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- Delft in Holland
The regents were concerned first and foremost with the safety and financial prosperity of the city. They were charged with protecting the city's assets, from its grand public buildings like the Stadhuis to its walls and gates to its waterways and surrounding lands. The Treasurer's accounts, showing income (ontvang) and expenses (uitgave), give a full picture of the city's assets, both physical and human, and what they were worth.
The city had two treasurers (thesauriers) except for the years 1599 to 1614, when they tried one before returning to two, one for ordinary authorizations, and a second for extraordinary authorizations. Boitet's Beschrijving began listing them in 1448 with Clais Willems Huyter. From then until 1725, 337 men served as treasurer. There were few repeats until 1677, when 6-year terms began.
Treasurers among Leeuwenhoek's relatives
Half a dozen of Leeuwenhoek's relatives served as Delft's treasurer. Leeuwenhoek's great-great-grandfather, Neeltje's father Jan Jacobs Hogenhouck served in the two crucial years after Willem of Orange arrived in 1573. He was followed by his son Maerten Jans and grandsons Jacob Maertens and Pieter Abrahams Hogenhouck. From the other side of Leeuwenhoek's mother's family came Gerrit Jans van der Eyck and, including the van Adrichem family of Leeuwenhoek's great-aunt Neeltje, whose father Jacob Adriaens and grandfather Adriaen Claes van Adrichem were treasurer in the 1500s and early 1600s. The image on the right has been attributed to various members of the van Adrichem family; it was probably Nicolaas Adriaans.
In second wife Cornelia Swalmius' family, her great great-grandfather Jan Dircks Uyttenbrouck served as treasurer in the mid-1500s.
What was taxed in the Republic?
The Holland lion, shown in Leonis Hollandiae (below; click for larger size) a 1648 allegorical print by N. J. Visscher, was very expensive to keep fed. Needless to say, taxes in the Republic were high, the highest in Europe at the time.
According to Wanda Fritschy's Efficiency of taxation in Holland, the major sources of tax revenue were the "common means" (gemene middelen), a set of excise taxes (accijns) on merchants' movement of goods, which provided 72% of the revenue and the property taxes on land and houses (verponding), 23%.
As shown on the pages on the menu on the right sidebar, Delft's Treasurer's account books show the reverse. The excise taxes were a constant but not large contribution compared to the property taxes.
Excise taxes in the Republic
At one time or another during the life of the Republic, which as you can see on the table below ended in 1795 after a two-century run as the healthiest, wealthiest nation on earth, dozens of goods were taxed when they moved in and out of Delft. However, according to Fritschy, excise taxes on the following goods were in effect during Leeuwenhoek's tenure as city official, a dozen of them for the whole life of the Republic until 1795 whe the new Batavian Republic came under the influence of France. The following taxes were farmed:
|years taxed||years taxed|
milling of grain
salmon and sturgeon
soap, per barrel
transfer of ships
land with vegetables
1574- >1599 1659-1795
Only a dozen of these items were taxed in Delft. Most could be counted and weighed at the Waag. More important to Leeuwenhoek were the liquids that were transported in irregularly shaped barrels, not always full. More complex mathematical calculations were required for them: beer, wine, and brandy. For these, the city employed guagers (peilders), among them Leeuwenhoek after 1679.
Two taxes were collected directly.
- land and house tax 1581-1795
- inheritance and transfer tax 1598-1795
In addition, the taxes of 1% and 2% (100e en 200e penningen) were directly collected on the stocks (effecten) and offices (ambten) in 1652-61,1664-9,1672-80,1682, and 1687-1722.