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Title: Rise of the Dutch Republic, the — Complete (1566-74)
Author: Motley, John Lothrop, 1814-1877
Language: English
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VOLUME 2, Book 1., 1566

   Secret policy of the government--Berghen and Montigny in Spain--
   Debates at Segovia--Correspondence of the Duchess with Philip--
   Procrastination and dissimulation of the King--Secret communication
   to the Pope--Effect in the provinces of the King's letters to the
   government--Secret instructions to the Duchess--Desponding
   statements of Margaret--Her misrepresentations concerning Orange,
   Egmont, and others--Wrath and duplicity of Philip--Egmont's
   exertions in Flanders--Orange returns to Antwerp--His tolerant
   spirit--Agreement of 2d September--Horn at Tournay--Excavations in
   the Cathedral--Almost universal attendance at the preaching--
   Building of temples commenced--Difficult position of Horn--Preaching
   in the Clothiers' Hall--Horn recalled--Noircarmes at Tournay--
   Friendly correspondence of Margaret with Orange, Egmont, Horn, and
   Hoogstraaten--Her secret defamation of these persons.

Egmont in Flanders, Orange at Antwerp, Horn at Tournay; Hoogstraaten at
Mechlin, were exerting themselves to suppress insurrection and to avert
ruin. What, meanwhile, was the policy of the government? The secret
course pursued both at Brussels and at Madrid may be condensed into the
usual formula--dissimulation, procrastination, and again dissimulation.

It is at this point necessary to take a rapid survey of the open and the
secret proceedings of the King and his representatives from the moment at
which Berghen and Montigny arrived in Madrid. Those ill-fated gentlemen
had been received with apparent cordiality, and admitted to frequent, but
unmeaning, interviews with his Majesty. The current upon which they were
embarked was deep and treacherous, but it was smooth and very slow. They
assured the King that his letters, ordering the rigorous execution of the
inquisition and edicts, had engendered all the evils under which the
provinces were laboring. They told him that Spaniards and tools of
Spaniards had attempted to govern the country, to the exclusion of native
citizens and nobles, but that it would soon be found that Netherlanders
were not to be trodden upon like the abject inhabitants of Milan, Naples,
and Sicily. Such words as these struck with an unaccustomed sound upon
the royal ear, but the envoys, who were both Catholic and loyal, had no
idea, in thus expressing their opinions, according to their sense of
duty, and in obedience to the King's desire, upon the causes of the
discontent, that they were committing an act of high treason.

When the news of the public preaching reached Spain, there were almost
daily consultations at the grove of Segovia. The eminent personages who
composed the royal council were the Duke of Alva, the Count de Feria, Don
Antonio de Toledo, Don Juan Manrique de Lara, Ruy Gomez, Quixada,
Councillor Tisnacq, recently appointed President of the State Council,
and Councillor Hopper. Six Spaniards and two Netherlanders, one of whom,
too, a man of dull intellect and thoroughly subservient character, to
deal with the local affairs of the Netherlands in a time of intense
excitement! The instructions of the envoys had been to represent the
necessity of according three great points--abolition of the inquisition,
moderation of the edicts, according to the draft prepared in Brussels,
and an ample pardon for past transactions. There was much debate upon all
these propositions. Philip said little, but he listened attentively to
the long discourses in council, and he took an incredible quantity of
notes. It was the general opinion that this last demand on the part of
the Netherlanders was the fourth link in the chain of treason. The first
had been the cabal by which Granvelle had been expelled; the second, the
mission of Egmont, the main object of which had been to procure a
modification of the state council, in order to bring that body under the
control of a few haughty and rebellious nobles; the third had been the
presentation of the insolent and seditious Request; and now, to crown the
whole, came a proposition embodying the three points--abolition of the
inquisition, revocation of the edicts, and a pardon to criminals, for
whom death was the only sufficient punishment.

With regard to these three points, it was, after much wrangling, decided
to grant them under certain restrictions. To abolish the inquisition
would be to remove the only instrument by which the Church had been
accustomed to regulate the consciences and the doctrines of its subjects.
It would be equivalent to a concession of religious freedom, at least to
individuals within their own domiciles, than which no concession could be
more pernicious. Nevertheless, it might be advisable to permit the
temporary cessation of the papal inquisition, now that the episcopal
inquisition had been so much enlarged and strengthened in the
Netherlands, on the condition that this branch of the institution should
be maintained in energetic condition. With regard to the Moderation, it
was thought better to defer that matter till, the proposed visit of his
Majesty to the provinces. If, however, the Regent should think it
absolutely necessary to make a change, she must cause a new draft to be
made, as that which had been sent was not found admissible. Touching the
pardon general, it would be necessary to make many conditions and
restrictions before it could be granted. Provided these were sufficiently
minute to exclude all persons whom it might be found desirable to
chastise, the amnesty was possible. Otherwise it was quite out of the

Meantime, Margaret of Parma had been urging her brother to come to a
decision, painting the distracted condition of the country in the
liveliest colors, and insisting, although perfectly aware of Philip's
private sentiments, upon a favorable decision as to the three points
demanded by the envoys. Especially she urged her incapacity to resist any
rebellion, and demanded succor of men and money in case the "Moderation"
were not accepted by his Majesty.

It was the last day of July before the King wrote at all, to communicate
his decisions upon the crisis which had occurred in the first week of
April. The disorder for which he had finally prepared a prescription had,
before his letter arrived, already passed through its subsequent stages
of the field-preaching and the image-breaking. Of course these fresh
symptoms would require much consultation, pondering, and note-taking
before they could be dealt with. In the mean time they would be
considered as not yet having happened. This was the masterly
procrastination of the sovereign, when his provinces were in a blaze.

His masterly dissimulation was employed in the direction suggested by his
councillors. Philip never originated a thought, nor laid down a plan, but
he was ever true to the falsehood of his nature, and was indefatigable in
following out the suggestions of others. No greater mistake can be made
than to ascribe talent to this plodding and pedantic monarch. The man's
intellect was contemptible, but malignity and duplicity, almost
superhuman; have effectually lifted his character out of the regions of
the common-place. He wrote accordingly to say that the pardon, under
certain conditions, might be granted, and that the papal inquisition
might cease--the bishops now being present in such numbers, "to take care
of their flocks," and the episcopal inquisition being, therefore
established upon so secure a basis. He added, that if a moderation of the
edicts were still desired, a new project might be sent to Madrid, as the
one brought by Berghen and Montigny was not satisfactory. In arranging
this wonderful scheme for composing the tumults of the country, which had
grown out of a determined rebellion to the inquisition in any form, he
followed not only the advice, but adopted the exact language of his

Certainly, here was not much encouragement for patriotic hearts in the
Netherlands. A pardon, so restricted that none were likely to be forgiven
save those who had done no wrong; an episcopal inquisition stimulated to
renewed exertions, on the ground that the papal functionaries were to be
discharged; and a promise that, although the proposed Moderation of the
edicts seemed too mild for the monarch's acceptance, yet at some future
period another project would be matured for settling the matter to
universal satisfaction--such were the propositions of the Crown.
Nevertheless, Philip thought he had gone too far, even in administering
this meagre amount of mercy, and that he had been too frank in employing
so slender a deception, as in the scheme thus sketched. He therefore
summoned a notary, before whom, in presence of the Duke of Alva, the
Licentiate Menchaca and Dr. Velasco, he declared that, although he had
just authorized Margaret of Parma, by force of circumstances, to grant
pardon to all those who had been compromised in the late disturbances of
the Netherlands, yet as he had not done this spontaneously nor freely, he
did not consider himself bound by the authorization, but that, on the
contrary, he reserved his right to punish all the guilty, and
particularly those who had been the authors and encouragers of the

So much for the pardon promised in his official correspondence.

With regard to the concessions, which he supposed himself to have made in
the matter of the inquisition and the edicts, he saved his conscience by
another process. Revoking with his right hand all which his left had been
doing, he had no sooner despatched his letters to the Duchess Regent than
he sent off another to his envoy at Rome. In this despatch he instructed
Requesens to inform the Pope as to the recent royal decisions upon the
three points, and to state that there had not been time to consult his
Holiness beforehand. Nevertheless, continued Philip "the prudent," it was
perhaps better thus, since the abolition could have no force, unless the
Pope, by whom the institution had been established, consented to its
suspension. This matter, however, was to be kept a profound secret. So
much for the inquisition matter. The papal institution, notwithstanding
the official letters, was to exist, unless the Pope chose to destroy it;
and his Holiness, as we have seen, had sent the Archbishop of Sorrento, a
few weeks before, to Brussels, for the purpose of concerting secret
measures for strengthening the "Holy Office" in the provinces.

With regard to the proposed moderation of the edicts, Philip informed
Pius the Fifth, through Requesens, that the project sent by the Duchess
not having been approved, orders had been transmitted for a new draft, in
which all the articles providing for the severe punishment of heretics
were to be retained, while alterations, to be agreed upon by the state
and privy councils, and the knights of the Fleece, were to be
adopted--certainly in no sense of clemency. On the contrary, the King
assured his Holiness, that if the severity of chastisement should be
mitigated the least in the world by the new articles, they would in no
case receive the royal approbation. Philip further implored the Pope "not
to be scandalized" with regard to the proposed pardon, as it would be by
no means extended to offenders against religion. All this was to be kept
entirely secret. The King added, that rather than permit the least
prejudice to the ancient religion, he would sacrifice all his states, and
lose a hundred lives if he had so many; for he would never consent to be
the sovereign of heretics. He said he would arrange the troubles of the
Netherlands, without violence, if possible, because forcible measures
would cause the entire destruction of the country. Nevertheless they
should be employed, if his purpose could be accomplished in no other way.
In that case the King would himself be the executor of his own design,
without allowing the peril which he should incur, nor the ruin of the
provinces, nor that of his other realms, to prevent him from doing all
which a Christian prince was bound to do, to maintain the Catholic
religion and the authority of the Holy See, as well as to testify his
personal regard for the reigning pontiff, whom he so much loved and

Here was plain speaking. Here were all the coming horrors distinctly
foreshadowed. Here was the truth told to the only being with whom Philip
ever was sincere. Yet even on this occasion, he permitted himself a
falsehood by which his Holiness was not deceived. Philip had no intention
of going to the Netherlands in person, and the Pope knew that he had
none. "I feel it in my bones," said Granvelle, mournfully, "that nobody
in Rome believes in his Majesty's journey to the provinces." From that
time forward, however, the King began to promise this visit, which was
held out as a panacea for every ill, and made to serve as an excuse for
constant delay.

It may well be supposed that if Philip's secret policy had been
thoroughly understood in the Netherlands, the outbreak would have come
sooner. On the receipt, however, of the public despatches from Madrid,
the administration in Brussels made great efforts to represent their
tenor as highly satisfactory. The papal inquisition was to be abolished,
a pardon was to be granted, a new moderation was to be arranged at some
indefinite period; what more would men have? Yet without seeing the face
of the cards, the people suspected the real truth, and Orange was
convinced of it. Viglius wrote that if the King did not make his intended
visit soon, he would come too late, and that every week more harm was
done by procrastination than could be repaired by months of labor and
perhaps by torrents of blood. What the precise process was, through which
Philip was to cure all disorders by his simple presence, the President
did not explain.

As for the measures propounded by the King after so long a delay, they
were of course worse than useless; for events had been marching while he
had been musing. The course suggested was, according to Viglius, but "a
plaster for a wound, but a drag-chain for the wheel." He urged that the
convocation of the states-general was the only remedy for the perils in
which the country was involved; unless the King should come in person. He
however expressed the hope that by general consultation some means would
be devised by which, if not a good, at least a less desperate aspect
would be given to public affairs, "so that the commonwealth, if fall it
must, might at least fall upon its feet like a cat, and break its legs
rather than its neck."

Notwithstanding this highly figurative view of the subject; and
notwithstanding the urgent representations of Duchess Margaret to her
brother, that nobles and people were all clamoring about the necessity of
convening the states general, Philip was true to his instincts on this as
on the other questions. He knew very well that the states-general of the
Netherlands and Spanish despotism were incompatible ideas, and he
recoiled from the idea of the assembly with infinite aversion. At the
same time a little wholesome deception could do no harm. He wrote to the
Duchess, therefore, that he was determined never to allow the
states-general to be convened. He forbade her to consent to the step
under any circumstances, but ordered her to keep his prohibition a
profound secret. He wished, he said, the people to think that it was only
for the moment that the convocation was forbidden, and that the Duchess
was expecting to receive the necessary permission at another time. It was
his desire, he distinctly stated, that the people should not despair of
obtaining the assembly, but he was resolved never to consent to the step,
for he knew very well what was meant by a meeting of the States-general.
Certainly after so ingenuous but secret a declaration from the disciple
of Macchiavelli, Margaret might well consider the arguments to be used
afterward by herself and others, in favor of the ardently desired
measure, as quite superfluous.

Such then was the policy secretly resolved upon by Philip; even before he
heard of the startling events which were afterwards to break upon him. He
would maintain the inquisition and the edicts; he would exterminate the
heretics, even if he lost all his realms and his own life in the cause;
he would never hear of the national representatives coming together. What
then were likely to be his emotions when he should be told of twenty
thousand armed heretics assembling at one spot, and fifteen thousand at
another, in almost every town in every province, to practice their
blasphemous rites; when he should be told of the whirlwind which had
swept all the ecclesiastical accumulations of ages out of existence; when
he should read Margaret's despairing letters, in which she acknowledged
that she had at last committed an act unworthy of God, of her King, and
of herself, in permitting liberty of worship to the renegades from the
ancient church!

The account given by the Duchess was in truth very dismal. She said that
grief consumed her soul and crimson suffused her cheeks while she related
the recent transactions. She took God to witness that she had resisted
long, that she had past many sleepless nights, that she had been wasted
with fever and grief. After this penitential preface she confessed that,
being a prisoner and almost besieged in her palace, sick in body and
soul, she had promised pardon and security to the confederates, with
liberty of holding assemblies to heretics in places where the practice
had already obtained. These concessions had been made valid until the
King by and with the consent of the states-general, should definitely
arrange the matter. She stated, however, that she had given her consent
to these two demands, not in the royal name, but in her own. The King was
not bound by her promise, and she expreesed the hope that he would have
no regard to any such obligation. She further implored her brother to
come forth as soon as possibe to avenge the injuries inflicted upon the
ancient church, adding, that if deprived of that consolation, she should
incontinently depart this life. That hope alone would prevent her death.

This was certainly strong language. She was also very explicit in her
representations of the influence which had been used by certain
personages to prevent the exercise of any authority upon her own part.
"Wherefore," said Margaret, "I eat my heart; and shall never have peace
till the arrival of your Majesty."

There was no doubt who those personages were who, as it was pretended,
had thus held the Duchess in bondage, and compelled her to grant these
infamous concessions. In her secret Italian letters, she furnished the
King with a tissue of most extravagant and improbable falsehoods,
supplied to her mainly by Noircarmes and Mansfeld, as to the course
pursued at this momentous crisis by Orange, Egmont, Horn, and
Hoogstraaten. They had all, she said, declared against God and against
religion.--Horn, at least, was for killing all the priests and monks in
the country, if full satisfaction were not given to the demands of the
heretics. Egmont had declared openly for the beggars, and was levying
troops in Germany. Orange had the firm intention of making himself master
of the whole country, and of dividing it among the other seigniors and
himself. The Prince had said that if she took refuge in Mons, as she had
proposed, they would instantly convoke the states-general, and take all
necessary measures. Egmont had held the same language, saying that he
would march at the head of forty thousand men to besiege her in that
city. All these seigniors, however, had avowed their determination to
prevent her flight, to assemble the estates, and to drag her by force
before the assembly, in order to compel her consent to every measure
which might be deemed expedient. Under all these circumstances, she had
been obliged to defer her retreat, and to make the concessions which had
overwhelmed her with disgrace.

With such infamous calumnies, utterly disproved by every fact in the
case, and unsupported by a tittle of evidence, save the hearsay reports
of a man like Noircarmes, did this "woman, nourished at Rome, in whom no
one could put confidence," dig the graves of men who were doing their
best to serve her.

Philip's rage at first hearing of the image-breaking has been indicated.
He was ill of an intermittent fever at the wood of Segovia when the news
arrived, and it may well be supposed that his wrath at these proceedings
was not likely to assuage his malady. Nevertheless, after the first burst
of indignation, he found relief in his usual deception. While slowly
maturing the most tremendous vengeance which anointed monarch ever
deliberately wreaked upon his people, he wrote to say, that it was "his
intention to treat his vassals and subjects in the provinces like a good
and clement prince, not to ruin them nor to put them into servitude, but
to exercise all humanity, sweetness, and grace, avoiding all harshness."
Such were the avowed intentions of the sovereign towards his people at
the moment when the terrible Alva, who was to be the exponent of all this
"humanity, sweetness, and grace," was already beginning the preparations
for his famous invasion of the Netherlands.

The essence of the compact agreed to upon the 23d August between the
confederates and the Regent, was that the preaching of the reformed
religion should be tolerated in places where it had previously to that
date been established. Upon this basis Egmont, Horn, Orange,
Hoogstraaten, and others, were directed once more to attempt the
pacification of the different provinces.

Egmont departed for his government of Flanders, and from that moment
vanished all his pretensions, which at best had been, slender enough, to
the character of a national chieftain. During the whole of the year his
course had been changeful. He had felt the influence of Orange; he had
generous instincts; he had much vanity; he had the pride of high rank;
which did not easily brook the domination of strangers, in a land which
he considered himself and his compeers entitled by their birth to rule.
At this juncture, however, particularly when in the company of
Noircarmes, Berlaymont, and Viglius, he expressed, notwithstanding their
calumnious misstatements, the deepest detestation of the heretics. He was
a fervent Catholic, and he regarded the image-breaking as an unpardon
able crime. "We must take up arms," said he, "sooner or later, to bring
these Reformers to reason, or they will end by laying down the law for
us." On the other hand, his anger would be often appeased by the grave
but gracious remonstrances of Orange. During a part of the summer, the
Reformers had been so strong in Flanders that upon a single day sixty
thousand armed men had been assembled at the different field-preachings
within that province. "All they needed was a Jacquemart, or a Philip van
Artevelde," says a Catholic, contemporary, "but they would have scorned
to march under the banner of a brewer; having dared to raise their eyes
for a chief, to the most illustrious warrior of his ages." No doubt, had
Egmont ever listened to these aspirations, he might have taken the field
against the government with an invincible force, seized the capital,
imprisoned the Regent, and mastered the whole country, which was entirely
defenceless, before Philip would have had time to write more than ten
despatches upon the subject.

These hopes of the Reformers, if hopes they could be called, were now
destined to be most bitterly disappointed. Egmont entered Flanders, not
as a chief of rebels--not as a wise pacificator, but as an unscrupulous
partisan of government, disposed to take summary vengeance on all
suspected persons who should fall in his way. He ordered numerous
executions of image-breakers and of other heretics. The whole province
was in a state of alarm; for, although he had not been furnished by the
Regent with a strong body of troops, yet the name of the conqueror at
Saint Quentin and Gravelines was worth many regiments. His severity was
excessive. His sanguinary exertions were ably seconded also by his
secretary Bakkerzeel, a man who exercised the greatest influence over his
chief, and who was now fiercely atoning for having signed the Compromise
by persecuting those whom that league had been formed to protect. "Amid
all the perplexities of the Duchess Regent," Says a Walloon historian,
"this virtuous princess was consoled by the exploits of Bakkerzeel,
gentleman in Count Egmont's service. On one occasion he hanged twenty
heretics, including a minister, at a single heat."

Such achievements as these by the hands or the orders of the
distinguished general who had been most absurdly held up as a possible
protector of the civil and religious liberties of the country, created
profound sensation. Flanders and Artois were filled with the wives and
children of suspected I thousands who had fled the country to escape the
wrath of Egmont. The cries and piteous lamentations of these unfortunate
creatures were heard on every side. Count Louis was earnestly implored to
intercede for the persecuted Reformers. "You who have been so nobly
gifted by Heaven, you who have good will and singular bounty written upon
your face," said Utenhove to Louis, "have the power to save these poor
victims from the throats of the ravenous wolves." The Count responded to
the appeal, and strove to soften the severity of Egmont, without,
however, producing any very signal effect. Flanders was soon pacified,
nor was that important province permitted to enjoy the benefits of the
agreement which had been extorted, from the Duchess. The preachings were
forbidden, and the ministers and congregations arrested and chastised,
even in places where the custom had been established previously to the
23d August. Certainly such vigorous exertions upon the part both of
master and man did not savor of treason to Philip, and hardly seemed to
indicate the final doom of Egmont and Bakkerzeel.

The course of Orange at Antwerp was consistent with his whole career. He
honestly came to arrange a pacification, but he knew that this end could
be gained only by loyally maintaining the Accord which had been signed
between the confederates and the Regent. He came back to the city on the
26th August, and found order partially re-established. The burghers
having at last become thoroughly alarmed, and the fury of the
image-breakers entirely appeased, it had been comparatively easy to
restore tranquillity. The tranquillity, however, rather restored itself,
and when the calm had succeeded to the tempest, the placid heads of the
burgomasters once, more emerged from the waves.

Three image-breakers, who had been taken in the act, were hanged by order
of the magistrates upon the 28th of August. The presence of Orange gave
them courage to achieve these executions which he could not prevent, as
the fifth article of the Accord enjoined the chastisement of the rioters.
The magistrates chose that the "chastisement" on this occasion should be
exemplary, and it was not in the power of Orange to interfere with the
regular government of the city when acting according to its laws. The
deed was not his, however, and he hastened, in order to obviate the
necessity of further violence, to prepare articles of agreement, upon the
basis of Margaret's concessions. Public preaching, according to the
Reformed religion, had already taken place within the city. Upon the 22d,
possession had been taken of at least three churches. The senate had
deputed pensionary Wesenbeck to expostulate with the ministers, for the
magistrates were at that moment not able to command. Taffin, the Walloon
preacher, had been tractable, and had agreed to postpone his exercises.
He furthermore had accompanied the pensionary to the cathedral, in order
to persuade Herman Modet that it would be better for him likewise to
defer his intended ministrations. They had found that eloquent enthusiast
already in the great church, burning with impatience to ascend upon the
ruins, and quite unable to resist the temptation of setting a Flemish
psalm and preaching a Flemish sermon within the walls which had for so
many centuries been vocal only to the Roman tongue and the Roman ritual.
All that he would concede to the entreaties of his colleague and of the
magistrate, was that his sermon should be short. In this, however, he had
overrated his powers of retention, for the sermon not only became a long
one, but he had preached another upon the afternoon of the same day. The
city of Antwerp, therefore, was clearly within the seventh clause of the
treaty of the 24th August, for preaching had taken place in the
cathedral, previously to the signing of that Accord.

Upon the 2d September, therefore, after many protracted interview with
the heads of the Reformed religion, the Prince drew up sixteen articles
of agreement between them, the magistrates and the government, which were
duly signed and exchanged. They were conceived in the true spirit of
statesmanship, and could the rulers of the land have elevated themselves
to the mental height of William de Nassau, had Philip been able of
comprehending such a mind, the Prince, who alone possessed the power in
those distracted times of governing the wills of all men, would have
enabled the monarch to transmit that beautiful cluster of provinces,
without the lose of a single jewel, to the inheritors of his crown.

If the Prince were playing a game, he played it honorably. To have
conceived the thought of religious toleration in an age of universal
dogmatism; to have labored to produce mutual respect among conflicting
opinions, at a period when many Dissenters were as bigoted as the
orthodox, and when most Reformers fiercely proclaimed not liberty for
every Christian doctrine, but only a new creed in place of all the
rest,--to have admitted the possibility of several roads, to heaven, when
zealots of all creeds would shut up all pathways but their own; if such
sentiments and purposes were sins, they would have been ill-exchanged for
the best virtues of the age. Yet, no doubt, this was his crying offence
in the opinion of many contemporaries. He was now becoming apostate from
the ancient Church, but he had long thought that Emperors, Kings, and
Popes had taken altogether too much care of men's souls in times past,
and had sent too many of them prematurely to their great account. He was
equally indisposed to grant full-powers for the same purpose to
Calvinists, Lutherans, or Anabaptists. "He censured the severity of our
theologians," said a Catholic contemporary, accumulating all the
religious offences of the Prince in a single paragraph, "because they
keep strictly the constitutions of the Church without conceding a single
point to their adversaries; he blamed the Calvinists as seditious and
unruly people, yet nevertheless had a horror for the imperial edicts
which condemned them to death; he said it was a cruel thing to take a
man's life for sustaining an erroneous opinion; in short, he fantasied in
his imagination a kind of religion, half Catholic, half Reformed, in
order to content all persons; a system which would have been adopted
could he have had his way." This picture, drawn by one of his most
brilliant and bitter enemies, excites our admiration while intended to
inspire aversion.

The articles of agreement at Antwerp thus promulgated assigned three
churches to the different sects of reformers, stipulated that no attempt
should be made by Catholics or Protestants to disturb the religious
worship of each other, and provided that neither by mutual taunts in
their sermons, nor by singing street ballads, together with improper
allusions and overt acts of hostility, should the good-fellowship which
ought to reign between brethren and fellow-citizens, even although
entertaining different opinions as to religious rites and doctrines, be
for the future interrupted.

This was the basis upon which the very brief religious peace, broken
almost as soon as established, was concluded by William of Orange, not
only at Antwerp, but at Utrecht, Amsterdam, and other principal cities
within his government. The Prince, however, notwithstanding his unwearied
exertions, had slender hopes of a peaceful result. He felt that the last
step taken by the Reformation had been off a precipice. He liked not such
rapid progress. He knew that the King would never forgive the
image-breaking. He felt that he would never recognize the Accord of the
24th August. Sir Thomas Gresham, who, as the representative of the
Protestant Queen of England in the great commercial metropolis of Europe,
was fully conversant with the turn things were taking, was already
advising some other place for the sale of English commodities. He gave
notice to his government that commerce would have no security at Antwerp
"in those brabbling times." He was on confidential terms with the Prince,
who invited him to dine upon the 4th September, and caused pensionary
Wesenbeck, who was also present, to read aloud the agreement which was
that day to be proclaimed at the town-house. Orange expressed himself,
however, very doubtfully as to the future prospects of the provinces, and
as to the probable temper of the King. "In all his talke," says Gresham,
"the Prince aside unto me, 'I know this will nothing contente the King!'"

While Egmont had been, thus busied in Flanders, and Orange at Antwerp,
Count Horn had been doing his best in the important city of Tournay. The
Admiral was not especially gifted with intellect, nor with the power of
managing men, but he went there with an honest purpose of seeing the
Accord executed, intending, if it should prove practicable, rather to
favor the Government than the Reformers. At the same time, for the
purpose of giving satisfaction to the members of "the religion," and of
manifesting his sincere desire for a pacification, he accepted lodgings
which had been prepared for him at the house of a Calvinist merchant in
the city, rather, than, take up his quarters with fierce old governor
Moulbais, in the citadel. This gave much offence to the Catholics; and
inspired the Reformers, with the hope of having their preaching inside
the town. To this privilege they were entitled, for the practice had
already been established there, previously to the 24th October.
Nevertheless, at first he was disposed to limit them, in accordance with
the wishes of the Duchess, to extra-mural exercises.

Upon his arrival, by a somewhat ominous conjuncture, he had supped with
some of the leading citizens in the hall of the "gehenna" or torture
room, certainly not a locality calculated to inspire a healthy appetite.
On the following Sunday he had been entertained with a great banquet, at
which all the principal burghers were present, held in a house on the
market-place. The festivities had been interrupted by a quarrel, which
had been taking place in the cathedral. Beneath the vaults of that
edifice, tradition said that a vast treasure was hidden, and the canons
had been known to boast that this buried wealth would be sufficient to
rebuild their temple more magnificently than ever, in case of its total
destruction. The Admiral had accordingly placed a strong guard in the
church as soon as he arrived, and commenced very extensive excavations in
search of this imaginary mine. The Regent informed her brother that the
Count was prosecuting this work with the view of appropriating whatever
might be found to his own benefit. As she knew that he was a ruined man,
there seemed no more satisfactory mode of accounting for these
proceedings. Horn had, however, expressly stated to her that every penny
which should come into his possession from that or any other source would
carefully be restored to the rightful owners. Nothing of consequence was
ever found to justify the golden legends of the monks, but in the mean
time the money-diggers gave great offence. The canons, naturally alarmed
for the safety of their fabulous treasure, had forced the guard, by
surreptitiously obtaining the countersign from a certain official of the
town. A quarrel ensued which ended in the appearance of this personage,
together with the commander of the military force on guard in the
cathedral, before the banqueting company. The Count, in the rough way
habitual with him, gave the culprit a sound rebuke for his intermeddling,
and threatened, in case the offence were repeated, to have him instantly
bound, gagged, and forwarded to Brussels for further punishment. The
matter thus satisfactorily adjusted, the banquet proceeded, the merchants
present being all delighted at seeing the said official, who was
exceedingly, unpopular, "so well huffed by the Count." The excavations
were continued for along time, until there seemed danger of destroying
the foundation of the church, but only a few bits of money were
discovered, with some other articles of small value.

Horn had taken his apartments in the city in order to be at hand to
suppress any tumults, and to inspire confidence in the people. He had
come to a city where five sixths of the inhabitants--were of the reformed
religion, and he did not, therefore, think it judicious to attempt
violently the suppression of their worship. Upon his arrival he had
issued a proclamation, ordering that all property which might have been
pillaged from the religious houses should be instantly restored to the
magistracy, under penalty that all who disobeyed the command should "be
forthwith strangled at the gibbet." Nothing was brought back, however,
for the simple reason that nothing had been stolen. There was, therefore,
no one to be strangled.

The next step was to publish the Accord of 24th August, and to signify
the intention of the Admiral to enforce its observance. The preachings
were as enthusiastically attended as ever, while the storm which had been
raging among the images had in the mean time been entirely allayed.
Congregations of fifteen thousand were still going to hear Ambrose Wille
in the suburbs, but they were very tranquil in their demeanor. It was
arranged between the Admiral and the leaders of the reformed
consistories, that three places, to be selected by Horn, should be
assigned for their places of worship. At these spots, which were outside
the walls, permission was given the Reformers to build meeting-houses. To
this arrangement the Duchess formally gave her consent.

Nicholas Taffin; councillor, in the name of the Reformers, made "a brave
and elegant harangue" before the magistrates, representing that, as on
the most moderate computation, three quarters of the population were
dissenters, as the Regent had ordered the construction of the new
temples, and as the Catholics retained possession of all the churches in
the city, it was no more than fair that the community should bear the
expense of the new buildings. It was indignantly replied, however, that
Catholics could not be expected to pay for the maintenance of heresy,
particularly when they had just been so much exasperated by the
image-breaking Councillor Taffin took nothing, therefore by his "brave
and elegant harangue," saving a small vote of forty livres.

The building was, however, immediately commenced. Many nobles and rich
citizens contributed to the work; some making donations in money; others
giving quantities of oaks, poplars, elms, and other timber trees, to be
used in the construction. The foundation of the first temple outside the
Ports de Cocquerel was immediately laid. Vast heaps of broken images and
other ornaments of the desecrated churches were most unwisely used for
this purpose, and the Catholics were exceedingly enraged at beholding
those male and female saints, who had for centuries been placed in such
"reverend and elevated positions," fallen so low as to be the
foundation-stones of temples whose builders denounced all those holy
things as idols.

As the autumn began to wane, the people were clamorous for permission to
have their preaching inside the city. The new buildings could not be
finished before the winter; but in the mean time the camp-meetings were
becoming, in the stormy seasons fast approaching, a very inconvenient
mode of worship. On the other hand, the Duchess was furious at the
proposition, and commanded Horn on no account to consent that the
interior of Tournay should be profaned by these heretical rites. It was
in vain that the Admiral represented the justice of the claim, as these
exercises had taken place in several of the city churches previously to
the Accord of the 24th of August.

That agreement had been made by the Duchess only to be broken. She had
already received money and the permission to make levies, and was fast
assuming a tone very different from the abject demeanor which had
characterized her in August. Count Horn had been used even as Egmont,
Orange and Hoogstraaten had been employed, in order that their personal
influence with the Reformers might be turned to account. The tools and
the work accomplished by them were to be thrown away at the most
convenient opportunity.

The Admiral was placed in a most intolerable position. An honest,
common-place, sullen kind of man, he had come to a city full of heretics,
to enforce concessions just made by the government to heresy. He soon
found himself watched, paltered with, suspected by the administration at
Brussels. Governor Moulbais in the citadel, who was nominally under his
authority, refused obedience to his orders, was evidently receiving
secret instructions from the Regent, and was determined to cannonade the
city into submission at a very early day. Horn required him to pledge
himself that no fresh troops should enter the castle. Moulbais swore he
would make no such promise to a living soul. The Admiral stormed with his
usual violence, expressed his regret that his brother Montigny had so bad
a lieutenant in the citadel, but could make no impression upon the
determined veteran, who knew, better than Horn, the game which was
preparing. Small reinforcements were daily arriving at the castle; the
soldiers of the garrison had been heard to boast "that they would soon
carve and eat the townsmen's flesh on their dressers," and all the good
effect from the Admiral's proclamation on arriving, had completely

Horn complained bitterly of the situation in which he was placed. He knew
himself the mark of incessant and calumnious misrepresentation both at
Brussels and Madrid. He had been doing his best, at a momentous crisis,
to serve the government without violating its engagements, but he
declared himself to be neither theologian nor jurist, and incapable,
while suspected and unassisted, of performing a task which the most
learned doctors of the council would find impracticable. He would rather,
he bitterly exclaimed, endure a siege in any fortress by the Turks, than
be placed in such a position. He was doing all that he was capable of
doing, yet whatever he did was wrong. There was a great difference, he
said, between being in a place and talking about it at a distance.

In the middle of October he was recalled by the Duchess, whose letters
had been uniformly so ambiguous that he confessed he was quite unable to
divine their meaning. Before he left the city, he committed his most
unpardonable crime. Urged by the leaders of the reformed congregations to
permit their exercises in the Clothiers' Hall until their temples should
be finished, the Count accorded his consent provisionally, and subject to
revocation by the Regent, to whom the arrangement was immediately to be

Horn departed, and the Reformers took instant possession of the hall. It
was found in a very dirty and disorderly condition, encumbered with
benches, scaffoldings, stakes, gibbets, and all the machinery used for
public executions upon the market-place. A vast body of men went to work
with a will; scrubbing, cleaning, whitewashing, and removing all the foul
lumber of the hall; singing in chorus, as they did so, the hymns of
Clement Marot. By dinner-time the place was ready. The pulpit and benches
for the congregation had taken the place of the gibbet timber. It is
difficult to comprehend that such work as this was a deadly crime.
Nevertheless, Horn, who was himself a sincere Catholic, had committed the
most mortal of all his offences against Philip and against God, by having
countenanced so flagitious a transaction.

The Admiral went to Brussels. Secretary de la Torre, a very second-rate
personage, was despatched to Tournay to convey the orders of the Regent.
Governor Moulbais, now in charge of affairs both civil and military, was
to prepare all things for the garrison, which was soon to be despatched
under Noircarmes. The Duchess had now arms in her hands, and her language
was bold. La Torre advised the Reformers to be wise "while the rod was
yet green and growing, lest it should be gathered for their backs; for it
was unbecoming is subjects to make bargains with their King." There was
hardly any decent pretext used in violating the Accord of the 24th
August, so soon as the government was strong enough to break it. It was
always said that the preachings suppressed, had not been established
previously to that arrangement; but the preachings had in reality
obtained almost every where, and were now universally abolished. The
ridiculous quibble was also used that, in the preachings other religious
exercises were not included, whereas it was notorious that they had never
been separated. It is, however, a gratuitous task, to unravel the
deceptions of tyranny when it hardly deigns to disguise itself. The
dissimulations which have resisted the influence of centuries are more
worthy of serious investigation, and of these the epoch offers us a
sufficient supply.

At the close of the year, the city of Tournay was completely subjugated
and the reformed religion suppressed. Upon the 2nd day of January, 1567,
the Seignior de Noircarmes arrived before the gates at the head of eleven
companies, with orders from Duchess Margaret to strengthen the garrison
and disarm the citizens. He gave the magistrates exactly one hour and a
half to decide whether they would submit without a murmur. He expressed
an intention of maintaining the Accord of 24th August; a ridiculous
affectation under the circumstances, as the event proved. The notables
were summoned, submission agreed upon, and within the prescribed time the
magistrates came before Noircarmes, with an unconditional acceptance of
his terms. That truculent personage told them, in reply, that they had
done wisely, for if they had delayed receiving the garrison a minute
longer, he would have instantly burned the city to ashes and put every
one of the inhabitants to the sword. He had been fully authorized to do
so, and subsequent events were to show, upon more than one dreadful
occasion, how capable Noircarmes would have been of fulfilling this

The soldiers, who had made a forced march all night, and who had been
firmly persuaded that the city would refuse the terms demanded, were
excessively disappointed at being obliged to forego the sack and pillage
upon which they had reckoned. Eight or nine hundred rascally peasants,
too, who had followed in the skirts of the regiments, each provided with
a great empty bag, which they expected to fill with booty which they
might purchase of the soldiers, or steal in the midst of the expected
carnage and rapine, shared the discontent of the soldiery, by whom they
were now driven ignominiously out of the town.

The citizens were immediately disarmed. All the fine weapons which they
had been obliged to purchase at their own expense, when they had been
arranged by the magistrates under eight banners, for defence of the city
against tumult and invasion, were taken from them; the most beautiful
cutlasses, carbines, poniards, and pistols, being divided by Noircarmes
among his officers. Thus Tournay was tranquillized.

During the whole of these proceedings in Flanders, and at Antwerp,
Tournay, and Mechlin, the conduct of the Duchess had been marked with
more than her usual treachery. She had been disavowing acts which the men
upon whom she relied in her utmost need had been doing by her authority;
she had been affecting to praise their conduct, while she was secretly
misrepresenting their actions and maligning their motives, and she had
been straining every nerve to make foreign levies, while attempting to
amuse the confederates and sectaries with an affectation of clemency.

When Orange complained that she had been censuring his proceedings at
Antwerp, and holding language unfavorable to his character, she protested
that she thoroughly approved his arrangements--excepting only the two
points of the intramural preachings and the permission to heretics of
other exercises than sermons--and that if she were displeased with him he
might be sure that she would rather tell him so than speak ill of him
behind his back. The Prince, who had been compelled by necessity, and
fully authorized by the terms of the "Accord", to grant those two points
which were the vital matter in his arrangements, answered very calmly,
that he was not so frivolous as to believe in her having used language to
his discredit had he not been quite certain of the fact, as he would soon
prove by evidence. Orange was not the man to be deceived as to the
position in which he stood, nor as to the character of those with whom he
dealt. Margaret wrote, however, in the same vein concerning him to
Hoogstmaten, affirming that nothing could be further from her intention
than to characterize the proceedings of "her cousin, the Prince of
Orange, as contrary to the service of his Majesty; knowing, as she did,
how constant had been his affection, and how diligent his actions, in the
cause of God and the King."

She also sent councillor d'Assonleville on a special mission to the
Prince, instructing that smooth personage to inform her said cousin of
Orange that he was and always had been "loved and cherished by his
Majesty, and that for herself she had ever loved him like a brother or a

She wrote to Horn, approving of his conduct in the main, although in
obscure terms, and expressing great confidence in his zeal, loyalty, and
good intentions. She accorded the same praise to Hoogstraaten, while as
to Egmont she was perpetually reproaching him for the suspicions which he
seemed obstinately to entertain as to her disposition and that of Philip,
in regard to his conduct and character.

It has already been partly seen what were her private sentiments and
secret representations as to the career of the distinguished personages
thus encouraged and commended. Her pictures were painted in daily
darkening colors. She told her brother that Orange, Egmont, and Horn were
about to place themselves at the head of the confederates, who were to
take up arms and had been levying troops; that the Lutheran religion was
to be forcibly established, that the whole power of the government was to
be placed in the triumvirate thus created by those seigniors, and that
Philip was in reality to be excluded entirely from those provinces which
were his ancient patrimony. All this information she had obtained from
Mansfeld, at whom the nobles were constantly sneering as at a faithful
valet who would never receive his wages.

She also informed the King that the scheme for dividing the country was
already arranged: that Augustus of Saxony was to have Friesland and
Overyssel; Count Brederode, Holland; the Dukes of Cleves and Lorraine,
Gueldres; the King of France, Flanders, Artois, and Hainault, of which
territories Egmont was to be perpetual stadholder; the Prince of Orange,
Brabant; and so on indefinitely. A general massacre of all the Catholics
had been arranged by Orange, Horn, and Egmont, to commence as soon as the
King should put his foot on shipboard to come to the country. This last
remarkable fact Margaret reported to Philip, upon the respectable
authority of Noircarmes.

She apologized for having employed the service of these nobles, on the
ground of necessity. Their proceedings in Flanders, at Antwerp, Tournay,
Mechlin, had been highly reprehensible, and she had been obliged to
disavow them in the most important particulars. As for Egmont, she had
most unwillingly entrusted forces to his hands for the purpose of putting
down the Flemish sectaries. She had been afraid to show a want of
confidence in his character, but at the same time she believed that all
soldiers under Egmont's orders would be so many enemies to the king.
Notwithstanding his protestations of fidelity to the ancient religion and
to his Majesty, she feared that he was busied with some great plot
against God and the King. When we remember the ruthless manner in which
the unfortunate Count had actually been raging against the sectaries, and
the sanguinary proofs which he had been giving of his fidelity to "God
and the King," it seems almost incredible that Margaret could have
written down all these monstrous assertions.

The Duchess gave, moreover, repeated warnings to her brother, that the
nobles were in the habit of obtaining possession of all the
correspondence between Madrid and Brussels; and that they spent a vast
deal of money in order to read her own and Philip's most private letters.
She warned him therefore, to be upon his guard, for she believed that
almost all their despatches were read. Such being the cases and the tenor
of those documents being what we have seen it to be, her complaints as to
the incredulity of those seigniors to her affectionate protestations,
seem quite wonderful.

CHAPTER IX., Part 1., 1566

   Position of Orange--The interview at Dendermonde--The supposititious
   letters of Alava--Views of Egmont--Isolation of Orange--Conduct of
   Egmont and of Horn--Confederacy, of the nobles dissolved--Weak
   behavior of prominent personages----Watchfulness of Orange--
   Convocation of States General demanded--Pamphlet of Orange--City of
   Valenciennes refuses a garrison--Influence of La Grange and De Bray
   --City, declared in a state of siege--Invested by Noircarmes--
   Movements to relieve the place--Calvinists defeated at Lannoy and at
   Waterlots--Elation of the government--The siege pressed more
   closely--Cruelties practised upon the country people--Courage of the
   inhabitants--Remonstrance to the Knights of the Fleece--Conduct of
   Brederode--Orange at Amsterdam--New Oath demanded by Government--
   Orange refuses--He offers his resignation of all offices--Meeting at
   Breda--New "Request" of Brederode--He creates disturbances and
   levies troops in Antwerp--Conduct of Hoogstraaten--Plans of
   Brederode--Supposed connivance of Orange--Alarm at Brussels--
   Tholouse at Ostrawell--Brederode in Holland--De Beauvoir defeats
   Tholouse--Excitement at Antwerp--Determined conduct of Orange--Three
   days' tumult at Antwerp suppressed by the wisdom and courage of

It is necessary to allude to certain important events contemporaneous
with those recorded in the last chapter, that the reader may thoroughly
understand the position of the leading personages in this great drama at
the close of the year 1566.

The Prince of Orange had, as we have seen, bean exerting all his energies
faithfully to accomplish the pacification of the commercial metropolis,
upon the basis assented to beforehand by the Duchess. He had established
a temporary religious peace, by which alone at that crisis the gathering
tempest could be averted; but he had permitted the law to take its course
upon certain rioters, who had been regularly condemned by courts of
justice. He had worked day and night--notwithstanding immense obstacles,
calumnious misstatements, and conflicting opinions--to restore order out
of chaos; he had freely imperilled his own life--dashing into a
tumultuous mob on one occasion, wounding several with the halberd which
he snatched from one of his guard, and dispersing almost with his single
arm a dangerous and threatening insurrection--and he had remained in
Antwerp, at the pressing solicitations of the magistracy, who represented
that the lives of not a single ecclesiastic would be safe as soon as his
back was turned, and that all the merchants would forthwith depart from
the city. It was nevertheless necessary that he should make a personal
visit to his government of Holland, where similar disorders had been
prevailing, and where men of all ranks and parties were clamoring for
their stadholder.

Notwithstanding all his exertions however, he was thoroughly aware of the
position in which he stood towards the government. The sugared phrases of
Margaret, the deliberate commendation of the "benign and debonair"
Philip, produced no effect upon this statesman, who was accustomed to
look through and through men's actions to the core of their hearts. In
the hearts of Philip and Margaret he already saw treachery and revenge
indelibly imprinted. He had been especially indignant at the insult which
the Duchess Regent had put upon him, by sending Duke Eric of Brunswick
with an armed force into Holland in order to protect Gouda, Woerden, and
other places within the Prince's own government. He was thoroughly
conversant with the general tone in which the other seigniors and himself
were described to their sovereign. He, was already convinced that the
country was to be conquered by foreign mercenaries, and that his own
life, with these of many other nobles, was to be sacrificed. The moment
had arrived in which he was justified in looking about him for means of
defence, both for himself and his country, if the King should be so
insane as to carry out the purposes which the Prince suspected. The time
was fast approaching in which a statesman placed upon such an elevation
before the world as that which he occupied, would be obliged to choose
his part for life. To be the unscrupulous tool of tyranny, a rebel, or an
exile, was his necessary fate. To a man so prone to read the future, the
moment for his choice seemed already arrived. Moreover, he thought it
doubtful, and events were most signally to justify his doubts, whether he
could be accepted as the instrument of despotism, even were he inclined
to prostitute himself to such service. At this point, therefore,
undoubtedly began the treasonable thoughts of William the Silent, if it
be treason to attempt the protection of ancient and chartered liberties
against a foreign oppressor. He despatched a private envoy to Egmont,
representing the grave suspicions manifested by the Duchess in sending
Duke Eric into Holland, and proposing that means should be taken into
consideration for obviating the dangers with which the country was
menaced. Catholics as well as Protestants, he intimated, were to be
crushed in one universal conquest as soon as Philip had completed the
formidable preparations which he was making for invading the provinces.
For himself, he said, he would not remain in the land to witness the
utter desolation of the people, nor to fall an unresisting victim to the
vengeance which he foresaw. If, however, he might rely upon the
co-operation of Egmont and Horn, he was willing, with the advice of the
states-general, to risk preparations against the armed invasion of
Spaniards by which the country was to be reduced to slavery. It was
incumbent, however, upon men placed as they were, "not to let the grass
grow under their feet;" and the moment for action was fast approaching.

This was the scheme which Orange was willing to attempt. To make use of
his own influence and that of his friends, to interpose between a
sovereign insane with bigotry, and a people in a state of religious
frenzy, to resist brutal violence if need should be by force, and to
compel the sovereign to respect the charters which he had sworn to
maintain, and which were far more ancient than his sovereignty; so much
of treason did William of Orange already contemplate, for in no other way
could he be loyal to his country and his own honor.

Nothing came of this secret embassy, for Egmont's heart and fate were
already fixed. Before Orange departed, however; for the north, where his
presence in the Dutch provinces was now imperatively required, a
memorable interview took place at Dendermonde between Orange, Horn,
Egmont, Hoogstraaten, and Count Louis. The nature of this conference was
probably similar to that of the secret mission from Orange to Egmont just
recorded. It was not a long consultation. The gentlemen met at eleven
o'clock, and conversed until dinner was ready, which was between twelve
and one in the afternoon. They discussed the contents of a letter
recently received by Horn from his brother Montigny at Segovia, giving a
lively picture of Philip's fury at the recent events in the Netherlands,
and expressing the Baron's own astonishment and indignation that it had
been impossible for the seigniors to prevent such outrages as the public
preaching, the image-breaking and the Accord. They had also some
conversation concerning the dissatisfaction manifested by the Duchess at
the proceedings of Count Horn at Tournay, and they read a very remarkable
letter which had been furnished them, as having been written by the
Spanish envoy in Paris, Don Francis of Alava, to Margaret of Parma. This
letter was forged. At least the Regent, in her Italian correspondence,
asserted it to be fictitious, and in those secret letters to Philip she
usually told the truth. The astuteness of William of Orange had in this
instance been deceived. The striking fidelity, however, with which the
present and future policy of the government was sketched, the accuracy
with which many unborn events were foreshadowed, together with the minute
touches which gave an air of genuineness to the fictitious despatch,
might well deceive even so sagacious an observer as the Prince.

The letters alluded to the deep and long-settled hostility of Philip to
Orange, Horn, and Egmont, as to a fact entirely within the writer's
knowledge, and that of his correspondent, but urged upon the Duchess the
assumption of an extraordinary degree of apparent cordiality in her
intercourse with them. It was the King's intention to use them and to
destroy them, said the writer, and it was the Regent's duty to second the
design. "The tumults and troubles have not been without their secret
concurrence," said the supposititious Alava, "and your Highness may rest
assured that they will be the first upon whom his Majesty will seize, not
to confer benefits, but to chastise them as they deserve. Your Highness,
however, should show no symptom of displeasure, but should constantly
maintain in their minds the idea that his Majesty considers them as the
most faithful of his servants. While they are persuaded of this, they can
be more easily used, but when the time comes, they will be treated in
another manner. Your Highness may rest assured that his Majesty is not
less inclined than your Highness that they should receive the punishment
which they merit." The Duchess was furthermore recommended "to deal with
the three seigniors according to the example of the Spanish Governments
in its intercourse with the envoys, Bergen and Montigny, who are met with
a smiling face, but who are closely watched, and who will never be
permitted to leave Spain alive." The remainder of the letter alludes to
supposed engagements between France and Spain for the extirpation of
heresy, from which allusion to the generally accepted but mistaken notion
as to the Bayonne conference, a decided proof seems to be furnished that
the letter was not genuine. Great complaints, however, are made, as to
the conduct of the Queen Regent, who is described as "a certain lady well
known to her Highness, and as a person without faith, friendship, or
truth; the most consummate hypocrite in the world." After giving
instances of the duplicity manifested by Catherine de Medici, the writer
continues: "She sends her little black dwarf to me upon frequent errands,
in order that by means of this spy she may worm out my secrets. I am,
however, upon my guard, and flatter myself that I learn more from him
than she from me. She shall never be able to boast of having deceived a

An extract or two from this very celebrated document seemed
indispensable, because of the great importance attached to it, both at
the Dendermonde Conference, and at the trials of Egmont and Horn. The
contemporary writers of Holland had no doubt of its genuineness, and what
is more remarkable, Strada, the historiographer of the Farnese family,
after quoting Margaret's denial of the authenticity of the letter, coolly
observes: "Whether this were only an invention of the conspirators, or
actually a despatch from Alava, I shall not decide. It is certain,
however, that the Duchess declared it to be false."

Certainly, as we read the epistles, and observe how profoundly the writer
seems to have sounded the deep guile of the Spanish Cabinet, and how
distinctly events, then far in the future, are indicated, we are tempted
to exclaim: "aut Alava, aut Diabolus;" either the envoy wrote the
despatch, or Orange. Who else could look into the future, and into
Philip's heart so unerringly?

As the charge has never been made, so far as we are aware, against the
Prince, it is superfluous to discuss the amount of immorality which
should belong to such a deception. A tendency to employ stratagem in his
warfare against Spain was, no doubt, a blemish upon his--high character.
Before he is condemned, however, in the Court of Conscience, the
ineffable wiles of the policy with which he had to combat must be
thoroughly scanned, as well as the pure and lofty purpose for which his
life's long battle was fought.

There was, doubtless, some conversation at Dendermonde on the propriety
or possibility of forcible resistance to a Spanish army, with which it
seemed probable that Philip was about to invade the provinces, and take
the lives of the leading nobles. Count Louis was in favor of making
provision in Germany for the accomplishment of this purpose. It is also
highly probable that the Prince may have encouraged the proposition. In
the sense of his former communication to Egmont, he may have reasoned on
the necessity of making levies to sustain the decisions of the
states-general against violence. There is, however, no proof of any such
fact. Egmont, at any rate, opposed the scheme, on the ground that "it was
wrong to entertain any such ill opinion of so good a king as Philip, that
he had never done any thing unjust towards his subjects, and that if any
one was in fear, he had better leave the country."

Egmont, moreover; doubted the authenticity of the letters from Alava, but
agreed to carry them to Brussels, and to lay them before the Regent. That
lady, when she saw them, warmly assured the Count that they were

The Conference broke up after it had lasted an hour and a half. The
nobles then went to dinner, at which other persons appear to have been
present, and the celebrated Dendermonde meeting was brought to a close.
After the repast was finished, each of the five nobles mounted his horse,
and departed on his separate way.

From this time forth the position of, these leading seigniors became more
sharply defined. Orange was left in almost complete isolation. Without
the assistance of Egmont, any effective resistance to the impending
invasion from Spain seemed out of the question. The Count, however, had
taken his irrevocable and fatal resolution. After various oscillations
during the stormy period which had elapsed, his mind, notwithstanding all
the disturbing causes by which it had hitherto been partially influenced,
now pointed steadily to the point of loyalty. The guidance of that pole
star was to lead him to utter shipwreck. The unfortunate noble,
entrenched against all fear of Philip by the brazen wall of an easy
conscience; saw no fault in his past at which he should grow pale with
apprehension. Moreover, he was sanguine by nature, a Catholic in
religion, a royalist from habit and conviction. Henceforth he was
determined that his services to the crown should more than counterbalance
any idle speeches or insolent demonstrations of which he might have been
previously guilty.

Horn pursued a different course, but one which separated him also from
the Prince, while it led to the same fate which Egmont was blindly
pursuing.--The Admiral had committed no act of treason. On the contrary,
he had been doing his best, under most difficult circumstances, to avert
rebellion and save the interests of a most ungrateful sovereign. He was
now disposed to wrap himself in his virtue, to retreat from a court life,
for which he had never felt a vocation, and to resign all connection with
a government by which he felt himself very badly, treated. Moody,
wrathful, disappointed, ruined, and calumniated, he would no longer keep
terms with King or Duchess. He had griefs of long standing against the
whole of the royal family. He had never forgiven the Emperor for refusing
him, when young, the appointment of chamberlain. He had served Philip
long and faithfully, but he had never received a stiver of salary or
"merced," notwithstanding all his work as state councillor, as admiral,
as superintendent in Spain; while his younger brother had long been in
receipt of nine or ten thousand florins yearly. He had spent four hundred
thousand florins in the King's service; his estates were mortgaged to
their full value; he had been obliged to sell, his family plate. He had
done his best in Tourney to serve the Duchess, and he had averted the
"Sicilian vespers," which had been imminent at his arrival. He had saved
the Catholics from a general massacre, yet he heard nevertheless from
Montigny, that all his actions were distorted in Spain, and his motives
blackened. His heart no longer inclined him to continue in Philip's
service, even were he furnished with the means of doing so. He had
instructed his secretary, Alonzo de la Loo, whom he had despatched many
months previously to Madrid, that he was no longer to press his master's
claims for a "merced," but to signify that he abandoned all demands and
resigned all posts. He could turn hermit for the rest of his days, as
well as the Emperor Charles. If he had little, he could live upon little.
It was in this sense that he spoke to Margaret of Parma, to Assonleville,
to all around him. It was precisely in this strain and temper that he
wrote to Philip, indignantly defending his course at Tourney, protesting
against the tortuous conduct of the Duchess, and bluntly declaring that
he would treat no longer with ladies upon matters which concerned a man's

Thus, smarting under a sense of gross injustice, the Admiral expressed
himself in terms which Philip was not likely to forgive. He had
undertaken the pacification of Tournay, because it was Montigny's
government, and he had promised his services whenever they should be
requisite. Horn was a loyal and affectionate brother, and it is pathetic
to find him congratulating Montigny on being, after all, better off in
Spain than in the Netherlands. Neither loyalty nor the sincere
Catholicism for which Montigny at this period commended Horn in his
private letters, could save the two brothers from the doom which was now
fast approaching.

Thus Horn, blind as Egmont--not being aware that a single step beyond
implicit obedience had created an impassable gulf between Philip and
himself--resolved to meet his destiny in sullen retirement. Not an
entirely disinterested man, perhaps, but an honest one, as the world
went, mediocre in mind, but brave, generous, and direct of purpose,
goaded by the shafts of calumny, hunted down by the whole pack which
fawned upon power as it grew more powerful, he now retreated to his
"desert," as he called his ruined home at Weert, where he stood at bay,
growling defiance at the Regent, at Philip, at all the world.

Thus were the two prominent personages upon whose co-operation Orange had
hitherto endeavored to rely, entirely separated from him. The confederacy
of nobles, too, was dissolved, having accomplished little,
notwithstanding all its noisy demonstrations, and having lost all credit
with the people by the formal cessation of the Compromise in consequence
of the Accord of August. As a body, they had justified the sarcasm of
Hubert Languet, that "the confederated nobles had ruined their country by
their folly and incapacity." They had profaned a holy cause by indecent
orgies, compromised it by seditious demonstrations, abandoned it when
most in need of assistance. Bakkerzeel had distinguished himself by
hanging sectaries in Flanders. "Golden Fleece" de Hammes, after creating
great scandal in and about Antwerp, since the Accord, had ended by
accepting an artillery commission in the Emperor's army, together with
three hundred crowns for convoy from Duchess Margaret. Culemburg was
serving the cause of religious freedom by defacing the churches within
his ancestral domains, pulling down statues, dining in chapels and giving
the holy wafer to his parrot. Nothing could be more stupid than these
acts of irreverence, by which Catholics were offended and honest patriots
disgusted. Nothing could be more opposed to the sentiments of Orange,
whose first principle was abstinence by all denominations of Christians
from mutual insults. At the same time, it is somewhat revolting to
observe the indignation with which such offences were regarded by men of
the most abandoned character. Thus, Armenteros, whose name was synonymous
with government swindling, who had been rolling up money year after year,
by peculations, auctioneering of high posts in church and state, bribes,
and all kinds of picking and stealing, could not contain his horror as he
referred to wafers eaten by parrots, or "toasted on forks" by renegade
priests; and poured out his emotions on the subject into the faithful
bosom of Antonio Perez, the man with whose debaucheries, political
villanies, and deliberate murders all Europe was to ring.

No doubt there were many individuals in the confederacy for whom it was
reserved to render honorable service in the national cause. The names of
Louis Nassau, Mamix of St. Aldegonde, Bernard de Merode, were to be
written in golden letters in their country's rolls; but at this moment
they were impatient, inconsiderate, out of the control of Orange. Louis
was anxious for the King to come from Spain with his army, and for "the
bear dance to begin." Brederode, noisy, bawling, and absurd as ever, was
bringing ridicule upon the national cause by his buffoonery, and
endangering the whole people by his inadequate yet rebellious exertions.

What course was the Prince of Orange to adopt? He could find no one to
comprehend his views. He felt certain at the close of the year that the
purpose of the government was fixed. He made no secret of his
determination never to lend himself as an instrument for the contemplated
subjugation of the people. He had repeatedly resigned all his offices. He
was now determined that the resignation once for all should be accepted.
If he used dissimulation, it was because Philip's deception permitted no
man to be frank. If the sovereign constantly disavowed all hostile
purposes against his people, and manifested extreme affection for the men
whom he had already doomed to the scaffold, how could the Prince openly
denounce him? It was his duty to save his country and his friends from
impending ruin. He preserved, therefore, an attitude of watchfulness.
Philip, in the depth of his cabinet, was under a constant inspection by
the sleepless Prince. The sovereign assured his sister that her
apprehensions about their correspondence was groundless. He always locked
up his papers, and took the key with him. Nevertheless, the key was taken
out of his pocket and the papers read. Orange was accustomed to observe,
that men of leisure might occupy themselves with philosophical pursuits
and with the secrets of nature, but that it was his business to study the
hearts of kings. He knew the man and the woman with whom he had to deal.
We have seen enough of the policy secretly pursued by Philip and Margaret
to appreciate the accuracy with which the Prince, groping as it were in
the dark, had judged the whole situation. Had his friends taken his
warnings, they might have lived to render services against tyranny. Had
he imitated their example of false loyalty, there would have been one
additional victim, more illustrious than all the rest, and a whole
country hopelessly enslaved.

It is by keeping these considerations in view, that we can explain his
connection with such a man as Brederode. The enterprises of that noble,
of Tholouse, and others, and the resistance of Valenciennes, could hardly
have been prevented even by the opposition of the Prince. But why should
he take the field against men who, however rashly or ineffectually, were
endeavoring to oppose tyranny, when he knew himself already proscribed
and doomed by the tyrant? Such loyalty he left to Egmont. Till late in
the autumn, he had still believed in the possibility of convoking the
states-general, and of making preparations in Germany to enforce their

The confederates and sectaries had boasted that they could easily raise
an army of sixty thousand men within the provinces,--that twelve hundred
thousand florins monthly would be furnished by the rich merchants of
Antwerp, and that it was ridiculous to suppose that the German
mercenaries enrolled by the Duchess in Saxony, Hesse, and other
Protestant countries, would ever render serious assistance against the
adherents of the reformed religion. Without placing much confidence in
such exaggerated statements, the Prince might well be justified in
believing himself strong enough, if backed by the confederacy, by Egmont,
and by his own boundless influence, both at Antwerp and in his own
government, to sustain the constituted authorities of the nation even
against a Spanish army, and to interpose with legitimate and irresistible
strength between the insane tyrant and the country which he was preparing
to crush. It was the opinion of the best informed Catholics that, if
Egmont should declare for the confederacy, he could take the field with
sixty thousand men, and make himself master of the whole country at a
blow. In conjunction with Orange, the moral and physical force would have
been invincible.

It was therefore not Orange alone, but the Catholics and Protestants
alike, the whole population of the country, and the Duchess Regent
herself, who desired the convocation of the estates. Notwithstanding
Philip's deliberate but secret determination never to assemble that body,
although the hope was ever to be held out that they should be convened,
Margaret had been most importunate that her brother should permit the
measure. "There was less danger," she felt herself compelled to say, "in
assembling than in not assembling the States; it was better to preserve
the Catholic religion for a part of the country, than to lose it
altogether." "The more it was delayed," she said, "the more ruinous and
desperate became the public affairs. If the measure were postponed much
longer, all Flanders, half Brabant, the whole of Holland, Zeland,
Gueldrea, Tournay, Lille, Mechlin, would be lost forever, without a
chance of ever restoring the ancient religion." The country, in short,
was "without faith, King, or law," and nothing worse could be apprehended
from any deliberation of the states-general. These being the opinions of
the Duchess, and according to her statement those of nearly all the good
Catholics in the country, it could hardly seem astonishing or treasonable
that the Prince should also be in favor of the measure.

As the Duchess grew stronger, however, and as the people, aghast at the
fate of Tournay and Valenciennes, began to lose courage, she saw less
reason for assembling the states. Orange, on the other hand, completely
deserted by Egmont and Horn, and having little confidence in the
characters of the ex-confederates, remained comparatively quiescent but

At the close of the year, an important pamphlet from his hand was
circulated, in which his views as to the necessity of allowing some
degree of religious freedom were urged upon the royal government with his
usual sagacity of thought, moderation of language, and modesty in tone.
The man who had held the most important civil and military offices in the
country almost from boyhood, and who was looked up to by friend and foe
as the most important personage in the three millions of its inhabitants,
apologized for his "presumption" in coming forward publicly with his
advice. "I would not," he said, "in matters of such importance, affect to
be wiser or to make greater pretensions than my age or experience
warrants, yet seeing affairs in such perplexity, I will rather incur the
risk of being charged with forwardness than neglect that which I consider
my duty."

This, then, was the attitude of the principal personages in the
Netherlands, and the situation of affairs at the end of the eventful year
1566, the last year of peace which the men then living or their children
were to know. The government, weak at the commencement, was strong at the
close. The confederacy was broken and scattered. The Request, the beggar
banquets, the public preaching, the image-breaking, the Accord of August,
had been followed by reaction. Tournay had accepted its garrison. Egmont,
completely obedient to the crown, was compelling all the cities of
Flanders and Artois to receive soldiers sufficient to maintain implicit
obedience, and to extinguish all heretical demonstrations, so that the
Regent was at comparative leisure to effect the reduction of

This ancient city, in the province of Hainault, and on the frontier of
France, had been founded by the Emperor Valentinian, from whom it had
derived its name. Originally established by him as a city of refuge, it
had received the privilege of affording an asylum to debtors, to outlaws,
and even to murderers. This ancient right had been continued, under
certain modifications, even till the period with which we are now
occupied. Never, however, according to the government, had the right of
asylum, even in the wildest times, been so abused by the city before.
What were debtors, robbers, murderers, compared to heretics? yet these
worst enemies of their race swarmed in the rebellious city, practising
even now the foulest rites of Calvin, and obeying those most pestilential
of all preachers, Guido de Bray, and Peregrine de la Grange. The place
was the hot-bed of heresy and sedition, and it seemed to be agreed, as by
common accord, that the last struggle for what was called the new
religion, should take place beneath its walls.

Pleasantly situated in a fertile valley, provided with very strong
fortifications and very deep moats, Valenciennes, with the Scheld flowing
through its centre, and furnishing the means of laying the circumjacent
meadows under water, was considered in those days almost impregnable. The
city was summoned, almost at the same time as Tournay, to accept a
garrison. This demand of government was met by a peremptory refusal.
Noircarmes, towards the middle of December, ordered the magistrates to
send a deputation to confer with him at Conde. Pensionary Outreman
accordingly repaired to that neighboring city, accompanied by some of his
colleagues. This committee was not unfavorable to the demands of
government. The magistracies of the cities, generally, were far from
rebellious; but in the case of Valenciennes the real power at that moment
was with the Calvinist consistory, and the ministers. The deputies, after
their return from Conde, summoned the leading members of the reformed
religion, together with the preachers. It was urged that it was their
duty forthwith to use their influence in favor of the demand made by the
government upon the city.

"May I grow mute as a fish!" answered de la Grange, stoutly, "may the
tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, before I persuade my people to
accept a garrison of cruel mercenaries, by whom their rights of
conscience are to be trampled upon!"

Councillor Outreman reasoned with the fiery minister, that if he and his
colleague were afraid of their own lives, ample provision should be made
with government for their departure under safe conduct. La Grange replied
that he had no fears for himself, that the Lord would protect those who
preached and those who believed in his holy word, but that He would not
forgive them should they now bend their necks to His enemies.

It was soon very obvious that no arrangement could be made. The
magistrates could exert no authority, the preachers were all-powerful;
and the citizens, said a Catholic inhabitant of Valenciennes, "allowed
themselves to be led by their ministers like oxen." Upon the 17th
December, 1566, a proclamation was accordingly issued by the Duchess
Regent, declaring the city in a state of siege, and all its inhabitants
rebels. The crimes for which this penalty was denounced, were elaborately
set forth in the edict. Preaching according to the reformed religion had
been permitted in two or three churches, the sacrament according to the
Calvinistic manner had been publicly administered, together with a
renunciation by the communicants of their adhesion to the Catholic
Church, and now a rebellious refusal to receive the garrison sent to them
by the Duchess had been added to the list of their iniquities. For
offences like these the Regent deemed it her duty to forbid all
inhabitants of any city, village, or province of the Netherlands holding
communication with Valenciennes, buying or selling with its inhabitants,
or furnishing them with provisions; on pain of being considered
accomplices in their rebellion, and as such of being executed with the

The city was now invested by Noircarmes with all the troops which could
be spared. The confederates gave promises of assistance to the
beleaguered citizens, Orange privately encouraged them to holdout in
their legitimate refusal. Brederode and others busied themselves with
hostile demonstrations which were destined to remain barren; but in the
mean time the inhabitants had nothing to rely upon save their own stout
hearts and arms.

At first, the siege was sustained with a light heart. Frequent sallies
were made, smart skirmishes were ventured, in which the Huguenots, on the
testimony of a most bitter Catholic contemporary, conducted themselves
with the bravery of veteran troops, and as if they had done nothing all
their lives but fight; forays were made upon the monasteries of the
neighborhood for the purpose of procuring supplies, and the broken
statues of the dismantled churches were used to build a bridge across an
arm of the river, which was called in derision the Bridge of Idols.
Noircarmes and the six officers under him, who were thought to be
conducting their operations with languor, were christened the Seven
Sleepers. Gigantic spectacles, three feet in circumference, were planted
derisively upon the ramparts, in order that the artillery, which it was
said that the papists of Arras were sending, might be seen, as soon as it
should arrive. Councillor Outreman, who had left the city before the
siege, came into it again, on commission from Noircarmes. He was received
with contempt, his proposals on behalf of the government were answered
with outcries of fury; he was pelted with stones, and was very glad to
make his escape alive. The pulpits thundered with the valiant deeds of
Joshua, Judas Maccabeus, and other bible heroes. The miracles wrought in
their behalf served to encourage the enthusiasm of the people, while the
movements making at various points in the neighborhood encouraged a hope
of a general rising throughout the country.

Those hopes were destined to disappointment. There were large assemblages
made, to be sure, at two points. Nearly three thousand sectaries had been
collected at Lannoy under Pierre Comaille, who, having been a locksmith
and afterwards a Calvinist preacher, was now disposed to try his fortune
as a general. His band was, however, disorderly. Rustics armed with
pitchforks, young students and old soldiers out of employment, furnished
with rusty matchlocks, pikes and halberds, composed his force. A company
similar in character, and already amounting to some twelve hundred in
number, was collecting at Waterlots. It was hoped that an imposing array
would soon be assembled, and that the two bands, making a junction, would
then march to the relief of Valenciennes. It was boasted that in a very
short time, thirty thousand men would be in the field. There was even a
fear of some such result felt by the Catholics.


     1566, the last year of peace
     Dissenters were as bigoted as the orthodox
     If he had little, he could live upon little
     Incur the risk of being charged with forwardness than neglect
     Not to let the grass grow under their feet




1567 [CHAPTER IX., Part 2.]

   Calvinists defeated at Lannoy and at Waterlots--Elation of the
   government--The siege pressed more closely--Cruelties practised upon
   the country people--Courage of the inhabitants--Remonstrance to the
   Knights of the Fleece--Conduct of Brederode--Orange at Amsterdam--
   New Oath demanded by Government--Orange refuses--He offers his
   resignation of all offices--Meeting at Breda--New "Request" of
   Brederode--He creates disturbances and levies troops in Antwerp--
   Conduct of Hoogstraaten--Plans of Brederode--Supposed connivance of
   Orange--Alarm at Brussels--Tholouse at Ostrawell--Brederode in
   Holland--De Beauvoir defeats Tholouse--Excitement at Antwerp--
   Determined conduct of Orange--Three days' tumult at Antwerp
   suppressed by the wisdom and courage of Orange.

It was then that Noircarmes and his "seven sleepers" showed that they
were awake. Early in January, 1567, that fierce soldier, among whose
vices slothfulness was certainly never reckoned before or afterwards,
fell upon the locksmith's army at Zannoy, while the Seigneur de
Rassinghem attacked the force at Waterlots on the same day. Noircarmes
destroyed half his enemies at the very first charge. The ill-assorted
rabble fell asunder at once. The preacher fought well, but his
undisciplined force fled at the first sight of the enemy. Those who
carried arquebusses threw them down without a single discharge, that they
might run the faster. At least a thousand were soon stretched dead upon
the field; others were hunted into the river. Twenty-six hundred,
according to the Catholic accounts, were exterminated in an hour.

Rassinghem, on his part, with five or six hundred regulars, attacked
Teriel's force, numbering at least twice as many. Half of these were soon
cut to pieces and put to flight. Six hundred, however, who had seen some
service, took refuge in the cemetery of Waterlots. Here, from behind the
stone wall of the inclosure, they sustained the attack of the Catholics
with some spirit. The repose of the dead in the quiet country church-yard
was disturbed by the uproar of a most sanguinary conflict. The temporary
fort was soon carried, and the Huguenots retreated into the church. A
rattling arquebusade was poured in upon them as they struggled in the
narrow doorway. At least four hundred corpses were soon strewn among the
ancient graves. The rest were hunted, into the church, and from the
church into the belfry. A fire was then made in the steeple and kept up
till all were roasted or suffocated. Not a man escaped.

This was the issue in the first stricken field in the Netherlands, for
the cause of religious liberty. It must be confessed that it was not very
encouraging to the lovers of freedom. The partisans of government were
elated, in proportion to the apprehension which had been felt for the
result of this rising in the Walloon country. "These good hypocrites,"
wrote a correspondent of Orange, "are lifting up their heads like so many
dromedaries. They are becoming unmanageable with pride." The Duke of
Aerschot and Count Meghem gave great banquets in Brussels, where all the
good chevaliers drank deep in honor of the victory, and to the health of
his Majesty and Madame. "I saw Berlaymont just go by the window," wrote
Schwartz to the Prince. "He was coming from Aerschot's dinner with a face
as red as the Cardinal's new hat."

On the other hand, the citizens of Valenciennes were depressed in equal
measure with the exultation of their antagonists. There was no more talk
of seven sleepers now, no more lunettes stuck upon lances, to spy the
coming forces of the enemy. It was felt that the government was wide
awake, and that the city would soon see the impending horrors without
telescopes. The siege was pressed more closely. Noircarmes took up a
commanding position at Saint Armand, by which he was enabled to cut off
all communication between the city and the surrounding country. All the
villages in the neighborhood were pillaged; all the fields laid waste.
All the infamies which an insolent soldiery can inflict upon helpless
peasantry were daily enacted. Men and women who attempted any
communication--with the city, were murdered in cold blood by hundreds.
The villagers were plundered of their miserable possessions, children
were stripped naked in the midst of winter for the sake of the rags which
covered them; matrons and virgins were sold at public auction by the tap
of drum; sick and wounded wretches were burned over slow fires, to afford
amusement to the soldiers. In brief, the whole unmitigated curse which
military power inflamed by religious bigotry can embody, had descended
upon the heads of these unfortunate provincials who had dared to worship
God in Christian churches without a Roman ritual.

Meantime the city maintained, a stout heart still. The whole population
were arranged under different banners. The rich and poor alike took arms
to defend the walls which sheltered them. The town paupers were enrolled
in three companies, which bore the significant title of the "Tons-nulls"
or the "Stark-nakeds," and many was the fierce conflict delivered outside
the gates by men, who, in the words of a Catholic then in the city, might
rather be taken for "experienced veterans than for burghers and
artisans." At the same time, to the honor of Valenciennes, it must be
stated, upon the same incontestable authority, that not a Catholic in the
city was injured or insulted. The priests who had remained there were not
allowed to say mass, but they never met with an opprobrious word or look
from the people.

The inhabitants of the city called upon the confederates for assistance.
They also issued an address to the Knights of the Fleece; a paper which
narrated the story of their wrongs in pathetic and startling language.
They appealed to those puissant and illustrious chevaliers to prevent the
perpetration of the great wrong which was now impending over so many
innocent heads. "Wait not," they said, "till the thunderbolt has fallen,
till the deluge has overwhelmed us, till the fires already blazing have
laid the land in coals and ashes, till no other course be possible, but
to abandon the country in its desolation to foreign barbarity. Let the
cause of the oppressed come to your ears. So shall your conscience become
a shield of iron; so shall the happiness of a whole country witness
before the angels, of your truth to his Majesty, in the cause of his true
grandeur and glory."

These stirring appeals to an order of which Philip was chief, Viglius
chancellor, Egmont, Mansfeld, Aerschot, Berlaymont, and others,
chevaliers, were not likely to produce much effect. The city could rely
upon no assistance in those high quarters.

Meantime, however, the bold Brederode was attempting a very extensive
diversion, which, if successful, would have saved Valenciennes and the
whole country beside. That eccentric personage, during the autumn and
winter had been creating disturbances in various parts of the country.
Wherever he happened to be established, there came from the windows of
his apartments a sound of revelry and uproar. Suspicious characters in
various costumes thronged his door and dogged his footsteps. At the same
time the authorities felt themselves obliged to treat him with respect.
At Horn he had entertained many of the leading citizens at a great
banquet.--The-health-of-the-beggars had been drunk in mighty potations,
and their shibboleth had resounded through the house. In the midst of the
festivities, Brederode had suspended a beggar's-medal around the neck of
the burgomaster, who had consented to be his guest upon that occasion,
but who had no intention of enrolling himself in the fraternities of
actual or political mendicants. The excellent magistrate, however, was
near becoming a member of both. The emblem by which he had been
conspicuously adorned proved very embarrassing to him upon his recovery
from the effects of his orgies with the "great beggar," and he was
subsequently punished for his imprudence by the confiscation of half his

Early in January, Brederode had stationed himself in his city of Viane.
There, in virtue of his seignorial rights, he had removed all statues and
other popish emblems from the churches, performing the operation,
however, with much quietness and decorum. He had also collected many
disorderly men at arms in this city, and had strengthened its
fortifications, to resist, as he said, the threatened attacks of Duke
Eric of Brunswick and his German mercenaries. A printing-press was
established in the place, whence satirical pamphlets, hymn-books, and
other pestiferous productions, were constantly issuing to the annoyance
of government. Many lawless and uproarious individuals enjoyed the
Count's hospitality. All the dregs and filth of the provinces, according
to Doctor Viglius, were accumulated at Viane as in a cesspool. Along the
placid banks of the Lech, on which river the city stands, the "hydra of
rebellion" lay ever coiled and threatening.

Brederode was supposed to be revolving vast schemes, both political and
military, and Margaret of Parma was kept in continual apprehension by the
bravado of this very noisy conspirator. She called upon William of
Orange, as usual, for assistance. The Prince, however, was very
ill-disposed to come to her relief. An extreme disgust for the policy of
the government already began to, characterize his public language. In the
autumn and winter he had done all that man could do for the safety of the
monarch's crown, and for the people's happiness. His services in Antwerp
have been recorded. As soon as he could tear himself from that city,
where the magistrates and all classes of citizens clung to him as to
their only saviour, he had hastened to tranquillize the provinces of
Holland, Zeland, and Utrecht. He had made arrangements in the principal
cities there upon the same basis which he had adopted in Antwerp, and to
which Margaret had consented in August. It was quite out of the question
to establish order without permitting the reformers, who constituted much
the larger portion of the population, to have liberty of religious
exercises at some places, not consecrated, within the cities.

At Amsterdam, for instance, as he informed the Duchess, there were swarms
of unlearned, barbarous people, mariners and the like, who could by no
means perceive the propriety of doing their preaching in the open
country, seeing that the open country, at that season, was quite under
water.--Margaret's gracious suggestion that, perhaps, something might be
done with boats, was also considered inadmissible. "I know not," said
Orange, "who could have advised your highness to make such a
proposition." He informed her, likewise; that the barbarous mariners had
a clear right to their preaching; for the custom had already been
established previously to the August treaty, at a place called the
"Lastadge," among the wharves. "In the name of God, then," wrote
Margaret; "let them continue to preach in the Lastadge." This being all
the barbarians wanted, an Accord, with the full consent of the Regent,
was drawn up at Amsterdam and the other northern cities. The Catholics
kept churches and cathedrals, but in the winter season, the greater part
of the population obtained permission to worship God upon dry land, in
warehouses and dock-yards.

Within a very few weeks, however, the whole arrangement was coolly
cancelled by the Duchess, her permission revoked, and peremptory
prohibition of all preaching within or without the walls proclaimed. The
government was growing stronger. Had not Noircarmes and Rassinghem cut to
pieces three or four thousand of these sectaries marching to battle under
parsons, locksmiths, and similar chieftains? Were not all lovers of good
government "erecting their heads like dromedaries?"

It may easily be comprehended that the Prince could not with complacency
permit himself to be thus perpetually stultified by a weak, false, and
imperious woman. She had repeatedly called upon him when she was appalled
at the tempest and sinking in the ocean; and she had as constantly
disavowed his deeds and reviled his character when she felt herself in
safety again. He had tranquillized the old Batavian provinces, where the
old Batavian spirit still lingered, by his personal influence and his
unwearied exertions. Men of all ranks and religions were grateful for his
labors. The Reformers had not gained much, but they were satisfied. The
Catholics retained their churches, their property, their consideration.
The states of Holland had voted him fifty thousand florins, as an
acknowledgment of his efforts in restoring peace. He had refused the
present. He was in debt, pressed for money, but he did not choose, as he
informed Philip, "that men should think his actions governed by motives
of avarice or particular interest, instead of the true affection which he
bore to his Majesty's service and the good of the country." Nevertheless,
his back was hardly turned before all his work was undone by the Regent.

A new and important step on the part of the government had now placed him
in an attitude of almost avowed rebellion. All functionaries, from
governors of provinces down to subalterns in the army, were required to
take a new oath of allegiance, "novum et hactenua inusitatum religionia
juramentum," as the Prince characterized it, which was, he said, quite
equal to the inquisition. Every man who bore his Majesty's commission was
ordered solemnly to pledge himself to obey the orders of government,
every where, and against every person, without limitation or
restriction.--Count Mansfeld, now "factotum at Brussels," had taken the
oath with great fervor. So had Aerachot, Berlaymont, Meghem, and, after a
little wavering, Egmont. Orange spurned the proposition. He had taken
oaths enough which he had never broken, nor intended now to break: He was
ready still to do every thing conducive to the real interest of the
monarch. Who dared do more was no true servant to the government, no true
lover of the country. He would never disgrace himself by a blind pledge,
through which he might be constrained to do acts detrimental, in his
opinion, to the safety of the crown, the happiness of the commonwealth,
and his own honor. The alternative presented he willingly embraced. He
renounced all his offices, and desired no longer to serve a government
whose policy he did not approve, a King by whom he was suspected.

His resignation was not accepted by the Duchess, who still made efforts
to retain the services of a man who was necessary to her administration.
She begged him, notwithstanding the purely defensive and watchful
attitude which he had now assumed, to take measures that Brederode should
abandon his mischievous courses. She also reproached the Prince with
having furnished that personage with artillery for his fortifications.
Orange answered, somewhat contemptuously, that he was not Brederode's
keeper, and had no occasion to meddle with his affairs. He had given him
three small field-pieces, promised long ago; not that he mentioned that
circumstance as an excuse for the donation. "Thank God," said he, "we
have always had the liberty in this country of making to friends or
relatives what presents we liked, and methinks that things have come to a
pretty pass when such trifles are scrutinized." Certainly, as Suzerain of
Viane, and threatened with invasion in his seignorial rights, the Count
might think himself justified in strengthening the bulwarks of his little
stronghold, and the Prince could hardly be deemed very seriously to
endanger the safety of the crown by the insignificant present which had
annoyed the Regent.

It is not so agreeable to contemplate the apparent intimacy which the
Prince accorded to so disreputable a character, but Orange was now in
hostility to the government, was convinced by evidence, whose accuracy
time was most signally to establish, that his own head, as well as many
others, were already doomed to the block, while the whole country was
devoted to abject servitude, and he was therefore disposed to look with
more indulgence upon the follies of those who were endeavoring, however
weakly and insanely, to avert the horrors which he foresaw. The time for
reasoning had passed. All that true wisdom and practical statesmanship
could suggest, he had already placed at the disposal of a woman who
stabbed him in the back even while she leaned upon his arm--of a king who
had already drawn his death warrant, while reproaching his "cousin of
Orange" for want of confidence in the royal friendship. Was he now to
attempt the subjugation of his country by interfering with the
proceedings of men whom he had no power to command, and who, at least,
were attempting to oppose tyranny? Even if he should do so, he was
perfectly aware of the reward, reserved for his loyalty. He liked not
such honors as he foresaw for all those who had ever interposed between
the monarch and his vengeance. For himself he had the liberation of a
country, the foundation of a free commonwealth to achieve. There was much
work for those hands before he should fall a victim to the crowned

Early in February, Brederode, Hoogstraaten, Horn, and some other
gentlemen, visited the Prince at Breda. Here it is supposed the advice of
Orange was asked concerning the new movement contemplated by Brederode.
He was bent upon presenting a new petition to the Duchess with great
solemnity. There is no evidence to show that the Prince approved the
step, which must have seemed to him superfluous, if not puerile. He
probably regarded the matter with indifference. Brederode, however, who
was fond of making demonstrations, and thought himself endowed with a
genius for such work, wrote to the Regent for letters of safe conduct
that he might come to Brussels with his petition. The passports were
contemptuously refused. He then came to Antwerp, from which city he
forwarded the document to Brussels in a letter.

By this new Request, the exercise of the reformed religion was claimed as
a right, while the Duchess was summoned to disband the forces which she
had been collecting, and to maintain in good faith the "August" treaty.
These claims were somewhat bolder than those of the previous April,
although the liberal party was much weaker and the confederacy entirely
disbanded. Brederode, no doubt, thought it good generalship to throw the
last loaf of bread into the enemy's camp before the city should
surrender. His haughty tone was at once taken down by Margaret of Parma.
"She wondered," she said, "what manner of nobles these were, who, after
requesting, a year before, to be saved only from the inquisition, now
presumed to talk about preaching in the cities." The concessions of
August had always been odious, and were now canceled. "As for you and
your accomplices," she continued to the Count, "you will do well to go to
your homes at once without meddling with public affairs, for, in case of
disobedience, I shall deal with you as I shall deem expedient."

Brederode not easily abashed, disregarded the advice, and continued in
Antwerp. Here, accepting the answer of the Regent as a formal declaration
of hostilities, he busied himself in levying troops in and about the

Orange had returned to Antwerp early in February. During his absence,
Hoogstraaten had acted as governor at the instance of the Prince and of
the Regent. During the winter that nobleman, who was very young and very
fiery, had carried matters with a high hand, whenever there had been the
least attempt at sedition. Liberal in principles, and the devoted friend
of Orange, he was disposed however to prove that the champions of
religious liberty were not the patrons of sedition. A riot occurring in
the cathedral, where a violent mob were engaged in defacing whatever was
left to deface in that church, and in heaping insults on the papists at
their worship, the little Count, who, says a Catholic contemporary, "had
the courage of a lion," dashed in among them, sword in hand, killed three
upon the spot, and, aided by his followers, succeeded in slaying,
wounding, or capturing all the rest. He had also tracked the ringleader
of the tumult to his lodging, where he had caused him to be arrested at
midnight, and hanged at once in his shirt without any form of trial. Such
rapid proceedings little resembled the calm and judicious moderation of
Orange upon all occasions, but they certainly might have sufficed to
convince Philip that all antagonists of the inquisition were not heretics
and outlaws. Upon the arrival of the Prince in Antwerp, it was considered
advisable that Hoogstraaten should remain associated with him in the
temporary government of the city.

During the month of February, Brederode remained in Antwerp, secretly
enrolling troops. It was probably his intention--if so desultory and
irresponsible an individual could be said to have an intention--to make
an attempt upon the Island of Walcheren. If such important cities as
Flushing and Middelburg could be gained, he thought it possible to
prevent the armed invasion now soon expected from Spain. Orange had sent
an officer to those cities, who was to reconnoitre their condition, and
to advise them against receiving a garrison from government without his
authority. So far he connived at Brederode's proceedings, as he had a
perfect right to do, for Walcheren was within what had been the Prince's
government, and he had no disposition that these cities should share the
fate of Tourney, Valenciennes, Bois le Duc, and other towns which had
already passed or were passing under the spears of foreign mercenaries.

It is also probable that he did not take any special pains to check the
enrolments of Brederode. The peace of Antwerp was not endangered, and to
the preservation of that city the Prince seemed now to limit himself. He
was hereditary burgrave of Antwerp, but officer of Philip's never more.
Despite the shrill demands of Duchess Margaret, therefore; the Prince did
not take very active measures by which the crown of Philip might be
secured. He, perhaps, looked upon the struggle almost with indifference.
Nevertheless, he issued a formal proclamation by which the Count's
enlistments were forbidden. Van der Aa, a gentleman who had been active
in making these levies, was compelled to leave the city. Brederode was
already gone to the north to busy himself with further enrolments.

In the mean time there had been much alarm in Brussels. Egmont, who
omitted no opportunity of manifesting his loyalty, offered to throw
himself at once into the Isle of Walcheren, for the purpose of dislodging
any rebels who might have effected an entrance. He collected accordingly
seven or eight hundred Walloon veterans, at his disposal in Flanders, in
the little port of Sas de Ghent, prepared at once to execute his
intention, "worthy," says a Catholic writer, "of his well-known courage
and magnanimity." The Duchess expressed gratitude for the Count's
devotion and loyalty, but his services in the sequel proved unnecessary.
The rebels, several boat-loads of whom had been cruising about in the
neighborhood of Flushing during the early part of March, had been refused
admittance into any of the ports on the island. They therefore sailed up
the Scheld, and landed at a little village called Ostrawell, at the
distance of somewhat more than a mile from Antwerp.

The commander of the expedition was Marnix of Tholouse, brother to Marnix
of Saint Aldegonde. This young nobleman, who had left college to fight
for the cause of religious liberty, was possessed of fine talents and
accomplishments. Like his illustrious brother, he was already a sincere
convert to the doctrines of the reformed Church. He had nothing, however,
but courage to recommend him as a leader in a military expedition. He was
a mere boy, utterly without experience in the field. His troops were raw
levies, vagabonds and outlaws.

Such as it was, however, his army was soon posted at Ostrawell in a
convenient position, and with considerable judgment. He had the Scheld
and its dykes in his rear, on his right and left the dykes and the
village. In front he threw up a breastwork and sunk a trench. Here then
was set up the standard of rebellion, and hither flocked daily many
malcontents from the country round. Within a few days three thousand men
were in his camp. On the other handy Brederode was busy in Holland, and
boasted of taking the field ere long with six thousand soldiers at the
very least. Together they would march to the relief of Valenciennes, and
dictate peace in Brussels.

It was obvious that this matter could not be allowed to go on. The
Duchess, with some trepidation, accepted the offer made by Philip de
Lannoy, Seigneur de Beauvoir, commander of her body-guard in Brussels, to
destroy this nest of rebels without delay. Half the whole number of these
soldiers was placed at his disposition, and Egmont supplied De Beauvoir
with four hundred of his veteran Walloons.

With a force numbering only eight hundred, but all picked men, the
intrepid officer undertook his enterprise, with great despatch and
secrecy. Upon the 12th March, the whole troop was sent off in small
parties, to avoid suspicion, and armed only with sword and dagger. Their
helmets, bucklers, arquebusses, corselets, spears, standards and drums,
were delivered to their officers, by whom they were conveyed noiselessly
to the place of rendezvous. Before daybreak, upon the following morning,
De Beauvoir met his soldiers at the abbey of Saint Bernard, within a
league of Antwerp. Here he gave them their arms, supplied them with
refreshments, and made them a brief speech. He instructed them that they
were to advance, with furled banners and without beat of drum, till
within sight of the enemy, that the foremost section was to deliver its
fire, retreat to the rear and load, to be followed by the next, which was
to do the same, and above all, that not an arquebus should be discharged
till the faces of the enemy could be distinguished.

The troop started. After a few minutes' march they were in full sight of
Ostrawell. They then displayed their flags and advanced upon the fort
with loud huzzas. Tholouse was as much taken by surprise as if they had
suddenly emerged from the bowels of the earth. He had been informed that
the government at Brussels was in extreme trepidation. When he first
heard the advancing trumpets and sudden shouts, he thought it a
detachment of Brederode's promised force. The cross on the banners soon
undeceived him. Nevertheless "like a brave and generous young gentleman
as he was," he lost no time in drawing up his men for action, implored
them to defend their breastworks, which were impregnable against so small
a force, and instructed them to wait patiently with their fire, till the
enemy were near enough to be marked.

These orders were disobeyed. The "young scholar," as De Beauvoir had
designated him, had no power to infuse his own spirit into his rabble
rout of followers. They were already panic-struck by the unexpected
appearance of the enemy. The Catholics came on with the coolness of
veterans, taking as deliberate aim as if it had been they, not their
enemies, who were behind breastworks. The troops of Tholouse fired
wildly, precipitately, quite over the heads of the assailants. Many of
the defenders were slain as fast as they showed themselves above their
bulwarks. The ditch was crossed, the breastwork carried at, a single
determined charge. The rebels made little resistance, but fled as soon as
the enemy entered their fort. It was a hunt, not a battle. Hundreds were
stretched dead in the camp; hundreds were driven into the Scheld; six or
eight hundred took refuge in a farm-house; but De Beauvoir's men set fire
to the building, and every rebel who had entered it was burned alive or
shot. No quarter was given. Hardly a man of the three thousand who had
held the fort escaped. The body of Tholouse was cut into a hundred
pieces. The Seigneur de Beauvoir had reason, in the brief letter which
gave an account of this exploit, to assure her Highness that there were
"some very valiant fellows in his little troop." Certainly they had
accomplished the enterprise entrusted to them with promptness, neatness,
and entire success. Of the great rebellious gathering, which every day
had seemed to grow more formidable, not a vestige was left.

This bloody drama had been enacted in full sight of Antwerp. The fight
had lasted from daybreak till ten o'clock in the forenoon, during the
whole of which period, the city ramparts looking towards Ostrawell, the
roofs of houses, the towers of churches had been swarming with eager
spectators. The sound of drum and trumpet, the rattle of musketry, the
shouts of victory, the despairing cries of the vanquished were heard by
thousands who deeply sympathized with the rebels thus enduring so
sanguinary a chastisement. In Antwerp there were forty thousand people
opposed to the Church of Rome. Of this number the greater proportion were
Calvinists, and of these Calvinists there were thousands looking down
from the battlements upon the disastrous fight.

The excitement soon became uncontrollable. Before ten o'clock vast
numbers of sectaries came pouring towards the Red Gate, which afforded
the readiest egress to the scene of action; the drawbridge of the
Ostrawell Gate having been destroyed the night before by command of
Orange. They came from every street and alley of the city. Some were
armed with lance, pike, or arquebus; some bore sledge-hammers; others had
the partisans, battle-axes, and huge two-handed swords of the previous
century; all were determined upon issuing forth to the rescue of their
friends in the fields outside the town. The wife of Tholouse, not yet
aware of her husband's death, although his defeat was obvious, flew from
street to street, calling upon the Calvinists to save or to avenge their
perishing brethren.

A terrible tumult prevailed. Ten thousand men were already up and in
arms.--It was then that the Prince of Orange, who was sometimes described
by his enemies as timid and pusillanimous by nature, showed the mettle he
was made of. His sense of duty no longer bade him defend the crown of
Philip--which thenceforth was to be entrusted to the hirelings of the
Inquisition--but the vast population of Antwerp, the women, the children,
and the enormous wealth of the richest Deity in the world had been
confided to his care, and he had accepted the responsibility. Mounting
his horse, he made his appearance instantly at the Red Gate, before as
formidable a mob as man has ever faced. He came there almost alone,
without guards. Hoogstraaten arrived soon afterwards with the same
intention. The Prince was received with howls of execration. A thousand
hoarse voices called him the Pope's servant, minister of Antichrist, and
lavished upon him many more epithets of the same nature. His life was in
imminent danger. A furious clothier levelled an arquebus full at his
breast. "Die, treacherous villain?" he cried; "thou who art the cause
that our brethren have perished thus miserably in yonder field." The
loaded weapon was struck away by another hand in the crowd, while the
Prince, neither daunted by the ferocious demonstrations against his life,
nor enraged by the virulent abuse to which he was subjected, continued
tranquilly, earnestly, imperatively to address the crowd. William of
Orange had that in his face and tongue "which men willingly call
master-authority." With what other talisman could he, without violence
and without soldiers, have quelled even for a moment ten thousand furious
Calvinists, armed, enraged against his person, and thirsting for
vengeance on Catholics. The postern of the Red Gate had already been
broken through before Orange and his colleague, Hoogstraaten, had
arrived. The most excited of the Calvinists were preparing to rush forth
upon the enemy at Ostrawell. The Prince, after he had gained the ear of
the multitude, urged that the battle was now over, that the reformers
were entirely cut to pieces, the enemy, retiring, and that a disorderly
and ill-armed mob would be unable to retrieve the fortunes of the day.
Many were persuaded to abandon the design. Five hundred of the most
violent, however, insisted upon leaving the gates, and the governors,
distinctly warning these zealots that their blood must be upon their own
heads, reluctantly permitted that number to issue from the city. The rest
of the mob, not appeased, but uncertain, and disposed to take vengeance
upon the Catholics within the walls, for the disaster which had been
occurring without, thronged tumultuously to the long, wide street, called
the Mere, situate in the very heart of the city.

Meantime the ardor of those who had sallied from the gate grew sensibly
cooler, when they found themselves in the open fields. De Beauvoir, whose
men, after the victory, had scattered in pursuit of the fugitives, now
heard the tumult in the city. Suspecting an attack, he rallied his
compact little army again for a fresh encounter. The last of the
vanquished Tholousians who had been captured; more fortunate than their
predecessors, had been spared for ransom. There were three hundred of
them; rather a dangerous number of prisoners for a force of eight
hundred, who were just going into another battle. De Beauvoir commanded
his soldiers, therefore, to shoot them all. This order having been
accomplished, the Catholics marched towards Antwerp, drums beating,
colors flying. The five hundred Calvinists, not liking their appearance,
and being in reality outnumbered, retreated within; the gates as hastily
as they had just issued from them. De Beauvoir advanced close to the city
moat, on the margin of which he planted the banners of the unfortunate
Tholouse, and sounded a trumpet of defiance. Finding that the citizens
had apparently no stomach for the fight, he removed his trophies, and
took his departure.

On the other hand, the tumult within the walls had again increased. The
Calvinists had been collecting in great numbers upon the Mere. This was a
large and splendid thoroughfare, rather an oblong market-place than a
street, filled with stately buildings, and communicating by various cross
streets with the Exchange and with many other public edifices. By an
early hour in the afternoon twelve or fifteen thousand Calvinists, all
armed and fighting men, had assembled upon the place. They had barricaded
the whole precinct with pavements and upturned wagons. They had already
broken into the arsenal and obtained many field-pieces, which were
planted at the entrance of every street and by-way. They had stormed the
city jail and liberated the prisoners, all of whom, grateful and
ferocious, came to swell the numbers who defended the stronghold on the
Mere. A tremendous mischief was afoot. Threats of pillaging the churches
and the houses of the Catholics, of sacking the whole opulent city, were
distinctly heard among this powerful mob, excited by religious
enthusiasm, but containing within one great heterogeneous mass the
elements of every crime which humanity can commit. The alarm throughout
the city was indescribable. The cries of women and children, as they
remained in trembling expectation of what the next hour might bring
forth, were, said one who heard them, "enough to soften the hardest

Nevertheless the diligence and courage of the Prince kept pace with the
insurrection. He had caused the eight companies of guards enrolled in
September, to be mustered upon the square in front of the city hall, for
the protection of that building and of the magistracy. He had summoned
the senate of the city, the board of ancients, the deans of guilds, the
ward masters, to consult with him at the council-room. At the peril of
his life he had again gone before the angry mob in the Mere, advancing
against their cannon and their outcries, and compelling them to appoint
eight deputies to treat with him and the magistrates at the town-hall.
This done, quickly but deliberately he had drawn up six articles, to
which those deputies gave their assent, and in which the city government
cordially united. These articles provided that the keys of the city
should remain in the possession of the Prince and of Hoogstraaten, that
the watch should be held by burghers and soldiers together, that the
magistrates should permit the entrance of no garrison, and that the
citizens should be entrusted with the care of, the charters, especially
with that of the joyful entrance.

These arrangements, when laid before the assembly at the Mere by their
deputies, were not received with favor. The Calvinists demanded the keys
of the city. They did not choose to be locked up at the mercy of any man.
They had already threatened to blow the city hall into the air if the
keys were not delivered to them. They claimed that burghers, without
distinction of religion, instead of mercenary troops, should be allowed
to guard the market-place in front of the town-hall.

It was now nightfall, and no definite arrangement had been concluded.
Nevertheless, a temporary truce was made, by means of a concession as to
the guard. It was agreed that the burghers, Calvinists and Lutherans, as
well as Catholics, should be employed to protect the city. By subtlety,
however, the Calvinists detailed for that service, were posted not in the
town-house square, but on the ramparts and at the gates.

A night of dreadful expectation was passed. The army of fifteen thousand
mutineers remained encamped and barricaded on the Mere, with guns loaded
and artillery pointed. Fierce cries of "Long live the beggars,"--"Down
with the papists," and other significant watchwords, were heard all night
long, but no more serious outbreak occurred.

During the whole of the following day, the Calvinists remained in their
encampment, the Catholics and the city guardsmen at their posts near the
city hall. The Prince was occupied in the council-chamber from morning
till night with the municipal authorities, the deputies of "the
religion," and the guild officers, in framing a new treaty of peace.
Towards evening fifteen articles were agreed upon, which were to be
proposed forthwith to the insurgents, and in case of nonacceptance to be
enforced. The arrangement provided that there should be no garrison; that
the September contracts permitting the reformed worship at certain places
within the city should be maintained; that men of different parties
should refrain from mutual insults; that the two governors, the Prince
and Hoogstraaten, should keep the keys; that the city should be guarded
by both soldiers and citizens, without distinction of religious creed;
that a band of four hundred cavalry and a small flotilla of vessels of
war should be maintained for the defence of the place, and that the
expenses to be incurred should be levied upon all classes, clerical and
lay, Catholic and Reformed, without any exception.

It had been intended that the governors, accompanied by the magistrates,
should forthwith proceed to the Mere, for the purpose of laying these
terms before the insurgents. Night had, however, already arrived, and it
was understood that the ill-temper of the Calvinists had rather increased
than diminished, so that it was doubtful whether the arrangement would be
accepted. It was, therefore, necessary to await the issue of another day,
rather than to provoke a night battle in the streets.

During the night the Prince labored incessantly to provide against the
dangers of the morrow. The Calvinists had fiercely expressed their
disinclination to any reasonable arrangement. They had threatened,
without farther pause, to plunder the religious houses and the mansions
of all the wealthy Catholics, and to drive every papist out of town. They
had summoned the Lutherans to join with them in their revolt, and menaced
them, in case of refusal, with the same fate which awaited the Catholics.
The Prince, who was himself a Lutheran, not entirely free from the
universal prejudice against the Calvinists, whose sect he afterwards
embraced, was fully aware of the deplorable fact, that the enmity at that
day between Calvinists and Lutherans was as fierce as that between
Reformers and Catholics. He now made use of this feeling, and of his
influence with those of the Augsburg Confession, to save the city. During
the night he had interviews with the ministers and notable members of the
Lutheran churches, and induced them to form an alliance upon this
occasion with the Catholics and with all friends of order, against an
army of outlaws who were threatening to burn and sack the city. The
Lutherans, in the silence of night, took arms and encamped, to the number
of three or four thousand, upon the river side, in the neighborhood of
Saint Michael's cloister. The Prince also sent for the deans of all the
foreign mercantile associations--Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English,
Hanseatic, engaged their assistance also for the protection of the city,
and commanded them to remain in their armor at their respective
factories, ready to act at a moment's warning. It was agreed that they
should be informed at frequent intervals as to the progress of events.

On the morning of the 15th, the city of Antwerp presented a fearful
sight. Three distinct armies were arrayed at different points within its
walls. The Calvinists, fifteen thousand strong, lay in their encampment
on the Mere; the Lutherans, armed, and eager for action, were at St.
Michael's; the Catholics and the regulars of the city guard were posted
on the square. Between thirty-five and forty thousand men were up,
according to the most moderate computation. All parties were excited, and
eager for the fray. The fires of religious hatred burned fiercely in
every breast. Many malefactors and outlaws, who had found refuge in the
course of recent events at Antwerp, were in the ranks of the Calvinists,
profaning a sacred cause, and inspiring a fanatical party with bloody
resolutions. Papists, once and forever, were to be hunted down, even as
they had been for years pursuing Reformers. Let the men who had fed fat
on the spoils of plundered Christians be dealt with in like fashion. Let
their homes be sacked, their bodies given to the dogs--such were the
cries uttered by thousands of armed men.

On the other hand, the Lutherans, as angry and as rich as the Catholics,
saw in every Calvinist a murderer and a robber. They thirsted after their
blood; for the spirit of religious frenzy; the characteristic of the
century, can with difficulty be comprehended in our colder and more
sceptical age. There was every probability that a bloody battle was to be
fought that day in the streets of Antwerp--a general engagement, in the
course of which, whoever might be the victors, the city was sure to be
delivered over to fire, sack, and outrage. Such would have been the
result, according to the concurrent testimony of eye-witnesses, and
contemporary historians of every country and creed, but for the courage
and wisdom of one man. William of Orange knew what would be the
consequence of a battle, pent up within the walls of Antwerp. He foresaw
the horrible havoc which was to be expected, the desolation which would
be brought to every hearth in the city. "Never were men so desperate and
so willing to fight," said Sir Thomas Gresham, who had been expecting
every hour his summons to share in the conflict. If the Prince were
unable that morning to avert the impending calamity, no other power,
under heaven, could save Antwerp from destruction.

The articles prepared on the 14th had been already approved by those who
represented the Catholic and Lutheran interests. They were read early in
the morning to the troops assembled on the square and at St. Michael's,
and received with hearty cheers. It was now necessary that the Calvinists
should accept them, or that the quarrel should be fought out at once. At
ten o'clock, William of Orange, attended by his colleague, Hoogstraaten,
together with a committee of the municipal authorities, and followed by a
hundred troopers, rode to the Mere. They wore red scarfs over their
armor, as symbols by which all those who had united to put down the
insurrection were distinguished. The fifteen thousand Calvinists, fierce
and disorderly as ever, maintained a threatening aspect. Nevertheless,
the Prince was allowed to ride into the midst of the square. The articles
were then read aloud by his command, after which, with great composure,
he made a few observations. He pointed out that the arrangement offered
them was founded upon the September concessions, that the right of
worship was conceded, that the foreign garrison was forbidden, and that
nothing further could be justly demanded or honorably admitted. He told
them that a struggle upon their part would be hopeless, for the Catholics
and Lutherans, who were all agreed as to the justice of the treaty,
outnumbered them by nearly two to one. He, therefore, most earnestly and
affectionately adjured them to testify their acceptance to the peace
offered by repeating the words with which he should conclude. Then, with
a firm voice; the Prince exclaimed, "God Save the King!" It was the last
time that those words were ever heard from the lips of the man already
proscribed by Philip. The crowd of Calvinists hesitated an instant, and
then, unable to resist the tranquil influence, convinced by his
reasonable language, they raised one tremendous shout of "Vive le Roi!"

The deed was done, the peace accepted, the dreadful battle averted,
Antwerp saved. The deputies of the Calvinists now formally accepted and
signed the articles. Kind words were exchanged among the various classes
of fellow-citizens, who but an hour before had been thirsting for each
other's blood, the artillery and other weapons of war were restored to
the arsenals, Calvinists, Lutherans, and Catholics, all laid down their
arms, and the city, by three o'clock, was entirely quiet. Fifty thousand
armed men had been up, according to some estimates, yet, after three days
of dreadful expectation, not a single person had been injured, and the
tumult was now appeased.

The Prince had, in truth, used the mutual animosity of Protestant sects
to a good purpose; averting bloodshed by the very weapons with which the
battle was to have been waged. Had it been possible for a man like
William the Silent to occupy the throne where Philip the Prudent sat, how
different might have been the history of Spain and the fate of the
Netherlands. Gresham was right, however, in his conjecture that the
Regent and court would not "take the business well." Margaret of Parma
was incapable of comprehending such a mind as that of Orange, or of
appreciating its efforts. She was surrounded by unscrupulous and
mercenary soldiers, who hailed the coming civil war as the most
profitable of speculations. "Factotum" Mansfeld; the Counts Aremberg and
Meghem, the Duke of Aerschot, the Sanguinary Noircarmes, were already
counting their share in the coming confiscations. In the internecine
conflict approaching, there would be gold for the gathering, even if no
honorable laurels would wreath their swords. "Meghen with his regiment is
desolating the country," wrote William of Orange to the Landgrave of
Hesse, "and reducing many people to poverty. Aremberg is doing the same
in Friesland. They are only thinking how, under the pretext of religion,
they may grind the poor Christians, and grow rich and powerful upon their
estates and their blood."

The Seignior de Beauvoir wrote to the Duchess, claiming all the estates
of Tholouse, and of his brother St. Aldegonde, as his reward for the
Ostrawell victory, while Noircarmes was at this very moment to commence
at Valenciennes that career of murder and spoliation which, continued at
Mons a few years afterwards, was to load his name with infamy.

From such a Regent, surrounded by such councillors, was the work of
William de Nassau's hands to gain applause? What was it to them that
carnage and plunder had been spared in one of the richest and most
populous cities in Christendom? Were not carnage and plunder the very
elements in which they disported themselves? And what more dreadful
offence against God and Philip could be committed than to permit, as the
Prince had just permitted, the right of worship in a Christian land to
Calvinists and Lutherans? As a matter of course, therefore, Margaret of
Parma denounced the terms by which Antwerp had been saved as a "novel and
exorbitant capitulation," and had no intention of signifying her
approbation either to prince or magistrate.

1567 [CHAPTER X.]

   Egmont and Aerschot before Valenciennes--Severity of Egmont--
   Capitulation of the city--Escape and capture of the ministers--
   Execution of La Grange and De Bray--Horrible cruelty at
   Valenciennes--Effects of the reduction of Valenciennes--The Duchess
   at Antwerp--Armed invasion of the provinces decided upon in Spain--
   Appointment of Alva--Indignation of Margaret--Mission of De Billy--
   Pretended visit of Philip--Attempts of the Duchess to gain over
   Orange--Mission of Berty--Interview between Orange and Egmont at
   Willebroek--Orange's letters to Philip, to Egmont, and to Horn--
   Orange departs from the Netherlands--Philip's letter to Egmont--
   Secret intelligence received by Orange--La Torre's mission to
   Brederode--Brederode's departure and death--Death of Bergen--Despair
   in the provinces--Great emigration--Cruelties practised upon those
   of the new religion--Edict of 24th May--Wrath of the King.

Valenciennes, whose fate depended so closely upon the issue of these
various events, was now trembling to her fall. Noircarmes had been
drawing the lines more and more closely about the city, and by a
refinement of cruelty had compelled many Calvinists from Tournay to act
as pioneers in the trenches against their own brethren in Valenciennes.
After the defeat of Tholouse, and the consequent frustration of all
Brederode's arrangements to relieve the siege, the Duchess had sent a
fresh summons to Valenciennes, together with letters acquainting the
citizens with the results of the Ostrawell battle. The intelligence was
not believed. Egmont and Aerschot, however, to whom Margaret had
entrusted this last mission to the beleaguered town, roundly rebuked the
deputies who came to treat with them, for their insolence in daring to
doubt the word of the Regent. The two seigniors had established
themselves in the Chateau of Beusnage, at a league's distance from
Valenciennes. Here they received commissioners from the city, half of
whom were Catholics appointed by the magistrates, half Calvinists deputed
by the consistories. These envoys were informed that the Duchess would
pardon the city for its past offences, provided the gates should now be
opened, the garrison received, and a complete suppression of all religion
except that of Rome acquiesced in without a murmur. As nearly the whole
population was of the Calvinist faith, these terms could hardly be
thought favorable. It was, however, added, that fourteen days should be
allowed to the Reformers for the purpose of converting their property,
and retiring from the country.

The deputies, after conferring with their constituents in the city,
returned on the following day with counter-propositions, which were not
more likely to find favor with the government. They offered to accept the
garrison, provided the soldiers should live at their own expense, without
any tax to the citizens for their board, lodging, or pay. They claimed
that all property which had been seized should be restored, all persons
accused of treason liberated. They demanded the unconditional revocation
of the edict by which the city had been declared rebellious, together
with a guarantee from the Knights of the Fleece and the state council
that the terms of the propose& treaty should be strictly observed.

As soon as these terms had been read to the two seigniors, the Duke of
Aerschot burst into an immoderate fit of laughter. He protested that
nothing could be more ludicrous than such propositions, worthy of a
conqueror dictating a peace, thus offered by a city closely beleaguered,
and entirely at the mercy of the enemy. The Duke's hilarity was not
shared by Egmont, who, on the contrary, fell into a furious passion. He
swore that the city should be burned about their ears, and that every one
of the inhabitants should be put to the sword for the insolent language
which they had thus dared to address to a most clement sovereign. He
ordered the trembling deputies instantly to return with this peremptory
rejection of their terms, and with his command that the proposals of
government should be accepted within three days' delay.

The commissioners fell upon their knees at Egmont's feet, and begged for
mercy. They implored him at least to send this imperious message by some
other hand than theirs, and to permit them to absent themselves from the
city. They should be torn limb from limb, they said, by the enraged
inhabitants, if they dared to present themselves with such instructions
before them. Egmont, however, assured them that they should be sent into
the city, bound hand and foot, if they did not instantly obey his orders.
The deputies, therefore, with heavy hearts, were fain to return home with
this bitter result to their negotiations. The terms were rejected, as a
matter of course, but the gloomy forebodings of the commissioners, as to
their own fate at the hands of their fellow-citizens, were not fulfilled.

Instant measures were now taken to cannonade the city. Egmont, at the
hazard of his life, descended into the foss, to reconnoitre the works,
and to form an opinion as to the most eligible quarter at which to direct
the batteries. Having communicated the result of his investigations to
Noircarmes, he returned to report all these proceedings to the Regent at
Brussels. Certainly the Count had now separated himself far enough from
William of Orange, and was manifesting an energy in the cause of tyranny
which was sufficiently unscrupulous. Many people who had been deceived by
his more generous demonstrations in former times, tried to persuade
themselves that he was acting a part. Noircarmes, however--and no man was
more competent to decide the question distinctly--expressed his entire
confidence in Egmont's loyalty. Margaret had responded warmly to his
eulogies, had read with approbation secret letters from Egmont to
Noircarmes, and had expressed the utmost respect and affection for "the
Count." Egmont had also lost no time in writing to Philip, informing him
that he had selected the most eligible spot for battering down the
obstinate city of Valenciennes, regretting that he could not have had the
eight or ten military companies, now at his disposal, at an earlier day,
in which case he should have been able to suppress many tumults, but
congratulating his sovereign that the preachers were all fugitive, the
reformed religion suppressed, and the people disarmed. He assured the
King that he would neglect no effort to prevent any renewal of the
tumults, and expressed the hope that his Majesty would be satisfied with
his conduct, notwithstanding the calumnies of which the times were full.

Noircarmes meanwhile, had unmasked his batteries, and opened his fire
exactly according to Egmont's suggestions.

The artillery played first upon what was called the "White Tower," which
happened to bear this ancient, rhyming inscription:

       "When every man receives his own,
        And justice reigns for strong and weak,
        Perfect shall be this tower of stone,
        And all the dumb will learn to speak."

       "Quand chacun sera satisfaict,
        Et la justice regnera,
        Ce boulevard sera parfaict,
        Et--la muette parlera."--Valenciennes MS.

For some unknown reason, the rather insipid quatrain was tortured into a
baleful prophecy. It was considered very ominous that the battery should
be first opened against this Sibylline tower. The chimes, too, which had
been playing, all through the siege, the music of Marot's sacred songs,
happened that morning to be sounding forth from every belfry the
twenty-second psalm: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

It was Palm Sunday, 23d of March. The women and children were going
mournfully about the streets, bearing green branches in their hands, and
praying upon their knees, in every part of the city. Despair and
superstition had taken possession of citizens, who up to that period had
justified La Noue's assertion, that none could endure a siege like
Huguenots. As soon as the cannonading began, the spirit of the
inhabitants seemed to depart. The ministers exhorted their flocks in vain
as the tiles and chimneys began to topple into the streets, and the
concussions of the artillery were responded to by the universal wailing
of affrighted women.

Upon the very first day after the unmasking of the batteries, the city
sent to Noircarmes, offering almost an unconditional surrender. Not the
slightest breach had been effected--not the least danger of an assault
existed--yet the citizens, who had earned the respect of their
antagonists by the courageous manner in which they had sallied and
skirmished during the siege, now in despair at any hope of eventual
succor, and completely demoralized by the course of recent events outside
their walls, surrendered ignominiously, and at discretion. The only
stipulation agreed to by Noircarmes was, that the city should not be
sacked, and that the lives of the inhabitants should be spared.

This pledge was, however, only made to be broken. Noircarmes entered the
city and closed the gates. All the richest citizens, who of course were
deemed the most criminal, were instantly arrested. The soldiers, although
not permitted formally to sack the city, were quartered upon the
inhabitants, whom they robbed and murdered, according to the testimony of
a Catholic citizen, almost at their pleasure.

Michael Herlin, a very wealthy and distinguished burgher, was arrested
upon the first day. The two ministers, Guido de Bray and Peregrine de la
Grange, together with the son of Herlin, effected their escape by the
water-gate. Having taken refuge in a tavern at Saint Arnaud, they were
observed, as they sat at supper, by a peasant, who forthwith ran off to
the mayor of the borough with the intelligence that some individuals, who
looked like fugitives, had arrived at Saint Arnaud. One of them, said the
informer, was richly dressed; and wore a gold-hilted sword with velvet
scabbard. By the description, the mayor recognized Herlin the
younger,--and suspected his companions. They were all arrested, and sent
to Noircarmes. The two Herlins, father and son, were immediately
beheaded. Guido de Bray and Peregrine de la Grange were loaded with
chains, and thrown into a filthy dungeon, previously to their being
hanged. Here they were visited by the Countess de Roeulx, who was curious
to see how the Calvinists sustained themselves in their martyrdom. She
asked them how they could sleep, eat, or drink, when covered with such
heavy fetters. "The cause, and my good conscience," answered De Bray,
"make me eat, drink, and sleep better than those who are doing me wrong.
These shackles are more honorable to me than golden rings and chains.
They are more useful to me, and as I hear their clank, methinks I hear
the music of sweet voices and the tinkling of lutes."

This exultation never deserted these courageous enthusiasts. They
received their condemnation to death "as if it had been an invitation to
a marriage feast." They encouraged the friends who crowded their path to
the scaffold with exhortations to remain true in the Reformed faith. La
Grange, standing upon the ladder, proclaimed with a loud voice, that he
was slain for having preached the pure word of God to a Christian people
in a Christian land. De Bray, under the same gibbet; testified stoutly
that he, too, had committed that offence alone. He warned his friends to
obey the magistrates, and all others in authority, except in matters of
conscience; to abstain from sedition; but to obey the will of God. The
executioner threw him from the ladder while he was yet speaking. So ended
the lives of two eloquent, learned, and highly-gifted divines.

Many hundreds of victims were sacrificed in the unfortunate city. "There
were a great many other citizens strangled or beheaded," says an
aristocratic Catholic historian of the time, "but they were mostly
personages of little quality, whose names are quite unknown to
me."--[Pontus Payen]--The franchises of the city were all revoked. There
was a prodigious amount of property confiscated to the benefit of
Noircarmes and the rest of the "Seven Sleepers." Many Calvinists were
burned, others were hanged. "For--two whole years," says another
Catholic, who was a citizen of Valenciennes at the time, "there was,
scarcely a week in which several citizens were not executed and often a
great number were despatched at a time. All this gave so much alarm to
the good and innocent, that many quitted the city as fast as they could."
If the good and innocent happened to be rich, they might be sure that
Noircarmes would deem that a crime for which no goodness and innocence
could atone.

Upon the fate of Valenciennes had depended, as if by common agreement,
the whole destiny of the anti-Catholic party. "People had learned at
last," says another Walloon, "that the King had long arms, and that he
had not been enlisting soldiers to string beads. So they drew in their
horns and their evil tempers, meaning to put them forth again, should the
government not succeed at the siege of Valenciennes." The government had
succeeded, however, and the consternation was extreme, the general
submission immediate and even abject. "The capture of Valenciennes,"
wrote Noircarmes to Granvelle, "has worked a miracle. The other cities
all come forth to meet me, putting the rope around their own necks." No
opposition was offered any where. Tournay had been crushed; Valenciennes,
Bois le Duc, and all other important places, accepted their garrisons
without a murmur. Even Antwerp had made its last struggle, and as soon as
the back of Orange was turned, knelt down in the dust to receive its
bridle. The Prince had been able, by his courage and wisdom, to avert a
sanguinary conflict within its walls, but his personal presence alone
could guarantee any thing like religious liberty for the inhabitants, now
that the rest of the country was subdued. On the 26th April, sixteen
companies of infantry, under Count Mansfeld, entered the gates. On the
28th the Duchess made a visit to the city, where she was received with
respect, but where her eyes were shocked by that which she termed the
"abominable, sad, and hideous spectacle of the desolated churches."

To the eyes of all who loved their fatherland and their race, the sight
of a desolate country, with its ancient charters superseded by brute
force, its industrious population swarming from the land in droves, as if
the pestilence were raging, with gibbets and scaffolds erected in every
village, and with a Sickening and universal apprehension of still darker
disasters to follow, was a spectacle still more sad, hideous, and

For it was now decided that the Duke of Alva, at the head of a Spanish
army, should forthwith take his departure for the Netherlands. A land
already subjugated was to be crushed, and every vestige of its ancient
liberties destroyed. The conquered provinces, once the abode of municipal
liberty, of science, art, and literature, and blessed with an unexampled
mercantile and manufacturing prosperity, were to be placed in absolute
subjection to the cabinet council at Madrid. A dull and malignant bigot,
assisted by a few Spanish grandees, and residing at the other extremity
of Europe, was thenceforth to exercise despotic authority over countries
which for centuries had enjoyed a local administration, and a system
nearly approaching to complete self-government. Such was the policy
devised by Granvelle and Spinosa, which the Duke of Alva, upon the 15th
April, had left Madrid to enforce.

It was very natural that Margaret of Parma should be indignant at being
thus superseded. She considered herself as having acquired much credit by
the manner in which the latter insurrectionary movements had been
suppressed, so soon as Philip, after his endless tergiversations, had
supplied her with arms and money. Therefore she wrote in a tone of great
asperity to her brother, expressing her discontent. She had always been
trammelled in her action, she said, by his restrictions upon her
authority. She complained that he had no regard for her reputation or her
peace of mind. Notwithstanding, all impediments and dangers, she had at
last settled the country, and now another person was to reap the honor.
She also despatched the Seigneur de Billy to Spain, for the purpose of
making verbal representations to his Majesty upon the inexpediency of
sending the Duke of Alva to the Netherlands at that juncture with a
Spanish army.

Margaret gained nothing, however, by her letters and her envoy, save a
round rebuke from Philip, who was not accustomed to brook the language of
remonstrance; even from his sister. His purpose was fixed. Absolute
submission was now to be rendered by all. "He was highly astonished and
dissatisfied," he said, "that she should dare to write to him with so
much passion, and in so resolute a manner. If she received no other
recompense, save the glory of having restored the service of God, she
ought to express her gratitude to the King for having given her the
opportunity of so doing."

The affectation of clement intentions was still maintained, together with
the empty pretence of the royal visit. Alva and his army were coming
merely to prepare the way for the King, who still represented himself as
"debonair and gentle, slow to anger, and averse from bloodshed."
Superficial people believed that the King was really coming, and hoped
wonders from his advent. The Duchess knew better. The Pope never believed
in it, Granvelle never believed in it, the Prince of Orange never
believed in it, Councillor d'Assonleville never believed in it. "His
Majesty," says the Walloon historian, who wrote from Assonleville's
papers, "had many imperative reasons for not coming. He was fond of
quiet, he was a great negotiator, distinguished for phlegm and modesty,
disinclined to long journeys, particularly to sea voyages, which were
very painful to him. Moreover, he was then building his Escorial with so
much taste and affection that it was impossible for him to leave home."
These excellent reasons sufficed to detain the monarch, in whose place a
general was appointed, who, it must be confessed, was neither phlegmatic
nor modest, and whose energies were quite equal to the work required.
There had in truth never been any thing in the King's project of visiting
the Netherlands but pretence.

On the other hand, the work of Orange for the time was finished. He had
saved Antwerp, he had done his best to maintain the liberties of the
country, the rights of conscience, and the royal authority, so far as
they were compatible with each other. The alternative had now been
distinctly forced upon every man, either to promise blind obedience or to
accept the position of a rebel. William of Orange had thus become a
rebel. He had been requested to sign the new oath, greedily taken by the
Mansfelds, the Berlaymont, the Aerachot, and the Egmonts, to obey every
order which he might receive, against every person and in every place,
without restriction or limitation,--and he had distinctly and repeatedly
declined the demand. He had again and again insisted upon resigning all
his offices. The Duchess, more and more anxious to gain over such an
influential personage to the cause of tyranny, had been most importunate
in her requisitions. "A man with so noble a heart," she wrote to the
Prince, "and with a descent from, such illustrious and loyal ancestors,
can surely not forget his duties to his Majesty and the country."

William of Orange knew his duty to both better than the Duchess could
understand. He answered this fresh summons by reminding her that he had
uniformly refused the new and extraordinary pledge required of him. He
had been true to his old oaths, and therefore no fresh pledge was
necessary. Moreover, a pledge without limitation he would never take. The
case might happen, he said, that he should be ordered to do things
contrary to his conscience, prejudicial to his Majesty's service, and in
violation of his oaths to maintain the laws of the country. He therefore
once more resigned all his offices, and signified his intention of
leaving the provinces.

Margaret had previously invited him to an interview at Brussels, which he
had declined, because he had discovered a conspiracy in that place to
"play him a trick." Assonleville had already been sent to him without
effect. He had refused to meet a deputation of Fleece Knights at Mechlin,
from the same suspicion of foul play. After the termination of the
Antwerp tumult, Orange again wrote to the Duchess, upon the 19th March,
repeating his refusal to take the oath, and stating that he considered
himself as at least suspended from all his functions, since she had
refused, upon the ground of incapacity, to accept his formal resignation.
Margaret now determined, by the advice of the state council, to send
Secretary Berty, provided with an ample letter of instructions, upon a
special mission to the Prince at Antwerp. That respectable functionary
performed his task with credit, going through the usual formalities, and
adducing the threadbare arguments in favor of the unlimited oath, with
much adroitness and decorum. He mildly pointed out the impropriety of
laying down such responsible posts as those which the Prince now occupied
at such a juncture. He alluded to the distress which the step must
occasion to the debonair sovereign.

William of Orange became somewhat impatient under the official lecture of
this secretary to the privy council, a mere man of sealing-wax and
protocols. The slender stock of platitudes with which he had come
provided was soon exhausted. His arguments shrivelled at once in the
scorn with which the Prince received them. The great statesman, who, it
was hoped, would be entrapped to ruin, dishonor, and death by such very
feeble artifices, asked indignantly whether it were really expected that
he should acknowledge himself perjured to his old obligations by now
signing new ones; that he should disgrace himself by an unlimited pledge
which might require him to break his oaths to the provincial statutes and
to the Emperor; that he should consent to administer the religious edicts
which he abhorred; that he should act as executioner of Christians on
account of their religious opinions, an office against which his soul
revolted; that he should bind himself by an unlimited promise which might
require, him to put his own wife to death, because she was a Lutheran?
Moreover, was it to be supposed that he would obey without restriction
any orders issued to him in his Majesty's name, when the King's
representative might be a person whose supremacy it ill became one of
his' race to acknowledge? Was William of Orange to receive absolute
commands from the Duke of Alva? Having mentioned that name with
indignation, the Prince became silent.

It was very obvious that no impression was to be made upon the man by
formalists. Poor Berty having conjugated his paradigm conscientiously
through all its moods and tenses, returned to his green board in the
council-room with his proces verbal of the conference. Before he took his
leave, however, he prevailed upon Orange to hold an interview with the
Duke of Aerschot, Count Mansfeld, and Count Egmont.

This memorable meeting took place at Willebroek, a village midway between
Antwerp and Brussels, in the first week of April. The Duke of Aerschot
was prevented from attending, but Mansfeld and Egmont--accompanied by the
faithful Berty, to make another proces verbal--duly made their
appearance. The Prince had never felt much sympathy with Mansfeld, but a
tender and honest friendship had always existed between himself and
Egmont, notwithstanding the difference of their characters, the incessant
artifices employed by the Spanish court to separate them, and the
impassable chasm which now, existed between their respective positions
towards the government.

The same common-places of argument and rhetoric were now discussed
between Orange and the other three personages, the Prince distinctly
stating, in conclusion, that he considered himself as discharged from all
his offices, and that he was about to leave the Netherlands for Germany.
The interview, had it been confined to such formal conversation, would
have but little historic interest. Egmont's choice had been made. Several
months before he had signified his determination to hold those for
enemies who should cease to conduct themselves as faithful vassals,
declared himself to be without fear that the country was to be placed in
the hands of Spaniards, and disavowed all intention, in any case
whatever, of taking arms against the King. His subsequent course, as we
have seen, had been entirely in conformity with these solemn
declarations. Nevertheless, the Prince, to whom they had been made,
thought it still possible to withdraw his friend from the precipice upon
which he stood, and to save him from his impending fate. His love for
Egmont had, in his own noble; and pathetic language, "struck its roots
too deeply into his heart" to permit him, in this their parting
interview, to neglect a last effort, even if this solemn warning were
destined to be disregarded.

By any reasonable construction of history, Philip was an unscrupulous
usurper, who was attempting to convert himself from a Duke of Brabant and
a Count of Holland into an absolute king. It was William who was
maintaining, Philip who was destroying; and the monarch who was thus
blasting the happiness of the provinces, and about to decimate their
population, was by the same process to undermine his own power forever,
and to divest himself of his richest inheritance. The man on whom he
might have leaned for support, had he been capable of comprehending his
character, and of understanding the age in which he had himself been
called upon to reign, was, through Philip's own insanity, converted into
the instrument by which his most valuable provinces were, to be taken
from him, and eventually re-organized into: an independent commonwealth.
Could a vision, like that imagined by the immortal dramatist for another
tyrant and murderer, have revealed the future to Philip, he, too, might
have beheld his victim, not crowned himself, but pointing to a line of
kings, even to some who 'two-fold balls and treble sceptres carried', and
smiling on them for his. But such considerations as these had no effect
upon the Prince of Orange. He knew himself already proscribed, and he
knew that the secret condemnation had extended to Egmont also. He was
anxious that his friend should prefer the privations of exile, with the
chance of becoming the champion of a struggling country, to the wretched
fate towards which his blind confidence was leading him. Even then it
seemed possible that the brave soldier, who had been recently defiling
his sword in the cause of tyranny, might be come mindful of his brighter
and earlier fame. Had Egmont been as true to his native land as, until
"the long divorce of steel fell on him," he was faithful to Philip, he
might yet have earned brighter laurels than those gained at St. Quentin
and Gravelines. Was he doomed to fall, he might find a glorious death
upon freedom's battle-field, in place of that darker departure then so
near him, which the prophetic language of Orange depicted, but which he
was too sanguine to fear. He spoke with confidence of the royal clemency.
"Alas, Egmont," answered the Prince, "the King's clemency, of which you
boast, will destroy you. Would that I might be deceived, but I foresee
too clearly that you are to be the bridge which the Spaniards will
destroy so soon as they have passed over it to invade our country." With
these last, solemn words he concluded his appeal to awaken the Count from
his fatal security. Then, as if persuaded that he was looking upon his
friend for the last time, William of Orange threw his arms around Egmont,
and held him for a moment in a close embrace. Tears fell from the eyes of
both at this parting moment--and then the brief scene of simple and lofty
pathos terminated--Egmont and Orange separated from each other, never to
meet again on earth.

A few days afterwards, Orange addressed a letter to Philip once more
resigning all his offices, and announcing his intention of departing from
the Netherlands for Germany. He added, that he should be always ready to
place himself and his property at the King's orders in every thing which
he believed conducive to the true service of his Majesty. The Prince had
already received a remarkable warning from old Landgrave Philip of Hesse,
who had not forgotten the insidious manner in which his own memorable
captivity had been brought about by the arts of Granvelle and of Alva.
"Let them not smear your mouths with honey," said the Landgrave. "If the
three seigniors, of whom the Duchess Margaret has had so much to say, are
invited to court by Alva, under pretext of friendly consultation, let
them be wary, and think twice ere they accept. I know the Duke of Alva
and the Spaniards, and how they dealt with me."

The Prince, before he departed, took a final leave of Horn and Egmont, by
letters, which, as if aware of the monumental character they were to
assume for posterity, he drew up in Latin. He desired, now that he was
turning his back upon the country, that those two nobles who had refused
to imitate, and had advised against his course, should remember that, he
was acting deliberately, conscientiously, and in pursuance of a
long-settled plan.

To Count Horn he declared himself unable to connive longer at the sins
daily committed against the country and his own conscience. He assured
him that the government had been accustoming the country to panniers, in
order that it might now accept patiently the saddle and bridle. For
himself, he said, his back was not strong enough for the weight already
imposed upon it, and he preferred to endure any calamity which might
happen to him in exile, rather than be compelled by those whom they had
all condemned to acquiesce in the object so long and steadily pursued.

He reminded Egmont, who had been urging him by letter to remain, that his
resolution had been deliberately taken, and long since communicated to
his friends. He could not, in conscience, take the oath required; nor
would he, now that all eyes were turned upon him, remain in the land, the
only recusant. He preferred to encounter all that could happen, rather
than attempt to please others by the sacrifice of liberty, of his
fatherland, of his own conscience. "I hope, therefore," said he to Egmont
in conclusion, "that you, after weighing my reasons, will not disapprove
my departure. The rest I leave to God, who will dispose of all as may
most conduce to the glory of his name. For yourself, I pray you to
believe that you have no more sincere friend than I am. My love for you
has struck such deep root into my heart, that it can be lessened by no
distance of time or place, and I pray you in return to maintain the same
feelings towards me which you have always cherished."

The Prince had left Antwerp upon the 11th April, and had written these
letters from Breda, upon the 13th of the same month. Upon the 22d, he
took his departure for Dillenburg, the ancestral seat of his family in
Germany, by the way of Grave and Cleves.

It was not to be supposed that this parting message would influence
Egmont's decision with regard to his own movements, when his
determination had not been shaken at his memorable interview with the
Prince. The Count's fate was sealed. Had he not been praised by
Noircarmes; had he not earned the hypocritical commendations of Duchess
Margaret; nay more, had he not just received a most affectionate letter
of, thanks and approbation from the King of Spain himself? This letter,
one of the most striking monuments of Philip's cold-blooded perfidy, was
dated the 26th of March. "I am pleased, my cousin," wrote the monarch to
Egmont, "that you have taken the new oath, not that I considered it at
all necessary so far as regards yourself, but for the example which you
have thus given to others, and which I hope they will all follow. I have
received not less pleasure in hearing of the excellent manner in which
you are doing your duty, the assistance you are rendering, and the offers
which you are making to my sister, for which I thank you, and request you
to continue in the same course."

The words were written by the royal hand which had already signed the
death-warrant of the man to whom they were addressed. Alva, who came
provided with full powers to carry out the great scheme resolved upon,
unrestrained by provincial laws or by the statutes of the Golden Fleece,
had left Madrid to embark for Carthagena, at the very moment when Egmont
was reading the royal letter. "The Spanish honey," to use once more old
Landgrave Philip's homely metaphor, had done its work, and the
unfortunate victim was already entrapped.

Count Horn remained in gloomy silence in his lair at Weert, awaiting the
hunters of men, already on their way. It seemed inconceivable that he,
too, who knew himself suspected and disliked, should have thus blinded
himself to his position. It will be seen, however, that the same perfidy
was to be employed to ensnare him which proved so successful with Egmont.

As for the Prince himself, he did not move too soon. Not long after his
arrival in Germany, Vandenesse, the King's private secretary, but
Orange's secret agent, wrote him word that he had read letters from the
King to Alva in which the Duke was instructed to "arrest the Prince as
soon as he could lay hands upon him, and not to let his trial last more
than twenty-four hours."

Brederode had remained at Viane, and afterwards at Amsterdam, since the
ill-starred expedition of Tholouse, which he had organized, but at which
he had not assisted. He had given much annoyance to the magistracy of
Amsterdam, and to all respectable persons, Calvinist or Catholic. He made
much mischief, but excited no hopes in the minds of reformers. He was
ever surrounded by a host of pot companions, swaggering nobles disguised
as sailors, bankrupt tradesmen, fugitives and outlaws of every
description, excellent people to drink the beggars' health and to bawl
the beggars' songs, but quite unfit for any serious enterprise. People of
substance were wary of him, for they had no confidence in his capacity,
and were afraid of his frequent demands for contributions to the
patriotic cause. He spent his time in the pleasure gardens, shooting at
the mark with arquebuss or crossbow, drinking with his comrades, and
shrieking "Vivent les gueux."

The Regent, determined to dislodge him, had sent Secretary La Torre to
him in March, with instructions that if Brederode refused to leave
Amsterdam, the magistracy were to call for assistance upon Count Meghem,
who had a regiment at Utrecht. This clause made it impossible for La
Torre to exhibit his instructions to Brederode. Upon his refusal, that
personage, although he knew the secretary as well as he knew his own
father, coolly informed him that he knew nothing about him; that he did
not consider him as respectable a person as he pretended to be; that he
did not believe a word of his having any commission from the Duchess, and
that he should therefore take no notice whatever of his demands. La Torre
answered meekly, that he was not so presumptuous, nor so destitute of
sense as to put himself into comparison with a gentleman of Count
Brederode's quality, but that as he had served as secretary to the privy
council for twenty-three years, he had thought that he might be believed
upon his word. Hereupon La Tome drew up a formal protest, and Brederode
drew up another. La Torre made a proces verbal of their interview, while
Brederode stormed like a madman, and abused the Duchess for a capricious
and unreasonable tyrant. He ended by imprisoning La Torre for a day or
two, and seizing his papers. By a singular coincidence, these events took
place on the 13th, 24th, and 15th of March, the very days of the great
Antwerp tumult. The manner in which the Prince of Orange had been dealing
with forty or fifty thousand armed men, anxious to cut each other's
throats, while Brederode was thus occupied in browbeating a pragmatical
but decent old secretary, illustrated the difference in calibre of the
two men.

This was the Count's last exploit. He remained at Amsterdam some weeks
longer, but the events which succeeded changed the Hector into a faithful
vassal. Before the 12th of April, he wrote to Egmont, begging his
intercession with Margaret of Parma, and offering "carte blanche" as to
terms, if he might only be allowed to make his peace with government. It
was, however, somewhat late in the day for the "great beggar" to make his
submission. No terms were accorded him, but he was allowed by the Duchess
to enjoy his revenues provisionally, subject to the King's pleasure. Upon
the 25th April, he entertained a select circle of friends at his hotel in
Amsterdam, and then embarked at midnight for Embden. A numerous
procession of his adherents escorted him to the ship, bearing lighted
torches, and singing bacchanalian songs. He died within a year
afterwards, of disappointment and hard drinking, at Castle Hardenberg, in
Germany, after all his fretting and fury, and notwithstanding his
vehement protestations to die a poor soldier at the feet of Louis Nassau.

That "good chevalier and good Christian," as his brother affectionately
called him, was in Germany, girding himself for the manly work which
Providence had destined him to perform. The life of Brederode, who had
engaged in the early struggle, perhaps from the frivolous expectation of
hearing himself called Count of Holland, as his ancestors had been, had
contributed nothing to the cause of freedom, nor did his death occasion
regret. His disorderly band of followers dispersed in every direction
upon the departure of their chief. A vessel in which Batenburg, Galaina,
and other nobles, with their men-at-arms, were escaping towards a German
port, was carried into Harlingen, while those gentlemen, overpowered by
sleep and wassail, were unaware of their danger, and delivered over to
Count Meghem, by the treachery of their pilot. The soldiers, were
immediately hanged. The noblemen were reserved to grace the first great
scaffold which Alva was to erect upon the horse-market in Brussels.

The confederacy was entirely broken to pieces. Of the chieftains to whom
the people had been accustomed to look for support and encouragement,
some had rallied to the government, some were in exile, some were in
prison. Montigny, closely watched in Spain, was virtually a captive,
pining for the young bride to whom he had been wedded amid such brilliant
festivities but a few months before his departure, and for the child
which was never to look upon its father's face.

His colleague, Marquis Berghen, more fortunate, was already dead. The
excellent Viglius seized the opportunity to put in a good word for
Noircarmes, who had been grinding Tournay in the dust, and butchering the
inhabitants of Valenciennes. "We have heard of Berghen's death," wrote
the President to his faithful Joachim. "The Lord of Noircarmes, who has
been his substitute in the governorship of Hainault, has given a specimen
of what he can do. Although I have no private intimacy with that
nobleman, I can not help embracing him with all my benevolence.
Therefore, oh my Hopper, pray do your best to have him appointed

With the departure of Orange, a total eclipse seemed to come over the
Netherlands. The country was absolutely helpless, the popular heart cold
with apprehension. All persons at all implicated in the late troubles, or
suspected of heresy, fled from their homes. Fugitive soldiers were hunted
into rivers, cut to pieces in the fields, hanged, burned, or drowned,
like dogs, without quarter, and without remorse. The most industrious and
valuable part of the population left the land in droves. The tide swept
outwards with such rapidity that the Netherlands seemed fast becoming the
desolate waste which they had been before the Christian era. Throughout
the country, those Reformers who were unable to effect their escape
betook themselves to their old lurking-places. The new religion was
banished from all the cities, every conventicle was broken up by armed
men, the preachers and leading members were hanged, their disciples
beaten with rods, reduced to beggary, or imprisoned, even if they
sometimes escaped the scaffold. An incredible number, however, were
executed for religious causes. Hardly a village so small, says the
Antwerp chronicler,--[Meteren]--but that it could furnish one, two, or
three hundred victims to the executioner. The new churches were levelled
to the ground, and out of their timbers gallows were constructed. It was
thought an ingenious pleasantry to hang the Reformers upon the beams
under which they had hoped to worship God. The property of the fugitives
was confiscated. The beggars in name became beggars in reality. Many who
felt obliged to remain, and who loved their possessions better than their
creed, were suddenly converted into the most zealous of Catholics.
Persons who had for years not gone to mass, never omitted now their daily
and nightly visits to the churches. Persons who had never spoken to an
ecclesiastic but with contumely, now could not eat their dinners without
one at their table. Many who were suspected of having participated in
Calvinistic rites, were foremost and loudest in putting down and
denouncing all forms and shows of the reformation. The country was as
completely "pacified," to use the conqueror's expression, as Gaul had
been by Caesar.

The Regent issued a fresh edict upon the 24th May, to refresh the
memories of those who might have forgotten previous statutes, which were,
however, not calculated to make men oblivious. By this new proclamation,
all ministers and teachers were sentenced to the gallows. All persons who
had suffered their houses to be used for religious purposes were
sentenced to the gallows. All parents or masters whose children or
servants had attended such meetings were sentenced to the gallows, while
the children and servants were only to be beaten with rods. All people
who sang hymns at the burial of their relations were sentenced to the
gallows. Parents who allowed their newly-born children to be baptized by
other hands than those of the Catholic priest were sentenced to the
gallows. The same punishment was denounced against the persons who should
christen the child or act as its sponsors. Schoolmasters who should teach
any error or false doctrine were likewise to be punished with death.
Those who infringed the statutes against the buying and selling of
religious books and songs were to receive the same doom; after the first
offence. All sneers or insults against priests and ecclesiastics were
also made capital crimes. Vagabonds, fugitives; apostates, runaway monks,
were ordered forthwith to depart from every city on pain of death. In all
cases confiscation of the whole property of the criminal was added to the

This edict, says a contemporary historian, increased the fear of those
professing the new religion to such an extent that they left the country
"in great heaps." It became necessary, therefore, to issue a subsequent
proclamation forbidding all persons, whether foreigners or natives, to
leave the land or to send away their property, and prohibiting all
shipmasters, wagoners, and other agents of travel, from assisting in the
flight of such fugitives, all upon pain of death.

Yet will it be credited that the edict of 24th May, the provisions of
which have just been sketched, actually excited the wrath of Philip on
account of their clemency? He wrote to the Duchess, expressing the pain
and dissatisfaction which he felt, that an edict so indecent, so illegal,
so contrary to the Christian religion, should have been published.
Nothing, he said, could offend or distress him more deeply, than any
outrage whatever, even the slightest one, offered to God and to His Roman
Catholic Church. He therefore commanded his sister instantly to revoke
the edict. One might almost imagine from reading the King's letter that
Philip was at last appalled at the horrors committed in his name. Alas,
he was only indignant that heretics had been suffered to hang who ought
to have been burned, and that a few narrow and almost impossible
loopholes had been left through which those who had offended alight
effect their escape.

And thus, while the country is paralyzed with present and expected woe,
the swiftly advancing trumpets of the Spanish army resound from beyond
the Alps. The curtain is falling upon the prelude to the great tragedy
which the prophetic lips of Orange had foretold. When it is again lifted,
scenes of disaster and of bloodshed, battles, sieges, executions, deeds
of unfaltering but valiant tyranny, of superhuman and successful
resistance, of heroic self-sacrifice, fanatical courage and insane
cruelty, both in the cause of the Wrong and the Right, will be revealed
in awful succession--a spectacle of human energy, human suffering, and
human strength to suffer, such as has not often been displayed upon the
stage of the world's events.


     God Save the King! It was the last time
     Having conjugated his paradigm conscientiously
     Indignant that heretics had been suffered to hang
     Insane cruelty, both in the cause of the Wrong and the Right
     Sick and wounded wretches were burned over slow fires
     Slender stock of platitudes
     The time for reasoning had passed
     Who loved their possessions better than their creed




1567 [Part III., ALVA, CHAPTER 1.]

   Continued dissensions in the Spanish cabinet--Ruy Gomez and Alva--
   Conquest of the Netherlands entrusted to the Duke--Birth, previous
   career and character of Alva--Organization of the invading army--
   Its march to the provinces--Complaints of Duchess Margaret--Alva
   receives deputations on the frontier--Interview between the Duke and
   Egmont--Reception of Alva by the Duchess of Parma--Circular letters
   to the cities requiring their acceptance of garrisons--Margaret's
   secret correspondence--Universal apprehension--Keys of the great
   cities demanded by Alva--Secret plans of the government, arranged
   before the Duke's departure--Arrest of Orange, Egmont, Horn, and
   others, determined upon--Stealthy course of the government towards
   them--Infatuation of Egmont--Warnings addressed to him by De Billy
   and others--Measures to entrap Count Horn--Banquet of the Grand
   Prior--The Grand Prior's warning to Egmont--Evil counsels of
   Noircarmes--Arrests of Egmont, Horn, Bakkerzeel and Straalen--
   Popular consternation--Petulant conduct of Duchess Margaret--
   Characteristic comments of Granvelle--His secret machinations and
   disclaimers--Berghen and Montigny--Last moments of Marquis Berghen--
   Perfidy of Ruy Gomez--Establishment of the "Blood-Council"--Its
   leading features--Insidious behavior of Viglius--Secret
   correspondence, concerning the President, between Philip and Alva--
   Members of the "Blood-Council"--Portraits of Vargas and Hessels--
   Mode of proceeding adopted by the council--Wholesale executions--
   Despair in the provinces--The resignation of Duchess Margaret
   accepted--Her departure from the Netherlands--Renewed civil war in
   France--Death of Montmorency--Auxiliary troops sent by Alva to
   France--Erection of Antwerp citadel--Description of the citadel.

The armed invasion of the Netherlands was the necessary consequence of
all which had gone before. That the inevitable result had been so long
deferred lay rather in the incomprehensible tardiness of Philip's
character than in the circumstances of the case. Never did a monarch hold
so steadfastly to a deadly purpose, or proceed so languidly and with so
much circumvolution to his goal. The mask of benignity, of possible
clemency, was now thrown off, but the delusion of his intended visit to
the provinces was still maintained. He assured the Regent that he should
be governed by her advice, and as she had made all needful preparations
to receive him in Zeland, that it would be in Zeland he should arrive.

The same two men among Philip's advisers were prominent as at an earlier
day--the Prince of Eboli and the Duke of Alva. They still represented
entirely opposite ideas, and in character, temper, and history, each was
the reverse of the other. The policy of the Prince was pacific and
temporizing; that of the Duke uncompromising and ferocious. Ruy Gomez was
disposed to prevent, if possible, the armed mission of Alva, and he now
openly counselled the King to fulfil his long-deferred promise, and to
make his appearance in person before his rebellious subjects. The
jealousy and hatred which existed between the Prince and the
Duke--between the man of peace and the man of wrath--were constantly
exploding, even in the presence of the King. The wrangling in the council
was incessant. Determined, if possible; to prevent the elevation of his
rival, the favorite was even for a moment disposed to ask for the command
of the army himself. There was something ludicrous in the notion, that a
man whose life had been pacific, and who trembled at the noise of arms,
should seek to supersede the terrible Alva, of whom his eulogists
asserted, with, Castilian exaggeration, that the very name of fear
inspired him with horror. But there was a limit beyond which the
influence of Anna de Mendoza and her husband did not extend. Philip was
not to be driven to the Netherlands against his will, nor to be prevented
from assigning the command of the army to the most appropriate man in
Europe for his purpose.

It was determined at last that the Netherland heresy should be conquered
by force of arms. The invasion resembled both a crusade against the
infidel, and a treasure-hunting foray into the auriferous Indies,
achievements by which Spanish chivalry had so often illustrated itself.
The banner of the cross was to be replanted upon the conquered
battlements of three hundred infidel cities, and a torrent of wealth,
richer than ever flowed from Mexican or Peruvian mines, was to flow into
the royal treasury from the perennial fountains of confiscation. Who so
fit to be the Tancred and the Pizarro of this bicolored expedition as the
Duke of Alva, the man who had been devoted from his earliest childhood,
and from his father's grave, to hostility against unbelievers, and who
had prophesied that treasure would flow in a stream, a yard deep, from
the Netherlands as soon as the heretics began to meet with their deserts.
An army of chosen troops was forthwith collected, by taking the four
legions, or terzios, of Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and Lombardy, and
filling their places in Italy by fresh levies. About ten thousand picked
and veteran soldiers were thus obtained, of which the Duke of Alva was
appointed general-in-chief.

Ferdinando Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva, was now in his sixtieth year.
He was the most successful and experienced general of Spain, or of
Europe. No man had studied more deeply, or practised more constantly, the
military science. In the most important of all arts at that epoch he was
the most consummate artist. In the only honorable profession of the age,
he was the most thorough and the most pedantic professor. Since the days
of Demetrius Poliorcetes, no man had besieged so many cities. Since the
days of Fabius Cunctator; no general had avoided so many battles, and no
soldier, courageous as he was, ever attained to a more sublime
indifference to calumny or depreciation. Having proved in his boyhood, at
Fontarabia, and in his maturity: at Muhlberg, that he could exhibit
heroism and headlong courage; when necessary, he could afford to look
with contempt upon the witless gibes which his enemies had occasionally
perpetrated at his expense. Conscious of holding his armies in his hand,
by the power of an unrivalled discipline, and the magic of a name
illustrated by a hundred triumphs, he, could bear with patience and
benevolence the murmurs of his soldiers when their battles were denied

He was born in 1508, of a family which boasted, imperial descent. A
Palaeologus, brother of a Byzantine emperor, had conquered the city of
Toledo, and transmitted its appellation as a family name. The father of
Ferdinando, Don Garcia, had been slain on the isle of Gerbes, in battle
with the Moors, when his son was but four years of age. The child was
brought up by his grandfather, Don Frederic, and trained from his
tenderest infancy to arms. Hatred to the infidel, and a determination to
avenge his father's blood; crying to him from a foreign grave, were the
earliest of his instincts. As a youth he was distinguished for his
prowess. His maiden sword was fleshed at Fontarabia, where, although but
sixteen years of age, he was considered, by his constancy in hardship, by
his brilliant and desperate courage, and by the example of military
discipline which he afforded to the troops, to have contributed in no
small degree to the success of the Spanish arms.

In 1530, he accompanied the Emperor in his campaign against the Turk.
Charles, instinctively recognizing the merit of the youth who was
destined to be the life-long companion of his toils and glories,
distinguished him with his favor at the opening of his career. Young,
brave, and enthusiastic, Ferdinand de Toledo at this period was as
interesting a hero as ever illustrated the pages of Castilian romance.
His mad ride from Hungary to Spain and back again, accomplished in
seventeen days, for the sake of a brief visit to his newly-married wife,
is not the least attractive episode in the history of an existence which
was destined to be so dark and sanguinary. In 1535, he accompanied the
Emperor on his memorable expedition to Tunis. In 1546 and 1547 he was
generalissimo in the war against the Smalcaldian league. His most
brilliant feat of arms-perhaps the most brilliant exploit of the
Emperor's reign--was the passage of the Elbe and the battle of Muhlberg,
accomplished in spite of Maximilian's bitter and violent reproaches, and
the tremendous possibilities of a defeat. That battle had finished the
war. The gigantic and magnanimous John Frederic, surprised at his
devotions in the church, fled in dismay, leaving his boots behind him,
which for their superhuman size, were ridiculously said afterwards to be
treasured among the trophies of the Toledo house.

   [Hist. du Due d'Albe, i. 274. Brantome, Hom. Illust., etc.
   (ch. v.), says that one of the boots was "large enough to hold a
   camp bedstead," p. 11. I insert the anecdote only as a specimen of
   the manner in which similar absurdities, both of great and, of
   little consequence, are perpetuated by writers in every land and
   age. The armor of the noble-hearted and unfortunate John Frederic
   may still be seen in Dresden. Its size indicates a man very much
   above the average height, while the external length of the iron
   shoe, on-the contrary, is less than eleven inches.]

The rout was total. "I came, I saw, and God conquered," said the Emperor,
in pious parody of his immortal predecessor's epigram. Maximilian, with a
thousand apologies for his previous insults, embraced the heroic Don
Ferdinand over and over again, as, arrayed in a plain suit of blue armor,
unadorned save with streaks of his enemies' blood, he returned from
pursuit of the fugitives. So complete and so sudden was the victory, that
it was found impossible to account for it, save on the ground of
miraculous interposition. Like Joshua, in the vale of Ajalon, Don
Ferdinand was supposed to have commanded the sun to stand still for a
season, and to have been obeyed. Otherwise, how could the passage of the
river, which was only concluded at six in the evening, and the complete
overthrow of the Protestant forces, have all been accomplished within the
narrow space of an April twilight? The reply of the Duke to Henry the
Second of France, who questioned him subsequently upon the subject, is
well known. "Your Majesty, I was too much occupied that evening with what
was taking place on the earth beneath, to pay much heed to the evolutions
of the heavenly bodies." Spared as he had been by his good fortune from
taking any part in the Algerine expedition, or in witnessing the
ignominious retreat from Innspruck, he was obliged to submit to the
intercalation of the disastrous siege of Metz in the long history of his
successes. Doing the duty of a field-marshal and a sentinel, supporting
his army by his firmness and his discipline when nothing else could have
supported them, he was at last enabled, after half the hundred thousand
men with whom Charles had begun the siege had been sacrificed, to induce
his imperial master to raise the siege before the remaining fifty
thousand had been frozen or starved to death.

The culminating career of Alva seemed to have closed in the mist which
gathered around the setting star of the empire. Having accompanied Philip
to England in 1554, on his matrimonial-expedition, he was destined in the
following years, as viceroy and generalissimo of Italy, to be placed in a
series of false positions. A great captain engaged in a little war, the
champion of the cross in arms against the successor of St. Peter, he had
extricated himself, at last, with his usual adroitness, but with very
little glory. To him had been allotted the mortification, to another the
triumph. The lustre of his own name seemed to sink in the ocean while
that of a hated rival, with new spangled ore, suddenly "flamed in the
forehead of the morning sky." While he had been paltering with a dotard,
whom he was forbidden to crush, Egmont had struck down the chosen troops
of France, and conquered her most illustrious commanders. Here was the
unpardonable crime which could only be expiated by the blood of the
victor. Unfortunately for his rival, the time was now approaching when
the long-deferred revenge was to be satisfied.

On the whole, the Duke of Alva was inferior to no general of his age. As
a disciplinarian he was foremost in Spain, perhaps in Europe. A
spendthrift of time, he was an economist of blood, and this was, perhaps,
in the eye of humanity, his principal virtue. Time and myself are two,
was a frequent observation of Philip, and his favorite general considered
the maxim as applicable to war as to politics. Such were his qualities as
a military commander. As a statesman, he had neither experience nor
talent. As a man his character was simple. He did not combine a great
variety of vices, but those which he had were colossal, and he possessed
no virtues. He was neither lustful nor intemperate, but his professed
eulogists admitted his enormous avarice, while the world has agreed that
such an amount of stealth and ferocity, of patient vindictiveness and
universal bloodthirstiness, were never found in a savage beast of the
forest, and but rarely in a human bosom. His history was now to show that
his previous thrift of human life was not derived from any love of his
kind. Personally he was stern and overbearing. As difficult of access as
Philip himself, he was even more haughty to those who were admitted to
his presence. He addressed every one with the depreciating second person
plural. Possessing the right of being covered in the presence of the
Spanish monarch, he had been with difficulty brought to renounce it
before the German Emperor. He was of an illustrious family; but his
territorial possessions were not extensive. His duchy was a small one,
furnishing him with not more than fourteen thousand crowns of annual
income, and with four hundred soldiers. He had, however, been a thrifty
financier all his life, never having been without a handsome sum of ready
money at interest. Ten years before his arrival in the Netherlands, he
was supposed to have already increased his income to forty thousand a
year by the proceeds of his investments at Antwerp. As already intimated,
his military character was sometimes profoundly misunderstood. He was
often considered rather a pedantic than a practical commander, more
capable to discourse of battles than to gain them. Notwithstanding that
his long life had been an almost unbroken campaign, the ridiculous
accusation of timidity was frequently made against him. A gentleman at
the court of the Emperor Charles once addressed a letter to the Duke with
the title of "General of his Majesty's armies in the Duchy of Milan in
time of peace, and major-domo of the household in the time of war." It
was said that the lesson did the Duke good, but that he rewarded very
badly the nobleman who gave it, having subsequently caused his head to be
taken off. In general, however, Alva manifested a philosophical contempt
for the opinions expressed concerning his military fame, and was
especially disdainful of criticism expressed by his own soldiers.
"Recollect," said he, at a little later period, to Don John of Austria,
"that the first foes with whom one has to contend are one's own troops;
with their clamors for an engagement at this moment, and--their murmurs,
about results at another; with their 'I thought that the battle should be
fought;' or, 'it was my opinion that the occasion ought not to be lost.'
Your highness will have opportunity enough to display valor, and will
never be weak enough to be conquered by the babble of soldiers."

In person he was tall, thin, erect, with a small head, a long visage,
lean yellow cheek, dark twinkling eyes, a dust complexion, black
bristling hair, and a long sable-silvered beard, descending in two waving
streams upon his breast.

Such being the design, the machinery was well selected. The best man in
Europe to lead the invading force was placed at the head of ten thousand
picked veterans. The privates in this exquisite little army, said the
enthusiastic connoisseur Brantome, who travelled post into Lorraine
expressly to see them on their march, all wore engraved or gilded armor,
and were in every respect equipped like captains. They were the first who
carried muskets, a weapon which very much astonished the Flemings when it
first rattled in their ears. The musketeers, he observed, might have been
mistaken, for princes, with such agreeable and graceful arrogance did
they present themselves. Each was attended by his servant or esquire, who
carried his piece for him, except in battle, and all were treated with
extreme deference by the rest of the army, as if they had been officers.
The four regiments of Lombardy, Sardinia, Sicily, and Naples, composed a
total of not quite nine thousand of the best foot soldiers in Europe.
They were commanded respectively by Don Sancho de Lodiono, Don Gonzalo de
Bracamonte, Julien Romero, and Alfonso de Ulloa, all distinguished and
experienced generals. The cavalry, amounting to about twelve hundred; was
under the command of the natural son of the Duke, Don Ferdinando de
Toledo, Prior of the Knights of St. John. Chiapin Vitelli, Marquis of
Cetona, who had served the King in many a campaign, was appointed
Marechal de camp, and Gabriel Cerbelloni was placed in command of the
artillery. On the way the Duke received, as a present from the Duke of
Savoy, the services of the distinguished engineer, Pacheco, or Paciotti,
whose name was to be associated with the most celebrated citadel of the
Netherlands; and whose dreadful fate was to be contemporaneous with the
earliest successes of the liberal party.

With an army thus perfect, on a small scale, in all its departments, and
furnished, in addition, with a force of two thousand prostitutes, as
regularly enrolled, disciplined, and distributed as the cavalry or the
artillery, the Duke embarked upon his momentous enterprise, on the 10th
of May, at Carthagena. Thirty-seven galleys, under command of Prince
Andrea Doria, brought the principal part of the force to Genoa, the Duke
being delayed a few days at Nice by an attack of fever. On the 2d of
June, the army was mustered at Alexandria de Palla, and ordered to
rendezvous again at San Ambrosio at the foot of the Alps. It was then
directed to make its way over Mount Cenis and through Savoy; Burgundy,
and Lorraine, by a regularly arranged triple movement. The second
division was each night to encamp on the spot which had been occupied
upon the previous night by the vanguard, and the rear was to place itself
on the following night in the camp of the corps de bataille. Thus coiling
itself along almost in a single line by slow and serpentine windings,
with a deliberate, deadly, venomous purpose, this army, which was to be
the instrument of Philip's long deferred vengeance, stole through narrow
mountain pass and tangled forest. So close and intricate were many of the
defiles through which the journey led them that, had one tithe of the
treason which they came to punish, ever existed, save in the diseased
imagination of their monarch, not one man would have been left to tell
the tale. Egmont, had he really been the traitor and the conspirator he
was assumed to be, might have easily organized the means of cutting off
the troops before they could have effected their entrance into the
country which they had doomed to destruction. His military experience,
his qualifications for a daring stroke, his great popularity, and the
intense hatred entertained for Alva, would have furnished him with a
sufficient machinery for the purpose.

Twelve days' march carried the army through Burgundy, twelve more through
Lorraine. During the whole of the journey they were closely accompanied
by a force of cavalry and infantry, ordered upon this service by the King
of France, who, for fear of exciting a fresh Huguenot demonstration, had
refused the Spaniards a passage through his dominions. This reconnoitring
army kept pace with them like their shadow, and watched all their
movements. A force of six thousand Swiss, equally alarmed and uneasy at
the progress of the troops, hovered likewise about their flanks, without,
however, offering any impediment to their advance. Before the middle of
August they had reached Thionville, on the Luxemburg frontier, having on
the last day marched a distance of two leagues through a forest, which
seemed expressly arranged to allow a small defensive force to embarrass
and destroy an invading army. No opposition, however, was attempted, and
the Spanish soldiers encamped at last within the territory of the
Netherlands, having accomplished their adventurous journey in entire
safety, and under perfect discipline.

The Duchess had in her secret letters to Philip continued to express her
disapprobation of the enterprise thus committed to Alva, She had bitterly
complained that now when the country had been pacified by her efforts,
another should be sent to reap all the glory, or perhaps to undo all that
she had so painfully and so successfully done. She stated to her brother,
in most unequivocal language, that the name of Alva was odious enough to
make the whole Spanish nation detested in the Netherlands. She could find
no language sufficiently strong to express her surprise that the King
should have decided upon a measure likely to be attended with such fatal
consequences without consulting her on the subject, and in opposition to
what had been her uniform advice. She also wrote personally to Alva,
imploring, commanding, and threatening, but with equally ill success. The
Duke knew too well who was sovereign of the Netherlands now; his master's
sister or himself. As to the effects of his armed invasion upon the
temper of the provinces, he was supremely indifferent. He came as a
conqueror not as a mediator. "I have tamed people of iron in my day,"
said he, contemptuously, "shall I not easily crush these men of butter?"

At Thionville he was, however, officially waited upon by Berlaymont and
Noircarmes, on the part of the Regent. He at this point, moreover, began
to receive deputations from various cities, bidding him a hollow and
trembling welcome, and deprecating his displeasure for any thing in the
past which might seem offensive. To all such embassies he replied in
vague and conventional language; saying, however, to his confidential
attendants: I am here, so much is certain, whether I am welcome or not is
to me a matter of little consequence. At Tirlemont, on the 22d August, he
was met by Count Egmont, who had ridden forth from Brussels to show him a
becoming respect, as the representative of his sovereign, The Count was
accompanied by several other noblemen, and brought to the Duke a present
of several beautiful horses. Alva received him, however, but coldly, for
he was unable at first to adjust the mask to his countenance as adroitly
as was necessary. Behold the greatest of all the heretics, he observed to
his attendants, as soon as the nobleman's presence was announced, and in
a voice loud enough for him to hear.

Even after they had exchanged salutations, he addressed several remarks
to him in a half jesting, half biting tone, saying among other things,
that his countship might have spared him the trouble of making this long
journey in his old age. There were other observations in a similar strain
which might have well aroused the suspicion of any man not determined,
like Egmont, to continue blind and deaf. After a brief interval, however,
Alva seems to have commanded himself. He passed his arm lovingly over
that stately neck, which he had already devoted to the block, and the
Count having resolved beforehand to place himself, if possible, upon
amicable terms with the new Viceroy--the two rode along side by side in
friendly conversation, followed by the regiment of infantry and three
companies of light horse, which belonged to the Duke's immediate command.
Alva, still attended by Egmont, rode soon afterwards through the Louvain
gate into Brussels, where they separated for a season. Lodgings had been
taken for the Duke at the house of a certain Madame de Jasse, in the
neighborhood of Egmont's palace. Leaving here the principal portion of
his attendants, the Captain-General, without alighting, forthwith
proceeded to the palace to pay his respects to the Duchess of Parma.

For three days the Regent had been deliberating with her council as to
the propriety of declining any visit from the man whose presence she
justly considered a disgrace and an insult to herself. This being the
reward of her eight years' devotion to her brother's commands; to be
superseded by a subject, and one too who came to carry out a policy which
she had urgently deprecated, it could hardly be expected of the Emperor's
daughter that she should graciously submit to the indignity, and receive
her successor with a smiling countenance. In consequence, however, of the
submissive language with which the Duke had addressed her in his recent
communications, offering with true Castilian but empty courtesy, to place
his guards, his army, and himself at her feet, she had consented to
receive his visit with or without his attendants.

On his appearance in the court-yard, a scene of violent altercation and
almost of bloodshed took place between his body-guard and the archers of
the Regent's household, who were at last, with difficulty, persuaded to
allow the mercenaries of the hated Captain-General to pass. Presenting
himself at three o'clock in the afternoon, after these not very
satisfactory preliminaries, in the bedchamber of the Duchess, where it
was her habit to grant confidential audiences, he met, as might easily be
supposed, with a chilling reception: The Duchess, standing motionless in
the centre of the apartment, attended by Berlaymont, the Duke of
Aerachot, and Count Egmont, acknowledged his salutations with calm
severity. Neither she nor any one of her attendants advanced a step to
meet him. The Duke took off his hat, but she, calmly recognizing his
right as a Spanish grandee, insisted upon his remaining covered. A stiff
and formal conversation of half an hour's duration then ensued, all
parties remaining upon their feet. The Duke, although respectful; found
it difficult to conceal his indignation and his haughty sense of
approaching triumph. Margaret was cold, stately, and forbidding,
disguising her rage and her mortification under a veil of imperial pride.
Alva, in a letter to Philip, describing the interview, assured his
Majesty that he had treated the Duchess with as much deference as he
could have shown to the Queen, but it is probable, from other
contemporaneous accounts, that an ill-disguised and even angry arrogance
was at times very visible in his demeanor. The state council had advised
the Duchess against receiving him until he had duly exhibited his powers.
This ceremony had been waived, but upon being questioned by the Duchess
at this interview as to their nature and extent, he is reported to have
coolly answered that he really did not exactly remember, but that he
would look them over, and send her information at his earliest

The next day, however, his commission was duly exhibited.

In this document, which bore date 31st January, 1567, Philip appointed
him to be Captain-General "in correspondence with his Majesty's dear
sister of Parma, who was occupied with other matters belonging to the
government," begged the Duchess to co-operate with him and to command
obedience for him, and ordered all the cities of the Netherlands to
receive such garrisons as he should direct.

At the official interview between Alva and Madame de Parma, at which
these powers were produced, the necessary preliminary arrangements were
made regarding the Spanish troops, which were now to be immediately
quartered in the principal cities. The Duke, however, informed the Regent
that as these matters were not within her province, he should take the
liberty of arranging them with the authorities, without troubling her in
the matter, and would inform her of the result of his measures at their
next interview, which was to take place on the 26th August.

Circular letters signed by Philip, which Alva had brought with him, were
now despatched to the different municipal bodies of the country. In these
the cities were severally commanded to accept the garrisons, and to
provide for the armies whose active services the King hoped would not be
required, but which he had sent beforehand to prepare a peaceful entrance
for himself. He enjoined the most absolute obedience to the Duke of Alva
until his own arrival, which was to be almost immediate. These letters
were dated at Madrid on the 28th February, and were now accompanied by a
brief official circular, signed by Margaret of Parma, in which she
announced the arrival of her dear cousin of Alva, and demanded
unconditional submission to his authority.

Having thus complied with these demands of external and conventional
propriety, the indignant Duchess unbosomed herself, in her private
Italian letters to her brother, of the rage which had been hitherto
partially suppressed. She reiterated her profound regret that Philip had
not yet accepted the resignation which she had so recently and so
earnestly offered. She disclaimed all jealousy of the supreme powers now
conferred upon Alva, but thought that his Majesty might have allowed her
to leave the country before the Duke arrived with an authority which was
so extraordinary, as well as so humiliating to herself. Her honor might
thus have been saved. She was pained to perceive that she was like to
furnish a perpetual example to all others, who considering the manner in
which she had been treated by the King, would henceforth have but little
inducement to do their duty. At no time, on no occasion, could any person
ever render him such services as hers had been. For nine years she had
enjoyed not a moment of repose. If the King had shown her but little
gratitude, she was consoled by the thought that she had satisfied her
God, herself, and the world. She had compromised her health, perhaps her
life, and now that she had pacified the country, now that the King was
more absolute, more powerful than ever before, another was sent to enjoy
the fruit of her labors and her sufferings.

The Duchess made no secret of her indignation at being thus superseded
and as she considered the matter, outraged. She openly avowed her
displeasure. She was at times almost beside herself with rage. There was
universal sympathy with her emotions, for all hated the Duke, and
shuddered at the arrival of the Spaniards. The day of doom for all the
crimes which had ever been committed in the course of ages, seemed now to
have dawned upon the Netherlands. The sword which had so long been
hanging over them, seemed now about to descend. Throughout the provinces,
there was but one feeling of cold and hopeless dismay. Those who still
saw a possibility of effecting their escape from the fated land, swarmed
across the frontier. All foreign merchants deserted the great marts. The
cities became as still as if the plague-banner had been unfurled on every

Meantime the Captain-General proceeded methodically with his work. He
distributed his troops through Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, and other
principal cities. As a measure of necessity and mark of the last
humiliation, he required the municipalities to transfer their keys to his
keeping. The magistrates of Ghent humbly remonstrated against the
indignity, and Egmont was imprudent enough to make himself the
mouth-piece of their remonstrance, which, it is needless to add, was
unsuccessful. Meantime his own day of reckoning had arrived.

As already observed, the advent of Alva at the head of a foreign army was
the natural consequence of all which had gone before. The delusion of the
royal visit was still maintained, and the affectation of a possible
clemency still displayed, while the monarch sat quietly in his cabinet
without a remote intention of leaving Spain, and while the messengers of
his accumulated and long-concealed wrath were already descending upon
their prey. It was the deliberate intention of Philip, when the Duke was
despatched to the Netherlands, that all the leaders of the
anti-inquisition party, and all who had, at any time or in any way,
implicated themselves in opposition to the government, or in censure of
its proceedings, should be put to death. It was determined that the
provinces should be subjugated to the absolute domination of the council
of Spain, a small body of foreigners sitting at the other end of Europe,
a junta in which Netherlanders were to have no voice and exercise no
influence. The despotic government of the Spanish and Italian possessions
was to be extended to these Flemish territories, which were thus to be
converted into the helpless dependencies of a foreign and an absolute
crown. There was to be a re-organization of the inquisition, upon the
same footing claimed for it before the outbreak of the troubles, together
with a re-enactment and vigorous enforcement of the famous edicts against

Such was the scheme recommended by Granvelle and Espinosa, and to be
executed by Alva. As part and parcel of this plan, it was also arranged
at secret meetings at the house of Espinosa, before the departure of the
Duke, that all the seigniors against whom the Duchess Margaret had made
so many complaints, especially the Prince of Orange, with the Counts
Egmont, Horn, and Hoogstraaten, should be immediately arrested and
brought to chastisement. The Marquis Berghen and the Baron Montigny,
being already in Spain, could be dealt with at pleasure. It was also
decided that the gentlemen implicated in the confederacy or compromise,
should at once be proceeded against for high treason, without any regard
to the promise of pardon granted by the Duchess.

The general features of the great project having been thus mapped out, a
few indispensable preliminaries were at once executed. In order that
Egmont, Horn, and other distinguished victims might not take alarm, and
thus escape the doom deliberately arranged for them, royal assurances
were despatched to the Netherlands, cheering their despondency and
dispelling their doubts. With his own hand Philip wrote the letter, full
of affection and confidence, to Egmont, to which allusion has already
been made. He wrote it after Alva had left Madrid upon his mission of
vengeance. The same stealthy measures were pursued with regard to others.
The Prince of Orange was not capable of falling into the royal trap,
however cautiously baited. Unfortunately he could not communicate his
wisdom to his friends.

It is difficult to comprehend so very sanguine a temperament as that to
which Egmont owed his destruction. It was not the Prince of Orange alone
who had prophesied his doom. Warnings had come to the Count from every
quarter, and they were now frequently repeated. Certainly he was not
without anxiety, but he had made his decision; determined to believe in
the royal word, and in the royal gratitude for his services rendered, not
only against Montmorency and De Thermes, but against the heretics of
Flanders. He was, however, much changed. He had grown prematurely old. At
forty-six years his hair was white, and he never slept without pistols
under his pillow. Nevertheless he affected, and sometimes felt, a
light-heartedness which surprised all around him. The Portuguese
gentleman Robles, Seigneur de Billy, who had returned early in the summer
from Spain; whither he had been sent upon a confidential mission by
Madame de Parma, is said to have made repeated communications to Egmont
as to the dangerous position in which he stood. Immediately after his
arrival in Brussels he had visited the Count, then confined to his house
by an injury caused by the fall of his horse. "Take care to get well very
fast," said De Billy, "for there are very bad stories told about you in
Spain." Egmont laughed heartily at the observation, as if, nothing could
well be more absurd than such a warning. His friend--for De Billy is said
to have felt a real attachment to the Count--persisted in his prophecies,
telling him that "birds in the field sang much more sweetly than those in
cages," and that he would do well to abandon the country before the
arrival of Alva.

These warnings were repeated almost daily by the same gentleman, and by
others, who were more and more astonished at Egmont's infatuation.
Nevertheless, he had disregarded their admonitions, and had gone forth to
meet the Duke at Tirlemont. Even then he might have seen, in the coldness
of his first reception, and in the disrespectful manner of the Spanish
soldiers, who not only did not at first salute him, but who murmured
audibly that he was a Lutheran and traitor, that he was not so great a
favorite with the government at Madrid as he desired to be.

After the first few moments, however, Alva's manner had changed, while
Chiappin Vitelli, Gabriel de Serbelloni, and other principal officers,
received the Count with great courtesy, even upon his first appearance.
The grand prior, Ferdinando de Toledo, natural son of the Duke, and
already a distinguished soldier, seems to have felt a warm and unaffected
friendship for Egmont, whose brilliant exploits in the field had excited
his youthful admiration, and of whose destruction he was, nevertheless,
compelled to be the unwilling instrument. For a few days, accordingly,
after the arrival of the new Governor-General all seemed to be going
smoothly. The grand prior and Egmont became exceedingly intimate, passing
their time together in banquets, masquerades, and play, as joyously as if
the merry days which had succeeded the treaty of Cateau Cambreais were
returned. The Duke, too, manifested the most friendly dispositions,
taking care to send him large presents of Spanish and Italian fruits,
received frequently by the government couriers.

Lapped in this fatal security, Egmont not only forgot his fears, but
unfortunately succeeded in inspiring Count Horn with a portion of his
confidence. That gentleman had still remained in his solitary mansion at
Weert, notwithstanding the artful means which had been used to lure him
from that "desert." It is singular that the very same person who,
according to a well-informed Catholic contemporary, had been most eager
to warn Egmont of his danger, had also been the foremost instrument for
effecting the capture of the Admiral. The Seigneur de Billy, on the day
after his arrival from Madrid, had written to Horn, telling him that the
King was highly pleased with his services and character. De Billy also
stated that he had been commissioned by Philip to express distinctly the
royal gratitude for the Count's conduct, adding that his Majesty was
about to visit the Netherlands in August, and would probably be preceded
or accompanied by Baron Montigny.

Alva and his son Don Ferdinando had soon afterwards addressed letters
from Gerverbiller (dated 26th and 27th July) to Count Horn, filled with
expressions of friendship and confidence. The Admiral, who had sent one
of his gentlemen to greet the Duke, now responded from Weert that he was
very sensible of the kindness manifested towards him, but that for
reasons which his secretary Alonzo de la Loo would more fully
communicate, he must for the present beg to be excused from a personal
visit to Brussels. The secretary was received by Alva with extreme
courtesy. The Duke expressed infinite pain that the King had not yet
rewarded Count Horn's services according to their merit, said that a year
before he had told his brother Montigny how very much he was the
Admiral's friend, and begged La Loo to tell his master that he should not
doubt the royal generosity and gratitude. The governor added, that if he
could see the Count in person he could tell him things which would please
him, and which would prove that he had not been forgotten by his friends.
La Loo had afterward a long conversation with the Duke's secretary
Albornoz, who assured him that his master had the greatest affection for
Count Horn, and that since his affairs were so much embarrassed, he might
easily be provided with the post of governor at Milan, or viceroy of
Naples, about to become vacant. The secretary added, that the Duke was
much hurt at receiving no visits from many distinguished nobles whose
faithful friend and servant he was, and that Count Horn ought to visit
Brussels, if not to treat of great affairs, at least to visit the
Captain-General as a friend. "After all this," said honest Alonzo, "I am
going immediately to Weert, to urge his lordship to yield to the Duke's

This scientific manoeuvring, joined to the urgent representations of
Egmont, at last produced its effect. The Admiral left his retirement at
Weert to fall into the pit which his enemies had been so skilfully
preparing at Brussels. On the night of the 8th September, Egmont received
another most significative and mysterious warning. A Spaniard, apparently
an officer of rank, came secretly into his house, and urged him solemnly
to effect his escape before the morrow. The Countess, who related the
story afterwards, always believed, without being certain, that the
mysterious visitor was Julian Romero, marechal de camp. Egmont, however,
continued as blindly confident as before.

On the following day, September 9th, the grand prior, Don Ferdinando,
gave a magnificent dinner, to which Egmont and Horn, together with
Noircarmes, the Viscount of Ghent, and many other noblemen were invited.
The banquet was enlivened by the music of Alva's own military band, which
the Duke sent to entertain the company. At three o'clock he sent a
message begging the gentlemen, after their dinner should be concluded, to
favor him with their company at his house (the maison de Jassey), as he
wished to consult them concerning the plan of the citadel, which he
proposed erecting at Antwerp.

At this moment, the grand prior who was seated next to Egmont, whispered
in his ear; "Leave this place, Signor Count, instantly; take the fleetest
horse in your stable and make your escape without a moment's delay."
Egmont, much troubled, and remembering the manifold prophecies and
admonitions which he had passed by unheeded, rose from the table and went
into the next room. He was followed by Noircarmes and two other
gentlemen, who had observed his agitation, and were curious as to its
cause. The Count repeated to them the mysterious words just whispered to
him by the grand prior, adding that he was determined to take the advice
without a moment's delay. "Ha! Count," exclaimed Noircarmes, "do not put
lightly such implicit confidence in this stranger who is counselling you
to your destruction. What will the Duke of Alva and all the Spaniards say
of such a precipitate flight? Will they not say that your Excellency has
fled from the consciousness of guilt? Will not your escape be construed
into a confession of high treason."

If these words were really spoken by Noircarmes; and that they were so,
we have the testimony of a Walloon gentleman in constant communication
with Egmont's friends and with the whole Catholic party, they furnish
another proof of the malignant and cruel character of the man. The advice
fixed forever the fate of the vacillating Egmont. He had risen from table
determined to take the advice of a noble-minded Spaniard, who had
adventured his life to save his friend. He now returned in obedience to
the counsel of a fellow-countryman, a Flemish noble, to treat the
well-meant warning with indifference, and to seat himself again at the
last banquet which he was ever to grace with his presence.

At four o'clock, the dinner being finished, Horn and Egmont, accompanied
by the other gentlemen, proceeded to the "Jassy" house, then occupied by
Alva, to take part in the deliberations proposed. They were received by
the Duke with great courtesy. The engineer, Pietro Urbino, soon appeared
and laid upon the table a large parchment containing the plan and
elevation of the citadel to be erected at Antwerp. A warm discussion upon
the subject soon arose, Egmont, Horn, Noircarmes and others, together
with the engineers Urbino and Pacheco, all taking part in the debate.
After a short time, the Duke of Alva left the apartment, on pretext of a
sudden indisposition, leaving the company still warmly engaged in their
argument. The council lasted till near seven in the evening. As it broke
up, Don Sancho d'Avila, captain of the Duke's guard, requested Egmont to
remain for a moment after the rest, as he had a communication to make to
him. After an insignificant remark or two, the Spanish officer, as soon
as the two were alone, requested Egmont to surrender his sword. The
Count, agitated, and notwithstanding every thing which had gone before,
still taken by surprise, scarcely knew what reply to make. Don Sancho
repeated that he had been commissioned to arrest him, and again demanded
his sword. At the same moment the doors of the adjacent apartment were
opened, and Egmont saw himself surrounded by a company of Spanish
musqueteers and halberdmen. Finding himself thus entrapped, he gave up
his sword, saying bitterly, as he did so, that it had at least rendered
some service to the King in times which were past. He was then conducted
to a chamber, in the upper story of the house, where his temporary prison
had been arranged. The windows were barricaded, the daylight excluded,
the whole apartment hung with black. Here he remained fourteen days (from
the 9th to 23d September). During this period, he was allowed no
communication with his friends. His room was lighted day and night with
candles, and he was served in strict silence by Spanish attendants, and
guarded by Spanish soldiers. The captain of the watch drew his curtain
every midnight, and aroused him from sleep that he might be identified by
the relieving officer.

Count Horn was arrested upon the same occasion by Captain Salinas, as he
was proceeding through the court-yard of the house, after the breaking up
of the council. He was confined in another chamber of the mansion, and
met with a precisely similar treatment to that experienced by Egmont.
Upon the 23d September, both were removed under a strong guard to the
castle of Ghent.

On this same day, two other important arrests, included and arranged in
the same program, had been successfully accomplished. Bakkerzeel, private
and confidential secretary of Egmont, and Antony Van Straalen, the rich
and influential burgomaster of Antwerp, were taken almost simultaneously.
At the request of Alva, the burgomaster had been invited by the Duchess
of Parma to repair on business to Brussels. He seemed to have feared an
ambuscade, for as he got into his coach to set forth upon the journey, he
was so muffed in a multiplicity of clothing, that he was scarcely to be
recognized. He was no sooner, however, in the open country and upon a
spot remote from human habitations, than he was suddenly beset by a band
of forty soldiers under command of Don Alberic Lodron and Don Sancho de
Lodrono. These officers had been watching his movements for many days.
The capture of Bakkerzeel was accomplished with equal adroitness at about
the same hour.

Alva, while he sat at the council board with Egmont and Horn, was
secretly informed that those important personages, Bakkerzeel and
Straalen, with the private secretary of the Admiral, Alonzo de la Loo, in
addition, had been thus successfully arrested. He could with difficulty
conceal his satisfaction, and left the apartment immediately that the
trap might be sprung upon the two principal victims of his treachery. He
had himself arranged all the details of these two important arrests,
while his natural son, the Prior Don Ferdinando, had been compelled to
superintend the proceedings. The plot had been an excellent plot, and was
accomplished as successfully as it bad been sagaciously conceived. None
but Spaniards had been employed in any part of the affair. Officers of
high rank in his Majesty's army had performed the part of spies and
policemen with much adroitness, nor was it to be expected that the duty
would seem a disgrace, when the Prior of the Knights of Saint John was
superintendent of the operations, when the Captain-General of the
Netherlands had arranged the whole plan, and when all, from subaltern to
viceroy, had received minute instructions as to the contemplated
treachery from the great chief of the Spanish police, who sat on the
throne of Castile and Aragon.

No sooner were these gentlemen in custody than the secretary Albornoz was
dispatched to the house of Count Horn, and to that of Bakkerzeel, where
all papers were immediately seized, inventoried, and placed in the hands
of the Duke. Thus, if amid the most secret communications of Egmont and
Horn or their correspondents, a single treasonable thought should be
lurking, it was to go hard but it might be twisted into a cord strong
enough to strangle them all.

The Duke wrote a triumphant letter to his Majesty that very night. He
apologized that these important captures had been deferred so long but,
stated that he had thought it desirable to secure all these leading
personages at a single stroke. He then narrated the masterly manner in
which the operations had been conducted. Certainly, when it is remembered
that the Duke had only reached Brussels upon the 23d August, and that the
two Counts were securely lodged in prison on the 9th of September, it
seemed a superfluous modesty upon his part thus to excuse himself for an
apparent delay. At any rate, in the eyes of the world and of posterity,
his zeal to carry out the bloody commands of his master was sufficiently

The consternation was universal throughout the provinces when the arrests
became known. Egmont's great popularity and distinguished services placed
him so high above the mass of citizens, and his attachment to the
Catholic religion was moreover so well known, as to make it obvious that
no man could now be safe, when men like him were in the power of Alva and
his myrmidons. The animosity to the Spaniards increased hourly. The
Duchess affected indignation at the arrest of the two nobles, although it
nowhere appears that she attempted a word in their defence, or lifted, at
any subsequent moment, a finger to save them. She was not anxious to wash
her hands of the blood of two innocent men; she was only offended that
they had been arrested without her permission. The Duke had, it is true,
sent Berlaymont and Mansfeld to give her information of the fact, as soon
as the capture had been made, with the plausible excuse that he preferred
to save her from all the responsibility and all the unpopularity of the
measure, Nothing, however, could appease her wrath at this and every
other indication of the contempt in which he appeared to hold the sister
of his sovereign. She complained of his conduct daily to every one who
was admitted to her presence. Herself oppressed by a sense of personal
indignity, she seemed for a moment to identify herself with the cause of
the oppressed provinces. She seemed to imagine herself the champion of
their liberties, and the Netherlanders, for a moments seemed to
participate in the delusion. Because she was indignant at the insolence
of the Duke of Alva to her self, the honest citizens began to give her
credit for a sympathy with their own wrongs. She expressed herself
determined to move about from one city to another, until the answer to
her demand for dismissal should arrive. She allowed her immediate
attendants to abuse the Spaniards in good set terms upon every occasion.
Even her private chaplain permitted himself, in preaching before her in
the palace chapel, to denounce the whole nation as a race of traitors and
ravishers, and for this offence was only reprimanded, much against her
will, by the Duchess, and ordered to retire for a season to his convent.
She did not attempt to disguise her dissatisfaction at every step which
had been taken by the Duke. In all this there was much petulance, but
very little dignity, while there was neither a spark of real sympathy for
the oppressed millions, nor a throb of genuine womanly emotion for the
impending fate of the two nobles. Her principal grief was that she had
pacified the provinces, and that another had now arrived to reap the
glory; but it was difficult, while the unburied bones of many heretics
were still hanging, by her decree, on the rafters of their own dismantled
churches, for her successfully to enact the part of a benignant and
merciful Regent. But it is very true that the horrors of the Duke's
administration have been propitious to the fame of Margaret, and perhaps
more so to that of Cardinal Granvelle. The faint and struggling rays of
humanity which occasionally illumined the course of their government,
were destined to be extinguished in a chaos so profound and dark, that
these last beams of light seemed clearer and more bountiful by the

The Count of Hoogstraaten, who was on his way to Brussels, had, by good
fortune, injured his hand through the accidental discharge of a pistol.
Detained by this casualty at Cologne, he was informed, before his arrival
at the capital, of the arrest of his two distinguished friends, and
accepted the hint to betake himself at once to a place of Safety.

The loyalty of the elder Mansfeld was beyond dispute even by Alva. His
son Charles had, however, been imprudent, and, as we have seen, had even
affixed his name to the earliest copies of the Compromise. He had
retired, it is true, from all connexion with the confederates, but his
father knew well that the young Count's signature upon that famous
document would prove his death-warrant, were he found in the country. He
therefore had sent him into Germany before the arrival of the Duke.

The King's satisfaction was unbounded when he learned this important
achievement of Alva, and he wrote immediately to express his approbation
in the most extravagant terms. Cardinal Granvelle, on the contrary,
affected astonishment at a course which he had secretly counselled. He
assured his Majesty that he had never believed Egmont to entertain
sentiments opposed to the Catholic religion, nor to the interests of the
Crown, up to the period of his own departure from the Netherlands. He was
persuaded, he said, that the Count had been abused by others, although,
to be sure, the Cardinal had learned with regret what Egmont had written
on the occasion of the baptism of Count Hoogstraaten's child. As to the
other persons arrested, he said that no one regretted their fate. The
Cardinal added, that he was supposed to be himself the instigator of
these captures, but that he was not disturbed by that, or by other
imputations of a similar nature.

In conversation with those about him, he frequently expressed regret that
the Prince of Orange had been too crafty to be caught in the same net in
which his more simple companions were so inextricably entangled. Indeed,
on the first arrival of the news, that men of high rank had been arrested
in Brussels, the Cardinal eagerly inquired if the Taciturn had been
taken, for by that term he always characterized the Prince. Receiving a
negative reply, he expressed extreme disappointment, adding, that if
Orange had escaped, they had taken nobody; and that his capture would
have been more valuable than that of every man in the Netherlands.

Peter Titelmann, too, the famous inquisitor, who, retired from active
life, was then living upon Philip's bounty, and encouraged by friendly
letters from that monarch, expressed the same opinion. Having been
informed that Egmont and Horn had been captured, he eagerly inquired if
"wise William" had also been taken. He was, of course, answered in the
negative. "Then will our joy be but brief," he observed. "Woe unto us for
the wrath to come from Germany."

On the 12th of July, of this year, Philip wrote to Granvelle to inquire
the particulars of a letter which the Prince of Orange, according to a
previous communication of the Cardinal, had written to Egmont on the
occasion of the baptism of Count Hoogstraaten's child. On the 17th of
August, the Cardinal replied, by setting the King right as to the error
which he had committed. The letter, as he had already stated, was not
written by Orange, but by Egmont, and he expressed his astonishment that
Madame de Parma had not yet sent it to his Majesty. The Duchess must have
seen it, because her confessor had shown it to the person who was
Granvelle's informant. In this letter, the Cardinal continued, the
statement had been made by Egmont to the Prince of Orange that their
plots were discovered, that the King was making armaments, that they were
unable to resist him, and that therefore it had become necessary to
dissemble and to accommodate themselves as well as possible to the
present situation, while waiting for other circumstances under which to
accomplish their designs. Granvelle advised, moreover, that Straalen, who
had been privy to the letter, and perhaps the amanuensis, should be
forthwith arrested.

The Cardinal was determined not to let the matter sleep, notwithstanding
his protestation of a kindly feeling towards the imprisoned Count.
Against the statement that he knew of a letter which amounted to a full
confession of treason, out of Egmont's own mouth--a fact which, if
proved, and perhaps, if even insinuated, would be sufficient with Philip
to deprive Egmont of twenty thousand lives--against these constant
recommendations to his suspicious and sanguinary master, to ferret out
this document, if it were possible, it must be confessed that the
churchman's vague and hypocritical expressions on the side of mercy were
very little worth.

Certainly these seeds of suspicion did not fall upon a barren soil.
Philip immediately communicated the information thus received to the Duke
of Alva, charging him on repeated occasions to find out what was written,
either by Egmont or by Straalen, at Egmont's instigation, stating that
such a letter was written at the time of the Hoogstraaten baptism, that
it would probably illustrate the opinions of Egmont at that period, and
that the letter itself, which the confessor of Madame de Parma had once
had in his hands, ought, if possible, to be procured. Thus the very
language used by Granvelle to Philip was immediately repeated by the
monarch to his representative in the Netherlands, at the moment when all
Egmont's papers were in his possession, and when Egmont's private
secretary was undergoing the torture, in order that; secrets might be
wrenched from him which had never entered his brain. The fact that no
such letter was found, that the Duchess had never alluded to any such
document, and that neither a careful scrutiny of papers, nor the
application of the rack, could elicit any satisfactory information on the
subject, leads to the conclusion that no such treasonable paper had ever
existed, save in the imagination of the Cardinal. At any rate, it is no
more than just to hesitate before affixing a damning character to a
document, in the absence of any direct proof that there ever was such a
document at all. The confessor of Madame de Parma told another person,
who told the Cardinal, that either Count Egmont, or Burgomaster Straalen,
by command of Count Egmont, wrote to the Prince of Orange thus and so.
What evidence was this upon which to found a charge of high treason
against a man whom Granvelle affected to characterize as otherwise
neither opposed to the Catholic religion, nor to the true service of the
King? What vulpine kind of mercy was it on the part of the Cardinal,
while making such deadly insinuations, to recommend the imprisoned victim
to clemency?

The unfortunate envoys, Marquis Bergen and Baron Montigny, had remained
in Spain under close observation. Of those doomed victims who, in spite
of friendly remonstrances and of ominous warnings, had thus ventured into
the lion's den, no retreating footmarks were ever to be seen. Their fate,
now that Alva had at last been despatched to the Netherlands, seemed to
be sealed, and the Marquis Bergen, accepting the augury in its most evil
sense, immediately afterwards had sickened unto death. Whether it were
the sickness of hope deferred, suddenly changing to despair, or whether
it were a still more potent and unequivocal poison which came to the
relief of the unfortunate nobleman, will perhaps never be ascertained
with certainty. The secrets of those terrible prison-houses of Spain,
where even the eldest begotten son, and the wedded wife of the monarch,
were soon afterwards believed to have been the victims of his dark
revenge, can never perhaps be accurately known, until the grave gives up
its dead, and the buried crimes of centuries are revealed.

It was very soon after the departure of Alva's fleet from Carthagena,
that the Marquis Bergen felt his end approaching. He sent for the Prince
of Eboli, with whom he had always maintained intimate relations, and whom
he believed to be his disinterested friend. Relying upon his faithful
breast, and trusting to receive from his eyes alone the pious drops of
sympathy which he required, the dying noble poured out his long and last
complaint. He charged him to tell the man whom he would no longer call
his king, that he had ever been true and loyal, that the bitterness of
having been constantly suspected, when he was conscious of entire
fidelity, was a sharper sorrow than could be lightly believed, and that
he hoped the time would come when his own truth and the artifices of his
enemies would be brought to light. He closed his parting message by
predicting that after he had been long laid in the grave, the
impeachments against his character would be, at last, although too late,

So spake the unhappy envoy, and his friend replied with words of
consolation. It is probable that he even ventured, in the King's name, to
grant him the liberty of returning to his home; the only remedy, as his
physicians had repeatedly stated, which could possibly be applied to his
disease. But the devilish hypocrisy of Philip, and the abject perfidy of
Eboli, at this juncture, almost surpass belief. The Prince came to press
the hand and to close the eyes of the dying man whom he called his
friend, having first carefully studied a billet of most minute and secret
instructions from his master as to the deportment he was to observe upon
this solemn occasion and afterwards. This paper, written in Philip's own
hand, had been delivered to Eboli on the very day of his visit to Bergen,
and bore the superscription that it was not to be read nor opened till
the messenger who brought it had left his presence. It directed the
Prince, if it should be evident Marquis was past recovery, to promise
him, in the King's name, the permission of returning to the Netherlands.
Should, however, a possibility of his surviving appear, Eboli was only to
hold out a hope that such permission might eventually be obtained. In
case of the death of Bergen, the Prince was immediately to confer with
the Grand Inquisitor and with the Count of Feria, upon the measures to be
taken for his obsequies. It might seem advisable, in that event to
exhibit the regret which the King and his ministers felt for his death,
and the great esteem in which they held the nobles of the Netherlands. At
the same time, Eboli was further instructed to confer with the same
personages as to the most efficient means for preventing the escape of
Baron Montigny; to keep a vigilant eye upon his movements, and to give
general directions to governors and to postmasters to intercept his
flight, should it be attempted. Finally, in case of Bergen's death, the
Prince was directed to despatch a special messenger, apparently on his
own responsibility, and as if in the absence and without the knowledge of
the King, to inform the Duchess of Parma of the event, and to urge her
immediately to take possession of the city of Bergen-op-Zoom, and of all
other property belonging to the Marquis, until it should be ascertained
whether it were not possible to convict him, after death, of treason, and
to confiscate his estates accordingly.

Such were the instructions of Philip to Eboli, and precisely in
accordance with the program, was the horrible comedy enacted at the
death-bed of the envoy. Three days after his parting interview with his
disinterested friend, the Marquis was a corpse.--Before his limbs were
cold, a messenger was on his way to Brussels, instructing the Regent to
sequestrate his property, and to arrest, upon suspicion of heresy, the
youthful kinsman and niece, who, by the will of the Marquis, were to be
united in marriage and to share his estate. The whole drama, beginning
with the death scene, was enacted according to order: Before the arrival
of Alva in the Netherlands, the property of the Marquis was in the hands
of the Government, awaiting the confiscation,--which was but for a brief
season delayed, while on the other hand, Baron Montigny, Bergen's
companion in doom, who was not, however, so easily to be carried off by
homesickness, was closely confined in the alcazar of Segovia, never to
leave a Spanish prison alive. There is something pathetic in the delusion
in which Montigny and his brother, the Count Horn, both indulged, each
believing that the other was out of harm's way, the one by his absence
from the Netherlands, the other by his absence from Spain, while both,
involved in the same meshes, were rapidly and surely approaching their

In the same despatch of the 9th September, in which the Duke communicated
to Philip the capture of Egmont and Horn, he announced to him his
determination to establish a new court for the trial of crimes committed
during the recent period of troubles. This wonderful tribunal was
accordingly created with the least possible delay. It was called the
Council of Troubles, but it soon acquired the terrible name, by which it
will be forever known in history, of the 'Blood-Council'. It superseded
all other institutions. Every court, from those of the municipal
magistracies up to the supreme councils of the provinces, were forbidden
to take cognizance in future of any cause growing out of the late
troubles. The council of state, although it was not formally disbanded,
fell into complete desuetude, its members being occasionally summoned
into Alva's private chambers in an irregular manner, while its principal
functions were usurped by the Blood-Council. Not only citizens of every
province, but the municipal bodies and even the sovereign provincial
estates themselves, were compelled to plead, like humble individuals,
before this new and extraordinary tribunal. It is unnecessary to allude
to the absolute violation which was thus committed of all charters, laws
and privileges, because the very creation of the council was a bold and
brutal proclamation that those laws and privileges were at an end. The
constitution or maternal principle of this suddenly erected court was of
a twofold nature. It defined and it punished the crime of treason. The
definitions, couched in eighteen articles, declared it to be treason to
have delivered or signed any petition against the new bishops, the
Inquisition, or the Edicts; to have tolerated public preaching under any
circumstances; to have omitted resistance to the image-breaking, to the
field-preaching, or to the presentation of the Request by the nobles, and
"either through sympathy or surprise" to have asserted that the King did
not possess the right to deprive all the provinces of their liberties, or
to have maintained that this present tribunal was bound to respect in any
manner any laws or any charters. In these brief and simple, but
comprehensive terms, was the crime of high treason defined. The
punishment was still more briefly, simply, and comprehensively stated,
for it was instant death in all cases. So well too did this new and
terrible engine perform its work, that in less than three months from the
time of its erection, eighteen hundred human beings had suffered death by
its summary proceedings; some of the highest, the noblest, and the most
virtuous in the land among the number; nor had it then manifested the
slightest indication of faltering in its dread career.

Yet, strange to say, this tremendous court, thus established upon the
ruins of all the ancient institutions of the country, had not been
provided with even a nominal authority from any source whatever. The King
had granted it no letters patent or charter, nor had even the Duke of
Alva thought it worth while to grant any commissions either in his own
name or as Captain-General, to any of the members composing the board.
The Blood-Council was merely an informal club, of which the Duke was
perpetual president, while the other members were all appointed by

Of these subordinate councillors, two had the right of voting, subject,
however, in all cases to his final decision, while the rest of the number
did not vote at all. It had not, therefore, in any sense, the character
of a judicial, legislative, or executive tribunal, but was purely a board
of advice by which the bloody labors of the duke were occasionally
lightened as to detail, while not a feather's weight of power or of
responsibility was removed from his shoulders. He reserved for himself
the final decision upon all causes which should come before the council,
and stated his motives for so doing with grim simplicity. "Two reasons,"
he wrote to the King, "have determined me thus to limit the power of the
tribunal; the first that, not knowing its members, I might be easily
deceived by them; the second, that the men of law only condemn for crimes
which are proved; whereas your Majesty knows that affairs of state are
governed by very different rules from the laws which they have here."

It being, therefore, the object of the Duke to compose a body of men who
would be of assistance to him in condemning for crimes which could not be
proved, and in slipping over statutes which were not to be recognized, it
must be confessed that he was not unfortunate in the appointments which
he made to the office of councillors. In this task of appointment he had
the assistance of the experienced Viglius. That learned jurisconsult,
with characteristic lubricity, had evaded the dangerous honor for
himself, but he nominated a number of persons from whom the Duke selected
his list. The sacerdotal robes which he had so recently and so "craftily"
assumed, furnished his own excuse, and in his letters to his faithful
Hopper he repeatedly congratulated himself upon his success in keeping
himself at a distance from so bloody and perilous a post.

It is impossible to look at the conduct of the distinguished Frisian at
this important juncture without contempt. Bent only upon saving himself,
his property, and his reputation, he did not hesitate to bend before the
"most illustrious Duke," as he always denominated him, with fulsome and
fawning homage. While he declined to dip his own fingers in the innocent
blood which was about to flow in torrents, he did not object to officiate
at the initiatory preliminaries of the great Netherland holocaust. His
decent and dainty demeanor seems even more offensive than the jocularity
of the real murderers. Conscious that no man knew the laws and customs of
the Netherlands better than himself, he had the humble effrontery to
observe that it was necessary for him at that moment silently to submit
his own unskilfulness to the superior judgment and knowledge of others.
Having at last been relieved from the stone of Sisyphus, which, as he
plaintively expressed himself, he had been rolling for twenty years;
having, by the arrival of Tisnacq, obtained his discharge as President of
the state council, he was yet not unwilling to retain the emoluments and
the rank of President of the privy council, although both offices had
become sinecures since the erection of the Council of Blood. Although his
life had been spent in administrative and judicial employments, he did
not blush upon a matter of constitutional law to defer to the authority
of such jurisconsults as the Duke of Alva and his two Spanish
bloodhounds, Vargas and Del Rio. He did not like, he observed, in his
confidential correspondence, to gainsay the Duke, when maintaining, that
in cases of treason, the privileges of Brabant were powerless, although
he mildly doubted whether the Brabantines would agree with the doctrine.
He often thought, he said, of remedies for restoring the prosperity of
the provinces, but in action he only assisted the Duke, to the best of
his abilities, in arranging the Blood-Council. He wished well to his
country, but he was more anxious for the favor of Alva. "I rejoice," said
he, in one of his letters, "that the most illustrious Duke has written to
the King in praise of my obsequiousness; when I am censured here for so
reverently cherishing him, it is a consolation that my services to the
King and to the governor are not unappreciated there." Indeed the Duke of
Alva, who had originally suspected the President's character, seemed at
last overcome by his indefatigable and cringing homage. He wrote to the
King, in whose good graces the learned Doctor was most anxious at that
portentous period to maintain himself, that the President was very
serviceable and diligent, and that he deserved to receive a crumb of
comfort from the royal hand. Philip, in consequence, wrote in one of his
letters a few lines of vague compliment, which could be shown to Viglius,
according to Alva's suggestion. It is, however, not a little
characteristic of the Spanish court and of the Spanish monarch, that, on
the very day before, he had sent to the Captain-General a few documents
of very different import. In order, as he said, that the Duke might be
ignorant of nothing which related to the Netherlands, he forwarded to him
copies of the letters written by Margaret of Parma from Brussels, three
years before. These letters, as it will be recollected, contained an
account of the secret investigations which the Duchess had made as to the
private character and opinions of Viglius--at the very moment when he
apparently stood highest in her confidence--and charged him with heresy,
swindling, and theft. Thus the painstaking and time-serving President,
with all his learning and experience, was successively the dupe of
Margaret and of Alva, whom he so obsequiously courted, and always of
Philip, whom he so feared and worshipped.

With his assistance, the list of blood-councillors was quickly completed.
No one who was offered the office refused it. Noircarmes and Berlaymont
accepted with very great eagerness. Several presidents and councillors of
the different provincial tribunals were appointed, but all the
Netherlanders were men of straw. Two Spaniards, Del Rio and Vargas, were
the only members who could vote; while their decisions, as already
stated, were subject to reversal by Alva. Del Rio was a man without
character or talent, a mere tool in the hands of his superiors, but Juan
de Vargas was a terrible reality.

No better man could have been found in Europe for the post to which he
was thus elevated. To shed human blood was, in his opinion, the only
important business and the only exhilarating pastime of life. His youth
had been stained with other crimes. He had been obliged to retire from
Spain, because of his violation of an orphan child to whom he was
guardian, but, in his manhood, he found no pleasure but in murder. He
executed Alva's bloody work with an industry which was almost superhuman,
and with a merriment which would have shamed a demon. His execrable jests
ring through the blood and smoke and death-cries of those days of
perpetual sacrifice. He was proud to be the double of the iron-hearted
Duke, and acted so uniformly in accordance with his views, that the right
of revision remained but nominal. There could be no possibility of
collision where the subaltern was only anxious to surpass an incomparable
superior. The figure of Vargas rises upon us through the mist of three
centuries with terrible distinctness. Even his barbarous grammar has not
been forgotten, and his crimes against syntax and against humanity have
acquired the same immortality. "Heretici fraxerunt templa, boni nihili
faxerunt contra, ergo debent omnes patibulare," was the comprehensive but
barbarous formula of a man who murdered the Latin language as ruthlessly
as he slaughtered his contemporaries.

Among the ciphers who composed the rest of the board, the Flemish
Councillor Hessels was the one whom the Duke most respected. He was not
without talent or learning, but the Duke only valued him for his cruelty.
Being allowed to take but little share in the deliberations, Hessels was
accustomed to doze away his afternoon hours at the council table, and
when awakened from his nap in order that he might express an opinion on
the case then before the court, was wont to rub his eyes and to call out
"Ad patibulum, ad patibulum," ("to the gallows with him, to the gallows
with him,") with great fervor, but in entire ignorance of the culprit's
name or the merits of the case. His wife, naturally disturbed that her
husband's waking and sleeping hours were alike absorbed with this
hangman's work, more than once ominously expressed her hope to him, that
he, whose head and heart were thus engrossed with the gibbet, might not
one day come to hang upon it himself; a gloomy prophecy which the Future
most terribly fulfilled.

The Council of Blood, thus constituted, held its first session on the
20th September, at the lodgings of Alva. Springing completely grown and
armed to the teeth from the head of its inventor, the new tribunal--at
the very outset in possession of all its vigor--forthwith began to
manifest a terrible activity in accomplishing the objects of its
existence. The councillors having been sworn to "eternal secrecy as to
any thing which should be transacted at the board, and having likewise
made oath to denounce any one of their number who should violate the
pledge," the court was considered as organized. Alva worked therein seven
hours daily. It may be believed that the subordinates were not spared,
and that their office proved no sinecure. Their labors, however, were not
encumbered by antiquated forms. As this supreme and only tribunal for all
the Netherlands had no commission or authority save the will of the
Captain-General, so it was also thought a matter of supererogation to
establish a set of rules and orders such as might be useful in less
independent courts. The forms of proceeding were brief and artless. There
was a rude organization by which a crowd of commissioners, acting as
inferior officers of the council, were spread over the provinces, whose
business was to collect information concerning all persons who might be
incriminated for participation in the recent troubles. The greatest
crime, however, was to be rich, and one which could be expiated by no
virtues, however signal. Alva was bent upon proving himself as
accomplished a financier as he was indisputably a consummate commander,
and he had promised his master an annual income of 500,000 ducats from
the confiscations which were to accompany the executions.

It was necessary that the blood torrent should flow at once through the
Netherlands, in order that the promised golden river, a yard deep,
according to his vaunt, should begin to irrigate the thirsty soil of
Spain. It is obvious, from the fundamental laws which were made to define
treason at the same moment in which they established the council, that
any man might be at any instant summoned to the court. Every man, whether
innocent or guilty, whether Papist or Protestant, felt his head shaking
on his shoulders. If he were wealthy, there seemed no remedy but flight,
which was now almost impossible, from the heavy penalties affixed by the
new edict upon all carriers, shipmasters, and wagoners, who should aid in
the escape of heretics.

A certain number of these commissioners were particularly instructed to
collect information as to the treason of Orange, Louis Nassau, Brederode,
Egmont, Horn, Culemberg, Vanden Berg, Bergen, and Montigny. Upon such
information the proceedings against those distinguished seigniors were to
be summarily instituted. Particular councillors of the Court of Blood
were charged with the arrangement of these important suits, but the
commissioners were to report in the first instance to the Duke himself,
who afterwards returned the paper into the hands of his subordinates.

With regard to the inferior and miscellaneous cases which were daily
brought in incredible profusion before the tribunal, the same
preliminaries were observed, by way of aping the proceedings in courts of
justice. Alva sent the cart-loads of information which were daily brought
to him, but which neither he nor any other man had time to read, to be
disposed of by the board of councillors. It was the duty of the different
subalterns, who, as already stated, had no right of voting, to prepare
reports upon the cases. Nothing could be more summary. Information was
lodged against a man, or against a hundred men, in one document. The Duke
sent the papers to the council, and the inferior councillors reported at
once to Vargas. If the report concluded with a recommendation of death to
the man, or the hundred men in question, Vargas instantly approved it,
and execution was done upon the man, or the hundred men, within
forty-eight hours. If the report had any other conclusion, it was
immediately sent back for revision, and the reporters were overwhelmed
with reproaches by the President.

Such being the method of operation, it may be supposed that the
councillors were not allowed to slacken in their terrible industry. The
register of every city, village, and hamlet throughout the Netherlands
showed the daily lists of men, women, and children thus sacrificed at the
shrine of the demon who had obtained the mastery over this unhappy land.
It was not often that an individual was of sufficient importance to be
tried--if trial it could be called--by himself. It was found more
expeditious to send them in batches to the furnace. Thus, for example, on
the 4th of January, eighty-four inhabitants of Valenciennes were
condemned; on another day, ninety-five miscellaneous individuals, from
different places in Flanders; on another, forty-six inhabitants of
Malines; on another, thirty-five persons from different localities, and
so on.

The evening of Shrovetide, a favorite holiday in the Netherlands,
afforded an occasion for arresting and carrying off a vast number of
doomed individuals at a single swoop. It was correctly supposed that the
burghers, filled with wine and wassail, to which perhaps the persecution
under which they lived lent an additional and horrible stimulus, might be
easily taken from their beds in great numbers, and be delivered over at
once to the council. The plot was ingenious, the net was spread
accordingly. Many of the doomed were, however, luckily warned of the
terrible termination which was impending over their festival, and
bestowed themselves in safety for a season. A prize of about five hundred
prisoners was all which rewarded the sagacity of the enterprise. It is
needless to add that they were all immediately executed. It is a
wearisome and odious task to ransack the mouldy records of three
centuries ago, in order to reproduce the obscure names of the thousands
who were thus sacrificed.. The dead have buried their dead, and are
forgotten. It is likewise hardly necessary to state that the proceedings
before the council were all 'ex parte', and that an information was
almost inevitably followed by a death-warrant. It sometimes happened even
that the zeal of the councillors outstripped the industry of the
commissioners. The sentences were occasionally in advance of the docket.
Thus upon one occasion a man's case was called for trial, but before the
investigation was commenced it was discovered that he had been already
executed. A cursory examination of the papers proved, moreover, as usual,
that the culprit had committed no crime. "No matter for that," said
Vargas, jocosely, "if he has died innocent, it will be all the better for
him when he takes his trial in the other world."

But, however the councillors might indulge in these gentle jests among
themselves, it was obvious that innocence was in reality impossible,
according to the rules which had been laid down regarding treason. The
practice was in accordance with the precept, and persons were daily
executed with senseless pretexts, which was worse than executions with no
pretexts at all. Thus Peter de Witt of Amsterdam was beheaded, because at
one of the tumults in that city he had persuaded a rioter not to fire
upon a magistrate. This was taken as sufficient proof that he was a man
in authority among the rebels, and he was accordingly put to death.
Madame Juriaen, who, in 1566, had struck with her slipper a little wooden
image of the Virgin, together with her maid-servant, who had witnessed
without denouncing the crime, were both drowned by the hangman in a
hogshead placed on the scaffold.

Death, even, did not in all cases place a criminal beyond the reach of
the executioner. Egbert Meynartzoon, a man of high official rank, had
been condemned, together with two colleagues, on an accusation of
collecting money in a Lutheran church. He died in prison of dropsy. The
sheriff was indignant with the physician, because, in spite of cordials
and strengthening prescriptions, the culprit had slipped through his
fingers before he had felt those of the hangman. He consoled himself by
placing the body on a chair, and having the dead man beheaded in company
with his colleagues.

Thus the whole country became a charnel-house; the deathbell tolled
hourly in every village; not a family but was called to mourn for its
dearest relatives, while the survivors stalked listlessly about, the
ghosts of their former selves, among the wrecks of their former homes.
The spirit of the nation, within a few months after the arrival of Alva,
seemed hopelessly broken. The blood of its best and bravest had already
stained the scaffold; the men to whom it bad been accustomed to look for
guidance and protection, were dead, in prison, or in exile. Submission
had ceased to be of any avail, flight was impossible, and the spirit of
vengeance had alighted at every fireside. The mourners went daily about
the streets, for there was hardly a house which had not been made
desolate. The scaffolds, the gallows, the funeral piles, which had been
sufficient in ordinary times, furnished now an entirely inadequate
machinery for the incessant executions. Columns and stakes in every
street, the door-posts of private houses, the fences in the fields were
laden with human carcasses, strangled, burned, beheaded. The orchards in
the country bore on many a tree the hideous fruit of human bodies.

Thus the Netherlands were crushed, and but for the stringency of the
tyranny which had now closed their gates, would have been depopulated.
The grass began to grow in the streets of those cities which had recently
nourished so many artisans. In all those great manufacturing and
industrial marts, where the tide of human life had throbbed so
vigorously, there now reigned the silence and the darkness of midnight.
It was at this time that the learned Viglius wrote to his friend Hopper,
that all venerated the prudence and gentleness of the Duke of Alva. Such
were among the first-fruits of that prudence and that gentleness.

The Duchess of Parma had been kept in a continued state of irritation.
She had not ceased for many months to demand her release from the odious
position of a cipher in a land where she had so lately been sovereign,
and she had at last obtained it. Philip transmitted his acceptance of her
resignation by the same courier who brought Alva's commission to be
governor-general in her place. The letters to the Duchess were full of
conventional compliments for her past services, accompanied, however,
with a less barren and more acceptable acknowledgment, in the shape of a
life income of 14,000 ducats instead of the 8000 hitherto enjoyed by her

In addition to this liberal allowance, of which she was never to be
deprived, except upon receiving full payment of 140,000 ducats, she was
presented with 25,000 florins by the estates of Brabant, and with 30,000
by those of Flanders.

With these substantial tokens of the success of her nine years' fatigue
and intolerable anxiety, she at last took her departure from the
Netherlands, having communicated the dissolution of her connexion with
the provinces by a farewell letter to the Estates dated 9th December,
1567. Within a few weeks afterwards, escorted by the Duke of Alva across
the frontier of Brabant; attended by a considerable deputation of Flemish
nobility into Germany, and accompanied to her journey's end at Parma by
the Count and Countess of Mansfeld, she finally closed her eventful
career in the Netherlands.

The horrors of the succeeding administration proved beneficial to her
reputation. Upon the dark ground of succeeding years the lines which
recorded her history seemed written with letters of light. Yet her
conduct in the Netherlands offers but few points for approbation, and
many for indignant censure. That she was not entirely destitute of
feminine softness and sentiments of bounty, her parting despatch to her
brother proved. In that letter she recommended to him a course of
clemency and forgiveness, and reminded him that the nearer kings approach
to God in station, the more they should endeavor to imitate him in his
attributes of benignity. But the language of this farewell was more
tender than had been the spirit of her government. One looks in vain,
too, through the general atmosphere of kindness which pervades the
epistle; for a special recommendation of those distinguished and doomed
seigniors, whose attachment to her person and whose chivalrous and
conscientious endeavors to fulfil her own orders, had placed them upon
the edge of that precipice from which they were shortly to be hurled. The
men who had restrained her from covering herself with disgrace by a
precipitate retreat from the post of danger, and who had imperilled their
lives by obedience to her express instructions, had been long languishing
in solitary confinement, never to be terminated except by a traitor's
death--yet we search in vain for a kind word in their behalf.

Meantime the second civil war in France had broken out. The hollow truce
by which the Guise party and the Huguenots had partly pretended to
deceive each other was hastened to its end; among other causes, by the
march of Alva, to the Netherlands. The Huguenots had taken alarm, for
they recognized the fellowship which united their foes in all countries
against the Reformation, and Conde and Coligny knew too well that the
same influence which had brought Alva to Brussels would soon create an
exterminating army against their followers. Hostilities were resumed with
more bitterness than ever. The battle of St. Denis--fierce, fatal, but
indecisive--was fought. The octogenarian hero, Montmorency, fighting like
a foot soldier, refusing to yield his sword, and replying to the
respectful solicitations of his nearest enemy by dashing his teeth down
his throat with the butt-end of his pistol, the hero of so many battles,
whose defeat at St. Quintin had been the fatal point in his career, had
died at last in his armor, bravely but not gloriously, in conflict with
his own countrymen, led by his own heroic nephew. The military control of
the Catholic party was completely in the hand of the Guises; the
Chancellor de l'Hopital had abandoned the court after a last and futile
effort to reconcile contending factions, which no human power could
unite; the Huguenots had possessed themselves of Rochelle and of other
strong places, and, under the guidance of adroit statesmen and
accomplished generals, were pressing the Most Christian monarch hard in
the very heart of his kingdom.

As early as the middle of October, while still in Antwerp, Alva had
received several secret agents of the French monarch, then closely
beleaguered in his capital. Cardinal Lorraine offered to place several
strong places of France in the hands of the Spaniard, and Alva had
written to Philip that he was disposed to accept the offer, and to render
the service. The places thus held would be a guarantee for his expenses,
he said, while in case King Charles and his brother should die, "their
possession would enable Philip to assert his own claim to the French
crown in right of his wife, the Salic law being merely a pleasantry."

The Queen Dowager, adopting now a very different tone from that which
characterized her conversation at the Bayonne interview, wrote to Alva,
that, if for want of 2000 Spanish musketeers, which she requested him to
furnish, she should be obliged to succumb, she chose to disculpate
herself in advance before God and Christian princes for the peace which
she should be obliged to make. The Duke wrote to her in reply, that it
was much better to have a kingdom ruined in preserving it for God and the
king by war, than to have it kept entire without war, to the profit of
the devil and of his followers. He was also reported on another occasion
to have reminded her of the Spanish proverb--that the head of one salmon
is worth those of a hundred frogs. The hint, if it were really given, was
certainly destined to be acted upon.

The Duke not only furnished Catherine with advice, but with the
musketeers which she had solicited. Two thousand foot and fifteen hundred
horse, under the Count of Aremberg, attended by a choice band of the
Catholic nobility of the Netherlands, had joined the royal camp at Paris
before the end of the year, to take their part in the brief hostilities
by which the second treacherous peace was to be preceded.

Meantime, Alva was not unmindful of the business which had served as a
pretext in the arrest of the two Counts. The fortifications of the
principal cities were pushed on with great rapidity. The memorable
citadel of Antwerp in particular had already been commenced in October
under the superintendence of the celebrated engineers, Pacheco and
Gabriel de Cerbelloni. In a few months it was completed, at a cost of one
million four hundred thousand florins, of which sum the citizens, in
spite of their remonstrances, were compelled to contribute more than one
quarter. The sum of four hundred thousand florins was forced from the
burghers by a tax upon all hereditary property within the municipality.

Two thousand workmen were employed daily in the construction of this
important fortress, which was erected, as its position most plainly
manifested, not to protect, but to control the commercial capital of the
provinces. It stood at the edge of the city, only separated from its
walls by an open esplanade. It was the most perfect pentagon in Europe,
having one of its sides resting on the Scheld, two turned towards the
city, and two towards the open country. Five bastions, with walls of
hammered stone, connected by curtains of turf and masonry, surrounded by
walls measuring a league in circumference, and by an outer moat fed by
the Scheld, enclosed a spacious enceinte, where a little church with many
small lodging-houses, shaded by trees and shrubbery, nestled among the
bristling artillery, as if to mimic the appearance of a peaceful and
pastoral village. To four of the five bastions, the Captain-General, with
characteristic ostentation, gave his own names and titles. One was called
the Duke, the second Ferdinando, a third Toledo, a fourth Alva, while the
fifth was baptized with the name of the ill-fated engineer, Pacheco. The
Watergate was decorated with the escutcheon of Alva, surrounded by his
Golden Fleece collar, with its pendant lamb of God; a symbol of
blasphemous irony, which still remains upon the fortress, to recal the
image of the tyrant and murderer. Each bastion was honeycombed with
casemates and subterranean storehouses, and capable of containing within
its bowels a vast supply of provisions, munitions, and soldiers. Such was
the celebrated citadel built to tame the turbulent spirit of Antwerp, at
the cost of those whom it was to terrify and to insult.


     Conde and Coligny
     Furnished, in addition, with a force of two thousand prostitutes
     He came as a conqueror not as a mediator
     Hope deferred, suddenly changing to despair
     Meantime the second civil war in France had broken out
     Spendthrift of time, he was an economist of blood
     The greatest crime, however, was to be rich
     Time and myself are two



1568 [CHAPTER II.]

   Orange, Count Louis, Hoogstraaten, and others, cited before the
   Blood-Council--Charges against them--Letter of Orange in reply--
   Position and sentiments of the Prince--Seizure of Count de Buren--
   Details of that transaction--Petitions to the Council from Louvain
   and other places--Sentence of death against the whole population of
   the Netherlands pronounced by the Spanish Inquisition and proclaimed
   by Philip--Cruel inventions against heretics--The Wild Beggars--
   Preliminary proceedings of the Council against Egmont and Horn--
   Interrogatories addressed to them in prison--Articles of accusation
   against them--Foreclosure of the cases--Pleas to the jurisdiction--
   Efforts by the Countesses Egmont and Horn, by many Knights of the
   Fleece, and by the Emperor, in favor of the prisoners--Answers of
   Alva and of Philip--Obsequious behavior of Viglius--Difficulties
   arising from the Golden Fleece statutes set aside--Particulars of
   the charges against Count Horn and of his defence--Articles of
   accusation against Egmont--Sketch of his reply--Reflections upon the
   two trials--Attitude of Orange--His published 'Justification'--His
   secret combinations--His commission to Count Louis--Large sums of
   money subscribed by the Nassau family, by Netherland refugees, and
   others--Great personal sacrifices made by the Prince--Quadruple
   scheme for invading the Netherlands--Defeat of the patriots under
   Cocqueville--Defeat of Millers--Invasion of Friesland by Count
   Louis--Measures of Alva to oppose him--Command of the royalists
   entreated to Aremberg and Meghem--The Duke's plan for the campaign--
   Skirmish at Dam--Detention of Meghem--Count Louis at Heiliger--Lee--
   Nature of the ground--Advance of Aremberg--Disposition of the
   patriot forces--Impatience of the Spanish troops to engage--Battle
   of Heiliger-Lee--Defeat and death of Aremberg--Death of Adolphus
   Nassau--Effects of the battle--Anger and severe measures of Alva--
   Eighteen nobles executed at Brussels--Sentence of death pronounced
   upon Egmont and Horn--The Bishop of Ypres sent to Egmont--Fruitless
   intercession by the prelate and the Countess--Egmont's last night in
   prison--The "grande place" at Brussels--Details concerning the
   execution of Egmont and Horn--Observation upon the characters of the
   two nobles--Destitute condition of Egmont's family.

Late in October, the Duke of Alva made his triumphant entry into the new
fortress. During his absence, which was to continue during the remainder
of the year, he had ordered the Secretary Courteville and the Councillor
del Rio to superintend the commission, which was then actually engaged in
collecting materials for the prosecutions to be instituted against the
Prince of Orange and the other nobles who had abandoned the country.
Accordingly, soon after his return, on the 19th of January, 1568, the
Prince, his brother Louis of Nassau, his brother-in-law, Count Van den
Berg, the Count Hoogstraaten, the Count Culemburg, and the Baron
Montigny, were summoned in the name of Alva to appear before the
Blood-Council, within thrice fourteen days from the date of the
proclamation, under pain of perpetual banishment with confiscation of
their estates. It is needless to say that these seigniors did not obey
the summons. They knew full well that their obedience would be rewarded
only by death.

The charges against the Prince of Orange, which were drawn up in ten
articles, stated, chiefly and briefly, that he had been, and was, the
head and front of the rebellion; that as soon as his Majesty had left the
Netherlands, he had begun his machinations to make himself master of the
country and to expel his sovereign by force, if he should attempt to
return to the provinces; that he had seduced his Majesty's subjects by
false pretences that the Spanish inquisition was about to be introduced;
that he had been the secret encourager and director of Brederode and the
confederated nobles; and that when sent to Antwerp, in the name of the
Regent, to put down the rebellion, he had encouraged heresy and accorded
freedom of religion to the Reformers.

The articles against Hoogstraaten and the other gentlemen mere of similar
tenor. It certainly was not a slender proof of the calm effrontery of the
government thus to see Alva's proclamation charging it as a crime upon
Orange that he had inveigled the lieges into revolt by a false assertion
that the inquisition was about to be established, when letters from the
Duke to Philip, and from Granvelle to Philip, dated upon nearly the same
day, advised the immediate restoration of the inquisition as soon as an
adequate number of executions had paved the way for the measure. It was
also a sufficient indication of a reckless despotism, that while the
Duchess, who had made the memorable Accord with the Religionists,
received a flattering letter of thanks and a farewell pension of fourteen
thousand ducats yearly, those who, by her orders, had acted upon that
treaty as the basis of their negotiations, were summoned to lay down
their heads upon the block.

The Prince replied to this summons by a brief and somewhat contemptuous
plea to the jurisdiction. As a Knight of the Fleece, as a member of the
Germanic Empire, as a sovereign prince in France, as a citizen of the
Netherlands, he rejected the authority of Alva and of his
self-constituted tribunal. His innocence he was willing to establish
before competent courts and righteous judges. As a Knight of the Fleece,
he said he could be tried only by his peers, the brethren of the Order,
and, for that purpose, he could be summoned only by the King as Head of
the Chapter, with the sanction of at least six of his fellow-knights. In
conclusion, he offered to appear before his Imperial Majesty, the
Electors, and other members of the Empire, or before the Knights of the
Golden Fleece. In the latter case, he claimed the right, under the
statutes of that order, to be placed while the trial was pending, not in
a solitary prison, as had been the fate of Egmont and of Horn, but under
the friendly charge and protection of the brethren themselves. The letter
was addressed to the procurator-general, and a duplicate was forwarded to
the Duke.

From the general tenor of the document, it is obvious both that the
Prince was not yet ready to throw down the gauntlet to his sovereign, nor
to proclaim his adhesion to the new religion: Of departing from the
Netherlands in the spring, he had said openly that he was still in
possession of sixty thousand florins yearly, and that he should commence
no hostilities against Philip, so long as he did not disturb him in his
honor or his estates. Far-seeing politician, if man ever were, he knew
the course whither matters were inevitably tending, but he knew how much
strength was derived from putting an adversary irretrievably in the
wrong. He still maintained an attitude of dignified respect towards the
monarch, while he hurled back with defiance the insolent summons of the
viceroy. Moreover, the period had not yet arrived for him to break
publicly with the ancient faith. Statesman, rather than religionist, at
this epoch, he was not disposed to affect a more complete conversion than
the one which he had experienced. He was, in truth, not for a new
doctrine, but for liberty of conscience. His mind was already expanding
beyond any dogmas of the age. The man whom his enemies stigmatized as
atheist and renegade, was really in favor of toleration, and therefore,
the more deeply criminal in the eyes of all religious parties.

Events, personal to himself, were rapidly to place him in a position from
which he might enter the combat with honor.

His character had already been attacked, his property threatened with
confiscation. His closest ties of family were now to be severed by the
hand of the tyrant. His eldest child, the Count de Buren, torn from his
protection, was to be carried into indefinite captivity in a foreign
land. It was a remarkable oversight, for a person of his sagacity, that,
upon his own departure from the provinces, he should leave his son, then
a boy of thirteen years, to pursue his studies at the college of Louvain.
Thus exposed to the power of the government, he was soon seized as a
hostage for the good behavior of the father. Granvelle appears to have
been the first to recommend the step in a secret letter to Philip, but
Alva scarcely needed prompting. Accordingly, upon the 13th of February,
1568, the Duke sent the Seignior de Chassy to Louvain, attended by four
officers and by twelve archers. He was furnished with a letter to the
Count de Buren, in which that young nobleman was requested to place
implicit confidence in the bearer of the despatch, and was informed that
the desire which his Majesty had to see him educated for his service, was
the cause of the communication which the Seignior de Chassy was about to

That gentleman was, moreover, minutely instructed as to his method of
proceeding in this memorable case of kidnapping. He was to present the
letter to the young Count in presence of his tutor. He was to invite him
to Spain in the name of his Majesty. He was to assure him that his
Majesty's commands were solely with a view, to his own good, and that he
was not commissioned to arrest, but only to escort him. He was to allow
the Count to be accompanied only by two valets, two pages, a cook, and a
keeper of accounts. He was, however, to induce his tutor to accompany
him, at least to the Spanish frontier. He was to arrange that the second
day after his arrival at Louvain, the Count should set out for Antwerp,
where he was to lodge with Count Lodron, after which they were to proceed
to Flushing, whence they were to embark for Spain. At that city he was to
deliver the young Prince to the person whom he would find there,
commissioned for that purpose by the Duke. As soon as he had made the
first proposition at Louvain to the Count, he was, with the assistance of
his retinue, to keep the most strict watch over him day and night, but
without allowing the supervision to be perceived.

The plan was carried out admirably, and in strict accordance with the
program. It was fortunate, however, for the kidnappers, that the young
Prince proved favorably disposed to the plan. He accepted the invitation
of his captors with alacrity. He even wrote to thank the governor for his
friendly offices in his behalf. He received with boyish gratification the
festivities with which Lodron enlivened his brief sojourn at Antwerp, and
he set forth without reluctance for that gloomy and terrible land of
Spain, whence so rarely a Flemish traveller had returned. A changeling,
as it were, from his cradle, he seemed completely transformed by his
Spanish tuition, for he was educated and not sacrificed by Philip. When
he returned to the Netherlands, after a twenty years' residence in Spain,
it was difficult to detect in his gloomy brow, saturnine character, and
Jesuistical habits, a trace of the generous spirit which characterized
that race of heroes, the house of Orange-Nassau.

Philip had expressed some anxiety as to the consequences of this capture
upon the governments of Germany. Alva, however, re-assured his sovereign
upon that point, by reason of the extreme docility of the captive, and
the quiet manner in which the arrest had been conducted. At that
particular juncture, moreover, it would, have been difficult for the
government of the Netherlands to excite surprise any where, except by an
act of clemency. The president and the deputation of professors from the
university of Louvain waited upon Vargas, by whom, as acting president of
the Blood-Council, the arrest had nominally been made, with a
remonstrance that the measure was in gross violation of their statutes
and privileges. That personage, however, with his usual contempt both for
law and Latin, answered brutally, "Non curamus vestros privilegios," and
with this memorable answer, abruptly closed his interview with the
trembling pedants.

Petitions now poured into the council from all quarters, abject
recantations from terror-stricken municipalities, humble intercessions in
behalf of doomed and imprisoned victims. To a deputation of the
magistracy of Antwerp, who came with a prayer for mercy in behalf of some
of their most distinguished fellow-citizens, then in prison, the Duke
gave a most passionate and ferocious reply. He expressed his wonder that
the citizens of Antwerp, that hotbed of treason, should dare to approach
him in behalf of traitors and heretics. Let them look to it in future, he
continued, or he would hang every man in the whole city, to set an
example to the rest of the country; for his Majesty would rather the
whole land should become an uninhabited wilderness, than that a single
Dissenter should exist within its territory.

Events now marched with rapidity. The monarch seemed disposed literally
to execute the threat of his viceroy. Early in the year, the most sublime
sentence of death was promulgated which has ever been pronounced since
the creation of the world. The Roman tyrant wished that his enemies'
heads were all upon a single neck, that he might strike them off at a
blow; the inquisition assisted Philip to place the heads of all his
Netherland subjects upon a single neck for the same fell purpose. Upon
the 16th February, 1568, a sentence of the Holy Office condemned all the
inhabitants of the Netherlands to death as heretics. From this universal
doom only a few persons, especially named; were excepted. A proclamation
of the King, dated ten days later, confirmed this decree of the
inquisition, and ordered it to be carried into instant execution, without
regard to age, sex, or condition. This is probably the most concise
death-warrant that was ever framed. Three millions of people, men, women,
and children, were sentenced to the scaffold in: three lines; and, as it
was well known that these were not harmless thunders, like some bulls of
the Vatican, but serious and practical measures, which it was intended
should be enforced, the horror which they produced may be easily
imagined. It was hardly the purpose of Government to compel the absolute
completion of the wholesale plan in all its length and breadth, yet in
the horrible times upon which they had fallen, the Netherlanders might be
excused for believing that no measure was too monstrous to be fulfilled.
At any rate, it was certain that when all were condemned, any might at a
moment's warning be carried to the scaffold, and this was precisely the
course adopted by the authorities.

Under this universal decree the industry of the Blood-Council might, now
seem superfluous. Why should not these mock prosecutions be dispensed
with against individuals, now that a common sentence had swallowed the
whole population in one vast grave? Yet it may be supposed that if the
exertions of the commissioners and councillors served no other purpose,
they at least furnished the Government with valuable evidence as to the
relative wealth and other circumstances of the individual victims. The
leading thought of the Government being that persecution, judiciously
managed, might fructify into a golden harvest,--it was still desirable to
persevere in the cause in which already such bloody progress had been

And under this new decree, the executions certainly did not slacken. Men
in the highest and the humblest positions were daily and hourly dragged
to the stake. Alva, in a single letter to Philip, coolly estimated the
number of executions which were to take place immediately after the
expiration of holy week, "at eight hundred heads." Many a citizen,
convicted of a hundred thousand florins and of no other crime, saw
himself suddenly tied to a horse's tail, with his hands fastened behind
him, and so dragged to the gallows. But although wealth was an
unpardonable sin, poverty proved rarely a protection. Reasons sufficient
could always be found for dooming the starveling laborer as well as the
opulent burgher. To avoid the disturbances created in the streets by the
frequent harangues or exhortations addressed to the bystanders by the
victims on their way to the scaffold, a new gag was invented. The tongue
of each prisoner was screwed into an iron ring, and then seared with a
hot iron. The swelling and inflammation which were the immediate result,
prevented the tongue from slipping through the ring, and of course
effectually precluded all possibility of speech.

Although the minds of men were not yet prepared for concentrated revolt
against the tyranny under which they were languishing, it was not
possible to suppress all sentiments of humanity, and to tread out every
spark of natural indignation.

Unfortunately, in the bewilderment and misery of this people, the first
development of a forcible and organized resistance was of a depraved and
malignant character. Extensive bands of marauders and highway robbers
sprang into existence, who called themselves the Wild Beggars, and who,
wearing the mask and the symbols of a revolutionary faction, committed
great excesses in many parts of the country, robbing, plundering, and
murdering. Their principal wrath was exercised against religious houses
and persons. Many monasteries were robbed, many clerical persons maimed
and maltreated. It became a habit to deprive priests of their noses or
ears, and to tie them to the tails of horses. This was the work of
ruffian gangs, whose very existence was engendered out of the social and
moral putrescence to which the country was reduced, and who were willing
to profit by the deep and universal hatred which was felt against
Catholics and monks. An edict thundered forth by Alva, authorizing and
commanding all persons to slay the wild beggars at sight, without trial
or hangman, was of comparatively slight avail. An armed force of veterans
actively scouring the country was more successful, and the freebooters
were, for a time, suppressed.

Meantime the Counts Egmont and Horn had been kept in rigorous confinement
at Ghent. Not a warrant had been read or drawn up for their arrest. Not a
single preliminary investigation, not the shadow of an information had
preceded the long imprisonment of two men so elevated in rank, so
distinguished in the public service. After the expiration of two months,
however, the Duke condescended to commence a mock process against them.
The councillors appointed to this work were Vargas and Del Rio, assisted
by Secretary Praets. These persons visited the Admiral on the 10th, 11th,
12th and 17th of November, and Count Egmont on the 12th, 13th, 14th, and
16th, of the same month; requiring them to respond to a long, confused,
and rambling collection of interrogatories. They were obliged to render
these replies in prison, unassisted by any advocates, on penalty of being
condemned 'in contumaciam'. The questions, awkwardly drawn up as they
seemed, were yet tortuously and cunningly arranged with a view of
entrapping the prisoners into self-contradiction. After this work had
been completed, all the papers by which they intended to justify their
answers were taken away from them. Previously, too, their houses and
those of their secretaries, Bakkerzeel and Alonzo de la Loo, had been
thoroughly ransacked, and every letter and document which could be found
placed in the hands of government. Bakkerzeel, moreover, as already
stated, had been repeatedly placed upon the rack, for the purpose of
extorting confessions which might implicate his master. These
preliminaries and precautionary steps having been taken, the Counts had
again been left to their solitude for two months longer. On the 10th
January, each was furnished with a copy of the declarations or
accusations filed against him by the procurator-general. To these
documents, drawn up respectively in sixty-three, and in ninety articles,
they were required, within five days' time, without the assistance of an
advocate, and without consultation with any human being, to deliver a
written answer, on pain, as before, of being proceeded against and
condemned by default.

This order was obeyed within nearly the prescribed period and here, it
may be said, their own participation in their trial ceased; while the
rest of the proceedings were buried in the deep bosom of the
Blood-Council. After their answers had been delivered, and not till then,
the prisoners were, by an additional mockery, permitted to employ
advocates. These advocates, however, were allowed only occasional
interviews with their clients, and always in the presence of certain
persons, especially deputed for that purpose by the Duke. They were also
allowed commissioners to collect evidence and take depositions, but
before the witnesses were ready, a purposely premature day, 8th of May,
was fixed upon for declaring the case closed, and not a single tittle of
their evidence, personal or documentary, was admitted.--Their advocates
petitioned for an exhibition of the evidence prepared by government, and
were refused. Thus, they were forbidden to use the testimony in their
favor, while that which was to be employed against them was kept secret.
Finally, the proceedings were formally concluded on the 1st of June, and
the papers laid before the Duke. The mass of matter relating to these two
monster processes was declared, three days afterwards to have been
examined--a physical impossibility in itself--and judgment was pronounced
upon the 4th of June. This issue was precipitated by the campaign of
Louis Nassau in Friesland, forming a aeries of important events which it
will be soon our duty to describe. It is previously necessary, however,
to add a few words in elucidation of the two mock trials which have been
thus briefly sketched.

The proceeding had been carried on, from first to last, under protest by
the prisoners, under a threat of contumacy on the part of the government.
Apart from the totally irresponsible and illegal character of the
tribunal before which they were summoned--the Blood-Council being a
private institution of Alva's without pretext or commission--these nobles
acknowledged the jurisdiction of but three courts. As Knights of the
Golden Fleece, both claimed the privilege of that Order to be tried by
its statutes. As a citizen and noble of Brabant, Egmont claimed the
protection of the "Joyeuse Entree," a constitution which had been sworn
to by Philip and his ancestors, and by Philip more amply, than by all his
ancestors. As a member and Count of the Holy Roman Empire, the Admiral
claimed to be tried by his peers, the electors and princes of the realm.

The Countess Egmont, since her husband's arrest, and the confiscation of
his estates before judgment, had been reduced to a life of poverty as
well as agony. With her eleven children, all of tender age, she had taken
refuge in a convent. Frantic with despair, more utterly desolate, and
more deeply wronged than high-born lady had often been before, she left
no stone unturned to save her husband from his fate, or at least to
obtain for him an impartial and competent tribunal. She addressed the
Duke of Alva, the King, the Emperor, her brother the Elector Palatine,
and many leading Knights of the Fleece. The Countess Dowager of Horn,
both whose sons now lay in the jaws of death, occupied herself also with
the most moving appeals to the same high personages. No pains were spared
to make the triple plea to the jurisdiction valid. The leading Knights of
the Fleece, Mansfeld, whose loyalty was unquestioned, and Hoogstraaten,
although himself an outlaw; called upon the King of Spain to protect the
statutes of the illustrious order of which he was the chief. The estates
of Brabant, upon the petition of Sabina, Countess Egmont, that they would
take to heart the privileges of the province, so that her husband might
enjoy that protection of which the meanest citizen in the land could not
be justly deprived, addressed a feeble and trembling protest to Alva, and
enclosed to him the lady's petition. The Emperor, on behalf of Count
Horn, wrote personally to Philip, to claim for him a trial before the
members of the realm.

It was all in vain. The conduct of Philip and his Viceroy coincided in
spirit with the honest brutality of Vargas. "Non curamus vestros
privilegios," summed up the whole of the proceedings. Non curamus vestros
privilegios had been the unanswerable reply to every constitutional
argument which had been made against tyranny since Philip mounted his
father's throne. It was now the only response deemed necessary to the
crowd of petitions in favor of the Counts, whether they proceeded from
sources humble or august. Personally, the King remained silent as the
grave. In writing to the Duke of Alva, he observed that "the Emperor, the
Dukes of Bavaria and Lorraine, the Duchess and the Duchess-dowager, had
written to him many times, and in the most pressing manner, in favor of
the Counts Horn and Egmont." He added, that he had made no reply to them,
nor to other Knights of the Fleece who had implored him to respect the
statutes of the order, and he begged Alva "to hasten the process as fast
as possible." To an earnest autograph letter, in which the Emperor, on
the 2nd of March, 1568, made a last effort to save the illustrious
prisoners, he replied, that "the whole world would at last approve his
conduct, but that, at any rate, he would not act differently, even if he
should risk the loss of the provinces, and if the sky should fall on his

But little heed was paid to the remonstrances in behalf of the imperial
Courts, or the privileges of Brabant. These were but cobweb impediments
which, indeed, had long been brushed away. President Viglius was even
pathetic on the subject of Madame Egmont's petition to the council of
Brabant. It was so bitter, he said, that the Duke was slightly annoyed,
and took it ill that the royal servants in that council should have his
Majesty's interests so little at heart. It seemed indecent in the eyes of
the excellent Frisian, that a wife pleading for her husband, a mother for
her, eleven children, so soon to be fatherless, should indulge in strong

The statutes of the Fleece were obstacles somewhat more serious. As,
however, Alva had come to the Netherlands pledged to accomplish the
destruction of these two nobles, as soon as he should lay his hands upon
them, it was only a question of form, and even that question was, after a
little reflection, unceremoniously put aside.

To the petitions in behalf of the two Counts, therefore, that they should
be placed in the friendly keeping of the Order, and be tried by its
statutes, the Duke replied, peremptorily, that he had undertaken the
cognizance of this affair by commission of his Majesty, as sovereign of
the land, not as head of the Golden Fleece, that he should carry it
through as it had been commenced, and that the Counts should discontinue
presentations of petitions upon this point.

In the embarrassment created by the stringent language of these statutes,
Doctor Viglius found an opportunity to make himself very useful. Alva had
been turning over the laws and regulations of the Order, but could find
no loophole. The President, however, came to his rescue, and announced it
as his legal opinion that the Governor need concern himself no further on
the subject, and that the code of the Fleece offered no legal impediment
to the process. Alva immediately wrote to communicate this opinion to
Philip, adding, with great satisfaction, that he should immediately make
it known to the brethren of the Order, a step which was the more
necessary because Egmont's advocate had been making great trouble with
these privileges, and had been protesting at every step of the
proceedings. In what manner the learned President argued these
troublesome statutes out of the way, has nowhere appeared; but he
completely reinstated himself in favor, and the King wrote to thank him
for his legal exertions.

It was now boldly declared that the statutes of the Fleece did not extend
to such crimes as those with which the prisoner were charged. Alva,
moreover, received an especial patent, ante-dated eight or nine months,
by which Philip empowered him to proceed against all persons implicated
in the troubles, and particularly against Knights of the Golden Fleece.

It is superfluous to observe that these were merely the arbitrary acts of
a despot. It is hardly necessary to criticise such proceedings. The
execution of the nobles had been settled before Alva left Spain. As they
were inhabitants of a constitutional country, it was necessary to stride
over the constitution. As they were Knights of the Fleece, it was
necessary to set aside the statutes of the Order. The Netherland
constitutions seemed so entirely annihilated already, that they could
hardly be considered obstacles; but the Order of the Fleece was an august
little republic of which Philip was the hereditary chief, of which
emperors, kings, and great seigniors were the citizens. Tyranny might be
embarrassed by such subtle and golden filaments as these, even while it
crashed through municipal charters as if they had been reeds and
bulrushes. Nevertheless, the King's course was taken. Although the
thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth chapters of the Order expressly
provided for the trial and punishment of brethren who had been guilty of
rebellion, heresy, or treason; and although the eleventh chapter;
perpetual and immutable, of additions to that constitution by the Emperor
Charles, conferred on the Order exclusive jurisdiction over all crimes
whatever committed by the knights, yet it was coolly proclaimed by Alva,
that the crimes for which the Admiral and Egmont had been arrested, were
beyond the powers of the tribunal.

So much for the plea to the jurisdiction. It is hardly worth while to
look any further into proceedings which were initiated and brought to a
conclusion in the manner already narrated. Nevertheless, as they were
called a process, a single glance at the interior of that mass of
documents can hardly be superfluous.

The declaration against Count Horn; upon which, supported by invisible
witnesses, he was condemned, was in the nature of a narrative. It
consisted in a rehearsal of circumstances, some true and some fictitious,
with five inferences. These five inferences amounted to five crimes--high
treason, rebellion, conspiracy, misprision of treason, and breach of
trust. The proof of these crimes was evolved, in a dim and misty manner,
out of a purposely confused recital. No events, however, were
recapitulated which have not been described in the course of this
history. Setting out with a general statement, that the Admiral, the
Prince of Orange, Count Egmont, and other lords had organized a plot to
expel his Majesty from the Netherlands, and to divide the provinces among
themselves; the declaration afterwards proceeded to particulars. Ten of
its sixty-three articles were occupied with the Cardinal Granvelle, who,
by an absurd affectation, was never directly named, but called "a certain
personage--a principal personage--a grand personage, of his Majesty's
state council." None of the offences committed against him were
forgotten: the 11th of March letter, the fool's-cap, the livery, were
reproduced in the most violent colors, and the cabal against the minister
was quietly assumed to constitute treason against the monarch.

The Admiral, it was further charged, had advised and consented to the
fusion of the finance and privy councils with that of state, a measure
which was clearly treasonable. He had, moreover, held interviews with the
Prince of Orange, with Egmont, and other nobles, at Breda and at
Hoogstraaten, at which meetings the confederacy and the petition had been
engendered. That petition had been the cause of all the evils which had
swept the land. "It had scandalously injured the King, by affirming that
the inquisition was a tyranny to humanity, which was an infamous and
unworthy proposition." The confederacy, with his knowledge and
countenance, had enrolled 30,000 men. He had done nothing, any more than
Orange or Egmont, to prevent the presentation of the petition. In the
consultation at the state-council which ensued, both he and the Prince
were for leaving Brussels at once, while Count Egmont expressed an
intention of going to Aix to drink the waters. Yet Count Egmont's
appearance (proceeded this indictment against another individual)
exhibited not a single sign of sickness. The Admiral had, moreover, drank
the toast of "Vivent leg gueux" on various occasions, at the Culemberg
House banquet, at the private table of the Prince of Orange, at a supper
at the monastery of Saint Bernard's, at a dinner given by Burgomaster
Straalen. He had sanctioned the treaties with the rebels at Duffel, by
which he had clearly rendered himself guilty of high treason. He had held
an interview with Orange, Egmont, and Hoogstraaten, at Denremonde, for
the treasonable purpose of arranging a levy of troops to prevent his
Majesty's entrance into the Netherlands. He had refused to come to
Brussels at the request of the Duchess of Parma, when the rebels were
about to present the petition. He had written to his secretary that he
was thenceforth resolved to serve neither King nor Kaiser. He had
received from one Taffin, with marks of approbation, a paper, stating
that the assembling of the states-general was the only remedy for the
troubles in the land. He had, repeatedly affirmed that the inquisition
and edicts ought to be repealed.

On his arrival at Tournay in August, 1566, the people had cried "Vivent
les gueux;" a proof that he liked the cry. All his transactions at
Tournay, from first to last, had been criminal. He had tolerated Reformed
preaching, he had forbidden Catholics and Protestants to molest each
other, he had omitted to execute heretics, he had allowed the
religionists to erect an edifice for public worship outside the walls. He
had said, at the house of Prince Espinoy, that if the King should come
into the provinces with force, he would oppose him with 15,000 troops. He
had said, if his brother Montigny should be detained in Spain, he would
march to his rescue at the head of 50,000 men whom he had at his command.
He had on various occasions declared that "men should live according to
their consciences"--as if divine and human laws were dead, and men, like
wild beasts, were to follow all their lusts and desires. Lastly, he had
encouraged the rebellion in Valenciennes.

Of all these crimes and misdeeds the procurator declared himself
sufficiently informed, and the aforesaid defendant entirely, commonly,
and publicly defamed.

Wherefore, that officer terminated his declaration by claiming "that the
cause should be concluded summarily, and without figure or form of
process; and that therefore, by his Excellency or his sub-delegated
judges, the aforesaid defendant should be declared to have in diverse
ways committed high treason, should be degraded from his dignities, and
should be condemned to death, with confiscation of all his estates."

The Admiral, thus peremptorily summoned, within five days, without
assistance, without documents, and from the walls of a prison, to answer
to these charges, 'solos ex vinculis causam dicere', undertook his task
with the boldness of innocence. He protested, of course, to the
jurisdiction, and complained of the want of an advocate, not in order to
excuse any weakness in his defence, but only any inelegance in his
statement. He then proceeded flatly to deny some of the facts, to admit
others, and to repel the whole treasonable inference. His answer in all
essential respects was triumphant. Supported by the evidence which, alas
was not collected and published till after his death, it was impregnable.

He denied that he had ever plotted against his King, to whom he had ever
been attached, but admitted that he had desired the removal of Granvelle,
to whom he had always been hostile. He had, however, been an open and
avowed enemy to the Cardinal, and had been engaged in no secret
conspiracy against his character or against his life. He denied that the
livery (for which, however, he was not responsible) had been intended to
ridicule the Cardinal, but asserted that it was intended to afford an
example of economy to an extravagant nobility. He had met Orange and
Egmont at Breda and Hoogstraaten, and had been glad to do so, for he had
been long separated from them. These interviews, however, had been
social, not political, for good cheer and merry-making, not for
conspiracy and treason. He had never had any connection with the
confederacy; he had neither advised nor protected the petition, but, on
the contrary, after hearing of the contemplated movement, had written to
give notice thereof to the Duchess. He was in no manner allied, with
Brederode, but, on the contrary, for various reasons, was not upon
friendly terms with him. He had not entered his house since his return
from Spain. He had not been a party to the dinner at Culemburg House.
Upon that day he had dined with the Prince of Orange, with whom he was
lodging and, after dinner, they had both gone together to visit Mansfeld,
who was confined with an inflamed eye. There they had met Egmont, and the
three had proceeded together to Culemburg House in order to bring away
Hoogstraaten, whom the confederates had compelled to dine with them; and
also to warn the nobles not to commit themselves by extravagant and
suspicious excesses. They had remained in the house but a few minutes,
during which time the company had insisted upon their drinking a single
cup to the toast of "Vivent le roy et les gueux." They had then retired,
taking with them Hoogstraaten, and all thinking that they had rendered a
service to the government by their visit, instead of having made
themselves liable to a charge of treason. As to the cries of "Vivent les
gueux" at the tables of Orange, of the Abbot of Saint Bernard, and at
other places, those words had been uttered by simple, harmless fellows;
and as he considered, the table a place of freedom, he had not felt
himself justified in rebuking the manners of his associates,
particularly, in houses where he was himself but a guest. As for
committing treason at the Duffel meeting, he had not been there at all.

He thanked God that, at that epoch, he had been absent from Brussels, for
had he, as well as Orange and Egmont, been commissioned by the Duchess to
arrange those difficult matters, he should have considered it his duty to
do as they did. He had never thought of levying troops against his
Majesty. The Denremonde meeting had been held, to consult upon four
subjects: the affairs of Tournay; the intercepted letters of the French
ambassador, Alava; the letter of Montigny, in which he warned his brother
of the evil impression which the Netherland matters were making in Spain;
and the affairs of Antwerp, from which city the Prince of Orange found it
necessary at that moment to withdraw.--With regard to his absence from
Brussels, he stated that he had kept away from the Court because he was
ruined. He was deeply in debt, and so complete was his embarrassment,
that he had been unable in Antwerp to raise 1000 crowns upon his
property, even at an interest of one hundred per cent. So far from being
able to levy troops, he was hardly able to pay for his daily bread. With
regard to his transactions at Tournay, he had, throughout them all,
conformed himself to the instructions of Madame de Parma. As to the cry
of "Vivent les gueux," he should not have cared at that moment if the
populace had cried 'Vive Comte Horn', for his thoughts were then occupied
with more substantial matters. He had gone thither under a special
commission from the Duchess, and had acted under instructions daily
received by her own hand. He had, by her orders, effected a temporary
compromise between the two religious parties, on the basis of the Duffel
treaty. He had permitted the public preaching to continue, but had not
introduced it for the first time. He had allowed temples to be built
outside the gates, but it was by express command of Madame, as he could
prove by her letters. She had even reproved him before the council,
because the work had not been accomplished with sufficient despatch. With
regard to his alleged threat, that he would oppose the King's entrance
with 15,000 men, he answered, with astonishing simplicity, that he did
not remember making any such observation, but it was impossible for a man
to retain in his mind all the nonsense which he might occasionally utter.
The honest Admiral thought that his poverty, already pleaded, was so
notorious that the charge was not worthy of a serious answer. He also
treated the observation which he was charged with having made, relative
to his marching to Spain with 50,000 men to rescue Montigny as "frivolous
and ridiculous." He had no power to raise a hundred men. Moreover he had
rejoiced at Montigny's detention, for he had thought that to be out of
the Netherlands was to be out of harm's way. On the whole, he claimed
that in all those transactions of his which might be considered
anti-Catholic, he had been governed entirely by the instructions of the
Regent, and by her Accord with the nobles. That Accord, as she had
repeatedly stated to him, was to be kept sacred until his Majesty, by
advice of the states-general, should otherwise ordain.

Finally, he observed, that law was not his vocation. He was no
pettifogger, but he had endeavored loyally to conform himself to the
broad and general principles of honor, justice, and truth. In a very few
and simple words, he begged his judges to have regard to his deeds, and
to a life of loyal service. If he had erred occasionally in those times
of tumult, his intentions had ever been faithful and honorable.

The charges against Count Egmont were very similar to those against Count
Horn. The answers of both defendants were nearly identical.
Interrogations thus addressed to two different persons, as to
circumstances which had occurred long before, could not have been thus
separately, secretly, but simultaneously answered in language
substantially the same, had not that language been the words of truth.
Egmont was accused generally of plotting with others to expel the King
from the provinces, and to divide the territory among themselves. Through
a long series of ninety articles, he was accused of conspiring against
the character and life of Cardinal Granvelle. He was the inventor, it was
charged, of the fool's-cap livery. He had joined in the letters to the
King, demanding the prelate's removal. He had favored the fusion of the
three councils. He had maintained that the estates-general ought to be
forthwith assembled, that otherwise the debts of his Majesty and of the
country could never be paid, and that the provinces would go to the
French, to the Germans, or to the devil. He had asserted that he would
not be instrumental in burning forty or fifty thousand men, in order that
the inquisition and the edicts might be sustained. He had declared that
the edicts were rigorous. He had advised the Duchess, to moderate them,
and remove the inquisition, saying that these measures, with a pardon
general in addition, were the only means of quieting the country. He had
advised the formation of the confederacy, and promised to it his
protection and favor. He had counselled the presentation of the petition.
He had arranged all these matters, in consultation with the other nobles,
at the interviews at Breda and Hoogstraaten. He had refused the demand of
Madame de Parma, to take arms in her defence. He had expressed his
intention, at a most critical moment, of going to the baths of Aix for
his health, although his personal appearance gave no indication of any
malady whatever. He had countenanced and counselled the proceedings of
the rebel nobles at Saint Trond. He had made an accord with those of "the
religion" at Ghent, Bruges, and other places. He had advised the Duchess
to grant a pardon to those who had taken up arms. He had maintained, in
common with the Prince of Orange, at a session of the state council, that
if Madame should leave Brussels, they would assemble the states-general
of their own authority, and raise a force of forty thousand men. He had
plotted treason, and made arrangements for the levy of troops at the
interview at Denremonde, with Horn, Hoogstraaten, and the Prince of
Orange. He had taken under his protection on the 20th April, 1566, the
confederacy of the rebels; had promised that they should never be
molested, for the future, on account of the inquisition or the edicts,
and that so long as they kept within the terms of the Petition and the
Compromise, he would defend them with his own person. He had granted
liberty of preaching outside the walls in many cities within his
government. He had said repeatedly, that if the King desired to introduce
the inquisition into the Netherlands, he would sell all his property and
remove to another land; thus declaring with how much contempt and
detestation he regarded the said inquisition. He had winked at all the
proceedings of the sectaries. He had permitted the cry of "Vivent les
gueux" at his table. He had assisted at the banquet at Culemburg House.

These were the principal points in the interminable act of accusation.
Like the Admiral, Egmont admitted many of the facts, and flatly denied
the rest. He indignantly repelled the possibility of a treasonable
inference from any of, or all, his deeds. He had certainly desired the
removal of Granvelle, for he believed that the King's service would
profit by his recal. He replied, almost in the same terms as the Admiral
had done, to the charge concerning the livery, and asserted that its
principal object had been to set an example of economy. The fool's-cap
and bells had been changed to a bundle of arrows, in consequence of a
certain rumor which became rife in Brussels, and in obedience to an
ordinance of Madame de Parma. As to the assembling of the states-general,
the fusion of the councils, the moderation of the edicts, he had
certainly been in favor of these measures, which he considered to be
wholesome and lawful, not mischievous or treasonable. He had certainly
maintained that the edicts were rigorous, and had advised the Duchess,
under the perilous circumstances of the country, to grant a temporary
modification until the pleasure of his Majesty could be known. With
regard to the Compromise, he had advised all his friends to keep out of
it, and many in consequence had kept out of it. As to the presentation of
the petition, he had given Madame de Parma notice thereof, so soon as he
had heard that such a step was contemplated. He used the same language as
had been employed by Horn, with regard to the interview at Breda and
Hoogstraaten--that they had been meetings of "good cheer" and good
fellowship. He had always been at every moment at the command of the
Duchess, save when he had gone to Flanders and Artois to suppress the
tumults, according to her express orders. He had no connexion with the
meeting of the nobles at Saint Trond. He had gone to Duffel as special
envoy from the Duchess, to treat with certain plenipotentiaries appointed
at the Saint Trond meeting. He had strictly conformed to the letter of
instructions, drawn up by the Duchess, which would be found among his
papers, but he had never promised the nobles his personal aid or
protection. With regard to the Denremonde meeting, he gave almost exactly
the same account as Horn had given. The Prince, the Admiral, and himself,
had conversed between a quarter past eleven and dinner time, which was
twelve o'clock, on various matters, particularly upon the King's
dissatisfaction with recent events in the Netherlands, and upon a certain
letter from the ambassador Alava in Paris to the Duchess of Parma. He
had, however, expressed his opinion to Madame that the letter was a
forgery. He had permitted public preaching in certain cities, outside the
walls, where it had already been established, because this was in
accordance with the treaty which Madame had made at Duffel, which she had
ordered him honorably to maintain. He had certainly winked at the
religious exercises of the Reformers, because he had been expressly
commanded to do so, and because the government at that time was not
provided with troops to suppress the new religion by force. He related
the visit of Horn, Orange, and himself to Culemburg House, at the
memorable banquet, in almost the same words which the Admiral had used.
He had done all in his power to prevent Madame from leaving Brussels, in
which effort he had been successful, and from which much good had
resulted to the country. He had never recommended that a pardon should be
granted to those who had taken up arms, but on the contrary, had advised
their chastisement, as had appeared in his demeanor towards the rebels at
Osterwel, Tournay, and Valenciennes. He had never permitted the cry of
"Vivent les gueux" at his own table, nor encouraged it in his presence
any where else.

Such were the leading features in these memorable cases of what was
called high treason. Trial there was none. The tribunal was incompetent;
the prisoners were without advocates; the government evidence was
concealed; the testimony for the defence was excluded; and the cause was
finally decided before a thousandth part of its merits could have been
placed under the eyes of the judge who gave the sentence.

But it is almost puerile to speak of the matter in the terms usually
applicable to state trials. The case had been settled in Madrid long
before the arrest of the prisoners in Brussels. The sentence, signed by
Philip in blank, had been brought in Alva's portfolio from Spain. The
proceedings were a mockery, and, so far as any effect upon public opinion
was concerned, might as well have been omitted. If the gentlemen had been
shot in the court-yard of Jasse-house, by decree of a drum-head
court-martial, an hour after their arrest, the rights of the provinces
and the sentiments of humanity would not have been outraged more utterly.
Every constitutional and natural right was violated from first to last.
This certainly was not a novelty. Thousands of obscure individuals, whose
relations and friends were not upon thrones and in high places, but in
booths and cellars, and whose fate therefore did not send a shudder of
sympathy throughout Europe, had already been sacrificed by the Blood
tribunal. Still this great case presented a colossal emblem of the
condition in which the Netherlands were now gasping. It was a monumental
exhibition of the truth which thousands had already learned to their
cost, that law and justice were abrogated throughout the land. The
country was simply under martial law--the entire population under
sentence of death. The whole civil power was in Alva's hand; the whole
responsibility in Alva's breast. Neither the most ignoble nor the most
powerful could lift their heads in the sublime desolation which was
sweeping the country. This was now proved beyond peradventure. A
miserable cobbler or weaver might be hurried from his shop to the
scaffold, invoking the 'jus de non evocando' till he was gagged, but the
Emperor would not stoop from his throne, nor electors palatine and
powerful nobles rush to his rescue; but in behalf of these prisoners the
most august hands and voices of Christendom had been lifted up at the
foot of Philip's throne; and their supplications had proved as idle as
the millions of tears and death-cries which had beep shed or uttered in
the lowly places of the land. It was obvious; then, that all intercession
must thereafter be useless. Philip was fanatically impressed with his
mission. His viceroy was possessed by his loyalty as by a demon. In this
way alone, that conduct which can never be palliated may at least be
comprehended. It was Philip's enthusiasm to embody the wrath of God
against heretics. It was Alva's enthusiasm to embody the wrath of Philip.
Narrow-minded, isolated, seeing only that section of the world which was
visible through the loop-hole of the fortress in which Nature had
imprisoned him for life, placing his glory in unconditional obedience to
his superior, questioning nothing, doubting nothing, fearing nothing, the
viceroy accomplished his work of hell with all the tranquillity of an
angel. An iron will, which clove through every obstacle; adamantine
fortitude, which sustained without flinching a mountain of responsibility
sufficient to crush a common nature, were qualities which, united to, his
fanatical obedience, made him a man for Philip's work such as could not
have been found again in the world.

The case, then, was tried before a tribunal which was not only
incompetent, under the laws of the land, but not even a court of justice
in any philosophical or legal sense. Constitutional and municipal law
were not more outraged in its creation, than all national and natural

The reader who has followed step by step the career of the two
distinguished victims through the perilous days of Margaret's
administration, is sufficiently aware of the amount of treason with which
they are chargeable. It would be an insult to common sense for us to set
forth, in full, the injustice of their sentence. Both were guiltless
towards the crown; while the hands of one, on the contrary, were deeply
dyed in the blood of the people. This truth was so self-evident, that
even a member of the Blood-Council, Pierre Arsens, president of Artois,
addressed an elaborate memoir to the Duke of Alva, criticising the case
according to the rules of law, and maintaining that Egmont, instead of
deserving punishment, was entitled to a signal reward.

So much for the famous treason of Counts Egmont and Horn, so far as
regards the history of the proceedings and the merits of the case. The
last act of the tragedy was precipitated by occurrences which must be now

The Prince of Orange had at last thrown down the gauntlet. Proscribed,
outlawed, with his Netherland property confiscated, and his eldest child
kidnapped, he saw sufficient personal justification for at last stepping
into the lists, the avowed champion of a nation's wrongs. Whether the
revolution was to be successful, or to be disastrously crushed; whether
its result would be to place him upon a throne or a scaffold, not even
he, the deep-revolving and taciturn politician, could possibly foresee.
The Reformation, in which he took both a political and a religious
interest, might prove a sufficient lever in his hands for the overthrow
of Spanish power in the Netherlands. The inquisition might roll back upon
his country and himself, crushing them forever. The chances seemed with
the inquisition. The Spaniards, under the first chieftain in Europe, were
encamped and entrenched in the provinces. The Huguenots had just made
their fatal peace in France, to the prophetic dissatisfaction of Coligny.
The leading men of liberal sentiments in the Netherlands were captive or
in exile. All were embarrassed by the confiscations which, in
anticipation of sentence, had severed the nerves of war. The country was
terror-stricken; paralyzed, motionless, abject, forswearing its
convictions, and imploring only life. At this moment William of Orange
reappeared upon the scene.

He replied to the act of condemnation, which had been pronounced against
him in default, by a published paper, of moderate length and great
eloquence. He had repeatedly offered to place himself, he said, upon
trial before a competent court. As a Knight of the Fleece, as a member of
the Holy Roman Empire, as a sovereign prince, he could acknowledge no
tribunal save the chapters of the knights or of the realm. The Emperor's
personal intercession with Philip had been employed in vain, to obtain
the adjudication of his case by either. It would be both death and
degradation on his part to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the infamous
Council of Blood. He scorned, he said, to plead his cause "before he knew
not what base knaves, not fit to be the valets of his companions and

He appealed therefore to the judgment of the world. He published not an
elaborate argument, but a condensed and scathing statement of the
outrages which had been practised upon him. He denied that he had been a
party to the Compromise. He denied that he had been concerned in the
Request, although he denounced with scorn the tyranny which could treat a
petition to government as an act of open war against the sovereign. He
spoke of Granvelle with unmeasured wrath. He maintained that his own
continuance in office had been desired by the cardinal, in order that his
personal popularity might protect the odious designs of the government.
The edicts, the inquisition, the persecution, the new bishoprics, had
been the causes of the tumults. He concluded with a burst of indignation
against Philip's conduct toward himself. The monarch had forgotten his
services and those of his valiant ancestors. He had robbed him of honor,
he had robbed him of his son--both dearer to him than life. By thus doing
he had degraded himself more than he had injured him, for he had broken
all his royal oaths and obligations.

The paper was published early in the summer of 1568. At about the same
time, the Count of Hoogstraaten published a similar reply to the act of
condemnation with which he had been visited. He defended himself mainly
upon the ground, that all the crimes of which he stood arraigned had been
committed in obedience to the literal instructions of the Duchess of
Parma, after her accord with the confederates.

The Prince now made the greatest possible exertions to raise funds and
troops. He had many meetings with influential individuals in Germany. The
Protestant princes, particularly the Landgrave of Hesse and the Elector
of Saxony, promised him assistance. He brought all his powers of
eloquence and of diplomacy to make friends for the cause which he had now
boldly espoused. The high-born Demosthenes electrified large assemblies
by his indignant invectives against the Spanish Philip. He excelled even
his royal antagonist in the industrious subtlety with which he began to
form a thousand combinations. Swift, secret, incapable of fatigue, this
powerful and patient intellect sped to and fro, disentangling the
perplexed skein where all had seemed so hopelessly confused, and
gradually unfolding broad schemes of a symmetrical and regenerated
polity. He had high correspondents and higher hopes in England. He was
already secretly or openly in league with half the sovereigns of Germany.
The Huguenots of France looked upon him as their friend, and on Louis of
Nassau as their inevitable chieftain, were Coligny destined to fall. He
was in league with all the exiled and outlawed nobles of the Netherlands.
By his orders recruits were daily enlisted, without sound of drum. He
granted a commission to his brother Louis, one of the most skilful and
audacious soldiers of the age, than whom the revolt could not have found
a more determined partisan, nor the Prince a more faithful lieutenant.

This commission, which was dated Dillenburg, 6th April, 1568, was a
somewhat startling document. It authorized the Count to levy troops and
wage war against Philip, strictly for Philip's good. The fiction of
loyalty certainly never went further. The Prince of Orange made known to
all "to whom those presents should come," that through the affection
which he bore the gracious King, he purposed to expel his Majesty's
forces from the Netherlands. "To show our love for the monarch and his
hereditary provinces," so ran the commission, "to prevent the desolation
hanging over the country by the ferocity of the Spaniards, to maintain
the privileges sworn to by his Majesty and his predecessors, to prevent
the extirpation of all religion by the edicts, and to save the sons and
daughters of the land from abject slavery, we have requested our dearly
beloved brother Louis Nassau to enrol as many troops as he shall think

Van der Bergh, Hoogstraaten, and others, provided with similar powers,
were also actively engaged in levying troops; but the right hand of the
revolt was Count Louis, as his illustrious brother was its head and
heart. Two hundred thousand crowns was the sum which the Prince
considered absolutely necessary for organizing the army with which he
contemplated making an entrance into the Netherlands. Half this amount
had been produced by the cities of Antwerp, Amsterdam, Leyden, Harlem,
Middelburg, Flushing, and other towns, as well as by refugee merchants in
England. The other half was subscribed by individuals. The Prince himself
contributed 50,000 florins, Hoogstraaten 30,000, Louis of Nassau 10,000,
Culemberg 30,000, Van der Bergh 30,000, the Dowager-countess Horn 10,000,
and other persons in less proportion. Count John of Nassau also pledged
his estates to raise a large sum for the cause. The Prince himself sold
all his jewels, plate, tapestry, and other furniture, which were of
almost regal magnificence. Not an enthusiast, but a deliberate, cautious
man, he now staked his all upon the hazard, seemingly so desperate. The
splendor of his station has been sufficiently depicted. His luxury, his
fortune, his family, his life, his children, his honor, all were now
ventured, not with the recklessness of a gambler, but with the calm
conviction of a statesman.

A private and most audacious attempt to secure the person: of Alva and
the possession of Brussels had failed. He was soon, however, called upon
to employ all his energies against the open warfare which was now

According to the plan of the Prince, the provinces were to be attacked
simultaneously, in three places, by his lieutenants, while he himself was
waiting in the neighborhood of Cleves, ready for a fourth assault. An
army of Huguenots and refugees was to enter Artois upon the frontier of
France; a second, under Hoogstraaten, was to operate between the Rhine
and the Meuse; while Louis of Nassau was to raise the standard of revolt
in Friesland.

The two first adventures were destined to be signally unsuccessful. A
force under Seigneur de Cocqueville, latest of all, took the field
towards the end of June. It entered the bailiwick of Hesdin in Artois,
was immediately driven across the frontier by the Count de Roeulx, and
cut to pieces at St. Valery by Marechal de Cossis, governor of Picardy.
This action was upon the 18th July. Of the 2500 men who composed the
expedition, scarce 300 escaped. The few Netherlanders who were taken
prisoners were given to the Spanish government, and, of course, hanged.

The force under the Seigneur de Villars was earlier under arms, and the
sooner defeated. This luckless gentleman, who had replaced the Count of
Hoogstraaten, crossed the frontier of Juliers; in the neighborhood of
Maestricht, by the 20th April. His force, infantry and cavalry, amounted
to nearly three thousand men. The object of the enterprise was to, raise
the country; and, if possible, to obtain a foothold by securing an
important city. Roermonde was the first point of attack, but the
attempts, both by stratagem and by force, to secure the town, were
fruitless. The citizens were not ripe for revolt, and refused the army
admittance. While the invaders were, therefore, endeavoring to fire the
gates, they were driven off by the approach of a Spanish force.

The Duke, so soon as the invasion was known to him, had acted with great
promptness. Don Sancho de Lodrono and Don Sancho de Avila, with five
vanderas of Spanish infantry, three companies of cavalry, and about three
hundred pikemen under Count Eberstein, a force amounting in all to about
1600 picked troops, had been at once despatched against Villars. The
rebel chieftain, abandoning his attempt upon Roermonde, advanced towards
Erkelens. Upon the 25th April, between Erkelens and Dalem, the Spaniards
came up with him, and gave him battle. Villars lost all his cavalry and
two vanderas of his infantry in the encounter. With the remainder of his
force, amounting to 1300 men, he effected his retreat in good order to
Dalem. Here he rapidly entrenched himself. At four in the afternoon,
Sancho de Lodrono, at the head of 600 infantry, reached the spot. He was
unable to restrain the impetuosity of his men, although the cavalry under
Avila, prevented by the difficult nature of the narrow path through which
the rebels had retreated, had not yet arrived. The enemy were two to one,
and were fortified; nevertheless, in half an hour the entrenchments were
carried, and almost every man in the patriot army put to the sword.
Villars himself, with a handful of soldiers, escaped into the town, but
was soon afterwards taken prisoner, with all his followers. He sullied
the cause in which he was engaged by a base confession of the designs
formed by the Prince of Orange--a treachery, however, which did not save
him from the scaffold. In the course of this day's work, the Spanish lost
twenty men, and the rebels nearly 200. This portion of the liberating
forces had been thus disastrously defeated on the eve of the entrance of
Count Louis into Friesland.

As early as the 22d April, Alva had been informed, by the
lieutenant-governor of that province, that the beggars were mustering in
great force in the neighborhood of Embden. It was evident that an
important enterprise was about to be attempted. Two days afterwards,
Louis of Nassau entered the provinces, attended by a small body of
troops. His banners blazed with patriotic inscriptions. 'Nunc aut
nunquam, Recuperare aut mori', were the watchwords of his desperate
adventure: "Freedom for fatherland and conscience" was the device which
was to draw thousands to his standard. On the western wolds of Frisia, he
surprised the castle of Wedde, a residence of the absent Aremberg,
stadholder of the province. Thence he advanced to Appingadam, or Dam, on
the tide waters of the Dollart. Here he was met by, his younger brother,
the gallant Adolphus, whose days were so nearly numbered, who brought
with him a small troop of horse. At Wedde, at Dam, and at Slochteren, the
standard was set up. At these three points there daily gathered armed
bodies of troops, voluntary adventurers, peasants with any rustic weapon
which they could find to their hand. Lieutenant-governor Groesbeck wrote
urgently to the Duke, that the beggars were hourly increasing in force;
that the leaders perfectly understood their game; that they kept their
plans a secret, but were fast seducing the heart of the country.

On the 4th May, Louis issued a summons to the magistracy of Groningen,
ordering them to send a deputation to confer with him at Dam. He was
prepared, he said, to show the commission with which he was provided. He
had not entered the country on a mere personal adventure, but had
received orders to raise a sufficient army. By the help of the eternal
God, he was determined, he said, to extirpate the detestable tyranny of
those savage persecutors who had shed so much Christian blood. He was
resolved to lift up the down-trod privileges, and, to protect the
fugitive, terror-stricken Christians and patriarchs of the country. If
the magistrates were disposed to receive him with friendship, it was
well. Otherwise, he should, with regret, feel himself obliged to proceed
against them, as enemies of his Majesty and of the common weal.

As the result of this summons, Louis received a moderate sum of money, on
condition of renouncing for the moment an attack upon the city. With this
temporary supply he was able to retain a larger number of the
adventurers; who were daily swarming around him.

In the mean time Alva was not idle. On the 30th April, he wrote to
Groesbeck, that he must take care not to be taken napping; that he must
keep his eyes well open until the arrival of succor, which was already on
the way. He then immediately ordered Count Aremberg, who had just
returned from France on conclusion of hostilities, to hasten to the seat
of war. Five vanderas of his own regiment; a small body of cavalry, and
Braccamonte's Sardinian legion, making in all a force of nearly 2500 men,
were ordered to follow him with the utmost expedition. Count Meghem,
stadholder of Gueldres, with five vanderas of infantry, three of light
horse, and some artillery, composing a total of about 1500 men, was
directed to co-operate with Aremberg. Upon this point the orders of the
Governor-general were explicit. It seemed impossible that the rabble rout
under Louis Nassau could stand a moment before nearly 4000 picked and
veteran troops, but the Duke was earnest in warning his generals not to
undervalue the enemy.

On the 7th May, Counts Meghem and Aremberg met and conferred at Arnheim,
on their way to Friesland. It was fully agreed between them, after having
heard full reports of the rising in that province, and of the temper
throughout the eastern Netherlands, that it would be rash to attempt any
separate enterprise. On the 11th, Aremberg reached Vollenhoven, where he
was laid up in his bed with the gout. Bodies of men, while he lay sick,
paraded hourly with fife and drum before his windows, and discharged
pistols and arquebuses across the ditch of the blockhouse where he was
quartered. On the 18th, Braccamonte, with his legion, arrived by water at
Harlingen. Not a moment more was lost. Aremberg, notwithstanding his
gout, which still confined him to a litter, started at once in pursuit of
the enemy. Passing through Groningen, he collected all the troops which
could be spared.. He also received six pieces of artillery. Six cannon,
which the lovers of harmony had baptized with the notes of the gamut,
'ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la', were placed at his disposal by the
authorities, and have acquired historical celebrity. It was, however,
ordained that when those musical pieces piped, the Spaniards were not to
dance. On the 22d, followed by his whole force, consisting of
Braccamonte's legion, his own four vanderas, and a troop of Germans, he
came in sight of the enemy at Dam. Louis of Nassau sent out a body of
arquebusiers, about one thousand strong, from the city. A sharp skirmish
ensued, but the beggars were driven into their entrenchments, with a loss
of twenty or thirty men, and nightfall terminated the contest.

It was beautiful to see, wrote Aremberg to Alva, how brisk and eager were
the Spaniards, notwithstanding the long march which they had that day
accomplished. Time was soon to show how easily immoderate, valor might
swell into a fault. Meantime, Aremberg quartered his troops in and about
Wittewerum Abbey, close to the little unwalled city of Dam.

On the other hand, Meghem, whose co-operation had been commanded by Alva,
and arranged personally with Aremberg a fortnight before, at Arnheim, had
been delayed in his movements. His troops, who had received no wages for
a long time had mutinied. A small sum of money, however, sent from
Brussels, quelled this untimely insubordination. Meghem then set forth to
effect his junction with his colleague, having assured the
Governor-general that the war would be ended in six days. The beggars had
not a stiver, he said, and must disband or be beaten to pieces as soon as
Aremberg and he had joined forces. Nevertheless he admitted that these
same "master-beggars," as he called them, might prove too many for either
general alone.

Alva, in reply, expressed his confidence that four or five thousand
choice troops of Spain would be enough to make a short war of it, but
nevertheless warned his officers of the dangers of overweening
confidence. He had been informed that the rebels had assumed the red
scarf of the Spanish uniform. He hoped the stratagem would not save them
from broken heads, but was unwilling that his Majesty's badge should be

He reiterated his commands that no enterprise should be undertaken,
except by the whole army in concert; and enjoined the generals
incontinently to hang and strangle all prisoners the moment they should
be taken.

Marching directly northward, Meghem reached Coeverden, some fifty miles
from Dam, on the night of the 22d. He had informed Aremberg that he might
expect him with his infantry and his light horse in the course of the
next day. On the following morning, the 23d, Aremberg wrote his last
letter to the Duke, promising to send a good account of the beggars
within a very few hours.

Louis of Nassau had broken up his camp at Dam about midnight. Falling
back, in a southerly direction, along the Wold-weg, or forest road, a
narrow causeway through a swampy district, he had taken up a position
some three leagues from his previous encampment. Near the monastery of
Heiliger Lee, or the "Holy Lion," he had chosen his ground. A little
money in hand, ample promises, and the hopes of booty, had effectually
terminated the mutiny, which had also broken out in his camp. Assured
that Meghem had not yet effected his junction with Aremberg, prepared to
strike, at last, a telling blow for freedom and fatherland, Louis awaited
the arrival of his eager foe.

His position was one of commanding strength and fortunate augury.
Heiliger Lee was a wooded eminence, artificially reared by Premonstrant
monks. It was the only rising ground in that vast extent of watery
pastures, enclosed by the Ems and Lippe--the "fallacious fields"
described by Tacitus. Here Hermann, first of Teutonic heroes, had dashed
out of existence three veteran legions of tyrant Rome. Here the spectre
of Varus, begrimed and gory, had risen from the morass to warn
Germanicus, who came to avenge him, that Gothic freedom was a dangerous
antagonist. And now, in the perpetual reproductions of history, another
German warrior occupied a spot of vantage in that same perilous region.
The tyranny with which he contended strove to be as universal as that of
Rome, and had stretched its wings of conquest into worlds of which the
Caesars had never dreamed. It was in arms, too, to crush not only the
rights of man, but the rights of God. The battle of freedom was to be
fought not only for fatherland, but for conscience. The cause was even
holier than that which had inspired the arm of Hermann.

Although the swamps of that distant age had been transformed into
fruitful pastures, yet the whole district was moist, deceitful, and
dangerous. The country was divided into squares, not by hedges but by
impassable ditches. Agricultural entrenchments had long made the country
almost impregnable, while its defences against the ocean rendered almost
as good service against a more implacable human foe.

Aremberg, leading his soldiers along the narrow causeway, in hot pursuit
of what they considered a rabble rout of fugitive beggars, soon reached
Winschoten. Here he became aware of the presence of his despicable foe.
Louis and Adolphus of Nassau, while sitting at dinner in the convent of
the "Holy Lion," had been warned by a friendly peasant of the approach of
the Spaniards. The opportune intelligence had given the patriot general
time to make his preparations. His earnest entreaties had made his troops
ashamed of their mutinous conduct on the preceding day, and they were now
both ready and willing to engage. The village was not far distant from
the abbey, and in the neighborhood of the abbey Louis of Nassau was now
posted. Behind him was a wood, on his left a hill of moderate elevation,
before him an extensive and swampy field. In the front of the field was a
causeway leading to the abbey. This was the road which Aremberg was to
traverse. On the plain which lay between the wood and the hill, the main
body of the beggars were drawn up. They were disposed in two squares or
squadrons, rather deep than wide, giving the idea of a less number than
they actually contained. The lesser square, in which were two thousand
eight hundred men, was partially sheltered by the hill. Both were flanked
by musketeers. On the brow of the hill was a large body of light armed
troops, the 'enfans perdus' of the army. The cavalry, amounting to not
more than three hundred men, was placed in front, facing the road along
which Aremberg was to arrive.

That road was bordered by a wood extending nearly to the front of the
hill. As Aremberg reached its verge, he brought out his artillery, and
opened a fire upon the body of light troops. The hill protected a large
part of the enemy's body from this attack. Finding the rebels so strong
in numbers and position, Aremberg was disposed only to skirmish. He knew
better than did his soldiers the treacherous nature of the ground in
front of the enemy. He saw that it was one of those districts where peat
had been taken out in large squares for fuel, and where a fallacious and
verdant scum upon the surface of deep pools simulated the turf that had
been removed. He saw that the battle-ground presented to him by his
sagacious enemy was one great sweep of traps and pitfalls. Before he
could carry the position, many men must necessarily be engulfed.

He paused for an instant. He was deficient in cavalry, having only
Martinengo's troop, hardly amounting to four hundred men. He was sure of
Meghem's arrival within twenty-four hours. If, then, he could keep the
rebels in check, without allowing them any opportunity to disperse, he
should be able, on the morrow, to cut them to pieces, according to the
plan agreed upon a fortnight before. But the Count had to contend with a
double obstacle. His soldiers were very hot, his enemy very cool. The
Spaniards, who had so easily driven a thousand musketeers from behind
their windmill, the evening before, who had seen the whole rebel force
decamp in hot haste on the very night of their arrival before Dam,
supposed themselves in full career of victory. Believing that the name
alone of the old legions had stricken terror to the hearts of the
beggars, and that no resistance was possible to Spanish arms, they
reviled their general for his caution. His reason for delay was theirs
for hurry. Why should Meghem's loitering and mutinous troops, arriving at
the eleventh hour, share in the triumph and the spoil? No man knew the
country better than Aremberg, a native of the Netherlands, the stadholder
of the province. Cowardly or heretical motives alone could sway him, if
he now held them back in the very hour of victory. Inflamed beyond
endurance by these taunts, feeling his pride of country touched to the
quick, and willing to show that a Netherlander would lead wherever
Spaniards dared to follow, Aremberg allowed himself to commit the grave
error for which he was so deeply to atone. Disregarding the dictates of
his own experience and the arrangements of his superior, he yielded to
the braggart humor of his soldiers, which he had not, like Alva, learned
to moderate or to despise.

In the mean, time, the body of light troops which had received the fire
from the musical pieces of Groningen was seen to waver. The artillery was
then brought beyond the cover of the wood, and pointed more fully upon
the two main squares of the enemy. A few shots told. Soon afterward the
'enfans perdus' retreated helter-skelter, entirely deserting their

This apparent advantage, which was only a preconcerted stratagem, was too
much for the fiery Spaniards. They rushed merrily forward to attack the
stationary squares, their general being no longer able, to restrain their
impetuosity. In a moment the whole van-guard had plunged into the morass.
In a few minutes more they were all helplessly and hopelessly struggling
in the pools, while the musketeers of the enemy poured in a deadly fire
upon them, without wetting the soles of their own feet. The pikemen, too,
who composed the main body of the larger square, now charged upon all who
were extricating themselves from their entanglement, and drove them back
again to a muddy death. Simultaneously, the lesser patriot squadron,
which had so long been sheltered, emerged from the cover of the hill,
made a detour around its base, enveloped the rear-guard of the Spaniards
before they could advance to the succor of their perishing comrades, and
broke them to pieces almost instantly. Gonzalo de Braccamonte, the very
Spanish colonel who had been foremost in denunciation of Aremberg, for
his disposition to delay the contest, was now the first to fly. To his
bad conduct was ascribed the loss of the day. The anger of Alva was so
high, when he was informed of the incident, that he would have condemned
the officer to death but for the intercession of his friends and
countrymen. The rout was sudden and absolute. The foolhardiness of the
Spaniards had precipitated them into the pit which their enemies had dug.
The day, was lost. Nothing was left for Aremberg but to perish with
honor. Placing himself at the head of his handful of cavalry, he dashed
into the melee. The shock was sustained by young Adolphus of Nassau, at
the head of an equal number of riders. Each leader singled out the other.
They met as "captains of might" should do, in the very midst of the
affray. Aremberg, receiving and disregarding a pistol shot from his
adversary, laid Adolphus dead at his feet, with a bullet through his body
and a sabre cut on his head. Two troopers in immediate attendance upon
the young Count shared the same fate from the same hand. Shortly
afterward, the horse of Aremberg, wounded by a musket ball, fell to the
ground. A few devoted followers lifted the charger to his legs and the
bleeding rider to his saddle. They endeavored to bear their wounded
general from the scene of action. The horse staggered a few paces and
fell dead. Aremberg disengaged himself from his body, and walked a few
paces to the edge of a meadow near the road. Here, wounded in the action,
crippled by the disease which had so long tormented him, and scarcely
able to sustain longer the burthen of his armor, he calmly awaited his
fate. A troop of the enemy advanced soon afterwards, and Aremberg fell,
covered with wounds, fighting like a hero of Homer, single-handed,
against a battalion, with a courage worthy a better cause and a better
fate. The sword by which he received his final death-blow was that of the
Seigneur do Haultain. That officer having just seen his brother slain
before his eyes, forgot the respect due to unsuccessful chivalry.

The battle was scarcely finished when an advancing trumpet was heard. The
sound caused the victors to pause in their pursuit, and enabled a remnant
of the conquered Spaniards to escape. Meghem's force was thought to be
advancing. That general had indeed arrived, but he was alone. He had
reached Zuidlaren, a village some four leagues from the scene of action,
on the noon of that day. Here he had found a letter from Aremberg,
requesting him to hasten. He had done so. His troops, however, having
come from Coevorden that morning, were unable to accomplish so long a
march in addition. The Count, accompanied by a few attendants, reached
the neighborhood of Heiliger Lee only in time to meet with some of the
camp sutlers and other fugitives, from whom he learned the disastrous
news of the defeat. Finding that all was lost, he very properly returned
to Zuidlaren, from which place he made the best of his way to Groningen.
That important city, the key of Friesland, he was thus enabled to secure.
The troops which he brought, in addition to the four German vanderas of
Schaumburg, already quartered there, were sufficient to protect it
against the ill-equipped army of Louis Nassau.

The patriot leader had accomplished, after all, but a barren victory. He
had, to be sure, destroyed a number of Spaniards, amounting, according to
the different estimates, from five hundred to sixteen hundred men. He had
also broken up a small but veteran army. More than all, he had taught the
Netherlanders, by this triumphant termination to a stricken field, that
the choice troops of Spain were not invincible. But the moral effect of
the victory was the only permanent one. The Count's badly paid troops
could with difficulty be kept together. He had no sufficient artillery to
reduce the city whose possession would have proved so important to the
cause. Moreover, in common with the Prince of Orange and all his
brethren, he had been called to mourn for the young and chivalrous
Adolphus, whose life-blood had stained the laurels of this first patriot
victory. Having remained, and thus wasted the normal three days upon the
battle-field, Louis now sat down before Groningen, fortifying and
entrenching himself in a camp within cannonshot of the city.

On the 23rd we have seen that Aremberg had written, full of confidence,
to the Governor-general, promising soon to send him good news of the
beggars. On the 26th, Count Meghem wrote that, having spoken with a man
who had helped to place Aremberg in his coffin, he could hardly entertain
any farther doubt as to his fate.

The wrath of the Duke was even greater than his surprise. Like Augustus,
he called in vain on the dead commander for his legions, but prepared
himself to inflict a more rapid and more terrible vengeance than the
Roman's. Recognizing the gravity of his situation, he determined to take
the field in person, and to annihilate this insolent chieftain who had
dared not only to cope with, but to conquer his veteran regiments. But
before he could turn his back upon Brussels, many deeds were to be done.
His measures now followed each other in breathless succession,
fulminating and blasting at every stroke. On the 28th May, he issued an
edict, banishing, on pain of death, the Prince of Orange, Louis Nassau,
Hoogstraaten, Van den Berg, and others, with confiscation of all their
property. At the same time he razed the Culemburg Palace to the ground,
and erected a pillar upon its ruins, commemorating the accursed
conspiracy which had been engendered within its walls. On the 1st June,
eighteen prisoners of distinction, including the two barons Batenburg,
Maximilian Kock, Blois de Treslong and others, were executed upon the
Horse Market, in Brussels. In the vigorous language of Hoogstraaten, this
horrible tragedy was enacted directly before the windows of that "cruel
animal, Noircarmes," who, in company of his friend, Berlaymont, and the
rest of the Blood-Council, looked out upon the shocking spectacle. The
heads of the victims were exposed upon stakes, to which also their bodies
were fastened. Eleven of these victims were afterward deposited,
uncoffined, in unconsecrated ground; the other seven were left unburied
to moulder on the gibbet. On the 2d June, Villars, the leader in the
Daalem rising, suffered on the scaffold, with three others. On the 3d,
Counts Egmont and Horn were brought in a carriage from Ghent to Brussels,
guarded by ten companies of infantry and one of cavalry. They were then
lodged in the "Brood-huis" opposite the Town Hall, on the great square of
Brussels. On the 4th, Alva having, as he solemnly declared before God and
the world, examined thoroughly the mass of documents appertaining to
those two great prosecutions which had only been closed three days
before, pronounced sentence against the illustrious prisoners. These
documents of iniquity signed and sealed by the Duke, were sent to the
Blood-Council, where they were read by Secretary Praets. The signature of
Philip was not wanting, for the sentences had been drawn upon blanks
signed by the monarch, of which the Viceroy had brought a whole trunk
full from Spain. The sentence against Egmont declared very briefly that
the Duke of Alva, having read all the papers and evidence in the case,
had found the Count guilty of high treason. It was proved that Egmont had
united with the confederates; that he had been a party to the accursed
conspiracy of the Prince of Orange; that he had taken the rebel nobles
under his protection, and that he had betrayed the Government and the
Holy Catholic Church by his conduct in Flanders. Therefore the Duke
condemned him to be executed by the sword on the following day, and
decreed that his head should be placed on high in a public place, there
to remain until the Duke should otherwise direct. The sentence against
Count Horn was similar in language and purport.

That afternoon the Duke sent for the Bishop of Ypres, The prelate arrived
at dusk. As soon as he presented himself, Alva informed him of the
sentence which had just been pronounced, and ordered him to convey the
intelligence to the prisoners. He further charged him with the duty of
shriving the victims, and preparing their souls for death. The bishop
fell on his knees, aghast at the terrible decree. He implored the
Governor-General to have mercy upon the two unfortunate nobles. If their
lives could not be spared, he prayed him at any rate to grant delay. With
tears and earnest supplications the prelate endeavored to avert or to
postpone the doom which had been pronounced. It was in vain. The
sentence, inflexible as destiny, had been long before ordained. Its
execution had been but hastened by the temporary triumph of rebellion in
Friesland. Alva told the Bishop roughly that he had not been summoned to
give advice. Delay or pardon was alike impossible. He was to act as
confessor to the criminals, not as councillor to the Viceroy. The Bishop,
thus rebuked, withdrew to accomplish his melancholy mission. Meanwhile,
on the same evening, the miserable Countess of Egmont had been appalled
by rumors, too vague for belief, too terrible to be slighted. She was in
the chamber of Countess Aremberg, with whom she had come to condole for
the death of the Count, when the order for the immediate execution of her
own husband was announced to her. She hastened to the presence of the
Governor-General. The Princess Palatine, whose ancestors had been
emperors, remembered only that she was a wife and a mother. She fell at
the feet of the man who controlled the fate of her husband, and implored
his mercy in humble and submissive terms. The Duke, with calm and almost
incredible irony, reassured the Countess by the information that, on the
morrow, her husband was certainly to be released. With this ambiguous
phrase, worthy the paltering oracles of antiquity, the wretched woman was
obliged to withdraw. Too soon afterward the horrible truth of the words
was revealed to her--words of doom, which she had mistaken for

An hour before midnight the Bishop of Ypres reached Egmont's prison. The
Count was confined in a chamber on the second story of the Brood-huis,
the mansion of the crossbowmen's guild, in that corner of the building
which rests on a narrow street running back from the great square. He was
aroused from his sleep by the approach of his visitor. Unable to speak,
but indicating by the expression of his features the occurrence of a
great misfortune, the Bishop, soon after his entrance, placed the paper
given to him by Alva in Egmont's hands. The unfortunate noble thus
suddenly received the information that his death-sentence had been
pronounced, and that its execution was fixed for the next morning. He
read the paper through without flinching, and expressed astonishment
rather than dismay at its tidings. Exceedingly sanguine by nature, he had
never believed, even after his nine months' imprisonment, in a fatal
termination to the difficulties in which he was involved. He was now
startled both at the sudden condemnation which had followed his lingering
trial, and at the speed with which his death was to fulfil the sentence.
He asked the Bishop, with many expressions of amazement, whether pardon
was impossible; whether delay at least might not be obtained? The prelate
answered by a faithful narrative of the conversation which had just
occurred between Alva and himself. Egmont, thus convinced of his
inevitable doom, then observed to his companion, with exquisite courtesy,
that, since he was to die, he rendered thanks both to God and to the Duke
that his last moments were to be consoled by so excellent a father

Afterwards, with a natural burst of indignation, he exclaimed that it was
indeed a cruel and unjust sentence. He protested that he had never in his
whole life wronged his Majesty; certainly never so deeply as to deserve
such a punishment. All that he had done had been with loyal intentions.
The King's true interest had been his constant aim. Nevertheless, if he
had fallen into error, he prayed to God that his death might wipe away
his misdeeds, and that his name might not be dishonored, nor his children
brought to shame. His beloved wife and innocent children were to endure
misery enough by his death and the confiscation of his estates. It was at
least due to his long services that they should be spared further
suffering. He then asked his father confessor what advice he had to give
touching his present conduct. The Bishop replied by an exhortation, that
he should turn himself to God; that he should withdraw his thoughts
entirely from all earthly interests, and prepare himself for the world
beyond the grave. He accepted the advice, and kneeling before the Bishop,
confessed himself. He then asked to receive the sacrament, which the
Bishop administered, after the customary mass. Egmont asked what prayer
would be most appropriate at the hour of execution. His confessor replied
that there was none more befitting than the one which Jesus had taught
his disciples--Our Father, which art in heaven.

Some conversation ensued, in which the Count again expressed his
gratitude that his parting soul had been soothed by these pious and
friendly offices. By a revulsion of feeling, he then bewailed again the
sad fate of his wife and of his young children. The Bishop entreated him
anew to withdraw his mind from such harrowing reflections, and to give
himself entirely to God. Overwhelmed with grief, Egmont exclaimed with
natural and simple pathos--"Alas! how miserable and frail is our nature,
that, when we should think of God only, we are unable to shut out the
images of wife and children."

Recovering from his emotion, and having yet much time, he sat down and
wrote with perfect self-possession two letters, one to Philip and one to
Alva. The celebrated letter to the King was as follows:

   "SIRE,--I have learned, this evening, the sentence which your
   Majesty has been pleased to pronounce upon me. Although I have
   never had a thought, and believe myself never to have done a deed,
   which could tend to the prejudice of your Majesty's person or
   service, or to the detriment of our true ancient and Catholic
   religion, nevertheless I take patience to bear that which it has
   pleased the good God to send. If, during these troubles in the
   Netherlands, I have done or permitted aught which had a different
   appearance, it has been with the true and good intent to serve God
   and your Majesty, and the necessity of the times. Therefore, I pray
   your Majesty to forgive me, and to have compassion on my poor wife,
   my children, and my servants; having regard to my past services.
   In which hope I now commend myself to the mercy of God.

        "From Brussels,
          "Ready to die, this 5th June, 1568,
   "Your Majesty's very humble and loyal vassal and servant,
                       "LAMORAL D'EGMONT."

Having thus kissed the murderous hand which smote him, he handed the
letter, stamped rather with superfluous loyalty than with Christian
forgiveness, to the Bishop, with a request that he would forward it to
its destination, accompanied by a letter from his own hand. This duty the
Bishop solemnly promised to fulfil.

Facing all the details of his execution with the fortitude which belonged
to his character, he now took counsel with his confessor as to the
language proper for him to hold from the scaffold to the assembled
people. The Bishop, however, strongly dissuaded him from addressing the
multitude at all.

The persons farthest removed, urged the priest, would not hear the words,
while the Spanish troops in the immediate vicinity would not understand
them. It seemed, therefore, the part of wisdom and of dignity for him to
be silent, communing only with his God. The Count assented to this
reasoning, and abandoned his intention of saying a few farewell words to
the people, by many of whom he believed himself tenderly beloved. He now
made many preparations for the morrow, in order that his thoughts, in the
last moments, might not be distracted by mechanical details, cutting the
collar from his doublet and from his shirt with his own hands, in order
that those of the hangman might have no excuse for contaminating his
person. The rest of the night was passed in prayer and meditation.

Fewer circumstances concerning the last night of Count Horn's life have
been preserved. It is, however, well ascertained that the Admiral
received the sudden news of his condemnation with absolute composure. He
was assisted at his devotional exercises in prison by the curate of La

During the night, the necessary preparations for the morning tragedy had
been made in the great square of Brussels. It was the intention of
government to strike terror to the heart of the people by the exhibition
of an impressive and appalling spectacle. The absolute and irresponsible
destiny which ruled them was to be made manifest by the immolation of
these two men, so elevated by rank, powerful connexion, and distinguished

The effect would be heightened by the character of the locality where
the gloomy show was to be presented. The great square of Brussels had
always a striking and theatrical aspect. Its architectural effects,
suggesting in some degree the meretricious union between Oriental and a
corrupt Grecian art, accomplished in the medieval midnight, have amazed
the eyes of many generations. The splendid Hotel de Ville, with its
daring spire and elaborate front, ornamented one side of the place;
directly opposite was the graceful but incoherent facade of the
Brood-huis, now the last earthly resting-place of the two distinguished
victims, while grouped around these principal buildings rose the
fantastic palaces of the Archers, Mariners, and of other guilds, with
their festooned walls and toppling gables bedizened profusely with
emblems, statues, and quaint decorations. The place had been alike the
scene of many a brilliant tournament and of many a bloody execution.
Gallant knights had contended within its precincts, while bright eyes
rained influence from all those picturesque balconies and decorated
windows. Martyrs to religious and to political liberty had, upon the same
spot, endured agonies which might have roused every stone of its pavement
to mutiny or softened them to pity. Here Egmont himself, in happier days,
had often borne away the prize of skill or of valor, the cynosure of
every eye; and hence, almost in the noon of a life illustrated by many
brilliant actions, he was to be sent, by the hand of tyranny, to his
great account.

On the morning of the 5th of June, three thousand Spanish troops were
drawn up in battle array around a scaffold which had been erected in the
centre of the square. Upon this scaffold, which was covered with black
cloth, were placed two velvet cushions, two iron spikes, and a small
table. Upon the table was a silver crucifix. The provost-marshal, Spelle,
sat on horseback below, with his red wand in his hand, little dreaming
that for him a darker doom was reserved than that of which he was now the
minister. The executioner was concealed beneath the draperies of the

At eleven o'clock, a company of Spanish soldiers, led by Julian Romero
and Captain Salinas, arrived at Egmont's chamber. The Count was ready for
them. They were about to bind his hands, but he warmly protested against
the indignity, and, opening the folds of his robe, showed them that he
had himself shorn off his collars, and made preparations for his death.
His request was granted. Egmont, with the Bishop at his side, then walked
with a steady step the short distance which separated him from the place
of execution. Julian Romero and the guard followed him. On his way, he
read aloud the fifty-first Psalm: "Hear my cry, O God, and give ear unto
my prayer!" He seemed to have selected these scriptural passages as a
proof that, notwithstanding the machinations of his enemies, and the
cruel punishment to which they had led him, loyalty to his sovereign was
as deeply rooted and as religious a sentiment in his bosom as devotion to
his God. "Thou wilt prolong the King's life; and his years as many
generations. He shall abide before God for ever! O prepare mercy and
truth which may preserve him." Such was the remarkable prayer of the
condemned traitor on his way to the block.

Having ascended the scaffold, he walked across it twice or thrice. He was
dressed in a tabard or robe of red damask, over which was thrown a short
black mantle, embroidered in gold. He had a black silk hat, with black
and white plumes, on his head, and held a handkerchief in his hand. As he
strode to and fro, he expressed a bitter regret that he had not been
permitted to die, sword in hand, fighting for his country and his king.
Sanguine to the last, he passionately asked Romero, whether the sentence
was really irrevocable, whether a pardon was not even then to be granted.
The marshal shrugged his shoulders, murmuring a negative reply. Upon
this, Egmont gnashed his teeth together, rather in rage than despair.
Shortly afterward commanding himself again, he threw aside his robe and
mantle, and took the badge of the Golden Fleece from his neck. Kneeling,
then, upon one of the cushions, he said the Lord's Prayer aloud, and
requested the Bishop, who knelt at his side, to repeat it thrice. After
this, the prelate gave him the silver crucifix to kiss, and then
pronounced his blessing upon him. This done, the Count rose again to his
feet, laid aside his hat and handkerchief, knelt again upon the cushion,
drew a little cap over his eyes, and, folding his hands together, cried
with a loud voice, "Lord, into Thy hands I commit my spirit." The
executioner then suddenly appeared, and severed his head from his
shoulders at a single blow.

A moment of shuddering silence succeeded the stroke. The whole vast
assembly seemed to have felt it in their own hearts. Tears fell from the
eyes even of the Spanish soldiery, for they knew and honored Egmont as a
valiant general. The French embassador, Mondoucet, looking upon the scene
from a secret place, whispered that he had now seen the head fall before
which France had twice trembled. Tears were even seen upon the iron cheek
of Alva, as, from a window in a house directly opposite the scaffold, he
looked out upon the scene.

A dark cloth was now quickly thrown over the body and the blood, and,
within a few minutes, the Admiral was seen advancing through the crowd.
His bald head was uncovered, his hands were unbound. He calmly saluted
such of his acquaintances as he chanced to recognize upon his path. Under
a black cloak, which he threw off when he had ascended the scaffold, he
wore a plain, dark doublet, and he did not, like Egmont, wear the
insignia of the Fleece. Casting his eyes upon the corpse, which lay
covered with the dark cloth, he asked if it were the body of Egmont.
Being answered in the affirmative, he muttered a few words in Spanish,
which were not distinctly audible. His attention was next caught by the
sight of his own coat of arms reversed, and he expressed anger at this
indignity to his escutcheon, protesting that he had not deserved the
insult. He then spoke a few words to the crowd below, wishing them
happiness, and begging them to pray for his soul. He did not kiss the
crucifix, but he knelt upon the scaffold to pray, and was assisted in his
devotions by the Bishop of Ypres. When they were concluded, he rose again
to his feet. Then drawing a Milan cap completely over his face, and
uttering, in Latin, the same invocation which Egmont had used, he
submitted his neck to the stroke.

Egmont had obtained, as a last favor, that his execution should precede
that of his friend. Deeming himself in part to blame for Horn's
reappearance in Brussels after the arrival of Alva, and for his, death,
which was the result, he wished to be spared the pang of seeing him dead.
Gemma Frisius, the astrologer who had cast the horoscope of Count Horn at
his birth, had come to him in the most solemn manner to warn him against
visiting Brussels. The Count had answered stoutly that he placed his
trust in God, and that, moreover, his friend Egmont was going thither
also, who had engaged that no worse fate should befal the one of them
than the other.

The heads of both sufferers were now exposed for two hours upon the iron
stakes. Their bodies, placed in coffins, remained during the same
interval upon the scaffold. Meantime, notwithstanding the presence of the
troops, the populace could not be restrained from tears and from
execrations. Many crowded about the scaffold, and dipped their
handkerchiefs in the blood, to be preserved afterwards as memorials of
the crime and as ensigns of revenge.

The bodies were afterwards delivered to their friends. A stately
procession of the guilds, accompanied by many of the clergy, conveyed
their coffins to the church of Saint Gudule. Thence the body of Egmont
was carried to the convent of Saint Clara, near the old Brussels gate,
where it was embalmed. His escutcheon and banners were hung upon the
outward wall of his residence, by order of the Countess. By command of
Alva they were immediately torn down. His remains were afterwards
conveyed to his city of Sottegem, in Flanders, where they were interred.
Count Horn was entombed at Kempen. The bodies had been removed from the
scaffold at two o'clock. The heads remained exposed between burning
torches for two hours longer. They were then taken down, enclosed in
boxes, and, as it was generally supposed, despatched to Madrid. The King
was thus enabled to look upon the dead faces of his victims without the
trouble of a journey to the provinces.

Thus died Philip Montmorency, Count of Horn, and Lamoral of Egmont,
Prince of Gaveren. The more intense sympathy which seemed to attach
itself to the fate of Egmont, rendered the misfortune of his companion in
arms and in death comparatively less interesting.

Egmont is a great historical figure, but he was certainly not a great
man. His execution remains an enduring monument not only of Philip's
cruelty and perfidy but of his dullness. The King had everything to hope
from Egmont and nothing to fear. Granvelle knew the man well, and, almost
to the last, could not believe in the possibility of so unparalleled a
blunder as that which was to make a victim, a martyr, and a popular idol
of a personage brave indeed, but incredibly vacillating and inordinately
vain, who, by a little management, might have been converted into a most
useful instrument for the royal purposes.

It is not necessary to recapitulate the events of Egmont's career. Step
by step we have studied his course, and at no single period have we
discovered even a germ of those elements which make the national
champion. His pride of order rendered him furious at the insolence of
Granvelle, and caused him to chafe under his dominion. His vanity of high
rank and of distinguished military service made him covet the highest
place under the Crown, while his hatred of those by whom he considered
himself defrauded of his claims, converted him into a malcontent. He had
no sympathy with the people, but he loved, as a grand Seignior, to be
looked up to and admired by a gaping crowd. He was an unwavering
Catholic, held sectaries in utter loathing, and, after the
image-breaking, took a positive pleasure in hanging ministers, together
with their congregations, and in pressing the besieged Christians of
Valenciennes to extremities. Upon more than one occasion he pronounced
his unequivocal approval of the infamous edicts, and he exerted himself
at times to enforce them within his province. The transitory impression
made upon his mind by the lofty nature of Orange was easily effaced in
Spain by court flattery and by royal bribes. Notwithstanding the
coldness, the rebuffs, and the repeated warnings which might have saved
him from destruction, nothing could turn him at last from the fanatic
loyalty towards which, after much wavering, his mind irrevocably pointed.
His voluntary humiliation as a general, a grandee, a Fleming, and a
Christian before the insolent Alva upon his first arrival, would move our
contempt were it not for the gentler emotions suggested by the infatuated
nobleman's doom. Upon the departure of Orange, Egmont was only too eager
to be employed by Philip in any work which the monarch could find for him
to do. Yet this was the man whom Philip chose, through the executioner's
sword, to convert into a popular idol, and whom Poetry has loved to
contemplate as a romantic champion of freedom.

As for Horn, details enough have likewise been given of his career to
enable the reader thoroughly to understand the man. He was a person of
mediocre abilities and thoroughly commonplace character. His high rank
and his tragic fate are all which make him interesting. He had little
love for court or people. Broken in fortunes, he passed his time mainly
in brooding over the ingratitude of Charles and Philip, and in
complaining bitterly of the disappointments to which their policy had
doomed him. He cared nothing for Cardinalists or confederates. He
disliked Brederode, he detested Granvelle. Gloomy and morose, he went to
bed, while the men who were called his fellow-conspirators were dining
and making merry in the same house with himself: He had as little
sympathy with the cry of "Vivent les gueux" as for that of "Vive le Roy."
The most interesting features in his character are his generosity toward
his absent brother and the manliness with which, as Montigny's
representative at Tournay, he chose rather to confront the anger of the
government, and to incur the deadly revenge of Philip, than make himself
the executioner of the harmless Christians in Tournay. In this regard,
his conduct is vastly more entitled to our respect than that of Egmont,
and he was certainly more deserving of reverence from the people, even
though deserted by all men while living, and left headless and solitary
in his coffin at Saint Gudule.

The hatred for Alva, which sprang from the graves of these illustrious
victims, waxed daily more intense. "Like things of another world," wrote
Hoogstraaten, "seem the cries, lamentations, and just compassion which
all the inhabitants of Brussels, noble or ignoble, feel for such
barbarous tyranny, while this Nero of an Alva is boasting that he will do
the same to all whom he lays his hands upon." No man believed that the
two nobles had committed a crime, and many were even disposed to acquit
Philip of his share in the judicial murder. The people ascribed the
execution solely to the personal jealousy of the Duke. They discoursed to
each other not only of the envy with which the Governor-general had
always regarded the military triumphs of his rival, but related that
Egmont had at different times won large sums of Alva at games of hazard,
and that he had moreover, on several occasions, carried off the prize
from the Duke in shooting at the popinjay. Nevertheless, in spite of all
these absurd rumors, there is no doubt that Philip and Alva must share
equally in the guilt of the transaction, and that the "chastisement" had
been arranged before Alva had departed from Spain.

The Countess Egmont remained at the convent of Cambre with her eleven
children, plunged in misery and in poverty. The Duke wrote to Philip,
that he doubted if there were so wretched a family in the world. He, at
the same time, congratulated his sovereign on the certainty that the more
intense the effects, the more fruitful would be the example of this great
execution. He stated that the Countess was considered a most saintly
woman, and that there had been scarcely a night in which, attended by her
daughters, she had not gone forth bare-footed to offer up prayers for her
husband in every church within the city. He added, that it was doubtful
whether they had money enough to buy themselves a supper that very night,
and he begged the King to allow them the means of supporting life. He
advised that the Countess should be placed, without delay in a Spanish
convent, where her daughters might at once take the veil, assuring his
Majesty that her dower was entirely inadequate to her support. Thus
humanely recommending his sovereign to bestow an alms on the family which
his own hand had reduced from a princely station to beggary, the Viceroy
proceeded to detail the recent events in Friesland, together with the
measures which he was about taking to avenge the defeat and death of
Count Aremberg.


     Deeply criminal in the eyes of all religious parties
     He had omitted to execute heretics
     Holy Office condemned all the inhabitants of the Netherlands
     Not for a new doctrine, but for liberty of conscience
     Questioning nothing, doubting nothing, fearing nothing
     The perpetual reproductions of history
     Wealth was an unpardonable sin





   Preparations of the Duke against Count Louis--Precarious situation
   of Louis in Friesland--Timidity of the inhabitants--Alva in
   Friesland--Skirmishing near Groningen--Retreat of the patriots--
   Error committed by Louis--His position at Jemmingen--Mutinous
   demonstrations of his troops--Louis partially restores order--
   Attempt to destroy the dykes interrupted by the arrival of Alva's
   forces--Artful strategy of the Duke--Defeat of Count Louis and utter
   destruction of his army--Outrages committed by the Spaniards--Alva
   at Utrecht--Execution of Vrow van Diemen--Episode of Don Carlos--
   Fables concerning him and Queen Isabella--Mystery, concerning his
   death--Secret letters of Philip to the Pope--The one containing the
   truth of the transaction still concealed in the Vatican--Case
   against Philip as related by Mathieu, De Thou, and others--Testimony
   in the King's favor by the nuncio, the Venetian envoy, and others--
   Doubtful state of the question--Anecdotes concerning Don Carlos--His

Those measures were taken with the precision and promptness which marked
the Duke's character, when precision and promptness were desirable. There
had been a terrible energy in his every step, since the successful foray
of Louis Nassau. Having determined to take the field in person with
nearly all the Spanish veterans, he had at once acted upon the necessity
of making the capital secure, after his back should be turned. It was
impossible to leave three thousand choice troops to guard Count Egmont. A
less number seemed insufficient to prevent a rescue. He had, therefore,
no longer delayed the chastisement which had already been determined, but
which the events in the north had precipitated. Thus the only positive
result of Louis Nassau's victory was the execution of his imprisoned

The expedition under Aremberg had failed from two causes. The Spanish
force had been inadequate, and they had attacked the enemy at a
disadvantage. The imprudent attack was the result of the contempt with
which they had regarded their antagonist. These errors were not to be
repeated. Alva ordered Count Meghem, now commanding in the province of
Groningen, on no account to hazard hostilities until the game was sure.
He also immediately ordered large reinforcements to move forward to the
seat of war. The commanders intrusted with this duty were Duke Eric of
Brunswick, Chiappin Vitelli, Noircarmes, and Count de Roeulx. The
rendezvous for the whole force was Deventer, and here they all arrived on
the 10th July. On the same day the Duke of Alva himself entered Deventer,
to take command in person. On the evening of the 14th July he reached
Rolden, a village three leagues distant from Groningen, at the head of
three terzios of Spanish infantry, three companies of light horse, and a
troop of dragoons. His whole force in and about Groningen amounted to
fifteen thousand choice troops besides a large but uncertain number of
less disciplined soldiery.

Meantime, Louis of Nassau, since his victory, had accomplished nothing.
For this inactivity there was one sufficient excuse, the total want of
funds. His only revenue was the amount of black mail which he was able to
levy upon the inhabitants of the province. He repeated his determination
to treat them all as enemies, unless they furnished him with the means of
expelling their tyrants from the country. He obtained small sums in this
manner from time to time. The inhabitants were favorably disposed, but
they were timid and despairing. They saw no clear way towards the
accomplishment of the result concerning which Louis was so confident.
They knew that the terrible Alva was already on his way. They felt sure
of being pillaged by both parties, and of being hanged as rebels,
besides, as soon as the Governor-general should make his appearance.

Louis had, however, issued two formal proclamations for two especial
contributions. In these documents he had succinctly explained that the
houses of all recusants should be forthwith burned about their ears, and
in consequence of these peremptory measures, he had obtained some ten
thousand florins. Alva ordered counter-proclamations to be affixed to
church doors and other places, forbidding all persons to contribute to
these forced loans of the rebels, on penalty of paying twice as much to
the Spaniards, with arbitrary punishment in addition, after his arrival.
The miserable inhabitants, thus placed between two fires, had nothing for
it but to pay one-half of their property to support the rebellion in the
first place, with the prospect of giving the other half as a subsidy to
tyranny afterwards; while the gibbet stood at the end of the vista to
reward their liberality. Such was the horrible position of the peasantry
in this civil conflict. The weight of guilt thus accumulated upon the
crowned head which conceived, and upon the red right hand which wrought
all this misery, what human scales can measure?

With these precarious means of support, the army of Louis of Nassau, as
may easily be supposed, was anything but docile. After the victory of
Heiliger Lee there had seemed to his German mercenaries a probability of
extensive booty, which grew fainter as the slender fruit of that battle
became daily more apparent. The two abbots of Wittewerum and of Heiliger
Lee, who had followed Aremberg's train in order to be witnesses of his
victory, had been obliged to pay to the actual conqueror a heavy price
for the entertainment to which they had invited themselves, and these
sums, together with the amounts pressed from the reluctant estates, and
the forced contributions paid by luckless peasants, enabled him to keep
his straggling troops together a few weeks longer. Mutiny, however, was
constantly breaking out, and by the eloquent expostulations and vague
promises of the Count, was with difficulty suppressed.

He had, for a few weeks immediately succeeding the battle, distributed
his troops in three different stations. On the approach of the Duke,
however, he hastily concentrated his whole force at his own strongly
fortified camp, within half cannon shot of Groningen. His army, such as
it was, numbered from 10,000 to 12,000 men. Alva reached Groningen early
in the morning, and without pausing a moment, marched his troops directly
through the city. He then immediately occupied an entrenched and
fortified house, from which it was easy to inflict damage upon the camp.
This done, the Duke, with a few attendants, rode forward to reconnoitre
the enemy in person. He found him in a well fortified position, having
the river on his front, which served as a moat to his camp, and with a
deep trench three hundred yards beyond, in addition. Two wooden bridges
led across the river; each was commanded by a fortified house, in which
was a provision of pine torches, ready at a moment's warning, to set fire
to the bridges. Having thus satisfied himself, the Duke rode back to his
army, which had received strict orders not to lift a finger till his
return. He then despatched a small force of five hundred musketeers,
under Robles, to skirmish with the enemy, and, if possible, to draw them
from their trenches.

The troops of Louis, however, showed no greediness to engage. On the
contrary, it soon became evident that their dispositions were of an
opposite tendency. The Count himself, not at that moment trusting his
soldiery, who were in an extremely mutinous condition, was desirous of
falling back before his formidable antagonist. The Duke, faithful,
however, to his life-long principles, had no intentions of precipitating
the action in those difficult and swampy regions. The skirmishing,
therefore, continued for many hours, an additional force of 1000 men
being detailed from the Spanish army. The day was very sultry, however,
the enemy reluctant, and the whole action languid. At last, towards
evening, a large body, tempted beyond their trenches, engaged warmly with
the Spaniards. The combat lasted but a few minutes, the patriots were
soon routed, and fled precipitately back to their camp. The panic spread
with them, and the whole army was soon in retreat. On retiring, they had,
however, set fire to the bridges, and thus secured an advantage at the
outset of the chase. The Spaniards were no longer to be held. Vitelli
obtained permission to follow with 2000 additional troops. The fifteen
hundred who had already been engaged, charged furiously upon their
retreating foes. Some dashed across the blazing bridges, with their
garments and their very beards on fire. Others sprang into the river.
Neither fire nor water could check the fierce pursuit. The cavalry
dismounting, drove their horses into the stream, and clinging to their
tails, pricked the horses forward with their lances. Having thus been
dragged across, they joined their comrades in the mad chase along the
narrow dykes, and through the swampy and almost impassable country where
the rebels were seeking shelter. The approach of night, too soon
advancing, at last put an end to the hunt. The Duke with difficulty
recalled his men, and compelled them to restrain their eagerness until
the morrow. Three hundred of the patriots were left dead upon the field,
besides at least an equal number who perished in the river and canals.
The army of Louis was entirely routed, and the Duke considered it
virtually destroyed. He wrote to the state council that he should pursue
them the next day, but doubted whether he should find anybody to talk
with him. In this the Governor-general soon found himself delightfully

Five days later, the Duke arrived at Reyden, on the Ems. Owing to the
unfavorable disposition of the country people, who were willing to
protect the fugitives by false information to their pursuers, he was
still in doubt as to the position then occupied by the enemy. He had been
fearful that they would be found at this very village of Reyden. It was a
fatal error on the part of Count Louis that they were not. Had he made a
stand at this point, he might have held out a long time. The bridge which
here crossed the river would have afforded him a retreat into Germany at
any moment, and the place was easily to be defended in front. Thus he
might have maintained himself against his fierce but wary foe, while his
brother Orange, who was at Strasburg watching the progress of events, was
executing his own long-planned expedition into the heart of the
Netherlands. With Alva thus occupied in Friesland, the results of such an
invasion might have been prodigious. It was, however, not on the cards
for that campaign. The mutinous disposition of the mercenaries under his
command had filled Louis with doubt and disgust. Bold and sanguine, but
always too fiery and impatient, he saw not much possibility of paying his
troops any longer with promises. Perhaps he was not unwilling to place
them in a position where they would be obliged to fight or to perish. At
any rate, such was their present situation. Instead of halting at Reyden,
he had made his stand at Jemmingen, about four leagues distant from that
place, and a little further down the river. Alva discovered this
important fact soon after his arrival at Reyden, and could not conceal
his delight. Already exulting at the error made by his adversary, in
neglecting the important position which he now occupied himself, he was
doubly delighted at learning the nature of the place which he had in
preference selected. He saw that Louis had completely entrapped himself.

Jemmingen was a small town on the left bank of the Ems. The stream here
very broad and deep, is rather a tide inlet than a river, being but a
very few miles from the Dollart. This circular bay, or ocean chasm, the
result of the violent inundation of the 13th century, surrounds, with the
river, a narrow peninsula. In the corner of this peninsula, as in the
bottom of a sack, Louis had posted his army. His infantry, as usual, was
drawn up in two large squares, and still contained ten thousand men. The
rear rested upon the village, the river was upon his left; his meagre
force of cavalry upon the right. In front were two very deep trenches.
The narrow road, which formed the only entrance to his camp, was guarded
by a ravelin on each side, and by five pieces of artillery.

The Duke having reconnoitred the enemy in person, rode back, satisfied
that no escape was possible. The river was too deep and too wide for
swimming or wading, and there were but very few boats. Louis was shut up
between twelve thousand Spanish veterans and the river Ems. The rebel
army, although not insufficient in point of numbers, was in a state of
disorganization. They were furious for money and reluctant to fight. They
broke out into open mutiny upon the very verge of battle, and swore that
they would instantly disband, if the gold, which, as they believed, had
been recently brought into the camp, were not immediately distributed
among them. Such was the state of things on the eventful morning of the
21st July. All the expostulations of Count Louis seemed powerless. His
eloquence and his patience, both inferior to his valor, were soon
exhausted. He peremptorily, refused the money for which they clamored,
giving the most cogent of all reasons, an empty coffer. He demonstrated
plainly that they were in that moment to make their election, whether to
win a victory or to submit to a massacre. Neither flight nor surrender
was possible. They knew how much quarter they could expect from the
lances of the Spaniards or the waters of the Dollart. Their only chance
of salvation lay in their own swords. The instinct of self-preservation,
thus invoked, exerted a little of its natural effect.

Meantime, a work which had been too long neglected, was then, if
possible, to be performed. In that watery territory, the sea was only
held in check by artificial means. In a very short time, by the
demolition of a few dykes and the opening of a few sluices, the whole
country through which the Spaniards had to pass could be laid under
water. Believing it yet possible to enlist the ocean in his defence,
Louis, having partially reduced his soldiers to obedience, ordered a
strong detachment upon this important service. Seizing a spade, he
commenced the work himself, and then returned to set his army in battle
array. Two or three tide gates had been opened, two or three bridges had
been demolished, when Alva, riding in advance of his army, appeared
within a mile or two of Jemmingen. It was then eight o'clock in the
morning. The patriots redoubled their efforts. By ten o'clock the waters
were already knee high, and in some places as deep as to the waist. At
that hour, the advanced guard of the Spaniards arrived. Fifteen hundred
musketeers were immediately ordered forward by the Duke. They were
preceded by a company of mounted carabineers, attended by a small band of
volunteers of distinction. This little band threw themselves at once upon
the troops engaged in destroying the dykes. The rebels fled at the first
onset, and the Spaniards closed the gates. Feeling the full importance of
the moment, Count Louis ordered a large force of musketeers to recover
the position, and to complete the work of inundation. It was too late.
The little band of Spaniards held the post with consummate tenacity.
Charge after charge, volley after volley, from the overwhelming force
brought against them, failed to loosen the fierce grip with which they
held this key to the whole situation. Before they could be driven from
the dykes, their comrades arrived, when all their antagonists at once
made a hurried retreat to their camp.

Very much the same tactics were now employed by the Duke, as in the
engagement near Selwaert Abbey. He was resolved that this affair, also,
should be a hunt, not a battle; but foresaw that it was to be a more
successful one. There was no loophole of escape, so that after a little
successful baiting, the imprisoned victims would be forced to spring from
their lurking-place, to perish upon his spears. On his march from Reyden
that morning, he had taken care to occupy every farm-house, every
building of whatever description along the road, with his troops. He had
left a strong guard on the bridge at Reyden, and had thus closed
carefully every avenue. The same fifteen hundred musketeers were now
advanced further towards the camp. This small force, powerfully but
secretly sustained, was to feel the enemy; to skirmish with him, and to
draw him as soon as possible out of his trenches. The plan succeeded.
Gradually the engagements between them and the troops sent out by Count
Louis grew more earnest. Finding so insignificant a force opposed to
them, the mutinous rebels took courage. The work waged hot. Lodrono and
Romero, commanders of the musketeers, becoming alarmed, sent to the Duke
for reinforcements. He sent back word in reply, that if they were not
enough to damage the enemy, they could, at least, hold their own for the
present. So much he had a right to expect of Spanish soldiers. At any
rate, he should send no reinforcements.

Again they were more warmly pressed; again their messenger returned with
the same reply. A third time they send the most urgent entreaties for
succour. The Duke was still inexorable.

Meantime the result of this scientific angling approached. By noon the
rebels, not being able to see how large a portion of the Spanish army had
arrived, began to think the affair not so serious. Count Louis sent out a
reconnoitring party upon the river in a few boats. They returned without
having been able to discover any large force. It seemed probable,
therefore, that the inundation had been more successful in stopping their
advance than had been supposed. Louis, always too rash, inflamed his men
with temporary enthusiasm. Determined to cut their way out by one
vigorous movement, the whole army at last marched forth from their
entrenchments, with drums beating, colors flying; but already the
concealed reinforcements of their enemies were on the spot. The patriots
met with a warmer reception than they had expected. Their courage
evaporated. Hardly had they advanced three hundred yards, when the whole
body wavered and then retreated precipitately towards the encampment,
having scarcely exchanged a shot with the enemy. Count Louis, in a frenzy
of rage and despair, flew from rank to rank, in vain endeavouring to
rally his terror-stricken troops. It was hopeless. The battery which
guarded the road was entirely deserted. He rushed to the cannon himself,
and fired them all with his own hand. It was their first and last
discharge. His single arm, however bold, could not turn the tide of
battle, and he was swept backwards with his coward troops. In a moment
afterwards, Don Lope de Figueroa, who led the van of the Spaniards,
dashed upon the battery, and secured it, together with the ravelins.
Their own artillery was turned against the rebels, and the road was soon
swept. The Spaniards in large numbers now rushed through the trenches in
pursuit of the retreating foe. No resistance was offered, nor quarter
given. An impossible escape was all which was attempted. It was not a
battle, but a massacre. Many of the beggars in their flight threw down
their arms; all had forgotten their use. Their antagonists butchered them
in droves, while those who escaped the sword were hurled into the river.
Seven Spaniards were killed, and seven thousand rebels.

   [Letter of Alva to the Council of State. Correspondanee du Duc
   d'Albe, 158. The same letter is published in Igor, iv. 245, 246.
   All writers allow seven thousand to have been killed on the patriot
   side, and--the number of Spaniards slain is not estimated at more
   than eighty, even by the patriotic Meteren, 55. Compare Bor, iv.
   245-246; Herrera, av. 696; Hoofd, v, 176, and Mendoza, 72.]

The swift ebb-tide swept the hats of the perishing wretches in such
numbers down the stream, that the people at Embden knew the result of the
battle in an incredibly short period of time. The skirmishing had lasted
from ten o'clock till one, but the butchery continued much longer. It
took time to slaughter even unresisting victims. Large numbers obtained
refuge for the night upon an island in the river. At low water next day
the Spaniards waded to them, and slew every man. Many found concealment
in hovels, swamps, and thickets, so that the whole of the following day
was occupied in ferreting out and despatching them. There was so much to
be done, that there was work enough for all. "Not a soldier," says, with
great simplicity, a Spanish historian who fought in the battle, "not a
soldier, nor even a lad, who wished to share in the victory, but could
find somebody to wound, to kill, to burn, or to drown." The wounding,
killing, burning, drowning lasted two days, and very few escaped. The
landward pursuit extended for three or four leagues around, so that the
roads and pastures were covered with bodies, with corslets, and other
weapons. Count Louis himself stripped off his clothes, and made his
escape, when all was over, by swimming across the Ems. With the paltry
remnant of his troops he again took refuge in Germany.

The Spanish army, two days afterwards, marched back to Groningen. The
page which records their victorious campaign is foul with outrage and red
with blood. None of the horrors which accompany the passage of hostile
troops through a defenceless country were omitted. Maids and matrons were
ravished in multitudes; old men butchered in cold blood. As Alva
returned, with the rear-guard of his army, the whole sky was red with a
constant conflagration; the very earth seemed changed to ashes. Every
peasant's hovel, every farm-house, every village upon the road had been
burned to the ground. So gross and so extensive had been the outrage,
that the commander-in-chief felt it due to his dignity to hang some of
his own soldiers who had most distinguished themselves in this work. Thus
ended the campaign of Count Louis in Friesland. Thus signally and
terribly had the Duke of Alva vindicated the supremacy of Spanish
discipline and of his own military skill.

On his return to Groningen, the estates were summoned, and received a
severe lecture for their suspicious demeanour in regard to the rebellion.
In order more effectually to control both province and city, the
Governor-general ordered the construction of a strong fortress, which was
soon begun but never completed. Having thus furnished himself with a key
to this important and doubtful region, he returned by way of Amsterdam to
Utrecht. There he was met by his son Frederic with strong reinforcements.
The Duke reviewed his whole army, and found himself at the head of 30,000
infantry and 7,000 cavalry. Having fully subdued the province, he had no
occupation for such a force, but he improved the opportunity by cutting
off the head of an old woman in Utrecht. The Vrow van Diemen, eighteen
months previously, had given the preacher Arendsoon a night's lodging in
her house. The crime had, in fact, been committed by her son-in-law, who
dwelt under her roof, and who had himself, without her participation,
extended this dangerous hospitality to a heretic; but the old lady,
although a devout Catholic, was rich. Her execution would strike a
wholesome terror into the hearts of her neighbours. The confiscation of
her estates would bring a handsome sum into the government coffers. It
would be made manifest that the same hand which could destroy an army of
twelve thousand rebels at a blow could inflict as signal punishment on
the small delinquencies of obscure individuals. The old lady, who was
past eighty-four years of age, was placed in a chair upon the scaffold.
She met her death with heroism, and treated her murderers with contempt.
"I understand very well," she observed, "why my death is considered
necessary. The calf is fat and must be killed." To the executioner she
expressed a hope that his sword was sufficiently sharp, "as he was likely
to find her old neck very tough." With this grisly parody upon the
pathetic dying words of Anne Boleyn, the courageous old gentlewoman
submitted to her fate.

The tragedy of Don Carlos does not strictly belong to our subject, which
is the rise of the Netherland commonwealth--not the decline of the
Spanish monarchy, nor the life of Philip the Second. The thread is but
slender which connects the unhappy young prince with the fortunes of the
northern republic. He was said, no doubt with truth, to desire the
government of Flanders. He was also supposed to be in secret
correspondence with the leaders of the revolt in the provinces. He
appeared, however, to possess very little of their confidence. His name
is only once mentioned by William of Orange, who said in a letter that
"the Prince of Spain had lately eaten sixteen pounds of fruit, including
four pounds of grapes at a single sitting, and had become ill in
consequence." The result was sufficiently natural, but it nowhere appears
that the royal youth, born to consume the fruits of the earth so largely,
had ever given the Netherlanders any other proof of his capacity to
govern them. There is no doubt that he was a most uncomfortable personage
at home, both to himself and to others, and that he hated his father'
very cordially. He was extremely incensed at the nomination of Alva to
the Netherlands, because he had hoped that either the King would go
thither or entrust the mission to him, in either of which events he
should be rid for a time of the paternal authority, or at least of the
paternal presence. It seems to be well ascertained that Carlos nourished
towards his father a hatred which might lead to criminal attempts, but
there is no proof that such attempts were ever made. As to the fabulous
amours of the Prince and the Queen, they had never any existence save in
the imagination of poets, who have chosen to find a source of sentimental
sorrow for the Infante in the arbitrary substitution of his father for
himself in the marriage contract with the daughter of Henry the Second.
As Carlos was but twelve or thirteen years of age when thus deprived of a
bride whom he had never seen, the foundation for a passionate regret was
but slight. It would hardly be a more absurd fantasy, had the poets
chosen to represent Philip's father, the Emperor Charles, repining in his
dotage for the loss of "bloody Mary," whom he had so handsomely ceded to
his son. Philip took a bad old woman to relieve his father; he took a
fair young princess at his son's expense; but similar changes in state
marriages were such matters of course, that no emotions were likely to be
created in consequence. There is no proof whatever, nor any reason to
surmise; that any love passages ever existed between Don Carlos and his

As to the process and the death of the Prince, the mystery has not yet
been removed, and the field is still open to conjecture. It seems a
thankless task to grope in the dark after the truth at a variety of
sources; when the truth really exists in tangible shape if profane hands
could be laid upon it. The secret is buried in the bosom of the Vatican.
Philip wrote two letters on the subject to Pius V. The contents of the
first (21st January, 1568) are known. He informed the pontiff that he had
been obliged to imprison his son, and promised that he would, in the
conduct of the affair, omit nothing which could be expected of a father
and of a just and prudent king. The second letter, in which he narrated,
or is supposed to have narrated, the whole course of the tragic
proceedings, down to the death and burial of the Prince, has never yet
been made public. There are hopes that this secret missive, after three
centuries of darkness, may soon see the light.--[I am assured by Mr.
Gachard that a copy of this important letter is confidently expected by
the Commission Royale d'Histoire.]

As Philip generally told the truth to the Pope, it is probable that the
secret, when once revealed, will contain the veritable solution of the
mystery. Till that moment arrives, it seems idle to attempt fathoming the
matter. Nevertheless, it may be well briefly to state the case as it
stands. As against the King, it rests upon no impregnable, but certainly
upon respectable authority. The Prince of Orange, in his famous Apology,
calls Philip the murderer of his wife and of his son, and says that there
was proof of the facts in France. He alludes to the violent death of
Carlos almost as if it were an indisputable truth. "As for Don Charles,"
he says, "was he not our future sovereign? And if the father could allege
against his son fit cause for death, was it not rather for us to judge
him than for three or four monks or inquisitors of Spain?"

The historian, P. Matthieu, relates that Philip assembled his council of
conscience; that they recommended mercy; that hereupon Philip gave the
matter to the inquisition, by which tribunal Carlos was declared a
heretic on account of his connexion with Protestants, and for his attempt
against his father's life was condemned to death, and that the sentence
was executed by four slaves, two holding the arms, one the feet, while
the fourth strangled him.

De Thou gives the following account of the transaction, having derived
many of his details from the oral communications of Louis de Foix:

Philip imagined that his son was about to escape from Spain, and to make
his way to the Netherlands. The King also believed himself in danger of
assassination from Carlos, his chief evidence being that the Prince
always carried pistols in the pockets of his loose breeches. As Carlos
wished always to be alone at night without any domestic in his chamber,
de Foix had arranged for him a set of pulleys, by means of which he could
open or shut his door without rising from his bed. He always slept with
two pistols and two drawn swords under his pillow, and had two loaded
arquebusses in a wardrobe close at hand. These remarkable precautions
would seem rather to indicate a profound fear of being himself
assassinated; but they were nevertheless supposed to justify Philip's
suspicions, that the Infante was meditating parricide. On Christmas eve,
however (1567), Don Carlos told his confessor that he had determined to
kill a man. The priest, in consequence, refused to admit him to the
communion. The Prince demanded, at least, a wafer which was not
consecrated, in order that he might seem to the people to be
participating in the sacrament. The confessor declined the proposal, and
immediately repairing to the King, narrated the whole story. Philip
exclaimed that he was himself the man whom the Prince intended to kill,
but that measures should be forthwith taken to prevent such a design. The
monarch then consulted the Holy Office of the inquisition, and the
resolution was taken to arrest his son. De Foix was compelled to alter
the pulleys of the door to the Prince's chamber in such a manner that it
could be opened without the usual noise, which was almost sure to awaken
him. At midnight, accordingly, Count Lerma entered the room so stealthily
that the arms were all, removed from the Prince's pillow and the
wardrobe, without awakening the sleeper. Philip, Ruy Gomez, the Duke de
Feria, and two other nobles, then noiselessly, crept into the apartment.
Carlos still slept so profoundly that it was necessary for Derma to shake
him violently by the arm before he could be aroused. Starting from his
sleep in the dead of night, and seeing his father thus accompanied,
before his bed, the Prince cried out that he was a dead man, and
earnestly besought the bystanders to make an end of him at once. Philip
assured him, however, that he was not come to kill him, but to chastise
him paternally, and to recal him to his duty. He then read him a serious
lecture, caused him to rise from his bed, took away his servants, and
placed him under guard. He was made to array himself in mourning
habiliments, and to sleep on a truckle bed. The Prince was in despair. He
soon made various attempts upon his own life. He threw himself into the
fire, but was rescued by his guards, with his clothes all in flames. He
passed several days without taking any food, and then ate so many patties
of minced meat that he nearly died of indigestion. He was also said to
have attempted to choke himself with a diamond, and to have been
prevented by his guard; to have filled his bed with ice; to have sat in
cold draughts; to have gone eleven days without food, the last method
being, as one would think, sufficiently thorough. Philip, therefore,
seeing his son thus desperate, consulted once more with the Holy Office,
and came to the decision that it was better to condemn him legitimately
to death than to permit him to die by his own hand. In order, however, to
save appearances, the order was secretly carried into execution. Don
Carlos was made to swallow poison in a bowl of broth, of which he died in
a few hours. This was at the commencement of his twenty-third year. The
death was concealed for several months, and was not made public till
after Alva's victory at Jemmingen.

Such was the account drawn up by de Thou from the oral communications of
de Foix, and from other sources not indicated. Certainly, such a
narrative is far from being entitled to implicit credence. The historian
was a contemporary, but he was not in Spain, and the engineer's testimony
is, of course, not entitled to much consideration on the subject of the
process and the execution (if there were an execution); although
conclusive as to matters which had been within his personal knowledge.
For the rest, all that it can be said to establish is the existence of
the general rumor, that Carlos came to his death by foul means and in
consequence of advice given by the inquisition.

On the other hand, in all the letters written at the period by persons in
Madrid most likely, from their position, to know the truth, not a
syllable has been found in confirmation of the violent death said to have
been suffered by Carlos. Secretary Erasso, the papal nuncio Castagna, the
Venetian envoy Cavalli, all express a conviction that the death of the
prince had been brought about by his own extravagant conduct and mental
excitement; by alternations of starving and voracious eating, by throwing
himself into the fire; by icing his bed, and by similar acts of
desperation. Nearly every writer alludes to the incident of the refusal
of the priest to admit Carlos to communion, upon the ground of his
confessed deadly hatred to an individual whom all supposed to be the
King. It was also universally believed that Carlos meant to kill his
father. The nuncio asked Spinosa (then president of Castile) if this
report were true. "If nothing more were to be feared," answered the
priest, "the King would protect himself by other measures," but the
matter was worse, if worse could be. The King, however, summoned all the
foreign diplomatic body and assured them that the story was false. After
his arrest, the Prince, according to Castagna, attempted various means of
suicide, abstaining, at last, many days from food, and dying in
consequence, "discoursing, upon his deathbed, gravely and like a man of

The historian Cabrera, official panegyrist of Philip the Second, speaks
of the death of Carlos as a natural one, but leaves a dark kind of
mystery about the symptoms of his disease. He states, that the Prince was
tried and condemned by a commission or junta, consisting of Spinosa, Ruy
Gomez, and the Licentiate Virviesca, but that he was carried off by an
illness, the nature of which he does not describe.

Llorente found nothing in the records of the Inquisition to prove that
the Holy Office had ever condemned the Prince or instituted any process
against him. He states that he was condemned by a commission, but that he
died of a sickness which supervened. It must be confessed that the
illness was a convenient one, and that such diseases are very apt to
attack individuals whom tyrants are disposed to remove from their path,
while desirous, at the same time, to save appearances. It would certainly
be presumptuous to accept implicitly the narrative of de Thou, which is
literally followed by Hoofd and by many modern writers. On the other
hand, it would be an exaggeration of historical scepticism to absolve
Philip from the murder of his son, solely upon negative testimony. The
people about court did not believe in the crime. They saw no proofs of
it. Of course they saw none. Philip would take good care that there
should be none if he had made up his mind that the death of the Prince
should be considered a natural one. And priori argument, which omits the
character of the suspected culprit, and the extraordinary circumstances
of time and place, is not satisfactory. Philip thoroughly understood the
business of secret midnight murder. We shall soon have occasion to relate
the elaborate and ingenious method by which the assassination of Montigny
was accomplished and kept a profound secret from the whole world, until
the letters of the royal assassin, after three centuries' repose, were
exhumed, and the foul mystery revealed. Philip was capable of any crime.
Moreover, in his letter to his aunt, Queen Catharine of Portugal, he
distinctly declares himself, like Abraham, prepared to go all lengths in
obedience to the Lord. "I have chosen in this matter," he said, "to make
the sacrifice to God of my own flesh and blood, and to prefer His service
and the universal welfare to all other human considerations." Whenever
the letter to Pius V. sees the light, it will appear whether the
sacrifice which the monarch thus made to his God proceeded beyond the
imprisonment and condemnation of his son, or was completed by the actual
immolation of the victim.

With regard to the Prince himself, it is very certain that, if he had
lived, the realms of the Spanish Crown would have numbered one tyrant
more. Carlos from his earliest youth, was remarkable for the ferocity of
his character. The Emperor Charles was highly pleased with him, then
about fourteen years of age, upon their first interview after the
abdication. He flattered himself that the lad had inherited his own
martial genius together with his name. Carlos took much interest in his
grandfather's account of his various battles, but when the flight from
Innspruck was narrated, he repeated many times, with much vehemence, that
he never would have fled; to which position he adhered, notwithstanding
all the arguments of the Emperor, and very much to his amusement. The
young Prince was always fond of soldiers, and listened eagerly to
discourses of war. He was in the habit also of recording the names of any
military persons who, according to custom, frequently made offers of
their services to the heir apparent, and of causing them to take a solemn
oath to keep their engagements. No other indications of warlike talent,
however, have been preserved concerning him. "He was crafty, ambitious,
cruel, violent," says the envoy Suriano, "a hater of buffoons, a lover of
soldiers." His natural cruelty seems to have been remarkable from his
boyhood. After his return from the chase, he was in the habit of cutting
the throats of hares and other animals, and of amusing himself with their
dying convulsions. He also frequently took pleasure in roasting them
alive. He once received a present of a very large snake from some person
who seemed to understand how to please this remarkable young prince.
After a time, however, the favorite reptile allowed itself to bite its
master's finger, whereupon Don Carlos immediately retaliated by biting
off its head.

He was excessively angry at the suggestion that the prince who was
expected to spring from his father's marriage with the English queen,
would one day reign over the Netherlands, and swore he would challenge
him to mortal combat in order to prevent such an infringement of his
rights. His father and grandfather were both highly diverted with this
manifestation of spirit, but it was not decreed that the world should
witness the execution of these fraternal intentions against the babe
which was never to be born.

Ferocity, in short, seems to have been the leading characteristic of the
unhappy Carlos. His preceptor, a man of learning and merit, who was
called "the honorable John", tried to mitigate this excessive ardor of
temperament by a course of Cicero de Officiis, which he read to him
daily. Neither the eloquence of Tully, however, nor the precepts of the
honorable John made the least impression upon this very savage nature. As
he grew older he did not grow wiser nor more gentle. He was prematurely
and grossly licentious. All the money which as a boy, he was allowed, he
spent upon women of low character, and when he was penniless, he gave
them his chains, his medals, even the clothes from his back. He took
pleasure in affronting respectable females when he met them in the
streets, insulting them by the coarsest language and gestures. Being
cruel, cunning, fierce and licentious, he seemed to combine many of the
worst qualities of a lunatic. That he probably was one is the best
defence which can be offered for his conduct. In attempting to offer
violence to a female, while he was at the university of Alcala, he fell
down a stone staircase, from which cause he was laid up for a long time
with a severely wounded head, and was supposed to have injured his brain.

The traits of ferocity recorded of him during his short life are so
numerous that humanity can hardly desire that it should have been
prolonged. A few drops of water having once fallen upon his head from a
window, as he passed through the street, he gave peremptory orders to his
guard to burn the house to the ground, and to put every one of its
inhabitants to the sword. The soldiers went forthwith to execute the
order, but more humane than their master, returned with the excuse that
the Holy Sacrament of the Viaticum had that moment been carried into the
house. This appeal to the superstition of the Prince successfully
suspended the execution of the crimes which his inconceivable malignity
had contemplated. On another occasion, a nobleman, who slept near his
chamber, failed to answer his bell on the instant. Springing upon his
dilatory attendant, as soon as he made his appearance, the Prince seized
him in his arms and was about to throw him from the window, when the
cries of the unfortunate chamberlain attracted attention, and procured a

The Cardinal Espinoza had once accidentally detained at his palace an
actor who was to perform a favorite part by express command of Don
Carlos. Furious at this detention, the Prince took the priest by the
throat as soon as he presented himself at the palace, and plucking his
dagger from its sheath, swore, by the soul of his father, that he would
take his life on the spot. The grand inquisitor fell on his knees and
begged for mercy, but it is probable that the entrance of the King alone
saved his life.

There was often something ludicrous mingled with the atrocious in these
ungovernable explosions of wrath. Don Pedro Manuel, his chamberlain, had
once, by his command, ordered a pair of boots to be made for the Prince.
When brought home, they were, unfortunately, too tight. The Prince after
vainly endeavouring to pull them on, fell into a blazing passion. He
swore that it was the fault of Don Pedro, who always wore tight boots
himself, but he at the same time protested that his father was really at
the bottom of the affair. He gave the young nobleman a box on the ear for
thus conspiring with the King against his comfort, and then ordered the
boots to be chopped into little pieces, stewed and seasoned. Then sending
for the culprit shoemaker, he ordered him to eat his own boots, thus
converted into a pottage; and with this punishment the unfortunate
mechanic, who had thought his life forfeited, was sufficiently glad to

Even the puissant Alva could not escape his violence. Like all the men in
whom his father reposed confidence, the Duke was odious to the heir
apparent. Don Carlos detested him with the whole force of his little
soul. He hated him as only a virtuous person deserved to be hated by such
a ruffian. The heir apparent had taken the Netherlands under his
patronage. He had even formed the design of repairing secretly to the
provinces, and could not, therefore, disguise his wrath at the
appointment of the Duke. It is doubtful whether the country would have
benefited by the gratification of his wishes. It is possible that the
pranks of so malignant an ape might have been even more mischievous than
the concentrated and vigorous tyranny of an Alva. When the new
Captain-general called, before his departure, to pay his respects to the
Infante, the Duke seemed, to his surprise, to have suddenly entered the
den of a wild beast. Don Carlos sprang upon him with a howl of fury,
brandishing a dagger in his hand. He uttered reproaches at having been
defrauded of the Netherland government. He swore that Alva should never
accomplish his mission, nor leave his presence alive. He was proceeding
to make good the threat with his poniard, when the Duke closed with him.
A violent struggle succeeded. Both rolled together on the ground, the
Prince biting and striking like a demoniac, the Duke defending himself as
well as he was able, without attempting his adversary's life. Before the
combat was decided, the approach of many persons put an end to the
disgraceful scene. As decent a veil as possible was thrown over the
transaction, and the Duke departed on his mission. Before the end of the
year, the Prince was in the prison whence he never came forth alive.

The figure of Don Carlos was as misshapen as his mind. His head was
disproportionately large, his limbs were rickety, one shoulder was
higher, one leg longer than the other. With features resembling those of
his father, but with a swarthy instead of a fair complexion, with an
expression of countenance both fierce and foolish, and with a character
such as we have sketched it, upon the evidence of those who knew him
well, it is indeed strange that he should ever have been transformed by
the magic of poetry into a romantic hero. As cruel and cunning as his
father, as mad as his great-grandmother, he has left a name, which not
even his dark and mysterious fate can render interesting.

1568 [CHAPTER IV.]

   Continued and excessive barbarity of the government--Execution of
   Antony van Straalen, of "Red--Rod" Spelle--The Prince of Orange
   advised by his German friends to remain quiet--Heroic sentiments of
   Orange--His religious opinions--His efforts in favor of toleration--
   His fervent piety--His public correspondence with the Emperor--His
   "Justification," his "Warning," and other papers characterized--The
   Prince, with a considerable army, crosses the Rhine--Passage of the
   Meuse at Stochem--He offers battle to Alva--Determination of the
   Duke to avoid an engagement--Comparison of his present situation
   with his previous position in Friesland--Masterly tactics of the
   Duke--Skirmish on the Geta--Defeat of the Orangists--Death of
   Hoogstraaten--Junction with Genlis--Adherence of Alva to his
   original plan--The Prince crosses the frontier of France--
   Correspondence between Charles IX. and Orange--The patriot army
   disbanded at Strasburg--Comments by Granvelle upon the position of
   the Prince--Triumphant attitude of Alva--Festivities at Brussels--
   Colossal statue of Alva erected by himself in Antwerp citadel--
   Intercession of the Emperor with Philip--Memorial of six Electors to
   the Emperor--Mission of the Archduke Charles to Spain--His
   negotiations with Philip--Public and private correspondence between
   the King and Emperor--Duplicity of Maximilian--Abrupt conclusion to
   the intervention--Granvelle's suggestions to Philip concerning the
   treaty of Passau.

The Duke having thus crushed the project of Count Bouts, and quelled the
insurrection in Friesland, returned in triumph to Brussels. Far from
softened by the success of his arms, he renewed with fresh energy the
butchery which, for a brief season, had been suspended during his
brilliant campaign in the north. The altars again smoked with victims;
the hanging, burning, drowning, beheading, seemed destined to be the
perpetual course of his administration, so long as human bodies remained
on which his fanatical vengeance could be wreaked. Four men of eminence
were executed soon after his return to the capital. They had previously
suffered such intense punishment on the rack, that it was necessary to
carry them to the scaffold and bind them upon chairs, that they might be
beheaded. These four sufferers were a Frisian nobleman, named Galena, the
secretaries of Egmont and Horn, Bakkerzeel and La Loo, and the
distinguished burgomaster of Antwerp, Antony Van Straalen. The arrest of
the three last-mentioned individuals, simultaneously with that of the two
Counts, has been related in a previous chapter. In the case of Van
Straalen, the services rendered by him to the provinces during his long
and honorable career, had been so remarkable, that even the
Blood-Council, in sending his case to Alva for his sentence, were
inspired by a humane feeling. They felt so much compunction at the
impending fate of a man who, among other meritorious acts, had furnished
nearly all the funds for the brilliant campaign in Picardy, by which the
opening years of Philip's reign had been illustrated, as to hint at the
propriety of a pardon. But the recommendation to mercy, though it came
from the lips of tigers, dripping with human blood, fell unheeded on the
tyrant's ear. It seemed meet that the man who had supplied the nerves of
war in that unforgiven series of triumphs, should share the fate of the
hero who had won the laurels.

   [Bor, Cappella, Hoofd, ubi sup. The last words of the Burgomaster
   as he bowed his neck to the executioner's stroke were, "Voor wel
   gedaan, kwaclyk beloud,"--"For faithful service, evil recompense."
   --Cappella, 232.]

Hundreds of obscure martyrs now followed in the same path to another
world, where surely they deserved to find their recompense, if steadfast
adherence to their faith, and a tranquil trust in God amid tortures and
death too horrible to be related, had ever found favor above. The
"Red-Rod," as the provost of Brabant was popularly designated, was never
idle. He flew from village to village throughout the province, executing
the bloody behests of his masters with congenial alacrity. Nevertheless
his career was soon destined to close upon the same scaffold where he had
so long officiated. Partly from caprice, partly from an uncompromising
and fantastic sense of justice, his master now hanged the executioner
whose industry had been so untiring. The sentence which was affixed to
his breast, as he suffered, stated that he had been guilty of much
malpractice; that he had executed many persons without a warrant, and had
suffered many guilty persons for a bribe, to escape their doom. The
reader can judge which of the two clauses constituted the most sufficient

During all these triumphs of Alva, the Prince of Orange had not lost his
self-possession. One after another, each of his bold, skilfully-conceived
and carefully-prepared plans had failed. Villers had been entirely
discomfited at Dalhena, Cocqueville had been cut to pieces in Picardy,
and now the valiant and experienced Louis had met with an entire
overthrow in Friesland. The brief success of the patriots at Heiliger Zee
had been washed out in the blood-torrents of Jemmingen. Tyranny was more
triumphant, the provinces more timidly crouching, than ever. The friends
on whom William of Orange relied in Germany, never enthusiastic in his
cause, although many of them true-hearted and liberal, now grew cold and
anxious. For months long, his most faithful and affectionate allies, such
men as the Elector of Hesse and the Duke of Wirtemberg, as well as the
less trustworthy Augustus of Saxony, had earnestly expressed their
opinion that, under the circumstances, his best course was to sit still
and watch the course of events.

It was known that the Emperor had written an urgent letter to Philip on
the subject of his policy in the Netherlands in general, and concerning
the position of Orange in particular. All persons, from the Emperor down
to the pettiest potentate, seemed now of opinion that the Prince had
better pause; that he was, indeed, bound to wait the issue of that
remonstrance. "Your highness must sit still," said Landgrave William.
"Your highness must sit still," said Augustus of Saxony. "You must move
neither hand nor foot in the cause of the perishing provinces," said the
Emperor. "Not a soldier-horse, foot, or dragoon-shall be levied within
the Empire. If you violate the peace of the realm, and embroil us with
our excellent brother and cousin Philip, it is at your own peril. You
have nothing to do but to keep quiet and await his answer to our letter."
But the Prince knew how much effect his sitting still would produce upon
the cause of liberty and religion. He knew how much effect the Emperor's
letter was like to have upon the heart of Philip. He knew that the more
impenetrable the darkness now gathering over that land of doom which he
had devoted his life to defend, the more urgently was he forbidden to
turn his face away from it in its affliction. He knew that thousands of
human souls, nigh to perishing, were daily turning towards him as their
only hope on earth, and he was resolved, so long as he could dispense a
single ray of light, that his countenance should never be averted. It is
difficult to contemplate his character, at this period, without being
infected with a perhaps dangerous enthusiasm. It is not an easy task
coldly to analyse a nature which contained so much of the
self-sacrificing and the heroic, as well as of the adroit and the subtle;
and it is almost impossible to give utterance to the emotions which
naturally swell the heart at the contemplation of so much active virtue,
without rendering oneself liable to the charge of excessive admiration.
Through the mists of adversity, a human form may dilate into proportions
which are colossal and deceptive. Our judgment may thus, perhaps, be led
captive, but at any rate the sentiment excited is more healthful than
that inspired by the mere shedder of blood, by the merely selfish
conqueror. When the cause of the champion is that of human right against
tyranny, of political ind religious freedom against an all-engrossing and
absolute bigotry, it is still more difficult to restrain veneration
within legitimate bounds. To liberate the souls and bodies of millions,
to maintain for a generous people, who had well-nigh lost their all,
those free institutions which their ancestors had bequeathed, was a noble
task for any man. But here stood a Prince of ancient race, vast
possessions, imperial blood, one of the great ones of the earth, whose
pathway along the beaten track would have been smooth and successful, but
who was ready to pour out his wealth like water, and to coin his heart's
blood, drop by drop, in this virtuous but almost desperate cause. He felt
that of a man to whom so much had been entrusted, much was to be asked.
God had endowed him with an incisive and comprehensive genius,
unfaltering fortitude, and with the rank and fortune which enable a man
to employ his faculties, to the injury or the happiness of his fellows,
on the widest scale. The Prince felt the responsibility, and the world
was to learn the result.

It was about this time that a deep change came over his mind. Hitherto,
although nominally attached to the communion of the ancient Church, his
course of life and habits of mind had not led him to deal very earnestly
with things beyond the world. The severe duties, the grave character of
the cause to which his days were henceforth to be devoted, had already
led him to a closer inspection of the essential attributes of
Christianity. He was now enrolled for life as a soldier of the
Reformation. The Reformation was henceforth his fatherland, the sphere,
of his duty and his affection. The religious Reformers became his
brethren, whether in France, Germany, the Netherlands, or England. Yet
his mind had taken a higher flight than that of the most eminent
Reformers. His goal was not a new doctrine, but religious liberty. In an
age when to think was a crime, and when bigotry and a persecuting spirit
characterized Romanists and Lutherans, Calvinists and Zwinglians, he had
dared to announce freedom of conscience as the great object for which
noble natures should strive. In an age when toleration was a vice, he had
the manhood to cultivate it as a virtue. His parting advice to the
Reformers of the Netherlands, when he left them for a season in the
spring of 1567, was to sink all lesser differences in religious union.
Those of the Augsburg Confession and those of the Calvinistic Church, in
their own opinion as incapable of commingling as oil and water, were, in
his judgment, capable of friendly amalgamation. He appealed eloquently to
the good and influential of all parties to unite in one common cause
against oppression. Even while favoring daily more and more the cause of
the purified Church, and becoming daily more alive to the corruption of
Rome, he was yet willing to tolerate all forms of worship, and to leave
reason to combat error.

Without a particle of cant or fanaticism, he had become a deeply
religious man. Hitherto he had been only a man of the world and a
statesman, but from this time forth he began calmly to rely upon God's
providence in all the emergencies of his eventful life. His letters
written to his most confidential friends, to be read only by themselves,
and which have been gazed upon by no other eyes until after the lapse of
nearly three centuries, abundantly prove his sincere and simple trust.
This sentiment was not assumed for effect to delude others, but cherished
as a secret support for himself. His religion was not a cloak to his
designs, but a consolation in his disasters. In his letter of instruction
to his most confidential agent, John Bazius, while he declared himself
frankly in favor of the Protestant principles, he expressed his extreme
repugnance to the persecution of Catholics. "Should we obtain power over
any city or cities," he wrote, "let the communities of papists be as much
respected and protected as possible. Let them be overcome, not by
violence, but with gentle-mindedness and virtuous treatment." After the
terrible disaster at Jemmingen, he had written to Louis, consoling him,
in the most affectionate language, for the unfortunate result of his
campaign. Not a word of reproach escaped from him, although his brother
had conducted the operations in Friesland, after the battle of Heiliger
Lee, in a manner quite contrary to his own advice. He had counselled
against a battle, and had foretold a defeat; but after the battle had
been fought and a crushing defeat sustained, his language breathed only
unwavering submission to the will of God, and continued confidence in his
own courage. "You may be well assured, my brother," he wrote, "that I
have never felt anything more keenly than the pitiable misfortune which
has happened to you, for many reasons which you can easily imagine.
Moreover, it hinders us much in the levy which we are making, and has
greatly chilled the hearts of those who otherwise would have been ready
to give us assistance. Nevertheless, since it has thus pleased God, it is
necessary to have patience and to lose not courage; conforming ourselves
to His divine will, as for my part I have determined to do in everything
which may happen, still proceeding onward in our work with his Almighty
aid. 'Soevis tranquillus in undis', he was never more placid than when
the storm was wildest and the night darkest. He drew his consolations and
refreshed his courage at the never-failing fountains of Divine mercy.

"I go to-morrow," he wrote to the unworthy Anne of Saxony; "but when I
shall return, or when I shall see you, I cannot, on my honor, tell you
with certainty. I have resolved to place myself in the hands of the
Almighty, that he may guide me whither it is His good pleasure that I
should go. I see well enough that I am destined to pass this life in
misery and labor, with which I am well content, since it thus pleases the
Omnipotent, for I know that I have merited still greater chastisement. I
only implore Him graciously to send me strength to endure with patience."

Such language, in letters the most private, never meant to be seen by
other eyes than those to which they were addressed, gives touching
testimony to the sincere piety of his character. No man was ever more
devoted to a high purpose, no man had ever more right to imagine himself,
or less inclination to pronounce himself, entrusted with a divine
mission. There was nothing of the charlatan in his character. His nature
was true and steadfast. No narrow-minded usurper was ever more loyal to
his own aggrandisement than this large-hearted man to the cause of
oppressed humanity. Yet it was inevitable that baser minds should fail to
recognise his purity. While he exhausted his life for the emancipation of
a people, it was easy to ascribe all his struggles to the hope of
founding a dynasty. It was natural for grovelling natures to search in
the gross soil of self-interest for the sustaining roots of the tree
beneath whose branches a nation found its shelter. What could they
comprehend of living fountains and of heavenly dews?

In May, 1568, the Emperor Maximilian had formally issued a requisition to
the Prince of Orange to lay down his arms, and to desist from all levies
and machinations against the King of Spain and the peace of the realm.
This summons he was commanded to obey on pain of forfeiting all rights,
fiefs, privileges and endowments bestowed by imperial hands on himself or
his predecessors, and of incurring the heaviest disgrace, punishment, and
penalties of the Empire.

To this document the Prince replied in August, having paid in the
meantime but little heed to its precepts. Now that the Emperor, who at
first was benignant, had begun to frown on his undertaking, he did not
slacken in his own endeavours to set his army on foot. One by one, those
among the princes of the empire who had been most stanch in his cause,
and were still most friendly to his person, grew colder as tyranny became
stronger; but the ardor of the Prince was not more chilled by their
despair than by the overthrow at Jemmingen, which had been its cause. In
August, he answered the letter of the Emperor, respectfully but warmly.
He still denounced the tyranny of Alva and the arts of Granvelle with
that vigorous eloquence which was always at his command, while, as usual,
he maintained a show of almost exaggerated respect for their monarch. It
was not to be presumed, he said, that his Majesty, "a king debonair and
bountiful," had ever intended such cruelties as those which had been
rapidly retraced in the letter, but it was certain that the Duke of Alva
had committed them all of his own authority. He trusted, moreover, that
the Emperor, after he had read the "Justification" which the Prince had
recently published, would appreciate the reason for his taking up arms.
He hoped that his Majesty would now consider the resistance just,
Christian, and conformable to the public peace. He expressed the belief
that rather than interpose any hindrance, his Majesty would thenceforth
rather render assistance "to the poor and desolate Christians," even as
it was his Majesty's office and authority to be the last refuge of the

The "Justification against the false blame of his calumniators by the
Prince of Orange," to which the Prince thus referred, has been mentioned
in a previous chapter. This remarkable paper had been drawn up at the
advice of his friends, Landgrave William and Elector Augustus, but it was
not the only document which the Prince caused to be published at this
important epoch. He issued a formal declaration of war against the Duke
of Alva; he addressed a solemn and eloquent warning or proclamation to
all the inhabitants of the Netherlands. These documents are all extremely
important and interesting. Their phraseology shows the intentions and the
spirit by which the Prince was actuated on first engaging in the
struggle. Without the Prince and his efforts--at this juncture, there
would probably have never been a free Netherland commonwealth. It is
certain, likewise, that without an enthusiastic passion for civil and
religious liberty throughout the masses of the Netherland people, there
would have been no successful effort on the part of the Prince. He knew
his countrymen; while they, from highest to humblest, recognised in him
their saviour. There was, however, no pretence of a revolutionary
movement. The Prince came to maintain, not to overthrow. The freedom
which had been enjoyed in the provinces until the accession of the
Burgundian dynasty, it was his purpose to restore. The attitude which he
now assumed was a peculiar one in history. This defender of a people's
cause set up no revolutionary standard. In all his documents he paid
apparent reverence to the authority of the King. By a fiction, which was
not unphilosophical, he assumed that the monarch was incapable of the
crimes which he charged upon the Viceroy. Thus he did not assume the
character of a rebel in arms against his prince, but in his own capacity
of sovereign he levied troops and waged war against a satrap whom he
chose to consider false to his master's orders. In the interest of
Philip, assumed to be identical with the welfare of his people, he took
up arms against the tyrant who was sacrificing both. This mask of loyalty
would never save his head from the block, as he well knew, but some
spirits lofty as his own, might perhaps be influenced by a noble
sophistry, which sought to strengthen the cause of the people by
attributing virtue to the King.

And thus did the sovereign of an insignificant little principality stand
boldly forth to do battle with the most powerful monarch in the world. At
his own expense, and by almost superhuman exertions, he had assembled
nearly thirty thousand men. He now boldly proclaimed to the world, and
especially to the inhabitants of the provinces, his motives, his
purposes, and his hopes.

   "We, by God's grace Prince of Orange," said his declaration of 31st
   August, 1568, "salute all faithful subjects of his Majesty. To few
   people is it unknown that the Spaniards have for a long time sought
   to govern the land according to their pleasure. Abusing his
   Majesty's goodness, they have persuaded him to decree the
   introduction of the inquisition into the Netherlands. They well
   understood, that in case the Netherlanders could be made to tolerate
   its exercise, they would lose all protection to their liberty; that
   if they opposed its introduction, they would open those rich
   provinces as a vast field of plunder. We had hoped that his
   Majesty, taking the matter to heart, would have spared his
   hereditary provinces from such utter ruin. We have found our hopes
   futile. We are unable, by reason of our loyal service due to his
   Majesty, and of our true compassion for the faithful lieges, to look
   with tranquillity any longer at such murders, robberies, outrages,
   and agony. We are, moreover, certain that his Majesty has been
   badly informed upon Netherland matters. We take up arms, therefore,
   to oppose the violent tyranny of the Spaniards, by the help of the
   merciful God, who is the enemy of all bloodthirstiness. Cheerfully
   inclined to wager our life and all our worldly wealth on the cause,
   we have now, God be thanked, an excellent army of cavalry, infantry,
   and artillery, raised all at our own expense. We summon all loyal
   subjects of the Netherlands to come and help us. Let them take to
   heart the uttermost need of the country, the danger of perpetual
   slavery for themselves and their children, and of the entire
   overthrow of the Evangelical religion. Only when Alva's blood-
   thirstiness shall have been at last overpowered, can the provinces
   hope to recover their pure administration of justice, and a
   prosperous condition for their commonwealth."

In the "warning" or proclamation to all the inhabitants of the
Netherlands, the Prince expressed similar sentiments. He announced his
intention of expelling the Spaniards forever from the country. To
accomplish the mighty undertaking, money was necessary. He accordingly
called on his countrymen to contribute, the rich out of their abundance,
the poor even out of their poverty, to the furtherance of the cause. To
do this, while it was yet time, he solemnly warned them "before God, the
fatherland, and the world." After the title of this paper were cited the
28th, 29th, and 30th verses of the tenth chapter of Proverbs. The
favorite motto of the Prince, "pro lege, rege, grege," was also affixed
to the document.

These appeals had, however, but little effect. Of three hundred thousand
crowns, promised on behalf of leading nobles and merchants of the
Netherlands by Marcus Perez, but ten or twelve thousand came to hand. The
appeals to the gentlemen who had signed the Compromise, and to many
others who had, in times past, been favorable to the liberal party were
powerless. A poor Anabaptist preacher collected a small sum from a
refugee congregation on the outskirts of Holland, and brought it, at the
peril of his life, into the Prince's camp. It came from people, he said,
whose will was better than the gift. They never wished to be repaid, he
said, except by kindness, when the cause of reform should be triumphant
in the Netherlands. The Prince signed a receipt for the money, expressing
himself touched by this sympathy from these poor outcasts. In the course
of time, other contributions from similar sources, principally collected
by dissenting preachers, starving and persecuted church communities, were
received. The poverty-stricken exiles contributed far more, in
proportion, for the establishment of civil and religious liberty, than
the wealthy merchants or the haughty nobles.

Late in September, the Prince mustered his army in the province of
Treves, near the monastery of Romersdorf. His force amounted to nearly
thirty thousand men, of whom nine thousand were cavalry. Lumey, Count de
la Marek, now joined him at the head of a picked band of troopers; a
bold, ferocious partisan, descended from the celebrated Wild Boar of
Ardennes. Like Civilis, the ancient Batavian hero, he had sworn to leave
hair and beard unshorn till the liberation of the country was achieved,
or at least till the death of Egmont, whose blood relation he was, had
been avenged. It is probable that the fierce conduct of this chieftain,
and particularly the cruelties exercised upon monks and papists by his
troops, dishonored the cause more than their valor could advance it. But
in those stormy times such rude but incisive instruments were scarcely to
be neglected, and the name of Lumey was to be forever associated with
important triumphs of the liberal cause.

It was fated, however, that but few laurels should be won by the patriots
in this campaign. The Prince crossed the Rhine at Saint Feit, a village
belonging to himself. He descended along the banks as far as the
neighbourhood of Cologne. Then, after hovering in apparent uncertainty
about the territories of Juliers and Limburg, he suddenly, on a bright
moonlight night, crossed the Meuse with his whole army, in the
neighbourhood of Stochem. The operation was brilliantly effected. A
compact body of cavalry, according to the plan which had been more than
once adopted by Julius Caesar, was placed in the midst of the current,
under which shelter the whole army successfully forded the river. The
Meuse was more shallow than usual, but the water was as high as the
soldiers' necks. This feat was accomplished on the night and morning of
the 4th and 5th of October. It was considered so bold an achievement that
its fame spread far and wide. The Spaniards began to tremble at the
prowess of a Prince whom they had affected to despise. The very fact of
the passage was flatly contradicted. An unfortunate burgher at Amsterdam
was scourged at the whipping-post, because he mentioned it as matter of
common report. The Duke of Alva refused to credit the tale when it was
announced to him. "Is the army of the Prince of Orange a flock of wild
geese," he asked, "that it can fly over rivers like the Meuse?"
Nevertheless it was true. The outlawed, exiled Prince stood once more on
the borders of Brabant, with an army of disciplined troops at his back.
His banners bore patriotic inscriptions. "Pro Lege, Rege, Grege," was
emblazoned upon some. A pelican tearing her breast to nourish her young
with her life-blood was the pathetic emblem of others. It was his
determination to force or entice the Duke of Alva into a general
engagement. He was desirous to wipe out the disgrace of Jemmingen. Could
he plant his victorious standard thus in the very heart of the country,
he felt that thousands would rally around it. The country would rise
almost to a man, could he achieve a victory over the tyrant, flushed as
he was with victory, and sated with blood.

With banners flying, drums beating, trumpets sounding, with all the pomp
and defiance which an already victorious general could assume, Orange
marched into Brabant, and took up a position within six thousand paces of
Alva's encampment. His plan was at every hazard to dare or to decoy his
adversary into the chances of a stricken field. The Governor was
entrenched at a place called Keiserslager, which Julius Caesar had once
occupied. The city of Maestricht was in his immediate neighbourhood,
which was thus completely under his protection, while it furnished him
with supplies. The Prince sent to the Duke a herald, who was to propose
that all prisoners who might be taken in the coming campaign should be
exchanged instead of being executed. The herald, booted and spurred, even
as he had dismounted from his horse, was instantly hanged. This was the
significant answer to the mission of mercy. Alva held no parley with
rebels before a battle, nor gave quarter afterwards.

In the meantime, the Duke had carefully studied the whole position of
affairs, and had arrived at his conclusion. He was determined not to
fight. It was obvious that the Prince would offer battle eagerly,
ostentatiously, frequently, but the Governor was resolved never to accept
the combat. Once taken, his resolution was unalterable. He recognized the
important difference between his own attitude at present, and that in
which he had found himself during the past summer in Friesland. There a
battle had been necessary, now it was more expedient to overcome his
enemy by delay. In Friesland, the rebels had just achieved a victory over
the choice troops of Spain. Here they were suffering from the stigma of a
crushing defeat. Then, the army of Louis Nassau was swelling daily by
recruits, who poured in from all the country round. Now, neither peasant
nor noble dared lift a finger for the Prince. The army of Louis had been
sustained by the one which his brother was known to be preparing. If
their movements had not been checked, a junction would have been
effected. The armed revolt would then have assumed so formidable an
aspect, that rebellion would seem, even for the timid, a safer choice
than loyalty. The army of the Prince, on the contrary, was now the last
hope of the patriots: The three by which it had been preceded had been
successively and signally vanquished.

Friesland, again, was on the outskirts of the country. A defeat sustained
by the government there did not necessarily imperil the possession of the
provinces. Brabant, on the contrary, was the heart of the Netherlands.
Should the Prince achieve a decisive triumph then and there, he would be
master of the nation's fate. The Viceroy knew himself to be odious, and
he reigned by terror. The Prince was the object of the people's idolatry,
and they would rally round him if they dared. A victory gained by the
liberator over the tyrant, would destroy the terrible talisman of
invincibility by which Alva governed. The Duke had sufficiently
demonstrated his audacity in the tremendous chastisement which he had
inflicted upon the rebels under Louis. He could now afford to play that
scientific game of which he was so profound a master, without risking any
loss of respect or authority. He was no enthusiast. Although he doubtless
felt sufficiently confident of overcoming the Prince in a pitched battle,
he had not sufficient relish for the joys of contest to be willing to
risk even a remote possibility of defeat. His force, although composed of
veterans and of the best musketeers and pikemen in Europe, was still
somewhat inferior in numbers to that of his adversary. Against the twenty
thousand foot and eight thousand, horse of Orange, he could oppose only
fifteen or sixteen thousand foot and fifty-five hundred riders. Moreover,
the advantage which he had possessed in Friesland, a country only
favorable to infantry, in which he had been stronger than his opponent,
was now transferred to his new enemy. On the plains of Brabant, the
Prince's superiority in cavalry was sure to tell. The season of the year,
too, was an important element in the calculation. The winter alone would
soon disperse the bands of German mercenaries, whose expenses Orange was
not able to support, even while in active service. With unpaid wages and
disappointed hopes of plunder, the rebel army would disappear in a few
weeks as totally as if defeated in the open field. In brief, Orange by a
victory would gain new life and strength, while his defeat could no more
than anticipate, by a few weeks, the destruction of his army, already
inevitable. Alva, on the contrary, might lose the mastery of the
Netherlands if unfortunate, and would gain no solid advantage if
triumphant. The Prince had everything to hope, the Duke everything to
fear, from the result of a general action.

The plan, thus deliberately resolved upon, was accomplished with
faultless accuracy. As a work of art, the present campaign of Alva
against Orange was a more consummate masterpiece than the more brilliant
and dashing expedition into Friesland. The Duke had resolved to hang upon
his adversary's skirts, to follow him move by move, to check him at every
turn, to harass him in a hundred ways, to foil all his enterprises, to
parry all his strokes, and finally to drive him out of the country, after
a totally barren campaign, when, as he felt certain, his ill-paid
hirelings would vanish in all directions, and leave their patriot Prince
a helpless and penniless adventurer. The scheme thus sagaciously
conceived, his adversary, with all his efforts, was unable to circumvent.

The campaign lasted little more than a month. Twenty-nine times the
Prince changed his encampment, and at every remove the Duke was still
behind him, as close and seemingly as impalpable as his shadow. Thrice
they were within cannon-shot of each other; twice without a single trench
or rampart between them. The country people refused the Prince supplies,
for they trembled at the vengeance of the Governor. Alva had caused the
irons to be removed from all the mills, so that not a bushel of corn
could be ground in the whole province. The country thus afforded but
little forage for the thirty thousand soldiers of the Prince. The troops,
already discontented, were clamorous for pay and plunder. During one
mutinous demonstration, the Prince's sword was shot from his side, and it
was with difficulty that a general outbreak was suppressed. The soldiery
were maddened and tantalized by the tactics of Alva. They found
themselves constantly in the presence of an enemy, who seemed to court a
battle at one moment and to vanish like a phantom at the next They felt
the winter approaching, and became daily more dissatisfied with the
irritating hardships to which they were exposed. Upon the night of the
5th and 6th of October the Prince had crossed the Meuse at Stochem.
Thence he had proceeded to Tongres, followed closely by the enemy's
force, who encamped in the immediate neighbourhood. From Tongres he had
moved to Saint Trond, still pursued and still baffled in the same
cautious manner. The skirmishing at the outposts was incessant, but the
main body was withdrawn as soon as there seemed a chance of its becoming

From Saint Trond, in the neighbourhood of which he had remained several
days, he advanced in a southerly direction towards Jodoigne. Count de
Genlis, with a reinforcement of French Huguenots, for which the Prince
had been waiting, had penetrated through the Ardennes, crossed the Meuse
at Charlemont, and was now intending a junction with him at Waveron. The
river Geta flowed between them. The Prince stationed a considerable force
upon a hill near the stream to protect the passage, and then proceeded
leisurely to send his army across the river. Count Hoogstraaten, with the
rear-guard, consisting of about three thousand men, were alone left upon
the hither bank, in order to provoke or to tempt the enemy, who, as
usual, was encamped very near. Alva refused to attack the main army, but
Frederic with a force of four thousand men, were alone left on the hither
bank, in order to provoke or to tempt the enemy, who as usual, was
encamped very near. Alva refused to attack the main army but rapidly
detached his son, Don Fredrick, with a force of four thousand foot and
three thousand horse, to cut off the rear-guard. The movement was
effected in a masterly manner, the hill was taken, the three thousand
troops which had not passed the river were cut to pieces, and Vitelli
hastily despatched a gentleman named Barberini to implore the Duke to
advance with the main body, cross the river, and, once for all,
exterminate the rebels in a general combat. Alva, inflamed, not with
ardor for an impending triumph, but with rage, that his sagely-conceived
plans could not be comprehended even by his son and by his favorite
officers, answered the eager messenger with peremptory violence. "Go back
to Vitelli," he cried. "Is he, or am I, to command in this campaign? Tell
him not to suffer a single man to cross the river. Warn him against
sending any more envoys to advise a battle; for should you or any other
man dare to bring me another such message, I swear to you, by the head of
the King, that you go not hence alive."

With this decisive answer the messenger had nothing for it but to gallop
back with all haste, in order to participate in what might be left of the
butchery of Count Hoogstraaten's force, and to prevent Vitelli and Don
Frederic in their ill-timed ardor, from crossing the river. This was
properly effected, while in the meantime the whole rear-guard of the
patriots had been slaughtered. A hundred or two, the last who remained,
had made their escape from the field, and had taken refuge in a house in
the neighbourhood. The Spaniards set the buildings on fire, and standing
around with lifted lances, offered the fugitives the choice of being
consumed in the flames or of springing out upon their spears. Thus
entrapped some chose the one course, some the other. A few, to escape the
fury of the fire and the brutality of the Spaniards, stabbed themselves
with their own swords. Others embraced, and then killed each other, the
enemies from below looking on, as at a theatrical exhibition; now hissing
and now applauding, as the death struggles were more or less to their
taste. In a few minutes all the fugitives were dead. Nearly three
thousand of the patriots were slain in this combat, including those
burned or butchered after the battle was over. The Sieur de Louverwal was
taken prisoner, and soon afterwards beheaded in Brussels; but the
greatest misfortune sustained by the liberal party upon this occasion was
the death of Antony de Lalaing, Count of Hoogstraaten. This brave and
generous nobleman, the tried friend of the Prince of Orange, and his
colleague during the memorable scenes at Antwerp, was wounded in the foot
during the action, by an accidental discharge of his own pistol. The
injury, although apparently slight, caused his death in a few days. There
seemed a strange coincidence in his good and evil fortunes. A casual
wound in the hand from his own pistol while he was on his way to
Brussels, to greet Alva upon his first arrival, had saved him from the
scaffold. And now in his first pitched battle with the Duke, this
seemingly trifling injury in the foot was destined to terminate his
existence. Another peculiar circumstance had marked the event. At a gay
supper in the course of this campaign, Hoogstraaten had teased Count
Louis, in a rough, soldierly way, with his disaster at Jemmingen. He had
affected to believe that the retreat upon that occasion had been
unnecessary. "We have been now many days in the Netherlands;" said he,
"and we have seen nothing of the Spaniards but their backs."--"And when
the Duke does break loose," replied Louis, somewhat nettled, "I warrant
you will see their faces soon enough, and remember them for the rest of
your life." The half-jesting remark was thus destined to become a gloomy

This was the only important action daring the campaign. Its perfect
success did not warp Alva's purpose, and, notwithstanding the murmurs of
many of his officers, he remained firm in his resolution. After the
termination of the battle on the Geta, and the Duke's obstinate refusal
to pursue his advantage, the Baron de Chevreau dashed his pistol to the
ground, in his presence, exclaiming that the Duke would never fight. The
Governor smiled at the young man's chagrin, seemed even to approve his
enthusiasm, but reminded him that it was the business of an officer to
fight, of a general to conquer. If the victory were bloodless, so much
the better for all.

This action was fought on the 20th of October. A few days afterwards, the
Prince made his junction with Genlis at Waveren, a place about three
leagues from Louvain and from Brussels. This auxiliary force was,
however, insignificant. There were only five hundred cavalry and three
thousand foot, but so many women and children, that it seemed rather an
emigrating colony than an invading army. They arrived late. If they had
come earlier, it would have been of little consequence, for it had been
written that no laurels were to be gathered in that campaign. The
fraternal spirit which existed between the Reformers in all countries was
all which could be manifested upon the occasion. The Prince was
frustrated in his hopes of a general battle, still more bitterly
disappointed by the supineness of the country. Not a voice was raised to
welcome the deliverer. Not a single city opened its gates. All was
crouching, silent, abject. The rising, which perhaps would have been
universal had a brilliant victory been obtained, was, by the masterly
tactics of Alva, rendered an almost inconceivable idea. The mutinous
demonstrations in the Prince's camp became incessant; the soldiers were
discontented and weary. What the Duke had foretold was coming to pass,
for the Prince's army was already dissolving.

Genlis and the other French officers were desirous that the Prince should
abandon the Netherlands for the present, and come to the rescue of the
Huguenots, who had again renewed the religious war under Conde and
Coligny. The German soldiers, however would listen to no such proposal.
They had enlisted to fight the Duke of Alva in the Netherlands, and would
not hear of making war against Charles IX. in France. The Prince was
obliged to countermarch toward the Rhine. He recrossed the Geta, somewhat
to Alva's astonishment, and proceeded in the direction of the Meuse. The
autumn rains, however, had much swollen that river since his passage at
the beginning of the month, so that it could no longer be forded. He
approached the city of Liege, and summoned their Bishop, as he had done
on his entrance into the country, to grant a free passage to his troops.
The Bishop who stood in awe of Alva, and who had accepted his protection
again refused. The Prince had no time to parley. He was again obliged to
countermarch, and took his way along the high-road to France, still
watched and closely pursued by Alva, between whose troops and his own
daily skirmishes took place. At Le Quesnoy, the Prince gained a trifling
advantage over the Spaniards; at Cateau Cambresis he also obtained a
slight and easy-victory; but by the 17th of November the Duke of Alva had
entered Cateau Cambresis, and the Prince had crossed the frontier of

The Marechal de Cosse, who was stationed on the boundary of France and
Flanders, now harassed the Prince by very similar tactics to those of
Alva. He was, however, too weak to inflict any serious damage, although
strong enough to create perpetual annoyance. He also sent a secretary to
the Prince, with a formal prohibition, in the name of Charles IX.,
against his entering the French territory with his troops.

Besides these negotiations, conducted by Secretary Favelles on the part
of Marechal de Cosse, the King, who was excessively alarmed, also
despatched the Marechal Gaspar de Schomberg on the same service. That
envoy accordingly addressed to the Prince a formal remonstrance in the
name of his sovereign. Charles IX., it was represented, found it very
strange that the Prince should thus enter the French territory. The King
was not aware that he had ever given him the least cause for hostile
proceedings, could not therefore take it in good part that the Prince
should thus enter France with a "large and puissant army;" because no
potentate, however humble, could tolerate such a proceeding, much less a
great and powerful monarch. Orange was therefore summoned to declare his
intentions, but was at the same, time informed, that if he merely desired
"to pass amiably through the country," and would give assurance, and
request permission to that, effect, under his hand and seal, his Majesty
would take all necessary measures to secure that amiable passage.

The Prince replied by a reference to the statements which he had already
made to Marechal de Cosse. He averred that he had not entered France with
evil intent, but rather with a desire to render very humble service to
his Majesty, so far as he could do so with a clear conscience.

Touching the King's inability to remember having given any occasion to
hostile proceedings on the part of the Prince, he replied that he would
pass that matter by. Although he could adduce many, various, and strong
reasons for violent measures, he was not so devoid of understanding as
not to recognize the futility of attempting anything, by his own personal
means, against so great and powerful a King, in comparison with whom he
was "but a petty companion."

"Since the true religion," continued Orange, "is a public and general
affair, which ought to be preferred to all private matters; since the
Prince, as a true Christian, is held by his honor and conscience to
procure, with all his strength, its advancement and establishment in
every place whatever; since, on the other hand, according to the edict
published in September last by his Majesty, attempts have been made to
force in their consciences all those who are of the Christian religion;
and since it has been determined to exterminate the pure word of God, and
the entire exercise thereof, and to permit no other religion than the
Roman Catholic, a thing very, prejudicial to the neighbouring nations
where there is a free exercise of the Christian religion, therefore the
Prince would put no faith in the assertions of his Majesty, that it was
not his Majesty's intentions to force the consciences of any one."

Having given this very deliberate and succinct contradiction to the
statements of the French King, the Prince proceeded to express his
sympathy for the oppressed Christians everywhere. He protested that he
would give them all the aid, comfort, counsel, and assistance that he was
able to give them. He asserted his conviction that the men who professed
the religion demanded nothing else than the glory of God and the
advancement of His word, while in all matters of civil polity they were
ready to render obedience to his Majesty. He added that all his doings
were governed by a Christian and affectionate regard for the King and his
subjects, whom his Majesty must be desirous of preserving from extreme
ruin. He averred, moreover, that if he should perceive any indication
that those of the religion were pursuing any other object than liberty of
conscience and security for life and property, he would not only withdraw
his assistance from them, but would use the whole strength of his army to
exterminate them. In conclusion, he begged the King to believe that the
work which the Prince had undertaken was a Christian work, and that his
intentions were good and friendly towards his Majesty.

   [This very eloquently written letter was dated Ciasonne, December
   3rd, 1568. It has never been published. It is in the Collection of
   MSS, Pivoen concernant, etc., Hague archives.]

It was, however, in vain that the Prince endeavoured to induce his army
to try the fortunes of the civil war in France. They had enlisted for the
Netherlands, the campaign was over, and they insisted upon being led back
to Germany. Schomberg, secretly instructed by the King of France, was
active in fomenting the discontent, and the Prince was forced to yield.
He led his army through Champagne and Lorraine to Strasburg, where they
were disbanded. All the money which the Prince had been able to collect
was paid them. He pawned all his camp equipage, his plate, his furniture.

What he could not pay in money he made up in promises, sacredly to be
fulfilled, when he should be restored to his possessions. He even
solemnly engaged, should he return from France alive, and be still unable
to pay their arrears of wages, to surrender his person to them as a
hostage for his debt.

Thus triumphantly for Alva, thus miserably for Orange, ended the
campaign. Thus hopelessly vanished the army to which so many proud hopes
had attached themselves. Eight thousand teen had been slain in paltry
encounters, thirty thousand were dispersed, not easily to be again
collected. All the funds which the Prince could command had been wasted
without producing a result. For the present, nothing seemed to afford a
ground of hope for the Netherlands, but the war of freedom had been
renewed in France. A band of twelve hundred mounted men-at-arms were
willing to follow the fortunes of the Prince. The three brothers
accordingly; William, Louis, and Henry--a lad of eighteen, who had
abandoned his studies at the university to obey the chivalrous instincts
of his race--set forth early in the following spring to join the banner
of Conde.

Cardinal Granvelle, who had never taken his eyes or thoughts from the
provinces during his residence at Rome, now expressed himself with
exultation. He had predicted, with cold malice, the immediate results of
the campaign, and was sanguine enough to believe the contest over, and
the Prince for ever crushed. In his letters to Philip he had taken due
notice of the compliments paid to him by Orange in his Justification, in
his Declaration, and in his letter to the Emperor. He had declined to
make any answer to the charges, in order to enrage the Prince the more.
He had expressed the opinion, however, that this publication of writings
was not the business of brave soldiers, but of cowards. He made the same
reflection upon the alleged intrigues by Orange to procure an embassy on
his own behalf from the Emperor to Philip--a mission which was sure to
end in smoke, while it would cost the Prince all credit, not only in
Germany but the Netherlands. He felt sure, he said, of the results of the
impending campaign. The Duke of Alva was a man upon whose administrative
prudence and military skill his sovereign could implicitly rely, nor was
there a person in the ranks of the rebels capable of, conducting an
enterprise of such moment. Least of all had the Prince of Orange
sufficient brains for carrying on such weighty affairs, according to the
opinion which he had formed of him during their long intercourse in
former days.

When the campaign had been decided, and the Prince had again become an
exile, Granvelle observed that it was now proved how incompetent he and
all his companions were to contend in military skill with the Duke of
Alva. With a cold sneer at motives which he assumed, as a matter of
course, to be purely selfish, he said that the Prince had not taken the
proper road to recover his property, and that he would now be much
embarrassed to satisfy his creditors. Thus must those ever fall, he
moralized, who would fly higher than they ought; adding, that henceforth
the Prince would have enough to do in taking care of madam his wife, if
she did not change soon in humor and character.

Meantime the Duke of Alva, having despatched from Cateau Cambresis a
brief account of the victorious termination of the campaign, returned in
triumph to Brussels. He had certainly amply vindicated his claim to be
considered the first warrior of the age. By his lieutenants he had
summarily and rapidly destroyed two of the armies sent against him; he
had annihilated in person the third, by a brilliantly successful battle,
in which he had lost seven men, and his enemies seven thousand; and he
had now, by consummate strategy, foiled the fourth and last under the
idolized champion of the Netherlands, and this so decisively that,
without losing a man, he had destroyed eight thousand rebels, and
scattered to the four winds the remaining twenty thousand. Such signal
results might well make even a meeker nature proud. Such vast and
fortunate efforts to fix for ever an impregnable military tyranny upon a
constitutional country, might cause a more modest despot to exult. It was
not wonderful that the haughty, and now apparently omnipotent Alva,
should almost assume the god. On his return to Brussels he instituted a
succession of triumphant festivals. The people were called upon to
rejoice and to be exceeding glad, to strew flowers in his path, to sing
Hosannas in his praise who came to them covered with the blood of those
who had striven in their defence. The holiday was duly called forth;
houses, where funeral hatchments for murdered inmates had been
perpetually suspended, were decked with garlands; the bells, which had
hardly once omitted their daily knell for the victims of an incredible
cruelty, now rang their merriest peals; and in the very square where so
lately Egmont and Horn, besides many other less distinguished martyrs,
had suffered an ignominious death, a gay tournament was held, day after
day, with all the insolent pomp which could make the exhibition most

But even these demonstrations of hilarity were not sufficient. The
conqueror and tamer of the Netherlands felt that a more personal and
palpable deification was necessary for his pride. When Germanicus had
achieved his last triumph over the ancient freedom of those generous
races whose descendants, but lately in possession of a better organized
liberty, Alva had been sent by the second and the worse Tiberius to
insult and to crush, the valiant but modest Roman erected his trophy upon
the plains of Idistavisus. "The army of Tiberius Caesar having subdued
the nations between the Rhine and the Elbe, dedicate this monument to
Mars, to Jupiter, and to Augustus." So ran the inscription of Germanicus,
without a word of allusion to his own name. The Duke of Alva, on his
return from the battle-fields of Brabant and Friesland, reared a colossal
statue of himself, and upon its pedestal caused these lines to be
engraved: "To Ferdinand Alvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alva, Governor of the
Netherlands under Philip the Second, for having extinguished sedition,
chastised rebellion, restored religion, secured justice, established
peace; to the King's most faithful minister this monument is erected."

   [Bor, iv. 257, 258. Meteren, 61. De Thou, v. 471-473, who saw it
   after it was overthrown, and who was "as much struck by the beauty
   of the work as by the insane pride of him who ordered it to be

So pompous a eulogy, even if truthful and merited, would be sufficiently
inflated upon a tombstone raised to a dead chieftain by his bereaved
admirers. What shall we say of such false and fulsome tribute, not to a
god, not to the memory of departed greatness, but to a living, mortal
man, and offered not by his adorers but by himself? Certainly,
self-worship never went farther than in this remarkable monument, erected
in Alva's honor, by Alva's hands. The statue was colossal, and was placed
in the citadel of Antwerp. Its bronze was furnished by the cannon
captured at Jemmingen. It represented the Duke trampling upon a prostrate
figure with two heads, four arms, and one body. The two heads were
interpreted by some to represent Egmont and Horn, by others, the two
Nassaus, William and Louis. Others saw in them an allegorical presentment
of the nobles and commons of the Netherlands, or perhaps an impersonation
of the Compromise and the Request. Besides the chief inscription on the
pedestal, were sculptured various bas-reliefs; and the spectator, whose
admiration for the Governor-general was not satiated with the colossal
statue itself, was at liberty to find a fresh, personification of the
hero, either in a torch-bearing angel or a gentle shepherd. The work,
which had considerable esthetic merit, was executed by an artist named
Jacob Jongeling. It remained to astonish and disgust the Netherlanders
until it was thrown down and demolished by Alva's successor, Requesens.

It has already been observed that many princes of the Empire had, at
first warmly and afterwards, as the storm darkened around him, with less
earnestness, encouraged the efforts of Orange. They had, both privately
and officially, urged the subject upon the attention of the Emperor, and
had solicited his intercession with Philip. It was not an interposition
to save the Prince from chastisement, however the artful pen of Granvelle
might distort the facts. It was an address in behalf of religious liberty
for the Netherlands, made by those who had achieved it in their own
persons, and who were at last enjoying immunity from persecution. It was
an appeal which they who made it were bound to make, for the Netherland
commissioners had assisted at the consultations by which the Peace of
Passau had been wrung from the reluctant hand of Charles.

These applications, however, to the Emperor, and through him to the King
of Spain, had been, as we have seen, accompanied by perpetual advice to
the Prince of Orange, that he should "sit still." The Emperor had
espoused his cause with apparent frankness, so far as friendly mediation
went, but in the meantime had peremptorily commanded him to refrain from
levying war upon Alva, an injunction which the Prince had as peremptorily
declined to obey. The Emperor had even sent especial envoys to the Duke
and to the Prince, to induce them to lay down their arms, but without
effect. Orange knew which course was the more generous to his oppressed
country; to take up arms, now that hope had been converted into despair
by the furious tyranny of Alva, or to "sit still" and await the result of
the protocols about to be exchanged between king and kaiser. His arms had
been unsuccessful indeed, but had he attended the issue of this sluggish
diplomacy, it would have been even worse for the cause of freedom. The
sympathy of his best friends, at first fervent then lukewarm, had, as
disasters thickened around him, grown at last stone-cold. From the grave,
too, of Queen Isabella arose the most importunate phantom in his path.
The King of Spain was a widower again, and the Emperor among his sixteen
children had more than one marriageable daughter. To the titles of
"beloved cousin and brother-in-law," with which Philip had always been
greeted in the Imperial proclamations, the nearer and dearer one of
son-in-law was prospectively added.

The ties of wedlock were sacred in the traditions of the Habsburg house,
but still the intervention was nominally made. As early as August, 1568,
the Emperor's minister at Madrid had addressed a memorial to the King. He
had spoken in warm and strong language of the fate of Egmont and Horn,
and had reminded Philip that the executions which were constantly taking
place in the provinces were steadily advancing the Prince of Orange's
cause. On the 22nd September, 1568, the six electors had addressed a
formal memorial to the Emperor. They thanked him for his previous
interposition in favor of the Netherlands, painted in lively colors the
cruelty of Alva, and denounced the unheard-of rigor with which he had
massacred, not only many illustrious seigniors, but people of every
degree. Notwithstanding the repeated assurances given by the King to the
contrary, they reminded the Emperor, that the inquisition, as well as the
Council of Trent, had now been established in the Netherlands in full
vigor. They maintained that the provinces had been excluded from the
Augsburg religious peace, to which their claim was perfect. Nether
Germany was entitled to the same privileges as Upper Germany. They begged
the Emperor to make manifest his sentiments and their own. It was fitting
that his Catholic Majesty should be aware that the princes of the Empire
were united for the conservation of fatherland and of tranquillity. To
this end they placed in the Emperor's hands their estates, their
fortunes, and their lives.

Such was the language of that important appeal to the Emperor in behalf
of oppressed millions in the Netherlands, an appeal which Granvelle had
coldly characterized as an intrigue contrived by Orange to bring about
his own restoration to favor!

The Emperor, in answer, assured the electoral envoys that he had taken
the affair to heart, and had resolved to despatch his own brother, the
Archduke Charles, on a special mission to Spain.

Accordingly, on the 21st October, 1568, the Emperor presented his brother
with an ample letter of instructions. He was to recal to Philip's memory
the frequent exhortations made by the Emperor concerning the policy
pursued in the Netherlands. He was to mention the urgent interpellations
made to him by the electors and princes of the Empire in their recent
embassy. He was to state that the Emperor had recently deputed
commissioners to the Prince of Orange and the Duke of Alva, in order to
bring about, if possible, a suspension of arms. He was to represent that
the great number of men raised by the Prince of Orange in Germany, showed
the powerful support which he had found in the country. Under such
circumstances he was to show that it had been impossible for the Emperor
to decree the ban against him, as the Duke of Alva had demanded. The
Archduke was to request the King's consent to the reconciliation of
Orange, on honorable conditions. He was to demand the substitution of
clemency in for severity, and to insist on the recall of the foreign
soldiery from the Netherlands.

Furnished with this very warm and stringent letter, the Archduke arrived
in Madrid on the 10th December, 1568. A few days later he presented the
King with a copy of the instructions; those brave words upon which the
Prince of Orange was expected to rely instead of his own brave heart and
the stout arms of his followers. Philip having examined the letter,
expressed his astonishment that such propositions should be made to him,
and by the agency, too, of such a personage as the Archduke. He had
already addressed a letter to the Emperor, expressing his dissatisfaction
at the step now taken. He had been disturbed at the honor thus done to
the Prince of Orange, and at this interference with his own rights. It
was, in his opinion, an unheard-of proceeding thus to address a monarch
of his quality upon matters in which he could accept the law from no man.
He promised, however, that a written answer should be given to the letter
of instructions.

On the 20th of January, 1569, that answer was placed in the hands of the
Archduke. It was intimated that the paper was a public one, fit to be
laid by the Emperor, before the electors; but that the King had also
caused a confidential one to be prepared, in which his motives and
private griefs were indicated to Maximilian.

In the more public document, Philip observed that he had never considered
himself obliged to justify his conduct, in his own affairs, to others. He
thought, however, that his example of severity would have been received
with approbation by princes whose subjects he had thus taught obedience.
He could not admit that, on account of the treaties which constituted the
Netherlands a circle of the Empire, he was obliged to observe within
their limits the ordinances of the imperial diet. As to the matter of
religion, his principal solicitude, since his accession to the crown, had
been to maintain the Catholic faith throughout all his states. In things
sacred he could admit no compromise. The Church alone had the right to
prescribe rules to the faithful. As to the chastisement inflicted by him
upon the Netherland rebels, it would be found that he had not used rigor,
as had been charged against him, but, on the contrary, great clemency
and gentleness. He had made no change in the government of the provinces,
certainly none in the edicts, the only statutes binding upon princes. He
had appointed the Duke of Alva to the regency, because it was his royal
will and pleasure so to appoint him. The Spanish soldiery were necessary
for the thorough chastisement of the rebels, and could not be at present
removed. As to the Prince of Orange, whose case seemed the principal
motive for this embassy, and in whose interest so much had been urged,
his crimes were so notorious that it was impossible even to attempt to
justify them. He had been, in effect, the author of all the conspiracies,
tumults, and seditious which had taken place in the Netherlands. All the
thefts, sacrileges, violations of temples, and other misdeeds of which
these provinces had been the theatre, were, with justice, to be imputed
to him. He had moreover, levied an army and invaded his Majesty's
territories. Crimes so enormous had closed the gate to all clemency.
Notwithstanding his respect for the intercession made by the Emperor and
the princes of the Empire, the King could not condescend to grant what
was now asked of him in regard to the Prince of Orange. As to a truce
between him and the Duke of Alva, his Imperial Majesty ought to reflect
upon the difference between a sovereign and his rebellious vassal, and
consider how indecent and how prejudicial to the King's honor such a
treaty must be esteemed.

So far the public letter, of which the Archduke was furnished with a
copy, both in Spanish and in Latin. The private memorandum was intended
for the Emperor's eyes alone and those of his envoy. In this paper the
King expressed himself with more warmth and in more decided language. He
was astonished, he said, that the Prince of Orange, in levying an army
for the purpose of invading the states of his natural sovereign, should
have received so much aid and comfort in Germany. It seemed incredible
that this could not have been prevented by imperial authority. He had
been pained that commissioners had been sent to the Prince. He regretted
such a demonstration in his favor as had now been made by the mission of
the Archduke to Madrid. That which, however, had caused the King the
deepest sorrow was, that his Imperial Majesty should wish to persuade him
in religious matters to proceed with mildness. The Emperor ought to be
aware that no human consideration, no regard for his realms, nothing in
the world which could be represented or risked, would cause him to swerve
by a single hair's breadth from his path in the matter of religion. This
path was the same throughout all his kingdoms. He had ever trod in it
faithfully, and he meant to keep in it perpetually. He would admit
neither counsel nor persuasion to the contrary, and should take it ill if
counsel or persuasion should be offered. He could not but consider the
terms of the instructions given to the Archduke as exceeding the limits
of amicable suggestion. They in effect amounted to a menace, and he was
astonished that a menace should be employed, because, with princes
constituted like himself, such means could have but little success.

On the 23rd of January, 1569, the Archduke presented the King with a
spirited reply to the public letter. It was couched in the spirit of the
instructions, and therefore need not be analysed at length. He did not
believe that his Imperial Majesty would admit any justification of the
course pursued in the Netherlands. The estates of the Empire would never
allow Philip's reasoning concerning the connexion of those countries with
the Empire, nor that they were independent, except in the particular
articles expressed in the treaty of Augsburg. In 1555, when Charles the
Fifth and King Ferdinand had settled the religious peace, they had been
assisted by envoys from the Netherlands. The princes of the Empire held
the ground, therefore, that the religious peace, which alone had saved a
vestige of Romanism in Germany, should of right extend to the provinces.
As to the Prince of Orange, the Archduke would have preferred to say
nothing more, but the orders of the Emperor did not allow him to be
silent. It was now necessary to put an end to this state of things in
Lower Germany. The princes of the Empire were becoming exasperated. He
recalled the dangers of the Smalcaldian war--the imminent peril in which
the Emperor had been placed by the act of a single elector. They who
believed that Flanders could be governed in the same manner as Italy and
Spain were greatly mistaken, and Charles the Fifth had always recognised
that error.

This was the sum and substance of the Archduke's mission to Madrid, so
far as its immediate objects were concerned. In the course, however, of
the interview between this personage and Philip, the King took occasion
to administer a rebuke to his Imperial Majesty for his general negligence
in religious matters. It was a matter which lay at his heart, he said,
that the Emperor, although, as he doubted not, a Christian and Catholic
prince, was from policy unaccustomed to make those exterior
demonstrations which matters of faith required. He therefore begged the
Archduke to urge this matter upon the attention of his Imperial Majesty.

The Emperor, despite this solemn mission, had become more than
indifferent before his envoy had reached Madrid. For this indifference
there were more reasons than one. When the instructions had been drawn
up, the death of the Queen of Spain had not been known in Vienna. The
Archduke had even been charged to inform Philip of the approaching
marriages of the two Archduchesses, that of Anne with the King of France,
and that of Isabella with the King of Portugal. A few days later,
however, the envoy received letters from the Emperor, authorizing him to
offer to the bereaved Philip the hand of the Archduchess Anne.

   [Herrera (lib. xv. 707) erroneously states that the Archduke was,
   at the outset, charged with these two commissions by the Emperor;
   namely, to negotiate the marriage of the Archduchess Anne with
   Philip, and to arrange the affairs of the Netherlands. On the
   contrary, he was empowered to offer Anne to the King of France,
   and had already imparted his instructions to that effect to Philip,
   before he received letters from Vienna, written after the death of
   Isabella had become known. At another interview, he presented this
   new matrimonial proposition to Philip. These facts are important,
   for they indicate how completely the objects of the embassy, the
   commencement of which was so pretentious, were cast aside, that a
   more advantageous marriage for one of the seven Austrian
   Archduchesses might be secured.--Compare Correspondance de Philippe]

The King replied to the Archduke, when this proposition was made, that if
he had regard only to his personal satisfaction, he should remain as he
was. As however he had now no son, he was glad that the proposition had
been made, and would see how the affair could be arranged with France.

Thus the ill success of Orange in Brabant, so disheartening to the German
princes most inclined to his cause, and still more the widowhood of
Philip, had brought a change over the views of Maximilian. On the 17th of
January, 1569, three days before his ambassador had entered upon his
negotiations, he had accordingly addressed an autograph letter to his
Catholic Majesty. In this epistle, by a few, cold lines, he entirely
annihilated any possible effect which might have been produced by the
apparent earnestness of his interposition in favor of the Netherlands. He
informed the King that the Archduke had been sent, not to vex him, but to
convince him of his friendship. He assured Philip that he should be
satisfied with his response, whatever it might be. He entreated only that
it might be drawn up in such terms that the princes and electors to whom
it must be shown, might not be inspired with suspicion.

The Archduke left Madrid on the 4th of March, 1569. He retired, well
pleased with the results of his mission, not because its ostensible
objects had been accomplished, for those had signally failed, but because
the King had made him a present of one hundred thousand ducats, and had
promised to espouse the Archduchess Anne. On the 26th of May, 1569, the
Emperor addressed a final reply to Philip, in which he expressly approved
the King's justification of his conduct. It was founded, he thought, in
reason and equity. Nevertheless, it could hardly be shown, as it was, to
the princes and electors, and he had therefore modified many points which
he thought might prove offensive.

Thus ended "in smoke," as Granvelle had foretold, the famous mission of
Archduke Charles. The Holy Roman Emperor withdrew from his pompous
intervention, abashed by a rebuke, but consoled by a promise. If it were
good to be guardian of religious freedom in Upper and Nether Germany, it
was better to be father-in-law to the King of Spain and both the Indies.
Hence the lame and abrupt conclusion.

Cardinal Granvelle had been very serviceable in this juncture. He had
written to Philip to assure him that, in his, opinion, the Netherlands
had no claim, under the transaction of Augsburg, to require the
observance within their territory of the decrees of the Empire. He added,
that Charles the Fifth had only agreed to the treaty of Passau to save
his brother Ferdinand from ruin; that he had only consented to it as
Emperor, and had neither directly nor indirectly included the Netherlands
within its provisions. He stated, moreover, that the Emperor had revoked
the treaty by an act which was never published, in consequence of the
earnest solicitations of Ferdinand.

It has been seen that the King had used this opinion of Granvelle in the
response presented to the Archduke. Although he did not condescend to an
argument, he had laid down the fact as if it were indisputable. He was
still more delighted to find that Charles had revoked the treaty of
Passau, and eagerly wrote to Granvelle to inquire where the secret
instrument was to be found. The Cardinal replied that it was probably
among his papers at Brussels, but that he doubted whether it would be
possible to find it in his absence. Whether such a document ever existed,
it is difficult to say. To perpetrate such a fraud would have been worthy
of Charles; to fable its perpetration not unworthy of the Cardinal. In
either case, the transaction was sufficiently high-handed and exceedingly


     Age when toleration was a vice
     An age when to think was a crime
     Business of an officer to fight, of a general to conquer
     Cruelties exercised upon monks and papists
     For faithful service, evil recompense
     Pathetic dying words of Anne Boleyn
     Seven Spaniards were killed, and seven thousand rebels
     The calf is fat and must be killed
     The illness was a convenient one
     The tragedy of Don Carlos



1569-70 [CHAPTER V.]

   Quarrel between Alva and Queen Elizabeth of England--Spanish funds
   seized by the English government--Non-intercourse between England
   and the Netherlands--Stringent measures against heresy--Continued
   persecution--Individual cases--Present of hat and sword to Alva from
   the Pope--Determination of the Governor--general to establish a
   system of arbitrary taxation in the provinces--Assembly of estates
   at Brussels--Alva's decrees laid before them--The hundredth, tenth,
   and fifth pence--Opposition of Viglius to the project--Estates of
   various provinces give a reluctant consent--Determined resistance of
   Utrecht--The city and province cited before the Blood Council--
   Sentence of confiscation and disfranchisement against both--Appeal
   to the King--Difficulty of collecting the new tax--Commutation for
   two years--Projects for a pardon-general--Growing disfavour of the
   Duke--His desire to resign his post--Secret hostility between the
   Governor and Viglius--Altered sentiments of the President--Opinions
   expressed by Granvelle--The pardon pompously proclaimed by the Duke
   at Antwerp--Character of the amnesty--Dissatisfaction of the people
   with the act--Complaints of Alva to the King--Fortunes and fate of
   Baron Montigny in Spain--His confinement at Segovia--His attempt to
   escape--Its failure--His mock trial--His wife's appeal to Philip--
   His condemnation--His secret assassination determined upon--Its
   details, as carefully prescribed and superintended by the King--
   Terrible inundation throughout the Netherlands--Immense destruction
   of life and property in Friesland--Lowestein Castle taken by De
   Ruyter, by stratagem--Recapture of the place by the Spaniards--
   Desperate resistance and death of De Ruyter.

It was very soon after the Duke's return to Brussels that a quarrel
between himself and the Queen of England took place. It happened thus.
Certain vessels, bearing roving commissions from the Prince of Conde, had
chased into the ports of England some merchantmen coming from Spain with
supplies in specie for the Spanish army in the Netherlands. The trading
ships remained in harbor, not daring to leave for their destination,
while the privateers remained in a neighbouring port ready to pounce upon
them should they put to sea. The commanders of the merchant fleet
complained to the Spanish ambassador in London. The envoy laid the case
before the Queen. The Queen promised redress, and, almost as soon as the
promise had been made, seized upon all the specie in the vessels,
amounting to about eight hundred thousand dollars--[1885 exchange
rate]--and appropriated the whole to her own benefit. The pretext for
this proceeding was twofold. In the first place, she assured the
ambassador that she had taken the money into her possession in order that
it might be kept safe for her royal brother of Spain. In the second
place, she affirmed that the money did not belong to the Spanish
government at all, but that it was the property of certain Genoese
merchants, from whom, as she had a right to do, she had borrowed it for a
short period. Both these positions could hardly be correct, but either
furnished an excellent reason for appropriating the funds to her own use.

The Duke of Alva being very much in want of money, was furious when
informed of the circumstance. He immediately despatched Councillor
d'Assonleville with other commissioners on a special embassy to the Queen
of England. His envoys were refused an audience, and the Duke was taxed
with presumption in venturing, as if he had been a sovereign, to send a
legation to a crowned head. No satisfaction was given to Alva, but a
secret commissioner was despatched to Spain to discuss the subject there.
The wrath of Alva was not appeased by this contemptuous treatment.
Chagrined at the loss of his funds, and stung to the quick by a rebuke
which his arrogance had merited, he resorted to a high-handed measure. He
issued a proclamation commanding the personal arrest of every Englishman
within the territory of the Netherlands, and the seizure of every article
of property which could be found belonging to individuals of that nation.
The Queen retaliated by measures of the same severity against
Netherlanders in England. The Duke followed up his blow by a proclamation
(of March 31st, 1569), in which the grievance was detailed, and strict
non-intercourse with England enjoined. While the Queen and the Viceroy
were thus exchanging blows, the real sufferers were, of course, the
unfortunate Netherlanders. Between the upper and nether millstones of
Elizabeth's rapacity and Alva's arrogance, the poor remains of Flemish
prosperity were well nigh crushed out of existence. Proclamations and
commissions followed hard upon each other, but it was not till April
1573, that the matter was definitely arranged. Before that day arrived,
the commerce of the Netherlands had suffered, at the lowest computation,
a dead loss of two million florins, not a stiver of which was ever
reimbursed to the sufferers by the Spanish government.

Meantime, neither in the complacency of his triumph over William of
Orange, nor in the torrent of his wrath against the English Queen, did
the Duke for a moment lose sight of the chief end of his existence in the
Netherlands. The gibbet and the stake were loaded with their daily
victims. The records of the period are foul with the perpetually renewed
barbarities exercised against the new religion. To the magistrates of the
different cities were issued fresh instructions, by which all municipal
officers were to be guided in the discharge of their great duty. They
were especially enjoined by the Duke to take heed that Catholic midwives,
and none other, should be provided for every parish, duly sworn to give
notice within twenty-four hours of every birth which occurred, in order
that the curate might instantly proceed to baptism. They were also
ordered to appoint certain spies who should keep watch at every
administration of the sacraments, whether public or private, whether at
the altar or at death-beds, and who should report for exemplary
punishment (that is to say, death by fire) all persons who made derisive
or irreverential gestures, or who did not pay suitable honor to the said
Sacraments. Furthermore, in order that not even death itself should cheat
the tyrant of his prey, the same spies were to keep watch at the couch of
the dying, and to give immediate notice to government of all persons who
should dare to depart this life without previously receiving extreme
unction and the holy wafer. The estates of such culprits, it was
ordained, should be confiscated, and their bodies dragged to the public
place of execution.

An affecting case occurred in the north of Holland, early in this year,
which, for its peculiarity, deserves brief mention. A poor Anabaptist,
guilty of no crime but his fellowship with a persecuted sect, had been
condemned to death. He had made his escape, closely pursued by an officer
of justice, across a frozen lake. It was late in the winter, and the ice
had become unsound. It trembled and cracked beneath his footsteps, but he
reached the shore in safety. The officer was not so fortunate. The ice
gave way beneath him, and he sank into the lake, uttering a cry for
succor. There were none to hear him, except the fugitive whom he had been
hunting. Dirk Willemzoon, for so was the Anabaptist called, instinctively
obeying the dictates of a generous nature, returned, crossed the quaking
and dangerous ice, at the peril of his life, extended his hand to his
enemy, and saved him from certain death. Unfortunately for human nature,
it cannot be added that the generosity, of, the action was met by a
corresponding heroism. The officer was desirous, it is true, of avoiding
the responsibility of sacrificing the preserver of his life, but the
burgomaster of Asperen sternly reminded him to remember his oath. He
accordingly arrested the fugitive, who, on the 16th of May following, was
burned to death under the most lingering tortures.

Almost at the same time four clergymen, the eldest seventy years of age,
were executed at the Hague, after an imprisonment of three years. All
were of blameless lives, having committed no crime save that of having
favored the Reformation. As they were men of some local eminence, it was
determined that they should be executed with solemnity. They were
condemned to the flames, and as they were of the ecclesiastical
profession, it was necessary before execution that their personal
sanctity should be removed. Accordingly, on the 27th May, attired in the
gorgeous robes of high mass, they were brought before the Bishop of Bois
le Duc. The prelate; with a pair of scissors, cut a lock of hair from
each of their heads. He then scraped their crowns and the tips of their
fingers with a little silver knife very gently, and without inflicting
the least injury. The mystic oil of consecration was thus supposed to be
sufficiently removed. The prelate then proceeded to disrobe the victims,
saying to each one as he did so, "Eximo tibi vestem justitiae, quem
volens abjecisti;" to which the oldest pastor, Arent Dirkzoon, stoutly
replied, "imo vestem injustitiae." The bishop having thus completed the
solemn farce of desecration, delivered the prisoners to the Blood
Council, begging that they might be handled very gently. Three days
afterwards they were all executed at the stake, having, however, received
the indulgence of being strangled before being thrown into the flames.

It was precisely at this moment, while the agents of the Duke's
government were thus zealously enforcing his decrees, that a special
messenger arrived from the Pope, bringing as a present to Alva a jewelled
hat and sword. It was a gift rarely conferred by the Church, and never
save upon the highest dignitaries, or upon those who had merited her most
signal rewards by the most shining exploits in her defence. The Duke was
requested, in the autograph letter from his Holiness which accompanied
the presents, "to remember, when he put the hat upon his head, that he
was guarded with it as with a helmet of righteousness, and with the
shield of God's help, indicating the heavenly crown which was ready for
all princes who support the Holy Church and the Roman Catholic faith."
The motto on the sword ran as follows, "Accipe sanctum gladium, menus a
Deo in quo dejicies adversarios populi mei Israel."

The Viceroy of Philip, thus stimulated to persevere in his master's
precepts by the Vicegerent of Christ, was not likely to swerve from his
path, nor to flinch from his work. It was beyond the power of man's
ingenuity to add any fresh features of horror to the religious
persecution under which the provinces were groaning, but a new attack
could be made upon the poor remains of their wealth.

The Duke had been dissatisfied with the results of his financial
arrangements. The confiscation of banished and murdered heretics had not
proved the inexhaustible mine he had boasted. The stream of gold which
was to flow perennially into the Spanish coffers, soon ceased to flow at
all. This was inevitable. Confiscations must, of necessity, offer but a
precarious supply to any treasury. It was only the frenzy of an Alva
which could imagine it possible to derive a permanent revenue from such a
source. It was, however, not to be expected that this man, whose tyranny
amounted to insanity, could comprehend the intimate connection between
the interests of a people and those of its rulers, and he was determined
to exhibit; by still more fierce and ludicrous experiments, how easily a
great soldier may become a very paltry financier.

He had already informed his royal master that, after a very short time,
remittances would no longer be necessary from Spain to support the
expenses of the array and government in the Netherlands. He promised, on
the contrary, that at least two millions yearly should be furnished by
the provinces, over and above the cost of their administration, to enrich
the treasury at home. Another Peru had already been discovered by his
ingenuity, and one which was not dependent for its golden fertility on
the continuance of that heresy which it was his mission to extirpate. His
boast had been much ridiculed in Madrid, where he had more enemies than
friends, and he was consequently the more eager to convert it into
reality. Nettled by the laughter with which all his schemes of political
economy had been received at home, he was determined to show that his
creative statesmanship was no less worthy of homage than his indisputable
genius for destruction.

His scheme was nothing more than the substitution of an arbitrary system
of taxation by the Crown, for the legal and constitutional right of the
provinces to tax themselves. It was not a very original thought, but it
was certainly a bold one. For although a country so prostrate might
suffer the imposition of any fresh amount of tyranny, yet it was doubtful
whether she had sufficient strength remaining to bear the weight after it
had been imposed. It was certain, moreover, that the new system would
create a more general outcry than any which had been elicited even by the
religious persecution. There were many inhabitants who were earnest and
sincere Catholics, and who therefore considered themselves safe from the
hangman's hands, while there were none who could hope to escape the gripe
of the new tax-gatherers. Yet the Governor was not the man to be daunted
by the probable unpopularity of the measure. Courage he possessed in more
than mortal proportion. He seemed to have set himself to the task of
ascertaining the exact capacity of the country for wretchedness. He was
resolved accurately to gauge its width and its depth; to know how much of
physical and moral misery might be accumulated within its limits, before
it should be full to overflowing. Every man, woman, and child in the
country had been solemnly condemned to death; and arbitrary executions,
in pursuance of that sentence, had been daily taking place. Millions of
property had been confiscated; while the most fortunate and industrious,
as well as the bravest of the Netherlanders, were wandering penniless in
distant lands. Still the blows, however recklessly distributed, had not
struck every head. The inhabitants had been decimated, not annihilated,
and the productive energy of the country, which for centuries had
possessed so much vitality, was even yet not totally extinct. In the
wreck of their social happiness, in the utter overthrow of their
political freedom, they had still preserved the shadow, at least, of one
great bulwark against despotism. The king could impose no tax.

The "Joyeuse Entree" of Brabant, as well as the constitutions of
Flanders, Holland, Utrecht, and all the other provinces, expressly
prescribed the manner in which the requisite funds for government should
be raised. The sovereign or his stadholder was to appear before the
estates in person, and make his request for money. It was for the
estates, after consultation with their constituents, to decide whether or
not this petition (Bede) should be granted, and should a single branch
decline compliance, the monarch was to wait with patience for a more
favorable moment. Such had been the regular practice in the Netherlands,
nor had the reigning houses often had occasion to accuse the estates of
parsimony. It was, however, not wonderful that the Duke of Alva should be
impatient at the continued existence of this provincial privilege. A
country of condemned criminals, a nation whose universal neck might at
any moment be laid upon the block without ceremony, seemed hardly fit to
hold the purse-strings, and to dispense alms to its monarch. The Viceroy
was impatient at this arrogant vestige of constitutional liberty.
Moreover, although he had taken from the Netherlanders nearly all the
attributes of freemen, he was unwilling that they should enjoy the
principal privilege of slaves, that of being fed and guarded at their
master's expense. He had therefore summoned a general assembly of the
provincial estates in Brussels, and on the 20th of March, 1569, had
caused the following decrees to be laid before them.

A tax of the hundredth penny, or one per cent., was laid upon all
property, real and personal, to be collected instantly. This impost,
however, was not perpetual, but only to be paid once, unless, of course,
it should suit the same arbitrary power by which it was assessed to
require it a second time.

A tax of the twentieth penny; or five per cent., was laid upon every
transfer of real estate. This imposition was perpetual.

Thirdly, a tag of the tenth penny, or ten per cent., was assessed upon
every article of merchandise or personal-property, to be paid as often as
it should be sold. This tax was likewise to be perpetual.

The consternation in the assembly when these enormous propositions were
heard, can be easily imagined. People may differ about religious dogmas.
In the most bigoted persecutions there will always be many who, from
conscientious although misguided motives, heartily espouse the cause of
the bigot. Moreover, although resistance to tyranny in matters of faith,
is always the most ardent of struggles, and is supported by the most
sublime principle in our nature, yet all men are not of the sterner stuff
of which martyrs are fashioned. In questions relating to the world above;
many may be seduced from their convictions by interest, or forced into
apostasy by violence. Human nature is often malleable or fusible, where
religious interests are concerned, but in affairs material and financial
opposition to tyranny is apt to be unanimous.

The interests of commerce and manufacture, when brought into conflict
with those of religion, had often proved victorious in the Netherlands.
This new measure, however--this arbitrary and most prodigious system of
taxation, struck home to every fireside. No individual, however adroit or
time-serving, could parry the blow by which all were crushed.

It was most unanswerably maintained in the assembly, that this tenth and
twentieth penny would utterly destroy the trade and the manufactures of
the country. The hundredth penny, or the one per cent. assessment on all
property throughout the land, although a severe subsidy, might be borne
with for once. To pay, however, a twentieth part of the full value of a
house to the government as often as the house was sold, was a most
intolerable imposition. A house might be sold twenty times in a year, and
in the course, therefore, of the year be confiscated in its whole value.
It amounted either to a prohibition of all transfers of real estate, or
to an eventual surrender of its price.

As to the tenth penny upon articles of merchandise, to be paid by the
vendor at every sale, the scheme was monstrous. All trade and
manufactures must, of necessity, expire, at the very first attempt to put
it in execution. The same article might be sold ten times in a week, and
might therefore pay one hundred per cent. weekly. An article, moreover,
was frequently compounded of ten, different articles, each of which might
pay one hundred per cent., and therefore the manufactured article, if ten
times transferred, one thousand per cent. weekly. Quick transfers and
unfettered movements being the nerves and muscles of commerce, it was
impossible for it long to survive the paralysis of such a tax. The impost
could never be collected, and would only produce an entire prostration of
industry. It could by no possibility enrich the government.

The King could not derive wealth from the ruin of his subjects; yet to
establish such a system was the stern and absurd determination of the
Governor-general. The infantine simplicity of the effort seemed
incredible. The ignorance was as sublime as the tyranny. The most lucid
arguments and the most earnest remonstrances were all in vain. Too opaque
to be illumined by a flood of light, too hard to be melted by a nation's
tears, the Viceroy held calmly to his purpose. To the keen and vivid
representations of Viglius, who repeatedly exhibited all that was
oppressive and all that was impossible in the tax, he answered simply
that it was nothing more nor less than the Spanish "alcabala," and that
he derived 50,000 ducats yearly from its imposition in his own city of

Viglius was upon this occasion in opposition to the Duke. It is but
justice to state that the learned jurisconsult manfully and repeatedly
confronted the wrath of his superior in many a furious discussion in
council upon the subject. He had never essayed to snatch one brand from
the burning out of the vast holocaust of religious persecution, but he
was roused at last by the threatened destruction of all the material
interests of the land. He confronted the tyrant with courage, sustained
perhaps by the knowledge that the proposed plan was not the King's, but
the Governor's. He knew that it was openly ridiculed in Madrid, and that
Philip, although he would probably never denounce it in terms, was
certainly not eager for its execution. The President enlarged upon the
difference which existed between the condition of a sparsely-peopled
country of herdsmen and laborers in Spain, and the densely-thronged and
bustling cities of the Netherlands. If the Duke collected 50,000 ducats
yearly from the alcabala in Alva, he could only offer him his
congratulations, but could not help assuring him that the tax would prove
an impossibility in the provinces. To his argument, that the impost would
fall with severity not upon the highest nor the lowest classes of
society, neither upon the great nobility and clergy nor on the rustic
population, but on the merchants and manufacturers, it was answered by
the President that it was not desirable to rob Saint Peter's altar in
order to build one to Saint Paul. It might have been simpler to suggest
that the consumer would pay the tax, supposing it were ever paid at all,
but the axiom was not so familiar three centuries ago as now.

Meantime, the report of the deputies to the assembly on their return to
their constituents had created the most intense excitement and alarm.
Petition after petition, report after report, poured in upon the
government. There was a cry of despair, and almost of defiance, which had
not been elicited by former agonies. To induce, however, a more favorable
disposition on the part of the Duke, the hundredth penny, once for all,
was conceded by the estates. The tenth and twentieth occasioned--severe
and protracted struggles, until the various assemblies of the patrimonial
provinces, one after another, exhausted, frightened, and hoping that no
serious effort would be made to collect the tax, consented, under certain
restrictions, to its imposition.--The principal conditions were a protest
against the legality of the proceeding, and the provision that the
consent of no province should be valid until that of all had been
obtained. Holland, too, was induced to give in its adhesion, although the
city of Amsterdam long withheld its consent; but the city and province of
Utrecht were inexorable. They offered a handsome sum in commutation,
increasing the sum first proposed from 70,000 to 200,000 florins, but
they resolutely refused to be saddled with this permanent tax. Their
stout resistance was destined to cost them dear. In the course of a few
months Alva, finding them still resolute in their refusal, quartered the
regiment of Lombardy upon them, and employed other coercive measures to
bring them to reason. The rude, insolent, unpaid and therefore
insubordinate soldiery were billeted in every house in the city, so that
the insults which the population were made to suffer by the intrusion of
these ruffians at their firesides would soon, it was thought, compel the
assent of the province to the tax. It was not so, however. The city and
the province remained stanch in their opposition. Accordingly, at the
close of the year (15th. December, 1569) the estates were summoned to
appear within fourteen days before the Blood Council. At the appointed
time the procureur-general was ready with an act of accusation,
accompanied, as was usually the case, with a simultaneous sentence of
condemnation. The indictment revived and recapitulated all previous
offences committed in the city and the province, particularly during the
troubles of 1566, and at the epoch of the treaty with Duchess Margaret.
The inhabitants and the magistrates, both in their individual and public
capacities, were condemned for heresy, rebellion, and misprision. The
city and province were accordingly pronounced guilty of high treason,
were deprived of all their charters, laws, privileges, freedoms, and
customs, and were declared to have forfeited all their property, real and
personal, together with all tolls, rents, excises, and imposts, the whole
being confiscated to the benefit of his Majesty.

The immediate execution of the sentence was, however, suspended, to allow
the estates opportunity to reply. An enormous mass of pleadings, replies,
replications, rejoinders, and apostilles was the result, which few eyes
were destined to read, and least of all those to whom they were nominally
addressed. They were of benefit to none save in the shape of fees which
they engendered to the gentlemen of the robe. It was six months, however,
before the case was closed. As there was no blood to be shed, a summary
process was not considered necessary. At last, on the 14th July, the
voluminous pile of documents was placed before Vargas. It was the first
time he had laid eyes upon them, and they were, moreover, written in a
language of which he did not understand a word. Such, however, was his
capacity for affairs, that a glance only at the outside of the case
enabled him to form his decision. Within half an hour afterwards, booted
and spurred, he was saying mass in the church of Saint Gudule, on his way
to pronounce sentence at Antwerp. That judgment was rendered the same
day, and confirmed the preceding act of condemnation. Vargas went to his
task as cheerfully as if it had been murder. The act of outlawry and
beggary was fulminated against the city and province, and a handsome
amount of misery for others, and of plunder for himself, was the result
of his promptness. Many thousand citizens were ruined, many millions of
property confiscated.

Thus was Utrecht deprived of all its ancient liberties, as a punishment
for having dared to maintain them. The clergy, too, of the province,
having invoked the bull "in Coena Domini," by which clerical property was
declared exempt from taxation, had excited the wrath of the Duke. To
wield so slight a bulrush against the man who had just been girded with
the consecrated and jewelled sword of the Pope, was indeed but a feeble
attempt at defence. Alva treated the Coena Domini with contempt, but he
imprisoned the printer who had dared to-republish it at this juncture.
Finding, moreover, that it had been put in press by the orders of no less
a person than Secretary La Torre, he threw that officer also into prison,
besides suspending him from his functions for a year.

The estates of the province and the magistracy of the city appealed to
his Majesty from the decision of the Duke. The case did not directly
concern the interests of religion, for although the heretical troubles of
1566 furnished the nominal motives of the condemnation, the resistance to
the tenth and twentieth penny was the real crime for which they were
suffering. The King, therefore, although far from clement, was not
extremely rigorous. He refused the object of the appeal, but he did not
put the envoys to death by whom it was brought to Madrid. This would have
certainly been the case in matters strictly religious, or even had the
commissioners arrived two years before, but even Philip believed,
perhaps, that for the moment almost enough innocent blood had been shed.
At any rate he suffered the legates from Utrecht to return, not with
their petition, granted, but at least with their heads upon their
shoulders. Early in the following year, the provinces still remaining
under martial law, all the Utrecht charters were taken into the
possession of government, and deposited in the castle of Vredenberg. It
was not till after the departure of Alva, that they were restored;
according to royal command, by the new governor, Requesens.

By the middle of the year 1569, Alva wrote to the King, with great
cheerfulness of tone, announcing that the estates of the provinces had
all consented to the tax. He congratulated his Majesty upon the fact that
this income might thenceforth be enjoyed in perpetuity, and that it would
bring at least two millions yearly into his coffers, over and above the
expenses of government. The hundredth penny, as he calculated, would
amount to at least five millions.

He was, however, very premature in his triumph, for the estates were not
long in withdrawing a concession which had either been wrung from them by
violence or filched from them by misrepresentation. Taking the ground
that the assent of all had been stipulated before that of any one should
be esteemed valid, every province now refused to enforce or to permit the
collection of the tenth or the twentieth penny within their limits. Dire
were the threatenings and the wrath of the Viceroy, painfully protracted
the renewed negotiations with the estates. At last, a compromise was
effected, and the final struggle postponed. Late in the summer it was
agreed that the provinces should pay two millions yearly for the two
following years, the term to expire in the month of August, 1571. Till
that period, therefore, there was comparative repose upon the subject.

The question of a general pardon had been agitated for more than a year,
both in Brussels and Madrid. Viglius, who knew his countrymen better than
the Viceroy knew them, had written frequently to his friend Hopper, on
the propriety of at once proclaiming an amnesty. There had also been many
conferences between himself and the Duke of Alva, and he had furnished
more than one draught for the proposed measure. The President knew full
well that the point had been reached beyond which the force of tyranny
could go no further. All additional pressure, he felt sure, could only
produce reaction, the effect of which might be to drive the Spaniards
from the Netherlands. There might then be another game to play. The heads
of those who had so assiduously served the government throughout its
terrible career might, in their turn, be brought to the block, and their
estates be made to enrich the Treasury. Moreover, there were symptoms
that Alva's favor was on the wane. The King had not been remarkably
struck with the merits of the new financial measures, and had expressed
much, anxiety lest the trade of the country should suffer. The Duke was
known to be desirous of his recal. His health was broken, he felt that he
was bitterly detested throughout the country, and he was certain that his
enemies at Madrid were fast undermining his credit. He seemed also to
have a dim suspicion that his mission was accomplished in the
Netherlands; that as much blood had been shed at present as the land
could easily absorb. He wrote urgently and even piteously to Philip, on
the subject of his return. "Were your Majesty only pleased to take me
from this country," he said, "I should esteem it as great a favor as if
your Majesty had given me life." He swore "by the soul of the Duchess,"
that he "would rather be cut into little pieces" than retire from his
post were his presence necessary, but he expressed the opinion that
through his exertions affairs had been placed in such train that they
were sure to roll on smoothly to the end of time. "At present, and for
the future," he wrote, "your Majesty is and will be more strictly obeyed
than any of your predecessors;" adding, with insane self-complacency,
"and all this has been accomplished without violence." He also assured
his Majesty as to the prosperous condition of financial affairs. His tax
was to work wonders. He had conversed with capitalists who had offered
him four millions yearly for the tenth penny, but he had refused, because
he estimated the product at a much higher figure. The hundredth penny
could not be rated lower than five millions. It was obvious, therefore,
that instead of remitting funds to the provinces, his Majesty would, for
the future, derive from them a steady and enormous income. Moreover, he
assured the King that there was at present no one to inspire anxiety from
within or without. The only great noble of note in the country was the
Duke of Aerschot, who was devoted to his Majesty, and who, moreover,
"amounted to very little," as the King well knew. As for the Prince of
Orange, he would have business enough in keeping out of the clutches of
his creditors. They had nothing to fear from Germany. England would do
nothing as long as Germany was quiet; and France was sunk too low to be
feared at all.

Such being the sentiments of the Duke, the King was already considering
the propriety of appointing his successor. All this was known to the
President. He felt instinctively that more clemency was to be expected
from that successor, whoever he might be; and he was satisfied,
therefore, that he would at least not be injuring his own position by
inclining at this late hour to the side of mercy. His opposition to the
tenth and twentieth penny had already established a breach between
himself and the Viceroy, but he felt secretly comforted by the reflection
that the King was probably on the same side with himself. Alva still
spoke of him, to be sure, both in public and private, with approbation;
taking occasion to commend him frequently, in his private letters, as a
servant upright and zealous, as a living register, without whose
universal knowledge of things and persons he should hardly know which way
to turn. The President, however, was growing weary of his own sycophancy.
He begged his friend Joachim to take his part, if his Excellency should
write unfavorably about his conduct to the King. He seemed to have
changed his views of the man concerning whose "prudence and gentleness"
he could once turn so many fine periods. He even expressed some anxiety
lest doubts should begin to be entertained as to the perfect clemency of
the King's character. "Here is so much confiscation and bloodshed going
on," said he, "that some taint of cruelty or avarice may chance to
bespatter the robe of his Majesty." He also confessed that he had
occasionally read in history of greater benignity than was now exercised
against the poor Netherlanders. Had the learned Frisian arrived at these
humane conclusions at a somewhat earlier day, it might perhaps have been
better for himself and for his fatherland. Had he served his country as
faithfully as he had served Time, and Philip, and Alva, his lands would
not have been so broad, nor his dignities so numerous, but he would not
have been obliged, in his old age; to exclaim, with whimsical petulance,
that "the faithful servant is always a perpetual ass."

It was now certain that an act of amnesty was in contemplation by the
King. Viglius had furnished several plans, which, however, had been so
much disfigured by the numerous exceptions suggested by Alva, that the
President could scarce recognize his work. Granvelle, too, had frequently
urged the pardon on the attention of Philip. The Cardinal was too astute
not to perceive that the time had arrived when a continued severity could
only defeat its own work. He felt that the country could not be rendered
more abject, the spirit of patriotism more apparently extinct. A show of
clemency, which would now cost nothing, and would mean nothing, might be
more effective than this profuse and wanton bloodshed.

He saw plainly that the brutality of Alva had already overshot the mark.
Too politic, however, openly to reprove so powerful a functionary, he
continued to speak of him and of his administration to Philip in terms of
exalted eulogy. He was a "sage seignior," a prudent governor, one on whom
his Majesty could entirely repose. He was a man of long experience,
trained all his life to affairs, and perfectly capable of giving a good
account of everything to which he turned his hands. He admitted, however,
to other correspondents, that the administration of the sage seignior, on
whom his Majesty could so implicitly rely, had at last "brought that
provinces into a deplorable condition."

Four different forms of pardon had been sent from Madrid, toward the
close of 1569. From these four the Duke was to select one, and carefully
to destroy the other three. It was not, however, till July of the
following year that the choice was made, and the Viceroy in readiness to
announce the pardon. On the 14th of that month a great festival was held
at Antwerp, for the purpose of solemnly proclaiming the long expected
amnesty. In the morning, the Duke, accompanied by a brilliant staff, and
by a long procession of clergy in their gorgeous robes, paraded through
the streets of the commercial capital, to offer up prayers and hear mass
in the cathedral. The Bishop of Arras then began a sermon upon the
blessings of mercy, with a running commentary upon the royal clemency
about to be exhibited. In the very outset, however, of his discourse, he
was seized with convulsions, which required his removal from the pulpit;
an incident which was not considered of felicitous augury. In the
afternoon, the Duke with his suite appeared upon the square in front of
the Town House. Here a large scaffolding or theatre had been erected. The
platform and the steps which led to it were covered with scarlet cloth. A
throne, covered with cloth of gold, was arranged in the most elevated
position for the Duke. On the steps immediately below him were placed two
of the most beautiful women in Antwerp, clad in allegorical garments to
represent righteousness and peace. The staircase and platform were lined
with officers, the square was beset with troops, and filled to its utmost
verge with an expectant crowd of citizens. Toward the close of a summer's
afternoon, the Duke wearing the famous hat and sword of the Pope, took
his seat on the throne with all the airs of royalty. After a few
preliminary ceremonies, a civil functionary, standing between two
heralds; then recited the long-expected act of grace. His reading,
however, was so indistinct, that few save the soldiers in the immediate
vicinity of the platform could hear a word of the document.

This effect was, perhaps, intentional. Certainly but little enthusiasm
could be expected from the crowd, had the text of the amnesty been heard.
It consisted of three parts--a recitation of the wrongs committed, a
statement of the terms of pardon, and a long list of exceptions. All the
sins of omission and commission, the heresy, the public preaching, the
image-breaking, the Compromise, the confederacy, the rebellion, were
painted in lively colors. Pardon, however, was offered to all those who
had not rendered themselves liable to positive impeachment, in case they
should make their peace with the Church before the expiration of two
months, and by confession and repentance obtain their absolution. The
exceptions, however, occupied the greater part of the document. When the
general act of condemnation had been fulminated by which all
Netherlanders were sentenced to death, the exceptions had been very few,
and all the individuals mentioned by name. In the act of pardon, the
exceptions comprehended so many classes of inhabitants, that it was
impossible for any individual to escape a place in, some one of the
categories, whenever it should please the government to take his life.
Expressly excluded from the benefit of the act were all ministers,
teachers, dogmatizers, and all who had favored and harbored such
dogmatizers and preachers; all those in the least degree implicated in
the image-breaking; all who had ever been individually suspected of
heresy or schism; all who had ever signed or favored the Compromise or
the Petition to the Regent; all those who had taken up arms, contributed
money, distributed tracts; all those in any manner chargeable with
misprision, or who had failed to denounce those guilty of heresy. All
persons, however, who were included in any of these classes of exceptions
might report themselves within six months, when, upon confession of their
crime, they might hope for a favorable consideration of their case.

Such, in brief, and stripped of its verbiage, was this amnesty for which
the Netherlands had so long been hoping. By its provisions, not a man or
woman was pardoned who had ever committed a fault. The innocent alone
were forgiven. Even they were not sure of mercy, unless they should
obtain full absolution from the Pope. More certainly than ever would the
accustomed rigor be dealt to all who had committed any of those positive
acts for which so many had already lost their heads. The clause by which
a possibility of pardon was hinted to such criminals, provided they would
confess and surrender, was justly regarded as a trap. No one was deceived
by it. No man, after the experience of the last three years; would
voluntarily thrust his head into the lion's mouth, in order to fix it
more firmly upon his shoulders. No man who had effected his escape was
likely to play informer against himself, in hope of obtaining a pardon
from which all but the most sincere and zealous Catholics were in reality

The murmur and discontent were universal, therefore, as soon as the terms
of the act became known. Alva wrote to the King, to be sure, "that the
people were entirely satisfied, save only the demagogues, who could
tolerate no single exception from the amnesty; but he could neither
deceive his sovereign nor himself by such statements." Certainly, Philip
was totally disappointed in the effect which he had anticipated from the
measure. He had thought "it would stop the mouths of many people." On the
contrary, every mouth in the Netherlands became vociferous to denounce
the hypocrisy by which a new act of condemnation had been promulgated
under the name of a pardon. Viglius, who had drawn up an instrument of
much ampler clemency, was far from satisfied with the measure which had
been adopted. "Certainly," he wrote to his confidant, "a more benignant
measure was to be expected from so merciful a Prince. After four years
have past, to reserve for punishment and for execution all those who
during the tumult did not, through weakness of mind, render as much
service to government as brave men might have offered, is altogether

Alva could not long affect to believe in the people's satisfaction. He
soon wrote to the King, acknowledging that the impression produced by the
pardon was far from favorable. He attributed much evil effect to the
severe censure which was openly pronounced upon the act by members of the
government, both in Spain and the Netherlands. He complained that Hopper
had written to Viglius, that "the most severe of the four forms of pardon
transmitted had been selected;" the fact being, that the most lenient one
had been adopted. If this were so, whose imagination is powerful enough
to portray the three which had been burned, and which, although more
severe than the fierce document promulgated, were still entitled acts of
pardon? The Duke spoke bitterly of the manner in which influential
persons in Madrid had openly abominated the cruel form of amnesty which
had been decreed. His authority in the Netherlands was already
sufficiently weakened, he said, and such censure upon his actions from
head-quarters did not tend to improve it. "In truth," he added, almost
pathetically, "it is not wonderful that the whole nation should be
ill-disposed towards me, for I certainly have done nothing to make them
love me. At the same time, such language transmitted from Madrid does not
increase their tenderness."

In short, viewed as a measure by which government, without disarming
itself of its terrible powers, was to pacify the popular mind, the
amnesty was a failure. Viewed as a net, by which fresh victims should be
enticed to entangle themselves, who had already made their way into the
distant atmosphere of liberty, it was equally unsuccessful. A few very
obscure individuals made their appearance to claim the benefit of the
act, before the six months had expired. With these it was thought
expedient to deal gently; but no one was deceived by such clemency. As
the common people expressed themselves, the net was not spread on that
occasion for finches.

The wits of the Netherlands, seeking relief from their wretched condition
in a still more wretched quibble, transposed two letters of the word
Pardona, and re-baptized the new measure Pandora. The conceit was not
without meaning. The amnesty, descending from supernal regions, had been
ushered into the presence of mortals as a messenger laden with heavenly
gifts. The casket, when opened, had diffused curses instead of blessings.
There, however, the classical analogy ended, for it would have puzzled
all the pedants of Louvain to discover Hope lurking, under any disguise,
within the clauses of the pardon.

Very soon after the promulgation of this celebrated act, the new bride of
Philip, Anne of Austria, passed through the Netherlands, on her way to
Madrid. During her brief stay in Brussels, she granted an interview to
the Dowager Countess of Horn. That unhappy lady, having seen her eldest
son, the head of her illustrious house, so recently perish on the
scaffold, wished to make a last effort in behalf of the remaining one,
then closely confined in the prison of Segovia. The Archduchess solemnly
promised that his release should be the first boon which she would
request of her royal bridegroom, and the bereaved countess retired almost
with a hope.

A short digression must here be allowed, to narrate the remaining
fortunes of that son, the ill-starred Seigneur de Montigny. His mission
to Madrid in company of the Marquis Berghen has been related in a
previous volume. The last and most melancholy scene in the life of his
fellow envoy has been described in a recent chapter. After that ominous
event, Montigny became most anxious to effect his retreat from Spain. He
had been separated more than a year from his few months' bride. He was
not imprisoned, but he felt himself under the most rigid although secret
inspection. It was utterly impossible for him to obtain leave to return,
or to take his departure without permission. On one occasion, having left
the city accidentally for a ride on horseback to an adjoining village, he
found himself surrounded by an unexpected escort of forty troopers.
Still, however, the King retained a smiling mien. To Montigny's repeated
and urgent requests for dismissal, Philip graciously urged his desire for
a continuance of his visit. He was requested to remain in order to
accompany his sovereign upon that journey to the Netherlands which would
not be much longer delayed. In his impatience anything seemed preferable
to the state of suspense in which he was made to linger. He eagerly
offered, if he were accused or suspected of crime, to surrender himself
to imprisonment if he only could be brought to trial. Soon after Alva's
arrival in the Netherlands, the first part of this offer was accepted. No
sooner were the arrests of Egmont and Horn known in Madrid, than Montigny
was deprived of his liberty, and closely confined in the alcazar of
Segovia. Here he remained imprisoned for eight or nine months in a high
tower, with no attendant save a young page, Arthur de Munter, who had
accompanied him from the Netherlands. Eight men-at-arms were expressly
employed to watch over him and to prevent his escape.

One day towards the middle of July, 1568, a band of pilgrims, some of
them in Flemish attire, went through the streets of Segovia. They were
chanting, as was customary on such occasions, a low, monotonous song, in
which Montigny, who happened to be listening, suddenly recognized the
language of his fatherland. His surprise was still greater when, upon
paying closer attention, he distinguished the terrible meaning of the
song. The pretended pilgrims, having no other means of communication with
the prisoner, were singing for his information the tragic fates of his
brother, Count Horn, and of his friend, Count Egmont. Mingled with the
strain were warnings of his own approaching doom; if he were not able to
effect his escape before it should be too late. Thus by this friendly
masquerade did Montigny learn the fate of his brother, which otherwise,
in that land of terrible secrecy, might have been concealed from him for

The hint as to his own preservation was not lost upon him; and he at once
set about a plan of escape. He succeeded in gaining over to his interests
one of the eight soldiers by whom he was guarded, and he was thus enabled
to communicate with many of his own adherents without the prison walls.
His major-domo had previously been permitted to furnish his master's
table with provisions dressed by his own cook. A correspondence was now
carried on by means of letters concealed within the loaves of bread sent
daily to the prisoner. In the same way files were provided for sawing
through his window-bars. A very delicate ladder of ropes, by which he was
to effect his escape into the court below, was also transmitted. The plan
had been completely arranged. A certain Pole employed in the enterprise
was to be at Hernani, with horses in readiness to convey them to San
Sebastian. There a sloop had been engaged, and was waiting their arrival.
Montigny, accordingly, in a letter enclosed within a loaf of bread--the
last, as he hoped, which he should break in prison--was instructed, after
cutting off his beard and otherwise disguising his person, to execute his
plan and join his confederates at Hernani. Unfortunately, the major-domo
of Montigny was in love. Upon the eve of departure from Spain, his
farewell interview with his mistress was so much protracted that the care
of sending the bread was left to another. The substitute managed so
unskilfully that the loaf was brought to the commandant of the castle,
and not to the prisoner. The commandant broke the bread, discovered the
letter, and became master of the whole plot. All persons engaged in the
enterprise were immediately condemned to death, and the Spanish soldier
executed without delay. The others being considered, on account of their
loyalty to their master as deserving a commutation of punishment, were
sent to the galleys. The major-domo, whose ill-timed gallantry had thus
cost Montigny his liberty, received two hundred lashes in addition. All,
however, were eventually released from imprisonment.

The unfortunate gentleman was now kept in still closer confinement in his
lonely tower. As all his adherents had been disposed of, he could no
longer entertain a hope of escape. In the autumn of this year (1568) it
was thought expedient by Alva to bring his case formally before the Blood
Council. Montigny had committed no crime, but he was one of that band of
popular, nobles whose deaths had been long decreed. Letters were
accordingly sent to Spain, empowering certain functionaries there to
institute that preliminary examination, which, as usual, was to be the
only trial vouchsafed. A long list of interrogatories was addressed to
him on February 7th, 1569, in his prison at Segovia. A week afterwards,
he was again visited by the alcalde, who read over to him the answers
which he had made on the first occasion, and required him to confirm
them. He was then directed to send his procuration to certain persons in
the Netherlands, whom he might wish to appear in his behalf. Montigny
complied by sending several names, with a clause of substitution. All the
persons thus appointed, however, declined to act, unless they could be
furnished with a copy of the procuration, and with a statement of the
articles of accusation. This was positively refused by the Blood Council.
Seeing no possibility of rendering service to their friend by performing
any part in this mockery of justice, they refused to accept the
procuration. They could not defend a case when not only the testimony,
but even the charges against the accused were kept secret. An individual
was accordingly appointed by government to appear in the prisoner's

Thus the forms of justice were observed, and Montigny, a close prisoner
in the tower of Segovia, was put upon trial for his life in Brussels.
Certainly nothing could exceed the irony of such a process. The advocate
had never seen his client, thousands of miles away, and was allowed to
hold no communication with him by letter. The proceedings were instituted
by a summons, addressed by the Duke of Alva to Madame de Montigny in
Brussels. That unhappy lady could only appeal to the King. "Convinced,"
she said, "that her husband was innocent of the charges brought against
him, she threw herself, overwhelmed and consumed by tears and misery, at
his Majesty's feet. She begged the King to remember the past services of
Montigny, her own youth, and that she had enjoyed his company but four
months. By all these considerations, and by the passion of Jesus Christ,
she adjured the monarch to pardon any faults which her husband might have
committed." The reader can easily judge how much effect such a tender
appeal was like to have upon the heart of Philip. From that rock; thus
feebly smitten, there flowed no fountain of mercy. It was not more
certain that Montigny's answers to the interrogatories addressed to him
had created a triumphant vindication of his course, than that such
vindication would be utterly powerless to save his life. The charges
preferred against him were similar to those which had brought Egmont and
Horn to the block, and it certainly created no ground of hope for him,
that he could prove himself even more innocent of suspicious conduct than
they had done. On the 4th March, 1570, accordingly, the Duke of Alva
pronounced sentence against him. The sentence declared that his head
should be cut off, and afterwards exposed to public view upon the head of
a pike. Upon the 18th March, 1570, the Duke addressed a requisitory
letter to the alcaldes, corregidors, and other judges of Castile,
empowering them to carry the sentence into execution.

On the arrival of this requisition there was a serious debate before the
King in council. It seemed to be the general opinion that there had been
almost severity enough in the Netherlands for the present. The spectacle
of the public execution of another distinguished personage, it was
thought, might now prove more irritating than salutary. The King was of
this opinion himself. It certainly did not occur to him or to his
advisers that this consideration should lead them to spare the life of an
innocent man. The doubts entertained as to the expediency of a fresh
murder were not allowed to benefit the prisoner, who, besides being a
loyal subject and a communicant of the ancient Church, was also clothed
in the white robes of an envoy, claiming not only justice but
hospitality, as the deputy of Philip's sister, Margaret of Parma. These
considerations probably never occurred to the mind of His Majesty. In
view, however, of the peculiar circumstances of the case, it was
unanimously agreed that there should be no more blood publicly shed. Most
of the councillors were in favor of slow poison. Montigny's meat and
drink, they said, should be daily drugged, so that he might die by little
and little. Philip, however, terminated these disquisitions by deciding
that the ends of justice would not thus be sufficiently answered. The
prisoner, he had resolved, should be regularly executed, but the deed
should be secret, and it should be publicly announced that he had died of
a fever.

This point having been settled; the King now set about the arrangement of
his plan with all that close attention to detail which marked his
character. The patient industry which, had God given him a human heart
and a love of right, might have made him a useful monarch, he now devoted
to a scheme of midnight murder with a tranquil sense of enjoyment which
seems almost incredible. There is no exaggeration in calling the deed a
murder, for it certainly was not sanctioned by any law, divine or human,
nor justified or excused by any of the circumstances which are supposed
to palliate homicide. Nor, when the elaborate and superfluous luxury of
arrangements made by Philip for the accomplishment of his design is
considered, can it be doubted that he found a positive pleasure in his
task. It would almost seem that he had become jealous of Alva's
achievements in the work of slaughter. He appeared willing to prove to
those immediately about him, that however capable might be the Viceroy of
conducting public executions on a grand and terrifying scale, there was
yet a certain delicacy of finish never attained by Alva in such business,
and which was all his Majesty's own. The King was resolved to make the
assassination of Montigny a masterpiece.

On the 17th August, 1570, he accordingly directed Don Eugenio de Peralta,
concierge of the fortress of Simancas, to repair to Segovia, and thence
to remove the Seigneur Montigny to Simancas. Here he was to be strictly
immured; yet was to be allowed at times to walk in the corridor adjoining
his chamber. On the 7th October following, the licentiate Don Alonzo de
Avellano, alcalde of Valladolid, was furnished with an order addressed by
the King to Don Eugenio de Peralta, requiring him to place the prisoner
in the hands of the said licentiate, who was charged with the execution
of Alva's sentence. This functionary had, moreover, been provided with a
minute letter of instructions, which had been drawn up according to the
King's directions, on the 1st October. In these royal instructions, it
was stated that, although the sentence was for a public execution, yet
the King had decided in favor of a private one within the walls of the
fortress. It was to be managed so that no one should suspect that
Montigny had been executed, but so that, on the contrary, it should be
universally said and believed that he had died a natural death. Very few
persons, all sworn and threatened into secrecy, were therefore to be
employed. Don Alonzo was to start immediately for Valladolid; which was
within two short leagues of Simancas. At that place he would communicate
with Don Eugenio, and arrange the mode, day, and hour of execution. He
would leave Valladolid on the evening before a holiday, late in the
afternoon, so as to arrive a little after dark at Simancas. He would take
with him a confidential notary, an executioner, and as few servants as
possible. Immediately upon his entrance to the fortress, he was to
communicate the sentence of death to Montigny, in presence of Don Eugenio
and of one or two other persons. He would then console him, in which task
he would be assisted by Don Eugenio. He would afterwards leave him with
the religious person who would be appointed for that purpose. That night
and the whole of the following day, which would be a festival, till after
midnight, would be allotted to Montigny, that he might have time to
confess, to receive the sacraments, to convert himself to God, and to
repent. Between one and two o'clock in the morning the execution was to
take place, in presence of the ecclesiastic, of Don Eugenio de Peralta,
of the notary, and of one or two other persons, who would be needed by
the executioner. The ecclesiastic was to be a wise and prudent person,
and to be informed how little confidence Montigny inspired in the article
of faith. If the prisoner should wish to make a will, it could not be
permitted. As all his property had been confiscated, he could dispose of
nothing. Should he, however, desire to make a memorial of the debts which
he would wish paid; he was to be allowed that liberty. It was, however,
to be stipulated that he was to make no allusion, in any memorial or
letter which he might write, to the execution which was about to take
place. He was to use the language of a man seriously ill, and who feels
himself at the point of death. By this infernal ingenuity it was proposed
to make the victim an accomplice in the plot, and to place a false
exculpation of his assassins in his dying lips. The execution having been
fulfilled, and the death having been announced with the dissimulation
prescribed, the burial was to take place in the church of Saint Saviour,
in Simancas. A moderate degree of pomp, such as befitted a person of
Montigny's quality, was to be allowed, and a decent tomb erected. A grand
mass was also to be celebrated, with a respectable number, "say seven
hundred," of lesser masses. As the servants of the defunct were few in
number, continued the frugal King, they might be provided each with a
suit of mourning. Having thus personally arranged all the details of this
secret work, from the reading of the sentence to the burial of the
prisoner; having settled not only the mode of his departure from life,
but of his passage through purgatory, the King despatched the agent on
his mission.

The royal program was faithfully enacted. Don Alonzo arrived at
Valladolid; and made his arrangements with Don Eugenio. It was agreed
that a paper, prepared by royal authority, and brought by Don Alonzo from
Madrid, should be thrown into the corridor of Montigny's prison. This
paper, written in Latin, ran as follows:

   "In the night, as I understand, there will be no chance for your
   escape. In the daytime there will be many; for you are then in
   charge of a single gouty guardian, no match in strength or speed for
   so vigorous a man as you. Make your escape from the 8th to the 12th
   of October, at any hour you can, and take the road contiguous to the
   castle gate through which you entered. You will find Robert and
   John, who will be ready with horses, and with everything necessary.
   May God favor your undertaking.--R. D. M."

The letter, thus designedly thrown into the corridor by one confederate,
was soon afterwards picked up by the other, who immediately taxed
Montigny with an attempt to escape. Notwithstanding the vehement
protestations of innocence naturally made by the prisoner, his pretended
project was made the pretext for a still closer imprisonment in the
"Bishop's Tower." A letter, written at Madrid, by Philip's orders, had
been brought by Don Alonzo to Simancas, narrating by anticipation these
circumstances, precisely as they had now occurred. It moreover stated
that Montigny, in consequence of his close confinement, had fallen
grievously ill, and that he would receive all the attention compatible
with his safe keeping. This letter, according to previous orders, was now
signed by Don Eugenio de Peralta, dated 10th October, 1570; and publicly
despatched to Philip. It was thus formally established that Montigny was
seriously ill. A physician, thoroughly instructed and sworn to secrecy,
was now ostentatiously admitted to the tower, bringing with him a vast
quantity of drugs. He duly circulated among the townspeople, on his
return, his opinion that the illustrious prisoner was afflicted with a
disorder from which it was almost impossible that he should recover.
Thus, thanks to Philip's masterly precautions, not a person in Madrid or
Simancas was ignorant that Montigny was dying of a fever, with the single
exception of the patient himself.

On Saturday, the 14th of October, at nightfall, Don Alonzo de Avellano,
accompanied by the prescribed individuals, including Fray Hernando del,
Castillo, an ecclesiastic of high reputation, made their appearance at
the prison of Simancas. At ten in the evening the announcement of the
sentence was made to Montigny. He was visibly agitated at the sudden
intelligence, for it was entirely unexpected by him. He had, on the
contrary, hoped much from the intercession of, the Queen, whose arrival
he had already learned. He soon recovered himself, however, and requested
to be left alone with the ecclesiastic. All the night and the following
day were passed in holy offices. He conducted himself with great
moderation, courage, and tranquillity. He protested his entire innocence
of any complicity with the Prince of Orange, or of any disloyal designs
or sentiments at any period of his life. He drew up a memorial,
expressing his strong attachment to every point of the Catholic faith,
from which he had never for an instant swerved. His whole demeanor was
noble, submissive, and Christian. "In every essential," said Fray
Hernando, "he conducted himself so well that we who remain may bear him
envy." He wrote a paper of instructions concerning his faithful and
bereaved dependents. He placed his signet ring, attached to a small gold
chain, in the hands of the ecclesiastic, to be by him transmitted to his
wife. Another ring, set with turquois, he sent to his mother-in-law, the
Princess Espinoy, from whom he had received it. About an hour after
midnight, on the morning, therefore, of the 16th of October, Fray
Hernando gave notice that the prisoner was ready to die. The alcalde Don
Alonzo then entered, accompanied by the executioner and the notary. The
sentence of Alva was now again recited, the alcalde adding that the King,
"out of his clemency and benignity," had substituted a secret for a
public execution. Montigny admitted that the judgment would be just and
the punishment lenient, if it were conceded that the charges against him
were true. His enemies, however, while he had been thus immured, had
possessed the power to accuse him as they listed. He ceased to speak, and
the executioner then came forward and strangled him. The alcalde, the
notary, and the executioner then immediately started for Valladolid, so
that no person next morning knew that they had been that night at
Simancas, nor could guess the dark deed which they had then and there
accomplished. The terrible, secret they were forbidden, on pain of death,
to reveal.

Montigny, immediately after his death, was clothed in the habit of Saint
Francis, in order to conceal the marks of strangulation. In the course of
the day the body was deposited, according to the King's previous orders,
in the church of Saint Saviour. Don Eugenio de Peralta, who superintended
the interment, uncovered the face of the defunct to prove his identity,
which was instantly recognised by many sorrowing servants. The next
morning the second letter, prepared by Philip long before, and brought by
Don Alonzo de Avellano to Simancas, received the date of 17th October,
1570, together with the signature of Don Eugenio de Peralta, keeper of
Simancas fortress, and was then publicly despatched to the King. It
stated that, notwithstanding the care given to the Seigneur de Montigny
in his severe illness by the physicians who had attended him, he had
continued to grow worse and worse until the previous morning between
three and four o'clock, when he had expired. The Fray Hernando del
Castillo, who had accidentally happened to be at Simancas, had performed
the holy offices, at the request of the deceased, who had died in so
catholic a frame of mind, that great hopes might be entertained of his
salvation. Although he possessed no property, yet his burial had been
conducted very respectably.

On the 3rd of November, 1570, these two letters, ostensibly written by
Don Eugenio de Peralta, were transmitted by Philip to the Duke of Alva.
They were to serve as evidence of the statement which the
Governor-General was now instructed to make, that the Seigneur de
Montigny had died a natural death in the fortress of Simancas. By the
same courier, the King likewise forwarded a secret memoir, containing the
exact history of the dark transaction, from which memoir the foregoing
account has been prepared. At the same time the Duke was instructed
publicly to exhibit the lying letters of Don Eugenio de Peralta, as
containing an authentic statement of the affair. The King observed,
moreover, in his letter, that there was not a person in Spain who doubted
that Montigny had died of a fever. He added that if the sentiments of the
deceased nobleman had been at all in conformity with his external
manifestations, according to the accounts received of his last moments,
it was to be hoped that God would have mercy upon his soul. The secretary
who copied the letter, took the liberty of adding, however, to this
paragraph the suggestion, that "if Montigny were really a heretic, the
devil, who always assists his children in such moments, would hardly have
failed him in his dying hour." Philip, displeased with this flippancy,
caused the passage to be erased. He even gave vent to his royal
indignation in a marginal note, to the effect that we should always
express favorable judgments concerning the dead--a pious sentiment always
dearer to writing masters than to historians. It seemed never to have
occurred however to this remarkable moralist, that it was quite as
reprehensible to strangle an innocent man as to speak ill of him after
his decease.

Thus perished Baron Montigny, four years after his arrival in Madrid as
Duchess Margaret's ambassador, and three years after the death of his
fellow-envoy Marquis Berghen. No apology is necessary for so detailed an
account of this dark and secret tragedy. The great transactions of a
reign are sometimes paltry things; great battles and great treaties,
after vast consumption of life and of breath, often leave the world where
they found it. The events which occupy many of the statelier pages of
history, and which have most lived in the mouths of men, frequently
contain but commonplace lessons of philosophy. It is perhaps otherwise
when, by the resuscitation of secret documents, over which the dust of
three centuries has gathered, we are enabled to study the internal
working of a system of perfect tyranny. Liberal institutions, republican
or constitutional governments, move in the daylight; we see their mode of
operation, feel the jar of their wheels, and are often needlessly alarmed
at their apparent tendencies. The reverse of the picture is not always so
easily attainable. When, therefore, we find a careful portrait of a
consummate tyrant, painted by his own hand, it is worth our while to
pause for a moment, that we may carefully peruse the lineaments.
Certainly, we shall afterwards not love liberty the less.

Towards the end of the year 1570, still another and a terrible misfortune
descended upon the Netherlands. It was now the hand of God which smote
the unhappy country, already so tortured by the cruelty of war. An
inundation, more tremendous than any which had yet been recorded in those
annals so prolific in such catastrophes, now swept the whole coast from
Flanders to Friesland. Not the memorable deluge of the thirteenth
century, out of which the Zuyder Zee was born; not that in which the
waters of the Dollart had closed for ever over the villages and churches
of Groningen; not one of those perpetually recurring floods by which the
inhabitants of the Netherlands, year after year, were recalled to an
anxious remembrance of the watery chaos out of which their fatherland had
been created, and into which it was in daily danger of resolving itself
again, had excited so much terror and caused so much destruction. A
continued and violent gale from the north-west had long been sweeping the
Atlantic waters into the North Sea, and had now piled them upon the
fragile coasts of the provinces. The dykes, tasked beyond their strength,
burst in every direction. The cities of Flanders, to a considerable
distance inland, were suddenly invaded by the waters of the ocean. The
whole narrow peninsula of North Holland was in imminent danger of being
swept away for ever. Between Amsterdam and Meyden, the great Diemer dyke
was broken through in twelve places. The Hand-bos, a bulwark formed of
oaken piles, fastened with metal clamps, moored with iron anchors, and
secured by gravel and granite, was snapped to pieces like packthread. The
"Sleeper," a dyke thus called, because it was usually left in repose by
the elements, except in great emergencies, alone held firm, and prevented
the consummation of the catastrophe. Still the ocean poured in upon the
land with terrible fury. Dort, Rotterdam, and many other cities were, for
a time, almost submerged. Along the coast, fishing vessels, and even
ships of larger size, were floated up into the country, where they
entangled themselves in groves and orchards, or beat to pieces the roofs
and walls of houses. The destruction of life and of property was enormous
throughout the maritime provinces, but in Friesland the desolation was
complete. There nearly all the dykes and sluices were dashed to
fragments; the country, far and-wide, converted into an angry sea. The
steeples and towers of inland cities became islands of the ocean.
Thousands of human beings were swept out of existence in a few hours.
Whole districts of territory, with all their villages, farms, and
churches, were rent from their places, borne along by the force of the
waves, sometimes to be lodged in another part of the country, sometimes
to be entirely engulfed. Multitudes of men, women, children, of horses,
oxen, sheep, and every domestic animal, were struggling in the waves in
every direction. Every boat, and every article which could serve as a
boat, were eagerly seized upon. Every house was inundated; even the
grave-yards gave up their dead. The living infant in his cradle, and the
long-buried corpse in his coffin, floated side by side. The ancient flood
seemed about to be renewed. Everywhere, upon the top of trees, upon the
steeples of churches, human beings were clustered, praying to God for
mercy, and to their fellow-men for assistance. As the storm at last was
subsiding, boats began to ply in every direction, saving those who were
still struggling in the water, picking fugitives from roofs and
tree-tops, and collecting the bodies of those already drowned. Colonel
Robles, Seigneur de Billy, formerly much hated for his Spanish or
Portuguese blood, made himself very active in this humane work. By his
exertions, and those of the troops belonging to Groningen, many lives
were rescued, and gratitude replaced the ancient animosity. It was
estimated that at least twenty thousand persons were destroyed in the
province of Friesland alone. Throughout the Netherlands, one hundred
thousand persons perished. The damage alone to property, the number of
animals engulfed in the sea, were almost incalculable.

These events took place on the 1st and 2nd November, 1570. The former
happened to be the day of All Saints, and the Spaniards maintained loudly
that the vengeance of Heaven had descended upon the abode of heretics.
The Netherlanders looked upon the catastrophe as ominous of still more
terrible misfortunes in store for them. They seemed doomed to destruction
by God and man. An overwhelming tyranny had long been chafing against
their constitutional bulwarks, only to sweep over them at last; and now
the resistless ocean, impatient of man's feeble barriers, had at last
risen to reclaim his prey. Nature, as if disposed to put to the blush the
feeble cruelty of man, had thus wrought more havoc in a few hours, than
bigotry, however active, could effect in many years.

Nearly at the close of this year (1570) an incident occurred,
illustrating the ferocious courage so often engendered in civil contests.
On the western verge of the Isle of Bommel, stood the castle of
Lowestein. The island is not in the sea. It is the narrow but important
territory which is enclosed between the Meuse and the Waal. The castle,
placed in a slender hook, at the junction of the two rivers, commanded
the two cities of Gorcum and Dorcum, and the whole navigation of the
waters. One evening, towards the end of December, four monks, wearing the
cowls and robes of Mendicant Grey Friars, demanded hospitality at the
castle gate. They were at once ushered into the presence of the
commandant, a brother of President Tisnacq. He was standing by the fire,
conversing with his wife. The foremost monk approaching him, asked
whether the castle held for the Duke of Alva or the Prince of Orange. The
castellian replied that he recognized no prince save Philip, King of
Spain. Thereupon the monk, who was no other than Herman de Ruyter, a
drover by trade, and a warm partisan of Orange, plucked a pistol from
beneath his robe, and shot the commandant through the head. The others,
taking advantage of the sudden panic, overcame all the resistance offered
by the feeble garrison, and made themselves masters of the place. In the
course of the next day they introduced into the castle four or five and
twenty men, with which force they diligently set themselves to fortify
the place, and secure themselves in its possession. A larger
reinforcement which they had reckoned upon, was detained by the floods
and frosts, which, for the moment, had made the roads and fivers alike

Don Roderigo de Toledo, governor of Bois le Duc, immediately despatched a
certain Captain Perea, at the head of two hundred soldiers, who were
joined on the way by a miscellaneous force of volunteers, to recover the
fortress as soon as possible. The castle, bathed on its outward walls by
the Waal and Meuse, and having two redoubts, defended by a double
interior foss, would have been difficult to take by assaults had the
number of the besieged been at all adequate to its defence. As matters
stood, however, the Spaniards, by battering a breach in the wall with
their cannon on the first day, and then escalading the inner works with
remarkable gallantry upon the second, found themselves masters of the
place within eight and forty hours of their first appearance before its
gates. Most of the defenders were either slain or captured alive. De
Ruyter alone had betaken himself to an inner hall of the castle, where he
stood at bay upon the threshold. Many Spaniards, one after another, as
they attempted to kill or to secure him, fell before his sword, which he
wielded with the strength of a giant. At last, overpowered by numbers,
and weakened by the loss of blood, he retreated slowly into the hall,
followed by many of his antagonists. Here, by an unexpected movement, he
applied a match to a train of powder, which he had previously laid along
the floor of the apartment. The explosion was instantaneous. The tower,
where the contest was taking place, sprang into the air, and De Ruyter
with his enemies shared a common doom. A part of the mangled remains of
this heroic but ferocious patriot were afterwards dug from the ruins of
the tower, and with impotent malice nailed upon the gallows at Bois le
Duc. Of his surviving companions, some were beheaded, some were broken on
the wheel, some were hung and quartered--all were executed.


     Constitutional governments, move in the daylight
     Consumer would pay the tax, supposing it were ever paid at all
     Financial opposition to tyranny is apt to be unanimous
     Great battles often leave the world where they found it
     Great transactions of a reign are sometimes paltry things
     The faithful servant is always a perpetual ass



1570 [CHAPTER VI.]

   Orange and Count Louis in France--Peace with the Huguenots--
   Coligny's memoir, presented by request to Charles IX., on the
   subject of invading the Netherlands--Secret correspondence of Orange
   organized by Paul Buys--Privateering commissions issued by the
   Prince--Regulations prescribed by him for the fleets thus created--
   Impoverished condition of the Prince--His fortitude--His personal
   sacrifices and privations--His generosity--Renewed contest between
   the Duke and the Estates on the subject of the tenth and twentieth
   pence--Violent disputes in the council--Firm opposition of Viglius--
   Edict commanding the immediate collection of the tax--Popular
   tumults--Viglius denounced by Alva--The Duke's fierce complaints to
   the King--Secret schemes of Philip against Queen Elizabeth of
   England--The Ridolphi plot to murder Elizabeth countenanced by
   Philip and Pius V.--The King's orders to Alva to further the plan--
   The Duke's remonstrances--Explosion of the plot--Obstinacy of
   Philip--Renewed complaints of Alva as to the imprudent service
   required of him--Other attempts of Philip to murder Elizabeth--Don
   John of Austria in the Levant----Battle of Lepanto--Slothfulness of
   Selim--Appointment of Medina Celi--Incessant wrangling in Brussels
   upon the tax--Persevering efforts of Orange--Contempt of Alva for
   the Prince--Proposed sentence of ignominy against his name--Sonoy's
   mission to Germany--Remarkable papers issued by the Prince--The
   "harangue"--Intense hatred for Alva entertained by the highest as
   well as lower orders--Visit of Francis de Alva to Brussels--His
   unfavourable report to the King--Querulous language of the Duke--
   Deputation to Spain--Universal revolt against the tax--Ferocity of
   Alva--Execution of eighteen tradesmen secretly ordered--Interrupted
   by the capture of Brill--Beggars of the sea--The younger Wild Boar
   of Ardennes--Reconciliation between the English government and that
   of Alva--The Netherland privateersmen ordered out of English ports--
   De la Marck's fleet before Brill--The town summoned to surrender--
   Commissioners sent out to the fleet--Flight of the magistrates and
   townspeople--Capture of the place--Indignation of Alva--Popular
   exultation in Brussels--Puns and Caricatures--Bossu ordered to
   recover the town of Brill--His defeat--His perfidious entrance into
   Rotterdam--Massacre in that city--Flushing revolutionized--
   Unsuccessful attempt of Governor de Bourgogne to recal the citizens
   to their obedience--Expedition under Treslong from Brill to assist
   the town of Flushing--Murder of Paccheco by the Patriots--Zeraerts
   appointed Governor of Walcheren by Orange.

While such had been the domestic events of the Netherlands during the
years 1569 and 1570, the Prince of Orange, although again a wanderer, had
never allowed himself to despair. During this whole period, the darkest
hour for himself and for his country, he was ever watchful. After
disbanding his troops at Strasburg, and after making the best
arrangements possible under the circumstances for the eventual payment of
their wages, he had joined the army which the Duke of Deux Ponts had been
raising in Germany to assist the cause of the Huguenots in France. The
Prince having been forced to acknowledge that, for the moment, all open
efforts in the Netherlands were likely to be fruitless, instinctively
turned his eyes towards the more favorable aspect of the Reformation in
France. It was inevitable that, while he was thus thrown for the time out
of his legitimate employment, he should be led to the battles of freedom
in a neighbouring land. The Duke of Deux Ponts, who felt his own military
skill hardly adequate to the task which he had assumed, was glad, as it
were, to put himself and his army under the orders of Orange.

Meantime the battle of Jamac had been fought; the Prince of Condo,
covered with wounds, and exclaiming that it was sweet to die for Christ
and country, had fallen from his saddle; the whole Huguenot army had been
routed by the royal forces under the nominal command of Anjou, and the
body of Conde, tied to the back of a she ass, had been paraded through
the streets of Jarnap in derision.

Affairs had already grown almost as black for the cause of freedom in
France as in the provinces. Shortly afterwards William of Orange, with a
band of twelve hundred horsemen, joined the banners of Coligny. His two
brothers accompanied him. Henry, the stripling, had left the university
to follow the fortunes of the Prince. The indomitable Louis, after seven
thousand of his army had been slain, had swum naked across the Ems,
exclaiming "that his courage, thank God, was as fresh and lively as
ever," and had lost not a moment in renewing his hostile schemes against
the Spanish government. In the meantime he had joined the Huguenots in
France. The battle of Moncontour had succeeded, Count Peter Mansfeld,
with five thousand troops sent by Alva, fighting on the side of the
royalists, and Louis Nassau on that of the Huguenots, atoning by the
steadiness and skill with which he covered the retreat, for his
intemperate courage, which had precipitated the action, and perhaps been
the main cause of Coligny's overthrow. The Prince of Orange, who had been
peremptorily called to the Netherlands in the beginning of the autumn,
was not present at the battle. Disguised as a peasant, with but five
attendants, and at great peril, he had crossed the enemy's lines,
traversed France, and arrived in Germany before the winter. Count Louis
remained with the Huguenots. So necessary did he seem to their cause, and
so dear had he become to their armies, that during the severe illness of
Coligny in the course of the following summer all eyes were turned upon
him as the inevitable successor of that great man, the only remaining
pillar of freedom in France.

Coligny recovered. The deadly peace between the Huguenots and the Court
succeeded. The Admiral, despite his sagacity and his suspicions, embarked
with his whole party upon that smooth and treacherous current which led
to the horrible catastrophe of Saint Bartholomew. To occupy his
attention, a formal engagement was made by the government to send succor
to the Netherlands. The Admiral was to lead the auxiliaries which were to
be despatched across the frontier to overthrow the tyrannical government
of Alva. Long and anxious were the colloquies held between Coligny and
the Royalists. The monarch requested a detailed opinion, in writing, from
the Admiral, on the most advisable plan for invading the Netherlands. The
result was the preparation of the celebrated memoir, under Coligny's
directions, by young De Mornay, Seigneur de Plessis. The document was
certainly not a paper of the highest order. It did not appeal to the
loftier instincts which kings or common mortals might be supposed to
possess. It summoned the monarch to the contest in the Netherlands that
the ancient injuries committed by Spain might be avenged. It invoked the
ghost of Isabella of France, foully murdered, as it was thought, by
Philip. It held out the prospect of re-annexing the fair provinces,
wrested from the King's ancestors by former Spanish sovereigns. It
painted the hazardous position of Philip; with the Moorish revolt gnawing
at the entrails of his kingdom, with the Turkish war consuming its
extremities, with the canker of rebellion corroding the very heart of the
Netherlands. It recalled, with exultation, the melancholy fact that the
only natural and healthy existence of the French was in a state of
war--that France, if not occupied with foreign campaigns, could not be
prevented from plunging its sword into its own vitals.

It indulged in refreshing reminiscences of those halcyon days, not long
gone by, when France, enjoying perfect tranquillity within its own
borders, was calmly and regularly carrying on its long wars beyond the

In spite of this savage spirit, which modern documents, if they did not
scorn, would, at least have shrouded, the paper was nevertheless a
sagacious one; but the request for the memoir, and the many interviews on
the subject of the invasion, were only intended to deceive. They were but
the curtain which concealed the preparations for the dark tragedy which
was about to be enacted. Equally deceived, and more sanguine than ever,
Louis Nassau during this period was indefatigable in his attempts to gain
friends for his cause. He had repeated audiences of the King, to whose
court he had come in disguise. He made a strong and warm impression upon
Elizabeth's envoy at the French Court, Walsingham. It is probable that in
the Count's impetuosity to carry his point, he allowed more plausibility
to be given to certain projects for subdividing the Netherlands than his
brother would ever have sanctioned. The Prince was a total stranger to
these inchoate schemes. His work was to set his country free, and to
destroy the tyranny which had grown colossal. That employment was
sufficient for a lifetime, and there is no proof to be found that a
paltry and personal self-interest had even the lowest place among his

Meantime, in the autumn of 1569, Orange had again reached Germany. Paul
Buys, Pensionary of Leyden, had kept him constantly informed of the state
of affairs in the provinces. Through his means an extensive
correspondence was organized and maintained with leading persons in every
part of the Netherlands. The conventional terms by which different
matters and persons of importance were designated in these letters were
familiarly known to all friends of the cause, not only in the provinces,
but in France, England, Germany, and particularly in the great commercial
cities. The Prince, for example, was always designated as Martin
Willemzoon, the Duke of Alva as Master Powels van Alblas, the Queen of
England as Henry Philipzoon, the King of Denmark as Peter Peterson. The
twelve signs of the zodiac were used instead of the twelve months, and a
great variety of similar substitutions were adopted. Before his visit to
France, Orange had, moreover, issued commissions, in his capacity of
sovereign, to various seafaring persons, who were empowered to cruise
against Spanish commerce.

The "beggars of the sea," as these privateersmen designated themselves,
soon acquired as terrible a name as the wild beggars, or the forest
beggars; but the Prince, having had many conversations with Admiral
Coligny on the important benefits to be derived from the system, had
faithfully set himself to effect a reformation of its abuses after his
return from France. The Seigneur de Dolhain, who, like many other refugee
nobles, had acquired much distinction in this roving corsair life, had
for a season acted as Admiral for the Prince. He had, however, resolutely
declined to render any accounts of his various expeditions, and was now
deprived of his command in consequence. Gillain de Fiennes, Seigneur de
Lumbres, was appointed to succeed him. At the same time strict orders
were issued by Orange, forbidding all hostile measures against the
Emperor or any of the princes of the empire, against Sweden, Denmark,
England, or against any potentates who were protectors of the true
Christian religion. The Duke of Alva and his adherents were designated as
the only lawful antagonists. The Prince, moreover, gave minute
instructions as to the discipline to be observed in his fleet. The
articles of war were to be strictly enforced. Each commander was to
maintain a minister on board his ship, who was to preach God's word, and
to preserve Christian piety among the crew. No one was to exercise any
command in the fleet save native Netherlanders, unless thereto expressly
commissioned by the Prince of Orange. All prizes were to be divided and
distributed by a prescribed rule. No persons were to be received on
board, either as sailors or soldiers, save "folk of goad name and fame."
No man who had ever been punished of justice was to be admitted. Such
were the principal features in the organization of that infant navy
which, in course of this and the following centuries, was to achieve so
many triumphs, and to which a powerful and adventurous mercantile marine
had already led the way. "Of their ships," said Cardinal Bentivoglio,
"the Hollanders make houses, of their houses schools. Here they are born,
here educated, here they learn their profession. Their sailors, flying
from one pale to the other, practising their art wherever the sun
displays itself to mortals, become so skilful that they can scarcely be
equalled, certainly not surpassed; by any nation in the civilized world."

The Prince, however, on his return from France, had never been in so
forlorn a condition. "Orange is plainly perishing," said one of the
friends of the cause. Not only had he no funds to organize new levies,
but he was daily exposed to the most clamorously-urged claims, growing
out of the army which he had been recently obliged to disband. It had
been originally reported in the Netherlands that he had fallen in the
battle of Moncontour. "If he have really been taken off," wrote Viglius,
hardly daring to credit the great news, "we shall all of us have less
cause to tremble." After his actual return, however, lean and beggared,
with neither money nor credit, a mere threatening shadow without
substance or power, he seemed to justify the sarcasm of Granvelle. "Vana
sine viribus ira," quoted the Cardinal, and of a verity it seemed that
not a man was likely to stir in Germany in his behalf, now that so deep a
gloom had descended upon his cause. The obscure and the oppressed
throughout the provinces and Germany still freely contributed out of
their weakness and their poverty, and taxed themselves beyond their means
to assist enterprizes for the relief of the Netherlands. The great ones
of the earth, however, those on whom the Prince had relied; those to whom
he had given his heart; dukes, princes, and electors, in this fatal
change of his fortunes fell away like water.

Still his spirit was unbroken. His letters showed a perfect appreciation
of his situation, and of that to which his country was reduced; but they
never exhibited a trace of weakness or despair. A modest, but lofty
courage; a pious, but unaffected resignation, breathed through--every
document, public or private, which fell from his pen during this epoch.
He wrote to his brother John that he was quite willing to go, to
Frankfort, in order to give himself up as a hostage to his troops for the
payment of their arrears. At the same time he begged his brother to move
heaven and earth to raise at least one hundred thousand thalers. If he
could only furnish them with a month's pay, the soldiers would perhaps be
for a time contented. He gave directions also concerning the disposition
of what remained of his plate and furniture, the greater part of it
having been already sold and expended in the cause. He thought it would,
on the whole, be better to have the remainder sold, piece by piece, at
the fair. More money would be raised by that course than by a more
wholesale arrangement.

He was now obliged to attend personally to the most minute matters of
domestic economy. The man who been the mate of emperors, who was himself
a sovereign, had lived his life long in pomp and luxury, surrounded by
countless nobles, pages, men-at-arms, and menials, now calmly accepted
the position of an outlaw and an exile. He cheerfully fulfilled tasks
which had formerly devolved upon his grooms and valets. There was an
almost pathetic simplicity in the homely details of an existence which,
for the moment, had become so obscure and so desperate. "Send by the
bearer," he wrote, "the little hackney given me by the Admiral; send also
my two pair of trunk hose; one pair is at the tailor's to be mended, the
other, pair you will please order to be taken from the things which I
wore lately at Dillenburg. They lie on the table with my accoutrements.
If the little hackney be not in condition, please send the grey horse
with the cropped ears and tail."

He was always mindful, however, not only of the great cause to which he
had devoted himself, but of the wants experienced by individuals who had
done him service. He never forgot his friends. In the depth of his own
misery he remembered favors received from humble persons. "Send a little
cup, worth at least a hundred florins, to Hartmann Wolf," he wrote to his
brother; "you can take as much silver out of the coffer, in which there
is still some of my chapel service remaining."--"You will observe that
Affenstein is wanting a horse," he wrote on another occasion; "please
look him out one, and send it to me with the price. I will send you the
money. Since he has shown himself so willing in the cause, one ought to
do something for him."

The contest between the Duke and the estates, on the subject of the tenth
and twentieth penny had been for a season adjusted. The two years' term,
however, during which it had been arranged that the tax should be
commuted, was to expire in the autumn of 1571. Early therefore in this
year the disputes were renewed with greater acrimony than ever. The
estates felt satisfied that the King was less eager than the Viceroy.
Viglius was satisfied that the power of Alva was upon the wane. While the
King was not likely openly to rebuke his recent measures, it seemed not
improbable that the Governor's reiterated requests to be recalled might
be granted. Fortified by these considerations, the President, who had so
long been the supple tool of the tyrant, suddenly assumed the character
of a popular tribune. The wranglings, the contradictions, the
vituperations, the threatenings, now became incessant in the council. The
Duke found that he had exulted prematurely, when he announced to the King
the triumphant establishment, in perpetuity, of the lucrative tax. So far
from all the estates having given their consent, as he had maintained,
and as he had written to Philip, it now appeared that not one of those
bodies considered itself bound beyond its quota for the two years. This
was formally stated in the council by Berlaymont and other members. The
wrath of the Duke blazed forth at this announcement. He berated
Berlaymont for maintaining, or for allowing it to be maintained, that the
consent of the orders had ever been doubtful. He protested that they had
as unequivocally agreed to the perpetual imposition of the tag as he to
its commutation during two years. He declared, however, that he was sick
of quotas. The tax should now be collected forthwith, and Treasurer
Schetz was ordered to take his measures accordingly.

At a conference on the 29th May, the Duke asked Viglius for his opinion.
The President made a long reply, taking the ground that the consent of
the orders had been only conditional, and appealing to such members of
the finance council as were present to confirm his assertion. It was
confirmed by all. The Duke, in a passion, swore that those who dared
maintain such a statement should be chastised. Viglius replied that it
had always been the custom for councillors to declare their opinion, and
that they had never before been threatened with such consequences. If
such, however, were his Excellency's sentiments, councillors had better
stay at home, hold their tongues, and so avoid chastisement. The Duke,
controlling himself a little, apologized for this allusion to
chastisement, a menace which he disclaimed having intended with reference
to councillors whom he had always commended to the King, and of whom his
Majesty had so high an opinion. At a subsequent meeting the Duke took
Viglius aside, and assured him that he was quite of his own way of
thinking. For certain reasons, however, he expressed himself as unwilling
that the rest of the council should be aware of the change in his views.
He wished, he said, to dissemble. The astute President, for a moment,
could not imagine the Governor's drift. He afterwards perceived that the
object of this little piece of deception had been to close his mouth. The
Duke obviously conjectured that the President, lulled into security, by
this secret assurance, would be silent; that the other councillors,
believing the President to have adopted the Governor's views, would alter
their opinions; and that the opposition of the estates, thus losing its
support in the council, would likewise very soon be abandoned. The
President, however, was not to be entrapped by this falsehood. He
resolutely maintained his hostility to the tax, depending for his
security on the royal opinion, the popular feeling, and the judgment of
his colleagues.

The daily meetings of the board were almost entirely occupied by this
single subject. Although since the arrival of Alva the Council of Blood
had usurped nearly all the functions of the state and finance-councils,
yet there now seemed a disposition on the part of Alva to seek the
countenance, even while he spurned the authority, of other functionaries.
He found, however, neither sympathy nor obedience. The President stoutly
told him that he was endeavouring to swim against the stream, that the
tax was offensive to the people, and that the voice of the people was the
voice of God. On the last day of July, however, the Duke issued an edict,
by which summary collection of the tenth and twentieth pence was ordered.
The whole country was immediately in uproar. The estates of every
province, the assemblies of every city, met and remonstrated. The
merchants suspended all business, the petty dealers shut up their shops.
The people congregated together in masses, vowing resistance to the
illegal and cruel impost. Not a farthing was collected. The "seven stiver
people", spies of government, who for that paltry daily stipend were
employed to listen for treason in every tavern, in every huckster's
booth, in every alley of every city, were now quite unable to report all
the curses which were hourly heard uttered against the tyranny of the
Viceroy. Evidently, his power was declining. The councillors resisted
him, the common people almost defied him. A mercer to whom he was
indebted for thirty thousand florins' worth of goods, refused to open his
shop, lest the tax should be collected on his merchandize. The Duke
confiscated his debt, as the mercer had foreseen, but this being a
pecuniary sacrifice, seemed preferable to acquiescence in a measure so
vague and so boundless that it might easily absorb the whole property of
the country.

No man saluted the governor as he passed through the streets. Hardly an
attempt was made by the people to disguise their abhorrence of his
person: Alva, on his side, gave daily exhibitions of ungovernable fury.
At a council held on 25th September, 1571, he stated that the King had
ordered the immediate enforcement of the edict. Viglius observed that
there were many objections to its form. He also stoutly denied that the
estates had ever given their consent. Alva fiercely asked the President
if he had not himself once maintained that the consent had been granted!
Viglius replied that he had never made such an assertion. He had
mentioned the conditions and the implied promises on the part of
government, by which a partial consent had been extorted. He never could
have said that the consent had been accorded, for he had never believed
that it could be obtained. He had not proceeded far in his argument when
he was interrupted by the Duke--"But you said so, you said so, you said
so," cried the exasperated Governor, in a towering passion, repeating
many times this flat contradiction to the President's statements. Viglius
firmly stood his ground. Alva loudly denounced him for the little respect
he had manifested for his authority. He had hitherto done the President
good offices, he said, with his Majesty, but certainly should not feel
justified in concealing his recent and very unhandsome conduct.

Viglius replied that he had always reverently cherished the Governor, and
had endeavoured to merit his favor by diligent obsequiousness. He was
bound by his oath, however; to utter in council that which comported with
his own sentiments and his Majesty's interests. He had done this
heretofore in presence of Emperors, Kings, Queens, and Regents, and they
had not taken offence. He did not, at this hour, tremble for his grey
head, and hoped his Majesty would grant him a hearing before
condemnation. The firm attitude of the President increased the irritation
of the Viceroy. Observing that he knew the proper means of enforcing his
authority he dismissed the meeting.

Immediately afterwards, he received the visits of his son, Don Frederic
of Vargas, and other familiars. To these he recounted the scene which had
taken place, raving the while so ferociously against Viglius as to induce
the supposition that something serious was intended against him. The
report flew from mouth to mouth. The affair became the town talk, so
that, in the words of the President, it was soon discussed by every
barber and old woman in Brussels. His friends became alarmed for his
safety, while, at the same time, the citizens rejoiced that their cause
had found so powerful an advocate. Nothing, however, came of these
threats and these explosions. On the contrary, shortly afterwards the
Duke gave orders that the tenth penny should be remitted upon four great
articles-corn, meat, wine, and beer. It was also not to be levied upon
raw materials used in manufactures. Certainly, these were very important
concessions. Still the constitutional objections remained. Alva could not
be made to understand why the alcabala, which was raised without
difficulty in the little town of Alva, should encounter such fierce
opposition in the Netherlands. The estates, he informed the King, made a
great deal of trouble. They withheld their consent at command of their
satrap. The motive which influenced the leading men was not the interest
of factories or fisheries, but the fear that for the future they might
not be able to dictate the law to their sovereign. The people of that
country, he observed, had still the same character which had been
described by Julius Caesar.

The Duke, however, did not find much sympathy at Madrid. Courtiers and
councillors had long derided his schemes. As for the King, his mind was
occupied with more interesting matters. Philip lived but to enforce what
he chose to consider the will of God. While the duke was fighting this
battle with the Netherland constitutionalists, his master had engaged at
home in a secret but most comprehensive scheme. This was a plot to
assassinate Queen Elizabeth of England, and to liberate Mary Queen of
Scots, who was to be placed on the throne in her stead. This project, in
which was of course involved the reduction of England under the dominion
of the ancient Church, could not but prove attractive to Philip. It
included a conspiracy against a friendly sovereign, immense service to
the Church, and a murder. His passion for intrigue, his love of God, and
his hatred of man, would all be gratified at once. Thus, although the
Moorish revolt within the heart of his kingdom had hardly been
terminated--although his legions and his navies were at that instant
engaged in a contest of no ordinary importance with the Turkish
empire--although the Netherlands, still maintaining their hostility and
their hatred, required the flower of the Spanish army to compel their
submission, he did not hesitate to accept the dark adventure which was
offered to him by ignoble hands.

One Ridolfi, a Florentine, long resident in England, had been sent to the
Netherlands as secret agent of the Duke of Norfolk. Alva read his
character immediately, and denounced him to Philip as a loose, prating
creature, utterly unfit to be entrusted with affairs of importance.
Philip, however, thinking more of the plot than of his fellow-actors,
welcomed the agent of the conspiracy to Madrid, listened to his
disclosures attentively, and, without absolutely committing himself by
direct promises, dismissed him with many expressions of encouragement.

On the 12th of July, 1571, Philip wrote to the Duke of Alva, giving an
account of his interview with Roberto Ridolfi. The envoy, after relating
the sufferings of the Queen of Scotland, had laid before him a plan for
her liberation. If the Spanish monarch were willing to assist the Duke of
Norfolk and his friends, it would be easy to put upon Mary's head the
crown of England. She was then to intermarry with Norfolk. The kingdom of
England was again to acknowledge the authority of Rome, and the Catholic
religion to be everywhere restored. The most favorable moment for the
execution of the plan would be in August or September. As Queen Elizabeth
would at that season quit London for the country, an opportunity would be
easily found for seizing and murdering her. Pius V., to whom Ridolfi had
opened the whole matter, highly approved the scheme, and warmly urged
Philip's cooperation. Poor and ruined as he was himself; the Pope
protested that he was ready to sell his chalices, and even his own
vestments, to provide funds for the cause. Philip had replied that few
words were necessary to persuade him. His desire to see the enterprize
succeed was extreme, notwithstanding the difficulties by which it was
surrounded. He would reflect earnestly upon the subject, in the hope that
God, whose cause it was, would enlighten and assist him. Thus much he had
stated to Ridolfi, but he had informed his council afterwards that he was
determined to carry out the scheme by certain means of which the Duke
would soon be informed. The end proposed was to kill or to capture
Elizabeth, to set at liberty the Queen of Scotland, and to put upon her
head the crown of England. In this enterprize he instructed the Duke of
Alva secretly to assist, without however resorting to open hostilities in
his own name or in that of his sovereign. He desired to be informed how
many Spaniards the Duke could put at the disposition of the conspirators.
They had asked for six thousand arquebusiers for England, two thousand
for Scotland, two thousand for Ireland. Besides these troops, the Viceroy
was directed to provide immediately four thousand arquebuses and two
thousand corslets. For the expenses of the enterprize Philip would
immediately remit two hundred thousand crowns. Alva was instructed to
keep the affair a profound secret from his councillors. Even Hopper at
Madrid knew nothing of the matter, while the King had only expressed
himself in general terms to the nuncio and to Ridolfi, then already on
his way to the Netherlands. The King concluded his letter by saying, that
from what he had now written with his own hand, the Duke could infer how
much he had this affair at heart. It was unnecessary for him to say more,
persuaded as he was that the Duke would take as profound an interest in
it as himself.

Alva perceived all the rashness of the scheme, and felt how impossible it
would be for him to comply with Philip's orders. To send an army from the
Netherlands into England for the purpose of dethroning and killing a most
popular sovereign, and at the same time to preserve the most amicable
relations with the country, was rather a desperate undertaking. A force
of ten thousand Spaniards, under Chiappin Vitelli, and other favorite
officers of the Duke, would hardly prove a trifle to be overlooked, nor
would their operations be susceptible of very friendly explanations. The
Governor therefore, assured Philip that he "highly applauded his master
for his plot. He could not help rendering infinite thanks to God for
having made him vassal to such a Prince." He praised exceedingly the
resolution which his Majesty had taken. After this preamble, however, he
proceeded to pour cold water upon his sovereign's ardor. He decidedly
expressed the opinion that Philip should not proceed in such an
undertaking until at any rate the party of the Duke of Norfolk had
obtained possession of Elizabeth's person. Should the King declare
himself prematurely, he might be sure that the Venetians, breaking off
their alliance with him, would make their peace with the Turk; and that
Elizabeth would, perhaps, conclude that marriage with the Duke of Alencon
which now seemed but a pleasantry. Moreover, he expressed his want of
confidence in the Duke of Norfolk, whom he considered as a poor creature
with but little courage. He also expressed his doubts concerning the
prudence and capacity of Don Gueran de Espes, his Majesty's ambassador at

It was not long before these machinations became known in England. The
Queen of Scots was guarded more closely than ever, the Duke of Norfolk
was arrested; yet Philip, whose share in the conspiracy had remained a
secret, was not discouraged by the absolute explosion of the whole
affair. He still held to an impossible purpose with a tenacity which
resembled fatuity. He avowed that his obligations in the sight of God
were so strict that he was still determined to proceed in the sacred
cause. He remitted, therefore, the promised funds to the Duke of Alva,
and urged him to act with proper secrecy and promptness.

The Viceroy was not a little perplexed by these remarkable instructions.
None but lunatics could continue to conspire, after the conspiracy had
been exposed and the conspirators arrested. Yet this was what his
Catholic Majesty expected of his Governor-General. Alva complained, not
unreasonably, of the contradictory demands to which he was subjected.

He was to cause no rupture with England, yet he was to send succor to an
imprisoned traitor; he was to keep all his operations secret from his
council, yet he was to send all his army out of the country, and to
organize an expensive campaign. He sneered: at the flippancy of Ridolfi,
who imagined that it was the work of a moment to seize the Queen of
England, to liberate the Queen of Scotland, to take possession of the
Tower of London, and to burn the fleet in the Thames. "Were your Majesty
and the Queen of England acting together," he observed, "it would be
impossible to execute the plan proposed by Ridolfi." The chief danger to
be apprehended was from France and Germany. Were those countries not to
interfere, he would undertake to make Philip sovereign of England before
the winter. Their opposition, however, was sufficient to make the
enterprise not only difficult, but impossible. He begged his, master not
to be precipitate in the most important affair which had been negotiated
by man since Christ came upon earth. Nothing less, he said, than the
existence of the Christian faith was at stake, for, should his Majesty
fail in this undertaking, not one stone of the ancient religion would be
left upon another. He again warned the King of the contemptible
character, of Ridolfi, who had spoken of the affair so freely that it was
a common subject of discussion on the Bourse, at Antwerp, and he
reiterated, in all his letters his distrust of the parties prominently
engaged in the transaction.

Such was the general, tenor of the long despatches exchanged between the
King and the Duke of Alva upon this iniquitous scheme. The Duke showed
himself reluctant throughout the whole affair, although he certainly
never opposed his master's project by any arguments founded upon good
faith, Christian charity, or the sense of honor. To kill the Queen of
England, subvert the laws of her realm, burn her fleets, and butcher her
subjects, while the mask of amity and entire consideration was sedulously
preserved--all these projects were admitted to be strictly meritorious in
themselves, although objections were taken as to the time and mode of

Alva never positively refused to accept his share in the enterprise, but
he took care not to lift his finger till the catastrophe in England had
made all attempts futile. Philip, on the other hand, never positively
withdrew from the conspiracy, but, after an infinite deal of writing and
intriguing, concluded by leaving the whole affair in the hands of Alva.
The only sufferer for Philip's participation in the plot was the Spanish
envoy at London, Don Gueran de Espes. This gentleman was formally
dismissed by Queen Elizabeth, for having given treacherous and hostile
advice to the Duke of Alva and to Philip; but her Majesty at the same
time expressed the most profound consideration for her brother of Spain.

Towards the close of the same year, however (December, 1571); Alva sent
two other Italian assassins to England, bribed by the promise of vast
rewards, to attempt the life of Elizabeth, quietly, by poison or
otherwise. The envoy, Mondoucet, in apprizing the French monarch of this
scheme, added that the Duke was so ulcerated and annoyed by the discovery
of the previous enterprise, that nothing could exceed his rage. These
ruffians were not destined to success, but the attempts of the Duke upon
the Queen's life were renewed from time to time. Eighteen months later
(August, 1573), two Scotchmen, pensioners of Philip, came from Spain,
with secret orders to consult with Alva. They had accordingly much
negotiation with the Duke and his secretary, Albornoz. They boasted that
they could easily capture Elizabeth, but said that the King's purpose was
to kill her. The plan, wrote Mondoucet, was the same as it had been
before, namely, to murder the Queen of England, and to give her crown to
Mary of Scotland, who would thus be in their power, and whose son was to
be seized, and bestowed in marriage in such a way as to make them
perpetual masters of both kingdoms.

It does not belong to this history to discuss the merits, nor to narrate
the fortunes, of that bickering and fruitless alliance which had been
entered into at this period by Philip with Venice and the Holy See
against the Turk. The revolt of Granada had at last, after a two years'
struggle, been subdued, and the remnants of the romantic race which had
once swayed the Peninsula been swept into slavery. The Moors had
sustained the unequal conflict with a constancy not to have been expected
of so gentle a people. "If a nation meek as lambs could resist so
bravely," said the Prince of Orange, "what ought not to be expected of a
hardy people like the Netherlanders?" Don John of Austria having
concluded a series of somewhat inglorious forays against women, children,
and bed-ridden old men in Andalusia and Granada; had arrived, in August
of this year, at Naples, to take command of the combined fleet in the
Levant. The battle of Lepanto had been fought, but the quarrelsome and
contradictory conduct of the allies had rendered the splendid victory as
barren as the waves: upon which it had been won. It was no less true,
however, that the blunders of the infidels had previously enabled Philip
to extricate himself with better success from the dangers of the Moorish
revolt than might have been his fortune. Had the rebels succeeded in
holding Granada and the mountains of Andalusia, and had they been
supported, as they had a right to expect, by the forces of the Sultan, a
different aspect might have been given to the conflict, and one far less
triumphant for Spain. Had a prince of vigorous ambition and comprehensive
policy governed at that moment the Turkish empire; it would have cost
Philip a serious struggle to maintain himself in his hereditary
dominions. While he was plotting against the life and throne of
Elizabeth, he might have had cause to tremble for his own. Fortunately,
however, for his Catholic Majesty, Selim was satisfied to secure himself
in the possession of the Isle of Venus, with its fruitful vineyards. "To
shed the blood" of Cyprian vines, in which he was so enthusiastic a
connoisseur, was to him a more exhilarating occupation than to pursue,
amid carnage and hardships, the splendid dream of a re-established
Eastern caliphate.

On the 25th Sept. 1571, a commission of Governor-General of the
Netherlands was at last issued to John de la Cerda, Duke of Medina Coeli.
Philip, in compliance with the Duke's repeated requests, and perhaps not
entirely satisfied with the recent course of events in the provinces, had
at last, after great hesitation, consented to Alva's resignation. His
successor; however, was not immediately to take his departure, and in the
meantime the Duke was instructed to persevere in his faithful services.
These services had, for the present, reduced themselves to a perpetual
and not very triumphant altercation with his council, with the estates,
and with the people, on the subject of his abominable tax. He was
entirely alone. They who had stood unflinchingly at his side when the
only business of the administration was to burn heretics, turned their
backs upon him now that he had engaged in this desperate conflict with.
the whole money power of the country. The King was far from cordial in
his support, the councillors much too crafty to retain their hold upon
the wheel, to which they had only attached themselves in its ascent.
Viglius and Berlaymont; Noircarmes and Aerschot, opposed and almost
defied the man they now thought sinking, and kept the King constantly
informed of the vast distress which the financial measures of the Duke
were causing.

Quite, at the close of the year, an elaborate petition from the estates
of Brabant was read before the State Council. It contained a strong
remonstrance against the tenth penny. Its repeal was strongly urged, upon
the ground that its collection would involve the country in universal
ruin. Upon this, Alva burst forth in one of the violent explosions of
rage to which he was subject. The prosperity of the Netherlands, he
protested, was not dearer to the inhabitants than to himself. He swore by
the cross, and by the most holy of holies, preserved in the church of
Saint Gudule, that had he been but a private individual, living in Spain,
he would, out of the love he bore the provinces, have rushed to their
defence had their safety been endangered. He felt therefore deeply
wounded that malevolent persons should thus insinuate that he had even
wished to injure the country, or to exercise tyranny over its citizens.
The tenth penny, he continued, was necessary to the defence of the land,
and was much preferable to quotas. It was highly improper that every man
in the rabble should know how much was contributed, because each
individual, learning the gross amount, would imagine that he, had paid it
all himself. In conclusion, he observed that, broken in health and
stricken in years as he felt himself, he was now most anxious to return,
and was daily looking with eagerness for the arrival of the Duke of
Medina Coeli.

During the course of this same year, the Prince of Orange had been
continuing his preparations. He had sent his agents to every place where
a hope was held out to him of obtaining support. Money was what he was
naturally most anxious to obtain from individuals; open and warlike
assistance what he demanded from governments. His funds, little by
little, were increasing, owing to the generosity of many obscure persons,
and to the daring exploits of the beggars of the sea. His mission,
however, to the northern courts had failed. His envoys had been received
in Sweden and Denmark with barren courtesy. The Duke of Alva, on the
other hand, never alluded to the Prince but with contempt; knowing not
that the ruined outlaw was slowly undermining the very ground beneath the
monarch's feet; dreaming not that the feeble strokes which he despised
were the opening blows of a century's conflict; foreseeing not that long
before its close the chastised province was to expand into a great
republic, and that the name of the outlaw was to become almost divine.

Granvelle had already recommended that the young Count de Buren should be
endowed with certain lands in Spain, in exchange for his hereditary
estates, in order that the name and fame of the rebel William should be
forever extinguished in the Netherlands. With the same view, a new
sentence against the Prince of Orange was now proposed by the Viceroy.
This was, to execute him solemnly in effigy, to drag his escutcheon
through the streets at the tails of horses, and after having broken it in
pieces, and thus cancelled his armorial bearings, to declare him and his
descendants, ignoble, infamous, and incapable of holding property or
estates. Could a leaf or two of future history have been unrolled to
King, Cardinal, and Governor, they might have found the destined fortune
of the illustrious rebel's house not exactly in accordance with the plan
of summary extinction thus laid down.

Not discouraged, the Prince continued to send his emissaries in every
direction. Diedrich Sonoy, his most trustworthy agent, who had been chief
of the legation to the Northern Courts, was now actively canvassing the
governments and peoples of, Germany with the same object. Several
remarkable papers from the hand of Orange were used upon this service. A
letter, drawn up and signed by his own hand, recited; in brief and
striking language, the history of his campaign in 1568, and of his
subsequent efforts in the sacred cause. It was now necessary, he said,
that others besides himself should partake of his sacrifices. This he
stated plainly and eloquently. The document was in truth a letter asking
arms for liberty. "For although all things," said the Prince, "are in the
hand of God, and although he has created all things out of nought, yet
hath he granted to different men different means, whereby, as with
various instruments, he accomplishes his, almighty purposes. Thereto hath
he endowed some with strength of body, others with worldly wealth, others
with still different gifts, all of which are to be used by their
possessors to His honor and glory, if they wish not to incur the curse of
the unworthy steward, who buried his talent in the earth. . . . . Now ye
may easily see," he continued, "that the Prince cannot carry out this
great work alone, having lost land, people, and goods, and having already
employed in the cause all which had remained to him, besides incurring
heavy obligations in addition."

Similar instructions were given to other agents, and a paper called the
Harangue, drawn up according to his suggestions, was also extensively
circulated. This document is important to all who are interested in his
history and character. He had not before issued a missive so stamped with
the warm, religious impress of the reforming party. Sadly, but without
despondency, the Harangue recalled the misfortunes of the past; and
depicted the gloom of the present. Earnestly, but not fanatically, it
stimulated hope and solicited aid for the future. "Although the appeals
made to the Prince," so ran a part of the document, "be of diverse
natures, and various in their recommendations, yet do they all tend to
the advancement of God's glory, and to the liberation of the fatherland.
This it is which enables him and those who think with him to endure
hunger; thirst, cold, heat, and all the misfortunes which Heaven may
send. . . . . . Our enemies spare neither their money nor their labor;
will ye be colder and duller than your foes? Let, then, each church
congregation set an example to the others. We read that King Saul, when
he would liberate the men of Jabez from the hands of Nahad, the Ammonite,
hewed a yoke of oxen in pieces, and sent them as tokens over all Israel,
saying, 'Ye who will not follow Saul and Samuel, with them shall be dealt
even as with these oxen. And the fear of the Lord came upon the people,
they came forth, and the men of Jabez were delivered.' Ye have here the
same warning, look to it, watch well ye that despise it, lest the wrath
of God, which the men of Israel by their speedy obedience escaped,
descend upon your heads. Ye may say that ye are banished men. 'Tis true:
but thereby are ye not stripped of all faculty of rendering service;
moreover, your assistance is asked for one who will restore ye to your
homes. Ye may say that ye have been robbed of all your goods; yet many of
you have still something remaining, and of that little ye should
contribute, each his mite. Ye say that you have given much already. 'Tis
true, but the enemy is again in the field; fierce for your subjugation,
sustained by the largess of his supporters. Will ye be less courageous,
less generous, than your foes."

These urgent appeals did not remain fruitless. The strength of the
Prince was slowly but steadily increasing. Meantime the abhorrence
 with which Alva was universally regarded had nearly reached to frenzy.
In the beginning of the year 1572, Don Francis de Alava, Philip's
ambassador in France, visited Brussels. He had already been enlightened
as to the consequences of the Duke's course by the immense immigration of
Netherland refugees to France, which he had witnessed with his own eyes.
On his journey towards Brussels he had been met near Cambray by
Noircarmes. Even that "cruel animal," as Hoogstraaten had called him,
the butcher of Tournay and Valenciennes, had at last been roused to
alarm, if not to pity, by the sufferings of the country. "The Duke will
never disabuse his mind of this filthy tenth penny," said he to Alava.
He sprang from his chair with great emotion as the ambassador alluded to
the flight of merchants and artisans from the provinces. "Senor Don
Francis," cried he, "there are ten thousand more who are on the point of
leaving the country, if the Governor does not pause in his career. God
grant that no disaster arise beyond human power to remedy."

The ambassador arrived in Brussels, and took up his lodgings in the
palace. Here he found the Duke just recovering from a fit of the gout, in
a state of mind sufficiently savage.  He became much excited as Don
Francis began to speak of the emigration, and he assured him that there
was gross deception on the subject. The envoy replied that he could not
be mistaken, for it was a matter which, so to speak, he had touched with
his own fingers, and seen with his own eyes. The Duke, persisting that
Don Francis had been abused and misinformed, turned the conversation to
other topics. Next day the ambassador received visits from Berlaymont and
his son, the Seigneur de Hierges. He was taken aside by each of them,
separately. "Thank God, you have come hither," said they, in nearly the
same words, "that you may fully comprehend the condition of the
provinces, and without delay admonish his Majesty of the impending
danger." All his visitors expressed the same sentiments. Don Frederic of
Toledo furnished the only exception, assuring the envoy that his father's
financial measures were opposed by Noircarmes and others, only because it
deprived them of their occupation and their influence. This dutiful
language, however, was to be expected in one of whom Secretary Albornoz
had written, that he was the greatest comfort to his father, and the most
divine genius ever known. It was unfortunately corroborated by no other
inhabitant of the country.

On the third day, Don Francis went to take his leave. The Duke begged him
to inform his Majesty of the impatience with which he was expecting the
arrival of his successor. He then informed his guest that they had
already begun to collect the tenth penny in Brabant, the most obstinate
of all the provinces. "What do you say to that, Don Francis?" he cried,
with exultation. Alava replied that he thought, none the less, that the
tax would encounter many obstacles, and begged him earnestly to reflect.
He assured him, moreover, that he should, without reserve, express his
opinions fully to the King. The Duke used the same language which Don
Frederic had held, concerning the motives of those who opposed the tax.
"It may be so," said Don Francis, "but at any rate, all have agreed to
sing to the same tune." A little startled, the Duke rejoined, "Do you
doubt that the cities will keep their promises? Depend upon it, I shall
find the means to compel them." "God grant it may be so," said Alava,
"but in my poor judgment you will have need of all your prudence and of
all your authority."

The ambassador did not wait till he could communicate with his sovereign
by word of mouth. He forwarded to Spain an ample account of his
observations and deductions. He painted to Philip in lively colors the
hatred entertained by all men for the Duke. The whole nation, he assured
his Majesty, united in one cry, "Let him begone, let him begone, let him
begone!" As for the imposition of the tenth penny, that, in the opinion
of Don Francis, was utterly impossible. He moreover warned his Majesty
that Alva was busy in forming secret alliances with the Catholic princes
of Europe, which would necessarily lead to defensive leagues among the

While thus, during the earlier part of the year 1572, the Prince of
Orange, discouraged by no defeats, was indefatigable in his exertions to
maintain the cause of liberty, and while at the same time the most stanch
supporters of arbitrary power were unanimous in denouncing to Philip the
insane conduct of his Viceroy, the letters of Alva himself were naturally
full of complaints and expostulations. It was in vain, he said, for him
to look for a confidential councillor, now that matters which he had
wished to be kept so profoundly secret that the very earth should not
hear of them, had been proclaimed aloud above the tiles of every
housetop. Nevertheless, he would be cut into little pieces but his
Majesty should be obeyed, while he remained alive to enforce the royal
commands. There were none who had been ever faithful but Berlaymont, he
said, and even he had been neutral in the affair of the tax. He had
rendered therein neither good nor bad offices, but, as his Majesty was
aware, Berlaymont was entirely ignorant of business, and "knew nothing
more than to be a good fellow." That being the case, he recommended
Hierges, son of the "good fellow," as a proper person to be governor of

The deputations appointed by the different provinces to confer personally
with the King received a reprimand upon their arrival, for having dared
to come to Spain without permission. Farther punishment, however, than
this rebuke was not inflicted. They were assured that the King was highly
displeased with their venturing to bring remonstrances against the tax,
but they were comforted with the assurance that his Majesty would take
the subject of their petition into consideration. Thus, the expectations
of Alva were disappointed, for the tenth penny was not formally
confirmed; and the hopes of the provinces frustrated, because it was not
distinctly disavowed.

Matters had reached another crisis in the provinces. "Had we money now,"
wrote the Prince of Orange, "we should, with the help of God, hope to
effect something. This is a time when, with even small sums, more can be
effected than at other seasons with ampler funds." The citizens were in
open revolt against the tax. In order that the tenth penny should not be
levied upon every sale of goods, the natural but desperate remedy was
adopted--no goods were sold at all.

Not only the wholesale commerce oh the provinces was suspended, but the
minute and indispensable traffic of daily life was entirely at a stand.
The shops were all shut. "The brewers," says a contemporary, "refused to
brew, the bakers to bake, the tapsters to tap." Multitudes, thrown
entirely out of employment, and wholly dependent upon charity, swarmed in
every city. The soldiery, furious for their pay, which Alva had for many
months neglected to furnish, grew daily more insolent; the citizens,
maddened by outrage and hardened by despair, became more and more
obstinate in their resistance; while the Duke, rendered inflexible by
opposition and insane by wrath, regarded the ruin which he had caused
with a malignant spirit which had long ceased to be human. "The disease
is gnawing at our vitals," wrote Viglius; "everybody is suffering for the
want of the necessaries of life. Multitudes are in extreme and hopeless
poverty. My interest in the welfare of the commonwealth," he continued,
"induces me to send these accounts to Spain. For myself, I fear nothing.
Broken by sickness and acute physical suffering, I should leave life
without regret."

The aspect of the capital was that of a city stricken with the plague.
Articles of the most absolute necessity could not be obtained. It was
impossible to buy bread, or meat, or beer. The tyrant, beside himself
with rage at being thus braved in his very lair, privately sent for
Master Carl, the executioner. In order to exhibit an unexpected and
salutary example, he had determined to hang eighteen of the leading
tradesmen of the city in the doors of their own shops, with the least
possible delay and without the slightest form of trial.

Master Carl was ordered, on the very night of his interview with the
Duke, to prepare eighteen strong cords, and eighteen ladders twelve feet
in length. By this simple arrangement, Alva was disposed to make manifest
on the morrow, to the burghers of Brussels, that justice was thenceforth
to be carried to every man's door. He supposed that the spectacle of a
dozen and a half of butchers and bakers suspended in front of the shops
which they had refused to open, would give a more effective stimulus to
trade than any to be expected from argument or proclamation. The hangman
was making ready his cords and ladders; Don Frederic of Toledo was
closeted with President Viglius, who, somewhat against his will, was
aroused at midnight to draw the warrants for these impromptu executions;
Alva was waiting with grim impatience for the dawn upon which the show
was to be exhibited, when an unforeseen event suddenly arrested the
homely tragedy. In the night arrived the intelligence that the town of
Brill had been captured. The Duke, feeling the full gravity of the
situation, postponed the chastisement which he had thus secretly planned
to a more convenient season, in order without an instant's hesitation to
avert the consequences of this new movement on the part of the rebels.
The seizure of Brill was the Deus ex machina which unexpectedly solved
both the inextricable knot of the situation and the hangman's noose.

Allusion has more than once been made to those formidable partisans of
the patriot cause, the marine outlaws. Cheated of half their birthright
by nature, and now driven forth from their narrow isthmus by tyranny, the
exiled Hollanders took to the ocean. Its boundless fields, long arable to
their industry, became fatally fruitful now that oppression was
transforming a peaceful seafaring people into a nation of corsairs.
Driven to outlawry and poverty, no doubt many Netherlanders plunged into
crime. The patriot party had long sine laid aside the respectful
deportment which had provoked the sarcasms of the loyalists. The beggars
of the sea asked their alms through the mouths of their cannon.
Unfortunately, they but too often made their demands upon both friend and
foe. Every ruined merchant, every banished lord, every reckless mariner,
who was willing to lay the commercial world under contribution to repair
his damaged fortunes, could, without much difficulty, be supplied with a
vessel and crew at some northern port, under color of cruising against
the Viceroy's government. Nor was the ostensible motive simply a pretext.
To make war upon Alva was the leading object of all these freebooters,
and they were usually furnished by the Prince of Orange, in his capacity
of sovereign, with letters of marque for that purpose. The Prince,
indeed, did his utmost to control and direct an evil which had inevitably
grown out of the horrors of the time. His Admiral, William de la Marck,
was however, incapable of comprehending the lofty purposes of his
superior. A wild, sanguinary, licentious noble, wearing his hair and
beard unshorn, according to ancient Batavian custom, until the death of
his relative, Egmont, should have been expiated, a worthy descendant of
the Wild Boar of Ardennes, this hirsute and savage corsair seemed an
embodiment of vengeance. He had sworn to wreak upon Alva and upon popery
the deep revenge owed to them by the Netherland nobility, and in the
cruelties afterwards practised by him upon monks and priests, the Blood
Council learned that their example had made at least one ripe scholar
among the rebels. He was lying, at this epoch, with his fleet on the
southern coast of England, from which advantageous position he was now to
be ejected in a summary manner.

The negotiations between the Duke of Alva and Queen Elizabeth had already
assumed an amicable tone, and were fast ripening to an adjustment. It lay
by no means in that sovereign's disposition to involve herself at this
juncture in a war with Philip, and it was urged upon her government by
Alva's commissioners, that the continued countenance afforded by the
English people to the Netherland cruisers must inevitably lead to that
result. In the latter days of March, therefore, a sentence of virtual
excommunication was pronounced against De la Marck and his rovers. A
peremptory order of Elizabeth forbade any of her subjects to supply them
with meat, bread, or beer. The command being strictly complied with,
their farther stay was rendered impossible. Twenty-four vessels
accordingly, of various sizes, commanded by De la Marck, Treslong, Adam
van Harem, Brand, and Other distinguished seamen, set sail from Dover in
the very last days of March. Being almost in a state of starvation, these
adventurers were naturally anxious to supply themselves with food. They
determined to make a sudden foray upon the coasts of North Holland, and
accordingly steered for Enkbuizen, both because it was a rich sea-port
and because it contained many secret partisans of the Prince. On Palm
Sunday they captured two Spanish merchantmen. Soon afterwards, however,
the wind becoming contrary, they were unable to double the Helder or the
Texel, and on Tuesday, the 1st of April, having abandoned their original
intention, they dropped down towards Zealand, and entered the broad mouth
of the river Meuse. Between the town of Brill, upon the southern lip of
this estuary, and Naaslandsluis, about half a league distant, upon the
opposite aide, the squadron suddenly appeared at about two o'clock of an
April afternoon, to the great astonishment of the inhabitants of both
places. It seemed too large a fleet to be a mere collection of trading
vessels, nor did they appear to be Spanish ships. Peter Koppelstok, a
sagacious ferryman, informed the passengers whom he happened to be
conveying across the river, that the strangers were evidently the water
beggars. The dreaded name filled his hearers with consternation, and they
became eager to escape from so perilous a vicinity. Having duly landed
his customers, however, who hastened to spread the news of the impending
invasion, and to prepare for defence or flight, the stout ferryman, who
was secretly favorable to the cause of liberty, rowed boldly out to
inquire the destination and purposes of the fleet.

The vessel which he first hailed was that commanded by William de Blois,
Seigneur of Treslong. This adventurous noble, whose brother had been
executed by the Duke of Alva in 1568, had himself fought by the side of
Count Louis at Jemmingen, and although covered with wounds, had been one
of the few who escaped alive from that horrible carnage. During the
intervening period he had become one of the most famous rebels on the
ocean, and he had always been well known in Brill, where his father had
been governor for the King. He at once recognized Koppelstok, and
hastened with him on board the Admiral's ship, assuring De la Marck that
the ferryman was exactly the man for their purpose. It was absolutely
necessary that a landing should be effected, for the people were without
the necessaries of life. Captain Martin Brand had visited the ship of
Adam Van Haren, as soon as they had dropped anchor in the Meuse, begging
for food. "I gave him a cheese," said Adam, afterwards relating the
occurrence, "and assured him that it was the last article of food to be
found in the ship." The other vessels were equally destitute. Under the
circumstances, it was necessary to attempt a landing. Treslong,
therefore, who was really the hero of this memorable adventure, persuaded
De la Marck to send a message to the city of Brill, demanding its
surrender. This was a bold summons to be made by a handful of men, three
or four hundred at most, who were both metaphorically and literally
beggars. The city of Brill was not populous, but it was well walled and
fortified. It was moreover a most commodious port. Treslong gave his
signet ring to the fisherman, Koppelstok, and ordered him, thus
accredited as an envoy, to carry their summons to the magistracy.
Koppelstok, nothing loath, instantly rowed ashore, pushed through the
crowd of inhabitants, who overwhelmed him with questions, and made his
appearance in the town-house before the assembled magistrates. He
informed them that he had been sent by the Admiral of the fleet and by
Treslong, who was well known to them, to demand that two commissioners
should be sent out on the part of the city to confer with the patriots.
He was bidden, he said, to give assurance that the deputies would be
courteously treated. The only object of those who had sent him was to
free the land from the tenth penny, and to overthrow the tyranny of Alva
and his Spaniards. Hereupon he was asked by the magistrates, how large a
force De la Marck had under his command, To this question the ferryman
carelessly replied, that there might be some five thousand in all. This
enormous falsehood produced its effect upon the magistrates. There was
now no longer any inclination to resist the invader; the only question
discussed being whether to treat with them or to fly. On the whole, it
was decided to do both. With some difficulty, two deputies were found
sufficiently valiant to go forth to negotiate with the beggars, while in
their absence most of the leading burghers and functionaries made their
preparations for flight. The envoys were assured by De la Marck and
Treslong that no injury was intended to the citizens or to private
property, but that the overthrow of Alva's government was to be instantly
accomplished. Two hours were given to the magistrates in which to decide
whether or not they would surrender the town and accept the authority of
De la Marck as Admiral of the Prince of Orange. They employed the two
hours thus granted in making an ignominious escape. Their example was
followed by most of the townspeople. When the invaders, at the expiration
of the specified term, appeared under the walls of the city, they found a
few inhabitants of the lower class gazing at them from above, but
received no official communication from any source.

The whole rebel force was now divided into two parties, one of which
under Treslong made an attack upon the southern gate, while the other
commanded by the Admiral advanced upon the northern. Treslong after a
short struggle succeeded in forcing his entrance, and arrested, in doing
so, the governor of the city, just taking his departure. De la Marck and
his men made a bonfire at the northern gate, and then battered down the
half-burned portal with the end of an old mast. Thus rudely and rapidly
did the Netherland patriots conduct their first successful siege. The two
parties, not more perhaps than two hundred and fifty men in all, met
before sunset in the centre of the city, and the foundation of the Dutch
Republic was laid. The weary spirit of freedom, so long a fugitive over
earth and sea, had at last found a resting-place, which rude and even
ribald hands had prepared.

The panic created by the first appearance of the fleet had been so
extensive that hardly fifty citizens had remained in the town. The rest
had all escaped, with as much property as they could carry away. The
Admiral, in the name, of the Prince of Orange, as lawful stadholder of
Philip, took formal possession of an almost deserted city. No indignity
was offered to the inhabitants of either sex, but as soon, as the
conquerors were fairly established in the best houses of the place, the
inclination to plunder the churches could no longer be restrained. The
altars and images were all destroyed, the rich furniture and gorgeous
vestments appropriated to private use. Adam van Hare appeared on his
vessel's deck attired in a magnificent high mass chasuble. Treslong
thenceforth used no drinking cups in his cabin save the golden chalices
of the sacrament. Unfortunately, their hatred to popery was not confined
to such demonstrations. Thirteen unfortunate monks and priests, who had
been unable to effect their escape, were arrested and thrown into prison,
from whence they were taken a few days later, by order of the ferocious
Admiral, and executed under circumstances of great barbarity.

The news of this important exploit spread with great rapidity. Alva,
surprised at the very moment of venting his rage on the butchers and
grocers of Brussels, deferred this savage design in order to deal with
the new difficulty. He had certainly not expected such a result from the
ready compliance of queen Elizabeth with his request. His rage was
excessive; the triumph of the people, by whom he was cordially detested,
proportionably great. The punsters of Brussels were sure not to let such
an opportunity escape them, for the name of the captured town was
susceptible of a quibble, and the event had taken place upon All Fools'

          "On April's Fool's Day,
          Duke Alva's spectacles were stolen away,"

became a popular couplet. The word spectacles, in Flemish, as well as the
name of the suddenly surprised city, being Brill, this allusion to the
Duke's loss and implied purblindness was not destitute of ingenuity. A
caricature, too, was extensively circulated, representing De la Marck
stealing the Duke's spectacles from his nose, while the Governor was
supposed to be uttering his habitual expression whenever any intelligence
of importance was brought to him: 'No es nada, no es nada--'Tis nothing,
'tis nothing.

The Duke, however, lost not an instant in attempting to repair the
disaster. Count Bossu, who had acted as stadholder of Holland and
Zealand, under Alva's authority, since the Prince of Orange had resigned
that office, was ordered at once to recover the conquered sea-port, if

Hastily gathering a force of some ten companies from the garrison of
Utrecht, some of which very troops had recently and unluckily for
government, been removed from Brill to that city, the Count crossed the
Sluis to the island of Voorn upon Easter day, and sent a summons to the
rebel force to surrender Brill. The patriots being very few in number,
were at first afraid to venture outside the gates to attack the much
superior force of their invaders. A carpenter, however, who belonged to
the city, but had long been a partisan of Orange, dashed into the water
with his axe in his hand, and swimming to the Niewland sluice, hacked it
open with a few vigorous strokes. The sea poured in at once, making the
approach to the city upon the north side impossible: Bossu then led his
Spaniards along the Niewland dyke to the southern gate, where they were
received with a warm discharge of artillery, which completely staggered
them. Meantime Treslong and Robol had, in the most daring manner, rowed
out to the ships which had brought the enemy to the island, cut some
adrift, and set others on fire.

The Spaniards at the southern gate caught sight of their blazing vessels,
saw the sea rapidly rising over the dyke, became panic-struck at being
thus enclosed between fire and water, and dashed off in precipitate
retreat along the slippery causeway and through the slimy and turbid
waters, which were fast threatening to overwhelm them. Many were drowned
or smothered in their flight, but the greater portion of the force
effected their escape in the vessels which still remained within reach.
This danger averted, Admiral de la Marck summoned all the inhabitants, a
large number of whom had returned to the town after the capture had been
fairly established, and required them, as well as all the population of
the island, to take an oath of allegiance to the Prince of Orange as
stadholder for his Majesty.

The Prince had not been extremely satisfied with the enterprise of De la
Marck. He thought-it premature, and doubted whether it would be
practicable to hold the place, as he had not yet completed his
arrangements in Germany, nor assembled the force with which he intended
again to take the field. More than all, perhaps, he had little confidence
in the character of his Admiral. Orange was right in his estimate of De
la Marck. It had not been that rover's design either to take or to hold
the place; and after the descent had been made, the ships victualled, the
churches plundered, the booty secured, and a few monks murdered, he had
given orders for the burning of the town, and for the departure of the
fleet. The urgent solicitations of Treslong, however, prevailed, with
some difficulty, over De la Marck' original intentions. It is to that
bold and intelligent noble, therefore, more than to any other individual,
that the merit of laying this corner-stone of the Batavian commonwealth
belongs. The enterprise itself was an accident, but the quick eye of
Treslong saw the possibility of a permanent conquest, where his superior
dreamed of nothing beyond a piratical foray.

Meantime Bossu, baffled in his attempt upon Brill, took his way towards
Rotterdam. It was important that he should at least secure such other
cities as the recent success of the rebels might cause to waver in their
allegiance. He found the gates of Rotterdam closed. The authorities
refused to comply with his demand to admit a garrison for the King.
Professing perfect loyalty, the inhabitants very naturally refused to
admit a band of sanguinary Spaniards to enforce their obedience.
Compelled to parley, Bossu resorted to a perfidious stratagem. He
requested permission for his troops to pass through the city without
halting. This was granted by the magistrates, on condition that only a
corporal's command should be admitted at a time. To these terms the Count
affixed his hand and seal. With the admission, however, of the first
detachment, a violent onset was made upon the gate by the whole Spanish
force. The townspeople, not suspecting treachery, were not prepared to
make effective resistance. A stout smith, confronting the invaders at the
gate, almost singly, with his sledge-hammer, was stabbed to the heart by
Bossu with his own hand. The soldiers having thus gained admittance,
rushed through the streets, putting every man to death who offered the
slightest resistance. Within a few minutes four hundred citizens were
murdered. The fate of the women, abandoned now to the outrage of a brutal
soldiery, was worse than death. The capture of Rotterdam is infamous for
the same crimes which blacken the record of every Spanish triumph in the

The important town of Flushing, on the Isle of Walcheren, was first to
vibrate with the patriotic impulse given by the success at Brill. The
Seigneur de Herpt, a warm partisan of Orange, excited the burghers
assembled in the market-place to drive the small remnant of the Spanish
garrison from the city. A little later upon the same day a considerable
reinforcement arrived before the walls. The Duke had determined, although
too late, to complete the fortress which had been commenced long before
to control the possession of this important position at the mouth of the
western Scheld. The troops who were to resume this too long intermitted
work arrived just in time to witness the expulsion of their comrades. De
Herpt easily persuaded the burghers that the die was cast, and that their
only hope lay in a resolute resistance. The people warmly acquiesced,
while a half-drunken, half-wined fellow in the crowd valiantly proposed,
in consideration of a pot of beer, to ascend the ramparts and to
discharge a couple of pieces of artillery at the Spanish ships. The offer
was accepted, and the vagabond merrily mounting the height, discharged
the guns. Strange to relate, the shot thus fired by a lunatic's hand put
the invading ships to flight. A sudden panic seized the Spaniards, the
whole fleet stood away at once in the direction of Middelburg, and were
soon out of sight.

The next day, however, Antony of Bourgoyne, governor under Alva for the
Island of Walcheren, made his appearance in Flushing. Having a high
opinion of his own oratorical powers, he came with the intention of
winning back with his rhetoric a city which the Spaniards had thus far
been unable to recover with their cannon. The great bell was rung, the
whole population assembled in the marketplace, and Antony, from the steps
of the town-house, delivered a long oration, assuring the burghers, among
other asseverations, that the King, who was the best natured prince in
all Christendom, would forget and forgive their offences if they returned
honestly to their duties.

The effect of the Governor's eloquence was much diminished, however, by
the interlocutory remarks, of De Herpt and a group of his adherents. They
reminded the people of the King's good nature, of his readiness to forget
and to forgive, as exemplified by the fate of Horn and Egmont, of Berghen
and Montigny, and by the daily and almost hourly decrees of the Blood
Council. Each well-rounded period of the Governor was greeted with
ironical cheers. The oration was unsuccessful. "Oh, citizens, citizens!"
cried at last the discomfited Antony, "ye know not what ye do. Your blood
be upon your own heads; the responsibility be upon your own hearts for
the fires which are to consume your cities and the desolation which is to
sweep your land!" The orator at this impressive point was interrupted,
and most unceremoniously hustled out of the city. The government remained
in the hands of the patriots.

The party, however, was not so strong in soldiers as in spirit. No
sooner, therefore, had they established their rebellion to Alva as an
incontrovertible fact, than they sent off emissaries to the Prince of
Orange, and to Admiral De la Marek at Brill. Finding that the inhabitants
of Flushing were willing to provide arms and ammunition, De la Marck
readily consented to send a small number of men, bold and experienced in
partisan warfare, of whom he had now collected a larger number than he
could well arm or maintain in his present position.

The detachment, two hundred in number, in three small vessels, set sail
accordingly from Brill for Flushing; and a wild crew they were, of
reckless adventurers under command of the bold Treslong. The expedition
seemed a fierce but whimsical masquerade. Every man in the little fleet
was attired in the gorgeous vestments of the plundered churches, in
gold-embroidered cassocks, glittering mass-garments, or the more sombre
cowls, and robes of Capuchin friars. So sped the early standard bearers
of that ferocious liberty which had sprung from the fires in which all
else for which men cherish their fatherland had been consumed. So swept
that resolute but fantastic band along the placid estuaries of Zealand,
waking the stagnant waters with their wild beggar songs and cries of

That vengeance found soon a distinguished object. Pacheco, the chief
engineer of Alva, who had accompanied the Duke in his march from Italy,
who had since earned a world-wide reputation as the architect of the
Antwerp citadel, had been just despatched in haste to Flushing to
complete the fortress whose construction had been so long delayed. Too
late for his work, too soon for his safety, the ill-fated engineer had
arrived almost at the same moment with Treslong and his crew. He had
stepped on shore, entirely ignorant of all which had transpired,
expecting to be treated with the respect due to the chief commandant of
the place, and to an officer high in the confidence of the
Governor-General. He found himself surrounded by an indignant and
threatening mob. The unfortunate Italian understood not a word of the
opprobrious language addressed to him, but he easily comprehended that
the authority of the Duke was overthrown. Observing De Ryk, a
distinguished partisan officer and privateersman of Amsterdam, whose
reputation for bravery and generosity was known, to him, he approached
him, and drawing a seal ring from his finger, kissed it, and handed it to
the rebel chieftain. By this dumbshow he gave him to understand that he
relied upon his honor for the treatment due to a gentleman. De Ryk
understood the appeal, and would willingly have assured him, at least, a
soldier's death, but he was powerless to do so. He arrested him, that he
might be protected from the fury of the rabble, but Treslong, who now
commanded in Flushing, was especially incensed against the founder of the
Antwerp citadel, and felt a ferocious desire to avenge his brother's
murder upon the body of his destroyer's favourite. Pacheco was condemned
to be hanged upon the very day of his arrival. Having been brought forth
from his prison, he begged hard but not abjectly for his life. He offered
a heavy ransom, but his enemies were greedy for blood, not for money. It
was, however, difficult to find an executioner. The city hangman was
absent, and the prejudice of the country and the age against the vile
profession had assuredly not been diminished during the five horrible
years of Alva's administration. Even a condemned murderer, who lay in the
town-gaol, refused to accept his life in recompence for performing the
office. It should never be said, he observed, that his mother had given
birth to a hangman. When told, however, that the intended victim was a
Spanish officer, the malefactor consented to the task with alacrity, on
condition that he might afterwards kill any man who taunted him with the

Arrived at the foot of the gallows, Pacheco complained bitterly of the
disgraceful death designed for him. He protested loudly that he came of a
house as noble as that of Egmont or Horn, and was entitled to as
honorable an execution as theirs had been. "The sword! the sword!" he
frantically exclaimed, as he struggled with those who guarded him. His
language was not understood, but the names of Egmont and Horn inflamed
still more highly the rage of the rabble, while his cry for the sword was
falsely interpreted by a rude fellow who had happened to possess himself
of Pacheco's rapier, at his capture, and who now paraded himself with it
at the gallows' foot. "Never fear for your sword, Seilor," cried this
ruffian; "your sword is safe enough, and in good hands. Up the ladder
with you, Senor; you have no further use for your sword."

Pacheco, thus outraged, submitted to his fate. He mounted the ladder with
a steady step, and was hanged between two other Spanish officers. So
perished miserably a brave soldier, and one of the most distinguished
engineers of his time; a man whose character and accomplishments had
certainly merited for him a better fate. But while we stigmatize as it
deserves the atrocious conduct of a few Netherland partisans, we should
remember who first unchained the demon of international hatred in this
unhappy land, nor should it ever be forgotten that the great leader of
the revolt, by word, proclamation, example, by entreaties, threats, and
condign punishment, constantly rebuked, and to a certain extent,
restrained the sanguinary spirit by which some of his followers disgraced
the noble cause which they had espoused.

Treslong did not long remain in command at Flushing. An officer, high in
the confidence of the Prince, Jerome van 't Zeraerts, now arrived at
Flushing, with a commission to be Lieutenant-Governor over the whole isle
of Walcheren. He was attended by a small band of French infantry, while
at nearly the same time the garrison was further strengthened by the
arrival of a large number of volunteers from England.


     Beggars of the sea, as these privateersmen designated themselves
     Hair and beard unshorn, according to ancient Batavian custom
     Only healthy existence of the French was in a state of war




   Municipal revolution throughout Holland and Zealand--Characteristics
   of the movement in various places--Sonoy commissioned by Orange as
   governor of North Holland--Theory of the provisional government--
   Instructions of the Prince to his officers--Oath prescribed--Clause
   of toleration--Surprise of Mons by Count Louis--Exertions of Antony
   Oliver--Details of the capture--Assembly of the citizens--Speeches
   of Genlis and of Count Louis--Effect of the various movements upon
   Alva--Don Frederic ordered to invest Mons--The Duke's impatience to
   retire--Arrival of Medina Coeli--His narrow escape--Capture of the
   Lisbon fleet--Affectation of cordiality between Alva and Medina--
   Concessions by King and Viceroy on the subject of the tenth penny--
   Estates of Holland assembled, by summons of Orange, at Dort--Appeals
   from the Prince to this congress for funds to pay his newly levied
   army--Theory of the provisional States' assembly--Source and nature
   of its authority--Speech of St. Aldegonde--Liberality of the estates
   and the provinces--Pledges exchanged between the Prince's
   representative and the Congress--Commission to De la Marck ratified
   --Virtual dictatorship of Orange--Limitation of his power by his own
   act--Count Louis at Mons--Reinforcements led from France by Genlis--
   Rashness of that officer--His total defeat--Orange again in the
   field--Rocrmond taken--Excesses of the patriot army--Proclamation of
   Orange, commanding respect to all personal and religious rights--His
   reply to the Emperor's summons--His progress in the Netherlands--
   Hopes entertained from France--Reinforcements under Coligny promised
   to Orange by Charles IX.--The Massacre of St. Bartholomew--The
   event characterized--Effect in England, in Rome, and in other parts
   of Europe--Excessive hilarity of Philip--Extravagant encomium
   bestowed by him upon Charles IX.--Order sent by Philip to put all
   French prisoners in the Netherlands to Death--Secret correspondence
   of Charles IX. with his envoy in the Netherlands--Exultation of the
   Spaniards before Mons--Alva urged by the French envoy, according to
   his master's commands, to put all the Frenchmen in Mons, and those
   already captured, to death--Effect of the massacre upon the Prince
   of Orange--Alva and Medina in the camp before Mons--Hopelessness of
   the Prince's scheme to obtain battle from Alva--Romero's encamisada
   --Narrow escape of the prince--Mutiny and dissolution of his army--
   His return to Holland--His steadfastness--Desperate position of
   Count Louis in Mons--Sentiments of Alva--Capitulation of Mons--
   Courteous reception of Count Louis by the Spanish generals--
   Hypocrisy of these demonstrations--Nature of the Mons capitulation--
   Horrible violation of its terms--Noircarmes at Mons--Establishment
   of a Blood Council in the city--Wholesale executions--Cruelty and
   cupidity of Noircarmes--Late discovery of the archives of these
   crimes--Return of the revolted cities of Brabant and Flanders to
   obedience--Sack of Mechlin by the Spaniards--Details of that event.

The example thus set by Brill and Flushing was rapidly followed. The
first half of the year 1572 was distinguished by a series of triumphs
rendered still more remarkable by the reverses which followed at its
close. Of a sudden, almost as it were by accident, a small but important
sea-port, the object for which the Prince had so long been hoping, was
secured. Instantly afterward, half the island of Walcheren renounced the
yoke of Alva, Next, Enkbuizen, the key to the Zuyder Zee, the principal
arsenal, and one of the first commercial cities in the Netherlands, rose
against the Spanish Admiral, and hung out the banner of Orange on its
ramparts. The revolution effected here was purely the work of the
people--of the mariners and burghers of the city. Moreover, the
magistracy was set aside and the government of Alva repudiated without
shedding one drop of blood, without a single wrong to person or property.
By the same spontaneous movement, nearly all the important cities of
Holland and Zealand raised the standard of him in whom they recognized
their deliverer. The revolution was accomplished under nearly similar
circumstances everywhere. With one fierce bound of enthusiasm the nation
shook off its chain. Oudewater, Dort, Harlem, Leyden, Gorcum,
Loewenstein, Gouda, Medenblik, Horn, Alkmaar, Edam, Monnikendam,
Purmerende, as well as Flushing, Veer, and Enkbuizen, all ranged
themselves under the government of Orange, as lawful stadholder for the

Nor was it in Holland and Zealand alone that the beacon fires of freedom
were lighted. City after city in Gelderland, Overyssel, and the See of
Utrecht; all the important towns of Friesland, some sooner, some later,
some without a struggle, some after a short siege, some with resistance
by the functionaries of government, some by amicable compromise, accepted
the garrisons of the Prince, and formally recognized his authority. Out
of the chaos which a long and preternatural tyranny had produced, the
first struggling elements of a new and a better world began to appear. It
were superfluous to narrate the details which marked the sudden
restoration of liberty in these various groups of cities. Traits of
generosity marked the change of government in some, circumstances of
ferocity, disfigured the revolution in others. The island of Walcheren,
equally divided as it was between the two parties, was the scene of much
truculent and diabolical warfare. It is difficult to say whether the
mutual hatred of race or the animosity of religious difference proved the
deadlier venom. The combats were perpetual and sanguinary, the prisoners
on both sides instantly executed. On more than one occasion; men were
seen assisting to hang with their own hands and in cold blood their own
brothers, who had been taken prisoners in the enemy's ranks. When the
captives were too many to be hanged, they were tied back to back, two and
two, and thus hurled into the sea. The islanders found a fierce pleasure
in these acts of cruelty. A Spaniard had ceased to be human in their
eyes. On one occasion, a surgeon at Veer cut the heart from a Spanish
prisoner, nailed it on a vessel's prow; and invited the townsmen to come
and fasten their teeth in it, which many did with savage satisfaction.

In other parts of the country the revolution was, on the whole,
accomplished with comparative calmness. Even traits of generosity were
not uncommon. The burgomaster of Gonda, long the supple slave of Alva and
the Blood Council, fled for his life as the revolt broke forth in that
city. He took refuge in the house of a certain widow, and begged for a
place of concealment. The widow led him to a secret closet which served
as a pantry. "Shall I be secure there?" asked the fugitive functionary.
"O yes, sir Burgomaster," replied the widow, "'t was in that very place
that my husband lay concealed when you, accompanied by the officers of
justice, were searching the house, that you might bring him to the
scaffold for his religion. Enter the pantry, your worship; I will be
responsible for your safety." Thus faithfully did the humble widow of a
hunted and murdered Calvinist protect the life of the magistrate who had
brought desolation to her hearth.

Not all the conquests thus rapidly achieved in the cause of liberty were
destined to endure, nor were any to be, retained without a struggle. The
little northern cluster of republics which had now restored its honor to
the ancient Batavian name was destined, however, for a long and vigorous
life. From that bleak isthmus the light of freedom was to stream through
many years upon struggling humanity in Europe; a guiding pharos across a
stormy sea; and Harlem, Leyden, Alkmaar--names hallowed by deeds of
heroism such as have not often illustrated human annals, still breathe as
trumpet-tongued and perpetual a defiance to despotism as Marathon,
Thermopylae, or Salamis.

A new board of magistrates had been chosen in all the redeemed cities, by
popular election. They were required to take an oath of fidelity to the
King of Spain, and to the Prince of Orange as his stadholder; to promise
resistance to the Duke of Alva, the tenth penny, and the inquisition; to
support every man's freedom and the welfare of the country; to protect
widows, orphans, and miserable persons, and to maintain justice and

Diedrich Sonoy arrived on the 2nd June at Enkbuizen. He was provided by
the Prince with a commission, appointing him Lieutenant-Governor of North
Holland or Waterland. Thus, to combat the authority of Alva was set up
the authority of the King. The stadholderate over Holland and Zealand, to
which the Prince had been appointed in 1559, he now reassumed. Upon this
fiction reposed the whole provisional polity of the revolted Netherlands.
The government, as it gradually unfolded itself, from this epoch forward
until the declaration of independence and the absolute renunciation of
the Spanish sovereign power, will be sketched in a future chapter. The
people at first claimed not an iota more of freedom than was secured by
Philip's coronation oath. There was no pretence that Philip was not
sovereign, but there was a pretence and a determination to worship God
according to conscience, and to reclaim the ancient political "liberties"
of the land. So long as Alva reigned, the Blood Council, the inquisition,
and martial law, were the only codes or courts, and every charter slept.
To recover this practical liberty and these historical rights, and to
shake from their shoulders a most sanguinary government, was the purpose
of William and of the people. No revolutionary standard was displayed.

The written instructions given by the Prince to his Lieutenant Sonoy were
to "see that the Word of God was preached, without, however, suffering
any hindrance to the Roman Church in the exercise of its religion; to
restore fugitives and the banished for conscience sake, and to require of
all magistrates and officers of guilds and brotherhoods an oath of
fidelity." The Prince likewise prescribed the form of that oath,
repeating therein, to his eternal honor, the same strict prohibition of
intolerance. "Likewise," said the formula, "shall those of 'the religion'
offer no let or hindrance to the Roman churches."

The Prince was still in Germany, engaged in raising troops and providing
funds. He directed; however, the affairs of the insurgent provinces in
their minutest details, by virtue of the dictatorship inevitably forced
upon him both by circumstances and by the people. In the meantime; Louis
of Nassau, the Bayard of the Netherlands, performed a most unexpected and
brilliant exploit. He had been long in France, negotiating with the
leaders of the Huguenots, and, more secretly, with the court. He was
supposed by all the world to be still in that kingdom, when the startling
intelligence arrived that he had surprised and captured the important
city of Mons. This town, the capital of Hainault, situate in a fertile,
undulating, and beautiful country, protected by lofty walls, a triple
moat, and a strong citadel, was one of the most flourishing and elegant
places in the Netherlands. It was, moreover, from its vicinity to the
frontiers of France; a most important acquisition to the insurgent party.
The capture was thus accomplished. A native of Mons, one Antony Oliver, a
geographical painter, had insinuated himself into the confidence of Alva,
for whom he had prepared at different times some remarkably well-executed
maps of the country. Having occasion to visit France, he was employed by
the Duke to keep a watch upon the movements of Louis of Nassau, and to
make a report as to the progress of his intrigues with the court of
France. The painter, however, was only a spy in disguise, being in
reality devoted to the cause of freedom, and a correspondent of Orange
and his family. His communications with Louis, in Paris, had therefore a
far different result from the one anticipated by Alva. A large number of
adherents within the city of Mons had already been secured, and a plan
was now arranged between Count Louis, Genlis, De la Noue, and other
distinguished Huguenot chiefs, to be carried out with the assistance of
the brave and energetic artist.

On the 23rd of May, Oliver appeared at the gates of Mons, accompanied by
three wagons, ostensibly containing merchandise, but in reality laden
with arquebusses. These were secretly distributed among his confederates
in the city. In the course of the day Count Louis arrived in the
neighbourhood, accompanied by five hundred horsemen and a thousand foot
soldiers. This force he stationed in close concealment within the thick
forests between Maubeuge and Mons. Towards evening he sent twelve of the
most trusty and daring of his followers, disguised as wine merchants,
into the city. These individuals proceeded boldly to a public house,
ordered their supper, and while conversing with the landlord, carelessly
inquired at what hour next morning the city gates would be opened. They
were informed that the usual hour was four in the morning, but that a
trifling present to the porter would ensure admission, if they desired
it, at an earlier hour. They explained their inquiries by a statement
that they had some casks of wine which they wished to introduce into the
city before sunrise. Having obtained all the information which they
needed, they soon afterwards left the tavern. The next day they presented
themselves very early at the gate, which the porter, on promise of a
handsome "drink-penny," agreed to unlock. No sooner were the bolts
withdrawn, however, than he was struck dead, while about fifty dragoons
rode through the gate. The Count and his followers now galloped over the
city in the morning twilight, shouting "France! liberty! the town is
ours!" "The Prince is coming!" "Down with the tenth penny; down with the
murderous Alva!" So soon as a burgher showed his wondering face at the
window, they shot at him with their carbines. They made as much noise,
and conducted themselves as boldly as if they had been at least a
thousand strong.

Meantime, however, the streets remained empty; not one of their secret
confederates showing himself. Fifty men could surprise, but were too few
to keep possession of the city. The Count began to suspect a trap. As
daylight approached the alarm spread; the position of the little band was
critical. In his impetuosity, Louis had far outstripped his army, but
they had been directed to follow hard upon his footsteps, and he was
astonished that their arrival was so long delayed. The suspense becoming
intolerable, he rode out of the city in quest of his adherents, and found
them wandering in the woods, where they had completely lost their way.
Ordering each horseman to take a foot soldier on the crupper behind him,
he led them rapidly back to Mons. On the way they were encountered by La
Noue, "with the iron arm," and Genlis, who, meantime, had made an
unsuccessful attack to recover Valenciennes, which within a few hours had
been won and lost again. As they reached the gates of Mons, they found
themselves within a hair's breadth of being too late; their adherents had
not come forth; the citizens had been aroused; the gates were all fast
but one--and there the porter was quarrelling with a French soldier about
an arquebuss. The drawbridge across the moat was at the moment rising;
the last entrance was closing, when Guitoy de Chaumont, a French officer,
mounted on a light Spanish barb, sprang upon the bridge as it rose. His
weight caused it to sink again, the gate was forced, and Louis with all
his men rode triumphantly into the town.

The citizens were forthwith assembled by sound of bell in the
market-place. The clergy, the magistracy, and the general council were
all present. Genlis made the first speech, in which he disclaimed all
intention of making conquests in the interest of France. This pledge
having been given, Louis of Nassau next addressed the assembly: "The
magistrates," said he, "have not understoood my intentions. I protest
that I am no rebel to the King; I prove it by asking no new oaths from
any man. Remain bound by your old oaths of allegiance; let the
magistrates continue to exercise their functions--to administer justice.
I imagine that no person will suspect a brother of the Prince of Orange
capable of any design against the liberties of the country. As to the
Catholic religion, I take it under my very particular protection. You
will ask why I am in Mons at the head of an armed force: are any of you
ignorant of Alva's cruelties? The overthrow of this tyrant is as much the
interest of the King as of the people, therefore there is nothing in my
present conduct inconsistent with fidelity to his Majesty. Against Alva
alone I have taken up arms; 'tis to protect you against his fury that I
am here. It is to prevent the continuance of a general rebellion that I
make war upon him. The only proposition which I have to make to you is
this--I demand that you declare Alva de Toledo a traitor to the King, the
executioner of the people, an enemy to the country, unworthy of the
government, and hereby deprived of his authority."

The magistracy did not dare to accept so bold a proposition; the general
council, composing the more popular branch of the municipal government,
were comparatively inclined to favor Nassau, and many of its members
voted for the downfall of the tyrant. Nevertheless the demands of Count
Louis were rejected. His position thus became critical. The civic
authorities refused to, pay for his troops, who were, moreover, too few,
in number to resist the inevitable siege. The patriotism of the citizens
was not to be repressed, however, by the authority, of the magistrates;
many rich proprietors of the great cloth and silk manufactories, for
which Mons was famous, raised, and armed companies at their own expense;
many volunteer troops were also speedily organized and drilled, and the
fortifications were put in order. No attempt was made to force the
reformed religion upon the inhabitants, and even Catholics who were
discovered in secret correspondence with the enemy were treated with such
extreme gentleness by Nassau as to bring upon him severe reproaches from
many of his own party.

A large collection of ecclesiastical plate, jewellery, money, and other
valuables, which had been sent to the city for safe keeping from the
churches and convents of the provinces, was seized, and thus, with little
bloodshed and no violence; was the important city secured for the
insurgents. Three days afterwards, two thousand infantry, chiefly French,
arrived in the place. In the early part of the following month Louis was
still further strengthened by the arrival of thirteen hundred foot and
twelve hundred horsemen, under command of Count Montgomery, the
celebrated officer, whose spear at the tournament had proved fatal to
Henry the Second. Thus the Duke of Alva suddenly found himself exposed to
a tempest of revolution. One thunderbolt after another seemed descending
around him in breathless succession. Brill and Flushing had been already
lost; Middelburg was so closely invested that its fall seemed imminent,
and with it would go the whole island of Walcheren, the key to all the
Netherlands. In one morning he had heard of the revolt of Enkbuizen and
of the whole Waterland; two hours later came the news of the Valenciennes
rebellion, and next day the astonishing capture of Mons. One disaster
followed hard upon another. He could have sworn that the detested Louis
of Nassau, who had dealt this last and most fatal stroke, was at that
moment in Paris, safely watched by government emissaries; and now he had,
as it were, suddenly started out of the earth, to deprive him of this
important city, and to lay bare the whole frontier to the treacherous
attacks of faithless France. He refused to believe the intelligence when
it was first announced to him, and swore that he had certain information
that Count Louis had been seen playing in the tennis-court at Paris,
within so short a period as to make his presence in Hainault at that
moment impossible. Forced, at last, to admit the truth of the disastrous
news, he dashed his hat upon the ground in a fury, uttering imprecations
upon the Queen Dowager of France, to whose perfidious intrigues he
ascribed the success of the enterprise, and pledging himself to send her
Spanish thistles, enough in return for the Florentine lilies which she
had thus bestowed upon him.

In the midst of the perplexities thus thickening around him, the Duke
preserved his courage, if not his temper. Blinded, for a brief season, by
the rapid attacks made upon him, he had been uncertain whither to direct
his vengeance. This last blow in so vital a quarter determined him at
once. He forthwith despatched Don Frederic to undertake the siege of
Mons, and earnestly set about raising large reinforcements to his army.
Don Frederic took possession, without much opposition, of the Bethlehem
cloister in the immediate vicinity of the city, and with four thousand
troops began the investment in due form.

Alva had, for a long time, been most impatient to retire from the
provinces. Even he was capable of human emotions. Through the sevenfold
panoply of his pride he had been pierced by the sharpness of a nation's
curse. He was wearied with the unceasing execrations which assailed his
ears. "The hatred which the people bear me," said he, in a letter to
Philip, "because of the chastisement which it has been necessary for me
to inflict, although with all the moderation in the world, make all my
efforts vain. A successor will meet more sympathy and prove more useful."
On the 10th June, the Duke of Medina Coeli; with a fleet of more than
forty sail, arrived off Blankenburg, intending to enter the Scheld.
Julian Romero, with two thousand Spaniards, was also on board the fleet.
Nothing, of course, was known to the new comers of the altered condition
of affairs in the Netherlands, nor of the unwelcome reception which they
were like to meet in Flushing. A few of the lighter craft having been
taken by the patriot cruisers, the alarm was spread through all the
fleet. Medina Coeli, with a few transports, was enabled to effect his
escape to Sluys, whence he hastened to Brussels in a much less
ceremonious manner than he had originally contemplated. Twelve Biscayan
ships stood out to sea, descried a large Lisbon fleet, by a singular
coincidence, suddenly heaving in sight, changed their course again, and
with a favoring breeze bore boldly up the Hond; passed Flushing in spite
of a severe cannonade from the forts, and eventually made good their
entrance into Rammekens, whence the soldiery, about one-half of whom had
thus been saved, were transferred at a very critical moment to

The great Lisbon fleet followed in the wake of the Biscayans, with much
inferior success. Totally ignorant of the revolution which had occurred
in the Ise of Walclieren, it obeyed the summons of the rebel fort to come
to anchor, and, with the exception of three or four, the vessels were all
taken. It was the richest booty which the insurgents had yet acquired by
sea or land. The fleet was laden with spices, money, jewellery, and the
richest merchandize. Five hundred thousand crowns of gold were taken, and
it was calculated that the plunder altogether would suffice to maintain
the war for two years at least. One thousand Spanish soldiers, and a good
amount of ammunition, were also captured. The unexpected condition of
affairs made a pause natural and almost necessary, before the government
could be decorously transferred. Medina Coeli with Spanish
grandiloquence, avowed his willingness to serve as a soldier, under a
general whom he so much venerated, while Alva ordered that, in all
respects, the same outward marks of respect should be paid to his
appointed successor as to himself. Beneath all this external ceremony,
however, much mutual malice was concealed.

Meantime, the Duke, who was literally "without a single real," was forced
at last to smother his pride in the matter of the tenth penny. On the
24th June, he summoned the estates of Holland to assemble on the 15th of
the ensuing month. In the missive issued for this purpose, he formally
agreed to abolish the whole tax, on condition that the estates-general of
the Netherlands would furnish him with a yearly supply of two millions of
florins. Almost at the same moment the King had dismissed the deputies of
the estates from Madrid, with the public assurance that the tax was to be
suspended, and a private intimation that it was not abolished in terms,
only in order to save the dignity of the Duke.

These healing measures came entirely too late. The estates of Holland
met, indeed, on the appointed day of July; but they assembled not in
obedience to Alva, but in consequence of a summons from William of
Orange. They met, too, not at the Hague, but at Dort, to take formal
measures for renouncing the authority of the Duke. The first congress of
the Netherland commonwealth still professed loyalty to the Crown, but was
determined to accept the policy of Orange without a question.

The Prince had again assembled an army in Germany, consisting of fifteen
thousand foot and seven thousand horse, besides a number of
Netherlanders, mostly Walloons, amounting to nearly three thousand more.
Before taking the field, however, it was necessary that he should
guarantee at least three months' pay to his troops. This he could no
longer do, except by giving bonds endorsed by certain cities of Holland
as his securities. He had accordingly addressed letters in his own name
to all the principal cities, fervently adjuring them to remember, at
last, what was due to him, to the fatherland, and to their own character.
"Let not a sum of gold," said he in one of these letters, "be so dear to
you, that for its sake you will sacrifice your lives, your wives, your
children, and all your descendants, to the latest generations; that you
will bring sin and shame upon yourselves, and destruction upon us who
have so heartily striven to assist you. Think what scorn you will incur
from foreign nations, what a crime you will commit against the Lord God,
what a bloody yoke ye will impose forever upon yourselves and your
children, if you now seek for subterfuges; if you now prevent us from
taking the field with the troops which we have enlisted. On the other
hand, what inexpressible benefits you will confer on your country, if you
now help us to rescue that fatherland from the power of Spanish vultures
and wolves."

This and similar missives, circulated throughout the province of Holland,
produced a deep impression. In accordance with his suggestions, the
deputies from the nobility and from twelve cities of that province
assembled on the 15th July, at Dort. Strictly speaking, the estates or
government of Holland, the body which represented the whole people,
consisted of the nobler and six great cities. On this occasion, however,
Amsterdam being still in the power of the King, could send no deputies,
while, on the other hand, all the small towns were invited to send up
their representatives to the Congress. Eight accepted the proposal; the
rest declined to appoint delegates, partly from motives of economy,
partly from timidity.'

These estates were the legitimate representatives of the people, but they
had no legislative powers. The people had never pretended to sovereignty,
nor did they claim it now. The source from which the government of the
Netherlands was supposed to proceed was still the divine mandate. Even
now the estates silently conceded, as they had ever done, the supreme
legislative and executive functions to the land's master. Upon Philip of
Spain, as representative of Count Dirk the First of Holland, had
descended, through many tortuous channels, the divine effluence
originally supplied by Charles the Simple of France. That supernatural
power was not contested, but it was now ingeniously turned against the
sovereign. The King's authority was invoked against himself in the person
of the Prince of Orange, to whom, thirteen years before, a portion of
that divine right had been delegated. The estates of Holland met at Dort
on the 15th July, as representatives of the people; but they were
summoned by Orange, royally commissioned in 1559 as stadholder, and
therefore the supreme legislative and executive officer of certain
provinces. This was the theory of the provisional government. The Prince
represented the royal authority, the nobles represented both themselves
and the people of the open country, while the twelve cities represented
the whole body of burghers. Together, they were supposed to embody all
authority, both divine and human, which a congress could exercise. Thus
the whole movement was directed against Alva and against Count Bossu,
appointed stadholder by Alva in the place of Orange. Philip's name was
destined to figure for a long time, at the head of documents by which
monies were raised, troops levied, and taxes collected, all to be used in
deadly war against himself.

The estates were convened on the 15th July, when Paul Buys, pensionary of
Leyden, the tried and confidential friend of Orange, was elected Advocate
of Holland. The convention was then adjourned till the 18th, when Saint
Aldegonde made his appearance, with full powers to act provisionally in
behalf of his Highness.

The distinguished plenipotentiary delivered before the congress a long
and very effective harangue. He recalled the sacrifices and efforts of
the Prince during previous years. He adverted to the disastrous campaign
of 1568, in which the Prince had appeared full of high hope, at the head
of a gallant army, but had been obliged, after a short period, to retire,
because not a city had opened its gates nor a Netherlander lifted his
finger in the cause. Nevertheless, he had not lost courage nor closed his
heart; and now that, through the blessing of God, the eyes of men had
been opened, and so many cities had declared against the tyrant, the
Prince had found himself exposed to a bitter struggle. Although his own
fortunes had been ruined in the cause, he had been unable to resist the
daily flood of petitions which called upon him to come forward once more.
He had again importuned his relations and powerful friends; he had at
last set on foot a new and well-appointed army. The day of payment had
arrived. Over his own head impended perpetual shame, over the fatherland
perpetual woe, if the congress should now refuse the necessary supplies.
"Arouse ye, then," cried the orator, with fervor, "awaken your own zeal
and that of your sister cities. Seize Opportunity by the locks, who never
appeared fairer than she does to-day."

The impassioned eloquence of St. Aldegonde produced a profound
impression. The men who had obstinately refused the demands of Alva, now
unanimously resolved to pour forth their gold and their blood at the call
of Orange. "Truly," wrote the Duke, a little later, "it almost drives me
mad to see the difficulty with which your Majesty's supplies are
furnished, and the liberality with which the people place their lives and
fortunes at the disposal of this rebel." It seemed strange to the loyal
governor that men should support their liberator with greater alacrity
than that with which they served their destroyer! It was resolved that
the requisite amount should be at once raised, partly from the regular
imposts and current "requests," partly by loans from the rich, from the
clergy, from the guilds and brotherhoods, partly from superfluous church
ornaments and other costly luxuries. It was directed that subscriptions
should be immediately opened throughout the land, that gold and silver
plate, furniture, jewellery, and other expensive articles should be
received by voluntary contributions, for which inventories and receipts
should be given by the magistrates of each city, and that upon these
money should be raised, either by loan or sale. An enthusiastic and
liberal spirit prevailed. All seemed determined rather than pay the tenth
to Alva to pay the whole to the Prince.

The estates, furthermore, by unanimous resolution, declared that they
recognized the Prince as the King's lawful stadholder over Holland,
Zealand, Friesland, and Utrecht, and that they would use their influence
with the other provinces to procure his appointment as Protector of all
the Netherlands during the King's absence. His Highness was requested to
appoint an Admiral, on whom, with certain deputies from the Water-cities,
the conduct of the maritime war should devolve.

The conduct of the military operations by land was to be directed by
Dort, Leyden, and Enkbuizen, in conjunction with the Count de la Marck. A
pledge was likewise exchanged between the estates and the
pleni-potentiary, that neither party should enter into any treaty with
the King, except by full consent and co-operation of the other. With
regard to religion, it was firmly established, that the public exercises
of divine worship should be permitted not only to the Reformed Church,
but to the Roman Catholic--the clergy of both being protected from all

After these proceedings, Count de la Marck made his appearance before the
assembly. His commission from Orange was read to the deputies, and by
them ratified. The Prince, in that document, authorized "his dear cousin"
to enlist troops, to accept the fealty of cities, to furnish them with
garrisons, to re-establish all the local laws, municipal rights, and
ancient privileges which had been suppressed. He was to maintain freedom
of religion, under penalty of death to those who infringed it; he was to
restore all confiscated property; he was, with advice of his council, to
continue in office such city magistrates as were favorable, and to remove
those adverse to the cause.

The Prince was, in reality, clothed with dictatorial and even regal
powers. This authority had been forced upon him by the prayers of the
people, but he manifested no eagerness as he partly accepted the onerous
station. He was provisionally the depositary of the whole sovereignty of
the northern provinces, but he cared much less for theories of government
than for ways and means. It was his object to release the country from
the tyrant who, five years long, had been burning and butchering the
people. It was his determination to drive out the foreign soldiery. To do
this, he must meet his enemy in the field. So little was he disposed to
strengthen his own individual power, that he voluntarily imposed limits
on himself, by an act, supplemental to the proceedings of the Congress of
Dort. In this important ordinance made by the Prince of Orange, as a
provisional form of government, he publicly announced "that he would do
and ordain nothing except by the advice of the estates, by reason that
they were best acquainted with the circumstances and the humours of the
inhabitants." He directed the estates to appoint receivers for all public
taxes, and ordained that all military officers should make oath of
fidelity to him, as stadholder, and to the estates of Holland, to be true
and obedient, in order to liberate the land from the Albanian and Spanish
tyranny, for the service of his royal Majesty as Count of Holland. The
provisional constitution, thus made by a sovereign prince and actual
dictator, was certainly as disinterested as it was sagacious.

Meanwhile the war had opened vigorously in Hainault. Louis of Nassau had
no sooner found himself in possession of Mons than he had despatched
Genlis to France, for those reinforcements which had been promised by
royal lips. On the other hand, Don Frederic held the city closely
beleaguered; sharp combats before the walls were of almost daily
occurrence, but it was obvious that Louis would be unable to maintain the
position into which he had so chivalrously thrown himself unless he
should soon receive important succor. The necessary reinforcements were
soon upon the way. Genlis had made good speed with his levy, and it was
soon announced that he was advancing into Hainault, with a force of
Huguenots, whose numbers report magnified to ten thousand veterans. Louis
despatched an earnest message to his confederate, to use extreme caution
in his approach. Above all things, he urged him, before attempting to
throw reinforcements into the city, to effect a junction with the Prince
of Orange, who had already crossed the Rhine with his new army.

Genlis, full of overweening confidence, and desirous of acquiring singly
the whole glory of relieving the city, disregarded this advice. His
rashness proved his ruin, and the temporary prostration of the cause of
freedom. Pushing rapidly forward across the French frontier, he arrived,
towards the middle of July, within two leagues of Mons. The Spaniards
were aware of his approach, and well prepared to frustrate his project.
On the 19th, he found himself upon a circular plain of about a league's
extent, surrounded with coppices and forests, and dotted with farm-houses
and kitchen gardens. Here he paused to send out a reconnoitring party.
The little detachment was, however, soon driven in, with the information
that Don Frederic of Toledo, with ten thousand men, was coming instantly
upon them. The Spanish force, in reality, numbered four thousand
infantry, and fifteen hundred cavalry; but three thousand half-armed
boors had been engaged by Don Frederic, to swell his apparent force. The
demonstration produced its effect, and no sooner had the first panic of
the intelligence been spread, than Noircarmes came charging upon them at
the head of his cavalry. The infantry arrived directly afterwards, and
the Huguenots were routed almost as soon as seen. It was a meeting rather
than a battle. The slaughter of the French was very great, while but an
insignificant number of the Spaniards fell. Chiappin Vitelli was the hero
of the day. It was to his masterly arrangements before the combat, and to
his animated exertions upon the field, that the victory was owing. Having
been severely wounded in the thigh but a few days previously, he caused
himself to be carried upon a litter in a recumbent position in front of
his troops, and was everywhere seen, encouraging their exertions, and
exposing himself, crippled as he was, to the whole brunt of the battle.
To him the victory nearly proved fatal; to Don Frederic it brought
increased renown. Vitelli's exertions, in his precarious condition,
brought on severe inflammation, under which he nearly succumbed, while
the son of Alva reaped extensive fame from the total overthrow of the
veteran Huguenots, due rather to his lieutenant and to Julian Romero.

The number of dead left by the French upon the plain amounted to at least
twelve hundred, but a much larger number was butchered in detail by the
peasantry, among whom they attempted to take refuge, and who had not yet
forgotten the barbarities inflicted by their countrymen in the previous
war. Many officers were taken prisoners, among whom was the
Commander-in-chief, Genlis.

That unfortunate gentleman was destined to atone for his rashness and
obstinacy with his life. He was carried to the castle of Antwerp, where,
sixteen months afterwards, he was secretly strangled by command of Alva,
who caused the report to be circulated that he had died a natural death.
About one hundred foot soldiers succeeded in making their entrance into
Mona, and this was all the succor which Count Louis was destined to
receive from France, upon which country he had built such lofty and such
reasonable hopes.

While this unfortunate event was occurring, the Prince had already put
his army in motion. On the 7th of July he had crossed the Rhine at
Duisburg, with fourteen thousand foot, seven thousand horse, enlisted in
Germany, besides a force of three thousand Walloons. On the 23rd of July,
he took the city of Roermond, after a sharp cannonade, at which place his
troops already began to disgrace the honorable cause in which they were
engaged, by imitating the cruelties and barbarities of their antagonists.
The persons and property of the burghers were, with a very few
exceptions, respected; but many priests and monks were put to death by
the soldiery under circumstances of great barbarity. The Prince, incensed
at such conduct, but being unable to exercise very stringent authority
over troops whose wages he was not yet able to pay in full, issued a
proclamation, denouncing such excesses, and commanding his followers,
upon pain of death, to respect the rights of all individuals, whether
Papist or Protestant, and to protect religious exercises both in Catholic
and Reformed churches.

It was hardly to be expected that the troops enlisted by the Prince in
the same great magazine of hireling soldiers, Germany, from whence the
Duke also derived his annual supplies, would be likely to differ very
much in their propensities from those enrolled under Spanish banners; yet
there was a vast contrast between the characters of the two commanders.
One leader inculcated the practice of robbery, rape, and murder, as a
duty, and issued distinct orders to butcher every mother's son in the
cities which he captured; the other restrained every excess to, the
utmost of his ability, protecting not only life and property, but even
the ancient religion.

The Emperor Maximilian had again issued his injunctions against the
military operations of Orange. Bound to the monarch of Spain by so many
family ties, being at once cousin, brother-in-law, and father-in-law of
Philip, it was difficult for him to maintain the attitude which became
him, as chief of that Empire to which the peace of Passau had assured
religious freedom. It had, however, been sufficiently proved that
remonstrances and intercessions addressed to Philip were but idle breath.
It had therefore become an insult to require pacific conduct from the
Prince on the ground of any past or future mediation. It was a still
grosser mockery to call upon him to discontinue hostilities because the
Netherlands were included in the Empire, and therefore protected by the
treaties of Passau and Augsburg. Well did the Prince reply to his
Imperial Majesty's summons in a temperate but cogent letter, in which he
addressed to him from his camp, that all intercessions had proved
fruitless, and that the only help for the Netherlands was the sword.

The Prince had been delayed for a month at Roermonde, because, as he
expressed it; "he had not a single sou," and because, in consequence, the
troops refused to advance into the Netherlands. Having at last been
furnished with the requisite guarantees from the Holland cities for three
months' pay, on the 27th of August, the day of the publication of his
letter to the Emperor, he crossed the Meuse and took his circuitous way
through Diest, Tirlemont, Sichem, Louvain, Mechlin, Termonde, Oudenarde,
Nivelles. Many cities and villages accepted his authority and admitted
his garrisons. Of these Mechlin was the most considerable, in which he
stationed a detachment of his troops. Its doom was sealed in that moment.
Alva could not forgive this act of patriotism on the part of a town which
had so recently excluded his own troops. "This is a direct permission of
God," he wrote, in the spirit of dire and revengeful prophecy, "for us to
punish her as she deserves, for the image-breaking and other misdeeds
done there in the time of Madame de Parma, which our Lord was not willing
to pass over without chastisement."

Meantime the Prince continued his advance. Louvain purchased its
neutrality for the time with sixteen thousand ducats; Brussels
obstinately refused to listen to him, and was too powerful to be forcibly
attacked at that juncture; other important cities, convinced by the
arguments and won by the eloquence of the various proclamations which he
scattered as he advanced, ranged themselves spontaneously and even
enthusiastically upon his side. How different world have been the result
of his campaign but for the unexpected earthquake which at that instant
was to appal Christendom, and to scatter all his well-matured plans and
legitimate hopes. His chief reliance, under Providence and his own strong
heart, had been upon French assistance. Although Genlis, by his
misconduct, had sacrificed his army and himself, yet the Prince as still
justly sanguine as to the policy of the French court. The papers which
had been found in the possession of Genlis by his conquerors all spoke
one language. "You would be struck with stupor," wrote Alva's secretary,
"could you see a letter which is now in my power, addressed by the King
of France to Louis of Nassau." In that letter the King had declared his
determination to employ all the forces which God had placed in his hands
to rescue the Netherlands from the oppression under which they were
groaning. In accordance with the whole spirit and language of the French
government, was the tone of Coligny in his correspondence with Orange.
The Admiral assured the Prince that there was no doubt as to the
earnestness of the royal intentions in behalf of the Netherlands, and
recommending extreme caution, announced his hope within a few days to
effect a junction with him at the head of twelve thousand French
arquebusiers, and at least three thousand cavalry. Well might the Prince
of Orange, strong, and soon to be strengthened, boast that the
Netherlands were free, and that Alva was in his power. He had a right to
be sanguine, for nothing less than a miracle could now destroy his
generous hopes--and, alas! the miracle took place; a miracle of perfidy
and bloodshed such as the world, familiar as it had ever been and was
still to be with massacre, had not yet witnessed. On the 11th of August,
Coligny had written thus hopefully of his movements towards the
Netherlands, sanctioned and aided by his King. A fortnight from that day
occurred the "Paris-wedding;" and the Admiral, with thousands of his
religious confederates, invited to confidence by superhuman treachery,
and lulled into security by the music of august marriage bells, was
suddenly butchered in the streets of Paris by royal and noble hands.

The Prince proceeded on his march, during which the heavy news had been
brought to him, but he felt convinced that, with the very arrival of the
awful tidings, the fate of that campaign was sealed, and the fall of Mons
inevitable. In his own language, he had been struck to the earth "with
the blow of a sledge-hammer,"--nor did the enemy draw a different augury
from the great event.

The crime was not committed with the connivance of the Spanish
government. On the contrary, the two courts were at the moment bitterly
hostile to each other. In the beginning of the summer, Charles IX. and
his advisers were as false to Philip, as at the end of it they were
treacherous to Coligny and Orange. The massacre of the Huguenots had not
even the merit of being a well-contrived and intelligently executed
scheme. We have seen how steadily, seven years before, Catharine de
Medici had rejected the advances of Alva towards the arrangement of a
general plan for the extermination of all heretics within France and the
Netherlands at the same moment. We have seen the disgust with which Alva
turned from the wretched young King at Bayonne, when he expressed the
opinion that to take arms against his own subjects was wholly out of the
question, and could only be followed by general ruin. "'Tis easy to see
that he has been tutored," wrote Alva to his master. Unfortunately, the
same mother; who had then instilled those lessons of hypocritical
benevolence, had now wrought upon her son's cowardly but ferocious nature
with a far different intent. The incomplete assassination of Coligny, the
dread of signal vengeance at the hands of the Huguenots, the necessity of
taking the lead in the internecine snuggle; were employed with Medicean
art, and with entire success. The King was lashed into a frenzy. Starting
to his feet, with a howl of rage and terror, "I agree to the scheme," he
cried, "provided not one Huguenot be left alive in France to reproach me
with the deed."

That night the slaughter commenced. The long premeditated crime was
executed in a panic, but the work was thoroughly done. The King, who a
few days before had written with his own hand to Louis of Nassau,
expressing his firm determination to sustain the Protestant cause both in
France and the Netherlands, who had employed the counsels of Coligny in
the arrangement, of his plans, and who had sent French troops, under
Genlis and La None, to assist their Calvinist brethren in Flanders, now
gave the signal for the general massacre of the Protestants, and with his
own hands, from his own palace windows, shot his subjects with his
arquebuss as if they had been wild beasts.

Between Sunday and Tuesday, according to one of the most moderate
calculations, five thousand Parisians of all ranks were murdered. Within
the whole kingdom, the number of victims was variously estimated at from
twenty-five thousand to one hundred thousand. The heart of Protestant
Europe, for an instant, stood still with horror. The Queen of England put
on mourning weeds, and spurned the apologies of the French envoy with
contempt. At Rome, on the contrary, the news of the massacre created a
joy beyond description. The Pope, accompanied by his cardinals, went
solemnly to the church of Saint Mark to render thanks to God for the
grace thus singularly vouchsafed to the Holy See and to all Christendom;
and a Te Deum was performed in presence of the same august assemblage.

But nothing could exceed the satisfaction which the event occasioned in
the mind of Philip the Second. There was an end now of all assistance
from the French government to the Netherland Protestants. "The news of
the events upon Saint Bartholomew's day," wrote the French envoy at
Madrid, Saint Goard, to Charles IX., "arrived on the 7th September. The
King, on receiving the intelligence, showed, contrary to his natural
custom, so much gaiety, that he seemed more delighted than with all the
good fortune or happy incidents which had ever before occurred to him. He
called all his familiars about him in order to assure them that your
Majesty was his good brother, and that no one else deserved the title of
Most Christian. He sent his secretary Cayas to me with his felicitations
upon the event, and with the information that he was just going to Saint
Jerome to render thanks to God, and to offer his prayers that your
Majesty might receive Divine support in this great affair. I went to see
him next morning, and as soon as I came into his presence he began to
laugh, and with demonstrations of extreme contentment, to praise your
Majesty as deserving your title of Most Christian, telling me there was
no King worthy to be your Majesty's companion, either for valor or
prudence. He praised the steadfast resolution and the long dissimulation
of so great an enterprise, which all the world would not be able to

"I thanked him," continued the embassador, "and I said that I thanked God
for enabling your Majesty to prove to his Master that his apprentice had
learned his trade, and deserved his title of most Christian King. I
added, that he ought to confess that he owed the preservation of the
Netherlands to your Majesty."

Nothing certainly could, in Philip's apprehension, be more delightful
than this most unexpected and most opportune intelligence. Charles IX.,
whose intrigues in the Netherlands he had long known, had now been
suddenly converted by this stupendous crime into his most powerful ally,
while at the same time the Protestants of Europe would learn that there
was still another crowned head in Christendom more deserving of
abhorrence than himself. He wrote immediately to Alva, expressing his
satisfaction that the King of France had disembarrassed himself of such
pernicious men, because he would now be obliged to cultivate the
friendship of Spain, neither the English Queen nor the German Protestants
being thenceforth capable of trusting him. He informed the Duke,
moreover, that the French envoy, Saint Goard, had been urging him to
command the immediate execution of Genlis and his companions, who had
been made prisoners, as well as all the Frenchmen who would be captured
in Mons; and that he fully concurred in the propriety of the measure.
"The sooner," said Philip, "these noxious plants are extirpated from the
earth, the less fear there is that a fresh crop will spring up." The
monarch therefore added, with his own hand, to the letter, "I desire that
if you have not already disembarrassed the world of them, you will do it
immediately, and inform me thereof, for I see no reason why it should be

This is the demoniacal picture painted by the French ambassador, and by
Philip's own hand, of the Spanish monarch's joy that his "Most Christian"
brother had just murdered twenty-five thousand of his own subjects. In
this cold-blooded way, too, did his Catholic Majesty order the execution
of some thousand Huguenots additionally, in order more fully to carry out
his royal brother's plans; yet Philip could write of himself, "that all
the world recognized the gentleness of his nature and the mildness of his

In truth, the advice thus given by Saint Goard on the subject of the
French prisoners in Alva's possessions, was a natural result of the Saint
Bartholomew. Here were officers and soldiers whom Charles IX. had himself
sent into the Netherlands to fight for the Protestant cause against
Philip and Alva. Already, the papers found upon them had placed him in
some embarrassment, and exposed his duplicity to the Spanish government,
before the great massacre had made such signal reparation for his
delinquency. He had ordered Mondoucet, his envoy in the Netherlands, to
use dissimulation to an unstinted amount, to continue his intrigues with
the Protestants, and to deny stoutly all proofs of such connivance. "I
see that the papers found upon Genlis;" he wrote twelve days before the
massacre, "have been put into the hands of Assonleville, and that they
know everything done by Genlis to have been committed with my consent."

   [These remarkable letters exchanged between Charles IX. and
   Mondoucet have recently been published by M. Emile Gachet (chef du
   bureau paleographique aux Archives de Belgique) from a manuscript
   discovered by him in the library at Rheims.--Compte Rendu de la Com.
   Roy. d'Hist., iv. 340, sqq.]

"Nevertheless, you will tell the Duke of Alva that these are lies
invented to excite suspicion against me. You will also give him
occasional information of the enemy's affairs, in order to make him
believe in your integrity. Even if he does not believe you, my purpose
will be answered, provided you do it dexterously. At the same time you
must keep up a constant communication with the Prince of Orange, taking
great care to prevent discovery of your intelligence with King."

Were not these masterstrokes of diplomacy worthy of a King whom his
mother, from boyhood upwards, had caused to study Macchiavelli's
"Prince," and who had thoroughly taken to heart the maxim, often repeated
in those days, that the "Science of reigning was the science of lying"?

The joy in the Spanish camp before Mons was unbounded. It was as if the
only bulwark between the Netherland rebels and total destruction had been
suddenly withdrawn. With anthems in Saint Gudule, with bonfires, festive
illuminations, roaring artillery, with trumpets also, and with shawms,
was the glorious holiday celebrated in court and camp, in honor of the
vast murder committed by the Most Christian King upon his Christian
subjects; nor was a moment lost in apprising the Huguenot soldiers shut
up with Louis of Nassau in the beleaguered city of the great catastrophe
which was to render all their valor fruitless. "'T was a punishment,"
said a Spanish soldier, who fought most courageously before Mons, and who
elaborately described the siege afterwards, "well worthy of a king whose
title is 'The Most Christian,' and it was still more honorable to inflict
it with his own hands as he did." Nor was the observation a pithy
sarcasm, but a frank expression of opinion, from a man celebrated alike
for the skill with which he handled both his sword and his pen.

The French envoy in the Netherlands was, of course, immediately informed
by his sovereign of the great event: Charles IX. gave a very pithy
account of the transaction. "To prevent the success of the enterprise
planned by the Admiral," wrote the King on the 26th of August, with hands
yet reeking, and while the havoc throughout France was at its height, "I
have been obliged to permit the said Guises to rush upon the said
Admiral,--which they have done, the said Admiral having been killed and
all his adherents. A very great number of those belonging to the new
religion have also been massacred and cut to pieces. It is probable that
the fire thus kindled will spread through all the cities of my kingdom,
and that all those of the said religion will be made sure of." Not often,
certainly, in history, has a Christian king spoken thus calmly of
butchering his subjects while the work was proceeding all around him. It
is to be observed, moreover, that the usual excuse for such enormities,
religious fanaticism, can not be even suggested on this occasion.
Catharine, in times past had favored Huguenots as much as Catholics,
while Charles had been, up to the very moment of the crime, in strict
alliance with the heretics of both France and Flanders, and furthering
the schemes of Orange and Nassau. Nay, even at this very moment, and in
this very letter in which he gave the news of the massacre, he charged
his envoy still to maintain the closest but most secret intelligence with
the Prince of Orange; taking great care that the Duke of Alva should not
discover these relations. His motives were, of course, to prevent the
Prince from abandoning his designs, and from coming to make a disturbance
in France. The King, now that the deed was done, was most anxious to reap
all the fruits of his crime. "Now, M. de Mondoucet, it is necessary in
such affairs," he continued, "to have an eye to every possible
contingency. I know that this news will be most agreeable to the Duke of
Alva, for it is most favorable to his designs. At the same time, I don't
desire that he alone should gather the fruit. I don't choose that he
should, according to his excellent custom, conduct his affairs in such
wise as to throw the Prince of Orange upon my hands, besides sending back
to France Genlis and the other prisoners, as well as the French now shut
up in Mons."

This was a sufficiently plain hint, which Mondoucet could not well
misunderstand. "Observe the Duke's countenance carefully when you give
him this message," added the King, "and let me know his reply." In order,
however, that there might be no mistake about the matter, Charles wrote
again to his ambassador, five days afterwards, distinctly stating the
regret which he should feel if Alva should not take the city of Mons, or
if he should take it by composition. "Tell the Duke," said he, "that it
is most important for the service of his master and of God that those
Frenchmen and others in Mons should be cut in pieces." He wrote another
letter upon the name day, such was his anxiety upon the subject,
instructing the envoy to urge upon Alva the necessity of chastising those
rebels to the French crown. "If he tells you," continued Charles, "that
this is tacitly requiring him to put to death all the French prisoners
now in hand as well to cut in pieces every man in Mons, you will say to
him that this is exactly what he ought to do, and that he will be guilty
of a great wrong to Christianity if he does otherwise." Certainly, the
Duke, having been thus distinctly ordered, both by his own master and by
his Christian Majesty, to put every one of these Frenchmen to death, had
a sufficiency of royal warrant. Nevertheless, he was not able to execute
entirely these ferocious instructions. The prisoners already in his power
were not destined to escape, but the city of Mons, in his own language,
"proved to have sharper teeth than he supposed."

Mondoucet lost no time in placing before Alva the urgent necessity of
accomplishing the extensive and cold-blooded massacre thus proposed. "The
Duke has replied," wrote the envoy to his sovereign, "that he is
executing his prisoners every day, and that he has but a few left.
Nevertheless, for some reason which he does not mention, he is reserving
the principal noblemen and chiefs." He afterwards informed his master
that Genlis, Jumelles, and the other leaders, had engaged, if Alva would
grant them a reasonable ransom, to induce the French in Mons to leave the
city, but that the Duke, although his language was growing less
confident, still hoped to take the town by assault. "I have urged him,"
he added, "to put them all to death, assuring him that he would be
responsible for the consequences of a contrary course."--"Why does not
your Most Christian master," asked Alva, "order these Frenchmen in Mons
to come to him under oath to make no disturbance? Then my prisoners will
be at my discretion and I shall get my city."--"Because," answered the
envoy, "they will not trust his Most Christian Majesty, and will prefer
to die in Mons."--[Mondoucet to Charles IX., 15th September, 1572.]

This certainly was a most sensible reply, but it is instructive to
witness the cynicism with which the envoy accepts this position for his
master, while coldly recording the results of all these sanguinary

Such was the condition of affairs when the Prince of Orange arrived at
Peronne, between Binche and the Duke of Alva's entrenchments. The
besieging army was rich in notabilities of elevated rank. Don Frederic of
Toledo had hitherto commanded, but on the 27th of August, the Dukes of
Medina Coeli and of Alva had arrived in the camp. Directly afterwards
came the warlike Archbishop of Cologne, at the head of two thousand
cavalry. There was but one chance for the Prince of Orange, and
experience had taught him, four years before, its slenderness. He might
still provoke his adversary into a pitched battle, and he relied upon God
for the result. In his own words, "he trusted ever that the great God of
armies was with him, and would fight in the midst of his forces." If so
long as Alva remained in his impregnable camp, it was impossible to
attack him, or to throw reinforcements into Mons. The Prince soon found,
too, that Alva was far too wise to hazard his position by a superfluous
combat. The Duke knew that the cavalry of the Prince was superior to his
own. He expressed himself entirely unwilling to play into the Prince's
hands, instead of winning the game which was no longer doubtful. The
Huguenot soldiers within Mons were in despair and mutiny; Louis of Nassau
lay in his bed consuming with a dangerous fever; Genlis was a prisoner,
and his army cut to pieces; Coligny was murdered, and Protestant France
paralyzed; the troops of Orange, enlisted but for three months, were
already rebellious, and sure to break into open insubordination when the
consequences of the Paris massacre should become entirely clear to them;
and there were, therefore, even more cogent reasons than in 1568, why
Alva should remain perfectly still, and see his enemy's cause founder
before his eyes. The valiant Archbishop of Cologne was most eager for the
fray. He rode daily at the Duke's side, with harness on his back and
pistols in his holsters, armed and attired like one of his own troopers,
and urging the Duke, with vehemence, to a pitched battle with the Prince.
The Duke commended, but did not yield to, the prelate's enthusiasm. "'Tis
a fine figure of a man, with his corslet and pistols," he wrote to
Philip, "and he shows great affection for your Majesty's service."

The issue of the campaign was inevitable. On the 11th September, Don
Frederic, with a force of four thousand picked men, established himself
at Saint Florian, a village near the Havre gate of the city, while the
Prince had encamped at Hermigny, within half a league of the same place,
whence he attempted to introduce reinforcements into the town. On the
night of the 11th and 12th, Don Frederic hazarded an encamisada upon the
enemy's camp, which proved eminently successful, and had nearly resulted
in the capture of the Prince himself. A chosen band of six hundred
arquebussers, attired, as was customary in these nocturnal expeditions,
with their shirts outside their armor, that they might recognize each
other in the darkness, were led by Julian Romero, within the lines of the
enemy. The sentinels were cut down, the whole army surprised, and for a
moment powerless, while, for two hours long, from one o'clock in the
morning until three, the Spaniards butchered their foes, hardly aroused
from their sleep, ignorant by how small a force they had been thus
suddenly surprised, and unable in the confusion to distinguish between
friend and foe. The boldest, led by Julian in person, made at once for
the Prince's tent. His guards and himself were in profound sleep, but a
small spaniel, who always passed the night upon his bed, was a more
faithful sentinel. The creature sprang forward, barking furiously at the
sound of hostile footsteps, and scratching his master's face with his
paws.--There was but just time for the Prince to mount a horse which was
ready saddled, and to effect his escape through the darkness, before his
enemies sprang into the tent. His servants were cut down, his master of
the horse and two of his secretaries, who gained their saddles a moment
later, all lost their lives, and but for the little dog's watchfulness,
William of Orange, upon whose shoulders the whole weight of his country's
fortunes depended, would have been led within a week to an ignominious
death. To his dying day, the Prince ever afterwards kept a spaniel of the
same race in his bed-chamber. The midnight slaughter still continued, but
the Spaniards in their fury, set fire to the tents. The glare of the
conflagration showed the Orangists by how paltry a force they had been
surprised. Before they could rally, however, Romero led off his
arquebusiers, every one of whom had at least killed his man. Six hundred
of the Prince's troops had been put to the sword, while many others were
burned in their beds, or drowned in the little rivulet which flowed
outside their camp. Only sixty Spaniards lost their lives.

This disaster did not alter the plans of the Prince, for those plans had
already been frustrated. The whole marrow of his enterprise had been
destroyed in an instant by the massacre of Saint Bartholomew. He
retreated to Wronne and Nivelles, an assassin, named Heist, a German, by
birth, but a French chevalier, following him secretly in his camp,
pledged to take his life for a large reward promised by Alva--an
enterprise not destined, however, to be successful. The soldiers flatly
refused to remain an hour longer in the field, or even to furnish an
escort for Count Louis, if, by chance, he could be brought out of the
town. The Prince was obliged to inform his brother of the desperate state
of his affairs, and to advise him to capitulate on the best terms which
he could make. With a heavy heart, he left the chivalrous Louis besieged
in the city which he had so gallantly captured, and took his way across
the Meuse towards the Rhine. A furious mutiny broke out among his troops.
His life was, with difficulty, saved from the brutal soldiery--infuriated
at his inability to pay them, except in the over-due securities of the
Holland cities--by the exertions of the officers who still regarded him
with veneration and affection. Crossing the Rhine at Orsoy, he disbanded
his army and betook himself, almost alone, to Holland.

Yet even in this hour of distress and defeat, the Prince seemed more
heroic than many a conqueror in his day of triumph. With all his hopes
blasted, with the whole fabric of his country's fortunes shattered by the
colossal crime of his royal ally, he never lost his confidence in himself
nor his unfaltering trust in God. All the cities which, but a few weeks
before, had so eagerly raised his standard, now fell off at once. He went
to Holland, the only province which remained true, and which still looked
up to him as its saviour, but he went thither expecting and prepared to
perish. "There I will make my sepulchre," was his simple and sublime
expression in a private letter to his brother.

He had advanced to the rescue of Louis, with city after city opening its
arms to receive him. He had expected to be joined on the march by
Coligny, at the head of a chosen army, and he was now obliged to leave
his brother to his fate, having the massacre of the Admiral and his
confederates substituted for their expected army of assistance, and with
every city and every province forsaking his cause as eagerly as they had
so lately embraced it. "It has pleased God," he said, "to take away every
hope which we could have founded upon man; the King has published that
the massacre was by his orders, and has forbidden all his subjects, upon
pain of death, to assist me; he has, moreover, sent succor to Alva. Had
it not been for this, we had been masters of the Duke, and should have
made him capitulate at our pleasure." Yet even then he was not cast down.

Nor was his political sagacity liable to impeachment by the extent to
which he had been thus deceived by the French court. "So far from being
reprehensible that I did not suspect such a crime," he said, "I should
rather be chargeable with malignity had I been capable of so sinister a
suspicion. 'Tis not an ordinary thing to conceal such enormous
deliberations under the plausible cover of a marriage festival."

Meanwhile, Count Louis lay confined to his couch with a burning fever.
His soldiers refused any longer to hold the city, now that the altered
intentions of Charles IX. were known and the forces of Orange withdrawn.
Alva offered the most honorable conditions, and it was therefore
impossible for the Count to make longer resistance. The city was so
important, and time was at that moment so valuable that the Duke was
willing to forego his vengeance upon the rebel whom he so cordially
detested, and to be satisfied with depriving, him of the prize which he
had seized with such audacity. "It would have afforded me sincere
pleasure," wrote the Duke, "over and above the benefit to God and your
Majesty, to have had the Count of Nassau in my power. I would overleap
every obstacle to seize him, such is the particular hatred which I bear
the man." Under, the circumstances, however, he acknowledged that the
result of the council of war could only be to grant liberal terms.

On the 19th September, accordingly, articles of capitulation were signed
between the distinguished De la None with three others on the one part,
and the Seigneur de Noircarmes and three others on the side of Spain. The
town was given over to Alva, but all the soldiers were to go out with
their weapons and property. Those of the townspeople who had borne arms
against his Majesty, and all who still held to the Reformed religion,
were to retire with the soldiery. The troops were to pledge themselves
not to serve in future against the Kings of France or Spain, but from
this provision Louis, with his English and German soldiers, was expressly
excepted, the Count indignantly repudiating the idea of such a pledge, or
of discontinuing his hostilities for an instant. It was also agreed that
convoys should be furnished, and hostages exchanged, for the due
observance of the terms of the treaty. The preliminaries having been thus
settled, the patriot forces abandoned the town.

Count Louis, rising from his sick bed, paid his respects in person to the
victorious generals, at their request. He was received in Alva's camp
with an extraordinary show of admiration and esteem. The Duke of Medina
Coeli overwhelmed him with courtesies and "basolomanos," while Don
Frederic assured him, in the high-flown language of Spanish compliment,
that there was nothing which he would not do to serve him, and that he
would take a greater pleasure in executing his slightest wish than if he
had been his next of kin.

As the Count next day, still suffering with fever, and attired in his
long dressing-gown, was taking his departure from the city, he ordered
his carriage to stop at the entrance to Don Frederic's quarters. That
general, who had been standing incognito near the door, gazing with
honest admiration at the hero of so many a hard-fought field, withdrew as
he approached, that he might not give the invalid the trouble of
alighting. Louis, however, recognising him, addressed him with the
Spanish salutation, "Perdone vuestra Senoria la pesedumbre," and paused
at the gate. Don Frederic, from politeness to his condition, did not
present himself, but sent an aid-de-camp to express his compliments and
good wishes. Having exchanged these courtesies, Louis left the city,
conveyed, as had been agreed upon, by a guard of Spanish troops. There
was a deep meaning in the respect with which the Spanish generals had
treated the rebel chieftain. Although the massacre of Saint Bartholomew
met with Alva's entire approbation, yet it was his cue to affect a holy
horror at the event, and he avowed that he would "rather cut off both his
hands than be guilty of such a deed"--as if those hangman's hands had the
right to protest against any murder, however wholesale. Count Louis
suspected at once, and soon afterwards thoroughly understood; the real
motives of the chivalrous treatment which he had received. He well knew
that these very men would have sent him to the scaffold; had he fallen
into their power, and he therefore estimated their courtesy at its proper

It was distinctly stated, in the capitulation of the city, that all the
soldiers, as well as such of the inhabitants as had borne arms, should be
allowed to leave the city, with all their property. The rest of the
people, it was agreed, might remain without molestation to their persons
or estates. It has been the general opinion of historians that the
articles of this convention were maintained by the conquerors in good
faith. Never was a more signal error. The capitulation was made late at
night, on the 20th September, without the provision which Charles IX. had
hoped for: the massacre, namely, of De la None and his companions. As for
Genlis and those who had been taken prisoners at his defeat, their doom
had already been sealed. The city was evacuated on the 21st September:
Alva entered it upon the 24th. Most of the volunteers departed with the
garrison, but many who had, most unfortunately, prolonged their farewells
to their families, trusting to the word of the Spanish Captain Molinos,
were thrown into prison. Noircarmes the butcher of Valenciennes, now made
his appearance in Mons. As grand bailiff of Hainault, he came to the
place as one in authority, and his deeds were now to complete the infamy
which must for ever surround his name. In brutal violation of the terms
upon which the town had surrendered, he now set about the work of
massacre and pillage. A Commission of Troubles, in close imitation of the
famous Blood Council at Brussels, was established, the members of the
tribunal being appointed by Noircarmes, and all being inhabitants of the
town. The council commenced proceedings by condemning all the volunteers,
although expressly included in the capitulation. Their wives and
children were all banished; their property all confiscated. On the 15th
December, the executions commenced. The intrepid De Leste, silk
manufacturer, who had commanded a band of volunteers, and sustained
during the siege the assaults of Alva's troops with remarkable courage at
a very critical moment, was one of the earliest victims. In consideration
"that he was a gentleman, and not among the most malicious," he was
executed by sword. "In respect that he heard the mass, and made a sweet
and Catholic end," it was allowed that he should be "buried in
consecrated earth." Many others followed in quick succession. Some were
beheaded, some were hanged, some were burned alive. All who had borne
arms or worked at the fortifications were, of course, put to death. Such
as refused to confess and receive the Catholic sacraments perished by
fire. A poor wretch, accused of having ridiculed these mysteries, had his
tongue torn out before being beheaded. A cobbler, named Blaise Bouzet,
was hanged for having eaten meat-soup upon Friday. He was also accused of
going to the Protestant preachings for the sake of participating in the
alms distributed an these occasions, a crime for which many other paupers
were executed. An old man of sixty-two was sent to the scaffold for
having permitted his son to bear arms among the volunteers. At last, when
all pretexts were wanting to justify executions; the council assigned as
motives for its decrees an adhesion of heart on the part of the victims
to the cause of the insurgents, or to the doctrines of the Reformed
Church. Ten, twelve, twenty persons, were often hanged, burned, or
beheaded in a single day. Gibbets laden with mutilated bodies lined the
public highways,--while Noircarmes, by frightful expressions of
approbation, excited without ceasing the fury of his satellites. This
monster would perhaps, be less worthy of execration had he been governed
in these foul proceedings by fanatical bigotry or by political hatred;
but his motives were of the most sordid description. It was mainly to
acquire gold for himself that he ordained all this carnage. With the same
pen which signed the death-sentences of the richest victims, he drew
orders to his own benefit on their confiscated property. The lion's share
of the plunder was appropriated by himself. He desired the estate; of
Francois de Glarges, Seigneur d'Eslesmes. The gentleman had committed no
offence of any kind, and, moreover, lived beyond the French frontier.
Nevertheless, in contempt of international law, the neighbouring
territory was invaded, and d'Eslesmes dragged before the blood tribunal
of Mons. Noircarmes had drawn up beforehand, in his own handwriting, both
the terms of the accusation and of the sentence. The victim was innocent
and a Catholic, but he was rich. He confessed to have been twice at the
preaching, from curiosity, and to have omitted taking the sacrament at
the previous Easter. For these offences he was beheaded, and his
confiscated estate adjudged at an almost nominal price to the secretary
of Noircarmes, bidding for his master. "You can do me no greater
pleasure," wrote Noircarmes to the council, "than to make quick work with
all these rebels, and to proceed with the confiscation of their estates,
real and personal. Don't fail to put all those to the torture out of whom
anything can be got."

Notwithstanding the unexampled docility of the commissioners, they found
it difficult to extract from their redoubted chief a reasonable share in
the wages of blood. They did not scruple, therefore, to display their
own infamy, and to enumerate their own crimes, in order to justify their
demand for higher salaries. "Consider," they said, in a petition to this
end, "consider closely, all that is odious in our office, and the great
number of banishments and of executions which we have pronounced among
all our own relations and friends."

It may be added, moreover, as a slight palliation for the enormous crimes
committed by these men, that, becoming at last weary of their business,
they urged Noircarmes to desist from the work of proscription. Longehaye,
one of the commissioners, even waited upon him personally, with a plea
for mercy in favor of "the poor people, even beggars, who, although
having borne arms during the siege, might then be pardoned." Noircarmes,
in a rage at the proposition, said that "if he did not know the
commissioners to be honest men, he should believe that their palms had
been oiled," and forbade any farther words on the subject. When Longehaye
still ventured to speak in favor of certain persons "who were very poor
and simple, not charged with duplicity, and good Catholics besides," he
fared no better. "Away with you!" cried Noircarmes in a great fury,
adding that he had already written to have execution done upon the whole
of them. "Whereupon," said poor blood-councillor Longehaye, in his letter
to his colleagues, "I retired, I leave you to guess how."

Thus the work went on day after day, month after month. Till the 27th
August of the following year (1573) the executioner never rested, and
when Requesens, successor to Alva, caused the prisons of Mons to be
opened, there were found still seventy-five individuals condemned to the
block, and awaiting their fate.

It is the most dreadful commentary upon the times in which these
transactions occurred, that they could sink so soon into oblivion. The
culprits took care to hide the records of their guilt, while succeeding
horrors, on a more extensive scale, at other places, effaced the memory
of all these comparatively obscure murders and spoliations. The
prosperity of Mons, one of the most flourishing and wealthy manufacturing
towns in the Netherlands, was annihilated, but there were so many cities
in the same condition that its misery was hardly remarkable.
Nevertheless, in our own days, the fall of a mouldering tower in the
ruined Chateau de Naast at last revealed the archives of all these
crimes. How the documents came to be placed there remains a mystery, but
they have at last been brought to light.

The Spaniards had thus recovered Mons, by which event the temporary
revolution throughout the whole Southern Netherlands was at an end. The
keys of that city unlocked the gates of every other in Brabant and
Flanders. The towns which had so lately embraced the authority of Orange
now hastened to disavow the Prince, and to return to their ancient,
hypocritical, and cowardly allegiance. The new oaths of fidelity were in
general accepted by Alva, but the beautiful archiepiscopal city of
Mechlin was selected for an example and a sacrifice.

There were heavy arrears due to the Spanish troops. To indemnify them,
and to make good his blasphemous prophecy of Divine chastisement for its
past misdeeds, Alva now abandoned this town to the licence of his
soldiery. By his command Don Frederic advanced to the gates and demanded
its surrender. He was answered by a few shots from the garrison. Those
cowardly troops, however, having thus plunged the city still more deeply
into the disgrace which, in Alva's eyes, they had incurred by receiving
rebels within their walls after having but just before refused admittance
to the Spanish forces, decamped during the night, and left the place

Early next morning there issued from the gates a solemn procession of
priests, with banner and crozier, followed by a long and suppliant throng
of citizens, who attempted by this demonstration to avert the wrath of
the victor. While the penitent psalms were resounding, the soldiers were
busily engaged in heaping dried branches and rubbish into the moat.
Before the religious exercises were concluded, thousands had forced the
gates or climbed the walls; and entered the city with a celerity which
only the hope of rapine could inspire. The sack instantly commenced. The
property of friend and foe, of Papist and Calvinist, was indiscriminately
rifled. Everything was dismantled and destroyed. "Hardly a nail," said a
Spaniard, writing soon afterwards from Brussels, "was left standing in
the walls." The troops seemed to imagine themselves in a Turkish town,
and wreaked the Divine vengeance which Alva had denounced upon the city
with an energy which met with his fervent applause.

Three days long the horrible scene continued, one day for the benefit of
the Spaniards, two more for that of the Walloons and Germans. All the
churches, monasteries, religious houses of every kind, were completely
sacked. Every valuable article which they contained, the ornaments of
altars, the reliquaries, chalices, embroidered curtains, and carpets of
velvet or damask, the golden robes of the priests, the repositories of
the host, the precious vessels of chrism and extreme unction, the rich
clothing and jewellery adorning the effigies of the Holy Virgin, all were
indiscriminately rifled by the Spanish soldiers. The holy wafers were
trampled underfoot, the sacramental wine was poured upon the ground, and,
in brief, all the horrors which had been committed by the iconoclasts in
their wildest moments, and for a thousandth part of which enormities
heretics had been burned in droves, were now repeated in Mechlin by the
especial soldiers of Christ, by Roman Catholics who had been sent to the
Netherlands to avenge the insults offered to the Roman Catholic faith.
The motive, too, which inspired the sacrilegious crew was not fanaticism,
but the desire of plunder. The property of Romanists was taken as freely
as that of Calvinists, of which sect there were; indeed, but few in the
archiepiscopal city. Cardinal Granvelle's house was rifled. The pauper
funds deposited in the convents were not respected. The beds were taken
from beneath sick and dying women, whether lady abbess or hospital
patient, that the sacking might be torn to pieces in search of hidden

The iconoclasts of 1566 had destroyed millions of property for the sake
of an idea, but they had appropriated nothing. Moreover, they had
scarcely injured a human being; confining their wrath to graven images.
The Spaniards at Mechlin spared neither man nor woman. The murders and
outrages would be incredible, were they not attested by most respectable
Catholic witnesses. Men were butchered in their houses, in the streets,
at the altars. Women were violated by hundreds in churches and in
grave-yards. Moreover, the deed had been as deliberately arranged as it
was thoroughly performed. It was sanctioned by the highest authority. Don
Frederic, Son of Alva, and General Noircarmes were both present at the
scene, and applications were in vain made to them that the havoc might be
stayed. "They were seen whispering to each other in the ear on their
arrival," says an eye-witness and a Catholic, "and it is well known that
the affair had been resolved upon the preceding day. The two continued
together as long as they remained in the city." The work was, in truth,
fully accomplished. The ultra-Catholic, Jean Richardot, member of the
Grand Council, and nephew of the Bishop of Arras, informed the State
Council that the sack of Mechlin had been so horrible that the poor and
unfortunate mothers had not a single morsel of bread to put in the mouths
of their children, who were dying before their eyes--so insane and cruel
had been the avarice of the plunderers. "He could say more," he added,
"if his hair did not stand on end, not only at recounting, but even at
remembering the scene."

Three days long the city was abandoned to that trinity of furies which
ever wait upon War's footsteps--Murder, Lust, and Rapine--under whose
promptings human beings become so much more terrible than the most
ferocious beasts. In his letter to his master, the Duke congratulated him
upon these foul proceedings as upon a pious deed well accomplished. He
thought it necessary, however; to excuse himself before the public in a
document, which justified the sack of Mechlin by its refusal to accept
his garrison a few months before, and by the shots which had been
discharged at his troops as they approached the city. For these offences,
and by his express order, the deed was done. Upon his head must the guilt
for ever rest.


     Hanged for having eaten meat-soup upon Friday
     Provided not one Huguenot be left alive in France
     Put all those to the torture out of whom anything can be got
     Saint Bartholomew's day
     Science of reigning was the science of lying




1572-73 [CHAPTER VIII.]

   Affairs in Holland and Zealand--Siege of Tergoes by the patriots--
   Importance of the place--Difficulty of relieving it--Its position--
   Audacious plan for sending succor across the "Drowned Land"--
   Brilliant and successful expedition of Mondragon--The siege raised--
   Horrible sack of Zutphen--Base conduct of Count Van den Berg--
   Refusal of Naarden to surrender--Subsequent unsuccessful deputation
   to make terms with Don Frederic--Don Frederic before Naarden--
   Treachery of Romero--The Spaniards admitted--General massacre of the
   garrison and burghers--The city burned to the ground--Warm reception
   of Orange in Holland--Secret negotiations with the Estates--
   Desperate character of the struggle between Spain and the provinces
   --Don Frederic in Amsterdam--Plans for reducing Holland--Skirmish on
   the ice at Amsterdam--Preparation in Harlem for the expected siege--
   Description of the city--Early operations--Complete investment--
   Numbers of besiegers and besieged--Mutual barbarities--Determined
   repulse of the first assault--Failure of Batenburg's expedition--
   Cruelties in city and camp--Mining and countermining--Second assault
   victoriously repelled--Suffering and disease in Harlem--Disposition
   of Don Frederic to retire--Memorable rebuke by Alva--Efforts of
   Orange to relieve the place--Sonoy's expedition--Exploit of John
   Haring--Cruel execution of prisoners on both sides--Quiryn Dirkzoon
   and his family put to death in the city--Fleets upon the lake--
   Defeat of the patriot armada--Dreadful suffering and starvation in
   the city--Parley with the besiegers--Despair of the city--Appeal to
   Orange--Expedition under Batenburg to relieve the city--His defeat
   and death--Desperate condition of Harlem--Its surrender at
   discretion--Sanguinary executions--General massacre--Expense of the
   victory in blood and money--Joy of Philip at the news.

While thus Brabant and Flanders were scourged back to the chains which
they had so recently broken, the affairs of the Prince of Orange were not
improving in Zealand. Never was a twelvemonth so marked by contradictory
fortune, never were the promises of a spring followed by such blight and
disappointment in autumn than in the memorable year 1572. On the island
of Walcheren, Middelburg and Arnemuyde still held for the King--Campveer
and Flushing for the Prince of Orange. On the island of South Bevelaad,
the city of Goes or Tergoes was still stoutly defended by a small
garrison of Spanish troops. As long as the place held out, the city of
Middelburg could be maintained. Should that important city fall, the
Spaniards would lose all hold upon Walcheren and the province of Zealand.

Jerome de 't Zeraerts, a brave, faithful, but singularly unlucky officer,
commanded for the Prince in Walcheren. He had attempted by various
hastily planned expeditions to give employment to his turbulent soldiery,
but fortune had refused to smile upon his efforts. He had laid siege to
Middelburg and failed. He had attempted Tergoes and had been compelled
ingloriously to retreat. The citizens of Flushing, on his return, had
shut the gates of the town in his face, and far several days refused to
admit him or his troops. To retrieve this disgrace, which had sprung
rather from the insubordination of his followers and the dislike which
they bore his person than from any want of courage or conduct on his
part, he now assembled a force of seven thousand men, marched again to
Tergoes, and upon the 26th of August laid siege to the place in forma.
The garrison was very insufficient, and although they conducted
themselves with great bravery, it was soon evident that unless reinforced
they must yield. With their overthrow it was obvious that the Spaniards
would lose the important maritime province of Zealand, and the Duke
accordingly ordered D'Avila, who commanded in Antwerp, to throw succor
into Tergoes without delay. Attempts were made, by sea and by land, to
this effect, but were all unsuccessful. The Zealanders commanded the
waters with their fleet,--and were too much at home among those gulfs and
shallows not to be more than a match for their enemies. Baffled in their
attempt to relieve the town by water or by land, the Spaniards conceived
an amphibious scheme. Their plan led to one of the most brilliant feats
of arms which distinguishes the history of this war.

The Scheld, flowing past the city of Antwerp and separating the provinces
of Flanders and Brabant, opens wide its two arms in nearly opposite
directions, before it joins the sea. Between these two arms lie the isles
of Zealand, half floating upon, half submerged by the waves. The town of
Tergoes was the chief city of South Beveland, the most important part of
this archipelago, but South Beveland had not always been an island. Fifty
years before, a tempest, one of the most violent recorded in the stormy
annals of that exposed country, had overthrown all barriers, the waters
of the German Ocean, lashed by a succession of north winds, having been
driven upon the low coast of Zealand more rapidly than they could be
carried off through the narrow straits of Dover. The dykes of the island
had burst, the ocean had swept over the land, hundreds of villages had
been overwhelmed, and a tract of country torn from the province and
buried for ever beneath the sea. This "Drowned Land," as it is called,
now separated the island from the main. At low tide it was, however,
possible for experienced pilots to ford the estuary, which had usurped
the place of the land. The average depth was between four and five feet
at low water, while the tide rose and fell at least ten feet; the bottom
was muddy and treacherous, and it was moreover traversed by three living
streams or channels; always much too deep to be fordable.

Captain Plomaert, a Fleming of great experience and bravery, warmly
attached to the King's cause, conceived the plan of sending
reinforcements across this drowned district to the city of Tergoes.
Accompanied by two peasants of the country, well acquainted with the
track, he twice accomplished the dangerous and difficult passage; which,
from dry land to dry land, was nearly ten English miles in length. Having
thus satisfied himself as to the possibility of the enterprise, he laid
his plan before the Spanish colonel, Mondragon. That courageous veteran
eagerly embraced the proposal, examined the ground, and after
consultation with Sancho Avila, resolved in person to lead an expedition
along the path suggested by Plomaert. Three thousand picked men, a
thousand from each nation,--Spaniards, Walloons, and Germans, were
speedily and secretly assembled at Bergen op Zoom, from the neighbourhood
of which city, at a place called Aggier, it was necessary that the
expedition should set forth. A quantity of sacks were provided, in which
a supply of, biscuit and of powder was placed, one to be carried by each
soldier upon his head. Although it was already late in the autumn, the
weather was propitious; the troops, not yet informed: as to the secret
enterprise for which they had been selected, were all ready assembled at
the edge of the water, and Mondragon, who, notwithstanding his age, had
resolved upon heading the hazardous expedition, now briefly, on the
evening of the 20th October, explained to them the nature of the service.
His statement of the dangers which they were about to encounter, rather
inflamed than diminished their ardor. Their enthusiasm became unbounded,
as he described the importance of the city which they were about to save,
and alluded to the glory which would be won by those who thus
courageously came forward to its rescue. The time of about half ebb-tide
having arrived, the veteran,--preceded only by the guides and Plomaert,
plunged gaily into the waves, followed by his army, almost in single
file. The water was never lowed khan the breast, often higher than the
shoulder. The distance to the island, three and a half leagues at least,
was to be accomplished within at most, six hours, or the rising tide
would overwhelm them for ever. And thus, across the quaking and uncertain
slime, which often refused them a footing, that adventurous band, five
hours long, pursued their midnight march, sometimes swimming for their
lives, and always struggling with the waves which every instant
threatened to engulph them.

Before the tide had risen to more than half-flood, before the day had
dawned, the army set foot on dry land again, at the village of Irseken.
Of the whole three thousand, only nine unlucky individuals had been
drowned; so much had courage and discipline availed in that dark and
perilous passage through the very bottom of the sea. The Duke of Alva
might well pronounce it one of the most brilliant and original
achievements in the annals of war. The beacon fires were immediately
lighted upon the shore; as agreed upon, to inform Sancho d'Avila, who was
anxiously awaiting the result at Bergen op Zoom, of the safe arrival of
the troops. A brief repose was then allowed. At the approach of daylight,
they set forth from Irseken, which lay about four leagues from Tergoes.
The news that a Spanish army had thus arisen from the depths of the sea,
flew before them as they marched. The besieging force commanded the water
with their fleet, the land with their army; yet had these indomitable
Spaniards found a path which was neither land nor water, and had thus
stolen upon them in the silence of night. A panic preceded them as they
fell upon a foe much superior in number to their own force. It was
impossible for 't Zeraerts to induce his soldiers to offer resistance.
The patriot army fled precipitately and ignominiously to their ships,
hotly pursued by the Spaniards, who overtook and destroyed the whole of
their rearguard before they could embark. This done, the gallant little
garrison which had so successfully held the city, was reinforced with the
courageous veterans who had come to their relief his audacious project
thus brilliantly accomplished, the "good old Mondragon," as his soldiers
called him, returned to the province of Brabant.

After the capture of Mons and the sack of Mechlin, the Duke of Alva had
taken his way to Nimwegen, having despatched his son, Don Frederic, to
reduce the northern and eastern country, which was only too ready to
submit to the conqueror. Very little resistance was made by any of the
cities which had so recently, and--with such enthusiasm, embraced the
cause of Orange. Zutphen attempted a feeble opposition to the entrance of
the King's troops, and received a dreadful chastisement in consequence.
Alva sent orders to his son to leave not a single man alive in the city,
and to burn every house to the ground. The Duke's command was almost
literally obeyed. Don Frederic entered Zutphen, and without a moment's
warning put the whole garrison to the sword. The citizens next fell a
defenceless, prey; some being, stabbed in the streets, some hanged on the
trees which decorated the city, some stripped stark naked; and turned out
into the fields to freeze to death in the wintry night. As the work of
death became too fatiguing for the butchers, five hundred innocent
burghers were tied two and two, back to back, and drowned like dogs in
the river Yssel. A few stragglers who had contrived to elude pursuit at
first, were afterwards taken from their hiding places and hung upon the
gallows by the feet, some of which victims suffered four days and nights
of agony before death came to their relief. It is superfluous to add that
the outrages upon women were no less universal in Zutphen than they had
been in every city captured or occupied by the Spanish troops. These
horrors continued till scarcely chastity or life remained, throughout the
miserable city.

This attack and massacre had been so suddenly executed, that assistance
would hardly have been possible, even had there been disposition to
render it. There was; however, no such disposition. The whole country was
already cowering again, except the provinces of Holland and Zealand. No
one dared approach, even to learn what had occurred within the walls of
the town, for days after its doom had been accomplished. "A wail of agony
was heard above Zutphen last Sunday," wrote Count Nieuwenar, "a sound as
of a mighty massacre, but we know not what has taken place."

Count Van, den Bergh, another brother-in-law of Orange, proved himself
signally unworthy of the illustrious race to which he was allied. He had,
in the earlier part of the year, received the homage of the cities of
Gelderland and Overyssel, on behalf of the patriot Prince. He now basely
abandoned the field where he had endeavoured to gather laurels while the
sun of success had been shining. Having written from Kampen, whither he
had retired, that he meant to hold the city to the last gasp, he
immediately afterwards fled secretly and precipitately from the country.
In his flight he was plundered by his own people, while his wife, Mary of
Nassau, then far advanced in pregnancy, was left behind, disguised as a
peasant girl, in an obscure village.

With the flight of Van den Bergh, all the cities which, under his
guidance, had raised the standard of Orange, deserted the cause at once.
Friesland too, where Robles obtained a victory over six thousand
patriots, again submitted to the yoke. But if the ancient heart of the
free Frisians was beating thus feebly, there was still spirit left among
their brethren on the other side of the Zuyder Zee. It was not while
William of Orange was within her borders, nor while her sister provinces
had proved recreant to him, that Holland would follow their base example.
No rebellion being left, except in the north-western extremities of the
Netherlands, Don Frederic was ordered to proceed from Zutphen to
Amsterdam, thence to undertake the conquest of Holland. The little city
of Naarden, on the coast of the Zuyder Zee, lay in his path, and had not
yet formally submitted. On the 22nd of November a company of one hundred
troopers was sent to the city gates to demand its surrender. The small
garrison which had been left by the Prince was not disposed to resist,
but the spirit of the burghers was stouter than, their walls. They
answered the summons by a declaration that they had thus far held the
city for the King and the Prince of Orange, and, with God's help, would
continue so to do. As the horsemen departed with this reply, a lunatic,
called Adrian Krankhoeft, mounted the ramparts and, discharged a
culverine among them. No man was injured, but the words of defiance, and
the shot fired by a madman's hand, were destined to be fearfully

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the place, which was at best far from
strong, and ill provided with arms, ammunition, or soldiers, despatched
importunate messages to Sonoy, and to ether patriot generals nearest to
them, soliciting reinforcements. Their messengers came back almost empty
handed. They brought a little powder and a great many promises, but not a
single man-at-arms, not a ducat, not a piece of artillery. The most
influential commanders, moreover, advised an honorable capitulation, if
it were still possible.

Thus baffled, the burghers of the little city found their proud position
quite untenable. They accordingly, on the 1st of December, despatched the
burgomaster and a senator to Amersfoort, to make terms, if possible, with
Don Frederic. When these envoys reached the place, they were refused
admission to the general's presence. The army had already been ordered to
move forward to Naarden, and they were directed to accompany the advance
guard, and to expect their reply at the gates of their own city. This
command was sufficiently ominous. The impression which it made upon them
was confirmed by the warning voices of their friends in Amersfoort, who
entreated them not to return to Naarden. The advice was not lost upon one
of the two envoys. After they had advanced a little distance on their
journey, the burgomaster Laurentszoon slid privately out of the sledge in
which they were travelling, leaving his cloak behind him. "Adieu; I think
I will not venture back to Naarden at present," said he, calmly, as he
abandoned his companion to his fate. The other, who could not so easily
desert his children, his wife, and his fellow-citizens, in the hour of
danger, went forward as calmly to share in their impending doom.

The army reached Bussem, half a league distant from Naarden, in the
evening. Here Don Frederic established his head quarters, and proceeded
to invest the city. Senator Gerrit was then directed to return to Naarden
and to bring out a more numerous deputation on the following morning,
duly empowered to surrender the place. The envoy accordingly returned
next day, accompanied by Lambert Hortensius, rector of a Latin academy,
together with four other citizens. Before this deputation had reached
Bussem, they were met by Julian Romero, who informed them that he was
commissioned to treat with them on the part of Don Frederic. He demanded
the keys of the city, and gave the deputation a solemn pledge that the
lives and property of all the inhabitants should be sacredly respected.
To attest this assurance Don Julian gave his hand three several times to
Lambert Hortensius. A soldier's word thus plighted, the commissioners,
without exchanging any written documents, surrendered the keys, and
immediately afterwards accompanied Romero into the city, who was soon
followed by five or six hundred musketeers.

To give these guests a hospitable reception, all the housewives of the
city at once set about preparations for a sumptuous feast, to which the
Spaniards did ample justice, while the colonel and his officers were
entertained by Senator Gerrit at his own house. As soon as this
conviviality had come to an end, Romero, accompanied by his host, walked
into the square. The great bell had been meantime ringing, and the
citizens had been summoned to assemble in the Gast Huis Church, then used
as a town hall. In the course of a few minutes five hundred had entered
the building, and stood quietly awaiting whatever measures might be
offered for their deliberation. Suddenly a priest, who had been pacing to
and fro before the church door, entered the building, and bade them all
prepare for death; but the announcement, the preparation, and the death,
were simultaneous. The door was flung open, and a band of armed Spaniards
rushed across the sacred threshold. They fired a single volley upon the
defenceless herd, and then sprang in upon them with sword and dagger. A
yell of despair arose as the miserable victims saw how hopelessly they
were engaged, and beheld the ferocious faces of their butchers. The
carnage within that narrow apace was compact and rapid. Within a few
minutes all were despatched, and among them Senator Gerrit, from whose
table the Spanish commander had but just risen. The church was then set
on fire, and the dead and dying were consumed to ashes together.

Inflamed but not satiated, the Spaniards then rushed into the streets,
thirsty for fresh horrors. The houses were all rifled of their contents,
and men were forced to carry the booty to the camp, who were then struck
dead as their reward. The town was then fired in every direction, that
the skulking citizens might be forced from their hiding-places. As fast
as they came forth they were put to death by their impatient foes. Some
were pierced with rapiers, some were chopped to pieces with axes, some
were surrounded in the blazing streets by troops of laughing soldiers,
intoxicated, not with wine but with blood, who tossed them to and fro
with their lances, and derived a wild amusement from their dying agonies.
Those who attempted resistance were crimped alive like fishes, and left
to gasp themselves to death in lingering torture. The soldiers becoming
more and more insane, as the foul work went on, opened the veins of some
of their victims, and drank their blood as if it were wine. Some of the
burghers were for a time spared, that they might witness the violation of
their wives and daughters, and were then butchered in company with these
still more unfortunate victims. Miracles of brutality were accomplished.
Neither church nor hearth was sacred: Men were slain, women outraged at
the altars, in the streets, in their blazing homes. The life of Lambert
Hortensius was spared, out of regard to his learning and genius, but he
hardly could thank his foes for the boon, for they struck his only son
dead, and tore his heart out before his father's eyes. Hardly any man or
woman survived, except by accident. A body of some hundred burghers made
their escape across the snow into the open country. They were, however,
overtaken, stripped stark naked, and hung upon the trees by the feet, to
freeze, or to perish by a more lingering death. Most of them soon died,
but twenty, who happened to be wealthy, succeeded, after enduring much
torture, in purchasing their lives of their inhuman persecutors. The
principal burgomaster, Heinrich Lambertszoon, was less fortunate. Known
to be affluent, he was tortured by exposing the soles of his feet to a
fire until they were almost consumed. On promise that his life should be
spared, he then agreed to pay a heavy ransom; but hardly had he furnished
the stipulated sum when, by express order of Don Frederic himself, he was
hanged in his own doorway, and his dissevered limbs afterwards nailed to
the gates of the city.

Nearly all the inhabitants of Naarden, soldiers and citizens, were thus
destroyed; and now Don Frederic issued peremptory orders that no one, on
pain of death, should give lodging or food to any fugitive. He likewise
forbade to the dead all that could now be forbidden them--a grave. Three
weeks long did these unburied bodies pollute the streets, nor could the
few wretched women who still cowered within such houses as had escaped
the flames ever wave from their lurking-places without treading upon the
festering remains of what had been their husbands, their fathers, or
their brethren. Such was the express command of him whom the flatterers
called the "most divine genius ever known." Shortly afterwards came an
order to dismantle the fortifications, which had certainly proved
sufficiently feeble in the hour of need, and to raze what was left of the
city from the surface of the earth. The work was faithfully accomplished,
and for a longtime Naarden ceased to exist.

Alva wrote, with his usual complacency in such cases, to his sovereign,
that "they had cut the throats of the burghers and all the garrison, and
that they had not left a mother's son alive." The statement was almost
literally correct, nor was the cant with which these bloodhounds
commented upon their crimes less odious than their guilt. "It was a
permission of God," said the Duke, "that these people should have
undertaken to defend a city, which was so weak that no other persons
would have attempted such a thing." Nor was the reflection of Mendoza
less pious. "The sack of Naarden," said that really brave and
accomplished cavalier, "was a chastisement which must be believed to have
taken place by express permission of a Divine Providence; a punishment
for having been the first of the Holland towns in which heresy built its
nest, whence it has taken flight to all the neighboring cities."

It is not without reluctance, but still with a stern determination, that
the historian--should faithfully record these transactions. To extenuate
would be base; to exaggerate impossible. It is good that the world should
not forget how much wrong has been endured by a single harmless nation at
the hands of despotism, and in the sacred name of God. There have been
tongues and pens enough to narrate the excesses of the people, bursting
from time to time out of slavery into madness. It is good, too, that
those crimes should be remembered, and freshly pondered; but it is
equally wholesome to study the opposite picture. Tyranny, ever young and
ever old, constantly reproducing herself with the same stony features,
with the same imposing mask which she has worn through all the ages, can
never be too minutely examined, especially when she paints her own
portrait, and when the secret history of her guilt is furnished by the
confessions of her lovers. The perusal of her traits will not make us
love popular liberty the less.

The history of Alva's administration in the Netherlands is one of those
pictures which strike us almost dumb with wonder. Why has the Almighty
suffered such crimes to be perpetrated in His sacred name? Was it
necessary that many generations should wade through this blood in order
to acquire for their descendants the blessings of civil and religious
freedom? Was it necessary that an Alva should ravage a peaceful nation
with sword and flame--that desolation should be spread over a happy land,
in order that the pure and heroic character of a William of Orange should
stand forth more conspicuously, like an antique statue of spotless marble
against a stormy sky?

After the army which the Prince had so unsuccessfully led to the relief
of Mons had been disbanded, he had himself repaired to Holland. He had
come to Kampen shortly before its defection from his cause. Thence he had
been escorted across the Zuyder Zee to Eukhuyzen. He came to that
province, the only one which through good and ill report remained
entirely faithful to him, not as a conqueror but as an unsuccessful,
proscribed man. But there were warm hearts beating within those cold
lagunes, and no conqueror returning from a brilliant series of victories
could have been received with more affectionate respect than William in
that darkest hour of the country's history. He had but seventy horsemen
at his back, all which remained of the twenty thousand troops which he
had a second time levied in Germany, and he felt that it would be at that
period hopeless for him to attempt the formation of a third army. He had
now come thither to share the fate of Holland, at least, if he could not
accomplish her liberation. He went from city to city, advising with the
magistracies and with the inhabitants, and arranging many matters
pertaining both to peace and war. At Harlem the States of the Provinces,
according to his request, had been assembled. The assembly begged him to
lay before them, if it were possible, any schemes and means which he
might have devised for further resistance to the Duke of Alva. Thus
solicited, the Prince, in a very secret session, unfolded his plans, and
satisfied them as to the future prospects of the cause. His speech has
nowhere been preserved. His strict injunctions as to secrecy, doubtless,
prevented or effaced any record of the session. It is probable, however,
that he entered more fully into the state of his negotiations with
England, and into the possibility of a resumption by Count Louis of his
private intercourse with the French court, than it was safe, publicly, to

While the Prince had been thus occupied in preparing the stout-hearted
province for the last death-struggle with its foe, that mortal combat was
already fast approaching; for the aspect of the contest in the
Netherlands was not that of ordinary warfare. It was an encounter between
two principles, in their nature so hostile to each other that the
absolute destruction of one was the only, possible issue. As the fight
went on, each individual combatant seemed inspired by direct personal
malignity, and men found a pleasure in deeds of cruelty, from which
generations not educated to slaughter recoil with horror. To murder
defenceless prisoners; to drink, not metaphorically but literally, the
heart's blood of an enemy; to exercise a devilish ingenuity in inventions
of mutual torture, became not only a duty but a rapture. The Liberty of
the Netherlands had now been hunted to its lair. It had taken its last
refuge among the sands and thickets where its savage infancy had been
nurtured, and had now prepared itself to crush its tormentor in a last
embrace, or to die in the struggle.

After the conclusion of the sack and massacre of Naarden, Don Frederic
had hastened to Amsterdam, where the Duke was then quartered, that he
might receive the paternal benediction for his well-accomplished work.
The royal approbation was soon afterwards added to the applause of his
parent, and the Duke was warmly congratulated in a letter written by
Philip as soon as the murderous deed was known, that Don Frederic had so
plainly shown himself to be his father's son. There was now more work for
father and son. Amsterdam was the only point in Holland which held for
Alva, and from that point it was determined to recover the whole
province. The Prince of Orange was established in the southern district;
Diedrich Sonoy, his lieutenant, was stationed in North Holland. The
important city of Harlem lay between the two, at a spot where the whole
breadth of the territory, from sea to sea, was less than an hour's walk.
With the fall of that city the province would be cut in twain, the
rebellious forces utterly dissevered, and all further resistance, it was
thought, rendered impossible.

The inhabitants of Harlem felt their danger. Bossu, Alva's stadholder for
Holland, had formally announced the system hitherto pursued at Mechlin,
Zutphen, and Naarden, as the deliberate policy of the government. The
King's representative had formally proclaimed the extermination of man,
woman; and child in every city which opposed his authority, but the
promulgation and practice of such a system had an opposite effect to the
one intended. "The hearts of the Hollanders were rather steeled to
resistance than awed into submission by the fate of Naarden." A fortunate
event, too, was accepted as a lucky omen for the coming contest. A little
fleet of armed vessels, belonging to Holland, had been frozen up in the
neighbourhood of Amsterdam. Don Frederic on his arrival from Naarden,
despatched a body of picked men over the ice to attack the imprisoned
vessels. The crews had, however, fortified themselves by digging a wide
trench around the whole fleet, which thus became from the moment an
almost impregnable fortress. Out of this frozen citadel a strong band of
well-armed and skilful musketeers sallied forth upon skates as the
besieging force advanced. A rapid, brilliant, and slippery skirmish
succeeded, in which the Hollanders, so accustomed to such sports, easily
vanquished their antagonists, and drove them off the field, with the loss
of several hundred left dead upon the ice.

"'T was a thing never heard of before to-day," said Alva, "to see a body
of arquebusiers thus skirmishing upon a frozen sea." In the course of the
next four-and-twenty hours a flood and a rapid thaw released the vessels,
which all escaped to Enkhuyzen, while a frost, immediately and strangely
succeeding, made pursuit impossible.

The Spaniards were astonished at these novel manoeuvres upon the ice. It
is amusing to read their elaborate descriptions of the wonderful
appendages which had enabled the Hollanders to glide so glibly into
battle with a superior force, and so rapidly to glance away, after
achieving a signal triumph. Nevertheless, the Spaniards could never be
dismayed, and were always apt scholars, even if an enemy were the
teacher. Alva immediately ordered seven thousand pairs of skates, and his
soldiers soon learned to perform military evolutions with these new
accoutrements as audaciously, if not as adroitly, as the Hollanders.

A portion of the Harlem magistracy, notwithstanding the spirit which
pervaded the province, began to tremble as danger approached. They were
base enough to enter into secret negotiations with Alva, and to send
three of their own number to treat with the Duke at Amsterdam. One was
wise enough to remain with the enemy. The other two were arrested on
their return, and condemned, after an impartial trial, to death. For,
while these emissaries of a cowardly magistracy were absent, the stout
commandant of the little garrison, Ripperda, had assembled the citizens
and soldiers in the market-place. He warned them of the absolute
necessity to make a last effort for freedom. In startling colors he held
up to them the fate of Mechlin, of Zutphen, of Naarden, as a prophetic
mirror, in which they might read their own fate should they be base
enough to surrender the city. There was no composition possible, he
urged, with foes who were as false as they were sanguinary, and whose
foul passions were stimulated, not slaked, by the horrors with which they
had already feasted themselves.

Ripperda addressed men who could sympathize with his bold and lofty
sentiments. Soldiers and citizens cried out for defence instead of
surrender, as with one voice, for there were no abject spirits at Harlem,
save among the magistracy; and Saint Aldegonde, the faithful minister of
Orange, was soon sent to Harlem by the Prince to make a thorough change
in that body.

Harlem, over whose ruins the Spanish tyranny intended to make its
entrance into Holland, lay in the narrowest part of that narrow isthmus
which separates the Zuyder Zee from the German Ocean. The distance from
sea to sea is hardly five English miles across. Westerly from the city
extended a slender strip of land, once a morass, then a fruitful meadow;
maintained by unflagging fortitude in the very jaws of a stormy ocean.
Between the North Sea and the outer edge of this pasture surged those
wild and fantastic downs, heaped up by wind and wave in mimicry of
mountains; the long coils of that rope of sand, by which, plaited into
additional strength by the slenderest of bulrushes, the waves of the
North Sea were made to obey the command of man. On the opposite, or
eastern aide, Harlem looked towards Amsterdam. That already flourishing
city was distant but ten miles. The two cities were separated by an
expanse of inland water, and united by a slender causeway. The Harlem
Lake, formed less than a century before by the bursting of four lesser,
meres during a storm which had threatened to swallow the whole Peninsula,
extended itself on the south and east; a sea of limited dimensions, being
only fifteen feet in depth with seventy square miles of surface, but,
exposed as it lay to all the winds of heaven, often lashed into storms as
dangerous as those of the Atlantic. Beyond the lake, towards the north,
the waters of the Y nearly swept across the Peninsula. This inlet of the
Zuyder Zee was only separated from the Harlem mere by a slender thread of
land. Over this ran the causeway between the two sister cities, now so
unfortunately in arms against each other. Midway between the two, the
dyke was pierced and closed again with a system of sluice-works, which
when opened admitted the waters of the lake into those of the estuary,
and caused an inundation of the surrounding country.

The city was one of the largest and most beautiful in the Netherlands. It
was also one of the weakest.--The walls were of antique construction,
turreted, but not strong. The extent and feebleness of the defences made
a large garrison necessary, but unfortunately, the garrison was even
weaker than the walls. The city's main reliance was on the stout hearts
of the inhabitants. The streets were, for that day, spacious and regular;
the canals planted with limes and poplars. The ancient church of Saint
Bavon, a large imposing structure of brick, stood almost in the centre of
the place, the most prominent object, not only of the town but of the
province, visible over leagues of sea and of land more level than the
sea, and seeming to gather the whole quiet little city under its sacred
and protective wings. Its tall open-work leaden spire was surmounted by a
colossal crown, which an exalted imagination might have regarded as the
emblematic guerdon of martyrdom held aloft over the city, to reward its
heroism and its agony.

It was at once obvious that the watery expanse between Harlem and
Amsterdam would be the principal theatre of the operations about to
commence. The siege was soon begun. The fugitive burgomaster, De Fries,
had the effrontery, with the advice of Alva, to address a letter to the
citizens, urging them to surrender at discretion. The messenger was
hanged--a cruel but practical answer, which put an end to all further
traitorous communications. This was in the first week of December. On the
10th, Don Frederic, sent a strong detachment to capture the fort and
village of Sparendam, as an indispensable preliminary to the commencement
of the siege. A peasant having shown Zapata, the commander of the
expedition, a secret passage across the flooded and frozen meadows, the
Spaniards stormed the place gallantly, routed the whole garrison, killed
three hundred, and took possession of the works and village. Next day,
Don Frederic appeared before the walls of Harlem, and proceeded regularly
to invest the place. The misty weather favored his operations, nor did he
cease reinforcing himself; until at least thirty thousand men, including
fifteen hundred cavalry, had been encamped around the city. The Germans,
under Count Overstein, were stationed in a beautiful and extensive grove
of limes and beeches, which spread between the southern walls and the
shore of Harlem Lake. Don Frederic, with his Spaniards, took up a
position on the opposite side, at a place called the House of Kleef, the
ruins of which still remain. The Walloons, and other regiments were
distributed in different places, so as completely to encircle the town.

   [Pierre Sterlinckx: Eene come Waerachtige Beschryvinghe van alle
   Geschiedinissen, Anschlagen, Stormen, Schermutsingen oude Schieten
   voor de vroome Stadt Haerlem in Holland gheschicht, etc., etc.--
   Delft, 1574.--This is by far the best contemporary account of the
   famous siege. The author was a citizen of Antwerp, who kept a daily
   journal of the events as they occurred at Harlem. It is a dry, curt
   register of horrors, jotted down without passion or comment.--
   Compare Bor, vi. 422, 423; Meteren, iv. 79; Mendoza, viii. 174,
   175; Wagenaer, vad. Hist., vi. 413, 414.]

On the edge of the mere the Prince of Orange had already ordered a
cluster of forts to be erected, by which the command of its frozen
surface was at first secured for Harlem. In the course of the siege,
however, other forts were erected by Don Frederic, so that the aspect of
things suffered a change.

Against this immense force, nearly equal in number to that of the whole
population of the city, the garrison within the walls never amounted to
more than four thousand men. In the beginning it was much less numerous.
The same circumstances, however, which assisted the initiatory operations
of Don Frederic, were of advantage to the Harlemers. A dense frozen fog
hung continually over the surface of the lake. Covered by this curtain,
large supplies of men, provisions, and ammunition were daily introduced
into the city, notwithstanding all the efforts of the besieging force.
Sledges skimming over the ice, men, women, and even children, moving on
their skates as swiftly as the wind, all brought their contributions in
the course of the short dark days and long nights of December, in which
the wintry siege was opened.

The garrison at last numbered about one thousand pioneers or delvers,
three thousand fighting men, and about three hundred fighting women. The
last was a most efficient corps, all females of respectable character,
armed with sword, musket, and dagger. Their chief, Kenau Hasselaer, was a
widow of distinguished family and unblemished reputation, about
forty-seven years of age, who, at the head of her amazons, participated
in many of the most fiercely contested actions of the siege, both within
and without the walls. When such a spirit animated the maids and matrons
of the city, it might be expected that the men would hardly surrender the
place without a struggle. The Prince had assembled a force of three or
four thousand men at Leyden, which he sent before the middle of December
towards the city under the command of De la Marck. These troops were,
however, attacked on the way by a strong detachment under Bossu,
Noircarmes, and Romero. After a sharp, action in a heavy snow-storm, De
la Marek was completely routed. One thousand of his soldiers were cut to
pieces, and a large number carried off as prisoners to the gibbets, which
were already conspicuously erected in the Spanish camp, and which from
the commencement to the close of the siege were never bare of victims.
Among the captives was a gallant officer, Baptist van Trier, for whom De
la Marck in vain offered two thousand crowns and nineteen Spanish
prisoners. The proposition was refused with contempt. Van Trier was
hanged upon the gallows by one leg until he was dead, in return for which
barbarity the nineteen Spaniards were immediately gibbeted by De la
Marck. With this interchange of cruelties the siege may be said to have

Don Frederic had stationed himself in a position opposite to the gate of
the Cross, which was not very strong, but fortified by a ravelin.
Intending to make a very short siege of it, he established his batteries
immediately, and on the 18th, 19th, and 20th December directed a furious
cannonade against the Cross-gate, the St. John's-gate, and the curtain
between the two. Six hundred and eighty shots were discharged on the
first, and nearly as many on each of the two succeeding days. The walls
were much shattered, but men, women, and children worked night and day
within the city, repairing the breaches as fast as made. They brought
bags of sand; blocks of stone, cart-loads of earth from every quarter,
and they stripped the churches of all their statues, which they threw by
heaps into the gaps. If They sought thus a more practical advantage from
those sculptured saints than they could have gained by only imploring
their interposition. The fact, however, excited horror among the
besiegers. Men who were daily butchering their fellow-beings, and hanging
their prisoners in cold blood, affected to shudder at the enormity of the
offence thus exercised against graven images.

After three days' cannonade, the assault was ordered, Don Frederic only
intending a rapid massacre, to crown his achievements at--Zutphen and
Naarden. The place, he thought, would fall in a week, and after another
week of sacking, killing, and ravishing, he might sweep on to "pastures
new" until Holland was overwhelmed. Romero advanced to the breach,
followed by a numerous storming party, but met with a resistance which
astonished the Spaniards. The church bells rang the alarm throughout the
city, and the whole population swarmed to the walls. The besiegers were
encountered not only with sword and musket, but with every implement
which the burghers' hands could find. Heavy stones, boiling oil, live
coals, were hurled upon the heads of the soldiers; hoops, smeared with
pitch and set on fire, were dexterously thrown upon their necks. Even
Spanish courage and Spanish ferocity were obliged to shrink before the
steady determination of a whole population animated by a single spirit.
Romero lost an eye in the conflict, many officers were killed and
wounded, and three or four hundred soldiers left dead in the breach,
while only three or four of the townsmen lost their lives. The signal of
recal was reluctantly given, and the Spaniards abandoned the assault. Don
Frederic was now aware that Harlem would not fall at his feet at the
first sound of his trumpet. It was obvious that a siege must precede the
massacre. He gave orders therefore that the ravelin should be undermined,
and doubted not that, with a few days' delay, the place would be in his

Meantime, the Prince of Orange, from his head-quarters at Sassenheim, on
the southern extremity of the mere, made a fresh effort to throw succor
into the place. Two thousand men, with seven field-pieces, and many
wagon-loads of munitions, were sent forward under Batenburg. This officer
had replaced De la Marck, whom the Prince had at last deprived of his
commission. The reckless and unprincipled freebooter was no longer to
serve a cause which was more sullied by his barbarity than it could be
advanced by his desperate valor. Batenburg's expedition was, however, not
more successful than the one made by his predecessor. The troops, after
reaching the vicinity of the city, lost their way in the thick mists,
which almost perpetually enveloped the scene. Cannons were fired,
fog-bells were rung, and beacon fires were lighted on the ramparts, but
the party was irretrievably lost. The Spaniards fell upon them before
they could find their way to the city. Many were put to the sword, others
made their escape in different directions; a very few succeeded in
entering Harlem. Batenburg brought off a remnant of the forces, but all
the provisions so much needed were lost, and the little army entirely

De Koning, the second in command, was among the prisoners. The Spaniards
cut off his head and threw it over the walls into the city, with this
inscription: "This is the head of Captain de Koning, who is on his way
with reinforcements for the good city of Harlem." The citizens retorted
with a practical jest, which was still more barbarous. They cut off the
heads of eleven prisoners and put them into a barrel, which they threw
into the Spanish camp. A Label upon the barrel contained these words:
"Deliver these ten heads to Duke Alva in payment of his tenpenny tax,
with one additional head for interest." With such ghastly merriment did
besieged and besiegers vary the monotonous horror of that winter's siege.
As the sallies and skirmishes were of daily occurrence, there was a
constant supply of prisoners, upon whom both parties might exercise their
ingenuity, so that the gallows in camp or city was perpetually garnished.

Since the assault of the 21st December, Don Frederic had been making his
subterranean attack by regular approaches. As fast, however, as the
Spaniards mined, the citizens countermined. Spaniard and Netherlander met
daily in deadly combat within the bowels of the earth. Desperate and
frequent were the struggles within gangways so narrow that nothing but
daggers could be used, so obscure that the dim lanterns hardly lighted
the death-stroke. They seemed the conflicts, not of men but of evil
spirits. Nor were these hand-to-hand battles all. A shower of heads,
limbs, mutilated trunks, the mangled remains of hundreds of human beings,
often spouted from the earth as if from an invisible volcano. The mines
were sprung with unexampled frequency and determination. Still the
Spaniards toiled on with undiminished zeal, and still the besieged,
undismayed, delved below their works, and checked their advance by sword,
and spear, and horrible explosions.

The Prince of Orange, meanwhile, encouraged the citizens to persevere, by
frequent promises of assistance. His letters, written on extremely small
bits of paper; were sent into the town by carrier pigeons. On the 28th of
January he despatched a considerable supply of the two necessaries,
powder and bread, on one hundred and seventy sledges across the Harlem
Lake, together with four hundred veteran soldiers. The citizens continued
to contest the approaches to the ravelin before the Cross-gate, but it
had become obvious that they could not hold it long. Secretly,
steadfastly, and swiftly they had, therefore, during the long wintry
nights, been constructing a half moon of solid masonry on the inside of
the same portal. Old men, feeble women, tender children, united with the
able-bodied to accomplish this work, by which they hoped still to
maintain themselves after the ravelin had fallen:

On the 31st of January, after two or three days' cannonade against the
gates of the Cross and of Saint John, and the intervening curtains, Don
Frederic ordered a midnight assault. The walls had been much shattered,
part of the John's-gate was in ruins; the Spaniards mounted the breach in
great numbers; the city was almost taken by surprise; while the
Commander-in-chief, sure of victory, ordered the whole of his forces
under arms to cut off the population who were to stream panic-struck from
every issue. The attack was unexpected, but the forty or fifty sentinels
defended the walls while they sounded the alarm. The tocsin bells tolled,
and the citizens, whose sleep was not-apt to be heavy during that
perilous winter, soon manned the ramparts again. The daylight came upon
them while the fierce struggle was still at its height. The besieged, as
before, defended themselves with musket and rapier, with melted pitch,
with firebrands, with clubs and stones. Meantime, after morning prayers
in the Spanish camp, the trumpet for a general assault was sounded. A
tremendous onset was made upon the gate of the Cross, and the ravelin was
carried at last. The Spaniards poured into this fort, so long the object
of their attack, expecting instantly to sweep into the city with sword
and fire. As they mounted its wall they became for the first time aware
of the new and stronger fortification which had been secretly constructed
on the inner side. The reason why the ravelin had been at last conceded
was revealed. The half moon, whose existence they had not suspected, rose
before them bristling with cannon. A sharp fire was instantly opened upon
the besiegers, while at the same instant the ravelin, which the citizens
had undermined, blew up with a severe explosion, carrying into the air
all the soldiers who had just entered it so triumphantly. This was the
turning point. The retreat was sounded, and the Spaniards fled to their
camp, leaving at least three hundred dead beneath the walls. Thus was a
second assault, made by an overwhelming force and led by the most
accomplished generals of Spain, signally and gloriously repelled by the
plain burghers of Harlem.

It became now almost evident that the city could be taken neither by
regular approaches nor by sudden attack. It was therefore resolved that
it should be reduced by famine. Still, as the winter wore on, the immense
army without the walls were as great sufferers by that scourge as the
population within. The soldiers fell in heaps before the diseases
engendered by intense cold and insufficient food, for, as usual in such
sieges, these deaths far outnumbered those inflicted by the enemy's hand.
The sufferings inside the city necessarily increased day by day, the
whole population being put on a strict allowance of food. Their supplies
were daily diminishing, and with the approach of the spring and the
thawing of the ice on the lake, there was danger that they would be
entirely cut off. If the possession of the water were lost, they must
yield or starve; and they doubted whether the Prince would be able to
organize a fleet. The gaunt spectre of Famine already rose before them
with a menace which could not be misunderstood. In their misery they
longed for the assaults of the Spaniards, that they might look in the
face of a less formidable foe. They paraded the ramparts daily, with
drums beating, colors flying, taunting the besiegers to renewed attempts.
To inflame the religious animosity of their antagonists, they attired
themselves in the splendid, gold-embroidered vestments of the priests,
which they took from the churches, and moved about in mock procession,
bearing aloft images bedizened in ecclesiastical finery, relics, and
other symbols, sacred in Catholic eyes, which they afterwards hurled from
the ramparts, or broke, with derisive shouts, into a thousand fragments.

It was, however, at that season earnestly debated by the enemy whether or
not to raise the siege. Don Frederic was clearly of opinion that enough
had been done for the honor of the Spanish arms. He was wearied with
seeing his men perish helplessly around him, and considered the prize too
paltry for the lives it must cost. His father thought differently.
Perhaps he recalled the siege of Metz, and the unceasing regret with
which, as he believed, his imperial master had remembered the advice
received from him. At any rate the Duke now sent back Don Bernardino de
Mendoza, whom Don Frederic had despatched to Nimwegen, soliciting his
father's permission to raise the siege, with this reply: "Tell Don
Frederic," said Alva, "that if he be not decided to continue the siege
till the town be taken, I shall no longer consider him my son, whatever
my opinion may formerly have been. Should he fall in the siege, I will
myself take the field to maintain it, and when we have both perished, the
Duchess, my wife, shall come from Spain to do the same."

Such language was unequivocal, and hostilities were resumed as fiercely
as before. The besieged welcomed them with rapture, and, as usual, made
daily the most desperate sallies. In one outbreak the Harlemers, under
cover of a thick fog, marched up to the enemy's chief battery, and
attempted to spike the guns before his face. They were all slain at the
cannon's mouth, whither patriotism, not vainglory, had led them, and lay
dead around the battery, with their hammers and spikes in their hands.
The same spirit was daily manifested. As the spring advanced; the kine
went daily out of the gates to their peaceful pasture, notwithstanding,
all the turmoil within and around; nor was it possible for the Spaniards
to capture a single one of these creatures, without paying at least a
dozen soldiers as its price. "These citizens," wrote Don Frederic, "do as
much as the best soldiers in the world could do."

The frost broke up by the end of February. Count Bossu, who had been
building a fleet of small vessels in Amsterdam, soon afterwards succeeded
in entering the lake with a few gun-boats, through a breach which he had
made in the Overtoom, about half a league from that city. The possession
of the lake was already imperilled. The Prince, however, had not been
idle, and he, too, was soon ready to send his flotilla to the mere. At
the same time, the city of Amsterdam was in almost as hazardous a
position as Harlem. As the one on the lake, so did the other depend upon
its dyke for its supplies. Should that great artificial road which led to
Muyden and Utrecht be cut asunder, Amsterdam might be starved as soon as
Harlem. "Since I came into the world," wrote Alva, "I have never, been in
such anxiety. If they should succeed in cutting off the communication
along the dykes, we should have to raise the siege of Harlem, to
surrender, hands crossed, or to starve." Orange was fully aware of the
position of both places, but he was, as usual, sadly deficient in men and
means. He wrote imploringly to his friends in England, in France, in
Germany. He urged his brother Louis to bring a few soldiers, if it were
humanly possible. "The whole country longs for you," he wrote to Louis,
"as if you were the archangel Gabriel."

The Prince, however, did all that it was possible for man, so hampered,
to do. He was himself, while anxiously writing, hoping, and waiting for
supplies of troops from Germany or France, doing his best with such
volunteers as he could raise. He was still established at Sassenheim, on
the south of the city, while Sonoy with his slender forces was encamped
on the north. He now sent that general with as large a party as he could
muster to attack the Diemerdyk. His men entrenched themselves as strongly
as they could between the Diemer and the Y, at the same time opening the
sluices and breaking through the dyke. During the absence of their
commander, who had gone to Edam for reinforcements, they were attacked by
a large force from Amsterdam. A fierce amphibious contest took place,
partly in boats, partly on the slippery causeway, partly in the water,
resembling in character the frequent combats between the ancient
Batavians and Romans during the wars of Civilis. The patriots were
eventually overpowered.

Sonoy, who was on his way to their rescue, was frustrated in his design
by the unexpected faint-heartedness of the volunteers whom he had
enlisted at Edam. Braving a thousand perils, he advanced, almost
unattended, in his little vessel, but only to witness the overthrow and
expulsion of his band. It was too late for him singly to attempt to rally
the retreating troops. They had fought well, but had been forced to yield
before superior numbers, one individual of the little army having
performed prodigies of valor. John Haring, of Horn, had planted himself
entirely alone upon the dyke, where it was so narrow between the Y on the
one side and the Diemer Lake on the other, that two men could hardly
stand abreast. Here, armed with sword and shield, he had actually opposed
and held in check one thousand of the enemy, during a period long enough
to enable his own men, if they, had been willing, to rally, and
effectively to repel the attack. It was too late, the battle was too far
lost to be restored; but still the brave soldier held the post, till, by
his devotion, he had enabled all those of his compatriots who still
remained in the entrenchments to make good their retreat. He then plunged
into the sea, and, untouched by spear or bullet, effected his escape. Had
he been a Greek or a Roman, an Horatius or a Chabrias, his name would
have been famous in history--his statue erected in the market-place; for
the bold Dutchman on his dyke had manifested as much valor in a sacred
cause as the most classic heroes of antiquity.

This unsuccessful attempt to cut off the communication between Amsterdam
and the country strengthened the hopes of Alva. Several hundreds of the
patriots were killed or captured, and among the slain was Antony Oliver,
the painter, through whose agency Louis of Nassau had been introduced
into Mons. His head was cut off by two ensigns in Alva's service, who
received the price which had been set upon it of two thousand caroli. It
was then labelled with its owner's name, and thrown into the city of
Harlem. At the same time a new gibbet was erected in the Spanish camp
before the city, in a conspicuous situation, upon which all the prisoners
were hanged, some by the neck, some by the heels, in full view of their
countrymen. As usual, this especial act of cruelty excited the emulation
of the citizens. Two of the old board of magistrates, belonging to the
Spanish party, were still imprisoned at Harlem; together with seven other
persons, among whom was a priest and a boy of twelve years. They were now
condemned to the gallows. The wife of one of the ex-burgomasters and his
daughter, who was a beguin, went by his side as he was led to execution,
piously exhorting him to sustain with courage the execrations of the
populace and his ignominious doom. The rabble, irritated by such
boldness, were not satisfied with wreaking their vengeance on the
principal victims, but after the execution had taken place they hunted
the wife and daughter into the water, where they both perished. It is
right to record these instances of cruelty, sometimes perpetrated by the
patriots as well as by their oppressors--a cruelty rendered almost
inevitable by the incredible barbarity of the foreign invader. It was a
war of wolfish malignity. In the words of Mendoza, every man within and
without Harlem "seemed inspired by a spirit of special and personal
vengeance." The innocent blood poured out in Mechlin, Zutphen, Naarden,
and upon a thousand scaffolds, had been crying too long from the ground.
The Hollanders must have been more or less than men not to be sometimes
betrayed into acts which justice and reason must denounce. [No! It was as
evil for one side as the other. D.W.]

The singular mood which has been recorded of a high-spirited officer of
the garrison, Captain Corey, illustrated the horror with which such
scenes of carnage were regarded by noble natures. Of a gentle disposition
originally, but inflamed almost to insanity by a contemplation of Spanish
cruelty, he had taken up the profession of arms, to which he had a
natural repugnance. Brave to recklessness, he led his men on every daring
outbreak, on every perilous midnight adventure. Armed only with his
rapier, without defensive armor, he was ever found where the battle raged
most fiercely, and numerous were the victims who fell before his sword.
On returning, however, from such excursions, he invariably shut himself
in his quarters, took to his bed, and lay for days, sick with remorse,
and bitterly lamenting all that bloodshed in which he had so deeply
participated, and which a cruel fate seemed to render necessary. As the
gentle mood subsided, his frenzy would return, and again he would rush to
the field, to seek new havoc and fresh victims for his rage.

The combats before the walls were of almost daily occurrence. On the 25th
March, one thousand of the besieged made a brilliant sally, drove in all
the outposts of the enemy, burned three hundred tents, and captured seven
cannon, nine standards, and many wagon-loads of provisions, all which
they succeeded in bringing with them into the city.--Having thus
reinforced themselves, in a manner not often practised by the citizens of
a beleaguered town, in the very face of thirty thousand veterans--having
killed eight hundred of the enemy, which was nearly one for every man
engaged, while they lost but four of their own party--the Harlemers, on
their return, erected a trophy of funereal but exulting aspect. A mound
of earth was constructed upon the ramparts, in the form of a colossal
grave, in full view of the enemy's camp, and upon it were planted the
cannon and standards so gallantly won in the skirmish, with the taunting
inscription floating from the centre of the mound "Harlem is the
graveyard of the Spaniards."

Such were the characteristics of this famous siege during the winter and
early spring. Alva might well write to his sovereign, that "it was a war
such as never before was seen or heard of in any land on earth." Yet the
Duke had known near sixty years of warfare. He informed Philip that
"never was a place defended with such skill and bravery as Harlem, either
by rebels or by men fighting for their lawful Prince." Certainly his son
had discovered his mistake in asserting that the city would yield in a
week; while the father, after nearly six years' experience, had found
this "people of butter" less malleable than even those "iron people" whom
he boasted of having tamed. It was seen that neither the skies of Greece
or Italy, nor the sublime scenery of Switzerland, were necessary to
arouse the spirit of defiance to foreign oppression--a spirit which beat
as proudly among the wintry mists and the level meadows of Holland as it
had ever done under sunnier atmospheres and in more romantic lands.

Mendoza had accomplished his mission to Spain, and had returned with
supplies of money within six weeks from the date of his departure. Owing
to his representations and Alva's entreaties, Philip had, moreover,
ordered Requesens, governor of Milan, to send forward to the Netherlands
three veteran Spanish regiments, which were now more required at Harlem
than in Italy. While the land force had thus been strengthened, the fleet
upon the lake had also been largely increased. The Prince of Orange had,
on the other hand, provided more than a hundred sail of various
descriptions, so that the whole surface of the mere was now alive with
ships. Seafights and skirmishes took place almost daily, and it was
obvious that the life and death struggle was now to be fought upon the
water. So long as the Hollanders could hold or dispute the possession of
the lake, it was still possible to succor Harlem from time to time.
Should the Spaniards overcome the Prince's fleet, the city must
inevitably starve.

At last, on the 28th of May, a decisive engagement of the fleets took
place. The vessels grappled with each other, and there was a long,
fierce, hand-to-hand combat. Under Bossu were one hundred vessels; under
Martin Brand, admiral of the patriot fleet, nearly one hundred and fifty,
but of lesser dimensions. Batenhurg commanded the troops on board the
Dutch vessels. After a protracted conflict, in which several thousands
were killed, the victory was decided in favor of the Spaniards.
Twenty-two of the Prince's vessels being captured, and the rest totally
routed, Bossu swept across the lake in triumph. The forts belonging to
the patriots were immediately taken, and the Harlemers, with their
friends, entirely excluded from the lake.

This was the beginning of the end. Despair took possession of the city.
The whole population had been long subsisting upon an allowance of a
pound of bread to each man, and half-a-pound for each woman; but the
bread was now exhausted, the famine had already begun, and with the loss
of the lake starvation was close at their doors. They sent urgent
entreaties to, the Prince to attempt something in their behalf. Three
weeks more they assigned as the longest term during which they could
possibly hold out. He sent them word by carrier pigeons to endure yet a
little time, for he was assembling a force, and would still succeed in
furnishing them with supplies. Meantime, through the month of June the
sufferings of the inhabitants increased hourly. Ordinary food had long
since vanished. The population now subsisted on linseed and rape-seed; as
these supplies were exhausted they devoured cats, dogs, rats, and mice,
and when at last these unclean animals had been all consumed, they boiled
the hides of horses and oxen; they ate shoe-leather; they plucked the
nettles and grass from the graveyards, and the weeds which grew between
the stones of the pavement, that with such food they might still support
life a little longer, till the promised succor should arrive. Men, women,
and children fell dead by scores in the streets, perishing of pure
starvation, and the survivors had hardly the heart or the strength to
bury them out of their sight. They who yet lived seemed to flit like
shadows to and fro, envying those whose sufferings had already been
terminated by death.

Thus wore away the month of June. On the 1st of July the burghers
consented to a parley. Deputies were sent to confer with the besiegers,
but the negotiations were abruptly terminated, for no terms of compromise
were admitted by Don Frederic. On the 3rd a tremendous cannonade was
re-opened upon the city. One thousand and eight balls were
discharged--the most which had ever been thrown in one day, since the
commencement of the siege. The walls were severely shattered, but the
assault was not ordered, because the besiegers were assured that it was
physically impossible for the inhabitants to hold out many days longer. A
last letter, written in blood, was now despatched to the Prince of
Orange, stating the forlorn condition to which they were reduced. At the
same time, with the derision of despair, they flung into the hostile camp
the few loaves of bread which yet remained within the city walls. A day
or two later, a second and third parley were held, with no more
satisfactory result than had attended the first. A black flag was now
hoisted on the cathedral tower, the signal of despair to friend and foe,
but a pigeon soon afterwards flew into the town with a letter from the
Prince, begging them to maintain themselves two days longer, because
succor was approaching.

The Prince had indeed been doing all which, under the circumstances, was
possible. He assembled the citizens of Delft in the market-place, and
announced his intention of marching in person to the relief of the city,
in the face of the besieging army, if any troops could be obtained.
Soldiers there were none; but there was the deepest sympathy for Harlem
throughout its sister cities, Delft, Rotterdam, Gouda. A numerous mass of
burghers, many of them persons of station, all people of respectability,
volunteered to march to the rescue. The Prince highly disapproved of this
miscellaneous army, whose steadfastness he could not trust. As a soldier,
he knew that for such a momentous enterprise, enthusiasm could not supply
the place of experience. Nevertheless, as no regular troops could be had,
and as the emergency allowed no delay, he drew up a commission,
appointing Paulus Buys to be governor during his absence, and provisional
stadholder, should he fall in the expedition. Four thousand armed
volunteers, with six hundred mounted troopers, under Carlo de Noot, had
been assembled, and the Prince now placed himself at their head. There
was, however, a universal cry of remonstrance from the magistracies and
burghers of all the towns, and from the troops themselves, at this
project. They would not consent that a life so precious, so indispensable
to the existence of Holland, should be needlessly hazarded. It was
important to succor Harlem, but the Prince was of more value than many
cities. He at last reluctantly consented, therefore, to abandon the
command of the expedition to Baron Batenburg, the less willingly from the
want of confidence which he could not help feeling in the character of
the forces. On the 8th of July, at dusk, the expedition set forth from
Sassenheim. It numbered nearly five thousand men, who had with them four
hundred wagon-loads of provisions and seven field-pieces. Among the
volunteers, Oldenbarneveld; afterwards so illustrious in the history of
the Republic; marched in the ranks, with his musket on his shoulder. Such
was a sample of the spirit which pervaded the population of the province.

Batenburg came to a halt in the woods of Nordwyk, on the south aide of
the city, where he remained till midnight. All seemed still in the
enemy's camp. After prayers, he gave orders to push forward, hoping to
steal through the lines of his sleeping adversaries and accomplish the
relief by surprise. He was destined to be bitterly disappointed. His
plans and his numbers were thoroughly known to the Spaniards, two doves,
bearing letters which contained the details of the intended expedition,
having been shot and brought into Don Frederic's camp.

The citizens, it appeared, had broken through the curtain work on the
side where Batenburg was expected, in order that a sally might be made in
co-operation with the relieving force, as soon as it should appear.
Signal fires had been agreed upon, by which the besieged were to be made
aware of the approach of their friends. The Spanish Commander accordingly
ordered a mass of green branches, pitch, and straw, to be lighted
opposite to the gap in the city wall. Behind it he stationed five
thousand picked troops. Five thousand more, with a force of cavalry, were
placed in the neighbourhood of the downs, with orders to attack the
patriot army on the left. Six regiments, under Romero, were ordered to
move eastward, and assail their right. The dense mass of smoke concealed
the beacon lights displayed by Batenburg from the observation of the
townspeople, and hid the five thousand Spaniards from the advancing
Hollanders. As Batenburg emerged from the wood, he found himself attacked
by a force superior to his own, while a few minutes later he was entirely
enveloped by overwhelming numbers. The whole Spanish army was, indeed;
under arms, and had been expecting him for two days. The unfortunate
citizens alone were ignorant of his arrival. The noise of the conflict
they supposed to be a false alarm created by the Spaniards, to draw them
into their camp; and they declined a challenge which they were in no
condition to accept.

Batenburg was soon slain, and his troops utterly routed. The number
killed was variously estimated at from six hundred to two and even three
thousand. It is, at any rate, certain that the whole force was entirely
destroyed or dispersed, and the attempt to relieve the city completely
frustrated. The death of Batenburg was the less regretted, because he was
accused, probably with great injustice, of having been intoxicated at the
time of action, and therefore incapable of properly, conducting the
enterprise entrusted to him.

The Spaniards now cut off the nose and ears of a prisoner and sent him
into the city, to announce the news, while a few heads were also thrown
over the walls to confirm the intelligence. When this decisive overthrow
became known in Delft, there was even an outbreak of indignation against
Orange. According to a statement of Alva, which, however, is to be
received with great distrust, some of the populace wished to sack the
Prince's house, and offered him personal indignities. Certainly, if these
demonstrations were made, popular anger was never more senseless; but the
tale rests entirely, upon a vague assertion of the Duke, and is entirely,
at variance with every other contemporaneous account of these
transactions. It had now become absolutely, necessary, however, for the
heroic but wretched town to abandon itself to its fate. It was impossible
to attempt anything more in its behalf. The lake and its forts were in
the hands of the enemy, the best force which could be mustered to make
head against the besieging army had been cut to pieces, and the Prince of
Orange, with a heavy heart, now sent word that the burghers were to make
the best terms they could with the enemy.

The tidings of despair created a terrible commotion in the starving city.
There was no hope either in submission or resistance. Massacre or
starvation was the only alternative. But if there was no hope within the
walls, without there was still a soldier's death. For a moment the
garrison and the able-bodied citizens resolved to advance from the gates
in a solid column, to cut their way through the enemy's camp, or to
perish on the field. It was thought that the helpless and the infirm, who
would alone be left in the city, might be treated with indulgence after
the fighting men had all been slain. At any rate, by remaining the strong
could neither protect nor comfort them. As soon, however, as this resolve
was known, there was such wailing and outcry of women and children as
pierced the hearts of the soldiers and burghers, and caused them to
forego the project. They felt that it was cowardly not to die in their
presence. It was then determined to form all the females, the sick, the
aged, and the children, into a square, to surround them with all the
able-bodied men who still remained, and thus arrayed to fight their way
forth from the gates, and to conquer by the strength of despair, or at
least to perish all together.

These desperate projects, which the besieged were thought quite capable
of executing, were soon known in the Spanish camp. Don Frederic felt,
after what he had witnessed in the past seven months, that there was
nothing which the Harlemers could not do or dare. He feared lest they
should set fire to their city, and consume their houses, themselves, and
their children, to ashes together; and he was unwilling that the fruits
of his victory, purchased at such a vast expense, should be snatched from
his hand as he was about to gather them. A letter was accordingly, by his
order, sent to the magistracy and leading citizens, in the name of Count
Overstein, commander of the German forces in the besieging army. This
despatch invited a surrender at discretion, but contained the solemn
assurance that no punishment should be inflicted except upon those who,
in the judgment of the citizens themselves, had deserved it, and promised
ample forgiveness if the town should submit without further delay. At the
moment of sending this letter, Don Frederic was in possession of strict
orders from his father not to leave a man alive of the garrison,
excepting only the Germans, and to execute besides a large number of the
burghers. These commands he dared not disobey,--even if he had felt any
inclination to do so. In consequence of the semi-official letter of
Overstein, however, the city formally surrendered at discretion on the
12th July.

The great bell was tolled, and orders were issued that all arms in the
possession of the garrison or the inhabitants should be brought to the
town-house. The men were then ordered to assemble in the cloister of Zyl,
the women in the cathedral. On the same day, Don Frederic, accompanied by
Count Bossu and a numerous staff, rode into the city. The scene which met
his view might have moved a heart of stone. Everywhere was evidence of
the misery which had been so bravely endured during that seven months'
siege. The smouldering ruins of houses, which had been set on fire by
balls, the shattered fortifications, the felled trunks of trees, upturned
pavements, broken images and other materials for repairing gaps made by
the daily cannonade, strewn around in all directions, the skeletons of
unclean animals from which the flesh had been gnawed, the unburied bodies
of men and women who had fallen dead in the public thoroughfares--more
than all, the gaunt and emaciated forms of those who still survived, the
ghosts of their former, selves, all might have induced at least a doubt
whether the suffering inflicted already were not a sufficient punishment,
even for crimes so deep as heresy and schism. But this was far from being
the sentiment of Don Frederic. He seemed to read defiance as well as
despair in the sunken eyes which glared upon him as he entered the place,
and he took no thought of the pledge which he had informally but sacredly

All the officers of the garrison were at once arrested. Some of them had
anticipated the sentence of their conqueror by a voluntary death. Captain
Bordet, a French officer of distinction, like Brutus, compelled his
servant to hold the sword upon which he fell, rather than yield himself
alive to the vengeance of the Spaniards. Traits of generosity were not
wanting. Instead of Peter Hasselaer, a young officer who had displayed
remarkable bravery throughout the siege, the Spaniards by. mistake
arrested his cousin Nicholas. The prisoner was suffering himself to be
led away to the inevitable scaffold without remonstrance, when Peter
Hasselaer pushed his way violently through the ranks of the captors. "If
you want Ensign Hasselaer, I am the man. Let this innocent person
depart," he cried. Before the sun set his head had fallen. All the
officers were taken to the House of Kleef, where they were immediately
executed.--Captain Ripperda, who had so heroically rebuked the craven
conduct of the magistracy, whose eloquence had inflamed the soldiers and
citizens to resistance, and whose skill and courage had sustained the
siege so long, was among the first to suffer. A natural son of Cardinal
Granvelle, who could have easily saved his life by proclaiming a
parentage which he loathed, and Lancelot Brederode, an illegitimate scion
of that ancient house, were also among these earliest victims.

The next day Alva came over to the camp. He rode about the place,
examining the condition of the fortifications from the outside, but
returned to Amsterdam without having entered the city. On the following
morning the massacre commenced. The plunder had been commuted for two
hundred and forty thousand guilders, which the citizens bound themselves
to pay in four instalments; but murder was an indispensable accompaniment
of victory, and admitted of no compromise. Moreover, Alva had already
expressed the determination to effect a general massacre upon this
occasion. The garrison, during the siege, had been reduced from four
thousand to eighteen hundred. Of these the Germans, six hundred in
number, were, by Alva's order, dismissed, on a pledge to serve no more
against the King. All the rest of the garrison were immediately
butchered, with at least as many citizens. Drummers went about the city
daily, proclaiming that all who harbored persons having, at any former
period, been fugitives, were immediately to give them up, on pain of
being instantly hanged themselves in their own doors. Upon these refugees
and upon the soldiery fell the brunt of the slaughter; although, from day
to day, reasons were perpetually discovered for putting to death every
individual at all distinguished by service, station, wealth, or liberal
principles; for the carnage could not be accomplished at once, but, with
all the industry and heartiness employed, was necessarily protracted
through several days. Five executioners, with their attendants, were kept
constantly at work; and when at last they were exhausted with fatigue, or
perhaps sickened with horror, three hundred wretches were tied two and
two, back to back, and drowned in the Harlem Lake.

At last, after twenty-three hundred human creatures had been murdered in
cold blood, within a city where so many thousands had previously perished
by violent or by lingering deaths; the blasphemous farce of a pardon was
enacted. Fifty-seven of the most prominent burghers of the place were,
however, excepted from the act of amnesty, and taken into custody as
security for the future good conduct of the other citizens. Of these
hostages some were soon executed, some died in prison, and all would have
been eventually sacrificed, had not the naval defeat of Bossu soon
afterwards enabled the Prince of Orange to rescue the remaining
prisoners. Ten thousand two hundred and fifty-six shots had been
discharged against the walls during the siege. Twelve thousand of the
besieging army had died of wounds or disease, during the seven months and
two days, between the investment and the surrender. In the earlier part
of August, after the executions had been satisfactorily accomplished, Don
Frederic made his triumphal entry, and the first chapter in the invasion
of Holland was closed. Such was the memorable siege of Harlem, an event
in which we are called upon to wonder equally at human capacity to
inflict and to endure misery.

The Spaniards celebrated a victory, while in Utrecht they made an effigy
of the Prince of Orange, which they carried about in procession, broke
upon the wheel, and burned. It was, however, obvious, that if the
reduction of Harlem were a triumph, it was one which the conquerors might
well exchange for a defeat. At any rate, it was certain that the Spanish
empire was not strong enough to sustain many more such victories. If it
had required thirty thousand choice troops, among which were three
regiments called by Alva respectively, the "Invincibles," the
"Immortals," and the "None-such," to conquer the weakest city of Holland
in seven months, and with the loss of twelve thousand men; how many men,
how long a time, and how many deaths would it require to reduce the rest
of that little province? For, as the sack of Naarden had produced the
contrary effect from the one intended, inflaming rather than subduing the
spirit of Dutch resistance, so the long and glorious defence of Harlem,
notwithstanding its tragical termination, had only served to strain to
the highest pitch the hatred and patriotism of the other cities in the
province. Even the treasures of the New World were inadequate to pay for
the conquest of that little sand-bank. Within five years, twenty-five
millions of florins had been sent from Spain for war expenses in the
Netherlands.--Yet, this amount, with the addition of large sums annually
derived from confiscations, of five millions, at which the proceeds of
the hundredth penny was estimated, and the two millions yearly, for which
the tenth and twentieth pence had been compounded, was insufficient to
save the treasury from beggary and the unpaid troops from mutiny.

Nevertheless, for the moment the joy created was intense. Philip was
lying dangerously ill at the wood of Segovia, when the happy tidings of
the reduction of Harlem, with its accompanying butchery, arrived. The
account of all this misery, minutely detailed to him by Alva, acted like
magic. The blood of twenty-three hundred of his fellow-creatures--coldly
murdered, by his orders, in a single city--proved for the sanguinary
monarch the elixir of life: he drank and was refreshed. "The principal
medicine which has cured his Majesty," wrote Secretary Cayas from Madrid
to Alva, "is the joy caused to him by the good news which you have
communicated of the surrender of Harlem." In the height of his
exultation, the King forgot how much dissatisfaction he had recently felt
with the progress of events in the Netherlands; how much treasure had
been annually expended with an insufficient result. "Knowing your
necessity," continued Cayas, "his Majesty instantly sent for Doctor
Velasco, and ordered him to provide you with funds, if he had to descend
into the earth to dig for it." While such was the exultation of the
Spaniards, the Prince of Orange was neither dismayed nor despondent. As
usual, he trusted to a higher power than man. "I had hoped to send you
better news," he wrote, to Count Louis, "nevertheless, since it has
otherwise pleased the good God, we must conform ourselves to His divine
will. I take the same God to witness that I have done everything
according to my means, which was possible, to succor the city." A few
days later, writing in the same spirit, he informed his brother that the
Zealanders had succeeded in capturing the castle of Rammekens, on the
isle of Walcheren. "I hope," he said, "that this will reduce the pride of
our enemies, who, after the surrender of Harlem, have thought that they
were about to swallow us alive. I assure myself, however, that they will
find a very different piece of work from the one which they expect."


     Enthusiasm could not supply the place of experience
     Envying those whose sufferings had already been terminated
     Leave not a single man alive in the city, and to burn every house
     Not strong enough to sustain many more such victories
     Oldenbarneveld; afterwards so illustrious
     Sent them word by carrier pigeons
     Three hundred fighting women
     Tyranny, ever young and ever old, constantly reproducing herself
     Wonder equally at human capacity to inflict and to endure misery



1573 [CHAPTER IX.]

   Position of Alva--Hatred entertained for him by elevated personages
   --Quarrels between him and Medina Coeli--Departure of the latter--
   Complaints to the King by each of the other--Attempts at
   conciliation addressed by government to the people of the
   Netherlands--Grotesque character of the address--Mutinous
   demonstration of the Spanish troops--Secret overtures to Orange--
   Obedience, with difficulty, restored by Alva--Commencement of the
   siege of Alkmaar--Sanguinary menaces of the Duke--Encouraging and
   enthusiastic language of the Prince--Preparations in Alkmaar for
   defence--The first assault steadily repulsed--Refusal of the
   soldiers to storm a second time--Expedition of the Carpenter-envoy--
   Orders of the Prince to flood the country--The Carpenter's
   despatches in the enemy's hands--Effect produced upon the Spaniards
   --The siege raised--Negotiations of Count Louis with France--
   Uneasiness and secret correspondence of the Duke--Convention with
   the English government--Objects pursued by Orange--Cruelty of De la
   Marck--His dismissal from office and subsequent death--Negotiations
   with France--Altered tone of the French court with regard to the St.
   Bartholomew--Ill effects of the crime upon the royal projects--
   Hypocrisy of the Spanish government--Letter of Louis to Charles IX.
   --Complaints of Charles IX.--Secret aspirations of that monarch and
   of Philip--Intrigues concerning the Polish election--Renewed
   negotiations between Schomberg and Count Louis, with consent of
   Orange--Conditions prescribed by the Prince--Articles of secret
   alliance--Remarkable letter of Count Louis to Charles IX.--
   Responsible and isolated situation of Orange--The "Address" and the
   "Epistle"--Religious sentiments of the Prince--Naval action on the
   Zuyder Zee--Captivity of Bossu and of Saint Aldegonde--Odious
   position of Alva--His unceasing cruelty--Execution of Uitenhoove--
   Fraud practised by Alva upon his creditors--Arrival of Requesens,
   the new Governor-General--Departure of Alva--Concluding remarks upon
   his administration.

For the sake of continuity in the narrative, the siege of Harlem has been
related until its conclusion. This great event constituted, moreover, the
principal stuff in Netherland, history, up to the middle of the year
1573. A few loose threads must be now taken up before we can proceed

Alva had for some time felt himself in a false and uncomfortable
position. While he continued to be the object of a popular hatred as
intense as ever glowed, he had gradually lost his hold upon those who, at
the outset of his career, had been loudest and lowest in their
demonstrations of respect. "Believe me," wrote Secretary Albornoz to
Secretary Cayas, "this people abhor our nation worse than they abhor the
Devil. As for the Duke of Alva, they foam at the mouth when they hear his
name." Viglius, although still maintaining smooth relations with the
Governor, had been, in reality, long since estranged from him. Even
Aerschot, far whom the Duke had long maintained an intimacy half
affectionate, half contemptuous, now began to treat him with a contumely
which it was difficult for so proud a stomach to digest.

But the main source of discomfort was doubtless the presence of Medina
Coeli. This was the perpetual thorn in his side, which no cunning could
extract. A successor who would not and could not succeed him, yet who
attended him as his shadow and his evil genius--a confidential colleague
who betrayed his confidence, mocked his projects, derided his authority,
and yet complained of ill treatment--a rival who was neither compeer nor
subaltern, and who affected to be his censor--a functionary of a purely
anomalous character, sheltering himself under his abnegation of an
authority which he had not dared to assume, and criticising measures
which he was not competent to grasp;--such was the Duke of Medina Coeli
in Alva's estimation.

The bickering between the two Dukes became unceasing and disgraceful. Of
course, each complained to the King, and each, according to his own
account, was a martyr to the other's tyranny, but the meekness manifested
by Alva; in all his relations with the new comer, was wonderful, if we
are to believe the accounts furnished by himself and by his confidential
secretary. On the other hand, Medina Coeli wrote to the King, complaining
of Alva in most unmitigated strains, and asserting that he was himself
never allowed to see any despatches, nor to have the slightest
information as to the policy of the government. He reproached, the Duke
with shrinking from personal participation in military operations, and
begged the royal forgiveness if he withdrew from a scene where he felt
himself to be superfluous.

Accordingly, towards the end of November, he took his departure, without
paying his respects. The Governor complained to the King of this
unceremonious proceeding, and assured His Majesty that never were
courtesy and gentleness so ill requited as his had been by this ingrate
and cankered Duke. "He told me," said Alva, "that if I did not stay in
the field, he would not remain with me in peaceful cities, and he asked
me if I intended to march into Holland with the troops which were to
winter there. I answered, that I should go wherever it was necessary,
even should I be obliged to swim through all the canals of Holland."
After giving these details, the Duke added, with great appearance of
candor and meekness, that he was certain Medina Coeli had only been
influenced by extreme zeal for His Majesty's service, and that, finding,
so little for him to do in the Netherlands, he had become dissatisfied
with his position.

Immediately after the fall of Harlem, another attempt was made by Alva to
win back the allegiance of the other cities by proclamations. It had
become obvious to the Governor that so determined a resistance on the
part of the first place besieged augured many long campaigns before the
whole province could be subdued. A circular was accordingly issued upon
the 26th July from Utrecht, and published immediately afterwards in all
the cities of the Netherlands. It was a paper of singular character,
commingling an affectation of almost ludicrous clemency, with honest and
hearty brutality. There was consequently something very grotesque about
the document. Philip, in the outset, was made to sustain towards his
undutiful subjects the characters of the brooding hen and the prodigal's
father; a range of impersonation hardly to be allowed him, even by the
most abject flattery. "Ye are well aware," thus ran the address, "that
the King has, over and over again, manifested his willingness to receive
his children, in however forlorn a condition the prodigals might return.
His Majesty assures you once more that your sins, however black they may
have been, shall be forgiven and forgotten in the plenitude of royal
kindness, if you repent and return in season to his Majesty's embrace.
Notwithstanding your manifold crimes, his Majesty still seeks, like a hen
calling her chickens, to gather you all under the parental wing. The King
hereby warns you once more, therefore, to place yourselves in his royal
hands, and not to wait for his rage, cruelty, and fury, and the approach
of his army."

The affectionate character of the address, already fading towards the end
of the preamble, soon changes to bitterness. The domestic maternal fowl
dilates into the sanguinary dragon as the address proceeds. "But if,"
continues the monarch, "ye disregard these offers of mercy, receiving
them with closed ears, as heretofore, then we warn you that there is no
rigor, nor cruelty, however great, which you are not to expect by laying
waste, starvation, and the sword, in such manner that nowhere shall
remain a relic of that which at present exists, but his Majesty will
strip bare and utterly depopulate the land, and cause it to be inhabited
again by strangers; since otherwise his Majesty could not believe that
the will of God and of his Majesty had been accomplished."

It is almost superfluous to add that this circular remained fruitless.
The royal wrath, thus blasphemously identifying itself with divine
vengeance, inspired no terror, the royal blandishments no affection.

The next point of attack was the city of Alkmaar, situate quite at the
termination of the Peninsula, among the lagunes and redeemed prairies of
North Holland. The Prince of Orange had already provided it with a small
garrison. The city had been summoned to surrender by the middle of July,
and had returned a bold refusal.--Meantime, the Spaniards had retired
from before the walls, while the surrender and chastisement of Harlem
occupied them during the next succeeding weeks. The month of August,
moreover, was mainly consumed by Alva in quelling a dangerous and
protracted mutiny, which broke out among the Spanish soldiers at
Harlem--between three and four thousand of them having been quartered
upon the ill-fated population of that city.

Unceasing misery was endured by the inhabitants at the hands of the
ferocious Spaniards, flushed with victory, mutinous for long arrears of
pay, and greedy for the booty which had been denied. At times, however,
the fury of the soldiery was more violently directed against their own
commanders than against the enemy. A project was even formed by the
malcontent troops to deliver Harlem into the hands of Orange. A party of
them, disguised as Baltic merchants, waited upon the Prince at Delft, and
were secretly admitted to his bedside before he had risen. They declared
to him that they were Spanish soldiers, who had compassion on his cause,
were dissatisfied with their own government, and were ready, upon receipt
of forty thousand guilders, to deliver the city into his hands. The
Prince took the matter into consideration, and promised to accept the
offer if he could raise the required sum. This, however, he found himself
unable to do within the stipulated time, and thus, for want of so paltry
a sum, the offer was of necessity declined.

Various were the excesses committed by the insubordinate troops in every
province in the Netherlands upon the long-suffering inhabitants.
"Nothing," wrote Alva, "had given him so much pain during his forty years
of service." He avowed his determination to go to Amsterdam in order to
offer himself as a hostage to the soldiery, if by so doing he could quell
the mutiny. He went to Amsterdam accordingly, where by his exertions,
ably seconded by those of the Marquis Vitelli, and by the payment of
thirty crowns to each soldier--fourteen on account of arrearages and
sixteen as his share in the Harlem compensation money--the rebellion was
appeased, and obedience restored.

There was now leisure for the General to devote his whole energies
against the little city of Alkmaar. On that bank and shoal, the extreme
verge of habitable earth, the spirit of Holland's Freedom stood at bay.
The grey towers of Egmont Castle and of Egmont Abbey rose between the
city and the sea, and there the troops sent by the Prince of Orange were
quartered during the very brief period in which the citizens wavered as
to receiving them. The die was soon cast, however, and the Prince's
garrison admitted. The Spaniards advanced, burned the village of Egmont
to the ground as soon as the patriots had left it, and on the 21st of
August Don Frederic, appearing before the walls, proceeded formally to
invest Allanaar. In a few days this had been so thoroughly accomplished
that, in Alva's language, "it was impossible for a sparrow to enter or go
out of the city." The odds were somewhat unequal. Sixteen thousand
veteran troops constituted the besieging force. Within the city were a
garrison of eight hundred soldiers, together with thirteen hundred
burghers, capable of bearing arms. The rest of the population consisted
of a very few refugees, besides the women and children. Two thousand one
hundred able-bodied men, of whom only about one-third were soldiers, to
resist sixteen thousand regulars.

Nor was there any doubt as to the fate which was reserved for them,
should they succumb. The Duke was vociferous at the ingratitude with
which his clemency had hitherto been requited. He complained bitterly of
the ill success which had attended his monitory circulars; reproached
himself with incredible vehemence, for his previous mildness, and
protested that, after having executed only twenty-three hundred persons
at the surrender of Harlem, besides a few additional burghers since, he
had met with no correspondent demonstrations of affection. He promised
himself, however, an ample compensation for all this ingratitude, in the
wholesale vengeance which he purposed to wreak upon Alkmaar. Already he
gloated in anticipation over the havoc which would soon be let loose
within those walls. Such ravings, if invented by the pen of fiction,
would seem a puerile caricature; proceeding, authentically, from his
own,--they still appear almost too exaggerated for belief. "If I take
Alkmaar," he wrote to Philip, "I am resolved not to leave a single
creature alive; the knife shall be put to every throat. Since the example
of Harlem has proved of no use, perhaps an example of cruelty will bring
the other cities to their senses."

He took occasion also to read a lecture to the party of conciliation in
Madrid, whose counsels, as he believed, his sovereign was beginning to
heed. Nothing, he maintained, could be more senseless than the idea of
pardon and clemency. This had been sufficiently proved by recent events.
It was easy for people at a distance to talk about gentleness, but those
upon the spot knew better. Gentleness had produced nothing, so far;
violence alone could succeed in future. "Let your Majesty," he said, "be
disabused of the impression, that with kindness anything can be done with
these people. Already have matters reached such a point that many of
those born in the country, who have hitherto advocated clemency, are now
undeceived, and acknowledge--their mistake. They are of opinion that not
a living soul should be left in Alkmaar, but that every individual should
be put to the sword." At the same time he took occasion, even in these
ferocious letters, which seem dripping with blood, to commend his own
natural benignity of disposition. "Your Majesty may be certain," he said,
"that no man on earth desires the path of clemency more than I do,
notwithstanding my particular hatred for heretics and traitors." It was
therefore with regret that he saw himself obliged to take the opposite
course, and to stifle all his gentler sentiments.

Upon Diedrich Sonoy, Lieutenant-Governor for Orange in the province of
North Holland, devolved the immediate responsibility of defending this
part of the country. As the storm rolled slowly up from the south, even
that experienced officer became uneasy at the unequal conflict impending.
He despatched a letter to his chief, giving a gloomy picture of his
position. All looked instinctively towards the Prince, as to a God in
their time of danger; all felt as if upon his genius and fortitude
depended the whole welfare of the fatherland. It was hoped, too, that
some resource had been provided in a secret foreign alliance. "If your
princely grace," wrote Sonoy, "have made a contract for assistance with
any powerful potentate, it is of the highest importance that it should be
known to all the cities, in order to put an end to the emigration, and to
console the people in their affliction."

The answer, of the Prince was full of lofty enthusiasm. He reprimanded
with gentle but earnest eloquence the despondency and little faith of his
lieutenant and other adherents. He had not expected, he said, that they
would have so soon forgotten their manly courage. They seemed to consider
the whole fate of the country attached to the city of Harlem. He took God
to witness that--he had spared no pains, and would willingly have spared
no drop of his blood to save that devoted city. "But as, notwithstanding
our efforts," he continued, "it has pleased God Almighty to dispose of
Harlem according to His divine will, shall we, therefore, deny and deride
His holy word? Has the strong arm of the Lord thereby grown weaker? Has
his Church therefore come to caught? You ask if I have entered into a
firm treaty with any great king or potentate, to which I answer, that
before I ever took up the cause of the oppressed Christians in these
provinces, I had entered into a close alliance with the King of kings;
and I am firmly convinced that all who put their trust in Him shall be
saved by His almighty hand. The God of armies will raise up armies for us
to do battle with our enemies sad His own." In conclusion, he stated his
preparations for attacking the enemy by sea as well as by land, and
encouraged his lieutenant and the citizens of the northern quarter to
maintain a bold front before the advancing foe.

And now, with the dismantled and desolate Harlem before their eyes, a
prophetic phantom, perhaps, of their own imminent fate, did the handful
of people shut up within Alkmaar prepare for the worst. Their main hope
lay in the friendly sea. The vast sluices called the Zyp, through which
an inundation of the whole northern province could be very soon effected,
were but a few miles distant. By opening these gates, and by piercing a
few dykes, the ocean might be made to fight for them. To obtain this
result, however, the consent of the inhabitants was requisite, as the
destruction of all the standing crops would be inevitable. The city was
so closely invested, that it was a matter of life and death to venture
forth, and it was difficult, therefore, to find an envoy for this
hazardous mission. At last, a carpenter in the city, Peter Van der Mey by
name, undertook the adventure, and was entrusted with letters to Sonoy,
to the Prince of Orange, and to the leading personages, in several cities
of the province: These papers were enclosed in a hollow walking-staff,
carefully made fast at the top.

Affairs soon approached a crisis within the beleaguered city. Daily
skirmishes, without decisive result; had taken place outside the walls.
At last, on the 18th of September, after a steady cannonade of nearly
twelve hours, Don Frederic, at three in the afternoon, ordered an
assault. Notwithstanding his seven months' experience at Harlem, he still
believed it certain that he should carry Alkmaar by storm. The attack
took place at once upon the Frisian gate and upon the red tower on the
opposite side. Two choice regiments, recently arrived from Lombardy; led
the onset, rending the air with their shouts, and confident of an easy
victory. They were sustained by what seemed an overwhelming force of
disciplined troops. Yet never, even in the recent history of Harlem, had
an attack been received by more dauntless breasts. Every living man was
on the walls. The storming parties were assailed with cannon, with
musketry, with pistols. Boiling water, pitch and oil, molten lead, and
unslaked lime, were poured upon them every moment. Hundreds of tarred and
burning hoops were skilfully quoited around the necks of the soldiers,
who struggled in vain to extricate themselves from these fiery ruffs,
while as fast as any of the invaders planted foot upon the breach, they
were confronted face to face with sword and dagger by the burghers, who
hurled them headlong into the moat below.

Thrice was the attack renewed with ever-increasing rage--thrice repulsed
with unflinching fortitude. The storm continued four hours long. During
all that period, not one of the defenders left his post, till he dropped
from it dead or wounded. The women and children, unscared by the balls
flying in every direction, or by the hand-to-hand conflicts on the
ramparts; passed steadily to and fro from the arsenals to the
fortifications, constantly supplying their fathers, husbands, and
brothers with powder and ball. Thus, every human being in the city that
could walk had become a soldier. At last darkness fell upon the scene.
The trumpet of recal was sounded, and the Spaniards, utterly discomfited,
retired from the walls, leaving at least one thousand dead in the
trenches, while only thirteen burghers and twenty-four of the garrison
lost their lives. Thus was Alkmaar preserved for a little longer--thus a
large and well-appointed army signally defeated by a handful of men
fighting for their firesides and altars. Ensign Solis, who had mounted
the breach for an instant, and miraculously escaped with life, after
having been hurled from the battlements, reported that he had seen
"neither helmet nor harness," as he looked down into the city: only some
plain-looking people, generally dressed like fishermen. Yet these
plain-looking fishermen had defeated the veterans of Alva.

The citizens felt encouraged by the results of that day's work. Moreover,
they already possessed such information concerning the condition of
affairs in the camp of the enemy as gave them additional confidence. A
Spaniard, named Jeronimo, had been taken prisoner and brought into the
city. On receiving a promise of pardon, he had revealed many secrets
concerning the position and intentions of the besieging army. It is
painful to add that the prisoner, notwithstanding his disclosures and the
promise under which they had been made, was treacherously executed. He
begged hard for his life as he was led to the gallows, offering fresh
revelations, which, however, after the ample communications already made,
were esteemed superfluous. Finding this of no avail, he promised his
captors, with perfect simplicity, to go down on his knees and worship the
Devil precisely as they did, if by so doing he might obtain mercy. It may
be supposed that such a proposition was not likely to gain additional
favor for him in the eyes of these rigid Calvinists, and the poor wretch
was accordingly hanged.

The day following the assault, a fresh cannonade was opened upon the
city. Seven hundred shots having been discharged, the attack was ordered.
It was in vain: neither threats nor entreaties could induce the
Spaniards, hitherto so indomitable, to mount the breach. The place seemed
to their imagination protected by more than mortal powers; otherwise how
was it possible that a few half-starved fishermen could already have so
triumphantly overthrown the time-honored legions of Spain. It was
thought, no doubt, that the Devil, whom they worshipped, would continue
to protect his children. Neither the entreaties nor the menaces of Don
Frederic were of any avail. Several soldiers allowed themselves to be run
through the body by their own officers, rather than advance to the walls;
and the assault was accordingly postponed to an indefinite period.

Meantime, as Governor Sonoy had opened many of the dykes, the land in the
neighbourhood of the camp was becoming plashy, although as yet the
threatened inundation had not taken place. The soldiers were already very
uncomfortable and very refractory. The carpenter-envoy had not been idle,
having, upon the 26th September, arrived at Sonoy's quarters, bearing
letters from the Prince of Orange. These despatches gave distinct
directions to Sonoy to flood the countlv at all risks; rather than allow
Alkmaar to, fall into the enemy's hands. The dykes and sluices were to be
protected by a strong guard, lest the peasants, in order to save their
crops, should repair or close them in the night-time. The letters of
Orange were copied, and, together with fresh communications from Sonoy,
delivered to the carpenter. A note on the margin of the Prince's letter,
directed the citizens to kindle four beacon fires in specified places, as
soon as it should prove necessary to resort to extreme measures. When
that moment should arrive, it was solemnly promised that an inundation
should be created which should sweep the whole Spanish army into the sea.
The work had, in fact, been commenced. The Zyp and other sluices had
already been opened, and a vast body of water, driven by a strong
north-west wind, had rushed in from the ocean. It needed only that two
great dykes should be pierced to render the deluge and the desolation
complete. The harvests were doomed to destruction, and a frightful loss
of property rendered inevitable, but, at any rate, the Spaniards, if this
last measure were taken, must fly or perish to a man.

This decisive blow having been thus ordered and promised; the carpenter
set forth towards the city. He was, however, not so successful in
accomplishing his entrance unmolested, as he had been in effecting his
departure. He narrowly escaped with his life in passing through the
enemy's lines, and while occupied in saving himself was so unlucky, or,
as it proved, so fortunate, as to lose the stick in which his despatches
were enclosed. He made good his entrance into the city, where, byword of
mouth, he encouraged his fellow-burghers as to the intentions of the
Prince and Sonoy. In the meantime his letters were laid before the
general of the besieging army. The resolution taken by Orange, of which
Don Frederic was thus unintentionally made aware, to flood the country
far and near, rather than fail to protect Alkmaar, made a profound
impression upon his mind. It was obvious that he was dealing with a
determined leader and with desperate men. His attempt to carry the place
by storm had signally failed, and he could not deceive himself as to the
temper and disposition of his troops ever since that repulse. When it
should become known that they were threatened with submersion in the
ocean, in addition to all the other horrors of war, he had reason to
believe that they would retire ignominiously from that remote and
desolate sand hook, where, by remaining, they could only find a watery
grave. These views having been discussed in a council of officers, the
result was reached that sufficient had been already accomplished for the
glory of Spanish arms. Neither honor nor loyalty, it was thought,
required that sixteen thousand soldiers should be sacrificed in a
contest, not with man but with the ocean.

On the 8th of October, accordingly, the siege, which had lasted seven
weeks, was raised, and Don Frederic rejoined his father in Amsterdam.
Ready to die in the last ditch, and to overwhelm both themselves and
their foes in a common catastrophe the Hollanders had at last compelled
their haughty enemy to fly from a position which he had so insolently

These public transactions and military operations were not the only
important events which affected the fate of Holland and its sister
provinces at this juncture. The secret relations which had already been
renewed between Louis of Nassau, as plenipotentiary of his brother and
the French court, had for some time excited great uneasiness in the mind
of Alva. Count Louis was known to be as skilful a negotiator as he was
valiant and accomplished as a soldier. His frankness and boldness created
confidence. The "brave spirit in the loyal breast" inspired all his
dealing; his experience and quick perception of character prevented his
becoming a dupe of even the most adroit politicians, while his truth of
purpose made him incapable either of overreaching an ally or of betraying
a trust. His career indicated that diplomacy might be sometimes
successful, even although founded upon sincerity.

Alva secretly expressed to his sovereign much suspicion of France. He
reminded him that Charles IX.; during the early part of the preceding
year, had given the assurance that he was secretly dealing with Louis of
Nassau, only that he might induce the Count to pass over to Philip's
service. At the same time Charles had been doing all he could to succor
Moos, and had written the memorable letter which had fallen into Alva's
hands on the capture of Genlis, and which expressed such a fixed
determination to inflict a deadly blow upon the King, whom the writer was
thus endeavouring to cajole. All this the Governor recalled to the
recollection of his sovereign. In view of this increasing repugnance of
the English court, Alva recommended that fair words should be employed;
hinting, however, that it would be by no means necessary for his master
to consider himself very strictly bound by any such pledges to Elizabeth,
if they should happen to become inconveniently pressing. "A monarch's
promises," he delicately suggested, "were not to be considered so sacred
as those of humbler mortals. Not that the King should directly violate
his word, but at the same time," continued the Duke, "I have thought all
my life, and I have learned it from the Emperor, your Majesty's father,
that the negotiations of kings depend upon different principles from
those of us private gentlemen who walk the world; and in this manner I
always observed that your Majesty's father, who was, so great a gentleman
and so powerful a prince, conducted his affairs." The Governor took
occasion, likewise, to express his regrets at the awkward manner in which
the Ridolfi scheme had been managed. Had he been consulted at an earlier
day, the affair could have been treated much more delicately; as it was,
there could be little doubt but that the discovery of the plot had
prejudiced the mind of Elizabeth against Spain. "From that dust,"
concluded the Duke, "has resulted all this dirt." It could hardly be
matter of surprise, either to Philip or his Viceroy, that the discovery
by Elizabeth of a plot upon their parts to take her life and place the
crown upon the head of her hated rival, should have engendered unamiable
feelings in her bosom towards them. For the moment, however, Alva's
negotiations were apparently successful.

On the first of May, 1573, the articles of convention between England and
Spain, with regard to the Netherland difficulty, had been formally
published in Brussels. The Duke, in communicating the termination of
these arrangements, quietly recommended his master thenceforth to take
the English ministry into his pay. In particular he advised his Majesty
to bestow an annual bribe upon Lord Burleigh, "who held the kingdom in
his hand; for it has always been my opinion," he continued, "that it was
an excellent practice for princes to give pensions to the ministers of
other potentates, and to keep those at home who took bribes from nobody."

On the other hand, the negotiations of Orange with the English court were
not yet successful, and he still found it almost impossible to raise the
requisite funds for carrying on the war. Certainly, his private letters
showed that neither he nor his brothers were self-seekers in their
negotiations. "You know;" said he in a letter to his brothers, "that my
intention has never been to seek my private advantage. I have only
aspired for the liberty of the country, in conscience and in polity,
which foreigners have sought to oppress. I have no other articles to
propose, save that religion, reformed according to the Word of God,
should be permitted, that then the commonwealth should be restored to its
ancient liberty, and, to that end, that the Spaniards and other soldiery
should be compelled to retire."

The restoration of civil and religious liberty, the establishment of the
great principle of toleration in matters of conscience, constituted the
purpose to which his days and nights were devoted, his princely fortune
sacrificed, his life-blood risked. At the same time, his enforcement of
toleration to both religions excited calumny against him among the
bigoted adherents of both. By the Catholics he was accused of having
instigated the excesses which he had done everything in his power to
repress. The enormities of De la Marck, which had inspired the Prince's
indignation, were even laid at the door of him who had risked his life to
prevent and to chastise them. De la Marck had, indeed, more than
counterbalanced his great service in the taking of Brill, by his
subsequent cruelties. At last, Father Cornelius Musius, pastor of Saint
Agatha, at the age of seventy-two, a man highly esteemed by the Prince of
Orange, had been put to torture and death by this barbarian, under
circumstances of great atrocity. The horrid deed cost the Prince many
tears, aroused the indignation of the estates of Holland, and produced
the dismission of the perpetrator from their service. It was considered
expedient, however, in view of his past services, his powerful
connexions, and his troublesome character, that he should be induced
peaceably to leave the country.

It was long before the Prince and the estates could succeed in ridding
themselves of this encumbrance. He created several riots in different
parts of the province, and boasted, that he had many fine ships of war
and three thousand men devoted to him, by whose assistance he could make
the estates "dance after his pipe." At the beginning of the following
year (1574), he was at last compelled to leave the provinces, which he
never again troubled with his presence. Some years afterwards, he died of
the bite of a mad dog; an end not inappropriate to a man of so rabid a

While the Prince was thus steadily striving for a lofty and generous
purpose, he was, of course, represented by his implacable enemies as a
man playing a game which, unfortunately for himself, was a losing one.
"That poor prince," said Granvelle, "has been ill advised. I doubt now
whether he will ever be able to make his peace, and I think we shall
rather try to get rid of him and his brother as if they were Turks. The
marriage with the daughter of Maurice, 'unde mala et quia ipse talis',
and his brothers have done him much harm. So have Schwendi and German
intimacies. I saw it all very plainly, but he did not choose to believe

Ill-starred, worse counselled William of Orange! Had he but taken the
friendly Cardinal's advice, kept his hand from German marriages and his
feet from conventicles--had he assisted his sovereign in burning heretics
and hunting rebels, it would not then have become necessary "to treat him
like a Turk." This is unquestionable. It is equally so that there would
have been one great lamp the less in that strait and difficult pathway
which leads to the temple of true glory.

The main reliance of Orange was upon the secret negotiations which his
brother Louis was then renewing with the French government. The Prince
had felt an almost insurmountable repugnance towards entertaining any
relation with that blood-stained court, since the massacre of Saint
Bartholomew. But a new face had recently been put upon that transaction.
Instead of glorying, in their crime, the King and his mother now assumed
a tone of compunction, and averred that the deed had been unpremeditated;
that it had been the result of a panic or an ecstasy of fear inspired by
the suddenly discovered designs of the Huguenots; and that, in the
instinct of self-preservation, the King, with his family and immediate
friends, had plunged into a crime which they now bitterly lamented. The
French envoys at the different courts of Europe were directed to impress
this view upon the minds of the monarchs to whom they were accredited. It
was certainly a very different instruction from that which they had at
first received. Their cue had originally been to claim a full meed of
praise and thanksgiving in behalf of their sovereign for his meritorious
exploit. The salvos of artillery, the illuminations and rejoicings, the
solemn processions and masses by which the auspicious event had been
celebrated, mere yet fresh in the memory of men. The ambassadors were
sufficiently embarrassed by the distinct and determined approbation which
they had recently expressed. Although the King, by formal proclamation,
had assumed the whole responsibility, as he had notoriously been one of
the chief perpetrators of the deed, his agents were now to stultify
themselves and their monarch by representing, as a deplorable act of
frenzy, the massacre which they had already extolled to the echo as a
skilfully executed and entirely commendable achievement.

To humble the power of Spain, to obtain the hand of Queen Elizabeth for
the Duke d'Alencon, to establish an insidious kind of protectorate over
the Protestant princes of Germany, to obtain the throne of Poland for the
Duke of Anjou, and even to obtain the imperial crown for the house of
Valois--all these cherished projects seemed dashed to the ground by the
Paris massacre and the abhorrence which it had created. Charles and
Catharine were not slow to discover the false position in which they had
placed themselves, while the Spanish jocularity at the immense error
committed by France was visible enough through the assumed mask of holy

Philip and Alva listened with mischievous joy to the howl of execration
which swept through Christendom upon every wind. They rejoiced as
heartily in the humiliation of the malefactors as they did in the
perpetration of the crime. "Your Majesty," wrote Louis of Nassau, very
bluntly, to King Charles, "sees how the Spaniard, your mortal enemy,
feasts himself full with the desolation of your affairs; how he laughs,
to-split his sides, at your misfortunes. This massacre has enabled him to
weaken your Majesty more than he could have done by a war of thirty

Before the year had revolved, Charles had become thoroughly convinced of
the fatal impression produced by the event. Bitter and almost abject were
his whinings at the Catholic King's desertion of his cause. "He knows
well," wrote Charles to Saint Goard, "that if he can terminate these
troubles and leave me alone in the dance, he will have leisure and means
to establish his authority, not only in the Netherlands but elsewhere;
and that he will render himself more grand and formidable than he has
ever been. This is the return they render for the good received from me,
which is such as every one knows."

Gaspar de Schomberg, the adroit and honorable agent of Charles in
Germany, had at a very early day warned his royal master of the ill
effect of the massacre upon all the schemes which he had been pursuing,
and especially upon those which referred to the crowns of the Empire and
of Poland. The first project was destined to be soon abandoned. It was
reserved neither for Charles nor Philip to divert the succession in
Germany from the numerous offspring of Maximilian; yet it is instructive
to observe the unprincipled avidity with which the prize was sought by
both. Each was willing to effect its purchase by abjuring what were
supposed his most cherished principles. Philip of Spain, whose mission
was to extirpate heresy throughout his realms, and who, in pursuance of
that mission, had already perpetrated more crimes, and waded more deeply
in the blood of his subjects, than monarch had often done before; Philip,
for whom his apologists have never found any defence, save that he
believed it his duty to God rather to depopulate his territories than to
permit a single heretic within their limits--now entered into secret
negotiations with the princes of the Empire. He pledged himself, if they
would confer the crown upon him, that he would withdraw the Spaniards
from the Netherlands; that he would tolerate in those provinces the
exercise of the Reformed religion; that he would recognize their union
with the rest of the German Empire, and their consequent claim to the
benefits of the Passau treaty; that he would restore the Prince of Orange
"and all his accomplices" to their former possessions, dignities, and
condition; and that he would cause to be observed, throughout every realm
incorporated with the Empire, all the edicts and ordinances which had
been constructed to secure religious freedom in Germany. In brief, Philip
was willing, in case the crown of Charlemagne should be promised him, to
undo the work of his life, to reinstate the arch-rebel whom he had hunted
and proscribed, and to bow before that Reformation whose disciples he had
so long burned, and butchered. So much extent and no more had that
religious, conviction by which he had for years had the effrontery to
excuse the enormities practised in the Netherlands. God would never
forgive him so long as one heretic remained unburned in the provinces;
yet give him the Imperial sceptre, and every heretic, without forswearing
his heresy, should be purged with hyssop and become whiter than snow.

Charles IX., too, although it was not possible for him to recal to life
the countless victims of the Parisian wedding, was yet ready to explain
those murders to the satisfaction of every unprejudiced mind. This had
become strictly necessary. Although the accession of either his Most
Christian or Most Catholic Majesty to the throne of the Caesars was a
most improbable event, yet the humbler elective, throne actually vacant
was indirectly in the gift of the same powers. It was possible that the
crown of Poland might be secured for the Duke of Anjou. That key unlocks
the complicated policy of this and the succeeding year. The Polish
election is the clue to the labyrinthian intrigues and royal
tergiversations during the period of the interregnum. Sigismund Augustus,
last of the Jagellons, had died on the 7th July; 1572. The prominent
candidates to succeed him were the Archduke Ernest, son of the Emperor,
and Henry of Anjou. The Prince of Orange was not forgotten. A strong
party were in favor of compassing his election, as the most signal
triumph which Protestantism could gain, but his ambition had not been
excited by the prospect of such a prize. His own work required all the
energies of all his life. His influence, however, was powerful, and
eagerly sought by the partisans of Anjou. The Lutherans and Moravians in
Poland were numerous, the Protestant party there and in Germany holding
the whole balance of the election in their hands.

It was difficult for the Prince to overcome his repugnance to the very
name of the man whose crime had at once made France desolate, and
blighted the fair prospects under which he and his brother had, the year
before, entered the Netherlands. Nevertheless; he was willing to listen
to the statements by which the King and his ministers endeavoured, not
entirely without success, to remove from their reputations, if not from
their souls; the guilt of deep design. It was something, that the
murderers now affected to expiate their offence in sackcloth and
ashes--it was something that, by favoring the pretensions of Anjou, and
by listening with indulgence to the repentance of Charles, the siege of
Rochelle could be terminated, the Huguenots restored to freedom of
conscience, and an alliance with a powerful nation established, by aid of
which the Netherlands might once more lift their heads. The French
government, deeply hostile to Spain, both from passion and policy, was
capable of rendering much assistance to the revolted provinces. "I
entreat you most humbly, my good master," wrote Schomberg to Charles IX.,
"to beware of allowing the electors to take into their heads that you are
favoring the affairs of the King of Spain in any manner whatsoever.
Commit against him no act of open hostility, if you think that imprudent;
but look sharp! if you do not wish to be thrown clean out of your saddle.
I should split with rage if I should see you, in consequence of the
wicked calumnies of your enemies, fail to secure the prize."

Orange was induced, therefore, to accept, however distrustfully, the
expression of a repentance which was to be accompanied with healing
measures. He allowed his brother Louis to resume negotiations with
Schomberg, in Germany. He drew up and transmitted to him the outlines of
a treaty which he was willing to make with Charles. The main conditions
of this arrangement illustrated the disinterested character of the man.
He stipulated that the King of France should immediately make peace with
his subjects, declaring expressly that he had been abused by those, who,
under pretext of his service, had sought their own profit at the price of
ruin to the crown and people. The King should make religion free. The
edict to that effect should be confirmed by all the parliaments and
estates of the kingdom, and such confirmations should be distributed
without reserve or deceit among all the princes of Germany. If his
Majesty were not inclined to make war for the liberation of the
Netherlands, he was to furnish the Prince of Orange with one hundred
thousand crowns at once, and every three months with another hundred
thousand. The Prince was to have liberty to raise one thousand cavalry
and seven thousand infantry in France. Every city or town in the
provinces which should be conquered by his arms, except in Holland or
Zealand, should be placed under the sceptre, and in the hands of the King
of France. The provinces of Holland and Zealand should also be placed
under his protection, but should be governed by their own gentlemen and
citizens. Perfect religious liberty and maintenance of the ancient
constitutions, privileges, and charters were to be guaranteed "without
any cavilling whatsoever." The Prince of Orange, or the estates of
Holland or Zealand, were to reimburse his Christian Majesty for the sums
which he was to advance. In this last clause was the only mention which
the Prince made of himself, excepting in the stipulation that he was to
be allowed a levy of troops in France. His only personal claims were to
enlist soldiers to fight the battles of freedom, and to pay their
expense, if it should not be provided for by the estates. At nearly the
same period, he furnished his secret envoys, Luinbres and Doctor
Taijaert, who were to proceed to Paris, with similar instructions.

The indefatigable exertions of Schomberg, and the almost passionate
explanations on the part of the court of France, at length produced their
effect. "You will constantly assure the princes," wrote the Duke of Anjou
to Schomberg, "that the things written, to you concerning that which had
happened in this kingdom are true; that the events occurred suddenly,
without having been in any manner premeditated; that neither the King nor
myself have ever had any intelligence with, the King of Spain, against
those of the religion, and that all is utter imposture which is daily
said on this subject to the princes."

Count Louis required peremptorily, however, that the royal repentance
should bring forth the fruit of salvation for the remaining victims. Out
of the nettles of these dangerous intrigues his fearless hand plucked the
"flower of safety" for his down-trodden cause. He demanded not words, but
deeds, or at least pledges. He maintained with the agents of Charles and
with the monarch himself the same hardy scepticism which was manifested
by the Huguenot deputies in their conferences with Catharine de Medicis.
"Is the word of a king," said the dowager to the commissioners, who were
insisting upon guarantees, "is the word of a king not sufficient?"--"No,
madam," replied one of them, "by Saint Bartholomew, no!" Count Louis told
Schomberg roundly, and repeated it many times, that he must have in a
very few days a categorical response, "not to consist in words alone, but
in deeds, and that he could not, and would not, risk for ever the honor
of his brother, nor the property; blood, and life of those poor people
who favored the cause."

On the 23rd March, 1573, Schomberg had an interview with Count Louis,
which lasted seven or eight hours. In that interview the enterprises of
the Count, "which," said Schomberg, "are assuredly grand and beautiful,"
were thoroughly discussed, and a series of conditions, drawn up partly in
the hand of one, partly in that of the other negotiator; definitely
agreed upon. These conditions were on the basis of a protectorate over
Holland and Zealand for the King of France, with sovereignty over the
other places to be acquired in the Netherlands. They were in strict
accordance with the articles furnished by the Prince of Orange. Liberty
of worship for those of both religions, sacred preservation of municipal
charters, and stipulation of certain annual subsidies on the part of
France, in case his Majesty should not take the field, were the principal

Ten days later, Schomberg wrote to his master that the Count was willing
to use all the influence of his family to procure for Anjou the crown of
Poland, while Louis, having thus completed his negotiations with the
agent, addressed a long and earnest letter to the royal principal. This
remarkable despatch was stamped throughout with the impress of the
writer's frank and fearless character. "Thus diddest thou" has rarely
been addressed to anointed monarch in such unequivocal tones: The letter
painted the favorable position in which the king had been placed
previously to the fatal summer of 1572. The Queen of England was then
most amicably disposed towards him, and inclined to a yet closer
connexion with his family. The German princes were desirous to elect him
King of the Romans, a dignity for which his grandfather had so
fruitlessly contended. The Netherlanders, driven to despair by the
tyranny of their own sovereign, were eager to throw themselves into his
arms. All this had been owing to his edict of religious pacification. How
changed the picture now! Who now did reverence to a King so criminal and
so fallen? "Your Majesty to-day," said Louis, earnestly and plainly, "is
near to ruin. The State, crumbling on every side and almost abandoned, is
a prey to any one who wishes to seize upon it; the more so, because your
Majesty, having, by the late excess and by the wars previously made,
endeavoured to force men's consciences, is now so destitute, not only of
nobility and soldiery but of that which constitutes the strongest column
of the throne, the love and good wishes of the lieges, that your Majesty
resembles an ancient building propped up, day after, day, with piles, but
which it will be impossible long to prevent from falling to the earth."
Certainly, here were wholesome truths told in straightforward style.

The Count proceeded to remind the King of the joy which the "Spaniard,
his mortal enemy," had conceived from the desolation of his affairs,
being assured that he should, by the troubles in France, be enabled to
accomplish his own purposes without striking a blow. This, he observed,
had been the secret of the courtesy with which the writer himself had
been treated by the Duke of Alva at the surrender of Mons. Louis assured
the King, in continuation, that if he persevered in these oppressive
courses towards his subjects of the new religion, there was no hope for
him, and that his two brothers would, to no purpose, take their departure
for England, and, for Poland, leaving him with a difficult and dangerous
war upon his hands. So long as he maintained a hostile attitude towards
the Protestants in his own kingdom, his fair words would produce no
effect elsewhere. "We are beginning to be vexed," said the Count, "with
the manner of negotiation practised by France. Men do not proceed roundly
to business there, but angle with their dissimulation as with a hook."

He bluntly reminded the King of the deceit which he had practised towards
the Admiral--a sufficient reason why no reliance could in future be
placed upon his word. Signal vengeance on those concerned in the
attempted assassination of that great man had been promised, in the royal
letters to the Prince of Orange, just before St. Bartholomew. "Two days
afterwards," said Louis, "your Majesty took that vengeance, but in rather
ill fashion." It was certain that the King was surrounded by men who
desired to work his ruin, and who, for their own purposes, would cause
him to bathe still deeper than he had done before in the blood of his
subjects. This ruin his Majesty could still avert; by making peace in his
kingdom, and by ceasing to torment his poor subjects of the religion.

In conclusion, the Count, with a few simple but eloquent phrases, alluded
to the impossibility of chaining men's thoughts. The soul, being
immortal, was beyond the reach of kings. Conscience was not to be
conquered, nor the religious spirit imprisoned. This had been discovered
by the Emperor Charles, who had taken all the cities and great personages
of Germany captive, but who had nevertheless been unable to take religion
captive. "That is a sentiment," said Louis, "deeply rooted in the hearts
of men, which is not to be plucked out by force of arms. Let your
majesty, therefore not be deceived by the flattery of those who, like bad
physicians, keep their patients in ignorance of their disease, whence
comes their ruin."

It would be impossible, without insight into these private and most
important transactions, to penetrate the heart of the mystery which
enwrapped at this period the relations of the great powers with each
other. Enough has been seen to silence for ever the plea, often entered
in behalf of religious tyranny, that the tyrant acts in obedience to a
sincere conviction of duty; that, in performing his deeds of darkness, he
believes himself to be accomplishing the will of Heaven. Here we have
seen Philip, offering to restore the Prince of Orange, and to establish
freedom of religion in the Netherlands, if by such promises he can lay
hold of the Imperial diadem. Here also we have Charles IX. and his
mother--their hands reeking with the heretic-blood of St.
Bartholomew--making formal engagements with heretics to protect heresy
everywhere, if by such pledges the crown of the Jagellons and the hand of
Elizabeth can be secured.

While Louis was thus busily engaged in Germany, Orange was usually
established at Delft. He felt the want of his brother daily, for the
solitude of the Prince, in the midst of such fiery trials, amounted
almost to desolation. Not often have circumstances invested an individual
with so much responsibility and so little power. He was regarded as the
protector and father of the country, but from his own brains and his own
resources he was to furnish himself with the means of fulfilling those
high functions. He was anxious thoroughly to discharge the duties of a
dictatorship without grasping any more of its power than was
indispensable to his purpose. But he was alone on that little isthmus, in
single combat with the great Spanish monarchy. It was to him that all
eyes turned, during the infinite horrors of the Harlem sieges and in the
more prosperous leaguer of Alkmaar. What he could do he did. He devised
every possible means to succor Harlem, and was only restrained from going
personally to its rescue by the tears of the whole population of Holland.
By his decision and the spirit which he diffused through the country, the
people were lifted to a pitch of heroism by which Alkmaar was saved. Yet,
during all this harassing period, he had no one to lean upon but himself.
"Our affairs are in pretty good; condition in Holland and Zealand," he
wrote, "if I only had some aid. 'Tis impossible for me to support alone
so many labors, and the weight of such great affairs as come upon me
hourly--financial, military, political. I have no one to help me, not a
single man, wherefore I leave you to suppose in what trouble I find

For it was not alone the battles and sieges which furnished him with
occupation and filled him with anxiety. Alone, he directed in secret the
politics of the country, and, powerless and outlawed though he seemed,
was in daily correspondence not only with the estates of Holland and
Zealand, whose deliberations he guided, but with the principal
governments of Europe. The estates of the Netherlands, moreover, had been
formally assembled by Alva in September, at Brussels, to devise ways and
means for continuing the struggle. It seemed to the Prince a good
opportunity to make an appeal to the patriotism of the whole country. He
furnished the province of Holland, accordingly, with the outlines of an
address which was forthwith despatched in their own and his name, to the
general assembly of the Netherlands. The document was a nervous and rapid
review of the course of late events in the provinces, with a cogent
statement of the reasons which should influence them all to unite in the
common cause against the common enemy. It referred to the old affection
and true-heartedness with which they had formerly regarded each other,
and to the certainty that the inquisition would be for ever established
in the land, upon the ruins of all their ancient institutions, unless
they now united to overthrow it for ever. It demanded of the people, thus
assembled through their representatives, how they could endure the
tyranny, murders, and extortions of the Duke of Alva. The princes of
Flanders, Burgundy, Brabant, or Holland, had never made war or peace,
coined money, or exacted a stiver from the people without the consent of
the estates. How could the nation now consent to the daily impositions
which were practised? Had Amsterdam and Middelburg remained true; had
those important cities not allowed themselves to be seduced from the
cause of freedom, the northern provinces would have been impregnable.
"'Tis only by the Netherlands that the Netherlands are crushed," said the
appeal. "Whence has the Duke of Alva the power of which he boasts, but
from yourselves--from Netherland cities? Whence his ships, supplies,
money, weapons, soldiers? From the Netherland people. Why has poor
Netherland thus become degenerate and bastard? Whither has fled the noble
spirit of our brave forefathers, that never brooked the tyranny of
foreign nations, nor suffered a stranger even to hold office within our
borders? If the little province of Holland can thus hold at bay the power
of Spain, what could not all the Netherlands--Brabant, Flanders,
Friesland, and the rest united accomplish?" In conclusion, the
estates-general were earnestly adjured to come forward like brothers in
blood, and join hands with Holland, that together they might rescue the
fatherland and restore its ancient prosperity and bloom.

At almost the same time the Prince drew up and put in circulation one of
the most vigorous and impassioned productions which ever came from his
pen. It was entitled, an "Epistle, in form of supplication, to his royal
Majesty of Spain, from the Prince of Orange and the estates of Holland
and Zealand." The document produced a profound impression throughout
Christendom. It was a loyal appeal to the monarch's loyalty--a demand
that the land-privileges should be restored, and the Duke of Alva
removed. It contained a startling picture of his atrocities and the
nation's misery, and, with a few energetic strokes, demolished the
pretence that these sorrows had been caused by the people's guilt. In
this connexion the Prince alluded to those acts of condemnation which the
Governor-General had promulgated under the name of pardons, and treated
with scorn the hypothesis that any crimes had been committed for Alva to
forgive. "We take God and your Majesty to witness," said the epistle,
"that if we have done such misdeeds as are charged in the pardon, we
neither desire nor deserve the pardon. Like the most abject creatures
which crawl the earth, we will be content to atone for our misdeeds with
our lives. We will not murmur, O merciful King, if we be seized one after
another, and torn limb from limb, if it can be proved that we have
committed the crimes of which we have been accused."

After having thus set forth the tyranny of the government and the
innocence of the people, the Prince, in his own name and that of the
estates, announced the determination at which they had arrived. "The
tyrant," he continued, "would rather stain every river and brook with our
blood, and hang our bodies upon every tree in the country, than not feed
to the full his vengeance, and steep himself to the lips in our misery.
Therefore we have taken up arms against the Duke of Alva and his
adherents, to free ourselves, our wives and children, from his
blood-thirsty hands. If he prove too strong nor us, we will rather die an
honorable death and leave a praiseworthy fame, than bend our necks, and
reduce our dear fatherland to such slavery. Herein are all our cities
pledged to each other to stand every siege, to dare the utmost, to endure
every possible misery, yea, rather to set fire to all our homes, and be
consumed with them into ashes together, than ever submit to the decrees
of this cruel tyrant."

These were brave words, and destined to be bravely fulfilled, as the life
and death of the writer and the records of his country proved, from
generation unto generation. If we seek for the mainspring of the energy
which thus sustained the Prince in the unequal conflict to which he had
devoted his life, we shall find it in the one pervading principle of his
nature--confidence in God. He was the champion of the political rights of
his country, but before all he was the defender of its religion. Liberty
of conscience for his people was his first object. To establish Luther's
axiom, that thoughts are toll-free, was his determination. The Peace of
Passau, and far more than the Peace of Passau, was the goal for which he
was striving. Freedom of worship for all denominations, toleration for
all forms of faith, this was the great good in his philosophy. For
himself, he had now become a member of the Calvinist, or Reformed Church,
having delayed for a time his public adhesion to this communion, in order
not to give offence to the Lutherans and to the Emperor. He was never a
dogmatist, however, and he sought in Christianity for that which unites
rather than for that which separates Christians. In the course of October
he publicly joined the church at Dort.

The happy termination of the siege of Alkmaar was followed, three days
afterwards, by another signal success on the part of the patriots. Count
Bossu, who had constructed or collected a considerable fleet at
Amsterdam, had, early in October, sailed into the Zuyder Zee,
notwithstanding the sunken wrecks and other obstructions by which the
patriots had endeavored to render the passage of the Y impracticable. The
patriots of North Holland had, however, not been idle, and a fleet of
five-and-twenty vessels, under Admiral Dirkzoon, was soon cruising in the
same waters. A few skirmishes took place, but Bossu's ships, which were
larger, and provided with heavier cannon, were apparently not inclined
for the close quarters which the patriots sought. The Spanish Admiral,
Hollander as he was, knew the mettle of his countrymen in a close
encounter at sea, and preferred to trust to the calibre of his cannon. On
the 11th October, however, the whole patriot fleet, favored by a strong
easterly, breeze, bore down upon the Spanish armada, which, numbering now
thirty sail of all denominations, was lying off and on in the
neighbourhood of Horn and Enkhuyzen. After a short and general
engagement, nearly all the Spanish fleet retired with precipitation,
closely pursued by most of the patriot Dutch vessels. Five of the King's
ships were eventually taken, the rest effected their escape. Only the
Admiral remained, who scorned to yield, although his forces had thus
basely deserted him. His ship, the "Inquisition,"--for such was her
insolent appellation, was far the largest and best manned of both the
fleets. Most of the enemy had gone in pursuit of the fugitives, but four
vessels of inferior size had attacked the "Inquisition" at the
commencement of the action. Of these, one had soon been silenced, while
the other three had grappled themselves inextricably to her sides and
prow. The four drifted together, before wind and tide, a severe and
savage action going on incessantly, during which the navigation of the
ships was entirely abandoned. No scientific gunnery, no military or naval
tactics were displayed or required in such a conflict. It was a
life-and-death combat, such as always occurred when Spaniard and
Netherlander met, whether on land or water. Bossu and his men, armed in
bullet-proof coats of mail, stood with shield and sword on the deck of
the "Inquisition," ready to repel all attempts to board. The Hollander,
as usual, attacked with pitch hoops, boiling oil, and molten lead.
Repeatedly they effected their entrance to the Admiral's ship, and as
often they were repulsed and slain in heaps, or hurled into the sea. The
battle began at three in the afternoon, and continued without
intermission through the whole night. The vessels, drifting together,
struck on the shoal called the Nek, near Wydeness. In the heat of the
action the occurrence was hardly heeded. In the morning twilight, John
Haring, of Horn, the hero who had kept one thousand soldiers at bay upon
the Diemer dyke, clambered on board the "Inquisition" and hauled her
colors down. The gallant but premature achievement cost him his life. He
was shot through the body and died on the deck of the ship, which was not
quite ready to strike her flag. In the course of the forenoon, however,
it became obvious to Bossu that further resistance was idle. The ships
were aground near a hostile coast, his own fleet was hopelessly
dispersed, three quarters of his crew were dead or disabled, while the
vessels with which he was engaged were constantly recruited by boats from
the shore, which brought fresh men and ammunition, and removed their
killed and wounded. At eleven o'clock, Admiral Bossu surrendered, and
with three hundred prisoners was carried into Holland. Bossu was himself
imprisoned at Horn, in which city he was received, on his arrival, with
great demonstrations of popular hatred. The massacre of Rotterdam, due to
his cruelty and treachery, had not yet been forgotten or forgiven.

This victory, following so hard upon the triumph at Alkmaar, was as
gratifying to the patriots as it was galling to Alva. As his
administration drew to a close, it was marked by disaster and disgrace on
land and sea. The brilliant exploits by which he had struck terror into
the heart of the Netherlanders, at Jemmingen and in Brabant, had been
effaced by the valor of a handful of Hollanders, without discipline or
experience. To the patriots, the opportune capture of so considerable a
personage as the Admiral and Governor of the northern province was of
great advantage. Such of the hostages from Harlem as had not yet been
executed, now escaped with their lives. Moreover, Saint Aldegonde, the
eloquent patriot and confidential friend of Orange, who was taken
prisoner a few weeks later, in an action at Maeslands-luis, was preserved
from inevitable destruction by the same cause. The Prince hastened to
assure the Duke of Alva that the same measure would be dealt to Bossu as
should be meted to Saint Aldegonde. It was, therefore, impossible for the
Governor-General to execute his prisoner, and he was obliged to submit to
the vexation of seeing a leading rebel and heretic in his power, whom he
dared not strike. Both the distinguished prisoners eventually regained
their liberty.

The Duke was, doubtless, lower sunk in the estimation of all classes than
he had ever been before, during his long and generally successful life.
The reverses sustained by his army, the belief that his master had grown
cold towards him, the certainty that his career in the Netherlands was
closing without a satisfactory result, the natural weariness produced
upon men's minds by the contemplation of so monotonous and unmitigated a
tyranny during so many years, all contributed to diminish his reputation.
He felt himself odious alike to princes and to plebeians. With his
cabinet councillors he had long been upon unsatisfactory terms. President
Tisnacq had died early, in the summer, and Viglius, much against his
will, had been induced, provisionally, to supply his place. But there was
now hardly a pretence of friendship between the learned Frisian and the
Governor. Each cordially detested the other. Alva was weary of Flemish
and Frisian advisers, however subservient, and was anxious to fill the
whole council with Spaniards of the Vargas stamp. He had forced Viglius
once more into office, only that, by a little delay, he might expel him
and every Netherlander at the same moment. "Till this ancient set of
dogmatizers be removed," he wrote to Philip, "with Viglius, their chief,
who teaches them all their lessons, nothing will go right. 'Tis of no use
adding one or two Spaniards to fill vacancies; that is only pouring a
flask of good wine into a hogshead of vinegar; it changes to vinegar
likewise. Your Majesty will soon be able to reorganize the council at a
blow; so that Italians or Spaniards, as you choose, may entirely govern
the country."

Such being his private sentiments with regard to his confidential
advisers, it may be supposed that his intercourse with his council during
the year was not like to be amicable. Moreover, he had kept himself, for
the most part, at a distance from the seat of government. During the
military operations in Holland, his head-quarters had been at Amsterdam.
Here, as the year drew to its close, he had become as unpopular as in
Brussels. The time-serving and unpatriotic burghers, who, at the
beginning of the spring, set up his bust in their houses, and would give
large sums for his picture in little, now broke his images and tore his
portraits from their walls, for it was evident that the power of his name
was gone, both with prince and people. Yet, certainly, those fierce
demonstrations which had formerly surrounded his person with such an
atmosphere of terror had not slackened or become less frequent than
heretofore. He continued to prove that he could be barbarous, both on a
grand and a minute scale. Even as in preceding years, he could ordain
wholesale massacres with a breath, and superintend in person the
executions of individuals. This was illustrated, among other instances,
by the cruel fate of Uitenhoove. That unfortunate nobleman, who had been
taken prisoner in the course of the summer, was accused of having been
engaged in the capture of Brill, and was, therefore, condemned by the
Duke to be roasted to death before a slow fire. He was accordingly
fastened by a chain, a few feet in length, to a stake, around which the
fagots were lighted. Here he was kept in slow torture for a long time,
insulted by the gibes of the laughing Spaniards who surrounded him--until
the executioner and his assistants, more humane than their superior,
despatched the victim with their spears--a mitigation of punishment which
was ill received by Alva. The Governor had, however, no reason to remain
longer in Amsterdam. Harlem had fallen; Alkmaar was relieved; and
Leyden--destined in its second siege to furnish so signal a chapter to
the history of the war--was beleaguered, it was true, but, because known
to be imperfectly supplied, was to be reduced by blockade rather than by
active operations. Don Francis Valdez was accordingly left in command of
the siege, which, however, after no memorable occurrences, was raised, as
will soon be related.

The Duke had contracted in Amsterdam an enormous amount of debt, both
public and private. He accordingly, early in November, caused a
proclamation to be made throughout the city by sound of trumpet, that all
persons having demands upon him were to present their claims, in person,
upon a specified day. During the night preceding the day so appointed,
the Duke and his train very noiselessly took their departure, without
notice or beat of drum. By this masterly generalship his unhappy
creditors were foiled upon the very eve of their anticipated triumph; the
heavy accounts which had been contracted on the faith of the King and the
Governor, remained for the most part unpaid, and many opulent and
respectable families were reduced to beggary. Such was the consequence of
the unlimited confidence which they had reposed in the honor of their

On the 17th of November, Don Luis de Requesens y Cuniga, Grand Commander
of Saint Jago, the appointed successor of Alva, arrived in Brussels,
where he was received with great rejoicings. The Duke, on the same day,
wrote to the King, "kissing his feet" for thus relieving him of his
functions. There was, of course, a profuse interchange of courtesy
between the departing and the newly-arrived Governors. Alva was willing
to remain a little while, to assist his successor with his advice, but
preferred that the Grand Commander should immediately assume the reins of
office. To this Requesens, after much respectful reluctance, at length
consented. On the 29th of November he accordingly took the oaths, at
Brussels, as Lieutenant-Governor and Captain-General, in presence of the
Duke of Aerschot, Baron Berlaymont, the President of the Council, and
other functionaries.

On the 18th of December the Duke of Alva departed from the provinces for
ever. With his further career this history has no concern, and it is not
desirable to enlarge upon the personal biography of one whose name
certainly never excites pleasing emotions. He had kept his bed for the
greater part of the time during the last few weeks of his
government--partly on account of his gout, partly to avoid being seen in
his humiliation, but mainly, it was said, to escape the pressing demands
of his creditors. He expressed a fear of travelling homeward through
France, on the ground that he might very probably receive a shot out of a
window as he went by. He complained pathetically that, after all his
labors, he had not "gained the approbation of the King," while he had
incurred "the malevolence and universal hatred of every individual in the
country." Mondoucet, to whom he made the observation, was of the same
opinion; and informed his master that the Duke "had engendered such an
extraordinary hatred in the hearts of all persons in the land, that they
would have fireworks in honor of his departure if they dared."

On his journey from the Netherlands, he is said to have boasted that he
had caused eighteen thousand six hundred inhabitants of the provinces to
be executed during the period of his government. The number of those who
had perished by battle, siege, starvation, and massacre, defied
computation. The Duke was well received by his royal master, and remained
in favor until a new adventure of Don Frederic brought father and son
into disgrace. Having deceived and abandoned a maid of honor, he suddenly
espoused his cousins in order to avoid that reparation by marriage which
was demanded for his offence. In consequence, both the Duke and Don
Frederic were imprisoned and banished, nor was Alva released till a
general of experience was required for the conquest of Portugal. Thither,
as it were with fetters on his legs, he went. After having accomplished
the military enterprise entrusted to him, he fell into a lingering fever,
at the termination of which he was so much reduced that he was only kept
alive by milk, which he drank from a woman's breast. Such was the gentle
second childhood of the man who had almost literally been drinking blood
for seventy years. He died on the 12th December, 1582.

The preceding pages have been written in vain, if an elaborate estimate
be now required of his character. His picture has been painted, as far as
possible, by his own hand. His deeds, which are not disputed, and his
written words, illustrate his nature more fully than could be done by the
most eloquent pen. No attempt has been made to exaggerate his crimes, or
to extenuate his superior qualities. Virtues he had none, unless military
excellence be deemed, as by the Romans, a virtue. In war, both as a
science and a practical art, he excelled all the generals who were
opposed to him in the Netherlands, and he was inferior to no commander in
the world during the long and belligerent period to which his life
belonged. Louis of Nassau possessed high reputation throughout Europe as
a skilful and daring General. With raw volunteers he had overthrown an
army of Spanish regulars, led by a Netherland chieftain of fame and
experience; but when Alva took the field in person the scene was totally
changed. The Duke dealt him such a blow at Jemmingen as would have
disheartened for ever a less indomitable champion. Never had a defeat
been more absolute. The patriot army was dashed out of existence, almost
to a man, and its leader, naked and beggared, though not disheartened,
sent back into Germany to construct his force and his schemes anew.

Having thus flashed before the eyes of the country the full terrors of
his name, and vindicated the ancient military renown of his nation, the
Duke was at liberty to employ the consummate tactics, in which he could
have given instruction to all the world, against his most formidable
antagonist. The country, paralyzed with fear, looked anxiously but
supinely upon the scientific combat between the two great champions of
Despotism and Protestantism which succeeded. It was soon evident that the
conflict could terminate in but one way. The Prince had considerable
military abilities, and enthusiastic courage; he lost none of his
well-deserved reputation by the unfortunate issue of his campaign; he
measured himself in arms with the great commander of the age, and defied
him, day after day, in vain, to mortal combat; but it was equally certain
that the Duke's quiet game was, played in the most masterly manner. His
positions and his encampments were taken with faultless judgment, his
skirmishes wisely and coldly kept within the prescribed control, while
the inevitable dissolution of the opposing force took place exactly as he
had foreseen, and within the limits which he had predicted. Nor in the
disastrous commencement of the year 1572 did the Duke less signally
manifest his military genius. Assailed as he was at every point, with the
soil suddenly upheaving all around him, as by an earthquake, he did not
lose his firmness nor his perspicacity. Certainly, if he had not been so
soon assisted by that other earthquake, which on Saint Bartholomew's Day
caused all Christendom to tremble, and shattered the recent structure of
Protestant Freedom in the Netherlands, it might have been worse for his
reputation. With Mons safe, the Flemish frontier guarded; France
faithful, and thirty thousand men under the Prince of Orange in Brabant,
the heroic brothers might well believe that the Duke was "at their
mercy." The treason of Charles IX. "smote them as with a club," as the
Prince exclaimed in the bitterness of his spirit. Under the
circumstances, his second campaign was a predestined failure, and Alva
easily vanquished him by a renewed application of those dilatory arts
which he so well understood.

The Duke's military fame was unquestionable when he came to the
provinces, and both in stricken fields and in long campaigns, he showed
how thoroughly it had been deserved; yet he left the Netherlands a
baffled man. The Prince might be many times defeated, but he was not to
be conquered. As Alva penetrated into the heart of the ancient Batavian
land he found himself overmatched as he had never been before, even by
the most potent generals of his day. More audacious, more inventive, more
desperate than all the commanders of that or any other age, the spirit of
national freedom, now taught the oppressor that it was invincible; except
by annihilation. The same lesson had been read in the same thickets by
the Nervii to Julius Caesar, by the Batavians to the legions of
Vespasian; and now a loftier and a purer flame than that which inspired
the national struggles against Rome glowed within the breasts of the
descendants of the same people, and inspired them with the strength which
comes, from religious enthusiasm. More experienced, more subtle, more
politic than Hermann; more devoted, more patient, more magnanimous than
Civilis, and equal to either in valor and determination, William of
Orange was a worthy embodiment of the Christian, national resistance of
the German race to a foreign tyranny. Alva had entered the Netherlands to
deal with them as with conquered provinces. He found that the conquest
was still to be made, and he left the land without having accomplished
it. Through the sea of blood, the Hollanders felt that they were passing
to the promised land. More royal soldiers fell during the seven months'
siege of Harlem than the rebels had lost in the defeat of Jemmingen, and
in the famous campaign of Brabant. At Alkmaar the rolling waves of
insolent conquest were stayed, and the tide then ebbed for ever.

The accomplished soldier struggled hopelessly, with the wild and
passionate hatred which his tyranny had provoked. Neither his legions nor
his consummate strategy availed him against an entirely desperate people.
As a military commander, therefore, he gained, upon the whole, no
additional laurels during his long administration of the Netherlands. Of
all the other attributes to be expected in a man appointed to deal with a
free country, in a state of incipient rebellion, he manifested a signal
deficiency. As a financier, he exhibited a wonderful ignorance of the
first principles of political economy. No man before, ever gravely
proposed to establish confiscation as a permanent source of revenue to
the state; yet the annual product from the escheated property of
slaughtered heretics was regularly relied upon, during his
administration, to replenish the King's treasury, and to support the war
of extermination against the King's subjects. Nor did statesman ever
before expect a vast income from the commerce of a nation devoted to
almost universal massacre. During the daily decimation of the people's
lives, he thought a daily decimation of their industry possible. His
persecutions swept the land of those industrious classes which had made
it the rich and prosperous commonwealth it had been so lately; while, at
the same time, he found a "Peruvian mine," as he pretended, in the
imposition of a tenth penny upon every one of its commercial
transactions. He thought that a people, crippled as this had been by the
operations of the Blood Council; could pay ten per cent., not annually
but daily; not upon its income, but upon its capital; not once only, but
every time the value constituting the capital changed hands. He had
boasted that he should require no funds from Spain, but that, on the
contrary, he should make annual remittances to the royal treasury at
home, from the proceeds of his imposts and confiscations; yet,
notwithstanding these resources, and notwithstanding twenty-five millions
of gold in five years, sent by Philip from Madrid, the exchequer of the
provinces was barren and bankrupt when his successor arrived. Requesens
found neither a penny in the public treasury nor the means of raising

As an administrator of the civil and judicial affairs of the country,
Alva at once reduced its institutions to a frightful simplicity. In the
place of the ancient laws of which the Netherlanders were so proud, he
substituted the Blood Council. This tribunal was even more arbitrary than
the Inquisition. Never was a simpler apparatus for tyranny devised, than
this great labor-saving machine. Never was so great a quantity of murder
and robbery achieved with such despatch and regularity. Sentences,
executions, and confiscations, to an incredible extent, were turned out
daily with appalling precision. For this invention, Alva is alone
responsible. The tribunal and its councillors were the work and the
creatures of his hand, and faithfully did they accomplish the dark
purpose of their existence. Nor can it be urged, in extenuation of the
Governor's crimes, that he was but the blind and fanatically loyal slave
of his sovereign. A noble nature could not have contaminated itself with
such slaughter-house work, but might have sought to mitigate the royal
policy, without forswearing allegiance. A nature less rigid than iron,
would at least have manifested compunction, as it found itself converted
into a fleshless instrument of massacre. More decided than his master,
however, he seemed, by his promptness, to rebuke the dilatory genius of
Philip. The King seemed, at times, to loiter over his work, teasing and
tantalising his appetite for vengeance, before it should be gratified:
Alva, rapid and brutal, scorned such epicureanism. He strode with
gigantic steps over haughty statutes and popular constitutions; crushing
alike the magnates who claimed a bench of monarchs for their jury, and
the ignoble artisans who could appeal only to the laws of their land.
From the pompous and theatrical scaffolds of Egmont and Horn, to the
nineteen halters prepared by Master Karl, to hang up the chief bakers and
brewers of Brussels on their own thresholds--from the beheading of the
twenty nobles on the Horse-market, in the opening of the Governor's
career, to the roasting alive of Uitenhoove at its close-from the block
on which fell the honored head of Antony Straalen, to the obscure chair
in which the ancient gentlewoman of Amsterdam suffered death for an act
of vicarious mercy--from one year's end to another's--from the most
signal to the most squalid scenes of sacrifice, the eye and hand of the
great master directed, without weariness, the task imposed by the

No doubt the work of almost indiscriminate massacre had been duly mapped
out. Not often in history has a governor arrived to administer the
affairs of a province, where the whole population, three millions strong,
had been formally sentenced to death. As time wore on, however, he even
surpassed the bloody instructions which he had received. He waved aside
the recommendations of the Blood Council to mercy; he dissuaded the
monarch from attempting the path of clemency, which, for secret reasons,
Philip was inclined at one period to attempt. The Governor had, as he
assured the King, been using gentleness in vain, and he was now
determined to try what a little wholesome severity could effect. These
words were written immediately after the massacres at Harlem.

With all the bloodshed at Mons, and Naarden, and Mechlin, and by the
Council of Tumults, daily, for six years long, still crying from the
ground, he taxed himself with a misplaced and foolish tenderness to the
people. He assured the King that when Alkmaar should be taken, he would,
not spare a "living soul among its whole population;" and, as his parting
advice, he recommended that every city in the Netherlands should be
burned to the ground, except a few which could be occupied permanently by
the royal troops. On the whole, so finished a picture of a perfect and
absolute tyranny has rarely been presented to mankind by history, as in
Alva's administration of the Netherlands.

The tens of thousands in those miserable provinces who fell victims to
the gallows, the sword, the stake, the living grave, or to living
banishment, have never been counted; for those statistics of barbarity
are often effaced from human record. Enough, however, is known, and
enough has been recited in the preceding pages. No mode in which human
beings have ever caused their fellow-creatures to suffer, was omitted
from daily practice. Men, women, and children, old and young, nobles and
paupers, opulent burghers, hospital patients, lunatics, dead bodies, all
were indiscriminately made to furnish food for-the scaffold and the
stake. Men were tortured, beheaded, hanged by the neck and by the legs,
burned before slow fires, pinched to death with red hot tongs, broken
upon the wheel, starved, and flayed alive. Their skins stripped from the
living body, were stretched upon drums, to be beaten in the march of
their brethren to the gallows. The bodies of many who had died a natural
death were exhumed, and their festering remains hanged upon the gibbet,
on pretext that they had died without receiving the sacrament, but in
reality that their property might become the legitimate prey of the
treasury. Marriages of long standing were dissolved by order of
government, that rich heiresses might be married against their will to
foreigners whom they abhorred. Women and children were executed for the
crime of assisting their fugitive husbands and parents with a penny in
their utmost need, and even for consoling them with a letter, in their
exile. Such was the regular course of affairs as administered by the
Blood Council. The additional barbarities committed amid the sack and
ruin of those blazing and starving cities, are almost beyond belief;
unborn infants were torn from the living bodies of their mothers; women
and children were violated by thousands; and whole populations burned and
hacked to pieces by soldiers in every mode which cruelty, in its wanton
ingenuity, could devise. Such was the administration, of which Vargas
affirmed, at its close, that too much mercy, "nimia misericordia," had
been its ruin.

Even Philip, inspired by secret views, became wearied of the Governor,
who, at an early period, had already given offence by his arrogance. To
commemorate his victories, the Viceroy had erected a colossal statue, not
to his monarch, but to himself. To proclaim the royal pardon, he had
seated himself upon a golden throne. Such insolent airs could be ill
forgiven by the absolute King. Too cautious to provoke an open rupture,
he allowed the Governor, after he had done all his work, and more than
all his work, to retire without disgrace, but without a triumph. For the
sins of that administration, master and servant are in equal measure

The character of the Duke of Alva, so far as the Netherlands are
concerned, seems almost like a caricature. As a creation of fiction, it
would seem grotesque: yet even that hardy, historical scepticism, which
delights in reversing the judgment of centuries, and in re-establishing
reputations long since degraded to the dust, must find it difficult to
alter this man's position. No historical decision is final; an appeal to
a more remote posterity, founded upon more accurate evidence, is always
valid; but when the verdict has been pronounced upon facts which are
undisputed, and upon testimony from the criminal's lips, there is little
chance of a reversal of the sentence. It is an affectation of
philosophical candor to extenuate vices which are not only avowed, but
claimed as virtues.

   [The time is past when it could be said that the cruelty of Alva, or
   the enormities of his administration, have been exaggerated by party
   violence. Human invention is incapable of outstripping the truth
   upon this subject. To attempt the defence of either the man or his
   measures at the present day is to convict oneself of an amount of
   ignorance or of bigotry against which history and argument are alike
   powerless. The publication of the Duke's letters in the
   correspondence of Simancas and in the Besancon papers, together with
   that compact mass of horror, long before the world under the title
   of "Sententien van Alva," in which a portion only of the sentences
   of death and banishment pronounced by him during his reign, have
   been copied from the official records--these in themselves would be
   a sufficient justification of all the charges ever brought by the
   most bitter contemporary of Holland or Flanders. If the
   investigator should remain sceptical, however, let him examine the
   "Registre des Condamnes et Bannia a Cause des Troubles des Pays
   Bas," in three, together with the Records of the "Conseil des
   Troubles," in forty-three folio volumes, in the Royal Archives at
   Brussels. After going through all these chronicles of iniquity, the
   most determined historic, doubter will probably throw up the case.]


     Advised his Majesty to bestow an annual bribe upon Lord Burleigh
     Angle with their dissimulation as with a hook
     Luther's axiom, that thoughts are toll-free
     Only kept alive by milk, which he drank from a woman's breast
     Scepticism, which delights in reversing the judgment of centuries
     So much responsibility and so little power
     Sometimes successful, even although founded upon sincerity
     We are beginning to be vexed




1573-74 [CHAPTER I.]

   Previous career of Requesens--Philip's passion for detail--Apparent
   and real purposes of government--Universal desire for peace--
   Correspondence of leading royalists with Orange--Bankruptcy of the
   exchequer at Alva's departures--Expensive nature of the war--
   Pretence of mildness on the part of the Commander--His private
   views--Distress of Mondragon at Middelburg--Crippled condition of
   Holland--Orange's secret negotiations with France--St. Aldegonde's
   views in captivity--Expedition to relieve Middelburg--Counter
   preparations of Orange--Defeat of the expedition--Capitulation of
   Mondragon--Plans of Orange and his brothers--An army under Count
   Louis crosses the Rhine--Measures taken by Requesens--Manoeuvres of
   Avila and of Louis--The two armies in face at Mook--Battle of Mook-
   heath--Overthrow and death of Count Louis--The phantom battle--
   Character of Louis of Nassau--Painful uncertainty as to his fate--
   Periodical mutinies of the Spanish troops characterized--Mutiny
   after the battle of Mook--Antwerp attacked and occupied,--Insolent
   and oppressive conduct of the mutineers--Offers of Requesens
   refused--Mutiny in the citadel--Exploits of Salvatierra--Terms of
   composition--Soldiers' feast on the mere--Successful expedition of
   Admiral Boisot

The horrors of Alva's administration had caused men to look back with
fondness upon the milder and more vacillating tyranny of the Duchess
Margaret. From the same cause the advent of the Grand Commander was
hailed with pleasure and with a momentary gleam of hope. At any rate, it
was a relief that the man in whom an almost impossible perfection of
cruelty seemed embodied was at last to be withdrawn it was certain that
his successor, however ambitious of following in Alva's footsteps, would
never be able to rival the intensity and the unswerving directness of
purpose which it had been permitted to the Duke's nature to attain. The
new Governor-General was, doubtless, human, and it had been long since
the Netherlanders imagined anything in common between themselves and the
late Viceroy.

Apart from this hope, however, there was little encouragement to be
derived from anything positively known of the new functionary, or the
policy which he was to represent. Don Luis de Requesens and Cuniga, Grand
Commander of Castile and late Governor of Milan, was a man of mediocre
abilities, who possessed a reputation for moderation and sagacity which
he hardly deserved. His military prowess had been chiefly displayed in
the bloody and barren battle of Lepanto, where his conduct and counsel
were supposed to have contributed, in some measure, to the victorious
result. His administration at Milan had been characterized as firm and
moderate. Nevertheless, his character was regarded with anything but
favorable eyes in the Netherlands. Men told each other of his broken
faith to the Moors in Granada, and of his unpopularity in Milan, where,
notwithstanding his boasted moderation, he had, in reality, so oppressed
the people as to gain their deadly hatred. They complained, too, that it
was an insult to send, as Governor-General of the provinces, not a prince
of the blood, as used to be the case, but a simple "gentleman of cloak
and sword."

Any person, however, who represented the royal authority in the provinces
was under historical disadvantage. He was literally no more than an
actor, hardly even that. It was Philip's policy and pride to direct all
the machinery of his extensive empire, and to pull every string himself.
His puppets, however magnificently attired, moved only in obedience to
his impulse, and spoke no syllable but with his voice. Upon the table in
his cabinet was arranged all the business of his various realms, even to
the most minute particulars.

Plans, petty or vast, affecting the interests of empires and ages, or
bounded within the narrow limits of trivial and evanescent detail,
encumbered his memory and consumed his time. His ambition to do all the
work of his kingdoms was aided by an inconceivable greediness for labor.
He loved the routine of business, as some monarchs have loved war, as
others have loved pleasure. The object, alike paltry and impossible, of
this ambition, bespoke the narrow mind. His estates were regarded by him
as private property; measures affecting the temporal and eternal
interests of millions were regarded as domestic affairs, and the eye of
the master was considered the only one which could duly superintend these
estates and those interests. Much incapacity to govern was revealed in
this inordinate passion to administer. His mind, constantly fatigued by
petty labors, was never enabled to survey his wide domains from the
height of majesty.

In Alva, certainly, he had employed an unquestionable reality; but Alva,
by a fortunate coincidence of character, had seemed his second self. He
was now gone, however, and although the royal purpose had not altered,
the royal circumstances were changed. The moment had arrived when it was
thought that the mask and cothurn might again be assumed with effect;
when a grave and conventional personage might decorously make his
appearance to perform an interlude of clemency and moderation with
satisfactory results. Accordingly, the Great Commander, heralded by
rumors of amnesty, was commissioned to assume the government which Alva
had been permitted to resign.

It had been industriously circulated that a change of policy was
intended. It was even supposed by the more sanguine that the Duke had
retired in disgrace. A show of coldness was manifested towards him on his
return by the King, while Vargas, who had accompanied the Governor, was
peremptorily forbidden to appear within five leagues of the court. The
more discerning, however, perceived much affectation in this apparent
displeasure. Saint Goard, the keen observer of Philip's moods and
measures, wrote to his sovereign that he had narrowly observed the
countenances of both Philip and Alva; that he had informed himself as
thoroughly as possible with regard to the course of policy intended; that
he had arrived at the conclusion that the royal chagrin was but
dissimulation, intended to dispose the Netherlanders to thoughts of an
impossible peace, and that he considered the present merely a breathing
time, in which still more active preparations might be made for crushing
the rebellion. It was now evident to the world that the revolt had
reached a stage in which it could be terminated only by absolute conquest
or concession.

To conquer the people of the provinces, except by extermination, seemed
difficult--to judge by the seven years of execution, sieges and
campaigns, which had now passed without a definite result. It was,
therefore, thought expedient to employ concession. The new Governor
accordingly, in case the Netherlanders would abandon every object for
which they had been so heroically contending, was empowered to concede a
pardon. It was expressly enjoined upon him, however, that no conciliatory
measures should be adopted in which the King's absolute supremacy, and
the total prohibition of every form of worship but the Roman Catholic,
were not assumed as a basis. Now, as the people had been contending at
least ten years long for constitutional rights against prerogative, and
at least seven for liberty of conscience against papistry, it was easy to
foretell how much effect any negotiations thus commenced were likely to

Yet, no doubt, in the Netherlands there was a most earnest longing for
peace. The Catholic portion of the population were desirous of a
reconciliation with their brethren of the new religion. The universal
vengeance which had descended upon heresy had not struck the heretics
only. It was difficult to find a fireside, Protestant or Catholic, which
had not been made desolate by execution, banishment, or confiscation. The
common people and the grand seigniors were alike weary of the war. Not
only Aerschot and Viglius, but Noircarmes and Berlaymont, were desirous
that peace should be at last compassed upon liberal terms, and the Prince
of Orange fully and unconditionally pardoned. Even the Spanish commanders
had become disgusted with the monotonous butchery which had stained their
swords. Julian Romero; the fierce and unscrupulous soldier upon whose
head rested the guilt of the Naarden massacre, addressed several letters
to William of Orange, full of courtesy, and good wishes for a speedy
termination of the war, and for an entire reconciliation of the Prince
with his sovereign. Noircarmes also opened a correspondence with the
great leader of the revolt; and offered to do all in his power to restore
peace and prosperity to the country. The Prince answered the courtesy of
the Spaniard with equal, but barren, courtesy; for it was obvious that no
definite result could be derived from such informal negotiations. To
Noircarmes he responded in terms of gentle but grave rebuke, expressing
deep regret that a Netherland noble of such eminence, with so many others
of rank and authority, should so long have supported the King in his
tyranny. He, however, expressed his satisfaction that their eyes, however
late, had opened to the enormous iniquity which had been practised in the
country, and he accepted the offers of friendship as frankly as they had
been made. Not long afterwards, the Prince furnished his correspondent
with a proof of his sincerity, by forwarding to him two letters which had
been intercepted; from certain agents of government to Alva, in which
Noircarmes and others who had so long supported the King against their
own country, were spoken of in terms of menace and distrust. The Prince
accordingly warned his new correspondent that, in spite of all the proofs
of uncompromising loyalty which he had exhibited, he was yet moving upon
a dark and slippery-pathway, and might, even like Egmont and Horn, find a
scaffold-as the end and the reward of his career. So profound was that
abyss of dissimulation which constituted the royal policy, towards the
Netherlands, that the most unscrupulous partisans of government could
only see doubt and danger with regard to their future destiny, and were
sometimes only saved by an opportune death from disgrace and the
hangman's hands.

Such, then, were the sentiments of many eminent personages, even among
the most devoted loyalists. All longed for peace; many even definitely
expected it, upon the arrival of the Great Commander. Moreover, that
functionary discovered, at his first glance into the disorderly state of
the exchequer, that at least a short respite was desirable before
proceeding with the interminable measures of hostility against the
rebellion. If any man had been ever disposed to give Alva credit for
administrative ability, such delusion must have vanished at the spectacle
of confusion and bankruptcy which presented, itself at the termination of
his government. He resolutely declined to give his successor any
information whatever as to his financial position. So far from furnishing
a detailed statement, such as might naturally be expected upon so
momentous an occasion, he informed the Grand Commander that even a sketch
was entirely out of the question, and would require more time and labor
than he could then afford. He took his departure, accordingly, leaving
Requesens in profound ignorance as to his past accounts; an ignorance in
which it is probable that the Duke himself shared to the fullest extent.
His enemies stoutly maintained that, however loosely his accounts had
been kept, he had been very careful to make no mistakes against himself,
and that he had retired full of wealth, if not of honor, from his long
and terrible administration. His own letters, on the contrary, accused
the King of ingratitude, in permitting an old soldier to ruin himself,
not only in health but in fortune, for want of proper recompense during
an arduous administration. At any rate it is very certain that the
rebellion had already been an expensive matter to the Crown. The army in
the Netherlands numbered more than sixty-two thousand men, eight thousand
being Spaniards, the rest Walloons and Germans. Forty millions of dollars
had already been sunk, and it seemed probable that it would require
nearly the whole annual produce of the American mines to sustain the war.
The transatlantic gold and silver, disinterred from the depths where they
had been buried for ages, were employed, not to expand the current of a
healthy, life-giving commerce, but to be melted into blood. The sweat and
the tortures of the King's pagan subjects in the primeval forests of the
New World, were made subsidiary to the extermination of his Netherland
people, and the destruction of an ancient civilization. To this end had
Columbus discovered a hemisphere for Castile and Aragon, and the new
Indies revealed their hidden treasures?

Forty millions of ducats had been spent. Six and a half millions of
arrearages were due to the army, while its current expenses were six
hundred thousand a month. The military expenses alone of the Netherlands
were accordingly more than seven millions of dollars yearly, and the
mines of the New World produced, during the half century of Philip's
reign, an average of only eleven. Against this constantly increasing
deficit, there was not a stiver in the exchequer, nor the means of
raising one. The tenth penny had been long virtually extinct, and was
soon to be formally abolished. Confiscation had ceased to afford a
permanent revenue, and the estates obstinately refused to grant a dollar.
Such was the condition to which the unrelenting tyranny and the financial
experiments of Alva had reduced the country.

It was, therefore, obvious to Requesens that it would be useful at the
moment to hold out hopes of pardon and reconciliation. He saw, what he
had not at first comprehended, and what few bigoted supporters of
absolutism in any age have ever comprehended, that national enthusiasm,
when profound and general, makes a rebellion more expensive to the despot
than to the insurgents. "Before my arrival," wrote the Grand Commander to
his sovereign, "I did not understand how the rebels could maintain such
considerable fleets, while your Majesty could not support a single one.
It appears, however, that men who are fighting for their lives, their
firesides, their property, and their false religion, for their own cause,
in short, are contented to receive rations only, without receiving pay."
The moral which the new Governor drew from his correct diagnosis of the
prevailing disorder was, not that this national enthusiasm should be
respected, but that it should be deceived. He deceived no one but
himself, however. He censured Noircarmes and Romero for their
intermeddling, but held out hopes of a general pacification. He
repudiated the idea of any reconciliation between the King and the Prince
of Orange, but proposed at the same time a settlement of the revolt. He
had not yet learned that the revolt and William of Orange were one.
Although the Prince himself had repeatedly offered to withdraw for ever
from the country, if his absence would expedite a settlement satisfactory
to the provinces, there was not a patriot in the Netherlands who could
contemplate his departure without despair. Moreover, they all knew better
than did Requesens, the inevitable result of the pacific measures which
had been daily foreshadowed.

The appointment of the Grand Commander was in truth a desperate attempt
to deceive the Netherlanders. He approved distinctly and heartily of
Alva's policy, but wrote to the King that it was desirable to amuse the
people with the idea of another and a milder scheme. He affected to
believe, and perhaps really did believe, that the nation would accept the
destruction of all their institutions, provided that penitent heretics
were allowed to be reconciled to the Mother Church, and obstinate ones
permitted to go into perpetual exile, taking with them a small portion of
their worldly goods. For being willing to make this last and almost
incredible concession, he begged pardon sincerely of the King. If
censurable, he ought not, he thought, to be too severely blamed, for his
loyalty was known. The world was aware how often he had risked his life
for his Majesty, and how gladly and how many more times he was ready to
risk it in future. In his opinion, religion had, after all, but very
little to do with the troubles, and so he confidentially informed his
sovereign. Egmont and Horn had died Catholics, the people did not rise to
assist the Prince's invasion in 1568, and the new religion was only a
lever by which a few artful demagogues had attempted to overthrow the
King's authority.

Such views as these revealed the measures of the new Governor's capacity.
The people had really refused to rise in 1568, not because they were
without sympathy for Orange, but because they were paralyzed by their
fear of Alva. Since those days, however, the new religion had increased
and multiplied everywhere, in the blood which had rained upon it. It was
now difficult to find a Catholic in Holland and Zealand, who was not a
government agent. The Prince had been a moderate Catholic, in the opening
scenes of the rebellion, while he came forward as the champion of liberty
for all forms of Christianity. He had now become a convert to the new
religion without receding an inch from his position in favor of universal
toleration. The new religion was, therefore, not an instrument devised by
a faction, but had expanded into the atmosphere of the people's daily
life. Individuals might be executed for claiming to breathe it, but it
was itself impalpable to the attacks of despotism. Yet the Grand
Commander persuaded himself that religion had little or nothing to do
with the state of the Netherlands. Nothing more was necessary, he
thought; or affected to think, in order to restore tranquillity, than
once more to spread the net of a general amnesty.

The Duke of Alva knew better. That functionary, with whom, before his
departure from the provinces, Requesens had been commanded to confer,
distinctly stated his opinion that there was no use of talking about
pardon. Brutally, but candidly, he maintained that there was nothing to
be done but to continue the process of extermination. It was necessary,
he said, to reduce the country to a dead level of unresisting misery;
before an act of oblivion could be securely laid down as the foundation
of a new and permanent order of society. He had already given his advice
to his Majesty, that every town in the country should be burned to the
ground, except those which could be permanently occupied by the royal
troops. The King, however, in his access of clemency at the appointment
of a new administration, instructed the Grand Commander not to resort to
this measure unless it should become strictly necessary.--Such were the
opposite opinions of the old and new governors with regard to the pardon.
The learned Viglius sided with Alva, although manifestly against his
will. "It is both the Duke's opinion and my own," wrote the Commander,
"that Viglius does not dare to express his real opinion, and that he is
secretly desirous of an arrangement with the rebels." With a good deal of
inconsistency, the Governor was offended, not only with those who opposed
his plans, but with those who favored them. He was angry with Viglius,
who, at least nominally, disapproved of the pardon, and with Noircarmes,
Aerschot, and others, who manifested a wish for a pacification. Of the
chief characteristic ascribed to the people by Julius Caesar, namely,
that they forgot neither favors nor injuries, the second half only, in
the Grand Commander's opinion, had been retained. Not only did they never
forget injuries, but their memory, said he, was so good, that they
recollected many which they had never received.

On the whole, however, in the embarrassed condition of affairs, and while
waiting for further supplies, the Commander was secretly disposed to try
the effect of a pardon. The object was to deceive the people and to gain
time; for there was no intention of conceding liberty of conscience, of
withdrawing foreign troops, or of assembling the states-general. It was,
however, not possible to apply these hypocritical measures of
conciliation immediately. The war was in full career and could not be
arrested even in that wintry season. The patriots held Mondragon closely
besieged in Middelburg, the last point in the Isle of Walcheren which
held for the King. There was a considerable treasure in money and
merchandise shut up in that city; and, moreover, so deserving and
distinguished an officer as Mondragon could not be abandoned to his fate.
At the same time, famine was pressing him sorely, and, by the end of the
year, garrison and townspeople had nothing but rats, mice, dogs, cats,
and such repulsive substitutes for food, to support life withal. It was
necessary to take immediate measures to relieve the place.

On the other hand, the situation of the patriots was not very
encouraging. Their superiority on the sea was unquestionable, for the
Hollanders and Zealanders were the best sailors in the world, and they
asked of their country no payment for their blood, but thanks. The land
forces, however, were usually mercenaries, who were apt to mutiny at the
commencement of an action if, as was too often the case, their wages
could not be paid. Holland was entirely cut in twain by the loss of
Harlem and the leaguer of Leyden, no communication between the dissevered
portions being possible, except with difficulty and danger. The estates,
although they had done much for the cause, and were prepared to do much
more, were too apt to wrangle about economical details. They irritated
the Prince of Orange by huckstering about subsidies to a degree which his
proud and generous nature could hardly brook. He had strong hopes from
France. Louis of Nassau had held secret interviews with the Duke of
Alencon and the Duke of Anjou, now King of Poland, at Blamont. Alencon
had assured him secretly, affectionately, and warmly, that he would be as
sincere a friend to the cause as were his two royal brothers. The Count
had even received one hundred thousand livres in hand, as an earnest of
the favorable intentions of France, and was now busily engaged, at the
instance of the Prince, in levying an army in Germany for the relief of
Leyden and the rest of Holland, while William, on his part, was omitting
nothing, whether by representations to the estates or by secret foreign
missions and correspondence, to further the cause of the suffering

At the same time, the Prince dreaded the effect--of the promised pardon.
He had reason to be distrustful of the general temper of the nation when
a man like Saint Aldegonde, the enlightened patriot and his own tried
friend, was influenced, by the discouraging and dangerous position in
which he found himself, to abandon the high ground upon which they had
both so long and so firmly stood: Saint Aldegonde had been held a strict
prisoner since his capture at Maeslandsluis, at the close of Alva's
administration.--It was, no doubt, a predicament attended with much keen
suffering and positive danger. It had hitherto been the uniform policy of
the government to kill all prisoners, of whatever rank. Accordingly, some
had been drowned, some had been hanged--some beheaded some poisoned in
their dungeons--all had been murdered. This had been Alva's course. The
Grand Commander also highly approved of the system, but the capture of
Count Bossu by the patriots had necessitated a suspension of such rigor.
It was certain that Bossu's head would fall as soon as Saint Aldegonde's,
the Prince having expressly warned the government of this inevitable
result. Notwithstanding that security, however, for his eventual
restoration to liberty, a Netherland rebel in a Spanish prison could
hardly feel himself at ease. There were so many foot-marks into the cave
and not a single one coming forth. Yet it was not singular, however, that
the Prince should read with regret the somewhat insincere casuistry with
which Saint Aldegonde sought to persuade himself and his
fellow-countrymen that a reconciliation with the monarch was desirable,
even upon unworthy terms. He was somewhat shocked that so valiant and
eloquent a supporter of the Reformation should coolly express his opinion
that the King would probably refuse liberty of conscience to the
Netherlanders, but would, no doubt, permit heretics to go into
banishment. "Perhaps, after we have gone into exile," added Saint
Aldegonde, almost with baseness, "God may give us an opportunity of doing
such good service to the King, that he will lend us a more favorable ear,
and, peradventure, permit our return to the country."

Certainly, such language was not becoming the pen which wrote the famous
Compromise. The Prince himself was, however, not to be induced, even by
the captivity and the remonstrances of so valued a friend, to swerve from
the path of duty. He still maintained, in public and private, that the
withdrawal of foreign troops from the provinces, the restoration of the
old constitutional privileges, and the entire freedom of conscience in
religious matters, were the indispensable conditions of any pacification.
It was plain to him that the Spaniards were not ready to grant these
conditions; but he felt confident that he should accomplish the release
of Saint Aldegonde without condescending to an ignominious peace.

The most pressing matter, upon the Great Commander's arrival, was
obviously to relieve the city of Middelburg. Mondragon, after so stanch a
defence, would soon be obliged to capitulate, unless he should promptly
receive supplies. Requesens, accordingly, collected seventy-five ships at
Bergen op Zoom; which were placed nominally under the command of Admiral
de Glimes, but in reality under that of Julian Romero. Another fleet of
thirty vessels had been assembled at Antwerp under Sancho d'Avila. Both,
amply freighted with provisions, were destined to make their way to
Middelburg by the two different passages of the Hondo and the Eastern
Scheld. On the other hand, the Prince of Orange had repaired to Flushing
to superintend the operations of Admiral Boisot, who already; in
obedience to his orders, had got a powerful squadron in readiness at that
place. Late in January, 1574, d'Avila arrived in the neighbourhood of
Flushing, where he awaited the arrival of Romero's fleet. United, the two
Commanders were to make a determined attempt to reinforce the starving
city of Middelburg. At the same time, Governor Requesens made his
appearance in person at Bergen op Zoom to expedite the departure of the
stronger fleet, but it was not the intention of the Prince of Orange to
allow this expedition to save the city. The Spanish generals, however
valiant, were to learn that their genius was not amphibious, and that the
Beggars of the Sea were still invincible on their own element, even if
their brethren of the land had occasionally quailed.

Admiral Boisot's fleet had already moved up the Scheld and taken a
position nearly opposite to Bergen op Zoom. On the 20th of January the
Prince of Orange, embarking from Zierick Zee, came to make them a visit
before the impending action. His galley, conspicuous for its elegant
decorations, was exposed for some time to the artillery of the fort, but
providentially escaped unharmed. He assembled all the officers of his
armada, and, in brief but eloquent language, reminded them how necessary
it was to the salvation of the whole country that they should prevent the
city of Middelburg--the key to the whole of Zealand, already upon the
point of falling into the hands of the patriots--from being now wrested
from their grasp. On the sea, at least, the Hollanders and Zealanders
were at home. The officers and men, with one accord, rent the air with
their cheers. They swore that they would shed every drop of blood in
their veins but they would sustain the Prince and the country; and they
solemnly vowed not only to serve, if necessary, without wages, but to
sacrifice all that they possessed in the world rather than abandon the
cause of their fatherland. Having by his presence and his language
aroused their valor to so high a pitch of enthusiasm, the Prince departed
for Delft, to make arrangements to drive the Spaniards from the siege of

On the 29th of January, the fleet of Romero sailed from Bergen, disposed
in three divisions, each numbering twenty-five vessels of different
sizes. As the Grand Commander stood on the dyke of Schakerloo to witness
the departure, a general salute was fired by the fleet in his honor, but
with most unfortunate augury. The discharge, by some accident, set fire
to the magazines of one of the ships, which blew up with a terrible
explosion, every soul on board perishing. The expedition, nevertheless,
continued its way. Opposite Romerswael, the fleet of Boisot awaited them,
drawn up in battle array. As an indication of the spirit which animated
this hardy race, it may be mentioned that Schot, captain of the
flag-ship, had been left on shore, dying of a pestilential fever. Admiral
Boisot had appointed a Flushinger, Klaaf Klaafzoon, in his place. Just
before the action, however, Schot, "scarcely able to blow a feather from
his mouth," staggered on board his ship, and claimed the command.

There was no disputing a precedency which he had risen from his death-bed
to vindicate. There was, however, a short discussion, as the enemy's
fleet approached, between these rival captains regarding the manner in
which the Spaniards should be received. Klaafzoon was of opinion that
most of the men should go below till after the enemy's first discharge.
Schot insisted that all should remain on deck, ready to grapple with the
Spanish fleet, and to board them without the least delay.

The sentiment of Schot prevailed, and all hands stood on deck, ready with
boarding-pikes and grappling-irons.

The first division of Romero came nearer, and delivered its first
broadside, when Schot and Klaafzoon both fell mortally wounded. Admiral
Boisot lost an eye, and many officers and sailors in the other vessels
were killed or wounded. This was, however, the first and last of the
cannonading. As many of Romero's vessels as could be grappled within the
narrow estuary found themselves locked in close embrace with their
enemies. A murderous hand-to-hand conflict succeeded. Battle-axe,
boarding-pike, pistol, and dagger were the weapons. Every man who yielded
himself a prisoner was instantly stabbed and tossed into the sea by the
remorseless Zealanders. Fighting only to kill, and not to plunder, they
did not even stop to take the gold chains which many Spaniards wore on
their necks. It had, however, been obvious from the beginning that the
Spanish fleet were not likely to achieve that triumph over the patriots
which was necessary before they could relieve Middelburg. The battle
continued a little longer; but after fifteen ships had been taken and
twelve hundred royalists slain, the remainder of the enemy's fleet
retreated into Bergen. Romero himself, whose ship had grounded, sprang
out of a port-hole and swam ashore, followed by such of his men as were
able to imitate him. He landed at the very feet of the Grand Commander,
who, wet and cold, had been standing all day upon the dyke of Schakerloo,
in the midst of a pouring rain, only to witness the total defeat of his
armada at last.

"I told your Excellency," said Romero, coolly, as he climbed, all
dripping, on the bank, "that I was a land-fighter and not a sailor. If
you were to give me the command of a hundred fleets, I believe that none
of them would fare better than this has done." The Governor and his
discomfited, but philosophical lieutenant, then returned to Bergen, and
thence to Brussels, acknowledging that the city of Middelburg must fall,
while Sancho d'Avila, hearing of the disaster which had befallen his
countrymen, brought his fleet, with the greatest expedition, back to
Antwerp. Thus the gallant Mondragon was abandoned to his fate.

That fate could no longer be protracted. The city of Middelburg had
reached and passed the starvation point. Still Mondragon was determined
not to yield at discretion, although very willing to capitulate. The
Prince of Orange, after the victory of Bergen, was desirous of an
unconditional surrender, believing it to be his right, and knowing that
he could not be supposed capable of practising upon Middelburg the
vengeance which had been wreaked on Naarden, Zutfen, and Harlem.
Mondragon, however, swore that he would set fire to the city in twenty
places, and perish with every soldier and burgher in the flames together,
rather than abandon himself to the enemy's mercy. The prince knew that
the brave Spaniard was entirely capable of executing his threat. He
granted honorable conditions, which, on the 18th February, were drawn up
in five articles, and signed. It was agreed that Mondragon and his troops
should leave the place, with their arms, ammunition, and all their
personal property. The citizens who remained were to take oath of
fidelity to the Prince, as stadholder for his Majesty, and were to pay
besides a subsidy of three hundred thousand florins. Mondragon was,
furthermore, to procure the discharge of Saint Aldegonde, and of four
other prisoners of rank, or, failing in the attempt, was to return within
two months, and constitute himself prisoner of war. The Catholic priests
were to take away from the city none of their property but their clothes.
In accordance with this capitulation, Mondragon, and those who wished to
accompany him, left the city on the 21st of February, and were conveyed
to the Flemish shore at Neuz. It will be seen in the sequel that the
Governor neither granted him the release of the five prisoners, nor
permitted him to return, according to his parole. A few days afterwards,
the Prince entered the city, re-organized the magistracy, received the
allegiance of the inhabitants, restored the ancient constitution, and
liberally remitted two-thirds of the sum in which they had been, mulcted.

The Spaniards had thus been successfully driven from the Isle of
Walcheren, leaving the Hollanders and Zealanders masters of the
sea-coast. Since the siege of Alkmaar had been raised, however, the enemy
had remained within the territory of Holland. Leyden was closely
invested, the country in a desperate condition, and all communication
between its different cities nearly suspended. It was comparatively easy
for the Prince of Orange to equip and man his fleets. The genius and
habits of the people made them at home upon the water, and inspired them
with a feeling of superiority to their adversaries. It was not so upon
land. Strong to resist, patient to suffer, the Hollanders, although
terrible in defence; had not the necessary discipline or experience to
meet the veteran legions of Spain, with confidence in the open field. To
raise the siege of Leyden, the main reliance of the Prince was upon Count
Louis, who was again in Germany. In the latter days of Alva's
administration, William had written to his brothers, urging them speedily
to arrange the details of a campaign, of which he forwarded them a
sketch. As soon as a sufficient force had been levied in Germany, an
attempt was to be made upon Maestricht. If that failed, Louis was to
cross the Meuse, in the neighbourhood of Stochem, make his way towards
the Prince's own city of Gertruidenberg, and thence make a junction with
his brother in the neighbourhood of Delft. They were then to take up a
position together between Harlem and Leyden. In that case it seemed
probable that the Spaniards would find themselves obliged to fight at a
great disadvantage, or to abandon the country. "In short," said the
Prince, "if this enterprise be arranged with due diligence and
discretion, I hold it as the only certain means for putting a speedy end
to the war, and for driving these devils of Spaniards out of the country,
before the Duke of Alva has time to raise another army to support them."

In pursuance of this plan, Louis had been actively engaged all the
earlier part of the winter in levying troops and raising supplies. He had
been assisted by the French princes with considerable sums of money, as
an earnest of what he was in future to expect from that source. He had
made an unsuccessful attempt to effect the capture of Requesens, on his
way to take the government of the Netherlands. He had then passed to the
frontier of France, where he had held his important interview with
Catharine de Medici and the Duke of Anjou, then on the point of departure
to ascend the throne of Poland. He had received liberal presents, and
still more liberal promises. Anjou had assured him that he would go as
far as any of the German princes in rendering active and sincere
assistance to the Protestant cause in the Netherlands. The Duc
d'Alencon--soon, in his brother's absence, to succeed to the
chieftainship of the new alliance between the "politiques" and the
Huguenots--had also pressed his hand, whispering in his ear, as he did
so, that the government of France now belonged to him, as it had recently
done to Anjou, and that the Prince might reckon upon his friendship with
entire security.

These fine words, which cost nothing when whispered in secret, were not
destined to fructify into a very rich harvest, for the mutual jealousy of
France and England, lest either should acquire ascendency in the
Netherlands, made both governments prodigal of promises, while the common
fear entertained by them of the power of Spain rendered both languid;
insincere, and mischievous allies. Count John, however; was indefatigable
in arranging the finances of the proposed expedition, and in levying
contributions among his numerous relatives and allies in Germany, while
Louis had profited by the occasion of Anjou's passage into Poland, to
acquire for himself two thousand German and French cavalry, who had
served to escort that Prince, and who, being now thrown out of
employment, were glad to have a job offered them by a general who was
thought to be in funds. Another thousand of cavalry and six thousand foot
were soon assembled from those ever-swarming nurseries of mercenary
warriors, the smaller German states. With these, towards the end of
February; Louis crossed the Rhine in a heavy snow-storm, and bent his
course towards Maestricht. All the three brothers of the Prince
accompanied this little army, besides Duke Christopher, son of the
elector Palatine.

Before the end of the month the army reached the Meuse, and encamped
within four miles of Maestricht; on the opposite side of the river. The
garrison, commanded by Montesdoca, was weak, but the news of the warlike
preparations in Germany had preceded the arrival of Count Louis.
Requesens, feeling the gravity of the occasion, had issued orders for an
immediate levy of eight thousand cavalry in Germany, with a proportionate
number of infantry. At the same time he had directed Don Bernardino de
Mendoza, with some companies of cavalry, then stationed in Breda, to
throw himself without delay into Maestricht. Don Sancho d'Avila was
entrusted with the general care of resisting the hostile expedition. That
general had forthwith collected all the troops which could be spared from
every town where they were stationed, had strengthened the cities of
Antwerp, Ghent, Nimweben, and Valenciennes, where there were known to be
many secret adherents of Orange; and with the remainder of his forces had
put himself in motion, to oppose the entrance of Louis into Brabant, and
his junction with his brother in Holland. Braccamonte had been despatched
to Leyden, in order instantly to draw off the forces which were besieging
the city. Thus Louis had already effected something of importance by the
very hews of his approach.

Meantime the Prince of Orange had raised six thousand infantry, whose
rendezvous was the Isle of Bommel. He was disappointed at the paucity of
the troops which Louis had been able to collect, but he sent messengers
immediately to him; with a statement of his own condition, and with
directions to join him in the Isle of Bommel, as soon as Maestricht
should be reduced. It was, however, not in the destiny of Louis to reduce
Maestricht. His expedition had been marked with disaster from the
beginning. A dark and threatening prophecy had, even before its
commencement, enwrapped Louis, his brethren, and his little army, in a
funeral pall. More than a thousand of his men had deserted before he
reached the Meuse. When he encamped, apposite Maestricht, he found the
river neither frozen nor open, the ice obstructing the navigation, but
being too weak for the weight of an army. While he was thus delayed and
embarrassed, Mendoza arrived in the city with reinforcements. It seemed
already necessary for Louis to abandon his hopes of Maestricht, but he
was at least desirous of crossing the river in that neighbourhood, in
order to effect his junction with the Prince at the earliest possible
moment. While the stream was still encumbered with ice, however, the
enemy removed all the boats. On, the 3rd of March, Avila arrived with a
large body of troops at Maestricht, and on the 18th Mendoza crossed the
river in the night, giving the patriots so severe an 'encamisada', that
seven hundred were killed, at the expense of only seven of his own party.
Harassed, but not dispirited by these disasters, Louis broke up his camp
on the 21st, and took a position farther down the river, at Fauquemont
and Gulpen, castles in the Duchy of Limburg. On the 3rd of April,
Braccamonite arrived at Maestricht, with twenty-five companies of
Spaniards and three of cavalry, while, on the same day Mondragon reached
the scene of action with his sixteen companies of veterans.

It was now obvious to Louis, not only that he should not take Maestricht,
but that his eventual junction with his brother was at least doubtful,
every soldier who could possibly be spared seeming in motion to oppose
his progress. He was, to be sure, not yet outnumbered, but the enemy was
increasing, and his own force diminishing daily. Moreover, the Spaniards
were highly disciplined and experienced troops; while his own soldiers
were mercenaries, already clamorous and insubordinate. On the 8th of
April he again shifted his encaampment, and took his course along the
right bank of the Meuse, between that river and the Rhine, in the
direction of Nimwegen. Avila promptly decided to follow him upon the
opposite bank of the Meuse, intending to throw himself between Louis and
the Prince of Orange, and by a rapid march to give the Count battle,
before he could join his brother. On the 8th of April, at early dawn,
Louis had left the neighbourhood of Maestricht, and on the 13th he
encamped at the village of Mook near the confines of Cleves. Sending out
his scouts, he learned to his vexation, that the enemy had outmarched
him, and were now within cannonshot. On the 13th, Avila had constructed a
bridge of boats, over which he had effected the passage of the Meuse with
his whole army, so that on the Count's arrival at Mook, he found the
enemy facing him, on the same side of the river, and directly in his
path. It was, therefore, obvious that, in this narrow space between the
Waal and the Meuse, where they were now all assembled, Louis must achieve
a victory, unaided, or abandon his expedition, and leave the Hollanders
to despair. He was distressed at the position in which he found himself,
for he had hoped to reduce Maestricht, and to join, his brother in
Holland. Together, they could, at least, have expelled the Spaniards from
that territory, in which case it was probable that a large part of the
population in the different provinces would have risen. According to
present aspects, the destiny of the country, for some time to come, was
likely to hang upon the issue of a battle which he had not planned, and
for which he was not fully prepared. Still he was not the man to be
disheartened; nor had he ever possessed the courage to refuse a battle
when: offered. Upon this occasion it would be difficult to retreat
without disaster and disgrace, but it was equally difficult to achieve a
victory. Thrust, as he was, like a wedge into the very heart of a hostile
country, he was obliged to force his way through, or to remain in his
enemy's power. Moreover, and worst of all, his troops were in a state of
mutiny for their wages. While he talked to them of honor, they howled to
him for money. It was the custom of these mercenaries to mutiny on the
eve of battle--of the Spaniards, after it had been fought. By the one
course, a victory was often lost which might have been achieved; by the
other, when won it was rendered fruitless.

Avila had chosen his place of battle with great skill. On the right bank
of the Meuse, upon a narrow plain which spread from the river to a chain
of hills within cannon-shot on the north, lay the little village of Mook.
The Spanish general knew that his adversary had the superiority in
cavalry, and that within this compressed apace it would not be possible
to derive much advantage from the circumstance.

On the 14th, both armies were drawn up in battle array at earliest dawn,
Louis having strengthened his position by a deep trench, which extended
from Mook, where he had stationed ten companies of infantry, which thus
rested on the village and the river. Next came the bulk of his infantry,
disposed in a single square. On their right was his cavalry, arranged in
four squadrons, as well as the narrow limits of the field would allow. A
small portion of them, for want of apace, were stationed on the hill

Opposite, the forces of Don Sancho were drawn up in somewhat similar
fashion. Twenty-five companies of Spaniards were disposed in four bodies
of pikemen and musketeers; their right resting on the river. On their
left was the cavalry, disposed by Mendoza in the form of a half moon-the
horns garnished by two small bodies of sharpshooters. In the front ranks
of the cavalry were the mounted carabineers of Schenk; behind were the
Spanish dancers. The village of Mook lay between the two armies.

The skirmishing began at early dawn, with an attack upon the trench, and
continued some hours, without bringing on a general engagement. Towards
ten o'clock, Count Louis became impatient. All the trumpets of the
patriots now rang out a challenge to their adversaries, and the Spaniards
were just returning the defiance, and preparing a general onset, when the
Seigneur de Hierges and Baron Chevreaux arrived on the field. They
brought with them a reinforcement of more than a thousand men, and the
intelligence that Valdez was on his way with nearly five thousand more.
As he might be expected on the following morning, a short deliberation
was held as to the expediency of deferring the action. Count Louis was at
the head of six thousand foot and two thousand cavalry. Avila mustered
only four thousand infantry and not quite a thousand horse. This
inferiority would be changed on the morrow into an overwhelming
superiority. Meantime, it was well to remember the punishment endured by
Aremberg at Heiliger Lee, for not waiting till Meghen's arrival. This
prudent counsel was, however, very generally scouted, and by none more
loudly than by Hierges and Chevreaux, who had brought the intelligence.
It was thought that at this juncture nothing could be more indiscreet
than discretion. They had a wary and audacious general to deal with.
While they were waiting for their reinforcements, he was quite capable of
giving them the slip. He might thus effect the passage of the stream and
that union with his brother which--had been thus far so successfully
prevented. This reasoning prevailed, and the skirmishing at the trench
was renewed with redoubled vigour, an additional: force being sent
against it. After a short and fierce struggle it was carried, and the
Spaniards rushed into the village, but were soon dislodged by a larger
detachment of infantry, which Count Louis sent to the rescue. The battle
now became general at this point.

Nearly all the patriot infantry were employed to defend the post; nearly
all the Spanish infantry were ordered to assail it. The Spaniards,
dropping on their knees, according to custom, said a Paternoster and an
Ave Mary, and then rushed, in mass, to the attack. After a short but
sharp conflict, the trench was again carried, and the patriots completely
routed. Upon this, Count Louis charged with all his cavalry upon the
enemy's horse, which had hitherto remained motionless. With the first
shock the mounted arquebusiers of Schenk, constituting the vanguard, were
broken, and fled in all directions. So great was their panic, as Louis
drove them before him, that they never stopped till they had swum or been
drowned in the river; the survivors carrying the news to Grave and to
other cities that the royalists had been completely routed. This was,
however, very far from the truth. The patriot cavalry, mostly
carabineers, wheeled after the first discharge, and retired to reload
their pieces, but before they were ready for another attack, the Spanish
lancers and the German black troopers, who had all remained firm, set
upon them with great spirit: A fierce, bloody, and confused action
succeeded, in which the patriots were completely overthrown.

Count Louis, finding that the day was lost, and his army cut to pieces,
rallied around him a little band of troopers, among whom were his
brother, Count Henry, and Duke Christopher, and together they made a
final and desperate charge. It was the last that was ever seen of them on
earth. They all went down together, in the midst of the fight, and were
never heard of more. The battle terminated, as usual in those conflicts
of mutual hatred, in a horrible butchery, hardly any of the patriot army
being left to tell the tale of their disaster. At least four thousand
were killed, including those who were slain on the field, those who were
suffocated in the marshes or the river, and those who were burned in the
farm-houses where they had taken refuge. It was uncertain which of those
various modes of death had been the lot of Count Louis, his brother, and
his friend. The mystery was never solved. They had, probably, all died on
the field; but, stripped of their clothing, with their faces trampled
upon by the hoofs of horses, it was not possible to distinguish them from
the less illustrious dead. It was the opinion of, many that they had been
drowned in the river; of others, that they had been burned.

   [Meteren, v. 91. Bor, vii. 491, 492. Hoofd, Bentivoglio, ubi
   sup. The Walloon historian, occasionally cited in these pages, has
   a more summary manner of accounting for the fate of these
   distinguished personages. According to his statement, the leaders
   of the Protestant forces dined and made merry at a convent in the
   neighbourhood upon Good Friday, five days before the battle, using
   the sacramental chalices at the banquet, and mixing consecrated
   wafers with their wine. As a punishment for this sacrilege, the
   army was utterly overthrown, and the Devil himself flew away with
   the chieftains, body and soul.]

There was a vague tale that Louis, bleeding but not killed, had struggled
forth from the heap of corpses where he had been thrown, had crept to
the river-side, and, while washing his wounds, had been surprised and
butchered by a party of rustics. The story was not generally credited,
but no man knew, or was destined to learn, the truth.

A dark and fatal termination to this last enterprise of Count Louis had
been anticipated by many. In that superstitious age, when emperors and
princes daily investigated the future, by alchemy, by astrology, and by
books of fate, filled with formula; as gravely and precisely set forth as
algebraical equations; when men of every class, from monarch to peasant,
implicitly believed in supernatural portents and prophecies, it was not
singular that a somewhat striking appearance, observed in the sky some
weeks previously to the battle of Mookerheyde, should have inspired many
persons with a shuddering sense of impending evil.

Early in February five soldiers of the burgher guard at Utrecht, being on
their midnight watch, beheld in the sky above them the representation of
a furious battle. The sky was extremely dark, except directly over: their
heads; where, for a space equal in extent to the length of the city, and
in breadth to that of an ordinary chamber, two armies, in battle array,
were seen advancing upon each other. The one moved rapidly up from the
north-west, with banners waving; spears flashing, trumpets sounding;
accompanied by heavy artillery and by squadrons of cavalry. The other
came slowly forward from the southeast; as if from an entrenched camp, to
encounter their assailants. There was a fierce action for a few moments,
the shouts of the combatants, the heavy discharge of cannon, the rattle
of musketry; the tramp of heavy-aimed foot soldiers, the rush of cavalry,
being distinctly heard. The firmament trembled with the shock of the
contending hosts, and was lurid with the rapid discharges of their
artillery. After a short, fierce engagement, the north-western army was
beaten back in disorder, but rallied again, after a breathing-time,
formed again into solid column, and again advanced. Their foes, arrayed,
as the witnesses affirmed, in a square and closely serried grove of
spears' and muskets, again awaited the attack. Once more the aerial
cohorts closed upon each other, all the signs and sounds of a desperate
encounter being distinctly recognised by the eager witnesses. The
struggle seemed but short. The lances of the south-eastern army seemed to
snap "like hemp-stalks," while their firm columns all went down together
in mass, beneath the onset of their enemies. The overthrow was complete,
victors and vanquished had faded, the clear blue space, surrounded by
black clouds, was empty, when suddenly its whole extent, where the
conflict had so lately raged, was streaked with blood, flowing athwart
the sky in broad crimson streams; nor was it till the five witnesses had
fully watched and pondered over these portents that the vision entirely

So impressed were the grave magistrates of Utrecht with the account given
next day by the sentinels, that a formal examination of the circumstances
was made, the deposition of each witness, under oath, duly recorded, and
a vast deal of consultation of soothsayers' books and other auguries
employed to elucidate the mystery. It was universally considered typical
of the anticipated battle between Count Louis and the Spaniards. When,
therefore, it was known that the patriots, moving from the south-east,
had arrived at Mookerheyde, and that their adversaries, crossing the
Meuse at Grave, had advanced upon them from the north-west, the result of
the battle was considered inevitable; the phantom battle of Utrecht its
infallible precursor.

Thus perished Louis of Nassau in the flower of his manhood, in the midst
of a career already crowded with events such as might suffice for a
century of ordinary existence. It is difficult to find in history a more
frank and loyal character. His life was noble; the elements of the heroic
and the genial so mixed in him that the imagination contemplates him,
after three centuries, with an almost affectionate interest. He was not a
great man. He was far from possessing the subtle genius or the expansive
views of his brother; but, called as he was to play a prominent part in
one of the most complicated and imposing dramas ever enacted by man, he,
nevertheless, always acquitted himself with honor. His direct, fearless
and energetic nature commanded alike the respect of friend and foe. As a
politician, a soldier, and a diplomatist, he was busy, bold, and true.
He, accomplished by sincerity what many thought could only be compassed
by trickery. Dealing often with the most adroit and most treacherous of
princes and statesmen, he frequently carried his point, and he never
stooped to flattery. From the time when, attended by his "twelve
disciples," he assumed the most prominent part in the negotiations with
Margaret of Parma, through all the various scenes of the revolution,
through, all the conferences with Spaniards, Italians, Huguenots.
Malcontents, Flemish councillors, or German princes, he was the
consistent and unflinching supporter of religious liberty and
constitutional law. The battle of Heiliger Lee and the capture of Mons
were his most signal triumphs, but the fruits of both were annihilated by
subsequent disaster. His headlong courage was his chief foible. The
French accused him of losing the battle of Moncontour by his impatience
to engage; yet they acknowledged that to his masterly conduct it was
owing that their retreat was effected in so successful, and even so
brilliant a manner. He was censured for rashness and precipitancy in this
last and fatal enterprise, but the reproach seems entirely without
foundation. The expedition as already stated, had been deliberately
arranged, with the full co-operation of his brother, and had been
preparing several months. That he was able to set no larger force on foot
than that which he led into Gueldres was not his fault. But for the
floating ice which barred his passage of the Meuse, he would have
surprised Maestricht; but for the mutiny, which rendered his mercenary
soldiers cowards, he might have defeated Avila at Mookerheyde. Had he
done so he would have joined his brother in the Isle of Bommel in
triumph; the Spaniards would, probably, have been expelled from Holland,
and Leyden saved the horrors of that memorable siege which she was soon
called, upon to endure. These results were not in his destiny. Providence
had decreed that he should perish in the midst of his usefulness; that
the Prince, in his death,'should lose the right hand which had been so
swift to execute his various plans, and the faithful fraternal heart
which had always responded so readily to every throb of his own.

In figure, he was below the middle height, but martial and noble in his
bearing. The expression of his countenance was lively; his manner frank
and engaging. All who knew him personally loved him, and he was the idol
of his gallant brethren: His mother always addressed him as her dearly
beloved, her heart's-cherished Louis. "You must come soon to me," she
wrote in the last year of his life, "for I have many matters to ask your
advice upon; and I thank you beforehand, for you have loved me as your
mother all the days of your life; for which may God Almighty have you in
his holy keeping."

It was the doom of this high-born, true-hearted dame to be called upon to
weep oftener for her children than is the usual lot of mothers. Count
Adolphus had already perished in his youth on the field of Heiliger Lee,
and now Louis and his young brother Henry, who had scarcely attained his
twenty-sixth year, and whose short life had been passed in that faithful
service to the cause of freedom which was the instinct of his race, had
both found a bloody and an unknown grave. Count John, who had already
done so much for the cause, was fortunately spared to do much more.
Although of the expedition, and expecting to participate in the battle,
he had, at the urgent solicitation of all the leaders, left the army for
a brief, season, in order to obtain at Cologne a supply of money, for the
mutinous troops: He had started upon this mission two days before the
action in which he, too, would otherwise have been sacrificed. The young
Duke Christopher, "optimm indolis et magnee spei adolescens," who had
perished on the same field, was sincerely mourned by the lovers of
freedom. His father, the Elector, found his consolation in the
Scriptures, and in the reflection that his son had died in the bed of
honor, fighting for the cause of God. "'T was better thus," said that
stern Calvinist, whose dearest wish was to "Calvinize the world," than to
have passed his time in idleness, "which is the Devil's pillow."

Vague rumors of the catastrophe had spread far and wide. It was soon
certain that Louis had been defeated, but, for a long time, conflicting
reports were in circulation as to the fate of the leaders. The Prince of
Orange, meanwhile, passed days of intense anxiety, expecting hourly to
hear from his brothers, listening to dark rumors, which he refused to
credit and could not contradict, and writing letters, day after day, long
after the eyes which should have read the friendly missives were closed.

The victory of the King's army at Mookerheyde had been rendered
comparatively barren by the mutiny which broke forth the day after the
battle. Three years' pay were due to the Spanish troops, and it was not
surprising that upon this occasion one of those periodic rebellions
should break forth, by which the royal cause was frequently so much
weakened, and the royal governors so intolerably perplexed. These
mutinies were of almost regular occurrence, and attended by as regular a
series of phenomena. The Spanish troops, living so far from their own
country, but surrounded by their women, and constantly increasing swarms
of children, constituted a locomotive city of considerable population,
permanently established on a foreign soil. It was a city walled in by
bayonets, and still further isolated from the people around by the
impassable moat of mutual hatred. It was a city obeying the articles of
war, governed by despotic authority, and yet occasionally revealing, in
full force, the irrepressible democratic element. At periods which could
almost be calculated, the military populace were wont to rise upon the
privileged classes, to deprive them of office and liberty, and to set up
in their place commanders of their own election. A governor-in-chief, a
sergeant-major, a board of councillors and various other functionaries,
were chosen by acclamation and universal suffrage. The Eletto, or chief
officer thus appointed, was clothed with supreme power, but forbidden to
exercise it. He was surrounded by councillors, who watched his every
motion, read all his correspondence, and assisted at all his conferences,
while the councillors were themselves narrowly watched by the commonalty.
These movements were, however, in general, marked by the most exemplary
order. Anarchy became a system of government; rebellion enacted and
enforced the strictest rules of discipline; theft, drunkenness, violence
to women, were severely punished. As soon as the mutiny broke forth, the
first object was to take possession of the nearest city, where the Eletto
was usually established in the town-house, and the soldiery quartered
upon the citizens. Nothing in the shape of food or lodging was too good
for these marauders. Men who had lived for years on camp rations--coarse
knaves who had held the plough till compelled to handle the musket, now
slept in fine linen, and demanded from the trembling burghers the
daintiest viands. They ate the land bare, like a swarm of locusts.
"Chickens and partridges," says the thrifty chronicler of Antwerp,
"capons and pheasants, hares and rabbits, two kinds of wines;--for
sauces, capers and olives, citrons and oranges, spices and sweetmeats;
wheaten bread for their dogs, and even wine, to wash the feet of their
horses;"--such was the entertainment demanded and obtained by the
mutinous troops. They were very willing both to enjoy the luxury of this
forage, and to induce the citizens, from weariness of affording compelled
hospitality, to submit to a taxation by which the military claims might
be liquidated.

A city thus occupied was at the mercy of a foreign soldiery, which had
renounced all authority but that of self-imposed laws. The King's
officers were degraded, perhaps murdered; while those chosen to supply
their places had only a nominal control. The Eletto, day by day,
proclaimed from the balcony of the town-house the latest rules and
regulations. If satisfactory, there was a clamor of applause; if
objectionable, they were rejected with a tempest of hisses, with
discharges of musketry; The Eletto did not govern: he was a dictator who
could not dictate, but could only register decrees. If too honest, too
firm, or too dull for his place, he was deprived of his office and
sometimes of his life. Another was chosen in his room, often to be
succeeded by a series of others, destined to the same fate. Such were the
main characteristics of those formidable mutinies, the result of the
unthriftiness and dishonesty by which the soldiery engaged in these
interminable hostilities were deprived of their dearly earned wages. The
expense of the war was bad enough at best, but when it is remembered that
of three or four dollars sent from Spain, or contributed by the provinces
for the support of the army, hardly one reached the pockets of the
soldier, the frightful expenditure which took place may be imagined. It
was not surprising that so much peculation should engender revolt.

The mutiny which broke out after the defeat of Count Louis was marked
with the most pronounced and inflammatory of these symptoms. Three years'
pay was due, to the Spaniards, who, having just achieved a signal
victory, were-disposed to reap its fruits, by fair means or by force. On
receiving nothing but promises, in answer to their clamorous demands,
they mutinied to a man, and crossed the Meuse to Grave, whence, after
accomplishing the usual elections, they took their course to Antwerp.
Being in such strong force, they determined to strike at the capital.
Rumour flew before them. Champagny, brother of Granvelle, and royal
governor of the city, wrote in haste to apprise Requesens of the
approaching danger. The Grand Commander, attended only by Vitelli,
repaired instantly to Antwerp. Champagny advised throwing up a
breastwork with bales of merchandize, upon the esplanade, between the
citadel and the town, for it was at this point, where the connection
between the fortifications of the castle and those of the city had never
been thoroughly completed, that the invasion might be expected. Requesens
hesitated. He trembled at a conflict with his own soldiery. If
successful, he could only be so by trampling upon the flower of his army.
If defeated, what would become of the King's authority, with rebellious
troops triumphant in rebellious provinces? Sorely perplexed, the
Commander, could think of no expedient. Not knowing what to do, he did
nothing. In the meantime, Champagny, who felt himself odious to the
soldiery, retreated to the Newtown, and barricaded himself, with a few
followers, in the house of the Baltic merchants.

On the 26th of April, the mutinous troops in perfect order, marched into
the city, effecting their entrance precisely at the weak point where they
had been expected. Numbering at least three thousand, they encamped on
the esplanade, where Requesens appeared before them alone on horseback,
and made them an oration. They listened with composure, but answered
briefly and with one accord, "Dineros y non palabras," dollars not
speeches. Requesens promised profusely, but the time was past for
promises. Hard Silver dollars would alone content an army which, after
three years of bloodshed and starvation, had at last taken the law into
their own hands. Requesens withdrew to consult the Broad Council of the
city. He was without money himself, but he demanded four hundred thousand
crowns of the city. This was at first refused, but the troops knew the
strength of their position, for these mutinies were never repressed, and
rarely punished. On this occasion the Commander was afraid to employ
force, and the burghers, after the army had been quartered upon them for
a time, would gladly pay a heavy ransom to be rid of their odious and
expensive guests. The mutineers foreseeing that the work might last a few
weeks, and determined to proceed leisurely; took possession of the great
square. The Eletto, with his staff of councillors, was quartered in the
town-house, while the soldiers distributed themselves among the houses of
the most opulent citizens, no one escaping a billet who was rich enough
to receive such company: bishop or burgomaster, margrave or merchant. The
most famous kitchens were naturally the most eagerly sought, and
sumptuous apartments, luxurious dishes, delicate wines, were daily
demanded. The burghers dared not refuse.

The six hundred Walloons, who had been previously quartered in the city,
were expelled, and for many days, the mutiny reigned paramount. Day after
day the magistracy, the heads of guilds, all the representatives of the
citizens were assembled in the Broad Council. The Governor-General
insisted on his demand of four hundred thousand crowns, representing,
with great justice, that the mutineers would remain in the city until
they had eaten and drunk to that amount, and that there would still be
the arrearages; for which the city would be obliged to raise the funds.
On the 9th of May, the authorities made an offer, which was duly
communicated to the Eletto. That functionary stood forth on a window-sill
of the town-house, and addressed the soldiery. He informed them that the
Grand Commander proposed to pay ten months' arrears in cash, five months
in silks and woollen cloths, and the balance in promises, to be fulfilled
within a few days. The terms were not considered satisfactory, and were
received with groans of derision. The Eletto, on the contrary, declared
them very liberal, and reminded the soldiers of the perilous condition in
which they stood, guilty to a man of high treason, with a rope around
every neck. It was well worth their while to accept the offer made them,
together with the absolute pardon for the past, by which it was
accompanied. For himself, he washed his hands of the consequences if the
offer were rejected. The soldiers answered by deposing the Eletto and
choosing another in his room.

Three days after, a mutiny broke out in the citadel--an unexampled
occurrence. The rebels ordered Sancho d'Avila, the commandant, to deliver
the keys of the fortress. He refused to surrender them but with his life.
They then contented themselves with compelling his lieutenant to leave
the citadel, and with sending their Eletto to confer with the Grand
Commander, as well as with the Eletto of the army. After accomplishing
his mission, he returned, accompanied by Chiappin Vitelli, as envoy of
the Governor-General. No sooner, however, had the Eletto set foot on the
drawbridge than he was attacked by Ensign Salvatierra of the Spanish
garrison, who stabbed him to the heart and threw him into the moat. The
ensign, who was renowned in the army for his ferocious courage, and who
wore embroidered upon his trunk hose the inscription, "El castigador de
los Flamencos," then rushed upon the Sergeant-major of the mutineers,
despatched him in the same way, and tossed him likewise into the moat.
These preliminaries being settled, a satisfactory arrangement was
negotiated between Vitelli and the rebellious garrison. Pardon for the
past, and payment upon the same terms as those offered in the city, were
accepted, and the mutiny of the citadel was quelled. It was, however,
necessary that Salvatierra should conceal himself for a long time, to
escape being torn to pieces by the incensed soldiery.

Meantime, affairs in the city were more difficult to adjust. The
mutineers raised an altar of chests and bales upon the public square, and
celebrated mass under the open sky, solemnly swearing to be true to each
other to the last. The scenes of carousing and merry-making were renewed
at the expense of the citizens, who were again exposed to nightly alarms
from the boisterous mirth and ceaseless mischief-making of the soldiers.
Before the end of the month; the Broad Council, exhausted by the incubus
which had afflicted them so many weeks, acceded to the demand of
Requesens. The four hundred thousand crowns were furnished, the Grand
Commander accepting them as a loan, and giving in return bonds duly
signed and countersigned, together with a mortgage upon all the royal
domains. The citizens received the documents, as a matter of form, but
they had handled such securities before, and valued them but slightly.
The mutineers now agreed to settle with the Governor-General, on
condition of receiving all their wages, either in cash or cloth, together
with a solemn promise of pardon for all their acts of insubordination.
This pledge was formally rendered with appropriate religious ceremonies,
by Requesens, in the cathedral. The payments were made directly
afterwards, and a great banquet was held on the same day, by the whole
mass of the soldiery, to celebrate the event. The feast took place on the
place of the Meer, and was a scene of furious revelry. The soldiers, more
thoughtless than children, had arrayed themselves in extemporaneous
costumes, cut from the cloth which they had at last received in payment
of their sufferings and their blood. Broadcloths, silks, satins, and
gold-embroidered brocades, worthy of a queen's wardrobe, were hung in
fantastic drapery around the sinewy forms and bronzed faces of the
soldiery, who, the day before, had been clothed in rags. The mirth was
fast and furious; and scarce was the banquet finished before every
drum-head became a gaming-table, around which gathered groups eager to
sacrifice in a moment their dearly-bought gold.

The fortunate or the prudent had not yet succeeded in entirely plundering
their companions, when the distant booming of cannon was heard from the
river. Instantly, accoutred as they were in their holiday and fantastic
costumes, the soldiers, no longer mutinous, were summoned from banquet
and gaming-table, and were ordered forth upon the dykes. The patriot
Admiral Boisot, who had so recently defeated the fleet of Bergen, under
the eyes of the Grand Commander, had unexpectedly sailed up the Scheld,
determined to destroy the fleet of Antwerp, which upon that occasion had
escaped. Between, the forts of Lillo and Callao, he met with twenty-two
vessels under the command of Vice-Admiral Haemstede. After a short and
sharp action, he was completely victorious. Fourteen of the enemy's ships
were burned or sunk, with all their crews, and Admiral Haemstede was
taken prisoner. The soldiers opened a warm fire of musketry upon Boisot
from the dyke, to which he responded with his cannon. The distance of the
combatants, however, made the action unimportant; and the patriots
retired down the river, after achieving a complete victory. The Grand
Commander was farther than ever from obtaining that foothold on the sea,
which as he had informed his sovereign, was the only means by which the
Netherlands could be reduced.

1574 [CHAPTER II.]

   First siege of Leyden--Commencement of the second--Description of
   the city--Preparations for defence--Letters of Orange--Act of
   amnesty issued by Requesens--Its conditions--Its reception by the
   Hollanders--Correspondence of the Glippers--Sorties and fierce
   combats beneath the walls of Leyden--Position of the Prince--His
   project of relief Magnanimity of the people--Breaking of the dykes--
   Emotions in the city and the besieging camp--Letter of the Estates
   of Holland--Dangerous illness of the Prince--The "wild Zealanders"--
   Admiral Boisot commences his voyage--Sanguinary combat on the Land--
   Scheiding--Occupation of that dyke and of the Green Way--Pauses and
   Progress of the flotilla--The Prince visits the fleet--Horrible
   sufferings in the city--Speech of Van der Werf--Heroism of the
   inhabitants--The Admiral's letters--The storm--Advance of Boisot--
   Lammen fortress----An anxious night--Midnight retreat of the
   Spaniards--The Admiral enters the city--Thanksgiving in the great
   church The Prince in Leyden--Parting words of Valdez--Mutiny--Leyden
   University founded--The charter--Inauguration ceremonies.

The invasion of Louis of Nassau had, as already stated, effected the
raising of the first siege of Leyden. That leaguer had lasted from the
31st of October, 1573, to the 21st of March, 157