A revised and updated version of
Abraham Kuyper: An Annotated Bibliography 1857-2010 by Tjitze Kuipers (2011)
You can buy a printed edition of this book on the site of the publisher.
A draft of the People’s Petition of 1878, intended for free and widespread distribution, which was sent postage-paid upon request. In small print above the draft a note reads that it “is meant to be signed by parents or guardians, and moreover by interested parties, if the Second Chamber accepts the proposed bill concerning primary education. It shall be made known later where the document shall be available for signing in your community.”
The petition asks the king to make biblical schooling possible and not to sanction the new primary education law with his signature. The address to the king was printed in De Standaard 7 (1878), no. 1905, June 10 and 11, 1878 and was subsequently reprinted in many other papers and magazines. (This publication had small changes to the text as a consequence.) The national action collected 305,596 signatures, which were delivered along with a handwritten copy of the petition to King William III on August 3, 1878.
Copies of the People’s Petition were sent without charge to local committees and correspondence societies for distribution. Orders exceeded all expectations, however, and as a result printing and mailing costs ran over budget. In a circular letter (dated Amsterdam, June 1879), N.M. Feringa, secretary of The Commission for the People’s Petition, reported that the comission would keep delivering free copies but would greatly appreciate partial or full reimbursement of the printing and mailing costs, which amounted to forty cents for every hundred copies.
Kuyper had already been closely associated with a people’s petition against forced vaccination of school children, which was presented to King William III (1817–1890) on November 2, 1872. The People’s Petition of 1878, however, marked the most spectacular moment in the long history of the struggle for Christian schooling in the Netherlands. On July 18, 1878, the Second Chamber accepted Minister Kappeyne van de Coppello’s bill for the amendment of the 1857 law regulating primary education. Detailed plans for a national signature campaign had already been put into place in case of such an eventuality (see 1928.01).
The Roman Catholics also collaborated in this campaign. They had previously collected 164,000 signatures against the bill. When the bill was nonetheless accepted by the Second Chamber, H.J.A.M. Schaepman (1844–1903) immediately published an appeal to the king requesting that he withhold royal approval of the bill.
Despite this opposition, the king signed the bill into law on August 17, 1878.