rural population. On the whole, there was a tolerably fair representation of the whole nation. The people were well and worthily represented in the government of each city, and therefore equally so in the assembly of the estates. It was not till later that the corporations, by the extinction of the popular element, and by the usurpation of the right of self-election, were thoroughly stiffened into fictitious personages which never died, and which were never thoroughly alive.
At this epoch the provincial liberties, so far as they could maintain themselves against Spanish despotism, were practical and substantial. The government was a representative one, in which all those who had the inclination possessed, in one mode or another, a voice. Although the various members of the confederacy were locally and practically republics or self-governed little commonwealths, the general government which they, established was, in form, monarchical. The powers conferred upon Orange constituted him a sovereign ad inter