Steward Maurice of Knootcap

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Steward Maurice of Knootcap (1815) is not to be confused with Prince Maurice of Knootcap (1581) .

Maurice of Knootcap
Steward of Knootoss
House of Knootcap
Dutch Reformed
Preceded by:
Marc-Alexander of Knootcap
Steward of Knootoss
Succeeded by:
Amalia of Knootcap

Maurice of Knootcap, the son of Marc-Alexander, was appointed as Steward of Knootoss at a young age. He was a devout Dutch Reformed Christian. He was much more conservative then his father who had, after all, been revolutionary with the many changes he effected to the nations administration. Maurice was in charge for most of the nineteenth century, ruling for 47 years. During this period major industrialisation in the Republic took place, but the path of institutional and social reforms his father had started was held back by him as much as he could. His marriage was not too happy and he had only one daughter, Amalia.

In the year 1848, during a period of great unrest, an incident where he and his wife were held captive for a while by angry farmers made Maurice realise that he had to make reforms or his his personal safety could no longer be guaranteed in Knootoss. He appointed the liberal Johan Rudolf Vogels to write a new constitution, which severely limited his own power and introduced elections for all levels of government (as well as various other reforms.) Vogels was appointed Prime Minister, leading a Liberal-Catholic alliance in the Staten-Generaal and in the cabinet of ministers.

The devout Steward also shared many anti-Catholic sentiments with the Protestant population of Knootoss. While generally a tolerant society, Catholics were still distrusted and discriminated against. Several inpopular papal decisions only helped to aggravate that situation. The new constitution, on the other hand, favoured the Catholics by including articles regarding the separation of church and state as well as scrapping the demand that the Steward had to be of the Dutch Reformed religion.

Events known as the ‘April movement’ and the subsequent downfall of the liberals led him to accept the resignation of the Vogels government and appoint conservatives in their place. His power was loyally reaffirmed by the new ministers, who took on roles of being his servants. Maurice and his loyal ministers were responsible for pushing through reactionary anti-Catholic legislation. The resistance of Catholics and Liberals against these acts grew, however, and opposition was strong.

Maurice died peacefully in The Hague in 1862.

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