Simon van Slingelandt

Secretary of the Raad van State

14 January 1664 - 1 December 1736

Background and early career

Simon van Slingelandt was born in 1664 to Govert van Slingelandt and Aernouda van Beaumont. At the time his father was pensionary for Dordrecht, but soon after he became secretary of the Raad van State and the family moved to The Hague. Notwithstanding this it seems that there are reasons to suppose that Van Slingelandt went to the grammar ('Illustere') school in Dordrecht. On 21 April 1681 he went to Leiden University to study philosophy, but in the next year he and his brother started to study to law. It seems they continued their studies in Orleans, because they were registered there in 1684. In 1685 Slingelandt and his brother registered themselves as lawyers at the 'Hof van Holland' but did not make a lot of noise. In 1690 Govert, who had been of De Witt's party, made a request to the stadholder to appoint his son as his successor. Bentinck brought out a positive advice to the stadholder and so Van Slingelandt was appointed on 4 August 1690, one month after his father had died.

Van Slingelandt as Secretary of the Raad van State

One can assume that in order to get appointed Van Slingelandt had left the politics of his father. However, his ambitions reached higher and in 1699 he tried to become Thesaurier Generaal of the Union. As Secretary of the Raad van State Van Slingelandt was the recipient of most of the correspondence from the army. He also corresponded a lot with the Field Deputies. As regards relations one should note that he married Suzanna de Wildt in 1690, she was a daughter of the secretary of the Admirality of Amsterdam. His sister Elisabeth was married to François Fagel.

Van Slingelandt's further career

After the Spanish Succession War Van Slingelandt's ambition had not diminished. He tried to become Grand Pensionary in 1720 but was passed over in favor of Isaac van Hoornbeek. As a consolation he would become Thesaurier Generaal and member of the Raad van State on 17 October 1725. The crown on his career would follow on 17 July 1727 when he was appointed as Grand Pensionary. This function he would exercise till his death in 1736.

Van Slingelandt is widely known for his attempts to reform the constitution of the United Provinces. He drew up a lot of plans and discourses that primarily advocated the strengthening of central authority in the republic, and these would be printed about fifty years after his death. By the time that people began to consider these the politics of the UP were however so rotten that its inhabitants opted for a reform on a totally different footing.



This page is mainly based on the introduction to the correspondence of Slingelandt and Goslinga.