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THE SIEGE AND RELIËF OF LEYDEN IN 1574 145

was a pressing necessity, but was in conflict with the charters and privileges of the town, according to which the Corporation consisted of forty irremovable members, who chose the Burgomasters and appointed the Aldermen. But now the worst members, at any rate, would have to be removed from the Corporation, and the new Regents chosen without consulting it. For this once it was better to make an inroad upon the securities of freedom, than to allow freedom itself to be endangered. It is hardly surprising that His Excellency put of f dealing with this thorny question tül the last day of bis visit. He then called together the Regents and told them that, at the request and with the approval of the most prominent burghers and members of the Government, he had decided to reduce the number of the Corporation from forty to sixteen, because during the recent wars and disturbances, many of the leading citizens had diedor their circumstances had changed for the worse. Moreover, at the request of the same prominent personages, for this once he would himself choose the Burgomasters and the new Aldermen as well; and this he proceeded to do. Of the former magistrates and Corporation members, eighteen were retained in office, and the rest were dismissed. Among the

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