Dutch Golden Age: Johan de Witt's speech from the film Michiel de Ruyter (Admiral) English subtitles
This clip is from the 2015 movie "Michiel de Ruyter" (known as "Admiral" in international markets). This is an excellent movie and covers the politics of the Dutch Republic and the great naval victories over the English during the high point of the Dutch Golden Age (mid to late 1600s). The man speaking is Johan de Witt who was effectively the prime minister of the Dutch Republic between 1650 and 1672.
(Strictly speaking he was "Grand Pensionary" of Holland, the largest of the Dutch provinces, this made him the most powerful political figure in the Netherlands).
De Ruyter was the leading Dutch admiral of the era. De Ruyter and De Witt were friends, and the movie focuses on their careers, their rise and fall, and their deaths.
Dutch politics was divided into two camps at the time
1 - The "Prinsgezinden" (Prince's supporters, or Prince's faction, usually translated into English as "Orangists").
They wanted William, Prince of Orange (who later became King of England) to be the stadtholder of the Netherlands.
Stadtholder (steward) was a role similar to a monarch, but at the same time not quite a monarch (the Netherlands was still called a Republic when a stadtholder was in place).
The Prince's faction tended to support a strong central government, and being less involved in international trade than their "States' faction" rivals, tended to favour military spending on the army rather than the navy.
2 - The Staatsgezinden (States supporters or States' faction, usually translated into English as "Republicans").
The "States" were the parliaments of the seven provinces.
The States faction was opposed to having a stadtholder, and favoured having strong provincial states rather than a strong central government.
They favoured spending on the navy rather than the army.
The States faction (to which De Witt belonged) were in the ascendancy from 1650 to 1672.
In 1672 (the "Rampjaar", or disaster year) the Netherlands was quickly overrun by an invading French army.
De Witt's policy of limited spending on the army was blamed, and in one of the most infamous events in Dutch history, De Witt and his brother Cornelius were murdered on the street.
An angry mob then strung up their naked corpses on a gibbet and mutilated their bodies, and their livers were cooked and eaten.
In this clip the Prince's faction are sitting on the left (many with pieces of orange clothing).
The man on the right at 0:15 and again at the end 3:31 is Johan Kievit, arch-nemesis of De Witt.
Before De Witt spoke, Kievit had suggested that De Witt would only work to defend the interests of his own faction.
De Witt's speech in this movie is based on an actual speech he gave ("De Deductie") which was 3 1/2 hours long.
All translation and subtitling is my own original work.
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