l incorporation, in the provinces afterwards constituting the republic, was that granted by Count William the First of Holland and Countess Joanna of Flanders, as joint proprietors of Walcheren, to the town of Middelburg. It will be seen that its main purport is to promise, as a special privilege to this community, law, in place of the arbitrary violence by which mankind, in general, were governed by their betters.
"The inhabitants," ran the Charter, "are taken into protection by both counts. Upon fighting, maiming, wounding, striking, scolding; upon peace-breaking, upon resistance to peace-makers and to the judgment of Schepens; upon contemning the Ban, upon selling spoiled wine, and upon other misdeeds fines are imposed for behoof of the Count, the city, and sometimes of the Schepens.......To all Middelburgers one kind of law is guaranteed. Every man must go to law before the Schepens. If any one being summoned and present in Walcheren does not appear, or refuses submission to sentence, he shall be b