rendered subject to hereditary rights. Caesar and Tacitus testify to the existence of the peculiar features of the village community among the Germanic tribes of the Rhine countries. Laveleye asserts that " the triennial rotation of crops was introduced into Germany, . . . before the time of Charlemagne."
A serious study of the Dutch influence on schools, government and human rights in the New World. circa 1886 68pp P $8.95
To read more about the Dutch settlement here see The Palatines of
Olde Ulster by Brink, or A History of Ulster Under the Dominion
of the Dutch by Van Buren.
Also, the CDRom Documentary History of New York by O'Callaghnan, which contains much material translated from the original Dutch.
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Copyright © 1995 by Richard Frisbie -- All rights reserved.