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Title: PG Edition of Netherlands series — Complete
Author: Motley, John Lothrop, 1814-1877
Language: English
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Corresponding Member of the Institute of France, Etc.


     The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1584
     History of the United Netherlands, 1584-1609
     Life and Death of John of Barneveld, 1609-1623

     A Memoir of John Lothrop Motley by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.


A History

JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY, D.C.L., LL.D. Corresponding Member of the Institute
of France, Etc.

[Etext Editor's Note: JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY, born in Dorchester, Mass.
1814, died 1877. Other works: Morton's Hopes and Merry Mount, novels.
Motley was the United States Minister to Austria, 1861-67, and the United
States Minister to England, 1869-70. Mark Twain mentions his respect for
John Motley. Oliver Wendell Holmes said in 'An Oration delivered before
the City Authorities of Boston' on the 4th of July, 1863: "'It cannot be
denied,'--says another observer, placed on one of our national
watch-towers in a foreign capital,--'it cannot be denied that the
tendency of European public opinion, as delivered from high places, is
more and more unfriendly to our cause; but the people,' he adds,
'everywhere sympathize with us, for they know that our cause is that of
free institutions,--that our struggle is that of the people against an
oligarchy.' These are the words of the Minister to Austria, whose
generous sympathies with popular liberty no homage paid to his genius by
the class whose admiring welcome is most seductive to scholars has ever
spoiled; our fellow-citizen, the historian of a great Republic which
infused a portion of its life into our own,--John Lothrop Motley." (See
the biography of Motley, by Holmes) Ed.]


The rise of the Dutch Republic must ever be regarded as one of the
leading events of modern times. Without the birth of this great
commonwealth, the various historical phenomena of: the sixteenth and
following centuries must have either not existed; or have presented
themselves under essential modifications.--Itself an organized protest
against ecclesiastical tyranny and universal empire, the Republic guarded
with sagacity, at many critical periods in the world's history; that
balance of power which, among civilized states; ought always to be
identical with the scales of divine justice. The splendid empire of
Charles the Fifth was erected upon the grave of liberty. It is a
consolation to those who have hope in humanity to watch, under the reign
of his successor, the gradual but triumphant resurrection of the spirit
over which the sepulchre had so long been sealed. From the handbreadth of
territory called the province of Holland rises a power which wages eighty
years' warfare with the most potent empire upon earth, and which, during
the progress of the struggle, becoming itself a mighty state, and binding
about its own slender form a zone of the richest possessions of earth,
from pole to tropic, finally dictates its decrees to the empire of

So much is each individual state but a member of one great international
commonwealth, and so close is the relationship between the whole human
family, that it is impossible for a nation, even while struggling for
itself, not to acquire something for all mankind. The maintenance of the
right by the little provinces of Holland and Zealand in the sixteenth, by
Holland and England united in the seventeenth, and by the United States
of America in the eighteenth centuries, forms but a single chapter in the
great volume of human fate; for the so-called revolutions of Holland,
England, and America, are all links of one chain.

To the Dutch Republic, even more than to Florence at an earlier day, is
the world indebted for practical instruction in that great science of
political equilibrium which must always become more and more important as
the various states of the civilized world are pressed more closely
together, and as the struggle for pre-eminence becomes more feverish and
fatal. Courage and skill in political and military combinations enabled
William the Silent to overcome the most powerful and unscrupulous monarch
of his age. The same hereditary audacity and fertility of genius placed
the destiny of Europe in the hands of William's great-grandson, and
enabled him to mould into an impregnable barrier the various elements of
opposition to the overshadowing monarchy of Louis XIV. As the schemes of
the Inquisition and the unparalleled tyranny of Philip, in one century,
led to the establishment of the Republic of the United Provinces, so, in
the next, the revocation of the Nantes Edict and the invasion of Holland
are avenged by the elevation of the Dutch stadholder upon the throne of
the stipendiary Stuarts.

To all who speak the English language; the history of the great agony
through which the Republic of Holland was ushered into life must have
peculiar interest, for it is a portion of the records of the Anglo-Saxon
race--essentially the same, whether in Friesland, England, or

A great naval and commercial commonwealth, occupying a small portion of
Europe but conquering a wide empire by the private enterprise of trading
companies, girdling the world with its innumerable dependencies in Asia,
America, Africa, Australia--exercising sovereignty in Brazil, Guiana, the
West Indies, New York, at the Cape of Good Hope, in Hindostan, Ceylon,
Java, Sumatra, New Holland--having first laid together, as it were, many
of the Cyclopean blocks, out of which the British realm, at a late:
period, has been constructed--must always be looked upon with interest by
Englishmen, as in a great measure the precursor in their own scheme of

For America the spectacle is one of still deeper import. The Dutch
Republic originated in the opposition of the rational elements of human
nature to sacerdotal dogmatism and persecution--in the courageous
resistance of historical and chartered liberty to foreign despotism.
Neither that liberty nor ours was born of the cloud-embraces of a false
Divinity with, a Humanity of impossible beauty, nor was the infant career
of either arrested in blood and tears by the madness of its worshippers.
"To maintain," not to overthrow, was the device of the Washington of the
sixteenth century, as it was the aim of our own hero and his great

The great Western Republic, therefore--in whose Anglo-Saxon veins flows
much of that ancient and kindred blood received from the nation once
ruling a noble portion of its territory, and tracking its own political
existence to the same parent spring of temperate human liberty--must look
with affectionate interest upon the trials of the elder commonwealth.
These volumes recite the achievement of Dutch independence, for its
recognition was delayed till the acknowledgment was superfluous and
ridiculous. The existence of the Republic is properly to be dated from
the Union of Utrecht in 1581, while the final separation of territory
into independent and obedient provinces, into the Commonwealth of the
United States and the Belgian provinces of Spain, was in reality effected
by William the Silent, with whose death three years subsequently, the
heroic period of the history may be said to terminate. At this point
these volumes close. Another series, with less attention to minute
details, and carrying the story through a longer range of years, will
paint the progress of the Republic in its palmy days, and narrate the
establishment of, its external system of dependencies and its interior
combinations for self-government and European counterpoise. The lessons
of history and the fate of free states can never be sufficiently pondered
by those upon whom so large and heavy a responsibility for the
maintenance of rational human freedom rests.

I have only to add that this work is the result of conscientious
research, and of an earnest desire to arrive at the truth. I have
faithfully studied all the important contemporary chroniclers and later
historians--Dutch, Flemish, French, Italian, Spanish, or German. Catholic
and Protestant, Monarchist and Republican, have been consulted with the
same sincerity. The works of Bor (whose enormous but indispensable folios
form a complete magazine of contemporary state-papers, letters, and
pamphlets, blended together in mass, and connected by a chain of artless
but earnest narrative), of Meteren, De Thou, Burgundius, Heuterus;
Tassis, Viglius, Hoofd, Haraeus, Van der Haer, Grotius-of Van der Vynckt,
Wagenaer, Van Wyn, De Jonghe, Kluit, Van Kampen, Dewez, Kappelle,
Bakhuyzen, Groen van Prinsterer--of Ranke and Raumer, have been as
familiar to me as those of Mendoza, Carnero, Cabrera, Herrera, Ulloa,
Bentivoglio, Peres, Strada. The manuscript relations of those Argus-eyed
Venetian envoys who surprised so many courts and cabinets in their most
unguarded moments, and daguerreotyped their character and policy for the
instruction of the crafty Republic, and whose reports remain such an
inestimable source for the secret history of the sixteenth century, have
been carefully examined--especially the narratives of the caustic and
accomplished Badovaro, of Suriano, and Michele. It is unnecessary to add
that all the publications of M. Gachard--particularly the invaluable
correspondence of Philip II. and of William the Silent, as well as the
"Archives et Correspondence" of the Orange Nassau family, edited by the
learned and distinguished Groen van Prinsterer, have been my constant
guides through the tortuous labyrinth of Spanish and Netherland politics.
The large and most interesting series of pamphlets known as "The Duncan
Collection," in the Royal Library at the Hague, has also afforded a great
variety of details by which I have endeavoured to give color and interest
to the narrative. Besides these, and many other printed works, I have
also had the advantage of perusing many manuscript histories, among which
may be particularly mentioned the works of Pontua Payen, of Renom de
France, and of Pasquier de la Barre; while the vast collection of
unpublished documents in the Royal Archives of the Hague, of Brussels,
and of Dresden, has furnished me with much new matter of great
importance. I venture to hope that many years of labour, a portion of
them in the archives of those countries whose history forms the object of
my study, will not have been entirely in vain; and that the lovers of
human progress, the believers in the capacity of nations for
self-government and self-improvement, and the admirers of disinterested
human genius and virtue, may find encouragement for their views in the
detailed history of an heroic people in its most eventful period, and in
the life and death of the great man whose name and fame are identical
with those of his country.

No apology is offered for this somewhat personal statement. When an
unknown writer asks the attention of the public upon an important theme,
he is not only authorized, but required, to show, that by industry and
earnestness he has entitled himself to a hearing. The author too keenly
feels that he has no further claims than these, and he therefore most
diffidently asks for his work the indulgence of his readers.

I would take this opportunity of expressing my gratitude to Dr. Klemm,
Hofrath and Chief Librarian at Dresden, and to Mr. Von Weber,
Ministerial-rath and Head of the Royal Archives of Saxony, for the
courtesy and kindness extended to me so uniformly during the course of my
researches in that city. I would also speak a word of sincere thanks to
Mr. Campbell, Assistant Librarian at the Hague, for his numerous acts of
friendship during the absence of, his chief, M. Holtrop. To that most
distinguished critic and historian, M. Bakhuyzen van den Brinck, Chief
Archivist of the Netherlands, I am under deep obligations for advice,
instruction, and constant kindness, during my residence at the Hague; and
I would also signify my sense of the courtesy of Mr. Charter-Master de
Schwane, and of the accuracy with which copies of MSS. in the archives
were prepared for me by his care. Finally, I would allude in the
strongest language of gratitude and respect to M. Gachard,
Archivist-General of Belgium, for his unwearied courtesy and manifold
acts of kindness to me during my studies in the Royal Archives of



Part 1.


The north-western corner of the vast plain which extends from the German
ocean to the Ural mountains, is occupied by the countries called the
Netherlands. This small triangle, enclosed between France, Germany, and
the sea, is divided by the modern kingdoms of Belgium and Holland into
two nearly equal portions. Our earliest information concerning this
territory is derived from the Romans. The wars waged by that nation with
the northern barbarians have rescued the damp island of Batavia, with its
neighboring morasses, from the obscurity in which they might have
remained for ages, before any thing concerning land or people would have
been made known by the native inhabitants. Julius Caesar has saved from,
oblivion the heroic savages who fought against his legions in defence of
their dismal homes with ferocious but unfortunate patriotism; and the
great poet of England, learning from the conqueror's Commentaries the
name of the boldest tribe, has kept the Nervii, after almost twenty
centuries, still fresh and familiar in our ears.

Tacitus, too, has described with singular minuteness the struggle between
the people of these regions and the power of Rome, overwhelming, although
tottering to its fall; and has moreover, devoted several chapters of his
work upon Germany to a description of the most remarkable Teutonic tribes
of the Netherlands.

Geographically and ethnographically, the Low Countries belong both to
Gaul and to Germany. It is even doubtful to which of the two the Batavian
island, which is the core of the whole country, was reckoned by the
Romans. It is, however, most probable that all the land, with the
exception of Friesland, was considered a part of Gaul.

Three great rivers--the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Scheld--had deposited
their slime for ages among the dunes and sand banks heaved up by the
ocean around their mouths. A delta was thus formed, habitable at last for
man. It was by nature a wide morass, in which oozy islands and savage
forests were interspersed among lagoons and shallows; a district lying
partly below the level of the ocean at its higher tides, subject to
constant overflow from the rivers, and to frequent and terrible
inundations by the sea.

The Rhine, leaving at last the regions where its storied lapse, through
so many ages, has been consecrated alike by nature and art-by poetry and
eventful truth--flows reluctantly through the basalt portal of the
Seven Mountains into the open fields which extend to the German sea.
After entering this vast meadow, the stream divides itself into two
branches, becoming thus the two-horned Rhine of Virgil, and holds in
these two arms the island of Batavia.

The Meuse, taking its rise in the Vosges, pours itself through the
Ardennes wood, pierces the rocky ridges upon the southeastern frontier of
the Low Countries, receives the Sambre in the midst of that picturesque
anthracite basin where now stands the city of Namur, and then moves
toward the north, through nearly the whole length of the country, till it
mingles its waters with the Rhine.

The Scheld, almost exclusively a Belgian river, after leaving its
fountains in Picardy, flows through the present provinces of Flanders and
Hainault. In Caesar's time it was suffocated before reaching the sea in
quicksands and thickets, which long afforded protection to the savage
inhabitants against the Roman arms; and which the slow process of nature
and the untiring industry of man have since converted into the
archipelago of Zealand and South Holland. These islands were unknown to
the Romans.

Such were the rivers, which, with their numerous tributaries, coursed
through the spongy land. Their frequent overflow, when forced back upon
their currents by the stormy sea, rendered the country almost
uninhabitable. Here, within a half-submerged territory, a race of
wretched ichthyophagi dwelt upon terpen, or mounds, which they had
raised, like beavers, above the almost fluid soil. Here, at a later day,
the same race chained the tyrant Ocean and his mighty streams into
subserviency, forcing them to fertilize, to render commodious, to cover
with a beneficent network of veins and arteries, and to bind by watery
highways with the furthest ends of the world, a country disinherited by
nature of its rights. A region, outcast of ocean and earth, wrested at
last from both domains their richest treasures. A race, engaged for
generations in stubborn conflict with the angry elements, was
unconsciously educating itself for its great struggle with the still more
savage despotism of man.

The whole territory of the Netherlands was girt with forests. An
extensive belt of woodland skirted the sea-coast; reaching beyond the
mouths of the Rhine. Along the outer edge of this carrier, the dunes cast
up by the sea were prevented by the close tangle of thickets from
drifting further inward; and thus formed a breastwork which time and art
were to strengthen. The, groves of Haarlem and the Hague are relics of
this ancient forest. The Badahuenna wood, horrid with Druidic sacrifices,
extended along the eastern line of the vanished lake of Flevo. The vast
Hercynian forest, nine days' journey in breadth, closed in the country on
the German side, stretching from the banks of the Rhine to the remote
regions of the Dacians, in such vague immensity (says the conqueror of
the whole country) that no German, after traveling sixty days, had ever
reached, or even heard of; its commencement. On the south, the famous
groves of Ardennes, haunted by faun and satyr, embowered the country, and
separated it from Celtic Gaul.

Thus inundated by mighty rivers, quaking beneath the level of the ocean,
belted about by hirsute forests, this low land, nether land, hollow land,
or Holland, seemed hardly deserving the arms of the all-accomplished
Roman. Yet foreign tyranny, from the earliest ages, has coveted this
meagre territory as lustfully as it has sought to wrest from their native
possessors those lands with the fatal gift of beauty for their dower;
while the genius of liberty has inspired as noble a resistance to
oppression here as it ever aroused in Grecian or Italian breasts.


It can never be satisfactorily ascertained who were the aboriginal
inhabitants. The record does not reach beyond Caesar's epoch, and he
found the territory on the left of the Rhine mainly tenanted by tribes of
the Celtic family. That large division of the Indo-European group which
had already overspread many portions of Asia Minor, Greece, Germany, the
British Islands, France, and Spain, had been long settled in Belgic Gaul,
and constituted the bulk of its population. Checked in its westward
movement by the Atlantic, its current began to flow backwards towards its
fountains, so that the Gallic portion of the Netherland population was
derived from the original race in its earlier wanderings and from the
later and refluent tide coming out of Celtic Gaul. The modern appellation
of the Walloons points to the affinity of their ancestors with the
Gallic, Welsh, and Gaelic family. The Belgae were in many respects a
superior race to most of their blood-allies. They were, according to
Caesar's testimony, the bravest of all the Celts. This may be in part
attributed to the presence of several German tribes, who, at this period
had already forced their way across the Rhine, mingled their qualities
with the Belgic material, and lent an additional mettle to the Celtic
blood. The heart of the country was thus inhabited by a Gallic race, but
the frontiers had been taken possession of by Teutonic tribes.

When the Cimbri and their associates, about a century before our era,
made their memorable onslaught upon Rome, the early inhabitants of the
Rhine island of Batavia, who were probably Celts, joined in the
expedition. A recent and tremendous inundation had swept away their
miserable homes, and even the trees of the forests, and had thus rendered
them still more dissatisfied with their gloomy abodes. The island was
deserted of its population. At about the same period a civil dissension
among the Chatti--a powerful German race within the Hercynian
forest--resulted in the expatriation of a portion of the people. The
exiles sought a new home in the empty Rhine island, called it "Bet-auw,"
or "good-meadow," and were themselves called, thenceforward, Batavi, or

These Batavians, according to Tacitus, were the bravest of all the
Germans. The Chatti, of whom they formed a portion, were a pre-eminently
warlike race. "Others go to battle," says the historian, "these go to
war." Their bodies were more hardy, their minds more vigorous, than those
of other tribes. Their young men cut neither hair nor beard till they had
slain an enemy. On the field of battle, in the midst of carnage and
plunder, they, for the first time, bared their faces. The cowardly and
sluggish, only, remained unshorn. They wore an iron ring, too, or shackle
upon their necks until they had performed the same achievement, a symbol
which they then threw away, as the emblem of sloth. The Batavians were
ever spoken of by the Romans with entire respect. They conquered the
Belgians, they forced the free Frisians to pay tribute, but they called
the Batavians their friends. The tax-gatherer never invaded their island.
Honorable alliance united them with the Romans. It was, however, the
alliance of the giant and the dwarf. The Roman gained glory and empire,
the Batavian gained nothing but the hardest blows. The Batavian cavalry
became famous throughout the Republic and the Empire. They were the
favorite troops of Caesar, and with reason, for it was their valor which
turned the tide of battle at Pharsalia. From the death of Julius down to
the times of Vespasian, the Batavian legion was the imperial body guard,
the Batavian island the basis of operations in the Roman wars with Gaul,
Germany, and Britain.

Beyond the Batavians, upon the north, dwelt the great Frisian family,
occupying the regions between the Rhine and Ems, The Zuyder Zee and the
Dollart, both caused by the terrific inundations of the thirteenth
century and not existing at this period, did not then interpose
boundaries between kindred tribes. All formed a homogeneous nation of
pure German origin.

Thus, the population of the country was partly Celtic, partly German. Of
these two elements, dissimilar in their tendencies and always difficult
to blend, the Netherland people has ever been compounded. A certain
fatality of history has perpetually helped to separate still more widely
these constituents, instead of detecting and stimulating the elective
affinities which existed. Religion, too, upon all great historical
occasions, has acted as the most powerful of dissolvents. Otherwise, had
so many valuable and contrasted characteristics been early fused into a
whole, it would be difficult to show a race more richly endowed by Nature
for dominion and progress than the Belgo-Germanic people.

Physically the two races resembled each other. Both were of vast stature.
The gigantic Gaul derided the Roman soldiers as a band of pigmies. The
German excited astonishment by his huge body and muscular limbs. Both
were fair, with fierce blue eyes, but the Celt had yellow hair floating
over his shoulders, and the German long locks of fiery red, which he even
dyed with woad to heighten the favorite color, and wore twisted into a
war-knot upon the top of his head. Here the German's love of finery
ceased. A simple tunic fastened at his throat with a thorn, while his
other garments defined and gave full play to his limbs, completed his
costume. The Gaul, on the contrary, was so fond of dress that the Romans
divided his race respectively into long-haired, breeched, and gowned
Gaul; (Gallia comata, braccata, togata). He was fond of brilliant and
parti-colored clothes, a taste which survives in the Highlander's
costume. He covered his neck and arms with golden chains. The simple and
ferocious German wore no decoration save his iron ring, from which his
first homicide relieved him. The Gaul was irascible, furious in his
wrath, but less formidable in a sustained conflict with a powerful foe.
"All the Gauls are of very high stature," says a soldier who fought under
Julian. (Amm. Marcel. xv. 12. 1). "They are white, golden-haired,
terrible in the fierceness of their eyes, greedy of quarrels, bragging
and insolent. A band of strangers could not resist one of them in a
brawl, assisted by his strong blue-eyed wife, especially when she begins,
gnashing her teeth, her neck swollen, brandishing her vast and snowy
arms, and kicking with her heels at the same time, to deliver her
fisticuffs, like bolts from the twisted strings of a catapult. The voices
of many are threatening and formidable. They are quick to anger, but
quickly appeased. All are clean in their persons; nor among them is ever
seen any man or woman, as elsewhere, squalid in ragged garments. At all
ages they are apt for military service. The old man goes forth to the
fight with equal strength of breast, with limbs as hardened by cold and
assiduous labor, and as contemptuous of all dangers, as the young. Not
one of them, as in Italy is often the case, was ever known to cut off his
thumbs to avoid the service of Mars."

The polity of each race differed widely from that of the other. The
government of both may be said to have been republican, but the Gallic
tribes were aristocracies, in which the influence of clanship was a
predominant feature; while the German system, although nominally regal,
was in reality democratic. In Gaul were two orders, the nobility and the
priesthood, while the people, says Caesar, were all slaves. The knights
or nobles were all trained to arms. Each went forth to battle, followed
by his dependents, while a chief of all the clans was appointed to take
command during the war. The prince or chief governor was elected
annually, but only by the nobles. The people had no rights at all, and
were glad to assign themselves as slaves to any noble who was strong
enough to protect them. In peace the Druids exercised the main functions
of government. They decided all controversies, civil and criminal. To
rebel against their decrees was punished by exclusion from the
sacrifices--a most terrible excommunication, through which the criminal
was cut off from all intercourse with his fellow-creatures.

With the Germans, the sovereignty resided in the great assembly of the
people. There were slaves, indeed, but in small number, consisting either
of prisoners of war or of those unfortunates who had gambled away their
liberty in games of chance. Their chieftains, although called by the
Romans princes and kings, were, in reality, generals, chosen by universal
suffrage. Elected in the great assembly to preside in war, they were
raised on the shoulders of martial freemen, amid wild battle cries and
the clash of spear and shield. The army consisted entirely of volunteers,
and the soldier was for life infamous who deserted the field while his
chief remained alive. The same great assembly elected the village
magistrates and decided upon all important matters both of peace and war.
At the full of the moon it was usually convoked. The nobles and the
popular delegates arrived at irregular intervals, for it was an
inconvenience arising from their liberty, that two or three days were
often lost in waiting for the delinquents. All state affairs were in the
hands of this fierce democracy. The elected chieftains had rather
authority to persuade than power to command.

The Gauls were an agricultural people. They were not without many arts of
life. They had extensive flocks and herds; and they even exported salted
provisions as far as Rome. The truculent German, Ger-mane, Heer-mann,
War-man, considered carnage the only useful occupation, and despised
agriculture as enervating and ignoble. It was base, in his opinion, to
gain by sweat what was more easily acquired by blood. The land was
divided annually by the magistrates, certain farms being assigned to
certain families, who were forced to leave them at the expiration of the
year. They cultivated as a common property the lands allotted by the
magistrates, but it was easier to summon them to the battle-field than to
the plough. Thus they were more fitted for the roaming and conquering
life which Providence was to assign to them for ages, than if they had
become more prone to root themselves in the soil. The Gauls built towns
and villages. The German built his solitary hut where inclination
prompted. Close neighborhood was not to his taste.

In their system of religion the two races were most widely contrasted.
The Gauls were a priest-ridden race. Their Druids were a dominant caste,
presiding even over civil affairs, while in religious matters their
authority was despotic. What were the principles of their wild Theology
will never be thoroughly ascertained, but we know too much of its
sanguinary rites. The imagination shudders to penetrate those shaggy
forests, ringing with the death-shrieks of ten thousand human victims,
and with the hideous hymns chanted by smoke-and-blood-stained priests to
the savage gods whom they served.

The German, in his simplicity, had raised himself to a purer belief than
that of the sensuous Roman or the superstitious Gaul. He believed in a
single, supreme, almighty God, All-Vater or All-father. This Divinity was
too sublime to be incarnated or imaged, too infinite to be enclosed in
temples built with hands. Such is the Roman's testimony to the lofty
conception of the German. Certain forests were consecrated to the unseen
God whom the eye of reverent faith could alone behold. Thither, at stated
times, the people repaired to worship. They entered the sacred grove with
feet bound together, in token of submission. Those who fell were
forbidden to rise, but dragged themselves backwards on the ground. Their
rules were few and simple. They had no caste of priests, nor were they,
when first known to the Romans, accustomed to offer sacrifice. It must be
confessed that in a later age, a single victim, a criminal or a prisoner,
was occasionally immolated. The purity of their religion was soon stained
by their Celtic neighborhood. In the course of the Roman dominion it
became contaminated, and at last profoundly depraved. The fantastic
intermixture of Roman mythology with the gloomy but modified superstition
of Romanized Celts was not favorable to the simple character of German
theology. The entire extirpation, thus brought about, of any conceivable
system of religion, prepared the way for a true revelation. Within that
little river territory, amid those obscure morasses of the Rhine and
Scheld, three great forms of religion--the sanguinary superstition of the
Druid, the sensuous polytheism of the Roman, the elevated but dimly
groping creed of the German, stood for centuries, face to face, until,
having mutually debased and destroyed each other, they all faded away in
the pure light of Christianity.

Thus contrasted were Gaul and German in religious and political systems.
The difference was no less remarkable in their social characteristics.
The Gaul was singularly unchaste. The marriage state was almost unknown.
Many tribes lived in most revolting and incestuous concubinage; brethren,
parents, and children, having wives in common. The German was loyal as
the Celt was dissolute. Alone among barbarians, he contented himself with
a single wife, save that a few dignitaries, from motives of policy, were
permitted a larger number. On the marriage day the German offered
presents to his bride--not the bracelets and golden necklaces with which
the Gaul adorned his fair-haired concubine, but oxen and a bridled horse,
a sword, a shield, and a spear-symbols that thenceforward she was to
share his labors and to become a portion of himself.

They differed, too, in the honors paid to the dead. The funerals of the
Gauls were pompous. Both burned the corpse, but the Celt cast into the
flames the favorite animals, and even the most cherished slaves and
dependents of the master. Vast monuments of stone or piles of earth were
raised above the ashes of the dead. Scattered relics of the Celtic age
are yet visible throughout Europe, in these huge but unsightly memorials.

The German was not ambitious at the grave. He threw neither garments nor
odors upon the funeral pyre, but the arms and the war-horse of the
departed were burned and buried with him.

The turf was his only sepulchre, the memory of his valor his only
monument. Even tears were forbidden to the men. "It was esteemed
honorable," says the historian, "for women to lament, for men to

The parallel need be pursued no further. Thus much it was necessary to
recall to the historical student concerning the prominent characteristics
by which the two great races of the land were distinguished:
characteristics which Time has rather hardened than effaced. In the
contrast and the separation lies the key to much of their history. Had
Providence permitted a fusion of the two races, it is, possible, from
their position, and from the geographical and historical link which they
would have afforded to the dominant tribes of Europe, that a world-empire
might have been the result, different in many respects from any which has
ever arisen. Speculations upon what might have been are idle. It is well,
however; to ponder the many misfortunes resulting from a mutual
repulsion, which, under other circumstances and in other spheres, has
been exchanged for mutual attraction and support.

It is now necessary to sketch rapidly the political transformations
undergone by the country, from the early period down to the middle of the
sixteenth century; the epoch when the long agony commenced, out of which
the Batavian republic was born.


The earliest chapter in the history of the Netherlands was written by
their conqueror. Celtic Gaul is already in the power of Rome; the Belgic
tribes, alarmed at the approaching danger, arm against the universal,
tyrant. Inflammable, quick to strike, but too fickle to prevail against
so powerful a foe, they hastily form a league of almost every clan. At
the first blow of Caesar's sword, the frail confederacy falls asunder
like a rope of sand. The tribes scatter in all directions.

Nearly all are soon defeated, and sue for mercy. The Nervii, true to the
German blood in their, veins, swear to die rather than surrender. They,
at least, are worthy of their cause. Caesar advances against them at the
head of eight legions. Drawn up on the banks of the Sambre, they await
the Roman's approach. In three days' march Caesar comes up with them,
pitches his camp upon a steep hill sloping down to the river, and sends
some cavalry across. Hardly have the Roman horsemen crossed the stream,
than the Nervii rush from the wooded hill-top, overthrow horse and rider,
plunge in one great mass into the current, and, directly afterwards, are
seen charging up the hill into the midst of the enemy's force. "At the
same moment," says the conqueror, "they seemed in the wood, in the river,
and within our lines." There is a panic among the Romans, but it is
brief. Eight veteran Roman legions, with the world's victor at their
head, are too much for the brave but undisciplined Nervii. Snatching a
shield from a soldier, and otherwise unarmed, Caesar throws himself into
the hottest of the fight. The battle rages foot to foot and hand to hand
but the hero's skill, with the cool valor of his troops, proves
invincible as ever. The Nervii, true to their vow, die, but not a man
surrenders. They fought upon that day till the ground was heaped with
their dead, while, as the foremost fell thick and fast, their comrades,
says the Roman, sprang upon their piled-up bodies, and hurled their
javelins at the enemy as from a hill. They fought like men to whom life
without liberty was a curse. They were not defeated, but exterminated. Of
many thousand fighting men went home but five hundred. Upon reaching the
place of refuge where they had bestowed their women and children, Caesar
found, after the battle, that there were but three of their senators left
alive. So perished the Nervii. Caesar commanded his legions to treat with
respect the little remnant of the tribe which had just fallen to swell
the empty echo of his glory, and then, with hardly a breathing pause, he
proceeded to annihilate the Aduatici, the Menapii, and the Morini.

Gaul being thus pacified, as, with sublime irony, he expresses himself
concerning a country some of whose tribes had been annihilated, some sold
as slaves, and others hunted to their lairs like beasts of prey, the
conqueror departed for Italy. Legations for peace from many German races
to Rome were the consequence of these great achievements. Among others
the Batavians formed an alliance with the masters of the world. Their
position was always an honorable one. They were justly proud of paying no
tribute, but it was, perhaps, because they had nothing to pay. They had
few cattle, they could give no hides and horns like the Frisians, and
they were therefore allowed to furnish only their blood. From this time
forth their cavalry, which was the best of Germany, became renowned in
the Roman army upon every battle-field of Europe.

It is melancholy, at a later moment, to find the brave Batavians
distinguished in the memorable expedition of Germanicus to crush the
liberties of their German kindred. They are forever associated with the
sublime but misty image of the great Hermann, the hero, educated in Rome,
and aware of the colossal power of the empire, who yet, by his genius,
valor, and political adroitness, preserved for Germany her nationality,
her purer religion, and perhaps even that noble language which her
late-flowering literature has rendered so illustrious--but they are
associated as enemies, not as friends.

Galba, succeeding to the purple upon the suicide of Nero, dismissed the
Batavian life-guards to whom he owed his elevation. He is murdered, Otho
and Vitellius contend for the succession, while all eyes are turned upon
the eight Batavian regiments. In their hands the scales of empire seem to
rest. They declare for Vitellius, and the civil war begins. Otho is
defeated; Vitellius acknowledged by Senate and people. Fearing, like his
predecessors, the imperious turbulence of the Batavian legions, he, too,
sends them into Germany. It was the signal for a long and extensive
revolt, which had well nigh overturned the Roman power in Gaul and Lower


Claudius Civilis was a Batavian of noble race, who had served twenty-five
years in the Roman armies. His Teutonic name has perished, for, like most
savages who become denizens of a civilized state, he had assumed an
appellation in the tongue of his superiors. He was a soldier of fortune,
and had fought wherever the Roman eagles flew. After a quarter of a
century's service he was sent in chains to Rome, and his brother
executed, both falsely charged with conspiracy. Such were the triumphs
adjudged to Batavian auxiliaries. He escaped with life, and was disposed
to consecrate what remained of it to a nobler cause. Civilis was no
barbarian. Like the German hero Arminius, he had received a Roman
education, and had learned the degraded condition of Rome. He knew the
infamous vices of her rulers; he retained an unconquerable love for
liberty and for his own race. Desire to avenge his own wrongs was mingled
with loftier motives in his breast. He knew that the sceptre was in the
gift of the Batavian soldiery. Galba had been murdered, Otho had
destroyed himself, and Vitellius, whose weekly gluttony cost the empire
more gold than would have fed the whole Batavian population and converted
their whole island-morass into fertile pastures, was contending for the
purple with Vespasian, once an obscure adventurer like Civilis himself,
and even his friend and companion in arms. It seemed a time to strike a
blow for freedom.

By his courage, eloquence, and talent for political combinations, Civilis
effected a general confederation of all the Netherland tribes, both
Celtic and German. For a brief moment there was a united people, a
Batavian commonwealth. He found another source of strength in German
superstition. On the banks of the Lippe, near its confluence with the
Rhine, dwelt the Virgin Velleda, a Bructerian weird woman, who exercised
vast influence over the warriors of her nation. Dwelling alone in a lofty
tower, shrouded in a wild forest, she was revered as an oracle. Her
answers to the demands of her worshippers concerning future events were
delivered only to a chosen few. To Civilis, who had formed a close
friendship with her, she promised success, and the downfall of the Roman
world. Inspired by her prophecies, many tribes of Germany sent large
subsidies to the Batavian chief.

The details of the revolt have been carefully preserved by Tacitus, and
form one of his grandest and most elaborate pictures. The spectacle of a
brave nation, inspired by the soul of one great man and rising against an
overwhelming despotism, will always speak to the heart, from generation
to generation. The battles, the sieges, the defeats, the indomitable
spirit of Civilis, still flaming most brightly when the clouds were
darkest around him, have been described by the great historian in his
most powerful manner. The high-born Roman has thought the noble
barbarian's portrait a subject worthy his genius.

The struggle was an unsuccessful one. After many victories and many
overthrows, Civilis was left alone. The Gallic tribes fell off, and sued
for peace. Vespasian, victorious over Vitellius, proved too powerful for
his old comrade. Even the Batavians became weary of the hopeless contest,
while fortune, after much capricious hovering, settled at last upon the
Roman side. The imperial commander Cerialis seized the moment when the
cause of the Batavian hero was most desperate to send emissaries among
his tribe, and even to tamper with the mysterious woman whose prophecies
had so inflamed his imagination. These intrigues had their effect. The
fidelity of the people was sapped; the prophetess fell away from her
worshipper, and foretold ruin to his cause. The Batavians murmured that
their destruction was inevitable, that one nation could not arrest the
slavery which was destined for the whole world. How large a part of the
human race were the Batavians? What were they in a contest with the whole
Roman empire? Moreover, they were not oppressed with tribute. They were
only expected to furnish men and valor to their proud allies. It was the
next thing to liberty. If they were to have rulers, it was better to
serve a Roman emperor than a German witch.

Thus murmured the people. Had Civilis been successful, he would have been
deified; but his misfortunes, at last, made him odious in spite of his
heroism. But the Batavian was not a man to be crushed, nor had he lived
so long in the Roman service to be outmatched in politics by the
barbarous Germans. He was not to be sacrificed as a peace-offering to
revengeful Rome. Watching from beyond the Rhine the progress of defection
and the decay of national enthusiasm, he determined to be beforehand with
those who were now his enemies. He accepted the offer of negotiation from
Cerialis. The Roman general was eager to grant a full pardon, and to
re-enlist so brave a soldier in the service of the empire.

A colloquy was agreed upon. The bridge across the Nabalia was broken
asunder in the middle, and Cerialis and Civilis met upon the severed
sides. The placid stream by which Roman enterprise had connected the
waters of the Rhine with the lake of Flevo, flowed between the imperial
commander and the rebel chieftain.


Here the story abruptly terminates. The remainder of the Roman's
narrative is lost, and upon that broken bridge the form of the Batavian
hero disappears forever. His name fades from history: not a syllable is
known of his subsequent career; every thing is buried in the profound
oblivion which now steals over the scene where he was the most imposing

The soul of Civilis had proved insufficient to animate a whole people;
yet it was rather owing to position than to any personal inferiority,
that his name did not become as illustrious as that of Hermann. The
German patriot was neither braver nor wiser than the Batavian, but he had
the infinite forests of his fatherland to protect him. Every legion which
plunged into those unfathomable depths was forced to retreat
disastrously, or to perish miserably. Civilis was hemmed in by the ocean;
his country, long the basis of Roman military operations, was accessible
by river and canal, The patriotic spirit which he had for a moment
raised, had abandoned him; his allies had deserted him; he stood alone
and at bay, encompassed by the hunters, with death or surrender as his
only alternative. Under such circumstances, Hermann could not have shown
more courage or conduct, nor have terminated the impossible struggle with
greater dignity or adroitness.

The contest of Civilis with Rome contains a remarkable foreshadowing of
the future conflict with Spain, through which the Batavian republic,
fifteen centuries later, was to be founded. The characters, the events,
the amphibious battles, desperate sieges, slippery alliances, the traits
of generosity, audacity and cruelty, the generous confidence, the broken
faith seem so closely to repeat themselves, that History appears to
present the self-same drama played over and over again, with but a change
of actors and of costume. There is more than a fanciful resemblance
between Civilis and William the Silent, two heroes of ancient German
stock, who had learned the arts of war and peace in the service of a
foreign and haughty world-empire. Determination, concentration of
purpose, constancy in calamity, elasticity almost preternatural,
self-denial, consummate craft in political combinations, personal
fortitude, and passionate patriotism, were the heroic elements in both.
The ambition of each was subordinate to the cause which he served. Both
refused the crown, although each, perhaps, contemplated, in the sequel, a
Batavian realm of which he would have been the inevitable chief. Both
offered the throne to a Gallic prince, for Classicus was but the
prototype of Anjou, as Brinno of Brederode, and neither was destined, in
this world, to see his sacrifices crowned with success.

The characteristics of the two great races of the land portrayed
themselves in the Roman and the Spanish struggle with much the same
colors. The Southrons, inflammable, petulant, audacious, were the first
to assault and to defy the imperial power in both revolts, while the
inhabitants of the northern provinces, slower to be aroused, but of more
enduring wrath, were less ardent at the commencement, but; alone,
steadfast at the close of the contest. In both wars the southern Celts
fell away from the league, their courageous but corrupt chieftains having
been purchased with imperial gold to bring about the abject submission of
their followers; while the German Netherlands, although eventually
subjugated by Rome, after a desperate struggle, were successful in the
great conflict with Spain, and trampled out of existence every vestige of
her authority. The Batavian republic took its rank among the leading
powers of the earth; the Belgic provinces remained Roman, Spanish,
Austrian property.


Obscure but important movements in the regions of eternal twilight,
revolutions, of which history has been silent, in the mysterious depths
of Asia, outpourings of human rivets along the sides of the Altai
mountains, convulsions up-heaving r mote realms and unknown dynasties,
shock after shock throb bing throughout the barbarian world and dying
upon the edge of civilization, vast throes which shake the earth as
precursory pangs to the birth of a new empire--as dying symptoms of the
proud but effete realm which called itself the world; scattered hordes of
sanguinary, grotesque savages pushed from their own homes, and hovering
with vague purposes upon the Roman frontier, constantly repelled and
perpetually reappearing in ever-increasing swarms, guided thither by a
fierce instinct, or by mysterious laws--such are the well known phenomena
which preceded the fall of western Rome. Stately, externally powerful,
although undermined and putrescent at the core, the death-stricken empire
still dashed back the assaults of its barbarous enemies.

During the long struggle intervening between the age of Vespasian and
that of Odoacer, during all the preliminary ethnographical revolutions
which preceded the great people's wandering, the Netherlands remained
subject provinces. Their country was upon the high road which led the
Goths to Rome. Those low and barren tracts were the outlying marches of
the empire. Upon that desolate beach broke the first surf from the rising
ocean of German freedom which was soon to overwhelm Rome. Yet, although
the ancient landmarks were soon well nigh obliterated, the Netherlands
still remained faithful to the Empire, Batavian blood was still poured
out for its defence.

By the middle of the fourth century, the Franks and Allemanians,
alle-mannez, all-men, a mass of united Germans are defeated by the
Emperor Julian at Strasburg, the Batavian cavalry, as upon many other
great occasions, saving the day for despotism. This achievement, one of
the last in which the name appears upon historic record, was therefore as
triumphant for the valor as it was humiliating to the true fame of the
nation. Their individuality soon afterwards disappears, the race having
been partly exhausted in the Roman service, partly merged in the Frank
and Frisian tribes who occupy the domains of their forefathers.

For a century longer, Rome still retains its outward form, but the
swarming nations are now in full career. The Netherlands are successively
or simultaneously trampled by Franks, Vandals, Alani, Suevi, Saxons,
Frisians, and even Sclavonians, as the great march of Germany to
universal empire, which her prophets and bards had foretold, went
majestically forward. The fountains of the frozen North were opened, the
waters prevailed, but the ark of Christianity floated upon the flood. As
the deluge assuaged, the earth had returned to chaos, the last pagan
empire had been washed out of existence, but the dimly, groping,
faltering, ignorant infancy of Christian Europe had begun.

After the wanderings had subsided, the Netherlands are found with much
the same ethnological character as before. The Frank dominion has
succeeded the Roman, the German stock preponderates over the Celtic, but
the national ingredients, although in somewhat altered proportions,
remain essentially the same. The old Belgae, having become Romanized in
tongue and customs, accept the new Empire of the Franks. That people,
however, pushed from their hold of the Rhine by thickly thronging hordes
of Gepidi, Quadi, Sarmati, Heruli, Saxons, Burgundians, move towards the
South and West. As the Empire falls before Odoacer, they occupy Celtic
Gaul with the Belgian portion of the Netherlands; while the Frisians,
into which ancient German tribe the old Batavian element has melted, not
to be extinguished, but to live a renovated existence, the "free
Frisians;" whose name is synonymous with liberty, nearest blood relations
of the Anglo-Saxon race, now occupy the northern portion, including the
whole future European territory of the Dutch republic.

The history of the Franks becomes, therefore, the history of the
Netherlands. The Frisians struggle, for several centuries, against their
dominion, until eventually subjugated by Charlemagne. They even encroach
upon the Franks in Belgic Gaul, who are determined not to yield their
possessions. Moreover, the pious Merovingian faineans desire to plant
Christianity among the still pagan Frisians. Dagobert, son of the second
Clotaire, advances against them as far as the Weser, takes possession of
Utrecht, founds there the first Christian church in Friesland, and
establishes a nominal dominion over the whole country.

Yet the feeble Merovingians would have been powerless against rugged
Friesland, had not their dynasty already merged in that puissant family
of Brabant, which long wielded their power before it assumed their crown.
It was Pepin of Heristal, grandson of the Netherlander, Pepin of Landen,
who conquered the Frisian Radbod (A.D. 692), and forced him to exchange
his royal for the ducal title.

It was Pepin's bastard, Charles the Hammer, whose tremendous blows
completed his father's work. The new mayor of the palace soon drove the
Frisian chief into submission, and even into Christianity. A bishop's
indiscretion, however, neutralized the apostolic blows of the mayor. The
pagan Radbod had already immersed one of his royal legs in the baptismal
font, when a thought struck him. "Where are my dead forefathers at
present?" he said, turning suddenly upon Bishop Wolfran. "In Hell, with
all other unbelievers," was the imprudent answer. "Mighty well," replied
Radbod, removing his leg, "then will I rather feast with my ancestors in
the halls of Woden, than dwell with your little starveling hand of
Christians in Heaven." Entreaties and threats were unavailing. The
Frisian declined positively a rite which was to cause an eternal
separation from his buried kindred, and he died as he had lived, a
heathen. His son, Poppa, succeeding to the nominal sovereignty, did not
actively oppose the introduction of Christianity among his people, but
himself refused to be converted. Rebelling against the Frank dominion, he
was totally routed by Charles Martell in a great battle (A.D.750) and
perished with a vast number of Frisians. The Christian dispensation, thus
enforced, was now accepted by these northern pagans. The commencement of
their conversion had been mainly the work of their brethren from Britain.
The monk Wilfred was followed in a few years by the Anglo-Saxon
Willibrod. It was he who destroyed the images of Woden in Walcheren,
abolished his worship, and founded churches in North Holland. Charles
Martell rewarded him with extensive domains about Utrecht, together with
many slaves and other chattels. Soon afterwards he was consecrated Bishop
of all the Frisians. Thus rose the famous episcopate of Utrecht. Another
Anglo-Saxon, Winfred, or Bonifacius, had been equally active among his
Frisian cousins. His crozier had gone hand in hand with the battle-axe.
Bonifacius followed close upon the track of his orthodox coadjutor
Charles. By the middle of the eighth century, some hundred thousand
Frisians had been slaughtered, and as many more converted. The hammer
which smote the Saracens at Tours was at last successful in beating the
Netherlanders into Christianity. The labors of Bonifacius through Upper
and Lower Germany were immense; but he, too, received great material
rewards. He was created Archbishop of Mayence, and, upon the death of
Willibrod, Bishop of Utrecht. Faithful to his mission, however, he met,
heroically, a martyr's death at the hands of the refractory pagans at
Dokkum. Thus was Christianity established in the Netherlands.

Under Charlemagne, the Frisians often rebelled, making common cause with
the Saxons. In 785, A.D., they were, however, completely subjugated, and
never rose again until the epoch of their entire separation from the
Frank empire. Charlemagne left them their name of free Frisians, and the
property in their own land. The feudal system never took root in their
soil. "The Frisians," says their statute book; "shall be free, as long as
the wind blows out of the clouds and the world stands." They agreed,
however, to obey the chiefs whom the Frank monarch should appoint to
govern them, according to their own laws. Those laws were collected, and
are still extant. The vernacular version of their Asega book contains
their ancient customs, together with the Frank additions. The general
statutes of Charlemagne were, of course, in vigor also; but that great
legislator knew too well the importance attached by all mankind to local
customs, to allow his imperial capitulara to interfere, unnecessarily,
with the Frisian laws.


Thus again the Netherlands, for the first time since the fall of Rome,
were united under one crown imperial. They had already been once united,
in their slavery to Rome. Eight centuries pass away, and they are again
united, in subjection to Charlemagne. Their union was but in forming a
single link in the chain of a new realm. The reign of Charlemagne had at
last accomplished the promise of the sorceress Velleda and other
soothsayers. A German race had re-established the empire of the world.
The Netherlands, like-the other provinces of the great monarch's
dominion, were governed by crown-appointed functionaries, military and
judicial. In the northeastern, or Frisian portion, however; the grants of
land were never in the form of revocable benefices or feuds. With this
important exception, the whole country shared the fate, and enjoyed the
general organization of the Empire.

But Charlemagne came an age too soon. The chaos which had brooded over
Europe since the dissolution of the Roman world, was still too absolute.
It was not to be fashioned into permanent forms, even by his bold and
constructive genius. A soil, exhausted by the long culture of Pagan
empires, was to lie fallow for a still longer period. The discordant
elements out of which the Emperor had compounded his realm, did not
coalesce during his life-time. They were only held together by the
vigorous grasp of the hand which had combined them. When the great
statesman died, his Empire necessarily fell to pieces. Society had need
of farther disintegration before it could begin to reconstruct itself
locally. A new civilization was not to be improvised by a single mind.
When did one man ever civilize a people? In the eighth and ninth
centuries there was not even a people to be civilized. The construction
of Charles was, of necessity, temporary. His Empire was supported by
artificial columns, resting upon the earth, which fell prostrate almost
as soon as the hand of their architect was cold. His institutions had not
struck down into the soil. There were no extensive and vigorous roots to
nourish, from below, a flourishing Empire through time and tempest.

Moreover, the Carlovingian race had been exhausted by producing a race of
heroes like the Pepins and the Charleses. The family became, soon, as
contemptible as the ox-drawn, long-haired "do-nothings" whom it had
expelled; but it is not our task to describe the fortunes of the
Emperor's ignoble descendants. The realm was divided, sub-divided, at
times partially reunited, like a family farm, among monarchs incompetent
alike to hold, to delegate, or--to resign the inheritance of the great
warrior and lawgiver. The meek, bald, fat, stammering, simple Charles, or
Louis, who successively sat upon his throne--princes, whose only historic
individuality consists in these insipid appellations--had not the sense
to comprehend, far less to develop, the plans of their ancestor.

Charles the Simple was the last Carlovingian who governed Lotharingia, in
which were comprised most of the Netherlands and Friesland. The German
monarch, Henry the Fowler, at that period called King of the East Franks,
as Charles of the West Franks, acquired Lotharingia by the treaty of
Bonn, Charles reserving the sovereignty over the kingdom during his
lifetime. In 925, A.D., however, the Simpleton having been imprisoned and
deposed by his own subjects, the Fowler was recognized King, of
Lotharingia. Thus the Netherlands passed out of France into Germany,
remaining, still, provinces of a loose, disjointed Empire.

This is the epoch in which the various dukedoms, earldoms, and other
petty sovereignties of the Netherlands became hereditary. It was in the
year 922 that Charles the Simple presented to Count Dirk the territory of
Holland, by letters patent. This narrow hook of land, destined, in future
ages, to be the cradle of a considerable empire, stretching through both
hemispheres, was, thenceforth, the inheritance of Dirk's descendants.
Historically, therefore, he is Dirk I., Count of Holland.

Of this small sovereign and his successors, the most powerful foe for
centuries was ever the Bishop of Utrecht, the origin of whose greatness
has been already indicated. Of the other Netherland provinces, now or
before become hereditary, the first in rank was Lotharingia, once the
kingdom of Lothaire, now the dukedom of Lorraine. In 965 it was divided
into Upper and Lower Lorraine, of which the lower duchy alone belonged to
the Netherlands. Two centuries later, the Counts of Louvain, then
occupying most of Brabant, obtained a permanent hold of Lower Lorraine,
and began to call themselves Dukes of Brabant. The same principle of
local independence and isolation which created these dukes, established
the hereditary power of the counts and barons who formerly exercised
jurisdiction under them and others. Thus arose sovereign Counts of Namur,
Hainault, Limburg, Zutphen, Dukes of Luxemburg and Gueldres, Barons of
Mechlin, Marquesses of Antwerp, and others; all petty autocrats. The most
important of all, after the house of Lorraine, were the Earls of
Flanders; for the bold foresters of Charles the Great had soon wrested
the sovereignty of their little territory from his feeble descendants as
easily as Baldwin, with the iron arm, had deprived the bald Charles of
his daughter. Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Overyssel, Groningen, Drenthe
and Friesland (all seven being portions of Friesland in a general sense),
were crowded together upon a little desolate corner of Europe; an obscure
fragment of Charlemagne's broken empire. They were afterwards to
constitute the United States of the Netherlands, one of the most powerful
republics of history. Meantime, for century after century, the Counts of
Holland and the Bishops of Utrecht were to exercise divided sway over the

Thus the whole country was broken into many shreds and patches of
sovereignty. The separate history of such half-organized morsels is
tedious and petty. Trifling dynasties, where a family or two were every
thing, the people nothing, leave little worth recording. Even the most
devout of genealogists might shudder to chronicle the long succession of
so many illustrious obscure.

A glance, however, at the general features of the governmental system now
established in the Netherlands, at this important epoch in the world's
history, will show the transformations which the country, in common with
other portions of the western world, had undergone.

In the tenth century the old Batavian and later Roman forms have faded
away. An entirely new polity has succeeded. No great popular assembly
asserts its sovereignty, as in the ancient German epoch; no generals and
temporary kings are chosen by the nation. The elective power had been
lost under the Romans, who, after conquest, had conferred the
administrative authority over their subject provinces upon officials
appointed by the metropolis. The Franks pursued the same course. In
Charlemagne's time, the revolution is complete. Popular assemblies and
popular election entirely vanish. Military, civil, and judicial
officers-dukes, earls, margraves, and others--are all king's creatures,
'knegton des konings, pueri regis', and so remain, till they abjure the
creative power, and set up their own. The principle of Charlemagne, that
his officers should govern according to local custom, helps them to
achieve their own independence, while it preserves all that is left of
national liberty and law.

The counts, assisted by inferior judges, hold diets from time to
time--thrice, perhaps, annually. They also summon assemblies in case of
war. Thither are called the great vassals, who, in turn, call their
lesser vassals; each armed with "a shield, a spear, a bow, twelve arrows,
and a cuirass." Such assemblies, convoked in the name of a distant
sovereign, whose face his subjects had never seen, whose language they
could hardly understand, were very different from those tumultuous
mass-meetings, where boisterous freemen, armed with the weapons they
loved the best, and arriving sooner or later, according to their
pleasure, had been accustomed to elect their generals and magistrates and
to raise them upon their shields. The people are now governed, their
rulers appointed by an invisible hand. Edicts, issued by a power, as it
were, supernatural, demand implicit obedience. The people, acquiescing in
their own annihilation, abdicate not only their political but their
personal rights. On the other hand, the great source of power diffuses
less and less of light and warmth. Losing its attractive and controlling
influence, it becomes gradually eclipsed, while its satellites fly from
their prescribed bounds and chaos and darkness return. The sceptre,
stretched over realms so wide, requires stronger hands than those of
degenerate Carlovingians. It breaks asunder. Functionaries become
sovereigns, with hereditary, not delegated, right to own the people, to
tax their roads and rivers, to take tithings of their blood and sweat, to
harass them in all the relations of life. There is no longer a metropolis
to protect them from official oppression. Power, the more sub-divided,
becomes the more tyrannical. The sword is the only symbol of law, the
cross is a weapon of offence, the bishop is a consecrated pirate, every
petty baron a burglar, while the people, alternately the prey of duke,
prelate, and seignor, shorn and butchered like sheep, esteem it happiness
to sell themselves into slavery, or to huddle beneath the castle walls of
some little potentate, for the sake of his wolfish protection. Here they
build hovels, which they surround from time to time with palisades and
muddy entrenchments; and here, in these squalid abodes of ignorance and
misery, the genius of Liberty, conducted by the spirit of Commerce,
descends at last to awaken mankind from its sloth and cowardly stupor. A
longer night was to intervene; however, before the dawn of day.

The crown-appointed functionaries had been, of course, financial
officers. They collected the revenue of the sovereign, one third of which
slipped through their fingers into their own coffers. Becoming sovereigns
themselves, they retain these funds for their private emolument. Four
principal sources yielded this revenue: royal domains, tolls and imposts,
direct levies and a pleasantry called voluntary contributions or
benevolences. In addition to these supplies were also the proceeds of
fines. Taxation upon sin was, in those rude ages, a considerable branch
of the revenue. The old Frisian laws consisted almost entirely of a
discriminating tariff upon crimes. Nearly all the misdeeds which man is
prone to commit, were punished by a money-bote only. Murder, larceny,
arson, rape--all offences against the person were commuted for a definite
price. There were a few exceptions, such as parricide, which was followed
by loss of inheritance; sacrilege and the murder of a master by a slave,
which were punished with death. It is a natural inference that, as the
royal treasury was enriched by these imposts, the sovereign would hardly
attempt to check the annual harvest of iniquity by which his revenue was
increased. Still, although the moral sense is shocked by a system which
makes the ruler's interest identical with the wickedness of his people,
and holds out a comparative immunity in evil-doing for the rich, it was
better that crime should be punished by money rather than not be punished
at all. A severe tax, which the noble reluctantly paid and which the
penniless culprit commuted by personal slavery, was sufficiently unjust
as well as absurd, yet it served to mitigate the horrors with which
tumult, rapine, and murder enveloped those early days. Gradually, as the
light of reason broke upon the dark ages, the most noxious features of
the system were removed, while the general sentiment of reverence for law


     A country disinherited by nature of its rights
     A pleasantry called voluntary contributions or benevolences
     Annual harvest of iniquity by which his revenue was increased
     Batavian legion was the imperial body guard
     Beating the Netherlanders into Christianity
     Bishop is a consecrated pirate
     Brethren, parents, and children, having wives in common
     For women to lament, for men to remember
     Gaul derided the Roman soldiers as a band of pigmies
     Great science of political equilibrium
     Holland, England, and America, are all links of one chain
     Long succession of so many illustrious obscure
     Others go to battle, says the historian, these go to war
     Revocable benefices or feuds
     Taxation upon sin
     The Gaul was singularly unchaste





Five centuries of isolation succeed. In the Netherlands, as throughout
Europe, a thousand obscure and slender rills are slowly preparing the
great stream of universal culture. Five dismal centuries of feudalism:
during which period there is little talk of human right, little obedience
to divine reason. Rights there are none, only forces; and, in brief,
three great forces, gradually arising, developing themselves, acting upon
each other, and upon the general movement of society.

The sword--the first, for a time the only force: the force of iron. The
"land's master," having acquired the property in the territory and in the
people who feed thereon, distributes to his subalterns, often but a shade
beneath him in power, portions of his estate, getting the use of their
faithful swords in return. Vavasours subdivide again to vassals,
exchanging land and cattle, human or otherwise, against fealty, and so
the iron chain of a military hierarchy, forged of mutually interdependent
links, is stretched over each little province. Impregnable castles, here
more numerous than in any other part of Christendom, dot the level
surface of the country. Mail-clad knights, with their followers, encamp
permanently upon the soil. The fortunate fable of divine right is
invented to sanction the system; superstition and ignorance give currency
to the delusion. Thus the grace of God, having conferred the property in
a vast portion of Europe upon a certain idiot in France, makes him
competent to sell large fragments of his estate, and to give a divine,
and, therefore, most satisfactory title along with them. A great
convenience to a man, who had neither power, wit, nor will to keep the
property in his own hands. So the Dirks of Holland get a deed from
Charles the Simple, and, although the grace of God does not prevent the
royal grantor himself from dying a miserable, discrowned captive, the
conveyance to Dirk is none the less hallowed by almighty fiat. So the
Roberts and Guys, the Johns and Baldwins, become sovereigns in Hainault,
Brabant, Flanders and other little districts, affecting supernatural
sanction for the authority which their good swords have won and are ever
ready to maintain. Thus organized, the force of iron asserts and exerts
itself. Duke, count, seignor and vassal, knight and squire, master and
man swarm and struggle amain. A wild, chaotic, sanguinary scene. Here,
bishop and baron contend, centuries long, murdering human creatures by
ten thousands for an acre or two of swampy pasture; there, doughty
families, hugging old musty quarrels to their heart, buffet each other
from generation to generation; thus they go on, raging and wrestling
among themselves, with all the world, shrieking insane war-cries which no
human soul ever understood--red caps and black, white hoods and grey,
Hooks and Kabbeljaws, dealing destruction, building castles and burning
them, tilting at tourneys, stealing bullocks, roasting Jews, robbing the
highways, crusading--now upon Syrian sands against Paynim dogs, now in
Frisian quagmires against Albigenses, Stedingers, and other
heretics--plunging about in blood and fire, repenting, at idle times, and
paying their passage through, purgatory with large slices of ill-gotten
gains placed in the ever-extended dead-hand of the Church; acting, on the
whole, according to their kind, and so getting themselves civilized or
exterminated, it matters little which. Thus they play their part, those
energetic men-at-arms; and thus one great force, the force of iron, spins
and expands itself, century after century, helping on, as it whirls, the
great progress of society towards its goal, wherever that may be.

Another force--the force clerical--the power of clerks, arises; the might
of educated mind measuring itself against brute violence; a force
embodied, as often before, as priestcraft--the strength of priests: craft
meaning, simply, strength, in our old mother-tongue. This great force,
too, develops itself variously, being sometimes beneficent, sometimes
malignant. Priesthood works out its task, age after age: now smoothing
penitent death-beds, consecrating graves! feeding the hungry, clothing
the naked, incarnating the Christian precepts, in an, age of rapine and
homicide, doing a thousand deeds of love and charity among the obscure
and forsaken--deeds of which there shall never be human chronicle, but a
leaf or two, perhaps, in the recording angel's book; hiving precious
honey from the few flowers of gentle, art which bloom upon a howling
wilderness; holding up the light of science over a stormy sea; treasuring
in convents and crypts the few fossils of antique learning which become
visible, as the extinct Megatherium of an elder world reappears after the
gothic deluge; and now, careering in helm and hauberk with the other
ruffians, bandying blows in the thickest of the fight, blasting with
bell, book, and candle its trembling enemies, while sovereigns, at the
head of armies, grovel in the dust and offer abject submission for the
kiss of peace; exercising the same conjury over ignorant baron and
cowardly hind, making the fiction of apostolic authority to bind and
loose, as prolific in acres as the other divine right to have and hold;
thus the force of cultivated intellect, wielded by a chosen few and
sanctioned by supernatural authority, becomes as potent as the sword.

A third force, developing itself more slowly, becomes even more potent
than the rest: the power of gold. Even iron yields to the more ductile
metal. The importance of municipalities, enriched by trade, begins to be
felt. Commerce, the mother of Netherland freedom, and, eventually, its
destroyer--even as in all human history the vivifying becomes afterwards
the dissolving principle--commerce changes insensibly and miraculously
the aspect of society. Clusters of hovels become towered cities; the
green and gilded Hanse of commercial republicanism coils itself around
the decaying trunk of feudal despotism. Cities leagued with cities
throughout and beyond Christendom-empire within empire-bind themselves
closer and closer in the electric chain of human sympathy and grow
stronger and stronger by mutual support. Fishermen and river raftsmen
become ocean adventurers and merchant princes. Commerce plucks up
half-drowned Holland by the locks and pours gold into her lap. Gold
wrests power from iron. Needy Flemish weavers become mighty
manufacturers. Armies of workmen, fifty thousand strong, tramp through
the swarming streets. Silk-makers, clothiers, brewers become the gossips
of kings, lend their royal gossips vast sums and burn the royal notes of
hand in fires of cinnamon wood. Wealth brings strength, strength
confidence. Learning to handle cross-bow and dagger, the burghers fear
less the baronial sword, finding that their own will cut as well, seeing
that great armies--flowers of chivalry--can ride away before them fast
enough at battles of spurs and other encounters. Sudden riches beget
insolence, tumults, civic broils. Internecine quarrels, horrible tumults
stain the streets with blood, but education lifts the citizens more and
more out of the original slough. They learn to tremble as little at
priestcraft as at swordcraft, having acquired something of each. Gold in
the end, unsanctioned by right divine, weighs up the other forces,
supernatural as they are. And so, struggling along their appointed path,
making cloth, making money, making treaties with great kingdoms, making
war by land and sea, ringing great bells, waving great banners, they,
too--these insolent, boisterous burghers--accomplish their work. Thus,
the mighty power of the purse develops itself and municipal liberty
becomes a substantial fact. A fact, not a principle; for the old theorem
of sovereignty remains undisputed as ever. Neither the nation, in mass,
nor the citizens, in class, lay claim to human rights. All upper
attributes--legislative, judicial, administrative--remain in the
land-master's breast alone. It is an absurdity, therefore, to argue with
Grotius concerning the unknown antiquity of the Batavian republic. The
republic never existed at all till the sixteenth century, and was only
born after long years of agony. The democratic instincts of the ancient
German savages were to survive in the breasts of their cultivated
descendants, but an organized, civilized, republican polity had never
existed. The cities, as they grew in strength, never claimed the right to
make the laws or to share in the government. As a matter of fact, they
did make the laws, and shared, beside, in most important functions of
sovereignty, in the treaty-making power, especially. Sometimes by
bargains; sometimes by blood, by gold, threats, promises, or good hard
blows they extorted their charters. Their codes, statutes, joyful
entrances, and other constitutions were dictated by the burghers and
sworn to by the monarch. They were concessions from above; privileges
private laws; fragments indeed of a larger liberty, but vastly, better
than the slavery for which they had been substituted; solid facts instead
of empty abstractions, which, in those practical and violent days, would
have yielded little nutriment; but they still rather sought to reconcile
themselves, by a rough, clumsy fiction, with the hierarchy which they had
invaded, than to overturn the system. Thus the cities, not regarding
themselves as representatives or aggregations of the people, became
fabulous personages, bodies without souls, corporations which had
acquired vitality and strength enough to assert their existence. As
persons, therefore--gigantic individualities--they wheeled into the
feudal ranks and assumed feudal powers and responsibilities. The city of
Dort; of Middelburg, of Ghent, of Louvain, was a living being, doing
fealty, claiming service, bowing to its lord, struggling with its equals,
trampling upon its slaves.

Thus, in these obscure provinces, as throughout Europe, in a thousand
remote and isolated corners, civilization builds itself up, synthetically
and slowly; yet at last, a whole is likely to get itself constructed.
Thus, impelled by great and conflicting forces, now obliquely, now
backward, now upward, yet, upon the whole, onward, the new Society moves
along its predestined orbit, gathering consistency and strength as it
goes. Society, civilization, perhaps, but hardly humanity. The people has
hardly begun to extricate itself from the clods in which it lies buried.
There are only nobles, priests, and, latterly, cities. In the northern
Netherlands, the degraded condition of the mass continued longest. Even
in Friesland, liberty, the dearest blessing of the ancient Frisians, had
been forfeited in a variety of ways. Slavery was both voluntary and
compulsory. Paupers sold themselves that they might escape starvation.
The timid sold themselves that they might escape violence. These
voluntary sales, which were frequent, wore usually made to cloisters and
ecclesiastical establishments, for the condition of Church-slaves was
preferable to that of other serfs. Persons worsted in judicial duels,
shipwrecked sailors, vagrants, strangers, criminals unable to pay the
money-bote imposed upon them, were all deprived of freedom; but the
prolific source of slavery was war. Prisoners were almost universally
reduced to servitude. A free woman who intermarried with a slave
condemned herself and offspring to perpetual bondage. Among the Ripuarian
Franks, a free woman thus disgracing herself, was girt with a sword and a
distaff. Choosing the one, she was to strike her husband dead; choosing
the other, she adopted the symbol of slavery, and became a chattel for

The ferocious inroads of the Normans scared many weak and timid persons
into servitude. They fled, by throngs, to church and monastery, and were
happy, by enslaving themselves, to escape the more terrible bondage of
the sea-kings. During the brief dominion of the Norman Godfrey, every
free Frisian was forced to wear a halter around his neck. The lot of a
Church-slave was freedom in comparison. To kill him was punishable by a
heavy fine. He could give testimony in court, could inherit, could make a
will, could even plead before the law, if law could be found. The number
of slaves throughout the Netherlands was very large; the number belonging
to the bishopric of Utrecht, enormous.

The condition of those belonging to laymen was much more painful. The
Lyf-eigene, or absolute slaves, were the most wretched. They were mere
brutes. They had none of the natural attributes of humanity, their life
and death were in the master's hands, they had no claim to a fraction of
their own labor or its fruits, they had no marriage, except under
condition of the infamous 'jus primoe noctis'. The villagers, or
villeins, were the second class and less forlorn. They could commute the
labor due to their owner by a fixed sum of money, after annual payment of
which, the villein worked for himself. His master, therefore, was not his
absolute proprietor. The chattel had a beneficial interest in a portion
of his own flesh and blood.

The crusades made great improvement in the condition of the serfs. He who
became a soldier of the cross was free upon his return, and many were
adventurous enough to purchase liberty at so honorable a price. Many
others were sold or mortgaged by the crusading knights, desirous of
converting their property into gold, before embarking upon their
enterprise. The purchasers or mortgagees were in general churches and
convents, so that the slaves, thus alienated, obtained at least a
preferable servitude. The place of the absent serfs was supplied by free
labor, so that agricultural and mechanical occupations, now devolving
upon a more elevated class, became less degrading, and, in process of
time, opened an ever-widening sphere for the industry and progress of
freemen. Thus a people began to exist. It was, however; a miserable
people, with personal, but no civil rights whatever. Their condition,
although better than servitude, was almost desperate. They were taxed
beyond their ability, while priest and noble were exempt. They had no
voice in the apportionment of the money thus contributed. There was no
redress against the lawless violence to which they were perpetually
exposed. In the manorial courts, the criminal sat in judgment upon his
victim. The functions of highwayman and magistrate were combined in one

By degrees, the class of freemen, artisans, traders, and the like,
becoming the more numerous, built stronger and better houses outside the
castle gates of the "land's master" or the burghs of the more powerful
nobles. The superiors, anxious to increase their own importance, favored
the progress of the little boroughs. The population, thus collected,
began to divide themselves into guilds. These were soon afterwards
erected by the community into bodies corporate; the establishment of the
community, of course, preceding, the incorporation of the guilds. Those
communities were created by charters or Keuren, granted by the sovereign.
Unless the earliest concessions of this nature have perished, the town
charters of Holland or Zeland are nearly a century later than those of
Flanders, France, and England.

The oldest Keur, or act of municipal incorporation, in the provinces
afterwards constituting the republic, was that granted by Count William
the First of Holland and Countess Joanna of Flanders, as joint
proprietors of Walcheren, to the town of Middelburg. It will be seen that
its main purport is to promise, as a special privilege to this community,
law, in place of the arbitrary violence by which mankind, in general,
were governed by their betters.

"The inhabitants," ran the Charter, "are taken into protection by both
counts. Upon fighting, maiming, wounding, striking, scolding; upon
peace-breaking, upon resistance to peace-makers and to the judgment of
Schepens; upon contemning the Ban, upon selling spoiled wine, and upon
other misdeeds fines are imposed for behoof of the Count, the city, and
sometimes of the Schepens.......To all Middelburgers one kind of law is
guaranteed. Every man must go to law before the Schepens. If any one
being summoned and present in Walcheren does not appear, or refuses
submission to sentence, he shall be banished with confiscation of
property. Schout or Schepen denying justice to a complainant, shall,
until reparation, hold no tribunal again.......A burgher having a dispute
with an outsider (buiten mann) must summon him before the Schepens. An
appeal lies from the Schepens to the Count. No one can testify but a
householder. All alienation of real estate must take place before the
Schepens. If an outsider has a complaint against a burgher, the Schepens
and Schout must arrange it. If either party refuses submission to them,
they must ring the town bell and summon an assembly of all the burghers
to compel him. Any one ringing the town bell, except by general consent,
and any one not appearing when it tolls, are liable to a fine. No
Middelburger can be arrested or held in durance within Flanders or
Holland, except for crime."

This document was signed, sealed, and sworn to by the two sovereigns in
the year 1217. It was the model upon which many other communities,
cradles of great cities, in Holland and Zeland, were afterwards created.

These charters are certainly not very extensive, even for the privileged
municipalities which obtained them, when viewed from an abstract
stand-point. They constituted, however, a very great advance from the
stand-point at which humanity actually found itself. They created, not
for all inhabitants, but for great numbers of them, the right, not to
govern them selves but to be governed by law: They furnished a local
administration of justice. They provided against arbitrary imprisonment.
They set up tribunals, where men of burgher class were to sit in
judgment. They held up a shield against arbitrary violence from above and
sedition from within. They encouraged peace-makers, punished
peace-breakers. They guarded the fundamental principle, 'ut sua
tanerent', to the verge of absurdity; forbidding a freeman, without a
freehold, from testifying--a capacity not denied even to a country slave.
Certainly all this was better than fist-law and courts manorial. For the
commencement of the thirteenth century, it was progress.

The Schout and Schepens, or chief magistrate and aldermen, were
originally appointed by the sovereign. In process of time, the election
of these municipal authorities was conceded to the communities. This
inestimable privilege, however, after having been exercised during a
certain period by the whole body of citizens, was eventually monopolized
by the municipal government itself, acting in common with the deans of
the various guilds.

Thus organized and inspired with the breath of civic life, the
communities of Flanders and Holland began to move rapidly forward. More
and more they assumed the appearance of prosperous little republics. For
this prosperity they were indebted to commerce, particularly with England
and the Baltic nations, and to manufactures, especially of wool.

The trade between England and the Netherlands had existed for ages, and
was still extending itself, to the great advantage of both countries. A
dispute, however, between the merchants of Holland and England, towards
the year 1215, caused a privateering warfare, and a ten years' suspension
of intercourse. A reconciliation afterwards led to the establishment of
the English wool staple, at Dort. A subsequent quarrel deprived Holland
of this great advantage. King Edward refused to assist Count Florence in
a war with the Flemings, and transferred the staple from Dort to Bruges
and Mechlin.

The trade of the Netherlands with the Mediterranean and the East was
mainly through this favored city of Bruges, which, already in the
thirteenth century, had risen to the first rank in the commercial world.
It was the resting-place for the Lombards and other Italians, the great
entrepot for their merchandise. It now became, in addition, the great
marketplace for English wool, and the woollen fabrics of all the
Netherlands, as well as for the drugs and spices of the East. It had,
however, by no means reached its apogee, but was to culminate with
Venice, and to sink with her decline. When the overland Indian trade fell
off with the discovery of the Cape passage, both cities withered. Grass
grew in the fair and pleasant streets of Bruges, and sea-weed clustered
about the marble halls of Venice. At this epoch, however, both were in a
state of rapid and insolent prosperity.

The cities, thus advancing in wealth and importance, were no longer
satisfied with being governed according to law, and began to participate,
not only in their own, but in the general government. Under Guy of
Flanders, the towns appeared regularly, as well as the nobles, in the
assembly of the provincial estates. (1386-1389, A.D.) In the course of
the following century, the six chief cities, or capitals, of Holland
(Dort, Harlem, Delft, Leyden, Goads, and Amsterdam) acquired the right of
sending their deputies regularly to the estates of the provinces. These
towns, therefore, with the nobles, constituted the parliamentary power of
the nation. They also acquired letters patent from the count, allowing
them to choose their burgomasters and a limited number of councillors or
senators (Vroedschappen).

Thus the liberties of Holland and Flanders waxed, daily, stronger. A
great physical convulsion in the course of the thirteenth century came to
add its influence to the slower process of political revolution. Hitherto
there had been but one Friesland, including Holland, and nearly all the
territory of the future republic. A slender stream alone separated the
two great districts. The low lands along the Vlie, often threatened, at
last sank in the waves. The German Ocean rolled in upon the inland Lake
of Flevo. The stormy Zuyder Zee began its existence by engulfing
thousands of Frisian villages, with all their population, and by
spreading a chasm between kindred peoples. The political, as well as the
geographical, continuity of the land was obliterated by this tremendous
deluge. The Hollanders were cut off from their relatives in the east by
as dangerous a sea as that which divided them from their Anglo-Saxon
brethren in Britain. The deputies to the general assemblies at Aurich
could no longer undertake a journey grown so perilous. West Friesland
became absorbed in Holland. East Friesland remained a federation of rude
but self-governed maritime provinces, until the brief and bloody dominion
of the Saxon dukes led to the establishment of Charles the Fifth's
authority. Whatever the nominal sovereignty over them, this most
republican tribe of Netherlanders, or of Europeans, had never accepted
feudalism. There was an annual congress of the whole confederacy. Each of
the seven little states, on the other hand, regulated its own internal
affairs. Each state was subdivided into districts, each district governed
by a Griet-mann (greatman, selectman) and assistants. Above all these
district officers was a Podesta, a magistrate identical, in name and
functions, with the chief officer of the Italian republics. There was
sometimes but one Podesta; sometimes one for each province. He was chosen
by the people, took oath of fidelity to the separate estates, or, if
Podesta-general, to the federal diet, and was generally elected for a
limited term, although sometimes for life. He was assisted by a board of
eighteen or twenty councillors. The deputies to the general congress were
chosen by popular suffrage in Easter-week. The clergy were not recognized
as a political estate.

Thus, in those lands which a niggard nature had apparently condemned to
perpetual poverty and obscurity, the principle of reasonable human
freedom, without which there is no national prosperity or glory worth
contending for, was taking deepest and strongest root. Already in the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Friesland was a republic, except in
name; Holland, Flanders, Brabant, had acquired a large share of
self-government. The powerful commonwealth, at a later period to be
evolved out of the great combat between centralized tyranny and the
spirit of civil and religious liberty, was already foreshadowed. The
elements, of which that important republic was to be compounded, were
germinating for centuries. Love of freedom, readiness to strike and bleed
at any moment in her cause, manly resistance to despotism, however
overshadowing, were the leading characteristics of the race in all
regions or periods, whether among Frisian swamps, Dutch dykes, the gentle
hills and dales of England, or the pathless forests of America.
Doubtless, the history of human liberty in Holland and Flanders, as every
where else upon earth where there has been such a history, unrolls many
scenes of turbulence and bloodshed; although these features have been
exaggerated by prejudiced historians. Still, if there were luxury and
insolence, sedition and uproar, at any rate there was life. Those violent
little commonwealths had blood in their veins. They were compact of
proud, self-helping, muscular vigor. The most sanguinary tumults which
they ever enacted in the face of day, were better than the order and
silence born of the midnight darkness of despotism. That very unruliness
was educating the people for their future work. Those merchants,
manufacturers, country squires, and hard-fighting barons, all pent up in
a narrow corner of the earth, quarrelling with each other and with all
the world for centuries, were keeping alive a national pugnacity of
character, for which there was to be a heavy demand in the sixteenth
century, and without which the fatherland had perhaps succumbed in the
most unequal conflict ever waged by man against oppression.

To sketch the special history of even the leading Netherland provinces,
during the five centuries which we have thus rapidly sought to
characterize, is foreign to our purpose. By holding the clue of Holland's
history, the general maze of dynastic transformations throughout the
country may, however, be swiftly threaded. From the time of the first
Dirk to the close of the thirteenth century there were nearly four
hundred years of unbroken male descent, a long line of Dirks and
Florences. This iron-handed, hot-headed, adventurous race, placed as
sovereign upon its little sandy hook, making ferocious exertions to swell
into larger consequence, conquering a mile or two of morass or barren
furze, after harder blows and bloodier encounters than might have
established an empire under more favorable circumstances, at last dies
out. The courtship falls to the house of Avennes, Counts of Hainault.
Holland, together with Zeland, which it had annexed, is thus joined to
the province of Hainault. At the end of another half century the Hainault
line expires. William the Fourth died childless in 1355. His death is the
signal for the outbreak of an almost interminable series of civil
commotions. Those two great, parties, known by the uncouth names of Hook
and Kabbeljaw, come into existence, dividing noble against noble, city
against city, father against son, for some hundred and fifty years,
without foundation upon any abstract or intelligible principle. It may be
observed, however, that, in the sequel, and as a general rule, the
Kabbeljaw, or cod-fish party, represented the city or municipal faction,
while the Hooks (fish-hooks), that were to catch and control them, were
the nobles; iron and audacity against brute number and weight.

Duke William of Bavaria, sister's son--of William the Fourth, gets
himself established in 1354. He is succeeded by his brother Albert;
Albert by his son William. William, who had married Margaret of Burgundy,
daughter of Philip the Bold, dies in 1417. The goodly heritage of these
three Netherland provinces descends to his daughter Jacqueline, a damsel
of seventeen. Little need to trace the career of the fair and ill-starred
Jacqueline. Few chapters of historical romance have drawn more frequent
tears. The favorite heroine of ballad and drama, to Netherlanders she is
endued with the palpable form and perpetual existence of the Iphigenias,
Mary Stuarts, Joans of Arc, or other consecrated individualities.
Exhausted and broken-hearted, after thirteen years of conflict with her
own kinsmen, consoled for the cowardice and brutality of three husbands
by the gentle and knightly spirit of the fourth, dispossessed of her
father's broad domains, degraded from the rank of sovereign to be lady
forester of her own provinces by her cousin, the bad Duke of Burgundy,
Philip surnamed "the Good," she dies at last, and the good cousin takes
undisputed dominion of the land. (1437.)

The five centuries of isolation are at end. The many obscure streams of
Netherland history are merged in one broad current. Burgundy has absorbed
all the provinces which, once more, are forced to recognize a single
master. A century and a few years more succeed, during which this house
and its heirs are undisputed sovereigns of the soil.

Philip the Good had already acquired the principal Netherlands, before
dispossessing Jacqueline. He had inherited, beside the two Burgundies,
the counties of Flanders and Artois. He had purchased the county of
Namur, and had usurped the duchy of Brabant, to which the duchy of
Limburg, the marquisate of Antwerp, and the barony of Mechlin, had
already been annexed. By his assumption of Jacqueline's dominions, he was
now lord of Holland, Zeland, and Hainault, and titular master of
Friesland. He acquired Luxemburg a few years later.

Lord of so many opulent cities and fruitful provinces, he felt himself
equal to the kings of Europe. Upon his marriage with Isabella of
Portugal, he founded, at Bruges, the celebrated order of the Golden
Fleece. What could be more practical or more devout than the conception?
Did not the Lamb of God, suspended at each knightly breast, symbolize at
once the woollen fabrics to which so much of Flemish wealth and
Burgundian power was owing, and the gentle humility of Christ, which was
ever to characterize the order? Twenty-five was the limited number,
including Philip himself, as grand master. The chevaliers were emperors,
kings, princes, and the most illustrious nobles of Christendom; while a
leading provision, at the outset, forbade the brethren, crowned heads
excepted, to accept or retain the companionship of any other order.

The accession of so potent and ambitious a prince as the good Philip
boded evil to the cause of freedom in the Netherlands. The spirit of
liberty seemed to have been typified in the fair form of the benignant
and unhappy Jacqueline, and to be buried in her grave. The usurper, who
had crushed her out of existence, now strode forward to trample upon all
the laws and privileges of the provinces which had formed her heritage.

At his advent, the municipal power had already reached an advanced stage
of development. The burgher class controlled the government, not only of
the cities, but often of the provinces, through its influence in the
estates. Industry and wealth had produced their natural results. The
supreme authority of the sovereign and the power of the nobles were
balanced by the municipal principle which had even begun to preponderate
over both. All three exercised a constant and salutary check upon each
other. Commerce had converted slaves into freemen, freemen into burghers,
and the burghers were acquiring daily, a larger practical hold upon the
government. The town councils were becoming almost omnipotent. Although
with an oligarchical tendency, which at a later period was to be more
fully developed, they were now composed of large numbers of individuals,
who had raised themselves, by industry and intelligence, out of the
popular masses. There was an unquestionably republican tone to the
institutions. Power, actually, if not nominally, was in the hands of many
who had achieved the greatness to which they had not been born.

The assemblies of the estates were rather diplomatic than representative.
They consisted, generally, of the nobles and of the deputations from the
cities. In Holland, the clergy had neither influence nor seats in the
parliamentary body. Measures were proposed by the stadholder, who
represented the sovereign. A request, for example, of pecuniary,
accommodation, was made by that functionary or by the count himself in
person. The nobles then voted upon the demand, generally as one body, but
sometimes by heads. The measure was then laid before the burghers. If
they had been specially commissioned to act upon the matter; they voted,
each city as a city, not each deputy, individually. If they had received
no instructions, they took back the proposition to lay before the
councils of their respective cities, in order to return a decision at an
adjourned session, or at a subsequent diet. It will be seen, therefore,
that the principle of national, popular representation was but
imperfectly developed. The municipal deputies acted only under
instructions. Each city was a little independent state, suspicious not
only of the sovereign and nobles, but of its sister cities. This mutual
jealousy hastened the general humiliation now impending. The centre of
the system waging daily more powerful, it more easily unsphered these
feebler and mutually repulsive bodies.

Philip's first step, upon assuming the government, was to issue a
declaration, through the council of Holland, that the privileges and
constitutions, which he had sworn to as Ruward, or guardian, during the
period in which Jacqueline had still retained a nominal sovereignty, were
to be considered null and void, unless afterwards confirmed by him as
count. At a single blow he thus severed the whole knot of pledges, oaths
and other political complications, by which he had entangled himself
during his cautious advance to power. He was now untrammelled again. As
the conscience of the smooth usurper was, thenceforth, the measure of
provincial liberty, his subjects soon found it meted to them more
sparingly than they wished. From this point, then, through the Burgundian
period, and until the rise of the republic, the liberty of the
Netherlands, notwithstanding several brilliant but brief laminations,
occurring at irregular intervals, seemed to remain in almost perpetual

The material prosperity of the country had, however, vastly increased.
The fisheries of Holland had become of enormous importance. The invention
of the humble Beukelzoon of Biervliet, had expanded into a mine of
wealth. The fisheries, too, were most useful as a nursery of seamen, and
were already indicating Holland's future naval supremacy. The fishermen
were the militia of the ocean, their prowess attested in the war with the
Hanseatic cities, which the provinces of Holland and Zeland, in Philip's
name, but by their own unassisted exertions, carried on triumphantly at
this epoch. Then came into existence that race of cool and daring
mariners, who, in after times, were to make the Dutch name illustrious
throughout the world, the men, whose fierce descendants, the "beggars of
the sea," were to make the Spanish empire tremble, the men, whose later
successors swept the seas with brooms at the mast-head, and whose
ocean-battles with their equally fearless English brethren often lasted
four uninterrupted days and nights.

The main strength of Holland was derived from the ocean, from whose
destructive grasp she had wrested herself, but in whose friendly embrace
she remained. She was already placing securely the foundations of
commercial wealth and civil liberty upon those shifting quicksands which
the Roman doubted whether to call land or water. Her submerged deformity,
as she floated, mermaid-like, upon the waves was to be forgotten in her
material splendor. Enriched with the spoils of every clime, crowned with
the divine jewels of science and art, she was, one day, to sing a siren
song of freedom, luxury, and power.

As with Holland, so with Flanders, Brabant, and the other leading
provinces. Industry and wealth, agriculture, commerce, and manufactures,
were constantly augmenting. The natural sources of power were full to
overflowing, while the hand of despotism was deliberately sealing the

For the house of Burgundy was rapidly culminating and as rapidly
curtailing the political privileges of the Netherlands. The contest was,
at first, favorable to the cause of arbitrary power; but little seeds
were silently germinating, which, in the progress of their gigantic
development, were, one day, to undermine the foundations of Tyranny and
to overshadow the world. The early progress of the religious reformation
in the Netherlands will be outlined in a separate chapter. Another great
principle was likewise at work at this period. At the very epoch when the
greatness of Burgundy was most swiftly ripening, another weapon was
secretly forging, more potent in the great struggle for freedom than any
which the wit or hand of man has ever devised or wielded. When Philip the
Good, in the full blaze of his power, and flushed with the triumphs of
territorial aggrandizement, was instituting at Bruges the order of the
Golden Fleece, "to the glory of God, of the blessed Virgin, and of the
holy Andrew, patron saint of the Burgundian family," and enrolling the
names of the kings and princes who were to be honored with its symbols,
at that very moment, an obscure citizen of Harlem, one Lorenz Coster, or
Lawrence the Sexton, succeeded in printing a little grammar, by means of
movable types. The invention of printing was accomplished, but it was not
ushered in with such a blaze of glory as heralded the contemporaneous
erection of the Golden Fleece. The humble setter of types did not deem
emperors and princes alone worthy his companionship. His invention sent
no thrill of admiration throughout Christendom; and yet, what was the
good Philip of Burgundy, with his Knights of the Golden Fleece, and all
their effulgent trumpery, in the eye of humanity and civilization,
compared with the poor sexton and his wooden types?

   [The question of the time and place to which the invention of
   printing should be referred, has been often discussed. It is not
   probable that it will ever be settled to the entire satisfaction of
   Holland and Germany. The Dutch claim that movable types were first
   used at Harlem, fixing the time variously between the years 1423 and
   1440. The first and very faulty editions of Lorenz are religiously
   preserved at Harlem.]

Philip died in February, 1467. The details of his life and career do not
belong to our purpose. The practical tendency of his government was to
repress the spirit of liberty, while especial privileges, extensive in
nature, but limited in time, were frequently granted to corporations.
Philip, in one day, conferred thirty charters upon as many different
bodies of citizens. These were, however, grants of monopoly not
concessions of rights. He also fixed the number of city councils or
Vroedschappen in many Netherland cities, giving them permission to
present a double list of candidates for burgomasters and judges, from
which he himself made the appointments. He was certainly neither a good
nor great prince, but he possessed much administrative ability. His
military talents were considerable, and he was successful in his wars. He
was an adroit dissembler, a practical politician. He had the sense to
comprehend that the power of a prince, however absolute, must depend upon
the prosperity of his subjects. He taxed severely the wealth, but he
protected the commerce and the manufactures of Holland and Flanders. He
encouraged art, science, and literature. The brothers, John and Hubert
Van Eyck, were attracted by his generosity to Bruges, where they painted
many pictures. John was even a member of the duke's council. The art of
oil-painting was carried to great perfection by Hubert's scholar, John of
Bruges. An incredible number of painters, of greater or less merit,
flourished at this epoch in the Netherlands, heralds of that great
school, which, at a subsequent period, was to astonish the world with
brilliant colors; profound science, startling effects, and vigorous
reproductions of Nature. Authors, too, like Olivier de la Marche and
Philippe de Comines, who, in the words of the latter, "wrote, not for the
amusement of brutes, and people of low degree, but for princes and other
persons of quality," these and other writers, with aims as lofty,
flourished at the court of Burgundy, and were rewarded by the Duke with
princely generosity. Philip remodelled and befriended the university of
Louvain. He founded at Brussels the Burgundian library, which became
celebrated throughout Europe. He levied largely, spent profusely, but was
yet so thrifty a housekeeper, as to leave four hundred thousand crowns of
gold, a vast amount in those days, besides three million marks' worth of
plate and furniture, to be wasted like water in the insane career of his

The exploits of that son require but few words of illustration. Hardly a
chapter of European history or romance is more familiar to the world than
the one which records the meteoric course of Charles the Bold. The
propriety of his title was never doubtful. No prince was ever bolder, but
it is certain that no quality could be less desirable, at that particular
moment in the history of his house. It was not the quality to confirm a
usurping family in its ill-gotten possessions. Renewed aggressions upon
the rights of others justified retaliation and invited attack. Justice,
prudence, firmness, wisdom of internal administration were desirable in
the son of Philip and the rival of Louis. These attributes the gladiator
lacked entirely. His career might have been a brilliant one in the old
days of chivalry. His image might have appeared as imposing as the
romantic forms of Baldwin Bras de Fer or Godfrey of Bouillon, had he not
been misplaced in history. Nevertheless, he imagined himself governed by
a profound policy. He had one dominant idea, to make Burgundy a kingdom.
From the moment when, with almost the first standing army known to
history, and with coffers well filled by his cautious father's economy,
he threw himself into the lists against the crafty Louis, down to the day
when he was found dead, naked, deserted, and with his face frozen into a
pool of blood and water, he faithfully pursued this thought. His ducal
cap was to be exchanged for a kingly crown, while all the provinces which
lay beneath the Mediterranean and the North Sea, and between France and
Germany, were to be united under his sceptre. The Netherlands, with their
wealth, had been already appropriated, and their freedom crushed. Another
land of liberty remained; physically, the reverse of Holland, but stamped
with the same courageous nationality, the same ardent love of human
rights. Switzerland was to be conquered. Her eternal battlements of ice
and granite were to constitute the great bulwark of his realm. The world
knows well the result of the struggle between the lord of so many duchies
and earldoms, and the Alpine mountaineers. With all his boldness, Charles
was but an indifferent soldier. His only merit was physical courage. He
imagined himself a consummate commander, and, in conversation with his
jester, was fond of comparing himself to Hannibal. "We are getting well
Hannibalized to-day, my lord," said the bitter fool, as they rode off
together from the disastrous defeat of Gransen. Well "Hannibalized" he
was, too, at Gransen, at Murten, and at Nancy. He followed in the track
of his prototype only to the base of the mountains.

As a conqueror, he was signally unsuccessful; as a politician, he could
out-wit none but himself; it was only as a tyrant within his own ground,
that he could sustain the character which he chose to enact. He lost the
crown, which he might have secured, because he thought the emperor's son
unworthy the heiress of Burgundy; and yet, after his father's death, her
marriage with that very Maximilian alone secured the possession of her
paternal inheritance. Unsuccessful in schemes of conquest, and in
political intrigue, as an oppressor of the Netherlands, he nearly carried
out his plans. Those provinces he regarded merely as a bank to draw upon.
His immediate intercourse with the country was confined to the extortion
of vast requests. These were granted with ever-increasing reluctance, by
the estates. The new taxes and excises, which the sanguinary extravagance
of the duke rendered necessary, could seldom be collected in the various
cities without tumults, sedition, and bloodshed. Few princes were ever a
greater curse to the people whom they were allowed to hold as property.
He nearly succeeded in establishing a centralized despotism upon the
ruins of the provincial institutions. His sudden death alone deferred the
catastrophe. His removal of the supreme court of Holland from the Hague
to Mechlin, and his maintenance of a standing army, were the two great
measures by which he prostrated the Netherlands. The tribunal had been
remodelled by his father; the expanded authority which Philip had given
to a bench of judges dependent upon himself, was an infraction of the
rights of Holland. The court, however, still held its sessions in the
country; and the sacred privilege--de non evocando--the right of every
Hollander to be tried in his own land, was, at least, retained. Charles
threw off the mask; he proclaimed that this council--composed of his
creatures, holding office at his pleasure--should have supreme
jurisdiction over all the charters of the provinces; that it was to
follow his person, and derive all authority from his will. The usual seat
of the court he transferred to Mechlin. It will be seen, in the sequel,
that the attempt, under Philip the Second, to enforce its supreme
authority was a collateral cause of the great revolution of the

Charles, like his father, administered the country by stadholders. From
the condition of flourishing self-ruled little republics, which they had,
for a moment, almost attained, they became departments of an
ill-assorted, ill-conditioned, ill-governed realm, which was neither
commonwealth nor empire, neither kingdom nor duchy; and which had no
homogeneousness of population, no affection between ruler and people,
small sympathies of lineage or of language.

His triumphs were but few, his fall ignominious. His father's treasure
was squandered, the curse of a standing army fixed upon his people, the
trade and manufactures of the country paralyzed by his extortions, and he
accomplished nothing. He lost his life in the forty-fourth year of his
age (1477), leaving all the provinces, duchies, and lordships, which
formed the miscellaneous realm of Burgundy, to his only child, the Lady
Mary. Thus already the countries which Philip had wrested from the feeble
hand of Jacqueline, had fallen to another female. Philip's own
granddaughter, as young, fair, and unprotected as Jacqueline, was now
sole mistress of those broad domains.


A crisis, both for Burgundy and the Netherlands, succeeds. Within the
provinces there is an elastic rebound, as soon as the pressure is removed
from them by the tyrant's death. A sudden spasm of liberty gives the
whole people gigantic strength. In an instant they recover all, and more
than all, the rights which they had lost. The cities of Holland,
Flanders, and other provinces call a convention at Ghent. Laying aside
their musty feuds, men of all parties-Hooks and Kabbeljaws, patricians
and people, move forward in phalanx to recover their national
constitutions. On the other hand, Louis the Eleventh seizes Burgundy,
claiming the territory for his crown, the heiress for his son. The
situation is critical for the Lady Mary. As usual in such cases, appeals
are made to the faithful commons. A prodigality of oaths and pledges is
showered upon the people, that their loyalty may be refreshed and grow
green. The congress meets at Ghent. The Lady Mary professes much, but she
will keep her vow. The deputies are called upon to rally the country
around the duchess, and to resist the fraud and force of Louis. The
congress is willing to maintain the cause of its young mistress. The
members declare, at the same time, very roundly, "that the provinces have
been much impoverished and oppressed by the enormous taxation imposed
upon them by the ruinous wars waged by Duke Charles from the beginning to
the end of his life." They rather require "to be relieved than
additionally encumbered." They add that, "for many years past, there has
been a constant violation of the provincial and municipal charters, and
that they should be happy to see them restored."

The result of the deliberations is the formal grant by Duchess Mary of
the "Groot Privilegie," or Great Privilege, the Magna Charta of Holland.
Although this instrument was afterwards violated, and indeed abolished,
it became the foundation of the republic. It was a recapitulation and
recognition of ancient rights, not an acquisition of new privileges. It
was a restoration, not a revolution. Its principal points deserve
attention from those interested in the political progress of mankind.

"The duchess shall not marry without consent of the estates of her
provinces. All offices in her gift shall be conferred on natives only. No
man shall fill two offices. No office shall be farmed. The 'Great Council
and Supreme Court of Holland' is re-established. Causes shall be brought
before it on appeal from the ordinary courts. It shall have no original
jurisdiction of matters within the cognizance of the provincial and
municipal tribunals. The estates and cities are guaranteed in their right
not to be summoned to justice beyond the limits of their territory. The
cities, in common with all the provinces of the Netherlands, may hold
diets as often ten and at such places as they choose. No new taxes shall
be imposed but by consent of the provincial estates. Neither the duchess
nor her descendants shall begin either an offensive or defensive war
without consent of the estates. In case a war be illegally undertaken,
the estates are not bound to contribute to its maintenance. In all public
and legal documents, the Netherland language shall be employed. The
commands of the duchess shall be invalid, if conflicting with the
privileges of a city.

"The seat of the Supreme Council is transferred from Mechlin to the
Hague. No money shall be coined, nor its value raised or lowered, but by
consent of the estates. Cities are not to be compelled to contribute to
requests which they have not voted. The sovereign shall come in person
before the estates, to make his request for supplies."

Here was good work. The land was rescued at a blow from the helpless
condition to which it had been reduced. This summary annihilation of all
the despotic arrangements of Charles was enough to raise him from his
tomb. The law, the sword, the purse, were all taken from the hand of the
sovereign and placed within the control of parliament. Such sweeping
reforms, if maintained, would restore health to the body politic. They
gave, moreover, an earnest of what was one day to arrive. Certainly, for
the fifteenth century, the "Great Privilege" was a reasonably liberal
constitution. Where else upon earth, at that day, was there half so much
liberty as was thus guaranteed? The congress of the Netherlands,
according to their Magna Charta, had power to levy all taxes, to regulate
commerce and manufactures, to declare war, to coin money, to raise armies
and navies. The executive was required to ask for money in person, could
appoint only natives to office, recognized the right of disobedience in
his subjects, if his commands should conflict with law, and acknowledged
himself bound by decisions of courts of justice. The cities appointed
their own magistrates, held diets at their own pleasure, made their local
by-laws and saw to their execution. Original cognizance of legal matters
belonged to the municipal courts, appellate jurisdiction to the supreme
tribunal, in which the judges were appointed by the sovereign. The
liberty of the citizen against arbitrary imprisonment was amply provided
for. The 'jus de non evocando', the habeas corpus of Holland, was

Truly, here was a fundamental law which largely, roundly, and reasonably
recognized the existence of a people with hearts, heads, and hands of
their own. It was a vast step in advance of natural servitude, the dogma
of the dark ages. It was a noble and temperate vindication of natural
liberty, the doctrine of more enlightened days. To no people in the world
more than to the stout burghers of Flanders and Holland belongs the honor
of having battled audaciously and perennially in behalf of human rights.

Similar privileges to the great charter of Holland are granted to many
other provinces; especially to Flanders, ever ready to stand forward in
fierce vindication of freedom. For a season all is peace and joy; but the
duchess is young, weak, and a woman. There is no lack of intriguing
politicians, reactionary councillors. There is a cunning old king in the
distance, lying in wait; seeking what he can devour. A mission goes from
the estates to France. The well-known tragedy of Imbrecourt and Hugonet
occurs. Envoys from the states, they dare to accept secret instructions
from the duchess to enter into private negotiations with the French
monarch, against their colleagues--against the great charter--against
their country. Sly Louis betrays them, thinking that policy the more
expedient. They are seized in Ghent, rapidly tried, and as rapidly
beheaded by the enraged burghers. All the entreaties of the Lady Mary,
who, dressed in mourning garments, with dishevelled hair, unloosed
girdle, and streaming eyes; appears at the town-house and afterwards in
the market place, humbly to intercede for her servants, are fruitless
There is no help for the juggling diplomatists. The punishment was sharp.
Was it more severe and sudden than that which betrayed monarchs usually
inflict? Would the Flemings, at that critical moment, have deserved their
freedom had they not taken swift and signal vengeance for this first
infraction of their newly recognized rights? Had it not been weakness to
spare the traitors who had thus stained the childhood of the national joy
at liberty regained?


Another step, and a wide one, into the great stream of European history.
The Lady Mary espouses the Archduke Maximilian. The Netherlands are about
to become Habsburg property. The Ghenters reject the pretensions of the
dauphin, and select for husband of their duchess the very man whom her
father had so stupidly rejected. It had been a wiser choice for Charles
the Bold than for the Netherlanders. The marriage takes place on the 18th
of August, 1477. Mary of Burgundy passes from the guardianship of Ghent
burghers into that of the emperor's son. The crafty husband allies
himself with the city party, feeling where the strength lies. He knows
that the voracious Kabbeljaws have at last swallowed the Hooks, and run
away with them. Promising himself future rights of reconsideration, he is
liberal in promises to the municipal party. In the mean time he is
governor and guardian of his wife and her provinces. His children are to
inherit the Netherlands and all that therein is. What can be more
consistent than laws of descent, regulated by right divine? At the
beginning of the century, good Philip dispossesses Jacqueline, because
females can not inherit. At its close, his granddaughter succeeds to the
property, and transmits it to her children. Pope and emperor maintain
both positions with equal logic. The policy and promptness of Maximilian
are as effective as the force and fraud of Philip. The Lady Mary falls
from her horse and dies. Her son, Philip, four years of age, is
recognized as successor. Thus the house of Burgundy is followed by that
of Austria, the fifth and last family which governed Holland, previously
to the erection of the republic. Maximilian is recognized by the
provinces as governor and guardian, during the minority of his children.
Flanders alone refuses. The burghers, ever prompt in action, take
personal possession of the child Philip, and carry on the government in
his name. A commission of citizens and nobles thus maintain their
authority against Maximilian for several years. In 1488, the archduke,
now King of the Romans, with a small force of cavalry, attempts to take
the city of Bruges, but the result is a mortifying one to the Roman king.
The citizens of Bruges take him. Maximilian, with several councillors, is
kept a prisoner in a house on the market-place. The magistrates are all
changed, the affairs of government conducted in the name of the young
Philip alone. Meantime, the estates of the other Netherlands assemble at
Ghent; anxious, unfortunately, not for the national liberty, but for that
of the Roman king. Already Holland, torn again by civil feuds, and
blinded by the artifices of Maximilian, has deserted, for a season, the
great cause to which Flanders has remained so true. At last, a treaty is
made between the archduke and the Flemings. Maximilian is to be regent of
the other provinces; Philip, under guardianship of a council, is to
govern Flanders. Moreover, a congress of all the provinces is to be
summoned annually, to provide for the general welfare. Maximilian signs
and swears to the treaty on the 16th May, 1488. He swears, also, to
dismiss all foreign troops within four days. Giving hostages for his
fidelity, he is set at liberty. What are oaths and hostages when
prerogative, and the people are contending? Emperor Frederic sends to his
son an army under the Duke of Saxony. The oaths are broken, the hostages
left to their fate. The struggle lasts a year, but, at the end of it, the
Flemings are subdued. What could a single province effect, when its
sister states, even liberty-loving Holland, had basely abandoned the
common cause? A new treaty is made, (Oct.1489). Maximilian obtains
uncontrolled guardianship of his son, absolute dominion over Flanders and
the other provinces. The insolent burghers are severely punished for
remembering that they had been freemen. The magistrates of Ghent, Bruges,
and Ypres, in black garments, ungirdled, bare-headed, and kneeling, are
compelled to implore the despot's forgiveness, and to pay three hundred
thousand crowns of gold as its price. After this, for a brief season,
order reigns in Flanders.

The course of Maximilian had been stealthy, but decided. Allying himself
with the city party, he had crushed the nobles. The power thus obtained,
he then turned against the burghers. Step by step he had trampled out the
liberties which his wife and himself had sworn to protect. He had spurned
the authority of the "Great Privilege," and all other charters.
Burgomasters and other citizens had been beheaded in great numbers for
appealing to their statutes against the edicts of the regent, for voting
in favor of a general congress according to the unquestionable law. He
had proclaimed that all landed estates should, in lack of heirs male,
escheat to his own exchequer. He had debased the coin of the country, and
thereby authorized unlimited swindling on the part of all his agents,
from stadholders down to the meanest official. If such oppression and
knavery did not justify the resistance of the Flemings to the
guardianship of Maximilian, it would be difficult to find any reasonable
course in political affairs save abject submission to authority.

In 1493, Maximilian succeeds to the imperial throne, at the death of his
father. In the following year his son, Philip the Fair, now seventeen
years of age, receives the homage of the different states of the
Netherlands. He swears to maintain only the privileges granted by Philip
and Charles of Burgundy, or their ancestors, proclaiming null and void
all those which might have been acquired since the death of Charles.
Holland, Zeland, and the other provinces accept him upon these
conditions, thus ignominiously, and without a struggle, relinquishing the
Great Privilege, and all similar charters.

Friesland is, for a brief season, politically separated from the rest of
the country. Harassed and exhausted by centuries of warfare, foreign, and
domestic, the free Frisians, at the suggestion or command of Emperor
Maximilian, elect the Duke of Saxony as their Podesta. The sovereign
prince, naturally proving a chief magistrate far from democratic, gets
himself acknowledged, or submitted to, soon afterwards, as legitimate
sovereign of Friesland. Seventeen years afterward Saxony sells the
sovereignty to the Austrian house for 350,000 crowns. This little
country, whose statutes proclaimed her to be "free as the wind, as long
as it blew," whose institutions Charlemagne had honored and left
unmolested, who had freed herself with ready poniard from Norman tyranny,
who never bowed her neck to feudal chieftain, nor to the papal yoke, now
driven to madness and suicide by the dissensions of her wild children,
forfeits at last her independent existence. All the provinces are thus
united in a common servitude, and regret, too late, their supineness at a
moment when their liberties might yet have been vindicated. Their ancient
and cherished charters, which their bold ancestors had earned with the
sweat of their brows and the blood of their hearts, are at the mercy of
an autocrat, and liable to be superseded by his edicts.

In 1496, the momentous marriage of Philip the Fair with Joanna, daughter
of Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile and Aragon, is solemnized. Of this
union, in the first year of the century, is born the second Charlemagne,
who is to unite Spain and the Netherlands, together with so many vast and
distant realms, under a single sceptre. Six years afterwards (Sept. 25,
1506), Philip dies at Burgos. A handsome profligate, devoted to his
pleasures, and leaving the cares of state to his ministers, Philip,
"croit-conseil," is the bridge over which the house of Habsburg passes to
almost universal monarchy, but, in himself, is nothing.


Two prudent marriages, made by Austrian archdukes within twenty years,
have altered the face of the earth. The stream, which we have been
tracing from its source, empties itself at last into the ocean of a
world-empire. Count Dirk the First, lord of a half-submerged corner of
Europe, is succeeded by Count Charles the Second of Holland, better known
as Charles the Fifth, King of Spain, Sicily, and Jerusalem, Duke of
Milan, Emperor of Germany, Dominator in Asia and Africa, autocrat of half
the world. The leading events of his brilliant reign are familiar to
every child. The Netherlands now share the fate of so large a group of
nations, a fate, to these provinces, most miserable. The weddings of
Austria Felix were not so prolific of happiness to her subjects as to
herself. It can never seem just or reasonable that the destiny of many
millions of human beings should depend upon the marriage-settlements of
one man with one woman, and a permanent, prosperous empire can never be
reared upon so frail a foundation. The leading thought of the first
Charlemagne was a noble and a useful one, nor did his imperial scheme
seem chimerical, even although time, wiser than monarchs or lawgivers,
was to prove it impracticable. To weld into one great whole the various
tribes of Franks, Frisians, Saxons, Lombards, Burgundians, and others,
still in their turbulent youth, and still composing one great Teutonic
family; to enforce the mutual adhesion of naturally coherent masses, all
of one lineage, one language, one history, and which were only beginning
to exhibit their tendencies to insulation, to acquiesce in a variety of
local laws and customs, while an iron will was to concentrate a vast, but
homogeneous, people into a single nation; to raise up from the grave of
corrupt and buried Rome a fresh, vigorous, German, Christian empire; this
was a reasonable and manly thought. Far different the conception of the
second Charlemagne. To force into discordant union, tribes which, for
seven centuries, had developed themselves into hostile nations, separated
by geography and history, customs and laws, to combine many millions
under one sceptre, not because of natural identity, but for the sake of
composing one splendid family property, to establish unity by
annihilating local institutions, to supersede popular and liberal
charters by the edicts of a central despotism, to do battle with the
whole spirit of an age, to regard the souls as well as the bodies of vast
multitudes as the personal property of one individual, to strive for the
perpetuation in a single house of many crowns, which accident had
blended, and to imagine the consecration of the whole system by placing
the pope's triple diadem forever upon the imperial head of the
Habsburgs;--all this was not the effort of a great, constructive genius,
but the selfish scheme of an autocrat.

The union of no two countries could be less likely to prove advantageous
or agreeable than that of the Netherlands and Spain. They were widely
separated geographically, while in history, manners, and politics, they
were utterly opposed to each other. Spain, which had but just assumed the
form of a single state by the combination of all its kingdoms, with its
haughty nobles descended from petty kings, and arrogating almost
sovereign power within their domains, with its fierce enthusiasm for the
Catholic religion, which, in the course of long warfare with the
Saracens, had become the absorbing characteristic of a whole nation, with
its sparse population scattered over a wide and stern country, with a
military spirit which led nearly all classes to prefer poverty to the
wealth attendant upon degrading pursuits of trade;--Spain, with her
gloomy, martial, and exaggerated character, was the absolute contrast of
the Netherlands.

These provinces had been rarely combined into a whole, but there was
natural affinity in their character, history, and position. There was
life, movement, bustling activity every where. An energetic population
swarmed in all the flourishing cities which dotted the surface of a
contracted and highly cultivated country. Their ships were the carriers
for the world;--their merchants, if invaded in their rights, engaged in
vigorous warfare with their own funds and their own frigates; their
fabrics were prized over the whole earth; their burghers possessed the
wealth of princes, lived with royal luxury, and exercised vast political
influence; their love of liberty was their predominant passion. Their
religious ardor had not been fully awakened; but the events of the next
generation were to prove that in no respect more than in the religious
sentiment, were the two races opposed to each other. It was as certain
that the Netherlanders would be fierce reformers as that the Spaniards
would be uncompromising persecutors. Unhallowed was the union between
nations thus utterly contrasted.

Philip the Fair and Ferdinand had detested and quarrelled with each other
from the beginning. The Spaniards and Flemings participated in the mutual
antipathy, and hated each other cordially at first sight. The
unscrupulous avarice of the Netherland nobles in Spain, their grasping
and venal ambition, enraged and disgusted the haughty Spaniards. This
international malignity furnishes one of the keys to a proper
understanding of the great revolt in the next reign.

The provinces, now all united again under an emperor, were treated,
opulent and powerful as they were, as obscure dependencies. The regency
over them was entrusted by Charles to his near relatives, who governed in
the interest of his house, not of the country. His course towards them
upon the religious question will be hereafter indicated. The political
character of his administration was typified, and, as it were,
dramatized, on the occasion of the memorable insurrection at Ghent. For
this reason, a few interior details concerning that remarkable event,
seem requisite.


Ghent was, in all respects, one of the most important cities in Europe.
Erasmus, who, as a Hollander and a courtier, was not likely to be partial
to the turbulent Flemings, asserted that there was no town in all
Christendom to be compared to it for size, power, political constitution,
or the culture of its inhabitants. It was, said one of its inhabitants at
the epoch of the insurrection, rather a country than a city. The activity
and wealth of its burghers were proverbial. The bells were rung daily,
and the drawbridges over the many arms of the river intersecting the
streets were raised, in order that all business might be suspended, while
the armies of workmen were going to or returning from their labors. As
early as the fourteenth century, the age of the Arteveldes, Froissart
estimated the number of fighting men whom Ghent could bring into the
field at eighty thousand. The city, by its jurisdiction over many large
but subordinate towns, disposed of more than its own immediate
population, which has been reckoned as high as two hundred thousand.

Placed in the midst of well cultivated plains, Ghent was surrounded by
strong walls, the external circuit of which measured nine miles. Its
streets and squares were spacious and elegant, its churches and other
public buildings numerous and splendid. The sumptuous church of Saint
John or Saint Bavon, where Charles the Fifth had been baptized, the
ancient castle whither Baldwin Bras de Fer had brought the daughter of
Charles the Bald, the city hall with its graceful Moorish front, the
well-known belfry, where for three centuries had perched the dragon sent
by the Emperor Baldwin of Flanders from Constantinople, and where swung
the famous Roland, whose iron tongue had called the citizens, generation
after generation, to arms, whether to win battles over foreign kings at
the head of their chivalry, or to plunge their swords in each others'
breasts, were all conspicuous in the city and celebrated in the land.
Especially the great bell was the object of the burghers' affection, and,
generally, of the sovereign's hatred; while to all it seemed, as it were,
a living historical personage, endowed with the human powers and passions
which it had so long directed and inflamed.

The constitution of the city was very free. It was a little republic in
all but name. Its population was divided into fifty-two guilds of
manufacturers and into thirty-two tribes of weavers; each fraternity
electing annually or biennally its own deans and subordinate officers.
The senate, which exercised functions legislative, judicial, and
administrative, subject of course to the grand council of Mechlin and to
the sovereign authority, consisted of twenty-six members. These were
appointed partly from the upper class, or the men who lived upon their
means, partly from the manufacturers in general, and partly from the
weavers. They were chosen by a college of eight electors, who were
appointed by the sovereign on nomination by the citizens. The whole city,
in its collective capacity, constituted one of the four estates (Membra)
of the province of Flanders. It is obvious that so much liberty of form
and of fact, added to the stormy character by which its citizens were
distinguished, would be most offensive in the eyes of Charles, and that
the delinquencies of the little commonwealth would be represented in the
most glaring colors by all those quiet souls, who preferred the
tranquillity of despotism to the turbulence of freedom. The city claimed,
moreover, the general provisions of the "Great Privilege" of the Lady
Mary, the Magna Charta, which, according to the monarchical party, had
been legally abrogated by Maximilian. The liberties of the town had also
been nominally curtailed by the "calf-skin" (Kalf Vel). By this
celebrated document, Charles the Fifth, then fifteen years of age, had
been made to threaten with condign punishment all persons who should
maintain that he had sworn at his inauguration to observe any privileges
or charters claimed by the Ghenters before the peace of Cadsand.

The immediate cause of the discontent, the attempt to force from Flanders
a subsidy of four hundred thousand caroli, as the third part of the
twelve hundred thousand granted by the states of the Netherlands, and the
resistance of Ghent in opposition to the other three members of the
province, will, of course, be judged differently, according as the
sympathies are stronger with popular rights or with prerogative. The
citizens claimed that the subsidy could only be granted by the unanimous
consent of the four estates of the province. Among other proofs of this
their unquestionable right, they appealed to a muniment, which had never
existed, save in the imagination of the credulous populace. At a certain
remote epoch, one of the Counts of Flanders, it was contended, had
gambled away his countship to the Earl of Holland, but had been
extricated from his dilemma by the generosity of Ghent. The burghers of
the town had paid the debts and redeemed the sovereignty of their lord,
and had thereby gained, in return, a charter, called the Bargain of
Flanders (Koop van Flandern). Among the privileges granted by this
document, was an express stipulation that no subsidy should ever be
granted by the province without the consent of Ghent. This charter would
have been conclusive in the present emergency, had it not labored under
the disadvantage of never having existed. It was supposed by many that
the magistrates, some of whom were favorable to government, had hidden
the document. Lieven Pyl, an ex-senator, was supposed to be privy to its
concealment. He was also, with more justice, charged with an act of great
baseness and effrontery. Reputed by the citizens to carry to the Queen
Regent their positive refusal to grant the subsidy, he had, on the
contrary, given an answer, in their name, in the affirmative. For these
delinquencies, the imaginary and the real, he was inhumanly tortured and
afterwards beheaded. "I know, my children," said he upon the scaffold,
"that you will be grieved when you have seen my blood flow, and that you
will regret me when it is too late." It does not appear, however, that
there was any especial reason to regret him, however sanguinary the
punishment which had requited his broken faith.

The mischief being thus afoot, the tongue of Roland, and the
easily-excited spirits of the citizens, soon did the rest. Ghent broke
forth into open insurrection. They had been willing to enlist and pay
troops under their own banners, but they had felt outraged at the
enormous contribution demanded of them for a foreign war, undertaken in
the family interests of their distant master. They could not find the
"Bargain of Flanders," but they got possession of the odious "calf skin,"
which was solemnly cut in two by the dean of the weavers. It was then
torn in shreds by the angry citizens, many of whom paraded the streets
with pieces of the hated document stuck in their caps, like plumes. From
these demonstrations they proceeded to intrigues with Francis the First.
He rejected them, and gave notice of their overtures to Charles, who now
resolved to quell the insurrection, at once. Francis wrote, begging that
the Emperor would honor him by coming through France; "wishing to assure
you," said he, "my lord and good brother, by this letter, written and
signed by my hand, upon my honor, and on the faith of a prince, and of
the best brother you have, that in passing through my kingdom every
possible honor and hospitality will be offered you, even as they could be
to myself." Certainly, the French king, after such profuse and voluntary
pledges, to confirm which he, moreover, offered his two sons and other
great individuals as hostages, could not, without utterly disgracing
himself, have taken any unhandsome advantage of the Emperor's presence in
his dominions. The reflections often made concerning the high-minded
chivalry of Francis, and the subtle knowledge of human nature displayed
by Charles upon the occasion, seem, therefore, entirely superfluous. The
Emperor came to Paris. "Here," says a citizen of Ghent, at the time, who
has left a minute account of the transaction upon record, but whose
sympathies were ludicrously with the despot and against his own
townspeople, "here the Emperor was received as if the God of Paradise had
descended." On the 9th of February, 1540, he left Brussels; on the 14th
he came to Ghent. His entrance into the city lasted more than six hours.
Four thousand lancers, one thousand archers, five thousand halberdmen and
musqueteers composed his bodyguard, all armed to the teeth and ready for
combat. The Emperor rode in their midst, surrounded by "cardinals,
archbishops, bishops, and other great ecclesiastical lords," so that the
terrors of the Church were combined with the panoply of war to affright
the souls of the turbulent burghers. A brilliant train of "dukes,
princes, earls, barons, grand masters, and seignors, together with most
of the Knights of the Fleece," were, according to the testimony of the
same eyewitness, in attendance upon his Majesty. This unworthy son of
Ghent was in ecstasies with the magnificence displayed upon the occasion.
There was such a number of "grand lords, members of sovereign houses,
bishops, and other ecclesiastical dignitaries going about the streets,
that," as the poor soul protested with delight, "there was nobody else to
be met with." Especially the fine clothes of these distinguished guests
excited his warmest admiration. It was wonderful to behold, he said, "the
nobility and great richness of the princes and seignors, displayed as
well in their beautiful furs, martins and sables, as in the great chains
of fine gold which they wore twisted round their necks, and the pearls
and precious stones in their bonnets and otherwise, which they displayed
in great abundance. It was a very triumphant thing to see them so richly
dressed and accoutred."

An idea may be formed of the size and wealth of the city at this period,
from the fact that it received and accommodated sixty thousand strangers,
with their fifteen thousand horses, upon the occasion of the Emperor's
visit. Charles allowed a month of awful suspense to intervene between his
arrival and his vengeance. Despair and hope alternated during the
interval. On the 17th of March, the spell was broken by the execution of
nineteen persons, who were beheaded as ringleaders. On the 29th of April,
he pronounced sentence upon the city. The hall where it was rendered was
open to all comers, and graced by the presence of the Emperor, the Queen
Regent, and the great functionaries of Court, Church, and State. The
decree, now matured, was read at length. It annulled all the charters,
privileges, and laws of Ghent. It confiscated all its public property,
rents, revenues, houses, artillery, munitions of war, and in general
every thing which the corporation, or the traders, each and all,
possessed in common. In particular, the great bell--Roland was condemned
and sentenced to immediate removal. It was decreed that the four hundred
thousand florins, which had caused the revolt, should forthwith be paid,
together with an additional fine by Ghent of one hundred and fifty
thousand, besides six thousand a year, forever after. In place of their
ancient and beloved constitution, thus annihilated at a blow, was
promulgated a new form of municipal government of the simplest kind,
according to which all officers were in future to be appointed by himself
and the guilds, to be reduced to half their number; shorn of all
political power, and deprived entirely of self-government. It was,
moreover, decreed, that the senators, their pensionaries, clerks and
secretaries, thirty notable burghers, to be named by the Emperor, with
the great dean and second dean of the weavers, all dressed in black
robes, without their chains, and bareheaded, should appear upon an
appointed day, in company with fifty persons from the guilds, and fifty
others, to be arbitrarily named, in their shirts, with halters upon their
necks. This large number of deputies, as representatives of the city,
were then to fall upon their knees before the Emperor, say in a loud and
intelligible voice, by the mouth of one of their clerks, that they were
extremely sorry for the disloyalty, disobedience, infraction of laws,
commotions, rebellion, and high treason, of which they had been guilty,
promise that they would never do the like again, and humbly implore him,
for the sake of the Passion of Jesus Christ, to grant them mercy and

The third day of May was appointed for the execution of the sentence.
Charles, who was fond of imposing exhibitions and prided himself upon
arranging them with skill, was determined that this occasion should be
long remembered by all burghers throughout his dominions who might be
disposed to insist strongly upon their municipal rights. The streets were
alive with troops: cavalry and infantry in great numbers keeping strict
guard at every point throughout the whole extent of the city; for it was
known that the hatred produced by the sentence was most deadly, and that
nothing but an array of invincible force could keep those hostile
sentiments in check. The senators in their black mourning robes, the
other deputies in linen shirts, bareheaded, with halters on their necks,
proceeded, at the appointed hour, from the senate house to the imperial
residence. High on his throne, with the Queen Regent at his side,
surrounded by princes, prelates and nobles, guarded by his archers and
halberdiers, his crown on his head and his sceptre in his hand, the
Emperor, exalted, sat. The senators and burghers, in their robes cf
humiliation, knelt in the dust at his feet. The prescribed words of
contrition and of supplication for mercy were then read by the
pensionary, all the deputies remaining upon their knees, and many of them
crying bitterly with rage and shame. "What principally distressed them,"
said the honest citizen, whose admiration for the brilliant accoutrement
of the princes and prelates has been recorded, "was to have the halter on
their necks, which they found hard to bear, and, if they had not been
compelled, they would rather have died than submit to it."

As soon as the words had been all spoken by the pensionary, the Emperor,
whose cue was now to appear struggling with mingled emotions of
reasonable wrath and of natural benignity, performed his part with much
dramatic effect. "He held himself coyly for a little time," says the
eye-witness, "without saying a word; deporting himself as though he were
considering whether or not he would grant the pardon for which the
culprits had prayed." Then the Queen Regent enacted her share in the
show. Turning to his Majesty "with all reverence, honor and humility, she
begged that he would concede forgiveness, in honor of his nativity, which
had occurred in that city."

Upon this the Emperor "made a fine show of benignity," and replied "very
sweetly" that in consequence of his "fraternal love for her, by reason of
his being a gentle and virtuous prince, who preferred mercy to the rigor
of justice, and in view of their repentance, he would accord his pardon
to the citizens."

The Netherlands, after this issue to the struggle of Ghent, were reduced,
practically, to a very degraded condition. The form of local
self-government remained, but its spirit, when invoked, only arose to be
derided. The supreme court of Mechlin, as in the days of Charles the
Bold, was again placed in despotic authority above the ancient charters.
Was it probable that the lethargy of provinces, which had reached so high
a point of freedom only to be deprived of it at last, could endure
forever? Was it to be hoped that the stern spirit of religious
enthusiasm, allying itself with the--keen instinct of civil liberty,
would endue the provinces with strength to throw off the Spanish yoke?


It is impossible to comprehend the character of the great Netherland
revolt in the sixteenth century without taking a rapid retrospective
survey of the religious phenomena exhibited in the provinces. The
introduction of Christianity has been already indicated. From the
earliest times, neither prince, people, nor even prelates were very
dutiful to the pope. As the papal authority made progress, strong
resistance was often made to its decrees. The bishops of Utrecht were
dependent for their wealth and territory upon the good will of the
Emperor. They were the determined opponents of Hildebrand, warm adherents
of the Hohenstaufers-Ghibelline rather than Guelph. Heresy was a plant of
early growth in the Netherlands. As early as the beginning of the 12th
century, the notorious Tanchelyn preached at Antwerp, attacking the
authority of the pope and of all other ecclesiastics; scoffing at the
ceremonies and sacraments of the Church. Unless his character and career
have been grossly misrepresented, he was the most infamous of the many
impostors who have so often disgraced the cause of religious reformation.
By more than four centuries, he anticipated the licentiousness and
greediness manifested by a series of false prophets, and was the first to
turn both the stupidity of a populace and the viciousness of a priesthood
to his own advancement; an ambition which afterwards reached its most
signal expression in the celebrated John of Leyden.

The impudence of Tanchelyn and the superstition of his followers seem
alike incredible. All Antwerp was his harem. He levied, likewise, vast
sums upon his converts, and whenever he appeared in public, his apparel
and pomp were befitting an emperor. Three thousand armed satellites
escorted his steps and put to death all who resisted his commands. So
groveling became the superstition of his followers that they drank of the
water in which, he had washed, and treasured it as a divine elixir.
Advancing still further in his experiments upon human credulity, he
announced his approaching marriage with the Virgin Mary, bade all his
disciples to the wedding, and exhibited himself before an immense crowd
in company with an image of his holy bride. He then ordered the people to
provide for the expenses of the nuptials and the dowry of his wife,
placing a coffer upon each side of the image, to receive the
contributions of either sex. Which is the most wonderful manifestation in
the history of this personage--the audacity of the impostor, or the
bestiality of his victims? His career was so successful in the
Netherlands that he had the effrontery to proceed to Rome, promulgating
what he called his doctrines as he went. He seems to have been
assassinated by a priest in an obscure brawl, about the year 1115.

By the middle of the 12th century, other and purer heresiarchs had
arisen. Many Netherlanders became converts to the doctrines of Waldo.
From that period until the appearance of Luther, a succession of
sects--Waldenses, Albigenses, Perfectists, Lollards, Poplicans,
Arnaldists, Bohemian Brothers--waged perpetual but unequal warfare with
the power and depravity of the Church, fertilizing with their blood the
future field of the Reformation. Nowhere was the persecution of heretics
more relentless than in the Netherlands. Suspected persons were subjected
to various torturing but ridiculous ordeals. After such trial, death by
fire was the usual but, perhaps, not the most severe form of execution.
In Flanders, monastic ingenuity had invented another most painful
punishment for Waldenses and similar malefactors. A criminal whose guilt
had been established by the hot iron, hot ploughshare, boiling kettle, or
other logical proof, was stripped and bound to the stake:--he was then
flayed, from the neck to the navel, while swarms of bees were let loose
to fasten upon his bleeding flesh and torture him to a death of exquisite

Nevertheless heresy increased in the face of oppression The Scriptures,
translated by Waldo into French, were rendered into Netherland rhyme, and
the converts to the Vaudois doctrine increased in numbers and boldness.
At the same time the power and luxury of the clergy was waxing daily. The
bishops of Utrecht, no longer the defenders of the people against
arbitrary power, conducted themselves like little popes. Yielding in
dignity neither to king nor kaiser, they exacted homage from the most
powerful princes of the Netherlands. The clerical order became the most
privileged of all. The accused priest refused to acknowledge the temporal
tribunals. The protection of ecclesiastical edifices was extended over
all criminals and fugitives from justice--a beneficent result in those
sanguinary ages, even if its roots were sacerdotal pride. To establish an
accusation against a bishop, seventy-two witnesses were necessary;
against a deacon, twenty-seven; against an inferior dignitary, seven;
while two were sufficient to convict a layman. The power to read and
write helped the clergy to much wealth. Privileges and charters from
petty princes, gifts and devises from private persons, were documents
which few, save ecclesiastics, could draw or dispute. Not content,
moreover, with their territories and their tithings, the churchmen
perpetually devised new burthens upon the peasantry. Ploughs, sickles,
horses, oxen, all implements of husbandry, were taxed for the benefit of
those who toiled not, but who gathered into barns. In the course of the
twelfth century, many religious houses, richly endowed with lands and
other property, were founded in the Netherlands. Was hand or voice raised
against clerical encroachment--the priests held ever in readiness a
deadly weapon of defence: a blasting anathema was thundered against their
antagonist, and smote him into submission. The disciples of Him who
ordered his followers to bless their persecutors, and to love their
enemies, invented such Christian formulas as these:--"In the name of the
Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, the blessed Virgin Mary, John the
Baptist, Peter and Paul, and all other Saints in Heaven, do we curse and
cut off from our Communion him who has thus rebelled against us. May the
curse strike him in his house, barn, bed, field, path, city, castle. May
he be cursed in battle, accursed in praying, in speaking, in silence, in
eating, in drinking, in sleeping. May he be accursed in his taste,
hearing, smell, and all his senses. May the curse blast his eyes, head,
and his body, from his crown to the soles of his feet. I conjure you,
Devil, and all your imps, that you take no rest till you have brought him
to eternal shame; till he is destroyed by drowning or hanging, till he is
torn to pieces by wild beasts, or consumed by fire. Let his children
become orphans, his wife a widow. I command you, Devil, and all your
imps, that even as I now blow out these torches, you do immediately
extinguish the light from his eyes. So be it--so be it. Amen. Amen." So
speaking, the curser was wont to blow out two waxen torches which he held
in his hands, and, with this practical illustration, the anathema was

Such insane ravings, even in the mouth of some impotent beldame, were
enough to excite a shudder, but in that dreary epoch, these curses from
the lips of clergymen were deemed sufficient to draw down celestial
lightning upon the head, not of the blasphemer, but of his victim. Men,
who trembled neither at sword nor fire, cowered like slaves before such
horrid imprecations, uttered by tongues gifted, as it seemed, with
superhuman power. Their fellow-men shrank from the wretches thus blasted,
and refused communication with them as unclean and abhorred.

By the end of the thirteenth century, however, the clerical power was
already beginning to decline. It was not the corruption of the Church,
but its enormous wealth which engendered the hatred, with which it was by
many regarded. Temporal princes and haughty barons began to dispute the
right of ecclesiastics to enjoy vast estates, while refusing the burthen
of taxation, and unable to draw a sword for the common defence. At this
period, the Counts of Flanders, of Holland, and other Netherland
sovereigns, issued decrees, forbidding clerical institutions from
acquiring property, by devise, gift, purchase, or any other mode. The
downfall of the rapacious and licentious knights-templar in the provinces
and throughout Europe, was another severe blow administered at the same
time. The attacks upon Church abuses redoubled in boldness, as its
authority declined. Towards the end of the fourteenth century, the
doctrines of Wicklif had made great progress in the land. Early in the
fifteenth, the executions of Huss and Jerome of Prague, produce the
Bohemian rebellion. The Pope proclaims a crusade against the Hussites.
Knights and prelates, esquires and citizens, enlist in the sacred cause,
throughout Holland and its sister provinces; but many Netherlanders, who
had felt the might of Ziska's arm, come back, feeling more sympathy with
the heresy which they had attacked, than with the Church for which they
had battled.

Meantime, the restrictions imposed by Netherland sovereigns upon clerical
rights to hold or acquire property, become more stern and more general.
On the other hand, with the invention of printing, the cause of
Reformation takes a colossal stride in advance. A Bible, which, before,
had cost five hundred crowns, now costs but five. The people acquire the
power of reading God's Word, or of hearing it read, for themselves. The
light of truth dispels the clouds of superstition, as by a new
revelation. The Pope and his monks are found to bear, very often, but
faint resemblance to Jesus and his apostles. Moreover, the instinct of
self-interest sharpens the eye of the public. Many greedy priests, of
lower rank, had turned shop-keepers in the Netherlands, and were growing
rich by selling their wares, exempt from taxation, at a lower rate than
lay hucksters could afford. The benefit of clergy, thus taking the bread
from the mouths of many, excites jealousy; the more so, as, besides their
miscellaneous business, the reverend traders have a most lucrative branch
of commerce from which other merchants are excluded. The sale of
absolutions was the source of large fortunes to the priests. The enormous
impudence of this traffic almost exceeds belief. Throughout the
Netherlands, the price current of the wares thus offered for sale, was
published in every town and village. God's pardon for crimes already
committed, or about to be committed, was advertised according to a
graduated tariff. Thus, poisoning, for example, was absolved for eleven
ducats, six livres tournois. Absolution for incest was afforded at
thirty-six livres, three ducats. Perjury came to seven livres and three
carlines. Pardon for murder, if not by poison, was cheaper. Even a
parricide could buy forgiveness at God's tribunal at one ducat; four
livres, eight carlines. Henry de Montfort, in the year 1448, purchased
absolution for that crime at that price. Was it strange that a century or
so of this kind of work should produce a Luther? Was it unnatural that
plain people, who loved the ancient Church, should rather desire to see
her purged of such blasphemous abuses, than to hear of St. Peter's dome
rising a little nearer to the clouds on these proceeds of commuted crime?

At the same time, while ecclesiastical abuses are thus augmenting,
ecclesiastical power is diminishing in the Netherlands. The Church is no
longer able to protect itself against the secular aim. The halcyon days
of ban, book and candle, are gone. In 1459, Duke Philip of Burgundy
prohibits the churches from affording protection to fugitives. Charles
the Bold, in whose eyes nothing is sacred save war and the means of
making it, lays a heavy impost upon all clerical property. Upon being
resisted, he enforces collection with the armed hand. The sword and the
pen, strength and intellect, no longer the exclusive servants or
instruments of priestcraft, are both in open revolt. Charles the Bold
storms one fortress, Doctor Grandfort, of Groningen, batters another.
This learned Frisian, called "the light of the world," friend and
compatriot of the great Rudolph Agricola, preaches throughout the
provinces, uttering bold denunciations of ecclesiastical error. He even
disputes the infallibility of the Pope, denies the utility of prayers for
the dead, and inveighs against the whole doctrine of purgatory and

With the beginning of the 16th century, the great Reformation was
actually alive. The name of Erasmus of Rotterdam was already celebrated;
the man, who, according to Grotius, "so well showed the road to a
reasonable reformation." But if Erasmus showed the road, he certainly did
not travel far upon it himself. Perpetual type of the quietist, the
moderate man, he censured the errors of the Church with discrimination
and gentleness, as if Borgianism had not been too long rampant at Rome,
as if men's minds throughout Christendom were not too deeply stirred to
be satisfied with mild rebukes against sin, especially when the mild
rebuker was in receipt of livings and salaries from the sinner. Instead
of rebukes, the age wanted reforms. The Sage of Rotterdam was a keen
observer, a shrewd satirist, but a moderate moralist. He loved ease, good
company, the soft repose of princely palaces, better than a life of
martyrdom and a death at the stake. He was not of the stuff of which
martyrs are made, as he handsomely confessed on more than one occasion.
"Let others affect martyrdom," he said, "for myself I am unworthy of the
honor;" and, at another time, "I am not of a mind," he observed "to
venture my life for the truth's sake; all men have not strength to endure
the martyr's death. For myself, if it came to the point, I should do no
better than Simon Peter." Moderate in all things, he would have liked, he
said, to live without eating and drinking, although he never found it
convenient to do so, and he rejoiced when advancing age diminished his
tendency to other carnal pleasures in which he had moderately indulged.
Although awake to the abuses of the Church, he thought Luther going too
fast and too far. He began by applauding ended by censuring the monk of
Wittemberg. The Reformation might have been delayed for centuries had
Erasmus and other moderate men been the only reformers. He will long be
honored for his elegant, Latinity. In the republic of letters, his
efforts to infuse a pure taste, a sound criticism, a love for the
beautiful and the classic, in place of the owlish pedantry which had so
long flapped and hooted through mediveval cloisters, will always be held
in grateful reverence. In the history of the religious Reformation, his
name seems hardly to deserve the commendations of Grotius.

As the schism yawns, more and more ominously, throughout Christendom, the
Emperor naturally trembles. Anxious to save the state, but being no
antique Roman, he wishes to close the gulf, but with more convenience to
himself: He conceives the highly original plan of combining Church and
Empire under one crown. This is Maximilian's scheme for Church
reformation. An hereditary papacy, a perpetual pope-emperor, the
Charlemagne and Hildebrand systems united and simplified--thus the world
may yet be saved. "Nothing more honorable, nobler, better, could happen
to us," writes Maximilian to Paul Lichtenstein (16th Sept. 1511), "than
to re-annex the said popedom--which properly belongs to us--to our
Empire. Cardinal Adrian approves our reasons and encourages us to
proceed, being of opinion that we should not have much trouble with the
cardinals. It is much to be feared that the Pope may die of his present
sickness. He has lost his appetite, and fills himself with so much drink
that his health is destroyed. As such matters can not be arranged without
money, we have promised the cardinals, whom we expect to bring over,
300,000 ducats, [Recall that the fine for redemption and pardon for the
sin of murder was at that time one ducat. D.W.] which we shall raise from
the Fuggers, and make payable in Rome upon the appointed day."

These business-like arrangements he communicates, two days afterwards, in
a secret letter to his daughter Margaret, and already exults at his
future eminence, both in this world and the next. "We are sending
Monsieur de Gurce," he says; "to make an agreement with the Pope, that we
may be taken as coadjutor, in order that, upon his death, we may be sure
of the papacy, and, afterwards, of becoming a saint. After my decease,
therefore, you will be constrained to adore me, of which I shall be very
proud. I am beginning to work upon the cardinals, in which affair two or
three hundred thousand ducats will be of great service." The letter was
signed, "From the hand of your good father, Maximilian, future Pope."

These intrigues are not destined, however, to be successful. Pope Julius
lives two years longer; Leo the Tenth succeeds; and, as Medici are not
much prone to Church reformation some other scheme, and perhaps some
other reformer, may be wanted. Meantime, the traffic in bulls of
absolution becomes more horrible than ever. Money must be raised to
supply the magnificent extravagance of Rome. Accordingly, Christians,
throughout Europe, are offered by papal authority, guarantees of
forgiveness for every imaginable sin, "even for the rape of God's mother,
if that were possible," together with a promise of life eternal in
Paradise, all upon payment of the price affixed to each crime. The
Netherlands, like other countries, are districted and farmed for the
collection of this papal revenue. Much of the money thus raised, remains
in the hands of the vile collectors. Sincere Catholics, who love and
honor the ancient religion, shrink with horror at the spectacle offered
on every side. Criminals buying Paradise for money, monks spending the
money thus paid in gaming houses, taverns, and brothels; this seems, to
those who have studied their Testaments, a different scheme of salvation
from the one promulgated by Christ. There has evidently been a departure
from the system of earlier apostles. Innocent conservative souls are much
perplexed; but, at last, all these infamies arouse a giant to do battle
with the giant wrong. Martin Luther enters the lists, all alone, armed
only with a quiver filled with ninety-five propositions, and a bow which
can send them all over Christendom with incredible swiftness. Within a
few weeks the ninety-five propositions have flown through Germany, the
Netherlands, Spain, and are found in Jerusalem.

At the beginning, Erasmus encourages the bold friar. So long as the axe
is not laid at the foot of the tree, which bears the poisonous but golden
fruit, the moderate man applauds the blows. "Luther's cause is considered
odious," writes Erasmus to the Elector of Saxony, "because he has, at the
same time, attacked the bellies of the monks and the bulls of the Pope."
He complains that the zealous man had been attacked with roiling, but not
with arguments. He foresees that the work will have a bloody and
turbulent result, but imputes the principal blame to the clergy. "The
priests talk," said he, "of absolution in such terms, that laymen can not
stomach it. Luther has been for nothing more censured than for making
little of Thomas Aquinas; for wishing to diminish the absolution traffic;
for having a low opinion of mendicant orders, and for respecting
scholastic opinions less than the gospels. All this is considered
intolerable heresy."

Erasmus, however, was offending both parties. A swarm of monks were
already buzzing about him for the bold language of his Commentaries and
Dialogues. He was called Erasmus for his errors--Arasmus because he would
plough up sacred things--Erasinus because he had written himself an
ass--Behemoth, Antichrist, and many other names of similar import. Luther
was said to have bought the deadly seed in his barn. The egg had been
laid by Erasmus, hatched by Luther. On the other hand, he was reviled for
not taking side manfully with the reformer. The moderate man received
much denunciation from zealots on either side. He soon clears himself,
however, from all suspicions of Lutheranism. He is appalled at the fierce
conflict which rages far and wide. He becomes querulous as the mighty
besom sweeps away sacred dust and consecrated cobwebs. "Men should not
attempt every thing at once," he writes, "but rather step by step. That
which men can not improve they must look at through the fingers. If the
godlessness of mankind requires such fierce physicians as Luther, if man
can not be healed with soothing ointments and cooling drinks, let us hope
that God will comfort, as repentant, those whom he has punished as
rebellious. If the dove of Christ--not the owl of Minerva--would only fly
to us, some measure might be put to the madness of mankind."

Meantime the man, whose talk is not of doves and owls, the fierce
physician, who deals not with ointments and cooling draughts, strides
past the crowd of gentle quacks to smite the foul disease. Devils,
thicker than tiles on house-tops, scare him not from his work. Bans and
bulls, excommunications and decrees, are rained upon his head. The
paternal Emperor sends down dire edicts, thicker than hail upon the
earth. The Holy Father blasts and raves from Rome. Louvain doctors
denounce, Louvain hangmen burn, the bitter, blasphemous books. The
immoderate man stands firm in the storm, demanding argument instead of
illogical thunder; shows the hangmen and the people too, outside the
Elster gate at Wittenberg, that papal bulls will blaze as merrily as
heretic scrolls. What need of allusion to events which changed the
world--which every child has learned--to the war of Titans, uprooting of
hoary trees and rock-ribbed hills, to the Worms diet, Peasant wars, the
Patmos of Eisenach, and huge wrestlings with the Devil?

Imperial edicts are soon employed to suppress the Reformation in the
Netherlands by force. The provinces, unfortunately; are the private
property of Charles, his paternal inheritance; and most paternally,
according to his view of the matter, does he deal with them. Germany can
not be treated thus summarily, not being his heritage. "As it appears,"
says the edict of 1521, "that the aforesaid Martin is not a man, but a
devil under the form of a man, and clothed in the dress of a priest, the
better to bring the human race to hell and damnation, therefore all his
disciples and converts are to be punished with death and forfeiture of
all their goods." This was succinct and intelligible. The bloody edict,
issued at Worms, without even a pretence of sanction by the estates, was
carried into immediate effect. The papal inquisition was introduced into
the provinces to assist its operations. The bloody work, for which the
reign of Charles is mainly distinguished in the Netherlands, now began.
In 1523, July 1st, two Augustine monks were burned at Brussels, the first
victims to Lutheranism in the provinces. Erasmus observed, with a sigh,
that "two had been burned at Brussels, and that the city now began
strenuously to favor Lutheranism."

Pope Adrian the Sixth, the Netherland boat-maker's son and the Emperor's
ancient tutor, was sufficiently alive to the sins of churchmen. The
humble scholar of Utrecht was, at least, no Borgia. At the diet of
Nuremberg, summoned to put down Luther, the honest Pope declared roundly,
through the Bishop of Fabriane, that "these disorders had sprung from the
Sins of men, more especially from the sins of priests and prelates. Even
in the holy chair," said he, "many horrible crimes have been committed.
Many abuses have grown up in the ecclesiastical state. The contagious
disease, spreading from the head to the members--from the Pope to lesser
prelates--has spread far and wide, so that scarcely any one is to be
found who does right, and who is free from infection. Nevertheless, the
evils have become so ancient and manifold, that it will be necessary to
go step by step."

In those passionate days, the ardent reformers were as much outraged by
this pregnant confession as the ecclesiastics. It would indeed be a slow
process, they thought, to move step by step in the Reformation, if
between each step, a whole century was to intervene. In vain did the
gentle pontiff call upon Erasmus to assuage the stormy sea with his
smooth rhetoric. The Sage of Rotterdam was old and sickly; his day was
over. Adrian's head; too; languishes beneath the triple crown but twenty
months. He dies 13th Sept., 1523, having arrived at the conviction,
according to his epitaph, that the greatest misfortune of his life was to
have reigned.

Another edict, published in the Netherlands, forbids all private
assemblies for devotion; all reading of the scriptures; all discussions
within one's own doors concerning faith, the sacraments, the papal
authority, or other religious matter, under penalty of death. The edicts
were no dead letter. The fires were kept constantly supplied with human
fuel by monks, who knew the art of burning reformers better than that of
arguing with them. The scaffold was the most conclusive of syllogisms,
and used upon all occasions. Still the people remained unconvinced.
Thousands of burned heretics had not made a single convert.

A fresh edict renewed and sharpened the punishment for reading the
scriptures in private or public. At the same time, the violent personal
altercation between Luther and Erasmus, upon predestination, together
with the bitter dispute between Luther and Zwingli concerning the real
presence, did more to impede the progress of the Reformation than ban or
edict, sword or fire. The spirit of humanity hung her head, finding that
the bold reformer had only a new dogma in place of the old ones, seeing
that dissenters, in their turn, were sometimes as ready as papists, with
age, fagot, and excommunication. In 1526, Felix Mants, the anabaptist, is
drowned at Zurich, in obedience to Zwingli's pithy formula--'Qui iterum
mergit mergatur'. Thus the anabaptists, upon their first appearance, were
exposed to the fires of the Church and the water of the Zwinglians.

There is no doubt that the anabaptist delusion was so ridiculous and so
loathsome, as to palliate or at least render intelligible the wrath with
which they were regarded by all parties. The turbulence of the sect was
alarming to constituted authorities, its bestiality disgraceful to the
cause of religious reformation. The leaders were among the most depraved
of human creatures, as much distinguished for licentiousness, blasphemy
and cruelty as their followers for grovelling superstition. The evil
spirit, driven out of Luther, seemed, in orthodox eyes, to have taken
possession of a herd of swine. The Germans, Muncer and Hoffmann, had been
succeeded, as chief prophets, by a Dutch baker, named Matthiszoon, of
Harlem; who announced himself as Enoch. Chief of this man's disciples was
the notorious John Boccold, of Leyden. Under the government of this
prophet, the anabaptists mastered the city of Munster. Here they
confiscated property, plundered churches, violated females, murdered men
who refused to join the gang, and, in briefs practised all the enormities
which humanity alone can conceive or perpetrate. The prophet proclaimed
himself King of Sion, and sent out apostles to preach his doctrines in
Germany and the Netherlands. Polygamy being a leading article of the
system, he exemplified the principle by marrying fourteen wives. Of
these, the beautiful widow of Matthiszoon was chief, was called the Queen
of Sion, and wore a golden crown. The prophet made many fruitless efforts
to seize Amsterdam and Leyden. The armed invasion of the anabaptists was
repelled, but their contagious madness spread. The plague broke forth in
Amsterdam. On a cold winter's night, (February, 1535), seven men and five
women, inspired by the Holy Ghost, threw off their clothes and rushed
naked and raving through the streets, shrieking "Wo, wo, wo! the wrath of
God, the wrath of God!" When arrested, they obstinately refused to put on
clothing. "We are," they observed, "the naked truth." In a day or two,
these furious lunatics, who certainly deserved a madhouse rather than the
scaffold, were all executed. The numbers of the sect increased with the
martyrdom to which they were exposed, and the disorder spread to every
part of the Netherlands. Many were put to death in lingering torments,
but no perceptible effect was produced by the chastisement. Meantime the
great chief of the sect, the prophet John, was defeated by the forces of
the Bishop of Munster, who recovered his city and caused the "King of
Zion" to be pinched to death with red-hot tongs.

Unfortunately the severity of government was not wreaked alone upon the
prophet and his mischievous crew. Thousands and ten-thousands of
virtuous, well-disposed men and women, who had as little sympathy with
anabaptistical as with Roman depravity; were butchered in cold blood,
under the sanguinary rule of Charles, in the Netherlands. In 1533, Queen
Dowager Mary of Hungary, sister of the Emperor, Regent of the provinces,
the "Christian widow" admired by Erasmus, wrote to her brother that "in
her opinion all heretics, whether repentant or not, should be prosecuted
with such severity as that error might be, at once, extinguished, care
being only taken that the provinces were not entirely depopulated." With
this humane limitation, the "Christian Widow" cheerfully set herself to
superintend as foul and wholesale a system of murder as was ever
organized. In 1535, an imperial edict was issued at Brussels, condemning
all heretics to death; repentant males to be executed with the sword,
repentant females to be buried alive, the obstinate, of both sexes, to be
burned. This and similar edicts were the law of the land for twenty
years, and rigidly enforced. Imperial and papal persecution continued its
daily deadly work with such diligence as to make it doubtful whether the
limits set by the Regent Mary might not be overstepped. In the midst of
the carnage, the Emperor sent for his son Philip, that he might receive
the fealty of the Netherlands as their future lord and master.
Contemporaneously, a new edict was published at Brussels (29th April,
1549), confirming and reenacting all previous decrees in their most
severe provisions. Thus stood religious matters in the Netherlands at the
epoch of the imperial abdication.


The civil institutions of the country had assumed their last provincial
form, in the Burgundo-Austrian epoch. As already stated, their tendency,
at a later period a vicious one, was to substitute fictitious personages
for men. A chain of corporations was wound about the liberty of the
Netherlands; yet that liberty had been originally sustained by the system
in which it, one day, might be strangled. The spirit of local
self-government, always the life-blood of liberty, was often excessive in
its manifestations. The centrifugal force had been too much developed,
and, combining with the mutual jealousy of corporations, had often made
the nation weak against a common foe. Instead of popular rights there
were state rights, for the large cities, with extensive districts and
villages under their government, were rather petty states than
municipalities. Although the supreme legislative and executive functions
belonged to the sovereign, yet each city made its by-laws, and possessed,
beside, a body of statutes and regulations, made from time to time by its
own authority and confirmed by the prince. Thus a large portion, at
least, of the nation shared practically in the legislative functions,
which, technically, it did not claim; nor had the requirements of society
made constant legislation so necessary, as that to exclude the people
from the work was to enslave the country. There was popular power enough
to effect much good, but it was widely scattered, and, at the same time,
confined in artificial forms. The guilds were vassals of the towns, the
towns, vassals of the feudal lord. The guild voted in the "broad council"
of the city as one person; the city voted in the estates as one person.
The people of the United Netherlands was the personage yet to be
invented, It was a privilege, not a right, to exercise a handiwork, or to
participate in the action of government. Yet the mass of privileges was
so large, the shareholders so numerous, that practically the towns were
republics. The government was in the hands of a large number of the
people. Industry and intelligence led to wealth and power. This was great
progress from the general servitude of the 11th and 12th centuries, an
immense barrier against arbitrary rule. Loftier ideas of human rights,
larger conceptions of commerce, have taught mankind, in later days, the
difference between liberties and liberty, between guilds and free
competition. At the same time it was the principle of mercantile
association, in the middle ages, which protected the infant steps of
human freedom and human industry against violence and wrong. Moreover, at
this period, the tree of municipal life was still green and vigorous. The
healthful flow of sap from the humblest roots to the most verdurous
branches indicated the internal soundness of the core, and provided for
the constant development of exterior strength. The road to political
influence was open to all, not by right of birth, but through honorable
exertion of heads and hands.

The chief city of the Netherlands, the commercial capital of the world,
was Antwerp. In the North and East of Europe, the Hanseatic league had
withered with the revolution in commerce. At the South, the splendid
marble channels, through which the overland India trade had been
conducted from the Mediterranean by a few stately cities, were now dry,
the great aqueducts ruinous and deserted. Verona, Venice, Nuremberg,
Augsburg, Bruges, were sinking, but Antwerp, with its deep and convenient
river, stretched its arm to the ocean and caught the golden prize, as it
fell from its sister cities' grasp. The city was so ancient that its
genealogists, with ridiculous gravity, ascended to a period two centuries
before the Trojan war, and discovered a giant, rejoicing in the classic
name of Antigonus, established on the Scheld. This patriarch exacted one
half the merchandise of all navigators who passed his castle, and was
accustomed to amputate and cast into the river the right hands of those
who infringed this simple tariff. Thus Hand-werpen, hand-throwing, became
Antwerp, and hence, two hands, in the escutcheon of the city, were ever
held up in heraldic attestation of the truth. The giant was, in his turn,
thrown into the Scheld by a hero, named Brabo, from whose exploits
Brabant derived its name; "de quo Brabonica tellus." But for these
antiquarian researches, a simpler derivation of the name would seem an t'
werf, "on the wharf." It had now become the principal entrepot and
exchange of Europe. The Huggers, Velsens, Ostetts, of Germany, the
Gualterotti and Bonvisi of Italy, and many other great mercantile houses
were there established. No city, except Paris, surpassed it in
population, none approached it in commercial splendor. Its government was
very free. The sovereign, as Marquis of Antwerp, was solemnly sworn to
govern according to the ancient charters and laws. The stadholder, as his
representative, shared his authority with the four estates of the city.
The Senate of eighteen members was appointed by the stadholder out of a
quadruple number nominated by the Senate itself and by the fourth body,
called the Borgery. Half the board was thus renewed annually. It
exercised executive and appellate judicial functions, appointed two
burgomasters, and two pensionaries or legal councillors, and also
selected the lesser magistrates and officials of the city. The board of
ancients or ex-senators, held their seats ex officio. The twenty-six
ward-masters, appointed, two from each ward, by the Senate on nomination
by the wards, formed the third estate. Their especial business was to
enrol the militia and to attend to its mustering and training. The deans
of the guilds, fifty-four in number, two from each guild, selected by the
Senate, from a triple list of candidates presented by the guilds,
composed the fourth estate. This influential body was always assembled in
the broad-council of the city. Their duty was likewise to conduct the
examination of candidates claiming admittance to any guild and offering
specimens of art or handiwork, to superintend the general affairs of the
guilds and to regulate disputes.

There were also two important functionaries, representing the king in
criminal and civil matters. The Vicarius capitalis, Scultetus, Schout,
Sheriff, or Margrave, took precedence of all magistrates. His business
was to superintend criminal arrests, trials, and executions. The Vicarius
civilis was called the Amman, and his office corresponded with that of
the Podesta in the Frisian and Italian republics. His duties were nearly
similar, in civil, to those of his colleague, in criminal matters.

These four branches, with their functionaries and dependents, composed
the commonwealth of Antwerp. Assembled together in council, they
constituted the great and general court. No tax could be imposed by the
sovereign, except with consent of the four branches, all voting

The personal and domiciliary rights of the citizen were scrupulously
guarded. The Schout could only make arrests with the Burgomaster's
warrant, and was obliged to bring the accused, within three days, before
the judges, whose courts were open to the public.

The condition of the population was prosperous. There were but few poor,
and those did not seek but were sought by the almoners: The schools were
excellent and cheap. It was difficult to find a child of sufficient age
who could not read, write, and speak, at least, two languages. The sons
of the wealthier citizens completed their education at Louvain, Douay,
Paris, or Padua.

The city itself was one of the most beautiful in Europe. Placed upon a
plain along the banks of the Scheld, shaped like a bent bow with the
river for its string, it enclosed within it walls some of the most
splendid edifices in Christendom. The world-renowned church of Notre
Dame, the stately Exchange where five thousand merchants daily
congregated, prototype of all similar establishments throughout the
world, the capacious mole and port where twenty-five hundred vessels were
often seen at once, and where five hundred made their daily entrance or
departure, were all establishments which it would have been difficult to
rival in any other part of the world.

From what has already been said of the municipal institutions of the
country, it may be inferred that the powers of the Estates-general were
limited. The members of that congress were not representatives chosen by
the people, but merely a few ambassadors from individual provinces. This
individuality was not always composed of the same ingredients. Thus,
Holland consisted of two members, or branches--the nobles and the six
chief cities; Flanders of four branches--the cities, namely, of Ghent,
Bruges, Ypres, and the "freedom of Bruges;" Brabant of Louvain, Brussels,
Bois le Due, and Antwerp, four great cities, without representation of
nobility or clergy; Zeland, of one clerical person, the abbot of
Middelburg, one noble, the Marquis of Veer and Vliessingen, and six chief
cities; Utrecht, of three branches--the nobility, the clergy, and five
cities. These, and other provinces, constituted in similar manner, were
supposed to be actually present at the diet when assembled. The chief
business of the states-general was financial; the sovereign, or his
stadholder, only obtaining supplies by making a request in person, while
any single city, as branch of a province, had a right to refuse the

Education had felt the onward movement of the country and the times. The
whole system was, however, pervaded by the monastic spirit, which had
originally preserved all learning from annihilation, but which now kept
it wrapped in the ancient cerecloths, and stiffening in the stony
sarcophagus of a bygone age. The university of Louvain was the chief
literary institution in the provinces. It had been established in 1423 by
Duke John IV. of Brabant. Its government consisted of a President and
Senate, forming a close corporation, which had received from the founder
all his own authority, and the right to supply their own vacancies. The
five faculties of law, canon law, medicine, theology, and the arts, were
cultivated at the institution. There was, besides, a high school for
under graduates, divided into four classes. The place reeked with
pedantry, and the character of the university naturally diffused itself
through other scholastic establishments. Nevertheless, it had done and
was doing much to preserve the love for profound learning, while the
rapidly advancing spirit of commerce was attended by an ever increasing
train of humanizing arts.

The standard of culture in those flourishing cities was elevated,
compared with that observed in many parts of Europe. The children of the
wealthier classes enjoyed great facilities for education in all the great
capitals. The classics, music, and the modern languages, particularly the
French, were universally cultivated. Nor was intellectual cultivation
confined to the higher orders. On the contrary, it was diffused to a
remarkable degree among the hard-working artisans and handicraftsmen of
the great cities.

For the principle of association had not confined itself exclusively to
politics and trade. Besides the numerous guilds by which citizenship was
acquired in the various cities, were many other societies for mutual
improvement, support, or recreation. The great secret, architectural or
masonic brotherhood of Germany, that league to which the artistic and
patient completion of the magnificent works of Gothic architecture in the
middle ages is mainly to be attributed, had its branches in nether
Germany, and explains the presence of so many splendid and elaborately
finished churches in the provinces. There were also military sodalities
of musketeers, cross-bowmen, archers, swordsmen in every town. Once a
year these clubs kept holiday, choosing a king, who was selected for his
prowess and skill in the use of various weapons. These festivals, always
held with great solemnity and rejoicing, were accompanied bye many
exhibitions of archery and swordsmanship. The people were not likely,
therefore, voluntarily to abandon that privilege and duty of freemen, the
right to bear arms, and the power to handle them.

Another and most important collection of brotherhoods were the so-called
guilds of Rhetoric, which existed, in greater or less number, in all the
principal cities. These were associations of mechanics, for the purpose
of amusing their leisure with poetical effusions, dramatic and musical
exhibitions, theatrical processions, and other harmless and not inelegant
recreations. Such chambers of rhetoric came originally in the fifteenth
century from France. The fact that in their very title they confounded
rhetoric with poetry and the drama indicates the meagre attainments of
these early "Rederykers." In the outset of their career they gave
theatrical exhibitions. "King Herod and his Deeds" was enacted in the
cathedral at Utrecht in 1418. The associations spread with great celerity
throughout the Netherlands, and, as they were all connected with each
other, and in habits of periodical intercourse, these humble links of
literature were of great value in drawing the people of the provinces
into closer union. They became, likewise, important political engines. As
early as the time of Philip the Good, their songs and lampoons became so
offensive to the arbitrary notions of the Burgundian government, as to
cause the societies to be prohibited. It was, however, out of the
sovereign's power permanently to suppress institutions, which already
partook of the character of the modern periodical press combined with
functions resembling the show and licence of the Athenian drama. Viewed
from the stand-point of literary criticism their productions were not
very commendable in taste, conception, or execution. To torture the Muses
to madness, to wire-draw poetry through inextricable coils of difficult
rhymes and impossible measures; to hammer one golden grain of wit into a
sheet of infinite platitude, with frightful ingenuity to construct
ponderous anagrams and preternatural acrostics, to dazzle the vulgar eye
with tawdry costumes, and to tickle the vulgar ear with virulent
personalities, were tendencies which perhaps smacked of the hammer, the
yard-stick and the pincers, and gave sufficient proof, had proof been
necessary, that literature is not one of the mechanical arts, and that
poetry can not be manufactured to a profit by joint stock companies. Yet,
if the style of these lucubrations was often depraved, the artisans
rarely received a better example from the literary institutions above
them. It was not for guilds of mechanics to give the tone to literature,
nor were their efforts in more execrable taste than the emanations from
the pedants of Louvain. The "Rhetoricians" are not responsible for all
the bad taste of their generation. The gravest historians of the
Netherlands often relieved their elephantine labors by the most asinine
gambols, and it was not to be expected that these bustling weavers and
cutlers should excel their literary superiors in taste or elegance.

Philip the Fair enrolled himself as a member in one of these societies.
It may easily be inferred, therefore, that they had already become bodies
of recognized importance. The rhetorical chambers existed in the most
obscure villages. The number of yards of Flemish poetry annually
manufactured and consumed throughout the provinces almost exceed belief.
The societies had regular constitutions. Their presiding officers were
called kings, princes, captains, archdeacons, or rejoiced in similar
high-sounding names. Each chamber had its treasurer, its buffoon, and its
standard-bearer for public processions. Each had its peculiar title or
blazon, as the Lily, the Marigold, or the Violet, with an appropriate
motto. By the year 1493, the associations had become so important, that
Philip the Fair summoned them all to a general assembly at Mechlin. Here
they were organized, and formally incorporated under the general
supervision of an upper or mother-society of Rhetoric, consisting of
fifteen members, and called by the title of "Jesus with the balsam

The sovereigns were always anxious to conciliate these influential guilds
by becoming members of them in person. Like the players, the Rhetoricians
were the brief abstract and chronicle of the time, and neither prince nor
private person desired their ill report. It had, indeed, been Philip's
intention to convert them into engines for the arbitrary purposes of his
house, but fortunately the publicly organized societies were not the only
chambers. On the contrary, the unchartered guilds were the moat numerous
and influential. They exercised a vast influence upon the progress of the
religious reformation, and the subsequent revolt of the Netherlands. They
ridiculed, with their farces and their satires, the vices of the clergy.
They dramatized tyranny for public execration. It was also not
surprising, that among the leaders of the wild anabaptists who disgraced
the great revolution in church and state by their hideous antics, should
be found many who, like David of Delft, John of Leyden, and others, had
been members of rhetorical chambers. The genius for mummery and
theatrical exhibitions, transplanted from its sphere, and exerting itself
for purposes of fraud and licentiousness, was as baleful in its effects
as it was healthy in its original manifestations. Such exhibitions were
but the excrescences of a system which had borne good fruit. These
literary guilds befitted and denoted a people which was alive, a people
which had neither sunk to sleep in the lap of material prosperity, nor
abased itself in the sty of ignorance and political servitude. The spirit
of liberty pervaded these rude but not illiterate assemblies, and her
fair proportions were distinctly visible, even through the somewhat
grotesque garb which she thus assumed.

The great leading recreations which these chambers afforded to themselves
and the public, were the periodic jubilees which they celebrated in
various capital cities. All the guilds of rhetoric throughout the
Netherlands were then invited to partake and to compete in magnificent
processions, brilliant costumes, living pictures, charades, and other
animated, glittering groups, and in trials of dramatic and poetic skill,
all arranged under the superintendence of the particular association
which, in the preceding year, had borne away the prize. Such jubilees
were called "Land jewels."

From the amusements of a people may be gathered much that is necessary
for a proper estimation of its character. No unfavorable opinion can be
formed as to the culture of a nation, whose weavers, smiths, gardeners,
and traders, found the favorite amusement of their holidays in composing
and enacting tragedies or farces, reciting their own verses, or in
personifying moral and esthetic sentiments by ingeniously-arranged
groups, or gorgeous habiliments. The cramoisy velvets and yellow satin
doublets of the court, the gold-brocaded mantles of priests and princes
are often but vulgar drapery of little historic worth. Such costumes
thrown around the swart figures of hard-working artisans, for literary
and artistic purposes, have a real significance, and are worthy of a
closer examination. Were not these amusements of the Netherlanders as
elevated and humanizing as the contemporary bull-fights and autos-da-fe
of Spain? What place in history does the gloomy bigot merit who, for the
love of Christ, converted all these gay cities into shambles, and changed
the glittering processions of their Land jewels into fettered marches to
the scaffold?

Thus fifteen ages have passed away, and in the place of a horde of
savages, living among swamps and thickets, swarm three millions of
people, the most industrious, the most prosperous, perhaps the most
intelligent under the sun. Their cattle, grazing on the bottom of the
sea, are the finest in Europe, their agricultural products of more
exchangeable value than if nature had made their land to overflow with
wine and oil. Their navigators are the boldest, their mercantile marine
the most powerful, their merchants the most enterprising in the world.
Holland and Flanders, peopled by one race, vie with each other in the
pursuits of civilization. The Flemish skill in the mechanical and in the
fine arts is unrivalled. Belgian musicians delight and instruct other
nations, Belgian pencils have, for a century, caused the canvas to glow
with colors and combinations never seen before. Flemish fabrics are
exported to all parts of Europe, to the East and West Indies, to Africa.
The splendid tapestries, silks, linens, as well as the more homely and
useful manufactures of the Netherlands, are prized throughout the world.
Most ingenious, as they had already been described by the keen-eyed
Caesar, in imitating the arts of other nations, the skillful artificers
of the country at Louvain, Ghent, and other places, reproduce the shawls
and silks of India with admirable accuracy.

Their national industry was untiring; their prosperity unexampled; their
love of liberty indomitable; their pugnacity proverbial. Peaceful in
their pursuits, phlegmatic by temperament, the Netherlands were yet the
most belligerent and excitable population of Europe. Two centuries of
civil war had but thinned the ranks of each generation without quenching
the hot spirit of the nation.

The women were distinguished by beauty of form and vigor of constitution.
Accustomed from childhood to converse freely with all classes and sexes
in the daily walks of life, and to travel on foot or horseback from one
town to another, without escort and without fear, they had acquired
manners more frank and independent than those of women in other lands,
while their morals were pure and their decorum undoubted. The prominent
part to be sustained by the women of Holland in many dramas of the
revolution would thus fitly devolve upon a class, enabled by nature and
education to conduct themselves with courage.

Within the little circle which encloses the seventeen provinces are 208
walled cities, many of them among the most stately in Christendom, 150
chartered towns, 6,300 villages, with their watch-towers and steeples,
besides numerous other more insignificant hamlets; the whole guarded by a
belt of sixty fortresses of surpassing strength.


Thus in this rapid sketch of the course and development of the Netherland
nation during sixteen centuries, we have seen it ever marked by one
prevailing characteristic, one master passion--the love of liberty, the
instinct of self-government. Largely compounded of the bravest Teutonic
elements, Batavian and Frisian, the race ever battles to the death with
tyranny, organizes extensive revolts in the age of Vespasian, maintains a
partial independence even against the sagacious dominion of Charlemagne,
refuses in Friesland to accept the papal yoke or feudal chain, and,
throughout the dark ages, struggles resolutely towards the light,
wresting from a series of petty sovereigns a gradual and practical
recognition of the claims of humanity. With the advent of the Burgundian
family, the power of the commons has reached so high a point, that it is
able to measure itself, undaunted, with the spirit of arbitrary rule, of
which that engrossing and tyrannical house is the embodiment. For more
than a century the struggle for freedom, for civic life, goes on; Philip
the Good, Charles the Bold, Mary's husband Maximilian, Charles V., in
turn, assailing or undermining the bulwarks raised, age after age,
against the despotic principle. The combat is ever renewed. Liberty,
often crushed, rises again and again from her native earth with redoubled
energy. At last, in the 16th century, a new and more powerful spirit, the
genius of religious freedom, comes to participate in the great conflict.
Arbitrary power, incarnated in the second Charlemagne, assails the new
combination with unscrupulous, unforgiving fierceness. Venerable civic
magistrates; haltered, grovel in sackcloth and ashes; innocent, religious
reformers burn in holocausts. By the middle of the century, the battle
rages more fiercely than ever. In the little Netherland territory,
Humanity, bleeding but not killed, still stands at bay and defies the
hunters. The two great powers have been gathering strength for centuries.
They are soon to be matched in a longer and more determined combat than
the world had ever seen. The emperor is about to leave the stage. The
provinces, so passionate for nationality, for municipal freedom, for
religious reformation, are to become the property of an utter stranger; a
prince foreign to their blood, their tongue, their religion, their whole
habits of life and thought.

Such was the political, religious, and social condition of a nation who
were now to witness a new and momentous spectacle.


     Absolution for incest was afforded at thirty-six livres
     Achieved the greatness to which they had not been born
     Advancing age diminished his tendency to other carnal pleasures
     All his disciples and converts are to be punished with death
     All reading of the scriptures (forbidden)
     Altercation between Luther and Erasmus, upon predestination
     An hereditary papacy, a perpetual pope-emperor
     Announced his approaching marriage with the Virgin Mary
     As ready as papists, with age, fagot, and excommunication
     Attacking the authority of the pope
     Bold reformer had only a new dogma in place of the old ones
     Charles the Fifth autocrat of half the world
     Condemning all heretics to death
     Craft meaning, simply, strength
     Criminal whose guilt had been established by the hot iron
     Criminals buying Paradise for money
     Crusades made great improvement in the condition of the serfs
     Democratic instincts of the ancient German savages
     Denies the utility of prayers for the dead
     Difference between liberties and liberty
     Dispute between Luther and Zwingli concerning the real presence
     Divine right
     Drank of the water in which, he had washed
     Enormous wealth (of the Church) which engendered the hatred
     Erasmus encourages the bold friar
     Erasmus of Rotterdam
     Even for the rape of God's mother, if that were possible
     Executions of Huss and Jerome of Prague
     Fable of divine right is invented to sanction the system
     Felix Mants, the anabaptist, is drowned at Zurich
     Few, even prelates were very dutiful to the pope
     Fiction of apostolic authority to bind and loose
     Fishermen and river raftsmen become ocean adventurers
     For myself I am unworthy of the honor (of martyrdom)
     Forbids all private assemblies for devotion
     Force clerical--the power of clerks
     Great Privilege, the Magna Charta of Holland
     Guarantees of forgiveness for every imaginable sin
     Halcyon days of ban, book and candle
     Heresy was a plant of early growth in the Netherlands
     In Holland, the clergy had neither influence nor seats
     Invented such Christian formulas as these (a curse)
     July 1st, two Augustine monks were burned at Brussels
     King of Zion to be pinched to death with red-hot tongs
     Labored under the disadvantage of never having existed
     Learn to tremble as little at priestcraft as at swordcraft
     Many greedy priests, of lower rank, had turned shop-keepers
     No one can testify but a householder
     Not of the stuff of which martyrs are made (Erasmus)
     Nowhere was the persecution of heretics more relentless
     Obstinate, of both sexes, to be burned
     One golden grain of wit into a sheet of infinite platitude
     Pardon for crimes already committed, or about to be committed
     Pardon for murder, if not by poison, was cheaper
     Paying their passage through, purgatory
     Poisoning, for example, was absolved for eleven ducats
     Pope and emperor maintain both positions with equal logic
     Power to read and write helped the clergy to much wealth
     Readiness to strike and bleed at any moment in her cause
     Repentant females to be buried alive
     Repentant males to be executed with the sword
     Sale of absolutions was the source of large fortunes to the priests
     Same conjury over ignorant baron and cowardly hind
     Scoffing at the ceremonies and sacraments of the Church
     Sharpened the punishment for reading the scriptures in private
     Slavery was both voluntary and compulsory
     Soldier of the cross was free upon his return
     St. Peter's dome rising a little nearer to the clouds
     The bad Duke of Burgundy, Philip surnamed "the Good,"
     The egg had been laid by Erasmus, hatched by Luther
     The vivifying becomes afterwards the dissolving principle
     Thousands of burned heretics had not made a single convert
     Thus Hand-werpen, hand-throwing, became Antwerp
     To prefer poverty to the wealth attendant upon trade
     Tranquillity of despotism to the turbulence of freedom
     Villagers, or villeins


1555 [CHAPTER I.]

   Abdication of Charles resolved upon--Brussels in the sixteenth
   century--Hall of the palace described--Portraits of prominent
   individuals present at the ceremony--Formalities of the abdication--
   Universal emotion--Remarks upon the character and career of Charles
   --His retirement at Juste.

On the twenty-fifth day of October, 1555, the estates of the Netherlands
were assembled in the great hall of the palace at Brussels. They had been
summoned to be the witnesses and the guarantees of the abdication which
Charles V. had long before resolved upon, and which he was that day to
execute. The emperor, like many potentates before and since, was fond of
great political spectacles. He knew their influence upon the masses of
mankind. Although plain, even to shabbiness, in his own costume, and
usually attired in black, no one ever understood better than he how to
arrange such exhibitions in a striking and artistic style. We have seen
the theatrical and imposing manner in which he quelled the insurrection
at Ghent, and nearly crushed the life forever out of that vigorous and
turbulent little commonwealth. The closing scene of his long and
energetic reign he had now arranged with profound study, and with an
accurate knowledge of the manner in which the requisite effects were to
be produced. The termination of his own career, the opening of his
beloved Philip's, were to be dramatized in a manner worthy the august
character of the actors, and the importance of the great stage where they
played their parts. The eyes of the whole world were directed upon that
day towards Brussels; for an imperial abdication was an event which had
not, in the sixteenth century, been staled by custom.

The gay capital of Brabant--of that province which rejoiced in the
liberal constitution known by the cheerful title of the "joyful
entrance," was worthy to be the scene of the imposing show. Brussels had
been a city for more than five centuries, and, at that day, numbered
about one hundred thousand inhabitants. Its walls, six miles in
circumference, were already two hundred years old. Unlike most Netherland
cities, lying usually upon extensive plains, it was built along the sides
of an abrupt promontory. A wide expanse of living verdure, cultivated
gardens, shady groves, fertile cornfields, flowed round it like a sea.
The foot of the town was washed by the little river Senne, while the
irregular but picturesque streets rose up the steep sides of the hill
like the semicircles and stairways of an amphitheatre. Nearly in the
heart of the place rose the audacious and exquisitely embroidered tower
of the townhouse, three hundred and sixty-six feet in height, a miracle
of needlework in stone, rivalling in its intricate carving the cobweb
tracery of that lace which has for centuries been synonymous with the
city, and rearing itself above a facade of profusely decorated and
brocaded architecture. The crest of the elevation was crowned by the
towers of the old ducal palace of Brabant, with its extensive and
thickly-wooded park on the left, and by the stately mansions of Orange,
Egmont, Aremberg, Culemburg, and other Flemish grandees, on the right..
The great forest of Soignies, dotted with monasteries and convents,
swarming with every variety of game, whither the citizens made their
summer pilgrimages, and where the nobles chased the wild boar and the
stag, extended to within a quarter of a mile of the city walls. The
population, as thrifty, as intelligent, as prosperous as that of any city
in Europe, was divided into fifty-two guilds of artisans, among which the
most important were the armorers, whose suits of mail would turn a
musket-ball; the gardeners, upon whose gentler creations incredible sums
were annually lavished; and the tapestry-workers, whose gorgeous fabrics
were the wonder of the world. Seven principal churches, of which the most
striking was that of St. Gudule, with its twin towers, its charming
facade, and its magnificently painted windows, adorned the upper part of
the city. The number seven was a magic number in Brussels, and was
supposed at that epoch, during which astronomy was in its infancy and
astrology in its prime, to denote the seven planets which governed all
things terrestrial by their aspects and influences. Seven noble families,
springing from seven ancient castles, supplied the stock from which the
seven senators were selected who composed the upper council of the city.
There were seven great squares, seven city gates, and upon the occasion
of the present ceremony, it was observed by the lovers of wonderful
coincidences, that seven crowned heads would be congregated under a
single roof in the liberty-loving city.

The palace where the states-general were upon this occasion convened, had
been the residence of the Dukes of Brabant since the days of John the
Second, who had built it about the year 1300. It was a spacious and
convenient building, but not distinguished for the beauty of its
architecture. In front was a large open square, enclosed by an iron
railing; in the rear an extensive and beautiful park, filled with forest
trees, and containing gardens and labyrinths, fish-ponds and game
preserves, fountains and promenades, race-courses and archery grounds.
The main entrance to this edifice opened upon a spacious hall, connected
with a beautiful and symmetrical chapel. The hall was celebrated for its
size, harmonious proportions, and the richness of its decorations. It was
the place where the chapters of the famous order of the Golden Fleece
were held. Its walls were hung with a magnificent tapestry of Arran,
representing the life and achievements of Gideon, the Midianite, and
giving particular prominence to the miracle of the "fleece of wool,"
vouchsafed to that renowned champion, the great patron of the Knights of
the Fleece. On the present occasion there were various additional
embellishments of flowers and votive garlands. At the western end a
spacious platform or stage, with six or seven steps, had been
constructed, below which was a range of benches for the deputies of the
seventeen provinces. Upon the stage itself there were rows of seats,
covered with tapestry, upon the right hand and upon the left. These were
respectively to accommodate the knights of the order and the guests of
high distinction. In the rear of these were other benches, for the
members of the three great councils. In the centre of the stage was a
splendid canopy, decorated with the arms of Burgundy, beneath which were
placed three gilded arm-chairs.

All the seats upon the platform were vacant, but the benches below,
assigned to the deputies of the provinces, were already filled. Numerous
representatives from all the states but two--Gelderland and
Overyssel--had already taken their places. Grave magistrates, in chain
and gown, and executive officers in the splendid civic uniforms for which
the Netherlands were celebrated, already filled every seat within the
apace allotted. The remainder of the hall was crowded with the more
favored portion of the multitude which had been fortunate enough to
procure admission to the exhibition. The archers and hallebardiers of the
body-guard kept watch at all the doors. The theatre was filled--the
audience was eager with expectation--the actors were yet to arrive. As
the clock struck three, the hero of the scene appeared. Caesar, as he was
always designated in the classic language of the day, entered, leaning on
the shoulder of William of Orange. They came from the chapel, and were
immediately followed by Philip the Second and Queen Mary of Hungary. The
Archduke Maximilian the Duke of Savoy, and other great personages came
afterwards, accompanied by a glittering throng of warriors, councillors,
governors, and Knights of the Fleece.

Many individuals of existing or future historic celebrity in the
Netherlands, whose names are so familiar to the student of the epoch,
seemed to have been grouped, as if by premeditated design, upon this
imposing platform, where the curtain was to fall forever upon the
mightiest emperor since Charlemagne, and where the opening scene of the
long and tremendous tragedy of Philip's reign was to be simultaneously
enacted. There was the Bishop of Arras, soon to be known throughout
Christendom by the more celebrated title of Cardinal Granvelle, the
serene and smiling priest whose subtle influence over the destinies of so
many individuals then present, and over the fortunes of the whole land,
was to be so extensive and so deadly. There was that flower of Flemish
chivalry, the, lineal descendant of ancient Frisian kings, already
distinguished for his bravery in many fields, but not having yet won
those two remarkable victories which were soon to make the name of Egmont
like the sound of a trumpet throughout the whole country. Tall,
magnificent in costume, with dark flowing hair, soft brown eye, smooth
cheek, a slight moustache, and features of almost feminine delicacy; such
was the gallant and ill-fated Lamoral Egmont. The Count of Horn; too,
with bold, sullen face, and fan-shaped beard-a brave, honest,
discontented, quarrelsome, unpopular man; those other twins in doom--the
Marquis Berghen and the Lord of Montigny; the Baron Berlaymont, brave,
intensely loyal, insatiably greedy for office and wages, but who, at
least, never served but one party; the Duke of Arschot, who was to serve
all, essay to rule all, and to betray all--a splendid seignor,
magnificent in cramoisy velvet, but a poor creature, who traced his
pedigree from Adam, according to the family monumental inscriptions at
Louvain, but who was better known as grand-nephew of the emperor's famous
tutor, Chiebres; the bold, debauched Brederode, with handsome, reckless
face and turbulent demeanor; the infamous Noircarmes, whose name was to
be covered with eternal execration, for aping towards his own compatriots
and kindred as much of Alva's atrocities and avarice, as he was permitted
to exercise; the distinguished soldiers Meghen and Aremberg--these, with
many others whose deeds of arms were to become celebrated throughout
Europe, were all conspicuous in the brilliant crowd. There, too, was that
learned Frisian, President Viglius, crafty, plausible, adroit,
eloquent--a small, brisk man, with long yellow hair, glittering green
eyes, round, tumid, rosy cheeks, and flowing beard. Foremost among the
Spanish grandees, and close to Philip, stood the famous favorite, Ruy
Gomez, or as he was familiarly called "Re y Gomez" (King and Gomez), a
man of meridional aspect, with coal-black hair and beard, gleaming eyes,
a face pallid with intense application, and slender but handsome figure;
while in immediate attendance upon the emperor, was the immortal Prince
of Orange.

Such were a few only of the most prominent in that gay throng, whose
fortunes, in part, it will be our humble duty to narrate; how many of
them passing through all this glitter to a dark and mysterious
doom!--some to perish on public scaffolds, some by midnight
assassination; others, more fortunate, to fall on the battle-field
--nearly all, sooner or later, to be laid in bloody graves!

All the company present had risen to their feet as the emperor entered.
By his command, all immediately afterwards resumed their places. The
benches at either end of the platform were accordingly filled with the
royal and princely personages invited, with the Fleece Knights, wearing
the insignia of their order, with the members of the three great
councils, and with the governors. The Emperor, the King, and the Queen of
Hungary, were left conspicuous in the centre of the scene. As the whole
object of the ceremony was to present an impressive exhibition, it is
worth our while to examine minutely the appearance of the two principal

Charles the Fifth was then fifty-five years and eight months old; but he
was already decrepit with premature old age. He was of about the middle
height, and had been athletic and well-proportioned. Broad in the
shoulders, deep in the chest, thin in the flank, very muscular in the
arms and legs, he had been able to match himself with all competitors in
the tourney and the ring, and to vanquish the bull with his own hand in
the favorite national amusement of Spain. He had been able in the field
to do the duty of captain and soldier, to endure fatigue and exposure,
and every privation except fasting. These personal advantages were now
departed. Crippled in hands, knees and legs, he supported himself with
difficulty upon a crutch, with the aid of, an attendant's shoulder. In
face he had always been extremely ugly, and time had certainly not
improved his physiognomy. His hair, once of a light color, was now white
with age, close-clipped and bristling; his beard was grey, coarse, and
shaggy. His forehead was spacious and commanding; the eye was dark blue,
with an expression both majestic and benignant. His nose was aquiline but
crooked. The lower part of his face was famous for its deformity. The
under lip, a Burgundian inheritance, as faithfully transmitted as the
duchy and county, was heavy and hanging; the lower jaw protruding so far
beyond the upper, that it was impossible for him to bring together the
few fragments of teeth which still remained, or to speak a whole sentence
in an intelligible voice. Eating and talking, occupations to which he was
always much addicted, were becoming daily more arduous, in consequence of
this original defect, which now seemed hardly human, but rather an
original deformity.

So much for the father. The son, Philip the Second, was a small, meagre
man, much below the middle height, with thin legs, a narrow chest, and
the shrinking, timid air of an habitual invalid. He seemed so little,
upon his first visit to his aunts, the Queens Eleanor and Mary,
accustomed to look upon proper men in Flanders and Germany, that he was
fain to win their favor by making certain attempts in the tournament, in
which his success was sufficiently problematical. "His body," says his
professed panegyrist, "was but a human cage, in which, however brief and
narrow, dwelt a soul to whose flight the immeasurable expanse of heaven
was too contracted." [Cabrera] The same wholesale admirer adds, that "his
aspect was so reverend, that rustics who met him alone in a wood, without
knowing him, bowed down with instinctive veneration." In face, he was the
living image of his father, having the same broad forehead, and blue eye,
with the same aquiline, but better proportioned, nose. In the lower part
of the countenance, the remarkable Burgundian deformity was likewise
reproduced. He had the same heavy, hanging lip, with a vast mouth, and
monstrously protruding lower jaw. His complexion was fair, his hair light
and thin, his beard yellow, short, and pointed. He had the aspect of a
Fleming, but the loftiness of a Spaniard. His demeanor in public was
still, silent, almost sepulchral. He looked habitually on the ground when
he conversed, was chary of speech, embarrassed, and even suffering in
manner. This was ascribed partly to a natural haughtiness which he had
occasionally endeavored to overcome, and partly to habitual pains in the
stomach, occasioned by his inordinate fondness for pastry. [Bodavaro]

Such was the personal appearance of the man who was about to receive into
his single hand the destinies of half the world; whose single will was,
for the future, to shape the fortunes of every individual then present,
of many millions more in Europe, America, and at the ends of the earth,
and of countless millions yet unborn.

The three royal personages being seated upon chairs placed triangularly
under the canopy, such of the audience as had seats provided for them,
now took their places, and the proceedings commenced. Philibert de
Bruxelles, a member of the privy council of the Netherlands, arose at the
emperor's command, and made a long oration. He spoke of the emperor's
warm affection for the provinces, as the land of his birth; of his deep
regret that his broken health and failing powers, both of body and mind,
compelled him to resign his sovereignty, and to seek relief for his
shattered frame in a more genial climate. Caesar's gout was then depicted
in energetic language, which must have cost him a twinge as he sat there
and listened to the councillor's eloquence. "'Tis a most truculent
executioner," said Philibert: "it invades the whole body, from the crown
of the head to the soles of the feet, leaving nothing untouched. It
contracts the nerves with intolerable anguish, it enters the bones, it
freezes the marrow, it converts the lubricating fluids of the joints into
chalk, it pauses not until, having exhausted and debilitated the whole
body, it has rendered all its necessary instruments useless, and
conquered the mind by immense torture." [Godelaevus]

   [The historian was present at the ceremony, and gives a very full
   report of the speeches, all of which he heard. His imagination may
   have assisted his memory in the task. The other reporters of the
   councillor's harangue have reduced this pathological flight of
   rhetoric to a very small compass.]

Engaged in mortal struggle with such an enemy, Caesar felt himself
obliged, as the councillor proceeded to inform his audience, to change
the scene of the contest from the humid air of Flanders to the warmer
atmosphere of Spain. He rejoiced, however, that his son was both vigorous
and experienced, and that his recent marriage with the Queen of England
had furnished the provinces with a most valuable alliance. He then again
referred to the emperor's boundless love for his subjects, and concluded
with a tremendous, but superfluous, exhortation to Philip on the
necessity of maintaining the Catholic religion in its purity. After this
long harangue, which has been fully reported by several historians who
were present at the ceremony, the councillor proceeded to read the deed
of cession, by which Philip, already sovereign of Sicily, Naples, Milan,
and titular King of England, France, and Jerusalem, now received all the
duchies, marquisates, earldoms, baronies, cities, towns, and castles of
the Burgundian property, including, of course, the seventeen Netherlands.

As De Bruxelles finished, there was a buzz of admiration throughout the
assembly, mingled with murmurs of regret, that in the present great
danger upon the frontiers from the belligerent King of France and his
warlike and restless nation, the provinces should be left without their
ancient and puissant defender. The emperor then rose to his feet. Leaning
on his crutch, he beckoned from his seat the personage upon whose arm he
had leaned as he entered the hall. A tall, handsome youth of twenty-two
came forward--a man whose name from that time forward, and as long as
history shall endure, has been, and will be, more familiar than any other
in the mouths of Netherlanders. At that day he had rather a southern than
a German or Flemish appearance. He had a Spanish cast of features, dark,
well chiselled, and symmetrical. His head was small and well placed upon
his shoulders. His hair was dark brown, as were also his moustache and
peaked beard. His forehead was lofty, spacious, and already prematurely
engraved with the anxious lines of thought. His eyes were full, brown,
well opened, and expressive of profound reflection. He was dressed in the
magnificent apparel for which the Netherlanders were celebrated above all
other nations, and which the ceremony rendered necessary. His presence
being considered indispensable at this great ceremony, he had been
summoned but recently from the camp on the frontier, where,
notwithstanding his youth, the emperor had appointed him to command his
army in chief against such antagonists as Admiral Coligny and the Due de

Thus supported upon his crutch and upon the shoulder of William of
Orange, the Emperor proceeded to address the states, by the aid of a
closely-written brief which he held in his hand. He reviewed rapidly the
progress of events from his seventeenth year up to that day. He spoke of
his nine expeditions into Germany, six to Spain, seven to Italy, four to
France, ten to the Netherlands, two to England, as many to Africa, and of
his eleven voyages by sea. He sketched his various wars, victories, and
treaties of peace, assuring his hearers that the welfare of his subjects
and the security of the Roman Catholic religion had ever been the leading
objects of his life. As long as God had granted him health, he continued,
only enemies could have regretted that Charles was living and reigning,
but now that his strength was but vanity, and life fast ebbing away, his
love for dominion, his affection for his subjects, and his regard for
their interests, required his departure. Instead of a decrepit man with
one foot in the grave, he presented them with a sovereign in the prime of
life and the vigor of health. Turning toward Philip, he observed, that
for a dying father to bequeath so magnificent an empire to his son was a
deed worthy of gratitude, but that when the father thus descended to the
grave before his time, and by an anticipated and living burial sought to
provide for the welfare of his realms and the grandeur of his son, the
benefit thus conferred was surely far greater. He added, that the debt
would be paid to him and with usury, should Philip conduct himself in his
administration of the province with a wise and affectionate regard to
their true interests. Posterity would applaud his abdication, should his
son Prove worthy of his bounty; and that could only be by living in the
fear of God, and by maintaining law, justice, and the Catholic religion
in all their purity, as the true foundation of the realm. In conclusion,
he entreated the estates, and through them the nation, to render
obedience to their new prince, to maintain concord and to preserve
inviolate the Catholic faith; begging them, at the same time, to pardon
him all errors or offences which he might have committed towards them
during his reign, and assuring them that he should unceasingly remember
their obedience and affection in his every prayer to that Being to whom
the remainder of his life was to be dedicated.

Such brave words as these, so many vigorous asseverations of attempted
performance of duty, such fervent hopes expressed of a benign
administration in behalf of the son, could not but affect the
sensibilities of the audience, already excited and softened by the
impressive character of the whole display. Sobs were heard throughout
every portion of the hall, and tears poured profusely from every eye. The
Fleece Knights on the platform and the burghers in the background were
all melted with the same emotion. As for the Emperor himself, he sank
almost fainting upon his chair as he concluded his address. An ashy
paleness overspread his countenance, and he wept like a child. Even the
icy Philip was almost softened, as he rose to perform his part in the
ceremony. Dropping upon his knees before his father's feet, he reverently
kissed his hand. Charles placed his hands solemnly upon his son's head,
made the sign of the cross, and blessed him in the name of the Holy
Trinity. Then raising him in his arms he tenderly embraced him. saying,
as he did so, to the great potentates around him, that he felt a sincere
compassion for the son on whose shoulders so heavy a weight had just
devolved, and which only a life-long labor would enable him to support.
Philip now uttered a few words expressive of his duty to his father and
his affection for his people. Turning to the orders, he signified his
regret that he was unable to address them either in the French or Flemish
language, and was therefore obliged to ask their attention to the Bishop
of Arras, who would act as his interpreter. Antony Perrenot accordingly
arose, and in smooth, fluent, and well-turned commonplaces, expressed at
great length the gratitude of Philip towards his father, with his firm
determination to walk in the path of duty, and to obey his father's
counsels and example in the future administration of the provinces. This
long address of the prelate was responded to at equal length by Jacob
Maas, member of the Council of Brabant, a man of great learning,
eloquence and prolixity, who had been selected to reply on behalf of the
states-general, and who now, in the name of these; bodies, accepted the
abdication in an elegant and complimentary harangue. Queen Mary of
Hungary, the "Christian widow" of Erasmus, and Regent of the Netherlands
during the past twenty-five years, then rose to resign her office, making
a brief address expressive of her affection for the people, her regrets
at leaving them, and her hopes that all errors which she might have
committed during her long administration would be forgiven her. Again the
redundant Maas responded, asserting in terms of fresh compliment and
elegance the uniform satisfaction of the provinces with her conduct
during her whole career.

The orations and replies having now been brought to a close, the ceremony
was terminated. The Emperor, leaning on the shoulders of the Prince of
Orange and of the Count de Buren, slowly left the hall, followed by
Philip, the Queen of Hungary, and the whole court; all in the same order
in which they had entered, and by the same passage into the chapel.

It is obvious that the drama had been completely successful. It had been
a scene where heroic self-sacrifice, touching confidence, ingenuous love
of duty, patriotism, and paternal affection upon one side; filial
reverence, with a solemn regard for public duty and the highest interests
of the people on the other, were supposed to be the predominant
sentiments. The happiness of the Netherlands was apparently the only
object contemplated in the great transaction. All had played well their
parts in the past, all hoped the best in the times which were to follow.
The abdicating Emperor was looked upon as a hero and a prophet. The stage
was drowned in tears. There is not the least doubt as to the genuine and
universal emotion which was excited throughout the assembly. "Caesar's
oration," says Secretary Godelaevus, who was present at the ceremony,
"deeply moved the nobility and gentry, many of whom burst into tears;
even the illustrious Knights of the Fleece were melted." The historian,
Pontus Heuterus, who, then twenty years of age, was likewise among the
audience, attests that "most of the assembly were dissolved in tears;
uttering the while such sonorous sobs that they compelled his Caesarean
Majesty and the Queen to cry with them. My own face," he adds, "was
certainly quite wet." The English envoy, Sir John Mason, describing in a
despatch to his government the scene which he had just witnessed, paints
the same picture. "The Emperor," he said, "begged the forgiveness of his
subjects if he had ever unwittingly omitted the performance of any of his
duties towards them. And here," continues the envoy, "he broke into a
weeping, whereunto, besides the dolefulness of the matter, I think, he
was moche provoked by seeing the whole company to do the lyke before;
there beyng in myne opinion not one man in the whole assemblie, stranger
or another, that dewring the time of a good piece of his oration poured
not out as abundantly teares, some more, some lesse. And yet he prayed
them to beare with his imperfections, proceeding of his sickly age, and
of the mentioning of so tender a matter as the departing from such a sort
of dere and loving subjects."

And yet what was the Emperor Charles to the inhabitants of the
Netherlands that they should weep for him? His conduct towards them
during his whole career had been one of unmitigated oppression. What to
them were all these forty voyages by sea and land, these journeyings back
and forth from Friesland to Tunis, from Madrid to Vienna. What was it to
them that the imperial shuttle was thus industriously flying to and fro?
The fabric wrought was but the daily growing grandeur and splendor of his
imperial house; the looms were kept moving at the expense of their
hardly-earned treasure, and the woof was often dyed red in the blood of
his bravest subjects. The interests of the Netherlands had never been
even a secondary consideration with their master. He had fulfilled no
duty towards them, he had committed the gravest crimes against them. He
had regarded them merely as a treasury upon which to draw; while the sums
which he extorted were spent upon ceaseless and senseless wars, which
were of no more interest to them than if they had been waged in another
planet. Of five millions of gold annually, which he derived from all his
realms, two millions came from these industrious and opulent provinces,
while but a half million came from Spain and another half from the
Indies. The mines of wealth which had been opened by the hand of industry
in that slender territory of ancient morass and thicket, contributed four
times as much income to the imperial exchequer as all the boasted wealth
of Mexico and Peru. Yet the artisans, the farmers and the merchants, by
whom these riches were produced, were consulted about as much in the
expenditure of the imposts upon their industry as were the savages of
America as to the distribution of the mineral treasures of their soil.
The rivalry of the houses of Habsburg and Valois, this was the absorbing
theme, during the greater part of the reign which had just been so
dramatically terminated. To gain the empire over Francis, to leave to Don
Philip a richer heritage than the Dauphin could expect, were the great
motives of the unparalleled energy displayed by Charles during the longer
and the more successful portion of his career. To crush the Reformation
throughout his dominions, was his occupation afterward, till he abandoned
the field in despair. It was certainly not desirable for the
Netherlanders that they should be thus controlled by a man who forced
them to contribute so largely to the success of schemes, some of which
were at best indifferent, and others entirely odious to them. They paid
1,200,000 crowns a year regularly; they paid in five years an
extraordinary subsidy of eight millions of ducats, and the States were
roundly rebuked by the courtly representatives of their despot, if they
presumed to inquire into the objects of the appropriations, or to express
an interest in their judicious administration. Yet it maybe supposed to
have been a matter of indifference to them whether Francis or Charles had
won the day at Pavia, and it certainly was not a cause of triumph to the
daily increasing thousands of religious reformers in Holland and Flanders
that their brethren had been crushed by the Emperor at Muhlberg. But it
was not alone that he drained their treasure, and hampered their
industry. He was in constant conflict with their ancient and
dearly-bought political liberties. Like his ancestor Charles the Bold, he
was desirous of constructing a kingdom out of the provinces. He was
disposed to place all their separate and individual charters on a
procrustean bed, and shape them all into uniformity simply by reducing
the whole to a nullity. The difficulties in the way, the stout opposition
offered by burghers, whose fathers had gained these charters with their
blood, and his want of leisure during the vast labors which devolved upon
him as the autocrat of so large a portion of the world, caused him to
defer indefinitely the execution of his plan. He found time only to crush
some of the foremost of the liberal institutions of the provinces, in
detail. He found the city of Tournay a happy, thriving, self-governed
little republic in all its local affairs; he destroyed its liberties,
without a tolerable pretext, and reduced it to the condition of a Spanish
or Italian provincial town.

His memorable chastisement of Ghent for having dared to assert its
ancient rights of self-taxation, is sufficiently known to the world, and
has been already narrated at length. Many other instances might be
adduced, if it were not a superfluous task, to prove that Charles was not
only a political despot, but most arbitrary and cruel in the exercise of
his despotism.

But if his sins against the Netherlands had been only those of financial
and political oppression, it would be at least conceivable, although
certainly not commendable, that the inhabitants should have regretted his
departure. But there are far darker crimes for which he stands arraigned
at the bar of history, and it is indeed strange that the man who had
committed them should have been permitted to speak his farewell amid
blended plaudits and tears. His hand planted the inquisition in the
Netherlands. Before his day it is idle to say that the diabolical
institution ever had a place there. The isolated cases in which
inquisitors had exercised functions proved the absence and not the
presence of the system, and will be discussed in a later chapter. Charles
introduced and organized a papal inquisition, side by side with those
terrible "placards" of his invention, which constituted a masked
inquisition even more cruel than that of Spain. The execution of the
system was never permitted to languish. The number of Netherlanders who
were burned, strangled, beheaded, or buried alive, in obedience to his
edicts, and for the offences of reading the Scriptures, of looking
askance at a graven image, or of ridiculing the actual presence of the
body and blood of Christ in a wafer, have been placed as high as one
hundred thousand by distinguished authorities, and have never been put at
a lower mark than fifty thousand. The Venetian envoy Navigero placed the
number of victims in the provinces of Holland and Friesland alone at
thirty thousand, and this in 1546, ten years before the abdication, and
five before the promulgation of the hideous edict of 1550!

The edicts and the inquisition were the gift of Charles to the
Netherlands, in return for their wasted treasure and their constant
obedience. For this, his name deserves to be handed down to eternal
infamy, not only throughout the Netherlands, but in every land where a
single heart beats for political or religious freedom. To eradicate these
institutions after they had been watered and watched by the care of his
successor, was the work of an eighty years' war, in the course of which
millions of lives were sacrificed. Yet the abdicating Emperor had
summoned his faithful estates around him, and stood up before them in his
imperial robes for the last time, to tell them of the affectionate regard
which he had always borne them, and to mingle his tears with theirs.

Could a single phantom have risen from one of the many thousand graves
where human beings had been thrust alive by his decree, perhaps there
might have been an answer to the question propounded by the Emperor amid
all that piteous weeping. Perhaps it might have told the man who asked
his hearers to be forgiven if he had ever unwittingly offended them, that
there was a world where it was deemed an offence to torture, strangle,
burn, and drown one's innocent fellow-creatures. The usual but trifling
excuse for such enormities can not be pleaded for the Emperor. Charles
was no fanatic. The man whose armies sacked Rome, who laid his
sacrilegious hands on Christ's vicegerent, and kept the infallible head
of the Church a prisoner to serve his own political ends, was then no
bigot. He believed in nothing; save that when the course of his imperial
will was impeded, and the interests of his imperial house in jeopardy,
pontiffs were to succumb as well as anabaptists. It was the political
heresy which lurked in the restiveness of the religious reformers under
dogma, tradition, and supernatural sanction to temporal power, which he
was disposed to combat to the death. He was too shrewd a politician not
to recognize the connection between aspirations for religious and for
political freedom. His hand was ever ready to crush both heresies in one.
Had he been a true son of the Church, a faithful champion of her
infallibility, he would not have submitted to the peace of Passau, so
long as he could bring a soldier to the field. Yet he acquiesced in the
Reformation for Germany, while the fires for burning the reformers were
ever blazing in the Netherlands, where it was death even to allude to the
existence of the peace of Passau. Nor did he acquiesce only from
compulsion, for long before his memorable defeat by Maurice, he had
permitted the German troops, with whose services he could not dispense,
regularly to attend Protestant worship performed by their own Protestant
chaplains. Lutheran preachers marched from city to city of the
Netherlands under the imperial banner, while the subjects of those
patrimonial provinces were daily suffering on the scaffold for their
nonconformity. The influence of this garrison-preaching upon the progress
of the Reformation in the Netherlands is well known. Charles hated
Lutherans, but he required soldiers, and he thus helped by his own policy
to disseminate what had he been the fanatic which he perhaps became in
retirement, he would have sacrificed his life to crush. It is quite true
that the growing Calvinism of the provinces was more dangerous both
religiously and politically, than the Protestantism of the German
princes, which had not yet been formally pronounced heresy, but it is
thus the more evident that it was political rather than religious
heterodoxy which the despot wished to suppress.

No man, however, could have been more observant of religious rites. He
heard mass daily. He listened to a sermon every Sunday and holiday. He
confessed and received the sacrament four times a year. He was sometimes
to be seen in his tent at midnight, on his knees before a crucifix with
eyes and hands uplifted. He ate no meat in Lent, and used extraordinary
diligence to discover and to punish any man, whether courtier or
plebeian, who failed to fast during the whole forty days. He was too good
a politician not to know the value of broad phylacteries and long
prayers. He was too nice an observer of human nature not to know how
easily mint and cummin could still outweigh the "weightier matters of
law, judgment, mercy and faith;" as if the founder of the religion which
he professed, and to maintain which he had established the inquisition
and the edicts, had never cried woe upon the Pharisees. Yet there is no
doubt that the Emperor was at times almost popular in the Netherlands,
and that he was never as odious as his successor. There were some deep
reasons for this, and some superficial ones; among others, a singularly
fortunate manner. He spoke German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Flemish,
and could assume the characteristics of each country as easily as he
could use its language. He could be stately with Spaniards, familiar with
Flemings witty with Italians. He could strike down a bull in the ring
like a matador at Madrid, or win the prize in the tourney like a knight
of old; he could ride at the ring with the Flemish nobles, hit the
popinjay with his crossbow among Antwerp artisans, or drink beer and
exchange rude jests with the boors of Brabant. For virtues such as these,
his grave crimes against God and man, against religion and chartered and
solemnly-sworn rights have been palliated, as if oppression became more
tolerable because the oppressor was an accomplished linguist and a good

But the great reason for his popularity no doubt lay in his military
genius. Charles was inferior to no general of his age. "When he was born
into the world," said Alva, "he was born a soldier," and the Emperor
confirmed the statement and reciprocated the compliment, when he declared
that "the three first captains of the age were himself first, and then
the Duke of Alva and Constable Montmorency." It is quite true that all
his officers were not of the same opinion, and many were too apt to
complain that his constant presence in the field did more harm than good,
and "that his Majesty would do much better to stay at home." There is,
however, no doubt that he was both a good soldier and a good general. He
was constitutionally fearless, and he possessed great energy and
endurance. He was ever the first to arm when a battle was to be fought,
and the last to take off his harness. He commanded in person and in
chief, even when surrounded by veterans and crippled by the gout. He was
calm in great reverses. It was said that he was never known to change
color except upon two occasions: after the fatal destruction of his fleet
at Algiers, and in the memorable flight from Innspruck. He was of a
phlegmatic, stoical temperament, until shattered by age and disease; a
man without a sentiment and without a tear. It was said by Spaniards that
he was never seen to weep, even at the death of his nearest relatives and
friends, except on the solitary occasion of the departure of Don Ferrante
Gonzaga from court. Such a temperament was invaluable in the stormy
career to which he had devoted his life. He was essentially a man of
action, a military chieftain. "Pray only for my health and my life," he
was accustomed to say to the young officers who came to him from every
part of his dominions to serve under his banners, "for so, long as I have
these I will never leave you idle; at least in France. I love peace no
better than the rest of you. I was born and bred to arms, and must of
necessity keep on my harness till I can bear it no longer." The restless
energy and the magnificent tranquillity of his character made him a hero
among princes, an idol with his officers, a popular favorite every where.
The promptness with which, at much personal hazard, he descended like a
thunderbolt in the midst of the Ghent insurrection; the juvenile ardor
with which the almost bedridden man arose from his sick-bed to smite the
Protestants at Muhlberg; the grim stoicism with which he saw sixty
thousand of his own soldiers perish in the wintry siege of Metz; all
ensured him a large measure of that applause which ever follows military
distinction, especially when the man who achieves it happens to wear a
crown. He combined the personal prowess of a knight of old with the more
modern accomplishments of a scientific tactician. He could charge the
enemy in person like the most brilliant cavalry officer, and he
thoroughly understood the arrangements of a campaign, the marshalling and
victualling of troops, and the whole art of setting and maintaining an
army in the field.

Yet, though brave and warlike as the most chivalrous of his ancestors,
Gothic, Burgundian, or Suabian, he was entirely without chivalry.
Fanaticism for the faith, protection for the oppressed, fidelity to
friend and foe, knightly loyalty to a cause deemed sacred, the sacrifice
of personal interests to great ideas, generosity of hand and heart; all
those qualities which unite with courage and constancy to make up the
ideal chevalier, Charles not only lacked but despised. He trampled on the
weak antagonist, whether burgher or petty potentate. He was false as
water. He inveigled his foes who trusted to imperial promises, by arts
unworthy an emperor or a gentleman. He led about the unfortunate John
Frederic of Saxony, in his own language, "like a bear in a chain," ready
to be slipped upon Maurice should "the boy" prove ungrateful. He connived
at the famous forgery of the prelate of Arras, to which the Landgrave
Philip owed his long imprisonment; a villany worse than many for which
humbler rogues have suffered by thousands upon the gallows. The
contemporary world knew well the history of his frauds, on scale both
colossal and minute, and called him familiarly "Charles qui triche."

The absolute master of realms on which the sun perpetually shone, he was
not only greedy for additional dominion, but he was avaricious in small
matters, and hated to part with a hundred dollars. To the soldier who
brought him the sword and gauntlets of Francis the First, he gave a
hundred crowns, when ten thousand would have been less than the customary
present; so that the man left his presence full of desperation. The three
soldiers who swam the Elbe, with their swords in their mouths; to bring
him the boats with which he passed to the victory of Muhlberg, received
from his imperial bounty a doublet, a pair of stockings, and four crowns
apiece. His courtiers and ministers complained bitterly of his habitual
niggardliness, and were fain to eke out their slender salaries by
accepting bribes from every hand rich enough to bestow them. In truth
Charles was more than any thing else a politician, notwithstanding his
signal abilities as a soldier. If to have founded institutions which
could last, be the test of statesmanship, he was even a statesman; for
many of his institutions have resisted the pressure of three centuries.
But those of Charlemagne fell as soon as his hand was cold, while the
works of many ordinary legislators have attained to a perpetuity denied
to the statutes of Solon or Lycurgus. Durability is not the test of merit
in human institutions. Tried by the only touchstone applicable to
governments, their capacity to insure the highest welfare of the
governed, we shall not find his polity deserving of much admiration. It
is not merely that he was a despot by birth and inclination, nor that he
naturally substituted as far as was practicable, the despotic for the
republican element, wherever his hand can be traced. There may be
possible good in despotisms as there is often much tyranny in democracy.
Tried however according to the standard by which all governments may be
measured, those laws of truth and divine justice which all Christian
nations recognize, and which are perpetual, whether recognized or not, we
shall find little to venerate in the life work of the Emperor. The
interests of his family, the security of his dynasty, these were his end
and aim. The happiness or the progress of his people never furnished even
the indirect motives of his conduct, and the result was a baffled policy
and a crippled and bankrupt empire at last.

He knew men, especially he knew their weaknesses, and he knew how to turn
them to account. He knew how much they would bear, and that little
grievances would sometimes inflame more than vast and deliberate
injustice. Therefore he employed natives mainly in the subordinate
offices of his various states, and he repeatedly warned his successor
that the haughtiness of Spaniards and the incompatibility of their
character with the Flemish, would be productive of great difficulties and
dangers. It was his opinion that men might be tyrannized more
intelligently by their own kindred, and in this perhaps he was right. He
was indefatigable in the discharge of business, and if it were possible
that half a world could be administered as if it were the private
property of an individual, the task would have been perhaps as well
accomplished by Charles as by any man. He had not the absurdity of
supposing it possible for him to attend to the details of every
individual affair in every one of his realms; and he therefore intrusted
the stewardship of all specialities to his various ministers and agents.
It was his business to know men and to deal with affairs on a large
scale, and in this he certainly was superior to his successor. His
correspondence was mainly in the hands of Granvelle the elder, who
analyzed letters received, and frequently wrote all but the signatures of
the answers. The same minister usually possessed the imperial ear, and
farmed it out for his own benefit. In all this there was of course room
for vast deception, but the Emperor was quite aware of what was going on,
and took a philosophic view of the matter as an inevitable part of his
system. Granvelle grew enormously rich under his eye by trading on the
imperial favor and sparing his majesty much trouble. Charles saw it all,
ridiculed his peculations, but called him his "bed of down." His
knowledge of human nature was however derived from a contemplation mainly
of its weaknesses, and was therefore one-sided. He was often deceived,
and made many a fatal blunder, shrewd politician though he was. He
involved himself often in enterprises which could not be honorable or
profitable, and which inflicted damage on his greatest interests. He
often offended men who might have been useful friends, and converted
allies into enemies. "His Majesty," said a keen observer who knew him
well, "has not in his career shown the prudence which was necessary to
him. He has often offended those whose love he might have conciliated,
converted friends into enemies, and let those perish who were his most
faithful partisans." Thus it must be acknowledged that even his boasted
knowledge of human nature and his power of dealing with men was rather
superficial and empirical than the real gift of genius.

His personal habits during the greater part of his life were those of an
indefatigable soldier. He could remain in the saddle day and night, and
endure every hardship but hunger. He was addicted to vulgar and
miscellaneous incontinence. He was an enormous eater. He breakfasted at
five, on a fowl seethed in milk and dressed with sugar and spices. After
this he went to sleep again. He dined at twelve, partaking always of
twenty dishes. He supped twice; at first, soon after vespers, and the
second time at midnight or one o'clock, which meal was, perhaps, the most
solid of the four. After meat he ate a great quantity of pastry and
sweetmeats, and he irrigated every repast by vast draughts of beer and
wine. His stomach, originally a wonderful one, succumbed after forty
years of such labors. His taste, but not his appetite began to fail, and
he complained to his majordomo, that all his food was insipid. The reply
is, perhaps, among the most celebrated of facetia. The cook could do
nothing more unless he served his Majesty a pasty of watches. The
allusion to the Emperor's passion for horology was received with great
applause. Charles "laughed longer than he was ever known to laugh before,
and all the courtiers (of course) laughed as long as his Majesty."
[Badovaro] The success of so sorry a jest would lead one to suppose that
the fooling was less admirable at the imperial court than some of the
recorded quips of Tribaulet would lead us to suppose.

The transfer of the other crowns and dignitaries to Philip, was
accomplished a month afterwards, in a quiet manner. Spain, Sicily, the
Balearic Islands, America, and other portions of the globe, were made
over without more display than an ordinary 'donatio inter vivos'. The
Empire occasioned some difficulty. It had been already signified to
Ferdinand, that his brother was to resign the imperial crown in his
favor, and the symbols of sovereignty were accordingly transmitted to him
by the hands of William of Orange. A deputation, moreover, of which that
nobleman, Vice-Chancellor Seld, and Dr. Wolfgang Haller were the chiefs,
was despatched to signify to the electors of the Empire the step which
had been thus resolved upon. A delay of more than two years, however,
intervened, occasioned partly by the deaths of three electors, partly by
the war which so soon broke out in Europe, before the matter was formally
acted upon. In February, 1553, however, the electors, having been
assembled in Frankfort, received the abdication of Charles, and proceeded
to the election of Ferdinand. That Emperor was crowned in March, and
immediately despatched a legation to the Pope to apprize him of the fact.
Nothing was less expected than any opposition on the part of the pontiff.
The querulous dotard, however, who then sat in St. Peter's chair, hated
Charles and all his race. He accordingly denied the validity of the whole
transaction, without sanction previously obtained from the Pope, to whom
all crowns belonged. Ferdinand, after listening, through his envoys, to
much ridiculous dogmatism on the part of the Pope, at last withdrew from
the discussion, with a formal protest, and was first recognized by
Caraffa's successor, Pius IV.

Charles had not deferred his retirement till the end of these disputes.
He occupied a private house in Brussels, near the gate of Louvain, until
August of the year 1556. On the 27th of that month, he addressed a letter
from Ghent to John of Osnabruck, president of the Chamber of Spiers,
stating his abdication in favor of Ferdinand, and requesting that in the
interim the same obedience might be rendered to Ferdinand, as could have
been yielded to himself. Ten days later; he addressed a letter to the
estates of the Empire, stating the same fact; and on the 17th September,
1556, he set sail from Zeland for Spain. These delays and difficulties
occasioned some misconceptions. Many persons who did not admire an
abdication, which others, on the contrary, esteemed as an act of
unexampled magnanimity, stoutly denied that it was the intention of
Charles to renounce the Empire. The Venetian envoy informed his
government that Ferdinand was only to be lieutenant for Charles, under
strict limitations, and that the Emperor was to resume the government so
soon as his health would allow. The Bishop of Arras and Don Juan de
Manrique had both assured him, he said, that Charles would not, on any
account, definitely abdicate. Manrique even asserted that it was a mere
farce to believe in any such intention. The Emperor ought to remain to
protect his son, by the resources of the Empire, against France, the
Turks, and the heretics. His very shadow was terrible to the Lutherans,
and his form might be expected to rise again in stern reality from its
temporary grave. Time has shown the falsity of all these imaginings, but
views thus maintained by those in the best condition to know the truth,
prove how difficult it was for men to believe in a transaction which was
then so extraordinary, and how little consonant it was in their eyes with
true propriety. It was necessary to ascend to the times of Diocletian, to
find an example of a similar abdication of empire, on so deliberate and
extensive a scale, and the great English historian of the Roman Empire
has compared the two acts with each other. But there seems a vast
difference between the cases. Both emperors were distinguished soldiers;
both were merciless persecutors of defenceless Christians; both exchanged
unbounded empire for absolute seclusion. But Diocletian was born in the
lowest abyss of human degradation--the slave and the son of a slave. For
such a man, after having reached the highest pinnacle of human greatness,
voluntarily to descend from power, seems an act of far greater
magnanimity than the retreat of Charles. Born in the purple, having
exercised unlimited authority from his boyhood, and having worn from his
cradle so many crowns and coronets, the German Emperor might well be
supposed to have learned to estimate them at their proper value.
Contemporary minds were busy, however, to discover the hidden motives
which could have influenced him, and the world, even yet, has hardly
ceased to wonder. Yet it would have been more wonderful, considering the
Emperor's character, had he remained. The end had not crowned the work;
it not unreasonably discrowned the workman. The earlier, and indeed the
greater part of his career had been one unbroken procession of triumphs.
The cherished dream of his grandfather, and of his own youth, to add the
Pope's triple crown to the rest of the hereditary possessions of his
family, he had indeed been obliged to resign. He had too much practical
Flemish sense to indulge long in chimeras, but he had achieved the Empire
over formidable rivals, and he had successively not only conquered, but
captured almost every potentate who had arrayed himself in arms against
him. Clement and Francis, the Dukes and Landgraves of, Clever, Hesse,
Saxony, and Brunswick, he had bound to his chariot wheels; forcing many
to eat the bread of humiliation and captivity, during long and weary
years. But the concluding portion of his reign had reversed all its
previous glories. His whole career had been a failure. He had been
defeated, after all, in most of his projects. He had humbled Francis, but
Henry had most signally avenged his father. He had trampled upon Philip
of Hesse and Frederic of Saxony, but it had been reserved for one of that
German race, which he characterized as "dreamy, drunken, and incapable of
intrigue," to outwit the man who had outwitted all the world, and to
drive before him, in ignominious flight, the conqueror of the nations.
The German lad who had learned both war and dissimulation in the court
and camp of him who was so profound a master of both arts, was destined
to eclipse his teacher on the most august theatre of Christendom.
Absorbed at Innspruck with the deliberations of the Trent Council,
Charles had not heeded the distant mutterings of the tempest which was
gathering around him. While he was preparing to crush, forever, the
Protestant Church, with the arms which a bench of bishops were forging,
lo! the rapid and desperate Maurice, with long red beard streaming like a
meteor in the wind, dashing through the mountain passes, at the head of
his lancers--arguments more convincing than all the dogmas of Granvelle!
Disguised as an old woman, the Emperor had attempted on the 6th April, to
escape in a peasant's wagon, from Innspruck into Flanders. Saved for the
time by the mediation of Ferdinand, he had, a few weeks later, after his
troops had been defeated by Maurice, at Fussen, again fled at midnight of
the 22nd May, almost unattended, sick in body and soul, in the midst of
thunder, lightning, and rain, along the difficult Alpine passes from
Innspruck into Carinthia. His pupil had permitted his escape, only
because in his own language, "for such a bird he had no convenient cage."
The imprisoned princes now owed their liberation, not to the Emperor's
clemency, but to his panic. The peace of Passau, in the following August,
crushed the whole fabric of the Emperor's toil, and laid-the foundation
of the Protestant Church. He had smitten the Protestants at Muhlberg for
the last time. On the other hand, the man who had dealt with Rome, as if
the Pope, not he, had been the vassal, was compelled to witness, before
he departed, the insolence of a pontiff who took a special pride in
insulting and humbling his house, and trampling upon the pride of
Charles, Philip and Ferdinand. In France too, the disastrous siege of
Metz had taught him that in the imperial zodiac the fatal sign of Cancer
had been reached. The figure of a crab, with the words "plus citra,"
instead of his proud motto of "plus ultra," scrawled on the walls where
he had resided during that dismal epoch, avenged more deeply, perhaps,
than the jester thought, the previous misfortunes of France. The Grand
Turk, too, Solyman the Magnificent, possessed most of Hungary, and held
at that moment a fleet ready to sail against Naples, in co-operation with
the Pope and France. Thus the Infidel, the Protestant, and the Holy
Church were all combined together to crush him. Towards all the great
powers of the earth, he stood not in the attitude of a conqueror, but of
a disappointed, baffled, defeated potentate. Moreover, he had been foiled
long before in his earnest attempts to secure the imperial throne for
Philip. Ferdinand and Maximilian had both stoutly resisted his arguments
and his blandishments. The father had represented the slender patrimony
of their branch of the family, compared with the enormous heritage of
Philip; who, being after all, but a man, and endowed with finite powers,
might sink under so great a pressure of empire as his father wished to
provide for him. Maximilian, also, assured his uncle that he had as good
an appetite for the crown as Philip, and could digest the dignity quite
as easily. The son, too, for whom the Emperor was thus solicitous, had
already, before the abdication, repaid his affection with ingratitude. He
had turned out all his father's old officials in Milan, and had refused
to visit him at Brussels, till assured as to the amount of ceremonial
respect which the new-made king was to receive at the hands of his

Had the Emperor continued to live and reign, he would have found himself
likewise engaged in mortal combat with that great religious movement in
the Netherlands, which he would not have been able many years longer to
suppress, and which he left as a legacy of blood and fire to his
successor. Born in the same year with his century, Charles was a
decrepit, exhausted man at fifty-five, while that glorious age, in which
humanity was to burst forever the cerements in which it had so long been
buried, was but awakening to a consciousness of its strength.

Disappointed in his schemes, broken in his fortunes, with income
anticipated, estates mortgaged, all his affairs in confusion; failing in
mental powers, and with a constitution hopelessly shattered; it was time
for him to retire. He showed his keenness in recognizing the fact that
neither his power nor his glory would be increased, should he lag
superfluous on the stage where mortification instead of applause was
likely to be his portion. His frame was indeed but a wreck. Forty years
of unexampled gluttony had done their work. He was a victim to gout,
asthma, dyspepsia, gravel. He was crippled in the neck, arms, knees, and
hands. He was troubled with chronic cutaneous eruptions. His appetite
remained, while his stomach, unable longer to perform the task still
imposed upon it, occasioned him constant suffering. Physiologists, who
know how important a part this organ plays in the affairs of life, will
perhaps see in this physical condition of the Emperor A sufficient
explanation, if explanation were required, of his descent from the
throne. Moreover, it is well known that the resolution to abdicate before
his death had been long a settled scheme with him. It had been formally
agreed between himself and the Empress that they should separate at the
approach of old age, and pass the remainder of their lives in a convent
and a monastery. He had, when comparatively a young man, been struck by
the reply made to him by an aged officer, whose reasons he had asked for,
earnestly soliciting permission to retire from the imperial service. It
was, said the veteran, that he might put a little space of religious
contemplation between the active portion of his life and the grave.

A similar determination, deferred from time to time, Charles had now
carried into execution. While he still lingered in Brussels, after his
abdication, a comet appeared, to warn him to the fulfilment of his
purpose. From first to last, comets and other heavenly bodies were much
connected with his evolutions and arrangements. There was no mistaking
the motives with which this luminary had presented itself. The Emperor
knew very well, says a contemporary German chronicler, that it portended
pestilence and war, together with the approaching death of mighty
princes. "My fates call out," he cried, and forthwith applied himself to
hasten the preparations for his departure.

The romantic picture of his philosophical retirement at Juste, painted
originally by Sandoval and Siguenza, reproduced by the fascinating pencil
of Strada, and imitated in frequent succession by authors of every age
and country, is unfortunately but a sketch of fancy. The investigations
of modern writers have entirely thrown down the scaffolding on which the
airy fabric, so delightful to poets and moralists, reposed. The departing
Emperor stands no longer in a transparency robed in shining garments. His
transfiguration is at an end. Every action, almost every moment of his
retirement, accurately chronicled by those who shared his solitude, have
been placed before our eyes, in the most felicitous manner, by able and
brilliant writers. The Emperor, shorn of the philosophical robe in which
he had been conventionally arrayed for three centuries, shivers now in
the cold air of reality.

So far from his having immersed himself in profound and pious
contemplation, below the current of the world's events, his thoughts, on
the contrary, never were for a moment diverted from the political surface
of the times. He read nothing but despatches; he wrote or dictated
interminable ones in reply, as dull and prolix as any which ever came
from his pen. He manifested a succession of emotions at the course of
contemporary affairs, as intense and as varied, as if the world still
rested in his palm. He was, in truth, essentially a man of action. He had
neither the taste nor talents which make a man great in retirement. Not a
lofty thought, not a generous sentiment, not a profound or acute
suggestion in his retreat has been recorded from his lips. The epigrams
which had been invented for him by fabulists have been all taken away,
and nothing has been substituted, save a few dull jests exchanged with
stupid friars. So far from having entertained and even expressed that
sentiment of religious toleration for which he was said to have been
condemned as a heretic by the inquisition, and for which Philip was
ridiculously reported to have ordered his father's body to be burned, and
his ashes scattered to the winds, he became in retreat the bigot
effectually, which during his reign he had only been conventionally.
Bitter regrets that he should have kept his word to Luther, as if he had
not broken faith enough to reflect upon in his retirement; stern
self-reproach for omitting to put to death, while he had him in his
power, the man who had caused all the mischief of the age; fierce
instructions thundered from his retreat to the inquisitors to hasten the
execution of all heretics, including particularly his ancient friends,
preachers and almoners, Cazalla and Constantine de Fuente; furious
exhortations to Philip--as if Philip needed a prompter in such a
work--that he should set himself to "cutting out the root of heresy with
rigor and rude chastisement;"--such explosions of savage bigotry as
these, alternating with exhibitions of revolting gluttony, with surfeits
of sardine omelettes, Estramadura sausages, eel pies, pickled partridges,
fat capons, quince syrups, iced beer, and flagons of Rhenish, relieved by
copious draughts of senna and rhubarb, to which his horror-stricken
doctor doomed him as he ate--compose a spectacle less attractive to the
imagination than the ancient portrait of the cloistered Charles.
Unfortunately it is the one which was painted from life.


     Burned, strangled, beheaded, or buried alive (100,000)
     Despot by birth and inclination (Charles V.)
     Endure every hardship but hunger
     Gallant and ill-fated Lamoral Egmont
     He knew men, especially he knew their weaknesses
     His imagination may have assisted his memory in the task
     Little grievances would sometimes inflame more than vast
     Often much tyranny in democracy
     Planted the inquisition in the Netherlands


1555-1558 [CHAPTER II.]

   Sketch of Philip the Second--Characteristics of Mary Tudor--Portrait
   of Philip--His council--Rivalry of Rup Gomez and Alva--Character of
   Rup Gomez--Queen Mary of Hungary--Sketch of Philibert of Savoy--
   Truce of Vaucelles--Secret treaty between the Pope and Henry II.--
   Rejoicings in the Netherlands on account of the Peace--Purposes of
   Philip--Re-enactment of the edict of 1560--The King's dissimulation
   --"Request" to the provinces--Infraction of the truce in Italy--
   Character of Pope Paul IV.--Intrigues of Cardinal Caraffa--War
   against Spain resolved upon by France--Campaign in Italy--Amicable
   siege of Rome--Pence with the pontiff--Hostilities on the Flemish
   border--Coligny foiled at Douay--Sacks Lens--Philip in England--
   Queen Mary engages in the war--Philip's army assembled at Givet--
   Portrait of Count Egmont--The French army under Coligny and
   Montmorency--Siege of St. Quentin--Attempts of the constable to
   relieve the city--Battle of St. Quentin--Hesitation and timidity of
   Philip--City of St. Quentin taken and sacked--Continued indecision
   of Philip--His army disbanded--Campaign of the Duke of Guise--
   Capture of Calais--Interview between Cardinal de Lorraine and the
   Bishop of Arran--Secret combinations for a league between France and
   Spain against heresy--Languid movements of Guise--Foray of De
   Thermes on the Flemish frontier--Battle of Gravelines--Popularity of
   Egmont--Enmity of Alva.

Philip the Second had received the investiture of Milan and the crown of
Naples, previously to his marriage with Mary Tudor. The imperial crown he
had been obliged, much against his will, to forego. The archduchy of
Austria, with the hereditary German dependencies of his father's family,
had been transferred by the Emperor to his brother Ferdinand, on the
occasion of the marriage of that prince with Anna, only sister of King
Louis of Hungary. Ten years afterwards, Ferdinand (King of Hungary and
Bohemia since the death of Louis, slain in 1526 at the battle of Mohacz)
was elected King of the Romans, and steadily refused all the entreaties
afterwards made to him in behalf of Philip, to resign his crown and his
succession to the Empire, in favor of his nephew. With these diminutions,
Philip had now received all the dominions of his father. He was King of
all the Spanish kingdoms and of both the Sicilies. He was titular King of
England, France, and Jerusalem. He was "Absolute Dominator" in Asia,
Africa, and America; he was Duke of Milan and of both Burgundies, and
Hereditary Sovereign of the seventeen Netherlands.

Thus the provinces had received a new master. A man of foreign birth and
breeding, not speaking a word of their language, nor of any language
which the mass of the inhabitants understood, was now placed in supreme
authority over them, because he represented, through the females, the
"good" Philip of Burgundy, who a century before had possessed himself by
inheritance, purchase, force, or fraud, of the sovereignty in most of
those provinces. It is necessary to say an introductory word or two
concerning the previous history of the man to whose hands the destiny of
so many millions was now entrusted.

He was born in May, 1527, and was now therefore twenty-eight years of
age. At the age of sixteen he had been united to his cousin, Maria of
Portugal, daughter of John III. and of the Emperor's sister, Donna
Catalina. In the following year (1544) he became father of the celebrated
and ill-starred Don Carlos, and a widower. The princess owed her death,
it was said, to her own imprudence and to the negligence or bigotry of
her attendants. The Duchess of Alva, and other ladies who had charge of
her during her confinement, deserted her chamber in order to obtain
absolution by witnessing an auto-da-fe of heretics. During their absence,
the princess partook voraciously of a melon, and forfeited her life in

In 1548, Don Philip had made his first appearance in the Netherlands. He
came thither to receive homage in the various provinces as their future
sovereign, and to exchange oaths of mutual fidelity with them all. Andrew
Doria, with a fleet of fifty ships, had brought him to Genoa, whence he
had passed to Milan, where he was received with great rejoicing. At Trent
he was met by Duke Maurice of Saxony, who warmly begged his intercession
with the Emperor in behalf of the imprisoned Landgrave of Hesse. This
boon Philip was graciously pleased to promise,--and to keep the pledge as
sacredly as most of the vows plighted by him during this memorable year.
The Duke of Aerschot met him in Germany with a regiment of cavalry and
escorted him to Brussels. A summer was spent in great festivities, the
cities of the Nether lands vieing with each other in magnificent
celebrations of the ceremonies, by which Philip successively swore
allegiance to the various constitutions and charters of the provinces,
and received their oaths of future fealty in return. His oath to support
all the constitutions and privileges was without reservation, while his
father and grandfather had only sworn to maintain the charters granted or
confirmed by Philip and Charles of Burgundy. Suspicion was disarmed by
these indiscriminate concessions, which had been resolved upon by the
unscrupulous Charles to conciliate the good will of the people. In view
of the pretensions which might be preferred by the Brederode family in
Holland, and by other descendants of ancient sovereign races in other
provinces, the Emperor, wishing to ensure the succession to his sisters
in case of the deaths of himself, Philip, and Don Carlos without issue,
was unsparing in those promises which he knew to be binding only upon the
weak. Although the house of Burgundy had usurped many of the provinces on
the express pretext that females could not inherit, the rule had been
already violated, and he determined to spare no pains to conciliate the
estates, in order that they might be content with a new violation, should
the contingency occur. Philip's oaths were therefore without reserve, and
the light-hearted Flemings, Brabantines, and Walloons received him with
open arms. In Valenciennes the festivities which attended his entrance
were on a most gorgeous scale, but the "joyous entrance" arranged for him
at Antwerp was of unparalleled magnificence. A cavalcade of the
magistrates and notable burghers, "all attired in cramoisy velvet,"
attended by lackies in splendid liveries and followed by four thousand
citizen soldiers in full uniform, went forth from the gates to receive
him. Twenty-eight triumphal arches, which alone, according to the thrifty
chronicler, had cost 26,800 Carolus guldens, were erected in the
different streets and squares, and every possible demonstration of
affectionate welcome was lavished upon the Prince and the Emperor. The
rich and prosperous city, unconscious of the doom which awaited it in the
future, seemed to have covered itself with garlands to honor the approach
of its master. Yet icy was the deportment with which Philip received
these demonstrations of affection, and haughty the glance with which he
looked down upon these exhibitions of civic hilarity, as from the height
of a grim and inaccessible tower. The impression made upon the
Netherlanders was any thing but favorable, and when he had fully
experienced the futility of the projects on the Empire which it was so
difficult both for his father and himself to resign, he returned to the
more congenial soil of Spain. In 1554 he had again issued from the
peninsula to marry the Queen of England, a privilege which his father had
graciously resigned to him. He was united to Mary Tudor at Winchester, on
the 25th July of that year, and if congeniality of tastes could have made
a marriage happy, that union should have been thrice blessed. To maintain
the supremacy of the Church seemed to both the main object of existence,
to execute unbelievers the most sacred duty imposed by the Deity upon
anointed princes, to convert their kingdoms into a hell the surest means
of winning Heaven for themselves. It was not strange that the conjunction
of two such wonders of superstition in one sphere should have seemed
portentous in the eyes of the English nation. Philip's mock efforts in
favor of certain condemned reformers, and his pretended intercessions in
favor of the Princess Elizabeth, failed entirely of their object. The
parliament refused to confer upon him more than a nominal authority in
England. His children, should they be born, might be sovereigns; he was
but husband of the Queen; of a woman who could not atone by her abject
but peevish fondness for himself, and by her congenial blood-thirstiness
towards her subjects, for her eleven years seniority, her deficiency in
attractions, and her incapacity to make him the father of a line of
English monarchs. It almost excites compassion even for Mary Tudor, when
her passionate efforts to inspire him with affection are contrasted with
his impassiveness. Tyrant, bigot, murderess though she was, she was still
woman, and she lavished upon her husband all that was not ferocious in
her nature. Forbidding prayers to be said for the soul of her father,
hating her sister and her people, burning bishops, bathing herself in the
blood of heretics, to Philip she was all submissiveness and feminine
devotion. It was a most singular contrast, Mary, the Queen of England and
Mary the wife of Philip. Small, lean and sickly, painfully near-sighted,
yet with an eye of fierceness and fire; her face wrinkled by the hands of
care and evil passions still more than by Time, with a big man's voice,
whose harshness made those in the next room tremble; yet feminine in her
tastes, skilful with her needle, fond of embroidery work, striking the
lute with a touch remarkable for its science and feeling, speaking many
languages, including Latin, with fluency and grace; most feminine, too,
in her constitutional sufferings, hysterical of habit, shedding floods of
tears daily at Philip's coldness, undisguised infidelity, and frequent
absences from England--she almost awakens compassion and causes a
momentary oblivion of her identity.

Her subjects, already half maddened by religious persecution, were
exasperated still further by the pecuniary burthens which she imposed
upon them to supply the King's exigencies, and she unhesitatingly
confronted their frenzy, in the hope of winning a smile from him. When at
last her chronic maladies had assumed the memorable form which caused
Philip and Mary to unite in a letter to Cardinal Pole, announcing not the
expected but the actual birth of a prince, but judiciously leaving the
date in blank, the momentary satisfaction and delusion of the Queen was
unbounded. The false intelligence was transmitted every where. Great were
the joy and the festivities in the Netherlands, where people were so
easily made to rejoice and keep holiday for any thing. "The Regent, being
in Antwerp," wrote Sir Thomas Gresham to the lords of council, "did cause
the great bell to rings to give all men to understand that the news was
trewe. The Queene's highness here merchants caused all our Inglishe ships
to shoote off with such joy and triumph, as by men's arts and pollicey
coulde be devised--and the Regent sent our Inglishe maroners one hundred
crownes to drynke." If bell-ringing and cannon-firing could have given
England a Spanish sovereign, the devoutly-wished consummation would have
been reached. When the futility of the royal hopes could no longer be
concealed, Philip left the country, never to return till his war with
France made him require troops, subsidies, and a declaration of
hostilities from England.

The personal appearance of the new sovereign has already been described.
His manner was far from conciliatory, and in this respect he was the
absolute reverse of his father. Upon his first journey out of Spain, in
1548, into his various dominions, he had made a most painful impression
every where. "He was disagreeable," says Envoy Suriano, "to the Italians,
detestable to the Flemings, odious to the Germans."

The remonstrances of the Emperor, and of Queen Mary of Hungary, at the
impropriety of his manners, had produced, however, some effect, so that
on his wedding journey to England, he manifested much "gentleness and
humanity, mingled with royal gravity." Upon this occasion, says another
Venetian, accredited to him, "he had divested himself of that Spanish
haughtiness, which, when he first came from Spain, had rendered him so
odious." The famous ambassador, Badovaro confirms the impression. "Upon
his first journey," he says, "he was esteemed proud, and too greedy for
the imperial succession; but now 'tis the common opinion that his
humanity and modesty are all which could be desired." These humane
qualities, however, it must be observed, were exhibited only in the
presence of ambassadors and grandees, the only representatives of
"humanity" with whom he came publicly and avowedly in contact.

He was thought deficient in manly energy. He was an infirm
valetudinarian, and was considered as sluggish in character, as deficient
in martial enterprise, as timid of temperament as he was fragile and
sickly of frame. It is true, that on account of the disappointment which
he occasioned by his contrast to his warlike father, he mingled in some
tournaments in Brussels, where he was matched against Count Mansfeld, one
of the most distinguished chieftains of the age, and where, says his
professed panegyrist, "he broke his lances very mach to the satisfaction
of his father and aunts."

That learned and eloquent author, Estelle Calvete, even filled the
greater part of a volume, in which he described the journey of the
Prince, with a minute description of these feasts and jousts, but we may
reasonably conclude that to the loyal imagination of his eulogist Philip
is indebted for most of these knightly trophies. It was the universal
opinion of unprejudiced cotemporaries, that he was without a spark of
enterprise. He was even censured for a culpable want of ambition, and for
being inferior to his father in this respect, as if the love of
encroaching on his neighbor's dominions, and a disposition to foreign.
commotions and war would have constituted additional virtues, had he
happened to possess them. Those who were most disposed to think favorably
of him, remembered that there was a time when even Charles the Fifth was
thought weak and indolent, and were willing to ascribe Philip's pacific
disposition to his habitual cholic and side-ache, and to his father's
inordinate care for him in youth. They even looked forward to the time
when he should blaze forth to the world as a conqueror and a hero. These,
however, were views entertained by but few; the general and the correct
opinion, as it proved, being, that Philip hated war, would never
certainly acquire any personal distinction in the field, and when engaged
in hostilities would be apt to gather his laurels at the hands of his
generals, rather than with his own sword. He was believed to be the
reverse of the Emperor. Charles sought great enterprises, Philip would
avoid them. The Emperor never recoiled before threats; the son was
reserved, cautious, suspicious of all men, and capable of sacrificing a
realm from hesitation and timidity. The father had a genius for action,
the son a predilection for repose. Charles took "all men's opinions, but
reserved his judgment," and acted on it, when matured, with irresistible
energy; Philip was led by others, was vacillating in forming decisions,
and irresolute in executing them when formed.

Philip, then, was not considered, in that warlike age, as likely to shine
as a warrior. His mental capacity, in general, was likewise not very
highly esteemed. His talents were, in truth, very much below mediocrity.
His mind was incredibly small. A petty passion for contemptible details
characterized him from his youth, and, as long as he lived, he could
neither learn to generalize, nor understand that one man, however
diligent, could not be minutely acquainted with all the public and
private affairs of fifty millions of other men. He was a glutton of work.
He was born to write despatches, and to scrawl comments upon those which
he received.

   [The character of these apostilles, always confused, wordy and
   awkward, was sometimes very ludicrous; nor did it improve after his
   thirty or forty years' daily practice in making them. Thus, when he
   received a letter from France in 1589, narrating the assassination
   of Henry III., and stating that "the manner in which he had been
   killed was that a Jacobin monk had given him a pistol-shot in the
   head" (la facon qua l'on dit qu'il a ette tue, sa ette par un
   Jacobin qui luy a donna d'un cou de pistolle dans la tayte), he
   scrawled the following luminous comment upon the margin.
   Underlining the word "pistolle," he observed, "this is perhaps some
   kind of knife; and as for 'tayte,' it can be nothing else but head,
   which is not tayte, but tete, or teyte, as you very well know"
   (quiza de alguna manera de cuchillo, etc., etc.)--Gachard. Rapport
   a M. le Minist. de l'Interieur, prefixed to corresp. Philippe II.
   Vol. I. xlix. note 1. It is obvious that a person who made such
   wonderful commentaries as this, and was hard at work eight or nine
   hours a day for forty years, would leave a prodigious quantity of
   unpublished matter at his death.]

He often remained at the council-board four or five hours at a time, and
he lived in his cabinet. He gave audiences to ambassadors and deputies
very willingly, listening attentively to all that was said to him, and
answering in monosyllables. He spoke no tongue but Spanish; and was
sufficiently sparing of that, but he was indefatigable with his pen. He
hated to converse, but he could write a letter eighteen pages long, when
his correspondent was in the next room, and when the subject was,
perhaps, one which a man of talent could have settled with six words of
his tongue. The world, in his opinion, was to move upon protocols and
apostilles. Events had no right to be born throughout his dominions,
without a preparatory course of his obstetrical pedantry. He could never
learn that the earth would not rest on its axis, while he wrote a
programme of the way it was to turn. He was slow in deciding, slower in
communicating his decisions. He was prolix with his pen, not from
affluence, but from paucity of ideas. He took refuge in a cloud of words,
sometimes to conceal his meaning, oftener to conceal the absence of any
meaning, thus mystifying not only others but himself. To one great
purpose, formed early, he adhered inflexibly. This, however, was rather
an instinct than an opinion; born with him, not created by him. The idea
seemed to express itself through him, and to master him, rather than to
form one of a stock of sentiments which a free agent might be expected to
possess. Although at certain times, even this master-feeling could yield
to the pressure of a predominant self-interest-thus showing that even in
Philip bigotry was not absolute--yet he appeared on the whole the
embodiment of Spanish chivalry and Spanish religious enthusiasm, in its
late and corrupted form. He was entirely a Spaniard. The Burgundian and
Austrian elements of his blood seemed to have evaporated, and his veins
were filled alone with the ancient ardor, which in heroic centuries had
animated the Gothic champions of Spain. The fierce enthusiasm for the
Cross, which in the long internal warfare against the Crescent, had been
the romantic and distinguishing feature of the national character, had
degenerated into bigotry. That which had been a nation's glory now made
the monarch's shame. The Christian heretic was to be regarded with a more
intense hatred than even Moor or Jew had excited in the most Christian
ages, and Philip was to be the latest and most perfect incarnation of all
this traditional enthusiasm, this perpetual hate. Thus he was likely to
be single-hearted in his life. It was believed that his ambition would be
less to extend his dominions than to vindicate his title of the most
Catholic king. There could be little doubt entertained that he would be,
at least, dutiful to his father in this respect, and that the edicts
would be enforced to the letter.

He was by birth, education, and character, a Spaniard, and that so
exclusively, that the circumstance would alone have made him unfit to
govern a country so totally different in habits and national sentiments
from his native land. He was more a foreigner in Brussels, even, than in
England. The gay, babbling, energetic, noisy life of Flanders and Brabant
was detestable to him. The loquacity of the Netherlanders was a continual
reproach upon his taciturnity. His education had imbued him, too, with
the antiquated international hatred of Spaniard and Fleming, which had
been strengthening in the metropolis, while the more rapid current of
life had rather tended to obliterate the sentiment in the provinces.

The flippancy and profligacy of Philip the Handsome, the extortion and
insolence of his Flemish courtiers, had not been forgotten in Spain, nor
had Philip the Second forgiven his grandfather for having been a
foreigner. And now his mad old grandmother, Joanna, who had for years
been chasing cats in the lonely tower where she had been so long
imprisoned, had just died; and her funeral, celebrated with great pomp by
both her sons, by Charles at Brussels and Ferdinand at Augsburg, seemed
to revive a history which had begun to fade, and to recall the image of
Castilian sovereignty which had been so long obscured in the blaze of
imperial grandeur.

His education had been but meagre. In an age when all kings and noblemen
possessed many languages, he spoke not a word of any tongue but
Spanish,--although he had a slender knowledge of French and Italian,
which he afterwards learned to read with comparative facility. He had
studied a little history and geography, and he had a taste for sculpture,
painting, and architecture. Certainly if he had not possessed a feeling
for art, he would have been a monster. To have been born in the earlier
part of the sixteenth century, to have been a king, to have had Spain,
Italy, and the Netherlands as a birthright, and not to have been inspired
with a spark of that fire which glowed so intensely in those favored
lands and in that golden age, had indeed been difficult.

The King's personal habits were regular. His delicate health made it
necessary for him to attend to his diet, although he was apt to exceed in
sweetmeats and pastry. He slept much, and took little exercise
habitually, but he had recently been urged by the physicians to try the
effect of the chase as a corrective to his sedentary habits. He was most
strict in religious observances, as regular at mass, sermons, and vespers
as a monk; much more, it was thought by many good Catholics, than was
becoming to his rank and age. Besides several friars who preached
regularly for his instruction, he had daily discussions with others on
abstruse theological points. He consulted his confessor most minutely as
to all the actions of life, inquiring anxiously whether this proceeding
or that were likely to burthen his conscience. He was grossly licentious.
It was his chief amusement to issue forth at night disguised, that he
might indulge in vulgar and miscellaneous incontinence in the common
haunts of vice. This was his solace at Brussels in the midst of the
gravest affairs of state. He was not illiberal, but, on the contrary, it
was thought that he would have been even generous, had he not been
straitened for money at the outset of his career. During a cold winter,
he distributed alms to the poor of Brussels with an open hand. He was
fond of jests in private, and would laugh immoderately, when with a few
intimate associates, at buffooneries, which he checked in public by the
icy gravity of his deportment. He dressed usually in the Spanish fashion,
with close doublet, trunk hose, and short cloak, although at times he
indulged in the more airy fashions of France and Burgundy, wearing
buttons on his coats and feathers in his hat. He was not thought at that
time to be cruel by nature, but was usually spoken of, in the
conventional language appropriated to monarchs, as a prince "clement,
benign, and debonnaire." Time was to show the justice of his claims to
such honorable epithets.

The court was organized during his residence at Brussels on the
Burgundian, not the Spanish model, but of the one hundred and fifty
persons who composed it, nine tenths of the whole were Spaniards; the
other fifteen or sixteen being of various nations, Flemings, Burgundians,
Italians, English, and Germans. Thus it is obvious how soon he
disregarded his father's precept and practice in this respect, and began
to lay the foundation of that renewed hatred to Spaniards which was soon
to become so intense, exuberant, and fatal throughout every class of
Netherlanders. He esteemed no nation but the Spanish, with Spaniards he
consorted, with Spaniards he counselled, through Spaniards he governed.

His council consisted of five or six Spanish grandees, the famous Ruy
Gomez, then Count of Melito, afterwards Prince of Eboli; the Duke of
Alva, the Count de Feria, the Duke of Franca Villa, Don Antonio Toledo,
and Don Juan Manrique de Lara. The "two columns," said Suriano, "which
sustain this great machine, are Ruy Gomez and Alva, and from their
councils depends the government of half the world." The two were ever
bitterly opposed to each other. Incessant were their bickerings, intense
their mutual hate, desperate and difficult the situation of any man,
whether foreigner or native, who had to transact business with the
government. If he had secured the favor of Gomez, he had already earned
the enmity of Alva. Was he protected by the Duke, he was sure to be cast
into outer darkness by the favorite.--Alva represented the war party, Ruy
Gomez the pacific polity more congenial to the heart of Philip. The
Bishop of Arras, who in the opinion of the envoys was worth them all for
his capacity and his experience, was then entirely in the background,
rarely entering the council except when summoned to give advice in
affairs of extraordinary delicacy or gravity. He was, however, to
reappear most signally in course of the events already preparing. The
Duke of Alva, also to play so tremendous a part in the yet unborn history
of the Netherlands, was not beloved by Philip. He was eclipsed at this
period by the superior influence of the favorite, and his sword,
moreover, became necessary in the Italian campaign which was impending.
It is remarkable that it was a common opinion even at that day that the
duke was naturally hesitating and timid. One would have thought that his
previous victories might have earned for him the reputation for courage
and skill which he most unquestionably deserved. The future was to
develop those other characteristics which were to make his name the
terror and wonder of the world.

The favorite, Ruy Gomez da Silva, Count de Melito, was the man upon whose
shoulders the great burthen of the state reposed. He was of a family
which was originally Portuguese. He had been brought up with the King,
although some eight years his senior, and their friendship dated from
earliest youth. It was said that Ruy Gomez, when a boy, had been
condemned to death for having struck Philip, who had come between him and
another page with whom he was quarrelling. The Prince threw himself
passionately at his father's feet, and implored forgiveness in behalf of
the culprit with such energy that the Emperor was graciously pleased to
spare the life of the future prime minister. The incident was said to
have laid the foundation of the remarkable affection which was supposed
to exist between the two, to an extent never witnessed before between
king and subject. Ruy Gomez was famous for his tact and complacency, and
omitted no opportunity of cementing the friendship thus auspiciously
commenced. He was said to have particularly charmed his master, upon one
occasion, by hypocritically throwing up his cards at a game of hazard
played for a large stake, and permitting him to win the game with a far
inferior hand. The King learning afterwards the true state of the case,
was charmed by the grace and self-denial manifested by the young
nobleman. The complacency which the favorite subsequently exhibited in
regard to the connexion which existed so long and so publicly between his
wife, the celebrated Princess Eboli, and Philip, placed his power upon an
impregnable basis, and secured it till his death.

At the present moment he occupied the three posts of valet, state
councillor, and finance minister. He dressed and undressed his master,
read or talked him to sleep, called him in the morning, admitted those
who were to have private audiences, and superintended all the
arrangements of the household. The rest of the day was devoted to the
enormous correspondence and affairs of administration which devolved upon
him as first minister of state and treasury. He was very ignorant. He had
no experience or acquirement in the arts either of war or peace, and his
early education had been limited. Like his master, he spoke no tongue but
Spanish, and he had no literature. He had prepossessing manners, a fluent
tongue, a winning and benevolent disposition. His natural capacity for
affairs was considerable, and his tact was so perfect that he could
converse face to face with statesmen; doctors, and generals upon
campaigns, theology, or jurisprudence, without betraying any remarkable
deficiency. He was very industrious, endeavoring to make up by hard study
for his lack of general knowledge, and to sustain with credit the burthen
of his daily functions. At the same time, by the King's desire, he
appeared constantly at the frequent banquets, masquerades, tourneys and
festivities, for which Brussels at that epoch was remarkable. It was no
wonder that his cheek was pale, and that he seemed dying of overwork. He
discharged his duties cheerfully, however, for in the service of Philip
he knew no rest. "After God," said Badovaro, "he knows no object save the
felicity of his master." He was already, as a matter of course, very
rich, having been endowed by Philip with property to the amount of
twenty-six thousand dollars yearly, [at values of 1855] and the tide of
his fortunes was still at the flood.

Such were the two men, the master and the favorite, to whose hands the
destinies of the Netherlands were now entrusted.

The Queen of Hungary had resigned the office of Regent of the
Netherlands, as has been seen, on the occasion of the Emperor's
abdication. She was a woman of masculine character, a great huntress
before the Lord, a celebrated horsewoman, a worthy descendant of the Lady
Mary of Burgundy. Notwithstanding all the fine phrases exchanged between
herself and the eloquent Maas, at the great ceremony of the 25th of
October, she was, in reality, much detested in the provinces, and she
repaid their aversion with abhorrence. "I could not live among these
people," she wrote to the Emperor, but a few weeks before the abdication,
"even as a private person, for it would be impossible for me to do my
duty towards God and my prince. As to governing them, I take God to
witness that the task is so abhorrent to me, that I would rather earn my
daily bread by labor than attempt it." She added, that a woman of fifty
years of age, who had served during twenty-five of them, had a right to
repose, and that she was moreover "too old to recommence and learn her A,
B, C." The Emperor, who had always respected her for the fidelity with
which she had carried out his designs, knew that it was hopeless to
oppose her retreat. As for Philip, he hated his aunt, and she hated
him--although, both at the epoch of the abdication and subsequently, he
was desirous that she should administer the government.

The new Regent was to be the Duke of Savoy. This wandering and
adventurous potentate had attached himself to Philip's fortunes, and had
been received by the King with as much favor as he had ever enjoyed at
the hands of the Emperor. Emanuel Philibert of Savoy, then about
twenty-six or seven years of age, was the son of the late unfortunate
duke, by Donna Beatrice of Portugal, sister of the Empress. He was the
nephew of Charles, and first cousin to Philip. The partiality of the
Emperor for his mother was well known, but the fidelity with which the
family had followed the imperial cause had been productive of nothing but
disaster to the duke. He had been ruined in fortune, stripped of all his
dignities and possessions. His son's only inheritance was his sword. The
young Prince of Piedmont, as he was commonly called in his youth; sought
the camp of the Emperor, and was received with distinguished favor. He
rose rapidly in the military service. Acting always upon his favorite
motto, "Spoliatis arma supersunt," he had determined, if possible, to
carve his way to glory, to wealth, and even to his hereditary estates, by
his sword alone. War was not only his passion, but his trade. Every one
of his campaigns was a speculation, and he had long derived a
satisfactory income by purchasing distinguished prisoners of war at a low
price from the soldiers who had captured them, and were ignorant of their
rank, and by ransoming them afterwards at an immense advance. This sort
of traffic in men was frequent in that age, and was considered perfectly
honorable. Marshal Strozzi, Count Mansfeld, and other professional
soldiers, derived their main income from the system. They were naturally
inclined, therefore, to look impatiently upon a state of peace as an
unnatural condition of affairs which cut off all the profits of their
particular branch of industry, and condemned them both to idleness and
poverty. The Duke of Savoy had become one of the most experienced and
successful commanders of the age, and an especial favorite with the
Emperor. He had served with Alva in the campaigns against the Protestants
of Germany, and in other important fields. War being his element, he
considered peace as undesirable, although he could recognize its
existence. A truce he held, however, to be a senseless parodox, unworthy
of the slightest regard. An armistice, such as was concluded on the
February following the abdication, was, in his opinion, only to be turned
to account by dealing insidious and unsuspected blows at the enemy, some
portion of whose population might repose confidence in the plighted faith
of monarchs and plenipotentiaries. He had a show of reason for his
political and military morality, for he only chose to execute the evil
which had been practised upon himself. His father had been beggared, his
mother had died of spite and despair, he had himself been reduced from
the rank of a sovereign to that of a mercenary soldier, by spoliations
made in time of truce. He was reputed a man of very decided abilities,
and was distinguished for headlong bravery. His rashness and personal
daring were thought the only drawbacks to his high character as a
commander. He had many accomplishments. He spoke Latin, French, Spanish,
and Italian with equal fluency, was celebrated for his attachment to the
fine arts, and wrote much and with great elegance. Such had been
Philibert of Savoy, the pauper nephew of the powerful Emperor, the
adventurous and vagrant cousin of the lofty Philip, a prince without a
people, a duke without a dukedom; with no hope but in warfare, with no
revenue but rapine; the image, in person, of a bold and manly soldier,
small, but graceful and athletic, martial in bearing, "wearing his sword
under his arm like a corporal," because an internal malady made a belt
inconvenient, and ready to turn to swift account every chance which a new
series of campaigns might open to him. With his new salary as governor,
his pensions, and the remains of his possessions in Nice and Piedmont, he
had now the splendid annual income of one hundred thousand crowns, and
was sure to spend it all.

It had been the desire of Charles to smooth the commencement of Philip's
path. He had for this purpose made a vigorous effort to undo, as it were,
the whole work of his reign, to suspend the operation of his whole
political system. The Emperor and conqueror, who had been warring all his
lifetime, had attempted, as the last act of his reign, to improvise a
peace. But it was not so easy to arrange a pacification of Europe as
dramatically as he desired, in order that he might gather his robes about
him, and allow the curtain to fall upon his eventful history in a grand
hush of decorum and quiet. During the autumn and winter of 1555,
hostilities had been virtually suspended, and languid negotiations
ensued. For several months armies confronted each other without engaging,
and diplomatists fenced among themselves without any palpable result. At
last the peace commissioners, who had been assembled at Vaucelles since
the beginning of the year 1556, signed a treaty of truce rather than of
peace, upon the 5th of February. It was to be an armistice of five years,
both by land and sea, for France, Spain, Flanders, and Italy, throughout
all the dominions of the French and Spanish monarchs. The Pope was
expressly included in the truce, which was signed on the part of France
by Admiral Coligny and Sebastian l'Aubespine; on that of Spain, by Count
de Lalain, Philibert de Bruxelles, Simon Renard, and Jean Baptiste
Sciceio, a jurisconsult of Cremona. During the precious month of
December, however, the Pope had concluded with the French monarch a
treaty, by which this solemn armistice was rendered an egregious farce.
While Henry's plenipotentiaries had been plighting their faith to those
of Philip, it had been arranged that France should sustain, by subsidies
and armies, the scheme upon which Paul was bent, to drive the Spaniards
entirely out of the Italian peninsula. The king was to aid the pontiff,
and, in return, was to carve thrones for his own younger children out of
the confiscated realms of Philip. When was France ever slow to sweep upon
Italy with such a hope? How could the ever-glowing rivalry of Valois and
Habsburg fail to burst into a general conflagration, while the venerable
vicegerent of Christ stood thus beside them with his fan in his hand?

For a brief breathing space, however, the news of the pacification
occasioned much joy in the provinces. They rejoiced even in a temporary
cessation of that long series of campaigns from which they could
certainly derive no advantage, and in which their part was to furnish
money, soldiers, and battlefields, without prospect of benefit from any
victory, however brilliant, or any treaty, however elaborate.
Manufacturing, agricultural and commercial provinces, filled to the full
with industrial life, could not but be injured by being converted into
perpetual camps. All was joy in the Netherlands, while at Antwerp, the
great commercial metropolis of the provinces and of Europe, the rapture
was unbounded. Oxen were roasted whole in the public squares; the
streets, soon to be empurpled with the best blood of her citizens, ran
red with wine; a hundred triumphal arches adorned the pathway of Philip
as he came thither; and a profusion of flowers, although it was February,
were strewn before his feet. Such was his greeting in the light-hearted
city, but the countenance was more than usually sullen with which the
sovereign received these demonstrations of pleasure. It was thought by
many that Philip had been really disappointed in the conclusion of the
armistice, that he was inspired with a spark of that martial ambition for
which his panegyrists gave him credit, and that knowing full well the
improbability of a long suspension of hostilities, he was even eager for
the chance of conquest which their resumption would afford him. The
secret treaty of the Pope was of course not so secret but that the hollow
intention of the contracting parties to the truce of Vaucelles were
thoroughly suspected; intentions which certainly went far to justify the
maxims and the practice of the new governor-general of the Netherlands
upon the subject of armistices.

Philip, understanding his position, was revolving renewed military
projects while his subjects were ringing merry bells and lighting
bonfires in the Netherlands. These schemes, which were to be carried out
in the immediate future, caused, however, a temporary delay in the great
purpose to which he was to devote his life.

The Emperor had always desired to regard the Netherlands as a whole, and
he hated the antiquated charters and obstinate privileges which
interfered with his ideas of symmetry. Two great machines, the court of
Mechlin and the inquisition, would effectually simplify and assimilate
all these irregular and heterogeneous rights. The civil tribunal was to
annihilate all diversities in their laws by a general cassation of their
constitutions, and the ecclesiastical court was to burn out all
differences in their religious faith. Between two such millstones it was
thought that the Netherlands might be crushed into uniformity. Philip
succeeded to these traditions. The father had never sufficient leisure to
carry out all his schemes, but it seemed probable that the son would be a
worthy successor, at least in all which concerned the religious part of
his system. One of the earliest measures of his reign was to re-enact the
dread edict of 1550. This he did by the express advice of the Bishop of
Arras who represented to him the expediency of making use of the
popularity of his father's name, to sustain the horrible system resolved
upon. As Charles was the author of the edict, it could be always argued
that nothing new was introduced; that burning, hanging, and drowning for
religious differences constituted a part of the national institutions;
that they had received the sanction of the wise Emperor, and had been
sustained by the sagacity of past generations. Nothing could have been
more subtle, as the event proved, than this advice. Innumerable were the
appeals made in subsequent years, upon this subject, to the patriotism
and the conservative sentiments of the Netherlanders. Repeatedly they
were summoned to maintain the inquisition, on the ground that it had been
submitted to by their ancestors, and that no change had been made by
Philip, who desired only to maintain church and crown in the authority
which they had enjoyed in the days of his father of very laudable memory.

Nevertheless, the King's military plans seemed to interfere for the
moment with this cherished object. He seemed to swerve, at starting, from
pursuing the goal which he was only to abandon with life. The edict of
1550 was re-enacted and confirmed, and all office-holders were commanded
faithfully to enforce it upon pain of immediate dismissal. Nevertheless,
it was not vigorously carried into effect any where. It was openly
resisted in Holland, its proclamation was flatly refused in Antwerp, and
repudiated throughout Brabant. It was strange that such disobedience
should be tolerated, but the King wanted money. He was willing to refrain
for a season from exasperating the provinces by fresh religious
persecution at the moment when he was endeavoring to extort every penny
which it was possible to wring from their purses.

The joy, therefore, with which the pacification had been hailed by the
people was far from an agreeable spectacle to the King. The provinces
would expect that the forces which had been maintained at their expense
during the war would be disbanded, whereas he had no intention of
disbanding them. As the truce was sure to be temporary, he had no
disposition to diminish his available resources for a war which might be
renewed at any moment. To maintain the existing military establishment in
the Netherlands, a large sum of money was required, for the pay was very
much in arrear. The king had made a statement to the provincial estates
upon this subject, but the matter was kept secret during the negotiations
with France. The way had thus been paved for the "Request" or "Bede,"
which he now made to the estates assembled at Brussels, in the spring of
1556. It was to consist of a tax of one per cent. (the hundredth penny)
upon all real estate, and of two per cent. upon all merchandise; to be
collected in three payments. The request, in so far as the imposition of
the proposed tax was concerned, was refused by Flanders, Brabant,
Holland, and all the other important provinces, but as usual, a moderate,
even a generous, commutation in money was offered by the estates. This
was finally accepted by Philip, after he had become convinced that at
this moment, when he was contemplating a war with France, it would be
extremely impolitic to insist upon the tax. The publication of the truce
in Italy had been long delayed, and the first infractions which it
suffered were committed in that country. The arts of politicians; the
schemes of individual ambition, united with the short-lived military
ardor of Philip to place the monarch in an eminently false position, that
of hostility to the Pope. As was unavoidable, the secret treaty of
December acted as an immediate dissolvent to the truce of February.

Great was the indignation of Paul Caraffa, when that truce was first
communicated to him by the Cardinal de Tournon, on the part of the French
Government. Notwithstanding the protestations of France that the secret
league was still binding, the pontiff complained that he was likely to be
abandoned to his own resources, and to be left single-handed to contend
with the vast power of Spain.

Pope Paul IV., of the house of Caraffa, was, in position, the well-known
counterpart of the Emperor Charles. At the very moment when the conqueror
and autocrat was exchanging crown for cowl, and the proudest throne of
the universe for a cell, this aged monk, as weary of scientific and
religious seclusion as Charles of pomp and power, had abdicated his
scholastic pre-eminence, and exchanged his rosary for the keys and sword.
A pontifical Faustus, he had become disgusted with the results of a life
of study and abnegation, and immediately upon his election appeared to be
glowing with mundane passions, and inspired by the fiercest ambition of a
warrior. He had rushed from the cloister as eagerly as Charles had sought
it. He panted for the tempests of the great external world as earnestly
as the conqueror who had so long ridden upon the whirlwind of human
affairs sighed for a haven of repose. None of his predecessors had been
more despotic, more belligerent, more disposed to elevate and strengthen
the temporal power of Rome. In the inquisition he saw the grand machine
by which this purpose could be accomplished, and yet found himself for a
period the antagonist of Philip. The single circumstance would have been
sufficient, had other proofs been wanting, to make manifest that the part
which he had chosen to play was above his genius. Had his capacity been
at all commensurate with his ambition, he might have deeply influenced
the fate of the world; but fortunately no wizard's charm came to the aid
of Paul Caraffa, and the triple-crowned monk sat upon the pontifical
throne, a fierce, peevish, querulous, and quarrelsome dotard; the prey
and the tool of his vigorous enemies and his intriguing relations. His
hatred of Spain and Spaniards was unbounded. He raved at them as
"heretics, schismatics, accursed of God, the spawn of Jews and Moors, the
very dregs of the earth." To play upon such insane passions was not
difficult, and a skilful artist stood ever ready to strike the chords
thus vibrating with age and fury. The master spirit and principal
mischief-maker of the papal court was the well-known Cardinal Caraffa,
once a wild and dissolute soldier, nephew to the Pope. He inflamed the
anger of the pontiff by his representations, that the rival house of
Colonna, sustained by the Duke of Alva, now viceroy of Naples, and by the
whole Spanish power, thus relieved from the fear of French hostilities,
would be free to wreak its vengeance upon their family. It was determined
that the court of France should be held by the secret league. Moreover,
the Pope had been expressly included in the treaty of Vaucelles, although
the troops of Spain had already assumed a hostile attitude in the south
of Italy. The Cardinal was for immediately proceeding to Paris, there to
excite the sympathy of the French monarch for the situation of himself
and his uncle. An immediate rupture between France and Spain, a
re-kindling of the war flames from one end of Europe to the other, were
necessary to save the credit and the interests of the Caraffas. Cardinal
de Tournon, not desirous of so sudden a termination to the pacific
relations between his, country and Spain, succeeded in detaining him a
little longer in Rome.--He remained, but not in idleness. The restless
intriguer had already formed close relations with the most important
personage in France, Diana of Poitiers.--This venerable courtesan, to the
enjoyment of whose charms Henry had succeeded, with the other regal
possessions, on the death of his father, was won by the flatteries of the
wily Caraffa, and by the assiduities of the Guise family. The best and
most sagacious statesmen, the Constable, and the Admiral, were in favor
of peace, for they knew the condition of the kingdom. The Duke of Guise
and the Cardinal Lorraine were for a rupture, for they hoped to increase
their family influence by war. Coligny had signed the treaty of
Vaucelles, and wished to maintain it, but the influence of the Catholic
party was in the ascendant. The result was to embroil the Catholic King
against the Pope and against themselves. The queen was as favorably
inclined as the mistress to listen to Caraffa, for Catherine de Medici
was desirous that her cousin, Marshal Strozzi, should have honorable and
profitable employment in some fresh Italian campaigns.

In the mean time an accident favored the designs of the papal court. An
open quarrel with Spain resulted from an insignificant circumstance. The
Spanish ambassador at Rome was in the habit of leaving the city very
often, at an early hour in the morning, upon shooting excursions, and had
long enjoyed the privilege of ordering the gates to be opened for him at
his pleasure. By accident or design, he was refused permission upon one
occasion to pass through the gate as usual. Unwilling to lose his day's
sport, and enraged at what he considered an indignity, his excellency, by
the aid of his attendants, attacked and beat the guard, mastered them,
made his way out of the city, and pursued his morning's amusement. The
Pope was furious, Caraffa artfully inflamed his anger. The envoy was
refused an audience, which he desired, for the sake of offering
explanations, and the train being thus laid, it was thought that the
right moment had arrived for applying the firebrand. The Cardinal went to
Paris post haste. In his audience of the King, he represented that his
Holiness had placed implicit reliance upon his secret treaty with his
majesty, that the recently concluded truce with Spain left the pontiff at
the mercy of the Spaniard, that the Duke of Alva had already drawn the
sword, that the Pope had long since done himself the pleasure and the
honor of appointing the French monarch protector of the papal chair in
general, and of the Caraffa family in particular, and that the moment had
arrived for claiming the benefit of that protection. He assured him,
moreover, as by full papal authority, that in respecting the recent truce
with Spain, his majesty would violate both human and divine law. Reason
and justice required him to defend the pontiff, now that the Spaniards
were about to profit by the interval of truce to take measures for his
detriment. Moreover, as the Pope was included in the truce of Vaucelles,
he could not be abandoned without a violation of that treaty itself.--The
arts and arguments of the Cardinal proved successful; the war was
resolved upon in favor of the Pope. The Cardinal, by virtue of powers
received and brought with him from his holiness, absolved the King from
all obligation to keep his faith with Spain. He also gave him a
dispensation from the duty of prefacing hostilities by a declaration of
war. Strozzi was sent at once into Italy, with some hastily collected
troops, while the Duke of Guise waited to organize a regular army.

The mischief being thus fairly afoot, and war let loose again upon
Europe, the Cardinal made a public entry into Paris, as legate of the
Pope. The populace crowded about his mule, as he rode at the head of a
stately procession through the streets. All were anxious to receive a
benediction from the holy man who had come so far to represent the
successor of St. Peter, and to enlist the efforts of all true believers
in his cause. He appeared to answer the entreaties of the superstitious
rabble with fervent blessings, while the friends who were nearest him
were aware that nothing but gibes and sarcasms were falling from his
lips. "Let us fool these poor creatures to their heart's content, since
they will be fools," he muttered; smiling the while upon them
benignantly, as became his holy office. Such were the materials of this
new combination; such was the fuel with which this new blaze was lighted
and maintained. Thus were the great powers of the earth--Spain, France,
England, and the Papacy embroiled, and the nations embattled against each
other for several years. The preceding pages show how much national
interests, or principles; were concerned in the struggle thus commenced,
in which thousands were to shed their life-blood, and millions to be
reduced from peace and comfort to suffer all the misery which famine and
rapine can inflict. It would no doubt have increased the hilarity of
Caraffa, as he made his triumphant entry into Paris, could the idea have
been suggested to his mind that the sentiments, or the welfare of the
people throughout the great states now involved in his meshes, could have
any possible bearing upon the question of peace or wax. The world was
governed by other influences. The wiles of a cardinal--the arts of a
concubine--the snipe-shooting of an ambassador--the speculations of a
soldier of fortune--the ill temper of a monk--the mutual venom of Italian
houses--above all, the perpetual rivalry of the two great historical
families who owned the greater part of Europe between them as their
private property--such were the wheels on which rolled the destiny of
Christendom. Compared to these, what were great moral and political
ideas, the plans of statesmen, the hopes of nations? Time was soon to
show. Meanwhile, government continued to be administered exclusively for
the benefit of the governors. Meanwhile, a petty war for paltry motives
was to precede the great spectacle which was to prove to Europe that
principles and peoples still existed, and that a phlegmatic nation of
merchants and manufacturers could defy the powers of the universe, and
risk all their blood and treasure, generation after generation, in a
sacred cause.

It does not belong to our purpose to narrate the details of the campaign
in Italy; neither is this war of politics and chicane of any great
interest at the present day. To the military minds of their age, the
scientific duel which now took place upon a large scale, between two such
celebrated captains as the Dukes of Guise and Alva, was no doubt esteemed
the most important of spectacles; but the progress of mankind in the art
of slaughter has stripped so antiquated an exhibition of most of its
interest, even in a technical point of view. Not much satisfaction could
be derived from watching an old-fashioned game of war, in which the
parties sat down before each other so tranquilly, and picked up piece
after piece, castle after castle, city after city, with such scientific
deliberation as to make it evident that, in the opinion of the
commanders, war was the only serious business to be done in the world;
that it was not to be done in a hurry, nor contrary to rule, and that
when a general had a good job upon his hands he ought to know his
profession much too thoroughly, to hasten through it before he saw his
way clear to another. From the point of time, at the close of the year
1556, when that well-trained but not very successful soldier, Strozzi,
crossed the Alps, down to the autumn of the following year, when the Duke
of Alva made his peace with the Pope, there was hardly a pitched battle,
and scarcely an event of striking interest. Alva, as usual, brought his
dilatory policy to bear upon his adversary with great effect. He had no
intention, he observed to a friend, to stake the whole kingdom of Naples
against a brocaded coat of the Duke of Guise. Moreover, he had been sent
to the war, as Ruy Gomez informed the Venetian ambassador, "with a bridle
in his mouth." Philip, sorely troubled in his mind at finding himself in
so strange a position as this hostile attitude to the Church, had
earnestly interrogated all the doctors and theologians with whom he
habitually took counsel, whether this war with the Pope would not work a
forfeiture of his title of the Most Catholic King. The Bishop of Arras
and the favorite both disapproved of the war, and encouraged, with all
their influence, the pacific inclinations of the monarch. The doctors
were, to be sure, of opinion that Philip, having acted in Italy only in
self-defence, and for the protection of his states, ought not to be
anxious as to his continued right to the title on which he valued himself
so highly. Nevertheless, such ponderings and misgivings could not but
have the effect of hampering the actions of Alva. That general chafed
inwardly at what he considered his own contemptible position. At the same
time, he enraged the Duke of Guise still more deeply by the forced
calmness of his proceedings. Fortresses were reduced, towns taken, one
after another, with the most provoking deliberation, while his distracted
adversary in vain strove to defy, or to delude him, into trying the
chances of a stricken field. The battle of Saint Quentin, the narrative
of which belongs to our subject, and will soon occupy our attention, at
last decided the Italian operations. Egmont's brilliant triumph in
Picardy rendered a victory in Italy superfluous, and placed in Alva's
hand the power of commanding the issue of his own campaign. The Duke of
Guise was recalled to defend the French frontier, which the bravery of
the Flemish hero had imperilled, and the Pope was left to make the best
peace which he could. All was now prosperous and smiling, and the
campaign closed with a highly original and entertaining exhibition. The
pontiff's puerile ambition, sustained by the intrigues of his nephew, had
involved the French monarch in a war which was contrary to his interests
and inclination. Paul now found his ally too sorely beset to afford him
that protection upon which he had relied, when he commenced, in his
dotage, his career as a warrior. He was, therefore, only desirous of
deserting his friend, and of relieving himself from his uncomfortable
predicament, by making a treaty with his catholic majesty upon the best
terms which he could obtain. The King of France, who had gone to war only
for the sake of his holiness, was to be left to fight his own battles,
while the Pope was to make his peace with all the world. The result was a
desirable one for Philip. Alva was accordingly instructed to afford the
holy father a decorous and appropriate opportunity for carrying out his
wishes. The victorious general was apprized that his master desired no
fruit from his commanding attitude in Italy and the victory of Saint
Quentin, save a full pardon from the Pope for maintaining even a
defensive war against him. An amicable siege of Rome was accordingly
commenced, in the course of which an assault or "camiciata" on the holy
city, was arranged for the night of the 26th August, 1557. The pontiff
agreed to be taken by surprise--while Alva, through what was to appear
only a superabundance of his habitual discretion, was to draw off his
troops at the very moment when the victorious assault was to be made. The
imminent danger to the holy city and to his own sacred person thus
furnishing the pontiff with an excuse for abandoning his own cause, as
well as that of his ally the Duke of Alva was allowed, in the name of his
master and himself; to make submission to the Church and his peace with
Rome. The Spanish general, with secret indignation and disgust, was
compelled to humor the vanity of a peevish but imperious old man.
Negotiations were commenced, and so skilfully had the Duke played his
game during the spring and summer, that when he was admitted to kiss the
Pope's toe, he was able to bring a hundred Italian towns in his hand, as
a peace-offering to his holiness. These he now restored, with apparent
humility and inward curses, upon the condition that the fortifications
should be razed, and the French alliance absolutely renounced. Thus did
the fanaticism of Philip reverse the relative position of himself and his
antagonist. Thus was the vanquished pontiff allowed almost to dictate
terms to the victorious general. The king who could thus humble himself
to a dotard, while he made himself the scourge of his subjects, deserved
that the bull of excommunication which had been prepared should have been
fulminated. He, at least, was capable of feeling the scathing effects of
such anathemas.

The Duke of Guise, having been dismissed with the pontiff's assurance
that he had done little for the interests of his sovereign, less for the
protection of the Church, and least of all for his own reputation, set
forth with all speed for Civita Vecchia, to do what he could upon the
Flemish frontier to atone for his inglorious campaign in Italy. The
treaty between the Pope and the Duke of Alva was signed on the 14th
September (1557), and the Spanish general retired for the winter to
Milan. Cardinal Caraffa was removed from the French court to that of
Madrid, there to spin new schemes for the embroilment of nations and the
advancement of his own family. Very little glory was gained by any of the
combatants in this campaign. Spain, France, nor Paul IV., not one of them
came out of the Italian contest in better condition than that in which
they entered upon it. In fact all were losers. France had made an
inglorious retreat, the Pope a ludicrous capitulation, and the only
victorious party, the King of Spain, had, during the summer, conceded to
Cosmo de Medici the sovereignty of Sienna. Had Venice shown more
cordiality towards Philip, and more disposition to sustain his policy, it
is probable that the Republic would have secured the prize which thus
fell to the share of Cosmo. That astute and unprincipled potentate, who
could throw his net so well in troubled water, had successfully duped all
parties, Spain, France, and Rome. The man who had not only not
participated in the contest, but who had kept all parties and all warfare
away from his borders, was the only individual in Italy who gained
territorial advantage from the war.

To avoid interrupting the continuity of the narrative, the Spanish
campaign has been briefly sketched until the autumn of 1557, at which
period the treaty between the Pope and Philip was concluded. It is now
necessary to go back to the close of the preceding year.

Simultaneously with the descent of the French troops upon Italy,
hostilities had broken out upon the Flemish border. The pains of the
Emperor in covering the smouldering embers of national animosities so
precipitately, and with a view rather to scenic effect than to a
deliberate and well-considered result, were thus set at nought, and
within a year from the day of his abdication, hostilities were reopened
from the Tiber to the German Ocean. The blame of first violating the
truce of Vaucelles was laid by each party upon the other with equal
justice, for there can be but little doubt that the reproach justly
belonged to both. Both had been equally faithless in their professions of
amity. Both were equally responsible for the scenes of war, plunder, and
misery, which again were desolating the fairest regions of Christendom.

At the time when the French court had resolved to concede to the wishes
of the Caraffa family, Admiral Coligny, who had been appointed governor
of Picardy, had received orders to make a foray upon the frontier of
Flanders. Before the formal annunciation of hostilities, it was thought
desirable to reap all the advantage possible from the perfidy which had
been resolved upon.

It happened that a certain banker of Lucca, an ancient gambler and
debauchee, whom evil courses had reduced from affluence to penury, had
taken up his abode upon a hill overlooking the city of Douay. Here he had
built himself a hermit's cell. Clad in sackcloth, with a rosary at his
waist, he was accustomed to beg his bread from door to door. His garb was
all, however, which he possessed of sanctity, and he had passed his time
in contemplating the weak points in the defences of the city with much
more minuteness than those in his own heart. Upon the breaking out of
hostilities in Italy, the instincts of his old profession had suggested
to him that a good speculation might be made in Flanders, by turning to
account as a spy the observations which he had made in his character of a
hermit. He sought an interview with Coligny, and laid his propositions
before him. The noble Admiral hesitated, for his sentiments were more
elevated than those of many of his contemporaries. He had, moreover,
himself negotiated and signed the truce with Spain, and he shrank from
violating it with his own hand, before a declaration of war. Still he was
aware that a French army was on its way to attack the Spaniards in Italy;
he was under instructions to take the earliest advantage which his
position upon the frontier might offer him; he knew that both theory and
practice authorized a general, in that age, to break his fast, even in
time of truce, if a tempting morsel should present itself; and, above
all, he thoroughly understood the character of his nearest antagonist,
the new governor of the Netherlands, Philibert of Savoy, whom he knew to
be the most unscrupulous chieftain in Europe. These considerations
decided him to take advantage of the hermit-banker's communication.

A day was accordingly fixed, at which, under the guidance of this
newly-acquired ally, a surprise should be attempted by the French forces,
and the unsuspecting city of Douay given over to the pillage of a brutal
soldiery. The time appointed was the night of Epiphany, upon occasion of
which festival, it was thought that the inhabitants, overcome with sleep
and wassail, might be easily overpowered. (6th January, 1557.) The plot
was a good plot, but the Admiral of France was destined to be foiled by
an old woman. This person, apparently the only creature awake in the
town, perceived the danger, ran shrieking through the streets, alarmed
the citizens while it was yet time, and thus prevented the attack.
Coligny, disappointed in his plan, recompensed his soldiers by a sudden
onslaught upon Lens in Arthois, which he sacked and then levelled with
the ground. Such was the wretched condition of frontier cities, standing,
even in time of peace, with the ground undermined beneath them, and
existing every moment, as it were, upon the brink of explosion.

Hostilities having been thus fairly commenced, the French government was
in some embarrassment. The Duke of Guise, with the most available forces
of the kingdom, having crossed the Alps, it became necessary forthwith to
collect another army. The place of rendezvous appointed was Pierrepoint,
where an army of eighteen thousand infantry and five thousand horse were
assembled early in the spring. In the mean time, Philip finding the war
fairly afoot, had crossed to England for the purpose (exactly in
contravention of all his marriage stipulations) of cajoling his wife and
browbeating her ministers into a participation in his war with France.
This was easily accomplished. The English nation found themselves
accordingly engaged in a contest with which they had no concern, which,
as the event proved, was very much against their interests, and in which
the moving cause for their entanglement was the devotion of a weak, bad,
ferocious woman, for a husband who hated her. A herald sent from England
arrived in France, disguised, and was presented to King Henry at Rheims.
Here, dropping on one knee, he recited a list of complaints against his
majesty, on behalf of the English Queen, all of them fabricated or
exaggerated for the occasion, and none of them furnishing even a decorous
pretext for the war which was now formally declared in consequence. The
French monarch expressed his regret and surprise that the firm and
amicable relations secured by treaty between the two countries should
thus, without sufficient cause, be violated. In accepting the wager of
warfare thus forced upon him, he bade the herald, Norris, inform his
mistress that her messenger was treated with courtesy only because he
represented a lady, and that, had he come from a king, the language with
which he would have been greeted would have befitted the perfidy
manifested on the occasion. God would punish this shameless violation of
faith, and this wanton interruption to the friendship of two great
nations. With this the herald was dismissed from the royal presence, but
treated with great distinction, conducted to the hotel of the English
ambassador, and presented, on the part of the French sovereign with a
chain of gold.

Philip had despatched Ruy Gomez to Spain for the purpose of providing
ways and means, while he was himself occupied with the same task in
England. He stayed there three months. During this time, he "did more,"
says a Spanish contemporary, "than any one could have believed possible
with that proud and indomitable nation. He caused them to declare war
against France with fire and sword, by sea and land." Hostilities having
been thus chivalrously and formally established, the Queen sent an army
of eight thousand men, cavalry, infantry, and pioneers, who, "all clad in
blue uniform," commanded by Lords Pembroke and Clinton, with the three
sons of the Earl of Northumberland, and officered by many other scions of
England's aristocracy, disembarked at Calais, and shortly afterwards
joined the camp before Saint Quentin.

Philip meantime had left England, and with more bustle and activity than
was usual with him, had given directions for organizing at once a
considerable army. It was composed mainly of troops belonging to the
Netherlands, with the addition of some German auxiliaries. Thirty-five
thousand foot and twelve thousand horse had, by the middle of July,
advanced through the province of Namur, and were assembled at Givet under
the Duke of Savoy, who, as Governor-General of the Netherlands, held the
chief command. All the most eminent grandees of the provinces, Orange,
Aerschot, Berlaymont, Meghen, Brederode, were present with the troops,
but the life and soul of the army, upon this memorable occasion, was the
Count of Egmont.

Lamoral, Count of Egmont, Prince of Gavere, was now in the thirty-sixth
year of his age, in the very noon of that brilliant life which was
destined to be so soon and so fatally overshadowed. Not one of the dark
clouds, which were in the future to accumulate around him, had yet rolled
above his horizon. Young, noble, wealthy, handsome, valiant, he saw no
threatening phantom in the future, and caught eagerly at the golden
opportunity, which the present placed within his grasp, of winning fresh
laurels on a wider and more fruitful field than any in which he had
hitherto been a reaper. The campaign about to take place was likely to be
an imposing, if not an important one, and could not fail to be attractive
to a noble of so ardent and showy a character as Egmont. If there were no
lofty principles or extensive interests to be contended for, as there
certainly were not, there was yet much that was stately and exciting to
the imagination in the warfare which had been so deliberately and
pompously arranged. The contending armies, although of moderate size,
were composed of picked troops, and were commanded by the flower of
Europe's chivalry. Kings, princes, and the most illustrious paladins of
Christendom, were arming for the great tournament, to which they had been
summoned by herald and trumpet; and the Batavian hero, without a crown or
even a country, but with as lofty a lineage as many anointed sovereigns
could boast, was ambitious to distinguish himself in the proud array.

Upon the north-western edge of the narrow peninsula of North Holland,
washed by the stormy waters of the German Ocean, were the ancient castle,
town, and lordship, whence Egmont derived his family name, and the title
by which he was most familiarly known. He was supposed to trace his
descent, through a line of chivalrous champions and crusaders, up to the
pagan kings of the most ancient of existing Teutonic races. The eighth
century names of the Frisian Radbold and Adgild among his ancestors were
thought to denote the antiquity of a house whose lustre had been
increased in later times by the splendor of its alliances. His father,
united to Francoise de Luxemburg, Princess of Gavere, had acquired by
this marriage, and transmitted to his posterity, many of the proudest
titles and richest estates of Flanders. Of the three children who
survived him, the only daughter was afterwards united to the Count of
Vaudemont, and became mother of Louise de Vaudemont, queen of the French
monarch, Henry the Third.

Of his two sons, Charles, the elder, had died young and unmarried,
leaving all the estates and titles of the family to his brother. Lamoral,
born in 1522, was in early youth a page of the Emperor. When old enough
to bear arms he demanded and obtained permission to follow the career of
his adventurous sovereign. He served his apprenticeship as a soldier in
the stormy expedition to Barbary, where, in his nineteenth year, he
commanded a troop of light horse, and distinguished himself under the
Emperor's eye for his courage and devotion, doing the duty not only of a
gallant commander but of a hardy soldier. Returning, unscathed by the
war, flood, or tempest of that memorable enterprise, he reached his
country by the way of Corsica, Genoa, and Lorraine, and was three years
afterwards united (in the year 1545) to Sabina of Bavaria, sister of
Frederick, Elector Palatine. The nuptials had taken place at Spiers, and
few royal weddings could have been more brilliant. The Emperor, his
brother Ferdinand King of the Romans, with the Archduke Maximilian, all
the imperial electors, and a concourse of the principal nobles of the
empire, were present on the occasion been at the Emperor's side during
the unlucky siege of Metz; in 1554 he had been sent at the head of a
splendid embassy to England, to solicit for Philip the hand of Mary
Tudor, and had witnessed the marriage in Winchester Cathedral, the same
year. Although one branch of his house had, in past times, arrived at the
sovereignty of Gueldres, and another had acquired the great estates and
titles of Buren, which had recently passed, by intermarriage with the
heiress, into the possession of the Prince of Orange, yet the Prince of
Gavere, Count of Egmont, was the chief of a race which yielded to none of
the great Batavian or Flemish families in antiquity, wealth, or power.
Personally, he was distinguished for his bravery, and although he was not
yet the idol of the camp, which he was destined to become, nor had yet
commanded in chief on any important occasion, he was accounted one of the
five principal generals in the Spanish service. Eager for general
admiration, he was at the same time haughty and presumptuous, attempting
to combine the characters of an arrogant magnate and a popular chieftain.
Terrible and sudden in his wrath, he was yet of inordinate vanity, and
was easily led by those who understood his weakness. With a limited
education, and a slender capacity for all affairs except those relating
to the camp, he was destined to be as vacillating and incompetent as a
statesman, as he was prompt and fortunately audacious in the field. A
splendid soldier, his evil stars had destined him to tread, as a
politician, a dark and dangerous path, in which not even genius, caution,
and integrity could ensure success, but in which rashness alternating
with hesitation, and credulity with violence, could not fail to bring
ruin. Such was Count Egmont, as he took his place at the-head of the
king's cavalry in the summer of 1557.

The early operations of the Duke of Savoy were at first intended to
deceive the enemy. The army, after advancing as far into Picardy as the
town of Vervins, which they burned and pillaged, made a demonstration
with their whole force upon the city of Guise. This, however, was but a
feint, by which attention was directed and forces drawn off from Saint
Quentin, which was to be the real point of attack In the mean time, the
Constable of France, Montmorency, arrived upon the 28th July (1557), to
take command of the French troops. He was accompanied by the Marechal de
Saint Andre and by Admiral Coligny. The most illustrious names of France,
whether for station or valor, were in the officers' list of this select
army. Nevers and Montpensier, Enghien and Conde, Vendome and
Rochefoucauld, were already there, and now the Constable and the Admiral
came to add the strength of their experience and lofty reputation to
sustain the courage of the troops. The French were at Pierrepoint, a post
between Champagne and Picardy, and in its neighborhood. The Spanish army
was at Vervins, and threatening Guise. It had been the opinion in France
that the enemy's intention was to invade Champagne, and the Duc de
Nevers, governor of that province, had made a disposition of his forces
suitable for such a contingency. It was the conviction of Montmorency,
however, that Picardy was to be the quarter really attacked, and that
Saint Quentin, which was the most important point at which the enemy's
progress, by that route, towards Paris could be arrested, was in imminent
danger. The Constable's opinion was soon confirmed by advices received by
Coligny. The enemy's army, he was informed, after remaining three days
before Guise, had withdrawn from that point, and had invested Saint
Quentin with their whole force.

This wealthy and prosperous city stood upon an elevation rising from the
river Somme. It was surrounded by very extensive suburbs, ornamented with
orchards and gardens, and including within their limits large tracts of a
highly cultivated soil. Three sides of the place were covered by a lake,
thirty yards in width, very deep at some points, in others, rather
resembling a morass, and extending on the Flemish side a half mile beyond
the city. The inhabitants were thriving and industrious; many of the
manufacturers and merchants were very rich, for it was a place of much
traffic and commercial importance.

Teligny, son-in-law of the Admiral, was in the city with a detachment of
the Dauphin's regiment; Captain Brueuil was commandant of the town. Both
informed Coligny of the imminent peril in which they stood. They
represented the urgent necessity of immediate reinforcements both of men
and supplies. The city, as the Admiral well knew, was in no condition to
stand a siege by such an army, and dire were the consequences which would
follow the downfall of so important a place. It was still practicable,
they wrote, to introduce succor, but every day diminished the possibility
of affording effectual relief. Coligny was not the man to let the grass
grow under his feet, after such an appeal in behalf of the principal
place in his government. The safety of France was dependent upon that of
St. Quentin. The bulwark overthrown, Paris was within the next stride of
an adventurous enemy. The Admiral instantly set out, upon the 2d of
August, with strong reinforcements. It was too late. The English
auxiliaries, under Lords Pembroke, Clinton, and Grey, had, in the mean
time, effected their junction with the Duke of Savoy, and appeared in the
camp before St. Quentin. The route, by which it had been hoped that the
much needed succor could be introduced, was thus occupied and rendered
impracticable. The Admiral, however, in consequence of the urgent nature
of the letters received from Brueuil and Teligny, had outstripped, in his
anxiety, the movements of his troops. He reached the city, almost alone
and unattended. Notwithstanding the remonstrances of his officers, he had
listened to no voice save the desperate entreaties of the besieged
garrison, and had flown before his army. He now shut himself up in the
city, determined to effect its deliverance by means of his skill and
experience, or, at least, to share its fate. As the gates closed upon
Coligny, the road was blocked up for his advancing troops.

A few days were passed in making ineffectual sorties, ordered by Coligny
for the sake of reconnoitring the country, and of discovering the most
practicable means of introducing supplies. The Constable, meantime, who
had advanced with his army to La Fore, was not idle. He kept up daily
communications with the beleagured Admiral, and was determined, if
possible, to relieve the city. There was, however, a constant succession
of disappointments. Moreover, the brave but indiscreet Teligny, who
commanded during a temporary illness of the Admiral, saw fit, against
express orders, to make an imprudent sortie. He paid the penalty of his
rashness with his life. He was rescued by the Admiral in person, who, at
imminent hazard, brought back the unfortunate officer covered with
wounds, into the city, there to die at his father's feet, imploring
forgiveness for his disobedience. Meantime the garrison was daily growing
weaker. Coligny sent out of the city all useless consumers, quartered all
the women in the cathedral and other churches, where they were locked in,
lest their terror and their tears should weaken the courage of the
garrison; and did all in his power to strengthen the defences of the
city, and sustain the resolution of the inhabitants. Affairs were growing
desperate. It seemed plain that the important city must soon fall, and
with it most probably Paris. One of the suburbs was already in the hands
of the enemy. At last Coligny discovered a route by which he believed it
to be still possible to introduce reinforcements. He communicated the
results of his observations to the Constable. Upon one side of the city
the lake, or morass, was traversed by a few difficult and narrow
pathways, mostly under water, and by a running stream which could only be
passed in boats. The Constable, in consequence of this information
received from Coligny, set out from La Fere upon the 8th of August, with
four thousand infantry and two thousand horse. Halting his troops at the
village of Essigny, he advanced in person to the edge of the morass, in
order to reconnoitre the ground and prepare his plans. The result was a
determination to attempt the introduction of men and supplies into the
town by the mode suggested. Leaving his troops drawn up in battle array,
he returned to La Fere for the remainder of his army, and to complete his
preparations. Coligny in the mean time was to provide boats for crossing
the stream. Upon the 10th August, which was the festival of St. Laurence,
the Constable advanced with four pieces of heavy artillery, four
culverines, and four lighter pieces, and arrived at nine o'clock in the
morning near the Faubourg d'Isle, which was already in possession of the
Spanish troops. The whole army of the Constable consisted of twelve
thousand German, with fifteen companies of French infantry; making in all
some sixteen thousand foot, with five thousand cavalry in addition. The
Duke of Savoy's army lay upon the same side of the town, widely extended,
and stretching beyond the river and the morass. Montmorency's project was
to be executed in full view of the enemy. Fourteen companies of Spaniards
were stationed in the faubourg. Two companies had been pushed forward as
far as a water-mill, which lay in the pathway of the advancing Constable.
These soldiers stood their ground for a moment, but soon retreated, while
a cannonade was suddenly opened by the French upon the quarters of the
Duke of Savoy. The Duke's tent was torn to pieces, and he had barely time
to hurry on his cuirass, and to take refuge with Count Egmont. The
Constable, hastening to turn this temporary advantage to account at once,
commenced the transportation of his troops across the morass. The
enterprise was, however, not destined to be fortunate. The number of
boats which had been provided was very inadequate; moreover they were
very small, and each as it left the shore was consequently so crowded
with soldiers that it was in danger of being swamped. Several were
overturned, and the men perished. It was found also that the opposite
bank was steep and dangerous. Many who had crossed the river were unable
to effect a landing, while those who escaped drowning in the water lost
their way in the devious and impracticable paths, or perished miserably
in the treacherous quagmires. Very few effected their entrance into the
town, but among them was Andelot, brother of Coligny, with five hundred
followers. Meantime, a council of officers was held in Egmont's tent.
Opinions were undecided as to the course to be pursued under the
circumstances. Should an engagement be risked, or should the Constable,
who had but indifferently accomplished his project and had introduced but
an insignificant number of troops into the city, be allowed to withdraw
with the rest of his army? The fiery vehemence of Egmont carried all
before it. Here was an opportunity to measure arms at advantage with the
great captain of the age. To relinquish the prize, which the fortune of
war had now placed within reach of their valor, was a thought not to be
entertained. Here was the great Constable Montmorency, attended by
princes of the royal blood, the proudest of the nobility, the very crown
and flower of the chivalry of France, and followed by an army of her
bravest troops. On a desperate venture he had placed himself within their
grasp. Should he go thence alive and unmolested? The moral effect of
destroying such an army would be greater than if it were twice its actual
strength. It would be dealing a blow at the very heart of France, from
which she could not recover. Was the opportunity to be resigned without a
struggle of laying at the feet of Philip, in this his first campaign
since his accession to his father's realms, a prize worthy of the
proudest hour of the Emperor's reign? The eloquence of the impetuous
Batavian was irresistible, and it was determined to cut off the
Constable's retreat.

Three miles from the Faubourg d'Isle, to which that general had now
advanced, was a narrow pass or defile, between steep and closely hanging
hills. While advancing through this ravine in the morning, the Constable
had observed that the enemy might have it in their power to intercept his
return at that point. He had therefore left the Rhinegrave, with his
company of mounted carabineers, to guard the passage. Being ready to
commence his retreat, he now sent forward the Due de Nevers, with four
companies of cavalry to strengthen that important position, which he
feared might be inadequately guarded. The act of caution came too late.
This was the fatal point which the quick glance of Egmont had at once
detected. As Nevers reached the spot, two thousand of the enemy's cavalry
rode through and occupied the narrow passage. Inflamed by mortification
and despair, Nevers would have at once charged those troops, although
outnumbering his own by nearly, four to one. His officers restrained him
with difficulty, recalling to his memory the peremptory orders which he
had received from the Constable to guard the passage, but on no account
to hazard an engagement, until sustained by the body of the army. It was
a case in which rashness would have been the best discretion. The
headlong charge which the Duke had been about to make, might possibly
have cleared the path and have extricated the army, provided the
Constable had followed up the movement by a rapid advance upon his part.
As it was, the passage was soon blocked up by freshly advancing bodies of
Spanish and Flemish cavalry, while Nevers slowly and reluctantly fell
back upon the Prince of Conde, who was stationed with the light horse at
the mill where the first skirmish had taken place. They were soon joined
by the Constable, with the main body of the army. The whole French force
now commenced its retrograde movement. It was, however, but too evident
that they were enveloped. As they approached the fatal pass through which
lay their only road to La Fire, and which was now in complete possession
of the enemy, the signal of assault was given by Count Egmont. That
general himself, at the head of two thousand light horse, led the charge
upon the left flank. The other side was assaulted by the Dukes Eric and
Henry of Brunswick, each with a thousand heavy dragoons, sustained by
Count Horn, at the head of a regiment of mounted gendarmerie. Mansfeld,
Lalain, Hoogstraaten; and Vilain, at the same time made a furious attack
upon the front. The French cavalry wavered with the shock so vigorously
given. The camp followers, sutlers, and pedlers, panic-struck, at once
fled helter-skelter, and in their precipitate retreat, carried confusion
and dismay throughout all the ranks of the army. The rout was sudden and
total. The onset and the victory were simultaneous, Nevers riding through
a hollow with some companies of cavalry, in the hope of making a detour
and presenting a new front to the enemy, was overwhelmed at once by the
retreating French and their furious pursuers. The day was lost, retreat
hardly possible, yet, by a daring and desperate effort, the Duke,
accompanied by a handful of followers, cut his way through the enemy and
effected his escape. The cavalry had been broken at the first onset and
nearly destroyed. A portion of the infantry still held firm, and
attempted to continue their retreat. Some pieces of artillery, however,
now opened upon them, and before they reached Essigny, the whole army was
completely annihilated. The defeat was absolute. Half the French troops
actually engaged in the enterprise, lost their lives upon the field. The
remainder of the army was captured or utterly disorganized. When Nevers
reviewed, at Laon, the wreck of the Constable's whole force, he found
some thirteen hundred French and three hundred German cavalry, with four
companies of French infantry remaining out of fifteen, and four thousand
German foot remaining of twelve thousand. Of twenty-one or two thousand
remarkably fine and well-appointed troops, all but six thousand had been
killed or made prisoners within an hour. The Constable himself, with a
wound in the groin, was a captive. The Duke of Enghien, after behaving
with brilliant valor, and many times rallying the troops, was shot
through the body, and brought into the enemy's camp only to expire. The
Due de Montpensier, the Marshal de Saint Andre, the Due de Loggieville,
Prince Ludovic of Mantua, the Baron Corton, la Roche du Mayne, the
Rhinegrave, the Counts de Rochefoucauld, d'Aubigni, de Rochefort, all
were taken. The Due de Nevers, the Prince of Conde, with a few others,
escaped; although so absolute was the conviction that such an escape was
impossible, that it was not believed by the victorious army. When Nevers
sent a trumpet, after the battle, to the Duke of Savoy, for the purpose
of negotiating concerning the prisoners, the trumpeter was pronounced an
impostor, and the Duke's letter a forgery; nor was it till after the
whole field had been diligently searched for his dead body without
success, that Nevers could persuade the conquerors that he was still in

Of Philip's army but fifty lost their lives. Lewis of Brederode was
smothered in his armor; and the two counts Spiegelberg and Count Waldeck
were also killed; besides these, no officer of distinction fell. All the
French standards and all their artillery but two pieces were taken, and
placed before the King, who the next day came into the camp before Saint
Quentin. The prisoners of distinction were likewise presented to him in
long procession. Rarely had a monarch of Spain enjoyed a more signal
triumph than this which Philip now owed to the gallantry and promptness
of Count Egmont.

While the King stood reviewing the spoils of victory, a light horseman of
Don Henrico Manrique's regiment approached, and presented him with a
sword. "I am the man, may it please your Majesty," said the trooper, "who
took the Constable; here is his sword; may your Majesty be pleased to
give me something to eat in my house." "I promise it," replied Philip;
upon which the soldier kissed his Majesty's hand and retired. It was the
custom universally recognized in that day, that the king was the king's
captive, and the general the general's, but that the man, whether soldier
or officer, who took the commander-in-chief, was entitled to ten thousand
ducats. Upon this occasion the Constable was the prisoner of Philip,
supposed to command his own army in person. A certain Spanish Captain
Valenzuela, however, disputed the soldier's claim to the Constable's
sword. The trooper advanced at once to the Constable, who stood there
with the rest of the illustrious prisoners. "Your excellency is a
Christian," said he; "please to declare upon your conscience and the
faith of a cavalier, whether 't was I that took you prisoner. It need not
surprise your excellency that I am but a soldier, since with soldiers his
Majesty must wage his wars." "Certainly," replied the Constable, "you
took me and took my horse, and I gave you my sword. My word, however, I
pledged to Captain Valenzuela." It appearing, however, that the custom of
Spain did not recognize a pledge given to any one but the actual captor,
it was arranged that the soldier should give two thousand of his ten
thousand ducats to the captain. Thus the dispute ended.

Such was the brilliant victory of Saint Quentin, worthy to be placed in
the same list with the world-renowned combats of Creqy and Agincourt.
Like those battles, also, it derives its main interest from the personal
character of the leader, while it seems to have been hallowed by the
tender emotions which sprang from his subsequent fate. The victory was
but a happy move in a winning game. The players were kings, and the
people were stakes--not parties. It was a chivalrous display in a war
which was waged without honorable purpose, and in which no single lofty
sentiment was involved. The Flemish frontier was, however, saved for the
time from the misery which was now to be inflicted upon the French
border. This was sufficient to cause the victory to be hailed as
rapturously by the people as by the troops. From that day forth the name
of the brave Hollander was like the sound of a trumpet to the army.
"Egmont and Saint Quentin" rang through every mouth to the furthest
extremity of Philip's realms. A deadly blow was struck to the very heart
of France. The fruits of all the victories of Francis and Henry withered.
The battle, with others which were to follow it, won by the same hand,
were soon to compel the signature of the most disastrous treaty which had
ever disgraced the history of France.

The fame and power of the Constable faded--his misfortunes and captivity
fell like a blight upon the ancient glory of the house of
Montmorency--his enemies destroyed his influence and his
popularity--while the degradation of the kingdom was simultaneous with
the downfall of his illustrious name. On the other hand, the exultation
of Philip was as keen as his cold and stony nature would permit. The
magnificent palace-convent of the Escurial, dedicated to the saint on
whose festival the battle had been fought, and built in the shape of the
gridiron, on which that martyr had suffered, was soon afterwards erected
in pious commemoration of the event. Such was the celebration of the
victory. The reward reserved for the victor was to be recorded on a later
page of history.

The coldness and caution, not to say the pusillanimity of Philip,
prevented him from seizing the golden fruits of his triumph. Ferdinand
Gonzaga wished the blow to be followed up by an immediate march upon
Paris.--Such was also the feeling of all the distinguished soldiers of
the age. It was unquestionably the opinion, and would have been the deed,
of Charles, had he been on the field of Saint Quentin, crippled as he
was, in the place of his son. He could not conceal his rage and
mortification when he found that Paris had not fallen, and is said to
have refused to read the despatches which recorded that the event had not
been consummated. There was certainly little of the conqueror in Philip's
nature; nothing which would have led him to violate the safest principles
of strategy. He was not the man to follow up enthusiastically the blow
which had been struck; Saint Quentin, still untaken, although defended by
but eight hundred soldiers, could not be left behind him; Nevers was
still in his front, and although it was notorious that he commanded only
the wreck of an army, yet a new one might be collected, perhaps, in time
to embarrass the triumphant march to Paris. Out of his superabundant
discretion, accordingly, Philip refused to advance till Saint Quentin
should be reduced.

Although nearly driven to despair by the total overthrow of the French in
the recent action, Coligny still held bravely out, being well aware that
every day by which the siege could be protracted was of advantage to his
country. Again he made fresh attempts to introduce men into the city. A
fisherman showed him a submerged path, covered several feet deep with
water, through which he succeeded in bringing one hundred and fifty
unarmed and half-drowned soldiers into the place. His garrison consisted
barely of eight hundred men, but the siege was still sustained, mainly by
his courage and sagacity, and by the spirit of his brother Andelot. The
company of cavalry, belonging to the Dauphin's regiment, had behaved
badly, and even with cowardice, since the death of their commander
Teligny. The citizens were naturally weary and impatient of the siege.
Mining and countermining continued till the 21st August. A steady
cannonade was then maintained until the 27th. Upon that day, eleven
breaches having been made in the walls, a simultaneous assault was
ordered at four of them. The citizens were stationed upon the walls,
the soldiers in the breaches. There was a short but sanguinary contest,
the garrison resisting with uncommon bravery. Suddenly an entrance was
effected through a tower which had been thought sufficiently strong, and
which had been left unguarded. Coligny, rushing to the spot, engaged the
enemy almost single-handed. He was soon overpowered, being attended only
by four men and a page, was made a prisoner by a soldier named Francisco
Diaz, and conducted through one of the subterranean mines into the
presence of the Duke of Savoy, from whom the captor received ten thousand
ducats in exchange for the Admiral's sword. The fighting still continued
with great determination in the streets, the brave Andelot resisting to
the last. He was, however, at last overpowered, and taken prisoner.
Philip, who had, as usual, arrived in the trenches by noon, armed in
complete harness, with a page carrying his helmet, was met by the
intelligence that the city of Saint Quentin was his own.

To a horrible carnage succeeded a sack and a conflagration still more
horrible. In every house entered during the first day, every human being
was butchered. The sack lasted all that day and the whole of the
following, till the night of the 28th. There was not a soldier who did
not obtain an ample share of plunder, and some individuals succeeded in
getting possession of two, three, and even twelve thousand ducats each.
The women were not generally outraged, but they were stripped almost
entirely naked, lest they should conceal treasure which belonged to their
conquerors, and they were slashed in the face with knives, partly in
sport, partly as a punishment for not giving up property which was not in
their possession. The soldiers even cut off the arms of many among these
wretched women, and then turned them loose, maimed and naked, into the
blazing streets; for the town, on the 28th, was fired in a hundred
places, and was now one general conflagration. The streets were already
strewn with the corpses of the butchered garrison and citizens; while the
survivors were now burned in their houses. Human heads, limbs, and
trunks, were mingled among the bricks and rafters of the houses, which
were falling on every side. The fire lasted day and night, without an
attempt being made to extinguish it; while the soldiers dashed like
devils through flame and smoke in search of booty. Bearing lighted
torches, they descended into every subterrranean vault and receptacle, of
which there were many in the town, and in every one of which they hoped
to discover hidden treasure. The work of killing, plundering, and burning
lasted nearly three days and nights. The streets, meanwhile, were
encumbered with heaps of corpses, not a single one of which had been
buried since the capture of the town. The remains of nearly all the able
bodied male population, dismembered, gnawed by dogs or blackened by fire,
polluted the midsummer air meantime, the women had been again driven into
the cathedral, where they had housed during the siege, and where they now
crouched together in trembling expectation of their fate.' On the 29th
August, at two o'clock in the afternoon, Philip issued an order that
every woman, without an exception, should be driven out of the city into
the French territory. Saint Quentin, which seventy years before had been
a Flemish town, was to be re-annexed, and not a single man, woman, or
child who could speak the French language was to remain another hour in
the place. The tongues of the men had been effectually silenced. The
women, to the number of three thousand five hundred, were now compelled
to leave the cathedral and the city. Some were in a starving condition;
others had been desperately wounded; all, as they passed through the
ruinous streets of what had been their home, were compelled to tread upon
the unburied remains of their fathers, husbands, or brethren. To none of
these miserable creatures remained a living protector--hardly even a dead
body which could be recognized; and thus the ghastly procession of more
than three thousand women, many with gaping wounds in the face, many with
their arms cut off and festering, of all ranks and ages, some numbering
more than ninety years, bareheaded, with grey hair streaming upon their
shoulders; others with nursing infants in their arms, all escorted by a
company of heavy-armed troopers, left forever their native city. All made
the dismal journey upon foot, save that carts were allowed to transport
the children between the ages of two and six years. The desolation and
depopulation were now complete. "I wandered through the place, gazing at
all this," says a Spanish soldier who was present, and kept a diary of
all which occurred, "and it seemed to me that it was another destruction
of Jerusalem. What most struck me was to find not a single denizen of the
town left, who was or who dared to call himself French. How vain and
transitory, thought I, are the things of this world! Six days ago what
riches were in the city, and now remains not one stone upon another."

The expulsion of the women had been accomplished by the express command
of Philip, who moreover had made no effort to stay the work of carnage,
pillage, and conflagration. The pious King had not forgotten, however,
his duty to the saints. As soon as the fire had broken out, he had sent
to the cathedral, whence he had caused the body of Saint Quentin to be
removed and placed in the royal tent. Here an altar, was arranged, upon
one side of which was placed the coffin of that holy personage, and upon
the other the head of the "glorious Saint Gregory" (whoever that glorious
individual may have been in life), together with many other relics
brought from the church. Within the sacred enclosure many masses were
said daily, while all this devil's work was going on without. The saint
who had been buried for centuries was comfortably housed and guarded by
the monarch, while dogs were gnawing the carcases of the freshly-slain
men of Saint Quentin, and troopers were driving into perpetual exile its
desolate and mutilated women.

The most distinguished captives upon this occasion were, of course,
Coligny and his brother. Andelot was, however, fortunate enough to make
his escape that night under the edge of the tent in which he was
confined. The Admiral was taken to Antwerp. Here he lay for many weeks
sick with a fever. Upon his recovery, having no better pastime, he fell
to reading the Scriptures. The result was his conversion to Calvinism;
and the world shudders yet at the fate in which that conversion involved

Saint Quentin being thus reduced, Philip was not more disposed to push
his fortune. The time was now wasted in the siege of several
comparatively unimportant places, so that the fruits of Egmont's valor
were not yet allowed to ripen. Early in September Le Catelet was taken.
On the 12th of the same month the citadel of Ham yielded, after receiving
two thousand shots from Philip's artillery, while Nojon, Chanly, and some
other places of less importance, were burned to the ground. After all
this smoke and fire upon the frontier, productive of but slender
consequences, Philip disbanded his army, and retired to Brussels. He
reached that city on the 12th October. The English returned to their own
country. The campaign of 1557 was closed without a material result, and
the victory of Saint Quentin remained for a season barren.

In the mean time the French were not idle. The army of the Constable had
been destroyed but the Duke de Guise, who had come post-haste from Italy
after hearing the news of Saint Quentin, was very willing to organize
another. He was burning with impatience both to retrieve his own
reputation, which had suffered some little damage by his recent Italian
campaign, and to profit by the captivity of his fallen rival the
Constable. During the time occupied by the languid and dilatory
proceedings of Philip in the autumn, the Duke had accordingly recruited
in France and Germany a considerable army. In January (1558) he was ready
to take the field. It had been determined in the French cabinet, however,
not to attempt to win back the places which they had lost in Picardy, but
to carry the war into the territory of the ally. It was fated that
England should bear all the losses, and Philip appropriate all the gain
and glory, which resulted from their united exertions. It was the war of
the Queen's husband, with which the Queen's people had no concern, but in
which the last trophies of the Black Prince were to be forfeited. On the
first January, 1558, the Duc de Guise appeared before Calais. The Marshal
Strozzi had previously made an expedition, in disguise, to examine the
place. The result of his examination was that the garrison was weak, and
that it relied too much upon the citadel. After a tremendous cannonade,
which lasted a week, and was heard in Antwerp, the city was taken by
assault. Thus the key to the great Norman portal of France, the
time-honored key which England had worn at her girdle since the eventful
day of Crecy, was at last taken from her. Calais had been originally won
after a siege which had lasted a twelvemonth, had been held two hundred
and ten years, and was now lost in seven days. Seven days more, and ten
thousand discharges from thirty-five great guns sufficed for the
reduction of Guines. Thus the last vestige of English dominion, the last
substantial pretext of the English sovereign to wear the title and the
lilies of France, was lost forever. King Henry visited Calais, which
after two centuries of estrangement had now become a French town again,
appointed Paul de Thermes governor of the place, and then returned to
Paris to celebrate soon afterwards the marriage of the Dauphin with the
niece of the Guises, Mary, Queen of Scots.

These events, together with the brief winter campaign of the Duke, which
had raised for an instant the drooping head of France, were destined
before long to give a new face to affairs, while it secured the
ascendancy of the Catholic party in the kingdom. Disastrous eclipse had
come over the house of Montmorency and Coligny, while the star of Guise,
brilliant with the conquest of Calais, now culminated to the zenith.

It was at this period that the memorable interview between the two
ecclesiastics, the Bishop of Arras and the Cardinal de Lorraine, took
place at Peronne. From this central point commenced the weaving of that
wide-spread scheme, in which the fate of millions was to be involved. The
Duchess Christina de Lorraine, cousin of Philip, had accompanied him to
Saint Quentin. Permission had been obtained by the Duc de Guise and his
brother, the Cardinal, to visit her at Peronne. The Duchess was
accompanied by the Bishop of Arras, and the consequence was a full and
secret negotiation between the two priests. It may be supposed that
Philip's short-lived military ardor had already exhausted itself. He had
mistaken his vocation, and already recognized the false position in which
he was placed. He was contending against the monarch in whom he might
find the surest ally against the arch enemy of both kingdoms, and of the
world. The French monarch held heresy in horror, while, for himself,
Philip had already decided upon his life's mission.

The crafty Bishop was more than a match for the vain and ambitious
Cardinal. That prelate was assured that Philip considered the captivity
of Coligny and Montmorency a special dispensation of Providence, while
the tutelar genius of France, notwithstanding the reverses sustained by
that kingdom, was still preserved. The Cardinal and his brother, it was
suggested, now held in their hands the destiny of the kingdom, and of
Europe. The interests of both nations, of religion, and of humanity, made
it imperative upon them to put an end to this unnatural war, in order
that the two monarchs might unite hand and heart for the extirpation of
heresy. That hydra-headed monster had already extended its coils through
France, while its pestilential breath was now wafted into Flanders from
the German as well as the French border. Philip placed full reliance upon
the wisdom and discretion of the Cardinal. It was necessary that these
negotiations should for the present remain a profound secret; but in the
mean time a peace ought to be concluded with as little delay as possible;
a result which, it was affirmed, was as heartily desired by Philip as it
could be by Henry. The Bishop was soon aware of the impression which his
artful suggestions had produced. The Cardinal, inspired by the flattery
thus freely administered, as well as by the promptings of his own
ambition, lent a willing ear to the Bishop's plans. Thus was laid the
foundation of a vast scheme, which time was to complete. A crusade with
the whole strength of the French and Spanish crowns, was resolved upon
against their own subjects. The Bishop's task was accomplished. The
Cardinal returned to France, determined to effect a peace with Spain. He
was convinced that the glory of his house was to be infinitely enhanced,
and its power impregnably established, by a cordial co-operation with
Philip in his dark schemes against religion and humanity. The
negotiations were kept, however, profoundly secret. A new campaign and
fresh humiliations were to precede the acceptance by France of the peace
which was thus proffered.

Hostile operations were renewed soon after the interview at Peronne. The
Duke of Guise, who had procured five thousand cavalry and fourteen
thousand infantry in Germany, now, at the desire of the King, undertook
an enterprise against Thionville, a city of importance and great strength
in Luxemburg, upon the river Moselle. It was defended by Peter de
Quarebbe, a gentleman of Louvain, with a garrison of eighteen hundred
men. On the 5th June, thirty-five pieces of artillery commenced the work;
the mining and countermining-continuing seventeen days; on the 22nd the
assault was made, and the garrison capitulated immediately afterwards. It
was a siege conducted in a regular and business-like way, but the details
possess no interest. It was, however, signalized by the death of one of
the eminent adventurers of the age, Marshal Strozzi. This brave, but
always unlucky soldier was slain by a musket ball while assisting the
Duke of Guise--whose arm was, at that instant, resting upon his
shoulder--to point a gun at the fortress.

After the fall of Thionville, the Due de Guise, for a short time,
contemplated the siege of the city of Luxemburg, but contented himself
with the reduction of the unimportant places of Vireton and Arlon. Here
he loitered seventeen days, making no exertions to follow up the success
which had attended him at the opening of the campaign. The good fortune
of the French was now neutralized by the same languor which had marked
the movements of Philip after the victory of Saint Quentin. The time,
which might have been usefully employed in following up his success, was
now wasted by the Duke in trivial business, or in absolute torpor. This
may have been the result of a treacherous understanding with Spain, and
the first fruits of the interview at Peronne. Whatever the cause,
however, the immediate consequences were disaster to the French nation,
and humiliation to the crown.

It had been the plan of the French cabinet that Marshal de Thermes, who,
upon the capture of Calais, had been appointed governor of the city,
should take advantage of his position as soon as possible. Having
assembled an army of some eight thousand foot and fifteen hundred horse,
partly Gascons and partly Germans, he was accordingly directed to ravage
the neighboring country, particularly the county of Saint Pol. In the
mean time, the Due de Guise, having reduced the cities on the southern
frontier, was to move in a northerly direction, make a junction with the
Marshal, and thus extend a barrier along the whole frontier of the

De Therlries set forth from Calais, in the beginning of June, with his
newly-organized army. Passing by Gravelines and Bourbourg, he arrived
before Dunkerk on the 2d of July. The city, which was without a garrison,
opened negotiations, during the pendency of which it was taken by assault
and pillaged. The town of Saint Winochsberg shared the same fate. De
Thermes, who was a martyr to the gout, was obliged at this point
temporarily to resign the command to d'Estonteville, a ferocious soldier,
who led the predatory army as far as Niewport, burning, killing,
ravishing, plundering, as they went. Meantime Philip, who was at
Brussels, had directed the Duke of Savoy to oppose the Due de Guise with
an army which had been hastily collected and organized at Maubeuge, in
the province of Namur. He now desired, if possible, to attack and cut off
the forces of De Thermes before he should extend the hand to Guise, or
make good his retreat to Calais.

Flushed with victory over defenceless peasants, laden with the spoils of
sacked and burning towns, the army of De Thermes was already on its
homeward march. It was the moment for a sudden and daring blow. Whose arm
should deal it? What general in Philip's army possessed the requisite
promptness, and felicitous audacity; who, but the most brilliant of
cavalry officers, the bold and rapid hero of St. Quentin? Egmont, in
obedience to the King's command, threw himself at once into the field. He
hastily collected all the available forces in the neighborhood. These,
with drafts from the Duke of Savoy's army, and with detachments under
Marshal Bigonicourt from the garrisons of Saint Omer, Bethune, Aire, and
Bourbourg, soon amounted to ten thousand foot and two thousand horse. His
numbers were still further swollen by large bands of peasantry, both men
and women, maddened by their recent injuries, and thirsting for
vengeance. With these troops the energetic chieftain took up his position
directly in the path of the French army. Determined to destroy De Thermes
with all his force, or to sacrifice himself, he posted his army at
Gravelines, a small town lying near the sea-shore, and about midway
between Calais and Dunkerk. The French general was putting the finishing
touch to his expedition by completing the conflagration at Dunkerk, and
was moving homeward, when he became aware of the lion in his path.
Although suffering from severe sickness, he mounted his horse and
personally conducted his army to Gravelines. Here he found his progress
completely arrested. On that night, which was the 12th July, he held a
council of officers. It was determined to refuse the combat offered, and,
if possible, to escape at low tide along the sands toward Calais. The
next morning he crossed the river Aa, below Gravelines. Egmont, who was
not the man, on that occasion at least, to build a golden bridge for a
flying enemy, crossed the same stream just above the town, and drew up
his whole force in battle array. De Thermes could no longer avoid the
conflict thus resolutely forced upon him. Courage was now his only.
counsellor. Being not materially outnumbered by his adversaries, he had,
at least, an even chance of cutting his way through all obstacles, and of
saving his army and his treasure. The sea was on his right hand, the Aa
behind him, the enemy in front. He piled his baggage and wagons so as to
form a barricade upon his left, and placed his artillery, consisting of
four culverines and three falconeta, in front. Behind these he drew up
his cavalry, supported at each side by the Gascons, and placed his French
and German infantry in the rear.

Egmont, on the other hand, divided his cavalry into five squadrons. Three
of light horse were placed in advance for the first assault--the centre
commanded by himself, the two wings by Count Pontenals and Henrico
Henriquez. The black hussars of Lazarus Schwendi and the Flemish
gendarmes came next. Behind these was the infantry, divided into three
nations, Spanish, German, and Flemish, and respectively commanded by
Carvajal, Monchausen, and Bignicourt. Egmont, having characteristically
selected the post of danger in the very front of battle for himself,
could no longer restrain his impatience. "The foe is ours already," he
shouted; "follow me, all who love their fatherland:" With that he set
spurs to his horse, and having his own regiment well in hand, dashed upon
the enemy. The Gascons received the charge with coolness, and under cover
of a murderous fire from the artillery in front, which mowed down the
foremost ranks of their assailants-sustained the whole weight of the
first onset without flinching. Egmont's horse was shot under him at the
commencement of the action. Mounting another, he again cheered his
cavalry to the attack. The Gascons still maintained an unwavering front,
and fought with characteristic ferocity. The courage of despair inflamed
the French, the hope of a brilliant and conclusive victory excited the
Spaniards and Flemings. It was a wild, hand to hand conflict--general and
soldier, cavalier and pikeman, lancer and musketeer, mingled together in
one dark, confused, and struggling mass, foot to foot, breast to breast,
horse to horse-a fierce, tumultuous battle on the sands, worthy the
fitful pencil of the national painter, Wouvermans. For a long time it was
doubtful on which side victory was to incline, but at last ten English
vessels unexpectedly appeared in the offing, and ranging up soon
afterwards as close to the share as was possible, opened their fire upon
the still unbroken lines of the French. The ships were too distant, the
danger of injuring friend as well as foe too imminent, to allow of their
exerting any important influence upon the result. The spirit of the enemy
was broken, however, by this attack upon their seaward side, which they
had thought impregnable. At the same time, too, a detachment of German
cavalry which had been directed by Egmont to make their way under the
downs to the southward, now succeeded in turning their left flank.
Egmont, profiting by their confusion, charged them again with redoubled
vigor. The fate of the day was decided. The French cavalry wavered, broke
their ranks, and in their flight carried dismay throughout the whole
army. The rout was total; horse and foot; French, Gascon, and German fled
from the field together. Fifteen hundred fell in the action, as many more
were driven into the sea, while great numbers were torn to pieces by the
exasperated peasants, who now eagerly washed out their recent injuries in
the blood of the dispersed, wandering, and wounded soldiers. The army of
De Thermes was totally destroyed, and with it, the last hope of France
for an honorable and equal negotiation. She was now at Philip's feet, so
that this brilliant cavalry action, although it has been surpassed in
importance by many others, in respect to the numbers of the combatants
and the principles involved in the contest, was still, in regard to the
extent both of its immediate and its permanent results, one of the most
decisive and striking which have ever been fought. The French army
engaged was annihilated. Marshal de Thermes, with a wound in the head,
Senarpont, Annibault, Villefon, Morvilliers, Chanlis, and many others of
high rank were prisoners. The French monarch had not much heart to set
about the organization of another army; a task which he was now compelled
to undertake. He was soon obliged to make the best terms which he could,
and to consent to a treaty which was one of the most ruinous in the
archives of France.

The Marshal de Thermes was severely censured for having remained so long
at Dunkerk and in its neighborhood. He was condemned still more loudly
for not having at least effected his escape beyond Gravelines, during the
night which preceded the contest. With regard to the last charge,
however, it may well be doubted whether any nocturnal attempt would have
been likely to escape the vigilance of Egmont. With regard to his delay
at Dunkerk, it was asserted that he had been instructed to await in that
place the junction with the Due de Guise, which had been previously
arranged. But for the criminal and, then, inexplicable languor which
characterized that commander's movements, after the capture of
Thionville, the honor of France might still have been saved.

Whatever might have been the faults of De Thermes or of Guise, there
could be little doubt as to the merit of Egmont. Thus within eleven
months of the battle of Saint Quentin, had the Dutch hero gained another
victory so decisive as to settle the fate of the war, and to elevate his
sovereign to a position from which he might dictate the terms of a
triumphant peace. The opening scenes of Philip's reign were rendered as
brilliant as the proudest days of the Emperor's career, while the
provinces were enraptured with the prospect of early peace. To whom,
then, was the sacred debt of national and royal gratitude due but to
Lamoral of Egmont? His countrymen gladly recognized the claim. He became
the idol of the army; the familiar hero of ballad and story; the mirror
of chivalry, and the god of popular worship. Throughout the Netherlands
he was hailed as the right hand of the fatherland, the saviour of
Flanders from devastation and outrage, the protector of the nation, the
pillar of the throne.

The victor gained many friends by his victory, and one enemy. The
bitterness of that foe was likely, in the future, to outweigh all the
plaudits of his friends. The Duke of Alva had strongly advised against
giving battle to De Thermes. He depreciated the triumph after it had been
gained, by reflections upon the consequences which would have flowed, had
a defeat been suffered instead. He even held this language to Egmont
himself after his return to Brussels. The conqueror, flushed with his
glory, was not inclined to digest the criticism, nor what he considered
the venomous detraction of the Duke. More vain and arrogant than ever, he
treated his powerful Spanish rival with insolence, and answered his
observations with angry sarcasms, even in the presence of the King. Alva
was not likely to forget the altercation, nor to forgive the triumph.

There passed, naturally, much bitter censure and retort on both sides at
court, between the friends and adherents of Egmont and those who
sustained the party of his adversary. The battle of Gravelines was fought
over daily, amid increasing violence and recrimination, between Spaniard
and Fleming, and the old international hatred flamed more fiercely than
ever. Alva continued to censure the foolhardiness which had risked so
valuable an army on a single blow. Egmont's friends replied that it was
easy for foreigners, who had nothing at risk in the country, to look on
while the fields of the Netherlands were laid waste, and the homes and
hearths of an industrious population made desolate, by a brutal and
rapacious soldiery. They who dwelt in the Provinces would be ever
grateful to their preserver for the result. They had no eyes for the
picture which the Spanish party painted of an imaginary triumph of De
Thermos and its effects. However the envious might cavil, now that the
blow had been struck, the popular heart remained warm as ever, and
refused to throw down the idol which had so recently been set up.

1558-1559 [CHAPTER III.]

   Secret negotiations for peace--Two fresh armies assembled, but
   inactive--Negotiations at Cercamp--Death of Mary Tudor--Treaty of
   Cateau Cambresis--Death of Henry II.--Policy of Catharine de Medici
   --Revelations by Henry II. to the Prince of Orange--Funeral of
   Charles V. in Brussels--Universal joy in the Netherlands at the
   restoration of peace--Organization of the government by Philip, and
   preparations for his departure--Appointment of Margaret of Parma as
   Regent of the Netherlands--Three councils--The consulta--The
   stadholders of the different provinces--Dissatisfaction caused by
   the foreign troops--Assembly of the Estates at Ghent to receive the
   parting instructions and farewell of the King--Speech of the Bishop
   of Arras--Request for three millions--Fierce denunciation of heresy
   on the part of Philip--Strenuous enforcement of the edicts
   commanded--Reply by the States of Arthois--Unexpected conditions--
   Rage of the King--Similar conduct on the part of the other
   provinces--Remonstrance in the name of States--General against the
   foreign soldiery--Formal reply on the part of the crown--Departure
   of the King from the Netherlands--Autos--da--fe in Spain.

The battle of Gravelines had decided the question. The intrigues of the
two Cardinals at Peronne having been sustained by Egmont's victory, all
parties were ready for a peace. King Henry was weary of the losing game
which he had so long been playing, Philip was anxious to relieve himself
from his false position, and to concentrate his whole mind and the
strength of his kingdom upon his great enemy the Netherland heresy, while
the Duke of Savoy felt that the time had at last arrived when an adroit
diplomacy might stand him in stead, and place him in the enjoyment of
those rights which the sword had taken from him, and which his own sword
had done so much towards winning back. The sovereigns were inclined to
peace, and as there had never been a national principle or instinct or
interest involved in the dispute, it was very certain that peace would be
popular every where, upon whatever terms it might be concluded.

Montmorency and the Prince of Orange were respectively empowered to open
secret negotiations. The Constable entered upon the task with alacrity,
because he felt that every day of his captivity was alike prejudicial to
his own welfare and the interests of his country.--The Guises, who had
quarrelled with the Duchess de Valentinois (Diane de Poitiers), were not
yet powerful enough to resist the influence of the mistress; while,
rather to baffle them than from any loftier reasons, that interest was
exerted in behalf of immediate peace. The Cardinal de Lorraine had by no
means forgotten the eloquent arguments used by the Bishop of Arras; but
his brother, the Due de Guise, may be supposed to have desired some
little opportunity of redeeming the credit of the kingdom, and to have
delayed the negotiations until his valor could secure a less inglorious
termination to the war.

A fresh army had, in fact, been collected under his command, and was
already organized at Pierrepoint. At the same time, Philip had assembled
a large force, consisting of thirty thousand foot and fifteen thousand
cavalry, with which he had himself taken the field, encamping towards the
middle of August upon the banks of the river Anthies, near the border of
Picardy. King Henry, on the other hand, had already arrived in the camp
at Pierrepoint, and had reviewed as imposing an army as had ever been at
the disposal of a French monarch. When drawn up in battle array it
covered a league and a half of ground, while three hours were required to
make its circuit on horseback. All this martial display was only for
effect. The two kings, at the head of their great armies, stood looking
at each other while the negotiations for, peace were proceeding. An
unimportant skirmish or two at the out-posts, unattended with loss of
life, were the only military results of these great preparations. Early
in the autumn, all the troops were disbanded, while the commissioners of
both crowns met in open congress at the abbey of Cercamp, near Cambray,
by the middle of October. The envoys on the part of Philip were the
Prince of Orange, the Duke of Alva, the Bishop of Arras, Ruy Gomez de
Silva, the president Viglius; on that of the French monarch, the
Constable, the Marshal de Saint Andre, the Cardinal de Lorraine, the
Bishop of Orleans, and Claude l'Aubespine.

There were also envoys sent by the Queen of England, but as the dispute
concerning Calais was found to hamper the negotiations at Cercamp, the
English question was left to be settled by another congress, and was kept
entirely separate from the arrangements concluded between France and

The death of Queen Mary, on the 17th November, caused a temporary
suspension of the proceedings. After the widower, however, had made a
fruitless effort to obtain the hand of her successor, and had been
unequivocally repulsed, the commissioners again met in February, 1559, at
Cateau Cambresis. The English difficulty was now arranged by separate
commissioners, and on the third of April a treaty between France and
Spain was concluded.

By this important convention, both kings bound themselves to maintain the
Catholic worship inviolate by all means in their power, and agreed that
an oecumenical council should at once assemble, to compose the religious
differences, and to extinguish the increasing heresy in both kingdoms.
Furthermore, it was arranged that the conquests made by each country
during the preceding eight years should be restored. Thus all the gains
of Francis and Henry were annulled by a single word, and the Duke of
Savoy converted, by a dash of the pen, from a landless soldier of fortune
into a sovereign again. He was to receive back all his estates, and was
moreover to marry Henry's sister Margaret, with a dowry of three hundred
thousand crowns. Philip, on the other hand, now a second time a widower,
was to espouse Henry's daughter Isabella, already betrothed to the Infant
Don Carlos, and to receive with her a dowry of four hundred thousand
crowns. The restitutions were to be commenced by Henry, and to be
completed within three months. Philip was to restore his conquests in the
course of a month afterwards.

Most of the powers of Europe were included by both parties in this
treaty: the Pope, the Emperor, all the Electors, the republics of Venice,
Genoa and Switzerland, the kingdoms of England, Scotland, Poland,
Denmark, Sweden; the duchies of Ferrara, Savoy and Parma, besides other
inferior principalities. Nearly all Christendom, in short, was embraced
in this most amicable compact, as if Philip were determined that,
henceforth and forever, Calvinists and Mahometans, Turks and Flemings,
should be his only enemies.

The King of France was to select four hostages from among Philip's
subjects, to accompany him to Paris as pledges for the execution of all
the terms of the treaty. The royal choice fell upon the Prince of Orange,
the Duke of Alva, the Duke of Aerschot, and the Count of Egmont.

Such was the treaty of Cateau Cambresis. Thus was a termination put to a
war between France and Spain, which had been so wantonly undertaken.

Marshal Monluc wrote that a treaty so disgraceful and disastrous had
never before been ratified by a French monarch. It would have been
difficult to point to any one more unfortunate upon her previous annals;
if any treaty can be called unfortunate, by which justice is done and
wrongs repaired, even under coercion. The accumulated plunder of years,
which was now disgorged by France, was equal in value to one third of
that kingdom. One hundred and ninety-eight fortified towns were
surrendered, making, with other places of greater or less importance, a
total estimated by some writers as high as four hundred. The principal
gainer was the Duke of Savoy, who, after so many years of
knight-errantry, had regained his duchy, and found himself the
brother-in-law of his ancient enemy.

The well-known tragedy by which the solemnities of this pacification were
abruptly concluded in Paris, bore with it an impressive moral. The
monarch who, in violation of his plighted word and against the interests
of his nation and the world, had entered precipitately into a causeless
war, now lost his life in fictitious combat at the celebration of peace.
On the tenth of July, Henry the Second died of the wound inflicted by
Montgomery in the tournament held eleven days before. Of this weak and
worthless prince, all that even his flatterers could favorably urge was
his great fondness for war, as if a sanguinary propensity, even when
unaccompanied by a spark of military talent, were of itself a virtue.
Yet, with his death the kingdom fell even into more pernicious hands, and
the fate of Christendom grew darker than ever. The dynasty of Diane de
Poitiers was succeeded by that of Catharine de Medici; the courtesan gave
place to the dowager; and France during the long and miserable period in
which she lay bleeding in the grasp of the Italian she-wolf and her
litter of cowardly and sanguinary princes--might even lament the days of
Henry and his Diana. Charles the Ninth, Henry the Third, Francis of
Alencon, last of the Valois race--how large a portion of the fearful debt
which has not yet been discharged by half a century of revolution and
massacre was of their accumulation.

The Duchess of Valentinois had quarrelled latterly with the house of
Guise, and was disposed to favor Montmorency. The King, who was but a
tool in her hands, might possibly have been induced, had he lived, to
regard Coligny and his friends with less aversion. This is, however,
extremely problematical, for it was Henry the Second who had concluded
that memorable arrangement with his royal brother of Spain, to arrange
for the Huguenot chiefs throughout both realms, a "Sicilian Vespers,"
upon the first favorable occasion. His death and the subsequent policy of
the Queen-Regent deferred the execution of the great scheme till fourteen
years later. Henry had lived long enough, however, after the conclusion
of the secret agreement to reveal it to one whose life was to be employed
in thwarting this foul conspiracy of monarchs against their subjects.
William of Orange, then a hostage for the execution of the treaty of
Cateau Cambresis, was the man with whom the King had the unfortunate
conception to confer on the subject of the plot. The Prince, who had
already gained the esteem of Charles the Fifth by his habitual
discretion, knew how to profit by the intelligence and to bide his time;
but his hostility to the policy of the French and Spanish courts was
perhaps dated from that hour.

Pending the peace negotiations, Philip had been called upon to mourn for
his wife and father. He did not affect grief for the death of Mary Tudor,
but he honored the Emperor's departure with stately obsequies at
Brussels. The ceremonies lasted two days (the 29th and 30th December,
1558). In the grand and elaborate procession which swept through the
streets upon the first day, the most conspicuous object was a ship
floating apparently upon the waves, and drawn by a band of Tritons who
disported at the bows. The masts, shrouds, and sails of the vessel were
black, it was covered with heraldic achievements, banners and emblematic
mementos of the Emperor's various expeditions, while the flags of Turks
and Moors trailed from her sides in the waves below. Three allegorical
personages composed the crew. Hope, "all clothyd in brown, with anker in
hand," stood at the prow; Faith, with sacramental chalice and red cross,
clad in white garment, with her face nailed "with white tiffany," sat on
a "stool of estate" before the mizen-mast; while Charity "in red, holding
in her hand a burning heart," was at the helm to navigate the vessel.
Hope, Faith, and Love were thought the most appropriate symbols for the
man who had invented the edicts, introduced the inquisition, and whose
last words, inscribed by a hand already trembling with death, had adjured
his son, by his love, allegiance, and hope of salvation, to deal to all
heretics the extreme rigor of the law, "without respect of persons and
without regard to any plea in their favor."

The rest of the procession, in which marched the Duke of Alva, the Prince
of Orange, and other great personages, carrying the sword, the globe, the
sceptre, and the "crown imperial," contained no emblems or imagery worthy
of being recorded. The next day the King, dressed in mourning and
attended by a solemn train of high officers and nobles, went again to the
church. A contemporary letter mentions a somewhat singular incident as
forming the concluding part of the ceremony. "And the service being
done," wrote Sir Richard Clough to Sir Thomas Gresham, "there went a
nobleman into the herse (so far as I codde understande, it was the Prince
of Orange), who, standing before the herse, struck with his hand upon the
chest and sayd, 'He is ded.' Then standing styli awhile, he sayd, 'He
shall remayn ded.' And 'then resting awhile, he struck again and sayd,
'He is ded, and there is another rysen up in his place greater than ever
he was.' Whereupon the Kynge's hoode was taken off and the Kynge went
home without his hoode."

If the mourning for the dead Emperor was but a mummery and a masquerade,
there was, however, heartiness and sincerity in the rejoicing which now
burst forth like a sudden illumination throughout the Netherlands, upon
the advent of peace. All was joy in the provinces, but at Antwerp, the
metropolis of the land, the enthusiasm was unbounded. Nine days were
devoted to festivities. Bells rang their merriest peals, artillery
thundered, beacons blazed, the splendid cathedral spire flamed nightly
with three hundred burning cresaets, the city was strewn with flowers and
decorated with triumphal arches, the Guilds of Rhetoric amazed the world
with their gorgeous processions, glittering dresses and bombastic
versification, the burghers all, from highest to humblest, were feasted
and made merry, wine flowed in the streets and oxen were roasted whole,
prizes on poles were climbed for, pigs were hunted blindfold, men and
women raced in sacks, and in short, for nine days long there was one
universal and spontaneous demonstration of hilarity in Antwerp and
throughout the provinces.

But with this merry humor of his subjects, the sovereign had but little
sympathy. There was nothing in his character or purposes which owed
affinity with any mood of this jocund and energetic people. Philip had
not made peace with all the world that the Netherlanders might climb on
poles or ring bells, or strew flowers in his path for a little holiday
time, and then return to their industrious avocations again. He had made
peace with all the world that he might be free to combat heresy; and this
arch enemy had taken up its strong hold in the provinces. The treaty of
Cateau Cambresis left him at liberty to devote himself to that great
enterprise. He had never loved the Netherlands, a residence in these
constitutional provinces was extremely irksome to him, and he was
therefore anxious to return to Spain. From the depths of his cabinet he
felt that he should be able to direct the enterprise he was resolved
upon, and that his presence in the Netherlands would be superfluous and

The early part of the year 1559 was spent by Philip in organizing the
government of the provinces and in making the necessary preparations for
his departure. The Duke of Savoy, being restored to his duchy, had, of
course, no more leisure to act as Regent of the Netherlands, and it was
necessary, therefore, to fix upon his successor in this important post,
at once. There were several candidates. The Duchess Christina of Lorraine
had received many half promises of the appointment, which she was most
anxious to secure; the Emperor was even said to desire the nomination of
the Archduke Maximilian, a step which would have certainly argued more
magnanimity upon Philip's part than the world could give him credit for;
and besides these regal personages, the high nobles of the land,
especially Orange and Egmont, had hopes of obtaining the dignity. The
Prince of Orange, however, was too sagacious to deceive himself long, and
became satisfied very soon that no Netherlander was likely to be selected
for Regent. He therefore threw his influence in favor of the Duchess
Christina, whose daughter, at the suggestion of the Bishop of Arras, he
was desirous of obtaining in marriage. The King favored for a time, or
pretended to favor, both the appointment of Madame de Lorraine and the
marriage project of the Prince. Afterwards, however, and in a manner
which was accounted both sudden and mysterious, it appeared that the
Duchess and Orange had both been deceived, and that the King and Bishop
had decided in favor of another candidate, whose claims had not been
considered, before, very prominent. This was the Duchess Margaret of
Parma, natural daughter of Charles the Fifth. A brief sketch of this
important personage, so far as regards her previous career, is reserved
for the following chapter. For the present it is sufficient to state the
fact of the nomination. In order to afford a full view of Philip's
political arrangements before his final departure from the Netherlands,
we defer until the same chapter, an account of the persons who composed
the boards of council organized to assist the new Regent in the
government. These bodies themselves were three in number: a state and
privy council and one of finance. They were not new institutions, having
been originally established by the Emperor, and were now arranged by his
successor upon the same nominal basis upon which they had before existed.
The finance council, which had superintendence of all matters relating to
the royal domains and to the annual budgets of the government, was
presided over by Baron Berlaymont. The privy council, of which Viglius
was president, was composed of ten or twelve learned doctors, and was
especially entrusted with the control of matters relating to law,
pardons, and the general administration of justice. The state council,
which was far the most important of the three boards, was to superintend
all high affairs of government, war, treaties, foreign intercourse,
internal and interprovincial affairs. The members of this council were
the Bishop of Arras, Viglius, Berlaymont, the Prince of Orange, Count
Egmont, to which number were afterwards added the Seigneur de Glayon, the
Duke of Aerschot, and Count Horn. The last-named nobleman, who was
admiral of the provinces, had, for the, present, been appointed to
accompany the King to Spain, there to be specially entrusted with the
administration of affairs relating to the Netherlands. He was destined,
however, to return at the expiration of two years.

With the object, as it was thought, of curbing the power of the great
nobles, it had been arranged that the three councils should be entirely
distinct from each other, that the members of the state council should
have no participation in the affairs of the two other bodies; but, on the
other hand, that the finance and privy councillors, as well as the
Knights of the Fleece, should have access to the deliberations of the
state council. In the course of events, however, it soon became evident
that the real power of the government was exclusively in the hands of the
consulta, a committee of three members of the state council, by whose
deliberations the Regent was secretly instructed to be guided on all
important occasions. The three, Viglius, Berlaymont, and Arras, who
composed the secret conclave or cabinet, were in reality but one. The
Bishop of Arras was in all three, and the three together constituted only
the Bishop of Arras.

There was no especial governor or stadholder appointed for the province
of Brabant, where the Regent was to reside and to exercise executive
functions in person. The stadholders for the other provinces were, for
Flanders and Artois, the Count of Egmont; for Holland, Zeeland, and
Utrecht, the Prince of Orange; for Gueldres and Zutfen, the Count of
Meghen; for Friesland, Groningen and Overyssel, Count Aremberg; for
Hainault, Valenciennes and Cambray, the Marquis of Berghen; for Tournay
and Tournaisis, Baron Montigny; for Namur, Baron Berlaymont; for
Luxemburg, Count Mansfeld; for Ryssel, Douay and Orchies, the Baron
Coureires. All these stadholders were commanders-in-chief of the military
forces in their respective provinces. With the single exception of Count
Egmont, in whose province of Flanders the stadholders were excluded from
the administration of justice,--all were likewise supreme judges in the
civil and criminal tribunal. The military force of the Netherlands in
time of peace was small, for the provinces were jealous of the presence
of soldiery. The only standing army which then legally existed in the
Netherlands were the Bandes d'Ordonnance, a body of mounted
gendarmerie--amounting in all to three thousand men--which ranked among
the most accomplished and best disciplined cavalry of Europe. They were
divided into fourteen squadrons, each under the command of a stadholder,
or of a distinguished noble. Besides these troops, however, there still
remained in the provinces a foreign force amounting in the aggregate to
four thousand men. These soldiers were the remainder of those large
bodies which year after year had been quartered upon the Netherlands
during the constant warfare to which they had been exposed. Living upon
the substance of the country, paid out of its treasury, and as offensive
by their licentious and ribald habits of life as were the enemies against
whom they were enrolled, these troops had become an intolerable burthen
to the people. They were now disposed in different garrisons, nominally
to protect the frontier. As a firm peace, however, had now been concluded
between Spain and France, and as there was no pretext for compelling the
provinces to accept this protection, the presence of a foreign soldiery
strengthened a suspicion that they were to be used in the onslaught which
was preparing against the religious freedom and the political privileges
of the country. They were to be the nucleus of a larger army, it was
believed, by which the land was to be reduced to a state of servile
subjection to Spain. A low, constant, but generally unheeded murmur of
dissatisfaction and distrust upon this subject was already perceptible
throughout the Netherlands; a warning presage of the coming storm.

All the provinces were now convoked for the 7th of August (1559), at
Ghent, there to receive the parting communication and farewell of the
King. Previously to this day, however, Philip appeared in person upon
several solemn occasions, to impress upon the country the necessity of
attending to the great subject with which his mind was exclusively
occupied. He came before the great council of Mechlin, in order to
address that body with his own lips upon the necessity of supporting the
edicts to the letter, and of trampling out every vestige of heresy,
wherever it should appear, by the immediate immolation of all heretics,
whoever they might be. He likewise caused the estates of Flanders to be
privately assembled, that he might harangue them upon the same great
topic. In the latter part of July he proceeded to Ghent, where a great
concourse of nobles, citizens, and strangers had already assembled. Here,
in the last week of the month, the twenty-third chapter of the Golden
Fleece was held with much pomp, and with festivities which lasted three
days. The fourteen vacancies which existed were filled with the names of
various distinguished personages. With this last celebration the public
history of Philip the Good's ostentatious and ambitious order of
knighthood was closed. The subsequent nominations were made 'ex indultu
apostolico', and without the assembling of a chapter.

The estates having duly assembled upon the day prescribed, Philip,
attended by Margaret of Parma, the Duke of Savoy, and a stately retinue
of ambassadors and grandees, made his appearance before them. After the
customary ceremonies had been performed, the Bishop of Arras arose and
delivered, in the name of his sovereign, an elaborate address of
instructions and farewells. In this important harangue, the states were
informed that the King had convened them in order that they might be
informed of his intention of leaving the Netherlands immediately. He
would gladly have remained longer in his beloved provinces, had not
circumstances compelled his departure. His father had come hither for the
good of the country in the year 1543, and had never returned to Spain,
except to die.

Upon the King's accession to the sovereignty he had arranged a truce of
five years, which had been broken through by the faithlessness of France.
He had, therefore, been obliged, notwithstanding his anxiety to return to
a country where his presence was so much needed, to remain in the
provinces till he had conducted the new war to a triumphant close. In
doing this he had been solely governed by his intense love for the
Netherlands, and by his regard for their interests. All the money which
he had raised from their coffers had been spent for their protection.
Upon this account his Majesty expressed his confidence that the estates
would pay an earnest attention to the "Request" which had been laid
before them, the more so, as its amount, three millions of gold florins,
would all be expended for the good of the provinces. After his return to
Spain he hoped to be able to make a remittance. The Duke of Savoy, he
continued, being obliged, in consequence of the fortunate change in his
affairs, to resign the government of the Netherlands, and his own son,
Don Carlos, not yet being sufficiently advanced in years to succeed to
that important post, his Majesty had selected his sister, the Duchess
Margaret of Parma, daughter of the Emperor, as the most proper person for
Regent. As she had been born in the Netherlands, and had always
entertained a profound affection for the provinces, he felt a firm
confidence that she would prove faithful both to their interests and his
own. As at this moment many countries, and particularly the lands in the
immediate neighborhood, were greatly infested by various "new, reprobate,
and damnable sects;" as these sects, proceeding from the foul fiend,
father of discord, had not failed to keep those kingdoms in perpetual
dissension and misery, to the manifest displeasure of God Almighty; as
his Majesty was desirous to avert such terrible evils from his own
realms, according to his duty to the Lord God, who would demand reckoning
from him hereafter for the well-being of the provinces; as all experience
proved that change of religion ever brought desolation and confusion to
the commonweal; as low persons, beggars and vagabonds, under color of
religion, were accustomed to traverse the land for the purpose of plunder
and disturbance; as his Majesty was most desirous of following in the
footsteps of his lord and father; as it would be well remembered what the
Emperor had said to him upon the memorable occasion of his abdication;
therefore his Majesty had commanded the Regent Margaret of Parma, for the
sake of religion and the glory of God, accurately and exactly to cause to
be enforced the edicts and decrees made by his imperial Majesty, and
renewed by his present Majesty, for the extirpation of all sects and
heresies. All governors, councillors, and others having authority, were
also instructed to do their utmost to accomplish this great end.

The great object of the discourse was thus announced in the most
impressive manner, and with all that conventional rhetoric of which the
Bishop of Arras was considered a consummate master. Not a word was said
on the subject which was nearest the hearts of the Netherlanders--the
withdrawal of the Spanish troops.

   [Bentivoglio. Guerra di Fiandra, i. 9 (Opere, Parigi, 1648), gives
   a different report, which ends with a distinct promise on the part
   of the King to dismiss the troops as soon as possible: "--in segno
   di the spetialmente havrebbe quanto prima, a fatti uscire i presidij
   stranieri dalle fortezze a levata ogn' insolita contributione al
   paese." It is almost superfluous to state that the Cardinal is no
   authority for speeches, except, indeed, for those which were never
   made. Long orations by generals upon the battle-field, by royal
   personages in their cabinets, by conspirators in secret conclave,
   are reported by him with muck minuteness, and none can gainsay the
   accuracy with which these harangues, which never had any existence,
   except in the author's imagination, are placed before the reader.
   Bentivoglio's stately and graceful style, elegant descriptions, and
   general acquaintance with his subject will always make his works
   attractive, but the classic and conventional system of inventing
   long speeches for historical characters has fortunately gone out of
   fashion. It is very interesting to know what an important personage
   really did say or write upon remarkable occasions; but it is less
   instructive to be told what the historian thinks might have been a
   good speech or epistle for him to utter or indito.]

Not a hint was held out that a reduction of the taxation, under which the
provinces had so long been groaning, was likely to take place; but, on
the contrary, the King had demanded a new levy of considerable amount. A
few well-turned paragraphs were added on the subject of the
administration of justice--"without which the republic was a dead body
without a soul"--in the Bishop's most approved style, and the discourse
concluded with a fervent exhortation to the provinces to trample heresy
and heretics out of existence, and with the hope that the Lord God, in
such case, would bestow upon the Netherlands health and happiness.

After the address had been concluded, the deputies, according to ancient
form, requested permission to adjourn, that the representatives of each
province might deliberate among themselves on the point of granting or
withholding the Request for the three millions. On the following day they
again assembled in the presence of the King, for the purpose of returning
their separate answers to the propositions.

The address first read was that of the Estates of Artois. The chairman of
the deputies from that province read a series of resolutions, drawn up,
says a contemporary, "with that elegance which characterized all the
public acts of the Artesians; bearing witness to the vivacity of their
wits." The deputies spoke of the extreme affection which their province
had always borne to his Majesty and to the Emperor. They had proved it by
the constancy with which they had endured the calamities of war so long,
and they now cheerfully consented to the Request, so far as their
contingent went. They were willing to place at his Majesty's disposal,
not only the remains of their property, but even the last drop of their
blood. As the eloquent chairman reached this point in his discourse,
Philip, who was standing with his arm resting upon Egmont's shoulder,
listening eagerly to the Artesian address, looked upon the deputies of
the province with a smiling face, expressing by the unwonted benignity of
his countenance the satisfaction which he received from these loyal
expressions of affection, and this dutiful compliance with his Request.

The deputy, however, proceeded to an unexpected conclusion, by earnestly
entreating his Majesty, as a compensation for the readiness thus evinced
in the royal service, forthwith to order the departure of all foreign
troops then in the Netherlands. Their presence, it was added, was now
rendered completely superfluous by the ratification of the treaty of
peace so fortunately arranged with all the world.

At this sudden change in the deputy's language, the King, no longer
smiling, threw himself violently upon his chair of state, where he
remained, brooding with a gloomy countenance upon the language which had
been addressed to him. It was evident, said an eye-witness, that he was
deeply offended. He changed color frequently, so that all present "could
remark, from the working of his face, how much his mind was agitated."

The rest of the provinces were even more explicit than the deputies of
Artois. All had voted their contingents to the Request, but all had made
the withdrawal of the troops an express antecedent condition to the
payment of their respective quotas.

The King did not affect to conceal his rage at these conditions,
exclaiming bitterly to Count Egmont and other seignors near the throne
that it was very easy to estimate, by these proceedings, the value of the
protestations made by the provinces of their loyalty and affection.

Besides, however, the answers thus addressed by the separate states to
the royal address, a formal remonstrance had also been drawn up in the
name of the States General, and signed by the Prince of Orange, Count
Egmont, and many of the leading patricians of the Netherlands. This
document, which was formally presented to the King before the adjournment
of the assembly, represented the infamous "pillaging, insults, and
disorders" daily exercised by the foreign soldiery; stating that the
burthen had become intolerable, and that the inhabitants of Marienburg,
and of many other large towns and villages had absolutely abandoned their
homes rather than remain any longer exposed to such insolence and

The king, already enraged, was furious at the presentation of this
petition. He arose from his seat, and rushed impetuously from the
assembly, demanding of the members as he went, whether he too, as a
Spaniard, was expected immediately to leave the land, and to resign all
authority over it. The Duke of Savoy made use of this last occasion in
which he appeared in public as Regent, violently to rebuke the estates
for the indignity thus offered to their sovereign.

It could not be forgotten, however, by nobles and burghers, who had not
yet been crushed by the long course of oppression which was in store for
them, that there had been a day when Philip's ancestors had been more
humble in their deportment in the face of the provincial authorities. His
great-grandfather, Maximilian, kept in durance by the citizens of Bruges;
his great-grandmother, Mary of Burgundy, with streaming eyes and
dishevelled hair, supplicating in the market-place for the lives of her
treacherous ambassadors, were wont to hold a less imperious language to
the delegates of the states.

This burst of ill temper on the part of the monarch was, however,
succeeded by a different humor. It was still thought advisable to
dissemble, and to return rather an expostulatory than a peremptory answer
to the remonstrance of the States General. Accordingly a paper of a
singular tone was, after the delay of a few days, sent into the assembly.
In this message it was stated that the King was not desirous of placing
strangers in the government--a fact which was proved by the appointment
of the Duchess Margaret; that the Spanish infantry was necessary to
protect the land from invasion; that the remnant of foreign troops only
amounted to three or four thousand men, who claimed considerable arrears
of pay, but that the amount due would be forwarded to them immediately
after his Majesty's return to Spain. It was suggested that the troops
would serve as an escort for Don Carlos when he should arrive in the
Netherlands, although the King would have been glad to carry them to
Spain in his fleet, had he known the wishes of the estates in time. He
would, however, pay for their support himself, although they were to act
solely for the good of the provinces. He observed, moreover, that he had
selected two seignors of the provinces, the Prince of Orange and Count
Egmont, to take command of these foreign troops, and he promised
faithfully that, in the course of three or four months at furthest, they
should all be withdrawn.

On the same day in which the estates had assembled at Ghent, Philip had
addressed an elaborate letter to the grand council of Mechlin, the
supreme court of the provinces, and to the various provincial councils
and tribunals of the whole country. The object of the communication was
to give his final orders on the subject of the edicts, and for the
execution of all heretics in the most universal and summary manner. He
gave stringent and unequivocal instructions that these decrees for
burning, strangling, and burying alive, should be fulfilled to the
letter. He ordered all judicial officers and magistrates "to be curious
to enquire on all sides as to the execution of the placards," stating his
intention that "the utmost rigor should be employed without any respect
of persons," and that not only the transgressors should be proceeded
against, but also the judges who should prove remiss in their prosecution
of heretics. He alluded to a false opinion which had gained currency that
the edicts were only intended against anabaptists. Correcting this error,
he stated that they were to be "enforced against all sectaries, without
any distinction or mercy, who might be spotted merely with the errors
introduced by Luther."

The King, notwithstanding the violent scenes in the assembly, took leave
of the estates at another meeting with apparent cordiality. His
dissatisfaction was sufficiently manifest, but it expressed itself
principally against individuals. His displeasure at the course pursued by
the leading nobles, particularly by the Prince of Orange, was already no

Philip, soon after the adjournment of the assembly, had completed the
preparations for his departure. At Middelburg he was met by the agreeable
intelligence that the Pope had consented to issue a bull for the creation
of the new bishoprics which he desired for the Netherlands.--This
important subject will be resumed in another chapter; for the present we
accompany the King to Flushing, whence the fleet was to set sail for
Spain. He was escorted thither by the Duchess Regent, the Duke of Savoy,
and by many of the most eminent personages of the provinces. Among others
William of Orange was in attendance to witness the final departure of the
King, and to pay him his farewell respects. As Philip was proceeding on
board the ship which was to bear him forever from the Netherlands, his
eyes lighted upon the Prince. His displeasure could no longer be
restrained. With angry face he turned upon him, and bitterly reproached
him for having thwarted all his plans by means of his secret intrigues.
William replied with humility that every thing which had taken place had
been done through the regular and natural movements of the states. Upon
this the King, boiling with rage, seized the Prince by the wrist, and
shaking it violently, exclaimed in Spanish, "No los estados, ma vos, vos,
vos!--Not the estates, but you, you, you!" repeating thrice the word vos,
which is as disrespectful and uncourteous in Spanish as "toi" in French.

After this severe and public insult, the Prince of Orange did not go on
board his Majesty's vessel, but contented himself with wishing Philip,
from the shore, a fortunate journey. It may be doubted, moreover, whether
he would not have made a sudden and compulsory voyage to Spain had he
ventured his person in the ship, and whether, under the circumstances, he
would have been likely to effect as speedy a return. His caution served
him then as it was destined to do on many future occasions, and Philip
left the Netherlands with this parting explosion of hatred against the
man who, as he perhaps instinctively felt, was destined to circumvent his
measures and resist his tyranny to the last.

The fleet, which consisted of ninety vessels, so well provisioned that,
among other matters, fifteen thousand capons were put on board, according
to the Antwerp chronicler, set sail upon the 26th August (1559), from
Flushing. The voyage proved tempestuous, so that much of the rich
tapestry and other merchandise which had been accumulated by Charles and
Philip was lost. Some of the vessels foundered; to save others it was
necessary to lighten the cargo, and "to enrobe the roaring waters with
the silks," for which the Netherlands were so famous; so that it was said
that Philip and his father had impoverished the earth only to enrich the
ocean. The fleet had been laden with much valuable property, because the
King had determined to fix for the future the wandering capital of his
dominions in Spain. Philip landed in safety, however, at Laredo, on the
8th September. His escape from imminent peril confirmed him in the great
purpose to which he had consecrated his existence. He believed himself to
have been reserved from shipwreck only because a mighty mission had been
confided to him, and lest his enthusiasm against heresy should languish,
his eyes were soon feasted, upon his arrival in his native country, with
the spectacle of an auto-da fe.

Early in January of this year the King being persuaded that it was
necessary every where to use additional means to check the alarming
spread of Lutheran opinions, had written to the Pope for authority to
increase, if that were possible, the stringency of the Spanish
inquisition. The pontiff, nothing loath, had accordingly issued a bull
directed to the inquisitor general, Valdez, by which he was instructed to
consign to the flames all prisoners whatever, even those who were not
accused of having "relapsed." Great preparations had been made to strike
terror into the hearts of heretics by a series of horrible exhibitions,
in the course of which the numerous victims, many of them persons of high
rank, distinguished learning, and exemplary lives, who had long been
languishing in the dungeons of the holy office, were to be consigned to
the flames. The first auto-da fe had been consummated at Valladolid on
the 21st May (1559), in the absence of the King, of course, but in the
presence of the royal family and the principal notabilities, civil,
ecclesiastical, and military. The Princess Regent, seated on her throne,
close to the scaffold, had held on high the holy sword. The Archbishop of
Seville, followed by the ministers of the inquisition and by the victims,
had arrived in solemn procession at the "cadahalso," where, after the
usual sermon in praise of the holy office and in denunciation of heresy,
he had administered the oath to the Intante, who had duly sworn upon the
crucifix to maintain forever the sacred inquisition and the apostolic
decrees. The Archbishop had then cried aloud, "So may God prosper your
Highnesses and your estates;" after which the men and women who formed
the object of the show had been cast into the flames.--[Cabrera]. It
being afterwards ascertained that the King himself would soon be enabled
to return to Spain, the next festival was reserved as a fitting
celebration for his arrival. Upon the 8th October, accordingly, another
auto-da fe took place at Valladolid. The King, with his sister and his
son, the high officers of state, the foreign ministers, and all the
nobility of the kingdom, were present, together with an immense concourse
of soldiery, clergy, and populace. The sermon was preached by the Bishop
of Cuenga. When it was finished, Inquisitor General Valdez cried with a
loud voice, "Oh God, make speed to help us!" The King then drew his
sword. Valdez, advancing to the platform upon which Philip was seated,
proceeded to read the protestation: "Your Majesty swears by the cross of
the sword, whereon your royal hand reposes, that you will give all
necessary favor to the holy office of the inquisition against heretics,
apostates, and those who favor them, and will denounce and inform against
all those who, to your royal knowledge, shall act or speak against the
faith." The King answered aloud, "I swear it," and signed the paper. The
oath was read to the whole assembly by an officer of the inquisition.
Thirteen distinguished victims were then burned before the monarch's
eyes, besides one body which a friendly death had snatched from the hands
of the holy office, and the effigy of another person who had been
condemned, although not yet tried or even apprehended. Among the
sufferers was Carlos de Sessa, a young noble of distinguished character
and abilities, who said to the King as he passed by the throne to the
stake, "How can you thus look on and permit me to be burned?" Philip then
made the memorable reply, carefully recorded by his historiographer and
panegyrist; "I would carry the wood to burn my own son withal, were he as
wicked as you."

In Seville, immediately afterwards, another auto-da fe was held, in which
fifty living heretics were burned, besides the bones of Doctor
Constantine Ponce de la Fuente, once the friend, chaplain, and almoner of
Philip's father. This learned and distinguished ecclesiastic had been
released from a dreadful dungeon by a fortunate fever. The holy office,
however, not content with punishing his corpse, wreaked also an impotent
and ludicrous malice upon his effigy. A stuffed figure, attired in his
robes and with its arms extended in the attitude which was habitual with
him in prayer, was placed upon the scaffold among the living victims, and
then cast into the flames, that bigotry might enjoy a fantastic triumph
over the grave.

Such were the religious ceremonies with which Philip celebrated his
escape from shipwreck, and his marriage with Isabella of France,
immediately afterwards solemnized. These human victims, chained and
burning at the stake, were the blazing torches which lighted the monarch
to his nuptial couch.


     Consign to the flames all prisoners whatever (Papal letter)
     Courage of despair inflamed the French
     Decrees for burning, strangling, and burying alive
     I would carry the wood to burn my own son withal
     Inventing long speeches for historical characters
     Let us fool these poor creatures to their heart's content
     Petty passion for contemptible details
     Promises which he knew to be binding only upon the weak
     Rashness alternating with hesitation
     These human victims, chained and burning at the stake


1559-1560 [CHAPTER I.]

   Biographical sketch and portrait of Margaret of Parma--The state
   council--Berlaymont--Viglius--Sketch of William the Silent--Portrait
   of Antony Perrenot, afterwards Cardinal Granvelle--General view of
   the political, social and religious condition of the Netherlands--
   Habits of the aristocracy--Emulation in extravagance--Pecuniary
   embarrassments--Sympathy for the Reformation, steadily increasing
   among the people, the true cause of the impending revolt--Measures
   of the government.--Edict of 1550 described--Papal Bulls granted to
   Philip for increasing the number of Bishops in the Netherlands--
   Necessity for retaining the Spanish troops to enforce the policy of

Margaret of Parma, newly appointed Regent of the Netherlands, was the
natural daughter of Charles the Fifth, and his eldest born child. Her
mother, of a respectable family called Van der Genst, in Oudenarde, had
been adopted and brought up by the distinguished house of Hoogstraaten.
Peculiar circumstances, not necessary to relate at length, had palliated
the fault to which Margaret owed her imperial origin, and gave the child
almost a legitimate claim upon its father's protection. The claim was
honorably acknowledged. Margaret was in her infancy placed by the Emperor
in the charge of his paternal aunt, Margaret of Savoy, then Regent of the
provinces. Upon the death of that princess, the child was entrusted to
the care of the Emperor's sister, Mary, Queen Dowager of Hungary, who had
succeeded to the government, and who occupied it until the abdication.
The huntress-queen communicated her tastes to her youthful niece, and
Margaret soon outrivalled her instructress. The ardor with which she
pursued the stag, and the courageous horsemanship which she always
displayed, proved her, too, no degenerate descendant of Mary of Burgundy.
Her education for the distinguished position in which she had somewhat
surreptitiously been placed was at least not neglected in this
particular. When, soon after the memorable sack of Rome, the Pope and the
Emperor had been reconciled, and it had been decided that the Medici
family should be elevated upon the ruins of Florentine liberty,
Margaret's hand was conferred in marriage upon the pontiff's nephew
Alexander. The wretched profligate who was thus selected to mate with the
Emperor's eldest born child and to appropriate the fair demesnes of the
Tuscan republic was nominally the offspring of Lorenzo de Medici by a
Moorish slave, although generally reputed a bastard of the Pope himself.
The nuptials were celebrated with great pomp at Naples, where the Emperor
rode at the tournament in the guise of a Moorish warrior. At Florence
splendid festivities had also been held, which were troubled with omens
believed to be highly unfavorable. It hardly needed, however,
preternatural appearances in heaven or on earth to proclaim the marriage
ill-starred which united a child of twelve years with a worn-out
debauchee of twenty-seven. Fortunately for Margaret, the funereal
portents proved true. Her husband, within the first year of their wedded
life, fell a victim to his own profligacy, and was assassinated by his
kinsman, Lorenzino de Medici. Cosmo, his successor in the tyranny of
Florence, was desirous of succeeding to the hand of Margaret, but the
politic Emperor, thinking that he had already done enough to conciliate
that house, was inclined to bind to his interests the family which now
occupied the papal throne. Margaret was accordingly a few years
afterwards united to Ottavio Farnese, nephew of Paul the Third. It was
still her fate to be unequally matched. Having while still a child been
wedded to a man of more than twice her years, she was now, at the age of
twenty, united to an immature youth of thirteen. She conceived so strong
an aversion to her new husband, that it became impossible for them to
live together in peace. Ottavio accordingly went to the wars, and in 1541
accompanied the Emperor in his memorable expedition to Barbary.

Rumors of disaster by battle and tempest reaching Europe before the
results of the expedition were accurately known, reports that the Emperor
had been lost in a storm, and that the young Ottavio had perished with
him, awakened remorse in the bosom of Margaret. It seemed to her that he
had been driven forth by domestic inclemency to fall a victim to the
elements. When, however, the truth became known, and it was ascertained
that her husband, although still living, was lying dangerously ill in the
charge of the Emperor, the repugnance which had been founded upon his
extreme youth changed to passionate fondness. His absence, and his
faithful military attendance upon her father, caused a revulsion in her
feelings, and awakened her admiration. When Ottavio, now created Duke of
Parma and Piacenza, returned to Rome, he was received by his wife with
open arms. Their union was soon blessed with twins, and but for a certain
imperiousness of disposition which Margaret had inherited from her
father, and which she was too apt to exercise even upon her husband, the
marriage would have been sufficiently fortunate.

Various considerations pointed her out to Philip as a suitable person for
the office of Regent, although there seemed some mystery about the
appointment which demanded explanation. It was thought that her birth
would make her acceptable to the people; but perhaps, the secret reason
with Philip was, that she alone of all other candidates would be amenable
to the control of the churchman in whose hand he intended placing the
real administration of the provinces. Moreover, her husband was very
desirous that the citadel of Piacenza, still garrisoned by Spanish
troops, should be surrendered to him. Philip was disposed to conciliate
the Duke, but unwilling to give up the fortress. He felt that Ottavio
would be flattered by the nomination of his wife to so important an
office, and be not too much dissatisfied at finding himself relieved for
a time from her imperious fondness. Her residence in the Netherlands
would guarantee domestic tranquillity to her husband, and peace in Italy
to the King. Margaret would be a hostage for the fidelity of the Duke,
who had, moreover, given his eldest son to Philip to be educated in his

She was about thirty-seven years of age when she arrived in the
Netherlands, with the reputation of possessing high talents, and a proud
and energetic character. She was an enthusiastic Catholic, and had sat at
the feet of Loyola, who had been her confessor and spiritual guide. She
felt a greater horror for heretics than for any other species of
malefactors, and looked up to her father's bloody edicts as if they had
been special revelations from on high. She was most strenuous in her
observance of Roman rites, and was accustomed to wash the feet of twelve
virgins every holy week, and to endow them in marriage afterwards.--Her
acquirements, save that of the art of horsemanship, were not remarkable.

Carefully educated in the Machiavellian and Medicean school of politics,
she was versed in that "dissimulation," to which liberal Anglo-Saxons
give a shorter name, but which formed the main substance of statesmanship
at the court of Charles and Philip. In other respects her accomplishments
were but meagre, and she had little acquaintance with any language but
Italian. Her personal appearance, which was masculine, but not without a
certain grand and imperial fascination, harmonized with the opinion
generally entertained of her character. The famous moustache upon her
upper lips was supposed to indicate authority and virility of purpose, an
impression which was confirmed by the circumstance that she was liable to
severe attacks of gout, a disorder usually considered more appropriate to
the sterner sex.

Such were the previous career and public reputation of the Duchess
Margaret. It remains to be unfolded whether her character and endowments,
as exemplified in her new position, were to justify the choice of Philip.

The members of the state council, as already observed, were Berlaymont,
Viglius, Arras, Orange, and Egmont.

The first was, likewise, chief of the finance department. Most of the
Catholic writers described him as a noble of loyal and highly honorable
character. Those of the Protestant party, on the contrary, uniformly
denounced him as greedy, avaricious, and extremely sanguinary. That he
was a brave and devoted soldier, a bitter papist, and an inflexible
adherent to the royal cause, has never been disputed. The Baron himself,
with his four courageous and accomplished sons, were ever in the front
ranks to defend the crown against the nation. It must be confessed,
however, that fanatical loyalty loses most of the romance with which
genius and poetry have so often hallowed the sentiment, when the
"legitimate" prince for whom the sword is drawn is not only an alien in
tongue and blood, but filled with undisguised hatred for the land he
claims to rule.

Viglius van Aytta van Zuichem was a learned Frisian, born, according to
some writers, of "boors' degree, but having no inclination for boorish
work". According to other authorities, which the President himself
favored, he was of noble origin; but, whatever his race, it is certain
that whether gentle or simple, it derived its first and only historical
illustration from his remarkable talents and acquirements. These in early
youth were so great as to acquire the commendation of Erasmus. He had
studied in Louvain, Paris, and Padua, had refused the tutorship Philip
when that prince was still a child, and had afterwards filled a
professorship at Ingolstadt. After rejecting several offers of promotion
from the Emperor, he had at last accepted in 1542 a seat in the council
of Mechlin, of which body he had become president in 1545. He had been
one of the peace commissioners to France in 1558, and was now president
of the privy council, a member of the state council, and of the inner and
secret committee of that board, called the Consults. Much odium was
attached to his name for his share in the composition of the famous edict
of 1550. The rough draught was usually attributed to his pen, but he
complained bitterly, in letters written at this time, of injustice done
him in this respect, and maintained that he had endeavored, without
success, to induce the Emperor to mitigate the severity of the edict. One
does not feel very strongly inclined to accept his excuses, however, when
his general opinions on the subject of religion are remembered. He was
most bigoted in precept and practice. Religious liberty he regarded as
the most detestable and baleful of doctrines; heresy he denounced as the
most unpardonable of crimes.

From no man's mouth flowed more bitter or more elegant commonplaces than
from that of the learned president against those blackest of malefactors,
the men who claimed within their own walls the right to worship God
according to their own consciences. For a common person, not learned in
law or divinity, to enter into his closet, to shut the door, and to pray
to Him who seeth in secret, was, in his opinion, to open wide the gate of
destruction for all the land, and to bring in the Father of Evil at once
to fly away with the whole population, body and soul. "If every man,"
said he to Hopper, "is to believe what he likes in his own house, we
shall have hearth gods and tutelar divinities, again, the country will
swarm with a thousand errors and sects, and very few there will be, I
fear, who will allow themselves to be enclosed in the sheepfold of
Christ. I have ever considered this opinion," continued the president,
"the most pernicious of all. They who hold it have a contempt for all
religion, and are neither more nor less than atheists. This vague,
fireside liberty should be by every possible means extirpated; therefore
did Christ institute shepherds to drive his wandering sheep back into the
fold of the true Church; thus only can we guard the lambs against the
ravening wolves, and prevent their being carried away from the flock of
Christ to the flock of Belial. Liberty of religion, or of conscience, as
they call it, ought never to be tolerated."

This was the cant with which Viglius was ever ready to feed not only his
faithful Hopper, but all the world beside. The president was naturally
anxious that the fold of Christ should be entrusted to none but regular
shepherds, for he looked forward to taking one of the most lucrative
crooks into his own hand, when he should retire from his secular career.

It is now necessary to say a few introductory words concerning the man
who, from this time forth, begins to rise upon the history of his country
with daily increasing grandeur and influence. William of Nassau, Prince
of Orange, although still young in years, is already the central
personage about whom the events and the characters of the epoch most
naturally group themselves; destined as he is to become more and more
with each succeeding year the vivifying source of light, strength, and
national life to a whole people.

The Nassau family first emerges into distinct existence in the middle of
the eleventh century. It divides itself almost as soon as known into two
great branches. The elder remained in Germany, ascended the imperial
throne in the thirteenth century in the person of Adolph of Nassau and
gave to the country many electors, bishops, and generals. The younger and
more illustrious branch retained the modest property and petty
sovereignty of Nassau Dillenbourg, but at the same time transplanted
itself to the Netherlands, where it attained at an early period to great
power and large possessions. The ancestors of William, as Dukes of
Gueldres, had begun to exercise sovereignty in the provinces four
centuries before the advent of the house of Burgundy. That overshadowing
family afterwards numbered the Netherland Nassaus among its most stanch
and powerful adherents. Engelbert the Second was distinguished in the
turbulent councils and in the battle-fields of Charles the Bold, and was
afterwards the unwavering supporter of Maximilian, in court and camp.
Dying childless, he was succeeded by his brother John, whose two sons,
Henry and William, of Nassau, divided the great inheritance after their
father's death, William succeeded to the German estates, became a convert
to Protestantism, and introduced the Reformation into his dominions.
Henry, the eldest son, received the family possessions and titles in
Luxembourg, Brabant, Flanders and Holland, and distinguished himself as
much as his uncle Engelbert, in the service of the Burgundo-Austrian
house. The confidential friend of Charles the Fifth, whose governor he
had been in that Emperor's boyhood, he was ever his most efficient and
reliable adherent. It was he whose influence placed the imperial crown
upon the head of Charles. In 1515 he espoused Claudia de Chalons, sister
of Prince Philibert of Orange, "in order," as he wrote to his father, "to
be obedient to his imperial Majesty, to please the King of France, and
more particularly for the sake of his own honor and profit."

His son Rene de Nassau-Chalons succeeded Philibert. The little
principality of Orange, so pleasantly situated between Provence and
Dauphiny, but in such dangerous proximity to the seat of the "Babylonian
captivity" of the popes at Avignon, thus passed to the family of Nassau.
The title was of high antiquity. Already in the reign of Charlemagne,
Guillaume au Court-Nez, or "William with the Short Nose," had defended
the little--town of Orange against the assaults of the Saracens. The
interest and authority acquired in the demesnes thus preserved by his
valor became extensive, and in process of time hereditary in his race.
The principality became an absolute and free sovereignty, and had already
descended, in defiance of the Salic law, through the three distinct
families of Orange, Baux, and Chalons.

In 1544, Prince Rene died at the Emperor's feet in the trenches of Saint
Dizier. Having no legitimate children, he left all his titles and estates
to his cousin-german, William of Nassau, son of his father's brother
William, who thus at the age of eleven years became William the Ninth of
Orange. For this child, whom the future was to summon to such high
destinies and such heroic sacrifices, the past and present seemed to have
gathered riches and power together from many sources. He was the
descendant of the Othos, the Engelberts, and the Henries, of the
Netherlands, the representative of the Philiberts and the Renes of
France; the chief of a house, humbler in resources and position in
Germany, but still of high rank, and which had already done good service
to humanity by being among the first to embrace the great principles of
the Reformation.

His father, younger brother of the Emperor's friend Henry, was called
William the Rich. He was, however, only rich in children. Of these he had
five sons and seven daughters by his wife Juliana of Stolberg. She was a
person of most exemplary character and unaffected piety. She instilled
into the minds of all her children the elements of that devotional
sentiment which was her own striking characteristic, and it was destined
that the seed sown early should increase to an abundant harvest. Nothing
can be more tender or more touching than the letters which still exist
from her hand, written to her illustrious sons in hours of anxiety or
anguish, and to the last, recommending to them with as much earnest
simplicity as if they were still little children at her knee, to rely
always in the midst of the trials and dangers which were to beset their
paths through life, upon the great hand of God. Among the mothers of
great men, Juliana of Stolberg deserves a foremost place, and it is no
slight eulogy that she was worthy to have been the mother of William of
Orange and of Lewis, Adolphus, Henry, and John of Nassau.

At the age of eleven years, William having thus unexpectedly succeeded to
such great possessions, was sent from his father's roof to be educated in
Brussels. No destiny seemed to lie before the young prince but an
education at the Emperor's court, to be followed by military adventures,
embassies, viceroyalties, and a life of luxury and magnificence. At a
very early age he came, accordingly, as a page into the Emperor's family.
Charles recognized, with his customary quickness, the remarkable
character of the boy. At fifteen, William was the intimate, almost
confidential friend of the Emperor, who prided himself, above all other
gifts, on his power of reading and of using men. The youth was so
constant an attendant upon his imperial chief that even when interviews
with the highest personages, and upon the gravest affairs, were taking
place, Charles would never suffer him to be considered superfluous or
intrusive. There seemed to be no secrets which the Emperor held too high
for the comprehension or discretion of his page. His perceptive and
reflective faculties, naturally of remarkable keenness and depth, thus
acquired a precocious and extraordinary development. He was brought up
behind the curtain of that great stage where the world's dramas were
daily enacted. The machinery and the masks which produced the grand
delusions of history had no deceptions for him. Carefully to observe
men's actions, and silently to ponder upon their motives, was the
favorite occupation of the Prince during his apprenticeship at court. As
he advanced to man's estate, he was selected by the Emperor for the
highest duties. Charles, whose only merit, so far as the provinces were
concerned, was in having been born in Ghent, and that by an ignoble
accident, was glad to employ this representative of so many great
Netherland houses, in the defence of the land. Before the Prince was
twenty-one he was appointed general-in-chief of the army on the French
frontier, in the absence of the Duke of Savoy. The post was coveted by
many most distinguished soldiers: the Counts of Buren, Bossu, Lalaing,
Aremberg, Meghem, and particularly by Count Egmont; yet Charles showed
his extraordinary confidence in the Prince of Orange, by selecting him
for the station, although he had hardly reached maturity, and was
moreover absent in France. The young Prince acquitted himself of his high
command in a manner which justified his appointment.

It was the Prince's shoulder upon which the Emperor leaned at the
abdication; the Prince's hand which bore the imperial insignia of the
discrowned monarch to Ferdinand, at Augsburg. With these duties his
relations with Charles were ended, and those with Philip begun. He was
with the army during the hostilities which were soon after resumed in
Picardy; he was the secret negotiator of the preliminary arrangement with
France, soon afterwards confirmed by the triumphant treaty of April,
1559. He had conducted these initiatory conferences with the Constable
Montmorency and Marshal de Saint Andre with great sagacity, although
hardly a man in years, and by so doing he had laid Philip under deep
obligations. The King was so inexpressibly anxious for peace that he
would have been capable of conducting a treaty upon almost any terms. He
assured the Prince that "the greatest service he could render him in this
world was to make peace, and that he desired to have it at any price what
ever, so eager was he to return to Spain." To the envoy Suriano, Philip
had held the same language. "Oh, Ambassador," said he, "I wish peace on
any terms, and if the King of France had not sued for it, I would have
begged for it myself."

With such impatience on the part of the sovereign, it certainly
manifested diplomatic abilities of a high character in the Prince, that
the treaty negotiated by him amounted to a capitulation by France. He was
one of the hostages selected by Henry for the due execution of the
treaty, and while in France made that remarkable discovery which was to
color his life. While hunting with the King in the forest of Vincennes,
the Prince and Henry found themselves alone together, and separated from
the rest of the company. The French monarch's mind was full of the great
scheme which had just secretly been formed by Philip and himself, to
extirpate Protestantism by a general extirpation of Protestants. Philip
had been most anxious to conclude the public treaty with France, that he
might be the sooner able to negotiate that secret convention by which he
and his Most Christian Majesty were solemnly to bind themselves to
massacre all the converts to the new religion in France and the
Netherlands. This conspiracy of the two Kings against their subjects was
the matter nearest the hearts of both. The Duke of Alva, a fellow hostage
with William of Orange, was the plenipotentiary to conduct this more
important arrangement. The French monarch, somewhat imprudently imagining
that the Prince was also a party to the plot, opened the whole subject to
him without reserve. He complained of the constantly increasing numbers
of sectaries in his kingdom, and protested that his conscience would
never be easy, nor his state secure until his realm should be delivered
of "that accursed vermin." A civil revolution, under pretext of a
religious reformation, was his constant apprehension, particularly since
so many notable personages in the realm, and even princes of the blood,
were already tainted with heresy. Nevertheless, with the favor of heaven,
and the assistance of his son and brother Philip, he hoped soon to be
master of the rebels. The King then proceeded, with cynical minuteness,
to lay before his discreet companion the particulars of the royal plot,
and the manner in which all heretics, whether high or humble, were to be
discovered and massacred at the most convenient season. For the
furtherance of the scheme in the Netherlands, it was understood that the
Spanish regiments would be exceedingly efficient. The Prince, although
horror-struck and indignant at the royal revelations, held his peace, and
kept his countenance. The King was not aware that, in opening this
delicate negotiation to Alva's colleague and Philip's plenipotentiary, he
had given a warning of inestimable value to the man who had been born to
resist the machinations of Philip and of Alva. William of Orange earned
the surname of "the Silent," from the manner in which he received these
communications of Henry without revealing to the monarch, by word or
look, the enormous blunder which he had committed. His purpose was fixed
from that hour. A few days afterwards he obtained permission to visit the
Netherlands, where he took measures to excite, with all his influence,
the strongest and most general opposition to the continued presence of
the Spanish troops, of which forces, touch against his will, he had been,
in conjunction with Egmont, appointed chief. He already felt, in his own
language, that "an inquisition for the Netherlands had been, resolved
upon more cruel than that of Spain; since it would need but to look
askance at an image to be cast into the flames." Although having as yet
no spark of religious sympathy for the reformers, he could not, he said,
"but feel compassion for so many virtuous men and women thus devoted to
massacre," and he determined to save them if he could!' At the departure
of Philip he had received instructions, both patent and secret, for his
guidance as stadholder of Holland, Friesland, and Utrecht. He was ordered
"most expressly to correct and extirpate the sects reprobated by our Holy
Mother Church; to execute the edicts of his Imperial Majesty, renewed by
the King, with absolute rigor. He was to see that the judges carried out
the edicts, without infraction, alteration, or moderation, since they
were there to enforce, not to make or to discuss the law." In his secret
instructions he was informed that the execution of the edicts was to be
with all rigor, and without any respect of persons. He was also reminded
that, whereas some persons had imagined the severity of the law "to be
only intended against Anabaptists, on the contrary, the edicts were to be
enforced on Lutherans and all other sectaries without distinction."
Moreover, in one of his last interviews with Philip, the King had given
him the names of several "excellent persons suspected of the new
religion," and had commanded him to have them put to death. This,
however, he not only omitted to do, but on the contrary gave them
warning, so that they might effect their escape, "thinking it more
necessary to obey God than man."

William of Orange, at the departure of the King for Spain, was in his
twenty-seventh year. He was a widower; his first wife, Anne of Egmont,
having died in 1558, after seven years of wedlock. This lady, to whom he
had been united when they were both eighteen years of age, was the
daughter of the celebrated general, Count de Buren, and the greatest
heiress in the Netherlands. William had thus been faithful to the family
traditions, and had increased his possessions by a wealthy alliance. He
had two children, Philip and Mary. The marriage had been more amicable
than princely marriages arranged for convenience often prove. The letters
of the Prince to his wife indicate tenderness and contentment. At the
same time he was accused, at a later period, of "having murdered her with
a dagger." The ridiculous tale was not even credited by those who
reported it, but it is worth mentioning, as a proof that no calumny was
too senseless to be invented concerning the man whose character was from
that hour forth to be the mark of slander, and whose whole life was to be
its signal, although often unavailing, refutation.

Yet we are not to regard William of Orange, thus on the threshold of his
great career, by the light diffused from a somewhat later period. In no
historical character more remarkably than in his is the law of constant
development and progress illustrated. At twenty-six he is not the "pater
patriae," the great man struggling upward and onward against a host of
enemies and obstacles almost beyond human strength, and along the dark
and dangerous path leading through conflict, privation, and ceaseless
labor to no repose but death. On the contrary, his foot was hardly on the
first step of that difficult ascent which was to rise before him all his
lifetime. He was still among the primrose paths. He was rich, powerful,
of sovereign rank. He had only the germs within him of what was
thereafter to expand into moral and intellectual greatness. He had small
sympathy for the religious reformation, of which he was to be one of the
most distinguished champions. He was a Catholic, nominally, and in
outward observance. With doctrines he troubled himself but little. He had
given orders to enforce conformity to the ancient Church, not with
bloodshed, yet with comparative strictness, in his principality of
Orange. Beyond the compliance with rites and forms, thought indispensable
in those days to a personage of such high degree, he did not occupy
himself with theology. He was a Catholic, as Egmont and Horn, Berlaymont
and Mansfeld, Montigny and even Brederode, were Catholic. It was only
tanners, dyers and apostate priests who were Protestants at that day in
the Netherlands. His determination to protect a multitude of his harmless
inferiors from horrible deaths did not proceed from sympathy with their
religious sentiments, but merely from a generous and manly detestation of
murder. He carefully averted his mind from sacred matters. If indeed the
seed implanted by his pious parents were really the germ of his future
conversion to Protestantism, it must be confessed that it lay dormant a
long time. But his mind was in other pursuits. He was disposed for an
easy, joyous, luxurious, princely life. Banquets, masquerades,
tournaments, the chase, interspersed with the routine of official duties,
civil and military, seemed likely to fill out his life. His hospitality,
like his fortune, was almost regal. While the King and the foreign envoys
were still in the Netherlands, his house, the splendid Nassau palace of
Brussels, was ever open. He entertained for the monarch, who was, or who
imagined himself to be, too poor to discharge his own duties in this
respect, but he entertained at his own expense. This splendid household
was still continued. Twenty-four noblemen and eighteen pages of gentle
birth officiated regularly in his family. His establishment was on so
extensive a scale that upon one day twenty-eight master cooks were
dismissed, for the purpose of diminishing the family expenses, and there
was hardly a princely house in Germany which did not send cooks to learn
their business in so magnificent a kitchen. The reputation of his table
remained undiminished for years. We find at a later period, that Philip,
in the course of one of the nominal reconciliations which took place
several times between the monarch and William of Orange, wrote that, his
head cook being dead, he begged the Prince to "make him a present of his
chief cook, Master Herman, who was understood to be very skilful."

In this hospitable mansion, the feasting continued night and day. From
early morning till noon, the breakfast-tables were spread with wines and
luxurious viands in constant succession, to all comers and at every
moment.--The dinner and supper were daily banquets for a multitude of
guests. The highest nobles were not those alone who were entertained. Men
of lower degree were welcomed with a charming hospitality which made them
feel themselves at their ease. Contemporaries of all parties unite in
eulogizing the winning address and gentle manners of the Prince. "Never,"
says a most bitter Catholic historian, "did an arrogant or indiscreet
word fall from his lips. He, upon no occasion, manifested anger to his
servants, however much they might be in fault, but contented himself with
admonishing them graciously, without menace or insult. He had a gentle
and agreeable tongue, with which he could turn all the gentlemen at court
any way he liked. He was beloved and honored by the whole community." His
manner was graceful, familiar, caressing, and yet dignified. He had the
good breeding which comes from the heart, refined into an inexpressible
charm from his constant intercourse, almost from his cradle, with mankind
of all ranks.

It may be supposed that this train of living was attended with expense.
Moreover, he had various other establishments in town and country;
besides his almost royal residence in Brussels. He was ardently fond of
the chase, particularly of the knightly sport of falconry. In the country
he "consoled himself by taking every day a heron in the clouds." His
falconers alone cost him annually fifteen hundred florins, after he had
reduced their expenses to the lowest possible point. He was much in debt,
even at this early period and with his princely fortune. "We come of a
race," he wrote carelessly to his brother Louis, "who are somewhat bad
managers in our young days, but when we grow older, we do better, like
our late father: 'sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper et in
secula seculorum'. My greatest difficulty," he adds, "as usual, is on
account of the falconers."

His debts already amounted, according to Granvelle's statement, to
800,000 or 900,000 florins. He had embarrassed himself, not only through
his splendid extravagance, by which all the world about him were made to
partake of his wealth, but by accepting the high offices to which he had
been appointed. When general-in-chief on the frontier, his salary was
three hundred florins monthly; "not enough," as he said, "to pay the
servants in his tent," his necessary expenses being twenty-five hundred
florins, as appears by a letter to his wife. His embassy to carry the
crown to Ferdinand, and his subsequent residence as a hostage for the
treaty in Paris, were also very onerous, and he received no salary;
according to the economical system in this respect pursued by Charles and
Philip. In these two embassies or missions alone, together with the
entertainments offered by him to the court and to foreigners, after the
peace at Brussels, the Prince spent, according to his own estimate,
1,500,000 florins. He was, however, although deeply, not desperately
involved, and had already taken active measures to regulate and reduce
his establishment. His revenues were vast, both in his own right and in
that of his deceased wife. He had large claims upon the royal treasury
for service and expenditure. He had besides ample sums to receive from
the ransoms of the prisoners of St. Quentin and Gravelines, having served
in both campaigns. The amount to be received by individuals from this
source may be estimated from the fact that Count Horn, by no means one of
the most favored in the victorious armies, had received from Leonor
d'Orleans, Due de Loggieville, a ransom of eighty thousand crowns. The
sum due, if payment were enforced, from the prisoners assigned to Egmont,
Orange, and others, must have been very large. Granvelle estimated the
whole amount at two millions; adding, characteristically, "that this kind
of speculation was a practice" which our good old fathers, lovers of
virtue, would not have found laudable. In this the churchman was right,
but he might have added that the "lovers of virtue" would have found it
as little "laudable" for ecclesiastics to dispose of the sacred offices
in their gift, for carpets, tapestry, and annual payments of certain
percentages upon the cure of souls. If the profits respectively gained by
military and clerical speculators in that day should be compared, the
disadvantage would hardly be found to lie with those of the long robe.

Such, then, at the beginning of 1560, was William of Orange; a generous,
stately, magnificent, powerful grandee. As a military commander, he had
acquitted himself very creditably of highly important functions at an
early age. Nevertheless it was the opinion of many persons, that he was
of a timid temperament. He was even accused of having manifested an
unseemly panic at Philippeville, and of having only been restrained by
the expostulations of his officers, from abandoning both that fortress
and Charlemont to Admiral Coligny, who had made his appearance in the
neighborhood, merely at the head of a reconnoitring party. If the story
were true, it would be chiefly important as indicating that the Prince of
Orange was one of the many historical characters, originally of an
excitable and even timorous physical organization, whom moral courage and
a strong will have afterwards converted into dauntless heroes. Certain it
is that he was destined to confront open danger in every form, that his
path was to lead through perpetual ambush, yet that his cheerful
confidence and tranquil courage were to become not only unquestionable
but proverbial. It may be safely asserted, however, that the story was an
invention to be classed with those fictions which made him the murderer
of his first wife, a common conspirator against Philip's crown and
person, and a crafty malefactor in general, without a single virtue. It
must be remembered that even the terrible Alva, who lived in harness
almost from the cradle to the grave, was, so late as at this period,
censured for timidity, and had been accused in youth of flat cowardice.
He despised the insinuation, which for him had no meaning. There is no
doubt too that caution was a predominant characteristic of the Prince. It
was one of the chief sources of his greatness. At that period, perhaps at
any period, he would have been incapable of such brilliant and dashing
exploits as had made the name of Egmont so famous. It had even become a
proverb, "the counsel of Orange, the execution of Egmont," yet we shall
have occasion to see how far this physical promptness which had been so
felicitous upon the battle-field was likely to avail the hero of St.
Quentin in the great political combat which was approaching.

As to the talents of the Prince, there was no difference of opinion. His
enemies never contested the subtlety and breadth of his intellect, his
adroitness and capacity in conducting state affairs, his knowledge of
human nature, and the profoundness of his views. In many respects it must
be confessed that his surname of The Silent, like many similar
appellations, was a misnomer. William of Orange was neither "silent" nor
"taciturn," yet these are the epithets which will be forever associated
with the name of a man who, in private, was the most affable, cheerful,
and delightful of companions, and who on a thousand great public
occasions was to prove himself, both by pen and by speech, the most
eloquent man of his age. His mental accomplishments were considerable: He
had studied history with attention, and he spoke and wrote with facility
Latin, French, German, Flemish, and Spanish.

The man, however, in whose hands the administration of the Netherlands
was in reality placed, was Anthony Perrenot, then Bishop of Arras, soon
to be known by the more celebrated title of Cardinal Granvelle. He was
the chief of the Consults, or secret council of three, by whose
deliberations the Duchess Regent was to be governed. His father, Nicholas
Perrenot, of an obscure family in Burgundy, had been long the favorite
minister and man of business to the Emperor Charles. Anthony, the eldest
of thirteen children, was born in 1517. He was early distinguished for
his talents. He studied at Dole, Padua, Paris, and Louvain. At, the age
of twenty he spoke seven languages with perfect facility, while his
acquaintance with civil and ecclesiastical laws was considered
prodigious. At the age of twenty-three he became a canon of Liege
Cathedral. The necessary eight quarters of gentility produced upon that
occasion have accordingly been displayed by his panegyrists in triumphant
refutation of that theory which gave him a blacksmith for his
grandfather. At the same period, although he had not reached the
requisite age, the rich bishopric of Arras had already been prepared for
him by his father's care. Three years afterwards, in 1543, he
distinguished himself by a most learned and brilliant harangue before the
Council of Trent, by which display he so much charmed the Emperor, that
he created him councillor of state. A few years afterwards he rendered
the unscrupulous Charles still more valuable proofs of devotion and
dexterity by the part he played in the memorable imprisonment of the
Landgrave of Hesse and the Saxon Dukes. He was thereafter constantly
employed in embassies and other offices of trust and profit.

There was no doubt as to his profound and varied learning, nor as to his
natural quickness and dexterity. He was ready witted, smooth and fluent
of tongue, fertile in expedients, courageous, resolute. He thoroughly
understood the art of managing men, particularly his superiors. He knew
how to govern under the appearance of obeying. He possessed exquisite
tact in appreciating the characters of those far above him in rank and
beneath him in intellect. He could accommodate himself with great
readiness to the idiosyncrasies of sovereigns. He was a chameleon to the
hand which fed him. In his intercourse with the King, he colored himself,
as it were, with the King's character. He was not himself, but Philip;
not the sullen, hesitating, confused Philip, however, but Philip endowed
with eloquence, readiness, facility. The King ever found himself
anticipated with the most delicate obsequiousness, beheld his struggling
ideas change into winged words without ceasing to be his own. No flattery
could be more adroit. The bishop accommodated himself to the King's
epistolary habits. The silver-tongued and ready debater substituted
protocols for conversation, in deference to a monarch who could not
speak. He corresponded with Philip, with Margaret of Parma, with every
one. He wrote folios to the Duchess when they were in the same palace. He
would write letters forty pages long to the King, and send off another
courier on the same day with two or three additional despatches of
identical date. Such prolixity enchanted the King, whose greediness for
business epistles was insatiable. The painstaking monarch toiled, pen in
hand, after his wonderful minister in vain. Philip was only fit to be the
bishop's clerk; yet he imagined himself to be the directing and governing
power. He scrawled apostilles in the margins to prove that he had read
with attention, and persuaded himself that he suggested when he scarcely
even comprehended. The bishop gave advice and issued instructions when he
seemed to be only receiving them. He was the substance while he affected
to be the shadow. These tactics were comparatively easy and likely to be
triumphant, so long as he had only to deal with inferior intellects like
those of Philip and Margaret. When he should be matched against political
genius and lofty character combined, it was possible that his resources
might not prove so all-sufficient.

His political principles were sharply defined in reality, but smoothed
over by a conventional and decorous benevolence of language, which
deceived vulgar minds. He was a strict absolutist. His deference to
arbitrary power was profound and slavish. God and "the master," as he
always called Philip, he professed to serve with equal humility. "It
seems to me," said he, in a letter of this epoch, "that I shall never be
able to fulfil the obligation of slave which I owe to your majesty, to
whom I am bound by so firm a chain;--at any rate, I shall never fail to
struggle for that end with sincerity."

As a matter of course, he was a firm opponent of the national rights of
the Netherlands, however artfully he disguised the sharp sword of violent
absolutism under a garland of flourishing phraseology. He had strenuously
warned Philip against assembling the States-general before his departure
for the sake of asking them for supplies. He earnestly deprecated
allowing the constitutional authorities any control over the expenditures
of the government, and averred that this practice under the Regent Mary
had been the cause of endless trouble. It may easily be supposed that
other rights were as little to his taste as the claim to vote the
subsidies, a privilege which was in reality indisputable. Men who stood
forth in defence of the provincial constitutions were, in his opinion,
mere demagogues and hypocrites; their only motive being to curry favor
with the populace. Yet these charters were, after all, sufficiently
limited. The natural rights of man were topics which had never been
broached. Man had only natural wrongs. None ventured to doubt that
sovereignty was heaven-born, anointed of God. The rights of the
Netherlands were special, not general; plural, not singular; liberties,
not liberty; "privileges," not maxims. They were practical, not
theoretical; historical, not philosophical. Still, such as they were,
they were facts, acquisitions. They had been purchased by the blood and
toil of brave ancestors; they amounted--however open to criticism upon
broad humanitarian grounds, of which few at that day had ever dreamed--to
a solid, substantial dyke against the arbitrary power which was ever
chafing and fretting to destroy its barriers. No men were more subtle or
more diligent in corroding the foundation of these bulwarks than the
disciples of Granvelle. Yet one would have thought it possible to
tolerate an amount of practical freedom so different from the wild,
social speculations which in later days, have made both tyrants and
reasonable lovers of our race tremble with apprehension. The
Netherlanders claimed, mainly, the right to vote the money which was
demanded in such enormous profusion from their painfully-acquired wealth;
they were also unwilling to be burned alive if they objected to
transubstantiation. Granvelle was most distinctly of an opposite opinion
upon both topics. He strenuously deprecated the interference of the
states with the subsidies, and it was by his advice that the remorseless
edict of 1550, the Emperor's ordinance of blood and fire, was re-enacted,
as the very first measure of Philip's reign. Such were his sentiments as
to national and popular rights by representation. For the people
itself--"that vile and mischievous animal called the people"--as he
expressed it, he entertained a cheerful contempt.

His aptitude for managing men was very great; his capacity for affairs
incontestable; but it must be always understood as the capacity for the
affairs of absolutism. He was a clever, scheming politician, an adroit
manager; it remained to be seen whether he had a claim to the character
of a statesman. His industry was enormous. He could write fifty letters a
day with his own hand. He could dictate to half a dozen amanuenses at
once, on as many different subjects, in as many different languages, and
send them all away exhausted.

He was already rich. His income from his see and other livings was
estimated, in 1557, at ten thousand dollars--[1885 approximation. The
decimal point more places to the right would in 2000 not be out of line.
D.W.]--; his property in ready money, "furniture, tapestry, and the
like," at two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. When it is considered
that, as compared with our times, these sums represent a revenue of a
hundred thousand, and a capital of two millions and a half in addition,
it may be safely asserted that the prelate had at least made a good
beginning. Besides his regular income, moreover, he had handsome receipts
from that simony which was reduced to a system, and which gave him a
liberal profit, generally in the shape of an annuity, upon every benefice
which he conferred. He was, however, by no means satisfied. His appetite
was as boundless as the sea; he was still a shameless mendicant of
pecuniary favors and lucrative offices. Already, in 1552, the Emperor had
roundly rebuked his greediness. "As to what you say of getting no
'merced' nor 'ayuda de costa,'" said he, "'tis merced and ayuda de costa
quite sufficient, when one has fat benefices, pensions, and salaries,
with which a man might manage to support himself." The bishop, however,
was not easily abashed, and he was at the epoch which now occupies us,
earnestly and successfully soliciting from Philip the lucrative abbey of
Saint Armand. Not that he would have accepted this preferment, "could the
abbey have been annexed to any of the new bishoprics;" on the contrary,
he assured the king that "to carry out so holy a work as the erection of
those new sees, he would willingly have contributed even out of his own
miserable pittance."

It not being considered expedient to confiscate the abbey to any
particular bishop, Philip accordingly presented it to the prelate of
Arras, together with a handsome sum of money in the shape of an "ayuda de
costa" beside. The thrifty bishop, who foresaw the advent of troublous
times in the Netherlands, however, took care in the letters by which he
sent his thanks, to instruct the King to secure the money upon crown
property in Arragon, Naples, and Sicily, as matters in the provinces were
beginning to look very precarious.

Such, at the commencement of the Duchess Margaret's administration, were
the characters and the previous histories of the persons into whose hands
the Netherlands were entrusted. None of them have been prejudged. We have
contented ourselves with stating the facts with regard to all, up to the
period at which we have arrived. Their characters have been sketched, not
according to subsequent developments, but as they appeared at the opening
of this important epoch.

The aspect of the country and its inhabitants offered many sharp
contrasts, and revealed many sources of future trouble.

The aristocracy of the Netherlands was excessively extravagant,
dissipated, and already considerably embarrassed in circumstances. It had
been the policy of the Emperor and of Philip to confer high offices,
civil, military, and diplomatic, upon the leading nobles, by which
enormous expenses were entailed upon them, without any corresponding
salaries. The case of Orange has been already alluded to, and there were
many other nobles less able to afford the expense, who had been indulged
with these ruinous honors. During the war, there had been, however, many
chances of bettering broken fortunes. Victory brought immense prizes to
the leading officers. The ransoms of so many illustrious prisoners as had
graced the triumphs of Saint Quentin and Gravelines had been extremely
profitable. These sources of wealth had now been cut off; yet, on the
departure of the King from the Netherlands, the luxury increased instead
of diminishing, "Instead of one court," said a contemporary, "you would
have said that there were fifty." Nothing could be more sumptuous than
the modes of life in Brussels. The household of Orange has been already
painted. That of Egmont was almost as magnificent. A rivalry in
hospitality and in display began among the highest nobles, and extended
to those less able to maintain themselves in the contest. During the war
there had been the valiant emulation of the battlefield; gentlemen had
vied with each other how best to illustrate an ancient name with deeds of
desperate valor, to repair the fortunes of a ruined house with the spoils
of war. They now sought to surpass each other in splendid extravagance.
It was an eager competition who should build the stateliest palaces, have
the greatest number of noble pages and gentlemen in waiting, the most
gorgeous liveries, the most hospitable tables, the most scientific cooks.
There was, also, much depravity as well as extravagance. The morals of
high society were loose. Gaming was practised to a frightful extent.
Drunkenness was a prevailing characteristic of the higher classes. Even
the Prince of Orange himself, at this period, although never addicted to
habitual excess, was extremely convivial in his tastes, tolerating scenes
and companions, not likely at a later day to find much favor in his
sight. "We kept Saint Martin's joyously," he wrote, at about this period,
to his brother, "and in the most jovial company. Brederode was one day in
such a state that I thought he would certainly die, but he has now got
over it." Count Brederode, soon afterwards to become so conspicuous in
the early scenes of the revolt, was, in truth, most notorious for his
performances in these banqueting scenes. He appeared to have vowed as
uncompromising hostility to cold water as to the inquisition, and always
denounced both with the same fierce and ludicrous vehemence. Their
constant connection with Germany at that period did not improve the
sobriety of the Netherlands' nobles. The aristocracy of that country, as
is well known, were most "potent at potting." "When the German finds
himself sober," said the bitter Badovaro, "he believes himself to be
ill." Gladly, since the peace, they had welcomed the opportunities
afforded for many a deep carouse with their Netherlands cousins. The
approaching marriage of the Prince of Orange with the Saxon princess--an
episode which will soon engage our attention--gave rise to tremendous
orgies. Count Schwartzburg, the Prince's brother-in-law, and one of the
negotiators of the marriage, found many occasions to strengthen the bonds
of harmony between the countries by indulgence of these common tastes. "I
have had many princes and counts at my table," he wrote to Orange, "where
a good deal more was drunk than eaten. The Rhinegrave's brother fell down
dead after drinking too much malvoisie; but we have had him balsamed and
sent home to his family."

These disorders among the higher ranks were in reality so extensive as to
justify the biting remark of the Venetian: "The gentlemen intoxicate
themselves every day," said he, "and the ladies also; but much less than
the men." His remarks as to the morality, in other respects, of both
sexes were equally sweeping, and not more complimentary.

If these were the characteristics of the most distinguished society, it
may be supposed that they were reproduced with more or less intensity
throughout all the more remote but concentric circles of life, as far as
the seductive splendor of the court could radiate. The lesser nobles
emulated the grandees, and vied with each other in splendid
establishments, banquets, masquerades, and equipages. The natural
consequences of such extravagance followed. Their estates were mortgaged,
deeply and more deeply; then, after a few years, sold to the merchants,
or rich advocates and other gentlemen of the robe, to whom they had been
pledged. The more closely ruin stared the victims in the face, the more
heedlessly did they plunge into excesses. "Such were the circumstances,"
moralizes a Catholic writer, "to which, at an earlier period, the affairs
of Catiline, Cethegus, Lentulus, and others of that faction had been
reduced, when they undertook to overthrow the Roman republic." Many of
the nobles being thus embarrassed, and some even desperate, in their
condition, it was thought that they were desirous of creating
disturbances in the commonwealth, that the payment of just debts might be
avoided, that their mortgaged lands might be wrested by main force from
the low-born individuals who had become possessed of them, that, in
particular, the rich abbey lands held by idle priests might be
appropriated to the use of impoverished gentlemen who could turn them to
so much better account. It is quite probable that interested motives such
as these were not entirely inactive among a comparatively small class of
gentlemen. The religious reformation in every land of Europe derived a
portion of its strength from the opportunity it afforded to potentates
and great nobles for helping themselves to Church property. No doubt many
Netherlanders thought that their fortunes might be improved at the
expense of the monks, and for the benefit of religion. Even without
apostasy from the mother Church, they looked with longing eyes on the
wealth of her favored and indolent children. They thought that the King
would do well to carve a round number of handsome military commanderies
out of the abbey lands, whose possessors should be bound to military
service after the ancient manner of fiefs, so that a splendid cavalry,
headed by the gentlemen of the country, should be ever ready to mount and
ride at the royal pleasure, in place of a horde of lazy epicureans,
telling beads and indulging themselves in luxurious vice.

Such views were entertained; such language often held. These
circumstances and sentiments had their influence among the causes which
produced the great revolt now impending. Care should be taken, however,
not to exaggerate that influence. It is a prodigious mistake to refer
this great historical event to sources so insufficient as the ambition of
a few great nobles, and the embarrassments of a larger number of needy
gentlemen. The Netherlands revolt was not an aristocratic, but a popular,
although certainly not a democratic movement. It was a great episode--the
longest, the darkest, the bloodiest, the most important episode in the
history of the religious reformation in Europe. The nobles so conspicuous
upon the surface at the outbreak, only drifted before a storm which they
neither caused nor controlled. Even the most powerful and the most
sagacious were tossed to and fro by the surge of great events, which, as
they rolled more and more tumultuously around them, seemed to become both
irresistible and unfathomable.

For the state of the people was very different from the condition of the
aristocracy. The period of martyrdom had lasted long and was to last
loner; but there were symptoms that it might one day be succeeded by a
more active stage of popular disease. The tumults of the Netherlands were
long in ripening; when the final outbreak came it would have been more
philosophical to enquire, not why it had occurred, but how it could have
been so long postponed. During the reign of Charles, the sixteenth
century had been advancing steadily in strength as the once omnipotent
Emperor lapsed into decrepitude. That extraordinary century had not
dawned upon the earth only to increase the strength of absolutism and
superstition. The new world had not been discovered, the ancient world
reconquered, the printing-press perfected, only that the inquisition
might reign undisturbed over the fairest portions of the earth, and
chartered hypocrisy fatten upon its richest lands. It was impossible that
the most energetic and quick-witted people of Europe should not feel
sympathy with the great effort made by Christendom to shake off the
incubus which had so long paralyzed her hands and brain. In the
Netherlands, where the attachment to Rome had never been intense, where
in the old times, the Bishops of Utrecht had been rather Ghibelline than
Guelph, where all the earlier sects of dissenters--Waldenses, Lollards,
Hussites--had found numerous converts and thousands of martyrs, it was
inevitable that there should be a response from the popular heart to the
deeper agitation which now reached to the very core of Christendom. In
those provinces, so industrious and energetic, the disgust was likely to
be most easily awakened for a system under which so many friars battened
in luxury upon the toils of others, contributing nothing to the taxation,
nor to the military defence of the country, exercising no productive
avocation, except their trade in indulgences, and squandering in taverns
and brothels the annual sums derived from their traffic in licences to
commit murder, incest, and every other crime known to humanity.

The people were numerous, industrious, accustomed for centuries to a
state of comparative civil freedom, and to a lively foreign trade, by
which their minds were saved from the stagnation of bigotry. It was
natural that they should begin to generalize, and to pass from the
concrete images presented them in the Flemish monasteries to the abstract
character of Rome itself. The Flemish, above all their other qualities,
were a commercial nation. Commerce was the mother of their freedom, so
far as they had acquired it, in civil matters. It was struggling to give
birth to a larger liberty, to freedom of conscience. The provinces were
situated in the very heart of Europe. The blood of a world-wide traffic
was daily coursing through the thousand arteries of that water-in-woven
territory. There was a mutual exchange between the Netherlands and all
the world; and ideas were as liberally interchanged as goods. Truth was
imported as freely as less precious merchandise. The psalms of Marot were
as current as the drugs of Molucca or the diamonds of Borneo. The
prohibitory measures of a despotic government could not annihilate this
intellectual trade, nor could bigotry devise an effective quarantine to
exclude the religious pest which lurked in every bale of merchandise, and
was wafted on every breeze from East and West.

The edicts of the Emperor had been endured, but not accepted. The
horrible persecution under which so many thousands had sunk had produced
its inevitable result. Fertilized by all this innocent blood, the soil of
the Netherlands became as a watered garden, in which liberty, civil and
religious, was to flourish perennially. The scaffold had its daily
victims, but did not make a single convert. The statistics of these
crimes will perhaps never be accurately adjusted, nor will it be
ascertained whether the famous estimate of Grotius was an exaggerated or
an inadequate calculation. Those who love horrible details may find ample
material. The chronicles contain the lists of these obscure martyrs; but
their names, hardly pronounced in their life-time, sound barbarously in
our ears, and will never ring through the trumpet of fame. Yet they were
men who dared and suffered as much as men can dare and suffer in this
world, and for the noblest cause which can inspire humanity. Fanatics
they certainly were not, if fanaticism consists in show, without
corresponding substance. For them all was terrible reality. The Emperor
and his edicts were realities, the axe, the stake were realities, and the
heroism with which men took each other by the hand and walked into the
flames, or with which women sang a song of triumph while the grave-digger
was shovelling the earth upon their living faces, was a reality also.

Thus, the people of the Netherlands were already pervaded, throughout the
whole extent of the country, with the expanding spirit of religious
reformation. It was inevitable that sooner or later an explosion was to
arrive. They were placed between two great countries, where the new
principles had already taken root. The Lutheranism of Germany and the
Calvinism of France had each its share in producing the Netherland
revolt, but a mistake is perhaps often made in estimating the relative
proportion of these several influences. The Reformation first entered the
provinces, not through the Augsburg, but the Huguenot gate. The fiery
field-preachers from the south of France first inflamed the excitable
hearts of the kindred population of the south-western Netherlands. The
Walloons were the first to rebel against and the first to reconcile
themselves with papal Rome, exactly as their Celtic ancestors, fifteen
centuries earlier, had been foremost in the revolt against imperial Rome,
and precipitate in their submission to her overshadowing power. The
Batavians, slower to be moved but more steadfast, retained the impulse
which they received from the same source which was already agitating
their "Welsh" compatriots. There were already French preachers at
Valenciennes and Tournay, to be followed, as we shall have occasion to
see, by many others. Without undervaluing the influence of the German
Churches, and particularly of the garrison-preaching of the German
military chaplains in the Netherlands, it may be safely asserted that the
early Reformers of the provinces were mainly Huguenots in their belief:
The Dutch Church became, accordingly, not Lutheran, but Calvinistic, and
the founder of the commonwealth hardly ceased to be a nominal Catholic
before he became an adherent to the same creed.

In the mean time, it is more natural to regard the great movement,
psychologically speaking, as a whole, whether it revealed itself in
France, Germany, the Netherlands, England, or Scotland. The policy of
governments, national character, individual interests, and other
collateral circumstances, modified the result; but the great cause was
the same; the source of all the movements was elemental, natural, and
single. The Reformation in Germany had been adjourned for half a century
by the Augsburg religious peace, just concluded. It was held in suspense
in France through the Macchiavellian policy which Catharine de Medici had
just adopted, and was for several years to prosecute, of balancing one
party against the other, so as to neutralize all power but her own. The
great contest was accordingly transferred to the Netherlands, to be
fought out for the rest of the century, while the whole of Christendom
were to look anxiously for the result. From the East and from the West
the clouds rolled away, leaving a comparatively bright and peaceful
atmosphere, only that they might concentrate themselves with portentous
blackness over the devoted soil of the Netherlands. In Germany, the
princes, not the people, had conquered Rome, and to the princes, not the
people, were secured the benefits of the victory--the spoils of churches,
and the right to worship according to conscience. The people had the
right to conform to their ruler's creed, or to depart from his land.
Still, as a matter of fact, many of the princes being Reformers, a large
mass of the population had acquired the privilege for their own
generation and that of their children to practise that religion which
they actually approved. This was a fact, and a more comfortable one than
the necessity of choosing between what they considered wicked idolatry
and the stake--the only election left to their Netherland brethren. In
France, the accidental splinter from Montgomery's lance had deferred the
Huguenot massacre for a dozen years. During the period in which the Queen
Regent was resolved to play her fast and loose policy, all the
persuasions of Philip and the arts of Alva were powerless to induce her
to carry out the scheme which Henry had revealed to Orange in the forest
of Vincennes. When the crime came at last, it was as blundering as it was
bloody; at once premeditated and accidental; the isolated execution of an
interregal conspiracy, existing for half a generation, yet exploding
without concert; a wholesale massacre, but a piecemeal plot.

The aristocracy and the masses being thus, from a variety of causes, in
this agitated and dangerous condition, what were the measures of the

The edict of 1550 had been re-enacted immediately after Philip's
accession to sovereignty. It is necessary that the reader should be made
acquainted with some of the leading provisions of this famous document,
thus laid down above all the constitutions as the organic law of the
land. A few plain facts, entirely without rhetorical varnish, will prove
more impressive in this case than superfluous declamation. The American
will judge whether the wrongs inflicted by Laud and Charles upon his
Puritan ancestors were the severest which a people has had to undergo,
and whether the Dutch Republic does not track its source to the same
high, religious origin as that of our own commonwealth.

"No one," said the edict, "shall print, write, copy, keep, conceal, sell,
buy or give in churches, streets, or other places, any book or writing
made by Martin Luther, John Ecolampadius, Ulrich Zwinglius, Martin Bucer,
John Calvin, or other heretics reprobated by the Holy Church; nor break,
or otherwise injure the images of the holy virgin or canonized saints....
nor in his house hold conventicles, or illegal gatherings, or be present
at any such in which the adherents of the above-mentioned heretics teach,
baptize, and form conspiracies against the Holy Church and the general
welfare..... Moreover, we forbid," continues the edict, in name of the
sovereign, "all lay persons to converse or dispute concerning the Holy
Scriptures, openly or secretly, especially on any doubtful or difficult
matters, or to read, teach, or expound the Scriptures, unless they have
duly studied theology and been approved by some renowned university.....
or to preach secretly, or openly, or to entertain any of the opinions of
the above-mentioned heretics..... on pain, should anyone be found to have
contravened any of the points above-mentioned, as perturbators of our
state and of the general quiet, to be punished in the following manner."
And how were they to be punished? What was the penalty inflicted upon the
man or woman who owned a hymn-book, or who hazarded the opinion in
private, that Luther was not quite wrong in doubting the power of a monk
to sell for money the license to commit murder or incest; or upon the
parent, not being a Roman Catholic doctor of divinity, who should read
Christ's Sermon on the Mount to his children in his own parlor or shop?
How were crimes like these to be visited upon the transgressor? Was it by
reprimand, fine, imprisonment, banishment, or by branding on the
forehead, by the cropping of the ears or the slitting of nostrils, as was
practised upon the Puritan fathers of New England for their
nonconformity? It was by a sharper chastisement than any of these
methods. The Puritan fathers of the Dutch Republic had to struggle
against a darker doom. The edict went on to provide--

"That such perturbators of the general quiet are to be executed, to wit:
the men with the sword and the women to be buried alive, if they do not
persist in their errors; if they do persist in them, then they are to be
executed with fire; all their property in both cases being confiscated to
the crown."

Thus, the clemency of the sovereign permitted the repentant heretic to be
beheaded or buried, alive, instead of being burned.

The edict further provided against all misprision of heresy by making
those who failed to betray the suspected liable to the same punishment as
if suspected or convicted themselves: "we forbid," said the decree, "all
persons to lodge, entertain, furnish with food, fire, or clothing, or
otherwise to favor any one holden or notoriously suspected of being a
heretic; . . . and any one failing to denounce any such we ordain shall
be liable to the above-mentioned punishments."

The edict went on to provide, "that if any person, being not convicted of
heresy or error, but greatly suspected thereof, and therefore condemned
by the spiritual judge to abjure such heresy, or by the secular
magistrate to make public fine and reparation, shall again become
suspected or tainted with heresy--although it should not appear that
he has contravened or violated any one of our abovementioned
commands--nevertheless, we do will and ordain that such person shall be
considered as relapsed, and, as such, be punished with loss of life and
property, without any hope of moderation or mitigation of the
above-mentioned penalties."

Furthermore, it was decreed, that "the spiritual judges, desiring to
proceed against any one for the crime of heresy, shall request any of our
sovereign courts or provincial councils to appoint any one of their
college, or such other adjunct as the council shall select, to preside
over the proceedings to be instituted against the suspected. All who know
of any person tainted with heresy are required to denounce and give them
up to all judges, officers of the bishops, or others having authority on
the premises, on pain of being punished according to the pleasure of the
judge. Likewise, all shall be obliged, who know of any place where such
heretics keep themselves, to declare them to the authorities, on pain of
being held as accomplices, and punished as such heretics themselves would
be if apprehended."

In order to secure the greatest number of arrests by a direct appeal to
the most ignoble, but not the least powerful principle of human nature,
it was ordained "that the informer, in case of conviction, should be
entitled to one half the property of the accused, if not more than one
hundred pounds Flemish; if more, then ten per cent. of all such excess."

Treachery to one's friends was encouraged by the provision, "that if any
man being present at any secret conventicle, shall afterwards come
forward and betray his fellow-members of the congregation, he shall
receive full pardon."

In order that neither the good people of the Netherlands, nor the judges
and inquisitors should delude themselves with the notion that these
fanatic decrees were only intended to inspire terror, not for practical
execution, the sovereign continued to ordain--"to the end that the judges
and officers may have no reason, under pretext that the penalties are too
great and heavy and only devised to terrify delinquents, to punish them
less severely than they deserve--that the culprits be really punished by
the penalties above declared; forbidding all judges to alter or moderate
the penalties in any manner forbidding any one, of whatsoever condition,
to ask of us, or of any one having authority, to grant pardon, or to
present any petition in favor of such heretics, exiles, or fugitives, on
penalty of being declared forever incapable of civil and military office,
and of being, arbitrarily punished besides."

Such were the leading provisions of this famous edict, originally
promulgated in 1550 as a recapitulation and condensation of all the
previous ordinances of the Emperor upon religious subjects. By its style
and title it was a perpetual edict, and, according to one of its clauses,
was to be published forever, once in every six months, in every city and
village of the Netherlands. It had been promulgated at Augsburg, where
the Emperor was holding a diet, upon the 25th of September. Its severity
had so appalled the Dowager Queen of Hungary, that she had made a journey
to Augsburg expressly to procure a mitigation of some of its provisions.
The principal alteration which she was able to obtain of the Emperor was,
however, in the phraseology only. As a concession to popular, prejudice,
the words "spiritual judges" were substituted for "inquisitors" wherever
that expression had occurred in the original draft.

The edict had been re-enacted by the express advice of the Bishop of
Arras, immediately on the accession of Philip: The prelate knew the value
of the Emperor's name; he may have thought, also, that it would be
difficult to increase the sharpness of the ordinances. "I advised the
King," says Granvelle, in a letter written a few years later, "to make no
change in the placards, but to proclaim the text drawn up by the Emperor,
republishing the whole as the King's edict, with express insertion of the
phrase, 'Carolus,' etc. I recommended this lest men should calumniate his
Majesty as wishing to introduce novelties in the matter of religion."

This edict, containing the provisions which have been laid before the
reader, was now to be enforced with the utmost rigor; every official
personage, from the stadholders down, having received the most stringent
instructions to that effect, under Philip's own hand. This was the first
gift of Philip and of Granvelle to the Netherlands; of the monarch who
said of himself that he had always, "from the beginning of his
government, followed the path of clemency, according to his natural
disposition, so well known to all the world;" of the prelate who said of
himself, "that he had ever combated the opinion that any thing could be
accomplished by terror, death, and violence."

During the period of the French and Papal war, it has been seen that the
execution of these edicts had been permitted to slacken. It was now
resumed with redoubled fury. Moreover, a new measure had increased the
disaffection and dismay of the people, already sufficiently filled with
apprehension. As an additional security for the supremacy of the ancient
religion, it had been thought desirable that the number of bishops should
be increased. There were but four sees in the Netherlands, those of
Arras, Cambray, Tournay, and Utrecht. That of Utrecht was within the
archiepiscopate of Cologne; the other three were within that of Rheims.
It seemed proper that the prelates of the Netherlands should owe no
extraprovincial allegiance. It was likewise thought that three millions
of souls required more than four spiritual superintendents. At any rate,
whatever might be the interest of the flocks, it was certain that those
broad and fertile pastures would sustain more than the present number of
shepherds. The wealth of the religious houses in the provinces was very
great. The abbey of Afflighem alone had a revenue of fifty thousand
florins, and there were many others scarcely inferior in wealth. But
these institutions were comparatively independent both of King and Pope.
Electing their own superiors from time to time, in nowise desirous of any
change by which their ease might be disturbed and their riches
endangered, the honest friars were not likely to engage in any very
vigorous crusade against heresy, nor for the sake of introducing or
strengthening Spanish institutions, which they knew to be abominated by
the people, to take the risk, of driving all their disciples into revolt
and apostacy. Comforting themselves with an Erasmian philosophy, which
they thought best suited to the times, they were as little likely as the
Sage of Rotterdam himself would have been, to make martyrs of themselves
for the sake of extirpating Calvinism. The abbots and monks were, in
political matters, very much under the influence of the great nobles, in
whose company they occupied the benches of the upper house of the

Doctor Francis Sonnius had been sent on a mission to the Pope, for the
purpose of representing the necessity of an increase in the episcopal
force of the Netherlands. Just as the King was taking his departure, the
commissioner arrived, bringing with him the Bull of Paul the Fourth,
dated May 18, 1559. This was afterwards confirmed by that of Pius the
Fourth, in January of the following year. The document stated that "Paul
the Fourth, slave of slaves, wishing to provide for the welfare of the
provinces and the eternal salvation of their inhabitants, had determined
to plant in that fruitful field several new bishoprics. The enemy of
mankind being abroad," said the Bull, "in so many forms at that
particular time, and the Netherlands, then under the sway of that beloved
son of his holiness, Philip the Catholic, being compassed about with
heretic and schismatic nations, it was believed that the eternal welfare
of the land was in great danger. At the period of the original
establishment of Cathedral churches, the provinces had been sparsely
peopled; they had now become filled to overflowing, so that the original
ecclesiastical arrangement did not suffice. The harvest was plentiful,
but the laborers were few."

In consideration of these and other reasons, three archbishoprics were
accordingly appointed. That of Mechlin was to be principal, under which
were constituted six bishoprics, those, namely, of Antwerp, Bois le Due,
Rurmond, Ghent, Bruges and Ypres. That of Cambray was second, with the
four subordinate dioceses of Tournay, Arras, Saint Omer and Namur. The
third archbishopric was that of Utrecht, with the five sees of Haarlem,
Middelburg, Leeuwarden, Groningen and Deventer.

The nomination to these important offices was granted to the King,
subject to confirmation by the Pope. Moreover, it was ordained by the
Bull that "each bishop should appoint nine additional prebendaries, who
were to assist him in the matter of the inquisition throughout his
bishopric, two of whom were themselves to be inquisitors."

To sustain these two great measures, through which Philip hoped once and
forever to extinguish the Netherland heresy, it was considered desirable
that the Spanish troops still remaining in the provinces, should be kept
there indefinitely.

The force was not large, amounting hardly to four thousand men, but they
were unscrupulous, and admirably disciplined. As the entering wedge, by
which a military and ecclesiastical despotism was eventually to be forced
into the very heart of the land, they were invaluable. The moral effect
to be hoped from the regular presence of a Spanish standing army during a
time of peace in the Netherlands could hardly be exaggerated. Philip was
therefore determined to employ every argument and subterfuge to detain
the troops.


     Burned alive if they objected to transubstantiation
     German finds himself sober--he believes himself ill
     Govern under the appearance of obeying
     Informer, in case of conviction, should be entitled to one half
     Man had only natural wrongs (No natural rights)
     No calumny was too senseless to be invented
     Ruinous honors
     Sovereignty was heaven-born, anointed of God
     That vile and mischievous animal called the people
     Understood the art of managing men, particularly his superiors
     Upon one day twenty-eight master cooks were dismissed
     William of Nassau, Prince of Orange


1560-1561  [CHAPTER II.]

   Agitation in the Netherlands--The ancient charters resorted to as
   barriers against the measures of government--"Joyous entrance" of
   Brabant--Constitution of Holland--Growing unpopularity of Antony
   Perrenot, Archbishop of Mechlin--Opposition to the new bishoprics,
   by Orange, Egmont, and other influential nobles--Fury of the people
   at the continued presence of the foreign soldiery--Orange resigns
   the command of the legion--The troops recalled--Philip's personal
   attention to the details of persecution--Perrenot becomes Cardinal
   de Granvelle--All the power of government in his hands--His
   increasing unpopularity--Animosity and violence of Egmont towards
   the Cardinal--Relations between Orange and Granvelle--Ancient
   friendship gradually changing to enmity--Renewal of the magistracy
   at Antwerp--Quarrel between the Prince and Cardinal--Joint letter of
   Orange and Egmont to the King--Answer of the King--Indignation of
   Philip against Count Horn--Secret correspondence between the King
   and Cardinal--Remonstrances against the new bishoprics--Philip's
   private financial statements--Penury of the exchequer in Spain and
   in the provinces--Plan for debasing the coin--Marriage of William
   the Silent with the Princess of Lorraine circumvented--Negotiations
   for his matrimonial alliance with Princess Anna of Saxony--
   Correspondence between Granvelle and Philip upon the subject--
   Opposition of Landgrave Philip and of Philip the Second--Character
   and conduct of Elector Augustus--Mission of Count Schwartzburg--
   Communications of Orange to the King and to Duchess Margaret--
   Characteristic letter of Philip--Artful conduct of Granvelle and of
   the Regent--Visit of Orange to Dresden--Proposed "note" of Elector
   Augustus--Refusal of the Prince--Protest of the Landgrave against
   the marriage--Preparations for the wedding at Leipzig--Notarial
   instrument drawn up on the marriage day--Wedding ceremonies and
   festivities--Entrance of Granvelle into Mechlin as Archbishop--
   Compromise in Brabant between the abbeys and bishops.

The years 1560 and 1561 were mainly occupied with the agitation and
dismay produced by the causes set forth in the preceding chapter.

Against the arbitrary policy embodied in the edicts, the new bishoprics
and the foreign soldiery, the Netherlanders appealed to their ancient
constitutions. These charters were called "handvests" in the vernacular
Dutch and Flemish, because the sovereign made them fast with his hand. As
already stated, Philip had made them faster than any of the princes of
his house had ever done, so far as oath and signature could accomplish
that purpose, both as hereditary prince in 1549, and as monarch in 1555.
The reasons for the extensive and unconditional manner in which he swore
to support the provincial charters, have been already indicated.

Of these constitutions, that of Brabant, known by the title of the
'joyeuse entree, blyde inkomst', or blithe entrance, furnished the most
decisive barrier against the present wholesale tyranny. First and
foremost, the "joyous entry" provided "that the prince of the land should
not elevate the clerical state higher than of old has been customary and
by former princes settled; unless by consent of the other two estates,
the nobility and the cities."

Again; "the prince can prosecute no one of his subjects nor any foreign
resident, civilly or criminally, except in the ordinary and open courts
of justice in the province, where the accused may answer and defend
himself with the help of advocates."

Further; "the prince shall appoint no foreigners to office in Brabant."

Lastly; "should the prince, by force or otherwise, violate any of these
privileges, the inhabitants of Brabant, after regular protest entered,
are discharged of their oaths of allegiance, and as free, independent and
unbound people, may conduct themselves exactly as seems to them best."

Such were the leading features, so far as they regarded the points now at
issue, of that famous constitution which was so highly esteemed in the
Netherlands, that mothers came to the province in order to give birth to
their children, who might thus enjoy, as a birthright, the privileges of
Brabant. Yet the charters of the other provinces ought to have been as
effective against the arbitrary course of the government. "No foreigner,"
said the constitution of Holland, "is eligible as, councillor, financier,
magistrate, or member of a court. Justice can be administered only by the
ordinary tribunals and magistrates. The ancient laws and customs shall
remain inviolable. Should the prince infringe any of these provisions, no
one is bound to obey him."

These provisions, from the Brabant and Holland charters, are only cited
as illustrative of the general spirit of the provincial constitutions.
Nearly all the provinces possessed privileges equally ample, duly signed
and sealed. So far as ink and sealing wax could defend a land against
sword and fire, the Netherlands were impregnable against the edicts and
the renewed episcopal inquisition. Unfortunately, all history shows how
feeble are barriers of paper or lambskin, even when hallowed with a
monarch's oath, against the torrent of regal and ecclesiastical
absolutism. It was on the reception in the provinces of the new and
confirmatory Bull concerning the bishoprics, issued in January, 1560,
that the measure became known, and the dissatisfaction manifest. The
discontent was inevitable and universal. The ecclesiastical establishment
which was not to be enlarged or elevated but by consent of the estates,
was suddenly expanded into three archiepiscopates and fifteen bishoprics.
The administration of justice, which was only allowed in free and local
courts, distinct for each province, was to be placed, so far as regarded
the most important of human interests, in the, hands of bishops and their
creatures, many of them foreigners and most of them monks. The lives and
property of the whole population were to be at the mercy of these utterly
irresponsible conclaves. All classes were outraged. The nobles were
offended because ecclesiastics, perhaps foreign ecclesiastics, were to be
empowered to sit in the provincial estates and to control their
proceedings in place of easy, indolent, ignorant abbots and friars, who
had generally accepted the influence of the great seignors. The priests
were enraged because the religious houses were thus taken out of their
control and confiscated to a bench of bishops, usurping the places of
those superiors who had formally been elected by and among themselves.
The people were alarmed because the monasteries, although not respected
nor popular, were at least charitable and without ambition to exercise
ecclesiastical cruelty; while, on the other hand, by the new episcopal
arrangements, a force of thirty new inquisitors was added to the
apparatus for enforcing orthodoxy already established. The odium of the
measure was placed upon the head of that churchman, already appointed
Archbishop of Mechlin, and soon to be known as Cardinal Granvelle. From
this time forth, this prelate began to be regarded with a daily
increasing aversion. He was looked upon as the incarnation of all the
odious measures which had been devised; as the source of that policy of
absolutism which revealed itself more and more rapidly after the King's
departure from the country. It was for this reason that so much stress
was laid by popular clamor upon the clause prohibiting foreigners from
office. Granvelle was a Burgundian; his father had passed most of his
active life in Spain, while both he and his more distinguished son were
identified in the general mind with Spanish politics. To this prelate,
then, were ascribed the edicts, the new bishoprics, and the continued
presence of the foreign troops. The people were right as regarded the
first accusation. They were mistaken as to the other charges.

The King had not consulted Anthony Perrenot with regard to the creation
of the new bishoprics. The measure, which had been successively
contemplated by Philip "the Good," by Charles the Bold, and by the
Emperor Charles, had now been carried out by Philip the Second, without
the knowledge of the new Archbishop of Mechlin. The King had for once
been able to deceive the astuteness of the prelate, and had concealed
from him the intended arrangement, until the arrival of Sonnius with the
Bulls. Granvelle gave the reasons for this mystery with much simplicity.
"His Majesty knew," he said, "that I should oppose it, as it was more
honorable and lucrative to be one of four than one of eighteen." In fact,
according to his own statement, he lost money by becoming archbishop of
Mechlin, and ceasing to be Bishop of Arras. For these reasons he
declined, more than once, the proffered dignity, and at last only
accepted it from fear of giving offence to the King, and after having
secured compensation for his alleged losses. In the same letter (of 29th
May, 1560) in which he thanked Philip for conferring upon him the rich
abbey of Saint Armand, which he had solicited, in addition to the
"merced" in ready money, concerning the safe investment of which he had
already sent directions, he observed that he was now willing to accept
the archbishopric of Mechlin; notwithstanding the odium attached to the
measure, notwithstanding his feeble powers, and notwithstanding that,
during the life of the Bishop of Tournay, who was then in rude health, he
could only receive three thousand ducats of the revenue, giving up Arras
and gaining nothing in Mechlin; notwithstanding all this, and a thousand
other things besides, he assured his Majesty that, "since the royal
desire was so strong that he should accept, he would consider nothing so
difficult that he would not at least attempt it." Having made up his mind
to take the see and support the new arrangements, he was resolved that
his profits should be as large as possible. We have seen how he had
already been enabled to indemnify himself. We shall find him soon
afterwards importuning the King for the Abbey of Afflighem, the enormous
revenue of which the prelate thought would make another handsome addition
to the rewards of his sacrifices. At the same time, he was most anxious
that the people, and particularly the great nobles, should not ascribe
the new establishment to him, as they persisted in doing. "They say that
the episcopates were devised to gratify my ambition," he wrote to Philip
two years later; "whereas your Majesty knows how steadily I refused the
see of Mechlin, and that I only accepted it in order not to live in
idleness, doing nothing for God and your Majesty." He therefore
instructed Philip, on several occasions, to make it known to the
government of the Regent, to the seignors, and to the country generally,
that the measure had been arranged without his knowledge; that the
Marquis Berghen had known of it first, and that the prelate had, in
truth, been kept in the dark on the subject until the arrival of Sonnius
with the Bulls. The King, always docile to his minister, accordingly
wrote to the Duchess the statements required, in almost the exact
phraseology suggested; taking pains to repeat the declarations on several
occasions, both by letter and by word of mouth, to many influential

The people, however, persisted in identifying the Bishop with the scheme.
They saw that he was the head of the new institutions; that he was to
receive the lion's share of the confiscated abbeys, and that he was
foremost in defending and carrying through the measure, in spite of all
opposition. That opposition waxed daily more bitter, till the Cardinal,
notwithstanding that he characterised the arrangement to the King as "a
holy work," and warmly assured Secretary Perez that he would contribute
his fortune, his blood, and his life, to its success, was yet obliged to
exclaim in the bitterness of his spirit, "Would to God that the erection
of these new sees had never been thought of. Amen! Amen!"

Foremost in resistance was the Prince of Orange. Although a Catholic, he
had no relish for the horrible persecution which had been determined
upon. The new bishoprics he characterized afterwards as parts "of one
grand scheme for establishing the cruel inquisition of Spain; the said
bishops to serve as inquisitors, burners of bodies; and tyrants of
conscience: two prebendaries in each see being actually constituted
inquisitors." For this reason he omitted no remonstrance on the subject
to the Duchess, to Granvelle, and by direct letters to the King. His
efforts were seconded by Egmont, Berghen, and other influential nobles.
Even Berlaymont was at first disposed to side with the opposition, but
upon the argument used by the Duchess, that the bishoprics and prebends
would furnish excellent places for his sons and other members of the
aristocracy, he began warmly to support the measure. Most of the labor,
however, and all the odium, of the business fell upon the Bishop's
shoulders. There was still a large fund of loyalty left in the popular
mind, which not even forty years of the Emperor's dominion had consumed,
and which Philip was destined to draw upon as prodigally as if the
treasure had been inexhaustible. For these reasons it still seemed most
decorous to load all the hatred upon the minister's back, and to retain
the consolatory formula, that Philip was a prince, "clement, benign, and

The Bishop, true to his habitual conviction, that words, with the people,
are much more important than things, was disposed to have the word
"inquisitor" taken out of the text of the new decree. He was anxious at
this juncture to make things pleasant, and he saw no reason why men
should be unnecessarily startled. If the inquisition could be practised,
and the heretics burned, he was in favor of its being done comfortably.
The word "inquisitor" was unpopular, almost indecent. It was better to
suppress the term and retain the thing. "People are afraid to speak of
the new bishoprics," he wrote to Perez, "on account of the clause
providing that of nine canons one shall be inquisitor. Hence people fear
the Spanish inquisition."--He, therefore, had written to the King to
suggest instead, that the canons or graduates should be obliged to assist
the Bishop, according as he might command. Those terms would suffice,
because, although not expressly stated, it was clear that the Bishop was
an ordinary inquisitor; but it was necessary to expunge words that gave

It was difficult, however, with all the Bishop's eloquence and dexterity,
to construct an agreeable inquisition. The people did not like it, in any
shape, and there were indications, not to be mistaken, that one day there
would be a storm which it would be beyond human power to assuage. At
present the people directed their indignation only upon a part of the
machinery devised for their oppression. The Spanish troops were
considered as a portion of the apparatus by which the new bishoprics and
the edicts were to be forced into execution. Moreover, men were, weary of
the insolence and the pillage which these mercenaries had so long
exercised in the land. When the King had been first requested to withdraw
them, we have seen that he had burst into a violent passion. He had
afterward dissembled. Promising, at last, that they should all be sent
from the country within three or four months after his departure, he had
determined to use every artifice to detain them in the provinces. He had
succeeded, by various subterfuges, in keeping them there fourteen months;
but it was at last evident that their presence would no longer be
tolerated. Towards the close of 1560 they were quartered in Walcheren and
Brill. The Zelanders, however, had become so exasperated by their
presence that they resolutely refused to lay a single hand upon the
dykes, which, as usual at that season, required great repairs. Rather
than see their native soil profaned any longer by these hated foreign
mercenaries, they would see it sunk forever in the ocean. They swore to
perish-men, women, and children together-in the waves, rather than endure
longer the outrages which the soldiery daily inflicted. Such was the
temper of the Zelanders that it was not thought wise to trifle with their
irritation. The Bishop felt that it was no longer practicable to detain
the troops, and that all the pretext devised by Philip and his government
had become ineffectual. In a session of the State Council, held on the
25th October, 1560, he represented in the strongest terms to the Regent
the necessity for the final departure of the troops. Viglius, who knew
the character of his countrymen, strenuously seconded the proposal.
Orange briefly but firmly expressed the same opinion, declining any
longer to serve as commander of the legion, an office which, in
conjunction with Egmont, he had accepted provisionally, with the best of
motives, and on the pledge of Philip that the soldiers should be
withdrawn. The Duchess urged that the order should at least be deferred
until the arrival of Count Egmont, then in Spain, but the proposition was
unanimously negatived.

Letters were accordingly written, in the name of the Regent, to the King.
It was stated that the measure could no longer be delayed, that the
provinces all agreed in this point, that so long as the foreigners
remained not a stiver should be paid into the treasury; that if they had
once set sail, the necessary amount for their arrears would be furnished
to the government; but that if they should return it was probable that
they would be resisted by the inhabitants with main force, and that they
would only be allowed to enter the cities through a breach in their wall.
It was urged, moreover, that three or four thousand Spaniards would not
be sufficient to coerce all the provinces, and that there was not money
enough in the royal exchequer to pay the wages of a single company of the
troops. "It cuts me to the heart," wrote the Bishop to Philip, "to see
the Spanish infantry leave us; but go they must. Would to God that we
could devise any pretext, as your Majesty desires, under which to keep
them here! We have tried all means humanly possible for retaining them,
but I see no way to do it without putting the provinces in manifest
danger of sudden revolt."

Fortunately for the dignity of the government, or for the repose of the
country, a respectable motive was found for employing the legion
elsewhere. The important loss which Spain had recently met with in the
capture of Zerby made a reinforcement necessary in the army engaged in
the Southern service. Thus, the disaster in Barbary at last relieved the
Netherlands of the pest which had afflicted them so long. For a brief
breathing space the country was cleared of foreign mercenaries.

The growing unpopularity of the royal government, still typified,
however, in the increasing hatred entertained for the Bishop, was not
materially diminished by the departure of the Spaniards. The edicts and
the bishoprics were still there, even if the soldiers were gone. The
churchman worked faithfully to accomplish his master's business. Philip,
on his side, was industrious to bring about the consummation of his
measures. Ever occupied with details, the monarch, from his palace in
Spain, sent frequent informations against the humblest individuals in the
Netherlands. It is curious to observe the minute reticulations of tyranny
which he had begun already to spin about a whole, people, while cold,
venomous, and patient he watched his victims from the centre of his web.
He forwarded particular details to the Duchess and Cardinal concerning a
variety of men and women, sending their names, ages, personal appearance,
occupations, and residence, together with directions for their immediate
immolation. Even the inquisitors of Seville were set to work to increase,
by means of their branches or agencies in the provinces, the royal
information on this all-important subject. "There are but few of us left
in the world," he moralized in a letter to the Bishop, "who care for
religion. 'Tis necessary, therefore, for us to take the greater heed for
Christianity. We must lose our all, if need be, in order to do our duty;
in fine," added he, with his usual tautology, "it is right that a man
should do his duty."

Granvelle--as he must now be called, for his elevation to the
cardinalship will be immediately alluded to--wrote to assure the King
that every pains would be taken to ferret out and execute the individuals
complained of. He bewailed, however, the want of heartiness on the part
of the Netherland inquisitors and judges. "I find," said he, "that all
judicial officers go into the matter of executing the edicts with
reluctance, which I believe is caused by their fear of displeasing the
populace. When they do act they do it but languidly, and when these
matters are not taken in hand with the necessary liveliness, the fruit
desired is not gathered. We do not fail to exhort and to command them to
do their work." He added that Viglius and Berlaymont displayed laudable
zeal, but that he could not say as much for the Council of Brabant. Those
councillors "were forever prating," said he, "of the constitutional
rights of their province, and deserved much less commendation."

The popularity of the churchman, not increased by these desperate
exertions to force an inhuman policy upon an unfortunate nation, received
likewise no addition from his new elevation in rank. During the latter
part of the year 1560, Margaret of Parma, who still entertained a
profound admiration of the prelate, and had not yet begun to chafe under
his smooth but imperious dominion, had been busy in preparing for him a
delightful surprise. Without either his knowledge or that of the King,
she had corresponded with the Pope, and succeeded in obtaining, as a
personal favor to herself, the Cardinal's hat for Anthony Perrenot. In
February, 1561, Cardinal Borromeo wrote to announce that the coveted
dignity had been bestowed. The Duchess hastened, with joyous alacrity, to
communicate the intelligence to the Bishop, but was extremely hurt to
find that he steadily refused to assume his new dignity, until he had
written to the King to announce the appointment, and to ask his
permission to accept the honor. The Duchess, justly wounded at his
refusal to accept from her hands the favor which she, and she only, had
obtained for him, endeavored in vain to overcome his pertinacity. She
represented that although Philip was not aware of the application or the
appointment, he was certain to regard it as an agreeable surprise. She
urged, moreover, that his temporary refusal would be misconstrued at
Rome, where it would certainly excite ridicule, and very possibly give
offence in the highest quarter. The Bishop was inexorable. He feared,
says his panegyrist, that he might one day be on worse terms than at
present with the Duchess, and that then she might reproach him with her
former benefits. He feared also that the King might, in consequence of
the step, not look with satisfaction upon him at some future period, when
he might stand in need of his favors. He wrote, accordingly, a most
characteristic letter to Philip, in which he informed him that he had
been honored with the Cardinal's hat. He observed that many persons were
already congratulating him, but that before he made any demonstration of
accepting or refusing, he waited for his Majesty's orders: upon his will
he wished ever to depend. He also had the coolness, under the
circumstances, to express his conviction that "it was his Majesty who had
secretly procured this favor from his Holiness."

The King received the information very graciously, observing in reply,
that although he had never made any suggestion of the kind, he had "often
thought upon the subject." The royal command was of course at once
transmitted, that the dignity should be accepted. By special favor,
moreover, the Pope dispensed the new Cardinal from the duty of going to
Rome in person, and despatched his chamberlain, Theophilus Friso, to
Brussels, with the red hat and tabbard.

The prelate, having thus reached the dignity to which he had long
aspired, did not grow more humble in his deportment, or less zealous in
the work through which he had already gained so much wealth and
preferment. His conduct with regard to the edicts and bishoprics had
already brought him into relations which were far from amicable with his
colleagues in the council. More and more he began to take the control of
affairs into his own hand. The consulta, or secret committee of the state
council, constituted the real government of the country. Here the most
important affairs were decided upon without the concurrence of the other
seignors, Orange, Egmont, and Glayon, who, at the same time, were held
responsible for the action of government. The Cardinal was smooth in
manner, plausible of speech, generally even-tempered, but he was
overbearing and blandly insolent. Accustomed to control royal personages,
under the garb of extreme obsequiousness, he began, in his intercourse
with those of less exalted rank, to omit a portion of the subserviency
while claiming a still more undisguised authority. To nobles like Egmont
and Orange, who looked down upon the son of Nicolas Perrenot and Nicola
Bonvalot as a person immeasurably beneath themselves in the social
hierarchy, this conduct was sufficiently irritating. The Cardinal, placed
as far above Philip, and even Margaret, in mental power as he was beneath
them in worldly station, found it comparatively easy to deal with them
amicably. With such a man as Egmont, it was impossible for the churchman
to maintain friendly relations. The Count, who notwithstanding his
romantic appearance, his brilliant exploits, and his interesting destiny,
was but a commonplace character, soon conceived a mortal aversion to
Granvelle. A rude soldier, entertaining no respect for science or
letters, ignorant and overbearing, he was not the man to submit to the
airs of superiority which pierced daily more and more decidedly through
the conventional exterior of the Cardinal. Granvelle, on the other hand,
entertained a gentle contempt for Egmont, which manifested itself in all
his private letters to the King, and was sufficiently obvious in his
deportment. There had also been distinct causes of animosity between
them. The governorship of Hesdin having become vacant, Egmont, backed by
Orange and other nobles, had demanded it for the Count de Roeulx, a
gentleman of the Croy family, who, as well as his father, had rendered
many important services to the crown. The appointment was, however,
bestowed, through Granvelle's influence, upon the Seigneur d'Helfault, a
gentleman of mediocre station and character, who was thought to possess
no claims whatever to the office. Egmont, moreover, desired the abbey of
Trulle for a poor relation of his own; but the Cardinal, to whom nothing
in this way ever came amiss, had already obtained the King's permission
to, appropriate the abbey to himself Egmont was now furious against the
prelate, and omitted no opportunity of expressing his aversion, both in
his presence and behind his back. On one occasion, at least, his wrath
exploded in something more than words. Exasperated by Granvelle's
polished insolence in reply to his own violent language, he drew his
dagger upon him in the presence of the Regent herself, "and," says a
contemporary, "would certainly have sent the Cardinal into the next world
had he not been forcibly restrained by the Prince of Orange and other
persons present, who warmly represented to him that such griefs were to
be settled by deliberate advice, not by choler." At the same time, while
scenes like these were occurring in the very bosom of the state council,
Granvelle, in his confidential letters to secretary Perez, asserted
warmly that all reports of a want of harmony between himself and the
other seignors and councillors were false, and that the best relations
existed among them all. It was not his intention, before it should be
necessary, to let the King doubt his ability to govern the counsel
according to the secret commission with which he had been invested.

His relations with Orange were longer in changing from friendship to open
hostility. In the Prince the Cardinal met his match. He found himself
confronted by an intellect as subtle, an experience as fertile in
expedients, a temper as even, and a disposition sometimes as haughty as
his own. He never affected to undervalue the mind of Orange. "'Tis a man
of profound genius, vast ambition--dangerous, acute, politic," he wrote
to the King at a very early period. The original relations between
himself and the Prince bad been very amicable. It hardly needed the
prelate's great penetration to be aware that the friendship of so exalted
a personage as the youthful heir to the principality of Orange, and to
the vast possessions of the Chalons-Nassau house in Burgundy and the
Netherlands, would be advantageous to the ambitious son of the Burgundian
Councillor Granvelle. The young man was the favorite of the Emperor from
boyhood; his high rank, and his remarkable talents marked him
indisputably for one of the foremost men of the coming reign. Therefore
it was politic in Perrenot to seize every opportunity of making himself
useful to the Prince. He busied himself with securing, so far as it might
be necessary to secure, the succession of William to his cousin's
principality. It seems somewhat ludicrous for a merit to be made not only
for Granvelle but for the Emperor, that the Prince should have been
allowed to take an inheritance which the will of Rene de Nassau most
unequivocally conferred, and which no living creature disputed. Yet,
because some of the crown lawyers had propounded the dogma that "the son
Of a heretic ought not to succeed," it was gravely stated as an immense
act of clemency upon the part of Charles the Fifth that he had not
confiscated the whole of the young Prince's heritage. In return
Granvelle's brother Jerome had obtained the governorship of the youth,
upon whose majority he had received an honorable military appointment
from his attached pupil. The prelate had afterwards recommended the
marriage with the Count de Buren's heiress, and had used his influence
with the Emperor to overcome certain objections entertained by Charles,
that the Prince, by this great accession of wealth, might be growing too
powerful. On the other hand, there were always many poor relations and
dependents of Granvelle, eager to be benefitted by Orange's patronage,
who lived in the Prince's household, or received handsome appointments
from his generosity. Thus, there had been great intimacy, founded upon
various benefits mutually conferred; for it could hardly be asserted that
the debt of friendship was wholly upon one side.

When Orange arrived in Brussels from a journey, he would go to the
bishop's before alighting at his own house. When the churchman visited
the Prince, he entered his bed-chamber without ceremony before he had
risen; for it was William's custom, through life, to receive intimate
acquaintances, and even to attend to important negotiations of state,
while still in bed.

The show of this intimacy had lasted longer than its substance. Granvelle
was the most politic of men, and the Prince had not served his
apprenticeship at the court of Charles the Fifth to lay himself bare
prematurely to the criticism or the animosity of the Cardinal with the
recklessness of Horn and Egmont. An explosion came at last, however, and
very soon after an exceedingly amicable correspondence between the two
upon the subject of an edict of religious amnesty which Orange was
preparing for his principality, and which Granvelle had recommended him
not to make too lenient. A few weeks after this, the Antwerp magistracy
was to be renewed. The Prince, as hereditary burgrave of that city, was
entitled to a large share of the appointing power in these political
arrangements, which at the moment were of great importance. The citizens
of Antwerp were in a state of excitement on the subject of the new
bishops. They openly, and in the event, successfully resisted the
installation of the new prelate for whom their city had been constituted
a diocese. The Prince was known to be opposed to the measure, and to the
whole system of ecclesiastical persecution. When the nominations for the
new magistracy came before the Regent, she disposed of the whole matter
in the secret consulta, without the knowledge, and in a manner opposed to
the views of Orange. He was then furnished with a list of the new
magistrates, and was informed that he had been selected as commissioner
along with Count Aremberg, to see that the appointments were carried into
effect. The indignation of the Prince was extreme. He had already taken
offence at some insolent expressions upon this topic, which the Cardinal
had permitted himself. He now sent back the commission to the Duchess,
adding, it was said, that he was not her lackey, and that she might send
some one else with her errands. The words were repeated in the state
council. There was a violent altercation--Orange vehemently resenting his
appointment merely to carry out decisions in which he claimed an original
voice. His ancestors, he said, had often changed the whole of the Antwerp
magistracy by their own authority. It was a little too much that this
matter, as well as every other state affair, should be controlled by the
secret committee of which the Cardinal was the chief. Granvelle, on his
side, was also in a rage. He flung from the council-chamber, summoned the
Chancellor of Brabant, and demanded, amid bitter execrations against
Orange, what common and obscure gentleman there might be, whom he could
appoint to execute the commission thus refused by the Prince and by
Aremberg. He vowed that in all important matters he would, on future
occasions, make use of nobles less inflated by pride, and more tractable
than such grand seignors. The chancellor tried in vain to appease the
churchman's wrath, representing that the city of Antwerp would be highly
offended at the turn things were taking, and offering his services to
induce the withdrawal, on the part of the Prince, of the language which
had given so much offence. The Cardinal was inexorable and peremptory. "I
will have nothing to do with the Prince, Master Chancellor," said he,
"and these are matters which concern you not." Thus the conversation
ended, and thus began the open state of hostilities between the great
nobles and the Cardinal, which had been brooding so long.

On the 23rd July, 1561, a few weeks after the scenes lately described,
the Count of Egmont and the Prince of Orange addressed a joint letter to
the King. They reminded him in this despatch that, they had originally
been reluctant to take office in the state council, on account of their
previous experience of the manner in which business had been conducted
during the administration of the Duke of Savoy. They had feared that
important matters of state might be transacted without their concurrence.
The King had, however, assured them, when in Zeland, that all affairs
would be uniformly treated in full council. If the contrary should ever
prove the case, he had desired them to give him information to that
effect, that he might instantly apply the remedy. They accordingly now
gave him that information. They were consulted upon small matters:
momentous affairs were decided upon in their absence. Still they would
not even now have complained had not Cardinal Granvelle declared that all
the members of the state council were to be held responsible for its
measures, whether they were present at its decisions or not. Not liking
such responsibility, they requested the King either to accept their
resignation or to give orders that all affairs should be communicated to
the whole board and deliberated upon by all the councillors.

In a private letter, written some weeks later (August 15), Egmont begged
secretary Erasso to assure the King that their joint letter had not been
dictated by passion, but by zeal for his service. It was impossible, he
said, to imagine the insolence of the Cardinal, nor to form an idea of
the absolute authority which he arrogated.

In truth, Granvelle, with all his keenness, could not see that Orange,
Egmont, Berghen, Montigny and the rest, were no longer pages and young
captains of cavalry, while he was the politician and the statesman. By
six or seven years the senior of Egmont, and by sixteen years of Orange,
he did not divest himself of the superciliousness of superior wisdom, not
unjust nor so irritating when they had all been boys. In his deportment
towards them, and in the whole tone of his private correspondence with
Philip, there was revealed, almost in spite of himself, an affectation of
authority, against which Egmont rebelled and which the Prince was not the
man to acknowledge. Philip answered the letter of the two nobles in his
usual procrastinating manner. The Count of Horn, who was about leaving
Spain (whither he had accompanied the King) for the Netherlands, would be
entrusted with the resolution which he should think proper to take upon
the subject suggested. In the mean time, he assured them that he did not
doubt their zeal in his service.

As to Count Horn, Granvelle had already prejudiced the King against him.
Horn and the Cardinal had never been friends. A brother of the prelate
had been an aspirant for the hand of the Admiral's sister, and had been
somewhat contemptuously rejected. Horn, a bold, vehement, and not very
good-tempered personage, had long kept no terms with Granvelle, and did
not pretend a friendship which he had never felt. Granvelle had just
written to instruct the King that Horn was opposed bitterly to that
measure which was nearest the King's heart--the new bishoprics. He had
been using strong language, according to the Cardinal, in opposition to
the scheme, while still in Spain. He therefore advised that his Majesty,
concealing, of course, the source of the information, and speaking as it
were out of the royal mind itself, should expostulate with the Admiral
upon the subject. Thus prompted, Philip was in no gracious humor when he
received Count Horn, then about to leave Madrid for the Netherlands, and
to take with him the King's promised answer to the communication of
Orange and Egmont. His Majesty had rarely been known to exhibit so much
anger towards any person as he manifested upon that occasion. After a few
words from the Admiral, in which he expressed his sympathy with the other
Netherland nobles, and his aversion to Granvelle, in general terms, and
in reply to Philip's interrogatories, the King fiercely interrupted him:
"What! miserable man!" he vociferated, "you all complain of this
Cardinal, and always in vague language. Not one of you, in spite of all
my questions, can give me a single reason for your dissatisfaction." With
this the royal wrath boiled over in such unequivocal terms that the
Admiral changed color, and was so confused with indignation and
astonishment, that he was scarcely able to find his way out of the room.

This was the commencement of Granvelle's long mortal combat with Egmont,
Horn, and Orange. This was the first answer which the seignors were to
receive to their remonstrances against the churchman's arrogance. Philip
was enraged that any opposition should be made to his coercive measures,
particularly to the new bishoprics, the "holy work" which the Cardinal
was ready, to "consecrate his fortune and his blood" to advance.
Granvelle fed his master's anger by constant communications as to the
efforts made by distinguished individuals to delay the execution of the
scheme. Assonville had informed him, he wrote, that much complaint had
been made on the subject by several gentlemen, at a supper of Count
Egmont's. It was said that the King ought to have consulted them all, and
the state councillors especially. The present nominees to the new
episcopates were good enough, but it would be found, they said, that very
improper personages would be afterwards appointed. The estates ought not
to permit the execution of the scheme. In short, continued Granvelle,
"there is the same kind of talk which brought about the recall of the
Spanish troops." A few months later, he wrote to inform Philip that a
petition against the new bishoprics was about to be drawn up by "the two
lords.". They had two motives; according to the Cardinal, for this
step--first, to let the King know that he could do nothing without their
permission; secondly, because in the states' assembly they were then the
cocks of the walk. They did not choose, therefore, that in the clerical
branch of the estates any body should be above the abbots, whom they
could frighten into doing whatever they chose. At the end, of the year,
Granvelle again wrote to instruct his sovereign how to reply to the
letter which was about to be addressed to him by the Prince of Orange and
the Marquis Berghen on the subject of the bishoprics. They would tell
him, he said, that the incorporation of the Brabant abbeys into the new
bishoprics was contrary to the constitution of the "joyful entrance."
Philip was, however, to make answer that he had consulted the
universities, and those learned in the laws, and had satisfied himself
that it was entirely constitutional. He was therefore advised to send his
command that the Prince and Marquis should use all their influence to
promote the success of the measure. Thus fortified, the King was enabled
not only to deal with the petition of the nobles, but also with the
deputies from the estates of Brabant, who arrived about this time at
Madrid. To these envoys, who asked for the appointment of royal
commissioners, with whom they might treat on the subject of the
bishoprics, the abbeys, and the "joyful entrance," the King answered
proudly, "that in matters which concerned the service of God, he was his
own commissioner." He afterwards, accordingly, recited to them, with
great accuracy, the lesson which he had privately received from the
ubiquitous Cardinal. Philip was determined that no remonstrance from
great nobles or from private citizens should interfere with the thorough
execution of the grand scheme on which he was resolved, and of which the
new bishoprics formed an important part. Opposition irritated him more
and more, till his hatred of the opponents became deadly; but it, at the
same time, confirmed him in his purpose. "'Tis no time to temporize," he
wrote to Granvelle; "we must inflict chastisement with full rigor and
severity. These rascals can only be made to do right through fear, and
not always even by that means."

At the same time, the royal finances did not admit of any very active
measures, at the moment, to enforce obedience to a policy which was
already so bitterly opposed. A rough estimate, made in the King's own
handwriting, of the resources and obligations of his exchequer, a kind of
balance sheet for the, years 1560 and 1561, drawn up much in the same
manner as that in which a simple individual would make a note of his
income and expenditure, gave but a dismal picture of his pecuniary,
condition. It served to show how intelligent a financier is despotism,
and how little available are the resources of a mighty empire when
regarded merely as private property, particularly when the owner chances
to have the vanity of attending to all details himself: "Twenty millions
of ducats," began the memorandum, "will be required to disengage my
revenues. But of this," added the King, with whimsical pathos for an
account-book, "we will not speak at present, as the matter is so entirely
impossible." He then proceeded to enter the various items of expense
which were to be met during the two years; such as so many millions due
to the Fuggers (the Rothschilds of the sixteenth century), so many to
merchants in Flanders, Seville, and other places, so much for Prince
Doria's galleys, so much for three years' pay due to his guards, so much
for his household expenditure, so much for the, tuition of Don Carlos,
and Don Juan d'Austria, so much for salaries of ambassadors and
councillors--mixing personal and state expenses, petty items and great
loans, in one singular jumble, but arriving at a total demand upon his
purse of ten million nine hundred and ninety thousand ducats.

To meet this expenditure he painfully enumerated the funds upon which he
could reckon for the two years. His ordinary rents and taxes being all
deeply pledged, he could only calculate from that source upon two hundred
thousand ducats. The Indian revenue, so called, was nearly spent; still
it might yield him four hundred and twenty thousand ducats. The
quicksilver mines would produce something, but so little as hardly to
require mentioning. As to the other mines, they were equally unworthy of
notice, being so very uncertain, and not doing as well as they were wont.
The licences accorded by the crown to carry slaves to America were put
down at fifty thousand ducats for the two years. The product of the
"crozada" and "cuarta," or money paid to him in small sums by
individuals, with the permission of his Holiness, for the liberty of
abstaining from the Church fasts, was estimated at five hundred thousand
ducats. These and a few more meagre items only sufficed to stretch his
income to a total of one million three hundred and thirty thousand far
the two years, against an expenditure calculated at near eleven millions.
"Thus, there are nine millions, less three thousand ducats, deficient,"
he concluded ruefully (and making a mistake in his figures in his own
favor of six hundred and sixty-three thousand besides), "which I may look
for in the sky, or try to raise by inventions already exhausted."

Thus, the man who owned all America and half of Europe could only raise a
million ducats a year from his estates. The possessor of all Peru and
Mexico could reckon on "nothing worth mentioning" from his mines, and
derived a precarious income mainly from permissions granted his subjects
to carry on the slave-trade and to eat meat on Fridays. This was
certainly a gloomy condition of affairs for a monarch on the threshold of
a war which was to outlast his own life and that of his children; a war
in which the mere army expenses were to be half a million florins
monthly, in which about seventy per cent. of the annual disbursements was
to be regularly embezzled or appropriated by the hands through which it
passed, and in which for every four men on paper, enrolled and paid for,
only one, according to the average, was brought into the field.

Granvelle, on the other hand, gave his master but little consolation from
the aspect of financial affairs in the provinces. He assured him that
"the government was often in such embarrassment as not to know where to
look for ten ducats." He complained bitterly that the states would meddle
with the administration of money matters, and were slow in the granting
of subsidies. The Cardinal felt especially outraged by the interference
of these bodies with the disbursement of the sums which they voted. It
has been seen that the states had already compelled the government to
withdraw the troops, much to the regret of Granvelle. They continued,
however, to be intractable on the subject of supplies. "These are very
vile things," he wrote to Philip, "this authority which they assume, this
audacity with which they say whatever they think proper; and these
impudent conditions which they affix to every proposition for subsidies."
The Cardinal protested that he had in vain attempted to convince them of
their error, but that they remained perverse.

It was probably at this time that the plan for debasing the coin,
suggested to Philip some time before by a skilful chemist named Malen,
and always much approved of both by himself and Ruy Gomez, recurred to
his mind. "Another and an extraordinary source of revenue, although
perhaps not a very honorable one," wrote Suriano, "has hitherto been kept
secret; and on account of differences of opinion between the King and his
confessor, has been discontinued." This source of revenue, it seemed, was
found in "a certain powder, of which one ounce mixed with six ounces of
quicksilver would make six ounces of silver." The composition was said to
stand the test of the hammer, but not of the fire. Partly in consequence
of theological scruples and partly on account of opposition from the
states, a project formed by the King to pay his army with this kind of
silver was reluctantly abandoned. The invention, however, was so very
agreeable to the King, and the inventor had received such liberal
rewards, that it was supposed, according to the envoy, that in time of
scarcity his Majesty would make use of such coin without reluctance.

It is necessary, before concluding this chapter, which relates the events
of the years 1560 and 1561, to allude to an important affair which
occupied much attention during the whole of this period. This is the
celebrated marriage of the Prince of Orange with the Princess Anna of
Saxony. By many superficial writers; a moving cause of the great
Netherland revolt was found in the connexion of the great chieftain with
this distinguished Lutheran house. One must have studied the characters
and the times to very little purpose, however, to believe it possible
that much influence could be exerted on the mind of William of Orange by
such natures as those of Anna of Saxony, or of her uncle the Elector
Augustus, surnamed "the Pious."

The Prince had become a widower in 1558, at the age of twenty-five.
Granvelle, who was said to have been influential in arranging his first
marriage, now proposed to him, after the year of mourning had expired, an
alliance with Mademoiselle Renee, daughter of the Duchess de Lorraine,
and granddaughter of Christiern the Third of Denmark, and his wife
Isabella, sister of the Emperor Charles the Fifth. Such a connexion, not
only with the royal house of Spain but with that of France--for, the
young Duke of Lorraine, brother of the lady, had espoused the daughter of
Henry the considered highly desirable by the Prince. Philip and the
Duchess Margaret of Parma both approved, or pretended to approve, the
match. At the same time the Dowager Duchess of Lorraine, mother of the
intended bride, was a candidate, and a very urgent one, for the Regency
of the Netherlands. Being a woman of restless ambition, and intriguing
character, she naturally saw in a man of William's station and talents a
most desirable ally in her present and future schemes. On the other hand,
Philip--who had made open protestation of his desire to connect the
Prince thus closely with his own blood, and had warmly recommended the
match to the young lady's mother--soon afterwards, while walking one day
with the Prince in the park at Brussels, announced to him that the
Duchess of Lorraine had declined his proposals. Such a result astonished
the Prince, who was on the best of terms with the mother, and had been
urging her appointment to the Regency with all his-influence, having
entirely withdrawn his own claims to that office. No satisfactory
explanation was ever given of this singular conclusion to a courtship,
begun with the apparent consent of all parties. It was hinted that the
young lady did not fancy the Prince; but, as it was not known that a word
had ever been exchanged between them, as the Prince, in appearance and
reputation, was one of the most brilliant cavaliers of the age, and as
the approval of the bride was not usually a matter of primary consequence
in such marriages of state, the mystery seemed to require a further
solution. The Prince suspected Granvelle and the King, who were believed
to have held mature and secret deliberation together, of insincerity. The
Bishop was said to have expressed the opinion, that although the
friendship he bore the Prince would induce him to urge the marriage, yet
his duty to his master made him think it questionable whether it were
right to advance a personage already placed so high by birth, wealth, and
popularity, still higher by so near an alliance with his Majesty's
family. The King, in consequence, secretly instructed the Duchess of
Lorraine to decline the proposal, while at the same time he continued
openly to advocate the connexion. The Prince is said to have discovered
this double dealing, and to have found in it the only reasonable
explanation of the whole transaction. Moreover, the Duchess of Lorraine,
finding herself equally duped, and her own ambitious scheme equally
foiled by her unscrupulous cousin--who now, to the surprise of every one,
appointed Margaret of Parma to be Regent, with the Bishop for her prime
minister--had as little reason to be satisfied with the combinations of
royal and ecclesiastical intrigue as the Prince of Orange himself. Soon
after this unsatisfactory mystification, William turned his attentions to
Germany. Anna of Saxony, daughter of the celebrated Elector Maurice,
lived at the court of her uncle, the Elector Augustus. A musket-ball,
perhaps a traitorous one, in an obscure action with Albert of
Brandenbourg, had closed the adventurous career of her father seven years
before. The young lady, who was thought to have inherited much of his
restless, stormy character, was sixteen years of age. She was far from
handsome, was somewhat deformed, and limped. Her marriage-portion was
deemed, for the times, an ample one; she had seventy thousand rix dollars
in hand, and the reversion of thirty thousand on the death of John
Frederic the Second, who had married her mother after the death of
Maurice. Her rank was accounted far higher in Germany than that of
William of Nassau, and in this respect, rather than for pecuniary
considerations, the marriage seemed a desirable one for him. The man who
held the great Nassau-Chalons property, together with the heritage of
Count Maximilian de Buren, could hardly have been tempted by 100,000
thalers. His own provision for the children who might spring from the
proposed marriage was to be a settlement of seventy thousand florins
annually. The fortune which permitted of such liberality was not one to
be very materially increased by a dowry which might seem enormous to many
of the pauper princes of Germany. "The bride's portion," says a
contemporary, "after all, scarcely paid for the banquets and magnificent
festivals which celebrated the marriage. When the wedding was paid for,
there was not a thaler remaining of the whole sum." Nothing, then, could
be more puerile than to accuse the Prince of mercenary motives in seeking
this alliance; an accusation, however, which did not fail to be brought.

There were difficulties on both sides to be arranged before this marriage
could take place. The bride was a Lutheran, the Prince was a Catholic.
With regard to the religion of Orange not the slightest doubt existed,
nor was any deception attempted. Granvelle himself gave the most entire
attestation of the Prince's orthodoxy. "This proposed marriage gives me
great pain," he wrote to Philip, "but I have never had reason to suspect
his principles." In another letter he observed that he wished the
marriage could be broken off; but that he hoped so much from the virtue
of the Prince that nothing could suffice to separate him from the true
religion. On the other side there was as little doubt as to his creed.
Old Landgrave Philip of Hesse, grandfather of the young lady, was
bitterly opposed to the match. "'Tis a papist," said he, "who goes to
mass, and eats no meat on fast days." He had no great objection to his
character, but insurmountable ones to his religion. "Old Count William,"
said he, "was an evangelical lord to his dying day. This man is a
papist!" The marriage, then, was to be a mixed marriage. It is necessary,
however, to beware of anachronisms upon the subject. Lutherans were not
yet formally denounced as heretics. On the contrary, it was exactly at
this epoch that the Pope was inviting the Protestant princes of Germany
to the Trent Council, where the schism was to be closed, and all the
erring lambs to be received again into the bosom of the fold. So far from
manifesting an outward hostility, the papal demeanor was conciliating.
The letters of invitation from the Pope to the princes were sent by a
legate, each commencing with the exordium, "To my beloved son," and were
all sent back to his Holiness, contemptuously, with the coarse jest for
answer, "We believe our mothers to have been honest women, and hope that
we had better fathers." The great council had not yet given its
decisions. Marriages were of continual occurrence, especially among
princes and potentates, between the adherents of Rome and of the new
religion. Even Philip had been most anxious to marry the Protestant
Elizabeth, whom, had she been a peasant, he would unquestionably have
burned, if in his power. Throughout Germany, also, especially in high
places, there was a disposition to cover up the religious controversy; to
abstain from disturbing the ashes where devastation still glowed, and was
one day to rekindle itself. It was exceedingly difficult for any man,
from the Archduke Maximilian down, to define his creed. A marriage,
therefore; between a man and woman of discordant views upon this topic
was not startling, although in general not considered desirable.

There were, however, especial reasons why this alliance should be
distasteful, both to Philip of Spain upon one side, and to the Landgrave
Philip of Hesse on the other. The bride was the daughter of the elector
Maurice. In that one name were concentrated nearly all the disasters,
disgrace, and disappointment of the Emperor's reign. It was Maurice who
had hunted the Emperor through the Tyrolean mountains; it was Maurice who
had compelled the peace of Passau; it was Maurice who had overthrown the
Catholic Church in Germany, it was Maurice who had frustrated Philip's
election as king of the Romans. If William of Orange must seek a wife
among the pagans, could no other bride be found for him than the daughter
of such a man?

Anna's grandfather, on the other hand, Landgrave Philip, was the
celebrated victim to the force and fraud of Charles the Fifth. He saw in
the proposed bridegroom, a youth who had been from childhood, the petted
page and confidant of the hated Emperor, to whom he owed his long
imprisonment. He saw in him too, the intimate friend and ally--for the
brooding quarrels of the state council were not yet patent to the
world--of the still more deeply detested Granvelle; the crafty priest
whose substitution of "einig" for "ewig" had inveigled him into that
terrible captivity. These considerations alone would have made him
unfriendly to the Prince, even had he not been a Catholic.

The Elector Augustus, however, uncle and guardian to the bride, was not
only well-disposed but eager for the marriage, and determined to overcome
all obstacles, including the opposition of the Landgrave, without whose
consent he was long pledged not to bestow the hand of Anna. For this
there were more than one reason. Augustus, who, in the words of one of
the most acute historical critics of our day, was "a Byzantine Emperor of
the lowest class, re-appearing in electoral hat and mantle," was not firm
in his rights to the dignity he held. He had inherited from his brother,
but his brother had dispossessed John Frederic. Maurice, when turning
against the Emperor, who had placed him in his cousin's seat, had not
thought it expedient to restore to the rightful owner the rank which he
himself owed to the violence of Charles. Those claims might be
revindicated, and Augustus be degraded in his turn, by a possible
marriage of the Princess Anna, with some turbulent or intriguing German
potentate. Out of the land she was less likely to give trouble. The
alliance, if not particularly desirable on the score of rank, was, in
other worldly respects, a most brilliant one for his niece. As for the
religious point, if he could overcome or circumvent the scruples of the
Landgrave, he foresaw little difficulty in conquering his own conscience.

The Prince of Orange, it is evident, was placed in such a position, that
it would be difficult for him to satisfy all parties. He intended that
the marriage, like all marriages among persons in high places at that
day, should be upon the "uti possidetis" principle, which was the
foundation of the religious peace of Germany. His wife, after marriage
and removal to the Netherlands, would "live Catholically;" she would be
considered as belonging to the same Church with her husband, was to give
no offence to the government, and bring no suspicion upon himself, by
violating any of the religious decencies. Further than this, William, who
at that day was an easy, indifferent Catholic, averse to papal
persecutions, but almost equally averse to long, puritanical prayers and
faces, taking far more pleasure in worldly matters than in ecclesiastical
controversies, was not disposed to advance in this thorny path. Having a
stern bigot to deal with, in Madrid, and another in Cassel, he soon
convinced himself that he was not likely entirely to satisfy either, and
thought it wiser simply to satisfy himself.

Early in 1560, Count Gunther de Schwartzburg, betrothed to the Prince's
sister Catharine, together with Colonel George Von Holl, were despatched
to Germany to open the marriage negotiations. They found the Elector
Augustus already ripe and anxious for the connexion. It was easy for the
envoys to satisfy all his requirements on the religious question. If, as
the Elector afterwards stated to the Landgrave, they really promised that
the young lady should be allowed to have an evangelical preacher in her
own apartments, together with the befitting sacraments, it is very
certain that they travelled a good way out of their instructions, for
such concessions were steadily refused by William in person. It is,
however, more probable that Augustus, whose slippery feet were disposed
to slide smoothly and swiftly over this dangerous ground, had represented
the Prince's communications under a favorable gloss of his own. At any
rate, nothing in the subsequent proceedings justified the conclusions
thus hastily formed.

The Landgrave Philip, from the beginning, manifested his repugnance to
the match. As soon as the proposition had been received by Augustus, that
potentate despatched Hans von Carlowitz to the grandfather at Cassel. The
Prince of Orange, it was represented, was young, handsome, wealthy, a
favorite of the Spanish monarch; the Princess Anna, on the other hand,
said her uncle was not likely to grow straighter or better proportioned
in body, nor was her crooked and perverse character likely to improve
with years. It was therefore desirable to find a settlement for her as
soon as possible. The Elector, however, would decide upon nothing without
the Landgrave's consent.

To this frank, and not very flattering statement, so far as the young
lady was concerned, the Landgrave answered stoutly and characteristically.
The Prince was a Spanish subject, he said, and would not be able to
protect Anna in her belief, who would sooner or later become a fugitive:
he was but a Count in Germany, and no fitting match for an Elector's
daughter; moreover, the lady herself ought to be consulted, who had not
even seen the Prince. If she were crooked in body, as the Elector stated,
it was a shame to expose her; to conceal it, however, was questionable, as
the Prince might complain afterwards that a straight princess had been
promised, and a crooked one fraudulently substituted,--and so on, though a
good deal more of such quaint casuistry, in which the Landgrave was
accomplished. The amount of his answer, however, to the marriage proposal
was an unequivocal negative, from which he never wavered.

In consequence of this opposition, the negotiations were for a time
suspended. Augustus implored the Prince not to abandon the project,
promising that every effort should be made to gain over the Landgrave,
hinting that the old man might "go to his long rest soon," and even
suggesting that if the worst came to the worst, he had bound himself to
do nothing without the knowledge of the Landgrave, but was not obliged to
wait for his consent.

On the other hand, the Prince had communicated to the King of Spain the
fact of the proposed marriage. He had also held many long conversations
with the Regent and with Granvelle. In all these interviews he had
uniformly used one language: his future wife was to "live as a Catholic,"
and if that point were not conceded, he would break off the negotiations.
He did not pretend that she was to abjure her Protestant faith. The
Duchess, in describing to Philip the conditions, as sketched to her by
the Prince, stated expressly that Augustus of Saxony was to consent that
his niece "should live Catholically after the marriage," but that it was
quite improbable that "before the nuptials she would be permitted to
abjure her errors, and receive necessary absolution, according to the
rules of the Church." The Duchess, while stating her full confidence in
the orthodoxy of the Prince, expressed at the same time her fears that
attempts might be made in the future by his new connexions "to pervert
him to their depraved opinions."

A silence of many months ensued on the part of the sovereign, during
which he was going through the laborious process of making up his mind,
or rather of having it made up for him by people a thousand miles off. In
the autumn Granvelle wrote to say that the Prince was very much surprised
to have been kept so long waiting for a definite reply to his
communications, made at the beginning of the year concerning his intended
marriage, and to learn at last that his Majesty had sent no answer, upon
the ground that the match had been broken off; the fact being, that the
negotiations were proceeding more earnestly than ever.

Nothing could be more helpless and more characteristic than the letter
which Philip sent, thus pushed for a decision. "You wrote me," said he,
"that you had hopes that this matter of the Prince's marriage would go no
further, and seeing that you did not write oftener on the subject, I
thought certainly that it had been terminated. This pleased me not a
little, because it was the best thing that could be done. Likewise,"
continued the most tautological of monarchs, "I was much pleased that it
should be done. Nevertheless;" he added, "if the marriage is to be
proceeded with, I really don't know what to say about it, except to refer
it to my sister, inasmuch as a person being upon the spot can see better
what can be done with regard to it; whether it be possible to prevent it,
or whether it be best, if there be no remedy, to give permission. But if
there be a remedy, it would be better to take it, because," concluded the
King, pathetically, "I don't see how the Prince could think of marrying
with the daughter of the man who did to his majesty, now in glory, that
which Duke Maurice did."

Armed with this luminous epistle, which, if it meant any thing, meant a
reluctant affirmation to the demand of the Prince for the royal consent,
the Regent and Granvelle proceeded to summon William of Orange, and to
catechise him in a manner most galling to the pride, and with a latitude
not at all justified by any reasonable interpretation of the royal
instructions. They even informed him that his Majesty had assembled
"certain persons learned in cases of conscience, and versed in theology,"
according to whose advice a final decision, not yet possible, would be
given at some future period. This assembly of learned conscience-keepers
and theologians had no existence save in the imaginations of Granvelle
and Margaret. The King's letter, blind and blundering as it was, gave the
Duchess the right to decide in the affirmative on her own responsibility;
yet fictions like these formed a part of the "dissimulation," which was
accounted profound statesmanship by the disciples of Machiavelli. The
Prince, however irritated, maintained his steadiness; assured the Regent
that the negotiation had advanced too far to be abandoned, and repeated
his assurance that the future Princess of Orange was to "live as a

In December, 1560, William made a visit to Dresden, where he was received
by the Elector with great cordiality. This visit was conclusive as to the
marriage. The appearance and accomplishments of the distinguished suitor
made a profound impression upon the lady. Her heart was carried by storm.
Finding, or fancying herself very desperately enamored of the proposed
bridegroom, she soon manifested as much eagerness for the marriage as did
her uncle, and expressed herself frequently with the violence which
belonged to her character. "What God had decreed," she said, "the Devil
should not hinder."

The Prince was said to have exhibited much diligence in his attention to
the services of the Protestant Church during his visit at Dreaden. As
that visit lasted, however, but ten or eleven days, there was no great
opportunity for shewing much zeal.

At the same period one William Knuttel was despatched by Orange on the
forlorn hope of gaining the old Landgrave's consent, without making any
vital concessions. "Will the Prince," asked the Landgrave, "permit my
granddaughter to have an evangelical preacher in the house?"--"No,"
answered Knuttel. "May she at least receive the sacrament of the Lord's
Supper in her own chamber, according to the Lutheran form?"--"No,"
answered Knuttel, "neither in Breda, nor any where else in the
Netherlands. If she imperatively requires such sacraments, she must go
over the border for them, to the nearest Protestant sovereign."

Upon the 14th April, 1561, the Elector, returning to the charge, caused a
little note to be drawn up on the religious point, which he forwarded, in
the hope that the Prince would copy and sign it. He added a promise that
the memorandum should never be made public to the signer's disadvantage.

At the same time he observed to Count Louis, verbally, "that he had been
satisfied with the declarations made by the Prince when in Dresden, upon
all points, except that concerning religion. He therefore felt obliged to
beg for a little agreement in writing.--"By no means! by no means!"
interrupted Louis promptly, at the very first word, "the Prince can give
your electoral highness no such assurance. 'T would be risking life,
honor, and fortune to do so, as your grace is well aware." The Elector
protested that the declaration, if signed, should never come into the
Spanish monarch's hands, and insisted upon sending it to the Prince.
Louis, in a letter to his brother, characterized the document as
"singular, prolix and artful," and strongly advised the Prince to have
nothing to do with it.

This note, which the Prince was thus requested to sign, and which his
brother Louis thus strenuously advised him not to sign, the Prince never
did sign. Its tenor was to the following effect:--The Princess, after
marriage, was, neither by menace nor persuasion; to be turned from the
true and pure Word of God, or the use of the sacrament according to the
doctrines of the Augsburg Confession. The Prince was to allow her to read
books written in accordance with the Augsburg Confession. The prince was
to permit her, as often, annually, as she required it, to go out of the
Netherlands to some place where she could receive the sacrament according
to the Augsburg Confession. In case she were in sickness or perils of
childbirth, the Prince, if necessary, would call to her an evangelical
preacher, who might administer to her the holy sacrament in her chamber.
The children who might spring from the marriage were to be instructed as
to the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession.

Even if executed, this celebrated memorandum would hardly have been at
variance with the declarations made by the Prince to the Spanish
government. He had never pretended that his bride was to become a
Catholic, but only to live as a Catholic. All that he had promised, or
was expected to promise, was that his wife should conform to the law in
the Netherlands. The paper, in a general way, recognized that law. In
case of absolute necessity, however, it was stipulated that the Princess
should have the advantage of private sacraments. This certainly would
have been a mortal offence in a Calvinist or Anabaptist, but for
Lutherans the practise had never been so strict. Moreover, the Prince
already repudiated the doctrines of the edicts, and rebelled against the
command to administer them within his government. A general promise,
therefore, made by him privately, in the sense of the memorandum drawn up
by the Elector, would have been neither hypocritical nor deceitful, but
worthy the man who looked over such grovelling heads as Granvelle and
Philip on the one side, or Augustus of Saxony on the other, and estimated
their religious pretences at exactly what they were worth. A formal
document, however, technically according all these demands made by the
Elector, would certainly be regarded by the Spanish government as a very
culpable instrument. The Prince never signed the note, but, as we shall
have occasion to state in its proper place, he gave a verbal declaration,
favorable to its tenor, but in very vague and brief terms, before a
notary, on the day of the marriage.

If the reader be of opinion that too much time has been expended upon the
elucidation of this point, he should remember that the character of a
great and good man is too precious a possession of history to be lightly
abandoned. It is of no great consequence to ascertain the precise creed
of Augustus of Saxony, or of his niece; it is of comparatively little
moment to fix the point at which William of Orange ceased to be an
honest, but liberal Catholic, and opened his heart to the light of the
Reformation; but it is of very grave interest that his name should be
cleared of the charge of deliberate fraud and hypocrisy. It has therefore
been thought necessary to prove conclusively that the Prince never gave,
in Dresden or Cassel, any assurance inconsistent with his assertions to
King and Cardinal. The whole tone of his language and demeanor on the
religious subject was exhibited in his reply to the Electress, who,
immediately after the marriage, entreated that he would not pervert her
niece from the paths of the true religion. "She shall not be troubled,"
said the Prince, "with such melancholy things. Instead of holy writ she
shall read 'Amadis de Gaule,' and such books of pastime which discourse
de amore; and instead of knitting and sewing she shall learn to dance a
galdiarde, and such courtoisies as are the mode of our country and
suitable to her rank."

The reply was careless, flippant, almost contemptuous. It is very certain
that William of Orange was not yet the "father William" he was destined
to become--grave, self-sacrificing, deeply religious, heroic; but it was
equally evident from this language that he had small sympathy, either in
public or private, with Lutheranism or theological controversy. Landgrave
William was not far from right when he added, in his quaint style, after
recalling this well-known reply, "Your grace will observe, therefore,
that when the abbot has dice in his pocket, the convent will play."

So great was the excitement at the little court of Cassel, that many
Protestant princes and nobles declared that "they would sooner give their
daughters to a boor or a swineherd than to a Papist." The Landgrave was
equally vigorous in his protest, drawn up in due form on the 26th April,
1561. He was not used, he said, "to flatter or to tickle with a foxtail."
He was sorry if his language gave offense, nevertheless "the marriage was
odious, and that was enough." He had no especial objection to the Prince,
"who before the world was a brave and honorable man." He conceded that
his estates were large, although he hinted that his debts also were
ample; allowed that he lived in magnificent style, had even heard "of one
of his banquets, where all the table-cloths, plates, and every thing
else, were made of sugar," but thought he might be even a little too
extravagant; concluding, after a good deal of skimble-skamble of this
nature, with "protesting before God, the world, and all pious Christians,
that he was not responsible for the marriage, but only the Elector
Augustus and others, who therefore would one day have to render account
thereof to the Lord."

Meantime the wedding had been fixed to take place on Sunday, the 24th
August, 1561. This was St. Bartholomew's, a nuptial day which was not
destined to be a happy one in the sixteenth century. The Landgrave and
his family declined to be present at the wedding, but a large and
brilliant company were invited. The King of Spain sent a bill of exchange
to the Regent, that she might purchase a ring worth three thousand
crowns, as a present on his part to the bride. Beside this liberal
evidence that his opposition to the marriage was withdrawn, he authorized
his sister to appoint envoys from among the most distinguished nobles to
represent him on the occasion. The Baron de Montigny, accordingly, with a
brilliant company of gentlemen, was deputed by the Duchess, although she
declined sending all the governors of the provinces, according to the
request of the Prince. The marriage was to take place at Leipsic. A
slight picture of the wedding festivities, derived entirely from
unpublished sources, may give some insight into the manners and customs
of high life in Germany and the Netherlands at this epoch.

The Kings of Spain and Denmark were invited, and were represented by
special ambassadors. The Dukes of Brunswick, Lauenburg, Mecklenburg, the
Elector and Margraves of Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Cologne, the Duke
of Cleves, the Bishops of Naumburg, Meneburg, Meissen, with many other
potentates, accepted the invitations, and came generally in person, a few
only being represented by envoys. The town councils of Erfurt, Leipsic,
Magdeburg, and other cities, were also bidden. The bridegroom was
personally accompanied by his brothers John, Adolphus, and Louis; by the
Burens, the Leuchtenbergs, and various other distinguished personages.

As the electoral residence at Leipsic was not completely finished,
separate dwellings were arranged for each of the sovereign families
invited, in private houses, mostly on the market-place. Here they were to
be furnished with provisions by the Elector's officials, but they were to
cook for themselves. For this purpose all the princes had been requested
to bring their own cooks and butlers, together with their plate and
kitchen utensils. The sovereigns themselves were to dine daily with the
Elector at the town-house, but the attendants and suite were to take
their meals in their own lodgings. A brilliant collection of gentlemen
and pages, appointed by the Elector to wait at his table, were ordered to
assemble at Leipsic on the 22d, the guests having been all invited for
the 23d. Many regulations were given to these noble youths, that they
might discharge their duties with befitting decorum. Among other orders,
they received particular injunctions that they were to abstain from all
drinking among themselves, and from all riotous conduct whatever, while
the sovereigns and potentates should be at dinner. "It would be a
shameful indecency," it was urged, "if the great people sitting at table
should be unable to hear themselves talk on account of the screaming of
the attendants." This provision did not seem unreasonable. They were also
instructed that if invited to drink by any personage at the great tables
they were respectfully to decline the challenge, and to explain the cause
after the repast.

Particular arrangements were also made for the safety of the city.
Besides the regular guard of Leipsic, two hundred and twenty
arquebuseers, spearsmen, and halberdmen, were ordered from the
neighboring towns. These were to be all dressed in uniform; one arm, side
and leg in black, and the other in yellow, according to a painting
distributed beforehand to the various authorities. As a mounted patrole,
Leipsic had a regular force of two men. These were now increased to ten,
and received orders to ride with their lanterns up and down all the
streets and lanes, to accost all persons whom they might find abroad
without lights in their hands, to ask them their business in courteous
language, and at the same time to see generally to the peace and safety
of the town.

Fifty arquebuseers were appointed to protect the town-house, and a
burgher watch of six hundred was distributed in different quarters,
especially to guard against fire.

On Saturday, the day before the wedding, the guests had all arrived at
Leipsic, and the Prince of Orange, with his friends, at Meneburg. On
Sunday, the 24th August, the Elector at the head of his guests and
attendants, in splendid array, rode forth to receive the bridegroom. His
cavalcade numbered four thousand. William of Orange had arrived,
accompanied by one thousand mounted men. The whole troop now entered the
city together, escorting the Prince to the town-house. Here he
dismounted, and was received on the staircase by the Princess Anna,
attended by her ladies. She immediately afterwards withdrew to her

It was at this point, between 4 and 5 P.M., that the Elector and
Electress, with the bride and bridegroom, accompanied also by the Dame
Sophia von Miltitz and the Councillors Hans von Ponika and Ubrich
Woltersdorff upon one side, and by Count John of Nassau and Heinrich von
Wiltberg upon the other, as witnesses, appeared before Wolf Seidel,
notary, in a corner room of the upper story of the town-house. One of the
councillors, on the part of the Elector, then addressed the bridegroom.
He observed that his highness would remember, no doubt, the contents of a
memorandum or billet, sent by the Elector on the 14th April of that year,
by the terms of which the Prince was to agree that he would, neither by
threat nor persuasion, prevent his future wife from continuing in the
Augsburg Confession; that he would allow her to go to places where she
might receive the Augsburg sacraments; that in case of extreme need she
should receive them in her chamber; and that the children who might
spring from the marriage should be instructed as to the Augsburg
doctrines. As, however, continued the councillor, his highness the Prince
of Orange has, for various reasons, declined giving any such agreement in
writing, as therefore it had been arranged that before the marriage
ceremony the Prince should, in the presence of the bride and of the other
witnesses, make a verbal promise on the subject, and as the parties were
now to be immediately united in marriage, therefore the Elector had no
doubt that the Prince would make no objection in presence of those
witnesses to give his consent to maintain the agreements comprised in the
memorandum or note. The note was then read. Thereupon, the Prince
answered verbally. "Gracious Elector; I remember the writing which you
sent me on the 14th April. All the point: just narrated by the Doctor
were contained in it. I now state to your highness that I will keep it
all as becomes a prince, and conform to it." Thereupon he gave the
Elector his hand.--

What now was the amount and meaning of this promise on the part of the
Prince? Almost nothing. He would conform to the demands of the Elector,
exactly as he had hitherto said he would conform to them. Taken in
connexion with his steady objections to sign and seal any instrument on
the subject--with his distinct refusal to the Landgrave (through Knuttel)
to allow the Princess an evangelical preacher or to receive the
sacraments in the Netherlands--with the vehement, formal, and public
protest, on the part of the Landgrave, against the marriage--with the
Prince's declarations to the Elector at Dresden, which were satisfactory
on all points save the religious point,--what meaning could this verbal
promise have, save that the Prince would do exactly as much with regard
to the religious question as he had always promised, and no more? This
was precisely what did happen. There was no pretence on the part of the
Elector, afterwards, that any other arrangement had been contemplated.
The Princess lived catholically from the moment of her marriage, exactly
as Orange had stated to the Duchess Margaret, and as the Elector knew
would be the case. The first and the following children born of the
marriage were baptized by Catholic priests, with very elaborate Catholic
ceremonies, and this with the full consent of the Elector, who sent
deputies and officiated as sponsor on one remarkable occasion.

Who, of all those guileless lambs then, Philip of Spain, the Elector of
Saxony, or Cardinal Granvelle, had been deceived by the language or
actions of the Prince? Not one. It may be boldly asserted that the
Prince, placed in a transition epoch, both of the age and of his own
character, surrounded by the most artful and intriguing personages known
to history, and involved in a network of most intricate and difficult
circumstances, acquitted himself in a manner as honorable as it was
prudent. It is difficult to regard the notarial instrument otherwise than
as a memorandum, filed rather by Augustus than by wise William, in order
to put upon record for his own justification, his repeated though
unsuccessful efforts to procure from the Prince a regularly signed,
sealed, and holographic act, upon the points stated in the famous note.

After the delay occasioned by these private formalities, the bridal
procession, headed by the court musicians, followed by the court
marshals, councillors, great officers of state, and the electoral family,
entered the grand hall of the town-house. The nuptial ceremony was then
performed by "the Superintendent Doctor Pfeffinger." Immediately
afterwards, and in the same hall, the bride and bridegroom were placed
publicly upon a splendid, gilded bed, with gold-embroidered curtains, the
Princess being conducted thither by the Elector and Electress. Confects
and spiced drinks were then served to them and to the assembled company.
After this ceremony they were conducted to their separate chambers, to
dress for dinner. Before they left the hall, however, Margrave Hans of
Brandenburg, on part of the Elector of Saxony, solemnly recommended the
bride to her husband, exhorting him to cherish her with faith and
affection, and "to leave her undisturbed in the recognized truth of the
holy gospel and the right use of the sacraments."

Five round tables were laid in the same hall immediately afterwards--each
accommodating ten guests. As soon as the first course of twenty-five
dishes had been put upon the chief table, the bride and bridegroom, the
Elector and Electress, the Spanish and Danish envoys and others, were
escorted to it, and the banquet began. During the repast, the Elector's
choir and all the other bands discoursed the "merriest and most ingenious
music." The noble vassals handed the water, the napkins, and the wine,
and every thing was conducted decorously and appropriately. As soon as
the dinner was brought to a close, the tables were cleared away, and the
ball began in the same apartment. Dances, previously arranged, were
performed, after which "confects and drinks" were again distributed, and
the bridal pair were then conducted to the nuptial chamber.

The wedding, according to the Lutheran custom of the epoch, had thus
taken place not in a church, but in a private dwelling; the hall of the
town-house, representing, on this occasion, the Elector's own saloons. On
the following morning, however, a procession was formed at seven o'clock
to conduct the newly-married couple to the church of St. Nicholas, there
to receive an additional exhortation and benediction. Two separate
companies of gentlemen, attended by a great number of "fifers, drummers,
and trumpeters," escorted the bride and the bridegroom, "twelve counts
wearing each a scarf of the Princess Anna's colors, with golden garlands
on their heads and lighted torches in their hands," preceding her to the
choir, where seats had been provided for the more illustrious portion of
the company. The church had been magnificently decked in tapestry, and,
as the company entered, a full orchestra performed several fine motettos.
After listening to a long address from Dr. Pfeffinger, and receiving a
blessing before the altar, the Prince and Princess of Orange returned,
with their attendant processions, to the town-house.

After dinner, upon the same and the three following days, a tournament
was held. The lists were on the market-place, on the side nearest the
town-house; the Electress and the other ladies looking down from balcony
and window to "rain influence and adjudge the prize." The chief hero of
these jousts, according to the accounts in the Archives, was the Elector
of Saxony. He "comported himself with such especial chivalry" that his
far-famed namesake and remote successor, Augustus the Strong, could
hardly have evinced more knightly prowess. On the first day he
encountered George Von Wiedebach, and unhorsed him so handsomely that the
discomfited cavalier's shoulder was dislocated. On the following day he
tilted with Michael von Denstedt, and was again victorious, hitting his
adversary full in the target, and "bearing him off over his horse's tail
so neatly, that the knight came down, heels over head, upon the earth."

On Wednesday, there was what was called the palliatourney. The Prince of
Orange, at the head of six bands, amounting in all to twenty-nine men;
the Margrave George of Brandenburg, with seven bands, comprising
thirty-four men, and the Elector Augustus, with one band of four men,
besides himself, all entered the lists. Lots were drawn for the "gate of
honor," and gained by the Margrave, who accordingly defended it with his
band. Twenty courses were then run between these champions and the Prince
of Orange, with his men. The Brandenburgs broke seven lances, the
Prince's party only six, so that Orange was obliged to leave the lists
discomfited. The ever-victorious Augustus then took the field, and ran
twenty courses against the defenders, breaking fourteen spears to the
Brandenburg's ten. The Margrave, thus defeated, surrendered the "gate of
honor" to the Elector, who maintained, it the rest of the day against all
comers. It is fair to suppose, although the fact is not recorded, that
the Elector's original band had received some reinforcement. Otherwise,
it would be difficult to account for these constant victories, except by
ascribing more than mortal strength, as well as valor, to Augustus and
his four champions. His party broke one hundred and fifty-six lances, of
which number the Elector himself broke thirty-eight and a half. He
received the first prize, but declined other guerdons adjudged to him.
The reward for the hardest hitting was conferred on Wolf Von Schonberg,
"who thrust Kurt Von Arnim clean out of the saddle, so that he fell
against the barriers."

On Thursday was the riding at the ring. The knights who partook of this
sport wore various strange garbs over their armor. Some were disguised as
hussars, some as miners, come as lansquenettes; others as Tartans,
pilgrims, fools, bird-catchers, hunters, monks; peasants, or Netherland
cuirassiers. Each party was attended by a party of musicians, attired in
similar costume. Moreover, Count Gunter Von Schwartzburg made, his
appearance in the lists, accompanied "by five remarkable giants of
wonderful proportions and appearance, very ludicrous to behold, who
performed all kind of odd antics on horseback."

The next day there was a foot tourney, followed in the evening by
"mummeries," or masquerades. These masques were repeated on the following
evening, and afforded great entertainment. The costumes were magnificent,
"with golden and pearl embroidery," the dances were very merry and
artistic, and the musicians, who formed a part of the company, exhibited
remarkable talent. These "mummeries" had been brought by William of
Orange from the Netherlands, at the express request of the Elector, on
the ground that such matters were much better understood in the provinces
than in Germany.

Such is a slight sketch of the revels by which this ill-fated Bartholomew
marriage was celebrated. While William of Orange was thus employed in
Germany, Granvelle seized the opportunity to make his entry into the city
of Mechlin, as archbishop; believing that such a step would be better
accomplished in the absence of the Prince from the country. The Cardinal
found no one in the city to welcome him. None of the great nobles were
there. "The people looked upon the procession with silent hatred. No man
cried, God bless him." He wrote to the King that he should push forward
the whole matter of the bishoprics as fast as possible, adding the
ridiculous assertion that the opposition came entirely from the nobility,
and that "if the seigniors did not talk so much, not a man of the people
would open his mouth on the subject."

The remonstrance offered by the three estates of Brabant against the
scheme had not influenced Philip. He had replied in a peremptory tone. He
had assured them that he had no intention of receding, and that the
province of Brabant ought to feel itself indebted to him for having given
them prelates instead of abbots to take care of their eternal interests,
and for having erected their religious houses into episcopates. The
abbeys made what resistance they could, but were soon fain to come to a
compromise with the bishops, who, according to the arrangement thus made,
were to receive a certain portion of the abbey revenues, while the
remainder was to belong to the institutions, together with a continuance
of their right to elect their own chiefs, subordinate, however, to the
approbation of the respective prelates of the diocese. Thus was the
episcopal matter settled in Brabant. In many of the other bishoprics the
new dignitaries were treated with disrespect, as they made their entrance
into their cities, while they experienced endless opposition and
annoyance on attempting to take possession of the revenue assigned to


     History shows how feeble are barriers of paper
     Licences accorded by the crown to carry slaves to America
     We believe our mothers to have been honest women
     When the abbot has dice in his pocket, the convent will play
     Wiser simply to satisfy himself


1561-1562  [CHAPTER III.]

   The inquisition the great cause of the revolt--The three varieties
   of the institution--The Spanish inquisition described--The Episcopal
   inquisition in the Netherlands--The Papal inquisition established in
   the provinces by Charles V.--His instructions to the inquisitors--
   They are renewed by Philip--Inquisitor Titelmann--Instances of his
   manner of proceeding--Spanish and Netherland inquisitions compared--
   Conduct of Granvelle--Faveau and Mallart condemned at Valenciennes--
   "Journee des maubrulea"--Severe measures at Valenciennes--Attack of
   the Rhetoric Clubs Upon Granvelle--Granvelle's insinuations against
   Egmont and Simon Renard--Timidity of Viglius--Universal hatred
   toward the Cardinal--Buffoonery of Brederode and Lumey--Courage of
   Granvelle--Philip taxes the Netherlands for the suppression of the
   Huguenots in France--Meeting of the Knights of the Fleece--Assembly
   at the house of Orange--Demand upon the estates for supplies--
   Montigny appointed envoy to Spain--Open and determined opposition to
   Granvelle--Secret representations by the Cardinal to Philip,
   concerning Egmont and other Seigniors--Line of conduct traced out
   for the King--Montigny's representations in Spain--Unsatisfactory
   result of his mission.

The great cause of the revolt which, within a few years, was to break
forth throughout the Netherlands; was the inquisition. It is almost
puerile to look further or deeper, when such a source of convulsion lies
at the very outset of any investigation. During the war there had been,
for reasons already indicated, an occasional pause in the religious
persecution. Philip had now returned to Spain, having arranged, with
great precision, a comprehensive scheme for exterminating that religious
belief which was already accepted by a very large portion of his
Netherland Subjects. From afar there rose upon the provinces the
prophetic vision of a coming evil still more terrible than any which had
yet oppressed them. As across the bright plains of Sicily, when the sun
is rising, the vast pyramidal shadow of Mount Etna is definitely and
visibly projected--the phantom of that ever-present enemy, which holds
fire and devastation in its bosom--so, in the morning hour of Philip's
reign, the shadow of the inquisition was cast from afar across those warm
and smiling provinces--a spectre menacing fiercer flames and wider
desolation than those which mere physical agencies could ever compass.

There has been a good deal of somewhat superfluous discussion concerning
the different kinds of inquisition. The distinction drawn between the
papal, the episcopal, and the Spanish inquisitions, did not, in the
sixteenth century, convince many unsophisticated minds of the merits of
the establishment in any of its shapes. However classified or entitled,
it was a machine for inquiring into a man's thoughts, and for burning him
if the result was not satisfactory.

The Spanish inquisition, strictly so called, that is to say, the modern
or later institution established by Pope Alexander the Sixth and
Ferdinand the Catholic, was doubtless invested with a more complete
apparatus for inflicting human misery, and for appalling human
imagination, than any of the other less artfully arranged inquisitions,
whether papal or episcopal. It had been originally devised for Jews or
Moors, whom the Christianity of the age did not regard as human beings,
but who could not be banished without depopulating certain districts. It
was soon, however, extended from pagans to heretics. The Dominican
Torquemada was the first Moloch to be placed upon this pedestal of blood
and fire, and from that day forward the "holy office" was almost
exclusively in the hands of that band of brothers. In the eighteen years
of Torquemada's administration; ten thousand two hundred and twenty
individuals were burned alive, and ninety-seven thousand three hundred
and twenty-one punished with infamy, confiscation of property, or
perpetual imprisonment, so that the total number of families destroyed by
this one friar alone amounted to one hundred and fourteen thousand four
hundred and one. In course of time the jurisdiction of the office was
extended. It taught the savages of India and America to shudder at the
name of Christianity. The fear of its introduction froze the earlier
heretics of Italy, France, and Ger many into orthodoxy. It was a court
owning allegiance to no temporal authority, superior to all other
tribunals. It was a bench of monks without appeal, having its familiars
in every house, diving into the secrets of every fireside, judging, and
executing its horrible decrees without responsibility. It condemned not
deeds, but thoughts. It affected to descend into individual conscience,
and to punish the crimes which it pretended to discover. Its process was
reduced to a horrible simplicity. It arrested on suspicion, tortured till
confession, and then punished by fire. Two witnesses, and those to
separate facts, were sufficient to consign the victim to a loathsome
dungeon. Here he was sparingly supplied with food, forbidden to speak, or
even to sing to which pastime it could hardly be thought he would feel
much inclination--and then left to himself, till famine and misery should
break his spirit. When that time was supposed to have arrived he was
examined. Did he confess, and forswear his heresy, whether actually
innocent or not, he might then assume the sacred shirt, and escape with
confiscation of all his property. Did he persist in the avowal of his
innocence, two witnesses sent him to the stake, one witness to the rack.
He was informed of the testimony against him, but never confronted with
the witness. That accuser might be his son, father, or the wife of his
bosom, for all were enjoined, under the death penalty, to inform the
inquisitors of every suspicious word which might fall from their nearest
relatives. The indictment being thus supported, the prisoner was tried by
torture. The rack was the court of justice; the criminal's only advocate
was his fortitude--for the nominal counsellor, who was permitted no
communication with the prisoner, and was furnished neither with documents
nor with power to procure evidence, was a puppet, aggravating the
lawlessness of the proceedings by the mockery of legal forms: The torture
took place at midnight, in a gloomy dungeon, dimly, lighted by torches.
The victim--whether man, matron, or tender virgin--was stripped naked,
and stretched upon the wooden bench. Water, weights, fires, pulleys,
screws--all the apparatus by which the sinews could be strained without
cracking, the bones crushed without breaking, and the body racked
exquisitely without giving up its ghost, was now put into operation. The
executioner, enveloped in a black robe from head to foot, with his eyes
glaring at his victim through holes cut in the hood which muffled his
face, practised successively all the forms of torture which the devilish
ingenuity of the monks had invented. The imagination sickens when
striving to keep pace with these dreadful realities. Those who wish to
indulge their curiosity concerning the details of the system, may easily
satisfy themselves at the present day. The flood of light which has been
poured upon the subject more than justifies the horror and the rebellion
of the Netherlanders.

The period during which torture might be inflicted from day to day was
unlimited in duration. It could only be terminated by confession; so that
the scaffold was the sole refuge from the rack. Individuals have borne
the torture and the dungeon fifteen years, and have been burned at the
stake at last.

Execution followed confession, but the number of condemned prisoners was
allowed to accumulate, that a multitude of victims might grace each great
gala-day. The auto-da fe was a solemn festival. The monarch, the high
functionaries of the land, the reverend clergy, the populace regarded it
as an inspiring and delightful recreation. When the appointed morning
arrived, the victim was taken from his dungeon. He was then attired in a
yellow robe without sleeves, like a herald's coat, embroidered all over
with black figures of devils. A large conical paper mitre was placed upon
his head, upon which was represented a human being in the midst of
flames, surrounded by imps. His tongue was then painfully gagged, so that
he could neither open nor shut his mouth. After he was thus accoutred,
and just as he was leaving his cell, a breakfast, consisting of every
delicacy, was placed before him, and he was urged, with ironical
politeness, to satisfy his hunger. He was then led forth into the public
square. The procession was formed with great pomp. It was headed by the
little school children, who were immediately followed by the band of
prisoners, each attired in the horrible yet ludicrous manner described.
Then came the magistrates and nobility, the prelates and other
dignitaries of the Church: the holy inquisitors, with their officials and
familiars, followed, all on horseback, with the blood-red flag of the
"sacred office" waving above them, blazoned upon either side with the
portraits of Alexander and of Ferdinand, the pair of brothers who had
established the institution. After the procession came the rabble. When
all had reached the neighborhood of the scaffold, and had been arranged
in order, a sermon was preached to the assembled multitude. It was filled
with laudations of the inquisition, and with blasphemous revilings
against the condemned prisoners. Then the sentences were read to the
individual victims. Then the clergy chanted the fifty-first psalm, the
whole vast throng uniting in one tremendous miserere. If a priest
happened to be among the culprits, he was now stripped of the canonicals
which he had hitherto worn; while his hands, lips, and shaven crown were
scraped with a bit of glass, by which process the oil of his consecration
was supposed to be removed. He was then thrown into the common herd.
Those of the prisoners who were reconciled, and those whose execution was
not yet appointed, were now separated from the others. The rest were
compelled to mount a scaffold, where the executioner stood ready to
conduct them to the fire. The inquisitors then delivered them into his
hands, with an ironical request that he would deal with them tenderly,
and without blood-letting or injury. Those who remained steadfast to the
last were then burned at the stake; they who in the last extremity
renounced their faith were strangled before being thrown into the flames.
Such was the Spanish inquisition--technically--so called: It was,
according' to the biographer of Philip the Second, a "heavenly remedy, a
guardian angel of Paradise, a lions' den in which Daniel and other just
men could sustain no injury, but in which perverse sinners were torn to
pieces." It was a tribunal superior to all human law, without appeal, and
certainly owing no allegiance to the powers of earth or heaven. No rank,
high or humble, was safe from its jurisdiction. The royal family were not
sacred, nor, the pauper's hovel. Even death afforded no protection. The
holy office invaded the prince in his palace and the beggar in his
shroud. The corpses of dead heretics were mutilated and burned. The
inquisitors preyed upon carcases and rifled graves. A gorgeous festival
of the holy office had, as we have seen, welcomed Philip to his native
land. The news of these tremendous autos-da fe, in which so many
illustrious victims had been sacrificed before their sovereign's eyes,
had reached the Netherlands almost simultaneously with the bulls creating
the new bishoprics in the provinces. It was not likely that the measure
would be rendered more palatable by this intelligence of the royal

The Spanish inquisition had never flourished in any soil but that of the
peninsula. It is possible that the King and Granvelle were sincere in
their protestations of entertaining no intention of introducing it into
the Netherlands, although the protestations of such men are entitled to
but little weight. The truth was, that the inquisition existed already in
the provinces. It was the main object of the government to confirm and
extend the institution. The episcopal inquisition, as we have already
seen, had been enlarged by the enormous increase in the number of
bishops, each of whom was to be head inquisitor in his diocese, with two
special inquisitors under him. With this apparatus and with the edicts,
as already described, it might seem that enough had already been done for
the suppression of heresy. But more had been done. A regular papal
inquisition also existed in the Netherlands. This establishment, like the
edicts, was the gift of Charles the Fifth. A word of introduction is here
again necessary--nor let the reader deem that too much time is devoted to
this painful subject. On the contrary, no definite idea can be formed as
to the character of the Netherland revolt without a thorough
understanding of this great cause--the religious persecution in which the
country had lived, breathed, and had its being, for half a century, and
in which, had the rebellion not broken out at last, the population must
have been either exterminated or entirely embruted. The few years which
are immediately to occupy us in the present and succeeding chapter,
present the country in a daily increasing ferment from the action of
causes which had existed long before, but which received an additional
stimulus as the policy of the new reign developed itself.

Previously to the accession of Charles V., it can not be said that an
inquisition had ever been established in the provinces. Isolated
instances to the contrary, adduced by the canonists who gave their advice
to Margaret of Parma, rather proved the absence than the existence of the
system. In the reign of Philip the Good, the vicar of the
inquisitor-general gave sentence against some heretics, who were burned
in Lille (1448). In 1459, Pierre Troussart, a Jacobin monk, condemned
many Waldenses, together with some leading citizens of Artois, accused of
sorcery and heresy. He did this, however, as inquisitor for the Bishop of
Arras, so that it was an act of episcopal, and not papal inquisition. In
general, when inquisitors were wanted in the provinces, it was necessary
to borrow them from France or Germany. The exigencies of persecution
making a domestic staff desirable, Charles the Fifth, in the year 1522,
applied to his ancient tutor, whom he had placed on the papal throne.

Charles had, however, already, in the previous year appointed Francis Van
der Hulst to be inquisitor-general for the Netherlands. This man, whom
Erasmus called a "wonderful enemy to learning," was also provided with a
coadjutor, Nicholas of Egmond by name, a Carmelite monk, who was
characterized by the same authority as "a madman armed with a sword." The
inquisitor-general received full powers to cite, arrest, imprison,
torture heretics without observing the ordinary forms of law, and to
cause his sentences to be executed without appeal. He was, however, in
pronouncing definite judgments, to take the advice of Laurens, president
of the grand council of Mechlin, a coarse, cruel and ignorant man, who
"hated learning with a more than deadly hatred," and who might certainly
be relied upon to sustain the severest judgments which the inquisitor
might fulminate. Adrian; accordingly, commissioned Van der Hulst to be
universal and general inquisitor for all the Netherlands. At the same
time it was expressly stated that his functions were not to supersede
those exercised by the bishops as inquisitors in their own sees. Thus the
papal inquisition was established in the provinces. Van der Hulst, a
person of infamous character, was not the man to render the institution
less odious than it was by its nature. Before he had fulfilled his duties
two years, however, he was degraded from his office by the Emperor for
having forged a document. In 1525, Buedens, Houseau and Coppin were
confirmed by Clement the Seventh as inquisitors in the room of Van der
Hulst. In 1531, Ruard Tapper and Michael Drutius were appointed by Paul
the Third, on the decease of Coppin, the other two remaining in office.
The powers of the papal inquisitors had been gradually extended, and they
were, by 1545, not only entirely independent of the episcopal
inquisition, but had acquired right of jurisdiction over bishops and
archbishops, whom they were empowered to arrest and imprison. They had
also received and exercised the privilege of appointing delegates, or
sub-inquisitors, on their own authority. Much of the work was, indeed,
performed by these officials, the most notorious of whom were Barbier, De
Monte, Titelmann, Fabry, Campo de Zon, and Stryen. In 1545, and again in
1550, a stringent set of instructions were drawn up by the Emperor for
the guidance of these papal inquisitors. A glance at their context shows
that the establishment was not intended to be an empty form.

They were empowered to inquire, proceed against, and chastise all
heretics, all persons suspected of heresy, and their protectors.
Accompanied by a notary, they were to collect written information
concerning every person in the provinces, "infected or vehemently
suspected." They were authorized to summon all subjects of his Majesty,
whatever their rank, quality, or station, and to compel them to give
evidence, or to communicate suspicions. They were to punish all who
pertinaciously refused such depositions with death. The Emperor commanded
his presidents, judges, sheriffs, and all other judicial and executive
officers to render all "assistance to the inquisitors and their familiars
in their holy and pious inquisition, whenever required so to do," on pain
of being punished as encouragers of heresy, that is to say, with death.
Whenever the inquisitors should be satisfied as to the heresy of any
individual, they were to order his arrest and detention by the judge of
the place, or by others arbitrarily to be selected by them. The judges or
persons thus chosen, were enjoined to fulfil the order, on pain of being
punished as protectors of heresy, that is to say, with death, by sword or
fire. If the prisoner were an ecclesiastic, the inquisitor was to deal
summarily with the case "without noise or form in the process--selecting
an imperial councillor to render the sentence of absolution or
condemnation." If the prisoner were a lay person, the inquisitor was to
order his punishment, according to the edicts, by the council of the
province. In case of lay persons suspected but not convicted of heresy,
the inquisitor was to proceed to their chastisement, "with the advice of
a counsellor or some other expert." In conclusion, the Emperor ordered
the "inquisitors to make it known that they were not doing their own
work, but that of Christ, and to persuade all persons of this fact." This
clause of their instructions seemed difficult of accomplishment, for no
reasonable person could doubt that Christ, had he re-appeared in human
form, would have been instantly crucified again, or burned alive in any
place within the dominions of Charles or Philip. The blasphemy with which
the name of Jesus was used by such men to sanctify all these nameless
horrors, is certainly not the least of their crimes.

In addition to these instructions, a special edict had been issued on the
26th April, 1550, according to which all judicial officers, at the
requisition of the inquisitors, were to render them all assistance in the
execution of their office, by arresting and detaining all persons
suspected of heresy, according to the instructions issued to said
inquisitors; and this, notwithstanding any privileges or charters to the
contrary. In short, the inquisitors were not subject to the civil
authority, but the civil authority to them. The imperial edict empowered
them "to chastise, degrade, denounce, and deliver over heretics to the
secular judges for punishment; to make use of gaols, and to make arrests,
without ordinary warrant, but merely with notice given to a single
counselor, who was obliged to give sentence according to their desire,
without application to the ordinary judge."

These instructions to the inquisitors had been renewed and confirmed by
Philip, in the very first month of his reign (28th Nov. 1555). As in the
case of the edicts, it had been thought desirable by Granvelle to make
use of the supposed magic of the Emperor's name to hallow the whole
machinery of persecution. The action of the system during the greater
part of the imperial period had been terrible. Suffered for a time to
languish during the French war, it had lately been renewed with
additional vigor. Among all the inquisitors, the name of Peter Titelmann
was now pre-eminent. He executed his infamous functions throughout
Flanders, Douay, and Tournay, the most thriving and populous portions of
the Netherlands, with a swiftness, precision, and even with a jocularity
which hardly seemed human. There was a kind of grim humor about the man.
The woman who, according to Lear's fool, was wont to thrust her live eels
into the hot paste, "rapping them o' the coxcombs with a stick and crying
reproachfully, Wantons, lie down!" had the spirit of a true inquisitor.
Even so dealt Titelmann with his heretics writhing on the rack or in the
flames. Cotemporary chronicles give a picture of him as of some grotesque
yet terrible goblin, careering through the country by night or day,
alone, on horseback, smiting the trembling peasants on the head with a
great club, spreading dismay far and wide, dragging suspected persons
from their firesides or their beds, and thrusting them into dungeons,
arresting, torturing, strangling, burning, with hardly the shadow of
warrant, information, or process.

The secular sheriff, familiarly called Red-Rod, from the color of his
wand of office, meeting this inquisitor Titelmann one day upon the high
road, thus wonderingly addressed him--"How can you venture to go about
alone, or at most with an attendant or two, arresting people on every
side, while I dare not attempt to execute my office, except at the head
of a strong force, armed in proof; and then only at the peril of my

"Ah! Red-Rod," answered Peter, jocosely, "you deal with bad people. I
have nothing to fear, for I seize only the innocent and virtuous, who
make no resistance, and let themselves be taken like lambs."

"Mighty well," said the other; "but if you arrest all the good people and
I all the bad, 'tis difficult to say who in the world is to escape
chastisement." The reply of the inquisitor has not been recorded, but
there is no doubt that he proceeded like a strong man to run his day's

He was the most active of all the agents in the religious persecution at
the epoch of which we are now treating, but he had been inquisitor for
many years. The martyrology of the provinces reeks with his murders. He
burned men for idle words or suspected thoughts; he rarely waited,
according to his frank confession, for deeds. Hearing once that a certain
schoolmaster, named Geleyn de Muler, of Audenarde, "was addicted to
reading the Bible," he summoned the culprit before him and accused him of
heresy. The schoolmaster claimed, if he were guilty of any crime, to be
tried before the judges of his town. "You are my prisoner," said
Titelmann, "and are to answer me and none other." The inquisitor
proceeded accordingly to catechize him, and soon satisfied himself of the
schoolmaster's heresy. He commanded him to make immediate recantation.
The schoolmaster refused. "Do you not love your wife and children?" asked
the demoniac Titelmann. "God knows," answered the heretic, "that if the
whole world were of gold, and my own, I would give it all only to have
them with me, even had I to live on bread and water and in bondage." "You
have then," answered the inquisitor, "only to renounce the error of your
opinions."--"Neither for wife, children, nor all the world, can I
renounce my God and religious truth," answered the prisoner. Thereupon
Titelmann sentenced him to the stake. He was strangled and then thrown
into the flames.

At about the same-time, Thomas Calberg, tapestry weaver, of Tournay,
within the jurisdiction of this same inquisitor, was convicted of having
copied some hymns from a book printed in Geneva. He was burned alive.
Another man, whose name has perished, was hacked to death with seven
blows of a rusty sword, in presence of his wife, who was so
horror-stricken that she died on the spot before her husband. His crime,
to be sure, was anabaptism, the most deadly offence in the calendar. In
the same year, one Walter Kapell was burned at the stake for heretical
opinions. He was a man of some property, and beloved by the poor people
of Dixmuyde, in Flanders, where he resided, for his many charities. A
poor idiot, who had been often fed by his bounty, called out to the
inquisitor's subalterns, as they bound his patron to the stake, "ye are
bloody murderers; that man has done no wrong; but has given me bread to
eat." With these words, he cast himself headlong into the flames to
perish with his protector, but was with difficulty rescued by the
officers. A day or two afterwards, he made his way to the stake, where
the half-burnt skeleton of Walter Kapell still remained, took the body
upon his shoulders, and carried it through the streets to the house of
the chief burgomaster, where several other magistrates happened then to
be in session. Forcing his way into their presence, he laid his burthen
at their feet, crying, "There, murderers! ye have eaten his flesh, now
eat his bones!" It has not been recorded whether Titelmann sent him to
keep company with his friend in the next world. The fate of so obscure a
victim could hardly find room on the crowded pages of the Netherland

This kind of work, which went on daily, did not increase the love of the
people for the inquisition or the edicts. It terrified many, but it
inspired more with that noble resistance to oppression, particularly to
religious oppression, which is the sublimest instinct of human nature.
Men confronted the terrible inquisitors with a courage equal to their
cruelty: At Tournay, one of the chief cities of Titelmann's district, and
almost before his eyes, one Bertrand le Blas, a velvet manufacturer,
committed what was held an almost incredible crime. Having begged his
wife and children to pray for a blessing upon what he was about to
undertake, he went on Christmas-day to the Cathedral of Tournay and
stationed himself near the altar. Having awaited the moment in which the
priest held on high the consecrated host, Le Blas then forced his way
through the crowd, snatched the wafer from the hands of the astonished
ecclesiastic, and broke it into bits, crying aloud, as he did so,
"Misguided men, do ye take this thing to be Jesus Christ, your Lord and
Saviour?" With these words, he threw the fragments on the ground and
trampled them with his feet.

   [Histoire des Martyrs, f. 356, exev.; apud Brandt, i. 171,172.
   It may be well supposed that this would be regarded as a crime of
   almost inconceivable magnitude. It was death even to refuse to
   kneel in the streets when the wafer was carried by. Thus, for
   example, a poor huckster, named Simon, at Bergen-op-Zoom, who
   neglected to prostrate himself before his booth at the passage of
   the host, was immediately burned. Instances of the same punishment
   for that offence might be multiplied. In this particular case, it
   is recorded that the sheriff who was present at the execution was so
   much affected by the courage and fervor of the simple-minded victim,
   that he went home, took to his bed, became delirious, crying
   constantly, Ah, Simon! Simon! and died miserably, "notwithstanding
   all that the monks could do to console him."]

The amazement and horror were so universal at such an appalling offence,
that not a finger was raised to arrest the criminal. Priests and
congregation were alike paralyzed, so that he would have found no
difficulty in making his escape. Ho did not stir, however; he had come to
the church determined to execute what he considered a sacred duty, and to
abide the consequences. After a time, he was apprehended. The inquisitor
demanded if he repented of what he had done. He protested, on the
contrary, that he gloried in the deed, and that he would die a hundred
deaths to rescue from such daily profanation the name of his Redeemer,
Christ. He was then put thrice to the torture, that he might be forced to
reveal his accomplices. It did not seem in human power for one man to
accomplish such a deed of darkness without confederates. Bertrand had
none, however, and could denounce none. A frantic sentence was then
devised as a feeble punishment for so much wickedness. He was dragged on
a hurdle, with his mouth closed with an iron gag, to the market-place.
Here his right hand and foot were burned and twisted off between two
red-hot irons. His tongue was then torn out by the roots, and because he
still endeavored to call upon the name of God, the iron gag was again
applied. With his arms and legs fastened together behind his back, he was
then hooked by the middle of his body to an iron chain, and made to swing
to and fro over a slow fire till he was entirely roasted. His life lasted
almost to the end of these ingenious tortures, but his fortitude lasted
as long as his life.

In the next year, Titelmann caused one Robert Ogier, of Ryssel, in
Flanders, to be arrested, together with his wife and two sons. Their
crime consisted in not going to mass, and in practising private worship
at home. They confessed the offence, for they protested that they could
not endure to see the profanation of their Saviour's name in the
idolatrous sacraments. They were asked what rites they practised in their
own house. One of the sons, a mere boy, answered, "We fall on our knees,
and pray to God that he may enlighten our hearts, and forgive our sins.
We pray for our sovereign, that his reign may be prosperous, and his life
peaceful. We also pray for the magistrates and others in authority, that
God may protect and preserve them all." The boy's simple eloquence drew
tears even from the eyes of some of his judges; for the inquisitor had
placed the case before the civil tribunal. The father and eldest son
were, however, condemned to the flames. "Oh God!" prayed the youth at the
stake, "Eternal Father, accept the sacrifice of our lives, in the name of
thy beloved Son."--"Thou liest, scoundrel!" fiercely interrupted a monk,
who was lighting the fire; "God is not your father; ye are the devil's
children." As the flames rose about them, the boy cried out once more,
"Look, my father, all heaven is opening, and I see ten hundred thousand
angels rejoicing over us. Let us be glad, for we are dying for the
truth."--"Thou liest! thou liest!" again screamed the monk; "all hell
is opening, and you see ten thousand devils thrusting you into eternal
fire." Eight days afterwards, the wife of Ogier and his other son were
burned; so that there was an end of that family.

Such are a few isolated specimens of the manner of proceeding in a single
district of the Netherlands. The inquisitor Titelmann certainly deserved
his terrible reputation. Men called him Saul the persecutor, and it was
well known that he had been originally tainted with the heresy which he
had, for so many years, been furiously chastising. At the epoch which now
engages our attention, he felt stimulated by the avowed policy of the
government to fresh exertions, by which all his previous achievements
should be cast into the shade. In one day he broke into a house in
Ryssel, seized John de Swarte, his wife and four children, together with
two newly-married couples, and two other persons, convicted them of
reading the Bible, and of praying in their own doors, and had them all
immediately burned.

Are these things related merely to excite superfluous horror? Are the
sufferings of these obscure Christians beneath the dignity of history? Is
it not better to deal with murder and oppression in the abstract, without
entering into trivial details? The answer is, that these things are the
history of the Netherlands at this epoch; that these hideous details
furnish the causes of that immense movement, out of which a great
republic was born and an ancient tyranny destroyed; and that Cardinal
Granvelle was ridiculous when he asserted that the people would not open
their mouths if the seigniors did not make such a noise. Because the
great lords "owed their very souls"--because convulsions might help to
pay their debts, and furnish forth their masquerades and
banquets--because the Prince of Orange was ambitious, and Egmont jealous
of the Cardinal--therefore superficial writers found it quite natural
that the country should be disturbed, although that "vile and mischievous
animal, the people," might have no objection to a continuance of the
system which had been at work so long. On the contrary, it was exactly
because the movement was a popular and a religious movement that it will
always retain its place among the most important events of history.
Dignified documents, state papers, solemn treaties, are often of no more
value than the lambskin on which they are engrossed. Ten thousand
nameless victims, in the cause of religious and civil freedom, may build
up great states and alter the aspect of whole continents.

The nobles, no doubt, were conspicuous, and it was well for the cause of
the right that, as in the early hours of English liberty, the crown and
mitre were opposed by the baron's sword and shield. Had all the seigniors
made common cause with Philip and Granvelle, instead of setting their
breasts against the inquisition, the cause of truth and liberty would
have been still more desperate. Nevertheless they were directed and
controlled, under Providence, by humbler, but more powerful agencies than
their own. The nobles were but the gilded hands on the outside of the
dial--the hour to strike was determined by the obscure but weighty
movements within.

Nor is it, perhaps, always better to rely upon abstract phraseology, to
produce a necessary impression. Upon some minds, declamation concerning
liberty of conscience and religious tyranny makes but a vague impression,
while an effect may be produced upon them, for example by a dry,
concrete, cynical entry in an account book, such as the following, taken
at hazard from the register of municipal expenses at Tournay, during the
years with which we are now occupied:

   "To Mr. Jacques Barra, executioner, for having tortured, twice, Jean
   de Lannoy, ten sous.

   "To the same, for having executed, by fire, said Lannoy, sixty sous.
   For having thrown his cinders into the river, eight sous."

This was the treatment to which thousands, and tens of thousands, had
been subjected in the provinces. Men, women, and children were burned,
and their "cinders" thrown away, for idle words against Rome, spoken
years before, for praying alone in their closets, for not kneeling to a
wafer when they met it in the streets, for thoughts to which they had
never given utterance, but which, on inquiry, they were too honest to
deny. Certainly with this work going on year after year in every city in
the Netherlands, and now set into renewed and vigorous action by a man
who wore a crown only that he might the better torture his
fellow-creatures, it was time that the very stones in the streets should
be moved to mutiny.

Thus it may be seen of how much value were the protestations of Philip
and of Granvelle, on which much stress has latterly been laid, that it
was not their intention to introduce the Spanish inquisition. With the
edicts and the Netherland inquisition, such as we have described them,
the step was hardly necessary.

In fact, the main difference between the two institutions consisted in
the greater efficiency of the Spanish in discovering such of its victims
as were disposed to deny their faith. Devised originally for more
timorous and less conscientious infidels who were often disposed to skulk
in obscure places and to renounce without really abandoning their errors,
it was provided with a set of venomous familiars who glided through every
chamber and coiled themselves at every fireside. The secret details of
each household in the realm being therefore known to the holy office and
to the monarch, no infidel or heretic could escape discovery. This
invisible machinery was less requisite for the Netherlands. There was
comparatively little difficulty in ferreting out the "vermin"--to use the
expression of a Walloon historian of that age--so that it was only
necessary to maintain in good working order the apparatus for destroying
the noxious creatures when unearthed. The heretics of the provinces
assembled at each other's houses to practise those rites described in
such simple language by Baldwin Ogier, and denounced under such horrible
penalties by the edicts. The inquisitorial system of Spain was hardly
necessary for men who had but little prudence in concealing, and no
inclination to disavow their creed. "It is quite a laughable matter,"
wrote Granvelle, who occasionally took a comic view of the inquisition,
"that the King should send us depositions made in Spain by which we are
to hunt for heretics here, as if we did not know of thousands already.
Would that I had as many doubloons of annual income," he added, "as there
are public and professed heretics in the provinces." No doubt the
inquisition was in such eyes a most desirable establishment. "To speak
without passion," says the Walloon, "the inquisition well administered is
a laudable institution, and not less necessary than all the other offices
of spirituality and temporality belonging both to the bishops and to the
commissioners of the Roman see." The papal and episcopal establishments,
in co-operation with the edicts, were enough, if thoroughly exercised and
completely extended. The edicts alone were sufficient. "The edicts and
the inquisition are one and the same thing," said the Prince of Orange.
The circumstance, that the civil authorities were not as entirely
superseded by the Netherland, as by the Spanish system, was rather a
difference of form than of fact. We have seen that the secular officers
of justice were at the command of the inquisitors. Sheriff, gaoler,
judge, and hangman, were all required, under the most terrible penalties,
to do their bidding. The reader knows what the edicts were. He knows also
the instructions to the corps of papal inquisitors, delivered by Charles
and Philip: He knows that Philip, both in person and by letter, had done
his utmost to sharpen those instructions, during the latter portion of
his sojourn in the Netherlands. Fourteen new bishops, each with two
special inquisitors under him, had also been appointed to carry out the
great work to which the sovereign had consecrated his existence. The
manner in which the hunters of heretics performed their office has been
exemplified by slightly sketching the career of a single one of the
sub-inquisitors, Peter Titelmann. The monarch and his minister scarcely
needed, therefore, to transplant the peninsular exotic. Why should they
do so? Philip, who did not often say a great deal in a few words, once
expressed the whole truth of the matter in a single sentence: "Wherefore
introduce the Spanish inquisition?" said he; "the inquisition of the
Netherlands is much more pitiless than that of Spain."

Such was the system of religious persecution commenced by Charles, and
perfected by Philip. The King could not claim the merit of the invention,
which justly belonged to the Emperor. At the same time, his
responsibility for the unutterable woe caused by the continuance of the
scheme is not a jot diminished. There was a time when the whole system
had fallen into comparative desuetude. It was utterly abhorrent to the
institutions and the manners of the Netherlanders. Even a great number of
the Catholics in the provinces were averse to it. Many of the leading
grandees, every one of whom was Catholic were foremost in denouncing its
continuance. In short, the inquisition had been partially endured, but
never accepted. Moreover, it had never been introduced into Luxemburg or
Groningen. In Gelderland it had been prohibited by the treaty through
which that province had been annexed to the emperor's dominions, and it
had been uniformly and successfully resisted in Brabant. Therefore,
although Philip, taking the artful advice of Granvelle, had sheltered
himself under the Emperor's name by re-enacting, word for word, his
decrees, and re-issuing his instructions, he can not be allowed any such
protection at the bar of history. Such a defence for crimes so enormous
is worse than futile. In truth, both father and son recognized
instinctively the intimate connexion between ideas of religious and of
civil freedom. "The authority of God and the supremacy of his Majesty"
was the formula used with perpetual iteration to sanction the constant
recourse to scaffold and funeral pile. Philip, bigoted in religion, and
fanatical in his creed of the absolute power of kings, identified himself
willingly with the Deity, that he might more easily punish crimes against
his own sacred person. Granvelle carefully sustained him in these
convictions, and fed his suspicions as to the motives of those who
opposed his measures. The minister constantly represented the great
seigniors as influenced by ambition and pride. They had only disapproved
of the new bishoprics, he insinuated, because they were angry that his
Majesty should dare to do anything without their concurrence, and because
their own influence in the states would be diminished. It was their
object, he said, to keep the King "in tutelage"--to make him a "shadow
and a cipher," while they should themselves exercise all authority in the
provinces. It is impossible to exaggerate the effect of such suggestions
upon the dull and gloomy mind to which they were addressed. It is easy,
however, to see that a minister with such views was likely to be as
congenial to his master as he was odious to the people. For already, in
the beginning of 1562, Granvelle was extremely unpopular. "The Cardinal
is hated of all men," wrote Sir Thomas Gresham. The great struggle
between him and the leading nobles had already commenced. The people
justly identified him with the whole infamous machinery of persecution,
which had either originated or warmly made his own. Viglius and
Berlaymont were his creatures. With the other members of the state
council, according to their solemn statement, already recorded, he did
not deign to consult, while he affected to hold them responsible for the
measures of the administration. Even the Regent herself complained that
the Cardinal took affairs quite out of her hands, and that he decided
upon many important matters without her cognizance. She already began to
feel herself the puppet which it had been intended she should become; she
already felt a diminution of the respectful attachment for the
ecclesiastic which had inspired her when she procured his red hat.

Granvelle was, however, most resolute in carrying out the intentions of
his master. We have seen how vigorously he had already set himself to the
inauguration of the new bishoprics, despite of opposition and obloquy. He
was now encouraging or rebuking the inquisitors in their "pious office"
throughout all the provinces. Notwithstanding his exertions, however,
heresy continued to spread. In the Walloon provinces the infection was
most prevalent, while judges and executioners were appalled by the
mutinous demonstrations which each successive sacrifice provoked. The
victims were cheered on their way to the scaffold. The hymns of Marot
were sung in the very faces of the inquisitors. Two ministers, Faveau and
Mallart, were particularly conspicuous at this moment at Valenciennes.
The governor of the province, Marquis Berghen, was constantly absent, for
he hated with his whole soul the system of persecution. For this
negligence Granvelle denounced him secretly and perpetually to Philip,
"The Marquis says openly," said the Cardinal, "that 'tis not right to
shed blood for matters of faith. With such men to aid us, your Majesty
can judge how much progress we can make." It was, however, important, in
Granvelle's opinion, that these two ministers at Valenciennes should be
at once put to death. They were avowed heretics, and they preached to
their disciples, although they certainly were not doctors of divinity.
Moreover, they were accused, most absurdly, no doubt, of pretending to
work miracles. It was said that, in presence of several witnesses, they
had undertaken to cast out devils; and they had been apprehended on an
accusation of this nature.

   ["Histoire des choses les plus memorables qui se sent passees en la
   ville et Compte de Valenciennes depuis le commencement des troubles
   des Pays-Bas sons le regne de Phil. II., jusqu' a l'annee 1621."--
   MS. (Collect. Gerard).--This is a contemporary manuscript belonging
   to the Gerard collection in the Royal Library at the Hague. Its
   author was a citizen of Valenciennes, and a personal witness of most
   of the events which he describes. He appears to have attained to a
   great age, as he minutely narrates, from personal observation, many
   scenes which occurred before 1566, and his work is continued till
   the year 1621. It is a mere sketch, without much literary merit,
   but containing many local anecdotes of interest. Its anonymous
   author was a very sincere Catholic.]

Their offence really consisted in reading the Bible to a few of their
friends. Granvelle sent Philibert de Bruxelles to Valenciennes to procure
their immediate condemnation and execution. He rebuked the judges and
inquisitors, he sent express orders to Marquis Berghen to repair at once
to the scene of his duties. The prisoners were condemned in the autumn of
1561. The magistrates were, however, afraid to carry the sentence into
effect. Granvelle did not cease to censure them for their pusillanimity,
and wrote almost daily letters, accusing the magistrates of being
themselves the cause of the tumults by which they were appalled. The
popular commotion was, however, not lightly to be braved. Six or seven
months long the culprits remained in confinement, while daily and nightly
the people crowded the streets, hurling threats and defiance at the
authorities, or pressed about the prison windows, encouraging their
beloved ministers, and promising to rescue them in case the attempt
should be made to fulfil the sentence. At last Granvelle sent down a
peremptory order to execute the culprits by fire. On the 27th of April,
1562, Faveau and Mallart were accordingly taken from their jail and
carried to the market-place, where arrangements had been made for burning
them. Simon Faveau, as the executioner was binding him to the stake,
uttered the invocation, "O! Eternal Father!" A woman in the crowd, at the
same instant, took off her shoe and threw it at the funeral pile. This
was a preconcerted signal. A movement was at once visible in the crowd.
Men in great numbers dashed upon the barriers which had been erected in
the square around the place of execution. Some seized the fagots, which
had been already lighted, and scattered them in every direction; some
tore up the pavements; others broke in pieces the barriers. The
executioners were prevented from carrying out the sentence, but the guard
were enabled, with great celerity and determination, to bring off the
culprits and to place them in their dungeon again. The authorities were
in doubt and dismay. The inquisitors were for putting the ministers to
death in prison, and hurling their heads upon the street. Evening
approached while the officials were still pondering. The people who had
been chanting the Psalms of David through the town, without having
decided what should be their course of action, at last determined to
rescue the victims. A vast throng, after much hesitation, accordingly
directed their steps to the prison. "You should have seen this vile
populace," says an eye-witness, "moving, pausing, recoiling, sweeping
forward, swaying to and fro like the waves of the sea when it is agitated
by contending winds." The attack was vigorous, the defence was weak--for
the authorities had expected no such fierce demonstration,
notwithstanding the menacing language which had been so often uttered.
The prisoners were rescued, and succeeded in making their escape from the
city. The day in which the execution had been thus prevented was called,
thenceforward, the "day of the ill-burned," (Journee des mau-brulez). One
of the ministers, however, Simon Faveau, not discouraged by this near
approach to martyrdom, persisted in his heretical labors, and was a few
years afterwards again apprehended. "He was then," says the chronicler,
cheerfully, "burned well and finally" in the same place whence he had
formerly been rescued. [Valenciennes MS.]

This desperate resistance to tyranny was for a moment successful,
because, notwithstanding the murmurs and menaces by which the storm had
been preceded, the authorities had not believed the people capable of
proceeding to such lengths. Had not the heretics--in the words of
Inquisitor Titelmann--allowed themselves, year after year, to be taken
and slaughtered like lambs? The consternation of the magistrates was soon
succeeded by anger. The government at Brussels was in a frenzy of rage
when informed of the occurrence. A bloody vengeance was instantly
prepared, to vindicate the insult to the inquisition. On the 29th of
April, detachments of Bossu's and of Berghen's "band of ordonnance" were
sent into Valenciennes, together with a company of the Duke of Aerschot's
regiment. The prisons were instantly filled to overflowing with men and
women arrested for actual or suspected participation in the tumult.
Orders had been sent down from the capital to make a short process and a
sharp execution for all the criminals. On the 16th of May, the slaughter
commenced. Some were burned at the stake, some were beheaded: the number
of victims was frightful. "Nothing was left undone by the magistrates,"
says an eyewitness, with great approbation, "which could serve for the
correction and amendment of the poor people." It was long before the
judges and hangmen rested from their labors. When at last the havoc was
complete, it might be supposed that a sufficient vengeance had been taken
for the "day of the ill-burned," and an adequate amount of "amendment"
provided for the "poor people."

Such scenes as these did not tend to increase the loyalty of the nation,
nor the popularity of the government. On Granvelle's head was poured a
daily increasing torrent of hatred. He was looked upon in the provinces
as the impersonation of that religious oppression which became every
moment more intolerable. The King and the Regent escaped much of the
odium which belonged to them, because the people chose to bestow all
their maledictions upon the Cardinal. There was, however, no great
injustice in this embodiment. Granvelle was the government. As the people
of that day were extremely reverent to royalty, they vented all their
rage upon the minister, while maintaining still a conventional respect
for the sovereign. The prelate had already become the constant butt of
the "Rhetoric Chambers." These popular clubs for the manufacture of
homespun poetry and street farces out of the raw material of public
sentiment, occupied the place which has been more effectively filled in
succeeding ages, and in free countries by the daily press. Before the
invention of that most tremendous weapon, which liberty has ever wielded
against tyranny, these humble but influential associations shared with
the pulpit the only power which existed of moving the passions or
directing the opinions of the people. They were eminently liberal in
their tendencies. The authors and the actors of their comedies, poems,
and pasquils were mostly artisans or tradesmen, belonging to the class
out of which proceeded the early victims, and the later soldiers of the
Reformation. Their bold farces and truculent satire had already effected
much in spreading among the people a detestation of Church abuses. They
were particularly severe upon monastic licentiousness. "These corrupt
comedians, called rhetoricians," says the Walloon contemporary already
cited, "afforded much amusement to the people." Always some poor little
nuns or honest monks were made a part of the farce. It seemed as if the
people could take no pleasure except in ridiculing God and the Church.
The people, however, persisted in the opinion that the ideas of a monk
and of God were not inseparable. Certainly the piety of the early
reformers was sufficiently fervent, and had been proved by the steadiness
with which they confronted torture and death, but they knew no measure in
the ridicule which they heaped upon the men by whom they were daily
murdered in droves. The rhetoric comedies were not admirable in an
aesthetic point of view, but they were wrathful and sincere. Therefore
they cost many thousand lives, but they sowed the seed of resistance to
religious tyranny, to spring up one day in a hundredfold harvest. It was
natural that the authorities should have long sought to suppress these
perambulating dramas. "There was at that tyme," wrote honest Richard
Clough to Sir Thomas Gresham, "syche playes (of Reteryke) played thet
hath cost many a 1000 man's lyves, for in these plays was the Word of God
first opened in thys country. Weche playes were and are forbidden moche
more strictly than any of the bookes of Martin Luther."

These rhetoricians were now particularly inflamed against Granvelle. They
were personally excited against him, because he had procured the
suppression of their religious dramas. "These rhetoricians who make
farces and street plays," wrote the Cardinal to Philip, "are particularly
angry with me, because two years ago I prevented them from ridiculing the
holy Scriptures." Nevertheless, these institutions continued to pursue
their opposition to the course of the government. Their uncouth gambols,
their awkward but stunning blows rendered daily service to the cause of
religious freedom. Upon the newly-appointed bishops they poured out an
endless succession of rhymes and rebuses, epigrams, caricatures and
extravaganzas. Poems were pasted upon the walls of every house, and
passed from hand to hand. Farces were enacted in every street; the odious
ecclesiastics figuring as the principal buffoons. These representations
gave so much offence, that renewed edicts were issued to suppress them.
The prohibition was resisted, and even ridiculed in many provinces,
particularly in Holland. The tyranny which was able to drown a nation in
blood and tears, was powerless to prevent them from laughing most
bitterly at their oppressors. The tanner, Cleon, was never belabored more
soundly by the wits of Athens, than the prelate by these Flemish
"rhetoricians." With infinitely less Attic salt, but with as much
heartiness as Aristophanes could have done, the popular rhymers gave the
minister ample opportunity to understand the position which he occupied
in the Netherlands. One day a petitioner placed a paper in his hand and
vanished. It contained some scurrilous verses upon himself, together with
a caricature of his person. In this he was represented as a hen seated
upon a pile of eggs, out of which he was hatching a brood of bishops.
Some of these were clipping the shell, some thrusting forth an arm, some
a leg, while others were running about with mitres on their heads, all
bearing whimsical resemblance to various prelates who had been
newly-appointed. Above the Cardinal's head the Devil was represented
hovering, with these words issuing from his mouth: "This is my beloved
Son, listen to him, my people."

There was another lampoon of a similar nature, which was so well
executed, that it especially excited Granvelle's anger. It was a rhymed
satire of a general nature, like the rest, but so delicate and so
stinging, that the Cardinal ascribed it to his old friend and present
enemy, Simon Renard. This man, a Burgundian by birth, and college
associate of Granvelle, had been befriended both by himself and his
father. Aided by their patronage and his own abilities, he had arrived at
distinguished posts; having been Spanish envoy both in France and
England, and one of the negotiators of the truce of Vaucelles. He had
latterly been disappointed in his ambition to become a councillor of
state, and had vowed vengeance upon the Cardinal, to whom he attributed
his ill success. He was certainly guilty of much ingratitude, for he had
been under early obligations to the man in whose side he now became a
perpetual thorn. It must be confessed, on the other hand, that Granvelle
repaid the enmity of his old associate with a malevolence equal to his
own, and if Renard did not lose his head as well as his political
station, it was not for want of sufficient insinuation on the part of the
minister. Especially did Granvelle denounce him to "the master" as the
perverter of Egmont, while he usually described that nobleman himself, as
weak, vain, "a friend of smoke," easily misguided, but in the main
well-intentioned and loyal. At the same time, with all these vague
commendations, he never omitted to supply the suspicious King with an
account of every fact or every rumor to the Count's discredit. In the
case of this particular satire, he informed Philip that he could swear it
came from the pen of Renard, although, for the sake of deception, the
rhetoric comedians had been employed. He described the production as
filled with "false, abominable, and infernal things," and as treating not
only himself, but the Pope and the whole ecclesiastical order with as
much contumely as could be showed in Germany. He then proceeded to
insinuate, in the subtle manner which was peculiarly his own, that Egmont
was a party to the publication of the pasquil. Renard visited at that
house, he said, and was received there on a much more intimate footing
than was becoming. Eight days before the satire was circulated, there had
been a conversation in Egmont's house, of a nature exactly similar to the
substance of the pamphlet. The man, in whose hands it was first seen,
continued Granvelle, was a sword cutler, a godson of the Count. This
person said that he had torn it from the gate of the city hall, but God
grant, prayed the Cardinal, that it was not he who had first posted it up
there. 'Tis said that Egmont and Mansfeld, he added, have sent many times
to the cutler to procure copies of the satire, all which augments the
suspicion against them.

With the nobles he was on no better terms than with the people. The great
seigniors, Orange, Egmont, Horn, and others, openly avowed their
hostility to him, and had already given their reasons to the King.
Mansfeld and his son at that time were both with the opposition. Aerschot
and Aremberg kept aloof from the league which was forming against the
prelate, but had small sympathy for his person. Even Berlaymont began to
listen to overtures from the leading nobles, who, among other
inducements, promised to supply his children with bishoprics. There were
none truly faithful and submissive to the Cardinal but such men as the
Prevot Morillon, who had received much advancement from him.

This distinguished pluralist was popularly called "double A, B, C," to
indicate that he had twice as many benefices as there were letters in the
alphabet. He had, however, no objection to more, and was faithful to the
dispensing power. The same course was pursued by Secretary Bave, Esquire
Bordey, and other expectants and dependents. Viglius, always remarkable
for his pusillanimity, was at this period already anxious to retire. The
erudite and opulent Frisian preferred a less tempestuous career. He was
in favor of the edicts, but he trembled at the uproar which their literal
execution was daily exciting, for he knew the temper of his countrymen.
On the other hand, he was too sagacious not to know the inevitable
consequence of opposition to the will of Philip. He was therefore most
eager to escape the dilemma. He was a scholar, and could find more
agreeable employment among his books. He had accumulated vast wealth, and
was desirous to retain it as long as possible. He had a learned head and
was anxious to keep it upon his shoulders. These simple objects could be
better attained in a life of privacy. The post of president of the privy
council and member of the "Consulta" was a dangerous one. He knew that
the King was sincere in his purposes. He foresaw that the people would
one day be terribly in earnest. Of ancient Frisian blood himself, he knew
that the, spirit of the ancient Batavians and Frisians had not wholly
deserted their descendants. He knew that they were not easily roused,
that they were patient, but that they would strike at last and would
endure. He urgently solicited the King to release him, and pleaded his
infirmities of body in excuse. Philip, however, would not listen to his
retirement, and made use of the most convincing arguments to induce him
to remain. Four hundred and fifty annual florins, secured by good
reclaimed swamps in Friesland, two thousand more in hand, with a promise
of still larger emoluments when the King should come to the Netherlands,
were reasons which the learned doctor honestly confessed himself unable
to resist. Fortified by these arguments, he remained at his post,
continued the avowed friend and adherent of Granvelle, and sustained with
magnanimity the invectives of nobles and people. To do him justice, he
did what he could to conciliate antagonists and to compromise principles.
If it had ever been possible to find the exact path between right and
wrong, the President would have found it, and walked in it with
respectability and complacency.

In the council, however, the Cardinal continued to carry it with a high
hand; turning his back on Orange and Egmont, and retiring with the
Duchess and President to consult, after every session. Proud and
important personages, like the Prince and Count, could ill brook such
insolence; moreover, they suspected the Cardinal of prejudicing the mind
of their sovereign against them. A report was very current, and obtained
almost universal belief, that Granvelle had expressly advised his Majesty
to take off the heads of at least half a dozen of the principal nobles in
the land. This was an error; "These two seigniors," wrote the Cardinal to
Philip, "have been informed that I have written to your Majesty, that you
will never be master of these provinces without taking off at least half
a dozen heads, and that because it would be difficult, on account of the
probable tumults which such a course would occasion, to do it here, your
Majesty means to call them to Spain and do it there. Your Majesty can
judge whether such a thing has ever entered my thoughts. I have laughed
at it as a ridiculous invention. This gross forgery is one of Renard's."
The Cardinal further stated to his Majesty that he had been informed by
these same nobles that the Duke of Alva, when a hostage for the treaty of
Cateau Cambresis, had negotiated an alliance between the crowns of France
and Spain for the extirpation of heresy by the sword. He added, that he
intended to deal with the nobles with all gentleness, and that he should
do his best to please them. The only thing which he could not yield was
the authority of his Majesty; to sustain that, he would sacrifice his
life, if necessary. At the same time Granvelle carefully impressed upon
the King the necessity of contradicting the report alluded to, a request
which he took care should also be made through the Regent in person. He
had already, both in his own person and in that of the Duchess, begged
for a formal denial, on the King's part, that there was any intention of
introducing the Spanish inquisition into the Netherlands, and that the
Cardinal had counselled, originally, the bishoprics. Thus instructed, the
King accordingly wrote to Margaret of Parma to furnish the required
contradictions. In so doing, he made a pithy remark. "The Cardinal had
not counselled the cutting off the half a dozen heads," said the monarch,
"but perhaps it would not be so bad to do it!" Time was to show whether
Philip was likely to profit by the hint conveyed in the Cardinal's
disclaimer, and whether the factor "half dozen" were to be used or not as
a simple multiplier in the terrible account preparing.

The contradictions, however sincere, were not believed by the persons
most interested. Nearly all the nobles continued to regard the Cardinal
with suspicion and aversion. Many of the ruder and more reckless class
vied with the rhetoricians and popular caricaturists in the practical
jests which they played off almost daily against the common foe.
Especially Count Brederode, "a madman, if there ever were one," as a
contemporary expressed himself, was most untiring in his efforts to make
Granvelle ridiculous. He went almost nightly to masquerades, dressed as a
cardinal or a monk; and as he was rarely known to be sober on these or
any other occasions, the wildness of his demonstrations may easily be
imagined. He was seconded on all these occasions by his cousin Robert de
la Marck, Seigneur de Lumey, a worthy descendant of the famous "Wild Boar
of Ardennes;" a man brave to temerity, but utterly depraved, licentious,
and sanguinary. These two men, both to be widely notorious, from their
prominence in many of the most striking scenes by which the great revolt
was ushered in, had vowed the most determined animosity to the Cardinal,
which was manifested in the reckless, buffooning way which belonged to
their characters. Besides the ecclesiastical costumes in which they
always attired themselves at their frequent festivities, they also wore
fog-tails in their hats instead of plumes. They decked their servants
also with the same ornaments; openly stating, that by these symbols they
meant to signify that the old fox Granvelle, and his cubs, Viglius,
Berlaymont, and the rest, should soon be hunted down by them, and the
brush placed in their hats as a trophy.

Moreover, there is no doubt that frequent threats of personal violence
were made against the Cardinal. Granvelle informed the King that his life
was continually menaced by, the nobles, but that he feared them little,
"for he believed them too prudent to attempt any thing of the kind."
There is no doubt, when his position with regard to the upper and lower
classes in the country is considered, that there was enough to alarm a
timid man; but Granvelle was constitutionally brave. He was accused of
wearing a secret shirt of mail, of living in perpetual trepidation, of
having gone on his knees to Egmont and Orange, of having sent Richardot,
Bishop of Arras, to intercede for him in the same humiliating manner with
Egmont. All these stories were fables. Bold as he was arrogant, he
affected at this time to look down with a forgiving contempt on the
animosity of the nobles. He passed much of his time alone, writing his
eternal dispatches to the King. He had a country-house, called La
Fontaine, surrounded by beautiful gardens, a little way outside the gates
of Brussels, where he generally resided, and whence, notwithstanding the
remonstrances of his friends, he often returned to town, after sunset,
alone, or with but a few attendants. He avowed that he feared no attempts
at assassination, for, if the seigniors took his life, they would destroy
the best friend they ever had. This villa, where most of his plans were
matured and his state papers drawn up, was called by the people, in
derision of his supposed ancestry, "The Smithy." Here, as they believed,
was the anvil upon which the chains of their slavery were forging; here,
mostly deserted by those who had been his earlier, associates, he assumed
a philosophical demeanor which exasperated, without deceiving his
adversaries. Over the great gate of his house he had placed the marble
statue of a female. It held an empty wine-cup in one hand, and an urn of
flowing water in the other. The single word "Durate" was engraved upon
the pedestal. By the motto, which was his habitual device, he was
supposed, in this application, to signify that his power would outlast
that of the nobles, and that perennial and pure as living water, it would
flow tranquilly on, long after the wine of their life had been drunk to
the lees. The fiery extravagance of his adversaries, and the calm and
limpid moderation of his own character, thus symbolized, were supposed to
convey a moral lesson to the world. The hieroglyphics, thus interpreted,
were not relished by the nobles--all avoided his society, and declined
his invitations. He consoled himself with the company of the lesser
gentry,--a class which he now began to patronize, and which he urgently
recommended to the favor of the King,--hinting that military and civil
offices bestowed upon their inferiors would be a means of lowering the
pride of the grandees. He also affected to surround himself with even
humbler individuals. "It makes me laugh," he wrote to Philip, "to see the
great seigniors absenting themselves from my dinners; nevertheless, I can
always get plenty of guests at my table, gentlemen and councillors. I
sometimes invite even citizens, in order to gain their good will."

The Regent was well aware of the anger excited in the breasts of the
leading nobles by the cool manner in which they had been thrust out of
their share in the administration of affairs. She defended herself with
acrimony in her letters to the King, although a defence was hardly needed
in that quarter for implicit obedience to the royal commands. She
confessed her unwillingness to consult with her enemies.

She avowed her determination to conceal the secrets of the government
from those who were capable of abusing her confidence. She represented
that there were members of the council who would willingly take advantage
of the trepidation which she really felt, and which she should exhibit if
she expressed herself without reserve before them. For this reason she
confined herself, as Philip had always intended, exclusively to the
Consulta. It was not difficult to recognize the hand which wrote the
letter thus signed by Margaret of Parma.

Both nobles and people were at this moment irritated by another
circumstance. The civil war having again broken out in France, Philip,
according to the promise made by him to Catharine de Medici, when he took
her daughter in marriage, was called upon to assist the Catholic party
with auxiliaries. He sent three thousand infantry, accordingly, which he
had levied in Italy, as many more collected in Spain, and gave immediate
orders that the Duchess of Parma should despatch at least two thousand
cavalry, from the Netherlands. Great was the indignation in the council
when the commands were produced. Sore was the dismay of Margaret. It was
impossible to obey the King. The idea of sending the famous mounted
gendarmerie of the provinces to fight against the French Huguenots could
not be tolerated for an instant. The "bands of ordonnance" were very few
in number, and were to guard the frontier. They were purely for domestic
purposes. It formed no part of their duty to go upon crusades in foreign
lands; still less to take a share in a religious quarrel, and least of
all to assist a monarch against a nation. These views were so cogently
presented to the Duchess in council, that she saw the impossibility of
complying with her brother's commands. She wrote to Philip to that
effect. Meantime, another letter arrived out of Spain, chiding her delay,
and impatiently calling upon her to furnish the required cavalry at once.
The Duchess was in a dilemma. She feared to provoke another storm in the
council, for there was already sufficient wrangling there upon domestic
subjects. She knew it was impossible to obtain the consent, even of
Berlaymont and Viglius, to such an odious measure as the one proposed.
She was, however, in great trepidation at the peremptory tone of the
King's despatch. Under the advice of Granvelle, she had recourse to a
trick. A private and confidential letter of Philip was read to the
council, but with alterations suggested and interpolated by the Cardinal.
The King was represented as being furious at the delay, but as willing
that a sum of money should be furnished instead of the cavalry, as
originally required. This compromise, after considerable opposition, was
accepted. The Duchess wrote to Philip, explaining and apologizing for the
transaction. The King received the substitution with as good a grace as
could have been expected, and sent fifteen hundred troopers from Spain to
his Medicean mother-in-law, drawing upon the Duchess of Parma for the
money to pay their expenses. Thus was the industry of the Netherlands
taxed that the French might be persecuted by their own monarch.

The Regent had been forbidden, by her brother, to convoke the
states-general; a body which the Prince of Orange, sustained by Berghen,
Montigny, and other nobles, was desirous of having assembled. It may be
easily understood that Granvelle would take the best care that the royal
prohibition should be enforced. The Duchess, however, who, as already
hinted, was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable under the Cardinal's
dominion, was desirous of consulting some larger council than that with
which she held her daily deliberations. A meeting of the Knights of the
Fleece was accordingly summoned. They assembled in Brussels, in the month
of May, 1562. The learned Viglius addressed them in a long and eloquent
speech, in which he discussed the troubled and dangerous condition of the
provinces, alluded to some of its causes, and suggested various remedies.
It may be easily conceived, however, that the inquisition was not stated
among the causes, nor its suppression included among the remedies. A
discourse, in which the fundamental topic was thus conscientiously
omitted, was not likely, with all its concinnities, to make much
impression upon the disaffected knights, or to exert a soothing influence
upon the people. The orator was, however, delighted with his own
performance. He informs us, moreover, that the Duchess was equally
charmed, and that she protested she had never in her whole life heard any
thing more "delicate, more suitable, or more eloquent." The Prince of
Orange, however, did not sympathize with her admiration. The President's
elegant periods produced but little effect upon his mind. The meeting
adjourned, after a few additional words from the Duchess, in which she
begged the knights to ponder well the causes of the increasing
discontent, and to meet her again, prepared to announce what, in their
opinion, would be the course best adapted to maintain the honor of the
King, the safety of the provinces, and the glory of God.

Soon after the separation of the assembly, the Prince of Orange issued
invitations to most of the knights, to meet at his house for the purpose
of private deliberation. The President and Cardinal were not included in
these invitations. The meeting was, in fact, what we should call a
caucus, rather than a general gathering. Nevertheless, there were many of
the government party present--men who differed from the Prince, and were
inclined to support Granvelle. The meeting was a stormy one. Two subjects
were discussed. The first was the proposition of the Duchess, to
investigate the general causes of the popular dissatisfaction; the second
was an inquiry how it could be rendered practicable to discuss political
matters in future--a proceeding now impossible, in consequence of the
perverseness and arrogance of certain functionaries, and one which,
whenever attempted, always led to the same inevitable result. This direct
assault upon the Cardinal produced a furious debate. His enemies were
delighted with the opportunity of venting their long-suppressed spleen.
They indulged in savage invectives against the man whom they so sincerely
hated. His adherents, on the other hand--Bossu, Berlaymont,
Courieres--were as warm in his defence. They replied by indignant denials
of the charge against him, and by bitter insinuations against the Prince
of Orange. They charged him with nourishing the desire of being appointed
governor of Brabant, an office considered inseparable from the general
stadholderate of all the provinces. They protested for themselves that
they were actuated by no ambitious designs--that they were satisfied with
their own position, and not inspired by jealousy of personages more
powerful than themselves. It is obvious that such charges and
recriminations could excite no healing result, and that the lines between
Cardinalists and their opponents would be defined in consequence more
sharply than ever. The adjourned meeting of the Chevaliers of the Fleece
took place a few days afterwards. The Duchess exerted herself as much as
possible to reconcile the contending factions, without being able,
however, to apply the only remedy which could be effective. The man who
was already fast becoming the great statesman of the country knew that
the evil was beyond healing, unless by a change of purpose on the part of
the government. The Regent, on the other hand, who it must be confessed
never exhibited any remarkable proof of intellectual ability during the
period of her residence in the Netherlands, was often inspired by a
feeble and indefinite hope that the matter might be arranged by a
compromise between the views of conflicting parties. Unfortunately the
inquisition was not a fit subject for a compromise.

Nothing of radical importance was accomplished by the Assembly of the
Fleece. It was decided that an application should be made to the
different states for a giant of money, and that, furthermore, a special
envoy should be despatched to Spain. It was supposed by the Duchess and
her advisers that more satisfactory information concerning the provinces
could be conveyed to Philip by word of mouth than by the most elaborate
epistles. The meeting was dissolved after these two measures had been
agreed upon. Doctor Viglius, upon whom devolved the duty of making the
report and petition to the states, proceeded to draw up the necessary
application. This he did with his customary elegance, and, as usual, very
much to his own satisfaction. On returning to his house, however, after
having discharged this duty, he was very much troubled at finding that a
large mulberry-tree; which stood in his garden, had been torn up by the
roots in a violent hurricane. The disaster was considered ominous by the
President, and he was accordingly less surprised than mortified when he
found, subsequently, that his demand upon the orders had remained as
fruitless as his ruined tree. The tempest which had swept his garden he
considered typical of the storm which was soon to rage through the land,
and he felt increased anxiety to reach a haven while it was yet
comparatively calm.

The estates rejected the request for supplies, on various grounds; among
others, that the civil war was drawing to a conclusion in France, and
that less danger was to be apprehended from that source than had lately
been the case. Thus, the "cup of bitterness," of which Granvelle had
already complained; was again commended to his lips, and there was more
reason than ever for the government to regret that the national
representatives had contracted the habit of meddling with financial

Florence de Montmorency, Seigneur de Montigny, was selected by the Regent
for the mission which had been decided upon for Spain. This gentleman was
brother to Count Horn, but possessed of higher talents and a more amiable
character than those of the Admiral. He was a warm friend of Orange, and
a bitter enemy to Granvelle. He was a sincere Catholic, but a determined
foe to the inquisition. His brother had declined to act as envoy. This
refusal can excite but little surprise, when Philip's wrath at their
parting interview is recalled, and when it is also remembered that the
new mission would necessarily lay bare fresh complaints against the
Cardinal, still more extensive than those which had produced the former
explosion of royal indignation. Montigny, likewise, would have preferred
to remain at home, but he was overruled. It had been written in his
destiny that he should go twice into the angry lion's den, and that he
should come forth once, alive.

Thus it has been shown that there was an open, avowed hostility on the
part of the grand seignors and most of the lesser nobility to the
Cardinal and his measures. The people fully and enthusiastically
sustained the Prince of Orange in his course. There was nothing underhand
in the opposition made to the government. The Netherlands did not
constitute an absolute monarchy. They did not even constitute a monarchy.
There was no king in the provinces. Philip was King of Spain, Naples,
Jerusalem, but he was only Duke of Brabant, Count of Flanders, Lord of
Friesland, hereditary chief, in short, under various titles, of seventeen
states, each one of which, although not republican, possessed
constitutions as sacred as, and much more ancient than, the Crown. The
resistance to the absolutism of Granvelle and Philip was, therefore,
logical, legal, constitutional. It was no cabal, no secret league, as the
Cardinal had the effrontery to term it, but a legitimate exercise of
powers which belonged of old to those who wielded them, and which only an
unrighteous innovation could destroy.

Granvelle's course was secret and subtle. During the whole course of the
proceedings which have just been described, he was; in daily confidential
correspondence with the King, besides being the actual author of the
multitudinous despatches which were sent with the signature of the
Duchess. He openly asserted his right to monopolize all the powers of the
Government; he did his utmost to force upon the reluctant and almost
rebellious people the odious measures which the King had resolved upon,
while in his secret letters he uniformly represented the nobles who
opposed him, as being influenced, not by an honest hatred of oppression
and attachment to ancient rights, but by resentment, and jealousy of
their own importance. He assumed, in his letters to his master, that the
absolutism already existed of right and in fact, which it was the
intention of Philip to establish. While he was depriving the nobles, the
states and the nation of their privileges, and even of their natural
rights (a slender heritage in those days), he assured the King that there
was an evident determination to reduce his authority to a cipher.

The estates, he wrote, had usurped the whole administration of the
finances, and had farmed it out to Antony Van Stralen and others, who
were making enormous profits in the business. "The seignors," he said,
"declare at their dinner parties that I wish to make them subject to the
absolute despotism of your Majesty. In point of fact, however, they
really exercise a great deal more power than the governors of particular
provinces ever did before; and it lacks but little that Madame and your
Majesty should become mere ciphers, while the grandees monopolize the
whole power. This," he continued, "is the principal motive of their
opposition to the new bishoprics. They were angry that your Majesty
should have dared to solicit such an arrangement at Rome, without, first
obtaining their consent. They wish to reduce your Majesty's authority to
so low a point that you can do nothing unless they desire it. Their
object is the destruction of the royal authority and of the
administration of justice, in order to avoid the payment of their debts;
telling their creditors constantly that they, have spent their all in
your Majesty's service, and that they have never received recompence or
salary. This they do to make your Majesty odious."

As a matter of course, he attributed the resistance on the part of the
great nobles, every man of whom was Catholic, to base motives. They were
mere demagogues, who refused to burn their fellow-creatures, not from any
natural repugnance to the task, but in order to gain favor with the
populace. "This talk about the inquisition," said he, "is all a pretext.
'Tis only to throw dust in the eyes of the vulgar, and to persuade them
into tumultuous demonstrations, while the real reason is, that they
choose that your Majesty should do nothing without their permission, and
through their hands."

He assumed sometimes, however, a tone of indulgence toward the
seignors--who formed the main topics of his letters--an affectation which
might, perhaps, have offended them almost as much as more open and
sincere denunciation. He could forgive offences against himself. It was
for Philip to decide as to their merits or crimes so far as the Crown was
concerned. His language often was befitting a wise man who was speaking
of very little children. "Assonleville has told me, as coming from
Egmont," he wrote, "that many of the nobles are dissatisfied with me;
hearing from Spain that I am endeavoring to prejudice your Majesty
against them." Certainly the tone of the Cardinal's daily letters would
have justified such suspicion, could the nobles have seen them. Granvelle
begged the King, however, to disabuse them upon this point. "Would to
God," said he, piously, "that they all would decide to sustain the
authority of your Majesty, and to procure such measures as tend to the
service of God and the security of the states. May I cease to exist if I
do not desire to render good service to the very least of these
gentlemen. Your Majesty knows that, when they do any thing for the
benefit of your service, I am never silent. Nevertheless, thus they are
constituted. I hope, however, that this flurry will blow over, and that
when your Majesty comes they will all be found to deserve rewards of

Of Egmont, especially, he often spoke in terms of vague, but somewhat
condescending commendation. He never manifested resentment in his
letters, although, as already stated, the Count had occasionally
indulged, not only in words, but in deeds of extreme violence against
him. But the Cardinal was too forgiving a Christian, or too keen a
politician not to pass by such offences, so long as there was a chance of
so great a noble's remaining or becoming his friend. He, accordingly,
described him, in general, as a man whose principles, in the main, were
good, but who was easily led by his own vanity and the perverse counsels
of others. He represented him as having been originally a warm supporter
of the new bishoprics, and as having expressed satisfaction that two of
them, those of Bruges and Ypres, should have been within his own
stadholderate. He regretted, however; to inform the King that the Count
was latterly growing lukewarm, perhaps from fear of finding himself
separated from the other nobles. On the whole, he was tractable enough,
said the Cardinal, if he were not easily persuaded by the vile; but one
day, perhaps, he might open his eyes again. Notwithstanding these vague
expressions of approbation, which Granvelle permitted himself in his
letters to Philip, he never failed to transmit to the monarch every fact,
every rumor, every inuendo which might prejudice the royal mind against
that nobleman or against any of the noblemen, whose characters he at the
same time protested he was most unwilling to injure.

It is true that he dealt mainly by insinuation, while he was apt to
conclude his statements with disclaimers upon his own part, and with
hopes of improvement in the conduct of the seignors. At this particular
point of time he furnished Philip with a long and most circumstantial
account of a treasonable correspondence which was thought to be going on
between the leading nobles and the future emperor, Maximilian. The
narrative was a good specimen of the masterly style of inuendo in which
the Cardinal excelled, and by which he was often enabled to convince his
master of the truth of certain statements while affecting to discredit
them. He had heard a story, he said, which he felt bound to communicate
to his Majesty, although he did not himself implicitly believe it. He
felt himself the more bound to speak upon the subject because it tallied
exactly with intelligence which he had received from another source. The
story was that one of these seigniors (the Cardinal did not know which,
for he had not yet thought proper to investigate the matter) had said
that rather than consent that the King should act in this matter of the
bishoprics against the privileges of Brabant, the nobles would elect for
their sovereign some other prince of the blood. This, said the Cardinal,
was perhaps a fantasy rather than an actual determination. Count Egmont,
to be sure, he said, was constantly exchanging letters with the King of
Bohemia (Maximilian), and it was supposed, therefore, that he was the
prince of the blood who was to be elected to govern the provinces. It was
determined that he should be chosen King of the Romans, by fair means or
by force, that he should assemble an army to attack the Netherlands, that
a corresponding movement should be made within the states, and that the
people should be made to rise, by giving them the reins in the matter of
religion. The Cardinal, after recounting all the particulars of this
fiction with great minuteness, added, with apparent frankness, that the
correspondence between Egmont and Maximilian did not astonish him,
because there had been much intimacy between them in the time of the late
Emperor. He did not feel convinced, therefore, from the frequency of the
letters exchanged, that there was a scheme to raise an army to attack the
provinces and to have him elected by force. On the contrary, Maximilian
could never accomplish such a scheme without the assistance of his
imperial father the Emperor, whom Granvelle was convinced would rather
die than be mixed up with such villany against Philip. Moreover, unless
the people should become still more corrupted by the bad counsels
constantly given them, the Cardinal did not believe that any of the great
nobles had the power to dispose in this way of the provinces at their
pleasure. Therefore, he concluded that the story was to be rejected as
improbable, although it had come to him directly from the house of the
said Count Egmont. It is remarkable that, at the commencement of his
narrative, the Cardinal had expressed his ignorance of the name of the
seignior who was hatching all this treason, while at the end of it he
gave a local habitation to the plot in the palace of Egmont. It is also
quite characteristic that he should add that, after all, he considered
that nobleman one of the most honest of all, if appearances did not

It may be supposed, however, that all these details of a plot which was
quite imaginary, were likely to produce more effect upon a mind so narrow
and so suspicious as that of Philip, than could the vague assertions of
the Cardinal, that in spite of all, he would dare be sworn that he
thought the Count honest, and that men should be what they seemed.

Notwithstanding the conspiracy, which, according to Granvelle's letters,
had been formed against him, notwithstanding that his life was daily
threatened, he did not advise the King at this period to avenge him by
any public explosion of wrath. He remembered, he piously observed, that
vengeance belonged to God, and that He would repay. Therefore he passed
over insults meekly, because that comported best with his Majesty's
service. Therefore, too, he instructed Philip to make no demonstration at
that time, in order not to damage his own affairs. He advised him to
dissemble, and to pretend not to know what was going on in the provinces.
Knowing that his master looked to him daily for instructions, always
obeyed them with entire docility, and, in fact, could not move a step in
Netherland matters without them, he proceeded to dictate to him the terms
in which he was to write to the nobles, and especially laid down rules
for his guidance in his coming interviews with the Seigneur de Montigny.
Philip, whose only talent consisted in the capacity to learn such lessons
with laborious effort, was at this juncture particularly in need of
tuition. The Cardinal instructed him, accordingly, that he was to
disabuse all men of the impression that the Spanish inquisition was to be
introduced into the provinces. He was to write to the seigniors,
promising to pay them their arrears of salary; he was to exhort them to
do all in their power for the advancement of religion and maintenance of
the royal authority; and he was to suggest to them that, by his answer to
the Antwerp deputation, it was proved that there was no intention of
establishing the inquisition of Spain, under pretext of the new

The King was, furthermore, to signify his desire that all the nobles
should exert themselves to efface this false impression from the popular
mind. He was also to express himself to the same effect concerning the
Spanish inquisition, the bishoprics, and the religious question, in the
public letters to Madame de Parma, which were to be read in full council.
The Cardinal also renewed his instructions to the King as to the manner
in which the Antwerp deputies were to be answered, by giving them,
namely, assurances that to transplant the Spanish inquisition into the
provinces would be as hopeless as to attempt its establishment in Naples.
He renewed his desire that Philip should contradict the story about the
half dozen heads, and he especially directed him to inform Montigny that
Berghen had known of the new bishoprics before the Cardinal. This, urged
Granvelle, was particularly necessary, because the seigniors were
irritated that so important a matter should have been decided upon
without their advice, and because the Marquis Berghen was now the "cock
of the opposition."

At about the same time, it was decided by Granvelle and the Regent, in
conjunction with the King, to sow distrust and jealousy among the nobles,
by giving greater "mercedes" to some than to others, although large sums
were really due to all. In particular, the attempt was made in this
paltry manner, to humiliate William of Orange. A considerable sum was
paid to Egmont, and a trifling one to the Prince, in consideration of
their large claims upon the treasury. Moreover the Duke of Aerschot was
selected as envoy to the Frankfort Diet, where the King of the Romans was
to be elected, with the express intention, as Margaret wrote to Philip,
of creating divisions among the nobles, as he had suggested. The Duchess
at the same time informed her brother that, according to, Berlaymont, the
Prince of Orange was revolving some great design, prejudicial to his
Majesty's service.

Philip, who already began to suspect that a man who thought so much must
be dangerous, was eager to find out the scheme over which William the
Silent was supposed to be brooding, and wrote for fresh intelligence to
the Duchess.

Neither Margaret nor the Cardinal, however, could discover any thing
against the Prince--who, meantime, although disappointed of the mission
to Frankfort, had gone to that city in his private capacity--saving that
he had been heard to say, "one day we shall be the stronger." Granvelle
and Madame de Parma both communicated this report upon the same day, but
this was all that they were able to discover of the latent plot.

In the autumn of this year (1562) Montigny made his visit to Spain, as
confidential envoy from the Regent. The King being fully prepared as to
the manner in which he was to deal with him, received the ambassador with
great cordiality. He informed him in the course of their interviews, that
Granvelle had never attempted to create prejudice against the nobles,
that he was incapable of the malice attributed to him, and that even were
it otherwise, his evil representations against other public servants
would produce no effect. The King furthermore protested that he had no
intention of introducing the Spanish inquisition into the Netherlands,
and that the new bishops were not intended as agents for such a design,
but had been appointed solely with a view of smoothing religious
difficulties in the provinces, and of leading his people back into the
fold of the faithful. He added, that as long ago as his visit to England
for the purpose of espousing Queen Mary, he had entertained the project
of the new episcopates, as the Marquis Berghen, with whom he had
conversed freely upon the subject, could bear witness. With regard to the
connexion of Granvelle with the scheme, he assured Montigny that the
Cardinal had not been previously consulted, but had first learned the
plan after the mission of Sonnius.

Such was the purport of the King's communications to the envoy, as
appears from memoranda in the royal handwriting and from the
correspondence of Margaret of Parma. Philip's exactness in conforming to
his instructions is sufficiently apparent, on comparing his statements
with the letters previously received from the omnipresent Cardinal.
Beyond the limits of those directions the King hardly hazarded a
syllable. He was merely the plenipotentiary of the Cardinal, as Montigny
was of the Regent. So long as Granvelle's power lasted, he was absolute
and infallible. Such, then, was the amount of satisfaction derived from
the mission of Montigny. There was to be no diminution of the religious
persecution, but the people were assured upon royal authority, that the
inquisition, by which they were daily burned and beheaded, could not be
logically denominated the Spanish inquisition. In addition to the
comfort, whatever it might be, which the nation could derive from this
statement, they were also consoled with the information that Granvelle
was not the inventor of the bishoprics. Although he had violently
supported the measure as soon as published, secretly denouncing as
traitors and demagogues, all those who lifted their voices against it,
although he was the originator of the renewed edicts, although he took,
daily, personal pains that this Netherland inquisition, "more pitiless
than the Spanish," should be enforced in its rigor, and although he, at
the last, opposed the slightest mitigation of its horrors, he was to be
represented to the nobles and the people as a man of mild and
unprejudiced character, incapable of injuring even his enemies. "I will
deal with the seigniors most blandly," the Cardinal had written to
Philip, "and will do them pleasure, even if they do not wish it, for the
sake of God and your Majesty." It was in this light, accordingly, that
Philip drew the picture of his favorite minister to the envoy. Montigny,
although somewhat influenced by the King's hypocritical assurances of
the, benignity with which he regarded the Netherlands, was, nevertheless,
not to be deceived by this flattering portraiture of a man whom he knew
so well and detested so cordially as he did Granvelle. Solicited by the
King, at their parting interview, to express his candid opinion as to the
causes of the dissatisfaction in the provinces, Montigny very frankly and
most imprudently gave vent to his private animosity towards the Cardinal.
He spoke of his licentiousness, greediness, ostentation, despotism, and
assured the monarch that nearly all the inhabitants of the Netherlands
entertained the same opinion concerning him. He then dilated upon the
general horror inspired by the inquisition and the great repugnance felt
to the establishment of the new episcopates. These three evils,
Granvelle, the inquisition, and the bishoprics, he maintained were the
real and sufficient causes of the increasing popular discontent. Time was
to reveal whether the open-hearted envoy was to escape punishment for his
frankness, and whether vengeance for these crimes against Granvelle and
Philip were to be left wholly, as the Cardinal had lately suggested, in
the hands of the Lord.

Montigny returned late in December. His report concerning the results of
his mission was made in the state council, and was received with great
indignation. The professions of benevolent intentions on the part of the
sovereign made no impression on the mind of Orange, who was already in
the habit of receiving secret information from Spain with regard to the
intentions of the government. He knew very well that the plot revealed to
him by Henry the Second in the wood of Vincennes was still the royal
program, so far as the Spanish monarch was concerned. Moreover, his anger
was heightened by information received from Montigny that the names of
Orange, Egmont and their adherents, were cited to him as he passed
through France as the avowed defenders of the Huguenots, in politics and
religion. The Prince, who was still a sincere Catholic, while he hated
the persecutions of the inquisition, was furious at the statement. A
violent scene occurred in the council. Orange openly denounced the report
as a new slander of Granvelle, while Margaret defended the Cardinal and
denied the accusation, but at the same time endeavored with the utmost
earnestness to reconcile the conflicting parties.

It had now become certain, however, that the government could no longer
be continued on its present footing. Either Granvelle or the seigniors
must succumb. The Prince of Orange was resolved that the Cardinal should
fall or that he would himself withdraw from all participation in the
affairs of government. In this decision he was sustained by Egmont, Horn,
Montigny, Berghen, and the other leading nobles.


     Affecting to discredit them
     An inspiring and delightful recreation (auto-da-fe)
     Arrested on suspicion, tortured till confession
     Inquisition of the Netherlands is much more pitiless
     Inquisition was not a fit subject for a compromise
     Made to swing to and fro over a slow fire
     Orator was, however, delighted with his own performance
     Philip, who did not often say a great deal in a few words
     Scaffold was the sole refuge from the rack
     Ten thousand two hundred and twenty individuals were burned
     Torquemada's administration (of the inquisition)
     Two witnesses sent him to the stake, one witness to the rack


1563-1564 [CHAPTER IV.]

   Joint letter to Philip, from Orange, Egmont, and Horn--Egmont's
   quarrel with Aerschot and with Aremberg--Philip's answer to the
   three nobles--His instructions to the Duchess--Egmont declines the
   King's invitation to visit Spain--Second letter of the three
   seigniors--Mission of Armenteros--Letter of Alva--Secret letters of
   Granvelle to Philip--The Cardinal's insinuations and instructions--
   His complaints as to the lukewarmness of Berghen and Montigny in the
   cause of the inquisition--Anecdotes to their discredit privately
   chronicled by Granvelle--Supposed necessity for the King's presence
   in the provinces--Correspondence of Lazarus Schwendi--Approaching
   crisis--Anxiety of Granvelle to retire--Banquet of Caspar Schetz--
   Invention of the foolscap livery--Correspondence of the Duchess and
   of the Cardinal with Philip upon the subject--Entire withdrawal of
   the three seigniors from the state council--the King advises with
   Alva concerning the recall of Granvelle--Elaborate duplicity of
   Philip's arrangements--His secret note to the Cardinal--His
   dissembling letters to others--Departure of Granvelle from the
   Netherlands--Various opinions as to its cause--Ludicrous conduct of
   Brederode and Hoogstraaten--Fabulous statements in Granvelle's
   correspondence concerning his recall--Universal mystification--The
   Cardinal deceived by the King--Granvelle in retirement--His
   epicureanism--Fears in the provinces as to his return--Universal joy
   at his departure--Representations to his discredit made by the
   Duchess to Philip--Her hypocritical letters to the Cardinal--
   Masquerade at Count Mansfeld's--Chantonnay's advice to his brother--
   Review of Granvelle's administration and estimate of his character.

On the 11th March, 1563, Orange, Horn, and Egmont united in a remarkable
letter to the King. They said that as their longer "taciturnity" might
cause the ruin of his Majesty's affairs, they were at last compelled to
break silence. They hoped that the King would receive with benignity a
communication which was pure, frank, and free from all passion. The
leading personages of the province, they continued, having thoroughly
examined the nature and extent of Cardinal Granvelle's authority, had
arrived at the conclusion that every thing was in his hands. This
persuasion, they said, was rooted in the hearts of all his Majesty's
subjects, and particularly in their own, so deeply, that it could not be
eradicated as long as the Cardinal remained. The King was therefore
implored to consider the necessity of remedying the evil. The royal
affairs, it was affirmed, would never be successfully conducted so long
as they were entrusted to Granvelle, because he was so odious to so many
people. If the danger were not imminent, they should not feel obliged to
write to his Majesty with so much vehemence. It was, however, an affair
which allowed neither delay nor dissimulation. They therefore prayed the
King, if they had ever deserved credence in things of weight, to believe
them now. By so doing, his Majesty would avoid great mischief. Many grand
seigniors, governors, and others, had thought it necessary to give this
notice, in order that the King might prevent the ruin of the country. If,
however, his Majesty were willing, as they hoped, to avoid discontenting
all for the sake of satisfying one, it was possible that affairs might
yet prosper. That they might not be thought influenced by ambition or by
hope of private profit, the writers asked leave to retire from the state
council. Neither their reputation, they said, nor the interests of the
royal service would permit them to act with the Cardinal. They professed
themselves dutiful subjects and Catholic vassals. Had it not been for the
zeal of the leading seigniors, the nobility, and other well-disposed
persons, affairs would not at that moment be so tranquil; the common
people having been so much injured, and the manner of life pursued by the
Cardinal not being calculated to give more satisfaction than was afforded
by his unlimited authority. In conclusion, the writers begged his Majesty
not to throw the blame upon them, if mischance should follow the neglect
of this warning. This memorable letter was signed by Guillaume, de
Nassau, Lamoral d'Egmont, and Philippes de Montmorency (Count Horn). It
was despatched undercover to Charles de Tisnacq, a Belgian, and
procurator for the affairs of the Netherlands at Madrid, a man whose
relations with Count Egmont were of a friendly character. It was
impossible, however, to keep the matter a secret from the person most
interested. The Cardinal wrote to the King the day before the letter was
written, and many weeks before it was sent, to apprize him that it was
coming, and to instruct him as to the answer he was to make. Nearly all
the leading nobles and governors had adhered to the substance of the
letter, save the Duke of Aerschot, Count Aremberg, and Baron Berlaymont.
The Duke and Count had refused to join the league; violent scenes having
occurred upon the subject between them and the leaders of the opposition
party. Egmont, being with a large shooting party at Aerschot's country
place, Beaumont, had taken occasion to urge the Duke to join in the
general demonstration against the Cardinal, arguing the matter in the
rough, off-hand, reckless manner which was habitual with him. His
arguments offended the nobleman thus addressed, who was vain and
irascible. He replied by affirming that he was a friend to Egmont, but
would not have him for his master. He would have nothing to do, he said,
with their league against the Cardinal, who had never given him cause of
enmity. He had no disposition to dictate to the King as to his choice of
ministers, and his Majesty was quite right to select his servants at his
own pleasure. The Duke added that if the seigniors did not wish him for a
friend, it was a matter of indifference to him. Not one of them was his
superior; he had as large a band of noble followers and friends as the
best of them, and he had no disposition to accept the supremacy of any
nobleman in the land. The conversation carried on in this key soon became
a quarrel, and from words the two gentlemen would soon have come to
blows, but for the interposition of Aremberg and Robles, who were present
at the scene. The Duchess of Parma, narrating the occurrence to the King,
added that a duel had been the expected result of the affair, but that
the two nobles had eventually been reconciled. It was characteristic of
Aerschot that he continued afterward to associate with the nobles upon
friendly terms, while maintaining an increased intimacy with the

The gentlemen who sent the letter were annoyed at the premature publicity
which it seemed to have attained. Orange had in vain solicited Count
Aremberg to join the league, and had quarrelled with him in consequence.
Egmont, in the presence of Madame de Parma, openly charged Aremberg with
having divulged the secret which had been confided to him. The Count
fiercely denied that he had uttered a syllable on the subject to a human
being; but added that any communication on his part would have been quite
superfluous, while Egmont and his friends were daily boasting of what
they were to accomplish. Egmont reiterated the charge of a breach of
faith by Aremberg. That nobleman replied by laying his hand upon his
sword, denouncing as liars all persons who should dare to charge him
again with such an offence, and offering to fight out the quarrel upon
the instant. Here, again, personal combat was, with much difficulty,

Egmont, rude, reckless, and indiscreet, was already making manifest that
he was more at home on a battle-field than in a political controversy
where prudence and knowledge of human nature were as requisite as
courage. He was at this period more liberal in his sentiments than at any
moment of his life. Inflamed by his hatred of Granvelle, and determined
to compass the overthrow of that minister, he conversed freely with all
kinds of people, sought popularity among the burghers, and descanted to
every one with much imprudence upon the necessity of union for the sake
of liberty and the national good. The Regent, while faithfully recording
in her despatches every thing of this nature which reached her ears,
expressed her astonishment at Egmont's course, because, as she had often
taken occasion to inform the King, she had always considered the Count
most sincerely attached to his Majesty's service.

Berlaymont, the only other noble of prominence who did not approve the
11th of March letter, was at this period attempting to "swim in two
waters," and, as usual in such cases, found it very difficult to keep
himself afloat. He had refused to join the league, but he stood aloof
from Granvelle. On a hope held out by the seigniors that his son should
be made Bishop of Liege, he had ceased during a whole year from visiting
the Cardinal, and had never spoken to him at the council-board.
Granvelle, in narrating these circumstances to the King, expressed the
opinion that Berlaymont, by thus attempting to please both parties, had
thoroughly discredited himself with both.

The famous epistle, although a most reasonable and manly statement of an
incontrovertible fact, was nevertheless a document which it required much
boldness to sign. The minister at that moment seemed omnipotent, and it
was obvious that the King was determined upon a course of political and
religious absolutism. It is, therefore, not surprising that, although
many sustained its principles, few were willing to affix their names to a
paper which might prove a death-warrant to the signers. Even Montigny and
Berghen, although they had been active in conducting the whole cabal, if
cabal it could be called, refused to subscribe the letter. Egmont and
Horn were men of reckless daring, but they were not keen-sighted enough
to perceive fully the consequences of their acts.

Orange was often accused by his enemies of timidity, but no man ever
doubted his profound capacity to look quite through the deeds of men. His
political foresight enabled him to measure the dangerous precipice which
they were deliberately approaching, while the abyss might perhaps be
shrouded to the vision of his companions. He was too tranquil of nature
to be hurried, by passions into a grave political step, which in cooler
moments he might regret. He resolutely, therefore, and with his eyes
open, placed himself in open and recorded enmity with the most powerful
and dangerous man in the whole Spanish realm, and incurred the resentment
of a King who never forgave. It may be safely averred that as much
courage was requisite thus to confront a cold and malignant despotism,
and to maintain afterwards, without flinching, during a whole lifetime,
the cause of national rights and liberty of conscience, as to head the
most brilliant charge of cavalry that ever made hero famous.

Philip answered the letter of the three nobles on the 6th June following.
In this reply, which was brief, he acknowledged the zeal and affection by
which the writers had been actuated. He suggested, nevertheless, that, as
they had mentioned no particular cause for adopting the advice contained
in their letter, it would be better that one of them should come to
Madrid to confer with him. Such matters, he said, could be better treated
by word of mouth. He might thus receive sufficient information to enable
him to form a decision, for, said he in conclusion, it was not his custom
to aggrieve any of his ministers without cause.

This was a fine phrase, but under the circumstances of its application,
quite ridiculous. There was no question of aggrieving the minister. The
letter of the three nobles was very simple. It consisted of a fact and a
deduction. The fact stated was, that the Cardinal was odious to all
classes of the nation. The deduction drawn was, that the government could
no longer be carried on by him without imminent danger of ruinous
convulsions. The fact was indisputable. The person most interested
confirmed it in his private letters. "'Tis said," wrote Granvelle to
Philip, "that grandees, nobles, and people, all abhor me, nor am I
surprised to find that grandees, nobles, and people are all openly
against me, since each and all have been invited to join in the league."
The Cardinal's reasons for the existence of the unpopularity, which he
admitted to the full, have no bearing upon the point in the letter. The
fact was relied upon to sustain a simple, although a momentous inference.
It was for Philip to decide upon the propriety of the deduction, and to
abide by the consequences of his resolution when taken. As usual,
however, the monarch was not capable of making up his mind. He knew very
well that the Cardinal was odious and infamous, because he was the
willing impersonation of the royal policy. Philip was, therefore,
logically called upon to abandon the policy or to sustain the minister.
He could make up his mind to do neither the one nor the other. In the
mean time a well-turned period of mock magnanimity had been furnished
him. This he accordingly transmitted as his first answer to a most
important communication upon a subject which, in the words of the
writers, "admitted neither of dissimulation nor delay." To deprive Philip
of dissimulation and delay, however, was to take away his all. They were
the two weapons with which he fought his long life's battle. They summed
up the whole of his intellectual resources. It was inevitable, therefore,
that he should at once have recourse to both on such an emergency as the
present one.

At the same time that he sent his answer to the nobles, he wrote an
explanatory letter to the Regent. He informed her that he had received
the communication of the three seigniors, but instructed her that she was
to appear to know nothing of the matter until Egmont should speak to her
upon the subject. He added that, although he had signified his wish to
the three nobles, that one of them, without specifying which, should come
to Madrid, he in reality desired that Egmont, who seemed the most
tractable of the three, should be the one deputed. The King added, that
his object was to divide the nobles, and to gain time.

It was certainly superfluous upon Philip's part to inform his sister that
his object was to gain time. Procrastination was always his first refuge,
as if the march of the world's events would pause indefinitely while he
sat in his cabinet and pondered. It was, however, sufficiently puerile to
recommend to his sister an affectation of ignorance on a subject
concerning which nobles had wrangled, and almost drawn their swords in
her presence. This, however, was the King's statesmanship when left to
his unaided exertions. Granvelle, who was both Philip and Margaret when
either had to address or to respond to the world at large, did not always
find it necessary to regulate the correspondence of his puppets between
themselves. In order more fully to divide the nobles, the King also
transmitted to Egmont a private note, in his own handwriting, expressing
his desire that he should visit Spain in person, that they might confer
together upon the whole subject.

These letters, as might be supposed, produced any thing but a
satisfactory effect. The discontent and rage of the gentlemen who had
written or sustained the 11th of March communication, was much increased.
The answer was, in truth, no answer at all. "'Tis a cold and bad reply,"
wrote Louis of Nassau, "to send after so long a delay. 'Tis easy to see
that the letter came from the Cardinal's smithy. In summa it is a vile
business, if the gentlemen are all to be governed by one person. I hope
to God his power will come soon to an end. Nevertheless," added Louis,
"the gentlemen are all wide awake, for they trust the red fellow not a
bit more than he deserves."

The reader has already seen that the letter was indeed "from the
Cardinal's smithy," Granvelle having instructed his master how to reply
to the seigniors before the communication had been despatched.

The Duchess wrote immediately to inform her brother that Egmont had
expressed himself willing enough to go to Spain, but had added that he
must first consult Orange and Horn. As soon as that step had been taken,
she had been informed that it was necessary for them to advise with all
the gentlemen who had sanctioned their letter. The Duchess had then tried
in vain to prevent such an assembly, but finding that, even if forbidden,
it would still take place, she had permitted the meeting in Brussels, as
she could better penetrate into their proceedings there, than if it
should be held at a distance. She added, that she should soon send her
secretary Armenteros to Spain, that the King might be thoroughly
acquainted with what was occurring.

Egmont soon afterwards wrote to Philip, declining to visit Spain
expressly on account of the Cardinal. He added, that he was ready to
undertake the journey, should the King command his presence for any other
object. The same decision was formally communicated to the Regent by
those Chevaliers of the Fleece who had approved the 11th of March
letter--Montigny; Berghen, Meghem, Mansfeld, Ligne, Hoogstraaten, Orange,
Egmont, and Horn. The Prince of Orange, speaking in the name of all,
informed her that they did not consider it consistent with their
reputation, nor with the interest of his Majesty, that any one of them
should make so long and troublesome a journey, in order to accuse the
Cardinal. For any other purpose, they all held themselves ready to go to
Spain at once. The Duchess expressed her regret at this resolution. The
Prince replied by affirming that, in all their proceedings, they had been
governed, not by hatred of Granvelle but by a sense of duty to his
Majesty. It was now, he added, for the King to pursue what course it
pleased him.

Four days after this interview with the Regent, Orange, Egmont, and Horn
addressed a second letter to the King. In this communication they stated
that they had consulted with all the gentlemen with whose approbation
their first letter had been written. As to the journey of one of them to
Spain,--as suggested, they pronounced it very dangerous for any seignior
to absent himself, in the condition of affairs which then existed. It was
not a sufficient cause to go thither on account of Granvelle. They
disclaimed any intention of making themselves parties to a process
against the Cardinal. They had thought that their simple, brief
announcement would have sufficed to induce his Majesty to employ that
personage in other places, where his talents would be more fruitful. As
to "aggrieving the Cardinal without cause," there was no question of
aggrieving him at all, but of relieving him of an office which could not
remain in his hands without disaster. As to "no particular cause having
been mentioned," they said the omission was from no lack of many such.
They had charged none, however, because, from their past services and
their fidelity to his Majesty, they expected to be believed on their
honor, without further witnesses or evidence. They had no intention of
making themselves accusers. They had purposely abstained from
specifications. If his Majesty should proceed to ampler information,
causes enough would be found. It was better, however, that they should be
furnished by others than by themselves. His Majesty would then find that
the public and general complaint was not without adequate motives. They
renewed their prayer to be excused from serving in the council of state,
in order that they might not be afterwards inculpated for the faults of
others. Feeling that the controversy between themselves and the Cardinal
de Granvelle in the state council produced no fruit for his Majesty's
affairs, they preferred to yield to him. In conclusion, they begged the
King to excuse the simplicity of their letters, the rather that they were
not by nature great orators, but more accustomed to do well than to speak
well, which was also more becoming to persons of their quality.

On the 4th of August, Count Horn also addressed a private letter to the
King, written in the same spirit as that which characterized the joint
letter just cited. He assured his Majesty that the Cardinal could render
no valuable service to the crown on account of the hatred which the whole
nation bore him, but that, as far as regarded the maintenance of the
ancient religion, all the nobles were willing to do their duty.

The Regent now despatched, according to promise, her private secretary,
Thomas de Armenteros, to Spain. His instructions, which were very
elaborate, showed that Granvelle was not mistaken when he charged her
with being entirely changed in regard to him, and when he addressed her a
reproachful letter, protesting his astonishment that his conduct had
become auspicious, and his inability to divine the cause of the weariness
and dissatisfaction which she manifested in regard to him.

Armenteros, a man of low, mercenary, and deceitful character, but a
favorite of the Regent, and already beginning to acquire that influence
over her mind which was soon to become so predominant, was no friend of
the Cardinal. It was not probable that he would diminish the effect of
that vague censure mingled with faint commendation, which characterized
Margaret's instructions by any laudatory suggestions of his own. He was
directed to speak in general terms of the advance of heresy, and the
increasing penury of the exchequer. He was to request two hundred
thousand crowns toward the lottery, which the Regent proposed to set up
as a financial scheme. He was to represent that the Duchess had tried,
unsuccessfully, every conceivable means of accommodating the quarrel
between the Cardinal and the seigniors. She recognized Granvelle's great
capacity, experience, zeal, and devotion--for all which qualities she
made much of him--while on the other hand she felt that it would be a
great inconvenience, and might cause a revolt of the country, were she to
retain him in the Netherlands against the will of the seigniors. These
motives had compelled her, the messenger was to add, to place both views
of the subject before the eyes of the King. Armenteros was, furthermore,
to narrate the circumstances of the interviews which had recently taken
place between herself and the leaders of the opposition party.

From the tenor of these instructions, it was sufficiently obvious that
Margaret of Parma was not anxious to retain the Cardinal, but that, on
the contrary, she was beginning already to feel alarm at the dangerous
position in which she found herself. A few days after the three nobles
had despatched their last letter to the King, they had handed her a
formal remonstrance. In this document they stated their conviction that
the country was on the high road to ruin, both as regarded his Majesty's
service and the common weal. The bare, the popular discontent daily
increasing, the fortresses on the frontier in a dilapidated condition. It
was to be apprehended daily that merchants and other inhabitants of the
provinces would be arrested in foreign countries, to satisfy the debts
owed by his Majesty. To provide against all these evils, but one course,
it was suggested, remained to the government--to summon the
states-general, and to rely upon their counsel and support. The nobles,
however, forbore to press this point, by reason of the prohibition which
the Regent had received from the King. They suggested, however, that such
an interdiction could have been dictated only by a distrust created
between his Majesty and the estates by persons having no love for either,
and who were determined to leave no resource by which the distress of the
country could be prevented. The nobles, therefore, begged her highness
not to take it amiss if, so long as the King was indisposed to make other
arrangements for the administration of the provinces, they should abstain
from appearing at the state council. They preferred to cause the shadow
at last to disappear, which they had so long personated. In conclusion,
however, they expressed their determination to do their duty in their
several governments, and to serve the Regent to the best of their

After this remonstrance had been delivered, the Prince of Orange, Count
Horn, and Count Egmont abstained entirely from the sessions of the state
council. She was left alone with the Cardinal, whom she already hated,
and with his two shadows, Viglius and Berlaymont.

Armenteros, after a month spent on his journey, arrived in Spain, and was
soon admitted to an audience by Philip. In his first interview, which
lasted four hours, he read to the King all the statements and documents
with which he had come provided, and humbly requested a prompt decision.
Such a result was of course out of the question. Moreover, the Cortes of
Tarragon, which happened then to be in session, and which required the
royal attention, supplied the monarch with a fresh excuse for indulging
in his habitual vacillation. Meantime, by way of obtaining additional
counsel in so grave an emergency, he transmitted the letters of the
nobles, together with the other papers, to the Duke of Alva, and
requested his opinion on the subject. Alva replied with the roar of a
wild beast, "Every time," he wrote, "that I see the despatches of those
three Flemish seigniors my rage is so much excited that if I did not use
all possible efforts to restrain it, my sentiments would seem those of a
madman." After this splenitive exordium he proceeded to express the
opinion that all the hatred and complaints against the Cardinal had
arisen from his opposition to the convocation of the states-general. With
regard to persons who had so richly deserved such chastisement, he
recommended "that their heads should be taken off; but, until this could
be done, that the King should dissemble with them." He advised Philip not
to reply to their letters, but merely to intimate, through the Regent,
that their reasons for the course proposed by them did not seem
satisfactory. He did not prescribe this treatment of the case as "a true
remedy, but only as a palliative; because for the moment only weak
medicines could be employed, from which, however, but small effect could
be anticipated." As to recalling the Cardinal, "as they had the impudence
to propose to his Majesty," the Duke most decidedly advised against the
step. In the mean time, and before it should be practicable to proceed
"to that vigorous chastisement already indicated," he advised separating
the nobles as much as possible by administering flattery and deceitful
caresses to Egmont, who might be entrapped more easily than the others.

Here, at least, was a man who knew his own mind. Here was a servant who
could be relied upon to do his master's bidding whenever this master
should require his help. The vigorous explosion of wrath with which the
Duke thus responded to the first symptoms of what he regarded as
rebellion, gave a feeble intimation of the tone which he would assume
when that movement should have reached a more advanced stage. It might be
guessed what kind of remedies he would one day prescribe in place of the
"mild medicines" in which he so reluctantly acquiesced for the present.

While this had been the course pursued by the seigniors, the Regent and
the King, in regard to that all-absorbing subject of Netherland
politics--the straggle against Granvelle--the Cardinal, in his letters to
Philip, had been painting the situation by minute daily touches, in a
manner of which his pencil alone possessed the secret.

Still maintaining the attitude of an injured but forgiving Christian, he
spoke of the nobles in a tone of gentle sorrow. He deprecated any rising
of the royal wrath in his behalf; he would continue to serve the
gentlemen, whether they would or no; he was most anxious lest any
considerations on his account should interfere with the King's decision
in regard to the course to be pursued in the Netherlands. At the same
time, notwithstanding these general professions of benevolence towards
the nobles, he represented them as broken spendthrifts, wishing to create
general confusion in order to escape from personal liabilities; as
conspirators who had placed themselves within the reach of the
attorney-general; as ambitious malcontents who were disposed to overthrow
the royal authority, and to substitute an aristocratic republic upon its
ruins. He would say nothing to prejudice the King's mind against these
gentlemen, but he took care to omit nothing which could possibly
accomplish that result. He described them as systematically opposed to
the policy which he knew lay nearest the King's heart, and as determined
to assassinate the faithful minister who was so resolutely carrying it
out, if his removal could be effected in no other way. He spoke of the
state of religion as becoming more and more unsatisfactory, and bewailed
the difficulty with which he could procure the burning of heretics;
difficulties originating in the reluctance of men from whose elevated
rank better things might have been expected.

As Granvelle is an important personage, as his character has been
alternately the subject of much censure and of more applause, and as the
epoch now described was the one in which the causes of the great
convulsion were rapidly germinating, it is absolutely necessary that the
reader should be placed in a position to study the main character, as
painted by his own hand; the hand in which were placed, at that moment,
the destinies of a mighty empire. It is the historian's duty, therefore,
to hang the picture of his administration fully in the light. At the
moment when the 11th of March letter was despatched, the Cardinal
represented Orange and Egmont as endeavoring by every method of menace or
blandishment to induce all the grand seigniors and petty nobles to join
in the league against himself. They had quarrelled with Aerschot and
Aremberg, they had more than half seduced Berlaymont, and they
stigmatized all who refused to enter into their league as cardinalists
and familiars of the inquisition. He protested that he should regard
their ill-will with indifference, were he not convinced that he was
himself only a pretext, and that their designs were really much deeper.
Since the return of Montigny, the seigniors had established a league
which that gentleman and his brother, Count Horn, had both joined. He
would say nothing concerning the defamatory letters and pamphlets of
which he was the constant object, for he wished no heed taken of matters
which concerned exclusively himself, Notwithstanding this disclaimer,
however, he rarely omitted to note the appearance of all such productions
for his Majesty's especial information. "It was better to calm men's
spirits," he said, "than to excite them." As to fostering quarrels among
the seigniors, as the King had recommended, that was hardly necessary,
for discord was fast sowing its own seeds. "It gave him much pain," he
said, with a Christian sigh, "to observe that such dissensions had
already arisen, and unfortunately on his account." He then proceeded
circumstantially to describe the quarrel between Aerschot and Egmont,
already narrated by the Regent, omitting in his statement no particular
which could make Egmont reprehensible in the royal eyes. He likewise
painted the quarrel between the same noble and Aremberg, to which he had
already alluded in previous letters to the King, adding that many
gentlemen, and even the more prudent part of the people, were
dissatisfied with the course of the grandees, and that he was taking
underhand but dexterous means to confirm them in such sentiments. He
instructed Philip how to reply to the letter addressed to him, but begged
his Majesty not to hesitate to sacrifice him if the interests of his
crown should seem to require it.

With regard to religious matters, he repeatedly deplored that,
notwithstanding his own exertions and those of Madame de Parma, things
were not going on as he desired, but, on the contrary, very badly. "For
the-love of God and the service of the holy religion," he cried out
fervently, "put your royal hand valiantly to the work, otherwise we have
only to exclaim, Help, Lord, for we perish!"

Having uttered this pious exhortation in the ear of a man who needed no
stimulant in the path of persecution, he proceeded to express his regrets
that the judges and other officers were not taking in hand the
chastisement of heresy with becoming vigor.

Yet, at that very moment Peter Titelmann was raging through Flanders,
tearing whole families out of bed and burning them to ashes, with such
utter disregard to all laws or forms as to provoke in the very next year
a solemn protest from the four estates of Flanders; and Titelmann was but
one of a dozen inquisitors.

Granvelle, however, could find little satisfaction in the exertions of
subordinates so long as men in high station were remiss in their duties.
The Marquis Berghen, he informed Philip, showed but little disposition to
put down heresy, in Valenciennes, while Montigny was equally remiss at
Tournay. They were often heard to say, to any who chose to listen, that
it was not right to inflict the punishment of death for matters of
religion. This sentiment, uttered in that age of blood and fire, and
crowning the memory of those unfortunate nobles with eternal honor, was
denounced by the churchman as criminal, and deserving of castigation. He
intimated, moreover, that these pretences of clemency were mere
hypocrisy, and that self-interest was at the bottom of their compassion.
"'Tis very black," said he, "when interest governs; but these men are a
in debt, so deeply that they owe their very souls. They are seeking every
means of escaping from their obligations, and are most desirous of
creating general confusion." As to the Prince of Orange, the Cardinal
asserted that he owed nine hundred thousand florins, and had hardly
twenty-five thousand a-year clear income, while he spent ninety thousand,
having counts; barons, and gentlemen in great numbers, in his household.
At this point, he suggested that it might be well to find employment for
some of these grandees in Spain and other dominions of his Majesty,
adding that perhaps Orange might accept the vice-royalty of Sicily.

Resuming the religious matter, a few weeks later, he expressed himself a
little more cheerfully, "We have made so much outcry," said he, "that at
last Marquis Berghen has been forced to burn a couple of heretics at
Valenciennes. Thus, it is obvious," moralized the Cardinal, "that if he
were really willing to apply the remedy in that place, much progress
might be made; but that we can do but little so long as he remains in the
government of the provinces and refuses to assist us." In a subsequent
letter, he again uttered com plaints against the Marquis and Montigny,
who were evermore his scapegoats and bugbears. Berghen will give us no
aid, he wrote, despite of all the letters we send him. He absents himself
for private and political reasons. Montigny has eaten meat in Lent, as
the Bishop of Tournay informs me. Both he and the Marquis say openly that
it is not right to shed blood for matters of faith, so that the King can
judge how much can be effected with such coadjutors. Berghen avoids the
persecution of heretics, wrote the Cardinal again, a month later, to
Secretary Perez. He has gone to Spa for his health, although those who
saw him last say he is fat and hearty.

Granvelle added, however, that they had at last "burned one more preacher
alive." The heretic, he stated, had feigned repentance to save his life,
but finding that, at any rate, his head would be cut off as a dogmatizer,
he retracted his recantation. "So," concluded the Cardinal, complacently,
"they burned him."

He chronicled the sayings and doings of the principal personages in the
Netherlands, for the instruction of the King, with great regularity,
insinuating suspicions when unable to furnish evidence, and adding
charitable apologies, which he knew would have but small effect upon the
mind of his correspondent. Thus he sent an account of a "very secret
meeting" held by Orange, Egmont, Horn, Montigny and Berghen, at the abbey
of La Forest, near Brussels, adding, that he did not know what they had
been doing there, and was at loss what to suspect. He would be most
happy, he said, to put the best interpretation upon their actions, but he
could not help remembering with great sorrow the observation so recently
made by Orange to Montigny, that one day they should be stronger. Later
in the year, the Cardinal informed the King that the same nobles were
holding a conference at Weerdt, that he had not learned what had been
transacted there, but thought the affair very suspicious. Philip
immediately communicated the intelligence to Alva, together with an
expression of Granvelle's fears and of his own, that a popular outbreak
would be the consequence of the continued presence of the minister in the

The Cardinal omitted nothing in the way of anecdote or inuendo, which
could injure the character of the leading nobles, with the exception,
perhaps, of Count Egmont. With this important personage, whose character
he well understood, he seemed determined, if possible, to maintain
friendly relations. There was a deep policy in this desire, to which we
shall advert hereafter. The other seigniors were described in general
terms as disposed to overthrow the royal authority. They were bent upon
Granvelle's downfall as the first step, because, that being accomplished,
the rest would follow as a matter of course. "They intend," said he, "to
reduce the state into the form of a republic, in which the King shall
have no power except to do their bidding." He added, that he saw with
regret so many German troops gathering on the borders; for he believed
them to be in the control of the disaffected nobles of the Netherlands.
Having made this grave insinuation, he proceeded in the same breath to
express his anger at a statement said to have been made by Orange and
Egmont, to the effect that he had charged them with intending to excite a
civil commotion, an idea, he added, which had never entered his head. In
the same paragraph, he poured into the most suspicious ear that ever
listened to a tale of treason, his conviction that the nobles were
planning a republic by the aid of foreign troops, and uttered a complaint
that these nobles had accused him of suspecting them. As for the Prince
of Orange, he was described as eternally boasting of his influence in
Germany, and the great things which he could effect by means of his
connexions there, "so that," added the Cardinal, "we hear no other song."

He had much to say concerning the projects of these grandees to abolish
all the councils, but that of state, of which body they intended to
obtain the entire control. Marquis Berghen was represented as being at
the bottom of all these intrigues. The general and evident intention was
to make a thorough change in the form of government. The Marquis meant to
command in every thing, and the Duchess would soon have nothing to do in
the provinces as regent for the King. In fact, Philip himself would be
equally powerless, "for," said the Cardinal, "they will have succeeded in
putting your Majesty completely under guardianship." He added, moreover,
that the seigniors, in order to gain favor with the people and with the
estates, had allowed them to acquire so much power, that they would
respond to any request for subsidies by a general popular revolt. "This
is the simple truth," said Granvelle, "and moreover, by the same process,
in a very few days there will likewise be no religion left in the land."
When the deputies of some of the states, a few weeks later, had been
irregularly convened in Brussels, for financial purposes, the Cardinal
informed the monarch that the nobles were endeavoring to conciliate their
good-will, by offering them a splendid series of festivities and

He related various anecdotes which came to his ears from time to time,
all tending to excite suspicions as to the loyalty and orthodoxy of the
principal nobles. A gentleman coming from Burgundy had lately, as he
informed the King, been dining with the Prince of Orange, with whom Horn
and Montigny were then lodging. At table, Montigny called out in a very
loud voice to the strange cavalier, who was seated at a great distance
from him, to ask if there were many Huguenots in Burgundy. No, replied
the gentleman nor would they be permitted to exist there. "Then there can
be very few people of intelligence in that province," returned Montigny,
"for those who have any wit are mostly all Huguenots." The Prince of
Orange here endeavored to put a stop to the conversation, saying that the
Burgundians were very right to remain as they were; upon which Montigny
affirmed that he had heard masses enough lately to last him for three
months. These things may be jests, commented Granvelle, but they are very
bad ones; and 'tis evident that such a man is an improper instrument to
remedy the state of religious affairs in Tournay.

At another large party, the King was faithfully informed by the same
chronicler, that Marquis Berghen had been teasing the Duke of Aerschot
very maliciously, because he would not join the league. The Duke had
responded as he had formerly done to Egmont, that his Majesty was not to
receive laws from his vassals; adding that, for himself, he meant to
follow in the loyal track of his ancestors, fearing God and honoring the
king. In short, said Granvelle, he answered them with so much wisdom,
that although they had never a high opinion of his capacity, they were
silenced. This conversation had been going on before all the servants,
the Marquis being especially vociferous, although the room was quite full
of them. As soon as the cloth was removed, and while some of the lackies
still remained, Berghen had resumed the conversation. He said he was of
the same mind as his ancestor, John of Berghen, had been, who had once
told the King's grandfather, Philip the Fair, that if his Majesty was
bent on his own perdition, he had no disposition to ruin himself. If the
present monarch means to lose these provinces by governing them as he did
govern them, the Marquis affirmed that he had no wish to lose the little
property that he himself possessed in the country. "But if," argued the
Duke of Aerschot, "the King absolutely refuse to do what you demand of
him; what then?"--"Par la cordieu!" responded Berghen, in a rage, "we
will let him see!" whereupon all became silent.

Granvelle implored the King to keep these things entirely to himself;
adding that it was quite necessary for his Majesty to learn in this
manner what were the real dispositions of the gentlemen of the provinces.
It was also stated in the same letter, that a ruffian Genoese, who had
been ordered out of the Netherlands by the Regent, because of a homicide
he had committed, was kept at Weert, by Count Horn, for the purpose of
murdering the Cardinal.

He affirmed that he was not allowed to request the expulsion of the
assassin from the Count's house; but that he would take care,
nevertheless, that neither this ruffian nor any other, should accomplish
his purpose. A few weeks afterwards, expressing his joy at the
contradiction of a report that Philip had himself been assassinated,
Granvelle added; "I too, who am but a worm in comparison, am threatened
on so many sides, that many must consider me already dead. Nevertheless,
I will endeavor, with God's help, to live as long as I can, and if they
kill me, I hope they will not gain every thing." Yet, with characteristic
Jesuitism, the Cardinal could not refrain, even in the very letter in
which he detailed the rebellious demonstrations of Berghen, and the
murderous schemes of Horn, to protest that he did not say these things
"to prejudice his Majesty against any one, but only that it might be
known to what a height the impudence was rising." Certainly the King and
the ecclesiastic, like the Roman soothsayers, would have laughed in each
other's face, could they have met, over the hollowness of such
demonstrations. Granvelle's letters were filled, for the greater part,
with pictures of treason, stratagem, and bloody intentions, fabricated
mostly out of reports, table-talk, disjointed chat in the careless
freedom of domestic intercourse, while at the same time a margin was
always left to express his own wounded sense of the injurious suspicions
uttered against him by the various subjects of his letters. "God knows,"
said he to Perez, "that I always speak of them with respect, which is
more than they do of me. But God forgive them all. In times like these,
one must hold one's tongue. One must keep still, in order not to stir up
a hornet's nest."

In short, the Cardinal, little by little, during the last year of his
residence in the Netherlands, was enabled to spread a canvas before his
sovereign's eye, in which certain prominent figures, highly colored by
patiently accumulated touches, were represented as driving a whole
nation, against its own will, into manifest revolt. The estates and the
people, he said, were already tired of the proceedings of the nobles, and
those personages would find themselves very much mistaken in thinking
that men who had any thing to lose would follow them, when they began a
rebellion against his Majesty. On the whole, he was not desirous of
prolonging his own residence, although, to do him justice, he was not
influenced by fear. He thought or affected to think that the situation
was one of a factitious popular discontent, procured by the intrigues of
a few ambitious and impoverished Catilines and Cethegi, not a rising
rebellion such as the world had never seen, born of the slowly-awakened
wrath of, a whole people, after the martyrdom of many years. The remedy
that he recommended was that his Majesty should come in person to the
provinces. The monarch would cure the whole disorder as soon as he
appeared, said the Cardinal, by merely making the sign of the cross.
Whether, indeed, the rapidly-increasing cancer of national discontent
would prove a mere king's evil, to be healed by the royal touch, as many
persons besides Granvelle believed, was a point not doomed to be tested.
From that day forward Philip began to hold out hopes that he would come
to administer the desired remedy, but even then it was the opinion of
good judges that he would give millions rather than make his appearance
in the Netherlands. It was even the hope of William of Orange that the
King would visit the provinces. He expressed his desire, in a letter to
Lazarus Schwendi, that his sovereign should come in person, that he might
see whether it had been right to sow so much distrust between himself and
his loyal subjects. The Prince asserted that it was impossible for any
person not on the spot to imagine the falsehoods and calumnies circulated
by Granvelle and his friends, accusing Orange and his associates of
rebellion and heresy, in the most infamous manner in the world. He added,
in conclusion, that he could write no more, for the mere thought of the
manner in which the government of the Netherlands was carried on filled
him with disgust and rage. This letter, together with one in a similar
strain from Egmont, was transmitted by the valiant and highly
intellectual soldier to whom they were addressed, to the King of Spain,
with an entreaty that he would take warning from the bitter truths which
they contained. The Colonel, who was a most trusty friend of Orange,
wrote afterwards to Margaret of Parma in the same spirit, warmly urging
her to moderation in religious matters. This application highly enraged
Morillon, the Cardinal's most confidential dependent, who accordingly
conveyed the intelligence to his already departed chief, exclaiming in
his letter, "what does the ungrateful baboon mean by meddling with our
affairs? A pretty state of things, truly, if kings are to choose or
retain their ministers at the will of the people; little does he know of
the disasters which would be caused by a relaxation of the edicts." In
the same sense, the Cardinal, just before his departure, which was now
imminent, wrote to warn his sovereign of the seditious character of the
men who were then placing their breasts between the people and their
butchers. He assured Philip that upon the movement of those nobles
depended the whole existence of the country. It was time that they should
be made to open their eyes. They should be solicited in every way to
abandon their evil courses, since the liberty which they thought
themselves defending was but abject slavery; but subjection to a thousand
base and contemptible personages, and to that "vile animal called the

It is sufficiently obvious, from the picture which we have now presented
of the respective attitudes of Granvelle, of the seigniors and of the
nation, during the whole of the year 1563, and the beginning of the
following year, that a crisis was fast approaching. Granvelle was, for
the moment, triumphant, Orange, Egmont, and Horn had abandoned the state
council, Philip could not yet make up his mind to yield to the storm, and
Alva howled defiance at the nobles and the whole people of the
Netherlands. Nevertheless, Margaret of Parma was utterly weary of the
minister, the Cardinal himself was most anxious to be gone, and the
nation--for there was a nation, however vile the animal might be--was
becoming daily more enraged at the presence of a man in whom, whether
justly or falsely, it beheld the incarnation of the religious oppression
under which they groaned. Meantime, at the close of the year, a new
incident came to add to the gravity of the situation. Caspar Schetz,
Baron of Grobbendonck, gave a Great dinner-party, in the month of
December, 1563. This personage, whose name was prominent for many years
in the public affairs of the nation, was one of the four brothers who
formed a very opulent and influential mercantile establishment.

He was the King's principal factor and financial agent. He was one of the
great pillars of the Bourse at Antwerp. He was likewise a tolerable
scholar, a detestable poet, an intriguing politician, and a corrupt
financier. He was regularly in the pay of Sir Thomas Gresham, to whom he
furnished secret information, for whom he procured differential favors,
and by whose government he was rewarded by gold chains and presents of
hard cash, bestowed as secretly as the equivalent was conveyed adroitly.
Nevertheless, although his venality was already more than suspected, and
although his peculation, during his long career became so extensive that
he was eventually prosecuted by government, and died before the process
was terminated, the lord of Grobbendonck was often employed in most
delicate negotiations, and, at the present epoch, was a man of much
importance in the Netherlands.

The treasurer-general accordingly gave his memorable banquet to a
distinguished party of noblemen. The conversation, during dinner, turned,
as was inevitable, upon the Cardinal. His ostentation, greediness,
insolence, were fully canvassed. The wine flowed freely as it always did
in those Flemish festivities--the brains of the proud and reckless
cavaliers became hot with excitement, while still the odious ecclesiastic
was the topic of their conversation, the object alternately of fierce
invective or of scornful mirth. The pompous display which he affected in
his equipages, liveries, and all the appurtenances of his household, had
frequently excited their derision, and now afforded fresh matter for
their ridicule. The customs of Germany, the simple habiliments in which
the retainers of the greatest houses were arrayed in that country, were
contrasted with the tinsel and glitter in which the prelate pranked
himself. It was proposed, by way of showing contempt for Granvelle, that
a livery should be forthwith invented, as different as possible from his
in general effect, and that all the gentlemen present should
indiscriminately adopt it for their own menials. Thus would the people
whom the Cardinal wished to dazzle with his finery learn to estimate such
gauds at their true value. It was determined that something extremely
plain, and in the German fashion, should be selected. At the same time,
the company, now thoroughly inflamed with wine, and possessed by the
spirit of mockery, determined that a symbol should be added to the
livery, by which the universal contempt for Granvelle should be
expressed. The proposition was hailed with acclamation, but who should
invent the hieroglyphical costume? All were reckless and ready enough,
but ingenuity of device was required. At last it was determined to decide
the question by hazard. Amid shouts of hilarity, the dice were thrown.
Those men were staking their lives, perhaps, upon the issue, but the
reflection gave only a keener zest to the game. Egmont won. It was the
most fatal victory which he had ever achieved, a more deadly prize even
than the trophies of St. Quentin and Gravelingen.

In a few days afterwards, the retainers of the house of Egmont surprised
Brussels by making their appearance in a new livery. Doublet and hose of
the coarsest grey, and long hanging sleeves, without gold or silver lace,
and having but a single ornament, comprised the whole costume. An emblem
which seemed to resemble a monk's cowl, or a fool's cap and bells, was
embroidered upon each sleeve. The device pointed at the Cardinal, as did,
by contrast, the affected coarseness of the dress. There was no doubt as
to the meaning of the hood, but they who saw in the symbol more
resemblance to the jester's cap, recalled certain biting expressions
which Granvelle had been accustomed to use. He had been wont, in the days
of his greatest insolence, to speak of the most eminent nobles as zanies,
lunatics, and buffoons. The embroidered fool's cap was supposed to typify
the gibe, and to remind the arrogant priest that a Brutus, as in the
olden time, might be found lurking in the costume of the fool. However
witty or appropriate the invention, the livery had an immense success.
According to agreement, the nobles who had dined with the treasurer
ordered it for all their servants. Never did a new dress become so soon
the fashion. The unpopularity of the minister assisted the quaintness of
the device. The fool's-cap livery became the rage. Never was such a run
upon the haberdashers, mercers, and tailors, since Brussels had been a
city. All the frieze-cloth in Brabant was exhausted. All the serge in
Flanders was clipped into monastic cowls. The Duchess at first laughed
with the rest, but the Cardinal took care that the king should be at once
informed upon the subject. The Regent was, perhaps, not extremely sorry
to see the man ridiculed whom she so cordially disliked, and, she
accepted the careless excuses made on the subject by Egmont and by Orange
without severe criticism. She wrote to her brother that, although the
gentlemen had been influenced by no evil intention, she had thought it
best to exhort them not to push the jest too far. Already, however, she
found that two thousand pairs, of sleeves had been made, and the most she
could obtain was that the fools' caps, or monks' hoods, should in future
be omitted from the livery. A change was accordingly made in the costume,
at about the time of the cardinal's departure.

A bundle of arrows, or in some instances a wheat-sheaf, was substituted
for the cowls. Various interpretations were placed upon this new emblem.
According to the nobles themselves, it denoted the union of all their
hearts in the King's service, while their enemies insinuated that it was
obviously a symbol of conspiracy. The costume thus amended was worn by
the gentlemen themselves, as well as by their servants. Egmont dined at
the Regent's table, after the Cardinal's departure, in a camlet doublet,
with hanging sleeves, and buttons stamped with the bundle of arrows.

For the present, the Cardinal affected to disapprove of the fashion only
from its rebellious tendency. The fools' caps and cowls, he meekly
observed to Philip, were the least part of the offence, for an injury to
himself could be easily forgiven. The wheat-sheaf and the arrow-bundles,
however, were very vile things, for they betokened and confirmed the
existence of a conspiracy, such as never could be tolerated by a prince
who had any regard for his own authority.

This incident of the livery occupied the public attention, and inflamed
the universal hatred during the later months of the minister's residence
in the country. Meantime the three seigniors had become very impatient at
receiving no answer to their letter. Margaret of Parma was urging her
brother to give them satisfaction, repeating to him their bitter
complaints that their characters and conduct were the subject of constant
misrepresentation to their sovereign, and picturing her own isolated
condition. She represented herself as entirely deprived of the support of
those great personages, who, despite her positive assurances to the
contrary, persisted in believing that they were held up to the King as
conspirators, and were in danger of being punished as traitors. Philip,
on his part, was conning Granvelle's despatches, filled with hints of
conspiracy, and holding counsel with Alva, who had already recommended
the taking off several heads for treason. The Prince of Orange, who
already had secret agents in the King's household, and was supplied with
copies of the most private papers in the palace, knew better than to be
deceived by the smooth representations of the Regent. Philip had,
however, at last begun secretly to yield. He asked Alva's advice whether
on the whole it would not be better to let the Cardinal leave the
Netherlands, at least for a time, on pretence of visiting his mother in
Burgundy, and to invite Count Egmont to Madrid, by way of striking one
link from the chain, as Granvelle had suggested. The Duke had replied
that he had no doubt of the increasing insolence of the three seigniors,
as depicted in the letters of the Duchess Margaret, nor of their
intention to make the Cardinal their first victim; it being the regular
principle in all revolts against the sovereign, to attack the chief
minister in the first place. He could not, however, persuade himself that
the King should yield and Granvelle be recalled. Nevertheless, if it were
to be done at all, he preferred that the Cardinal should go to Burgundy
without leave asked either of the Duchess or of Philip; and that he
should then write; declining to return, on the ground that his life was
not safe in the Netherlands.

After much hesitation, the monarch at last settled upon a plan, which
recommended itself through the extreme duplicity by which it was marked,
and the complicated system of small deceptions, which it consequently
required. The King, who was never so thoroughly happy or at home as when
elaborating the ingredients of a composite falsehood, now busily employed
himself in his cabinet. He measured off in various letters to the Regent,
to the three nobles, to Egmont alone, and to Granvelle, certain
proportionate parts of his whole plan, which; taken separately, were
intended to deceive, and did deceive nearly every person in the world,
not only in his own generation, but for three centuries afterwards, but
which arranged synthetically, as can now be done, in consequence of
modern revelations, formed one complete and considerable lie, the
observation of which furnishes the student with a lesson in the political
chemistry of those days, which was called Macchiavellian statesmanship.
The termination of the Granvelle regency is, moreover, most important,
not only for the grave and almost interminable results to which it led,
but for the illustration which it affords of the inmost characters of the
Cardinal and "his master."

The courier who was to take Philip's letters to the three nobles was
detained three weeks, in order to allow Armenteros, who was charged with
the more important and secret despatches for the Duchess and Granvelle to
reach Brussels first. All the letters, however, were ready at the same
time. The letter of instructions for Armenteros enjoined upon that envoy
to tell the Regent that the heretics were to be chastised with renewed
vigor, that she was to refuse to convoke the states-general under any
pretext, and that if hard pressed, she was to refer directly to the King.
With regard to Granvelle, the secretary was to state that his Majesty was
still deliberating, and that the Duchess would be informed as to the
decision when it should be made. He was to express the royal astonishment
that the seigniors should absent themselves from the state council, with
a peremptory intimation that they should immediately return to their
posts. As they had specified no particularities against the Cardinal, the
King would still reflect upon the subject.

He also wrote a private note to the Duchess, stating that he had not yet
sent the letters for the three nobles, because he wished that Armenteros
should arrive before their courier. He, however, enclosed two notes for
Egmont, of which Margaret was to deliver that one, which, in her opinion,
was, under the circumstances, the best. In one of these missives the King
cordially accepted, and in the other he politely declined Egmont's recent
offer to visit Spain. He also forwarded a private letter in his own
hand-writing to the Cardinal. Armenteros, who travelled but slowly on
account of the state of his health, arrived in Brussels towards the end
of February. Five or six days afterwards, on the 1st March, namely, the
courier arrived bringing the despatches for the seigniors. In his letter
to Orange, Egmont, and Horn, the King expressed his astonishment at their
resolution to abstain from the state council. Nevertheless, said he,
imperatively, fail not to return thither and to show how much more highly
you regard my service and the good of the country than any other
particularity whatever. As to Granvelle, continued Philip, since you will
not make any specifications, my intention is to think over the matter
longer, in order to arrange it as may seem most fitting.

This letter was dated February 19 (1564), nearly a month later therefore
than the secret letter to Granvelle, brought by Armenteros, although all
the despatches had been drawn up at the same time and formed parts of the
same plan. In this brief note to Granvelle, however, lay the heart of the
whole mystery.

"I have reflected much," wrote the King, "on all that you have written me
during these last few months, concerning the ill-will borne you by
certain personages. I notice also your suspicions that if a revolt breaks
out, they will commence with your person, thus taking occasion to proceed
from that point to the accomplishment of their ulterior designs. I have
particularly taken into consideration the notice received by you from the
curate of Saint Gudule, as well as that which you have learned concerning
the Genoese who is kept at Weert; all which has given me much anxiety as
well from my desire for the preservation of your life in which my service
is so deeply interested, as for the possible results if any thing should
happen to you, which God forbid. I have thought, therefore, that it would
be well, in order to give time and breathing space to the hatred and
rancor which those persons entertain towards you, and in order to see
what coarse they will take in preparing the necessary remedy, for the
provinces, for you to leave the country for some days, in order to visit
your mother, and this with the knowledge of the Duchess, my sister, and
with her permission, which you will request, and which I have written to
her that she must give, without allowing it to appear that you have
received orders to that effect from me. You will also beg her to write to
me requesting my approbation of what she is to do. By taking this course
neither my authority nor yours will suffer prejudice; and according to
the turn which things may take, measures may be taken for your return
when expedient, and for whatever else there may be to arrange."

Thus, in two words, Philip removed the unpopular minister forever. The
limitation of his absence had no meaning, and was intended to have none.
If there were not strength enough to keep the Cardinal in his place, it
was not probable that the more difficult task of reinstating him after
his fall would be very soon attempted. It, seemed, however, to be dealing
more tenderly with Granvelle's self-respect thus to leave a vague opening
for a possible return, than to send him an unconditional dismissal.

Thus, while the King refused to give any weight to the representations of
the nobles, and affected to be still deliberating whether or not he
should recall the Cardinal, he had in reality already recalled him. All
the minute directions according to which permission was to be asked of
the Duchess to take a step which had already been prescribed by the
monarch, and Philip's indulgence craved for obeying his own explicit
injunctions, were fulfilled to the letter.

As soon as the Cardinal received the royal order, he privately made
preparations for his departure. The Regent, on the other hand, delivered
to Count Egmont the one of Philip's two letters in which that gentleman's
visit was declined, the Duchess believing that, in the present position
of affairs, she should derive more assistance from him than from the rest
of the seigniors. As Granvelle, however, still delayed his departure,
even after the arrival of the second courier, she was again placed in a
situation of much perplexity. The three nobles considered Philip's letter
to them extremely "dry and laconic," and Orange absolutely refused to
comply with the order to re-enter the state council. At a session of that
body, on the 3d of March, where only Granvelle, Viglius, and Berlaymont
were present, Margaret narrated her fruitless attempts to persuade the
seigniors into obedience to the royal orders lately transmitted, and
asked their opinions. The extraordinary advice was then given, that "she
should let them champ the bit a little while longer, and afterwards see
what was to be done." Even at the last moment, the Cardinal, reluctant to
acknowledge himself beaten, although secretly desirous to retire, was
inclined for a parting struggle. The Duchess, however, being now armed
with the King's express commands, and having had enough of holding the
reins while such powerful and restive personages were "champing the bit,"
insisted privately that the Cardinal should make his immediate departure
known. Pasquinades and pamphlets were already appearing daily, each more
bitter than the other; the livery was spreading rapidly through all
classes of people, and the seigniors most distinctly refused to recede
from their determination of absenting themselves from the council so long
as Granvelle remained. There was no help for it; and on the 13th of March
the Cardinal took his departure. Notwithstanding the mystery of the whole
proceeding, however, William of Orange was not deceived. He felt certain
that the minister had been recalled, and thought it highly improbable
that he would ever be permitted to return. "Although the Cardinal talks
of coming back again soon," wrote the Prince to Schwartzburg, "we
nevertheless hope that, as he lied about his departure, so he will also
spare the truth in his present assertions." This was the general
conviction, so far as the question of the minister's compulsory retreat
was concerned, of all those who were in the habit of receiving their
information and their opinions from the Prince of Orange. Many even
thought that Granvelle had been recalled with indignity and much against
his will. "When the Cardinal," wrote Secretary Lorich to Count Louis,
"received the King's order to go, he growled like a bear, and kept
himself alone in his chamber for a time, making his preparations for
departure. He says he shall come back in two months, but some of us think
they will be two long months which will eat themselves up like money
borrowed of the Jews." A wag, moreover, posted a large placard upon the
door of Granvelle's palace in Brussels as soon as the minister's
departure was known, with the inscription, in large letters, "For sale,
immediately." In spite of the royal ingenuity, therefore, many shrewdly
suspected the real state of the case, although but very few actually knew
the truth.

The Cardinal left Brussels with a numerous suite, stately equipages, and
much parade. The Duchess provided him with her own mules and with a
sufficient escort, for the King had expressly enjoined that every care
should be taken against any murderous attack. There was no fear of such
assault, however, for all were sufficiently satisfied to see the minister
depart. Brederode and Count Hoogstraaten were standing together, looking
from the window of a house near the gate of Caudenberg, to feast their
eyes with the spectacle of their enemy's retreat. As soon as the Cardinal
had passed through that gate, on his way to Namur, the first stage of his
journey, they rushed into the street, got both upon one horse,
Hoogstraaten, who alone had boots on his legs, taking the saddle and
Brederode the croup, and galloped after the Cardinal, with the exultation
of school-boys. Thus mounted, they continued to escort the Cardinal on
his journey. At one time, they were so near his carriage, while it was
passing through a ravine, that they might have spoken to him from the
heights above, where they had paused to observe him; but they pulled the
capes of their cloaks over their faces and suffered him to pass
unchallenged. "But they are young folk," said the Cardinal, benignantly,
after relating all these particulars to the Duchess, "and one should pay
little regard to their actions." He added, that one of Egmont's gentlemen
dogged their party on the journey, lodging in the same inns with them,
apparently in the hope of learning something from their conversation or
proceedings. If that were the man's object, however, Granvelle expressed
the conviction that he was disappointed, as nothing could have been more
merry than the whole company, or more discreet than their conversation.

The Cardinal began at once to put into operation the system of deception,
as to his departure, which had been planned by Philip. The man who had
been ordered to leave the Netherlands by the King, and pushed into
immediate compliance with the royal command by the Duchess, proceeded to
address letters both to Philip and Margaret. He wrote from Namur to beg
the Regent that she would not fail to implore his Majesty graciously to
excuse his having absented himself for private reasons at that particular
moment. He wrote to Philip from Besancon, stating that his desire to
visit his mother, whom he had not seen for nineteen years, and his natal
soil, to which he had been a stranger during the same period, had induced
him to take advantage of his brother's journey to accompany him for a few
days into Burgundy. He had, therefore, he said, obtained the necessary
permission from the Duchess, who had kindly promised to write very
particularly by the first courier, to beg his Majesty's approval of the
liberty which they had both taken. He wrote from the same place to the
Regent again, saying that some of the nobles pretended to have learned
from Armenteros that the King had ordered the Cardinal to leave the
country and not to return; all which, he added, was a very false
Renardesque invention, at which he did nothing but laugh.

As a matter of course, his brother, in whose company he was about to
visit the mother whom he had not seen for the past nineteen years, was as
much mystified as the rest of the world. Chantonnay was not aware that
any thing but the alleged motives had occasioned the journey, nor did he
know that his brother would perhaps have omitted to visit their common
parent for nineteen years longer had he not received the royal order to
leave the Netherlands.

Philip, on the other side, had sustained his part, in the farce with much
ability. Viglius, Berlaymont, Morillon, and all the lesser cardinalists
were entirely taken in by the letters which were formally despatched to
the Duchess in reply to her own and the Cardinal's notification. "I can
not take it amiss," wrote the King, "that you have given leave of absence
to Cardinal de Granvelle, for two or three months, according to the
advices just received from you, that he may attend to some private
affairs of his own." As soon as these letters had been read in the
council, Viglius faithfully transmitted them to Granvelle for that
personage's enlightenment; adding his own innocent reflection, that "this
was very different language from that held by some people, that your most
illustrious lordship had retired by order of his Majesty." Morillon also
sent the Cardinal a copy of the same passage in the royal despatch,
saying, very wisely, "I wonder what they will all say now, since these
letters have been read in council." The Duchess, as in duty bound, denied
flatly, on all occasions, that Armenteros had brought any letters
recommending or ordering the minister's retreat. She conscientiously
displayed the letters of his Majesty, proving the contrary, and yet, said
Viglius, it was very hard to prevent people talking as they liked.
Granvelle omitted no occasion to mystify every one of his correspondents
on the subject, referring, of course, to the same royal letters which had
been written for public reading, expressly to corroborate these
statements. "You see by his Majesty's letters to Madame de Parma," said
he to Morillon, "how false is the report that the King had ordered me to
leave Flanders, and in what confusion those persons find themselves who
fabricated the story." It followed of necessity that he should carry out
his part in the royal program, but he accomplished his task so adroitly,
and with such redundancy of zeal, as to show his thorough sympathy with
the King's policy. He dissembled with better grace, even if the King did
it more naturally. Nobody was too insignificant to be deceived, nobody
too august. Emperor Ferdinand fared no better than "Esquire" Bordey.
"Some of those who hate me," he wrote to the potentate, "have circulated
the report that I had been turned out of the country, and was never to
return. This story has ended in smoke, since the letters written by his
Majesty to the Duchess of Parma on the subject of the leave of absence
which she had given me." Philip himself addressed a private letter to
Granvelle, of course that others might see it, in which he affected to
have just learned that the Cardinal had obtained permission from the
Regent "to make a visit to his mother, in order to arrange certain family
matters," and gravely gave his approbation to the step. At the same time
it was not possible for the King to resist the temptation of adding one
other stroke of dissimulation to his own share in the comedy. Granvelle
and Philip had deceived all the world, but Philip also deceived
Granvelle. The Cardinal made a mystery of his departure to Pollwiller,
Viglius, Morillon, to the Emperor, to his own brother, and also to the
King's secretary, Gonzalo Perez; but he was not aware that Perez, whom he
thought himself deceiving as ingeniously as he had done all the others,
had himself drawn up the letter of recall, which the King had afterwards
copied out in his own hand and marked "secret and confidential." Yet
Granvelle might have guessed that in such an emergency Philip would
hardly depend upon his own literary abilities.

Granvelle remained month after month in seclusion, doing his best to
philosophize. Already, during the latter period of his residence in the
Netherlands, he had lived in a comparative and forced solitude. His house
had been avoided by those power-worshippers whose faces are rarely turned
to the setting sun. He had, in consequence, already, before his
departure, begun to discourse on the beauties of retirement, the fatigues
of greatness, and the necessity of repose for men broken with the storms
of state. A great man was like a lake, he said, to which a thirsty
multitude habitually resorted till the waters were troubled, sullied, and
finally exhausted. Power looked more attractive in front than in the
retrospect. That which men possessed was ever of less value than that
which they hoped. In this fine strain of eloquent commonplace the falling
minister had already begun to moralize upon the vanity of human wishes.
When he was established at his charming retreat in Burgundy, he had full
leisure to pursue the theme. He remained in retirement till his beard
grew to his waist, having vowed, according to report, that he would not
shave till recalled to the Netherlands. If the report were true, said
some of the gentlemen in the provinces, it would be likely to grow to his
feet. He professed to wish himself blind and deaf that he might have no
knowledge of the world's events, described himself as buried in
literature, and fit for no business save to remain in his chamber,
fastened to his books, or occupied with private affairs and religious
exercises. He possessed a most charming residence at Orchamps, where he
spent a great portion of his time. In one of his letters to
Vice-Chancellor Seld, he described the beauties of this retreat with much
delicacy and vigor--"I am really not as badly off here," said he, "as I
should be in the Indies. I am in sweet places where I have wished for you
a thousand times, for I am certain that you would think them appropriate
for philosophy and worthy the habitation of the Muses. Here are beautiful
mountains, high as heaven, fertile on all their sides, wreathed with
vineyards, and rich with every fruit; here are rivers flowing through
charming valleys, the waters clear as crystal, filled with trout,
breaking into numberless cascades. Here are umbrageous groves, fertile
fields, lovely meadows; on the one aide great warmth, on the other aide
delectable coolness, despite the summer's heat. Nor is there any lack of
good company, friends, and relations, with, as you well know, the very
best wines in the world."

Thus it is obvious that the Cardinal was no ascetic. His hermitage
contained other appliances save those for study and devotion. His retired
life was, in fact, that of a voluptuary. His brother, Chantonnay,
reproached him with the sumptuousness and disorder of his establishment.
He lived in "good and joyous cheer." He professed to be thoroughly
satisfied with the course things had taken, knowing that God was above
all, and would take care of all. He avowed his determination to extract
pleasure and profit even from the ill will of his adversaries. "Behold my
philosophy," he cried, "to live joyously as possible, laughing at the
world, at passionate people, and at all their calumnies." It is evident
that his philosophy, if it had any real existence, was sufficiently
Epicurean. It was, however, mainly compounded of pretence, like his whole
nature and his whole life. Notwithstanding the mountains high as heaven,
the cool grottos, the trout, and the best Burgundy wines in the world,
concerning which he descanted so eloquently, he soon became in reality
most impatient of his compulsory seclusion. His pretence of "composing
himself as much as possible to tranquillity and repose" could deceive
none of the intimate associates to whom he addressed himself in that
edifying vein. While he affected to be blind and deaf to politics, he had
eyes and ears for nothing else. Worldly affairs were his element, and he
was shipwrecked upon the charming solitude which he affected to admire.
He was most anxious to return to the world again, but he had difficult
cards to play. His master was even more dubious than usual about
everything. Granvelle was ready to remain in Burgundy as long as Philip
chose that he should remain there. He was also ready to go to "India,
Peru, or into the fire," whenever his King should require any such
excursion, or to return to the Netherlands, confronting any danger which
might lie in his path. It is probable that he nourished for a long time a
hope that the storm would blow over in the provinces, and his resumption
of power become possible. William of Orange, although more than half
convinced that no attempt would be made to replace the minister, felt it
necessary to keep strict watch on his movements. "We must be on our
guard," said he, "and not be deceived. Perhaps they mean to put us
asleep, in order the better to execute their designs. For the present
things are peaceable, and all the world is rejoiced at the departure of
that good Cardinal." The Prince never committed the error of undervaluing
the talents of his great adversary, and he felt the necessity of being on
the alert in the present emergency. "'Tis a sly and cunning bird that we
are dealing with," said he, "one that sleeps neither day nor night if a
blow is to be dealt to us." Honest Brederode, after solacing himself with
the spectacle of his enemy's departure, soon began to suspect his return,
and to express himself on the subject, as usual, with ludicrous
vehemence. "They say the red fellow is back again," he wrote to Count
Louis, "and that Berlaymont has gone to meet him at Namur. The Devil
after the two would be a good chase." Nevertheless, the chances of that
return became daily fainter. Margaret of Parma hated the Cardinal with
great cordiality. She fell out of her servitude to him into far more
contemptible hands, but for a brief interval she seemed to take a delight
in the recovery of her freedom. According to Viglius, the court, after
Granvelle's departure, was like a school of boys and girls when the
pedagogue's back is turned. He was very bitter against the Duchess for
her manifest joy at emancipation. The poor President was treated with the
most marked disdain by Margaret, who also took pains to show her dislike
to all the cardinalists. Secretary Armenteros forbade Bordey, who was
Granvelle's cousin and dependent, from even speaking to him in public.
The Regent soon became more intimate with Orange and Egmont than she had
ever been with the Cardinal. She was made to see--and, seeing, she became
indignant--the cipher which she had really been during his
administration. "One can tell what's o'clock," wrote Morillon to the
fallen minister, "since she never writes to you nor mentions your name."
As to Armenteros, with whom Granvelle was still on friendly relations, he
was restless in his endeavors to keep the once-powerful priest from
rising again. Having already wormed himself into the confidence of the
Regent, he made a point of showing to the principal seigniors various
letters, in which she had been warned by the Cardinal to put no trust in
them. "That devil," said Armenteros, "thought he had got into Paradise
here; but he is gone, and we shall take care that he never returns." It
was soon thought highly probable that the King was but temporizing, and
that the voluntary departure of the minister had been a deception. Of
course nothing was accurately known upon the subject. Philip had taken
good care of that, but meantime the bets were very high that there would
be no restoration, with but few takers. Men thought if there had been any
royal favor remaining for the great man, that the Duchess would not be so
decided in her demeanor on the subject. They saw that she was scarlet
with indignation whenever the Cardinal's name was mentioned. They heard
her thank Heaven that she had but one son, because if she had had a
second he must have been an ecclesiastic, and as vile as priests always
were. They witnessed the daily contumely which she heaped upon poor
Viglius, both because he was a friend of Granvelle and was preparing in
his old age to take orders. The days were gone, indeed, when Margaret was
so filled with respectful affection for the prelate, that she could
secretly correspond with the Holy Father at Rome, and solicit the red hat
for the object of her veneration. She now wrote to Philip, stating that
she was better informed as to affairs in the Netherlands than she had
ever formerly been. She told her brother that all the views of Granvelle
and of his followers, Viglius with the rest, had tended to produce a
revolution which they hoped that Philip would find in full operation when
he should come to the Netherlands. It was their object, she said, to fish
in troubled waters, and, to attain that aim, they had ever pursued the
plan of gaining the exclusive control of all affairs. That was the reason
why they had ever opposed the convocation of the states-general. They
feared that their books would be read, and their frauds, injustice,
simony, and rapine discovered. This would be the result, if tranquillity
were restored to the country, and therefore they had done their best to
foment and maintain discord. The Duchess soon afterwards entertained her
royal brother with very detailed accounts of various acts of simony,
peculation, and embezzlement committed by Viglius, which the Cardinal had
aided and abetted, and by which he had profited.--[Correspondence de
Phil. II, i. 318-320.]--These revelations are inestimable in a historical
point of view. They do not raise our estimate of Margaret's character,
but they certainly give us a clear insight into the nature of the
Granvelle administration. At the same time it was characteristic of the
Duchess, that while she was thus painting the portrait of the Cardinal
for the private eye of his sovereign, she should address the banished
minister himself in a secret strain of condolence, and even of penitence.
She wrote to assure Granvelle that she repented extremely having adopted
the views of Orange. She promised that she would state publicly every
where that the Cardinal was an upright man, intact in his morals and his
administration, a most zealous and faithful servant of the King. She
added that she recognized the obligations she was under to him, and that
she loved him like a brother. She affirmed that if the Flemish seigniors
had induced her to cause the Cardinal to be deprived of the government,
she was already penitent, and that her fault deserved that the King, her
brother, should cut off her head, for having occasioned so great a
calamity.--["Memoires de Granvelle," tom. 33, p. 67.]

There was certainly discrepancy between the language thus used
simultaneously by the Duchess to Granvelle and to Philip, but Margaret
had been trained in the school of Macchiavelli, and had sat at the feet
of Loyola.

The Cardinal replied with equal suavity, protesting that such a letter
from the Duchess left him nothing more to desire, as it furnished him
with an "entire and perfect justification" of his conduct. He was aware
of her real sentiments, no doubt, but he was too politic to quarrel with
so important a personage as Philip's sister.

An incident which occurred a few months after the minister's departure
served, to show the general estimation in which he was held by all ranks
of Netherlanders. Count Mansfeld celebrated the baptism of his son,
Philip Octavian, by a splendid series of festivities at Luxemburg, the
capital of his government. Besides the tournaments and similar sports,
with which the upper classes of European society were accustomed at that
day to divert themselves, there was a grand masquerade, to which the
public were admitted as spectators. In this "mummery" the most successful
spectacle was that presented by a group arranged in obvious ridicule of
Granvelle. A figure dressed in Cardinal's costume, with the red hat upon
his head, came pacing through the arena upon horseback. Before him
marched a man attired like a hermit, with long white beard, telling his
beads upon a rosary, which he held ostentatiously in his hands. Behind
the mounted Cardinal came the Devil, attired in the usual guise
considered appropriate to the Prince of Darkness, who scourged both horse
and rider with a whip of fog-tails, causing them to scamper about the
lists in great trepidation, to the immense delight of the spectators. The
practical pun upon Simon Renard's name embodied in the fox-tail, with the
allusion to the effect of the manifold squibs perpetrated by that most
bitter and lively enemy upon Granvelle, were understood and relished by
the multitude. Nothing could be more hearty than the blows bestowed upon
the minister's representative, except the applause with which this
satire, composed of actual fustigation, was received. The humorous
spectacle absorbed all the interest of the masquerade, and was frequently
repeated. It seemed difficult to satisfy the general desire to witness a
thorough chastisement of the culprit.

The incident made a great noise in the country. The cardinalists felt
naturally very much enraged, but they were in a minority. No censure came
from the government at Brussels, and Mansfeld was then and for a long
time afterwards the main pillar of royal authority in the Netherlands. It
was sufficiently obvious that Granvelle, for the time at least, was
supported by no party of any influence.

Meantime he remained in his seclusion. His unpopularity did not, however,
decrease in his absence. More than a year after his departure, Berlaymont
said the nobles detested the Cardinal more than ever, and would eat him
alive if they caught him. The chance of his returning was dying gradually
out. At about the same period Chantonnay advised his brother to show his
teeth. He assured Granvelle that he was too quiet in his disgrace,
reminded him that princes had warm affections when they wished to make
use of people, but that when they could have them too cheaply, they
esteemed them but little; making no account of men whom they were
accustomed to see under their feet. He urged the Cardinal, in repeated
letters, to take heart again, to make himself formidable, and to rise
from his crouching attitude. All the world say, he remarked, that the
game is up between the King and yourself, and before long every one will
be laughing at you, and holding you for a dupe.

Stung or emboldened by these remonstrances, and weary of his retirement,
Granvelle at last abandoned all intention of returning to the
Netherlands, and towards the end of 1565, departed to Rome, where he
participated in the election of Pope Pius V. Five years afterwards he was
employed by Philip to negotiate the treaty between Spain, Rome, and
Venice against the Turk. He was afterwards Viceroy of Naples, and in
1575, he removed to Madrid, to take an active part in the management of
the public business, "the disorder of which," says the Abbe Boisot,
"could be no longer arrested by men of mediocre capacity." He died in
that city on the 21st September, 1586, at the age of seventy, and was
buried at Besancon.

We have dwelt at length on the administration of this remarkable
personage, because the period was one of vital importance in the history
of the Netherland commonwealth. The minister who deals with the country
at an epoch when civil war is imminent, has at least as heavy a
responsibility upon his head as the man who goes forth to confront the
armed and full-grown rebellion. All the causes out of which the great
revolt was born, were in violent operation during the epoch of
Granvelle's power. By the manner in which he comported himself in
presence of those dangerous and active elements of the coming
convulsions, must his character as a historical personage be measured.
His individuality had so much to do with the course of the government,
the powers placed in his hands were so vast, and his energy so untiring,
that it is difficult to exaggerate the importance of his influence upon
the destiny of the country which he was permitted to rule. It is for this
reason that we have been at great pains to present his picture, sketched
as it were by his own hand. A few general remarks are, however,
necessary. It is the historian's duty to fix upon one plain and definite
canvas the chameleon colors in which the subtle Cardinal produced his own
image. Almost any theory concerning his character might be laid down and
sustained by copious citations from his works; nay, the most opposite
conclusions as to his interior nature, may be often drawn from a single
one of his private and interminable letters. Embarked under his guidance,
it is often difficult to comprehend the point to which we are tending.
The oarsman's face beams upon us with serenity, but he looks in one
direction, and rows in the opposite course. Even thus it was three
centuries ago. Was it to be wondered at that many did not see the
precipice towards which the bark which held their all was gliding under
the same impulse?

No man has ever disputed Granvelle's talents. From friend and foe his
intellect has received the full measure of applause which it could ever
claim. No doubt his genius was of a rare and subtle kind. His great power
was essentially dramatic in its nature. He mastered the characters of the
men with whom he had to deal, and then assumed them. He practised this
art mainly upon personages of exalted station, for his scheme was to
govern the world by acquiring dominion over its anointed rulers. A smooth
and supple slave in appearance, but, in reality, while his power lasted,
the despot of his masters, he exercised boundless control by enacting
their parts with such fidelity that they were themselves deceived. It is
impossible not to admire the facility with which this accomplished
Proteus successively assumed the characters of Philip and of Margaret,
through all the complicated affairs and voluminous correspondence of his

When envoys of high rank were to be despatched on confidential missions
to Spain, the Cardinal drew their instructions as the Duchess--threw
light upon their supposed motives in secret letters as the King's
sister--and answered their representations with ponderous wisdom as
Philip; transmitting despatches, letters and briefs for royal
conversations, in time to be thoroughly studied before the advent of the
ambassador. Whoever travelled from Brussels to Madrid in order to escape
the influence of the ubiquitous Cardinal, was sure to be confronted with
him in the inmost recesses of the King's cabinet as soon as he was
admitted to an audience. To converse with Philip or Margaret was but to
commune with Antony. The skill with which he played his game, seated
quietly in his luxurious villa, now stretching forth one long arm to move
the King at Madrid, now placing Margaret upon what square he liked, and
dealing with Bishops, Knight of the Fleece, and lesser dignitaries, the
Richardota, the Morillons, the Viglii and the Berlaymonts, with sole
reference to his own scheme of action, was truly of a nature to excite
our special wonder. His aptitude for affairs and his power to read
character were extraordinary; but it was necessary that the affairs
should be those of a despotism, and the characters of an inferior nature.
He could read Philip and Margaret, Egmont or Berlaymont, Alva or Viglius,
but he had no plummet to sound the depths of a mind like that of William
the Silent. His genius was adroit and subtle, but not profound. He aimed
at power by making the powerful subservient, but he had not the intellect
which deals in the daylight face to face with great events and great
minds. In the violent political struggle of which his administration
consisted, he was foiled and thrown by the superior strength of a man
whose warfare was open and manly, and who had no defence against the
poisoned weapons of his foe.

His literary accomplishments were very great. His fecundity was
prodigious, and he wrote at will in seven languages. 'This polyglot
facility was not in itself a very remarkable circumstance, for it grew
out of his necessary education and geographical position. Few men in that
age and region were limited to their mother tongue. The Prince of Orange,
who made no special pretence to learning, possessed at least five
languages. Egmont, who was accounted an ignorant man, was certainly
familiar with three. The Cardinal, however, wrote not only with ease, but
with remarkable elegance, vigor and vivacity, in whatever language he
chose to adopt. The style of his letters and other documents, regarded
simply as compositions, was inferior to that of no writer of the age. His
occasional orations, too, were esteemed models of smooth and flowing
rhetoric, at an epoch when the art of eloquence was not much cultivated.
Yet it must be allowed that beneath all the shallow but harmonious flow
of his periods, it would be idle to search for a grain of golden sand.
Not a single sterling, manly thought is to be found in all his
productions. If at times our admiration is excited with the appearance of
a gem of true philosophy, we are soon obliged to acknowledge, on closer
inspection, that we have been deceived by a false glitter. In retirement,
his solitude was not relieved by serious application to any branch of
knowledge. Devotion to science and to the advancement of learning, a
virtue which has changed the infamy of even baser natures than his into
glory, never dignified his seclusion. He had elegant tastes, he built
fine palaces, he collected paintings, and he discoursed of the fine arts
with the skill and eloquence of a practised connoisseur; but the nectared
fruits of divine philosophy were but harsh and crabbed to him.

His moral characteristics are even more difficult to seize than his
intellectual traits. It is a perplexing task to arrive at the intimate
interior structure of a nature which hardly had an interior. He did not
change, but he presented himself daily in different aspects. Certain
peculiarities he possessed, however, which were unquestionable. He was
always courageous, generally calm. Placed in the midst of a nation which
hated him, exposed to the furious opposition of the most powerful
adversaries, having hardly a friend, except the cowardly Viglius and the
pluralist Morillon, secretly betrayed by Margaret of Parma, insulted by
rude grandees, and threatened by midnight assassins, he never lost his
self-possession, his smooth arrogance, his fortitude. He was
constitutionally brave. He was not passionate in his resentments. To say
that he was forgiving by nature would be an immense error; but that he
could put aside vengeance at the dictate of policy is very certain. He
could temporize, even after the reception of what he esteemed grave
injuries, if the offenders were powerful. He never manifested rancor
against the Duchess. Even after his fall from power in the Netherlands,
he interceded with the Pope in favor of the principality of Orange, which
the pontiff was disposed to confiscate. The Prince was at that time as
good a Catholic as the Cardinal. He was apparently on good terms with his
sovereign, and seemed to have a prosperous career before him. He was not
a personage to be quarrelled with. At a later day, when the position of
that great man was most clearly defined to the world, the Cardinal's
ancient affection for his former friend and pupil did not prevent him
from suggesting the famous ban by which a price was set upon his head,
and his life placed in the hands of every assassin in Europe. It did not
prevent him from indulging in the jocularity of a fiend, when the news of
the first-fruits of that bounty upon murder reached his ears. It did not
prevent him from laughing merrily at the pain which his old friend must
have suffered, shot through the head and face with a musket-ball, and at
the mutilated aspect which his "handsome face must have presented to the
eyes of his apostate wife." It did not prevent him from stoutly
disbelieving and then refusing to be comforted, when the recovery of the
illustrious victim was announced. He could always dissemble without
entirely forgetting his grievances. Certainly, if he were the forgiving
Christian he pictured himself, it is passing strange to reflect upon the
ultimate fate of Egmont, Horn, Montigny, Berghen, Orange, and a host of
others, whose relations with him were inimical.

His extravagance was enormous, and his life luxurious. At the same time
he could leave his brother Champagny--a man, with all his faults, of a
noble nature, and with scarcely inferior talents to his own--to languish
for a long time in abject poverty; supported by the charity of an ancient
domestic. His greediness for wealth was proverbial. No benefice was too
large or too paltry to escape absorption, if placed within his possible
reach. Loaded with places and preferments, rolling in wealth, he
approached his sovereign with the whine of a mendicant. He talked of his
property as a "misery," when he asked for boons, and expressed his thanks
in the language of a slave when he received them. Having obtained the
abbey of St. Armand, he could hardly wait for the burial of the Bishop of
Tournay before claiming the vast revenues of Afflighem, assuring the King
as he did so that his annual income was but eighteen thousand crowns. At
the same time, while thus receiving or pursuing the vast rents of St.
Armand and Afflighem, he could seize the abbey of Trulle from the
expectant hands of poor dependents, and accept tapestries and hogsheads
of wine from Jacques Lequien and others, as a tax on the benefices which
he procured for them. Yet the man who, like his father before him, had so
long fattened on the public money, who at an early day had incurred the
Emperor's sharp reproof for his covetousness, whose family, beside all
these salaries and personal property, possessed already fragments of the
royal domain, in the shape of nineteen baronies and seigniories in
Burgundy, besides the county of Cantecroix and other estates in the
Netherlands, had the effrontery to affirm, "We have always rather
regarded the service of the master than our own particular profit."

In estimating the conduct of the minister, in relation to the provinces,
we are met upon the threshold by a swarm of vague assertions which are of
a nature to blind or distract the judgment. His character must be judged
as a whole, and by its general results, with a careful allowance for
contradictions and equivocations. Truth is clear and single, but the
lights are parti-colored and refracted in the prism of hypocrisy. The
great feature of his administration was a prolonged conflict between
himself and the leading seigniors of the Netherlands. The ground of the
combat was the religious question. Let the quarrel be turned or tortured
in any manner that human ingenuity can devise, it still remains
unquestionable that Granvelle's main object was to strengthen and to
extend the inquisition, that of his adversaries to overthrow the
institution. It followed, necessarily, that the ancient charters were to
be trampled in the dust before that tribunal could be triumphant. The
nobles, although all Catholics, defended the cause of the poor religious
martyrs, the privileges of the nation and the rights of their order. They
were conservatives, battling for the existence of certain great facts,
entirely consonant to any theory of justice and divine reason--for
ancient constitutions which had been purchased with blood and treasure.
"I will maintain," was the motto of William of Orange. Philip, bigoted
and absolute almost beyond comprehension, might perhaps have proved
impervious to any representations, even of Granvelle. Nevertheless, the
minister might have attempted the task, and the responsibility is heavy
upon the man who shared the power and directed the career, but who never
ceased to represent the generous resistance of individuals to frantic
cruelty, as offences against God and the King.

Yet extracts are drawn from his letters to prove that he considered the
Spaniards as "proud and usurping," that he indignantly denied ever having
been in favor of subjecting the Netherlands to the soldiers of that
nation; that he recommended the withdrawal of the foreign regiments, and
that he advised the King, when he came to the country, to bring with him
but few Spanish troops. It should, however, be remembered that he
employed, according to his own statements, every expedient which human
ingenuity could suggest to keep the foreign soldiers in the provinces,
that he "lamented to his inmost soul" their forced departure, and that he
did not consent to that measure until the people were in a tumult, and
the Zealanders threatening to lay the country under the ocean. "You may
judge of the means employed to excite the people," he wrote to Perez in
1563, "by the fact that a report is circulated that the Duke of Alva is
coming hither to tyrannize the provinces." Yet it appears by the
admissions of Del Ryo, one of Alva's blood council, that, "Cardinal
Granvelle expressly advised that an army of Spaniards should be sent to
the Netherlands, to maintain the obedience to his Majesty and the
Catholic religion," and that the Duke of Alva was appointed chief by the
advice of Cardinal Spinosa, and by that of Cardinal Granvelle, as,
appeared by many letters written at the time to his friends. By the same
confessions; it appeared that the course of policy thus distinctly
recommended by Granvelle, "was to place the country under a system of
government like that of Spain and Italy, and to reduce it entirely under
the council of Spain." When the terrible Duke started on his errand of
blood and fire, the Cardinal addressed him, a letter of fulsome flattery;
protesting "that all the world know that no person could be found so
appropriate as he, to be employed in an affair of such importance;"
urging him to advance with his army as rapidly as possible upon the
Netherlands, hoping that "the Duchess of Parma would not be allowed to
consent that any pardon or concession should be made to the cities, by
which the construction of fortresses would be interfered with, or the
revocation of the charters which had been forfeited, be prevented," and
giving him much advice as to the general measures to be adopted, and the
persons to be employed upon his arrival, in which number the infamous
Noircarmes was especially recommended. In a document found among his
papers, these same points, with others, were handled at considerable
length. The incorporation of the provinces into one kingdom, of which the
King was to be crowned absolute sovereign; the establishment of, a
universal law for the Catholic religion, care being taken not to call
that law inquisition, "because there was nothing so odious to the
northern nations as the word Spanish Inquisition, although the thing in
itself be most holy and just;" the abolition and annihilation of the
broad or general council in the cities, the only popular representation
in the country; the construction of many citadels and fortresses to be
garrisoned with Spaniards, Italians, and Germans. Such were the leading
features in that remarkable paper.

The manly and open opposition of the nobles was stigmatized as a cabal by
the offended priest. He repeatedly whispered in the royal ear that their
league was a treasonable conspiracy, which the Attorney-General ought to
prosecute; that the seigniors meant to subvert entirely the authority of
the Sovereign; that they meant to put their King under tutelage, to
compel him to obey all their commands, to choose another prince of the
blood for their chief, to establish a republic by the aid of foreign
troops. If such insinuations, distilled thus secretly into the ear of
Philip, who, like his predecessor, Dionysius, took pleasure in listening
daily to charges against his subjects and to the groans of his prisoners,
were not likely to engender a dangerous gangrene in the royal mind, it
would be difficult to indicate any course which would produce such a
result. Yet the Cardinal maintained that he had never done the gentlemen
ill service, but that "they were angry with him for wishing to sustain
the authority of the master." In almost every letter he expressed vague
generalities of excuse, or even approbation, while he chronicled each
daily fact which occurred to their discredit. The facts he particularly
implored the King to keep to himself, the vague laudation he as urgently
requested him to repeat to those interested. Perpetually dropping small
innuendos like pebbles into the depths of his master's suspicious soul,
he knew that at last the waters of bitterness would overflow, but he
turned an ever-smiling face upon those who were to be his victims. There
was ever something in his irony like the bland request of the inquisitor
to the executioner that he would deal with his prisoners gently. There
was about the same result in regard to such a prayer to be expected from
Philip as from the hangman. Even if his criticisms had been uniformly
indulgent, the position of the nobles and leading citizens thus subjected
to a constant but secret superintendence, would have been too galling to
be tolerated. They did not know, so precisely as we have learned after
three centuries, that all their idle words and careless gestures as well
as their graver proceedings, were kept in a noting book to be pored over
and conned by rote in the recesses of the royal cabinet and the royal
mind; but they suspected the espionage of the Cardinal, and they openly
charged him with his secret malignity.

The men who refused to burn their fellow-creatures for a difference in
religious opinion were stigmatized as demagogues; as ruined spendthrifts
who wished to escape from their liabilities in the midst of revolutionary
confusion; as disguised heretics who were waiting for a good opportunity
to reveal their true characters. Montigny, who, as a Montmorency, was
nearly allied to the Constable and Admiral of France, and was in
epistolary correspondence with those relatives, was held up as a
Huguenot; of course, therefore, in Philip's eye, the most monstrous of

Although no man could strew pious reflections and holy texts more
liberally, yet there was always an afterthought even in his most edifying
letters. A corner of the mask is occasionally lifted and the deadly face
of slow but abiding vengeance is revealed. "I know very well," he wrote,
soon after his fall, to Viglius, "that vengeance is the Lord's-God is my
witness that I pardon all the past." In the same letter, nevertheless, he
added, "My theology, however, does not teach me, that by enduring, one is
to enable one's enemies to commit even greater wrongs. If the royal
justice is not soon put into play, I shall be obliged to right myself.
This thing is going on too long-patience exhausted changes to fury. 'Tis
necessary that every man should assist himself as he can, and when I
choose to throw the game into confusion I shall do it perhaps more
notably than the others." A few weeks afterwards, writing to the same
correspondent, he observed, "We shall have to turn again, and rejoice
together. Whatever the King commands I shall do, even were I to march
into the fire, whatever happens, and without fear or respect for any
person I mean to remain the same man to the end--Durate;--and I have a
head that is hard enough when I do undertake any thing--'nec animism
despondeo'." Here, certainly, was significant foreshadowing of the
general wrath to come, and it was therefore of less consequence that the
portraits painted by him of Berghen, Horn, Montigny, and others, were so
rarely relieved by the more flattering tints which he occasionally
mingled with the sombre coloring of his other pictures. Especially with
regard to Count Egmont, his conduct was somewhat perplexing and, at first
sight, almost inscrutable. That nobleman had been most violent in
opposition to his course, had drawn a dagger upon him, had frequently
covered him with personal abuse, and had crowned his offensive conduct by
the invention of the memorable fool's-cap: livery. Yet the Cardinal
usually spoke of him with pity and gentle consideration, described him as
really well disposed in the main, as misled by others, as a "friend of
smoke," who might easily be gained by flattery and bribery. When there
was question of the Count's going to Madrid, the Cardinal renewed his
compliments with additional expression of eagerness that they should be
communicated to their object. Whence all this Christian meekness in the
author of the Ban against Orange and the eulogist of Alva? The true
explanation of this endurance on the part of the Cardinal lies in the
estimate which he had formed of Egmont's character. Granvelle had taken
the man's measure, and even he could not foresee the unparalleled cruelty
and dulness which were eventually to characterize Philip's conduct
towards him. On the contrary, there was every reason why the Cardinal
should see in the Count a personage whom brilliant services, illustrious
rank, and powerful connexions, had marked for a prosperous future. It was
even currently asserted that Philip was about to create him
Governor-General of the Netherlands, in order to detach him entirely from
Orange, and to bind him more closely to the Crown. He was, therefore, a
man to be forgiven. Nothing apparently but a suspicion of heresy could
damage the prospects of the great noble, and Egmont was orthodox beyond
all peradventure. He was even a bigot in the Catholic faith. He had
privately told the Duchess of Parma that he had always been desirous of
seeing the edicts thoroughly enforced; and he denounced as enemies all
those persons who charged him with ever having been in favor of
mitigating the System. He was reported, to be sure, at about the time of
Granvelle's departure from the Netherlands, to have said "post pocula,
that the quarrel was not with the Cardinal, but with the King, who was
administering the public affairs very badly, even in the matter of
religion." Such a bravado, however, uttered by a gentleman in his cups,
when flushed with a recent political triumph, could hardly outweigh in
the cautious calculations of Granvelle; distinct admissions in favor of
persecution. Egmont in truth stood in fear of the inquisition. The hero
of Gravelingen and St. Quentin actually trembled before Peter Titelmann.
Moreover, notwithstanding all that had past, he had experienced a change
in his sentiments in regard to the Cardinal. He frequently expressed the
opinion that, although his presence in the Netherlands was inadmissible,
he should be glad to see him Pope. He had expressed strong disapprobation
of the buffooning masquerade by which he had been ridiculed at the
Mansfeld christening party. When at Madrid he not only spoke well of
Granvelle himself; but would allow nothing disparaging concerning him to
be uttered in his presence. When, however, Egmont had fallen from favor,
and was already a prisoner, the Cardinal diligently exerted himself to
place under the King's eye what he considered the most damning evidence
of the Count's imaginary treason; a document with which the public
prosecutor had not been made acquainted.

Thus, it will be seen by this retrospect how difficult it is to seize all
the shifting subtleties of this remarkable character. His sophisms even,
when self-contradictory, are so adroit that they are often hard to parry.
He made a great merit to himself for not having originated the new
episcopates; but it should be remembered that he did his utmost to
enforce the measure, which was "so holy a scheme that he would sacrifice
for its success his fortune and his life." He refused the archbishopric
of Mechlin, but his motives for so doing were entirely sordid. His
revenues were for the moment diminished, while his personal distinction
was not, in his opinion, increased by the promotion. He refused to accept
it because "it was no addition to his dignity, as he was already Cardinal
and Bishop of Arras," but in this statement he committed an important
anachronism. He was not Cardinal when he refused the see of Mechlin;
having received the red hat upon February 26, 1561, and having already
accepted the archbishopric in May of the preceding year. He affirmed that
"no man would more resolutely defend the liberty and privileges of the
provinces than he would do," but he preferred being tyrannized by his
prince, to maintaining the joyful entrance. He complained of the
insolence of the states in meddling with the supplies; he denounced the
convocation of the representative bodies, by whose action alone, what
there was of "liberty and privilege" in the land could be guarded; he
recommended the entire abolition of the common councils in the cities. He
described himself as having always combated the opinion that "any thing
could be accomplished by terror, death and violence," yet he recommended
the mission of Alva, in whom "terror, death, and violence" were
incarnate. He was indignant that he should be accused of having advised
the introduction of the Spanish inquisition; but his reason was that the
term sounded disagreeably in northern ears, while the thing was most
commendable. He manifested much anxiety that the public should be
disabused of their fear of the Spanish inquisition, but he was the
indefatigable supporter of the Netherland inquisition, which Philip
declared with reason to be "the more pitiless institution" of the two. He
was the author, not of the edicts, but of their re-enactment, verbally
and literally, in all the horrid extent to which they had been carried by
Charles the Fifth; and had recommended the use of the Emperor's name to
sanctify the infernal scheme. He busied himself personally in the
execution of these horrible laws, even when judge and hangman slackened.
To the last he denounced all those "who should counsel his Majesty to
permit a moderation of the edicts," and warned the King that if he should
consent to the least mitigation of their provisions, things would go
worse in the provinces than in France. He was diligent in establishing
the reinforced episcopal inquisition side by side with these edicts, and
with the papal inquisition already in full operation. He omitted no
occasion of encouraging the industry of all these various branches in the
business of persecution. When at last the loud cry from the oppressed
inhabitants of Flanders was uttered in unanimous denunciation by the four
estates of that province of the infamous Titelmann, the Cardinal's voice,
from the depths of his luxurious solitude, was heard, not in sympathy
with the poor innocent wretches, who were daily dragged from their humble
homes to perish by sword and fire, but in pity for the inquisitor who was
doing the work of hell. "I deeply regret," he wrote to Viglius, "that the
states of Flanders should be pouting at inquisitor Titelmann. Truly he
has good zeal, although sometimes indiscreet and noisy; still he must be
supported, lest they put a bridle upon him, by which his authority will
be quite enervated." The reader who is acquainted with the personality of
Peter Titelmann can decide as to the real benignity of the joyous
epicurean who could thus commend and encourage such a monster of cruelty.

If popularity be a test of merit in a public man, it certainly could not
be claimed by the Cardinal. From the moment when Gresham declared him to
be "hated of all men," down to the period of his departure, the odium
resting upon him had been rapidly extending: He came to the country with
two grave accusations resting upon his name. The Emperor Maximilian
asserted that the Cardinal had attempted to take his life by poison, and
he persisted in the truth of the charge thus made by him, till the day of
his death. Another accusation was more generally credited. He was the
author of the memorable forgery by which the Landgrave Philip of Hesse
had been entrapped into his long imprisonment. His course in and towards
the Netherlands has been sufficiently examined. Not a single charge has
been made lightly, but only after careful sifting of evidence. Moreover
they are all sustained mainly from the criminal's own lips. Yet when the
secrecy of the Spanish cabinet and the Macchiavellian scheme of policy by
which the age was characterized are considered, it is not strange that
there should have been misunderstandings and contradictions with regard
to the man's character till a full light had been thrown upon it by the
disinterment of ancient documents. The word "Durate," which was the
Cardinals device, may well be inscribed upon his mask, which has at last
been torn aside, but which was formed of such durable materials, that it
has deceived the world for three centuries.


     Attempting to swim in two waters
     Dissimulation and delay
     Excited with the appearance of a gem of true philosophy
     Insinuating suspicions when unable to furnish evidence
     Maintaining the attitude of an injured but forgiving Christian
     More accustomed to do well than to speak well
     Perpetually dropping small innuendos like pebbles
     Procrastination was always his first refuge
     They had at last burned one more preacher alive


1564-1565 [CHAPTER V.]

   Return of the three seigniors to the state council--Policy of
   Orange--Corrupt character of the government--Efforts of the Prince
   in favor of reform--Influence of Armenteros--Painful situation of
   Viglius--His anxiety to retire--Secret charges against him
   transmitted by the Duchess to Philip--Ominous signs of the times--
   Attention of Philip to the details of persecution--Execution of
   Fabricius, and tumult at Antwerp--Horrible cruelty towards the
   Protestants--Remonstrance of the Magistracy of Bruges and of the
   four Flemish estates against Titelmann--Obduracy of Philip--Council
   of Trent--Quarrel for precedence between the French and Spanish
   envoys--Order for the publication of the Trent decrees in the
   Netherlands--Opposition to the measure--Reluctance of the Duchess--
   Egmont accepts a mission to Spain--Violent debate in the council
   concerning his instructions--Remarkable speech of Orange--Apoplexy
   of Viglius--Temporary appointment of Hopper--Departure of Egmont--
   Disgraceful scene at Cambray--Character of the Archbishop--Egmont in
   Spain--Flattery and bribery--Council of Doctors--Vehement
   declarations of Philip--His instructions to Egmont at his departure
   --Proceedings of Orange in regard to his principality--Egmont's
   report to the state council concerning his mission--His vainglory--
   Renewed orders from Philip to continue the persecution--Indignation
   of Egmont--Habitual dissimulation of the King--Reproof of Egmont by
   Orange--Assembly of doctors in Brussels--Result of their
   deliberations transmitted to Philip--Universal excitement in the
   Netherlands--New punishment for heretics--Interview at Bayonne
   between Catharine de Medici and her daughter, the Queen of Spain--
   Mistaken views upon this subject--Diplomacy of Alva--Artful conduct
   of Catharine--Stringent letters from Philip to the Duchess with
   regard to the inquisition--Consternation of Margaret and of Viglius
   --New proclamation of the Edicts, the Inquisition, and the Council
   of Trent--Fury of the people--Resistance of the leading seigniors
   and of the Brabant Council--Brabant declared free of the
   inquisition--Prince Alexander of Parma betrothed to Donna Maria of
   Portugal--Her portrait--Expensive preparations for the nuptials--
   Assembly of the Golden Fleece--Oration of Viglius--Wedding of Prince

The remainder of the year, in the spring of which the Cardinal had left
the Netherlands, was one of anarchy, confusion, and corruption. At first
there had been a sensation of relief.

Philip had exchanged letters of exceeding amity with Orange, Egmont, and
Horn. These three seigniors had written, immediately upon Granvelle's
retreat, to assure the King of their willingness to obey the royal
commands, and to resume their duties at the state council. They had,
however, assured the Duchess that the reappearance of the Cardinal in the
country would be the signal for their instantaneous withdrawal. They
appeared at the council daily, working with the utmost assiduity often
till late into the night. Orange had three great objects in view, by
attaining which the country, in his opinion, might yet be saved, and the
threatened convulsions averted. These were to convoke the states-general,
to moderate or abolish the edicts, and to suppress the council of finance
and the privy council, leaving only the council of state. The two first
of these points, if gained, would, of course, subvert the whole absolute
policy which Philip and Granvelle had enforced; it was, therefore, hardly
probable that any impression would be made upon the secret determination
of the government in these respects. As to the council of state, the
limited powers of that body, under the administration of the Cardinal,
had formed one of the principal complaints against that minister. The
justice and finance councils were sinks of iniquity. The most barefaced
depravity reigned supreme. A gangrene had spread through the whole
government. The public functionaries were notoriously and outrageously
venal. The administration of justice had been poisoned at the fountain,
and the people were unable to slake their daily thirst at the polluted
stream. There was no law but the law of the longest purse. The highest
dignitaries of Philip's appointment had become the most mercenary
hucksters who ever converted the divine temple of justice into a den of
thieves. Law was an article of merchandise, sold by judges to the highest
bidder. A poor customer could obtain nothing but stripes and
imprisonment, or, if tainted with suspicion of heresy, the fagot or the
sword, but for the rich every thing was attainable. Pardons for the most
atrocious crimes, passports, safe conducts, offices of trust and honor,
were disposed of at auction to the highest bidder. Against all this sea
of corruption did the brave William of Orange set his breast, undaunted
and unflinching. Of all the conspicuous men in the land, he was the only
one whose worst enemy had never hinted through the whole course of his
public career, that his hands had known contamination. His honor was ever
untarnished by even a breath of suspicion. The Cardinal could accuse him
of pecuniary embarrassment, by which a large proportion of his revenues
were necessarily diverted to the liquidation of his debts, but he could
not suggest that the Prince had ever freed himself from difficulties by
plunging his hands into the public treasury, when it might easily have
been opened to him.

It was soon, however, sufficiently obvious that as desperate a struggle
was to be made with the many-headed monster of general corruption as with
the Cardinal by whom it had been so long fed and governed. The Prince was
accused of ambition and intrigue. It was said that he was determined to
concentrate all the powers of government in the state council, which was
thus to become an omnipotent and irresponsible senate, while the King
would be reduced to the condition of a Venetian Doge. It was, of course,
suggested that it was the aim of Orange to govern the new Tribunal of
Ten. No doubt the Prince was ambitious. Birth, wealth, genius, and virtue
could not have been bestowed in such eminent degree on any man without
carrying with them the determination to assert their value. It was not
his wish so much as it was the necessary law of his being to impress
himself upon his age and to rule his fellow-men. But he practised no arts
to arrive at the supremacy which he felt must always belong to him, what
ever might be his nominal position in the political hierarchy. He was
already, although but just turned of thirty years, vastly changed from
the brilliant and careless grandee, as he stood at the hour of the
imperial abdication. He was becoming careworn in face, thin of figure,
sleepless of habit. The wrongs of which he was the daily witness, the
absolutism, the cruelty, the rottenness of the government, had marked his
face with premature furrows. "They say that the Prince is very sad,"
wrote Morillon to Granvelle; "and 'tis easy to read as much in his face.
They say he can not sleep." Truly might the monarch have taken warning
that here was a man who was dangerous, and who thought too much.
"Sleekheaded men, and such as slept o' nights," would have been more
eligible functionaries, no doubt, in the royal estimation, but, for a
brief period, the King was content to use, to watch, and to suspect the
man who was one day to be his great and invincible antagonist. He
continued assiduous at the council, and he did his best, by entertaining
nobles and citizens at his hospitable mansion, to cultivate good
relations with large numbers of his countrymen. He soon, however, had
become disgusted with the court. Egmont was more lenient to the foul
practices which prevailed there, and took almost a childish pleasure in
dining at the table of the Duchess, dressed, as were many of the younger
nobles, in short camlet doublet with the wheat-sheaf buttons.

The Prince felt more unwilling to compromise his personal dignity by
countenancing the flagitious proceedings and the contemptible supremacy
of Armenteros, and it was soon very obvious, therefore, that Egmont was a
greater favorite at court than Orange. At the same time the Count was
also diligently cultivating the good graces of the middle and lower
classes in Brussels, shooting with the burghers at the popinjay, calling
every man by his name, and assisting at jovial banquets in town-house or
guild-hall. The Prince, although at times a necessary partaker also in
these popular amusements, could find small cause for rejoicing in the
aspect of affairs. When his business led him to the palace, he was
sometimes forced to wait in the ante-chamber for an hour, while Secretary
Armenteros was engaged in private consultation with Margaret upon the
most important matters of administration. It could not be otherwise than
galling to the pride and offensive to the patriotism of the Prince, to
find great public transactions entrusted to such hands. Thomas de
Armenteros was a mere private secretary--a simple clerk. He had no right
to have cognizance of important affairs, which could only come before his
Majesty's sworn advisers. He was moreover an infamous peculator. He was
rolling up a fortune with great rapidity by his shameless traffic in
benefices, charges, offices, whether of church or state. His name of
Armenteros was popularly converted into Argenteros, in order to symbolize
the man who was made of public money. His confidential intimacy with the
Duchess procured for him also the name of "Madam's barber," in allusion
to the famous ornaments of Margaret's upper lip, and to the celebrated
influence enjoyed by the barbers of the Duke of Savoy, and of Louis the
Eleventh. This man sold dignities and places of high responsibility at
public auction. The Regent not only connived at these proceedings, which
would have been base enough, but she was full partner in the disgraceful
commerce. Through the agency of the Secretary, she, too, was amassing a
large private fortune. "The Duchess has gone into the business of vending
places to the highest bidders," said Morillon, "with the bit between her
teeth." The spectacle presented at the council-board was often
sufficiently repulsive not only to the cardinalists, who were treated
with elaborate insolence, but to all men who loved honor and justice, or
who felt an interest in the prosperity of government. There was nothing
majestic in the appearance of the Duchess, as she sat conversing apart
with Armenteros, whispering, pinching, giggling, or disputing, while
important affairs of state were debated, concerning which the Secretary
had no right to be informed. It was inevitable that Orange should be
offended to the utmost by such proceedings, although he was himself
treated with comparative respect. As for the ancient adherents of
Granvelle, the Bordeys, Baves, and Morillons, they were forbidden by the
favorite even to salute him in the streets. Berlaymont was treated by the
Duchess with studied insult. "What is the man talking about?" she would
ask with languid superciliousness, if he attempted to express his opinion
in the state-council. Viglius, whom Berlaymont accused of doing his best,
without success, to make his peace with the seigniors, was in even still
greater disgrace than his fellow-cardinalists. He longed, he said, to be
in Burgundy, drinking Granvelle's good wine. His patience under the daily
insults which he received from the government made him despicable in the
eyes of his own party. He was described by his friends as pusillanimous
to an incredible extent, timid from excess of riches, afraid of his own
shadow. He was becoming exceedingly pathetic, expressing frequently a
desire to depart and end his days in peace. His faithful Hopper sustained
and consoled him, but even Joachim could not soothe his sorrows when he
reflected that after all the work performed by himself and colleagues,
"they had only been beating the bush for others," while their own share
in the spoils had been withheld. Nothing could well be more contumelious
than Margaret's treatment of the learned Frisian. When other councillors
were summoned to a session at three o'clock, the President was invited at
four. It was quite impossible for him to have an audience of the Duchess
except in the presence of the inevitable Armenteras. He was not allowed
to open his mouth, even when he occasionally plucked up heart enough to
attempt the utterance of his opinions. His authority was completely dead.
Even if he essayed to combat the convocation of the states-general by the
arguments which the Duchess, at his suggestion, had often used for the
purpose, he was treated with the same indifference. "The poor President,"
wrote Granvelle to the King's chief secretary, Gonzalo Perez, "is afraid,
as I hear, to speak a word, and is made to write exactly what they tell
him." At the same time the poor President, thus maltreated and mortified,
had the vanity occasionally to imagine himself a bold and formidable
personage. The man whom his most intimate friends described as afraid of
his own shadow, described himself to Granvelle as one who went his own
gait, speaking his mind frankly upon every opportunity, and compelling
people to fear him a little, even if they did not love him. But the
Cardinal knew better than to believe in this magnanimous picture of the
doctor's fancy.

Viglius was anxious to retire, but unwilling to have the appearance of
being disgraced. He felt instinctively, although deceived as to the
actual facts, that his great patron had been defeated and banished. He
did not wish to be placed in the same position. He was desirous, as he
piously expressed himself, of withdrawing from the world, "that he might
balance his accounts with the Lord, before leaving the lodgings of life."
He was, however, disposed to please "the master" as well as the Lord. He
wished to have the royal permission to depart in peace. In his own lofty
language, he wished to be sprinkled on taking his leave "with the holy
water of the court." Moreover, he was fond of his salary, although he
disliked the sarcasms of the Duchess. Egmont and others had advised him
to abandon the office of President to Hopper, in order, as he was getting
feeble, to reserve his whole strength for the state-council. Viglius did
not at all relish the proposition. He said that by giving up the seals,
and with them the rank and salary which they conferred, he should become
a deposed saint. He had no inclination, as long as he remained on the
ground at all, to part with those emoluments and honors, and to be
converted merely into the "ass of the state-council." He had, however,
with the sagacity of an old navigator, already thrown out his anchor into
the best holding-ground during the storms which he foresaw were soon to
sweep the state. Before the close of the year which now occupies, the
learned doctor of laws had become a doctor of divinity also; and had
already secured, by so doing, the wealthy prebend of Saint Bavon of
Ghent. This would be a consolation in the loss of secular dignities, and
a recompence for the cold looks of the Duchess. He did not scruple to
ascribe the pointed dislike which Margaret manifested towards him to the
awe in which she stood of his stern integrity of character. The true
reason why Armenteros and the Duchess disliked him was because, in his
own words, "he was not of their mind with regard to lotteries, the sale
of offices, advancement to abbeys, and many other things of the kind, by
which they were in such a hurry to make their fortune." Upon another
occasion he observed, in a letter to Granvelle, that "all offices were
sold to the highest bidder, and that the cause of Margaret's resentment
against both the Cardinal and himself was, that they had so long
prevented her from making the profit which she was now doing from the
sale of benefices, offices, and other favors."

The Duchess, on her part, characterized the proceedings and policy, both
past and present, of the cardinalists as factious, corrupt, and selfish
in the last degree. She assured her brother that the simony, rapine, and
dishonesty of Granvelle, Viglius, and all their followers, had brought
affairs into the ruinous condition which was then but too apparent. They
were doing their best, she said, since the Cardinal's departure, to show,
by their sloth and opposition, that they were determined to allow nothing
to prosper in his absence. To quote her own vigorous expression to
Philip--"Viglius made her suffer the pains of hell." She described him as
perpetually resisting the course of the administration, and she threw out
dark suspicions, not only as to his honesty but his orthodoxy. Philip
lent a greedy ear to these scandalous hints concerning the late
omnipotent minister and his friends. It is an instructive lesson in human
history to look through the cloud of dissimulation in which the actors of
this remarkable epoch were ever enveloped, and to watch them all stabbing
fiercely at each other in the dark, with no regard to previous
friendship, or even present professions. It is edifying to see the
Cardinal, with all his genius and all his grimace, corresponding on
familiar terms with Armenteros, who was holding him up to obloquy upon
all occasions; to see Philip inclining his ear in pleased astonishment to
Margaret's disclosures concerning the Cardinal, whom he was at the very
instant assuring of his undiminished confidence; and to see Viglius, the
author of the edict of 1550, and the uniform opponent of any mitigation
in its horrors, silently becoming involved without the least suspicion of
the fact in the meshes of inquisitor Titelmann.

Upon Philip's eager solicitations for further disclosures, Margaret
accordingly informed her brother of additional facts communicated to her,
after oaths of secrecy had been exchanged, by Titelmann and his colleague
del Canto. They had assured her, she said, that there were grave doubts
touching the orthodoxy of Viglius. He had consorted with heretics during
a large portion of his life, and had put many suspicious persons into
office. As to his nepotism, simony, and fraud, there was no doubt at all.
He had richly provided all his friends and relations in Friesland with
benefices. He had become in his old age a priest and churchman, in order
to snatch the provostship of Saint Bavon, although his infirmities did
not allow him to say mass, or even to stand erect at the altar. The
inquisitors had further accused him of having stolen rings, jewels,
plate, linen, beds, tapestry, and other furniture, from the
establishment, all which property he had sent to Friesland, and of having
seized one hundred thousand florins in ready money which had belonged to
the last abbe--an act consequently of pure embezzlement. The Duchess
afterwards transmitted to Philip an inventory of the plundered property,
including the furniture of nine houses, and begged him to command Viglius
to make instant restitution. If there be truth in the homely proverb,
that in case of certain quarrels honest men recover their rights, it is
perhaps equally certain that when distinguished public personages attack
each other, historians may arrive at the truth. Here certainly are
edifying pictures of the corruption of the Spanish regency in the
Netherlands, painted by the President of the state-council, and of the
dishonesty of the President painted by the Regent.

A remarkable tumult occurred in October of this year, at Antwerp. A
Carmelite monk, Christopher Smith, commonly called Fabricius, had left a
monastery in Bruges, adopted the principles of the Reformation, and taken
to himself a wife. He had resided for a time in England; but, invited by
his friends, he had afterwards undertaken the dangerous charge of
gospel-teacher in the commercial metropolis of the Netherlands. He was,
however, soon betrayed to the authorities by a certain bonnet dealer,
popularly called Long Margaret, who had pretended, for the sake of
securing the informer's fee, to be a convert to his doctrines. He was
seized, and immediately put to the torture. He manfully refused to betray
any members of his congregation, as manfully avowed and maintained his
religious creed. He was condemned to the flames, and during the interval
which preceded his execution, he comforted his friends by letters of
advice, religious consolation and encouragement, which he wrote from his
dungeon. He sent a message to the woman who had betrayed him, assuring
her of his forgiveness, and exhorting her to repentance. His calmness,
wisdom, and gentleness excited the admiration of all. When; therefore,
this humble imitator of Christ was led through the streets of Antwerp to
the stake, the popular emotion was at once visible. To the multitude who
thronged about the executioners with threatening aspect, he addressed an
urgent remonstrance that they would not compromise their own safety by a
tumult in his cause. He invited all, however, to remain steadfast to the
great truth for which he was about to lay down his life. The crowd, as
they followed the procession of hangmen, halberdsmen, and magistrates,
sang the hundred and thirtieth psalm in full chorus. As the victim
arrived upon the market-place, he knelt upon the ground to pray, for the
last time. He was, however, rudely forced to rise by the executioner, who
immediately chained him to the stake, and fastened a leathern strap
around his throat. At this moment the popular indignation became
uncontrollable; stones were showered upon the magistrates and soldiers,
who, after a slight resistance, fled for their lives. The foremost of the
insurgents dashed into the enclosed arena, to rescue the prisoner. It was
too late. The executioner, even as he fled, had crushed the victim's head
with a sledge hammer, and pierced him through and through with a poniard.
Some of the bystanders maintained afterwards that his fingers and lips
were seen to move, as if in feeble prayer, for a little time longer,
until, as the fire mounted, he fell into the flames. For the remainder of
the day, after the fire had entirely smouldered to ashes, the charred and
half-consumed body of the victim remained on the market-place, a ghastly
spectacle to friend and foe. It was afterwards bound to a stone and cast
into the Scheld. Such was the doom of Christopher Fabricius, for having
preached Christianity in Antwerp. During the night an anonymous placard,
written with blood, was posted upon the wall of the town-house, stating
that there were men in the city who would signally avenge his murder.
Nothing was done, however, towards the accomplishment of the threat. The
King, when he received the intelligence of the transaction, was furious
with indignation, and wrote savage letters to his sister, commanding
instant vengeance to be taken upon all concerned in so foul a riot. As
one of the persons engaged had, however, been arrested and immediately
hanged, and as the rest had effected their escape, the affair was
suffered to drop.

The scenes of outrage, the frantic persecutions, were fast becoming too
horrible to be looked upon by Catholic or Calvinist. The prisons swarmed
with victims, the streets were thronged with processions to the stake.
The population of thriving cities, particularly in Flanders, were
maddened by the spectacle of so much barbarity inflicted, not upon
criminals, but usually upon men remarkable for propriety of conduct and
blameless lives. It was precisely at this epoch that the burgomasters,
senators, and council of the city of Bruges (all Catholics) humbly
represented to the Duchess Regent, that Peter Titelmann, inquisitor of
the Faith, against all forms of law, was daily exercising inquisition
among the inhabitants, not only against those suspected or accused of
heresy, but against all, however untainted their characters; that he was
daily citing before him whatever persons he liked, men or women,
compelling them by force to say whatever it pleased him; that he was
dragging people from their houses, and even from the sacred precincts of
the church; often in revenge for verbal injuries to himself, always under
pretext of heresy, and without form or legal warrant of any kind. They
therefore begged that he might be compelled to make use of preparatory
examinations with the co-operation of the senators of the city, to suffer
that witnesses should make their depositions without being intimidated by
menace, and to conduct all his subsequent proceedings according to legal
forms, which he had uniformly violated; publicly declaring that he would
conduct himself according to his own pleasure.

The four estates of Flanders having, in a solemn address to the King,
represented the same facts, concluded their brief but vigorous
description of Titelmann's enormities by calling upon Philip to suppress
these horrible practices, so manifestly in violation of the ancient
charters which he had sworn to support. It may be supposed that the
appeal to Philip would be more likely to call down a royal benediction
than the reproof solicited upon the inquisitor's head. In the privy
council, the petitions and remonstrances were read, and, in the words of
the President, "found to be in extremely bad taste." In the debate which
followed, Viglius and his friends recalled to the Duchess, in earnest
language, the decided will of the King, which had been so often
expressed. A faint representation was made, on the other hand, of the
dangerous consequences, in case the people were driven to a still deeper
despair. The result of the movement was but meagre. The Duchess announced
that she could do nothing in the matter of the request until further
information, but that meantime she had charged Titelmann to conduct
himself in his office "with discretion and modesty." The discretion and
modesty, however, never appeared in any modification of the inquisitor's
proceedings, and he continued unchecked in his infamous career until
death, which did not occur till several years afterwards. In truth,
Margaret was herself in mortal fear of this horrible personage. He
besieged her chamber door almost daily, before she had risen, insisting
upon audiences which, notwithstanding her repugnance to the man, she did
not dare to refuse. "May I perish," said Morillon, "if she does not stand
in exceeding awe of Titelmann." Under such circumstances, sustained by
the King in Spain, the Duchess in Brussels, the privy council, and by a
leading member of what had been thought the liberal party, it was not
difficult for the inquisition to maintain its ground, notwithstanding the
solemn protestations of the estates and the suppressed curses of the

Philip, so far from having the least disposition to yield in the matter
of the great religious persecution, was more determined as to his course
than ever. He had already, as easy as August of this year, despatched
orders to the Duchess that the decrees of the Council of Trent should be
published and enforced throughout the Netherlands. The memorable quarrel
as to precedency between the French and Spanish delegates had given some
hopes of a different determination. Nevertheless, those persons who
imagined that, in consequence of this quarrel of etiquette, Philip would
slacken in his allegiance to the Church, were destined to be bitterly
mistaken. He informed his sister that, in the common cause of
Christianity, he should not be swayed by personal resentments.

How, indeed, could a different decision be expected? His envoy at Rome,
as well as his representatives at the council, had universally repudiated
all doubts as to the sanctity of its decrees. "To doubt the infallibility
of the council, as some have dared to do," said Francis de Vargas, "and
to think it capable of error, is the most devilish heresy of all."
Nothing could so much disturb and scandalize the world as such a
sentiment. Therefore the Archbishop of Granada told, very properly, the
Bishop of Tortosa, that if he should express such an opinion in Spain,
they would burn him. These strenuous notions were shared by the King.
Therefore, although all Europe was on tip-toe with expectation to see how
Philip would avenge himself for the slight put upon his ambassador,
Philip disappointed all Europe.

In August, 1564, he wrote to the Duchess Regent, that the decrees were to
be proclaimed and enforced without delay. They related to three subjects,
the doctrines to be inculcated by the Church, the reformation of
ecclesiastical moral, and the education of the people. General police
regulations were issued at the same time, by which heretics were to be
excluded from all share in the usual conveniences of society, and were in
fact to be strictly excommunicated. Inns were to receive no guests,
schools no children, alms-houses no paupers, grave-yards no dead bodies,
unless guests, children, paupers, and dead bodies were furnished with the
most satisfactory proofs of orthodoxy. Midwives of unsuspected Romanism
were alone to exercise their functions, and were bound to give notice
within twenty-four hours of every birth which occurred; the parish clerks
were as regularly to record every such addition to the population, and
the authorities to see that Catholic baptism was administered in each
case with the least possible delay. Births, deaths, and marriages could
only occur with validity under the shadow of the Church. No human being
could consider himself born or defunct unless provided with a priest's
certificate. The heretic was excluded, so far as ecclesiastical dogma
could exclude him, from the pale of humanity, from consecrated earth, and
from eternal salvation.

The decrees contained many provisions which not only conflicted with the
privileges of the provinces, but with the prerogatives of the sovereign.
For this reason many of the lords in council thought that at least the
proper exceptions should be made upon their promulgation. This was also
the opinion of the Duchess, but the King, by his letters of October, and
November (1564), expressly prohibited any alteration in the ordinances,
and transmitted a copy of the form according to which the canons had been
published in Spain, together with the expression of his desire that a
similar course should be followed in the Netherlands. Margaret of Parma
was in great embarrassment. It was evident that the publication could no
longer be deferred. Philip had issued his commands, but grave senators
and learned doctors of the university had advised strongly in favor of
the necessary exceptions. The extreme party, headed by Viglius, were in
favor of carrying out the royal decisions. They were overruled, and the
Duchess was induced to attempt a modification, if her brother's
permission could be obtained. The President expressed the opinion that
the decrees, even with the restrictions proposed, would "give no
contentment to the people, who, moreover, had no right to meddle with
theology." The excellent Viglius forgot, however, that theology had been
meddling altogether too much with the people to make it possible that the
public attention should be entirely averted from the subject. Men and
women who might be daily summoned to rack, stake, and scaffold, in the
course of these ecclesiastical arrangements, and whose births, deaths,
marriages, and position in the next world, were now to be formally
decided upon, could hardly be taxed with extreme indiscretion, if they
did meddle with the subject.

In the dilemma to which the Duchess was reduced, she again bethought
herself of a special mission to Spain. At the end of the year (1564), it
was determined that Egmont should be the envoy. Montigny excused himself
on account of private affairs; Marquis Berghen "because of his
indisposition and corpulence." There was a stormy debate in council after
Egmont had accepted the mission and immediately before his departure.
Viglius had been ordered to prepare the Count's instructions. Having
finished the rough draught, he laid it before the board. The paper was
conceived in general terms and might mean any thing or nothing. No
criticism upon its language was, however, offered until it came to the
turn of Orange to vote upon the document. Then, however, William the
Silent opened his lips, and poured forth a long and vehement discourse,
such as he rarely pronounced, but such as few except himself could utter.
There was no shuffling, no disguise, no timidity in his language. He took
the ground boldly that the time had arrived for speaking out. The object
of sending an envoy of high rank and European reputation like the Count
of Egmont, was to tell the King the truth. Let Philip know it now. Let
him be unequivocally informed that this whole machinery of placards and
scaffolds, of new bishops and old hangmen, of decrees, inquisitors, and
informers, must once and forever be abolished. Their day was over. The
Netherlands were free provinces, they were surrounded by free countries,
they were determined to vindicate their ancient privileges. Moreover, his
Majesty was to be plainly informed of the frightful corruption which made
the whole judicial and administrative system loathsome. The venality
which notoriously existed every where, on the bench, in the council
chamber, in all public offices, where purity was most essential, was
denounced by the Prince in scathing terms. He tore the mask from
individual faces, and openly charged the Chancellor of Brabant, Engelbert
Maas, with knavery and corruption. He insisted that the King should be
informed of the necessity of abolishing the two inferior councils, and of
enlarging the council of state by the admission of ten or twelve new
members selected for their patriotism, purity, and capacity. Above all,
it was necessary plainly to inform his Majesty that the canons of Trent,
spurned by the whole world, even by the Catholic princes of Germany,
could never be enforced in the Netherlands, and that it would be ruinous
to make the attempt. He proposed and insisted that the Count of Egmont
should be instructed accordingly. He avowed in conclusion that he was a
Catholic himself and intended to remain in the Faith, but that he could
not look on with pleasure when princes strove to govern the souls of men,
and to take away their liberty in matters of conscience and religion.

Here certainly was no daintiness of phraseology, and upon these leading
points, thus slightly indicated, William of Orange poured out his
eloquence, bearing conviction upon the tide of his rapid invective. His
speech lasted till seven in the evening, when the Duchess adjourned the
meeting. The council broke up, the Regent went to supper, but the effect
of the discourse upon nearly all the members was not to be mistaken.
Viglius was in a state of consternation, perplexity, and despair. He felt
satisfied that, with perhaps the exception of Berlaymont, all who had
listened or should afterwards listen to the powerful arguments of Orange,
would be inevitably seduced or bewildered. The President lay awake,
tossing and tumbling in his bed, recalling the Prince's oration, point by
point, and endeavoring, to answer it in order. It was important, he felt,
to obliterate the impression produced. Moreover, as we have often seen,
the learned Doctor valued himself upon his logic.

It was absolutely necessary, therefore, that in his reply, next day, his
eloquence should outshine that of his antagonist. The President thus
passed a feverish and uncomfortable night, pronouncing and listening to
imaginary harangues. With the dawn of day he arose and proceeded to dress
himself. The excitement of the previous evening and the subsequent
sleeplessness of his night had, however, been too much for his feeble and
slightly superannuated frame. Before he had finished his toilet, a stroke
of apoplexy stretched him senseless upon the floor. His servants, when
they soon afterwards entered the apartment, found him rigid, and to all
appearance dead. After a few days, however, he recovered his physical
senses in part, but his reason remained for a longer time shattered, and
was never perhaps fully restored to its original vigor.

This event made it necessary that his place in the council should be
supplied. Viglius had frequently expressed intentions of retiring, a
measure to which he could yet never fully make up his mind. His place was
now temporarily supplied by his friend and countryman, Joachim Hopper,
like himself a, Frisian doctor of ancient blood and extensive
acquirements, well versed in philosophy and jurisprudence; a professor of
Louvain and a member of the Mechlin council. He was likewise the original
founder and projector of Douay University, an institution which at
Philip's desire he had successfully organized in 1556, in order that a
French university might be furnished for Walloon youths, as a substitute
for the seductive and poisonous Paris. For the rest, Hopper was a mere
man of routine. He was often employed in private affairs by Philip,
without being entrusted with the secret at the bottom of them. His mind
was a confused one, and his style inexpressibly involved and tedious.
"Poor master Hopper," said Granvelle, "did not write the best French in
the world; may the Lord forgive him. He was learned in letters, but knew
very little of great affairs." His manners were as cringing as his
intellect was narrow. He never opposed the Duchess, so that his
colleagues always called him Councillor "Yes, Madam," and he did his best
to be friends with all the world.

In deference to the arguments of Orange, the instructions for Egmont were
accordingly considerably modified from the original draughts of Viglius.
As drawn up by the new President, they contained at least a few hints to
his Majesty as to the propriety of mitigating the edicts and extending
some mercy to his suffering people. The document was, however, not very
satisfactory to the Prince, nor did he perhaps rely very implicitly upon
the character of the envoy.

Egmont set forth upon his journey early in January (1565). He travelled
in great state. He was escorted as far as Cambray by several nobles of
his acquaintance, who improved the occasion by a series of tremendous
banquets during the Count's sojourn, which was protracted till the end of
January. The most noted of these gentlemen were Hoogstraaten, Brederode,
the younger Mansfeld, Culemburg, and Noircarmes. Before they parted with
the envoy, they drew up a paper which they signed with their blood, and
afterwards placed in the hands of his Countess. In this document they
promised, on account of their "inexpressible and very singular affection"
for Egmont, that if, during his mission to Spain, any evil should befal
him, they would, on their faith as gentlemen and cavaliers of honor, take
vengeance, therefore, upon the Cardinal Granvelle, or upon all who should
be the instigators thereof.

   [Green v. P., Archives, etc., i. 345, from Arnoldi, Hist. Denkwurd,
   p. 282., It is remarkable that after the return of the Count from.
   Spain, Hoogstraaten received this singular bond from the Countess,
   and gave it to Mansfeld, to be burned in his presence. Mansfeld,
   however, advised keeping it, on account of Noircarmes, whose
   signature was attached to the document, and whom he knew to be so
   false and deceitful a man that it might be well to have it within
   their power at some future day to reproach him therewith.--Ibid.
   It will be seen in the sequel that Noircarmes more than justified
   the opinion of Mansfeld, but that the subsequent career of Mansfeld
   himself did not entitle him to reproach any of Philip's noble

Wherever Brederode was, there, it was probable, would be much severe
carousing. Before the conclusion, accordingly, of the visit to Cambray,
that ancient city rang with the scandal created by a most uproarious
scene. A banquet was given to Egmont and his friends in the citadel.
Brederode, his cousin Lumey, and the other nobles from Brussels, were all
present. The Archbishop of Cambray, a man very odious to the liberal
party in the provinces, was also bidden to the feast. During the dinner,
this prelate, although treated with marked respect by Egmont, was the
object of much banter and coarse pleasantry by the ruder portion of the
guests. Especially these convivial gentlemen took infinite pains to
overload him with challenges to huge bumpers of wine; it being thought
very desirable, if possible; to place the Archbishop under the table.
This pleasantry was alternated with much rude sarcasm concerning the new
bishoprics. The conversation then fell upon other topics, among others,
naturally upon the mission of Count Egmont. Brederede observed that it
was a very hazardous matter to allow so eminent a personage to leave the
land at such a critical period. Should any thing happen to the Count, the
Netherlands would sustain an immense loss. The Archbishop, irritated by
the previous conversation, ironically requested the speaker to be
comforted, "because," said he, "it will always be easy to find a new
Egmont." Upon this, Brederode, beside himself with rage, cried out
vehemently, "Are we to tolerate such language from this priest?"
Gulemburg, too, turning upon the offender, observed, "Your observation
would be much more applicable to your own case. If you were to die, 't
would be easy to find five hundred of your merit, to replace you in the
see of Cambray." The conversation was, to say the least, becoming
personal. The Bishop, desirous of terminating this keen encounter of
wits, lifted a goblet full of wine and challenged Brederode to drink.
That gentleman declined the invitation. After the cloth had been removed,
the cup circulated more freely than ever. The revelry became fast and
furious. One of the younger gentlemen who was seated near the Bishop
snatched the bonnet of that dignitary from his head and placed it upon
his own. He then drained a bumper to his health, and passed the goblet
and the cap to his next neighbor. Both circulated till they reached the
Viscount of Ghent, who arose from his seat and respectfully restored the
cap to its owner. Brederode then took a large "cup of silver and gold,"
filled it to the brim, and drained it to the confusion of Cardinal
Granvelle; stigmatizing that departed minister, as he finished, by an
epithet of more vigor than decency. He then called upon all the company
to pledge him to the same toast, and denounced as cardinalists all those
who should refuse. The Archbishop, not having digested the affronts which
had been put upon him already, imprudently ventured himself once more
into the confusion, and tried to appeal to the reason of the company. He
might as well have addressed the crew of Comus. He gained nothing but
additional insult. Brederode advanced upon him with threatening gestures.
Egmont implored the prelate to retire, or at least not to take notice of
a nobleman so obviously beyond the control of his reason. The Bishop,
however, insisted--mingling reproof, menace; and somewhat imperious
demands--that the indecent Saturnalia should cease. It would have been
wiser for him to retire. Count Hoogstraaten, a young man and small of
stature, seized the gilt laver, in which the company had dipped their
fingers before seating themselves at table: "Be quiet, be quiet, little
man," said Egmont, soothingly, doing his best to restrain the tumult.
"Little man, indeed," responded the Count, wrathfully; "I would have you
to know that never did little man spring from my race." With those words
he hurled the basin, water, and all, at the head of the Archbishop.
Hoogstraaten had no doubt manifested his bravery before that day; he was
to display, on future occasions, a very remarkable degree of heroism; but
it must be confessed that the chivalry of the noble house of Lalaing was
not illustrated by this attack upon a priest. The Bishop was sprinkled by
the water, but not struck by the vessel. Young Mansfeld, ashamed of the
outrage, stepped forward to apologize for the conduct of his companions
and to soothe the insulted prelate. That personage, however, exasperated,
very naturally, to the highest point, pushed him rudely away, crying,
"Begone, begone! who is this boy that is preaching to me?" Whereupon,
Mansfeld, much irritated, lifted his hand towards the ecclesiastic, and
snapped his fingers contemptuously in his face. Some even said that he
pulled the archiepiscopal nose, others that he threatened his life with a
drawn dagger. Nothing could well have been more indecent or more cowardly
than the conduct of these nobles upon this occasion. Their intoxication,
together with the character of the victim, explained, but certainly could
not palliate the vulgarity of the exhibition. It was natural enough that
men like Brederode should find sport in this remarkable badgering of a
bishop, but we see with regret the part played by Hoogstraaten in the
disgraceful scene.

The prelate, at last, exclaiming that it appeared that he had been
invited only to be insulted, left the apartment, accompanied by
Noircarmes and the Viscount of Ghent, and threatening that all his
friends and relations should be charged with his vengeance. The next day
a reconciliation was effected, as well as such an arrangement was
possible, by the efforts of Egmont, who dined alone with the prelate. In
the evening, Hoogstraaten, Culemburg, and Brederode called upon the
Bishop, with whom they were closeted for, an hour, and the party
separated on nominal terms of friendship.

This scandalous scene; which had been enacted not only before many
guests, but in presence of a host of servants, made necessarily a great
sensation throughout the country. There could hardly be much difference
of opinion among respectable people as to the conduct of the noblemen who
had thus disgraced themselves. Even Brederode himself, who appeared to
have retained, as was natural, but a confused impression of the
transaction, seemed in the days which succeeded the celebrated banquet,
to be in doubt whether he and his friends had merited any great amount of
applause. He was, however, somewhat self-contradictory, although always
vehement in his assertions on the subject. At one time he
maintained--after dinner, of course--that he would have killed the
Archbishop if they had not been forcibly separated; at other moments he
denounced as liars all persons who should insinuate that he had committed
or contemplated any injury to that prelate; offering freely to fight any
man who disputed either of his two positions.

The whole scene was dramatized and represented in masquerade at a wedding
festival given by Councillor d'Assonleville, on the marriage of
Councillor Hopper's daughter, one of the principal parts being enacted by
a son of the President-judge of Artois. It may be supposed that if such
eminent personages, in close connexion with the government, took part in
such proceedings, the riot must have been considered of a very pardonable
nature. The truth was, that the Bishop was a cardinalist, and therefore
entirely out of favor with the administration. He was also a man of
treacherous, sanguinary character, and consequently detested by the
people. He had done his best to destroy heresy in Valenciennes by fire
and sword. "I will say one thing," said he in a letter to Granvelle,
which had been intercepted, "since the pot is uncovered, and the whole
cookery known, we had best push forward and make an end of all the
principal heretics, whether rich or poor, without regarding whether the
city will be entirely ruined by such a course. Such an opinion I should
declare openly were it not that we of the ecclesiastical profession are
accused of always crying out for blood." Such was the prelate's theory.
His practice may be inferred from a specimen of his proceedings which
occurred at a little later day. A citizen of Cambray, having been
converted to the Lutheran Confession, went to the Archbishop, and
requested permission to move out of the country, taking his property with
him. The petitioner having made his appearance in the forenoon, was
requested to call again after dinner, to receive his answer. The burgher
did so, and was received, not by the prelate, but by the executioner, who
immediately carried the Lutheran to the market-place, and cut off his
head. It is sufficiently evident that a minister of Christ, with such
propensities, could not excite any great sympathy, however deeply
affronted he might have been at a drinking party, so long as any
Christians remained in the land.

Egmont departed from Cambray upon the 30th January, his friends taking a
most affectionate farewell of him; and Brederode assuring him, with a
thousand oaths, that he would forsake God for his service. His reception
at Madrid was most brilliant. When he made his first appearance at the
palace, Philip rushed from his cabinet into the grand hall of reception,
and fell upon his neck, embracing him heartily before the Count had time
to drop upon his knee and kiss the royal hand. During the whole period of
his visit he dined frequently at the King's private table, an honor
rarely accorded by Philip, and was feasted and flattered by all the great
dignitaries of the court as never a subject of the Spanish crown had been
before. All vied with each other in heaping honors upon the man whom the
King was determined to honor.

Philip took him out to drive daily in his own coach, sent him to see the
wonders of the new Escorial, which he was building to commemorate the
battle of St. Quentin, and, although it was still winter, insisted upon
showing him the beauties of his retreat in the Segovian forest.
Granvelle's counsels as to the method by which the "friend of smoke" was
so easily to be gained, had not fallen unheeded in his royal pupil's
ears. The Count was lodged in the house of Ruy Gomez, who soon felt
himself able, according to previous assurances to that effect, contained
in a private letter of Armenteros, to persuade the envoy to any course
which Philip might command. Flattery without stint was administered. More
solid arguments to convince the Count that Philip was the most generous
and clement of princes were also employed with great effect. The royal
dues upon the estate of Gaasbecque, lately purchased by Egmont, were
remitted. A mortgage upon his Seigneurie of Ninove was discharged, and a
considerable sum of money presented to him in addition. Altogether, the
gifts which the ambassador received from the royal bounty amounted to one
hundred thousand crowns. Thus feasted, flattered, and laden with
presents, it must be admitted that the Count more than justified the
opinions expressed in the letter of Armenteros, that he was a man easily
governed by those who had credit with him. Egmont hardly broached the
public matters which had brought him to Madrid. Upon the subject of the
edicts, Philip certainly did not dissemble, however loudly the envoy may
have afterwards complained at Brussels. In truth, Egmont, intoxicated by
the incense offered to him at the Spanish court, was a different man from
Egmont in the Netherlands, subject to the calm but piercing glance and
the irresistible control of Orange. Philip gave him no reason to suppose
that he intended any change in the religious system of the provinces, at
least in any sense contemplated by the liberal party. On the contrary, a
council of doctors and ecclesiastics was summoned, at whose deliberations
the Count was invited to assist; on which occasion the King excited
general admiration by the fervor of his piety and the vehemence of his
ejaculations. Falling upon his knees before a crucifix, in the midst of
the assembly, he prayed that God would keep him perpetually in the same
mind, and protested that he would never call himself master of those who
denied the Lord God. Such an exhibition could leave but little doubt in
the minds of those who witnessed it as to the royal sentiments, nor did
Egmont make any effort to obtain any relaxation of those religious
edicts, which he had himself declared worthy of approbation, and fit to
be maintained. As to the question of enlarging the state-council, Philip
dismissed the subject with a few vague observations, which Egmont, not
very zealous on the subject at the moment, perhaps misunderstood. The
punishment of heretics by some new method, so as to secure the pains but
to take away the glories of martyrdom, was also slightly discussed, and
here again Egmont was so unfortunate as to misconceive the royal meaning,
and to interpret an additional refinement of cruelty into an expression
of clemency. On the whole, however, there was not much negotiation
between the monarch and the ambassador. When the Count spoke of business,
the King would speak to him of his daughters, and of his desire to see
them provided with brilliant marriages. As Egmont had eight girls,
besides two sons, it was natural that he should be pleased to find Philip
taking so much interest in looking out husbands for them. The King spoke
to him, as hardly could be avoided, of the famous fool's-cap livery. The
Count laughed the matter off as a jest, protesting that it was a mere
foolish freak, originating at the wine-table, and asseverating, with
warmth, that nothing disrespectful or disloyal to his Majesty had been
contemplated upon that or upon any other occasion. Had a single gentleman
uttered an undutiful word against the King, Egmont vowed he would have
stabbed him through and through upon the spot, had he been his own
brother. These warm protestations were answered by a gentle reprimand as
to the past by Philip, and with a firm caution as to the future. "Let it
be discontinued entirely, Count," said the King, as the two were driving
together in the royal carriage. Egmont expressed himself in handsome
terms concerning the Cardinal, in return for the wholesale approbation
quoted to him in regard to his own character, from the private letters of
that sagacious personage to his Majesty. Certainly, after all this, the
Count might suppose the affair of the livery forgiven. Thus amicably
passed the hours of that mission, the preliminaries for which had called
forth so much eloquence from the Prince of Orange and so nearly carried
off with apoplexy the President Viglius. On his departure Egmont received
a letter of instructions from Philip as to the report which he was to
make upon his arrival in Brussels, to the Duchess. After many things
personally flattering to himself, the envoy was directed to represent the
King as overwhelmed with incredible grief at hearing the progress made by
the heretics, but as immutably determined to permit no change of religion
within his dominions, even were he to die a thousand deaths in
consequence. The King, he was to state, requested the Duchess forthwith
to assemble an extraordinary session of the council, at which certain
bishops, theological doctors, and very orthodox lawyers, were to assist,
in which, under pretence of discussing the Council of Trent matter, it
was to be considered whether there could not be some new way devised for
executing heretics; not indeed one by which any deduction should be made
from their sufferings (which certainly was not the royal wish, nor likely
to be grateful to God or salutary to religion), but by which all hopes of
glory--that powerful incentive to their impiety--might be precluded. With
regard to any suggested alterations in the council of state, or in the
other two councils, the King was to be represented as unwilling to form
any decision until he should hear, at length, from the Duchess Regent
upon the subject.

Certainly here was a sufficient amount of plain speaking upon one great
subject, and very little encouragement with regard to the other. Yet
Egmont, who immediately after receiving these instructions set forth upon
his return to the Netherlands, manifested nothing but satisfaction.
Philip presented to him, as his travelling companion, the young Prince
Alexander of Parma, then about to make a visit to his mother in Brussels,
and recommended the youth, afterwards destined to play so prominent a
part in Flemish history, to his peculiar caret Egmont addressed a letter
to the King from Valladolid, in which he indulged in ecstasies concerning
the Escorial and the wood of Segovia, and declared that he was returning
to the Netherlands "the most contented man in the world."

He reached Brussels at the end of April. Upon the fifth of May he
appeared before the council, and proceeded to give an account of his
interview with the King, together with a statement of the royal
intentions and opinions. These were already sufficiently well known.
Letters, written after the envoy's departure, had arrived before him, in
which, while in the main presenting the same views as those contained in
the instructions to Egmont, Philip had expressed his decided prohibition
of the project to enlarge the state council and to suppress the authority
of the other two. Nevertheless, the Count made his report according to
the brief received at Madrid, and assured his hearers that the King was
all benignity, having nothing so much at heart as the temporal and
eternal welfare of the provinces. The siege of Malta, he stated, would
prevent the royal visit to the Netherlands for the moment, but it was
deferred only for a brief period. To remedy the deficiency in the
provincial exchequer, large remittances would be made immediately from
Spain. To provide for the increasing difficulties of the religious
question, a convocation of nine learned and saintly personages was
recommended, who should devise some new scheme by which the objections to
the present system of chastising heretics might be obviated.

It is hardly necessary to state that so meagre a result to the mission of
Egmont was not likely to inspire the hearts of Orange and his adherents
with much confidence. No immediate explosion of resentment, however,
occurred. The general aspect for a few days was peaceful. Egmont
manifested much contentment with the reception which he met with in
Spain, and described the King's friendly dispositions towards the leading
nobles in lively colors. He went to his government immediately after his
return, assembled the states of Artois, in the city of Arras, and
delivered the letters sent to that body by the King. He made a speech on
this occasion, informing the estates that his Majesty had given orders
that the edicts of the Emperor were to be enforced to the letter; adding
that he had told the King, freely, his own opinion upon the subject; in
order to dissuade him from that which others were warmly urging. He
described Philip as the most liberal and debonair of princes; his council
in Spain as cruel and sanguinary. Time was to show whether the epithets
thus applied to the advisers were not more applicable to the monarch than
the eulogies thus lavished by the blind and predestined victim. It will
also be perceived that this language, used before the estates of Artois,
varied materially from his observation to the Dowager Duchess of
Aerschot, denouncing as enemies the men who accused him of having
requested a moderation of the edicts. In truth, this most vacillating,
confused, and unfortunate of men perhaps scarcely comprehended the
purport of his recent negotiations in Spain, nor perceived the drift of
his daily remarks at home. He was, however, somewhat vainglorious
immediately after his return, and excessively attentive to business. "He
talks like a King," said Morillon, spitefully, "negotiates night and day,
and makes all bow before him." His house was more thronged with
petitioners, courtiers, and men of affairs, than even the palace of the
Duchess. He avowed frequently that he would devote his life and his
fortune to the accomplishment of the King's commands, and declared his
uncompromising hostility to all who should venture to oppose that loyal

It was but a very short time, however, before a total change was
distinctly perceptible in his demeanor. These halcyon days were soon
fled. The arrival of fresh letters from Spain gave a most unequivocal
evidence of the royal determination, if, indeed, any doubt could be
rationally entertained before. The most stringent instructions to keep
the whole machinery of persecution constantly at work were transmitted to
the Duchess, and aroused the indignation of Orange and his followers.
They avowed that they could no longer trust the royal word, since, so
soon after Egmont's departure, the King had written despatches so much at
variance with his language, as reported by the envoy. There was nothing,
they said, clement and debonair in these injunctions upon gentlemen of
their position and sentiments to devote their time to the encouragement
of hangmen and inquisitors. The Duchess was unable to pacify the nobles.
Egmont was beside himself with rage. With his usual recklessness and
wrath, he expressed himself at more than one session of the state council
in most unmeasured terms. His anger had been more inflamed by information
which he had received from the second son of Berlaymont, a young and
indiscreet lad, who had most unfortunately communicated many secrets
which he had learned from his father, but which were never intended for
Egmont's ear.

Philip's habitual dissimulation had thus produced much unnecessary
perplexity. It was his custom to carry on correspondence through the aid
of various secretaries, and it was his invariable practice to deceive
them all. Those who were upon the most confidential terms with the
monarch, were most sure to be duped upon all important occasions. It has
been seen that even the astute Granvelle could not escape this common lot
of all who believed their breasts the depositories of the royal secrets.
Upon this occasion, Gonzalo Perez and Ruy Gomez complained bitterly that
they had known nothing of the letters which had recently been despatched
from Valladolid, while Tisnacq and Courterville had been ignorant of the
communications forwarded by the hands of Egmont. They avowed that the
King created infinite trouble by thus treating his affairs in one way
with one set of councillors and in an opposite sense with the others,
thus dissembling with all, and added that Philip was now much astonished
at the dissatisfaction created in the provinces by the discrepancy
between the French letters brought by Egmont, and the Spanish letters
since despatched to the Duchess. As this was his regular manner of
transacting business, not only for the Netherlands, but for all his
dominions, they were of opinion that such confusion and dissatisfaction
might well be expected.

After all, however, notwithstanding the indignation of Egmont, it must be
confessed that he had been an easy dupe. He had been dazzled by royal
smiles, intoxicated by court incense, contaminated by yet baser bribes.
He had been turned from the path of honor and the companionship of the
wise and noble to do the work of those who were to compass his
destruction. The Prince of Orange reproached him to his face with having
forgotten, when in Spain, to represent the views of his associates and
the best interests of the country, while he had well remembered his own
private objects, and accepted the lavish bounty of the King. Egmont,
stung to the heart by the reproof, from one whom he honored and who
wished him well, became sad and sombre for a long time, abstained from
the court and from society, and expressed frequently the intention of
retiring to his estates. He was, however, much governed by his secretary,
the Seigneur de Bakerzeel, a man of restless, intriguing, and deceitful
character, who at this period exercised as great influence over the Count
as Armenteros continued to maintain over the Duchess, whose unpopularity
from that and other circumstances was daily increasing.

In obedience to the commands of the King, the canons of Trent had been
published. They were nominally enforced at Cambray, but a fierce
opposition was made by the clergy themselves to the innovation in
Mechlin, Utrecht, and many other places.

This matter, together with other more vitally important questions, came
before the assembly of bishops and doctors, which, according to Philip's
instructions, had been convoked by the Duchess. The opinion of the
learned theologians was, on the whole, that the views of the Trent
Council, with regard to reformation of ecclesiastical morals and popular
education, was sound. There was some discordancy between the clerical and
lay doctors upon other points. The seigniors, lawyers, and deputies from
the estates were all in favor of repealing the penalty of death for
heretical offences of any kind. President Viglius, with all the bishops
and doctors of divinity, including the prelates of St. Omer, Namur and
Ypres, and four theological professors from Louvain, stoutly maintained
the contrary opinion. The President especially, declared himself
vehemently in favor of the death punishment, and expressed much anger
against those who were in favor of its abolition. The Duchess, upon the
second day of the assembly, propounded formally the question, whether any
change was to be made in the chastisement of heretics. The Prince of
Orange, with Counts Horn and Egmont, had, however, declined to take part
in the discussions, on the ground that it was not his Majesty's intention
that state councillors should deliver their opinions before strangers,
but that persons from outside had been summoned to communicate their
advice to the Council. The seigniors having thus washed their hands of
the matter, the doctors came to a conclusion with great alacrity. It was
their unanimous opinion that it comported neither with the service of God
nor the common weal, to make any change in the punishment, except,
perhaps, in the case of extreme youth; but that, on the contrary,
heretics were only to be dealt with by retaining the edicts in their
rigor, and by courageously chastising the criminals. After sitting for
the greater part of six days, the bishops and doctors of divinity reduced
their sentiments to writing, and affixed their signatures to the
document. Upon the great point of the change suggested in the penalties
of heresy, it was declared that no alteration was advisable in the
edicts, which had been working so well for thirty-five years. At the same
time it was suggested that "some persons, in respect to their age and
quality, might be executed or punished more or less rigorously than
others; some by death, some by galley slavery, some by perpetual
banishment and entire confiscation of property." The possibility was also
admitted, of mitigating the punishment of those who, without being
heretics or sectaries, might bring themselves within the provisions of
the edicts, "through curiosity, nonchalance, or otherwise." Such
offenders, it was hinted, might be "whipped with rods, fined, banished,
or subjected to similar penalties of a lighter nature." It will be
perceived by this slight sketch of the advice thus offered to the Duchess
that these theologians were disposed very carefully to strain the mercy,
which they imagined possible in some cases, but which was to drop only
upon the heads of the just. Heretics were still to be dealt with, so far
as the bishops and presidents could affect their doom, with unmitigated

When the assembly was over, the Duchess, thus put in possession of the
recorded wisdom of these special councillors, asked her constitutional
advisers what she was to do with it. Orange, Egmont, Horn, Mansfeld
replied, however, that it was not their affair, and that their opinion
had not been demanded by his Majesty in the premises. The Duchess
accordingly transmitted to Philip the conclusions of the assembly,
together with the reasons of the seigniors for refusing to take part in
its deliberations. The sentiments of Orange could hardly be doubtful,
however, nor his silence fail to give offense to the higher powers. He
contented himself for the time with keeping his eyes and ears open to the
course of events, but he watched well. He had "little leisure for amusing
himself," as Brederode suggested. That free-spoken individual looked upon
the proceedings of the theological assembly with profound disgust. "Your
letter," he wrote to Count Louis, "is full of those blackguards of
bishops and presidents. I would the race were extinct, like that of green
dogs. They will always combat with the arms which they have ever used,
remaining to the end avaricious, brutal, obstinate, ambitious, et cetera.
I leave you to supply the rest."

Thus, then, it was settled beyond peradventure that there was to be no
compromise with heresy. The King had willed it. The theologians had
advised it. The Duchess had proclaimed it. It was supposed that without
the axe, the fire, and the rack, the Catholic religion would be
extinguished, and that the whole population of the Netherlands would
embrace the Reformed Faith. This was the distinct declaration of Viglius,
in a private letter to Granvelle. "Many seek to abolish the chastisement
of heresy," said he; "if they gain this point, actum est de religione
Catholica; for as most of the people are ignorant fools, the heretics
will soon be the great majority, if by fear of punishment they are not
kept in the true path."

The uneasiness, the terror, the wrath of the people seemed rapidly
culminating to a crisis. Nothing was talked of but the edicts and the
inquisition. Nothing else entered into the minds of men. In the streets,
in the shops, in the taverns, in the fields; at market, at church, at
funerals, at weddings; in the noble's castle, at the farmer's fireside,
in the mechanic's garret, upon the merchants' exchange, there was but one
perpetual subject of shuddering conversation. It was better, men began to
whisper to each other, to die at once than to live in perpetual slavery.
It was better to fall with arms in hand than to be tortured and butchered
by the inquisition. Who could expect to contend with such a foe in the

They reproached the municipal authorities with lending themselves as
instruments to the institution. They asked magistrates and sheriffs how
far they would go in their defence before God's tribunal for the
slaughter of his creatures, if they could only answer the divine
arraignment by appealing to the edict of 1550. On the other hand, the
inquisitors were clamorous in abuse of the languor and the cowardice of
the secular authorities. They wearied the ear of the Duchess with
complaints of the difficulties which they encountered in the execution of
their functions--of the slight alacrity on the part of the various
officials to assist them in the discharge of their duties.
Notwithstanding the express command of his Majesty to that effect, they
experienced, they said, a constant deficiency of that cheerful
co-operation which they had the right to claim, and there was perpetual
discord in consequence. They had been empowered by papal and by royal
decree to make use of the gaols, the constables, the whole penal
machinery of each province; yet the officers often refused to act, and
had even dared to close the prisons. Nevertheless, it had been intended,
as fully appeared by the imperial and royal instructions to the
inquisitors, that their action through the medium of the provincial
authorities should be unrestrained. Not satisfied with these
representations to the Regent, the inquisitors had also made a direct
appeal to the King. Judocus Tiletanus and Michael de Bay addressed to
Philip a letter from Louvain. They represented to him that they were the
only two left of the five inquisitors-general appointed by the Pope for
all the Netherlands, the other three having been recently converted into
bishops. Daily complaints, they said, were reaching them of the
prodigious advance of heresy, but their own office was becoming so
odious, so calumniated, and exposed to so much resistance, that they
could not perform its duties without personal danger. They urgently
demanded from his Majesty, therefore, additional support and assistance.
Thus the Duchess, exposed at once to the rising wrath of a whole people
and to the shrill blasts of inquisitorial anger, was tossed to and fro,
as upon a stormy sea. The commands of the King, too explicit to be
tampered with, were obeyed. The theological assembly had met and given
advice. The Council of Trent was here and there enforced. The edicts were
republished and the inquisitors encouraged. Moreover, in accordance with
Philip's suggestion, orders were now given that the heretics should be
executed at midnight in their dungeons, by binding their heads between
their knees, and then slowly suffocating them in tubs of water. Secret
drowning was substituted for public burning, in order that the heretic's
crown of vainglory, which was thought to console him in his agony, might
never be placed upon his head.

In the course of the summer, Magaret wrote to her brother that the
popular frenzy was becoming more and more intense. The people were crying
aloud, she said, that the Spanish inquisition, or a worse than Spanish
inquisition, had been established among them by means of bishops and
ecclesiastics. She urged Philip to cause the instructions for the
inquisitors to be revised. Egmont, she said, was vehement in expressing
his dissatisfaction at the discrepancy between Philip's language to him
by word of mouth and that of the royal despatches on the religious
question. The other seigniors were even more indignant.

While the popular commotion in the Netherlands was thus fearfully
increasing, another circumstance came to add to the prevailing
discontent. The celebrated interview between Catharine de Medici and her
daughter, the Queen of Spain, occurred in the middle of the month of
June, at Bayonne. The darkest suspicions as to the results to humanity of
the plots to be engendered in this famous conference between the
representatives of France and Spain were universally entertained. These
suspicions were most reasonable, but they were nevertheless mistaken. The
plan for a concerted action to exterminate the heretics in both kingdoms
had, as it was perfectly well known, been formed long before this epoch.
It was also no secret that the Queen Regent of France had been desirous
of meeting her son-in-law in order to confer with him upon important
matters, face to face. Philip, however, had latterly been disinclined for
the personal interview with Catharine. As his wife was most anxious to
meet her mother, it was nevertheless finally arranged that Queen Isabella
should make the journey; but he excused himself, on account of the
multiplicity of his affairs, from accompanying her in the expedition. The
Duke of Alva was, accordingly, appointed to attend the Queen to Bayonne.
Both were secretly instructed by Philip to leave nothing undone in the
approaching interview toward obtaining the hearty co-operation of
Catharine de Medici in a general and formally-arranged scheme for the
simultaneous extermination of all heretics in the French and Spanish
dominions. Alva's conduct in this diplomatic commission was stealthy in
the extreme. His letters reveal a subtlety of contrivance and delicacy of
handling such as the world has not generally reckoned among his
characteristics. All his adroitness, as well as the tact of Queen
Isabella, by whose ability Alva declared himself to have been astounded,
proved quite powerless before the steady fencing of the wily Catharine.
The Queen Regent, whose skill the Duke, even while defeated, acknowledged
to his master, continued firm in her design to maintain her own power by
holding the balance between Guise and Montmorency, between Leaguer and
Huguenot. So long as her enemies could be employed in exterminating each
other, she was willing to defer the extermination of the Huguenots. The
great massacre of St. Bartholomew was to sleep for seven years longer.
Alva was, to be sure, much encouraged at first by the language of the
French princes and nobles who were present at Bayonne. Monluc protested
that "they might saw the Queen Dowager in two before she would become
Huguenot." Montpensier exclaimed that "he would be cut in pieces for
Philip's service--that the Spanish monarch was the only hope for France,"
and, embracing Alva with fervor, he affirmed that "if his body were to be
opened at that moment, the name of Philip would be found imprinted upon
his heart." The Duke, having no power to proceed to an autopsy, physical
or moral, of Montpensier's interior, was left somewhat in the dark,
notwithstanding these ejaculations. His first conversation with the
youthful King, however, soon dispelled his hopes. He found immediately,
in his own words, that Charles the Ninth "had been doctored." To take up
arms, for religious reasons, against his own subjects, the monarch
declared to be ruinous and improper. It was obvious to Alva that the
royal pupil had learned his lesson for that occasion. It was a pity for
humanity that the wisdom thus hypocritically taught him could not have
sunk into his heart. The Duke did his best to bring forward the plans and
wishes of his royal master, but without success. The Queen Regent
proposed a league of the two Kings and the Emperor against the Turk, and
wished to arrange various matrimonial alliances between the sons and
daughters of the three houses. Alva expressed the opinion that the
alliances were already close enough, while, on the contrary, a secret
league against the Protestants would make all three families the safer.
Catherine, however, was not to be turned from her position. She refused
even to admit that the Chancellor de l'Hospital was a Huguenot, to which
the Duke replied that she was the only person in her kingdom who held
that opinion. She expressed an intention of convoking an assembly of
doctors, and Alva ridiculed in his letters to Philip the affectation of
such a proceeding. In short, she made it sufficiently evident that the
hour for the united action of the French and Spanish sovereigns against
their subjects had not struck, so that the famous Bayonne conference was
terminated without a result. It seemed not the less certain, however, in
the general opinion of mankind, that all the particulars of a regular
plot had been definitely arranged upon this occasion, for the
extermination of the Protestants, and the error has been propagated by
historians of great celebrity of all parties, down to our own days. The
secret letters of Alva, however, leave no doubt as to the facts.

In the course of November, fresh letters from Philip arrived in the
Netherlands, confirming every thing which he had previously written. He
wrote personally to the inquisitors-general, Tiletanus and De Bay,
encouraging them, commending them, promising them his support, and urging
them not to be deterred by any consideration from thoroughly fulfilling
their duties. He wrote Peter Titelmann a letter, in which he applauded
the pains taken by that functionary to remedy the ills which religion was
suffering, assured him of his gratitude, exhorted him to continue in his
virtuous course, and avowed his determination to spare neither pains,
expense, nor even his own life, to sustain the Catholic Faith. To the
Duchess he wrote at great length, and in most unequivocal language. He
denied that what he had written from Valladolid was of different meaning
from the sense of the despatches by Egmont. With regard to certain
Anabaptist prisoners, concerning whose fate Margaret had requested his
opinion, he commanded their execution, adding that such was his will in
the case of all, whatever their quality, who could be caught. That which
the people said in the Netherlands touching the inquisition, he
pronounced extremely distasteful to him. That institution, which had
existed under his predecessors, he declared more necessary than ever; nor
would he suffer it to be discredited. He desired his sister to put no
faith in idle talk, as to the inconveniences likely to flow from the
rigor of the inquisition. Much greater inconveniences would be the result
if the inquisitors did not proceed with their labors, and the Duchess was
commanded to write to the secular judges, enjoining upon them to place no
obstacles in the path, but to afford all the assistance which might be

To Egmont, the King wrote with his own hand, applauding much that was
contained in the recent decisions of the assembly of bishops and doctors
of divinity, and commanding the Count to assist in the execution of the
royal determination. In affairs of religion, Philip expressed the opinion
that dissimulation and weakness were entirely out of place.

When these decisive letters came before the state council, the
consternation was extreme. The Duchess had counted, in spite of her
inmost convictions, upon less peremptory instructions. The Prince of
Orange, the Count of Egmont, and the Admiral, were loud in their
denunciations of the royal policy. There was a violent and protracted
debate. The excitement spread at once to the, people. Inflammatory
hand-bills were circulated. Placards were posted every night upon the
doors of Orange, Egmont, and Horn, calling upon them to come forth boldly
as champions of the people and of liberty in religious matters. Banquets
were held daily at the houses of the nobility, in which the more ardent
and youthful of their order, with brains excited by wine and anger,
indulged in flaming invectives against the government, and interchanged
vows to protect each other and the cause of the oppressed provinces.
Meanwhile the privy council, to which body the Duchess had referred the
recent despatches from Madrid, made a report upon the whole subject to
the state council, during the month of November, sustaining the royal
views, and insisting upon the necessity of carrying them into effect. The
edicts and inquisition having been so vigorously insisted upon by the
King, nothing was to be done but to issue new proclamations throughout
the country, together with orders to bishops, councils, governors and
judges, that every care should be taken to enforce them to the full.

This report came before the state council, and was sustained by some of
its members. The Prince of Orange expressed the same uncompromising
hostility to the inquisition which he had always manifested, but observed
that the commands of the King were so precise and absolute, as to leave
no possibility of discussing that point. There was nothing to be done, he
said, but to obey, but he washed his hands of the fatal consequences
which he foresaw. There was no longer any middle course between obedience
and rebellion. This opinion, the soundness of which could scarcely be
disputed, was also sustained by Egmont and Horn.

Viglius, on the contrary, nervous, agitated, appalled, was now disposed
to temporize. He observed that if the seigniors feared such evil results,
it would be better to prevent, rather than to accelerate the danger which
would follow the proposed notification to the governors and municipal
authorities throughout the country, on the subject of the inquisition. To
make haste, was neither to fulfil the intentions nor to serve the
interests of the King, and it was desirable "to avoid emotion and
scandal." Upon these heads the President made a very long speech,
avowing, in conclusion, that if his Majesty should not find the course
proposed agreeable, he was ready to receive all the indignation upon his
own head.

Certainly, this position of the President was somewhat inconsistent with
his previous course. He had been most violent in his denunciations of all
who should interfere with the execution of the great edict of which he
had been the original draughtsman. He had recently been ferocious in
combating the opinion of those civilians in the assembly of doctors who
had advocated the abolition of the death penalty against heresy. He had
expressed with great energy his private opinion that the ancient religion
would perish if the machinery of persecution were taken away; yet he now
for the first time seemed to hear or to heed the outcry of a whole
nation, and to tremble at the sound. Now that the die had been cast, in
accordance with the counsels of his whole life, now that the royal
commands, often enigmatical and hesitating; were at last too distinct to
be misconstrued, and too peremptory to be tampered with--the president
imagined the possibility of delay. The health of the ancient Frisian had
but recently permitted him to resume his seat at the council board. His
presence there was but temporary, for he had received from Madrid the
acceptance of his resignation, accompanied with orders to discharge the
duties of President until the arrival of his successor, Charles de
Tisnacq. Thus, in his own language, the Duchess was still obliged to rely
for a season "upon her ancient Palinurus," a necessity far from agreeable
to her, for she had lost confidence in the pilot. It may be supposed that
he was anxious to smooth the troubled waters during the brief period in
which he was still to be exposed to their fury; but he poured out the oil
of his eloquence in vain. Nobody sustained his propositions. The Duchess,
although terrified at the probable consequences, felt the impossibility
of disobeying the deliberate decree of her brother. A proclamation was
accordingly prepared, by which it was ordered that the Council of Trent,
the edicts and the inquisition, should be published in every town and
village in the provinces, immediately, and once in six months forever
afterwards. The deed was done, and the Prince of Orange, stooping to the
ear of his next neighbor, as they sat at the council-board, whispered
that they were now about to witness the commencement of the most
extraordinary tragedy which had ever been enacted.

The prophecy was indeed a proof that the Prince could read the future,
but the sarcasm of the President, that the remark had been made in a tone
of exultation, was belied by every action of the prophet's life.

The fiat went forth. In the market-place of every town and village of the
Netherlands, the inquisition was again formally proclaimed. Every doubt
which had hitherto existed as to the intention of the government was
swept away. No argument was thenceforward to be permissible as to the
constitutionality of the edicts as to the compatibility of their
provisions with the privileges of the land. The cry of a people in its
agony ascended to Heaven. The decree was answered with a howl of
execration. The flames of popular frenzy arose lurid and threatening
above the house-tops of every town and village. The impending conflict
could no longer be mistaken. The awful tragedy which the great watchman
in the land had so long unceasingly predicted, was seen sweeping solemnly
and steadily onward. The superstitious eyes of the age saw supernatural
and ominous indications in the sky. Contending armies trampled the
clouds; blood dropped from heaven; the exterminating angel rode upon the

There was almost a cessation of the ordinary business of mankind.
Commerce was paralyzed. Antwerp shook as with an earthquake. A chasm
seemed to open, in which her prosperity and her very existence were to be
forever engulfed. The foreign merchants, manufacturers, and artisans fled
from her gates as if the plague were raging within them. Thriving cities
were likely soon to be depopulated. The metropolitan heart of the whole
country was almost motionless.

Men high in authority sympathized with the general indignation. The
Marquis Berghen, the younger Mansfeld, the Baron Montigny, openly refused
to enforce the edicts within their governments. Men of eminence inveighed
boldly and bitterly against the tyranny of the government, and counselled
disobedience. The Netherlanders, it was stoutly maintained, were not such
senseless brutes as to be ignorant of the mutual relation of prince and
people. They knew that the obligation of a king to his vassals was as
sacred as the duties of the subjects to the sovereign.

The four principal cities of Brabant first came forward in formal
denunciation of the outrage. An elaborate and conclusive document was
drawn up in their name, and presented to the Regent. It set forth that
the recent proclamation violated many articles in the "joyous entry."
That ancient constitution had circumscribed the power of the clergy, and
the jealousy had been felt in old times as much by the sovereign as the
people. No ecclesiastical tribunal had therefore been allowed, excepting
that of the Bishop of Cambray, whose jurisdiction was expressly confined
to three classes of cases--those growing out of marriages, testaments,
and mortmains.

It would be superfluous to discuss the point at the present day, whether
the directions to the inquisitors and the publication of the edicts
conflicted with the "joyous entrance." To take a man from his house and
burn him, after a brief preliminary examination, was clearly not to
follow the, letter and spirit of the Brabantine habeas corpus, by which
inviolability of domicile and regular trials were secured and sworn to by
the monarch; yet such had been the uniform practice of inquisitors
throughout the country. The petition of the four cities was referred by
the Regent to the council of Brabant. The chancellor, or president judge
of that tribunal was notoriously corrupt--a creature of the Spanish. His
efforts to sustain the policy of the administration however vain. The
Duchess ordered the archives of the province to be searched for
precedents, and the council to report upon the petition. The case was too
plain for argument or dogmatism, but the attempt was made to take refuge
in obscurity. The answer of the council was hesitating and equivocal. The
Duchess insisted upon a distinct and categorical answer to the four
cities. Thus pressed, the council of Brabant declared roundly that no
inquisition of any kind had ever existed, in the provinces. It was
impossible that any other answer could be given, but Viglius, with his
associates in the privy council, were extremely angry at the conclusion.
The concession was, however, made, notwithstanding the bad example which,
according to some persons, the victory thus obtained by so important a
province would afford to the people in the other parts of the country.
Brabant was declared free of the inquisition. Meanwhile the pamphlets,
handbills, pasquils, and other popular productions were multiplied. To
use a Flemish expression, they "snowed in the streets." They were nailed
nightly on all the great houses in Brussels. Patriots were called upon to
strike, speak, redress. Pungent lampoons, impassioned invectives, and
earnest remonstrances, were thrust into the hands of the Duchess. The
publications, as they appeared; were greedily devoured by the people. "We
are willing," it was said, in a remarkable letter to the King, "to die
for the Gospel, but we read therein 'Render unto Caesar that which is
Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's.' We thank God that our
enemies themselves are compelled to bear witness to our piety and
patience; so that it is a common saying--'He swears not; he is a
Protestant; he is neither a fornicator nor a drunkard; he is of the new
sect.' Yet, notwithstanding these testimonials to our character, no
manner of punishment has been forgotten by which we can possibly be
Chastised." This statement of the morality of the Puritans of the
Netherlands was the justification of martyrs--not the self-glorification
of Pharisees. The fact was incontrovertible. Their tenets were rigid, but
their lives were pure. They belonged generally to the middling and lower
classes. They were industrious artisans, who desired to live in the fear
of God and in honor of their King. They were protected by nobles and
gentlemen of high position, very many of whom came afterwards warmly to
espouse the creed which at first they had only generously defended. Their
whole character and position resembled, in many features, those of the
English Puritans, who, three quarters of a century afterwards, fled for
refuge to the Dutch Republic, and thence departed to establish the
American Republic. The difference was that the Netherlanders were exposed
to a longer persecution and a far more intense martyrdom.

Towards the end of the year (1565) which was closing in such universal
gloom; the contemporary chronicles are enlivened with a fitful gleam of
sunshine. The light enlivens only the more elevated regions of the
Flemish world, but it is pathetic to catch a glimpse of those nobles,
many of whose lives were to be so heroic, and whose destinies so tragic,
as amid the shadows projected by coming evil, they still found time for
the chivalrous festivals of their land and epoch. A splendid tournament
was held at the Chateau d'Antoing to celebrate the nuptials of Baron
Montigny with the daughter of Prince d'Espinoy. Orange, Horn, and
Hoogstraaten were the challengers, and maintained themselves victoriously
against all comers, Egmont and other distinguished knights being, among
the number.

Thus brilliantly and gaily moved the first hours of that marriage which
before six months had fled was to be so darkly terminated. The doom which
awaited the chivalrous bridegroom in the dungeon of Simancas was ere long
to be recorded in one of the foulest chapters of Philip's tyranny.

A still more elaborate marriage-festival, of which the hero was, at a
later day, to exercise a most decisive influence over the fortunes of the
land, was celebrated at Brussels before the close of the year. It will be
remembered that Alexander, Prince of Parma, had accompanied Egmont on his
return from Spain in the month of April. The Duchess had been delighted
with the appearance of her son, then twenty years of age, but already an
accomplished cavalier. She had expressed her especial pleasure in finding
him so thoroughly a Spaniard "in manner, costume, and conversation," that
it could not be supposed he had ever visited any other land, or spoken
any other tongue than that of Spain.

The nobles of the Flemish court did not participate in the mother's
enthusiasm. It could not be denied that he was a handsome and gallant
young prince; but his arrogance was so intolerable as to disgust even
those most disposed to pay homage to Margaret's son. He kept himself
mainly in haughty retirement, dined habitually alone in his own
apartments, and scarcely honored any of the gentlemen of the Netherlands
with his notice. Even Egmont, to whose care he had been especially
recommended by Philip, was slighted. If, occasionally, he honored one or
two of the seigniors with an invitation to his table, he sat alone in
solemn state at the head of the board, while the guests, to whom he
scarcely vouchsafed a syllable, were placed on stools without backs,
below the salt. Such insolence, it may be supposed, was sufficiently
galling to men of the proud character, but somewhat reckless demeanor,
which distinguished the Netherland aristocracy. After a short time they
held themselves aloof, thinking it sufficient to endure such airs from
Philip. The Duchess at first encouraged the young Prince in his
haughtiness, but soon became sad, as she witnessed its effects. It was
the universal opinion that the young Prince was a mere compound of pride
and emptiness. "There is nothing at all in the man," said Chantonnay.
Certainly the expression was not a fortunate one. Time was to show that
there was more in the man than in all the governors despatched
successively by Philip to the Netherlands; but the proof was to be
deferred to a later epoch. Meantime, his mother was occupied and
exceedingly perplexed with his approaching nuptials. He had been
affianced early in the year to the Princess Donna Maria of Portugal. It
was found necessary, therefore, to send a fleet of several vessels to
Lisbon, to fetch the bride to the Netherlands, the wedding being
appointed to take place in Brussels. This expense alone was considerable,
and the preparations for banquets, jousts, and other festivities, were
likewise undertaken on so magnificent a scale that the Duke, her husband,
was offended at Margaret's extravagance. The people, by whom she was not
beloved, commented bitterly on the prodigalities which they were
witnessing in a period of dearth and trouble. Many of the nobles mocked
at her perplexity. To crown the whole, the young Prince was so obliging
as to express the hope, in his mother's hearing, that the bridal fleet,
then on its way from Portugal, might sink with all it contained, to the
bottom of the sea.

The poor Duchess was infinitely chagrined by all these circumstances. The
"insane and outrageous expenses" in which the nuptials had involved her,
the rebukes of her husband, the sneers of the seigniors, the undutiful
epigrams of her son, the ridicule of the people, affected her spirits to
such a degree, harassed as she was with grave matters of state, that she
kept her rooms for days together, weeping, hour after hour, in the most
piteous manner. Her distress was the town talk; nevertheless, the fleet
arrived in the autumn, and brought the youthful Maria to the provinces.
This young lady, if the faithful historiographer of the Farnese house is
to be credited, was the paragon of princesses.

   [This princess, in her teens, might already exclaim, with the
   venerable Faustus:

          "Habe nun Philosophie
          Juristerei and Medicin
          Und leider ach: Theologie
          Durch studirt mit heissem Bemuhen," etc.

   The panegyrists of royal houses in the sixteenth century were not
   accustomed to do their work by halves.--Strada.]

She was the daughter of Prince Edward, and granddaughter of John the
Third. She was young and beautiful; she could talk both Latin and Greek,
besides being well versed in philosophy, mathematics and theology. She
had the scriptures at her tongue's end, both the old dispensation and the
new, and could quote from the fathers with the promptness of a bishop.
She was so strictly orthodox that, on being compelled by stress of
weather to land in England, she declined all communication with Queen
Elizabeth, on account of her heresy. She was so eminently chaste that she
could neither read the sonnets of Petrarch, nor lean on the arm of a
gentleman. Her delicacy upon such points was, indeed, carried to such
excess, that upon one occasion when the ship which was bringing her to
the Netherlands was discovered to be burning, she rebuked a rude fellow
who came forward to save her life, assuring him that there was less
contamination in the touch of fire than in that of man. Fortunately, the
flames were extinguished, and the Phoenix of Portugal was permitted to
descend, unburned, upon the bleak shores of Flanders.

The occasion, notwithstanding the recent tears of the Duchess, and the
arrogance of the Prince, was the signal for much festivity among the
courtiers of Brussels. It was also the epoch from which movements of a
secret and important character were to be dated. The chevaliers of the
Fleece were assembled, and Viglius pronounced before them one of his most
classical orations. He had a good deal to say concerning the private
adventures of Saint Andrew, patron of the Order, and went into some
details of a conversation which that venerated personage had once held
with the proconsul Aegeas. The moral which he deduced from his narrative
was the necessity of union among the magnates for the maintenance of the
Catholic faith; the nobility and the Church being the two columns upon
which the whole social fabric reposed. It is to be feared that the
President became rather prosy upon the occasion. Perhaps his homily, like
those of the fictitious Archbishop of Granada, began to smack of the
apoplexy from which he had so recently escaped. Perhaps, the meeting
being one of hilarity, the younger nobles became restive under the
infliction of a very long and very solemn harangue. At any rate, as the
meeting broke up, there was a good dial of jesting on the subject. De
Hammes, commonly called "Toison d'Or," councillor and king-at-arms of the
Order, said that the President had been seeing visions and talking with
Saint Andrew in a dream. Marquis Berghen asked for the source whence he
had derived such intimate acquaintance with the ideas of the Saint. The
President took these remarks rather testily, and, from trifling, the
company became soon earnestly engaged in a warm discussion of the
agitating topics of the day. It soon became evident to Viglius that De
Hammer and others of his comrades had been dealing with dangerous things.
He began shrewdly to suspect that the popular heresy was rapidly
extending into higher regions; but it was not the President alone who
discovered how widely the contamination was spreading. The meeting, the
accidental small talk, which had passed so swiftly from gaiety to
gravity, the rapid exchange of ideas, and the free-masonry by which
intelligence upon forbidden topics had been mutually conveyed, became
events of historical importance. Interviews between nobles, who, in the
course of the festivities produced by the Montigny and Parma marriages,
had discovered that they entertained a secret similarity of sentiment
upon vital questions, became of frequent occurrence. The result to which
such conferences led will be narrated in the following chapter.

Meantime, upon the 11th November, 1565, the marriage of Prince Alexander
and Donna Maria was celebrated; with great solemnity, by the Archbishop
of Cambray, in the chapel of the court at Brussels. On the following
Sunday the wedding banquet was held in the great hall, where, ten years
previously, the memorable abdication of the bridegroom's imperial
grandfather had taken place.

The walls were again hung with the magnificent tapestry of Gideon, while
the Knights of the Fleece, with all the other grandees of the land, were
assembled to grace the spectacle. The King was represented by his envoy
in England, Don Guzman de Silva, who came to Brussels for the occasion,
and who had been selected for this duty because, according to Armenteros,
"he was endowed, beside his prudence, with so much witty gracefulness
with ladies in matters of pastime and entertainment." Early in the month
of December, a famous tournament was held in the great market-place of
Brussels, the Duke of Parma, the Duke of Aerschot, and Count Egmont being
judges of the jousts. Count Mansfeld was the challenger, assisted by his
son Charles, celebrated among the gentry of the land for his dexterity in
such sports. To Count Charles was awarded upon this occasion the silver
cup from the lady of the lists. Count Bossu received the prize for
breaking best his lances; the Seigneur de Beauvoir for the most splendid
entrance; Count Louis, of Nassau, for having borne himself most gallantly
in the melee. On the same evening the nobles, together with the bridal
pair, were entertained at a splendid supper, given by the city of
Brussels in the magnificent Hotel de Ville. On this occasion the prizes
gained at the tournament were distributed, amid the applause and hilarity
of all the revellers.

Thus, with banquet, tourney, and merry marriage bells, with gaiety
gilding the surface of society, while a deadly hatred to the inquisition
was eating into the heart of the nation, and while the fires of civil war
were already kindling, of which no living man was destined to witness the
extinction, ended the year 1565.


     All offices were sold to the highest bidder
     English Puritans
     Habeas corpus
     He did his best to be friends with all the world
     Look through the cloud of dissimulation
     No law but the law of the longest purse
     Panegyrists of royal houses in the sixteenth century
     Secret drowning was substituted for public burning
     Sonnets of Petrarch
     St. Bartholomew was to sleep for seven years longer
     To think it capable of error, is the most devilish heresy of all


1566 [CHAPTER VI.]

   Francis Junius--His sermon at Culemburg House--The Compromise--
   Portraits of Sainte Aldegonde, of Louis 'Nassau, of "Toison d'Or,"
   of Charles Mansfeld--Sketch of the Compromise--Attitude of Orange--
   His letter to the Duchess--Signers of the Compromise--Indiscretion
   of the confederates--Espionage over Philip by Orange--
   Dissatisfaction of the seigniors--Conduct of Egmont--Despair of the
   people--Emigration to England--Its effects--The request--Meeting at
   Breda and Hoogstraaten--Exaggerated statements concerning the
   Request in the state council--Hesitation of the Duchess--Assembly of
   notables--Debate concerning the Request and the inquisition--
   Character of Brederode--Arrival of the petitioners in Brussels--
   Presentation of the Request--Emotion of Margaret--Speech of
   Brederode--Sketch of the Request--Memorable sarcasm of Berlaymont--
   Deliberation in the state council--Apostille to the Request--Answer
   to the Apostille--Reply of the Duchess--Speech of D'Esquerdes--
   Response of Margaret--Memorable banquet at Culemburg House--Name of
   "the beggars" adopted--Orange, Egmont, and Horn break up the riotous
   meeting--Costume of "the beggars"--Brederode at Antwerp--Horrible
   execution at Oudenardo--Similar cruelties throughout the provinces--
   Project of "Moderation"--Religious views of Orange--His resignation
   of all his offices not accepted--The "Moderation" characterized--
   Egmont at Arras Debate on the "Moderation"--Vacillation of Egmont--
   Mission of Montigny and Berghen to Spain--Instructions to the
   envoys--Secret correspondence of Philip with the Pope concerning the
   Netherland inquisition and the edicts--Field-preaching in the
   provinces--Modet at Ghent--Other preachers characterized--Excitement
   at Tournay--Peter Gabriel at Harlem--Field--preaching near Antwerp--
   Embarrassment of the Regent--Excitement at Antwerp--Pensionary
   Wesenbeck sent to Brussels--Orange at Antwerp--His patriotic course
   --Misrepresentation of the Duchess--Intemperate zeal of Dr.
   Rythovius--Meeting at St. Trond--Conference at Duffel--Louis of
   Nassau deputed to the Regent--Unsatisfactory negotiations.

The most remarkable occurrence in the earlier part of the year 1556 was
the famous Compromise. This document, by which the signers pledged
themselves to oppose the inquisition, and to defend each other against
all consequences of such a resistance, was probably the work of Philip de
Marnix, Lord of Sainte Aldegonde. Much obscurity, however, rests upon the
origin of this league. Its foundations had already been laid in the
latter part of the preceding year. The nuptials of Parma with the
Portuguese princess had been the cause of much festivity, not only in
Brussels, but at Antwerp. The great commercial metropolis had celebrated
the occasion by a magnificent banquet. There had been triumphal arches,
wreaths of flowers, loyal speeches, generous sentiments, in the usual
profusion. The chief ornament of the dinner-table had been a magnificent
piece of confectionary, netting elaborately forth the mission of Count
Mansfeld with the fleet to Portugal to fetch the bride from her home,
with exquisitely finished figures in sugar--portraits, it is to be
presumed--of the principal personages as they appeared during the most
striking scenes of the history. At the very moment, however, of these
delectations, a meeting was held at Brussels of men whose minds were
occupied with sterner stuff than sugar-work. On the wedding-day of Parma,
Francis Junius, a dissenting minister then residing at Antwerp, was
invited to Brussels to preach a sermon in the house of Count Culemburg,
on the horse-market (now called Little Sablon), before a small assembly
of some twenty gentlemen.

This Francis Junius, born of a noble family in Bourges, was the pastor of
the secret French congregation of Huguenots at Antwerp. He was very
young, having arrived from Geneva, where he had been educated, to take
charge of the secret church, when but just turned of twenty years. He
was, however, already celebrated for his learning, his eloquence, and his
courage. Towards the end of 1565, it had already become known that Junius
was in secret understanding with Louis of Nassau, to prepare an address
to government on the subject of the inquisition and edicts. Orders were
given for his arrest.

A certain painter of Brussels affected conversion to the new religion,
that he might gain admission to the congregation, and afterwards earn the
reward of the informer. He played his part so well that he was permitted
to attend many meetings, in the course of which he sketched the portrait
of the preacher, and delivered it to the Duchess Regent, together with
minute statements as to his residence and daily habits. Nevertheless,
with all this assistance, the government could not succeed in laying
hands on him. He escaped to Breda, and continued his labors in spite of
persecution. The man's courage may be estimated from the fact that he
preached on one occasion a sermon, advocating the doctrines of the
reformed Church with his usual eloquence, in a room overlooking the
market-place, where, at the very, instant, the execution by fire of
several heretics was taking place, while the light from the flames in
which the brethren of their Faith were burning, was flickering through
the glass windows of the conventicle. Such was the man who preached a
sermon in Culemburg Palace on Parma's wedding-day. The nobles who
listened to him were occupied with grave discourse after conclusion of
the religious exercises. Junius took no part in their conversation, but
in his presence it was resolved that a league against the "barbarous and
violent inquisition" should be formed, and, that the confederates should
mutually bind themselves both within and without the Netherlands to this
great purpose. Junius, in giving this explicit statement; has not
mentioned the names of the nobles before whom he preached. It may be
inferred that some of them were the more ardent and the more respectable
among the somewhat miscellaneous band by whom the Compromise was
afterwards signed.

At about the same epoch, Louis of Nassau, Nicolas de Hammes, and certain
other gentlemen met at the baths of Spa. At this secret assembly, the
foundations of the Compromise were definitely laid. A document was
afterwards drawn up, which was circulated for signatures in the early
part of 1566. It is, therefore, a mistake to suppose that this memorable
paper was simultaneously signed and sworn to at any solemn scene like
that of the declaration of American Independence, or like some of the
subsequent transactions in the Netherland revolt, arranged purposely for
dramatic effect. Several copies of the Compromise were passed secretly
from hand to hand, and in the course of two months some two thousand
signatures had been obtained. The original copy bore but three names,
those of Brederode, Charles de Mansfeld, and Louis of Nassau. The
composition of the paper is usually ascribed to Sainte Aldegonde,
although the fact is not indisputable. At any rate, it is very certain
that he was one of the originators and main supporters of the famous
league. Sainte Aldegonde was one of the most accomplished men of his age.
He was of ancient nobility, as he proved by an abundance of historical
and heraldic evidence, in answer to a scurrilous pamphlet in which he had
been accused, among other delinquencies, of having sprung from plebeian
blood. Having established his "extraction from true and ancient gentlemen
of Savoy, paternally and maternally," he rebuked his assailants in manly
strain. "Even had it been that I was without nobility of birth," said he,
"I should be none the less or more a virtuous or honest man; nor can any
one reproach me with having failed in the point of honor or duty. What
greater folly than to boast of the virtue or gallantry of others, as do
many nobles who, having neither a grain of virtue in their souls nor a
drop of wisdom in their brains, are entirely useless to their country!
Yet there are such men, who, because their ancestors have done some
valorous deed, think themselves fit to direct the machinery of a whole
country, having from their youth learned nothing but to dance and to spin
like weathercocks with their heads as well as their heels." Certainly
Sainte Aldegonde had learned other lessons than these. He was one of the
many-sided men who recalled the symmetry of antique patriots. He was a
poet of much vigor and imagination; a prose writer whose style was
surpassed by that of none of his contemporaries, a diplomatist in whose
tact and delicacy William of Orange afterwards reposed in the most
difficult and important negotiations, an orator whose discourses on many
great public occasions attracted the attention of Europe, a soldier whose
bravery was to be attested afterwards on many a well-fought field, a
theologian so skilful in the polemics of divinity, that, as it will
hereafter appear, he was more than a match for a bench of bishops upon
their own ground, and a scholar so accomplished, that, besides speaking
and writing the classical and several modern languages with facility, he
had also translated for popular use the Psalms of David into vernacular
verse, and at a very late period of his life was requested by the
states-general of the republic to translate all the Scriptures, a work,
the fulfilment of which was prevented by his death. A passionate foe to
the inquisition and to all the abuses of the ancient Church, an ardent
defender of civil liberty, it must be admitted that he partook also of
the tyrannical spirit of Calvinism. He never rose to the lofty heights to
which the spirit of the great founder of the commonwealth was destined to
soar, but denounced the great principle of religious liberty for all
consciences as godless. He was now twenty-eight years of age, having been
born in the same year with his friend Louis of Nassau. His device, "Repos
ailleurs," finely typified the restless, agitated and laborious life to
which he was destined.

That other distinguished leader of the newly-formed league, Count Louis,
was a true knight of the olden time, the very mirror of chivalry. Gentle,
generous, pious; making use, in his tent before the battle, of the
prayers which his mother sent him from the home of his childhood,--yet
fiery in the field as an ancient crusader--doing the work of general and
soldier with desperate valor and against any numbers--cheerful and
steadfast under all reverses, witty and jocund in social intercourse,
animating with his unceasing spirits the graver and more foreboding soul
of his brother; he was the man to whom the eyes of the most ardent among
the Netherland Reformers were turned at this early epoch, the trusty
staff upon which the great Prince of Orange was to lean till it was
broken. As gay as Brederode, he was unstained by his vices, and exercised
a boundless influence over that reckless personage, who often protested
that he would "die a poor soldier at his feet." The career of Louis was
destined to be short, if reckoned by years, but if by events, it was to
attain almost a patriarchal length. At the age of nineteen he had taken
part in the battle of St. Quentin, and when once the war of freedom
opened, his sword was never to be sheathed. His days were filled with
life, and when he fell into his bloody but unknown grave, he was to leave
a name as distinguished for heroic valor and untiring energy as for
spotless integrity. He was small of stature, but well formed; athletic in
all knightly exercises, with agreeable features, a dark laughing eye,
close-clipped brown hair, and a peaked beard.

"Golden Fleece," as Nicholas de Hammes was universally denominated, was
the illegitimate scion of a noble house. He was one of the most active of
the early adherents to the league, kept the lists of signers in his
possession, and scoured the country daily to procure new confederates. At
the public preachings of the reformed religion, which soon after this
epoch broke forth throughout the Netherlands as by a common impulse, he
made himself conspicuous. He was accused of wearing, on such occasions,
the ensigns of the Fleece about his neck, in order to induce ignorant
people to believe that they might themselves legally follow, when they
perceived a member of that illustrious fraternity to be leading the way.
As De Hammer was only an official or servant of that Order, but not a
companion, the seduction of the lieges by such false pretenses was
reckoned among the most heinous of his offences. He was fierce in his
hostility to the government, and one of those fiery spirits whose
premature zeal was prejudicial to the cause of liberty, and disheartening
to the cautious patriotism of Orange. He was for smiting at once the
gigantic atrocity of the Spanish dominion, without waiting for the
forging of the weapons by which the blows were to be dealt. He forgot
that men and money were as necessary as wrath, in a contest with the most
tremendous despotism of the world. "They wish," he wrote to Count Louis,
"that we should meet these hungry wolves with remonstrances, using gentle
words, while they are burning and cutting off heads.--Be it so then. Let
us take the pen let them take the sword. For them deeds, for us words. We
shall weep, they will laugh. The Lord be praised for all; but I can not
write this without tears." This nervous language painted the situation
and the character of the writer.

As for Charles Mansfeld, he soon fell away from the league which he had
embraced originally with excessive ardor.

By the influence of the leaders many signatures were obtained during the
first two months of the year. The language of the document was such that
patriotic Catholics could sign it as honestly as Protestants. It
inveighed bitterly against the tyranny of "a heap of strangers," who,
influenced only by private avarice and ambition, were making use of an
affected zeal for the Catholic religion, to persuade the King into a
violation of his oaths. It denounced the refusal to mitigate the severity
of the edicts. It declared the inquisition, which it seemed the intention
of government to fix permanently upon them, as "iniquitous, contrary to
all laws, human and divine, surpassing the greatest barbarism which was
ever practised by tyrants, and as redounding to the dishonor of God and
to the total desolation of the country." The signers protested,
therefore, that "having a due regard to their duties as faithful vassals
of his Majesty, and especially, as noblemen--and in order not to be
deprived of their estates and their lives by those who, under pretext of
religion, wished to enrich themselves by plunder and murder," they had
bound themselves to each other by holy covenant and solemn oath to resist
the inquisition. They mutually promised to oppose it in every shape, open
or covert, under whatever mask, it might assume, whether bearing the name
of inquisition, placard, or edict, "and to extirpate and eradicate the
thing in any form, as the mother of all iniquity and disorder." They
protested before God and man, that they would attempt nothing to the
dishonor of the Lord or to the diminution of the King's grandeur,
majesty, or dominion. They declared, on the contrary, an honest purpose
to "maintain the monarch in his estate, and to suppress all seditious,
tumults, monopolies, and factions." They engaged to preserve their
confederation, thus formed, forever inviolable, and to permit none of its
members to be persecuted in any manner, in body or goods, by any
proceeding founded on the inquisition, the edicts, or the present league.

It will be seen therefore, that the Compromise was in its origin, a
covenant of nobles. It was directed against the foreign influence by
which the Netherlands were exclusively governed, and against the
inquisition, whether papal, episcopal, or by edict. There is no doubt
that the country was controlled entirely by Spanish masters, and that the
intention was to reduce the ancient liberty of the Netherlands into
subjection to a junta of foreigners sitting at Madrid. Nothing more
legitimate could be imagined than a constitutional resistance to such a

The Prince of Orange had not been consulted as to the formation of the
league. It was sufficiently obvious to its founders that his cautious
mind would find much to censure in the movement. His sentiments with
regard to the inquisition and the edicts were certainly known to all men.
In the beginning of this year, too, he had addressed a remarkable letter
to the Duchess, in answer to her written commands to cause the Council of
Trent, the inquisition, and the edicts, in accordance with the recent
commands of the King, to be published and enforced throughout his
government. Although his advice on the subject had not been asked, he
expressed his sense of obligation to speak his mind on the subject,
preferring the hazard of being censured for his remonstrance, to that of
incurring the suspicion of connivance at the desolation of the land by
his silence. He left the question of reformation in ecclesiastical morals
untouched, as not belonging to his vocation: As to the inquisition, he
most distinctly informed her highness that the hope which still lingered
in the popular mind of escaping the permanent establishment of that
institution, had alone prevented the utter depopulation of the country,
with entire subversion of its commercial and manufacturing industry. With
regard to the edicts, he temperately but forcibly expressed the opinion
that it was very hard to enforce those placards now in their rigor, when
the people were exasperated, and the misery universal, inasmuch as they
had frequently been modified on former occasions. The King, he said,
could gain nothing but difficulty for himself, and would be sure to lose
the affection of his subjects by renewing the edicts, strengthening the
inquisition, and proceeding to fresh executions, at a time when the
people, moved by the example of their neighbors, were naturally inclined
to novelty. Moreover, when by reason of the daily increasing prices of
grain a famine was impending over the land, no worse moment could be
chosen to enforce such a policy. In conclusion, he observed that he was
at all times desirous to obey the commands of his Majesty and her
Highness, and to discharge the duties of "a good Christian." The use of
the latter term is remarkable, as marking an epoch in the history of the
Prince's mind. A year before he would have said a good Catholic, but it
was during this year that his mind began to be thoroughly pervaded by
religious doubt, and that the great question of the Reformation forced
itself, not only as a political, but as a moral problem upon him, which
he felt that he could not much longer neglect instead of solving.

Such were the opinions of Orange. He could not, however, safely entrust
the sacred interests of a commonwealth to such hands as those of
Brederode--however deeply that enthusiastic personage might drink the
health of "Younker William," as he affectionately denominated the
Prince--or to "Golden Fleece," or to Charles Mansfeld, or to that younger
wild boar of Ardennes, Robert de la Marck. In his brother and in Sainte
Aldegonde he had confidence, but he did not exercise over them that
control which he afterwards acquired. His conduct towards the confederacy
was imitated in the main by the other great nobles. The covenanters never
expected to obtain the signatures of such men as Orange, Egmont, Horn,
Meghen, Berghen, or Montigny, nor were those eminent personages ever
accused of having signed the Compromise, although some of them were
afterwards charged with having protected those who did affix their names
to the document. The confederates were originally found among the lesser
nobles. Of these some were sincere Catholics, who loved the ancient
Church but hated the inquisition; some were fierce Calvinists or
determined Lutherans; some were troublous and adventurous spirits, men of
broken fortunes, extravagant habits, and boundless desires, who no doubt
thought that the broad lands of the Church, with their stately abbeys;
would furnish much more fitting homes and revenues for gallant gentlemen
than for lazy monks. All were young, few had any prudence or conduct, and
the history of the league more than justified the disapprobation of
Orange. The nobles thus banded together, achieved little by their
confederacy. They disgraced a great cause by their orgies, almost ruined
it by their inefficiency, and when the rope of sand which they had
twisted fell asunder, the people had gained nothing and the gentry had
almost lost the confidence of the nation. These remarks apply to the mass
of the confederates and to some of the leaders. Louis of Nassau and
Sainte Aldegonde were ever honored and trusted as they deserved.

Although the language of the Compromise spoke of the leaguers as nobles,
yet the document was circulated among burghers and merchants also, many
of whom, according to the satirical remark of a Netherland Catholic, may,
have been influenced by the desire of writing their names in such
aristocratic company, and some of whom were destined to expiate such
vainglory upon the scaffold.

With such associates, therefore, the profound and anxious mind of Orange
could have little in common. Confidence expanding as the numbers
increased, their audacity and turbulence grew with the growth of the
league. The language at their wild banquets was as hot as the wine which
confused their heads; yet the Prince knew that there was rarely a
festival in which there did not sit some calm, temperate Spaniard,
watching with quiet eye and cool brain the extravagant demeanor, and
listening with composure to the dangerous avowals or bravados of these
revellers, with the purpose of transmitting a record of their language or
demonstrations, to the inmost sanctuary of Philip's cabinet at Madrid.
The Prince knew, too, that the King was very sincere in his determination
to maintain the inquisition, however dilatory his proceedings might
appear. He was well aware that an armed force might be expected ere long
to support the royal edicts. Already the Prince had organized that system
of espionage upon Philip, by which the champion of his country was so
long able to circumvent its despot. The King left letters carefully
locked in his desk at night, and unseen hands had forwarded copies of
them to William of Orange before the morning. He left memoranda in his
pockets on retiring to bed, and exact transcripts of those papers found
their way, likewise, ere he rose, to the same watchman in the
Netherlands. No doubt that an inclination for political intrigue was a
prominent characteristic of the Prince, and a blemish upon the purity of
his moral nature. Yet the dissimulating policy of his age he had mastered
only that he might accomplish the noblest purposes to which a great and
good man can devote his life-the protection of the liberty and the
religion of a whole people against foreign tyranny. His intrigue served
his country, not a narrow personal ambition, and it was only by such arts
that he became Philip's master, instead of falling at once, like so many
great personages, a blind and infatuated victim. No doubt his purveyors
of secret information were often destined fearfully to atone for their
contraband commerce, but they who trade in treason must expect to pay the
penalty of their traffic.

Although, therefore, the great nobles held themselves aloof from the
confederacy, yet many of them gave unequivocal signs of their dissent
from the policy adopted by government. Marquis Berghen wrote to the
Duchess; resigning his posts, on the ground of his inability to execute
the intention of the King in the matter of religion. Meghen replied to
the same summons by a similar letter. Egmont assured her that he would
have placed his offices in the King's hands in Spain, could he have
foreseen that his Majesty would form such resolutions as had now been
proclaimed. The sentiments of Orange were avowed in the letter to which
we have already alluded. His opinions were shared by Montigny, Culemburg,
and many others. The Duchess was almost reduced to desperation. The
condition of the country was frightful. The most determined loyalists,
such as Berlaymont, Viglius and Hopper, advised her not to mention the
name of inquisition in a conference which she was obliged to hold with a
deputation from Antwerp. She feared, all feared, to pronounce the hated
word. She wrote despairing letters to Philip, describing the condition of
the land and her own agony in the gloomiest colors. Since the arrival of
the royal orders, she said, things had gone from bad to worse. The King
had been ill advised. It was useless to tell the people that the
inquisition had always existed in the provinces. They maintained that it
was a novelty; that the institution was a more rigorous one than the
Spanish Inquisition, which, said Margaret, "was most odious, as the King
knew." It was utterly impossible to carry the edicts into execution.
Nearly all the governors of provinces had told her plainly that they
would not help to burn fifty or sixty thousand Netherlanders. Thus
bitterly did Margaret of Parma bewail the royal decree; not that she had
any sympathy for the victims, but because she felt the increasing danger
to the executioner. One of two things it was now necessary to decide
upon, concession or armed compulsion. Meantime, while Philip was slowly
and secretly making his levies, his sister, as well as his people, was on
the rack. Of all the seigniors, not one was placed in so painful a
position as Egmont. His military reputation and his popularity made him
too important a personage to be slighted, yet he was deeply mortified at
the lamentable mistake which he had committed. He now averred that he
would never take arms against the King, but that he would go where man
should never see him more.

Such was the condition of the nobles, greater and less. That of the
people could not well be worse. Famine reigned in the land. Emigration,
caused not by over population, but by persecution, was fast weakening the
country. It was no wonder that not only, foreign merchants should be
scared from the great commercial cities by the approaching disorders; but
that every industrious artisan who could find the means of escape should
seek refuge among strangers, wherever an asylum could be found. That
asylum was afforded by Protestant England, who received these intelligent
and unfortunate wanderers with cordiality, and learned with eagerness the
lessons in mechanical skill which they had to teach. Already thirty
thousand emigrant Netherlanders were established in Sandwich, Norwich,
and other places, assigned to them by Elizabeth. It had always, however,
been made a condition of the liberty granted to these foreigners for
practising their handiwork, that each house should employ at least one
English apprentice. "Thus," said a Walloon historian, splenetically, "by
this regulation, and by means of heavy duties on foreign manufactures,
have the English built up their own fabrics and prohibited those of the
Netherlands. Thus have they drawn over to their own country our skilful
artisans to practise their industry, not at home but abroad, and our poor
people are thus losing the means of earning their livelihood. Thus has
clothmaking, silk-making and the art of dyeing declined in this country,
and would have been quite extinguished but by our wise countervailing
edicts." The writer, who derived most of his materials and his wisdom
from the papers of Councillor d'Assonleville, could hardly doubt that the
persecution to which these industrious artisans, whose sufferings he
affected to deplore, had been subjected, must have had something to do
with their expatriation; but he preferred to ascribe it wholly to the
protective system adopted by England. In this he followed the opinion of
his preceptor. "For a long time," said Assonleville, "the Netherlands
have been the Indies to England; and as long as she has them, she needs
no other. The French try to surprise our fortresses and cities: the
English make war upon our wealth and upon the purses of the people."
Whatever the cause, however, the current of trade was already turned. The
cloth-making of England was already gaining preponderance over that of
the provinces. Vessels now went every week from Sandwich to Antwerp,
laden with silk, satin, and cloth, manufactured in England, while as many
but a few years before, had borne the Flemish fabrics of the same nature
from Antwerp to England.

It might be supposed by disinterested judges that persecution was at the
bottom of this change in commerce. The Prince of Orange estimated that up
to this period fifty thousand persons in the provinces had been put to
death in obedience to the edicts. He was a moderate man, and accustomed
to weigh his words. As a new impulse had been given to the system of
butchery--as it was now sufficiently plain that "if the father had
chastised his people with a scourge the son held a whip of scorpions" as
the edicts were to be enforced with renewed vigor--it was natural that
commerce and manufactures should make their escape out of a doomed land
as soon as possible, whatever system of tariffs might be adopted by
neighboring nations.

A new step had been resolved upon early in the month of March by the
confederates. A petition, or "Request," was drawn up, which was to be
presented to the Duchess Regent in a formal manner by a large number of
gentlemen belonging to the league. This movement was so grave, and likely
to be followed by such formidable results, that it seemed absolutely
necessary for Orange and his friends to take some previous cognizance of
it before it was finally arranged. The Prince had no power, nor was there
any reason why he should have the inclination, to prevent the measure,
but he felt it his duty to do what he could to control the vehemence of
the men who were moving so rashly forward, and to take from their
manifesto, as much as possible, the character of a menace.

For this end, a meeting ostensibly for social purposes and "good cheer"
was held, in the middle of March, at Breda, and afterwards adjourned to
Hoogstraaten. To these conferences Orange invited Egmont, Horn,
Hoogstraaten, Berghen, Meghen, Montigny, and other great nobles.
Brederode, Tholouse, Boxtel, and other members of the league, were also
present. The object of the Prince in thus assembling his own immediate
associates, governors of provinces and knights of the Fleece, as well as
some of the leading members of the league, was twofold. It had long been
his opinion that a temperate and loyal movement was still possible, by
which the impending convulsions might be averted. The line of policy
which he had marked out required the assent of the magnates of the land,
and looked towards the convocation of the states-general. It was natural
that he should indulge in the hope of being seconded by the men who were
in the same political and social station with himself. All, although
Catholics, hated the inquisition. As Viglius pathetically exclaimed,
"Saint Paul himself would have been unable to persuade these men that
good fruit was to be gathered from the inquisition in the cause of
religion." Saint Paul could hardly be expected to reappear on earth for
such a purpose. Meantime the arguments of the learned President had
proved powerless, either to convince the nobles that the institution was
laudable or to obtain from the Duchess a postponement in the publication
of the late decrees. The Prince of Orange, however, was not able to bring
his usual associates to his way of thinking. The violent purposes of the
leaguers excited the wrath of the more loyal nobles. Their intentions
were so dangerous, even in the estimation of the Prince himself, that he
felt it his duty to lay the whole subject before the Duchess, although he
was not opposed to the presentation of a modest and moderate Request.
Meghen was excessively indignant at the plan of the confederates, which
he pronounced an insult to the government, a treasonable attempt to
overawe the Duchess, by a "few wretched vagabonds." He swore that "he
would break every one of their heads, if the King would furnish him with
a couple of hundred thousand florins." Orange quietly rebuked this
truculent language, by assuring him both that such a process would be
more difficult than he thought, and that he would also find many men of
great respectability among the vagabonds.

The meeting separated at Hoogstraaten without any useful result, but it
was now incumbent upon the Prince, in his own judgment, to watch, and in
a measure to superintend, the proceedings of the confederates. By his
care the contemplated Request was much altered, and especially made more
gentle in its tone. Meghen separated himself thenceforth entirely from
Orange, and ranged himself exclusively upon the side of Government.
Egmont vacillated, as usual, satisfying neither the Prince nor the

Margaret of Parma was seated in her council chamber very soon after these
occurrences, attended both by Orange and Egmont, when the Count of Meghen
entered the apartment. With much precipitation, he begged that all
matters then before the board might be postponed, in order that he might
make an important announcement. He then stated that he had received
information from a gentleman on whose word he could rely, a very
affectionate servant of the King, but whose name he had promised not to
reveal, that a very extensive conspiracy of heretics and sectaries had
been formed, both within and without the Netherlands, that they had
already a force of thirty-five thousand men, foot and horse, ready for
action, that they were about to make a sudden invasion, and to plunder
the whole country, unless they immediately received a formal concession
of entire liberty of conscience, and that, within six or seven days,
fifteen hundred men-at-arms would make their appearance before her
Highness. These ridiculous exaggerations of the truth were confirmed by
Egmont, who said that he had received similar information from persons
whose names he was not at liberty to mention, but from whose statements
he could announce that some great tumult might be expected every day. He
added that there were among the confederates many who wished to change
their sovereign, and that the chieftains and captains of the conspiracy
were all appointed. The same nobleman also laid before the council a copy
of the Compromise, the terms of which famous document scarcely justified
the extravagant language with which it had been heralded. The Duchess was
astounded at these communications. She had already received, but probably
not yet read, a letter from the Prince of Orange upon the subject, in
which a moderate and plain statement of the actual facts was laid down,
which was now reiterated by the same personage by word of mouth. An
agitated and inconclusive debate followed, in which, however, it
sufficiently appeared, as the Duchess informed her brother, that one of
two things must be done without further delay. The time had arrived for
the government to take up arms, or to make concessions.

In one of the informal meetings of councillors, now held almost daily, on
the subject of the impending Request, Aremberg, Meghen, and Berlaymont
maintained that the door should be shut in the face of the petitioners
without taking any further notice of the petition. Berlaymont suggested
also, that if this course were not found advisable, the next best thing
would be to allow the confederates to enter the palace with their
Request, and then to cut them to pieces to the very last man, by means of
troops to be immediately ordered from the frontiers. Such sanguinary
projects were indignantly rebuked by Orange. He maintained that the
confederates were entitled to be treated with respect. Many of them, he
said, were his friends--some of them his relations--and there was no
reason for refusing to gentlemen of their rank, a right which belonged to
the poorest plebeian in the land. Egmont sustained these views of the
Prince as earnestly as he had on a previous occasion appeared to
countenance the more violent counsels of Meghen.

Meantime, as it was obvious that the demonstration on the part of the
confederacy was soon about to be made, the Duchess convened a grand
assembly of notables, in which not only all the state and privy
councillors, but all the governors and knights of the Fleece were to take
part. On the 28th of March, this assembly was held, at which the whole
subject of the Request, together with the proposed modifications of the
edicts and abolition of the inquisition, was discussed. The Duchess also
requested the advice of the meeting--whether it would not be best for her
to retire to some other city, like Mons, which she had selected as her
stronghold in case of extremity. The decision was that it would be a
high-handed proceeding to refuse the right of petition to a body of
gentlemen, many of them related to the greatest nobles in the land; but
it was resolved that they should be required to make their appearance
without arms. As to the contemplated flight of the Duchess, it was urged,
with much reason, that such a step would cast disgrace upon the
government, and that it would be a sufficiently precautionary measure to
strengthen the guards at the city gates--not to prevent the entrance of
the petitioners, but to see that they were unaccompanied by an armed
force. It had been decided that Count Brederode should present the
petition to the Duchess at the head of a deputation of about three
hundred gentlemen. The character of the nobleman thus placed foremost on
such an important occasion has been sufficiently made manifest. He had no
qualities whatever but birth and audacity to recommend him as a leader
for a political party. It was to be seen that other attributes were
necessary to make a man useful in such a position, and the Count's
deficiencies soon became lamentably conspicuous. He was the lineal
descendant and representative of the old Sovereign Counts of Holland.
Five hundred years before his birth; his ancestor Sikko, younger brother
of Dirk the Third, had died, leaving two sons, one of whom was the first
Baron of Brederode. A descent of five centuries in unbroken male
succession from the original sovereigns of Holland, gave him a better
genealogical claim to the provinces than any which Philip of Spain could
assert through the usurping house of Burgundy. In the approaching tumults
he hoped for an opportunity of again asserting the ancient honors of his
name. He was a sworn foe to Spaniards and to "water of the fountain." But
a short time previously to this epoch he had written to Louis of Nassau,
then lying ill of a fever, in order gravely to remonstrate with him on
the necessity of substituting wine for water on all occasions, and it
will be seen in the sequel that the wine-cup was the great instrument on
which he relied for effecting the deliverance of the country. Although
"neither bachelor nor chancellor," as he expressed it, he was supposed to
be endowed with ready eloquence and mother wit. Even these gifts,
however, if he possessed them, were often found wanting on important
emergencies. Of his courage there was no question, but he was not
destined to the death either of a warrior or a martyr. Headlong, noisy,
debauched, but brave, kind-hearted and generous, he was a fitting
representative of his ancestors, the hard-fighting, hard-drinking,
crusading, free-booting sovereigns of Holland and Friesland, and would
himself have been more at home and more useful in the eleventh century
than in the sixteenth.

It was about six o'clock in the evening, on the third day of April
(1566), that the long-expected cavalcade at last entered Brussels. An
immense concourse of citizens of all ranks thronged around the noble
confederates as soon as they made their appearance. They were about two
hundred in number, all on horseback, with pistols in their holsters, and
Brederode, tall, athletic, and martial in his bearing, with handsome
features and fair curling locks upon his shoulders, seemed an appropriate
chieftain for that band of Batavian chivalry.

The procession was greeted with frequent demonstrations of applause as it
wheeled slowly through the city till it reached the mansion of Orange
Nassau. Here Brederode and Count Louis alighted, while the rest of the
company dispersed to different quarters of the town.

"They thought that I should not come to Brussels," said Brederode, as he
dismounted. "Very well, here I am; and perhaps I shall depart in a
different manner." In the Course of the next day, Counts Culemburg and
Van den Berg entered the city with one hundred other cavaliers.

On the morning of the fifth of April, the confederates were assembled at
the Culemburg mansion, which stood on the square called the Sabon, within
a few minutes' walk of the palace. A straight handsome street led from
the house along the summit of the hill, to the splendid residence of the
ancient Dukes of Brabant, then the abode of Duchess Margaret. At a little
before noon, the gentlemen came forth, marching on foot, two by two, to
the number of three hundred. Nearly all were young, many of them bore the
most ancient historical names of their country, every one was arrayed in
magnificent costume. It was regarded as ominous, that the man who led the
procession, Philip de Bailleul, was lame. The line was closed by
Brederode and Count Louis, who came last, walking arm in arm. An immense
crowd was collected in the square in front of the palace, to welcome the
men who were looked upon as the deliverers of the land from Spanish
tyranny, from the Cardinalists, and from the inquisition. They were
received with deafening huzzas and clappings of hands by the assembled
populace. As they entered the council chamber, passing through the great
hall, where ten years before the Emperor had given away his crowns, they
found the Emperor's daughter seated in the chair of state, and surrounded
by the highest personages of the country. The emotion of the Duchess was
evident, as the procession somewhat abruptly made its appearance; nor was
her agitation diminished as she observed among the petitioners many
relatives and, retainers of the Orange and Egmont houses, and saw
friendly glances of recognition exchanged between them and their chiefs.

As soon as all had entered the senate room, Brederode advanced, made a
low obeisance, and spoke a brief speech. He said that he had come thither
with his colleagues to present a humble petition to her Highness. He
alluded to the reports which had been rife, that they had contemplated
tumult, sedition, foreign conspiracies, and, what was more abominable
than all, a change of sovereign. He denounced such statements as
calumnies, begged the Duchess to name the men who had thus aspersed an
honorable and loyal company, and called upon her to inflict exemplary
punishment upon the slanderers. With these prefatory remarks he presented
the petition. The famous document was then read aloud.--Its tone was
sufficiently loyal, particularly in the preamble, which was filled with
protestations of devotion to both King and Duchess. After this
conventional introduction, however, the petitioners proceeded to state,
very plainly, that the recent resolutions of his Majesty, with regard to
the edict and the inquisition, were likely to produce a general
rebellion. They had hoped, they said, that a movement would be made by
the seigniors or by the estates, to remedy the evil by striking at its
cause, but they had waited in vain. The danger, on the other hand, was
augmenting every day, universal sedition was at the gate, and they had
therefore felt obliged to delay no longer, but come forward the first and
do their duty. They professed to do this with more freedom, because the
danger touched them very nearly. They were the most exposed to the
calamities which usually spring from civil commotions, for their, houses
and lands situate in the open fields, were exposed to the pillage of all
the world. Moreover there was not one of them, whatever his condition,
who was not liable at any moment to be executed under the edicts, at the
false complaint of the first man who wished to obtain his estate, and who
chose to denounce him to the inquisitor, at whose mercy were the lives
and property of all. They therefore begged the Duchess Regent to despatch
an envoy on their behalf, who should humbly implore his Majesty to
abolish the edicts. In the mean time they requested her Highness to order
a general surcease of the inquisition, and of all executions, until the
King's further pleasure was made known, and until new ordinances, made by
his Majesty with advice and consent of the states-general duly assembled,
should be established. The petition terminated as it had commenced, with
expressions of extreme respect and devoted loyalty.

The agitation of Duchess Margaret increased very perceptibly during the
reading of the paper. When it was finished, she remained for a few
minutes quite silent, with tears rolling down her cheeks. As soon as she
could overcome her excitement, she uttered a few words to the effect that
she would advise with her councillors and give the petitioners such
answer as should be found suitable. The confederates then passed out from
the council chamber into the grand hall; each individual, as he took his
departure, advancing towards the Duchess and making what was called the
"caracole," in token of reverence. There was thus ample time to
contemplate the whole company; and to count the numbers of the

After this ceremony had been concluded, there was much earnest debate in.
the council. The Prince of Orange addressed a few words to the Duchess,
with the view of calming her irritation. He observed that the
confederates were no seditious rebels, but loyal gentlemen, well born,
well connected, and of honorable character. They had been influenced, he
said, by an honest desire to save their country from impending
danger--not by avarice or ambition. Egmont shrugged his shoulders, and
observed that it was necessary for him to leave the court for a season,
in order to make a visit to the baths of Aix, for an inflammation which
he had in the leg. It was then that Berlaymont, according to the account
which has been sanctioned by nearly every contemporary writer, whether
Catholic or Protestant, uttered the gibe which was destined to become
immortal, and to give a popular name to the confederacy. "What, Madam,"
he is reported to have cried in a passion, "is it possible that your
Highness can entertain fears of these beggars? (gueux). Is it not obvious
what manner of men they are? They have not had wisdom enough to manage
their own estates, and are they now to teach the King and your Highness
how to govern the country? By the living God, if my advice were taken,
their petition should have a cudgel for a commentary, and we would make
them go down the steps of the palace a great deal faster than they
mounted them."

The Count of Meghen was equally violent in his language. Aremberg was for
ordering "their reverences; the confederates," to, quit Brussels without
delay. The conversation, carried on in so violent a key, might not
unnaturally have been heard by such of the gentlemen as had not yet left
the grand hall adjoining the council chamber. The meeting of the council
was then adjourned for an hour or two, to meet again in the afternoon,
for the purpose of deciding deliberately upon the answer to be given to
the Request. Meanwhile, many of the confederates were swaggering about
the streets, talking very bravely of the scene which had just occurred,
and it is probable, boasting not a little of the effect which their
demonstration would produce. As they passed by the house of Berlaymont,
that nobleman, standing at his window in company with Count Aremberg, is
said to have repeated his jest. "There go our fine beggars again," said
he. "Look, I pray you, with what bravado they are passing before us!"

On the 6th of April, Brederode, attended by a large number of his
companions, again made his appearance at the palace. He then received the
petition, which was returned to him with an apostille or commentary to
this effect:--Her Highness would despatch an envoy for the purpose of
inducing his Majesty to grant the Request. Every thing worthy of the
King's unaffected (naive) and customary benignity might be expected as to
the result. The Duchess had already, with the assistance of the state and
privy councillors, Fleece knights and governors, commenced a project for
moderating the edicts, to be laid before the King. As her authority did
not allow her to suspend the inquisition and placards, she was confident
that the petitioners would be satisfied with the special application
about to be made to the King. Meantime, she would give orders to all
inquisitors, that they should proceed "modestly and discreetly" in their
office, so that no one would have cause to complain. Her Highness hoped
likewise that the gentlemen on their part would conduct themselves in a
loyal and satisfactory manner; thus proving that they had no intention to
make innovations in the ancient religion of the country.

Upon the next day but one, Monday, 8th of April, Brederode, attended by a
number of the confederates, again made his appearance at the palace, for
the purpose of delivering an answer to the Apostille. In this second
paper the confederates rendered thanks for the prompt reply which the
Duchess had given to their Request, expressed regrets that she did not
feel at liberty to suspend the inquisition, and declared their confidence
that she would at once give such orders to the inquisitors and
magistrates that prosecutions for religious matters should cease, until
the King's further pleasure should be declared. They professed themselves
desirous of maintaining whatever regulations should be thereafter
established by his Majesty, with the advice and consent of the
states-general, for the security of the ancient religion, and promised to
conduct themselves generally in such wise that her Highness would have
every reason to be satisfied with them. They, moreover, requested that
the Duchess would cause the Petition to be printed in authentic form by
the government printer.

The admission that the confederates would maintain the ancient religion
had been obtained, as Margaret informed her brother, through the
dexterous management of Hoogstraaten, without suspicion on the part of
the petitioners that the proposition for such a declaration came from

The Duchess replied by word of mouth to the second address thus made to
her by the confederates, that she could not go beyond the Apostille which
she had put on record. She had already caused letters for the inquisitors
and magistrates to be drawn up. The minutes for those instructions should
be laid before the confederates by Count Hoogstraaten and Secretary
Berty. As for the printing of their petition, she was willing to grant
their demand, and would give orders to that effect.

The gentlemen having received this answer, retired into the great hall.
After a few minutes' consultation, however, they returned to the council
chamber, where the Seigneur d'Esquerdes, one of their number, addressed a
few parting words, in the name of his associates, to the Regent;
concluding with a request that she would declare, the confederates to
have done no act, and made no demonstration, inconsistent with their duty
and with a perfect respect for his Majesty.

To this demand the Duchess answered somewhat drily that she could not be
judge in such a cause. Time and their future deeds, she observed, could
only bear witness as to their purposes. As for declarations from her,
they must be satisfied with the Apostille which they had already

With this response, somewhat more tart than agreeable, the nobles were
obliged to content themselves, and they accordingly took their leave.

It must be confessed that they had been disposed to slide rather
cavalierly over a good deal of ground towards the great object which they
had in view. Certainly the petitio principii was a main feature of their
logic. They had, in their second address, expressed perfect confidence as
to two very considerable concessions. The Duchess was practically to
suspend the inquisition, although she had declared herself without
authority for that purpose, The King, who claimed, de jure and de facto,
the whole legislative power, was thenceforth to make laws on religious
matters by and with the consent of the states-general. Certainly, these
ends were very laudable, and if a civil and religious revolution could
have been effected by a few gentlemen going to court in fine clothes to
present a petition, and by sitting down to a tremendous banquet
afterwards, Brederode and his associates were the men to accomplish the
task. Unfortunately, a sea of blood and long years of conflict lay
between the nation and the promised land, which for a moment seemed so
nearly within reach.

Meantime the next important step in Brederode's eyes was a dinner. He
accordingly invited the confederates to a magnificent repast which he had
ordered to be prepared in the Culemburg mansion. Three hundred guests sat
down, upon the 8th of April, to this luxurious banquet, which was
destined to become historical.

The board glittered with silver and gold. The wine circulated with more
than its usual rapidity among the band of noble Bacchanals, who were
never weary of drinking the healths of Brederode, of Orange, and of
Egmont. It was thought that the occasion imperiously demanded an
extraordinary carouse, and the political events of the past three days
lent an additional excitement to the wine. There was an earnest
discussion as to an appropriate name to be given to their confederacy.
Should they call themselves the "Society of Concord," the restorers of
lost liberty, or by what other attractive title should the league be
baptized? Brederode was, however, already prepared to settle the
question. He knew the value of a popular and original name; he possessed
the instinct by which adroit partisans in every age have been accustomed
to convert the reproachful epithets of their opponents into watchwords of
honor, and he had already made his preparations for a startling
theatrical effect. Suddenly, amid the din of voices, he arose, with all
his rhetorical powers at command: He recounted to the company the
observations which the Seigneur de Berlaymont was reported to have made
to the Duchess, upon the presentation of the Request, and the name which
he had thought fit to apply to them collectively. Most of the gentlemen
then heard the memorable sarcasm for the first time. Great was the
indignation of all that the state councillor should have dared to
stigmatize as beggars a band of gentlemen with the best blood of the land
in their veins. Brederode, on the contrary, smoothing their anger,
assured them with good humor that nothing could be more fortunate. "They
call us beggars!" said he; "let us accept the name. We will contend with
the inquisition, but remain loyal to the King, even till compelled to
wear the beggar's sack."

He then beckoned to one of his pages, who brought him a leathern wallet,
such as was worn at that day by professional mendicants, together with a
large wooden bowl, which also formed part of their regular appurtenances.
Brederode immediately hung the wallet around his neck, filled the bowl
with wine, lifted it with both hands, and drained it at a draught. "Long
live the beggars!" he cried, as he wiped his beard and set the bowl down.
"Vivent les gueulx." Then for the first time, from the lips of those
reckless nobles rose the famous, cry, which was so often to ring over
land and sea, amid blazing cities, on blood-stained decks, through the
smoke and carnage of many a stricken field. The humor of Brederode was
hailed with deafening shouts of applause. The Count then threw the wallet
around the neck of his nearest neighbor, and handed him the wooden bawl.
Each guest, in turn, donned the mendicant's knapsack. Pushing aside his
golden goblet, each filled the beggars' bowl to the brim, and drained it
to the beggars' health. Roars of laughter, and shouts of "Vivent les
gueulx" shook the walls of the stately mansion, as they were doomed never
to shake again. The shibboleth was invented. The conjuration which they
had been anxiously seeking was found. Their enemies had provided them
with a spell, which was to prove, in after days, potent enough to start a
spirit from palace or hovel, forest or wave, as the deeds of the "wild
beggars," the "wood beggars," and the "beggars of the sea" taught Philip
at last to understand the nation which he had driven to madness.

When the wallet and bowl had made the circuit of the table, they were
suspended to a pillar in the hall. Each of the company in succession then
threw some salt into his goblet, and, placing himself under these symbols
of the brotherhood, repeated a jingling distich, produced impromptu for
the occasion.

   By this salt, by this bread, by this wallet we swear,
   These beggars ne'er will change, though all the world should stare.

This ridiculous ceremony completed the rites by which the confederacy
received its name; but the banquet was by no means terminated. The uproar
became furious. The younger and more reckless nobles abandoned themselves
to revelry, which would have shamed heathen Saturnalia. They renewed to
each other, every moment, their vociferous oaths of fidelity to the
common cause, drained huge beakers to the beggars' health, turned their
caps and doublets inside out, danced upon chairs and tables. Several
addressed each other as Lord Abbot, or Reverend Prior, of this or that
religious institution, thus indicating the means by which some of them
hoped to mend their broken fortunes.

While the tumult was at its height, the Prince of Orange with Counts Horn
and Egmont entered the apartment. They had been dining quietly with
Mansfeld, who was confined to his house with an inflamed eye, and they
were on their way to the council chamber, where the sessions were now
prolonged nightly to a late hour. Knowing that Hoogstraaten, somewhat
against his will, had been induced to be present at the banquet, they had
come round by the way of Culemburg House, to induce him to retire. They
were also disposed, if possible, to abridge the festivities which their
influence would have been powerless to prevent.

These great nobles, as soon as they made their appearance, were
surrounded by a crew of "beggars," maddened and dripping with their,
recent baptism of wine, who compelled them to drink a cup amid shouts of
"Vivent le roi et les gueulx!" The meaning of this cry they of course
could not understand, for even those who had heard Berlaymont's
contemptuous remarks, might not remember the exact term which he had
used, and certainly could not be aware of the importance to which it had
just been elevated. As for Horn, he disliked and had long before
quarrelled with Brederode, had prevented many persons from signing the
Compromise, and, although a guest at that time of Orange, was in the
habit of retiring to bed before supper, to avoid the company of many who
frequented the house. Yet his presence for a few moments, with the best
intentions, at the conclusion of this famous banquet, was made one of the
most deadly charges which were afterwards drawn up against him by the
Crown. The three seigniors refused to be seated, and remained but for a
moment, "the length of a Miserere," taking with them Hoogstraaten as they
retired. They also prevailed upon the whole party to break up at the same
time, so that their presence had served at least to put a conclusion to
the disgraceful riot. When they arrived at the council chamber they
received the thanks of the Duchess for what they had done.

Such was the first movement made by the members of the Compromise. Was it
strange that Orange should feel little affinity with such companions? Had
he not reason to hesitate, if the sacred cause of civil and religious
liberty could only be maintained by these defenders and with such

The "beggars" did not content themselves with the name alone of the
time-honored fraternity of Mendicants in which they had enrolled
themselves. Immediately after the Culemburg banquet, a costume for the
confederacy was decided upon.

These young gentlemen discarding gold lace and velvet, thought it
expedient to array themselves in doublets and hose of ashen grey, with
short cloaks of the same color, all of the coarsest materials. They
appeared in this guise in the streets, with common felt hats on their
heads, and beggars' pouches and bowls at their sides. They caused also
medals of lead and copper to be struck, bearing upon one side the head of
Philip; upon the reverse, two hands clasped within a wallet, with the
motto, "Faithful to the King, even to wearing the beggar's sack." These
badges they wore around their necks, or as buttons to their hats. As a
further distinction they shaved their beards close, excepting the
moustachios, which were left long and pendent in the Turkish
fashion,--that custom, as it seemed, being an additional characteristic
of Mendicants.

Very soon after these events the nobles of the league dispersed from the
capital to their various homes. Brederode rode out of Brussels at the
head of a band of cavaliers, who saluted the concourse of applauding
spectators with a discharge of their pistols. Forty-three gentlemen
accompanied him to Antwerp, where he halted for a night. The Duchess had
already sent notice to the magistrates of that city of his intended
visit, and warned them to have an eye upon his proceedings. "The great
beggar," as Hoogstraaten called him, conducted himself, however, with as
much propriety as could be expected. Four or five thousand of the
inhabitants thronged about the hotel where he had taken up his quarters.
He appeared at a window with his wooden bowl, filled with wine, in his
hands, and his wallet at his side. He assured the multitude that he was
ready to die to defend the good people of Antwerp and of all the
Netherlands against the edicts and the inquisition. Meantime he drank
their healths, and begged all who accepted the pledge to hold up their
hands. The populace, highly amused, held up and clapped their hands as
honest Brederode drained his bowl, and were soon afterwards persuaded to
retire in great good humor.

These proceedings were all chronicled and transmitted to Madrid. It was
also both publicly reported and secretly registered, that Brederode had
eaten capons and other meat at Antwerp, upon Good Friday, which happened
to be the, day of his visit to that city. He denied the charge, however;
with ludicrous vehemence. "They who have told Madame that we ate meat in
Antwerp," he wrote to Count Louis, "have lied wickedly and miserably,
twenty-four feet down in their throats." He added that his nephew,
Charles Mansfeld, who, notwithstanding the indignant prohibition of his
father, had assisted of the presentation of the Request, and was then in
his uncle's company at Antwerp, had ordered a capon, which Brederode had
countermanded. "They told me afterwards," said he, "that my nephew had
broiled a sausage in his chamber. I suppose that he thought himself in
Spain, where they allow themselves such dainties."

Let it not be thought that these trifles are beneath the dignity of
history. Matters like these filled the whole soul of Philip, swelled the
bills of indictment for thousands of higher and better men than
Brederode, and furnished occupation as well for secret correspondents and
spies as for the most dignified functionaries of Government. Capons or
sausages on Good Friday, the Psalms of Clement Marot, the Sermon on the
Mount in the vernacular, led to the rack, the gibbet, and the stake, but
ushered in a war against the inquisition which was to last for eighty
years. Brederode was not to be the hero of that party which he disgraced
by his buffoonery. Had he lived, he might, perhaps, like many of his
confederates, have redeemed, by his bravery in the field, a character