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Title: Life and Death of John of Barneveld, Advocate of Holland : with a view of the primary causes and movements of the Thirty Years' War — Complete (1609-15)
Author: Motley, John Lothrop, 1814-1877
Language: English
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By John Lothrop Motley, D.C.L., LL.D.




These volumes make a separate work in themselves. They form also the
natural sequel to the other histories already published by the Author, as
well as the necessary introduction to that concluding portion of his
labours which he has always desired to lay before the public; a History
of the Thirty Years' War.

For the two great wars which successively established the independence of
Holland and the disintegration of Germany are in reality but one; a
prolonged Tragedy of Eighty Years. The brief pause, which in the
Netherlands was known as the Twelve Years' Truce with Spain, was
precisely the epoch in which the elements were slowly and certainly
gathering for the renewal over nearly the whole surface of civilized
Europe of that immense conflict which for more than forty years had been
raging within the narrow precincts of the Netherlands.

The causes and character of the two wars were essentially the same. There
were many changes of persons and of scenery during a struggle which
lasted for nearly three generations of mankind; yet a natural succession
both of actors, motives, and events will be observed from the beginning
to the close.

The designs of Charles V. to establish universal monarchy, which he had
passionately followed for a lifetime through a series of colossal crimes
against humanity and of private misdeeds against individuals, such as it
has rarely been permitted to a single despot to perpetrate, had been
baffled at last. Disappointed, broken, but even to our own generation
never completely unveiled, the tyrant had withdrawn from the stage of
human affairs, leaving his son to carry on the great conspiracy against
Human Right, independence of nations, liberty of thought, and equality of
religions, with the additional vigour which sprang from intensity of

For Philip possessed at least that superiority over his father that he
was a sincere bigot. In the narrow and gloomy depths of his soul he had
doubtless persuaded himself that it was necessary for the redemption of
the human species that the empire of the world should be vested in his
hands, that Protestantism in all its forms should be extirpated as a
malignant disease, and that to behead, torture, burn alive, and bury
alive all heretics who opposed the decree of himself and the Holy Church
was the highest virtue by which he could merit Heaven.

The father would have permitted Protestantism if Protestantism would have
submitted to universal monarchy. There would have been small difficulty
in the early part of his reign in effecting a compromise between Rome and
Augsburg, had the gigantic secular ambition of Charles not preferred to
weaken the Church and to convert conscientious religious reform into
political mutiny; a crime against him who claimed the sovereignty of

The materials for the true history of that reign lie in the Archives of
Spain, Austria, Rome, Venice, and the Netherlands, and in many other
places. When out of them one day a complete and authentic narrative shall
have been constructed, it will be seen how completely the policy of
Charles foreshadowed and necessitated that of Philip, how logically,
under the successors of Philip, the Austrian dream of universal empire
ended in the shattering, in the minute subdivision, and the reduction to
a long impotence of that Germanic Empire which had really belonged to

Unfortunately the great Republic which, notwithstanding the aid of
England on the one side and of France on the other, had withstood almost
single-handed the onslaughts of Spain, now allowed the demon of religious
hatred to enter into its body at the first epoch of peace, although it
had successfully exorcised the evil spirit during the long and terrible

There can be no doubt whatever that the discords within the interior of
the Dutch Republic during the period of the Truce, and their tragic
catastrophe, had weakened her purpose and partially paralysed her arm.
When the noble Commonwealth went forward to the renewed and general
conflict which succeeded the concentrated one in which it had been the
chief actor, the effect of those misspent twelve years became apparent.

Indeed the real continuity of the war was scarcely broken by the fitful,
armistice. The death of John of Cleve, an event almost simultaneous with
the conclusion of the Truce, seemed to those gifted with political vision
the necessary precursor of a new and more general war.

The secret correspondence of Barneveld shows the almost prophetic
accuracy with which he indicated the course of events and the approach of
an almost universal conflict, while that tragedy was still in the future,
and was to be enacted after he had been laid in his bloody grave. No man
then living was so accustomed as he was to sweep the political horizon,
and to estimate the signs and portents of the times. No statesman was
left in Europe during the epoch of the Twelve Years' Truce to compare
with him in experience, breadth of vision, political tact, or
administrative sagacity.

Imbued with the grand traditions and familiar with the great personages
of a most heroic epoch; the trusted friend or respected counsellor of
William the Silent, Henry IV., Elizabeth, and the sages and soldiers on
whom they leaned; having been employed during an already long lifetime in
the administration of greatest affairs, he stood alone after the deaths
of Henry of France and the second Cecil, and the retirement of Sully,
among the natural leaders of mankind.

To the England of Elizabeth, of Walsingham, Raleigh, and the Cecils, had
succeeded the Great Britain of James, with his Carrs and Carletons,
Nauntons, Lakes, and Winwoods. France, widowed of Henry and waiting for
Richelieu, lay in the clutches of Concini's, Epernons, and Bouillons,
bound hand and foot to Spain. Germany, falling from Rudolph to Matthias,
saw Styrian Ferdinand in the background ready to shatter the fabric of a
hundred years of attempted Reformation. In the Republic of the
Netherlands were the great soldier and the only remaining statesman of
the age. At a moment when the breathing space had been agreed upon before
the conflict should be renewed; on a wider field than ever, between
Spanish-Austrian world-empire and independence of the nations; between
the ancient and only Church and the spirit of religious Equality; between
popular Right and royal and sacerdotal Despotism; it would have been
desirable that the soldier and the statesman should stand side by side,
and that the fortunate Confederacy, gifted with two such champions and
placed by its own achievements at the very head of the great party of
resistance, should be true to herself.

These volumes contain a slight and rapid sketch of Barneveld's career up
to the point at which the Twelve Years' Truce with Spain was signed in
the year 1609. In previous works the Author has attempted to assign the
great Advocate's place as part and parcel of history during the
continuance of the War for Independence. During the period of the Truce
he will be found the central figure. The history of Europe, especially of
the Netherlands, Britain, France, and Germany, cannot be thoroughly
appreciated without a knowledge of the designs, the labours, and the fate
of Barneveld.

The materials for estimating his character and judging his judges lie in
the national archives of the land of which he was so long the foremost
citizen. But they have not long been accessible. The letters, state
papers, and other documents remain unprinted, and have rarely been read.
M. van Deventer has published three most interesting volumes of the
Advocate's correspondence, but they reach only to the beginning of 1609.
He has suspended his labours exactly at the moment when these volumes
begin. I have carefully studied however nearly the whole of that
correspondence, besides a mass of other papers. The labour is not light,
for the handwriting of the great Advocate is perhaps the worst that ever
existed, and the papers, although kept in the admirable order which
distinguishes the Archives of the Hague, have passed through many hands
at former epochs before reaching their natural destination in the
treasure-house of the nation. Especially the documents connected with the
famous trial were for a long time hidden from mortal view, for
Barneveld's judges had bound themselves by oath to bury the proceedings
out of sight. And the concealment lasted for centuries. Very recently a
small portion of those papers has been published by the Historical
Society of Utrecht. The "Verhooren," or Interrogatories of the Judges,
and the replies of Barneveld, have thus been laid before the reading
public of Holland, while within the last two years the distinguished and
learned historian, Professor Fruin, has edited the "Verhooren" of Hugo

But papers like these, important as they are, make but a slender portion
of the material out of which a judgment concerning these grave events can
be constructed. I do not therefore offer an apology for the somewhat
copious extracts which I have translated and given in these volumes from
the correspondence of Barneveld and from other manuscripts of great
value--most of them in the Royal Archives of Holland and Belgium--which
are unknown to the public.

I have avoided as much as possible any dealings with the theological
controversies so closely connected with the events which I have attempted
to describe. This work aims at being a political study. The subject is
full of lessons, examples, and warnings for the inhabitants of all free
states. Especially now that the republican system of government is
undergoing a series of experiments with more or less success in one
hemisphere--while in our own land it is consolidated, powerful, and
unchallenged--will the conflicts between the spirits of national
centralization and of provincial sovereignty, and the struggle between
the church, the sword, and the magistracy for supremacy in a free
commonwealth, as revealed in the first considerable republic of modern
history, be found suggestive of deep reflection.

Those who look in this work for a history of the Synod of Dordtrecht will
look in vain. The Author has neither wish nor power to grapple with the
mysteries and passions which at that epoch possessed so many souls. The
Assembly marks a political period. Its political aspects have been
anxiously examined, but beyond the ecclesiastical threshold there has
been no attempt to penetrate.

It was necessary for my purpose to describe in some detail the relations
of Henry IV. with the Dutch Republic during the last and most pregnant
year of his life, which makes the first of the present history. These
relations are of European importance, and the materials for appreciating
them are of unexpected richness, in the Dutch and Belgian Archives.

Especially the secret correspondence, now at the Hague, of that very able
diplomatist Francis Aerssens with Barneveld during the years 1609, 1610,
and 1611, together with many papers at Brussels, are full of vital

They throw much light both on the vast designs which filled the brain of
Henry at this fatal epoch and on his extraordinary infatuation for the
young Princess of Conde by which they were traversed, and which was
productive of such widespread political anal tragical results. This
episode forms a necessary portion of my theme, and has therefore been set
forth from original sources.

I am under renewed obligations to my friend M. Gachard, the eminent
publicist and archivist of Belgium, for his constant and friendly offices
to me (which I have so often experienced before), while studying the
documents under his charge relating to this epoch; especially the secret
correspondence of Archduke Albert with Philip III, and his ministers, and
with Pecquius, the Archduke's agent at Paris.

It is also a great pleasure to acknowledge the unceasing courtesy and
zealous aid rendered me during my renewed studies in the Archives at the
Hague--lasting through nearly two years--by the Chief Archivist, M. van
den Berg, and the gentlemen connected with that institution, especially
M. de Jonghe and M. Hingman, without whose aid it would have been
difficult for me to decipher and to procure copies of the almost
illegible holographs of Barneveld.

I must also thank M. van Deventer for communicating copies of some
curious manuscripts relating to my subject, some from private archives in
Holland, and others from those of Simancas.

A single word only remains to be said in regard to the name of the
statesman whose career I have undertaken to describe.

His proper appellation and that by which he has always been known in his
own country is Oldenbarneveld, but in his lifetime and always in history
from that time to this he has been called Barneveld in English as well as
French, and this transformation, as it were, of the name has become so
settled a matter that after some hesitation it has been adopted in the
present work.

The Author would take this opportunity of expressing his gratitude for
the indulgence with which his former attempts to illustrate an important
period of European history have been received by the public, and his
anxious hope that the present volumes may be thought worthy of attention.
They are the result at least of severe and conscientious labour at the
original sources of history, but the subject is so complicated and
difficult that it may well be feared that the ability to depict and
unravel is unequal to the earnestness with which the attempt has been

LONDON, 1873.



   John of Barneveld the Founder of the Commonwealth of the United
   Provinces--Maurice of Orange Stadholder, but Servant to the States-
   General--The Union of Utrecht maintained--Barneveld makes a
   Compromise between Civil Functionaries and Church Officials--
   Embassies to France, England, and to Venice--the Appointment of
   Arminius to be Professor of Theology at Leyden creates Dissension--
   The Catholic League opposed by the Great Protestant Union--Death of
   the Duke of Cleve and Struggle for his Succession--The Elector of
   Brandenburg and Palatine of Neuburg hold the Duchies at Barneveld's
   Advice against the Emperor, though having Rival Claims themselves--
   Negotiations with the King of France--He becomes the Ally of the
   States-General to Protect the Possessory Princes, and prepares for

I propose to retrace the history of a great statesman's career. That
statesman's name, but for the dark and tragic scenes with which it was
ultimately associated, might after the lapse of two centuries and a half
have faded into comparative oblivion, so impersonal and shadowy his
presence would have seemed upon the great European theatre where he was
so long a chief actor, and where his efforts and his achievements were
foremost among those productive of long enduring and widespread results.

There is no doubt whatever that John of Barneveld, Advocate and Seal
Keeper of the little province of Holland during forty years of as
troubled and fertile an epoch as any in human history, was second to none
of his contemporary statesmen. Yet the singular constitution and
historical position of the republic whose destinies he guided and the
peculiar and abnormal office which he held combined to cast a veil over
his individuality. The ever-teeming brain, the restless almost
omnipresent hand, the fertile pen, the eloquent and ready tongue, were
seen, heard, and obeyed by the great European public, by the monarchs,
statesmen, and warriors of the time, at many critical moments of history,
but it was not John of Barneveld that spoke to the world. Those "high and
puissant Lords my masters the States-General" personified the young but
already majestic republic. Dignified, draped, and concealed by that
overshadowing title the informing and master spirit performed its never
ending task.

Those who study the enormous masses of original papers in the archives of
the country will be amazed to find how the penmanship, most difficult to
decipher, of the Advocate meets them at every turn. Letters to monarchs,
generals, ambassadors, resolutions of councils, of sovereign assemblies,
of trading corporations, of great Indian companies, legal and historical
disquisitions of great depth and length on questions agitating Europe,
constitutional arguments, drafts of treaties among the leading powers of
the world, instructions to great commissions, plans for European
campaigns, vast combinations covering the world, alliances of empire,
scientific expeditions and discoveries--papers such as these covered now
with the satirical dust of centuries, written in the small, crabbed,
exasperating characters which make Barneveld's handwriting almost
cryptographic, were once, when fairly engrossed and sealed with the great
seal of the haughty burgher-aristocracy, the documents which occupied the
close attention of the cabinets of Christendom.

It is not unfrequent to find four or five important despatches compressed
almost in miniature upon one sheet of gigantic foolscap. It is also
curious to find each one of these rough drafts conscientiously beginning
in the statesman's own hand with the elaborate phrases of compliment
belonging to the epoch such as "Noble, strenuous, severe, highly
honourable, very learned, very discreet, and very wise masters," and
ending with "May the Lord God Almighty eternally preserve you and hold
you in His holy keeping in this world and for ever"--decorations which
one might have thought it safe to leave to be filled in by the secretary
or copying clerk.

Thus there have been few men at any period whose lives have been more
closely identical than his with a national history. There have been few
great men in any history whose names have become less familiar to the
world, and lived less in the mouths of posterity. Yet there can be no
doubt that if William the Silent was the founder of the independence of
the United Provinces Barneveld was the founder of the Commonwealth
itself. He had never the opportunity, perhaps he might have never had the
capacity, to make such prodigious sacrifices in the cause of country as
the great prince had done. But he had served his country strenuously from
youth to old age with an abiding sense of duty, a steadiness of purpose,
a broad vision, a firm grasp, and an opulence of resource such as not one
of his compatriots could even pretend to rival.

Had that country of which he was so long the first citizen maintained
until our own day the same proportionate position among the empires of
Christendom as it held in the seventeenth century, the name of John of
Barneveld would have perhaps been as familiar to all men as it is at this
moment to nearly every inhabitant of the Netherlands. Even now political
passion is almost as ready to flame forth either in ardent affection or
enthusiastic hatred as if two centuries and a half had not elapsed since
his death. His name is so typical of a party, a polity, and a faith, so
indelibly associated with a great historical cataclysm, as to render it
difficult even for the grave, the conscientious, the learned, the
patriotic of his own compatriots to speak of him with absolute

A foreigner who loves and admires all that is great and noble in the
history of that famous republic and can have no hereditary bias as to its
ecclesiastical or political theories may at least attempt the task with
comparative coldness, although conscious of inability to do thorough
justice to a most complex subject.

In former publications devoted to Netherland history I have endeavoured
to trace the course of events of which the life and works of the Advocate
were a vital ingredient down to the period when Spain after more than
forty years of hard fighting virtually acknowledged the independence of
the Republic and concluded with her a truce of twelve years.

That convention was signed in the spring of 1609. The ten ensuing years
in Europe were comparatively tranquil, but they were scarcely to be
numbered among the full and fruitful sheaves of a pacific epoch. It was a
pause, a breathing spell during which the sulphurous clouds which had
made the atmosphere of Christendom poisonous for nearly half a century
had sullenly rolled away, while at every point of the horizon they were
seen massing themselves anew in portentous and ever accumulating
strength. At any moment the faint and sickly sunshine in which poor
exhausted Humanity was essaying a feeble twitter of hope as it plumed
itself for a peaceful flight might be again obscured. To us of a remote
posterity the momentary division of epochs seems hardly discernible. So
rapidly did that fight of Demons which we call the Thirty Years' War
tread on the heels of the forty years' struggle for Dutch Independence
which had just been suspended that we are accustomed to think and speak
of the Eighty Years' War as one pure, perfect, sanguinary whole.

And indeed the Tragedy which was soon to sweep solemnly across Europe was
foreshadowed in the first fitful years of peace. The throb of the
elementary forces already shook the soil of Christendom. The fantastic
but most significant conflict in the territories of the dead Duke of
Clove reflected the distant and gigantic war as in a mirage. It will be
necessary to direct the reader's attention at the proper moment to that
episode, for it was one in which the beneficent sagacity of Barneveld was
conspicuously exerted in the cause of peace and conservation. Meantime it
is not agreeable to reflect that this brief period of nominal and armed
peace which the Republic had conquered after nearly two generations of
warfare was employed by her in tearing her own flesh. The heroic sword
which had achieved such triumphs in the cause of freedom could have been
bitter employed than in an attempt at political suicide.

In a picture of the last decade of Barneveld's eventful life his
personality may come more distinctly forward perhaps than in previous
epochs. It will however be difficult to disentangle a single thread from
the great historical tapestry of the Republic and of Europe in which his
life and achievements are interwoven. He was a public man in the fullest
sense of the word, and without his presence and influence the record of
Holland, France, Spain, Britain, and Germany might have been essentially

The Republic was so integral a part of that system which divided Europe
into two great hostile camps according to creeds rather than frontiers
that the history of its foremost citizen touches at every point the
general history of Christendom.

The great peculiarity of the Dutch constitution at this epoch was that no
principle was absolutely settled. In throwing off a foreign tyranny and
successfully vindicating national independence the burghers and nobles
had not had leisure to lay down any organic law. Nor had the day for
profound investigation of the political or social contract arrived. Men
dealt almost exclusively with facts, and when the facts arranged
themselves illogically and incoherently the mischief was grave and
difficult to remedy. It is not a trifling inconvenience for an organized
commonwealth to be in doubt as to where, in whom, and of what nature is
its sovereignty. Yet this was precisely the condition of the United
Netherlands. To the eternal world so dazzling were the reputation and the
achievements of their great captain that he was looked upon by many as
the legitimate chief of the state and doubtless friendly monarchs would
have cordially welcomed him into their brotherhood.

During the war he had been surrounded by almost royal state. Two hundred
officers lived daily at his table. Great nobles and scions of sovereign
houses were his pupils or satellites. The splendour of military despotism
and the awe inspired by his unquestioned supremacy in what was deemed the
greatest of all sciences invested the person of Maurice of Nassau with a
grandeur which many a crowned potentate might envy. His ample
appointments united with the spoils of war provided him with almost royal
revenues, even before the death of his elder brother Philip William had
placed in his hands the principality and wealthy possessions of Orange.
Hating contradiction, arbitrary by instinct and by military habit,
impatient of criticism, and having long acknowledged no master in the
chief business of state, he found himself at the conclusion of the truce
with his great occupation gone, and, although generously provided for by
the treasury of the Republic, yet with an income proportionately limited.

Politics and theology were fields in which he had hardly served an
apprenticeship, and it was possible that when he should step forward as a
master in those complicated and difficult pursuits, soon to absorb the
attention of the Commonwealth and the world, it might appear that war was
not the only science that required serious preliminary studies.

Meantime he found himself not a king, not the master of a nominal
republic, but the servant of the States-General, and the limited
stadholder of five out of seven separate provinces.

And the States-General were virtually John of Barneveld. Could antagonism
be more sharply defined? Jealousy, that potent principle which controls
the regular movements and accounts for the aberrations of humanity in
widest spheres as well as narrowest circles far more generally and
conclusively than philosophers or historians have been willing to admit,
began forthwith to manifest its subtle and irresistible influence.

And there were not to be wanting acute and dangerous schemers who saw
their profit in augmenting its intensity.

The Seven Provinces, when the truce of twelve years had been signed, were
neither exhausted nor impoverished. Yet they had just emerged from a
forty years' conflict such as no people in human history had ever waged
against a foreign tyranny. They had need to repose and recruit, but they
stood among the foremost great powers of the day. It is not easy in
imagination to thrust back the present leading empires of the earth into
the contracted spheres of their not remote past. But to feel how a little
confederacy of seven provinces loosely tied together by an ill-defined
treaty could hold so prominent and often so controlling a place in the
European system of the seventeenth century, we must remember that there
was then no Germany, no Russia, no Italy, no United States of America,
scarcely even a Great Britain in the sense which belongs to that mighty
empire now.

France, Spain, England, the Pope, and the Emperor were the leading powers
with which the Netherlands were daily called on to solve great problems
and try conclusions; the study of political international equilibrium,
now rapidly and perhaps fortunately becoming one of the lost arts, being
then the most indispensable duty of kings and statesmen.

Spain and France, which had long since achieved for themselves the
political union of many independent kingdoms and states into which they
had been divided were the most considerable powers and of necessity
rivals. Spain, or rather the House of Austria divided into its two great
branches, still pursued its persistent and by no means fantastic dream of
universal monarchy. Both Spain and France could dispose of somewhat
larger resources absolutely, although not relatively, than the Seven
Provinces, while at least trebling them in population. The yearly revenue
of Spain after deduction of its pledged resources was perhaps equal to a
million sterling, and that of France with the same reservation was about
as much. England had hardly been able to levy and make up a yearly income
of more than L600,000 or L700,000 at the end of Elizabeth's reign or in
the first years of James, while the Netherlands had often proved
themselves capable of furnishing annually ten or twelve millions of
florins, which would be the equivalent of nearly a million sterling.

The yearly revenues of the whole monarchy of the Imperial house of
Habsburg can scarcely be stated at a higher figure than L350,000.

Thus the political game--for it was a game--was by no means a desperate
one for the Netherlands, nor the resources of the various players so
unequally distributed as at first sight it might appear.

The emancipation of the Provinces from the grasp of Spain and the
establishment by them of a commonwealth, for that epoch a very free one,
and which contained within itself the germs of a larger liberty,
religious, political, and commercial, than had yet been known, was
already one of the most considerable results of the Reformation. The
probability of its continued and independent existence was hardly
believed in by potentate or statesman outside its own borders, and had
not been very long a decided article of faith even within them. The
knotty problem of an acknowledgment of that existence, the admission of
the new-born state into the family of nations, and a temporary peace
guaranteed by two great powers, had at last been solved mainly by the
genius of Barneveld working amid many disadvantages and against great
obstructions. The truce had been made, and it now needed all the skill,
coolness, and courage of a practical and original statesman to conduct
the affairs of the Confederacy. The troubled epoch of peace was even now
heaving with warlike emotions, and was hardly less stormy than the war
which had just been suspended.

The Republic was like a raft loosely strung together, floating almost on
a level of the ocean, and often half submerged, but freighted with
inestimable treasures for itself and the world. It needed an unsleeping
eye and a powerful brain to conduct her over the quicksands and through
the whirlpools of an unmapped and intricate course.

The sovereignty of the country so far as its nature could be
satisfactorily analysed seemed to be scattered through, and inherent in
each one of, the multitudinous boards of magistracy--close corporations,
self-elected--by which every city was governed. Nothing could be more
preposterous. Practically, however, these boards were represented by
deputies in each of the seven provincial assemblies, and these again sent
councillors from among their number to the general assembly which was
that of their High Mightinesses the Lords States-General.

The Province of Holland, being richer and more powerful than all its six
sisters combined, was not unwilling to impose a supremacy which on the
whole was practically conceded by the rest. Thus the Union of Utrecht
established in 1579 was maintained for want of anything better as the
foundation of the Commonwealth.

The Advocate and Keeper of the Great Seal of that province was therefore
virtually prime minister, president, attorney-general, finance minister,
and minister of foreign affairs of the whole republic. This was
Barneveld's position. He took the lead in the deliberations both of the
States of Holland and the States-General, moved resolutions, advocated
great measures of state, gave heed to their execution, collected the
votes, summed up the proceedings, corresponded with and instructed
ambassadors, received and negotiated with foreign ministers, besides
directing and holding in his hands the various threads of the home policy
and the rapidly growing colonial system of the Republic.

All this work Barneveld had been doing for thirty years.

The Reformation was by no mans assured even in the lands where it had at
first made the most essential progress. But the existence of the new
commonwealth depended on the success of that great movement which had
called it into being. Losing ground in France, fluctuating in England,
Protestantism was apparently more triumphant in vast territories where
the ancient Church was one day to recover its mastery. Of the population
of Bohemia, there were perhaps ten Protestants to one Papist, while in
the United Netherlands at least one-third of the people were still
attached to the Catholic faith.

The great religious struggle in Bohemia and other dominions of the
Habsburg family was fast leading to a war of which no man could even
imagine the horrors or foresee the vast extent. The Catholic League and
the Protestant Union were slowly arranging Europe into two mighty

They were to give employment year after year to millions of mercenary
freebooters who were to practise murder, pillage, and every imaginable
and unimaginable outrage as the most legitimate industry that could
occupy mankind. The Holy Empire which so ingeniously combined the worst
characteristics of despotism and republicanism kept all Germany and half
Europe in the turmoil of a perpetual presidential election. A theatre
where trivial personages and graceless actors performed a tragi-comedy of
mingled folly, intrigue, and crime, and where earnestness and vigour were
destined to be constantly baffled, now offered the principal stage for
the entertainment and excitement of Christendom.

There was but one king in Europe, Henry the Bearnese. The men who sat on
the thrones in Madrid, Vienna, London, would have lived and died unknown
but for the crowns they wore, and while there were plenty of bustling
politicians here and there in Christendom, there were not many statesmen.

Among them there was no stronger man than John of Barneveld, and no man
had harder or more complicated work to do.

Born in Amersfoort in 1547, of the ancient and knightly house of
Oldenbarneveldt, of patrician blood through all his ancestors both male
and female, he was not the heir to large possessions, and was a diligent
student and hardworking man from youth upward. He was not wont to boast
of his pedigree until in later life, being assailed by vilest slander,
all his kindred nearest or most remote being charged with every possible
and unmentionable crime, and himself stigmatized as sprung from the
lowest kennels of humanity--as if thereby his private character and
public services could be more legitimately blackened--he was stung into
exhibiting to the world the purity and antiquity of his escutcheon, and a
roll of respectably placed, well estated, and authentically noble, if not
at all illustrious, forefathers in his country's records of the previous

Without an ancestor at his back he might have valued himself still more
highly on the commanding place he held in the world by right divine of
intellect, but as the father of lies seemed to have kept his creatures so
busy with the Barneveld genealogy, it was not amiss for the statesman
once for all to make the truth known.

His studies in the universities of Holland, France, Italy, and Germany
had been profound. At an early age he was one of the first civilians of
the time. His manhood being almost contemporary with the great war of
freedom, he had served as a volunteer and at his own expense through
several campaigns, having nearly lost his life in the disastrous attempt
to relieve the siege of Haarlem, and having been so disabled by sickness
and exposure at the heroic leaguer of Leyden as to have been deprived of
the joy of witnessing its triumphant conclusion.

Successfully practising his profession afterwards before the tribunals of
Holland, he had been called at the comparatively early age of twenty-nine
to the important post of Chief Pensionary of Rotterdam. So long as
William the Silent lived, that great prince was all in all to his
country, and Barneveld was proud and happy to be among the most trusted
and assiduous of his counsellors.

When the assassination of William seemed for an instant to strike the
Republic with paralysis, Barneveld was foremost among the statesmen of
Holland to spring forward and help to inspire it with renewed energy.

The almost completed negotiations for conferring the sovereignty, not of
the Confederacy, but of the Province of Holland, upon the Prince had been
abruptly brought to an end by his death. To confer that sovereign
countship on his son Maurice, then a lad of eighteen and a student at
Leyden, would have seemed to many at so terrible a crisis an act of
madness, although Barneveld had been willing to suggest and promote the
scheme. The confederates under his guidance soon hastened however to lay
the sovereignty, and if not the sovereignty, the protectorship, of all
the provinces at the feet first of England and then of France.

Barneveld was at the head of the embassy, and indeed was the
indispensable head of all important, embassies to each of those two
countries throughout all this portion of his career. Both monarchs
refused, almost spurned, the offered crown in which was involved a war
with the greatest power in the world, with no compensating dignity or
benefit, as it was thought, beside.

Then Elizabeth, although declining the sovereignty, promised assistance
and sent the Earl of Leicester as governor-general at the head of a
contingent of English troops. Precisely to prevent the consolidation thus
threatened of the Provinces into one union, a measure which had been
attempted more than once in the Burgundian epoch, and always successfully
resisted by the spirit of provincial separatism, Barneveld now proposed
and carried the appointment of Maurice of Nassau to the stadholdership of
Holland. This was done against great opposition and amid fierce debate.
Soon afterwards Barneveld was vehemently urged by the nobles and regents
of the cities of Holland to accept the post of Advocate of that province.
After repeatedly declining the arduous and most responsible office, he
was at last induced to accept it. He did it under the remarkable
condition that in case any negotiation should be undertaken for the
purpose of bringing back the Province of Holland under the dominion of
the King of Spain, he should be considered as from that moment relieved
from the service.

His brother Elias Barneveld succeeded him as Pensionary of Rotterdam, and
thenceforth the career of the Advocate is identical with the history of
the Netherlands. Although a native of Utrecht, he was competent to
exercise such functions in Holland, a special and ancient convention
between those two provinces allowing the citizens of either to enjoy
legal and civic rights in both. Gradually, without intrigue or inordinate
ambition, but from force of circumstances and the commanding power of the
man, the native authority stamped upon his forehead, he became the
political head of the Confederacy. He created and maintained a system of
public credit absolutely marvellous in the circumstances, by means of
which an otherwise impossible struggle was carried to a victorious end.

When the stadholderate of the provinces of Gelderland, Utrecht, and
Overyssel became vacant, it was again Barneveld's potent influence and
sincere attachment to the House of Nassau that procured the election of
Maurice to those posts. Thus within six years after his father's death
the youthful soldier who had already given proof of his surpassing
military genius had become governor, commander-in-chief, and high
admiral, of five of the seven provinces constituting the Confederacy.

At about the same period the great question of Church and State, which
Barneveld had always felt to be among the vital problems of the age, and
on which his opinions were most decided, came up for partial solution. It
would have been too much to expect the opinion of any statesman to be so
much in advance of his time as to favor religious equality. Toleration of
various creeds, including the Roman Catholic, so far as abstinence from
inquisition into consciences and private parlours could be called
toleration, was secured, and that was a considerable step in advance of
the practice of the sixteenth century. Burning, hanging, and burying
alive of culprits guilty of another creed than the dominant one had
become obsolete. But there was an established creed--the Reformed
religion, founded on the Netherland Confession and the Heidelberg
Catechism. And there was one established principle then considered
throughout Europe the grand result of the Reformation; "Cujus regio ejus
religio;" which was in reality as impudent an invasion of human right as
any heaven-born dogma of Infallibility. The sovereign of a country,
having appropriated the revenues of the ancient church, prescribed his
own creed to his subjects. In the royal conscience were included the
million consciences of his subjects. The inevitable result in a country
like the Netherlands, without a personal sovereign, was a struggle
between the new church and the civil government for mastery. And at this
period, and always in Barneveld's opinion, the question of dogma was
subordinate to that of church government. That there should be no
authority over the King had been settled in England.

Henry VIII., Elizabeth, and afterwards James, having become popes in
their own realm, had no great hostility to, but rather an affection for,
ancient dogma and splendid ceremonial. But in the Seven Provinces, even
as in France, Germany, and Switzerland, the reform where it had been
effected at all had been more thorough, and there was little left of
Popish pomp or aristocratic hierarchy. Nothing could be severer than the
simplicity of the Reformed Church, nothing more imperious than its dogma,
nothing more infallible than its creed. It was the true religion, and
there was none other. But to whom belonged the ecclesiastical edifices,
the splendid old minsters in the cities--raised by the people's confiding
piety and the purchased remission of their sins in a bygone age--and the
humbler but beautiful parish churches in every town and village? To the
State; said Barneveld, speaking for government; to the community
represented by the states of the provinces, the magistracies of the
cities and municipalities. To the Church itself, the one true church
represented by its elders, and deacons, and preachers, was the reply.

And to whom belonged the right of prescribing laws and ordinances of
public worship, of appointing preachers, church servants, schoolmasters,
sextons? To the Holy Ghost inspiring the Class and the Synod, said the

To the civil authority, said the magistrates, by which the churches are
maintained, and the salaries of the ecclesiastics paid. The states of
Holland are as sovereign as the kings of England or Denmark, the electors
of Saxony or Brandenburg, the magistrates of Zurich or Basel or other
Swiss cantons. "Cujus regio ejus religio."

In 1590 there was a compromise under the guidance of Barneveld. It was
agreed that an appointing board should be established composed of civil
functionaries and church officials in equal numbers. Thus should the
interests of religion and of education be maintained.

The compromise was successful enough during the war. External pressure
kept down theological passion, and there were as yet few symptoms of
schism in the dominant church. But there was to come a time when the
struggle between church and government was to break forth with an
intensity and to rage to an extent which no man at that moment could

Towards the end of the century Henry IV. made peace with Spain. It was a
trying moment for the Provinces. Barneveld was again sent forth on an
embassy to the King. The cardinal point in his policy, as it had ever
been in that of William the Silent, was to maintain close friendship with
France, whoever might be its ruler. An alliance between that kingdom and
Spain would be instantaneous ruin to the Republic. With the French and
English sovereigns united with the Provinces, the cause of the
Reformation might triumph, the Spanish world-empire be annihilated,
national independence secured.

Henry assured the Ambassador that the treaty of Vervins was
indispensable, but that he would never desert his old allies. In proof of
this, although he had just bound himself to Spain to give no assistance
to the Provinces, open or secret, he would furnish them with thirteen
hundred thousand crowns, payable at intervals during four years. He was
under great obligations to his good friends the States, he said, and
nothing in the treaty forbade him to pay his debts.

It was at this period too that Barneveld was employed by the King to
attend to certain legal and other private business for which he professed
himself too poor at the moment to compensate him. There seems to have
been nothing in the usages of the time or country to make the
transaction, innocent in itself, in any degree disreputable. The King
promised at some future clay, when he should be more in funds, to pay him
a liberal fee. Barneveld, who a dozen years afterwards received 20,000
florins for his labour, professed that he would much rather have had one
thousand at the time.

Thence the Advocate, accompanied by his colleague, Justinus de Nassau,
proceeded to England, where they had many stormy interviews with
Elizabeth. The Queen swore with many an oath that she too would make
peace with Philip, recommended the Provinces to do the same thing with
submission to their ancient tyrant, and claimed from the States immediate
payment of one million sterling in satisfaction of their old debts to
her. It would have been as easy for them at that moment to pay a thousand
million. It was at last agreed that the sum of the debt should be fixed
at L800,000, and that the cautionary towns should be held in Elizabeth's
hands by English troops until all the debt should be discharged. Thus
England for a long time afterwards continued to regard itself, as in a
measure the sovereign and proprietor of the Confederacy, and Barneveld
then and there formed the resolve to relieve the country of the incubus,
and to recover those cautionary towns and fortresses at the earliest
possible moment. So long as foreign soldiers commanded by military
governors existed on the soil of the Netherlands, they could hardly
account themselves independent. Besides, there was the perpetual and
horrid nightmare, that by a sudden pacification between Spain and England
those important cities, keys to the country's defence, might be handed
over to their ancient tyrant.

Elizabeth had been pacified at last, however, by the eloquence of the
Ambassador. "I will assist you even if you were up to the neck in water,"
she said. "Jusque la," she added, pointing to her chin.

Five years later Barneveld, for the fifth time at the head of a great
embassy, was sent to England to congratulate James on his accession. It
was then and there that he took measure of the monarch with whom he was
destined to have many dealings, and who was to exert so baleful an
influence on his career. At last came the time when it was felt that
peace between Spain and her revolted provinces might be made. The
conservation of their ancient laws, privileges, and charters, the
independence of the States, and included therein the freedom to establish
the Reformed religion, had been secured by forty years of fighting.

The honour of Spain was saved by a conjunction. She agreed to treat with
her old dependencies "as" with states over which she had no pretensions.
Through virtue of an "as," a truce after two years' negotiation,
perpetually traversed and secretly countermined by the military party
under the influence of Maurice, was carried by the determination of
Barneveld. The great objects of the war had been secured. The country was
weary of nearly half a century of bloodshed. It was time to remember that
there could be such a condition as Peace.

The treaty was signed, ratifications exchanged, and the usual presents of
considerable sums of money to the negotiators made. Barneveld earnestly
protested against carrying out the custom on this occasion, and urged
that those presents should be given for the public use. He was overruled
by those who were more desirous of receiving their reward than he was,
and he accordingly, in common with the other diplomatists, accepted the

The various details of these negotiations have been related by the author
in other volumes, to which the present one is intended as a sequel. It
has been thought necessary merely to recall very briefly a few salient
passages in the career of the Advocate up to the period when the present
history really opens.

Their bearing upon subsequent events will easily be observed. The truce
was the work of Barneveld. It was detested by Maurice and by Maurice's

"I fear that our enemies and evil reports are the cause of many of our
difficulties," said the Advocate to the States' envoy in Paris, in 1606.
"You are to pay no heed to private advices. Believe and make others
believe that more than one half the inhabitants of the cities and in the
open country are inclined to peace. And I believe, in case of continuing
adversities, that the other half will not remain constant, principally
because the Provinces are robbed of all traffic, prosperity, and
navigation, through the actions of France and England. I have always
thought it for the advantage of his Majesty to sustain us in such wise as
would make us useful in his service. As to his remaining permanently at
peace with Spain, that would seem quite out of the question."

The King had long kept, according to treaty, a couple of French regiments
in the States' service, and furnished, or was bound to furnish, a certain
yearly sum for their support. But the expenses of the campaigning had
been rapidly increasing and the results as swiftly dwindling. The
Advocate now explained that, "without loss both of important places and
of reputation," the States could not help spending every month that they
took the field 200,000 florins over and above the regular contributions,
and some months a great deal more. This sum, he said, in nine months,
would more than eat up the whole subsidy of the King. If they were to be
in the field by March or beginning of April, they would require from him
an extraordinary sum of 200,000 crowns, and as much more in June or July.

Eighteen months later, when the magnificent naval victory of Heemskerk in
the Bay of Gibraltar had just made a startling interlude to the
languishing negotiations for peace, the Advocate again warned the French
King of the difficulty in which the Republic still laboured of carrying
on the mighty struggle alone. Spain was the common enemy of all. No peace
or hope was possible for the leading powers as long as Spain was
perpetually encamped in the very heart of Western Europe. The Netherlands
were not fighting their own battle merely, but that of freedom and
independence against the all-encroaching world-power. And their means to
carry on the conflict were dwindling, while at the same time there was a
favourable opportunity for cropping some fruit from their previous
labours and sacrifices.

"We are led to doubt," he wrote once more to the envoy in France,
"whether the King's full powers will come from Spain. This defeat is hard
for the Spaniards to digest. Meantime our burdens are quite above our
capacity, as you will understand by the enclosed statement, which is made
out with much exactness to show what is absolutely necessary for a
vigorous defence on land and a respectable position at sea to keep things
from entire confusion. The Provinces could raise means for the half of
this estimate. But, it is a great difference when the means differ one
half from the expenses. The sovereignst and most assured remedy would be
the one so often demanded, often projected, and sometimes almost prepared
for execution, namely that our neighbour kings, princes, and republics
should earnestly take the matter in hand and drive the Spaniards and
their adherents out of the Netherlands and over the mountains. Their own
dignity and security ought not to permit such great bodies of troops of
both belligerents permanently massed in the Netherlands. Still less ought
they to allow these Provinces to fall into the hands of the Spaniards,
whence they could with so much more power and convenience make war upon
all kings, princes, and republics. This must be prevented by one means or
another. It ought to be enough for every one that we have been between
thirty and forty years a firm bulwark against Spanish ambition. Our
constancy and patience ought to be strengthened by counsel and by deed in
order that we may exist; a Christian sympathy and a small assistance not
being sufficient. Believe and cause to be believed that the present
condition of our affairs requires more aid in counsel and money than ever
before, and that nothing could be better bestowed than to further this

"Messieurs Jeannin, Buzenval, and de Russy have been all here these
twelve days. We have firm hopes that other kings, princes, and republics
will not stay upon formalities, but will also visit the patients here in
order to administer sovereign remedies.

"Lend no ear to any flying reports. We say with the wise men over there,
'Metuo Danaos et dons ferentes.' We know our antagonists well, and trust
their hearts no more than before, 'sed ultra posse non est esse.' To
accept more burthens than we can pay for will breed military mutiny; to
tax the community above its strength will cause popular tumults,
especially in 'rebus adversis,' of which the beginnings were seen last
year, and without a powerful army the enemy is not to be withstood. I
have received your letters to the 17th May. My advice is to trust to his
upright proceedings and with patience to overcome all things. Thus shall
the detractors and calumniators best be confounded. Assure his Majesty
and his ministers that I will do my utmost to avert our ruin and his
Majesty's disservice."

The treaty was made, and from that time forth the antagonism between the
eminent statesman and the great military chieftain became inevitable. The
importance of the one seemed likely to increase day by day. The
occupation of the other for a time was over.

During the war Maurice had been, with exception of Henry IV., the most
considerable personage in Europe. He was surrounded with that visible
atmosphere of power the poison of which it is so difficult to resist, and
through the golden haze of which a mortal seems to dilate for the vulgar
eye into the supernatural. The attention of Christendom was perpetually
fixed upon him. Nothing like his sieges, his encampments, his military
discipline, his scientific campaigning had been seen before in modern
Europe. The youthful aristocracy from all countries thronged to his camp
to learn the game of war, for he had restored by diligent study of the
ancients much that was noble in that pursuit, and had elevated into an
art that which had long since degenerated into a system of butchery,
marauding, and rapine. And he had fought with signal success and
unquestionable heroism the most important and most brilliant pitched
battle of the age. He was a central figure of the current history of
Europe. Pagan nations looked up to him as one of the leading sovereigns
of Christendom. The Emperor of Japan addressed him as his brother
monarch, assured him that his subjects trading to that distant empire
should be welcomed and protected, and expressed himself ashamed that so
great a prince, whose name and fame had spread through the world, should
send his subjects to visit a country so distant and unknown, and offer
its emperor a friendship which he was unconscious of deserving.

He had been a commander of armies and a chief among men since he came to
man's estate, and he was now in the very vigour of life, in his
forty-second year. Of Imperial descent and closely connected by blood or
alliance with many of the most illustrious of reigning houses, the
acknowledged master of the most royal and noble of all sciences, he was
of the stuff of which kings were made, and belonged by what was then
accounted right divine to the family of kings. His father's death had
alone prevented his elevation to the throne of Holland, and such
possession of half the sovereignty of the United Netherlands would
probably have expanded into dominion over all the seven with a not
fantastic possibility of uniting the ten still obedient provinces into a
single realm. Such a kingdom would have been more populous and far
wealthier than contemporary Great Britain and Ireland. Maurice, then a
student at Leyden, was too young at that crisis, and his powers too
undeveloped to justify any serious attempt to place him in his father's

The Netherlands drifted into a confederacy of aristocratic republics, not
because they had planned a republic, but because they could not get a
king, foreign or native. The documents regarding the offer of the
sovereign countship to William remained in the possession of Maurice, and
a few years before the peace there had been a private meeting of leading
personages, of which Barneveld was the promoter and chief spokesman, to
take into consideration the propriety and possibility of conferring that
sovereignty upon the son which had virtually belonged to the father. The
obstacles were deemed so numerous, and especially the scheme seemed so
fraught with danger to Maurice, that it was reluctantly abandoned by his
best friends, among whom unquestionably was the Advocate.

There was no reason whatever why the now successful and mature soldier,
to whom the country was under such vast obligations, should not aspire to
the sovereignty. The Provinces had not pledged themselves to
republicanism, but rather to monarchy, and the crown, although secretly
coveted by Henry IV., could by no possibility now be conferred on any
other man than Maurice. It was no impeachment on his character that he
should nourish thoughts in which there was nothing criminal.

But the peace negotiations had opened a chasm. It was obvious enough that
Barneveld having now so long exercised great powers, and become as it
were the chief magistrate of an important commonwealth, would not be so
friendly as formerly to its conversion into a monarchy and to the
elevation of the great soldier to its throne. The Advocate had even been
sounded, cautiously and secretly, so men believed, by the
Princess-Dowager, Louise de Coligny, widow of William the silent, as to
the feasibility of procuring the sovereignty for Maurice. She had done
this at the instigation of Maurice, who had expressed his belief that the
favourable influence of the Advocate would make success certain and who
had represented to her that, as he was himself resolved never to marry,
the inheritance after his death would fall to her son Frederick Henry.
The Princess, who was of a most amiable disposition, adored her son.
Devoted to the House of Nassau and a great admirer of its chief, she had
a long interview with Barneveld, in which she urged the scheme upon his
attention without in any probability revealing that she had come to him
at the solicitation of Maurice.

The Advocate spoke to her with frankness and out of the depths of his
heart. He professed an ardent attachment to her family, a profound
reverence for the virtues, sacrifices, and achievements of her lamented
husband, and a warm desire to do everything to further the interests of
the son who had proved himself so worthy of his parentage.

But he proved to her that Maurice, in seeking the sovereignty, was
seeking his ruin. The Hollanders, he said, liked to be persuaded and not
forced. Having triumphantly shaken off the yoke of a powerful king, they
would scarcely consent now to accept the rule of any personal sovereign.
The desire to save themselves from the claws of Spain had led them
formerly to offer the dominion over them to various potentates. Now that
they had achieved peace and independence and were delivered from the
fears of Spanish ferocity and French intrigue, they shuddered at the
dangers from royal hands out of which they had at last escaped. He
believed that they would be capable of tearing in pieces any one who
might make the desired proposition. After all, he urged, Maurice was a
hundred times more fortunate as he was than if he should succeed in
desires so opposed to his own good. This splendour of sovereignty was a
false glare which would lead him to a precipice. He had now the power of
a sovereign without the envy which ever followed it. Having essentially
such power, he ought, like his father, to despise an empty name, which
would only make him hated. For it was well known that William the Silent
had only yielded to much solicitation, agreeing to accept that which then
seemed desirable for the country's good but to him was more than

Maurice was captain-general and admiral-general of five provinces. He
appointed to governments and to all military office. He had a share of
appointment to the magistracies. He had the same advantages and the same
authority as had been enjoyed in the Netherlands by the ancient sovereign
counts, by the dukes of Burgundy, by Emperor Charles V. himself.

Every one now was in favour of increasing his pensions, his salaries, his
material splendour. Should he succeed in seizing the sovereignty, men
would envy him even to the ribbands of his pages' and his lackeys' shoes.
He turned to the annals of Holland and showed the Princess that there had
hardly been a sovereign count against whom his subjects had not revolted,
marching generally into the very courtyard of the palace at the Hague in
order to take his life.

Convinced by this reasoning, Louise de Coligny had at once changed her
mind, and subsequently besought her stepson to give up a project sure to
be fatal to his welfare, his peace of mind, and the good of the country.
Maurice listened to her coldly, gave little heed to the Advocate's logic,
and hated him in his heart from that day forth.

The Princess remained loyal to Barneveld to the last.

Thus the foundation was laid of that terrible enmity which, inflamed by
theological passion, was to convert the period of peace into a hell, to
rend the Provinces asunder when they had most need of repose, and to lead
to tragical results for ever to be deplored. Already in 1607 Francis
Aerssens had said that the two had become so embroiled and things had
gone so far that one or the other would have to leave the country. He
permitted also the ridiculous statement to be made in his house at Paris,
that Henry IV. believed the Advocate to have become Spanish, and had
declared that Prince Maurice would do well to have him put into a sack
and thrown into the sea.

His life had been regularly divided into two halves, the campaigning
season and the period of winter quarters. In the one his business, and
his talk was of camps, marches, sieges, and battles only. In the other he
was devoted to his stud, to tennis, to mathematical and mechanical
inventions, and to chess, of which he was passionately fond, and which he
did not play at all well. A Gascon captain serving in the States' army
was his habitual antagonist in that game, and, although the stakes were
but a crown a game, derived a steady income out of his gains, which were
more than equal to his pay. The Prince was sulky when he lost, sitting,
when the candles were burned out and bed-time had arrived, with his hat
pulled over his brows, without bidding his guest good night, and leaving
him to find his way out as he best could; and, on the contrary, radiant
with delight when successful, calling for valets to light the departing
captain through the corridor, and accompanying him to the door of the
apartment himself. That warrior was accordingly too shrewd not to allow
his great adversary as fair a share of triumph as was consistent with
maintaining the frugal income on which he reckoned.

He had small love for the pleasures of the table, but was promiscuous and
unlicensed in his amours. He was methodical in his household
arrangements, and rather stingy than liberal in money matters. He
personally read all his letters, accounts, despatches, and other
documents trivial or important, but wrote few letters with his own hand,
so that, unlike his illustrious father's correspondence, there is little
that is characteristic to be found in his own. He was plain but not
shabby in attire, and was always dressed in exactly the same style,
wearing doublet and hose of brown woollen, a silk under vest, a short
cloak lined with velvet, a little plaited ruff on his neck, and very
loose boots. He ridiculed the smart French officers who, to show their
fine legs, were wont to wear such tight boots as made them perspire to
get into them, and maintained, in precept and practice, that a man should
be able to jump into his boots and mount and ride at a moment's notice.
The only ornaments he indulged in, except, of course, on state occasions,
were a golden hilt to his famous sword, and a rope of diamonds tied
around his felt hat.

He was now in the full flower of his strength and his fame, in his
forty-second year, and of a noble and martial presence. The face,
although unquestionably handsome, offered a sharp contrast within itself;
the upper half all intellect, the lower quite sensual. Fair hair growing
thin, but hardly tinged with grey, a bright, cheerful, and thoughtful
forehead, large hazel eyes within a singularly large orbit of brow; a
straight, thin, slightly aquiline, well-cut nose--such features were at
open variance with the broad, thick-lipped, sensual mouth, the heavy
pendant jowl, the sparse beard on the glistening cheek, and the
moleskin-like moustachio and chin tuft. Still, upon the whole, it was a
face and figure which gave the world assurance of a man and a commander
of men. Power and intelligence were stamped upon him from his birth.

Barneveld was tall and majestic of presence, with large quadrangular
face, austere, blue eyes looking authority and command, a vast forehead,
and a grizzled beard. Of fluent and convincing eloquence with tongue and
pen, having the power of saying much in few words, he cared much more for
the substance than the graces of speech or composition. This tendency was
not ill exemplified in a note of his written on a sheet of questions
addressed to him by a States' ambassador about to start on an important
mission, but a novice in his business, the answers to which questions
were to serve for his diplomatic instructions.

"Item and principally," wrote the Envoy, "to request of M. de Barneveld a
formulary or copy of the best, soundest, wisest, and best couched
despatches done by several preceding ambassadors in order to regulate
myself accordingly for the greater service of the Province and for my
uttermost reputation."

The Advocate's answer, scrawled in his nearly illegible hand, was--

"Unnecessary. The truth in shortest about matters of importance shall be
taken for good style."

With great love of power, which he was conscious of exerting with ease to
himself and for the good of the public, he had little personal vanity,
and not the smallest ambition of authorship. Many volumes might be
collected out of the vast accumulation of his writings now mouldering and
forgotten in archives. Had the language in which they are written become
a world's language, they would be worthy of attentive study, as
containing noble illustrations of the history and politics of his age,
with theories and sentiments often far in advance of his age. But he
cared not for style. "The truth in shortest about matters of importance"
was enough for him; but the world in general, and especially the world of
posterity, cares much for style. The vehicle is often prized more than
the freight. The name of Barneveld is fast fading out of men's memory.
The fame of his pupil and companion in fortune and misfortune, Hugo
Grotius, is ever green. But Grotius was essentially an author rather than
a statesman: he wrote for the world and posterity with all the love,
pride, and charm of the devotee of literature, and he composed his
noblest works in a language which is ever living because it is dead. Some
of his writings, epochmaking when they first appeared, are text-books
still familiar in every cultivated household on earth. Yet Barneveld was
vastly his superior in practical statesmanship, in law, in the science of
government, and above all in force of character, while certainly not his
equal in theology, nor making any pretensions to poetry. Although a ripe
scholar, he rarely wrote in Latin, and not often in French. His ambition
was to do his work thoroughly according to his view of duty, and to ask
God's blessing upon it without craving overmuch the applause of men.

Such were the two men, the soldier and the statesman. Would the Republic,
fortunate enough to possess two such magnificent and widely contrasted
capacities, be wise enough to keep them in its service, each
supplementing the other, and the two combining in a perfect whole?

Or was the great law of the Discords of the World, as potent as that
other principle of Universal Harmony and planetary motion which an
illustrious contemporary--that Wurtemberg astronomer, once a soldier of
the fierce Alva, now the half-starved astrologer of the brain-sick
Rudolph--was at that moment discovering, after "God had waited six
thousand years for him to do it," to prevail for the misery of the
Republic and shame of Europe? Time was to show.

The new state had forced itself into the family of sovereignties somewhat
to the displeasure of most of the Lord's anointed. Rebellious and
republican, it necessarily excited the jealousy of long-established and
hereditary governments.

The King of Spain had not formally acknowledged the independence of the
United Provinces. He had treated with them as free, and there was
supposed to be much virtue in the conjunction. But their sovereign
independence was virtually recognized by the world. Great nations had
entered into public and diplomatic relations and conventions with them,
and their agents at foreign courts were now dignified with the rank and
title of ambassadors.

The Spanish king had likewise refused to them the concession of the right
of navigation and commerce in the East Indies, but it was a matter of
notoriety that the absence of the word India, suppressed as it was in the
treaty, implied an immense triumph on the part of the States, and that
their flourishing and daily increasing commerce in the farthest East and
the imperial establishments already rising there were cause of envy and
jealousy not to Spain alone, but to friendly powers.

Yet the government of Great Britain affected to regard them as something
less than a sovereign state. Although Elizabeth had refused the
sovereignty once proffered to her, although James had united with Henry
IV. in guaranteeing the treaty just concluded between the States and
Spain, that monarch had the wonderful conception that the Republic was in
some sort a province of his own, because he still held the cautionary
towns in pledge for the loans granted by his predecessor. His agents at
Constantinople were instructed to represent the new state as unworthy to
accredit its envoys as those of an independent power. The Provinces were
represented as a collection of audacious rebels, a piratical scum of the
sea. But the Sultan knew his interests better than to incur the enmity of
this rising maritime power. The Dutch envoy declaring that he would
sooner throw himself into the Bosphorus than remain to be treated with
less consideration than that accorded to the ministers of all great
powers, the remonstrances of envious colleagues were hushed, and Haga was
received with all due honours.

Even at the court of the best friend of the Republic, the French king,
men looked coldly at the upstart commonwealth. Francis Aerssens, the keen
and accomplished minister of the States, resident in Paris for many
years, was received as ambassador after the truce with all the ceremonial
befitting the highest rank in the diplomatic service; yet Henry could not
yet persuade himself to look upon the power accrediting him as a
thoroughly organized commonwealth.

The English ambassador asked the King if he meant to continue his aid and
assistance to the States during the truce. "Yes," answered Henry.

"And a few years beyond it?"

"No. I do not wish to offend the King of Spain from mere gaiety of

"But they are free," replied the Ambassador; "the King of Spain could
have no cause for offence."

"They are free," said the King, "but not sovereign."--"Judge then," wrote
Aerssens to Barneveld, "how we shall be with the King of Spain at the end
of our term when our best friends make this distinction among themselves
to our disadvantage. They insist on making a difference between liberty
and sovereignty; considering liberty as a mean term between servitude and

"You would do well," continued the Dutch ambassador, "to use the word
'sovereignty' on all occasions instead of 'liberty.'" The hint was
significant and the advice sound.

The haughty republic of Venice, too, with its "golden Book" and its
pedigree of a thousand years, looked askance at the republic of yesterday
rising like herself out of lagunes and sand banks, and affecting to place
herself side by side with emperors, kings, and the lion of St. Mark. But
the all-accomplished council of that most serene commonwealth had far too
much insight and too wide experience in political combinations to make
the blunder of yielding to this aristocratic sentiment.

The natural enemy of the Pope, of Spain, of Austria, must of necessity be
the friend of Venice, and it was soon thought highly desirable to
intimate half officially that a legation from the States-General to the
Queen of the Adriatic, announcing the conclusion of the Twelve Years'
Truce, would be extremely well received.

The hint was given by the Venetian ambassador at Paris to Francis
Aerssens, who instantly recommended van der Myle, son-in-law of
Barneveld, as a proper personage to be entrusted with this important
mission. At this moment an open breach had almost occurred between Spain
and Venice, and the Spanish ambassador at Paris, Don Pedro de Toledo,
naturally very irate with Holland, Venice, and even with France, was
vehement in his demonstrations. The arrogant Spaniard had for some time
been employed in an attempt to negotiate a double marriage between the
Dauphin and the eldest daughter of Philip III., and between the eldest
son of that king and the Princess Elizabeth of France. An indispensable
but secret condition of this negotiation was the absolute renunciation by
France of its alliance and friendly relations with the United Provinces.
The project was in truth a hostile measure aimed directly at the life of
the Republic. Henry held firm however, and Don Pedro was about to depart
malcontent, his mission having totally failed. He chanced, when going to
his audience of leave-taking, after the arrival of his successor, Don
Inigo de Cardenas, to meet the Venetian ambassador, Antonio Foscarini. An
altercation took place between them, during which the Spaniard poured out
his wrath so vehemently, calling his colleague with neat alliteration "a
poltroon, a pantaloon, and a pig," that Henry heard him.

What Signor Antonio replied has not been preserved, but it is stated that
he was first to seek a reconciliation, not liking, he said, Spanish

Meantime the double marriage project was for a season at least suspended,
and the alliance between the two republics went forwards. Van der Myle,
appointed ambassador to Venice, soon afterwards arrived in Paris, where
he made a very favourable impression, and was highly lauded by Aerssens
in his daily correspondence with Barneveld. No portentous shadow of
future and fatal discord between those statesmen fell upon the cheerful
scene. Before the year closed, he arrived at his post, and was received
with great distinction, despite the obstacles thrown in his way by Spain
and other powers; the ambassador of France itself, de Champigny, having
privately urged that he ought to be placed on the same footing with the
envoys of Savoy and of Florence.

Van der Myle at starting committed the trifling fault of styling the
States-General "most illustrious" (illustrissimi) instead of "most
serene," the title by which Venice designated herself.

The fault was at once remedied, however, Priuli the Doge seating the
Dutch ambassador on his right hand at his solemn reception, and giving
directions that van der Myle should be addressed as Excellency, his post
being assigned him directly after his seniors, the ambassadors of Pope,
Emperor, and kings. The same precedence was settled in Paris, while
Aerssens, who did not consider himself placed in a position of greater
usefulness by his formal installation as ambassador, received private
intimation from Henry, with whom he was on terms of great confidence and
intimacy, that he should have private access to the King as frequently
and as in formally as before. The theory that the ambassador,
representing the personality of his sovereign, may visit the monarch to
whom he is accredited, without ceremony and at his own convenience, was
as rarely carried into practice in the sixteenth century as in the
nineteenth, while on the other hand Aerssens, as the private and
confidential agent of a friendly but not publicly recognized
commonwealth, had been for many years in almost daily personal
communication with the King.

It is also important to note that the modern fallacy according to which
republics being impersonal should not be represented by ambassadors had
not appeared in that important epoch in diplomatic history. On the
contrary, the two great republics of the age, Holland and Venice,
vindicated for themselves, with as much dignity and reason as success,
their right to the highest diplomatic honours.

The distinction was substantial not shadowy; those haughty commonwealths
not considering it advantageous or decorous that their representatives
should for want of proper official designations be ranked on great
ceremonial occasions with the ministers of petty Italian principalities
or of the three hundred infinitesimal sovereignties of Germany.

It was the advice of the French king especially, who knew politics and
the world as well as any man, that the envoys of the Republic which he
befriended and which stood now on the threshold of its official and
national existence, should assert themselves at every court with the
self-reliance and courtesy becoming the functionaries of a great power.
That those ministers were second to the representatives of no other
European state in capacity and accomplishment was a fact well known to
all who had dealings with them, for the States required in their
diplomatic representatives knowledge of history and international law,
modern languages, and the classics, as well as familiarity with political
customs and social courtesies; the breeding of gentlemen in short, and
the accomplishments of scholars. It is both a literary enjoyment and a
means of historical and political instruction to read after the lapse of
centuries their reports and despatches. They worthily compare as works of
art with those diplomatic masterpieces the letters and 'Relazioni' of the
Venetian ambassadors; and it is well known that the earlier and some of
the most important treatises on public and international law ever written
are from the pens of Hollanders, who indeed may be said to have invented
that science.'

The Republic having thus steadily shouldered its way into the family of
nations was soon called upon to perform a prominent part in the world's
affairs. More than in our own epoch there was a close political
commingling of such independent states as held sympathetic views on the
great questions agitating Europe. The policy of isolation so wisely and
successfully carried out by our own trans-Atlantic commonwealth was
impossible for the Dutch republic, born as it was of a great religious
schism, and with its narrow territory wedged between the chief political
organizations of Christendom. Moreover the same jealousy on the part of
established powers which threw so many obstacles in its path to
recognized sovereignty existed in the highest degree between its two
sponsors and allies, France and England, in regard to their respective
relations to the new state.

"If ever there was an obliged people," said Henry's secretary of state,
Villeroy, to Aerssens, "then it is you Netherlanders to his Majesty. He
has converted your war into peace, and has never abandoned you. It is for
you now to show your affection and gratitude."

In the time of Elizabeth, and now in that of her successor, there was
scarcely a day in which the envoys of the States were not reminded of the
immense load of favour from England under which they tottered, and of the
greater sincerity and value of English friendship over that of France.

Sully often spoke to Aerssens on the subject in even stronger language,
deeming himself the chief protector and guardian angel of the Republic,
to whom they were bound by ties of eternal gratitude. "But if the
States," he said, "should think of caressing the King of England more
than him, or even of treating him on an equality with his Majesty, Henry
would be very much affronted. He did not mean that they should neglect
the friendship of the King of Britain, but that they should cultivate it
after and in subordination to his own, for they might be sure that James
held all things indifferent, their ruin or their conservation, while his
Majesty had always manifested the contrary both by his counsels and by
the constant furnishing of supplies."

Henry of France and Navarre--soldier, statesman, wit, above all a man and
every inch a king--brimful of human vices, foibles, and humours, and
endowed with those high qualities of genius which enabled him to mould
events and men by his unscrupulous and audacious determination to conform
to the spirit of his times which no man better understood than himself,
had ever been in such close relations with the Netherlands as to seem in
some sort their sovereign.

James Stuart, emerging from the school of Buchanan and the atmosphere of
Calvinism in which he had been bred, now reigned in those more sunny and
liberal regions where Elizabeth so long had ruled. Finding himself at
once, after years of theological study, face to face with a foreign
commonwealth and a momentous epoch, in which politics were so commingled
with divinity as to offer daily the most puzzling problems, the royal
pedant hugged himself at beholding so conspicuous a field for his

To turn a throne into a pulpit, and amaze mankind with his learning, was
an ambition most sweet to gratify. The Calvinist of Scotland now
proclaimed his deadly hatred of Puritans in England and Holland, and
denounced the Netherlanders as a pack of rebels whom it always pleased
him to irritate, and over whom he too claimed, through the possession of
the cautionary towns, a kind of sovereignty. Instinctively feeling that
in the rough and unlovely husk of Puritanism was enclosed the germ of a
wider human liberty than then existed, he was determined to give battle
to it with his tongue, his pen, with everything but his sword.

Doubtless the States had received most invaluable assistance from both
France and England, but the sovereigns of those countries were too apt to
forget that it was their own battles, as well as those of the Hollanders,
that had been fought in Flanders and Brabant. But for the alliance and
subsidies of the faithful States, Henry would not so soon have ascended
the throne of his ancestors, while it was matter of history that the
Spanish government had for years been steadily endeavouring to subjugate
England not so much for the value of the conquest in itself as for a
stepping-stone to the recovery of the revolted Netherlands.

For the dividing line of nations or at least of national alliances was a
frontier not of language but of faith. Germany was but a geographical
expression. The union of Protestantism, subscribed by a large proportion
of its three hundred and seven sovereigns, ran zigzag through the
country, a majority probably of the people at that moment being opposed
to the Roman Church.

It has often been considered amazing that Protestantism having
accomplished so much should have fallen backwards so soon, and yielded
almost undisputed sway in vast regions to the long dominant church. But
in truth there is nothing surprising about it. Catholicism was and
remained a unit, while its opponents were eventually broken up into
hundreds of warring and politically impotent organizations. Religious
faith became distorted into a weapon for selfish and greedy territorial
aggrandizement in the hands of Protestant princes. "Cujus regio ejus
religio" was the taunt hurled in the face of the imploring Calvinists of
France and the Low Countries by the arrogant Lutherans of Germany. Such a
sword smote the principle of religious freedom and mutual toleration into
the dust, and rendered them comparatively weak in the conflict with the
ancient and splendidly organized church.

The Huguenots of France, notwithstanding the protection grudgingly
afforded them by their former chieftain, were dejected and discomfited by
his apostasy, and Henry, placed in a fearfully false position, was an
object of suspicion to both friends and foes. In England it is difficult
to say whether a Jesuit or a Puritan was accounted the more noxious
animal by the dominant party.

In the United Provinces perhaps one half the population was either openly
or secretly attached to the ancient church, while among the Protestant
portion a dire and tragic convulsion was about to break forth, which for
a time at least was to render Remonstrants and Contra-Remonstrants more
fiercely opposed to each other than to Papists.

The doctrine of predestination in its sternest and strictest sense had
long been the prevailing one in the Reformed Church of the revolted
Netherlands, as in those of Scotland, France, Geneva, and the Palatinate.
No doubt up to the period of the truce a majority had acquiesced in that
dogma and its results, although there had always been many preachers to
advocate publicly a milder creed. It was not until the appointment of
Jacob Arminius to the professorship of theology at Leyden, in the place
of Francis Junius, in the year 1603, that a danger of schism in the
Church, seemed impending. Then rose the great Gomarus in his wrath, and
with all the powers of splendid eloquence, profound learning, and the
intense bigotry of conviction, denounced the horrible heresy. Conferences
between the two before the Court of Holland, theological tournaments
between six champions on a side, gallantly led by their respective
chieftains, followed, with the usual result of confirming both parties in
the conviction that to each alone belonged exclusively the truth.

The original influence of Arminius had however been so great that when
the preachers of Holland had been severally called on by a synod to sign
the Heidelberg Catechism, many of them refused. Here was open heresy and
revolt. It was time for the true church to vindicate its authority. The
great war with Spain had been made, so it was urged and honestly
believed, not against the Inquisition, not to prevent Netherlanders from
being burned and buried alive by the old true church, not in defence of
ancient charters, constitutions, and privileges--the precious result of
centuries of popular resistance to despotic force--not to maintain an
amount of civil liberty and local self-government larger in extent than
any then existing in the world, not to assert equality of religion for
all men, but simply to establish the true religion, the one church, the
only possible creed; the creed and church of Calvin.

It is perfectly certain that the living fire which glowed in the veins of
those hot gospellers had added intense enthusiasm to the war spirit
throughout that immense struggle. It is quite possible that without that
enthusiasm the war might not have been carried on to its successful end.
But it is equally certain that Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, and
devotees of many other creeds, had taken part in the conflict in defence
both of hearth and altar, and that without that aid the independence of
the Provinces would never have been secured.

Yet before the war was ended the arrogance of the Reformed priesthood had
begun to dig a chasm. Men who with William the Silent and Barneveld had
indulged in the vision of religious equality as a possible result of so
much fighting against the Holy Inquisition were perhaps to be

Preachers under the influence of the gentle Arminius having dared to
refuse signing the Creed were to be dealt with. It was time to pass from
censure to action.

Heresy must be trampled down. The churches called for a national synod,
and they did this as by divine right. "My Lords the States-General must
observe," they said, "that this assembly now demanded is not a human
institution but an ordinance of the Holy Ghost in its community, not
depending upon any man's authority, but proceeding from God to the
community." They complained that the true church was allowed to act only
through the civil government, and was thus placed at a disadvantage
compared even with Catholics and other sects, whose proceedings were
winked at. "Thus the true church suffered from its apparent and public
freedom, and hostile sects gained by secret connivance."

A crisis was fast approaching. The one church claimed infallibility and
superiority to the civil power. The Holy Ghost was placed in direct,
ostentatious opposition to My Lords the States-General. It was for
Netherlanders to decide whether, after having shaken off the Holy
Inquisition, and subjected the old true church to the public authority,
they were now to submit to the imperious claims of the new true church.

There were hundreds of links connecting the Church with the State. In
that day a divorce between the two was hardly possible or conceivable.
The system of Congregationalism so successfully put into practice soon
afterwards in the wilderness of New England, and to which so much of
American freedom political as well as religious is due, was not easy to
adopt in an old country like the Netherlands. Splendid churches and
cathedrals, the legal possession of which would be contended for by rival
sects, could scarcely be replaced by temporary structures of lath and
plaster, or by humble back parlours of mechanics' shops. There were
questions of property of complicated nature. Not only the states and the
communities claimed in rivalry the ownership of church property, but many
private families could show ancient advowsons and other claims to present
or to patronize, derived from imperial or ducal charters.

So long as there could be liberty of opinion within the Church upon
points not necessarily vital, open schism could be avoided, by which the
cause of Protestantism throughout Europe must be weakened, while at the
same time subordination of the priesthood to the civil authority would be
maintained. But if the Holy Ghost, through the assembled clergy, were to
dictate an iron formulary to which all must conform, to make laws for
church government which every citizen must obey, and to appoint preachers
and school-masters from whom alone old and young could receive
illumination and instruction religious or lay, a theocracy would be
established which no enlightened statesman could tolerate.

The States-General agreed to the synod, but imposed a condition that
there should be a revision of Creed and Catechism. This was thundered
down with one blast. The condition implied a possibility that the vile
heresy of Arminius might be correct. An unconditional synod was demanded.
The Heidelberg Creed and Netherland Catechism were sacred, infallible,
not to be touched. The answer of the government, through the mouth of
Barneveld, was that "to My Lords the States-General as the foster-fathers
and protectors of the churches every right belonged."

Thus far the States-General under the leadership of the Advocate were
unanimous. The victory remained with State against Church. But very soon
after the truce had been established, and men had liberty to devote
themselves to peaceful pursuits, the ecclesiastical trumpet again sounded
far and wide, and contending priests and laymen rushed madly to the fray.
The Remonstrance and Contra-Remonstrance, and the appointment of Conrad
Vorstius, a more abominable heretic than Arminius, to the vacant chair of
Arminius--a step which drove Gomarus and the Gomarites to frenzy,
although Gomarus and Vorstius remained private and intimate friends to
the last--are matters briefly to be mentioned on a later page.

Thus to the four chief actors in the politico-religious drama, soon to be
enacted as an interlude to an eighty years' war, were assigned parts at
first sight inconsistent with their private convictions. The King of
France, who had often abjured his religion, and was now the best of
Catholics, was denounced ferociously in every Catholic pulpit in
Christendom as secretly an apostate again, and the open protector of
heretics and rebels. But the cheerful Henry troubled himself less than he
perhaps had cause to do with these thunderblasts. Besides, as we shall
soon see, he had other objects political and personal to sway his

James the ex-Calvinist, crypto-Arminian, pseudo-Papist, and avowed
Puritan hater, was girding on his armour to annihilate Arminians and to
defend and protect Puritans in Holland, while swearing that in England he
would pepper them and harry them and hang them and that he would even
like to bury them alive.

Barneveld, who turned his eyes, as much as in such an inflammatory age it
was possible, from subtle points of theology, and relied on his
great-grandfather's motto of humility, "Nil scire tutissima fides" was
perhaps nearer to the dogma of the dominant Reformed Church than he knew,
although always the consistent and strenuous champion of the civil
authority over Church as well as State.

Maurice was no theologian. He was a steady churchgoer, and his favorite
divine, the preacher at his court chapel, was none other than
Uytenbogaert. The very man who was instantly to be the champion of the
Arminians, the author of the Remonstrance, the counsellor and comrade of
Barneveld and Grotius, was now sneered at by the Gomarites as the "Court
Trumpeter." The preacher was not destined to change his opinions. Perhaps
the Prince might alter. But Maurice then paid no heed to the great point
at issue, about which all the Netherlanders were to take each other by
the throat--absolute predestination. He knew that the Advocate had
refused to listen to his stepmother's suggestion as to his obtaining the
sovereignty. "He knew nothing of predestination," he was wont to say,
"whether it was green or whether it was blue. He only knew that his pipe
and the Advocate's were not likely to make music together." This much of
predestination he did know, that if the Advocate and his friends were to
come to open conflict with the Prince of Orange-Nassau, the conqueror of
Nieuwpoort, it was predestined to go hard with the Advocate and his

The theological quibble did not interest him much, and he was apt to
blunder about it.

"Well, preacher," said he one day to Albert Huttenus, who had come to him
to intercede for a deserter condemned to be hanged, "are you one of those
Arminians who believe that one child is born to salvation and another to

Huttenus, amazed to the utmost at the extraordinary question, replied,
"Your Excellency will be graciously pleased to observe that this is not
the opinion of those whom one calls by the hateful name of Arminians, but
the opinion of their adversaries."

"Well, preacher," rejoined Maurice, "don't you think I know better?" And
turning to Count Lewis William, Stadholder of Friesland, who was present,
standing by the hearth with his hand on a copper ring of the
chimneypiece, he cried,

"Which is right, cousin, the preacher or I?"

"No, cousin," answered Count Lewis, "you are in the wrong."

Thus to the Catholic League organized throughout Europe in solid and
consistent phalanx was opposed the Great Protestant Union, ardent and
enthusiastic in detail, but undisciplined, disobedient, and inharmonious
as a whole.

The great principle, not of religious toleration, which is a phrase of
insult, but of religious equality, which is the natural right of mankind,
was to be evolved after a lapse of, additional centuries out of the
elemental conflict which had already lasted so long. Still later was the
total divorce of State and Church to be achieved as the final
consummation of the great revolution. Meantime it was almost inevitable
that the privileged and richly endowed church, with ecclesiastical armies
and arsenals vastly superior to anything which its antagonist could
improvise, should more than hold its own.

At the outset of the epoch which now occupies our attention, Europe was
in a state of exhaustion and longing for repose. Spain had submitted to
the humiliation of a treaty of truce with its rebellious subjects which
was substantially a recognition of their independence. Nothing could be
more deplorable than the internal condition of the country which claimed
to be mistress of the world and still aspired to universal monarchy.

It had made peace because it could no longer furnish funds for the war.
The French ambassador, Barante, returning from Madrid, informed his
sovereign that he had often seen officers in the army prostrating
themselves on their knees in the streets before their sovereign as he
went to mass, and imploring him for payment of their salaries, or at
least an alms to keep them from starving, and always imploring in vain.

The King, who was less than a cipher, had neither capacity to feel
emotion, nor intelligence to comprehend the most insignificant affair of
state. Moreover the means were wanting to him even had he been disposed
to grant assistance. The terrible Duke of Lerma was still his inexorably
lord and master, and the secretary of that powerful personage, who kept
an open shop for the sale of offices of state both high and low, took
care that all the proceeds should flow into the coffers of the Duke and
his own lap instead of the royal exchequer.

In France both king and people declared themselves disgusted with war.
Sully disapproved of the treaty just concluded between Spain and the
Netherlands, feeling sure that the captious and equivocal clauses
contained in it would be interpreted to the disadvantage of the Republic
and of the Reformed religion whenever Spain felt herself strong enough to
make the attempt. He was especially anxious that the States should make
no concessions in regard to the exercise of the Catholic worship within
their territory, believing that by so doing they would compromise their
political independence besides endangering the cause of Protestantism
everywhere. A great pressure was put upon Sully that moment by the King
to change his religion.

"You will all be inevitably ruined if you make concessions in this
regard," said he to Aerssens. "Take example by me. I should be utterly
undone if I had listened to any overture on this subject."

Nevertheless it was the opinion of the astute and caustic envoy that the
Duke would be forced to yield at last. The Pope was making great efforts
to gain him, and thus to bring about the extirpation of Protestantism in
France. And the King, at that time much under the influence of the
Jesuits, had almost set his heart on the conversion. Aerssens insinuated
that Sully was dreading a minute examination into the affairs of his
administration of the finances--a groundless calumny--and would be thus
forced to comply. Other enemies suggested that nothing would effect this
much desired apostasy but the office of Constable of France, which it was
certain would never be bestowed on him.

At any rate it was very certain that Henry at this period was bent on

"Make your account," said Aerssens to Barneveld, as the time for signing
the truce drew nigh, "on this indubitable foundation that the King is
determined against war, whatever pretences he may make. His bellicose
demeanour has been assumed only to help forward our treaty, which he
would never have favoured, and ought never to have favoured, if he had
not been too much in love with peace. This is a very important secret if
we manage it discreetly, and a very dangerous one if our enemies discover

Sully would have much preferred that the States should stand out for a
peace rather than for a truce, and believed it might have been obtained
if the King had not begun the matter so feebly, and if he had let it be
understood that he would join his arms to those of the Provinces in case
of rupture.

He warned the States very strenuously that the Pope, and the King of
Spain, and a host of enemies open and covert, were doing their host to
injure them at the French court. They would find little hindrance in this
course if the Republic did not show its teeth, and especially if it did
not stiffly oppose all encroachments of the Roman religion, without even
showing any deference to the King in this regard, who was much importuned
on the subject.

He advised the States to improve the interval of truce by restoring order
to their finances and so arranging their affairs that on the resumption
of hostilities, if come they must, their friends might be encouraged to
help them, by the exhibition of thorough vigour on their part.

France then, although utterly indisposed for war at that moment, was
thoroughly to be relied on as a friend and in case of need an ally, so
long as it was governed by its present policy. There was but one king
left in Europe since the death of Elizabeth of England.

But Henry was now on the abhorred threshold of old age which he
obstinately refused to cross.

There is something almost pathetic, in spite of the censure which much of
his private life at this period provokes, in the isolation which now
seemed his lot.

Deceived and hated by his wife and his mistresses, who were conspiring
with each other and with his ministers, not only against his policy but
against his life; with a vile Italian adventurer, dishonouring his
household, entirely dominating the queen, counteracting the royal
measures, secretly corresponding, by assumed authority, with Spain, in
direct violation of the King's instructions to his ambassadors, and
gorging himself with wealth and offices at the expense of everything
respectable in France; surrounded by a pack of malignant and greedy
nobles, who begrudged him his fame, his authority, his independence;
without a home, and almost without a friend, the Most Christian King in
these latter days led hardly as merry a life as when fighting years long
for his crown, at the head of his Gascon chivalry, the beloved chieftain
of Huguenots.

Of the triumvirate then constituting his council, Villeroy, Sillery, and
Sully, the two first were ancient Leaguers, and more devoted at heart to
Philip of Spain than to Henry of France and Navarre.

Both silent, laborious, plodding, plotting functionaries, thriftily
gathering riches; skilled in routine and adepts at intrigue; steady
self-seekers, and faithful to office in which their lives had passed,
they might be relied on at any emergency to take part against their
master, if to ruin would prove more profitable than to serve him.

There was one man who was truer to Henry than Henry had been to himself.
The haughty, defiant, austere grandee, brave soldier, sagacious
statesman, thrifty financier, against whom the poisoned arrows of
religious hatred, envious ambition, and petty court intrigue were daily
directed, who watched grimly over the exchequer confided to him, which
was daily growing fuller in despite of the cormorants who trembled at his
frown; hard worker, good hater, conscientious politician, who filled his
own coffers without dishonesty, and those of the state without tyranny;
unsociable, arrogant; pious, very avaricious, and inordinately vain,
Maximilian de Bethune, Duke of Sully, loved and respected Henry as no man
or woman loved and respected him. In truth, there was but one living
being for whom the Duke had greater reverence and affection than for the
King, and that was the Duke of Sully himself.

At this moment he considered himself, as indeed he was, in full
possession of his sovereign's confidence. But he was alone in this
conviction. Those about the court, men like Epernon and his creatures,
believed the great financier on the brink of perdition. Henry, always the
loosest of talkers even in regard to his best friends, had declared, on
some temporary vexation in regard to the affair between Aiguillon and
Balagny, that he would deal with the Duke as with the late Marshal de
Biron, and make him smaller than he had ever made him great: goading him
on this occasion with importunities, almost amounting to commands, that
both he and his son should forthwith change their religion or expect
instant ruin. The blow was so severe that Sully shut himself up, refused
to see anyone, and talked of retiring for good to his estates. But he
knew, and Henry knew, how indispensable he was, and the anger of the
master was as shortlived as the despair of the minister.

There was no living statesman for whom Henry had a more sincere respect
than for the Advocate of Holland. "His Majesty admires and greatly extols
your wisdom, which he judges necessary for the preservation of our State;
deeming you one of the rare and sage counsellors of the age." It is true
that this admiration was in part attributed to the singular coincidence
of Barneveld's views of policy with the King's own. Sully, on his part,
was a severe critic of that policy. He believed that better terms might
have been exacted from Spain in the late negotiations, and strongly
objected to the cavilling and equivocal language of the treaty. Rude in
pen as in speech, he expressed his mind very freely in his conversation
and correspondence with Henry in regard to leading personages and great
affairs, and made no secret of his opinions to the States' ambassador.

He showed his letters in which he had informed the King that he ought
never to have sanctioned the truce without better securities than
existed, and that the States would never have moved in any matter without
him. It would have been better to throw himself into a severe war than to
see the Republic perish. He further expressed the conviction that Henry
ought to have such authority over the Netherlands that they would embrace
blindly whatever counsel he chose to give them, even if they saw in it
their inevitable ruin; and this not so much from remembrance of
assistance rendered by him, but from the necessity in which they should
always feel of depending totally upon him.

"You may judge, therefore," concluded Aerssens, "as to how much we can
build on such foundations as these. I have been amazed at these frank
communications, for in those letters he spares neither My Lords the
States, nor his Excellency Prince Maurice, nor yourself; giving his
judgment of each of you with far too much freedom and without sufficient

Thus the alliance between the Netherlands and France, notwithstanding
occasional traces of caprice and flaws of personal jealousy, was on the
whole sincere, for it was founded on the surest foundation of
international friendship, the self-interest of each. Henry, although
boasting of having bought Paris with a mass, knew as well as his worst
enemy that in that bargain he had never purchased the confidence of the
ancient church, on whose bosom he had flung himself with so much dramatic
pomp. His noble position, as champion of religious toleration, was not
only unappreciated in an age in which each church and every sect
arrogated to itself a monopoly of the truth, but it was one in which he
did not himself sincerely believe.

After all, he was still the chieftain of the Protestant Union, and,
although Eldest Son of the Church, was the bitter antagonist of the
League and the sworn foe to the House of Austria. He was walking through
pitfalls with a crowd of invisible but relentless foes dogging his every
footstep. In his household or without were daily visions of dagger and
bowl, and he felt himself marching to his doom. How could the man on whom
the heretic and rebellious Hollanders and the Protestant princes of
Germany relied as on their saviour escape the unutterable wrath and the
patient vengeance of a power that never forgave?

In England the jealousy of the Republic and of France as co-guardian and
protector of the Republic was even greater than in France. Though placed
by circumstances in the position of ally to the Netherlands and enemy to
Spain, James hated the Netherlands and adored Spain. His first thought on
escaping the general destruction to which the Gunpowder Plot was to have
involved himself and family and all the principal personages of the realm
seems to have been to exculpate Spain from participation in the crime.
His next was to deliver a sermon to Parliament, exonerating the Catholics
and going out of his way to stigmatize the Puritans as entertaining
doctrines which should be punished with fire. As the Puritans had
certainly not been accused of complicity with Guy Fawkes or Garnet, this
portion of the discourse was at least superfluous. But James loathed
nothing so much as a Puritan. A Catholic at heart, he would have been the
warmest ally of the League had he only been permitted to be Pope of Great
Britain. He hated and feared a Jesuit, not for his religious doctrines,
for with these he sympathized, but for his political creed. He liked not
that either Roman Pontiff or British Presbyterian should abridge his
heaven-born prerogative. The doctrine of Papal superiority to temporal
sovereigns was as odious to him as Puritan rebellion to the hierarchy of
which he was the chief. Moreover, in his hostility to both Papists and
Presbyterians, there was much of professional rivalry. Having been
deprived by the accident of birth of his true position as theological
professor, he lost no opportunity of turning his throne into a pulpit and
his sceptre into a controversial pen.

Henry of France, who rarely concealed his contempt for Master Jacques, as
he called him, said to the English ambassador, on receiving from him one
of the King's books, and being asked what he thought of it--"It is not
the business of us kings to write, but to fight. Everybody should mind
his own business, but it is the vice of most men to wish to appear
learned in matters of which they are ignorant."

The flatterers of James found their account in pandering to his
sacerdotal and royal vanity. "I have always believed," said the Lord
Chancellor, after hearing the King argue with and browbeat a Presbyterian
deputation, "that the high-priesthood and royalty ought to be united, but
I never witnessed the actual junction till now, after hearing the learned
discourse of your Majesty." Archbishop Whitgift, grovelling still lower,
declared his conviction that James, in the observations he had deigned to
make, had been directly inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Nothing could be more illogical and incoherent with each other than his
theological and political opinions. He imagined himself a defender of the
Protestant faith, while hating Holland and fawning on the House of

In England he favoured Arminianism, because the Anglican Church
recognized for its head the temporal chief of the State. In Holland he
vehemently denounced the Arminians, indecently persecuting their
preachers and statesmen, who were contending for exactly the same
principle--the supremacy of State over Church. He sentenced Bartholomew
Legate to be burned alive in Smithfield as a blasphemous heretic, and did
his best to compel the States of Holland to take the life of Professor
Vorstius of Leyden. He persecuted the Presbyterians in England as
furiously as he defended them in Holland. He drove Bradford and Carver
into the New England wilderness, and applauded Gomarus and Walaeus and
the other famous leaders of the Presbyterian party in the Netherlands
with all his soul and strength.

He united with the French king in negotiations for Netherland
independence, while denouncing the Provinces as guilty of criminal
rebellion against their lawful sovereign.

"He pretends," said Jeannin, "to assist in bringing about the peace, and
nevertheless does his best openly to prevent it."

Richardot declared that the firmness of the King of Spain proceeded
entirely from reliance on the promise of James that there should be no
acknowledgment in the treaty of the liberty of the States. Henry wrote to
Jeannin that he knew very well "what that was capable of, but that he
should not be kept awake by anything he could do."

As a king he spent his reign--so much of it as could be spared from
gourmandizing, drunkenness, dalliance with handsome minions of his own
sex, and theological pursuits--in rescuing the Crown from dependence on
Parliament; in straining to the utmost the royal prerogative; in
substituting proclamations for statutes; in doing everything in his
power, in short, to smooth the path for his successor to the scaffold. As
father of a family he consecrated many years of his life to the wondrous
delusion of the Spanish marriages.

The Gunpowder Plot seemed to have inspired him with an insane desire for
that alliance, and few things in history are more amazing than the
persistency with which he pursued the scheme, until the pursuit became
not only ridiculous, but impossible.

With such a man, frivolous, pedantic, conceited, and licentious, the
earnest statesmen of Holland were forced into close alliance. It is
pathetic to see men like Barneveld and Hugo Grotius obliged, on great
occasions of state, to use the language of respect and affection to one
by whom they were hated, and whom they thoroughly despised.

But turning away from France, it was in vain for them to look for kings
or men either among friends or foes. In Germany religious dissensions
were gradually ripening into open war, and it would be difficult to
imagine a more hopelessly incompetent ruler than the man who was
nominally chief of the Holy Roman Realm. Yet the distracted Rudolph was
quite as much an emperor as the chaos over which he was supposed to
preside was an empire. Perhaps the very worst polity ever devised by
human perverseness was the system under which the great German race was
then writhing and groaning. A mad world with a lunatic to govern it; a
democracy of many princes, little and big, fighting amongst each other,
and falling into daily changing combinations as some masterly or
mischievous hand whirled the kaleidoscope; drinking Rhenish by hogsheads,
and beer by the tun; robbing churches, dictating creeds to their
subjects, and breaking all the commandments themselves; a people at the
bottom dimly striving towards religious freedom and political life out of
abject social, ecclesiastical, and political serfdom, and perhaps even
then dumbly feeling within its veins, with that prophetic instinct which
never abandons great races, a far distant and magnificent Future of
national unity and Imperial splendour, the very reverse of the confusion
which was then the hideous Present; an Imperial family at top with many
heads and slender brains; a band of brothers and cousins wrangling,
intriguing, tripping up each others' heels, and unlucky Rudolph, in his
Hradschin, looking out of window over the peerless Prague, spread out in
its beauteous landscape of hill and dale, darkling forest, dizzy cliffs,
and rushing river, at his feet, feebly cursing the unhappy city for its
ingratitude to an invisible and impotent sovereign; his excellent brother
Matthias meanwhile marauding through the realms and taking one crown
after another from his poor bald head.

It would be difficult to depict anything more precisely what an emperor
in those portentous times should not be. He collected works of art of
many kinds--pictures, statues, gems. He passed his days in his galleries
contemplating in solitary grandeur these treasures, or in his stables,
admiring a numerous stud of horses which he never drove or rode.
Ambassadors and ministers of state disguised themselves as grooms and
stable-boys to obtain accidental glimpses of a sovereign who rarely
granted audiences. His nights were passed in star-gazing with Tycho de
Brake, or with that illustrious Suabian whose name is one of the great
lights and treasures of the world. But it was not to study the laws of
planetary motion nor to fathom mysteries of divine harmony that the
monarch stood with Kepler in the observatory. The influence of countless
worlds upon the destiny of one who, by capricious accident, if accident
ever exists in history, had been entrusted with the destiny of so large a
portion of one little world; the horoscope, not of the Universe, but of
himself; such were the limited purposes with which the Kaiser looked upon
the constellations.

For the Catholic Rudolph had received the Protestant Kepler, driven from
Tubingen because Lutheran doctors, knowing from Holy Writ that the sun
had stood still in Ajalon, had denounced his theory of planetary motion.
His mother had just escaped being burned as a witch, and the world owes a
debt of gratitude to the Emperor for protecting the astrologer, when
enlightened theologians might, perhaps, have hanged the astronomer.

A red-faced, heavy fowled, bald-headed, somewhat goggle-eyed old
gentleman, Rudolph did his best to lead the life of a hermit, and escape
the cares of royalty. Timid by temperament, yet liable to fits of
uncontrollable anger, he broke his furniture to pieces when irritated,
and threw dishes that displeased him in his butler's face, but left
affairs of state mainly to his valet, who earned many a penny by selling
the Imperial signature.

He had just signed the famous "Majestatsbrief," by which he granted vast
privileges to the Protestants of Bohemia, and had bitten the pen to
pieces in a paroxysm of anger, after dimly comprehending the extent of
the concessions which he had made.

There were hundreds of sovereign states over all of which floated the
shadowy and impalpable authority of an Imperial crown scarcely fixed on
the head of any one of the rival brethren and cousins; there was a
confederation of Protestants, with the keen-sighted and ambitious
Christian of Anhalt acting as its chief, and dreaming of the Bohemian
crown; there was the just-born Catholic League, with the calm,
far-seeing, and egotistical rather than self-seeking Maximilian at its
head; each combination extending over the whole country, stamped with
imbecility of action from its birth, and perverted and hampered by
inevitable jealousies. In addition to all these furrows ploughed by the
very genius of discord throughout the unhappy land was the wild and
secret intrigue with which Leopold, Archduke and Bishop, dreaming also of
the crown of Wenzel, was about to tear its surface as deeply as he dared.

Thus constituted were the leading powers of Europe in the earlier part of
1609--the year in which a peaceful period seemed to have begun. To those
who saw the entangled interests of individuals, and the conflict of
theological dogmas and religious and political intrigue which furnished
so much material out of which wide-reaching schemes of personal ambition
could be spun, it must have been obvious that the interval of truce was
necessarily but a brief interlude between two tragedies.

It seemed the very mockery of Fate that, almost at the very instant when
after two years' painful negotiation a truce had been made, the signal
for universal discord should be sounded. One day in the early summer of
1609, Henry IV. came to the Royal Arsenal, the residence of Sully,
accompanied by Zamet and another of his intimate companions. He asked for
the Duke and was told that he was busy in his study. "Of course," said
the King, turning to his followers, "I dare say you expected to be told
that he was out shooting, or with the ladies, or at the barber's. But who
works like Sully? Tell him," he said, "to come to the balcony in his
garden, where he and I are not accustomed to be silent."

As soon as Sully appeared, the King observed: "Well; here the Duke of
Cleve is dead, and has left everybody his heir."

It was true enough, and the inheritance was of vital importance to the

It was an apple of discord thrown directly between the two rival camps
into which Christendom was divided. The Duchies of Cleve, Berg, and
Julich, and the Counties and Lordships of Mark, Ravensberg, and
Ravenstein, formed a triangle, political and geographical, closely wedged
between Catholicism and Protestantism, and between France, the United
Provinces, Belgium, and Germany. Should it fall into Catholic hands, the
Netherlands were lost, trampled upon in every corner, hedged in on all
sides, with the House of Austria governing the Rhine, the Meuse, and the
Scheldt. It was vital to them to exclude the Empire from the great
historic river which seemed destined to form the perpetual frontier of
jealous powers and rival creeds.

Should it fall into heretic hands, the States were vastly strengthened,
the Archduke Albert isolated and cut off from the protection of Spain and
of the Empire. France, although Catholic, was the ally of Holland and the
secret but well known enemy of the House of Austria. It was inevitable
that the king of that country, the only living statesman that wore a
crown, should be appealed to by all parties and should find himself in
the proud but dangerous position of arbiter of Europe.

In this emergency he relied upon himself and on two men besides,
Maximilian de Bethune and John of Barneveld. The conference between the
King and Sully and between both and Francis Aerssens, ambassador of the
States, were of almost daily occurrence. The minute details given in the
adroit diplomatist's correspondence indicate at every stage the extreme
deference paid by Henry to the opinion of Holland's Advocate and the
confidence reposed by him in the resources and the courage of the

All the world was claiming the heritage of the duchies.

It was only strange that an event which could not be long deferred and
the consequences of which were soon to be so grave, the death of the Duke
of Cleve, should at last burst like a bomb-shell on the council tables of
the sovereigns and statesmen of Europe. That mischievous madman John
William died childless in the spring of 1609. His sister Sibylla, an
ancient and malignant spinster, had governed him and his possessions
except in his lucid intervals. The mass of the population over which he
ruled being Protestant, while the reigning family and the chief nobles
were of the ancient faith, it was natural that the Catholic party under,
the lead of Maximilian of Bavaria should deem it all-important that there
should be direct issue to that family. Otherwise the inheritance on his
death would probably pass to Protestant princes.

The first wife provided for him was a beautiful princess; Jacobea of
Baden. The Pope blessed the nuptials, and sent the bride a golden rose,
but the union was sterile and unhappy. The Duke, who was in the habit of
careering through his palace in full armour, slashing at and wounding
anyone that came in his way, was at last locked up. The hapless Jacobea,
accused by Sibylla of witchcraft and other crimes possible and
impossible, was thrown into prison. Two years long the devilish malignity
of the sister-in-law was exercised upon her victim, who, as it is
related, was not allowed natural sleep during all that period, being at
every hour awakened by command of Sibylla. At last the Duchess was
strangled in prison. A new wife was at once provided for the lunatic,
Antonia of Lorraine. The two remained childless, and Sibylla at the age
of forty-nine took to herself a husband, the Margrave of Burgau, of the
House of Austria, the humble birth of whose mother, however, did not
allow him the rank of Archduke. Her efforts thus to provide Catholic
heirs to the rich domains of Clove proved as fruitless as her previous

And now Duke John William had died, and the representatives of his three
dead sisters, and the living Sibylla were left to fight for the duchies.

It would be both cruel and superfluous to inflict on the reader a
historical statement of the manner in which these six small provinces
were to be united into a single state. It would be an equally sterile
task to retrace the legal arguments by which the various parties prepared
themselves to vindicate their claims, each pretender more triumphantly
than the other. The naked facts alone retain vital interest, and of these
facts the prominent one was the assertion of the Emperor that the
duchies, constituting a fief masculine, could descend to none of the
pretenders, but were at his disposal as sovereign of Germany.

On the other hand nearly all the important princes of that country sent
their agents into the duchies to look after the interests real or
imaginary which they claimed.

There were but four candidates who in reality could be considered serious

Mary Eleanor, eldest sister of the Duke, had been married in the lifetime
of their father to Albert Frederic of Brandenburg, Duke of Prussia. To
the children of this marriage was reserved the succession of the whole
property in case of the masculine line becoming extinct. Two years
afterwards the second sister, Anne, was married to Duke Philip Lewis,
Count-Palatine of Neuburg; the children of which marriage stood next in
succession to those of the eldest sister, should that become
extinguished. Four years later the third sister, Magdalen, espoused the
Duke John, Count-Palatine of Deux-Ponts; who, like Neuburg, made
resignation of rights of succession in favour of the descendants of the
Brandenburg marriage. The marriage of the youngest sister, Sibylla, with
the Margrave of Burgau has been already mentioned. It does not appear
that her brother, whose lunatic condition hardly permitted him to assure
her the dowry which had been the price of renunciation in the case of her
three elder sisters, had obtained that renunciation from her.

The claims of the childless Sibylla as well as those of the Deux-Ponts
branch were not destined to be taken into serious consideration.

The real competitors were the Emperor on the one side and the Elector of
Brandenburg and the Count-Palatine of Neuburg on the other.

It is not necessary to my purpose to say a single word as to the legal
and historical rights of the controversy. Volumes upon volumes of
forgotten lore might be consulted, and they would afford exactly as much
refreshing nutriment as would the heaps of erudition hardly ten years
old, and yet as antiquated as the title-deeds of the Pharaohs, concerning
the claims to the Duchies of Schleswig-Holstein. The fortunate house of
Brandenburg may have been right or wrong in both disputes. It is certain
that it did not lack a more potent factor in settling the political
problems of the world in the one case any more than in the other.

But on the occasion with which we are occupied it was not on the might of
his own right hand that the Elector of Brandenburg relied. Moreover, he
was dilatory in appealing to the two great powers on whose friendship he
must depend for the establishment of his claims: the United Republic and
the King of France. James of England was on the whole inclined to believe
in the rights of Brandenburg. His ambassador, however, with more
prophetic vision than perhaps the King ever dreamt--of, expressed a fear
lest Brandenburg should grow too great and one day come to the Imperial

The States openly favoured the Elector. Henry as at first disposed
towards Neuburg, but at his request Barneveld furnished a paper on the
subject, by which the King seems to have been entirely converted to the
pretensions of Brandenburg.

But the solution of the question had but little to do with the legal
claim of any man. It was instinctively felt throughout Christendom that
the great duel between the ancient church and the spirit of the
Reformation was now to be renewed upon that narrow, debateable spot.

The Emperor at once proclaimed his right to arbitrate on the succession
and to hold the territory until decision should be made; that is to say,
till the Greek Kalends. His familiar and most tricksy spirit,
Bishop-Archduke Leopold, played at once on his fears and his resentments,
against the ever encroaching, ever menacing, Protestantism of Germany,
with which he had just sealed a compact so bitterly detested.

That bold and bustling prelate, brother of the Queen of Spain and of
Ferdinand of Styria, took post from Prague in the middle of July.
Accompanied by a certain canon of the Church and disguised as his
servant, he arrived after a rapid journey before the gates of Julich,
chief city and fortress of the duchies. The governor of the place,
Nestelraed, inclined like most of the functionaries throughout the
duchies to the Catholic cause, was delighted to recognize under the
livery of the lackey the cousin and representative of the Emperor.
Leopold, who had brought but five men with him, had conquered his capital
at a blow. For while thus comfortably established as temporary governor
of the duchies he designed through the fears or folly of Rudolph to
become their sovereign lord. Strengthened by such an acquisition and
reckoning on continued assistance in men and money from Spain and the
Catholic League, he meant to sweep back to the rescue of the perishing
Rudolph, smite the Protestants of Bohemia, and achieve his appointment to
the crown of that kingdom.

The Spanish ambassador at Prague had furnished him with a handsome sum of
money for the expenses of his journey and preliminary enterprise. It
should go hard but funds should be forthcoming to support him throughout
this audacious scheme. The champion of the Church, the sovereign prince
of important provinces, the possession of which ensured conclusive
triumph to the House of Austria and to Rome--who should oppose him in his
path to Empire? Certainly not the moody Rudolph, the slippery and
unstable Matthias, the fanatic and Jesuit-ridden Ferdinand.

"Leopold in Julich," said Henry's agent in Germany, "is a ferret in a
rabbit warren."

But early in the spring and before the arrival of Leopold, the two
pretenders, John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg, and Philip Lewis,
Palatine of Neuburg, had made an arrangement. By the earnest advice of
Barneveld in the name of the States-General and as the result of a
general council of many Protestant princes of Germany, it had been
settled that those two should together provisionally hold and administer
the duchies until the principal affair could be amicably settled.

The possessory princes were accordingly established in Dusseldorf with
the consent of the provincial estates, in which place those bodies were
wont to assemble.

Here then was Spain in the person of Leopold quietly perched in the chief
citadel of the country, while Protestantism in the shape of the
possessory princes stood menacingly in the capital.

Hardly was the ink dry on the treaty which had suspended for twelve years
the great religious war of forty years, not yet had the ratifications
been exchanged, but the trumpet was again sounding, and the hostile
forces were once more face to face.

Leopold, knowing where his great danger lay, sent a friendly message to
the States-General, expressing the hope that they would submit to his
arrangements until the Imperial decision should be made.

The States, through the pen and brain of Barneveld, replied that they had
already recognized the rights of the possessory princes, and were
surprised that the Bishop-Archduke should oppose them. They expressed the
hope that, when better informed, he would see the validity of the Treaty
of Dortmund. "My Lords the States-General," said the Advocate, "will
protect the princes against violence and actual disturbances, and are
assured that the neighbouring kings and princes will do the same. They
trust that his Imperial Highness will not allow matters, to proceed to

This was language not to be mistaken. It was plain that the Republic did
not intend the Emperor to decide a question of life and death to herself,
nor to permit Spain, exhausted by warfare, to achieve this annihilating
triumph by a petty intrigue.

While in reality the clue to what seemed to the outside world a
labyrinthine maze of tangled interests and passions was firmly held in
the hand of Barneveld, it was not to him nor to My Lords the
States-General that the various parties to the impending conflict applied
in the first resort.

Mankind were not yet sufficiently used to this young republic, intruding
herself among the family of kings, to defer at once to an authority which
they could not but feel.

Moreover, Henry of France was universally looked to both by friends and
foes as the probable arbiter or chief champion in the great debate. He
had originally been inclined to favour Neuberg, chiefly, so Aerssens
thought, on account of his political weakness. The States-General on the
other hand were firmly disposed for Brandenburg from the first, not only
as a strenuous supporter of the Reformation and an ancient ally of their
own always interested in their safety, but because the establishment of
the Elector on the Rhine would roll back the Empire beyond that river. As
Aerssens expressed it, they would have the Empire for a frontier, and
have no longer reason to fear the Rhine.

The King, after the representations of the States, saw good ground to
change his opinion and; becoming convinced that the Palatine had long
been coquetting with the Austrian party, soon made no secret of his
preference for Brandenburg. Subsequently Neuburg and Brandenburg fell
into a violent quarrel notwithstanding an arrangement that the Palatine
should marry the daughter of the Elector. In the heat of discussion
Brandenburg on one occasion is said to have given his intended son-in-law
a box on the ear! an argument 'ad hominem' which seems to have had the
effect of sending the Palatine into the bosom of the ancient church and
causing him to rely thenceforth upon the assistance of the League.
Meantime, however, the Condominium settled by the Treaty of Dortmund
continued in force; the third brother of Brandenburg and the eldest son
of Neuburg sharing possession and authority at Dusseldorf until a final
decision could be made.

A flock of diplomatists, professional or volunteers, openly accredited or
secret, were now flying busily about through the troubled atmosphere,
indicating the coming storm in which they revelled. The keen-sighted,
subtle, but dangerously intriguing ambassador of the Republic, Francis
Aerssens, had his hundred eyes at all the keyholes in Paris, that centre
of ceaseless combination and conspiracy, and was besides in almost daily
confidential intercourse with the King. Most patiently and minutely he
kept the Advocate informed, almost from hour to hour, of every web that
was spun, every conversation public or whispered in which important
affairs were treated anywhere and by anybody. He was all-sufficient as a
spy and intelligencer, although not entirely trustworthy as a counsellor.
Still no man on the whole could scan the present or forecast the future
more accurately than he was able to do from his advantageous position and
his long experience of affairs.

There was much general jealousy between the States and the despotic king,
who loved to be called the father of the Republic and to treat the
Hollanders as his deeply obliged and very ungrateful and miserly little
children. The India trade was a sore subject, Henry having throughout the
negotiations sought to force or wheedle the States into renouncing that
commerce at the command of Spain, because he wished to help himself to it
afterwards, and being now in the habit of secretly receiving Isaac Le
Maire and other Dutch leaders in that lucrative monopoly, who lay
disguised in Paris and in the house of Zamet--but not concealed from
Aerssens, who pledged himself to break, the neck of their enterprise--and
were planning with the King a French East India Company in opposition to
that of the Netherlands.

On the whole, however, despite these commercial intrigues which Barneveld
through the aid of Aerssens was enabled to baffle, there was much
cordiality and honest friendship between the two countries. Henry, far
from concealing his political affection for the Republic, was desirous of
receiving a special embassy of congratulation and gratitude from the
States on conclusion of the truce; not being satisfied with the warm
expressions of respect and attachment conveyed through the ordinary
diplomatic channel.

"He wishes," wrote Aerssens to the Advocate, "a public demonstration--in
order to show on a theatre to all Christendom the regard and deference of
My Lords the States for his Majesty." The Ambassador suggested that
Cornelis van der Myle, son-in-law of Barneveld, soon to be named first
envoy for Holland to the Venetian republic, might be selected as chief of
such special embassy.

"Without the instructions you gave me," wrote Aerssens, "Neuburg might
have gained his cause in this court. Brandenburg is doing himself much
injury by not soliciting the King."

"Much deference will be paid to your judgment," added the envoy, "if you
see fit to send it to his Majesty."

Meantime, although the agent of Neuburg was busily dinning in Henry's
ears the claims of the Palatine, and even urging old promises which, as
he pretended, had been made, thanks to Barneveld, he took little by his
importunity, notwithstanding that in the opinion both of Barneveld and
Villeroy his claim 'stricti-juris' was the best. But it was policy and
religious interests, not the strict letter of the law, that were likely
to prevail. Henry, while loudly asserting that he would oppose any
usurpation on the part of the Emperor or any one else against the
Condominium, privately renewed to the States assurances of his intention
to support ultimately the claims of Brandenburg, and notified them to
hold the two regiments of French infantry, which by convention they still
kept at his expense in their service, to be ready at a moment's warning
for the great enterprise which he was already planning. "You would do
well perhaps," wrote Aerssens to Barneveld, "to set forth the various
interests in regard to this succession, and of the different relations of
the claimants towards our commonwealth; but in such sort nevertheless and
so dexterously that the King may be able to understand your desires, and
on the other hand may see the respect you bear him in appearing to defer
to his choice."

Neuburg, having always neglected the States and made advances to Archduke
Albert, and being openly preferred over Brandenburg by the Austrians, who
had however no intention of eventually tolerating either, could make but
small headway at court, notwithstanding Henry's indignation that
Brandenburg had not yet made the slightest demand upon him for

The Elector had keenly solicited the aid of the states, who were bound to
him by ancient contract on this subject, but had manifested wonderful
indifference or suspicion in regard to France. "These nonchalant
Germans," said Henry on more than one occasion, "do nothing but sleep or

It was supposed that the memory of Metz might haunt the imagination of
the Elector. That priceless citadel, fraudulently extorted by Henry II.
as a forfeit for assistance to the Elector of Saxony three quarters of a
century before, gave solemn warning to Brandenburg of what might be
exacted by a greater Henry, should success be due to his protection. It
was also thought that he had too many dangers about him at home, the
Poles especially, much stirred up by emissaries from Rome, making many
troublesome demonstrations against the Duchy of Prussia.

It was nearly midsummer before a certain Baron Donals arrived as emissary
of the Elector. He brought with him, many documents in support of the
Brandenburg claims, and was charged with excuses for the dilatoriness of
his master. Much stress was laid of course on the renunciation made by
Neuburg at the tithe of his marriage, and Henry was urged to grant his
protection to the Elector in his good rights. But thus far there were few
signs of any vigorous resolution for active measures in an affair which
could scarcely fail to lead to war.

"I believe," said Henry to the States ambassador, "that the right of
Brandenburg is indubitable, and it is better for you and for me that he
should be the man rather than Neuburg, who has always sought assistance
from the House of Austria. But he is too lazy in demanding possession. It
is the fault of the doctors by whom he is guided. This delay works in
favour of the Emperor, whose course however is less governed by any
determination of his own than by the irresolution of the princes."

Then changing the conversation, Henry asked the Ambassador whether the
daughter of de Maldere, a leading statesman of Zealand, was married or of
age to be married, and if she was rich; adding that they must make a
match between her and Barneveld's second son, then a young gentleman in
the King's service, and very much liked by him.

Two months later a regularly accredited envoy, Belin by name, arrived
from the Elector. His instructions were general. He was to thank the King
for his declarations in favour of the possessory princes, and against all
usurpation on the part of the Spanish party. Should the religious cord be
touched, he was to give assurances that no change would be made in this
regard. He was charged with loads of fine presents in yellow amber, such
as ewers, basins, tables, cups, chessboards, for the King and Queen, the
Dauphin, the Chancellor, Villeroy, Sully, Bouillon, and other eminent
personages. Beyond the distribution of these works of art and the
exchange of a few diplomatic commonplaces, nothing serious in the way of
warlike business was transacted, and Henry was a few weeks later much
amused by receiving a letter from the possessory princes coolly thrown
into the post-office, and addressed like an ordinary letter to a private
person, in which he was requested to advance them a loan of 400,000
crowns. There was a great laugh at court at a demand made like a bill of
exchange at sight upon his Majesty as if he had been a banker, especially
as there happened to be no funds of the drawers in his hands. It was
thought that a proper regard for the King's quality and the amount of the
sum demanded required that the letter should be brought at least by an
express messenger, and Henry was both diverted and indignant at these
proceedings, at the months long delay before the princes had thought
proper to make application for his protection, and then for this cool
demand for alms on a large scale as a proper beginning of their

Such was the languid and extremely nonchalant manner in which the early
preparations for a conflict which seemed likely to set Europe in a blaze,
and of which possibly few living men might witness the termination, were
set on foot by those most interested in the immediate question.

Chessboards in yellow amber and a post-office order for 400,000 crowns
could not go far in settling the question of the duchies in which the
great problem dividing Christendom as by an abyss was involved.

Meantime, while such were the diplomatic beginnings of the possessory
princes, the League was leaving no stone unturned to awaken Henry to a
sense of his true duty to the Church of which he was Eldest Son.

Don Pedro de Toledo's mission in regard to the Spanish marriages had
failed because Henry had spurned the condition which was unequivocally
attached to them on the part of Spain, the king's renunciation of his
alliance with the Dutch Republic, which then seemed an equivalent to its
ruin. But the treaty of truce and half-independence had been signed at
last by the States and their ancient master, and the English and French
negotiators had taken their departure, each receiving as a present for
concluding the convention 20,000 livres from the Archdukes, and 30,000
from the States-General. Henry, returning one summer's morning from the
chase and holding the Count of Soissons by one hand and Ambassador
Aerssens by the other, told them he had just received letters from Spain
by which he learned that people were marvellously rejoiced at the
conclusion of the truce. Many had regretted that its conditions were so
disadvantageous and so little honourable to the grandeur and dignity of
Spain, but to these it was replied that there were strong reasons why
Spain should consent to peace on these terms rather than not have it at
all. During the twelve years to come the King could repair his disasters
and accumulate mountains of money in order to finish the war by the
subjugation of the Provinces by force of gold.

Soissons here interrupted the King by saying that the States on their
part would finish it by force of iron.

Aerssens, like an accomplished courtier, replied they would finish it by
means of his Majesty's friendship.

The King continued by observing that the clear-sighted in Spain laughed
at these rodomontades, knowing well that it was pure exhaustion that had
compelled the King to such extremities. "I leave you to judge," said
Henry, "whether he is likely to have any courage at forty-five years of
age, having none now at thirty-two. Princes show what they have in them
of generosity and valour at the age of twenty-five or never." He said
that orders had been sent from Spain to disband all troops in the
obedient Netherlands except Spaniards and Italians, telling the Archdukes
that they must raise the money out of the country to content them. They
must pay for a war made for their benefit, said Philip. As for him he
would not furnish one maravedi.

Aerssens asked if the Archdukes would disband their troops so long as the
affair of Cleve remained unsettled. "You are very lucky," replied the
King, "that Europe is governed by such princes as you wot of. The King of
Spain thinks of nothing but tranquillity. The Archdukes will never move
except on compulsion. The Emperor, whom every one is so much afraid of in
this matter, is in such plight that one of these days, and before long,
he will be stripped of all his possessions. I have news that the
Bohemians are ready to expel him."

It was true enough that Rudolph hardly seemed a formidable personage. The
Utraquists and Bohemian Brothers, making up nearly the whole population
of the country, were just extorting religious liberty from their unlucky
master in his very palace and at the point of the knife. The envoy of
Matthias was in Paris demanding recognition of his master as King of
Hungary, and Henry did not suspect the wonderful schemes of Leopold, the
ferret in the rabbit warren of the duchies, to come to the succour of his
cousin and to get himself appointed his successor and guardian.

Nevertheless, the Emperor's name had been used to protest solemnly
against the entrance into Dusseldorf of the Margrave Ernest of
Brandenburg and Palatine Wolfgang William of Neuburg, representatives
respectively of their brother and father.

The induction was nevertheless solemnly made by the Elector-Palatine and
the Landgrave of Hesse, and joint possession solemnly taken by
Brandenburg and Neuburg in the teeth of the protest, and expressly in
order to cut short the dilatory schemes and the artifices of the Imperial

Henry at once sent a corps of observation consisting of 1500 cavalry to
the Luxemburg frontier by way of Toul, Mezieres, Verdun, and Metz, to
guard against movements by the disbanded troops of the Archdukes, and
against any active demonstration against the possessory princes on the
part of the Emperor.

The 'Condominium' was formally established, and Henry stood before the
world as its protector threatening any power that should attempt
usurpation. He sent his agent Vidomacq to the Landgrave of Hesse with
instructions to do his utmost to confirm the princes of the Union in
organized resistance to the schemes of Spain, and to prevent any
interference with the Condominium.

He wrote letters to the Archdukes and to the Elector of Cologne, sternly
notifying them that he would permit no assault upon the princes, and
meant to protect them in their rights. He sent one of his most
experienced diplomatists, de Boississe, formerly ambassador in England,
to reside for a year or more in the duchies as special representative of
France, and directed him on his way thither to consult especially with
Barneveld and the States-General as to the proper means of carrying out
their joint policy either by diplomacy or, if need should be, by their
united arms.

Troops began at once to move towards the frontier to counteract the plans
of the Emperor's council and the secret levies made by Duchess Sibylla's
husband, the Margrave of Burgau. The King himself was perpetually at
Monceaux watching the movements of his cavalry towards the Luxemburg
frontier, and determined to protect the princes in their possession until
some definite decision as to the sovereignty of the duchies should be

Meantime great pressure was put upon him by the opposite party. The Pope
did his best through the Nuncius at Paris directly, and through agents at
Prague, Brussels, and Madrid indirectly, to awaken the King to a sense of
the enormity of his conduct.

Being a Catholic prince, it was urged, he had no right to assist
heretics. It was an action entirely contrary to his duty as a Christian
and of his reputation as Eldest Son of the Church. Even if the right were
on the side of the princes, his Majesty would do better to strip them of
it and to clothe himself with it than to suffer the Catholic faith and
religion to receive such notable detriment in an affair likely to have
such important consequences.

Such was some of the advice given by the Pontiff. The suggestions were
subtle, for they were directed to Henry's self-interest both as champion
of the ancient church and as a possible sovereign of the very territories
in dispute. They were also likely, and were artfully so intended, to
excite suspicion of Henry's designs in the breasts of the Protestants
generally and of the possessory princes especially. Allusions indeed to
the rectification of the French border in Henry II.'s time at the expense
of Lorraine were very frequent. They probably accounted for much of the
apparent supineness and want of respect for the King of which he
complained every day and with so much bitterness.

The Pope's insinuations, however, failed to alarm him, for he had made up
his mind as to the great business of what might remain to him of life; to
humble the House of Austria and in doing so to uphold the Dutch Republic
on which he relied for his most efficient support. The situation was a
false one viewed from the traditional maxims which governed Europe. How
could the Eldest Son of the Church and the chief of an unlimited monarchy
make common cause with heretics and republicans against Spain and Rome?
That the position was as dangerous as it was illogical, there could be
but little doubt. But there was a similarity of opinion between the King
and the political chief of the Republic on the great principle which was
to illume the distant future but which had hardly then dawned upon the
present; the principle of religious equality. As he protected Protestants
in France so he meant to protect Catholics in the duchies. Apostate as he
was from the Reformed Church as he had already been from the Catholic, he
had at least risen above the paltry and insolent maxim of the princely
Protestantism of Germany: "Cujus regio ejus religio."

While refusing to tremble before the wrath of Rome or to incline his ear
to its honeyed suggestions, he sent Cardinal Joyeuse with a special
mission to explain to the Pope that while the interests of France would
not permit him to allow the Spaniard's obtaining possession of provinces
so near to her, he should take care that the Church received no detriment
and that he should insist as a price of the succour he intended for the
possessory princes that they should give ample guarantees for the liberty
of Catholic worship.

There was no doubt in the mind either of Henry or of Barneveld that the
secret blows attempted by Spain at the princes were in reality aimed at
the Republic and at himself as her ally.

While the Nuncius was making these exhortations in Paris, his colleague
from Spain was authorized to propound a scheme of settlement which did
not seem deficient in humour. At any rate Henry was much diverted with
the suggestion, which was nothing less than that the decision as to the
succession to the duchies should be left to a board of arbitration
consisting of the King of Spain, the Emperor, and the King of France. As
Henry would thus be painfully placed by himself in a hopeless minority,
the only result of the scheme would be to compel him to sanction a
decision sure to be directly the reverse of his own resolve. He was
hardly such a schoolboy in politics as to listen to the proposal except
to laugh at it.

Meantime arrived from Julich, without much parade, a quiet but somewhat
pompous gentleman named Teynagel. He had formerly belonged to the
Reformed religion, but finding it more to his taste or advantage to
become privy councillor of the Emperor, he had returned to the ancient
church. He was one of the five who had accompanied the Archduke Leopold
to Julich.

That prompt undertaking having thus far succeeded so well, the warlike
bishop had now despatched Teynagel on a roving diplomatic mission.
Ostensibly he came to persuade Henry that, by the usages and laws of the
Empire, fiefs left vacant for want of heirs male were at the disposal of
the Emperor. He expressed the hope therefore of obtaining the King's
approval of Leopold's position in Julich as temporary vicegerent of his
sovereign and cousin. The real motive of his mission, however, was
privately to ascertain whether Henry was really ready to go to war for
the protection of the possessory princes, and then, to proceed to Spain.
It required an astute politician, however, to sound all the shoals,
quicksands, and miseries through which the French government was then
steering, and to comprehend with accuracy the somewhat varying humours of
the monarch and the secret schemes of the ministers who immediately
surrounded him.

People at court laughed at Teynagel and his mission, and Henry treated
him as a crackbrained adventurer. He announced himself as envoy of the
Emperor, although he had instructions from Leopold only. He had
interviews with the Chancellor and with Villeroy, and told them that
Rudolf claimed the right of judge between the various pretenders to the
duchies. The King would not be pleased, he observed, if the King of Great
Britain should constitute himself arbiter among claimants that might make
their appearance for the crown of France; but Henry had set himself up as
umpire without being asked by any one to act in that capacity among the
princes of Germany. The Emperor, on the contrary, had been appealed to by
the Duke of Nevers, the Elector of Saxony, the Margrave of Burgau, and
other liege subjects of the Imperial crown as a matter of course and of
right. This policy of the King, if persisted in, said Teynagel, must lead
to war. Henry might begin such a war, but he would be obliged to bequeath
it to the Dauphin. He should remember that France had always been unlucky
when waging war with the Empire and with the house of Austria.'

The Chancellor and Villeroy, although in their hearts not much in love
with Henry's course, answered the emissary with arrogance equal to his
own that their king could finish the war as well as begin it, that he
confided in his strength and the justice of his cause, and that he knew
very well and esteemed very little the combined forces of Spain and the
Empire. They added that France was bound by the treaty of Vervins to
protect the princes, but they offered no proof of that rather startling

Meantime Teynagel was busy in demonstrating that the princes of Germany
were in reality much more afraid of Henry than of the Emperor. His
military movements and deep designs excited more suspicion throughout
that country and all Europe than the quiet journey of Leopold and five
friends by post to Julich.

He had come provided with copies of the King's private letters to the
princes, and seemed fully instructed as to his most secret thoughts. For
this convenient information he was supposed to be indebted to the
revelations of Father Cotton, who was then in disgrace; having been
detected in transmitting to the General of Jesuits Henry's most sacred
confidences and confessions as to his political designs.

Fortified with this private intelligence, and having been advised by
Father Cotton to carry matters with a high hand in order to inspire the
French court with a wholesome awe, he talked boldly about the legitimate
functions of the Emperor. To interfere with them, he assured the
ministers, would lead to a long and bloody war, as neither the King nor
the Archduke Albert would permit the Emperor to be trampled upon.

Peter Pecquius, the crafty and experienced agent of the Archduke at
Paris, gave the bouncing envoy more judicious advice, however, than that
of the Jesuit, assuring him that he would spoil his whole case should he
attempt to hold such language to the King.

He was admitted to an audience of Henry at Monceaux, but found him
prepared to show his teeth as Aerssens had predicted. He treated Teynagel
as a mere madcap and, adventurer who had no right to be received as a
public minister at all, and cut short his rodomontades by assuring him
that his mind was fully made up to protect the possessory princes.
Jeannin was present at the interview, although, as Aerssens well
observed, the King required no pedagogue on such an occasion? Teynagel
soon afterwards departed malcontent to Spain, having taken little by his
abnormal legation to Henry, and being destined to find at the court of
Philip as urgent demands on that monarch for assistance to the League as
he was to make for Leopold and the House of Austria.

For the League, hardly yet thoroughly organized under the leadership of
Maximilian of Bavaria, was rather a Catholic corrival than cordial ally
of the Imperial house. It was universally suspected that Henry meant to
destroy and discrown the Habsburgs, and it lay not in the schemes of
Maximilian to suffer the whole Catholic policy to be bound to the
fortunes of that one family.

Whether or not Henry meant to commit the anachronism and blunder of
reproducing the part of Charlemagne might be doubtful. The supposed
design of Maximilian to renew the glories of the House of Wittelsbach was
equally vague. It is certain, however, that a belief in such ambitious
schemes on the part of both had been insinuated into the ears of Rudolf,
and had sunk deeply into his unsettled mind.

Scarcely had Teynagel departed than the ancient President Richardot
appeared upon the scene. "The mischievous old monkey," as he had
irreverently been characterized during the Truce negotiations, "who
showed his tail the higher he climbed," was now trembling at the thought
that all the good work he had been so laboriously accomplishing during
the past two years should be annihilated. The Archdukes, his masters,
being sincerely bent on peace, had deputed him to Henry, who, as they
believed, was determined to rekindle war. As frequently happens in such
cases, they were prepared to smooth over the rough and almost impassable
path to a cordial understanding by comfortable and cheap commonplaces
concerning the blessings of peace, and to offer friendly compromises by
which they might secure the prizes of war without the troubles and
dangers of making it.

They had been solemnly notified by Henry that he would go to war rather
than permit the House of Austria to acquire the succession to the
duchies. They now sent Richardot to say that neither the Archdukes nor
the King of Spain would interfere in the matter, and that they hoped the
King of France would not prevent the Emperor from exercising his rightful
functions of judge.

Henry, who knew that Don Baltasar de Cuniga, Spanish ambassador at the
Imperial court, had furnished Leopold, the Emperor's cousin, with 50,000
crowns to defray his first expenses in the Julich expedition, considered
that the veteran politician had come to perform a school boy's task. He
was more than ever convinced by this mission of Richardot that the
Spaniards had organized the whole scheme, and he was likely only to smile
at any propositions the President might make.

At the beginning of his interview, in which the King was quite alone,
Richardot asked if he would agree to maintain neutrality like the King of
Spain and the Archdukes, and allow the princes to settle their business
with the Emperor.

"No," said the King.

He then asked if Henry would assist them in their wrong.

"No," said the King.

He then asked if the King thought that the princes had justice on their
side, and whether, if the contrary were shown, he would change his

Henry replied that the Emperor could not be both judge and party in the
suit and that the King of Spain was plotting to usurp the provinces
through the instrumentality of his brother-in-law Leopold and under the
name of the Emperor. He would not suffer it, he said.

"Then there will be a general war," replied Richardot, "since you are
determined to assist these princes."

"Be it so," said the King.

"You are right," said the President, "for you are a great and puissant
monarch, having all the advantages that could be desired, and in case of
rupture I fear that all this immense power will be poured out over us who
are but little princes."

"Cause Leopold to retire then and leave the princes in their right," was
the reply. "You will then have nothing to fear. Are you not very unhappy
to live under those poor weak archdukes? Don't you foresee that as soon
as they die you will lose all the little you have acquired in the
obedient Netherlands during the last fifty years?"

The President had nothing to reply to this save that he had never
approved of Leopold's expedition, and that when Spaniards make mistakes
they always had recourse to their servants to repair their faults. He had
accepted this mission inconsiderately, he said, inspired by a hope to
conjure the rising storms mingled with fears as to the result which were
now justified. He regretted having come, he said.

The King shrugged his shoulders.

Richardot then suggested that Leopold might be recognized in Julich, and
the princes at Dusseldorf, or that all parties might retire until the
Emperor should give his decision.

All these combinations were flatly refused by the King, who swore that no
one of the House of Austria should ever perch in any part of those
provinces. If Leopold did not withdraw at once, war was inevitable.

He declared that he would break up everything and dare everything,
whether the possessory princes formally applied to him or not. He would
not see his friends oppressed nor allow the Spaniard by this usurpation
to put his foot on the throat of the States-General, for it was against
them that this whole scheme was directed.

To the President's complaints that the States-General had been moving
troops in Gelderland, Henry replied at once that it was done by his
command, and that they were his troops.

With this answer Richardot was fain to retire crestfallen, mortified, and
unhappy. He expressed repentance and astonishment at the result, and
protested that those peoples were happy whose princes understood affairs.
His princes were good, he said, but did not give themselves the trouble
to learn their business.

Richardot then took his departure from Paris, and very soon afterwards
from the world. He died at Arras early in September, as many thought of
chagrin at the ill success of his mission, while others ascribed it to a
surfeit of melons and peaches.

"Senectus edam maorbus est," said Aerssens with Seneca.

Henry said he could not sufficiently wonder at these last proceedings at
his court, of a man he had deemed capable and sagacious, but who had been
committing an irreparable blunder. He had never known two such
impertinent ambassadors as Don Pedro de Toledo and Richardot on this
occasion. The one had been entirely ignorant of the object of his
mission; the other had shown a vain presumption in thinking he could
drive him from his fixed purpose by a flood of words. He had accordingly
answered him on the spot without consulting his council, at which poor
Richardot had been much amazed.

And now another envoy appeared upon the scene, an ambassador coming
directly from the Emperor. Count Hohenzollern, a young man, wild, fierce,
and arrogant, scarcely twenty-three years of age, arrived in Paris on the
7th of September, with a train of forty horsemen.

De Colly, agent of the Elector-Palatine, had received an outline of his
instructions, which the Prince of Anhalt had obtained at Prague. He
informed Henry that Hohenzollern would address him thus: "You are a king.
You would not like that the Emperor should aid your subjects in
rebellion. He did not do this in the time of the League, although often
solicited to do so. You should not now sustain the princes in disobeying
the Imperial decree. Kings should unite in maintaining the authority and
majesty of each other." He would then in the Emperor's name urge the
claims of the House of Saxony to the duchies.

Henry was much pleased with this opportune communication by de Colly of
the private instructions to the Emperor's envoy, by which he was enabled
to meet the wild and fierce young man with an arrogance at least equal to
his own.

The interview was a stormy one. The King was alone in the gallery of the
Louvre, not choosing that his words and gestures should be observed. The
Envoy spoke much in the sense which de Colly had indicated; making a long
argument in favour of the Emperor's exclusive right of arbitration, and
assuring the King that the Emperor was resolved on war if interference
between himself and his subjects was persisted in. He loudly pronounced
the proceedings of the possessory princes to be utterly illegal, and
contrary to all precedent. The Emperor would maintain his authority at
all hazards, and one spark of war would set everything in a blaze within
the Empire and without.

Henry replied sternly but in general terms, and referred him for a final
answer to his council.

"What will you do," asked the Envoy, categorically, at a subsequent
interview about a month later, "to protect the princes in case the
Emperor constrains them to leave the provinces which they have unjustly

"There is none but God to compel me to say more than I choose to say,"
replied the King. "It is enough for you to know that I will never abandon
my friends in a just cause. The Emperor can do much for the general
peace. He is not to lend his name to cover this usurpation."

And so the concluding interview terminated in an exchange of threats
rather than with any hope of accommodation.

Hohenzollern used as high language to the ministers as to the monarch,
and received payment in the same coin. He rebuked their course not very
adroitly as being contrary to the interests of Catholicism. They were
placing the provinces in the hands of Protestants, he urged. It required
no envoy from Prague to communicate this startling fact. Friends and
foes, Villeroy and Jeannin, as well as Sully and Duplessis, knew well
enough that Henry was not taking up arms for Rome. "Sir! do you look at
the matter in that way?" cried Sully, indignantly. "The Huguenots are as
good as the Catholics. They fight like the devil!"

"The Emperor will never permit the princes to remain nor Leopold to
withdraw," said the Envoy to Jeannin.

Jeannin replied that the King was always ready to listen to reason, but
there was no use in holding language of authority to him. It was money he
would not accept.

"Fiat justitia pereat mundus," said the haggard Hohenzollern.

"Your world may perish," replied Jeannin, "but not ours. It is much
better put together."

A formal letter was then written by the King to the Emperor, in which
Henry expressed his desire to maintain peace and fraternal relations, but
notified him that if, under any pretext whatever, he should trouble the
princes in their possession, he would sustain them with all his power,
being bound thereto by treaties and by reasons of state.

This letter was committed to the care of Hohenzollern, who forthwith
departed, having received a present of 4000 crowns. His fierce, haggard
face thus vanishes for the present from our history.

The King had taken his ground, from which there was no receding. Envoys
or agents of Emperor, Pope, King of Spain, Archduke at Brussels, and
Archduke at Julich, had failed to shake his settled purpose. Yet the road
was far from smooth. He had thus far no ally but the States-General. He
could not trust James of Great Britain. Boderie came back late in the
summer from his mission to that monarch, reporting him as being
favourably inclined to Brandenburg, but hoping for an amicable settlement
in the duchies. No suggestion being made even by the sagacious James as
to the manner in which the ferret and rabbits were to come to a
compromise, Henry inferred, if it came to fighting, that the English
government would refuse assistance. James had asked Boderie in fact
whether his sovereign and the States, being the parties chiefly
interested, would be willing to fight it out without allies. He had also
sent Sir Ralph Winwood on a special mission to the Hague, to Dusseldorf,
and with letters to the Emperor, in which he expressed confidence that
Rudolph would approve the proceedings of the possessory princes. As he
could scarcely do that while loudly claiming through his official envoy
in Paris that the princes should instantly withdraw on pain of instant
war, the value of the English suggestion of an amicable compromise might
easily be deduced.

Great was the jealousy in France of this mission from England. That the
princes should ask the interference of James while neglecting, despising,
or fearing Henry, excited Henry's wrath. He was ready, and avowed his
readiness, to put on armour at once in behalf of the princes, and to
arbitrate on the destiny of Germany, but no one seemed ready to follow
his standard. No one asked him to arbitrate. The Spanish faction wheedled
and threatened by turns, in order to divert him from his purpose, while
the Protestant party held aloof, and babbled of Charlemagne and of Henry

He said he did not mean to assist the princes by halves, but as became a
King of France, and the princes expressed suspicion of him, talked of the
example of Metz, and called the Emperor their very clement lord.

It was not strange that Henry was indignant and jealous. He was holding
the wolf by the ears, as he himself observed more than once. The war
could not long be delayed; yet they in whose behalf it was to be waged
treated him with a disrespect and flippancy almost amounting to scorn.

They tried to borrow money of him through the post, and neglected to send
him an ambassador. This was most decidedly putting the cart before the
oxen, so Henry said, and so thought all his friends. When they had
blockaded the road to Julich, in order to cut off Leopold's supplies,
they sent to request that the two French regiments in the States' service
might be ordered to their assistance, Archduke Albert having threatened
to open the passage by force of arms. "This is a fine stratagem," said
Aerssens, "to fling the States-General headlong into the war, and, as it
were, without knowing it."

But the States-General, under the guidance of Barneveld, were not likely
to be driven headlong by Brandenburg and Neuburg. They managed with
caution, but with perfect courage, to move side by side with Henry, and
to leave the initiative to him, while showing an unfaltering front to the
enemy. That the princes were lost, Spain and the Emperor triumphant,
unless Henry and the States should protect them with all their strength,
was as plain as a mathematical demonstration.

Yet firm as were the attitude and the language of Henry, he was thought
to be hoping to accomplish much by bluster. It was certain that the bold
and unexpected stroke of Leopold had produced much effect upon his mind,
and for a time those admitted to his intimacy saw, or thought they saw, a
decided change in his demeanour. To the world at large his language and
his demonstrations were even more vehement than they had been at the
outset of the controversy; but it was believed that there was now a
disposition to substitute threats for action. The military movements set
on foot were thought to be like the ringing of bells and firing of cannon
to dissipate a thunderstorm. Yet it was treason at court to doubt the
certainty of war. The King ordered new suits of armour, bought splendid
chargers, and gave himself all the airs of a champion rushing to a
tournament as gaily as in the earliest days of his king-errantry. He
spoke of his eager desire to break a lance with Spinola, and give a
lesson to the young volunteer who had sprung into so splendid a military
reputation, while he had been rusting, as he thought, in pacific
indolence, and envying the laurels of the comparatively youthful Maurice.
Yet those most likely to be well informed believed that nothing would
come of all this fire and fury.

The critics were wrong. There was really no doubt of Henry's sincerity,
but his isolation was terrible. There was none true to him at home but
Sully. Abroad, the States-General alone were really friendly, so far as
positive agreements existed. Above all, the intolerable tergiversations
and suspicions of those most interested, the princes in possession, and
their bickerings among themselves, hampered his movements.

Treason and malice in his cabinet and household, jealousy and fear
abroad, were working upon and undermining him like a slow fever. His
position was most pathetic, but his purpose was fixed.

James of England, who admired, envied, and hated Henry, was wont to
moralize on his character and his general unpopularity, while engaged in
negotiations with him. He complained that in the whole affair of the
truce he had sought only his particular advantage. "This is not to be
wondered at in one of his nature," said the King, "who only careth to
provide for the felicities of his present life, without any respect for
his life to come. Indeed, the consideration of his own age and the youth
of his children, the doubt of their legitimation, the strength of
competitioners, and the universal hatred borne unto him, makes him seek
all means of security for preventing of all dangers."

There were changes from day to day; hot and cold fits necessarily
resulting from the situation. As a rule, no eminent general who has had
much experience wishes to go into a new war inconsiderately and for the
mere love of war. The impatience is often on the part of the
non-combatants. Henry was no exception to the rule. He felt that the
complications then existing, the religious, political, and dynastic
elements arrayed against each other, were almost certain to be brought to
a crisis and explosion by the incident of the duchies. He felt that the
impending struggle was probably to be a desperate and a general one, but
there was no inconsistency in hoping that the show of a vigorous and
menacing attitude might suspend, defer, or entirely dissipate the
impending storm.

The appearance of vacillation on his part from day to day was hardly
deserving of the grave censure which it received, and was certainly in
the interests of humanity.

His conferences with Sully were almost daily and marked by intense
anxiety. He longed for Barneveld, and repeatedly urged that the Advocate,
laying aside all other business, would come to Paris, that they might
advise together thoroughly and face to face. It was most important that
the combination of alliances should be correctly arranged before
hostilities began, and herein lay the precise difficulty. The princes
applied formally and freely to the States-General for assistance. They
applied to the King of Great Britain. The agents of the opposite party
besieged Henry with entreaties, and, failing in those, with threats;
going off afterwards to Spain, to the Archdukes, and to other Catholic
powers in search of assistance.

The States-General professed their readiness to put an army of 15,000
foot and 3000 horse in the field for the spring campaign, so soon as they
were assured of Henry's determination for a rupture.

"I am fresh enough still," said he to their ambassador, "to lead an army
into Cleve. I shall have a cheap bargain enough of the provinces. But
these Germans do nothing but eat and sleep. They will get the profit and
assign to me the trouble. No matter, I will never suffer the
aggrandizement of the House of Austria. The States-General must disband
no troops, but hold themselves in readiness."

Secretary of State Villeroy held the same language, but it was easy to
trace beneath his plausible exterior a secret determination to traverse
the plans of his sovereign. "The Cleve affair must lead to war," he said.
"The Spaniard, considering how necessary it is for him to have a prince
there at his devotion, can never quietly suffer Brandenburg and Neuburg
to establish themselves in those territories. The support thus gained by
the States-General would cause the loss of the Spanish Netherlands."

This was the view of Henry, too, but the Secretary of State, secretly
devoted to the cause of Spain, looked upon the impending war with much

"All that can come to his Majesty from war," he said, "is the glory of
having protected the right. Counterbalance this with the fatigue, the
expense, and the peril of a great conflict, after our long repose, and
you will find this to be buying glory too dearly."

When a Frenchman talked of buying glory too dearly, it seemed probable
that the particular kind of glory was not to his taste.

Henry had already ordered the officers, then in France, of the 4000
French infantry kept in the States' service at his expense to depart at
once to Holland, and he privately announced his intention of moving to
the frontier at the head of 30,000 men.

'Yet not only Villeroy, but the Chancellor and the Constable, while
professing opposition to the designs of Austria and friendliness to those
of Brandenburg and Neuburg, deprecated this precipitate plunge into war.
"Those most interested," they said, "refuse to move; fearing Austria,
distrusting France. They leave us the burden and danger, and hope for the
spoils themselves. We cannot play cat to their monkey. The King must hold
himself in readiness to join in the game when the real players have
shuffled and dealt the cards. It is no matter to us whether the Spaniard
or Brandenburg or anyone else gets the duchies. The States-General
require a friendly sovereign there, and ought to say how much they will
do for that result."

The Constable laughed at the whole business. Coming straight from the
Louvre, he said "there would be no serious military movement, and that
all those fine freaks would evaporate in air."

But Sully never laughed. He was quietly preparing the ways and means for
the war, and he did not intend, so far as he had influence, that France
should content herself with freaks and let Spain win the game. Alone in
the council he maintained that "France had gone too far to recede without
sacrifice of reputation."--"The King's word is engaged both within and
without," he said. "Not to follow it with deeds would be dangerous to the
kingdom. The Spaniard will think France afraid of war. We must strike a
sudden blow, either to drive the enemy away or to crush him at once.
There is no time for delay. The Netherlands must prevent the
aggrandizement of Austria or consent to their own ruin."

Thus stood the game therefore. The brother of Brandenburg and son of
Neuburg had taken possession of Dusseldorf.

The Emperor, informed of this, ordered them forthwith to decamp. He
further summoned all pretenders to the duchies to appear before him, in
person or by proxy, to make good their claims. They refused and appealed
for advice and assistance to the States-General. Barneveld, aware of the
intrigues of Spain, who disguised herself in the drapery of the Emperor,
recommended that the Estates of Cleve, Julich, Berg, Mark, Ravensberg,
and Ravenstein, should be summoned in Dusseldorf. This was done and a
resolution taken to resist any usurpation.

The King of France wrote to the Elector of Cologne, who, by directions of
Rome and by means of the Jesuits, had been active in the intrigue, that
he would not permit the princes to be disturbed.

The Archduke Leopold suddenly jumped into the chief citadel of the
country and published an edict of the Emperor. All the proceedings were
thereby nullified as illegal and against the dignity of the realm and the
princes proclaimed under ban.

A herald brought the edict and ban to the princes in full assembly. The
princes tore it to pieces on the spot. Nevertheless they were much
frightened, and many members of the Estates took themselves off; others
showing an inclination to follow.

The princes sent forth with a deputation to the Hague to consult My Lords
the States-General. The States-General sent an express messenger to
Paris. Their ambassador there sent him back a week later, with notice of
the King's determination to risk everything against everything to
preserve the rights of the princes. It was added that Henry required to
be solicited by them, in order not by volunteer succour to give cause for
distrust as to his intentions. The States-General were further apprised
by the King that his interests and theirs were so considerable in the
matter that they would probably be obliged to go into a brisk and open
war, in order to prevent the Spaniard from establishing himself in the
duchies. He advised them to notify the Archdukes in Brussels that they
would regard the truce as broken if, under pretext of maintaining the
Emperor's rights, they should molest the princes. He desired them further
to send their forces at once to the frontier of Gelderland under Prince
Maurice, without committing any overt act of hostility, but in order to
show that both the King and the States were thoroughly in earnest.

The King then sent to Archduke Albert, as well as to the Elector of
Cologne, and despatched a special envoy to the King of Great Britain.

Immediately afterwards came communications from Barneveld to Henry, with
complete adhesion to the King's plans. The States would move in exact
harmony with him, neither before him nor after him, which was precisely
what he wished. He complained bitterly to Aerssens, when he communicated
the Advocate's despatches, of the slothful and timid course of the
princes. He ascribed it to the arts of Leopold, who had written and
inspired many letters against him insinuating that he was secretly in
league and correspondence with the Emperor; that he was going to the
duchies simply in the interest of the Catholics; that he was like Henry
II. only seeking to extend the French frontier; and Leopold, by these
intrigues and falsehoods, had succeeded in filling the princes with
distrust, and they had taken umbrage at the advance of his cavalry.

Henry professed himself incapable of self-seeking or ambition. He meant
to prevent the aggrandizement of Austria, and was impatient at the
dilatoriness and distrust of the princes.

"All their enemies are rushing to the King of Spain. Let them address
themselves to the King of France," he said, "for it is we two that must
play this game."

And when at last they did send an embassy, they prefaced it by a post
letter demanding an instant loan, and with an intimation that they would
rather have his money than his presence!

Was it surprising that the King's course should seem occasionally
wavering when he found it so difficult to stir up such stagnant waters
into honourable action? Was it strange that the rude and stern Sully
should sometimes lose his patience, knowing so much and suspecting more
of the foul designs by which his master was encompassed, of the web of
conspiracy against his throne, his life, and his honour, which was daily
and hourly spinning?

"We do nothing and you do nothing," he said one day to Aerssens. "You are
too soft, and we are too cowardly. I believe that we shall spoil
everything, after all. I always suspect these sudden determinations of
ours. They are of bad augury. We usually founder at last when we set off
so fiercely at first. There are words enough an every side, but there
will be few deeds. There is nothing to be got out of the King of Great
Britain, and the King of Spain will end by securing these provinces for
himself by a treaty." Sully knew better than this, but he did not care to
let even the Dutch envoy know, as yet, the immense preparations he had
been making for the coming campaign.

The envoys of the possessory princes, the Counts Solms, Colonel Pallandt,
and Dr. Steyntgen, took their departure, after it had been arranged that
final measures should be concerted at the general congress of the German
Protestants to be held early in the ensuing year at Hall, in Suabia.

At that convention de Boississe would make himself heard on the part of
France, and the representatives of the States-General, of Venice, and
Savoy, would also be present.

Meantime the secret conferences between Henry and his superintendent of
finances and virtual prime minister were held almost every day. Scarcely
an afternoon passed that the King did not make his appearance at the
Arsenal, Sully's residence, and walk up and down the garden with him for
hours, discussing the great project of which his brain was full. This
great project was to crush for ever the power of the Austrian house; to
drive Spain back into her own limits, putting an end to her projects for
universal monarchy; and taking the Imperial crown from the House of
Habsburg. By thus breaking up the mighty cousinship which, with the aid
of Rome, overshadowed Germany and the two peninsulas, besides governing
the greater part of both the Indies, he meant to bring France into the
preponderant position over Christendom which he believed to be her due.

It was necessary, he thought, for the continued existence of the Dutch
commonwealth that the opportunity should be taken once for all, now that
a glorious captain commanded its armies and a statesman unrivalled for
experience, insight, and patriotism controlled its politics and its
diplomacy, to drive the Spaniard out of the Netherlands.

The Cleve question, properly and vigorously handled, presented exactly
the long desired opportunity for carrying out these vast designs.

The plan of assault upon Spanish power was to be threefold. The King
himself at the head of 35,000 men, supported by Prince Maurice and the
States' forces amounting to at least 14,000, would move to the Rhine and
seize the duchies. The Duke de la Force would command the army of the
Pyrenees and act in concert with the Moors of Spain, who roused to frenzy
by their expulsion from the kingdom could be relied on for a revolt or at
least a most vigorous diversion. Thirdly, a treaty with the Duke of Savoy
by which Henry accorded his daughter to the Duke's eldest son, the Prince
of Piedmont, a gift of 100,000 crowns, and a monthly pension during the
war of 50,000 crowns a month, was secretly concluded.

Early in the spring the Duke was to take the field with at least 10,000
foot and 1200 horse, supported by a French army of 12,000 to 15,000 men
under the experienced Marshal de Lesdiguieres. These forces were to
operate against the Duchy of Milan with the intention of driving the
Spaniards out of that rich possession, which the Duke of Savoy claimed
for himself, and of assuring to Henry the dictatorship of Italy. With the
cordial alliance of Venice, and by playing off the mutual jealousies of
the petty Italian princes, like Florence, Mantua, Montserrat, and others,
against each other and against the Pope, it did not seem doubtful to
Sully that the result would be easily accomplished. He distinctly urged
the wish that the King should content himself with political influence,
with the splendid position of holding all Italy dependent upon his will
and guidance, but without annexing a particle of territory to his own

It was Henry's intention, however, to help himself to the Duchy of Savoy,
and to the magnificent city and port of Genoa as a reward to himself for
the assistance, matrimonial alliance, and aggrandizement which he was
about to bestow upon Charles Emmanuel. Sully strenuously opposed these
self-seeking views on the part of his sovereign, however, constantly
placing before him the far nobler aim of controlling the destinies of
Christendom, of curbing what tended to become omnipotent, of raising up
and protecting that which had been abased, of holding the balance of
empire with just and steady hand in preference to the more vulgar and
commonplace ambition of annexing a province or two to the realms of

It is true that these virtuous homilies, so often preached by him against
territorial aggrandizement in one direction, did not prevent him from
indulging in very extensive visions of it in another. But the dreams
pointed to the east rather than to the south. It was Sully's policy to
swallow a portion not of Italy but of Germany. He persuaded his master
that the possessory princes, if placed by the help of France in the
heritage which they claimed, would hardly be able to maintain themselves
against the dangers which surrounded them except by a direct dependence
upon France. In the end the position would become an impossible one, and
it would be easy after the war was over to indemnify Brandenburg with
money and with private property in the heart of France for example, and
obtain the cession of those most coveted provinces between the Meuse and
the Weser to the King. "What an advantage for France," whispered Sully,
"to unite to its power so important a part of Germany. For it cannot be
denied that by accepting the succour given by the King now those princes
oblige themselves to ask for help in the future in order to preserve
their new acquisition. Thus your Majesty will make them pay for it very

Thus the very virtuous self-denial in regard to the Duke of Savoy did not
prevent a secret but well developed ambition at the expense of the
Elector of Brandenburg. For after all it was well enough known that the
Elector was the really important and serious candidate. Henry knew full
well that Neuburg was depending on the Austrians and the Catholics, and
that the claims of Saxony were only put forward by the Emperor in order
to confuse the princes and excite mutual distrust.

The King's conferences with the great financier were most confidential,
and Sully was as secret as the grave. But Henry never could keep a secret
even when it concerned his most important interests, and nothing would
serve him but he must often babble of his great projects even to their
minutest details in presence of courtiers and counsellors whom in his
heart he knew to be devoted to Spain and in receipt of pensions from her
king. He would boast to them of the blows by which he meant to demolish
Spain and the whole house of Austria, so that there should be no longer
danger to be feared from that source to the tranquillity and happiness of
Europe, and he would do this so openly and in presence of those who, as
he knew, were perpetually setting traps for him and endeavouring to
discover his deepest secrets as to make Sully's hair stand on end. The
faithful minister would pluck his master by the cloak at times, and the
King, with the adroitness which never forsook him when he chose to employ
it, would contrive to extricate himself from a dilemma and pause at the
brink of tremendous disclosures.--[Memoires de Sully, t. vii. p.
324.]--But Sully could not be always at his side, nor were the Nuncius or
Don Inigo de Cardenas or their confidential agents and spies always
absent. Enough was known of the general plan, while as to the probability
of its coming into immediate execution, perhaps the enemies of the King
were often not more puzzled than his friends.

But what the Spanish ambassador did not know, nor the Nuncius, nor even
the friendly Aerssens, was the vast amount of supplies which had been
prepared for the coming conflict by the finance minister. Henry did not
know it himself. "The war will turn on France as on a pivot," said Sully;
"it remains to be seen if we have supplies and money enough. I will
engage if the war is not to last more than three years and you require no
more than 40,000 men at a time that I will show you munitions and
ammunition and artillery and the like to such an extent that you will
say, 'It is enough.'

"As to money--"

"How much money have I got?" asked the King; "a dozen millions?"

"A little more than that," answered the Minister.

"Fourteen millions?"

"More still."

"Sixteen?" continued the King.

"More yet," said Sully.

And so the King went on adding two millions at each question until thirty
millions were reached, and when the question as to this sum was likewise
answered in the affirmative, he jumped from his chair, hugged his
minister around the neck, and kissed him on both cheeks.

"I want no more than that," he cried.

Sully answered by assuring him that he had prepared a report showing a
reserve of forty millions on which he might draw for his war expenses,
without in the least degree infringing on the regular budget for ordinary

The King was in a transport of delight, and would have been capable of
telling the story on the spot to the Nuncius had he met him that
afternoon, which fortunately did not occur.

But of all men in Europe after the faithful Sully, Henry most desired to
see and confer daily and secretly with Barneveld. He insisted vehemently
that, neglecting all other business, he should come forthwith to Paris at
the head of the special embassy which it had been agreed that the States
should send. No living statesman, he said, could compare to Holland's
Advocate in sagacity, insight, breadth of view, knowledge of mankind and
of great affairs, and none he knew was more sincerely attached to his
person or felt more keenly the value of the French alliance.

With him he indeed communicated almost daily through the medium of
Aerssens, who was in constant receipt of most elaborate instructions from
Barneveld, but he wished to confer with him face to face, so that there
would be no necessity of delay in sending back for instructions,
limitations, and explanation. No man knew better than the King did that
so far as foreign affairs were concerned the States-General were simply

On the 22nd January the States' ambassador had a long and secret
interview with the King.' He informed him that the Prince of Anhalt had
been assured by Barneveld that the possessory princes would be fully
supported in their position by the States, and that the special deputies
of Archduke Albert, whose presence at the Hague made Henry uneasy, as he
regarded them as perpetual spies, had been dismissed. Henry expressed his
gratification. They are there, he said, entirely in the interest of
Leopold, who has just received 500,000 crowns from the King of Spain, and
is to have that sum annually, and they are only sent to watch all your
proceedings in regard to Cleve.

The King then fervently pressed the Ambassador to urge Barneveld's coming
to Paris with the least possible delay. He signified his delight with
Barneveld's answer to Anhalt, who thus fortified would be able to do good
service at the assembly at Hall. He had expected nothing else from
Barneveld's sagacity, from his appreciation of the needs of Christendom,
and from his affection for himself. He told the Ambassador that he was
anxiously waiting for the Advocate in order to consult with him as to all
the details of the war. The affair of Cleve, he said, was too special a
cause. A more universal one was wanted. The King preferred to begin with
Luxemburg, attacking Charlemont or Namur, while the States ought at the
same time to besiege Venlo, with the intention afterwards of uniting with
the King in laying siege to Maestricht.

He was strong enough, he said, against all the world, but he still
preferred to invite all princes interested to join him in putting down
the ambitious and growing power of Spain. Cleve was a plausible pretext,
but the true cause, he said, should be found in the general safety of

Boississe had been sent to the German princes to ascertain whether and to
what extent they would assist the King. He supposed that once they found
him engaged in actual warfare in Luxemburg, they would get rid of their
jealousy and panic fears of him and his designs. He expected them to
furnish at least as large a force as he would supply as a contingent.

For it was understood that Anhalt as generalissimo of the German forces
would command a certain contingent of French troops, while the main army
of the King would be led by himself in person.

Henry expressed the conviction that the King of Spain would be taken by
surprise finding himself attacked in three places and by three armies at
once, he believing that the King of France was entirely devoted to his
pleasures and altogether too old for warlike pursuits, while the States,
just emerging from the misery of their long and cruel conflict, would be
surely unwilling to plunge headlong into a great and bloody war.

Henry inferred this, he said, from observing the rude and brutal manner
in which the soldiers in the Spanish Netherlands were now treated. It
seemed, he said, as if the Archdukes thought they had no further need of
them, or as if a stamp of the foot could raise new armies out of the
earth. "My design," continued the King, "is the more likely to succeed as
the King of Spain, being a mere gosling and a valet of the Duke of Lerma,
will find himself stripped of all his resources and at his wits' end;
unexpectedly embarrassed as he will be on the Italian side, where we
shall be threatening to cut the jugular vein of his pretended universal

He intimated that there was no great cause for anxiety in regard to the
Catholic League just formed at Wurzburg. He doubted whether the King of
Spain would join it, and he had learned that the Elector of Cologne was
making very little progress in obtaining the Emperor's adhesion. As to
this point the King had probably not yet thoroughly understood that the
Bavarian League was intended to keep clear of the House of Habsburg,
Maximilian not being willing to identify the success of German
Catholicism with the fortunes of that family.

Henry expressed the opinion that the King of Spain, that is to say, his
counsellors, meant to make use of the Emperor's name while securing all
the profit, and that Rudolph quite understood their game, while Matthias
was sure to make use of this opportunity, supported by the Protestants of
Bohemia, Austria, and Moravia, to strip the Emperor of the last shred of

The King was anxious that the States should send a special embassy at
once to the King of Great Britain. His ambassador, de la Boderie, gave
little encouragement of assistance from that quarter, but it was at least
desirable to secure his neutrality. "'Tis a prince too much devoted to
repose," said Henry, "to be likely to help in this war, but at least he
must not be allowed to traverse our great designs. He will probably
refuse the league offensive and defensive which I have proposed to him,
but he must be got, if possible, to pledge himself to the defensive. I
mean to assemble my army on the frontier, as if to move upon Julich, and
then suddenly sweep down on the Meuse, where, sustained by the States'
army and that of the princes, I will strike my blows and finish my
enterprise before our adversary has got wind of what is coming. We must
embark James in the enterprise if we can, but at any rate we must take
measures to prevent his spoiling it."

Henry assured the Envoy that no one would know anything of the great
undertaking but by its effect; that no one could possibly talk about it
with any knowledge except himself, Sully, Villeroy, Barneveld, and
Aerssens. With them alone he conferred confidentially, and he doubted not
that the States would embrace this opportunity to have done for ever with
the Spaniards. He should take the field in person, he said, and with
several powerful armies would sweep the enemy away from the Meuse, and
after obtaining control of that river would quietly take possession of
the sea-coast of Flanders, shut up Archduke Albert between the States and
the French, who would thus join hands and unite their frontiers.

Again the King expressed his anxiety for Barneveld's coming, and directed
the Ambassador to urge it, and to communicate to him the conversation
which had just taken place. He much preferred, he said, a general war. He
expressed doubts as to the Prince of Anhalt's capacity as chief in the
Cleve expedition, and confessed that being jealous of his own reputation
he did not like to commit his contingent of troops to the care of a
stranger and one so new to his trade. The shame would fall on himself,
not on Anhalt in case of any disaster. Therefore, to avoid all petty
jealousies and inconveniences of that nature by which the enterprise
might be ruined, it was best to make out of this small affair a great
one, and the King signified his hope that the Advocate would take this
view of the case and give him his support. He had plenty of grounds of
war himself, and the States had as good cause of hostilities in the
rupture of the truce by the usurpation attempted by Leopold with the
assistance of Spain and in the name of the Emperor. He hoped, he said,
that the States would receive no more deputations from Archduke Albert,
but decide to settle everything at the point of the sword. The moment was
propitious, and, if neglected, might never return. Marquis Spinola was
about to make a journey to Spain on various matters of business. On his
return, Henry said, he meant to make him prisoner as a hostage for the
Prince of Conde, whom the Archdukes were harbouring and detaining. This
would be the pretext, he said, but the object would be to deprive the
Archdukes of any military chief, and thus to throw them into utter
confusion. Count van den Berg would never submit to the authority of Don
Luis de Velasco, nor Velasco to his, and not a man could come from Spain
or Italy, for the passages would all be controlled by France.

Fortunately for the King's reputation, Spinola's journey was deferred, so
that this notable plan for disposing of the great captain fell to the

Henry agreed to leave the two French regiments and the two companies of
cavalry in the States' service as usual, but stipulated in certain
contingencies for their use.

Passing to another matter concerning which there had been so much
jealousy on the part of the States, the formation of the French East
India Company--to organize which undertaking Le Roy and Isaac Le Maire of
Amsterdam had been living disguised in the house of Henry's famous
companion, the financier Zamet at Paris--the King said that Barneveld
ought not to envy him a participation in the great profits of this

Nothing would be done without consulting him after his arrival in Paris.
He would discuss the matter privately with him, he said, knowing that
Barneveld was a great personage, but however obstinate he might be, he
felt sure that he would always yield to reason. On the other hand the
King expressed his willingness to submit to the Advocate's opinions if
they should seem the more just.

On leaving the King the Ambassador had an interview with Sully, who again
expressed his great anxiety for the arrival of Barneveld, and his hopes
that he might come with unlimited powers, so that the great secret might
not leak out through constant referring of matters back to the Provinces.

After rendering to the Advocate a detailed account of this remarkable
conversation, Aerssens concluded with an intimation that perhaps his own
opinion might be desired as to the meaning of all those movements
developing themselves so suddenly and on so many sides.

"I will say," he observed, "exactly what the poet sings of the army of

     'Hi motus animorum atque haec certamina tanta
     Pulveris exigui jactu contacts quiescunt.'

If the Prince of Conde comes back, we shall be more plausible than ever.
If he does not come back, perhaps the consideration of the future will
sweep us onwards. All have their special views, and M. de Villeroy more
warmly than all the rest."


     Abstinence from inquisition into consciences and private parlour
     Allowed the demon of religious hatred to enter into its body
     Behead, torture, burn alive, and bury alive all heretics
     Christian sympathy and a small assistance not being sufficient
     Contained within itself the germs of a larger liberty
     Could not be both judge and party in the suit
     Covered now with the satirical dust of centuries
     Deadly hatred of Puritans in England and Holland
     Doctrine of predestination in its sternest and strictest sense
     Emperor of Japan addressed him as his brother monarch
     Estimating his character and judging his judges
     Everybody should mind his own business
     He was a sincere bigot
     Impatience is often on the part of the non-combatants
     Intense bigotry of conviction
     International friendship, the self-interest of each
     It was the true religion, and there was none other
     James of England, who admired, envied, and hated Henry
     Jealousy, that potent principle
     Language which is ever living because it is dead
     More fiercely opposed to each other than to Papists
     None but God to compel me to say more than I choose to say
     Power the poison of which it is so difficult to resist
     Presents of considerable sums of money to the negotiators made
     Princes show what they have in them at twenty-five or never
     Putting the cart before the oxen
     Religious toleration, which is a phrase of insult
     Secure the prizes of war without the troubles and dangers
     Senectus edam maorbus est
     So much in advance of his time as to favor religious equality
     The Catholic League and the Protestant Union
     The truth in shortest about matters of importance
     The vehicle is often prized more than the freight
     There was but one king in Europe, Henry the Bearnese
     There was no use in holding language of authority to him
     Thirty Years' War tread on the heels of the forty years
     Unimaginable outrage as the most legitimate industry
     Wish to appear learned in matters of which they are ignorant



By John Lothrop Motley, D.C.L., LL.D.

The Life and Death of John of Barneveld, v2, 1609-10


   Passion of Henry IV. for Margaret de Montmorency--Her Marriage with
   the Prince of Conde--Their Departure for the Country-Their Flight to
   the Netherlands-Rage of the King--Intrigues of Spain--Reception of
   the Prince and Princess of Conde by the Archdukes at Brussels--
   Splendid Entertainments by Spinola--Attempts of the King to bring
   the Fugitives back--Mission of De Coeuvres to Brussels--Difficult
   Position of the Republic--Vast but secret Preparations for War.

"If the Prince of Conde comes back." What had the Prince of Conde, his
comings and his goings, to do with this vast enterprise?

It is time to point to the golden thread of most fantastic passion which
runs throughout this dark and eventful history.

One evening in the beginning of the year which had just come to its close
there was to be a splendid fancy ball at the Louvre in the course of
which several young ladies of highest rank were to perform a dance in
mythological costume.

The King, on ill terms with the Queen, who harassed him with scenes of
affected jealousy, while engaged in permanent plots with her paramour and
master, the Italian Concini, against his policy and his life; on still
worse terms with his latest mistress in chief, the Marquise de Verneuil,
who hated him and revenged herself for enduring his caresses by making
him the butt of her venomous wit, had taken the festivities of a court in
dudgeon where he possessed hosts of enemies and flatterers but scarcely a
single friend.

He refused to attend any of the rehearsals of the ballet, but one day a
group of Diana and her nymphs passed him in the great gallery of the
palace. One of the nymphs as she went by turned and aimed her gilded
javelin at his heart. Henry looked and saw the most beautiful young
creature, so he thought, that mortal eye had ever gazed upon, and
according to his wont fell instantly over head and ears in love. He said
afterwards that he felt himself pierced to the heart and was ready to
faint away.

The lady was just fifteen years of age. The King was turned of
fifty-five. The disparity of age seemed to make the royal passion
ridiculous. To Henry the situation seemed poetical and pathetic. After
this first interview he never missed a single rehearsal. In the intervals
he called perpetually for the services of the court poet Malherbe, who
certainly contrived to perpetrate in his behalf some of the most
detestable verses that even he had ever composed.

The nymph was Marguerite de Montmorency, daughter of the Constable of
France, and destined one day to become the mother of the great Conde,
hero of Rocroy. There can be no doubt that she was exquisitely beautiful.
Fair-haired, with a complexion of dazzling purity, large expressive eyes,
delicate but commanding features, she had a singular fascination of look
and gesture, and a winning, almost childlike, simplicity of manner.
Without feminine artifice or commonplace coquetry, she seemed to bewitch
and subdue at a glance men of all ranks, ages, and pursuits; kings and
cardinals, great generals, ambassadors and statesmen, as well as humbler
mortals whether Spanish, Italian, French, or Flemish. The Constable, an
ignorant man who, as the King averred, could neither write nor read,
understood as well as more learned sages the manners and humours of the
court. He had destined his daughter for the young and brilliant
Bassompierre, the most dazzling of all the cavaliers of the day. The two
were betrothed.

But the love-stricken Henry, then confined to his bed with the gout, sent
for the chosen husband of the beautiful Margaret.

"Bassompierre, my friend," said the aged king, as the youthful lover
knelt before him at the bedside, "I have become not in love, but mad, out
of my senses, furious for Mademoiselle de Montmorency. If she should love
you, I should hate you. If she should love me, you would hate me. 'Tis
better that this should not be the cause of breaking up our good
intelligence, for I love you with affection and inclination. I am
resolved to marry her to my nephew the Prince of Conde, and to keep her
near my family. She will be the consolation and support of my old age
into which I am now about to enter. I shall give my nephew, who loves the
chase a thousand times better than he does ladies, 100,000 livres a year,
and I wish no other favour from her than her affection without making
further pretensions."

It was eight o'clock of a black winter's morning, and the tears as he
spoke ran down the cheeks of the hero of Ivry and bedewed the face of the
kneeling Bassompierre.

The courtly lover sighed and--obeyed. He renounced the hand of the
beautiful Margaret, and came daily to play at dice with the King at his
bedside with one or two other companions.

And every day the Duchess of Angouleme, sister of the Constable, brought
her fair niece to visit and converse with the royal invalid. But for the
dark and tragic clouds which were gradually closing around that eventful
and heroic existence there would be something almost comic in the
spectacle of the sufferer making the palace and all France ring with the
howlings of his grotesque passion for a child of fifteen as he lay
helpless and crippled with the gout.

One day as the Duchess of Angouleme led her niece away from their morning
visit to the King, Margaret as she passed by Bassompierre shrugged her
shoulders with a scornful glance. Stung by this expression of contempt,
the lover who had renounced her sprang from the dice table, buried his
face in his hat, pretending that his nose was bleeding, and rushed
frantically from the palace.

Two days long he spent in solitude, unable to eat, drink, or sleep,
abandoned to despair and bewailing his wretched fate, and it was long
before he could recover sufficient equanimity to face his lost Margaret
and resume his place at the King's dicing table. When he made his
appearance, he was according to his own account so pale, changed, and
emaciated that his friends could not recognise him.

The marriage with Conde, first prince of the blood, took place early in
the spring. The bride received magnificent presents, and the husband a
pension of 100,000 livres a year. The attentions of the King became soon
outrageous and the reigning scandal of the hour. Henry, discarding the
grey jacket and simple costume on which he was wont to pride himself,
paraded himself about in perfumed ruffs and glittering doublet, an
ancient fop, very little heroic, and much ridiculed. The Princess made
merry with the antics of her royal adorer, while her vanity at least, if
not her affection, was really touched, and there was one great round of
court festivities in her honour, at which the King and herself were ever
the central figures. But Conde was not at all amused. Not liking the part
assigned to him in the comedy thus skilfully arranged by his cousin king,
never much enamoured of his bride, while highly appreciating the 100,000
livres of pension, he remonstrated violently with his wife, bitterly
reproached the King, and made himself generally offensive. "The Prince is
here," wrote Henry to Sully, "and is playing the very devil. You would be
in a rage and be ashamed of the things he says of me. But at last I am
losing patience, and am resolved to give him a bit of my mind." He wrote
in the same terms to Montmorency. The Constable, whose conduct throughout
the affair was odious and pitiable, promised to do his best to induce the
Prince, instead of playing the devil, to listen to reason, as he and the
Duchess of Angouleme understood reason.

Henry had even the ineffable folly to appeal to the Queen to use her
influence with the refractory Conde. Mary de' Medici replied that there
were already thirty go-betweens at work, and she had no idea of being the
thirty-first--[Henrard, 30].

Conde, surrounded by a conspiracy against his honour and happiness,
suddenly carried off his wife to the country, much to the amazement and
rage of Henry.

In the autumn he entertained a hunting party at a seat of his, the Abbey
of Verneuille, on the borders of Picardy. De Traigny, governor of Amiens,
invited the Prince, Princess, and the Dowager-Princess to a banquet at
his chateau not far from the Abbey. On their road thither they passed a
group of huntsmen and grooms in the royal livery. Among them was an aged
lackey with a plaister over one eye, holding a couple of hounds in leash.
The Princess recognized at a glance under that ridiculous disguise the

"What a madman!" she murmured as she passed him, "I will never forgive
you;" but as she confessed many years afterwards, this act of gallantly
did not displease her.'

In truth, even in mythological fable, Trove has scarcely ever reduced
demi-god or hero to more fantastic plight than was this travesty of the
great Henry. After dinner Madame de Traigny led her fair guest about the
castle to show her the various points of view. At one window she paused,
saying that it commanded a particularly fine prospect.

The Princess looked from it across a courtyard, and saw at an opposite
window an old gentleman holding his left hand tightly upon his heart to
show that it was wounded, and blowing kisses to her with the other: "My
God! it is the King himself," she cried to her hostess. The princess with
this exclamation rushed from the window, feeling or affecting much
indignation, ordered horses to her carriage instantly, and overwhelmed
Madame de Traigny with reproaches. The King himself, hastening to the
scene, was received with passionate invectives, and in vain attempted to
assuage the Princess's wrath and induce her to remain.

They left the chateau at once, both Prince and Princess.

One night, not many weeks afterwards, the Due de Sully, in the Arsenal at
Paris, had just got into bed at past eleven o'clock when he received a
visit from Captain de Praslin, who walked straight into his bed-chamber,
informing him that the King instantly required his presence.

Sully remonstrated. He was obliged to rise at three the next morning, he
said, enumerating pressing and most important work which Henry required
to be completed with all possible haste. "The King said you would be very
angry," replied Praslin; "but there is no help for it. Come you must, for
the man you know of has gone out of the country, as you said he would,
and has carried away the lady on the crupper behind him."

"Ho, ho," said the Duke, "I am wanted for that affair, am I?" And the two
proceeded straightway to the Louvre, and were ushered, of all apartments
in the world, into the Queen's bedchamber. Mary de' Medici had given
birth only four days before to an infant, Henrietta Maria, future queen
of Charles I. of England. The room was crowded with ministers and
courtiers; Villeroy, the Chancellor, Bassompierre, and others, being
stuck against the wall at small intervals like statues, dumb, motionless,
scarcely daring to breathe. The King, with his hands behind him and his
grey beard sunk on his breast, was pacing up and down the room in a
paroxysm of rage and despair.

"Well," said he, turning to Sully as he entered, "our man has gone off
and carried everything with him. What do you say to that?"

The Duke beyond the boding "I told you so" phrase of consolation which he
was entitled to use, having repeatedly warned his sovereign that
precisely this catastrophe was impending, declined that night to offer
advice. He insisted on sleeping on it. The manner in which the
proceedings of the King at this juncture would be regarded by the
Archdukes Albert and Isabella--for there could be no doubt that Conde had
escaped to their territory--and by the King of Spain, in complicity with
whom the step had unquestionably been taken--was of gravest political

Henry had heard the intelligence but an hour before. He was at cards in
his cabinet with Bassompierre and others when d'Elbene entered and made a
private communication to him. "Bassompierre, my friend," whispered the
King immediately in that courtier's ear, "I am lost. This man has carried
his wife off into a wood. I don't know if it is to kill her or to take
her out of France. Take care of my money and keep up the game."

Bassompierre followed the king shortly afterwards and brought him his
money. He said that he had never seen a man so desperate, so transported.

The matter was indeed one of deepest and universal import. The reader has
seen by the preceding narrative how absurd is the legend often believed
in even to our own days that war was made by France upon the Archdukes
and upon Spain to recover the Princess of Conde from captivity in

From contemporary sources both printed and unpublished; from most
confidential conversations and revelations, we have seen how broad,
deliberate, and deeply considered were the warlike and political
combinations in the King's ever restless brain. But although the
abduction of the new Helen by her own Menelaus was not the cause of the
impending, Iliad, there is no doubt whatever that the incident had much
to do with the crisis, was the turning point in a great tragedy, and that
but for the vehement passion of the King for this youthful princess
events might have developed themselves on a far different scale from that
which they were destined to assume. For this reason a court intrigue,
which history under other conditions might justly disdain, assumes vast
proportions and is taken quite away from the scandalous chronicle which
rarely busies itself with grave affairs of state.

"The flight of Conde," wrote Aerssens, "is the catastrophe to the comedy
which has been long enacting. 'Tis to be hoped that the sequel may not
prove tragical."

"The Prince," for simply by that title he was usually called to
distinguish him from all other princes in France, was next of blood. Had
Henry no sons, he would have succeeded him on the throne. It was a
favourite scheme of the Spanish party to invalidate Henry's divorce from
Margaret of Valois, and thus to cast doubts on the legitimacy of the
Dauphin and the other children of Mary de' Medici.

The Prince in the hands of the Spanish government might prove a docile
and most dangerous instrument to the internal repose of France not only
after Henry's death but in his life-time. Conde's character was
frivolous, unstable, excitable, weak, easy to be played upon by designing
politicians, and he had now the deepest cause for anger and for indulging
in ambitious dreams.

He had been wont during this unhappy first year of his marriage to loudly
accuse Henry of tyranny, and was now likely by public declaration to
assign that as the motive of his flight. Henry had protested in reply
that he had never been guilty of tyranny but once in his life, and that
was when he allowed this youth to take the name and title of Conde?

For the Princess-Dowager his mother had lain for years in prison, under
the terrible accusation of having murdered her husband, in complicity
with her paramour, a Gascon page, named Belcastel. The present prince had
been born several months after his reputed father's death. Henry, out of
good nature, or perhaps for less creditable reasons, had come to the
rescue of the accused princess, and had caused the process to be stopped,
further enquiry to be quashed, and the son to be recognized as legitimate
Prince of Conde. The Dowager had subsequently done her best to further
the King's suit to her son's wife, for which the Prince bitterly
reproached her to her face, heaping on her epithets which she well

Henry at once began to threaten a revival of the criminal suit, with a
view of bastardizing him again, although the Dowager had acted on all
occasions with great docility in Henry's interests.

The flight of the Prince and Princess was thus not only an incident of
great importance to the internal politics of trance, but had a direct and
important bearing on the impending hostilities. Its intimate connection
with the affairs of the Netherland commonwealth was obvious. It was
probable that the fugitives would make their way towards the Archdukes'
territory, and that afterwards their first point of destination would be
Breda, of which Philip William of Orange, eldest brother of Prince
Maurice, was the titular proprietor. Since the truce recently concluded
the brothers, divided so entirely by politics and religion, could meet on
fraternal and friendly terms, and Breda, although a city of the
Commonwealth, received its feudal lord. The Princess of Orange was the
sister of Conde. The morning after the flight the King, before daybreak,
sent for the Dutch ambassador. He directed him to despatch a courier
forthwith to Barneveld, notifying him that the Prince had left the
kingdom without the permission or knowledge of his sovereign, and stating
the King's belief that he had fled to the territory of the Archdukes. If
he should come to Breda or to any other place within the jurisdiction of
the States, they were requested to make sure of his person at once, and
not to permit him to retire until further instructions should be received
from the King. De Praslin, captain of the body-guards and lieutenant of
Champagne, it was further mentioned, was to be sent immediately on secret
mission concerning this affair to the States and to the Archdukes.

The King suspected Conde of crime, so the Advocate was to be informed. He
believed him to be implicated in the conspiracy of Poitou; the six who
had been taken prisoners having confessed that they had thrice conferred
with a prince at Paris, and that the motive of the plot was to free
themselves and France from the tyranny of Henry IV. The King insisted
peremptorily, despite of any objections from Aerssens, that the thing
must be done and his instructions carried out to the letter. So much he
expected of the States, and they should care no more for ulterior
consequences, he said, than he had done for the wrath of Spain when he
frankly undertook their cause. Conde was important only because his
relative, and he declared that if the Prince should escape, having once
entered the territory of the Republic, he should lay the blame on its

"If you proceed languidly in the affair," wrote Aerssens to Barneveld,
"our affairs will suffer for ever."

Nobody at court believed in the Poitou conspiracy, or that Conde had any
knowledge of it. The reason of his flight was a mystery to none, but as
it was immediately followed by an intrigue with Spain, it seemed
ingenious to Henry to make, use of a transparent pretext to conceal the
ugliness of the whole affair.

He hoped that the Prince would be arrested at Breda and sent back by the
States. Villeroy said that if it was not done, they would be guilty of
black ingratitude. It would be an awkward undertaking, however, and the
States devoutly prayed that they might not be put to the test. The crafty
Aerssens suggested to Barneveld that if Conde was not within their
territory it would be well to assure the King that, had he been there, he
would have been delivered up at once. "By this means," said the
Ambassador, "you will give no cause of offence to the Prince, and will at
the same time satisfy the King. It is important that he should think that
you depend immediately upon him. If you see that after his arrest they
take severe measures against him, you will have a thousand ways of
parrying the blame which posterity might throw upon you. History teaches
you plenty of them."

He added that neither Sully nor anyone else thought much of the Poitou
conspiracy. Those implicated asserted that they had intended to raise
troops there to assist the King in the Cleve expedition. Some people said
that Henry had invented this plot against his throne and life. The
Ambassador, in a spirit of prophecy, quoted the saying of Domitian:
"Misera conditio imperantium quibus de conspiratione non creditor nisi

Meantime the fugitives continued their journey. The Prince was
accompanied by one of his dependants, a rude officer, de Rochefort, who
carried the Princess on a pillion behind him. She had with her a
lady-in-waiting named du Certeau and a lady's maid named Philippote. She
had no clothes but those on her back, not even a change of linen. Thus
the young and delicate lady made the wintry journey through the forests.
They crossed the frontier at Landrecies, then in the Spanish Netherlands,
intending to traverse the Archduke's territory in order to reach Breda,
where Conde meant to leave his wife in charge of his sister, the Princess
of Orange, and then to proceed to Brussels.

He wrote from the little inn at Landrecies to notify the Archduke of his
project. He was subsequently informed that Albert would not prevent his
passing through his territories, but should object to his making a fixed
residence within them. The Prince also wrote subsequently to the King of
Spain and to the King of France.

To Henry he expressed his great regret at being obliged to leave the
kingdom in order to save his honour and his life, but that he had no
intention of being anything else than his very humble and faithful
cousin, subject, and servant. He would do nothing against his service, he
said, unless forced thereto, and he begged the King not to take it amiss
if he refused to receive letters from any one whomsoever at court, saving
only such letters as his Majesty himself might honour him by writing.

The result of this communication to the King was of course to enrage that
monarch to the utmost, and his first impulse on finding that the Prince
was out of his reach was to march to Brussels at once and take possession
of him and the Princess by main force. More moderate counsels prevailed
for the moment however, and negotiations were attempted.

Praslin did not contrive to intercept the fugitives, but the
States-General, under the advice of Barneveld, absolutely forbade their
coming to Breda or entering any part of their jurisdiction. The result of
Conde's application to the King of Spain was an ultimate offer of
assistance and asylum, through a special emissary, one Anover; for the
politicians of Madrid were astute enough to see what a card the Prince
might prove in their hands.

Henry instructed his ambassador in Spain to use strong and threatening
language in regard to the harbouring a rebel and a conspirator against
the throne of France; while on the other hand he expressed his
satisfaction with the States for having prohibited the Prince from
entering their territory. He would have preferred, he said, if they had
allowed him entrance and forbidden his departure, but on the whole he was
content. It was thought in Paris that the Netherland government had acted
with much adroitness in thus abstaining both from a violation of the law
of nations and from giving offence to the King.

A valet of Conde was taken with some papers of the Prince about him,
which proved a determination on his part never to return to France during
the lifetime of Henry. They made no statement of the cause of his flight,
except to intimate that it might be left to the judgment of every one, as
it was unfortunately but too well known to all.

Refused entrance into the Dutch territory, the Prince was obliged to
renounce his project in regard to Breda, and brought his wife to
Brussels. He gave Bentivoglio, the Papal nuncio, two letters to forward
to Italy, one to the Pope, the other to his nephew, Cardinal Borghese.
Encouraged by the advices which he had received from Spain, he justified
his flight from France both by the danger to his honour and to his life,
recommending both to the protection of his Holiness and his Eminence.
Bentivoglio sent the letters, but while admitting the invincible reasons
for his departure growing out of the King's pursuit of the Princess, he
refused all credence to the pretended violence against Conde himself.
Conde informed de Praslin that he would not consent to return to France.
Subsequently he imposed as conditions of return that the King should
assign to him certain cities and strongholds in Guienne, of which
province he was governor, far from Paris and very near the Spanish
frontier; a measure dictated by Spain and which inflamed Henry's wrath
almost to madness. The King insisted on his instant return, placing
himself and of course the Princess entirely in his hands and receiving a
full pardon for this effort to save his honour. The Prince and Princess
of Orange came from Breda to Brussels to visit their brother and his
wife. Here they established them in the Palace of Nassau, once the
residence in his brilliant youth of William the Silent; a magnificent
mansion, surrounded by park and garden, built on the brow of the almost
precipitous hill, beneath which is spread out so picturesquely the
antique and beautiful capital of Brabant.

The Archdukes received them with stately courtesy at their own palace. On
their first ceremonious visit to the sovereigns of the land, the formal
Archduke, coldest and chastest of mankind, scarcely lifted his eyes to
gaze on the wondrous beauty of the Princess, yet assured her after he had
led her through a portrait gallery of fair women that formerly these had
been accounted beauties, but that henceforth it was impossible to speak
of any beauty but her own.

The great Spinola fell in love with her at once, sent for the illustrious
Rubens from Antwerp to paint her portrait, and offered Mademoiselle de
Chateau Vert 10,000 crowns in gold if she would do her best to further
his suit with her mistress. The Genoese banker-soldier made love, war,
and finance on a grand scale. He gave a magnificent banquet and ball in
her honour on Twelfth Night, and the festival was the wonder of the town.
Nothing like it had been seen in Brussels for years. At six in the
evening Spinola in splendid costume, accompanied by Don Luis Velasco,
Count Ottavio Visconti, Count Bucquoy, with other nobles of lesser note,
drove to the Nassau Palace to bring the Prince and Princess and their
suite to the Marquis's mansion. Here a guard of honour of thirty
musketeers was standing before the door, and they were conducted from
their coaches by Spinola preceded by twenty-four torch-bearers up the
grand staircase to a hall, where they were received by the Princesses of
Mansfeld, Velasco, and other distinguished dames. Thence they were led
through several apartments rich with tapestry and blazing with crystal
and silver plate to a splendid saloon where was a silken canopy, under
which the Princess of Conde and the Princess of Orange seated themselves,
the Nuncius Bentivoglio to his delight being placed next the beautiful
Margaret. After reposing for a little while they were led to the
ball-room, brilliantly lighted with innumerable torches of perfumed wax
and hung with tapestry of gold and silk, representing in fourteen
embroidered designs the chief military exploits of Spinola. Here the
banquet, a cold collation, was already spread on a table decked and
lighted with regal splendour. As soon as the guests were seated, an
admirable concert of instrumental music began. Spinola walked up and down
providing for the comforts of his company, the Duke of Aumale stood
behind the two princesses to entertain them with conversation, Don Luis
Velasco served the Princess of Conde with plates, handed her the dishes,
the wine, the napkins, while Bucquoy and Visconti in like manner waited
upon the Princess of Orange; other nobles attending to the other ladies.
Forty-eight pages in white, yellow, and red scarves brought and removed
the dishes. The dinner, of courses innumerable, lasted two hours and a
half, and the ladies, being thus fortified for the more serious business
of the evening, were led to the tiring-rooms while the hall was made
ready for dancing. The ball was opened by the Princess of Conde and
Spinola, and lasted until two in the morning. As the apartment grew warm,
two of the pages went about with long staves and broke all the windows
until not a single pane of glass remained. The festival was estimated by
the thrifty chronicler of Antwerp to have cost from 3000 to 4000 crowns.
It was, he says, "an earthly paradise of which soon not a vapour
remained." He added that he gave a detailed account of it "not because he
took pleasure in such voluptuous pomp and extravagance, but that one
might thus learn the vanity of the world." These courtesies and
assiduities on the part of the great "shopkeeper," as the Constable
called him, had so much effect, if not on the Princess, at least on Conde
himself, that he threatened to throw his wife out of window if she
refused to caress Spinola. These and similar accusations were made by the
father and aunt when attempting to bring about a divorce of the Princess
from her husband. The Nuncius Bentivoglio, too, fell in love with her,
devoting himself to her service, and his facile and eloquent pen to
chronicling her story. Even poor little Philip of Spain in the depths of
the Escurial heard of her charms, and tried to imagine himself in love
with her by proxy.

Thenceforth there was a succession of brilliant festivals in honour of
the Princess. The Spanish party was radiant with triumph, the French
maddened with rage. Henry in Paris was chafing like a lion at bay. A
petty sovereign whom he could crush at one vigorous bound was protecting
the lady for whose love he was dying. He had secured Conde's exclusion
from Holland, but here were the fugitives splendidly established in
Brussels; the Princess surrounded by most formidable suitors, the Prince
encouraged in his rebellious and dangerous schemes by the power which the
King most hated on earth, and whose eternal downfall he had long since
sworn to accomplish.

For the weak and frivolous Conde began to prattle publicly of his deep
projects of revenge. Aided by Spanish money and Spanish troops he would
show one day who was the real heir to the throne of France--the
illegitimately born Dauphin or himself.

The King sent for the first president of Parliament, Harlay, and
consulted with him as to the proper means of reviving the suppressed
process against the Dowager and of publicly degrading Conde from his
position of first prince of the blood which he had been permitted to
usurp. He likewise procured a decree accusing him of high-treason and
ordering him to be punished at his Majesty's pleasure, to be prepared by
the Parliament of Paris; going down to the court himself in his
impatience and seating himself in everyday costume on the bench of judges
to see that it was immediately proclaimed.

Instead of at once attacking the Archdukes in force as he intended
in the first ebullition of his wrath, he resolved to send
de Boutteville-Montmorency, a relative of the Constable, on special and
urgent mission to Brussels. He was to propose that Conde and his wife
should return with the Prince and Princess of Orange to Breda, the King
pledging himself that for three or four months nothing should be
undertaken against him. Here was a sudden change of determination fit to
surprise the States-General, but the King's resolution veered and whirled
about hourly in the tempests of his wrath and love.

That excellent old couple, the Constable and the Duchess of Angouleme,
did their best to assist their sovereign in his fierce attempts to get
their daughter and niece into his power.

The Constable procured a piteous letter to be written to Archduke Albert,
signed "Montmorency his mark," imploring him not to "suffer that his
daughter, since the Prince refused to return to France, should leave
Brussels to be a wanderer about the world following a young prince who
had no fixed purpose in his mind."

Archduke Albert, through his ambassador in Paris, Peter Pecquius,
suggested the possibility of a reconciliation between Henry and his
kinsman, and offered himself as intermediary. He enquired whether the
King would find it agreeable that he should ask for pardon in name of the
Prince. Henry replied that he was willing that the Archduke should accord
to Conde secure residence for the time within his dominions on three
inexorable conditions:--firstly, that the Prince should ask for pardon
without any stipulations, the King refusing to listen to any treaty or to
assign him towns or places of security as had been vaguely suggested, and
holding it utterly unreasonable that a man sueing for pardon should,
instead of deserved punishment, talk of terms and acquisitions; secondly,
that, if Conde should reject the proposition, Albert should immediately
turn him out of his country, showing himself justly irritated at finding
his advice disregarded; thirdly, that, sending away the Prince, the
Archduke should forthwith restore the Princess to her father the
Constable and her aunt Angouleme, who had already made their petitions to
Albert and Isabella for that end, to which the King now added his own
most particular prayers.

If the Archduke should refuse consent to these three conditions, Henry
begged that he would abstain from any farther attempt to effect a
reconciliation and not suffer Conde to remain any longer within his

Pecquius replied that he thought his master might agree to the two first
propositions while demurring to the third, as it would probably not seem
honourable to him to separate man and wife, and as it was doubtful
whether the Princess would return of her own accord.

The King, in reporting the substance of this conversation to Aerssens,
intimated his conviction that they were only wishing in Brussels to gain
time; that they were waiting for letters from Spain, which they were
expecting ever since the return of Conde's secretary from Milan, whither
he had been sent to confer with the Governor, Count Fuentes. He said
farther that he doubted whether the Princess would go to Breda, which he
should now like, but which Conde would not now permit. This he imputed in
part to the Princess of Orange, who had written a letter full of
invectives against himself to the Dowager--Princess of Conde which she
had at once sent to him. Henry expressed at the same time his great
satisfaction with the States-General and with Barneveld in this affair,
repeating his assurances that they were the truest and best friends he

The news of Conde's ceremonious visit to Leopold in Julich could not fail
to exasperate the King almost as much as the pompous manner in which he
was subsequently received at Brussels; Spinola and the Spanish Ambassador
going forth to meet him. At the same moment the secretary of Vaucelles,
Henry's ambassador in Madrid, arrived in Paris, confirming the King's
suspicions that Conde's flight had been concerted with Don Inigo de
Cardenas, and was part of a general plot of Spain against the peace of
the kingdom. The Duc d'Epernon, one of the most dangerous plotters at the
court, and deep in the intimacy of the Queen and of all the secret
adherents of the Spanish policy, had been sojourning a long time at Metz,
under pretence of attending to his health, had sent his children to
Spain, as hostages according to Henry's belief, had made himself master
of the citadel, and was turning a deaf ear to all the commands of the

The supporters of Conde in France were openly changing their note and
proclaiming by the Prince's command that he had left the kingdom in order
to preserve his quality of first prince of the blood, and that he meant
to make good his right of primogeniture against the Dauphin and all

Such bold language and such open reliance on the support of Spain in
disputing the primogeniture of the Dauphin were fast driving the most
pacifically inclined in France into enthusiasm for the war.

The States, too, saw their opportunity more vividly every day. "What
could we desire more," wrote Aerssens to Barneveld, "than open war
between France and Spain? Posterity will for ever blame us if we reject
this great occasion."

Peter Pecquius, smoothest and sliest of diplomatists, did his best to
make things comfortable, for there could be little doubt that his masters
most sincerely deprecated war. On their heads would come the first blows,
to their provinces would return the great desolation out of which they
had hardly emerged. Still the Archduke, while racking his brains for the
means of accommodation, refused, to his honour, to wink at any violation
of the law of nations, gave a secret promise, in which the Infanta
joined, that the Princess should not be allowed to leave Brussels without
her husband's permission, and resolutely declined separating the pair
except with the full consent of both. In order to protect himself from
the King's threats, he suggested sending Conde to some neutral place for
six or eight months, to Prague, to Breda, or anywhere else; but Henry
knew that Conde would never allow this unless he had the means by Spanish
gold of bribing the garrison there, and so of holding the place in
pretended neutrality, but in reality at the devotion of the King of

Meantime Henry had despatched the Marquis de Coeuvres, brother of the
beautiful Gabrielle, Duchess de Beaufort, and one of the most audacious
and unscrupulous of courtiers, on a special mission to Brussels. De
Coeuvres saw Conde before presenting his credentials to the Archduke, and
found him quite impracticable. Acting under the advice of the Prince of
Orange, he expressed his willingness to retire to some neutral city of
Germany or Italy, drawing meanwhile from Henry a pension of 40,000 crowns
a year. But de Coeuvres firmly replied that the King would make no terms
with his vassal nor allow Conde to prescribe conditions to him. To leave
him in Germany or Italy, he said, was to leave him in the dependence of
Spain. The King would not have this constant apprehension of her
intrigues while, living, nor leave such matter in dying for turbulence in
his kingdom. If it appeared that the Spaniards wished to make use of the
Prince for such purposes, he would be beforehand with them, and show them
how much more injury he could inflict on Spain than they on France.
Obviously committed to Spain, Conde replied to the entreaties of the
emissary that if the King would give him half his kingdom he would not
accept the offer nor return to France; at least before the 8th of
February, by which date he expected advices from Spain. He had given his
word, he said, to lend his ear to no overtures before that time. He made
use of many threats, and swore that he would throw himself entirely into
the arms of the Spanish king if Henry would not accord him the terms
which he had proposed.

To do this was an impossibility. To grant him places of security would,
as the King said, be to plant a standard for all the malcontents of
France to rally around. Conde had evidently renounced all hopes of a
reconciliation, however painfully his host the Archduke might intercede
for it. He meant to go to Spain. Spinola was urging this daily and
hourly, said Henry, for he had fallen in love with the Princess, who
complained of all these persecutions in her letters to her father, and
said that she would rather die than go to Spain.

The King's advices from de Coeuvres were however to the effect that the
step would probably be taken, that the arrangements were making, and that
Spinola had been shut up with Conde six hours long with nobody present
but Rochefort and a certain counsellor of the Prince of Orange named

Henry was taking measures to intercept them on their flight by land, but
there was some thought of their proceeding to Spain by sea. He therefore
requested the States to send two ships of war, swift sailors, well
equipped, one to watch in the roads of St. Jean and the other on the
English coast. These ships were to receive their instructions from
Admiral de Vicq, who would be well informed of all the movements of the
Prince and give warning to the captains of the Dutch vessels by a
preconcerted signal. The King begged that Barneveld would do him this
favour, if he loved him, and that none might have knowledge of it but the
Advocate and Prince Maurice. The ships would be required for two or three
months only, but should be equipped and sent forth as soon as possible.

The States had no objection to performing this service, although it
subsequently proved to be unnecessary, and they were quite ready at that
moment to go openly into the war to settle the affairs of Clove, and once
for all to drive the Spaniards out of the Netherlands and beyond seas and
mountains. Yet strange to say, those most conversant with the state of
affairs could not yet quite persuade themselves that matters were
serious, and that the King's mind was fixed. Should Conde return,
renounce his Spanish stratagems, and bring back the Princess to court, it
was felt by the King's best and most confidential friends that all might
grow languid again, the Spanish faction get the upper hand in the King's
councils, and the States find themselves in a terrible embarrassment.

On the other hand, the most prying and adroit of politicians were puzzled
to read the signs of the times. Despite Henry's garrulity, or perhaps in
consequence of it, the envoys of Spain, the Empire, and of Archduke
Albert were ignorant whether peace were likely to be broken or not, in
spite of rumours which filled the air. So well had the secrets been kept
which the reader has seen discussed in confidential conversations--the
record of which has always remained unpublished--between the King and
those admitted to his intimacy that very late in the winter Pecquius,
while sadly admitting to his masters that the King was likely to take
part against the Emperor in the affair of the duchies, expressed the
decided opinion that it would be limited to the secret sending of succour
to Brandenburg and Neuburg as formerly to the United Provinces, but that
he would never send troops into Cleve, or march thither himself.

It is important, therefore, to follow closely the development of these
political and amorous intrigues, for they furnish one of the most curious
and instructive lessons of history; there being not the slightest doubt
that upon their issue chiefly depended the question of a great and
general war.

Pecquius, not yet despairing that his master would effect a
reconciliation between the King and Conde, proposed again that the Prince
should be permitted to reside for a time in some place not within the
jurisdiction of Spain or of the Archdukes, being allowed meantime to draw
his annual pension of 100,000 livres. Henry ridiculed the idea of Conde's
drawing money from him while occupying his time abroad with intrigues
against his throne and his children's succession. He scoffed at the
Envoy's pretences that Conde was not in receipt of money from Spain, as
if a man so needy and in so embarrassing a position could live without
money from some source; and as if he were not aware, from his
correspondents in Spain, that funds were both promised and furnished to
the Prince.

He repeated his determination not to accord him pardon unless he returned
to France, which he had no cause to leave, and, turning suddenly on
Pecquius, demanded why, the subject of reconciliation having failed, the
Archduke did not immediately fulfil his promise of turning Conde out of
his dominions.

Upon this Albert's minister drew back with the air of one amazed, asking
how and when the Archduke had ever made such a promise.

"To the Marquis de Coeuvres," replied Henry.

Pecquius asked if his ears had not deceived him, and if the King had
really said that de Coeuvres had made such a statement.

Henry repeated and confirmed the story.

Upon the Minister's reply that he had himself received no such
intelligence from the Archduke, the King suddenly changed his tone, and

"No, I was mistaken--I was confused--the Marquis never wrote me this; but
did you not say yourself that I might be assured that there would be no
difficulty about it if the Prince remained obstinate."

Pecquius replied that he had made such a proposition to his masters by
his Majesty's request; but there had been no answer received, nor time
for one, as the hope of reconciliation had not yet been renounced. He
begged Henry to consider whether, without instructions from his master,
he could have thus engaged his word.

"Well," said the King, "since you disavow it, I see very well that the
Archduke has no wish to give me pleasure, and that these are nothing but
tricks that you have been amusing me with all this time. Very good; each
of us will know what we have to do."

Pecquius considered that the King had tried to get him into a net, and to
entrap him into the avowal of a promise which he had never made. Henry
remained obstinate in his assertions, notwithstanding all the envoy's

"A fine trick, indeed, and unworthy of a king, 'Si dicere fas est,'" he
wrote to Secretary of State Praets. "But the force of truth is such that
he who spreads the snare always tumbles into the ditch himself."

Henry concluded the subject of Conde at this interview by saying that he
could have his pardon on the conditions already named, and not otherwise.

He also made some complaints about Archduke Leopold, who, he said,
notwithstanding his demonstrations of wishing a treaty of compromise, was
taking towns by surprise which he could not hold, and was getting his
troops massacred on credit.

Pecquius expressed the opinion that it would be better to leave the
Germans to make their own arrangements among themselves, adding that
neither his masters nor the King of Spain meant to mix themselves up in
the matter.

"Let them mix themselves in it or keep out of it, as they like," said
Henry, "I shall not fail to mix myself up in it."

The King was marvellously out of humour.

Before finishing the interview, he asked Pecquius whether Marquis Spinola
was going to Spain very soon, as he had permission from his Majesty to do
so, and as he had information that he would be on the road early in Lent.
The Minister replied that this would depend on the will of the Archduke,
and upon various circumstances. The answer seemed to displease the King,
and Pecquius was puzzled to know why. He was not aware, of course, of
Henry's project to kidnap the Marquis on the road, and keep him as a
surety for Conde.

The Envoy saw Villeroy after the audience, who told him not to mind the
King's ill-temper, but to bear it as patiently as he could. His Majesty
could not digest, he said, his infinite displeasure at the obstinacy of
the Prince; but they must nevertheless strive for a reconciliation. The
King was quick in words, but slow in deeds, as the Ambassador might have
observed before, and they must all try to maintain peace, to which he
would himself lend his best efforts.

As the Secretary of State was thoroughly aware that the King was making
vast preparations for war, and had given in his own adhesion to the
project, it is refreshing to observe the candour with which he assured
the representative of the adverse party of his determination that
friendliest relations should be preserved.

It is still more refreshing to find Villeroy, the same afternoon, warmly
uniting with Sully, Lesdiguieres, and the Chancellor, in the decision
that war should begin forthwith.

For the King held a council at the Arsenal immediately after this
interview with Pecquius, in which he had become convinced that Conde
would never return. He took the Queen with him, and there was not a
dissentient voice as to the necessity of beginning hostilities at once.

Sully, however, was alone in urging that the main force of the attack
should be in the north, upon the Rhine and Meuse. Villeroy and those who
were secretly in the Spanish interest were for beginning it with the
southern combination and against Milan. Sully believed the Duke of Savoy
to be variable and attached in his heart to Spain, and he thought it
contrary to the interests of France to permit an Italian prince to grow
so great on her frontier. He therefore thoroughly disapproved the plan,
and explained to the Dutch ambassador that all this urgency to carry on
the war in the south came from hatred to the United Provinces, jealousy
of their aggrandizement, detestation of the Reformed religion, and hope
to engage Henry in a campaign which he could not carry on successfully.
But he assured Aerssens that he had the means of counteracting these
designs and of bringing on an invasion for obtaining possession of the
Meuse. If the possessory princes found Henry making war in the Milanese
only, they would feel themselves ruined, and might throw up the game. He
begged that Barneveld would come on to Paris at once, as now or never was
the moment to assure the Republic for all time.

The King had acted with malicious adroitness in turning the tables upon
the Prince and treating him as a rebel and a traitor because, to save his
own and his wife's honour, he had fled from a kingdom where he had but
too good reason to suppose that neither was safe. The Prince, with
infinite want of tact, had played into the King's hands. He had bragged
of his connection with Spain and of his deep designs, and had shown to
all the world that he was thenceforth but an instrument in the hands of
the Spanish cabinet, while all the world knew the single reason for which
he had fled.

The King, hopeless now of compelling the return of Conde, had become most
anxious to separate him from his wife. Already the subject of divorce
between the two had been broached, and it being obvious that the Prince
would immediately betake himself into the Spanish dominions, the King was
determined that the Princess should not follow him thither.

He had the incredible effrontery and folly to request the Queen to
address a letter to her at Brussels, urging her to return to France. But
Mary de' Medici assured her husband that she had no intention of becoming
his assistant, using, to express her thought, the plainest and most
vigorous word that the Italian language could supply. Henry had then
recourse once more to the father and aunt.

That venerable couple being about to wait upon the Archduke's envoy, in
compliance with the royal request, Pecquius, out of respect to their
advanced age, went to the Constable's residence. Here both the Duchess
and Constable, with tears in their eyes, besought that diplomatist to do
his utmost to prevent the Princess from the sad fate of any longer
sharing her husband's fortunes.

The father protested that he would never have consented to her marriage,
preferring infinitely that she should have espoused any honest gentleman
with 2000 crowns a year than this first prince of the blood, with a
character such as it had proved to be; but that he had not dared to
disobey the King.

He spoke of the indignities and cruelties to which she was subjected,
said that Rochefort, whom Conde had employed to assist him in their
flight from France, and on the crupper of whose horse the Princess had
performed the journey, was constantly guilty of acts of rudeness and
incivility towards her; that but a few days past he had fired off pistols
in her apartment where she was sitting alone with the Princess of Orange,
exclaiming that this was the way he would treat anyone who interfered
with the commands of his master, Conde; that the Prince was incessantly
railing at her for refusing to caress the Marquis of Spinola; and that,
in short, he would rather she were safe in the palace of the Archduchess
Isabella, even in the humblest position among her gentlewomen, than to
know her vagabondizing miserably about the world with her husband.

This, he said, was the greatest fear he had, and he would rather see her
dead than condemned to such a fate.

He trusted that the Archdukes were incapable of believing the stories
that he and the Duchess of Angouleme were influenced in the appeals they
made for the separation of the Prince and Princess by a desire to serve
the purposes of the King. Those were fables put about by Conde. All that
the Constable and his sister desired was that the Archduchess would
receive the Princess kindly when she should throw herself at her feet,
and not allow her to be torn away against her will. The Constable spoke
with great gravity and simplicity, and with all the signs of genuine
emotion, and Peter Pecquius was much moved. He assured the aged pair that
he would do his best to comply with their wishes, and should immediately
apprise the Archdukes of the interview which had just taken place. Most
certainly they were entirely disposed to gratify the Constable and the
Duchess as well as the Princess herself, whose virtues, qualities, and
graces had inspired them with affection, but it must be remembered that
the law both human and divine required wives to submit themselves to the
commands of their husbands and to be the companions of their good and
evil fortunes. Nevertheless, he hoped that the Lord would so conduct the
affairs of the Prince of Conde that the Most Christian King and the
Archdukes would all be satisfied.

These pious and consolatory commonplaces on the part of Peter Pecquius
deeply affected the Constable. He fell upon the Envoy's neck, embraced
him repeatedly, and again wept plentifully.


   Strange Scene at the Archduke's Palace--Henry's Plot frustrated--
   His Triumph changed to Despair--Conversation of the Dutch Ambassador
   with the King--The War determined upon.

It was in the latter part of the Carnival, the Saturday night preceding
Shrove Tuesday, 1610. The winter had been a rigorous one in Brussels, and
the snow lay in drifts three feet deep in the streets. Within and about
the splendid palace of Nassau there was much commotion. Lights and
flambeaux were glancing, loud voices, martial music, discharge of pistols
and even of artillery were heard together with the trampling of many
feet, but there was nothing much resembling the wild revelry or cheerful
mummery of that holiday season. A throng of the great nobles of Belgium
with drawn swords and menacing aspect were assembled in the chief
apartments, a detachment of the Archduke's mounted body-guard was
stationed in the courtyard, and five hundred halberdiers of the burgher
guilds kept watch and ward about the palace.

The Prince of Conde, a square-built, athletic young man of middle
stature, with regular features, but a sulky expression, deepened at this
moment into ferocity, was seen chasing the secretary of the French
resident minister out of the courtyard, thwacking him lustily about the
shoulders with his drawn sword, and threatening to kill him or any other
Frenchman on the spot, should he show himself in that palace. He was
heard shouting rather than speaking, in furious language against the
King, against Coeuvres, against Berny, and bitterly bewailing his
misfortunes, as if his wife were already in Paris instead of Brussels.

Upstairs in her own apartment which she had kept for some days on pretext
of illness sat the Princess Margaret, in company' of Madame de Berny,
wife of the French minister, and of the Marquis de Coeuvres, Henry's
special envoy, and a few other Frenchmen. She was passionately fond of
dancing. The adoring cardinal described her as marvellously graceful and
perfect in that accomplishment. She had begged her other adorer, the
Marquis Spinola, "with sweetest words," that she might remain a few days
longer in the Nassau Palace before removing to the Archduke's residence,
and that the great general, according to the custom in France and
Flanders, would be the one to present her with the violins. But Spinola,
knowing the artifice concealed beneath these "sweetest words," had
summoned up valour enough to resist her blandishments, and had refused a
second entertainment.

It was not, therefore, the disappointment at losing her ball that now
made the Princess sad. She and her companions saw that there had been a
catastrophe; a plot discovered. There was bitter disappointment and deep
dismay upon their faces. The plot had been an excellent one. De Coeuvres
had arranged it all, especially instigated thereto by the father of the
Princess acting in concurrence with the King. That night when all was
expected to be in accustomed quiet, the Princess, wrapped in her
mantilla, was to have stolen down into the garden, accompanied only by
her maid the adventurous and faithful Philipotte, to have gone through a
breach which led through a garden wall to the city ramparts, thence
across the foss to the counterscarp, where a number of horsemen under
trustworthy commanders were waiting. Mounting on the crupper behind one
of the officers of the escort, she was then to fly to the frontier,
relays of horses having been provided at every stage until she should
reach Rocroy, the first pausing place within French territory; a perilous
adventure for the young and delicate Princess in a winter of almost
unexampled severity.

On the very morning of the day assigned for the adventure, despatches
brought by special couriers from the Nuncius and the Spanish ambassador
at Paris gave notice of the plot to the Archdukes and to Conde, although
up to that moment none knew of it in Brussels. Albert, having been
apprised that many Frenchmen had been arriving during the past few days,
and swarming about the hostelries of the city and suburbs, was at once
disposed to believe in the story. When Conde came to him, therefore, with
confirmation from his own letters, and demanding a detachment of the
body-guard in addition to the burgher militiamen already granted by the
magistrates, he made no difficulty granting the request. It was as if
there had been a threatened assault of the city, rather than the
attempted elopement of a young lady escorted by a handful of cavaliers.

The courtyard of the Nassau Palace was filled with cavalry sent by the
Archduke, while five hundred burgher guards sent by the magistrates were
drawn up around the gate. The noise and uproar, gaining at every moment
more mysterious meaning by the darkness of night, soon spread through the
city. The whole population was awake, and swarming through the streets.
Such a tumult had not for years been witnessed in Brussels, and the
rumour flew about and was generally believed that the King of France at
the head of an army was at the gates of the city determined to carry off
the Princess by force. But although the superfluous and very scandalous
explosion might have been prevented, there could be no doubt that the
stratagem had been defeated.

Nevertheless, the effrontery and ingenuity of de Coeuvres became now
sublime. Accompanied by his colleague, the resident minister, de Berny,
who was sure not to betray the secret because he had never known it--his
wife alone having been in the confidence of the Princess--he proceeded
straightway to the Archduke's palace, and, late in the night as it was,
insisted on an audience.

Here putting on his boldest face when admitted to the presence, he
complained loudly of the plot, of which he had just become aware,
contrived by the Prince of Conde to carry off his wife to Spain against
her will, by main force, and by assistance of Flemish nobles, archiducal
body-guard, and burgher militia.

It was all a plot of Conde, he said, to palliate still more his flight
from France. Every one knew that the Princess could not fly back to Paris
through the air. To take her out of a house filled with people, to pierce
or scale the walls of the city, to arrange her journey by ordinary means,
and to protect the whole route by stations of cavalry, reaching from
Brussels to the frontier, and to do all this in profound secrecy, was
equally impossible. Such a scheme had never been arranged nor even
imagined, he said. The true plotter was Conde, aided by ministers in
Flanders hostile to France, and as the honour of the King and the
reputation of the Princess had been injured by this scandal, the
Ambassador loudly demanded a thorough investigation of the affair in
order that vengeance might fall where it was due.

The prudent Albert was equal to the occasion. Not wishing to state the
full knowledge which he possessed of de Coeuvres' agency and the King's
complicity in the scheme of abduction to France, he reasoned calmly with
the excited marquis, while his colleague looked and listened in dumb
amazement, having previously been more vociferous and infinitely more
sincere than his colleague in expressions of indignation.

The Archduke said that he had not thought the plot imputed to the King
and his ambassador very probable. Nevertheless, the assertions of the
Prince had been so positive as to make it impossible to refuse the guards
requested by him. He trusted, however, that the truth would soon be
known, and that it would leave no stain on the Princess, nor give any
offence to the King.

Surprised and indignant at the turn given to the adventure by the French
envoys, he nevertheless took care to conceal these sentiments, to abstain
from accusation, and calmly to inform them that the Princess next morning
would be established under his own roof; and enjoy the protection of the

For it had been arranged several days before that Margaret should leave
the palace of Nassau for that of Albert and Isabella on the 14th, and the
abduction had been fixed for the night of the 13th precisely because the
conspirators wished to profit by the confusion incident on a change of

The irrepressible de Coeuvres, even then hardly willing to give up the
whole stratagem as lost, was at least determined to discover how and by
whom the plot had been revealed. In a cemetery piled three feet deep with
snow on the evening following that mid-winter's night which had been
fixed for the Princess's flight, the unfortunate ambassador waited until
a certain Vallobre, a gentleman of Spinola's, who was the go-between of
the enamoured Genoese and the Princess, but whom de Coeuvres had gained
over, came at last to meet him by appointment. When he arrived, it was
only to inform him of the manner in which he had been baffled, to
convince him that the game was up, and that nothing was left him but to
retreat utterly foiled in his attempt, and to be stigmatized as a
blockhead by his enraged sovereign.

Next day the Princess removed her residence to the palace of the
Archdukes, where she was treated with distinguished honour by Isabella,
and installed ceremoniously in the most stately, the most virtuous, and
the most dismal of courts. Her father and aunt professed themselves as
highly pleased with the result, and Pecquius wrote that "they were glad
to know her safe from the importunities of the old fop who seemed as mad
as if he had been stung by a tarantula."

And how had the plot been revealed? Simply through the incorrigible
garrulity of the King himself. Apprised of the arrangement in all its
details by the Constable, who had first received the special couriers of
de Coeuvres, he could not keep the secret to himself for a moment, and
the person of all others in the world to whom he thought good to confide
it was the Queen herself. She received the information with a smile, but
straightway sent for the Nuncius Ubaldini, who at her desire instantly
despatched a special courier to Spinola with full particulars of the time
and mode of the proposed abduction.

Nevertheless the ingenuous Henry, confiding in the capacity of his deeply
offended queen to keep the secret which he had himself divulged, could
scarcely contain himself for joy.

Off he went to Saint-Germain with a train of coaches, impatient to get
the first news from de Coeuvres after the scheme should have been carried
into effect, and intending to travel post towards Flanders to meet and
welcome the Princess.

"Pleasant farce for Shrove Tuesday," wrote the secretary of Pecquius, "is
that which the Frenchmen have been arranging down there! He in whose
favour the abduction is to be made was seen going out the same day
spangled and smart, contrary to his usual fashion, making a gambado
towards Saint-Germain-en-Laye with four carriages and four to meet the

Great was the King's wrath and mortification at this ridiculous exposure
of his detestable scheme. Vociferous were Villeroy's expressions of
Henry's indignation at being supposed to have had any knowledge of or
complicity in the affair. "His Majesty cannot approve of the means one
has taken to guard against a pretended plot for carrying off the
Princess," said the Secretary of State; "a fear which was simulated by
the Prince in order to defame the King." He added that there was no
reason to suspect the King, as he had never attempted anything of the
sort in his life, and that the Archduke might have removed the Princess
to his palace without sending an army to the hotel of the Prince of
Orange, and causing such an alarm in the city, firing artillery on the
rampart as if the town had been full of Frenchmen in arms, whereas one
was ashamed next morning to find that there had been but fifteen in all.
"But it was all Marquis Spinola's fault," he said, "who wished to show
himself off as a warrior."

The King, having thus through the mouth of his secretary of state warmly
protested against his supposed implication in the attempted abduction,
began as furiously to rail at de Coeuvres for its failure; telling the
Duc de Vendome that his uncle was an idiot, and writing that unlucky
envoy most abusive letters for blundering in the scheme which had been so
well concerted between them. Then he sent for Malherbe, who straightway
perpetrated more poems to express the King's despair, in which Henry was
made to liken himself to a skeleton with a dried skin, and likewise to a
violet turned up by the ploughshare and left to wither.

He kept up through Madame de Berny a correspondence with "his beautiful
angel," as he called the Princess, whom he chose to consider a prisoner
and a victim; while she, wearied to death with the frigid monotony and
sepulchral gaieties of the archiducal court, which she openly called her
"dungeon" diverted herself with the freaks and fantasies of her royal
adorer, called him in very ill-spelled letters "her chevalier, her heart,
her all the world," and frequently wrote to beg him, at the suggestion of
the intriguing Chateau Vert, to devise some means of rescuing her from

The Constable and Duchess meanwhile affected to be sufficiently satisfied
with the state of things. Conde, however, received a letter from the
King, formally summoning him to return to France, and, in case of
refusal, declaring him guilty of high-treason for leaving the kingdom
without the leave and against the express commands of the King. To this
letter, brought to him by de Coeuvres, the Prince replied by a paper,
drawn up and served by a notary of Brussels, to the effect that he had
left France to save his life and honour; that he was ready to return when
guarantees were given him for the security of both. He would live and
die, he said, faithful to the King. But when the King, departing from the
paths of justice, proceeded through those of violence against him, he
maintained that every such act against his person was null and invalid.
Henry had even the incredible meanness and folly to request the Queen to
write to the Archdukes, begging that the Princess might be restored to
assist at her coronation. Mary de' Medici vigorously replied once more
that, although obliged to wink at the King's amours, she declined to be
his procuress. Conde then went off to Milan very soon after the scene at
the Nassau Palace and the removal of the Princess to the care of the
Archdukes. He was very angry with his wife, from whom he expressed a
determination to be divorced, and furious with the King, the validity of
whose second marriage and the legitimacy of whose children he proposed
with Spanish help to dispute.

The Constable was in favour of the divorce, or pretended to be so, and
caused importunate letters to be written, which he signed, to both Albert
and Isabella, begging that his daughter might be restored to him to be
the staff of his old age, and likewise to be present at the Queen's
coronation. The Archdukes, however, resolutely refused to permit her to
leave their protection without Conde's consent, or until after a divorce
had been effected, notwithstanding that the father and aunt demanded it.
The Constable and Duchess however, acquiesced in the decision, and
expressed immense gratitude to Isabella.

"The father and aunt have been talking to Pecquius," said Henry very
dismally; "but they give me much pain. They are even colder than the
season, but my fire thaws them as soon as I approach."

"P. S.--I am so pining away in my anguish that I am nothing but skin and
bones. Nothing gives me pleasure. I fly from company, and if in order to
comply with the law of nations I go into some assembly or other, instead
of enlivening, it nearly kills me."--[Lettres missives de Henri vii.

And the King took to his bed. Whether from gout, fever, or the pangs of
disappointed love, he became seriously ill. Furious with every one, with
Conde, the Constable, de Coeuvres, the Queen, Spinola, with the Prince of
Orange, whose councillor Keeremans had been encouraging Conde in his
rebellion and in going to Spain with Spinola, he was now resolved that
the war should go on. Aerssens, cautious of saying too much on paper of
this very delicate affair, always intimated to Barneveld that, if the
Princess could be restored, peace was still possible, and that by moving
an inch ahead of the King in the Cleve matter the States at the last
moment might be left in the lurch. He distinctly told the Advocate, on
his expressing a hope that Henry might consent to the Prince's residence
in some neutral place until a reconciliation could be effected, that the
pinch of the matter was not there, and that van der Myle, who knew all
about it, could easily explain it.

Alluding to the project of reviving the process against the Dowager, and
of divorcing the Prince and Princess, he said these steps would do much
harm, as they would too much justify the true cause of the retreat of the
Prince, who was not believed when he merely talked of his right of
primogeniture: "The matter weighs upon us very heavily," he said, "but
the trouble is that we don't search for the true remedies. The matter is
so delicate that I don't dare to discuss it to the very bottom."

The Ambassador had a long interview with the King as he lay in his bed
feverish and excited. He was more impatient than ever for the arrival of
the States' special embassy, reluctantly acquiesced in the reasons
assigned for the delay, but trusted that it would arrive soon with
Barneveld at the head, and with Count Lewis William as a member for "the
sword part of it."

He railed at the Prince of Orange, not believing that Keeremans would
have dared to do what he had done but with the orders of his master. He
said that the King of Spain would supply Conde with money and with
everything he wanted, knowing that he could make use of him to trouble
his kingdom. It was strange, he thought, that Philip should venture to
these extremities with his affairs in such condition, and when he had so
much need of repose. He recalled all his ancient grievances against
Spain, his rights to the Kingdom of Navarre and the County of St. Pol
violated; the conspiracy of Biron, the intrigues of Bouillon, the plots
of the Count of Auvergne and the Marchioness of Verneuil, the treason of
Meragne, the corruption of L'Hoste, and an infinity of other plots of the
King and his ministers; of deep injuries to him and to the public repose,
not to be tolerated by a mighty king like himself, with a grey beard. He
would be revenged, he said, for this last blow, and so for all the rest.
He would not leave a troublesome war on the hands of his young son. The
occasion was favourable. It was just to defend the oppressed princes with
the promptly accorded assistance of the States-General. The King of Great
Britain was favourable. The Duke of Savoy was pledged. It was better to
begin the war in his green old age than to wait the pleasure and
opportunity of the King of Spain.

All this he said while racked with fever, and dismissed the Envoy at
last, after a long interview, with these words: "Mr. Ambassador--I have
always spoken roundly and frankly to you, and you will one day be my
witness that I have done all that I could to draw the Prince out of the
plight into which he has put himself. But he is struggling for the
succession to this crown under instructions from the Spaniards, to whom
he has entirely pledged himself. He has already received 6000 crowns for
his equipment. I know that you and my other friends will work for the
conservation of this monarchy, and will never abandon me in my designs to
weaken the power of Spain. Pray God for my health."

The King kept his bed a few days afterwards, but soon recovered. Villeroy
sent word to Barneveld in answer to his suggestions of reconciliation
that it was too late, that Conde was entirely desperate and Spanish. The
crown of France was at stake, he said, and the Prince was promising
himself miracles and mountains with the aid of Spain, loudly declaring
the marriage of Mary de' Medici illegal, and himself heir to the throne.
The Secretary of State professed himself as impatient as his master for
the arrival of the embassy; the States being the best friends France ever
had and the only allies to make the war succeed.

Jeannin, who was now never called to the council, said that the war was
not for Germany but for Conde, and that Henry could carry it on for eight
years. He too was most anxious for Barneveld's arrival, and was of his
opinion that it would have been better for Conde to be persuaded to
remain at Breda and be supported by his brother-in-law, the Prince of
Orange. The impetuosity of the King had however swept everything before
it, and Conde had been driven to declare himself Spanish and a pretender
to the crown. There was no issue now but war.

Boderie, the King's envoy in Great Britain, wrote that James would be
willing to make a defensive league for the affairs of Cleve and Julich
only, which was the slenderest amount of assistance; but Henry always
suspected Master Jacques of intentions to baulk him if possible and
traverse his designs. But the die was cast. Spinola had carried off Conde
in triumph; the Princess was pining in her gilt cage in Brussels, and
demanding a divorce for desertion and cruel treatment; the King
considered himself as having done as much as honour allowed him to effect
a reconciliation, and it was obvious that, as the States' ambassador
said, he could no longer retire from the war without shame, which would
be the greatest danger of all.

"The tragedy is ready to begin," said Aerssens. "They are only waiting
now for the arrival of our ambassadors."

On the 9th March the King before going to Fontainebleau for a few days
summoned that envoy to the Louvre. Impatient at a slight delay in his
arrival, Henry came down into the courtyard as he was arriving and asked
eagerly if Barneveld was coming to Paris. Aerssens replied, that the
Advocate had been hastening as much as possible the departure of the
special embassy, but that the condition of affairs at home was such as
not to permit him to leave the country at that moment. Van der Myle, who
would be one of the ambassadors, would more fully explain this by word of

The King manifested infinite annoyance and disappointment that Barneveld
was not to make part of the embassy. "He says that he reposes such
singular confidence in your authority in the state, experience in
affairs, and affection for himself," wrote Aerssens, "that he might treat
with you in detail and with open heart of all his designs. He fears now
that the ambassadors will be limited in their powers and instructions,
and unable to reply at once on the articles which at different times have
been proposed to me for our enterprise. Thus much valuable time will be
wasted in sending backwards and forwards."

The King also expressed great anxiety to consult with Count Lewis William
in regard to military details, but his chief sorrow was in regard to the
Advocate. "He acquiesced only with deep displeasure and regret in your
reasons," said the Ambassador, "and says that he can hope for nothing
firm now that you refuse to come."

Villeroy intimated that Barneveld did not come for fear of exciting the
jealousy of the English.


     He who spreads the snare always tumbles into the ditch himself
     Most detestable verses that even he had ever composed
     She declined to be his procuress



By John Lothrop Motley, D.C.L., LL.D.

The Life and Death of John of Barneveld, v3, 1610


   Difficult Position of Barneveld--Insurrection at Utrecht subdued by
   the States' Army--Special Embassies to England and France--Anger of
   the King with Spain and the Archdukes--Arrangements of Henry for the
   coming War--Position of Spain--Anxiety of the King for the Presence
   of Barneveld in Paris--Arrival of the Dutch Commissioners in France
   and their brilliant Reception--Their Interview with the King and his
   Ministers--Negotiations--Delicate Position of the Dutch Government--
   India Trade--Simon Danzer, the Corsair--Conversations of Henry with
   the Dutch Commissioners--Letter of the King to Archduke Albert--
   Preparations for the Queen's Coronation, and of Henry to open the
   Campaign in person--Perplexities of Henry--Forebodings and Warnings
   --The Murder accomplished--Terrible Change in France--Triumph of
   Concini and of Spain--Downfall of Sully--Disputes of the Grandees
   among themselves--Special Mission of Condelence from the Republic--
   Conference on the great Enterprise--Departure of van der Myle from

There were reasons enough why the Advocate could not go to Paris at this
juncture. It was absurd in Henry to suppose it possible. Everything
rested on Barneveld's shoulders. During the year which had just passed he
had drawn almost every paper, every instruction in regard to the peace
negotiations, with his own hand, had assisted at every conference, guided
and mastered the whole course of a most difficult and intricate
negotiation, in which he had not only been obliged to make allowance for
the humbled pride and baffled ambition of the ancient foe of the
Netherlands, but to steer clear of the innumerable jealousies,
susceptibilities, cavillings, and insolences of their patronizing

It was his brain that worked, his tongue that spoke, his restless pen
that never paused. His was not one of those easy posts, not unknown in
the modern administration of great affairs, where the subordinate
furnishes the intellect, the industry, the experience, while the bland
superior, gratifying the world with his sign-manual, appropriates the
applause. So long as he lived and worked, the States-General and the
States of Holland were like a cunningly contrived machine, which seemed
to be alive because one invisible but mighty mind vitalized the whole.

And there had been enough to do. It was not until midsummer of 1609 that
the ratifications of the Treaty of Truce, one of the great triumphs in
the history of diplomacy, had been exchanged, and scarcely had this
period been put to the eternal clang of arms when the death of a lunatic
threw the world once more into confusion. It was obvious to Barneveld
that the issue of the Cleve-Julich affair, and of the tremendous
religious fermentation in Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria, must sooner or
later lead to an immense war. It was inevitable that it would devolve
upon the States to sustain their great though vacillating, their generous
though encroaching, their sincere though most irritating, ally. And yet,
thoroughly as Barneveld had mastered all the complications and
perplexities of the religious and political question, carefully as he had
calculated the value of the opposing forces which were shaking
Christendom, deeply as he had studied the characters of Matthias and
Rudolph, of Charles of Denmark and Ferdinand of Graz, of Anhalt and
Maximilian, of Brandenburg and Neuburg, of James and Philip, of Paul V.
and Charles Emmanuel, of Sully and Yilleroy, of Salisbury and Bacon, of
Lerma and Infantado; adroitly as he could measure, weigh, and analyse all
these elements in the great problem which was forcing itself on the
attention of Europe--there was one factor with which it was difficult for
this austere republican, this cold, unsusceptible statesman, to deal: the
intense and imperious passion of a greybeard for a woman of sixteen.

For out of the cauldron where the miscellaneous elements of universal war
were bubbling rose perpetually the fantastic image of Margaret
Montmorency: the fatal beauty at whose caprice the heroic sword of Ivry
and Cahors was now uplifted and now sheathed.

Aerssens was baffled, and reported the humours of the court where he
resided as changing from hour to hour. To the last he reported that all
the mighty preparations then nearly completed "might evaporate in smoke"
if the Princess of Conde should come back. Every ambassador in Paris was
baffled. Peter Pecquius was as much in the dark as Don Inigo de Cardenas,
as Ubaldini or Edmonds. No one save Sully, Aerssens, Barneveld, and the
King knew the extensive arrangements and profound combinations which had
been made for the war. Yet not Sully, Aerssens, Barneveld, or the King,
knew whether or not the war would really be made.

Barneveld had to deal with this perplexing question day by day. His
correspondence with his ambassador at Henry's court was enormous, and we
have seen that the Ambassador was with the King almost daily; sleeping or
waking; at dinner or the chase; in the cabinet or the courtyard.

But the Advocate was also obliged to carry in his arms, as it were, the
brood of snarling, bickering, cross-grained German princes, to supply
them with money, with arms, with counsel, with brains; to keep them awake
when they went to sleep, to steady them in their track, to teach them to
go alone. He had the congress at Hall in Suabia to supervise and direct;
he had to see that the ambassadors of the new republic, upon which they
in reality were already half dependent and chafing at their dependence,
were treated with the consideration due to the proud position which the
Commonwealth had gained. Questions of etiquette were at that moment
questions of vitality. He instructed his ambassadors to leave the
congress on the spot if they were ranked after the envoys of princes who
were only feudatories of the Emperor. The Dutch ambassadors, "recognising
and relying upon no superiors but God and their sword," placed themselves
according to seniority with the representatives of proudest kings.

He had to extemporize a system of free international communication with
all the powers of the earth--with the Turk at Constantinople, with the
Czar of Muscovy; with the potentates of the Baltic, with both the Indies.
The routine of a long established and well organized foreign office in a
time-honoured state running in grooves; with well-balanced springs and
well oiled wheels, may be a luxury of civilization; but it was a more
arduous task to transact the greatest affairs of a state springing
suddenly into recognized existence and mainly dependent for its primary
construction and practical working on the hand of one man.

Worse than all, he had to deal on the most dangerous and delicate topics
of state with a prince who trembled at danger and was incapable of
delicacy; to show respect for a character that was despicable, to lean on
a royal word falser than water, to inhale almost daily the effluvia from
a court compared to which the harem of Henry was a temple of vestals. The
spectacle of the slobbering James among his Kars and Hays and Villiers's
and other minions is one at which history covers her eyes and is dumb;
but the republican envoys, with instructions from a Barneveld, were
obliged to face him daily, concealing their disgust, and bowing
reverentially before him as one of the arbiters of their destinies and
the Solomon of his epoch.

A special embassy was sent early in the year to England to convey the
solemn thanks of the Republic to the King for his assistance in the truce
negotiations, and to treat of the important matters then pressing on the
attention of both powers. Contemporaneously was to be despatched the
embassy for which Henry was waiting so impatiently at Paris.

Certainly the Advocate had enough with this and other, important business
already mentioned to detain him at his post. Moreover the first year of
peace had opened disastrously in the Netherlands. Tremendous tempests
such as had rarely been recorded even in that land of storms had raged
all the winter. The waters everywhere had burst their dykes and
inundations, which threatened to engulph the whole country, and which had
caused enormous loss of property and even of life, were alarming the most
courageous. It was difficult in many district to collect the taxes for
the every-day expenses of the community, and yet the Advocate knew that
the Republic would soon be forced to renew the war on a prodigious scale.

Still more to embarrass the action of the government and perplex its
statesmen, an alarming and dangerous insurrection broke out in Utrecht.

In that ancient seat of the hard-fighting, imperious, and opulent
sovereign archbishops of the ancient church an important portion of the
population had remained Catholic. Another portion complained of the
abolition of various privileges which they had formerly enjoyed; among
others that of a monopoly of beer-brewing for the province. All the
population, as is the case with all populations in all countries and all
epochs, complained of excessive taxation.

A clever politician, Dirk Kanter by name, a gentleman by birth, a scholar
and philosopher by pursuit and education, and a demagogue by profession,
saw an opportunity of taking an advantage of this state of things. More
than twenty years before he had been burgomaster of the city, and had
much enjoyed himself in that position. He was tired of the learned
leisure to which the ingratitude of his fellow-citizens had condemned
him. He seems to have been of easy virtue in the matter of religion, a
Catholic, an Arminian, an ultra orthodox Contra-Remonstrant by turns. He
now persuaded a number of determined partisans that the time had come for
securing a church for the public worship of the ancient faith, and at the
same time for restoring the beer brewery, reducing the taxes, recovering
lost privileges, and many other good things. Beneath the whole scheme lay
a deep design to effect the secession of the city and with it of the
opulent and important province of Utrecht from the Union. Kanter had been
heard openly to avow that after all the Netherlands had flourished under
the benign sway of the House of Burgundy, and that the time would soon
come for returning to that enviable condition.

By a concerted assault the city hall was taken possession of by main
force, the magistracy was overpowered, and a new board of senators and
common council-men appointed, Kanter and a devoted friend of his,
Heldingen by name, being elected burgomasters.

The States-Provincial of Utrecht, alarmed at these proceedings in the
city, appealed for protection against violence to the States-General
under the 3rd Article of the Union, the fundamental pact which bore the
name of Utrecht itself. Prince Maurice proceeded to the city at the head
of a detachment of troops to quell the tumults. Kanter and his friends
were plausible enough to persuade him of the legality and propriety of
the revolution which they had effected, and to procure his formal
confirmation of the new magistracy. Intending to turn his military genius
and the splendour of his name to account, they contrived to keep him for
a time at least in an amiable enthralment, and induced him to contemplate
in their interest the possibility of renouncing the oath which subjected
him to the authority of the States of Utrecht. But the far-seeing eye of
Barneveld could not be blind to the danger which at this crisis beset the
Stadholder and the whole republic. The Prince was induced to return to
the Hague, but the city continued by armed revolt to maintain the new
magistracy. They proceeded to reduce the taxes, and in other respects to
carry out the measures on the promise of which they had come into power.
Especially the Catholic party sustained Kanter and his friends, and
promised themselves from him and from his influence over Prince Maurice
to obtain a power of which they had long been deprived.

The States-General now held an assembly at Woerden, and summoned the
malcontents of Utrecht to bring before that body a statement of their
grievances. This was done, but there was no satisfactory arrangement
possible, and the deputation returned to Utrecht, the States-General to
the Hague. The States-Provincial of Utrecht urged more strongly than ever
upon the assembly of the Union to save the city from the hands of a
reckless and revolutionary government. The States-General resolved
accordingly to interfere by force. A considerable body of troops was
ordered to march at once upon Utrecht and besiege the city. Maurice, in
his capacity of captain-general and stadholder of the province, was
summoned to take charge of the army. He was indisposed to do so, and
pleaded sickness. The States, determined that the name of Nassau should
not be used as an encouragement to disobedience, and rebellion, then
directed the brother of Maurice, Frederic Henry, youngest son of William
the Silent, to assume the command. Maurice insisted that his brother was
too young, and that it was unjust to allow so grave a responsibility to
fall upon his shoulders. The States, not particularly pleased with the
Prince's attitude at this alarming juncture, and made anxious by the
glamour which seemed to possess him since his conferences with the
revolutionary party at Utrecht, determined not to yield.

The army marched forth and laid siege to the city, Prince Frederic Henry
at its head. He was sternly instructed by the States-General, under whose
orders he acted, to take possession of the city at all hazards. He was to
insist on placing there a garrison of 2000 foot and 300 horse, and to
permit not another armed man within the walls. The members of the council
of state and of the States of Utrecht accompanied the army. For a moment
the party in power was disposed to resist the forces of the Union. Dick
Kanter and his friends were resolute enough; the Catholic priests turned
out among the rest with their spades and worked on the entrenchments. The
impossibility of holding the city against the overwhelming power of the
States was soon obvious, and the next day the gates were opened, and easy
terms were granted. The new magistracy was set aside, the old board that
had been deposed by the rebels reinstated. The revolution and the
counterrevolution were alike bloodless, and it was determined that the
various grievances of which the discontented party had complained should
be referred to the States-General, to Prince Maurice, to the council of
state, and to the ambassadors of France and England. Amnesty was likewise
decreed on submission.

The restored government was Arminian in its inclinations, the
revolutionary one was singularly compounded both of Catholic and of
ultra-orthodox elements. Quiet was on the whole restored, but the
resources of the city were crippled. The event occurring exactly at the
crisis of the Clove and Julich expedition angered the King of France.

"The trouble of Utrecht," wrote Aerssens to Barneveld, "has been turned
to account here marvellously, the Archdukes and Spaniards boasting that
many more revolts like this may be at once expected. I have explained to
his Majesty, who has been very much alarmed about it, both its source and
the hopes that it will be appeased by the prudence of his Excellency
Prince Maurice and the deputies of the States. The King desires that
everything should be pacified as soon as possible, so that there may be
no embarrassment to the course of public affairs. But he fears, he tells
me, that this may create some new jealousy between Prince Maurice and
yourself. I don't comprehend what he means, although he held this
language to me very expressly and without reserve. I could only answer
that you were living on the best of terms together in perfect amity and
intelligence. If you know if this talk of his has any other root, please
to enlighten me, that I may put a stop to false reports, for I know
nothing of affairs except what you tell me."

King James, on the other hand, thoroughly approved the promptness of the
States-General in suppressing the tumult.

Nothing very serious of alike nature occurred in Utrecht until the end of
the year, when a determined and secret conspiracy was discovered, having
for its object to overpower the garrison and get bodily possession of
Colonel John Ogle, the military commander of the town. At the bottom of
the movement were the indefatigable Dirk Kanter and his friend Heldingen.
The attempt was easily suppressed, and the two were banished from the
town. Kanter died subsequently in North Holland, in the odour of
ultra-orthodoxy. Four of the conspirators--a post-master, two shoemakers,
and a sexton, who had bound themselves by oath to take the lives of two
eminent Arminian preachers, besides other desperate deeds--were condemned
to death, but pardoned on the scaffold. Thus ended the first revolution
at Utrecht.

Its effect did not cease, however, with the tumults which were its
original manifestations. This earliest insurrection in organized shape
against the central authority of the States-General; this violent though
abortive effort to dissolve the Union and to nullify its laws; this
painful necessity for the first time imposed upon the federal government
to take up arms against misguided citizens of the Republic, in order to
save itself from disintegration and national death, were destined to be
followed by far graver convulsions on the self-same spot. Religious
differences and religious hatreds were to mingle their poison with
antagonistic political theories and personal ambitions, and to develop on
a wide scale the danger ever lurking in a constitution whose fundamental
law was unstable, ill defined, and liable to contradictory
interpretations. For the present it need only be noticed that the
States-General, guided by Barneveld, most vigorously suppressed the local
revolt and the incipient secession, while Prince Maurice, the right arm
of the executive, the stadholder of the province, and the representative
of the military power of the Commonwealth, was languid in the exertion of
that power, inclined to listen to the specious arguments of the Utrecht
rebels, and accused at least of tampering with the fell spirit which the
Advocate was resolute to destroy. Yet there was no suspicion of treason,
no taint of rebellion, no accusation of unpatriotic motives uttered
against the Stadholder.

There was a doubt as to the true maxims by which the Confederacy was to
be governed, and at this moment, certainly, the Prince and the Advocate
represented opposite ideas. There was a possibility, at a future day,
when the religious and political parties might develop themselves on a
wider scale and the struggles grow fiercer, that the two great champions
in the conflict might exchange swords and inflict mutual and poisoned
wounds. At present the party of the Union had triumphed, with Barneveld
at its head. At a later but not far distant day, similar scenes might be
enacted in the ancient city of Utrecht, but with a strange difference and
change in the cast of parts and with far more tragical results.

For the moment the moderate party in the Church, those more inclined to
Arminianism and the supremacy of the civil authority in religious
matters, had asserted their ascendency in the States-General, and had
prevented the threatened rupture.

Meantime it was doubly necessary to hasten the special embassies to
France and to England, in both which countries much anxiety as to the
political health and strength of the new republic had been excited by
these troubles in Utrecht. It was important for the States-General to
show that they were not crippled, and would not shrink from the coming
conflict, but would justify the reliance placed on them by their allies.

Thus there were reasons enough why Barneveld could not himself leave the
country in the eventful spring of 1610. It must be admitted, however,
that he was not backward in placing his nearest relatives in places of
honour, trust, and profit.

His eldest son Reinier, Seignior of Groeneveld, had been knighted by
Henry IV.; his youngest, William, afterwards called Seignior of
Stoutenburg, but at this moment bearing the not very mellifluous title of
Craimgepolder, was a gentleman-in-waiting at that king's court, with a
salary of 3000 crowns a year. He was rather a favourite with the
easy-going monarch, but he gave infinite trouble to the Dutch ambassador
Aerssens, who, feeling himself under immense obligations to the Advocate
and professing for him boundless gratitude, did his best to keep the
idle, turbulent, extravagant, and pleasure-loving youth up to the strict
line of his duties.

"Your son is in debt again," wrote Aerssens, on one occasion, "and
troubled for money. He is in danger of going to the usurers. He says he
cannot keep himself for less than 200 crowns a month. This is a large
allowance, but he has spent much more than that. His life is not
irregular nor his dress remarkably extravagant. His difficulty is that he
will not dine regularly with me nor at court. He will keep his own table
and have company to dinner. That is what is ruining him. He comes
sometimes to me, not for the dinner nor the company, but for tennis,
which he finds better in my faubourg than in town. His trouble comes from
the table, and I tell you frankly that you must regulate his expenses or
they will become very onerous to you. I am ashamed of them and have told
him so a hundred times, more than if he had been my own brother. It is
all for love of you . . . . I have been all to him that could be expected
of a man who is under such vast obligations to you; and I so much esteem
the honour of your friendship that I should always neglect my private
affairs in order to do everything for your service and meet your desires
. . . . . If M. de Craimgepolder comes back from his visit home, you must
restrict him in two things, the table and tennis, and you can do this if
you require him to follow the King assiduously as his service requires."

Something at a future day was to be heard of William of Barneveld, as
well as of his elder brother Reinier, and it is good, therefore, to have
these occasional glimpses of him while in the service of the King and
under the supervision of one who was then his father's devoted friend,
Francis Aerssens. There were to be extraordinary and tragical changes in
the relations of parties and of individuals ere many years should go by.

Besides the sons of the Advocate, his two sons-in-law, Brederode,
Seignior of Veenhuizep, and Cornelis van der Myle, were constantly
employed? in important embassies. Van der Myle had been the first
ambassador to the great Venetian republic, and was now placed at the head
of the embassy to France, an office which it was impossible at that
moment for the Advocate to discharge. At the same critical moment
Barneveld's brother Elias, Pensionary of Rotterdam, was appointed one of
the special high commissioners to the King of Great Britain.

It is necessary to give an account of this embassy.

They were provided with luminous and minute instructions from the hand of
the Advocate.

They were, in the first place, and ostensibly, to thank the King for his
services in bringing about the truce, which, truly, had been of the
slightest, as was very well known. They were to explain, on the part of
the States, their delay in sending this solemn commission, caused by the
tardiness of the King of Spain in sending his ratification to the treaty,
and by the many disputations caused by the irresolutions of the Archdukes
and the obstinacy of their commissioners in regard to their many
contraventions of the treaty. After those commissioners had gone, further
hindrances had been found in the "extraordinary tempests, high floods,
rising of the waters, both of the ocean and the rivers, and the very
disastrous inundations throughout nearly all the United Provinces, with
the immense and exorbitant damage thus inflicted, both on the public and
on many individuals; in addition to all which were to be mentioned the
troubles in the city of Utrecht."

They were, in almost hyperbolical language, directed to express the
eternal gratitude of the States for the constant favours received by them
from the crown of England, and their readiness to stand forth at any
moment with sincere affection and to the utmost of their power, at all
times and seasons, in resistance of any attempts against his Majesty's
person or crown, or against the Prince of Wales or the royal family. They
were to thank him for his "prudent, heroic, and courageous resolve to
suffer nothing to be done under colour of justice, authority, or any
other pretext, to the hindrance of the Elector of Brandenburg and
Palatine of Neuburg, in the maintenance of their lawful rights and
possession of the principalities of Julich, Cleve, and Berg, and other

By this course his Majesty, so the commissioners were to state, would put
an end to the imaginations of those who thought they could give the law
to everybody according to their pleasure.

They were to assure the King that the States-General would exert
themselves to the utmost to second his heroic resolution, notwithstanding
the enormous burthens of their everlasting war, the very exorbitant
damage caused by the inundations, and the sensible diminution in the
contributions and other embarrassments then existing in the country.

They were to offer 2000 foot and 500 horse for the general purpose under
Prince Henry of Nassau, besides the succours furnished by the King of
France and the electors and princes of Germany. Further assistance in
men, artillery, and supplies were promised under certain contingencies,
and the plan of the campaign on the Meuse in conjunction with the King of
France was duly mapped.

They were to request a corresponding promise of men and money from the
King of Great Britain, and they were to propose for his approval a closer
convention for mutual assistance between his Majesty, the United
Netherlands, the King of France, the electors and princes and other
powers of Germany; as such close union would be very beneficial to all
Christendom. It would put a stop to all unjust occupations, attempts, and
intrigues, and if the King was thereto inclined, he was requested to
indicate time and place for making such a convention.

The commissioners were further to point out the various contraventions on
the part of the Archdukes of the Treaty of Truce, and were to give an
exposition of the manner in which the States-General had quelled the
tumults at Utrecht, and reasons why such a course had of necessity been

They were instructed to state that, "over and above the great expenses of
the late war and the necessary maintenance of military forces to protect
their frontiers against their suspected new friends or old enemies, the
Provinces were burthened with the cost of the succour to the Elector of
Brandenburg and Palatine of Neuburg, and would be therefore incapable of
furnishing the payments coming due to his Majesty. They were accordingly
to sound his Majesty as to whether a good part of the debt might not be
remitted or at least an arrangement made by which the terms should begin
to run only after a certain number of years."

They were also directed to open the subject of the fisheries on the
coasts of Great Britain, and to remonstrate against the order lately
published by the King forbidding all foreigners from fishing on those
coasts. This was to be set forth as an infringement both of natural law
and of ancient treaties, and as a source of infinite danger to the
inhabitants of the United Provinces.

The Seignior of Warmond, chief of the commission, died on the 15th April.
His colleagues met at Brielle on the 16th, ready to take passage to
England in the ship of war, the Hound. They were, however, detained there
six days by head winds and great storms, and it was not until the 22nd
that they were able to put to sea. The following evening their ship cast
anchor in Gravesend. Half an hour before, the Duke of Wurtemberg had
arrived from Flushing in a ship of war brought from France by the Prince
of Anhalt.

Sir Lewis Lewkener, master of ceremonies, had been waiting for the
ambassadors at Gravesend, and informed them that the royal barges were to
come next morning from London to take them to town. They remained that
night on board the Hound, and next morning, the wind blowing up the
river, they proceeded in their ship as far as Blackwall, where they were
formally received and bade welcome in the name of the King by Sir Thomas
Cornwallis and Sir George Carew, late ambassador in France. Escorted by
them and Sir Lewis, they were brought in the court barges to Tower Wharf.
Here the royal coaches were waiting, in which they were taken to lodgings
provided for them in the city at the house of a Dutch merchant. Noel de
Caron, Seignior of Schonewal, resident ambassador of the States in
London, was likewise there to greet them. This was Saturday night: On the
following Tuesday they went by appointment to the Palace of Whitehall in
royal carriages for their first audience. Manifestations of as entire
respect and courtesy had thus been made to the Republican envoys as could
be shown to the ambassadors of the greatest sovereigns. They found the
King seated on his throne in the audience chamber, accompanied by the
Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Lord High Treasurer and Lord High
Admiral, the Duke of Lenox, the Earls of Arundel and Northampton, and
many other great nobles and dignitaries. James rose from his seat, took
off his hat, and advanced several paces to meet the ambassadors, and bade
them courteously and respectfully welcome. He then expressed his regret
at the death of the Seignior of Warmond, and after the exchange of a few
commonplaces listened, still with uncovered head, to the opening address.

The spokesman, after thanking the King for his condolences on the death
of the chief commissioner, whom, as was stated with whimsical simplicity,
"the good God had called to Himself after all his luggage had been put on
board ship," proceeded in the French language to give a somewhat
abbreviated paraphrase of Barneveld's instructions.

When this was done and intimation made that they would confer more fully
with his Majesty's council on the subjects committed to their charge, the
ambassadors were conducted home with the same ceremonies as had
accompanied their arrival. They received the same day the first visit
from the ambassadors of France and Venice, Boderie and Carrero, and had a
long conference a few days afterwards with the High Treasurer, Lord

On the 3rd May they were invited to attend the pompous celebration of the
festival of St. George in the palace at Westminster, where they were
placed together with the French ambassador in the King's oratorium; the
Dukes of Wurtemberg and Brunswick being in that of the Queen.

These details are especially to be noted, and were at the moment of
considerable importance, for this was the first solemn and extraordinary
embassy sent by the rebel Netherlanders, since their independent national
existence had been formally vindicated, to Great Britain, a power which a
quarter of a century before had refused the proffered sovereignty over
them. Placed now on exactly the same level with the representatives of
emperors and kings, the Republican envoys found themselves looked upon by
the world with different eyes from those which had regarded their
predecessors askance, and almost with derision, only seven years before.
At that epoch the States' commissioners, Barneveld himself at the head of
them, had gone solemnly to congratulate King James on his accession, had
scarcely been admitted to audience by king or minister, and had found
themselves on great festivals unsprinkled with the holy water of the
court, and of no more account than the crowd of citizens and spectators
who thronged the streets, gazing with awe at the distant radiance of the

But although the ambassadors were treated with every external
consideration befitting their official rank, they were not likely to find
themselves in the most genial atmosphere when they should come to
business details. If there was one thing in the world that James did not
intend to do, it was to get himself entangled in war with Spain, the
power of all others which he most revered and loved. His "heroic and
courageous resolve" to defend the princes, on which the commissioners by
instructions of the Advocate had so highly complimented him, was not
strong enough to carry him much beyond a vigorous phraseology. He had not
awoke from the delusive dream of the Spanish marriage which had
dexterously been made to flit before him, and he was not inclined, for
the sake of the Republic which he hated the more because obliged to be
one of its sponsors, to risk the animosity of a great power which
entertained the most profound contempt for him. He was destined to find
himself involved more closely than he liked, and through family ties,
with the great Protestant movement in Germany, and the unfortunate
"Winter King" might one day find his father-in-law as unstable a reed to
lean upon as the States had found their godfather, or the Brandenburgs
and Neuburgs at the present juncture their great ally. Meantime, as the
Bohemian troubles had not yet reached the period of actual explosion, and
as Henry's wide-reaching plan against the House of Austria had been
strangely enough kept an inviolable secret by the few statesmen, like
Sully and Barneveld, to whom they had been confided, it was necessary for
the King and his ministers to deal cautiously and plausibly with the
Dutch ambassadors. Their conferences were mere dancing among eggs, and if
no actual mischief were done, it was the best result that could be

On the 8th of May, the commissioners met in the council chamber at
Westminster, and discussed all the matters contained in their
instructions with the members of the council; the Lord Treasurer
Salisbury, Earl of Northampton, Privy Seal and Warden of the Cinque
Ports, Lord Nottingham, Lord High Admiral, the Lord Chamberlain, Earl of
Suffolk, Earls of Shrewsbury, Worcester, and several others being

The result was not entirely satisfactory. In regard to the succour
demanded for the possessory princes, the commissioners were told that
they seemed to come with a long narrative of their great burthens during
the war, damage from inundations, and the like, to excuse themselves from
doing their share in the succour, and thus the more to overload his
Majesty, who was not much interested in the matter, and was likewise
greatly encumbered by various expenses. The King had already frankly
declared his intention to assist the princes with the payment of 4000
men, and to send proportionate artillery and powder from England. As the
States had supplies in their magazines enough to move 12,000 men, he
proposed to draw upon those, reimbursing the States for what was thus
consumed by his contingent.

With regard to the treaty of close alliance between France, Great
Britain, the princes, and the Republic, which the ambassadors had
proposed, the--Lord Treasurer and his colleagues gave a reply far from
gratifying. His Majesty had not yet decided on this point, they said. The
King of France had already proposed to treat for such an alliance, but it
did not at present seem worth while for all to negotiate together.

This was a not over-courteous hint that the Republic was after all not
expected to place herself at the council-board of kings on even terms of
intimacy and fraternal alliance.

What followed was even less flattering. If his Majesty, it was intimated,
should decide to treat with the King of France, he would not shut the
door on their High Mightinesses; but his Majesty was not yet exactly
informed whether his Majesty had not certain rights over the provinces
'in petitorio.'

This was a scarcely veiled insinuation against the sovereignty of the
States, a sufficiently broad hint that they were to be considered in a
certain degree as British provinces. To a soldier like Maurice, to a
statesman like Barneveld, whose sympathies already were on the side of
France, such rebuffs and taunts were likely to prove unpalatable. The
restiveness of the States at the continual possession by Great Britain of
those important sea-ports the cautionary towns, a fact which gave colour
to these innuendoes, was sure to be increased by arrogant language on the
part of the English ministers. The determination to be rid of their debt
to so overbearing an ally, and to shake off the shackles imposed by the
costly mortgages, grew in strength from that hour.

In regard to the fisheries, the Lord Treasurer and his colleagues
expressed amazement that the ambassadors should consider the subjects of
their High Mightinesses to be so much beloved by his Majesty. Why should
they of all other people be made an exception of, and be exempt from, the
action of a general edict? The reasons for these orders in council ought
to be closely examined. It would be very difficult to bring the opinions
of the English jurists into harmony with those of the States. Meantime it
would be well to look up such treaties as might be in existence, and have
a special joint commission to confer together on the subject. It was very
plain, from the course of the conversation, that the Netherland fishermen
were not to be allowed, without paying roundly for a license, to catch
herrings on the British coasts as they had heretofore done.

Not much more of importance was transacted at this first interview
between the ambassadors and the Ding's ministers. Certainly they had not
yet succeeded in attaining their great object, the formation of an
alliance offensive and defensive between Great Britain and the Republic
in accordance with the plan concerted between Henry and Barneveld. They
could find but slender encouragement for the warlike plans to which
France and the States were secretly committed; nor could they obtain
satisfactory adjustment of affairs more pacific and commercial in their
tendencies. The English ministers rather petulantly remarked that, while
last year everybody was talking of a general peace, and in the present
conjuncture all seemed to think, or at least to speak, of nothing but a
general war, they thought best to defer consideration of the various
subjects connected with duties on the manufactures and products of the
respective countries, the navigation laws, the "entrecours," and other
matters of ancient agreement and controversy, until a more convenient

After the termination of the verbal conference, the ambassadors delivered
to the King's government, in writing, to be pondered by the council and
recorded in the archives, a summary of the statements which had been thus
orally treated. The document was in French, and in the main a paraphrase
of the Advocate's instructions, the substance of which has been already
indicated. In regard, however, to the far-reaching designs of Spain, and
the corresponding attitude which it would seem fitting for Great Britain
to assume, and especially the necessity of that alliance the proposal for
which had in the conference been received so haughtily, their language
was far plainer, bolder, and more vehement than that of the instructions.

"Considering that the effects show," they said, "that those who claim the
monarchy of Christendom, and indeed of the whole world, let slip no
opportunity which could in any way serve their designs, it is suitable to
the grandeur of his Majesty the King, and to the station in which by the
grace of the good God he is placed, to oppose himself thereto for the
sake of the common liberty of Christendom, to which end, and in order the
better to prevent all unjust usurpations, there could be no better means
devised than a closer alliance between his Majesty and the Most Christian
King, My Lords the States-General, and the electors, princes, and states
of Germany. Their High Mightinesses would therefore be most glad to learn
that his Majesty was inclined to such a course, and would be glad to
discuss the subject when and wherever his Majesty should appoint, or
would readily enter into such an alliance on reasonable conditions."

This language and the position taken up by the ambassadors were highly
approved by their government, but it was fated that no very great result
was to be achieved by this embassy. Very elaborate documents, exhaustive
in legal lore, on the subject of the herring fisheries, and of the right
to fish in the ocean and on foreign coasts, fortified by copious
citations from the 'Pandects' and 'Institutes' of Justinian, were
presented for the consideration of the British government, and were
answered as learnedly, exhaustively, and ponderously. The English
ministers were also reminded that the curing of herrings had been
invented in the fifteenth century by a citizen of Biervliet, the
inscription on whose tombstone recording that faces might still be read
in the church of that town.

All this did not prevent, however, the Dutch herring fishermen from being
excluded from the British waters unless they chose to pay for licenses.

The conferences were however for a season interrupted, and a new aspect
was given to affairs by an unforeseen and terrible event.

Meanwhile it is necessary to glance for a moment at the doings of the
special embassy to France, the instructions for which were prepared by
Barneveld almost at the same moment at which he furnished those for the
commission to England.

The ambassadors were Walraven, Seignior of Brederode, Cornelis van der
Myle, son-in-law of the Advocate, and Jacob van Maldere. Remembering how
impatient the King of France had long been for their coming, and that all
the preparations and decisions for a great war were kept in suspense
until the final secret conferences could be held with the representatives
of the States-General, it seems strange enough to us to observe the
extreme deliberation with which great affairs of state were then
conducted and the vast amount of time consumed in movements and
communications which modern science has either annihilated or abridged
from days to hours. While Henry was chafing with anxiety in Paris, the
ambassadors, having received Barneveld's instructions dated 31st March,
set forth on the 8th April from the Hague, reached Rotterdam at noon, and
slept at Dordrecht. Newt day they went to Breda, where the Prince of
Orange insisted upon their passing a couple of days with him in his
castle, Easter-day being 11th April. He then provided them with a couple
of coaches and pair in which they set forth on their journey, going by
way of Antwerp, Ghent, Courtray, Ryssel, to Arras, making easy stages,
stopping in the middle of the day to bait, and sleeping at each of the
cities thus mentioned, where they duly received the congratulatory visit
and hospitalities of their respective magistracies.

While all this time had been leisurely employed in the Netherlands in
preparing, instructing, and despatching the commissioners, affairs were
reaching a feverish crisis in France.

The States' ambassador resident thought that it would have been better
not to take such public offence at the retreat of the Prince of Conde.
The King had enough of life and vigour in him; he could afford to leave
the Dauphin to grow up, and when he should one day be established on the
throne, he would be able to maintain his heritage. "But," said Aerssens,
"I fear that our trouble is not where we say it is, and we don't dare to
say where it is." Writing to Carew, former English ambassador in Paris,
whom we have just seen in attendance on the States' commissioners in
London, he said: "People think that the Princess is wearying herself much
under the protection of the Infanta, and very impatient at not obtaining
the dissolution of her marriage, which the Duchess of Angouleme is to go
to Brussels to facilitate. This is not our business, but I mention it
only as the continuation of the Tragedy which you saw begin. Nevertheless
I don't know if the greater part of our deliberations is not founded on
this matter."

It had been decided to cause the Queen to be solemnly crowned after
Easter. She had set her heart with singular persistency upon the
ceremony, and it was thought that so public a sacrament would annihilate
all the wild projects attributed to Spain through the instrumentality of
Conde to cast doubts on the validity of her marriage and the legitimacy
of the Dauphin. The King from the first felt and expressed a singular
repugnance, a boding apprehension in regard to the coronation, but had
almost yielded to the Queen's importunity. He told her he would give his
consent provided she sent Concini to Brussels to invite in her own name
the Princess of Conde to be present on the occasion. Otherwise he
declared that at least the festival should be postponed till September.

The Marquis de Coeuvres remained in disgrace after the failure of his
mission, Henry believing that like all the world he had fallen in love
with the Princess, and had only sought to recommend himself, not to
further the suit of his sovereign.

Meanwhile Henry had instructed his ambassador in Spain, M. de Vaucelas,
to tell the King that his reception of Conde within his dominions would
be considered an infraction of the treaty of Vervins and a direct act of
hostility. The Duke of Lerma answered with a sneer that the Most
Christian King had too greatly obliged his Most Catholic Majesty by
sustaining his subjects in their rebellion and by aiding them to make
their truce to hope now that Conde would be sent back. France had ever
been the receptacle of Spanish traitors and rebels from Antonio Perez
down, and the King of Spain would always protect wronged and oppressed
princes like Conde. France had just been breaking up the friendly
relations between Savoy and Spain and goading the Duke into hostilities.

On the other hand the King had more than one stormy interview with Don
Inigo de Cardenas in Paris. That ambassador declared that his master
would never abandon his only sister the most serene Infanta, such was the
affection he born her, whose dominions were obviously threatened by these
French armies about to move to the frontiers. Henry replied that the
friends for whom he was arming had great need of his assistance; that his
Catholic Majesty was quite right to love his sister, whom he also loved;
but that he did not choose that his own relatives should be so much
beloved in Spain as they were. "What relatives?" asked Don Inigo. "The
Prince of Conde," replied the King, in a rage, "who has been debauched by
the Spaniards just as Marshal Biron was, and the Marchioness Verneuil,
and so many others. There are none left for them to debauch now but the
Dauphin and his brothers." The Ambassador replied that, if the King had
consulted him about the affair of Conde, he could have devised a happy
issue from it. Henry rejoined that he had sent messages on the subject to
his Catholic Majesty, who had not deigned a response, but that the Duke
of Lerma had given a very indiscreet one to his ambassador. Don Inigo
professed ignorance of any such reply. The King said it was a mockery to
affect ignorance of such matters. Thereupon both grew excited and very
violent in their discourses; the more so as Henry knowing but little
Spanish and the Envoy less French they could only understand from tone
and gesture that each was using exceedingly unpleasant language. At last
Don Inigo asked what he should write to his sovereign. "Whatever you
like," replied the King, and so the audience terminated, each remaining
in a towering passion.

Subsequently Villeroy assured the Archduke's ambassador that the King
considered the reception given to the Prince in the Spanish dominions as
one of the greatest insults and injuries that could be done to him.
Nothing could excuse it, said the Secretary of State, and for this reason
it was very difficult for the two kings to remain at peace with each
other, and that it would be wiser to prevent at once the evil designs of
his Catholic Majesty than to leave leisure for the plans to be put into
execution, and the claims of the Dauphin to his father's crown to be
disputed at a convenient season.

He added that war would not be made for the Princess, but for the Prince,
and that even the war in Germany, although Spain took the Emperor's side
and France that of the possessory princes, would not necessarily produce
a rupture between the two kings if it were not for this affair of the
Prince--true cause of the disaster now hanging over Christianity.
Pecquius replied by smooth commonplaces in favour of peace with which
Villeroy warmly concurred; both sadly expressing the conviction however
that the wrath divine had descended on them all on account of their sins.

A few days later, however, the Secretary changed his tone.

"I will speak to you frankly and clearly," he said to Pecquius, "and tell
you as from myself that there is passion, and if one is willing to
arrange the affair of the Princess, everything else can be accommodated
and appeased. Put if the Princess remain where she is, we are on the eve
of a rupture which may set fire to the four corners of Christendom."
Pecquius said he liked to talk roundly, and was glad to find that he had
not been mistaken in his opinion, that all these commotions were only
made for the Princess, and if all the world was going to war, she would
be the principal subject of it. He could not marvel sufficiently, he
said, at this vehement passion which brought in its train so great and
horrible a conflagration; adding many arguments to show that it was no
fault of the Archdukes, but that he who was the cause of all might one
day have reason to repent.

Villeroy replied that "the King believed the Princess to be suffering and
miserable for love of him, and that therefore he felt obliged to have her
sent back to her father." Pecquius asked whether in his conscience the
Secretary of State believed it right or reasonable to make war for such a
cause. Villeroy replied by asking "whether even admitting the negative,
the Ambassador thought it were wisely done for such a trifle, for a
formality, to plunge into extremities and to turn all Christendom upside
down." Pecquius, not considering honour a trifle or a formality, said
that "for nothing in the world would his Highness the Archduke descend to
a cowardly action or to anything that would sully his honour." Villeroy
said that the Prince had compelled his wife, pistol in hand, to follow
him to the Netherlands, and that she was no longer bound to obey a
husband who forsook country and king. Her father demanded her, and she
said "she would rather be strangled than ever to return to the company of
her husband." The Archdukes were not justified in keeping her against her
will in perpetual banishment. He implored the Ambassador in most pathetic
terms to devise some means of sending back the Princess, saying that he
who should find such expedient would do the greatest good that was ever
done to Christianity, and that otherwise there was no guarantee against a
universal war. The first design of the King had been merely to send a
moderate succour to the Princes of Brandenburg and Neuburg, which could
have given no umbrage to the Archdukes, but now the bitterness growing
out of the affairs of the Prince and Princess had caused him to set on
foot a powerful army to do worse. He again implored Pecquius to invent
some means of sending back the Princess, and the Ambassador besought him
ardently to divert the King from his designs. Of this the Secretary of
State left little hope and they parted, both very low and dismal in
mind. Subsequent conversations with the leading councillors of state
convinced Pecquius that these violent menaces were only used to shake the
constancy of the Archduke, but that they almost all highly disapproved
the policy of the King. "If this war goes on, we are all ruined," said
the Duke d'Epernon to the Nuncius.

Thus there had almost ceased to be any grimacing between the two kings,
although it was still a profound mystery where or when hostilities would
begin, and whether they would break out at all. Henry frequently remarked
that the common opinion all over Europe was working in his favour. Few
people in or out of France believed that he meant a rupture, or that his
preparations were serious. Thus should he take his enemies unawares and
unprepared. Even Aerssens, who saw him almost daily, was sometimes
mystified, in spite of Henry's vehement assertions that he was resolved
to make war at all hazards and on all sides, provided My Lords the States
would second him as they ought, their own existence being at stake.

"For God's sake," cried the King, "let us take the bit into our mouths.
Tell your masters that I am quite resolved, and that I am shrieking
loudly at their delays." He asked if he could depend on the States, if
Barneveld especially would consent to a league with him. The Ambassador
replied that for the affair of Cleve and Julich he had instructions to
promise entire concurrence, that Barneveld was most resolute in the
matter, and had always urged the enterprise and wished information as to
the levies making in France and other military preparations.

"Tell him," said Henry, "that they are going on exactly as often before
stated, but that we are holding everything in suspense until I have
talked with your ambassadors, from whom I wish counsel, safety, and
encouragement for doing much more than the Julich business. That alone
does not require so great a league and such excessive and unnecessary

The King observed however that the question of the duchies would serve as
just cause and excellent pretext to remove those troublesome fellows for
ever from his borders and those of the States. Thus the princes would be
established safely in their possession and the Republic as well as
himself freed from the perpetual suspicions which the Spaniards excited
by their vile intrigues, and it was on this general subject that he
wished to confer with the special commissioners. It would not be possible
for him to throw succour into Julich without passing through Luxemburg in
arms. The Archdukes would resist this, and thus a cause of war would
arise. His campaign on the Meuse would help the princes more than if he
should only aid them by the contingent he had promised. Nor could the
jealousy of King James be excited since the war would spring out of the
Archdukes' opposition to his passage towards the duchies, as he obviously
could not cut himself off from his supplies, leaving a hostile province
between himself and his kingdom. Nevertheless he could not stir, he said,
without the consent and active support of the States, on whom he relied
as his principal buttress and foundation.

The levies for the Milanese expedition were waiting until Marshal de
Lesdiguieres could confer personally with the Duke of Savoy. The reports
as to the fidelity of that potentate were not to be believed. He was
trifling with the Spanish ambassadors, so Henry was convinced, who were
offering him 300,000 crowns a year besides Piombino, Monaco, and two
places in the Milanese, if he would break his treaty with France. But he
was thought to be only waiting until they should be gone before making
his arrangements with Lesdiguieres. "He knows that he can put no trust in
Spain, and that he can confide in me," said the King. "I have made a
great stroke by thus entangling the King of Spain by the use of a few
troops in Italy. But I assure you that there is none but me and My Lords
the States that can do anything solid. Whether the Duke breaks or holds
fast will make no difference in our first and great designs. For the
honour of God I beg them to lose no more time, but to trust in me. I will
never deceive them, never abandon them."

At last 25,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry were already in marching order,
and indeed had begun to move towards the Luxemburg frontier, ready to
co-operate with the States' army and that of the possessory princes for
the campaign of the Meuse and Rhine.

Twelve thousand more French troops under Lesdiguieres were to act with
the Duke of Savoy, and an army as large was to assemble in the Pyrenees
and to operate on the Spanish frontier, in hope of exciting and fomenting
an insurrection caused by the expulsion of the Moors. That gigantic act
of madness by which Spain thought good at this juncture to tear herself
to pieces, driving hundreds of thousands of the most industrious, most
intelligent, and most opulent of her population into hopeless exile, had
now been accomplished, and was to stand prominent for ever on the records
of human fatuity.

Twenty-five thousand Moorish families had arrived at Bayonne, and the
Viceroy of Canada had been consulted as to the possibility and expediency
of establishing them in that province, although emigration thither seemed
less tempting to them than to Virginia. Certainly it was not unreasonable
for Henry to suppose that a kingdom thus torn by internal convulsions
might be more open to a well organized attack, than capable of carrying
out at that moment fresh projects of universal dominion.

As before observed, Sully was by no means in favour of this combined
series of movements, although at a later day, when dictating his famous
memoirs to his secretaries, he seems to describe himself as
enthusiastically applauding and almost originating them. But there is no
doubt at all that throughout this eventful spring he did his best to
concentrate the whole attack on Luxemburg and the Meuse districts, and
wished that the movements in the Milanese and in Provence should be
considered merely a slight accessory, as not much more than a diversion
to the chief design, while Villeroy and his friends chose to consider the
Duke of Savoy as the chief element in the war. Sully thoroughly
distrusted the Duke, whom he deemed to be always put up at auction
between Spain and France and incapable of a sincere or generous policy.
He was entirely convinced that Villeroy and Epernon and Jeannin and other
earnest Papists in France were secretly inclined to the cause of Spain,
that the whole faction of the Queen, in short, were urging this
scattering of the very considerable forces now at Henry's command in the
hope of bringing him into a false position, in which defeat or an
ignominious peace would be the alternative. To concentrate an immense
attack upon the Archdukes in the Spanish Netherlands and the debateable
duchies would have for its immediate effect the expulsion of the
Spaniards out of all those provinces and the establishment of the Dutch
commonwealth on an impregnable basis. That this would be to strengthen
infinitely the Huguenots in France and the cause of Protestantism in
Bohemia, Moravia and Austria, was unquestionable. It was natural,
therefore, that the stern and ardent Huguenot should suspect the plans of
the Catholics with whom he was in daily council. One day he asked the
King plumply in the presence of Villeroy if his Majesty meant anything
serious by all these warlike preparations. Henry was wroth, and
complained bitterly that one who knew him to the bottom of his soul
should doubt him. But Sully could not persuade himself that a great and
serious war would be carried on both in the Netherlands and in Italy.

As much as his sovereign he longed for the personal presence of
Barneveld, and was constantly urging the States' ambassador to induce his
coming to Paris. "You know," said Aerssens, writing to the French
ambassador at the Hague, de Russy, "that it is the Advocate alone that
has the universal knowledge of the outside and the inside of our

Sully knew his master as well as any man knew him, but it was difficult
to fix the chameleon hues of Henry at this momentous epoch. To the
Ambassador expressing doubts as to the King's sincerity the Duke asserted
that Henry was now seriously piqued with the Spaniard on account of the
Conde business. Otherwise Anhalt and the possessory princes and the
affair of Cleve might have had as little effect in driving him into war
as did the interests of the Netherlands in times past. But the bold
demonstration projected would make the "whole Spanish party bleed at the
nose; a good result for the public peace."

Therefore Sully sent word to Barneveld, although he wished his name
concealed, that he ought to come himself, with full powers to do
everything, without referring to any superiors or allowing any secrets to
be divulged. The King was too far committed to withdraw, unless coldness
on part of the States should give him cause. The Advocate must come
prepared to answer all questions; to say how much in men and money the
States would contribute, and whether they would go into the war with the
King as their only ally. He must come with the bridle on his neck. All
that Henry feared was being left in the lurch by the States; otherwise he
was not afraid of Rome. Sully was urgent that the Provinces should now go
vigorously into the war without stumbling at any consideration. Thus they
would confirm their national power for all time, but if the opportunity
were now lost, it would be their ruin, and posterity would most justly
blame them. The King of Spain was so stripped of troops and resources, so
embarrassed by the Moors, that in ten months he would not be able to send
one man to the Netherlands.

Meantime the Nuncius in Paris was moving heaven and earth; storming,
intriguing, and denouncing the course of the King in protecting heresy,
when it would have been so easy to extirpate it, encouraging rebellion
and disorder throughout Christendom, and embarking in an action against
the Church and against his conscience. A new legate was expected daily
with the Pope's signature to the new league, and a demand upon the King
to sign it likewise, and to pause in a career of which something was
suspected, but very little accurately known. The preachers in Paris and
throughout the kingdom delivered most vehement sermons against the King,
the government, and the Protestants, and seemed to the King to be such
"trumpeters of sedition" that he ordered the seneschals and other
officers to put a stop to these turbulent discourses, censure their
authors, and compel them to stick to their texts.

But the preparations were now so far advanced and going on so warmly that
nothing more was wanting than, in the words of Aerssens, "to uncouple the
dogs and let them run." Recruits were pouring steadily to their places of
rendezvous; their pay having begun to run from the 25th March at the rate
of eight sous a day for the private foot soldier and ten sous for a
corporal. They were moved in small parties of ten, lodged in the wayside
inns, and ordered, on pain of death, to pay for everything they consumed.

It was growing difficult to wait much longer for the arrival of the
special ambassadors, when at last they were known to be on their way.
Aerssens obtained for their use the Hotel Gondy, formerly the residence
of Don Pedro de Toledo, the most splendid private palace in Paris, and
recently purchased by the Queen. It was considered expedient that the
embassy should make as stately an appearance as that of royal or imperial
envoys. He engaged an upholsterer by the King's command to furnish, at
his Majesty's expense, the apartments, as the Baron de Gondy, he said,
had long since sold and eaten up all the furniture. He likewise laid in
six pieces of wine and as many of beer, "tavern drinks" being in the
opinion of the thrifty ambassador "both dear and bad."

He bought a carriage lined with velvet for the commissioners, and another
lined with broadcloth for the principal persons of their suite, and with
his own coach as a third he proposed to go to Amiens to meet them. They
could not get on with fewer than these, he said, and the new carriages
would serve their purpose in Paris. He had paid 500 crowns for the two,
and they could be sold, when done with, at a slight loss. He bought
likewise four dapple-grey horses, which would be enough, as nobody had
more than two horses to a carriage in town, and for which he paid 312
crowns--a very low price, he thought, at a season when every one was
purchasing. He engaged good and experienced coachmen at two crowns a
month, and; in short, made all necessary arrangements for their comfort
and the honour of the state.

The King had been growing more and more displeased at the tardiness of
the commission, petulantly ascribing it to a design on the part of the
States to "excuse themselves from sharing in his bold conceptions," but
said that "he could resolve on nothing without My Lords the States, who
were the only power with which he could contract confidently, as mighty
enough and experienced enough to execute the designs to be proposed to
them; so that his army was lying useless on his hands until the
commissioners arrived," and lamented more loudly than ever that Barneveld
was not coming with them. He was now rejoiced, however, to hear that they
would soon arrive, and went in person to the Hotel Gondy to see that
everything was prepared in a manner befitting their dignity and comfort.

His anxiety had moreover been increased, as already stated, by the
alarming reports from Utrecht and by his other private accounts from the

De Russy expressed in his despatches grave doubts whether the States
would join the king in a war against the King of Spain, because they
feared the disapprobation of the King of Great Britain, "who had already
manifested but too much jealousy of the power and grandeur of the
Republic." Pecquius asserted that the Archdukes had received assurances
from the States that they would do nothing to violate the truce. The
Prince of Anhalt, who, as chief of the army of the confederated princes,
was warm in his demonstrations for a general war by taking advantage of
the Cleve expedition, was entirely at cross purposes with the States'
ambassador in Paris, Aerssens maintaining that the forty-three years'
experience in their war justified the States in placing no dependence on
German princes except with express conventions. They had no such
conventions now, and if they should be attacked by Spain in consequence
of their assistance in the Cleve business, what guarantee of aid had they
from those whom Anhalt represented? Anhalt was loud in expressions of
sympathy with Henry's designs against Spain, but said that he and the
States meant a war of thirty or forty years, while the princes would
finish what they meant to do in one.

A more erroneous expression of opinion, when viewed in the light of
subsequent events, could hardly have been hazarded. Villeroy made as good
use as he could of these conversations to excite jealousy between the
princes and the States for the furtherance of his own ends, while
affecting warm interest in the success of the King's projects.

Meantime Archduke Albert had replied manfully and distinctly to the
menaces of the King and to the pathetic suggestions made by Villeroy to
Pecquius as to a device for sending back the Princess. Her stay at
Brussels being the chief cause of the impending war, it would be better,
he said, to procure a divorce or to induce the Constable to obtain the
consent of the Prince to the return of his wife to her father's house. To
further either of these expedients, the Archduke would do his best. "But
if one expects by bravados and threats," he added, "to force us to do a
thing against our promise, and therefore against reason, our reputation,
and honour, resolutely we will do nothing of the kind. And if the said
Lord King decided on account of this misunderstanding for a rupture and
to make war upon us, we will do our best to wage war on him. In such
case, however, we shall be obliged to keep the Princess closer in our own
house, and probably to send her to such parts as may be most convenient
in order to remove from us an instrument of the infinite evils which this
war will produce."

Meantime the special commissioners whom we left at Arras had now entered
the French kingdom.

On the 17th April, Aerssens with his three coaches met them on their
entrance into Amiens, having been waiting there for them eight days. As
they passed through the gate, they found a guard of soldiers drawn up to
receive them with military honours, and an official functionary to
apologize for the necessary absence of the governor, who had gone with
most of the troops stationed in the town to the rendezvous in Champagne.
He expressed regret, therefore, that the King's orders for their solemn
reception could not be literally carried out. The whole board of
magistrates, however, in their costumes of ceremony, with sergeants
bearing silver maces marching before them, came forth to bid the
ambassadors welcome. An advocate made a speech in the name of the city
authorities, saying that they were expressly charged by the King to
receive them as coming from his very best friends, and to do them all
honour. He extolled the sage government of their High Mightinesses and
the valour of the Republic, which had become known to the whole world by
the successful conduct of their long and mighty war.

The commissioners replied in words of compliment, and the magistrates
then offered them, according to ancient usage, several bottles of

Next day, sending back the carriages of the Prince of Orange, in which
they had thus far performed the journey, they set forth towards Paris,
reaching Saint-Denis at noon of the third day. Here they were met by de
Bonoeil, introducer of ambassadors, sent thither by the King to give them
welcome, and to say that they would be received on the road by the Duke
of Vendome, eldest of the legitimatized children of the King. Accordingly
before reaching the Saint-Denis gate of Paris, a splendid cavalcade of
nearly five hundred noblemen met them, the Duke at their head,
accompanied by two marshals of France, de Brissac and Boisdaulphin. The
three instantly dismounted, and the ambassadors alighted from their
coach. The Duke then gave them solemn and cordial welcome, saying that he
had been sent by his father the King to receive them as befitted envoys
of the best and most faithful friends he possessed in the world.

The ambassadors expressed their thanks for the great and extraordinary
honour thus conferred on them, and they were then requested to get into a
royal carriage which had been sent out for that purpose. After much
ceremonious refusal they at last consented and, together with the Duke of
Vendome, drove through Paris in that vehicle into the Faubourg Saint
Germain. Arriving at the Hotel Gondy, they were, notwithstanding all
their protestations, escorted up the staircase into the apartments by the

"This honour is notable," said the commissioners in their report to the
States, "and never shown to anyone before, so that our ill-wishers are
filled with spite."

And Peter Pecquius was of the same opinion. "Everyone is grumbling here,"
about the reception of the States' ambassadors, "because such honours
were never paid to any ambassador whatever, whether from Spain, England,
or any other country."

And there were many men living and employed in great affairs of State,
both in France and in the Republic--the King and Villeroy, Barneveld and
Maurice--who could remember how twenty-six years before a solemn embassy
from the States had proceeded from the Hague to France to offer the
sovereignty of their country to Henry's predecessor, had been kept
ignominiously and almost like prisoners four weeks long in Rouen, and had
been thrust back into the Netherlands without being admitted even to one
audience by the monarch. Truly time, in the course of less than one
generation of mankind, had worked marvellous changes in the fortunes of
the Dutch Republic.

President Jeannin came to visit them next day, with friendly proffers of
service, and likewise the ambassador of Venice and the charge d'affaires
of Great Britain.

On the 22nd the royal carriages came by appointment to the Hotel Gondy,
and took them for their first audience to the Louvre. They were received
at the gate by a guard of honour, drums beating and arms presented, and
conducted with the greatest ceremony to an apartment in the palace. Soon
afterwards they were ushered into a gallery where the King stood,
surrounded by a number of princes and distinguished officers of the
crown. These withdrew on the approach of the Netherlanders, leaving the
King standing alone. They made their reverence, and Henry saluted them
all with respectful cordiality. Begging them to put on their hats again,
he listened attentively to their address.

The language of the discourse now pronounced was similar in tenour to
that almost contemporaneously held by the States' special envoys in
London. Both documents, when offered afterwards in writing, bore the
unmistakable imprint of the one hand that guided the whole political
machine. In various passages the phraseology was identical, and, indeed,
the Advocate had prepared and signed the instructions for both embassies
on the same day.

The commissioners acknowledged in the strongest possible terms the great
and constant affection, quite without example, that Henry had manifested
to the Netherlands during the whole course of their war. They were at a
loss to find language adequately to express their gratitude for that
friendship, and the assistance subsequently afforded them in the
negotiations for truce. They apologized for the tardiness of the States
in sending this solemn embassy of thanksgiving, partly on the ground of
the delay in receiving the ratifications from Spain, partly by the
protracted contraventions by the Archdukes of certain articles in the
treaty, but principally by the terrible disasters occasioned throughout
their country by the great inundations, and by the commotions in the city
of Utrecht, which had now been "so prudently and happily pacified."

They stated that the chief cause of their embassy was to express their
respectful gratitude, and to say that never had prince or state treasured
more deeply in memory benefits received than did their republic the
favours of his Majesty, or could be more disposed to do their utmost to
defend his Majesty's person, crown, or royal family against all attack.
They expressed their joy that the King had with prudence, and heroic
courage undertaken the defence of the just rights of Brandenburg and
Neuburg to the duchies of Cleve, Julich, and the other dependent
provinces. Thus had he put an end to the presumption of those who thought
they could give the law to all the world. They promised the co-operation
of the States in this most important enterprise of their ally,
notwithstanding their great losses in the war just concluded, and the
diminution of revenue occasioned by the inundations by which they had
been afflicted; for they were willing neither to tolerate so unjust an
usurpation as that attempted by the Emperor nor to fail to second his
Majesty in his generous designs. They observed also that they had been
instructed to enquire whether his Majesty would not approve the
contracting of a strict league of mutual assistance between France,
England, the United Provinces, and the princes of Germany.

The King, having listened with close attention, thanked the envoys in
words of earnest and vigorous cordiality for their expressions of
affection to himself. He begged them to remember that he had always been
their good friend, and that he never would forsake them; that he had
always hated the Spaniards, and should ever hate them; and that the
affairs of Julich must be arranged not only for the present but for the
future. He requested them to deliver their propositions in writing to
him, and to be ready to put themselves into communication with the
members of his council, in order that they might treat with each other
roundly and without reserve. He should always deal with the Netherlanders
as with his own people, keeping no back-door open, but pouring out
everything as into the lap of his best and most trusty friends.

After this interview conferences followed daily between the ambassadors
and Villeroy, Sully, Jeannin, the Chancellor, and Puysieug.

The King's counsellors, after having read the written paraphrase of
Barneveld's instructions, the communication of which followed their oral
statements, and which, among other specifications, contained a respectful
remonstrance against the projected French East India Company, as likely
to benefit the Spaniards only, while seriously injuring the States,
complained that "the representations were too general, and that the paper
seemed to contain nothing but compliments."

The ambassadors, dilating on the various points and articles, maintained
warmly that there was much more than compliments in their instructions.
The ministers wished to know what the States practically were prepared to
do in the affair of Cleve, which they so warmly and encouragingly
recommended to the King. They asked whether the States' army would march
at once to Dusseldorf to protect the princes at the moment when the King
moved from Mezieres, and they made many enquiries as to what amount of
supplies and munitions they could depend upon from the States' magazines.

The envoys said that they had no specific instructions on these points,
and could give therefore no conclusive replies. More than ever did Henry
regret the absence of the great Advocate at this juncture. If he could
have come, with the bridle on his neck, as Henry had so repeatedly urged
upon the resident ambassador, affairs might have marched more rapidly.
The despotic king could never remember that Barneveld was not the
unlimited sovereign of the United States, but only the seal-keeper of one
of the seven provinces and the deputy of Holland to the General Assembly.
His indirect power, however vast, was only great because it was so
carefully veiled.

It was then proposed by Villeroy and Sully, and agreed to by the
commissioners, that M. de Bethune, a relative of the great financier,
should be sent forthwith to the Hague, to confer privately with Prince
Maurice and Barneveld especially, as to military details of the coming

It was also arranged that the envoys should delay their departure until
de Bethune's return. Meantime Henry and the Nuncius had been exchanging
plain and passionate language. Ubaldini reproached the King with
disregarding all the admonitions of his Holiness, and being about to
plunge Christendom into misery and war for the love of the Princess of
Conde. He held up to him the enormity of thus converting the King of
Spain and the Archdukes into his deadly enemies, and warned him that he
would by such desperate measures make even the States-General and the
King of Britain his foes, who certainly would never favour such schemes.
The King replied that "he trusted to his own forces, not to those of his
neighbours, and even if the Hollanders should not declare for him still
he would execute his designs. On the 15th of May most certainly he would
put himself at the head of his army, even if he was obliged to put off
the Queen's coronation till October, and he could not consider the King
of Spain nor the Archdukes his friends unless they at once made him some
demonstration of friendship. Being asked by the Nuncius what
demonstration he wished, he answered flatly that he wished the Princess
to be sent back to the Constable her father, in which case the affair of
Julich could be arranged amicably, and, at all events, if the war
continued there, he need not send more than 4000 men."

Thus, in spite of his mighty preparations, vehement demands for
Barneveld, and profound combinations revealed to that statesman, to
Aerssens, and to the Duke of Sully only, this wonderful monarch was ready
to drop his sword on the spot, to leave his friends in the lurch, to
embrace his enemies, the Archduke first of all, instead of bombarding
Brussels the very next week, as he had been threatening to do, provided
the beautiful Margaret could be restored to his arms through those of her
venerable father.

He suggested to the Nuncius his hope that the Archduke would yet be
willing to wink at her escape, which he was now trying to arrange through
de Preaux at Brussels, while Ubaldini, knowing the Archduke incapable of
anything so dishonourable, felt that the war was inevitable.

At the very same time too, Father Cotton, who was only too ready to
betray the secrets of the confessional when there was an object to gain,
had a long conversation with the Archduke's ambassador, in which the holy
man said that the King had confessed to him that he made the war
expressly to cause the Princess to be sent back to France, so that as
there could be no more doubt on the subject the father-confessor begged
Pecquius, in order to prevent so great an evil, to devise "some prompt
and sudden means to induce his Highness the Archduke to order the
Princess to retire secretly to her own country." The Jesuit had different
notions of honour, reputation, and duty from those which influenced the
Archduke. He added that "at Easter the King had been so well disposed to
seek his salvation that he could easily have forgotten his affection for
the Princess, had she not rekindled the fire by her letters, in which she
caressed him with amorous epithets, calling him 'my heart,' 'my
chevalier,' and similar terms of endearment." Father Cotton also drew up
a paper, which he secretly conveyed to Pecquius, "to prove that the
Archduke, in terms of conscience and honour, might decide to permit this
escape, but he most urgently implored the Ambassador that for the love of
God and the public good he would influence his Serene Highness to prevent
this from ever coming to the knowledge of the world, but to keep the
secret inviolably."

Thus, while Henry was holding high council with his own most trusted
advisers, and with the most profound statesmen of Europe, as to the
opening campaign within a fortnight of a vast and general war, he was
secretly plotting with his father-confessor to effect what he avowed to
be the only purpose of that war, by Jesuitical bird-lime to be applied to
the chief of his antagonists. Certainly Barneveld and his colleagues were
justified in their distrust. To move one step in advance of their potent
but slippery ally might be a step off a precipice.

On the 1st of May, Sully made a long visit to the commissioners. He
earnestly urged upon them the necessity of making the most of the present
opportunity. There were people in plenty, he said, who would gladly see
the King take another course, for many influential persons about him were
altogether Spanish in their inclinations.

The King had been scandalized to hear from the Prince of Anhalt, without
going into details, that on his recent passage through the Netherlands he
had noticed some change of feeling, some coolness in their High
Mightinesses. The Duke advised that they should be very heedful, that
they should remember how much more closely these matters regarded them
than anyone else, that they should not deceive themselves, but be firmly
convinced that unless they were willing to go head foremost into the
business the French would likewise not commit themselves. Sully spoke
with much earnestness and feeling, for it was obvious that both he and
his master had been disappointed at the cautious and limited nature of
the instructions given to the ambassadors.

An opinion had indeed prevailed, and, as we have seen, was to a certain
extent shared in by Aerssens, and even by Sully himself, that the King's
military preparations were after all but a feint, and that if the Prince
of Conde, and with him the Princess, could be restored to France, the
whole war cloud would evaporate in smoke.

It was even asserted that Henry had made a secret treaty with the enemy,
according to which, while apparently ready to burst upon the House of
Austria with overwhelming force, he was in reality about to shake hands
cordially with that power, on condition of being allowed to incorporate
into his own kingdom the very duchies in dispute, and of receiving the
Prince of Conde and his wife from Spain. He was thus suspected of being
about to betray his friends and allies in the most ignoble manner and for
the vilest of motives. The circulation of these infamous reports no doubt
paralysed for a time the energy of the enemy who had made no requisite
preparations against the threatened invasion, but it sickened his friends
with vague apprehensions, while it cut the King himself to the heart and
infuriated him to madness.

He asked the Nuncius one day what people thought in Rome and Italy of the
war about to be undertaken. Ubaldini replied that those best informed
considered the Princess of Conde as the principal subject of hostilities;
they thought that he meant to have her back. "I do mean to have her
back," cried Henry, with a mighty oath, and foaming with rage, "and I
shall have her back. No one shall prevent it, not even the Lieutenant of
God on earth."

But the imputation of this terrible treason weighed upon his mind and
embittered every hour.

The commissioners assured Sully that they had no knowledge of any
coolness or change such as Anhalt had reported on the part of their
principals, and the Duke took his leave.

It will be remembered that Villeroy had, it was thought, been making
mischief between Anhalt and the States by reporting and misreporting
private conversations between that Prince and the Dutch ambassador.

As soon as Sully had gone, van der Myle waited upon Villeroy to ask, in
name of himself and colleagues, for audience of leave-taking, the object
of their mission having been accomplished. The Secretary of State, too,
like Sully, urged the importance of making the most of the occasion. The
affair of Cleve, he said, did not very much concern the King, but his
Majesty had taken it to heart chiefly on account of the States and for
their security. They were bound, therefore, to exert themselves to the
utmost, but more would not be required of them than it would be possible
to fulfil.

Van der Myle replied that nothing would be left undone by their High
Mightinesses to support the King faithfully and according to their

On the 5th, Villeroy came to the ambassadors, bringing with him a letter
from the King for the States-General, and likewise a written reply to the
declarations made orally and in writing by the ambassadors to his

The letter of Henry to "his very dear and good friends, allies, and
confederates," was chiefly a complimentary acknowledgment of the
expressions of gratitude made to him on part of the States-General, and
warm approbation of their sage resolve to support the cause of
Brandenburg and Neuburg. He referred them for particulars to the
confidential conferences held between the commissioners and himself. They
would state how important he thought it that this matter should be
settled now so thoroughly as to require no second effort at any future
time when circumstances might not be so propitious; and that he intended
to risk his person, at the head of his army, to accomplish this result.

To the ambassadors he expressed his high satisfaction at their assurances
of affection, devotion, and gratitude on the part of the States. He
approved and commended their resolution to assist the Elector and the
Palatine in the affair of the duchies. He considered this a proof of
their prudence and good judgment, as showing their conviction that they
were more interested and bound to render this assistance than any other
potentates or states, as much from the convenience and security to be
derived from the neighbourhood of princes who were their friends as from
dangers to be apprehended from other princes who were seeking to
appropriate those provinces. The King therefore begged the States to move
forward as soon as possible the forces which they offered for this
enterprise according to his Majesty's suggestion sent through de Bethune.
The King on his part would do the same with extreme care and diligence,
from the anxiety he felt to prevent My Lords the States from receiving
detriment in places so vital to their preservation.

He begged the States likewise to consider that it was meet not only to
make a first effort to put the princes into entire possession of the
duchies, but to provide also for the durable success of the enterprise;
to guard against any invasions that might be made in the future to eject
those princes. Otherwise all their present efforts would be useless; and
his Majesty therefore consented on this occasion to enter into the new
league proposed by the States with all the princes and states mentioned
in the memoir of the ambassadors for mutual assistance against all unjust
occupations, attempts, and baneful intrigues.

Having no special information as to the infractions by the Archdukes of
the recent treaty of truce, the King declined to discuss that subject for
the moment, although holding himself bound to all required of him as one
of the guarantees of that treaty.

In regard to the remonstrance made by the ambassadors concerning the
trade of the East Indies, his Majesty disclaimed any intention of doing
injury to the States in permitting his subjects to establish a company in
his kingdom for that commerce. He had deferred hitherto taking action in
the matter only out of respect to the States, but he could no longer
refuse the just claims of his subjects if they should persist in them as
urgently as they had thus far been doing. The right and liberty which
they demanded was common to all, said the King, and he was certainly
bound to have as great care for the interests of his subjects as for
those of his friends and allies.

Here, certainly, was an immense difference in tone and in terms towards
the Republic adopted respectively by their great and good friends and
allies the Kings of France and Great Britain. It was natural enough that
Henry, having secretly expressed his most earnest hope that the States
would move at his side in his broad and general assault upon the House of
Austria, should impress upon them his conviction, which was a just one,
that no power in the world was more interested in keeping a Spanish and
Catholic prince out of the duchies than they were themselves. But while
thus taking a bond of them as it were for the entire fulfilment of the
primary enterprise, he accepted with cordiality, and almost with
gratitude, their proposition of a close alliance of the Republic with
himself and with the Protestant powers which James had so superciliously

It would have been difficult to inflict a more petty and, more studied
insult upon the Republic than did the King of Great Britain at that
supreme moment by his preposterous claim of sovereign rights over the
Netherlands. He would make no treaty with them, he said, but should he
find it worth while to treat with his royal brother of France, he should
probably not shut the door in their faces.

Certainly Henry's reply to the remonstrances of the ambassadors in regard
to the India trade was as moderate as that of James had been haughty and
peremptory in regard to the herring fishery. It is however sufficiently
amusing to see those excellent Hollanders nobly claiming that "the sea
was as free as air" when the right to take Scotch pilchards was in
question, while at the very same moment they were earnest for excluding
their best allies and all the world besides from their East India
monopoly. But Isaac Le Maire and Jacques Le Roy had not lain so long
disguised in Zamet's house in Paris for nothing, nor had Aerssens so
completely "broke the neck of the French East India Company" as he
supposed. A certain Dutch freebooter, however, Simon Danzer by name, a
native of Dordrecht, who had been alternately in the service of Spain,
France, and the States, but a general marauder upon all powers, was
exercising at that moment perhaps more influence on the East India trade
than any potentate or commonwealth.

He kept the seas just then with four swift-sailing and well-armed
vessels, that potent skimmer of the ocean, and levied tribute upon
Protestant and Catholic, Turk or Christian, with great impartiality. The
King of Spain had sent him letters of amnesty and safe-conduct, with
large pecuniary offers, if he would enter his service. The King of France
had outbid his royal brother and enemy, and implored him to sweep the
seas under the white flag.

The States' ambassador begged his masters to reflect whether this
"puissant and experienced corsair" should be permitted to serve Spaniard
or Frenchman, and whether they could devise no expedient for turning him
into another track. "He is now with his fine ships at Marseilles," said
Aerssens. "He is sought for in all quarters by the Spaniard and by the
directors of the new French East India Company, private persons who equip
vessels of war. If he is not satisfied with this king's offers, he is
likely to close with the King of Spain, who offers him 1000 crowns a
month. Avarice tickles him, but he is neither Spaniard nor Papist, and I
fear will be induced to serve with his ships the East India Company, and
so will return to his piracy, the evil of which will always fall on our
heads. If My Lords the States will send me letters of abolition for him,
in imitation of the French king, on condition of his returning to his
home in Zealand and quitting the sea altogether, something might be done.
Otherwise he will be off to Marseilles again, and do more harm to us than
ever. Isaac Le Maire is doing as much evil as he can, and one holds daily
council with him here."

Thus the slippery Simon skimmed the seas from Marseilles to the Moluccas,
from Java to Mexico, never to be held firmly by Philip, or Henry, or
Barneveld. A dissolute but very daring ship's captain, born in Zealand,
and formerly in the service of the States, out of which he had been
expelled for many evil deeds, Simon Danzer had now become a professional
pirate, having his head-quarters chiefly at Algiers. His English
colleague Warde stationed himself mainly at Tunis, and both acted
together in connivance with the pachas of the Turkish government. They
with their considerable fleet, one vessel of which mounted sixty guns,
were the terror of the Mediterranean, extorted tribute from the commerce
of all nations indifferently, and sold licenses to the greatest
governments of Europe. After growing rich with his accumulated booty,
Simon was inclined to become respectable, a recourse which was always
open to him--France, England, Spain, the United Provinces, vieing with
each other to secure him by high rank and pay as an honoured member of
their national marine. He appears however to have failed in his plan of
retiring upon his laurels, having been stabbed in Paris by a man whom he
had formerly robbed and ruined.

Villeroy, having delivered the letters with his own hands to the
ambassadors, was asked by them when and where it would be convenient for
the King to arrange the convention of close alliance. The Secretary of
State--in his secret heart anything but kindly disposed for this loving
union with a republic he detested and with heretics whom he would have
burned--answered briefly that his Majesty was ready at any time, and that
it might take place then if they were provided with the necessary powers.
He said in parting that the States should "have an eye to everything, for
occasions like the present were irrecoverable." He then departed, saying
that the King would receive them in final audience on the following day.

Next morning accordingly Marshal de Boisdaulphin and de Bonoeil came with
royal coaches to the Hotel Gondy and escorted the ambassadors to the
Louvre. On the way they met de Bethune, who had returned solo from the
Hague bringing despatches for the King and for themselves. While in the
antechamber, they had opportunity to read their letters from the
States-General, his Majesty sending word that he was expecting them with
impatience, but preferred that they should read the despatches before the

They found the King somewhat out of humour. He expressed himself as
tolerably well satisfied with the general tenour of the despatches
brought by de Bethune, but complained loudly of the request now made by
the States, that the maintenance and other expenses of 4000 French in the
States' service should be paid in the coming campaign out of the royal
exchequer. He declared that this proposition was "a small manifestation
of ingratitude," that my Lords the States were "little misers," and that
such proceedings were "little avaricious tricks" such as he had not
expected of them.

So far as England was concerned, he said there was a great difference.
The English took away what he was giving. He did cheerfully a great deal
for his friends, he said, and was always ready doubly to repay what they
did for him. If, however, the States persisted in this course, he should
call his troops home again.

The King, as he went on, became more and more excited, and showed decided
dissatisfaction in his language and manner. It was not to be wondered at,
for we have seen how persistently he had been urging that the Advocate
should come in person with "the bridle on his neck," and now he had sent
his son-in-law and two colleagues tightly tied up by stringent
instructions. And over an above all this, while he was contemplating a
general war with intention to draw upon the States for unlimited
supplies, behold, they were haggling for the support of a couple of
regiments which were virtually their own troops.

There were reasons, however, for this cautiousness besides those
unfounded, although not entirely chimerical, suspicions as to the King's
good faith, to which we have alluded. It should not be forgotten that,
although Henry had conversed secretly with the States' ambassador at full
length on his far-reaching plans, with instructions that he should
confidentially inform the Advocate and demand his co-operation, not a
word of it had been officially propounded to the States-General, nor to
the special embassy with whom he was now negotiating. No treaty of
alliance offensive or defensive existed between the Kingdom and the
Republic or between the Republic and any power whatever. It would have
been culpable carelessness therefore at this moment for the prime
minister of the States to have committed his government in writing to a
full participation in a general assault upon the House of Austria; the
first step in which would have been a breach of the treaty just concluded
and instant hostilities with the Archdukes Albert and Isabella.

That these things were in the immediate future was as plain as that night
would follow day, but the hour had not yet struck for the States to throw
down the gauntlet.

Hardly two months before, the King, in his treaty with the princes at
Hall, had excluded both the King of Great Britain and the States-General
from participation in those arrangements, and it was grave matter for
consideration, therefore, for the States whether they should allow such
succour as they might choose to grant the princes to be included in the
French contingent. The opportunity for treating as a sovereign power with
the princes and making friends with them was tempting, but it did not
seem reasonable to the States that France should make use of them in this
war without a treaty, and should derive great advantage from the
alliance, but leave the expense to them.

Henry, on the other hand, forgetting, when it was convenient to him, all
about the Princess of Conde, his hatred of Spain, and his resolution to
crush the House of Austria, chose to consider the war as made simply for
the love of the States-General and to secure them for ever from danger.

The ambassadors replied to the King's invectives with great respect, and
endeavoured to appease his anger. They had sent a special despatch to
their government, they said, in regard to all those matters, setting
forth all the difficulties that had been raised, but had not wished to
trouble his Majesty with premature discussions of them. They did not
doubt, however, that their High Mightinesses would so conduct this great
affair as to leave the King no ground of complaint.

Henry then began to talk of the intelligence brought by de Bethune from
the Hague, especially in regard to the sending of States' troops to
Dusseldorf and the supply of food for the French army. He did not
believe, he said, that the Archdukes would refuse him the passage with
his forces through their territory, inasmuch as the States' army would be
on the way to meet him. In case of any resistance, however, he declared
his resolution to strike his blow and to cause people to talk of him. He
had sent his quartermaster-general to examine the passes, who had
reported that it would be impossible to prevent his Majesty's advance. He
was also distinctly informed that Marquis Spinola, keeping his places
garrisoned, could not bring more than 8000 men into the field. The Duke
of Bouillon, however, was sending advices that his communications were
liable to be cut off, and that for this purpose Spinola could set on foot
about 16,000 infantry and 4000 horse.

If the passage should be allowed by the Archdukes, the King stated his
intention of establishing magazines for his troops along the whole line
of march through the Spanish Netherlands and neighbouring districts, and
to establish and fortify himself everywhere in order to protect his
supplies and cover his possible retreat. He was still in doubt, he said,
whether to demand the passage at once or to wait until he had began to
move his army. He was rather inclined to make the request instantly in
order to gain time, being persuaded that he should receive no answer
either of consent or refusal.

Leaving all these details, the King then frankly observed that the affair
of Cleve had a much wider outlook than people thought. Therefore the
States must consider well what was to be done to secure the whole work as
soon as the Cleve business had been successfully accomplished. Upon this
subject it was indispensable that he should consult especially with his
Excellency (Prince Maurice) and some members of the General Assembly,
whom he wished that My Lords the States-General should depute to the

"For how much good will it do," said the King, "if we drive off Archduke
Leopold without establishing the princes in security for the future?
Nothing is easier than to put the princes in possession. Every one will
yield or run away before our forces, but two months after we have
withdrawn the enemy will return and drive the princes out again. I cannot
always be ready to spring out of my kingdom, nor to assemble such great
armies. I am getting old, and my army moreover costs me 400,000 crowns a
month, which is enough to exhaust all the treasures of France, Spain,
Venice, and the States-General together."

He added that, if the present occasion were neglected, the States would
afterwards bitterly lament and never recover it. The Pope was very much
excited, and was sending out his ambassadors everywhere. Only the
previous Saturday the new nuncius destined for France had left Rome. If
My Lords the States would send deputies to the camp with full powers, he
stood there firm and unchangeable, but if they remained cool in the
business, he warned them that they would enrage him.

The States must seize the occasion, he repeated. It was bald behind, and
must be grasped by the forelock. It was not enough to have begun well.
One must end well. "Finis coronat opus." It was very easy to speak of a
league, but a league was not to be made in order to sit with arms tied,
but to do good work. The States ought not to suffer that the Germans
should prove themselves more energetic, more courageous, than themselves.

And again the King vehemently urged the necessity of his Excellency and
some deputies of the States coming to him "with absolute power" to treat.
He could not doubt in that event of something solid being accomplished.

"There are three things," he continued, "which cause me to speak freely.
I am talking with my friends whom I hold dear--yes, dearer, perhaps, than
they hold themselves. I am a great king, and say what I choose to say. I
am old, and know by experience the ways of this world's affairs. I tell
you, then, that it is most important that you should come to me resolved
and firm on all points."

He then requested the ambassadors to make full report of all that he had
said to their masters, to make the journey as rapidly as possible, in
order to encourage the States to the great enterprise and to meet his
wishes. He required from them, he said, not only activity of the body,
but labour of the intellect.

He was silent for a few moments, and then spoke again. "I shall not
always be here," he said, "nor will you always have Prince Maurice, and a
few others whose knowledge of your commonwealth is perfect. My Lords the
States must be up and doing while they still possess them. Nest Tuesday I
shall cause the Queen to be crowned at Saint-Denis; the following
Thursday she will make her entry into Paris. Next day, Friday, I shall
take my departure. At the end of this month I shall cross the Meuse at
Mezieres or in that neighbourhood."

He added that he should write immediately to Holland, to urge upon his
Excellency and the States to be ready to make the junction of their army
with his forces without delay. He charged the ambassadors to assure their
High Mightinesses that he was and should remain their truest friend,
their dearest neighbour. He then said a few gracious and cordial words to
each of them, warmly embraced each, and bade them all farewell.

The next day was passed by the ambassadors in paying and receiving
farewell visits, and on Saturday, the 8th, they departed from Paris,
being escorted out of the gate by the Marshal de Boisdaulphin, with a
cavalcade of noblemen. They slept that night at Saint Denis, and then
returned to Holland by the way of Calais and Rotterdam, reaching the
Hague on the 16th of May.

I make no apology for the minute details thus given of the proceedings of
this embassy, and especially of the conversations of Henry.

The very words of those conversations were taken down on the spot by the
commissioners who heard them, and were carefully embodied in their report
made to the States-General on their return, from which I have transcribed

It was a memorable occasion. The great king--for great he was, despite
his numerous vices and follies--stood there upon the threshold of a vast
undertaking, at which the world, still half incredulous, stood gazing,
half sick with anxiety. He relied on his own genius and valour chiefly,
and after these on the brain of Barneveld and the sword of Maurice. Nor
was his confidence misplaced.

But let the reader observe the date of the day when those striking
utterances were made, and which have never before been made public. It
was Thursday, the 6th May. "I shall not always be here," said the King,
. . . "I cannot be ready at any moment to spring out of my kingdom."
. . . "Friday of next week I take my departure."

How much of heroic pathos in Henry's attitude at this supreme moment! How
mournfully ring those closing words of his address to the ambassadors!

The die was cast. A letter drawn up by the Duc de Sully was sent to
Archduke Albert by the King.

"My brother," he said; "Not being able to refuse my best allies and
confederates the help which they have asked of me against those who wish
to trouble them in the succession to the duchies and counties of Cleve,
Julich, Mark, Berg, Ravensberg, and Ravenstein, I am advancing towards
them with my army. As my road leads me through your country, I desire to
notify you thereof, and to know whether or not I am to enter as a friend
or enemy."

Such was the draft as delivered to the Secretary of State; "and as such
it was sent," said Sully, "unless Villeroy changed it, as he had a great
desire to do."

Henry was mistaken in supposing that the Archduke would leave the letter
without an answer. A reply was sent in due time, and the permission
demanded was not refused. For although France was now full of military
movement, and the regiments everywhere were hurrying hourly to the places
of rendezvous, though the great storm at last was ready to burst, the
Archdukes made no preparations for resistance, and lapped themselves in
fatal security that nothing was intended but an empty demonstration.

Six thousand Swiss newly levied, with 20,000 French infantry and 6000
horse, were waiting for Henry to place himself at their head at Mezieres.
Twelve thousand foot and 2000 cavalry, including the French and English
contingents--a splendid army, led by Prince Maurice--were ready to march
from Holland to Dusseldorf. The army of the princes under Prince
Christian of Anhalt numbered 10,000 men. The last scruples of the usually
unscrupulous Charles Emmanuel had been overcome, and the Duke was quite
ready to act, 25,000 strong, with Marshal de Lesdiguieres, in the
Milanese; while Marshal de la Force was already at the head of his forces
in the Pyrenees, amounting to 12,000 foot and 2000 horse.

Sully had already despatched his splendid trains of artillery to the
frontier. "Never was seen in France, and perhaps never will be seen there
again, artillery more complete and better furnished," said the Duke,
thinking probably that artillery had reached the climax of perfect
destructiveness in the first decade of the seventeenth century.

His son, the Marquis de Rosny, had received the post of grand master of
artillery, and placed himself at its head. His father was to follow as
its chief, carrying with him as superintendent of finance a cash-box of
eight millions.

The King had appointed his wife, Mary de' Medici, regent, with an eminent

The new nuncius had been requested to present himself with his letters of
credence in the camp. Henry was unwilling that he should enter Paris,
being convinced that he came to do his best, by declamation, persuasion,
and intrigue, to paralyse the enterprise. Sully's promises to Ubaldini,
the former nuncius, that his Holiness should be made king, however
flattering to Paul V., had not prevented his representatives from
vigorously denouncing Henry's monstrous scheme to foment heresy and
encourage rebellion.

The King's chagrin at the cautious limitations imposed upon the States'
special embassy was, so he hoped, to be removed by full conferences in
the camp. Certainly he had shown in the most striking manner the respect
he felt for the States, and the confidence he reposed in them.

"In the reception of your embassy," wrote Aerssens to the Advocate,
"certainly the King has so loosened the strap of his affection that he
has reserved nothing by which he could put the greatest king in the world
above your level."

He warned the States, however, that Henry had not found as much in their
propositions as the common interest had caused him to promise himself.
"Nevertheless he informs me in confidence," said Aerssens, "that he will
engage himself in nothing without you; nay, more, he has expressly told
me that he could hardly accomplish his task without your assistance, and
it was for our sakes alone that he has put himself into this position and
incurred this great expense."

Some days later he informed Barneveld that he would leave to van der Myle
and his colleagues the task of describing the great dissatisfaction of
the King at the letters brought by de Bethune. He told him in confidence
that the States must equip the French regiments and put them in marching
order if they wished to preserve Henry's friendship. He added that since
the departure of the special embassy the King had been vehemently and
seriously urging that Prince Maurice, Count Lewis William, Barneveld, and
three or four of the most qualified deputies of the States-General,
entirely authorized to treat for the common safety, should meet with him
in the territory of Julich on a fixed day.

The crisis was reached. The King stood fully armed, thoroughly prepared,
with trustworthy allies at his side, disposing of overwhelming forces
ready to sweep down with irresistible strength upon the House of Austria,
which, as he said and the States said, aspired to give the law to the
whole world. Nothing was left to do save, as the Ambassador said, to
"uncouple the dogs of war and let them run."

What preparations had Spain and the Empire, the Pope and the League, set
on foot to beat back even for a moment the overwhelming onset? None
whatever. Spinola in the Netherlands, Fuentes in Milan, Bucquoy and
Lobkowitz and Lichtenstein in Prague, had hardly the forces of a moderate
peace establishment at their disposal, and all the powers save France and
the States were on the verge of bankruptcy.

Even James of Great Britain--shuddering at the vast thundercloud which
had stretched itself over Christendom growing blacker and blacker,
precisely at this moment, in which he had proved to his own satisfaction
that the peace just made would perpetually endure--even James did not
dare to traverse the designs of the king whom he feared, and the republic
which he hated, in favour of his dearly loved Spain. Sweden, Denmark, the
Hanse Towns, were in harmony with France, Holland, Savoy, and the whole
Protestant force of Germany--a majority both in population and resources
of the whole empire. What army, what combination, what device, what
talisman, could save the House of Austria, the cause of Papacy, from the
impending ruin?

A sudden, rapid, conclusive victory for the allies seemed as predestined
a result as anything could be in the future of human affairs.

On the 14th or 15th day of May, as he had just been informing the States'
ambassadors, Henry meant to place himself at the head of his army. That
was the moment fixed by himself for "taking his departure."

And now the ides of May had come--but not gone.

In the midst of all the military preparations with which Paris had been
resounding, the arrangements for the Queen's coronation had been
simultaneously going forward. Partly to give check in advance to the
intrigues which would probably at a later date be made by Conde,
supported by the power of Spain, to invalidate the legitimacy of the
Dauphin, but more especially perhaps to further and to conceal what the
faithful Sully called the "damnable artifices" of the Queen's intimate
councillors--sinister designs too dark to be even whispered at that
epoch, and of which history, during the lapse of more than two centuries
and a half, has scarcely dared to speak above its breath--it was deemed
all important that the coronation should take place.

A certain astrologer, Thomassin by name, was said to have bidden the King
to beware the middle of the next month of May. Henry had tweaked the
soothsayer by the beard and made him dance twice or thrice about the
room. To the Duc de Vendome expressing great anxiety in regard to
Thomassin, Henry replied, "The astrologer is an old fool, and you are a
young fool." A certain prophetess called Pasithea had informed the Queen
that the King could not survive his fifty-seventh year. She was much in
the confidence of Mary de' Medici, who had insisted this year on her
returning to Paris. Henry, who was ever chafing and struggling to escape
the invisible and dangerous net which he felt closing about him, and who
connected the sorceress with all whom he most loathed among the intimate
associates of the Queen, swore a mighty oath that she should not show her
face again at court. "My heart presages that some signal disaster will
befall me on this coronation. Concini and his wife are urging the Queen
obstinately to send for this fanatic. If she should come, there is no
doubt that my wife and I shall squabble well about her. If I discover
more about these private plots of hers with Spain, I shall be in a mighty
passion." And the King then assured the faithful minister of his
conviction that all the jealousy affected by the Queen in regard to the
Princess of Conde was but a veil to cover dark designs. It was necessary
in the opinion of those who governed her, the vile Concini and his wife,
that there should be some apparent and flagrant cause of quarrel. The
public were to receive payment in these pretexts for want of better coin.
Henry complained that even Sully and all the world besides attributed to
jealousy that which was really the effect of a most refined malice.

And the minister sometimes pauses in the midst of these revelations made
in his old age, and with self-imposed and shuddering silence intimates
that there are things he could tell which are too odious and dreadful to
be breathed.

Henry had an invincible repugnance to that coronation on which the Queen
had set her heart. Nothing could be more pathetic than the isolated
position in which he found himself, standing thus as he did on the
threshold of a mighty undertaking in which he was the central figure, an
object for the world to gaze upon with palpitating interest. At his
hearth in the Louvre were no household gods. Danger lurked behind every
tapestry in that magnificent old palace. A nameless dread dogged his
footsteps through those resounding corridors.

And by an exquisite refinement in torture the possible father of several
of his children not only dictated to the Queen perpetual outbreaks of
frantic jealousy against her husband, but moved her to refuse with
suspicion any food and drink offered her by his hands. The Concini's
would even with unparalleled and ingenious effrontery induce her to make
use of the kitchen arrangements in their apartments for the preparation
of her daily meals?

Driven from house and home, Henry almost lived at the Arsenal. There he
would walk for hours in the long alleys of the garden, discussing with
the great financier and soldier his vast, dreamy, impracticable plans.
Strange combination of the hero, the warrior, the voluptuary, the sage,
and the schoolboy--it would be difficult to find in the whole range of
history a more human, a more attractive, a more provoking, a less
venerable character.

Haunted by omens, dire presentiments, dark suspicions with and without
cause, he was especially averse from the coronation to which in a moment
of weakness he had given his consent.

Sitting in Sully's cabinet, in a low chair which the Duke had expressly
provided for his use, tapping and drumming on his spectacle case, or
starting up and smiting himself on the thigh, he would pour out his soul
hours long to his one confidential minister. "Ah, my friend, how this
sacrament displeases me," he said; "I know not why it is, but my heart
tells me that some misfortune is to befall me. By God I shall die in this
city, I shall never go out of it; I see very well that they are finding
their last resource in my death. Ah, accursed coronation! thou wilt be
the cause of my death."

So many times did he give utterance to these sinister forebodings that
Sully implored him at last for leave to countermand the whole ceremony
notwithstanding the great preparations which had been made for the
splendid festival. "Yes, yes," replied the King, "break up this
coronation at once. Let me hear no more of it. Then I shall have my mind
cured of all these impressions. I shall leave the town and fear nothing."

He then informed his friend that he had received intimations that he
should lose his life at the first magnificent festival he should give,
and that he should die in a carriage. Sully admitted that he had often,
when in a carriage with him, been amazed at his starting and crying out
at the slightest shock, having so often seen him intrepid among guns and
cannon, pikes and naked swords.

The Duke went to the Queen three days in succession, and with passionate
solicitations and arguments and almost upon his knees implored her to
yield to the King's earnest desire, and renounce for the time at least
the coronation. In vain. Mary de' Medici was obdurate as marble to his

The coronation was fixed for Thursday, the 13th May, two days later than
the time originally appointed when the King conversed with the States'
ambassadors. On the following Sunday was to be the splendid and solemn
entrance of the crowned Queen. On the Monday, Henry, postponing likewise
for two days his original plan of departure, would leave for the army.

Meantime there were petty annoyances connected with the details of the
coronation. Henry had set his heart on having his legitimatized children,
the offspring of the fair Gabrielle, take their part in the ceremony on
an equal footing with the princes of the blood. They were not entitled to
wear the lilies of France upon their garments, and the King was
solicitous that "the Count"--as Soissons, brother of Prince Conti and
uncle of Conde, was always called--should dispense with those ensigns for
his wife upon this solemn occasion, and that the other princesses of the
blood should do the same. Thus there would be no appearance of
inferiority on the part of the Duchess of Vendome.

The Count protested that he would have his eyes torn out of his head
rather than submit to an arrangement which would do him so much shame. He
went to the Queen and urged upon her that to do this would likewise be an
injury to her children, the Dukes of Orleans and of Anjou. He refused
flatly to appear or allow his wife to appear except in the costume
befitting their station. The King on his part was determined not to
abandon his purpose. He tried to gain over the Count by the most splendid
proposals, offering him the command of the advance-guard of the army, or
the lieutenancy-general of France in the absence of the King, 30,000
crowns for his equipment and an increase of his pension if he would cause
his wife to give up the fleurs-de-lys on this occasion. The alternative
was to be that, if she insisted upon wearing them, his Majesty would
never look upon him again with favourable eyes.

The Count never hesitated, but left Paris, refusing to appear at the
ceremony. The King was in a towering passion, for to lose the presence of
this great prince of the blood at a solemnity expressly intended as a
demonstration against the designs hatching by the first of all the
princes of the blood under patronage of Spain was a severe blow to his
pride and a check to his policy.'

Yet it was inconceivable that he could at such a moment commit so
superfluous and unmeaning a blunder. He had forced Conde into exile,
intrigue with the enemy, and rebellion, by open and audacious efforts to
destroy his domestic peace, and now he was willing to alienate one of his
most powerful subjects in order to place his bastards on a level with
royalty. While it is sufficiently amusing to contemplate this proposed
barter of a chief command in a great army or the lieutenancy-general of a
mighty kingdom at the outbreak of a general European war against a bit of
embroidery on the court dress of a lady, yet it is impossible not to
recognize something ideal and chivalrous from his own point of view in
the refusal of Soissons to renounce those emblems of pure and high
descent, those haughty lilies of St. Louis, against any bribes of place
and pelf however dazzling.

The coronation took place on Thursday, 13th May, with the pomp and
glitter becoming great court festivals; the more pompous and glittering
the more the monarch's heart was wrapped in gloom. The representatives of
the great powers were conspicuous in the procession; Aerssens, the Dutch
ambassador, holding a foremost place. The ambassadors of Spain and Venice
as usual squabbled about precedence and many other things, and actually
came to fisticuffs, the fight lasting a long time and ending somewhat to
the advantage of the Venetian. But the sacrament was over, and Mary de'
Medici was crowned Queen of France and Regent of the Kingdom during the
absence of the sovereign with his army.

Meantime there had been mysterious warnings darker and more distinct than
the babble of the soothsayer Thomassin or the ravings of the lunatic
Pasithea. Count Schomberg, dining at the Arsenal with Sully, had been
called out to converse with Mademoiselle de Gournay, who implored that a
certain Madame d'Escomans might be admitted to audience of the King. That
person, once in direct relations with the Marchioness of Verneuil, the
one of Henry's mistresses who most hated him, affirmed that a man from
the Duke of Epernon's country was in Paris, agent of a conspiracy seeking
the King's life.

The woman not enjoying a very reputable character found it impossible to
obtain a hearing, although almost frantic with her desire to save her
sovereign's life. The Queen observed that it was a wicked woman, who was
accusing all the world, and perhaps would accuse her too.

The fatal Friday came. Henry drove out, in his carriage to see the
preparations making for the triumphal entrance of the Queen into Paris on
the following Sunday. What need to repeat the tragic, familiar tale? The
coach was stopped by apparent accident in the narrow street de la
Feronniere, and Francis Ravaillac, standing on the wheel, drove his knife
through the monarch's heart. The Duke of Epernon, sitting at his side,
threw his cloak over the body and ordered the carriage back to the

"They have killed him, 'e ammazato,'" cried Concini (so says tradition),
thrusting his head into the Queen's bedchamber.

   [Michelet, 197. It is not probable that the documents concerning
   the trial, having been so carefully suppressed from the beginning,
   especially the confession dictated to Voisin--who wrote it kneeling
   on the ground, and was perhaps so appalled at its purport that he
   was afraid to write it legibly--will ever see the light. I add in
   the Appendix some contemporary letters of persons, as likely as any
   one to know what could be known, which show how dreadful were the
   suspicions which men entertained, and which they hardly ventured to
   whisper to each other].

That blow had accomplished more than a great army could have done, and
Spain now reigned in Paris. The House of Austria, without making any
military preparations, had conquered, and the great war of religion and
politics was postponed for half a dozen years.

This history has no immediate concern with solving the mysteries of that
stupendous crime. The woman who had sought to save the King's life now
denounced Epernon as the chief murderer, and was arrested, examined,
accused of lunacy, proved to be perfectly sane, and, persisting in her
statements with perfect coherency, was imprisoned for life for her pains;
the Duke furiously demanding her instant execution.

The documents connected with the process were carefully suppressed. The
assassin, tortured and torn by four horses, was supposed to have revealed
nothing and to have denied the existence of accomplices.

The great accused were too omnipotent to be dealt with by humble accusers
or by convinced but powerless tribunals. The trial was all mystery,
hugger-mugger, horror. Yet the murderer is known to have dictated to the
Greflier Voisin, just before expiring on the Greve, a declaration which
that functionary took down in a handwriting perhaps purposely illegible.

Two centuries and a half have passed away, yet the illegible original
record is said to exist, to have been plainly read, and to contain the
names of the Queen and the Duke of Epernon.

Twenty-six years before, the pistol of Balthasar Gerard had destroyed the
foremost man in Europe and the chief of a commonwealth just struggling
into existence. Yet Spain and Rome, the instigators and perpetrators of
the crime, had not reaped the victory which they had the right to expect.
The young republic, guided by Barneveld and loyal to the son of the
murdered stadholder, was equal to the burthen suddenly descending upon
its shoulders. Instead of despair there had been constancy. Instead of
distracted counsels there had been heroic union of heart and hand. Rather
than bend to Rome and grovel to Philip, it had taken its sovereignty in
its hands, offered it successively, without a thought of
self-aggrandizement on the part of its children, to the crowns of France
and Great Britain, and, having been repulsed by both, had learned after
fiery trials and incredible exertions to assert its own high and foremost
place among the independent powers of the world.

And now the knife of another priest-led fanatic, the wretched but
unflinching instrument of a great conspiracy, had at a blow decapitated
France. No political revolution could be much more thorough than that
which had been accomplished in a moment of time by Francis Ravaillac.

On the 14th of May, France, while in spiritual matters obedient to the
Pope, stood at the head of the forces of Protestantism throughout Europe,
banded together to effect the downfall of the proud house of Austria,
whose fortunes and fate were synonymous with Catholicism. The Baltic
powers, the majority of the Teutonic races, the Kingdom of Britain, the
great Republic of the Netherlands, the northernmost and most warlike
governments of Italy, all stood at the disposition of the warrior-king.
Venice, who had hitherto, in the words of a veteran diplomatist, "shunned
to look a league or a confederation in the face, if there was any
Protestant element in it, as if it had been the head of Medusa," had
formally forbidden the passage of troops northwards to the relief of the
assailed power. Savoy, after direful hesitations, had committed herself
body and soul to the great enterprise. Even the Pope, who feared the
overshadowing personality of Henry, and was beginning to believe his
house's private interests more likely to flourish under the protection of
the French than the Spanish king, was wavering in his fidelity to Spain
and tempted by French promises: If he should prove himself incapable of
effecting a pause in the great crusade, it was doubtful on which side he
would ultimately range himself; for it was at least certain that the new
Catholic League, under the chieftainship of Maximilian of Bavaria, was
resolved not to entangle its fortunes inextricably with those of the
Austrian house.

The great enterprise, first unfolding itself with the episode of Cleve
and Berg and whimsically surrounding itself with the fantastic idyl of
the Princess of Conde, had attained vast and misty proportions in the
brain of its originator. Few political visions are better known in
history than the "grand design" of Henry for rearranging the map of the
world at the moment when, in the middle of May, he was about to draw his
sword. Spain reduced to the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees, but presented
with both the Indies, with all America and the whole Orient in fee; the
Empire taken from Austria and given to Bavaria; a constellation of States
in Italy, with the Pope for president-king; throughout the rest of
Christendom a certain number of republics, of kingdoms, of religions--a
great confederation of the world, in short--with the most Christian king
for its dictator and protector, and a great Amphictyonic council to
regulate all disputes by solemn arbitration, and to make war in the
future impossible, such in little was his great design.

Nothing could be more humane, more majestic, more elaborate, more utterly
preposterous. And all this gigantic fabric had passed away in an
instant--at one stroke of a broken table knife sharpened on a carriage

Most pitiful was the condition of France on the day after, and for years
after, the murder of the King. Not only was the kingdom for the time
being effaced from the roll of nations, so far as external relations were
concerned, but it almost ceased to be a kingdom. The ancient monarchy of
Hugh Capet, of Saint-Louis, of Henry of France and Navarre, was
transformed into a turbulent, self-seeking, quarrelsome, pillaging,
pilfering democracy of grandees. The Queen-Regent was tossed hither and
thither at the sport of the winds and waves which shifted every hour in
that tempestuous court.

No man pretended to think of the State. Every man thought only of
himself. The royal exchequer was plundered with a celerity and cynical
recklessness such as have been rarely seen in any age or country. The
millions so carefully hoarded by Sully, and exhibited so dramatically by
that great minister to the enraptured eyes of his sovereign; that
treasure in the Bastille on which Henry relied for payment of the armies
with which he was to transform the world, all disappeared in a few weeks
to feed the voracious maw of courtiers, paramours, and partisans!

The Queen showered gold like water upon her beloved Concini that he might
purchase his Marquisate of Ancre, and the charge of first gentleman of
the court from Bouillon; that he might fit himself for the government of
Picardy; that he might elevate his marquisate into a dukedom. Conde,
having no further reason to remain in exile, received as a gift from the
trembling Mary de' Medici the magnificent Hotel Gondy, where the Dutch
ambassadors had so recently been lodged, for which she paid 65,000
crowns, together with 25,000 crowns to furnish it, 50,000 crowns to pay
his debts, 50,000 more as yearly pension.

He claimed double, and was soon at sword's point with the Queen in spite
of her lavish bounty.

Epernon, the true murderer of Henry, trampled on courts of justice and
councils of ministers, frightened the court by threatening to convert his
possession of Metz into an independent sovereignty, as Balagny had
formerly seized upon Cambray, smothered for ever the process of
Ravaillac, caused those to be put to death or immured for life in
dungeons who dared to testify to his complicity in the great crime, and
strode triumphantly over friends and enemies throughout France, although
so crippled by the gout that he could scarcely walk up stairs.

There was an end to the triumvirate. Sully's influence was gone for ever.
The other two dropped the mask. The Chancellor and Villeroy revealed
themselves to be what they secretly had always been--humble servants and
stipendiaries of Spain. The formal meetings of the council were of little
importance, and were solemn, tearful, and stately; draped in woe for the
great national loss. In the private cabinet meetings in the entresol of
the Louvre, where the Nuncius and the Spanish ambassador held counsel
with Epernon and Villeroy and Jeannin and Sillery, the tone was merry and
loud; the double Spanish marriage and confusion to the Dutch being the
chief topics of consultation.

But the anarchy grew day by day into almost hopeless chaos. There was no
satisfying the princes of the blood nor the other grandees. Conde, whose
reconciliation with the Princess followed not long after the death of
Henry and his own return to France, was insatiable in his demands for
money, power, and citadels of security. Soissons, who might formerly have
received the lieutenancy-general of the kingdom by sacrificing the lilies
on his wife's gown, now disputed for that office with his elder brother
Conti, the Prince claiming it by right of seniority, the Count denouncing
Conti as deaf, dumb, and imbecile, till they drew poniards on each other
in the very presence of the Queen; while Conde on one occasion, having
been refused the citadels which he claimed, Blaye and Chateau Trompette,
threw his cloak over his nose and put on his hat while the Queen was
speaking, and left the council in a fury, declaring that Villeroy and the
chancellor were traitors, and that he would have them both soundly
cudgelled. Guise, Lorraine, Epernon, Bouillon, and other great lords
always appeared in the streets of Paris at the head of three, four, or
five hundred mounted and armed retainers; while the Queen in her
distraction gave orders to arm the Paris mob to the number of fifty
thousand, and to throw chains across the streets to protect herself and
her son against the turbulent nobles.

Sully, hardly knowing to what saint to burn his candle, being forced to
resign his great posts, was found for a time in strange political
combination with the most ancient foes of his party and himself. The
kaleidoscope whirling with exasperating quickness showed ancient Leaguers
and Lorrainers banded with and protecting Huguenots against the Crown,
while princes of the blood, hereditary patrons and chiefs of the
Huguenots, became partisans and stipendiaries of Spain.

It is easy to see that circumstances like these rendered the position of
the Dutch commonwealth delicate and perilous.

Sully informed Aerssens and van der Myle, who had been sent back to Paris
on special mission very soon after the death of the King, that it took a
hundred hours now to accomplish a single affair, whereas under Henry a
hundred affairs were transacted in a single hour. But Sully's sun had
set, and he had few business conferences now with the ambassadors.

Villeroy and the Chancellor had fed fat their ancient grudge to the once
omnipotent minister, and had sworn his political ruin. The old secretary
of state had held now complete control of the foreign alliances and
combinations of France, and the Dutch ambassadors could be under no
delusion as to the completeness of the revolution.

"You will find a passion among the advisers of the Queen," said Villeroy
to Aerssens and van der Myle, "to move in diametrical opposition to the
plans of the late king." And well might the ancient Leaguer and present
pensionary of Spain reveal this foremost fact in a policy of which he was
in secret the soul. He wept profusely when he first received Francis
Aerssens, but after these "useless tears," as the Envoy called them, he
soon made it manifest that there was no more to be expected of France, in
the great project which its government had so elaborately set on foot.

Villeroy was now sixty-six years of age, and had been secretary of state
during forty-two years and under four kings. A man of delicate health,
frail body, methodical habits, capacity for routine, experience in
political intrigue, he was not personally as greedy of money as many of
his contemporaries, and was not without generosity; but he loved power,
the Pope, and the House of Austria. He was singularly reserved in public,
practised successfully the talent of silence, and had at last arrived at
the position he most coveted, the virtual presidency of the council, and
saw the men he most hated beneath his feet.

At the first interview of Aerssens with the Queen-Regent she was drowned
in tears, and could scarcely articulate an intelligible sentence. So far
as could be understood she expressed her intention of carrying out the
King's plans, of maintaining the old alliances, of protecting both
religions. Nothing, however, could be more preposterous than such
phrases. Villeroy, who now entirely directed the foreign affairs of the
kingdom, assured the Ambassador that France was much more likely to apply
to the States for assistance than render them aid in any enterprise
whatever. "There is no doubt," said Aerssens, "that the Queen is entirely
in the hands of Spain and the priests." Villeroy, whom Henry was wont to
call the pedagogue of the council, went about sighing dismally, wishing
himself dead, and perpetually ejaculating, "Ho! poor France, how much
hast thou still to suffer!" In public he spoke of nothing but of union,
and of the necessity of carrying out the designs of the King, instructing
the docile Queen to hold the same language. In private he was quite
determined to crush those designs for ever, and calmly advised the Dutch
government to make an amicable agreement with the Emperor in regard to
the Cleve affair as soon as possible; a treaty which would have been
shameful for France and the possessory princes, and dangerous, if not
disastrous, for the States-General. "Nothing but feverish and sick
counsels," he said, "could be expected from France, which had now lost
its vigour and could do nothing but groan."

Not only did the French council distinctly repudiate the idea of doing
anything more for the princes than had been stipulated by the treaty of
Hall--that is to say, a contingent of 8000 foot and 2000 horse--but many
of them vehemently maintained that the treaty, being a personal one of
the late king, was dead with him? The duty of France was now in their
opinion to withdraw from these mad schemes as soon as possible, to make
peace with the House of Austria without delay, and to cement the
friendship by the double marriages.

Bouillon, who at that moment hated Sully as much as the most vehement
Catholic could do, assured the Dutch envoy that the government was, under
specious appearances, attempting to deceive the States; a proposition
which it needed not the evidence of that most intriguing duke to make
manifest to so astute a politician; particularly as there was none more
bent on playing the most deceptive game than Bouillon. There would be no
troops to send, he said, and even if there were, there would be no
possibility of agreeing on a chief. The question of religion would at
once arise. As for himself, the Duke protested that he would not accept
the command if offered him. He would not agree to serve under the Prince
of Anhalt, nor would he for any consideration in the world leave the
court at that moment. At the same time Aerssens was well aware that
Bouillon, in his quality of first marshal of France, a Protestant and a
prince having great possessions on the frontier, and the brother-in-law
of Prince Maurice, considered himself entitled to the command of the
troops should they really be sent, and was very indignant at the idea of
its being offered to any one else.

   [Aerssens worked assiduously, two hours long on one occasion, to
   effect a reconciliation between the two great Protestant chiefs, but
   found Bouillon's demands "so shameful and unreasonable" that he
   felt obliged to renounce all further attempts. In losing Sully from
   the royal councils, the States' envoy acknowledged that the Republic
   had lost everything that could be depended on at the French court.
   "All the others are time-serving friends," he said, "or saints
   without miracles."--Aerssens to Barneveld, 11 June, 1610. ]

He advised earnestly therefore that the States should make a firm demand
for money instead of men, specifying the amount that might be considered
the equivalent of the number of troops originally stipulated.

It is one of the most singular spectacles in history; France sinking into
the background of total obscurity in an instant of time, at one blow of a
knife, while the Republic, which she had been patronizing, protecting,
but keeping always in a subordinate position while relying implicitly
upon its potent aid, now came to the front, and held up on its strong
shoulders an almost desperate cause. Henry had been wont to call the
States-General "his courage and his right arm," but he had always
strictly forbidden them to move an inch in advance of him, but ever to
follow his lead, and to take their directions from himself. They were a
part, and an essential one, in his vast designs; but France, or he who
embodied France, was the great providence, the destiny, the
all-directing, all-absorbing spirit, that was to remodel and control the
whole world. He was dead, and France and her policy were already in a
state of rapid decomposition.

Barneveld wrote to encourage and sustain the sinking state. "Our courage
is rising in spite and in consequence of the great misfortune," he said.
He exhorted the Queen to keep her kingdom united, and assured her that My
Lords the States would maintain themselves against all who dared to
assail them. He offered in their name the whole force of the Republic to
take vengeance on those who had procured the assassination, and to defend
the young king and the Queen-Mother against all who might make any
attempt against their authority. He further declared, in language not to
be mistaken, that the States would never abandon the princes and their

This was the earliest indication on the part of the Advocate of the
intention of the Republic--so long as it should be directed by his
counsels--to support the cause of the young king, helpless and incapable
as he was, and directed for the time being by a weak and wicked mother,
against the reckless and depraved grandees, who were doing their best to
destroy the unity and the independence of France, Cornelis van der Myle
was sent back to Paris on special mission of condolence and comfort from
the States-General to the sorely afflicted kingdom.

On the 7th of June, accompanied by Aerssens, he had a long interview with
Villeroy. That minister, as usual, wept profusely, and said that in
regard to Cleve it was impossible for France to carry out the designs of
the late king. He then listened to what the ambassadors had to urge, and
continued to express his melancholy by weeping. Drying his tears for a
time, he sought by a long discourse to prove that France during this
tender minority of the King would be incapable of pursuing the policy of
his father. It would be even too burthensome to fulfil the Treaty of
Hall. The friends of the crown, he said, had no occasion to further it,
and it would be much better to listen to propositions for a treaty.
Archduke Albert was content not to interfere in the quarrel if the Queen
would likewise abstain; Leopold's forces were altogether too weak to make
head against the army of the princes, backed by the power of My Lords the
States, and Julich was neither strong nor well garrisoned. He concluded
by calmly proposing that the States should take the matter in hand by
themselves alone, in order to lighten the burthen of France, whose vigour
had been cut in two by that accursed knife.

A more sneaking and shameful policy was never announced by the minister
of a great kingdom. Surely it might seem that Ravaillac had cut in twain
not the vigour only but the honour and the conscience of France. But the
envoys, knowing in their hearts that they were talking not with a French
but a Spanish secretary of state, were not disposed to be the dupes of
his tears or his blandishments.

They reminded him that the Queen-Regent and her ministers since the
murder of the King had assured the States-General and the princes of
their firm intention to carry out the Treaty of Hall, and they observed
that they had no authority to talk of any negotiation. The affair of the
duchies was not especially the business of the States, and the Secretary
was well aware that they had promised their succour on the express
condition that his Majesty and his army should lead the way, and that
they should follow. This was very far from the plan now suggested, that
they should do it all, which would be quite out of the question. France
had a strong army, they said, and it would be better to use it than to
efface herself so pitiably. The proposition of abstention on the part of
the Archduke was a delusion intended only to keep France out of the

Villeroy replied by referring to English affairs. King James, he said,
was treating them perfidiously. His first letters after the murder had
been good, but by the following ones England seemed to wish to put her
foot on France's throat, in order to compel her to sue for an alliance.
The British ministers had declared their resolve not to carry out that
convention of alliance, although it had been nearly concluded in the
lifetime of the late king, unless the Queen would bind herself to make
good to the King of Great Britain that third part of the subsidies
advanced by France to the States which had been furnished on English

This was the first announcement of a grievance devised by the politicians
now governing France to make trouble for the States with that kingdom and
with Great Britain likewise. According to a treaty made at Hampton Court
by Sully during his mission to England at the accession of James, it had
been agreed that one-third of the moneys advanced by France in aid of the
United Provinces should be credited to the account of Great Britain, in
diminution of the debt for similar assistance rendered by Elizabeth to
Henry. In regard to this treaty the States had not been at all consulted,
nor did they acknowledge the slightest obligation in regard to it. The
subsidies in men and in money provided for them both by France and by
England in their struggle for national existence had always been most
gratefully acknowledged by the Republic, but it had always been perfectly
understood that these expenses had been incurred by each kingdom out of
an intelligent and thrifty regard for its own interest. Nothing could be
more ridiculous than to suppose France and England actuated by
disinterested sympathy and benevolence when assisting the Netherland
people in its life-and-death struggle against the dire and deadly enemy
of both crowns. Henry protested that, while adhering to Rome in spiritual
matters, his true alliances and strength had been found in the United
Provinces, in Germany, and in Great Britain. As for the States, he had
spent sixteen millions of livres, he said, in acquiring a perfect
benevolence on the part of the States to his person. It was the best
bargain he had ever made, and he should take care to preserve it at any
cost whatever, for he considered himself able, when closely united with
them, to bid defiance to all the kings in Europe together.

Yet it was now the settled policy of the Queen-Regent's council, so far
as the knot of politicians guided by the Nuncius and the Spanish
ambassador in the entresols of the Louvre could be called a council, to
force the States to refund that third, estimated at something between
three and four million livres, which France had advanced them on account
of Great Britain.

Villeroy told the two ambassadors at this interview that, if Great
Britain continued to treat the Queen-Regent in such fashion, she would be
obliged to look about for other allies. There could hardly be doubt as to
the quarter in which Mary de' Medici was likely to look. Meantime, the
Secretary of State urged the envoys "to intervene at once to-mediate the
difference." There could be as little doubt that to mediate the
difference was simply to settle an account which they did not owe.

The whole object of the Minister at this first interview was to induce
the States to take the whole Cleve enterprise upon their own shoulders,
and to let France off altogether. The Queen-Regent as then advised meant
to wash her hands of the possessory princes once and for ever. The envoys
cut the matter short by assuring Villeroy that they would do nothing of
the kind. He begged them piteously not to leave the princes in the lurch,
and at the same time not to add to the burthens of France at so
disastrous a moment.

So they parted. Next day, however, they visited the Secretary again, and
found him more dismal and flaccid than ever.

He spoke feebly and drearily about the succour for the great enterprise,
recounted all the difficulties in the way, and, having thrown down
everything that the day before had been left standing, he tried to excuse
an entire change of policy by the one miserable crime.

He painted a forlorn picture of the council and of France. "I can myself
do nothing as I wish," added the undisputed controller of that
government's policy, and then with a few more tears he concluded by
requesting the envoys to address their demands to the Queen in writing.

This was done with the customary formalities and fine speeches on both
sides; a dull comedy by which no one was amused.

Then Bouillon came again, and assured them that there had been a chance
that the engagements of Henry, followed up by the promise of the
Queen-Regent, would be carried out, but now the fact was not to be
concealed that the continued battery of the Nuncius, of the ambassadors
of Spain and of the Archdukes, had been so effective that nothing sure or
solid was thenceforth to be expected; the council being resolved to
accept the overtures of the Archduke for mutual engagement to abstain
from the Julich enterprise.

Nothing in truth could be more pitiable than the helpless drifting of the
once mighty kingdom, whenever the men who governed it withdrew their
attention for an instant from their private schemes of advancement and
plunder to cast a glance at affairs of State. In their secret heart they
could not doubt that France was rushing on its ruin, and that in the
alliance of the Dutch commonwealth, Britain, and the German Protestants,
was its only safety. But they trembled before the Pope, grown bold and
formidable since the death of the dreaded Henry. To offend his Holiness,
the King of Spain, the Emperor, and the great Catholics of France, was to
make a crusade against the Church. Garnier, the Jesuit, preached from his
pulpit that "to strike a blow in the Cleve enterprise was no less a sin
than to inflict a stab in the body of our Lord." The Parliament of Paris
having ordered the famous treatise of the Jesuit Mariana--justifying the
killing of excommunicated kings by their subjects--to be publicly burned
before Notre Dame, the Bishop opposed the execution of the decree. The
Parliament of Paris, although crushed by Epernon in its attempts to fix
the murder of the King upon himself as the true culprit, was at least
strong enough to carry out this sentence upon a printed, volume
recommending the deed, and the Queen's council could only do its best to
mitigate the awakened wrath of the Jesuits at this exercise of legal
authority.--At the same time, it found on the whole so many more
difficulties in a cynical and shameless withdrawal from the Treaty of
Hall than in a nominal and tardy fulfilment of its conditions that it
resolved at last to furnish the 8000 foot and 2000 horse promised to the
possessory princes. The next best thing to abandoning entirely even this
little shred, this pitiful remnant, of the splendid designs of Henry was
to so arrange matters that the contingent should be feebly commanded, and
set on foot in so dilatory a manner that the petty enterprise should on
the part of France be purely perfunctory. The grandees of the kingdom had
something more important to do than to go crusading in Germany, with the
help of a heretic republic, to set up the possessory princes. They were
fighting over the prostrate dying form of their common mother for their
share of the spoils, stripping France before she was dead, and casting
lots for her vesture.

Soissons was on the whole in favour of the Cleve expedition. Epernon was
desperately opposed to it, and maltreated Villeroy in full council when
he affected to say a word, insincere as the Duke knew it to be, in favour
of executing agreements signed by the monarch, and sealed with the great
seal of France. The Duke of Guise, finding himself abandoned by the
Queen, and bitterly opposed and hated by Soissons, took sides with his
deaf and dumb and imbecile brother, and for a brief interval the Duke of
Sully joined this strange combination of the House of Lorraine and chiefs
of ancient Leaguers, who welcomed him with transport, and promised him

Then Bouillon, potent by his rank, his possessions, and his authority
among the Protestants, publicly swore that he would ruin Sully and change
the whole order of the government. What more lamentable spectacle, what
more desolate future for the cause of religious equality, which for a
moment had been achieved in France, than this furious alienation of the
trusted leaders of the Huguenots, while their adversaries were carrying
everything before them? At the council board Bouillon quarrelled
ostentatiously with Sully, shook his fist in his face, and but for the
Queen's presence would have struck him. Next day he found that the Queen
was intriguing against himself as well as against Sully, was making a
cat's-paw of him, and was holding secret councils daily from which he as
well as Sully was excluded. At once he made overtures of friendship to
Sully, and went about proclaiming to the world that all Huguenots were to
be removed from participation in affairs of state. His vows of vengeance
were for a moment hushed by the unanimous resolution of the council that,
as first marshal of France, having his principality on the frontier, and
being of the Reformed religion, he was the fittest of all to command the
expedition. Surely it might be said that the winds and tides were not
more changeful than the politics of the Queen's government. The Dutch
ambassador was secretly requested by Villeroy to negotiate with Bouillon
and offer him the command of the Julich expedition. The Duke affected to
make difficulties, although burning to obtain the post, but at last
consented. All was settled. Aerssens communicated at once with Villeroy,
and notice of Bouillon's acceptance was given to the Queen, when, behold,
the very next day Marshal de la Chatre was appointed to the command
expressly because he was a Catholic. Of course the Duke of Bouillon,
furious with Soissons and Epernon and the rest of the government, was
more enraged than ever against the Queen. His only hope was now in Conde,
but Conde at the outset, on arriving at the Louvre, offered his heart to
the Queen as a sheet of white paper. Epernon and Soissons received him
with delight, and exchanged vows of an eternal friendship of several
weeks' duration. And thus all the princes of the blood, all the cousins
of Henry of Navarre, except the imbecile Conti, were ranged on the side
of Spain, Rome, Mary de' Medici, and Concino Concini, while the son of
the Balafre, the Duke of Mayenne, and all their adherents were making
common cause with the Huguenots. What better example had been seen
before, even in that country of pantomimic changes, of the effrontery
with which Religion was made the strumpet of Political Ambition?

All that day and the next Paris was rife with rumours that there was to
be a general massacre of the Huguenots to seal the new-born friendship of
a Conde with a Medici. France was to renounce all her old alliances and
publicly to enter into treaties offensive and defensive with Spain. A
league like that of Bayonne made by the former Medicean Queen-Regent of
France was now, at Villeroy's instigation, to be signed by Mary de'
Medici. Meantime, Marshal de la Chatre, an honest soldier and fervent
Papist, seventy-three years of age, ignorant of the language, the
geography, the politics of the country to which he was sent, and knowing
the road thither about as well, according to Aerssens, who was requested
to give him a little preliminary instruction, as he did the road to
India, was to co-operate with Barneveld and Maurice of Nassau in the
enterprise against the duchies.

These were the cheerful circumstances amid which the first step in the
dead Henry's grand design against the House of Austria and in support of
Protestantism in half Europe and of religious equality throughout
Christendom, was now to be ventured.

Cornelis van der Myle took leave of the Queen on terminating his brief
special embassy, and was fain to content himself with languid assurances
from that corpulent Tuscan dame of her cordial friendship for the United
Provinces. Villeroy repeated that the contingent to be sent was furnished
out of pure love to the Netherlands, the present government being in no
wise bound by the late king's promises. He evaded the proposition of the
States for renewing the treaty of close alliance by saying that he was
then negotiating with the British government on the subject, who insisted
as a preliminary step on the repayment of the third part of the sums
advanced to the States by the late king.

He exchanged affectionate farewell greetings and good wishes with Jeannin
and with the dropsical Duke of Mayenne, who was brought in his chair to
his old fellow Leaguer's apartments at the moment of the Ambassador's
parting interview.

There was abundant supply of smooth words, in the plentiful lack of any
substantial nutriment, from the representatives of each busy faction into
which the Medicean court was divided. Even Epernon tried to say a
gracious word to the retiring envoy, assuring him that he would do as
much for the cause as a good Frenchman and lover of his fatherland could
do. He added, in rather a surly way, that he knew very well how foully he
had been described to the States, but that the devil was not as black as
he was painted. It was necessary, he said, to take care of one's own
house first of all, and he knew very well that the States and all prudent
persons would do the same thing.


     And now the knife of another priest-led fanatic
     As with his own people, keeping no back-door open
     At a blow decapitated France
     Conclusive victory for the allies seemed as predestined
     Epernon, the true murderer of Henry
     Father Cotton, who was only too ready to betray the secrets
     Great war of religion and politics was postponed
     Jesuit Mariana--justifying the killing of excommunicated kings
     No man pretended to think of the State
     Practised successfully the talent of silence
     Queen is entirely in the hands of Spain and the priests
     Religion was made the strumpet of Political Ambition
     Smooth words, in the plentiful lack of any substantial
     Stroke of a broken table knife sharpened on a carriage wheel
     The assassin, tortured and torn by four horses
     They have killed him, 'e ammazato,' cried Concini
     Things he could tell which are too odious and dreadful
     Uncouple the dogs and let them run
     Vows of an eternal friendship of several weeks' duration
     What could save the House of Austria, the cause of Papacy
     Wrath of the Jesuits at this exercise of legal authority



By John Lothrop Motley, D.C.L., LL.D.

Life and Death of John of Barneveld, v4, 1610-12


   Interviews between the Dutch Commissioners and King James--Prince
   Maurice takes command of the Troops--Surrender of Julich--Matthias
   crowned King of Bohemia--Death of Rudolph--James's Dream of a
   Spanish Marriage--Appointment of Vorstius in place of Arminius at
   Leyden--Interview between Maurice and Winwood--Increased Bitterness
   between Barneveld and Maurice--Projects of Spanish Marriages in

It is refreshing to escape from the atmosphere of self-seeking faction,
feverish intrigue, and murderous stratagem in which unhappy France was
stifling into the colder and calmer regions of Netherland policy.

No sooner had the tidings of Henry's murder reached the States than they
felt that an immense responsibility had fallen on their shoulders. It is
to the eternal honour of the Republic, of Barneveld, who directed her
councils, and of Prince Maurice, who wielded her sword, that she was
equal to the task imposed upon her.

There were open bets on the Exchange in Antwerp, after the death of
Henry, that Maurice would likewise be killed within the month. Nothing
seemed more probable, and the States implored the Stadholder to take
special heed to himself. But this was a kind of caution which the Prince
was not wont to regard. Nor was there faltering, distraction, cowardice,
or parsimony in Republican councils.

We have heard the strong words of encouragement and sympathy addressed by
the Advocate's instructions to the Queen-Regent and the leading statesmen
of France. We have seen their effects in that lingering sentiment of
shame which prevented the Spanish stipendiaries who governed the kingdom
from throwing down the mask as cynically as they were at first inclined
to do.

Not less manful and statesmanlike was the language held to the King of
Great Britain and his ministers by the Advocate's directions. The news of
the assassination reached the special ambassadors in London at three
o'clock of Monday, the 17th May. James returned to Whitehall from a
hunting expedition on the 21st, and immediately signified his intention
of celebrating the occasion by inviting the high commissioners of the
States to a banquet and festival at the palace.

Meantime they were instructed by Barneveld to communicate the results of
the special embassy of the States to the late king according to the
report just delivered to the Assembly. Thus James was to be informed of
the common resolution and engagement then taken to support the cause of
the princes. He was now seriously and explicitly to be summoned to assist
the princes not only with the stipulated 4000 men, but with a much
greater force, proportionate to the demands for the security and welfare
of Christendom, endangered by this extraordinary event. He was assured
that the States would exert themselves to the full measure of their
ability to fortify and maintain the high interests of France, of the
possessory princes, and of Christendom, so that the hopes of the
perpetrators of the foul deed would be confounded.

"They hold this to be the occasion," said the envoys, "to show to all the
world that it is within your power to rescue the affairs of France,
Germany, and of the United Provinces from the claws of those who imagine
for themselves universal monarchy."

They concluded by requesting the King to come to "a resolution on this
affair royally, liberally, and promptly, in order to take advantage of
the time, and not to allow the adversary to fortify himself in his
position"; and they pledged the States-General to stand by and second him
with all their power.

The commissioners, having read this letter to Lord Salisbury before
communicating it to the King, did not find the Lord Treasurer very prompt
or sympathetic in his reply. There had evidently been much jealousy at
the English court of the confidential and intimate relations recently
established with Henry, to which allusions were made in the documents
read at the present conference. Cecil, while expressing satisfaction in
formal terms at the friendly language of the States, and confidence in
the sincerity of their friendship for his sovereign, intimated very
plainly that more had passed between the late king and the authorities of
the Republic than had been revealed by either party to the King of Great
Britain, or than could be understood from the letters and papers now
communicated. He desired further information from the commissioners,
especially in regard to those articles of their instructions which
referred to a general rupture. They professed inability to give more
explanations than were contained in the documents themselves. If
suspicion was felt, they said, that the French King had been proposing
anything in regard to a general rupture, either on account of the retreat
of Conde, the affair of Savoy, or anything else, they would reply that
the ambassadors in France had been instructed to decline committing the
States until after full communication and advice and ripe deliberation
with his British Majesty and council, as well as the Assembly of the
States-General; and it had been the intention of the late king to have
conferred once more and very confidentially with Prince Maurice and Count
Lewis William before coming to a decisive resolution.

It was very obvious however to the commissioners that their statement
gave no thorough satisfaction, and that grave suspicions remained of
something important kept back by them. Cecil's manner was constrained and
cold, and certainly there were no evidences of profound sorrow at the
English court for the death of Henry.

"The King of France," said the High Treasurer, "meant to make a
master-stroke--a coup de maistre--but he who would have all may easily
lose all. Such projects as these should not have been formed or taken in
hand without previous communication with his Majesty of Great Britain."

All arguments on the part of the ambassadors to induce the Lord Treasurer
or other members of the government to enlarge the succour intended for
the Cleve affair were fruitless. The English troops regularly employed in
the States' service might be made use of with the forces sent by the
Republic itself. More assistance than this it was idle to expect, unless
after a satisfactory arrangement with the present regency of France. The
proposition, too, of the States for a close and general alliance was
coldly repulsed. "No resolution can be taken as to that," said Cecil;
"the death of the French king has very much altered such matters."

At a little later hour on the same day the commissioners, according to
previous invitation, dined with the King.

No one sat at the table but his Majesty and themselves, and they all kept
their hats on their heads. The King was hospitable, gracious, discursive,
loquacious, very theological.

He expressed regret for the death of the King of France, and said that
the pernicious doctrine out of which such vile crimes grew must be
uprooted. He asked many questions in regard to the United Netherlands,
enquiring especially as to the late commotions at Utrecht, and the
conduct of Prince Maurice on that occasion. He praised the resolute
conduct of the States-General in suppressing those tumults with force,
adding, however, that they should have proceeded with greater rigour
against the ringleaders of the riot. He warmly recommended the Union of
the Provinces.

He then led the conversation to the religious controversies in the
Netherlands, and in reply to his enquiries was informed that the points
in dispute related to predestination and its consequences.

"I have studied that subject," said James, "as well as anybody, and have
come to the conclusion that nothing certain can be laid down in regard to
it. I have myself not always been of one mind about it, but I will bet
that my opinion is the best of any, although I would not hang my
salvation upon it. My Lords the States would do well to order their
doctors and teachers to be silent on this topic. I have hardly ventured,
moreover, to touch upon the matter of justification in my own writings,
because that also seemed to hang upon predestination."

Thus having spoken with the air of a man who had left nothing further to
be said on predestination or justification, the King rose, took off his
hat, and drank a bumper to the health of the States-General and his
Excellency Prince Maurice, and success to the affair of Cleve.

After dinner there was a parting interview in the gallery. The King,
attended by many privy councillors and high functionaries of state, bade
the commissioners a cordial farewell, and, in order to show his
consideration for their government, performed the ceremony of knighthood
upon them, as was his custom in regard to the ambassadors of Venice. The
sword being presented to him by the Lord Chamberlain, James touched each
of the envoys on the shoulder as he dismissed him. "Out of respect to My
Lords the States," said they in their report, "we felt compelled to allow
ourselves to be burthened with this honour."

Thus it became obvious to the States-General that there was but little to
hope for from Great Britain or France. France, governed by Concini and by
Spain, was sure to do her best to traverse the designs of the Republic,
and, while perfunctorily and grudgingly complying with the letter of the
Hall treaty, was secretly neutralizing by intrigue the slender military
aid which de la Chatre was to bring to Prince Maurice. The close alliance
of France and Protestantism had melted into air. On the other hand the
new Catholic League sprang into full luxuriance out of the grave of
Henry, and both Spain and the Pope gave their hearty adhesion to the
combinations of Maximilian of Bavaria, now that the mighty designs of the
French king were buried with him. The Duke of Savoy, caught in the trap
of his own devising, was fain to send his son to sue to Spain for pardon
for the family upon his knees, and expiated by draining a deep cup of
humiliation his ambitious designs upon the Milanese and the matrimonial
alliance with France. Venice recoiled in horror from the position she
found herself in as soon as the glamour of Henry's seductive policy was
dispelled, while James of Great Britain, rubbing his hands with great
delight at the disappearance from the world of the man he so admired,
bewailed, and hated, had no comfort to impart to the States-General thus
left in virtual isolation. The barren burthen of knighthood and a sermon
on predestination were all he could bestow upon the high commissioners in
place of the alliance which he eluded, and the military assistance which
he point-blank refused. The possessory princes, in whose cause the sword
was drawn, were too quarrelsome and too fainthearted to serve for much
else than an incumbrance either in the cabinet or the field.

And the States-General were equal to the immense responsibility.
Steadily, promptly, and sagaciously they confronted the wrath, the
policy, and the power of the Empire, of Spain, and of the Pope. Had the
Republic not existed, nothing could have prevented that debateable and
most important territory from becoming provinces of Spain, whose power
thus dilated to gigantic proportions in the very face of England would
have been more menacing than in the days of the Armada. Had the Republic
faltered, she would have soon ceased to exist. But the Republic did not

On the 13th July, Prince Maurice took command of the States' forces,
13,000 foot and 3000 horse, with thirty pieces of cannon, assembled at
Schenkenschans. The July English and French regiments in the regular
service of the United Provinces were included in these armies, but there
were no additions to them: "The States did seven times as much,"
Barneveld justly averred, "as they had stipulated to do." Maurice, moving
with the precision and promptness which always marked his military
operations, marched straight upon Julich, and laid siege to that
important fortress. The Archdukes at Brussels, determined to keep out of
the fray as long as possible, offered no opposition to the passage of his
supplies up the Rhine, which might have been seriously impeded by them at
Rheinberg. The details of the siege, as of all the Prince's sieges,
possess no more interest to the general reader than the working out of a
geometrical problem. He was incapable of a flaw in his calculations, but
it was impossible for him quite to complete the demonstration before the
arrival of de la Chatre. Maurice received with courtesy the Marshal, who
arrived on the 18th August, at the head of his contingent of 8000 foot
and a few squadrons of cavalry, and there was great show of harmony
between them. For any practical purposes, de la Chatre might as well have
remained in France. For political ends his absence would have been
preferable to his presence.

Maurice would have rejoiced, had the Marshal blundered longer along the
road to the debateable land than he had done. He had almost brought
Julich to reduction. A fortnight later the place surrendered. The terms
granted by the conqueror were equitable. No change was to be made in the
liberty of Roman Catholic worship, nor in the city magistracy. The
citadel and its contents were to be handed over to the Princes of
Brandenburg and Neuburg. Archduke Leopold and his adherents departed to
Prague, to carry out as he best could his farther designs upon the crown
of Bohemia, this first portion of them having so lamentably failed, and
Sergeant-Major Frederick Pithan, of the regiment of Count Ernest Casimir
of Nassau, was appointed governor of Julich in the interest of the
possessory princes.

Thus without the loss of a single life, the Republic, guided by her
consummate statesman and unrivalled general, had gained an immense
victory, had installed the Protestant princes in the full possession of
those splendid and important provinces, and had dictated her decrees on
German soil to the Emperor of Germany, and had towed, as it were, Great
Britain and France along in her wake, instead of humbly following those
powers, and had accomplished all that she had ever proposed to do, even
in alliance with them both.

The King of England considered that quite enough had been done, and was
in great haste to patch up a reconciliation. He thought his ambassador
would soon "have as good occasion to employ his tongue and his pen as
General Cecil and his soldiers have done their swords and their

He had no sympathy with the cause of Protestantism, and steadily refused
to comprehend the meaning of the great movements in the duchies. "I only
wish that I may handsomely wind myself out of this quarrel, where the
principal parties do so little for themselves," he said.

De la Chatre returned with his troops to France within a fortnight after
his arrival on the scene. A mild proposition made by the French
government through the Marshal, that the provinces should be held in
seguestration by France until a decision as to the true sovereignty could
be reached, was promptly declined. Maurice of Nassau had hardly gained so
signal a triumph for the Republic and for the Protestant cause only to
hand it over to Concini and Villeroy for the benefit of Spain. Julich was
thought safer in the keeping of Sergeant Pithan.

By the end of September the States' troops had returned to their own

Thus the Republic, with eminent success, had accomplished a brief and
brilliant campaign, but no statesman could suppose that the result was
more than a temporary one. These coveted provinces, most valuable in
themselves and from their important position, would probably not be
suffered peacefully to remain very long under the protection of the
heretic States-General and in the 'Condominium' of two Protestant
princes. There was fear among the Imperialists, Catholics, and Spaniards,
lest the baleful constellation of the Seven Provinces might be increased
by an eighth star. And this was a project not to be tolerated. It was
much already that the upstart confederacy had defied Pope, Emperor, and
King, as it were, on their own domains, had dictated arrangements in
Germany directly in the teeth of its emperor, using France as her
subordinate, and compelling the British king to acquiesce in what he most

But it was not merely to surprise Julich, and to get a foothold in the
duchies, that Leopold had gone forth on his adventure. His campaign, as
already intimated, was part of a wide scheme in which he had persuaded
his emperor-cousin to acquiesce. Poor Rudolph had been at last goaded
into a feeble attempt at revolt against his three brothers and his cousin
Ferdinand. Peace-loving, inert, fond of his dinner, fonder of his
magnificent collections of gems and intagli, liking to look out of window
at his splendid collection of horses, he was willing to pass a quiet
life, afar from the din of battles and the turmoil of affairs. As he
happened to be emperor of half Europe, these harmless tastes could not
well be indulged. Moon-faced and fat, silent and slow, he was not
imperial of aspect on canvas or coin, even when his brows were decorated
with the conventional laurel wreath. He had been stripped of his
authority and all but discrowned by his more bustling brothers Matthias
and Max, while the sombre figure of Styrian Ferdinand, pupil of the
Jesuits, and passionate admirer of Philip II., stood ever in the
background, casting a prophetic shadow over the throne and over Germany.

The brothers were endeavouring to persuade Rudolph that he would find
more comfort in Innsbruck than in Prague; that he required repose after
the strenuous labours of government. They told him, too, that it would be
wise to confer the royal crown of Bohemia upon Matthias, lest, being
elective and also an electorate, the crown and vote of that country might
pass out of the family, and so both Bohemia and the Empire be lost to the
Habsburgs. The kingdom being thus secured to Matthias and his heirs, the
next step, of course, was to proclaim him King of the Romans. Otherwise
there would be great danger and detriment to Hungary, and other
hereditary states of that conglomerate and anonymous monarchy which owned
the sway of the great Habsburg family.

The unhappy emperor was much piqued. He had been deprived by his brother
of Hungary, Moravia, and Austria, while Matthias was now at Prague with
an army, ostensibly to obtain ratification of the peace with Turkey, but
in reality to force the solemn transfer of those realms and extort the
promise of Bohemia. Could there be a better illustration of the
absurdities of such a system of Imperialism?

And now poor Rudolph was to be turned out of the Hradschin, and sent
packing with or without his collections to the Tyrol.

The bellicose bishop of Strassburg and Passau, brother of Ferdinand, had
little difficulty in persuading the downtrodden man to rise to vengeance.
It had been secretly agreed between the two that Leopold, at the head of
a considerable army of mercenaries which he had contrived to levy, should
dart into Julich as the Emperor's representative, seize the debateable
duchies, and hold them in sequestration until the Emperor should decide
to whom they belonged, and, then, rushing back to Bohemia, should
annihilate Matthias, seize Prague, and deliver Rudolph from bondage. It
was further agreed that Leopold, in requital of these services, should
receive the crown of Bohemia, be elected King of the Romans, and declared
heir to the Emperor, so far as Rudolph could make him his heir.

The first point in the program he had only in part accomplished. He had
taken Julich, proclaimed the intentions of the Emperor, and then been
driven out of his strong position by the wise policy of the States under
the guidance of Barneveld and by the consummate strategy of Maurice. It
will be seen therefore that the Republic was playing a world's game at
this moment, and doing it with skill and courage. On the issue of the
conflict which had been begun and was to be long protracted in the
duchies, and to spread over nearly all Christendom besides, would depend
the existence of the United Netherlands and the fate of Protestantism.

The discomfited Leopold swept back at the head of his mercenaries, 9000
foot and 3000 horse, through Alsace and along the Danube to Linz and so
to Prague, marauding, harrying, and black-mailing the country as he went.
He entered the city on the 15th of February 1611, fighting his way
through crowds of exasperated burghers. Sitting in full harness on
horseback in the great square before the cathedral, the warlike bishop
compelled the population to make oath to him as the Emperor's commissary.
The street fighting went on however day by day, poor Rudolph meantime
cowering in the Hradschin. On the third day, Leopold, driven out of the
town, took up a position on the heights, from which he commanded it with
his artillery. Then came a feeble voice from the Hradschin, telling all
men that these Passau marauders and their episcopal chief were there by
the Emperor's orders. The triune city--the old, the new, and the Jew--was
bidden to send deputies to the palace and accept the Imperial decrees. No
deputies came at the bidding. The Bohemians, especially the Praguers,
being in great majority Protestants knew very well that Leopold was
fighting the cause of the Papacy and Spain in Bohemia as well as in the

And now Matthias appeared upon the scene. The Estates had already been in
communication with him, better hopes, for the time at least, being
entertained from him than from the flaccid Rudolph. Moreover a kind of
compromise had been made in the autumn between Matthias and the Emperor
after the defeat of Leopold in the duchies. The real king had fallen at
the feet of the nominal one by proxy of his brother Maximilian. Seven
thousand men of the army of Matthias now came before Prague under command
of Colonitz. The Passauers, receiving three months pay from the Emperor,
marched quietly off. Leopold disappeared for the time. His chancellor and
counsellor in the duchies, Francis Teynagel, a Geldrian noble, taken
prisoner and put to the torture, revealed the little plot of the Emperor
in favour of the Bishop, and it was believed that the Pope, the King of
Spain, and Maximilian of Bavaria were friendly to the scheme. This was
probable, for Leopold at last made no mystery of his resolve to fight
Protestantism to the death, and to hold the duchies, if he could, for the
cause of Rome and Austria.

Both Rudolph and Matthias had committed themselves to the toleration of
the Reformed religion. The famous "Majesty-Letter," freshly granted by
the Emperor (1609), and the Compromise between the Catholic and
Protestant Estates had become the law of the land. Those of the Bohemian
confession, a creed commingled of Hussism, Lutheranism, and Calvinism,
had obtained toleration. In a country where nine-tenths of the population
were Protestants it was permitted to Protestants to build churches and to
worship God in them unmolested. But these privileges had been extorted by
force, and there was a sullen, dogged determination which might be easily
guessed at to revoke them should it ever become possible. The House of
Austria, reigning in Spain, Italy, and Germany, was bound by the very law
of their being to the Roman religion. Toleration of other worship
signified in their eyes both a defeat and a crime.

Thus the great conflict, to be afterwards known as the Thirty Years' War,
had in reality begun already, and the Netherlands, in spite of the truce,
were half unconsciously taking a leading part in it. The odds at that
moment in Germany seemed desperately against the House of Austria, so
deep and wide was the abyss between throne and subjects which religious
difference had created. But the reserved power in Spain, Italy, and
Southern Germany was sure enough to make itself felt sooner or later on
the Catholic side.

Meantime the Estates of Bohemia knew well enough that the Imperial house
was bent on destroying the elective principle of the Empire, and on
keeping the crown of Bohemia in perpetuity. They had also discovered that
Bishop-Archduke Leopold had been selected by Rudolph as chief of the
reactionary movement against Protestantism. They could not know at that
moment whether his plans were likely to prove fantastic or dangerous.

So Matthias came to Prague at the invitation of the Estates, entering the
city with all the airs of a conqueror. Rudolph received his brother with
enforced politeness, and invited him to reside in the Hradschin. This
proposal was declined by Matthias, who sent a colonel however, with six
pieces of artillery, to guard and occupy that palace. The Passau
prisoners were pardoned and released, and there was a general
reconciliation. A month later, Matthias went in pomp to the chapel of the
holy Wenceslaus, that beautiful and barbarous piece of mediaeval,
Sclavonic architecture, with its sombre arches, and its walls encrusted
with huge precious stones. The Estates of Bohemia, arrayed in splendid
Zchech costume, and kneeling on the pavement, were asked whether they
accepted Matthias, King of Hungary, as their lawful king. Thrice they
answered Aye. Cardinal Dietrichstein then put the historic crown of St.
Wenceslaus on the King's head, and Matthias swore to maintain the laws
and privileges of Bohemia, including the recent charters granting liberty
of religion to Protestants. Thus there was temporary, if hollow, truce
between the religious parties, and a sham reconciliation between the
Emperor and his brethren. The forlorn Rudolph moped away the few months
of life left to him in the Hradschin, and died 1612 soon after the new
year. The House of Austria had not been divided, Matthias succeeded his
brother, Leopold's visions melted into air, and it was for the future to
reveal whether the Majesty-Letter and the Compromise had been written on
very durable material.

And while such was the condition of affairs in Germany immediately
following the Cleve and Julich campaign, the relations of the Republic
both to England and France were become rapidly more dangerous than they
ever had been. It was a severe task for Barneveld, and enough to overtax
the energies of any statesman, to maintain his hold on two such slippery
governments as both had become since the death of their great monarchs.
It had been an easier task for William the Silent to steer his course,
notwithstanding all the perversities, short-comings, brow-beatings, and
inconsistencies that he had been obliged to endure from Elizabeth and
Henry. Genius, however capricious and erratic at times, has at least
vision, and it needed no elaborate arguments to prove to both those
sovereigns that the severance of their policy from that of the
Netherlands was impossible without ruin to the Republic and incalculable
danger themselves.

But now France and England were both tending towards Spain through a
stupidity on the part of their rulers such as the gods are said to
contend against in vain. Barneveld was not a god nor a hero, but a
courageous and wide-seeing statesman, and he did his best. Obliged by his
position to affect admiration, or at least respect, where no emotion but
contempt was possible, his daily bread was bitter enough. It was
absolutely necessary to humour those whom knew to be traversing his
policy and desiring his ruin, for there was no other way to serve his
country and save it from impending danger. So long as he was faithfully
served by his subordinates, and not betrayed by those to whom he gave his
heart, he could confront external enemies and mould the policy of
wavering allies.

Few things in history are more pitiable than the position of James in
regard to Spain. For seven long years he was as one entranced, the slave
to one idea, a Spanish marriage for his son. It was in vain that his
counsellors argued, Parliament protested, allies implored. Parliament was
told that a royal family matter regarded himself alone, and that
interference on their part was an impertinence. Parliament's duty was a
simple one, to give him advice if he asked it, and money when he required
it, without asking for reasons. It was already a great concession that he
should ask for it in person. They had nothing to do with his affairs nor
with general politics. The mystery of government was a science beyond
their reach, and with which they were not to meddle. "Ne sutor ultra
crepidam," said the pedant.

Upon that one point his policy was made to turn. Spain held him in the
hollow of her hand. The Infanta, with two million crowns in dowry, was
promised, withheld, brought forward again like a puppet to please or
irritate a froward child. Gondemar, the Spanish ambassador, held him
spellbound. Did he falter in his opposition to the States--did he cease
to goad them for their policy in the duchies--did he express sympathy
with Bohemian Protestantism, or, as time went on, did he dare to lift a
finger or touch his pocket in behalf of his daughter and the unlucky
Elector-Palatine; did he, in short, move a step in the road which England
had ever trod and was bound to tread--the road of determined resistance
to Spanish ambition--instantaneously the Infanta withheld, and James was
on his knees again. A few years later, when the great Raleigh returned
from his trans-Alantic expedition, Gondemar fiercely denounced him to the
King as the worst enemy of Spain. The usual threat was made, the wand was
waved, and the noblest head in England fell upon the block, in pursuance
of an obsolete sentence fourteen years old.

It is necessary to hold fast this single clue to the crooked and amazing
entanglements of the policy of James. The insolence, the meanness, and
the prevarications of this royal toad-eater are only thus explained.

Yet Philip III. declared on his death-bed that he had never had a serious
intention of bestowing his daughter on the Prince.

The vanity and the hatreds of theology furnished the chief additional
material in the policy of James towards the Provinces. The diplomacy of
his reign so far as the Republic was concerned is often a mere mass of
controversial divinity, and gloomy enough of its kind. Exactly at this
moment Conrad Vorstius had been called by the University of Leyden to the
professorship vacant by the death of Arminius, and the wrath of Peter
Plancius and the whole orthodox party knew no bounds. Born in Cologne,
Vorstius had been a lecturer in Geneva, and beloved by Beza. He had
written a book against the Jesuit Belarmino, which he had dedicated to
the States-General. But he was now accused of Arminianism, Socianism,
Pelagianism, Atheism--one knew not what. He defended himself in writing
against these various charges, and declared himself a believer in the
Trinity, in the Divinity of Christ, in the Atonement. But he had written
a book on the Nature of God, and the wrath of Gomarus and Plancius and
Bogerman was as nothing to the ire of James when that treatise was one
day handed to him on returning from hunting. He had scarcely looked into
it before he was horror-struck, and instantly wrote to Sir Ralph Winwood,
his ambassador at the Hague, ordering him to insist that this blasphemous
monster should at once be removed from the country. Who but James knew
anything of the Nature of God, for had he not written a work in Latin
explaining it all, so that humbler beings might read and be instructed.

Sir Ralph accordingly delivered a long sermon to the States on the brief
supplied by his Majesty, told them that to have Vorstius as successor to
Arminius was to fall out of the frying-pan into the fire, and handed them
a "catalogue" prepared by the King of the blasphemies, heresies, and
atheisms of the Professor. "Notwithstanding that the man in full assembly
of the States of Holland," said the Ambassador with headlong and confused
rhetoric, "had found the means to palliate and plaster the dung of his
heresies, and thus to dazzle the eyes of good people," yet it was
necessary to protest most vigorously against such an appointment, and to
advise that "his works should be publicly burned in the open places of
all the cities."

The Professor never was admitted to perform his functions of theology,
but he remained at Leyden, so Winwood complained, "honoured, recognized
as a singularity and ornament to the Academy in place of the late Joseph
Scaliger."--"The friendship of the King and the heresy of Vorstius are
quite incompatible," said the Envoy.

Meantime the Advocate, much distressed at the animosity of England
bursting forth so violently on occasion of the appointment of a divinity
professor at Leyden, and at the very instant too when all the acuteness
of his intellect was taxed to keep on good or even safe terms with
France, did his best to stem these opposing currents. His private letters
to his old and confidential friend, Noel de Carom, States' ambassador in
London, reveal the perplexities of his soul and the upright patriotism by
which he was guided in these gathering storms. And this correspondence,
as well as that maintained by him at a little later period with the
successor of Aerssens at Paris, will be seen subsequently to have had a
direct and most important bearing upon the policy of the Republic and
upon his own fate. It is necessary therefore that the reader, interested
in these complicated affairs which were soon to bring on a sanguinary war
on a scale even vaster than the one which had been temporarily suspended,
should give close attention to papers never before exhumed from the musty
sepulchre of national archives, although constantly alluded to in the
records of important state trials. It is strange enough to observe the
apparent triviality of the circumstances out of which gravest events seem
to follow. But the circumstances were in reality threads of iron which
led down to the very foundations of the earth.

"I wish to know," wrote the Advocate to Caron, "from whom the Archbishop
of Canterbury received the advices concerning Vorstius in order to find
out what is meant by all this."

It will be remembered that Whitgift was of opinion that James was
directly inspired by the Holy Ghost, and that as he affected to deem him
the anointed High-priest of England, it was natural that he should
encourage the King in his claims to be 'Pontifex maximus' for the
Netherlands likewise.

"We are busy here," continued Barneveld, "in examining all things for the
best interests of the country and the churches. I find the nobles and
cities here well resolved in this regard, although there be some
disagreements 'in modo.' Vorstius, having been for many years professor
and minister of theology at Steinfurt, having manifested his learning in
many books written against the Jesuits, and proved himself pure and
moderate in doctrine, has been called to the vacant professorship at
Leyden. This appointment is now countermined by various means. We are
doing our best to arrange everything for the highest good of the
Provinces and the churches. Believe this and believe nothing else. Pay
heed to no other information. Remember what took place in Flanders,
events so well known to you. It is not for me to pass judgment in these
matters. Do you, too, suspend your judgment."

The Advocate's allusion was to the memorable course of affairs in
Flanders at an epoch when many of the most inflammatory preachers and
politicians of the Reformed religion, men who refused to employ a footman
or a housemaid not certified to be thoroughly orthodox, subsequently
after much sedition and disturbance went over to Spain and the Catholic

A few weeks later Barneveld sent copies to Caron of the latest harangues
of Winwood in the Assembly and the reply of My Lords on the Vorstian
business; that is to say, the freshest dialogue on predestination between
the King and the Advocate. For as James always dictated word for word the
orations of his envoy, so had their Mightinesses at this period no head
and no mouthpiece save Barneveld alone. Nothing could be drearier than
these controversies, and the reader shall be spared as much, as possible
the infliction of reading them. It will be necessary, however, for the
proper understanding of subsequent events that he should be familiar with
portions of the Advocate's confidential letters.

"Sound well the gentleman you wot of," said Barneveld, "and other
personages as to the conclusive opinions over there. The course of the
propositions does not harmonize with what I have myself heard out of the
King's mouth at other times, nor with the reports of former ambassadors.
I cannot well understand that the King should, with such preciseness,
condemn all other opinions save those of Calvin and Beza. It is important
to the service of this country that one should know the final intention
of his Majesty."

And this was the misery of the position. For it was soon to appear that
the King's definite and final intentions, varied from day to day. It was
almost humorous to find him at that moment condemning all opinions but
those of Calvin and Beza in Holland, while his course to the strictest
confessors of that creed in England was so ferocious.

But Vorstius was a rival author to his Majesty on subjects treated of by
both, so that literary spite of the most venomous kind, stirred into
theological hatred, was making a dangerous mixture. Had a man with the
soul and sense of the Advocate sat on the throne which James was
regarding at that moment as a professor's chair, the world's history
would have been changed.

"I fear," continued Barneveld, "that some of our own precisians have been
spinning this coil for us over there, and if the civil authority can be
thus countermined, things will go as in Flanders in your time. Pray
continue to be observant, discreet, and moderate."

The Advocate continued to use his best efforts to smooth the rising
waves. He humoured and even flattered the King, although perpetually
denounced by Winwood in his letters to his sovereign as tyrannical,
over-bearing, malignant, and treacherous. He did his best to counsel
moderation and mutual toleration, for he felt that these needless
theological disputes about an abstract and insoluble problem of casuistry
were digging an abyss in which the Republic might be swallowed up for
ever. If ever man worked steadily with the best lights of experience and
inborn sagacity for the good of his country and in defence of a
constitutional government, horribly defective certainly, but the only
legal one, and on the whole a more liberal polity than any then existing,
it was Barneveld. Courageously, steadily, but most patiently, he stood
upon that position so vital and daily so madly assailed; the defence of
the civil authority against the priesthood. He felt instinctively and
keenly that where any portion of the subjects or citizens of a country
can escape from the control of government and obey other head than the
lawful sovereignty, whether monarchical or republican, social disorder
and anarchy must be ever impending.

"We are still tortured by ecclesiastical disputes," he wrote a few weeks
later to Caron. "Besides many libels which have appeared in print, the
letters of his Majesty and the harangues of Winwood have been published;
to what end you who know these things by experience can judge. The truth
of the matter of Vorstius is that he was legally called in July 1610,
that he was heard last May before My Lords the States with six preachers
to oppose him, and in the same month duly accepted and placed in office.
He has given no public lectures as yet. You will cause this to be known
on fitting opportunity. Believe and cause to be believed that his
Majesty's letters and Sir R. Winwood's propositions have been and shall
be well considered, and that I am working with all my strength to that
end. You know the constitution of our country, and can explain everything
for the best. Many pious and intelligent people in this State hold
themselves assured that his Majesty according to his royal exceeding
great wisdom, foresight, and affection for the welfare of this land will
not approve that his letters and Winwood's propositions should be
scattered by the press among the common people. Believe and cause to be
believed, to your best ability, that My Lords the States of Holland
desire to maintain the true Christian, Reformed religion as well in the
University of Leyden as in all their cities and villages. The only
dispute is on the high points of predestination and its adjuncts,
concerning which moderation and a more temperate teaching is furthered by
some amongst us. Many think that such is the edifying practice in
England. Pray have the kindness to send me the English Confession of the
year 1572, with the corrections and alterations up to this year."

But the fires were growing hotter, fanned especially by Flemish
ministers, a brotherhood of whom Barneveld had an especial distrust, and
who certainly felt great animosity to him. His moderate counsels were but
oil to the flames. He was already depicted by zealots and calumniators as
false to the Reformed creed.

"Be assured and assure others," he wrote again to Caron, "that in the
matter of religion I am, and by God's grace shall remain, what I ever
have been. Make the same assurances as to my son-in-law and brother. We
are not a little amazed that a few extraordinary Puritans, mostly
Flemings and Frisians, who but a short time ago had neither property nor
kindred in the country, and have now very little of either, and who have
given but slender proofs of constancy or service to the fatherland, could
through pretended zeal gain credit over there against men well proved in
all respects. We wonder the more because they are endeavouring, in
ecclesiastical matters at least, to usurp an extraordinary authority,
against which his Majesty, with very weighty reasons, has so many times
declared his opinion founded upon God's Word and upon all laws and
principles of justice."

It was Barneveld's practice on this as on subsequent occasions very
courteously to confute the King out of his own writings and speeches, and
by so doing to be unconsciously accumulating an undying hatred against
himself in the royal breast. Certainly nothing could be easier than to
show that James, while encouraging in so reckless a manner the
emancipation of the ministers of an advanced sect in the Reformed Church
from control of government, and their usurpation of supreme authority
which had been destroyed in England, was outdoing himself in dogmatism
and inconsistency. A king-highpriest, who dictated his supreme will to
bishops and ministers as well as to courts and parliaments, was
ludicrously employed in a foreign country in enforcing the superiority of
the Church to the State.

"You will give good assurances," said the Advocate, "upon my word, that
the conservation of the true Reformed religion is as warmly cherished
here, especially by me, as at any time during the war."

He next alluded to the charges then considered very grave against certain
writings of Vorstius, and with equal fairness to his accusers as he had
been to the Professor gave a pledge that the subject should be examined.

"If the man in question," he said, "be the author, as perhaps falsely
imputed, of the work 'De Filiatione Christi' or things of that sort, you
may be sure that he shall have no furtherance here." He complained,
however, that before proof the cause was much prejudiced by the
circulation through the press of letters on the subject from important
personages in England. His own efforts to do justice in the matter were
traversed by such machinations. If the Professor proved to be guilty of
publications fairly to be deemed atheistical and blasphemous, he should
be debarred from his functions, but the outcry from England was doing
more harm than good.

"The published extract from the letter of the Archbishop," he wrote, "to
the effect that the King will declare My Lords the States to be his
enemies if they are not willing to send the man away is doing much harm."

Truly, if it had come to this--that a King of England was to go to war
with a neighbouring and friendly republic because an obnoxious professor
of theology was not instantly hurled from a university of which his
Majesty was not one of the overseers--it was time to look a little
closely into the functions of governments and the nature of public and
international law. Not that the sword of James was in reality very likely
to be unsheathed, but his shriekings and his scribblings, pacific as he
was himself, were likely to arouse passions which torrents of blood alone
could satiate.

"The publishing and spreading among the community," continued Barneveld,
"of M. Winwood's protestations and of many indecent libels are also doing
much mischief, for the nature of this people does not tolerate such
things. I hope, however, to obtain the removal according to his Majesty's
desire. Keep me well informed, and send me word what is thought in
England by the four divines of the book of Vorstius, 'De Deo,' and of his
declarations on the points sent here by his Majesty. Let me know, too, if
there has been any later confession published in England than that of the
year 1562, and whether the nine points pressed in the year 1595 were
accepted and published in 1603. If so, pray send them, as they maybe made
use of in settling our differences here."

Thus it will be seen that the spirit of conciliation, of a calm but
earnest desire to obtain a firm grasp of the most reasonable relations
between Church and State through patient study of the phenomena exhibited
in other countries, were the leading motives of the man. Yet he was
perpetually denounced in private as an unbeliever, an atheist, a tyrant,
because he resisted dictation from the clergy within the Provinces and
from kings outside them.

"It was always held here to be one of the chief infractions of the laws
and privileges of this country," he said, "that former princes had placed
themselves in matter of religion in the tutelage of the Pope and the
Spanish Inquisition, and that they therefore on complaint of their good
subjects could take no orders on that subject. Therefore it cannot be
considered strange that we are not willing here to fall into the same
obloquy. That one should now choose to turn the magistrates, who were
once so seriously summoned on their conscience and their office to adopt
the Reformation and to take the matter of religion to heart, into
ignorants, to deprive them of knowledge, and to cause them to see with
other eyes than their own, cannot by many be considered right and
reasonable. 'Intelligenti pauca.'"

   [The interesting letter from which I have given these copious
   extracts was ordered by its writer to be burned. "Lecta vulcano"
   was noted at the end of it, as was not unfrequently the case with
   the Advocate. It never was burned; but, innocent and reasonable as
   it seems, was made use of by Barneveld's enemies with deadly effect.

Meantime M. de Refuge, as before stated, was on his way to the Hague, to
communicate the news of the double marriage. He had fallen sick at
Rotterdam, and the nature of his instructions and of the message he
brought remained unknown, save from the previous despatches of Aerssens.
But reports were rife that he was about to propose new terms of alliance
to the States, founded on large concessions to the Roman Catholic
religion. Of course intense jealousy was excited at the English court,
and calumny plumed her wings for a fresh attack upon the Advocate. Of
course he was sold to Spain, the Reformed religion was to be trampled out
in the Provinces, and the Papacy and Holy Inquisition established on its
ruins. Nothing could be more diametrically the reverse of the fact than
such hysterical suspicions as to the instructions of the ambassador
extraordinary from France, and this has already appeared. The Vorstian
affair too was still in the same phase, the Advocate professing a
willingness that justice should be done in the matter, while courteously
but firmly resisting the arrogant pretensions of James to take the matter
out of the jurisdiction of the States.

"I stand amazed," he said, "at the partisanship and the calumnious
representations which you tell me of, and cannot imagine what is thought
nor what is proposed. Should M. de Refuge make any such propositions as
are feared, believe, and cause his Majesty and his counsellors to
believe, that they would be of no effect. Make assurances upon my word,
notwithstanding all advices to the contrary, that such things would be
flatly refused. If anything is published or proven to the discredit of
Vorstius, send it to me. Believe that we shall not defend heretics nor
schismatics against the pure Evangelical doctrine, but one cannot
conceive here that the knowledge and judicature of the matter belongs
anywhere else than to My Lords the States of Holland, in whose service he
has legally been during four months before his Majesty made the least
difficulty about it. Called hither legally a year before, with the
knowledge and by the order of his Excellency and the councillors of state
of Holland, he has been countermined by five or six Flemings and
Frisians, who, without recognizing the lawful authority of the
magistrates, have sought assistance in foreign countries--in Germany and
afterwards in England. Yes, they have been so presumptuous as to
designate one of their own men for the place. If such a proceeding should
be attempted in England, I leave it to those whose business it would be
to deal with it to say what would be done. I hope therefore that one will
leave the examination and judgment of this matter freely to us, without
attempting to make us--against the principles of the Reformation and the
liberties and laws of the land--executors of the decrees of others, as
the man here wishes to obtrude it upon us."

He alluded to the difficulty in raising the ways and means; saying that
the quota of Holland, as usual, which was more than half the whole, was
ready, while other provinces were in arrears. Yet they were protected,
while Holland was attacked.

"Methinks I am living in a strange world," he said, "when those who have
received great honour from Holland, and who in their conscience know that
they alone have conserved the Commonwealth, are now traduced with such
great calumnies. But God the Lord Almighty is just, and will in His own
time do chastisement."

The affair of Vorstius dragged its slow length along, and few things are
more astounding at this epoch than to see such a matter, interesting
enough certainly to theologians, to the University, and to the rising
generation of students, made the topic of unceasing and embittered
diplomatic controversy between two great nations, who had most pressing
and momentous business on their hands. But it was necessary to humour the
King, while going to the verge of imprudence in protecting the Professor.
In March he was heard, three or four hours long, before the Assembly of
Holland, in answer to various charges made against him, being warned that
"he stood before the Lord God and before the sovereign authority of the
States." Although thought by many to have made a powerful defence, he was
ordered to set it forth in writing, both in Latin and in the vernacular.
Furthermore it was ordained that he should make a complete refutation of
all the charges already made or that might be made during the ensuing
three months against him in speech, book, or letter in England, Germany,
the Netherlands, or anywhere else. He was allowed one year and a half to
accomplish this work, and meantime was to reside not in Leyden, nor the
Hague, but in some other town of Holland, not delivering lectures or
practising his profession in any way. It might be supposed that
sufficient work had been thus laid out for the unfortunate doctor of
divinity without lecturing or preaching. The question of jurisdiction was
saved. The independence of the civil authority over the extreme
pretensions of the clergy had been vindicated by the firmness of the
Advocate. James bad been treated with overflowing demonstrations of
respect, but his claim to expel a Dutch professor from his chair and
country by a royal fiat had been signally rebuked. Certainly if the
Provinces were dependent upon the British king in regard to such a
matter, it was the merest imbecility for them to affect independence.
Barneveld had carried his point and served his country strenuously and
well in this apparently small matter which human folly had dilated into a
great one. But deep was the wrath treasured against him in consequence in
clerical and royal minds.

Returning from Wesel after the negotiations, Sir Ralph Winwood had an
important interview at Arnheim with Prince Maurice, in which they
confidentially exchanged their opinions in regard to the Advocate, and
mutually confirmed their suspicions and their jealousies in regard to
that statesman.

The Ambassador earnestly thanked the Prince in the King's name for his
"careful and industrious endeavours for the maintenance of the truth of
religion, lively expressed in prosecuting the cause against Vorstius and
his adherents."

He then said:

"I am expressly commanded that his Majesty conferring the present
condition of affairs of this quarter of the world with those
advertisements he daily receives from his ministers abroad, together with
the nature and disposition of those men who have in their hands the
managing of all business in these foreign parts, can make no other
judgment than this.

"There is a general ligue and confederation complotted far the subversion
and ruin of religion upon the subsistence whereof his Majesty doth judge
the main welfare of your realms and of these Provinces solely to consist.

"Therefore his Majesty has given me charge out of the knowledge he has of
your great worth and sufficiency," continued Winwood, "and the confidence
he reposes in your faith and affection, freely to treat with you on these
points, and withal to pray you to deliver your opinion what way would be
the most compendious and the most assured to contrequarr these complots,
and to frustrate the malice of these mischievous designs."

The Prince replied by acknowledging the honour the King had vouchsafed to
do him in holding so gracious an opinion of him, wherein his Majesty
should never be deceived.

"I concur in judgment with his Majesty," continued the Prince, "that the
main scope at which these plots and practices do aim, for instance, the
alliance between France and Spain, is this, to root out religion, and by
consequence to bring under their yoke all those countries in which
religion is professed.

"The first attempt," continued the Prince, "is doubtless intended against
these Provinces. The means to countermine and defeat these projected
designs I take to be these: the continuance of his Majesty's constant
resolution for the protection of religion, and then that the King would
be pleased to procure a general confederation between the kings, princes,
and commonwealths professing religion, namely, Denmark, Sweden, the
German princes, the Protestant cantons of Switzerland, and our United

"Of this confederation, his Majesty must be not only the director, but
the head and protector.

"Lastly, the Protestants of France should be, if not supported, at least
relieved from that oppression which the alliance of Spain doth threaten
upon them. This, I insist," repeated Maurice with great fervour, "is the
only coupegorge of all plots whatever between France and Spain."

He enlarged at great length on these points, which he considered so

"And what appearance can there be," asked Winwood insidiously and
maliciously, "of this general confederation now that these Provinces,
which heretofore have been accounted a principal member of the Reformed
Church, begin to falter in the truth of religion?

"He who solely governs the metropolitan province of Holland," continued
the Ambassador, with a direct stab in the back at Barneveld, "is reputed
generally, as your Excellency best knows, to be the only patron of
Vorstius, and the protector of the schisms of Arminius. And likewise,
what possibility is there that the Protestants of France can expect
favour from these Provinces when the same man is known to depend at the
devotion of France?"

The international, theological, and personal jealousy of the King against
Holland's Advocate having been thus plainly developed, the Ambassador
proceeded to pour into the Prince's ear the venom of suspicion, and to
inflame his jealousy against his great rival. The secret conversation
showed how deeply laid was the foundation of the political hatred, both
of James and of Maurice, against the Advocate, and certainly nothing
could be more preposterous than to imagine the King as the director and
head of the great Protestant League. We have but lately seen him
confidentially assuring his minister that his only aim was "to wind
himself handsomely out of the whole business." Maurice must have found it
difficult to preserve his gravity when assigning such a part to "Master

"Although Monsieur Barneveld has cast off all care of religion," said
Maurice, "and although some towns in Holland, wherein his power doth
reign, are infected with the like neglect, yet so long as so many good
towns in Holland stand sound, and all the other provinces of this
confederacy, the proposition would at the first motion be cheerfully

"I confess I find difficulty in satisfying your second question,"
continued the Prince, "for I acknowledge that Barneveld is wholly devoted
to the service of France. During the truce negotiations, when some
difference arose between him and myself, President Jeannin came to me,
requiring me in the French king's name to treat Monsieur Barneveld well,
whom the King had received into his protection. The letters which the
States' ambassador in France wrote to Barneveld (and to him all
ambassadors address their despatches of importance), the very autographs
themselves, he sent back into the hands of Villeroy."

Here the Prince did not scruple to accuse the Advocate of doing the base
and treacherous trick against Aerssens which he had expressly denied
doing, and which had been done during his illness, as he solemnly avowed,
by a subordinate probably for the sake of making mischief.

Maurice then discoursed largely and vehemently of the suspicious
proceedings of Barneveld, and denounced him as dangerous to the State.
"When one man who has the conduct of all affairs in his sole power," he
said, "shall hold underhand intelligence with the ministers of Spain and
the Archduke, and that without warrant, thereby he may have the means so
to carry the course of affairs that, do what they will, these Provinces
must fall or stand at the mercy and discretion of Spain. Therefore some
good resolutions must be taken in time to hold up this State from a
sudden downfall, but in this much moderation and discretion must be

The Prince added that he had invited his cousin Lewis William to appear
at the Hague at May day, in order to consult as to the proper means to
preserve the Provinces from confusion under his Majesty's safeguard, and
with the aid of the Englishmen in the States' service whom Maurice
pronounced to be "the strength and flower of his army."

Thus the Prince developed his ideas at great length, and accused the
Advocate behind his back, and without the faintest shadow of proof, of
base treachery to his friends and of high-treason. Surely Barneveld was
in danger, and was walking among pitfalls. Most powerful and deadly
enemies were silently banding themselves together against him. Could he
long maintain his hold on the slippery heights of power, where he was so
consciously serving his country, but where he became day by day a mere
shining mark for calumny and hatred?

The Ambassador then signified to the Prince that he had been instructed
to carry to him the King's purpose to confer on him the Order of the

"If his Majesty holds me worthy of so great honour," said the Prince, "I
and my family shall ever remain bound to his service and that of his
royal posterity.

"That the States should be offended I see no cause, but holding the
charge I do in their service, I could not accept the honour without first
acquainting them and receiving their approbation."

Winwood replied that, as the King knew the terms on which the Prince
lived with the States, he doubted not his Majesty would first notify them
and say that he honoured the mutual amity between his realms and these
Provinces by honouring the virtues of their general, whose services, as
they had been most faithful and affectionate, so had they been
accompanied with the blessings of happiness and prosperous success.

Thus said Winwood to the King: "Your Majesty may plaster two walls with
one trowel ('una fidelia duos dealbare parietes'), reverse the designs of
them who to facilitate their own practices do endeavour to alienate your
affections from the good of these Provinces, and oblige to your service
the well-affected people, who know that there is no surety for
themselves, their wives and children, but under the protection of your
Majesty's favour. Perhaps, however, the favourers of Vorstius and
Arminius will buzz into the ears of their associates that your Majesty
would make a party in these Provinces by maintaining the truth of
religion and also by gaining unto you the affections of their chief
commander. But your Majesty will be pleased to pass forth whose worthy
ends will take their place, which is to honour virtue where you find it,
and the suspicious surmises of malice and envy in one instant will vanish
into smoke."

Winwood made no scruple in directly stating to the English government
that Barneveld's purpose was to "cause a divorce between the King's
realms and the Provinces, the more easily to precipitate them into the
arms of Spain." He added that the negotiation with Count Maurice then on
foot was to be followed, but with much secrecy, on account of the place
he held in the State.

Soon after the Ambassador's secret conversation with Maurice he had an
interview with Barneveld. He assured the Advocate that no contentment
could be given to his Majesty but by the banishment of Vorstius. "If the
town of Leyden should understand so much," replied Barneveld, "I fear the
magistrates would retain him still in their town."

"If the town of Leyden should retain Vorstius," answered Winwood, "to
brave or despight his Majesty, the King has the means, if it pleases him
to use them, and that without drawing sword, to range them to reason, and
to make the magistrates on their knees demand his pardon, and I say as
much of Rotterdam."

Such insolence on the part of an ambassador to the first minister of a
great republic was hard to bear. Barneveld was not the man to brook it.
He replied with great indignation. "I was born in liberty," he said with
rising choler, "I cannot digest this kind of language. The King of Spain
himself never dared to speak in so high a style."

"I well understand that logic," returned the Ambassador with continued
insolence. "You hold your argument to be drawn 'a majori ad minus;' but I
pray you to believe that the King of Great Britain is peer and companion
to the King of Spain, and that his motto is, 'Nemo me impune lacessit.'"

And so they parted in a mutual rage; Winwood adding on going out of the
room, "Whatsoever I propose to you in his Majesty's name can find with
you neither goust nor grace."

He then informed Lord Rochester that "the man was extremely distempered
and extremely distasted with his Majesty.

"Some say," he added, "that on being in England when his Majesty first
came to the throne he conceived some offence, which ever since hath
rankled in his heart, and now doth burst forth with more violent malice."

Nor was the matter so small as it superficially appeared. Dependence of
one nation upon the dictation of another can never be considered
otherwise than grave. The subjection of all citizens, clerical or lay, to
the laws of the land, the supremacy of the State over the Church, were
equally grave subjects. And the question of sovereignty now raised for
the first time, not academically merely, but practically, was the gravest
one of all. It was soon to be mooted vigorously and passionately whether
the United Provinces were a confederacy or a union; a league of sovereign
and independent states bound together by treaty for certain specified
purposes or an incorporated whole. The Advocate and all the principal
lawyers in the country had scarcely a doubt on the subject. Whether it
were a reasonable system or an absurd one, a vigorous or an imbecile form
of government, they were confident that the Union of Utrecht, made about
a generation of mankind before, and the only tie by which the Provinces
were bound together at all, was a compact between sovereigns.

Barneveld styled himself always the servant and officer of the States of
Holland. To them was his allegiance, for them he spoke, wrought, and
thought, by them his meagre salary was paid. At the congress of the
States-General, the scene of his most important functions, he was the
ambassador of Holland, acting nominally according to their instructions,
and exercising the powers of minister of foreign affairs and, as it were,
prime minister for the other confederates by their common consent. The
system would have been intolerable, the great affairs of war and peace
could never have been carried on so triumphantly, had not the
preponderance of the one province Holland, richer, more powerful, more
important in every way than the other six provinces combined, given to
the confederacy illegally, but virtually, many of the attributes of
union. Rather by usucaption than usurpation Holland had in many regards
come to consider herself and be considered as the Republic itself. And
Barneveld, acting always in the name of Holland and with the most modest
of titles and appointments, was for a long time in all civil matters the
chief of the whole country. This had been convenient during the war,
still more convenient during negotiations for peace, but it was
inevitable that there should be murmurs now that the cessation from
military operations on a large scale had given men time to look more
deeply into the nature of a constitution partly inherited and partly
improvised, and having many of the defects usually incident to both
sources of government.

The military interest, the ecclesiastical power, and the influence of
foreign nations exerted through diplomatic intrigue, were rapidly
arraying themselves in determined hostility to Barneveld and to what was
deemed his tyrannous usurpation. A little later the national spirit, as
opposed to provincial and municipal patriotism, was to be aroused against
him, and was likely to prove the most formidable of all the elements of

It is not necessary to anticipate here what must be developed on a
subsequent page. This much, however, it is well to indicate for the
correct understanding of passing events. Barneveld did not consider
himself the officer or servant of their High Mightinesses the
States-General, while in reality often acting as their master, but the
vassal and obedient functionary of their Great Mightinesses the States of
Holland, whom he almost absolutely controlled.

His present most pressing business was to resist the encroachments of the
sacerdotal power and to defend the magistracy. The casuistical questions
which were fast maddening the public mind seemed of importance to him
only as enclosing within them a more vital and practical question of
civil government.

But the anger of his opponents, secret and open, was rapidly increasing.
Envy, jealousy, political and clerical hate, above all, that deadliest
and basest of malignant spirits which in partisan warfare is bred out of
subserviency to rising and rival power, were swarming about him and
stinging him at every step. No parasite of Maurice could more effectively
pay his court and more confidently hope for promotion or reward than by
vilipending Barneveld. It would be difficult to comprehend the infinite
extent and power of slander without a study of the career of the Advocate
of Holland.

"I thank you for your advices," he wrote to Carom' "and I wish from my
heart that his Majesty, according to his royal wisdom and clemency
towards the condition of this country, would listen only to My Lords the
States or their ministers, and not to his own or other passionate persons
who, through misunderstanding or malice, furnish him with information and
so frequently flatter him. I have tried these twenty years to deserve his
Majesty's confidence, and have many letters from him reaching through
twelve or fifteen years, in which he does me honour and promises his
royal favour. I am the more chagrined that through false and passionate
reports and information--because I am resolved to remain good and true to
My Lords the States, to the fatherland, and to the true Christian
religion--I and mine should now be so traduced. I hope that God Almighty
will second my upright conscience, and cause his Majesty soon to see the
injustice done to me and mine. To defend the resolutions of My Lords the
States of Holland is my office, duty, and oath, and I assure you that
those resolutions are taken with wider vision and scope than his Majesty
can believe. Let this serve for My Lords' defence and my own against
indecent calumny, for my duty allows me to pursue no other course."

He again alluded to the dreary affair of Vorstius, and told the Envoy
that the venation caused by it was incredible. "That men unjustly defame
our cities and their regents is nothing new," he said; "but I assure you
that it is far more damaging to the common weal than the defamers

Some of the private admirers of Arminius who were deeply grieved at so
often hearing him "publicly decried as the enemy of God" had been
defending the great heretic to James, and by so doing had excited the
royal wrath not only against the deceased doctor and themselves, but
against the States of Holland who had given them no commission.

On the other hand the advanced orthodox party, most bitter haters of
Barneveld, and whom in his correspondence with England he uniformly and
perhaps designedly called the Puritans, knowing that the very word was a
scarlet rag to James, were growing louder and louder in their demands.
"Some thirty of these Puritans," said he, "of whom at least twenty are
Flemings or other foreigners equally violent, proclaim that they and the
like of them mean alone to govern the Church. Let his Majesty compare
this proposal with his Royal Present, with his salutary declaration at
London in the year 1603 to Doctor Reynolds and his associates, and with
his admonition delivered to the Emperor, kings, sovereigns, and
republics, and he will best understand the mischievous principles of
these people, who are now gaining credit with him to the detriment of the
freedom and laws of these Provinces."

A less enlightened statesman than Barneveld would have found it easy
enough to demonstrate the inconsistency of the King in thus preaching
subserviency of government to church and favouring the rule of Puritans
over both. It needed but slender logic to reduce such a policy on his
part to absurdity, but neither kings nor governments are apt to value
themselves on their logic. So long as James could play the pedagogue to
emperors, kings, and republics, it mattered little to him that the
doctrines which he preached in one place he had pronounced flat blasphemy
in another.

That he would cheerfully hang in England the man whom he would elevate to
power in Holland might be inconsistency in lesser mortals; but what was
the use of his infallibility if he was expected to be consistent?

But one thing was certain. The Advocate saw through him as if he had been
made of glass, and James knew that he did. This fatal fact outweighed all
the decorous and respectful phraseology under which Barneveld veiled his
remorseless refutations. It was a dangerous thing to incur the wrath of
this despot-theologian.

Prince Maurice, who had originally joined in the invitation given by the
overseers of Leyden to Vorstius, and had directed one of the deputies and
his own "court trumpeter," Uytenbogaert, to press him earnestly to grant
his services to the University, now finding the coldness of Barneveld to
the fiery remonstrances of the King, withdrew his protection of the

"The Count Maurice, who is a wise and understanding prince," said
Winwood, "and withal most affectionate to his Majesty's service, doth
foresee the miseries into which these countries are likely to fall, and
with grief doth pine away."

It is probable that the great stadholder had never been more robust, or
indeed inclining to obesity, than precisely at this epoch; but Sir Ralph
was of an imaginative turn. He had discovered, too, that the Advocate's
design was "of no other nature than so to stem the course of the State
that insensibly the Provinces shall fall by relapse into the hands of

A more despicable idea never entered a human brain. Every action, word,
and thought, of Barneveld's life was a refutation of it. But he was
unwilling, at the bidding of a king, to treat a professor with contumely
who had just been solemnly and unanimously invited by the great
university, by the States of Holland, and by the Stadholder to an
important chair; and that was enough for the diplomatist and courtier.
"He, and only he," said Winwood passionately, "hath opposed his Majesty's
purposes with might and main." Formerly the Ambassador had been full of
complaints of "the craving humour of Count Maurice," and had censured him
bitterly in his correspondence for having almost by his inordinate
pretensions for money and other property brought the Treaty of Truce to a
standstill. And in these charges he was as unjust and as reckless as he
was now in regard to Barneveld.

The course of James and his agents seemed cunningly devised to sow
discord in the Provinces, to inflame the growing animosity of the
Stadholder to the Advocate, and to paralyse the action of the Republic in
the duchies. If the King had received direct instructions from the
Spanish cabinet how to play the Spanish game, he could hardly have done
it with more docility. But was not Gondemar ever at his elbow, and the
Infanta always in the perspective?

And it is strange enough that, at the same moment, Spanish marriages were
in France as well as England the turning-point of policy.

Henry had been willing enough that the Dauphin should espouse a Spanish
infanta, and that one of the Spanish princes should be affianced to one
of his daughters. But the proposition from Spain had been coupled with a
condition that the friendship between France and the Netherlands should
be at once broken off, and the rebellious heretics left to their fate.
And this condition had been placed before him with such arrogance that he
had rejected the whole scheme. Henry was not the man to do anything
dishonourable at the dictation of another sovereign. He was also not the
man to be ignorant that the friendship of the Provinces was necessary to
him, that cordial friendship between France and Spain was impossible, and
that to allow Spain to reoccupy that splendid possession between his own
realms and Germany, from which she had been driven by the Hollanders in
close alliance with himself, would be unworthy of the veriest schoolboy
in politics. But Henry was dead, and a Medici reigned in his place, whose
whole thought was to make herself agreeable to Spain.

Aerssens, adroit, prying, experienced, unscrupulous, knew very well that
these double Spanish marriages were resolved upon, and that the
inevitable condition refused by the King would be imposed upon his widow.
He so informed the States-General, and it was known to the French
government that he had informed them. His position soon became almost
untenable, not because he had given this information, but because the
information and the inference made from it were correct.

It will be observed that the policy of the Advocate was to preserve
friendly relations between France and England, and between both and the
United Provinces. It was for this reason that he submitted to the
exhortations and denunciations of the English ambassadors. It was for
this that he kept steadily in view the necessity of dealing with and
supporting corporate France, the French government, when there were many
reasons for feeling sympathy with the internal rebellion against that
government. Maurice felt differently. He was connected by blood or
alliance with more than one of the princes now perpetually in revolt.
Bouillon was his brother-in-law, the sister of Conde was his brother's
wife. Another cousin, the Elector-Palatine, was already encouraging
distant and extravagant hopes of the Imperial crown. It was not unnatural
that he should feel promptings of ambition and sympathy difficult to avow
even to himself, and that he should feel resentment against the man by
whom this secret policy was traversed in the well-considered interest of
the Republican government.

Aerssens, who, with the keen instinct of self-advancement was already
attaching himself to Maurice as to the wheels of the chariot going
steadily up the hill, was not indisposed to loosen his hold upon the man
through whose friendship he had first risen, and whose power was now
perhaps on the decline. Moreover, events had now caused him to hate the
French government with much fervour. With Henry IV. he had been
all-powerful. His position had been altogether exceptional, and he had
wielded an influence at Paris more than that exerted by any foreign
ambassador. The change naturally did not please him, although he well
knew the reasons. It was impossible for the Dutch ambassador to be
popular at a court where Spain ruled supreme. Had he been willing to eat
humiliation as with a spoon, it would not have sufficed. They knew him,
they feared him, and they could not doubt that his sympathies would ever
be with the malcontent princes. At the same time he did not like to lose
his hold upon the place, nor to have it known, as yet, to the world that
his power was diminished.

"The Queen commands me to tell you," said the French ambassador de Russy
to the States-General, "that the language of the Sieur Aerssens has not
only astonished her, but scandalized her to that degree that she could
not refrain from demanding if it came from My Lords the States or from
himself. He having, however, affirmed to her Majesty that he had express
charge to justify it by reasons so remote from the hope and the belief
that she had conceived of your gratitude to the Most Christian King and
herself, she is constrained to complain of it, and with great frankness."

Some months later than this Aerssens communicated to the States-General
the project of the Spanish marriage, "which," said he, "they have
declared to me with so many oaths to be false." He informed them that M.
de Refuge was to go on special mission to the Hague, "having been
designated to that duty before Aerssens' discovery of the marriage
project." He was to persuade their Mightinesses that the marriages were
by no means concluded, and that, even if they were, their Mightinesses
were not interested therein, their Majesties intending to remain by the
old maxims and alliances of the late king. Marriages, he would be
instructed to say, were mere personal conventions, which remained of no
consideration when the interests of the crown were touched.
"Nevertheless, I know very well," said Aerssens, "that in England these
negotiations are otherwise understood, and that the King has uttered
great complaints about them, saying that such a negotiation as this ought
not to have been concealed from him. He is pressing more than ever for
reimbursement of the debt to him, and especially for the moneys pretended
to have been furnished to your Mightinesses in his Majesty's name."

Thus it will be seen how closely the Spanish marriages were connected
with the immediate financial arrangements of France, England, and the
States, without reference to the wider political consequences

"The princes and most gentlemen," here continued the Ambassador, "believe
that these reciprocal and double marriages will bring about great changes
in Christendom if they take the course which the authors of them intend,
however much they may affect to believe that no novelties are impending.
The marriages were proposed to the late king, and approved by him, during
the negotiations for the truce, and had Don Pedro do Toledo been able to
govern himself, as Jeannin has just been telling me, the United Provinces
would have drawn from it their assured security. What he means by that, I
certainly cannot conceive, for Don Pedro proposed the marriage of the
Dauphin (now Louis XIII.) with the Infanta on the condition that Henry
should renounce all friendship with your Mightinesses, and neither openly
nor secretly give you any assistance. You were to be entirely abandoned,
as an example for all who throw off the authority of their lawful prince.
But his Majesty answered very generously that he would take no
conditions; that he considered your Mightinesses as his best friends,
whom he could not and would not forsake. Upon this Don Pedro broke off
the negotiation. What should now induce the King of Spain to resume the
marriage negotiations but to give up the conditions, I am sure I don't
know, unless, through the truce, his designs and his ambition have grown
flaccid. This I don't dare to hope, but fear, on the contrary, that he
will so manage the irresolution, weakness, and faintheartedness of this
kingdom as through the aid of his pensioned friends here to arrive at all
his former aims."

Certainly the Ambassador painted the condition of France in striking and
veracious colours, and he was quite right in sending the information
which he was first to discover, and which it was so important for the
States to know. It was none the less certain in Barneveld's mind that the
best, not the worst, must be made of the state of affairs, and that
France should not be assisted in throwing herself irrecoverably into the
arms of Spain.

"Refuge will tell you," said Aerssens, a little later, "that these
marriages will not interfere with the friendship of France for you nor
with her subsidies, and that no advantage will be given to Spain in the
treaty to your detriment or that of her other allies. But whatever fine
declarations they may make, it is sure to be detrimental. And all the
princes, gentlemen, and officers here have the same conviction. Those of
the Reformed religion believe that the transaction is directed solely
against the religion which your Mightinesses profess, and that the next
step will be to effect a total separation between the two religions and
the two countries."

Refuge arrived soon afterwards, and made the communication to the
States-General of the approaching nuptials between the King of France and
the Infanta of Spain; and of the Prince of Spain with Madame, eldest
daughter of France, exactly as Aerssens had predicted four months before.
There was a great flourish of compliments, much friendly phrase-making,
and their Mightinesses were informed that the communication of the
marriages was made to them before any other power had been notified, in
proof of the extraordinary affection entertained for them by France. "You
are so much interested in the happiness of France," said Refuge, "that
this treaty by which it is secured will be for your happiness also. He
did not indicate, however, the precise nature of the bliss beyond the
indulgence of a sentimental sympathy, not very refreshing in the
circumstances, which was to result to the Confederacy from this close
alliance between their firmest friend and their ancient and deadly enemy.
He would have found it difficult to do so.

"Don Rodrigo de Calderon, secretary of state, is daily expected from
Spain," wrote, Aerssens once more. "He brings probably the articles of
the marriages, which have hitherto been kept secret, so they say. 'Tis a
shrewd negotiator; and in this alliance the King's chief design is to
injure your Mightinesses, as M. de Villeroy now confesses, although he
says that this will not be consented to on this side. It behoves your
Mightinesses to use all your ears and eyes. It is certain these are much
more than private conventions. Yes, there is nothing private about them,
save the conjunction of the persons whom they concern. In short, all the
conditions regard directly the state, and directly likewise, or by
necessary consequence, the state of your Mightinesses' Provinces. I
reserve explanations until it shall please your Mightinesses to hear me
by word of mouth."

For it was now taken into consideration by the States' government whether
Aerssens was to remain at his post or to return. Whether it was his wish
to be relieved of his embassy or not was a question. But there was no
question that the States at this juncture, and in spite of the dangers
impending from the Spanish marriages, must have an ambassador ready to do
his best to keep France from prematurely sliding into positive hostility
to them. Aerssens was enigmatical in his language, and Barneveld was
somewhat puzzled.

"I have according to your reiterated requests," wrote the Advocate to the
Ambassador, "sounded the assembly of My Lords the States as to your
recall; but I find among some gentlemen the opinion that if earnestly
pressed to continue you would be willing to listen to the proposal. This
I cannot make out from your letters. Please to advise me frankly as to
your wishes, and assure yourself in everything of my friendship."

Nothing could be more straightforward than this language, but the Envoy
was less frank than Barneveld, as will subsequently appear. The subject
was a most important one, not only in its relation to the great affairs
of state, but to momentous events touching the fate of illustrious

Meantime a resolution was passed by the States of Holland "in regard to
the question whether Ambassador Aerssens should retain his office, yes or
no?" And it was decided by a majority of votes "to leave it to his candid
opinion if in his free conscience he thinks he can serve the public cause
there any longer. If yes, he may keep his office one year more. If no, he
may take leave and come home. In no case is his salary to be increased."

Surely the States, under the guidance of the Advocate, had thus acted
with consummate courtesy towards a diplomatist whose position from no
apparent fault of his own but by the force of circumstances--and rather
to his credit than otherwise--was gravely compromised.


     Advanced orthodox party-Puritans
     Atheist, a tyrant, because he resisted dictation from the clergy
     Give him advice if he asked it, and money when he required
     He was not imperial of aspect on canvas or coin
     He who would have all may easily lose all
     King's definite and final intentions, varied from day to day
     Neither kings nor governments are apt to value logic
     Outdoing himself in dogmatism and inconsistency
     Small matter which human folly had dilated into a great one
     The defence of the civil authority against the priesthood



By John Lothrop Motley, D.C.L., LL.D.

The Life of John of Barneveld, v5, 1609-14


   Establishment of the Condominium in the Duchies--Dissensions between
   the Neuburgers and Brandenburgers--Occupation of Julich by the
   Brandenburgers assisted by the States-General--Indignation in Spain
   and at the Court of the Archdukes--Subsidy despatched to Brussels
   Spinola descends upon Aix-la-Chapelle and takes possession of Orsoy
   and other places--Surrender of Wesel--Conference at Xanten--Treaty
   permanently dividing the Territory between Brandenburg and Neuburg--
   Prohibition from Spain--Delays and Disagreements.

Thus the 'Condominium' had been peaceably established.

Three or four years passed away in the course of which the evils of a
joint and undivided sovereignty of two rival houses over the same
territory could not fail to manifest themselves. Brandenburg, Calvinist
in religion, and for other reasons more intimately connected with and
more favoured by the States' government than his rival, gained ground in
the duchies. The Palatine of Neuburg, originally of Lutheran faith like
his father, soon manifested Catholic tendencies, which excited suspicion
in the Netherlands. These suspicions grew into certainties at the moment
when he espoused the sister of Maximilian of Bavaria and of the Elector
of Cologne. That this close connection with the very heads of the
Catholic League could bode no good to the cause of which the
States-General were the great promoters was self-evident. Very soon
afterwards the Palatine, a man of mature age and of considerable talents,
openly announced his conversion to the ancient church. Obviously the
sympathies of the States could not thenceforth fail to be on the side of
Brandenburg. The Elector's brother died and was succeeded in the
governorship of the Condeminium by the Elector's brother, a youth of
eighteen. He took up his abode in Cleve, leaving Dusseldorf to be the
sole residence of his co-stadholder.

Rivalry growing warmer, on account of this difference of religion,
between the respective partisans of Neuburg and Brandenburg, an attempt
was made in Dusseldorf by a sudden entirely unsuspected rising of the
Brandenburgers to drive their antagonist colleagues and their portion of
the garrison out of the city. It failed, but excited great anger. A more
successful effort was soon afterwards made in Julich; the Neuburgers were
driven out, and the Brandenburgers remained in sole possession of the
town and citadel, far the most important stronghold in the whole
territory. This was partly avenged by the Neuburgers, who gained absolute
control of Dusseldorf. Here were however no important fortifications, the
place being merely an agreeable palatial residence and a thriving mart.
The States-General, not concealing their predilection for Brandenburg,
but under pretext of guarding the peace which they had done so much to
establish, placed a garrison of 1400 infantry and a troop or two of horse
in the citadel of Julich.

Dire was the anger not unjustly excited in Spain when the news of this
violation of neutrality reached that government. Julich, placed midway
between Liege and Cologne, and commanding those fertile plains which make
up the opulent duchy, seemed virtually converted into a province of the
detested heretical republic. The German gate of the Spanish Netherlands
was literally in the hands of its most formidable foe.

The Spaniards about the court of the Archduke did not dissemble their
rage. The seizure of Julich was a stain upon his reputation, they cried.
Was it not enough, they asked, for the United Provinces to have made a
truce to the manifest detriment and discredit of Spain, and to have
treated her during all the negotiation with such insolence? Were they now
to be permitted to invade neutral territory, to violate public faith, to
act under no responsibility save to their own will? What was left for
them to do except to set up a tribunal in Holland for giving laws to the
whole of Northern Europe? Arrogating to themselves absolute power over
the controverted states of Cleve, Julich, and the dependencies, they now
pretended to dispose of them at their pleasure in order at the end
insolently to take possession of them for themselves.

These were the egregious fruits of the truce, they said tauntingly to the
discomfited Archduke. It had caused a loss of reputation, the very soul
of empires, to the crown of Spain. And now, to conclude her abasement,
the troops in Flanders had been shaven down with such parsimony as to
make the monarch seem a shopkeeper, not a king. One would suppose the
obedient Netherlands to be in the heart of Spain rather than outlying
provinces surrounded by their deadliest enemies. The heretics had gained
possession of the government at Aix-la-Chapelle; they had converted the
insignificant town of Mulheim into a thriving and fortified town in
defiance of Cologne and to its manifest detriment, and in various other
ways they had insulted the Catholics throughout those regions. And who
could wonder at such insolence, seeing that the army in Flanders,
formerly the terror of heretics, had become since the truce so weak as to
be the laughing-stock of the United Provinces? If it was expensive to
maintain these armies in the obedient Netherlands, let there be economy
elsewhere, they urged.

From India came gold and jewels. From other kingdoms came ostentation and
a long series of vain titles for the crown of Spain. Flanders was its
place of arms, its nursery of soldiers, its bulwark in Europe, and so it
should be preserved.

There was ground for these complaints. The army at the disposition of the
Archduke had been reduced to 8000 infantry and a handful of cavalry. The
peace establishment of the Republic amounted to 20,000 foot, 3000 horse,
besides the French and English regiments.

So soon as the news of the occupation of Julich was officially
communicated to the Spanish cabinet, a subsidy of 400,000 crowns was at
once despatched to Brussels. Levies of Walloons and Germans were made
without delay by order of Archduke Albert and under guidance of Spinola,
so that by midsummer the army was swollen to 18,000 foot and 3000 horse.
With these the great Genoese captain took the field in the middle of
August. On the 22nd of that month the army was encamped on some plains
mid-way between Maestricht and Aachen. There was profound mystery both at
Brussels and at the Hague as to the objective point of these military
movements. Anticipating an attack upon Julich, the States had meantime
strengthened the garrison of that important place with 3000 infantry and
a regiment of horse. It seemed scarcely probable therefore that Spinola
would venture a foolhardy blow at a citadel so well fortified and
defended. Moreover, there was not only no declaration of war, but strict
orders had been given by each of the apparent belligerents to their
military commanders to abstain from all offensive movements against the
adversary. And now began one of the strangest series of warlike
evolution's that were ever recorded. Maurice at the head of an army of
14,000 foot and 3000 horse manoeuvred in the neighbourhood of his great
antagonist and professional rival without exchanging a blow. It was a
phantom campaign, the prophetic rehearsal of dreadful marches and tragic
histories yet to be, and which were to be enacted on that very stage and
on still wider ones during a whole generation of mankind. That cynical
commerce in human lives which was to become one of the chief branches of
human industry in the century had already begun.

Spinola, after hovering for a few days in the neighbourhood, descended
upon the Imperial city of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). This had been one of
the earliest towns in Germany to embrace the Reformed religion, and up to
the close of the sixteenth century the control of the magistracy had been
in the hands of the votaries of that creed. Subsequently the Catholics
had contrived to acquire and keep the municipal ascendency, secretly
supported by Archduke Albert, and much oppressing the Protestants with
imprisonments, fines, and banishment, until a new revolution which had
occurred in the year 1610, and which aroused the wrath of Spinola.
Certainly, according to the ideas of that day, it did not seem unnatural
in a city where a very large majority of the population were Protestants
that Protestants should have a majority in the town council. It seemed,
however, to those who surrounded the Archduke an outrage which could no
longer be tolerated, especially as a garrison of 600 Germans, supposed to
have formed part of the States' army, had recently been introduced into
the town. Aachen, lying mostly on an extended plain, had but very slight
fortifications, and it was commanded by a neighbouring range of hills. It
had no garrison but the 600 Germans. Spinola placed a battery or two on
the hills, and within three days the town surrendered. The inhabitants
expected a scene of carnage and pillage, but not a life was lost. No
injury whatever was inflicted on person or property, according to the
strict injunctions of the Archduke. The 600 Germans were driven out, and
1200 other Germans then serving under Catholic banners were put in their
places to protect the Catholic minority, to whose keeping the municipal
government was now confided.

Spinola, then entering the territory of Cleve, took session of Orsoy, an
important place on the Rhine, besides Duren, Duisburg, Kaster,
Greevenbroek and Berchem. Leaving garrisons in these places, he razed the
fortifications of Mulheim, much to the joy of the Archbishop and his
faithful subjects of Cologne, then crossed the Rhine at Rheinberg, and
swooped down upon Wesel. This flourishing and prosperous city had
formerly belonged to the Duchy of Cleve. Placed at the junction of the
Rhine and Lippe and commanding both rivers, it had become both powerful
and Protestant, and had set itself up as a free Imperial city,
recognising its dukes no longer as sovereigns, but only as protectors. So
fervent was it in the practice of the Reformed religion that it was
called the Rhenish Geneva, the cradle of German Calvinism. So important
was its preservation considered to the cause of Protestantism that the
States-General had urged its authorities to accept from them a garrison.
They refused. Had they complied, the city would have been saved, because
it was the rule in this extraordinary campaign that the belligerents made
war not upon each other, nor in each others territory, but against
neutrals and upon neutral soil. The Catholic forces under Spinola or his
lieutenants, meeting occasionally and accidentally with the Protestants
under Maurice or his generals, exchanged no cannon shots or buffets, but
only acts of courtesy; falling away each before the other, and each
ceding to the other with extreme politeness the possession of towns which
one had preceded the other in besieging.

The citizens of Wesel were amazed at being attacked, considering
themselves as Imperial burghers. They regretted too late that they had
refused a garrison from Maurice, which would have prevented Spinola from
assailing them. They had now nothing for it but to surrender, which they
did within three days. The principal condition of the capitulation was
that when Julich should be given up by the States Wesel should be
restored to its former position. Spinola then took and garrisoned the
city of Xanten, but went no further. Having weakened his army
sufficiently by the garrisons taken from it for the cities captured by
him, he declined to make any demonstration upon the neighbouring and
important towns of Emmerich and Rees. The Catholic commander falling
back, the Protestant moved forward. Maurice seized both Emmerich and
Rees, and placed garrisons within them, besides occupying Goch,
Kranenburg, Gennip, and various places in the County of Mark. This closed
the amicable campaign.

Spinola established himself and his forces near Wesel. The Prince
encamped near Rees. The two armies were within two hours' march of each
other. The Duke of Neuburg--for the Palatine had now succeeded on his
father's death to the ancestral dukedom and to his share of the
Condominium of the debateable provinces--now joined Spinola with an army
of 4000 foot and 400 horse. The young Prince of Brandenburg came to
Maurice with 800 cavalry and an infantry regiment of the

Negotiations destined to be as spectral and fleeting as the campaign had
been illusory now began. The whole Protestant world was aflame with
indignation at the loss of Wesel. The States' government had already
proposed to deposit Julich in the hands of a neutral power if the
Archduke would abstain from military movements. But Albert, proud of his
achievements in Aachen, refused to pause in his career. Let them make the
deposit first, he said.

Both belligerents, being now satiated with such military glory as could
flow from the capture of defenceless cities belonging to neutrals, agreed
to hold conferences at Xanten. To this town, in the Duchy of Cleve, and
midway between the rival camps, came Sir Henry Wotton and Sir Dudley
Carleton, ambassadors of Great Britain; de Refuge and de Russy, the
special and the resident ambassador of France at the Hague; Chancellor
Peter Pecquius and Counsellor Visser, to represent the Archdukes; seven
deputies from the United Provinces, three from the Elector of Cologne,
three from Brandenburg, three from Neuburg, and two from the
Elector-Palatine, as representative of the Protestant League.

In the earlier conferences the envoys of the Archduke and of the Elector
of Cologne were left out, but they were informed daily of each step in
the negotiation. The most important point at starting was thought to be
to get rid of the 'Condominium.' There could be no harmony nor peace in
joint possession. The whole territory should be cut provisionally in
halves, and each possessory prince rule exclusively within the portion
assigned to him. There might also be an exchange of domain between the
two every six months. As for Wesel and Julich, they could remain
respectively in the hands then holding them, or the fortifications of
Julich might be dismantled and Wesel restored to the status quo. The
latter alternative would have best suited the States, who were growing
daily more irritated at seeing Wesel, that Protestant stronghold, with an
exclusively Calvinistic population, in the hands of Catholics.

The Spanish ambassador at Brussels remonstrated, however, at the thought
of restoring his precious conquest, obtained without loss of time, money,
or blood, into the hands of heretics, at least before consultation with
the government at Madrid and without full consent of the King.

"How important to your Majesty's affairs in Flanders," wrote Guadaleste
to Philip, "is the acquisition of Wesel may be seen by the manifest grief
of your enemies. They see with immense displeasure your royal ensigns
planted on the most important place on the Rhine, and one which would
become the chief military station for all the armies of Flanders to
assemble in at any moment.

"As no acquisition could therefore be greater, so your Majesty should
never be deprived of it without thorough consideration of the case. The
Archduke fears, and so do his ministers, that if we refuse to restore
Wesel, the United Provinces would break the truce. For my part I believe,
and there are many who agree with me, that they would on the contrary be
more inclined to stand by the truce, hoping to obtain by negotiation that
which it must be obvious to them they cannot hope to capture by force.
But let Wesel be at once restored. Let that be done which is so much
desired by the United Provinces and other great enemies and rivals of
your Majesty, and what security will there be that the same Provinces
will not again attempt the same invasion? Is not the example of Julich
fresh? And how much more important is Wesel! Julich was after all not
situate on their frontiers, while Wesel lies at their principal gates.
Your Majesty now sees the good and upright intentions of those Provinces
and their friends. They have made a settlement between Brandenburg and
Neuburg, not in order to breed concord but confusion between those two,
not tranquillity for the country, but greater turbulence than ever
before. Nor have they done this with any other thought than that the
United Provinces might find new opportunities to derive the same profit
from fresh tumults as they have already done so shamelessly from those
which are past. After all I don't say that Wesel should never be
restored, if circumstances require it, and if your Majesty, approving the
Treaty of Xanten, should sanction the measure. But such a result should
be reached only after full consultation with your Majesty, to whose
glorious military exploits these splendid results are chiefly owing."

The treaty finally decided upon rejected the principle of alternate
possession, and established a permanent division of the territory in
dispute between Brandenburg and Neuburg.

The two portions were to be made as equal as possible, and lots were to
be thrown or drawn by the two princes for the first choice. To the one
side were assigned the Duchy of Cleve, the County of Mark, and the
Seigniories of Ravensberg and Ravenstein, with some other baronies and
feuds in Brabant and Flanders; to the other the Duchies of Julich and
Berg with their dependencies. Each prince was to reside exclusively
within the territory assigned to him by lot. The troops introduced by
either party were to be withdrawn, fortifications made since the
preceding month of May to be razed, and all persons who had been
expelled, or who had emigrated, to be restored to their offices,
property, or benefices. It was also stipulated that no place within the
whole debateable territory should be put in the hands of a third power.

These articles were signed by the ambassadors of France and England, by
the deputies of the Elector-Palatine and of the United Provinces, all
binding their superiors to the execution of the treaty. The arrangement
was supposed to refer to the previous conventions between those two
crowns, with the Republic, and the Protestant princes and powers. Count
Zollern, whom we have seen bearing himself so arrogantly as envoy from
the Emperor Rudolph to Henry IV., was now despatched by Matthias on as
fruitless a mission to the congress at Xanten, and did his best to
prevent the signature of the treaty, except with full concurrence of the
Imperial government. He likewise renewed the frivolous proposition that
the Emperor should hold all the provinces in sequestration until the
question of rightful sovereignty should be decided. The "proud and
haggard" ambassador was not more successful in this than in the
diplomatic task previously entrusted to him, and he then went to
Brussels, there to renew his remonstrances, menaces, and intrigues.

For the treaty thus elaborately constructed, and in appearance a
triumphant settlement of questions so complicated and so burning as to
threaten to set Christendom at any moment in a blaze, was destined to an
impotent and most unsatisfactory conclusion.

The signatures were more easily obtained than the ratifications.
Execution was surrounded with insurmountable difficulties which in
negotiation had been lightly skipped over at the stroke of a pen. At the
very first step, that of military evacuation, there was a stumble.
Maurice and Spinola were expected to withdraw their forces, and to
undertake to bring in no troops in the future, and to make no invasion of
the disputed territory.

But Spinola construed this undertaking as absolute; the Prince as only
binding in consequence of, with reference to, and for the duration of;
the Treaty of Xanten. The ambassadors and other commissioners, disgusted
with the long controversy which ensued, were making up their minds to
depart when a courier arrived from Spain, bringing not a ratification but
strict prohibition of the treaty. The articles were not to be executed,
no change whatever was to be made, and, above all, Wesel was not to be
restored without fresh negotiations with Philip, followed by his explicit

Thus the whole great negotiation began to dissolve into a shadowy,
unsatisfactory pageant. The solid barriers which were to imprison the
vast threatening elements of religious animosity and dynastic hatreds,
and to secure a peaceful future for Christendom, melted into films of
gossamer, and the great war of demons, no longer to be quelled by the
commonplaces of diplomatic exorcism, revealed its close approach. The
prospects of Europe grew blacker than ever.

The ambassadors, thoroughly disheartened and disgusted, all took their
departure from Xanten, and the treaty remained rather a by-word than a
solution or even a suggestion.

"The accord could not be prevented," wrote Archduke Albert to Philip,
"because it depended alone on the will of the signers. Nor can the
promise to restore Wesel be violated, should Julich be restored. Who can
doubt that such contravention would arouse great jealousies in France,
England, the United Provinces, and all the members of the heretic League
of Germany? Who can dispute that those interested ought to procure the
execution of the treaty? Suspicions will not remain suspicions, but they
light up the flames of public evil and disturbance. Either your Majesty
wishes to maintain the truce, in which case Wesel must be restored, or to
break the truce, a result which is certain if Wesel be retained. But the
reasons which induced your Majesty to lay down your arms remain the same
as ever. Our affairs are not looking better, nor is the requisition of
Wesel of so great importance as to justify our involving Flanders in a
new and more atrocious war than that which has so lately been suspended.
The restitution is due to the tribunal of public faith. It is a great
advantage when actions done for the sole end of justice are united to
that of utility. Consider the great successes we have had. How well the
affairs of Aachen and Mulbeim have been arranged; those of the Duke of
Neuburg how completely re-established. The Catholic cause, always
identical with that of the House of Austria, remains in great superiority
to the cause of the heretics. We should use these advantages well, and to
do so we should not immaturely pursue greater ones. Fortune changes,
flies when we most depend on her, and delights in making her chief sport
of the highest quality of mortals."

Thus wrote the Archduke sensibly, honourably from his point of view, and
with an intelligent regard to the interests of Spain and the Catholic
cause. After months of delay came conditional consent from Madrid to the
conventions, but with express condition that there should be absolute
undertaking on the part of the United Provinces never to send or maintain
troops in the duchies. Tedious and futile correspondence followed between
Brussels, the Hague, London, Paris. But the difficulties grew every
moment. It was a Penelope's web of negotiation, said one of the envoys.
Amid pertinacious and wire-drawn subtleties, every trace of practical
business vanished. Neuburg departed to look after his patrimonial
estates; leaving his interests in the duchies to be watched over by the
Archduke. Even Count Zollern, after six months of wrangling in Brussels,
took his departure. Prince Maurice distributed his army in various places
within the debateable land, and Spinola did the same, leaving a garrison
of 3000 foot and 300 horse in the important city of Wesel. The town and
citadel of Julich were as firmly held by Maurice for the Protestant
cause. Thus the duchies were jointly occupied by the forces of
Catholicism and Protestantism, while nominally possessed and administered
by the princes of Brandenburg and Neuburg. And so they were destined to
remain until that Thirty Years' War, now so near its outbreak, should
sweep over the earth, and bring its fiery solution at last to all these
great debates.


   Proud Position of the Republic--France obeys her--Hatred of Carleton
   --Position and Character of Aerssens--Claim for the "Third"--Recall
   of Aerssens--Rivalry between Maurice and Barneveld, who always
   sustains the separate Sovereignties of the Provinces--Conflict
   between Church and State added to other Elements of Discord in the
   Commonwealth--Religion a necessary Element in the Life of all

Thus the Republic had placed itself in as proud a position as it was
possible for commonwealth or kingdom to occupy. It had dictated the
policy and directed the combined military movements of Protestantism. It
had gathered into a solid mass the various elements out of which the
great Germanic mutiny against Rome, Spain, and Austria had been
compounded. A breathing space of uncertain duration had come to interrupt
and postpone the general and inevitable conflict. Meantime the Republic
was encamped upon the enemy's soil.

France, which had hitherto commanded, now obeyed. England, vacillating
and discontented, now threatening and now cajoling, saw for the time at
least its influence over the councils of the Netherlands neutralized by
the genius of the great statesman who still governed the Provinces,
supreme in all but name. The hatred of the British government towards the
Republic, while in reality more malignant than at any previous period,
could now only find vent in tremendous, theological pamphlets, composed
by the King in the form of diplomatic instructions, and hurled almost
weekly at the heads of the States-General, by his ambassador, Dudley

Few men hated Barneveld more bitterly than did Carleton. I wish to
describe as rapidly, but as faithfully, as I can the outline at least of
the events by which one of the saddest and most superfluous catastrophes
in modern history was brought about. The web was a complex one, wrought
apparently of many materials; but the more completely it is unravelled
the more clearly we shall detect the presence of the few simple but
elemental fibres which make up the tissue of most human destinies,
whether illustrious or obscure, and out of which the most moving pictures
of human history are composed.

The religious element, which seems at first view to be the all pervading
and controlling one, is in reality rather the atmosphere which surrounds
and colours than the essence which constitutes the tragedy to be

Personal, sometimes even paltry, jealousy; love of power, of money, of
place; rivalry between civil and military ambition for predominance in a
free state; struggles between Church and State to control and oppress
each other; conflict between the cautious and healthy, but provincial and
centrifugal, spirit on the one side, and the ardent centralizing,
imperial, but dangerous, instinct on the other, for ascendancy in a
federation; mortal combat between aristocracy disguised in the plebeian
form of trading and political corporations and democracy sheltering
itself under a famous sword and an ancient and illustrious name;--all
these principles and passions will be found hotly at work in the
melancholy five years with which we are now to be occupied, as they have
entered, and will always enter, into every political combination in the
great tragi-comedy which we call human history. As a study, a lesson, and
a warning, perhaps the fate of Barneveld is as deserving of serious
attention as most political tragedies of the last few centuries.

Francis Aerssens, as we have seen, continued to be the Dutch ambassador
after the murder of Henry IV. Many of the preceding pages of this volume
have been occupied with his opinions, his pictures, his conversations,
and his political intrigues during a memorable epoch in the history of
the Netherlands and of France. He was beyond all doubt one of the ablest
diplomatists in Europe. Versed in many languages, a classical student,
familiar with history and international law, a man of the world and
familiar with its usages, accustomed to associate with dignity and tact
on friendliest terms with sovereigns, eminent statesmen, and men of
letters; endowed with a facile tongue, a fluent pen, and an eye and ear
of singular acuteness and delicacy; distinguished for unflagging industry
and singular aptitude for secret and intricate affairs;--he had by the
exercise of these various qualities during a period of nearly twenty
years at the court of Henry the Great been able to render inestimable
services to the Republic which he represented. Of respectable but not
distinguished lineage, not a Hollander, but a Belgian by birth, son of
Cornelis Aerssens, Grefter of the States-General, long employed in that
important post, he had been brought forward from a youth by Barneveld and
early placed by him in the diplomatic career, of which through his favour
and his own eminent talents he had now achieved the highest honours.

He had enjoyed the intimacy and even the confidence of Henry IV., so far
as any man could be said to possess that monarch's confidence, and his
friendly relations and familiar access to the King gave him political
advantages superior to those of any of his colleagues at the same court.

Acting entirely and faithfully according to the instructions of the
Advocate of Holland, he always gratefully and copiously acknowledged the
privilege of being guided and sustained in the difficult paths he had to
traverse by so powerful and active an intellect. I have seldom alluded in
terms to the instructions and despatches of the chief, but every
position, negotiation, and opinion of the envoy--and the reader has seen
many of them--is pervaded by their spirit. Certainly the correspondence
of Aerssens is full to overflowing of gratitude, respect, fervent
attachment to the person and exalted appreciation of the intellect and
high character of the Advocate.

There can be no question of Aerssen's consummate abilities. Whether his
heart were as sound as his head, whether his protestations of devotion
had the ring of true gold or not, time would show. Hitherto Barneveld had
not doubted him, nor had he found cause to murmur at Barneveld.

But the France of Henry IV., where the Dutch envoy was so all-powerful,
had ceased to exist. A duller eye than that of Aerssens could have seen
at a glance that the potent kingdom and firm ally of the Republic had
been converted, for a long time to come at least, into a Spanish
province. The double Spanish marriages (that of the young Louis XIII.
with the Infanta Anna, and of his sister with the Infante, one day to be
Philip IV.), were now certain, for it was to make them certain that the
knife of Ravaillac had been employed. The condition precedent to those
marriages had long been known. It was the renunciation of the alliance
between France and Holland. It was the condemnation to death, so far as
France had the power to condemn her to death, of the young Republic. Had
not Don Pedro de Toledo pompously announced this condition a year and a
half before? Had not Henry spurned the bribe with scorn? And now had not
Francis Aerssens been the first to communicate to his masters the fruit
which had already ripened upon Henry's grave? As we have seen, he had
revealed these intrigues long before they were known to the world, and
the French court knew that he had revealed them. His position had become
untenable. His friendship for Henry could not be of use to him with the
delicate-featured, double-chinned, smooth and sluggish Florentine, who
had passively authorized and actively profited by her husband's murder.

It was time for the Envoy to be gone. The Queen-Regent and Concini
thought so. And so did Villeroy and Sillery and the rest of the old
servants of the King, now become pensionaries of Spain. But Aerssens did
not think so. He liked his position, changed as it was. He was deep in
the plottings of Bouillon and Conde and the other malcontents against the
Queen-Regent. These schemes, being entirely personal, the rank growth of
the corruption and apparent disintegration of France, were perpetually
changing, and could be reduced to no principle. It was a mere struggle of
the great lords of France to wrest places, money, governments, military
commands from the Queen-Regent, and frantic attempts on her part to save
as much as possible of the general wreck for her lord and master Concini.

It was ridiculous to ascribe any intense desire on the part of the Duc de
Bouillon to aid the Protestant cause against Spain at that moment, acting
as he was in combination with Conde, whom we have just seen employed by
Spain as the chief instrument to effect the destruction of France and the
bastardy of the Queen's children. Nor did the sincere and devout
Protestants who had clung to the cause through good and bad report, men
like Duplessis-Mornay, for example, and those who usually acted with him,
believe in any of these schemes for partitioning France on pretence of
saving Protestantism. But Bouillon, greatest of all French fishermen in
troubled waters, was brother-in-law of Prince Maurice of Nassau, and
Aerssens instinctively felt that the time had come when he should anchor
himself to firm holding ground at home.

The Ambassador had also a personal grievance. Many of his most secret
despatches to the States-General in which he expressed himself very
freely, forcibly, and accurately on the general situation in France,
especially in regard to the Spanish marriages and the Treaty of Hampton
Court, had been transcribed at the Hague and copies of them sent to the
French government. No baser act of treachery to an envoy could be
imagined. It was not surprising that Aerssens complained bitterly of the
deed. He secretly suspected Barneveld, but with injustice, of having
played him this evil turn, and the incident first planted the seeds of
the deadly hatred which was to bear such fatal fruit.

"A notable treason has been played upon me," he wrote to Jacques de
Maldere, "which has outraged my heart. All the despatches which I have
been sending for several months to M. de Barneveld have been communicated
by copy in whole or in extracts to this court. Villeroy quoted from them
at our interview to-day, and I was left as it were without power of
reply. The despatches were long, solid, omitting no particularity for
giving means to form the best judgment of the designs and intrigues of
this court. No greater damage could be done to me and my usefulness. All
those from whom I have hitherto derived information, princes and great
personages, will shut themselves up from me . . . . What can be more
ticklish than to pass judgment on the tricks of those who are governing
this state? This single blow has knocked me down completely. For I was
moving about among all of them, making my profit of all, without any
reserve. M. de Barneveld knew by this means the condition of this kingdom
as well as I do. Certainly in a well-ordered republic it would cost the
life of a man who had thus trifled with the reputation of an ambassador.
I believe M. de Barneveld will be sorry, but this will never restore to
me the confidence which I have lost. If one was jealous of my position at
this court, certainly I deserved rather pity from those who should
contemplate it closely. If one wished to procure my downfall in order to
raise oneself above me, there was no need of these tricks. I have been
offering to resign my embassy this long time, which will now produce
nothing but thorns for me. How can I negotiate after my private
despatches have been read? L'Hoste, the clerk of Villeroy, was not so
great a criminal as the man who revealed my despatches; and L'Hoste was
torn by four horses after his death. Four months long I have been
complaining of this to M. de Barneveld. . . . Patience! I am groaning
without being able to hope for justice. I console myself, for my term of
office will soon arrive. Would that my embassy could have finished under
the agreeable and friendly circumstances with which it began. The man who
may succeed me will not find that this vile trick will help him much.
. . . Pray find out whence and from whom this intrigue has come."

Certainly an envoy's position could hardly be more utterly compromised.
Most unquestionably Aerssens had reason to be indignant, believing as he
did that his conscientious efforts in the service of his government had
been made use of by his chief to undermine his credit and blast his
character. There was an intrigue between the newly appointed French
minister, de Russy, at the Hague and the enemies of Aerssens to represent
him to his own government as mischievous, passionate, unreasonably
vehement in supporting the claims and dignity of his own country at the
court to which he was accredited. Not often in diplomatic history has an
ambassador of a free state been censured or removed for believing and
maintaining in controversy that his own government is in the right. It
was natural that the French government should be disturbed by the vivid
light which he had flashed upon their pernicious intrigues with Spain to
the detriment of the Republic, and at the pertinacity with which he
resisted their preposterous claim to be reimbursed for one-third of the
money which the late king had advanced as a free subsidy towards the war
of the Netherlands for independence. But no injustice could be more
outrageous than for the Envoy's own government to unite with the foreign
State in damaging the character of its own agent for the crime of
fidelity to itself.

Of such cruel perfidy Aerssens had been the victim, and he most
wrongfully suspected his chief as its real perpetrator.

The claim for what was called the "Third" had been invented after the
death of Henry. As already explained, the "Third" was not a gift from
England to the Netherlands. It was a loan from England to France, or more
properly a consent to abstain from pressing for payment for this
proportion of an old debt. James, who was always needy, had often
desired, but never obtained, the payment of this sum from Henry. Now that
the King was dead, he applied to the Regent's government, and the
Regent's government called upon the Netherlands, to pay the money.

Aerssens, as the agent of the Republic, protested firmly against such
claim. The money had been advanced by the King as a free gift, as his
contribution to a war in which he was deeply interested, although he was
nominally at peace with Spain. As to the private arrangements between
France and England, the Republic, said the Dutch envoy, was in no sense
bound by them. He was no party to the Treaty of Hampton Court, and knew
nothing of its stipulations.

Courtiers and politicians in plenty at the French court, now that Henry
was dead, were quite sure that they had heard him say over and over again
that the Netherlands had bound themselves to pay the Third. They
persuaded Mary de' Medici that she likewise had often heard him say so,
and induced her to take high ground on the subject in her interviews with
Aerssens. The luckless queen, who was always in want of money to satisfy
the insatiable greed of her favourites, and to buy off the enmity of the
great princes, was very vehement--although she knew as much of those
transactions as of the finances of Prester John or the Lama of Thibet--in
maintaining this claim of her government upon the States.

"After talking with the ministers," said Aerssens, "I had an interview
with the Queen. I knew that she had been taught her lesson, to insist on
the payment of the Third. So I did not speak at all of the matter, but
talked exclusively and at length of the French regiments in the States'
service. She was embarrassed, and did not know exactly what to say. At
last, without replying a single word to what I had been saying, she
became very red in the face, and asked me if I were not instructed to
speak of the money due to England. Whereupon I spoke in the sense already
indicated. She interrupted me by saying she had a perfect recollection
that the late king intended and understood that we were to pay the Third
to England, and had talked with her very seriously on the subject. If he
were living, he would think it very strange, she said, that we refused;
and so on.

"Soissons, too, pretends to remember perfectly that such were the King's
intentions. 'Tis a very strange thing, Sir. Every one knows now the
secrets of the late king, if you are willing to listen. Yet he was not in
the habit of taking all the world into his confidence. The Queen takes
her opinions as they give them to her. 'Tis a very good princess, but I
am sorry she is so ignorant of affairs. As she says she remembers, one is
obliged to say one believes her. But I, who knew the King so intimately,
and saw him so constantly, know that he could only have said that the
Third was paid in acquittal of his debts to and for account of the King
of England, and not that we were to make restitution thereof. The
Chancellor tells me my refusal has been taken as an affront by the Queen,
and Puysieux says it is a contempt which she can't swallow."

Aerssens on his part remained firm; his pertinacity being the greater as
he thoroughly understood the subject which he was talking about, an
advantage which was rarely shared in by those with whom he conversed. The
Queen, highly scandalized by his demeanour, became from that time forth
his bitter enemy, and, as already stated, was resolved to be rid of him.

Nor was the Envoy at first desirous of remaining. He had felt after
Henry's death and Sully's disgrace, and the complete transformation of
the France which he had known, that his power of usefulness was gone.
"Our enemies," he said, "have got the advantage which I used to have in
times past, and I recognize a great coldness towards us, which is
increasing every day." Nevertheless, he yielded reluctantly to
Barneveld's request that he should for the time at least remain at his
post. Later on, as the intrigues against him began to unfold themselves,
and his faithful services were made use of at home to blacken his
character and procure his removal, he refused to resign, as to do so
would be to play into the hands of his enemies, and by inference at least
to accuse himself of infidelity to his trust.

But his concealed rage and his rancor grew more deadly every day. He was
fully aware of the plots against him, although he found it difficult to
trace them to their source.

"I doubt not," he wrote to Jacques de Maldere, the distinguished
diplomatist and senator, who had recently returned from his embassy to
England, "that this beautiful proposition of de Russy has been sent to
your Province of Zealand. Does it not seem to you a plot well woven as
well in Holland as at this court to remove me from my post with
disreputation? What have I done that should cause the Queen to disapprove
my proceedings? Since the death of the late king I have always opposed
the Third, which they have been trying to fix upon the treasury, on the
ground that Henry never spoke to me of restitution, that the receipts
given were simple ones, and that the money given was spent for the common
benefit of France and the States under direction of the King's
government. But I am expected here to obey M. de Villeroy, who says that
it was the intention of the late king to oblige us to make the payment. I
am not accustomed to obey authority if it be not supported by reason. It
is for my masters to reply and to defend me. The Queen has no reason to
complain. I have maintained the interests of my superiors. But this is
not the cause of the complaints. My misfortune is that all my despatches
have been sent from Holland in copy to this court. Most of them contained
free pictures of the condition and dealings of those who govern here. M.
de Villeroy has found himself depicted often, and now under pretext of a
public negotiation he has found an opportunity of revenging himself. . . .
Besides this cause which Villeroy has found for combing my head, Russy
has given notice here that I have kept my masters in the hopes of being
honourably exempted from the claims of this government. The long letter
which I wrote to M. de Barneveld justifies my proceedings."

It is no wonder that the Ambassador was galled to the quick by the
outrage which those concerned in the government were seeking to put upon
him. How could an honest man fail to be overwhelmed with rage and anguish
at being dishonoured before the world by his masters for scrupulously
doing his duty, and for maintaining the rights and dignity of his own
country? He knew that the charges were but pretexts, that the motives of
his enemies were as base as the intrigues themselves, but he also knew
that the world usually sides with the government against the individual,
and that a man's reputation is rarely strong enough to maintain itself
unsullied in a foreign land when his own government stretches forth its
hand not to, shield, but to stab him.

   [See the similarity of Aerssens position to that of Motley 250 years
   later, in the biographical sketch of Motley by Oliver Wendell
   Holmes. D.W.]

"I know," he said, "that this plot has been woven partly in Holland and
partly here by good correspondence, in order to drive me from my post
with disreputation. To this has tended the communication of my despatches
to make me lose my best friends. This too was the object of the
particular imparting to de Russy of all my propositions, in order to draw
a complaint against me from this court.

"But as I have discovered this accurately, I have resolved to offer to my
masters the continuance of my very humble service for such time and under
such conditions as they may think good to prescribe. I prefer forcing my
natural and private inclinations to giving an opportunity for the
ministers of this kingdom to discredit us, and to my enemies to succeed
in injuring me, and by fraud and malice to force me from my post . . . I
am truly sorry, being ready to retire, wishing to have an honourable
testimony in recompense of my labours, that one is in such hurry to take
advantage of my fall. I cannot believe that my masters wish to suffer
this. They are too prudent, and cannot be ignorant of the treachery which
has been practised on me. I have maintained their cause. If they have
chosen to throw down the fruits of my industry, the blame should be
imputed to those who consider their own ambition more than the interests
of the public . . . . What envoy will ever dare to speak with vigour if
he is not sustained by the government at home? . . . . . . My enemies
have misrepresented my actions, and my language as passionate,
exaggerated, mischievous, but I have no passion except for the service of
my superiors. They say that I have a dark and distrustful disposition,
but I have been alarmed at the alliance now forming here with the King of
Spain, through the policy of M. de Villeroy. I was the first to discover
this intrigue, which they thought buried in the bosom of the Triumvirate.
I gave notice of it to My Lords the States as in duty bound. It all came
back to the government in the copies furnished of my secret despatches.
This is the real source of the complaints against me. The rest of the
charges, relating to the Third and other matters, are but pretexts. To
parry the blow, they pretend that all that is said and done with the
Spaniard is but feigning. Who is going to believe that? Has not the Pope
intervened in the affair? . . . I tell you they are furious here because
I have my eyes open. I see too far into their affairs to suit their
purposes. A new man would suit them better."

His position was hopelessly compromised. He remained in Paris, however,
month after month, and even year after year, defying his enemies both at
the Queen's court and in Holland, feeding fat the grudge he bore to
Barneveld as the supposed author of the intrigue against him, and drawing
closer the personal bands which united him to Bouillon and through him to
Prince Maurice.

The wrath of the Ambassador flamed forth without disguise against
Barneveld and all his adherents when his removal, as will be related on a
subsequent page, was at last effected. And his hatred was likely to be
deadly. A man with a shrewd, vivid face, cleanly cut features and a
restless eye; wearing a close-fitting skull cap, which gave him something
the lock of a monk, but with the thoroughbred and facile demeanour of one
familiar with the world; stealthy, smooth, and cruel, a man coldly
intellectual, who feared no one, loved but few, and never forgot or
forgave; Francis d'Aerssens, devoured by ambition and burning with
revenge, was a dangerous enemy.

Time was soon to show whether it was safe to injure him. Barneveld, from
well-considered motives of public policy, was favouring his honourable
recall. But he allowed a decorous interval of more than three years to
elapse in which to terminate his affairs, and to take a deliberate
departure from that French embassy to which the Advocate had originally
promoted him, and in which there had been so many years of mutual benefit
and confidence between the two statesmen. He used no underhand means. He
did not abuse the power of the States-General which he wielded to cast
him suddenly and brutally from the distinguished post which he occupied,
and so to attempt to dishonour him before the world. Nothing could be
more respectful and conciliatory than the attitude of the government from
first to last towards this distinguished functionary. The Republic
respected itself too much to deal with honourable agents whose services
it felt obliged to dispense with as with vulgar malefactors who had been
detected in crime. But Aerssens believed that it was the Advocate who had
caused copies of his despatches to be sent to the French court, and that
he had deliberately and for a fixed purpose been undermining his
influence at home and abroad and blackening his character. All his
ancient feelings of devotion, if they had ever genuinely existed towards
his former friend and patron, turned to gall. He was almost ready to deny
that he had ever respected Barneveld, appreciated his public services,
admired his intellect, or felt gratitude for his guidance.

A fierce controversy--to which at a later period it will be necessary to
call the reader's attention, because it is intimately connected with dark
scenes afterwards to be enacted--took place between the late ambassador
and Cornelis van der Myle. Meantime Barneveld pursued the policy which he
had marked out for the States-General in regard to France.

Certainly it was a difficult problem. There could be no doubt that
metamorphosed France could only be a dangerous ally for the Republic. It
was in reality impossible that she should be her ally at all. And this
Barneveld knew. Still it was better, so he thought, for the Netherlands
that France should exist than that it should fall into utter
decomposition. France, though under the influence of Spain, and doubly
allied by marriage contracts to Spain, was better than Spain itself in
the place of France. This seemed to be the only choice between two evils.
Should the whole weight of the States-General be thrown into the scale of
the malcontent and mutinous princes against the established but tottering
government of France, it was difficult to say how soon Spain might
literally, as well as inferentially, reign in Paris.

Between the rebellion and the legitimate government, therefore, Barneveld
did not hesitate. France, corporate France, with which the Republic had
bean so long in close and mutually advantageous alliance, and from whose
late monarch she had received such constant and valuable benefits, was in
the Advocate's opinion the only power to be recognised, Papal and Spanish
though it was. The advantage of an alliance with the fickle,
self-seeking, and ever changing mutiny, that was seeking to make use of
Protestantism to effect its own ends, was in his eyes rather specious
than real.

By this policy, while making the breach irreparable with Aerssens and as
many leading politicians as Aerssens could influence, he first brought on
himself the stupid accusation of swerving towards Spain. Dull murmurs
like these, which were now but faintly making themselves heard against
the reputation of the Advocate, were destined ere long to swell into a
mighty roar; but he hardly listened now to insinuations which seemed
infinitely below his contempt. He still effectually ruled the nation
through his influence in the States of Holland, where he reigned supreme.
Thus far Barneveld and My Lords the States-General were one personage.

But there was another great man in the State who had at last grown
impatient of the Advocate's power, and was secretly resolved to brook it
no longer. Maurice of Nassau had felt himself too long rebuked by the
genius of the Advocate. The Prince had perhaps never forgiven him for the
political guardianship which he had exercised over him ever since the
death of William the Silent. He resented the leading strings by which his
youthful footstep had been sustained, and which he seemed always to feel
about his limbs so long as Barneveld existed. He had never forgotten the
unpalatable advice given to him by the Advocate through the

The brief campaign in Cleve and Julich was the last great political
operation in which the two were likely to act in even apparent harmony.
But the rivalry between the two had already pronounced itself
emphatically during the negotiations for the truce. The Advocate had felt
it absolutely necessary for the Republic to suspend the war at the first
moment when she could treat with her ancient sovereign on a footing of
equality. Spain, exhausted with the conflict, had at last consented to
what she considered the humiliation of treating with her rebellious
provinces as with free states over which she claimed no authority. The
peace party, led by Barneveld, had triumphed, notwithstanding the steady
opposition of Prince Maurice and his adherents.

Why had Maurice opposed the treaty? Because his vocation was over,
because he was the greatest captain of the age, because his emoluments,
his consideration, his dignity before the world, his personal power, were
all vastly greater in war than in his opinion they could possibly be in
peace. It was easy for him to persuade himself that what was manifestly
for his individual interest was likewise essential to the prosperity of
the country.

The diminution in his revenues consequent on the return to peace was made
good to him, his brother, and his cousin, by most munificent endowments
and pensions. And it was owing to the strenuous exertions of the Advocate
that these large sums were voted. A hollow friendship was kept up between
the two during the first few years of the truce, but resentment and
jealousy lay deep in Maurice's heart.

At about the period of the return of Aerssens from his French embassy,
the suppressed fire was ready to flame forth at the first fanning by that
artful hand. It was impossible, so Aerssens thought and whispered, that
two heads could remain on one body politic. There was no room in the
Netherlands for both the Advocate and the Prince. Barneveld was in all
civil affairs dictator, chief magistrate, supreme judge; but he occupied
this high station by the force of intellect, will, and experience, not
through any constitutional provision. In time of war the Prince was
generalissimo, commander-in-chief of all the armies of the Republic. Yet
constitutionally he was not captain-general at all. He was only
stadholder of five out of seven provinces.

Barneveld suspected him of still wishing to make himself sovereign of the
country. Perhaps his suspicions were incorrect. Yet there was every
reason why Maurice should be ambitious of that position. It would have
been in accordance with the openly expressed desire of Henry IV. and
other powerful allies of the Netherlands. His father's assassination had
alone prevented his elevation to the rank of sovereign Count of Holland.
The federal policy of the Provinces had drifted into a republican form
after their renunciation of their Spanish sovereign, not because the
people, or the States as representing the people, had deliberately chosen
a republican system, but because they could get no powerful monarch to
accept the sovereignty. They had offered to become subjects of Protestant
England and of Catholic France. Both powers had refused the offer, and
refused it with something like contumely. However deep the subsequent
regret on the part of both, there was no doubt of the fact. But the
internal policy in all the provinces, and in all the towns, was
republican. Local self-government existed everywhere. Each city
magistracy was a little republic in itself. The death of William the
Silent, before he had been invested with the sovereign power of all seven
provinces, again left that sovereignty in abeyance. Was the supreme power
of the Union, created at Utrecht in 1579, vested in the States-General?

They were beginning theoretically to claim it, but Barneveld denied the
existence of any such power either in law or fact. It was a league of
sovereignties, he maintained; a confederacy of seven independent states,
united for certain purposes by a treaty made some thirty years before.
Nothing could be more imbecile, judging by the light of subsequent events
and the experience of centuries, than such an organization. The
independent and sovereign republic of Zealand or of Groningen, for
example, would have made a poor figure campaigning, or negotiating, or
exhibiting itself on its own account before the world. Yet it was
difficult to show any charter, precedent, or prescription for the
sovereignty of the States-General. Necessary as such an incorporation was
for the very existence of the Union, no constitutional union had ever
been enacted. Practically the Province of Holland, representing more than
half the population, wealth, strength, and intellect of the whole
confederation, had achieved an irregular supremacy in the States-General.
But its undeniable superiority was now causing a rank growth of envy,
hatred, and jealousy throughout the country, and the great Advocate of
Holland, who was identified with the province, and had so long wielded
its power, was beginning to reap the full harvest of that malice.

Thus while there was so much of vagueness in theory and practice as to
the sovereignty, there was nothing criminal on the part of Maurice if he
was ambitious of obtaining the sovereignty himself. He was not seeking to
compass it by base artifice or by intrigue of any kind. It was very
natural that he should be restive under the dictatorship of the Advocate.
If a single burgher and lawyer could make himself despot of the
Netherlands, how much more reasonable that he--with the noblest blood of
Europe in his veins, whose direct ancestor three centuries before had
been emperor not only of those provinces, but of all Germany and half
Christendom besides, whose immortal father had under God been the creator
and saviour of the new commonwealth, had made sacrifices such as man
never made for a people, and had at last laid down his life in its
defence; who had himself fought daily from boyhood upwards in the great
cause, who had led national armies from victory to victory till he had
placed his country as a military school and a belligerent power foremost
among the nations, and had at last so exhausted and humbled the great
adversary and former tyrant that he had been glad of a truce while the
rebel chief would have preferred to continue the war--should aspire to
rule by hereditary right a land with which his name and his race were
indelibly associated by countless sacrifices and heroic achievements.

It was no crime in Maurice to desire the sovereignty. It was still less a
crime in Barneveld to believe that he desired it. There was no special
reason why the Prince should love the republican form of government
provided that an hereditary one could be legally substituted for it. He
had sworn allegiance to the statutes, customs, and privileges of each of
the provinces of which he had been elected stadholder, but there would
have been no treason on his part if the name and dignity of stadholder
should be changed by the States themselves for those of King or sovereign

Yet it was a chief grievance against the Advocate on the part of the
Prince that Barneveld believed him capable of this ambition.

The Republic existed as a fact, but it had not long existed, nor had it
ever received a formal baptism. So undefined was its constitution, and so
conflicting were the various opinions in regard to it of eminent men,
that it would be difficult to say how high-treason could be committed
against it. Great lawyers of highest intellect and learning believed the
sovereign power to reside in the separate states, others found that
sovereignty in the city magistracies, while during a feverish period of
war and tumult the supreme function had without any written constitution,
any organic law, practically devolved upon the States-General, who had
now begun to claim it as a right. The Republic was neither venerable by
age nor impregnable in law. It was an improvised aristocracy of lawyers,
manufacturers, bankers, and corporations which had done immense work and
exhibited astonishing sagacity and courage, but which might never have
achieved the independence of the Provinces unaided by the sword of
Orange-Nassau and the magic spell which belonged to that name.

Thus a bitter conflict was rapidly developing itself in the heart of the
Commonwealth. There was the civil element struggling with the military
for predominance; sword against gown; states' rights against central
authority; peace against war; above all the rivalry of one prominent
personage against another, whose mutual hatred was now artfully inflamed
by partisans.

And now another element of discord had come, more potent than all the
rest: the terrible, never ending, struggle of Church against State.
Theological hatred which forty years long had found vent in the exchange
of acrimony between the ancient and the Reformed churches was now
assuming other shapes. Religion in that age and country was more than has
often been the case in history the atmosphere of men's daily lives. But
during the great war for independence, although the hostility between the
two religious forces was always intense, it was modified especially
towards the close of the struggle by other controlling influences. The
love of independence and the passion for nationality, the devotion to
ancient political privileges, was often as fervid and genuine in Catholic
bosoms as in those of Protestants, and sincere adherents of the ancient
church had fought to the death against Spain in defence of chartered

At that very moment it is probable that half the population of the United
Provinces was Catholic. Yet it would be ridiculous to deny that the
aggressive, uncompromising; self-sacrificing, intensely believing,
perfectly fearless spirit of Calvinism had been the animating soul, the
motive power of the great revolt. For the Provinces to have encountered
Spain and Rome without Calvinism, and relying upon municipal enthusiasm
only, would have been to throw away the sword and fight with the

But it is equally certain that those hot gospellers who had suffered so
much martyrdom and achieved so many miracles were fully aware of their
power and despotic in its exercise. Against the oligarchy of commercial
and juridical corporations they stood there the most terrible aristocracy
of all: the aristocracy of God's elect, predestined from all time and to
all eternity to take precedence of and to look down upon their inferior
and lost fellow creatures. It was inevitable that this aristocracy, which
had done so much, which had breathed into a new-born commonwealth the
breath of its life, should be intolerant, haughty, dogmatic.

The Church of Rome, which had been dethroned after inflicting such
exquisite tortures during its period of power, was not to raise its head.
Although so large a proportion of the inhabitants of the country were
secretly or openly attached to that faith, it was a penal offence to
participate openly in its rites and ceremonies. Religious equality,
except in the minds of a few individuals, was an unimaginable idea. There
was still one Church which arrogated to itself the sole possession of
truth, the Church of Geneva. Those who admitted the possibility of other
forms and creeds were either Atheists or, what was deemed worse than
Atheists, Papists, because Papists were assumed to be traitors also, and
desirous of selling the country to Spain. An undevout man in that land
and at that epoch was an almost unknown phenomenon. Religion was as much
a recognized necessity of existence as food or drink. It were as easy to
find people about without clothes as without religious convictions.

The Advocate, who had always adhered to the humble spirit of his
ancestral device, "Nil scire tutissima fedes," and almost alone among his
fellow citizens (save those immediate apostles and pupils of his who
became involved in his fate) in favour of religious toleration, began to
be suspected of treason and Papacy because, had he been able to give the
law, it was thought he would have permitted such horrors as the public
exercise of the Roman Catholic religion.

The hissings and screamings of the vulgar against him as he moved forward
on his stedfast course he heeded less than those of geese on a common.
But there was coming a time when this proud and scornful statesman,
conscious of the superiority conferred by great talents and unparalleled
experience, would find it less easy to treat the voice of slanderers,
whether idiots or powerful and intellectual enemies, with contempt.


   Schism in the Church a Public Fact--Struggle for Power between the
   Sacerdotal and Political Orders--Dispute between Arminius and
   Gomarus--Rage of James I. at the Appointment of Voratius--Arminians
   called Remonstrants--Hague Conference--Contra-Remonstrance by
   Gomarites of Seven Points to the Remonstrants' Five--Fierce
   Theological Disputes throughout the Country--Ryswyk Secession--
   Maurice wishes to remain neutral, but finds himself the Chieftain of
   the Contra-Remonstrant Party--The States of Holland Remonstrant by a
   large Majority--The States-General Contra-Remonstrant--Sir Ralph
   Winwood leaves the Hague--Three Armies to take the Field against

Schism in the Church had become a public fact, and theological hatred was
in full blaze throughout the country.

The great practical question in the Church had been as to the appointment
of preachers, wardens, schoolmasters, and other officers. By the
ecclesiastical arrangements of 1591 great power was conceded to the civil
authority in church matters, especially in regard to such appointments,
which were made by a commission consisting of four members named by the
churches and four by the magistrates in each district.

Barneveld, who above all things desired peace in the Church, had wished
to revive this ordinance, and in 1612 it had been resolved by the States
of Holland that each city or village should, if the magistracy approved,
provisionally conform to it. The States of Utrecht made at the same time
a similar arrangement.

It was the controversy which has been going on since the beginning of
history and is likely to be prolonged to the end of time--the struggle
for power between the sacerdotal and political orders; the controversy
whether priests shall control the state or the state govern the priests.

This was the practical question involved in the fierce dispute as to
dogma. The famous duel between Arminius and Gomarus; the splendid
theological tournaments which succeeded; six champions on a side armed in
full theological panoply and swinging the sharpest curtal axes which
learning, passion, and acute intellect could devise, had as yet produced
no beneficent result. Nobody had been convinced by the shock of argument,
by the exchange of those desperate blows. The High Council of the Hague
had declared that no difference of opinion in the Church existed
sufficient to prevent fraternal harmony and happiness. But Gomarus loudly
declared that, if there were no means of putting down the heresy of
Arminius, there would before long be a struggle such as would set
province against province, village against village, family against
family, throughout the land. He should be afraid to die in such doctrine.
He shuddered that any one should dare to come before God's tribunal with
such blasphemies. Meantime his great adversary, the learned and eloquent,
the musical, frolicsome, hospitable heresiarch was no more. Worn out with
controversy, but peaceful and happy in the convictions which were so
bitterly denounced by Gomarus and a large proportion of both preachers
and laymen in the Netherlands, and convinced that the schism which in his
view had been created by those who called themselves the orthodox would
weaken the cause of Protestantism throughout Europe, Arminius died at the
age of forty-nine.

The magistrates throughout Holland, with the exception of a few cities,
were Arminian, the preachers Gomarian; for Arminius ascribed to the civil
authority the right to decide upon church matters, while Gomarus
maintained that ecclesiastical affairs should be regulated in
ecclesiastical assemblies. The overseers of Leyden University appointed
Conrad Vorstius to be professor of theology in place of Arminius. The
selection filled to the brim the cup of bitterness, for no man was more
audaciously latitudinarian than he. He was even suspected of Socinianism.
There came a shriek from King James, fierce and shrill enough to rouse
Arminius from his grave. James foamed to the mouth at the insolence of
the overseers in appointing such a monster of infidelity to the
professorship. He ordered his books to be publicly burned in St. Paul's
Churchyard and at both Universities, and would have burned the Professor
himself with as much delight as Torquemada or Peter Titelman ever felt in
roasting their victims, had not the day for such festivities gone by. He
ordered the States of Holland on pain of for ever forfeiting his
friendship to exclude Vorstius at once from the theological chair and to
forbid him from "nestling anywhere in the country."

He declared his amazement that they should tolerate such a pest as Conrad
Vorstius. Had they not had enough of the seed sown by that foe of God,
Arminius? He ordered the States-General to chase the blasphemous monster
from the land, or else he would cut off all connection with their false
and heretic churches and make the other Reformed churches of Europe do
the same, nor should the youth of England ever be allowed to frequent the
University of Leyden.

In point of fact the Professor was never allowed to qualify, to preach,
or to teach; so tremendous was the outcry of Peter Plancius and many
orthodox preachers, echoing the wrath of the King. He lived at Gouda in a
private capacity for several years, until the Synod of Dordrecht at last
publicly condemned his opinions and deprived him of his professorship.

Meantime, the preachers who were disciples of Arminius had in a private
assembly drawn up what was called a Remonstrance, addressed to the States
of Holland, and defending themselves from the reproach that they were
seeking change in the Divine service and desirous of creating tumult and

This Remonstrance, set forth by the pen of the famous Uytenbogaert, whom
Gomarus called the Court Trumpeter, because for a long time he had been
Prince Maurice's favourite preacher, was placed in the hands of
Barneveld, for delivery to the States of Holland. Thenceforth the
Arminians were called Remonstrants.

The Hague Conference followed, six preachers on a side, and the States of
Holland exhorted to fraternal compromise. Until further notice, they
decreed that no man should be required to believe more than had been laid
down in the Five Points:

I. God has from eternity resolved to choose to eternal life those who
through his grace believe in Jesus Christ, and in faith and obedience so
continue to the end, and to condemn the unbelieving and unconverted to
eternal damnation.

II. Jesus Christ died for all; so, nevertheless, that no one actually
except believers is redeemed by His death.

III. Man has not the saving belief from himself, nor out of his free
will, but he needs thereto God's grace in Christ.

IV. This grace is the beginning, continuation, and completion of man's
salvation; all good deeds must be ascribed to it, but it does not work

V. God's grace gives sufficient strength to the true believers to
overcome evil; but whether they cannot lose grace should be more closely
examined before it should be taught in full security.

Afterwards they expressed themselves more distinctly on this point, and
declared that a true believer, through his own fault, can fall away from
God and lose faith.

Before the conference, however, the Gomarite preachers had drawn up a
Contra-Remonstrance of Seven Points in opposition to the Remonstrants'

They demanded the holding of a National Synod to settle the difference
between these Five and Seven Points, or the sending of them to foreign
universities for arbitration, a mutual promise being given by the
contending parties to abide by the decision.

Thus much it has been necessary to state concerning what in the
seventeenth century was called the platform of the two great parties: a
term which has been perpetuated in our own country, and is familiar to
all the world in the nineteenth.

These were the Seven Points:

I. God has chosen from eternity certain persons out of the human race,
which in and with Adam fell into sin and has no more power to believe and
Convert itself than a dead man to restore himself to life, in order to
make them blessed through Christ; while He passes by the rest through His
righteous judgment, and leaves them lying in their sins.

II. Children of believing parents, as well as full-grown believers, are
to be considered as elect so long as they with action do not prove the

III. God in His election has not looked at the belief and the repentance
of the elect; but, on the contrary, in His eternal and unchangeable
design, has resolved to give to the elect faith and stedfastness, and
thus to make them blessed.

IV. He, to this end, in the first place, presented to them His only
begotten Son, whose sufferings, although sufficient for the expiation of
all men's sins, nevertheless, according to God's decree, serves alone to
the reconciliation of the elect.

V. God causest he Gospel to be preached to them, making the same through
the Holy Ghost, of strength upon their minds; so that they not merely
obtain power to repent and to believe, but also actually and voluntarily
do repent and believe.

VI. Such elect, through the same power of the Holy Ghost through which
they have once become repentant and believing, are kept in such wise that
they indeed through weakness fall into heavy sins; but can never wholly
and for always lose the true faith.

VII. True believers from this, however, draw no reason for fleshly quiet,
it being impossible that they who through a true faith were planted in
Christ should bring forth no fruits of thankfulness; the promises of
God's help and the warnings of Scripture tending to make their salvation
work in them in fear and trembling, and to cause them more earnestly to
desire help from that spirit without which they can do nothing.

There shall be no more setting forth of these subtle and finely wrought
abstractions in our pages. We aspire not to the lofty heights of
theological and supernatural contemplation, where the atmosphere becomes
too rarefied for ordinary constitutions. Rather we attempt an objective
and level survey of remarkable phenomena manifesting themselves on the
earth; direct or secondary emanations from those distant spheres.

For in those days, and in that land especially, theology and politics
were one. It may be questioned at least whether this practical fusion of
elements, which may with more safety to the Commonwealth be kept
separate, did not tend quite as much to lower and contaminate the
religious sentiments as to elevate the political idea. To mix habitually
the solemn phraseology which men love to reserve for their highest and
most sacred needs with the familiar slang of politics and trade seems to
our generation not a very desirable proceeding.

The aroma of doubly distilled and highly sublimated dogma is more
difficult to catch than to comprehend the broader and more practical
distinctions of every-day party strife.

King James was furious at the thought that common men--the vulgar, the
people in short--should dare to discuss deep problems of divinity which,
as he confessed, had puzzled even his royal mind. Barneveld modestly
disclaimed the power of seeing with absolute clearness into things beyond
the reach of the human intellect. But the honest Netherlanders were not
abashed by thunder from the royal pulpit, nor perplexed by hesitations
which darkened the soul of the great Advocate.

In burghers' mansions, peasants' cottages, mechanics' back-parlours, on
board herring smacks, canal boats, and East Indiamen; in shops,
counting-rooms, farmyards, guard-rooms, ale-houses; on the exchange, in
the tennis-court, on the mall; at banquets, at burials, christenings, or
bridals; wherever and whenever human creatures met each other,
there was ever to be found the fierce wrangle of Remonstrant and
Contra-Remonstrant, the hissing of red-hot theological rhetoric, the
pelting of hostile texts. The blacksmith's iron cooled on the anvil, the
tinker dropped a kettle half mended, the broker left a bargain
unclinched, the Scheveningen fisherman in his wooden shoes forgot the
cracks in his pinkie, while each paused to hold high converse with friend
or foe on fate, free will, or absolute foreknowledge; losing himself in
wandering mazes whence there was no issue. Province against province,
city against city, family against family; it was one vast scene of
bickering, denunciation, heart-burnings, mutual excommunication and

Alas! a generation of mankind before, men had stood banded together to
resist, with all the might that comes from union, the fell spirit of the
Holy Inquisition, which was dooming all who had wandered from the ancient
fold or resisted foreign tyranny to the axe, the faggot, the living
grave. There had been small leisure then for men who fought for
Fatherland, and for comparative liberty of conscience, to tear each
others' characters in pieces, and to indulge in mutual hatreds and
loathing on the question of predestination.

As a rule the population, especially of the humbler classes, and a great
majority of the preachers were Contra-Remonstrant; the magistrates, the
burgher patricians, were Remonstrant. In Holland the controlling
influence was Remonstrant; but Amsterdam and four or five other cities of
that province held to the opposite doctrine. These cities formed
therefore a small minority in the States Assembly of Holland sustained by
a large majority in the States-General. The Province of Utrecht was
almost unanimously Remonstrant. The five other provinces were decidedly

It is obvious therefore that the influence of Barneveld, hitherto so
all-controlling in the States-General, and which rested on the complete
submission of the States of Holland to his will, was tottering. The
battle-line between Church and State was now drawn up; and it was at the
same time a battle between the union and the principles of state

It had long since been declared through the mouth of the Advocate, but in
a solemn state manifesto, that My Lords the States-General were the
foster-fathers and the natural protectors of the Church, to whom supreme
authority in church matters belonged.

The Contra-Remonstrants, on the other hand, maintained that all the
various churches made up one indivisible church, seated above the States,
whether Provincial or General, and governed by the Holy Ghost acting
directly upon the congregations.

As the schism grew deeper and the States-General receded from the
position which they had taken up under the lead of the Advocate, the
scene was changed. A majority of the Provinces being Contra-Remonstrant,
and therefore in favour of a National Synod, the States-General as a body
were of necessity for the Synod.

It was felt by the clergy that, if many churches existed, they would all
remain subject to the civil authority. The power of the priesthood would
thus sink before that of the burgher aristocracy. There must be one
church--the Church of Geneva and Heidelberg--if that theocracy which the
Gomarites meant to establish was not to vanish as a dream. It was founded
on Divine Right, and knew no chief magistrate but the Holy Ghost. A few
years before the States-General had agreed to a National Synod, but with
a condition that there should be revision of the Netherland Confession
and the Heidelberg Catechism.

Against this the orthodox infallibilists had protested and thundered,
because it was an admission that the vile Arminian heresy might perhaps
be declared correct. It was now however a matter of certainty that the
States-General would cease to oppose the unconditional Synod, because the
majority sided with the priesthood.

The magistrates of Leyden had not long before opposed the demand for a
Synod on the ground that the war against Spain was not undertaken to
maintain one sect; that men of various sects and creeds had fought with
equal valour against the common foe; that religious compulsion was
hateful, and that no synod had a right to claim Netherlanders as slaves.

To thoughtful politicians like Barneveld, Hugo Grotius, and men who acted
with them, fraught with danger to the state, that seemed a doctrine by
which mankind were not regarded as saved or doomed according to belief or
deeds, but as individuals divided from all eternity into two classes
which could never be united, but must ever mutually regard each other as

And like enemies Netherlanders were indeed beginning to regard each
other. The man who, banded like brothers, had so heroically fought for
two generations long for liberty against an almost superhuman despotism,
now howling and jeering against each other like demons, seemed determined
to bring the very name of liberty into contempt.

Where the Remonstrants were in the ascendant, they excited the hatred and
disgust of the orthodox by their overbearing determination to carry their
Five Points. A broker in Rotterdam of the Contra-Remonstrant persuasion,
being about to take a wife, swore he had rather be married by a pig than
a parson. For this sparkling epigram he was punished by the Remonstrant
magistracy with loss of his citizenship for a year and the right to
practise his trade for life. A casuistical tinker, expressing himself
violently in the same city against the Five Points, and disrespectfully
towards the magistrates for tolerating them, was banished from the town.
A printer in the neighbourhood, disgusted with these and similar efforts
of tyranny on the part of the dominant party, thrust a couple of lines of
doggrel into the lottery:

  "In name of the Prince of Orange, I ask once and again,
   What difference between the Inquisition of Rotterdam and Spain?"

For this poetical effort the printer was sentenced to forfeit the prize
that he had drawn in the lottery, and to be kept in prison on bread and
water for a fortnight.

Certainly such punishments were hardly as severe as being beheaded or
burned or buried alive, as would have been the lot of tinkers and
printers and brokers who opposed the established church in the days of
Alva, but the demon of intolerance, although its fangs were drawn, still
survived, and had taken possession of both parties in the Reformed
Church. For it was the Remonstrants who had possession of the churches at
Rotterdam, and the printer's distich is valuable as pointing out that the
name of Orange was beginning to identify itself with the
Contra-Remonstrant faction. At this time, on the other hand, the gabble
that Barneveld had been bought by Spanish gold, and was about to sell his
country to Spain, became louder than a whisper. Men were not ashamed,
from theological hatred, to utter such senseless calumnies against a
venerable statesman whose long life had been devoted to the cause of his
country's independence and to the death struggle with Spain.

As if because a man admitted the possibility of all his fellow-creatures
being saved from damnation through repentance and the grace of God, he
must inevitably be a traitor to his country and a pensionary of her
deadliest foe.

And where the Contra-Remonstrants held possession of the churches and the
city governments, acts of tyranny which did not then seem ridiculous were
of everyday occurrence. Clergymen, suspected of the Five Points, were
driven out of the pulpits with bludgeons or assailed with brickbats at
the church door. At Amsterdam, Simon Goulart, for preaching the doctrine
of universal salvation and for disputing the eternal damnation of young
children, was forbidden thenceforth to preach at all.

But it was at the Hague that the schism in religion and politics first
fatally widened itself. Henry Rosaeus, an eloquent divine, disgusted with
his colleague Uytenbogaert, refused all communion with him, and was in
consequence suspended. Excluded from the Great Church, where he had
formerly ministered, he preached every Sunday at Ryswyk, two or three
miles distant. Seven hundred Contra-Remonstrants of the Hague followed
their beloved pastor, and, as the roads to Ryswyk were muddy and sloppy
in winter, acquired the unsavoury nickname of the "Mud Beggars." The
vulgarity of heart which suggested the appellation does not inspire
to-day great sympathy with the Remonstrant party, even if one were
inclined to admit, what is not the fact, that they represented the cause
of religious equality. For even the illustrious Grotius was at that very
moment repudiating the notion that there could be two religions in one
state. "Difference in public worship," he said, "was in kingdoms
pernicious, but in free commonwealths in the highest degree destructive."

It was the struggle between Church and State for supremacy over the whole
body politic. "The Reformation," said Grotius, "was not brought about by
synods, but by kings, princes, and magistrates." It was the same eternal
story, the same terrible two-edged weapon, "Cujus reggio ejus religio,"
found in the arsenal of the first Reformers, and in every
politico-religious arsenal of history.

"By an eternal decree of God," said Gomarus in accordance with Calvin,
"it has been fixed who are to be saved and who damned. By His decree some
are drawn to faith and godliness, and, being drawn, can never fall away.
God leaves all the rest in the general corruption of human nature and
their own misdeeds."

"God has from eternity made this distinction in the fallen human race,"
said Arminius, "that He pardons those who desist from their sins and put
their faith in Christ, and will give them eternal life, but will punish
those who remain impenitent. Moreover, it is pleasanter to God that all
men should repent, and, coming to knowledge of truth, remain therein, but
He compels none."

This was the vital difference of dogma. And it was because they could
hold no communion with those who believed in the efficacy of repentance
that Rosaeus and his followers had seceded to Ryswyk, and the Reformed
Church had been torn into two very unequal parts. But it is difficult to
believe that out of this arid field of controversy so plentiful a harvest
of hatred and civil convulsion could have ripened. More practical than
the insoluble problems, whether repentance could effect salvation, and
whether dead infants were hopelessly damned, was the question who should
rule both Church and State.

There could be but one church. On that Remonstrants and
Contra-Remonstrants were agreed. But should the five Points or the Seven
Points obtain the mastery? Should that framework of hammered iron, the
Confession and Catechism, be maintained in all its rigidity around the
sheepfold, or should the disciples of the arch-heretic Arminius, the
salvation-mongers, be permitted to prowl within it?

Was Barneveld, who hated the Reformed religion (so men told each other),
and who believed in nothing, to continue dictator of the whole Republic
through his influence over one province, prescribing its religious dogmas
and laying down its laws; or had not the time come for the States-General
to vindicate the rights of the Church, and to crush for ever the
pernicious principle of State sovereignty and burgher oligarchy?

The abyss was wide and deep, and the wild waves were raging more madly
every hour. The Advocate, anxious and troubled, but undismayed, did his
best in the terrible emergency. He conferred with Prince Maurice on the
subject of the Ryswyk secession, and men said that he sought to impress
upon him, as chief of the military forces, the necessity of putting down
religious schism with the armed hand.

The Prince had not yet taken a decided position. He was still under the
influence of John Uytenbogaert, who with Arminius and the Advocate made
up the fateful three from whom deadly disasters were deemed to have come
upon the Commonwealth. He wished to remain neutral. But no man can be
neutral in civil contentions threatening the life of the body politic any
more than the heart can be indifferent if the human frame is sawn in two.

"I am a soldier," said Maurice, "not a divine. These are matters of
theology which I don't understand, and about which I don't trouble

On another occasion he is reported to have said, "I know nothing of
predestination, whether it is green or whether it is blue; but I do know
that the Advocate's pipe and mine will never play the same tune."

It was not long before he fully comprehended the part which he must
necessarily play. To say that he was indifferent to religious matters was
as ridiculous as to make a like charge against Barneveld. Both were
religious men. It would have been almost impossible to find an
irreligious character in that country, certainly not among its
highest-placed and leading minds. Maurice had strong intellectual powers.
He was a regular attendant on divine worship, and was accustomed to hear
daily religious discussions. To avoid them indeed, he would have been
obliged not only to fly his country, but to leave Europe. He had a
profound reverence for the memory of his father, Calbo y Calbanista, as
William the Silent had called himself. But the great prince had died
before these fierce disputes had torn the bosom of the Reformed Church,
and while Reformers still were brethren. But if Maurice were a religious
man, he was also a keen politician; a less capable politician, however,
than a soldier, for he was confessedly the first captain of his age. He
was not rapid in his conceptions, but he was sure in the end to
comprehend his opportunity.

The Church, the people, the Union--the sacerdotal, the democratic, and
the national element--united under a name so potent to conjure with as
the name of Orange-Nassau, was stronger than any other possible
combination. Instinctively and logically therefore the Stadholder found
himself the chieftain of the Contra-Remonstrant party, and without the
necessity of an apostasy such as had been required of his great
contemporary to make himself master of France.

The power of Barneveld and his partisans was now put to a severe strain.
His efforts to bring back the Hague seceders were powerless. The
influence of Uytenbogaert over the Stadholder steadily diminished. He
prayed to be relieved from his post in the Great Church of the Hague,
especially objecting to serve with a Contra-Remonstrant preacher whom
Maurice wished to officiate there in place of the seceding Rosaeus. But
the Stadholder refused to let him go, fearing his influence in other
places. "There is stuff in him," said Maurice, "to outweigh half a dozen
Contra-Remonstrant preachers." Everywhere in Holland the opponents of the
Five Points refused to go to the churches, and set up tabernacles for
themselves in barns, outhouses, canal-boats. And the authorities in town
and village nailed up the barn-doors, and dispersed the canal boat
congregations, while the populace pelted them with stones. The seceders
appealed to the Stadholder, pleading that at least they ought to be
allowed to hear the word of God as they understood it without being
forced into churches where they were obliged to hear Arminian blasphemy.
At least their barns might be left them. "Barns," said Maurice, "barns
and outhouses! Are we to preach in barns? The churches belong to us, and
we mean to have them too."

Not long afterwards the Stadholder, clapping his hand on his sword hilt,
observed that these differences could only be settled by force of arms.
An ominous remark and a dreary comment on the forty years' war against
the Inquisition.

And the same scenes that were enacting in Holland were going on in
Overyssel and Friesland and Groningen; but with a difference. Here it was
the Five Points men who were driven into secession, whose barns were
nailed up, and whose preachers were mobbed. A lugubrious spectacle, but
less painful certainly than the hangings and drownings and burnings alive
in the previous century to prevent secession from the indivisible church.

It is certain that stadholders and all other magistrates ever since the
establishment of independence were sworn to maintain the Reformed
religion and to prevent a public divine worship under any other form. It
is equally certain that by the 13th Article of the Act of Union--the
organic law of the confederation made at Utrecht in 1579--each province
reserved for itself full control of religious questions. It would indeed
seem almost unimaginable in a country where not only every province, but
every city, every municipal board, was so jealous of its local privileges
and traditional rights that the absolute disposition over the highest,
gravest, and most difficult questions that can inspire and perplex
humanity should be left to a general government, and one moreover which
had scarcely come into existence.

Yet into this entirely illogical position the Commonwealth was steadily
drifting. The cause was simple enough. The States of Holland, as already
observed, were Remonstrant by a large majority. The States-General were
Contra-Remonstrant by a still greater majority. The Church, rigidly
attached to the Confession and Catechism, and refusing all change except
through decree of a synod to be called by the general government which it
controlled, represented the national idea. It thus identified itself with
the Republic, and was in sympathy with a large majority of the

Logic, law, historical tradition were on the side of the Advocate and the
States' right party. The instinct of national self-preservation,
repudiating the narrow and destructive doctrine of provincial
sovereignty, were on the side of the States-General and the Church.

Meantime James of Great Britain had written letters both to the States of
Holland and the States-General expressing his satisfaction with the Five
Points, and deciding that there was nothing objectionable in the doctrine
of predestination therein set forth. He had recommended unity and peace
in Church and Assembly, and urged especially that these controverted
points should not be discussed in the pulpit to the irritation and
perplexity of the common people.

The King's letters had produced much satisfaction in the moderate party.
Barneveld and his followers were then still in the ascendant, and it
seemed possible that the Commonwealth might enjoy a few moments of
tranquillity. That James had given a new exhibition of his astounding
inconsistency was a matter very indifferent to all but himself, and he
was the last man to trouble himself for that reproach.

It might happen, when he should come to realize how absolutely he had
obeyed the tuition of the Advocate and favoured the party which he had
been so vehemently opposing, that he might regret and prove willing to
retract. But for the time being the course of politics had seemed running
smoother. The acrimony of the relations between the English government
and dominant party at the Hague was sensibly diminished. The King seemed
for an instant to have obtained a true insight into the nature of the
struggle in the States. That it was after all less a theological than a
political question which divided parties had at last dawned upon him.

"If you have occasion to write on the subject," said Barneveld, "it is
above all necessary to make it clear that ecclesiastical persons and
their affairs must stand under the direction of the sovereign authority,
for our preachers understand that the disposal of ecclesiastical persons
and affairs belongs to them, so that they alone are to appoint preachers,
elders, deacons, and other clerical persons, and to regulate the whole
ecclesiastical administration according to their pleasure or by a popular
government which they call the community."

"The Counts of Holland from all ancient times were never willing under
the Papacy to surrender their right of presentation to the churches and
control of all spiritual and ecclesiastical benefices. The Emperor
Charles and King Philip even, as Counts of Holland, kept these rights to
themselves, save that they in enfeoffing more than a hundred gentlemen,
of noble and ancient families with seigniorial manors, enfeoffed them
also with the right of presentation to churches and benefices on their
respective estates. Our preachers pretend to have won this right against
the Countship, the gentlemen, nobles, and others, and that it belongs to

It is easy to see that this was a grave, constitutional, legal, and
historical problem not to be solved offhand by vehement citations from
Scripture, nor by pragmatical dissertations from the lips of foreign

"I believe this point," continued Barneveld, "to be the most difficult
question of all, importing far more than subtle searchings and
conflicting sentiments as to passages of Holy Writ, or disputations
concerning God's eternal predestination and other points thereupon
depending. Of these doctrines the Archbishop of Canterbury well observed
in the Conference of 1604 that one ought to teach them ascendendo and not

The letters of the King had been very favourably received both in the
States-General and in the Assembly of Holland. "You will present the
replies," wrote Barneveld to the ambassador in London, "at the best
opportunity and with becoming compliments. You may be assured and assure
his Majesty that they have been very agreeable to both assemblies. Our
commissioners over there on the East Indian matter ought to know nothing
of these letters."

This statement is worthy of notice, as Grotius was one of those
commissioners, and, as will subsequently appear, was accused of being the
author of the letters.

"I understand from others," continued the Advocate, "that the gentleman
well known to you--[Obviously Francis Aerssens]--is not well pleased that
through other agency than his these letters have been written and
presented. I think too that the other business is much against his grain,
but on the whole since your departure he has accommodated himself to the

But if Aerssens for the moment seemed quiet, the orthodox clergy were

"I know," said Barneveld, "that some of our ministers are so audacious
that of themselves, or through others, they mean to work by direct or
indirect means against these letters. They mean to show likewise that
there are other and greater differences of doctrine than those already
discussed. You will keep a sharp eye on the sails and provide against the
effect of counter-currents. To maintain the authority of their Great
Mightinesses over ecclesiastical matters is more than necessary for the
conservation of the country's welfare and of the true Christian religion.
As his Majesty would not allow this principle to be controverted in his
own realms, as his books clearly prove, so we trust that he will not find
it good that it should be controverted in our state as sure to lead to a
very disastrous and inequitable sequel."

And a few weeks later the Advocate and the whole party of toleration
found themselves, as is so apt to be the case, between two fires. The
Catholics became as turbulent as the extreme Calvinists, and already
hopes were entertained by Spanish emissaries and spies that this rapidly
growing schism in the Reformed Church might be dexterously made use of to
bring the Provinces, when they should become fairly distracted, back to
the dominion of Spain.

"Our precise zealots in the Reformed religion, on the one side," wrote
Barneveld, "and the Jesuits on the other, are vigorously kindling the
fire of discord. Keep a good lookout for the countermine which is now
working against the good advice of his Majesty for mutual toleration. The
publication of the letters was done without order, but I believe with
good intent, in the hope that the vehemence and exorbitance of some
precise Puritans in our State should thereby be checked. That which is
now doing against us in printed libels is the work of the aforesaid
Puritans and a few Jesuits. The pretence in those libels, that there are
other differences in the matter of doctrine, is mere fiction designed to
make trouble and confusion."

In the course of the autumn, Sir Ralph Winwood departed from the Hague,
to assume soon afterwards in England the position of secretary of state
for foreign affairs. He did not take personal farewell of Barneveld, the
Advocate being absent in North Holland at the moment, and detained there
by indisposition. The leave-taking was therefore by letter. He had done
much to injure the cause which the Dutch statesman held vital to the
Republic, and in so doing he had faithfully carried out the instructions
of his master. Now that James had written these conciliatory letters to
the States, recommending toleration, letters destined to be famous,
Barneveld was anxious that the retiring ambassador should foster the
spirit of moderation, which for a moment prevailed at the British court.
But he was not very hopeful in the matter.

"Mr. Winwood is doubtless over there now," he wrote to Caron. "He has
promised in public and private to do all good offices. The States-General
made him a present on his departure of the value of L4000. I fear
nevertheless that he, especially in religious matters, will not do the
best offices. For besides that he is himself very hard and precise, those
who in this country are hard and precise have made a dead set at him, and
tried to make him devoted to their cause, through many fictitious and
untruthful means."

The Advocate, as so often before, sent assurances to the King that "the
States-General, and especially the States of Holland, were resolved to
maintain the genuine Reformed religion, and oppose all novelties and
impurities conflicting with it," and the Ambassador was instructed to see
that the countermine, worked so industriously against his Majesty's
service and the honour and reputation of the Provinces, did not prove

"To let the good mob play the master," he said, "and to permit hypocrites
and traitors in the Flemish manner to get possession of the government of
the provinces and cities, and to cause upright patriots whose faith and
truth has so long been proved, to be abandoned, by the blessing of God,
shall never be accomplished. Be of good heart, and cause these Flemish
tricks to be understood on every occasion, and let men know that we mean
to maintain, with unchanging constancy, the authority of the government,
the privileges and laws of the country, as well as the true Reformed

The statesman was more than ever anxious for moderate counsels in the
religious questions, for it was now more important than ever that there
should be concord in the Provinces, for the cause of Protestantism, and
with it the existence of the Republic, seemed in greater danger than at
any moment since the truce. It appeared certain that the alliance between
France and Spain had been arranged, and that the Pope, Spain, the
Grand-duke of Tuscany, and their various adherents had organized a strong
combination, and were enrolling large armies to take the field in the
spring, against the Protestant League of the princes and electors in
Germany. The great king was dead. The Queen-Regent was in the hand of
Spain, or dreamed at least of an impossible neutrality, while the priest
who was one day to resume the part of Henry, and to hang upon the sword
of France the scales in which the opposing weights of Protestantism and
Catholicism in Europe were through so many awful years to be balanced,
was still an obscure bishop.

The premonitory signs of the great religious war in Germany were not to
be mistaken. In truth, the great conflict had already opened in the
duchies, although few men as yet comprehended the full extent of that
movement. The superficial imagined that questions of hereditary
succession, like those involved in the dispute, were easily to be settled
by statutes of descent, expounded by doctors of law, and sustained, if
needful, by a couple of comparatively bloodless campaigns. Those who
looked more deeply into causes felt that the limitations of Imperial
authority, the ambition of a great republic, suddenly starting into
existence out of nothing, and the great issues of the religious
reformation, were matters not so easily arranged. When the scene shifted,
as it was so soon to do, to the heart of Bohemia, when Protestantism had
taken the Holy Roman Empire by the beard in its ancient palace, and
thrown Imperial stadholders out of window, it would be evident to the
blindest that something serious was taking place.

Meantime Barneveld, ever watchful of passing events, knew that great
forces of Catholicism were marshalling in the south. Three armies were to
take the field against Protestantism at the orders of Spain and the Pope.
One at the door of the Republic, and directed especially against the
Netherlands, was to resume the campaign in the duchies, and to prevent
any aid going to Protestant Germany from Great Britain or from Holland.
Another in the Upper Palatinate was to make the chief movement against
the Evangelical hosts. A third in Austria was to keep down the Protestant
party in Bohemia, Hungary, Austria, Moravia, and Silesia. To sustain this
movement, it was understood that all the troops then in Italy were to be
kept all the winter on a war footing.'

Was this a time for the great Protestant party in the Netherlands to tear
itself in pieces for a theological subtlety, about which good Christians
might differ without taking each other by the throat?

"I do not lightly believe or fear," said the Advocate, in communicating a
survey of European affairs at that moment to Carom "but present advices
from abroad make me apprehend dangers."


     Aristocracy of God's elect
     Determined to bring the very name of liberty into contempt
     Disputing the eternal damnation of young children
     Fate, free will, or absolute foreknowledge
     Louis XIII.
     No man can be neutral in civil contentions
     No synod had a right to claim Netherlanders as slaves
     Philip IV.
     Priests shall control the state or the state govern the priests
     Schism in the Church had become a public fact
     That cynical commerce in human lives
     The voice of slanderers
     Theological hatred was in full blaze throughout the country
     Theology and politics were one
     To look down upon their inferior and lost fellow creatures
     Whether dead infants were hopelessly damned
     Whether repentance could effect salvation
     Whose mutual hatred was now artfully inflamed by partisans
     Work of the aforesaid Puritans and a few Jesuits



By John Lothrop Motley, D.C.L., LL.D.

Life of John of Barneveld, 1613-15


   Aerssens remains Two Years longer in France--Derives many Personal
   Advantages from his Post--He visits the States-General--Aubery du
   Maurier appointed French Ambassador--He demands the Recall of
   Aerssens--Peace of Sainte-Menehould--Asperen de Langerac appointed
   in Aerssens' Place.

Francis Aerssens had remained longer at his post than had been intended
by the resolution of the States of Holland, passed in May 1611.

It is an exemplification of the very loose constitutional framework of
the United Provinces that the nomination of the ambassador to France
belonged to the States of Holland, by whom his salary was paid, although,
of course, he was the servant of the States-General, to whom his public
and official correspondence was addressed. His most important despatches
were however written directly to Barneveld so long as he remained in
power, who had also the charge of the whole correspondence, public or
private, with all the envoys of the States.

Aerssens had, it will be remembered, been authorized to stay one year
longer in France if he thought he could be useful there. He stayed two
years, and on the whole was not useful. He had too many eyes and too many
ears. He had become mischievous by the very activity of his intelligence.
He was too zealous. There were occasions in France at that moment in
which it was as well to be blind and deaf. It was impossible for the
Republic, unless driven to it by dire necessity, to quarrel with its
great ally. It had been calculated by Duplessis-Mornay that France had
paid subsidies to the Provinces amounting from first to last to 200
millions of livres. This was an enormous exaggeration. It was Barneveld's
estimate that before the truce the States had received from France eleven
millions of florins in cash, and during the truce up to the year 1613,
3,600,000 in addition, besides a million still due, making a total of
about fifteen millions. During the truce France kept two regiments of
foot amounting to 4200 soldiers and two companies of cavalry in Holland
at the service of the States, for which she was bound to pay yearly
600,000 livres. And the Queen-Regent had continued all the treaties by
which these arrangements were secured, and professed sincere and
continuous friendship for the States. While the French-Spanish marriages
gave cause for suspicion, uneasiness, and constant watchfulness in the
States, still the neutrality of France was possible in the coming storm.
So long as that existed, particularly when the relations of England with
Holland through the unfortunate character of King James were perpetually
strained to a point of imminent rupture, it was necessary to hold as long
as it was possible to the slippery embrace of France.

But Aerssens was almost aggressive in his attitude. He rebuked the
vacillations, the shortcomings, the imbecility, of the Queen's government
in offensive terms. He consorted openly with the princes who were on the
point of making war upon the Queen-Regent. He made a boast to the
Secretary of State Villeroy that he had unravelled all his secret plots
against the Netherlands. He declared it to be understood in France, since
the King's death, by the dominant and Jesuitical party that the crown
depended temporally as well as spiritually on the good pleasure of the

No doubt he was perfectly right in many of his opinions. No ruler or
statesman in France worthy of the name would hesitate, in the impending
religious conflict throughout Europe and especially in Germany, to
maintain for the kingdom that all controlling position which was its
splendid privilege. But to preach this to Mary de' Medici was waste of
breath. She was governed by the Concini's, and the Concini's were
governed by Spain. The woman who was believed to have known beforehand of
the plot to murder her great husband, who had driven the one powerful
statesman on whom the King relied, Maximilian de Bethune, into
retirement, and whose foreign affairs were now completely in the hands of
the ancient Leaguer Villeroy--who had served every government in the
kingdom for forty years--was not likely to be accessible to high views of
public policy.

Two years had now elapsed since the first private complaints against the
Ambassador, and the French government were becoming impatient at his
presence. Aerssens had been supported by Prince Maurice, to whom he had
long paid his court. He was likewise loyally protected by Barneveld, whom
he publicly flattered and secretly maligned. But it was now necessary
that he should be gone if peaceful relations with France were to be

After all, the Ambassador had not made a bad business of his embassy from
his own point of view. A stranger in the Republic, for his father the
Greffier was a refugee from Brabant, he had achieved through his own
industry and remarkable talents, sustained by the favour of Barneveld--to
whom he owed all his diplomatic appointments--an eminent position in
Europe. Secretary to the legation to France in 1594, he had been
successively advanced to the post of resident agent, and when the
Republic had been acknowledged by the great powers, to that of
ambassador. The highest possible functions that representatives of
emperors and kings could enjoy had been formally recognized in the person
of the minister of a new-born republic. And this was at a moment when,
with exception of the brave but insignificant cantons of Switzerland, the
Republic had long been an obsolete idea.

In a pecuniary point of view, too, he had not fared badly during his
twenty years of diplomatic office. He had made much money in various
ways. The King not long before his death sent him one day 20,000 florins
as a present, with a promise soon to do much more for him.

Having been placed in so eminent a post, he considered it as due to
himself to derive all possible advantage from it. "Those who serve at the
altar," he said a little while after his return, "must learn to live by
it. I served their High Mightinesses at the court of a great king, and
his Majesty's liberal and gracious favours were showered upon me. My
upright conscience and steady obsequiousness greatly aided me. I did not
look upon opportunity with folded arms, but seized it and made my profit
by it. Had I not met with such fortunate accidents, my office would not
have given me dry bread."

Nothing could exceed the frankness and indeed the cynicism with which the
Ambassador avowed his practice of converting his high and sacred office
into merchandise. And these statements of his should be scanned closely,
because at this very moment a cry was distantly rising, which at a later
day was to swell into a roar, that the great Advocate had been bribed and
pensioned. Nothing had occurred to justify such charges, save that at the
period of the truce he had accepted from the King of France a fee of
20,000 florins for extra official and legal services rendered him a dozen
years before, and had permitted his younger son to hold the office of
gentleman-in-waiting at the French court with the usual salary attached
to it. The post, certainly not dishonourable in itself, had been intended
by the King as a kindly compliment to the leading statesman of his great
and good ally the Republic. It would be difficult to say why such a
favour conferred on the young man should be held more discreditable to
the receiver than the Order of the Garter recently bestowed upon the
great soldier of the Republic by another friendly sovereign. It is
instructive however to note the language in which Francis Aerssens spoke
of favours and money bestowed by a foreign monarch upon himself, for
Aerssens had come back from his embassy full of gall and bitterness
against Barneveld. Thenceforth he was to be his evil demon.

"I didn't inherit property," said this diplomatist. "My father and
mother, thank God, are yet living. I have enjoyed the King's liberality.
It was from an ally, not an enemy, of our country. Were every man obliged
to give a reckoning of everything he possesses over and above his
hereditary estates, who in the government would pass muster? Those who
declare that they have served their country in her greatest trouble, and
lived in splendid houses and in service of princes and great companies
and the like on a yearly salary of 4000 florins, may not approve these

It should be remembered that Barneveld, if this was a fling at the
Advocate, had acquired a large fortune by marriage, and, although
certainly not averse from gathering gear, had, as will be seen on a
subsequent page, easily explained the manner in which his property had
increased. No proof was ever offered or attempted of the anonymous
calumnies levelled at him in this regard.

"I never had the management of finances," continued Aerssens. "My profits
I have gained in foreign parts. My condition of life is without excess,
and in my opinion every means are good so long as they are honourable and
legal. They say my post was given me by the Advocate. Ergo, all my
fortune comes from the Advocate. Strenuously to have striven to make
myself agreeable to the King and his counsellors, while fulfilling my
office with fidelity and honour, these are the arts by which I have
prospered, so that my splendour dazzles the eyes of the envious. The
greediness of those who believe that the sun should shine for them alone
was excited, and so I was obliged to resign the embassy."

So long as Henry lived, the Dutch ambassador saw him daily, and at all
hours, privately, publicly, when he would. Rarely has a foreign envoy at
any court, at any period of history, enjoyed such privileges of being
useful to his government. And there is no doubt that the services of
Aerssens had been most valuable to his country, notwithstanding his
constant care to increase his private fortune through his public
opportunities. He was always ready to be useful to Henry likewise. When
that monarch same time before the truce, and occasionally during the
preliminary negotiations for it, had formed a design to make himself
sovereign of the Provinces, it was Aerssens who charged himself with the
scheme, and would have furthered it with all his might, had the project
not met with opposition both from the Advocate and the Stadholder.
Subsequently it appeared probable that Maurice would not object to the
sovereignty himself, and the Ambassador in Paris, with the King's
consent, was not likely to prove himself hostile to the Prince's

"There is but this means alone," wrote Jeannini to Villeroy, "that can
content him, although hitherto he has done like the rowers, who never
look toward the place whither they wish to go." The attempt of the Prince
to sound Barneveld on this subject through the Princess-Dowager has
already been mentioned, and has much intrinsic probability.
Thenceforward, the republican form of government, the municipal
oligarchies, began to consolidate their power. Yet although the people as
such were not sovereigns, but subjects, and rarely spoken of by the
aristocratic magistrates save with a gentle and patronizing disdain, they
enjoyed a larger liberty than was known anywhere else in the world.
Buzenval was astonished at the "infinite and almost unbridled freedom"
which he witnessed there during his embassy, and which seemed to him
however "without peril to the state."

The extraordinary means possessed by Aerssens to be important and useful
vanished with the King's death. His secret despatches, painting in sombre
and sarcastic colours the actual condition of affairs at the French
court, were sent back in copy to the French court itself. It was not
known who had played the Ambassador this vilest of tricks, but it was
done during an illness of Barneveld, and without his knowledge. Early in
the year 1613 Aerssens resolved, not to take his final departure, but to
go home on leave of absence. His private intention was to look for some
substantial office of honour and profit at home. Failing of this, he
meant to return to Paris. But with an eye to the main chance as usual, he
ingeniously caused it to be understood at court, without making positive
statements to that effect, that his departure was final. On his
leavetaking, accordingly, he received larger presents from the crown than
had been often given to a retiring ambassador. At least 20,000 florins
were thus added to the frugal store of profits on which he prided
himself. Had he merely gone away on leave of absence, he would have
received no presents whatever. But he never went back. The Queen-Regent
and her ministers were so glad to get rid of him, and so little disposed,
in the straits in which they found themselves, to quarrel with the
powerful republic, as to be willing to write very complimentary public
letters to the States, concerning the character and conduct of the man
whom they so much detested.

Pluming himself upon these, Aerssens made his appearance in the Assembly
of the States-General, to give account by word of mouth of the condition
of affairs, speaking as if he had only come by permission of their
Mightinesses for temporary purposes. Two months later he was summoned
before the Assembly, and ordered to return to his post.

Meantime a new French ambassador had arrived at the Hague, in the spring
of 1613. Aubery du Maurier, a son of an obscure country squire, a
Protestant, of moderate opinions, of a sincere but rather obsequious
character, painstaking, diligent, and honest, had been at an earlier day
in the service of the turbulent and intriguing Due de Bouillon. He had
also been employed by Sully as an agent in financial affairs between
Holland and France, and had long been known to Villeroy. He was living on
his estate, in great retirement from all public business, when Secretary
Villeroy suddenly proposed him the embassy to the Hague. There was no
more important diplomatic post at that time in Europe. Other countries
were virtually at peace, but in Holland, notwithstanding the truce, there
was really not much more than an armistice, and great armies lay in the
Netherlands, as after a battle, sleeping face to face with arms in their
hands. The politics of Christendom were at issue in the open, elegant,
and picturesque village which was the social capital of the United
Provinces. The gentry from Spain, Italy, the south of Europe, Catholic
Germany, had clustered about Spinola at Brussels, to learn the art of war
in his constant campaigning against Maurice. English and Scotch officers,
Frenchmen, Bohemians, Austrians, youths from the Palatinate and all
Protestant countries in Germany, swarmed to the banners of the prince who
had taught the world how Alexander Farnese could be baffled, and the
great Spinola outmanoeuvred. Especially there was a great number of
Frenchmen of figure and quality who thronged to the Hague, besides the
officers of the two French regiments which formed a regular portion of
the States' army. That army was the best appointed and most conspicuous
standing force in Europe. Besides the French contingent there were always
nearly 30,000 infantry and 3000 cavalry on a war footing, splendidly
disciplined, experienced, and admirably armed. The navy, consisting of
thirty war ships, perfectly equipped and manned, was a match for the
combined marine forces of all Europe, and almost as numerous.

When the Ambassador went to solemn audience of the States-General, he was
attended by a brilliant group of gentlemen and officers, often to the
number of three hundred, who volunteered to march after him on foot to
honour their sovereign in the person of his ambassador; the Envoy's
carriage following empty behind. Such were the splendid diplomatic
processions often received by the stately Advocate in his plain civic
garb, when grave international questions were to be publicly discussed.

There was much murmuring in France when the appointment of a personage
comparatively so humble to a position so important was known. It was
considered as a blow aimed directly at the malcontent princes of the
blood, who were at that moment plotting their first levy of arms against
the Queen. Du Maurier had been ill-treated by the Due de Bouillon, who
naturally therefore now denounced the man whom he had injured to the
government to which he was accredited. Being the agent of Mary de'
Medici, he was, of course, described as a tool of the court and a secret
pensioner of Spain. He was to plot with the arch traitor Barneveld as to
the best means for distracting the Provinces and bringing them back into
Spanish subjection. Du Maurier, being especially but secretly charged to
prevent the return of Francis Aerssens to Paris, incurred of course the
enmity of that personage and of the French grandees who ostentatiously
protected him. It was even pretended by Jeannin that the appointment of a
man so slightly known to the world, so inexperienced in diplomacy, and of
a parentage so little distinguished, would be considered an affront by
the States-General.

But on the whole, Villeroy had made an excellent choice. No safer man
could perhaps have been found in France for a post of such eminence, in
circumstances so delicate, and at a crisis so grave. The man who had been
able to make himself agreeable and useful, while preserving his
integrity, to characters so dissimilar as the refining, self-torturing,
intellectual Duplessis-Mornay, the rude, aggressive, and straightforward
Sully, the deep-revolving, restlessly plotting Bouillon, and the smooth,
silent, and tortuous Villeroy--men between whom there was no friendship,
but, on the contrary, constant rancour--had material in him to render
valuable services at this particular epoch. Everything depended on
patience, tact, watchfulness in threading the distracting, almost
inextricable, maze which had been created by personal rivalries,
ambitions, and jealousies in the state he represented and the one to
which he was accredited. "I ascribe it all to God," he said, in his
testament to his children, "the impenetrable workman who in His goodness
has enabled me to make myself all my life obsequious, respectful, and
serviceable to all, avoiding as much as possible, in contenting some, not
to discontent others." He recommended his children accordingly to
endeavour "to succeed in life by making themselves as humble,
intelligent, and capable as possible."

This is certainly not a very high type of character, but a safer one for
business than that of the arch intriguer Francis Aerssens. And he had
arrived at the Hague under trying circumstances. Unknown to the foreign
world he was now entering, save through the disparaging rumours
concerning him, sent thither in advance by the powerful personages
arrayed against his government, he might have sunk under such a storm at
the outset, but for the incomparable kindness and friendly aid of the
Princess-Dowager, Louise de Coligny. "I had need of her protection and
recommendation as much as of life," said du Maurier; "and she gave them
in such excess as to annihilate an infinity of calumnies which envy had
excited against me on every side." He had also a most difficult and
delicate matter to arrange at the very moment of his arrival.

For Aerssens had done his best not only to produce a dangerous division
in the politics of the Republic, but to force a rupture between the
French government and the States. He had carried matters before the
assembly with so high a hand as to make it seem impossible to get rid of
him without public scandal. He made a parade of the official letters from
the Queen-Regent and her ministers, in which he was spoken of in terms of
conventional compliment. He did not know, and Barneveld wished, if
possible, to spare him the annoyance of knowing, that both Queen and
ministers, so soon as informed that there was a chance of coming back to
them, had written letters breathing great repugnance to him and
intimating that he would not be received. Other high personages of state
had written to express their resentment at his duplicity, perpetual
mischief-making, and machinations against the peace of the kingdom, and
stating the impossibility of his resuming the embassy at Paris. And at
last the queen wrote to the States-General to say that, having heard
their intention to send him back to a post "from which he had taken leave
formally and officially," she wished to prevent such a step. "We should
see M. Aerssens less willingly than comports with our friendship for you
and good neighbourhood. Any other you could send would be most welcome,
as M. du Maurier will explain to you more amply."

And to du Maurier himself she wrote distinctly, "Rather than suffer the
return of the said Aerssens, you will declare that for causes which
regard the good of our affairs and our particular satisfaction we cannot
and will not receive him in the functions which he has exercised here,
and we rely too implicitly upon the good friendship of My Lords the
States to do anything in this that would so much displease us."

And on the same day Villeroy privately wrote to the Ambassador, "If, in
spite of all this, Aerssens should endeavour to return, he will not be
received, after the knowledge we have of his factious spirit, most
dangerous in a public personage in a state such as ours and in the
minority of the King."

Meantime Aerssens had been going about flaunting letters in everybody's
face from the Duc de Bouillon insisting on the necessity of his return!
The fact in itself would have been sufficient to warrant his removal, for
the Duke was just taking up arms against his sovereign. Unless the States
meant to interfere officially and directly in the civil war about to
break out in France, they could hardly send a minister to the government
on recommendation of the leader of the rebellion.

It had, however, become impossible to remove him without an explosion.
Barneveld, who, said du Maurier, "knew the man to his finger nails," had
been reluctant to "break the ice," and wished for official notice in the
matter from the Queen. Maurice protected the troublesome diplomatist.
"'Tis incredible," said the French ambassador "how covertly Prince
Maurice is carrying himself, contrary to his wont, in this whole affair.
I don't know whether it is from simple jealousy to Barneveld, or if there
is some mystery concealed below the surface."

Du Maurier had accordingly been obliged to ask his government for
distinct and official instructions. "He holds to his place," said he, "by
so slight and fragile a root as not to require two hands to pluck him up,
the little finger being enough. There is no doubt that he has been in
concert with those who are making use of him to re-establish their credit
with the States, and to embark Prince Maurice contrary to his preceding
custom in a cabal with them."

Thus a question of removing an obnoxious diplomatist could hardly be
graver, for it was believed that he was doing his best to involve the
military chief of his own state in a game of treason and rebellion
against the government to which he was accredited. It was not the first
nor likely to be the last of Bouillon's deadly intrigues. But the man who
had been privy to Biron's conspiracy against the crown and life of his
sovereign was hardly a safe ally for his brother-in-law, the
straightforward stadholder.

The instructions desired by du Maurier and by Barneveld had, as we have
seen, at last arrived. The French ambassador thus fortified appeared
before the Assembly of the States-General and officially demanded the
recall of Aerssens. In a letter addressed privately and confidentially to
their Mightinesses, he said, "If in spite of us you throw him at our
feet, we shall fling him back at your head."

At last Maurice yielded to, the representations of the French envoy, and
Aerssens felt obliged to resign his claims to the post. The
States-General passed a resolution that it would be proper to employ him
in some other capacity in order to show that his services had been
agreeable to them, he having now declared that he could no longer be
useful in France. Maurice, seeing that it was impossible to save him,
admitted to du Maurier his unsteadiness and duplicity, and said that, if
possessed of the confidence of a great king, he would be capable of
destroying the state in less than a year.

But this had not always been the Prince's opinion, nor was it likely to
remain unchanged. As for Villeroy, he denied flatly that the cause of his
displeasure had been that Aerssens had penetrated into his most secret
affairs. He protested, on the contrary, that his annoyance with him had
partly proceeded from the slight acquaintance he had acquired of his
policy, and that, while boasting to be better informed than any one, he
was in the habit of inventing and imagining things in order to get credit
for himself.

It was highly essential that the secret of this affair should be made
clear; for its influence on subsequent events was to be deep and wide.
For the moment Aerssens remained without employment, and there was no
open rupture with Barneveld. The only difference of opinion between the
Advocate and himself, he said, was whether he had or had not definitely
resigned his post on leaving Paris.

Meantime it was necessary to fix upon a successor for this most important
post. The war soon after the new year had broken out in France. Conde,
Bouillon, and the other malcontent princes with their followers had taken
possession of the fortress of Mezieres, and issued a letter in the name
of Conde to the Queen-Regent demanding an assembly of the States-General
of the kingdom and rupture of the Spanish marriages. Both parties, that
of the government and that of the rebellion, sought the sympathy and
active succour of the States. Maurice, acting now in perfect accord with
the Advocate, sustained the Queen and execrated the rebellion of his
relatives with perfect frankness. Conde, he said, had got his head
stuffed full of almanacs whose predictions he wished to see realized. He
vowed he would have shortened by a head the commander of the garrison who
betrayed Mezieres, if he had been under his control. He forbade on pain
of death the departure of any officer or private of the French regiments
from serving the rebels, and placed the whole French force at the
disposal of the Queen, with as many Netherland regiments as could be
spared. One soldier was hanged and three others branded with the mark of
a gibbet on the face for attempting desertion. The legal government was
loyally sustained by the authority of the States, notwithstanding all the
intrigues of Aerssens with the agents of the princes to procure them
assistance. The mutiny for the time was brief, and was settled on the
15th of May 1614, by the peace of Sainte-Menehould, as much a caricature
of a treaty as the rising had been the parody of a war. Van der Myle,
son-in-law of Barneveld, who had been charged with a special and
temporary mission to France, brought back the terms, of the convention to
the States-General. On the other hand, Conde and his confederates sent a
special agent to the Netherlands to give their account of the war and the
negotiation, who refused to confer either with du Maurier or Barneveld,
but who held much conference with Aerssens.

It was obvious enough that the mutiny of the princes would become
chronic. In truth, what other condition was possible with two characters
like Mary de' Medici and the Prince of Conde respectively at the head of
the government and the revolt? What had France to hope for but to remain
the bloody playground for mischievous idiots, who threw about the
firebrands and arrows of reckless civil war in pursuit of the paltriest
of personal aims?

Van der Myle had pretensions to the vacant place of Aerssens. He had some
experience in diplomacy. He had conducted skilfully enough the first
mission of the States to Venice, and had subsequently been employed in
matters of moment. But he was son-in-law to Barneveld, and although the
Advocate was certainly not free from the charge of nepotism, he shrank
from the reproach of having apparently removed Aerssens to make a place
for one of his own family.

Van der Myle remained to bear the brunt of the late ambassador's malice,
and to engage at a little later period in hottest controversy with him,
personal and political. "Why should van der Myle strut about, with his
arms akimbo like a peacock?" complained Aerssens one day in confused
metaphor. A question not easy to answer satisfactorily.

The minister selected was a certain Baron Asperen de Langerac, wholly
unversed in diplomacy or other public affairs, with abilities not above
the average. A series of questions addressed by him to the Advocate, the
answers to which, scrawled on the margin of the paper, were to serve for
his general instructions, showed an ingenuousness as amusing as the
replies of Barneveld were experienced and substantial.

In general he was directed to be friendly and respectful to every one, to
the Queen-Regent and her counsellors especially, and, within the limits
of becoming reverence for her, to cultivate the good graces of the Prince
of Conde and the other great nobles still malcontent and rebellious, but
whose present movement, as Barneveld foresaw, was drawing rapidly to a
close. Langerac arrived in Paris on the 5th of April 1614.

Du Maurier thought the new ambassador likely to "fall a prey to the
specious language and gentle attractions of the Due de Bouillon." He also
described him as very dependent upon Prince Maurice. On the other hand
Langerac professed unbounded and almost childlike reverence for
Barneveld, was devoted to his person, and breathed as it were only
through his inspiration. Time would show whether those sentiments would
outlast every possible storm.


   Weakness of the Rulers of France and England--The Wisdom of
   Barneveld inspires Jealousy--Sir Dudley Carleton succeeds Winwood--
   Young Neuburg under the Guidance of Maximilian--Barneveld strives to
   have the Treaty of Xanten enforced--Spain and the Emperor wish to
   make the States abandon their Position with regard to the Duchies--
   The French Government refuses to aid the States--Spain and the
   Emperor resolve to hold Wesel--The great Religious War begun--The
   Protestant Union and Catholic League both wish to secure the Border
   Provinces--Troubles in Turkey--Spanish Fleet seizes La Roche--Spain
   places large Armies on a War Footing.

Few things are stranger in history than the apathy with which the wide
designs of the Catholic party were at that moment regarded. The
preparations for the immense struggle which posterity learned to call the
Thirty Years' War, and to shudder when speaking of it, were going forward
on every side. In truth the war had really begun, yet those most deeply
menaced by it at the outset looked on with innocent calmness because
their own roofs were not quite yet in a blaze. The passage of arms in the
duchies, the outlines of which have just been indicated, and which was
the natural sequel of the campaign carried out four years earlier on the
same territory, had been ended by a mockery. In France, reduced almost to
imbecility by the absence of a guiding brain during a long minority,
fallen under the distaff of a dowager both weak and wicked, distracted by
the intrigues and quarrels of a swarm of self-seeking grandees, and with
all its offices, from highest to lowest, of court, state, jurisprudence,
and magistracy, sold as openly and as cynically as the commonest wares,
there were few to comprehend or to grapple with the danger. It should
have seemed obvious to the meanest capacity in the kingdom that the great
house of Austria, reigning supreme in Spain and in Germany, could not be
allowed to crush the Duke of Savoy on the one side, and Bohemia, Moravia,
and the Netherlands on the other without danger of subjection for France.
Yet the aim of the Queen-Regent was to cultivate an impossible alliance
with her inevitable foe.

And in England, ruled as it then was with no master mind to enforce
against its sovereign the great lessons of policy, internal and external,
on which its welfare and almost its imperial existence depended, the only
ambition of those who could make their opinions felt was to pursue the
same impossibility, intimate alliance with the universal foe.

Any man with slightest pretensions to statesmanship knew that the liberty
for Protestant worship in Imperial Germany, extorted by force, had been
given reluctantly, and would be valid only as long as that force could
still be exerted or should remain obviously in reserve. The
"Majesty-Letter" and the "Convention" of the two religions would prove as
flimsy as the parchment on which they were engrossed, the Protestant
churches built under that sanction would be shattered like glass, if once
the Catholic rulers could feel their hands as clear as their consciences
would be for violating their sworn faith to heretics. Men knew, even if
the easy-going and uxorious emperor, into which character the once busy
and turbulent Archduke Matthias had subsided, might be willing to keep
his pledges, that Ferdinand of Styria, who would soon succeed him, and
Maximilian of Bavaria were men who knew their own minds, and had mentally
never resigned one inch of the ground which Protestantism imagined itself
to have conquered.

These things seem plain as daylight to all who look back upon them
through the long vista of the past; but the sovereign of England did not
see them or did not choose to see them. He saw only the Infanta and her
two millions of dowry, and he knew that by calling Parliament together to
ask subsidies for an anti-Catholic war he should ruin those golden
matrimonial prospects for his son, while encouraging those "shoemakers,"
his subjects, to go beyond their "last," by consulting the
representatives of his people on matters pertaining to the mysteries of
government. He was slowly digging the grave of the monarchy and building
the scaffold of his son; but he did his work with a laborious and
pedantic trifling, when really engaged in state affairs, most amazing to
contemplate. He had no penny to give to the cause in which his nearest
relatives mere so deeply involved and for which his only possible allies
were pledged; but he was ready to give advice to all parties, and with
ludicrous gravity imagined himself playing the umpire between great
contending hosts, when in reality he was only playing the fool at the
beck of masters before whom he quaked.

"You are not to vilipend my counsel," said he one day to a foreign envoy.
"I am neither a camel nor an ass to take up all this work on my
shoulders. Where would you find another king as willing to do it as I

The King had little time and no money to give to serve his own family and
allies and the cause of Protestantism, but he could squander vast sums
upon worthless favourites, and consume reams of paper on controverted
points of divinity. The appointment of Vorstius to the chair of theology
in Leyden aroused more indignation in his bosom, and occupied more of his
time, than the conquests of Spinola in the duchies, and the menaces of
Spain against Savoy and Bohemia. He perpetually preached moderation to
the States in the matter of the debateable territory, although moderation
at that moment meant submission to the House of Austria. He chose to
affect confidence in the good faith of those who were playing a comedy by
which no statesman could be deceived, but which had secured the
approbation of the Solomon of the age.

But there was one man who was not deceived. The warnings and the
lamentations of Barneveld sound to us out of that far distant time like
the voice of an inspired prophet. It is possible that a portion of the
wrath to come might have been averted had there been many men in high
places to heed his voice. I do not wish to exaggerate the power and
wisdom of the man, nor to set him forth as one of the greatest heroes of
history. But posterity has done far less than justice to a statesman and
sage who wielded a vast influence at a most critical period in the fate
of Christendom, and uniformly wielded it to promote the cause of
temperate human liberty, both political and religious. Viewed by the
light of two centuries and a half of additional experience, he may appear
to have made mistakes, but none that were necessarily disastrous or even
mischievous. Compared with the prevailing idea of the age in which he
lived, his schemes of polity seem to dilate into large dimensions, his
sentiments of religious freedom, however limited to our modern ideas,
mark an epoch in human progress, and in regard to the general
commonwealth of Christendom, of which he was so leading a citizen, the
part he played was a lofty one. No man certainly understood the tendency
of his age more exactly, took a broader and more comprehensive view than
he did of the policy necessary to preserve the largest portion of the
results of the past three-quarters of a century, or had pondered the
relative value of great conflicting forces more skilfully. Had his
counsels been always followed, had illustrious birth placed him virtually
upon a throne, as was the case with William the Silent, and thus allowed
him occasionally to carry out the designs of a great mind with almost
despotic authority, it might have been better for the world. But in that
age it was royal blood alone that could command unflinching obedience
without exciting personal rivalry. Men quailed before his majestic
intellect, but hated him for the power which was its necessary result.
They already felt a stupid delight in cavilling at his pedigree. To
dispute his claim to a place among the ancient nobility to which he was
an honour was to revenge themselves for the rank he unquestionably
possessed side by side in all but birth with the kings and rulers of the
world. Whether envy and jealousy be vices more incident to the republican
form of government than to other political systems may be an open
question. But it is no question whatever that Barneveld's every footstep
from this period forward was dogged by envy as patient as it was
devouring. Jealousy stuck to him like his shadow. We have examined the
relations which existed between Winwood and himself; we have seen that
ambassador, now secretary of state for James, never weary in denouncing
the Advocate's haughtiness and grim resolution to govern the country
according to its laws rather than at the dictate of a foreign sovereign,
and in flinging forth malicious insinuations in regard to his relations
to Spain. The man whose every hour was devoted in spite of a thousand
obstacles strewn by stupidity, treachery, and apathy, as well as by envy,
hatred, and bigotry--to the organizing of a grand and universal league of
Protestantism against Spain, and to rolling up with strenuous and
sometimes despairing arms a dead mountain weight, ever ready to fall back
upon and crush him, was accused in dark and mysterious whispers, soon to
grow louder and bolder, of a treacherous inclination for Spain.

There is nothing less surprising nor more sickening for those who observe
public life, and wish to retain faith in the human species, than the
almost infinite power of the meanest of passions.

The Advocate was obliged at the very outset of Langerac's mission to
France to give him a warning on this subject.

"Should her Majesty make kindly mention of me," he said, "you will say
nothing of it in your despatches as you did in your last, although I am
sure with the best intentions. It profits me not, and many take umbrage
at it; wherefore it is wise to forbear."

But this was a trifle. By and by there would be many to take umbrage at
every whisper in his favour, whether from crowned heads or from the
simplest in the social scale. Meantime he instructed the Ambassador,
without paying heed to personal compliments to his chief, to do his best
to keep the French government out of the hands of Spain, and with that
object in view to smooth over the differences between the two great
parties in the kingdom, and to gain the confidence, if possible, of Conde
and Nevers and Bouillon, while never failing in straightforward respect
and loyal friendship to the Queen-Regent and her ministers, as the
legitimate heads of the government.

From England a new ambassador was soon to take the place of Winwood. Sir
Dudley Carleton was a diplomatist of respectable abilities, and well
trained to business and routine. Perhaps on the whole there was none
other, in that epoch of official mediocrity, more competent than he to
fill what was then certainly the most important of foreign posts. His
course of life had in no wise familiarized him with the intricacies of
the Dutch constitution, nor could the diplomatic profession, combined
with a long residence at Venice, be deemed especially favourable for deep
studies of the mysteries of predestination. Yet he would be found ready
at the bidding of his master to grapple with Grotius and Barneveld on the
field of history and law, and thread with Uytenbogaert or Taurinus all
the subtleties of Arminianism and Gomarism as if he had been half his
life both a regular practitioner at the Supreme Court of the Hague and
professor of theology at the University of Leyden. Whether the triumphs
achieved in such encounters were substantial and due entirely to his own
genius might be doubtful. At all events he had a sovereign behind him who
was incapable of making a mistake on any subject.

"You shall not forget," said James in his instructions to Sir Dudley,
"that you are the minister of that master whom God hath made the sole
protector of his religion . . . . . and you may let fall how hateful the
maintaining of erroneous opinions is to the majesty of God and how
displeasing to us."

The warlike operations of 1614 had been ended by the abortive peace of
Xanten. The two rival pretenders to the duchies were to halve the
territory, drawing lots for the first choice, all foreign troops were to
be withdrawn, and a pledge was to be given that no fortress should be
placed in the hands of any power. But Spain at the last moment had
refused to sanction the treaty, and everything was remitted to what might
be exactly described as a state of sixes and sevens. Subsequently it was
hoped that the States' troops might be induced to withdraw simultaneously
with the Catholic forces on an undertaking by Spinola that there should
be no re-occupation of the disputed territory either by the Republic or
by Spain. But Barneveld accurately pointed out that, although the Marquis
was a splendid commander and, so long as he was at the head of the
armies, a most powerful potentate, he might be superseded at any moment.
Count Bucquoy, for example, might suddenly appear in his place and refuse
to be bound by any military arrangement of his predecessor. Then the
Archduke proposed to give a guarantee that in case of a mutual withdrawal
there should be no return of the troops, no recapture of garrisons. But
Barneveld, speaking for the States, liked not the security. The Archduke
was but the puppet of Spain, and Spain had no part in the guarantee. She
held the strings, and might cause him at any moment to play what pranks
she chose. It would be the easiest thing in the world for despotic Spain,
so the Advocate thought, to reappear suddenly in force again at a
moment's notice after the States' troops had been withdrawn and partially
disbanded, and it would be difficult for the many-headed and many-tongued
republic to act with similar promptness. To withdraw without a guarantee
from Spain to the Treaty of Xanten, which had once been signed, sealed,
and all but ratified, would be to give up fifty points in the game.
Nothing but disaster could ensue. The Advocate as leader in all these
negotiations and correspondence was ever actuated by the favourite
quotation of William the Silent from Demosthenes, that the safest citadel
against an invader and a tyrant is distrust. And he always distrusted in
these dealings, for he was sure the Spanish cabinet was trying to make
fools of the States, and there were many ready to assist it in the task.
Now that one of the pretenders, temporary master of half the duchies, the
Prince of Neuburg, had espoused both Catholicism and the sister of the
Archbishop of Cologne and the Duke of Bavaria, it would be more safe than
ever for Spain to make a temporary withdrawal. Maximilian of Bavaria was
beyond all question the ablest and most determined leader of the Catholic
party in Germany, and the most straightforward and sincere. No man before
or since his epoch had, like him, been destined to refuse, and more than
once refuse, the Imperial crown.

Through his apostasy the Prince of Neuburg was in danger of losing his
hereditary estates, his brothers endeavouring to dispossess him on the
ground of the late duke's will, disinheriting any one of his heirs who
should become a convert to Catholicism. He had accordingly implored aid
from the King of Spain. Archduke Albert had urged Philip to render such
assistance as a matter of justice, and the Emperor had naturally declared
that the whole right as eldest son belonged, notwithstanding the will, to
the Prince.

With the young Neuburg accordingly under the able guidance of Maximilian,
it was not likely that the grasp of the Spanish party upon these
all-important territories would be really loosened. The Emperor still
claimed the right to decide among the candidates and to hold the
provinces under sequestration till the decision should be made--that was
to say, until the Greek Kalends. The original attempt to do this through
Archduke Leopold had been thwarted, as we have seen, by the prompt
movements of Maurice sustained by the policy of Barneveld. The Advocate
was resolved that the Emperor's name should not be mentioned either in
the preamble or body of the treaty. And his course throughout the
simulations, which were never negotiations, was perpetually baffled as
much by the easiness and languor of his allies as the ingenuity of the

He was reproached with the loss of Wesel, that Geneva of the Rhine, which
would never be abandoned by Spain if it was not done forthwith. Let Spain
guarantee the Treaty of Xanten, he said, and then she cannot come back.
All else is illusion. Moreover, the Emperor had given positive orders
that Wesel should not be given up. He was assured by Villeroy that France
would never put on her harness for Aachen, that cradle of Protestantism.
That was for the States-General to do, whom it so much more nearly
concerned. The whole aim of Barneveld was not to destroy the Treaty of
Xanten, but to enforce it in the only way in which it could be enforced,
by the guarantee of Spain. So secured, it would be a barrier in the
universal war of religion which he foresaw was soon to break out. But it
was the resolve of Spain, instead of pledging herself to the treaty, to
establish the legal control of the territory in the hand of the Emperor.
Neuburg complained that Philip in writing to him did not give him the
title of Duke of Julich and Cleve, although he had been placed in
possession of those estates by the arms of Spain. Philip, referring to
Archduke Albert for his opinion on this subject, was advised that, as the
Emperor had not given Neuburg the investiture of the duchies, the King
was quite right in refusing him the title. Even should the Treaty of
Xanten be executed, neither he nor the Elector of Brandenburg would be
anything but administrators until the question of right was decided by
the Emperor.

Spain had sent Neuburg the Order of the Golden Fleece as a reward for his
conversion, but did not intend him to be anything but a man of straw in
the territories which he claimed by sovereign right. They were to form a
permanent bulwark to the Empire, to Spain, and to Catholicism.

Barneveld of course could never see the secret letters passing between
Brussels and Madrid, but his insight into the purposes of the enemy was
almost as acute as if the correspondence of Philip and Albert had been in
the pigeonholes of his writing-desk in the Kneuterdyk.

The whole object of Spain and the Emperor, acting through the Archduke,
was to force the States to abandon their positions in the duchies
simultaneously with the withdrawal of the Spanish troops, and to be
satisfied with a bare convention between themselves and Archduke Albert
that there should be no renewed occupation by either party. Barneveld,
finding it impossible to get Spain upon the treaty, was resolved that at
least the two mediating powers, their great allies, the sovereigns of
Great Britain and France, should guarantee the convention, and that the
promises of the Archduke should be made to them. This was steadily
refused by Spain; for the Archduke never moved an inch in the matter
except according to the orders of Spain, and besides battling and
buffeting with the Archduke, Barneveld was constantly deafened with the
clamour of the English king, who always declared Spain to be in the right
whatever she did, and forced to endure with what patience he might the
goading of that King's envoy. France, on the other hand, supported the
States as firmly as could have been reasonably expected.

"We proposed," said the Archduke, instructing an envoy whom he was
sending to Madrid with detailed accounts of these negotiations, "that the
promise should be made to each other as usual in treaties. But the
Hollanders said the promise should be made to the Kings of France and
England, at which the Emperor would have been deeply offended, as if in
the affair he was of no account at all. At any moment by this arrangement
in concert with France and England the Hollanders might walk in and do
what they liked."

Certainly there could have been no succincter eulogy of the policy
steadily recommended, as we shall have occasion to see, by Barneveld. Had
he on this critical occasion been backed by England and France combined,
Spain would have been forced to beat a retreat, and Protestantism in the
great general war just beginning would have had an enormous advantage in
position. But the English Solomon could not see the wisdom of this
policy. "The King of England says we are right," continued the Archduke,
"and has ordered his ambassador to insist on our view. The French
ambassador here says that his colleague at the Hague has similar
instructions, but admits that he has not acted up to them. There is not
much chance of the Hollanders changing. It would be well that the King
should send a written ultimatum that the Hollanders should sign the
convention which we propose. If they don't agree, the world at least will
see that it is not we who are in fault."

The world would see, and would never have forgiven a statesman in the
position of Barneveld, had he accepted a bald agreement from a
subordinate like the Archduke, a perfectly insignificant personage in the
great drama then enacting, and given up guarantees both from the
Archduke's master and from the two great allies of the Republic. He stood
out manfully against Spain and England at every hazard, and under a
pelting storm of obloquy, and this was the man whose designs the English
secretary of state had dared to describe "as of no other nature than to
cause the Provinces to relapse into the hands of Spain."

It appeared too a little later that Barneveld's influence with the French
government, owing to his judicious support of it so long as it was a
government, had been decidedly successful. Drugged as France was by the
Spanish marriage treaty, she was yet not so sluggish nor spell-bound as
the King of Great Britain.

"France will not urge upon the Hollanders to execute the proposal as we
made it," wrote the Archduke to the King, "so negotiations are at a
standstill. The Hollanders say it is better that each party should remain
with what each possesses. So that if it does not come to blows, and if
these insolences go on as they have done, the Hollanders will be gaining
and occupying more territory every day."

Thus once more the ancient enemies and masters of the Republic were
making the eulogy of the Dutch statesman. It was impossible at present
for the States to regain Wesel, nor that other early stronghold of the
Reformation, the old Imperial city of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). The price
to be paid was too exorbitant.

The French government had persistently refused to assist the States and
possessory princes in the recovery of this stronghold. The Queen-Regent
was afraid of offending Spain, although her government had induced the
citizens of the place to make the treaty now violated by that country.
The Dutch ambassador had been instructed categorically to enquire whether
their Majesties meant to assist Aachen and the princes if attacked by the
Archdukes. "No," said Villeroy; "we are not interested in Aachen, 'tis
too far off. Let them look for assistance to those who advised their

To the Ambassador's remonstrance that France was both interested in and
pledged to them, the Secretary of State replied, "We made the treaty
through compassion and love, but we shall not put on harness for Aachen.
Don't think it. You, the States and the United Provinces, may assist them
if you like."

The Envoy then reminded the Minister that the States-General had always
agreed to go forward evenly in this business with the Kings of Great
Britain and France and the united princes, the matter being of equal
importance to all. They had given no further pledge than this to the

It was plain, however, that France was determined not to lift a finger at
that moment. The Duke of Bouillon and those acting with him had tried
hard to induce their Majesties "to write seriously to the Archduke in
order at least to intimidate him by stiff talk," but it was hopeless.
They thought it was not a time then to quarrel with their neighbour and
give offence to Spain.

So the stiff talk was omitted, and the Archduke was not intimidated. The
man who had so often intimidated him was in his grave, and his widow was
occupied in marrying her son to the Infanta. "These are the
first-fruits," said Aerssens, "of the new negotiations with Spain."

Both the Spanish king and the Emperor were resolved to hold Wesel to the
very last. Until the States should retire from all their positions on the
bare word of the Archduke, that the Spanish forces once withdrawn would
never return, the Protestants of those two cities must suffer. There was
no help for it. To save them would be to abandon all. For no true
statesman could be so ingenuous as thus to throw all the cards on the
table for the Spanish and Imperial cabinet to shuffle them at pleasure
for a new deal. The Duke of Neuburg, now Catholic and especially
protected by Spain, had become, instead of a pretender with more or less
law on his side, a mere standard-bearer and agent of the Great Catholic
League in the debateable land. He was to be supported at all hazard by
the Spanish forces, according to the express command of Philip's
government, especially now that his two brothers with the countenance of
the States were disputing his right to his hereditary dominions in

The Archduke was sullen enough at what he called the weak-mindedness of
France. Notwithstanding that by express orders from Spain he had sent
5000 troops under command of Juan de Rivas to the Queen's assistance just
before the peace of Sainte-Menehould, he could not induce her government
to take the firm part which the English king did in browbeating the

"'Tis certain," he complained, "that if, instead of this sluggishness on
the part of France, they had done us there the same good services we have
had from England, the Hollanders would have accepted the promise just as
it was proposed by us." He implored the King, therefore, to use his
strongest influence with the French government that it should strenuously
intervene with the Hollanders, and compel them to sign the proposal which
they rejected. "There is no means of composition if France does not
oblige them to sign," said Albert rather piteously.

But it was not without reason that Barneveld had in many of his letters
instructed the States' ambassador, Langerac, "to caress the old
gentleman" (meaning and never naming Villeroy), for he would prove to be
in spite of all obstacles a good friend to the States, as he always had
been. And Villeroy did hold firm. Whether the Archduke was right or not
in his conviction, that, if France would only unite with England in
exerting a strong pressure on the Hollanders, they would evacuate the
duchies, and so give up the game, the correspondence of Barneveld shows
very accurately. But the Archduke, of course, had not seen that

The Advocate knew what was plotting, what was impending, what was
actually accomplished, for he was accustomed to sweep the whole horizon
with an anxious and comprehensive glance. He knew without requiring to
read the secret letters of the enemy that vast preparations for an
extensive war against the Reformation were already completed. The
movements in the duchies were the first drops of a coming deluge. The
great religious war which was to last a generation of mankind had already
begun; the immediate and apparent pretext being a little disputed
succession to some petty sovereignties, the true cause being the
necessity for each great party--the Protestant Union and the Catholic
League--to secure these border provinces, the possession of which would
be of such inestimable advantage to either. If nothing decisive occurred
in the year 1614, the following year would still be more convenient for
the League. There had been troubles in Turkey. The Grand Vizier had been
murdered. The Sultan was engaged in a war with Persia. There was no
eastern bulwark in Europe to the ever menacing power of the Turk and of
Mahometanism in Europe save Hungary alone. Supported and ruled as that
kingdom was by the House of Austria, the temper of the populations of
Germany had become such as to make it doubtful in the present conflict of
religious opinions between them and their rulers whether the Turk or the
Spaniard would be most odious as an invader. But for the moment, Spain
and the Emperor had their hands free. They were not in danger of an
attack from below the Danube. Moreover, the Spanish fleet had been
achieving considerable successes on the Barbary coast, having seized La
Roche, and one or two important citadels, useful both against the
corsairs and against sudden attacks by sea from the Turk. There were at
least 100,000 men on a war footing ready to take the field at command of
the two branches of the House of Austria, Spanish and German. In the
little war about Montserrat, Savoy was on the point of being crushed, and
Savoy was by position and policy the only possible ally, in the south, of
the Netherlands and of Protestant Germany.

While professing the most pacific sentiments towards the States, and a
profound anxiety to withdraw his troops from their borders, the King of
Spain, besides daily increasing those forces, had just raised 4,000,000
ducats, a large portion of which was lodged with his bankers in Brussels.
Deeds like those were of more significance than sugared words.


     Almost infinite power of the meanest of passions
     Ludicrous gravity
     Safest citadel against an invader and a tyrant is distrust
     Their own roofs were not quite yet in a blaze
     Therefore now denounced the man whom he had injured


     Abstinence from inquisition into consciences and private parlour
     Advanced orthodox party-Puritans
     Allowed the demon of religious hatred to enter into its body
     Almost infinite power of the meanest of passions
     And now the knife of another priest-led fanatic
     Aristocracy of God's elect
     As with his own people, keeping no back-door open
     At a blow decapitated France
     Atheist, a tyrant, because he resisted dictation from the clergy
     Behead, torture, burn alive, and bury alive all heretics
     Christian sympathy and a small assistance not being sufficient
     Conclusive victory for the allies seemed as predestined
     Contained within itself the germs of a larger liberty
     Could not be both judge and party in the suit
     Covered now with the satirical dust of centuries
     Deadly hatred of Puritans in England and Holland
     Determined to bring the very name of liberty into contempt
     Disputing the eternal damnation of young children
     Doctrine of predestination in its sternest and strictest sense
     Emperor of Japan addressed him as his brother monarch
     Epernon, the true murderer of Henry
     Estimating his character and judging his judges
     Everybody should mind his own business
     Fate, free will, or absolute foreknowledge
     Father Cotton, who was only too ready to betray the secrets
     Give him advice if he asked it, and money when he required
     Great war of religion and politics was postponed
     He was not imperial of aspect on canvas or coin
     He was a sincere bigot
     He who would have all may easily lose all
     He who spreads the snare always tumbles into the ditch himself
     Impatience is often on the part of the non-combatants
     Intense bigotry of conviction
     International friendship, the self-interest of each
     It was the true religion, and there was none other
     James of England, who admired, envied, and hated Henry
     Jealousy, that potent principle
     Jesuit Mariana--justifying the killing of excommunicated kings
     King's definite and final intentions, varied from day to day
     Language which is ever living because it is dead
     Louis XIII.
     Ludicrous gravity
     More fiercely opposed to each other than to Papists
     Most detestable verses that even he had ever composed
     Neither kings nor governments are apt to value logic
     No man can be neutral in civil contentions
     No synod had a right to claim Netherlanders as slaves
     No man pretended to think of the State
     None but God to compel me to say more than I choose to say
     Outdoing himself in dogmatism and inconsistency
     Philip IV.
     Power the poison of which it is so difficult to resist
     Practised successfully the talent of silence
     Presents of considerable sums of money to the negotiators made
     Priests shall control the state or the state govern the priests
     Princes show what they have in them at twenty-five or never
     Putting the cart before the oxen
     Queen is entirely in the hands of Spain and the priests
     Religion was made the strumpet of Political Ambition
     Religious toleration, which is a phrase of insult
     Safest citadel against an invader and a tyrant is distrust
     Schism in the Church had become a public fact
     Secure the prizes of war without the troubles and dangers
     Senectus edam maorbus est
     She declined to be his procuress
     Small matter which human folly had dilated into a great one
     Smooth words, in the plentiful lack of any substantial
     So much in advance of his time as to favor religious equality
     Stroke of a broken table knife sharpened on a carriage wheel
     That cynical commerce in human lives
     The defence of the civil authority against the priesthood
     The assassin, tortured and torn by four horses
     The truth in shortest about matters of importance
     The voice of slanderers
     The Catholic League and the Protestant Union
     The vehicle is often prized more than the freight
     Their own roofs were not quite yet in a blaze
     Theological hatred was in full blaze throughout the country
     Theology and politics were one
     There was no use in holding language of authority to him
     There was but one king in Europe, Henry the Bearnese
     Therefore now denounced the man whom he had injured
     They have killed him, 'e ammazato,' cried Concini
     Things he could tell which are too odious and dreadful
     Thirty Years' War tread on the heels of the forty years
     To look down upon their inferior and lost fellow creatures
     Uncouple the dogs and let them run
     Unimaginable outrage as the most legitimate industry
     Vows of an eternal friendship of several weeks' duration
     What could save the House of Austria, the cause of Papacy
     Whether repentance could effect salvation
     Whether dead infants were hopelessly damned
     Whose mutual hatred was now artfully inflamed by partisans
     Wish to appear learned in matters of which they are ignorant
     Work of the aforesaid Puritans and a few Jesuits
     Wrath of the Jesuits at this exercise of legal authority

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life and Death of John of Barneveld, Advocate of Holland : with a view of the primary causes and movements of the Thirty Years' War — Complete (1609-15)" ***

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