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In the last ‘Research Series’ the Articles of War of 1702 were discussed but now the Articles of 1795 deserve some attention. In this part not only the Articles of 1795 are going to be discussed but also a few theories about professionalization of the judiciary process to see if they fit the ‘present’ situation.

The preface and the description of how the Articles of 1795 came into being is much longer than the previous versions preface. The preface of 1795 consists primarily of an explanation of why the new version was necessary and to legitimize the new Batavian regime. Much detail was placed on the forming of counsels of war and how they should conduct the judicial process. This process in the navy had greatly changed in the course of the Batavian revolution;  the court consisted of more  judges who were lower in rank. It can be argued that this new trend of more lower rank judges has to be placed in the discourse of liberté, égalité, fraternité but the Batavian regime was also trying to restore the Dutch navy to its faded glory.[1] This mode of thinking was not entirely new since it was also used in the Patriotic Revolution: in order to get back Holland’s important world leading role the people had to revert to the old virtues which had made Holland a hegemony. [2] Because the Batavians were in fact old Patriots who had returned with the French army in 1795; it is not entirely strange to find the same discourse in their writings. Furthermore the newer version of 1795 has combined the three separate articles about religion and behaviour during a service into a single article. The punishment for disturbing the service had changed from a monetary punishment to a corporal one. The reason for this change has to be sought in the disestablishment of church and state. When this happened in 1795 under the first constitution the state had to protect the church and guarantee the religious citizens that everyone would respect religion and therefore would not disturb services of any faith[3] in this frame of mind the article on religion was drawn up. The combining of articles is something that was repeatedly  seen in the 1795 version. In the preface was already stated that the articles which had no use in ‘[…] The current order of affairs are of  no more use […]’[4] had been left out. The liberté, égalité, fraternité principle which was already mentioned above is assumed to be the basic principle on which most articles are based on and on which the emphasis is most decidedly laid. But this is not the case. In for instance an article devoted to what punishment an officer should get if he committed any crimes the égalité principle does not apply  because the officer was more severely punished than a marine or sailor. Making an example out of a criminal is in the later version of 1795 a pivotal element in the articles: crimes concerning morality are more stressed than in the earlier version of 1702. Shaming is added to the ways of punishment, a trend which is not seen in the Articles of 1702. A reason for this can be found in the explanation of returning to old virtues which the Patriots of 1780 advocated, as stated above.

The 1795 version contains elements which were present in some articles of the 1702 version and somehow have managed to come back in almost every article of the 1795 version: morality, discipline, shaming, degradation and the circumstances of the crime. Shaming and degradation were added to the punishments; this kind of punishing was used before but now it was written down in the prescriptive source rather than a captain deciding in a court martial he does not want to give a corporal punishment but only wants to shame the criminal. Another addition is the role of officers in crimes; when a sailor is convicted of a crime  because an officer provoked him the officer is also punished. Attention for the circumstances of the crime is entirely new in the files which contain the verdicts inquiries and interviews are added along with witness reports, accomplice statements and the confession of the criminal himself. This suggests a more rational approach to punishing on board, where in the 1702 version only a testimony or evidence was needed to convict a sailor, now witnesses and a confession are required. Although a ship could not collect taxes or have a budget to attract solicitors,  in other words to become a professional court in the sense David Garland describes it[5], the writers of the 1795 Articles tried to incorporate the ideas that went along with professionalization into their judicial processes. Garland situates this process of rationalization in the nineteenth century, but if we look closely at, for instance the Dutch Articles of War of 1795 a strong notion of these ‘modern’ ideas were already written down. The struggle Garland describes between local authorities and the central government about recording processes and administrative tasks[6], was not applicable in the marine: it was already centralized in several Admiralties and the prescribing law was abided on every ship and punishment was administered according to that law. Judged by the standards Garland presents  for rationalization and modernity it can be argued that the Articles of War of 1795 were already modern, and in a sense the Articles of 1702 were also modern but at a somewhat lesser degree


[1] ‘Batavian Marine’ Assosiation for protecting the fortress of Hellevoetsluis (‘Bataafse Marine’ Vereniging tot bescherming van de vesting van Hellevoetsluis) http://vestinghellevoetsluis.nl/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=97:bataafse-marine&catid=51:bataafse-marine-1795-1806&Itemid=80  (26 mei 2012).

[2] J. Rogiers en N.C.F. van Sas, ‘Revolutie in Noord en Zuid (1780-1830)’ in: J.C.H Blom en E. Lamberts ed., Geschiedenis van de Nederlanden (Baarn 2010): 222-256: 226-7.

[3] Lok, M., en M. van der Burg, ‘The Netherlands under Napoleonic rule: a new regime or a revived order?’ in: M. Broers, A. Guimerá en P. Hicks (eds.), The Napoleonic Empire and the new European political culture (Londen en Madrid, 2012).

[4] Translation: ‘tegenwoordige orde van zaaken geenzins meer te pas komen’ Dutch Institute for Military History, collection De Booy 18, number 80, page 1 (Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie, collectie De Booy 18 archiefnummer 80, pagina 1).

[5] D. Garland, ‘The rationalization of punishment’ in: H. Pihlajämki eds. Theatres of power. Social control and criminality in historical perspective (Helsinki 1991) 96-115:  98.

[6] Ibidem, 99.