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Title: History of the United Netherlands, 1590-99 — Complete
Author: Motley, John Lothrop, 1814-1877
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "History of the United Netherlands, 1590-99 — Complete" ***

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HISTORY OF THE UNITED NETHERLANDS From the Death of William the Silent to
the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

Volume III.

History of the United Netherlands, 1590-1599, Complete


   Effect of the Assassination of Henry III.--Concentration of forces
   for the invasion of France--The Netherlands determine on striking a
   blow for freedom--Organization of a Dutch army--Stratagem to
   surprise the castle of Breda--Intrepidity and success of the

The dagger of Jacques Clement had done much, and was likely to do more,
to change the face of Europe. Another proof was afforded that
assassination had become a regular and recognised factor in the political
problems of the sixteenth century. Another illustration was exhibited of
the importance of the individual--even although that individual was in
himself utterly despicable--to the working out of great historical
results. It seemed that the murder of Henry III.--that forlorn caricature
of kingship and of manhood--was likely to prove eminently beneficial to
the cause of the Netherland commonwealth. Five years earlier, the murder
of William the Silent had seemed to threaten its very existence.

For Philip the Prudent, now that France was deprived of a head, conceived
that the time had arrived when he might himself assume the sovereignty of
that kingdom. While a thing of straw, under the name of Charles X. and
shape of a Cardinal Bourbon, was set up to do battle with that living
sovereign and soldier, the heretic Bearnese, the Duke of Parma was
privately ordered to bend all his energies towards the conquest of the
realm in dispute, under pretence of assisting the Holy League.

Accordingly, early in the year 1590, Alexander concentrated a
considerable force on the French frontier in Artois and Hainault,
apparently threatening Bergen-op-Zoom and other cities in South Holland,
but in reality preparing to invade France. The Duke of Mayenne, who had
assumed the title of lieutenant-general of that kingdom, had already
visited him at Brussels in order to arrange the plan of the campaign.

While these measures were in preparation, an opportunity was likely to be
afforded to the Netherlanders of striking a blow or two for liberty and
independence; now that all the force that possibly could be spared was to
be withdrawn by their oppressors and to be used for the subjugation of
their neighbours. The question was whether there would be a statesman and
a soldier ready to make use of this golden opportunity.

There was a statesman ripe and able who, since the death of the Taciturn,
had been growing steadily in the estimation of his countrymen and who
already was paramount in the councils of the States-General. There was a
soldier, still very young, who was possessed of the strongest hereditary
claims to the confidence and affection of the United Provinces and who
had been passing a studious youth in making himself worthy of his father
and his country. Fortunately, too, the statesman and the soldier were
working most harmoniously together. John of Olden-Barneveld, with his
great experience and vast and steady intellect, stood side by side with
young Maurice of Nassau at this important crisis in the history of the
new commonwealth.

At length the twig was becoming the tree--'tandem fit surculus
arbor'--according to the device assumed by the son of William the Silent
after his father's death.

The Netherlands had sore need of a practical soldier to contend with the
scientific and professional tyrants against whom they had so long been
struggling, and Maurice, although so young, was pre-eminently a practical
man. He was no enthusiast; he was no poet. He was at that period
certainly no politician. Not often at the age of twenty has a man devoted
himself for years to pure mathematics for the purpose of saving his
country. Yet this was Maurice's scheme. Four years long and more, when
most other youths in his position and at that epoch would have been
alternating between frivolous pleasures and brilliant exploits in the
field, the young prince had spent laborious days and nights with the
learned Simon Stevinus of Bruges. The scientific work which they composed
in common, the credit of which the master assigned to the pupil, might
have been more justly attributed perhaps to the professor than to the
prince, but it is certain that Maurice was an apt scholar.

In that country, ever held in existence by main human force against the
elements, the arts of engineering, hydrostatics and kindred branches were
of necessity much cultivated. It was reserved for the young mathematician
to make them as potent against a human foe.

Moreover, there were symptoms that the military discipline, learning and
practical skill, which had almost made Spain the mistress of the world,
were sinking into decay. Farnese, although still in the prime of life,
was broken in health, and there seemed no one fit to take the place of
himself and his lieutenants when they should be removed from the scene
where they had played their parts so consummately. The army of the
Netherlands was still to be created. Thus far the contest had been mainly
carried on by domestic militia and foreign volunteers or hirelings. The
train-bands of the cities were aided in their struggles against Spanish
pikemen and artillerists, Italian and Albanian cavalry by the German
riders, whom every little potentate was anxious to sell to either
combatant according to the highest bid, and by English mercenaries, whom
the love of adventure or the hope of plunder sent forth under such
well-seasoned captains as Williams and Morgan, Vere and the Norrises,
Baskerville and Willoughby.

But a Dutch army there was none and Maurice had determined that at last a
national force should be created. In this enterprise he was aided and
guided by his cousin Lewis William, Stadtholder of Friesland--the quaint,
rugged little hero, young in years but almost a veteran in the wars of
freedom, who was as genial and intellectual in council as he was reckless
and impulsive in the field.

Lewis William had felt that the old military art was dying out and
that--there was nothing to take its place. He was a diligent student of
antiquity. He had revived in the swamps of Friesland the old manoeuvres,
the quickness of wheeling, the strengthening, without breaking ranks or
columns, by which the ancient Romans had performed so much excellent work
in their day, and which seemed to have passed entirely into oblivion. Old
colonels and rittmasters, who had never heard of Leo the Thracian nor the
Macedonian phalanx, smiled and shrugged their shoulders, as they listened
to the questions of the young count, or gazed with profound astonishment
at the eccentric evolutions to which he was accustoming his troops. From
the heights of superior wisdom they looked down with pity upon these
innovations on the good old battle order. They were accustomed to great
solid squares of troops wheeling in one way, steadily, deliberately, all
together, by one impulse and as one man. It was true that in narrow
fields, and when the enemy was pressing, such stately evolutions often
became impossible or ensured defeat; but when the little Stadtholder
drilled his soldiers in small bodies of various shapes, teaching them to
turn, advance; retreat; wheel in a variety of ways, sometimes in
considerable masses, sometimes man by man, sending the foremost suddenly
to the rear, or bringing the hindmost ranks to the front, and began to
attempt all this in narrow fields as well as in wide ones, and when the
enemy was in sight, men stood aghast at his want of reverence, or laughed
at him as a pedant. But there came a day when they did not laugh, neither
friends nor enemies. Meantime the two cousins, who directed all the
military operations in the provinces, understood each other thoroughly
and proceeded to perfect their new system, to be adopted at a later
period by all civilized nations.

The regular army of the Netherlands was small in number at that
moment--not more than twenty thousand foot with two thousand horse--but
it was well disciplined, well equipped, and, what was of great
importance, regularly paid. Old campaigners complained that in the
halcyon days of paper enrolments, a captain could earn more out of his
company than a colonel now received for his whole regiment. The days when
a thousand men were paid for, with a couple of hundred in the field, were
passing away for the United Provinces and existed only for Italians and
Spaniards. While, therefore, mutiny on an organised and extensive scale
seemed almost the normal condition of the unpaid legions of Philip, the
little army of Maurice was becoming the model for Europe to imitate.

The United Provinces were as yet very far from being masters of their own
territory. Many of their most important cities still held for the king.
In Brabant, such towns as Breda with its many dependencies and
Gertruydenberg; on the Waal, the strong and wealthy Nymegen which Martin
Schenk had perished in attempting to surprise; on the Yssel, the thriving
city of Zutphen, whose fort had been surrendered by the traitor York, and
the stately Deventer, which had been placed in Philip's possession by the
treachery of Sir William Stanley; on the borders of Drenthe, the almost
impregnable Koevorden, key to the whole Zwollian country; and in the very
heart of ancient Netherland, Groningen, capital of the province of the
same name, which the treason of Renneberg had sold to the Spanish tyrant;
all these flourishing cities and indispensable strongholds were
garrisoned by foreign troops, making the idea of Dutch independence a

While Alexander of Parma, sorely against his will and in obedience to
what, he deemed the insane suggestions of his master, was turning his
back on the Netherlands in order to relieve Paris, now hard pressed by
the Bearnese, an opportunity offered itself of making at least a
beginning in the great enterprise of recovering these most valuable

The fair and pleasant city of Breda lies on the Merk, a slender stream,
navigable for small vessels, which finds its way to the sea through the
great canal of the Dintel. It had been the property of the Princes of
Orange, Barons of Breda, and had passed with the other possessions of the
family to the house of Chalons-Nassau. Henry of Nassau had, half a
century before, adorned and strengthened it by a splendid palace-fortress
which, surrounded by a deep and double moat, thoroughly commanded the
town. A garrison of five companies of Italian infantry and one of cavalry
lay in this castle, which was under the command of Edward Lanzavecchia,
governor both of Breda and of the neighbouring Gertruydenberg.

Breda was an important strategical position. It was moreover the feudal
superior of a large number of adjacent villages as well as of the cities
Osterhout, Steenberg and Rosendaal. It was obviously not more desirable
for Maurice of Nassau to recover his patrimonial city than it was for the
States-General to drive the Spaniards from so important a position!

In the month of February, 1590, Maurice, being then at the castle of
Voorn in Zeeland, received a secret visit from a boatman, Adrian van der
Berg by name, who lived at the village of Leur, eight or ten miles from
Breda, and who had long been in the habit of supplying the castle with
turf. In the absence of woods and coal mines, the habitual fuel of the
country was furnished by those vast relics of the antediluvian forests
which abounded in the still partially submerged soil. The skipper
represented that his vessel had passed so often into and out of the
castle as to be hardly liable to search by the guard on its entrance. He
suggested a stratagem by which it might be possible to surprise the

The prince approved of the scheme and immediately consulted with
Barneveld. That statesman at once proposed, as a suitable man to carry
out the daring venture, Captain Charles de Heraugiere, a nobleman of
Cambray, who had been long in the service of the States, had
distinguished himself at Sluys and on other occasions, but who had been
implicated in Leicester's nefarious plot to gain possession of the city
of Leyden a few years before. The Advocate expressed confidence that he
would be grateful for so signal an opportunity of retrieving a somewhat
damaged reputation. Heraugiere, who was with his company in Voorn at the
moment, eagerly signified his desire to attempt the enterprise as soon as
the matter was communicated to him; avowing the deepest devotion to the
house of William the Silent and perfect willingness to sacrifice his
life, if necessary, in its cause and that of the country. Philip Nassau,
cousin of Prince Maurice and brother of Lewis William, governor of
Gorcum, Dorcum, and Lowenstein Castle and colonel of a regiment of
cavalry, was also taken into the secret, as well as Count Hohenlo,
President Van der Myle and a few others; but a mystery was carefully
spread and maintained over the undertaking.

Heraugiere selected sixty-eight men, on whose personal daring and
patience he knew that he could rely, from the regiments of Philip Nassau
and of Famars, governor of the neighbouring city of Heusden, and from his
own company. Besides himself, the officers to command the party were
captains Logier and Fervet, and lieutenant Matthew Held. The names of
such devoted soldiers deserve to be commemorated and are still freshly
remembered by their countrymen.

On the 25th of February, Maurice and his staff went to Willemstad on the
Isle of Klundert, it having been given out on his departure from the
Hague that his destination was Dort. On the same night at about eleven
o'clock, by the feeble light of a waning moon, Heraugiere and his band
came to the Swertsenburg ferry, as agreed upon, to meet the boatman. They
found neither him nor his vessel, and they wandered about half the night,
very cold, very indignant, much perplexed. At last, on their way back,
they came upon the skipper at the village of Terheyde, who made the
extraordinary excuse that he had overslept himself and that he feared the
plot had been discovered. It being too late to make any attempt that
night, a meeting was arranged for the following evening. No suspicion of
treachery occurred to any of the party, although it became obvious that
the skipper had grown faint-hearted. He did not come on the next night to
the appointed place but he sent two nephews, boatmen like himself, whom
he described as dare-devils.

On Monday night, the 26th of February, the seventy went on board the
vessel, which was apparently filled with blocks of turf, and packed
themselves closely in the hold. They moved slowly during a little time on
their perilous voyage; for the winter wind, thick with fog and sleet,
blew directly down the river, bringing along with it huge blocks of ice
and scooping the water out of the dangerous shallows, so as to render the
vessel at any moment liable to be stranded. At last the navigation became
impossible and they came to a standstill. From Monday night till Thursday
morning those seventy Hollanders lay packed like herrings in the hold of
their little vessel, suffering from hunger, thirst, and deadly cold; yet
not one of them attempted to escape or murmured a wish to abandon the
enterprise. Even when the third morning dawned there was no better
prospect of proceeding; for the remorseless east wind still blew a gale
against them, and the shoals which beset their path had become more
dangerous than ever. It was, however, absolutely necessary to recruit
exhausted nature, unless the adventurers were to drop powerless on the
threshold when they should at last arrive at their destination. In all
secrecy they went ashore at a lonely castle called Nordam, where they
remained to refresh themselves until about eleven at night, when one of
the boatmen came to them with the intelligence that the wind had changed
and was now blowing freshly in from the sea. Yet the voyage of a few
leagues, on which they were embarked, lasted nearly two whole days
longer. On Saturday afternoon they passed through the last sluice, and at
about three o'clock the last boom was shut behind them. There was no
retreat possible for them now. The seventy were to take the strong castle
and city of Breda or to lay down their lives, every man of them. No
quarter and short shrift--such was their certain destiny, should that
half-crippled, half-frozen little band not succeed in their task before
another sunrise.

They were now in the outer harbour and not far from the Watergate which
led into the inner castle-haven. Presently an officer of the guard put
off in a skiff and came on board the vessel. He held a little
conversation with the two boatmen, observed that the castle was--much in
want of full, took a survey of the turf with which the ship was
apparently laden, and then lounged into the little cabin. Here he was
only separated by a sliding trap-door from the interior of the vessel.
Those inside could hear and see his every movement. Had there been a
single cough or sneeze from within, the true character of the cargo, then
making its way into the castle, would have been discovered and every man
would within ten minutes have been butchered. But the officer,
unsuspecting, soon took his departure, saying that he would send some men
to warp the vessel into the castle dock.

Meantime, as the adventurers were making their way slowly towards the
Watergate, they struck upon a hidden obstruction in the river and the
deeply laden vessel sprang a leak. In a few minutes those inside were
sitting up to their knees in water--a circumstance which scarcely
improved their already sufficiently dismal condition. The boatmen
vigorously plied the pumps to save the vessel from sinking outright; a
party of Italian soldiers soon arrived on the shore, and in the course of
a couple of hours they had laboriously dragged the concealed Hollanders
into the inner harbour and made their vessel fast, close to the
guard-house of the castle.

And now a crowd of all sorts came on board. The winter nights had been
long and fearfully cold, and there was almost a dearth of fuel both in
town and fortress. A gang of labourers set to work discharging the turf
from the vessel with such rapidity that the departing daylight began to
shine in upon the prisoners much sooner than they wished. Moreover, the
thorough wetting, to which after all their other inconveniences they had
just been exposed in their narrow escape from foundering, had set the
whole party sneezing and coughing. Never was a catarrh so sudden, so
universal, or so ill-timed. Lieutenant Held, unable to control the
violence of his cough, drew his dagger and eagerly implored his next
neighbour to stab him to the heart, lest his infirmity should lead to the
discovery of the whole party. But the calm and wary skipper who stood on
the deck instantly commanded his companion to work at the pump with as
much clatter as possible, assuring the persons present that the hold was
nearly full of water. By this means the noise of the coughing was
effectually drowned. Most thoroughly did the bold boatman deserve the
title of dare-devil, bestowed by his more fainthearted uncle. Calmly
looking death in the face, he stood there quite at his ease, exchanging
jokes with his old acquaintances, chaffering with the eager purchasers of
peat shouting most noisy and superfluous orders to the one man who
composed his crew, doing his utmost, in short, to get rid of his
customers and to keep enough of the turf on board to conceal the

At last, when the case seemed almost desperate, he loudly declared that
sufficient had been unladen for that evening and that it was too dark and
he too tired for further work. So, giving a handful of stivers among the
workmen, he bade them go ashore at once and have some beer and come next
morning for the rest of the cargo. Fortunately, they accepted his
hospitable proposition and took their departure. Only the servant of the
captain of the guard lingered behind, complaining that the turf was not
as good as usual and that his master would never be satisfied with it.

"Ah!" returned the cool skipper, "the best part of the cargo is
underneath. This is expressly reserved for the captain. He is sure to get
enough of it to-morrow."

Thus admonished, the servant departed and the boatman was left to
himself. His companion had gone on shore with secret orders to make the
best of his way to Prince Maurice, to inform him of the arrival of the
ship within the fortress, and of the important fact which they had just
learned, that Governor Lanzavecchia, who had heard rumours of some
projected enterprise and who suspected that the object aimed at was
Gertruydenberg, had suddenly taken his departure for that city, leaving
as his lieutenant his nephew Paolo, a raw lad quite incompetent to
provide for the safety of Breda.

A little before midnight, Captain Heraugiere made a brief address to his
comrades in the vessel, telling them that the hour for carrying out their
undertaking had at length arrived. Retreat was impossible, defeat was
certain death, only in complete victory lay their own safety and a great
advantage for the commonwealth. It was an honor to them to be selected
for such an enterprise. To show cowardice now would be an eternal shame
for them, and he would be the man to strike dead with his own hand any
traitor or poltroon. But if, as he doubted not, every one was prepared to
do his duty, their success was assured, and he was himself ready to take
the lead in confronting every danger.

He then divided the little band into two companies, one under himself to
attack the main guard-house, the other under Fervet to seize the arsenal
of the fortress.

Noiselessly they stole out of the ship where they had so long been
confined, and stood at last on the ground within the precincts of the
castle. Heraugiere marched straight to the guard-house.

"Who goes there?" cried a sentinel, hearing some movement in the

"A friend," replied the captain, seizing him, by the throat, and
commanding him, if he valued his life, to keep silence except when
addressed and then to speak in a whisper.

"How many are there in the garrison?" muttered Heraugiere.

"Three hundred and fifty," whispered the sentinel.

"How many?" eagerly demanded the nearest followers, not hearing the

"He says there are but fifty of them," said Heraugiere, prudently
suppressing the three hundred, in order to encourage his comrades.

Quietly as they had made their approach, there was nevertheless a stir in
the guard-house. The captain of the watch sprang into the courtyard.

"Who goes there?" he demanded in his turn.

"A friend," again replied Heraugiere, striking him dead with a single
blow as he spoke.

Others emerged with torches. Heraugiere was slightly wounded, but
succeeded, after a brief struggle, in killing a second assailant. His
followers set upon the watch who retreated into the guard-house.
Heraugiere commanded his men to fire through the doors and windows, and
in a few minutes every one of the enemy lay dead.

It was not a moment for making prisoners or speaking of quarter. Meantime
Fervet and his band had not been idle. The magazine-house of the castle
was seized, its defenders slain. Young Lanzavecchia made a sally from the
palace, was wounded and driven back together with a few of his adherents.

The rest of the garrison fled helter-skelter into the town. Never had the
musketeers of Italy--for they all belonged to Spinola's famous Sicilian
Legion--behaved so badly. They did not even take the precaution to
destroy the bridge between the castle and the town as they fled
panic-stricken before seventy Hollanders. Instead of encouraging the
burghers to their support they spread dismay, as they ran, through every

Young Lanzavecchia, penned into a corner of the castle; began to parley;
hoping for a rally before a surrender should be necessary. In the midst
of the negotiation and a couple of hours before dawn, Hohenlo; duly
apprised by the boatman, arrived with the vanguard of Maurice's troops
before the field-gate of the fort. A vain attempt was made to force this
portal open, but the winter's ice had fixed it fast. Hohenlo was obliged
to batter down the palisade near the water-gate and enter by the same
road through which the fatal turf-boat had passed.

Soon after he had marched into the town at the head of a strong
detachment, Prince Maurice himself arrived in great haste, attended by
Philip Nassau, the Admiral Justinus Nassau, Count Solms, Peter van der
Does, and Sir Francis Vere, and followed by another body of picked
troops; the musicians playing merrily that national air, then as now so
dear to Netherlanders--

          "Wilhelmus van Nassouwen
          Ben ick van Duytaem bloed."

The fight was over. Some forty of the garrison had been killed, but not a
man of the attacking party. The burgomaster sent a trumpet to the prince
asking permission to come to the castle to arrange a capitulation; and
before sunrise, the city and fortress of Breda had surrendered to the
authority of the States-General and of his Excellency.

The terms were moderate. The plundering was commuted for the payment of
two months' wages to every soldier engaged in the affair. Burghers who
might prefer to leave the city were allowed to do so with protection to
life, and property. Those who were willing to remain loyal citizens were
not to be molested, in their consciences or their households, in regard
to religion. The public exercise of Catholic rites was however suspended
until the States-General should make some universal provision on this

Subsequently, it must be allowed, the bargain of commutation proved a bad
one for the burghers. Seventy men had in reality done the whole work, but
so many soldiers, belonging to the detachments who marched in after the
fortress had been taken, came forward to claim their months' wages as to
bring the whole amount required above one hundred thousand florins. The
Spaniards accordingly reproached Prince Maurice with having fined his own
patrimonial city more heavily than Alexander Farnese had mulcted Antwerp,
which had been made to pay but four hundred thousand florins, a far less
sum in proportion to the wealth and importance of the place.

Already the Prince of Parma, in the taking of Breda, saw verified his
predictions of the disasters about to fall on the Spanish interests in
the Netherlands, by reason of Philip's obstinate determination to
concentrate all his energies on the invasion of France. Alexander had
been unable, in the midst of preparations for his French campaign, to
arrest this sudden capture, but his Italian blood was on fire at the
ignominy which had come upon the soldiership of his countrymen. Five
companies of foot and one of horse-picked troops of Spain and Italy--had
surrendered a wealthy, populous town and a well-fortified castle to a
mud-scow, and had fled shrieking in dismay from the onset of seventy
frost-bitten Hollanders.

It was too late to save the town, but he could punish, as it deserved,
the pusillanimity of the garrison.

Three captains--one of them rejoicing in the martial name of Cesar
Guerra--were publicly beheaded in Brussels. A fourth, Ventimiglia, was
degraded but allowed to escape with life, on account of his near
relationship to the Duke of Terranova, while Governor Lanzavecchia was
obliged to resign the command of Gertruydenberg. The great commander knew
better than to encourage the yielding up of cities and fortresses by a
mistaken lenity to their unlucky defenders.

Prince Maurice sent off letters the same night announcing his success to
the States-General. Hohenlo wrote pithily to Olden-Barneveld--"The castle
and town of Breda are ours, without a single man dead on our side. The
garrison made no resistance but ran distracted out of the town."

The church bells rang and bonfires blazed and cannon thundered in every
city in the United Provinces to commemorate this auspicious event.
Olden-Barneveld, too, whose part in arranging the scheme was known to
have been so valuable, received from the States-General a magnificent
gilded vase with sculptured representations of the various scenes in the
drama, and it is probable that not more unmingled satisfaction had been
caused by any one event of the war than by this surprise of Breda.

The capture of a single town, not of first-rate importance either, would
hardly seem too merit so minute a description as has been given in the
preceding pages. But the event, with all its details, has been preserved
with singular vividness in Netherland story. As an example of daring,
patience, and complete success, it has served to encourage the bold
spirits of every generation and will always inspire emulation in
patriotic hearts of every age and clime, while, as the first of a series
of audacious enterprises by which Dutch victories were to take the place
of a long procession of Spanish triumphs on the blood-stained soil of the
provinces, it merits, from its chronological position, a more than
ordinary attention.

In the course of the summer Prince Maurice, carrying out into practice
the lessons which he had so steadily been pondering, reduced the towns
and strong places of Heyl, Flemert, Elshout, Crevecoeur, Hayden,
Steenberg, Rosendaal, and Osterhout. But his time, during the remainder
of the year 1590, was occupied with preparations for a campaign on an
extended scale and with certain foreign negotiations to which it will
soon be necessary to direct the reader's attention.


   Struggle of the United Provinces against Philip of Spain--Progress
   of the Republic--Influence of Geographical position on the fate of
   the Netherlands--Contrast offered by America--Miserable state of the
   so--called "obedient" provinces--Prosperity of the Commonwealth--Its
   internal government--Tendency to provincialism--Quibbles of the
   English Members of the Council, Wilkes and Bodley--Exclusion of
   Olden-Barneveld from the State Council--Proposals of Philip for
   mediation with the United Provinces--The Provinces resolutely
   decline all proffers of intervention.

The United Provinces had now been engaged in unbroken civil war for a
quarter of a century. It is, however, inaccurate to designate this great
struggle with tyranny as a civil war. It was a war for independence,
maintained by almost the whole population of the United Provinces against
a foreigner, a despot, alien to their blood, ignorant of their language,
a hater of their race, a scorner of their religion, a trampler upon their
liberties, their laws, and institutions--a man who had publicly declared
that he would rather the whole nation were exterminated than permitted to
escape from subjection to the Church of Rome. Liberty of speech, liberty
of the press, liberty of thought on political, religious, and social
questions existed within those Dutch pastures and Frisian swamps to a far
greater degree than in any other part of the world at that day; than in
very many regions of Christendom in our own time. Personal slavery was
unknown. In a large portion of their territory it had never existed. The
free Frisians, nearest blood-relations of, in this respect, the less
favoured Anglo-Saxons, had never bowed the knee to the feudal system, nor
worn nor caused to be worn the collar of the serf. In the battles for
human liberty no nation has stood with cleaner hands before the great
tribunal, nor offered more spotless examples of patriotism to be emulated
in all succeeding ages, than the Netherlanders in their gigantic struggle
with Philip of Spain. It was not a class struggling for their own
privileges, but trampling on their fellow-men in a lower scale of
humanity. Kings and aristocrats sneered at the vulgar republic where Hans
Miller, Hans Baker, and Hans Brewer enjoyed political rights end prated
of a sovereignty other than that of long-descended races and of anointed
heads. Yet the pikemen of Spain and the splendid cavalry and musketeers
of Italy and Burgundy, who were now beginning to show their backs both
behind entrenchments and in the open field to their republican foes,
could not deny the valour with which the battles of liberty were fought;
while Elizabeth of England, maintainer, if such ever were, of hereditary
sovereignty and hater of popular freedom, acknowledged that for wisdom in
council, dignity and adroitness in diplomatic debate, there were none to
surpass the plain burgher statesmen of the new republic.

And at least these Netherlanders were consistent with themselves. They
had come to disbelieve in the mystery of kingcraft, in the divine
speciality of a few transitory mortals to direct the world's events and
to dictate laws to their fellow-creatures. What they achieved was for the
common good of all. They chose to live in an atmosphere of blood and fire
for generation after generation rather than flinch from their struggle
with despotism, for they knew that, cruel as the sea, it would swallow
them all at last in one common destruction if they faltered or paused.
They fought for the liberty of all. And it is for this reason that the
history of this great conflict deserved to be deeply pondered by those
who have the instinct of human freedom. Had the Hollanders basely sunk
before the power of Spain, the proud history of England, France, and
Germany would have been written in far different terms. The blood and
tears which the Netherlanders caused to flow in their own stormy days
have turned to blessings for remotest climes and ages. A pusillanimous
peace, always possible at any period of their war, would have been hailed
with rapture by contemporary statesmen, whose names have vanished from
the world's memory; but would have sown with curses and misery the soil
of Europe for succeeding ages. The territory of the Netherlands is narrow
and meagre. It is but a slender kingdom now among the powers of the
earth. The political grandeur of nations is determined by physical causes
almost as much as by moral ones. Had the cataclysm which separated the
fortunate British islands from the mainland happened to occur, instead,
at a neighbouring point of the earth's crust; had the Belgian, Dutch,
German and Danish Netherland floated off as one island into the sea,
while that famous channel between two great rival nations remained dry
land, there would have been a different history of the world.

But in the 16th century the history of one country was not an isolated
chapter of personages and events. The history of the Netherlands is
history of liberty. It was now combined with the English, now with
French, with German struggles for political and religious freedom, but it
is impossible to separate it from the one great complex which makes up
the last half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth

At that day the Netherland republic was already becoming a power of
importance in the political family of Christendom. If, in spite of her
geographical disadvantages, she achieved so much, how much vaster might
her power have grown, how much stronger through her example might popular
institutions throughout the world have become, and how much more pacific
the relations of European tribes, had nature been less niggard in her
gifts to the young commonwealth. On the sea she was strong, for the ocean
is the best of frontiers; but on land her natural boundaries faded
vaguely away, without strong physical demarcations and with no sharply
defined limits of tongue, history or race. Accident or human caprice
seemed to have divided German Highland from German Netherland; Belgic
Gaul from the rest of the Gallic realm. And even from the slender body,
which an arbitrary destiny had set off for centuries into a separate
organism, tyranny and religious bigotry had just hewn another portion
away. But the commonwealth was already too highly vitalized to permit
peaceful dismemberment. Only the low organisms can live in all their
parts after violent separations. The trunk remained, bleeding but alive
and vigorous, while the amputated portion lay for centuries in fossilized

Never more plainly than in the history of this commonwealth was the
geographical law manifested by which the fate of nations is so deeply
influenced. Courage, enterprise amounting almost to audacity, and a
determined will confronted for a long lapse of time the inexorable, and
permitted a great empire to germinate out of a few sand-banks held in
defiance of the ocean, and protected from human encroachments on the
interior only by the artificial barrier of custom-house and fort.

Thus foredoomed at birth, it must increase our admiration of human energy
and of the sustaining influence of municipal liberty that the republic,
even if transitory, should yet have girdled the earth with its
possessions and held for a considerable period so vast a portion of the
world in fee.

What a lesson to our transatlantic commonwealth, whom bountiful nature
had blessed at her birth beyond all the nations of history and seemed to
speed upon an unlimited career of freedom and peaceful prosperity, should
she be capable at the first alarm on her track to throw away her
inestimable advantages! If all history is not a mockery and a fable, she
may be sure that the nation which deliberately carves itself in pieces
and, substitutes artificial boundaries for the natural and historic ones,
condemns itself either to extinction or to the lower life of political
insignificance and petty warfare, with the certain loss of liberty and
national independence at last. Better a terrible struggle, better the
sacrifice of prosperity and happiness for years, than the eternal setting
of that great popular hope, the United American Republic.

I speak in this digression only of the relations of physical nature to
liberty and nationality, making no allusion to the equally stringent
moral laws which no people can violate and yet remain in health and

Despite a quarter of a century of what is commonly termed civil war, the
United Netherlands were prosperous and full of life. It was in the
provinces which had seceded from the union of Utrecht that there was
silence as of the grave, destitution, slavery, abject submission to a
foreign foe. The leaders in the movement which had brought about the
scission of 1579--commonly called the 'Reconciliation'--enjoyed military
and civil posts under a foreign tyrant, but were poorly rewarded for
subserviency in fighting against their own brethren by contumely on the
part of their masters. As for the mass of the people it would be
difficult to find a desolation more complete than that recorded of the
"obedient" provinces. Even as six years before, wolves littered their
whelps in deserted farmhouses, cane-brake and thicket usurped the place
of cornfield and, orchard, robbers swarmed on the highways once thronged
by a most thriving population, nobles begged their bread in the streets
of cities whose merchants once entertained emperors and whose wealth and
traffic were the wonder of the world, while the Spanish viceroy formally
permitted the land in the agricultural districts to be occupied and
farmed by the first comer for his own benefit, until the vanished
proprietors of the soil should make their re-appearance.

"Administered without justice or policy," said a Netherlander who was
intensely loyal to the king and a most uncompromising Catholic, "eaten up
and abandoned for that purpose to the arbitrary will of foreigners who
suck the substance and marrow of the land without benefit to the king,
gnaw the obedient cities to the bones, and plunder the open defenceless
country at their pleasure, it may be imagined how much satisfaction these
provinces take in their condition. Commerce and trade have ceased in a
country which traffic alone has peopled, for without it no human
habitation could be more miserable and poor than our land."--[Discours du
Seigneur de Champagny sur les affaires des Pays Bas, 21 Dec. 1589. Bibl.
de Bourgogne, MS. No. 12,962.]

Nothing could be more gloomy than the evils thus described by the
Netherland statesman and soldier, except the remedy which he suggested.
The obedient provinces, thus scourged and blasted for their obedience,
were not advised to improve their condition by joining hands with their
sister States, who had just constituted themselves by their noble
resistance to royal and ecclesiastical tyranny into a free and powerful
commonwealth. On the contrary, two great sources of regeneration and
prosperity were indicated, but very different ones from those in which
the republic had sought and found her strength. In the first place, it
was suggested as indispensable that the obedient provinces should have
more Jesuits and more Friars. The mendicant orders should be summoned to
renewed exertions, and the king should be requested to send seminary
priests to every village in numbers proportionate to the population, who
should go about from house to house, counting the children, and seeing
that they learned their catechism if their parents did not teach them,
and, even in case they did, examining whether it was done thoroughly and
without deception.

In the second place it was laid down as important that the bishops should
confirm no one who had not been sufficiently catechized. "And if the
mendicant orders," said Champagny, "are not numerous enough for these
catechizations, the Jesuits might charge themselves therewith, not more
and not less than the said mendicants, some of each being deputed to each
parish. To this end it would be well if his Majesty should obtain from
the Pope a command to the Jesuits to this effect, since otherwise they
might not be willing to comply. It should also be ordered that all
Jesuits, natives of these provinces, should return hither, instead of
wandering about in other regions as if their help were not so necessary

It was also recommended that the mendicant friars should turn their
particular attention to Antwerp, and that one of them should preach in
French, another in German, another in English, every day at the opening
of the Exchange.

With these appliances it was thought that Antwerp would revive out of its
ruins and, despite the blockade of its river, renew its ancient
commercial glories. Founded on the substantial rocks of mendicancy and
jesuitism, it might again triumph over its rapidly rising rival, the
heretic Amsterdam, which had no better basis for its grandeur than
religious and political liberty, and uncontrolled access to the ocean.

Such were the aspirations of a distinguished and loyal Netherlander for
the regeneration of his country. Such were his opinions as to the true
sources of the wealth and greatness of nations. Can we wonder that the
country fell to decay, or that this experienced, statesman and brave
soldier should himself, after not many years, seek to hide his
dishonoured head under the cowl of a monk?

The coast of the obedient provinces was thoroughly blockaded. The United
Provinces commanded the sea, their cruisers, large and small, keeping
diligent watch off every port and estuary of the Flemish coast, so that
not a herringboat could enter without their permission. Antwerp, when it
fell into the hands of the Spaniard, sank for ever from its proud
position. The city which Venetians but lately had confessed with a sigh
to be superior in commercial grandeur to their own magnificent capital,
had ceased to be a seaport. Shut in from the ocean by Flushing--firmly
held by an English garrison as one of the cautionary towns for the
Queen's loan--her world-wide commerce withered before men's eyes. Her
population was dwindling to not much more than half its former numbers,
while Ghent, Bruges, and other cities were diminished by two-thirds.

On the other hand, the commerce and manufactures of the United Republic
had enormously augmented. Its bitterest enemies bore witness to the
sagacity and success by which its political affairs were administered,
and to its vast superiority in this respect over the obedient provinces.
"The rebels are not ignorant of our condition," said Champagny, "they are
themselves governed with consummate wisdom, and they mock at those who
submit themselves to the Duke of Parma. They are the more confirmed in
their rebellion, when they see how many are thronging from us to them,
complaining of such bad government, and that all take refuge in flight
who can from the misery and famine which it has caused throughout these
provinces!" The industrial population had flowed from the southern
provinces into the north, in obedience to an irresistible law. The
workers in iron, paper, silk, linen, lace, the makers of brocade,
tapestry, and satin, as well as of all the coarser fabrics, had fled from
the land of oppression to the land of liberty. Never in the history of
civilisation had there been a more rapid development of human industry
than in Holland during these years of bloodiest warfare. The towns were
filled to overflowing. Amsterdam multiplied in wealth and population as
fast as Antwerp shrank. Almost as much might be said of Middelburg,
Enkhuyzen, Horn, and many other cities. It is the epoch to which the
greatest expansion of municipal architecture is traced. Warehouses,
palaces, docks, arsenals, fortifications, dykes, splendid streets and
suburbs, were constructed on every side, and still there was not room for
the constantly increasing population, large numbers of which habitually
dwelt in the shipping. For even of that narrow span of earth called the
province of Holland, one-third was then interior water, divided into five
considerable lakes, those of Harlem, Schermer, Beemster, Waert, and
Purmer. The sea was kept out by a magnificent system of dykes under the
daily superintendence of a board of officers, called dyke-graves, while
the rain-water, which might otherwise have drowned the soil thus
painfully reclaimed, was pumped up by windmills and drained off through
sluices opening and closing with the movement of the tides.

The province of Zeeland was one vast "polder." It was encircled by an
outer dyke of forty Dutch equal to one hundred and fifty English, miles
in extent, and traversed by many interior barriers. The average cost of
dyke-building was sixty florins the rod of twelve feet, or 84,000 florins
the Dutch mile. The total cost of the Zeeland dykes was estimated at
3,360,000 florins, besides the annual repairs.

But it was on the sea that the Netherlanders were really at home, and
they always felt it in their power--as their last resource against
foreign tyranny--to bury their land for ever in the ocean, and to seek a
new country at the ends of the earth. It has always been difficult to
doom to political or personal slavery a nation accustomed to maritime
pursuits. Familiarity with the boundless expanse of ocean, and the habit
of victoriously contending with the elements in their stormy strength,
would seem to inspire a consciousness in mankind of human dignity and
worth. With the exception of Spain, the chief seafaring nations of the
world were already protestant. The counter-league, which was to do battle
so strenuously with the Holy Confederacy, was essentially a maritime
league. "All the maritime heretics of the world, since heresy is best
suited to navigators, will be banded together," said Champagny, "and then
woe to the Spanish Indies, which England and Holland are already

The Netherlanders had been noted from earliest times for a free-spoken
and independent personal demeanour. At this epoch they were taking the
lead of the whole world in marine adventure. At least three thousand
vessels of between one hundred and four hundred tons, besides innumerable
doggers, busses, cromstevens, and similar craft used on the rivers and in
fisheries, were to be found in the United Provinces, and one thousand, it
was estimated, were annually built.

They traded to the Baltic regions for honey, wax, tallow, lumber, iron,
turpentine, hemp. They brought from farthest Indies and from America all
the fabrics of ancient civilisation, all the newly discovered products of
a virgin soil, and dispensed them among the less industrious nations of
the earth. Enterprise, led on and accompanied by science, was already
planning the boldest flights into the unknown yet made by mankind, and it
will soon be necessary to direct attention to those famous arctic
voyages, made by Hollanders in pursuit of the north-west passage to
Cathay, in which as much heroism, audacity, and scientific intelligence
were displayed as in later times have made so many men belonging to both
branches of the Anglo-Saxon race illustrious. A people, engaged in
perennial conflict with a martial and sacerdotal despotism the most
powerful in the world, could yet spare enough from its superfluous
energies to confront the dangers of the polar oceans, and to bring back
treasures of science to enrich the world.

Such was the spirit of freedom. Inspired by its blessed influence this
vigorous and inventive little commonwealth triumphed over all human, all
physical obstacles in its path. It organised armies on new principles to
drive the most famous legions of history from its soil. It built navies
to help rescue, at critical moments, the cause of England, of
Protestantism, of civil liberty, and even of French nationality. More
than all, by its trade with its arch-enemy, the republic constantly
multiplied its resources for destroying his power and aggrandizing its

The war navy of the United Provinces was a regular force of one hundred
ships--large at a period when a vessel of thirteen hundred tons was a
monster--together with an indefinite number of smaller craft, which could
be put into the public service on short notice? In those days of close
quarters and light artillery a merchant ship was converted into a cruiser
by a very simple, process. The navy was a self-supporting one, for it was
paid by the produce of convoy fees and licenses to trade. It must be
confessed that a portion of these revenues savoured much of black-mail to
be levied on friend and foe; for the distinctions between, freebooter,
privateer, pirate, and legitimate sea-robber were not very closely drawn
in those early days of seafaring.

Prince Maurice of Nassau was lord high admiral, but he was obliged to
listen to the counsels of various provincial boards of admiralty, which
often impeded his action and interfered with his schemes.

It cannot be denied that the inherent vice of the Netherland polity was
already a tendency to decentralisation and provincialism. The civil
institutions of the country, in their main characteristics, have been
frequently sketched in these pages. At this period they had entered
almost completely into the forms which were destined to endure until the
commonwealth fell in the great crash of the French Revolution. Their
beneficial effects were more visible now--sustained and bound together as
the nation was by the sense of a common danger, and by the consciousness
of its daily developing strength--than at a later day when prosperity and
luxury had blunted the fine instincts of patriotism.

The supreme power, after the deposition of Philip, and the refusal by
France and by England to accept the sovereignty of the provinces, was
definitely lodged in the States-General. But the States-General did not
technically represent the people. Its members were not elected by the
people. It was a body composed of, delegates from each provincial
assembly, of which there were now five: Holland, Zeeland, Friesland,
Utrecht, and Gelderland. Each provincial assembly consisted again of
delegates, not from the inhabitants of the provinces, but from the
magistracies of the cities. Those, magistracies, again, were not elected
by the citizens. They elected themselves by renewing their own vacancies,
and were, in short, immortal corporations. Thus, in final analysis, the
supreme power was distributed and localised among the mayors and aldermen
of a large number of cities, all independent alike of the people below
and of any central power above.

It is true that the nobles, as, a class, had a voice in the provincial
and, in the general assembly, both for themselves and as technical
representatives of the smaller towns and of the rural population. But, as
a matter of fact, the influence of this caste had of late years very
rapidly diminished, through its decrease in numbers, and the far more
rapid increase in wealth and power of the commercial and manufacturing
classes. Individual nobles were constantly employed in the military,
civil, and diplomatic service of the republic, but their body had ceased
to be a power. It had been the policy of William the Silent to increase
the number of cities entitled to send deputies to the States; for it was
among the cities that his resistance to the tyranny of Spain, and his
efforts to obtain complete independence for his country, had been mainly
supported. Many of the great nobles, as has been seen in these pages,
denounced the liberator and took sides with the tyrant. Lamoral Egmont
had walked to the scaffold to which Philip had condemned him, chanting a
prayer for Philip's welfare. Egmont's eldest son was now foremost in the
Spanish army, doing battle against his own country in behalf of the
tyrant who had taken his father's life. Aremberg and Ligny, Arachot,
Chimay, Croy, Caprea, Montigny, and most of the great patrician families
of the Netherlands fought on the royal side.

The revolution which had saved the country from perdition and created the
great Netherland republic was a burgher revolution, and burgher statesmen
now controlled the State. The burgher class of Europe is not the one that
has been foremost in the revolutionary movements of history, or that has
distinguished itself--especially in more modern times--by a passionate
love of liberty. It is always easy to sneer at Hans Miller and Hans
Baker, and at the country where such plebeians are powerful. Yet the
burghers played a prominent part in the great drama which forms my theme,
and there has rarely been seen a more solid or powerful type of their
class than the burgher statesman, John of Olden-Barneveld, who, since the
death of William the Silent and the departure of Lord Leicester, had
mainly guided the destinies of Holland. Certainly no soldier nor
statesman who ever measured intellects with that potent personage was apt
to treat his genius otherwise than with profound respect.

But it is difficult to form a logical theory of government except on the
fiction of divine right as a basis, unless the fact of popular
sovereignty, as expressed by a majority, be frankly accepted in spite of
philosophical objections.

In the Netherlands there was no king, and strictly speaking no people.
But this latter and fatal defect was not visible in the period of danger
and of contest. The native magistrates of that age were singularly pure,
upright, and patriotic. Of this there is no question whatever. And the
people acquiesced cheerfully in their authority, not claiming a larger
representation than such as they virtually possessed in the multiple
power exercised over them, by men moving daily among them, often of
modest fortunes and of simple lives. Two generations later, and in the
wilderness of Massachusetts, the early American colonists voluntarily
placed in the hands of their magistrates, few in number, unlimited
control of all the functions of government, and there was hardly an
instance known of an impure exercise of authority. Yet out of that simple
kernel grew the least limited and most powerful democracy ever known.

In the later days of Netherland history a different result became
visible, and with it came the ruin of the State. The governing class, of
burgher origin, gradually separated itself from the rest of the citizens,
withdrew from commercial pursuits, lived on hereditary fortunes in the
exercise of functions which were likewise virtually hereditary, and so
became an oligarchy. This result, together with the physical causes
already indicated, made the downfall of the commonwealth probable
whenever it should be attacked by an overwhelming force from without.

The States-General, however, at this epoch--although they had in a manner
usurped the sovereignty, which in the absence of a feudal lord really
belonged to the whole people, and had silently repossessed themselves of
those executive functions which they had themselves conferred upon the
state council--were at any rate without self-seeking ambition. The
Hollanders, as a race, were not office seekers, but were singularly
docile to constituted authority, while their regents--as the municipal
magistrates were commonly called--were not very far removed above the
mass by birth or habitual occupation. The republic was a social and
political fact, against which there was no violent antagonism either of
laws or manners, and the people, although not technically existing, in
reality was all in all. In Netherland story the People is ever the true
hero. It was an almost unnoticed but significant revolution--that by
which the state council was now virtually deprived of its authority.
During Leicester's rule it had been a most important college of
administration. Since his resignation it had been entrusted by the
States-General with high executive functions, especially in war matters.
It was an assembly of learned counsellors appointed from the various
provinces for wisdom and experience, usually about eighteen in number,
and sworn in all things to be faithful to the whole republic. The
allegiance of all was rendered to the nation. Each individual member was
required to "forswear his native province in order to be true to the
generality." They deliberated in common for the general good, and were
not hampered by instructions from the provincial diets, nor compelled to
refer to those diets for decision when important questions were at issue.
It was an independent executive committee for the whole republic.

But Leicester had made it unpopular. His intrigues, in the name of
democracy, to obtain possession of sovereign power, to inflame the lower
classes against the municipal magistracies, and to excite the clergy to
claim a political influence to which they were not entitled and which was
most mischievous in its effects, had exposed the state council, with
which he had been in the habit of consulting, to suspicion.

The Queen of England, by virtue of her treaty had the right to appoint
two of her subjects to be members of the council. The governor of her
auxiliary forces was also entitled to a seat there. Since the
malpractices of Leicester and the danger to which the country had been,
subjected in consequence had been discovered, it was impossible that
there should be very kindly feeling toward England in the public mind,
however necessary a sincere alliance between the two countries was known
to be for the welfare of both.

The bickering of the two English councillors, Wilkes and Bodley, and of
the governor of the English contingent with the Hollanders, was
incessant. The Englishmen went so far as to claim the right of veto upon
all measures passed by the council, but the States-General indignantly
replied that the matters deliberated and decided upon by that board were
their own affairs, not the state affairs of England. The two members and
the military officer who together represented her Majesty were entitled
to participate in the deliberations and to vote with their brother
members. For them to claim the right, however, at will to annul the
proceedings was an intolerable assumption, and could not be listened to
for a moment. Certainly it would have been strange had two Dutchmen
undertaken to veto every measure passed by the Queen's council at
Richmond or Windsor, and it was difficult to say on what article of the
contract this extraordinary privilege was claimed by Englishmen at the

Another cause of quarrel was the inability of the Englishmen to
understand the language in which the debates of the state council were

According to a custom not entirely unexampled in parliamentary history
the members of assembly and council made use of their native tongue in
discussing the state affairs of their native land. It was however
considered a grievance by the two English members that the Dutchmen
should speak Dutch, and it was demanded in the Queen's name that they
should employ some other language which a foreigner could more easily

The Hollanders however refused this request, not believing that in a
reversed case her Majesty's Council or Houses of Parliament would be
likely or competent to carry on their discussions habitually in Italian
or Latin for the benefit of a couple of strangers who might not be
familiar with English. The more natural remedy would have been for the
foreigners to take lessons in the tongue of the country, or to seek for
an interpreter among their colleagues; especially as the States, when all
the Netherlands were but provinces, had steadily refused to adopt any
language but their mother tongue, even at the demand of their sovereign

At this moment, Sir Thomas Bodley was mainly entrusted with her Majesty's
affairs at the Hague, but his overbearing demeanour, intemperate
language, and passionate style of correspondence with the States and with
the royal government, did much injury to both countries. The illustrious
Walsingham--whose death in the spring of this year England had so much
reason to deplore--had bitterly lamented, just before his death, having
recommended so unquiet a spirit for so important a place. Ortel, envoy of
the States to London, expressed his hopes that affairs would now be
handled more to the satisfaction of the States; as Bodley would be
obliged, since the death of Sir Francis, to address his letters to the
Lord High Treasurer, with whom it would be impossible for him to obtain
so much influence as he had enjoyed with the late Secretary of State.

Moreover it was exactly at this season that the Advocate of Holland,
Olden-Barneveld, was excluded from the state council. Already the
important province of Holland was dissatisfied with its influence in that
body. Bearing one-half of the whole burthen of the war it was not content
with one-quarter of the council vote, and very soon it became the custom
for the States-General to conduct all the most important affairs of the
republic.  The state council complained that even in war matters it was
not consulted, and that most important enterprises were undertaken by
Prince Maurice without its knowledge, and on advice of the Advocate
alone. Doubtless this was true, and thus, most unfortunately, the
commonwealth was degraded to a confederacy instead of becoming an
incorporate federal State. The members of the States-General--as it has
been seen were responsible only to their constituents, the separate
provinces. They avowed allegiance, each to his own province, none to the
central government. Moreover they were not representatives, but envoys,
appointed by petty provinces, bound by written orders, and obliged to
consult at every step with their sovereigns at home. The Netherland
polity was thus stamped almost at its birth with a narrow provincialism:
Delay and hesitation thus necessarily engendered were overcome in the
days of danger by patriotic fervour. The instinct of union for the sake
of the national existence was sufficiently strong, and the robust,
practical common sense of the people sufficiently enlightened to prevent
this weakness from degenerating into impotence so long as the war
pressure remained to mould them into a whole. But a day was to come for
bitterly rueing this paralysis of the imperial instincts of the people,
this indefinite decentralisation of the national strength.

For the present, the legislative and executive body was the
States-General. But the States-General were in reality the States
provincial, and the States provincial were the city municipalities, among
which the magistracies of Holland were preponderant.

Ere long it became impossible for an individual to resist the decrees of
the civic authorities. In 1591, the States-General passed a resolution by
which these arrogant corporations virtually procured their exemption from
any process at the suit of a private person to be placed on record. So
far could the principle of sovereignty be pulverized. City council boards
had become supreme.

It was naturally impossible during the long continuance of this great
struggle, that neutral nations should not be injuriously affected by it
in a variety of ways. And as a matter of course neutral nations were
disposed to counsel peace. Peace, peace; peace was the sigh of the
bystanders whose commerce was impeded, whose international relations.
were complicated, and whose own security was endangered in the course of
the bloody conflict. It was however not very much the fashion of that day
for governments to obtrude advice upon each other; or to read to each
other moral lectures. It was assumed that when the expense and sacrifice
of war had been incurred, it was for cause, and the discovery had not yet
been made that those not immediately interested in the fray were better
acquainted with its merits than, the combatants themselves, and were
moreover endued with, superhuman wisdom to see with perfect clearness
that future issue which to the parties themselves was concealed.

Cheap apothegms upon the blessings of peace and upon the expediency of
curbing the angry passions, uttered by the belligerents of yesterday to
the belligerents of to-day, did not then pass current for profound

Still the emperor Rudolph, abstaining for a time from his star-gazing,
had again thought proper to make a feeble attempt at intervention in
those sublunary matters which were supposed to be within his sphere.

It was perfectly well known that Philip was incapable of abating one jot
of his pretensions, and that to propose mediation to the United Provinces
was simply to request them, for the convenience of other powers, to
return to the slavery out of which, by the persistent efforts of a
quarter of a century, they had struggled. Nevertheless it was formally
proposed to re-open those lukewarm fountains of diplomatic commonplace in
which healing had been sought during the peace negotiations of Cologne in
the year 1579. But the States-General resolutely kept them sealed. They
simply answered his imperial Majesty by a communication of certain
intercepted correspondence between--the King of Spain and his ambassador
at Vienna, San Clemente, through which it was satisfactorily established
that any negotiation would prove as gigantic a comedy on the part of
Spain as had been the memorable conferences at Ostend, by which the
invasion of England had been masked.

There never was a possibility of mediation or of compromise except by
complete submission on the part of the Netherlanders to Crown and Church.
Both in this, as well as in previous and subsequent attempts at
negotiations, the secret instructions of Philip forbade any real
concessions on his side. He was always ready to negotiate, he was
especially anxious to obtain a suspension of arms from the rebels during
negotiation; but his agents were instructed to use great dexterity and
dissimulation in order that the proposal for such armistice, as well as
for negotiation at all, should appear to proceed, not from himself as was
the fact, but from the emperor as a neutral potentate. The king uniformly
proposed three points; firstly, that the rebels should reconvert
themselves to the Catholic religion; secondly, that they should return to
their obedience to himself; thirdly, that they should pay the expenses of
the war. Number three was, however, usually inserted in order that, by
conceding it subsequently, after much contestation, he might appear
conciliatory. It was a vehicle of magnanimity towards men grown insolent
with temporary success. Numbers one and two were immutable.

Especially upon number one was concession impossible. "The Catholic
religion is the first thing," said Philip, "and although the rebels do
not cease to insist that liberty of conscience should be granted them, in
order that they may preserve that which they have had during these past
years, this is never to be thought of in any event." The king always made
free use of the terrible weapon which the Protestant princes of Germany
had placed in his hands. For indeed if it were right that one man,
because possessed of hereditary power over millions of his fellow
creatures, should compel them all to accept the dogmas of Luther or of
Calvin because agreeable to himself, it was difficult to say why another
man, in a similarly elevated position, might not compel his subjects to
accept the creed of Trent, or the doctrines of Mahomet or Confucius. The
Netherlanders were fighting--even more than they knew-for liberty of
conscience, for equality of all religions; not for Moses, nor for
Melancthon; for Henry, Philip, or Pius; while Philip justly urged that no
prince in Christendom permitted license. "Let them well understand," said
his Majesty, "that since others who live in error, hold the opinion that
vassals are to conform to the religion of their master, it is
insufferable that it should be proposed to me that my vassals should have
a different religion from mine--and that too being the true religion,
proved by so many testimonies and miracles, while all others are
deception. This must be arranged with the authority of the commissioners
of the emperor, since it is well understood by them that the vassal is
never to differ from the opinion of his master." Certainly it was worth
an eighty years' war to drive such blasphemous madness as this out of
human heads, whether crowned or shaven.

There was likewise a diet held during the summer of this year, of the
circles of the empire nearest to the Netherlands--Westphalia, Cleves,
Juliers, and Saxony--from which commissioners were deputed both to
Brussels and to the Hague, to complain of the misfortunes suffered by
neutral and neighbouring nations in consequence of the civil war.

They took nothing by their mission to the Duke of Parma. At the Hague the
deputies were heard on the 22nd August, 1590. They complained to the
States-General of "brandschatting" on the border, of the holding of forts
beyond the lines, and of other invasions of neutral territory, of the
cruising of the war-vessels of the States off the shores and on the
rivers, and of their interference with lawful traders. Threats were made
of forcible intervention and reprisals.

The united States replied on the 13th September. Expressing deep regret
that neutral nations should suffer, they pronounced it to be impossible
but that some sparks from the great fire, now desolating their land,
should fly over into their neighbours' ground. The States were fighting
the battle of liberty against slavery, in which the future generations of
Germany, as well as of the Netherlands were interested. They were
combating that horrible institution, the Holy Inquisition. They were
doing their best to strike down the universal monarchy of Spain, which
they described as a bloodthirsty, insatiable, insolent, absolute dominion
of Saracenic, Moorish Christians. They warred with a system which placed
inquisitors on the seats of judges, which made it unlawful to read the
Scriptures, which violated all oaths, suppressed all civic freedom,
trampled, on all laws and customs, raised inordinate taxes by arbitrary
decree, and subjected high and low to indiscriminate murder. Spain had
sworn the destruction of the provinces and their subjugation to her
absolute dominion, in order to carry out her scheme of universal empire.

These were the deeds and designs against which the States were waging
that war, concerning some inconvenient results of which their neighbours,
now happily neutral, were complaining. But the cause of the States was
the cause of humanity itself. This Saracenic, Moorish, universal monarchy
had been seen by Germany to murder, despoil, and trample upon the
Netherlands. It had murdered millions of innocent Indians and Granadians.
It had kept Naples and Milan in abject slavery. It had seized Portugal.
It had deliberately planned and attempted an accursed invasion of England
and Ireland. It had overrun and plundered many cities of the empire. It
had spread a web of secret intrigue about Scotland. At last it was
sending great armies to conquer France and snatch its crown. Poor France
now saw the plans of this Spanish tyranny and bewailed her misery. The
subjects of her lawful king were ordered to rise against him, on account
of religion and conscience. Such holy pretexts were used by these
Saracenic Christians in order to gain possession of that kingdom.

For all these reasons, men should not reproach the inhabitants of the
Netherlands, because seeing the aims of this accursed tyranny, they had
set themselves to resist it. It was contrary to reason to consider them
as disturbers of the general peace, or to hold them guilty of violating
their oaths or their duty to the laws of the holy empire. The
States-General were sure that they had been hitherto faithful and loyal,
and they were resolved to continue in that path.

As members of the holy empire, in part--as of old they were considered to
be--they had rather the right to expect, instead of reproaches,
assistance against the enormous power and inhuman oppression of their
enemies. They had demanded it heretofore by their ambassadors, and they
still continued to claim it. They urged that, according to the laws of
the empire, all foreign soldiers, Spaniards, Saracens, and the like
should be driven out of the limits of the empire. Through these means the
German Highland and the German Netherland might be restored once more to
their old friendship and unity, and might deal with each other again in
amity and commerce.

If, however, such requests could not be granted they at least begged his
electoral highness and the other dukes, lords, and states to put on the
deeds of Netherlanders in this laborious and heavy war the best
interpretation, in order that they might, with the better courage and
resolution, bear those inevitable burthens which were becoming daily
heavier in this task of resistance and self-protection; in order that the
provinces might not be utterly conquered, and serve, with their natural
resources and advantageous situation, as 'sedes et media belli' for the
destruction of neighbouring States and the building up of the
contemplated universal, absolute monarchy.

The United Provinces had been compelled by overpowering necessity to take
up arms. That which had resulted was and remained in 'terminis
defensionis.' Their object was to protect what belonged to them, to
recover that which by force or fraud had been taken from them.

In regard to excesses committed by their troops against neutral
inhabitants on the border, they expressed a strong regret, together with
a disposition to make all proper retribution and to cause all crimes to
be punished.

They alluded to the enormous sins of this nature practised by the enemy
against neutral soil. They recalled to mind that the Spaniards paid their
troops ill or not at all, and that they allowed them to plunder the
innocent and the neutral, while the United States had paid their troops
better wages, and more punctually, than had ever been done by the
greatest potentates of Europe. It was true that the States kept many
cruisers off the coasts and upon the rivers, but these were to protect
their own citizens and friendly traders against pirates and against the
common foe. Germany derived as much benefit from this system as did the
Provinces themselves.

Thus did the States-General, respectfully but resolutely, decline all
proffers of intervention, which, as they were well aware, could only
enure to the benefit of the enemy. Thus did they avoid being entrapped
into negotiations which could only prove the most lamentable of comedies.


     A pusillanimous peace, always possible at any period
     At length the twig was becoming the tree
     Being the true religion, proved by so many testimonies
     Certainly it was worth an eighty years' war
     Chief seafaring nations of the world were already protestant
     Conceding it subsequently, after much contestation
     Fled from the land of oppression to the land of liberty
     German Highland and the German Netherland
     Little army of Maurice was becoming the model for Europe
     Luxury had blunted the fine instincts of patriotism
     Maritime heretics
     Portion of these revenues savoured much of black-mail
     The divine speciality of a few transitory mortals
     The history of the Netherlands is history of liberty
     The nation which deliberately carves itself in pieces
     They had come to disbelieve in the mystery of kingcraft
     Worn nor caused to be worn the collar of the serf


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 62, 1590


   Philip's scheme of aggrandizement--Projected invasion of France--
   Internal condition of France--Character of Henry of Navarre--
   Preparation for action--Battle of Ivry--Victory of the French king
   over the League--Reluctance of the King to attack the French
   capital--Siege of Paris--The pope indisposed towards the League--
   Extraordinary demonstration of ecclesiastics--Influence of the
   priests--Extremities of the siege--Attempted negotiation--State of
   Philip's army--Difficult position of Farnese--March of the allies to
   the relief of Paris--Lagny taken and the city relieved--Desertion of
   the king's army--Siege of Corbeil--Death of Pope Sixtus V.--
   Re-capture of Lagny and Corbeil--Return of Parma to the Netherlands
  --Result of the expedition.

The scene of the narrative shifts to France. The history of the United
Netherlands at this epoch is a world-history. Were it not so, it would
have far less of moral and instruction for all time than it is really
capable of affording. The battle of liberty against despotism was now
fought in the hop-fields of Brabant or the polders of Friesland, now in
the narrow seas which encircle England, and now on the sunny plains of
Dauphiny, among the craggy inlets of Brittany, or along the high roads
and rivers which lead to the gates of Paris. But everywhere a noiseless,
secret, but ubiquitous negotiation was speeding with never an instant's
pause to accomplish the work which lansquenettes and riders, pikemen and
carabineers were contending for on a hundred battle-fields and amid a din
of arms which for a quarter of a century had been the regular hum of
human industry. For nearly a generation of mankind, Germans and
Hollanders, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Scotchmen, Irishmen, Spaniards and
Italians seemed to be born into the world mainly to fight for or against
a system of universal monarchy, conceived for his own benefit by a quiet
old man who passed his days at a writing desk in a remote corner of
Europe. It must be confessed that Philip II. gave the world work enough.
Whether--had the peoples governed themselves--their energies might not
have been exerted in a different direction, and on the whole have
produced more of good to the human race than came of all this blood and
awoke, may be questioned.

But the divine right of kings, associating itself with the power supreme
of the Church, was struggling to maintain that old mastery of mankind
which awakening reason was inclined to dispute. Countries and nations
being regarded as private property to be inherited or bequeathed by a few
favoured individuals--provided always that those individuals were
obedient to the chief-priest--it had now become right and proper for the
Spanish monarch to annex Scotland, England, and France to the very
considerable possessions which were already his own. Scotland he claimed
by virtue of the expressed wish of Mary to the exclusion of her heretic

France, which had been unjustly usurped by another family in times past
to his detriment, and which only a mere human invention--a "pleasantry"
as Alva had happily termed it, called the "Salic law"--prevented from
passing quietly to his daughter, as heiress to her mother, daughter of
Henry II., he was now fully bent upon making his own without further loss
of time. England, in consequence of the mishap of the year eighty-eight,
he was inclined to defer appropriating until the possession of the French
coasts, together with those of the Netherlands, should enable him to risk
the adventure with assured chances of success.

The Netherlands were fast slipping beyond his control, to be sure, as he
engaged in these endless schemes; and ill-disposed people of the day said
that the king was like Aesop's dog, lapping the river dry in order to get
at the skins floating on the surface. The Duke of Parma was driven to his
wits' ends for expedients, and beside himself with vexation, when
commanded to withdraw his ill-paid and mutinous army from the Provinces
for the purpose of invading France. Most importunate were the appeals and
potent the arguments by which he attempted to turn Philip from his
purpose. It was in vain. Spain was the great, aggressive, overshadowing
power at that day, before whose plots and whose violence the nations
alternately trembled, and it was France that now stood in danger of being
conquered or dismembered by the common enemy of all. That unhappy
kingdom, torn by intestine conflict, naturally invited the ambition and
the greediness of foreign powers. Civil war had been its condition, with
brief intervals, for a whole generation of mankind. During the last few
years, the sword had been never sheathed, while "the holy Confederacy"
and the Bearnese struggled together for the mastery. Religion was the
mantle under which the chiefs on both sides concealed their real designs
as they led on their followers year after year to the desperate conflict.
And their followers, the masses, were doubtless in earnest. A great
principle--the relation of man to his Maker and his condition in a future
world as laid down by rival priesthoods--has in almost every stage of
history had power to influence the multitude to fury and to deluge the
world in blood. And so long as the superstitious element of human nature
enables individuals or combinations of them to dictate to their
fellow-creatures those relations, or to dogmatize concerning those
conditions--to take possession of their consciences in short, and to
interpose their mummeries between man and his Creator--it is, probable
that such scenes as caused the nations to shudder, throughout so large a
portion of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries will continue to
repeat themselves at intervals in various parts of the earth. Nothing can
be more sublime than the self-sacrifice, nothing more demoniac than the
crimes, which human creatures have seemed always ready to exhibit under
the name of religion.

It was and had been really civil war in France. In the Netherlands it had
become essentially a struggle for independence against a foreign monarch;
although the germ out of which both conflicts had grown to their enormous
proportions was an effort of the multitude to check the growth of papacy.
In France, accordingly, civil war, attended by that gaunt sisterhood,
murder, pestilence, and famine, had swept from the soil almost everything
that makes life valuable. It had not brought in its train that
extraordinary material prosperity and intellectual development at which
men wondered in the Netherlands, and to which allusion has just been
made. But a fortunate conjunction of circumstances had now placed Henry
of Navarre in a position of vantage. He represented the principle of
nationality, of French unity. It was impossible to deny that he was in
the regular line of succession, now that luckless Henry of Valois slept
with his fathers, and the principle of nationality might perhaps prove as
vital a force as attachment to the Roman Church. Moreover, the adroit and
unscrupulous Bearnese knew well how to shift the mantle of religion from
one shoulder to the other, to serve his purposes or the humours of those
whom he addressed.

"The King of Spain would exclude me from the kingdom and heritage of my
father because of my religion," he said to the Duke of Saxony; "but in
that religion I am determined to persist so long as I shall live." The
hand was the hand of Henry, but it was the voice of Duplessis Mornay.

"Were there thirty crowns to win," said he, at about the same time to the
States of France, "I would not change my religion on compulsion, the
dagger at my throat. Instruct me, instruct me, I am not obstinate." There
spoke the wily freethinker, determined not to be juggled out of what he
considered his property by fanatics or priests of either church. Had
Henry been a real devotee, the fate of Christendom might have been
different. The world has long known how much misery it is in the power of
crowned bigots to inflict.

On the other hand, the Holy League, the sacred Confederacy, was catholic
or nothing. Already it was more papist than the pope, and loudly
denounced Sixtus V. as a Huguenot because he was thought to entertain a
weak admiration both for Henry the heretic and for the Jezebel of

But the holy confederacy was bent on destroying the national government
of France, and dismembering the national domain. To do this the pretext
of trampling out heresy and indefinitely extending the power of Rome, was
most influential with the multitude, and entitled the leaders to enjoy
immense power for the time being, while maturing their schemes for
acquiring permanent possession of large fragments of the national
territory. Mayenne, Nemours, Aumale, Mercoeur longed to convert temporary
governments into independent principalities. The Duke of Lorraine looked
with longing eyes on Verdun, Sedan, and, the other fair cities within the
territories contiguous--to his own domains. The reckless house of Savoy;
with whom freebooting and landrobbery seemed geographical, and hereditary
necessities, was busy on the southern borders, while it seemed easy
enough for Philip, II., in right of his daughter, to secure at least the
duchy of Brittany before entering on the sovereignty of the whole

To the eyes of the world at large: France might well seem in a condition
of hopeless disintegration; the restoration of its unity and former
position among the nations, under the government of a single chief, a
weak and wicked dream. Furious and incessant were the anathemas hurled on
the head of the Bearnese for his persistence in drowning the land in
blood in the hope of recovering a national capital which never could be
his, and of wresting from the control of the confederacy that power.
which, whether usurped or rightful, was considered, at least by the
peaceably inclined, to have become a solid fact.

The poor puppet locked in the tower of Fontenay, and entitled Charles X.;
deceived and scared no one. Such money as there was might be coined, in
its name, but Madam League reigned supreme in Paris. The confederates,
inspired by the eloquence of a cardinal legate, and supplied with funds
by the faithful, were ready to dare a thousand deaths rather than submit
to the rule of a tyrant and heretic.

What was an authority derived from the laws of the land and the history
of the race compared with the dogmas of Rome and the trained veterans of
Spain? It remained to be seen whether nationality or bigotry would
triumph. But in the early days of 1590 the prospects of nationality were
not encouraging.

Francois de Luxembourg, due de Pincey, was in Rome at that moment,
deputed by such catholic nobles of France as were friendly to Henry of
Navarre. Sixtus might perhaps be influenced as to the degree of respect
to be accorded to the envoy's representations by the events of the
campaign about to open. Meantime the legate Gaetano, young, rich,
eloquent, unscrupulous, distinguished alike for the splendour of his
house and the brilliancy of his intellect, had arrived in Paris.

Followed by a great train of adherents he had gone down to the House of
Parliament, and was about to seat himself under the dais reserved for the
king, when Brisson, first President of Parliament, plucked him back by
the arm, and caused him to take a seat immediately below his own.

Deeply was the bold president to expiate this defence of king and law
against the Holy League. For the moment however the legate contented
himself with a long harangue, setting forth the power of Rome, while
Brisson replied by an oration magnifying the grandeur of France.

Soon afterwards the cardinal addressed himself to the counteraction of
Henry's projects of conversion. For, well did the subtle priest
understand that in purging himself of heresy, the Bearnese was about to
cut the ground from beneath his enemies' feet. In a letter to the
archbishops and bishops of France, he argued the matter at length.
Especially he denied the necessity or the legality of an assembly of all
the prelates of France, such as Henry desired to afford him the requisite
"instruction" as to the respective merits of the Roman and the reformed
Church. Certainly, he urged, the Prince of Bearne could hardly require
instruction as to the tenets of either, seeing that at different times he
had faithfully professed both.

But while benches of bishops and doctors of the Sorbonne were burnishing
all the arms in ecclesiastical and legal arsenals for the approaching
fray, the sound of louder if not more potent artillery began to be heard
in the vicinity of Paris. The candid Henry, while seeking ghostly
instruction with eagerness from his papistical patrons, was equally
persevering in applying for the assistance of heretic musketeers and
riders from his protestant friends in England, Holland, Germany, and

Queen Elizabeth and the States-General vied with each other in generosity
to the great champion of protestantism, who was combating the holy league
so valiantly, and rarely has a great historical figure presented itself
to the world so bizarre of aspect, and under such shifting perplexity of
light and shade, as did the Bearnese in the early spring of 1590.

The hope of a considerable portion of the catholic nobility of his realm,
although himself an excommunicated heretic; the mainstay of Calvinism
while secretly bending all his energies to effect his reconciliation with
the pope; the idol of the austere and grimly puritanical, while himself a
model of profligacy; the leader of the earnest and the true, although
false as water himself in every relation in which human beings can stand
to each other; a standardbearer of both great branches of the Christian
Church in an age when religion was the atmosphere of men's daily lives,
yet finding his sincerest admirer, and one of his most faithful allies,
in the Grand Turk,

   [A portion of the magnificently protective letter of Sultan Amurath,
   in which he complimented Henry on his religious stedfastness, might
   almost have made the king's cheek tingle.]

the representative of national liberty and human rights against regal and
sacerdotal absolutism, while himself a remorseless despot by nature and
education, and a believer in no rights of the people save in their
privilege to be ruled by himself; it seems strange at first view that
Henry of Navarre should have been for centuries so heroic and popular an
image. But he was a soldier, a wit, a consummate politician; above all,
he was a man, at a period when to be a king was often to be something
much less or much worse.

To those accustomed to weigh and analyse popular forces it might well
seem that he was now playing an utterly hopeless game. His capital
garrisoned by the Pope and the King of Spain, with its grandees and its
populace scoffing at his pretence of authority and loathing his name;
with an exchequer consisting of what he could beg or borrow from Queen
Elizabeth--most parsimonious of sovereigns reigning over the half of a
small island--and from the States-General governing a half-born,
half-drowned little republic, engaged in a quarter of a century's warfare
with the greatest monarch in the world; with a wardrobe consisting of a
dozen shirts and five pocket-handkerchiefs, most of them ragged, and with
a commissariat made up of what could be brought in the saddle-bags of his
Huguenot cavaliers who came to the charge with him to-day, and to-morrow
were dispersed again to their mountain fastnesses; it did not seem likely
on any reasonable theory of dynamics that the power of the Bearnese was
capable of outweighing Pope and Spain, and the meaner but massive
populace of France, and the Sorbonne, and the great chiefs of the
confederacy, wealthy, long descended, allied to all the sovereigns of
Christendom, potent in territorial possessions and skilful in wielding
political influences.

"The Bearnese is poor but a gentleman of good family," said the cheerful
Henry, and it remained to-be seen whether nationality, unity, legitimate
authority, history, and law would be able to neutralise the powerful
combination of opposing elements.

The king had been besieging Dreux and had made good progress in reducing
the outposts of the city. As it was known that he was expecting
considerable reinforcements of English ships, Netherlanders, and Germans,
the chiefs of the league issued orders from Paris for an attack before he
should thus be strengthened.

For Parma, unwillingly obeying the stringent commands of his master, had
sent from Flanders eighteen hundred picked cavalry under Count Philip
Egmont to join the army of Mayenne. This force comprised five hundred
Belgian heavy dragoons under the chief nobles of the land, together with
a selection, in even proportions, of Walloon, German, Spanish, and
Italian troopers.

Mayenne accordingly crossed the Seine at Mantes with an army of ten
thousand foot, and, including Egmont's contingent, about four thousand
horse. A force under Marshal d'Aumont, which lay in Ivry at the passage
of the Eure, fell back on his approach and joined the remainder of the
king's army. The siege of Dreux was abandoned; and Henry withdrew to the
neighbourhood of Nonancourt. It was obvious that the duke meant to offer
battle, and it was rare that the king under any circumstances could be
induced to decline a combat.

On the night of the 12th-13th March, Henry occupied Saint Andre, a
village situated on an elevated and extensive plain four leagues from
Nonancourt, in the direction of Ivry, fringed on three sides by villages
and by a wood, and commanding a view of all the approaches from the
country between the Seine and Eure. It would have been better had Mayenne
been beforehand with him, as the sequel proved; but the duke was not
famed for the rapidity of his movements. During the greater part of the
night, Henry was employed in distributing his orders for that conflict
which was inevitable on the following day. His army was drawn up
according to a plan prepared by himself, and submitted to the most
experienced of his generals for their approval. He then personally
visited every portion of the encampment, speaking words of encouragement
to his soldiers, and perfecting his arrangements for the coming conflict.
Attended by Marshals d'Aumont and Biron he remained on horseback during a
portion of the night, having ordered his officers to their tents and
reconnoitred as well as he could the position of the enemy. Towards
morning he retired to his headquarters at Fourainville, where he threw
himself half-dressed on his truckle bed, and although the night was
bitterly cold, with no covering but his cloak. He was startled from his
slumber before the dawn by a movement of lights in the enemy's camp, and
he sprang to his feet supposing that the duke was stealing a march upon
him despite all his precautions. The alarm proved to be a false one, but
Henry lost no time in ordering his battle. His cavalry he divided in
seven troops or squadrons. The first, forming the left wing, was a body
of three hundred under Marshal d'Aumont, supported by two regiments of
French infantry. Next, separated by a short interval, was another troop
of three hundred under the Duke of Montpensier, supported by two other
regiments of foot, one Swiss and one German. In front of Montpensier was
Baron Biron the younger, at the head of still another body of three
hundred. Two troops of cuirassiers, each four hundred strong, were on
Biron's left, the one commanded by the Grand Prior of France, Charles
d'Angouleme, the other by Monsieur de Givry. Between the Prior and Givry
were six pieces of heavy artillery, while the battalia, formed of eight
hundred horse in six squadrons, was commanded by the king in person, and
covered on both sides by English and Swiss infantry, amounting to some
four thousand in all. The right wing was under the charge of old Marshal
Biron, and comprised three troops of horse, numbering one hundred and
fifty each, two companies of German riders, and four regiments of French
infantry. These numbers, which are probably given with as much accuracy
as can be obtained, show a force of about three thousand horse and twelve
thousand foot.

The Duke of Mayenne, seeing too late the advantage of position which he
might have easily secured the day before, led his army forth with the
early light, and arranged it in an order not very different from that
adopted by the king, and within cannon-shot of his lines. The right wing
under Marshal de la Chatre consisted of three regiments of French and one
of Germans, supporting three regiments of Spanish lancers, two cornets of
German riders under the Bastard of Brunswick, and four hundred
cuirassiers. The battalia, which was composed of six hundred splendid
cavalry, all noblemen of France, guarding the white banner of the Holy
League, and supported by a column of three thousand Swiss and two
thousand French infantry, was commanded by Mayenne in person, assisted by
his half-brother, the Duke of Nemours. In front of the infantry was a
battery of six cannon and three culverines. The left wing was commanded
by Marshal de Rene, with six regiments of French and Lorrainers, two
thousand Germans, six hundred French cuirassiers, and the mounted
troopers of Count Egmont. It is probable that Mayenne's whole force,
therefore, amounted to nearly four thousand cavalry and at least thirteen
thousand foot.

Very different was the respective appearance of the two armies, so far,
especially, as regarded the horsemen on both sides. Gay in their gilded
armour and waving plumes, with silken scarves across their shoulders, and
the fluttering favours of fair ladies on their arms or in their helmets,
the brilliant champions of the Holy Catholic Confederacy clustered around
the chieftains of the great house of Guise, impatient for the conflict.
It was like a muster for a brilliant and chivalrous tournament. The
Walloon and Flemish nobles, outrivalling even the self-confidence of
their companions in arms, taunted them with their slowness. The
impetuous Egmont, burning to eclipse the fame of his ill-fated father at
Gravelines and St. Quintin in the same holy cause, urged on the battle
with unseemly haste, loudly proclaiming that if the French were
faint-hearted he would himself give a good account of the Navarrese
prince without any assistance from them.

A cannon-shot away, the grim puritan nobles who had come forth from their
mountain fastnesses to do battle for king and law and for the rights of
conscience against the Holy League--men seasoned in a hundred
battle-fields, clad all in iron, with no dainty ornaments nor holiday
luxury of warfare--knelt on the ground, smiting their mailed breasts with
iron hands, invoking blessings on themselves and curses and confusion on
their enemies in the coming conflict, and chanting a stern psalm of
homage to the God of battles and of wrath. And Henry of France and
Navarre, descendant of Lewis the Holy and of Hugh the Great, beloved
chief of the Calvinist cavaliers, knelt among his heretic brethren, and
prayed and chanted with them. But not the staunchest Huguenot of them
all, not Duplessis, nor D'Aubigne, nor De la Noue with the iron arm, was
more devoted on that day to crown and country than were such papist
supporters of the rightful heir as had sworn to conquer the insolent
foreigner on the soil of France or die.

When this brief prelude was over, Henry made an address to his soldiers,
but its language has not been preserved. It is known, however, that he
wore that day his famous snow-white plume, and that he ordered his
soldiers, should his banner go down in the conflict, to follow wherever
and as long as that plume should be seen waving on any part of the field.
He had taken a position by which his troops had the sun and wind in their
backs, so that the smoke rolled toward the enemy and the light shone in
their eyes. The combat began with the play of artillery, which soon
became so warm that Egmont, whose cavalry--suffering and galled--soon
became impatient, ordered a charge. It was a most brilliant one. The
heavy troopers of Flanders and Hainault, following their spirited
chieftain, dashed upon old Marshal Biron, routing his cavalry, charging
clean up to the Huguenot guns and sabring the cannoneers. The shock was
square, solid, irresistible, and was followed up by the German riders
under Eric of Brunswick, who charged upon the battalia of the royal army,
where the king commanded in person.

There was a panic. The whole royal cavalry wavered, the supporting
infantry recoiled, the day seemed lost before the battle was well begun.
Yells of "Victory! Victory! up with the Holy League, down with the
heretic Bearnese," resounded through the Catholic squadrons. The king and
Marshal Biron, who were near each other, were furious with rage, but
already doubtful of the result. They exerted themselves to rally the
troops under their immediate command, and to reform the shattered ranks.

The German riders and French lancers under Brunswick and Bassompierre
had, however, not done their work as thoroughly as Egmont had done. The
ground was so miry and soft that in the brief space which separated the
hostile lines they had not power to urge their horses to full speed.
Throwing away their useless lances, they came on at a feeble canter,
sword in hand, and were unable to make a very vigorous impression on the
more heavily armed troopers opposed to them. Meeting with a firm
resistance to their career, they wheeled, faltered a little and fell a
short distance back. Many of the riders being of the reformed religion,
refused moreover to fire upon the Huguenots, and discharged their
carbines in the air.

The king, whose glance on the battle-field was like inspiration, saw the
blot and charged upon them in person with his whole battalia of cavalry.
The veteran Biron followed hard upon the snow-white plume. The scene was
changed, victory succeeded to impending defeat, and the enemy was routed.
The riders and cuirassiers, broken into a struggling heap of confusion,
strewed the ground with their dead bodies, or carried dismay into the
ranks of the infantry as they strove to escape. Brunswick went down in
the melee, mortally wounded as it was believed. Egmont renewing the
charge at the head of his victorious Belgian troopers, fell dead with a
musket-ball through his heart. The shattered German and Walloon cavalry,
now pricked forward by the lances of their companions, under the
passionate commands of Mayenne and Aumale, now fading back before the
furious charges of the Huguenots, were completely overthrown and cut to

Seven times did Henry of Navarre in person lead his troopers to the
charge; but suddenly, in the midst of the din of battle and the cheers of
victory, a message of despair went from lip to lip throughout the royal
lines. The king had disappeared. He was killed, and the hopes of
Protestantism and of France were fallen for ever with him. The white
standard of his battalia had been seen floating wildly and purposelessly
over the field; for his bannerman, Pot de Rhodes, a young noble of
Dauphiny, wounded mortally in the head, with blood streaming over his
face and blinding his sight, was utterly unable to control his horse, who
gallopped hither and thither at his own caprice, misleading many troopers
who followed in his erratic career. A cavalier, armed in proof, and
wearing the famous snow-white plume, after a hand-to-hand struggle with a
veteran of Count Bossu's regiment, was seen to fall dead by the side of
the bannerman: The Fleming, not used to boast, loudly asserted that he
had slain the Bearnese, and the news spread rapidly over the
battle-field. The defeated Confederates gained new courage, the
victorious Royalists were beginning to waver, when suddenly, between the
hostile lines, in the very midst of the battle, the king gallopped
forward, bareheaded, covered with blood and dust, but entirely unhurt. A
wild shout of "Vive le Roi!" rang through the air. Cheerful as ever, he
addressed a few encouraging words to his soldiers, with a smiling face,
and again led a charge. It was all that was necessary to complete the
victory. The enemy broke and ran away on every side in wildest confusion,
followed by the royalist cavalry, who sabred them as they fled. The panic
gained the foot-soldiers, who should have supported the cavalry, but had
not been at all engaged in the action. The French infantry threw away
their arms as they rushed from the field and sought refuge in the woods.
The Walloons were so expeditious in the race, that they never stopped
till they gained their own frontier. The day was hopelessly lost, and
although Mayenne had conducted himself well in the early part of the day,
it was certain that he was excelled by none in the celerity of his flight
when the rout had fairly begun. Pausing to draw breath as he gained the
wood, he was seen to deal blows with his own sword among the mob of
fugitives, not that he might rally them to their flag and drive them back
to another encounter, but because they encumbered his own retreat.

The Walloon carbineers, the German riders, and the French lancers,
disputing as to the relative blame to be attached to each corps, began
shooting and sabring each other, almost before they were out of the
enemy's sight. Many were thus killed. The lansquenets were all put to the
sword. The Swiss infantry were allowed to depart for their own country on
pledging themselves not again to bear arms against Henry IV.

It is probable that eight hundred of the leaguers were either killed on
the battle-field or drowned in the swollen river in their retreat. About
one-fourth of that number fell in the army of the king. It is certain
that of the contingent from the obedient Netherlands, two hundred and
seventy, including their distinguished general, lost their lives. The
Bastard of Brunswick, crawling from beneath a heap of slain, escaped with
life. Mayenne lost all his standards and all the baggage of his army,
while the army itself was for a time hopelessly dissolved.

Few cavalry actions have attained a wider celebrity in history than the
fight of Ivry. Yet there have been many hard-fought battles, where the
struggle was fiercer and closer, where the issue was for a longer time
doubtful, where far more lives on either side were lost, where the final
victory was immediately productive of very much greater results, and
which, nevertheless, have sunk into hopeless oblivion. The personal
details which remain concerning the part enacted by the adventurous king
at this most critical period of his career, the romantic interest which
must always gather about that ready-witted, ready-sworded Gascon, at the
moment when, to contemporaries, the result of all his struggles seemed so
hopeless or at best so doubtful; above all, the numerous royal and
princely names which embellished the roll-call of that famous passage of
arms, and which were supposed, in those days at least, to add such lustre
to a battle-field, as humbler names, however illustrious by valour or
virtue, could never bestow, have made this combat for ever famous.

Yet it is certain that the most healthy moral, in military affairs, to be
derived from the event, is that the importance of a victory depends less
upon itself than on the use to be made of it. Mayenne fled to Mantes, the
Duke of Nemours to Chartres, other leaders of the League in various
directions, Mayenne told every body he met that the Bearnese was killed,
and that although his own army was defeated, he should soon have another
one on foot. The same intelligence was communicated to the Duke of Parma,
and by him to Philip. Mendoza and the other Spanish agents went about
Paris spreading the news of Henry's death, but the fact seemed woefully
to lack confirmation, while the proofs of the utter overthrow and
shameful defeat of the Leaguers were visible on every side. The
Parisians--many of whom the year before had in vain hired windows in the
principal streets, in order to witness the promised entrance of the
Bearnese, bound hand and foot, and with a gag in his mouth, to swell the
triumph of Madam League--were incredulous as to the death now reported to
them of this very lively heretic, by those who had fled so ignominiously
from his troopers.

De la None and the other Huguenot chieftains, earnestly urged upon Henry
the importance of advancing upon Paris without an instant's delay, and it
seems at least extremely probable that, had he done so, the capital would
have fallen at once into his hands. It is the concurrent testimony of
contemporaries that the panic, the destitution, the confusion would have
made resistance impossible had a determined onslaught been made. And
Henry had a couple of thousand horsemen flushed with victory, and a dozen
thousand foot who had been compelled to look upon a triumph in which they
had no opportunity of sharing: Success and emulation would have easily
triumphed over dissension and despair.

But the king, yielding to the councils of Biron and other Catholics,
declined attacking the capital, and preferred waiting the slow, and in
his circumstances eminently hazardous, operations of a regular siege. Was
it the fear of giving a signal triumph to the cause of Protestantism that
caused the Huguenot leader--so soon to become a renegade--to pause in his
career? Was it anxiety lest his victorious entrance into Paris might undo
the diplomacy of his catholic envoys at Rome? or was it simply the
mutinous condition of his army, especially of the Swiss mercenaries, who
refused to advance a step unless their arrears of pay were at once
furnished them out of the utterly empty exchequer of the king? Whatever
may have been the cause of the delay, it is certain that the golden fruit
of victory was not plucked, and that although the confederate army had
rapidly dissolved, in consequence of their defeat, the king's own forces
manifested as little cohesion.

And now began that slow and painful siege, the details of which are as
terrible, but as universally known, as those of any chapters in the
blood-stained history of the century. Henry seized upon the towns
guarding the rivers Seine and Marne, twin nurses of Paris. By controlling
the course of those streams as well as that of the Yonne and
Oise--especially by taking firm possession of Lagny on the Marne, whence
a bridge led from the Isle of France to the Brie country--great
thoroughfare of wine and corn--and of Corbeil at the junction of the
little river Essonne with the Seine-it was easy in that age to stop the
vital circulation of the imperial city.

By midsummer, Paris, unquestionably the first city of Europe at that day,
was in extremities, and there are few events in history in which our
admiration is more excited by the power of mankind to endure almost
preternatural misery, or our indignation more deeply aroused by the
cruelty with which the sublimest principles of human nature may be made
to serve the purposes of selfish ambition and grovelling superstition,
than this famous leaguer.

Rarely have men at any epoch defended their fatherland against foreign
oppression with more heroism than that which was manifested by the
Parisians of 1590 in resisting religious toleration, and in obeying a
foreign and priestly despotism. Men, women, and children cheerfully laid
down their lives by thousands in order that the papal legate and the king
of Spain might trample upon that legitimate sovereign of France who was
one day to become the idol of Paris and of the whole kingdom.

A census taken at the beginning of the siege had showed a populace of two
hundred thousand souls, with a sufficiency of provisions, it was thought,
to last one month. But before the terrible summer was over--so completely
had the city been invested--the bushel of wheat was worth three hundred
and sixty crowns, rye and oats being but little cheaper. Indeed, grain
might as well have cost three thousand crowns the bushel, for the prices
recorded placed it beyond the reach of all but the extremely wealthy. The
flesh of horses, asses, dogs, cats, rats had become rare luxuries. There
was nothing cheap, said a citizen bitterly, but sermons. And the priests
and monks of every order went daily about the streets, preaching
fortitude in that great resistance to heresy, by which Paris was earning
for itself a crown of glory, and promising the most direct passage to
paradise for the souls of the wretched victims who fell daily, starved to
death, upon the pavements. And the monks and priests did their work
nobly, aiding the general resolution by the example of their own courage.
Better fed than their fellow citizens, they did military work in trench,
guard-house and rampart, as the population became rapidly unfit, from
physical exhaustion, for the defence of the city.

The young Duke of Nemours, governor of the place, manifested as much
resolution and conduct in bringing his countrymen to perdition as if the
work in which he was engaged had been the highest and holiest that ever
tasked human energies. He was sustained in his task by that proud
princess, his own and Mayenne's mother, by Madame Montpensier, by the
resident triumvirate of Spain, Mendoza, Commander Moreo, and John Baptist
Tasais, by the cardinal legate Gaetano, and, more than all, by the
sixteen chiefs of the wards, those municipal tyrants of the unhappy

Pope Sixtus himself was by no means eager for the success of the League.
After the battle of Ivry, he had most seriously inclined his ear to the
representations of Henry's envoy, and showed much willingness to admit
the victorious heretic once more into the bosom of the Church. Sixtus was
not desirous of contributing to the advancement of Philip's power. He
feared his designs on Italy, being himself most anxious at that time to
annex Naples to the holy see. He had amassed a large treasure, but he
liked best to spend it in splendid architecture, in noble fountains, in
magnificent collections of art, science, and literature, and, above all,
in building up fortunes for the children of his sister the washerwoman,
and in allying them all to the most princely houses of Italy, while never
allowing them even to mention the name of their father, so base was his
degree; but he cared not to disburse from his hoarded dollars to supply
the necessities of the League.

But Gaetano, although he could wring but fifty thousand crowns from his
Holiness after the fatal fight of Ivry, to further the good cause, was
lavish in expenditures from his own purse and from other sources, and
this too at a time when thirty-three per cent. interest was paid to the
usurers of Antwerp for one month's loan of ready money. He was
indefatigable, too, and most successful in his exhortations and ghostly
consolations to the people. Those proud priests and great nobles were
playing a reckless game, and the hopes of mankind beyond the grave were
the counters on their table. For themselves there were rich prizes for
the winning. Should they succeed in dismembering the fair land where they
were enacting their fantastic parts, there were temporal principalities,
great provinces, petty sovereignties, to be carved out of the heritage
which the Bearnese claimed for his own. Obviously then, their consciences
could never permit this shameless heretic, by a simulated conversion at
the critical moment, to block their game and restore the national unity
and laws. And even should it be necessary to give the whole kingdom,
instead of the mere duchy of Brittany, to Philip of Spain, still there
were mighty guerdons to be bestowed on his supporters before the foreign
monarch could seat himself on the throne of Henry's ancestors.

As to the people who were fighting, starving, dying by thousands in this
great cause, there were eternal rewards in another world profusely
promised for their heroism instead of the more substantial bread and
beef, for lack of which they were laying down their lives.

It was estimated that before July twelve thousand human beings in Paris
had died, for want of food, within three months. But as there were no
signs of the promised relief by the army of Parma and Mayenne, and as the
starving people at times appeared faint-hearted, their courage was
strengthened one day by a stirring exhibition.

An astonishing procession marched through the streets of the city, led by
the Bishop of Senlis and the Prior of Chartreux, each holding a halberd
in one hand and a crucifix in the other, and graced by the presence of
the cardinal-legate, and of many prelates from Italy. A lame monk,
adroitly manipulating the staff of a drum major, went hopping and limping
before them, much to the amazement of the crowd. Then came a long file of
monks-Capuchins, Bernardists, Minimes, Franciscans, Jacobins, Carmelites,
and other orders--each with his cowl thrown back, his long robes trussed
up, a helmet on his head, a cuirass on his breast, and a halberd in his
hand. The elder ones marched first, grinding their teeth, rolling their
eyes, and making other ferocious demonstrations. Then came the younger
friars, similarly attired, all armed with arquebusses, which they
occasionally and accidentally discharged to the disadvantage of the
spectators, several of whom were killed or wounded on the spot. Among
others a servant of Cardinal Gaetano was thus slain, and the even caused
much commotion, until the cardinal proclaimed that a man thus killed in
so holy a cause had gone straight to heaven and had taken his place among
the just. It was impossible, thus argued the people in their simplicity,
that so wise and virtuous a man as the cardinal should not know what was

The procession marched to the church of our Lady of Loretto, where they
solemnly promised to the blessed Virgin a lamp and ship of gold--should
she be willing to use her influence in behalf of the suffering city--to
be placed on her shrine as soon as the siege should be raised.

But these demonstrations, however cheering to the souls, had
comparatively little effect upon the bodies of the sufferers. It was
impossible to walk through the streets of Paris without stumbling over
the dead bodies of the citizens. Trustworthy eye-witnesses of those
dreadful days have placed the number of the dead during the summer at
thirty thousand. A tumultuous assemblage of the starving and the forlorn
rushed at last to the municipal palace, demanding peace or bread. The
rebels were soon dispersed however by a charge, headed by the Chevalier
d'Aumale, and assisted by the chiefs of the wards, and so soon as the
riot was quelled, its ringleader, a leading advocate, Renaud by name, was

Still, but for the energy of the priests, it is doubtful whether the city
could have been held by the Confederacy. The Duke of Nemours confessed
that there were occasions when they never would have been able to sustain
a determined onslaught, and they were daily expecting to see the Prince
of Bearne battering triumphantly at their gates.

But the eloquence of the preachers, especially of the one-eyed father
Boucher, sustained the fainting spirits of the people, and consoled the
sufferers in their dying agonies by glimpses of paradise. Sublime was
that devotion, superhuman that craft; but it is only by weapons from the
armoury of the Unseen that human creatures can long confront such horrors
in a wicked cause. Superstition, in those days at least, was a political
force absolutely without limitation, and most adroitly did the agents of
Spain and Rome handle its tremendous enginery against unhappy France. For
the hideous details of the most dreadful sieges recorded in ancient or
modern times were now reproduced in Paris. Not a revolutionary
circumstance, at which the world had shuddered in the accounts of the
siege of Jerusalem, was spared. Men devoured such dead vermin as could be
found lying in the streets. They crowded greedily around stalls in the
public squares where the skin, bones, and offal of such dogs, cats and
unclean beasts as still remained for the consumption of the wealthier
classes were sold to the populace. Over the doorways of these flesh
markets might be read "Haec runt munera pro iis qui vitam pro Philippo
profuderunt." Men stood in archways and narrow passages lying in wait for
whatever stray dogs still remained at large, noosed them, strangled them,
and like savage beasts of prey tore them to pieces and devoured them
alive. And it sometimes happened, too, that the equally hungry dog proved
the more successful in the foul encounter, and fed upon the man. A lady
visiting the Duchess of Nemours--called for the high pretensions of her
sons by her two marriages the queen-mother--complained bitterly that
mothers in Paris had been compelled to kill their own children outright
to save them from starving to death in lingering agony. "And if you are
brought to that extremity," replied the duchess, "as for the sake of our
holy religion to be forced to kill your own children, do you think that
so great a matter after all? What are your children made of more than
other people's children? What are we all but dirt and dust?" Such was the
consolation administered by the mother of the man who governed Paris, and
defended its gates against its lawful sovereign at the command of a
foreigner; while the priests in their turn persuaded the populace that it
was far more righteous to kill their own children, if they had no food to
give them, than to obtain food by recognising a heretic king.

It was related too, and believed, that in some instances mothers had
salted the bodies of their dead children and fed upon them, day by day,
until the hideous repast would no longer support their own life. They
died, and the secret was revealed by servants who had partaken of the
food. The Spanish ambassador, Mendoza, advised recourse to an article of
diet which had been used in some of the oriental sieges. The counsel at
first was rejected as coming from the agent of Spain, who wished at all
hazards to save the capital of France from falling out of the hands of
his master into those of the heretic. But dire necessity prevailed, and
the bones of the dead were taken in considerable quantities from the
cemeteries, ground into flour, baked into bread, and consumed. It was
called Madame Montpensier's cake, because the duchess earnestly
proclaimed its merits to the poor Parisians. "She was never known to
taste it herself, however," bitterly observed one who lived in Paris
through that horrible summer. She was right to abstain, for all who ate
of it died, and the Montpensier flour fell into disuse.

Lansquenets and other soldiers, mad with hunger and rage, when they could
no longer find dogs to feed on, chased children through the streets, and
were known in several instances to kill and devour them on the spot.  To
those expressing horror at the perpetration of such a crime, a leading
personage, member of the Council of Nine, maintained that there was less
danger to one's soul in satisfying one's hunger with a dead child, in
case of necessity, than in recognizing the heretic Bearnese, and he added
that all the best theologians and doctors of Paris were of his opinion.

As the summer wore on to its close, through all these horrors, and as
there were still no signs of Mayenne and Parma leading their armies to
the relief of the city, it became necessary to deceive the people by a
show of negotiation with the beleaguering army. Accordingly, the Spanish
ambassador, the legate, and the other chiefs of the Holy League appointed
a deputation, consisting of the Cardinal Gondy, the Archbishop of Lyons,
and the Abbe d'Elbene, to Henry. It soon became evident to the king,
however, that these commissioners were but trifling with him in order to
amuse the populace. His attitude was dignified and determined throughout
the interview. The place appointed was St. Anthony's Abbey, before the
gates of Paris. Henry wore a cloak and the order of the Holy Ghost, and
was surrounded by his council, the princes of the blood, and by more than
four hundred of the chief gentlemen of his army. After passing the
barricade, the deputies were received by old Marshal Biron, and conducted
by him to the king's chamber of state. When they had made their
salutations, the king led the way to an inner cabinet, but his progress
was much impeded by the crowding of the nobles about him. Wishing to
excuse this apparent rudeness, he said to the envoys: "Gentlemen, these
men thrust me on as fast to the battle against the foreigner as they now
do to my cabinet. Therefore bear with them." Then turning to the crowd,
he said: "Room, gentlemen, for the love of me," upon which they all

The deputies then stated that they had been sent by the authorities of
Paris to consult as to the means of obtaining a general peace in France.
They expressed the hope that the king's disposition was favourable to
this end, and that he would likewise permit them to confer with the Duke
of Mayenne. This manner of addressing him excited his choler. He told
Cardinal Gondy, who was spokesman of the deputation, that he had long
since answered such propositions. He alone could deal with his subjects.
He was like the woman before Solomon; he would have all the child or none
of it. Rather than dismember his kingdom he would lose the whole. He
asked them what they considered him to be. They answered that they knew
his rights, but that the Parisians had different opinions. If Paris would
only acknowledge him to be king there could be no more question of war.
He asked them if they desired the King of Spain or the Duke of Mayenne
for their king, and bade them look well to themselves. The King of Spain
could not help them, for he had too much business on hand; while Mayenne
had neither means nor courage, having been within three leagues of them
for three weeks doing nothing. Neither king nor duke should have that
which belonged to him, of that they might be assured. He told them he
loved Paris as his capital, as his eldest daughter. If the Parisians
wished to see the end of their miseries it was to him they should appeal,
not to the Spaniard nor to the Duke of Mayenne. By the grace of God and
the swords of his brave gentlemen he would prevent the King of Spain from
making a colony of France as he had done of Brazil. He told the
commissioners that they ought to die of shame that they, born Frenchmen,
should have so forgotten their love of country and of liberty as thus to
bow the head to the Spaniard, and--while famine was carrying off
thousands of their countrymen before their eyes--to be so cowardly as not
to utter one word for the public welfare from fear of offending Cardinal.
Gaetano, Mendoza, and Moreo. He said that he longed for a combat to
decide the issue, and that he had charged Count de Brissac to tell
Mayenne that he would give a finger of his right hand for a battle, and
two for a general peace. He knew and pitied the sufferings of Paris, but
the horrors now raging there were to please the King of Spain. That
monarch had told the Duke of Parma to trouble himself but little about
the Netherlands so long as he could preserve for him his city of Paris.
But it was to lean on a broken reed to expect support from this old,
decrepit king, whose object was to dismember the flourishing kingdom of
France, and to divide it among as many tyrants as he had sent viceroys to
the Indies. The crown was his own birthright. Were it elective he should
receive the suffrages of the great mass of the electors. He hoped soon to
drive those red-crossed foreigners out of his kingdom. Should he fail,
they would end by expelling the Duke of Mayenne and all the rest who had
called them in, and Paris would become the theatre of the bloodiest
tragedy ever yet enacted. The king then ordered Sir Roger Williams to see
that a collation was prepared for the deputies, and the veteran Welshman
took occasion to indulge in much blunt conversation with the guests. He
informed them that he, Mr. Sackville, and many other strangers were
serving the king from the hatred they bore the Spaniards and Mother
League, and that his royal mistress had always 8000 Englishmen ready to
maintain the cause.

While the conferences were going on, the officers and soldiers of the
besieging army thronged to the gate, and had much talk with the townsmen.
Among others, time-honoured La None with the iron arm stood near the gate
and harangued the Parisians. "We are here," said he, "five thousand
gentlemen; we desire your good, not your ruin. We will make you rich: let
us participate in your labour and industry. Undo not yourselves to serve
the ambition of a few men." The townspeople hearing the old warrior
discoursing thus earnestly, asked who he was. When informed that it was
La Noue they cheered him vociferously, and applauded his speech with the
greatest vehemence. Yet La Noue was the foremost Huguenot that the sun
shone upon, and the Parisians were starving themselves to death out of
hatred to heresy. After the collation the commissioners were permitted to
go from the camp in order to consult Mayenne.

Such then was the condition of Paris during that memorable summer of
tortures. What now were its hopes of deliverance out of this Gehenna? The
trust of Frenchmen was in Philip of Spain, whose legions, under command
of the great Italian chieftain, were daily longed for to save them from
rendering obedience to their lawful prince.

For even the king of straw--the imprisoned cardinal--was now dead, and
there was not even the effigy of any other sovereign than Henry of
Bourbon to claim authority in France. Mayenne, in the course of long
interviews with the Duke of Parma at Conde and Brussels, had expressed
his desire to see Philip king of France, and had promised his best
efforts to bring about such a result. In that case he stipulated for the
second place in the kingdom for himself, together with a good rich
province in perpetual sovereignty, and a large sum of money in hand.
Should this course not run smoothly, he would be willing to take the
crown himself, in which event he would cheerfully cede to Philip the
sovereignty of Brittany and Burgundy, besides a selection of cities to be
arranged for at a later day. Although he spoke of himself with modesty,
said Alexander, it was very plain that he meant to arrive at the crown
himself: Well had the Bearnese alluded to the judgment of Solomon. Were
not children, thus ready to dismember their mother, as foul and unnatural
as the mother who would divide her child?

And what was this dependence on a foreign tyrant really worth? As we look
back upon those dark days with the light of what was then the almost
immediate future turned full and glaring upon them, we find it difficult
to exaggerate the folly of the chief actors in those scenes of crime. Did
not the penniless adventurer, whose keen eyesight and wise recklessness
were passing for hallucination and foolhardiness in the eyes of his
contemporaries, understand the game he was playing better than did that
profound thinker, that mysterious but infallible politician, who sat in
the Escorial and made the world tremble at every hint of his lips, every
stroke of his pen?

The Netherlands--that most advanced portion of Philip's domain, without
the possession of which his conquest of England and his incorporation of
France were but childish visions, even if they were not monstrous
chimeras at best--were to be in a manner left to themselves, while their
consummate governor and general was to go forth and conquer France at the
head of a force with which he had been in vain attempting to hold those
provinces to their obedience. At that very moment the rising young
chieftain of the Netherlands was most successfully inaugurating his
career of military success. His armies well drilled, well disciplined,
well paid, full of heart and of hope, were threatening their ancient
enemy in every quarter, while the veteran legions of Spain and Italy,
heroes of a hundred Flemish and Frisian battle-fields, were disorganised,
starving, and mutinous. The famous ancient legion, the terzo viejo, had
been disbanded for its obstinate and confirmed unruliness. The legion of
Manrique, sixteen hundred strong, was in open mutiny at Courtray. Farnese
had sent the Prince of Ascoli to negotiate with them, but his attempts
were all in vain. Two years' arrearages--to be paid, not in cloth at four
times what the contractors had paid for it, but in solid gold--were their
not unreasonable demands after years of as hard fighting and severe
suffering as the world has often seen. But Philip, instead of ducats or
cloth, had only sent orders to go forth and conquer a new kingdom for
him. Verdugo, too, from Friesland was howling for money, garrotting and
hanging his mutinous veterans every day, and sending complaints and most
dismal forebodings as often as a courier could make his way through the
enemy's lines to Farnese's headquarters. And Farnese, on his part, was
garrotting and hanging the veterans.

Alexander did not of course inform his master that he was a mischievous
lunatic, who upon any healthy principle of human government ought long
ago to have been shut up from all communion with his species. It was very
plain, however, from his letters, that such was his innermost, thought,
had it been safe, loyal, or courteous to express it in plain language.

He was himself stung almost to madness moreover by the presence of
Commander Moreo, who hated him, who was perpetually coming over from
France to visit him, who was a spy upon all his actions, and who was
regularly distilling his calumnies into the ears of Secretary Idiaquez
and of Philip himself. The king was informed that Farnese was working for
his own ends, and was disgusted with his sovereign; that there never had
been a petty prince of Italy that did not wish to become a greater one,
or that was not jealous of Philip's power, and that there was not a
villain in all Christendom but wished for Philip's death. Moreo followed
the prince about to Antwerp, to Brussels, to Spa, whither he had gone to
drink the waters for his failing health, pestered him, lectured him,
pried upon him, counselled him, enraged him. Alexander told him at last
that he cared not if the whole world came to an end so long as Flanders
remained, which alone had been entrusted to him, and that if he was
expected to conquer France it would be as well to give him the means of
performing that exploit. So Moreo told the king that Alexander was
wasting time and wasting money, that he was the cause of Egmont's
overthrow, and that he would be the cause of the loss of Paris and of the
downfall of the whole French scheme; for that he was determined to do
nothing to assist Mayenne, or that did not conduce to his private

Yet Farnese had been not long before informed in sufficiently plain
language, and by personages of great influence, that in case he wished to
convert his vice-royalty of the Netherlands into a permanent sovereignty,
he might rely on the assistance of Henry of Navarre, and perhaps of Queen
Elizabeth. The scheme would not have been impracticable, but the duke
never listened to it for a moment.

If he were slow in advancing to the relief of starving, agonising Paris,
there were sufficient reasons for his delay. Most decidedly and bitterly,
but loyally, did he denounce the madness of his master's course in all
his communications to that master's private ear.

He told him that the situation in which he found himself was horrible. He
had no money for his troops, he had not even garrison bread to put in
their mouths. He had not a single stiver to advance them on account. From
Friesland, from the Rhine country, from every quarter, cries of distress
were rising to heaven, and the lamentations were just. He was in absolute
penury. He could not negotiate a bill on the royal account, but had
borrowed on his own private security a few thousand crowns which he had
given to his soldiers. He was pledging his jewels and furniture like a
bankrupt, but all was now in vain to stop the mutiny at Courtray. If that
went on it would be of most pernicious example, for the whole army was
disorganised, malcontent, and of portentous aspect. "These things," said
he, "ought not to surprise people of common understanding, for without
money, without credit, without provisions, and in an exhausted country,
it is impossible to satisfy the claims, or even to support the life of
the army." When he sent the Flemish cavalry to Mayenne in March, it was
under the impression that with it that prince would have maintained his
reputation and checked the progress of the Bearnese until greater
reinforcements could be forwarded. He was now glad that no larger number
had been sent, for all would have been sacrificed on the fatal field of

The country around him was desperate, believed itself abandoned, and was
expecting fresh horrors everyday. He had been obliged to remove portions
of the garrisons at Deventer and Zutphen purely to save them from
starving and desperation. Every day he was informed by his garrisons that
they could feed no longer on fine words or hopes, for in them they found
no sustenance.

But Philip told him that he must proceed forthwith to France, where he
was to raise the siege of Paris, and occupy Calais and Boulogne in order
to prevent the English from sending succour to the Bearnese, and in order
to facilitate his own designs on England. Every effort was to be made
before the Bearnese climbed into the seat. The Duke of Parma was to talk
no more of difficulties, but to conquer them; a noble phrase on the
battle field, but comparatively easy of utterance at the writing-desk!

At last, Philip having made some remittances, miserably inadequate for
the necessities of the case, but sufficient to repress in part the
mutinous demonstrations throughout the army, Farnese addressed himself
with a heavy heart to the work required of him. He confessed the deepest
apprehensions of the result both in the Netherlands and in France. He
intimated a profound distrust of the French, who had, ever been Philip's
enemies, and dwelt on the danger of leaving the provinces, unable to
protect themselves, badly garrisoned, and starving. "It grieves me to the
soul, it cuts me to the heart," he said, "to see that your Majesty
commands things which are impossible, for it is our Lord alone that can
work miracles. Your Majesty supposes that with the little money you have
sent me, I can satisfy all the soldiers serving in these provinces,
settle with the Spanish and the German mutineers--because, if they are to
be used in the expedition, they must at least be quieted--give money to
Mayenne and the Parisians, pay retaining wages (wartgeld) to the German
Riders for the protection of these provinces, and make sure of the
maritime places where the same mutinous language is held as at Courtray.
The poverty, the discontent, and the desperation of this unhappy
country," he added, "have, been so often described to your Majesty that I
have nothing to add. I am hanging and garrotting my veterans everywhere,
only because they have rebelled for want of pay without committing any
excess. Yet under these circumstances I am to march into France with
twenty thousand troops--the least number to effect anything withal. I am
confused and perplexed because the whole world is exclaiming against me,
and protesting that through my desertion the country entrusted to my care
will come to utter perdition. On the other hand, the French cry out upon
me that I am the cause that Paris is going to destruction, and with it
the Catholic cause in France. Every one is pursuing his private ends. It
is impossible to collect a force strong enough for the necessary work.
Paris has reached its extreme unction, and neither Mayenne nor any one of
the confederates has given this invalid the slightest morsel to support
her till your Majesty's forces should arrive."

He reminded his sovereign that the country around Paris was eaten bare of
food and forage, and yet that it was quite out of the question for him to
undertake the transportation of supplies for his army all the
way--supplies from the starving Netherlands to starving France. Since the
king was so peremptory, he had nothing for it but to obey, but he
vehemently disclaimed all responsibility for the expedition, and, in case
of his death, he called on his Majesty to vindicate his honour, which his
enemies were sure to assail.

The messages from Mayenne becoming daily more pressing, Farnese hastened
as much as possible those preparations which at best were so woefully
inadequate, and avowed his determination not to fight the Bearnese if it
were possible to avoid an action. He feared, however, that with totally
insufficient forces he should be obliged to accept the chances of an

With twelve thousand foot and three thousand horse Farnese left the
Netherlands in the beginning of August, and arrived on the 3rd of that
month at Valenciennes. His little army, notwithstanding his bitter
complaints, was of imposing appearance. The archers and halberdiers of
his bodyguard were magnificent in taffety and feathers and surcoats of
cramoisy velvet. Four hundred nobles served in the cavalry. Arenberg and
Barlaymont and Chimay, and other grandees of the Netherlands, in company
with Ascoli and the sons of Terranova and Pastrana, and many more great
lords of Italy and Spain were in immediate attendance on the illustrious
captain. The son of Philip's Secretary of State, Idiaquez, and the nephew
of the cardinal-legate, Gaetano, were among the marshals of the camp.

Alexander's own natural authority and consummate powers of organisation
had for the time triumphed over the disintegrating tendencies which, it
had been seen, were everywhere so rapidly destroying the foremost
military establishment of the world. Nearly half his forces, both cavalry
and infantry, were Netherlanders; for--as if there were not graves enough
in their own little territory--those Flemings, Walloons, and Hollanders
were destined to leave their bones on both sides of every well-stricken
field of that age between liberty and despotism. And thus thousands of
them had now gone forth under the banner of Spain to assist their own
tyrant in carrying out his designs upon the capital of France, and to
struggle to the death with thousands of their own countrymen who were
following the fortunes of the Bearnese. Truly in that age it was religion
that drew the boundary line between nations.

The army was divided into three portions. The vanguard was under the
charge of the Netherland General, Marquis of Renty. The battalia was
commanded by Farnese in person, and the rearguard was entrusted to that
veteran Netherlander, La Motte, now called the Count of Everbeck. Twenty
pieces of artillery followed the last division. At Valenciennes Farnese
remained eight days, and from this place Count Charles Mansfeld took his
departure in a great rage--resigning his post as chief of artillery
because La Motte had received the appointment of general-marshal of the
camp--and returned to his father, old Peter Ernest Mansfeld, who was
lieutenant-governor of the Netherlands in Parma's absence.

Leaving Valenciennes on the 11th, the army proceeded by way of Quesney,
Guise, Soissons, Fritemilon to Meaux. At this place, which is ten leagues
from Paris, Farnese made his junction, on the 22nd of August, with
Mayenne, who was at the head of six thousand infantry--one half of them
Germans under Cobalto, and the other half French--and of two thousand

On arriving at Meaux, Alexander proceeded straightway to the cathedral,
and there, in presence of all, he solemnly swore that he had not come to
France in order to conquer that kingdom or any portion of it, in the
interests of his master, but only to render succour to the Catholic cause
and to free the friends and confederates of his Majesty from violence and
heretic oppression. Time was to show the value of that oath.

Here the deputation from Paris--the Archbishop of Lyons and his
colleagues, whose interview with Henry has just been narrated--were
received by the two dukes. They departed, taking with them promises of
immediate relief for the starving city. The allies remained five days at
Meaux, and leaving that place on the 27th, arrived in the neighbourhood
of Chelles, on the last day but one of the summer. They had a united
force of five thousand cavalry and eighteen thousand foot.

The summer of horrors was over, and thus with the first days of autumn
there had come a ray of hope for the proud city which was lying at its
last gasp. When the allies, came in sight of the monastery of Chellea
they found themselves in the immediate neighbourhood of the Bearnese.

The two great captains of the age had at last met face to face. They were
not only the two first commanders of their time, but there was not a man
in Europe at that day to be at all compared with either of them. The
youth, concerning whose earliest campaign an account will be given in the
following chapter, had hardly yet struck his first blow. Whether that
blow was to reveal the novice or the master was soon to be seen. Meantime
in 1590 it would have been considered a foolish adulation to mention the
name of Maurice of Nassau in the same breath with that of Navarre or of

The scientific duel which was now to take place was likely to task the
genius and to bring into full display the peculiar powers and defects of
the two chieftains of Europe. Each might be considered to be still in the
prime of life, but Alexander, who was turned of forty-five, was already
broken in health, while the vigorous Henry was eight years younger, and
of an iron constitution. Both had passed then lives in the field, but the
king, from nature, education, and the force of circumstances, preferred
pitched battles to scientific combinations, while the duke, having
studied and practised his art in the great Spanish and Italian schools of
warfare, was rather a profound strategist than a professional fighter,
although capable of great promptness and intense personal energy when his
judgment dictated a battle. Both were born with that invaluable gift
which no human being can acquire, authority, and both were adored and
willingly obeyed by their soldiers, so long as those soldiers were paid
and fed.

The prize now to be contended for was a high one. Alexander's complete
success would tear from Henry's grasp the first city of Christendom, now
sinking exhausted into his hands, and would place France in the power of
the Holy League and at the feet of Philip. Another Ivry would shatter the
confederacy, and carry the king in triumph to his capital and his
ancestral throne. On the approach of the combined armies under Parma and
Mayenne, the king had found himself most reluctantly compelled to suspend
the siege of Paris. His army, which consisted of sixteen thousand foot
and five thousand horse, was not sufficiently numerous to confront at the
same time the relieving force and to continue the operations before the
city. So long, however, as he held the towns and bridges on the great
rivers, and especially those keys to the Seine and Marne, Corbeil and
Lagny, he still controlled the life-blood of the capital, which indeed
had almost ceased to flow.

On the 31st August he advanced towards the enemy. Sir Edward Stafford,
Queen Elizabeth's ambassador, arrived at St. Denis in the night of the
30th August. At a very early hour next morning he heard a shout under his
window, and looking down beheld King Henry at the head of his troops,
cheerfully calling out to his English friend as he passed his door.
"Welcoming us after his familiar manner," said Stafford, "he desired us,
in respect of the battle every hour expected, to come as his friends to
see and help him, and not to treat of anything which afore, we meant,
seeing the present state to require it, and the enemy so near that we
might well have been interrupted in half-an-hour's talk, and necessity
constrained the king to be in every corner, where for the most part we
follow him."

That day Henry took up his headquarters at the monastery of Chelles, a
fortified place within six leagues of Paris, on the right bank of the
Marne. His army was drawn up in a wide valley somewhat encumbered with
wood and water, extending through a series of beautiful pastures towards
two hills of moderate elevation. Lagny, on the left bank of the river,
was within less than a league of him on his right hand. On the other side
of the hills, hardly out of cannon-shot, was the camp of the allies.
Henry, whose natural disposition in this respect needed no prompting, was
most eager for a decisive engagement. The circumstances imperatively
required it of him. His infantry consisted of Frenchmen, Netherlanders,
English, Germans, Scotch; but of his cavalry four thousand were French
nobles, serving at their own expense, who came to a battle as to a
banquet, but who were capable of riding off almost as rapidly, should the
feast be denied them. They were volunteers, bringing with them rations
for but a few days, and it could hardly be expected that they would
remain as patiently as did Parma's veterans, who, now that their mutiny
had been appeased by payment of a portion of their arrearages, had become
docile again. All the great chieftains who surrounded Henry, whether
Catholic or Protestant--Montpensier, Nevers, Soissons, Conti, the Birons,
Lavradin, d'Aumont, Tremouille, Turenne, Chatillon, La Noue--were urgent
for the conflict, concerning the expediency of which there could indeed
be no doubt, while the king was in raptures at the opportunity of dealing
a decisive blow at the confederacy of foreigners and rebels who had so
long defied his authority and deprived him of his rights.

Stafford came up with the king, according to his cordial invitation, on
the same day, and saw the army all drawn up in battle array. While Henry
was "eating a morsel in an old house," Turenne joined him with six or
seven hundred horsemen and between four and five thousand infantry. "They
were the likeliest footmen," said Stafford, "the best countenanced, the
best furnished that ever I saw in my life; the best part of them old
soldiers that had served under the king for the Religion all this while."

The envoy was especially enthusiastic, however, in regard to the French
cavalry. "There are near six thousand horse," said he, "whereof gentlemen
above four thousand, about twelve hundred other French, and eight hundred
reiters. I never saw, nor I think never any man saw, in prance such a
company of gentlemen together so well horsed and so well armed."

Henry sent a herald to the camp of the allies, formally challenging them
to a general engagement, and expressing a hope that all differences might
now be settled by the ordeal of battle, rather than that the sufferings
of the innocent people should be longer protracted.

Farnese, on arriving at Meaux, had resolved to seek the enemy and take
the hazards of a stricken field. He had misgivings as to the possible
result, but he expressly announced this intention in his letters to
Philip, and Mayenne confirmed him in his determination. Nevertheless,
finding the enemy so eager and having reflected more maturely, he saw no
reason for accepting the chivalrous cartel. As commanderin-chief--for
Mayenne willingly conceded the supremacy which it would have been absurd
in him to dispute--he accordingly replied that it was his custom to
refuse a combat when a refusal seemed advantageous to himself, and to
offer battle whenever it suited his purposes to fight. When that moment
should arrive the king would find him in the field. And, having sent this
courteous, but unsatisfactory answer to the impatient Bearnese, he gave
orders to fortify his camp, which was already sufficiently strong. Seven
days long the two armies lay face to face--Henry and his chivalry chafing
in vain for the longed-for engagement--and nothing occurred between those
forty or fifty thousand mortal enemies, encamped within a mile or two of
each other, save trifling skirmishes leading to no result.

At last Farnese gave orders for an advance. Renty, commander of the
vanguard, consisting of nearly all the cavalry, was instructed to move
slowly forward over the two hills, and descending on the opposite side,
to deploy his forces in two great wings to the right and left. He was
secretly directed in this movement to magnify as much as possible the
apparent dimensions of his force. Slowly the columns moved over the
hills. Squadron after squadron, nearly all of them lancers, with their
pennons flaunting gaily in the summer wind, displayed themselves
deliberately and ostentatiously in the face of the Royalists. The
splendid light-horse of Basti, the ponderous troopers of the Flemish
bands of ordnance under Chimay and Berlaymont, and the famous Albanian
and Italian cavalry, were mingled with the veteran Leaguers of France who
had fought under the Balafre, and who now followed the fortunes of his
brother Mayenne. It was an imposing demonstration.

Henry could hardly believe his eyes as the much-coveted opportunity, of
which he had been so many days disappointed, at last presented itself,
and he waited with more than his usual caution until the plan of attack
should be developed by his great antagonist. Parma, on his side, pressed
the hand of Mayenne as he watched the movement, saying quietly, "We have
already fought our battle and gained the victory." He then issued orders
for the whole battalia--which, since the junction, had been under command
of Mayenne, Farnese reserving for himself the superintendence of the
entire army--to countermarch rapidly towards the Marne and take up a
position opposite Lagny. La Motte, with the rearguard, was directed
immediately to follow. The battalia had thus become the van, the
rearguard the battalia, while the whole cavalry corps by this movement
had been transformed from the vanguard into the rear. Renty was
instructed to protect his manoeuvres, to restrain the skirmishing as much
as possible, and to keep the commander-in-chief constantly informed of
every occurrence. In the night he was to entrench and fortify himself
rapidly and thoroughly, without changing his position.

Under cover of this feigned attack, Farnese arrived at the river side on
the 15th September, seized an open village directly opposite Lagny, which
was connected with it by a stone bridge, and planted a battery of nine
pieces of heavy artillery directly opposite the town. Lagny was fortified
in the old-fashioned manner, with not very thick walls, and without a
terreplain. Its position, however, and its command of the bridge, seemed
to render an assault impossible, and De la Fin, who lay there with a
garrison of twelve hundred French, had no fear for the security of the
place. But Farnese, with the precision and celerity which characterized
his movements on special occasions, had thrown pontoon bridges across the
river three miles above, and sent a considerable force of Spanish and
Walloon infantry to the other side. These troops were ordered to hold
themselves ready for an assault, so soon as the batteries opposite should
effect a practicable breach. The next day Henry, reconnoitering the
scene, saw, with intense indignation, that he had been completely
out-generalled. Lagny, the key to the Marne, by holding which he had
closed the door on nearly all the food supplies for Paris, was about to
be wrested from him. What should he do? Should he throw himself across
the river and rescue the place before it fell? This was not to be thought
of even by the audacious Bearnese. In the attempt to cross the river,
under the enemy's fire, he was likely to lose a large portion of his
army. Should he fling himself upon Renty's division which had so
ostentatiously offered battle the day before? This at least might be
attempted, although not so advantageously as would have been the case on
the previous afternoon. To undertake this was the result of a rapid
council of generals. It was too late. Renty held the hills so firmly
entrenched and fortified that it was an idle hope to carry them by
assault. He might hurl column after column against those heights, and
pass the day in seeing his men mowed to the earth without result.

His soldiers, magnificent in the open field, could not be relied upon to
carry so strong a position by sudden storm; and there was no time to be
lost. He felt the enemy a little. There was some small skirmishing, and
while it was going on, Farnese opened a tremendous fire across the river
upon Lagny. The weak walls soon crumbled; a breach was effected, the
signal for assault was given, and the troops posted on the other side,
after a brief but sanguinary straggle, overcame all, resistance, and were
masters of the town. The whole garrison, twelve hundred strong, was
butchered, and the city thoroughly sacked; for Farnese had been brought
up in the old-fashioned school of Alva; and Julian Romero and Com-.
wander Requesens.

Thus Lagny was seized before the eyes of Henry, who was forced to look
helplessly on his great antagonist's triumph. He had come forth in full
panoply and abounding confidence to offer battle. He was foiled of his
combat; and he had lost the prize. Never was blow more successfully
parried, a counter-stroke more ingeniously planted. The bridges of
Charenton and St. Maur now fell into Farnese's hands without a contest.
In an incredibly short space of time provisions and munitions were poured
into the starving city; two thousand boat-loads arriving in a single day.
Paris was relieved. Alexander had made his demonstration, and solved the
problem. He had left the Netherlands against his judgment, but he had at
least accomplished his French work as none but he could have done it. The
king was now in worse plight than ever. His army fell to pieces. His
cavaliers, cheated of their battle; and having neither food nor forage,
rode off by hundreds every day. "Our state is such," said Stafford; on
the 16th September, "and so far unexpected and wonderful, that I am
almost ashamed to write, because methinks everybody should think I dream.
Myself seeing of it methinketh that I dream. For, my lord, to see an army
such a one I think as I shall never see again--especially for horsemen
and gentlemen to take a mind to disband upon the taking of such a paltry
thing as Lagny, a town no better indeed than Rochester, it is a thing so
strange to me that seeing of it I can scarce believe it. They make their
excuses of their want, which I know indeed is great--for there were few
left with one penny in their purses--but yet that extremity could not be
such but that they might have tarried ten days or fifteen at the most
that the king desired of them. . . . From six thousand horse that we
were and above, we are come to two thousand and I do not see an end of
our leave-takers, for those be hourly.

"The most I can see we can make account of to tarry are the Viscount
Turenne's troops, and Monsieur de Chatillon's, and our Switzers, and
Lanaquenettes, which make very near five thousand. The first that went
away, though he sent word to the king an hour before he would tarry, was
the Count Soissons, by whose parting on a sudden and without leave-taking
we judge a discontentment."

The king's army seemed fading into air. Making virtue of necessity he
withdrew to St. Denis, and decided to disband his forces, reserving to
himself only a flying camp with which to harass the enemy as often as
opportunity should offer.

It must be confessed that the Bearnese had been thoroughly
out-generalled. "It was not God's will," said Stafford, who had been in
constant attendance upon Henry through the whole business; "we deserved
it not; for the king might as easily have had Paris as drunk, four or
five times. And at the last, if he had not committed those faults that
children would not have done, only with the desire to fight and give the
battle (which the other never meant), he had had it in the Duke of
Parma's eight as he took Lagny in ours." He had been foiled of the battle
on which he had set his heart, and, in which he felt confident of
overthrowing the great captain of the age, and trampling the League under
his feet. His capital just ready to sink exhausted into his hands had
been wrested from his grasp, and was alive with new hope and new
defiance. The League was triumphant, his own army scattering to the four
winds. Even a man of high courage and sagacity might have been in
despair. Yet never were the magnificent hopefulness, the wise audacity of
Henry more signally manifested than now when he seemed most blundering
and most forlorn. His hardy nature ever met disaster with so cheerful a
smile as almost to perplex disaster herself.

Unwilling to relinquish his grip without a last effort, he resolved on a
midnight assault upon Paris. Hoping that the joy at being relieved, the
unwonted feasting which had succeeded the long fasting, and the
conciousness of security from the presence of the combined armies of the
victorious League, would throw garrison and citizens off their guard, he
came into the neighbourhood of the Faubourgs St. Jacques, St. Germain,
St. Marcel, and St. Michel on the night of 9th September. A desperate
effort was made to escalade the walls between St. Jacques and St.
Germain. It was foiled, not by the soldiers nor the citizens, but by the
sleepless Jesuits, who, as often before during this memorable siege, had
kept guard on the ramparts, and who now gave the alarm. The first
assailants were hurled from their ladders, the city was roused, and the
Duke of Nemours was soon on the spot, ordering burning pitch hoops,
atones, and other missiles to be thrown down upon the invaders. The
escalade was baffled; yet once more that night, just before dawn, the
king in person renewed the attack on the Faubourg St. Germain. The
faithful Stafford stood by his side in the trenches, and was witness to
his cool determination, his indomitable hope. La None too was there, and
was wounded in the leg--an accident the results of which were soon to
cause much weeping through Christendom. Had one of those garlands of
blazing tar which all night had been fluttering from the walls of Paris
alighted by chance on the king's head there might have been another
history of France. The ladders, too, proved several feet too short, and
there were too few, of them. Had they been more numerous and longer, the
tale might have been a different one. As it was, the king was forced to
retire with the approaching daylight.

The characteristics of the great commander of the Huguenots and of the
Leaguers' chieftain respectively were well illustrated in several
incidents of this memorable campaign. Farnese had been informed by scouts
and spies of this intended assault by Henry on the walls of Paris. With
his habitual caution he discredited the story. Had he believed it, he
might have followed the king in overwhelming force and taken him captive.
The penalty of Henry's unparalleled boldness was thus remitted by
Alexander's exuberant discretion.

Soon afterwards Farnese laid siege to Corbeil. This little place--owing
to the extraordinary skill and determination of its commandant, Rigaut,
an old Huguenot officer, who had fought with La Noue in
Flanders--resisted for nearly four weeks. It was assaulted at last,
Rigaut killed, the garrison of one thousand French soldiers put to the
sword, and the town sacked. With the fall of Corbeil both the Seine and
Marne were re-opened.

Alexander then made a visit to Paris, where he was received with great
enthusiasm. The legate, whose efforts and whose money had so much
contributed to the successful defence of the capital had returned to
Italy to participate in the election of a new pope. For the "Huguenot
pope," Sixtus V., had died at the end of August, having never bestowed on
the League any of his vast accumulated treasures to help it in its utmost
need. It was not surprising that Philip was indignant, and had resorted
to menace of various kinds against the holy father, when he found him
swaying so perceptibly in the direction of the hated Bearnese. Of course
when he died his complaint was believed to be Spanish poison. In those
days, none but the very obscure were thought capable of dying natural
deaths, and Philip was esteemed too consummate an artist to allow so
formidable an adversary as Sixtus to pass away in God's time only.
Certainly his death was hailed as matter of great rejoicing by the
Spanish party in Rome, and as much ignominy bestowed upon his memory as
if he had been a heretic; while in Paris his decease was celebrated with
bonfires and other marks of popular hilarity.

To circumvent the great Huguenot's reconciliation with the Roman Church
was of course an indispensable portion of Philip's plan; for none could
be so dull as not to perceive that the resistance of Paris to its heretic
sovereign would cease to be very effective, so soon as the sovereign had
ceased to be heretic. It was most important therefore that the successor
of Sixtus should be the tool of Spain. The leading confederates were well
aware of Henry's intentions to renounce the reformed faith, and to return
to the communion of Rome whenever he could formally accomplish that
measure. The crafty Bearnese knew full well that the road to Paris lay
through the gates of Rome. Yet it is proof either of the privacy with
which great public matters were then transacted, or of the extraordinary
powers of deceit with which Henry was gifted, that the leaders of
protestantism were still hoodwinked in regard to his attitude.
Notwithstanding the embassy of Luxembourg, and the many other indications
of the king's intentions, Queen Elizabeth continued to regard him as the
great champion of the reformed faith. She had just sent him an emerald,
which she had herself worn, accompanied by the expression of her wish
that the king in wearing it might never strike a blow without demolishing
an enemy, and that in his farther progress he might put all his enemies
to rout and confusion. "You will remind the king, too," she added, "that
the emerald has this virtue, never to break so long as faith remains
entire and firm."

And the shrewd Stafford, who was in daily attendance upon him, informed
his sovereign that there were no symptoms of wavering on Henry's part.
"The Catholics here," said he, "cry hard upon the king to be a Catholic
or else that he is lost, and they would persuade him that for all their
calling in the Spaniards, both Paris and all other towns will yield to
him, if he will but assure them that he will become a Catholic. For my
part, I think they would laugh at him when he had done so, and so I find
he believeth the same, if he had mind to it, which I find no disposition
in him unto it." The not very distant future was to show what the
disposition of the bold Gascon really was in this great matter, and
whether he was likely to reap nothing but ridicule from his apostasy,
should it indeed become a fact. Meantime it was the opinion of the wisest
sovereign in Europe, and of one of the most adroit among her
diplomatists, that there was really nothing in the rumours as to the
king's contemplated conversion.

It was, of course, unfortunate for Henry that his staunch friend and
admirer Sixtus was no more. But English diplomacy could do but little in
Rome, and men were trembling with apprehension lest that arch-enemy of
Elizabeth, that devoted friend of Philip, the English Cardinal Allen,
should be elected to the papal throne. "Great ado is made in Rome," said
Stafford, "by the Spanish ambassador, by all corruptions and ways that
may be, to make a pope that must needs depend and be altogether at the
King of Spain's devotion. If the princes of Italy put not their hands
unto it, no doubt they will have their wills, and I fear greatly our
villainous Allen, for, in my judgment, I can comprehend no man more with
reason to be tied altogether to the King of Spain's will than he. I pray
God send him either to God or the Devil first. An evil-minded Englishman,
tied to the King of Spain by necessity, finding almost four millions of
money, is a dangerous beast for a pope in this time."

Cardinal Allen was doomed to disappointment. His candidacy was not
successful, and, after the brief reign--thirteen days long--of Urban VII,
Sfondrato wore the triple tiara with the title of Gregory XIV. Before the
year closed, that pontiff had issued a brief urging the necessity of
extirpating heresy in France, and of electing a Catholic king, and
asserting his determination to send to Paris--that bulwark of the
Catholic faith--not empty words alone but troops, to be paid fifteen
thousand crowns of gold each month, so long as the city should need
assistance. It was therefore probable that the great leader of the
Huguenots, now that he had been defeated by Farnese, and that his capital
was still loyal to the League, would obtain less favour--however
conscientiously he might instruct himself--from Gregory XIV. than he had
begun to find in the eyes of Sixtus after the triumph of Ivry.

Parma refreshed his army by a fortnight's repose, and early in November
determined on his return to the Netherlands. The Leaguers were aghast at
his decision, and earnestly besought him to remain. But the duke had
given them back their capital, and although this had been accomplished
without much bloodshed in their army or his own, sickness was now making
sad ravages among his troops, and there was small supply of food or
forage for such large forces as had now been accumulated, in the
neighbourhood of Paris. Moreover, dissensions were breaking out between
the Spaniards, Italians, and Netherlanders of the relieving army with
their French allies. The soldiers and peasants hated the foreigners who
came there as victors, even although to assist the Leaguers in
overthrowing the laws, government, and nationality of France. The
stragglers and wounded on Farnese's march were killed by the country
people in considerable numbers, and it was a pure impossibility for him
longer to delay his return to the provinces which so much against his
will he had deserted.

He marched back by way of Champagne rather than by that of Picardy, in
order to deceive the king. Scarcely had he arrived in Champagne when he
heard of the retaking of Lagny and Corbeil. So soon as his back was
turned, the League thus showed its impotence to retain the advantage
which his genius had won. Corbeil, which had cost him a month of hard
work, was recaptured in two days. Lagny fell almost as quickly. Earnestly
did the confederates implore him to return to their rescue, but he
declined almost contemptuously to retrace his steps. His march was
conducted in the same order and with the same precision which--had marked
his advance. Henry, with his flying camp, hung upon his track, harassing
him now in front, now in rear, now in flank. None of the skirmishes were
of much military importance. A single cavalry combat, however, in which
old Marshal Biron was nearly surrounded and was in imminent danger of
death or capture, until chivalrously rescued by the king in person at the
head of a squadron of lancers, will always possess romantic interest. In
a subsequent encounter, near Baroges on the Yesle, Henry had sent Biron
forward with a few companies of horse to engage some five hundred
carabineers of Farnese on their march towards the frontier, and had
himself followed close upon the track with his usual eagerness to witness
or participate in every battle. Suddenly Alphonse Corse, who rode at
Henry's aide, pointed out to him, not more than a hundred paces off, an
officer wearing a felt hat, a great ruff, and a little furred cassock,
mounted on a horse without armour or caparisons, galloping up and down
and brandishing his sword at the carabineers to compel them to fall back.

This was the Duke of Parma, and thus the two great champions of the
Huguenots and of the Leaguers--the two foremost captains of the age--had
met face to face. At that moment La Noue, riding up, informed the king
that he had seen the whole of the enemy's horse and foot in battle array,
and Henry, suspecting the retreat of Farnese to be a feint for the
purpose of luring him on with his small force to an attack, gave orders
to retire as soon as possible.

At Guise, on the frontier, the duke parted with Mayenne, leaving with him
an auxiliary force of four thousand foot and five hundred horse, which he
could ill spare. He then returned to Brussels, which city he reached on
the 4th December, filling every hotel and hospital with his sick
soldiers, and having left one-third of his numbers behind him. He had
manifested his own military skill in the adroit and successful manner in
which he had accomplished the relief of Paris, while the barrenness of
the result from the whole expedition vindicated the political sagacity
with which he had remonstrated against his sovereign's infatuation.

Paris, with the renewed pressure on its two great arteries at Lagny and
Corbeil, soon fell into as great danger as before; the obedient
Netherlands during the absence of Farnese had been sinking rapidly to
ruin, while; on the other hand, great progress and still greater
preparations in aggressive warfare had been made by the youthful general
and stadtholder of the Republic.


     Alexander's exuberant discretion
     Divine right of kings
     Ever met disaster with so cheerful a smile
     Future world as laid down by rival priesthoods
     Invaluable gift which no human being can acquire, authority
     King was often to be something much less or much worse
     Magnificent hopefulness
     Myself seeing of it methinketh that I dream
     Nothing cheap, said a citizen bitterly, but sermons
     Obscure were thought capable of dying natural deaths
     Philip II. gave the world work enough
     Righteous to kill their own children
     Road to Paris lay through the gates of Rome
     Shift the mantle of religion from one shoulder to the other
     Thirty-three per cent. interest was paid (per month)
     Under the name of religion (so many crimes)


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 63, 1590-1592


   Prince Maurice--State of the Republican army--Martial science of the
   period--Reformation of the military system by Prince Maurice--His
   military genius--Campaign in the Netherlands--The fort and town of
   Zutphen taken by the States' forces--Attack upon Deventer--Its
   capitulation--Advance on Groningen, Delfzyl, Opslag, Yementil,
   Steenwyk, and other places--Farnese besieges Fort Knodsenburg--
   Prince Maurice hastens to its relief--A skirmish ensues resulting in
   the discomfiture of the Spanish and Italian troops--Surrender of
   Hulat and Nymegen--Close of military, operations of the year.

While the events revealed in the last chapter had been occupying the
energies of Farnese and the resources of his sovereign, there had been
ample room for Prince Maurice to mature his projects, and to make a
satisfactory beginning in the field. Although Alexander had returned to
the Netherlands before the end of the year 1590, and did not set forth on
his second French campaign until late in the following year, yet the
condition of his health, the exhaustion of his funds, and the dwindling
of his army, made it impossible for him to render any effectual
opposition to the projects of the youthful general.

For the first time Maurice was ready to put his theories and studies into
practice on an extensive scale. Compared with modern armaments, the
warlike machinery to be used for liberating the republic from its foreign
oppressors would seem almost diminutive. But the science and skill of a
commander are to be judged by the results he can work out with the
materials within reach. His progress is to be measured by a comparison
with the progress of his contemporaries--coheirs with him of what Time
had thus far bequeathed.

The regular army of the republic, as reconstructed, was but ten thousand
foot and two thousand horse, but it was capable of being largely expanded
by the trainbands of the cities, well disciplined and enured to hardship,
and by the levies of German reiters and other, foreign auxiliaries in
such numbers as could be paid for by the hard-pressed exchequer of the

To the state-council, according to its original constitution, belonged
the levying and disbanding of troops, the conferring of military offices,
and the supervision of military operations by sea and land. It was its
duty to see that all officers made oath of allegiance to the United

The course of Leicester's administration, and especially the fatal
treason of Stanley and of York, made it seem important for the true
lovers of their country to wrest from the state-council, where the
English had two seats, all political and military power. And this, as has
been seen, was practically but illegally accomplished. The silent
revolution by which at this epoch all the main attributes of government
passed into the hands of the States-General-acting as a league of
sovereignties--has already been indicated. The period during which the
council exercised functions conferred on it by the States-General
themselves was brief and evanescent. The jealousy of the separate
provinces soon prevented the state-council--a supreme executive body
entrusted with the general defence of the commonwealth--from causing
troops to pass into or out of one province or another without a patent
from his Excellency the Prince, not as chief of the whole army, but as
governor and captain-general of Holland, or Gelderland, or Utrecht, as
the case might be.

The highest military office in the Netherlands was that of
captain-general or supreme commander. This quality was from earliest
times united to that of stadholder, who stood, as his title implied, in
the place of the reigning sovereign, whether count, duke, king, or
emperor. After the foundation of the Republic this dynastic form, like
many others, remained, and thus Prince Maurice was at first only
captain-general of Holland and Zeeland, and subsequently of Gelderland,
Utrecht, and Overyssel, after he had been appointed stadholder of those
three provinces in 1590 on the death of Count Nieuwenaar. However much in
reality he was general-in-chief of the army, he never in all his life
held the appointment of captain-general of the Union.

To obtain a captain's commission in the army, it was necessary to have
served four years, while three years' service was the necessary
preliminary to the post of lieutenant or ensign. Three candidates were
presented by the province for each office, from whom the stadholder
appointed one.--The commissions, except those of the highest commanders,
were made out in the name of the States-General, by advice and consent of
the council of state. The oath of allegiance, exacted from soldiers as
well as officers; mentioned the name of the particular province to which
they belonged, as well as that of the States-Generals. It thus appears
that, especially after Maurice's first and successful campaigns; the
supreme authority over the army really belonged to the States-General,
and that the powers of the state-council in this regard fell, in the
course of four years, more and more into the back-ground, and at last
disappeared almost entirely. During the active period of the war,
however; the effect of this revolution was in fact rather a greater
concentration of military power than its dispersion, for the
States-General meant simply the province of Holland. Holland was the

The organisation of the infantry was very simple. The tactical unit was
the company. A temporary combination of several companies--made a
regiment, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant-colonel, but for such
regiments there was no regular organisation. Sometimes six or seven
companies were thus combined, sometimes three times that number, but the
strength of a force, however large, was always estimated by the number of
companies, not of regiments.

The normal strength of an infantry company, at the beginning of Maurice's
career, may be stated at one hundred and thirteen, commanded by one
captain, one lieutenant, one ensign, and by the usual non-commissioned
officers. Each company was composed of musketeers, harquebusseers,
pikemen, halberdeers, and buckler-men. Long after, portable firearms had
come into use, the greater portion of foot soldiers continued to be armed
with pikes, until the introduction of the fixed bayonet enabled the
musketeer to do likewise the duty of pikeman. Maurice was among the first
to appreciate the advantage of portable firearms, and he accordingly
increased the proportion of soldiers armed with the musket in his
companies. In a company of a hundred and thirteen, including officers, he
had sixty-four armed with firelocks to thirty carrying pikes and
halberds. As before his time the proportion between the arms had been
nearly even; he thus more than doubled the number of firearms.

Of these weapons there were two sorts, the musket and the harquebus. The
musket was a long, heavy, unmanageable instrument. When fired it
was-placed upon an iron gaffle or fork, which: the soldier carried with
him, and stuck before him into the ground. The bullets of the musket were
twelve to the pound.

The harquebus--or hak-bus, hook-gun, so called because of the hook in the
front part of the barrel to give steadiness in firing--was much lighter,
was discharged from the hand; and carried bullets of twenty-four to the
pound. Both weapons had matchlocks.

The pike was eighteen feet long at least, and pikemen as well as
halberdsmen carried rapiers.

There were three buckler-men to each company, introduced by Maurice for
the personal protection of the leader of the company. The prince was
often attended by one himself, and, on at least one memorable occasion,
was indebted to this shield for the preservation of his life.

The cavalry was divided into lancers and carabineers. The unit was the
squadron, varying in number from sixty to one hundred and fifty, until
the year 1591, when the regular complement of the squadron was fixed at
one hundred and twenty.

As the use of cavalry on the battle-field at that day, or at least in the
Netherlands, was not in rapidity of motion, nor in severity of shock--the
attack usually taking place on a trot--Maurice gradually displaced the
lance in favour of the carbine. His troopers thus became rather mounted
infantry than regular cavalry.

The carbine was at least three feet long, with wheel-locks, and carried
bullets of thirty to the pound.

The artillery was a peculiar Organisation. It was a guild of citizens,
rather than a strictly military force like the cavalry and infantry. The
arm had but just begun to develop itself, and it was cultivated as a
special trade by the guild of the holy Barbara existing in all the
principal cities. Thus a municipal artillery gradually organised itself,
under the direction of the gun-masters (bus-meesters), who in secret
laboured at the perfection of their art, and who taught it to their
apprentices and journeymen; as the principles of other crafts were
conveyed by master to pupil. This system furnished a powerful element of
defence at a period when every city had in great measure to provide for
its own safety.

In the earlier campaigns of Maurice three kinds of artillery were used;
the whole cannon (kartow) of forty-eight pounds; the half-cannon, or
twenty-four pounder, and the field-piece carrying a ball of twelve
pounds. The two first were called battering pieces or siege-guns. All the
guns were of bronze.

The length of the whole cannon was about twelve feet; its weight one
hundred and fifty times that of the ball, or about seven thousand pounds.
It was reckoned that the whole kartow could fire from eighty to one
hundred shots in an hour. Wet hair cloths were used to cool the piece
after every ten or twelve discharges. The usual charge was twenty pounds
of powder.

The whole gun was drawn by thirty-one horses, the half-cannon by

The field-piece required eleven horses, but a regular field-artillery, as
an integral part of the army, did not exist, and was introduced in much
later times. In the greatest pitched battle ever fought by Maurice, that
of Nieuport, he had but six field-pieces.

The prince also employed mortars in his sieges, from which were thrown
grenades, hot shot, and stones; but no greater distance was reached than
six hundred yards. Bomb-shells were not often used although they had been
known for a century.

Before the days of Maurice a special education for engineers had never
been contemplated. Persons who had privately acquired a knowledge of
fortification and similar branches of the science were employed, upon
occasion, but regular corps of engineers there were none. The prince
established a course of instruction in this profession at the University
of Leyden, according to a system drawn up by the celebrated Stevinus.

Doubtless the most important innovation of the prince, and the one which
required the most energy to enforce, was the use of the spade. His
soldiers were jeered at by the enemy as mere boors and day labourers who
were dishonouring themselves and their profession by the use of that
implement instead of the sword. Such a novelty was a shock to all the
military ideas of the age, and it was only the determination and vigour
of the prince and of his cousin Lewis William that ultimately triumphed
over the universal prejudice.

The pay of the common soldier varied from ten to twenty florins the
month, but every miner had eighteen florins, and, when actually working
in the mines, thirty florins monthly. Soldiers used in digging trenches
received, over and above their regular pay, a daily wage of from ten to
fifteen styvers, or nearly a shilling sterling.

Another most wholesome improvement made by the prince was in the payment
of his troops. The system prevailing in every European country at that
day, by which Governments were defrauded and soldiers starved, was most
infamous. The soldiers were paid through the captain, who received the
wages of a full company, when perhaps not one-third of the names on the
master-roll were living human beings. Accordingly two-thirds of all the
money stuck to the officer's fingers, and it was not thought a disgrace
to cheat the Government by dressing and equipping for the day a set of
ragamuffins, caught up in the streets for the purpose, and made to pass
muster as regular soldiers.

These parse-volants, or scarecrows, were passed freely about from one
company to another, and the indecency of the fraud was never thought a
disgrace to the colours of the company.

Thus, in the Armada year, the queen had demanded that a portion of her
auxiliary force in the Netherlands should be sent to England. The States
agreed that three thousand of these English troops, together with a few
cavalry companies, should go, but stipulated that two thousand should
remain in the provinces. The queen accepted the proposal, but when the
two thousand had been counted out, it appeared that there was scarcely a
man left for the voyage to England. Yet every one of the English captains
had claimed full pay for his company from her Majesty's exchequer.

Against this tide of peculation and corruption the strenuous Maurice set
himself with heart and soul, and there is no doubt that to his
reformation in this vital matter much of his military success was owing.
It was impossible that roguery and venality should ever furnish a solid
foundation for the martial science.

To the student of military history the campaigns and sieges of Maurice,
and especially the earlier: ones, are of great importance. There is no
doubt whatever, that the youth who now, after deep study and careful
preparation, was measuring himself against the first captains of the age,
was founding the great modern school of military science. It was in this
Netherland academy, and under the tuition of its consummate professor,
that the commanders of the seventeenth century not only acquired the
rudiments, but perfected themselves in the higher walks of their art.
Therefore the siege operations, in which all that had been invented by
modern genius, or rescued from the oblivion which had gathered over
ancient lore during the more vulgar and commonplace practice of the
mercenary commanders of the day was brought into successful application,
must always engage the special attention of the military student.

To the general reader, more interested in marking the progress of
civilisation and the advance of the people in the path of development and
true liberty, the spectacle of the young stadholder's triumphs has an
interest of another kind. At the moment when a thorough practical soldier
was most needed by the struggling little commonwealth, to enable it to
preserve liberties partially secured by its unparalleled sacrifices of
blood and treasure during a quarter of a century, and to expel the
foreign invader from the soil which he had so long profaned, it was
destined that a soldier should appear.

Spade in hand, with his head full of Roman castrametation and geometrical
problems, a prince, scarce emerged from boyhood, presents himself on that
stage where grizzled Mansfelds, drunken Hohenlos, and truculent Verdugos
have been so long enacting, that artless military drama which consists of
hard knocks and wholesale massacres. The novice is received with
universal hilarity. But although the machinery of war varies so steadily
from age to age that a commonplace commander of to-day, rich in the
spoils of preceding time, might vanquish the Alexanders, and Caesars, and
Frederics, with their antiquated enginery, yet the moral stuff out of
which great captains, great armies, great victories are created, is the
simple material it was in the days of Sesostris or Cyrus. The moral and
physiological elements remain essentially the same as when man first
began to walk up and down the earth and destroy his fellow-creatures.

To make an army a thorough mowing-machine, it then seemed necessary that
it should be disciplined into complete mechanical obedience. To secure
this, prompt payment of wages and inexorable punishment of delinquencies
were indispensable. Long arrearages were now converting Farnese's
veterans into systematic marauders; for unpaid soldiers in every age and
country have usually degenerated into highwaymen, and it is an
impossibility for a sovereign, with the strictest intentions, to persist
in starving his soldiers and in killing them for feeding themselves. In
Maurice's little army, on the contrary, there were no back-wages and no
thieving. At the siege of Delfzyl Maurice hung two of his soldiers for
stealing, the one a hat and the other a poniard, from the townsfolk,
after the place had capitulated. At the siege of Hulst he ordered another
to be shot, before the whole camp, for robbing a woman.

This seems sufficiently harsh, but war is not a pastime nor a very humane
occupation. The result was, that robbery disappeared, and it is better
for all that enlisted men should be soldiers rather than thieves. To
secure the ends which alone can justify war--and if the Netherlanders
engaged in defending national existence and human freedom against foreign
tyranny were not justifiable then a just war has never been waged--a
disciplined army is vastly more humane in its operations than a band of
brigands. Swift and condign punishments by the law-martial, for even
trifling offences, is the best means of discipline yet devised.

To bring to utmost perfection the machinery already in existence, to
encourage invention, to ponder the past with a practical application to
the present, to court fatigue, to scorn pleasure, to concentrate the
energies on the work in hand, to cultivate quickness of eye and calmness
of nerve in the midst of danger, to accelerate movements, to economise
blood even at the expense of time, to strive after ubiquity and
omniscience in the details of person and place, these were the
characteristics of Maurice, and they have been the prominent traits of
all commanders who have stamped themselves upon their age. Although his
method of war-making differed as far as possible from that quality in
common, of the Bearnese, yet the two had one personal insensibility to
fear. But in the case of Henry, to confront danger for its own sake was
in itself a pleasure, while the calmer spirit of Maurice did not so much
seek the joys of the combat as refuse to desist from scientific
combinations in the interests of his personal safety. Very frequently, in
the course of his early campaigns, the prince was formally and urgently
requested by the States-General not to expose his life so recklessly, and
before he had passed his twenty-fifth year he had received wounds which,
but for fortunate circumstances, would have proved mortal, because he was
unwilling to leave special operations on which much was depending to
other eyes than his own. The details of his campaigns are, of necessity,
the less interesting to a general reader from their very completeness.
Desultory or semi-civilised warfare, where the play of the human passions
is distinctly visible, where individual man, whether in buff jerkin or
Milan coat of proof, meets his fellow man in close mortal combat, where
men starve by thousands or are massacred by town-fulls, where hamlets or
villages blaze throughout whole districts or are sunk beneath the
ocean--scenes of rage, hatred, vengeance, self-sacrifice, patriotism,
where all the virtues and vices of which humanity is capable stride to
and fro in their most violent colours and most colossal shape where man
in a moment rises almost to divinity, or sinks beneath the beasts of the
field--such tragical records of which the sanguinary story of mankind is
full--and no portion of them more so than the Netherland chronicles
appeal more vividly to the imagination than the neatest solution of
mathematical problems. Yet, if it be the legitimate end of military
science to accomplish its largest purposes at the least expense of human
suffering; if it be progress in civilisation to acquire by scientific
combination what might be otherwise attempted, and perhaps vainly
attempted, by infinite carnage, then is the professor with his diagrams,
standing unmoved amid danger, a more truly heroic image than
Coeur-de-Lion with his battle-axe or Alva with his truncheon.

The system--then a new one--which Maurice introduced to sustain that
little commonwealth from sinking of which he had become at the age of
seventeen the predestined chief, was the best under the circumstances
that could have been devised. Patriotism the most passionate, the most
sublime, had created the republic. To maintain its existence against
perpetual menace required the exertion of perpetual skill.

Passionless as algebra, the genius of Maurice was ready for the task.
Strategic points of immense value, important cities and fortresses, vital
river-courses and communications--which foreign tyranny had acquired
during the tragic past with a patient iniquity almost without a parallel,
and which patriotism had for years vainly struggled to recover--were the
earliest trophies and prizes of his art. But the details of his victories
may be briefly indicated, for they have none of the picturesqueness of
crime. The sieges of Naarden, Harlem, Leyden, were tragedies of maddening
interest, but the recovery of Zutphen, Deventer, Nymegen, Groningen, and
many other places--all important though they were--was accomplished with
the calmness of a consummate player, who throws down on the table the
best half dozen invincible cards which it thus becomes superfluous to

There were several courses open to the prince before taking the field. It
was desirable to obtain control of the line of the Waal, by which that
heart of the republic--Holland--would be made entirely secure. To this
end, Gertruydenberg--lately surrendered to the enemy by the perfidy of
the Englishman Wingfield, to whom it had been entrusted--Bois le Duc, and
Nymegen were to be wrested from Spain.

It was also important to hold the Yssel, the course of which river led
directly through the United Netherlands, quite to the Zuyder Zee, cutting
off Friesland, Groningen, and Gelderland from their sister provinces of
Holland and Zeeland. And here again the keys to this river had been lost
by English treason. The fort of Zutphen and the city of Deventer had been
transferred to the Spaniard by Roland York and Sir William Stanley, in
whose honour the republic had so blindly confided, and those cities it
was now necessary to reduce by regular siege before the communications
between the eastern and western portions of the little commonwealth could
ever be established.

Still farther in the ancient Frisian depths, the memorable treason of
that native Netherlander, the high-born Renneberg, had opened the way for
the Spaniard's foot into the city of Groningen. Thus this whole important
province--with its capital--long subject to the foreign oppressor, was
garrisoned with his troops.

Verdugo, a veteran officer of Portuguese birth, who had risen from the
position of hostler to that of colonel and royal stadholder, commanded in
Friesland. He had in vain demanded reinforcements and supplies from
Farnese, who most reluctantly was obliged to refuse them in order that he
might obey his master's commands to neglect everything for the sake of
the campaign in France.

And Verdugo, stripped of all adequate forces to protect his important
province, was equally destitute of means for feeding the troops that were
left to him. "I hope to God that I may do my duty to the king and your
Highness," he cried, "but I find myself sold up and pledged to such an
extent that I am poorer than when I was a soldier at four crowns a month.
And everybody in the town is as desperate as myself."

Maurice, after making a feint of attacking Gertruydenberg and Bois le
Duc, so that Farnese felt compelled, with considerable difficulty, to
strengthen the garrison of those places, came unexpectedly to Arnhem with
a force of nine thousand foot and sixteen hundred horse. He had
previously and with great secrecy sent some companies of infantry under
Sir Francis Vere to Doesburg.

On the 23rd May (1591) five peasants and six peasant women made their
appearance at dawn of day before the chief guard-house of the great fort
in the Badmeadow (Vel-uwe), opposite Zutphen, on the west side of the
Yssel. It was not an unusual occurrence. These boors and their wives had
brought baskets of eggs, butter, and cheese, for the garrison, and they
now set themselves quietly down on the ground before the gate, waiting
for the soldiers of the garrison to come out and traffic with them for
their supplies. Very soon several of the guard made their appearance, and
began to chaffer with the peasants, when suddenly one of the women
plucked a pistol from under her petticoats and shot dead the soldier who
was cheapening her eggs. The rest of the party, transformed in an instant
from boors to soldiers, then sprang upon the rest of the guard,
overpowered and bound them, and took possession of the gate. A
considerable force, which had been placed in ambush by Prince Maurice
near the spot, now rushed forward, and in a few minutes the great fort of
Zutphen was mastered by the States' forces without loss of a man. It was
a neat and perfectly successful stratagem.

Next day Maurice began the regular investment of the city. On the 26th,
Count Lewis William arrived with some Frisian companies. On the 27th,
Maurice threw a bridge of boats from the Badmeadow side, across the river
to the Weert before the city. On the 28th he had got batteries, mounting
thirty-two guns, into position, commanding the place at three points. On
the 30th the town capitulated. Thus within exactly one week from the
firing of the pistol shot by the supposed butterwoman, this fort and
town, which had so long resisted the efforts of the States, and were such
important possessions of the Spaniards, fell into the hands of Maurice.
The terms of surrender were easy. The city being more important than its
garrison, the soldiers were permitted to depart with bag and baggage. The
citizens were allowed three days to decide whether to stay under loyal
obedience to the States-General, or to take their departure. Those who
chose to remain were to enjoy all the privileges of citizens of the
United Provinces.

But very few substantial citizens were left, for such had been the
tyranny, the misery, and the misrule during the long occupation by a
foreign soldiery of what was once a thriving Dutch town, that scarcely
anybody but paupers and vagabonds were left. One thousand houses were
ruined and desolate. It is superfluous to add that the day of its
restoration to the authority of the Union was the beginning of its
renewed prosperity.

Maurice, having placed a national garrison in the place, marched the same
evening straight upon Deventer, seven miles farther down the river,
without pausing to sleep upon his victory. His artillery and munitions
were sent rapidly down the Yssel.

Within five days he had thoroughly invested the city, and brought
twenty-eight guns to bear upon the weakest part of its defences.

It was a large, populous, well-built town, once a wealthy member of the
Hanseatic League, full of fine buildings, both public and private, the
capital of the rich and fertile province of Overyssel, and protected by a
strong wall and moat--as well-fortified a place as could be found in the
Netherlands. The garrison consisted of fourteen hundred Spaniards and
Walloons, under the command of Count Herman van den Berg, first cousin of
Prince Maurice.

No sooner had the States army come before the city than a Spanish captain
observed--"We shall now have a droll siege--cousins on the outside,
cousins on the inside. There will be a sham fight or two, and then the
cousins will make it up, and arrange matters to suit themselves."

Such hints had deeply wounded Van den Berg, who was a fervent Catholic,
and as loyal a servant to Philip II. as he could have been, had that
monarch deserved, by the laws of nature and by his personal services and
virtues, to govern all the swamps of Friesland. He slept on the gibe,
having ordered all the colonels and captains of the garrison to attend at
solemn mass in the great church the next morning. He there declared to
them all publicly that he felt outraged at the suspicions concerning his
fidelity, and after mass he took the sacrament, solemnly swearing never
to give up the city or even to speak of it until he had made such
resistance that he must be carried from the breach. So long as he could
stand or sit he would defend the city entrusted to his care.

The whole council who had come from Zutphen to Maurice's camp were
allowed to deliberate concerning the siege. The enemy had been seen
hovering about the neighbourhood in considerable numbers, but had not
ventured an attempt to throw reinforcements into the place. Many of the
counsellors argued against the siege. It was urged that the resistance
would be determined and protracted, and that the Duke of Parma was sure
to take the field in person to relieve so important a city, before its
reduction could be effected.

But Maurice had thrown a bridge across the Yssel above, and another below
the town, had carefully and rapidly taken measures in the success of
which he felt confident, and now declared that it would be cowardly and
shameful to abandon an enterprise so well begun.

The city had been formally summoned to surrender, and a calm but most
decided refusal had been returned.

On the 9th June the batteries began playing, and after four thousand six
hundred shots a good breach had been effected in the defences along the
Kaye--an earthen work lying between two strong walls of masonry.

The breach being deemed practicable, a storm was ordered. To reach the
Kaye it was necessary to cross a piece of water called the Haven, over
which a pontoon bridge was hastily thrown. There was now a dispute among
the English, Scotch, and Netherlanders for precedence in the assault. It
was ultimately given to the English, in order that the bravery of that
nation might now on the same spot wipe out the disgrace inflicted upon
its name by the treason of Sir William Stanley. The English did their
duty well and rushed forward merrily, but the bridge proved too short.
Some sprang over and pushed boldly for the breach. Some fell into the
moat and were drowned. Others, sustained by the Netherlanders under
Solms, Meetkerke, and Brederode, effected their passage by swimming,
leaping, or wading, so that a resolute attack was made. Herman van den
Berg met them in the breach at the head of seven companies. The defenders
were most ferocious in their resistance. They were also very drunk. The
count had placed many casks of Rhenish and of strong beer within reach,
and ordered his soldiers to drink their fill as they fought. He was
himself as vigorous in his potations as he was chivalrous with sword and
buckler. Two pages and two lieutenants fell at his side, but still he
fought at the head of his men with a desperation worthy of his vow, until
he fell wounded in the eye and was carried from the place.
Notwithstanding this disaster to the commander of the town, the
assailants were repulsed, losing two hundred-and twenty-five in killed
and wounded--Colonel Meetkerke and his brother, two most valuable Dutch
officers, among them.

During the whole of the assault, a vigorous cannonade had been kept up
upon other parts of the town, and houses and church-towers were toppling
down in all directions. Meanwhile the inhabitants--for it was
Sunday--instead of going to service were driven towards the breach by the
serjeant-major, a truculent Spaniard, next in command to Van den Berg,
who ran about the place with a great stick, summoning the Dutch burghers
to assist the Spanish garrison on the wall. It was thought afterwards
that this warrior would have been better occupied among the soldiers, at
the side of his commander.

A chivalrous incident in the open field occurred during the assault. A
gigantic Albanian cavalry officer came prancing out of Deventer into the
spaces between the trenches, defying any officer in the States' army to
break a lance with him. Prince Maurice forbade any acceptance of the
challenge, but Lewis van der Cathulle, son of the famous Ryhove of Ghent,
unable to endure the taunts and bravado of this champion, at last
obtained permission to encounter him in single combat. They met
accordingly with much ceremony, tilted against each other, and shivered
their lances in good style, but without much effect. The Albanian then
drew a pistol. Cathulle had no weapon save a cutlass, but with this
weapon he succeeded in nearly cutting off the hand which held the pistol.
He then took his enemy prisoner, the vain-glorious challenger throwing
his gold chain around his conqueror's neck in token of his victory.
Prince Maurice caused his wound to be bound up and then liberated him,
sending him into the city with a message to the governor.

During the following night the bridge, over which the assailants had
nearly forced their way into the town, was vigorously attacked by the
garrison, but Count Lewis William, in person, with a chosen band defended
it stoutly till morning, beating back the Spaniards with heavy loss in a
sanguinary midnight contest.

Next morning there was a unanimous outcry on the part of the besieged for
a capitulation. It was obvious that, with the walls shot to ruins as they
had been, the place was no longer tenable against Maurice's superior
forces. A trumpet was sent to the prince before the dawn of day, and on
the 10th of June, accordingly, the place capitulated.

It was arranged that the garrison should retire with arms and baggage
whithersoever they chose. Van den Berg stipulated nothing in favour of
the citizens, whether through forgetfulness or spite does not distinctly
appear. But the burghers were received like brothers. No plunder was
permitted, no ransom demanded, and the city took its place among its
sisterhood of the United Provinces.

Van den Berg himself was received at the prince's head, quarters with
much cordiality. He was quite blind; but his wound seemed to be the
effect of exterior contusions, and he ultimately recovered the sight of
one eye. There was mach free conversation between himself and his cousins
during the brief interval in which he was their guest.

"I've often told Verdugo," said he, "that the States had no power to make
a regular siege, nor to come with proper artillery into the field, and he
agreed with me. But we were both wrong, for I now see the contrary."

To which Count Lewis William replied with a laugh: "My dear cousin, I've
observed that in all your actions you were in the habit of despising us
Beggars, and I have said that you would one day draw the shortest straw
in consequence. I'm glad to hear this avowal from your own lips." Herman
attempted no reply but let the subject drop, seeming to regret having
said so much.

Soon afterwards he was forwarded by Maurice in his own coach to Ulff,
where he was attended by the prince's body physician till he was
re-established in health.

Thus within ten days of his first appearance before its walls, the city
of Deventer, and with it a whole province, had fallen into the hands of
Maurice. It began to be understood that the young pedant knew something
about his profession, and that he had not been fagging so hard at the
science of war for nothing.

The city was in a sorry plight when the States took possession of it. As
at Zutphen, the substantial burghers had wandered away, and the foreign
soldiers bivouacking there so long had turned the stately old Hanseatic
city into a brick and mortar wilderness. Hundreds of houses had been
demolished by the garrison, that the iron might be sold and the woodwork
burned for fuel; for the enemy had conducted himself as if feeling in his
heart that the occupation could not be a permanent one, and as if
desirous to make the place as desolate as possible for the Beggars when
they should return.

The dead body of the traitor York, who had died and been buried in
Deventer, was taken from the tomb, after the capture of the city, and
with the vulgar ferocity so characteristic of the times, was hung, coffin
and all, on the gibbet for the delectation of the States' soldiery.

Maurice, having thus in less than three weeks recovered two most
important cities, paused not an instant in his career but moved at once
on Groningen. There was a strong pressure put upon him to attempt the
capture of Nymegen, but the understanding with the Frisian stadholders
and his troops had been that the enterprise upon Groningen should follow
the reduction of Deventer.

On the 26th June Maurice appeared before Groningen. Next day, as a
precautionary step, he moved to the right and attacked the strong city of
Delfzyl. This place capitulated to him on the 2nd July. The fort of
Opslag surrendered on the 7th July. He then moved to the west of
Groningen, and attacked the forts of Yementil and Lettebaest, which fell
into his hands on the 11th July. He then moved along the Nyenoort through
the Seven Wolds and Drenthe to Steenwyk, before which strongly fortified
city he arrived on the 15th July.

Meantime, he received intercepted letters from Verdugo to the Duke of
Parma, dated 19th June from Groningen. In these, the Spanish stadholder
informed Farnese that the enemy was hovering about his neighbourhood, and
that it would be necessary for the duke to take the field in person in
considerable force, or that Groningen would be lost, and with it the
Spanish forces in the province. He enclosed a memorial of the course
proper to be adopted by the duke for his relief.

Notwithstanding the strictness by which Philip had tied his great
general's hands, Farnese felt the urgency of the situation. By the end of
June, accordingly, although full of his measures for marching to the
relief of the Leaguers in Normandy, he moved into Gelderland, coming by
way of Xanten, Rees, and neighbouring places. Here he paused for a moment
perplexed, doubting whether to take the aggressive in Gelderland or to
march straight to the relief of Groningen. He decided that it was better
for the moment to protect the line of the Waal. Shipping his army
accordingly into the Batavian Island or Good-meadow (Bet-uwe), which lies
between the two great horns of the Rhine, he laid siege to Fort
Knodsenburg, which Maurice had built the year before, on the right bank
of the Waal for the purpose of attacking Nymegen. Farnese, knowing that
the general of the States was occupied with his whole army far away to
the north, and separated from him by two great rivers, wide and deep, and
by the whole breadth of that dangerous district called the Foul-meadow
(Vel-uwe), and by the vast quagmire known as the Rouvenian morass, which
no artillery nor even any organised forces had ever traversed since the
beginning of the world, had felt no hesitation in throwing his army in
boats across the Waal. He had no doubt of reducing a not very powerful
fortress long before relief could be brought to it, and at the same time
of disturbing by his presence in Batavia the combinations of his young
antagonist in Friesland and Groningen.

So with six thousand foot and one thousand horse, Alexander came before
Knodsenburg. The news reached Maurice at Steenwyk on the 15th July.
Instantly changing his plans, the prince decided that Farnese must be
faced at once, and, if possible, driven from the ground, thinking it more
important to maintain, by concentration, that which had already been
gained, than to weaken and diffuse his forces in insufficient attempts to
acquire more. Before two days had passed, he was on the march southward,
having left Lewis William with a sufficient force to threaten Groningen.
Coming by way of Hasselt Zwol to Deventer, he crossed the Yssel on a
bridge of boats on the 18th of July, 1591 and proceeded to Arnhem. His
army, although excessively fatigued by forced marches in very hot
weather, over nearly impassable roads, was full of courage and
cheerfulness, having learned implicit confidence in their commander. On
the 20th he was at Arnhem. On the 22nd his bridge of boats was made, and
he had thrown his little army across the Rhine into Batavia, and
entrenched himself with his six thousand foot and fourteen hundred horse
in the immediate neighbourhood of Farnese--Foul-meadow and Good-meadow,
dyke, bog, wold, and quagmire, had been successfully traversed, and
within one week of his learning that the great viceroy of Philip had
reached the Batavian island, Maurice stood confronting that famous
chieftain in battle-array.

On the 22nd July, Farnese, after firing two hundred and eighty-five shots
at Fort Knodsenburg, ordered an assault, expecting that so trifling a
work could hardly withstand a determined onslaught by his veterans. To
his surprise they were so warmly received that two hundred of the
assailants fell at the first onset, and the attack was most conclusively

And now Maurice had appeared upon the scene, determined to relieve a
place so important for his ulterior designs. On the 24th July he sent out
a small but picked force of cavalry to reconnoitre the enemy. They were
attacked by a considerable body of Italian and Spanish horse from the
camp before Knodsenburg, including Alexander's own company of lancers
under Nicelli. The States troops fled before them in apparent dismay for
a little distance, hotly pursued by the royalists, until, making a sudden
halt, they turned to the attack, accompanied by five fresh companies of
cavalry and a thousand musketeers, who fell upon the foe from all
directions. It was an ambush, which had been neatly prepared by Maurice
in person, assisted by Sir Francis Vere. Sixty of the Spaniards and
Italians were killed and one hundred and fifty prisoners, including
Captain Nicelli, taken, while the rest of the party sought safety in
ignominious flight. This little skirmish, in which ten companies of the
picked veterans of Alexander Farnese had thus been utterly routed before
his eyes, did much to inspire the States troops with confidence in
themselves and their leader.

Parma was too experienced a campaigner, and had too quick an eye, not to
recognise the error which he had committed in placing the dangerous river
Waal, without a bridge; between himself and his supplies. He had not
dreamed that his antagonist would be capable of such celerity of movement
as he had thus displayed, and his first business now was to extricate
himself from a position which might soon become fatal. Without
hesitation, he did his best to amuse the enemy in front of the fort, and
then passed the night in planting batteries upon the banks of the river,
under cover of which he succeeded next day in transporting in ferry-boats
his whole force, artillery and: baggage, to the opposite shore, without
loss, and with his usual skill.

He remained but a short time in Nymegen, but he was hampered by the
express commands of the king. Moreover, his broken health imperatively
required that he should once more seek the healing influence of the
waters of Spa, before setting forth on his new French expedition.
Meanwhile, although he had for a time protected the Spanish possessions
in the north by his demonstration in Gelderland, it must be confessed
that the diversion thus given to the plans of Maurice was but a feeble

Having assured the inhabitants of Nymegen that he would watch over the
city like the apple of, his eye, he took his departure on the 4th of
August for Spa. He was accompanied on his journey by his son, Prince
Ranuccio, just arrived from Italy.

After the retreat of Farnese, Maurice mustered his forces at Arnhem, and
found himself at the head of seven thousand foot and fifteen hundred
horse. It was expected by all the world that, being thus on the very
spot, he would forthwith proceed to reduce the ancient, wealthy, imperial
city of Nynegen. The garrison and burghers accordingly made every
preparation to resist the attack, disconcerted as they were, however, by
the departure of Parma, and by the apparent incapacity of Verdugo to
bring them effectual relief.

But to the surprise of all men, the States forces suddenly disappeared
from the scene, having been, as it were, spirited away by night-time,
along those silent watery highways and crossways of canal, river, and
estuary--the military advantages of which to the Netherlands, Maurice was
the first thoroughly to demonstrate. Having previously made great
preparations of munitions and provisions in Zeeland, the young general,
who was thought hard at work in Gelderland, suddenly presented himself on
the 19th September, before the gates of Hulst, on the border of Zeeland
and Brabant.

It was a place of importance from its situation, its possession by the
enemy being a perpetual thorn in the side of the States, and a constant
obstacle to the plans of Maurice. His arrangements having been made with
the customary, neatness, celerity, and completeness, he received the
surrender of the city on the fifth day after his arrival.

Its commander, Castillo, could offer no resistance; and was subsequently,
it is said, beheaded by order of the Duke of Parma for his negligence.
The place is but a dozen miles from Antwerp, which city was at the very,
moment keeping great holiday and outdoing itself in magnificent festivals
in honour of young Ranuccio. The capture of Hulst before his eyes was a
demonstration quite unexpected by the prince, and great was the wrath of
old Mondragon, governor of Antwerp, thus bearded in his den. The veteran
made immediate preparations for chastising the audacious Beggars of
Zeeland and their pedantic young commander, but no sooner had the
Spaniards taken the field than the wily foe had disappeared as magically
as he had come.

The Flemish earth seemed to have bubbles as the water hath, and while
Mondragon was beating the air in vain on the margin of the Scheld,
Maurice was back again upon the Waal, horse, foot, and artillery, bag,
baggage, and munition, and had fairly set himself down in earnest to
besiege Nymegen, before the honest burghers and the garrison had finished
drawing long breaths at their recent escape. Between the 14th and 16th
October he had bridged the deep, wide, and rapid river, had transported
eight thousand five hundred infantry and, sixteen companies of cavalry to
the southern side, had entrenched his camp and made his approaches, and
had got sixty-eight pieces of artillery into three positions commanding
the weakest part of the defences of the city between the Falcon Tower and
the Hoender gate. The fort of Knodsenburg was also ready to throw hot
shot across the river into the town. Not a detail in all these
preparations escaped the vigilant eye of the Commander-in-Chief, and
again and again was he implored not so recklessly to expose a life
already become precious to his country. On the 20th October, Maurice sent
to demand the surrender of the city. The reply was facetious but

The prince was but a young suitor, it was said, and the city a spinster
not so lightly to be won. A longer courtship and more trouble would be

Whereupon the suitor opened all his batteries without further delay, and
the spinster gave a fresh example of the inevitable fate of talking
castles and listening ladies.

Nymegen, despite her saucy answer on the 20th, surrendered on the 21st.
Relief was impossible. Neither Parma, now on his way to France, nor
Verdugo, shut up in Friesland, could come to the rescue of the place, and
the combinations of Maurice were an inexorable demonstration.

The terms of the surrender were similar to those accorded to Zutphen and
Deventer. In regard to the religious point it was expressly laid down by
Maurice that the demand for permission to exercise publicly the Roman
Catholic religion should be left to the decision of the States-General.

And thus another most important city had been added to the domains of the
republic. Another triumph was inscribed on the record of the young
commander. The exultation was very great throughout the United
Netherlands, and heartfelt was the homage rendered by all classes of his
countrymen to the son of William the Silent.

Queen Elizabeth wrote to congratulate him in warmest terms on his great
successes, and even the Spaniards began to recognise the merits of the
new chieftain. An intercepted letter from Verdugo, who had been foiled in
his efforts to arrest the career of Maurice, indicated great respect for
his prowess. "I have been informed," said the veteran, "that Count
Maurice of Nassau wishes to fight me. Had I the opportunity I assure you
that I should not fail him, for even if ill luck were my portion, I
should at least not escape the honour of being beaten by such a
personage. I beg you to tell him so with my affectionate compliments.

These chivalrous sentiments towards Prince Maurice had not however
prevented Verdugo from doing his best to assassinate Count Lewis William.
Two Spaniards had been arrested in the States camp this summer, who came
in as deserters, but who confessed "with little, or mostly without
torture," that they had been sent by their governor and colonel with
instructions to seize a favourable opportunity to shoot Lewis William and
set fire to his camp. But such practices were so common on the part of
the Spanish commanders as to occasion no surprise whatever.

It will be remembered that two years before, the famous Martin Schenk had
come to a tragic end at Nymegen. He had been drowned, fished up, hanged,
drawn, and quartered; after which his scattered fragments, having been
exposed on all the principal towers of the city, had been put in pickle
and deposited in a chest. They were now collected and buried triumphantly
in the tomb of the Dukes of Gelderland. Thus the shade of the grim
freebooter was at last appeased.

The government of the city was conferred upon Count Lewis William, with
Gerard de Jonge as his lieutenant. A substantial garrison was placed in
the city, and, the season now far advanced Maurice brought the military
operations of the year, saving a slight preliminary demonstration against
Gertruydenberg, to a close. He had deserved and attained--considerable
renown. He had astonished the leisurely war-makers and phlegmatic
veterans of the time, both among friends and foes, by the unexampled
rapidity of his movements and the concentration of his attacks. He had
carried great waggon trains and whole parks of siege artillery--the
heaviest then known--over roads and swamps which had been deemed
impassable even for infantry. He had traversed the length and breadth of
the republic in a single campaign, taken two great cities in Overyssel,
picked up cities and fortresses in the province of Groningen, and
threatened its capital, menaced Steenwyk, relieved Knodsenburg though
besieged in person by the greatest commander of the age, beaten the most
famous cavalry of Spain and Italy under the eyes of their chieftain,
swooped as it were through the air upon Brabant, and carried off an
important city almost in the sight of Antwerp, and sped back again in the
freezing weather of early autumn, with his splendidly served and
invincible artillery, to the imperial city of Nymegen, which Farnese had
sworn to guard like the apple of his eye, and which, with consummate
skill, was forced out of his grasp in five days.

"Some might attribute these things to blind fortune," says an honest
chronicler who had occupied important posts in the service of the prince
and of his cousin Lewis William, "but they who knew the prince's constant
study and laborious attention to detail, who were aware that he never
committed to another what he could do himself, who saw his sobriety,
vigilance, his perpetual study and holding of council with Count Lewis
William (himself possessed of all these good gifts, perhaps even in
greater degree), and who never found him seeking, like so many other
commanders, his own ease and comfort, would think differently."


   War in Brittany and Normandy--Death of La Noue--Religious and
   political persecution in Paris--Murder of President Brisson,
   Larcher, and Tardif--The sceptre of France offered to Philip--The
   Duke of Mayenne punishes the murderers of the magistrates--Speech of
   Henry's envoy to the States-General--Letter of Queen Elizabeth to
   Henry--Siege of Rouen--Farnese leads an army to its relief--The king
   is wounded in a skirmish--Siege of Rue by Farnese--Henry raises the
   siege of Rouen--Siege of Caudebec--Critical position of Farnese and
   his army--Victory of the Duke of Mercoeur in Brittany.

Again the central point towards which the complicated events to be
described in this history gravitate is found on the soil of France.
Movements apparently desultory and disconnected--as they may have seemed
to the contemporaneous observer, necessarily occupied with the local and
daily details which make up individual human life--are found to be
necessary parts of a whole, when regarded with that breadth and clearness
of vision which is permitted to human beings only when they can look
backward upon that long sequence of events which make up the life of
nations and which we call the Past. It is only by the anatomical study of
what has ceased to exist that we can come thoroughly to comprehend the
framework and the vital conditions of that which lives. It is only by
patiently lifting the shroud from the Past that we can enable ourselves
to make even wide guesses at the meaning of the dim Present and the
veiled Future. It is only thus that the continuity of human history
reveals itself to us as the most important of scientific facts.

If ever commonwealth was apparently doomed to lose that national
existence which it had maintained for a brief period at the expense of
infinite sacrifice of blood and treasure, it was the republic of the
United Netherlands in the period immediately succeeding the death of
William the Silent. Domestic treason, secession of important provinces,
religious-hatred, foreign intrigue, and foreign invasion--in such a sea
of troubles was the republic destined generations long to struggle. Who
but the fanatical, the shallow-minded, or the corrupt could doubt the
inevitable issue of the conflict? Did not great sages and statesmen whose
teachings seemed so much wiser in their generation than the untaught
impulses of the great popular heart, condemn over and over again the
hopeless struggles and the atrocious bloodshed which were thought to
disgrace the age, and by which it was held impossible that the cause of
human liberty should ever be advanced?

To us who look back from the vantage summit which humanity has
reached--thanks to the toil and sacrifices of those who have preceded
us--it may seem doubtful whether premature peace in the Netherlands,
France, and England would have been an unmitigated blessing, however
easily it might have been purchased by the establishment all over Europe
of that holy institution called the Inquisition, and by the tranquil
acceptance of the foreign domination of Spain.

If, too; ever country seemed destined to the painful process of national
vivisection and final dismemberment, it was France: Its natural guardians
and masters, save one, were in secret negotiation with foreign powers to
obtain with their assistance a portion of the national territory under
acknowledgment of foreign supremacy. There was hardly an inch of French
soil that had not two possessors. In Burgundy Baron Biron was battling
against the Viscount Tavannes; in the Lyonese and Dauphiny Marshal des
Digiueres was fighting with the Dukes of Savoy and Nemours; in Provence,
Epernon was resisting Savoy; in Languedoc, Constable Montmorency
contended with the Duke of Joyeuse; in Brittany, the Prince of Dombes was
struggling with the Duke of Mercoeur.

But there was one adventurer who thought he could show a better legal
title to the throne of France than all the doctors of the Sorbonne could
furnish to Philip II. and his daughter, and who still trusted, through
all the disasters which pursued him, and despite the machinations of
venal warriors and mendicant princes, to his good right and his good
sword, and to something more potent than both, the cause of national
unity. His rebuke to the intriguing priests at the interview of St.
Denis, and his reference to the judgment of Solomon, formed the text to
his whole career.

The brunt of the war now fell upon Brittany and Normandy. Three thousand
Spaniards under Don John de Aquila had landed in the port of Blavet which
they had fortified, as a stronghold on the coast. And thither, to defend
the integrity of that portion of France, which, in Spanish hands, was a
perpetual menace to her realm, her crown, even to her life, Queen
Elizabeth had sent some three thousand Englishmen, under commanders well
known to France and the Netherlands. There was black Norris again dealing
death among the Spaniards and renewing his perpetual squabbles with Sir
Roger Williams. There was that doughty Welshman himself, truculent and
caustic as ever--and as ready with sword or pen, foremost in every mad
adventure or every forlorn hope, criticising with sharpest tongue the
blunders and shortcomings of friend and foe, and devoting the last drop
in his veins with chivalrous devotion to his Queen. "The world cannot
deny," said he, "that any carcase living ventured himself freer and
oftener for his prince, state, and friends than I did mine. There is no
more to be had of a poor beast than his skin, and for want of other means
I never respected mine in the least respect towards my sovereign's
service, or country." And so passing his life in the saddle and under
fire, yet finding leisure to collect the materials for, and to complete
the execution of, one of the most valuable and attractive histories of
the age, the bold Welshman again and again appears, wearing the same
humorous but truculent aspect that belonged to him when he was wont to
run up and down in a great morion and feathers on Flemish battlefields, a
mark for the Spanish sharpshooters.

There, too, under the banner of the Bearnese, that other historian of
those sanguinary times, who had fought on almost every battle-field where
tyranny and liberty had sought to smite each other dead, on French or
Flemish soil, and who had prepared his famous political and military
discourses in a foul dungeon swarming with toads and rats and other
villainous reptiles to which the worse than infernal tyranny of Philip
II. had consigned him for seven years long as a prisoner of war--the
brave and good La Noue, with the iron arm, hero of a hundred combats, was
fighting his last fight. At the siege of Lamballe in Brittany, he had
taken off his calque and climbed a ladder to examine the breach effected
by the batteries. An arquebus shot from the town grazed his forehead,
and, without inflicting a severe wound, stunned him so much that he lost
his balance and fell head foremost towards the ground; his leg, which had
been wounded at the midnight assault upon Paris, where he stood at the
side of King Henry, caught in the ladder and held him suspended. His head
was severely bruised, and the contusions and shock to his war-worn frame
were so great that he died after lingering eighteen days.

His son de Teligny; who in his turn had just been exchanged and released
from the prison where he had lain since his capture before Antwerp, had
hastened with joy to join his father in the camp, but came to close his
eyes. The veteran caused the chapter in Job on the resurrection of the
body to be read to him on his death-bed, and died expressing his firm
faith in a hereafter. Thus passed away, at the age of sixty, on the 4th
August, 1591, one of the most heroic spirits of France. Prudence,
courage, experience, military knowledge both theoretic and practical,
made him one of the first captains of the age, and he was not more
distinguished for his valour than for the purity of his life, and the
moderation, temperance, and justice of his character. The Prince of
Dombes, in despair at his death, raised the siege of Lamballe.

There was yet another chronicler, fighting among the Spaniards, now in
Brittany, now in Normandy, and now in Flanders, and doing his work as
thoroughly with his sword as afterwards with his pen, Don Carlos Coloma,
captain of cavalry, afterwards financier, envoy, and historian. For it
was thus that those writers prepared themselves for their work. They were
all actors in the great epic, the episodes of which they have preserved.
They lived and fought, and wrought and suffered and wrote. Rude in
tongue; aflame with passion, twisted all awry by prejudice, violent in
love and hate, they have left us narratives which are at least full of
colour and thrilling with life.

Thus Netherlanders, Englishmen, and Frenchmen were again mingling their
blood and exhausting their energies on a hundred petty battle-fields of
Brittany and Normandy; but perhaps to few of those hard fighters was it
given to discern the great work which they were slowly and painfully

In Paris the League still maintained its ascendancy. Henry, having again
withdrawn from his attempts to reduce the capital, had left the sixteen
tyrants who governed it more leisure to occupy themselves with internal
politics. A network of intrigue was spread through the whole atmosphere
of the place. The Sixteen, sustained by the power of Spain and Rome, and
fearing nothing so much as the return of peace, by which their system of
plunder would come to an end, proceeded with their persecution of all
heretics, real or supposed, who were rich enough to offer a reasonable
chance of spoil. The soul of all these intrigues was the new legate,
Sego, bishop of Piacenza. Letters from him to Alexander Farnese,
intercepted by Henry, showed a determination to ruin the Duke of Mayenne
and Count Belin governor of Paris, whom he designated as Colossus and
Renard, to extirpate the magistrates, and to put Spanish partizans in
their places, and in general to perfect the machinery by which the
authority of Philip was to be established in France. He was perpetually
urging upon that monarch the necessity of spending more money among his
creatures in order to carry out these projects.

Accordingly the attention of the Sixteen had been directed to President
Brisson, who had already made himself so dangerously conspicuous by his
resistance to the insolent assumption of the cardinal-legate. This
eminent juris-consult had succeeded Pomponne de Bellievre as first
president of the Parliament of Paris. He had been distinguished for
talent, learning, and eloquence as an advocate; and was the author of
several important legal works. His ambition to fill the place of first
president had caused him to remain in Paris after its revolt against
Henry III. He was no Leaguer; and, since his open defiance of the
ultra-Catholic party, he had been a marked man--doomed secretly by the
confederates who ruled the capital. He had fondly imagined that he could
govern the Parisian populace as easily as he had been in the habit of
influencing the Parliament or directing his clients. He expected to
restore the city to its obedience to the constituted authorities. He
hoped to be himself the means of bringing Henry IV. in triumph to the
throne of his ancestors. He found, however, that a revolution was more
difficult to manage than a law case; and that the confederates of the
Holy League were less tractable than his clients had usually been found.

On the night of the 14th November; 1591; he was seized on the bridge St.
Michel, while on his way to parliament, and was told that he was expected
at the Hotel de Ville. He was then brought to the prison of the little

Hardly had he been made secure in the dimly-lighted dungeon, when Crome,
a leader among the Parisian populacey made his appearance, accompanied by
some of his confederates, and dressed in a complete suit of mail. He
ordered the magistrate to take off his hat and to kneel. He then read a
sentence condemning him to death. Profoundly astonished, Brisson demanded
to know of what crime he was accused; and under what authority. The
answer was a laugh; and an assurance that he had no time to lose. He then
begged that at least he might be imprisoned long enough to enable him to
complete a legal work on which he was engaged, and which, by his
premature death, would be lost to the commonwealth. This request produced
no doubt more merriment than his previous demands. His judges were
inflexible; and allowed him hardly time to confess himself. He was then
hanged in his dungeon.

Two other magistrates, Larcher and Tardif, were executed in the same way,
in the same place, and on the same night. The crime charged against them
was having spoken in a public assembly somewhat freely against the
Sixteen, and having aided in the circulation in Paris of a paper drawn up
by the Duke of Nevers, filled with bitterness against the Lorraine
princes and the League, and addressed to the late Pope Sixtus.

The three bodies were afterwards gibbeted on the Greve in front of the
Hotel de Ville, and exposed for two days to the insults and fury of the

This was the culminating point of the reign of terror in Paris. Never had
the sixteen tyrants; lords of the market halls, who governed the capital
by favour of and in the name of the populace, seemed more omnipotent. As
representatives or plenipotentiaries of Madam League they had laid the
crown at the feet of the King of Spain, hoping by still further drafts
on his exchequer and his credulity to prolong indefinitely their own
ignoble reign. The extreme democratic party, which had hitherto supported
the House of Lorraine and had seemed to idolize that family in the person
of the great Balafre, now believed themselves possessed of sufficient
power to control the Duke of Mayenne and all his adherents. They sent the
Jesuit Claude Mathieu with a special memorial to Philip II. That monarch
was implored to take, the sceptre of France, and to reign over them,
inasmuch as they most willingly threw themselves into his arms? They
assured him that all reasonable people, and especially the Holy League,
wished him to take the reins of Government, on condition of exterminating
heresy throughout the kingdom by force of arms, of publishing the Council
of Trent, and of establishing everywhere the Holy inquisition--an
institution formidable only to the wicked and desirable for the good. It
was suggested that Philip should not call himself any longer King of
Spain nor adopt the title of King of France, but that he should proclaim
himself the Great King, or make use of some similar designation, not
indicating any specialty but importing universal dominion.

Should Philip, however, be disinclined himself to accept the monarchy, it
was suggested that the young Duke of Guise, son of the first martyr of
France, would be the most appropriate personage to be honoured with the
hand of the legitimate Queen of France, the Infanta Clara Isabella.

But the Sixteen were reckoning without the Duke of Mayenne. That great
personage, although an indifferent warrior and an utterly unprincipled
and venal statesman, was by no means despicable as a fisherman in the
troubled waters of revolution. He knew how to manage intrigues with both
sides for his own benefit. Had he been a bachelor he might have obtained
the Infanta and shared her prospective throne. Being encumbered with a
wife he had no hope of becoming the son-in-law of Philip, and was
determined that his nephew Guise should not enjoy a piece of good fortune
denied to himself. The escape of the young duke from prison had been the
signal for the outbreak of jealousies between uncle and nephew, which
Parma and other agents had been instructed by their master to foster to
the utmost. "They must be maintained in such disposition in regard to
me," he said, "that the one being ignorant of my relations to the other,
both may without knowing it do my will."

But Mayenne, in this grovelling career of self-seeking, in this perpetual
loading of dice and marking of cards, which formed the main occupation of
so many kings and princes of the period, and which passed for
Machiavellian politics, was a fair match for the Spanish king and his
Italian viceroy. He sent President Jeannin on special mission to Philip,
asking for two armies, one to be under his command, the other under that
of Farnese, and assured him that he should be king himself, or appoint
any man he liked to the vacant throne. Thus he had secured one hundred
thousand crowns a month to carry on his own game withal. "The maintenance
of these two armies costs me 261,000 crowns a month," said Philip to his
envoy Ybarra.

And what was the result of all this expenditure of money, of all this
lying and counter-lying, of all this frantic effort on the part of the
most powerful monarch of the age to obtain property which did not belong
to him--the sovereignty of a great kingdom, stocked with a dozen millions
of human beings--of all this endless bloodshed of the people in the
interests of a high-born family or two, of all this infamous brokerage
charged by great nobles for their attempts to transfer kingdoms like
private farms from one owner to another? Time was to show. Meanwhile men
trembled at the name of Philip II., and grovelled before him as the
incarnation of sagacity, high policy, and king-craft.

But Mayenne, while taking the brokerage, was less anxious about the
transfer. He had fine instinct enough to suspect that the Bearnese,
outcast though he seemed, might after all not be playing so desperate a
game against the League as it was the fashion to suppose. He knew whether
or not Henry was likely to prove a more fanatical Huguenot in 1592 than
he bad shown himself twenty years before at the Bartholomew festival. And
he had wit enough to foresee that the "instruction" which the gay
free-thinker held so cautiously in his fingers might perhaps turn out the
trump card. A bold, valorous Frenchman with a flawless title, and washed
whiter than snow by the freshet of holy water, might prove a more
formidable claimant to the allegiance of Frenchmen than a foreign
potentate, even though backed by all the doctors of the Sorbonne.

The murder of President Brisson and his colleagues by the confederates of
the sixteen quarters, was in truth the beginning of the end. What seemed
a proof of supreme power was the precursor of a counter-revolution,
destined ere long to lead farther than men dreamed. The Sixteen believed
themselves omnipotent. Mayenne being in their power, it was for them to
bestow the crown at their will, or to hold it suspended in air as long as
seemed best to them. They felt no doubt that all the other great cities
in the kingdom would follow the example of Paris.

But the lieutenant-general of the realm felt it time for him to show that
his authority was not a shadow--that he was not a pasteboard functionary
like the deceased cardinal-king, Charles X. The letters entrusted by the
Sixteen to Claude Mathieu were intercepted by Henry, and, very probably,
an intimation of their contents was furnished to Mayenne. At any rate,
the duke, who lacked not courage nor promptness when his own interests
were concerned, who felt his authority slipping away from him, now that
it seemed the object of the Spaniards to bind the democratic party to
themselves by a complicity in crime, hastened at once to Paris,
determined to crush these intrigues and to punish the murderers of the
judges. The Spanish envoy Ybarra, proud, excitable, violent, who had been
privy to the assassinations, and was astonished that the deeds had
excited indignation and fury instead of the terror counted upon,
remonstrated with Mayenne, intimating that in times of civil commotion it
was often necessary to be blind and deaf.

In vain. The duke carried it with a high and firm hand. He arrested the
ringleaders, and hanged four of them in the basement of the Louvre within
twenty days after the commission of their crime. The energy was
well-timed and perfectly successful. The power of the Sixteen was struck
to the earth at a blow. The ignoble tyrants became in a moment as
despicable as they had been formidable and insolent. Crome, more
fortunate than many of his fellows, contrived to make his escape out of
the kingdom.

Thus Mayenne had formally broken with the democratic party, so
called-with the market-halls oligarchy. In thus doing, his ultimate
rupture with the Spaniards was foreshadowed. The next combination for him
to strive for would be one to unite the moderate Catholics and the
Bearnese. Ah! if Henry would but "instruct" himself out of hand, what a
game the duke might play!

The burgess-party, the mild royalists, the disgusted portion of the
Leaguers, coalescing with those of the Huguenots whose fidelity might
prove stanch even against the religious apostasy contemplated by their
chief--this combination might prove an over-match for the ultra-leaguers,
the democrats, and the Spaniards. The king's name would be a tower of
strength for that "third party," which began to rear its head very boldly
and to call itself "Politica." Madam League might succumb to this new
rival in the fickle hearts of the French.

At the beginning of the year 1591; Buzanval had presented his credentials
to the States-General at the Hague as envoy of Henry IV. In the speech
which he made on this occasion he expressed the hope that the mission of
the Viscount Turenne, his Majesty's envoy to England and to the
Netherlands, had made known the royal sentiments towards the States and
the great satisfaction of the king with their energetic sympathy and
assistance. It was notorious, said Buzanval, that the King of Spain for
many years had been governed by no other motive than to bring all the
rest of Christendom under his dominion, while at the same time he forced
upon those already placed under his sceptre a violent tyranny, passing
beyond all the bounds that God, nature, and reason had set to lawful
forms of government. In regard to nations born under other laws than his,
he had used the pretext of religion for reducing them to servitude. The
wars stirred up by his family in Germany, and his recent invasion of
England, were proofs of this intention, still fresh in the memory of all
men. Still more flagrant were his machinations in the present troubles of
France. Of his dealings with his hereditary realms, the condition of the
noble provinces of the Netherlands, once so blooming under reasonable
laws, furnished, a sufficient illustration. You see, my masters,
continued the envoy, the subtle plans of the Spanish king and his
counsellors to reach with certainty the object of their ambition. They
have reflected that Spain, which is the outermost corner of Europe,
cannot conveniently make war upon other Christian realms. They have seen
that a central position is necessary to enable them to stretch their arms
to every side. They have remembered that princes who in earlier days were
able to spread their wings over all Christendom had their throne in
France, like Charles the Great and his descendants. Therefore the king is
now earnestly bent on seizing this occasion to make himself master of
France. The death of the late king (Henry III.) had no sooner occurred,
than--as the blood through great terror rushes from the extremities and
overflows the heart--they here also, fearing to lose their opportunity
and astonished at the valour of our present king, abandoned all their
other enterprises in order to pour themselves upon France.

Buzanval further reminded the States that Henry had received the most
encouraging promises from the protestant princes of Germany, and that so
great a personage as the Viscount Turenne, who had now gone thither to
reap the fruit of those promises, would not have been sent on such a
mission except that its result was certain. The Queen of England, too,
had promised his Majesty most liberal assistance.

It was not necessary to argue as to the close connection between the
cause of the Netherlands and that of France. The king had beaten down the
mutiny of his own subjects, and repulsed the invasion of the Dukes of
Savoy and of Lorraine. In consideration of the assistance promised by
Germany and England--for a powerful army would be at the command of Henry
in the spring--it might be said that the Netherlands might repose for a
time and recruit their exhausted energies, under the shadow of these
mighty preparations.

"I do not believe, however," said the minister, "that you will all answer
me thus. The faint-hearted and the inexperienced might flatter themselves
with such thoughts, and seek thus to cover their cowardice, but the
zealous and the courageous will see that it is time to set sail on the
ship, now that the wind is rising so freshly and favourably.

"For there are many occasions when an army might be ruined for want of
twenty thousand crowns. What a pity if a noble edifice, furnished to the
roof-tree, should fall to decay for want of a few tiles. No doubt your
own interests are deeply connected with our own. Men may say that our
proposals should be rejected on the principle that the shirt is nearer to
the skin than the coat, but it can be easily proved that our cause is
one. The mere rumour of this army will prevent the Duke of Parma from
attacking you. His forces will be drawn to France. He will be obliged to
intercept the crash of this thunderbolt. The assistance of this army is
worth millions to you, and has cost you nothing. To bring France into
hostility with Spain is the very policy that you have always pursued and
always should pursue in order to protect your freedom. You have always
desired a war between France and Spain, and here is a fierce and cruel
one in which you have hazarded nothing. It cannot come to an end without
bringing signal advantages to yourselves.

"You have always desired an alliance with a French sovereign, and here is
a firm friendship offered you by our king, a natural alliance.

"You know how unstable are most treaties that are founded on shifting
interests, and do not concern the freedom of bodies and souls. The first
are written with pen upon paper, and are generally as light as paper.
They have no roots in the heart. Those founded on mutual assistance on
trying occasions have the perpetual strength of nature. They bring always
good and enduring fruit in a rich soil like the heart of our king; that
heart which is as beautiful and as pure from all untruth as the lily upon
his shield.

"You will derive the first profits from the army thus raised. From the
moment of its mustering under a chief of such experience as Turenne, it
will absorb the whole attention of Spain, and will draw her thoughts from
the Netherlands to France."

All this and more in the same earnest manner did the envoy urge upon the
consideration of the States-General, concluding with a demand of 100,000
florins as their contribution towards the French campaign.

His eloquence did not fall upon unwilling ears; for the States-General,
after taking time to deliberate, replied to the propositions by an
expression of the strongest sympathy with, and admiration for, the heroic
efforts of the King of France. Accordingly, notwithstanding their own
enormous expenses, past and present, and their strenuous exertions at
that very moment to form an army of foot and horse for the campaign, the
brilliant results of which have already been narrated, they agreed to
furnish the required loan of 100,000 florins to be repaid in a year,
besides six or seven good ships of war to co-operate with the fleets of
England and France upon the coasts of Normandy. And the States were even
better than their word.

Before the end of autumn of the year 1591, Henry had laid siege to Rouen,
then the second city of the kingdom. To leave much longer so important a
place--dominating, as it did, not only Normandy but a principal portion
of the maritime borders of France--under the control of the League and of
Spain was likely to be fatal to Henry's success. It was perfectly sound
in Queen Elizabeth to insist as she did, with more than her usual
imperiousness towards her excellent brother, that he should lose no more
time before reducing that city. It was obvious that Rouen in the hands of
her arch-enemy was a perpetual menace to the safety of her own kingdom.
It was therefore with correct judgment, as well as with that high-flown
gallantry so dear to the heart of Elizabeth, that her royal champion and
devoted slave assured her of his determination no longer to defer obeying
her commands in this respect.

The queen had repeatedly warned him of the necessity of defending the
maritime frontier of his kingdom, and she was not sparing of her
reproaches that the large sums which she expended in his cause had been
often ill bestowed. Her criticisms on what she considered his military
mistakes were not few, her threats to withdraw her subsidies frequent.
"Owning neither the East nor the West Indies," she said, "we are unable
to supply the constant demands upon us; and although we have the
reputation of being a good housewife, it does not follow that we can be a
housewife for all the world." She was persistently warning the king of an
attack upon Dieppe, and rebuking him for occupying himself with petty
enterprises to the neglect of vital points. She expressed her surprise
that after the departure of Parma, he had not driven the Spaniards out of
Brittany, without allowing them to fortify themselves in that country. "I
am astonished," she said to him, "that your eyes are so blinded as not to
see this danger. Remember, my dear brother," she frankly added, "that it
is not only France that I am aiding, nor are my own natural realms of
little consequence to me. Believe me, if I see that you have no more
regard to the ports and maritime places nearest to us, it will be
necessary that my prayers should serve you in place of any other
assistance, because it does not please me to send my people to the
shambles where they may perish before having rendered you any assistance.
I am sure the Spaniards will soon besiege Dieppe. Beware of it, and
excuse my bluntness, for if in the beginning you had taken the maritime
forts, which are the very gates of your kingdom, Paris would not have
been so well furnished, and other places nearer the heart of the kingdom
would not have received so much foreign assistance, without which the
others would have soon been vanquished. Pardon my simplicity as belonging
to my own sex wishing to give a lesson to one who knows better, but my
experience in government makes me a little obstinate in believing that I
am not ignorant of that which belongs to a king, and I persuade myself
that in following my advice you will not fail to conquer your

Before the end of the year Henry had obtained control of the Seine, both
above and below the city, holding Pont de l'Arche on the north--where was
the last bridge across the river; that of Rouen, built by the English
when they governed Normandy, being now in ruins--and Caudebec on the
south in an iron grasp. Several war-vessels sent by the Hollanders,
according to the agreement with Buzanval, cruised in the north of the
river below Caudebec, and rendered much service to the king in cutting
off supplies from the beleaguered place, while the investing army of
Henry, numbering twenty-five thousand foot--inclusive of the English
contingent, and three thousand Netherlanders--and ten thousand cavalry,
nearly all French, was fast reducing the place to extremities.

Parma, as usual, in obedience to his master's orders, but entirely
against his own judgment, had again left the rising young general of the
Netherlands to proceed from one triumph to another, while he transferred
beyond the borders of that land which it was his first business to
protect, the whole weight of his military genius and the better portion
of his well disciplined forces.

Most bitterly and indignantly did he express himself, both at the outset
and during the whole progress of the expedition, concerning the utter
disproportions between the king's means and aims. The want of money was
the cause of wholesale disease, desertion, mutiny, and death in his
slender army.

Such great schemes as his master's required, as he perpetually urged,
liberality of expenditure and measures of breadth. He protested that he
was not to blame for the ruin likely to come upon the whole enterprise.
He had besought, remonstrated, reasoned with the king in vain. He had
seen his beard first grow, he said, in the king's service, and he had
grown gray in that service, but rather than be kept longer in such a
position, without money, men, or means to accomplish the great purposes
on which he was sent, he protested that he would "abandon his office and
retire into the woods to feed on roots." Repeatedly did he implore his
master for a large and powerful army; for money and again money. The
royal plans should be enforced adequately or abandoned entirely. To spend
money in small sums, as heretofore, was only throwing it into the sea.

It was deep in the winter however before he could fairly come to the
rescue of the besieged city. Towards the end of January, 1592, he moved
out of Hainault, and once more made his junction at Guise with the Duke
of Mayenne. At a review of his forces on 16th January, 1592, Alexander
found himself at the head of thirteen thousand five hundred and sixteen
infantry and four thousand and sixty-one cavalry. The Duke of Mayenne's
army, for payment of which that personage received from Philip 100,000
dollars a month, besides 10,000 dollars a month for his own pocket, ought
to have numbered ten thousand foot and three thousand horse, according to
contract, but was in reality much less.

The Duke of Montemarciano, nephew of Gregory XIV., had brought two
thousand Swiss, furnished by the pontiff to the cause of the League, and
the Duke of Lorraine had sent his kinsmen, the Counts Chaligny and
Vaudemont, with a force of seven hundred lancers and cuirassiers.

The town of Fere was assigned in pledge to Farnese to hold as a
convenient: mustering-place and station in proximity to his own borders,
and, as usual, the chief command over the united armies was placed in his
hands. These arrangements concluded, the allies moved slowly forward much
in the same order as in the previous year. The young Duke of Guise, who
had just made his escape from the prison of Tours, where he had been held
in durance since the famous assassination of his father and uncle, and
had now come to join his uncle Mayenne, led the vanguard. Ranuccio, son
of the duke, rode also in the advance, while two experienced commanders,
Vitry and De la Chatre, as well as the famous Marquis del Vasto, formerly
general of cavalry in the Netherlands, who had been transferred to Italy
but was now serving in the League's army as a volunteer, were associated
with the young princes. Parma, Mayenne, and Montemarciano rode in the
battalia, the rear being under command of the Duke of Aumale and the
Count Chaligny. Wings of cavalry protected the long trains of wagons
which were arranged on each flank of the invading army. The march was
very slow, a Farnese's uniform practice to guard himself scrupulously
against any possibility of surprise and to entrench himself thoroughly at

By the middle of February they reached the vicinity of Aumale in Picardy.
Meantime Henry, on the news of the advance of the relieving army, had
again the same problem to solve that had been presented to him before
Paris in the summer of 1590. Should he continue in the trenches, pressing
more and more closely the city already reduced to great straits? Should
he take the open field against the invaders and once more attempt to
crush the League and its most redoubtable commander in a general
engagement? Biron strenuously advised the continuance of the siege.
Turenne, now, through his recent marriage with the heiress, called Duc de
Bouillon, great head of the Huguenot party in France, counselled as
warmly the open attack. Henry, hesitating more than was customary with
him, at last decided on a middle course. The resolution did not seem a
very wise one, but the king, who had been so signally out-generalled in
the preceding campaign by the great Italian, was anxious to avoid his
former errors, and might perhaps fall into as great ones by attempting
two inconsistent lines of action. Leaving Biron in command of the
infantry and a portion of the horse to continue the siege, he took the
field himself with the greater part of the cavalry, intending to
intercept and harass the enemy and to prevent his manifest purpose of
throwing reinforcements and supplies into the invested city.

Proceeding to Neufchatel and Aumale, he soon found himself in the
neighbourhood of the Leaguers, and it was not long before skirmishing
began. At this time, on a memorable occasion, Henry, forgetting as usual,
in his eagerness for the joys of the combat that he was not a young
captain of cavalry with his spurs to win by dashing into every mad
adventure that might present itself, but a king fighting for his crown,
with the welfare of a whole people depending on his fortunes, thought
proper to place himself at the head of a handful of troopers to
reconnoitre in person the camp of the Leaguers. Starting with five
hundred horse, and ordering Lavardin and Givry to follow with a larger
body, while the Dukes of Nevers and Longueville were to move out, should
it prove necessary, in force, the king rode forth as merrily as to a
hunting party, drove in the scouts and pickets of the confederated
armies, and, advancing still farther in his investigations, soon found
himself attacked by a cavalry force of the enemy much superior to his
own. A skirmish began, and it was necessary for the little troop to beat
a hasty retreat, fighting as it ran. It was not long before Henry was
recognised by the enemy, and the chase became all the more lively; George
Basti, the famous Albanian trooper, commanding the force which pressed
most closely upon the king. The news spread to the camp of the League
that the Bearnese was the leader of the skirmishers. Mayenne believed it,
and urged the instant advance of the flying squadron and of the whole
vanguard. Farnese refused. It was impossible that the king should be
there, he said, doing picket duty at the head of a company. It was a
clumsy ambush to bring on a general engagement in the open field, and he
was not to be drawn out of his trenches into a trap by such a shallow
device. A French captain, who by command of Henry had purposely allowed
himself to be taken, informed his captors that the skirmishers were in
reality supported by a heavy force of infantry. This suggestion of the
ready Bearnese confirmed the doubts of Alexander. Meantime the
skirmishing steeplechase went on before his eyes. The king dashing down a
hill received an arquebus shot in his side, but still rode for his life.
Lavardin and Givry came to the rescue, but a panic seized their followers
as the rumour flew that the king was mortally wounded--was already
dead--so that they hardly brought a sufficient force to beat back the
Leaguers. Givry's horse was soon killed under him, and his own thigh
crushed; Lavardin was himself dangerously wounded. The king was more hard
pressed than ever, men were falling on every side of him, when four
hundred French dragoons--as a kind of musketeers who rode on hacks to the
scene of action but did their work on foot, were called at that day--now
dismounted and threw themselves between Henry and his pursuers. Nearly
every man of them laid down his life, but they saved the king's. Their
vigorous hand to hand fighting kept off the assailants until Nevers and
Longueville received the king at the gates of Aumale with a force before
which the Leaguers were fain to retreat as rapidly as they had come.

In this remarkable skirmish of Aumale the opposite qualities of Alexander
and of Henry were signally illustrated. The king, by his constitutional
temerity, by his almost puerile love of confronting danger for the
danger's sake, was on the verge of sacrificing himself with all the hopes
of his house and of the nobler portion of his people for an absolute
nothing; while the duke, out of his superabundant caution, peremptorily
refused to stretch out his hand and seize the person of his great enemy
when directly within his, grasp. Dead or alive, the Bearnese was
unquestionably on that day in the power of Farnese, and with him the
whole issue of the campaign and of the war. Never were the narrow limits
that separate valour on the one side and discretion on the other from
unpardonable lunacy more nearly effaced than on that occasion.'

When would such an opportunity occur again?

The king's wound proved not very dangerous, although for many days
troublesome, and it required, on account of his general state of health,
a thorough cure. Meantime the royalists fell back from Aumale and
Neufchatel, both of which places were at once occupied by the Leaguers:
In pursuance of his original plan, the Duke of Parma advanced with his
customary steadiness and deliberation towards Rouen. It was his intention
to assault the king's army in its entrenchments in combination with a
determined sortie to be made by the besieged garrison. His preparations
for the attack were ready on the 26th February, when he suddenly received
a communication from De Villars, who had thus far most ably and gallantly
conducted the defence of the place, informing him that it was no longer
necessary to make a general attack. On the day before he had made a sally
from the four gates of the city, had fallen upon the besiegers in great
force, had wounded Biron and killed six hundred of his soldiers, had
spiked several pieces of artillery and captured others which he had
successfully brought into the town, and had in short so damaged the
enemy's works and disconcerted him in all his plans, that he was
confident of holding the place longer than the king could afford to stay
in front of him. All he wished was a moderate reinforcement of men and
munitions. Farnese by no means sympathized with the confident tone of
Villars nor approved of his proposition. He had come to relieve Rouen and
to raise the siege, and he preferred to do his work thoroughly. Mayenne
was however most heartily in favour of taking the advice of Villars. He
urged that it was difficult for the Bearnese to keep an army long in the
field, still more so in the trenches. Let them provide for the immediate
wants of the city; then the usual process of decomposition would soon be
witnessed in the ill-paid, ill-fed, desultory forces of the heretic

Alexander deferred to the wishes of Mayenne, although against his better
judgment. Eight hundred infantry, were successfully sent into Rouen. The
army of the League then countermarched into Picardy near the confines of

They were closely followed by Henry at the head of his cavalry, and
lively skirmishes were of frequent occurrence. In a military point of
view none of these affairs were of consequence, but there was one which
partook at once of the comic and the pathetic. For it chanced that in a
cavalry action of more than common vivacity the Count Chaligny found
himself engaged in a hand to hand conflict with a very dashing swordsman,
who, after dealing and receiving many severe blows, at last succeeded in
disarming the count and taking him prisoner. It was the fortune of war,
and, but a few days before, might have been the fate of the great Henry
himself. But Chaligny's mortification at his captivity became intense
when he discovered that the knight to whom he had surrendered was no
other than the king's jester. That he, a chieftain of the Holy League,
the long-descended scion of the illustrious house of Lorraine, brother of
the great Duke of Mercoeur, should become the captive of a Huguenot
buffoon seemed the most stinging jest yet perpetrated since fools had
come in fashion. The famous Chicot--who was as fond of a battle as of a
gibe, and who was almost as reckless a rider as his master--proved on
this occasion that the cap and bells could cover as much magnanimity as
did the most chivalrous crest. Although desperately wounded in the
struggle which had resulted in his triumph, he generously granted to the
Count his freedom without ransom. The proud Lorrainer returned to his
Leaguers and the poor fool died afterwards of his wounds.

The army of the allies moved through Picardy towards the confines of
Artois, and sat down leisurely to beleaguer Rue, a low-lying place on the
banks and near the mouth of the Somme, the only town in the province
which still held for the king. It was sufficiently fortified to withstand
a good deal of battering, and it certainly seemed mere trifling for the
great Duke of Parma to leave the Netherlands in such confusion, with
young Maurice of Nassau carrying everything before him, and to come all
the way into Normandy in order, with the united armies of Spain and the
League, to besiege the insignificant town of Rue.

And this was the opinion of Farnese, but he had chosen throughout the
campaign to show great deference to the judgment of Mayenne. Meantime the
month of March wore away, and what had been predicted came to pass.
Henry's forces dwindled away as usual. His cavaliers rode off to forage
for themselves, when their battles were denied them, and the king was now
at the head of not more than sixteen thousand foot and five thousand
horse. On the other hand the Leaguers' army had been melting quite as
rapidly. With the death of Pope Sfondrato, his nephew Montemarciano had
disappeared with his two thousand Swiss; while the French cavalry and
infantry, ill-fed and uncomfortable, were diminishing daily. Especially
the Walloons, Flemings, and other Netherlanders of Parma's army, took
advantage of their proximity to the borders and escaped in large numbers
to their own homes. It was but meagre and profitless campaigning on both
sides during those wretched months of winter and early spring, although
there was again an opportunity for Sir Roger Williams, at the head of two
hundred musketeers and one hundred and fifty pikemen, to make one of his
brilliant skirmishes under the eye of the Bearnese. Surprised and without
armour, he jumped, in doublet and hose, on horseback, and led his men
merrily against five squadrons of Spanish and Italian horse, and six
companies of Spanish infantry; singled out and unhorsed the leader of the
Spanish troopers, and nearly cut off the head, of the famous Albanian
chief George Basti with one swinging blow of his sword. Then, being
reinforced by some other English companies, he succeeded in driving the
whole body of Italians and Spaniards, with great loss, quite into their
entrenchments. "The king doth commend him very highly," said Umton, "and
doth more than wonder at the valour of our nation. I never heard him give
more honour to any service nor to any man than he doth to Sir Roger
Williams and the rest, whom he held as lost men, and for which he has
caused public thanks to be given to God."

At last Villars, who had so peremptorily rejected assistance at the end
of February, sent to say that if he were not relieved by the middle of
April he should be obliged to surrender the city. If the siege were not
raised by the twentieth of the month he informed Parma, to his profound
astonishment, that Rouen would be in Henry's hands.

In effecting this result the strict blockade maintained by the Dutch
squadron at the mouth of the river, and the resolute manner in which
those cruisers dashed at every vessel attempting to bring relief to
Rouen, were mainly instrumental. As usual with the stern Hollanders and
Zeelanders when engaged at sea with the Spaniards, it was war to the
knife. Early in April twelve large vessels, well armed and manned,
attempted to break the blockade. A combat ensued, at the end of which
eight of the Spanish ships were captured, two were sunk, and two were set
on fire in token of victory, every man on board of all being killed and
thrown into the sea. Queen Elizabeth herself gave the first news of this
achievement to the Dutch envoy in London. "And in truth," said he, "her
Majesty expressed herself, in communicating these tidings, with such
affection and extravagant joy to the glory and honour of our nation and
men-of-war's-men, that it wonderfully delighted me, and did me good into
my very heart to hear it from her."

Instantly Farnese set himself to the work which, had he followed his own
judgment, would already have been accomplished. Henry with his cavalry
had established himself at Dieppe and Arques, within a distance of five
or six leagues from the infantry engaged in the siege of Rouen. Alexander
saw the profit to be derived from the separation between the different
portions of the enemy's forces, and marched straight upon the enemy's
entrenchments. He knew the disadvantage of assailing a strongly fortified
camp, but believed that by a well-concerted, simultaneous assault by
Villars from within and the Leaguers from without, the king's forces
would be compelled to raise the siege or be cut up in their trenches.

But Henry did not wait for the attack. He had changed his plan, and, for
once in his life, substituted extreme caution for his constitutional
temerity. Neither awaiting the assault upon his entrenchments nor seeking
his enemy in the open field, he ordered the whole camp to be broken up,
and on the 20th of April raised the siege.

Farnese marched into Rouen, where the Leaguers were received with
tumultuous joy, and this city, most important for the purposes of the
League and for Philip's ulterior designs, was thus wrested from the grasp
just closing upon it. Henry's main army now concentrated itself in the
neighbourhood of Dieppe, but the cavalry under his immediate
superintendence continued to harass the Leaguers. It was now determined
to lay siege to Caudebec, on the right bank of the Seine, three leagues
below Rouen; the possession of this place by the enemy being a constant.
danger and difficulty to Rouen, whose supplies by the Seine were thus cut

Alexander, as usual, superintended the planting of the batteries against
the place. He had been suffering during the whole campaign with those
dropsical ailments which were making life a torture to him; yet his
indomitable spirit rose superior to his physical disorders, and he
wrought all day long on foot or on horseback, when he seemed only fit to
be placed on his bed as a rapid passage to his grave. On this occasion,
in company with the Italian engineer Properzio, he had been for some time
examining with critical nicety the preliminaries, for the siege, when it
was suddenly observed by those around him that he was growing pale. It
then appeared that he had received a musket-ball between the wrist and
the elbow, and had been bleeding profusely; but had not indicated by a
word or the movement of a muscle that he had been wounded, so intent was
he upon carrying out the immediate task to which he had set himself. It
was indispensable, however, that he should now take to his couch. The
wound was not trifling, and to one in his damaged and dropsical condition
it was dangerous. Fever set in, with symptoms of gangrene, and it became
necessary to entrust the command of the League to Mayenne. But it was
hardly concealed from Parma that the duke was playing a double game.
Prince Ranuccio, according to his father's express wish, was placed
provisionally at the head of the Flemish forces. This was conceded;
however, with much heart-burning, and with consequences easily to be

Meantime Caudebec fell at once. Henry did nothing to relieve it, and the
place could offer but slight resistance to the force arrayed against it.
The bulk of the king's army was in the neighbourhood of Dieppe, where
they had been recently strengthened by twenty companies of Netherlanders
and Scotchmen brought by Count Philip Nassau. The League's headquarters
were in the village of Yvetot, capital of the realm of the whimsical
little potentate so long renowned under that name.

The king, in pursuance of the plan he had marked out for himself,
restrained his skirmishing more than was his wont. Nevertheless he lay
close to Yvetot. His cavalry, swelling and falling as usual like an
Alpine torrent, had now filled up its old channels again, for once more
the mountain chivalry had poured themselves around their king. With ten
thousand horsemen he was now pressing the Leaguers, from time to time,
very hard, and on one occasion the skirmishing became so close and so
lively that a general engagement seemed imminent. Young Ranuccio had a
horse shot under him, and his father--suffering as he was--had himself
dragged out of bed and brought on a litter into the field, where he was
set on horseback, trampling on wounds and disease, and, as it were, on
death itself, that he might by his own unsurpassed keenness of eye and
quickness of resource protect the army which had been entrusted to his
care. The action continued all day; young Bentivoglio, nephew of the
famous cardinal, historian and diplomatist, receiving a bad wound in the
leg, as he fought gallantly at the side of Ranuccio. Carlo Coloma also
distinguished himself in the engagement. Night separated the combatants
before either side had gained a manifest advantage, and on the morrow it
seemed for the interest of neither to resume the struggle.

The field where this campaign was to be fought was a narrow peninsula
enclosed between the sea and the rivers Seine and Dieppe. In this
peninsula, called the Land of Caux, it was Henry's intention to shut up
his enemy. Farnese had finished the work that he had been sent to do, and
was anxious, as Henry was aware, to return to the Netherlands. Rouen was
relieved, Caudebec had fallen. There was not food or forage enough in the
little peninsula to feed both the city and the whole army of the League.
Shut up in this narrow area, Alexander must starve or surrender. His only
egress was into Picardy and so home to Artois, through the base of the
isosceles triangle between the two rivers and on the borders of Picardy.
On this base Henry had posted his whole army. Should Farnese assail him,
thus provided with a strong position and superiority of force, defeat was
certain. Should he remain where he was, he must inevitably starve. He had
no communications with the outside. The Hollanders lay with their ships
below Caudebec, blockading the river's mouth and the coast. His only
chance of extrication lay across the Seine. But Alexander was neither a
bird nor a fish, and it was necessary, so Henry thought, to be either the
one or the other to cross that broad, deep, and rapid river, where there
were no bridges, and where the constant ebb and flow of the tide made
transportation almost impossible in face of a powerful army in rear and
flank. Farnese's situation seemed, desperate; while the shrewd Bearnese
sat smiling serenely, carefully watching at the mouth of the trap into
which he had at last inveigled his mighty adversary. Secure of his
triumph, he seemed to have changed his nature, and to have become as
sedate and wary as, by habit, he was impetuous and hot.

And in truth Farnese found himself in very narrow quarters. There was no
hay for his horses, no bread for his men. A penny loaf was sold for two
shillings. A jug of water was worth a crown. As for meat or wine, they
were hardly to be dreamed of. His men were becoming furious at their
position. They had enlisted to fight, not to starve, and they murmured
that it was better for an army to fall with weapons in its hands than to
drop to pieces hourly with the enemy looking on and enjoying their agony.

It was obvious to Farnese that there were but two ways out of his
dilemma. He might throw himself upon Henry--strongly entrenched as he
was, and with much superior forces to his own, upon ground deliberately
chosen for himself--defeat him utterly, and march over him back to the
Netherlands. This would be an agreeable result; but the undertaking
seemed difficult, to say the least. Or he might throw his army across the
Seine and make his escape through the isle of France and Southern Picardy
back to the so-called obedient provinces. But it seemed, hopeless without
bridges or pontoons to attempt the passage of the Seine.

There was; however, no time left, for hesitation. Secretly he took his
resolution and communicated it in strict confidence to Mayenne, to
Ranuccio, and to one or two other chiefs. He came to Caudebec, and there,
close to the margin of the river, he threw up a redoubt. On the opposite
bank, he constructed another. On both he planted artillery, placing a
force of eight hundred Netherlanders under Count Bossu in the one, and an
equal number of the same nation, Walloons chiefly, under Barlotte in the
other. He collected all the vessels, flatboats,--wherries,--and rafts
that could be found or put together at Rouen, and then under cover of his
forts he transported all the Flemish infantry, and the Spanish, French,
and Italian cavalry, during the night of 22nd May to the 22 May, opposite
bank of the Seine. Next morning he sent up all the artillery together
with the Flemish cavalry to Rouen, where, making what use he could by
temporary contrivances of the broken arches of the broken bridge, in
order to shorten the distance from shore to shore, he managed to convey
his whole army with all its trains across the river.

A force was left behind, up to the last moment, to engage in the
customary skirmishes, and to display themselves as largely as possible
for the purpose of imposing upon the enemy. The young Prince of Parma had
command of this rearguard. The device was perfectly successful. The news
of the movement was not brought to the ears of Henry until after it had
been accomplished. When the king reached the shore of the Seine, he saw
to his infinite chagrin and indignation that the last stragglers of the
army, including the garrison of the fort on the right bank, were just
ferrying themselves across under command of Ranuccio.

Furious with disappointment, he brought some pieces of artillery to bear
upon the triumphant fugitives. Not a shot told, and the Leaguers had the
satisfaction of making a bonfire in the king's face of the boats which
had brought them over. Then, taking up their line of march rapidly
inland, they placed themselves completely out of the reach of the
Huguenot guns.

Henry had a bridge at Pont de l'Arche, and his first impulse was to
pursue with his cavalry, but it was obvious that his infantry could never
march by so circuitous a route fast enough to come up with the enemy, who
had already so prodigious a stride in advance.

There was no need to disguise it to himself. Henry saw himself for the
second time out-generalled by the consummate Farnese. The trap was
broken, the game had given him the slip. The manner in which the duke had
thus extricated himself from a profound dilemma; in which his fortunes
seemed hopelessly sunk, has usually been considered one of the most
extraordinary exploits of his life.

Precisely at this time, too, ill news reached Henry from Brittany and the
neighbouring country. The Princes Conti and Dombes had been obliged, on
the 13th May, 1592, to raise the siege of Craon, in consequence of the
advance of the Duke of Mercoeur, with a force of seven thousand men.

They numbered, including lanzknechts and the English contingent, about
half as many, and before they could effect their retreat, were attacked
by Mercoeur, and utterly routed. The English, who alone stood to their
colours, were nearly all cut to pieces. The rest made a disorderly
retreat, but were ultimately, with few exceptions, captured or slain. The
duke, following up his victory, seized Chateau Gontier and La Val,
important crossing places on the river Mayenne, and laid siege to
Mayenne, capital city of that region. The panic, spreading through
Brittany and Maine, threatened the king's cause there with complete
overthrow, hampered his operations in Normandy, and vastly encouraged the
Leaguers. It became necessary for Henry to renounce his designs upon
Rouen, and the pursuit of Parma, and to retire to Vernon, there to occupy
himself with plans for the relief of Brittany. In vain had the Earl of
Essex, whose brother had already been killed in the campaign, manifested
such headlong gallantry in that country as to call forth the sharpest
rebukes from the admiring but anxious Elizabeth. The handful of brave
Englishmen who had been withdrawn from the Netherlands, much to the
dissatisfaction of the States-General, in order to defend the coasts of
Brittany, would have been better employed under Maurice of Nassau. So
soon as the heavy news reached the king, the faithful Umton was sent for.
"He imparted the same unto me," said the envoy, "with extraordinary
passion and discontent. He discoursed at large of his miserable estate,
of the factions of his servants, and of their ill-dispositions, and then
required my opinion touching his course for Brittan, as also what further
aid he might expect from her Majesty; alleging that unless he were
presently strengthened by England it was impossible for him, longer to
resist the greatness of the King of Spain, who assailed his country by
Brittany, Languedoc, the Low Countries by the Duke of Saxony and the Duke
of Lorraine, and so ended his speech passionately." Thus adjured, Sir
Henry spoke to the king firmly but courteously, reminding him how,
contrary to English advice, he had followed other counsellors to the
neglect of Brittany, and had broken his promises to the queen. He
concluded by urging him to advance into that country in person, but did
not pledge himself on behalf of her Majesty to any further assistance.
"To this," said Umton, "the king gave a willing ear, and replied, with
many thanks, and without disallowing of anything that I alleged, yielding
many excuses of his want of means, not of disposition, to provide a
remedy, not forgetting to acknowledge her Majesty's care of him and his
country, and especially of Brittany, excusing much the bad disposition of
his counsellors, and inclining much to my motion to go in person thither,
especially because he might thereby give her Majesty better satisfaction;
. . . . and protesting that he would either immediately himself make war
there in those parts or send an army thither. I do not doubt," added the
ambassador, "but with good handling her Majesty may now obtain any
reasonable matter for the conservation of Brittany, as also for a place
of retreat for the English, and I urge continually the yielding of Brest
into her Majesty's hands, whereunto I find the king well inclined, if he
might bring it to pass."

Alexander passed a few days in Paris, where he was welcomed with much
cordiality, recruiting his army for a brief period in the land of Brie,
and then--broken in health but entirely successful--he dragged himself
once more to Spa to drink the waters. He left an auxiliary force with
Mayenne, and promised--infinitely against his own wishes--to obey his
master's commands and return again before the winter to do the League's

And thus Alexander had again solved a difficult problem. He had saved for
his master and for the League the second city of France and the whole
coast of Normandy. Rouen had been relieved in masterly manner even as
Paris had been succoured the year before. He had done this, although
opposed by the sleepless energy and the exuberant valour of the
quick-witted Navarre, and although encumbered by the assistance of the
ponderous Duke of Mayenne. His military reputation, through these two
famous reliefs and retreats, grew greater than ever.

No commander of the age was thought capable of doing what he had thus
done. Yet, after all, what had he accomplished? Did he not feel in his
heart of hearts that he was but a strong and most skilful swimmer
struggling for a little while against an ocean-tide which was steadily
sweeping him and his master and all their fortunes far out into the
infinite depths?

Something of this breathed ever in his most secret utterances. But, so
long as life was in him, his sword and his genius were at the disposal of
his sovereign, to carry out a series of schemes as futile as they were

For us, looking back upon the Past, which was then the Future, it is easy
to see how remorselessly the great current of events was washing away the
system and the personages seeking to resist its power and to oppose the
great moral principles by which human affairs in the long run are
invariably governed. Spain and Rome were endeavouring to obliterate the
landmarks of race, nationality, historical institutions, and the
tendencies of awakened popular conscience, throughout Christendom, and to
substitute for them a dead level of conformity to one regal and
sacerdotal despotism.

England, Holland, the Navarre party in France, and a considerable part of
Germany were contending for national unity and independence, for vested
and recorded rights. Much farther than they themselves or their
chieftains dreamed those millions of men were fighting for a system of
temperate human freedom; for that emancipation under just laws from
arbitrary human control, which is the right--however frequently trampled
upon--of all classes, conditions, and races of men; and for which it is
the instinct of the human race to continue to struggle under every
disadvantage, and often against all hope, throughout the ages, so long as
the very principle of humanity shall not be extinguished in those who
have been created after their Maker's image.

It may safely be doubted whether the great Queen, the Bearnese, Alexander
Farnese, or his master, with many of their respective adherents, differed
very essentially from each other in their notions of the right divine and
the right of the people. But history has shown us which of them best
understood the spirit of the age, and had the keenest instinct to keep
themselves in the advance by moving fastest in the direction whither it
was marshalling all men. There were many, earnest, hard-toiling men in
those days, men who believed in the work to which they devoted their
lives. Perhaps, too, the devil-worshippers did their master's work as
strenuously and heartily as any, and got fame and pelf for their pains.
Fortunately, a good portion of what they so laboriously wrought for has
vanished into air; while humanity has at least gained something from
those who deliberately or instinctively conformed themselves to her
eternal laws.


     Anatomical study of what has ceased to exist
     Bomb-shells were not often used although known for a century
     Court fatigue, to scorn pleasure
     For us, looking back upon the Past, which was then the Future
     Hardly an inch of French soil that had not two possessors
     Holy institution called the Inquisition
     Inevitable fate of talking castles and listening ladies
     Life of nations and which we call the Past
     Often necessary to be blind and deaf
     Picturesqueness of crime
     Royal plans should be enforced adequately or abandoned entirely
     Toil and sacrifices of those who have preceded us
     Use of the spade
     Utter disproportions between the king's means and aims
     Valour on the one side and discretion on the other
     Walk up and down the earth and destroy his fellow-creatures
     We have the reputation of being a good housewife


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 64, 1592


   Return of Prince Maurice to the siege of Steenwyck--Capitulation of
   the besieged--Effects of the introduction of mining operations--
   Maurice besieges Coeworden--Verdugo attempts to relieve the city,
   but fails--The city capitulates, and Prince Maurice retreats into
   winter quarters.

While Farnese had thus been strengthening the bulwarks of Philip's
universal monarchy in that portion of his proposed French dominions which
looked towards England, there had been opportunity for Prince Maurice to
make an assault upon the Frisian defences of this vast realm. It was
difficult to make half Europe into one great Spanish fortification,
guarding its every bastion and every point of the curtain, without far
more extensive armaments than the "Great King," as the Leaguers proposed
that Philip should entitle himself, had ever had at his disposal. It
might be a colossal scheme to stretch the rod of empire over so large a
portion of the earth, but the dwarfish attempts to carry the design into
execution hardly reveal the hand of genius. It is astonishing to
contemplate the meagre numbers and the slender funds with which this
world-empire was to be asserted and maintained. The armies arrayed at any
important point hardly exceeded a modern division or two; while the
resources furnished for a year would hardly pay in later days for a few
weeks' campaign.

When Alexander, the first commander of his time, moved out of Flanders
into France with less than twenty thousand men, he left most vital
portions of his master's hereditary dominions so utterly unprotected that
it was possible to attack them with a handful of troops. The young
disciple of Simon Stevinus now resumed that practical demonstration of
his principles which had been in the previous year so well begun.

On the 28th May, 1592, Maurice, taking the field with six thousand foot
and two thousand horse, came once more before Steenwyck. It will be
remembered that he had been obliged to relinquish the siege of this place
in order to confront the Duke of Parma in July, 1591, at Nymegen.

The city--very important from its position, being the key to the province
of Drenthe as well as one of the safeguards of Friesland--had been
besieged in vain by Count Renneberg after his treasonable surrender of
Groningen, of which he was governor, to the Spaniards, but had been
subsequently surprised by Tassis. Since that time it had held for the
king. Its fortifications were strong, and of the best description known
at that day. Its regular garrison was sixteen companies of foot and some
cavalry under Antoine de Quocqueville, military governor. Besides these
troops were twelve hundred Walloon infantry, commanded by Lewis, youngest
Count van den Berg, a brave lad of eighteen years, with whom were the
lord of Waterdyck and other Netherland nobles.

To the military student the siege may possess importance as marking a
transitional epoch in the history of the beleaguering science. To the
general reader, as in most of the exploits of the young Poliorcetes, its
details have but slender interest. Perhaps it was here that the spade
first vindicated its dignity, and entitled itself to be classed as a
military weapon of value along with pike and arquebus. It was here that
the soldiers of Maurice, burrowing in the ground at ten stuyvers a day,
were jeered at by the enemy from the battlements as boors and ditchers,
who had forfeited their right to be considered soldiers--but jeered at
for the last time.

From 30th May to 9th June the prince was occupied in throwing up
earthworks on the low grounds in order to bring his guns into position.
On the 13th June he began to batter with forty-five pieces, but effected
little more than to demolish some of the breast-works. He threw hot shot
into the town very diligently, too, but did small damage. The cannonading
went on for nearly a week, but the practice was so very
indifferent--notwithstanding the protection of the blessed Barbara and
the tuition of the busmasters--that the besieged began to amuse
themselves with these empty and monotonous salvos of the honourable
Artillery Guild. When all this blazing and thundering had led to no
better result than to convert a hundred thousand good Flemish florins
into noise and smoke, the thrifty Netherlanders on both sides of the
walls began to disparage the young general's reputation. After all, they
said, the Spaniards were right when they called artillery mere
'espanta-vellacos' or scare-cowards. This burrowing and bellowing must at
last give place to the old-fashioned push of pike, and then it would be
seen who the soldiers were. Observations like these were freely made
under a flag of truce; for on the 19th June--notwithstanding their
contempt for the 'espanta-vellacos'--the besieged had sent out a
deputation to treat for an honourable surrender. Maurice entertained the
negotiators hospitably in his own tent, but the terms suggested to him
were inadmissible. Nothing came of the conference therefore but mutual
criticisms, friendly enough, although sufficiently caustic.

Maurice now ceased cannonading, and burrowed again for ten days without
interruption. Four mines, leading to different points of the defences,
were patiently constructed, and two large chambers at the terminations,
neatly finished off and filled respectively with five thousand and
twenty-five hundred pounds of powder, were at last established under two
of the principal bastions.

During all this digging there had been a couple of sorties in which the
besieged had inflicted great damage on their enemy, and got back into the
town with a few prisoners, having lost but six of their own men. Sir
Francis Vere had been severely wounded in the leg, so that he was obliged
to keep his bed during the rest of the siege. Verdugo, too, had made a
feeble attempt to reinforce the place with three hundred men, sixty or
seventy of whom had entered, while the rest had been killed or captured.
On such a small scale was Philip's world-empire contended for by his
stadholder in Friesland; yet it was certainly not the fault of the stout
old Portuguese. Verdugo would rather have sent thirty thousand men to
save the front door of his great province than three hundred. But every
available man--and few enough of them they were--had been sent out of the
Netherlands, to defend the world-empire in its outposts of Normandy and

This was Philip the Prudent's system for conquering the world, and men
looked upon him as the consummation of kingcraft.

On the 3rd July Maurice ordered his whole force to be in readiness for
the assault. The mines were then sprung.

The bastion of the east gate was blown to ruins. The mine under the
Gast-Huys bulwark, burst outwardly, and buried alive many Hollanders
standing ready for the assault. At this untoward accident Maurice
hesitated to give the signal for storming the breach, but the panic
within the town was so evident that Lewis William lost no time in seizing
the overthrown eastern bulwark, from the ruins of which he looked over
the whole city. The other broken bastion was likewise easily mastered,
and the besieged, seeing the storm about to burst upon them with
irresistible fury, sent a trumpet. Meantime Maurice, inspecting the
effects of the explosion and preparing for the assault, had been shot
through the left cheek. The wound was not dangerous, and the prince
extracted the bullet with his own hand, but the change of half an inch
would have made it fatal. He was not incapacitated--after his wound had
been dressed, amidst the remonstrances of his friends for his
temerity-from listening to the propositions of the city. They were
refused, for the prince was sure of having his town on his own terms.

Next day he permitted the garrison to depart; the officers and soldiers
promising not to serve the King of Spain on the Netherland side of the
Rhine for six months. They were to take their baggage, but to leave arms,
flags, munitions, and provisions. Both Maurice and Lewis William were for
insisting on sterner conditions, but the States' deputies and members of
the council who were present, as usual, in camp urged the building of the
golden bridge. After all, a fortified city, the second in importance
after Groningen of all those regions, was the real prize contended for.
The garrison was meagre and much reduced during the siege. The
fortifications, of masonry and earthwork combined, were nearly as strong
as ever. Saint Barbara had done them but little damage, but the town
itself was in a sorry plight. Churches and houses were nearly all shot to
pieces, and the inhabitants had long been dwelling in the cellars. Two
hundred of the garrison remained, severely wounded, in the town; three
hundred and fifty had been killed, among others the young cousin of the
Nassaus, Count Lewis van den Berg. The remainder of the royalists marched
out, and were treated with courtesy by Maurice, who gave them an escort,
permitting the soldiers to retain their side-arms, and furnishing horses
to the governor.

In the besieging army five or six hundred had been killed and many
wounded, but not in numbers bearing the same proportion to the slain as
in modern battles.

The siege had lasted forty-four days. When it was over, and men came out
from the town to examine at leisure the prince's camp and his field of
operations, they were astounded at the amount of labor performed in so
short a time. The oldest campaigners confessed that they never before had
understood what a siege really was, and they began to conceive a higher
respect for the art of the engineer than they had ever done before. "Even
those who were wont to rail at science and labour," said one who was
present in the camp of Maurice, "declared that the siege would have been
a far more arduous undertaking had it not been for those two engineers,
Joost Matthes of Alost, and Jacob Kemp of Gorcum. It is high time to take
from soldiers the false notion that it is shameful to work with the
spade; an error which was long prevalent among the Netherlanders, and
still prevails among the French, to the great detriment of the king's
affairs, as may be seen in his sieges."

Certainly the result of Henry's recent campaign before Rouen had proved
sufficiently how much better it would have been for him had there been
some Dutch Joosts and Jacobs with their picks and shovels in his army at
that critical period. They might perhaps have baffled Parma as they had
done Verdugo.

Without letting the grass grow under his feet, Maurice now led his army
from Steenwyck to Zwol and arrived on the 26th July before Coeworden.

This place, very strong by art and still stronger by-nature, was the
other key to all north Netherland--Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe.
Should it fall into the hands of the republic it would be impossible for
the Spaniards to retain much longer the rich and important capital of all
that country, the city of Groningen. Coeworden lay between two vast
morasses, one of which--the Bourtange swamp--extended some thirty miles
to the bay of the Dollart; while the other spread nearly as far in a
westerly direction to the Zuyder Zee. Thus these two great marshes were a
frame--an almost impassable barrier--by which the northern third of the
whole territory of the republic was encircled and defended. Throughout
this great morass there was not a hand-breadth of solid ground--not a
resting-place for a human foot, save the road which led through
Coeworden. This passage lay upon a natural deposit of hard, dry sand,
interposed as if by a caprice of nature between the two swamps; and was
about half a mile in width.

The town itself was well fortified, and Verdugo had been recently
strengthening the position with additional earthworks. A thousand
veterans formed the garrison under command of another Van den Berg, the
Count Frederic. It was the fate of these sister's-children of the great
founder of the republic to serve the cause of foreign despotism with
remarkable tenacity against their own countrymen, and against their
nearest blood relations. On many conspicuous occasions they were almost
as useful to Spain and the Inquisition as the son and nearly all the
other kinsmen of William the Silent had rendered themselves to the cause
of Holland and of freedom.

Having thoroughly entrenched his camp before Coeworden and begun the
regular approaches, Maurice left his cousin Lewis William to superintend
the siege operations for the moment, and advanced towards Ootmarsum, a
frontier town which might give him trouble if in the hands of a relieving
force. The place fell at once, with the loss of but one life to the
States army, but that a very valuable one; General de Famars, one of the
original signers of the famous Compromise; and a most distinguished
soldier of the republic, having been killed before the gates.

On the 31st July, Maurice returned to his entrenchments. The enemy
professed unbounded confidence; Van den Berg not doubting that he should
be relieved by Verdugo, and Verdugo being sure that Van den Berg would
need no relief. The Portuguese veteran indeed was inclined to wonder at
Maurice's presumption in attacking so impregnable a fortress. "If
Coeworden does not hold," said he, "there is no place in the world that
can hold."

Count Peter Ernest, was still acting as governor-general for Alexander
Farnese, on returning from his second French campaign, had again betaken
himself, shattered and melancholy, to the waters of Spa, leaving the
responsibility for Netherland affairs upon the German octogenarian. To
him; and to the nonagenarian Mondragon at Antwerp, the veteran Verdugo
now called loudly for aides against the youthful pedant, whom all men had
been laughing at a twelvemonth or so before. The Macedonian phalanx,
Simon Stevinus and delving Dutch boors--unworthy of the name of
soldiers--seemed to be steadily digging the ground from under Philip's
feet in his hereditary domains.

What would become of the world-empire, where was the great king--not of
Spain alone, nor of France alone--but the great monarch of all
Christendom, to plant his throne securely, if his Frisian strongholds,
his most important northern outposts, were to fall before an almost
beardless youth at the head of a handful of republican militia?

Verdugo did his best, but the best was little. The Spanish and Italian
legions had been sent out of the Netherlands into France. Many had died
there, many were in hospital after their return, nearly all the rest were
mutinous for want of pay.

On the 16th August, Maurice formally summoned Coeworden to surrender.
After the trumpeter had blown thrice; Count Van den Berg, forbidding all
others, came alone upon the walls and demanded his message. "To claim
this city in the name of Prince Maurice of Nassau and of the
States-General," was the reply.

"Tell him first to beat down my walls as flat as the ditch," said Van den
Berg, "and then to bring five or six storms. Six months after that I will
think whether I will send a trumpet."

The prince proceeded steadily with his approaches, but he was infinitely
chagrined by the departure out of his camp of Sir Francis Vere with his
English contingent of three regiments, whom Queen Elizabeth had
peremptorily ordered to the relief of King Henry in Brittany.

Nothing amazes the modern mind so much as the exquisite paucity of forces
and of funds by which the world-empire was fought for and resisted in
France, Holland, Spain, and England. The scenes of war were rapidly
shifted--almost like the slides of a magic-lantern--from one country to
another; the same conspicuous personages, almost the same individual
armies, perpetually re-appearing in different places, as if a wild
phantasmagoria were capriciously repeating itself to bewilder the
imagination. Essex, and Vere, and Roger Williams, and Black Norris-Van
der Does, and Admiral Nassau, the Meetkerks and Count Philip-Farnese and
Mansfeld, George Basti, Arenberg, Berlaymont, La None and Teligny, Aquila
and Coloma--were seen alternately fighting, retreating, triumphant,
beleaguering, campaigning all along the great territory which extends
from the Bay of Biscay to the crags of Brittany, and across the narrow
seas to the bogs of Ireland, and thence through the plains of Picardy and
Flanders to the swamps of Groningen and the frontiers of the Rhine.

This was the arena in which the great struggle was ever going on, but the
champions were so few in number that their individual shapes become
familiar to us like the figures of an oft-repeated pageant. And now the
withdrawal of certain companies of infantry and squadrons of cavalry from
the Spanish armies into France, had left obedient Netherland too weak to
resist rebellious Netherland, while, on the other hand, the withdrawal of
some twenty or thirty companies of English auxiliaries--most
hard-fighting veterans it is true, but very few in number--was likely to
imperil the enterprise of Maurice in Friesland.

The removal of these companies from the Low Countries to strengthen the
Bearnese in the north of France, formed the subject of much bitter
diplomatic conference between the States and England; the order having
been communicated by the great queen herself in many a vehement epistle
and caustic speech, enforced by big, manly oaths.

Verdugo, although confident in the strength of the place, had represented
to Parma and to Mansfeld the immense importance of relieving Coeworden.
The city, he said, was more valuable than all the towns taken the year
before. All Friesland hung upon it, and it would be impossible to save
Groningen should Coeworden fall.

Meantime Count Philip Nassau arrived from the campaign in France with his
three regiments which he threw into garrison, and thus set free an equal
number of fresh troops, which were forthwith sent to the camp of Maurice.
The prince at the same time was made aware that Verdugo was about to
receive important succour, and he was advised by the deputies of the
States-General present at his headquarters to send out his German Reiters
to intercept them. Maurice refused. Should his cavalry be defeated, he
said, his whole army would be endangered. He determined to await within
his fortified camp the attack of the relieving force.

During the whole month of August he proceeded steadily with his sapping
and mining. By the middle of the month his lines had come through the
ditch, which he drained of water into the counterscarp. By the beginning
of September he had got beneath the principal fort, which, in the course
of three or four days, he expected to blow into the air. The rainy
weather had impeded his operations and the march of the relieving army.
Nevertheless that army was at last approaching. The regiments of
Mondragon, Charles Mansfeld, Gonzaga, Berlaymont, and Arenberg had been
despatched to reinforce Verdugo. On the 23rd August, having crossed the
Rhine at Rheinberg, they reached Olfen in the country of Benthem, ten
miles from Coeworden. Here they threw up rockets and made other signals
that relief was approaching the town. On the 3rd of September Verdugo,
with the whole force at his disposal, amounting to four thousand foot and
eighteen hundred horse, was at the village of Emblichen, within a league
of the besieged city. That night a peasant was captured with letters from
Verdugo to the Governor of Coeworden, giving information that he intended
to make an assault on the besiegers on the night of 6th-7th September.

Thus forewarned, Maurice took the best precautions and calmly within his
entrenchments awaited the onslaught. Punctual to his appointment, Verdugo
with his whole force, yelling "Victoria! Victoria!" made a shirt-attack,
or camiciata--the men wearing their shirts outside their armour to
distinguish each other in the darkness--upon that portion of the camp
which was under command of Hohenlo. They were met with determination and
repulsed, after fighting all night, with a loss of three hundred killed
and a proportionate number of wounded. The Netherlanders had but three
killed and six wounded. Among the latter, however, was Lewis William, who
received a musket-ball in the belly, but remained on the ground until the
enemy had retreated. It was then discovered that his wound was not
mortal--the intestines not having been injured--and he was soon about his
work again. Prince Maurice, too, as usual, incurred the remonstrances of
the deputies and others for the reckless manner in which he exposed
himself wherever the fire was hottest He resolutely refused, however, to
permit his cavalry to follow the retreating enemy. His object was
Coeworden--a prize more important than a new victory over the already
defeated Spaniards would prove--and this object he kept ever before his

This was Verdugo's first and last attempt to relieve the city. He had
seen enough of the young prince's tactics and had no further wish to
break his teeth against those scientific entrenchments. The Spaniards at
last, whether they wore their shirts inside or outside their doublets,
could no longer handle the Dutchmen at pleasure. That people of butter,
as the iron duke of Alva was fond of calling the Netherlanders, were
grown harder with the pressure of a twenty-five years' war.

Five days after the sanguinary 'camiciata' the besieged offered to
capitulate. The trumpet at which the proud Van den Berg had hinted for
six months later arrived on the 12th September. Maurice was glad to get
his town. His "little soldiers" did not insist, as the Spaniards and
Italians were used to do in the good old days, on unlimited murder, rape,
and fire, as the natural solace and reward of their labours in the
trenches. Civilization had made some progress, at least in the
Netherlands. Maurice granted good terms, such as he had been in the habit
of conceding to all captured towns. Van den Berg was courteously received
by his cousins, as he rode forth from the place at the head of what
remained of his garrison, five hundred in number, with colours flying,
matches burning, bullet in mouth, and with all their arms and baggage
except artillery and ammunition, and the heroic little Lewis,
notwithstanding the wound in his belly, got on horseback and greeted him
with a cousinly welcome in the camp.

The city was a most important acquisition, as already sufficiently set
forth, but Queen Elizabeth, much misinformed on this occasion, was
inclined to undervalue it. She wrote accordingly to the States,
reproaching them for using all that artillery and that royal force
against a mere castle and earthheap, instead of attempting some
considerable capital, or going in force to the relief of Brittany. The
day was to come when she would acknowledge the advantage of not leaving
this earth-heap in the hands of the Spaniard. Meantime, Prince
Maurice--the season being so far advanced--gave the world no further
practical lessons in the engineering science, and sent his troops into
winter quarters.

These were the chief military phenomena in France and Flanders during
three years of the great struggle to establish Philip's universal


   Negotiations between Queen Elizabeth and the States--Aspect of
   affair between England and the Netherlands--Complaints of the
   Hollanders on the piratical acts of the English--The Dutch Envoy and
   the English Government--Caron's interview with Elizabeth--The Queen
   promises redress of grievances.

It is now necessary to cast a glance at certain negotiations on delicate
topics which had meantime been occurring between Queen Elizabeth and the

England and the republic were bound together by ties so close that it was
impossible for either to injure the other without inflicting a
corresponding damage on itself. Nevertheless this very community of
interest, combined with a close national relationship--for in the
European family the Netherlanders and English were but cousins twice
removed--with similarity of pursuits, with commercial jealousy, with an
intense and ever growing rivalry for that supremacy on the ocean towards
which the monarchy and the republic were so earnestly struggling, with a
common passion for civil and religious freedom, and with that inveterate
habit of self-assertion--the healthful but not engaging attribute of all
vigorous nations--which strongly marked them both, was rapidly producing
an antipathy between the two countries which time was likely rather to
deepen than efface. And the national divergences were as potent as the
traits of resemblance in creating this antagonism.

The democratic element was expanding itself in the republic so rapidly as
to stifle for a time the oligarchical principle which might one day be
developed out of the same matrix; while, despite the hardy and
adventurous spirit which characterised the English nation throughout all
its grades, there was never a more intensely aristocratic influence in
the world than the governing and directing spirit of the England of that

It was impossible that the courtiers of Elizabeth and the
burgher-statesmen of Holland and Friesland should sympathize with each
other in sentiment or in manner. The republicans in their exuberant
consciousness of having at last got rid of kings and kingly paraphernalia
in their own, land--for since the rejection of the sovereignty offered to
France and England in 1585 this feeling had become so predominant as to
make it difficult to believe that those offers had been in reality so
recent--were insensibly adopting a frankness, perhaps a roughness, of
political and social demeanour which was far from palatable to the
euphuistic formalists of other, countries.

Especially the English statesmen, trained to approach their sovereign
with almost Oriental humility, and accustomed to exact for themselves a
large amount of deference, could ill brook the free and easy tone
occasionally adopted in diplomatic and official intercourse by these
upstart republicans.

   [The Venetian ambassador Contarin relates that in the reign of James
   I. the great nobles of England were served at table by lackeys on
   they knees.]

A queen, who to loose morals, imperious disposition, and violent temper
united as inordinate a personal vanity as was ever vouchsafed to woman,
and who up to the verge of decrepitude was addressed by her courtiers in
the language of love-torn swain to blooming shepherdess, could naturally
find but little to her taste in the hierarchy of Hans Brewer and Hans
Baker. Thus her Majesty and her courtiers, accustomed to the faded
gallantries with which the serious affairs of State were so grotesquely
intermingled, took it ill when they were bluntly informed, for instance,
that the State council of the Netherlands, negotiating on Netherland
affairs, could not permit a veto to the representatives of the queen, and
that this same body of Dutchmen discussing their own business insisted
upon talking Dutch and not Latin.

It was impossible to deny that the young Stadholder was a gentleman of a
good house, but how could the insolence of a common citizen like John of
Olden-Barneveld be digested? It was certain that behind those shaggy,
overhanging brows there was a powerful brain stored with legal and
historic lore, which supplied eloquence to an ever-ready tongue and pen.
Yet these facts, difficult to gainsay, did not make the demands so
frequently urged by the States-General upon the English Government for
the enforcement of Dutch rights and the redress of English wrongs the
more acceptable.

Bodley, Gilpin, and the rest were in a chronic state of exasperation with
the Hollanders, not only because of their perpetual complaints, but
because their complaints were perpetually just.

The States-General were dissatisfied, all the Netherlanders were
dissatisfied--and not entirely without reason--that the English, with
whom the republic was on terms not only of friendship but of alliance,
should burn their ships on the high seas, plunder their merchants, and
torture their sea-captains in order to extort information as to the most
precious portions of their cargoes. Sharp language against such
malpractices was considered but proof of democratic vulgarity. Yet it
would be hard to maintain that Martin Frobisher, Mansfield, Grenfell, and
the rest of the sea-kings, with all their dash and daring and patriotism,
were not as unscrupulous pirates as ever sailed blue water, or that they
were not apt to commit their depredations upon friend and foe alike.

On the other hand; by a liberality of commerce in extraordinary contrast
with the practice of modern times, the Netherlanders were in the habit of
trading directly with the arch-enemy of both Holland and England, even in
the midst of their conflict with him, and it was complained of that even
the munitions of war and the implements of navigation by which Spain had
been enabled to effect its foot-hold in Brittany, and thus to threaten
the English coast, were derived from this very traffic.

The Hollanders replied, that, according to their contract with England,
they were at liberty to send as many as forty or fifty vessels at a time
to Spain and Portugal, that they had never exceeded the stipulated
number, that England freely engaged in the same traffic herself with the
common enemy, that it was not reasonable to consider cordage or dried
fish or shooks and staves, butter, eggs, and corn as contraband of war,
that if they were illegitimate the English trade was vitiated to the same
degree, and that it would be utterly hopeless for the provinces to
attempt to carry on the war, except by enabling themselves, through the
widest and most unrestricted foreign commerce, even including the enemy's
realms, to provide their nation with the necessary wealth to sustain so
gigantic a conflict.

Here were ever flowing fountains of bitterest discussion and
recrimination. It must be admitted however that there was occasionally an
advantage in the despotic and summary manner in which the queen took
matters into her own hands. It was refreshing to see this great
sovereign--who was so well able to grapple with questions of State, and
whose very imperiousness of temper impelled her to trample on shallow
sophistries and specious technicalities--dealing directly with cases of
piracy and turning a deaf ear to the counsellors, who in that, as in
every age, were too prone to shove by international justice in order to
fulfil municipal forms.

It was, however, with much difficulty that the envoy of the republic was
able to obtain a direct hearing from her Majesty in order to press the
long list of complaints on account of the English piratical proceedings
upon her attention. He intimated that there seemed to be special reasons
why the great ones about her throne were disposed to deny him access to
the queen, knowing as they did in what intent he asked for interviews.
They described in strong language the royal wrath at the opposition
recently made by the States to detaching the English auxiliaries in the
Netherlands for the service of the French king in Normandy, hoping
thereby to deter him from venturing into her presence with a list of
grievances on the part of his government. "I did my best to indicate the
danger incurred by such transferring of troops at so critical a moment,"
said Noel de Canon, "showing that it was directly in opposition to the
contract made with her Majesty. But I got no answer save very high words
from the Lord Treasurer, to the effect that the States-General were never
willing to agree to any of her Majesty's prepositions, and that this
matter was as necessary to the States' service as to that of the French
king. In effect, he said peremptorily that her Majesty willed it and
would not recede from her resolution."

The envoy then requested an interview with the queen before her departure
into the country.

Next day, at noon, Lord Burghley sent word that she was to leave between
five and six o'clock that evening, and that the minister would be welcome
meantime at any hour.

"But notwithstanding that I presented myself," said Caron, "at two
o'clock in the afternoon, I was unable to speak to her Majesty until a
moment before she was about to mount her horse. Her language was then
very curt. She persisted in demanding her troops, and strongly expressed
her dissatisfaction that we should have refused them on what she called
so good an occasion for using them. I was obliged to cut my replies very
short, as it was already between six and seven o'clock, and she was to
ride nine English miles to the place where she was to pass the night. I
was quite sensible, however; that the audience was arranged to be thus
brief, in order that I should not be able to stop long enough to give
trouble, and perhaps to find occasion to renew our complaints touching
the plunderings and robberies committed upon us at sea. This is what some
of the great personages here, without doubt, are afraid of, for they were
wonderfully well overhauled in my last audience. I shall attempt to speak
to her again before she goes very deep into the country."

It was not however before the end of the year, after Caron had made a
voyage to Holland and had returned, that he 14 Nov. was able to bring the
subject thoroughly before her Majesty. On the 14th November he had
preliminary interviews with the Lord High Admiral and the Lord Treasurer
at Hampton Court, where the queen was then residing. The plundering
business was warmly discussed between himself and the Admiral, and there
was much quibbling and special pleading in defence of the practices which
had created so much irritation and pecuniary loss in Holland. There was a
good deal of talk about want of evidence and conflict of evidence, which,
to a man who felt as sure of the facts and of the law as the Dutch envoy
did--unless it were according to public law for one friend and, ally to
plunder and burn the vessels of another friend and ally--was not
encouraging as to the probable issue of his interview with her Majesty.
It would be tedious to report the conversation as fully as it was laid by
Noel de Caron before the States-General; but at last the admiral
expressed a hope that the injured parties would be able to make good
their case. At any rate he assured the envoy that he would take care of
Captain Mansfield for the present, who was in prison with two other
captains, so that proceedings might be had against them if it was thought
worth while.

Caron answered with Dutch bluntness. "I recommended him very earnestly to
do this," he said, "and told him roundly that this was by all means
necessary for the sake of his own honour. Otherwise no man could ever be
made to believe that his Excellency was not seeking to get his own profit
out of the affair. But he vehemently swore and protested that this was
not the case."

He then went to the Lord Treasurer's apartment, where a long and stormy
interview followed on the subject of the withdrawal of the English
troops. Caron warmly insisted that the measure had been full of danger,
for the States; that they had been ordered out of Prince Maurice's camp
at a most critical moment; that; had it not, been for the Stallholder's
promptness and military skill; very great disasters to the common cause
must have ensued; and that, after all, nothing had been done by the
contingent in any other field, for they had been for six months idle and
sick, without ever reaching Brittany at all.

"The Lord Treasurer, who, contrary to his custom," said the envoy, "had
been listening thus long to what I had to say, now observed that the
States had treated her Majesty very ill, that they had kept her running
after her own troops nearly half a year, and had offered no excuse for
their proceedings."

It would be superfluous to repeat the arguments by which Caron
endeavoured to set forth that the English troops, sent to the Netherlands
according to a special compact, for a special service, and for a special
consideration and equivalent, could not honestly be employed, contrary to
the wishes of the States-General, upon a totally different service and in
another country. The queen willed it, he was informed, and it was
ill-treatment of her Majesty on the part of the Hollanders to oppose her
will. This argument was unanswerable.

Soon afterwards, Caron was admitted to the presence of Elizabeth. He
delivered, at first, a letter from the States-General, touching the
withdrawal of the troops. The queen, instantly broke the seal and read
the letter to the end. Coming to the concluding passage, in which the
States observed that they had great and just cause highly to complain on
that subject, she paused, reading the sentences over twice or thrice, and
then remarked:

"Truly these are comical people. I have so often been complaining that
they refused to send my troops, and now the States complain that they are
obliged to let them go. Yet my intention is only to borrow them for a
little while, because I can give my brother of France no better succour
than by sending him these soldiers, and this I consider better than if I
should send him four thousand men. I say again, I am only borrowing them,
and surely the States ought never to make such complaints, when the
occasion was such a favourable one, and they had received already
sufficient aid from these troops, and had liberated their whole country.
I don't comprehend these grievances. They complain that I withdraw my
people, and meantime they are still holding them and have brought them
ashore again. They send me frivolous excuses that the skippers don't know
the road to my islands, which is, after all, as easy to find as the way
to Caen, for it is all one. I have also sent my own pilots; and I
complain bitterly that by making this difficulty they will cause the loss
of all Brittany. They run with their people far away from me, and
meantime they allow the enemy to become master of all the coasts lying
opposite me. But if it goes badly with me they will rue it deeply

There was considerable reason, even if there were but little justice, in
this strain of remarks. Her Majesty continued it for some little time
longer, and it is interesting to see the direct and personal manner in
which this great princess handled the weightiest affairs of state. The
transfer of a dozen companies of English infantry from Friesland to
Brittany was supposed to be big with the fate of France, England, and the
Dutch republic, and was the subject of long and angry controversy, not as
a contested point of principle, in regard to which numbers, of course,
are nothing, but as a matter of practical and pressing importance.

"Her Majesty made many more observations of this nature," said Caron,
"but without getting at all into a passion, and, in my opinion, her
discourse was sensible, and she spoke with more moderation than she is
wont at other times."

The envoy then presented the second letter from the States-General in
regard to the outrages inflicted on the Dutch merchantmen. The queen read
it at once, and expressed herself as very much displeased with her
people. She said that she had received similar information from
Counsellor Bodley, who had openly given her to understand that the
enormous outrages which her people were committing at sea upon the
Netherlanders were a public scandal. It had made her so angry, she said,
that she knew not which way to turn. She would take it in hand at once,
for she would rather make oath never more to permit a single ship of war
to leave her ports than consent to such thieveries and villanies. She
told Caron that he would do well to have his case in regard to these
matters verified, and then to give it into her own hands, since otherwise
it would all be denied her and she would find herself unable to get at
the truth.

"I have all the proofs and documents of the merchants by me," replied the
envoy, "and, moreover, several of the sea-captains who have been robbed
and outraged have come over with me, as likewise some merchants who were
tortured by burning of the thumbs and other kinds of torments."

This disturbed the queen very much, and she expressed her wish that Caron
should not allow himself to be put off with, delays by the council, but
should insist upon all due criminal punishment, the infliction of which
she promised in the strongest terms to order; for she could never enjoy
peace of mind, she said; so long as such scoundrels were tolerated in her

The envoy had brought with him a summary of the cases, with the names of
all the merchants interested, and a list of all the marks on the sacks of
money which had been stolen. The queen looked over it very carefully,
declaring it to be her intention that there should be no delays
interposed in the conduct of this affair by forms of special pleading,
but that speedy cognizance should be taken of the whole, and that the
property should forthwith be restored.

She then sent for Sir Robert Cecil, whom she directed to go at once and
tell his father, the Lord Treasurer, that he was to assist Caron in this
affair exactly as if it were her own. It was her intention, she said,
that her people were in no wise to trouble the Hollanders in legitimate
mercantile pursuits. She added that it was not enough for her people to
say that they had only been seizing Spaniards' goods and money, but she
meant that they should prove it, too, or else they should swing for it.

Caron assured her Majesty that he had no other commission from his
masters than to ask for justice, and that he had no instructions to claim
Spanish property or enemy's goods. He had brought sufficient evidence
with him, he said, to give her Majesty entire satisfaction.

It is not necessary to pursue the subject any farther. The great nobles
still endeavoured to interpose delays, and urged the propriety of taking
the case before the common courts of law. Carom strong in the support of
the queen, insisted that it should be settled, as her Majesty had
commanded, by the council, and it was finally arranged that the judge of
admiralty should examine the evidence on both sides, and then communicate
the documents at once to the Lord Treasurer. Meantime the money was to be
deposited with certain aldermen of London, and the accused parties kept
in prison. The ultimate decision was then to be made by the council, "not
by form of process but by commission thereto ordained." In the course of
the many interviews which followed between the Dutch envoy and the privy
counsellors, the Lord Admiral stated that an English merchant residing in
the Netherlands had sent to offer him a present of two thousand pounds
sterling, in case the affair should be decided against the Hollanders. He
communicated the name of the individual to Caron, under seal of secrecy,
and reminded the Lord Treasurer that he too had seen the letter of the
Englishman. Lord Burghley observed that he remembered the fact that
certain letters had been communicated to him by the Lord Admiral, but
that he did not know from whence they came, nor anything about the person
of the writer.

The case of the plundered merchants was destined to drag almost as slowly
before the council as it might have done in the ordinary tribunals, and
Caron was "kept running," as he expressed it, "from the court to London,
and from London to the court," and it was long before justice was done to
the sufferers. Yet the energetic manner in which the queen took the case
into her own hands, and the intense indignation with which she denounced
the robberies and outrages which had been committed by her subjects upon
her friends and allies, were effective in restraining such wholesale
piracy in the future.

On the whole, however, if the internal machinery is examined by which the
masses of mankind were moved at epoch in various parts of Christendom, we
shall not find much reason to applaud the conformity of Governments to
the principles of justice, reason, or wisdom.


     Accustomed to the faded gallantries
     Conformity of Governments to the principles of justice
     Considerable reason, even if there were but little justice
     Disciple of Simon Stevinus
     Self-assertion--the healthful but not engaging attribute


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 65, 1592-1594


   Influence of the rule and character of Philip II.--Heroism of the
   sixteenth century--Contest for the French throne--Character and
   policy of the Duke of Mayenne--Escape of the Duke of Guise from
   Castle Tours--Propositions for the marriage of the Infanta--Plotting
   of the Catholic party--Grounds of Philip's pretensions to the crown
   of France--Motives of the Duke of Parma maligned by Commander Moreo
   --He justifies himself to the king--View of the private relations
   between Philip and the Duke of Mayenne and their sentiments towards
   each other--Disposition of the French politicians and soldiers
   towards Philip--Peculiar commercial pursuits of Philip--Confused
   state of affairs in France--Treachery of Philip towards the Duke of
   Parma--Recall of the duke to Spain--His sufferings and death.

The People--which has been generally regarded as something naturally
below its rulers, and as born to be protected and governed, paternally or
otherwise, by an accidental selection from its own species, which by some
mysterious process has shot up much nearer to heaven than itself--is
often described as brutal, depraved, self-seeking, ignorant, passionate,
licentious, and greedy.

It is fitting, therefore, that its protectors should be distinguished, at
great epochs of the world's history, by an absence of such objectionable

It must be confessed, however, that if the world had waited for
heroes--during the dreary period which followed the expulsion of
something that was called Henry III. of France from the gates of his
capital, and especially during the time that followed hard upon the
decease of that embodiment of royalty--its axis must have ceased to turn
for a long succession of years. The Bearnese was at least alive, and a
man. He played his part with consummate audacity and skill; but alas for
an epoch or a country in which such a shape--notwithstanding all its
engaging and even commanding qualities--looked upon as an incarnation of
human greatness!

But the chief mover of all things--so far as one man can be prime
mover--was still the diligent scribe who lived in the Escorial. It was he
whose high mission it was to blow the bellows of civil war, and to
scatter curses over what had once been the smiling abodes of human
creatures, throughout the leading countries of Christendom. The throne of
France was vacant, nominally as well as actually, since--the year 1589.
During two-and-twenty years preceding that epoch he had scourged the
provinces, once constituting the richest and most enlightened portions of
his hereditary domains, upon the theory that without the Spanish
Inquisition no material prosperity was possible on earth, nor any
entrance permitted to the realms of bliss beyond the grave. Had every
Netherlander consented to burn his Bible, and to be burned himself should
he be found listening to its holy precepts if read to him in shop,
cottage, farm-house, or castle; and had he furthermore consented to
renounce all the liberal institutions which his ancestors had earned, in
the struggle of centuries, by the sweat of their brows and the blood of,
their hearts; his benignant proprietor and master, who lived at the ends
of the earth, would have consented at almost any moment to peace. His
arms were ever open. Let it not be supposed that this is the language of
sarcasm or epigram. Stripped of the decorous sophistication by which
human beings are so fond of concealing their naked thoughts from each
other, this was the one simple dogma always propounded by Philip. Grimace
had done its worst, however, and it was long since it had exercised any
power in the Netherlands. The king and the Dutchmen understood each
other; and the plain truths with which those republicans answered the
imperial proffers of mediation, so frequently renewed, were something
new, and perhaps not entirely unwholesome in diplomacy.

It is not an inviting task to abandon the comparatively healthy
atmosphere of the battle-field, the blood-stained swamp, the murderous
trench--where human beings, even if communing only by bullets and push of
pike, were at least dealing truthfully with each other--and to descend
into those subterranean regions where the effluvia of falsehood becomes
almost too foul for ordinary human organisation.

Heroes in those days, in any country, there were few. William the Silent
was dead. De la Noue was dead. Duplessis-Mornay was living, but his
influence over his royal master was rapidly diminishing. Cecil, Hatton,
Essex, Howard, Raleigh, James Croft, Valentine Dale, John Norris, Roger
Williams, the "Virgin Queen" herself--does one of these chief agents in
public affairs, or do all of them together, furnish a thousandth part of
that heroic whole which the England of the sixteenth century presents to
every imagination? Maurice of Nassau-excellent soldier and engineer as he
had already proved himself--had certainly not developed much of the
heroic element, although thus far he was walking straightforward like a
man, in the path of duty, with the pithy and substantial Lewis William
ever at his side. Olden-Barneveld--tough burgher-statesman, hard-headed,
indomitable man of granite--was doing more work, and doing it more
thoroughly, than any living politician, but he was certainly not of the
mythological brotherhood who inhabit the serene regions of space beyond
the moon. He was not the son of god or goddess, destined, after removal
from this sphere, to shine with planetary lustre, among other
constellations, upon the scenes of mortal action. Those of us who are
willing to rise-or to descend if the phrase seems wiser--to the idea of a
self-governing people must content ourselves, for this epoch, with the
fancy of a hero-people and a people-king.

A plain little republic, thrusting itself uninvited into the great
political family-party of heaven-anointed sovereigns and long-descended
nobles, seemed a somewhat repulsive phenomenon. It became odious and
dangerous when by the blows it could deal in battle, the logic it could
chop in council, it indicated a remote future for the world, in which
right divine and regal paraphernalia might cease to be as effective
stage-properties as they had always been considered.

Yet it will be difficult for us to find the heroic individualised very
perceptibly at this period, look where we may. Already there seemed
ground for questioning the comfortable fiction that the accidentally
dominant families and castes were by nature wiser, better, braver than
that much-contemned entity, the People. What if the fearful heresy should
gain ground that the People was at least as wise, honest, and brave as
its masters? What if it should become a recognised fact that the great
individuals and castes, whose wealth and station furnished them with
ample time and means for perfecting themselves in the science of
government, were rather devoting their leisure to the systematic filling
of their own pockets than to the hiving up of knowledge for the good of
their fellow creatures? What if the whole theory of hereditary
superiority should suddenly exhale? What if it were found out that we
were all fellow-worms together, and that those which had crawled highest
were not necessarily the least slimy?

Meantime it will be well for us, in order to understand what is called
the Past, to scrutinise somewhat closely that which was never meant to be
revealed. To know the springs which once controlled the world's
movements, one must ponder the secret thoughts, purposes, aspirations,
and baffled attempts of the few dozen individuals who once claimed that
world in fee-simple. Such researches are not in a cheerful field; for the
sources of history are rarely fountains of crystal, bubbling through
meadows of asphodel. Vast and noisome are the many sewers which have ever
run beneath decorous Christendom.

Some of the leading military events in France and Flanders, patent to all
the world, which grouped themselves about the contest for the French
throne, as the central point in the history of Philip's proposed
world-empire, have already been indicated.

It was a species of triangular contest--so far as the chief actors were
concerned--for that vacant throne. Philip, Mayenne, Henry of Navarre,
with all the adroitness which each possessed, were playing for the
splendid prize.

Of Philip it is not necessary to speak. The preceding volumes of this
work have been written in vain, if the reader has not obtained from
irrefragable testimony--the monarch's own especially--a sufficient
knowledge of that human fetish before which so much of contemporary
humanity grovelled.

The figure of Navarre is also one of the most familiar shapes in history.

As for the Duke of Mayenne, he had been, since the death of his brother
the Balafre, ostensible leader of the League, and was playing, not
without skill, a triple game.

Firstly, he hoped for the throne for himself.

Secondly, he was assisting the King of Spain to obtain that dignity.

Thirdly, he was manoeuvring in dull, dumb, but not ineffective manner, in
favour of Navarre.

So comprehensive and self-contradictory a scheme would seem to indicate
an elasticity of principle and a fertility of resource not often
vouchsafed to man.

Certainly one of the most pregnant lessons of history is furnished in the
development of these cabals, nor is it, in this regard, of great
importance whether the issue was to prove them futile or judicious. It is
sufficient for us now, that when those vanished days constituted the
Present--the vital atmosphere of Christendom--the world's affairs were
controlled by those plotters and their subordinates, and it is therefore
desirable for us to know what manner of men they were, and how they
played their parts.

Nor should it ever be forgotten that the leading motive with all was
supposed to be religion. It was to maintain the supremacy of the Roman
Church, or to vindicate, to a certain extent, liberty of conscience,
through the establishment of a heterodox organisation, that all these
human beings of various lineage and language throughout Christendom had
been cutting each other's throats for a quarter of a century.

Mayenne was not without courage in the field when he found himself there,
but it was observed of him that he spent more time at table than the
Bearnese in sleep, and that he was so fat as to require the assistance of
twelve men to put him in the saddle again whenever he fell from his
horse. Yet slow fighter as he was, he was a most nimble intriguer. As for
his private character, it was notoriously stained with every vice, nor
was there enough of natural intelligence or superior acquirement to atone
for his, crapulous; licentious, shameless life. His military efficiency
at important emergencies was impaired and his life endangered by vile
diseases. He was covetous and greedy beyond what was considered decent
even in that cynical age. He received subsidies and alms with both hands
from those who distrusted and despised him, but who could not eject him
from his advantageous position.

He wished to arrive at the throne of France. As son of Francis of Guise,
as brother of the great Balafre, he considered himself entitled to the
homage of the fishwomen and the butchers' halls. The constitution of the
country in that age making a People impossible, the subtle connection
between a high-born intriguer and the dregs of a populace, which can only
exist in societies of deep chasms and precipitous contrasts, was easily

The duke's summary dealing with the sixteen tyrants of Paris in the
matter of the president's murder had, however, loosened his hold on what
was considered the democracy; but this was at the time when his schemes
were silently swinging towards the Protestant aristocracy; at the moment
when Politica was taking the place of Madam League in his secret
affections. Nevertheless, so long as there seemed a chance, he was
disposed to work the mines for his own benefit. His position as
lieutenant-general gave him an immense advantage for intriguing with both
sides, and--in case his aspirations for royalty were baffled--for
obtaining the highest possible price for himself in that auction in which
Philip and the Bearnese were likely to strain all their resources in
outbidding each other.

On one thing his heart was fixed. His brother's son should at least not
secure the golden prize if he could prevent it. The young Duke of Guise,
who had been immured in Castle Tours since the famous murder of his
father and uncle, had made his escape by a rather neat stratagem. Having
been allowed some liberty for amusing himself in the corridors in the
neighbourhood of his apartment, he had invented a game of hop, skip, and
jump up stairs and down, which he was wont to play with the soldiers of
the guard, as a solace to the tediousness of confinement. One day he
hopped and skipped up the staircase with a rapidity which excited the
admiration of the companions of his sport, slipped into his room, slammed
and bolted the doors, and when the guard, after in vain waiting a
considerable tine for him to return and resume the game, at last forced
an entrance, they found the bird flown out of window. Rope-ladders,
confederates, fast-galloping post-horses did the rest, and at last the
young duke joined his affectionate uncle in camp, much to that eminent
relative's discomfiture. Philip gave alternately conflicting instructions
to Farnese--sometimes that he should encourage the natural jealousy
between the pair; sometimes that he should cause them to work
harmoniously together for the common good--that common good being the
attainment by the King of Spain of the sovereignty of France.

But it was impossible, as already intimated, for Mayenne to work
harmoniously with his nephew. The Duke of Guise might marry with the
infanta and thus become King of France by the grace of God and Philip. To
such a consummation in the case of his uncle there stood, as we know, an
insuperable obstacle in the shape of the Duchess of Mayenne. Should it
come to this at last, it was certain that the Duke would make any and
every combination to frustrate such a scheme. Meantime he kept his own
counsel, worked amiably with Philip, Parma, and the young duke, and
received money in overflowing measure, and poured into his bosom from
that Spanish monarch whose veterans in the Netherlands were maddened by
starvation into mutiny.

Philip's plans were a series of alternatives. France he regarded as the
property of his family. Of that there could be no doubt at all. He meant
to put the crown upon his own head, unless the difficulties in the way
should prove absolutely insuperable. In that case he claimed France and
all its inhabitants as the property of his daughter. The Salic law was
simply a pleasantry, a bit of foolish pedantry, an absurdity. If Clara
Isabella, as daughter of Isabella of France, as grandchild of Henry II.,
were not manifestly the owner of France--queen-proprietary, as the
Spanish doctors called it--then there was no such thing, so he thought,
as inheritance of castle, farm-house, or hovel--no such thing as property
anywhere in the world. If the heiress of the Valois could not take that
kingdom as her private estate, what security could there ever be for any
possessions public or private?

This was logical reasoning enough for kings and their counsellors. There
was much that might be said, however, in regard to special laws. There
was no doubt that great countries, with all their livestock--human or
otherwise--belonged to an individual, but it was not always so clear who
that individual was. This doubt gave much work and comfortable fees to
the lawyers. There was much learned lore concerning statutes of descent,
cutting off of entails, actions for ejectment, difficulties of enforcing
processes, and the like, to occupy the attention of diplomatists,
politicians and other sages. It would have caused general hilarity,
however, could it have been suggested that the live-stock had art or part
in the matter; that sheep, swine, or men could claim a choice of their
shepherds and butchers.

Philip--humbly satisfied, as he always expressed himself, so long as the
purity of the Roman dogmas and the supremacy of the Romish Church over
the whole earth were maintained--affected a comparative indifference as
to whether he should put the crown of St. Louis and of Hugh Capet upon
his own grey head or whether he should govern France through his daughter
and her husband. Happy the man who might exchange the symbols of mutual
affection with Philip's daughter.

The king had various plans in regard to the bestowal of the hand thus
richly endowed. First and foremost it was suggested--and the idea was not
held too monstrous to be even believed in by some conspicuous
individuals--that he proposed espousing his daughter himself. The pope
was to be relied on, in this case, to give a special dispensation. Such a
marriage, between parties too closely related to be usually united in
wedlock, might otherwise shock the prejudices of the orthodox. His late
niece and wife was dead, so that there was no inconvenience on that
score, should the interests of his dynasty, his family, and, above all,
of the Church, impel him, on mature reflection, to take for his fourth
marriage one step farther within the forbidden degrees than he had done
in his third. Here is the statement, which, if it have no other value,
serves to show the hideous designs of which the enemies of Philip
sincerely believed that monarch capable.

"But God is a just God," wrote Sir Edward Stafford, "and if with all
things past, that be true that the king ('videlicet' Henry IV.) yesterday
assured me to be true, and that both his ambassador from Venice writ to
him and Monsieur de Luxembourg from Rome, that the Count Olivarez had
made a great instance to the pope (Sixtus V.) a little afore his death,
to permit his master to marry his daughter, no doubt God will not leave
it long unpunished."

Such was the horrible tale which was circulated and believed in by Henry
the Great of France and by eminent nobles and ambassadors, and at least
thought possible by the English envoy. By such a family arrangement it
was obvious that the conflicting claims of father and daughter to the
proprietorship of France would be ingeniously adjusted, and the children
of so well assorted a marriage might reign in undisputed legitimacy over
France and Spain, and the rest of the world-monarchy. Should the king
decide on the whole against this matrimonial project, should Innocent or
Clement prove as intractable as Sixtus, then it would be necessary to
decide among various candidates for the Infanta's hand.

In Mayenne's Opinion the Duke of Guise was likely to be the man; but
there is little doubt that Philip, in case these more cherished schemes
should fail, had made up his mind--so far as he ever did make up his mind
upon anything--to select his nephew the Archduke Ernest, brother of the
Emperor Rudolph, for his son-in-law. But it was not necessary to make an
immediate choice. His quiver was full of archdukes, any one of whom would
be an eligible candidate, while not one of them would be likely to reject
the Infanta with France on her wedding-finger. Meantime there was a lion
in the path in the shape of Henry of Navarre.

Those who disbelieve in the influence of the individual on the fate of
mankind may ponder the possible results to history and humanity, had the
dagger of Jacques Clement entered the stomach of Henry IV. rather than of
Henry III. in the summer of 1589, or the perturbations in the world's
movements that might have puzzled philosophers had there been an
unsuspected mass of religious conviction revolving unseen in the mental
depths of the Bearnese. Conscience, as it has from time to time exhibited
itself on this planet of ours, is a powerful agent in controlling
political combinations; but the instances are unfortunately not rare, so
far as sublunary progress is concerned, in which the absence of this
dominant influence permits a prosperous rapidity to individual careers.
Eternal honour to the noble beings, true chieftains among men, who have
forfeited worldly power or sacrificed life itself at the dictate of
religious or moral conviction--even should the basis of such conviction
appear to some of us unsafe or unreal. Shame on the tongue which would
malign or ridicule the martyr or the honest convert to any form of
Christian faith! But who can discover aught that is inspiring to the sons
of men in conversions--whether of princes or of peasants--wrought, not at
risk of life and pelf, but for the sake of securing and increasing the
one and the other?

Certainly the Bearnese was the most candid of men. It was this very
candour, this freedom from bigotry, this want of conviction, and this
openness to conviction, that made him so dangerous and caused so much
anxiety to Philip. The Roman Church might or might not be strengthened by
the re-conversion of the legitimate heir of France, but it was certain
that the claims of Philip and the Infanta to the proprietorship of that
kingdom would be weakened by the process. While the Spanish king knew
himself to be inspired in all his actions by a single motive, the
maintenance of the supremacy of the Roman Church, he was perfectly aware
that the Prince of Bearne was not so single-hearted nor so conscientious
as himself.

The Prince of Bearne--heretic, son of heretics, great chieftain of
heretics--was supposed capable of becoming orthodox whenever the Pope
would accept his conversion. Against this possibility Philip struggled
with all his strength.

Since Pope Sixtus V., who had a weakness for Henry, there had been
several popes. Urban VII., his immediate successor, had reigned but
thirteen days. Gregory XIV. (Sfondrato) had died 15th October, 1591, ten
months after his election. Fachinetti, with the title of Innocent IX.,
had reigned two months, from 29th October to 29th December, 1591. He died
of "Spanish poison," said Envoy Umton, as coolly as if speaking of gout,
or typhus, or any other recognised disorder. Clement VIII. (Aldobrandini)
was elected 30th January, 1592. He was no lover of Henry, and lived in
mortal fear of Philip, while it must be conceded that the Spanish
ambassador at Rome was much given to brow-beating his Holiness. Should he
dare to grant that absolution which was the secret object of the
Bearnese, there was no vengeance, hinted the envoy, that Philip would not
wreak on the holy father. He would cut off his supplies from Naples and
Sicily, and starve him and all-his subjects; he would frustrate all his
family schemes, he would renounce him, he would unpope him, he would do
anything that man and despot could do, should the great shepherd dare to
re-admit this lost sheep, and this very black sheep, into the fold of the

As for Henry himself, his game--for in his eyes it was nothing but a
game--lay every day plainer and plainer before him. He was indispensable
to the heretics. Neither England, nor Holland, nor Protestant Germany,
could renounce him, even should he renounce "the religion." Nor could the
French Huguenots exist without that protection which, even although
Catholic, he could still extend to them when he should be accepted as
king by the Catholics.

Hereditary monarch by French law and history, released from his heresy by
the authority that could bind and loose, purged as with hyssop and washed
whiter than snow, it should go hard with him if Philip, and Farnese, and
Mayenne, and all the pikemen and reiters they might muster, could keep
him very long from the throne of his ancestors.

Nothing could match the ingenuousness with which he demanded the
instruction whenever the fitting time for it should arrive; as if,
instead of having been a professor both of the Calvinist and Catholic
persuasion, and having relapsed from both, he had been some innocent
Peruvian or Hindoo, who was invited to listen to preachings and to
examine dogmas for the very first time in his life.

Yet Philip had good grounds for hoping a favourable result from his
political and military manoeuvre. He entertained little doubt that France
belonged to him or to his daughter; that the most powerful party in the
country was in favour of his claims, provided he would pay the voters
liberally enough for their support, and that if the worst came to the
worst it would always be in his power to dismember the kingdom, and to
reserve the lion's share for himself, while distributing some of the
provinces to the most prominent of his confederates.

The sixteen tyrants of Paris had already, as we have seen, urged the
crown upon him, provided he would establish in France the Inquisition,
the council of Trent, and other acceptable institutions, besides
distributing judiciously a good many lucrative offices among various
classes of his adherents.

The Duke of Mayenne, in his own name and that of all the Catholics of
France, formally demanded of him to maintain two armies, forty thousand
men in all, to be respectively under command of the duke himself and of
Alexander Farnese, and regularly to pay for them. These propositions, as
has been seen, were carried into effect as nearly as possible, at
enormous expense to Philip's exchequer, and he naturally expected as good
faith on the part of Mayenne.

In the same paper in which the demand was made Philip was urged to
declare himself king of France. He was assured that the measure could be
accomplished "by freely bestowing marquisates, baronies, and peerages, in
order to content the avarice and ambition of many persons, without at the
same time dissipating the greatness from which all these members
depended. Pepin and Charlemagne," said the memorialists, "who were
foreigners and Saxons by nation, did as much in order to get possession
of a kingdom to which they had no other right except that which they
acquired there by their prudence and force, and after them Hugh Capet,
much inferior to them in force and authority, following their example,
had the same good fortune for himself and his posterity, and one which
still endures.

"If the authority of the holy see could support the scheme at the same
time," continued Mayenne and friends, "it would be a great help. But it
being perilous to ask for that assistance before striking the blow, it
would be better to obtain it after the execution."

That these wholesome opinions were not entirely original on the part of
Mayenne, nor produced spontaneously, was plain from the secret
instructions given by Philip to his envoys, Don Bernardino de Mendoza,
John Baptist de Tassis, and the commander Moreo, whom he had sent soon
after the death of Henry III. to confer with Cardinal Gaetano in Paris.

They were told, of course, to do everything in their power to prevent the
election of the Prince of Bearne, "being as he was a heretic, obstinate
and confirmed, who had sucked heresy with his mother's milk." The legate
was warned that "if the Bearnese should make a show of converting
himself, it would be frigid and fabricated."

If they were asked whom Philip desired for king--a question which
certainly seemed probable under the circumstances--they were to reply
that his foremost wish was to establish the Catholic religion in the
kingdom, and that whatever was most conducive to that end would be most
agreeable to him. "As it is however desirable, in order to arrange
matters, that you should be informed of everything," said his Majesty,
"it is proper that you should know that I have two kinds of right to all
that there is over there. Firstly, because the crown of France has been
usurped from me, my ancestors having been unjustly excluded by foreign
occupation of it; and secondly, because I claim the same crown as first
male of the house of Valois."

Here certainly were comprehensive pretensions, and it was obvious that
the king's desire for the establishment of the Catholic religion must
have been very lively to enable him to invent or accept such astonishing

But his own claims were but a portion of the case. His daughter and
possible spouse had rights of her own, hard, in his opinion, to be
gainsaid. "Over and above all this," said Philip, "my eldest daughter,
the Infanta, has two other rights; one to all the states which as
dower-property are joined by matrimony and through females to this crown,
which now come to her in direct line, and the other to the crown itself,
which belongs directly to the said Infanta, the matter of the Salic law
being a mere invention."

Thus it would appear that Philip was the legitimate representative, not
only of the ancient races of French monarchs--whether Merovingians,
Carlovingians, or otherwise was not stated but also of the usurping
houses themselves, by whose intrusion those earlier dynasties had been
ejected, being the eldest male heir of the extinct line of Valois, while
his daughter was, if possible, even more legitimately the sovereign and
proprietor of France than he was himself.

Nevertheless in his magnanimous desire for the peace of the world and the
advancement of the interests of the Church, he was, if reduced to
extremities, willing to forego his own individual rights--when it should
appear that they could by no possibility be enforced--in favour of his
daughter and of the husband whom he should select for her.

"Thus it may be seen," said the self-denying man, "that I know how, for
the sake of the public repose, to strip myself of my private property."

Afterwards, when secretly instructing the Duke of Feria, about to proceed
to Paris for the sake of settling the sovereignty of the kingdom, he
reviewed the whole subject, setting forth substantially the same
intentions. That the Prince of Bearne could ever possibly succeed to the
throne of his ancestors was an idea to be treated only with sublime scorn
by all right-minded and sensible men. "The members of the House of
Bourbon," said he, "pretend that by right of blood the crown belongs to
them, and hence is derived the pretension made by the Prince of Bearne;
but if there were wanting other very sufficient causes to prevent this
claim--which however are not wanting--it is quite enough that he is a
relapsed heretic, declared to be such by the Apostolic See, and
pronounced incompetent, as well as the other members of his house, all of
them, to say the least, encouragers of heresy; so that not one of them
can ever be king of France, where there have been such religious princes
in time past, who have justly merited the name of Most Christian; and so
there is no possibility of permitting him or any of his house to aspire
to the throne, or to have the subject even treated of in the estates. It
should on the contrary be entirely excluded as prejudicial to the realm
and unworthy to be even mentioned among persons so Catholic as those
about to meet in that assembly."

The claims of the man whom his supporters already called Henry the Fourth
of France being thus disposed of, Philip then again alluded with his
usual minuteness to the various combinations which he had formed for the
tranquillity and good government of that kingdom and of the other
provinces of his world-empire.

It must moreover be never forgotten that what he said passed with his
contemporaries almost for oracular dispensations. What he did or ordered
to be done was like the achievements or behests of a superhuman being.
Time, as it rolls by, leaves the wrecks of many a stranded reputation to
bleach in the sunshine of after-ages. It is sometimes as profitable to
learn what was not done by the great ones of the earth, in spite of all
their efforts, as to ponder those actual deeds which are patent to
mankind. The Past was once the Present, and once the Future, bright with
rainbows or black with impending storm; for history is a continuous whole
of which we see only fragments.

He who at the epoch with which we are now occupied was deemed greatest
and wisest among the sons of earth, at whose threats men quailed, at
whose vast and intricate schemes men gasped in palefaced awe, has left
behind him the record of his interior being. Let us consider whether he
was so potent as his fellow mortals believed, or whether his greatness
was merely their littleness; whether it was carved out, of the
inexhaustible but artificial quarry of human degradation. Let us see
whether the execution was consonant with the inordinate plotting; whether
the price in money and blood--and certainly few human beings have
squandered so much of either as did Philip the Prudent in his long
career--was high or low for the work achieved.

Were after generations to learn, only after curious research, of a
pretender who once called himself, to the amusement of his
contemporaries, Henry the Fourth of France; or was the world-empire for
which so many armies were marshalled, so many ducats expended, so many
falsehoods told, to prove a bubble after all? Time was to show. Meantime
wise men of the day who, like the sages of every generation, read the
future like a printed scroll, were pitying the delusion and rebuking the
wickedness of Henry the Bearnese; persisting as he did in his cruel,
sanguinary, hopeless attempt to establish a vanished and impossible
authority over a land distracted by civil war.

Nothing could be calmer or more reasonable than the language of the great
champion of the Inquisition.

"And as President Jeannin informs me," he said, "that the Catholics have
the intention of electing me king, that appearing to them the gentlest
and safest method to smooth all rivalries likely to arise among the
princes aspiring to the crown, I reply, as you will see by the copy
herewith sent. You will observe that after not refusing myself to that
which may be the will of our Lord, should there be no other mode of
serving Him, above all I desire that which concerns my daughter, since to
her belongs the kingdom. I desire nothing else nor anything for myself,
nor for anybody else, except as a means for her to arrive at her right."

He had taken particular pains to secure his daughter's right in Brittany,
while the Duchess of Mercoeur, by the secret orders of her husband, had
sent a certain ecclesiastic to Spain to make over the sovereignty of this
province to the Infanta. Philip directed that the utmost secrecy should
be observed in regard to this transaction with the duke and duchess, and
promised the duke, as his reward for these proposed services in
dismembering his country, the government of the province for himself and
his heirs.

For the king was quite determined--in case his efforts to obtain the
crown for himself or for his daughter were unsuccessful--to dismember
France, with the assistance of those eminent Frenchmen who were now so
industriously aiding him in his projects.

"And in the third place," said he, in his secret instructions to Feria,
"if for the sins of all, we don't manage to make any election, and if
therefore the kingdom (of France) has to come to separation and to be
divided into many hands; in this case we must propose to the Duke of
Mayenne to assist him in getting possession of Normandy for himself, and
as to the rest of the kingdom, I shall take for myself that which seems
good to me--all of us assisting each other."

But unfortunately it was difficult for any of these fellow-labourers to
assist each other very thoroughly, while they detested each other so
cordially and suspected each other with such good reason.

Moreo, Ybarra, Feria, Parma, all assured their master that Mayenne was
taking Spanish money as fast as he could get it, but with the sole
purpose of making himself king. As to any of the House of Lorraine
obtaining the hand of the Infanta and the throne with it, Feria assured
Philip that Mayenne "would sooner give the crown to the Grand Turk."

Nevertheless Philip thought it necessary to continue making use of the
duke. Both were indefatigable therefore in expressing feelings of
boundless confidence each in the other.

It has been seen too how entirely the king relied on the genius and
devotion of Alexander Farnese to carry out his great schemes; and
certainly never had monarch a more faithful, unscrupulous, and dexterous
servant. Remonstrating, advising, but still obeying--entirely without
conscience, unless it were conscience to carry out his master's commands,
even when most puerile or most diabolical--he was nevertheless the object
of Philip's constant suspicion, and felt himself placed under perpetual
though secret supervision.

Commander Moreo was unwearied in blackening the duke's character, and in
maligning his every motive and action, and greedily did the king incline
his ear to the calumnies steadily instilled by the chivalrous spy.

"He has caused all the evil we are suffering," said Moreo. "When he sent
Egmont to France 'twas without infantry, although Egmont begged hard for
it, as did likewise the Legate, Don Bernardino, and Tassis. Had he done
this there is no doubt at all that the Catholic cause in France would
have been safe, and your Majesty would now have the control over that
kingdom which you desire. This is the opinion of friends and foes. I went
to the Duke of Parma and made free to tell him that the whole world would
blame him for the damage done to Christianity, since your Majesty had
exonerated yourself by ordering him to go to the assistance of the French
Catholics with all the zeal possible. Upon this he was so disgusted that
he has never shown me a civil face since. I doubt whether he will send or
go to France at all, and although the Duke of Mayenne despatches couriers
every day with protestations and words that would soften rocks, I see no
indications of a movement."

Thus, while the duke was making great military preparations far invading
France without means; pawning his own property to get bread for his
starving veterans, and hanging those veterans whom starving had made.
mutinous, he was depicted, to the most suspicious and unforgiving mortal
that ever wore a crown, as a traitor and a rebel, and this while he was
renouncing his own judicious and well-considered policy in obedience to
the wild schemes of his master.

"I must make bold to remind your Majesty," again whispered the spy, "that
there never was an Italian prince who failed to pursue his own ends, and
that there are few in the world that are not wishing to become greater
than they are. This man here could strike a greater blow than all the
rest of them put together. Remember that there is not a villain anywhere
that does not desire the death of your Majesty. Believe me, and send to
cut off my head if it shall be found that I am speaking from passion, or
from other motive than pure zeal for your royal service."

The reader will remember into what a paroxysm of rage Alexander was
thrown on, a former occasion, when secretly invited to listen to
propositions by which the sovereignty over the Netherlands was to be
secured to himself, and how near he was to inflicting mortal punishment
with his own hand on the man who had ventured to broach that treasonable

Such projects and propositions were ever floating, as it were, in the
atmosphere, and it was impossible for the most just men to escape
suspicion in the mind of a king who fed upon suspicion as his daily
bread. Yet nothing could be fouler or falser than the calumny which
described Alexander as unfaithful to Philip. Had he served his God as he
served his master perhaps his record before the highest tribunal would
have been a clearer one.

And in the same vein in which he wrote to the monarch in person did the
crafty Moreo write to the principal secretary of state, Idiaquez, whose
mind, as well as his master's, it was useful to poison, and who was in
daily communication with Philip.

"Let us make sure of Flanders," said he, "otherwise we shall all of us be
well cheated. I will tell you something of that which I have already told
his Majesty, only not all, referring you to Tassis, who, as a personal
witness to many things, will have it in his power to undeceive his
Majesty, I have seen very clearly that the duke is disgusted with his
Majesty, and one day he told me that he cared not if the whole world went
to destruction, only not Flanders."

"Another day he told me that there was a report abroad that his Majesty
was sending to arrest him, by means of the Duke of Pastrana, and looking
at me he said: 'See here, seignior commander, no threats, as if it were
in the power of mortal man to arrest me, much less of such fellows as

"But this is but a small part of what I could say," continued the
detective knight-commander, "for I don't like to trust these ciphers. But
be certain that nobody in Flanders wishes well to these estates or to the
Catholic cause, and the associates of the Duke of Parma go about saying
that it does not suit the Italian potentates to have his Majesty as great
a monarch as he is trying to be."

This is but a sample of the dangerous stuff with which the royal mind was
steadily drugged, day after day, by those to whom Farnese was especially
enjoined to give his confidence.

Later on it will be seen how-much effect was thus produced both upon the
king and upon the duke. Moreo, Mendoza, and Tasais were placed about the
governor-general, nominally as his counsellors, in reality as

"You are to confer regularly with Mendoza, Tassis, and Moreo," said
Philip to Farnese.

"You are to assist, correspond, and harmonize in every way with the Duke
of Parma," wrote Philip to Mendoza, Tassis, and Moreo. And thus cordially
and harmoniously were the trio assisting and corresponding with the duke.

But Moreo was right in not wishing to trust the ciphers, and indeed he
had trusted them too much, for Farnese was very well aware of his
intrigues, and complained bitterly of them to the king and to Idiaquez.

Most eloquently and indignantly did he complain of the calumnies, ever
renewing themselves, of which he was the subject. "'Tis this good Moreo
who is the author of the last falsehoods," said he to the secretary; "and
this is but poor payment for my having neglected my family, my parents
and children for so many years in the king's service, and put my life
ever on the hazard, that these fellows should be allowed to revile me and
make game of me now, instead of assisting me."

He was at that time, after almost superhuman exertions, engaged in the
famous relief of Paris. He had gone there, he said, against his judgment
and remonstrating with his Majesty on the insufficiency of men and money
for such an enterprise. His army was half-mutinous and unprovided with
food, artillery, or munitions; and then he found himself slandered,
ridiculed, his life's life lied away. 'Twas poor payment for his
services, he exclaimed, if his Majesty should give ear to these
calumniators, and should give him no chance of confronting his accusers
and clearing his reputation. Moreo detested him, as he knew, and Prince
Doria said that the commander once spoke so ill of Farnese in Genoa that
he was on the point of beating him; while Moreo afterwards told the story
as if he had been maltreated because of defending Farnese against Doria's

And still more vehemently did he inveigh against Moreo in his direct
appeals to Philip. He had intended to pass over his calumnies, of which
he was well aware, because he did not care to trouble the dead--for Moreo
meantime had suddenly died, and the gossips, of course, said it was of
Farnese poison--but he had just discovered by documents that the
commander had been steadily and constantly pouring these his calumnies
into the monarch's ears. He denounced every charge as lies, and demanded
proof. Moreo had further been endeavouring to prejudice the Duke of
Mayenne against the King of Spain and himself, saying that he, Farnese,
had been commissioned to take Mayenne into custody, with plenty of
similar lies.

"But what I most feel," said Alexander, with honest wrath, "is to see
that your Majesty gives ear to them without making the demonstration
which my services merit, and has not sent to inform me of them, seeing
that they may involve my reputation and honour. People have made more
account of these calumnies than of my actions performed upon the theatre
of the world. I complain, after all my toils and dangers in your
Majesty's service, just when I stood with my soul in my mouth and death
in my teeth, forgetting children, house, and friends, to be treated thus,
instead of receiving rewards and honour, and being enabled to leave to my
children, what was better than all the riches the royal hand could
bestow, an unsullied and honourable name."

He protested that his reputation had so much suffered that he would
prefer to retire to some remote corner as a humble servant of the king,
and leave a post which had made him so odious to all. Above all, he
entreated his Majesty to look upon this whole affair "not only like a
king but like a gentleman."

Philip answered these complaints and reproaches benignantly, expressed
unbounded confidence in the duke, assured him that the calumnies of his
supposed enemies could produce no effect upon the royal mind, and coolly
professed to have entirely forgotten having received any such letter as
that of which his nephew complained. "At any rate I have mislaid it," he
said, "so that you see how much account it was with me."

As the king was in the habit of receiving such letters every week, not
only from the commander, since deceased, but from Ybarra and others, his
memory, to say the least, seemed to have grown remarkably feeble. But the
sequel will very soon show that he had kept the letters by him and
pondered them to much purpose. To expect frankness and sincerity from
him, however, even in his most intimate communications to his most
trusted servants, would have been to "swim with fins of lead."

Such being the private relations between the conspirators, it is
instructive to observe how they dealt with each other in the great game
they were playing for the first throne in Christendom. The military
events have been sufficiently sketched in the preceding pages, but the
meaning and motives of public affairs can be best understood by
occasional glances behind the scenes. It is well for those who would
maintain their faith in popular Governments to study the workings of the
secret, irresponsible, arbitrary system; for every Government, as every
individual, must be judged at last by those moral laws which no man born
of woman can evade.

During the first French expedition-in the course of which Farnese had
saved Paris from falling into, the hands of Henry, and had been doing his
best to convert it prospectively into the capital of his master's
empire--it was his duty, of course, to represent as accurately as
possible the true state of France. He submitted his actions to his
master's will, but he never withheld from him the advantage that he might
have derived, had he so chosen, from his nephew's luminous intelligence
and patient observation.

With the chief personage he had to deal with he professed himself, at
first, well satisfied. "The Duke of Mayenne," said he to Philip,
"persists in desiring your Majesty only as King of France, and will hear
of no other candidate, which gives me satisfaction such as can't be
exaggerated." Although there were difficulties in the way, Farnese
thought that the two together with God's help might conquer them.
"Certainly it is not impossible that your Majesty may succeed," he said,
"although very problematical; and in case your Majesty does succeed in
that which we all desire and are struggling for, Mayenne not only demands
the second place in the kingdom for himself, but the fief of some great
province for his family."

Should it not be possible for Philip to obtain the crown, Farnese was, on
the whole, of opinion that Mayenne had better be elected. In that event
he would make over Brittany and Burgundy to Philip, together with the
cities opposite the English coast. If they were obliged to make the duke
king, as was to be feared, they should at any rate exclude the Prince of
Bearne, and secure, what was the chief point, the Catholic religion.
"This," said Alexander, "is about what I can gather of Mayenne's views,
and perhaps he will put them down in a despatch to your Majesty."

After all, the duke was explicit enough. He was for taking all he could
get--the whole kingdom if possible--but if foiled, then as large a slice
of it as Philip would give him as the price of his services. And Philip's
ideas were not materially different from those of the other conspirator.

Both were agreed on one thing. The true heir must be kept out of his
rights, and the Catholic religion be maintained in its purity. As to the
inclination of the majority of the inhabitants, they could hardly be in
the dark. They knew that the Bearnese was instinctively demanded by the
nation; for his accession to the throne would furnish the only possible
solution to the entanglements which had so long existed.

As to the true sentiments of the other politicians and soldiers of the
League with whom Bearnese came in contact in France, he did not disguise
from his master that they were anything but favourable.

"That you may know, the humour of this kingdom," said he, "and the
difficulties in which I am placed, I must tell you that I am by large
experience much confirmed in that which I have always suspected. Men
don't love nor esteem the royal name of your Majesty, and whatever the
benefits and assistance they get from you they have no idea of anything
redounding to your benefit and royal service, except so far as implied in
maintaining the Catholic religion and keeping out the Bearne. These two
things, however, they hold to be so entirely to your Majesty's profit,
that all you are doing appears the fulfilment of a simple obligation.
They are filled with fear, jealousy, and suspicion of your Majesty. They
dread your acquiring power here. Whatever negotiations they pretend in
regard to putting the kingdom or any of their cities under your
protection, they have never had any real intention of doing it, but their
only object is to keep up our vain hopes while they are carrying out
their own ends. If to-day they seem to have agreed upon any measure,
tomorrow they are sure to get out of it again. This has always been the
case, and all your Majesty's ministers that have had dealings here would
say so, if they chose to tell the truth. Men are disgusted with the
entrance of the army, and if they were not expecting a more advantageous
peace in the kingdom with my assistance than without it, I don't know
what they would do; for I have heard what I have heard and seen what I
have seen. They are afraid of our army, but they want its assistance and
our money."

Certainly if Philip desired enlightenment as to the real condition of the
country he had determined to, appropriate; and the true sentiments of its
most influential inhabitants, here, was the man most competent of all the
world to advise him; describing the situation for him, day by day, in the
most faithful manner. And at every step the absolutely puerile
inadequacy of the means, employed by the king to accomplish his gigantic
purposes became apparent. If the crime of subjugating or at least
dismembering the great kingdom of France were to, be attempted with any
hope of success, at least it might have been expected that the man
employed to consummate the deed would be furnished with more troops and
money than would be required to appropriate a savage island off the
Caribbean, or a German principality. But Philip expected miracles to be
accomplished by the mere private assertion of his will. It was so easy to
conquer realms the writing table.

"I don't say," continued Farnese, "if I could have entered France with a
competent army, well paid and disciplined, with plenty of artillery, and
munitions, and with funds enough to enable Mayenne to buy up the nobles
of his party, and to conciliate the leaders generally with presents and
promises, that perhaps they might not have softened. Perhaps interest and
fear would have made that name agreeable which pleases them so little,
now that the very reverse of all this has occurred. My want of means is
causing a thousand disgusts among the natives of the country, and it is
this penury that will be the chief cause of the disasters which may

Here was sufficiently plain speaking. To conquer a war-like nation
without an army; to purchase a rapacious nobility with an empty purse,
were tasks which might break the stoutest heart. They were breaking

Yet Philip had funds enough, if he had possessed financial ability
himself, or any talent for selecting good financiers. The richest
countries of the old world and the new were under his sceptre; the mines
of Peru and Mexico; the wealth of farthest Ind, were at his disposition;
and moreover he drove a lucrative traffic in the sale of papal bulls and
massbooks, which were furnished to him at a very low figure, and which he
compelled the wild Indians of America and the savages of the Pacific to
purchase of him at an enormous advance. That very year, a Spanish carrack
had been captured by the English off the Barbary coast, with an assorted
cargo, the miscellaneous nature of which gives an idea of royal
commercial pursuits at that period. Besides wine in large quantities
there were fourteen hundred chests of quicksilver, an article
indispensable to the working of the silver mines, and which no one but
the king could, upon pain of death, send to America. He received,
according to contract; for every pound of quicksilver thus delivered a
pound of pure silver, weight for weight. The ship likewise contained ten
cases of gilded mass-books and papal bulls. The bulls, two million and
seventy thousand in number, for the dead and the living, were intended
for the provinces of New Spain, Yucatan, Guatemala, Honduras, and the
Philippines. The quicksilver and the bulls cost the king three hundred
thousand florins, but he sold them for five million. The price at, which
the bulls were to be sold varied-according to the letters of advice found
in the ships--from two to four reals a piece, and the inhabitants of
those conquered regions were obliged to buy them. "From all this," says a
contemporary chronicler; "is to be seen what a thrifty trader was the

The affairs of France were in such confusion that it was impossible for
them, according to Farnese, to remain in such condition much longer
without bringing about entire decomposition. Every man was doing as he
chose--whether governor of a city, commander of a district, or gentleman
in his castle. Many important nobles and prelates followed the Bearnese
party, and Mayenne was entitled to credit for doing as well as he did.
There was no pretence, however, that his creditable conduct was due to
anything but the hope of being well paid. "If your Majesty should decide
to keep Mayenne," said Alexander, "you can only do it with large: sums of
money. He is a good Catholic and very firm in his purpose, but is so much
opposed by his own party, that if I had not so stimulated him by hopes of
his own grandeur, he would have grown desperate--such small means has he
of maintaining his party--and, it is to be feared, he would have made
arrangements with Bearne, who offers him carte-blanche."

The disinterested man had expressed his assent to the views of Philip in
regard to the assembly of the estates and the election of king, but had
claimed the sum of six hundred thousand dollars as absolutely necessary
to the support of himself and followers until those events should occur.
Alexander not having that sum at his disposal was inclined to defer
matters, but was more and more confirmed in his opinion that the Duke was
a "man of truth, faith, and his word." He had distinctly agreed that no
king should be elected, not satisfactory to Philip, and had "stipulated
in return that he should have in this case, not only the second place in
the kingdom, but some very great and special reward in full property."

Thus the man of truth, faith, and his word had no idea of selling himself
cheap, but manifested as much commercial genius as the Fuggers themselves
could have displayed, had they been employed as brokers in these
mercantile transactions.

Above all things, Alexander implored the king to be expeditious,
resolute, and liberal; for, after all, the Bearnese might prove a more
formidable competitor than he was deemed. "These matters must be arranged
while the iron is hot," he said, "in order that the name and memory of
the Bearne and of all his family may be excluded at once and forever; for
your Majesty must not doubt that the whole kingdom inclines to him, both
because he is natural successor, to the crowns and because in this way
the civil war would cease. The only thing that gives trouble is the
religions defect, so that if this should be remedied in appearance, even
if falsely, men would spare no pains nor expense in his cause."

No human being at that moment, assuredly, could look into the immediate
future accurately enough to see whether the name and memory of the man,
whom his adherents called Henry the Fourth of France, and whom Spaniards,
legitimists and enthusiastic papists, called the Prince of Bearne, were
to be for ever excluded from the archives of France; whether Henry, after
spending the whole of his life as a pretender, was destined to bequeath
the same empty part to his descendants, should they think it worth their
while to play it. Meantime the sages smiled superior at his delusion;
while Alexander Farnese, on the contrary, better understanding the
chances of the great game which they were all playing, made bold to tell
his master that all hearts in France were inclining to their natural
lord. "Differing from your Majesty," said he, "I am of opinion that there
is no better means of excluding him than to make choice of the Duke of
Mayenne, as a person agreeable to the people, and who could only reign by
your permission and support."

Thus, after much hesitation and circumlocution, the nephew made up his
mind to chill his uncle's hopes of the crown, and to speak a decided
opinion in behalf of the man of his word, faith and truth.

And thus through the whole of the two memorable campaigns made by
Alexander in France, he never failed to give his master the most accurate
pictures of the country, and an interior view of its politics; urging
above all the absolute necessity of providing much more liberal supplies
for the colossal adventure in which he was engaged. "Money and again
money is what is required," he said. "The principal matter is to be
accomplished with money, and the particular individuals must be bought
with money. The good will of every French city must be bought with money.
Mayenne must be humoured. He is getting dissatisfied. Very probably he is
intriguing with Bearne. Everybody is pursuing his private ends. Mayenne
has never abandoned his own wish to be king, although he sees the
difficulties in the way; and while he has not the power to do us as much
good as is thought, it is certainly in his hands to do us a great deal of

When his army was rapidly diminishing by disease, desertion, mutiny, and
death, he vehemently and perpetually denounced the utter inadequacy of
the king's means to his vast projects. He protested that he was not to
blame for the ruin likely to come upon the whole enterprise. He had
besought, remonstrated, reasoned with Philip--in vain. He assured his
master that in the condition of weakness in which they found themselves,
not very triumphant negotiations could be expected, but that he would do
his best. "The Frenchmen," he said, "are getting tired of our disorders,
and scandalized by our weakness, misery, and poverty. They disbelieve the
possibility of being liberated through us."

He was also most diligent in setting before the king's eyes the dangerous
condition of the obedient Netherlands, the poverty of the finances, the
mutinous degeneration of the once magnificent Spanish army, the misery of
the country, the ruin of the people, the discontent of the nobles, the
rapid strides made by the republic, the vast improvement in its military
organization, the rising fame of its young stadholder, the thrift of its
exchequer, the rapid development of its commerce, the menacing aspect
which it assumed towards all that was left of Spanish power in those

Moreover, in the midst of the toils and anxieties of war-making and
negotiation, he had found time to discover and to send to his master the
left leg of the glorious apostle St. Philip, and the head of the glorious
martyr St. Lawrence, to enrich his collection of relics; and it may be
doubted whether these treasures were not as welcome to the king as would
have been the news of a decisive victory.

During the absence of Farnese in his expeditions against the Bearnese,
the government of his provinces was temporarily in the hands of Peter
Ernest Mansfeld.

This grizzled old fighter--testy, choleric, superannuated--was utterly
incompetent for his post. He was a mere tool in the hands of his son.
Count Charles hated Parma very cordially, and old Count Peter was made to
believe himself in danger of being poisoned or poniarded by the duke. He
was perpetually wrangling with, importuning and insulting him in
consequence, and writing malicious letters to the king in regard to him.
The great nobles, Arschot, Chimay, Berlaymont, Champagny, Arenberg, and
the rest, were all bickering among themselves, and agreeing in nothing
save in hatred to Farnese.

A tight rein, a full exchequer, a well-ordered and well-paid army, and
his own constant patience, were necessary, as Alexander too well knew, to
make head against the republic, and to hold what was left of the
Netherlands. But with a monthly allowance, and a military force not equal
to his own estimates for the Netherland work, he was ordered to go forth
from the Netherlands to conquer France--and with it the dominion of the
world--for the recluse of the Escorial.

Very soon it was his duty to lay bare to his master, still more
unequivocally than ever, the real heart of Mayenne. No one could surpass
Alexander in this skilful vivisection of political characters; and he
soon sent the information that the Duke was in reality very near closing
his bargain with the Bearnese, while amusing Philip and drawing largely
from his funds.

Thus, while faithfully doing his master's work with sword and pen, with
an adroitness such as no other man could have matched, it was a necessary
consequence that Philip should suspect, should detest, should resolve to
sacrifice him. While assuring his nephew, as we have seen, that
elaborate, slanderous reports and protocols concerning him, sent with
such regularity by the chivalrous Moreo and the other spies, had been
totally disregarded, even if they had ever met his eye, he was quietly
preparing--in the midst of all these most strenuous efforts of Alexander,
in the field at peril of his life, in the cabinet at the risk of his
soul--to deprive him of his office, and to bring him, by stratagem if
possible, but otherwise by main force, from the Netherlands to Spain.

This project, once-resolved upon, the king proceeded to execute with that
elaborate attention to detail, with that feline stealth which
distinguished him above all kings or chiefs of police that have ever
existed. Had there been a murder at the end of the plot, as perhaps there
was to be--Philip could not have enjoyed himself more. Nothing surpassed
the industry for mischief of this royal invalid.

The first thing to be done was of course the inditing of a most
affectionate epistle to his nephew.

"Nephew," said he, "you know the confidence which I have always placed in
you and all that I have put in your hands, and I know how much you are to
me, and how earnestly you work in my service, and so, if I could have you
at the same time in several places, it would be a great relief to me.
Since this cannot be however, I wish to make use of your assistance,
according to the times and occasions, in order that I may have some
certainty as to the manner in which all this business is to be managed,
may see why the settlement of affairs in France is thus delayed, and what
the state of things in Christendom generally is, and may consult with,
you about an army which I am getting levied here, and about certain
schemes now on foot in regard to the remedy for all this; all which makes
me desire your presence here for some time, even if a short time, in
order to resolve upon and arrange with the aid of your advice and
opinion, many affairs concerning the public good and facilitate their
execution by means of your encouragement and presence, and to obtain the
repose which I hope for in putting them into your hands. And so I charge
and command you that, if you desire to content me, you use all possible
diligence to let me see you here as soon as possible, and that you start
at once for Genoa."

He was further directed to leave Count Mansfeld at the head of affairs
during this temporary absence, as had been the case so often before,
instructing him to make use of the Marquis of Cerralbo, who was already
there, to lighten labours that might prove too much for a man of
Mansfeld's advanced age.

"I am writing to the marquis," continued the king, "telling him that he
is to obey all your orders. As to the reasons of your going away, you
will give out that it is a decision of your own, founded on good cause,
or that it is a summons of mine, but full of confidence and good will
towards you, as you see that it is."

The date of this letter was 20th February, 1592.

The secret instructions to the man who was thus to obey all the duke's
orders were explicit enough upon that point, although they were wrapped
in the usual closely-twisted phraseology which distinguished Philip's
style when his purpose was most direct.

Cerralbo was entrusted with general directions as to the French matter,
and as to peace negotiations with "the Islands;" but the main purport of
his mission was to remove Alexander Farnese. This was to be done by fair
means, if possible; if not, he was to be deposed and sent home by force.

This was to be the reward of all the toil and danger through which he had
grown grey and broken in the king's service.

"When you get to the Netherlands" (for the instructions were older than
the letter to Alexander just cited), "you are," said the king, "to treat
of the other two matters until the exact time arrives for the third,
taking good care not to, cut the thread of good progress in the affairs
of France if by chance they are going on well there.

"When the time arrives to treat of commission number three," continued
his Majesty, "you will take occasion of the arrival of the courier of
20th February, and will give with much secrecy the letter of that date to
the duke; showing him at the same time the first of the two which you
will have received."

If the duke showed the letter addressed to him by his uncle--which the
reader has already seen--then the marquis was to discuss with him the
details of the journey, and comment upon the benefits and increased
reputation which would be the result of his return to Spain.

"But if the duke should not show you the letter," proceeded Philip, "and
you suspect that he means to conceal and equivocate about the particulars
of it, you can show him your letter number two, in which it is stated
that you have received a copy of the letter to the duke. This will make
the step easier."

Should the duke declare himself ready to proceed to Spain on the ground
indicated--that the king had need of his services--the marquis was then
to hasten his departure as earnestly as possible. Every pains were to be
taken to overcome any objections that might be made by the duke on the
score of ill health, while the great credit which attached to this
summons to consult with the king in such arduous affairs was to be duly
enlarged upon. Should Count Mansfeld meantime die of old age, and should
Farnese insist the more vehemently, on that account, upon leaving his son
the Prince Ranuccio in his post as governor, the marquis was authorised
to accept the proposition for the moment--although secretly instructed
that such an appointment was really quite out of the question--if by so
doing the father could be torn from the place immediately.

But if all would not do, and if it should become certain that the duke
would definitively refuse to take his departure, it would then become
necessary to tell him clearly, but secretly, that no excuse would be
accepted, but that go he must; and that if he did not depart voluntarily
within a fixed time, he would be publicly deprived of office and
conducted to Spain by force.

But all these things were to be managed with the secrecy and mystery so
dear to the heart of Philip. The marquis was instructed to go first to
the castle of Antwerp, as if upon financial business, and there begin his
operations. Should he find at last all his private negotiations and
coaxings of no avail, he was then to make use of his secret letters from
the king to the army commanders, the leading nobles of the country, and
of the neighbouring princes, all of whom were to be undeceived in regard
to the duke, and to be informed of the will of his majesty.

The real successor of Farnese was to be the Archduke Albert, Cardinal of
Austria, son of Archduke Ferdinand, and the letters on this subject were
to be sent by a "decent and confidential person" so soon as it should
become obvious that force would be necessary in order to compel the
departure of Alexander. For if it came to open rupture, it would be
necessary to have the cardinal ready to take the place. If the affair
were arranged amicably, then the new governor might proceed more at
leisure. The marquis was especially enjoined, in case the duke should be
in France, and even if it should be necessary for him to follow him there
on account of commissions number one and two, not to say a word to him
then of his recall, for fear of damaging matters in that kingdom. He was
to do his best to induce him to return to Flanders, and when they were
both there, he was to begin his operations.

Thus, with minute and artistic treachery, did Philip provide for the
disgrace and ruin of the man who was his near blood relation, and who had
served him most faithfully from earliest youth. It was not possible to
carry out the project immediately, for, as it has already been narrated,
Farnese, after achieving, in spite of great obstacles due to the dulness
of the king alone, an extraordinary triumph, had been dangerously
wounded, and was unable for a brief interval to attend to public affairs.

On the conclusion of his Rouen campaign he had returned to the
Netherlands, almost immediately betaking himself to the waters of Spa.
The Marquis de Cerralbo meanwhile had been superseded in his important
secret mission by the Count of Fuentes, who received the same
instructions as had been provided for the marquis.

But ere long it seemed to become unnecessary to push matters to
extremities. Farnese, although nominally the governor, felt himself
unequal to take the field against the vigorous young commander who was
carrying everything before him in the north and east. Upon the Mansfelds
was the responsibility for saving Steenwyk and Coeworden, and to the
Mansfelds did Verdugo send piteously, but in vain, for efficient help.
For the Mansfelds and other leading personages in the obedient
Netherlands were mainly occupied at that time in annoying Farnese,
calumniating his actions, laying obstacles in the way of his
administration, military and civil, and bringing him into contempt with
the populace. When the weary soldier--broken in health, wounded and
harassed with obtaining triumphs for his master such as no other living
man could have gained with the means placed at his disposal--returned to
drink the waters, previously to setting forth anew upon the task of
achieving the impossible, he was made the mark of petty insults on the
part of both the Mansfelds. Neither of them paid their respects to him;
ill as he was, until four days after his arrival. When the duke
subsequently called a council; Count Peter refused to attend it on
account of having slept ill the night before. Champagny; who was one of,
the chief mischief-makers, had been banished by Parma to his house in
Burgundy. He became very much alarmed, and was afraid of losing his head.
He tried to conciliate the duke, but finding it difficult he resolved to
turn monk, and so went to the convent of Capuchins, and begged hard to be
admitted a member. They refused him on account of his age and
infirmities. He tried a Franciscan monastery with not much better
success, and then obeyed orders and went to his Burgundy mansion; having
been assured by Farnese that he was not to lose his head. Alexander was
satisfied with that arrangement, feeling sure, he said, that so soon as
his back was turned Champagny would come out of his convent before the
term of probation had expired, and begin to make mischief again. A once
valiant soldier, like Champagny, whose conduct in the famous "fury of
Antwerp" was so memorable; and whose services both in field and-cabinet
had, been so distinguished, fallen so low as to, be used as a tool by the
Mansfelds against a man like Farnese; and to be rejected as unfit company
by Flemish friars, is not a cheerful spectacle to contemplate.

The walls of the Mansfeld house and gardens, too, were decorated by Count
Charles with caricatures, intending to illustrate the indignities put
upon his father: and himself.

Among others, one picture represented Count Peter lying tied hand and
foot, while people were throwing filth upon him; Count Charles being
pourtrayed as meantime being kicked away from the command of a battery of
cannon by, De la Motte. It seemed strange that the Mansfelds should, make
themselves thus elaborately ridiculous, in order to irritate Farnese; but
thus it was. There was so much stir, about these works of art that
Alexander transmitted copies of them to the king, whereupon Charles
Mansfeld, being somewhat alarmed, endeavoured to prove that they had been
entirely misunderstood. The venerable personage lying on the ground, he
explained, was not his father, but Socrates. He found it difficult
however to account for the appearance of La Motte, with his one arm
wanting and with artillery by his side, because, as Farnese justly
remarked, artillery had not been invented in the time of Socrates, nor
was it recorded that the sage had lost an arm.

Thus passed the autumn of 1592, and Alexander, having as he supposed
somewhat recruited his failing strength, prepared, according to his
master's orders for a new campaign in France. For with almost preterhuman
malice Philip was employing the man whom he had doomed to disgrace,
perhaps to death, and whom he kept under constant secret supervision, in
those laborious efforts to conquer without an army and to purchase a
kingdom with an empty purse, in which, as it was destined, the very last
sands of Parma's life were to run away.

Suffering from a badly healed wound, from water on the chest,
degeneration of the heart, and gout in the limbs, dropsical, enfeebled,
broken down into an old man before his time, Alexander still confronted
disease and death with as heroic a front as he had ever manifested in the
field to embattled Hollanders and Englishmen, or to the still more
formidable array of learned pedants and diplomatists in the hall of
negotiation. This wreck of a man was still fitter to lead armies and
guide councils than any soldier or statesman that Philip could call into
his service, yet the king's cruel hand was ready to stab the dying man in
the dark.

Nothing could surpass the spirit with which the soldier was ready to do
battle with his best friend, coming in the guise of an enemy. To the last
moment, lifted into the saddle, he attended personally as usual to the
details of his new campaign, and was dead before he would confess himself
mortal. On the 3rd of December, 1592, in the city of Arran, he fainted
after retiring at his usual hour to bed, and thus breathed his last.

According to the instructions in his last will, he was laid out barefoot
in the robe and cowl of a Capuchin monk. Subsequently his remains were
taken to Parma, and buried under the pavement of the little Franciscan
church. A pompous funeral, in which the Italians and Spaniards quarrelled
and came to blows for precedence, was celebrated in Brussels, and a
statue of the hero was erected in the capitol at Rome.

The first soldier and most unscrupulous diplomatist of his age, he died
when scarcely past his prime, a wearied; broken-hearted old man. His
triumphs, military and civil, have been recorded in these pages, and his
character has been elaborately pourtrayed. Were it possible to conceive
of an Italian or Spaniard of illustrious birth in the sixteenth century,
educated in the school of Machiavelli, at the feet of Philip, as anything
but the supple slave of a master and the blind instrument of a Church,
one might for a moment regret that so many gifts of genius and valour had
been thrown away or at least lost to mankind. Could the light of truth
ever pierce the atmosphere in which such men have their being; could the
sad music of humanity ever penetrate to their ears; could visions of a
world--on this earth or beyond it--not exclusively the property of kings
and high-priests be revealed to them, one might lament that one so
eminent among the sons of women had not been a great man. But it is a
weakness to hanker for any possible connection between truth and Italian
or Spanish statecraft of that day. The truth was not in it nor in him,
and high above his heroic achievements, his fortitude, his sagacity, his
chivalrous self-sacrifice, shines forth the baleful light of his
perpetual falsehood.

   [I pass over, as beneath the level of history, a great variety of
   censorious and probably calumnious reports as to the private
   character of Farnese, with which the secret archives of the times
   are filled. Especially Champagny, the man by whom the duke was most
   hated and feared, made himself busy in compiling the slanderous
   chronicle in which the enemies of Farnese, both in Spain and the
   Netherlands, took so much delight. According to the secret history
   thus prepared for the enlightenment of the king and his ministers,
   the whole administration of the Netherlands--especially the
   financial department, with the distribution of offices--was in the
   hands of two favourites, a beardless secretary named Cosmo e Massi,
   and a lady of easy virtue called Franceline, who seems to have had a
   numerous host of relatives and friends to provide for at the public
   expense. Towards the latter end of the duke's life, it was even
   said that the seal of the finance department was in the hands of his
   valet-de-chambre, who, in his master's frequent absences, was in the
   habit of issuing drafts upon the receiver-general. As the valet-
   dechambre was described as an idiot who did not know how to read, it
   may be believed that the finances fell into confusion. Certainly,
   if such statements were to be accepted, it would be natural enough
   that for every million dollars expended by the king in the
   provinces, not more than one hundred thousand were laid out for the
   public service; and this is the estimate made by Champagny, who, as
   a distinguished financier and once chief of the treasury in the
   provinces, might certainly be thought to know something of the
   subject. But Champagny was beside himself with rage, hatred.]


   Effect of the death of Farnese upon Philip's schemes--Priestly
   flattery and counsel--Assembly of the States-General of France--
   Meeting of the Leaguers at the Louvre--Conference at Surene between
   the chiefs of the League and the "political" leaders--Henry convokes
   an assembly of bishops, theologians, and others--Strong feeling on
   all sides on the subject of the succession--Philip commands that the
   Infanta and the Duke of Guise be elected King and Queen of France--
   Manifesto of the Duke of Mayenne--Formal re-admission of Henry to
   the Roman faith--The pope refuses to consent to his reconciliation
   with the Church--His consecration with the sacred oil--Entry of the
   king into Paris--Departure of the Spanish garrison from the capital
   --Dissimulation of the Duke of Mayenne--He makes terms with Henry--
   Grief of Queen Elizabeth on receipt of the communications from

During the past quarter of a century there had been tragic scenes enough
in France, but now the only man who could have conducted Philip's schemes
to a tragic if not a successful issue was gone. Friendly death had been
swifter than Philip, and had removed Alexander from the scene before his
master had found fitting opportunity to inflict the disgrace on which he
was resolved. Meantime, Charles Mansfeld made a feeble attempt to lead an
army from the Netherlands into France, to support the sinking fortunes of
the League; but it was not for that general-of-artillery to attempt the
well-graced part of the all-accomplished Farnese with much hope of
success. A considerable force of Spanish infantry, too, had been sent to
Paris, where they had been received with much enthusiasm; a very violent
and determined churchman, Sega, archbishop of Piacenza, and
cardinal-legate, having arrived to check on the part of the holy father
any attempt by the great wavering heretic to get himself readmitted into
the fold of the faithful.

The King of Spain considered it his duty, as well as his unquestionable
right, to interfere in the affairs of France, and to save the cause of
religion, civilization and humanity, in the manner so dear to the
civilization-savers, by reducing that distracted country--utterly unable
to govern itself--under his sceptre. To achieve this noble end no bribery
was too wholesale, no violence too brutal, no intrigue too paltry. It was
his sacred and special mission to save France from herself. If he should
fail, he could at least carve her in pieces, and distribute her among
himself and friends. Frenchmen might assist him in either of these
arrangements, but it was absurd to doubt that on him devolved the work
and the responsibility. Yet among his advisers were some who doubted
whether the purchase of the grandees of France was really the most
judicious course to pursue. There was a general and uneasy feeling that
the grandees were making sport of the Spanish monarch, and that they
would be inclined to remain his stipendiaries for an indefinite period,
without doing their share of the work. A keen Jesuit, who had been much
in France, often whispered to Philip that he was going astray. "Those who
best understand the fit remedy for this unfortunate kingdom, and know the
tastes and temper of the nation," said he, "doubt giving these vast
presents and rewards in order that the nobles of France may affect your
cause and further your schemes. It is the greatest delusion, because they
love nothing but their own interest, and for this reason wish for no king
at all, but prefer that the kingdom should remain topsy-turvy in order
that they may enjoy the Spanish doubloons, as they say themselves almost
publicly, dancing and feasting; that they may take a castle to-day, and
to-morrow a city, and the day, after a province, and so on indefinitely.
What matters it to them that blood flows, and that the miserable people
are destroyed, who alone are good for anything?"

"The immediate cause of the ruin of France," continued the Jesuit, "comes
from two roots which must be torn up; the one is the extreme ignorance
and scandalous life of the ecclesiastics, the other is the tyranny and
the abominable life of the nobility, who with sacrilege and insatiable
avarice have entered upon the property of the Church. This nobility is
divided into three factions. The first, and not the least, is heretic;
the second and the most pernicious is politic or atheist; the third and
last is catholic. All these, although they differ in opinion, are the
same thing in corruption of life and manners, so that there is no choice
among them." He then proceeded to set forth how entirely, the salvation
of France depended on the King of Spain. "Morally speaking," he said, "it
is impossible for any Frenchman to apply the remedy. For this two things
are wanting; intense zeal for the honour of God, and power. I ask now
what Frenchman: has both these, or either of them. No one certainly that
we know. It is the King of Spain who alone in the world has the zeal and
the power. No man who knows the insolence and arrogance of the French
nature will believe that even if a king should be elected out of France
he would be obeyed by the others. The first to oppose him would be
Mayenne; even if a king were chosen from his family, unless everything
should be given him that he asked; which would be impossible."

Thus did the wily Priest instil into the ready ears of Philip additional
reasons for believing himself the incarnate providence of God. When were
priestly flatterers ever wanting to pour this poison into the souls of
tyrants? It is in vain for us to ask why it is permitted that so much
power for evil should be within the grasp of one wretched human creature,
but it is at least always instructive to ponder the career of these
crowned conspirators, and sometimes consoling to find its conclusion
different from the goal intended. So the Jesuit advised the king not to
be throwing away his money upon particular individuals, but with the
funds which they were so unprofitably consuming to form a jolly army
('gallardo egercito') of fifteen thousand foot, and five thousand-horse,
all Spaniards, under a Spanish general--not a Frenchman being admitted
into it--and then to march forward, occupy all the chief towns, putting
Spanish garrisons into them, but sparing the people, who now considered
the war eternal, and who were eaten up by both armies. In a short time
the king might accomplish all he wished, for it was not in the power of
the Bearnese to make considerable resistance for any length of time.

This was the plan of Father Odo for putting Philip on the throne of
France, and at the same time lifting up the downtrodden Church, whose
priests, according to his statement, were so profligate, and whose tenets
were rejected by all but a small minority of the governing classes of the
country. Certainly it did not lack precision, but it remained to be seen
whether the Bearnese was to prove so very insignificant an antagonist as
the sanguine priest supposed.

For the third party--the moderate Catholics--had been making immense
progress in France, while the diplomacy of Philip had thus far steadily
counteracted their efforts at Rome. In vain had the Marquis Pisani, envoy
of the politicians' party, endeavoured to soften the heart of Clement
towards Henry. The pope lived in mortal fear of Spain, and the Duke of
Sessa, Philip's ambassador to the holy see, denouncing all these attempts
on the part of the heretic, and his friends, and urging that it was much
better for Rome that the pernicious kingdom of France should be
dismembered and subdivided, assured his holiness that Rome should be
starved, occupied, annihilated, if such abominable schemes should be for
an instant favoured.

Clement took to his bed with sickness brought on by all this violence,
but had nothing for it but to meet Pisani and other agents of the same
cause with a peremptory denial, and send most, stringent messages to his
legate in Paris, who needed no prompting.

There had already been much issuing of bulls by the pope, and much
burning of bulls by the hangman, according to decrees of the parliament
of Chalons and other friendly tribunals, and burning of Chalons decrees
by Paris hangmen, and edicts in favour of Protestants at Nantz and other
places--measures the enactment, repeal, and reenactment of which were to
mark the ebb and flow of the great tide of human opinion on the most
important of subjects, and the traces of which were to be for a long time
visible on the shores of time.

Early in 1593 Mayenne, yielding to the pressure of the Spanish party,
reluctantly consented to assemble the States-General of France, in order
that a king might be chosen. The duke, who came to be thoroughly known to
Alexander Farnese before the death of that subtle Italian, relied on his
capacity to outwit all the other champions of the League and agents of
Philip now that the master-spirit had been removed. As firmly opposed as
ever to the election of any other candidate but himself, or possibly his
son, according to a secret proposition which he had lately made to the
pope, he felt himself obliged to confront the army of Spanish
diplomatists, Roman prelates, and learned doctors, by whom it was
proposed to exclude the Prince of Bearne from his pretended rights. But
he did not, after all, deceive them as thoroughly as he imagined. The
Spaniards shrewdly suspected the French tactics, and the whole business
was but a round game of deception, in which no one was much deceived, who
ever might be destined ultimately, to pocket the stakes: "I know from a
very good source," said Fuentes, "that Mayenne, Guise, and the rest of
them are struggling hard in order not to submit to Bearne, and will
suffer everything your Majesty may do to them, even if you kick them in
the mouth, but still there is no conclusion on the road we are
travelling, at least not the one which your Majesty desires. They will go
on procrastinating and gaining time, making authority for themselves out
of your Majesty's grandeur, until the condition of things comes which
they are desiring. Feria tells me that they are still taking your
Majesty's money, but I warn your Majesty that it is only to fight off
Bearne, and that they are only pursuing their own ends at your Majesty's

Perhaps Mayenne had already a sufficiently clear insight into the not
far-distant future, but he still presented himself in Spanish cloak and
most ultramontane physiognomy. His pockets were indeed full of Spanish
coin at that moment, for he had just claimed and received eighty-eight
thousand-nine hundred dollars for back debts, together with one hundred
and eighty, thousand dollars more to distribute among the deputies of the
estates. "All I can say about France," said Fuentes, "is that it is one
great thirst for money. The Duke of Feria believes in a good result, but
I think that Mayenne is only trying to pocket as much money as he can."

Thus fortified, the Duke of Mayenne issued the address to the
States-General of the kingdom, to meet at an early day in order to make
arrangements to secure religion and peace, and to throw off the possible
yoke of the heretic pretender. The great seal affixed to the document
represented an empty throne, instead of the usual effigy of a king.

The cardinal-legate issued a thundering manifesto at the same time
sustaining Mayenne and virulently denouncing the Bearnese.

The politicians' party now seized the opportunity to impress upon Henry
that the decisive moment was come.

The Spaniard, the priest; and the League, had heated the furnace. The
iron was at a white heat. Now was the time to strike. Secretary of State
Revol Gaspar de Schomberg, Jacques Auguste de Thou, the eminent
historian, and other influential personages urged the king to give to the
great question the only possible solution.

Said the king with much meekness, "If I am in error, let those who attack
me with so much fury instruct me, and show me the way of salvation. I
hate those who act against their conscience. I pardon all those who are
inspired by truly religious motives, and I am ready to receive all into
favour whom the love of peace, not the chagrin of ill-will, has disgusted
with the war."

There was a great meeting of Leaguers at the Louvre, to listen to
Mayenne, the cardinal-legate, Cardinal Pelleve, the Duke of Guise, and
other chieftains. The Duke of Feria made a long speech in Latin, setting
forth the Spanish policy, veiled as usual, but already sufficiently well
known, and assuring the assembly that the King of Spain desired nothing
so much as the peace of France and of all the world, together with the
supremacy of the Roman Church. Whether these objects could best be
attained by the election of Philip or of his daughter, as sovereign, with
the Archduke Ernest as king-consort, or with perhaps the Duke of Guise or
some other eligible husband, were fair subjects for discussion. No
selfish motive influenced the king, and he placed all his wealth and all
his armies at the disposal of the League to carry out these great

Then there was a conference at Surene between the chiefs the League and
the "political" leaders; the Archbishop of Lyons, the cardinal-legate,
Villars, Admiral of France and defender of Rouen, Belin, Governor of
Paris, President Jeannin, and others upon one side; upon the other, the
Archbishop of Bourges, Bellievre, Schomberg, Revol, and De Thou.

The Archbishop of Lyons said that their party would do nothing either to
frustrate or to support the mission of Pisani, and that the pope would,
as ever, do all that could be done to maintain the interests of the true

The Archbishop of Bourges, knowing well the meaning of such fine phrases,
replied that he had much respect for the holy father, but that popes had
now, become the slaves and tools of the King of Spain, who, because he
was powerful, held them subject to his caprice.

At an adjourned meeting at the same place, the Archbishop of Lyons said
that all questions had been asked and answered. All now depended on the
pope, whom the League would always obey. If the pope would accept the
reconciliation of the Prince of Bearne it was well. He, hoped that his
conversion would be sincere.

The political archbishop (of Bourges) replied to the League's archbishop,
that there was no time for delays, and for journeys by land and sea to
Rome. The least obstruction might prove fatal to both parties. Let the
Leaguers now show that the serenity of their faces was but the mirror of
their minds.

But the Leaguers' archbishop said that he could make no further advances.
So ended the conference.'

The chiefs of the politicians now went to the king and informed him that
the decisive moment had arrived.

Henry had preserved: his coolness throughout. Amid all the hubbub of
learned doctors of law, archbishops-Leaguer and political-Sorbonne
pedants, solemn grandees from Spain with Latin orations in their pockets,
intriguing Guises, huckstering Mayennes, wrathful Huguenots, sanguinary
cardinal-legates, threatening world-monarchs--heralded by Spanish
musketeers, Italian lancers, and German reiters--shrill screams of
warning from the English queen, grim denunciations from Dutch Calvinists,
scornful repulses from the holy father; he kept his temper and his
eye-sight, as perfectly as he had ever done through the smoke and din of
the wildest battle-field. None knew better than he how to detect the
weakness of the adversary, and to sound the charge upon his wavering

He blew the blast--sure that loyal Catholics and Protestants alike would
now follow him pell-mell.

On the 16th, May, 1593, he gave notice that he consented to get himself
instructed, and that he summoned an assembly at Mantes on the 15th July,
of bishops, theologians, princes, lords, and courts of parliament to hold
council, and to advise him what was best to do for religion and the

Meantime he returned to the siege of Dreux, made an assault on the place,
was repulsed, and then hung nine prisoners of war in full sight of the
garrison as a punishment for their temerity in resisting him. The place
soon after capitulated (8th July, 1593).

The interval between the summons and the assembling of the clerical and
lay notables at Mantes was employed by the Leaguers in frantic and
contradictory efforts to retrieve a game which the most sagacious knew to
be lost. But the politicians were equal to the occasion, and baffled them
at every point.

The Leaguers' archbishop inveighed bitterly against the abominable edicts
recently issued in favour of the Protestants.

The political archbishop (of Bourges) replied not by defending; but by
warmly disapproving, those decrees of toleration, by excusing the king
for having granted them for a temporary purpose, and by asserting
positively that, so soon as the king should be converted, he would no
longer countenance such measures.

It is superfluous to observe that very different language was held on the
part of Henry to the English and Dutch Protestants, and to the Huguenots
of his own kingdom.

And there were many meetings of the Leaguers in Paris, many belligerent
speeches by the cardinal legate, proclaiming war to the knife rather than
that the name of Henry the heretic should ever be heard of again as
candidate for the throne, various propositions spasmodically made in full
assembly by Feria, Ybarra, Tassis, the jurisconsult Mendoza, and other
Spanish agents in favour of the Infanta as queen of France, with Archduke
Ernest or the Duke of Guise, or any other eligible prince, for her

The League issued a formal and furious invective in answer to Henry's
announcement; proving by copious citations from Jeremiah, St. Epiphany;
St. Jerome, St. Cyprian, and St. Bernard, that it was easier for a
leopard to change his spots or for a blackamoor to be washed white; than
for a heretic to be converted, and that the king was thinking rather of
the crown of France than of a heavenly crown, in his approaching
conversion--an opinion which there were few to gainsay.

And the Duke of Nemours wrote to his half-brother, the Duke of Mayenne;
offering to use all his influence to bring about Mayenne's election as
king on condition that if these efforts failed, Mayenne should do his
best to procure the election of Nemours.

And the Parliament of Paris formally and prospectively proclaimed any
election of a foreigner null and void, and sent deputies to Mayenne
urging him never to consent to the election of the Infanta.

What help, said they, can the League expect from the old and broken
Philip; from a king who in thirty years has not been able, with all the
resources of his kingdoms, to subdue the revolted provinces of the
Netherlands? How can he hope to conquer France? Pay no further heed to
the legate, they said, who is laughing in his sleeve at the miseries and
distractions of our country. So spake the deputies of the
League-Parliament to the great captain of the League, the Duke of
Mayenne. It was obvious that the "great and holy confederacy" was
becoming less confident of its invincibility. Madame League was suddenly
grown decrepit in the eyes of her adorers.

Mayenne was angry at the action of the Parliament, and vehemently swore
that he would annul their decree. Parliament met his threats with
dignity, and resolved to stand by the decree, even if they all died in
their places.

At the same time the Duke of Feria suddenly produced in full assembly of
Leaguers a written order from Philip that the Duke of Guise and the
Infanta should at once be elected king and queen. Taken by surprise,
Mayenne dissembled his rage in masterly-fashion, promised Feria to
support the election, and at once began to higgle for conditions. He
stipulated that he should have for himself the governments of Champagne,
Burgundy, and La Brie, and that they should be hereditary in his family:
He furthermore demanded that Guise should cede to him the principality of
Joinville, and that they should pay him on the spot in hard money two
hundred thousand crowns in gold, six hundred thousand more in different
payments, together with an annual payment of fifty thousand crowns.

It was obvious that the duke did not undervalue himself; but he had after
all no intention of falling into the trap set for him. "He has made these
promises (as above given) in writing," said the Duke of Savoy's envoy to
his master, "but he will never keep them. The Duchess of Mayenne could not
help telling me that her husband will never consent that the Duke of
Guise should have the throne." From this resolve he had never wavered,
and was not likely to do so now. Accordingly the man "of his word, of
faith, and truth," whom even the astute Farnese had at times half
believed in, and who had received millions of Philip's money, now thought
it time to break with Philip. He issued a manifesto, in which he observed
that the States-General of France had desired that Philip should be
elected King of France, and carry out his design of a universal monarchy,
as the only-means of ensuring the safety of the Catholic religion and the
pacification of the world. It was feared, however, said Mayenne; that the
king might come to the same misfortunes which befell his father, who,
when it was supposed that he was inspired only by private ambition; and
by the hope of placing a hereditary universal crown in his family, had
excited the animosity of the princes of the empire. "If a mere suspicion
had caused so great a misfortune in the empire," continued the man of his
word, "what will the princes of all Europe do when they find his Majesty
elected king of France, and grown by increase of power so formidable to
the world? Can it be doubted that they will fly to arms at once, and give
all their support to the King of Navarre, heretic though he be? What
motive had so many princes to traverse Philip's designs in the
Netherlands, but desire to destroy the enormous power which they feared?
Therefore had the Queen, of England, although refusing the sovereignty,
defended the independence of the Netherlands these fifteen years.

"However desirable," continued Mayenne, "that this universal monarchy,
for which the house of Austria has so long been working, should be
established, yet the king is too prudent not to see the difficulties in
his way. Although he has conquered Portugal, he is prevented by the
fleets of Holland and England from taking possession of the richest of
the Portuguese possessions, the islands and the Indies. He will find in
France insuperable objections to his election as king, for he could in
this case well reproach the Leaguers with having been changed from
Frenchmen into Spaniards. He must see that his case is hopeless in
France, he who for thirty years has been in vain endeavouring to
re-establish his authority in the Netherlands. It would be impossible in
the present position of affairs to become either the king or the
protector of France. The dignity of France allows it not."

Mayenne then insisted on the necessity of a truce with the royalists or
politicians, and, assembling the estates at the Louvre on the 4th July,
he read a written paper declining for the moment to hold an election for

John Baptist Tassis, next day, replied by declaring that in this case
Philip would send no more succours of men or money; for that the only
effectual counter-poison to the pretended conversion of the Prince of
Bearne was the immediate election of a king.

Thus did Mayenne escape from the snare in which the Spaniards thought to
catch the man who, as they now knew, was changing every day, and was true
to nothing save his own interests.

And now the great day had come. The conversion of Henry to the Roman
faith, fixed long before for--the 23rd July,--1593, formally took place
at the time appointed.

From six in the morning till the stroke of noon did Henry listen to the
exhortations and expoundings of the learned prelates and doctors whom he
had convoked, the politic Archbishop of Bourges taking the lead in this
long-expected instruction. After six mortal hours had come to an end, the
king rose from his knees, somewhat wearied, but entirely instructed and
convinced. He thanked the bishops for having taught him that of which he
was before quite ignorant, and assured them that; after having invoked
the light, of the Holy Ghost upon his musings, he should think seriously
over what they had just taught him, in order to come to a resolution
salutary to himself and to the State.

Nothing could be more candid. Next day, at eight in the morning, there
was a great show in the cathedral of Saint Denis, and the population of
Paris, notwithstanding the prohibition of the League authorities, rushed
thither in immense crowds to witness the ceremony of the reconciliation
of the king. Henry went to the church, clothed as became a freshly
purified heretic, in white satin doublet and hose, white silk stockings,
and white silk shoes with white roses in them; but with a black hat and a
black mantle. There was a great procession with blare of trumpet and beat
of drum. The streets were strewn with flowers.

As Henry entered the great portal of the church, he found the Archbishop
of Bourges, seated in state, effulgent in mitre and chasuble, and
surrounded by other magnificent prelates in gorgeous attire.

"Who are you, and what do you want?" said the arch-bishop.

"I am the king," meekly replied Henry, "and I demand to be received into
the bosom of the Roman Catholic Church."

"Do you wish it sincerely?" asked the prelate.

"I wish it with all my heart," said the king.

Then throwing himself on his knees, the Bearne--great champion of the
Huguenots--protested before God that he would live and die in the
Catholic faith, and that he renounced all heresy. A passage was with
difficulty opened through the crowd, and he was then led to the high
altar, amid the acclamations of the people. Here he knelt devoutly and
repeated his protestations. His unction and contrition were most
impressive, and the people, of course, wept piteously. The king, during
the progress of the ceremony, with hands clasped together and adoring the
Eucharist with his eyes, or, as the Host was elevated, smiting himself
thrice upon the breast, was a model of passionate devotion.

Afterwards he retired to a pavilion behind the altar, where the
archbishop confessed and absolved him. Then the Te Deum sounded, and high
mass was celebrated by the Bishop of Nantes. Then, amid acclamations and
blessings, and with largess to the crowd, the king returned to the
monastery of Saint Denis, where he dined amid a multitude of spectators,
who thronged so thickly around him that his dinner-table was nearly
overset. These were the very Parisians, who, but three years before, had
been feeding on rats and dogs and dead men's bones, and the bodies of
their own children, rather than open their gates to this same Prince of

Now, although Mayenne had set strong guards at those gates, and had most
strictly prohibited all egress, the city was emptied of its populace,
which pressed in transports of adoration around the man so lately the
object of their hate. Yet few could seriously believe that much change
had been effected in the inner soul of him, whom the legate, and the
Spaniard, and the holy father at Rome still continued to denounce as the
vilest of heretics and the most infamous of impostors.

The comedy was admirably played out and was entirely successful. It may
be supposed that the chief actor was, however, somewhat wearied. In
private, he mocked at all this ecclesiastical mummery, and described
himself as heartily sick of the business. "I arrived here last evening,"
he wrote to the beautiful Gabrielle, "and was importuned with 'God save
you' till bed-time. In regard to the Leaguers I am of the order of St.
Thomas. I am beginning to-morrow morning to talk to the bishops, besides
those I told you about yesterday. At this moment of writing I have a
hundred of these importunates on my shoulders, who will make me hate
Saint Denis as much as you hate Mantes. 'Tis to-morrow that I take the
perilous leap. I kiss a million times the beautiful hands of my angel and
the mouth of my dear mistress."

A truce--renewed at intervals--with the Leaguers lasted till the end of
the year. The Duke of Nevers was sent on special mission to Rome to
procure the holy father's consent to the great heretic's reconciliation
to the Church, and he was instructed to make the king's submission in
terms so wholesale and so abject that even some of the life-long papists
of France were disgusted, while every honest Protestant in Europe shrank
into himself for shame. But Clement, overawed by Philip and his
ambassador, was deaf to all the representations of the French envoy. He
protested that he would not believe in the sincerity of the Bearne's
conversion unless an angel from Heaven should reveal it to him. So Nevers
left Rome, highly exasperated, and professing that he would rather have
lost a leg, that he would rather have been sewn in a sack and tossed into
the Tiber, than bear back such a message. The pope ordered the prelates
who had accompanied Nevers to remain in Rome and be tried by the
Inquisition for misprision of heresy, but the duke placed them by his
side and marched out of the Porta del Popolo with them, threatening to
kill any man who should attempt to enforce the command.

Meantime it became necessary to follow up the St. Denis comedy with a
still more exhilarating popular spectacle. The heretic had been purified,
confessed, absolved. It was time for a consecration. But there was a
difficulty. Although the fever of loyalty to the ancient house of
Bourbon, now redeemed from its worship of the false gods, was spreading
contagiously through the provinces; although all the white silk in Lyons
had been cut into scarves and banners to celebrate the reconciliation of
the candid king with mother Church; although that ancient city was ablaze
with bonfires and illuminations, while its streets ran red, with blood no
longer, but with wine; and although Madam League, so lately the object of
fondest adoration, was now publicly burned in the effigy of a grizzly
hag; yet Paris still held for that decrepit beldame, and closed its gates
to the Bearnese.

The city of Rheims, too, had not acknowledged the former Huguenot, and it
was at Rheims, in the church of St. Remy, that the Holy Bottle was
preserved. With what chrism, by what prelate, should the consecration of
Henry be performed? Five years before, the League had proposed in the
estates of Blois to place among the fundamental laws of the kingdom that
no king should be considered a legitimate sovereign whose head had not
been anointed by the bishop at Rheims with oil from that holy bottle. But
it was now decided that to ascribe a monopoly of sanctity to that prelate
and to that bottle would be to make a schism in the Church.

Moreover it was discovered that there was a chrism in existence still
more efficacious than the famous oil of St. Remy. One hundred and twelve
years before the baptism of Clovis, St. Martin had accidentally tumbled
down stairs, and lay desperately bruised and at the point of death. But,
according to Sulpicius Severus, an angel had straightway descended from
heaven, and with a miraculous balsam had anointed the contusions of the
saint, who next day felt no farther inconveniences from his fall. The
balsam had ever since been preserved in the church of Marmoutier near
Tours. Here, then, was the most potent of unguents brought directly from
heaven. To mix a portion thereof with the chrism of consecration was
clearly more judicious than to make use of the holy bottle, especially as
the holy bottle was not within reach. The monks of Marmoutier consented
to lend the sacred phial containing the famous oil of St. Martin for the
grand occasion of the royal consecration.

Accompanied by a strong military escort provided by Giles de Souvri,
governor of Touraine, a deputation of friars brought the phial to
Chartres, where the consecration was to take place. Prayers were offered
up, without ceasing, in the monastery during their absence that no mishap
should befal the sacred treasure. When the monks arrived at Chartres,
four young barons of the first nobility were assigned to them as hostages
for the safe restoration of the phial, which was then borne in triumph to
the cathedral, the streets through which it was carried being covered
with tapestry. There was a great ceremony, a splendid consecration; six
bishops, with mitres on their heads and in gala robes, officiating; after
which the king knelt before the altar and took the customary oath.

Thus the champion of the fierce Huguenots, the well-beloved of the dead
La Noue and the living Duplessis Mornay, the devoted knight of the
heretic Queen Elizabeth, the sworn ally of the stout Dutch Calvinists,
was pompously reconciled to that Rome which was the object of their
hatred and their fear.

The admirably arranged spectacles of the instruction at St. Denis and the
consecration at Chartres were followed on the day of the vernal equinox
by a third and most conclusive ceremony:

A secret arrangement had been made with De Cosse-Brissac, governor of
Paris, by the king, according to which the gates of Paris were at last to
be opened to him. The governor obtained a high price for his
services--three hundred thousand livres in hard cash, thirty thousand a
year for his life, and the truncheon of marshal of France.  Thus
purchased, Brissac made his preparations with remarkable secrecy and
skill. Envoy Ybarra, who had scented something suspicious in the air, had
gone straight to the governor for information, but the keen Spaniard was
thrown out by the governor's ingenuous protestations of ignorance. The
next morning, March 22nd, was stormy and rainy, and long before daylight
Ybarra, still uneasy despite the statements of Brissac, was wandering
about the streets of Paris when he became the involuntary witness of an
extraordinary spectacle.

Through the wind and the rain came trampling along the dark streets of
the capital a body of four thousand troopers and lansquenettes. Many
torch-bearers attended on the procession, whose flambeaux threw a lurid
light upon the scene.

There, surrounded by the swart and grizzly bearded visages of these
strange men-at-arms, who were discharging their arquebuses, as they
advanced upon any bystanders likely to oppose their progress; in the very
midst of this sea of helmed heads, the envoy was enabled to recognise the
martial figure of the Prince of Bearne. Armed to the teeth, with sword in
hand and dagger at side, the hero of Ivry rode at last through the
barriers which had so long kept him from his capital. "'Twas like
enchantment," said Ybarra. The first Bourbon entered the city through the
same gate out of which the last Valois had, five years before, so
ignominiously fled. It was a midnight surprise, although not fully
accomplished until near the dawn of day. It was not a triumphal entrance;
nor did Henry come as the victorious standard-bearer of a great
principle. He had defeated the League in many battle-fields, but the
League still hissed defiance at him from the very hearthstone of his
ancestral palace. He had now crept, in order to conquer, even lower than
the League itself; and casting off his Huguenot skin at last, he had
soared over the heads of all men, the presiding genius of the holy
Catholic Church.

Twenty-one years before, he had entered the same city on the conclusion
of one of the truces which had varied the long monotony of the religious
wars of France. The youthful son of Antony Bourbon and Joan of Albret had
then appeared as the champion and the idol of the Huguenots. In the same
year had come the fatal nuptials with the bride of St. Bartholomew, the
first Catholic conversion of Henry and the massacre at which the world
still shudders.

Now he was chief of the "Politicians," and sworn supporter of the Council
of Trent. Earnest Huguenots were hanging their heads in despair.

He represented the principle of national unity against national
dismemberment by domestic treason and foreign violence. Had that
principle been his real inspiration, as it was in truth his sole support,
history might judge him more leniently. Had he relied upon it entirely it
might have been strong enough to restore him to the throne of his
ancestors, without the famous religious apostacy with which his name is
for ever associated. It is by no means certain that permanent religious
toleration might not have been the result of his mounting the throne,
only when he could do so without renouncing the faith of his fathers. A
day of civilization may come perhaps, sooner or later, when it will be of
no earthly cousequence to their fellow creatures to what creed, what
Christian church, what religious dogma kings or humbler individuals may
be partial; when the relations between man and his Maker shall be
undefiled by political or social intrusion. But the day will never come
when it will be otherwise than damaging to public morality and
humiliating to human dignity to forswear principle for a price, and to
make the most awful of mysteries the subject of political legerdemain and
theatrical buffoonery.

The so-called conversion of the king marks an epoch in human history. It
strengthened the Roman Church and gave it an indefinite renewal of life;
but it sapped the foundations of religious faith. The appearance of Henry
the Huguenot as the champion of the Council of Trent was of itself too
biting an epigram not to be extensively destructive. Whether for good or
ill, religion was fast ceasing to be the mainspring of political
combinations, the motive of great wars and national convulsions. The age
of religion was to be succeeded by the age of commerce.

But the king was now on his throne. All Paris was in rapture. There was
Te Deum with high mass in Notre Dame, and the populace was howling itself
hoarse with rapture in honour of him so lately the object of the general
curse. Even the Sorbonne declared in favour of the reclaimed heretic, and
the decision of those sages had vast influence with less enlightened
mortals. There was nothing left for the Duke of Feria but to take himself
off and make Latin orations in favour of the Infanta elsewhere, if fit
audience elsewhere could be found. A week after the entrance of Henry,
the Spanish garrison accordingly was allowed to leave Paris with the
honours of war.

"We marched out at 2 P.M.," wrote the duke to his master, "with closed
ranks, colours displayed, and drums beating. First came the Italians and
then the Spaniards, in the midst of whom was myself on horseback, with
the Walloons marching near me. The Prince of Bearne"--it was a solace to
the duke's heart, of which he never could be deprived, to call the king
by that title--"was at a window over the gate of St. Denis through which
we took our departure. He was dressed in light grey, with a black hat
surmounted by a great white feather. Our displayed standards rendered him
no courteous salute as we passed."

Here was another solace!

Thus had the game been lost and won, but Philip as usual did not
acknowledge himself beaten. Mayenne, too, continued to make the most
fervent promises to all that was left of the confederates. He betook
himself to Brussels, and by the king's orders was courteously received by
the Spanish authorities in the Netherlands. In the midst of the tempest
now rapidly destroying all rational hopes, Philip still clung to Mayenne
as to a spar in the shipwreck. For the king ever possessed the virtue, if
it be one, of continuing to believe himself invincible and infallible,
when he had been defeated in every quarter, and when his calculations had
all proved ridiculous mistakes.

When his famous Armada had been shattered and sunk, have we not seen him
peevishly requiring Alexander Farnese to construct a new one immediately
and to proceed therewith to conquer England out of hand? Was it to be
expected that he would renounce his conquest of France, although the
legitimate king had entered his capital, had reconciled himself to the
Church, and was on the point of obtaining forgiveness of the pope? If the
Prince of Bearne had already destroyed the Holy League, why should not
the Duke of Mayenne and Archduke Ernest make another for him, and so
conquer France without further delay?

But although it was still possible to deceive the king, who in the
universality of his deceptive powers was so prone to delude himself, it
was difficult even for so accomplished an intriguer as Mayenne to
hoodwink much longer the shrewd Spaniards who were playing so losing a
game against him.

"Our affairs in France," said Ybarra, "are in such condition that we are
losing money and character there, and are likely to lose all the
provinces here, if things are not soon taken up in a large and energetic
manner. Money and troops are what is wanted on a great scale for France.
The king's agents are mightily discontented with Mayenne, and with
reason; but they are obliged to dissimulate and to hold their tongues. We
can send them no assistance from these regions, unless from down yonder
you send us the cloth and the scissors to cut it with."

And the Archduke Ernest, although he invited Mayenne to confer with him
at Brussels, under the impression that he could still keep him and the
Duke of Guise from coming to an arrangement with Bearne, hardly felt more
confidence in the man than did Feria or Ybarra. "Since the loss of
Paris," said Ernest, "I have had a letter from Mayenne, in which, deeply
affected by that event, he makes me great offers, even to the last drop
of his blood, vowing never to abandon the cause of the League. But of the
intentions and inner mind of this man I find such vague information, that
I don't dare to expect more stability from him than may be founded upon
his own interest."

And so Mayenne came to Brussels and passed three days with the archduke.
"He avows himself ready to die in our cause," said Ernest. "If your
Majesty will give men and money enough, he will undertake so to deal with
Bearne that he shall not think himself safe in his own house." The
archduke expressed his dissatisfaction to Mayenne that with the money he
had already received, so little had been accomplished, but he still
affected a confidence which he was far from feeling, "because," said he,
"it is known that Mayenne is already treating with Bearne. If he has not
concluded those arrangements, it is because Bearne now offers him less
money than before." The amount of dissimulation, politely so-called,
practised by the grandees of that age, to say nothing of their infinite
capacity for pecuniary absorption, makes the brain reel and enlarges
one's ideas of the human faculties as exerted in certain directions. It
is doubtful whether plain Hans Miller or Hans Baker could have risen to
such level.

Feria wrote a despatch to the king, denouncing Mayenne as false,
pernicious to the cause of Spain and of catholicism, thoroughly
self-seeking and vile, and as now most traitorous to the cause of the
confederacy, engaged in surrendering its strong places to the enemy, and
preparing to go over to the Prince of Bearne.

"If," said he, "I were to recount all his base tricks, I should go on
till midnight, and perhaps till to-morrow morning."

This letter, being intercepted, was sent with great glee by Henry IV.,
not to the royal hands for which it was destined, but to the Duke of
Mayenne. Great was the wrath of that injured personage as he read such
libellous truths. He forthwith fulminated a scathing reply, addressed to
Philip II., in which he denounced the Duke of Feria as "a dirty
ignoramus, an impudent coward, an impostor, and a blind thief;" adding,
after many other unsavoury epithets, "but I will do him an honour which
he has not merited, proving him a liar with my sword; and I humbly pray
your Majesty to grant me this favour and to pardon my just grief, which
causes me to depart from the respect due to your Majesty, when I speak of
this impostor who has thus wickedly torn my reputation."

His invectives were, however, much stronger than his arguments in defence
of that tattered reputation. The defiance to mortal combat went for
nothing; and, in the course of the next year, the injured Mayenne turned
his back on Philip and his Spaniards, and concluded his bargain with the
Prince of Bearne. He obtained good terms: the government of Burgundy,
payment of his debts, and a hundred and twenty thousand crowns in hard
cash. It is not on record that the man of his word, of credit, and of
truth, ever restored a penny of the vast sums which he had received from
Philip to carry on the business of the League.

Subsequently the duke came one very hot summer's-day to Monceaux to thank
the king, as he expressed it, for "delivering him from Spanish arrogance
and Italian wiles;" and having got with much difficulty upon his knees,
was allowed to kiss the royal hand. Henry then insisted upon walking
about with him through the park at a prodigious rate, to show him all the
improvements, while the duke panted, groaned, and perspired in his vain
efforts to keep pace with his new sovereign.

"If I keep this fat fellow walking about in the sun much longer,"
whispered the king to De Bethune, who was third in the party, "I shall be
sufficiently avenged for all the mischief he has done us."

At last, when the duke was forced to admit himself to be on the point of
expiring with fatigue, he was dismissed to the palace with orders to
solace himself with a couple of bottles of excellent wine of Arbois,
expressly provided for him by the king's direction. And this was all the
punishment ever inflicted by the good-humoured monarch on the corpulent

The Duke of Guise made his arrangements with the ex-Huguenot on even
better terms and at a still earlier day; while Joyeuse and Mercoeur stood
out a good while and higgled hard for conditions. "These people put such
a high price on themselves," said one of Henry's diplomatists, "that one
loses almost more than one gains in buying them. They strip and plunder
us even in our nakedness, and we are obliged, in order to conciliate such
harpies, to employ all that we can scrape out of our substance and our
blood. I think, however, that we ought to gain them by whatever means and
at whatever price."

Thus Henry IV., the man whom so many contemporary sages had for years
been rebuking or ridiculing for his persistency in a hopeless attempt to
save his country from dismemberment, to restore legitimate authority, and
to resist the "holy confederacy" of domestic traitors, aided by foreign
despots and sympathizers, was at last successful, and the fratricidal war
in France was approaching its only possible conclusion.

But, alas! the hopes of those who loved the reformed Church as well as
they loved their country were sadly blasted by the apostasy of their
leader. From the most eminent leaders of the Huguenots there came a wail,
which must have penetrated even to the well-steeled heart of the cheerful
Gascon. "It will be difficult," they said, "to efface very soon from your
memory the names of the men whom the sentiment of a common religion,
association in the same perils and persecutions, a common joy in the same
deliverance, and the long experience of so many faithful services, have
engraved there with a pencil of diamond. The remembrance of these things
pursues you and accompanies you everywhere; it interrupts your most
important affairs, your most ardent pleasures, your most profound
slumber, to represent to you, as in a picture, yourself to yourself:
yourself not as you are to-day, but such as you were when, pursued to the
death by the greatest princes of Europe, you went on conducting to the
harbour of safety the little vessel against which so many tempests were

The States of the Dutch republic, where the affair of Henry's conversion
was as much a matter of domestic personal interest as it could be in
France--for religion up to that epoch was the true frontier between
nation and nation--debated the question most earnestly while it was yet
doubtful. It was proposed to send a formal deputation to the king, in
order to divert him, if possible, from the fatal step which he was about
to take. After ripe deliberation however, it was decided to leave the
matter "in the hands of God Almighty, and to pray Him earnestly to guide
the issue to His glory and the welfare of the Churches."

The Queen of England was, as might be supposed, beside herself with
indignation, and, in consequence of the great apostasy, and of her
chronic dissatisfaction with the manner in which her contingent of troops
had been handled in France, she determined to withdraw every English
soldier from the support of Henry's cause. The unfortunate French
ambassador in London was at his wits' ends. He vowed that he could not
sleep of nights, and that the gout and the cholic, to which he was always
a martyr, were nothing to the anguish which had now come upon his soul
and brain, such as he had never suffered since the bloody day of St.

"Ah, my God!" said he to Burghley, "is it possible that her just choler
has so suddenly passed over the great glory which she has acquired by so
many benefits and liberalities?" But he persuaded himself that her
majesty would after all not persist in her fell resolution. To do so, he
vowed, would only be boiling milk for the French papists, who would be
sure to make the most of the occasion in order to precipitate the king
into the abyss, to the border of which they had already brought him. He
so dreaded the ire of the queen that he protested he was trembling all
over merely to see the pen of his secretary wagging as he dictated his
despatches. Nevertheless it was his terrible duty to face her in her
wrath, and he implored the lord treasurer to accompany him and to shield
him at the approaching interview. "Protect me," he cried, "by your wisdom
from the ire of this great princess; for by the living God, when I see
her enraged against any person whatever I wish myself in Calcutta,
fearing her anger like death itself."

When all was over, Henry sent De Morlans as special envoy to communicate
the issue to the Governments of England and of Holland. But the queen,
although no longer so violent, was less phlegmatic than the
States-General, and refused to be comforted. She subsequently receded,
however, from her determination to withdraw her troops from France.

"Ah! what grief; ah! what regrets; ah! what groans, have I felt in my
soul," she wrote, "at the sound of the news brought to me by Morlans! My
God! Is it possible that any wordly respect can efface the terror of
Divine wrath? Can we by reason even expect a good sequel to such
iniquitous acts? He who has maintained and preserved you by His mercy,
can you imagine that he permits you to walk alone in your utmost need?
'Tis bad to do evil that good may come of it. Meantime I shall not cease
to put you in the first rank of my devotions, in order that the hands of
Esau may not spoil the blessings of Jacob. As to your promises to me of
friendship and fidelity, I confess to have dearly deserved them, nor do I
repent, provided you do not change your Father--otherwise I shall be your
bastard sister by the father's side--for I shall ever love a natural
better than an adopted one. I desire that God may guide you in a straight
road and a better path. Your most sincere sister in the old fashion. As
to the new, I have nothing to do with it.  ELIZABETH R."


     All fellow-worms together
     Continuing to believe himself invincible and infallible
     He spent more time at table than the Bearnese in sleep
     Henry the Huguenot as the champion of the Council of Trent
     Highest were not necessarily the least slimy
     His invectives were, however, much stronger than his arguments
     History is a continuous whole of which we see only fragments
     Infinite capacity for pecuniary absorption
     Leading motive with all was supposed to be religion
     Past was once the Present, and once the Future
     Sages of every generation, read the future like a printed scroll
     Sewers which have ever run beneath decorous Christendom
     Wrath of that injured personage as he read such libellous truths


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 66, 1594


   Prince Maurice lays siege to Gertruydenberg--Advantages of the new
   system of warfare--Progress of the besieging operations--Superiority
   of Maurice's manoeuvres--Adventure of Count Philip of Nassau--
   Capitulation of Gertruydenberg--Mutiny among the Spanish troops--
   Attempt of Verdugo to retake Coeworden--Suspicions of treason in the
   English garrison at Ostend--Letter of Queen Elizabeth to Sir Edward
   Norris on the subject--Second attempt on Coeworden--Assault on
   Groningen by Maurice--Second adventure of Philip of Nassau--Narrow
   escape of Prince Maurice--Surrender of Groningen--Particulars of the
   siege--Question of religious toleration--Progress of the United
   Netherlands--Condition of the "obedient" Netherlands--Incompetency
   of Peter Mansfeld as Governor--Archduke Ernest, the successor of
   Farnese--Difficulties of his position--His unpopularity--Great
   achievements of the republicans--Triumphal entry of Ernest into
   Brussels and Antwerp--Magnificence of the spectacle--Disaffection of
   the Spanish troops--Great military rebellion--Philip's proposal to
   destroy the English fleet--His assassination plans--Plot to poison
   Queen Elizabeth--Conspiracies against Prince Maurice--Futile
   attempts at negotiation--Proposal of a marriage between Henry and
   the Infanta--Secret mission from Henry to the King of Spain--Special
   dispatch to England and the Staten--Henry obtains further aid from
   Queen Elizabeth and the States--Council--Anxiety of the Protestant
   countries to bring about a war with Spain--Aspect of affairs at the
   close of the year 1594.

While Philip's world-empire seemed in one direction to be so rapidly
fading into cloudland there were substantial possessions of the Spanish
crown which had been neglected in Brabant and Friesland.

Two very important cities still held for the King of Spain within the
territories of what could now be fairly considered the United Dutch
Republic--St. Gertruydenberg and Groningen.

Early in the spring of 1593, Maurice had completed his preparations for a
siege, and on the 24th March appeared before Gertruydenberg.

It was a stately, ancient city, important for its wealth, its strength,
and especially for its position. For without its possession even the
province of Holland could hardly consider itself mistress of its own
little domains. It was seated on the ancient Meuse, swollen as it
approached the sea almost to the dimension of a gulf, while from the
south another stream, called the Donge, very brief in its course, but
with considerable depth of water, came to mingle itself with the Meuse,
exactly under the walls of the city.

The site of the place was so low that it was almost hidden and protected
by its surrounding dykes. These afforded means of fortification, which
had been well improved. Both by nature and art the city was one of the
strongholds of the Netherlands.

Maurice had given the world a lesson in the beleaguering science at the
siege of Steenwyk, such as had never before been dreamt of; but he was
resolved that the operations before Gertruydenberg should constitute a

Nothing could be more beautiful as a production of military art, nothing,
to the general reader, more insipid than its details.

On the land side, Hohenlo's headquarters were at Ramsdonck, a village
about a German mile to the east of Gertruydenberg. Maurice himself was
established on the west side of the city. Two bridges constructed across
the Donge facilitated the communications between the two camps, while
great quantities of planks and brush were laid down across the swampy
roads to make them passable for waggon-trains and artillery. The first
care of the young general, whose force was not more than twenty thousand
men, was to protect himself rather than to assail the town.

His lines extended many miles in a circuit around the place, and his
forts, breastworks, and trenches were very numerous.

The river was made use of as a natural and almost impassable ditch of
defence, and windmills were freely employed to pump water into the
shallows in one direction, while in others the outer fields, in quarters
whence a relieving force might be expected, were turned into lakes by the
same machinery. Farther outside, a system of palisade work of caltrops
and man-traps--sometimes in the slang of the day called Turkish
ambassadors--made the country for miles around impenetrable or very
disagreeable to cavally. In a shorter interval than would have seemed
possible, the battlements and fortifications of the besieging army had
risen like an exhalation out of the morass. The city of Gertruydenberg
was encompassed by another city as extensive and apparently as
impregnable as itself. Then, for the first time in that age, men
thoroughly learned the meaning of that potent implement the spade.

Three thousand pioneers worked night and day with pickaxe and shovel. The
soldiers liked the business; for every man so employed received his ten
stivers a day additional wages, punctually paid, and felt moreover that
every stioke was bringing the work nearer to its conclusion.

The Spaniards no longer railed at Maurice as a hedger and ditcher. When
he had succeeded in bringing a hundred great guns to bear upon the
beleaguered city they likewise ceased to sneer at heavy artillery.

The Kartowen and half Kartowen were no longer considered "espanta

Meantime, from all the country round, the peasants flocked within the
lines. Nowhere in Europe were provisions so plentiful and cheap as in the
Dutch camp. Nowhere was a readier market for agricultural products,
prompter payment, or more perfect security for the life and property of
non-combatants. Not so much as a hen's egg was taken unlawfully. The
country people found themselves more at ease within Maurice's lines than
within any other part of the provinces, obedient or revolted. They
ploughed and sowed and reaped at their pleasure, and no more striking
example was ever afforded of the humanizing effect of science upon the
barbarism of war, than in this siege of Gertruydenberg.

Certainly it was the intention of the prince to take his city, and when
he fought the enemy it was his object to kill; but, as compared with the
bloody work which Alva, and Romero, and Requesens, and so many others had
done in those doomed provinces, such war-making as this seemed almost
like an institution for beneficent and charitable purposes.

Visitors from the neighbourhood, from other provinces, from foreign
countries, came to witness the extraordinary spectacle, and foreign
generals repaired to the camp of Maurice to take practical lessons in the
new art of war.

Old Peter Ernest Mansfeld, who was nominal governor of the Spanish
Netherlands since the death of Farnese, rubbed his eyes and stared aghast
when the completeness of the preparations for reducing the city at last
broke in upon his mind. Count Fuentes was the true and confidential
regent however until the destined successor to Parma should arrive; but
Fuentes, although he had considerable genius for assassination, as will
hereafter appear, and was an experienced and able commander of the
old-fashioned school, was no match for Maurice in the scientific
combinations on which the new system was founded.

In vain did the superannuated Peter call aloud upon his sofa and
governor, Count Charles, to assist him in this dire dilemma. That
artillery general had gone with a handful of Germans, Walloons; and other
obedient Netherlanders--too few to accomplish anything abroad, too many
to be spared from the provinces--to besiege Noyon in France. But what
signified the winning or losing of such a place as Noyon at exactly the
moment when the Prince of Bearne, assisted by the able generalship of the
Archbishop of Bourges, had just executed those famous flanking movements
in the churches of St. Denis and Chartres, by which the world-empire had
been effectually shattered, and Philip and the Pope completely

Better that the five thousand fighters under Charles Mansfeld had been
around Gertruydenberg. His aged father did what he could. As many men as
could be spared from the garrison of Antwerp and its neighbourhood were
collected; but the Spaniards were reluctant to march, except under old
Mondragon. That hero, who had done much of the hardest work, and had
fought in most of the battles of the century, was nearly as old as the
century. Being now turned of ninety, he thought best to keep house in
Antwerp Castle: Accordingly twelve thousand foot and three thousand horse
took the field under the more youthful Peter Ernest? But Peter Ernest,
when his son was not there to superintend his operations, was nothing but
a testy octogenarian, while the two together were not equal to the little
finger of Farnese, whom Philip would have displaced, had he not
fortunately died.

"Nothing is to be expected out of this place but toads and poison," wrote
Ybarra in infinite disgust to the two secretaries of state at Madrid. "I
have done my best to induce Fuentes to accept that which the patent
secured him, and Count Peter is complaining that Fuentes showed him the
patent so late only to play him a trick. There is a rascally pack of
meddlers here, and the worst of them all are the women, whom I
particularly give to the devil. There is no end to the squabbles as to
who shall take the lead in relieving Gertruydenberg."

Mansfeld at last came ponderously up in the neighbourhood of Turnhout.
There was a brilliant little skirmish, in the neighbourhood of this
place, in which a hundred and fifty Dutch cavalry under the famous
brothers Bax defeated four hundred picked lancers of Spain and Italy. But
Mansfeld could get nothing but skirmishes. In vain he plunged about among
the caltrops and man-traps. In vain he knocked at the fortifications of
Hohenlo on the east and of Maurice on the west. He found them
impracticable, impregnable, obdurate. It was Maurice's intention to take
his town at as small sacrifice of life as possible. A trumpet was sent on
some trifling business to Mansfeld, in reply to a communication made by
the general to Maurice.

"Why does your master," said the choleric veteran to the trumpeter, "why
does Prince Maurice, being a lusty young commander as he is, not come out
of his trenches into the open field and fight me like a man, where honour
and fame await him?"

"Because my master," answered the trumpeter, "means to live to be a lusty
old commander like your excellency, and sees no reason to-day to give you
an advantage."

At this the bystanders laughed, rather at the expense of the veteran.

Meantime there were not many incidents within the lines or within the
city to vary the monotony of the scientific siege.

On the land side, as has been seen, the city was enclosed and built out
of human sight by another Gertruydenberg. On the wide estuary of the
Meuse, a chain of war ships encircled the sea-front, in shape of a half
moon, lying so close to each other that it was scarcely possible even for
a messenger to swim out of a dark night.

The hardy adventurers who attempted that feat with tidings of despair
were almost invariably captured.

This blockading fleet took regular part in the daily cannonade; while, on
the other hand, the artillery practice from the landbatteries of Maurice
and Hohenlo was more perfect than anything ever known before in the
Netherlands or France.

And the result was that in the course of the cannonade which lasted
nearly ninety days, not more than four houses in the city escaped injury.
The approaches were brought, every hour, nearer and nearer to the walls.
With subterranean lines converging in the form of the letter Y, the
prince had gradually burrowed his way beneath the principal bastion.

Hohenlo, representative of the older school of strategy, had on one
occasion ventured to resist the authority of the commander-in-chief. He
had constructed a fort at Ramsdonck. Maurice then commanded the erection
of another, fifteen hundred yards farther back. It was as much a part of
his purpose to defend himself against the attempts of Mansfeld's
relieving force, as to go forward against the city. Hohenlo objected that
it would be impossible to sustain himself against a sudden attack in so
isolated a position. Maurice insisted. In the midst of the altercation
Hohenlo called to the men engaged in throwing up the new fortifications:
"Here, you captains and soldiers," he cried, "you are delivered up here
to be butchered. You may drop work and follow me to the old fort."

"And I swear to you," said Maurice quietly, "that the first man who moves
from this spot shall be hanged."

No one moved. The fort was completed and held to the and; Hohenlo sulkily
acquiescing in the superiority which this stripling--his former
pupil--had at last vindicated over all old-fashioned men-at-arms.

From the same cause which was apt to render Hohenlo's services
inefficient, the prince was apt to suffer inconvenience in the persons
placed in still nearer relation to himself. Count Philip of Nassau,
brother of the wise and valiant Lewis William, had already done much
brilliant campaigning against the Spaniards both in France and the
provinces. Unluckily, he was not only a desperate fighter but a mighty
drinker, and one day, after a dinner-party and potent carouse at Colonel
Brederode's quarters, he thought proper, in doublet and hose, without
armour of any kind, to mount his horse, in order to take a solitary
survey of the enemy's works. Not satisfied with this piece of
reconnoitering--which he effected with much tipsy gravity, but probably
without deriving any information likely to be of value to the commanding
general--he then proceeded to charge in person a distant battery. The
deed was not commendable in a military point of view. A fire was opened
upon him at long range so soon as he was discovered, and at the same time
the sergeant-major of his regiment and an equerry of Prince Maurice
started in pursuit, determined to bring him off if possible, before his
life had been thus absurdly sacrificed. Fortunately for him they came to
the rescue in time, pulled him from his horse, and succeeded in bringing
him away unharmed. The sergeant-major, however, Sinisky by name, while
thus occupied in preserving the count's life, was badly wounded in the
leg by a musket-shot from the fort; which casualty was the only result of
this after-dinner assault.

As the siege proceeded, and as the hopes of relief died away, great
confusion began to reign within the city. The garrison, originally of a
thousand veterans, besides burgher militia, had been much diminished. Two
commandants of the place, one after another, had lost their lives. On the
1st of June, Governor De Masieres, Captain Mongyn, the father-confessor
of the garrison, and two soldiers, being on the top of the great church
tower taking observations, were all brought down with one cannon-shot.
Thus the uses of artillery were again proved to be something more than to
scare cowards.

The final result seemed to have been brought about almost by accident, if
accident could be admitted as a factor in such accurate calculations as
those of Maurice. On the 24th June Captains Haen and Bievry were
relieving watch in the trenches near the great north ravelin of the
town--a bulwark which had already been much undermined from below and
weakened above. Being adventurous officers, it occurred to them suddenly
to scale the wall of the fort and reconnoitre what was going on in the
town. It was hardly probable that they would come back alive from the
expedition, but they nevertheless threw some planks across the ditch, and
taking a few soldiers with them, climbed cautiously up. Somewhat to his
own surprise, still more to that of the Spanish sentinels, Bievry in a
few minutes found himself within the ravelin. He was closely followed by
Captain Haen, Captain Kalf, and by half a company of soldiers. The alarm
was given. There was a fierce hand-to-hand struggle. Sixteen of the bold
stormers fell, and nine of the garrison of the fort. The rest fled into
the city. The governor of the place, Captain Gysant, rushing to the
rescue without staying to put on his armour, was killed. Count Solms, on
the other hand, came from the besieging camp into the ravelin to
investigate the sudden uproar. To his profound astonishment he was met
there, after a brief interval, by a deputation from the city, asking for
terms of surrender. The envoys had already been for some little time
looking in vain for a responsible person with whom to treat. When Maurice
was informed of the propositions he thought it at first a trick; for he
had known nothing of the little adventure of the three captains. Soon
afterwards he came into a battery whither the deputies had been brought,
and the terms of capitulation were soon agreed upon.

Next day the garrison were allowed to go out with sidearms and personal
baggage, and fifty waggons were lent them by the victor to bring their
wounded men to Antwerp.

Thus was Gertruydenberg surrendered in the very face of Peter Mansfeld,
who only became aware of the fact by the salvos of artillery fired in
honour of the triumph, and by the blaze of illumination which broke forth
over camp and city.

The sudden result was an illustration of the prince's perfect
arrangements. When Maurice rode into the town, he found it strong enough
and sufficiently well provisioned to have held out many a long day. But
it had been demonstrated to the besieged that relief was impossible, and
that the surrender on one day or another, after the siege operations
should be brought to their close, was certain. The inexorable genius of
the commander--skilled in a science which to the coarser war-makers of
that age seemed almost superhuman--hovered above them like a fate. It was
as well to succumb on the 24th June as to wait till the 24th July.

Moreover the great sustaining principle--resistance to the
foreigner--which had inspired the deeds of daring, the wonders of
endurance, in the Dutch cities beleaguered so remorselessly by the
Spaniard twenty years earlier in the century, was wanting.

In surrendering to the born Netherlander--the heroic chieftain of the
illustrious house of Nassau--these Netherlanders were neither sullying
their flag nor injuring their country. Enough had been done for military
honour in the gallant resistance, in which a large portion of the
garrison had fallen. Nor was that religious superstition so active within
the city, which three years before had made miracles possible in Paris
when a heretic sovereign was to be defied by his own subjects. It was
known that even if the public ceremonies of the Catholic Church were
likely to be suspended for a time after the surrender, at least the
rights of individual conscience and private worship within individual
households would be tolerated, and there was no papal legate with fiery
eloquence persuading a city full of heroic dupes that it was more
virtuous for men or women to eat their own children than to forego one
high mass, or to wink at a single conventicle.

After all, it was no such bitter hardship for the citizens of
Gertruydenberg to participate in the prosperity of the rising and
thriving young republic, and to enjoy those municipal and national
liberties which her sister cities had found so sweet.

Nothing could be calmer or more reasonable than such a triumph, nothing
less humiliating or less disastrous than such a surrender.

The problem was solved, the demonstration was made. To open their gates
to the soldiers of the Union was not to admit the hordes of a Spanish
commander with the avenging furies of murder, pillage, rape, which ever
followed in their train over the breach of a captured city.

To an enemy bated or dreaded to the uttermost mortal capacity, that
well-fortified and opulent city might have held out for months, and only
when the arms and the fraud of the foe without, and of famine within, had
done their work, could it have bowed its head to the conqueror, and
submitted to the ineffable tortures which would be the necessary
punishment of its courage.

Four thousand shots had been fired from the siege-guns upon the city, and
three hundred upon the relieving force.

The besieging army numbered in all nine thousand one hundred and fifty
men of all arms, and they lost during the eighty-five days' siege three
hundred killed and four hundred wounded.

After the conclusion of these operations, and the thorough remodelling of
the municipal government of the important city thus regained to the
republic, Maurice occupied himself with recruiting and refreshing his
somewhat exhausted little army. On the other hand, old Count Mansfeld,
dissatisfied with the impotent conclusion to his attempts, retired to
Brussels to be much taunted by the insolent Fuentes. He at least escaped
very violent censure on the part of his son Charles, for that general,
after his superfluous conquest of Noyon, while returning towards the
Netherlands, far too tardily to succour Gertruydenberg, had been
paralyzed in all his movements by a very extensive mutiny which broke out
among the Spanish troops in the province of Artois. The disorder went
through all its regular forms. A town was taken, an Eletto was appointed.
The country-side was black-mailed or plundered, and the rebellion lasted
some thirteen months. Before it was concluded there was another similar
outbreak among the Italians, together with the Walloons and other
obedient Netherlanders in Hainault, who obliged the city of Mons to
collect nine hundred florins a day for them. The consequence of these
military rebellions was to render the Spanish crown almost powerless
during the whole year, within the provinces nominally subject to its
sway. The cause--as always--was the non-payment of these veterans' wages,
year after year. It was impossible for Philip, with all the wealth of the
Indies and Mexico pouring through the Danaid sieve of the Holy League in
France, to find the necessary funds to save the bronzed and war-worn
instruments of his crimes in the Netherlands from starving and from

Meantime there was much desultory campaigning in Friesland. Verdugo and
Frederic van den Berg picked up a few cities, and strong places which had
thrown off their allegiance September, to the king--Auerzyl,
Schlochteren, Winschoten, Wedde, Ootmarzum--and invested the much more
important town of Coeworden, which Maurice had so recently reduced to the
authority of the Union. Verdugo's force was insufficient, however, and he
had neither munitions nor provisions for a long siege. Winter was coming
on; and the States, aware that he would soon be obliged to retire from
before the well-garrisoned and fortified place, thought it unnecessary to
interfere with him. After a very brief demonstration the Portuguese
veteran was obliged to raise the siege.

There were also certain vague attempts made by the enemy to re-possess
himself of those most important seaports which had been pledged to the
English queen. On a previous page the anxiety has been indicated with
which Sir Robert Sydney regarded the withdrawal of the English troops in
the Netherlands for the sake of assisting the French king. This palpable
breach of the treaty had necessarily weakened England's hold on the
affections of the Netherlanders, and awakened dark suspicions that
treason might be impending at Flushing or Ostend. The suspicions were
unjust--so far as the governors of those places were concerned--for
Sydney and Norris were as loyal as they were intelligent and brave; but
the trust in their characters was not more implicit than it had been in
that of Sir William Stanley before the commission of his crime. It was
now believed that the enemy was preparing for a sudden assault upon
Ostend, with the connivance, it was feared, of a certain portion of the
English garrison. The intelligence was at once conveyed to her Majesty's
Government by Sir Edward Norris, and they determined to take a lesson
from past experience. Norris was at once informed that in view of the
attack which he apprehended, his garrison should be strengthened by five
hundred men under Sir Conyers Clifford from certain companies in
Flushing, and that other reinforcements should be sent from the English
troops in Normandy. The governor was ordered to look well after his
captains and soldiers, to remind them, in the queen's name, of their duty
to herself and to the States, to bid all beware of sullying the English
name, to make close investigations into any possible intrigues of the
garrison with the enemy, and, should any culprits be found, to bring them
at once to condign punishment.

The queen, too, determined that there should be no blighting of English
honour, if she could prevent it by her warnings, indited with her own
hand a characteristic letter to Sir Edward Norris, to accompany the more
formal despatch of Lord Burghley. Thus it ran "Ned!--

"Though you have some tainted sheep among your flock, let not that serve
for excuse for the rest. We trust you are so carefully regarded as nought
shall be left for your excuses, but either ye lack heart or want will;
for of fear we will not make mention, as that our soul abhors, and we
assure ourselves you will never discern suspicion of it. Now or never let
for the honour of us and our nation, each man be so much of bolder heart
as their cause is good, and their honour must be according, remembering
the old goodness of our God, who never yet made us fail His needful help,
who ever bless you as I with my prince's hand beseech Him."

The warnings and preparations proved sufficiently effective, and the
great schemes with which the new royal governor of the Netherlands was
supposed to be full--a mere episode in which was the conquest of
Ostend--seemed not so formidable as their shadows had indicated. There
was, in the not very distant future, to be a siege of Ostend, which the
world would not soon forget, but perhaps the place would not yield to a
sudden assault. Its resistance, on the contrary, might prove more
protracted than was then thought possible. But the chronicle of events
must not be anticipated. For the present, Ostend was safe.

Early in the following spring, Verdugo again appeared before Coeworden in
force. It was obvious that the great city of Groningen, the mistress of
all the north-eastern provinces, would soon be attacked, and Coeworden
was the necessary base of any operations against the place. Fortunately
for the States, William Lewis had in the preceding autumn occupied and
fortified the only avenue through the Bourtange morass, so that when
Verdugo sat down before Coeworden, it was possible for Maurice, by moving
rapidly, to take the royal governor at a disadvantage.

Verdugo had eight thousand picked troops, including two thousand Walloon
cavalry, troopers who must have been very formidable, if they were to be
judged by the prowess of one of their captains, Gaucier by name. This
obedient Netherlander was in the habit of boasting that he had slain four
hundred and ten men with his own hand, including several prisoners and
three preachers; but the rest of those warriors were not so famed for
their martial achievements.

The peril, however, was great, and Prince Maurice, trifling not a moment,
threw himself with twelve thousand infantry, Germans, Frisians, Scotch,
English, and Hollanders, and nearly two thousand horse, at once upon the
road between the Vecht and the Bourtange morass. On the 6th of May,
Verdugo found the States' commander-in-chief trenched and impregnable,
squarely established upon his line of communications. He reconnoitred,
called a council of war, and decided that to assail him were madness; to
remain, destruction. On the night of the 6th of May, he broke up his camp
and stole away in the darkness, without sound of drum or trumpet, leaving
all his fortifications and burning all his huts.

Thus had Maurice, after showing the world how strong places were to be
reduced, given a striking exhibition of the manner in which they were to
be saved.

Coeworden, after thirty-one weeks' investment, was relieved.

The stadholder now marched upon Groningen. This city was one of the most
splendid and opulent of all the Netherland towns. Certainly it should
have been one of the most ancient in Europe, since it derived its
name--according to that pains-taking banker, Francis Guicciardini--"from
Grun, a Trojan gentleman," who, nevertheless, according to Munster, was
"a Frenchman by birth."--"Both theories, however, might be true," added
the conscientious Florentine, "as the French have always claimed to be
descended from the relics of Troy." A simpler-minded antiquary might have
babbled of green fields, since 'groenighe,' or greenness, was a
sufficiently natural appellation for a town surrounded as was Groningen
on the east and west by the greenest and fattest of pastures. In
population it was only exceeded by Antwerp and Amsterdam. Situate on the
line where upper and nether Germany blend into one, the capital of a
great province whose very name was synonymous with liberty, and whose
hardy sons had clone fierce battle with despotism in every age, so long
as there had been human record of despotism and of battles, Groningen had
fallen into the hands of the foreign foe, not through the prowess of the
Spaniard but the treason of the Netherlander. The baseness of the
brilliant, trusted, valiant, treacherous young Renneberg has been
recorded on a previous page of these volumes. For thirteen years long the
republic had chafed at this acquisition of the hated enemy within its
very heart. And now the day had come when a blow should be struck for its
deliverance by the ablest soldier that had ever shown himself in those
regions, one whom the commonwealth had watched over from his cradle.

For in Groningen there was still a considerable party in favour of the
Union, although the treason of Renneberg had hitherto prevented both city
and province from incorporating themselves in the body politic of the
United Netherlands. Within the precincts were five hundred of Verdugo's
veterans under George Lanckema, stationed at a faubourg called
Schuytendiess. In the city there was, properly speaking, no garrison, for
the citizens in the last few years had come to value themselves on their
fidelity to church and king, and to take a sorry pride in being false to
all that was noble in their past. Their ancestors had wrested privilege
after privilege at the sword's point from the mailed hands of dukes and
emperors, until they were almost a self-governing republic; their courts
of justice recognizing no appeal to higher powers, even under the
despotic sway of Charles V. And now, under the reign of his son, and in
the feebler days of that reign, the capital of the free Frisians--the men
whom their ancient pagan statutes had once declared to be "free so long
as the wind blew out of the clouds"--relied upon the trained bands of her
burghers enured to arms and well-provided with all munitions of war to
protect her, not against foreign tyranny nor domestic sedition, but
against liberty and against law.

For the representative of the most ancient of the princely houses of
Europe, a youth whose ancestors had been emperors when the forefathers of
Philip, long-descended as he was, were but country squires, was now
knocking at their gates. Not as a conqueror and a despot, but as the
elected first magistrate and commander-in-chief of the freest
commonwealth in the world, Maurice of Nassau, at the head of fifteen
thousand Netherlanders, countrymen of their own, now summoned the
inhabitants of the town and province to participate with their fellow
citizens in all the privileges and duties of the prosperous republic.

It seemed impossible that such an appeal could be resisted by force of
arms. Rather it would seem that the very walls should have fallen at his
feet at the first blast of the trumpet; but there was military honour,
there was religious hatred, there was the obstinacy of party. More than
all, there were half a dozen Jesuits within the town, and to those ablest
of generals in times of civil war it was mainly owing that the siege of
Groningen was protracted longer than under other circumstances would have
been possible.

It is not my purpose to describe in detail the scientific operations
during the sixty-five days between the 20th May and the 24th July. Again
the commander-in-chief enlightened the world by an exhibition of a more
artistic and humane style of warfare than previously to his appearance on
the military stage had been known. But the daily phenomena of the
Leaguer--although they have been minutely preserved by most competent
eyewitnesses--are hardly entitled to a place except in special military
histories where, however, they should claim the foremost rank.

The fortifications of the city were of the most splendid and substantial
character known to the age. The ditches, the ravelins, the curtains, the
towers were as thoroughly constructed as the defences of any place in
Europe. It was therefore necessary that Maurice and his cousin Lewis
should employ all their learning, all their skill, and their best
artillery to reduce this great capital of the Eastern Netherlands. Again
the scientific coil of approaches wound itself around and around the
doomed stronghold; again were constructed the galleries, the covered
ways, the hidden mines, where soldiers, transformed to gnomes, burrowed
and fought within the bowels of the earth; again that fatal letter Y
advanced slowly under ground, stretching its deadly prongs nearer and
nearer up to the walls; and again the system of defences against a
relieving force was so perfectly established that Verdugo or Mansfield,
with what troops they could muster, seemed as powerless as the pewter
soldiers with which Maurice in his boyhood--not yet so long passed
away--was wont to puzzle over the problems which now practically engaged
his early manhood. Again, too, strangely enough, it is recorded that
Philip Nassau, at almost the same period of the siege as in that of
Gertruydenberg, signalized himself by a deed of drunken and superfluous
daring. This time the dinner party was at the quarters of Count Solms, in
honour of the Prince of Anhalt, where, after potations pottle deep, Count
Philip rushed from the dinner-table to the breach, not yet thoroughly
practicable, of the north ravelin, and, entirely without armour, mounted
pike in hand to the assault, proposing to carry the fort by his own
unaided exertions. Another officer, one Captain Vaillant, still more
beside himself than was the count, inspired him to these deeds of valour
by assuring him that the mine was to be sprung under the ravelin that
afternoon, and that it was a plot on the part of the Holland boatmen to
prevent the soldiers who had been working so hard and so long in the
mines from taking part in the honours of the assault. The count was with
difficulty brought off with a whole skin and put to bed. Yet despite
these disgraceful pranks there is no doubt that a better and braver
officer than he was hardly to be found even among the ten noble Nassaus
who at that moment were fighting for the cause of Dutch
liberty--fortunately with more sobriety than he at all times displayed.
On the following day, Prince Maurice, making a reconnoissance of the
works with his usual calmness, yet with the habitual contempt of personal
danger which made so singular a contrast with the cautious and
painstaking characteristics of his strategy, very narrowly escaped death.
A shot from the fort struck so hard upon the buckler under cover of which
he was taking his observations as to fell him to the ground. Sir Francis
Vere, who was with the prince under the same buckler, likewise measured
his length in the trench, but both escaped serious injury.

Pauli, one of the States commissioners present in the camp, wrote to
Barneveld that it was to be hoped that the accident might prove a warning
to his Excellency. He had repeatedly remonstrated with him, he said,
against his reckless exposure of himself to unnecessary danger, but he
was so energetic and so full of courage that it was impossible to
restrain him from being everywhere every day.

Three days later, the letter Y did its work. At ten o'clock 15 July, of
the night of the 15th July, Prince Maurice ordered the mines to be
sprung, when the north ravelin was blown into the air, and some forty of
the garrison with it. Two of them came flying into the besiegers' camp,
and, strange to say, one was alive and sound. The catastrophe finished
the sixty-five days' siege, the breach was no longer defensible, the
obstinacy of the burghers was exhausted, and capitulation followed. In
truth, there had been a subterranean intrigue going on for many weeks,
which was almost as effective as the mine. A certain Jan to Boer had been
going back and forth between camp and city, under various pretexts and
safe-conducts, and it had at last appeared that the Jesuits and the five
hundred of Verdugo's veterans were all that prevented Groningen from
returning to the Union. There had been severe fighting within the city
itself, for the Jesuits had procured the transfer of the veterans from
the faubourg to the town itself, and the result of all these operations,
political, military, and jesuitical, was that on 22nd July articles of
surrender were finally agreed upon between Maurice and a deputation from
the magistrates, the guilds, and commander Lanckema.

The city was to take its place thenceforth as a member of the Union.
William Lewis, already stadholder of Friesland for the united States, was
to be recognised as chief magistrate of the whole province, which was
thus to retain all its ancient privileges, laws, and rights of
self-government, while it exchanged its dependence on a distant, foreign,
and decaying despotism for incorporation with a young and vigorous

It was arranged that no religion but the reformed religion, as then
practised in the united republic, should be publicly exercised in the
province, but that no man should be questioned as to his faith, or
troubled in his conscience: Cloisters and ecclesiastical property were to
remain 'in statu quo,' until the States-General should come to a definite
conclusion on these subjects.

Universal amnesty was proclaimed for all offences and quarrels. Every
citizen or resident foreigner was free to remain in or to retire from the
town or province, with full protection to his person and property, and it
was expressly provided in the articles granted to Lanckema that his
soldiers should depart with arms and baggage, leaving to Prince Maurice
their colours only, while the prince furnished sufficient transportation
for their women and their wounded. The property of Verdugo, royal
stadholder of the province, was to be respected, and to remain in the
city, or to be taken thence under safe conduct, as might be preferred.

Ten thousand cannon-shot had been fired against the city. The cost of
powder and shot consumed was estimated at a hundred thousand florins.
Four hundred of the besiegers had been killed, and a much larger number
wounded. The army had been further weakened by sickness and numerous
desertions. Of the besieged, three hundred soldiers in all were killed,
and a few citizens.

Thirty-six cannon were taken, besides mortars, and it was said that eight
hundred tons of powder, and plenty of other ammunition and provisions
were found in the place.

On the 23rd July Maurice and William Lewis entered the city. Some of the
soldiers were disappointed at the inexorable prohibition of pillage; but
it was the purpose of Maurice, as of the States-General, to place the
sister province at once in the unsullied possession of the liberty and
the order for which the struggle with Spain had, been carried on so long.
If the limitation of public religious worship seemed harsh, it should be
remembered that Romanism in a city occupied by Spanish troops had come to
mean unmitigated hostility to the republic. In the midst of civil war,
the hour for that religious liberty which was the necessary issue of the
great conflict had not yet struck. It was surely something gained for
humanity that no man should be questioned at all as to his creed in
countries where it was so recently the time-honoured practice to question
him on the rack, and to burn him if the answer was objectionable to the

It was something that the holy Inquisition had been for ever suppressed
in the land. It must be admitted, likewise, that the terms of surrender
and the spectacle of re-established law and order which succeeded the
capture of Groningen furnished a wholesome contrast to the scenes of
ineffable horror that had been displayed whenever a Dutch town had fallen
into the hands of Philip.

And thus the commonwealth of the United Netherlands, through the
practical military genius and perseverance of Maurice and Lewis William,
and the substantial statesmanship of Barneveld and his colleagues, had at
last rounded itself into definite shape; while in all directions toward
which men turned their eyes, world-empire, imposing and gorgeous as it
had seemed for an interval, was vanishing before its votaries like a
mirage. The republic, placed on the solid foundations of civil liberty,
self-government, and reasonable law, was steadily consolidating itself.

No very prominent movements were undertaken by the forces of the Union
during the remainder of the year. According to the agreements with Henry
IV. it had been necessary to provide that monarch with considerable
assistance to carry on his new campaigns, and it was therefore difficult
for Maurice to begin for the moment upon the larger schemes which he had

Meantime the condition of the obedient Netherlands demands a hasty

On the death of brother Alexander the Capuchin, Fuentes produced a patent
by which Peter Ernest Mansfeld was provisionally appointed governor, in
case the post should become vacant. During the year which followed, that
testy old campaigner had indulged himself in many petty feuds with all
around him, but had effected, as we have seen, very little to maintain
the king's authority either in the obedient or disobedient provinces.

His utter incompetency soon became most painfully apparent. His more than
puerile dependence upon his son, and the more than paternal severity
exercised over him by Count Charles, were made manifest to all the world.
The son ruled the trembling but peevish old warrior with an iron rod, and
endless was their wrangling with Fuentes and all the other Spaniards.
Between the querulousness of the one and the ferocity of the other, poor
Fuentes became sick of his life.

"'Tis a diabolical genius, this count Charles," said Ybarra, "and so full
of ambition that he insists on governing everybody just as he rules his
father. As for me, until the archduke comes I am a fish out of water."

The true successor to Farnese was to be, the Archduke Ernest, one of the
many candidates for the hand of the Infanta, and for the throne of that
department of the Spanish dominions which was commonly called France.
Should Philip not appropriate the throne without further scruple, in
person, it was on the whole decided that his favorite nephew should be
the satrap of that outlying district of the Spanish empire. In such case
obedient France might be annexed to obedient Netherlands, and united
under the sway of Archduke Ernest.

But these dreams had proved in the cold air of reality but midsummer
madness. When the name of the archduke was presented to the estates as
King Ernest I. of France, even the most unscrupulous and impassioned
Leaguers of that country fairly hung their heads. That a foreign prince,
whose very name had never been before heard of by the vast bulk of the
French population, should be deliberately placed upon the throne of St.
Louis and Hugh Capet, was a humiliation hard to defend, profusely as
Philip had scattered the Peruvian and Mexican dollars among the great
ones of the nation, in order to accomplish his purpose.

So Archduke Ernest, early in the year 1594, came to Brussels, but he came
as a gloomy, disappointed man. To be a bachelor-governor of the
impoverished, exhausted, half-rebellious, and utterly forlorn little
remnant of the Spanish Netherlands, was a different position from that of
husband of Clara Isabella and king of France, on which his imagination
had been feeding so long.

For nearly the whole twelvemonth subsequent to the death of Farnese, the
Spanish envoy to the Imperial court had been endeavouring to arrange for
the departure of the archduke to his seat of government in the
Netherlands. The prince himself was willing enough, but there were many
obstacles on the part of the emperor and his advisers. "Especially there
is one very great impossibility," said San Clemente, "and that is the
poverty of his Highness, which is so great that my own is not greater in
my estate. So I don't see how he can stir a step without money. Here
they'll not furnish him with a penny, and for himself he possesses
nothing but debts." The emperor was so little pleased with the adventure
that in truth, according to the same authority, he looked upon the new
viceroy's embarrassments with considerable satisfaction, so that it was
necessary for Philip to provide for his travelling expenses.

Ernest was next brother of the Emperor Rudolph, and as intensely devoted
to the interests of the Roman Church as was that potentate himself, or
even his uncle Philip.

He was gentle, weak, melancholy, addicted to pleasure, a martyr to the
gout. He brought no soldiers to the provinces, for the emperor,
threatened with another world-empire on his pagan flank, had no funds nor
troops to send to the assistance of his Christian brother-in-law and
uncle. Moreover, it may be imagined that Rudolph, despite the bonds of
religion and consanguinity, was disposed to look coldly on the colossal
projects of Philip.

So Ernest brought no troops, but he brought six hundred and seventy
gentlemen, pages, and cooks, and five hundred and thirty-four horses, not
to charge upon the rebellious Dutchmen withal, but to draw coaches and

There was trouble enough prepared for the new governor at his arrival.
The great Flemish and Walloon nobles were quarrelling fiercely with the
Spaniards and among themselves for office and for precedence. Arschot and
his brother Havre both desired the government of Flanders; so did
Arenberg. All three, as well as other gentlemen, were scrambling for the
majordomo's office in Ernest's palace. Havre wanted the finance
department as well, but Ybarra, who was a financier, thought the public
funds in his hands would be in a perilous condition, inasmuch as he was
provinces was accounted the most covetous man in all the provinces.

So soon as the archduke was known to be approaching the capital there was
a most ludicrous race run by all these grandees, in order to be the first
to greet his Highness. While Mansfeld and Fuentes were squabbling, as
usual, Arschot got the start of both, and arrived at Treves. Then the
decrepit Peter Ernest struggled as far as Luxembourg, while Fuentes
posted on to Namur. The archduke was much perplexed as to the arranging
of all these personages on the day of his entrance into Brussels. In the
council of state it was still worse. Arschot claimed the first place as
duke and as senior member, Peter Ernest demanded it as late
governor-general and because of his grey hairs. Never was imperial
highness more disturbed, never was clamour for loaves and fishes more
deafening. The caustic financier--whose mind was just then occupied with
the graver matter of assassination on a considerable scale--looked with
profound contempt at the spectacle thus presented to him. "There has been
the devil's own row," said he, "between these counts about offices, and
also about going out to receive the most serene archduke. I have had such
work with them that by the salvation of my soul I swear if it were to
last a fortnight longer I would go off afoot to Spain, even if I were
sure of dying in jail after I got there. I have reconciled the two counts
(Fuentes and Mansfeld) with each other a hundred times, and another
hundred times they have fallen out again, and behaved themselves with
such vulgarity that I blushed for them. They are both to blame, but at
any rate we have now got the archduke housed, and he will get us out of
this embarrassment."

The archduke came with rather a prejudice against the Spaniards--the
result doubtless of his disappointment in regard to France--and he
manifested at first an extreme haughtiness to those of that nation with
whom he came in contact. A Castilian noble of high rank, having audience
with him on one occasion, replaced his hat after salutation, as he had
been accustomed to do--according to the manner of grandees of
Spain--during the government of Farnese. The hat was rudely struck from
his head by the archduke's chamberlain, and he was himself ignominiously
thrust out of the presence. At another time an interview was granted to
two Spanish gentlemen who had business to transact. They made their
appearance in magnificent national costume, splendidly embroidered in
gold. After a brief hearing they were dismissed, with appointment of
another audience for a few days later. When they again presented
themselves they found the archduke with his court jester standing at his
side, the buffoon being attired in a suit precisely similar to their own,
which in the interval had been prepared by the court tailor.

Such amenities as these did not increase the popularity of Ernest with
the high-spirited Spaniards, nor was it palatable to them that it should
be proposed to supersede the old fighting Portuguese, Verdugo, as
governor and commander-in-chief for the king in Friesland, by Frederic
van den Berg, a renegade Netherlander, unworthy cousin of the Nassaus,
who had never shown either military or administrative genius.

Nor did he succeed in conciliating the Flemings or the Germans by these
measures. In truth he was, almost without his own knowledge, under the
controlling influence of Fuentes, the most unscrupulous and dangerous
Spaniard of them all, while his every proceeding was closely watched not
only by Diego and Stephen Ybarra, but even by Christoval de Moura, one of
Philip's two secretaries of state who at this crisis made a visit to

These men were indignant at the imbecility of the course pursued in the
obedient provinces. They knew that the incapacity of the Government to
relieve the sieges of Gertruydenberg and Groningen had excited the
contempt of Europe, and was producing a most damaging effect an Spanish
authority throughout Christendom. They were especially irritated by the
presence of the arch-intrigues, Mayenne, in Brussels, even after all his
double dealings had been so completely exposed that a blind man could
have read them. Yet there was Mayenne, consorting with the archduke, and
running up a great bill of sixteen thousand florins at the hotel, which
the royal paymaster declined to settle for want of funds, notwithstanding
Ernest's order to that effect, and there was no possibility of inducing
the viceroy to arrest him, much as he had injured and defrauded the king.

How severely Ybarra and Feria denounced Mayenne has been seen; but
remonstrances about this and other grave mistakes of administration were
lost upon Ernest, or made almost impossible by his peculiar temper. "If I
speak of these things to his Highness," said Ybarra, "he will begin to
cry, as he always does."

Ybarra, however, thought it his duty secretly to give the king frequent
information as to the blasted and forlorn condition of the provinces.
"This sick man will die in our arms," he said, "without our wishing to
kill him." He also left no doubt in the royal mind as to the utter
incompetency of the archduke for his office. Although he had much
Christianity, amiability, and good intentions, he was so unused to
business, so slow and so lazy, so easily persuaded by those around him,
as to be always falling into errors. He was the servant of his own
servants, particularly of those least disposed to the king's service and
most attentive to their own interests. He had endeavoured to make himself
beloved by the natives of the country, while the very reverse of this had
been the result.

"As to his agility and the strength of his body," said the Spaniard, as
if he were thinking of certain allegories which were to mark the
archduke's triumphal entry, "they are so deficient as to leave him unfit
for arms. I consider him incapable of accompanying an army to the field,
and we find him so new to all such affairs as constitute government and
the conduct of warlike business, that he could not steer his way without
some one to enlighten and direct him."

It was sometimes complained of in those days--and the thought has even
prolonged itself until later times--that those republicans of the United
Netherlands had done and could do great things; but that, after all,
there was no grandeur about them. Certainly they had done great things.
It was something to fight the Ocean for ages, and patiently and firmly to
shut him out from his own domain. It was something to extinguish the
Spanish Inquisition--a still more cruel and devouring enemy than the sea.
It was something that the fugitive spirit of civil and religious liberty
had found at last its most substantial and steadfast home upon those
storm-washed shoals and shifting sandbanks.

It was something to come to the rescue of England in her great agony, and
help to save her from invasion. It was something to do more than any
nation but England, and as much as she, to assist Henry the Huguenot to
the throne of his ancestors and to preserve the national unity of France
which its own great ones had imperilled. It was something to found two
magnificent universities, cherished abodes of science and of antique
lore, in the midst of civil commotions and of resistance to foreign
oppression. It was something, at the same period, to lay the foundation
of a systew of common schools--so cheap as to be nearly free--for rich
and poor alike, which, in the words of one of the greatest benefactors to
the young republic, "would be worth all the soldiers, arsenals,
armouries, munitions, and alliances in the world." It was something to
make a revolution, as humane as it was effective, in military affairs,
and to create an army whose camps were European academies. It was
something to organize, at the same critical period, on the most skilful
and liberal scale, to carry out with unexampled daring, sagacity, and
fortitude, great voyages of discovery to the polar regions, and to open
new highways for commerce, new treasures for science. Many things of this
nature had been done by the new commonwealth; but, alas! she did not
drape herself melodramatically, nor stalk about with heroic wreath and
cothurn. She was altogether without grandeur.

When Alva had gained his signal victories, and followed them up by those
prodigious massacres which, but for his own and other irrefragable
testimony, would seem too monstrous for belief, he had erected a colossal
statue to himself, attired in the most classical of costumes, and
surrounded with the most mythological of attributes. Here was grandeur.
But William the Silent, after he had saved the republic, for which he had
laboured during his whole lifetime and was destined to pour out his
heart's blood, went about among the brewers and burghers with unbuttoned
doublet and woollen bargeman's waistcoat. It was justly objected to his
clothes, by the euphuistic Fulke Greville, that a meanborn student of the
Inns of Court would have been ashamed to walk about London streets in

And now the engineering son of that shabbily-dressed personage had been
giving the whole world lessons in the science of war, and was fairly
perfecting the work which William and his great contemporaries had so
well begun. But if all this had been merely doing great things without
greatness, there was one man in the Netherlands who knew what grandeur
was. He was not a citizen of the disobedient republic, however, but a
loyal subject of the obedient provinces, and his name was John Baptist
Houwaerts, an eminent schoolmaster of Brussels. He was still more eminent
as a votary of what was called "Rhetoric" and as an arranger of triumphal
processions and living pictures.

The arrival of Archduke Ernest at the seat of the provincial Government
offered an opportunity, which had long been wanting, for a display of
John Baptist's genius. The new viceroy was in so shattered a condition of
health, so crippled with the gout, as to be quite unable to stand, and it
required the services of several lackeys to lift him into and out of his
carriage. A few days of repose therefore were indispensable to him before
he could make his "joyous entrance" into the capital. But the day came at
last, and the exhibition was a masterpiece.

It might have seemed that the abject condition of the Spanish
provinces--desolate, mendicant, despairing--would render holiday making
impossible. But although almost every vestige of the ancient institutions
had vanished from the obedient Netherlands as a reward for their
obedience; although to civil and religious liberty, law, order, and a
thriving commercial and manufacturing existence, such as had been rarely
witnessed in the world, had succeeded the absolute tyranny of Jesuits,
universal beggary, and a perennial military mutiny--setting Government at
defiance and plundering the people--there was one faithful never deserted
Belgica, and that was Rhetoric.

Neither the magnificence nor the pedantry of the spectacles by which the
entry of the mild and inefficient Ernest into Brussels and Antwerp was
now solemnized had ever been surpassed. The town councils, stimulated by
hopes absolutely without foundation as to great results to follow the
advent of the emperor's brother, had voted large sums and consumed many
days in anxious deliberation upon the manner in which they should be
expended so as most to redound to the honour of Ernest and the reputation
of the country.

In place of the "bloody tragedies of burning, murdering, and ravishing,"
of which the provinces had so long been the theatre, it was resolved
that, "Rhetoric's sweet comedies, amorous jests, and farces," should
gladden all eyes and hearts. A stately procession of knights and burghers
in historical and mythological costumes, followed by ships, dromedaries,
elephants, whales, giants, dragons, and other wonders of the sea and
shore, escorted the archduke into the city. Every street and square was
filled with triumphal arches, statues and platforms, on which the most
ingenious and thoroughly classical living pictures were exhibited. There
was hardly an eminent deity of Olympus, or hero of ancient history, that
was not revived and made visible to mortal eyes in the person of Ernestus
of Austria.

On a framework fifty-five feet high and thirty-three feet in breadth he
was represented as Apollo hurling his darts at an enormous Python, under
one of whose fore-paws struggled an unfortunate burgher, while the other
clutched a whole city; Tellus, meantime, with her tower on her head,
kneeling anxious and imploring at the feet of her deliverer. On another
stage Ernest assumed the shape of Perseus; Belgica that of the bound and
despairing Andromeda. On a third, the interior of Etna was revealed, when
Vulcan was seen urging his Cyclops to forge for Ernest their most
tremendous thunderbolts with which to smite the foes of the provinces,
those enemies being of course the English and the Hollanders. Venus, the
while, timidly presented an arrow to her husband, which he was requested
to sharpen, in order that when the wars were over Cupid, therewith might
pierce the heart of some beautiful virgin, whose charms should reward
Ernest--fortunately for the female world, still a bachelor--for his
victories and his toils.

The walls of every house were hung with classic emblems and inscribed
with Latin verses. All the pedagogues of Brussels and Antwerp had been at
work for months, determined to amaze the world with their dithyrambics
and acrostics, and they had outdone themselves.

Moreover, in addition to all these theatrical spectacles and pompous
processions--accompanied as they were by blazing tar-barrels, flying
dragons, and leagues of flaring torches--John Baptist, who had been
director-in-chief of all the shows successively arranged to welcome Don
John of Austria, Archduke Matthias, Francis of Alengon, and even William
of Orange, into the capital, had prepared a feast of a specially
intellectual character for the new governor-general.

The pedant, according to his own account, so soon as the approach of
Ernest had been announced, fell straightway into a trance. While he was
in that condition, a beautiful female apparition floated before his eyes,
and, on being questioned, announced her name to be Moralization. John
Baptist begged her to inform him whether it were true, as had been
stated, that Jupiter had just sent Mercury to the Netherlands. The
phantom, correcting his mistake, observed that the king of gods and men
had not sent Hermes but the Archduke Ernestus, beloved of the three
Graces, favourite of the nine Muses, and, in addition to these
advantages, nephew and brother-in-law of the King of Spain, to the relief
of the suffering provinces. The Netherlands, it was true, for their
religious infidelity, had justly incurred great disasters and misery; but
benignant Jove, who, to the imagination of this excited Fleming, seemed
to have been converted to Catholicism while still governing the universe,
had now sent them in mercy a deliverer. The archduke would speedily
relieve "bleeding Belgica" from her sufferings, bind up her wounds, and
annihilate her enemies. The spirit further informed the poet that the
forests of the Low Countries--so long infested by brigands, wood-beggars,
and malefactors of all kinds--would thenceforth swarm with "nymphs,
rabbits, hares, and animals of that nature."

A vision of the conquering Ernest, attended by "eight-and-twenty noble
and pleasant females, marching two and two, half naked, each holding a
torch in one hand and a laurel-wreath in the other," now swept before the
dreamer's eyes. He naturally requested the "discreet spirit" to mention
the names of this bevy of imperfectly attired ladies thronging so
lovingly around the fortunate archduke, and was told that "they were the
eight-and-twenty virtues which chiefly characterized his serene
Highness." Prominent in this long list, and they were all faithfully
enumerated, were "Philosophy, Audacity, Acrimony, Virility, Equity, Piety,
Velocity, and Alacrity." The two last-mentioned qualities could hardly be
attributed to the archduke in his decrepit condition, except in an
intensely mythological sense. Certainly, they would have been highly
useful virtues to him at that moment. The prince who had just taken
Gertruydenberg, and was then besieging Groningen, was manifesting his
share of audacity, velocity, and other good gifts on even a wider
platform than that erected for Ernest by John Baptist Houwaerts; and
there was an admirable opportunity for both to develope their respective
characteristics for the world's judgment.

Meantime the impersonation of the gentle and very gouty invalid as
Apollo, as Perseus, as the feather-heeled Mercury, was highly applauded
by the burghers of Brussels.

And so the dreamer dreamed on, and the discreet nymph continued to
discourse, until John Baptist, starting suddenly from his trance beheld
that it was all a truth and no vision. Ernest was really about to enter
the Netherlands, and with him the millennium. The pedant therefore
proceeded to his desk, and straightway composed the very worst poem that
had ever been written in any language, even Flemish.

There were thousands of lines in it, and not a line without a god or a

Mars, Nemesis, and Ate, Pluto, Rhadamanthus, and Minos, the Fates and the
Furies, together with Charon, Calumnia, Bellona, and all such
objectionable divinities, were requested to disappear for ever from the
Low Countries; while in their stead were confidently invoked Jupiter,
Apollo, Triptolemus, and last, though not least, Rhetorica.

Enough has been said of this raree-show to weary the reader's patience,
but not more than enough to show the docile and enervated nature of this
portion of a people who had lost everything for which men cherish their
fatherland, but who could still find relief--after thirty years of
horrible civil war in painted pageantry, Latin versification, and the
classical dictionary.

Yet there was nothing much more important achieved by the archduke in the
brief period for which his administration was destined to endure. Three
phenomena chiefly marked his reign, but his own part in the three was
rather a passive than an active one--mutiny, assassination, and
negotiation--the two last attempted on a considerable scale but ending

It is impossible to exaggerate the misery of the obedient provinces at
this epoch. The insane attempt of the King of Spain, with such utterly
inadequate machinery, to conquer the world has been sufficiently dilated
upon. The Spanish and Italian and Walloon soldiers were starving in
Brabant and Flanders in order that Spanish gold might be poured into the
bottomless pit of the Holy League in France.

The mutiny that had broken forth the preceding year in Artois and Hamault
was now continued on a vast scale in Brabant. Never had that national
institution--a Spanish mutiny--been more thoroughly organized, more
completely carried out in all its details. All that was left of the
famous Spanish discipline and military science in this their period of
rapid decay, seemed monopolized by the mutineers. Some two thousand
choice troops (horse and foot), Italians and Spanish, took possession of
two considerable cities, Sichem and Arschot, and ultimately concentrated
themselves at Sichem, which they thoroughly fortified. Having chosen
their Eletto and other officers they proceeded regularly to business. To
the rallying point came disaffected troops of all nations from far and
near. Never since the beginning of the great war had there been so
extensive a military rebellion, nor one in which so many veteran
officers, colonels, captains, and subalterns took part. The army of
Philip had at last grown more dangerous to himself than to the

The council at Brussels deliberated anxiously upon the course to be
pursued, and it was decided at last to negotiate with instead of
attacking them. But it was soon found that the mutineers were as hard to
deal with as were the republicans on the other side the border. They
refused to hear of anything short of complete payment of the enormous
arrears due to them, with thorough guarantees and hostages that any
agreement made between themselves and the archduke should be punctually
carried out. Meanwhile they ravaged the country far and near, and levied
their contributions on towns and villages, up to the very walls of
Brussels, and before the very eyes of the viceroy.

Moreover they entered into negotiation with Prince Maurice of Nassau, not
offering to enlist under his flag, but asking for protection against the
king in exchange for a pledge meanwhile not to serve his cause. At last
the archduke plucked up a heart and sent some troops against the rebels,
who had constructed two forts on the river Demer near the city of Sichem.
In vain Velasco, commander of the expedition, endeavoured to cut off the
supplies for these redoubts. The vigour and audacity of the rebel cavalry
made the process impossible. Velasco then attempted to storm the lesser
stronghold of the two, but was repulsed with the loss of two hundred
killed. Among these were many officers, one of whom, Captain Porto
Carrero, was a near relative of Fuentes. After a siege, Velasco, who was
a marshal of the camp of considerable distinction, succeeded in driving
the mutineers out of the forts; who, finding their position thus
weakened, renewed their negotiations with Maurice. They at last obtained
permission from the prince to remain under the protection of
Gertruydenberg and Breda until they could ascertain what decision the
archduke would take. More they did not ask of Maurice, nor did he require
more of them.

The mutiny, thus described in a few lines, had occupied nearly a year,
and had done much to paralyze for that period all the royal operations in
the Netherlands. In December the rebellious troops marched out of Sichem
in perfect order, and came to Langstraet within the territory of the

The archduke now finding himself fairly obliged to treat with them sent
an offer of the same terms which had been proposed to mutineers on
previous occasions. At first they flatly refused to negotiate at all, but
at last, with the permission of Maurice, who conducted himself throughout
with scrupulous delicacy, and made no attempts to induce them to violate
their allegiance to the king, they received Count Belgioso, the envoy of
the archduke. They held out for payment of all their arrears up to the
last farthing, and insisted on a hostage of rank until the debt should be
discharged. Full forgiveness of their rebellious proceedings was added as
a matter of course. Their terms were accepted, and Francisco Padiglia was
assigned as a hostage. They then established themselves, according to
agreement, at Tirlemont, which they were allowed to fortify at the
expense of the province and to hold until the money for their back wages
could be scraped together. Meantime they received daily wages and rations
from the Government at Brussels, including thirty stivers a day for each
horseman, thirteen crowns a day for the Eletto, and ten crowns a day for
each counsellor, making in all five hundred crowns a day. And here they
remained, living exceedingly at their ease and enjoying a life of leisure
for eighteen months, and until long after the death of the archduke, for
it was not until the administration of Cardinal Albert that the funds,
amounting to three hundred and sixty thousand crowns, could be collected.

These were the chief military exploits of the podagric Perseus in behalf
of the Flemish Andromeda.

A very daring adventure was however proposed to the archduke. Philip
calmly suggested that an expedition should be rapidly fitted out in
Dunkirk, which should cross the channel, ascend the Thames as far as
Rochester, and burn the English fleet. "I am informed by persons well
acquainted with the English coast," said the king, "that it would be an
easy matter for a few quick-sailing vessels to accomplish this. Two or
three thousand soldiers might be landed at Rochester who might burn or
sink all the unarmed vessels they could find there, and the expedition
could return and sail off again before the people of the country could
collect in sufficient numbers to do them any damage." The archduke was
instructed to consult with Fuentes and Ybarra as to whether this little
matter, thus parenthetically indicated, could be accomplished without too
much risk and trouble.

Certainly it would seem as if the king believed in the audacity,
virility, velocity, alacrity, and the rest of the twenty-eight virtues of
his governor-general, even more seriously than did John Baptist
Houwaerts. The unfortunate archduke would have needed to be, in all
earnestness, a mythological demigod to do the work required of him. With
the best part of his army formally maintained by him in recognised
mutiny, with the great cities of the Netherlands yielding themselves to
the republic with hardly an attempt on the part of the royal forces to
relieve them, and with the country which he was supposed to govern, the
very centre of the obedient provinces, ruined, sacked, eaten up by the
soldiers of Spain; villages, farmhouses, gentlemen's castles, churches
plundered; the male population exposed to daily butchery, and the women
to outrages worse than death; it seemed like the bitterest irony to
propose that he should seize that moment to outwit the English and Dutch
sea-kings who were perpetually cruising in the channel, and to undertake
a "beard-singeing" expedition such as even the dare-devil Drake would
hardly have attempted.

Such madcap experiments might perhaps one day, in the distant future, be
tried with reasonable success, but hardly at the beck of a Spanish king
sitting in his easy chair a thousand miles off, nor indeed by the
servants of any king whatever.

The plots of murder arranged in Brussels during this administration were
on a far more extensive scale than were the military plans.

The Count of Fuentes, general superintendant of foreign affairs, was
especially charged with the department of assassination. This office was
no sinecure; for it involved much correspondence, and required great
personal attention to minute details. Philip, a consummate artist in this
branch of industry, had laid out a good deal of such work which he
thought could best be carried out in and from the Netherlands. Especially
it was desirable to take off, by poison or otherwise, Henry IV., Queen
Elizabeth, Maurice of Nassau, Olden-Barneveld, St. Aldegonde, and other
less conspicuous personages.

Henry's physician-in-chief, De la Riviere, was at that time mainly
occupied with devising antidotes to poison, which he well knew was
offered to his master on frequent occasions, and in the most insidious
ways. Andrada, the famous Portuguese poisoner, amongst others is said,
under direction of Fuentes and Ybarra, to have attempted his life by a
nosegay of roses impregnated with so subtle a powder that its smell alone
was relied upon to cause death, and De la Riviere was doing his best to
search for a famous Saxon drug, called fable-powder, as a counter-poison.
"The Turk alarms us, and well he may," said a diplomatic agent of Henry,
"but the Spaniard allows us not to think of the Turk. And what a strange
manner is this to exercise one's enmities and vengeance by having
recourse to such damnable artifices, after force and arms have not
succeeded, and to attack the person of princes by poisonings and

A most elaborate attempt upon the life of Queen Elizabeth early in this
year came near being successful. A certain Portuguese Jew, Dr. Lopez, had
for some time been her physician-in-ordinary. He had first been received
into her service on the recommendation of Don Antonio, the pretender, and
had the reputation of great learning and skill. With this man Count
Fuentes and Stephen Ybarra, chief of the financial department at
Brussels, had a secret understanding. Their chief agent was Emanuel
Andrada, who was also in close communication with Bernardino de Mendoza
and other leading personages of the Spanish court. Two years previously,
Philip, by the hands of Andrada, had sent a very valuable ring of rubies
and diamonds as a present to Lopez, and the doctor had bound himself to
do any service for the king of Spain that might be required of him.
Andrada accordingly wrote to Mendoza that he had gained over this eminent
physician, but that as Lopez was poor and laden with debt, a high price
would be required for his work. Hereupon Fuentes received orders from the
King of Spain to give the Jew all that he could in reason demand, if he
would undertake to poison the queen.

It now became necessary to handle the matter with great delicacy, and
Fuentes and Ybarra entered accordingly into a correspondence, not with
Lopez, but with a certain Ferrara de Gama. These letters were entrusted
to one Emanuel Lewis de Tinoco, secretly informed of the plot, for
delivery to Ferrara. Fuentes charged Tinoco to cause Ferrara to encourage
Lopez to poison her Majesty of England, that they might all have "a merry
Easter." Lopez was likewise requested to inform the King of Spain when he
thought he could accomplish the task. The doctor ultimately agreed to do
the deed for fifty thousand crowns, but as he had daughters and was an
affectionate parent, he stipulated for a handsome provision in marriage
for those young ladies. The terms were accepted, but Lopez wished to be
assured of the money first.

"Having once undertaken the work," said Lord Burghley, if he it were, "he
was so greedy to perform it that he would ask Ferrara every day, 'When
will the money come? I am ready to do the service if the answer were come
out of Spain.'"

But Philip, as has been often seen, was on principle averse to paying for
work before it had been done. Some delay occurring, and the secret, thus
confided to so many, having floated as it were imperceptibly into the
air, Tinoco was arrested on suspicion before he had been able to deliver
the letters of Fuentes and Ybarra to Ferrara, for Ferrara, too, had been
imprisoned before the arrival of Tinoco. The whole correspondence was
discovered, and both Ferrara and Tinoco confessed the plot. Lopez, when
first arrested, denied his guilt very stoutly, but being confronted with
Ferrara, who told the whole story to his face in presence of the judges,
he at last avowed the crime.

They were all condemned, executed, and quartered at London in the spring
of 1594. The queen wished to send a special envoy to the archduke at
Brussels, to complain that Secretary of State Cristoval de Moura, Count
Fuentes, and Finance Minister Ybarra--all three then immediately about
his person--were thus implicated in the plot against her life, to demand
their punishment, or else, in case of refusals to convict the king and
the archduke as accomplices in the crime. Safe conduct was requested for
such an envoy, which was refused by Ernest as an insulting proposition
both to his uncle and himself. The queen accordingly sent word to
President Richardot by one of her council, that the whole story would be
published, and this was accordingly done.

Early in the spring of this same year, a certain Renichon, priest and
schoolmaster of Namur, was summoned from his school to a private
interview with Count Berlaymont. That nobleman very secretly informed the
priest that the King of, Spain wished to make use of him in an affair of
great importance, and one which would be very profitable to himself. The
pair then went together to Brussels, and proceeded straightway to the
palace. They were secretly admitted to the apartments of the archduke,
but the priest, meaning to follow his conductor into the private chamber,
where he pretended to recognize the person of Ernest, was refused
admittance. The door was, however, not entirely closed, and he heard, as
he declared, the conversation between his Highness and Berlaymont, which
was carried on partly in Latin and partly in Spanish. He heard them
discussing the question--so he stated--of the recompense to be awarded
for the business about to be undertaken, and after a brief conversation,
distinctly understood the archduke to say, as the count was approaching
the door, "I will satisfy him abundantly and with interest."

Berlaymont then invited his clerical guest to supper--so ran his
statement--and, after that repast was finished, informed him that he was
requested by the archduke to kill Prince Maurice of Nassau. For this
piece of work he was to receive one hundred Philip-dollars in hand, and
fifteen thousand more, which were lying ready for him, so soon as the
deed should be done.

The schoolmaster at first objected to the enterprise, but ultimately
yielded to the persuasions of the count. He was informed that Maurice was
a friendly, familiar gentleman, and that there would be opportunities
enough for carrying out the project if he took his time. He was to buy a
good pair of pistols and remove to the Hague, where he was to set up a
school, and wait for the arrival of his accomplices, of whom there were
six. Berlaymont then caused to be summoned and introduced to the
pedagogue a man whom he described as one of the six. The new comer,
hearing that Renichon had agreed to the propositions made to him, hailed
him cordially as comrade and promised to follow him very soon into
Holland. Berlaymont then observed that there were several personages to
be made away with, besides Prince Maurice--especially Barneveld, and St.
Aldegonde and that the six assassins had, since the time of the Duke of
Parma, been kept in the pay of the King of Spain as nobles, to be
employed as occasion should serve.

His new comrade accompanied Renichon to the canal boat, conversing by the
way, and informed him that they were both to be sent to Leyden in order
to entice away and murder the young brother of Maurice, Frederic Henry,
then at school at that place, even as Philip William, eldest of all the
brothers, had been kidnapped five-and-twenty years before from the same

Renichon then disguised himself as a soldier, proceeded to Antwerp, where
he called himself Michael de Triviere, and thence made his way to Breda,
provided with letters from Berlaymont. He was, however, arrested on
suspicion not long after his arrival there, and upon trial the whole plot
was discovered. Having unsuccessfully attempted to hang himself, he
subsequently, without torture, made a full and minute confession, and was
executed on the 3rd June, 1594.

Later in the year, one Pierre du Four, who had been a soldier both in the
States and the French service, was engaged by General La Motte and
Counsellor Assonleville to attempt the assassination of Prince Maurice.
La Motte took the man to the palace, and pretended at least to introduce
him to the chamber of the archduke, who was said to be lying ill in bed.
Du Four was advised to enrol himself in the body-guard at the Hague, and
to seek an opportunity when the prince went hunting, or was mounting his
horse, or was coming from church, or at some such unguarded moment, to
take a shot at him. "Will you do what I ask," demanded from the bed the
voice of him who was said to be Ernest, "will you kill this tyrant?"--"I
will," replied the soldier. "Then my son," was the parting benediction of
the supposed archduke, "you will go straight to paradise."

Afterwards he received good advice from Assonleville, and was assured
that if he would come and hear a mass in the royal chapel next morning,
that religious ceremony would make him invisible when he should make his
attempt on the life of Maurice, and while he should be effecting his
escape. The poor wretch accordingly came next morning to chapel, where
this miraculous mass was duly performed, and he then received a certain
portion of his promised reward in ready money. He was also especially
charged, in case he should be arrested, not to make a confession--as had
been done by those previously employed in such work--as all complicity
with him on part of his employers would certainly be denied.

The miserable dupe was arrested, convicted, executed; and of course the
denial was duly made on the part of the archduke, La Motte, and
Assonleville. It was also announced, on behalf of Ernest, that some one
else, fraudulently impersonating his Highness, had lain in the bed to
which the culprit had been taken, and every one must hope that the
statement was a true one.

Enough has been given to show the peculiar school of statesmanship
according to the precepts of which the internal concerns and foreign
affairs of the obedient Netherlands were now administered. Poison and
pistols in the hands of obscure priests and deserters were relied on to
bring about great political triumphs, while the mutinous royal armies,
entrenched and defiant, were extorting capitulations from their own
generals and their own sovereign upon his own soil.

Such a record as this seems rather like the exaggeration of a diseased
fancy, seeking to pander to a corrupt public taste which feeds greedily
upon horrors; but, unfortunately, it is derived from the register of high
courts of justice, from diplomatic correspondence, and from the
confessions, without torture or hope of free pardon, of criminals. For a
crowned king and his high functionaries and generals to devote so much of
their time, their energies, and their money to the murder of brother and
sister sovereigns, and other illustrious personages, was not to make
after ages in love with the monarchic and aristocratic system, at least
as thus administered. Popular governments may be deficient in polish, but
a system resting for its chief support upon bribery and murder cannot be
considered lovely by any healthy mind. And this is one of the lessons to
be derived from the history of Philip II. and of the Holy League.

But besides mutiny and assassination there were also some feeble attempts
at negotiation to characterize the Ernestian epoch at Brussels. The
subject hardly needs more than a passing allusion.

Two Flemish juris-consults, Otto Hertius and Jerome Comans, offered their
services to the archduke in the peacemaking department. Ernest accepted
the proposition,--although it was strongly opposed by Fuentes, who relied
upon the more practical agency of Dr. Lopez, Andrada, Renichon, and the
rest--and the peace-makers accordingly made their appearance at the
Hague, under safe conduct, and provided with very conciliatory letters
from his Highness to the States-General. In all ages and under all
circumstances it is safe to enlarge, with whatever eloquence may be at
command, upon the blessings of peace and upon the horrors of war; for the
appeal is not difficult to make, and a response is certain in almost
every human breast. But it is another matter to descend from the general
to the particular, and to demonstrate how the desirable may be attained
and the horrible averted. The letters of Ernest were full of benignity
and affection, breathing a most ardent desire that the miserable war, now
a quarter of a century old, should be then and there terminated. But not
one atom of concession was offered, no whisper breathed that the
republic, if it should choose to lay down its victorious arms, and
renounce its dearly gained independence, should share any different fate
from that under which it saw the obedient provinces gasping before its
eyes. To renounce religious and political liberty and self-government,
and to submit unconditionally to the authority of Philip II. as
administered by Ernest and Fuentes, was hardly to be expected as the
result of the three years' campaigns of Maurice of Nassau.

The two doctors of law laid the affectionate common-places of the
archduke before the States-General, each of them making, moreover, a long
and flowery oration in which the same protestations of good will and
hopes of future good-fellowship were distended to formidable dimensions
by much windy rhetoric. The accusations which had been made against the
Government of Brussels of complicity in certain projects of assassination
were repelled with virtuous indignation.

The answer of the States-General was wrathful and decided. They informed
the commissioners that they had taken up arms for a good cause and meant
to retain them in their hands. They expressed their thanks for the
expressions of good will which had been offered, but avowed their right
to complain before God and the world of those who under pretext of peace
were attempting to shed the innocent blood of Christians, and to procure
the ruin and destruction of the Netherlands. To this end the
state-council of Spain was more than ever devoted, being guilty of the
most cruel and infamous proceedings and projects. They threw out a rapid
and stinging summary of their wrongs; and denounced with scorn the
various hollow attempts at negotiation during the preceding twenty-five
years. Coming down to the famous years 1587 and 1588, they alluded in
vehement terms to the fraudulent peace propositions which had been thrown
as a veil over the Spanish invasion of England and the Armada; and they
glanced at the mediation-projects of the emperor in 1591 at the desire of
Spain, while armies were moving in force from Germany, Italy, and the
Netherlands to crush the King of France, in order that Philip might
establish his tyranny over all kings, princes, provinces, and republics.
That the Spanish Government was secretly dealing with the emperor and
other German potentates for the extension of his universal empire
appeared from intercepted letters of the king--copies of which were
communicated--from which it was sufficiently plain that the purpose of
his Majesty was not to bestow peace and tranquillity upon the
Netherlands. The names of Fuentes, Clemente, Ybarra, were sufficient in
themselves to destroy any such illusion. They spoke in blunt terms of the
attempt of Dr. Lopez to poison Queen Elizabeth, at the instigation of
Count Fuentes for fifty thousand crowns to be paid by the King of Spain:
they charged upon the same Fuentes and upon Ybarra that they had employed
the same Andrada to murder the King of France with a nosegay of roses;
and they alluded further to the revelations of Michael Renichon, who was
to murder Maurice of Nassau and kidnap Frederic William, even as their
father and brother had been already murdered and kidnapped.

For such reasons the archduke might understand by what persons and what
means the good people of the Netherlands were deceived, and how difficult
it was for the States to forget such lessons, or to imagine anything
honest in the present propositions.

The States declared themselves, on the contrary, more called upon than
ever before to be upon the watch against the stealthy proceedings of the
Spanish council of state--bearing in mind the late execrable attempts at
assassination, and the open war which was still carried on against the
King of France.

And although it was said that his Highness was displeased with such
murderous and hostile proceedings, still it was necessary for the States
to beware of the nefarious projects of the King of Spain and his council.

After the conversion of Henry IV. to the Roman Church had been duly
accomplished that monarch had sent a secret envoy to Spain. The mission
of this agent--De Varenne by name--excited intense anxiety and suspicion
in England and Holland and among the Protestants of France and Germany.
It was believed that Henry had not only made a proposition of a separate
peace with Philip, but that he had formally but mysteriously demanded the
hand of the Infanta in marriage. Such a catastrophe as this seemed to the
heated imaginations of the great body of Calvinists throughout Europe,
who had so faithfully supported the King of Navarre up to the moment of
his great apostasy, the most cruel and deadly treachery of all. That the
princess with the many suitors should come to reign over France after
all--not as the bride of her own father, not as the queen-consort of
Ernest the Habsburger or of Guise the Lorrainer, but as the lawful wife
of Henry the Huguenot--seemed almost too astounding for belief, even amid
the chances and changes of that astonishing epoch. Yet Duplessis Mornay
avowed that the project was entertained, and that he had it from the very
lips of the secret envoy who was to negotiate the marriage. "La Varenne
is on his way to Spain," wrote Duplessis to the Duke of Bouillon, "in
company with a gentleman of Don Bernardino de Mendoza, who brought the
first overtures. He is to bring back the portrait of the Infanta. 'Tis
said that the marriage is to be on condition that the Queen and the
Netherlands are comprised in the peace, but you know that this cannot be
satisfactorily arranged for those two parties. All this was once
guess-work, but is now history."

That eminent diplomatist and soldier Mendoza had already on his return
from France given the King of Spain to understand that there were no
hopes of his obtaining the French crown either for himself or for his
daughter, that all the money lavished on the chiefs of the League was
thrown away, and that all their promises were idle wind. Mendoza in
consequence had fallen into contempt at court, but Philip, observing
apparently that there might have been something correct in his
statements, had recently recalled him, and, notwithstanding his blindness
and other infirmities, was disposed to make use of him in secret
negotiations. Mendoza had accordingly sent a confidential agent to Henry
IV. offering his good offices, now that the king had returned to the
bosom of the Church.

This individual, whose name was Nunez, was admitted by De Bethune
(afterwards the famous Due de Sully) to the presence of the king, but De
Bethune, believing it probable that the Spaniard had been sent to
assassinate Henry, held both the hands of the emissary during the whole
interview, besides subjecting him to a strict personal visitation
beforehand. Nunez stated that he was authorized to propose to his Majesty
a marriage with the Infanta Clara Isabella, and Henry, much to the
discontent of De Bethune, listened eagerly to the suggestion, and
promised to send a secret agent to Spain to confer on the subject with

The choice he made of La Varenne, whose real name was Guillaume Fouquet,
for this mission was still more offensive to De Bethune. Fouquet had
originally been a cook in the service of Madame Catherine, and was famous
for his talent for larding poultry, but he had subsequently entered the
household of Henry, where he had been employed in the most degrading
service which one man can render to another.

   ["La Varenne," said Madame Catherine on one occasion "tu as plus
   gagne ti porter les poulets de men frere, qu'a piquer les miens."
   Memoires de Sully, Liv. vi. p. 296, note 6. He accumulated a large
   fortune in these dignified pursuits--having, according to Winwood,
   landed estates to the annual amount of sixty thousand francs a-year
   --and gave large dowries to his daughters, whom he married into
   noblest families; "which is the more remarkable," adds Winwood,
   "considering the services wherein he is employed about the king,
   which is to be the Mezzano for his loves; the place from whence he
   came, which is out of the kitchen of Madame the king's sister."--
   Memorials, i. 380.]

On his appointment to this office of secret diplomacy he assumed all the
airs of an ambassador, while Henry took great pains to contradict the
reports which were spread as to the true nature of this mission to Spain.

Duplessis was, in truth, not very far wrong in his conjectures, but, as
might be supposed, Henry was most anxious to conceal these secret
negotiations with his Catholic Majesty from the Huguenot chiefs whom he
had so recently deserted. "This is all done without the knowledge of the
Duke of Bouillon," said Calvaert, "or at least under a very close
disguise, as he, himself keenly feels and confesses to me." The envoy of
the republic, as well as the leaders of the Protestant party in France,
were resolved if possible to break off these dark and dangerous
intrigues, the nature of which they so shrewdly suspected, and to
substitute for them an open rupture of Henry with the King of Spain, and
a formal declaration of war against him. None of the diplomatists or
political personages engaged in these great affairs, in which the whole
world was so deeply interested, manifested more sagacity and insight on
this occasion than did the Dutch statesmen. We have seen that even Sir
Edward Stafford was deceived up to a very late moment, as to the rumoured
intentions of Henry to enter the Catholic Church. Envoy Edmonds was now
equally and completely in the dark as to the mission of Varenne, and
informed his Government that the only result of it was that the secret
agent to Spain was favoured, through the kindness of Mendoza, with a
distant view of Philip II. with his son and daughter at their devotions
in the chapel of the Escorial. This was the tale generally recounted and
believed after the agent's return from Spain, so that Varenne was
somewhat laughed at as having gone to Spain on a fool's errand, and as
having got nothing from Mendoza but a disavowal of his former
propositions. But the shrewd Calvaert, who had entertained familiar
relations with La Varenne, received from that personage after his return
a very different account of his excursion to the Escorial from the one
generally circulated. "Coming from Monceaus to Paris in his company,"
wrote Calvaert in a secret despatch to the States, "I had the whole story
from him. The chief part of his negotiations with Don Bernardino de
Mendoza was that if his Majesty (the French king) would abandon the Queen
of England and your Highnesses (the States of the Netherlands), there
were no conditions that would be refused the king, including the hand of
the Infanta, together with a good recompense for the kingdom of Navarre.
La Varenne maintained that the King of Spain had caused these
negotiations to be entered upon at this time with him in the certain hope
and intention of a definite conclusion, alleging to me many pertinent
reasons, and among others that he, having been lodged at Madrid, through
the adroitness of Don Bernardino, among all the agents of the League, and
hearing all their secrets and negotiations, had never been discovered,
but had always been supposed to be one of the League himself. He said
also that he was well assured that the Infanta in her heart had an
affection for the French king, and notwithstanding any resolutions that
might be taken (to which I referred, meaning the projects for bestowing
her on the house of Austria) that she with her father's consent or in
case of his death would not fail to carry out this marriage. You may from
all this, even out of the proposal for compensation for the kingdom of
Navarre (of which his Majesty also let out something to me
inadvertently); collect the reasons why such feeble progress is made in
so great an occasion as now presents itself for a declaration of war and
an open alliance with your Highnesses. I shall not fail to watch these
events, even in case of the progress of the said resolutions,
notwithstanding the effects of which it is my opinion that this secret
intrigue is not to be abandoned. To this end, besides the good
intelligence which one gets by means of good friends, a continual and
agreeable presentation of oneself to his Majesty, in order to see and
hear everything, is necessary."

Certainly, here were reasons more than sufficient why Henry should be
making but feeble preparations for open war in alliance with England and
the republic against Philip, as such a step was hardly compatible with
the abandonment of England and the republic and the espousal of Philip's
daughter--projects which Henry's commissioner had just been discussing
with Philip's agent at Madrid and the Escorial.

Truly it was well for the republican envoy to watch events as closely as
possible, to make the most of intelligence from his good friends, and to
present himself as frequently and as agreeably as possible to his
Majesty, that he might hear and see everything. There was much to see and
to hear, and it needed adroitness and courage, not to slip or stumble in
such dark ways where the very ground seemed often to be sliding from
beneath the feet.

To avoid the catastrophe of an alliance between Henry, Philip, and the
Pope against Holland and England, it was a pressing necessity for Holland
and England to force Henry into open war against Philip. To this end the
Dutch statesmen were bending all their energies. Meantime Elizabeth
regarded the campaign in Artois and Hainault with little favour.

As he took leave on departing for France, La Varenne had requested
Mendoza to write to King Henry, but the Spaniard excused
himself--although professing the warmest friendship for his Majesty--on
the ground of the impossibility of addressing him correctly. "If I call
him here King of Navarre, I might as well put my head on the block at
once," he observed; "if I call him King of France, my master has not yet
recognized him as such; if I call him anything else, he will himself be

And the vision of Philip in black on his knees, with his children about
him, and a rapier at his side, passed with the contemporary world as the
only phenomenon of this famous secret mission.

But Henry, besides this demonstration towards Spain, lost no time in
despatching a special minister to the republic and to England, who was
instructed to make the most profuse, elaborate, and conciliatory
explanations as to his recent conversion and as to his future intentions.
Never would he make peace, he said, with Spain without the full consent
of the States and of England; the dearest object of his heart in making
his peace with Rome having been to restore peace to his own distracted
realm, to bring all Christians into one brotherhood, and to make a united
attack upon the grand Turk--a vision which the cheerful monarch hardly
intended should ever go beyond the ivory gate of dreams, but which
furnished substance enough for several well-rounded periods in the
orations of De Morlans.

That diplomatist, after making the strongest representations to Queen
Elizabeth as to the faithful friendship of his master, and the necessity
he was under of pecuniary and military assistance, had received generous
promises of aid both in men and money--three thousand men besides the
troops actually serving in Brittany--from that sagacious sovereign,
notwithstanding the vehement language in which she had rebuked her royal
brother's apostasy.  He now came for the same purpose to the Hague, where
he made very eloquent harangues to the States-General, acknowledging that
the republic had ever been the most upright, perfect, and undisguised
friend to his master and to France in their darkest days and deepest
affliction; that she had loved the king and kingdom for themselves, not
merely hanging on to their prosperity, but, on the contrary, doing her
best to produce that prosperity by her contributions in soldiers, ships,
and subsidies. "The king," said De Morlans, "is deeply grieved that he
can prove his gratitude only in words for so many benefits conferred,
which are absolutely without example, but he has commissioned me to
declare that if God should ever give him the occasion, he will prove how
highly he places your friendship."

The envoy assured the States that all fears entertained by those of the
reformed religion on account of the conversion of his Majesty were
groundless. Nothing was farther from the king's thoughts than to injure
those noble spirits with whom his soul had lived so long, and whom he so
much loved and honoured. No man knew better than the king did, the
character of those who professed the Religion, their virtue, valour,
resolution, and patience in adversity. Their numbers had increased in
war, their virtues had been purified by affliction, they had never
changed their position, whether battles had been won or lost. Should ever
an attempt be made to take up arms against them within his realms, and
should there be but five hundred of them against ten thousand, the king,
remembering their faithful and ancient services, would leave the greater
number in order to die at the head of his old friends. He was determined
that they should participate in all the honours of the kingdom, and with
regard to a peace with Spain, he would have as much care for the
interests of the United Provinces as for his own. But a peace was
impossible with that monarch, whose object was to maintain his own realms
in peace while he kept France in perpetual revolt against the king whom
God had given her. The King of Spain had trembled at Henry's cradle, at
his youth, at the bloom of his manhood, and knew that he had inflicted
too much injury upon him ever to be on friendly terms with him. The envoy
was instructed to say that his master never expected to be in amity with
one who had ruined his house confiscated his property, and caused so much
misery to France; and he earnestly hoped--without presuming to
dictate--that the States-General would in this critical emergency
manifest their generosity. If the king were not assisted now, both king
and kingdom would perish. If he were assisted, the succour would bear
double fruit.

The sentiments expressed on the part of Henry towards his faithful
subjects of the Religion, the heretic Queen of England, and the stout
Dutch Calvinists who had so long stood by him, were most noble. It was
pity that, at the same moment, he was proposing to espouse the Infanta,
and to publish the Council of Trent.

The reply of the States-General to these propositions of the French envoy
was favourable, and it was agreed that a force of three thousand foot and
five hundred horse should be sent to the assistance of the king.
Moreover, the state-paper drawn up on this occasion was conceived with so
much sagacity and expressed with so much eloquence, as particularly to
charm the English queen when it was communicated to her Majesty. She
protested very loudly and vehemently to Noel de Caron, envoy from the
provinces at London, that this response on the part of his Government to
De Morlans was one of the wisest documents that she had ever seen. "In
all their actions," said she, "the States-General show their sagacity,
and indeed, it is the wisest Government ever known among republics. I
would show you," she added to the gentlemen around her, "the whole of the
paper if it were this moment at hand."

After some delays, it was agreed between the French Government and that
of the United Provinces, that the king should divide his army into three
parts, and renew the military operations against Spain with the
expiration of the truce at the end of the year (1593).

One body, composed of the English contingent, together with three
thousand French horse, three thousand Swiss, and four thousand French
harquebus-men, were to be under his own immediate command, and were to
act against the enemy wherever it should appear to his Majesty most
advantageous. A second, army was to expel the rebels and their foreign
allies from Normandy and reduce Rouen to obedience. A third was to make a
campaign in the provinces of Artois and Hainault, under the Duke of
Bouillon (more commonly called the Viscount Turenne), in conjunction with
the forces to be supplied by the republic. "Any treaty of peace on our
part with the King of Spain," said the States-General, "is our certain
ruin. This is an axiom. That monarch's object is to incorporate into his
own realms not only all the states and possessions of neighbouring kings,
principalities, and powers, but also all Christendom, aye, the whole
world, were it possible. We joyfully concur then in your Majesty's
resolution to carry on the war in Artois and Hainault, and agree to your
suggestion of diversions on our part by sieges and succour by

Balagny, meantime, who had so long led an independent existence at
Cambray, now agreed to recognise Henry's authority, in consideration of
sixty-seven thousand crowns yearly pension and the dignity of Marshal of

Towards the end of the year 1594, Buzanval, the regular French envoy at
the Hague, began to insist more warmly than seemed becoming that the
campaign in Artois and Hainault--so often the base of military operations
on the part of Spain against France--should begin. Further achievements
on the part of Maurice after the fall of Groningen were therefore
renounced for that year, and his troops went into garrison and
winter-quarters. The States-General, who had also been sending supplies,
troops, and ships to Brittany to assist the king, now, after soundly
rebuking Buzanval for his intemperate language, entrusted their
contingent for the proposed frontier campaign to Count Philip Nassau, who
accordingly took the field toward the end of the year at the head of
twenty-eight companies of foot and five squadrons of cavalry. He made his
junction with Turenne-Bouillon, but the duke, although provided with a
tremendous proclamation, was but indifferently supplied with troops. The
German levies, long-expected, were slow in moving, and on the whole it
seemed that the operations might have been continued by Maurice with more
effect, according to his original plan, than in this rather desultory
fashion. The late winter campaign on the border was feeble and a failure.

The bonds of alliance, however, were becoming very close between Henry
and the republic. Despite the change in religion on the part of the king,
and the pangs which it had occasioned in the hearts of leading
Netherlanders, there was still the traditional attraction between France
and the States, which had been so remarkably manifested during the
administration of William the Silent. The republic was more restive than
ever under the imperious and exacting friendship of Elizabeth, and,
feeling more and more its own strength, was making itself more and more
liable to the charge of ingratitude; so constantly hurled in its face by
the queen. And Henry, now that he felt himself really king of France, was
not slow to manifest a similar ingratitude or an equal love of
independence. Both monarch and republic, chafing under the protection of
Elizabeth, were drawn into so close a union as to excite her anger and
jealousy--sentiments which in succeeding years were to become yet more
apparent. And now; while Henry still retained the chivalrous and flowery
phraseology, so sweet to her ears, in his personal communications to the
queen, his ministers were in the habit of using much plainer language.
"Mr. de Sancy said to me," wrote the Netherland minister in France,
Calvaert, "that his Majesty and your Highnesses (the States-General) must
without long delay conclude an alliance offensive and defensive. In
regard to England, which perhaps might look askance at this matter, he
told me it would be invited also by his Majesty into the same alliance;
but if, according to custom, it shilly-shallied, and without coming to
deeds or to succour should put him off with words, he should in that case
proceed with our alliance without England, not doubting that many other
potentates in Italy and Germany would join in it likewise. He said too,
that he, the day before the departure of the English ambassador, had said
these words to him in the presence of his Majesty; namely, that England
had entertained his Majesty sixteen months long with far-fetched and
often-repeated questions and discontents, that one had submitted to this
sort of thing so long as his Majesty was only king of Mantes, Dieppe, and
Louviers, but that his Majesty being now king of Paris would be no longer
a servant of those who should advise him to suffer it any longer or
accept it as good payment; that England must treat his Majesty according
to his quality, and with deeds, not words. He added that the ambassador
had very anxiously made answer to these words, and had promised that when
he got back to England he would so arrange that his Majesty should be
fully satisfied, insisting to the last on the alliance then proposed."

In Germany, meanwhile, there was much protocolling, and more hard
drinking, at the Diet of Ratisbon. The Protestant princes did little for
their cause against the new designs of Spain and the moribund League,
while the Catholics did less to assist Philip. In truth, the holy Roman
Empire, threatened with a Turkish invasion, had neither power nor
inclination to help the new universal empire of the west into existence.
So the princes and grandees of Germany, while Amurath was knocking at the
imperial gates, busied themselves with banquetting and other diplomatic
work, but sent few reiters either to the east or west.

Philip's envoys were indignant at the apathy displayed towards the great
Catholic cause, and felt humbled at the imbecility exhibited by Spain in
its efforts against the Netherlands and France. San Clemente, who was
attending the Diet at Ratisbon, was shocked at the scenes he witnessed.
"In less than three months," said that temperate Spaniard, "they have
drunk more than five million florins' worth of wine, at a time when the
Turk has invaded the frontiers of Germany; and among those who have done
the most of this consumption of wine, there is not one who is going to
give any assistance on the frontier. In consequence of these disorders my
purse is drained so low, that unless the king helps me I am ruined. You
must tell our master that the reputation of his grandeur and strength has
never been so low as it is now in Germany. The events in France and those
which followed in the Netherlands have thrown such impediments in the
negotiations here, that not only our enemies make sport of Marquis Havre
and myself, but even our friends--who are very few--dare not go to public
feasts, weddings, and dinners, because they are obliged to apologize for

Truly the world-empire was beginning to crumble. "The emperor has been
desiring twenty times," continued the envoy, "to get back to Prague from
the Diet, but the people hold him fast like a steer. As I think over all
that passes, I lose all judgment, for I have no money, nor influence, nor
reputation. Meantime, I see this rump of an empire keeping itself with
difficulty upon its legs. 'Tis full of wrangling and discord about
religion, and yet there is the Turk with two hundred thousand men
besieging a place forty miles from Vienna, which is the last outpost. God
grant it may last!"

Such was the aspect of the Christian world at the close of the year 1594


     Beneficent and charitable purposes (War)
     Chronicle of events must not be anticipated
     Eat their own children than to forego one high mass
     Humanizing effect of science upon the barbarism of war
     Slain four hundred and ten men with his own hand


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 67, 1595


   Formal declaration of war against Spain--Marriage festivities--Death
   of Archduke Ernest--His year of government--Fuentes declared
   governor-general--Disaffection of the Duke of Arschot and Count
   Arenberg--Death of the Duke of Arschot----Fuentes besieges Le
   Catelet--The fortress of Ham, sold to the Spanish by De Gomeron,
   besieged and taken by the Duke of Bouillon--Execution of De
   Gomeron--Death of Colonel Verdugo--Siege of Dourlens by Fuentes--
   Death of La Motte--Death of Charles Mansfeld--Total defeat of the
   French--Murder of Admiral De Pillars--Dourlens captured, and the
   garrison and citizens put to the sword--Military operations in
   eastern Netherlands and on the Rhine--Maurice lays siege to Groento
   --Mondragon hastening to its relief, Prince Maurice raises the
   siege--Skirmish between Maurice and Mondragon--Death of Philip of
   Nassau--Death of Mondragon--Bombardment and surrender of Weerd
   Castle--Maurice retires into winter quarters--Campaign of Henry IV.
   --He besieges Dijon--Surrender of Dijon--Absolution granted to Henry
   by the pope--Career of Balagny at Cambray--Progress of the siege--
   Capitulation of the town--Suicide of the Princess of Cambray, wife
   of Balagny

The year 1595 Opened with a formal declaration of war by the King of
France against the King of Spain. It would be difficult to say for
exactly how many years the war now declared had already been waged, but
it was a considerable advantage to the United Netherlands that the
manifesto had been at last regularly issued. And the manifesto was
certainly not deficient in bitterness. Not often in Christian history has
a monarch been solemnly and officially accused by a brother sovereign of
suborning assassins against his life. Bribery, stratagem, and murder,
were, however, so entirely the commonplace machinery of Philip's
administration as to make an allusion to the late attempt of Chastel
appear quite natural in Henry's declaration of war. The king further
stigmatized in energetic language the long succession of intrigues by
which the monarch of Spain, as chief of the Holy League, had been making
war upon him by means of his own subjects, for the last half dozcn years.
Certainly there was hardly need of an elaborate statement of grievances.
The deeds of Philip required no herald, unless Henry was prepared to
abdicate his hardly-earned title to the throne of France.

Nevertheless the politic Gascon subsequently regretted the fierce style
in which he had fulminated his challenge. He was accustomed to observe
that no state paper required so much careful pondering as a declaration
of war, and that it was scarcely possible to draw up such a document
without committing many errors in the phraseology. The man who never knew
fear, despondency, nor resentment, was already instinctively acting on
the principle that a king should deal with his enemy as if sure to become
his friend, and with his friends as if they might easily change to foes.

The answer to the declaration was delayed for two months. When the reply
came it of course breathed nothing but the most benignant sentiments in
regard to France, while it expressed regret that it was necessary to
carry fire and sword through that country in order to avert the
unutterable woe which the crimes of the heretic Prince of Bearne were
bringing upon all mankind.

It was a solace for Philip to call the legitimate king by the title borne
by him when heir-presumptive, and to persist in denying to him that
absolution which, as the whole world was aware, the Vicar of Christ was
at that very moment in the most solemn manner about to bestow upon him.

More devoted to the welfare of France than were the French themselves, he
was determined that a foreign prince himself, his daughter, or one of his
nephews--should supplant the descendant of St. Louis on the French
throne. More catholic than the pope he could not permit the heretic, whom
his Holiness was just washing whiter than snow, to intrude himself into
the society of Christian sovereigns.

The winter movements by Bouillon in Luxembourg, sustained by Philip
Nassau campaigning with a meagre force on the French frontier, were not
very brilliant. The Netherland regiments quartered at Yssoire, La Ferte,
and in the neighbourhood accomplished very little, and their numbers were
sadly thinned by dysentery. A sudden and successful stroke, too, by which
that daring soldier Heraugiere, who had been the chief captor of Breda,
obtained possession of the town, and castle of Huy, produced no permanent
advantage. This place, belonging to the Bishop of Liege, with its stone
bridge over the Meuse, was an advantageous position from which to aid the
operations of Bouillon in Luxembourg. Heraugiere was, however, not
sufficiently reinforced, and Huy was a month later recaptured by La
Motte. The campaigning was languid during that winter in the United
Netherlands, but the merry-making was energetic. The nuptials of Hohenlo
with Mary, eldest daughter of William the Silent and own sister of the
captive Philip William; of the Duke of Bouillon with Elizabeth, one of
the daughters of the same illustrious prince by his third wife, Charlotte
of Bourbon; and of Count Everard Solms, the famous general of the Zeeland
troops, with Sabina, daughter of the unfortunate Lamoral Egmont, were
celebrated with much pomp during the months of February and March. The
States of Holland and of Zeeland made magnificent presents of diamonds to
the brides; the Countess Hohenlo receiving besides a yearly income of
three thousand florins for the lives of herself and her husband.

In the midst of these merry marriage bells at the Hague a funeral knell
was sounding in Brussels. On the 20th February, the governor-general of
the obedient Netherlands, Archduke Ernest, breathed his last. His career
had not been so illustrious as the promises of the Spanish king and the
allegories of schoolmaster Houwaerts had led him to expect. He had not
espoused the Infanta nor been crowned King of France. He had not blasted
the rebellious Netherlands with Cyclopean thunderbolts, nor unbound the
Belgic Andromeda from the rock of doom. His brief year of government had
really been as dismal as, according to the announcement of his
sycophants, it should have been amazing. He had accomplished nothing, and
all that was left him was to die at the age of forty-two, over head and
ears in debt, a disappointed, melancholy man. He was very indolent,
enormously fat, very chaste, very expensive, fond of fine liveries and
fine clothes, so solemn and stately as never to be known to laugh, but
utterly without capacity either as a statesman or a soldier. He would
have shone as a portly abbot ruling over peaceful friars, but he was not
born to ride a revolutionary whirlwind, nor to evoke order out of chaos.
Past and Present were contending with each other in fierce elemental
strife within his domain. A world was in dying agony, another world was
coming, full-armed, into existence within the hand-breadth of time and of
space where he played his little part, but he dreamed not of it. He
passed away like a shadow, and was soon forgotten.

An effort was made, during the last illness of Ernest, to procure from
him the appointment of the elector of Cologne as temporary successor to
the government, but Count Fuentes was on the spot and was a man of
action. He produced a power in the French language from Philip, with a
blank for the name. This had been intended for the case of Peter Ernest
Mansfeld's possible death during his provisional administration, and
Fuentes now claimed the right of inserting his own name.

The dying Ernest consented, and upon his death Fuentes was declared
governor-general until the king's further pleasure should be known.

Pedro de Guzman, Count of Fuentes, a Spaniard of the hard and antique
type, was now in his sixty-fourth year. The pupil and near relative of
the Duke of Alva, he was already as odious to the Netherlanders as might
have been inferred from such education and such kin. A dark, grizzled,
baldish man, with high steep forehead, long, haggard, leathern visage,
sweeping beard, and large, stern, commanding, menacing eyes, with his
Brussels ruff of point lace and his Milan coat of proof, he was in
personal appearance not unlike the terrible duke whom men never named
without a shudder, although a quarter of a century had passed since he
had ceased to curse the Netherlands with his presence. Elizabeth of
England was accustomed to sneer at Fuentes because he had retreated
before Essex in that daring commander's famous foray into Portugal. The
queen called the Spanish general a timid old woman. If her gibe were
true, it was fortunate for her, for Henry of France, and for the
republic, that there were not many more such old women to come from Spain
to take the place of the veteran chieftains who were destined to
disappear so rapidly during this year in Flanders. He was a soldier of
fortune, loved fighting, not only for the fighting's sake, but for the
prize-money which was to be accumulated by campaigning, and he was wont
to say that he meant to enter Paradise sword in hand.

Meantime his appointment excited the wrath of the provincial magnates.
The Duke of Arschot was beside himself with frenzy, and swore that he
would never serve under Fuentes nor sit at his council-board. The duke's
brother, Marquis Havre, and his son-in-law, Count Arenberg, shared in the
hatred, although they tried to mitigate the vehemence of its expression.
But Arschot swore that no man had the right to take precedence of him in
the council of state, and that the appointment of this or any Spaniard
was a violation of the charters of the provinces and of the promises of
his Majesty. As if it were for the nobles of the obedient provinces to
prate of charters and of oaths! Their brethren under the banner of the
republic had been teaching Philip for a whole generation how they could
deal with the privileges of freemen and with the perjury of tyrants. It
was late in the day for the obedient Netherlanders to remember their
rights. Havre and Arenberg, dissembling their own wrath, were abused and
insulted by the duke when they tried to pacify him. They proposed a
compromise, according to which Arschot should be allowed to preside in
the council of state while Fuentes should content himself with the
absolute control of the army. This would be putting a bit of fat in the
duke's mouth, they said. Fuentes would hear of no such arrangement. After
much talk and daily attempts to pacify this great Netherlander, his
relatives at last persuaded him to go home to his country place. He even
promised Arenberg and his wife that he would go to Italy, in pursuance of
a vow made to our lady of Loretto. Arenberg privately intimated to
Stephen Ybarra that there was a certain oil, very apt to be efficacious
in similar cases of irritation, which might be applied with prospect of
success. If his father-in-law could only receive some ten thousand
florins which he claimed as due to him from Government, this would do
more to quiet him than a regiment of soldiers could. He also suggested
that Fuentes should call upon the duke, while Secretary Ybarra should
excuse himself by sickness for not having already paid his respects. This
was done. Fuentes called. The duke returned the call, and the two
conversed amicably about the death of the archduke, but entered into no
political discussion.

Arschot then invited the whole council of state, except John Baptist
Tassis, to a great dinner. He had prepared a paper to read to them in
which he represented the great dangers likely to ensue from such an
appointment as this of Fuentes, but declared that he washed his hands of
the consequences, and that he had determined to leave a country where he
was of so little account. He would then close his eyes and ears to
everything that might occur, and thus escape the infamy of remaining in a
country where so little account was made of him. He was urged to refrain
from reading this paper and to invite Tassis. After a time he consented
to suppress the document, but he manfully refused to bid the
objectionable diplomatist to his banquet.

The dinner took place and passed off pleasantly enough. Arschot did not
read his manifesto, but, as he warmed with wine, he talked a great deal
of nonsense which, according to Stephen Ybarra, much resembled it, and he
vowed that thenceforth he would be blind and dumb to all that might
occur. A few days later, he paid a visit to the new governor-general, and
took a peaceful farewell of him. "Your Majesty knows very well what he
is," wrote Fuentes: "he is nothing but talk." Before leaving the country
he sent a bitter complaint to Ybarra, to the effect that the king had
entirely forgotten him, and imploring that financier's influence to
procure for him some gratuity from his Majesty. He was in such necessity,
he said, that it was no longer possible for him to maintain his

And with this petition the grandee of the obedient provinces shook the
dust from his shoes, and left his natal soil for ever. He died on the
11th December of the same year in Venice.

His son the Prince of Chimay, his brother, and son-inlaw, and the other
obedient nobles, soon accommodated themselves to the new administration,
much as they had been inclined to bluster at first about their
privileges. The governor soon reported that matters were proceeding very,
smoothly. There was a general return to the former docility now that such
a disciplinarian as Fuentes held the reins.

The opening scenes of the campaign between the Spanish governor and
France were, as usual, in Picardy. The Marquis of Varambon made a
demonstration in the neighbourhood of Dourlens--a fortified town on the
river Authie, lying in an open plain, very deep in that province--while
Fuentes took the field with eight thousand men, and laid siege to Le
Catelet. He had his eye, however, upon Ham. That important stronghold was
in the hands of a certain nobleman called De Gomeron, who had been an
energetic Leaguer, and was now disposed, for a handsome consideration, to
sell himself to the King of Spain. In the auction of governors and
generals then going on in every part of France it had been generally
found that Henry's money was more to be depended upon in the long run,
although Philip's bids were often very high, and, for a considerable
period, the payments regular. Gomeron's upset price for himself was
twenty-five thousand crowns in cash, and a pension of eight thousand a
year. Upon these terms he agreed to receive a Spanish garrison into the
town, and to cause the French in the citadel to be sworn into the service
of the Spanish king. Fuentes agreed to the bargain and paid the adroit
tradesman, who knew so well how to turn a penny for himself, a large
portion of the twenty-five thousand crowns upon the nail.

De Gomeron was to proceed to Brussels to receive the residue. His
brother-in-law, M. d'Orville, commanded in the citadel, and so soon as
the Spanish troops had taken possession of the town its governor claimed
full payment of his services.

But difficulties awaited him in Brussels. He was informed that a French
garrison could not be depended upon for securing the fortress, but that
town and citadel must both be placed in Spanish hands. De Gomeron loudly
protesting that this was not according to contract, was calmly assured,
by command of Fuentes, that unless the citadel were at once evacuated and
surrendered, he would not receive the balance of his twenty-five thousand
crowns, and that he should instantly lose his head. Here was more than De
Gomeron had bargained for; but this particular branch of commerce in
revolutionary times, although lucrative, has always its risks. De
Gomeron, thus driven to the wall, sent a letter by a Spanish messenger to
his brother-in-law, ordering him to surrender the fortress.
D'Orville--who meantime had been making his little arrangements with the
other party--protested that the note had been written under duress, and
refused to comply with its directions.

Time was pressing, for the Duke of Bouillon and the Count of St. Pol lay
with a considerable force in the neighbourhood, obviously menacing Ham.

Fuentes accordingly sent that distinguished soldier and historian, Don
Carlos Coloma, with a detachment of soldiers to Brussels, with orders to
bring Gomeron into camp. He was found seated at supper with his two young
brothers, aged respectively sixteen and eighteen years, and was just
putting a cherry into his mouth as Coloma entered the room. He remained
absorbed in thought, trifling with the cherry without eating it, which
Don Carlos set down as a proof of guilt: The three brothers were at once
put in a coach, together with their sister, a nun of the age of twenty,
and conveyed to the head-quarters of Fuentes, who lay before Le Catelet,
but six leagues from Ham.

Meantime D'Orville had completed his negotiations with Bouillon, and had
agreed to surrender the fortress so soon as the Spanish troops should be
driven from the town. The duke knowing that there was no time to lose,
came with three thousand men before the place. His summons to surrender
was answered by a volley of cannon-shot from the town defences. An
assault was made and repulsed, D'Humieres, a most gallant officer and a
favourite of King Henry, being killed, besides at least two hundred
soldiers. The next attack was successful, the town was carried, and the
Spanish garrison put to the sword.

D'Orville then, before giving up the citadel, demanded three hostages for
the lives of his three brothers-in-law.

The hostages availed him little. Fuentes had already sent word to
Gomeron's mother, that if the bargain were not fulfilled he would send
her the heads of her three sons on three separate dishes. The distracted
woman made her way, to D'Orville, and fell at his feet with tears and
entreaties. It was too late, and D'Orville, unable to bear her
lamentations, suddenly rushed from the castle, and nearly fell into the
hands of the Spaniards as he fled from the scene. Two of the four
cuirassiers, who alone of the whole garrison accompanied him, were taken
prisoners. The governor escaped to unknown regions. Madame de Gomeron
then appeared before Fuentes, and tried in vain to soften him. De Gomeron
was at once beheaded in the sight of the whole camp. The two younger sons
were retained in prison, but ultimately set at liberty. The town and
citadel were thus permanently acquired by their lawful king, who was said
to be more afflicted at the death of D'Humieres than rejoiced at the
capture of Ham.

Meantime Colonel Verdugo, royal governor of Friesland, whose occupation
in those provinces, now so nearly recovered by the republic, was gone,
had led a force of six thousand foot, and twelve hundred horse across the
French border, and was besieging La Ferte on the Cher. The siege was
relieved by Bouillon on the 26th May, and the Spanish veteran was then
ordered to take command in Burgundy. But his days were numbered. He had
been sick of dysentery at Luxembourg during the summer, but after
apparent recovery died suddenly on the 2nd September, and of course was
supposed to have been poisoned. He was identified with the whole history
of the Netherland wars. Born at Talavera de la Reyna, of noble parentage,
as he asserted--although his mother was said to have sold dogs' meat, and
he himself when a youth was a private soldier--he rose by steady conduct
and hard fighting to considerable eminence in his profession. He was
governor of Harlem after the famous siege, and exerted himself with some
success to mitigate the ferocity of the Spaniards towards the
Netherlanders at that epoch. He was marshal-general of the camp under Don
John of Austria, and distinguished himself at the battle of Gemblours. He
succeeded Count Renneberg as governor of Friesland and Groningen, and
bore a manful part in most of the rough business that had been going on
for a generation of mankind among those blood-stained wolds and morasses.
He was often victorious, and quite as often soundly defeated; but he
enjoyed campaigning, and was a glutton of work. He cared little for
parade and ceremony, but was fond of recalling with pleasure the days
when he was a soldier at four crowns a month, with an undivided fourth of
one cloak, which he and three companions wore by turns on holidays.
Although accused of having attempted to procure the assassination of
William Lewis Nassau, he was not considered ill-natured, and he possessed
much admiration for Prince Maurice. An iron-clad man, who had scarcely
taken harness from his back all his life, he was a type of the Spanish
commanders who had implanted international hatred deeply in the
Netherland soul, and who, now that this result and no other had been
accomplished, were rapidly passing away. He had been baptised Franco, and
his family appellation of Verdugo meant executioner. Punning on these
names he was wont to say, that he was frank for all good people, but a
hangman for heretics; and he acted up to his gibe.

Foiled at Ham, Fuentes had returned to the siege of Catelet, and had soon
reduced the place. He then turned his attention again to Dourlens, and
invested that city. During the preliminary operations, another veteran
commander in these wars, Valentin Pardieu de la Motte, recently created
Count of Everbecque by Philip, who had been for a long time
general-in-chief of the artillery, and was one of the most famous and
experienced officers in the Spanish service, went out one fine moonlight
night to reconnoitre the enemy, and to superintend the erection of
batteries. As he was usually rather careless of his personal safety, and
rarely known to put on his armour when going for such purposes into the
trenches, it was remarked with some surprise, on this occasion, that he
ordered his page to bring his, accoutrements, and that he armed himself
cap-a pie before leaving his quarters. Nevertheless, before he had
reached the redoubt, a bullet from the town struck him between the fold
of his morion and the edge of his buckler and he fell dead without
uttering a sound.

Here again was a great loss to the king's service. La Motte, of a noble
family in Burgundy, had been educated in the old fierce traditions of the
Spanish system of warfare in the Netherlands, and had been one of the
very hardest instruments that the despot could use for his bloody work.
He had commanded a company of horse at the famous battle of St. Quintin,
and since that opening event in Philip's reign he had been
unceasingly--engaged in the Flemish wars. Alva made him a colonel of a
Walloon regiment; the grand commander Requesena appointed him governor of
Gravelines. On the whole he had been tolerably faithful to his colours;
having changed sides but twice. After the pacification of Ghent he swore
allegiance to the States-General, and assisted in the bombardment of the
citadel of that place. Soon afterwards he went over to Don John of
Austria, and surrendered to him the town and fortress of Gravelines, of
which he then continued governor in the name of the king. He was
fortunate in the accumulation of office and of money; rather unlucky in
his campaigning. He was often wounded in action, and usually defeated
when commanding in chief. He lost an arm at the siege of Sluy's, and had
now lost his life almost by an accident. Although twice married he left
no children to inherit his great estates, while the civil and military
offices left vacant by his death were sufficient to satisfy the claims of
five aspiring individuals. The Count of Varax succeeded him as general of
artillery; but it was difficult to find a man to replace La Motte,
possessing exactly the qualities which had made that warrior so valuable
to his king. The type was rapidly disappearing, and most fortunately for
humanity, if half the stories told of him by grave chroniclers,
accustomed to discriminate between history and gossip, are to be
believed. He had committed more than one cool homicide. Although not
rejoicing in the same patronymic as his Spanish colleague of Friesland,
he too was ready on occasion to perform hangman's work. When
sergeant-major in Flanders, he had himself volunteered--so ran the
chronicle--to do execution on a poor wretch found guilty of professing
the faith of Calvin; and, with his own hands, had prepared a fire of
straw, tied his victim to the stake, and burned him to cinders. Another
Netherlander for the name crime of heresy had been condemned to be torn
to death by horses. No one could be found to carry out the sentence. The
soldiers under La Motte's command broke into mutiny rather than permit
themselves to be used for such foul purposes; but the ardent young
sergeant-major came forward, tied the culprit by the arms and legs to two
horses, and himself whipped them to their work till it was duly
accomplished. Was it strange that in Philip's reign such energy should be
rewarded by wealth, rank, and honour? Was not such a labourer in the
vineyard worthy of his hire?

Still another eminent chieftain in the king's service disappeared at this
time--one who, although unscrupulous and mischievous enough in his day,
was however not stained by any suspicion of crimes like these. Count
Charles Mansfeld, tired of governing his decrepit parent Peter Ernest,
who, since the appointment of Fuentes, had lost all further chance of
governing the Netherlands, had now left Philip's service and gone to the
Turkish wars. For Amurath III., who had died in the early days of the
year, had been succeeded by a sultan as warlike as himself. Mahomet III.,
having strangled his nineteen brothers on his accession, handsomely
buried them in cypress coffins by the side of their father, and having
subsequently sacked and drowned ten infant princes posthumously born to
Amurath, was at leisure to carry the war through Transylvania and
Hungary, up to the gates of Vienna, with renewed energy. The Turk, who
could enforce the strenuous rules of despotism by which all
secundogenitures and collateral claimants in the Ottoman family were thus
provided for, was a foe to be dealt with seriously. The power of the
Moslems at that day was a full match for the holy Roman Empire. The days
were far distant when the grim Turk's head was to become a mockery and a
show; and when a pagan empire, born of carnage and barbarism, was to be
kept alive in Europe when it was ready to die, by the collective efforts
of Christian princes. Charles Mansfeld had been received with great
enthusiasm at the court of Rudolph, where he was created a prince of the
Empire, and appointed to the chief command of the Imperial armies under
the Archduke Matthias. But his warfare was over. At the siege of Gran he
was stricken with sickness and removed to Comorn, where he lingered some
weeks. There, on the 24th August, as he lay half-dozing on his couch, he
was told that the siege was at last successful; upon which he called for
a goblet of wine, drained it eagerly, and then lay resting his head on
his hand, like one absorbed in thought. When they came to arouse him from
his reverie they found that he was dead. His father still remained
superfluous in the Netherlands, hating and hated by Fuentes; but no
longer able to give that governor so much annoyance as during his son's
life-time the two had been able to create for Alexander Farnese. The
octogenarian was past work and past mischief now; but there was one older
soldier than he still left upon the stage, the grandest veteran in
Philip's service, and now the last survivor, except the decrepit Peter
Ernest, of the grim commanders of Alva's school. Christopher
Mondragon--that miracle of human endurance, who had been an old man when
the great duke arrived in the Netherlands--was still governor of Antwerp
citadel, and men were to speak of him yet once more before he passed from
the stage.

I return from this digression to the siege of Dourlens. The death of La
Motte made no difference in the plans of Fuentes. He was determined to
reduce the place preparatively to more important operations. Bouillon was
disposed to relieve it, and to that end had assembled a force of eight
thousand men within the city of Amiens. By midsummer the Spaniards had
advanced with their mines and galleries close to the walls of the city.
Meantime Admiral Villars, who had gained so much renown by defending
Rouen against Henry IV., and who had subsequently made such an excellent
bargain with that monarch before entering his service, arrived at Amiens.
On the 24th July an expedition was sent from that city towards Dourlens.
Bouillon and St. Pol commanded in person a force of six hundred picked
cavalry. Pillars and Sanseval each led half as many, and there was a
supporting body of twelve hundred musketeers. This little army convoyed a
train of wagons, containing ammunition and other supplies for the
beleaguered town. But Fuentes, having sufficiently strengthened his
works, sallied forth with two thousand infantry, and a flying squadron of
Spanish horse, to intercept them. It was the eve of St. James, the patron
saint of Spain, at the sound, of whose name as a war-cry so many
battle-fields had been won in the Netherlands, so many cities sacked, so
many wholesale massacres perpetrated. Fuentes rode in the midst of his
troops with the royal standard of Spain floating above him. On the other
hand Yillars, glittering in magnificent armour and mounted on a superbly
caparisoned charger came on, with his three hundred troopers, as if about
to ride a course in a tournament. The battle which ensued was one of the
most bloody for the numbers engaged, and the victory one of the most
decisive recorded in this war. Villars charged prematurely, furiously,
foolishly. He seemed jealous of Bouillon, and disposed to show the
sovereign to whom he had so recently given his allegiance that an ancient
Leaguer and Papist was a better soldier for his purpose than the most
grizzled Huguenot in his army. On the other hand the friends of Villars
accused the duke of faintheartedness, or at least of an excessive desire
to save himself and his own command. The first impetuous onset of the
admiral was successful, and he drove half-a-dozen companies of Spaniards
before him. But he had ventured too far from his supports. Bouillon had
only intended a feint, instead of a desperate charge; the Spaniards were
rallied, and the day was saved by that cool and ready soldier, Carlos
Coloma. In less than an hour the French were utterly defeated and cut to
pieces. Bouillon escaped to Amiens with five hundred men; this was all
that was left of the expedition. The horse of Villars was shot under him
and the admiral's leg was broken as he fell. He was then taken prisoner
by two lieutenants of Carlos Coloma; but while these warriors were
enjoying, by anticipation, the enormous ransom they should derive from so
illustrious a captive, two other lieutenants in the service of Marshal de
Rosnes came up and claimed their share in the prize. While the four were
wrangling, the admiral called out to them in excellent Spanish not to
dispute, for he had money enough to satisfy them all. Meantime the
Spanish commissary--general of cavalry, Contreras, came up, rebuked this
unseemly dispute before the enemy had been fairly routed, and, in order
to arrange the quarrel impartially, ordered his page to despatch De
Villars on the spot. The page, without a word, placed his arquebus to the
admiral's forehead and shot him dead.

So perished a bold and brilliant soldier, and a most unscrupulous
politician. Whether the cause of his murder was mere envy on the part of
the commissary at having lost a splendid opportunity for prize-money, or
hatred to an ancient Leaguer thus turned renegade, it is fruitless now to

Villars would have paid two hundred thousand crowns for his ransom, so
that the assassination was bad as a mercantile speculation; but it was
pretended by the friends of Contreras that rescue was at hand. It is
certain, however, that nothing was attempted by the French to redeem
their total overthrow. Count Belin was wounded and fell into the hands of
Coloma. Sanseval was killed; and a long list of some of the most
brilliant nobles in France was published by the Spaniards as having
perished on that bloody field. This did not prevent a large number of
these victims, however, from enjoying excellent health for many long
years afterwards, although their deaths have been duly recorded in
chronicle from that day to our own times.

But Villars and Sanseval were certainly slain, and Fuentes sent their
bodies, with a courteous letter, to the Duke of Nevers, at Amiens, who
honoured them with a stately funeral.

There was much censure cast on both Bouillon and Villars respectively by
the antagonists of each chieftain; and the contest as to the cause of the
defeat was almost as animated as the skirmish itself. Bouillon was
censured for grudging a victory to the Catholics, and thus leaving the
admiral to his fate. Yet it is certain that the Huguenot duke himself
commanded a squadron composed almost entirely of papists. Villars, on the
other hand, was censured for rashness, obstinacy, and greediness for
distinction; yet it is probable that Fuentes might have been defeated had
the charges of Bouillon been as determined and frequent as were those of
his colleague. Savigny de Rosnes, too, the ancient Leaguer, who commanded
under Fuentes, was accused of not having sufficiently followed up the
victory, because unwilling that his Spanish friends should entirely
trample upon his own countrymen. Yet there is no doubt whatever that De
Rosnes was as bitter an enemy to his own country as the most ferocious
Spaniard of them all. It has rarely been found in civil war that the man
who draws his sword against his fatherland, under the banner of the
foreigner, is actuated by any lingering tenderness for the nation he
betrays; and the renegade Frenchman was in truth the animating spirit of
Fuentes during the whole of his brilliant campaign. The Spaniard's
victories were, indeed, mainly attributable to the experience, the
genius, and the rancour of De Rosnes.

But debates over a lost battle are apt to be barren. Meantime Fuentes,
losing no time in controversy, advanced upon the city of Dourlens, was
repulsed twice, and carried it on the third assault, exactly one week
after the action just recounted. The Spaniards and Leaguers, howling
"Remember Ham!" butchered without mercy the garrison and all the
citizens, save a small number of prisoners likely to be lucrative. Six
hundred of the townspeople and two thousand five hundred French soldiers
were killed within a few hours. Well had Fuentes profited by the
relationship and tuition of Alva!

The Count of Dinant and his brother De Ronsoy were both slain, and two or
three hundred thousand florins were paid in ransom by those who escaped
with life. The victims were all buried outside of the town in one vast
trench, and the effluvia bred a fever which carried off most of the
surviving inhabitants. Dourlens became for the time a desert.

Fuentes now received deputies with congratulations from the obedient
provinces, especially from Hainault, Artois, and Lille. He was also
strongly urged to attempt the immediate reduction of Cambray, to which
end those envoys were empowered to offer contributions of four hundred
and fifty thousand florins and a contingent of seven thousand infantry.
Berlaymont, too, bishop of Tournay and archbishop of Cambray, was ready
to advance forty thousand florins in the same cause.

Fuentes, in the highest possible spirits at his success, and having just
been reinforced by Count Bucquoy with a fresh Walloon regiment of fifteen
hundred foot and with eight hundred and fifty of the mutineers from
Tirlemont and Chapelle, who were among the choicest of Spanish veterans,
was not disposed to let the grass grow under his feet. Within four days
after the sack of Dourlens he broke up his camp, and came before Cambray
with an army of twelve thousand foot and nearly four thousand horse. But
before narrating the further movements of the vigorous new
governor-general, it is necessary to glance at the military operations in
the eastern part of the Netherlands and upon the Rhine.

The States-General had reclaimed to their authority nearly all that
important region lying beyond the Yssel--the solid Frisian bulwark of the
republic--but there were certain points nearer the line where Upper and
Nether Germany almost blend into one, which yet acknowledged the name of
the king. The city of Groenlo, or Grol, not a place of much interest or
importance in itself, but close to the frontier, and to that destined
land of debate, the duchies of Cleves, Juliers, and Berg, still retained
its Spanish garrison. On the 14th July Prince Maurice of Nassau came
before the city with six thousand infantry, some companies of cavalry,
and sixteen pieces of artillery. He made his approaches in form, and
after a week's operations he fired three volleys, according to his
custom, and summoned the place to capitulate. Governor Jan van Stirum
replied stoutly that he would hold the place for God and the king to the
last drop of his blood. Meantime there was hope of help from the outside.

Maurice was a vigorous young commander, but there was a man to be dealt
with who had been called the "good old Mondragon" when the prince was in
his cradle; and who still governed the citadel of Antwerp, and was still
ready for an active campaign.

Christopher Mondragon was now ninety-two years old. Not often in the
world's history has a man of that age been capable of personal,
participation in the joys of the battlefield, whatever natural reluctance
veterans are apt to manifest at relinquishing high military control.

But Mondragon looked not with envy but with admiration on the growing
fame of the Nassau chieftain, and was disposed, before he himself left
the stage, to match himself with the young champion.

So soon as he heard of the intended demonstration of Maurice against
Grol, the ancient governor of Antwerp collected a little army by throwing
together all the troops that could be spared from the various garrisons
within his command. With two Spanish regiments, two thousand Swiss, the
Walloon troops of De Grisons, and the Irish regiment of Stanley--in all
seven thousand foot and thirteen hundred horse--Mondragon marched
straight across Brabant and Gelderland to the Rhine. At Kaiserworth he
reviewed his forces, and announced his intention of immediately crossing
the river. There was a murmur of disapprobation among officers and men at
what they considered the foolhardy scheme of mad old Mondragon. But the
general had not campaigned a generation before, at the age of sixty-nine,
in the bottom of the sea, and waded chin-deep for six hours long of an
October night, in the face of a rising tide from the German Ocean and of
an army of Zeelanders, to be frightened now at the summer aspect of the
peaceful Rhine.

The wizened little old man, walking with difficulty by the aid of a
staff, but armed in proof, with plumes waving gallantly from his iron
headpiece, and with his rapier at his side, ordered a chair to be brought
to the river's edge. Then calmly seating himself in the presence of his
host, he stated that he should not rise from that chair until the last
man had crossed the river. Furthermore, he observed that it was not only
his purpose to relieve the city of Grol, but to bring Maurice to an
action, and to defeat him, unless he retired. The soldiers ceased to
murmur, the pontoons were laid, the river was passed, and on the 25th
July, Maurice, hearing of the veteran's approach, and not feeling safe in
his position, raised the siege of the city. Burning his camp and
everything that could not be taken with him on his march, the prince came
in perfect order to Borkelo, two Dutch miles from Grol. Here he occupied
himself for some time in clearing the country of brigands who in the
guise of soldiers infested that region and made the little cities of
Deutecom, Anholt, and Heerenberg unsafe. He ordered the inhabitants of
these places to send out detachments to beat the bushes for his cavalry,
while Hohenlo was ordered to hunt the heaths and wolds thoroughly with
packs of bloodhounds until every man and beast to be found lurking in
those wild regions should be extirpated. By these vigorous and cruel, but
perhaps necessary, measures the brigands were at last extirpated, and
honest people began to sleep in their beds.

On the 18th August Maurice took up a strong position at Bislich, not far
from Wesel, where the River Lippe empties itself into the Rhine.
Mondragon, with his army strengthened by reinforcements from garrisons in
Gelderland, and by four hundred men brought by Frederic, van den Berg
from Grol, had advanced to a place called Walston in den Ham, in the
neighbourhood of Wesel. The Lippe flowed between the two hostile forces.
Although he had broken up his siege, the prince was not disposed to
renounce his whole campaign before trying conclusions with his veteran
antagonist. He accordingly arranged an ambush with much skill, by means
of which he hoped to bring on a general engagement and destroy Mondragon
and his little army.

His cousin and favourite lieutenant, Philip Nassau, was entrusted with
the preliminaries. That adventurous commander, with a picked force of
seven hundred cavalry, moved quietly from the camp on the evening of the
1st September. He took with him his two younger brothers, Ernest and
Lewis Gunther, who, as has been seen, had received the promise of the
eldest brother of the family, William Lewis, that they should be employed
from time to time in any practical work that might be going, forward.
Besides these young gentlemen, several of the most famous English and
Dutch commanders were on, the expedition; the brothers Paul and Marcellus
Bax, Captains Parker, Cutler, and Robert Vere, brother of Sir Francis,
among the number.

Early in the morning of the 2nd September the force crossed the Lippe,
according to orders, keeping a pontoon across the stream to secure their

They had instructions thus to feel the enemy at early dawn, and, as he
was known to have foraging parties out every morning along the margin of
the river, to make a sudden descent upon their pickets, and to capture
those companies before they could effect their escape or be reinforced.
Afterwards they were to retreat across the Lippe, followed, as it was
hoped would be the case, by the troops: of Mondragon, anxious to punish
this piece of audacity. Meantime Maurice with five thousand infantry, the
rest of his cavalry, and several pieces of artillery, awaited their
coming, posted behind some hills in the neighbourhood of Wesel.

The plot of the young commander was an excellent one, but the ancient
campaigner on the other side of the river had not come all the way from
his comfortable quarters in Antwerp to be caught napping on that
September morning. Mondragon had received accurate information from his
scouts as to what was going on in the enemy's camp; and as to the exact
position of Maurice. He was up long before daybreak--"the good old
Christopher"--and himself personally arranged a counter-ambush. In the
fields lying a little back from the immediate neighbourhood of, the Lippe
he posted the mass of his cavalry, supported by a well-concealed force of
infantry. The pickets on the stream and the foraging companies were left
to do their usual work as if nothing were likely to happen.

Philip Nassau galloped cheerfully forward; according to the
well-concerted plan, sending Cutler and Marcellus Bax with a handful of
troopers to pounce upon the enemy's pickets. When those officers got to
the usual foraging ground they, came upon a much larger cavalry force
than they had looked for; and, suspecting something wrong; dashed
back--again to give information to Count Philip. That impatient
commander, feeling sure of his game unless this foolish delay should give
the foraging companies time to, escape; ordered an immediate advance with
his whole cavalry force: The sheriff of Zallant was ordered to lead the
way. He objected that the pass, leading through a narrow lane and opening
by a gate into an open field, was impassable for more than two troopers
abreast; and that the enemy was in force beyond. Philips scorning these
words of caution, and exclaiming that seventy-five lancers were enough to
put fifty carabineers to rout; put on his casque, drew his sword; and
sending his brother Lewis to summon Kinski and Donck; dashed into the
pass, accompanied by the two counts and, a couple of other nobles. The
sheriff, seeing this, followed him at full gallop; and after him came the
troopers of Barchon, of Du Bois, and of Paul Bax; riding single file but
in much disorder. When they had all entered inextricably into the lane,
with the foremost of the lancers already passing through the gate, they
discovered the enemy's cavalry and infantry drawn up in force upon the
watery, heathery pastures beyond. There was at once a scene of confusion.
To use lances was impossible, while they were all struggling together
through the narrow passage offering themselves an easy prey to the enemy
as they slowly emerged into the gelds. The foremost defended themselves
with sabre and pistol as well as they could. The hindmost did their best
to escape, and rode for their lives to the other side of the river. All
trampled upon each other and impeded each other's movements. There was a
brief engagement, bloody, desperate, hand to hand, and many Spaniards
fell before the entrapped Netherlanders. But there could not be a
moment's doubt as to the issue. Count Philip went down in the beginning
of the action, shot through the body by an arquebus, discharged so close
to him that his clothes were set on fire. As there was no water within
reach the flames could be extinguished at last only by rolling him over,
and over, wounded as he was, among the sand and heather. Count Ernest
Solms was desperately wounded at the same time. For a moment both
gentlemen attempted to effect their escape by mounting on one horse, but
both fell to the ground exhausted and were taken prisoners. Ernest Nassau
was also captured. His young brother, Lewis Gunther, saved himself by
swimming the river. Count Kinski was mortally wounded. Robert Vere, too,
fell into the enemy's hands, and was afterwards murdered in cold blood.
Marcellus Bax, who had returned to the field by a circuitous path, still
under the delusion that he was about handsomely to cut off the retreat of
the foraging companies, saved himself and a handful of cavalry by a rapid
flight, so soon as he discovered the enemy drawn up in line of battle.
Cutler and Parker were equally fortunate. There was less than a hundred
of the States' troops killed, and it is probable that a larger number of
the Spaniards fell. But the loss of Philip Nassau, despite the debauched
life and somewhat reckless valour of that soldier, was a very severe one
to the army and to his family. He was conveyed to Rheinberg, where his
wounds were dressed. As he lay dying he was courteously visited by
Mondragon, and by many other Spanish officers, anxious to pay their
respects to so distinguished and warlike a member of an illustrious
house. He received them with dignity, and concealed his physical agony so
as to respond to their conversation as became a Nassau. His cousin,
Frederic van den Berg, who was among the visitors, indecently taunted him
with his position; asking him what he had expected by serving the cause
of the Beggars. Philip turned from him with impatience and bade him hold
his peace. At midnight he died.

William of Orange and his three brethren had already laid down their
lives for the republic, and now his eldest brother's son had died in the
same cause. "He has carried the name of Nassau with honour into the
grave," said his brother Lewis William, to their father. Ten others of
the house, besides many collateral relations, were still in arms for
their adopted country. Rarely in history has a single noble race so
entirely identified itself with a nation's record in its most heroic
epoch as did that of Orange-Nassau with the liberation of Holland.

Young Ernest Solms, brother of Count Everard, lay in the same chamber
with Philip Nassau, and died on the following day. Their bodies were sent
by Mondragon with a courteous letter to Maurice at Bisslich. Ernest
Nassau was subsequently ransomed for ten thousand florins.

This skirmish on the Lippe has no special significance in a military
point of view, but it derives more than a passing interest, not only from
the death of many a brave and distinguished soldier, but for the
illustration of human vigour triumphing, both physically and mentally,
over the infirmities of old age, given by the achievement of Christopher
Mondragon. Alone he had planned his expedition across the country from
Antwerp, alone he had insisted on crossing the Rhine, while younger
soldiers hesitated; alone, with his own active brain and busy hands, he
had outwitted the famous young chieftain of the Netherlands, counteracted
his subtle policy, and set the counter-ambush by which his choicest
cavalry were cut to pieces, and one of his bravest generals slain. So far
could the icy blood of ninety-two prevail against the vigour of

The two armies lay over against each other, with the river between them,
for some days longer, but it was obvious that nothing further would be
attempted on either side. Mondragon had accomplished the object for which
he had marched from Brabant. He had, spoiled the autumn campaign of
Maurice, and, was, now disposed to return before winter to, his own
quarters. He sent a trumpet accordingly to his antagonist, begging him,
half in jest, to have more consideration for his infirmities than to keep
him out in his old age in such foul weather, but to allow him the
military honour of being last to break up camp. Should Maurice consent to
move away, Mondragon was ready to pledge himself not to pursue him, and
within three days to leave his own entrenchments.

The proposition was not granted, and very soon afterwards the Spaniard,
deciding to retire, crossed the Rhine on the 11th October. Maurice made a
slight attempt at pursuit, sending Count William Lewis with some cavalry,
who succeeded in cutting off a few wagons. The army, however, returned
safely, to be dispersed into various garrisons.

This was Mondragon's last feat of, arms. Less than three months
afterwards, in Antwerp citadel, as the veteran was washing his hands
previously to going to the dinner-table, he sat down and died. Strange to
say, this man--who had spent almost a century on the battlefield, who had
been a soldier in nearly every war that had been waged in any part of
Europe during that most belligerent age, who had come an old man to the
Netherlands before Alva's arrival, and had ever since been constantly and
personally engaged in the vast Flemish tragedy which had now lasted well
nigh thirty years--had never himself lost a drop of blood. His
battle-fields had been on land and water, on ice, in fire, and at the
bottom of the sea, but he had never received a wound. Nay, more; he had
been blown up in a fortress--the castle of Danvilliers in Luxembourg, of
which he was governor--where all perished save his wife and himself, and,
when they came to dig among the ruins, they excavated at last the ancient
couple, protected by the framework of a window in the embrasure of which
they had been seated, without a scratch or a bruise. He was a Biscayan by
descent, but born in Medina del Campo. A strict disciplinarian, very
resolute and pertinacious, he had the good fortune to be beloved by his
inferiors, his equals, and his superiors. He was called the father of his
soldiers, the good Mondragon, and his name was unstained by any of those
deeds of ferocity which make the chronicles of the time resemble rather
the history of wolves than of men. To a married daughter, mother of
several children, he left a considerable fortune.

Maurice broke up his camp soon after the departure of his antagonist, and
paused for a few days at Arnheim to give honourable burial to his cousin
Philip and Count Solms. Meantime Sir Francis Vere was detached, with
three regiments, which were to winter in Overyssel, towards Weerd castle,
situate at a league's distance from Ysselsburg, and defended by a
garrison of twenty-six men under Captain Pruys. That doughty commandant,
on being summoned to surrender, obstinately refused. Vere, according to
Maurice's orders, then opened with his artillery against the place, which
soon capitulated in great panic and confusion. The captain demanded the
honours of war. Vere told him in reply that the honours of war were
halters for the garrison who had dared to defend such a hovel against
artillery. The twenty-six were accordingly ordered to draw black and
white straws. This was done, and the twelve drawing white straws were
immediately hanged; the thirteenth receiving his life on consenting to
act as executioner for his comrades. The commandant was despatched first
of all. The rope broke, but the English soldiers held him under the water
of the ditch until he was drowned. The castle was then thoroughly sacked,
the women being sent unharmed to Ysselsburg.

Maurice then shipped the remainder of his troops along the Rhine and Waal
to their winter quarters and returned to the Hague. It was the feeblest
year's work yet done by the stadholder.

Meantime his great ally, the Huguenot-Catholic Prince of Bearne, was
making a dashing, and, on the whole, successful campaign in the heart of
his own kingdom. The constable of Castile, Don Ferdinando de Velasco, one
of Spain's richest grandees and poorest generals, had been sent with an
army of ten thousand men to take the field in Burgundy against the man
with whom the great Farnese had been measuring swords so lately, and with
not unmingled success, in Picardy. Biron, with a sudden sweep, took
possession of Aussone, Autun, and Beaune, but on one adventurous day
found himself so deeply engaged with a superior force of the enemy in the
neighbourhood of Fontaine Francaise, or St. Seine, where France's great
river takes its rise, as to be nearly cut off and captured. But Henry
himself was already in the field, and by one of those mad, reckless
impulses which made him so adorable as a soldier and yet so profoundly
censurable as a commander-in-chief, he flung himself, like a young
lieutenant, with a mere handful of cavalry, into the midst of the fight,
and at the imminent peril of his own life succeeded in rescuing the
marshal and getting off again unscathed. On other occasions Henry said he
had fought for victory, but on that for dear life; and, even as in the
famous and foolish skirmish at Aumale three years before, it was absence
of enterprise or lack of cordiality on the part of his antagonists, that
alone prevented a captive king from being exhibited as a trophy of
triumph for the expiring League.

But the constable of Castile was not born to cheer the heart of his
prudent master with such a magnificent spectacle. Velasco fell back to
Gray and obstinately refused to stir from his entrenchments, while Henry
before his eyes laid siege to Dijon. On the 28th June the capital of
Burgundy surrendered to its sovereign, but no temptations could induce
the constable to try the chance of a battle. Henry's movements in the
interior were more successful than were the operations nearer the
frontier, but while the monarch was thus cheerfully fighting for his
crown in France, his envoys were winning a still more decisive campaign
for him in Rome.

D'Ossat and Perron had accomplished their diplomatic task with consummate
ability, and, notwithstanding the efforts and the threats of the Spanish
ambassador and the intrigues of his master, the absolution was granted.
The pope arose early on the morning of the 5th August, and walked
barefoot from his palace of Mount Cavallo to the church of Maria
Maggiore, with his eyes fixed on the ground, weeping loudly and praying
fervently. He celebrated mass in the church, and then returned as he
went, saluting no one on the road and shutting himself up in his palace
afterwards. The same ceremony was performed ten days later on the
festival of our Lady's Ascension. In vain, however, had been the struggle
on the part of his Holiness to procure from the ambassador the deposition
of the crown of France in his hands, in order that the king might receive
it back again as a free gift and concession from the chief pontiff. Such
a triumph was not for Rome, nor could even the publication of the Council
of Trent in France be conceded except with a saving clause "as to matters
which could not be put into operation without troubling the repose of the
kingdom." And to obtain this clause the envoys declared "that they had
been obliged to sweat blood and water."

On the 17th day of September the absolution was proclaimed with great
pomp and circumstance from the gallery of St. Peter's, the holy father
seated on the highest throne of majesty, with his triple crown on has
head, and all his cardinals and bishops about him in their most effulgent

The silver trumpets were blown, while artillery roared from the castle of
St. Angelo, and for two successive nights Rome was in a blaze of bonfires
and illumination, in a whirl of bell-ringing, feasting, and singing of
hosannaha. There had not been such a merry-making in the eternal city
since the pope had celebrated solemn thanksgiving for the massacre of St.
Bartholomew. The king was almost beside himself with rapture when the
great news reached him, and he straightway wrote letters, overflowing
with gratitude and religious enthusiasm, to the pontiff and expressed his
regret that military operations did not allow him to proceed at once to
Rome in person to kiss the holy father's feet.

The narrative returns to Fuentes, who was left before the walls of

That venerable ecclesiastical city; pleasantly seated amid gardens,
orchards, and green pastures, watered, by the winding Scheld, was well
fortified after the old manner, but it was especially defended and
dominated by a splendid pentagonal citadel built by Charles V. It was
filled with fine churches, among which the magnificent cathedral was
pre-eminent, and with many other stately edifices. The population was
thrifty, active, and turbulent, like that of all those Flemish and
Walloon cities which the spirit of mediaeval industry had warmed for a
time into vehement little republics.

But, as has already been depicted in these pages, the Celtic element had
been more apt to receive than consistent to retain the generous impress
which had once been stamped on all the Netherlands. The Walloon provinces
had fallen away from their Flemish sisters and seemed likely to accept a
permanent yoke, while in the territory of the united States, as John
Baptist Tassis was at that very moment pathetically observing in a
private letter to Philip, "with the coming up of a new generation
educated as heretics from childhood, who had never heard what the word
king means, it was likely to happen at last that the king's memory, being
wholly forgotten nothing would remain in the land but heresy alone." From
this sad fate Cambray had been saved. Gavre d'Inchy had seventeen years
before surrendered the city to the Duke of Alencon during that unlucky
personage's brief and base career in the Netherlands, all, that was left
of his visit being the semi-sovereignty which the notorious Balagny had
since that time enjoyed, in the archiepiscopal city. This personage, a
natural son of Monluc, Bishop of Valence, and nephew of the
distinguished Marshal Monluci was one of the most fortunate and the most
ignoble of all the soldiers of fortune who had played their part at this
epoch in the Netherlands. A poor creature himself, he had a heroine for a
wife. Renee, the sister of Bussy d'Amboise, had vowed to unite herself to
a man who would avenge the assassination of her brother by the Count
Montsoreau? Balagny readily agreed to perform the deed, and accordingly
espoused the high-born dame, but it does not appear that he ever wreaked
her vengeance on the murderer. He had now governed Cambray until the
citizens and the whole countryside were galled and exhausted by his
grinding tyranny, his inordinate pride, and his infamous extortions. His
latest achievement had been to force upon his subjects a copper currency
bearing the nominal value of silver, with the same blasting effects which
such experiments in political economy are apt to produce on princes and
peoples. He had been a Royalist, a Guisist, a Leaguer, a Dutch
republican, by turns, and had betrayed all the parties, at whose expense
he had alternately filled his coffers. During the past year he had made
up his mind--like most of the conspicuous politicians and campaigners of
France--that the moribund League was only fit to be trampled upon by its
recent worshippers, and he had made accordingly one of the very best
bargains with Henry IV. that had yet been made, even at that epoch of
self-vending grandees.

Henry, by treaty ratified in August, 1594, had created him Prince of
Cambray and Marshal of France, so that the man who had been receiving up
to that very moment a monthly subsidy of seven thousand two hundred
dollars from the King of Spain was now gratified with a pension to about
the same yearly amount by the King of France. During the autumn Henry had
visited Cambray, and the new prince had made wondrous exhibitions of
loyalty to the sovereign whom he had done his best all his life to
exclude from his kingdom. There had been a ceaseless round of
tournaments, festivals, and masquerades in the city in honour of the
Huguenot chieftain, now changed into the most orthodox and most
legitimate of monarchs, but it was not until midsummer of the present
year that Balagny was called on to defend his old possessions and his new
principality against a well-seasoned army and a vigorous commander.
Meanwhile his new patron was so warmly occupied in other directions that
it might be difficult for him to send assistance to the beleaguered city.

On the 14th August Fuentes began his siege operations. Before the
investment had been completed the young Prince of Rhetelois, only fifteen
years of age, son of the Duke of Nevers, made his entrance into the city
attended by thirty of his father's archers. De Vich, too, an experienced
and faithful commander, succeeded in bringing four or five hundred
dragoons through the enemy's lines. These meagre reinforcements were all
that reached the place; for, although the States-General sent two or
three thousand Scotchmen and Zeelanders, under Justinus of Nassau, to
Henry, that he might be the better enabled to relieve this important
frontier city, the king's movements were not sufficiently prompt to turn
the force to good account Balagny was left with a garrison of three
thousand French and Walloons in the city, besides five hundred French in
the fortress.

After six weeks steady drawing of parallels and digging of mines Fuentes
was ready to open his batteries. On the 26th September, the news, very
much exaggerated, of Mondragon's brilliant victory near Wessel, and of
the deaths of Philip Nassau and Ernest Solms, reached the Spanish camp.
Immense was the rejoicing. Triumphant salutes from eighty-seven cannon
and many thousand muskets shook the earth and excited bewilderment and
anxiety within the walls of the city. Almost immediately afterwards a
tremendous cannonade was begun and so vigorously sustained that the
burghers, and part of the garrison, already half rebellious with hatred
to Balagny, began loudly to murmur as the balls came flying into their
streets. A few days later an insurrection broke out. Three thousand
citizens, with red flags flying, and armed to the teeth were discovered
at daylight drawn up in the market place. Balagny came down from the
citadel and endeavoured to calm the tumult, but was received with
execrations. They had been promised, shouted the insurgents, that every
road about Cambray was to swarm with French soldiers under their
formidable king, kicking the heads of the Spaniards in all directions.
And what had they got? a child with thirty archers, sent by his father,
and half a man at the head of four hundred dragoons. To stand a siege
under such circumstances against an army of fifteen thousand Spaniards,
and to take Balagny's copper as if it were gold, was more than could be
asked of respectable burghers.

The allusion to the young prince Rhetelois and to De Vich, who had lost a
leg in the wars, was received with much enthusiasm. Balagny, appalled at
the fury of the people, whom he had so long been trampling upon while
their docility lasted, shrank back before their scornful denunciations
into the citadel.

But his wife was not appalled. This princess had from the beginning of
the siege showed a courage and an energy worthy of her race. Night and
day she had gone the rounds of the ramparts, encouraging and directing
the efforts of the garrison. She had pointed batteries against the
enemy's works, and, with her own hands, had fired the cannon. She now
made her appearance in the market-place, after her husband had fled, and
did her best to assuage the tumult, and to arouse the mutineers to a
sense of duty or of shame. She plucked from her bosom whole handfuls of
gold which she threw among the bystanders, and she was followed by a
number of carts filled with sacks of coin ready to be exchanged for the
debased currency.

Expressing contempt for the progress made by the besieging army, and for
the slight impression so far produced upon the defences of the city, she
snatched a pike from a soldier and offered in person to lead the garrison
to the breach. Her audience knew full well that this was no theatrical
display, but that the princess was ready as the boldest warrior to lead a
forlorn hope or to repel the bloodiest assault. Nor, from a military
point of view, was their situation desperate. But their hatred and scorn
for Balagny could not be overcome by any passing sentiment of admiration
for his valiant though imperious wife. No one followed her to the breach.
Exclaiming that she at least would never surrender, and that she would
die a sovereign princess rather than live a subject, Renee de Balagny
retained to the citadel.

The town soon afterwards capitulated, and as the Spanish soldiers, on
entering, observed the slight damage that had been caused by their
batteries, they were most grateful to the faint-hearted or mutinous
condition by which they had been spared the expense of an assault.

The citadel was now summoned to surrender; and Balagny agreed, in case he
should not be relieved within six days, to accept what was considered
honourable terms. It proved too late to expect succour from Henry, and
Balagny, but lately a reigning prince, was fain to go forth on the
appointed day and salute his conqueror. But the princess kept her vow.
She had done her best to defend her dominions and to live a sovereign,
and now there was nothing left her but to die. With bitter reproaches on
her husband's pusillanimity, with tears and sobs of rage and shame, she
refused food, spurned the idea of capitulation, and expired before the
9th of October.

On that day a procession moved out of the citadel gates. Balagny, with a
son of eleven years of age, the Prince of Rhetelois, the Commander De
Vich; and many other distinguished personages, all magnificently attired,
came forth at the head of what remained of the garrison. The soldiers,
numbering thirteen hundred foot and two hundred and forty horse, marched
with colours flying, drums beating, bullet in mouth, and all the other
recognised palliatives of military disaster. Last of all came a hearse,
bearing the coffin of the Princess of Cambray. Fuentes saluted the living
leaders of the procession, and the dead heroine; with stately courtesy,
and ordered an escort as far as Peronne.

Balagny met with a cool reception from Henry at St. Quintin, but
subsequently made his peace, and espoused the sister of the king's
mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrees. The body of Gavre d'Inchy, which had been
buried for years, was dug up and thrown into a gutter.


     Deal with his enemy as if sure to become his friend
     Mondragon was now ninety-two years old
     More catholic than the pope
     Octogenarian was past work and past mischief
     Sacked and drowned ten infant princes
     Strangled his nineteen brothers on his accession


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 68, 1595-1596


   Archduke Cardinal Albert appointed governor of the Netherlands--
   Return of Philip William from captivity--His adherence to the King
   of Spain--Notice of the Marquis of Varambon, Count Varax, and other
   new officers--Henry's communications with Queen Elizabeth--Madame de
   Monceaux--Conversation of Henry with the English ambassador--
   Marseilles secured by the Duke of Guise--The fort of Rysbank taken
   by De Roane Calais in the hands of the Spanish--Assistance from
   England solicited by Henry--Unhandsome conditions proposed by
   Elizabeth--Annexation of Calais to the obedient provinces--Pirates
   of Dunkirk--Uneasiness of the Netherlanders with regard to the
   designs of Elizabeth--Her protestations of sincerity--Expedition of
   Dutch and English forces to Spain--Attack on the Spanish war-ships--
   Victory of the allies--Flag of the Republic planted on the fortress
   of Cadiz--Capitulation of the city--Letter of Elizabeth to the Dutch
   Admirals--State of affairs in France--Proposition of the Duke of
   Montpensier for the division of the kingdom--Successes of the
   Cardinal Archduke in Normandy--He proceeds to Flanders--Siege and
   capture of Hulat--Projected alliance against Spain--Interview of De
   Sancy with Lord Burghley--Diplomatic conference at Greenwich--
   Formation of a league against Spain--Duplicity of the treaty--
   Affairs in Germany--Battle between the Emperor and the Grand Turk--
   Endeavours of Philip to counteract the influence of the league--His
   interference in the affairs of Germany--Secret intrigue of Henry
   with Spain--Philip's second attempt at the conquest of England.

Another governor-general arrived in the early days of the year 1596, to
take charge of the obedient provinces. It had been rumoured for many
months that Philip's choice was at last fixed upon the Archduke Cardinal
Albert, Archbishop of Toledo, youngest of the three surviving brothers,
of the Emperor Rudolph, as the candidate for many honours. He was to
espouse the Infanta, he was to govern the Netherlands, and, as it was
supposed, there were wider and wilder schemes for the aggrandizement of
this fortunate ecclesiastic brooding in the mind of Philip than yet had
seen the light.

Meantime the cardinal's first care was to unfrock himself. He had also
been obliged to lay down the most lucrative episcopate in Christendom,
that of Toledo, the revenues of which amounted to the enormous sum of
three hundred thousand dollars a year. Of this annual income, however, he
prudently reserved to himself fifty thousand dollars, by contract with
his destined successor.

The cardinal reached the Netherlands before the end of January. He
brought with him three thousand Spanish infantry, and some companies of
cavalry, while his personal baggage was transported on three hundred and
fifty mules. Of course there was a triumphal procession when, on the 11th
February, the new satrap entered the obedient Netherlands, and there was
the usual amount of bell-ringing, cannon-firing, trumpet-blowing, with
torch-light processions, blazing tar-barrels, and bedizened platforms,
where Allegory, in an advanced state of lunacy, performed its wonderful
antics. It was scarcely possible for human creatures to bestow more
adulation, or to abase themselves more thoroughly, than the honest
citizens of Brussels had so recently done in honour of the gentle, gouty
Ernest, but they did their best. That mythological conqueror and demigod
had sunk into an unhonoured grave, despite the loud hosannaha sung to him
on his arrival in Belgica, and the same nobles, pedants, and burghers
were now ready and happy to grovel at the feet of Albert. But as it
proved as impossible to surpass the glories of the holiday which had been
culled out for his brother, so it would be superfluous now to recall the
pageant which thus again delighted the capital.

But there was one personage who graced this joyous entrance whose
presence excited perhaps more interest than did that of the archduke
himself. The procession was headed by three grandees riding abreast.
There was the Duke of Aumale, pensionary of Philip, and one of the last
of the Leaguers, who had just been condemned to death and executed in
effigy at Paris, as a traitor to his king and country; there was the
Prince of Chimay, now since the recent death of his father at Venice
become Duke of Arschot; and between the two rode a gentleman forty-two
years of age, whose grave; melancholy features--although wearing a
painful expression of habitual restraint and distrust suggested, more
than did those of the rest of his family, the physiognomy of William the
Silent to all who remembered that illustrious rebel.

It was the eldest son of the great founder of the Dutch republic. Philip
William, Prince of Orange, had at last, after twenty-eight years of
captivity in Spain, returned to the Netherlands, whence he had been
kidnapped while a school boy at Louvain, by order of the Duke of Alva.
Rarely has there been a more dreary fate, a more broken existence than
his. His almost life-long confinement, not close nor cruel, but strict
and inexorable, together with the devilish arts of the Jesuits, had
produced nearly as blighting an effect upon his moral nature as a closer
dungeon might have done on his physical constitution. Although under
perpetual arrest in Madrid, he had been allowed to ride and to hunt, to
go to mass, and to enjoy many of the pleasures of youth. But he had been
always a prisoner, and his soul--a hopeless captive--could no longer be
liberated now that the tyrant, in order to further his own secret
purposes; had at last released his body from gaol. Although the
eldest-born of his father, and the inheritor of the great estates of
Orange and of Buren, he was no longer a Nassau except in name. The change
wrought by the pressure of the Spanish atmosphere was complete. All that
was left of his youthful self was a passionate reverence for his father's
memory, strangely combined with a total indifference to all that his
father held dear, all for which his father had laboured his whole
lifetime, and for which his heart's blood had been shed. On being at last
set free from bondage he had been taken to the Escorial, and permitted to
kiss the hand of the king--that hand still reeking with his father's
murder. He had been well received by the Infante and the Infanta, and by
the empress-mother, daughter of Charles V., while the artistic treasures
of the palace and cloister were benignantly pointed out to him. It was
also signified to him that he was to receive the order of the Golden
Fleece, and to enter into possession of his paternal and maternal
estates. And Philip William had accepted these conditions as if a born
loyal subject of his Most Catholic Majesty.

Could better proof be wanting that in that age religion was the only
fatherland, and that a true papist could sustain no injury at the hands
of his Most Catholic Majesty. If to be kidnapped in boyhood, to be
imprisoned during a whole generation of mankind, to be deprived of vast
estates, and to be made orphan by the foulest of assassinations, could
not engender resentment against, the royal, perpetrator of these crimes
in the bosom of his victim, was it strange that Philip should deem
himself, something far, more than man, and should placidly accept the
worship rendered to him by inferior beings, as to the holy impersonation
of Almighty Wrath?

Yet there is no doubt that the prince had a sincere respect for his
father, and had bitterly sorrowed at his death. When a Spanish officer,
playing chess with him, in prison, had ventured to speak lightly of that
father, Philip William had seized him bodily, thrown him from the window,
and thus killed him on the spot. And when on his arrival in Brussels it
was suggested to him by President Riehardat that it was the king's
intention to reinstate him in the possession of his estates, but that a
rent-charge of eighteen thousand florins a year was still to be paid from
them; to the heirs of Balthazar Gerard, his father's assassin, he flamed
into a violent rage, drew his poniard, and would have stabbed the
president; had not the bystanders forcibly inteferred. In consequence of
this refusal--called magnanimous by contemporary writers--to accept his
property under such conditions, the estates were detained from him for a
considerable time longer. During the period of his captivity he had been
allowed an income of fifteen thousand livres; but after his restoration
his household, gentlemen, and servants alone cost him eighty thousand
livres annually. It was supposed that the name of Orange-Nassau might now
be of service to the king's designs in the Netherlands. Philip William
had come by way of Rome, where he had been allowed to kiss the pope's
feet and had received many demonstrations of favour, and it was fondly
thought that he would now prove an instrument with which king and pontiff
might pipe back the rebellious republic to its ancient allegiance. But
the Dutchmen and Frisians were deaf. They had tasted liberty too long,
they had dealt too many hard blows on the head of regal and sacerdotal
despotism, to be deceived by coarse artifices. Especially the king
thought that something might be done with Count Hohenlo. That turbulent
personage having recently married the full sister of Philip William, and
being already at variance with Count Maurice, both for military and
political causes, and on account of family and pecuniary disputes, might,
it was thought, be purchased by the king, and perhaps a few towns and
castles in the united Netherlands might be thrown into the bargain. In
that huckstering age, when the loftiest and most valiant nobles of Europe
were the most shameless sellers of themselves, the most cynical
mendicants for alms and the most infinite absorbers of bribes in exchange
for their temporary fealty; when Mayenne, Mercoeur, Guise, Pillars,
Egmont, and innumerable other possessors of ancient and illustrious names
alternately and even simultaneously drew pensions from both sides in the
great European conflict, it was not wonderful that Philip should think
that the boisterous Hohenlo might be bought as well as another. The
prudent king, however, gave his usual order that nothing was to be paid
beforehand, but that the service was to be rendered first; and the price
received afterwards.

The cardinal applied himself to the task on his first arrival, but was
soon obliged to report that he could make but little progress in the

The king thought, too, that Heraugiere, who had commanded the memorable
expedition against Breda, and who was now governor of that stronghold,
might be purchased, and he accordingly instructed the cardinal to make
use of the Prince of Orange in the negotiations to be made for that
purpose. The cardinal, in effect, received an offer from Heraugiere in
the course of a few months not only to surrender Breda, without previous
recompense, but likewise to place Gertruydenberg, the governor of which
city was his relative, in the king's possession. But the cardinal was
afraid of a trick, for Heraugiere was known to be as artful as he was
brave, and there can be little doubt that the Netherlander was only
disposed to lay an ambush for the governor-general.

And thus the son of William the Silent made his reappearance in the
streets of Brussels, after twenty-eight years of imprisonment, riding in
the procession of the new viceroy. The cardinal-archduke came next, with
Fuentes riding at his left hand. That vigorous soldier and politician
soon afterwards left the Netherlands to assume the government of Milan.

There was a correspondence between the Prince of Orange and the
States-General, in which the republican authorities after expressing
themselves towards him with great propriety, and affectionate respect,
gave him plainly but delicately to understand that his presence at that
time in the United Provinces would neither be desirable, nor, without
their passports, possible. They were quite aware of the uses to which the
king was hoping to turn their reverence for the memory and the family of
the great martyr, and were determined to foil such idle projects on the

The Archduke Albert, born on 3rd of November, 1560, was now in his
thirty-sixth year. A small, thin, pale-faced man, with fair hair, and
beard, commonplace features, and the hereditary underhanging Burgundian
jaw prominently developed, he was not without a certain nobility of
presence. His manners were distant to haughtiness and grave to solemnity.
He spoke very little and very slowly. He had resided long in Spain, where
he had been a favourite with his uncle--as much as any man could be a
favourite with Philip--and he had carefully formed himself on that royal
model. He looked upon the King of Spain as the greatest, wisest, and best
of created beings, as the most illustrious specimen of kingcraft ever yet
vouchsafed to the world. He did his best to look sombre and Spanish, to
turn his visage into a mask; to conceal his thoughts and emotions, not
only by the expression of his features but by direct misstatements of his
tongue, and in all things to present to the obedient Flemings as
elaborate a reproduction of his great prototype as copy can ever recall
inimitable original. Old men in the Netherlands; who remembered in how
short a time Philip had succeeded, by the baleful effect of his personal
presence, in lighting up a hatred which not the previous twenty years of
his father's burnings, hangings, and butcherings in those provinces had
been able to excite, and which forty subsequent years of bloodshed had
not begun to allay, might well shake their heads when they saw this new
representative of Spanish authority. It would have been wiser--so many
astute politicians thought--for Albert to take the Emperor Charles for
his model, who had always the power of making his tyranny acceptable to
the Flemings, through the adroitness with which he seemed to be entirely
a Fleming himself.

But Albert, although a German, valued himself on appearing like a
Spaniard. He was industrious, regular in his habits, moderate in eating
and drinking, fond of giving audiences on business. He spoke German,
Spanish, and Latin, and understood French and Italian. He had at times
been a student, and, especially, had some knowledge of mathematics. He
was disposed to do his duty--so far as a man can do his duty, who
imagines himself so entirely lifted above his fellow creatures as to owe
no obligation except to exact their obedience and to personify to them
the will of the Almighty. To Philip and the Pope he was ever faithful. He
was not without pretensions to military talents, but his gravity,
slowness, and silence made him fitter to shine in the cabinet than in the
field. Henry IV., who loved his jests whether at his own expense or that
of friend or foe, was wont to observe that there were three things which
nobody would ever believe, and which yet were very true; that Queen
Elizabeth deserved her title of the throned vestal, that he was himself
a good Catholic, and that Cardinal Albert was a good general. It is
probable that the assertions were all equally accurate.

The new governor did not find a very able group of generals or statesmen
assembled about him to assist in the difficult task which he had
undertaken. There were plenty of fine gentlemen, with ancient names and
lofty pretensions, but the working men in field or council had mostly
disappeared. Mondragon, La Motte, Charles Mansfeld, Frank Verdugo were
all dead. Fuentes was just taking his departure for Italy. Old Peter
Ernest was a cipher; and his son's place was filled by the Marquis of
Varambon; as principal commander in active military operations. This was
a Burgundian of considerable military ability, but with an inordinate
opinion of himself and of his family. "Accept the fact that his lineage
is the highest possible, and that he has better connections than those of
anybody else in the whole world, and he will be perfectly contented,"
said a sharp, splenetic Spaniard in the cardinal's confidence. "'Tis a
faithful and loyal cavalier, but full of impertinences." The brother of
Varambon, Count Varax, had succeeded la Motte as general of artillery,
and of his doings there was a tale ere long to be told. On the whole,
the best soldier in the archduke's service for the moment was the
Frenchman Savigny de Rosne, an ancient Leaguer, and a passionate hater of
the Bearnese, of heretics, and of France as then constituted. He had once
made a contract with Henry by which he bound himself to his service; but
after occasioning a good deal of injury by his deceitful attitude, he had
accepted a large amount of Spanish dollars, and had then thrown off the
mask and proclaimed himself the deadliest foe of his lawful sovereign.
"He was foremost," said Carlos Coloma, "among those who were successfully
angled for by the Commander Moreo with golden hooks." Although
prodigiously fat, this renegade was an active and experienced campaigner;
while his personal knowledge of his own country made his assistance of
much value to those who were attempting its destruction.

The other great nobles, who were pressing themselves about the new
viceroy with enthusiastic words of welcome, were as like to give him
embarrassment as support. All wanted office, emoluments, distinctions,
nor could, much dependence be placed on the ability or the character of
any of them. The new duke of Arschot had in times past, as prince of
Chimay, fought against the king, and had even imagined himself a
Calvinist, while his wife was still a determined heretic. It is true that
she was separated from her husband. He was a man of more quickness and
acuteness than his father had been, but if possible more mischievous both
to friend and foe; being subtle, restless, intriguing, fickle; ambitious,
and deceitful. The Prince of Orange was considered a man of very ordinary
intelligence, not more than half witted, according to Queen Elizabeth,
and it was probable that the peculiar circumstances of his life would
extinguish any influence that he might otherwise have attained with
either party. He was likely to affect a neutral position and, in times of
civil war, to be neutral is to be nothing.

Arenberg, unlike the great general on the Catholic side who had made the
name illustrious in the opening scenes of the mighty contest, was
disposed to quiet obscurity so far as was compatible with his rank.
Having inherited neither fortune nor talent with his ancient name, he was
chiefly occupied with providing for the wants of his numerous family. A
good papist, well-inclined and docile, he was strongly recommended for
the post of admiral, not because he had naval acquirements, but because
he had a great many children. The Marquis of Havre, uncle to the Duke of
Arschot, had played in his time many prominent parts in the long
Netherland tragedy. Although older than he was when Requesens and Don
John of Austria had been governors, he was not much wiser, being to the
full as vociferous, as false, as insolent, as self-seeking, and as
mischievous as in his youth. Alternately making appeals to popular
passions in his capacity of high-born demagogue, or seeking crumbs of
bounty as the supple slave of his sovereign, he was not more likely to
acquire the confidence of the cardinal than he had done that of his

The most important and opulent grandee of all the provinces was the Count
de Ligne, who had become by marriage or inheritance Prince of Espinay,
Seneschal of Hainault, and Viscount of Ghent. But it was only his
enormous estates that gave him consideration, for he was not thought
capable of either good or bad intentions. He had, however, in times past,
succeeded in the chief object of his ambition, which was to keep out of
trouble, and to preserve his estates from confiscation. His wife, who
governed him, and had thus far guided him safely, hoped to do so to the
end. The cardinal was informed that the Golden Fleece would be
all-sufficient to keep him upon the right track.

Of the Egmonts, one had died on the famous field of Ivry, another was an
outlaw, and had been accused of participation in plots of assassination
against William of Orange; the third was now about the archduke's court,
and was supposed, to be as dull a man--as Ligne, but likely to be
serviceable so long as he could keep his elder brother out of his
inheritance. Thus devoted to Church and King were the sons of the man
whose head Philip had taken off on a senseless charge of treason. The two
Counts Van den Berg--Frederic and Herman--sons of the sister of William
the Silent, were, on the whole, as brave, efficient, and trustworthy
servants of the king and cardinal as were to be found in the obedient,

The new governor had come well provided with funds, being supplied for
the first three-quarters of the year with a monthly: allowance of
1,100,000 florins. For reasons soon to appear, it was not probable that
the States-General would be able very, soon to make a vigorous campaign,
and it was thought best for the cardinal to turn his immediate attention
to France.

The negotiations for, effecting an alliance offensive and defensive,
between the three powers most interested in opposing the projects of
Spain for universal empire, were not yet begun, and will be reserved for
a subsequent chapter. Meantime there had been much informal discussion
and diplomatic trifling between France and England for the purpose of
bringing about a sincere co-operation of the two crowns against the Fifth
Monarchy--as it was much the fashion to denominate Philip's proposed

Henry had suggested at different times to Sir Robert Sidney, during his
frequent presence in France as special envoy for the queen, the necessity
of such a step, but had not always found a hearty sympathy. But as the
king began to cool in his hatred to Spain, after his declaration of war
against that power, it seemed desirable to Elizabeth to fan his
resentment afresh, and to revert to those propositions which had been so
coolly received when made. Sir Harry Umton, ambassador from her Majesty,
was accordingly provided with especial letters on the subject from the
queen's own hand, and presented them early in the year at Coucy (Feb. 13,
1596). No man in the world knew better the tone to adopt in his
communications with Elizabeth than did the chivalrous king. No man knew
better than he how impossible it was to invent terms of adulation too
gross for her to accept as spontaneous and natural effusions, of the
heart. He received the letters from the hands of Sir Henry, read them
with rapture, heaved a deep sigh, and exclaimed. "Ah! Mr. Ambassador,
what shall I say to you? This letter of the queen, my sister, is full of
sweetness and affection. I see that she loves me, while that I love her
is not to be doubted. Yet your commission shows me the contrary, and this
proceeds from her, ministers. How else can these obliquities stand with
her professions of love? I am forced, as a king, to take a course which,
as Henry, her loving brother, I could never adopt."

They then walked out into the park, and the king fell into frivolous
discourse, on purpose to keep the envoy from the important subject which
had been discussed in the cabinet. Sir Henry brought him back to
business, and insisted that there was no disagreement between her Majesty
and her counsellors, all being anxious to do what she wished. The envoy,
who shared in the prevailing suspicions that Henry was about to make a
truce with Spain, vehemently protested against such a step, complaining
that his ministers, whose minds were distempered with jealousy, were
inducing him to sacrifice her friendship to a false and hollow
reconciliation with Spain. Henry protested that his preference would be
for England's amity, but regretted that the English delays were so great,
and that such dangers were ever impending over his head, as to make it
impossible for him, as a king, to follow the inclinations of his heart.

They then met Madame de Monceaux, the beautiful Gabrielle, who was
invited to join in the walk, the king saying that she was no meddler in
politics, but of a tractable spirit.

This remark, in Sir Henry's opinion, was just, for, said he to Burghley,
she is thought incapable of affairs, and, very simple.

The duchess unmasked very graciously as the ambassador was presented;
but, said the splenetic diplomatist, "I took no pleasure in it, nor held
it any grace at all." "She was attired in a plain satin gown," he
continued, "with a velvet hood to keep her from the weather, which became
her very ill. In my opinion, she is altered very much for the worse, and
was very grossly painted." The three walked together discoursing of
trifles, much to the annoyance of Umton. At last, a shower forced the
lady into the house, and the king soon afterwards took the ambassador to
his cabinet. "He asked me how I liked his mistress," wrote Sir Henry to
Burghley, "and I answered sparingly in her praise, and told him that if
without offence I might speak it, I had the picture of a far more
excellent mistress, and yet did her picture come far from the perfection
of her beauty."

"As you love me," cried the king, "show it me, if you have it about you!"

"I made some difficulty," continued Sir Henry, "yet upon his importunity
I offered it to his view very secretly, still holding it in my hand. He
beheld it with passion and admiration, saying that I was in the right."
"I give in," said the king, "Je me rends."

Then, protesting that he had never seen such beauty all his life, he
kissed it reverently twice or thrice, Sir Henry still holding the
miniature firmly in his hand.

The king then insisted upon seizing the picture, and there was a charming
struggle between the two, ending in his Majesty's triumph. He then told
Sir Henry that he might take his leave of the portrait, for he would
never give it up again for any treasure, and that to possess the favour
of the original he would forsake all the world. He fell into many more
such passionate and incoherent expressions of rhapsody, as of one
suddenly smitten and spell-bound with hapless love, bitterly reproaching
the ambassador for never having brought him any answers to the many
affectionate letters which he had written to the queen, whose silence had
made him so wretched. Sir Henry, perhaps somewhat confounded at being
beaten at his own fantastic game, answered as well as he could, "but I
found," said he, "that the dumb picture did draw on more speech and
affection from him than all my best arguments and eloquence. This was the
effect of our conference, and, if infiniteness of vows and outward
professions be a strong argument of inward affection, there is good
likelihood of the king's continuance of amity with her Majesty; only I
fear lest his necessities may inconsiderately draw him into some
hazardous treaty with Spain, which I hope confidently it is yet in the
power of her Majesty to prevent."

The king, while performing these apish tricks about the picture of a lady
with beady black eyes, a hooked nose, black teeth, and a red wig, who was
now in the sixty-fourth year of her age, knew very well that the whole
scene would be at once repeated to the fair object of his passion by her
faithful envoy; but what must have been the opinion entertained of
Elizabeth by contemporary sovereigns and statesmen when such fantastic
folly could be rehearsed and related every day in the year!

And the king knew, after all, and was destined very soon to acquire proof
of it which there was no gainsaying, that the beautiful Elizabeth had
exactly as much affection for him as he had for her, and was as capable
of sacrificing his interests for her own, or of taking advantage of his
direct necessities as cynically and as remorselessly, as the King of
Spain, or the Duke of Mayenne, or the Pope had ever done.

Henry had made considerable progress in re-establishing his authority
over a large portion of the howling wilderness to which forty years of
civil war had reduced his hereditary kingdom. There was still great
danger, however, at its two opposite extremities. Calais, key to the
Norman gate of France, was feebly held; while Marseilles, seated in such
dangerous proximity to Spain on the one side, and to the Republic of
Genoa, that alert vassal of Spain, on the other, was still in the
possession of the League. A concerted action was undertaken by means of
John Andrew Doria, with a Spanish fleet from Genoa on the outside and a
well-organised conspiracy from within, to carry the city bodily over to
Philip. Had it succeeded, this great Mediterranean seaport would have
become as much a Spanish 'possession as Barcelona or Naples, and infinite
might have been the damage to Henry's future prospects in consequence.
But there was a man in Marseilles; Petrus Libertas by name, whose
ancestors had gained this wholesome family appellation by a successful
effort once made by them to rescue the little town of Calvi, in Corsica,
from the tyranny of Genoa. Peter Liberty needed no prompting to
vindicate, on a fitting occasion, his right to his patronymic. In
conjunction with men in Marseilles who hated oppression, whether of
kings, priests, or renegade republics, as much as he did, and with a
secret and well-arranged understanding with the Duke of Guise, who was
burning with ambition to render a signal benefit to the cause which he
had just espoused, this bold tribune of the people succeeded in stirring
the population to mutiny at exactly the right moment, and in opening the
gates of Marseilles to the Duke of Guise and his forces before it was
possible for the Leaguers to admit the fleet of Doria into its harbour.
Thus was the capital of Mediterranean France lost and won. Guise gained
great favour in Henry's eyes; and with reason; for the son of the great
Balafre, who was himself the League, had now given the League the stroke
of mercy. Peter Liberty became consul of Marseilles, and received a
patent of nobility. It was difficult, however, for any diploma to confer
anything more noble upon him than the name which he hade inherited, and
to which he had so well established his right.

But while Henry's cause had thus been so well served in the south, there
was danger impending in the north. The king had been besieging, since
autumn, the town of La Fere, an important military and strategic
position, which had been Farnese's basis of operations during his
memorable campaigns in France, and which had ever since remained in the
hands of the League.

The cardinal had taken the field with an army of fifteen thousand foot
and three thousand horse, assembled at Valenciennes, and after hesitating
some time whether, or not he should attempt to relieve La Fere, he
decided instead on a diversion. In the second week of April; De Rosne was
detached at the head of four thousand men, and suddenly appeared before
Calais. The city had been long governed by De Gordan, but this wary and
experienced commander had unfortunately been for two years dead. Still
more unfortunately, it had been in his power to bequeath, not only his
fortune, which was very large, but the government of Calais, considered
the most valuable command in France, to his nephew, De Vidosan. He had,
however, not bequeathed to him his administrative and military genius.

The fortress called the Risban, or Rysbank, which entirely governed the
harbour, and the possession of which made Calais nearly impregnable, as
inexhaustible supplies could thus be poured into it by sea, had fallen
into comparative decay. De Gordan had been occupied in strengthening the
work, but since his death the nephew had entirely neglected the task. On
the land side, the bridge of Nivelet was the key to the place. The
faubourg was held by two Dutch companies, under Captains Le Gros and
Dominique, who undertook to prevent the entrance of the archduke's
forces. Vidosan, however; ordered these faithful auxiliaries into the

De Rosne, acting with great promptness; seized both the bridge of Nivelet
and the fort of Rysbank by a sudden and well-concerted movement. This
having been accomplished, the city was in his power, and, after
sustaining a brief cannonade, it surrendered. Vidosan, with his garrison,
however, retired into the citadel, and it was agreed between, himself and
De Rosne that unless succour should be received from the French king
before the expiration of six days; the citadel should also be-evacuated.

Meantime Henry, who was at Boulogne, much disgusted at this unexpected
disaster, had sent couriers to the Netherlands, demanding assistance of
the States-General and of the stadholder. Maurice had speedily responded
to the appeal. Proceeding himself to Zeeland, he had shipped fifteen
companies of picked troops from Middelburg, together with a flotilla
laden with munitions and provisions enough to withstand a siege of
several weeks. When the arrangements were completed, he went himself on
board of a ship of war to take command of the expedition in person. On
the 17th of April he arrived with his succours off the harbour of Calais,
and found to his infinite disappointment that the Rysbank fort was in the
hands of the enemy. As not a vessel could pass the bar without almost
touching that fortress, the entrance to Calais was now impossible. Had
the incompetent Vidosan heeded the advice of his brave Dutch officers;
the place might still have been saved, for it had surrendered in a panic
on the very day when the fleet of Maurice arrived off the port.

Henry had lost no time in sending, also, to his English allies for
succour. The possession of Calais by the Spaniards might well seem
alarming to Elizabeth, who could not well forget that up to the time of
her sister this important position had been for two centuries an English
stronghold. The defeat of the Spanish husband of an English queen had
torn from England the last trophies of the Black Prince, and now the
prize had again fallen into the hands of Spain; but of Spain no longer in
alliance, but at war, with England. Obviously it was most dangerous to
the interests and to the safety of the English realm, that this
threatening position, so near the gates of London, should be in the hands
of the most powerful potentate in the world and the dire enemy of
England. In response to Henry's appeal, the Earl of Essex was despatched
with a force of six thousand men--raised by express command of the queen
on Sunday when the people were all at church--to Dover, where shipping
was in readiness to transport the troops at once across the Channel. At
the same time, the politic queen and some of her counsellors thought the
opening a good one to profit by the calamity of their dear ally,
Certainly it was desirable to prevent Calais from falling into the grasp
of Philip. But it was perhaps equally desirable, now that the place
without the assistance of Elizabeth could no longer be preserved by
Henry, that Elizabeth, and not Henry, should henceforth be its possessor.
To make this proposition as clear to the French king as it seemed to the
English queen, Sir Robert Sidney was despatched in all haste to Boulogne,
even while the guns of De Rosne were pointed at Calais citadel, and while
Maurice's fleet, baffled by the cowardly surrender of the Risban, was on
its retreat from the harbour.

At two o'clock in the afternoon of the 21st of April, Sidney landed at
Boulogne. Henry, who had been intensely impatient to hear from England,
and who suspected that the delay was boding no good to his cause, went
down to the strand to meet the envoy, with whom then and there he engaged
instantly in the most animated discourse.

As there was little time to be lost, and as Sidney on getting out of the
vessel found himself thus confronted with the soldier-king in person, he
at once made the demand which he had been sent across the Channel to
make. He requested the king to deliver up the town and citadel of Calais
to the Queen of England as soon as, with her assistance, he should
succeed in recovering the place. He assigned as her Majesty's reasons for
this peremptory summons that she would on no other terms find it in her
power to furnish the required succour. Her subjects, she said, would
never consent to it except on these conditions. It was perhaps not very
common with the queen to exhibit so much deference to the popular will,
but on this occasion the supposed inclinations of the nation furnished
her with an excellent pretext for carrying out her own. Sidney urged
moreover that her Majesty felt certain of being obliged--in case she did
not take Calais into her own safe-keeping and protection--to come to the
rescue again within four or six months to prevent it once more from being
besieged, conquered, and sacked by the enemy.

The king had feared some such proposition as this, and had intimated as
much to the States' envoy, Calvaert, who had walked with him down to the
strand, and had left him when the conference began. Henry was not easily
thrown from his equanimity nor wont to exhibit passion on any occasion,
least of all in his discussions with the ambassadors of England, but the
cool and insolent egotism of this communication was too much for him.

He could never have believed, he said in reply, that after the repeated
assurances of her Majesty's affection for him which he had received from
the late Sir Henry Umton in their recent negotiations, her Majesty would
now so discourteously seek to make her profit out of his misery. He had
come to Boulogne, he continued, on the pledge given by the Earl of Essex
to assist him with seven or eight thousand men in the recovery of Calais.
If this after all should fail him--although his own reputation would be
more injured by the capture of the place thus before his eyes than if it
had happened in his absence--he would rather a hundred times endure the
loss of the place than have it succoured with such injurious and
dishonourable conditions. After all, he said, the loss of Calais was
substantially of more importance to the queen than to himself. To him the
chief detriment would be in the breaking up of his easy and regular
communications with his neighbours through this position, and especially
with her Majesty. But as her affection for him was now proved to be so
slender as to allow her to seek a profit from his misfortune and
dishonour, it would be better for him to dispense with her friendship
altogether and to strengthen his connections with truer and more
honourable friends. Should the worst come to the worst, he doubted not
that he should be able, being what he was and much more than he was of
old, to make a satisfactory arrangement with, the King of Spain. He was
ready to save Calais at the peril of his life, to conquer it in person,
and not by the hands of any of his lieutenants; but having done so, he
was not willing--at so great a loss of reputation without and at so much
peril within--to deliver it to her Majesty or to any-one else. He would
far rather see it fall into the hands of the Spaniards.

Thus warmly and frankly did Henry denounce the unhandsome proposition
made in the name of the queen, while, during his vehement expostulations,
Sidney grew red with shame, and did not venture to look the king for one
moment in the face. He then sought to mitigate the effect of his demand
by intimating, with much embarrassment of demeanour, that perhaps her
Majesty would be satisfied with the possession of Calais for her own
life-time, and--as this was at once plumply refused--by the suggestion of
a pledge of it for the term of one year. But the king only grew the more
indignant as the bargaining became more paltry, and he continued to heap
bitter reproaches upon the queen, who, without having any children or
known inheritor of her possessions, should nevertheless, be so desirous
of compassing his eternal disgrace and of exciting the discontent of his
subjects for the sake of an evanescent gain for herself. At such a price,
he avowed, he had no wish to purchase her Majesty'a friendship.

After this explosion the conference became more amicable. The English
envoy assured the king that there could be, at all events, no doubt of
the arrival of Essex with eight thousand men on the following Thursday to
assist in the relief of the citadel; notwithstanding the answer which, he
had received to the demand of her Majesty.

He furthermore expressed the strong desire which he felt that the king
might be induced to make a personal visit to the queen at Dover, whither
she would gladly come to receive him, so soon as Calais should have been
saved. To this the king replied with gallantry, that it was one of the
things in the world that he had most at heart. The envoy rejoined that
her Majesty would consider such a visit a special honour and favour. She
had said that she could leave this world more cheerfully, when God should
ordain, after she had enjoyed two hours' conversation with his Majesty.

Sidney on taking his departure repeated the assurance that the troops
under Essex would arrive before Calais by Thursday, and that they were
fast marching to the English coast; forgetting, apparently, that, at the
beginning of the interview, he had stated, according to the queen's
instructions, that the troops had been forbidden to march until a
favourable answer had been returned by the king to her proposal.

Henry then retired to his headquarters for the purpose of drawing up
information for his minister in England, De Saucy, who had not yet been
received by the queen, and who had been kept in complete ignorance of
this mission of Sidney and of its purport.

While the king was thus occupied, the English envoy was left in the
company of Calvaert, who endeavoured, without much success, to obtain
from him the result of the conference which had just taken place. Sidney
was not to be pumped by the Dutch diplomatist, adroit as he
unquestionably was, but, so soon as the queen's ambassador was fairly
afloat again on his homeward track--which was the case within three hours
after his arrival at Boulogne--Calvaert received from the king a minute
account of the whole conversation.

Henry expressed unbounded gratitude to the States-General of the republic
for their prompt and liberal assistance, and he eagerly contrasted the
conduct of Prince Maurice--sailing forth in person so chivalrously to his
rescue--with the sharp bargainings and shortcomings of the queen. He
despatched a special messenger to convey his thanks to the prince, and he
expressed his hope to Calvaert that the States might be willing that
their troops should return to the besieged place under the command of
Maurice, whose presence alone, as he loudly and publicly protested, was
worth four thousand men.

But it was too late. The six days were rapidly passing, away. The
governor of Boulogne, Campagnolo, succeeded, by Henry's command, in
bringing a small reinforcement of two or three hundred men into the
citadel of Calais during the night of the 22nd of April. This devoted
little band made their way, when the tide was low, along the flats which
stretched between the fort of Rysbank and the sea. Sometimes wading up to
the neck in water, sometimes swimming for their lives, and during a
greater part of their perilous, march clinging so close to the hostile
fortress as almost to touch its guns, the gallant adventurers succeeded
in getting into the citadel in time to be butchered with the rest of the
garrison on the following day. For so soon as the handful of men had
gained admittance to the gates--although otherwise the aspect of affairs
was quite unchanged--the rash and weak De Vidosan proclaimed that the
reinforcements stipulated in his conditional capitulation having arrived,
he should now resume hostilities. Whereupon he opened fire, upon the
town, and a sentry was killed. De Rosne, furious, at what he considered a
breach of faith, directed a severe cannonade against the not very
formidable walls of the castle. During the artillery engagement which
ensued the Prince of Orange, who had accompanied De Rosne to the siege,
had a very narrow escape. A cannon-ball from the town took off the heads
of two Spaniards standing near him, bespattering him with their blood and
brains. He was urged to retire, but assured those about him that he came
of too good a house to be afraid. His courage was commendable, but it
seems not to have occurred to him that the place for his father's son was
not by the aide of the general who was doing the work of his father's
murderer. While his brother Maurice with a fleet of twenty Dutch
war-ships was attempting in vain to rescue Calais from the grasp of the
Spanish king, Philip William of Nassau was looking on, a pleased and
passive spectator of the desperate and unsuccessful efforts at defence.
The assault was then ordered? The-first storm was repulsed, mainly by the
Dutch companies, who fought in the breach until most of their numbers
were killed or wounded, their captains Dominique and Le Gros having both
fallen. The next attack was successful, the citadel was carried; and the
whole garrison, with exception of what remained of the Hollanders and
Zeelanders, put to the sword. De Vidosan himself perished. Thus Calais
was once more a Spanish city, and was re-annexed to the obedient
provinces of Flanders. Of five thousand persons, soldiers and citizens,
who had taken refuge in the castle, all were killed or reduced to

The conversion of this important naval position into a Spanish-Flemish
station was almost as disastrous to the republic as it was mortifying to
France and dangerous to England. The neighbouring Dunkirk had long been a
nest of pirates, whence small, fast-sailing vessels issued, daily and
nightly, to prey indiscriminately upon the commerce of all nations. These
corsairs neither gave nor took quarter, and were in the habit, after they
had plundered their prizes, of setting them adrift, with the sailors
nailed to the deck or chained to the rigging; while the officers were
held for ransom. In case the vessels themselves were wanted, the crews
were indiscriminately tossed overboard; while, on the ether hand, the
buccaneers rarely hesitated to blow up their own ships, when unable to
escape from superior force. Capture was followed by speedy execution, and
it was but recently that one of these freebooters having been brought
into Rotterdam, the whole crew, forty-four in number, were hanged on the
day of their arrival, while some five and twenty merchant-captains held
for ransom by the pirates thus obtained their liberty.

And now Calais was likely to become a second and more dangerous
sea-robbers' cave than even Dunkirk had been.

Notwithstanding this unlucky beginning of the campaign for the three
allies, it was determined to proceed with a considerable undertaking
which had been arranged between England and the republic. For the time,
therefore, the importunate demands of the queen for repayments by the
States of her disbursements during the past ten years were suspended. It
had, indeed, never been more difficult than at that moment for the
republic to furnish extraordinary sums of money. The year 1595 had not
been prosperous. Although the general advance in commerce, manufactures,
and in every department of national development had been very remark
able, yet there had recently been, for exceptional causes, an apparent
falling off; while, on the other hand, there had been a bad harvest in
the north of Europe. In Holland, where no grain was grown, and which yet
was the granary of the world, the prices were trebled. One hundred and
eight bushels (a last) of rye, which ordinarily was worth fifty florins,
now sold for one hundred and fifty florins, and other objects of
consumption were equally enhanced in value. On the other hand, the
expenses of the war were steadily increasing, and were fixed for this
year at five millions of florins. The republic, and especially the States
of Holland, never hesitated to tax heroically. The commonwealth had no
income except that which the several provinces chose to impose upon
themselves in order to fill the quota assigned to them by the
States-General; but this defect in their political organization was not
sensibly felt so long as the enthusiasm for the war continued in full
force. The people of the Netherlands knew full well that there was no
liberty for them without fighting, no fighting without an army, no army
without wages, and no wages without taxation; and although by the end of
the century the imposts had become so high that, in the language of that
keen observer, Cardinal Bentivoglio; nuncio at Brussels, they could
scarcely be imagined higher, yet, according to the same authority, they
were laid unflinchingly and paid by the people without a murmur. During
this year and the next the States of Holland, whose proportion often
amounted to fifty per cent. of the whole contribution of the United
Provinces, and who ever set a wholesome example in taxation, raised the
duty on imports and all internal taxes by one-eighth, and laid a fresh
impost on such articles of luxury as velvets and satins, pleas and
processes. Starch, too, became a source of considerable revenue. With the
fast-rising prosperity of the country luxury had risen likewise, and, as
in all ages and countries of the world of which there is record, woman's
dress signalized itself by extravagant and very often tasteless
conceptions. In a country where, before the doctrine of popular
sovereignty had been broached in any part of the world by the most
speculative theorists, very vigorous and practical examples of democracy
had been afforded to Europe; in a country where, ages before the science
of political economy had been dreamed of, lessons of free trade on the
largest scale had been taught to mankind by republican traders
instinctively breaking in many directions through the nets by which
monarchs and oligarchs, guilds and corporations, had hampered the
movements of commerce; it was natural that fashion should instinctively
rebel against restraint. The honest burgher's vrow of Middelburg or
Enkhuyzen claimed the right to make herself as grotesque as Queen
Elizabeth in all her glory. Sumptuary laws were an unwholesome part of
feudal tyranny, and, as such, were naturally dropping into oblivion on
the free soil of the Netherlands. It was the complaint therefore of
moralists that unproductive consumption was alarmingly increasing.
Formerly starch had been made of the refuse parts of corn, but now the
manufacturers of that article made use of the bloom of the wheat and
consumed as much of it as would have fed great cities. In the little
village of Wormer the starch-makers used between three and four thousand
bushels a week. Thus a substantial gentlewoman in fashionable array might
bear the food of a parish upon her ample bosom. A single manufacturer in
Amsterdam required four hundred weekly bushels. Such was the demand for
the stiffening of the vast ruffs, the wonderful head-gear, the elaborate
lace-work, stomachers and streamers, without which no lady who respected
herself could possibly go abroad to make her daily purchases of eggs and
poultry in the market-place.

"May God preserve us," exclaimed a contemporary chronicler, unreasonably
excited on the starch question, "from farther luxury and wantonness, and
abuse of His blessings and good gifts, that the punishment of Jeroboam,
which followed upon Solomon's fortunate reign and the gold-ships of Ophir
may not come upon us."

The States of Holland not confounding--as so often has been the case--the
precepts of moral philosophy with those of political economy, did not,
out of fear for the doom of Jeroboam, forbid the use of starch. They
simply laid a tax of a stiver a pound on the commodity, or about six per
cent, ad valorem; and this was a more wholesome way of serving the State
than by abridging the liberty of the people in the choice of personal
attire. Meantime the preachers were left to thunder from their pulpits
upon the sinfulness of starched rues and ornamental top-knots, and to
threaten their fair hearers with the wrath to come, with as much success
as usually attends such eloquence.

There had been uneasiness in the provinces in regard to the designs of
the queen, especially since the States had expressed their inability to
comply in full with her demands for repayment. Spanish emissaries had
been busily circulating calumnious reports that her Majesty was on the
eve of concluding a secret peace with Philip, and that it was her
intention to deliver the cautionary towns to the king. The Government
attached little credence to such statements, but it was natural that
Envoy Caron should be anxious at their perpetual recurrence both in
England and in the provinces. So, one day, he had a long conversation
with the Earl of Essex on the subject; for it will be recollected that
Lord Leicester had strenuously attempted at an earlier day to get
complete possession, not only of the pledged cities but of Leyden also,
in order to control the whole country. Essex was aflame with indignation
at once, and, expressed himself with his customary recklessness. He swore
that if her Majesty were so far forsaken of God and so forgetful of her
own glory, as through evil counsel to think of making any treaty with
Spain without the knowledge of the States-General and in order to cheat
them, he would himself make the matter as public as it was possible to
do, and would place himself in direct opposition to such a measure, so as
to show the whole world that his heart and soul were foreign at least to
any vile counsel of the kind that might have been given to his Sovereign.
Caron and Essex conversed much in this vein, and although the envoy,
especially requested him not to do so, the earl, who was not
distinguished, for his powers of dissimulation, and who suspected
Burleigh of again tampering, as he had often before tampered, with secret
agents of Philip, went straight to the queen with the story. Next day,
Essex invited Caron to dine and to go with him after dinner to the queen.
This was done, and, so soon as the States' envoy was admitted to the
royal presence, her Majesty at once opened the subject. She had heard,
she said, that the reports in question had been spread through the
provinces, and she expressed much indignation in regard to them. She
swore very vehemently, as usual, and protested that she had better never
have been born than prove so miserable a princess as these tales would
make her. The histories of England, she said, should never describe her
as guilty of such falsehood. She could find a more honourable and fitting
means of making peace than by delivering up cities and strongholds so
sincerely and confidingly placed in her hands. She hoped to restore them
as faithfully as they had loyally been entrusted to her keeping. She
begged Caron to acquaint the States-General with these asseverations;
declaring that never since she had sent troops to the Netherlands had she
lent her ear to those who had made such underhand propositions. She was
aware that Cardinal Albert had propositions to make, and that he was
desirous of inducing both the French king and, herself to consent to a
peace with Spain: but she promised, the States' envoy solemnly before God
to apprise him of any such overtures, so soon as they should be made
known to herself.

Much more in this strain, with her usual vehemence and mighty oaths, did
the great queen aver, and the republican envoy, to whom she was on this
occasion very gracious, was fain to believe in her sincerity. Yet the
remembrance of the amazing negotiations between the queen's ministers and
the agents of Alexander Farnese, by which the invasion of the Armada had
been masked; could not but have left an uneasy feeling in the mind of
every Dutch statesman. "I trust in God," said Caron, "that He may never
so abandon her as to permit her to do the reverse of what she now
protests with so much passion. Should it be otherwise--which God
forbid--I should think that He would send such chastisement upon her and
her people that other princes would see their fate therein as in a
mirror, should they make and break such oaths and promises. I tell you
these things as they occur, because, as I often feel uneasiness myself, I
imagine that my friends on the other side the water may be subject to the
same anxiety. Nevertheless, beat the bush as I may, I can obtain no
better information than this which I am now sending you."

It had been agreed that for a time the queen should desist from her
demands for repayment--which, according to the Treaty of 1585, was to be
made only after conclusion of peace between Spain and the provinces, but
which Elizabeth was frequently urging on the ground that the States could
now make that peace when they chose--and in return for such remission the
republic promised to furnish twenty-four ships of war and four tenders
for a naval expedition which was now projected against the Spanish coast.
These war-ships were to be of four hundred, three hundred, and two
hundred tons-eight of each dimension--and the estimated expense of their
fitting out for five months was 512,796 florins.

Before the end of April, notwithstanding the disappointment occasioned in
the Netherlands by the loss of Calais, which the States had so
energetically striven to prevent, the fleet under Admiral John of
Duvenwoord, Seigneur of Warmond, and Vice-Admirals Jan Gerbrantz and
Cornelius Leusen, had arrived at Plymouth, ready to sail with their
English allies. There were three thousand sailors of Holland and Zeeland
on board, the best mariners in the world, and two thousand two hundred
picked veterans from the garrisons of the Netherlands. These land-troops
were English, but they belonged to the States' army, which was composed
of Dutch, German, Walloon, Scotch, and Irish soldiers, and it was a
liberal concession on the part of the republican Government to allow them
to serve on the present expedition. By the terms of the treaty the queen
had no more power to send these companies to invade Spain than to
campaign against Tyr Owen in Ireland, while at a moment when the cardinal
archduke had a stronger and better-appointed army in Flanders than had
been seen for many years in the provinces, it was a most hazardous
experiment for the States to send so considerable a portion of their land
and naval forces upon a distant adventure. It was also a serious blow to
them to be deprived for the whole season of that valiant and experienced
commander, Sir Francis Vere, the most valuable lieutenant, save Lewis
William, that Maurice had at his disposition. Yet Vere was to take
command of this contingent thus sent to the coast of Spain, at the very
moment when the republican army ought to issue from their winter quarters
and begin active operations in the field. The consequence of this
diminution of their strength and drain upon their resources was that the
States were unable to put an army in the field during the current year,
or make any attempt at a campaign.

The queen wrote a warm letter of thanks to Admiral Warmond for the
promptness and efficiency with which he had brought his fleet to the
place of rendezvous, and now all was bustle and preparation in the
English ports for the exciting expedition resolved upon. Never during
Philip's life-time, nor for several years before his birth, had a hostile
foot trod the soil of Spain, except during the brief landing at Corunna
in 1590, and, although the king's beard had been well singed ten years
previously by Sir Francis Drake, and although the coast of Portugal had
still more recently been invaded by Essex and Vere, yet the present
adventure was on a larger scale, and held out brighter prospects of
success than any preceding expedition had done. In an age when the line
between the land and sea service, between regular campaigners and
volunteers, between public and private warfare, between chivalrous
knights-errant and buccaneers, was not very distinctly drawn, there could
be nothing more exciting to adventurous spirits, more tempting to the
imagination of those who hated the Pope and Philip, who loved fighting,
prize-money, and the queen, than a foray into Spain.

It was time to return the visit of the Armada. Some of the sea-kings were
gone. Those magnificent freebooters, Drake and Hawkins, had just died in
the West Indies, and doughty Sir Roger Williams had left the world in
which he had bustled so effectively, bequeathing to posterity a classic
memorial of near a half century of hard fighting, written, one might
almost imagine, in his demi-pique saddle. But that most genial, valiant,
impracticable, reckless, fascinating hero of romance, the Earl of
Essex--still a youth although a veteran in service--was in the
spring-tide of favour and glory, and was to command the land-forces now
assembled at Plymouth. That other "corsair"--as the Spaniards called
him--that other charming and heroic shape in England's chequered
chronicle of chivalry and crime--famous in arts and arms, politics,
science, literature, endowed with so many of the gifts by which men
confer lustre on their age and country, whose name was already a part of
England's eternal glory, whose tragic destiny was to be her undying
shame--Raleigh, the soldier, sailor, scholar, statesman, poet, historian,
geographical discoverer, planter of empires yet unborn--was also present,
helping to organize the somewhat chaotic elements of which the chief
Anglo-Dutch enterprise for this year against--the Spanish world-dominion
was compounded.

And, again, it is not superfluous to recal the comparatively slender
materials, both in bulk and numbers, over which the vivid intelligence
and restless energy of the two leading Protestant powers, the Kingdom and
the Republic, disposed. Their contest against the overshadowing empire,
which was so obstinately striving to become the fifth-monarchy of
history, was waged by land: and naval forces, which in their aggregate
numbers would scarce make a startling list of killed and wounded in a
single modern battle; by ships such that a whole fleet of them might be
swept out of existence with half-a-dozen modern broadsides; by weapons
which would seem to modern eyes like clumsy toys for children. Such was
the machinery by which the world was to be lost and won, less than three
centuries ago. Could science; which even in that age had made gigantic
strides out of the preceding darkness, have revealed its later miracles,
and have presented its terrible powers to the despotism which was seeking
to crush all Christendom beneath its feet, the possible result might have
been most tragical to humanity. While there are few inventions in morals,
the demon Intellect is ever at his work, knowing no fatigue and scorning
contentment in his restless demands upon the infinite Unknown. Yet moral
truth remains unchanged, gradually through the ages extending its
influence, and it is only by conformity to its simple and, eternal
dictates that nations, like individuals, can preserve a healthful
existence. In the unending warfare between right and wrong, between
liberty and despotism; Evil has the advantage of rapidly assuming many
shapes. It has been well said that constant vigilance is the price of
liberty. The tendency of our own times, stimulated by scientific
discoveries and their practical application, is to political
consolidation, to the absorption of lesser communities in greater; just
as disintegration was the leading characteristic of the darker ages. The
scheme of Charlemagne to organize Europe into a single despotism was a
brilliant failure because the forces which were driving human society
into local and gradual reconstruction around various centres of
crystallization: were irresistible to any countervailing enginry which
the emperor had at his disposal. The attempt of Philip, eight centuries
later, at universal monarchy, was frivolous, although he could dispose of
material agencies which in the hands of Charlemagne might have made the
dreams of Charlemagne possible. It was frivolous because the rising
instinct of the age was for religious, political, and commercial freedom
in a far intenser degree than those who lived in that age were themselves
aware. A considerable republic had been evolved as it were involuntarily
out of the necessities of the time almost without self-consciousness that
it was a republic, and even against the desire of many who were guiding
its destinies. And it found itself in constant combination with two
monarchs, despotic at heart and of enigmatical or indifferent religious
convictions, who yet reigned over peoples, largely influenced by
enthusiasm for freedom. Thus liberty was preserved for the world; but, as
the law of human progress would seem to be ever by a spiral movement, it;
seems strange to the superficial observer not prone to generalizing, that
Calvinism, which unquestionably was the hard receptacle in which the germ
of human freedom was preserved in various countries and at different
epochs, should have so often degenerated into tyranny. Yet
notwithstanding the burning of Servetus at Geneva, and the hanging of
Mary Dyer at Boston, it is certain that France, England, the Netherlands,
and America, owe a large share of such political liberty as they have
enjoyed to Calvinism. It may be possible for large masses of humanity to
accept for ages the idea of one infallible Church, however tyrannical but
the idea once admitted that there may be many churches; that what is
called the State can be separated from what is called the Church; the
plea of infallibility and of authority soon becomes ridiculous--a mere
fiction of political or fashionable quackery to impose upon the
uneducated or the unreflecting.

And now Essex, Raleigh and Howard, Vere, Warmond and Nassau were about to
invade the shores of the despot who sat in his study plotting to annex
England, Scotland, Ireland, France, the Dutch republic, and the German
empire to the realms of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Milan, and the Eastern
and Western Indies, over which he already reigned.

The fleet consisted of fifty-seven ships of war, of which twenty-four
were Dutch vessels under Admiral Warmond, with three thousand sailors of
Holland and Zeeland. Besides the sailors, there was a force of six
thousand foot soldiers, including the English veterans from the
Netherlands under Sir Francis Vere. There were also fifty transports
laden with ammunition and stores. The expedition was under the joint
command of Lord High Admiral Howard and of the Earl of Essex. Many noble
and knightly volunteers, both from England and the republic, were on
board, including, besides those already mentioned, Lord Thomas Howard,
son of the Duke of Norfolk, Sir John Wingfield, who had commanded at
Gertruydenburg, when it had been so treacherously surrendered to Farnese;
Count Lewis Gunther of Nassau, who had so recently escaped from the
disastrous fight with Mondragon in the Lippe, and was now continuing his
education according to the plan laid down for him by his elder brother
Lewis William; Nicolas Meetkerk, Peter Regesmortes, Don Christopher of
Portugal, son of Don Antonio, and a host of other adventurers.

On the last day of June the expedition arrived off Cadiz. Next morning
they found a splendid Spanish fleet in the harbour of that city,
including four of the famous apostolic great galleons, St. Philip, St.
Matthew, St. Thomas, and St. Andrew, with twenty or thirty great
war-ships besides, and fifty-seven well-armed Indiamen, which were to be
convoyed on their outward voyage, with a cargo estimated at twelve
millions of ducats.

The St. Philip was the phenomenon of naval architecture of that day,
larger and stronger than any ship before known. She was two thousand tons
burthen, carried eighty-two bronze cannon, and had a crew of twelve
hundred men. The other three apostles carried each fifty guns and four
hundred men. The armament of the other war-ships varied from fifty-two to
eighteen guns each. The presence of such a formidable force might have
seemed a motive for discouragement, or at least of caution. On the
contrary, the adventurers dashed at once upon their prey; thus finding a
larger booty than they had dared to expect. There was but a brief
engagement. At the outset a Dutch ship accidentally blew up, and gave
much encouragement to the Spaniards. Their joy was but short-lived. Two
of the great galleons were soon captured, the other two, the St. Philip
and the St. Thomas, were run aground and burned. The rest of the
war-ships were driven within the harbour, but were unable to prevent a
landing of the enemy's forces. In the eagerness of the allies to seize
the city, they unluckily allowed many of the Indiamen to effect their
escape through the puente del Zuazzo, which had not been supposed a
navigable passage for ships of such burthen. Nine hundred soldiers under
Essex, and four hundred noble volunteers under Lewis Gunther of Nassau,
now sprang on shore, and drove some eleven hundred Spanish skirmishers
back within the gates of the city, or into a bastion recently raised to
fortify the point when the troops had landed. Young Nassau stormed the
bulwark sword in hand, carried it at the first assault, and planted his
colours on its battlement. It was the flag of William the Silent; for the
republican banner was composed of the family colours of the founder of
the new commonwealth. The blazonry of the proscribed and assassinated
rebel waved at last defiantly over one of the chief cities of Spain.
Essex and Nassau and all the rest then entered the city. There was little
fighting. Twenty-five English and Hollanders were killed, and about as
many Spaniards. Essex knighted about fifty gentlemen, Englishmen and
Hollanders, in the square of Cadiz for their gallantry. Among the number
were Lewis Gunther of Nassau, Admiral Warmond, and Peter Regesmortes.
Colonel Nicolas Meetkerke was killed in the brief action, and Sir John
Wingfield, who insisted in prancing about on horseback without his
armour, defying the townspeople and neglecting the urgent appeal of Sir
Francis Vere, was also slain. The Spanish soldiers, discouraged by the
defeat of the ships on which they had relied for protection of the town,
retreated with a great portion of the inhabitants into the citadel. Next
morning the citadel capitulated without striking a blow, although there,
were six thousand able-bodied, well-armed men within its walls. It was
one of the most astonishing panics ever recorded. The great fleet, making
a third of the king's navy, the city of Cadiz and its fortress, were
surrendered to this audacious little force, which had only arrived off
the harbour thirty-six hours before. The invaders had, however, committed
a great mistake. They had routed, and, as it were, captured the Spanish
galleons, but they had not taken possession of them, such had been their
eagerness to enter the city. It was now agreed that the fleet should be
ransomed for two million ducats, but the proud Duke of Medina Sidonia,
who had already witnessed the destruction of one mighty armada, preferred
that these splendid ships too should perish rather than that they should
pay tribute to the enemy. Scorning the capitulation of the commandant of
the citadel, he ordered the fleet to be set on fire. Thirty-two ships,
most of them vessels of war of the highest class, were burned, with all
their equipments. Twelve hundred cannon sunk at once to the bottom of the
Bay of Cadiz, besides arms for five or six thousand men. At least
one-third of Philip's effective navy was thus destroyed.

The victors now sacked the city very thoroughly, but the results were
disappointing. A large portion of the portable wealth of the inhabitants,
their gold and their jewelry, had been so cunningly concealed that,
although half a dozen persons were tortured till they should reveal
hidden treasures, not more than five hundred thousand ducats worth
of-plunder was obtained. Another sum of equal amount having been levied
upon the citizens; forty notable personages; among them eighteen
ecclesiastical dignitaries, were carried off as hostages for its payment.
The city was now set on fire by command of Essex in four different
quarters. Especially the cathedral and other churches, the convents and
the hospitals, were burned. It was perhaps not unnatural: that both
Englishmen and Hollanders should be disposed to wreak a barbarous
vengeance on everything representative of the Church which they abhorred,
and from which such endless misery had issued to the uttermost corners
of their own countries. But it is at any rate refreshing to record amid
these acts of pillage and destruction, in which, as must ever be the
case, the innocent and the lowly were made to suffer for the crimes of
crowned and mitred culprits, that not many special acts of cruelty were
committed upon individuals:

No man was murdered in cold blood, no woman was outraged. The beautiful
city was left a desolate and blackened ruin, and a general levy of spoil
was made for the benefit of the victors, but there was no infringement of
the theory and practice of the laws of war as understood in that day or
in later ages. It is even recorded that Essex ordered one of his
soldiers, who was found stealing a woman's gown, to be hanged on the
spot, but that, wearied by the intercession of an ecclesiastic of Cadiz,
the canon Quesada, he consented at last to pardon the marauder.

It was the earnest desire of Essex to hold Cadiz instead of destroying
it. With three thousand men, and with temporary supplies from the fleet,
the place could be maintained against all comers; Holland and England
together commanding the seas. Admiral Warmond and all the Netherlanders
seconded the scheme, and offered at once to put ashore from their vessels
food and munitions enough to serve two thousand men for two months. If
the English admiral would do as much, the place might be afterwards
supplied without limit and held till doomsday, a perpetual thorn in
Philip's side. Sir Francis Vere was likewise warmly in favour of the
project, but he stood alone. All the other Englishmen opposed it as
hazardous, extravagant, and in direct contravention of the minute
instructions of the queen. With a sigh or a curse for what he considered
the superfluous caution of his royal mistress, and the exaggerated
docility of Lord High Admiral Howard, Essex was fain to content himself
with the sack and the conflagration, and the allied fleet sailed away
from Cadiz.

On their way towards Lisbon they anchored off Faro, and landed a force,
chiefly of Netherlanders, who expeditiously burned and plundered the
place. When they reached the neighbourhood of Lisbon, they received
information that a great fleet of Indiamen, richly laden, were daily
expected from the Flemish islands, as the Azores were then denominated.
Again Essex was vehemently disposed to steer at once for that station, in
order to grasp so tempting a prize; again he was strenuously supported by
the Dutch admiral and Yere, and again Lord Howard peremptorily
interdicted the plan. It was contrary to his instructions and to his
ideas of duty, he said, to risk so valuable a portion of her Majesty's
fleet on so doubtful a venture. His ships were not fitted for a winter's
cruise, he urged. Thus, although it was the very heart of midsummer, the
fleet was ordered to sail homeward. The usual result of a divided command
was made manifest, and it proved in the sequel that, had they sailed for
the islands, they would have pounced at exactly the right moment upon an
unprotected fleet of merchantmen, with cargoes valued at seven millions
of ducats. Essex, not being willing to undertake the foray to the Azores
with the Dutch ships alone, was obliged to digest his spleen as: best he
could. Meantime the English fleet bore away for England, leaving Essex in
his own ship, together with the two captured Spanish galleons, to his
fate. That fate might, have been a disastrous one, for his prizes were
not fully manned, his own vessel was far from powerful, and there were
many rovers and cruisers upon the seas. The Dutch admiral, with all his
ships, however, remained in company, and safely convoyed him to Plymouth,
where they arrived only a day or two later than Howard and his fleet.
Warmond, who had been disposed to sail up the Thames in order to pay his
respects to the queen, was informed that his presence would not be
desirable but rather an embarrassment. He, however, received the
following letter from the hand of Elizabeth.

MONSIEUR DUYENWOORD,--The report made to me by the generals of our
fleet, just happily arrived from the coast of Spain, of the devoirs of
those who have been partakers in so, famous a victory, ascribes so much
of it to the valour, skill, and readiness exhibited by yourself and our
other friends from the Netherlands under your command, during the whole
course of the expedition, as to fill our mind with special joy and
satisfaction, and, with a desire to impart these feelings to you. No
other means presenting themselves at this moment than that of a letter
(in some sense darkening the picture of the conceptions of our soul), we
are willing to make use of it while waiting for means more effectual.
Wishing thus to disburthen ourselves we find ourselves confused, not
knowing where to begin, the greatness of each part exceeding the merit
of the other. For, the vigour and promptness with which my lords the
States-General stepped into the enterprise, made us acknowledge that the
good favour, which we have always borne the United Provinces and the
proofs thereof which we have given in the benefits conferred by us upon
them, had not been ill-bestowed. The valour, skill, and discipline
manifested by you in this enterprise show that you and your whole nation
are worthy the favour and protection of princes against those who wish to
tyrannize over you. But the honourableness and the valour shown by you,
Sir Admiral, towards our cousin the Earl of Essex on his return, when he
unfortunately was cut off from the fleet, and deep in the night was
deprived of all support, when you kept company with him and gave him
escort into the harbour of Plymouth, demonstrate on the one hand your
foresight in providing thus by your pains and patience against all
disasters, which through an accident falling upon one of the chiefs of
our armada might have darkened the great victory; and on the other hand
the fervour and fire of the affection which you bear us, increasing thus,
through a double bond, the obligations we are owing you, which is so
great in our hearts that we have felt bound to discharge a part of it by
means of this writing, which we beg you to communicate to the whole
company of our friends under your command; saying to them besides, that
they may feel assured that even as we have before given proof of our
goodwill to their fatherland, so henceforth--incited by their devoirs and
merits--we are ready to extend our bounty and affection in all ways which
may become a princess recompensing the virtues and gratitude of a nation
so worthy as yours.

                    "ELIZABETH R.

"14th August, 1596."

This letter was transmitted by the admiral to the States-General; who,
furnished him with a copy of it, but enrolled the original in their
archives; recording as it did, in the hand of the great English queen, so
striking a testimony to the valour and the good conduct of Netherlanders.

The results of this expedition were considerable, for the king's navy was
crippled, a great city was destroyed, and some millions of plunder had
been obtained. But the permanent possession of Cadiz, which, in such
case, Essex hoped to exchange for Calais, and the destruction of the
fleet at the Azores--possible achievements both, and unwisely
neglected--would have been far more profitable, at least to England. It
was also matter of deep regret that there was much quarrelling between
the Netherlanders and the Englishmen as to their respective share of the
spoils; the Netherlanders complaining loudly that they had been
defrauded. Moreover the merchants of Middelburg, Amsterdam, and other
commercial cities of Holland and Zeeland were, as it proved, the real
owners of a large portion of the property destroyed or pillaged at Cadiz;
so that a loss estimated as high as three hundred thousand florins fell
upon those unfortunate traders through this triumph of the allies.

The internal consequences of the fall of Calais had threatened at the
first moment to be as disastrous as the international results of that
misfortune had already proved. The hour for the definite dismemberment
and partition of the French kingdom, not by foreign conquerors but among
its own self-seeking and disloyal grandees, seemed to have struck. The
indomitable Henry, ever most buoyant when most pressed by misfortune, was
on the way to his camp at La Fere, encouraging the faint-hearted, and
providing as well as he could for the safety of the places most menaced,
when he was met at St. Quentin by a solemn deputation of the principal
nobles, military commanders, and provincial governors of France. The Duke
of Montpensier was spokesman of the assembly, and, in an harangue
carefully prepared for the occasion, made an elaborate proposition to the
king that the provinces, districts, cities, castles; and other
strong-holds throughout the kingdom should now be formally bestowed upon
the actual governors and commandants thereof in perpetuity, and as
hereditary property, on condition of rendering a certain military service
to the king and his descendants. It seemed so amazing that this temporary
disaster to the national arms should be used as a pretext for parcelling
out France, and converting a great empire into a number of insignificant
duchies and petty principalities; that this movement should be made, not
by the partisans of Spain, but by the adherents of the king; and that its
leader should be his own near relative, a prince of the blood, and a
possible successor to the crown, that Henry was struck absolutely dumb.
Misinterpreting his silence, the duke proceeded very confidently with his
well-conned harangue; and was eloquently demonstrating that, under such a
system, Henry, as principal feudal chief, would have greater military
forces at his disposal whenever he chose to summon his faithful vassals
to the field than could be the case while the mere shadow of royal power
or dignity was allowed to remain; when the king, finding at last a
tongue, rebuked his cousin; not angrily, but with a grave melancholy
which was more impressive than wrath.

He expressed his pity for the duke that designing intriguers should have
thus taken advantage of his facility of character to cause him to enact a
part so entirely unworthy a Frenchman, a gentleman, and a prince of the
blood. He had himself, at the outset of his career, been much farther
from the throne than Montpensier was at that moment; but at no period of
his life would he have consented to disgrace himself by attempting the
dismemberment of the realm. So far from entering for a moment into the
subject-matter of the duke's discourse, he gave him and all his
colleagues distinctly to understand that he would rather die a thousand
deaths than listen to suggestions which would cover his family and the
royal dignity with infamy.

Rarely has political cynicism been displayed in more revolting shape than
in this deliberate demonstration by the leading patricians and generals
of France, to whom patriotism seemed an unimaginable idea. Thus signally
was their greediness to convert a national disaster into personal profit
rebuked by the king. Henry was no respecter of the People, which he
regarded as something immeasurably below his feet. On the contrary, he
was the most sublime self-seeker of them all; but his courage, his
intelligent ambition, his breadth and strength of purpose, never
permitted him to doubt that his own greatness was inseparable from the
greatness of France. Thus he represented a distinct and wholesome
principle--the national integrity of a great homogeneous people at a
period when that integrity seemed, through domestic treason and foreign
hatred, to be hopelessly lost. Hence it is not unnatural that he should
hold his place in the national chronicle as Henry the Great.

Meantime, while the military events just recorded had been occurring in
the southern peninsula, the progress of the archduke and his lieutenants
in the north against the king and against the republic had been
gratifying to the ambition of that martial ecclesiastic. Soon after the
fall of Calais, De Rosne had seized the castles of Guynes and Hames,
while De Mexia laid siege to the important stronghold of Ardres. The
garrison, commanded by Count Belin, was sufficiently numerous and well
supplied to maintain the place until Henry, whose triumph at La Fere
could hardly be much longer delayed, should come to its relief. To the
king's infinite dissatisfaction, however, precisely as Don Alvario de
Osorio was surrendering La Fere to him, after a seven months' siege,
Ardres was capitulating to De Mexia. The reproaches upon Belin for
cowardice, imbecility, and bad faith, were bitter and general. All his
officers had vehemently protested against the surrender, and Henry at
first talked of cutting off his head. It was hardly probable,
however--had the surrender been really the result of treachery--that the
governor would have put himself, as he did at once in the king's power;
for the garrison marched out of Ardres with the commandant at their head,
banners displayed, drums beating, matches lighted and bullet in mouth,
twelve hundred fighting men strong, besides invalids. Belin was possessed
of too much influence, and had the means of rendering too many pieces of
service to the politic king, whose rancour against Spain was perhaps not
really so intense as was commonly supposed, to meet with the condign
punishment which might have been the fate of humbler knaves.

These successes having been obtained in Normandy, the cardinal with a
force of nearly fifteen thousand men now took the field in Flanders; and,
after hesitating for a time whether he should attack Breda, Bergen,
Ostend, or Gertruydenburg,--and after making occasional feints in various
directions, came, towards the end of June, before Hulst. This rather
insignificant place, with a population of but one thousand inhabitants,
was defended by a strong garrison under command of that eminent and
experienced officer Count Everard Solms. Its defences were made more
complete by a system of sluices, through which the country around could
be laid under water; and Maurice, whose capture of the town in the year
1591 had been one of his earliest military achievements, was disposed to
hold it at all hazards. He came in person to inspect the fortifications,
and appeared to be so eager on the subject, and so likely to encounter
unnecessary hazards, that the States of Holland passed a resolution
imploring him "that he would not, in his heroic enthusiasm and laudable
personal service, expose a life on which the country so much depended to
manifest dangers." The place was soon thoroughly invested, and the usual
series of minings and counter-minings, assaults, and sorties followed, in
the course of which that courageous and corpulent renegade, De Rosne, had
his head taken off by a cannon-ball, while his son, a lad of sixteen, was
fighting by his side. On the 16th August the cardinal formally demanded
the surrender of the place, and received the magnanimous reply that Hulst
would be defended to the death. This did not, however, prevent the
opening of negotiations the very same day. All the officers, save one,
united in urging Solms to capitulate; and Solms, for somewhat mysterious
reasons, and, as was stated, in much confusion, gave his consent. The
single malcontent was the well-named Matthew Held, whose family name
meant Hero, and who had been one of the chief actors in the far-famed
capture of Breda. He was soon afterwards killed in an unsuccessful attack
made by Maurice upon Venlo.

Hulst capitulated on the 18th August. The terms were honourable; but the
indignation throughout the country against Count Solms was very great.
The States of Zeeland, of whose regiment he had been commander ever,
since the death of Sir Philip Sidney, dismissed him from their service,
while a torrent of wrath flowed upon him from every part of the country.
Members of the States-General refused to salute him in the streets;
eminent person, ages turned their backs upon him, and for a time there
was no one willing to listen to a word in his defence. The usual reaction
in such cases followed; Maurice sustained the commander, who had
doubtless committed a grave error, but who had often rendered honourable
service to the republic, and the States-General gave him a command as
important as that of which he had been relieved by the Zeeland States. It
was mainly on account of the tempest thus created within the Netherlands,
that an affair of such slight importance came to occupy so large a space
in contemporary history. The defenders of Solmstold wild stories about
the losses of the besieging army. The cardinal, who was thought prodigal
of blood, and who was often quoted as saying "his soldiers' lives
belonged to God and their bodies to the king," had sacrificed, it, was
ridiculously said, according to the statement of the Spaniards
themselves, five thousand soldiers before the walls of Hulst. It was very
logically deduced therefrom that the capture of a few more towns of a
thousand inhabitants each would cost him his whole army. People told each
other, too, that the conqueror had refused a triumph which the burghers
of Brussels wished to prepare for him on his entrance into the capital,
and that he had administered the very proper rebuke that, if they had
more money than they knew what to do with, they should expend it in aid
of the wounded and of the families of the fallen, rather than in velvets
and satins and triumphal arches. The humanity of the suggestion hardly
tallied with the blood-thirstiness of which he was at the same time so
unjustly accused--although it might well be doubted whether the
commander-in-chief, even if he could witness unflinchingly the
destruction of five thousand soldiers on the battle-field, would dare
to confront a new demonstration of schoolmaster Houwaerts and his

The fact was, however, that the list of casualties in the cardinal's camp
during the six weeks' siege amounted to six hundred, while the losses
within the city were at least as many. There was no attempt to relieve
the place; for the States, as before observed, had been too much cramped
by the strain upon their resources and by the removal of so many veterans
for the expedition against Cadiz to be able to muster any considerable
forces in the field during the whole of this year.

For a vast war in which the four leading powers of the earth were
engaged, the events, to modern eyes, of the campaign of 1596 seem
sufficiently meagre. Meantime, during all this campaigning by land and
sea in the west, there had been great but profitless bloodshed in the
east. With difficulty did the holy Roman Empire withstand the terrible,
ever-renewed assaults of the unholy realm of Ottoman--then in the full
flush of its power--but the two empires still counterbalanced each other,
and contended with each'other at the gates of Vienna.

As the fighting became more languid, however, in the western part of
Christendom, the negotiations and intrigues grew only the more active. It
was most desirable for the republic to effect, if possible, a formal
alliance offensive and defensive with France and England against Spain.
The diplomacy of the Netherlands had been very efficient in bringing
about the declaration of war by Henry against Philip, by which the
current year had opened, after Henry and Philip had been doing their best
to destroy each other and each other's subjects during the half-dozen
previous years. Elizabeth, too, although she had seen her shores invaded
by Philip with the most tremendous armaments that had ever floated on the
seas, and although she had herself just been sending fire and sword into
the heart of Spain, had very recently made the observation that she and
Philip were not formally at war with each other. It seemed, therefore,
desirable to the States-General that this very practical warfare should
be, as it were, reduced to a theorem. In this case the position of the
republic to both powers and to Spain itself might perhaps be more
accurately defined.

Calvaert, the States' envoy--to use his own words--haunted Henry like his
perpetual shadow, and was ever doing his best to persuade him of the
necessity of this alliance. De Saucy, as we have seen, had just arrived
in England, when the cool proposition of the queen to rescue Calais from
Philip on condition of keeping it for herself had been brought to
Boulogne by Sidney. Notwithstanding the indignation of the king, he had
been induced directly afterwards to send an additional embassy to
Elizabeth, with the Duke of Bouillon at its head; and he had insisted
upon Calvaert's accompanying the mission. He had, as he frequently
observed, no secrets from the States-General, or from Calvaert, who had
been negotiating upon these affairs for two years past and was so well
acquainted with all their bearings. The Dutch envoy was reluctant to go,
for he was seriously ill and very poor in purse, but Henry urged the
point so vehemently, that Calvaert found himself on board ship within six
hours of the making of the proposition. The incident shows of how much
account the republican diplomatist was held by so keen a judge of mankind
as the Bearnese; but it will subsequently appear that the candour of the
king towards the States-General and their representative was by no means
without certain convenient limitations.

De Sancy had arrived just as--without his knowledge--Sidney had been
despatched across the channel with the brief mission already mentioned.
When he was presented to the queen, the next day, she excused herself for
the propositions by which Henry had been so much enraged, by assuring the
envoy that it had been her intention only to keep Calais out of the
enemy's hand, so long as the king's forces were too much occupied at a
distance to provide for its safety. As diplomatic conferences were about
to begin in which--even more than in that age, at least, was usually the
case--the object of the two conferring powers was to deceive each other,
and at the same time still more decidedly to defraud other states, Sancy
accepted the royal explanation, although Henry's special messenger,
Lomenie, had just brought him from the camp at Boulogne a minute account
of the propositions of Sidney.

The envoy had, immediately afterwards, an interview with Lord Burghley,
and at once perceived that he was no friend to his master. Cecil observed
that the queen had formerly been much bound to the king for religion's
sake. As this tie no longer existed, there was nothing now to unite them
save the proximity of the two States to each other and their ancient
alliances, a bond purely of interest which existed only so long as
princes found therein a special advantage.

De Sancy replied that the safety of the two crowns depended upon their
close alliance against a very powerful foe who was equally menacing to
them both. Cecil rejoined that he considered the Spaniards deserving of
the very highest praise for having been able to plan so important an
enterprise, and to have so well deceived the King of France by the
promptness and the secrecy of their operations as to allow him to
conceive no suspicion as to their designs.

To this not very friendly sarcasm the envoy, indignant that France should
thus be insulted in her misfortunes, exclaimed that he prayed to God that
the affairs of Englishmen might never be reduced to such a point as to
induce the world to judge by the result merely, as to the sagacity of
their counsels. He added that there were many passages through which to
enter France, and that it was difficult to be present everywhere, in
order to defend them all against the enemy.

A few days afterwards the Duke of Bouillon arrived in London. He had seen
Lord Essex at Dover as he passed, and had endeavoured without success to
dissuade him from his expedition against the Spanish coast. The
conferences opened on the 7th May, at Greenwich, between Burghley,
Cobham, the Lord Chamberlain, and one or two other commissioners on the
part of the queen, and Bouillon, Sancy, Du Yair, and Ancel, as
plenipotentiaries of Henry.

There was the usual indispensable series of feints at the outset, as if
it were impossible for statesmen to meet around a green table except as
fencers in the field or pugilists in the ring.

"We have nothing to do," said Burghley, "except to listen to such
propositions as may be made on the part of the king, and to repeat them
to her Highness the queen."

"You cannot be ignorant," replied Bouillon, "of the purpose for which we
have been sent hither by his Very Christian Majesty. You know very well
that it is to conclude a league with England. 'Tis necessary, therefore,
for the English to begin by declaring whether they are disposed to enter
into such an alliance. This point once settled, the French can make their
propositions, but it would be idle to dispute about the conditions of a
treaty, if there is after all no treaty to be made."

To this Cecil rejoined, that, if the king were reduced to the necessity
of asking succour from the queen, and of begging for her alliance, it was
necessary for them, on the other hand, to see what he was ready to do for
the queen in return, and to learn what advantage she could expect from
the league.

The duke said that the English statesmen were perfectly aware of the
French intention of proposing a league against the common enemy of both
nations, and that it would be unquestionably for the advantage of both to
unite their forces for a vigorous attack upon Spain, in which case it
would be more difficult for the Spanish to resist them than if each were
acting separately. It was no secret that the Spaniards would rather
attack England than France, because their war against England, being
coloured by a religious motive, would be much less odious, and would even
have a specious pretext. Moreover the conquest of England would give them
an excellent vantage ground to recover what they had lost in the
Netherlands. If, on the contrary, the enemy should throw himself with his
whole force upon France, the king, who would perhaps lose many places at
once, and might hardly be able to maintain himself single-handed against
domestic treason and a concentrated effort on the part of Spain, would
probably find it necessary to make a peace with that power. Nothing could
be more desirable for Spain than such a result, for she would then be
free to attack England and Holland, undisturbed by any fear of France.
This was a piece of advice, the duke said, which the king offered, in the
most friendly spirit, and as a proof of his affection, to her Majesty's
earnest consideration.

Burghley replied that all this seemed to him no reason for making a
league. "What more can the queen do," he observed, "than she is already
doing? She has invaded Spain by land and sea, she has sent troops to
Spain, France, and the Netherlands; she has lent the king fifteen hundred
thousand crowns in gold. In short, the envoys ought rather to be studying
how to repay her Majesty for her former benefits than to be soliciting
fresh assistance." He added that the king was so much stronger by the
recent gain of Marseilles as to be easily able to bear the loss of places
of far less importance, while Ireland, on the contrary, was a constant
danger to the queen. The country was already in a blaze, on account of
the recent landing effected there by the Spaniards, and it was a very
ancient proverb among the English, that to attack England it was
necessary to take the road of Ireland.

Bouillon replied that in this war there was much difference between the
position of France and that of England. The queen, notwithstanding
hostilities, obtained her annual revenue as usual, while the king was cut
off from his resources and obliged to ruin his kingdom in order to wage
war. Sancy added, that it must be obvious to the English ministers that
the peril of Holland was likewise the peril of England and of France, but
that at the same time they could plainly see that the king, if not
succoured, would be forced to a peace with Spain. All his counsellors
were urging him to this, and it was the interest of all his neighbours to
prevent such a step. Moreover, the proposed league could not but be
advantageous to the English; whether by restraining the Spaniards from
entering England, or by facilitating a combined attack upon the common
enemy. The queen might invade any portion of the Flemish coast at her
pleasure, while the king's fleet could sail with troops from his ports to
prevent any attack upon her realms.

At this Burghley turned to his colleagues and said, in English, "The
French are acting according to the proverb; they wish to sell us the
bear-skin before they have killed the bear." Sancy, who understood
English, rejoined, "We have no bear-skin to sell, but we are giving you a
very good and salutary piece of advice. It is for you to profit by it as
you may."

"Where are these ships of war, of which you were speaking?" asked

"They are at Rochelle, at Bordeaux, and at St. Malo," replied de Sancy.

"And these ports are not in the king's possession," said the Lord

The discussion was growing warm. The Duke of Bouillon, in order to, put
an end to it, said that what England had most to fear was a descent by
Spain upon her coasts, and that the true way to prevent this was to give
occupation to Philip's army in Flanders. The soldiers in the fleet then
preparing were raw levies with which he would not venture to assail her
kingdom. The veterans in Flanders were the men on whom he relied for that
purpose. Moreover the queen, who had great influence with the
States-General, would procure from them a prohibition of all commerce
between the provinces and Spain; all the Netherlands would be lost to
Philip, his armies would disperse of their own accord; the princes of
Italy, to whom the power of Spain was a perpetual menace, would secretly
supply funds to the allied powers, and the Germans, declared enemies of
Philip, would furnish troops.

Burghley asserted confidently that this could never be obtained from the
Hollanders, who lived by commerce alone. Upon which Saucy, wearied with
all these difficulties, interrupted the Lord Treasurer by exclaiming, "If
the king is to expect neither an alliance nor any succour on your part,
he will be very much obliged to the queen if she will be good enough to
inform him of the decision taken by her, in order that he may, upon his
side, take the steps most suitable to the present position of his

The session then terminated. Two days afterwards, in another conference,
Burghley offered three thousand men on the part of the queen, on
condition that they should be raised at the king's expense, and that they
should not leave England until they had received a month's pay in

The Duke of Bouillon said this was far from being what had been expected
of the generosity of her Majesty, that if the king had money he would
find no difficulty in raising troops in Switzerland and Germany, and that
there was a very great difference between hired princes and allies. The
English ministers having answered that this was all the queen could do,
the duke and Saucy rose in much excitement, saying that they had then no
further business than to ask for an audience of leave, and to return to
France as fast as possible.

Before they bade farewell to the queen, however, the envoys sent a memoir
to her Majesty, in which they set forth that the first proposition as to
a league had been made by Sir Henry Umton, and that now, when the king
had sent commissioners to treat concerning an alliance, already
recommended by the queen's ambassador in France, they had been received
in such a way as to indicate a desire to mock them rather than to treat
with them. They could not believe, they said, that it was her Majesty's
desire to use such language as had been addressed to them, and they
therefore implored her plainly to declare her intentions, in order that
they might waste no more time unnecessarily, especially as the high
offices with which their sovereign had honoured them did not allow them
to remain for a long time absent from France.

The effect of this memoir upon the queen was, that fresh conferences were
suggested, which took place at intervals between the 11th and the 26th of
May. They were characterized by the same mutual complaints of
overreachings and of shortcomings by which all the previous discussions
had been distinguished. On the 17th May the French envoys even insisted
on taking formal farewell of the queen, and were received by her Majesty
for that purpose at a final audience. After they had left the
presence--the preparations for their homeward journey being already
made--the queen sent Sir Robert Cecil, Henry Brooke, son of Lord Cobham,
and La Fontaine, minister of a French church in England, to say to them
how very much mortified she was that the state of her affairs did not
permit her to give the king as much assistance as he desired, and to
express her wish to speak to them once more before their departure.

The result of the audience given accordingly to the envoys, two days
later, was the communication of her decision to enter into the league
proposed, but without definitely concluding the treaty until it should be
ratified by the king.

On the 26th May articles were finally agreed upon, by which the king and
queen agreed to defend each other's dominions, to unite in attacking the
common enemy, and to invite other princes and states equally interested
with themselves in resisting the ambitious projects of Spain, to join in
the league. It was arranged that an army should be put in the field as
soon as possible, at the expense of the king and queen, and of such other
powers as should associate themselves in the proposed alliance; that this
army should invade the dominions of the Spanish monarch, that the king
and queen were never, without each other's consent, to make peace or
truce with Philip; that the queen should immediately raise four thousand
infantry to serve six months of every year in Picardy and Normandy, with
the condition that they were never to be sent to a distance of more than
fifty leagues from Boulogna; that when the troubles of Ireland should be
over the queen should be at liberty to add new troops to the four
thousand men thus promised by her to the league; that the queen was to
furnish to these four thousand men six months' pay in advance before they
should leave England, and that the king should agree to repay the amount
six months afterwards, sending meanwhile four nobles to England as
hostages. If the dominions of the queen should be attacked it was
stipulated that, at two months' notice, the king should raise four
thousand men at the expense of the queen and send them to her assistance,
and that they were to serve for six months at her charge, but were not to
be sent to a distance of more than fifty leagues from the coasts of

The English were not willing that the States-General should be
comprehended among the powers to be invited to join the league, because
being under the protection of the Queen of England they were supposed to
have no will but hers. Burghley insisted accordingly that, in speaking of
those who were thus to be asked, no mention was to be made of peoples nor
of states, for fear lest the States-General might be included under those
terms. The queen was, however, brought at last to yield the point, and
consented, in order to satisfy the French envoys, that to the word
princes should be added the general expression orders or estates. The
obstacle thus interposed to the formation of the league by the hatred of
the queen and of the privileged classes of England to popular liberty,
and by the secret desire entertained of regaining that sovereignty over
the provinces which had been refused ten years before by Elizabeth, was
at length set aside. The republic, which might have been stifled at its
birth, was now a formidable fact, and could neither be annexed to the
English dominions nor deprived of its existence as a new member of the
European family.

It being no longer possible to gainsay the presence of the young
commonwealth among the nations, the next best thing--so it was
thought--was to defraud her in the treaty to which she was now invited to
accede. This, as it will presently appear, the King of France and the
Queen of England succeeded in doing very thoroughly, and they
accomplished it notwithstanding the astuteness and the diligence of the
States' envoy, who at Henry's urgent request had accompanied the French
mission to England. Calvaert had been very active in bringing about the
arrangement, to assist in which he had, as we have seen, risen from a
sick bed and made the journey to England: "The proposition for an
offensive and defensive alliance was agreed to by her Majesty's Council,
but under intolerable and impracticable conditions," said he, "and, as
such, rejected by the duke and Sancy, so that they took leave of her
Majesty. At last, after some negotiation in which, without boasting, I
may say that I did some service, it was again taken in hand, and at last,
thank God, although with much difficulty, the league has been concluded."

When the task was finished the French envoys departed to obtain their
master's ratification of the treaty. Elizabeth expressed herself warmly
in regard to her royal brother, inviting him earnestly to pay her a
visit, in which case she said she would gladly meet him half way; for a
sight of him would be her only consolation in the midst of her adversity
and annoyance. "He may see other princesses of a more lovely appearance,"
she added, "but he will never make a visit to a more faithful friend."

But the treaty thus concluded was for the public. The real agreement
between France and England was made by a few days later, and reduced the
ostensible arrangement to a sham, a mere decoy to foreign nations,
especially to the Dutch republic, to induce them to imitate England in
joining the league, and to emulate her likewise in affording that
substantial assistance to the league which in reality England was very
far from giving.

"Two contracts were made," said Secretary of State Villeroy; "the one
public, to give credit and reputation to the said league, the other
secret, which destroyed the effects and the promises of the first. By the
first his Majesty was to be succoured by four thousand infantry, which
number was limited by the second contract to two thousand, who were to
reside and to serve only in the cities of Boulogne and Montreuil,
assisted by an equal number of French, and not otherwise, and on
condition of not being removed from those towns unless his Majesty should
be personally present in Picardy with an army, in which case they might
serve in Picardy, but nowhere else."

An English garrison in a couple of French seaports, over against the
English coast, would hardly have seemed a sufficient inducement to other
princes and states to put large armies in the field to sustain the
Protestant league, had they known that this was the meagre result of the
protocolling and disputations that had been going on all the summer at

Nevertheless the decoy did its work, The envoys returned to France, and
it was not until three months later that the Duke of Bouillon again made
his appearance in England, bringing the treaty duly ratified by Henry.
The league was then solemnized, on, the 26th August, by the queen with
much pomp and ceremony. Three peers of the realm waited upon the French
ambassador at his lodgings, and escorted him and his suite in seventeen
royal coaches to the Tower. Seven splendid barges then conveyed them
along the Thames to Greenwich. On the pier the ambassador was received by
the Earl of Derby at the head of a great suite of nobles and high
functionaries, and conducted to the palace of Nonesuch.

There was a religious ceremony in the royal chapel, where a special
pavilion had been constructed. Standing, within this sanctuary, the
queen; with her hand on her breast, swore faithfully to maintain the
league just concluded. She then gave her hand to the Duke of Bouillon,
who held it in both his own, while psalms were sung and the organ
resounded through the chapel. Afterwards there was a splendid banquet in
the palace, the duke sitting in solitary grandeur at the royal table,
being placed at a respectful distance from her Majesty, and the dishes
being placed on the board by the highest nobles of the realm, who, upon
their knees, served the queen with wine. No one save the ambassador sat
at Elizabeth's table, but in the same hall was spread another, at which
the Earl of Essex entertained many distinguished guests, young Count
Lewis Gunther of Nassau among the number.

In the midsummer twilight the brilliantly decorated barges were again
floating on the historic river, the gaily-coloured lanterns lighting the
sweep of the oars, and the sound of lute and viol floating merrily across
the water. As the ambassador came into the courtyard of his house, he
found a crowd of several thousand people assembled, who shouted welcome
to the representative of Henry, and invoked blessings on the head of
Queen Elizabeth and of her royal brother of France. Meanwhile all the
bells of London were ringing, artillery was thundering, and bonfires were
blazing, until the night was half spent.

Such was the holiday-making by which the league between the great
Protestant queen and the ex-chief of the Huguenots of France was
celebrated within a year after the pope had received him, a repentant
sinner, into the fold of the Church. Truly it might be said that religion
was rapidly ceasing to be the line of demarcation among the nations, as
had been the case for the two last generations of mankind.

The Duke of Bouillon soon afterwards departed for the Netherlands, where
the regular envoy to the commonwealth, Paul Chouart Seigneur de Buzanval,
had already been preparing the States-General for their entrance into the
league. Of course it was duly impressed upon those republicans that they
should think themselves highly honoured by the privilege of associating
themselves with so august an alliance. The queen wrote an earnest letter
to the States, urging them to join the league. "Especially should you do
so," she said, "on account of the reputation which you will thereby gain
for your affairs with the people who are under you, seeing you thus
sustained (besides the certainty which you have of our favour) by the
friendship of other confederated princes, and particularly by that of the
most Christian king."

On the 31st October the articles of agreement under which the republic
acceded to the new confederation were signed at the Hague. Of course it
was not the exact counterpart of the famous Catholic association. Madam
League, after struggling feebly for the past few years, a decrepit
beldame, was at last dead and buried. But there had been a time when she
was filled with exuberant and terrible life. She, at least, had known the
object of her creation, and never, so long as life was in her, had she
faltered in her dread purpose. To extirpate Protestantism, to murder
Protestants, to burn, hang, butcher, bury them alive, to dethrone every
Protestant sovereign in Europe, especially to assassinate the Queen of
England, the Prince of Orange, with all his race, and Henry of Navarre,
and to unite in the accomplishment of these simple purposes all the
powers of Christendom under the universal monarchy of Philip of
Spain--for all this, blood was shed in torrents, and the precious metals
of the "Indies" squandered as fast as the poor savages, who were thus
taking their first lessons in the doctrines of Jesus of Nazareth, could
dig it from the mines. For this America had been summoned, as it were by
almighty fiat, out of previous darkness, in order that it might furnish
money with which to massacre all the heretics of the earth. For this
great purpose was the sublime discovery of the Genoese sailor to be
turned to account. These aims were intelligible, and had in part been
attained. William of Orange had fallen, and a patent of nobility, with a
handsome fortune, had been bestowed upon his assassin. Elizabeth's life
had been frequently attempted. So had those of Henry, of Maurice, of
Olden-Barneveld. Divine providence might perhaps guide the hand of future
murderers with greater accuracy, for even if Madam League were dead, her
ghost still walked among the Jesuits and summoned them to complete the
crimes left yet unfinished.

But what was the design of the new confederacy? It was not a Protestant
league. Henry of Navarre could no longer be the chief of such an
association, although it was to Protestant powers only that he could turn
for assistance. It was to the commonwealth of the Netherlands, to the
northern potentates and to the Calvinist and Lutheran princes of Germany,
that the king and queen could alone appeal in their designs against
Philip of Spain.

The position of Henry was essentially a false one from the beginning. He
felt it to be so, and the ink was scarce dry with which he signed the new
treaty before he was secretly casting about him to, make peace with that
power with which he was apparently summoning all the nations of the earth
to do battle. Even the cautious Elizabeth was deceived by the crafty
Bearnese, while both united to hoodwink the other states and princes.

On the 31st October, accordingly, the States-General agreed to go into
the league with England and France; "in order to resist the enterprises
and ambitious designs of the King of Spain against all the princes and
potentates of Christendom." As the queen had engaged--according to the
public treaty or decoy--to furnish four thousand infantry to the league,
the States now agreed to raise and pay for another four thousand to be
maintained in the king's service at a cost of four hundred and fifty
thousand florins annually, to be paid by the month. The king promised, in
case the Netherlands should be invaded by the enemy with the greater part
of his force, that these four thousand soldiers should return to the
Netherlands. The king further bound himself to carry on a sharp offensive
war in Artois and Hainault.

The States-General would have liked a condition inserted in the treaty
that no peace should be made with Spain by England or France without the
consent of the provinces; but this was peremptorily refused.

Perhaps the republic had no special reason to be grateful for the
grudging and almost contemptuous manner in which it had thus been
virtually admitted into the community of sovereigns; but the men who
directed its affairs were far too enlightened not to see how great a step
was taken when their political position, now conceded to them, had been
secured. In good faith they intended to carry out the provisions of the
new treaty, and they immediately turned their attention to the vital
matters of making new levies and of imposing new taxes, by means of which
they might render themselves useful to their new allies.

Meantime Ancel was deputed by Henry to visit the various courts of
Germany and the north in order to obtain, if possible, new members for
the league? But Germany was difficult to rouse. The dissensions among
Protestants were ever inviting the assaults of the Papists. Its multitude
of sovereigns were passing their leisure moments in wrangling among
themselves as usual on abstruse points of theology, and devoting their
serious hours to banquetting, deep drinking, and the pleasures of the
chase. The jeremiads of old John of Nassau grew louder than ever, but his
voice was of one crying in the wilderness. The wrath to come of that
horrible Thirty Years' War, which he was not to witness seemed to inspire
all his prophetic diatribes. But there were few to heed them. Two great
dangers seemed ever impending over Christendom, and it is difficult to
decide which fate would have been the more terrible, the establishment of
the universal monarchy of Philip II., or the conquest of Germany by the
Grand Turk. But when Ancel and other emissaries sought to obtain succour
against the danger from the south-west, he was answered by the clash of
arms and the shrieks of horror which came daily from the south-east. In
vain was it urged, and urged with truth, that the Alcoran was less cruel
than the Inquisition, that the soil of Europe might be overrun by Turks
and Tartars, and the crescent planted triumphantly in every village, with
less disaster to the human race, and with better hope that the germs of
civilization and the precepts of Christianity might survive the invasion,
than if the system of Philip, of Torquemada, and of Alva, should become
the universal law. But the Turk was a frank enemy of Christianity, while
Philip murdered Christians in the name of Christ. The distinction imposed
upon the multitudes, with whom words were things. Moreover, the danger
from the young and enterprising Mahomet seemed more appalling to the
imagination than the menace, from which experience had taken something of
its terrors, of the old and decrepit Philip.

The Ottoman empire, in its exact discipline, in its terrible
concentration of purpose, in its contempt for all arts and sciences, and
all human occupation save the trade of war and the pursuit of military
dominion, offered a strong contrast to the distracted condition of the
holy Roman empire, where an intellectual and industrious people,
distracted by half a century of religious controversy and groaning under
one of the most elaborately perverse of all the political systems ever
invented by man, seemed to offer itself an easy prey to any conqueror.
The Turkish power was in the fulness of its aggressive strength, and
seemed far more formidable than it would have done had there been clearer
perceptions of what constitutes the strength and the wealth of nations.
Could the simple truth have been thoroughly, comprehended that a realm
founded upon such principles was the grossest of absurdities, the Eastern
might have seemed less terrible than the Western danger.

But a great campaign, at no considerable distance from the walls of
Vienna, had occupied the attention of Germany during the autumn. Mahomet
had taken the field in person with a hundred thousand men, and the
emperor's brother, Maximilian, in conjunction with the Prince of
Transylvania, at the head of a force of equal magnitude, had gone forth
to give him battle. Between the Theiss and the Danube, at Keveste, not
far from the city of Erlau, on the 26th October, the terrible encounter
on which the fate of Christendom seemed to hang at last took place, and
Europe held its breath in awful suspense until its fate should be
decided. When the result at last became known, a horrible blending of the
comic and the tragic, such as has rarely been presented in history,
startled the world. Seventy thousand human beings--Moslems and
Christians--were lying dead or wounded on the banks of a nameless little
stream which flows into the Theisa, and the commanders-in-chief of both
armies were running away as fast as horses could carry them. Each army
believed itself hopelessly defeated, and abandoning tents, baggage,
artillery, ammunition, the remnants of each, betook themselves to
panic-stricken flight. Generalissimo Maximilian never looked behind him
as he fled, until he had taken refuge in Kaschan, and had thence made his
way, deeply mortified and despondent, to Vienna. The Prince of
Transylvania retreated into the depths of his own principality. Mahomet,
with his principal officers, shut himself up in Buda, after which he
returned to Constantinople and abandoned himself for a time to a
voluptuous ease, inconsistent with the Ottoman projects of conquering the
world. The Turks, less prone to desperation than the Christians, had been
utterly overthrown in the early part of the action, but when the victors
were, as usual, greedily bent upon plunder before the victory had been
fairly secured, the tide of battle was turned by the famous Italian
renegade Cicala. The Turks, too, had the good sense to send two days
afterwards and recover their artillery, trains, and other property, which
ever since the battle had been left at the mercy of the first comers.

So ended the Turkish campaign of the year 1596. Ancel, accordingly, fared
ill in his negotiations with Germany. On the other hand Mendoza, Admiral
of Arragon, had been industriously but secretly canvassing the same
regions as the representative of the Spanish king. It was important for
Philip, who put more faith in the league of the three powers than Henry
himself did, to lose no time in counteracting its influence. The
condition of the holy Roman empire had for some time occupied his most
serious thoughts. It seemed plain that Rudolph would never marry.
Certainly he would never marry the Infanta, although he was very angry
that his brother should aspire to the hand which he himself rejected. In
case of his death without children, Philip thought it possible that there
might be a Protestant revolution in Germany, and that the house of
Habsburg might lose the imperial crown altogether. It was even said that
the emperor himself was of that opinion, and preferred that the empire
should "end with his own life." Philip considered that neither Matthias
nor Maximilian was fit to succeed their brother, being both of them
"lukewarm in the Catholic faith." In other words, he chose that his
destined son-in-law, the Cardinal Albert, should supersede them, and he
was anxious to have him appointed as soon as possible King of the Romans.

"His Holiness the Pope and the King of Spain," said the Admiral of
Arragon, "think it necessary to apply most stringent measures to the
emperor to compel him to appoint a successor, because, in case of his
death without one, the administration during the vacancy would fall to
the elector palatine,--a most perverse Calvinistic heretic, and as great
an enemy of the house of Austria and of our holy religion as the Turk
himself--as sufficiently appears in those diabolical laws of his
published in the palatinate a few months since. A vacancy is so dreadful,
that in the north of Germany the world would come to an end; yet the
emperor, being of rather a timid nature than otherwise, is inclined to
quiet, and shrinks from the discussions and conflicts likely to be caused
by an appointment. Therefore his Holiness and his Catholic Majesty, not
choosing that we should all live in danger of the world's falling in
ruins, have resolved to provide the remedy. They are to permit the
electors to use the faculty which they possess of suspending the emperor
and depriving him of his power; there being examples of this in other
times against emperors who governed ill."

The Admiral farther alluded to the great effort made two years before to
elect the King of Denmark emperor, reminding Philip that in Hamburg they
had erected triumphal arches, and made other preparations to receive him.
This year, he observed, the Protestants were renewing their schemes. On
the occasion of the baptism of the child of the elector palatine, the
English envoy being present, and Queen Elizabeth being god-mother, they
had agreed upon nine articles of faith much more hostile to the Catholic
creed than anything ever yet professed. In case of the death of the
emperor, this elector palatine would of course make much trouble, and the
emperor should therefore be induced, by fair means if possible, on
account of the great inconvenience of forcing him, but not without a hint
of compulsion, to acquiesce in the necessary measures. Philip was
represented as willing to assist the empire with considerable force
against the Turk--as there could be no doubt that Hungary was in great
danger--but in recompense it was necessary to elect a King of the Romans
in all respects satisfactory to him. There were three objections to the
election of Albert, whose recent victories and great abilities entitled
him in Philip's opinion to the crown. Firstly, there was a doubt whether
the kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia were elective or hereditary, and it
was very important that the King of the Romans should succeed to those
two crowns, because the electors and other princes having fiefs within
those kingdoms would be unwilling to swear fealty to two suzerains, and
as Albert was younger than his brothers he could scarcely expect to take
by inheritance.

Secondly, Albert had no property of his own, but the Admiral suggested
that the emperor might be made to abandon to him the income of the Tyrol.

Thirdly, it was undesirable for Albert to leave the Netherlands at that
juncture. Nevertheless, it was suggested by the easy-going Admiral, with
the same tranquil insolence which marked all his proposed arrangements,
that as Rudolph would retire from the government altogether, Albert, as
King of the Romans and acting emperor, could very well take care of the
Netherlands as part of his whole realm. Albert being moreover about to
marry the Infanta, the handsome dowry which he would receive with her
from the king would enable him to sustain his dignity.

Thus did Philip who had been so industrious during the many past years in
his endeavours to expel the heretic Queen of England and the Huguenot
Henry from the realms of their ancestors, and to seat himself or his
daughter, or one or another of his nephews, in their places, now busy
himself with schemes to discrown Rudolph of Habsburg, and to place the
ubiquitous Infanta and her future husband on his throne. Time would show
the result.

Meantime, while the Protestant Ancel and other agents of the new league
against Philip were travelling about from one court of Europe to another
to gain adherents to their cause, the great founder of the confederacy
was already secretly intriguing for a peace with that monarch. The ink
was scarce dry on the treaty to which he had affixed his signature before
he was closeted with the agents of the Archduke Albert, and receiving
affectionate messages and splendid presents from that military

In November, 1596, La Balvena, formerly a gentleman of the Count de la
Fera, came to Rouen. He had a very secret interview with Henry IV. at
three o'clock one morning, and soon afterwards at a very late hour in the
night. The king asked him why the archduke was not willing to make a
general peace, including England and Holland. Balvena replied that he had
no authority to treat on that subject; it being well known, however, that
the King of Spain would never consent to a peace with the rebels, except
on the ground of the exclusive maintenance of the Catholic religion.

He is taking the very course to destroy that religion, said Henry. The
king then avowed himself in favour of peace for the sake of the poor
afflicted people of all countries. He was not tired of arms, he said,
which were so familiar to him, but his wish was to join in a general
crusade against the Turk. This would be better for the Catholic religion
than the present occupations of all parties. He avowed that the Queen of
England was his very good friend, and said he had never yet broken his
faith with her, and never would do so. She had sent him the Garter, and
he had accepted it, as his brother Henry III. had done before him, and he
would negotiate no peace which did not include her. The not very distant
future was to show how much these stout professions of sincerity were
worth. Meantime Henry charged Balvena to keep their interviews a profound
secret, especially from every one in France. The king expressed great
anxiety lest the Huguenots should hear of it, and the agent observed that
any suspicion of peace negotiations would make great disturbance among
the heretics, as one of the conditions of the king's absolution by the
pope was supposed to be that he should make war upon his Protestant
subjects. On his return from Rouen the emissary made a visit to Monlevet,
marshal of the camp to Henry IV. and a Calvinist. There was much
conversation about peace, in the course of which Monlevet observed, "We
are much afraid of you in negotiation, for we know that you Spaniards far
surpass us in astuteness."

"Nay," said Balvena, "I will only repeat the words of the Emperor Charles
V.--'The Spaniards seem wise, and are madmen; the French seem madmen, and
are wise.'"

A few weeks later the archduke sent Balvena again to Rouen. He had
another interview with the king, at which not only Villeroy and other
Catholics were present, but Monlevet also. This proved a great obstacle
to freedom of conversation. The result was the same as before.

There were strong professions of a desire on the part of the king for a
peace but it was for a general peace; nothing further.

On the 4th December Balvena was sent for by the king before daylight,
just as he was mounting his horse for the chase.

"Tell his Highness," said Henry, "that I am all frankness, and incapable
of dissimulation, and that I believe him too much a man of honour to wish
to deceive me. Go tell him that I am most anxious for peace, and that I
deeply regret the defeat that has been sustained against the Turk. Had I
been there I would have come out dead or victorious. Let him arrange an
agreement between us, so that presto he may see me there with my brave
nobles, with infantry and with plenty of Switzers. Tell him that I am his
friend: Begone. Be diligent."

On the last day but two of the year, the archduke, having heard this
faithful report of Henry's affectionate sentiments, sent him a suit of
splendid armour, such as was then made better in Antwerp than anywhere
else, magnificently burnished of a blue colour, according to an entirely
new fashion.

With such secret courtesies between his most Catholic Majesty's
vicegerent and himself was Henry's league with the two Protestant powers

Exactly at the same epoch Philip was again preparing an invasion of the
queen's dominions. An armada of a hundred and twenty-eight ships, with a
force of fourteen thousand infantry and three thousand horse, had been
assembled during the autumn of this year at Lisbon, notwithstanding the
almost crushing blow that the English and Hollanders had dealt the king's
navy so recently at Cadiz. This new expedition was intended for Ireland,
where it was supposed that the Catholics would be easily roused. It was
also hoped that the King of Scots might be induced to embrace this
opportunity of wreaking vengeance on his mother's destroyer. "He was on
the watch the last time that my armada went forth against the English,"
said Philip, "and he has now no reason to do the contrary, especially if
he remembers that here is a chance to requite the cruelty which was
practised on his mother."

The fleet sailed on the 5th October under the command of the Count Santa
Gadea. Its immediate destination was the coast of Ireland, where they
were to find some favourable point for disembarking the troops. Having
accomplished this, the ships, with the exception of a few light vessels,
were to take their departure and pass the winter in Ferrol. In case the
fleet should be forced by stress of weather on the English coast, the
port of Milford Haven in Wales was to be seized, "because," said Philip,
"there are a great many Catholics there well affected to our cause, and
who have a special enmity to the English." In case the English fleet
should come forth to give battle, Philip sent directions that it was to
be conquered at once, and that after the victory Milford Haven was to be
firmly held.

This was easily said. But it was not fated that this expedition should be
more triumphant than that of the unconquerable armada which had been so
signally conquered eight years before. Scarcely had the fleet put to sea
when it was overtaken by a tremendous storm, in which forty ships
foundered with five thousand men. The shattered remnants took refuge in
Ferrol. There the ships were to refit, and in the spring the attempt was
to be renewed. Thus it was ever with the King of Spain. There was a
placid unconsciousness on his part of defeat which sycophants thought
sublime. And such insensibility might have been sublimity had the monarch
been in person on the deck of a frigate in the howling tempest, seeing
ship after ship go down before his eyes; and exerting himself with
tranquil energy and skill to encourage his followers, and to preserve
what remained afloat from destruction. Certainly such exhibitions of
human superiority to the elements are in the highest degree inspiring.
His father had shown himself on more than one occasion the master of his
fate. The King of France, too, bare-headed, in his iron corslet, leading
a forlorn hope, and, by the personal charm of his valour, changing
fugitives into heroes and defeat into victory, had afforded many examples
of sublime unconsciousness of disaster, such as must ever thrill the
souls of mankind. But it is more difficult to be calm in battle and
shipwreck than at the writing desk; nor is that the highest degree of
fortitude which enables a monarch--himself in safety--to endure without
flinching the destruction of his fellow creatures.

No sooner, however, was the remnant of the tempest-tost fleet safe in
Ferrol than the king requested the cardinal to collect an army at Calais
and forthwith to invade England. He asked his nephew whether he could not
manage to send his troops across the channel in vessels of light draught,
such as he already had at command, together with some others which might
be furnished him from Spain. In this way he was directed to gain a
foot-hold in England, and he was to state immediately whether he could
accomplish this with his own resources or should require the assistance
of the fleet at Ferrol. The king further suggested that the enemy,
encouraged by his success at Cadiz the previous summer, might be
preparing a fresh expedition against Spain, in which case the invasion of
England would be easier to accomplish.

Thus on the last day of 1596, Philip, whose fleet sent forth for the
conquest of Ireland and England had been too crippled to prosecute the
adventure, was proposing to his nephew to conquer England without any
fleet at all. He had given the same advice to Alexander Farnese so soon
as he heard of the destruction of the invincible armada.


     Allow her to seek a profit from his misfortune
     Burning of Servetus at Geneva
     Constant vigilance is the price of liberty
     Evil has the advantage of rapidly assuming many shapes
     French seem madmen, and are wise
     Hanging of Mary Dyer at Boston
     Imposed upon the multitudes, with whom words were things
     Impossible it was to invent terms of adulation too gross
     In times of civil war, to be neutral is to be nothing
     Meet around a green table except as fencers in the field
     One-third of Philip's effective navy was thus destroyed
     Patriotism seemed an unimaginable idea
     Placid unconsciousness on his part of defeat
     Plea of infallibility and of authority soon becomes ridiculous
     Religion was rapidly ceasing to be the line of demarcation
     So often degenerated into tyranny (Calvinism)
     Spaniards seem wise, and are madmen
     The Alcoran was less cruel than the Inquisition
     There are few inventions in morals
     To attack England it was necessary to take the road of Ireland
     Tranquil insolence
     Unproductive consumption was alarmingly increasing
     Upon their knees, served the queen with wine
     Wish to sell us the bear-skin before they have killed the bear


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 69, 1597-1598


   Straggle of the Netherlands against Spain--March to Turnhout--
   Retreat of the Spanish commander--Pursuit and attack--Demolition of
   the Spanish army--Surrender of the garrison of Turnhout--Improved
   military science--Moral effect of the battle--The campaign in
   France--Attack on Amiens by the Spaniards--Sack and burning of the
   city--De Rosny's plan for reorganization of the finances--Jobbery
   and speculation--Philip's repudiation of his debts--Effects of the
   measure--Renewal of persecution by the Jesuits--Contention between
   Turk and Christian--Envoy from the King of Poland to the Hague to
   plead for reconciliation with Philip--His subsequent presentation to
   Queen Elizabeth--Military events Recovery of Amiens--Feeble
   operations of the confederate powers against Spain--Marriage of the
   Princess Emilia, sister of Maurice--Reduction of the castle and town
   of Alphen--Surrender of Rheinberg--Capitulation of Meurs--Surrender
   of Grol--Storming and taking of Brevoort Capitulation of Enschede,
   Ootmaxsum, Oldenzaal, and Lingen--Rebellion of the Spanish garrisons
   in Antwerp and Ghent--Progress of the peace movement between Henry
   and Philip--Relations of the three confederate powers--Henry's
   scheme for reconciliation with Spain--His acceptance of Philip's
   offer of peace announced to Elizabeth--Endeavours for a general

The old year had closed with an abortive attempt of Philip to fulfil his
favourite dream--the conquest of England. The new year opened with a
spirited effort of Prince Maurice to measure himself in the open field
with the veteran legions of Spain.

Turnhout, in Brabant, was an open village--the largest in all the
Netherlands lying about twenty-five English miles in almost a direct line
south from Gertruydenburg. It was nearly as far distant in an easterly
direction from Antwerp, and was about five miles nearer Breda than it was
to Gertruydenberg.

At this place the cardinal-archduke had gathered a considerable force,
numbering at least four thousand of his best infantry, with several
squadrons of cavalry, the whole under-command of the general-in-chief of
artillery, Count Varax. People in the neighbourhood were growing uneasy,
for it was uncertain in what direction it might be intended to use this
formidable force. It was perhaps the cardinal's intention to make a
sudden assault upon Breda, the governor of which seemed not inclined to
carry out his proposition to transfer that important city to the king, or
it was thought that he might take advantage of a hard frost and cross the
frozen morasses and estuaries into the land of Ter Tholen, where he might
overmaster some of the important strongholds of Zeeland.

Marcellus Bax, that boldest and most brilliant of Holland's cavalry
officers, had come to Maurice early in January with an urgent suggestion
that no time might be lost in making an attack upon the force of
Turnhout, before they should succeed in doing any mischief. The prince
pondered the proposition, for a little time, by himself, and then
conferred very privately upon the subject with the state-council. On the
14th January it was agreed with that body that the enterprise should be
attempted, but with the utmost secrecy. A week later the council sent an
express messenger to Maurice urging him not to expose his own life to
peril, but to apprise them as soon as possible as to the results of the

Meantime, patents had been sent to the various garrisons for fifty
companies of foot and sixteen squadrons of horse. On the 22nd January
Maurice came to Gertruydenberg, the place of rendezvous, attended by Sir
Francis Vere and Count Solms. Colonel Kloetingen was already there with
the transports of ammunition and a few pieces of artillery from Zeeland,
and in the course of the day the whole infantry force had assembled.
Nothing could have been managed with greater promptness or secrecy.

Next day, before dawn, the march began. The battalia was led by Van der
Noot, with six companies of Hollanders. Then came Vere, with eight
companies of the reserve, Dockray with eight companies of Englishmen,
Murray with eight companies of Scotch, and Kloetingen and La Corde with
twelve companies of Dutch and Zeelanders. In front of the last troop
under La Corde marched the commander of the artillery, with two
demi-cannon and two field-pieces, followed by the ammunition and, baggage
trains. Hohenlo arrived just as the march was beginning, to whom the
stadholder, notwithstanding their frequent differences, communicated his
plans, and entrusted the general command of the cavalry. That force met
the expedition at Osterhout, a league's distance from Gertruydenberg, and
consisted of the best mounted companies, English and Dutch, from the
garrisons of Breda, Bergen, Nymegen, and the Zutphen districts.

It was a dismal, drizzly, foggy morning; the weather changing to steady
rain as the expedition advanced. There had been alternate frost and thaw
for the few previous weeks, and had that condition of the atmosphere
continued the adventure could not have been attempted. It had now turned
completely to thaw. The roads were all under water, and the march was
sufficiently difficult. Nevertheless, it was possible; so the stout
Hollanders, Zeelanders, and Englishmen struggled on manfully, shoulder to
shoulder, through the mist and the mire. By nightfall the expedition had
reached Ravels, at less than a league's distance from Turnhout, having
accomplished, under the circumstances, a very remarkable march of over
twenty miles. A stream of water, the Neethe, one of the tributaries of
the Scheld, separated Ravels from Turnhout, and was crossed by a stone
bridge. It was an anxious moment. Maurice discovered by his scouts that
he was almost within cannon-shot of several of the most famous regiments
in the Spanish army lying fresh, securely posted, and capable of making
an attack at any moment. He instantly threw forward Marcellus Bax with
four squadrons of Bergen cavalry, who, jaded as they were by their day's
work, were to watch the bridge that night, and to hold it against all
comers and at every hazard.

The Spanish commander, on his part, had reconnoitred the advancing, foe,
for it was impossible for the movement to have been so secret or so swift
over those inundated roads as to be shrouded to the last moment in
complete mystery. It was naturally to be expected therefore that those
splendid legions--the famous Neapolitan tercio of Trevico, the veteran
troops of Sultz and Hachicourt, the picked Epirote and Spanish cavalry of
Nicolas Basta and Guzman--would be hurled upon the wearied, benumbed,
bemired soldiers of the republic, as they came slowly along after their
long march through the cold winter's rain.

Varax took no such heroic resolution. Had he done so that January
afternoon, the career of Maurice of Nassau might have been brought to a
sudden close, despite the affectionate warning of the state-council.
Certainly it was difficult for any commander to be placed in a more
perilous position than that in which the stadholder found himself. He
remained awake and afoot the whole night, perfecting his arrangements for
the morning, and watching every indication of a possible advance on the
part of the enemy. Marcellus Bax and his troopers remained at the bridge
till morning, and were so near the Spaniards that they heard the voices
of their pickets, and could even distinguish in the distance the various
movements in their camp.

But no attack was made, and the little army of Maurice was allowed to
sleep off its fatigue. With the dawn of the 24th January, a reconnoitring
party, sent out from the republican camp, discovered that Varax, having
no stomach for an encounter, had given his enemies the slip. Long before
daylight his baggage and ammunition trains had been sent off in a
southerly direction, and his whole force had already left the village of
Turnhout. It was the intention of the commander to take refuge in the
fortified city of Herenthals, and there await the attack of Maurice.
Accordingly, when the stadholder arrived on the fields beyond the
immediate precincts of the village, he saw the last of the enemy's
rearguard just disappearing from view. The situation was a very peculiar

The rain and thaw, following upon frosty weather, had converted the fenny
country in many directions into a shallow lake. The little river which
flowed by the village had risen above its almost level banks, and could
with difficulty be traversed at any point, while there was no permanent
bridge, such as there was at Ravels. The retreating Spaniards had made
their way through a narrow passage, where a roughly-constructed causeway
of planks had enabled the infantry to cross the waters almost in single
file, while the cavalry had floundered through as best they might. Those
who were acquainted with the country reported that beyond this defile
there was an upland heath, a league in extent, full of furze and
thickets, where it would be easy enough for Varax to draw up his army in
battle array, and conceal it from view. Maurice's scouts, too, brought
information that the Spanish commander had left a force of musketeers to
guard the passage at the farther end.

This looked very like an ambush. In the opinion of Hohenlo, of Solms, and
of Sidney, an advance was not to be thought of; and if the adventure
seemed perilous to such hardy and experienced campaigners as these three,
the stadholder might well hesitate. Nevertheless, Maurice had made up his
mind. Sir Francis Vere and Marcellus Bax confirmed him in his
determination, and spoke fiercely of the disgrace which would come upon
the arms of the republic if now, after having made a day's march to meet
the enemy, they should turn their backs upon him just as he was doing his
best to escape.

On leave obtained from the prince, these two champions, the Englishman
and the Hollander, spurred their horses through the narrow pass, with the
waters up to the saddle-bow, at the head of a mere handful of troopers,
not more than a dozen men in all. Two hundred musketeers followed,
picking their way across the planks. As they emerged into the open
country beyond, the Spanish soldiers guarding the passage fled without
firing a shot. Such was already the discouraging effect produced upon
veterans by the unexpected order given that morning to retreat. Vere and
Bax sent word for all the cavalry to advance at once, and meantime
hovered about the rearguard of the retreating enemy, ready to charge upon
him so soon as they should be strong enough.

Maurice lost no time in plunging with his whole mounted force through the
watery defile; directing the infantry to follow as fast as practicable.
When the commander-in-chief with his eight hundred horsemen, Englishmen,
Zeelanders, Hollanders, and Germans, came upon the heath, the position
and purpose of the enemy were plainly visible. He was not drawn up in
battle order, waiting to sweep down upon his rash assailants so soon as,
after struggling through the difficult pass, they should be delivered
into his hands. On the contrary, it was obvious at a glance that his
object was still to escape. The heath of Tiel, on which Spaniards,
Italians, Walloons, Germans, Dutchmen, English; Scotch, and Irishmen now
all found themselves together, was a ridgy, spongy expanse of country,
bordered on one side by the swollen river, here flowing again through
steeper banks which were overgrown with alders and pollard willows. Along
the left of the Spanish army, as they moved in the direction of
Herenthals, was a continuous fringe of scrub-oaks, intermixed with tall
beeches, skirting the heath, and forming a leafless but almost impervious
screen for the movements of small detachments of troops. Quite at the
termination of the open apace, these thickets becoming closely crowded,
overhung another extremely narrow passage, which formed the only outlet
from the plain. Thus the heath of Tiel, upon that winter's morning, had
but a single entrance and a single exit, each very dangerous or very
fortunate for those capable of taking or neglecting the advantages
offered by the position.

The whole force of Varax, at least five thousand strong, was advancing in
close marching order towards the narrow passage by which only they could
emerge from the heath. Should they reach this point in time, and thus
effect their escape, it would be useless to attempt to follow them, for,
as was the case with the first defile, it was not possible for two
abreast to go through, while beyond was a swampy-country in which
military operations were impossible. Yet there remained less than half a
league's space for the retreating soldiers to traverse, while not a
single foot-soldier Of Maurice's army had thus far made his appearance on
the heath. All were still wallowing and struggling, single file, in the
marshy entrance, through which only the cavalry had forced their way.
Here was a dilemma. Should Maurice look calmly on while the enemy, whom
he had made so painful a forced march to meet, moved off out of reach
before his eyes? Yet certainly this was no slight triumph in itself.
There sat the stadholder on his horse at the head of eight hundred
carabineers, and there marched four of Philip's best infantry regiments,
garnished with some of his most renowned cavalry squadrons, anxious not
to seek but to avoid a combat. First came the Germans of Count Sultz, the
musketeers in front, and the spearsmen, of which the bulk of this and of
all the regiments was composed, marching in closely serried squares, with
the company standards waving over each. Next, arranged in the same
manner, came the Walloon regiments of Hachicourt and of La Barlotte.
Fourth and last came the famous Neapolitans of Marquis Trevico. The
cavalry squadrons rode on the left of the infantry, and were commanded by
Nicolas Basta, a man who had been trampling upon the Netherlanders ever
since the days of Alva, with whom he had first come to the country.

And these were the legions--these very men or their immediate
predecessors--these Italians, Spaniards, Germans, and Walloons, who
during so many terrible years had stormed and sacked almost every city of
the Netherlands, and swept over the whole breadth of those little
provinces as with the besom of destruction.

Both infantry and cavalry, that picked little army of Varax was of the
very best that had shared in the devil's work which had been the chief
industry practised for so long in the obedient Netherlands. Was it not
madness for the stadholder, at the head of eight hundred horsemen, to
assail such an army as this? Was it not to invoke upon his head the swift
vengeance of Heaven? Nevertheless, the painstaking, cautious Maurice did
not hesitate. He ordered Hohenlo, with all the Brabantine cavalry, to
ride as rapidly as their horses could carry them along the edge of the
plain, and behind the tangled woodland, by which the movement would be
concealed. He was at all hazards to intercept the enemy's vanguard before
it should reach the fatal pass. Vere and Marcellus Bax meanwhile,
supported now by Edmont with the Nymegen squadrons, were to threaten the
Spanish rear. A company of two under Laurentz was kept by Maurice near
his person in reserve.

The Spaniards steadily continued their march, but as they became aware of
certain slight and indefinite movements on their left, their cavalry,
changing their position, were transferred from the right to the left of
the line of march, and now rode between the infantry and the belt of

In a few minutes after the orders given to Hohenlo, that dashing soldier
had circumvented the Spaniards, and emerged upon the plain between them
and the entrance to the defile, The next instant the trumpets sounded a
charge, and Hohenlo fell upon the foremost regiment, that of Sultz, while
the rearguard, consisting of Trevico's Neapolitan regiment, was assailed
by Du Bois, Donck, Rysoir, Marcellus Bax, and Sir Francis Vere. The
effect seemed almost supernatural. The Spanish cavalry--those far-famed
squadrons of Guzman and Basta--broke at the first onset and galloped off
for the pass as if they had been riding a race. Most of them escaped
through the hollow into the morass beyond. The musketeers of Sultz's
regiment hardly fired a shot, and fell back in confusion upon the thickly
clustered pikemen. The assailants, every one of them in complete armour,
on powerful horses, and armed not with lances but with carbines, trampled
over the panic-struck and struggling masses of leather jerkined pikemen
and shot them at arm's length. The charge upon Trevico's men at the same
moment was just as decisive. In less time than it took afterwards to
describe the scene, those renowned veterans were broken into a helpless
mass of dying, wounded, or fugitive creatures, incapable of striking a

Thus the Germans in the front and the Neapolitans in the rear had been
simultaneously shattered, and rolled together upon the two other
regiments, those of Hachicourt and La Barlotte, which were placed between
them. Nor did these troops offer any better resistance, but were
paralysed and hurled out of existence like the rest. In less than an hour
the Spanish army was demolished. Varax himself lay dead upon the field,
too fortunate not to survive his disgrace. It was hardly more than
daylight on that dull January morning; nine o'clock had scarce chimed
from the old brick steeples of Turnhout, yet two thousand Spaniards had
fallen before the blows of eight hundred Netherlanders, and there were
five hundred prisoners beside. Of Maurice's army not more than nine or
ten were slain. The story sounds like a wild legend. It was as if the arm
of each Netherlander had been nerved by the memory of fifty years of
outrage, as if the spectre of their half-century of crime had appalled
the soul of every Spaniard. Like a thunderbolt the son of William the
Silent smote that army of Philip, and in an instant it lay blasted on the
heath of Tiel. At least it could hardly be called sagacious generalship
on the part of the stadholder. The chances were all against him, and if
instead of Varax those legions had been commanded that morning by old
Christopher Mondragon, there might perhaps have been another tale to
tell. Even as it was, there had been a supreme moment when the Spanish
disaster had nearly been changed to victory. The fight was almost done,
when a small party of Staten' cavalry, who at the beginning of the action
had followed the enemy's horse in its sudden retreat through the gap,
came whirling back over the plain in wild confusion, pursued by about
forty of the enemy's lancers. They swept by the spot where Maurice, with
not more than ten horsemen around him, was directing and watching the
battle, and in vain the prince threw himself in front of them and strove
to check their flight. They were panic-struck, and Maurice would himself
have been swept off the field, had not Marcellus Bax and Edmont, with
half a dozen heavy troopers, come to the rescue. A grave error had been
committed by Parker, who, upon being ordered by Maurice to cause Louis
Laurentz to charge, had himself charged with the whole reserve and left
the stadholder almost alone upon the field. Thus the culprits--who after
pursuing the Spanish cavalry through the pass had been plundering the
enemy's baggage until they were set upon by the handful left to guard it,
and had become fugitives in their turn--might possibly have caused the
lose of the day after the victory had been won, had there been a man on
the Spanish side to take in the situation at a glance. But it is probable
that the rout had been too absolute to allow of any such sudden turning
to account of the serious errors of the victors. The cavalry, except this
handful, had long disappeared, at least half the infantry lay dead or
wounded in the field, while the remainder, throwing away pipe and
matchlock, were running helter-skelter for their lives.

Besides Prince Maurice himself, to whom the chief credit of the whole
expedition justly belonged, nearly all the commanders engaged obtained
great distinction by their skill and valour. Sir Francis Vere, as usual,
was ever foremost in the thickest of the fray, and had a horse killed
under him. Parker erred by too much readiness to engage, but bore himself
manfully throughout the battle. Hohenlo, Solma, Sidney, Louis Laurentz,
Du Bois, all displayed their usual prowess; but the real hero of the
hour, the personal embodiment of the fortunate madness which prompted and
won the battle, was undoubtedly Marcellus Bax.

Maurice remained an hour or two on the field of battle, and then,
returning towards the village of Turnhout, summoned its stronghold. The
garrison of sixty, under Captain Van der Delf, instantly surrendered. The
victor allowed these troops to go off scot free, saying that there had
been blood enough shed that day. Every standard borne by the Spaniards in
the battle-thirty-eight in number--was taken, besides nearly all their
arms. The banners were sent to the Hague to be hung up in the great hall
of the castle. The dead body of Varax was sent to the archduke with a
courteous letter, in which, however, a categorical explanation was
demanded as to a statement in circulation that Albert had decided to give
the soldiers of the republic no quarter.

No answer being immediately returned, Maurice ordered the five hundred
prisoners to be hanged or drowned unless ransomed within twenty days, and
this horrible decree appears from official documents to be consistent
with the military usages of the period. The arrival of the letter from
the cardinal-archduke, who levied the money for the ransom on the
villagers of Brabant, prevented, however, the execution of the menace,
which could hardly have been seriously intended.

Within a week from the time of his departure from the Hague to engage in
this daring adventure, the stadholder had returned to that little
capital, having achieved a complete success. The enthusiastic
demonstrations throughout the land on account of so signal a victory can
easily be imagined. Nothing like this had ever before been recorded in
the archives of the young commonwealth. There had been glorious defences
of beleaguered cities, where scenes of heroic endurance and
self-sacrifice had been enacted, such as never can be forgotten so long
as the history of human liberty shall endure, but a victory won in the
open field over the most famous legions of Spain and against overwhelming
numbers, was an achievement entirely without example. It is beyond all
doubt that the force under Varax was at least four times as large as that
portion of the States' army which alone was engaged; for Maurice had not
a foot-soldier on the field until the battle was over, save the handful
of musketeers who had followed Vere and Bax at the beginning of the

Therefore it is that this remarkable action merits a much more attentive
consideration than it might deserve, regarded purely as a military
exploit. To the military student a mere cavalry affair, fought out upon
an obscure Brabantine heath between a party of Dutch carabineers and
Spanish pikemen, may seem of little account--a subject fitted by
picturesque costume and animated action for the pencil of a Wouvermanns
or a Terburg, but conveying little instruction. As illustrating a period
of transition in which heavy armoured troopers--each one a human
iron-clad fortress moving at speed and furnished with the most formidable
portable artillery then known--could overcome the resistance of almost
any number of foot-soldiers in light marching gear and armed with the
antiquated pike, the affair may be worthy of a moment's attention; and
for this improvement--itself now as obsolete as the slings and
cataphracts of Roman legions--the world was indebted to Maurice. But the
shock of mighty armies, the manoeuvring of vast masses in one magnificent
combination, by which the fate of empires, the happiness or the misery of
the peoples for generations, may perhaps be decided in a few hours,
undoubtedly require a higher constructive genius than could be displayed
in any such hand-to-hand encounter as that of Turnhout, scientifically
managed as it unquestionably was. The true and abiding interest of the
battle is derived from is moral effect, from its influence on the people
of the Netherlands. And this could scarcely be exaggerated. The nation
was electrified, transformed in an instant. Who now should henceforth
dare to say that one Spanish fighting-man was equal to five or ten
Hollanders? At last the days of Jemmingen and Mooker-heath needed no
longer to be remembered by every patriot with a shudder of shame. Here at
least in the open field a Spanish army, after in vain refusing a combat
and endeavouring to escape, had literally bitten the dust before one
fourth of its own number. And this effect was a permanent one.
Thenceforth for foreign powers to talk of mediation between the republic
and the ancient master, to suggest schemes of reconciliation and of a
return to obedience, was to offer gratuitous and trivial insult, and we
shall very soon have occasion to mark the simple eloquence with which the
thirty-eight Spanish standards of Turnhout, hung up in the old hall of
the Hague, were made to reply to the pompous rhetoric of an interfering

This brief episode was not immediately followed by other military events
of importance in the provinces during what remained of the winter. Very
early in the spring, however, it was probable that the campaign might
open simultaneously in France and on the frontiers of Flanders. Of all
the cities in the north of France there was none, after Rouen, so
important, so populous, so wealthy as Amiens. Situate in fertile fields,
within three days march of Paris, with no intervening forests or other
impediments of a physical nature to free communication, it was the key to
the gates of the capital. It had no garrison, for the population numbered
fifteen thousand men able to bear arms, and the inhabitants valued
themselves on the prowess of their trained militiamen, five thousand of
whom they boasted to be able to bring into the field at an hour's
notice--and they were perfectly loyal to Henry.

One morning in March there came a party of peasants, fifteen or twenty in
number, laden with sacks of chestnuts and walnuts, to the northernmost
gate of the town. They offered them for sale, as usual, to the soldiers
at the guard-house, and chaffered and jested--as boors and soldiers are
wont to do--over their wares. It so happened that in the course of the
bargaining one of the bags became untied, and its contents, much to the
dissatisfaction of the proprietor, were emptied on the ground. There was
a scramble for the walnuts, and much shouting, kicking, and squabbling
ensued, growing almost into a quarrel between the burgher-soldiers and
the peasants. As the altercation was at its height a heavy wagon, laden
with long planks, came towards the gate for the use of carpenters and
architects within the town. The portcullis was drawn up to admit this
lumbering vehicle, but in the confusion caused by the chance medley going
on at the guard-house, the gate dropped again before the wagon had fairly
got through the passage, and remained resting upon the timber with which
it was piled.

At that instant a shrill whistle was heard; and as if by magic the twenty
chestnut-selling peasants were suddenly transformed to Spanish and
Walloon soldiers armed to the teeth, who were presently reinforced by as
many more of their comrades, who sprang from beneath the plank-work by
which the real contents of the wagon had thus been screened. Captain
Dognano, his brother the sergeant-major, Captain d'Arco, and other
officers of a Walloon regiment stationed in Dourlans, were the leaders of
the little party, and while they were busily occupied in putting the
soldiers of the watch, thus taken unawares, to death, the master-spirit
of the whole adventure suddenly made his appearance and entered the city
at the head of fifteen hundred men. This was an extremely small, yellow,
dried up, energetic Spanish captain, with a long red beard, Hernan Tello
de Porto Carrero by came, governor of the neighbouring city of Dourlens,
who had conceived this plan for obtaining possession of Amiens. Having
sent these disguised soldiers on before him, he had passed the night with
his men in ambush until the signal should sound. The burghers of the town
were mostly in church; none were dreaming of an attack, as men rarely
do--for otherwise how should they ever be surprised--and in half an hour
Amiens was the property of Philip of Spain. There were not very many
lives lost, for the resistance was small, but great numbers were tortured
for ransom and few women escaped outrage. The sack was famous, for the
city was rich and the captors were few in number, so that each soldier
had two or three houses to plunder for his own profit.

When the work was done, the faubourgs were all destroyed, for it was the
intention of the conquerors to occupy the place, which would be a most
convenient basis of operations for any attack upon Paris, and it was
desirable to contract the limits to be defended. Fifteen hundred houses,
many of them beautiful villas surrounded with orchards and pleasure
gardens,--were soon in flames, and afterwards razed to the ground. The
governor of the place, Count St. Pol, managed to effect his escape. His
place was now supplied by the Marquis of Montenegro, an Italian in the
service of the Spanish king. Such was the fate of Amiens in the month of
March, 1597; such the result of the refusal by the citizens to accept the
garrison urged upon them by Henry.

It would be impossible to exaggerate the consternation produced.
throughout France by this astounding and altogether unlooked for event.
"It seemed," said President De Thou, "as if it had extinguished in a
moment the royal majesty and the French name." A few nights later than
the date of this occurrence, Maximilian de Bethune (afterwards Duke of
Sully, but then called Marquis de Rosny) was asleep in his bed in Paris.
He had returned, at past two o'clock in the morning, from a magnificent
ball given by the Constable of France. The capital had been uncommonly
brilliant during the winter with banquets and dances, tourneys and
masquerades, as if to cast a lurid glare over the unutterable misery of
the people and the complete desolation of the country; but this
entertainment--given by Montmorency in honour of a fair dame with whom he
supposed himself desperately in love, the young bride of a very ancient
courtier--surpassed in splendour every festival that had been heard of
for years. De Bethune had hardly lost himself in slumber when he was
startled by Beringen, who, on drawing his curtains in this dead hour of
the night, presented such a ghastly visage that the faithful friend of
Henry instantly imagined some personal disaster to his well-beloved
sovereign. "Is the King dead?" he cried.

Being re-assured as to, this point and told to hasten to the Louvre,
Rosny instantly complied with the command. When he reached the palace he
was admitted at once to the royal bed-chamber, where he found the king in
the most unsophisticated of costumes, striding up and down the room, with
his hands clasped together behind his head, and with an expression of
agony upon his face: Many courtiers were assembled there, stuck all of
them like images against the wall, staring before them in helpless

Henry rushed forward as Rosny entered, and wringing him by the hand,
exclaimed, "Ah, my friend, what a misfortune, Amiens is taken!"

"Very well," replied the financier, with unperturbed visage; "I have just
completed a plan which will restore to your Majesty not only Amiens but
many other places."

The king drew a great sigh of relief and asked for his project. Rosny,
saying that he would instantly go and fetch his papers, left the
apartment for an interval, in order to give vent to the horrible
agitation which he had been enduring and so bravely concealing ever since
the fatal words had been spoken. That a city so important, the key to
Paris, without a moment's warning, without the semblance of a siege,
should thus fall into the hands of the enemy, was a blow as directly to
the heart of De Bethune as it could have been to any other of Henry's
adherents. But while they had been distracting the king by unavailing
curses or wailings, Henry, who had received the intelligence just as he
was getting into bed, had sent for support and consolation to the tried
friend of years, and he now reproachfully contrasted their pusillanimity
with De Rosny's fortitude.

A great plan for reorganising the finances of the kingdom was that very
night submitted by Rosny to the king, and it was wrought upon day by day
thereafter until it was carried into effect.

It must be confessed that the crudities and immoralities which the
project revealed do not inspire the political student of modern days with
so high a conception of the financial genius of the great minister as his
calm and heroic deportment on trying occasions, whether on the
battle-field or in the council-chamber, does of his natural authority
over his fellow-men. The scheme was devised to put money in the king's
coffers, which at that moment were completely empty. Its chief features
were to create a great many new offices in the various courts of justice
and tribunals of administration, all to be disposed of by sale to the
highest bidder; to extort a considerable loan from the chief courtiers
and from the richest burghers in the principal towns; to compel all the
leading peculators--whose name in the public service was legion--to
disgorge a portion of their ill-gotten gains, on being released from
prosecution; and to increase the tax upon salt.

Such a project hardly seems a masterpiece of ethics or political economy,
but it was hailed with rapture by the needy monarch. At once there was a
wild excitement amongst the jobbers and speculators in places. The
creation of an indefinite number of new judgeships and magistracies, to
be disposed of at auction, was a tempting opportunity even in that age of
corruption. One of the most notorious traders in the judicial ermine,
limping Robin de Tours by name, at once made a private visit to Madame de
Rosny and offered seventy-two thousand crowns for the exclusive right to
distribute these new offices. If this could be managed to his
satisfaction, he promised to give her a diamond worth two thousand
crowns, and another, worth six thousand, to her husband. The wife of the
great minister, who did not comprehend the whole amount of the insult,
presented Robin to her husband. She was enlightened, however, as to the
barefaced iniquity of the offer, when she heard De Bethune's indignant.
reply, and saw the jobber limp away, crest-fallen and amazed. That a
financier or a magistrate should decline a bribe or interfere with the
private sale of places, which were after all objects of merchandise, was
to him incomprehensible. The industrious Robin, accordingly, recovering
from his discomfiture, went straightway to the chancellor, and concluded
the same bargain in the council chamber which had been rejected by De
Bethune, with the slight difference that the distribution of the places.
was assigned to the speculator for seventy-five thousand instead of
seventy-two thousand crowns. It was with great difficulty that De
Bethune, who went at once to the king with complaints and insinuations as
to the cleanness of the chancellor's hands, was able to cancel the
operation. The day was fast approaching when the universal impoverishment
of the great nobles and landholders--the result of the long, hideous,
senseless massacres called the wars of religion--was to open the way for
the labouring classes to acquire a property in the soil. Thus that famous
fowl in every pot was to make its appearance, which vulgar tradition
ascribes to the bounty of a king who hated everything like popular
rights, and loved nothing but his own glory and his own amusement. It was
not until the days of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren that
Privilege could renew those horrible outrages on the People, which were
to be avenged by a dread series of wars, massacres, and crimes, compared
to which even the religious conflicts of the sixteenth century grow pale.

Meantime De Bethune comforted his master with these financial plans, and
assured him in the spirit of prophecy that the King of Spain, now
tottering as it was thought to his grave, would soon be glad to make a
favourable peace with France even if he felt obliged to restore not only
Amiens but every other city or stronghold that he had ever conquered in
that kingdom. Time would soon show whether this prediction were correct
or delusive; but while the secret negotiations between Henry and the Pope
were vigorously proceeding for that peace with Spain which the world in
general and the commonwealth of the Netherlands in particular thought to
be farthest from the warlike king's wishes, it was necessary to set about
the siege of Amiens.

Henry assembled a force of some twelve or fifteen thousand men for that
purpose, while the cardinal-archduke, upon his part, did his best to put
an army in the field in order to relieve the threatened city so recently
acquired by a coarse but successful artifice.

But Albert was in even a worse plight than that in which his great
antagonist found himself. When he had first arrived in the provinces, his
exchequer was overflowing, and he was even supposed to devote a
considerable portion of the military funds to defray the expenses of his
magnificent housekeeping at Brussels. But those halcyon days were over. A
gigantic fraud, just perpetrated by Philip; had descended like a
thunderbolt upon the provinces and upon all commercial Europe, and had
utterly blasted the unfortunate viceroy. In the latter days of the
preceding year the king had issued a general repudiation of his debts.

He did it solemnly, too, and with great religious unction, for it was a
peculiarity of this remarkable sovereign that he was ever wont to
accomplish his darkest crimes, whether murders or stratagems, as if they
were acts of virtue. Perhaps he really believed them to be such, for a
man, before whom so many millions of his fellow worms had been writhing
for half a century in the dust, might well imagine himself a deity.

So the king, on the 20th November, 1596, had publicly revoked all the
assignments, mortgages, and other deeds by which the royal domains;
revenues, taxes, and other public property had been transferred or
pledged for moneys already advanced to merchants, banker, and other
companies or individuals, and formally took them again into his own
possession, on the ground that his exertions in carrying on this long war
to save Christianity from destruction had reduced him to beggary, while
the money-lenders, by charging him exorbitant interest, had all grown
rich at his expense.

This was perfectly simple. There was no attempt to disguise the villany
of the transaction. The massacre of so many millions of Protestants, the
gigantic but puerile attempts to subjugate the Dutch republic, and to
annex France, England, and the German empire to his hereditary dominions,
had been attended with more expense than Philip had calculated upon. The
enormous wealth which a long series of marriages, inheritances,
conquests, and maritime discoveries had heaped upon Spain had been
exhausted by the insane ambition of the king to exterminate heresy
throughout the world, and to make himself the sovereign of one undivided,
universal, catholic monarchy. All the gold and silver of America had not
sufficed for this purpose, and he had seen, with an ever rising
indignation, those very precious metals which, in his ignorance of the
laws of trade, he considered his exclusive property flowing speedily into
the coffers of the merchants of Europe, especially those of the hated
commonwealth of the rebellious Netherlands.

Therefore he solemnly renounced all his contracts, and took God to
witness that it was to serve His Divine will. How else could he hope to
continue his massacre of the Protestants?

The effect of the promulgation of this measure was instantaneous. Two
millions and a half of bills of exchange sold by the Cardinal Albert came
back in one day protested. The chief merchants and bankers of Europe
suspended payment. Their creditors became bankrupt. At the Frankfort fair
there were more failures in one day than there had ever been in all the
years since Frankfort existed. In Genoa alone a million dollars of
interest were confiscated. It was no better in Antwerp; but Antwerp was
already ruined. There was a general howl of indignation and despair upon
every exchange, in every counting-room, in every palace, in every cottage
of Christendom. Such a tremendous repudiation of national debts was never
heard of before. There had been debasements of the currency, petty frauds
by kings upon their unfortunate peoples, but such a crime as this had
never been conceived by human heart before.

The archduke was fain to pawn his jewelry, his plate, his furniture, to
support the daily expenses of his household. Meantime he was to set an
army in the field to relieve a city, beleaguered by the most warlike
monarch in Christendom. Fortunately for him, that prince was in very
similar straits, for the pressure upon the public swindlers and the
auction sales of judicial ermine throughout his kingdom were not as
rapidly productive as had been hoped.

It was precisely at this moment, too, that an incident of another nature
occurred in Antwerp, which did not tend to make the believers in the
possibility of religious or political freedom more in love with the
system of Spain and Rome. Those blood-dripping edicts against heresy in
the Netherlands, of which enough has been said in previous volumes of
this history, and which had caused the deaths, by axe, faggot, halter, or
burial alive, of at least fifty thousand human creatures--however
historical scepticism may shut its eyes to evidence--had now been,
dormant for twenty years. Their activity had ceased with the pacification
of Ghent; but the devilish spirit which had inspired them still lived in
the persons of the Jesuits, and there were now more Jesuits in the
obedient provinces than there had been for years. We have seen that
Champagny's remedy for the ills the country was enduring was "more
Jesuits." And this, too, was Albert's recipe. Always "more Jesuits." And
now the time had come when the Jesuits thought that they might step
openly with their works into the daylight again. Of late years they had
shrouded themselves in comparative mystery, but from their seminaries and
colleges had gone forth a plentiful company of assassins against
Elizabeth and Henry, Nassau, Barneveld, and others who, whether avowedly
or involuntarily, were prominent in the party of human progress. Some
important murders had already been accomplished, and the prospect was
fair that still others might follow, if the Jesuits persevered. Meantime
those ecclesiastics thought that a wholesome example might be by the
spectacle of a public execution.

Two maiden ladies lived on the north rampart of Antwerp. They had
formerly professed the Protestant religion, and had been thrown into
prison for that crime; but the fear of further persecution, human
weakness, or perhaps sincere conviction, had caused them to renounce the
error of their ways, and they now went to mass. But they had a
maidservant, forty years of age, Anna van den Hove by name, who was
staunch in that reformed faith in which she had been born and bred. The
Jesuits denounced this maid-servant to the civil authority, and claimed
her condemnation and execution under the edicts of 1540, decrees which
every one had supposed as obsolete as the statutes of Draco, which they
had so entirely put to shame.

The sentence having been obtained from the docile and priest-ridden
magistrates, Anna van den Hove was brought to Brussels and informed that
she was at once to be buried alive. At the same time, the Jesuits told
her that by converting herself to the Church she might escape punishment.

When King Henry IV. was summoned to renounce that same Huguenot faith, of
which he was the political embodiment and the military champion, the
candid man answered by the simple demand to be instructed. When the
proper moment came, the instruction was accomplished by an archbishop
with the rapidity of magic. Half an hour undid the work of half a
life-time. Thus expeditiously could religious conversion be effected when
an earthly crown was its guerdon. The poor serving-maid was less open to
conviction. In her simple fanaticism she too talked of a crown, and saw
it descending from Heaven on her poor forlorn head as the reward, not of
apostasy, but of steadfastness. She asked her tormentors how they could
expect her to abandon her religion for fear of death. She had read her
Bible every day, she said, and had found nothing there of the pope or
purgatory, masses, invocation of saints, or the absolution of sins except
through the blood of the blessed Redeemer. She interfered with no one who
thought differently; she quarrelled with no one's religious belief. She
had prayed for enlightenment from Him, if she were in error, and the
result was that she felt strengthened in her simplicity, and resolved to
do nothing against her conscience. Rather than add this sin to the
manifold ones committed by her, she preferred, she said, to die the
death. So Anna van den Hove was led, one fine midsummer morning, to the
hayfield outside of Brussels, between two Jesuits, followed by a number
of a peculiar kind of monks called love-brothers. Those holy men goaded
her as she went, telling her that she was the devil's carrion, and
calling on her to repent at the last moment, and thus save her life and
escape eternal damnation beside. But the poor soul had no ear for them,
and cried out that, like Stephen, she saw the heavens opening, and the
angels stooping down to conduct her far away from the power of the evil
one. When they came to the hay-field they found the pit already dug, and
the maid-servant was ordered to descend into it. The executioner then
covered her with earth up to the waist, and a last summons was made to
her to renounce her errors. She refused, and then the earth was piled
upon her, and the hangman jumped upon the grave till it was flattened and

Of all the religious murders done in that hideous sixteenth century in
the Netherlands; the burial of the Antwerp servantmaid was the last and
the worst. The worst, because it was a cynical and deliberate attempt to
revive the demon whose thirst for blood had been at last allayed, and who
had sunk into repose. And it was a spasmodic revival only, for, in the
provinces at least, that demon had finished his work.

Still, on the eastern borders of what was called civilization, Turk and
Christian were contending for the mastery. The great battle of Kovesd had
decided nothing, and the crescent still shone over the fortified and most
important Hungarian stronghold of Raab, within arm's length of Vienna.
How rapidly might that fatal and menacing emblem fill its horns, should
it once be planted on the walls of the Imperial capital! It was not
wonderful that a sincere impatience should be felt by all the frontier
States for the termination of the insurrection of the Netherlands. Would
that rebellious and heretical republic only consent to go out of
existence, again bow its stubborn knee to Philip and the Pope, what a
magnificent campaign might be made against Mahomet! The King of Spain was
the only potentate at all comparable in power to the grand Turk. The King
of France, most warlike of men, desired nothing better, as he avowed,
than to lead his brave nobles into Hungary to smite the unbelievers. Even
Prince Maurice, it was fondly hoped, might be induced to accept a high
command in the united armies of Christendom, and seek for glory by
campaigning, in alliance with Philip; Rudolph, and Henry, against the
Ottoman, rather than against his natural sovereign. Such were the
sagacity, the insight, the power of forecasting the future possessed in
those days by monarchs, statesmen, and diplomatists who were imagining
that they held the world's destiny in their hands.

There was this summer a solemn embassy from the emperor to the
States-General proposing mediation referring in the usual conventional
phraseology to the right of kings to command, and to the duty of the
people to submit, and urging the gentle-mindedness and readiness to
forgive which characterised the sovereign of the Netherlands and of

And the statesmen of the republic had answered as they always did,
showing with courteous language, irresistible logic, and at, unmerciful
length, that there never had been kings in the Netherlands at all, and
that the gentle-mindedness of Philip had been exhibited in the massacre
of a hundred thousand Netherlanders in various sieges and battles, and in
the murder, under the Duke of Alva alone, of twenty thousand human beings
by the hangman.

They liked not such divine right nor such gentle-mindedness. They
recognised no duty on their part to consent to such a system. Even the
friendly King of Denmark sent a legation for a similar purpose, which was
respectfully but very decidedly allowed to return as it came; but the
most persistent in schemes of interference for the purpose of putting an
end to the effusion of blood in the Netherlands was Sigismund of Poland.
This monarch, who occupied two very incompatible positions, being
sovereign at once of fanatically Protestant Sweden and of orthodox
Poland, and who was, moreover, son-in-law of Archduke Charles of Styria
whose other daughter was soon to be espoused by the Prince of Spain--was
personally and geographically interested in liberating Philip from the
inconvenience of his Netherland war. Only thus could he hope to bring the
Spanish power to the rescue of Christendom against the Turk. Troubles
enough were in store for Sigismund in his hereditary northern realms, and
he was to learn that his intermarriage with the great Catholic and
Imperial house did not enable him to trample out Protestantism in those
hardy Scandinavian and Flemish regions where it had taken secure root.
Meantime he despatched, in solemn mission to the republic and to the
heretic queen, a diplomatist whose name and whose oratorical efforts have
by a caprice of history been allowed to endure to our times.

Paul Dialyn was solemnly received at the Hague on the 21st July. A
pragmatical fop, attired in a long, magnificent Polish robe, covered with
diamonds and other jewels, he was yet recognised by some of those present
as having been several years before a student at Leyden under a different
name, and with far less gorgeous surroundings. He took up his position in
the council-chamber, in the presence of the stadholder and the leading
members of the States-General, and pronounced a long Latin oration, in
the manner, as it was said, of a monk delivering a sermon from the
pulpit. He kept his eyes steadily fixed on the ceiling, never once
looking at the men whom he was addressing, and speaking in a loud, nasal,
dictatorial tone, not at all agreeable to the audience. He dwelt in terms
of extravagant eulogy on the benignity and gentleness of the King of
Spain--qualities in which he asserted that no prince on earth could be
compared to him--and he said this to the very face of Maurice of Nassau.
That the benignant and gentle king had caused the stadholder's father to
be assassinated, and that he had rewarded the murderer's family with a
patent of nobility, and with an ample revenue taken from the murdered
man's property, appeared of no account to the envoy in the full sweep of
his rhetoric. Yet the reminiscence caused a shudder of disgust in all who
heard him.

He then stated the wish of his master the Polish king to be that, in
regard to the Turk, the provinces might reconcile themselves to their
natural master, who was the most powerful monarch in Christendom, and the
only one able to make head against the common foe. They were solemnly
warned of the enormous power and resources of the great king, with whom
it was hopeless for them to protract a struggle sure to end at last in
their uttermost destruction. It was for kings to issue commands; he said,
and for the people to obey; but Philip was full of sweetness, and would
accord them full forgiveness for their manifold sins against him. The
wish to come to the rescue of Christendom, in this extreme peril from the
Turk, was with him paramount to all other considerations.

Such; in brief, was the substance of the long Latin harangue by which it
was thought possible to induce those sturdy republicans and Calvinists to
renounce their vigorous national existence and to fall on their knees
before the most Catholic king. This was understood to be mediation,
statesmanship, diplomacy, in deference to which the world was to pause
and the course of events to flow backwards. Truly, despots and their
lackeys were destined to learn some rude lessons from that vigorous
little commonwealth in the North Sea, before it should have accomplished
its mission on earth.

The States-General dissembled their disgust, however, for it was not
desirable to make open enemies of Sigismund or Rudolph. They refused to
accept a copy of the oration, but they promised to send him a categorical
answer to it in writing. Meantime the envoy had the honour of walking
about the castle with the stadholder, and, in the course of their
promenade, Maurice pointed to the thirty-eight standards taken at the
battle of Turnhout, which hung from the cedarn rafters of the ancient
banquetting hall. The mute eloquence of those tattered banners seemed a
not illogical reply to the diplomatic Paul's rhetoric in regard to the
hopelessness of a contest with Spanish armies.

Next, Van der Werken--pensionary of Leyden, and a classical
scholar--waited upon the envoy with a Latin reply to his harangue,
together with a courteous letter for Sigismund. Both documents were
scathing denunciations of the policy pursued by the King of Spain and by
all his aiders and abettors, and a distinct but polished refusal to
listen to a single word in favour of mediation or of peace.

Paul Dialyn then received a courteous permission to leave the territory
of the republic, and was subsequently forwarded in a States' vessel of
war to England.

His reception, about a month later, by Queen Elizabeth is an event on
which all English historians are fond of dwelling. The pedant, on being
presented to that imperious and accomplished sovereign, deported himself
with the same ludicrous arrogance which had characterised him at the
Hague. His Latin oration, which had been duly drawn up for him by the
Chancellor of Sweden, was quite as impertinent as his harangue to the
States-General had been, and was delivered with the same conceited air.
The queen replied on the instant in the same tongue. She was somewhat in
a passion, but spoke with majestic moderation?

"Oh, how I have been deceived!" she exclaimed. "I expected an ambassador,
and behold a herald! In all my life I never heard of such an oration.
Your boldness and unadvised temerity I cannot sufficiently admire. But if
the king your master has given you any such thing in charge--which I much
doubt--I believe it is because, being but a young man, and lately
advanced to the crown, not by ordinary succession of blood, but by
election, he understandeth not yet the way of such affairs." And so
on--for several minutes longer.

Never did envoy receive such a setting down from sovereign.

"God's death, my lords!" said the queen to her ministers; as she
concluded, "I have been enforced this day to scour up my old Latin that
hath lain long in rusting."

This combination of ready wit, high spirit, and good Latin, justly
excited the enthusiasm of the queen's subjects, and endeared her still
more to every English heart. It may, however, be doubted whether the
famous reply was in reality so entirely extemporaneous as it has usually
been considered. The States-General had lost no time in forwarding to
England a minute account of the proceedings of Paul Dialyn at the Hague,
together with a sketch of his harangue and of the reply on behalf of the
States. Her Majesty and her counsellors therefore, knowing that the same
envoy was on his way to England with a similar errand, may be supposed to
have had leisure to prepare the famous impromptu. Moreover, it is
difficult to understand, on the presumption that these classic utterances
were purely extemporaneous, how they have kept their place in all
chronicles and histories from that day to the present, without change of
a word in the text. Surely there was no stenographer present to take down
the queen's words as they fell from her lips.

The military events of the year did not testify to a much more successful
activity on the part of the new league in the field than it had displayed
in the sphere of diplomacy. In vain did the envoy of the republic urge
Henry and his counsellors to follow up the crushing blow dealt to the
cardinal at Turnhout by vigorous operations in conjunction with the
States' forces in Artois and Hainault. For Amiens had meantime been
taken, and it was now necessary for the king to employ all his energy and
all his resources to recover that important city. So much damage to the
cause of the republic and of the new league had the little yellow Spanish
captain inflicted in an hour, with his bags of chestnuts and walnuts. The
siege of Amiens lasted nearly six months, and was the main event of the
campaign, so far as Henry was concerned. It is true--as the reader has
already seen, and as will soon be more clearly developed--that Henry's
heart had been fixed on peace from the moment that he consented in
conjunction with the republic to declare war, and that he had entered
into secret and separate negotiations for that purpose with the agents of
Philip so soon as he had bound himself by solemn covenant with Elizabeth
to have no negotiations whatever with him except with her full knowledge
and consent.

The siege of Amiens, however, was considered a military masterpiece, and
its whole progress showed the revolution which the stadholder of Holland
had already effected in European warfare. Henry IV. beleaguered Amiens as
if he were a pupil of Maurice, and contemporaries were enthusiastic over
the science, the patience, the inventive ingenuity which were at last
crowned with success. The heroic Hernan Tello de Porto Carrero was killed
in a sortie during the defence of the place which he had so gallantly
won, and when the city was surrendered to the king on the 19th of
September it was stipulated in the first article of the capitulation that
the tomb, epitaph, and trophies, by which his memory was honoured in the
principal church, should not be disturbed, and that his body might be
removed whenever and whither it seemed good to his sovereign. In vain the
cardinal had taken the field with an army of eighteen thousand foot and
fifteen hundred light cavalry. The king had learned so well to entrench
himself and to moderate his ardour for inopportune pitched battles, that
the relieving force could find, no occasion to effect its purpose. The
archduke retired. He came to Amiens like a soldier, said Henry, but he
went back like a priest. Moreover, he was obliged to renounce, besides
the city, a most tempting prize which he thought that he had secured
within the city. Alexander Farnese, in his last French campaign, had
procured and sent to his uncle the foot of St. Philip and the head of St.
Lawrence; but what was Albert's delight when he learned that in Amiens
cathedral there was a large piece of the head of John the Baptist! "There
will be a great scandal about it in this kingdom," he wrote to Philip,
"if I undertake to transport it out of the country, but I will try to
contrive it as your Majesty desires."

But the military events of the year prevented the cardinal from
gratifying the king in regard to these choice curiosities.

After the reduction of the city Henry went a considerable distance with
his army towards the frontier of Flanders, in order to return, as he
said, "his cousin's visit." But the recovery of Amiens had placed too
winning a card in the secret game which he was then playing to allow him
to push his nominal adversary to extremities.

The result, suspected very early in the year by the statesmen of the
republic, was already very plainly foreshadowing itself as the winter

Nor had the other two members of the league affected much in the field.
Again an expedition had been fitted forth under Essex against the Spanish
coast to return the compliment which Philip had intended with the unlucky
armada under Santa Gadea; and again Sir Francis Vere, with two thousand
veterans from the Netherlands, and the Dutch admirals, with ten ships of
war and a large number of tenders and transports, had faithfully taken
part in the adventure.

The fleet was tempest-tossed for ten days, during which it reached the
threatened coast and was blown off again. It returned at last into the
English ports, having accomplished nothing, and having expended
superfluously a considerable amount of money and trouble. Essex, with a
few of the vessels, subsequently made a cruise towards the Azores, but,
beyond the capture of a Spanish merchantman or two, gained no glory and
inflicted no damage.

Nothing could be feebler than the military operations of the three
confederated powers ever since they had so solemnly confederated

Sick at heart with the political intrigues of his allies which
had--brought a paralysis upon his arms which the blows of the enemy could
hardly have effected, Maurice took the field in August: for an autumnal
campaign on the eastern frontier of the republic. Foiled in his efforts
for a combined attack by the whole force of the league upon Philip's
power in the west, he thought it at least expedient to liberate the
Rhine, to secure the important provinces of Zutphen, Gelderland, and
Overyssel from attack, and to provide against the dangerous intrigues and
concealed warfare carried on by Spain in the territories of the mad Duke
of Juliers, Clever and Berg. For the seeds of the Thirty Years' War of
Germany were already sown broadcast in those fatal duchies, and it was
the determination of the agents of Spain to acquire the mastery of that
most eligible military position, that excellent 'sedes belli,' whenever
Protestantism was to be assailed in England, the Netherlands, or Germany.

Meantime the Hispaniolated counsellors of Duke John had strangled--as it
was strongly suspected--his duchess, who having gone to bed in perfect
health one evening was found dead in her bed next morning, with an ugly
mark on her throat; and it was now the purpose of these statesmen to find
a new bride for their insane sovereign in the ever ready and ever
orthodox house of Lorrain. And the Protestant brothers-in-law and nephews
and nieces were making every possible combination in order to check such
dark designs, and to save these important territories from the ubiquitous
power of Spain.

The stadholder had also family troubles at this period. His sister Emilia
had conceived a desperate passion for Don Emmanuel, the pauper son of the
forlorn pretender to Portugal, Don Antonio, who had at last departed this
life. Maurice was indignant that a Catholic, an outcast, and, as it was
supposed, a bastard, should dare to mate with the daughter of William of
Orange-Nassau; and there were many scenes of tenderness, reproaches,
recriminations, and 'hysterica passio,' in which not only the lovers, the
stadholder and his family, but also the high and mighty States-General,
were obliged to enact their parts. The chronicles are filled with the
incidents, which, however, never turned to tragedy, nor even to romance,
but ended, without a catastrophe, in a rather insipid marriage. The
Princess Emilia remained true both to her religion and her husband during
a somewhat obscure wedded life, and after her death Don Emmanuel found
means to reconcile himself with the King of Spain and to espouse, in
second nuptials, a Spanish lady. On the 4th of August, Maurice arrived at
Arnhem with a force of seven thousand foot and twelve hundred horse.
Hohenlo was with him, and William Lewis, and there was yet another of the
illustrious house of Nassau in the camp, Frederick Henry, a boy in his
thirteenth year, the youngest born of William the Silent, the grandson of
Admiral de Coligny, now about; in this his first campaign, to take the
first step in a long and noble career.

Having reduced the town and castle of Alphen, the stadholder came before
Rheinberg, which he very expeditiously invested. During a preliminary
skirmish William Lewis received a wound in the leg, while during the
brief siege Maurice had a narrow escape from death, a cannon-ball passing
through his tent and over his head as he lay taking a brief repose upon
his couch.

On the 19th, Rheinberg, the key to that portion of the river,
surrendered. On the 31st the stadholder opened his batteries upon the
city of Meurs, which capitulated on the 2nd of September; the commandant,
Andrew Miranda, stipulating that he should carry off an old
fifty-pounder, the only piece of cannon in the place. Maurice gave his
permission with a laugh, begging Miranda not to batter down any cities
with his big gun.

On the 8th September the stadholdet threw a bridge over the Rhine, and
crossing that river and the Lippe, came on the 11th before Grol. There
was no Christopher Mondragon now in his path to check his progress and
spoil his campaign, so that in seventeen days the city, being completely
surrounded with galleries and covered ways up to its walls, surrendered.
Count van Stirum, royal governor of the place, dined with the stadholder
on that day, and the garrison, from twelve hundred to fifteen hundred
strong; together with such of the townsfolk as chose to be subjects of
Philip rather than citizens of the republic, were permitted to depart in

On the 9th October the town and castle of Brevoort were taken by storm
and the town was burned.

On the 18th October, Maurice having summoned Enschede, the commandant
requested permission to examine the artillery by which it was proposed to
reduce the city. Leave being granted, two captains were deputed
accordingly as inspectors, who reported that resistance was useless. The
place accordingly capitulated at once.

Here, again, was an improvement on the heroic practice of Alva and

On the 21st and 22nd October, Ootmarsum and Oldenzaal were taken, and on
the 28th the little army came before Lingen. This important city
surrendered after a fortnight's siege.

Thus closed a sagacious, business-like, three-months' campaign, in the
course of which the stadholder, although with a slender force, had by
means of his excellent organization and his profound practical science,
achieved very considerable results. He had taken nine strongly-fortified
cities and five castles, opened the navigation of the Rhine, and
strengthened the whole eastern bulwarks of the republic. He was censured
by the superficial critics of the old school for his humanity towards the
conquered garrisons. At least it was thought quite superfluous to let
these Spanish soldiers go scot free. Five thousand veterans had thus been
liberated to swell the ranks of the cardinal's army, but the result soon
proved the policy of Maurice to be, in many ways, wholesome. The great
repudiation by Philip, and the consequent bankruptcy of Alberta converted
large numbers of the royal troops into mutineers, and these garrisons
from the eastern frontier were glad to join in the game.

After the successful siege of Hulst in the previous year the cardinal had
reduced the formidable mutiny which had organized itself at Tirlemont and
Chapelle in the days of his luckless predecessor. Those rebels had been
paid off and had mainly returned to Italy and other lands to spend their
money. But soon a new rebellion in all the customary form's established
itself in Antwerp citadel during the temporary absence of Mexia, the
governor, and great was the misery of the unhappy burghers thus placed at
the mercy of the guns of that famous pentagon. They were obliged to
furnish large sums to the whole garrison, paying every common
foot-soldier twelve stivers a day and the officers in proportion, while
the great Eletto demanded, beside his salary, a coach and six, a state
bed with satin curtains and fine linen, and the materials for banquetting
sumptuously every day. At the slightest demur to these demands the
bombardment from the citadel would begin, and the accurate artillery
practice of those experienced cannoneers soon convinced the loyal
citizens of the propriety of the arrangement. The example spread. The
garrison of Ghent broke into open revolt, and a general military
rebellion lasted for more than a year.

While the loyal cities of the obedient provinces were thus enjoying the
fruits of their loyalty and obedience, the rebellious capital of the
republic was receiving its stadholder with exuberant demonstrations of
gratitude. The year, begun with the signal victory of Turnhout, had
worthily terminated, so far as military events were concerned, with the
autumnal campaign on the Rhine, and great were the rejoicings throughout
the little commonwealth.

Thus, with diminished resources, had the republic been doing its share of
the work which the anti-Spanish league had been called into existence to
accomplish. But, as already intimated, this league was a mere fraud upon
the Netherlands, which their statesmen were not slow in discovering. Of
course it was the object of Philip and of the pope to destroy this
formidable triple alliance as soon as formed, and they found potent
assistance, not only in Henry's counsellors, but in the bosom of that
crafty monarch himself. Clement hated Philip as much as he feared him, so
that the prospect both of obtaining Henry as a counterpoise to his own
most oppressive and most Catholic protector, and of breaking up the great
convert's alliance with the heretic queen and the rebellious republic,
was a most tempting one to his Holiness. Therefore he employed,
indefatigably, the matchless powers of intrigue possessed by Rome to
effect this great purpose. As for Elizabeth, she was weary of the war,
most anxious to be reimbursed her advances to the States, and profoundly
jealous of the rising commercial and naval greatness of the new
commonwealth. If the league therefore proved impotent from the beginning,
certainly it was not the fault of the United Netherlands. We have seen
how much the king deplored, in intimate conversation with De Bethune, his
formal declaration of war against Spain which the Dutch diplomatists had
induced him to make; and indeed nothing can be more certain than that
this public declaration of war, and this solemn formation of the triple
alliance against Philip, were instantly accompanied on Henry's part by
secret peace negotiations with Philip's agents. Villeroy, told Envoy
Calvaert that as for himself he always trembled when he thought on what
he had done, in seconding the will of his Majesty in that declaration at
the instance of the States-General, of which measure so many losses and
such bitter fruits had been the result. He complained, too, of the little
assistance or co-operation yielded by England. Calvaert replied that he
had nothing to say in defence of England, but that certainly the king
could have no cause to censure the States. The republic, however, had
good ground, he said, to complain that nothing had been done by France,
that all favourable occasions had been neglected, and that there was a
perpetual change of counsels. The envoy, especially, and justly,
reproached the royal government for having taken no advantage of the
opportunity offered by the victory of Turnhout, in which the republic had
utterly defeated the principal forces of the common enemy. He bluntly
remarked, too, that the mysterious comings and goings of Balvena had
naturally excited suspicions in the Netherlands, and that it would be
better that all such practices should be at once abandoned. They did his
Majesty no service, and it was no wonder that they caused uneasiness to
his allies. Villeroy replied that the king had good reasons to give
satisfaction to those who were yearning for peace.

As Henry himself was yearning in this regard as much as any of his
subjects, it was natural enough that he should listen to Balvena and all
other informal negotiators whom Cardinal Ilbert might send from Brussels
or Clement from Rome. It will be recollected that Henry's parting words
to Balvena at Rouen had been: "Tell the archduke that I am very much his
friend. Let him arrange a peace. Begone. Be diligent."

But the king's reply to Calvaert, when, after the interview with
Villeroy, that envoy was admitted to the royal dressing room for private
conversation and took the occasion to remonstrate with his Majesty on
these intrigues with the Spanish agent, was that he should send off
Balvena in such fashion that it would take from the cardinal-archduke all
hope of troubling him with any further propositions.

It has been seen, too, with what an outbreak of wrath the proposition,
made by Elizabeth through Robert Sydney, that she should succour Calais
on condition of keeping it for herself, had been received by Henry. At a
somewhat later moment, when Calais had passed entirely into the
possession of Spain, the queen offered to lay siege to that city with
twelve thousand men, but with the understanding that the success was to
be entirely for her own profit. Again the king bad expressed great
astonishment and indignation at the proposition.

Nevertheless, after Amiens had been lost, Henry had sent Fonquerolles on
a special mission to England, asking Elizabeth's assistance in the siege
for its recovery, and offering that she should keep Calais as a pledge
for expenses thus incurred, on the same terms as those on which she held
the Brill and Flushing in the Netherlands. This proposal, however, to
make a considerable campaign in Picardy, and to be indemnified by Henry
for her trouble with the pledge of a city which was not his property, did
not seem tempting to Elizabeth: The mission of Fonquerolles was
fruitless, as might have been supposed. Nothing certainly in the queen's
attitude, up to that moment, could induce the supposition that she would
help to reduce Amiens for the sake of the privilege of conquering Calais
if she could.

So soon as her refusal was made certain, Henry dropped the mask.
Buzanval, the regular French envoy at the Hague--even while amazing the
States by rebukes for their short-comings in the field and by demands for
immediate co-operation in the king's campaign, when the king was doing
nothing but besiege Amiens--astonished the republican statesmen still
further by telling them--that his master was listening seriously to the
pope's secret offers.

His Holiness had assured the king, through the legate at Paris, that he
could easily bring about a peace between him and Philip, if Henry would
agree to make it alone, and he would so manage it that the king's name
should not be mixed up with the negotiations, and that he should not
appear as seeking for peace. It was to be considered however--so Henry's
envoy intimated both at Greenwich and the Hague--that if the king should
accept the pope's intervention he would be obliged to exclude from a
share in it the queen and all others not of the Catholic religion, and it
was feared that the same necessity which had compelled him to listen to
these overtures would force him still further in the same path. He
dreaded lest, between peace and war, he might fall into a position in
which the law would be dictated to him either by the enemy or by those
who had undertaken to help him out of danger.

Much more information to this effect did Buzanval communicate to the
States on the authority of a private letter from the king, telling him of
the ill-success of the mission of Fonquerolles. That diplomatist had
brought back nothing from England, it appeared, save excuses, general
phrases, and many references to the troubles in Ireland and to the danger
of a new Spanish Armada.

It was now for the first time, moreover, that the States learned how they
had been duped both by England and France in the matter of the League. To
their surprise they were informed that while they were themselves
furnishing four thousand men, according to the contract signed by the
three powers, the queen had in reality only agreed to contribute two
thousand soldiers, and these only for four months' service, within a very
strict territorial limit, and under promise of immediate reimbursement of
the expenses thus incurred.

These facts, together with the avowal that their magnanimous ally had all
along been secretly treating for peace with the common enemy, did not
make a cheerful impression upon those plain-spoken republicans, nor was
it much consolation to them to receive the assurance that "after the
king's death his affection and gratitude towards the States would be
found deeply engraved upon his heart."

The result of such a future autopsy might seem a matter of comparative
indifference, since meantime the present effect to the republic of those
deep emotions was a treacherous desertion. Calvaert, too, who had so long
haunted the king like his perpetual shadow, and who had believed him--at
least so far as the Netherlands were concerned--to be almost without
guile, had been destined after all to a rude awakening. Sick and
suffering, he did not cease, so long as life was in him, to warn the
States-General of the dangers impending over them from the secret
negotiations which their royal ally was doing his best to conceal from
them, and as to which he had for a time succeeded so dexterously in
hoodwinking their envoy himself. But the honest and energetic agent of
the republic did not live to see the consummation of these manoeuvres of
Henry and the pope. He died in Paris during the month of June of this

Certainly the efforts of Spanish and Papal diplomacy had not been
unsuccessful in bringing about a dissolution of the bonds of amity by
which the three powers seemed so lately to be drawing themselves very
closely together. The republic and Henry IV. were now on a most
uncomfortable footing towards each other. On the other hand, the queen
was in a very ill humour with the States and very angry with Henry.
Especially the persistent manner in which the Hollanders carried on trade
with Spain and were at the same time making fortunes for themselves and
feeding the enemy, while Englishmen, on pain of death, were debarred from
participation in such traffic, excited great and general indignation in
England. In vain was it represented that this trade, if prohibited to the
commonwealth would fall into the hands of neutral powers, and that Spain
would derive her supplies from the Baltic and other regions as regularly
as ever, while the republic, whose whole life was in her foreign
commerce, would not only become incapable of carrying on the war but
would perish of inanition. The English statesmen threatened to declare
all such trade contraband, and vessels engaging in it lawful prize to
English cruisers.

Burghley declared, with much excitement, to Canon, that he, as well as
all the council, considered the conduct of the Hollanders so
unjustifiable as to make them regret that their princess had ever
embarked with a State which chose to aid its own enemies in the
destruction of itself and its allies. Such conduct was so monstrous that
those who were told of it would hardly believe it.

The Dutch envoy observed that there were thirty thousand sailors engaged
in this trade, and he asked the Lord Treasurer whether he proposed that
these people should all starve or be driven into the service of the
enemy. Burghley rejoined that the Hollanders had the whole world beside
to pursue their traffic in, that they did indeed trade over the whole
world, and had thereby become so extraordinarily, monstrously rich that
there was no believing it.

Caron declared his sincere wish that this was true, but said, on the
contrary, that he knew too well what extreme trouble and labour the
States-General had in providing for the expenses of the war and in
extracting the necessary funds from the various communities. This would
hardly be the case were such great wealth in the land as was imagined.
But still the English counsellors protested that they would stop this
trading with the enemy at every hazard.

On the question of peace or war itself the republican diplomatists were
often baffled as to the true intentions of the English Government. "As
the queen is fine and false," said Marquis Havre, observing and aiding in
the various intrigues which were weaving at Brussels, "and her council
much the same, she is practising towards the Hollanders a double
stratagem. On the one hand she induces them to incline to a general
peace. On the other, her adherents, ten or twelve in number of those who
govern Holland and have credit with the people, insist that the true.
interest of the State is in a continuation of the war."

But Havre, adept in diplomatic chicane as he undoubtedly was, would have
found it difficult to find any man of intelligence or influence in that
rebellious commonwealth, of which he was once a servant, who had any
doubt on that subject. It needed no English argument to persuade
Olden-Barneveld, and the other statesmen who guided the destiny of the
republic, that peace would be destruction. Moreover, there is no question
that both the queen and Burghley would have been truly grateful had the
States-General been willing to make peace and return to the allegiance
which they had long since spurned.

Nevertheless it is difficult to say whether there were at this moment
more of animosity in Elizabeth's mind towards her backsliding ally, with
whom she had so recently and so pompously sworn an eternal friendship, or
towards her ancient enemy. Although she longed for peace, she hardly saw
her way to it, for she felt that the secret movements of Henry had in a
manner barred the path. She confessed to the States' envoy that it was as
easy for her to make black white as to make peace with Spain. To this
Caron cordially assented, saying with much energy, "There is as much
chance for your Majesty and for us to make peace, during the life of the
present King of Spain, as to find redemption in hell."

To the Danish ambassadors, who had come to England with proposals of
mediation, the queen had replied that the King of Spain had attacked her
dominions many times, and had very often attempted her assassination,
that after long patience she had begun to defend herself, and had been
willing to show him that she had the courage and the means, not only to
maintain herself against his assaults, but also to invade his realms;
that, therefore, she was not disposed to speak first; nor to lay down any
conditions. Yet, if she saw that the King of Spain had any remorse for
his former offences against her, and wished to make atonement for them,
she was willing to declare that her heart was not so alienated from
peace; but that she could listen to propositions on the subject.

She said, too, that such a peace must be a general one, including both
the King of France and the States of the Netherlands, for with these
powers she had but lately made an offensive and defensive league against
the King of Spain, from which she protested that for no consideration in
the world would she ever swerve one jot.

Certainly these were words of Christian charity and good faith, but such
professions are the common staple of orations and documents for public
consumption. As the accounts became more and more minute, however, of
Henry's intrigues with Albert, Philip, and Clement, the queen grew more

She told Caron that she was quite aware that the king had long been in
communication with the cardinal's emissaries, and that he had even sent
some of his principal counsellors to confer with the cardinal himself at
Arras, in direct violation of the stipulations of the league. She
expressed her amazement at the king's conduct; for she knew very well,
she said, that the league had hardly been confirmed and sworn to, before
he was treating with secret agents sent to him by the cardinal. "And
now," she continued, "they propose to send an ambassador to inform me of
the whole proceeding, and to ask my advice and consent in regard to
negotiations which they have, perchance, entirely concluded."

She further informed the republican envoy that the king had recently been
taking the ground in these dealings with the common enemy; that the two
kingdoms of France and England must first be provided for; that when the
basis between these powers and Spain had been arranged, it would be time
to make arrangements for the States, and that it would probably be found
advisable to obtain a truce of three or four years between them and
Spain, in which interval the government of the provinces might remain on
its actual footing. During this armistice the King of Spain was to
withdraw all Spanish troops from the Netherlands, in consequence of which
measure all distrust would by degrees vanish, and the community, becoming
more and more encouraged, would in time recognise the king for their
sovereign once more.

This, according to the information received by Elizabeth from her
resident minister in France, was Henry's scheme for carrying out the
principles of the offensive and defensive league, which only the year
before he had so solemnly concluded with the Dutch republic. Instead of
assisting that commonwealth in waging her war of independence against
Spain, he would endeavour to make it easy for her to return peacefully to
her ancient thraldom.

The queen asked Caron what he thought of the project. How could that
diplomatist reply but with polite scorn? Not a year of such an armistice
would elapse, he said, before the Spanish partisans would have it all
their own way in the Netherlands, and the King of Spain would be master
of the whole country. Again and again he repeated that peace, so long as
Philip lived, was an impossibility for the States. No doubt that monarch
would gladly consent to the proposed truce, for it, would be indeed
strange if by means of it he could not so establish himself in the
provinces as to easily overthrow the sovereigns who were thus helping him
to so advantageous a position.

The queen listened patiently to a long and earnest remonstrance in this
vein made by the envoy, and assured him that not even to gain another
kingdom would she be the cause of a return of the provinces to the
dominion of Spain. She would do her best to dissuade the king from his
peace negotiations; but she would listen to De Maisae, the new special
envoy from Henry, and would then faithfully report to Caron, by word of
mouth, the substance of the conversation. The States-General did not
deserve to be deceived, nor would she be a party to any deception, unless
she were first cheated herself. "I feel indeed," she added, "that matters
are not always managed as they should be by your Government, and that you
have not always treated princes, especially myself, as we deserve to be
treated. Nevertheless, your State is not a monarchy, and so we must take
all things into consideration, and weigh its faults against its many

With this philosophical--and in the mouth of Elizabeth Tudor, surely very
liberal--reflection, the queen terminated the interview with the
republican envoy.

Meantime the conferences with the special ambassador of France proceeded.
For, so soon as Henry had completed all his arrangements, and taken his
decision to accept the very profitable peace offered to him by Spain, he
assumed that air of frankness which so well became him, and candidly
avowed his intention of doing what he had already done. Hurault de Maisse
arrived in England not long before the time when the peace-commissioners
were about assembling at Vervins. He was instructed to inform her Majesty
that he had done his best to bring about a general alliance of the
European powers from which alone the league concluded between England,
France, and the Netherlands would have derived substantial strength.

But as nothing was to be hoped for from Germany, as England offered but
little assistance, and as France was exhausted by her perpetual
conflicts, it had become necessary for the king to negotiate for a peace.
He now wished to prove, therefore, to the queen, as to a sister to whom
he was under such obligations, that the interests of England were as dear
to him as those of France.

The proof of these generous sentiments did not, however, seem so clear as
could be wished, and there were very stormy debates, so soon as the
ambassador found himself in conference with her Majesty's counsellors.
The English statesmen bitterly reproached the French for having thus
lightly thrown away the alliance between the two countries, and they
insisted upon the duty of the king to fulfil his solemn engagements.

The reply was very frank and very decided. Kings, said De Maisse, never
make treaties except with the tacit condition to embrace every thing that
may be useful to them, and carefully to avoid every thing prejudicial to
their interests.

The corollary from this convenient and sweeping maxim was simple enough.
The king could not be expected, by his allies to reject an offered peace
which was very profitable, nor to continue a war which, was very
detrimental. All that they could expect was that he should communicate
his intentions to them, and this he was now very cheerfully doing. Such
in brief were the statements of De Maisse.

The English were indignant. They also said a stout word for the
provinces, although it has been made sufficiently clear that they did not
love that upstart republic. But the French ambassador replied that his,
master really meant secretly to assist the States in carrying on the war
until they should make an arrangement. He should send them very powerful
succours for this purpose, and he expected confidently that England would
assist him in this line of conduct. Thus Henry was secretly pledging
himself, to make underhand but substantial war against Spain, with which
power he was at that instant concluding peace, while at the same time he
was abandoning his warlike league with the queen and the republic, in
order to affect that very pacification. Truly the morality of the
governing powers of the earth was not entirely according to the apostolic

The interviews between the queen and the new ambassador were, of course,
on his part, more courteous in tone than those with the counsellors, but
mainly to the same effect. De Maisse stated that the Spanish king had
offered to restore every place that he held in France, including Calais,
Brittany, and the Marquisate of Saluces, and as he likewise manifested a
willingness to come to favourable terms with her Majesty and with the
States, it was obviously the duty of Henry to make these matters known to
her Majesty, in whose hands was thus placed the decision between peace or
continuation of the war. The queen asked what was the authority for the
supposition that England was to be included by Spain in the pacification.
De Maisse quoted President Richardot. In that case, the queen remarked,
it was time for her to prepare for a third Spanish armada. When a former
envoy from France had alluded to Richardot as expressing the same
friendly sentiments on the part of his sovereign and himself, she had
replied by referring to the sham negotiations of Bourbourg, by which the
famous invasion of 1588 had been veiled, and she had intimated her
expectation that another Spanish fleet would soon be at her throat. And
within three weeks of the utterance of her prophecy the second armada,
under Santa Gadea, had issued from Spain to assail her realms. Now then,
as Richardot was again cited as a peace negotiator, it was time to look
for a third invasion. It was an impertinence for Secretary of State
Villeroy to send her word about Richardot. It was not an impertinence in
King Henry, who understood war-matters better than he did affairs of
state, in which kings were generally governed by their counsellors and
secretaries, but it was very strange that Villeroy should be made quiet
with a simple declaration of Richardot.

The queen protested that she would never consent to a peace with Spain,
except with the knowledge and consent of the States. De Maisse replied
that the king was of the same mind, upon which her Majesty remarked that
in that case he had better have apprised her and the States of his
intentions before treating alone and secretly with the enemy. The envoy
denied that the king had been treating. He had only been listening to
what the King of Spain had to propose, and suggesting his own wishes and
intentions. The queen rejoined that this was treating if anything was,
and certainly her Majesty was in the right if the term has any meaning at

Elizabeth further reproachfully observed, that although the king talked
about continuing the war, he seemed really tired of that dangerous
pursuit, in which he had exercised himself so many long years, and that
he was probably beginning to find a quiet and agreeable life more to his
taste. She expressed the hope, however, that he would acquit himself
honourably towards herself and her allies, and keep the oaths which he
had so solemnly sworn before God.

Such was the substance of the queen's conversations with De Maisse, as
she herself subsequently reported them to the States' envoy.

The republican statesmen had certainly cause enough to suspect Henry's
intentions, but they did not implicitly trust Elizabeth. They feared that
both king and queen were heartily sick of the war, and disposed to
abandon the league, while each was bent on securing better terms than the
other in any negotiations for peace. Barneveld--on the whole the most
sagacious of the men then guiding the affairs of Europe, although he
could dispose of but comparatively slender resources, and was merely the
chief minister of a scarcely-born little commonwealth of some three
million souls--was doing his best to save the league and to divert Henry
from thoughts of peace. Feeling that the queen, notwithstanding her
professions to Caron and others, would have gladly entered into
negotiations with Philip, had she found the door as wide open as Henry
had found it, he did his best to prevent both his allies from proceeding
farther in that direction. He promised the French envoy at the Hague that
not only would the republic continue to furnish the four thousand
soldiers as stipulated in the league, but that if Henry would recommence
active operations, a States' army of nine thousand foot and two thousand
horse should at once take the field on the Flemish frontier of France,
and aid in the campaign to the full extent of their resources. If the
king were disposed to undertake the siege of Calais, the Advocate engaged
that he should be likewise energetically assisted in that enterprise.

Nor was it suggested in case the important maritime stronghold were
recovered that it should be transferred, not to the sovereign of France,
but to the dominions of the republic. That was the queen's method of
assisting an ally, but it was not the practice of the States. Buzanval,
who was quite aware of his master's decision to conclude peace, suggested
Henry's notion of a preliminary and general truce for six months. But of
course Barneveld rejected the idea with horror. He felt, as every
intelligent statesman of the commonwealth could not but feel, that an
armistice would be a death-blow. It would be better, he said, for the
States to lose one or two towns than to make a truce, for there were so
many people in the commonwealth sure to be dazzled by the false show of a
pacification, that they would be likely, after getting into the suburbs,
to wish to enter the heart of the city. "If," said the Advocate, "the
French and the English know what they are doing when they are,
facilitating the Spanish dominion in the provinces, they would prefer to
lose a third of their own kingdoms to seeing the Spaniard absolute master

It was determined, in this grave position of affairs, to send a special
mission both to France and to England with the Advocate as its chief.
Henry made no objections to this step, but, on the contrary, affected
much impatience for the arrival of the envoys, and ascribed the delay to
the intrigues of Elizabeth. He sent word to Prince Maurice and to
Barneveld that he suspected the queen of endeavouring to get before him
in negotiating with Spain in order to obtain Calais for herself. And, in
truth, Elizabeth very soon afterwards informed Barneveld that she might
really have had Calais, and have got the better of the king in these
secret transactions.

Meantime, while the special mission to France and England was getting
ready to depart, an amateur diplomatist appeared in Brussels, and made a
feeble effort to effect a reconciliation between the republic and the

This was a certain Van der Meulen, an Antwerp merchant who, for religious
reasons, had emigrated to Leyden, and who was now invited by the cardinal
archduke to Brussels to confer with his counsellors as to the possibility
of the rebellious States accepting his authority. For, as will soon be
indicated, Philip had recently resolved on a most important step. He was
about to transfer the sovereignty of all the Netherlands to his daughter
Isabella and her destined husband, Cardinal Albert. It would, obviously,
therefore, be an excessively advantageous arrangement for those new
sovereigns if the rebellious States would join hands with the obedient
provinces, accept the dominion of Albert and Isabella and give up their
attempt to establish a republican government. Accordingly the cardinal
had intimated that the States would be allowed the practice of their
religion, while the military and civil functionaries might retain office.
He even suggested that he would appoint Maurice of Nassau his stadholder
for the northern provinces, unless he should prefer a high position in
the Imperial armies. Such was the general admiration felt in Spain and
elsewhere for the military talents of the prince, that he would probably
be appointed commander-in-chief of the forces against Mahomet. Van der
Meulen duly reported all these ingenious schemes to the States, but the
sturdy republicans only laughed at them. They saw clearly enough through
such slight attempts to sow discord in their commonwealth, and to send
their great chieftain to Turkey.

A most affectionate letter, written by the cardinal-archduke to the
States-General, inviting them to accept his sovereignty, and another from
the obedient provinces to the united States of the same purport, remained

But the Antwerp merchant, in his interviews with the crafty politicians
who surrounded the cardinal, was able at least to obtain some insight
into the opinions prevalent at Brussels; and these were undoubtedly to
the effect that both England and France were willing enough to abandon
the cause of the Netherlands, provided only that they could obtain
satisfactory arrangements for themselves.

Van der Meulen remarked to Richardot that in all their talk about a
general peace nothing had been said of the Queen of England, to whom the
States were under so great obligations, and without whom they would never
enter into any negotiations.

Richardot replied that the queen had very sagaciously provided for the
safety of her own kingdom, and had kept up the fire everywhere else in
order to shelter herself. There was more difficulty for this lady, he
said, than for any of the rest. She had shown herself very obstinate, and
had done them a great deal of mischief. They knew very well that the King
of France did not love her. Nevertheless, as they had resolved upon a
general peace, they were willing to treat with her as well as with the


     Auction sales of judicial ermine
     Decline a bribe or interfere with the private sale of places
     Famous fowl in every pot
     Fellow worms had been writhing for half a century in the dust
     For his humanity towards the conquered garrisons (censured)
     Historical scepticism may shut its eyes to evidence
     Imagining that they held the world's destiny in their hands
     King had issued a general repudiation of his debts
     Loud, nasal, dictatorial tone, not at all agreeable
     Peace would be destruction
     Repudiation of national debts was never heard of before
     Some rude lessons from that vigorous little commonwealth
     Such a crime as this had never been conceived (bankruptcy)
     They liked not such divine right nor such gentle-mindedness
     Whether murders or stratagems, as if they were acts of virtue


From the Death of William the Silent to the Twelve Year's Truce--1609

By John Lothrop Motley

History United Netherlands, Volume 70, 1598


   Mission of the States to Henry to prevent the consummation of peace
   with Spain--Proposal of Henry to elevate Prince Maurice to the
   sovereignty, of the States--Embarkation of the States' envoys for
   England--Their interview with Queen Elizabeth--Return of the envoys
   from England--Demand of Elizabeth for repayment of her advances to
   the republic--Second embassy to England--Final arrangement between
   the Queen and the States.

The great Advocate was now to start on his journey in order to make a
supreme effort both with Henry and with Elizabeth to prevent the
consummation of this fatal peace. Admiral Justinus of Nassau, natural son
of William the Silent, was associated with Barneveld in the mission, a
brave fighting man, a staunch patriot, and a sagacious counsellor; but
the Advocate on this occasion, as in other vital emergencies of the
commonwealth, was all in all.

The instructions of the envoys were simple. They were to summon the king
to fulfil his solemnly sworn covenants with the league. The
States-General had never doubted, they said, that so soon as the enemy
had begun to feel the effects, of that league he would endeavour to make
a composition with one or other of the parties in order to separate them,
and to break up that united strength which otherwise he could never
resist. The king was accordingly called upon to continue the war against
the common enemy, and the States-General offered, over and above the four
hundred and fifty thousand florins promised by them for the support of
the four thousand infantry for the year 1598, to bring their whole
military power, horse and foot, into the field to sustain his Majesty in
the war, whether separately or in conjunction, whether in the siege of
cities or in open campaigns. Certainly they could hardly offer fairer
terms than these.

Henry had complained, and not unreasonably, that Elizabeth had made no
offers of assistance for carrying on the war either to Fonquerolles or to
Hurault de Maisse; but he certainly could make no reproach of that nature
against the republic, nor assign their lukewarmness as an excuse for his

The envoys were ready to take their departure for France on the last day
of January.

It might be a curious subject to consider how far historical events are
modified and the world's destiny affected by the different material
agencies which man at various epochs has had at his disposal. The human
creature in his passions and ambitions, his sensual or sordid desires,
his emotional and moral nature, undergoes less change than might be hoped
from age to age. The tyrant; the patriot, the demagogue, the voluptuary,
the peasant, the trader, the intriguing politician, the hair-splitting
diplomatist, the self-sacrificing martyr, the self-seeking courtier,
present essentially one type in the twelfth, the sixteenth, the
nineteenth, or any other century. The human tragi-comedy seems ever to
repeat itself with the same bustle, with the same excitement for
immediate interests, for the development of the instant plot or passing
episode, as if the universe began and ended with each generation--as in
reality it would appear to do for the great multitude of the actors.
There seems but a change of masks, of costume, of phraseology, combined
with a noisy but eternal monotony. Yet while men are produced and are
whirled away again in endless succession, Man remains, and to all
appearance is perpetual and immortal even on this earth. Whatever science
acquires man inherits. Whatever steadfastness is gained for great moral
truths which change not through the ages--however they may be thought, in
dark or falsely brilliant epochs, to resolve themselves into elemental
vapour--gives man a securer foothold in his onward and upward progress.
The great, continuous history of that progress is not made up of the
reigns of kings or the lives of politicians, with whose names history has
often found it convenient to mark its epochs. These are but milestones on
the turnpike. Human progress is over a vast field, and it is only at
considerable intervals that a retrospective view enables us to discern
whether the movement has been slow or rapid, onward or retrograde.

The record of our race is essentially unwritten. What we call history is
but made up of a few scattered fragments, while it is scarcely given to
human intelligence to comprehend the great whole. Yet it is strange to
reflect upon the leisurely manner in which great affairs were conducted
in the period with which we are now occupied, as compared with the fever
and whirl of our own times, in which the stupendous powers of steam and
electricity are ever-ready to serve the most sublime or the most vulgar
purposes of mankind. Whether there were ever a critical moment in which a
rapid change might have been effected in royal or national councils, had
telegraphic wires and express trains been at the command of Henry, or
Burghley, or Barneveld, or the Cardinal Albert, need not and cannot be
decided. It is almost diverting, however, to see how closely the
intrigues of cabinets, the movements of armies, the plans of patriots,
were once dependent on those natural elements over which man has now
gained almost despotic control.

Here was the republic intensely eager to prevent, with all speed, the
consummation of a treaty between its ally and its enemy--a step which it
was feared might be fatal to its national existence, and concerning which
there seemed a momentary hesitation. Yet Barneveld and Justinus of
Nassau, although ready on the last day of January, were not able to sail
from the Brill to Dieppe until the 18th March, on account of a persistent
south-west wind.

After forty-six days of waiting, the envoys, accompanied by Buzanval,
Henry's resident at the Hague, were at last, on the 18th March, enabled
to set sail with a favourable breeze. As it was necessary for travellers
in that day to provide themselves with every possible material for their
journey--carriages, horses, hosts of servants, and beds, fortunate enough
if they found roads and occasionally food--Barneveld and Nassau were
furnished with three ships of war, while another legation on its way to
England had embarked in two other vessels of the same class. A fleet of
forty or fifty merchantmen sailed under their convoy. Departing from the
Brill in this imposing manner, they sailed by Calais, varying the
monotony of the voyage by a trifling sea-fight with some cruisers from
that Spanish port, neither side receiving any damage.

Landing at Dieppe on the morning of the 20th, the envoys were received
with much ceremony at the city gates by the governor of the place, who
conducted them in a stately manner to a house called the king's mansion,
which he politely placed at their disposal. "As we learned, however,"
says Barneveld, with grave simplicity; "that there was no furniture
whatever in that royal abode, we thanked his Excellency, and declared
that we would rather go to a tavern."

After three days of repose and preparation in Dieppe, they started at
dawn on their journey to Rouen, where they arrived at sundown.

On the next morning but one they set off again on their travels, and
slept that night at Louviers. Another long day's journey brought them to
Evreux. On the 27th they came to Dreux, on the 28th to Chartres, and on
the 29th to Chateaudun. On the 30th, having started an hour before
sunrise, they were enabled after a toilsome journey to reach Blois at an
hour after dark. Exhausted with fatigue, they reposed in that city for a
day, and on the 1st April proceeded, partly by the river Loire and partly
by the road, as far as Tours. Here they were visited by nobody, said
Barneveld, but fiddlers and drummers, and were execrably lodged.
Nevertheless they thought the town in other respects agreeable, and
apparently beginning to struggle out of the general desolation of,
France. On the end April they slept at Langeais, and on the night of the
3rd reached Saumur, where they were disappointed at the absence of the
illustrious Duplessis Mornay, then governor of that city. A glance at any
map of France will show the course of the journey taken by the
travellers, which, after very hard work and great fatigue, had thus
brought them from Dieppe to Saumur in about as much time as is now
consumed by an average voyage from Europe to America. In their whole
journey from Holland to Saumur, inclusive of the waiting upon the wind
and other enforced delays, more than two months had been consumed.
Twenty-four hours would suffice at present for the excursion.

At Saumur they received letters informing them that the king was
"expecting them with great devotion at Angiers." A despatch from Cecil,
who was already with Henry, also apprised them that he found "matters
entirely arranged for a peace." This would be very easily accomplished,
he said, for France and England, but the great difficulty was for the
Netherlands. He had come to France principally for the sake of managing
affairs for the advantage of the States, but he begged the envoys not to
demean themselves as if entirely bent on war.

They arrived at Angiers next day before dark, and were met at a league's
distance from the gates by the governor of the castle, attended by young
Prince Frederic Henry of Nassau; followed by a long train of nobles and
mounted troops. Welcomed in this stately manner on behalf of the king,
the envoys were escorted to the lodgings provided for them in the city.
The same evening they waited on the widowed princess of Orange, Louisa of
Coligny, then residing temporarily with her son in Angiera, and were
informed by her that the king's mind was irrevocably fixed on peace. She
communicated, however, the advice of her step-son in law, the Duke of
Bouillon, that they should openly express their determination to continue
the war, notwithstanding that both their Majesties of England and France
wished to negotiate. Thus the counsels of Bouillon to the envoys were
distinctly opposed to those of Cecil, and it was well known to them that
the duke was himself sincerely anxious that the king should refuse the
pacific offers of Spain.

Next morning, 5th April, they were received at the gates of the castle by
the governor of Anjou and the commandant of the citadel of Angiers,
attended by a splendid retinue, and were conducted to the king, who was
walking in the garden of the fortress. Henry received them with great
demonstrations of respect, assuring them that he considered the
States-General the best and most faithful friends that he possessed in
the world, and that he had always been assisted by them in time of his
utmost need with resoluteness and affection.

The approach of the English ambassador, accompanied by the Chancellor of
France and several other persons, soon brought the interview to a
termination. Barneveld then presented several gentlemen attached to the
mission, especially his son and Hugo Grotius, then a lad of fifteen, but
who had already gained such distinction at Leyden that Scaliger,
Pontanus; Heinsius, Dousa, and other professors, foretold that he would
become more famous than Erasmus. They were all very cordially received by
the king, who subsequently bestowed especial marks of his consideration
upon the youthful Grotius.

The same day the betrothal of Monsieur Caesar with the daughter of the
Duke of Mercoeur was celebrated, and there was afterwards much dancing
and banqueting at the castle. It was obvious enough to the envoys that
the matter of peace and war was decided. The general of the Franciscans,
sent by the pope, had been flitting very busily for many months between
Rome, Madrid, Brussels, and Paris, and there could be little doubt that
every detail of the negotiations between France and Spain had been
arranged while Olden-Barneveld and his colleague had been waiting for the
head-wind to blow itself out at the Brill.

Nevertheless no treaty had as yet been signed, and it was the business of
the republican diplomatists to prevent the signature if possible. They
felt, however, that they were endeavouring to cause water to run up hill.
Villeroy, De Maisse, and Buzanval came to them to recount, by the king's
order, everything that had taken place. This favour was, however, the
less highly appreciated by them, as they felt that the whole world was in
a very short time to be taken as well into the royal confidence.

These French politicians stated that the king, after receiving the most
liberal offers of peace on the part of Spain, had communicated all the
facts to the queen, and had proposed, notwithstanding these most
profitable overtures, to continue the war as long as her Majesty and the
States-General would assist him in it. De Maisse had been informed,
however, by the queen that she had no means to assist the king withal,
and was, on the contrary, very well disposed to make peace. The lord
treasurer had avowed the same opinions as his sovereign, had declared
himself to be a man of peace, and had exclaimed that peace once made he
would sing "Nunc dimitte servum tuum Domine." Thereupon, at the
suggestion of the legate, negotiations had begun at Vervins, and although
nothing was absolutely concluded, yet Sir Robert Cecil, having just been
sent as special ambassador from the queen, had brought no propositions
whatever of assistance in carrying on the war, but plenty of excuses
about armadas, Irish rebellions, and the want of funds. There was nothing
in all this, they said, but want of good will. The queen had done nothing
and would do nothing for the league herself, nor would she solicit for it
the adherence of other kings and princes. The king, by making peace,
could restore his kingdom to prosperity, relieve the distress of his
subjects, and get back all his lost cities--Calais, Ardres, Dourlens,
Blavet, and many more--without any expense of treasure or of blood.

Certainly there was cogency in this reasoning from the point of view of
the French king, but it would have been as well to state, when he was so
pompously making a league for offensive and defensive war, that his real
interests and his real purposes were peace. Much excellent diplomacy,
much ringing of bells, firing of artillery, and singing of anthems in
royal chapels, and much disappointment to honest Dutchmen, might have
thus been saved. It is also instructive to observe the difference between
the accounts of De Maisse's negotiations in England given by that
diplomatist himself, and those rendered by the queen to the States'

Of course the objurgations of the Hollanders that the king, in a very
fallacious hope of temporary gain to himself, was about to break his
solemn promises to his allies and leave them to their fate, drew but few
tears down the iron cheeks of such practised diplomatists as Villeroy and
his friends.

The envoys visited De Rosuy, who assured them that he was very much their
friend, but gave them to understand that there was not the slightest
possibility of inducing the king to break off the negotiations.

Before taking final leave of his Majesty they concluded, by advice of the
Princess of Orange and of Buzanval, to make the presents which they had
brought with them from the States-General. Accordingly they sent, through
the hands of the princess, four pieces of damask linen and two pieces of
fine linen to the king's sister, Madame Catherine, two pieces of linen to
Villeroy, and two to the beautiful Gabrielle. The two remaining pieces
were bestowed upon Buzanval for his pains in accompanying them on the
journey and on their arrival at court.

The incident shows the high esteem in which the Netherland fabrics were
held at that period.

There was a solemn conference at last between the leading counsellors of
the king, the chancellor, the Dukes of Espernon and Bouillon, Count
Schomberg, and De Sancy, Plessis, Buzanval, Maisse, the Dutch envoys, and
the English ambassador and commissioner Herbert. Cecil presided, and
Barneveld once more went over the whole ground, resuming with his usual
vigour all the arguments by which the king's interest and honour were
proved to require him to desist from the peace negotiations. And the
orator had as much success as is usual with those who argue against a
foregone conclusion. Everyone had made up his mind. Everyone knew that
peace was made. It is unnecessary, therefore, to repeat the familiar
train of reasoning. It is superfluous to say that the conference was
barren. On the same evening Villeroy called on the States' envoys, and
informed them plainly, on the part of the king, that his Majesty had
fully made up his mind.

On the 23rd April--three mortal weeks having thus been wasted in
diplomatic trilling--Barneveld was admitted to his Majesty's
dressing-room. The Advocate at the king's request came without his
colleague, and was attended only by his son. No other persons were
present in the chamber save Buzanval and Beringen. The king on this
occasion confirmed what had so recently been stated by Villeroy. He had
thoroughly pondered, he said, all the arguments used by the States to
dissuade him from the negotiation, and had found them of much weight. The
necessities of his kingdom, however, compelled him to accept a period of
repose. He would not, however, in the slightest degree urge the States to
join in the treaty. He desired their security, and would aid in
maintaining it. What had most vexed him was that the Protestants with
great injustice accused him of intending to make war upon them. But
innumerable and amazing reports were flying abroad, both among his own
subjects, the English, and the enemies' spies, as to these secret
conferences. He then said that he would tell the Duke of Bouillon to
speak with Sir Robert Cecil concerning a subject which now for the first
time he would mention privately to Olden-Barneveld.

The king then made a remarkable and unexpected suggestion. Alluding to
the constitution of the Netherlands, he remarked that a popular
government in such emergencies as those then existing was subject to more
danger than monarchies were, and he asked the Advocate if he thought
there was no disposition to elect a prince. Barneveld replied that the
general inclination was rather for a good republic. The government,
however, he said, was not of the people, but aristocratic, and the state
was administered according to laws and charters by the principal
inhabitants, whether nobles or magistrates of cities. Since the death of
the late Prince of Orange, and the offer made to the King of France, and
subsequently to the Queen of England, of the sovereignty, there had been
no more talk on that subject, and to discuss again so delicate a matter
might cause divisions and other difficulties in the State.

Henry then spoke of Prince Maurice, and asked whether, if he should be
supported by the Queen of England and the King of France, it would not be
possible to confer the sovereignty upon him.

Here certainly was an astounding question to be discharged like a
pistol-shot full in the face of a republican minister.

The answer of the Advocate was sufficiently adroit if not excessively

If your Majesty, said he, together with her Majesty the queen, think the
plan expedient, and are both willing on this footing to continue the war,
to rescue all the Netherlands from the hands of the Spaniards and their
adherents, and thus render the States eternally obliged to the sovereigns
and kingdoms of France and England, my lords the States-General would
probably be willing to accept this advice.

But the king replied by repeating that repose was indispensable to him.

Without inquiring for the present whether the project of elevating
Maurice to the sovereignty of the Netherlands, at the expense of the
republican constitution, was in harmony or not with the private opinions
of Barneveld at that period, it must be admitted that the condition he
thus suggested was a very safe one to offer. He had thoroughly satisfied
himself during the period in which he had been baffled by the southwest
gales at the Brill and by the still more persistent head-winds which he
had found prevailing at the French court, that it was hopeless to strive
for that much-desired haven, a general war. The admiral and himself might
as well have endeavoured to persuade Mahomet III. and Sigismund of Poland
to join the States in a campaign against Cardinal Albert, as to hope for
the same good offices from Elizabeth and Henry.

Having received exactly the answer which he expected, he secretly
communicated, next day, to Cecil the proposition thus made by the king.
Subsequently he narrated the whole conversation to the Queen of England.

On the 27th April both Barneveld and Nassau were admitted to the royal
dressing-room in Nantes citadel for a final audience. Here, after the
usual common places concerning his affection for the Netherlands, and the
bitter necessity which compelled him to desert the alliance, Henry again
referred to his suggestion in regard to Prince Maurice; urging a change
from a republican to a monarchical form of government as the best means
of preserving the State.

The envoys thanked the king for all the honours conferred upon them, but
declared themselves grieved to the heart by his refusal to grant their
request. The course pursued by his Majesty, they said, would be found
very hard of digestion by the States, both in regard to the whole force
of the enemy which would now come upon their throats, and because of the
bad example thus set for other powers.

They then took leave, with the usual exchange of compliments. At their
departure his Majesty personally conducted them through various
apartments until they came to the chamber of his mistress, the Duchess of
Beaufort, then lying in childbed. Here he drew wide open the
bed-curtains, and bade them kiss the lady. They complied, and begging the
duchess to use her influence in their behalf, respectfully bade her
farewell. She promised not to forget their request, and thanked them for
the presents of damask and fine linen.

Such was the result of the mission of the great Advocate and his
colleague to Henry IV., from which so much had been hoped; and for
anything useful accomplished, after such an expenditure of time, money,
and eloquence, the whole transaction might have begun and ended in this
touching interview with the beautiful Gabrielle.

On the 19th of May the envoys embarked at Dieppe for England, and on the
25th were safely lodged with the resident minister of the republic, Noel
de Caron, at the village of Clapham.

Having so ill-succeeded in their attempts to prevent the treaty between
France and Spain, they were now engaged in what seemed also a forlorn
hope, the preservation of their offensive and defensive alliance with
England. They were well aware that many of the leading counsellors of
Elizabeth, especially Burghley and Buckhurst, were determined upon peace.
They knew that the queen was also heartily weary of the war and of the
pugnacious little commonwealth which had caused her so much expense. But
they knew, too, that Henry, having now secured the repose of his own
kingdom, was anything but desirous that his deserted allies should enjoy
the same advantage. The king did not cease to assure the States that he
would secretly give them assistance in their warfare against his new
ally, while Secretary of State Villeroy, as they knew, would place every
possible impediment in the way of the queen's negotiations with Spain.

Elizabeth, on her part, was vexed with everybody. What the States most
feared was that she might, in her anger or her avarice, make use of the
cautionary towns in her negotiations with Philip. At any rate, said
Francis Aerssens, then States' minister in France, she will bring us to
the brink of the precipice, that we may then throw ourselves into her
arms in despair.

The queen was in truth resolved to conclude a peace if a peace could be
made. If not, she was determined to make as good a bargain with the
States as possible, in regard to the long outstanding account of her
advances. Certainly it was not unreasonable that she should wish to see
her exchequer reimbursed by people who, as she believed, were rolling in
wealth, the fruit of a contraband commerce which she denied to her own
subjects, and who were in honour bound to pay their debts to her now, if
they wished her aid to be continued. Her subjects were impoverished and
panting for peace, and although, as she remarked, "their sense of duty
restrained them from the slightest disobedience to her absolute
commands," still she could not forgive herself for thus exposing them to
perpetual danger.

She preferred on the whole, however, that the commonwealth should consent
to its own dissolution; for she thought it unreasonable that--after this
war of thirty years, during fifteen of which she had herself actively
assisted them--these republican Calvinists should, refuse to return to
the dominion of their old tyrant and the pope. To Barneveld, Maurice of
Nassau, and the States-General this did not seem a very logical
termination to so much hard fighting.

Accordingly, when on the 26th of May the two envoys fell on their
knees--as the custom was--before the great queen, and had been raised by
her to their feet again, they found her Majesty in marvellously
ill-humour. Olden-Barneveld recounted to her the results of their mission
to France, and said that from beginning to end it had been obvious that
there could be no other issue. The king was indifferent, he had said,
whether the States preferred peace or war, but in making his treaty he
knew that he had secured a profit for himself, inflicted damage on his
enemy, and done no harm to his friends.

Her Majesty then interrupted the speaker by violent invectives against
the French king for his treachery. She had written with her own hand, she
said, to tell him that she never had believed him capable of doing what
secretaries and other servants had reported concerning him, but which had
now proved true.

Then she became very abusive to the Dutch envoys, telling them that they
were quite unjustifiable in not following Sir Robert Cecil's advice, and
in not engaging with him at once in peace negotiations; at least so far
as to discover what the enemy's intentions might be. She added,
pettishly, that if Prince Maurice and other functionaries were left in
the enjoyment of their offices, and if the Spaniards were sent out of the
country, there seemed no reason why such terms should not be accepted.

Barneveld replied that such accommodation was of course impossible,
unless they accepted their ancient sovereign as prince. Then came the
eternal two points--obedience to God, which meant submission to the pope;
and obedience to the king, that was to say, subjection to his despotic
authority. Thus the Christian religion would be ruined throughout the
provinces, and the whole land be made a bridge and a ladder for Spanish

The queen here broke forth into mighty oaths, interrupting the envoy's
discourse, protesting over and over again by the living God that she
would not and could not give the States any further assistance; that she
would leave them to their fate; that her aid rendered in their war had
lasted much longer than the siege of Troy did, and swearing that she had
been a fool to help them and the king of France as she had done, for it
was nothing but evil passions that kept the States so obstinate.

The envoy endeavoured to soothe her, urging that as she had gained the
reputation over the whole world of administering her affairs with
admirable, yea with almost divine wisdom, she should now make use of that
sagacity in the present very difficult matter. She ought to believe that
it was not evil passion, nor ambition, nor obstinacy that prevented the
States from joining in these negotiations, but the determination to
maintain their national existence, the Christian religion, and their
ancient liberties and laws. They did not pretend, he said, to be wiser
than great monarch or their counsellors, but the difference between their
form of government and a monarchy must be their excuse.

Monarchs, when they made treaties, remained masters, and could protect
their realms and their subjects from danger. The States-General could not
accept a prince without placing themselves under his absolute authority,
and the Netherlanders would never subject themselves to their deadly
enemy, whom they had long ago solemnly renounced.

Surely these remarks of the Advocate should have seemed entirely
unanswerable. Surely there was no politician in Europe so ignorant as not
to know that any treaty of peace between Philip and the States meant
their unconditional subjugation and the complete abolition of the
Protestant religion. Least of all did the Queen of England require
information on this great matter of state. It was cruel trifling
therefore, it was inhuman insolence on her part, to suggest anything like
a return of the States to the dominion of Spain.

But her desire for peace and her determination to get back her money
overpowered at that time all other considerations.

The States wished to govern themselves, she said; why then could they not
make arrangements against all dangers, and why could they not lay down
conditions under which the king would not really be their master;
especially if France and England should guarantee them against any
infraction of their rights. By the living God! by the living God! by the
living God! she swore over and over again as her anger rose, she would
never more have anything to do with such people; and she deeply regretted
having thrown away her money and the lives of her subjects in so stupid a

Again the grave and experienced envoy of the republic strove with calm
and earnest words to stay the torrent of her wrath; representing that her
money and her pains had by no means been wasted, that the enemy had been
brought to shame and his finances to confusion; and urging her, without
paying any heed to the course pursued by the King of France, to allow the
republic to make levies of troops, at its own expense, within her

But her Majesty was obdurate. "How am I to defend myself?" she cried;
"how are the affairs of Ireland to be provided for? how am I ever to get
back my money? who is to pay the garrisons of Brill and Flushing?" And
with this she left the apartment, saying that her counsellors would
confer with the envoys.'

From the beginning to the end of the interview the queen was in a very
evil temper, and took no pains to conceal her dissatisfaction with all
the world.

Now there is no doubt whatever that the subsidies furnished by England to
the common cause were very considerable, amounting in fourteen years,
according to the queen's calculation, to nearly fourteen hundred thousand
pounds sterling. But in her interviews with the republican statesmen she
was too prone to forget that it was a common cause, to forget that the
man who had over and over again attempted her assassination, who had
repeatedly attempted the invasion of her realms with the whole strength
of the most powerful military organization in the world, whose dearest
wish on earth was still to accomplish her dethronement and murder, to
extirpate from England the religion professed by the majority of living
Englishmen, and to place upon her vacant throne a Spanish, German, or
Italian prince, was as much her enemy as he was the foe of his ancient
subjects in the Netherlands. At that very epoch Philip was occupied in
reminding the pope that the two had always agreed as to the justice of
the claims of the Infanta Isabella to the English crown, and calling on
his Holiness to sustain those pretensions, now that she had been obliged,
in consequence of the treaty with the Prince of Bearne, to renounce her
right to reign over France.

Certainly it was fair enough for the queen and her, counsellors to stand
out for an equitable arrangement of the debt; but there was much to
dispute in the figures. When was ever an account of fifteen years'
standing adjusted, whether between nations or individuals, without much
wrangling? Meantime her Majesty held excellent security in two thriving
and most important Netherland cities. But had the States consented to
re-establish the Spanish authority over the whole of their little
Protestant republic, was there an English child so ignorant of arithmetic
or of history as not to see how vast would be the peril, and how
incalculable the expense, thus caused to England?

Yet besides the Cecils and the lord high admiral, other less influential
counsellors of the crown--even the upright and accomplished Buckhurst,
who had so often proved his friendship for the States--were in favour of
negotiation. There were many conferences with meagre results. The
Englishmen urged that the time had come for the States to repay the
queen's advances, to relieve her from future subsidies, to assume the
payment of the garrisons in the cautionary towns, and to furnish a force
in defence of England when attacked. Such was the condition of the
kingdom, they said--being, as it was, entirely without fortified
cities--that a single battle would imperil the whole realm, so that it
was necessary to keep the enemy out of it altogether.

These arguments were not unreasonable, but the inference was surely
illogical. The special envoys from the republic had not been instructed
to treat about the debt. This had been the subject of perpetual
negotiation. It was discussed almost every day by the queen's
commissioners at the Hague and by the States' resident minister at
London. Olden-Barneveld and the admiral had been sent forth by the Staten
in what in those days was considered great haste to prevent a conclusion
of a treaty between their two allies and the common enemy. They had been
too late in France, and now, on arriving in England, they found that
government steadily drifting towards what seemed the hopeless shipwreck
of a general peace.

What must have been the grief of Olden-Barneveld when he heard from the
lips of the enlightened Buckhurst that the treaty of 1585 had been
arranged to expire--according to the original limitation--with a peace,
and that as the States could now make peace and did not choose to do so,
her Majesty must be considered as relieved from her contract of alliance,
and as justified in demanding repayment of her advances!

To this perfidious suggestion what could the States' envoy reply but that
as a peace such as the treaty of 1585 presupposed--to wit, with security
for the Protestant religion and for the laws and liberties of the
provinces--was impossible, should the States now treat with the king or
the cardinal?

The envoys had but one more interview with, the queen, in which she was
more benignant in manner but quite as peremptory in her demands. Let the
States either thoroughly satisfy her as to past claims and present
necessities, or let them be prepared for her immediate negotiation with
the enemy. Should she decide to treat, she would not be unmindful of
their interests, she said, nor deliver them over into the enemy's hands.
She repeated, however, the absurd opinion that there were means enough of
making Philip nominal sovereign of all the Netherlands, without allowing
him to exercise any authority over them. As if the most Catholic and most
absolute monarch that ever breathed could be tied down by the cobwebs of
constitutional or treaty stipulations; as if the previous forty years
could be effaced from the record of history.

She asked, too, in case the rumours of the intended transfer of the
Netherlands to the cardinal or the Infanta should prove true, which she
doubted, whether this arrangement would make any difference in the
sentiments of the States.

Barneveld replied that the transfer was still uncertain, but that they
had no more confidence in the cardinal or the Infants than in the King of
Spain himself.

On taking leave of the queen the envoys waited upon Lord Burghley, whom
they found sitting in an arm-chair in his bedchamber, suffering from the
gout and with a very fierce countenance.  He made no secret of his
opinions in favour of negotiation, said that the contracts made by
monarchs should always be interpreted reasonably, and pronounced a warm
eulogy on the course pursued by the King of France. It was his Majesty's
duty, he said, to seize the best opportunity for restoring repose to his
subjects and his realms, and it was the duty of other sovereigns to do
the same.

The envoys replied that they were not disposed at that moment to sit in
judgment upon the king's actions. They would content themselves with
remarking that in their opinion even kings and princes were bound by
their contracts, oaths, and pledges before God and man; and with this
wholesome sentiment they took leave of the lord high treasurer.

They left London immediately, on the last day of May, without, passports.
or despatches of recal, and embarked at Gravesend in the midst of a gale
of wind.

Lord Essex, the sincere friend of the republic, was both surprised and
disturbed at their sudden departure, and sent a special courier, after
them to express his regrets at the unsatisfactory termination to their
mission: "My mistress knows very well," said he, "that she is an absolute
princess, and that, when her ministers have done their extreme duty, she
wills what she wills."

The negotiations between England and Spain were deferred, however, for a
brief space, and a special message was despatched to the Hague as to the
arrangement of the debt. "Peace at once with Philip," said the queen, "or
else full satisfaction of my demands."

Now it was close dealing between such very thrifty and acute bargainers
as the queen and the Netherland republic.

Two years before, the States had offered to pay twenty thousand pounds a
year on her Majesty's birthday so long as the war should last, and after
a peace, eighty thousand pounds annually for four years. The queen, on
her part, fixed the sum total of the debt at nearly a million and a half
sterling, and required instant payment of at least one hundred thousand
pounds on account, besides provision for a considerable annual refunding,
assumption by the States of the whole cost of the garrisons in the
cautionary towns, and assurance of assistance in case of an attack upon
England. Thus there was a whole ocean between the disputants.

Vere and Gilpin were protocolling and marshalling accounts at the Hague,
and conducting themselves with much arrogance and bitterness, while,
meantime, Barneveld had hardly had time to set his foot on his native
shores before he was sent back again to England at the head of another
solemn legation. One more effort was to be made to arrange this financial
problem and to defeat the English peace party.

The offer of the year 1596 just alluded to was renewed and instantly
rejected. Naturally enough, the Dutch envoys were disposed, in the
exhausting warfare which was so steadily draining their finances, to pay
down as little as possible on the nail, while providing for what they
considered a liberal annual sinking fund.

The English, on the contrary, were for a good round sum in actual cash,
and held the threatened negotiation with Spain over the heads of the
unfortunate envoys like a whip.

So the queen's counsellors and the republican envoys travelled again and
again over the well-worn path.

On the 29th June, Buckhurst took Olden-Barneveld into his cabinet, and
opened his heart to him, not as a servant of her Majesty, he said, but as
a private Englishman. He was entirely for peace. Now that peace was
offered to her Majesty, a continuance of the war was unrighteous, and the
Lord God's blessing could not be upon it. Without God's blessing no
resistance could be made by the queen nor by the States to the enemy, who
was ten times more powerful than her Majesty in kingdoms, provinces,
number of subjects, and money. He had the pope, the emperor, the Dukes of
Savoy and Lorraine, and the republic of Genoa, for his allies. He feared
that the war might come upon England, and that they might be fated on one
single day to win or lose all. The queen possessed no mines, and was
obliged to carry on the war by taxing her people. The king had
ever-flowing fountains in his mines; the queen nothing but a stagnant
pool, which, when all the water was pumped out, must in the end be dry.
He concluded, therefore, that as her Majesty had no allies but the
Netherlands, peace was best for England, and advisable for the provinces.
Arrangements could easily be made to limit the absolute authority of

This highly figurative view of the subject--more becoming to the author
of Ferrex and Porrex than to so, experienced a statesman as Sackville had
become since his dramatic days--did not much impress Barneveld. He
answered that, although the King of Spain was unquestionably very
powerful, the Lord God was still stronger; that England and the
Netherlands together could maintain the empire of the seas, which was of
the utmost importance, especially for England; but that if the republic
were to make her submission to Spain, and become incorporate with that
power, the control of the seas was lost for ever to England.

The Advocate added the unanswerable argument that to admit Philip as
sovereign, and then to attempt a limitation of his despotism was a
foolish dream.

Buckhurst repeated that the republic was the only ally of England, that
there was no confidence to be placed by her in any other power, and that
for himself, he was, as always, very much the friend of the States.

Olden-Barneveld might well have prayed, however, to be delivered from
such friends. To thrust one's head into the lion's mouth, while one's
friends urge moderation on the noble animal, can never be considered a
cheerful or prudent proceeding.

At last, after all offers had been rejected which the envoys had ventured
to make, Elizabeth sent for Olden-Barneveld and Caron and demanded their
ultimatum within twenty-four hours. Should it prove unsatisfactory, she
would at once make peace with Spain.

On the 1st August the envoys accordingly proposed to Cecil and the other
ministers to pay thirty thousand pounds a year, instead of twenty
thousand, so long as the war should last, but they claimed the right of
redeeming the cautionary towns at one hundred thousand pounds each. This
seemed admissible, and Cecil and his colleagues pronounced the affair
arranged. But they had reckoned without the queen after all.

Elizabeth sent for Caron as soon as she heard of the agreement, flew into
a great rage, refused the terms, swore that she would instantly make
peace with Spain, and thundered loudly against her ministers.

"They were great beasts," she said, "if they had stated that she would
not treat with the enemy. She had merely intended to defer the

So the whole business was to be done over again. At last the sum claimed
by the queen, fourteen hundred thousand pounds, was reduced by agreement
to eight hundred thousand, and one-half of this the envoys undertook on
the part of the States to refund in annual payments of thirty thousand
pounds, while the remaining four hundred thousand should be provided for
by some subsequent arrangement. All attempts, however, to obtain a
promise from the queen to restore the cautionary towns to the republic in
case of a peace between Spain and England remained futile.

That was to be a bone of contention for many years.

It was further agreed by the treaty, which was definitely signed on the
16th August, that, in case England were invaded by the common enemy, the
States should send to the queen's assistance at least thirty ships of
war, besides five thousand infantry and five squadrons of horse.


   Negotiations between France and Spain--Conclusion of the treaty of
   peace--Purchase of the allegiance of the French nobles--Transfer of
   the Netherlands to Albert and Isabella--Marriage of the Infante and
   the Infanta--Illness of Philip II.--Horrible nature of his malady--
   His last hours and death--Review of his reign--Extent of the Spanish
   dominions--Causes of the greatness of Spain, and of its downfall--
   Philip's wars and their expenses--The Crown revenues of Spain--
   Character of the people--Their inordinate self-esteem--Consequent
   deficiency of labour--Ecclesiastical Government--Revenues of the
   Church--Characteristics of the Spanish clergy--Foreign commerce of
   Spain--Governmental system of Philip II.--Founded on the popular
   ignorance and superstition--Extinction of liberty in Spain--The Holy
   Inquisition--The work and character of Philip.

While the utterly barren conferences had been going on at Angiers and
Nantes between Henry IV. and the republican envoys, the negotiations had
been proceeding at Vervins.

President Richardot on behalf of Spain, and Secretary of State Villeroy
as commissioner of Henry, were the chief negotiators.

Two old acquaintances, two ancient Leaguers, two bitter haters of
Protestants and rebels, two thorough adepts in diplomatic chicane, they
went into this contest like gladiators who thoroughly understood and
respected each other's skill.

Richardot was recognized by all as the sharpest and most unscrupulous
politician in the obedient Netherlands. Villeroy had conducted every
intrigue of France during a whole generation of mankind. They scarcely
did more than measure swords and test each other's objects, before
arriving at a conviction as to the inevitable result of the encounter.

It was obvious at once to Villeroy that Philip was determined to make
peace with France in order that the triple alliance might be broken up.
It was also known to the French diplomatist that the Spanish king was
ready for, almost every concession to Henry, in order that this object
might be accomplished.

All that Richardot hoped to save out of the various conquests made by
Spain over France was Calais.

But Villeroy told him that it was useless to say a word on that subject.
His king insisted on the restoration of the place. Otherwise he would
make no peace. It was enough, he said, that his Majesty said nothing
about Navarre.

Richardot urged that at the time when the English had conquered Calais it
had belonged to Artois, not to France. It was no more than equitable,
then, that it should be retained by its original proprietor.

The general of the Franciscans, who acted as a kind of umpire in the
transactions, then took each negotiator separately aside and whispered in
his ear.

Villeroy shook his head, and said he had given his ultimatum. Richardot
acknowledged that he had something in reserve, upon which the monk said
that it was time to make it known.

Accordingly--the two being all ears--Richardot observed that what he was
about to state he said with fear and trembling. He knew not what the King
of Spain would think of his proposition, but he would, nevertheless,
utter the suggestion that Calais should be handed over to the pope.

His Holiness would keep the city in pledge until the war with the rebels
was over, and then there would be leisure enough to make definite
arrangements on the subject.

Now Villeroy was too experienced a practitioner to be imposed upon, by
this ingenious artifice. Moreover, he happened to have an intercepted
letter in his possession in which Philip told the cardinal that Calais
was to be given up if the French made its restitution a sine qua non. So
Villeroy did make it a sine qua non, and the conferences soon after
terminated in an agreement on the part of Spain to surrender all its
conquests in France.

Certainly no more profitable peace than this could have been made by the
French king under such circumstances, and Philip at the last moment had
consented to pay a heavy price for bringing discord between the three
friends. The treaty was signed at Vervins on the 2nd May, and contained
thirty-five articles. Its basis was that of the treaty of Cateau
Cambresis of 1559. Restitution of all places conquered by either party
within the dominions of the other since the day of that treaty was
stipulated. Henry recovered Calais, Ardres, Dourlens, Blavet, and many
other places, and gave up the country of Charolois. Prisoners were to be
surrendered on both sides without ransom, and such of those captives of
war as had been enslaved at the galleys should be set free.

The pope, the emperor, all states, and cities under their obedience or
control, the Duke of Savoy, the King of Poland and Sweden, the Kings of
Denmark and Scotland, the Dukes of Lorraine and Tuscany, the Doge of
Venice, the republic of Genoa, and many lesser states and potentates,
were included in the treaty. The famous Edict of Nantes in favour of the
Protestant subjects of the French king was drawn up and signed in the
city of which it bears the name at about the same time with these
negotiations. Its publication was, however, deferred until after the
departure of the legate from France in the following year.

The treaty of Cateau Cambresis had been pronounced the most disgraceful
and disastrous one that had ever been ratified by a French monarch; and
surely Henry had now wiped away that disgrace and repaired that disaster.
It was natural enough that he should congratulate himself on the rewards
which he had gathered by deserting his allies.

He had now sufficient occupation for a time in devising ways and means,
with the aid of the indefatigable Bethune, to pay the prodigious sums
with which he had purchased the allegiance of the great nobles and lesser
gentlemen of France. Thirty-two millions of livres were not sufficient to
satisfy the claims of these patriots, most of whom had been drawing
enormous pensions from the King of Spain up to the very moment, or beyond
it, when they consented to acknowledge the sovereign of their own
country. Scarcely a great name in the golden book of France but was
recorded among these bills of sale.

Mayenne, Lorraine, Guise, Nemours, Mercoeur, Montpensier, Joyeuse,
Epernon, Brissac, D'Arlincourt, Balagny, Rochefort, Villeroy, Villars,
Montespan, Leviston, Beauvillars, and countless others, figured in the
great financier's terrible account-book, from Mayenne, set down at the
cool amount of three and a half millions, to Beauvoir or Beauvillars at
the more modest price of a hundred and sixty thousand livres. "I should
appal my readers," said De Bethune, "if I should show to them that this
sum makes but a very small part of the amounts demanded from the royal
treasury, either by Frenchmen or by strangers, as pay and pension, and
yet the total was thirty-two millions's."

And now the most Catholic king, having brought himself at last to
exchange the grasp of friendship with the great ex-heretic, and to
recognize the Prince of Bearne as the legitimate successor of St. Louis,
to prevent which consummation he had squandered so many thousands of
lives, so many millions of treasure, and brought ruin to so many
prosperous countries, prepared himself for another step which he had long
hesitated to take.

He resolved to transfer the Netherlands to his daughter Isabella and to
the Cardinal Archduke Albert, who, as the king had now decided, was to
espouse the Infanta.

The deed of cession was signed at Madrid on the 6th May, 1598. It was
accompanied by a letter of the same date from the Prince Philip, heir
apparent to the crown.

On the 30th May the Infanta executed a procuration by which she gave
absolute authority to her future husband to rule over the provinces of
the Netherlands, Burgundy, and Charolois, and to receive the oaths of the
estates and of public functionaries.

   [See all the deeds and documents in Bor, IV. 461-466. Compare
   Herrera, iii. 766-770. Very elaborate provisions were made in
   regard to the children and grand-children to spring from this
   marriage, but it was generally understood at the time that no issue
   was to be expected. The incapacity of the cardinal seems to have
   been revealed by an indiscretion of the General of Franciscans--
   diplomatist and father confessor--and was supported by much
   collateral evidence. Hence all these careful stipulations were a
   solemn jest, like much of the diplomatic work of this reign.]

It was all very systematically done. No transfer of real estate, no
'donatio inter vivos' of mansions and messuages, parks and farms, herds
and flocks, could have been effected in a more business-like manner than
the gift thus made by the most prudent king to his beloved daughter.

The quit-claim of the brother was perfectly regular.

So also was the power of attorney, by which the Infanta authorised the
middle-aged ecclesiastic whom she was about to espouse to take possession
in her name of the very desirable property which she had thus acquired.

It certainly never occurred, either to the giver or the receivers, that
the few millions of Netherlanders, male and female, inhabiting these
provinces in the North Sea, were entitled to any voice or opinion as to
the transfer of themselves and their native land to a young lady living
in a remote country. For such was the blasphemous system of Europe at
that day. Property had rights. Kings, from whom all property emanated,
were enfeoffed directly from the Almighty; they bestowed certain
privileges on their vassals, but man had no rights at all. He was
property, like the ox or the ass, like the glebe which he watered with
the sweat of his brow.

The obedient Netherlands acquiesced obediently in these new arrangements.
They wondered only that the king should be willing thus to take from his
crown its choicest jewels--for it is often the vanity of colonies and
dependencies to consider themselves gems.

The republican Netherlanders only laughed at these arrangements, and
treated the invitation to transfer themselves to the new sovereigns of
the provinces with silent contempt.

The cardinal-archduke left Brussels in September, having accomplished the
work committed to him by the power of attorney, and having left Cardinal
Andrew of Austria, bishop of Constantia, son of the Archduke Ferdinand,
to administer affairs during his absence. Francis de Mendoza, Admiral of
Arragon, was entrusted with the supreme military command for the same

The double marriage of the Infante of Spain with the Archduchess Margaret
of Austria, and of the unfrocked Cardinal Albert of Austria with the
Infanta Clara Eugenia Isabella, was celebrated by proxy, with immense
pomp, at Ferrara, the pope himself officiating with the triple crown upon
his head.

Meantime, Philip II., who had been of delicate constitution all his life,
and who had of late years been a confirmed valetudinarian, had been
rapidly failing ever since the transfer of the Netherlands in May.
Longing to be once more in his favourite retirement of the Escorial, he
undertook the journey towards the beginning of June, and was carried
thither from Madrid in a litter borne by servants, accomplishing the
journey of seven leagues in six days.

When he reached the palace cloister, he was unable to stand. The gout,
his life-long companion, had of late so tortured him in the hands and
feet that the mere touch of a linen sheet was painful to him. By the
middle of July a low fever had attacked him, which rapidly reduced his
strength. Moreover, a new and terrible symptom of the utter
disintegration of his physical constitution had presented itself.
Imposthumes, from which he had suffered on the breast and at the joints,
had been opened after the usual ripening applications, and the result was
not the hoped relief, but swarms of vermin, innumerable in quantities,
and impossible to extirpate, which were thus generated and reproduced in
the monarch's blood and flesh.

The details of the fearful disorder may have attraction for the
pathologist, but have no especial interest for the general reader. Let it
suffice, that no torture ever invented by Torquemada or Peter Titelman to
serve the vengeance of Philip and his ancestors or the pope against the
heretics of Italy or Flanders, could exceed in acuteness the agonies
which the most Catholic king was now called upon to endure. And not one
of the long line of martyrs, who by decree of Charles or Philip had been
strangled, beheaded, burned, or buried alive, ever faced a death of
lingering torments with more perfect fortitude, or was sustained by more
ecstatic visions of heavenly mercy, than was now the case with the great
monarch of Spain.

That the grave-worms should do their office before soul and body were
parted, was a torment such as the imagination of Dante might have
invented for the lowest depths of his "Inferno."

   [A great English poet has indeed expressed the horrible thought:--

          "It is as if the dead could feel
          The icy worm about them steal:"--BYRON.]

On the 22nd July, the king asked Dr. Mercado if his sickness was likely
to have a fatal termination. The physician, not having the courage at
once to give the only possible reply, found means to evade the question.
On the 1st August his Majesty's confessor, father Diego de Yepes, after
consultation with Mercado, announced to Philip that the only issue to his
malady was death. Already he had been lying for ten days on his back, a
mass of sores and corruption, scarcely able to move, and requiring four
men to turn him in his bed.

He expressed the greatest satisfaction at the sincerity which had now
been used, and in the gentlest and most benignant manner signified his
thanks to them for thus removing all doubts from his mind, and for giving
him information which it was of so much importance for his eternal
welfare to possess.

His first thought was to request the papal nuncio, Gaetano, to despatch a
special courier to Rome to request the pope's benediction. This was done,
and it was destined that the blessing of his Holiness should arrive in

He next prepared himself to make a general confession, which lasted three
days, father Diego having drawn up at his request a full and searching
interrogatory. The confession may have been made the more simple,
however, by the statement which he made to the priest, and subsequently
repeated to the Infante his son, that in all his life he had never
consciously done wrong to any one. If he had ever committed an act of
injustice, it was unwittingly, or because he had been deceived in the
circumstances. This internal conviction of general righteousness was of
great advantage to him in the midst of his terrible sufferings, and
accounted in great degree for the gentleness, thoughtfulness for others,
and perfect benignity, which, according to the unanimous testimony of
many witnesses, characterised his conduct during this whole sickness.

After he had completed his long general confession, the sacrament of the
Lord's Supper was administered to him. Subsequently, the same rites were
more briefly performed every few days.

His sufferings were horrible, but no saint could have manifested in them
more gentle resignation or angelic patience. He moralized on the
condition to which the greatest princes might thus be brought at last by
the hand of God, and bade the prince observe well his father's present
condition, in order that, when he too should be laid thus low, he might
likewise be sustained by a conscience void of offence. He constantly
thanked his assistants and nurses for their care, insisted upon their
reposing themselves after their daily fatigues, and ordered others to
relieve them in their task.

He derived infinite consolation from the many relics of saints, of which,
as has been seen, he had made plentiful prevision during his long reign.
Especially a bone of St. Alban, presented to him by Clement VIII., in
view of his present straits, was of great service. With this relic, and
with the arm of St. Vincent of Ferrara, and the knee-bone of St.
Sebastian, he daily rubbed his sores, keeping the sacred talismans ever
in his sight on the altar, which was not far from his bed. He was much
pleased when the priests and other bystanders assured him that the
remains of these holy men would be of special efficacy to him, because he
had cherished and worshipped them in times when misbelievers and heretics
had treated them with disrespect.

On a sideboard in his chamber a human skull was placed, and upon this
skull--in ghastly mockery of royalty, in truth, yet doubtless in the
conviction that such an exhibition showed the superiority of anointed
kings even over death--he ordered his servants to place a golden crown.
And thus, during the whole of his long illness, the Antic held his state,
while the poor mortal representative of absolute power lay living still,
but slowly mouldering away.

With perfect composure, and with that minute attention to details which
had characterised the king all his lifetime, and was now more evident
than ever, he caused the provisions for his funeral obsequies to be read
aloud one day by Juan Ruys de Velasco, in order that his children, his
ministers, and the great officers of state who were daily in attendance
upon him, might thoroughly learn their lesson before the time came for
performing the ceremony.

"Having governed my kingdom for forty years," said he, "I now give it
back, in the seventy-first year of my age, to God Almighty, to whom it
belongs, recommending my soul into His blessed hands, that His Divine
Majesty may do what He pleases therewith."

He then directed that after his body should have been kept as long as the
laws prescribed, it should be buried thus:--

The officiating bishop was to head the procession, bearing the crucifix,
and followed by the clergy.

The Adelantado was to come next, trailing the royal standard along the
ground. Then the Duke of Novara was to appear, bearing the crown on an
open salver, covered with a black cloth, while the Marquis of Avillaer
carried the sword of state.

The coffin was to be borne by eight principal grandees, clad in mourning
habiliments, and holding lighted torches.

The heir apparent was to follow, attended by Don Garcia de Loyasa, who
had just been consecrated, in the place of Cardinal Albert, as Archbishop
of Toledo.

The body was to be brought to the church, and placed in the stately tomb
already prepared for its reception. "Mass being performed," said the
king, "the prelate shall place me in the grave which shall be my last
house until I go to my eternal dwelling. Then the prince, third king of
my name, shall go into the cloister of St. Jerome at Madrid, where he
shall keep nine days mourning. My daughter, and her aunt--my sister, the
ex-empress--shall for the same purpose go to the convent of the grey

The king then charged his successor to hold the Infanta in especial
affection and consideration; "for," said he, "she has been my mirror,
yea; the light of my eyes." He also ordered that the Marquis of Mondejar
be taken from prison and set free, on condition never to show himself at
Court. The wife of Antonio Perez was also to be released from prison, in
order that she might be immured in a cloister, her property being
bestowed upon her daughters.

As this unfortunate lady's only crime consisted in her husband's intrigue
with the king's mistress, Princess Eboli, in which she could scarcely be
considered an accomplice, this permission to exchange one form of
incarceration for another did not seem an act of very great benignity.

Philip further provided that thirty thousand masses should be said for
his soul, five hundred slaves liberated from the galleys, and five
hundred maidens provided with marriage portions.

After these elaborate instructions had been read, the king ordered a
certain casket to be brought to him and opened in his presence. From this
he took forth a diamond of great price and gave it to the Infanta, saying
that it had belonged to her mother, Isabella of France. He asked the
prince if he consented to the gift. The prince answered in the

He next took from the coffer a written document, which he handed to his
son, saying, "Herein you will learn how to govern your kingdoms."

Then he produced a scourge, which he said was the instrument with which
his father, the emperor, had been in the habit of chastising himself
during his retreat at the monastery of Juste. He told the by-standers to
observe the imperial blood by which the lash was still slightly stained.

As the days wore on he felt himself steadily sinking, and asked to
receive extreme unction. As he had never seen that rite performed he
chose to rehearse it beforehand, and told Ruys Velasco; who was in
constant attendance upon him, to go for minute instructions on the
subject to the Archbishop of Toledo. The sacrament having been duly.
administered; the king subsequently, on the 1st September, desired to
receive it once more. The archbishop, fearing that the dying monarch's
strength would be insufficient for the repetition of the function,
informed him that the regulations of the Church required in such cases
only a compliance with certain trifling forms, as the ceremony had been
already once thoroughly carried out. But the king expressed himself as
quite determined that the sacrament should be repeated in all its parts;
that he should once more--be anointed--to use the phrase of brother
Francis Neyen--with the oil which holy athletes require in their wrestle
with death.

This was accordingly done in the presence of his son and daughter, and,
of his chief secretaries, Christopher de Moura and John de Idiaquez,
besides the Counts Chinchon, Fuensalido, and several other conspicuous
personages. He was especially desirous that his son should be present, in
order that; when he too should come to die, he might not find himself,
like his father, in ignorance of the manner in which this last sacrament
was to be performed.

When it was finished he described himself as infinitely consoled, and as
having derived even more happiness from the rite than he had dared to

Thenceforth he protested that he would talk no more of the world's
affairs. He had finished with all things below, and for the days or hours
still remaining to him he would keep his heart exclusively fixed upon
Heaven. Day by day as he lay on his couch of unutterable and almost
unexampled misery, his confessors and others read to him from religious
works, while with perfect gentleness he would insist that one reader
should relieve another, that none might be fatigued.

On the 11th September he dictated these words to Christopher de Moura,
who was to take them to Diego de Yepes, the confessor:--

"Father Confessor, you are in the place of God, and I protest thus before
His presence that I will do all that you declare necessary for my
salvation. Thus upon you will be the responsibility for my omissions,
because I am ready to do all."

Finding that the last hour was approaching, he informed Don Fernando de
Toledo where: he could find some candles of our lady of Montserrat, one
of which he desired to keep in his hand at the supreme moment. He also
directed Ruys de Velasco to take from a special shrine--which he had
indicated to him six years before--a crucifix which the emperor his
father had held upon his death-bed. All this was accomplished according
to his wish.

He had already made arrangements for his funeral procession, and had
subsequently provided all the details of his agony. It was now necessary
to give orders as to the particulars of his burial.

He knew that decomposition had made such progress even while he was still
living as to render embalming impossible: He accordingly instructed Don
Christopher to see his body wrapped in a shroud just as it lay, and to
cause it to be placed in a well-soldered metallic coffin already
provided. The coffin of state, in which the leaden one was to be
enclosed, was then brought into the chamber by his command, that he might
see if it was entirely to his taste. Having examined it, he ordered that
it should be lined with white satin and ornamented with gold nails and
lace-work. He also described a particular brocade of black and gold, to
be found in the jewelroom, which he desired for the pall.

Next morning he complained to Don Christopher that the Sacrament of the
Lord's Supper had not been administered to him for several days. It was
urged that his strength was deemed insufficient, and that, as he had
received that rite already four times during his illness, and extreme
unction twice, it was thought that the additional fatigue might be spared
him. But as the king insisted, the sacrament was once more performed and
prayers were read. He said with great fervour many times, "Pater, non mea
voluntas, sed tux fiat." He listened, too, with much devotion to the
Psalm, "As the hart panteth for the water-brooks;" and he spoke faintly
at long intervals of the Magdalen, of the prodigal son, and of the

When these devotional exercises had been concluded, father Diego
expressed the hope to him that he might then pass away, for it would be a
misfortune by temporary convalescence to fall from the exaltation of
piety which he had then reached. The remark was heard by Philip with an
expression of entire satisfaction.

That day both the Infanta and the prince came for the last time to his
bedside to receive his blessing. He tenderly expressed his regret to his
daughter that he had not been permitted to witness her marriage, but
charged her never to omit any exertion to augment and sustain the holy
Roman Catholic religion in the Netherlands. It was in the interest of
that holy Church alone that he had endowed her with those provinces, and
he now urged it upon her with his dying breath to impress upon her future
husband these his commands to both.

His two children took leave of him with tears and sobs: As the prince
left the chamber he asked Don Christopher who it was that held the key to
the treasury.

The secretary replied, "It is I, Sir." The prince demanded that he should
give it into his hands. But Don Christopher excused himself, saying that
it had been entrusted to him by the king, and that without his consent he
could not part with it. Then the prince returned to the king's chamber,
followed by the secretary, who narrated to the dying monarch what had
taken place.

"You have done wrong," said Philip; whereupon Don Christopher, bowing to
the earth, presented the key to the prince.

The king then feebly begged those about his bedside to repeat the dying
words of our Saviour on the cross, in order that he might hear them and
repeat them in his heart as his soul was taking flight.

His father's crucifix was placed in his hands, and he said distinctly, "I
die like a good Catholic, in faith and obedience to the holy Roman
Church." Soon after these last words had been spoken, a paroxysm,
followed by faintness, came over him, and he lay entirely still.

They had covered his face with a cloth, thinking that he had already
expired, when he suddenly started, with great energy, opened his eyes,
seized the crucifix again from the hand of Don Fernando de Toledo, kissed
it, and fell back again into agony.

The archbishop and the other priests expressed the opinion that he must
have had, not a paroxysm, but a celestial vision, for human powers would
not have enabled him to arouse himself so quickly and so vigorously as he
had done at that crisis.

He did not speak again, but lay unconsciously dying for some hours, and
breathed his last at five in the morning of Sunday the 13th September.

His obsequies were celebrated according to the directions which he had so
minutely given.


These volumes will have been written in vain if it be now necessary to
recal to my readers the leading events in the history of the man who had
thus left the world where, almost invisible himself, he had so long
played a leading part. It may not be entirely useless, however, to throw
a parting glance at a character which it has been one of the main objects
of this work, throughout its whole course, to portray. My theme has been
the reign of Philip II., because, as the less is included in the greater,
the whole of that reign, with the exception of a few episodes, is
included in the vast movement out of which the Republic of the United
Netherlands was born and the assailed independence of France and England
consolidated. The result of Philip's efforts to establish a universal
monarchy was to hasten the decline of the empire which he had inherited,
by aggravating the evils which had long made that downfall inevitable.

It is from no abstract hatred to monarchy that I have dwelt with emphasis
upon the crimes of this king, and upon the vices of the despotic system,
as illustrated during his lifetime. It is not probable that the military,
monarchical system--founded upon conquests achieved by barbarians and
pirates of a distant epoch over an effete civilization and over antique
institutions of intolerable profligacy--will soon come to an end in the
older world. And it is the business of Europeans so to deal with the
institutions of their inheritance or their choice as to ensure their
steady melioration and to provide for the highest interests of the
people. It matters comparatively little by what name a government is
called, so long as the intellectual and moral development of mankind, and
the maintenance of justice among individuals, are its leading principles.
A government, like an individual, may remain far below its ideal; but,
without an ideal, governments and individuals are alike contemptible. It
is tyranny only--whether individual or popular--that utters its feeble
sneers at the ideologists, as if mankind were brutes to whom instincts
were all in all and ideas nothing. Where intellect and justice are
enslaved by that unholy trinity--Force; Dogma, and Ignorance--the
tendency of governments, and of those subjected to them, must of
necessity be retrograde and downward.

There can be little doubt to those who observe the movements of mankind
during the course of the fourteen centuries since the fall of the Roman
Empire--a mere fragment of human history--that its progress, however
concealed or impeded, and whether for weal or woe, is towards democracy;
for it is the tendency of science to liberate and to equalize the
physical and even the intellectual forces of humanity. A horse and a suit
of armour would now hardly enable the fortunate possessor of such
advantages to conquer a kingdom, nor can wealth and learning be
monopolised in these latter days by a favoured few. Yet veneration for a
crown and a privileged church--as if without them and without their close
connection with each other law and religion were impossible--makes
hereditary authority sacred to great masses of mankind in the old world.
The obligation is the more stringent, therefore, on men thus set apart as
it were by primordial selection for ruling and instructing their
fellow-creatures, to keep their edicts and their practice in harmony with
divine justice. For these rules cannot be violated with impunity during
along succession of years, and it is usually left for a comparatively
innocent generation, to atone for the sins of their forefathers. If
history does not teach this it teaches nothing, and as the rules of
morality; whether for individuals or for nations, are simple and devoid
of mystery; there is the less excuse for governments which habitually and
cynically violate the eternal law.

Among self-evident truths not one is more indisputable than that which,
in the immortal words of our Declaration of Independence, asserts the
right of every human being to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness; but the only happiness that can be recognised by a true
statesman as the birthright of mankind is that which comes from
intellectual and moral development, and from the subjugation of the
brutal instincts.

A system according to which clowns remain clowns through all the ages,
unless when extraordinary genius or fortunate accident enables an
exceptional individual to overleap the barrier of caste, necessarily
retards the result to which the philosopher looks forward with perfect

For us, whose business it is to deal with, and, so far as human
fallibility will permit, to improve our inevitable form of
government-which may degenerate into the most intolerable of polities
unless we are ever mindful that it is yet in its rudimental condition;
that, although an immense step has been taken in the right direction by
the abolition of caste, the divorce of Church and State, and the
limitation of intrusion by either on the domain of the individual, it is
yet only a step from which, without eternal vigilance, a falling back is
very easy; and that here, more than in other lands, ignorance of the
scientific and moral truths on--which national happiness and prosperity
depend, deserves bitter denunciation--for us it is wholesome to confirm
our faith in democracy, and to justify our hope that the People will
prove itself equal to the awful responsibility of self-government by an
occasional study of the miseries which the opposite system is capable of
producing. It is for this reason that the reign of the sovereign whose
closing moments have just been recorded is especially worthy of a minute
examination, and I still invite a parting glance at the spectacle thus
presented, before the curtain falls.

The Spanish monarchy in the reign of Philip II. was not only the most
considerable empire then existing, but probably the most powerful and
extensive empire that had ever been known. Certainly never before had so
great an agglomeration of distinct and separate sovereignties been the
result of accident. For it was owing to a series of accidents--in the
common acceptation of that term--that Philip governed so mighty a realm.
According to the principle that vast tracts: of the earth's surface, with
the human beings feeding upon: them, were transferable in fee-simple from
one man or woman to another by marriage, inheritance, or gift, a
heterogeneous collection of kingdoms, principalities, provinces, and:
wildernesses had been consolidated, without geographical continuity, into
an artificial union--the populations differing from each other as much as
human beings can differ, in race, language, institutions, and historical
traditions, and resembling each other in little, save in being the
property alike of the same fortunate individual.

Thus the dozen kingdoms of Spain, the seventeen provinces of the
Netherlands, the kingdoms of the Two Sicilies, the duchy of Milan, and
certain fortresses and districts of Tuscany, in Europe; the kingdom of
Barbary, the coast of Guinea, and an indefinite and unmeasured expanse.
of other territory, in Africa; the controlling outposts and cities all
along the coast of the two Indian peninsulas, with as much of the country
as it seemed good to occupy, the straits and the great archipelagoes, so
far as they had--been visited by Europeans, in Asia; Peru, Brazil,
Mexico, the Antilles--the whole recently discovered fourth quarter of the
world in short, from the "Land of Fire" in the South to the frozen
regions of the North--as much territory as the Spanish and Portuguese
sea-captains could circumnavigate and the pope in the plentitude of his
power and his generosity could bestow on his fortunate son, in America;
all this enormous proportion of the habitable globe was the private
property, of Philip; who was the son of Charles, who was the son of
Joanna, who was the daughter of Isabella, whose husband was Ferdinand. By
what seems to us the most whimsical of political arrangements, the Papuan
islander, the Calabrian peasant, the Amsterdam merchant, the
semi-civilized Aztec, the Moor of Barbary, the Castilian grandee, the
roving Camanche, the Guinea negro, the Indian Brahmin, found
themselves--could they but have known it--fellow-citizens of one
commonwealth. Statutes of family descent, aided by fraud, force, and
chicane, had annexed the various European sovereignties to the crown of
Spain; the genius of a Genoese sailor had given to it the New World, and
more recently the conquest of Portugal, torn from hands not strong enough
to defend the national independence, had vested in the same sovereignty
those Oriental possessions which were due to the enterprise of Vasco de
Gama, his comrades and successors. The voyager, setting forth from the
straits of Gibraltar, circumnavigating the African headlands and Cape
Comorin, and sailing through the Molucca channel and past the isles which
bore the name of Philip in the Eastern sea, gave the hand at last to his
adventurous comrade, who, starting from the same point, and following
westward in the track of Magellaens and under the Southern Cross, coasted
the shore of Patagonia, and threaded his path through unmapped and
unnumbered clusters of islands in the Western Pacific; and during this
spanning of the earth's whole circumference not an inch of land or water
was traversed that was not the domain of Philip.

For the sea, too, was his as well as the dry land.

From Borneo to California the great ocean was but a Spanish lake, as much
the king's private property as his fish-ponds at the Escorial with their
carp and perch. No subjects but his dared to navigate those sacred
waters. Not a common highway of the world's commerce, but a private path
for the gratification of one human being's vanity, had thus been laid out
by the bold navigators of the sixteenth century.

It was for the Dutch rebels to try conclusions upon this point, as they
had done upon so many others, with the master of the land and sea. The
opening scenes therefore in the great career of maritime adventure and
discovery by which these republicans were to make themselves famous will
soon engage the reader's attention.

Thus the causes of what is called the greatness of Spain are not far to
seek. Spain was not a nation, but a temporary and factitious conjunction
of several nations, which it was impossible to fuse into a permanent
whole, but over whose united resources a single monarch for a time
disposed. And the very concentration of these vast and unlimited, powers,
fortuitous as it was, in this single hand, inspiring the individual, not
unnaturally, with a consciousness of superhuman grandeur; impelled him to
those frantic and puerile efforts to achieve the impossible which
resulted, in the downfall of Spain. The man who inherited so much
material greatness believed himself capable of destroying the invisible
but omnipotent spirit of religious and political liberty in the
Netherlands, of trampling out the national existence of France and of
England, and of annexing those realms to his empire: It has been my task
to relate, with much minuteness, how miserably his efforts failed.

But his resources were great. All Italy was in his hands, with the single
exception of the Venetian republic; for the Grand Duke of Florence and
the so-called republic of Genoa were little more than his vassals, the
pope was generally his other self, and the Duke of Savoy was his
son-in-law. Thus his armies, numbering usually a hundred thousand men,
were supplied from the best possible sources. The Italians were esteemed
the best soldiers for siege; assault, light skirmishing. The German heavy
troopers and arquebuseers were the most effective for open field-work,
and these were to be purchased at reasonable prices and to indefinite
amount from any of the three or four hundred petty sovereigns to whom
what was called Germany belonged. The Sicilian and Neapolitan pikemen,
the Milanese light-horse, belonged exclusively to Philip, and were used,
year after year, for more than a generation of mankind, to fight battles
in which they had no more interest than had their follow-subjects in the
Moluccas or in Mexico, but which constituted for them personally as
lucrative a trade on the whole as was afforded them at that day by any
branch of industry.

Silk, corn, wine, and oil were furnished in profusion from these favoured
regions, not that the inhabitants might enjoy life, and, by accumulating
wealth, increase the stock of human comforts and contribute to
intellectual and scientific advancement, but in order that the proprietor
of the soil might feed those eternal armies ever swarming from the south
to scatter desolation over the plains of France, Burgundy, Flanders, and
Holland, and to make the crown of Spain and the office of the Holy
Inquisition supreme over the world. From Naples and Sicily were derived
in great plenty the best materials and conveniences for ship-building and
marine equipment. The galleys and the galley-slaves furnished by these
subject realms formed the principal part of the royal navy. From distant
regions, a commerce which in Philip's days had become oceanic supplied
the crown with as much revenue as could be expected in a period of gross
ignorance as to the causes of the true grandeur and the true wealth of
nations. Especially from the mines of Mexico came an annual average of
ten or twelve millions of precious metals, of which the king took
twenty-five per cent. for himself.

It would be difficult and almost superfluous to indicate the various
resources placed in the hands of this one personage, who thus controlled
so large a portion of the earth. All that breathed or grew belonged to
him, and most steadily was the stream of blood and treasure poured
through the sieve of his perpetual war. His system was essentially a
gigantic and perpetual levy of contributions in kind, and it is only in
this vague and unsatisfactory manner that the revenues of his empire can
be stated. A despot really keeps no accounts, nor need to do so, for he
is responsible to no man for the way in which he husbands or squanders
his own. Moreover, the science of statistics had not a beginning of
existence in those days, and the most common facts can hardly be
obtained, even by approximation. The usual standard of value, the
commodity which we call money--gold or silver--is well known to be at
best a fallacious guide for estimating the comparative wealth--of
individuals or of nations at widely different epochs. The dollar of
Philip's day was essentially the same bit of silver that it is in our
time in Spain, Naples, Rome, or America, but even should an elaborate
calculation be made as to the quantity of beef, or bread or broadcloth to
be obtained for that bit of silver in this or that place in the middle of
the sixteenth century, the result, as compared with prices now prevalent,
would show many remarkable discrepancies. Thus a bushel of wheat at
Antwerp during Philip's reign might cost a quarter of a dollar, in
average years, and there have been seasons in our own time when two
bushels of wheat could have been bought for a quarter of a dollar in
Illinois. Yet if, notwithstanding this, we should allow a tenfold value
in exchange to the dollar of Philip's day, we should be surprised at the
meagreness of his revenues, of his expenditures, and of the debts which
at the close of his career brought him to bankruptcy; were the sums
estimated in coin.

Thus his income was estimated by careful contemporary statesmen at what
seemed to them the prodigious annual amount of sixteen millions of
dollars. He carried on a vast war without interruption during the whole
of his forty-three years' reign against the most wealthy and military
nations of Christendom not recognising his authority, and in so doing he
is said to have expended a sum total of seven hundred millions of
dollars--a statement which made men's hair stand on their heads. Yet the
American republic, during its civil war to repress the insurrection of
the slaveholders, has spent nominally as large a sum as this every year;
and the British Empire in time of profound peace spends half as much
annually. And even if we should allow sixteen millions to have
represented the value of a hundred and sixty millions--a purely arbitrary
supposition--as compared with our times, what are a hundred and sixty,
millions of dollars, or thirty-three millions of pounds sterling--as the
whole net revenue of the greatest empire that had ever existed in the
world, when compared with the accumulated treasures over which civilized
and industrious countries can now dispose? Thus the power of levying men
and materials in kind constituted the chief part of the royal power, and,
in truth, very little revenue in money was obtained from Milan or Naples,
or from any of the outlying European possessions of the crown.

Eight millions a year were estimated as the revenue from the eight
kingdoms incorporated under the general name of Castile, while not more
than six hundred thousand came from the three kingdoms which constituted
Arragon. The chief sources of money receipts were a tax of ten per cent.
upon sales, paid by the seller, called Alcavala, and the Almoxarifalgo or
tariff upon both imports and exports. Besides these imposts he obtained
about eight hundred thousand dollars a year by selling to his subjects
the privilege of eating eggs upon fast-days, according to the permission
granted him by the pope, in the bull called the Cruzada. He received
another annual million from the Sussidio and the Excusado. The first was
a permission originally given by the popes to levy six hundred thousand
dollars a year upon ecclesiastical property for equipment of a hundred
war-galleys against the Saracens, but which had more recently established
itself as a regular tax to pay for naval hostilities against Dutch and
English heretics--a still more malignant species of unbelievers in the
orthodox eyes of the period. The Excusado was the right accorded to the
king always to select from the Church possessions a single benefice and
to appropriate its fruit--a levy commuted generally for four hundred
thousand dollars a year. Besides these regular sources of income, large
but irregular amounts of money were picked up by his Majesty in small
sums, through monks sent about the country simply as beggars, under no
special license, to collect alms from rich and poor for sustaining the
war against the infidels of England and Holland. A certain Jesuit, father
Sicily by name, had been industrious enough at one period in preaching
this crusade to accumulate more than a million and a half, so that a
facetious courtier advised his sovereign to style himself thenceforth
king, not of the two, but of the three Sicilies, in honour of the
industrious priest.

It is worthy of remark that at different periods during Philip's reign,
and especially towards its close, the whole of his regular revenue was
pledged to pay the interest, on his debts, save only the Sussidio and the
Cruzada. Thus the master of the greatest empire of the earth had at times
no income at his disposal except the alma he could solicit from his
poorest subjects to maintain his warfare against foreign miscreants, the
levy on the Church for war-galleys; and the proceeds of his permission to
eat meat on Fridays. This sounds like an epigram, but it is a plain,
incontestable fact.

Thus the revenues of his foreign dominions being nearly consumed by their
necessary expenses, the measure of his positive wealth was to be found in
the riches of Spain. But Spain at that day was not an opulent country. It
was impossible that it should be rich, for nearly every law, according to
which the prosperity of a country becomes progressive; was habitually
violated. It is difficult to state even by approximation the amount of
its population, but the kingdoms united under the crown of Castile were
estimated by contemporaries to contain eight millions, while the kingdom
of Portugal, together with those annexed to Arragon and the other
provinces of the realm, must have numbered half as many. Here was a
populous nation in a favoured land, but the foundation of all wealth was
sapped by a perverted moral sentiment.

Labour was esteemed dishonourable. The Spaniard, from highest to lowest,
was proud, ignorant, and lazy. For a people endowed by nature with many
noble qualities--courage, temperance, frugality, endurance, quickness of
perception; a high sense of honour, a reverence for law--the course of
the national history had proved as ingeniously bad a system of general
education as could well be invented.

The eternal contests, century after century, upon the soil of Spain
between the crescent and the cross, and the remembrance of the ancient
days in which Oriental valour and genius had almost extirpated Germanic
institutions and Christian faith from the peninsula, had inspired one
great portion of the masses with a hatred, amounting almost to insanity,
towards every form of religion except the Church of Rome, towards every
race of mankind except the Goths and Vandals. Innate reverence for
established authority had expanded into an intensity of religious emotion
and into a fanaticism of loyalty which caused the anointed monarch
leading true believers against infidels to be accepted as a god. The
highest industrial and scientific civilization that had been exhibited
upon Spanish territory was that of Moors and Jews. When in the course of
time those races had been subjugated, massacred, or driven into exile,
not only was Spain deprived of its highest intellectual culture and its
most productive labour, but intelligence, science, and industry were
accounted degrading, because the mark of inferior and detested peoples.

The sentiment of self-esteem, always a national characteristic, assumed
an almost ludicrous shape. Not a ragged Biscayan muleteer, not a
swineherd of Estremadura, that did not imagine himself a nobleman because
he was not of African descent. Not a half-starved, ignorant brigand,
gaining his living on the highways and byways by pilfering or
assassination, that did not kneel on the church pavement and listen to
orisons in an ancient tongue, of which he understood not a syllable, with
a sentiment of Christian self-complacency to which Godfrey of Bouillon
might have been a stranger. Especially those born towards the northern
frontier, and therefore farthest removed from Moorish contamination, were
proudest of the purity of their race. To be an Asturian or a Gallician,
however bronzed by sun and wind, was to be furnished with positive proof
against suspicion of Moorish blood; but the sentiment was universal
throughout the peninsula.

It followed as a matter of course that labour of any kind was an
impeachment against this gentility of descent. To work was the province
of Moors, Jews, and other heretics; of the Marani or accursed, miscreants
and descendants of miscreants; of the Sanbeniti or infamous, wretches
whose ancestors had been convicted by the Holy Inquisition of listening,
however secretly, to the Holy Scriptures as expounded by other lips than
those of Roman priests. And it is a remarkable illustration of this
degradation of labour and of its results, that in the reign of Philip
twenty-five thousand individuals of these dishonoured and comparatively
industrious classes, then computed at four millions in number in the
Castilian kingdoms alone, had united in a society which made a formal
offer to the king to pay him two thousand dollars a head if the name and
privileges of hidalgo could be conferred upon them. Thus an
inconsiderable number of this vilest and most abject of the
population--oppressed by taxation which was levied exclusively upon the
low, and from which not only the great nobles but mechanics and other
hidalgos were, exempt--had been able to earn and to lay by enough to
offer the monarch fifty millions of dollars to purchase themselves out of
semi-slavery into manhood, and yet found their offer rejected by an
almost insolvent king. Nothing could exceed the idleness and the
frivolity of the upper classes, as depicted by contemporary and not
unfriendly observers. The nobles were as idle and as ignorant as their
inferiors. They were not given to tournays nor to the delights of the
chase and table, but were fond of brilliant festivities, dancing,
gambling, masquerading, love-making, and pompous exhibitions of equipage,
furniture, and dress. These diversions--together with the baiting of
bulls and the burning of Protestants--made up their simple round of
pleasures. When they went to the wars they scorned all positions but that
of general, whether by land or sea, and as war is a trade which requires
an apprenticeship; it is unnecessary to observe that these grandees were
rarely able to command, having never learned to obey. The poorer
Spaniards were most honourably employed perhaps--so far as their own
mental development was concerned--when they were sent with pike and
arquebus to fight heretics in France and Flanders. They became brave and
indomitable soldiers when exported to the seat of war, and thus afforded
proof--by strenuously doing the hardest physical work that human beings
can be called upon to perform, campaigning year after year amid the
ineffable deprivations, dangers, and sufferings which are the soldier's
lot--that it was from no want of industry or capacity that the lower
masses of Spaniards in that age were the idle, listless, dice-playing,
begging, filching vagabonds into which cruel history and horrible
institutions had converted them at home.

It is only necessary to recal these well-known facts to understand why
one great element of production--human labour--was but meagrely supplied.
It had been the deliberate policy of the Government for ages to extirpate
the industrious classes, and now that a great portion of Moors and Jews
were exiles and outcasts, it was impossible to supply their place by
native workmen. Even the mechanics, who condescended to work with their
hands in the towns, looked down alike upon those who toiled in the field
and upon those who, attempted to grow rich by traffic. A locksmith or a
wheelwright who could prove four descents of western, blood called
himself a son of somebody--a hidalgo--and despised the farmer and the
merchant. And those very artisans were careful not to injure themselves
by excessive industry, although not reluctant by exorbitant prices to
acquire in one or-two days what might seem a fair remuneration for a
week, and to impress upon their customers that it was rather by way of
favour that they were willing to serve them at all.

Labour being thus deficient, it is obvious that there could hardly have
been a great accumulation, according to modern ideas, of capital. That
other chief element of national wealth, which is the result of
generations of labour and of abstinence, was accordingly not abundant.
And even those accretions of capital, which in the course of centuries
had been inevitable, were as clumsily and inadequately diffused as the
most exquisite human perverseness could desire. If the object of civil
and political institutions had been to produce the greatest ill to the
greatest number, that object had been as nearly attained at last in Spain
as human imperfection permits; the efforts of government and of custom
coming powerfully to the aid of the historical evils already indicated.

It is superfluous to say that the land belonged not to those who lived
upon it--but subject to the pre-eminent right of the crown--to a small
selection of the human species. Moderate holdings, small farms, peasant
proprietorship's, were unknown. Any kind of terrestrial possession; in
short, was as far beyond the reach of those men who held themselves so
haughtily and esteemed themselves so inordinately, as were the mountains
in the moon.

The great nobles--and of real grandees of Spain there were but
forty-nine, although the number of titled families was much larger--owned
all the country, except that vast portion of it which had reposed for
ages in the dead-hand of the Church. The law of primogeniture, strictly
enforced, tended with every generation to narrow the basis of society.
Nearly every great estate was an entail, passing from eldest son to
eldest son, until these were exhausted, in which case a daughter
transferred the family possessions to a new house. Thus the capital of
the country--meagre at best in comparison with what it might have been,
had industry been honoured instead of being despised, had the most
intelligent and most diligent classes been cherished rather than hunted
to death or into obscure dens like vermin--was concentrated in very few
hands. Not only was the accumulation less than it should have been, but
the slenderness of its diffusion had nearly amounted to absolute
stagnation. The few possessors of capital wasted their revenues in
unproductive consumption. The millions of the needy never dreamed of the
possibility of deriving benefit from the capital of the rich, nor would
have condescended to employ it, nor known how to employ it, had its use
in any form been vouchsafed to them. The surface of Spain, save only
around the few royal residences, exhibited no splendour of architecture,
whether in town or country, no wonders of agricultural or horticultural
skill, no monuments of engineering and constructive genius in roads,
bridges, docks, warehouses, and other ornamental and useful fabrics, or
in any of the thousand ways in which man facilitates intercourse among
his kind and subdues nature to his will.

Yet it can never be too often repeated that it, is only the Spaniard of
the sixteenth century, such as extraneous circumstances had made him,
that is here depicted; that he, even like his posterity and his
ancestors, had been endowed by Nature with some of her noblest gifts.
Acuteness of intellect, wealth of imagination, heroic qualities of heart,
and hand, and brain, rarely surpassed in any race, and manifested on a
thousand battle-fields, and in the triumphs of a magnificent and most
original literature, had not been able to save a whole nation from the
disasters and the degradation which the mere words Philip II, and the
Holy Inquisition suggest to every educated mind.

Nor is it necessary for my purpose to measure exactly the space which
separated Spain from the other leading monarchies of the day. That the
standard of civilization was a vastly higher one in England, Holland, or
even France--torn as they all were with perpetual civil war--no thinker
will probably deny; but as it is rather my purpose at this moment to
exhibit the evils which may spring from a perfectly bad monarchical
system, as administered by a perfectly bad king, I prefer not to wander
at present from the country which was ruled for almost half a century by
Philip II.

Besides the concentration of a great part of the capital of the country
in a very small number of titled families, still another immense portion
of the national wealth belonged, as already intimated, to the Church.

There were eleven archbishops, at the head of whom stood the Archbishop
of Toledo, with the enormous annual revenue of three hundred thousand
dollars. Next to him came the Archbishop of Seville, with one hundred and
fifty thousand dollars yearly, while the income of the others varied from
fifty thousand to twenty thousand dollars respectively.

There were sixty-two bishops, with annual incomes ranging from fifty
thousand to six thousand dollars. The churches, also, of these various
episcopates were as richly endowed as the great hierarchs themselves. But
without fatiguing the reader with minute details, it is sufficient to say
that one-third of the whole annual income of Spain and Portugal belonged
to the ecclesiastical body. In return for this enormous proportion of the
earth's fruits, thus placed by the caprice of destiny at their disposal,
these holy men did very little work in the world. They fed their flocks
neither with bread nor with spiritual food. They taught little, preached
little, dispensed little in charity. Very few of the swarming millions of
naked and hungry throughout the land were clothed or nourished out of
these prodigious revenues of the Church. The constant and avowed care of
those prelates was to increase their worldly, possessions, to build up
the fortunes of their respective families, to grow richer and richer at
the expense of the people whom for centuries they had fleeced. Of gross
crime, of public ostentatious immorality, such as had made the Roman
priesthood of that and preceding ages loathsome in the sight of man and
God, the Spanish Church-dignitaries were innocent. Avarice; greediness,
and laziness were their characteristics. It is almost superfluous to say
that, while the ecclesiastical princes were rolling in this almost
fabulous wealth, the subordinate clergy, the mob of working priests, were
needy, half-starved mendicants.

From this rapid survey of the condition of the peninsula it will seem
less surprising than it might do at first glance that the revenue of the
greatest monarch of the world was rated at the small amount--even after
due allowance for the difference of general values between the sixteenth
and nineteenth centuries--of sixteen millions of dollars. The King of
Spain was powerful and redoubtable at home and abroad, because accident
had placed the control of a variety of separate realms in his single
hand. At the same time Spain was poor and weak, because she had lived for
centuries in violation of the principles on which the wealth and strength
of nations depend. Moreover, every one of those subject and violently
annexed nations hated Spain with undying fervour, while an infernal
policy--the leading characteristics of which were to sow dissensions
among the nobles, to confiscate their property on all convenient
occasions, and to bestow it upon Spaniards and other foreigners; to keep
the discontented masses in poverty, but to deprive them of the power or
disposition to unite with their superiors in rank in demonstrations
against the crown--had sufficed to suppress any extensive revolt in the
various Italian states united under Philip's sceptre. Still more intense
than the hatred of the Italians was the animosity which was glowing in
every Portuguese breast against the Spanish sway; while even the
Arragonese were only held in subjection by terror, which, indeed, in one
form or another, was the leading instrument of Philip's government.

It is hardly necessary to enlarge upon the regulations of Spain's foreign
commerce; for it will be enough to repeat the phrase that in her eyes the
great ocean from east to west was a Spanish lake, sacred to the ships of
the king's subjects alone. With such a simple code of navigation coming
in aid of the other causes which impoverished the land, it may be
believed that the maritime traffic of the country would dwindle into the
same exiguous proportions which characterised her general industry.

Moreover, it should never be forgotten that, although the various
kingdoms of Spain were politically conjoined by their personal union
under one despot, they were commercially distinct. A line of
custom-houses separated each province from the rest, and made the various
inhabitants of the peninsula practically strangers to each other. Thus
there was less traffic between Castile, Biscay, and Arragon than there
was between any one of them and remote foreign nations. The Biscayans,
for example, could even import and export commodities to and from remote
countries by sea, free of duty, while their merchandize to and from
Castile was crushed by imposts. As this ingenious perversity of positive
arrangements came to increase the negative inconveniences caused by the
almost total absence of tolerable roads, canals, bridges, and other means
of intercommunication, it may be imagined that internal traffic--the very
life-blood of every prosperous nation--was very nearly stagnant in Spain.
As an inevitable result, the most thriving branch of national industry
was that of the professional smuggler, who, in the pursuit of his
vocation, did his best to aid Government in sapping the wealth of the

The whole accumulated capital of Spain, together with the land--in the
general sense which includes not only the soil but the immovable property
of a country being thus exclusively owned by the crown, the church, and a
very small number of patrician families, while the supply of labour owing
to the special causes which had converted the masses of the people into
paupers ashamed to work but not unwilling to beg or to rob--was
incredibly small, it is obvious that, so long as the same causes
continued in operation, the downfall of the country was a logical result
from which there was no escape. Nothing but a general revolution of mind
and hand against the prevalent system, nothing but some great destructive
but regenerating catastrophe, could redeem the people.

And it is the condition of the people which ought always to be the
prominent subject of interest to those who study the records of the Past.
It is only by such study that we can derive instruction from history, and
enable ourselves, however dimly and feebly, to cast the horoscope of
younger nations. Human history, so far as it has been written, is at best
a mere fragment; for the few centuries or year-thousands of which there
is definite record are as nothing compared to the millions of unnumbered
years during which man has perhaps walked the earth. It may be as
practicable therefore to derive instruction from a minute examination in
detail of a very limited period of time and space, and thus to deduce
general rules for the infinite future, during which our species may be
destined to inhabit this planet, as by a more extensive survey, which
must however be at best a limited one. Men die, but Man is immortal, and
it would be a sufficiently forlorn prospect for humanity if we were not
able to discover causes in operation which would ultimately render the
system of Philip II. impossible in any part of the globe. Certainly, were
it otherwise, the study of human history would be the most wearisome and
unprofitable of all conceivable occupations. The festivities of courts,
the magnificence of an aristocracy, the sayings and doings of monarchs
and their servants, the dynastic wars, the solemn treaties; the Ossa upon
Pelion of diplomatic and legislative rubbish by which, in the course of
centuries, a few individuals or combinations of individuals have been
able to obstruct the march of humanity, and have essayed to suspend the
operation of elemental laws--all this contains but little solid food for
grown human beings. The condition of the brave and quickwitted Spanish
people in the latter half of the sixteenth century gives more matter for
reflection and possible instruction.

That science is the hope of the world, that ignorance is the real
enslaver of mankind, and therefore the natural ally of every form of
despotism, may be assumed as an axiom, and it was certainly the ignorance
and superstition of the people upon which the Philippian policy was

A vast mass, entirely uneducated, half fed, half clothed, unemployed; and
reposing upon a still lower and denser stratum--the millions namely of
the "Accursed," of the Africans, and last and vilest of all, the
"blessed" descendants of Spanish protestants whom the Holy Office had
branded with perpetual infamy because it had burned their
progenitors--this was the People; and it was these paupers and outcasts,
nearly the whole nation, that paid all the imposts of which the public
revenue was composed. The great nobles, priests, and even the hidalgos,
were exempt from taxation. Need more be said to indicate the inevitable
ruin of both government and people?

And it was over such a people, and with institutions like these, that
Philip II. was permitted to rule during forty-three years. His power was
absolute. With this single phrase one might as well dismiss any attempt
at specification. He made war or peace at will with foreign nations. He
had power of life and death over all his subjects. He had unlimited
control of their worldly goods. As he claimed supreme jurisdiction over
their religious opinions also, he was master of their minds, bodies, and
estates. As a matter of course, he nominated and removed at will every
executive functionary, every judge, every magistrate, every military or
civil officer; and moreover, he not only selected, according to the
license tacitly conceded to him by the pontiff, every archbishop, bishop,
and other Church dignitary, but, through his great influence at Rome, he
named most of the cardinals, and thus controlled the election of the
popes. The whole machinery of society, political, ecclesiastical,
military, was in his single hand. There was a show of provincial
privilege here and there in different parts of Spain, but it was but the
phantom of that ancient municipal liberty which it had been the especial
care of his father and his great-grandfather to destroy. Most patiently
did Philip, by his steady inactivity, bring about the decay of the last
ruins of free institutions in the peninsula. The councils and legislative
assemblies were convoked and then wearied out in waiting for that royal
assent to their propositions and transactions, which was deferred
intentionally, year after year, and never given. Thus the time of the
deputies was consumed in accomplishing infinite nothing, until the moment
arrived when the monarch, without any violent stroke of state, could feel
safe in issuing decrees and pragmatic edicts; thus reducing the ancient
legislative and consultative bodies to nullity, and substituting the will
of an individual for a constitutional fabric. To criticise the expenses
of government or to attempt interference with the increase of taxation
became a sorry farce. The forms remained in certain provinces after the
life had long since fled. Only in Arragon had the ancient privileges
seemed to defy the absolute authority of the monarch; and it was reserved
for Antonio Perez to be the cause of their final extirpation. The
grinning skulls of the Chief Justice of that kingdom and of the boldest
and noblest advocates and defenders of the national liberties, exposed
for years in the market-place, with the record of their death-sentence
attached, informed the Spaniards, in language which the most ignorant
could read, that the crime of defending a remnant of human freedom and
constitutional law was sure to draw down condign punishment. It was the
last time in that age that even the ghost of extinct liberty was destined
to revisit the soil of Spain. It mattered not that the immediate cause
for pursuing Perez was his successful amour with the king's Mistress, nor
that the crime of which he was formally accused was the deadly offence of
Calvinism, rather than his intrigue with the Eboli and his assassination
of Escovedo; for it was in the natural and simple sequence of events that
the last vestige of law or freedom should be obliterated wherever Philip
could vindicate his sway. It must be admitted, too, that the king seized
this occasion to strike a decisive blow with a promptness very different
from his usual artistic sluggishness. Rarely has a more terrible epigram
been spoken by man than the royal words which constituted the whole trial
and sentence of the Chief Justice of Arragon, for the crime of defending
the law of his country: "You will take John of Lanuza, and you will have
his head cut off." This was the end of the magistrate and of the
constitution which he had defended.

His power, was unlimited. A man endowed with genius and virtue, and
possessing the advantages of a consummate education, could have perhaps
done little more than attempt to mitigate the general misery, and to
remove some of its causes. For it is one of the most pernicious dogmas of
the despotic system, and the one which the candid student of history
soonest discovers to be false, that the masses of mankind are to look to
any individual, however exalted by birth or intellect, for their
redemption. Woe to the world if the nations are never to learn that their
fate is and ought to be in their own hands; that their institutions,
whether liberal or despotic, are the result of the national biography and
of the national character, not the work of a few individuals whose names
have been preserved by capricious Accident as heroes and legislators. Yet
there is no doubt that, while comparatively powerless for good, the
individual despot is capable of almost infinite mischief. There have been
few men known to history who have been able to accomplish by their own
exertions so vast an amount of evil as the king who had just died. If
Philip possessed a single virtue it has eluded the conscientious research
of the writer of these pages. If there are vices--as possibly there are
from which he was exempt, it is because it is not permitted to human
nature to attain perfection even in evil. The only plausible
explanation--for palliation there is none--of his infamous career is that
the man really believed himself not a king but a god. He was placed so
high above his fellow-creatures as, in good faith perhaps, to believe
himself incapable of doing wrong; so that, whether indulging his passions
or enforcing throughout the world his religious and political dogmas, he
was ever conscious of embodying divine inspirations and elemental laws.
When providing for the assassination of a monarch, or commanding the
massacre of a townfull of Protestants; when trampling on every oath by
which a human being can bind himself; when laying desolate with fire and
sword, during more than a generation, the provinces which he had
inherited as his private property, or in carefully maintaining the flames
of civil war in foreign kingdoms which he hoped to acquire; while
maintaining over all Christendom a gigantic system of bribery,
corruption, and espionage, keeping the noblest names of England and
Scotland on his pension-lists of traitors, and impoverishing his
exchequer with the wages of iniquity paid in France to men of all
degrees, from princes of blood like Guise and Mayenne down to the
obscurest of country squires, he ever felt that these base or bloody
deeds were not crimes, but the simple will of the godhead of which he was
a portion. He never doubted that the extraordinary theological system
which he spent his life in enforcing with fire and sword was right, for
it was a part of himself. The Holy Inquisition, thoroughly established as
it was in his ancestral Spain, was a portion of the regular working
machinery by which his absolute kingship and his superhuman will
expressed themselves. A tribunal which performed its functions with a
celerity, certainty, and invisibility resembling the attributes of
Omnipotence; which, like the pestilence, entered palace or hovel at will,
and which smote the wretch guilty or suspected of heresy with a precision
against which no human ingenuity or sympathy could guard--such an
institution could not but be dear to his heart. It was inevitable that
the extension and perpetuation of what he deemed its blessings throughout
his dominions should be his settled purpose. Spain was governed by an
established terrorism. It is a mistake to suppose that Philip was
essentially beloved in his native land, or that his religious and
political system was heartily accepted because consonant to the national
character. On the contrary, as has been shown, a very large proportion of
the inhabitants were either secretly false to the Catholic faith, or
descended at least from those who had expiated their hostility to it with
their lives. But the Grand Inquisitor was almost as awful a personage; as
the king or the pope. His familiars were in every village and at every
fireside, and from their fangs there was no escape. Millions of Spaniards
would have rebelled against the crown or accepted the reformed religion,
had they not been perfectly certain of being burned or hanged at the
slightest movement in such a direction. The popular force in the course
of the political combinations of centuries seemed at last to have been
eliminated. The nobles, exempt from taxation, which crushed the people to
the earth, were the enemies rather than the chieftains and champions of
the lower classes in any possible struggle with a crown to which they
were united by ties of interest as well as of affection, while the great
churchmen, too, were the immediate dependants and of course the firm
supporters of the king. Thus the people, without natural leaders, without
organisation, and themselves divided into two mutually hostile sections,
were opposed by every force in the State. Crown, nobility, and clergy;
all the wealth and all that there was of learning, were banded together
to suppress the democratic principle. But even this would hardly have
sufficed to extinguish every spark of liberty, had it not been for the
potent machinery of the Inquisition; nor could that perfection of
terrorism have become an established institution but for the
extraordinary mixture of pride and superstition of which the national
character had been, in the course of the national history, compounded.
The Spanish portion of the people hated the nobles, whose petty exactions
and oppressions were always visible; but they had a reverential fear of
the unseen monarch, as the representative both of the great unsullied
Christian nation to which the meanest individual was proud to belong, and
of the God of wrath who had decreed the extermination of all unbelievers.
The "accursed" portion of the people were sufficiently disloyal at heart,
but were too much crushed by oppression and contempt to imagine
themselves men. As to the Netherlanders, they did not fight originally
for independence. It was not until after a quarter of a century of
fighting that they ever thought of renouncing their allegiance to Philip.
They fought to protect themselves against being taxed by the king without
the consent of those constitutional assemblies which he had sworn to
maintain, and to save themselves and their children from being burned
alive if they dared to read the Bible. Independence followed after nearly
a half-century of fighting, but it would never have been obtained, or
perhaps demanded, had those grievances of the people been redressed.

Of this perfect despotism Philip was thus the sole administrator.
Certainly he looked upon his mission with seriousness, and was
industrious in performing his royal functions. But this earnestness and
seriousness were, in truth, his darkest vices; for the most frivolous
voluptuary that ever wore a crown would never have compassed a thousandth
part of the evil which was Philip's life-work. It was because he was a
believer in himself, and in what he called his religion, that he was
enabled to perpetrate such a long catalogue of crimes. When an humble
malefactor is brought before an ordinary court of justice, it is not
often, in any age or country, that he escapes the pillory or the gallows
because, from his own point of view, his actions,