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Title: Rise of the Dutch Republic, the — Complete (1574-84)
Author: Motley, John Lothrop, 1814-1877
Language: English
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By John Lothrop Motley


1574-1576  [CHAPTER III.]

   Latter days of the Blood Council--Informal and insincere
   negotiations for peace--Characteristics of the negotiators and of
   their diplomatic correspondence--Dr. Junius--Secret conferences
   between Dr. Leoninus and Orange--Steadfastness of the Prince--
   Changes in the internal government of the northern provinces--
   Generosity and increasing power of the municipalities--Incipient
   jealousy in regard to Orange rebuked--His offer of resignation
   refused by the Estates--His elevation to almost unlimited power--
   Renewed mediation of Maximilian--Views and positions of the parties
   --Advice of Orange--Opening of negotiations at Breda--Propositions
   and counter-propositions--Adroitness of the plenipotentiaries on
   both sides--Insincere diplomacy and unsatisfactory results--Union of
   Holland and Zealand under the Prince of Orange--Act defining his
   powers--Charlotte de Bourbon--Character, fortunes, and fate of Anna
   of Saxony--Marriage of Orange with Mademoiselle de Bourbon--
   Indignation thereby excited--Horrible tortures inflicted upon
   Papists by Sonoy in North Holland--Oudewater and Schoonoven taken by
   Hierges--The isles of Zealand--A submarine expedition projected--
   Details of the adventure--Its entire success--Death of Chiappin
   Vitelli--Deliberations in Holland and Zealand concerning the
   renunciation of Philip's authority--Declaration at Delft--Doubts as
   to which of the Great Powers the sovereignty should be offered--
   Secret international relations--Mission to England--Unsatisfactory
   negotiations with Elizabeth--Position of the Grand Commander--Siege
   of Zieriekzee--Generosity of Count John--Desperate project of the
   Prince--Death and character of Requesens.

The Council of Troubles, or, as it will be for ever denominated in
history, the Council of Blood, still existed, although the Grand
Commander, upon his arrival in the Netherlands, had advised his sovereign
to consent to the immediate abolition of so odious an institution. Philip
accepting the advice of his governor and his cabinet, had accordingly
authorized him by a letter of the 10th of March, 1574, to take that step
if he continued to believe it advisable.

Requesens had made use of this permission to extort money from the
obedient portion of the provinces. An assembly of deputies was held at
Brussels on the 7th of June, 1574, and there was a tedious interchange of
protocols, reports, and remonstrances. The estates, not satisfied with
the extinction of a tribunal which had at last worn itself out by its own
violence, and had become inactive through lack of victims, insisted on
greater concessions. They demanded the departure of the Spanish troops,
the establishment of a council of Netherlanders in Spain for Netherland
affairs, the restoration to offices in the provinces of natives and
natives only; for these drawers of documents thought it possible, at that
epoch, to recover by pedantry what their brethren of Holland and Zealand
were maintaining with the sword. It was not the moment for historical
disquisition, citations from Solomon, nor chopping of logic; yet with
such lucubrations were reams of paper filled, and days and weeks
occupied. The result was what might have been expected. The Grand
Commander obtained but little money; the estates obtained none of their
demands; and the Blood Council remained, as it were, suspended in
mid-air. It continued to transact business at intervals during the
administration of Requesens, and at last, after nine years of existence,
was destroyed by the violent imprisonment of the Council of State at
Brussels. This event, however, belongs to a subsequent page of this

Noircarmes had argued, from the tenor of Saint Aldegonde's letters, that
the Prince would be ready to accept his pardon upon almost any terms.
Noircarmes was now dead, but Saint Aldegonde still remained in prison,
very anxious for his release, and as well disposed as ever to render
services in any secret negotiation. It will be recollected that, at the
capitulation of Middelburg, it had been distinctly stipulated by the
Prince that Colonel Mondragon should at once effect the liberation of
Saint Aldegonde, with certain other prisoners, or himself return into
confinement. He had done neither the one nor the other. The patriots
still languished in prison, some of them being subjected to exceedingly
harsh treatment, but Mondragon, although repeatedly summoned as an
officer and a gentleman, by the Prince, to return to captivity, had been
forbidden by the Grand Commander to redeem his pledge.

Saint Aldegonde was now released from prison upon parole, and despatched
on a secret mission to the Prince and estates. As before, he was
instructed that two points were to be left untouched--the authority of
the King and the question of religion. Nothing could be more preposterous
than to commence a negotiation from which the two important points were
thus carefully eliminated. The King's authority and the question of
religion covered the whole ground upon which the Spaniards and the
Hollanders had been battling for six years, and were destined to battle
for three-quarters of a century longer. Yet, although other affairs might
be discussed, those two points were to be reserved for the more
conclusive arbitration of gunpowder. The result of negotiations upon such
a basis was easily to be foreseen. Breath, time, and paper were profusely
wasted and nothing gained. The Prince assured his friend, as he had done
secret agents previously sent to him, that he was himself ready to leave
the land, if by so doing he could confer upon it the blessing of peace;
but that all hopes of reaching a reasonable conclusion from the premises
established was futile. The envoy treated also with the estates, and
received from them in return an elaborate report, which was addressed
immediately to the King. The style of this paper was bold and blunt, its
substance bitter and indigestible. It informed Philip what he had heard
often enough before, that the Spaniards must go and the exiles come back,
the inquisition be abolished and the ancient privileges restored, the
Roman Catholic religion renounce its supremacy, and the Reformed religion
receive permission to exist unmolested, before he could call himself
master of that little hook of sand in the North Sea. With this paper,
which was entrusted to Saint Aldegonde, by him to be delivered to the
Grand Commander, who was, after reading it, to forward it to its
destination, the negotiator returned to his prison. Thence he did not
emerge again till the course of events released him, upon the 15th of
October, 1574.

This report was far from agreeable to the Governor, and it became the
object of a fresh correspondence between his confidential agent,
Champagny, and the learned and astute Junius de Jonge, representative of
the Prince of Orange and Governor of Yeere. The communication of De Jonge
consisted of a brief note and a long discourse. The note was sharp and
stinging, the discourse elaborate and somewhat pedantic. Unnecessarily
historical and unmercifully extended, it was yet bold, bitter, and
eloquent: The presence of foreigners was proved to have been, from the
beginning of Philip's reign, the curse of the country. Doctor Sonnius,
with his batch of bishops, had sowed the seed of the first disorder. A
prince, ruling in the Netherlands, had no right to turn a deaf ear to the
petitions of his subjects. If he did so, the Hollanders would tell him,
as the old woman had told the Emperor Adrian, that the potentate who had
no time to attend to the interests of his subjects, had not leisure
enough to be a sovereign. While Holland refused to bow its neck to the
Inquisition, the King of Spain dreaded the thunder and lightning of the
Pope. The Hollanders would, with pleasure, emancipate Philip from his own
thraldom, but it was absurd that he, who was himself a slave to another
potentate, should affect unlimited control over a free people. It was
Philip's councillors, not the Hollanders, who were his real enemies; for
it was they who held him in the subjection by which his power was
neutralized and his crown degraded.

It may be supposed that many long pages, conceived in this spirit and
expressed with great vigor, would hardly smooth the way for the more
official negotiations which were soon to take place, yet Doctor Junius
fairly and faithfully represented the sentiment of his nation.

Towards the close of the year, Doctor Elbertus Leoninus, professor of
Louvain, together with Hugo Bonte, ex-pensionary of Middelburg, was
commissioned by the Grand Commander to treat secretly with the Prince. He
was, however, not found very tractable when the commissioners opened the
subject of his own pardon and reconciliation with the King, and he
absolutely refused to treat at all except with the cooperation of the
estates. He, moreover, objected to the use of the word "pardon" on the
ground that he had never done anything requiring his Majesty's
forgiveness. If adversity should visit him, he cared but little for it;
he had lived long enough, he said, and should die with some glory,
regretting the disorders and oppressions which had taken place, but
conscious that it had not been in his power to remedy them. When reminded
by the commissioners of the King's power, he replied that he knew his
Majesty to be very mighty, but that there was a King more powerful
still--even God the Creator, who, as he humbly hoped, was upon his Side.

At a subsequent interview with Hugo Bonte, the Prince declared it almost
impossible for himself or the estates to hold any formal communication
with the Spanish government, as such communications were not safe. No
trust could be reposed either in safe conducts or hostages. Faith had
been too often broken by the administration. The promise made by the
Duchess of Parma to the nobles, and afterwards violated, the recent
treachery of Mondragon, the return of three exchanged prisoners from the
Hague, who died next day of poison administered before their release, the
frequent attempts upon his own life--all such constantly recurring crimes
made it doubtful, in the opinion of the Prince, whether it would be
possible to find commissioners to treat with his Majesty's government.
All would fear assassination, afterwards to be disavowed by the King and
pardoned by the Pope. After much conversation in this vein, the Prince
gave the Spanish agents warning that he might eventually be obliged to
seek the protection of some foreign power for the provinces. In this
connection he made use of the memorable metaphor, so often repeated
afterwards, that "the country was a beautiful damsel, who certainly did
not lack suitors able and willing to accept her and defend her against
the world." As to the matter of religion, he said he was willing to leave
it to be settled by the estates-general; but doubted whether anything
short of entire liberty of worship would ever satisfy the people.

Subsequently there were held other conferences, between the Prince and
Doctor Leoninus, with a similar result, all attempts proving fruitless to
induce him to abandon his position upon the subject of religion, or to
accept a pardon on any terms save the departure of the foreign troops,
the assembling of the estates-general, and entire freedom of religion.
Even if he were willing to concede the religious question himself, he
observed that it was idle to hope either from the estates or people a
hand's-breadth of concession upon that point. Leoninus was subsequently
admitted to a secret conferenc with the estates of Holland, where his
representations were firmly met by the same arguments as those already
used by the Prince.

These proceedings on the part of Saint Aldegonde, Champagny, Junius, and
Elbertus Leoninus extended through the whole summer and autumn of 1574,
and were not terminated until January of the following year.

Changes fast becoming necessary in the internal government of the
provinces, were also undertaken during this year. Hitherto the Prince had
exercised his power under the convenient fiction of the King's authority,
systematically conducting the rebellion in the name of his Majesty, and
as his Majesty's stadholder. By this process an immense power was lodged
in his hands; nothing less, indeed, than the supreme executive and
legislative functions of the land; while since the revolt had become, as
it were, perpetual, ample but anomalous functions had been additionally
thrust upon him by the estates and by the general voice of the people.

The two provinces, even while deprived of Harlem and Amsterdam, now
raised two hundred and ten thousand florins monthly, whereas Alva had
never been able to extract from Holland more than two hundred and
seventy-one thousand florins yearly. They paid all rather than pay a
tenth. In consequence of this liberality, the cities insensibly acquired
a greater influence in the government. The coming contest between the
centrifugal aristocratic principle, represented by these corporations,
and the central popular authority of the stadholder, was already
foreshadowed, but at first the estates were in perfect harmony with the
Prince. They even urged upon him more power than he desired, and declined
functions which he wished them to exercise. On the 7th of September,
1573, it had been formally proposed by the general council to confer a
regular and unlimited dictatorship upon him, but in the course of a year
from that time, the cities had begun to feel their increasing importance.
Moreover, while growing more ambitious, they became less liberal.

The Prince, dissatisfied with the conduct of the cities, brought the
whole subject before an assembly of the estates of Holland on the 20th
October, 1574. He stated the inconveniences produced by the anomalous
condition of the government. He complained that the common people had
often fallen into the error that the money raised for public purposes had
been levied for his benefit only, and that they had, therefore, been less
willing to contribute to the taxes. As the only remedy for these evils,
he tendered his resignation of all the powers with which he was clothed,
so that the estates might then take the government, which they could
exercise without conflict or control. For himself, he had never desired
power, except as a means of being useful to his country, and he did not
offer his resignation from unwillingness to stand by the cause, but from
a hearty desire to save it from disputes among its friends. He was ready,
now as ever, to shed the last drop of his blood to maintain the freedom
of the land.

This straightforward language produced an instantaneous effect. The
estates knew that they were dealing with a man whose life was governed by
lofty principles, and they felt that they were in danger of losing him
through their own selfishness and low ambition. They were embarrassed,
for they did not like to, relinquish the authority which they had begun
to relish, nor to accept the resignation of a man who was indispensable.
They felt that to give up William of Orange at that time was to accept
the Spanish yoke for ever. At an assembly held at Delft on the 12th of
November, 1574, they accordingly requested him "to continue in his
blessed government, with the council established near him," and for this
end, they formally offered to him, "under the name of Governor or Regent,"
absolute power, authority, and sovereign command. In particular, they
conferred on him the entire control of all the ships of war, hitherto
reserved to the different cities, together with the right to dispose of
all prizes and all monies raised for the support of fleets. They gave him
also unlimited power over the domains; they agreed that all magistracies,
militia bands, guilds, and communities, should make solemn oath to
contribute taxes and to receive garrisons, exactly as the Prince, with
his council, should ordain; but they made it a condition that the estates
should be convened and consulted upon requests, impositions, and upon all
changes in the governing body. It was also stipulated that the judges of
the supreme court and of the exchequer, with other high officers, should
be appointed by and with the consent of the estates.

The Prince expressed himself willing to accept the government upon these
terms. He, however, demanded an allowance of forty-five thousand florins
monthly for the army expenses and other current outlays. Here, however,
the estates refused their consent. In a mercantile spirit, unworthy the
occasion and the man with whom they were dealing, they endeavoured to
chaffer where they should have been only too willing to comply, and they
attempted to reduce the reasonable demand of the Prince to thirty
thousand florins. The Prince, who had poured out his own wealth so
lavishly in the cause--who, together with his brothers, particularly the
generous John of Nassau, had contributed all which they could raise by
mortgage, sales of jewellery and furniture, and by extensive loans,
subjecting themselves to constant embarrassment, and almost to penury,
felt himself outraged by the paltriness of this conduct. He expressed his
indignation, and denounced the niggardliness of the estates in the
strongest language, and declared that he would rather leave the country
for ever, with the maintenance of his own honor, than accept the
government upon such disgraceful terms. The estates, disturbed by his
vehemence, and struck with its justice, instantly, and without further
deliberation, consented to his demand. They granted the forty-five
thousand florins monthly, and the Prince assumed the government, thus

During the autumn and early winter of the year 1574, the Emperor
Maximilian had been actively exerting himself to bring about a
pacification of the Netherlands. He was certainly sincere, for an
excellent reason. "The Emperor maintains," said Saint Goard, French
ambassador at Madrid, "that if peace is not made with the Beggars, the
Empire will depart from the house of Austria, and that such is the
determination of the electors." On the other hand, if Philip were not
weary of the war, at any rate his means for carrying it on were
diminishing daily. Requesens could raise no money in the Netherlands; his
secretary wrote to Spain, that the exchequer was at its last gasp, and
the cabinet of Madrid was at its wits' end, and almost incapable of
raising ways and means. The peace party was obtaining the upper hand; the
fierce policy of Alva regarded with increasing disfavor. "The people
here," wrote Saint Goard from Madrid, "are completely desperate, whatever
pains they take to put a good face on the matter. They desire most
earnestly to treat, without losing their character." It seemed,
nevertheless, impossible for Philip to bend his neck. The hope of wearing
the Imperial crown had alone made his bigotry feasible. To less potent
influences it was adamant; and even now, with an impoverished exchequer,
and, after seven years of unsuccessful warfare, his purpose was not less
rigid than at first. "The Hollanders demand liberty of conscience," said
Saint Goard, "to which the King will never consent, or I am much

As for Orange, he was sincerely in favor of peace--but not a dishonorable
peace, in which should be renounced all the objects of the war. He was
far from sanguine on the subject, for he read the signs of the times and
the character of Philip too accurately to believe much more in the
success of the present than in that of the past efforts of Maximilian. He
was pleased that his brother-in-law, Count Schwartzburg, had been
selected as the Emperor's agent in the affair, but expressed his doubts
whether much good would come of the proposed negotiations. Remembering
the many traps which in times past had been set by Philip and his father,
he feared that the present transaction might likewise prove a snare. "We
have not forgotten the words I 'ewig' and 'einig' in the treaty with
Landgrave Philip," he wrote; "at the same time we beg to assure his
Imperial Majesty that we desire nothing more than a good peace, tending
to the glory of God, the service of the King of Spain, and the prosperity
of his subjects."

This was his language to his brother, in a letter which was meant to be
shown to the Emperor. In another, written on the same day, he explained
himself with more clearness, and stated his distrust with more energy.
There were no papists left, except a few ecclesiastics, he said; so much
had the number of the Reformers been augmented, through the singular
grace of God. It was out of the question to suppose, therefore, that a
measure, dooming all who were not Catholics to exile, could be
entertained. None would change their religion, and none would consent,
voluntarily, to abandon for ever their homes, friends, and property.
"Such a peace," he said, "would be poor and pitiable indeed."

These, then, were the sentiments of the party now about to negotiate. The
mediator was anxious for a settlement, because the interests of the
Imperial house required it. The King of Spain was desirous of peace, but
was unwilling to concede a hair. The Prince of Orange was equally anxious
to terminate the war, but was determined not to abandon the objects for
which it had been undertaken. A favorable result, therefore, seemed
hardly possible. A whole people claimed the liberty to stay at home and
practice the Protestant religion, while their King asserted the right to
banish them for ever, or to burn them if they remained. The parties
seemed too far apart to be brought together by the most elastic
compromise. The Prince addressed an earnest appeal to the assembly of
Holland, then in session at Dort, reminding them that, although peace was
desirable, it might be more dangerous than war, and entreating them,
therefore, to conclude no treaty which should be inconsistent with the
privileges of the country and their duty to God.

It was now resolved that all the votes of the assembly should consist of
five: one for the nobles and large cities of Holland, one for the estates
of Zealand, one for the small cities of Holland, one for the cities
Bommel and Buren, and the fifth for William of Orange. The Prince thus
effectually held in his hands three votes: his own, that of the small
cities, which through his means only had been admitted to the assembly,
and thirdly, that of Buren, the capital of his son's earldom. He thus
exercised a controlling influence over the coming deliberations. The ten
commissioners, who were appointed by the estates for the peace
negotiations, were all his friends. Among them were Saint Aldegonde, Paul
Buis, Charles Boisot, and Doctor Junius. The plenipotentiaries of the
Spanish government were Leoninus, the Seigneur de Rassinghem, Cornelius
Suis, and Arnold Sasbout.

The proceedings were opened at Breda upon the 3rd of March, 1575. The
royal commissioners took the initiative, requesting to be informed what
complaints the estates had to make, and offering to remove, if possible,
all grievances which they might be suffering. The states' commissioners
replied that they desired nothing, in the first place, but an answer to
the petition which they had already presented to the King. This was the
paper placed in the hands of Saint Aldegonde during the informal
negotiations of the preceding year. An answer was accordingly given, but
couched in such vague and general language as to be quite without
meaning. The estates then demanded a categorical reply to the two
principal demands in the petition, namely, the departure of the foreign
troops and the assembling of the states-general. They, were asked what
they understood by foreigners and by the assembly of states-general. They
replied that by foreigners they meant those who were not natives, and
particularly the Spaniards. By the estates-general they meant the same
body before which, in 1555, Charles had resigned his sovereignty to
Philip. The royal commissioners made an extremely unsatisfactory answer,
concluding with a request that all cities, fortresses, and castles, then
in the power of the estates, together with all their artillery and
vessels of war, should be delivered to the King. The Roman Catholic
worship, it was also distinctly stated, was to be re-established at once
exclusively throughout the Netherlands; those of the Reformed religion
receiving permission, for that time only, to convert their property into
cash within a certain time, and to depart the country.

Orange and the estates made answer on the 21st March. It could not be
called hard, they said, to require the withdrawal of the Spanish troops,
for this had been granted in 1559, for less imperious reasons. The
estates had, indeed, themselves made use of foreigners, but those
foreigners had never been allowed to participate in the government. With
regard to the assembly of the states-general, that body had always
enjoyed the right of advising with the Sovereign on the condition of the
country, and on general measures of government. Now it was only thought
necessary to summon them, in order that they might give their consent to
the King's "requests." Touching the delivery of cities and citadels,
artillery and ships, the proposition was, pronounced to resemble that
made by the wolves to the sheep, in the fable--that the dogs should be
delivered up, as a preliminary to a lasting peace. It was unreasonable to
request the Hollanders to abandon their religion or their country. The
reproach of heresy was unjust, for they still held to the Catholic
Apostolic Church, wishing only to purify, it of its abuses. Moreover, it
was certainly more cruel to expel a whole population than to dismiss
three or four thousand Spaniards who for seven long years had been eating
their fill at the expense of the provinces. It would be impossible for
the exiles to dispose of their property, for all would, by the proposed
measure, be sellers, while there would be no purchasers.

The royal plenipotentiaries, making answer to this communication upon the
1st of April, signified a willingness that the Spanish soldiers should
depart, if the states would consent to disband their own foreign troops.
They were likewise in favor of assembling the states-general, but could
not permit any change in the religion of the country. His Majesty had
sworn to maintain the true worship at the moment of assuming the
sovereignty. The dissenters might, however, be allowed a period of six
months in which to leave the land, and eight or ten years for the sale of
their property. After the heretics had all departed, his Majesty did not
doubt that trade and manufactures would flourish again, along with the
old religion. As for the Spanish inquisition, there was not, and there
never had been, any intention of establishing it in the Netherlands.

No doubt there was something specious in this paper. It appeared to
contain considerable concessions. The Prince and estates had claimed the
departure of the Spaniards. It was now promised that they should depart.
They had demanded the assembling of the states-general. It was now
promised that they should assemble. They had denounced the inquisition.
It was now averred that the Spanish inquisition was not to be

Nevertheless, the commissioners of the Prince were not deceived by such
artifices. There was no parity between the cases of the Spanish soldiery
and of the troops in service of the estates. To assemble the
estates-general was idle, if they were to be forbidden the settlement of
the great question at issue. With regard to the Spanish inquisition, it
mattered little whether the slaughter-house were called Spanish or
Flemish, or simply the Blood-Council. It was, however, necessary for the
states' commissioners to consider their reply very carefully; for the
royal plenipotentiaries had placed themselves upon specious grounds. It
was not enough to feel that the King's government was paltering with
them; it was likewise necessary for the states' agents to impress this
fact upon the people.

There was a pause in the deliberations. Meantime, Count Schwartzburg,
reluctantly accepting the conviction that the religious question was an
insurmountable obstacle to a peace, left the provinces for Germany. The
last propositions of the government plenipotentiaries had been discussed
in the councils of the various cities, so that the reply of the Prince,
and estates was delayed until the 1st of June. They admitted, in this
communication, that the offer to restore ancient privileges had an
agreeable sound; but regretted that if the whole population were to be
banished, there would be but few to derive advantage from the
restoration. If the King would put an end to religious persecution, he
would find as much loyalty in the provinces as his forefathers had found.
It was out of the question, they said, for the states to disarm and to
deliver up their strong places, before the Spanish soldiery had retired,
and before peace had been established. It was their wish to leave the
question of religion, together with all other disputed matters, to the
decision of the assembly. Were it possible, in the meantime, to devise
any effectual method for restraining hostilities, it would gladly be

On the 8th of July, the royal commissioners inquired what guarantee the
states would be willing to give, that the decision of the general
assembly, whatever it might be, should be obeyed. The demand was answered
by another, in which the King's agents were questioned as to their own
guarantees. Hereupon it was stated that his Majesty would give his word
and sign manual, together with the word and signature of the Emperor into
the bargain. In exchange for these promises, the Prince and estates were
expected to give their own oaths and seals, together with a number of
hostages. Over and above this, they were requested to deliver up the
cities of Brill and Enkhuizen, Flushing and Arnemuyde. The disparity of
such guarantees was ridiculous. The royal word, even when strengthened by
the imperial promise, and confirmed by the autographs of Philip and
Maximilian, was not so solid a security, in the opinion of Netherlanders,
as to outweigh four cities in Holland and Zealand, with all their
population and wealth. To give collateral pledges and hostages upon one
side, while the King offered none, was to assign a superiority to the
royal word, over that of the Prince and the estates which there was no
disposition to recognize. Moreover, it was very cogently urged that to
give up the cities was to give as security for the contract, some of the
principal contracting parties.

This closed the negotiations. The provincial plenipotentiaries took their
leave by a paper dated 13th July, 1575, which recapitulated the main
incidents of the conference. They expressed their deep regret that his
Majesty should insist so firmly on the banishment of the Reformers, for
it was unjust to reserve the provinces to the sole use of a small number
of Catholics. They lamented that the proposition which had been made, to
refer the religious question to the estates, had neither been loyally
accepted, nor candidly refused. They inferred, therefore, that the object
of the royal government had, been to amuse the states, while tine was
thus gained for reducing the country into a slavery more abject than any
which had yet existed. On the other hand, the royal commissioners as
solemnly averred that the whole responsibility for the failure of the
negotiations belonged to the estates.

It was the general opinion in the insurgent provinces that the government
had been insincere from the beginning, and had neither expected nor
desired to conclude a peace. It is probable, however, that Philip was
sincere; so far as it could be called sincerity to be willing to conclude
a peace, if the provinces would abandon the main objects of the war. With
his impoverished exchequer, and ruin threatening his whole empire, if
this mortal combat should be continued many years longer, he could have
no motive for further bloodshed, provided all heretics should consent to
abandon the country. As usual, however, he left his agents in the dark as
to his real intentions. Even Requesens was as much in doubt as to the
King's secret purposes as Margaret of Parma had ever been in former

   [Compare the remarks of Groen v. Prinst., Archives, etc., v 259-
   262; Bor, viii. 606, 615; Meteren, v. 100; Hoofd, g. 410.--Count
   John of Nassau was distrustful and disdainful from the beginning.
   Against his brother's loyalty and the straightforward intentions of
   the estates, he felt that the whole force of the Macchiavelli system
   of policy would be brought to bear with great effect. He felt that
   the object of the King's party was to temporize, to confuse, and to
   deceive. He did not believe them capable of conceding the real
   object in dispute, but he feared lest they might obscure the
   judgment of the plain and well meaning people with whom they had to
   deal. Alluding to the constant attempts made to poison himself and
   his brother, he likens the pretended negotiations to Venetian drugs,
   by which eyesight, hearing, feeling, and intellect were destroyed.
   Under this pernicious influence, the luckless people would not
   perceive the fire burning around them, but would shrink at a
   rustling leaf. Not comprehending then the tendency of their own
   acts, they would "lay bare their own backs to the rod, and bring
   faggots for their own funeral pile."-Archives, etc., v. 131-137.]

Moreover, the Grand Commander and the government had, after all, made a
great mistake in their diplomacy. The estates of Brabant, although
strongly desirous that the Spanish troops should be withdrawn, were
equally stanch for the maintenance of the Catholic religion, and many of
the southern provinces entertained the same sentiments. Had the Governor,
therefore, taken the states' commissioners at their word, and left the
decision of the religious question to the general assembly, he might
perhaps have found the vote in his favor. In this case, it is certain
that the Prince of Orange and his party would have been placed in a very
awkward position.

The internal government of the insurgent provinces had remained upon the
footing which we have seen established in the autumn of 1574, but in the
course of this summer (1575), however, the foundation was laid for the
union of Holland and Zealand, under the authority of Orange. The selfish
principle of municipal aristocracy, which had tended to keep asunder
these various groups of cities, was now repressed by the energy of the
Prince and the strong determination of the people.

In April, 1575, certain articles of union between Holland and Zealand
were proposed, and six commissioners appointed to draw up an ordinance
for the government of the two provinces. This ordinance was accepted in
general assembly of both. It was in twenty articles. It declared that,
during the war the Prince as sovereign, should have absolute power in all
matters concerning the defence of the country. He was to appoint military
officers, high and low, establish and remove garrisons, punish offenders
against the laws of war. He was to regulate the expenditure of all money
voted by the estates. He was to maintain the law, in the King's name, as
Count of Holland, and to appoint all judicial officers upon nominations
by the estates. He was, at the usual times, to appoint and renew the
magistracies of the cities, according to their constitutions. He was to
protect the exercise of the Evangelical Reformed religion, and to
suppress the exercise of the Roman religion, without permitting, however,
that search should be made into the creed of any person. A deliberative
and executive council, by which the jealousy of the corporations had
intended to hamper his government, did not come into more than nominal

The articles of union having been agreed upon, the Prince, desiring an
unfettered expression of the national will, wished the ordinance to be
laid before the people in their primary assemblies. The estates, however,
were opposed to this democratic proceeding. They represented that it had
been customary to consult; after the city magistracies, only the captains
of companies and the deans of guilds on matters of government. The
Prince, yielding the point, the captains of companies and deans of guilds
accordingly alone united with the aristocratic boards in ratifying the
instrument by which his authority over the two united provinces was
established. On the 4th of June this first union was solemnized.

Upon the 11th of July, the Prince formally accepted the government. He,
however, made an essential change in a very important clause of the
ordinance. In place of the words, the "Roman religion," he insisted that
the words, "religion at variance with the Gospel," should be substituted
in the article by which he was enjoined to prohibit the exercise of such
religion. This alteration rebuked the bigotry which had already grown out
of the successful resistance to bigotry, and left the door open for a
general religious toleration.

Early in this year the Prince had despatched Saint Aldegonde on a private
mission to the Elector Palatine. During some of his visits to that
potentate he had seen at Heidelberg the Princess Charlotte of Bourbon.
That lady was daughter of the Due de Montpensier, the most ardent of the
Catholic Princes of France, and the one who at the conferences of Bayonne
had been most indignant at the Queen Dowager's hesitation to unite
heartily with the schemes of Alva and Philip for the extermination of
the Huguenots. His daughter, a woman of beauty, intelligence, and virtue,
forced before the canonical age to take the religious vows, had been
placed in the convent of Joliarrs, of which she had become Abbess. Always
secretly inclined to the Reformed religion, she had fled secretly from
her cloister, in the year of horrors 1572, and had found refuge at the
court of the Elector Palatine, after which step her father refused to
receive her letters, to contribute a farthing to her support, or even to
acknowledge her claims upon him by a single line or message of affection.

Under these circumstances the outcast princess, who had arrived at the
years of maturity, might be considered her own mistress, and she was
neither morally nor legally bound, when her hand was sought in marriage
by the great champion of the Reformation, to ask the consent of a parent
who loathed her religion and denied her existence. The legality of the
divorce from Anne of Saxony had been settled by a full expression of the
ecclesiastical authority which she most respected;

   [Acte de, cinq Ministres du St. Evangile par lequel ils declarent le
   mariage du Prince d'Orange etre legitime.--Archives, etc., v. 216-

the facts upon which the divorce had been founded having been proved
beyond peradventure.

Nothing, in truth, could well be more unfortunate in its results than the
famous Saxon marriage, the arrangements for which had occasioned so much
pondering to Philip, and so much diplomatic correspondence on the part of
high personages in Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. Certainly, it was
of but little consequence to what church the unhappy Princess belonged,
and they must be lightly versed in history or in human nature who can
imagine these nuptials to have exercised any effect upon the religious or
political sentiments of Orange. The Princess was of a stormy,
ill-regulated nature; almost a lunatic from the beginning. The dislike
which succeeded to her fantastic fondness for the Prince, as well as her
general eccentricity, had soon become the talk of all the court at
Brussels. She would pass week after week without emerging from her
chamber, keeping the shutters closed and candles burning, day and night.
She quarrelled violently, with Countess Egmont for precedence, so that
the ludicrous contentions of the two ladies in antechambers and doorways
were the theme and the amusement of society. Her insolence, not only in
private but in public, towards her husband became intolerable: "I could
not do otherwise than bear it with sadness and patience," said the
Prince, with great magnanimity, "hoping that with age would come
improvement." Nevertheless, upon one occasion, at a supper party, she had
used such language in the presence of Count Horn and many other nobles,
"that all wondered that he could endure the abusive terms which she
applied to him."

When the clouds gathered about him, when he had become an exile and a
wanderer, her reproaches and her violence increased. The sacrifice of
their wealth, the mortgages and sales which he effected of his estates,
plate, jewels, and furniture, to raise money for the struggling country,
excited her bitter resentment. She separated herself from him by degrees,
and at last abandoned him altogether. Her temper became violent to
ferocity. She beat her servants with her hands and with clubs; she
threatened the lives of herself, of her attendants, of Count John of
Nassau, with knives and daggers, and indulged in habitual profanity and
blasphemy, uttering frightful curses upon all around. Her original
tendency to intemperance had so much increased, that she was often unable
to stand on her feet. A bottle of wine, holding more than a quart, in the
morning, and another in the evening, together with a pound of sugar, was
her usual allowance. She addressed letters to Alva complaining that her
husband had impoverished himself "in his good-for-nothing Beggar war,"
and begging the Duke to furnish her with a little ready money and with
the means of arriving at the possession of her dower.

An illicit connexion with a certain John Rubens, an exiled magistrate of
Antwerp, and father of the celebrated painter, completed the list of her
delinquencies, and justified the marriage of the Prince with Charlotte de
Bourbon. It was therefore determined by the Elector of Saxony and the
Landgrave William to remove her from the custody of the Nassaus. This
took place with infinite difficulty, at the close of the year 1575.
Already, in 1572; Augustus had proposed to the Landgrave that she should
be kept in solitary confinement, and that a minister should preach to her
daily through the grated aperture by which her, food was to be admitted.
The Landgrave remonstrated at so inhuman a proposition, which was,
however, carried into effect. The wretched Princess, now completely a
lunatic, was imprisoned in the electoral palace, in a chamber where the
windows were walled up and a small grating let into the upper part of the
door. Through this wicket came her food, as well as the words of the holy
man appointed to preach daily for her edification.

Two years long, she endured this terrible punishment, and died mad, on
the 18th of December, 1577. On the following day, she was buried in the
electoral tomb at Meissen; a pompous procession of "school children,
clergy, magistrates, nobility, and citizens" conducting her to that rest
of which she could no longer be deprived by the cruelty of man nor her
own violent temperament.

   [It can certainly be considered no violation of the sanctity of
   archives to make these slender allusions to a tale, the main
   features of which have already been published, not only by MM. Groan
   v. Prinsterer and Bakhuyzen, in Holland, but by the Saxon Professor
   Bottiger, in Germany. It is impossible to understand the character
   and career of Orange, and his relations with Germany, without a
   complete view of the Saxon marriage. The extracts from the
   "geomantic letters" of Elector Augustus, however, given in Bottiger
   (Hist. Taschenb. 1836, p. 169-173), with their furious attacks upon
   the Prince and upon Charlotte of Bourbon, seem to us too obscene to
   be admitted, even in a note to these pages, and in a foreign

So far, therefore, as the character of Mademoiselle de Bourbon and the
legitimacy of her future offspring were concerned, she received ample
guarantees. For the rest, the Prince, in a simple letter, informed her
that he was already past his prime, having reached his forty-second year,
and that his fortune was encumbered not only with settlements for his,
children by previous marriages, but by debts contracted in the cause of
his oppressed country. A convention of doctors and bishops of France;
summoned by the Duc de Montpensier, afterwards confirmed the opinion that
the conventual vows of the Princess Charlotte had been conformable
neither to the laws of France nor to the canons of the Trent Council. She
was conducted to Brill by Saint Aldegonde, where she was received by her
bridegroom, to whom she was united on the 12th of June. The wedding
festival was held at Dort with much revelry and holiday making, "but
without dancing."

In this connexion, no doubt the Prince consulted his inclination only.
Eminently domestic in his habits, he required the relief of companionship
at home to the exhausting affairs which made up his life abroad. For
years he had never enjoyed social converse, except at long intervals,
with man or woman; it was natural, therefore, that he should contract
this marriage. It was equally natural that he should make many enemies by
so impolitic a match. The Elector Palatine, who was in place of guardian
to the bride, decidedly disapproved, although he was suspected of
favoring the alliance. The Landgrave of Hesse for a time was furious; the
Elector of Saxony absolutely delirious with rage. The Diet of the Empire
was to be held within a few weeks at Frankfort, where it was very certain
that the outraged and influential Elector would make his appearance,
overflowing with anger, and determined to revenge upon the cause of the
Netherland Reformation the injury which he had personally received. Even
the wise, considerate, affectionate brother, John of Nassau, considered
the marriage an act of madness. He did what he could, by argument and
entreaty, to dissuade the Prince from its completion; although he
afterwards voluntarily confessed that the Princess Charlotte had been
deeply calumniated, and was an inestimable treasure to his brother. The
French government made use of the circumstance to justify itself in a
still further alienation from the cause of the Prince than it had
hitherto manifested, but this was rather pretence than reality.

It was not in the nature of things, however, that the Saxon and Hessian
indignation could be easily allayed. The Landgrave was extremely violent.
"Truly, I cannot imagine," he wrote to the Elector of Saxony, "quo
consilio that wiseacre of an Aldegonde, and whosoever else has been
aiding and abetting, have undertaken this affair. Nam si pietatem
respicias, it is to be feared that, considering she is a Frenchwoman, a
nun, and moreover a fugitive nun, about whose chastity there has been
considerable question, the Prince has got out of the frying-pan into the
fire. Si formam it is not to be supposed that it was her beauty which
charmed him, since, without doubt, he must be rather frightened than
delighted, when he looks upon her. Si spem prolis, the Prince has
certainly only too many heirs already, and ought to wish that he had
neither wife nor children. Si amicitiam, it is not to be supposed, while
her father expresses himself in such threatening language with regard to
her, that there will be much cordiality of friendship on his part. Let
them look to it, then, lest it fare with them no better than with the
Admiral, at his Paris wedding; for those gentlemen can hardly forgive
such injuries, sine mercurio et arsenico sublimato."

The Elector of Saxony was frantic with choler, and almost ludicrous in
the vehemence of its expression. Count John was unceasing in his
exhortations to his brother to respect the sensitiveness of these
important personages, and to remember how much good and how much evil it
was in their power to compass, with regard to himself and to the great
cause of the Protestant religion. He reminded him, too, that the divorce
had not been, and would not be considered impregnable as to form, and
that much discomfort and detriment was likely to grow out of the whole
proceeding, for himself and his family. The Prince, however, was
immovable in his resolution, and from the whole tone of his
correspondence and deportment it was obvious that his marriage was one
rather of inclination than of policy. "I can assure you, my brother," he
wrote to Count John, "that my character has always tended to this--to
care neither for words nor menaces in any matter where I can act with a
clear conscience, and without doing injury to my neighbour. Truly, if I
had paid regard to the threats of princes, I should never have embarked
in so many dangerous affairs, contrary to the will of the King, my
master, in times past, and even to the advice of many of my relatives and

The evil consequences which had been foreseen were not slow to manifest
themselves. There was much discussion of the Prince's marriage at the
Diet of Frankfort, and there was even a proposition, formally to declare
the Calvinists excluded in Germany from the benefits of the Peace of
Passau. The Archduke Rudolph was soon afterwards elected King of the
Romans and of Bohemia, although hitherto, according to the policy of the
Prince of Orange, and in the expectation of benefit to the cause of the
Reformation in Germany and the Netherlands, there has been a strong
disposition to hold out hopes to Henry the Third, and to excite the fears
of Maximilian.

While these important affairs, public and private, had been occurring in
the south of Holland and in Germany, a very nefarious transaction had
disgraced the cause of the patriot party in the northern quarter.
Diedrich Sonoy, governor of that portion of Holland, a man of great
bravery but of extreme ferocity of character, had discovered an extensive
conspiracy among certain of the inhabitants, in aid of an approaching
Spanish invasion. Bands of land-loupers had been employed, according to
the intimation which he had received or affected to have received, to set
fire to villages and towns in every direction, to set up beacons, and to
conduct a series of signals by which the expeditions about to be
organized were to be furthered in their objects. The Governor, determined
to show that the Duke of Alva could not be more prompt nor more terrible
than himself, improvised, of his own authority, a tribunal in imitation
of the infamous Blood-Council. Fortunately for the character of the
country, Sonoy was not a Hollander, nor was the jurisdiction of this
newly established court allowed to extend beyond very narrow limits.
Eight vagabonds were, however, arrested and doomed to tortures the most
horrible, in order to extort from them confessions implicating persons of
higher position in the land than themselves. Seven, after a few turns of
the pulley and the screw, confessed all which they were expected to
confess, and accused all whom they were requested to accuse. The eighth
was firmer, and refused to testify to the guilt of certain respectable
householders, whose names he had, perhaps, never heard, and against whom
there was no shadow of evidence. He was, however, reduced by three hours
and a half of sharp torture to confess, entirely according to their
orders, so that accusations and evidence were thus obtained against
certain influential gentlemen of the province, whose only crime was a
secret adherence to the Catholic Faith.

The eight wretches who had been induced by promises of unconditional
pardon upon one hand, and by savage torture on the other, to bear this
false witness, were condemned to be burned alive, and on their way to the
stake, they all retracted the statements which had only been extorted
from them by the rack. Nevertheless, the individuals who had been thus
designated, were arrested. Charged with plotting a general conflagration
of the villages and farmhouses, in conjunction with an invasion by
Hierges and other Papist generals, they indignantly protested their
innocence; but two of them, a certain Kopp Corneliszoon, and his son,
Nanning Koppezoon, were selected to undergo the most cruel torture which
had yet been practised in the Netherlands. Sonoy, to his eternal shame,
was disposed to prove that human ingenuity to inflict human misery had
not been exhausted in the chambers of the Blood Council, for it was to be
shown that Reformers were capable of giving a lesson even to inquisitors
in this diabolical science. Kopp, a man advanced in years, was tortured
during a whole day. On the following morning he was again brought to the
rack, but the old man was too weak to endure all the agony which his
tormentors had provided for him. Hardly had he been placed upon the bed
of torture than he calmly expired, to the great indignation of the
tribunal. "The Devil has broken his neck and carried him off to hell,"
cried they ferociously. "Nevertheless, that shall not prevent him from
being hung and quartered." This decree of impotent vengeance was
accordingly executed. The son of Kopp, however, Nanning Koppezoon, was a
man in the full vigor of his years. He bore with perfect fortitude a
series of incredible tortures, after which, with his body singed from
head to heel, and his feet almost entirely flayed, he was left for six
weeks to crawl about his dungeon on his knees. He was then brought back
to the torture-room, and again stretched upon the rack, while a large
earthen vessel, made for the purpose, was placed, inverted, upon his
naked body. A number of rats were introduced under this cover, and hot
coals were heaped upon the vessel, till the rats, rendered furious by the
heat, gnawed into the very bowels of the victim, in their agony to

   [Bor (viii. 628) conscientiously furnishes diagrams of the
   machinery by aid of which this devilish cruelty was inflicted. The
   rats were sent by the Governor himself.--Vide Letter of the
   Commissioners to Sonoy, apud Bor, viii. 640, 641. The whole letter
   is a wonderful monument of barbarity. The incredible tortures to
   which the poor creatures had been subjected are detailed in a
   business-like manner, as though the transactions were quite regular
   and laudable, The Commissioners conclude with pious wishes for the
   Governor's welfare: "Noble, wise, virtuous, and very discreet sir,"
   they say, "we have wished to apprise you of the foregoing, and we
   now pray that God Almighty may spare you in a happy, healthy and
   long-continued government"--It will be seen, however, that the wise,
   virtuous, and very discreet Governor, who thus caused his fellow-
   citizens bowels to be gnawed by rats, was not allowed to remain much
   longer in his "happy and healthy government"]

The holes thus torn in his bleeding flesh were filled with red-hot coals.
He was afterwards subjected to other tortures too foul to relate; nor was
it till he had endured all this agony, with a fortitude which seemed
supernatural, that he was at last discovered to be human. Scorched;
bitten, dislocated in every joint, sleepless, starving, perishing with
thirst, he was at last crushed into a false confession, by a promise of
absolute forgiveness. He admitted everything which was brought to his
charge, confessing a catalogue of contemplated burnings and beacon
firings of which he had never dreamed, and avowing himself in league with
other desperate Papists, still more dangerous than himself.

Notwithstanding the promises of pardon, Nanning was then condemned to
death. The sentence ordained that his heart should be torn from his
living bosom, and thrown in his face, after which his head was to be
taken off and exposed on the church steeple of his native village. His
body was then to be cut in four, and a quarter fastened upon different
towers of the city of Alkmaar, for it was that city, recently so famous
for its heroic resistance to the Spanish army, which was now sullied by
all this cold-blooded atrocity. When led to execution, the victim
recanted indignantly the confessions forced from him by weakness of body,
and exonerated the persons whom he had falsely accused. A certain
clergyman, named Jurian Epeszoon, endeavored by loud praying to drown his
voice, that the people might not rise with indignation, and the dying
prisoner with his last breath solemnly summoned this unworthy pastor of
Christ Jo meet him within three days before the judgment-seat of God. It
is a remarkable and authentic fact, that the clergyman thus summoned,
went home pensively from the place of execution, sickened immediately and
died upon the appointed day.

Notwithstanding this solemn recantation, the persons accused were
arrested, and in their turn subjected to torture, but the affair now
reached the ears of Orange. His peremptory orders, with the universal
excitement produced in the neighbourhood, at last checked the course of
the outrage, and the accused persons were remanded to prison, where they
remained till liberated by the Pacification of Ghent. After their release
they commenced legal proceedings against Sonoy, with a view of
establishing their own innocence, and of bringing the inhuman functionary
to justice. The process languished, however, and was finally abandoned,
for the powerful Governor had rendered such eminent service in the cause
of liberty, that it was thought unwise to push him to extremity. It is no
impeachment upon the character of the Prince that these horrible crimes
were not prevented. It was impossible for him to be omnipresent. Neither
is it just to consider the tortures and death thus inflicted upon
innocent men an indelible stain upon the cause of liberty. They were the
crimes of an individual who had been useful, but who, like the Count De
la Marck, had now contaminated his hand with the blood of the guiltless.
The new tribunal never took root, and was abolished as soon as its
initiatory horrors were known.

On the 19th of July, Oudewater, entirely unprepared for such an event,
was besieged by Hierges, but the garrison and the population, although
weak, were brave. The town resisted eighteen days, and on the 7th of
August was carried by assault, after which the usual horrors were fully
practised, after which the garrison was put to the sword, and the
townspeople fared little better. Men, women, and children were murdered
in cold blood, or obliged to purchase their lives by heavy ransoms, while
matrons and maids were sold by auction to the soldiers at two or three
dollars each. Almost every house in the city was burned to the ground,
and these horrible but very customary scenes having been enacted, the
army of Hierges took its way to Schoonhoven. That city, not defending
itself, secured tolerable terms of capitulation, and surrendered on the
24th of August.

The Grand Commander had not yet given up the hope of naval assistance
from Spain, notwithstanding the abrupt termination to the last expedition
which had been organized. It was, however, necessary that a foothold
should be recovered upon the seaboard, before a descent from without
could be met with proper co-operation from the land forces withal; and he
was most anxious, therefore, to effect the reconquest of some portion of
Zealand. The island of Tholen was still Spanish, and had been so since
the memorable expedition of Mondragon to South Beveland. From this
interior portion of the archipelago the Governor now determined to
attempt an expedition against the outer and more important territory. The
three principal islands were Tholen; Duiveland, and Sehouwen. Tholen was
the first which detached itself from the continent. Neat, and separated
from it by a bay two leagues in width, was Duiveland, or the Isle of
Doves. Beyond, and parted by a narrower frith, was Schouwen, fronting
directly upon the ocean, fortified by its strong capital city;
Zieriekzee, and containing other villages of inferior consequence.

Requesens had been long revolving in his mind the means of possessing
himself of this important, island. He had caused to be constructed, a
numerous armada of boats and light vessels of various dimensions, and he
now came to Tholew to organize the expedition. His prospects were at
first not flattering, for the gulfs and estuaries swarmed with Zealand
vessels, manned by crews celebrated for their skill and audacity.
Traitors, however, from Zealand itself now came forward to teach the
Spanish Commander how to strike at the heart of their own country. These
refugees explained to Requesens that a narrow flat extended under the sea
from Philipsland, a small and uninhabited islet situate close to Tholen,
as far as the shore of Duiveland. Upon this submerged tongue of land the
water, during ebb-tide, was sufficiently shallow to be waded, and it
would therefore be possible for a determined band, under cover of the
night, to make the perilous passage. Once arrived at Duiveland, they
could more easily cross the intervening creek to Schouwen, which was not
so deep and only half as wide, so that a force thus, sent through these
dangerous shallows, might take possession of Duiveland and lay siege to
Zierickzee, in the very teeth of the Zealand fleet, which would be unable
to sail near enough to intercept their passage.

The Commander determined that the enterprise should be attempted. It was
not a novelty, because Mondragon, as we have seen, had already most
brilliantly conducted a very similar expedition. The present was,
however, a much more daring scheme. The other exploit, although
sufficiently hazardous, and entirely, successful, had been a victory
gained over the sea alone. It had been a surprise, and had been effected
without any opposition from human enemies. Here, however, they were to
deal, not only with the ocean and darkness, but with a watchful and
determined foe. The Zealanders were aware that the enterprise was in
contemplation, and their vessels lay about the contiguous waters in
considerable force. Nevertheless, the determination of the Grand
Commander was hailed with enthusiasm by his troops. Having satisfied
himself by personal experiment that the enterprise was possible, and that
therefore his brave soldiers could accomplish it, he decided that the
glory of the achievement should be fairly shared, as before, among the
different nations which served the King.

After completing his preparations, Requesens came to Tholen, at which
rendezvous were assembled three thousand infantry, partly Spaniards,
partly Germans, partly Walloons. Besides these, a picked corps of two
hundred sappers and miners was to accompany the expedition, in order that
no time might be lost in fortifying themselves as soon as they had seized
possession of Schouwen. Four hundred mounted troopers were, moreover,
stationed in the town of Tholen, while the little fleet, which had been
prepared at Antwerp; lay near that city ready to co-operate with the land
force as soon as they, should complete their enterprise. The Grand
Commander now divided the whole force into two parts: One half was to
remain in the boats, under the command of Mondragon; the other half,
accompanied by the two hundred pioneers, were to wade through the sea
from Philipsland to Duiveland and Schouwen. Each soldier of this
detachment was provided with a pair of shoes, two pounds of powder, and
rations for three days in a canvas bag suspended at his neck. The leader
of this expedition was Don Osorio d'Ulloa, an officer distinguished for
his experience and bravery.

On the night selected for the enterprise, that of the 27th September, the
moon was a day old in its fourth quarter, and rose a little before
twelve. It was low water at between four and five in the morning. The
Grand Commander, at the appointed hour of midnight, crossed to
Philipsland, and stood on the shore to watch the setting forth of the
little army. He addressed a short harangue to them, in which he
skillfully struck the chords of Spanish chivalry, and the national love
of glory, and was answered with loud and enthusiastic cheers. Don Osorio
d'Ulloa then stripped and plunged into the sea immediately after the
guides. He was followed by the Spaniards, after whom came the Germans and
then the Walloons. The two hundred sappers and miners came next, and Don
Gabriel Peralta, with his Spanish company; brought up the rear. It was a
wild night. Incessant lightning, alternately revealed and obscured the
progress of the midnight march through the black waters, as the anxious
Commander watched the expedition from the shore, but the soldiers were
quickly swallowed up in the gloom. As they advanced cautiously, two by
two, the daring adventurers found themselves soon nearly up to their
necks in the waves, while so narrow was the submerged bank along which
they were marching, that a misstep to the right or left was fatal.
Luckless individuals repeatedly sank to rise no more. Meantime, as the
sickly light, of the waning moon came forth at intervals through the
stormy clouds the soldiers could plainly perceive the files of Zealand
vessels through which they were to march, and which were anchored as
close to the flat as the water would allow. Some had recklessly stranded
themselves, in their eagerness to interrupt the passage, of the troops,
and the artillery played unceasingly from the larger vessels. Discharges
of musketry came continually from all, but the fitful lightning rendered
the aim difficult and the fire comparatively harmless while the Spaniards
were, moreover, protected, as to a large part of their bodies, by the
water in which they were immersed.

At times; they halted for breath, or to engage in fierce skirmishes with
their nearest assailants. Standing breast-high in the waves, and
surrounded at intervals by total darkness, they were yet able to pour an
occasional well-directed volley into the hostile ranks. The Zealanders,
however, did, not assail them with fire-arms alone. They transfixed some
with their fatal harpoons; they dragged others from the path with
boathooks; they beat out the brains of others with heavy flails. Many
were the mortal duels thus fought in the darkness, and, as it were, in
the bottom of the sea; many were the deeds of audacity which no eye was
to mark save those by whom they were achieved. Still, in spite of all
impediments and losses, the Spaniards steadily advanced. If other arms
proved less available, they were attached by the fierce taunts and
invectives of their often invisible foes who reviled them as water-dogs,
fetching and carrying for a master who despised them; as mercenaries who
coined their blood for gold, and were employed by tyrants for the basest
uses. If stung by these mocking voices, they turned in the darkness to
chastise their unseen tormentors, they were certain to be trampled upon
by their comrades, and to be pushed from their narrow pathway into the
depths of the sea. Thus many perished.

The night wore on, and the adventurers still fought it out manfully, but
very slowly, the main body of Spaniards, Germans, and Walloons, soon
after daylight, reaching the opposite shore, having sustained
considerable losses, but in perfect order. The pioneers were not so
fortunate. The tide rose over them before they could effect their
passage, and swept nearly every one away. The rearguard, under Peralta,
not surprised, like the pioneers, in the middle of their passage, by the
rising tide, but prevented, before it was too late; from advancing far
beyond the shore from which they had departed were fortunately enabled to
retrace their steps.

Don Osorio, at the head of the successful adventurers, now effected his
landing upon Duiveland. Reposing themselves but for an instant after this
unparalleled march through the water, of more than six hours, they took a
slight refreshment, prayed to the Virgin Mary and to Saint James, and
then prepared to meet their new enemies on land. Ten companies of French,
Scotch, and English auxiliaries lay in Duiveland, under the command of
Charles Van Boisot. Strange to relate, by an inexplicable accident, or by
treason, that general was slain by his own soldiers, at the moment when
the royal troops landed. The panic created by this event became intense,
as the enemy rose suddenly, as it were, out of the depths of the ocean to
attack them. They magnified the numbers of their assailants, and fled
terror-stricken in every direction. Same swam to the Zealand vessels
which lay in the neighbourhood; others took refuge in the forts which had
been constructed on the island; but these were soon carried by the
Spaniards, and the conquest of Duiveland was effected.

The enterprise was not yet completed, but the remainder was less
difficult and not nearly so hazardous, for the creek which separated
Duiveland from Schouwen was much narrower than the estuary which they had
just traversed. It was less than a league in width, but so encumbered by
rushes and briers that, although difficult to wade, it was not navigable
for vessels of any kind. This part of the expedition was accomplished
with equal resolution, so that, after a few hours' delay, the soldiers
stood upon the much-coveted island of Schouwen. Five companies of states'
troops, placed to oppose their landing, fled in the most cowardly manner
at the first discharge of the Spanish muskets, and took refuge in the
city of Zierickzee, which was soon afterwards beleaguered.

The troops has been disembarked upon Duiveland from the armada, which had
made its way to the scene of action, after having received, by signal,
information that the expedition through the water had been successful.
Brouwershaven, on the northern side of Schouwen, was immediately reduced,
but Bommenede resisted till the 25th of October, when it was at last
carried by assault, and delivered over to fire and sword. Of the whole
population and garrison not twenty were left alive. Siege was then laid
to Zierickzee, and Colonel Mondragon was left in charge of the
operations. Requesens himself came to Schouwen to give directions
concerning this important enterprise.

Chiapin Vitelli also came thither in the middle of the winter, and was so
much injured by a fall from his litter, while making the tour of the
island, that he died on shipboard during his return to Antwerp. This
officer had gained his laurels upon more than one occasion, his conduct
in the important action near Mons, in which the Huguenot force under
Genlis was defeated, having been particularly creditable. He was of a
distinguished Umbrian family, and had passed his life in camps, few of
the generals who had accompanied Alva to the Netherlands being better
known or more odious to the inhabitants. He was equally distinguished for
his courage, his cruelty, and his corpulence. The last characteristic was
so remarkable that he was almost monstrous in his personal appearance.
His protuberant stomach was always supported in a bandage suspended from
his neck, yet in spite of this enormous impediment, he was personally
active on the battle-field, and performed more service, not only as a
commander but as a subaltern, than many a younger and lighter man.

The siege of Zierickzee was protracted till the following June, the city
holding out with firmness. Want of funds caused the operations to be,
conducted with languor, but the same cause prevented the Prince from
accomplishing its relief. Thus the expedition from Philipsland, the most
brilliant military exploit of the whole war, was attended with important
results. The communication between Walcheren and the rest of Zealand was
interrupted; the province cut in two; a foothold on the ocean; for a
brief interval at least, acquired by Spain. The Prince was inexpressibly
chagrined by these circumstances, and felt that the moment had arrived
when all honorable means were to be employed to obtain foreign
assistance. The Hollanders and Zealanders had fought the battles of
freedom alone hitherto, and had fought them well, but poverty was fast
rendering them incapable of sustaining much longer the unequal conflict.
Offers of men, whose wages the states were to furnish, were refused; as
worse than fruitless. Henry of Navarre, who perhaps deemed it possible to
acquire the sovereignty of the provinces by so barren a benefit, was
willing to send two or three thousand men, but not at his own expense.
The proposition was respectfully declined.

The Prince and his little country, were all alone. "Even if we should not
only see ourselves deserted by all the world, but also all the world
against us," he said, "we should not cease to defend ourselves even to
the last man. Knowing the justice of our cause, we repose, entirely in
the mercy of God." He determined, however, once more to have recourse to
the powerful of the earth, being disposed to test the truth of his
celebrated observation, that "there would be no lack of suitors for the
bride that he had to bestow." It was necessary, in short, to look the
great question of formally renouncing Philip directly in the face.

Hitherto the fiction of allegiance had been preserved, and, even by the
enemies of the Prince, it, was admitted: that it had been retained with
no disloyal intent. The time however, had come when it was necessary to
throw off allegiance, provided another could be found strong enough and
frank enough to accept the authority which Philip had forfeited. The
question was, naturally, between France and England; unless the provinces
could effect their re-admission into the body of the Germanic Empire.
Already in June the Prince had laid the proposition formally before the
states, "whether they should not negotiate with the Empire on the subject
of their admission, with maintenance of their own constitutions," but it
was understood that this plan was not to be carried out, if the
protection of the Empire could be obtained under easier conditions.

Nothing came of the proposition at that time. The nobles and the deputies
of South Holland now voted, in the beginning of the ensuing month, "that
it was their duty to abandon the King, as a tyrant who sought to oppress
and destroy his subjects; and that it behooved them to seek another
protector." This was while the Breda negotiations were still pending, but
when their inevitable result was very visible. There was still a
reluctance at taking the last and decisive step in the rebellion, so that
the semblance of loyalty was still retained; that ancient scabbard, in
which the sword might yet one day be sheathed. The proposition was not
adopted at the diet. A committee of nine was merely appointed to
deliberate with the Prince upon the "means of obtaining foreign
assistance, without accepting foreign authority, or severing their
connexion with his Majesty." The estates were, however, summoned a few
months later, by the Prince, to deliberate on this important matter at
Rotterdam. On the 1st of October he then formally proposed, either to
make terms with their enemy, and that the sooner the better, or else,
once for all, to separate entirely from the King of Spain, and to change
their sovereign, in order, with the assistance and under protection of
another Christian potentate, to maintain the provinces against their
enemies. Orange, moreover, expressed the opinion that upon so important a
subject it was decidedly incumbent upon them all to take the sense of the
city governments. The members for the various municipalities acquiesced
in the propriety of this suggestion, and resolved to consult their
constituents, while the deputies of the nobility also desired to consult
with their whole body. After an adjournment of a few days, the diet again
assembled at Delft, and it was then unanimously resolved by the nobles
and the cities, "that they would forsake the King and seek foreign
assistance; referring the choice to the Prince, who, in regard to the
government, was to take the opinion of the estates."

Thus, the great step was taken, by which two little provinces declared
themselves independent of their ancient master. That declaration,
although taken in the midst of doubt and darkness, was not destined to be
cancelled, and the germ of a new and powerful commonwealth was planted.
So little, however, did these republican fathers foresee their coming
republic, that the resolution to renounce one king was combined with a
proposition to ask for the authority of another. It was not imagined that
those two slender columns, which were all that had yet been raised of
the future stately peristyle, would be strong enough to stand alone. The
question now arose, to what foreign power application should be made. But
little hope was to be entertained from Germany, a state which existed
only in name, and France was still in a condition of religious and
intestine discord. The attitude of revolt maintained by the Duc d'Alencon
seemed to make it difficult and dangerous to enter into negotiations with
a country where the civil wars had assumed so complicated a character,
that loyal and useful alliance could hardly be made with any party. The
Queen of England, on the other hand; dreaded the wrath of Philip, by
which her perpetual dangers from the side of Scotland would be
aggravated, while she feared equally the extension of French authority in
the Netherlands, by which increase her neighbour would acquire an
overshadowing power. She was also ashamed openly to abandon the provinces
to their fate, for her realm was supposed to be a bulwark of the
Protestant religion. Afraid to affront Philip, afraid to refuse the suit
of the Netherlands, afraid to concede as aggrandizement to France, what
course was open to the English Queen. That which, politically and
personally, she loved the best--a course of barren coquetry. This the
Prince of Orange foresaw; and although not disposed to leave a stone
unturned in his efforts to find assistance for his country, he on the
whole rather inclined for France. He, however, better than any man, knew
how little cause there was for sanguine expectation from either source.

It was determined, in the name of his Highness and the estates, first to
send a mission to England, but there had already been negotiations this
year of an unpleasant character with that power. At the request of the
Spanish envoy, the foremost Netherland rebels, in number about fifty,
including by name the Prince of Orange, the Counts of Berg and Culemburg,
with Saint Aldegonde, Boisot, Junius, and others, had been formally
forbidden by Queen Elizabeth to enter her realm. The Prince had, in
consequence, sent Aldegonde and Junius on a secret mission to France, and
the Queen; jealous and anxious, had thereupon sent Daniel Rogers secretly
to the Prince. At the same tine she had sent an envoy to the Grand
Commander, counselling, conciliatory measures; and promising to send a
special mission to Spain with the offer of her mediation, but it was
suspected by those most in the confidence of the Spanish government at
Brussels, that there was a great deal of deception in these proceedings.
A truce for six months having now been established between the Duc
d'Alencon and his brother, it was supposed, that an alliance between
France and England, and perhaps between Alencon and Elizabeth, was on the
carpet, and that a kingdom of the Netherlands was to be the wedding
present of the bride to her husband. These fantasies derived additional
color from the fact that, while the Queen was expressing the most
amicable intentions towards Spain, and the greatest jealousy of France,
the English residents at Antwerp and other cities of the Netherlands, had
received private instructions to sell out their property as fast as
possible, and to retire from the country. On the whole, there was little
prospect either of a final answer, or of substantial assistance from the

The envoys to England were Advocate Buis and Doctor Francis Maalzon,
nominated by the estates, and Saint Aldegonde, chief of the mission,
appointed by the Prince. They arrived in England at Christmas-tide.
Having represented to the Queen the result of the Breda negotiations,
they stated that the Prince and the estates, in despair of a secure
peace, had addressed themselves to her as an upright protector of the
Faith, and as a princess descended from the blood of Holland. This
allusion to the intermarriage of Edward III. of England with Philippa,
daughter of Count William III. of Hainault and Holland, would not, it was
hoped, be in vain. They furthermore offered to her Majesty, in case she
were willing powerfully to assist the states, the sovereignty over
Holland and Zealand, under certain conditions.

The Queen listened graciously to the envoys, and appointed commissioners
to treat with them on the subject. Meantime, Requesens sent Champagny to
England, to counteract the effect of this embassy of the estates, and to
beg the Queen to give no heed to the prayers of the rebels, to enter into
no negotiations with them, and to expel them at once from her kingdom.

The Queen gravely assured Champagny "that the envoys were no rebels, but
faithful subjects of his Majesty." There was certainly some effrontery in
such a statement, considering the solemn offer which had just been made
by the envoys. If to renounce allegiance to Philip and to propose the
sovereignty to Elizabeth did not constitute rebellion, it would be
difficult to define or to discover rebellion anywhere. The statement was
as honest, however, as the diplomatic grimace with which Champagny had
reminded Elizabeth of the ancient and unbroken friendship which had
always, existed between herself and his Catholic Majesty. The attempt of
Philip to procure her dethronement and assassination but a few years
before was, no doubt, thought too trifling a circumstance to have for a
moment interrupted those harmonious relations. Nothing came of the
negotiations on either side. The Queen coquetted, as was her custom. She
could not accept the offer of the estates; she could not say them nay.
She would not offend Philip; she would not abandon the provinces; she
would therefore negotiate--thus there was an infinite deal of diplomatic
nothing spun and unravelled, but the result was both to abandon the
provinces and to offend Philip.

In the first answer given by her commissioners to the states' envoys, it
was declared, "that her Majesty considered it too expensive to assume the
protection of both provinces." She was willing to protect them in name,
but she should confer the advantage exclusively on Walcheren in reality.
The defence of Holland must be maintained at the expense of the Prince
and the estates.

This was certainly not munificent, and the envoys insisted upon more
ample and liberal terms. The Queen declined, however, committing herself
beyond this niggardly and inadmissible offer. The states were not willing
to exchange the sovereignty over their country for so paltry a
concession. The Queen declared herself indisposed to go further, at least
before consulting parliament. The commissioners waited for the assembling
of parliament. She then refused to lay the matter before that body, and
forbade the Hollanders taking any steps for that purpose. It was evident
that she was disposed to trifle with the provinces, and had no idea of
encountering the open hostility of Philip. The envoys accordingly begged
for their passports. These were granted in April, 1576, with the
assurance on the part of her Majesty that "she would think more of the
offer made to her after she had done all in her power to bring about an
arrangement between the provinces and Philip."

After the result of the negotiations of Breda, it is difficult to imagine
what method she was likely to devise for accomplishing such a purpose.
The King was not more disposed than during the preceding summer to grant
liberty of religion, nor were the Hollanders more ready than they had
been before to renounce either their faith or their fatherland. The
envoys, on parting, made a strenuous effort to negotiate a loan, but the
frugal Queen considered the proposition quite inadmissible. She granted
them liberty to purchase arms and ammunition, and to levy a few soldiers
with their own money, and this was accordingly done to a limited extent.
As it was not difficult to hire soldiers or to buy gunpowder anywhere, in
that warlike age, provided the money were ready, the states had hardly
reason to consider themselves under deep obligation for this concession.
Yet this was the whole result of the embassy. Plenty of fine words had,
been bestowed, which might or might not have meaning, according to the
turns taken by coming events. Besides these cheap and empty civilities,
they received permission to defend Holland at their own expense; with the
privilege, of surrendering its sovereignty, if they liked, to Queen
Elizabeth-and this was all.

On the 19th of April, the envoys returned to their country, and laid
before the estates the meagre result of their negotiations. Very soon
afterwards, upon an informal suggestion from Henry III. and the Queen
Mother, that a more favorable result might be expected, if the same
applications were made to the Duc d'Alencon which had been received in so
unsatisfactory a manner by Elizabeth, commissioners were appointed to
France. It proved impossible, however, at that juncture, to proceed with
the negotiations, in consequence of the troubles occasioned by the
attitude of the Duke. The provinces were still, even as they had been
from the beginning, entirely alone.

Requesens was more than ever straitened for funds, wringing, with
increasing difficulty, a slender subsidy, from time to time, out of the
reluctant estates of Brabant, Flanders, and the other obedient provinces.
While he was still at Duiveland, the estates-general sent him a long
remonstrance against the misconduct of the soldiery, in answer to his
demand for supplies. "Oh, these estates! these estates!" cried the Grand
Commander, on receiving such vehement reproaches instead of his money;
"may the Lord deliver me from these estates!" Meantime, the important
siege of Zierickzee continued, and it was evident that the city must
fall. There was no money at the disposal of the Prince. Count John, who
was seriously embarrassed by reason of the great obligations in money
which he, with the rest of his family, had incurred on behalf of the
estates, had recently made application to the Prince for his influence
towards procuring him relief. He had forwarded an account of the great
advances made by himself and his brethren in money, plate, furniture, and
endorsements of various kinds, for which a partial reimbursement was
almost indispensable to save him from serious difficulties. The Prince,
however, unable to procure him any assistance, had been obliged him once
more to entreat him to display the generosity and the self-denial which
the country had never found wanting at his hands or at those of his
kindred. The appeal had not been, in vain, but the Count was obviously
not in a condition to effect anything more at that moment to relieve the
financial distress of the states. The exchequer was crippled.

   [The contributions of Holland and Zealand for war expenses amounted
   to one hundred and fifty thousand florins monthly. The pay of a
   captain was eighty florins monthly; that of a lieutenant, forty;
   that of a corporal, fifteen; that of a drummer, fifer, or Minister,
   twelve; that of a common soldier, seven and a half. A captain had
   also one hundred and fifty florins each month to distribute among
   the most meritorious of his company. Each soldier was likewise
   furnished with food; bedding, fire, light, and washing.--Renom de
   France MS, vol. ii. c. 46,]

Holland and Zealand were cut in twain by the occupation of Schouwen and
the approaching fall of its capital. Germany, England, France; all
refused to stretch out their hands to save the heroic but exhaustless
little provinces. It was at this moment that a desperate but sublime
resolution took possession of the Prince's mind. There seemed but one way
left to exclude the Spaniards for ever from Holland and Zealand, and to
rescue the inhabitants from impending ruin. The Prince had long brooded
over the scheme, and the hour seemed to have struck for its fulfilment.
His project was to collect all the vessels, of every description, which
could be obtained throughout the Netherlands. The whole population of the
two provinces, men, women, and children, together with all the moveable
property of the country, were then to be embarked on board this numerous
fleet, and to seek a new home beyond the seas. The windmills were then to
be burned, the dykes pierced, the sluices opened in every direction, and
the country restored for ever to the ocean, from which it had sprung.

It is difficult to say whether the resolution, if Providence had
permitted its fulfilment, would have been, on the whole, better or worse
for humanity and civilization. The ships which would have borne the
heroic Prince and his fortunes might have taken the direction of the
newly-discovered Western hemisphere. A religious colony, planted by a
commercial and liberty-loving race, in a virgin soil, and directed by
patrician but self-denying hands, might have preceded, by half a century,
the colony which a kindred race, impelled by similar motives, and under
somewhat similar circumstances and conditions, was destined to plant upon
the stern shores of New England. Had they directed their course to the
warm and fragrant islands of the East, an independent Christian
commonwealth might have arisen among those prolific regions, superior in
importance to any subsequent colony of Holland, cramped from its birth by
absolute subjection to a far distant metropolis.

The unexpected death of Requesens suddenly dispelled these schemes. The
siege of Zierickzee had occupied much of the Governor's attention, but he
had recently written to his sovereign, that its reduction was now
certain. He had added an urgent request for money, with a sufficient
supply of which he assured Philip that he should be able to bring the war
to an immediate conclusion. While waiting for these supplies, he had,
contrary to all law or reason, made an unsuccessful attempt to conquer
the post of Embden, in Germany. A mutiny had at about the same time,
broken out among his troops in Harlem, and he had furnished the citizens
with arms to defend themselves, giving free permission to use them
against the insurgent troops. By this means the mutiny had been quelled,
but a dangerous precedent established. Anxiety concerning this rebellion
is supposed to have hastened the Grand Commander's death. A violent fever
seized him on the 1st, and terminated his existence on the 5th of March,
in the fifty-first year of his life.

It is not necessary to review elaborately his career, the chief incidents
of which have been sufficiently described. Requesens was a man of high
position by birth and office, but a thoroughly commonplace personage. His
talents either for war or for civil employments were not above
mediocrity. His friends disputed whether he were greater in the field or
in the council, but it is certain that he was great in neither. His
bigotry was equal to that of Alva, but it was impossible to rival the
Duke in cruelty. Moreover, the condition of the country, after seven
years of torture under his predecessor, made it difficult for him, at the
time of his arrival, to imitate the severity which had made the name of
Alva infamous. The Blood Council had been retained throughout his
administration, but its occupation was gone, for want of food for its
ferocity. The obedient provinces had been purged of Protestants; while
crippled, too, by confiscation, they offered no field for further
extortion. From Holland and Zealand, whence Catholicism had been nearly
excluded, the King of Spain was nearly excluded also. The Blood Council
which, if set up in that country, would have executed every living
creature of its population, could only gaze from a distance at those who
would have been its victims. Requesens had been previously distinguished
in two fields of action: the Granada massacres and the carnage of
Lepanto. Upon both occasions he had been the military tutor of Don John
of Austria, by whom he was soon to be succeeded in the government of the
Netherlands. To the imperial bastard had been assigned the pre-eminence,
but it was thought that the Grand Commander had been entitled to a more
than equal share of the glory.

We have seen how much additional reputation was acquired by Requesens in
the provinces. The expedition against Duiveland and Schouwen, was, on the
whole, the most brilliant feat of arms during the war, and its success
reflects an undying lustre on the hardihood and discipline of the
Spanish, German, and Walloon soldiery. As an act of individual audacity
in a bad cause, it has rarely been equalled. It can hardly be said,
however, that the Grand Commander was entitled to any large measure of
praise for the success of the expedition. The plan was laid by Zealand
traitors. It was carried into execution by the devotion of the Spanish,
Walloon, and German troops; while Requesens was only a spectator of the
transaction. His sudden death arrested, for a moment, the ebb-tide in the
affairs of the Netherlands, which was fast leaving the country bare and
desolate, and was followed by a train of unforeseen transactions, which
it is now our duty to describe.


     As the old woman had told the Emperor Adrian
     Beautiful damsel, who certainly did not lack suitors
     Breath, time, and paper were profusely wasted and nothing gained
     Care neither for words nor menaces in any matter
     Distinguished for his courage, his cruelty, and his corpulence
     He had never enjoyed social converse, except at long intervals
     Human ingenuity to inflict human misery
     Peace was desirable, it might be more dangerous than war
     Proposition made by the wolves to the sheep, in the fable
     Rebuked the bigotry which had already grown
     Reformers were capable of giving a lesson even to inquisitors
     Result was both to abandon the provinces and to offend Philip
     Suppress the exercise of the Roman religion
     The more conclusive arbitration of gunpowder

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Volume


By John Lothop Motley


   Assumption of affairs by the state council at Brussels--Hesitation
   at Madrid--Joachim Hopper--Mal-administration--Vigilance of Orange--
   The provinces drawn more closely together--Inequality of the
   conflict--Physical condition of Holland--New act of Union between
   Holland and Zealand--Authority of the Prince defined and enlarged--
   Provincial polity characterized--Generous sentiments of the Prince--
   His tolerant spirit--Letters from the King--Attitude of the great
   powers towards the Netherlands--Correspondence and policy of
   Elizabeth--Secret negotiations with France and Alencon--Confused and
   menacing aspect of Germany--Responsible, and laborious position of
   Orange--Attempt to relieve Zierickzee--Death of Admiral Boisot--
   Capitulation of the city upon honourable terms--Mutiny of the
   Spanish troops in Schouwen--General causes of discontent--Alarming
   increase of the mutiny--The rebel regiments enter Brabant--Fruitless
   attempts to pacify them--They take possession of Alost--Edicts,
   denouncing them, from the state council--Intense excitement in
   Brussels and Antwerp--Letters from Philip brought by Marquis Havre--
   The King's continued procrastination--Ruinous royal confirmation of
   the authority assumed by the state council--United and general
   resistance to foreign military oppression--The German troops and the
   Antwerp garrison, under Avila, join the revolt--Letter of Verdugo--
   A crisis approaching--Jerome de Roda in the citadel--The mutiny

The death of Requesens, notwithstanding his four days' illness, occurred
so suddenly, that he had not had time to appoint his successor. Had he
exercised this privilege, which his patent conferred upon him, it was
supposed that he would have nominated Count Mansfeld to exercise the
functions of Governor-General, until the King should otherwise ordain.

In the absence of any definite arrangement, the Council of State,
according to a right which that body claimed from custom, assumed the
reins of government. Of the old board, there were none left but the Duke
of Aerschot, Count Berlaymont, and Viglins. To these were soon added,
however, by royal diploma, the Spaniard, Jerome de Roda, and the
Netherlanders, Assonleville, Baron Rassenghiem and Arnold Sasbout. Thus,
all the members, save one, of what had now become the executive body,
were natives of the country. Roda was accordingly looked askance upon by
his colleagues. He was regarded by Viglius as a man who desired to repeat
the part which had been played by Juan Vargas in the Blood Council, while
the other members, although stanch Catholics, were all of them
well-disposed to vindicate the claim of Netherland nobles to a share in
the government of the Netherlands.

For a time, therefore, the transfer of authority seemed to have been
smoothly accomplished. The Council of State conducted the administration
of the country. Peter Ernest Mansfeld was entrusted with the supreme
military command, including the government of Brussels; and the Spanish
commanders; although dissatisfied that any but a Spaniard should be thus
honored, were for a time quiescent. When the news reached Madrid, Philip
was extremely disconcerted. The death of Requesens excited his
indignation. He was angry with him, not for dying, but for dying at so
very inconvenient a moment. He had not yet fully decided either upon his
successor, or upon the policy to be enforced by his successor. There were
several candidates for the vacant post; there was a variety of opinions
in the cabinet as to the course of conduct to be adopted. In the
impossibility of instantly making up his mind upon this unexpected
emergency, Philip fell, as it were, into a long reverie, than which
nothing could be more inopportune. With a country in a state of
revolution and exasperation, the trance, which now seemed to come over
the government, was like to be followed by deadly effects. The stationary
policy, which the death of Requesens had occasioned, was allowed to
prolong itself indefinitely, and almost for the first time in his life,
Joachim Hopper was really consulted about the affairs of that department
over which he imagined himself, and was generally supposed by others, to
preside at Madrid. The creature of Viglius, having all the subserviency,
with none of the acuteness of his patron, he had been long employed as
chief of the Netherland bureau, while kept in profound ignorance of the
affairs which were transacted in his office. He was a privy councillor,
whose counsels were never heeded, a confidential servant in whom the King
reposed confidence, only on the ground that no man could reveal secrets
which he did not know. This deportment of the King's showed that he had
accurately measured the man, for Hopper was hardly competent for the
place of a chief clerk. He was unable to write clearly in any language,
because incapable of a fully developed thought upon any subject. It may
be supposed that nothing but an abortive policy, therefore, would be
produced upon the occasion thus suddenly offered. "'Tis a devout man,
that poor Master Hopper," said Granvelle, "but rather fitted for platonic
researches than for affairs of state."

It was a proof of this incompetency, that now, when really called upon
for advice in an emergency, he should recommend a continuance of the
interim. Certainly nothing worse could be devised. Granvelle recommended
a reappointment of the Duchess Margaret. Others suggested Duke Eric of
Brunswick, or an Archduke of the Austrian house; although the opinion
held by most of the influential councillors was in favor of Don John of
Austria. In the interests of Philip and his despotism, nothing, at any
rate, could be more fatal than delay. In the condition of affairs which
then existed, the worst or feeblest governor would have been better than
none at all. To leave a vacancy was to play directly into the hands of
Orange, for it was impossible that so skilful an adversary should not at
once perceive the fault, and profit by it to the utmost. It was strange
that Philip did not see the danger of inactivity at such a crisis.
Assuredly, indolence was never his vice, but on this occasion indecision
did the work of indolence. Unwittingly, the despot was assisting the
efforts of the liberator. Viglius saw the position of matters with his
customary keenness, and wondered at the blindness of Hopper and Philip.
At the last gasp of a life, which neither learning nor the accumulation
of worldly prizes and worldly pelf could redeem from intrinsic baseness,
the sagacious but not venerable old man saw that a chasm was daily
widening; in which the religion and the despotism which he loved might
soon be hopelessly swallowed. "The Prince of Orange and his Beggars do
not sleep," he cried, almost in anguish; "nor will they be quiet till
they have made use of this interregnum to do us some immense grievance."
Certainly the Prince of Orange did not sleep upon this nor any other
great occasion of his life. In his own vigorous language, used to
stimulate his friends in various parts of the country, he seized the
swift occasion by the forelock. He opened a fresh correspondence with
many leading gentlemen in Brussels and other places in the Netherlands;
persons of influence, who now, for the first time, showed a disposition
to side with their country against its tyrants. Hitherto the land had
been divided into two very unequal portions. Holland and Zealand were
devoted to the Prince; their whole population, with hardly an individual
exception, converted to the Reformed religion. The other fifteen
provinces were, on the whole, loyal to the King; while the old religion
had, of late years, taken root so rapidly again, that perhaps a moiety of
their population might be considered as Catholic. At the same time, the
reign of terror under Alva, the paler, but not less distinct tyranny of
Requesens, and the intolerable excesses of the foreign soldiery, by which
the government of foreigners was supported, had at last maddened all the
inhabitants of the seventeen provinces. Notwithstanding, therefore, the
fatal difference of religious opinion, they were all drawn into closer
relations with each other; to regain their ancient privileges, and to
expel the detested foreigners from the soil, being objects common to all.
The provinces were united in one great hatred and one great hope.

The Hollanders and Zealanders, under their heroic leader, had well nigh
accomplished both tasks, so far as those little provinces were concerned.
Never had a contest, however, seemed more hopeless at its commencement.
Cast a glance at the map. Look at Holland--not the Republic, with its
sister provinces beyond the Zuyder Zee--but Holland only, with the
Zealand archipelago. Look at that narrow tongue of half-submerged earth.
Who could suppose that upon that slender sand-bank, one hundred and
twenty miles in length, and varying in breadth from four miles to forty,
one man, backed by the population of a handful of cities, could do battle
nine years long with the master of two worlds, the "Dominator Of Asia,
Africa, and America"--the despot of the fairest realms of Europe--and
conquer him at last. Nor was William even entirely master of that narrow
shoal where clung the survivors of a great national shipwreck. North and
South Holland were cut in two by the loss of Harlem, while the enemy was
in possession of the natural capital of the little country, Amsterdam.
The Prince affirmed that the cause had suffered more from the disloyalty
of Amsterdam than from all the efforts of the enemy.

Moreover, the country was in a most desolate condition. It was almost
literally a sinking ship. The destruction of the bulwarks against the
ocean had been so extensive, in consequence of the voluntary inundations
which have been described in previous pages, and by reason of the general
neglect which more vital occupations had necessitated, that an enormous
outlay, both of labor and money, was now indispensable to save the
physical existence of the country. The labor and the money,
notwithstanding the crippled and impoverished condition of the nation,
were, however, freely contributed; a wonderful example of energy and
patient heroism was again exhibited. The dykes which had been swept away
in every direction were renewed at a vast expense. Moreover, the country,
in the course of recent events, had become almost swept bare of its
cattle, and it was necessary to pass a law forbidding, for a considerable
period, the slaughter of any animals, "oxen, cows, calves, sheep, or
poultry." It was, unfortunately, not possible to provide by law against
that extermination of the human population which had been decreed by
Philip and the Pope.

Such was the physical and moral condition of the provinces of Holland and
Zealand. The political constitution of both assumed, at this epoch, a
somewhat altered aspect. The union between the two states; effected in
June, 1575, required improvement. The administration of justice, the
conflicts of laws, and more particularly the levying of monies and troops
in equitable proportions, had not been adjusted with perfect smoothness.
The estates of the two provinces, assembled in congress at Delft,
concluded, therefore, a new act of union, which was duly signed upon the
25th of April, 1576. Those estates, consisting of the knights and nobles
of Holland, with the deputies from the cities and countships of Holland
and Zealand, had been duly summoned by the Prince of Orange. They as
fairly included all the political capacities, and furnished as copious a
representation of the national will, as could be expected, for it is
apparent upon every page of his history, that the Prince, upon all
occasions, chose to refer his policy to the approval and confirmation of
as large a portion of the people as any man in those days considered
capable or desirous of exercising political functions.

The new, union consisted of eighteen articles. It was established that
deputies from all the estates should meet, when summoned by the Prince of
Orange or otherwise, on penalty of fine, and at the risk of measures
binding upon them being passed by the rest of the Congress. Freshly
arising causes of litigation were to be referred to the Prince. Free
intercourse and traffic through the united provinces was guaranteed. The
confederates were mutually to assist each other in preventing all
injustice, wrong, or violence, even towards an enemy. The authority of
law and the pure administration of justice were mutually promised by the
contracting states. The common expenses were to be apportioned among the
different provinces, "as if they were all included in the republic of a
single city." Nine commissioners, appointed by the Prince on nomination
by the estates, were to sit permanently, as his advisers, and as
assessors and collectors of the taxes. The tenure of the union was from
six months to six months, with six weeks notice.

The framers of this compact having thus defined the general outlines of
the confederacy, declared that the government, thus constituted, should
be placed under a single head. They accordingly conferred supreme
authority on the Prince, defining his powers in eighteen articles. He was
declared chief commander by land and sea. He was to appoint all officers,
from generals to subalterns, and to pay them at his discretion. The whole
protection of the land was devolved upon him. He was to send garrisons or
troops into every city and village at his pleasure, without advice or
consent of the estates, magistrates of the cities, or any other persons
whatsoever. He was, in behalf of the King as Count of Holland and
Zealand, to cause justice to be administered by the supreme court. In the
same capacity he was to provide for vacancies in all political and
judicial offices of importance, choosing, with the advice of the estates,
one officer for each vacant post out of three candidates nominated to him
by that body. He was to appoint and renew, at the usual times, the
magistracies in the cities, according to the ancient constitutions. He
was to make changes in those boards, if necessary, at unusual times, with
consent of the majority of those representing the great council and
corpus of the said cities. He was to uphold the authority and
pre-eminence of all civil functionaries, and to prevent governors and
military officers from taking any cognizance of political or judicial
affairs. With regard to religion, he was to maintain the practice of the
Reformed Evangelical religion, and to cause to surcease the exercise of
all other religions contrary to the Gospel. He was, however, not to
permit that inquisition should be made into any man's belief or
conscience, or that any man by cause thereof should suffer trouble,
injury, or hindrance.

The league thus concluded was a confederation between a group of
virtually independent little republics. Each municipality, was, as it
were, a little sovereign, sending envoys to a congress to vote and to
sign as plenipotentiaries. The vote of each city was, therefore,
indivisible, and it mattered little, practically, whether there were one
deputy or several. The nobles represented not only their own order, but
were supposed to act also in behalf of the rural population. On the
whole, there was a tolerably fair representation of the whole nation. The
people were well and worthily represented in the government of each city,
and therefore equally so in the assembly of the estates. It was not till
later that the corporations, by the extinction of the popular element,
and by the usurpation of the right of self-election, were thoroughly
stiffened into fictitious personages which never died, and which were
never thoroughly alive.

At this epoch the provincial liberties, so far as they could maintain
themselves against Spanish despotism, were practical and substantial. The
government was a representative one, in which all those who had the
inclination possessed, in one mode or another, a voice. Although the
various members of the confederacy were locally and practically republics
or self-governed little commonwealths, the general government which they,
established was, in form, monarchical. The powers conferred upon Orange
constituted him a sovereign ad interim, for while the authority of the
Spanish monarch remained suspended, the Prince was invested, not only
with the whole executive and appointing power, but even with a very large
share in the legislative functions of the state.

The whole system was rather practical than theoretical, without any
accurate distribution of political powers. In living, energetic
communities, where the blood of the body politic circulates swiftly,
there is an inevitable tendency of the different organs to sympathize and
commingle more closely than a priori philosophy would allow. It is
usually more desirable than practicable to keep the executive,
legislative, and judicial departments entirely independent of each other.

Certainly, the Prince of Orange did not at that moment indulge in
speculations concerning the nature and origin of government. The Congress
of Delft had just clothed him with almost regal authority. In his hands
were the powers of war and peace, joint control of the magistracies and
courts of justice, absolute supremacy over the army and the fleets. It is
true that these attributes had been conferred upon him ad interim, but it
depended only upon himself to make the sovereignty personal and
permanent. He was so thoroughly absorbed in his work, however, that he
did not even see the diadem which he put aside. It was small matter to
him whether they called him stadholder or guardian, prince or king. He
was the father of his country and its defender. The people, from highest
to lowest, called him "Father William," and the title was enough for him.
The question with him was not what men should call him, but how he should
best accomplish his task.

So little was he inspired by the sentiment of self-elevation, that he was
anxiously seeking for a fitting person--strong, wise, and willing
enough--to exercise the sovereignty which was thrust upon himself, but
which he desired to exchange against an increased power to be actively
useful to his country. To expel the foreign oppressor; to strangle the
Inquisition; to maintain the ancient liberties of the nation; here was
labor enough for his own hands. The vulgar thought of carving a throne
out of the misfortunes of his country seems not to have entered his mind.
Upon one point, however, the Prince had been peremptory. He would have no
persecution of the opposite creed. He was requested to suppress the
Catholic religion, in terms. As we have seen, he caused the expression to
be exchanged for the words, "religion at variance with the Gospel." He
resolutely stood out against all meddling with men's consciences, or
inquiring into their thoughts. While smiting the Spanish Inquisition into
the dust, he would have no Calvinist inquisition set up in its place.
Earnestly a convert to the Reformed religion, but hating and denouncing
only what was corrupt in the ancient Church, he would not force men, with
fire and sword, to travel to heaven upon his own road. Thought should be
toll-free. Neither monk nor minister should burn, drown, or hang his
fellow-creatures, when argument or expostulation failed to redeem them
from error. It was no small virtue, in that age, to rise to such a
height. We know what Calvinists, Zwinglians, Lutherans, have done in the
Netherlands, in Germany, in Switzerland, and almost a century later in
New England. It is, therefore, with increased veneration that we regard
this large and truly catholic mind. His tolerance proceeded from no
indifference. No man can read his private writings, or form a thorough
acquaintance with his interior life, without recognizing him as a deeply
religious man. He had faith unfaltering in God. He had also faith in man
and love for his brethren. It was no wonder that in that age of religious
bigotry he should have been assaulted on both sides. While the Pope
excommunicated him as a heretic, and the King set a price upon his head
as a rebel, the fanatics of the new religion denounced him as a godless
man. Peter Dathenus, the unfrocked monk of Poperingen, shrieked out in
his pulpit that the "Prince of Orange cared nothing either for God or for

The death of Requesens had offered the first opening through which the
watchful Prince could hope to inflict a wound in the vital part of
Spanish authority in the Netherlands. The languor of Philip and the
procrastinating counsel of the dull Hopper unexpectedly widened the
opening. On the 24th of March letters were written by his Majesty to the
states-general, to the provincial estates, and to the courts of justice,
instructing them that, until further orders, they were all to obey the
Council of State. The King was confident that all would do their utmost
to assist that body in securing the holy Catholic Faith and the implicit
obedience of the country to its sovereign. He would, in the meantime,
occupy himself with the selection of a new Governor-General, who should
be of his family and blood. This uncertain and perilous condition of
things was watched with painful interest in neighbouring countries.

The fate of all nations was more or less involved in the development of
the great religious contest now waging in the Netherlands. England and
France watched each other's movements in the direction of the provinces
with intense jealousy. The Protestant Queen was the natural ally of the
struggling Reformers, but her despotic sentiments were averse to the
fostering of rebellion against the Lord's anointed. The thrifty Queen
looked with alarm at the prospect of large subsidies which would
undoubtedly be demanded of her. The jealous Queen could as ill brook the
presence of the French in the Netherlands as that of the Spaniards whom
they were to expel. She therefore embarrassed, as usual, the operations
of the Prince by a course of stale political coquetry. She wrote to him,
on the 18th of March, soon after the news of the Grand Commander's death,
saying that she could not yet accept the offer which had been made to
her, to take the provinces of Holland and Zealand under her safe keeping,
to assume, as Countess, the sovereignty over them, and to protect the
inhabitants against the alleged tyranny of the King of Spain. She was
unwilling to do so until she had made every effort to reconcile them with
that sovereign. Before the death of Requesens she had been intending to
send him an envoy, proposing a truce, for the purpose of negotiation.
This purpose she still retained. She should send commissioners to the
Council of State and to the new Governor, when he should arrive. She
should also send a special envoy to the King of Spain. She doubted not
that the King would take her advice, when he heard her speak in such
straightforward language. In the meantime, she hoped that they would
negotiate with no other powers.

This was not very satisfactory. The Queen rejected the offers to herself,
but begged that they might, by no means, be made to her rivals. The
expressed intention of softening the heart of Philip by the use of
straightforward language seemed but a sorry sarcasm. It was hardly worth
while to wait long for so improbable a result. Thus much for England at
that juncture. Not inimical, certainly; but over-cautious, ungenerous,
teasing, and perplexing, was the policy of the maiden Queen. With regard
to France, events there seemed to favor the hopes of Orange. On the 14th
of May, the "Peace of Monsieur," the treaty by which so ample but so
short-lived a triumph was achieved by the Huguenots, was signed at Paris.
Everything was conceded, but nothing was secured. Rights of worship,
rights of office, political and civil, religious enfranchisement, were
recovered, but not guaranteed. It seemed scarcely possible that the King
could be in earnest then, even if a Medicean Valois could ever be
otherwise than treacherous. It was almost, certain, therefore, that a
reaction would take place; but it is easier for us, three centuries after
the event, to mark the precise moment of reaction, than it was for the
most far-seeing contemporary to foretell how soon it would occur. In the
meantime, it was the Prince's cue to make use of this sunshine while it
lasted. Already, so soon as the union of 25th of April had been concluded
between Holland and Zealand, he had forced the estates to open
negotiations with France. The provinces, although desirous to confer
sovereignty upon him, were indisposed to renounce their old allegiance to
their King in order to place it at the disposal of a foreigner.
Nevertheless, a resolution, at the reiterated demands of Orange, was
passed by the estates, to proceed to the change of master, and, for that,
purpose, to treat with the King of France, his brother, or any other
foreign potentate, who would receive these provinces of Holland and
Zealand under his government and protection. Negotiations were
accordingly opened with the Duke-of-Anjou, the dilettante leader of the
Huguenots at that remarkable juncture. It was a pity that no better
champion could be looked for among the anointed of the earth than the
false, fickle, foolish Alencon, whose career, everywhere contemptible,
was nowhere so flagitious as in the Netherlands. By the fourteenth
article of the Peace of Paris, the Prince was reinstated and secured in
his principality of Orange; and his other possessions in France. The best
feeling; for the time being, was manifested between the French court and
the Reformation.

Thus much for England and France. As for Germany, the prospects of the
Netherlands were not flattering. The Reforming spirit had grown languid,
from various causes. The self-seeking motives of many Protestant princes
had disgusted the nobles. Was that the object of the bloody wars of
religion, that a few potentates should be enabled to enrich themselves by
confiscating the broad lands and accumulated treasures of the Church? Had
the creed of Luther been embraced only for such unworthy ends? These
suspicions chilled the ardor of thousands, particularly among the greater
ones of the land. Moreover, the discord among the Reformers themselves
waxed daily, and became more and more mischievous. Neither the people nor
their leaders could learn that, not a new doctrine, but a wise toleration
for all Christian doctrines was wanted. Of new doctrines there was no
lack. Lutherans, Calvinists, Flaccianists, Majorists, Adiaphorists,
Brantianists, Ubiquitists, swarmed and contended pell-mell. In this there
would have been small harm, if the Reformers had known what reformation
meant. But they could not invent or imagine toleration. All claimed the
privilege of persecuting. There were sagacious and honest men among the
great ones of the country, but they were but few. Wise William of Hesse
strove hard to effect a concordia among the jarring sects; Count John of
Nassau, though a passionate Calvinist, did no less; while the Elector of
Saxony, on the other hand, raging and roaring like a bull of Bashan, was
for sacrificing the interest of millions on the altar of his personal
spite. Cursed was his tribe if he forgave the Prince. He had done what he
could at the Diet of Ratisbon to exclude all Calvinists from a
participation in the religious peace of Germany, and he redoubled his
efforts to prevent the extension of any benefits to the Calvinists of the
Netherlands. These determinations had remained constant and intense.

On the whole, the political appearance of Germany was as menacing as that
of France seemed for a time favorable to the schemes of Orange. The
quarrels of the princes, and the daily widening schism between Lutherans
and Calvinists, seemed to bode little good to the cause of religious
freedom. The potentates were perplexed and at variance, the nobles
lukewarm and discontented. Among the people, although subdivided into
hostile factions, there was more life. Here, at least, were heartiness of
love and hate, enthusiastic conviction, earnestness and agitation. "The
true religion," wrote Count John, "is spreading daily among the common
men. Among the powerful, who think themselves highly learned, and who sit
in roses, it grows, alas, little. Here and there a Nicodemus or two may
be found, but things will hardly go better here than in France or the

Thus, then, stood affairs in the neighbouring countries. The prospect was
black in Germany, more encouraging in France, dubious, or worse, in
England. More work, more anxiety, more desperate struggles than ever,
devolved upon the Prince. Secretary Brunynck wrote that his illustrious
chief was tolerably well in health, but so loaded with affairs, sorrows,
and travails, that, from morning till night, he had scarcely leisure to
breathe. Besides his multitudinous correspondence with the public bodies,
whose labors he habitually directed; with the various estates of the
provinces, which he was gradually moulding into an organised and general
resistance to the Spanish power; with public envoys and with secret
agents to foreign cabinets, all of whom received their instructions from
him alone; with individuals of eminence and influence, whom he was
eloquently urging to abandon their hostile position to their fatherland;
and to assist him in the great work which he was doing; besides these
numerous avocations, he was actively and anxiously engaged during the
spring of 1576, with the attempt to relieve the city of Zierickzee.

That important place, the capital of Schouwen, and the key to half
Zealand, had remained closely invested since the memorable expedition to
Duiveland. The Prince had passed much of his time in the neighbourhood,
during the month of May, in order to attend personally to the
contemplated relief, and to correspond daily with the beleaguered
garrison. At last, on the 25th of May, a vigorous effort was made to
throw in succor by sea. The brave Admiral Boisot, hero of the memorable
relief of Leyden, had charge of the expedition. Mondragon had surrounded
the shallow harbor with hulks and chains, and with a loose submerged dyke
of piles and rubbish. Against this obstacle Boisot drove his ship, the
'Red Lion,' with his customary audacity, but did not succeed in cutting
it through. His vessel, the largest of the feet, became entangled: he
was, at the same time, attacked from a distance by the besiegers. The
tide ebbed and left his ship aground, while the other vessels had been
beaten back by the enemy. Night approached; and there was no possibility
of accomplishing the enterprise. His ship was hopelessly stranded. With
the morning's sun his captivity was certain. Rather than fall into the
hands of his enemy, he sprang into the sea; followed by three hundred of
his companions, some of whom were fortunate enough to effect their
escape. The gallant Admiral swam a long time, sustained by a broken spar.
Night and darkness came on before assistance could be rendered, and he
perished. Thus died Louis Boisot, one of the most enterprising of the
early champions of Netherland freedom--one of the bravest precursors of
that race of heroes, the commanders of the Holland navy. The Prince
deplored his loss deeply, as that of a "valiant gentleman, and one well
affectioned to the common cause." His brother, Charles Boisot, as will be
remembered, had perished by treachery at the first landing of the Spanish
troops; after their perilous passage from Duiveland.--Thus both the
brethren had laid down their lives for their country, in this its outer
barrier, and in the hour of its utmost need. The fall of the beleaguered
town could no longer be deferred. The Spaniards were, at last, to receive
the prize of that romantic valor which had led them across the bottom of
the sea to attack the city. Nearly nine months had, however, elapsed
since that achievement; and the Grand Commander, by whose orders it had
been undertaken, had been four months in his grave. He was permitted to
see neither the long-delayed success which crowded the enterprise, nor
the procession of disasters and crimes which were to mark it as a most
fatal success.

On the 21st of June, 1576, Zierickzee, instructed by the Prince of Orange
to accept honorable terms, if offered, agreed to surrender. Mondragon,
whose soldiers were in a state of suffering, and ready to break out in
mutiny, was but too happy to grant an honorable capitulation. The
garrison were allowed to go out with their arms and personal baggage. The
citizens were permitted to retain or resume their privileges and
charters, on payment of two hundred thousand guldens. Of, sacking and
burning there was, on this occasion, fortunately, no question; but the
first half of the commutation money was to be paid in cash. There was but
little money in the impoverished little town, but mint-masters were
appointed by the magistrates to take their seats at once an in the Hotel
de Ville. The citizens brought their spoons and silver dishes; one after
another, which were melted and coined into dollars and half-dollars,
until the payment was satisfactorily adjusted. Thus fell Zierickzee, to
the deep regret of the Prince. "Had we received the least succor in the
world from any side," he wrote; "the poor city should never have fallen.
I could get nothing from France or England, with all my efforts.
Nevertheless, we do not lose courage, but hope that, although abandoned
by all the world, the Lord God will extend His right hand over us."

The enemies were not destined to go farther. From their own hand now came
the blow which was to expel them from the soil which they had so long
polluted. No sooner was Zierickzee captured than a mutiny broke forth
among several companies of Spaniards and Walloons, belonging, to the army
in Schouwen. A large number of the most influential officers had gone to
Brussels, to make arrangements, if possible; for the payment of the
troops. In their absence there was more scope for the arguments of the
leading mutineers; arguments assuredly, not entirely destitute of justice
or logical precision. If ever laborers were worthy of their hire,
certainly it was the Spanish soldiery. Had they not done the work of
demons for nine years long? Could Philip or Alva have found in the wide
world men to execute their decrees with more unhesitating docility, with
more sympathizing eagerness? What obstacle had ever given them pause in
their career of duty? What element had they not braved? Had not they
fought within the bowels of the earth, beneath the depths of the sea,
within blazing cities, and upon fields of ice? Where was the work which
had been too dark and bloody for their performance? Had they not
slaughtered unarmed human beings by townfuls, at the word of command? Had
they not eaten the flesh, and drank the hearts' blood of their enemies?
Had they not stained the house of God with wholesale massacre? What altar
and what hearthstone had they not profaned? What fatigue, what danger,
what crime, had ever checked them for a moment? And for all this
obedience, labor, and bloodshed, were they not even to be paid such wages
as the commonest clown, who only tore the earth at home, received? Did
Philip believe that a few thousand Spaniards were to execute his sentence
of death against three millions of Netherlanders, and be cheated of their
pay at last?

It was in vain that arguments and expostulations were addressed to
soldiers who were suffering from want, and maddened by injustice. They
determined to take their cause into their own hand, as they had often
done before. By the 15th of July, the mutiny was general on the isle of
Schouwen. Promises were freely offered, both of pay and pardon; appeals
were made to their old sense of honor and loyalty; but they had had
enough of promises, of honor, and of work. What they wanted now were
shoes and jerkins, bread and meat, and money. Money they would have, and
that at once. The King of Spain was their debtor. The Netherlands
belonged to the King of Spain. They would therefore levy on the
Netherlands for payment of their debt. Certainly this was a logical
deduction. They knew by experience that this process had heretofore
excited more indignation in the minds of the Netherland people than in
that of their master. Moreover, at this juncture, they cared little for
their sovereign's displeasure, and not at all for that of the
Netherlanders. By the middle of July, then, the mutineers, now entirely
beyond control, held their officers imprisoned within their quarters at
Zierickzee. They even surrounded the house of Mondtagon, who had so often
led them to victory, calling upon him with threats and taunts to furnish
them with money. The veteran, roused to fury by their insubordination and
their taunts, sprang from his house into the midst of the throng. Baring
his breast before them, he fiercely invited and dared their utmost
violence. Of his life-blood, he told them bitterly, he was no niggard,
and it was at their disposal. His wealth, had he possessed any, would
have been equally theirs. Shamed into temporary respect, but not turned
from their purpose by the choler of their chief, they left him to
himself. Soon afterwards, having swept Schouwen island bare of every
thing which could be consumed, the mutineers swarmed out of Zealand into
Brabant, devouring as they went.

It was their purpose to hover for a time in the neighbourhood of the
capital, and either to force the Council of State to pay them their long
arrears, or else to seize and sack the richest city upon which they could
lay their hands. The compact, disciplined mass, rolled hither and
thither, with uncertainty of purpose, but with the same military
precision of movement which had always characterized these remarkable
mutinies. It gathered strength daily. The citizens of Brussels
contemplated with dismay the eccentric and threatening apparition. They
knew that rapine, murder, and all the worst evils which man can inflict
on his brethren were pent within it, and would soon descend. Yet, even
with all their past experience, did they not foresee the depth of woe
which was really impending. The mutineers had discarded such of their
officers as they could not compel to obedience, and had, as usual, chosen
their Eletto. Many straggling companies joined them as they swept to and
fro. They came to Herenthals, where they were met by Count Mansfeld, who
was deputed by the Council of State to treat with them, to appeal to
them; to pardon them, to offer, them everything but money. It may be
supposed that the success of the commander-in-chief was no better than
that of Mondragon and his subalterns. They laughed him to scorn when he
reminded them how their conduct was tarnishing the glory which they had
acquired by nine years of heroism. They answered with their former
cynicism, that glory could be put neither into pocket nor stomach. They
had no use for it; they had more than enough of it. Give them money, or
give them a City, these were their last terms.

Sorrowfully and bodingly Mansfeld withdrew to consult again with the
State Council. The mutineers then made a demonstration upon Mechlin, but
that city having fortunately strengthened its garrison, was allowed to
escape. They then hovered for a time outside the walls of Brussels. At
Grimsberg, where they paused for a short period, they held a parley with
Captain Montesdocca, whom they received with fair words and specious
pretences. He returned to Brussels with the favourable tidings, and the
mutineers swarmed off to Assche. Thither Montesdoeca was again
despatched, with the expectation that he would be able to bring them to
terms, but they drove him off with jeers and threats, finding that he
brought neither money nor the mortgage of a populous city. The next day,
after a feint or two in a different direction, they made a sudden swoop
upon Alost, in Flanders. Here they had at last made their choice, and the
town was carried by storm. All the inhabitants who opposed them were
butchered, and the mutiny, at last established in a capital, was able to
treat with the State Council upon equal terms. They were now between two
and three thousand strong, disciplined, veteran troops, posted in a
strong and wealthy city. One hundred parishes belonged to the
jurisdiction of Alost, all of which were immediately laid under

The excitement was now intense in Brussels. Anxiety and alarm had given
place to rage, and the whole population rose in arms to defend the
capital, which was felt to be in imminent danger. This spontaneous
courage of the burghers prevented the catastrophe, which was reserved for
a sister city. Meantime, the indignation and horror excited by the mutiny
were so universal that the Council of State could not withstand the
pressure. Even the women and children demanded daily in the streets that
the rebel soldiers should be declared outlaws. On the 26th of July,
accordingly, the King of Spain was made to pronounce, his Spaniards
traitors and murderers. All men were enjoined to slay one or all of them,
wherever they should be found; to refuse them bread, water, and fire, and
to assemble at sound of bell; in every city; whenever the magistrates
should order an assault upon them. A still more stringent edict was
issued on the 2nd of August; and so eagerly had these degrees been
expected, that they were published throughout Flanders and Brabant almost
as soon as issued. Hitherto the leading officers of the Spanish army had
kept aloof from the insurgents, and frowned upon their proceedings. The
Spanish member of the State Council, Jerome de Roda, had joined without
opposition in the edict. As, however, the mutiny gathered strength on the
outside, the indignation waxed daily within the capital. The citizens of
Brussels, one and all, stood to their arms. Not a man could enter or
leave without their permission. The Spaniards who were in the town,
whether soldiers or merchants, were regarded with suspicion and
abhorrence. The leading Spanish officers, Romero, Montesdocca, Verdugo,
and others, who had attempted to quell the mutiny, had been driven off
with threats and curses, their soldiers defying them and brandishing
their swords in their very faces. On the other hand, they were looked
upon with ill-will by the Netherlanders. The most prominent Spanish
personages in Brussels were kept in a state of half-imprisonment. Romero,
Roda, Verdugo, were believed to favor at heart the cause of their
rebellious troops, and the burghers of Brabant had come to consider all
the King's army in a state of rebellion. Believing the State Council
powerless to protect them from the impending storm, they regarded that
body with little respect, keeping it, as it were, in durance, while the
Spaniards were afraid to walk the streets of Brussels for fear of being
murdered. A retainer of Rods, who had ventured to defend the character
and conduct of his master before a number of excited citizens, was slain
on the spot.

In Antwerp, Champagny, brother of Granvelle, and governor of the city,
was disposed to cultivate friendly relations with the Prince of Orange.
Champagny hated the Spaniards, and the hatred seemed to establish enough
of sympathy between himself and the liberal party to authorize confidence
in him. The Prince dealt with him, but regarded him warily. Fifteen
companies of German troops, under Colonel Altaemst, were suspected of a
strong inclination to join the mutiny. They were withdrawn from Antwerp,
and in their room came Count Uberstein, with his regiment, who swore to
admit no suspicious person inside the gates, and in all things to obey
the orders of Champagny. In the citadel, however, matters were very
threatening. Sancho d'Avila, the governor, although he had not openly
joined the revolt, treated the edict of outlawry against the rebellious
soldiery with derision. He refused to publish a decree which he
proclaimed infamous, and which had been extorted, in his opinion, from an
impotent and trembling council. Even Champagny had not desired or dared
to publish the edict within the city. The reasons alleged were his fears
of irritating and alarming the foreign merchants, whose position was so
critical and friendship so important at that moment. On the other hand,
it was loudly and joyfully published in most other towns of Flanders and
Brabant. In Brussels there were two parties, one holding the decree too
audacious for his Majesty to pardon; the other clamoring for its
instantaneous fulfilment. By far the larger and more influential portion
of the population favored the measure, and wished the sentence of
outlawry and extermination to be extended at once against all Spaniards
and other foreigners in the service of the King. It seemed imprudent to
wait until all the regiments had formally accepted the mutiny, and
concentrated themselves into a single body.

At this juncture, on the last day of July, the Marquis off Havre, brother
to the Duke of Aerschot, arrived out of Spain. He was charged by the King
with conciliatory but unmeaning phrases to the estates. The occasion was
not a happy one. There never was a time when direct and vigorous action
had been more necessary. It was probably the King's desire then, as much
as it ever had been his desire at all, to make up the quarrel with his
provinces. He had been wearied with the policy which Alva had enforced,
and for which he endeavoured at that period to make the Duke appear
responsible. The barren clemency which the Grand Commander had been
instructed to affect, had deceived but few persons, and had produced but
small results. The King was, perhaps, really inclined at this juncture to
exercise clemency--that is to say he was willing to pardon his people for
having contended for their rights, provided they were now willing to
resign them for ever. So the Catholic religion and his own authority,
were exclusively and inviolably secured, he was willing to receive his
disobedient provinces into favor. To accomplish this end, however, he had
still no more fortunate conception than to take the advice of Hopper. A
soothing procrastination was the anodyne selected for the bitter pangs of
the body politic--a vague expression of royal benignity the styptic to be
applied to its mortal wounds. An interval of hesitation was to bridge
over the chasm between the provinces and their distant metropolis. "The
Marquis of Havre has been sent," said the King, "that he may expressly
witness to you of our good intentions, and of our desire, with the grace
of God, to bring about a pacification." Alas, it was well known whence
those pavements of good intentions had been taken, and whither they would
lead. They were not the material for a substantial road to
reconciliation. "His Majesty," said the Marquis; on delivering his report
to the State Council, "has long been pondering over all things necessary
to the peace of the land. His Majesty, like a very gracious and bountiful
Prince, has ever been disposed, in times past, to treat these, his
subjects, by the best and sweetest means." There being, however, room for
an opinion that so bountiful a prince might have discovered sweeter
means, by all this pondering, than to burn and gibbet his subjects by
thousands, it was thought proper to insinuate that his orders had been
hitherto misunderstood. Alva and Requesens had been unfaithful agents,
who did not know their business, but it was to be set right in future.
"As the good-will and meaning of his Majesty has, by no means been
followed," continued the envoy, "his Majesty has determined to send
Councillor Hopper, keeper of the privy seal, and myself, hitherwards, to
execute the resolutions of his Majesty." Two such personages as poor,
plodding, confused; time-serving Hopper, and flighty, talkative Havre,
whom even Requesens despised, and whom Don John, while shortly afterwards
recommending him for a state councillor, characterized, to Philip as "a
very great scoundrel;" would hardly be able, even if royally empowered,
to undo the work of two preceding administrations. Moreover, Councillor
Hopper, on further thoughts, was not despatched at all to the

The provinces were, however, assured by the King's letters to the Brabant
estates, to the State Council, and other, public bodies, as well as by
the report of the Marquis, that efficacious remedies were preparing in
Madrid. The people were only too wait patiently till they should arrive.
The public had heard before of these nostrums, made up by the royal
prescriptions in Spain; and were not likely to accept them as a panacea
for their present complicated disorders. Never, in truth, had
conventional commonplace been applied more unseasonably. Here was a
general military mutiny flaming in the very centre of the land. Here had
the intense hatred of race, which for years had been gnawing at the heart
of the country, at last broken out into most malignant manifestation.
Here was nearly the whole native population of every province, from grand
seigneur to plebeian, from Catholic prelate to Anabaptist artisan,
exasperated alike by the excesses of six thousand foreign brigands, and
united by a common hatred, into a band of brethren. Here was a State
Council too feeble to exercise the authority which it had arrogated,
trembling between the wrath of its sovereign, the menacing cries of the
Brussels burghers, and the wild threats of the rebellious army; and held
virtually, captive in the capital which it was supposed to govern.

Certainly, the confirmation of the Council in its authority, for an
indefinite, even if for a brief period, was a most unlucky step at this
juncture. There were two parties in the provinces, but one was far the
most powerful upon the great point of the Spanish soldiery. A vast
majority were in favor of a declaration of outlawry against the whole
army, and it was thought desirable to improve the opportunity by getting
rid of them altogether. If the people could rise en masse, now that the
royal government was in abeyance, and, as it were, in the nation's hands,
the incubus might be cast off for ever. If any of the Spanish officers
had been sincere in their efforts to arrest the mutiny, the sincerity was
not believed. If any of the foreign regiments of the King appeared to
hesitate at joining the Alost crew, the hesitation was felt to be
temporary. Meantime, the important German regiments of Fugger,
Fronsberger, and Polwiller, with their colonels and other officers, had
openly joined the rebellion, while there was no doubt of the sentiments
of Sancho d'Avila and the troops under his command. Thus there were two
great rallying-places for the sedition, and the most important fortress
of the country, the key which unlocked the richest city in the world, was
in the hands of the mutineers. The commercial capital of Europe, filled
to the brim with accumulated treasures, and with the merchandize of every
clime; lay at the feet of this desperate band of brigands. The horrible
result was but too soon to be made manifest.

Meantime, in Brussels, the few Spaniards trembled for their lives. The
few officers shut up there were in imminent danger. "As the Devil does
not cease to do his work," wrote Colonel Verdugo, "he has put it into the
heads of the Brabanters to rebel, taking for a pretext the mutiny of the
Spaniards. The Brussels men have handled their weapons so well against
those who were placed there to protect them, that they have begun to kill
the Spaniards, threatening likewise the Council of State. Such is their
insolence, that they care no more for these great lords than for so many
varlets." The writer, who had taken refuge, together with Jerome de Roda
and other Spaniards, or "Hispaniolized" persons, in Antwerp citadel,
proceeded to sketch the preparations which were going on in Brussels, and
the counter measures which were making progress in Antwerp. "The states,"
he wrote, "are enrolling troops, saying 'tis to put down the mutiny; but
I assure you 'tis to attack the army indiscriminately. To prevent such a
villainous undertaking, troops of all nations are assembling here, in
order to march straight upon Brussels, there to enforce everything which
my lords of the State Council shall ordain." Events were obviously
hastening to a crisis--an explosion, before long, was inevitable. "I wish
I had my horses here," continued the Colonel, "and must beg you to send
them. I see a black cloud hanging over our heads. I fear that the
Brabantines will play the beasts so much, that they will have all the
soldiery at their throats."

Jerome de Roda had been fortunate enough to make his escape out of
Brussels, and now claimed to be sole Governor of the Netherlands, as the
only remaining representative of the State Council. His colleagues were
in durance at the capital. Their authority was derided. Although not yet
actually imprisoned, they were in reality bound hand and foot, and
compelled to take their orders either from the Brabant estates or from
the burghers of Brussels. It was not an illogical proceeding, therefore,
that Roda, under the shadow of the Antwerp citadel, should set up his own
person as all that remained of the outraged majesty of Spain. Till the
new Governor, Don Juan, should arrive, whose appointment the King had
already communicated to the government, and who might be expected in the
Netherlands before the close of the autumn, the solitary councillor
claimed to embody the whole Council. He caused a new seal to be struck--a
proceeding very unreasonably charged as forgery by the provincials--and
forthwith began to thunder forth proclamations and counter-proclamations
in the King's name and under the royal seal. It is difficult to see any
technical crime or mistake in such a course. As a Spaniard, and a
representative of his Majesty, he could hardly be expected to take any
other view of his duty. At any rate, being called upon to choose between
rebellious Netherlanders and mutinous Spaniards, he was not long in
making up his mind.

By the beginning of September the mutiny was general. All the Spanish
army, from general to pioneer, were united. The most important German
troops had taken side with them. Sancho d'Avila held the citadel of
Antwerp, vowing vengeance, and holding open communication with the
soldiers at Alost. The Council of State remonstrated with him for his
disloyalty. He replied by referring to his long years of service, and by
reproving them for affecting an authority which their imprisonment
rendered ridiculous. The Spaniards were securely established. The various
citadels which had been built by Charles and Philip to curb the country
now effectually did their work. With the castles of Antwerp,
Valenciennes, Ghent, Utrecht, Culemburg, Viane, Alost, in the hands of
six thousand veteran Spaniards, the country seemed chained in every limb.
The foreigner's foot was on its neck. Brussels was almost the only
considerable town out of Holland and Zealand which was even temporarily
safe. The important city of Maestricht was held by a Spanish garrison,
while other capital towns and stations were in the power of the Walloon
and German mutineers. The depredations committed in the villages, the
open country, and the cities were incessant--the Spaniards treating every
Netherlander as their foe. Gentleman and peasant, Protestant and
Catholic, priest and layman, all were plundered, maltreated, outraged.
The indignation became daily more general and more intense. There were
frequent skirmishes between the soldiery and promiscuous bands of
peasants, citizens, and students; conflicts in which the Spaniards were
invariably victorious. What could such half-armed and wholly untrained
partisans effect against the bravest and most experienced troops in the
whole world? Such results only increased the general exasperation, while
they impressed upon the whole people the necessity of some great and
general effort to throw off the incubus.

1576-1577  [CHAPTER V.]

   Religious and political sympathies and antipathies in the seventeen
   provinces--Unanimous hatred for the foreign soldiery--Use made by
   the Prince of the mutiny--His correspondence--Necessity of Union
   enforced--A congress from nearly all the provinces meets at Ghent--
   Skirmishes between the foreign troops and partisan bands--Slaughter
   at Tisnacq--Suspicions entertained of the State-Council--Arrest of
   the State-Council--Siege of Ghent citadel--Assistance sent by
   Orange--Maestricht lost and regained--Wealthy and perilous condition
   of Antwerp--Preparations of the mutineers under the secret
   superintendence of Avila--Stupidity of Oberstein--Duplicity of Don
   Sancho--Reinforcements of Walloons under Havre, Egmont, and others,
   sent to for the expected assault of Antwerp--Governor Champagny's
   preparations the mutineers--Insubordination, incapacity, and
   negligence of all but him--Concentration of all the mutineers from
   different points, in the citadel--The attack--the panic--the flight
   --the massacre--the fire--the sack--and other details of the
   "Spanish Fury"--Statistics of murder and robbery--Letter of Orange
   to the states-general--Surrender of Ghent citadel--Conclusion of the
   "Ghent Pacification"--The treaty characterized--Forms of
   ratification--Fall of Zierickzee and recovery of Zealand.

Meantime, the Prince of Orange sat at Middelburg, watching the storm. The
position of Holland and Zealand with regard to the other fifteen
provinces was distinctly characterized. Upon certain points there was an
absolute sympathy, while upon others there was a grave and almost fatal
difference. It was the task of the Prince to deepen the sympathy, to
extinguish the difference.

In Holland and Zealand, there was a warm and nearly universal adhesion to
the Reformed religion, a passionate attachment to the ancient political
liberties. The Prince, although an earnest Calvinist himself, did all in
his power to check the growing spirit of intolerance toward the old
religion, omitted no opportunity of strengthening the attachment which
the people justly felt for their liberal institutions.

On the other hand, in most of the other provinces, the Catholic religion
had been regaining its ascendency. Even in 1574, the estates assembled at
Brussels declared to Requesens "that they would rather die the death than
see any change in their religion." That feeling had rather increased than
diminished. Although there was a strong party attached to the new faith,
there was perhaps a larger, certainly a more influential body, which
regarded the ancient Church with absolute fidelity. Owing partly to the
persecution which had, in the course of years, banished so many thousands
of families from the soil, partly to the coercion, which was more
stringent in the immediate presence of the Crown's representative, partly
to the stronger infusion of the Celtic element, which from the earliest
ages had always been so keenly alive to the more sensuous and splendid
manifestations of the devotional principle--owing to those and many other
causes, the old religion, despite of all the outrages which had been
committed in its name, still numbered a host of zealous adherents in the
fifteen provinces. Attempts against its sanctity were regarded with
jealous eyes. It was believed, and with reason, that there was a
disposition on the part of the Reformers to destroy it root and branch.
It was suspected that the same enginery of persecution would be employed
in its extirpation, should the opposite party gain the supremacy, which
the Papists had so long employed against the converts to the new

As to political convictions, the fifteen provinces differed much less
from their two sisters. There was a strong attachment to their old
constitutions; a general inclination to make use of the present crisis to
effect their restoration. At the same time, it had not come to be the
general conviction, as in Holland and Zealand, that the maintenance of
those liberties was incompatible with the continuance of Philip's
authority. There was, moreover, a strong aristocratic faction which was
by no means disposed to take a liberal view of government in general, and
regarded with apprehension the simultaneous advance of heretical notions
both in church and, state. Still there were, on the whole, the elements
of a controlling constitutional party throughout the fifteen provinces
The great bond of sympathy, however, between all the seventeen was their
common hatred to the foreign soldiery. Upon this deeply imbedded,
immovable fulcrum of an ancient national hatred, the sudden mutiny of the
whole Spanish army served as a lever of incalculable power. The Prince
seized it as from the hand of God. Thus armed, he proposed to himself the
task of upturning the mass of oppression under which the old liberties of
the country had so long been crushed. To effect this object, adroitness
was as requisite as courage. Expulsion of the foreign soldiery, union of
the seventeen provinces, a representative constitution, according to the
old charters, by the states-general, under an hereditary chief, a large
religious toleration, suppression of all inquisition into men's
consciences--these were the great objects to which the Prince now devoted
himself with renewed energy.

To bring about a general organization and a general union, much delicacy
of handling was necessary. The sentiment of extreme Catholicism and
Monarchism was not to be suddenly scared into opposition. The Prince,
therefore, in all his addresses and documents was careful to disclaim any
intention of disturbing the established religion, or of making any rash
political changes. "Let no man think," said he, to the authorities of
Brabant, "that, against the will of the estates, we desire to bring about
any change in religion. Let no one suspect us capable of prejudicing the
rights of any man. We have long since taken up arms to maintain a legal
and constitutional freedom, founded upon law. God forbid that we should
now attempt to introduce novelties, by which the face of liberty should
be defiled."

In a brief and very spirited letter to Count Lalain, a Catholic and a
loyalist, but a friend of his country and fervent hater of foreign
oppression, he thus appealed to his sense of chivalry and justice:
"Although the honorable house from which you spring," he said, "and the
virtue and courage of your ancestors have always impressed me with the
conviction that you would follow in their footsteps, yet am I glad to
have received proofs that my anticipations were correct. I cannot help,
therefore, entreating you to maintain the same high heart, and to
accomplish that which you have so worthily begun. Be not deluded by false
masks, mumming faces, and borrowed titles, which people assume for their
own profit, persuading others that the King's service consists in the
destruction of his subjects."

While thus careful to offend no man's religious convictions, to startle
no man's loyalty, he made skillful use of the general indignation felt
at, the atrocities of the mutinous army. This chord he struck boldly,
powerfully, passionately, for he felt sure of the depth and strength of
its vibrations. In his address to the estates of Gelderland, he used
vigorous language, inflaming and directing to a practical purpose the
just wrath which was felt in that, as in every other province. "I write
to warn you," he said, "to seize this present opportunity. Shake from
your necks the yoke of the godless Spanish tyranny, join yourselves at
once to the lovers of the fatherland, to the defenders of freedom.
According to the example of your own ancestors and ours, redeem for the
country its ancient laws, traditions, and privileges. Permit no longer,
to your shame and ours, a band of Spanish landloupers and other
foreigners, together with three or four self-seeking enemies of their own
land, to keep their feet upon our necks. Let them no longer, in the very
wantonness of tyranny, drive us about like a herd of cattle--like a gang
of well-tamed slaves."

Thus, day after day, in almost countless addresses to public bodies and
private individuals, he made use of the crisis to pile fresh fuel upon
the flames. At the same time, while thus fanning the general indignation,
he had the adroitness to point out that the people had already committed
themselves. He represented to them that the edict, by which they had
denounced his Majesty's veterans as outlaws, and had devoted them to the
indiscriminate destruction which such brigands deserved, was likely to
prove an unpardonable crime in the eyes of majesty. In short, they had
entered the torrent. If they would avoid being dashed over the precipice,
they must struggle manfully with the mad waves of civil war into which
they had plunged. "I beg you, with all affection," he said to the states
of Brabant, "to consider the danger in which you have placed yourselves.
You have to deal with the proudest and most overbearing race in the
world. For these qualities they are hated by all other nations. They are
even hateful to themselves. 'Tis a race which seeks to domineer
wheresoever it comes. It particularly declares its intention to crush and
to tyrannize you, my masters, and all the land. They have conquered you
already, as they boast, for the crime of lese-majesty has placed you at
their mercy. I tell you that your last act, by which you have declared
this army to be rebels, is decisive. You have armed and excited the whole
people against them, even to the peasants and the peasants' children, and
the insults and injuries thus received, however richly deserved and
dearly avenged, are all set down to your account. Therefore, 'tis
necessary for you to decide now, whether to be utterly ruined, yourselves
and your children, or to continue firmly the work which you have begun
boldly, and rather to die a hundred thousand deaths than to make a treaty
with them, which can only end in your ruin. Be assured that the measure
dealt to you will be ignominy as well as destruction. Let not your
leaders expect the honorable scaffolds of Counts Egmont and Horn. The
whipping-post and then the gibbet will be their certain fate."

Having by this and similar language, upon various occasions, sought to
impress upon his countrymen the gravity of the position, he led them to
seek the remedy in audacity and in union. He familiarized them with his
theory, that the legal, historical government of the provinces belonged
to the states-general, to a congress of nobles, clergy, and commons,
appointed from each of the seventeen provinces. He maintained, with
reason, that the government of the Netherlands was a representative
constitutional government, under the hereditary authority of the King. To
recover this constitution, to lift up these down-trodden rights, he set
before them most vividly the necessity of union, "'Tis impossible," he
said, "that a chariot should move evenly having its wheels unequally
proportioned; and so must a confederation be broken to pieces, if there
be not an equal obligation on all to tend to a common purpose." Union,
close, fraternal, such as became provinces of a common origin and with
similar laws, could alone save them from their fate. Union against a
common tyrant to save a common fatherland. Union; by which differences of
opinion should be tolerated, in order that a million of hearts should
beat for a common purpose, a million hands work out, invincibly, a common
salvation. "'Tis hardly necessary," he said "to use many words in
recommendation of union. Disunion has been the cause of all our woes.
There is no remedy, no hope, save in the bonds of friendship. Let all
particular disagreements be left to the decision of the states-general,
in order that with one heart and one will we may seek the disenthralment
of the fatherland from the tyranny of strangers."

The first step to a thorough union among all the provinces was the
arrangement of a closer connection between the now isolated states of
Holland and Zealand on the one side, and their fifteen sisters on the
other. The Prince professed the readiness of those states which he might
be said to represent in his single person, to draw as closely as possible
the bonds of fellowship. It was almost superfluous for him to promise his
own ready co-operation. "Nothing remains to us," said he, "but to discard
all jealousy and distrust. Let us, with a firm resolution and a common
accord, liberate these lands from the stranger. Hand to hand let us
accomplish a just and general peace. As for myself, I present to you,
with very, good affection, my person and all which I possess, assuring
you that I shall regard all my labors and pains in times which are past,
well bestowed, if God now grant me grace to see the desired end. That
this end will be reached, if you hold fast your resolution and take to
heart the means which God presents to you, I feel to be absolutely

Such were the tenor and the motives of the documents which he
scattered--broadcast at this crisis. They were addressed to the estates
of nearly every province. Those bodies were urgently implored to appoint
deputies to a general congress, at which a close and formal union between
Holland and Zealand with the other provinces might be effected. That
important measure secured, a general effort might, at the same time, be
made to expel the Spaniard from the soil. This done, the remaining
matters could be disposed of by the assembly of the estates-general. His
eloquence and energy were not without effect. In the course of the
autumn, deputies were appointed from the greater number of the provinces,
to confer with the representatives of Holland and Zealand, in a general
congress. The place appointed for the deliberations was the city of
Ghent. Here, by the middle of October, a large number of delegates were
already assembled.

Events were rapidly rolling together from every quarter, and accumulating
to a crisis. A congress--a rebellious congress, as the King might deem
it--was assembling at Ghent; the Spanish army, proscribed, lawless, and
terrible, was strengthening itself daily for some dark and mysterious
achievement; Don John of Austria, the King's natural brother, was
expected from Spain to assume the government, which the State Council was
too timid to wield and too loyal to resign, while, meantime, the whole
population of the Netherlands, with hardly an exception, was disposed to
see the great question of the foreign soldiery settled, before the chaos
then existing should be superseded by a more definite authority.
Everywhere, men of all ranks and occupations--the artisan in the city,
the peasant in the fields--were deserting their daily occupations to
furbish helmets, handle muskets, and learn the trade of war. Skirmishes,
sometimes severe and bloody, were of almost daily occurrence. In these
the Spaniards were invariably successful, for whatever may be said of
their cruelty and licentiousness, it cannot be disputed that their
prowess was worthy of their renown. Romantic valor, unflinching
fortitude, consummate skill, characterized them always. What could
half-armed artisans achieve in the open plain against such accomplished
foes? At Tisnacq, between Louvain and Tirlemont, a battle was attempted
by a large miscellaneous mass of students, peasantry, and burghers, led
by country squires. It soon changed to a carnage, in which the victims
were all on one side. A small number of veterans, headed by Vargas,
Mendoza, Tassis, and other chivalrous commanders, routed the
undisciplined thousands at a single charge. The rude militia threw away
their arms, and fled panic-struck in all directions, at the first sight
of their terrible foe. Two Spaniards lost their lives and two thousand
Netherlanders. It was natural that these consummate warriors should
despise such easily slaughtered victims. A single stroke of the iron
flail, and the chaff was scattered to the four winds; a single sweep of
the disciplined scythe, and countless acres were in an instant mown.
Nevertheless, although beaten constantly, the Netherlanders were not
conquered. Holland and Zealand had read the foe a lesson which he had not
forgotten, and although on the open fields, and against the less vigorous
population of the more central provinces, his triumphs had been easier,
yet it was obvious that the spirit of resistance to foreign oppression
was growing daily stronger, notwithstanding daily defeats.

Meantime, while these desultory but deadly combats were in daily
progress, the Council of State was looked upon with suspicion by the mass
of the population. That body, in which resided provisionally the powers
of government, was believed to be desirous of establishing relations with
the mutinous army. It was suspected of insidiously provoking the excesses
which it seemed to denounce. It was supposed to be secretly intriguing
with those whom its own edicts had outlawed. Its sympathies were
considered, Spanish. It was openly boasted by the Spanish army that,
before long, they would descend from their fastnesses upon Brussels, and
give the city to the sword. A shuddering sense of coming evil pervaded
the population, but no man could say where the blow would first be
struck. It was natural that the capital should be thought exposed to
imminent danger. At the same time, while every man who had hands was
disposed to bear arms to defend the city, the Council seemed paralyzed.
The capital was insufficiently garrisoned, yet troops were not enrolling
for its protection. The state councillors obviously omitted to provide
for defence, and it was supposed that they were secretly assisting the
attack. It was thought important, therefore, to disarm, or, at least, to
control this body which was impotent for protection, and seemed powerful
only for mischief. It was possible to make it as contemptible as it was
believed to be malicious.

An unexpected stroke was therefore suddenly levelled against the Council
in full session. On the 5th of September, the Seigneur de Heze, a young
gentleman of a bold, but unstable character, then entertaining close but
secret relations with the Prince of Orange, appeared before the doors of
the palace. He was attended by about five hundred troops, under the
immediate command of the Seigneur de Glimes, bailiff of Walloon Brabant.
He demanded admittance, in the name of the Brabant estates, to the
presence of the State Council, and was refused. The doors were closed and
bolted. Without further ceremony the soldiers produced iron bars brought
with them for the purpose, forced all the gates from the hinges, entered
the hall of session, and at a word from their commander, laid hands upon
the councillors, and made every one prisoner. The Duke of Aerschot,
President of the Council, who was then in close alliance with the Prince,
was not present at the meeting, but lay forewarned, at home, confined to
his couch by a sickness assumed for the occasion. Viglius, who rarely
participated in the deliberations of the board, being already afflicted
with the chronic malady under which he was ere long to succumb, also
escaped the fate of his fellow-senators. The others were carried into
confinement. Berlaymont and Mansfeld were imprisoned in the Brood-Huys,
where the last mortal hours of Egmont and Horn had been passed. Others
were kept strictly guarded in their own houses. After a few weeks, most
of them were liberated. Councillor Del Rio was, however, retained in
confinement, and sent to Holland, where he was subjected to a severe
examination by the Prince of Orange, touching his past career,
particularly concerning the doings of the famous Blood Council. The
others were set free, and even permitted to resume their functions, but
their dignity was gone, their authority annihilated. Thenceforth the
states of Brabant and the community of Brussels were to govern for an
interval, for it was in their name that the daring blow against the
Council had been struck. All individuals and bodies, however, although
not displeased with the result, clamorously disclaimed responsibility for
the deed. Men were appalled at the audacity of the transaction, and
dreaded the vengeance of the King: The Abbot Van Perch, one of the secret
instigators of the act, actually died of anxiety for its possible
consequences. There was a mystery concerning the affair. They in whose
name it had been accomplished, denied having given any authority to the
perpetrators. Men asked each other what unseen agency had been at work,
what secret spring had been adroitly touched. There is but little doubt,
however, that the veiled but skilful hand which directed the blow, was
the same which had so long been guiding the destiny of the Netherlands.

It had been settled that the congress was to hold its sessions in Ghent,
although the citadel commanding that city was held by the Spaniards. The
garrison was not very strong, and Mondragon, its commander, was absent in
Zealand, but the wife of the veteran ably supplied his place, and
stimulated the slender body of troops to hold out with heroism, under the
orders of his lieutenant, Avilos Maldonado. The mutineers, after having
accomplished their victory at Tisnacq, had been earnestly solicited to
come to the relief of this citadel. They had refused and returned to
Alost. Meantime, the siege was warmly pressed by the states. There being,
however, a deficiency of troops, application for assistance was formally
made to the Prince of Orange. Count Reulx, governor of Flanders;
commissioned the Seigneur d'Haussy, brother of Count Bossu, who, to
obtain the liberation of that long-imprisoned and distinguished nobleman,
was about visiting the Prince in Zealand, to make a request for an
auxiliary force. It was, however, stipulated that care should be taken
lest any prejudice should be done to the Roman Catholic religion or the
authority of the King. The Prince readily acceded to the request, and
agreed to comply with the conditions under which only it could be
accepted. He promised to send twenty-eight companies. In his letter
announcing this arrangement, he gave notice that his troops would receive
strict orders to do no injury to person or property, Catholic or
Protestant, ecclesiastic or lay, and to offer no obstruction to the Roman
religion or the royal dignity. He added, however, that it was not to be
taken amiss, if his soldiers were permitted to exercise their own
religious rites, and to sing their Protestant hymns within their own
quarters. He moreover, as security for the expense and trouble, demanded
the city of Sluys. The first detachment of troops, under command of
Colonel Vander Tympel, was, however, hardly on its way, before an alarm
was felt among the Catholic party at this practical alliance with the
rebel Prince. An envoy, named Ottingen, was despatched to Zealand,
bearing a letter from the estates of Hainault, Brabant, and Flanders,
countermanding the request for troops, and remonstrating categorically
upon the subject of religion and loyalty. Orange deemed such
tergiversation paltry, but controlled his anger. He answered the letter
in liberal terms, for he was determined that by no fault of his should
the great cause be endangered. He reassured the estates as to the
probable behaviour of his troops. Moreover, they had been already
admitted into the city, while the correspondence was proceeding. The
matter of the psalm-singing was finally arranged to the satisfaction of
both parties, and it was agreed that Niewport, instead of Sluys, should
be given to the Prince as security.

The siege of the citadel was now pressed vigorously, and the
deliberations of the congress were opened under the incessant roar of
cannon. While the attack was thus earnestly maintained upon the important
castle of Ghent, a courageous effort was made by the citizens of
Maestricht to wrest their city from the hands of the Spaniards. The
German garrison having been gained by the burghers, the combined force
rose upon the Spanish troops, and drove them from the city, Montesdocca,
the commander, was arrested and imprisoned, but the triumph was only
temporary. Don Francis d'Ayala, Montesdocca's lieutenant, made a stand,
with a few companies, in Wieck, a village on the opposite side of the
Meuse, and connected with the city by a massive bridge of stone. From
this point he sent information to other commanders in the neighbourhood.
Don Ferdinand de Toledo soon arrived with several hundred troops from
Dalem. The Spaniards, eager to wipe out the disgrace to their arms,
loudly demanded to be led back to the city. The head of the bridge,
however, over which they must pass, was defended by a strong battery, and
the citizens were seen clustering in great numbers to defend their
firesides against a foe whom they had once expelled. To advance across
the bridge seemed certain destruction to the little force. Even Spanish
bravery recoiled at so desperate an undertaking, but unscrupulous
ferocity supplied an expedient where courage was at fault. There were few
fighting men present among the population of Wieck, but there were many
females. Each soldier was commanded to seize a woman, and, placing her
before his own body, to advance across the bridge. The column, thus
bucklered, to the shame of Spanish chivalry, by female bosoms, moved in
good order toward the battery. The soldiers leveled their muskets with
steady aim over the shoulders or under the arms of the women whom they
thus held before them. On the other hand, the citizens dared not
discharge their cannon at their own townswomen, among whose numbers many
recognized mothers, sisters, or wives. The battery was soon taken, while
at the same time Alonzj Vargas, who had effected his entrance from the
land side by burning down the Brussels gate, now entered the city at the
head of a band of cavalry. Maestricht was recovered, and an
indiscriminate slaughter instantly avenged its temporary loss. The
plundering, stabbing, drowning, burning, ravishing; were so dreadful
that, in the words of a cotemporary historian, "the burghers who had
escaped the fight had reason to think themselves less fortunate than
those who had died with arms in their hands."

This was the lot of Maestricht on the 20th of October. It was
instinctively felt to be the precursor of fresh disasters. Vague,
incoherent, but widely disseminated rumors had long pointed to Antwerp
and its dangerous situation. The Spaniards, foiled in their views upon
Brussels, had recently avowed an intention of avenging themselves in the
commercial capital. They had waited long enough, and accumulated strength
enough. Such a trifling city as Alost could no longer content their
cupidity, but in Antwerp there was gold enough for the gathering. There
was reason for the fears of the inhabitants, for the greedy longing of
their enemy. Probably no city in Christendom could at that day vie with
Antwerp in wealth and splendor. Its merchants lived in regal pomp and
luxury. In its numerous, massive warehouses were the treasures of every
clime. Still serving as the main entrepot of the world's traffic, the
Brabantine capital was the centre of that commercial system which was
soon to be superseded by a larger international life. In the midst of the
miseries which had so long been raining upon the Netherlands, the stately
and egotistical city seemed to have taken stronger root and to flourish
more freshly than ever. It was not wonderful that its palaces and its
magazines, glittering with splendor and bursting with treasure, should
arouse the avidity of a reckless and famishing soldiery. Had not a
handful of warriors of their own race rifled the golden Indies? Had not
their fathers, few in number, strong in courage and discipline, revelled
in the plunder of a new world? Here were the Indies in a single city.
Here were gold and silver, pearls and diamonds, ready and portable; the
precious fruit dropping, ripened, from the bough. Was it to be tolerated
that base, pacific burghers should monopolize the treasure by which a
band of heroes might be enriched?

A sense of coming evil diffused itself through the atmosphere. The air
seemed lurid with the impending storm, for the situation was one of
peculiar horror. The wealthiest city in Christendom lay at the mercy of
the strongest fastness in the world; a castle which had been built to
curb, not to protect, the town. It was now inhabited by a band of
brigands, outlawed by government, strong in discipline, furious from
penury, reckless by habit, desperate in circumstance--a crew which feared
not God, nor man, nor Devil. The palpitating quarry lay expecting hourly
the swoop of its trained and pitiless enemy, for the rebellious soldiers
were now in a thorough state of discipline. Sancho d'Avila, castellan of
the citadel, was recognized as the chief of the whole mutiny, the army
and the mutiny being now one. The band, entrenched at Alost, were upon
the best possible understanding with their brethren in the citadel, and
accepted without hesitation the arrangements of their superior. On the
aide of the Scheld, opposite Antwerp, a fortification had been thrown up
by Don Sancho's orders, and held by Julian Romero. Lier, Breda, as well
as Alost, were likewise ready to throw their reinforcements into the
citadel at a moment's warning. At the signal of their chief, the united
bands might sweep from their impregnable castle with a single impulse.

The city cried aloud for help, for it had become obvious that an attack
might be hourly expected. Meantime an attempt, made by Don Sancho d'Avila
to tamper with the German troops stationed within the walls, was more
than partially, successful. The forces were commanded by Colonel Van Ende
and Count Oberatein. Van Ende, a crafty traitor to his country, desired
no better than to join the mutiny on so promising an occasion, and his
soldiers, shared his sentiments. Oberatein, a brave, but blundering
German, was drawn into the net of treachery by the adroitness of the
Spaniard and the effrontery of his comrade. On the night of the 29th of
October, half-bewildered and half-drunk, he signed a treaty with Sancho
d'Avilat and the three colonels--Fugger, Frondsberger, and Polwiller. By
this unlucky document, which was of course subscribed also by Van Ende,
it was agreed that the Antwerp burghers should be forthwith disarmed;
that their weapons should be sent into the citadel; that Oberstein should
hold the city at the disposition of Sancho d'Avila; that he should refuse
admittance to all troops which might be sent into the city, excepting by
command of Don Sancho, and that he should decline compliance with any
orders which he might receive from individuals calling themselves the
council of state, the states-general, or the estates of Brabant. This
treaty was signed, moreover; by Don Jeronimo de Rods, then established in
the citadel, and claiming to represent exclusively his Majesty's

Hardly had this arrangement been concluded than the Count saw the trap
into which he had fallen. Without intending to do so, he had laid the
city at the mercy of its foe, but the only remedy which suggested itself
to his mind was an internal resolution not to keep his promises. The
burghers were suffered to retain their arms, while, on the other hand,
Don Sancho lost no time in despatching messages to Alost, to Lier, to
Breda, and even to Maestricht, that as large a force as possible might be
assembled for the purpose of breaking immediately the treaty of peace
which he had just concluded. Never was a solemn document, regarded with
such perfectly bad faith by all its signers as the accord, of the 29th of

Three days afterwards, a large force of Walloons and Germans was
despatched from Brussels to the assistance of Antwerp. The command of
these troops was entrusted to the Marquis of Havre, whose brother, the
Duke of Aerschot; had been recently appointed chief superintendent of
military affairs by the deputies assembled at Ghent. The miscellaneous
duties comprehended under this rather vague denomination did not permit
the Duke to take charge of the expedition in person, and his younger
brother, a still more incompetent and unsubstantial character, was
accordingly appointed to the post. A number of young men, of high rank
but of lamentably low capacity, were associated with him. Foremost among
them was Philip, Count of Egmont, a youth who had inherited few of his
celebrated father's qualities, save personal courage and a love of
personal display. In character and general talents he was beneath
mediocrity. Beside these were the reckless but unstable De Heze, who had
executed the coup; d'etat against the State Council, De Berselen, De
Capres, D'Oyngies, and others, all vaguely desirous of achieving
distinction in those turbulent times, but few of them having any
political or religious convictions, and none of them possessing
experience or influence enough, to render them useful--at the impending

On Friday morning, the 2nd of November, the troops appeared under the
walls of Antwerp. They consisted of twenty-three companies of infantry
and fourteen of cavalry, amounting to five thousand foot and twelve
hundred horse. They were nearly all Walloons, soldiers who had already
seen much active service, but unfortunately of a race warlike and fiery
indeed, but upon whose steadiness not much more dependence could be
placed at that day than in the age of Civilis. Champagny, brother of
Granvelle, was Governor of the city. He was a sincere Catholic, but a
still more sincere hater of the Spaniards. He saw in the mutiny a means
of accomplishing their expulsion, and had already offered to the Prince
of Orange his eager co-operation towards this result. In other matters
there could be but small sympathy between William the Silent and the
Cardinal's brother; but a common hatred united them, for a time at least,
in a common purpose.

When the troops first made their appearance before the walls, Champagny
was unwilling to grant them admittance. The addle-brained Oberstein had
confessed to him the enormous blunder which he had committed in his
midnight treaty, and at the same time ingenuously confessed his intention
of sending it to the winds. The enemy had extorted from his dulness or
his drunkenness a promise, which his mature and sober reason could not
consider binding. It is needless to say that Champagny rebuked him for
signing, and applauded him for breaking the treaty. At the same time its
ill effects were already seen in the dissensions which existed among the
German troops. Where all had been tampered with, and where the commanders
had set the example of infidelity, it would have been strange if all had
held firm. On the whole, however, Oberstein thought he could answer for
his own troops: Upon Van Ende's division, although the crafty colonel
dissembled his real intentions; very little reliance was placed. Thus
there was distraction within the walls. Among those whom the burghers had
been told to consider their defenders, there were probably many who were
ready to join with their mortal foes at a moment's warning. Under these
circumstances, Champagny hesitated about admitting these fresh troops
from Brussels. He feared lest the Germans, who knew themselves doubted,
might consider themselves doomed. He trembled, lest an irrepressible
outbreak should occur within the walls, rendering the immediate
destruction of the city by the Spaniards from without inevitable.
Moreover, he thought it more desirable that this auxiliary force should
be disposed at different points outside, in order to intercept the
passage of the numerous bodies of Spaniards and other mutineers, who from
various quarters would soon be on their way to the citadel. Havre,
however, was so peremptory, and the burghers were so importunate, that
Champagny was obliged to recede from his opposition before twenty-four
hours had elapsed. Unwilling to take the responsibility of a farther
refusal, he admitted the troops through the Burgherhout gate, on
Saturday, the 3rd of November, at ten o'clock in the morning.

The Marquis of Havre, as commander-in-chief, called a council of war. It
assembled at Count Oberstein's quarters, and consulted at first
concerning a bundle of intercepted letters which Havre had brought with
him. These constituted a correspondence between Sancho d'Avila with the
heads of the mutiny at Alost, and many other places. The letters were all
dated subsequently to Don Sancho's treaty with Oberstein, and contained
arrangements for an immediate concentration of the whole available
Spanish force at the citadel.

The treachery was so manifest, that Oberstein felt all self-reproach for
his own breach of faith to be superfluous. It was however evident that
the attack was to be immediately expected. What was to be done? All the
officers counselled the immediate erection of a bulwark on the side of
the city exposed to the castle, but there were no miners nor engineers.
Champagny, however, recommended a skilful and experienced engineer to
superintend; the work in the city; and pledged himself that burghers
enough would volunteer as miners. In less than an hour, ten or twelve
thousand persons, including multitudes of women of all ranks, were at
work upon the lines marked out by the engineer. A ditch and breast-work
extending from the gate of the Beguins to the street of the Abbey Saint
Michael, were soon in rapid progress. Meantime, the newly arrived troops,
with military insolence, claimed the privilege of quartering themselves
in the best houses which they could find. They already began to, insult
and annoy the citizens whom they had been sent to defend; nor were they
destined to atone, by their subsequent conduct in the face of the enemy,
for the brutality with which they treated their friends. Champagny,
however; was ill-disposed to brook their licentiousness. They had been
sent to protect the city and the homes of Antwerp from invasion. They
were not to establish themselves, at every fireside on their first
arrival. There was work enough for them out of doors, and they were to do
that work at once. He ordered them to prepare for a bivouac in, the
streets, and flew from house to house, sword in hand; driving forth the
intruders at imminent peril of his life. Meantime, a number of Italian
and Spanish merchants fled from the city, and took refuge in the castle.
The Walloon soldiers were for immediately plundering their houses, as if
plunder had been the object for which they had been sent to Antwerp. It
was several hours before Champagny, with all his energy, was able to
quell these disturbances.

In the course of the day, Oberstein received a letter from Don Sandra
d'Avila, calling solemnly upon him to fulfil his treaty of the 29th of
October. The German colonels from the citadel had, on the previous
afternoon, held a personal interview with Oberstein beneath the walls,
which had nearly ended in blows, and they had been obliged to save
themselves by flight from the anger of the Count's soldiers, enraged at
the deceit by which their leader had been so nearly entrapped. This
summons of ridiculous solemnity to keep a treaty which had already been
torn to shreds by both parties, Oberstein answered with defiance and
contempt. The reply was an immediate cannonade from the batteries of the
citadel; which made the position of those erecting the ramparts
excessively dangerous. The wall was strengthened with bales of
merchandise, casks of earth, upturned wagons, and similar bulky objects,
hastily piled together. In, some places it was sixteen feet high; in
others less than six. Night fell before the fortification was nearly
completed. Unfortunately it was bright moonlight. The cannon from the
fortress continued to play upon the half-finished works. The Walloons,
and at last the citizens, feared to lift their heads above their frail
rampart. The senators, whom Champagny had deputed to superintend the
progress of the enterprise, finding the men so indisposed, deserted their
posts. They promised themselves that, in the darkest hour of the
following night, the work should be thoroughly completed. Alas! all hours
of the coming night were destined to be dark enough, but in them was to
be done no manner of work for defence. On Champagny alone seemed devolved
an the labor and all the responsibility. He did his duty well, but he was
but one man. Alone, with a heart full of anxiety, he wandered up and down
all the night. With his own hands, assisted only by a few citizens and
his own servants, he planted all the cannon with which they were
provided, in the "Fencing Court," at a point where the battery might tell
upon the castle. Unfortunately, the troops from Brussels had brought no
artillery with them, and the means of defence against the strongest
fortress in Europe were meagre indeed. The rampart had been left very
weak at many vital points. A single upturned wagon was placed across the
entrance to the important street of the Beguins. This negligence was to
cost the city dear. At daybreak, there was a council held in Oberstein's
quarters. Nearly all Champagny's directions had been neglected. He had
desired that strong detachments should be posted during the night at
various places of Security on the outskirts of the town, for the troops
which were expected to arrive in small bodies at the citadel from various
parts, might have thus been cut off before reaching their destination.
Not even scouts had been stationed in sufficient numbers to obtain
information of what was occurring outside. A thick mist hung over the
city that eventful morning. Through its almost impenetrable veil, bodies
of men had been seen moving into the castle, and the tramp of cavalry had
been distinctly heard, and the troops of Romero, Vargas, Oliveira, and
Valdez had already arrived from Lier, Breda, Maestricht, and from the
forts on the Scheld.

The whole available force in the city was mustered without delay. Havre
had claimed for his post the defence of the lines opposite the citadel,
the place of responsibility and honor. Here the whole body of Walloons
were stationed, together with a few companies of Germans. The ramparts,
as stated, were far from impregnable, but it was hoped that this living
rampart of six thousand men, standing on their own soil, and in front of
the firesides and altars of their own countrymen; would prove a
sufficient bulwark even against Spanish fury. Unhappily, the living
barrier proved more frail than the feeble breastwork which the hands of
burghers and women had constructed. Six thousand men were disposed along
the side of the city opposite the fortress. The bulk of the German troops
was stationed at different points on the more central streets and
squares. The cavalry was posted on the opposite side of the city, along
the Horse-market, and fronting the "New-town." The stars were still in
the sky when Champagny got on horseback and rode through the streets,
calling on the burghers to arm and assemble at different points. The
principal places of rendezvous were the Cattlemarket and the Exchange. He
rode along the lines of the Walloon regiments, conversing with the
officers, Egmont, De Heze, and others, and encouraging the men, and went
again to the Fencing Court, where he pointed the cannon with his own
hand, and ordered their first discharge at the fortress. Thence he rode
to the end of the Beguin street, where he dismounted and walked out upon
the edge of the esplanade which stretched between the city and the
castle. On this battle-ground a combat was even then occurring between a
band of burghers and a reconnoitring party from the citadel. Champagny
saw with satisfaction that the Antwerpers were victorious. They were
skirmishing well with their disciplined foe, whom they at last beat back
to the citadel. His experienced eye saw, however, that the retreat was
only the signal for a general onslaught, which was soon to follow; and he
returned into the city to give the last directions.

At ten o'clock, a moving wood was descried, approaching the citadel from
the south-west. The whole body of the mutineers from Alost, wearing green
branches in their helmets--had arrived under command of their Eletto,
Navarrete. Nearly three thousand in number, they rushed into the castle,
having accomplished their march of twenty-four miles since three o'clock
in the morning. They were received with open arms. Sancho d'Avila ordered
food and refreshments to be laid before them, but they refused everything
but a draught of wine. They would dine in Paradise, they said, or sup in
Antwerp. Finding his allies in such spirit, Don Sancho would not balk
their humor. Since early morning, his own veterans had been eagerly
awaiting his signal, "straining upon the start." The troops of Romero,
Vargas, Valdez, were no less impatient. At about an hour before noon,
nearly every living man in the citadel was mustered for the attack,
hardly men enough being left behind to guard the gates. Five thousand
veteran foot soldiers, besides six hundred cavalry, armed to the teeth,
sallied from the portals of Alva's citadel. In the counterscarp they fell
upon their knees, to invoke, according to custom, the blessing of God
upon the Devil's work, which they were about to commit. The Bletto bore a
standard, one side of which was emblazoned with the crucified Saviour,
and the other with the Virgin Mary. The image of Him who said, "Love-your
enemies," and the gentle face of the Madonna, were to smile from heaven
upon deeds which might cause a shudder in the depths of hell. Their brief
orisons concluded, they swept forward to the city. Three thousand
Spaniards, under their Eletto, were to enter by the street of Saint
Michael; the Germans, and the remainder of the Spanish foot, commanded by
Romero, through that of Saint George. Champagny saw them coming, and
spoke a last word of encouragement to the Walloons. The next moment the
compact mass struck the barrier, as the thunderbolt descends from the
cloud. There was scarcely a struggle. The Walloons, not waiting to look
their enemy in the face, abandoned the posts which whey had themselves
claimed. The Spaniards crashed through the bulwark, as though it had been
a wall of glass. The Eletto was first to mount the rampart; the next
instant he was shot dead, while his followers, undismayed, sprang over
his body, and poured into the streets. The fatal gap, due to timidity and
carelessness, let in the destructive tide. Champagny, seeing that the
enemies had all crossed the barrier; leaped over a garden wall, passed
through a house into a narrow lane, and thence to the nearest station of
the German troops. Hastily collecting a small force, he led them in
person to the rescue. The Germans fought well, died well, but they could
not reanimate the courage of the Walloons, and all were now in full
retreat, pursued by the ferocious Spaniards. In vain Champagny stormed
among them; in vain he strove to rally their broken ranks. With his own
hand he seized a banner from a retreating ensign, and called upon the
nearest soldiers to make's stand against the foe. It was to bid the
flying clouds pause before the tempest. Torn, broken, aimless, the
scattered troops whirled through the streets before the pursuing wrath.
Champagny, not yet despairing, galloped hither and thither, calling upon
the burghers everywhere to rise in defence of their homes, nor did he
call in vain. They came forth from every place of rendezvous, from every
alley, from every house. They fought as men fight to defend their hearths
and altars, but what could individual devotion avail, against the
compact, disciplined, resistless mass of their foes? The order of defence
was broken, there was no system, no concert, no rallying point, no
authority. So soon as it was known that the Spaniards had crossed the
rampart, that its six thousand defenders were in full retreat, it was
inevitable that a panic should seize the city.

Their entrance once effected, the Spanish force had separated; according
to previous arrangement, into two divisions, one half charging up the
long street of Saint Michael, the other forcing its way through the
Street of Saint Joris. "Santiago, Santiago! Espana, Espana! a sangre, a
carne, a fuego, a Sacco!" Saint James, Spain, blood, flesh, fire,
sack!!--such were the hideous cries which rang through every quarter of
the city, as the savage horde advanced. Van Ende, with his German troops,
had been stationed by the Marquis of Havre to defend the Saint Joris
gate, but no sooner, did the Spaniards under Vargas present themselves,
than he deserted to them instantly with his whole force. United with the
Spanish cavalry, these traitorous defenders of Antwerp dashed in pursuit
of those who had only been fainthearted. Thus the burghers saw themselves
attacked by many of their friends, deserted by more. Whom were they to
trust? Nevertheless, Oberstein's Germans were brave and faithful,
resisting to the last, and dying every man in his harness. The tide of
battle flowed hither and thither, through every street and narrow lane.
It poured along the magnificent Place de Meer, where there was an
obstinate contest. In front of the famous Exchange, where in peaceful
hours, five thousand merchants met daily, to arrange the commercial
affairs of Christendom, there was a determined rally, a savage slaughter.
The citizens and faithful Germans, in this broader space, made a stand
against their pursuers. The tesselated marble pavement, the graceful,
cloister-like arcades ran red with blood. The ill-armed burghers faced
their enemies clad in complete panoply, but they could only die for their
homes. The massacre at this point was enormous, the resistance at last

Meantime, the Spanish cavalry had cleft its way through the city. On the
side farthest removed from the castle; along the Horse-market, opposite
the New-town, the states dragoons and the light horse of Beveren had been
posted, and the flying masses of pursuers and pursued swept at last
through this outer circle. Champagny was already there. He essayed, as
his last hope, to rally the cavalry for a final stand, but the effort was
fruitless. Already seized by the panic, they had attempted to rush from
the city through the gate of Eeker. It was locked; they then turned and
fled towards the Red-gate, where they were met face to face by Don Pedro
Tassis, who charged upon them with his dragoons. Retreat seemed hopeless.
A horseman in complete armor, with lance in rest, was seen to leap from
the parapet of the outer wall into the moat below, whence, still on
horseback, he escaped with life. Few were so fortunate. The confused mob
of fugitives and conquerors, Spaniards, Walloons, Germans, burghers,
struggling, shouting, striking, cursing, dying, swayed hither and thither
like a stormy sea. Along the spacious Horse-market, the fugitives fled
toward towards the quays. Many fell beneath the swords of the Spaniards,
numbers were trodden to death by the hoofs of horses, still greater
multitudes were hunted into the Scheld. Champagny, who had thought it
possible, even at the last moment, to make a stand in the Newtown, and to
fortify the Palace of the Hansa, saw himself deserted. With great daring
and presence of mind, he effected his escape to the fleet of the Prince
of Orange in the river. The Marquis of Havre, of whom no deeds of valor
on that eventful day have been recorded, was equally successful. The
unlucky Oberstein, attempting to leap into a boat, missed his footing,
and oppressed by the weight of his armor, was drowned.

Meantime, while the short November day was fast declining, the combat
still raged in the interior of the city. Various currents of conflict,
forcing their separate way through many streets, had at last mingled in
the Grande Place. Around this irregular, not very spacious square, stood
the gorgeous Hotel de Ville, and the tall, many storied, fantastically
gabled, richly decorated palaces of the guilds, Here a long struggle took
place. It was terminated for a time by the cavalry of Vargas, who,
arriving through the streets of Saint Joris, accompanied by the traitor
Van Ende, charged decisively into the melee. The masses were broken, but
multitudes of armed men found refuge in the buildings, and every house
became a fortress. From, every window and balcony a hot fire was poured
into the square, as, pent in a corner, the burghers stood at last at bay.
It was difficult to carry the houses by storm, but they were soon set on
fire. A large number of sutlers and other varlets had accompanied the
Spaniards from the citadel, bringing torches and kindling materials for
the express purpose of firing the town. With great dexterity, these means
were now applied, and in a brief interval, the City-hall, and other
edifices on the square were in flames. The conflagration spread with
rapidity, house after house, street after street, taking fire. Nearly a
thousand buildings, in the most splendid and wealthy quarter of the city,
were soon in a blaze, and multitudes of human beings were burned with
them. In the City-hall many were consumed, while others, leaped from the
windows to renew the combat below. The many tortuous, streets which led
down a slight descent from the rear of the Town house to the quays were
all one vast conflagration. On the other side, the magnificent cathedral,
separated from the Grande Place by a single row of buildings, was lighted
up, but not attacked by the flames. The tall spire cast its gigantic
shadow across the last desperate conflict. In the street called the Canal
au Sucre, immediately behind the Town-house, there was a fierce struggle,
a horrible massacre. A crowd of burghers; grave magistrates, and such of
the German soldiers as remained alive, still confronted the ferocious
Spaniards. There amid the flaming desolation, Goswyn Verreyck, the heroic
margrave of the city, fought with the energy of hatred and despair. The
burgomaster, Van der Meere, lay dead at his feet; senators, soldiers,
citizens, fell fast around him, and he sank at last upon a heap of slain.
With him effectual resistance ended. The remaining combatants were
butchered, or were slowly forced downward to perish in the Scheld. Women,
children, old men, were killed in countless numbers, and still, through
all this havoc, directly over the heads of the struggling throng,
suspended in mid-air above the din and smoke of the conflict, there
sounded, every half-quarter of every hour, as if in gentle mockery, from
the belfry of the cathedral, the tender and melodious chimes.

Never was there a more monstrous massacre, even in the blood-stained
history of the Netherlands. It was estimated that, in the course of this
and the two following days, not less than eight thousand human beings
were murdered. The Spaniards seemed to cast off even the vizard of
humanity. Hell seemed emptied of its fiends. Night fell upon the scene
before the soldiers were masters of the city; but worse horrors began
after the contest was ended. This army of brigands had come thither with
a definite, practical purpose, for it was not blood-thirst, nor lust, nor
revenge, which had impelled them, but it was avarice, greediness for
gold. For gold they had waded through all this blood and fire. Never had
men more simplicity of purpose, more directness in its execution. They
had conquered their India at last; its golden mines lay all before them,
and every sword should open a shaft. Riot and rape might be deferred;
even murder, though congenial to their taste, was only subsidiary to
their business. They had come to take possession of the city's wealth,
and they set themselves faithfully to accomplish their task. For gold,
infants were dashed out of existence in their mothers' arms; for gold,
parents were tortured in their children's presence; for gold, brides were
scourged to death before their husbands' eyes. Wherever, treasure was
suspected, every expedient which ingenuity; sharpened by greediness,
could suggest, was employed to-extort it from its possessors. The fire,
spreading more extensively and more rapidly than had been desired through
the wealthiest quarter of the city, had unfortunately devoured a vast
amount of property. Six millions, at least, had thus been swallowed; a
destruction by which no one had profited. There was, however, much left.
The strong boxes of the merchants, the gold, silver, and precious
jewelry, the velvets, satins, brocades, laces, and similar well
concentrated and portable plunder, were rapidly appropriated. So far the
course was plain and easy, but in private houses it was more difficult.
The cash, plate, and other valuables of individuals were not so easily
discovered. Torture was, therefore; at once employed to discover the
hidden treasures. After all had been, given, if the sum seemed too
little, the proprietors were brutally punished for their poverty or their
supposed dissimulation. A gentlewoman, named Fabry, with her aged mother
and other females of the family, had taken refuge in the cellar of her
mansion. As the day was drawing to a close, a band of plunderers entered,
who, after ransacking the house, descended to the cellarage. Finding the
door barred, they forced it open with gunpowder. The mother, who was
nearest the entrance, fell dead on the threshold. Stepping across her
mangled body, the brigands sprang upon her daughter, loudly demanding the
property which they believed to be concealed. They likewise insisted on
being informed where the master of the house had taken refuge.
Protestations of ignorance as to hidden treasure, or the whereabouts of
her husband, who, for aught she knew, was lying dead in the streets, were
of no avail. To make her more communicative, they hanged her on a beam in
the cellar, and after a few moments cut her down before life was extinct.
Still receiving no satisfactory reply, where a satisfactory reply was
impossible, they hanged her again. Again, after another brief interval
they gave her a second release, and a fresh interrogatory. This barbarity
they repeated several times, till they were satisfied that there was
nothing to be gained by it, while, on, the other hand, they were losing
much valuable time. Hoping to be more successful elsewhere, they left her
hanging for the last time, and trooped off to fresher fields. Strange to
relate, the person thus horribly tortured, survived. A servant in her
family, married to a Spanish soldier, providentially entered the house in
time to rescue her perishing mistress. She was restored to existence, but
never to reason. Her brain was hopelessly crazed, and she passed the
remainder of her life wandering about her house, or feebly digging in her
garden for the buried treasure which she had been thus fiercely solicited
to reveal.

A wedding-feast was rudely interrupted. Two young persons, neighbours of
opulent families, had been long betrothed, and the marriage day had been
fixed for Sunday, the fatal 4th of November. The guests were assembled,
the ceremony concluded, the nuptial banquet in progress, when the
horrible outcries in the streets proclaimed that the Spaniards had broken
loose. Hour after hour of trembling expectation succeeded. At last, a
thundering at the gate proclaimed the arrival of a band of brigands.
Preceded by their captain, a large number of soldiers forced their way
into the house, ransacking every chamber, no opposition being offered by
the family and friends, too few and powerless to cope with this band of
well-armed ruffians. Plate chests, wardrobes, desks, caskets of jewelry,
were freely offered, eagerly accepted, but not found sufficient, and to
make the luckless wretches furnish more than they possessed, the usual
brutalities were employed. The soldiers began by striking the bridegroom
dead. The bride fell shrieking into her mother's arms, whence she was
torn by the murderers, who immediately put the mother to death, and an
indiscriminate massacre then followed the fruitless attempt to obtain by
threats and torture treasure which did not exist. The bride, who was of
remarkable beauty, was carried off to the citadel. Maddened by this last
outrage, the father, who was the only man of the party left alive, rushed
upon the Spaniards. Wresting a sword from one of the crew, the old man
dealt with it so fiercely, that he stretched more than one enemy dead at
his feet, but it is needless to add that he was soon despatched.
Meantime, while the party were concluding the plunder of the mansion, the
bride was left in a lonely apartment of the fortress. Without wasting
time in fruitless lamentation, she resolved to quit the life which a few
hours had made so desolate. She had almost succeeded in hanging herself
with a massive gold chain which she wore, when her captor entered the
apartment. Inflamed, not with lust, but with avarice, excited not by her
charms, but by her jewelry; he rescued her from her perilous position. He
then took possession of her chain and the other trinkets with which her
wedding-dress was adorned, and caused her; to be entirely stripped of her
clothing. She was then scourged with rods till her beautiful body was
bathed in blood, and at last alone, naked, nearly mad, was sent back into
the city. Here the forlorn creature wandered up and down through the
blazing streets, among the heaps of dead and dying, till she was at last
put out of her misery by a gang of soldiers.

Such are a few isolated instances, accidentally preserved in their
details, of the general horrors inflicted on this occasion. Others
innumerable have sunk into oblivion. On the morning of the 5th of
November, Antwerp presented a ghastly sight. The magnificent marble
Town-house, celebrated as a "world's wonder," even in that age and
country, in which so much splendour was lavished on municipal palaces,
stood a blackened ruin--all but the walls destroyed, while its archives,
accounts, and other valuable contents, had perished. The more splendid
portion of the city had been consumed; at least five hundred palaces,
mostly of marble or hammered stone, being a smouldering mass of
destruction. The dead bodies of those fallen in the massacre were on
every side, in greatest profusion around the Place de Meer, among the
Gothic pillars of the Exchange, and in the streets near the Town-house.
The German soldiers lay in their armor, some with their heads burned from
their bodies, some with legs and arms consumed by the flames through
which they had fought. The Margrave Goswyn Verreyck, the burgomaster Van
der Meere, the magistrates Lancelot Van Urselen, Nicholas Van Boekholt,
and other leading citizens, lay among piles of less distinguished slain.
They remained unburied until the overseers of the poor, on whom the
living had then more importunate claims than the dead, were compelled by
Roda to bury them out of the pauper fund. The murderers were too thrifty
to be at funeral charges for their victims. The ceremony was not hastily
performed, for the number of corpses had not been completed. Two days
longer the havoc lasted in the city. Of all the crimes which men can
commit, whether from deliberate calculation or in the frenzy of passion,
hardly one was omitted, for riot, gaming, rape, which had been postponed
to the more stringent claims of robbery and murder, were now rapidly
added to the sum of atrocities. History has recorded the account
indelibly on her brazen tablets; it can be adjusted only at the
judgment-seat above.

Of all the deeds of darkness yet compassed in the Netherlands, this was
the worst. It was called The Spanish Fury, by which dread name it has
been known for ages. The city, which had been a world of wealth and
splendor, was changed to a charnel-house, and from that hour its
commercial prosperity was blasted. Other causes had silently girdled the
yet green and flourishing tree, but the Spanish Fury was the fire which
consumed it to ashes. Three thousand dead bodies were discovered in the
streets, as many more were estimated to have perished in the Scheld, and
nearly an equal number were burned or destroyed in other ways. Eight
thousand persons undoubtedly were put to death. Six millions of property
were destroyed by the fire, and at least as much more was obtained by the
Spaniards. In this enormous robbery no class of people was respected.
Foreign merchants, living under the express sanction and protection of
the Spanish monarch, were plundered with as little reserve as Flemings.
Ecclesiastics of the Roman Church were compelled to disgorge their wealth
as freely as Calvinists. The rich were made to contribute all their
abundance, and the poor what could be wrung from their poverty. Neither
paupers nor criminals were safe. Captain Caspar Ortis made a brilliant
speculation by taking possession of the Stein, or city prison, whence he
ransomed all the inmates who could find means to pay for their liberty.
Robbers, murderers, even Anabaptists, were thus again let loose. Rarely
has so small a band obtained in three days' robbery so large an amount of
wealth. Four or five millions divided among five thousand soldiers made
up for long arrearages, and the Spaniards had reason to congratulate
themselves upon having thus taken the duty of payment into their own
hands. It is true that the wages of iniquity were somewhat unequally
distributed, somewhat foolishly squandered. A private trooper was known
to lose ten thousand crowns in one day in a gambling transaction at the
Bourse, for the soldiers, being thus handsomely in funds, became desirous
of aping the despised and plundered merchants, and resorted daily to the
Exchange, like men accustomed to affairs. The dearly purchased gold was
thus lightly squandered by many, while others, more prudent, melted their
portion into sword-hilts, into scabbards, even into whole suits of armor,
darkened, by precaution, to appear made entirely of iron. The brocades,
laces, and jewelry of Antwerp merchants were converted into coats of mail
for their destroyers. The goldsmiths, however, thus obtained an
opportunity to outwit their plunderers, and mingled in the golden armor
which they were forced to furnish much more alloy than their employers
knew. A portion of the captured booty was thus surreptitiously redeemed.

In this Spanish Fury many more were massacred in Antwerp than in the
Saint Bartholomew at Paris. Almost as many living human beings were
dashed out of existence now as there had been statues destroyed in the
memorable image-breaking of Antwerp, ten years before, an event which had
sent such a thrill of horror through the heart of Catholic Christendom.
Yet the Netherlanders and the Protestants of Europe may be forgiven, if
they regarded this massacre of their brethren with as much execration as
had been bestowed upon that fury against stocks and stones. At least, the
image-breakers, had been actuated by an idea, and their hands were
polluted neither with blood nor rapine. Perhaps the Spaniards had been.
governed equally by religious fanaticism.--Might not they believe they
were meriting well of their Mother Church while they were thus
disencumbering infidels of their wealth and earth of its infidels? Had
not the Pope and his cardinals gone to church in solemn procession, to
render thanks unto God for the massacre of Paris? Had not cannon
thundered and beacons blazed to commemorate that auspicious event? Why
should not the Antwerp executioners claim equal commendation? Even if in
their delirium they had confounded friend with foe, Catholic with
Calvinist, and church property with lay, could they not point to an equal
number of dead bodies, and to an incredibly superior amount of plunder?

Marvellously few Spaniards were slain in these eventful days. Two hundred
killed is the largest number stated. The discrepancy seems monstrous, but
it is hardly more than often existed between the losses inflicted and
sustained by the Spaniards in such combats. Their prowess was equal to
their ferocity, and this was enough to make them seem endowed with
preterhuman powers. When it is remembered, also, that the burghers were
insufficiently armed, that many of their defenders turned against them,
that many thousands fled in the first moments of the encounter--and when
the effect of a sudden and awful panic is duly considered, the
discrepancy between the number of killed on the two sides will not seem
so astonishing.

A few officers of distinction were taken, alive and carried to the
castle. Among these were the Seigneur de Capres and young Count Egmont.
The councillor Jerome de Roda was lounging on a chair in an open gallery
when these two gentlemen were brought before him, and Capres was base
enough to make a low obeisance to the man who claimed to represent the
whole government of his Majesty. The worthy successor of Vargas replied
to his captive's greeting by a "kick in his stomach," adding, with a
brutality which his prototype might have envied, "Ah puto
tradidor,--whoreson traitor, let me have no salutations from such as
you." Young Egmont, who had been captured, fighting bravely at the head
of coward troops, by Julian Romero, who nine years before had stood on
his father's scaffold, regarded this brutal scene with haughty
indignation. This behaviour had more effect upon Roda than the suppleness
of Capres. "I am sorry for your misfortune, Count," said the councillor,
without however rising from his chair; "such is the lot of those who take
arms against their King." This was the unfortunate commencement of Philip
Egmont's career, which was destined to be inglorious, vacillating, base,
and on more than one occasion unlucky.

A shiver ran through the country as the news of the horrible crime was
spread, but it was a shiver of indignation, not of fear. Already the
negotiations at Ghent between the representatives of the Prince and of
Holland and Zealand with the deputies of the other provinces were in a
favorable train, and the effect of this event upon their counsels was
rather quickening than appalling. A letter from Jerome de Roda to the
King was intercepted, giving an account of the transaction. In that
document the senator gave the warmest praise to Sancho d'Avila, Julian
Romero, Alonzo de Vargas, Francis Verdugo, as well as to the German
colonels Fugger, Frondsberger, Polwiller, and others who had most exerted
themselves in the massacre. "I wish your Majesty much good of this
victory," concluded the councillor, "'tis a very great one, and the
damage to the city is enormous." This cynical view was not calculated to
produce a soothing effect on the exasperated minds of the people. On the
other hand, the estates of Brabant addressed an eloquent appeal to the
states-general, reciting their wrongs, and urging immediate action. "'Tis
notorious," said the remonstrants, "that Antwerp was but yesterday the
first and principal ornament of all Europe; the refuge of all the nations
of the world; the source and supply of countless treasure; the nurse of
all arts and industry; the protectress of the Roman Catholic religion;
the guardian of science and virtue; and, above all these preeminences;
more than faithful and obedient to her sovereign prince and lord. The
city is now changed to a gloomy cavern, filled with robbers and
murderers, enemies of God, the King, and all good subjects." They then
proceeded to recite the story of the massacre, whereof the memory shall
be abominable so long as the world stands, and concluded with an urgent
appeal for redress. They particularly suggested that an edict should
forthwith be passed, forbidding the alienation of property and the
exportation of goods in any form from Antwerp, together with concession
of the right to the proprietors of reclaiming their stolen property
summarily, whenever and wheresoever it might be found. In accordance with
these instructions, an edict was passed, but somewhat tardily, in the
hope of relieving some few of the evil consequences by which the Antwerp
Fury had been attended.

At about the same time the Prince of Orange addressed a remarkable letter
to the states-general then assembled at Ghent, urging them to hasten the
conclusion of the treaty. The news of the massacre, which furnished an
additional and most vivid illustration of the truth of his letter, had
not then reached him at Middelburg, but the earnestness of his views,
taken in connexion with this last dark deed, exerted a powerful and
indelible effect. The letter was a masterpiece, because it was necessary,
in his position, to inflame without alarming; to stimulate the feelings
which were in unison, without shocking those which, if aroused, might
prove discordant. Without; therefore, alluding in terms to the religious
question, he dwelt upon the necessity of union, firmness, and wariness.
If so much had been done by Holland and Zealand, how much more might be
hoped when all the provinces were united? "The principal flower of the
Spanish army has fallen," he said, "without having been able to conquer
one of those provinces from those whom they call, in mockery, poor
beggars; yet what is that handful of cities compared to all the provinces
which might join us in the quarrel?" He warned the states of the
necessity of showing a strong and united front; the King having been ever
led to consider the movement in the Netherlands a mere conspiracy of
individuals. "The King told me himself; in 1559," said Orange, "that if
the estates had no pillars to lean upon, they would not talk so loud." It
was, therefore, "necessary to show that prelates, abbots, monks,
seigniors, gentlemen, burghers, and peasants, the whole people in short,
now cried with one voice, and desired with one will. To such a
demonstration the King would not dare oppose himself. By thus preserving
a firm and united front, sinking all minor differences, they would,
moreover, inspire their friends and foreign princes with confidence. The
princes of Germany, the lords and gentlemen of France, the Queen of
England, although sympathizing with the misfortunes of the Netherlanders,
had been unable effectually to help them, so long as their disunion
prevented them from helping themselves; so long as even their appeal to
arms seemed merely a levy of bucklers, an emotion of the populace, which,
like a wave of the sea, rises and sinks again as soon as risen."

While thus exciting to union and firmness, he also took great pains to
instil the necessity of wariness. They were dealing with an artful foe.
Intercepted letters had already proved that the old dissimulation was
still to be employed; that while Don John of Austria was on his way, the
Netherlanders were to be lulled into confidence by glozing speeches. Roda
was provided by the King with a secret programme of instructions for the
new Governor's guidance and Don Sancho d'Avila, for his countenance to
the mutineers of Alost, had been applauded to the echo in Spain. Was not
this applause a frequent indication of the policy to be adopted by Don
John, and a thousand times more significative one than the unmeaning
phrases of barren benignity with which public documents might be crammed?
"The old tricks are again brought into service," said the Prince;
"therefore 'tis necessary to ascertain your veritable friends, to tear
off the painted masks from those who, under pretence-of not daring to
displease the King, are seeking to swim between two waters. 'Tis
necessary to have a touchstone; to sign a declaration in such wise that
you may know whom to trust, and whom to suspect."

The massacre at Antwerp and the eloquence of the Prince produced a most
quickening effect upon the Congress at Ghent. Their deliberations had
proceeded with decorum and earnestness, in the midst of the cannonading
against the citadel, and the fortress fell on the same day which saw the
conclusion of the treaty.

This important instrument, by which the sacrifices and exertions of the
Prince were, for a brief season, at least, rewarded, contained
twenty-five articles. The Prince of Orange, with the estates of Holland
and Zealand, on the one side, and the provinces signing, or thereafter to
sign the treaty, on the other, agreed that there should be a mutual
forgiving and forgetting, as regarded the past. They vowed a close and
faithful friendship for the future. They plighted a mutual promise to
expel the Spaniards from the Netherlands without delay. As soon as this
great deed should be done, there was to be a convocation of the
states-general, on the basis of that assembly before which the abdication
of the Emperor had taken place. By this congress, the affairs of religion
in Holland and Zealand should be regulated, as well as the surrender of
fortresses and other places belonging to his Majesty. There was to be
full liberty of communication and traffic between the citizens of the one
side and the other. It should not be legal, however, for those of Holland
and Zealand to attempt anything outside their own territory against the
Roman Catholic religion, nor for cause hereof to injure or irritate any
one, by deed or word. All the placards and edicts on the subject of
heresy, together with the criminal ordinances made by the Duke of Alva,
were suspended, until the states-general should otherwise ordain. The
Prince was to remain lieutenant, admiral, and general for his Majesty in
Holland, Zealand, and the associated places, till otherwise provided by
the states-general; after the departure of the Spaniards. The cities and
places included in the Prince's commission, but not yet acknowledging his
authority, should receive satisfaction from him, as to the point of
religion and other matters, before subscribing to the union. All
prisoners, and particularly the Comte de Bossu, should be released
without ransom. All estates and other property not already alienated
should be restored, all confiscations since 1566 being declared null and
void. The Countess Palatine, widow of Brederode, and Count de Buren, son
of the Prince of Orange, were expressly named in this provision. Prelates
and ecclesiastical persons; having property in Holland and Zealand,
should be reinstated, if possible; but in case of alienation, which was
likely to be generally the case; there should be reasonable compensation.
It was to be decided by the states-general whether the provinces should
discharge the debts incurred by the Prince of Orange in his two
campaigns. Provinces and cities should not have the benefit of this union
until they had signed the treaty, but they should be permitted to sign it
when they chose.

This memorable document was subscribed at Ghent, on the 8th of November,
by Saint Aldegonde, with eight other commissioners appointed by the
Prince of Orange and the estates of Holland on the one side, and by
Elbertus Leoninus and other deputies appointed by Brabant, Flanders,
Artois, Hainault, Valenciennes, Lille, Douay, Orchies, Namur, Tournay,
Utrecht, and Mechlin on the other side.

The arrangement was a masterpiece of diplomacy on the part of the Prince,
for it was as effectual a provision for the safety of the Reformed
religion as could be expected under the circumstances. It was much,
considering the change which had been wrought of late years in the
fifteen provinces, that they should consent to any treaty with their two
heretic sisters. It was much more that the Pacification should recognize
the new religion as the established creed of Holland and Zealand, while
at the same time the infamous edicts of Charles were formally abolished.
In the fifteen Catholic provinces, there was to be no prohibition of
private Reformed worship, and it might be naturally expected that with
time and the arrival of the banished religionists, a firmer stand would
be taken in favor of the Reformation. Meantime, the new religion was
formally established in two provinces, and tolerated, in secret, in the
other fifteen; the Inquisition was for ever abolished, and the whole
strength of the nation enlisted to expel the foreign soldiery from the
soil. This was the work of William the Silent, and the great Prince thus
saw the labor of years crowned with, at least, a momentary success. His
satisfaction was very great when it was announced to him, many days
before the exchange of the signatures, that the treaty had been
concluded. He was desirous that the Pacification should be referred for
approval, not to the municipal magistrates only, but to the people
itself. In all great emergencies, the man who, in his whole character,
least resembled a demagogue, either of antiquity or of modern times, was
eager for a fresh expression of the popular will. On this occasion,
however, the demand for approbation was superfluous. The whole country
thought with his thoughts, and spoke with his words, and the
Pacification, as soon as published, was received with a shout of joy.
Proclaimed in the marketplace of every city and village, it was ratified,
not by votes, but by hymns of thanksgiving, by triumphal music, by
thundering of cannon, and by the blaze of beacons, throughout the
Netherlands. Another event added to the satisfaction of the hour. The
country so recently, and by deeds of such remarkable audacity, conquered
by the Spaniards in the north, was recovered almost simultaneously with
the conclusion of the Ghent treaty. It was a natural consequence of the
great mutiny. The troops having entirely deserted Mondragon, it became
necessary for that officer to abandon Zierickzee, the city which had been
won with so much valor. In the beginning of November, the capital, and
with it the whole island of Schouwen, together with the rest of Zealand,
excepting Tholen, was recovered by Count Hohenlo, lieutenant-general of
the Prince of Orange, and acting according to his instructions.

Thus, on this particular point of time, many great events had been
crowded. At the very same moment Zealand had been redeemed, Antwerp
ruined, and the league of all the Netherlands against the Spaniards
concluded. It now became known that another and most important event had
occurred at the same instant. On the day before the Antwerp massacre,
four days before the publication of the Ghent treaty, a foreign cavalier,
attended by a Moorish slave and by six men-at-arms, rode into the streets
of Luxemburg. The cavalier was Don Ottavio Gonzaga, brother of the Prince
of Melfi. The Moorish slave was Don John of Austria, the son of the
Emperor, the conqueror of Granada, the hero of Lepanto. The new
Governor-general had traversed Spain and France in disguise with great
celerity, and in the romantic manner which belonged to his character. He
stood at last on the threshold of the Netherlands, but with all his speed
he had arrived a few days too late.


     A common hatred united them, for a time at least
     A most fatal success
     All claimed the privilege of persecuting
     Blessing of God upon the Devil's work
     Daily widening schism between Lutherans and Calvinists
     Dying at so very inconvenient a moment
     Eight thousand human beings were murdered
     Everything was conceded, but nothing was secured
     Fanatics of the new religion denounced him as a godless man
     Glory could be put neither into pocket nor stomach
     He would have no Calvinist inquisition set up in its place
     He would have no persecution of the opposite creed
     In character and general talents he was beneath mediocrity
     Indecision did the work of indolence
     Insinuate that his orders had been hitherto misunderstood
     King set a price upon his head as a rebel
     No man could reveal secrets which he did not know
     Of high rank but of lamentably low capacity
     Pope excommunicated him as a heretic
     Preventing wrong, or violence, even towards an enemy
     They could not invent or imagine toleration
     Uunmeaning phrases of barren benignity

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 26


By John Lothrop Motley


1576-1577  [CHAPTER I.]

   Birth and parentage of Don John--Barbara Blomberg--Early education
   and recognition by Philip--Brilliant military career--Campaign
   against the Moors--Battle of Lepanto--Extravagant ambition--Secret
   and rapid journey of the new Governor to the Netherlands--Contrast
   between Don John and William of Orange--Secret instructions of
   Philip and private purposes of the Governor--Cautious policy and
   correspondence of the Prince--Preliminary, negotiations with Don
   John at Luxemburg characterized--Union of Brussels--Resumption of
   negotiations with the Governor at Huy--The discussions analyzed and
   characterized--Influence of the new Emperor Rudolph II. and of his
   envoys--Treaty of Marche en Famine, or the Perpetual Edict, signed--
   Remarks upon that transaction--Views and efforts of Orange in
   opposition to the treaty--His letter, in name of Holland and
   Zealand, to the States-General--Anxiety of the royal government to
   gain over the Prince--Secret mission of Leoninus--His instructions
   from Don John--Fruitless attempts to corrupt the Prince--Secret
   correspondence between Don John and Orange--Don John at Louvain--His
   efforts to ingratiate himself with the Netherlanders--His incipient
   popularity--Departure of the Spanish troops--Duke of Aerschot
   appointed Governor of Antwerp citadel--His insincere character.

Don John of Austria was now in his thirty-second year, having been born
in Ratisbon on the 24th of February, 1545. His father was Charles the
Fifth, Emperor of Germany, King of Spain, Dominator of Asia, Africa, and
America; his mother was Barbara Blomberg, washerwoman of Ratisbon.
Introduced to the Emperor, originally, that she might alleviate his
melancholy by her singing, she soon exhausted all that was harmonious in
her nature, for never was a more uncomfortable, unmanageable personage
than Barbara in her after life. Married to one Pyramus Kegell, who was
made a military commissary in the Netherlands, she was left a widow in
the beginning of Alva's administration. Placed under the especial
superintendence of the Duke, she became the torment of that warrior's
life. The terrible Governor, who could almost crush the heart out of a
nation of three millions, was unable to curb this single termagant.
Philip had expressly forbidden her to marry again, but Alva informed him
that she was surrounded by suitors. Philip had insisted that she should
go into a convent, but Alva, who, with great difficulty, had established
her quietly in Ghent, assured his master that she would break loose again
at the bare suggestion of a convent. Philip wished her to go to Spain,
sending her word that Don John was mortified by the life his mother was
leading, but she informed the Governor that she would be cut to pieces
before she would go to Spain. She had no objection to see her son, but
she knew too well how women were treated in that country. The Duke
complained most pathetically to his Majesty of the life they all led with
the ex-mistress of the Emperor. Never, he frequently observed, had woman
so terrible a head. She was obstinate, reckless, abominably extravagant.
She had been provided in Ghent with a handsome establishment: "with a
duenna, six other women, a major domo, two pages, one chaplain, an
almoner, and four men-servants," and this seemed a sufficiently liberal
scheme of life for the widow of a commissary. Moreover, a very ample
allowance had been made for the education of her only legitimate son,
Conrad, the other having perished by an accident on the day of his
father's death. While Don John of Austria was, gathering laurels in
Granada, his half-brother, Pyramus junior, had been ingloriously drowned
in a cistern at Ghent.

Barbara's expenses were exorbitant; her way of life scandalous. To send
her money, said Alva, was to throw it into the sea. In two days she would
have spent in dissipation and feasting any sums which the King might
choose to supply. The Duke, who feared nothing else in the world, stood
in mortal awe of the widow Kegell. "A terrible animal, indeed, is an
unbridled woman," wrote secretary Gayas, from Madrid, at the close of
Alva's administration for, notwithstanding every effort to entice, to
intimidate, and to kidnap her from the Netherlands, there she remained,
through all vicissitudes, even till the arrival of Don John. By his
persuasions or commands she was, at last, induced to accept an exile for
the remainder of her days, in Spain, but revenged herself by asserting.
that he was quite mistaken: in supposing himself the Emperor's child; a
point, certainly, upon which her, authority might be thought conclusive.
Thus there was a double mystery about Don John. He might be the issue of
august parentage on one side; he was; possibly, sprung of most ignoble
blood. Base-born at best, he was not sure whether to look for the author
of his being in the halls of the Caesara or the booths of Ratisbon

   [Cabrera, xii. 1009. An absurd rumor had existed that Barbara
   Blomberg had only been employed to personate Don John's mother. She
   died at an estate called Arronjo de Molinos, four leagues from
   Madrid, some years after the death of Don John.]

Whatever might be the heart of the mystery, it is certain that it was
allowed to enwrap all the early life of Don John. The Emperor, who
certainly never doubted his responsibility for the infant's existence,
had him conveyed instantly to Spain, where he was delivered to Louis
Quixada, of the Imperial household, by whom he was brought up in great
retirement at Villa-garcia. Magdalen Ulloa, wife of Quixada, watched over
his infancy with maternal and magnanimous care, for her husband's extreme
solicitude for the infant's welfare had convinced her that he was its
father. On one occasion, when their house was in flames, Quixada rescued
the infant before he saved his wife, "although Magdalen knew herself to
be dearer to him than the apple of his eye." From that time forth she
altered her opinion, and believed the mysterious child to be of lofty
origin. The boy grew up full of beauty, grace, and agility, the leader of
all his companions in every hardy sport. Through the country round there
were none who could throw the javelin, break a lance, or ride at the ring
like little Juan Quixada. In taming unmanageable horses he was celebrated
for his audacity and skill. These accomplishments, however, were likely
to prove of but slender advantage in the ecclesiastical profession, to
which he had been destined by his Imperial father. The death of Charles
occurred before clerical studies had been commenced, and Philip, to whom
the secret had been confided at the close of the Emperor's life,
prolonged the delay thus interposed. Juan had already reached his
fourteenth year, when one day his supposed father Quixada invited him to
ride towards Valladolid to see the royal hunt. Two horses stood at the
door--a splendidly caparisoned charger and a common hackney. The boy
naturally mounted the humbler steed, and they set forth for the mountains
of Toro, but on hearing the bugles of the approaching huntsmen, Quixada
suddenly halted, and bade his youthful companion exchange horses with
himself. When this had been done, he seized the hand of the wondering boy
and kissing it respectfully, exclaimed, "Your Highness will be informed
as to the meaning of my conduct by his Majesty, who is even now
approaching." They had proceeded but a short distance before they
encountered the royal hunting party, when both Quixada and young Juan
dismounted, and bent the knee to their monarch. Philip, commanding the
boy to rise, asked him if he knew his father's name. Juan replied, with a
sigh, that he had at that moment lost the only father whom he had known,
for Quixada had just disowned him. "You have the same father as myself,"
cried the King; "the Emperor Charles was the august parent of us both."
Then tenderly embracing him, he commanded him to remount his horse, and
all returned together to Valladolid, Philip observing with a
sentimentality that seems highly apocryphal, that he had never brought
home such precious game from any hunt before.

This theatrical recognition of imperial descent was one among the many
romantic incidents of Don John's picturesque career, for his life was
never destined to know the commonplace. He now commenced his education,
in company with his two nephews, the Duchess Margaret's son, and Don
Carlos, Prince-royal of Spain. They were all of the same age, but the
superiority of Don John was soon recognized. It was not difficult to
surpass the limping, malicious, Carlos, either in physical graces or
intellectual accomplishments; but the graceful; urbane, and chivalrous
Alexander, destined afterwards to such wide celebrity, was a more
formidable rival, yet even the professed panegyrist of the Farnese
family, exalts the son of Barbara Blomberg over the grandson of Margaret
Van Geest.

Still destined for the clerical profession, Don John, at the age of
eighteen, to avoid compliance with Philip's commands, made his escape to
Barcelona. It was his intention to join the Maltese expedition. Recalled
peremptorily by Philip, he was for a short time in disgrace; but
afterwards made his peace with the monarch by denouncing some of the
mischievous schemes of Don Carlos. Between the Prince-royal and the
imperial bastard, there had always been a deep animosity, the Infante
having on one occasion saluted him with the most vigorous and offensive
appellation which his illegitimate birth could suggest. "Base-born or
not," returned Don John, "at any rate I had a better father than yours."
The words were probably reported to Philip and doubtless rankled in his
breast, but nothing appeared on the surface, and the youth rose rapidly
in favor. In his twenty-third year, he was appointed to the command of
the famous campaign against the insurgent Moors of Granada. Here he
reaped his first laurels, and acquired great military celebrity. It is
difficult to be dazzled by such glory. He commenced his operations by the
expulsion of nearly all the Moorish inhabitants of Granada, bed-ridden
men, women, and children, together, and the cruelty inflicted, the
sufferings patiently endured in that memorable deportation, were
enormous. But few of the many thousand exiles survived the horrid march,
those who were so unfortunate as to do so being sold into slavery by
their captors. Still a few Moors held out in their mountain fastnesses,
and two years long the rebellion of this handful made head against the
power of Spain. Had their envoys to the Porte succeeded in their
negotiation, the throne of Philip might have trembled; but Selim hated
the Republic of Venice as much as he loved the wine of Cyprus. While the
Moors were gasping out their last breath in Granada and Ronda, the Turks
had wrested the island of Venus from the grasp of the haughty Republic
Fainagosta had fallen; thousands of Venetians had been butchered with a
ferocity which even Christians could not have surpassed; the famous
General Bragadino had been flayed; stuffed, and sent hanging on the
yard-arm of a frigate; to Constantinople, as a present to the Commander
of the Faithful; and the mortgage of Catherine Cornaro, to the exclusion
of her husband's bastards, had been thus definitely cancelled. With such
practical enjoyments, Selim was indifferent to the splendid but shadowy
vision of the Occidental caliphate--yet the revolt of the Moors was only
terminated, after the departure of Don John, by the Duke of Arcos.

The war which the Sultan had avoided in the West, came to seek him in the
East. To lift the Crucifix against the Crescent, at the head of the
powerful but quarrelsome alliance between Venice, Spain, and Rome, Don
John arrived at Naples. He brought with him more than a hundred ships and
twenty-three thousand men, as the Spanish contingent:--Three months long
the hostile fleets had been cruising in the same waters without an
encounter; three more were wasted in barren manoeuvres. Neither Mussulman
nor Christian had much inclination for the conflict, the Turk fearing the
consequences of a defeat, by which gains already secured might be
forfeited; the allies being appalled at the possibility of their own
triumph. Nevertheless, the Ottomans manoeuvred themselves at last into
the gulf of Lepanto, the Christians manoeuvred themselves towards its
mouth as the foe was coming forth again. The conflict thus rendered
inevitable, both Turk and Christian became equally eager for the fray,
equally confident of, victory. Six hundred vessels of war met face to
face. Rarely in history had so gorgeous a scene of martial array been
witnessed. An October sun gilded the thousand beauties of an Ionian
landscape. Athens and Corinth were behind the combatants, the mountains
of Alexander's Macedon rose in the distance; the rock of Sappho and the
heights of Actium, were before their eyes. Since the day when the world
had been lost and won beneath that famous promontory, no such combat as
the one now approaching had been fought upon the waves. The chivalrous
young commander despatched energetic messages to his fellow chieftains,
and now that it was no longer possible to elude the encounter, the
martial ardor of the allies was kindled. The Venetian High-Admiral
replied with words of enthusiasm. Colonna, lieutenant of the league,
answered his chief in the language of St. Peter; "Though I die, yet will
I not deny thee."

The fleet was arranged in three divisions. The Ottomans, not drawn up in
crescent form, as usual, had the same triple disposition. Barbarigo and
the other Venetians commanded on the left, John Andrew Doria on the
right, while Don John himself and Colonna were in the centre, Crucifix in
hand, the High-Admiral rowed from ship to ship exhorting generals and
soldiers to show themselves worthy of a cause which he had persuaded
himself was holy. Fired by his eloquence and by the sight of the enemy,
his hearers answered with eager shouts, while Don John returned to his
ship; knelt upon the quarter-deck, and offered a prayer. He then ordered
the trumpets to sound the assault, commanded his sailing-master to lay
him alongside the Turkish Admiral, and the battle began. The Venetians,
who were first attacked, destroyed ship after ship of their assailants
after a close and obstinate contest, but Barliarigo fell dead ere the
sunset, with an arrow through his brain. Meantime the action, immediately
after the first onset, had become general. From noon till evening the
battle raged, with a carnage rarely recorded in history. Don John's own
ship lay yard-arm and yard-arm with the Turkish Admiral, and exposed to
the fire of seven large vessels besides. It was a day when personal,
audacity, not skilful tactics, was demanded, and the imperial bastard
showed the metal he was made of. The Turkish Admiral's ship was
destroyed, his head exposed from Don John's deck upon a pike, and the
trophy became the signal for a general panic and a complete victory. By
sunset the battle had been won.

Of nearly three hundred Turkish galleys, but fifty made their escape.
From twenty-five to thirty thousand Turks were slain, and perhaps ten
thousand Christians. The galley-slaves on both sides fought well, and the
only beneficial result of the victory was the liberation of several
thousand Christian captives. It is true that their liberty was purchased
with the lives of a nearly equal number of Christian soldiers, and by the
reduction to slavery of almost as many thousand Mussulmen, duly
distributed among the Christian victors. Many causes--contributed to this
splendid triumph. The Turkish ships, inferior in number, were also worse
manned than those of their adversaries; and their men were worse armed.
Every bullet of the Christians told on muslin turbans and embroidered
tunics, while the arrows of the Moslems fell harmless on the casques and
corslets of their foes. The Turks, too, had committed the fatal error of
fighting upon a lee shore. Having no sea room, and being repelled in
their first onset, many galleys were driven upon the rocks, to be
destroyed with all their crews.

   [Cabrera says that thirty thousand Turks were slain, ten thousand
   made prisoners, ten thousand Christians killed, and fifteen thousand
   Christian prisoners liberated, ix. 693. De Thou's estimate is
   twenty-five thousand Turks killed, three thousand prisoners, and ten
   thousand Christians killed, vi. 247. Brantome states the number of
   Turks killed at thirty thousand, without counting those who were
   drowned or who died afterwards of their wounds; six thousand
   prisoners, twelve thousand Christian prisoners liberated, and ten
   thousand Christians killed. Hoofd, vi. 214, gives the figures at
   twenty-five thousand Turks and ten thousand Christians slain. Bor,
   v. 354, makes a minute estimate, on the authority of Pietro
   Contareno, stating the number of Christians killed at seven thousand
   six hundred and fifty, that of Turks at twenty-five thousand one
   hundred and fifty, Turkish prisoners at three thousand eight hundred
   and forty-six, and Christians liberated at twelve thousand; giving
   the number of Turkish ships destroyed at eighty, captured fifty.
   According to the "Relation cierta y verdadera," (which was drawn up
   a few days after the action,) the number of Turks slain was thirty
   thousand and upwards, besides many prisoners, that of Christians
   killed was seven thousand, of Christian slaves liberated twelve
   thousand, of Ottoman ships taken or destroyed two hundred and
   thirty. Documentos Ineditos, iii. 249. Philip sent an express
   order, forbidding the ransoming of even the captive officers. The
   Turkish slaves were divided among the victors in the proportion of
   one-half to Philip and one-half to the Pope and Venice. The other
   booty was distributed on the same principle. Out of the Pope's
   share Don John received, as a present, one hundred and seventy-four
   slaves (Documentos Ineditos, iii. 229). Alexander of Parma
   received thirty slaves; Requesens thirty. To each general of
   infantry was assigned six slaves; to each colonel four; to each
   ship's captain one. The number of "slaves in chains" (esclavos de
   cadena) allotted to Philip was thirty-six hundred (Documentoa
   Ineditos, 257). Seven thousand two hundred Turkish slaves,
   therefore, at least, were divided among Christians. This number of
   wretches, who were not fortunate enough to die with their twenty-
   five thousand comrades, must be set off against the twelve thousand
   Christian slaves liberated, in the general settlement of the account
   with Humanity.]

But whatever the cause of the victory, its consequence was to spread the
name and fame of Don John of Austria throughout the world. Alva wrote,
with enthusiasm, to congratulate him; pronouncing the victory the most
brilliant one ever achieved by Christians, and Don John the greatest
general since the death of Julius Caesar. At the same time, with a
sarcastic fling at the erection of the Escorial, he advised Philip to
improve this new success in some more practical way than by building a
house for the Lord and a sepulchre for the dead. "If," said the Duke,
"the conquests of Spain be extended in consequence of this triumph, then,
indeed, will the Cherubim and Seraphim sing glory to God." A courier,
despatched post haste to Spain, bore the glorious news, together with
the sacred, standard of the Prophet, the holy of holies, inscribed with
the name of Allah twenty-eight thousand nine hundred times, always kept
in Mecca during peace, and never since the conquest of Constantinople
lost in battle before. The King was at vespers in the Escorial. Entering
the sacred precincts, breathless, travel-stained, excited, the messenger
found Philip impassible as marble to the wondrous news. Not a muscle of
the royal visage was moved, not a syllable escaped the royal lips, save a
brief order to the clergy to continue the interrupted vespers. When the
service had been methodically concluded, the King made known the
intelligence and requested a Te Deum.

The youthful commander-in-chief obtained more than his full mead of
glory. No doubt he had fought with brilliant courage, yet in so close and
murderous a conflict, the valor of no single individual could decide the
day, and the result was due to the combined determination of all. Had Don
John remained at Naples, the issue might have easily been the same.
Barbarigo, who sealed the victory with his blood; Colonna, who celebrated
a solemn triumph on his return to Rome; Parma, Doria, Giustiniani,
Venieri, might each as well have claimed a monopoly of the glory, had not
the Pope, at Philip's entreaty, conferred the baton of command upon Don
John. The meagre result of the contest is as notorious as the victory.
While Constantinople was quivering with apprehension, the rival generals
were already wrangling with animosity. Had the Christian fleet advanced,
every soul would have fled from the capital, but Providence had ordained
otherwise, and Don John sailed westwardly with his ships. He made a
descent on the Barbary coast, captured Tunis, destroyed Biserta, and
brought King Amidas and his two sons prisoners to Italy. Ordered by
Philip to dismantle the fortifications of Tunis, he replied by repairing
them thoroughly, and by placing a strong garrison within the citadel.
Intoxicated with his glory, the young adventurer already demanded a
crown, and the Pope was disposed to proclaim him King of Tunis, for the
Queen of the Lybian seas was to be the capital of his Empire, the new
Carthage which he already dreamed.

Philip thought it time to interfere, for he felt that his own crown might
be insecure, with such a restless and ambitious spirit indulging in
possible and impossible chimeras. He removed John de Soto, who had been
Don John's chief councillor and emissary to the Pope, and substituted in
his place the celebrated and ill-starred Escovedo. The new secretary,
however, entered as heartily but secretly into all these romantic
schemes. Disappointed of the Empire which he had contemplated on the edge
of the African desert, the champion of the Cross turned to the cold
islands of the northern seas. There sighed, in captivity, the beauteous
Mary of Scotland, victim of the heretic Elizabeth. His susceptibility to
the charms of beauty--a characteristic as celebrated as his courage--was
excited, his chivalry aroused. What holier triumph for the conqueror of
the Saracens than the subjugation of these northern infidels? He would
dethrone the proud Elizabeth; he would liberate and espouse the Queen of
Scots, and together they would reign over, the two united realms. All
that the Pope could do with bulls and blessings, letters of
excommunication, and patents of investiture, he did with his whole heart.
Don John was at liberty to be King of England and Scotland as soon as he
liked; all that was left to do was to conquer the kingdoms.

Meantime, while these schemes were flitting through his brain, and were
yet kept comparatively secret by the Pope, Escovedo, and himself, the
news reached him in Italy that he had been appointed Governor-General of
the Netherlands. Nothing could be more opportune. In the provinces were
ten thousand veteran Spaniards, ripe for adventure, hardened by years of
warfare, greedy for gold, audacious almost beyond humanity, the very
instruments for his scheme. The times were critical in the Netherlands,
it was true; yet he would soon pacify those paltry troubles, and then
sweep forward to his prize. Yet events were rushing forward with such
feverish rapidity, that he might be too late for his adventure. Many days
were lost in the necessary journey from Italy into Spain to receive the
final instructions of the King. The news from the provinces, grew more
and more threatening. With the impetuosity and romance of his
temperament, he selected his confidential friend Ottavio Gonzaga, six
men-at-arms, and an adroit and well-experienced Swiss courier who knew
every road of France. It was no light adventure for the Catholic
Governor-General of the Netherlands to traverse the kingdom at that
particular juncture. Staining his bright locks and fair face to the
complexion of a Moor, he started on his journey, attired as the servant
of Gonzaga. Arriving at Paris, after a rapid journey, he descended at a
hostelry opposite the residence of the Spanish ambassador, Don Diego de
Cuniga. After nightfall he had a secret interview with that functionary,
and learning, among other matters, that there was to be a great ball that
night at the Louvre, he determined to go thither in disguise. There,
notwithstanding his hurry, he had time to see and to become desperately
enamored of "that wonder of beauty," the fair and frail Margaret of
Valois, Queen of Navarre. Her subsequent visit to her young adorer at
Namur, to be recorded in a future page of this history, was destined to
mark the last turning point in his picturesque career. On his way to the
Netherlands he held a rapid interview with the Duke of Guise, to arrange
his schemes for the liberation and espousal of that noble's kinswoman,
the Scottish Queen; and on the 3rd of November he arrived at Luxemburg.

There stood the young conqueror of Lepanto, his brain full of schemes,
his heart full of hopes, on the threshhold of the Netherlands, at the
entrance to what he believed the most brilliant chapter of his
life--schemes, hopes, and visions--doomed speedily to fade before the
cold reality with which he was to be confronted. Throwing off his
disguise after reaching Luxemburg, the youthful paladin stood confessed.
His appearance was as romantic as his origin and his exploits. Every
contemporary chronicler, French, Spanish, Italian, Flemish, Roman, have
dwelt upon his personal beauty and the singular fascination of his
manner. Symmetrical features, blue eyes of great vivacity, and a
profusion of bright curling hair, were combined with a person not much
above middle height; but perfectly well proportioned. Owing to a natural
peculiarity of his head, the hair fell backward from the temples, and he
had acquired the habit of pushing it from his brows. The custom became a
fashion among the host of courtiers, who were but too happy to glass
themselves in so brilliant a mirror. As Charles the Fifth, on his journey
to Italy to assume the iron crown, had caused his hair to be clipped
close, as a remedy for the headaches with which, at that momentous epoch,
he was tormented, bringing thereby close shaven polls into extreme
fashion; so a mass of hair pushed backward from the temples, in the style
to which the name of John of Austria was appropriated, became the
prevailing mode wherever the favorite son of the Emperor appeared.

Such was the last crusader whom the annals of chivalry were to know; the
man who had humbled the crescent as it had not been humbled since the
days of the Tancreds, the Baldwins, the Plantagenets--yet, after all,
what was this brilliant adventurer when weighed against the tranquil
Christian champion whom he was to meet face to face? The contrast was
striking between the real and the romantic hero. Don John had pursued and
achieved glory through victories with which the world was ringing;
William was slowly compassing a country's emancipation through a series
of defeats. He moulded a commonwealth and united hearts with as much
contempt for danger as Don John had exhibited in scenes of slave driving
and carnage. Amid fields of blood, and through web's of tortuous
intrigue, the brave and subtle son of the Emperor pursued only his own
objects. Tawdry schemes of personal ambition, conquests for his own
benefit, impossible crowns for his own wearing, were the motives which
impelled, him, and the prizes which he sought. His existence was
feverish, fitful, and passionate. "Tranquil amid the raging billows,"
according to his favorite device, the father of his country waved aside
the diadem which for him had neither charms nor meaning. Their characters
were as contrasted as their persons. The curled-darling of chivalry
seemed a youth at thirty-one. Spare of figure, plain in apparel,
benignant, but haggard of countenance, with temples bared by anxiety as
much as by his helmet, earnest, almost devout in manner, in his own
words, "Calvus et Calvinists," William of Orange was an old man at

Perhaps there was as much good faith on the part of Don John, when he
arrived in Luxemburg, as could be expected of a man coming directly from
the cabinet of Philip. The King had secretly instructed him to conciliate
the provinces, but to concede nothing, for the Governor was only a new
incarnation of the insane paradox that benignity and the system of
Charles the Fifth were one. He was directed to restore the government, to
its state during the imperial epoch. Seventeen provinces, in two of which
the population were all dissenters, in all of which the principle of
mutual toleration had just been accepted by Catholics and Protestants,
were now to be brought back to the condition according to which all
Protestants were beheaded, burned, or buried alive. So that the
Inquisition, the absolute authority of the monarch, and the exclusive
worship of the Roman Church were preserved intact, the King professed
himself desirous of "extinguishing the fires of rebellion, and of saving
the people from the last desperation." With these slight exceptions,
Philip was willing to be very benignant. "More than this," said he,
"cannot and ought not be conceded." To these brief but pregnant
instructions was added a morsel of advice, personal in its nature, but
very characteristic of the writer. Don John was recommended to take great
care of his soul, and also to be very cautious in the management of his

Thus counselled and secretly directed, the new Captain-General had been
dismissed to the unhappy Netherlands. The position, however, was
necessarily false. The man who was renowned for martial exploits, and
notoriously devoured by ambition, could hardly inspire deep confidence in
the pacific dispositions of the government. The crusader of Granada and
Lepanto, the champion of the ancient Church, was not likely to please the
rugged Zealanders who had let themselves be hacked to pieces rather than
say one Paternoster, and who had worn crescents in their caps at Leyden,
to prove their deeper hostility to the Pope than to the Turk. The
imperial bastard would derive but alight consideration from his paternal
blood, in a country where illegitimate birth was more unfavorably
regarded than in most other countries, and where a Brabantine edict,
recently issued in name of the King; deprived all political or civil
functionaries not born in wedlock; of their offices. Yet he had received
instructions, at his departure, to bring about a pacification, if
possible, always maintaining, however, the absolute authority of the
crown and the exclusive exercise of the Catholic religion. How the two
great points of his instructions were to be made entirely palatable, was
left to time and chance. There was a vague notion that with the new
Governor's fame, fascinating manners, and imperial parentage, he might
accomplish a result which neither fraud nor force--not the arts of
Granvelle, nor the atrocity of Alva, nor the licentiousness of a
buccaneering soldiery had been able to effect. As for Don John himself,
he came with no definite plans for the Netherlanders, but with very
daring projects of his own, and to pursue these misty visions was his
main business on arriving in the provinces. In the meantime he was
disposed to settle the Netherland difficulty in some showy, off-hand
fashion, which should cost him but little trouble, and occasion no
detriment to the cause of Papacy or absolutism. Unfortunately for these
rapid arrangements, William of Orange was in Zealand, and the
Pacification had just been signed at Ghent.

It was, naturally, with very little satisfaction that the Prince beheld
the arrival of Don John. His sagacious combinations would henceforth be
impeded, if not wholly frustrated. This he foresaw. He knew that there
could be no intention of making any arrangement in which Holland and
Zealand could be included. He was confident that any recognition of the
Reformed religion was as much out of the question now as ever. He doubted
not that there were many Catholic magnates, wavering politicians,
aspirants for royal favor, who would soon be ready to desert the cause
which had so recently been made a general cause, and who would soon be
undermining the work of their own hands. The Pacification of Ghent would
never be maintained in letter and spirit by the vicegerent of Philip; for
however its sense might be commented upon or perverted, the treaty, while
it recognized Catholicism as the state religion, conceded, to a certain
extent, liberty of conscience. An immense stride had been taken, by
abolishing the edicts, and prohibiting persecution. If that step were now
retraced, the new religion was doomed, and the liberties of Holland and
Zealand destroyed. "If they make an arrangement with Don John, it will be
for us of the religion to run," wrote the Prince to his brother, "for
their intention is to suffer no person of that faith to have a fixed
domicile in the Netherlands." It was, therefore, with a calm
determination to counteract and crush the policy of the youthful Governor
that William the Silent awaited his antagonist. Were Don John admitted to
confidence, the peace of Holland and Zealand was gone. Therefore it was
necessary to combat him both openly and secretly--by loud remonstrance
and by invisible stratagem. What chance had the impetuous and impatient
young hero in such an encounter with the foremost statesman of the age?
He had arrived, with all the self-confidence of a conqueror; he did not
know that he was to be played upon like a pipe--to be caught in meshes
spread by his own hands--to struggle blindly--to rage impotently--to die

The Prince had lost no time in admonishing the states-general as to the
course which should now be pursued. He was of opinion that, upon their
conduct at this crisis depended the future destinies of the Netherlands.
"If we understand how to make proper use of the new Governor's arrival,"
said he, "it may prove very advantageous to us; if not, it will be the
commencement of our total ruin." The spirit of all his communications was
to infuse the distrust which he honestly felt, and which he certainly
took no pains to disguise; to impress upon his countrymen the importance
of improving the present emergency by the enlargement, instead of the
threatened contraction of their liberties, and to enforce with all his
energy the necessity of a firm union. He assured the estates that Don
John had been sent, in this simple manner, to the country, because the
King and cabinet had begun to despair of carrying their point by force.
At the same time he warned them that force would doubtless be replaced by
fraud. He expressed his conviction that so soon as Don John should attain
the ascendency which he had been sent to secure, the gentleness which now
smiled upon the surface would give place to the deadlier purposes which
lurked below. He went so far as distinctly to recommend the seizure of
Don John's person. By so doing, much bloodshed might be saved; for such
was the King's respect for the Emperor's son that their demands would be
granted rather than that his liberty should be permanently endangered. In
a very striking and elaborate letter which he addressed from Middelburg
to the estates-general, he insisted on the expediency of seizing the
present opportunity in order to secure and to expand their liberties, and
urged them to assert broadly the principle that the true historical
polity of the Netherlands was a representative, constitutional
government, Don John, on arriving at Luxemburg, had demanded hostages for
his own security, a measure which could not but strike the calmest
spectator as an infraction of all provincial rights. "He asks you to
disarm," continued William of Orange; "he invites you to furnish
hostages, but the time has been when the lord of the land came unarmed
and uncovered, before the estates-general, and swore to support the
constitutions before his own sovereignty could be recognized."

He reiterated his suspicions as to the honest intentions of the
government, and sought, as forcibly as possible, to infuse an equal
distrust into the minds of those he addressed. "Antwerp," said he, "once
the powerful and blooming, now the most forlorn and desolate city of
Christendom, suffered because she dared to exclude the King's troops. You
may be sure that you are all to have a place at the same banquet. We may
forget the past, but princes never forget, when the means of vengeance
are placed within their hands. Nature teaches them to arrive at their end
by fraud, when violence will not avail them. Like little children, they
whistle to the birds they would catch. Promises and pretences they will
furnish in plenty."

He urged them on no account to begin any negotiation with the Governor,
except on the basis of the immediate departure of the soldiery. "Make no
agreement with him; unless the Spanish and other foreign troops have been
sent away beforehand; beware, meantime, of disbanding your own, for that
were to put the knife into his hands to cut your own throats withal." He
then proceeded to sketch the out lines of a negotiation, such as he could
recommend. The plan was certainly sufficiently bold, and it could hardly
cause astonishment, if it were not immediately accepted by Don John; as
the basis of an arrangement. "Remember this is not play", said the
Prince, "and that you have to choose between the two, either total ruin
or manly self-defence. Don John must command the immediate departure of
the Spaniards. All our privileges must be revised, and an oath to
maintain them required. New councils of state and finance must be
appointed by the estates. The general assembly ought to have power to
come together twice or thrice yearly, and, indeed, as often as they
choose. The states-general must administer and regulate all affairs. The
citadels must be demolished everywhere. No troops ought to be enlisted,
nor garrisons established, without the consent of the estates."

In all the documents, whether public memorials or private letters, which
came at this period from the hand of the Prince, he assumed, as a matter
of course, that in any arrangement with the new Governor the Pacification
of Ghent was to be maintained. This, too, was the determination of almost
every man in the country. Don John, soon after his arrival at Luxemburg,
had despatched messengers to the states-general, informing them of his
arrival. It was not before the close of the month of November that the
negotiations seriously began. Provost Fonck, on the part of the Governor,
then informed them of Don John's intention to enter Namur, attended by
fifty mounted troopers. Permission, however, was resolutely refused, and
the burghers of Namur were forbidden to render oaths of fidelity until
the Governor should have complied with the preliminary demands of the
estates. To enunciate these demands categorically, a deputation of the
estates-general came to Luxemburg. These gentlemen were received with
courtesy by Don John, but their own demeanour was not conciliatory. A
dislike to the Spanish government; a disloyalty to the monarch with whose
brother and representative they were dealing, pierced through all their
language. On the other hand, the ardent temper of Don John was never slow
to take offence. One of the deputies proposed to the Governor, with great
coolness, that he should assume the government in his own name, and
renounce the authority of Philip. Were he willing to do so, the patriotic
gentleman pledged himself that the provinces would at once acknowledge
him as sovereign, and sustain his government. Don John, enraged at the
insult to his own loyalty which the proposition implied, drew his dagger
and rushed towards the offender. The deputy would, probably, have paid
for his audacity with his life had there not been by-standers enough to
prevent the catastrophe. This scene was an unsatisfactory prelude to the
opening negotiations.

On the 6th of December the deputies presented to the Governor at
Luxemburg a paper, containing their demands, drawn up in eight articles,
and their concessions in ten. The states insisted on the immediate
removal of the troops, with the understanding that they were never to
return, but without prohibition of their departure by sea; they demanded
the immediate release of all prisoners; they insisted on the maintenance
of the Ghent treaty, there being nothing therein which did not tend to
the furtherance of the Catholic religion; they claimed an act of amnesty;
they required the convocation of the states-general, on the basis of that
assembly before which took place the abdication of Charles the Fifth;
they demanded an oath, on the part of Don John, to maintain all the
charters and customs of the country.

Should these conditions be complied: with, the deputies consented on the
part of the estates, that he should be acknowledged as Governor, and that
the Catholic religion and the authority of his Majesty should be
maintained. They agreed that all foreign leagues should be renounced,
their own foreign soldiery disbanded, and a guard of honor, native
Netherlanders, such as his Majesty was contented with at his "Blythe
Entrance," provided. A truce of fifteen days, for negotiations, was
furthermore proposed.

Don John made answers to these propositions by adding a brief comment, as
apostille, upon each of the eighteen articles, in succession. He would
send away the troops, but, at the same time, the states must disband
their own. He declined engaging himself not to recal his foreign
soldiery, should necessity require their service. With regard to the
Ghent Pacification, he professed himself ready for a general peace
negotiation, on condition that the supremacy of the Catholic Church and
the authority of his Majesty were properly secured. He would settle upon
some act of amnesty after due consultation with the State Council. He was
willing that the states should be convoked in general assembly, provided
sufficient security were given him that nothing should be there
transacted prejudicial to the Catholic religion and the King's
sovereignty. As for their privileges, he would govern as had been done in
the time of his imperial father. He expressed his satisfaction with most
of the promises offered by the estates, particularly with their
expression in favor of the Church and of his Majesty's authority; the two
all-important points to secure which he had come thither unattended, at
the peril of his life, but he received their offer of a body-guard, by
which his hirelings were to be superseded, with very little gratitude. He
was on the point, he said, of advancing as far as Marche en Famine, and
should take with him as strong a guard as he considered necessary, and
composed of such troops as he had at hand. Nothing decisive came of this
first interview. The parties had taken the measures of their mutual
claims, and after a few days, fencing with apostilles, replies, and
rejoinders, they separated, their acrimony rather inflamed than appeased.

The departure of the troops and the Ghent treaty were the vital points in
the negotiation. The estates had originally been content that the troops
should go by sea. Their suspicions were, however, excited by the
pertinacity with which Don John held to this mode of removal. Although
they did not suspect the mysterious invasion of England, a project which
was the real reason why the Governor objected to their departure by land,
yet they soon became aware--that he had been secretly tampering with the
troops at every point. The effect of these secret negotiations with the
leading officers of the army was a general expression of their
unwillingness, on account of the lateness of the season, the difficult
and dangerous condition of the roads and mountain-passes, the plague in
Italy, and other pretexts, to undertake so long a journey by land. On the
other hand, the states, seeing the anxiety and the duplicity of Don John
upon this particular point, came to the resolution to thwart him at all
hazards, and insisted on the land journey. Too long a time, too much
money, too many ships would be necessary, they said, to forward so large
a force by sea, and in the meantime it would be necessary to permit them
to live for another indefinite period at the charge of the estates.

With regard to the Ghent Pacification, the estates, in the course of
December, procured: an express opinion from the eleven professors of
theology, and doctors utriusque juris of Louvain, that the treaty
contained nothing which conflicted with the supremacy of the Catholic
religion. The various bishops, deacons, abbots, and pastors of the
Netherlands made a similar decision. An elaborate paper, drawn, up by the
State-Council, at the request of the states-general, declared that there
was nothing in the Pacification derogatory to the supreme authority of
his Majesty. Thus fortified; with opinions which, it must be confessed,
were rather dogmatically than argumentatively drawn up, and which it
would have been difficult very logically to, defend, the states looked
forward confidently to the eventual acceptance by Don John of the terms
proposed. In the meantime, while there was still an indefinite pause in
the negotiations, a remarkable measure came to aid the efficacy of the
Ghent Pacification.

Early in January, 1577, the celebrated "Union of Brussels" was formed.
This important agreement was originally signed by eight leading
personages, the Abbot of Saint Gertrude, the Counts Lalain and Bossu, and
the Seigneur de Champagny being among the number. Its tenor was to engage
its signers to compass the immediate expulsion of the Spaniards and the
execution of the Ghent Pacification, to maintain the Catholic religion
and the King's authority, and to defend the fatherland and all its
constitutions. Its motive was to generalize the position assumed by the
Ghent treaty. The new act was to be signed, not by a few special deputies
alone, like a diplomatic convention, but by all the leading individuals
of all the provinces, in order to exhibit to Don John such an array of
united strength that he would find himself forced to submit to the
demands of the estates. The tenor, motive, and effect were all as had
been proposed and foreseen. The agreement to expel the Spaniards, under
the Catholic and loyal manifestations indicated, passed from hand to hand
through all the provinces. It soon received the signature and support of
all the respectability, wealth, and intelligence of the whole country.
Nobles, ecclesiastics, citizens, hastened to give to it their adhesion.
The states-general had sent it, by solemn resolution, to every province,
in order that every man might be forced to range himself either upon the
side of the fatherland or of despotism. Two copies of the signatures
procured in each province were ordered, of which one was to be deposited
in its archives, and the other forwarded to Brussels. In a short time,
every province, with the single exception of Luxemburg, had loaded the
document with signatures. This was a great step in advance. The Ghent
Pacification, which was in the nature of a treaty between the Prince and
the estates of Holland and Zealand on the one side, and a certain number
of provinces on the other, had only been signed by the envoys of the
contracting parties. Though received with deserved and universal
acclamation, it had not the authority of a popular document. This,
however, was the character studiously impressed upon the "Brussels
Union." The people, subdivided according to the various grades of their
social hierarchy, had been solemnly summoned to council, and had
deliberately recorded their conviction. No restraint had been put upon
their freedom of action, and there was hardly a difference of opinion as
to the necessity of the measure.

A rapid revolution in Friesland, Groningen, and the dependencies, had
recently restored that important country to the national party. The
Portuguese De Billy had been deprived of his authority as King's
stadholder, and Count Hoogstraaten's brother, Baron de Ville, afterwards
as Count Renneberg infamous for his, treason to the cause of liberty, had
been appointed by the estates in his room. In all this district the
"Union of Brussels" was eagerly signed by men of every degree. Holland
and Zealand, no less than the Catholic provinces of the south willingly
accepted the compromise which was thus laid down, and which was thought
to be not only an additional security for the past, not only a pillar
more for the maintenance of the Ghent Pacification, but also a sure
precursor of a closer union in the future. The Union of Brussels became,
in fact, the stepping-stone to the "Union of Utrecht," itself the
foundation-stone of a republic destined to endure more than two
centuries. On the other hand, this early union held the seed, of its own
destruction within itself. It was not surprising, however, that a strong
declaration in favor of the Catholic religion should be contained in a
document intended for circulation through all the provinces. The object
was to unite as large a force, and to make as striking a demonstration
before the eyes of the Governor General as was practicable under the
circumstances. The immediate purpose was answered, temporary union was
formed, but it was impossible that a permanent crystallization should
take place where so strong a dissolvent as the Catholic clause had been
admitted. In the sequel, therefore, the union fell asunder precisely at
this fatal flaw. The next union was that which definitely separated the
provinces into Protestant, and Catholic, into self-governing republics,
and the dependencies of a distant despotism. The immediate effect,
however, of the "Brussels Union" was to rally all lovers of the
fatherland and haters of a foreign tyranny upon one vital point--the
expulsion of the stranger from the land. The foot of the Spanish soldier
should no longer profane their soil. All men were forced to pronounce
themselves boldly and unequivocally, in order that the patriots might
stand shoulder to shoulder, and the traitors be held up to infamy. This
measure was in strict accordance with the advice given more than once by
the Prince of Orange, and was almost in literal fulfilment of the
Compromise, which he had sketched before the arrival of Don John.

The deliberations were soon resumed with the new Governor, the scene
being shifted from Luxemburg to Huy. Hither came a fresh deputation from
the states-general--many signers of the Brussels Union among them--and
were received by Don John with stately courtesy: They had, however, come,
determined to carry matters with a high and firm hand, being no longer
disposed to brook his imperious demeanour, nor to tolerate his dilatory
policy. It is not surprising, therefore, that the courtesy soon changed
to bitterness, and that attack and recrimination usurped the place of the
dignified but empty formalities which had characterized the interviews at

The envoys, particularly Sweveghem and Champagny, made no concealment of
their sentiments towards the Spanish soldiery and the Spanish nation, and
used a freedom of tone and language which the petulant soldier had not
been accustomed to hear. He complained, at the outset, that the
Netherlanders seemed new-born--that instead of bending the knee, they
seemed disposed to grasp the sceptre. Insolence had taken the place of
pliancy, and the former slave now applied the chain and whip to his
master. With such exacerbation of temper at the commencement of
negotiations, their progress was of necessity stormy and slow.

The envoys now addressed three concise questions to the Governor. Was he
satisfied that the Ghent Pacification contained nothing conflicting with
the Roman religion and the King's authority? If so, was he willing to
approve that treaty in all its articles? Was he ready to dismiss his
troops at once, and by land, the sea voyage being liable to too many

Don John answered these three questions--which, in reality, were but
three forms of a single question--upon the same day, the 24th of January.
His reply was as complex as the demand had been simple. It consisted of a
proposal in six articles, and a requisition in twenty-one, making in all
twenty-seven articles. Substantially he proposed to dismiss the foreign
troops--to effect a general pacification of the Netherlands--to govern on
the basis of the administration in his imperial father's reign--to
arrange affairs in and with regard to the assembly-general as the King
should judge to be fitting--to forgive and forget past offences--and to
release all prisoners. On the other hand he required the estates to pay
the troops before their departure, and to provide ships enough to
transport them, as the Spaniards did not choose to go by land, and as the
deputies, at Luxemburg had consented to their removal by sea.
Furthermore, he demanded that the states should dismiss their own troops.
He required ecclesiastical authority to prove the Ghent Pacification not
prejudicial to the Catholic religion; legal authority that it was not
detrimental to his Majesty's supremacy; and an oath from the
states-general to uphold both points inviolably, and to provide for their
maintenance in Holland and Zealand. He claimed the right to employ about
his person soldiers and civil functionaries of any nation he might
choose, and he exacted from the states a promise to prevent the Prince of
Orange from removing his son, Count van Buren, forcibly or fraudulently,
from his domicile in Spain.

The deputies were naturally indignant at this elaborate trifling. They
had, in reality, asked him but one question, and that a simple one--Would
he maintain the treaty of Ghent? Here were twenty-seven articles in
reply, and yet no answer to that question. They sat up all night,
preparing a violent protocol, by which the Governor's claims were to be
utterly demolished. Early in the morning, they waited upon his Highness,
presented the document, and at the same time asked him plainly, by word
of mouth, did he or did he not intend to uphold the treaty. Thus pressed
into a corner in presence of the deputies, the members of the State
Council who were in attendance from Brussels, and the envoys whom the
Emperor had recently sent to assist at these deliberations, the Governor
answered, No. He would not and could not maintain the treaty, because the
Spanish troops were in that instrument denounced as rebels, because he
would not consent to the release of Count Van Buren--and on account of
various other reasons not then specified. Hereupon ensued a fierce
debate, and all day long the altercation lasted, without a result being
reached. At ten o'clock in the evening, the deputies having previously
retired for a brief interval, returned with a protest that they were not
to be held responsible for the termination of the proceedings, and that
they washed their hands of the bloodshed which might follow the rupture.
Upon reading this document; Don John fell into a blazing passion. He
vehemently denounced the deputies as traitors. He swore that men who came
to him thus prepared with ready-made protests in their pockets, were
rebels from the commencement, and had never intended any agreement with
him. His language and gestures expressed unbounded fury. He was weary of
their ways, he said. They had better look to themselves, for the King
would never leave their rebellion unpunished. He was ready to draw the
sword at once--not his own, but his Majesty's, and they might be sure
that the war which they were thus provoking, should be the fiercest ever,
waged. More abusive language in this strain was uttered, but it was not
heard with lamb-like submission. The day had gone by when the deputies of
the states-general were wont to quail before the wrath of vicarious
royalty. The fiery words of Don John were not oil to troubled water, but
a match to a mine. The passions of the deputies exploded in their turn,
and from hot words they had nearly come to hard blows. One of the
deputies replied with so much boldness and vehemence that the Governor,
seizing a heavy silver bell which stood on the table, was about to hurl
it at the offender's head, when an energetic and providential
interference on the part of the imperial envoys, prevented the unseemly

The day thus unprofitably spent, had now come to its close, and the
deputies left the presence of Don John with tempers as inflamed as his
own. They were, therefore, somewhat surprised at being awakened in their
beds, after midnight, by a certain Father Trigoso, who came to them with
a conciliatory message from the Governor. While they were still rubbing
their eyes with sleep and astonishment, the Duke of Aerschot, the Bishop
of Liege, and several councillors of state, entered the room. These
personages brought the news that Don John had at last consented to
maintain the Pacification of Ghent, as would appear by a note written in
his own hand, which was then delivered. The billet was eagerly read, but
unfortunately did not fulfil the anticipations which had been excited. "I
agree," said Don John, "to approve the peace made between the states and
the Prince of Orange, on condition that nothing therein may seem
detrimental to the authority of his Majesty and the supremacy of the
Catholic religion, and also with reservation of the points mentioned in
my last communication."

Men who had gone to bed in a high state of indignation were not likely to
wake in much better humour, when suddenly aroused in their first nap, to
listen to such a message as this. It seemed only one piece of trifling
the more. The deputies had offered satisfactory opinions of divines and
jurisconsults, as to the two points specified which concerned the Ghent
treaty. It was natural, therefore, that this vague condition concerning
them, the determination of which was for the Governor's breast alone,
should be instantly rejected, and that the envoys should return to their
disturbed slumbers with an increase of ill-humour.

On the morrow, as the envoys, booted and spurred, were upon the point of
departure for Brussels, another communication was brought to them from
Don John. This time, the language of the Governor seemed more to the
purpose. "I agree," said he, "to maintain the peace concluded between the
states and the Prince of Orange, on condition of receiving from the
ecclesiastical authorities, and from the University of Louvain,
satisfactory assurance that the said treaty contains nothing derogatory
to the Catholic religion--and similar assurance from the State Council,
the Bishop of Liege, and the imperial envoys, that the treaty is in no
wise prejudicial to the authority of his Majesty." Here seemed, at last,
something definite. These conditions could be complied with. They had, in
fact, been already complied with. The assurances required as to the two
points had already been procured, as the deputies and as Don John well
knew. The Pacification of Ghent was, therefore, virtually admitted. The
deputies waited upon the Governor accordingly, and the conversation was
amicable. They vainly endeavoured, however, to obtain his consent to the
departure of the troops by land--the only point then left in dispute. Don
John, still clinging to his secret scheme, with which the sea voyage of
the troops was so closely connected, refused to concede. He reproached
the envoys, on the contrary, with their importunity in making a fresh
demand, just as he had conceded the Ghent treaty, upon his entire
responsibility and without instructions. Mentally resolving that this
point should still be wrung from the Governor, but not suspecting his
secret motives for resisting it so strenuously, the deputies took an
amicable farewell of the Governor, promising a favorable report upon the
proceedings, so soon as they should arrive in Brussels.

Don John, having conceded so much, was soon obliged to concede the whole.
The Emperor Rudolph had lately succeeded his father, Maximilian. The
deceased potentate, whose sentiments on the great subject of religious
toleration were so much in harmony with those entertained by the Prince
of Orange, had, on the whole, notwithstanding the ties of relationship
and considerations of policy, uniformly befriended the Netherlands, so
far as words and protestations could go, at the court of Philip. Active
co-operation; practical assistance, he had certainly not rendered. He had
unquestionably been too much inclined to accomplish the impossibility of
assisting the states without offending the King--an effort which, in the
homely language of Hans Jenitz; was "like wishing his skin washed without
being wet." He had even interposed many obstacles to the free action of
the Prince, as has been seen in the course of this history, but
nevertheless, the cause of the Netherlands, of religion, and of humanity
had much to lose by his death. His eldest son and successor, Rudolph the
second, was an ardent Catholic, whose relations with a proscribed prince
and a reformed population could hardly remain long in a satisfactory
state. The New Emperor had, however, received the secret envoys of Orange
with bounty, and was really desirous of accomplishing the pacification of
the provinces. His envoys had assisted at all the recent deliberations
between the estates and Don John, and their vivid remonstrances removed,
at this juncture, the last objection on the part of the Governor-General.
With a secret sigh, he deferred the darling and mysterious hope which had
lighted him to the Netherlands, and consented to the departure of the
troops by land.

All obstacles having been thus removed, the memorable treaty called the
Perpetual Edict was signed at Marche en Famine on the 12th, and at
Brussels on the 17th of February, 1577. This document, issued in the name
of the King, contained nineteen articles. It approved and ratified the
Peace of Ghent, in consideration that the prelates and clergy, with the
doctors 'utriusque juris' of Louvain, had decided that nothing in that
treaty conflicted either with the supremacy of the Catholic Church or the
authority of the King, but, on the contrary, that it advanced the
interests of both. It promised that the soldiery should depart "freely,
frankly, and without delay; by land, never to return except in case of
foreign war"--the Spaniards to set forth within forty days, the Germans
and others so soon as arrangements had been made by the states-general
for their payment. It settled that all prisoners, on both sides, should
be released, excepting the Count Van Buren, who was to be set free so
soon as the states-general having been convoked, the Prince of Orange
should have fulfilled the resolutions to be passed by that assembly. It
promised the maintenance of all the privileges, charters, and
constitutions of the Netherlands. It required of the states all oath to
maintain the Catholic religion. It recorded their agreement to disband
their troops. It settled that Don John should be received as
Governor-General, immediately upon the departure of the Spaniards,
Italians, and Burgundians from the provinces.

These were the main provisions of this famous treaty, which was confirmed
a few weeks afterwards by Philip, in a letter addressed to the states of
Brabant, and by an edict issued at Madrid. It will be seen that
everything required by the envoys of the states, at the commencement of
their negotiations, had been conceded by Don John. They had claimed the
departure of the troops, either by land or sea. He had resisted the
demand a long time, but had at last consented to despatch them by sea.
Their departure by land had then been insisted upon. This again he had
most reluctantly conceded. The ratification of the Ghent treaty, he had
peremptorily refused. He had come to the provinces, at the instant of its
conclusion, and had, of course, no instructions on the subject.
Nevertheless, slowly receding, he had agreed, under certain reservations,
to accept the treaty. Those reservations relating to the great points of
Catholic and royal supremacy, he insisted upon subjecting to his own
judgment alone. Again he was overruled. Most unwillingly he agreed to
accept, instead of his own conscientious conviction, the dogmas of the
State Council and of the Louvain doctors. Not seeing very clearly how a
treaty which abolished the edicts of Charles the Fifth and the ordinances
of Alva--which removed the religious question in Holland and Zealand from
the King's jurisdiction to that of the states-general--which had caused
persecution to surcease--had established toleration--and which moreover,
had confirmed the arch rebel and heretic of all the Netherlands in the
government of the two rebellious and heretic provinces, as stadholder for
the King--not seeing very clearly how such a treaty was "advantageous
rather than prejudicial to royal absolutism and an exclusive
Catholicism," he naturally hesitated at first.

The Governor had thus disconcerted the Prince of Orange, not by the
firmness of his resistance, but by the amplitude of his concessions. The
combinations of William the Silent were, for an instant, deranged. Had
the Prince expected such liberality, he would have placed his demands
upon a higher basis, for it is not probable that he contemplated or
desired a pacification. The Duke of Aerschot and the Bishop of Liege in
vain essayed to prevail upon his deputies at Marche en Famine, to sign
the agreement of the 27th January, upon which was founded the Perpetual
Edict. They refused to do so without consulting the Prince and the
estates. Meantime, the other commissioners forced the affair rapidly
forward. The states sent a deputation to the Prince to ask his opinion,
and signed the agreement before it was possible to receive his reply.
This was to treat him with little courtesy, if not absolutely with bad
faith. The Prince was disappointed and indignant. In truth, as appeared
from all his language and letters, he had no confidence in Don John. He
believed him a consummate hypocrite, and as deadly a foe to the
Netherlands as the Duke of Alva, or Philip himself. He had carefully
studied twenty-five intercepted letters from the King, the Governor,
Jerome de Roda, and others, placed recently in his hands by the Duke of
Aerschot, and had found much to confirm previous and induce fresh
suspicion. Only a few days previously to the signature of the treaty, he
had also intercepted other letters from influential personages, Alonzo de
Vargas and others, disclosing extensive designs to obtain possession of
the strong places in the country, and then to reduce the land to absolute
Subjection. He had assured the estates, therefore, that the deliberate
intention of the Government, throughout the whole negotiation, was to
deceive, whatever might be the public language of Don John and his
agents. He implored them, therefore, to, have "pity upon the poor
country," and to save the people from falling into the trap which was
laid for them. From first to last, he had expressed a deep and wise
distrust, and justified it by ample proofs. He was, with reason,
irritated, therefore, at the haste with which the states had concluded
the agreement with Don John--at the celerity with which, as he afterwards
expressed it, "they had rushed upon the boar-spear of that sanguinary
heart." He believed that everything had been signed and Sworn by the
Governor, with the mental reservation that such agreements were valid
only until he should repent having made them. He doubted the good faith
and the stability of the grand seigniors. He had never felt confidence in
the professions of the time-serving Aerschot, nor did he trust even the
brave Champagny, notwithstanding his services at the sack of Antwerp. He
was especially indignant that provision had been made, not for
demolishing but for restoring to his Majesty those hateful citadels,
nests of tyranny, by which the flourishing cities of the land were kept
in perpetual anxiety. Whether in the hands of King, nobles, or
magistrates, they were equally odious to him, and he had long since
determined that they should be razed to the ground. In short, he believed
that the estates had thrust their heads into the lion's mouth, and he
foresaw the most gloomy consequences from the treaty which had just been
concluded. He believed, to use his own language, "that the only
difference between Don John and Alva or Requesens was, that he was
younger and more foolish than his predecessors, less capable of
concealing his venom, more impatient, to dip his hands in blood."

In the Pacification of Ghent, the Prince had achieved the prize of his
life-long labors. He had banded a mass of provinces by the ties of a
common history, language, and customs, into a league against a foreign
tyranny. He had grappled Holland and Zealand to their sister provinces by
a common love for their ancient liberties, by a common hatred to a
Spanish soldiery. He had exorcised the evil demon of religious bigotry by
which the body politic had been possessed so many years; for the Ghent
treaty, largely interpreted, opened the door to universal toleration. In
the Perpetual Edict the Prince saw his work undone. Holland and Zealand
were again cut adrift from the other fifteen provinces, and war would
soon be let loose upon that devoted little territory. The article
stipulating the maintenance of the Ghent treaty he regarded as idle wind;
the solemn saws of the State Council and the quiddities from Louvain
being likely to prove but slender bulwarks against the returning tide of
tyranny. Either it was tacitly intended to tolerate the Reformed
religion, or to hunt it down. To argue that the Ghent treaty, loyally
interpreted, strengthened ecclesiastical or royal despotism, was to
contend that a maniac was more dangerous in fetters than when armed with
a sword; it was to be blind to the difference between a private
conventicle and a public scaffold. The Perpetual Edict, while affecting
to sustain the treaty, would necessarily destroy it at a blow, while
during the brief interval of repose, tyranny would have renewed its youth
like the eagles. Was it possible, then, for William of Orange to sustain
the Perpetual Edict, the compromise with Don John? Ten thousand ghosts
from the Lake of Harlem, from the famine and plague-stricken streets of
Leyden, from the smoking ruins of Antwerp, rose to warn him against such
a composition with a despotism as subtle as it was remorseless.

It was, therefore, not the policy of William of Orange, suspecting, as he
did, Don John, abhorring Philip, doubting the Netherland nobles,
confiding only in the mass of the citizens, to give his support to the
Perpetual Edict. He was not the more satisfied because the states had
concluded the arrangement without his sanction, and against his express,
advice. He refused to publish or recognize the treaty in Holland and
Zealand. A few weeks before, he had privately laid before the states of
Holland and Zealand a series of questions, in order to test their temper,
asking them, in particular, whether they were prepared to undertake a new
and sanguinary war for the sake of their religion, even although their
other privileges should be recognised by the new government, and a long
and earnest debate had ensued, of a satisfactory nature, although no
positive resolution was passed upon the subject.

As soon as the Perpetual Edict had been signed, the states-general had
sent to the Prince, requesting his opinion and demanding his sanction.
Orange, in the name of Holland and Zealand, instantly returned an
elaborate answer, taking grave exceptions to the whole tenor of the
Edict. He complained that the constitution of the land was violated,
because the ancient privilege of the states-general to assemble at their
pleasure, had been invaded, and because the laws of every province were
set at nought by the continued imprisonment of Count Van Buren, who had
committed no crime, and whose detention proved that no man, whatever
might be promised, could expect security for life or liberty. The
ratification of the Ghent treaty, it was insisted, was in no wise
distinct and categorical, but was made dependent on a crowd of deceitful
subterfuges. He inveighed bitterly against the stipulation in the Edict,
that the states should pay the wages of the soldiers, whom they had just
proclaimed to be knaves and rebels, and at whose hands they had suffered
such monstrous injuries. He denounced the cowardice which could permit
this band of hirelings to retire with so much jewelry, merchandize, and
plate, the result of their robberies. He expressed, however, in the name
of the two provinces, a willingness to sign the Edict, provided the
states-general would agree solemnly beforehand, in case the departure of
the Spaniards did not take place within the stipulated tune, to abstain
from all recognition of, or communication with, Don John, and themselves
to accomplish the removal of the troops by force of arms.

Such was the first and solemn manifesto made by the Prince in reply to
the Perpetual Edict; the states of Holland and Zealand uniting heart and
hand in all that he thought, wrote, and said. His private sentiments were
in strict accordance with the opinions thus publicly recorded. "Whatever
appearance Don John may assume to the contrary," wrote the Prince to his
brother, "'tis by no means his intention to maintain the Pacification,
and less still to cause the Spaniards to depart, with whom he keeps up
the most strict correspondence possible."

On the other hand, the Governor was most anxious to conciliate the
Prince. He was most earnest to win the friendship of the man without whom
every attempt to recover Holland and Zealand, and to re-establish royal
and ecclesiastical tyranny, he knew to be hopeless. "This is the pilot,"
wrote Don John to Philip, "who guides the bark. He alone can destroy or
save it. The greatest obstacles would be removed if he could be gained."
He had proposed, and Philip had approved the proposition, that the Count
Van Buren should be clothed with his father's dignities, on condition
that the Prince should himself retire into Germany. It was soon evident,
however, that such a proposition would meet with little favor, the office
of father of his country and protector of her liberties not being

While at Louvain, whither he had gone after the publication of the
Perpetual Edict, Don John had conferred with the Duke of Aerschot, and
they had decided that it would be well to send Doctor Leoninus on a
private mission to the Prince. Previously to his departure on this
errand, the learned envoy had therefore a full conversation with the
Governor. He was charged to represent to the Prince the dangers to which
Don John had exposed himself in coming from Spain to effect the
pacification of the Netherlands. Leoninus was instructed to give
assurance that the treaty just concluded should be maintained, that the
Spaniards should depart, that all other promises should be inviolably
kept, and that the Governor would take up arms against all who should
oppose the fulfilment of his engagements. He was to represent that Don
John, in proof of his own fidelity, had placed himself in the power of
the states. He was to intimate to the Prince that an opportunity was now
offered him to do the crown a service, in recompence for which he would
obtain, not only pardon for his faults, but the favor of the monarch, and
all the honors which could be desired; that by so doing he would assure
the future prosperity of his family; that Don John would be his good
friend, and, as such; would do more for him than he could imagine. The
envoy was also to impress upon the Prince, that if he persisted in his
opposition every man's hand would be against him, and the ruin of his
house inevitable. He was to protest that Don John came but to forgive and
to forget, to restore the ancient government and the ancient prosperity,
so that, if it was for those objects the Prince had taken up arms, it was
now his duty to lay them down, and to do his utmost to maintain peace and
the Catholic religion. Finally, the envoy was to intimate that if he
chose to write to Don John, he might be sure to receive a satisfactory
answer. In these pacific instructions and friendly expressions, Don John
was sincere. "The name of your Majesty," said he, plainly, in giving an
account of this mission to the King, "is as much abhorred and despised in
the Netherlands as that of the Prince of Orange is loved and feared. I am
negotiating with him, and giving him every security, for I see that the
establishment of peace, as well as the maintenance of the Catholic
religion, and the obedience to your Majesty, depend now upon him. Things
have reached that pass that 'tis necessary to make a virtue of necessity.
If he lend an ear to my proposals, it will be only upon very advantageous
conditions, but to these it will be necessary to submit, rather than to
lose everything."

Don John was in earnest; unfortunately he was not aware that the Prince
was in earnest also. The crusader, who had sunk thirty thousand paynims
at a blow, and who was dreaming of the Queen of Scotland and the throne
of England, had not room in his mind to entertain the image of a patriot.
Royal favors, family prosperity, dignities, offices, orders, advantageous
conditions, these were the baits with which the Governor angled for
William of Orange. He did not comprehend that attachment to a
half-drowned land and to a despised religion, could possibly stand in the
way of those advantageous conditions and that brilliant future. He did
not imagine that the rebel, once assured not only of pardon but of
advancement, could hesitate to refuse the royal hand thus amicably
offered. Don John had not accurately measured his great antagonist.

The results of the successive missions which he despatched to the Prince
were destined to enlighten him. In the course of the first conversation
between Leoninus and the Prince at Middelburg, the envoy urged that Don
John had entered the Netherlands without troops, that he had placed
himself in the power of the Duke of Aerschot, that he had since come to
Louvain without any security but the promise of the citizens and of the
students; and that all these things proved the sincerity of his
intentions. He entreated the Prince not to let slip so favorable an
opportunity for placing his house above the reach of every unfavorable
chance, spoke to him of Marius, Sylla, Julius Caesar, and other promoters
of civil wars, and on retiring for the day, begged him to think gravely
on what he had thus suggested, and to pray that God might inspire him
with good resolutions.

Next day, William informed the envoy that, having prayed to God for
assistance, he was more than ever convinced of his obligation to lay the
whole matter before the states, whose servant he was. He added, that he
could not forget the deaths of Egmont and Horn, nor the manner in which
the promise made to the confederate nobles by the Duchess of Parma, had
been visited, nor the conduct of the French monarch towards Admiral
Coligny. He spoke of information which he had received from all quarters,
from Spain, France, and Italy, that there was a determination to make war
upon him and upon the states of Holland and Zealand. He added that they
were taking their measures in consequence, and that they were well aware
that a Papal nuncio had arrived in the Netherlands, to intrigue against
them. In the evening, the Prince complained that the estates had been so
precipitate in concluding their arrangement with Don John. He mentioned
several articles in the treaty which were calculated to excite distrust;
dwelling particularly on the engagement entered into by the estates to
maintain the Catholic religion. This article he declared to be in direct
contravention to the Ghent treaty, by which this point was left to the
decision of a future assembly of the estates-general. Leoninus essayed,
as well as he could, to dispute these positions. In their last interview,
the Prince persisted in his intention of laying the whole matter before
the states of Holland and Zealand. Not to do so, he said, would be to
expose himself to ruin on one side, and on the other, to the indignation
of those who might suspect him of betraying them. The envoy begged to be
informed if any hope could be entertained of a future arrangement. Orange
replied that he had no expectation of any, but advised Doctor Leoninus to
be present at Dort when the estates should assemble.

Notwithstanding the unfavorable result, of this mission, Don John did not
even yet despair of bending the stubborn character of the Prince. He
hoped that, if a personal interview between them could be arranged, he
should be able to remove many causes of suspicion from the mind of his
adversary. "In such times as these," wrote the Governor to Philip, "we
can make no election, nor do I see any remedy to preserve the state from
destruction, save to gain over this man, who has so much influence with
the nation." The Prince had, in truth, the whole game in his hands. There
was scarcely a living creature in Holland and Zealand who was not willing
to be bound by his decision in every emergency. Throughout the rest of
the provinces, the mass of the people looked up to him with absolute
confidence, the clergy and the prominent nobles respecting and fearing
him, even while they secretly attempted to thwart his designs. Possessing
dictatorial power in two provinces, vast influences in the other fifteen,
nothing could be easier for him than to betray his country. The time was
singularly propitious. The revengeful King was almost on his knees to the
denounced rebel. Everything was proffered: pardon, advancement, power. An
indefinite vista was opened. "You cannot imagine," said Don John, "how
much it will be within my ability to do for you." The Governor was
extremely anxious to purchase the only enemy whom Philip feared. The
Prince had nothing personally to gain by a continuance of the contest.
The ban, outlawry, degradation, pecuniary ruin, assassination,
martyrdom--these were the only guerdons he could anticipate. He had much
to lose: but yesterday loaded with dignities, surrounded by pomp and
luxury, with many children to inherit his worldly gear, could he not
recover all; and more than all, to-day? What service had he to render in
exchange? A mere nothing. He had but to abandon the convictions of a
lifetime, and to betray a million or two of hearts which trusted him.

As to the promises made by the Governor to rule the country with
gentleness, the Prince could not do otherwise than commend the intention,
even while distrusting the fulfilment. In his reply to the two letters of
Don John, he thanked his Highness, with what seemed a grave irony, for
the benign courtesy and signal honor which he had manifested to him, by
inviting him so humanely and so carefully to a tranquil life, wherein,
according to his Highness, consisted the perfection of felicity in this
mortal existence, and by promising him so liberally favor and grace. He
stated, however, with earnestness, that the promises in regard to the
pacification of the poor Netherland people were much more important. He
had ever expected, he said, beyond all comparison, the welfare and
security of the public before his own; "having always placed his
particular interests under his foot, even as he was still resolved to do,
as long as life should endure."

Thus did William of Orange receive the private advances made by the
government towards himself. Meantime, Don John of Austria came to
Louvain. Until the preliminary conditions of the Perpetual Edict had been
fulfilled, and the Spanish troops sent out of the country, he was not to
be received as Governor-General, but it seemed unbecoming for him to
remain longer upon the threshold of the provinces. He therefore advanced
into the heart of the country, trusting himself without troops to the
loyalty of the people, and manifesting a show of chivalrous confidence
which he was far from feeling. He was soon surrounded by courtiers,
time-servers, noble office-seekers. They who had kept themselves
invisible, so long as the issue of a perplexed negotiation seemed
doubtful, now became obsequious and inevitable as his shadow. One grand
seignior wanted a regiment, another a government, a third a chamberlain's
key; all wanted titles, ribbons, offices, livery, wages. Don John
distributed favors and promises with vast liberality. The object with
which Philip had sent him to the Netherlands, that he might conciliate
the hearts of its inhabitants by the personal graces which he had
inherited from his imperial father, seemed in a fair way of
accomplishment, for it was not only the venal applause of titled
sycophants that he strove to merit, but he mingled gaily and familiarly
with all classes of citizens. Everywhere his handsome face and charming
manner produced their natural effect. He dined and supped with the
magistrates in the Town-house, honored general banquets of the burghers
with his presence, and was affable and dignified, witty, fascinating, and
commanding, by turns. At Louvain, the five military guilds held a solemn
festival. The usual invitations were sent to the other societies, and to
all the martial brotherhoods, the country round. Gay and gaudy
processions, sumptuous banquets, military sports, rapidly succeeded each
other. Upon the day of the great trial of skill; all the high
functionaries of the land were, according to custom, invited, and the
Governor was graciously pleased to honor the solemnity with his presence.
Great was the joy of the multitude when Don John, complying with the
habit of imperial and princely personages in former days, enrolled
himself, cross-bow in hand, among the competitors. Greater still was the
enthusiasm, when the conqueror of Lepanto brought down the bird, and was
proclaimed king of the year, amid the tumultuous hilarity of the crowd.
According to custom, the captains of the guild suspended a golden
popinjay around the neck of his Highness, and placing themselves in
procession, followed him to the great church. Thence, after the customary
religious exercises, the multitude proceeded to the banquet, where the
health of the new king of the cross-bowmen was pledged in deep potations.
Long and loud was the merriment of this initiatory festival, to which
many feasts succeeded during those brief but halcyon days, for the
good-natured Netherlanders already believed in the blessed advent of
peace. They did not dream that the war, which had been consuming the
marrow of their commonwealth for ten flaming years, was but in its
infancy, and that neither they nor their children were destined to see
its close.

For the moment, however, all was hilarity at Louvain. The Governor, by
his engaging deportment, awoke many reminiscences of the once popular
Emperor. He expressed unbounded affection for the commonwealth, and
perfect confidence in the loyalty of the inhabitants. He promised to
maintain their liberties, and to restore their prosperity. Moreover, he
had just hit the popinjay with a skill which his imperial father might
have envied, and presided at burgher banquets with a grace which Charles
could have hardly matched. His personal graces, for the moment, took the
rank of virtues. "Such were the beauty and vivacity of his eyes," says
his privy councillor, Tassis, "that with a single glance he made all
hearts his own," yet, nevertheless, the predestined victim secretly felt
himself the object of a marksman who had no time for painted popinjays,
but who rarely missed his aim. "The whole country is at the devotion of
the Prince, and nearly every one of its inhabitants;" such was his secret
language to his royal brother, at the very moment of the exuberant
manifestations which preceded his own entrance to Brussels.

While the Governor still tarried at Louvain, his secretary, Escovedo, was
busily engaged in arranging the departure of the Spaniards, for,
notwithstanding his original reluctance and the suspicions of Orange, Don
John loyally intended to keep his promise. He even advanced twenty-seven
thousand florins towards the expense of their removal, but to raise the
whole amount required for transportation and arrears, was a difficult
matter. The estates were slow in providing the one hundred and fifty
thousand florins which they had stipulated to furnish. The King's credit,
moreover, was at a very low, ebb. His previous bonds had not been duly
honored, and there had even been instances of royal repudiation, which by
no means lightened the task of the financier, in effecting the new loans
required. Escovedo was very blunt in his language upon this topic, and
both Don John and himself urged punctuality in all future payments. They
entreated that the bills drawn in Philip's name upon Lombardy bankers,
and discounted at a heavy rate of interest, by the Fuggers of Antwerp,
might be duly provided for at maturity. "I earnestly beg," said Escovedo,
"that your Majesty will see to the payment of these bills, at all
events;" adding, with amusing simplicity, "this will be a means of
recovering your Majesty's credit, and as for my own; I don't care to lose
it, small though it be." Don John was even more solicitous. "For the love
of God, Sire," he wrote, "do not be delinquent now. You must reflect upon
the necessity of recovering your credit. If this receives now the final
blow, all will desert your Majesty, and the soldiers too will be driven
to desperation."

By dint of great diligence on the part of Escovedo, and through the
confidence reposed in his character, the necessary funds were raised in
the course of a few weeks. There was, however, a difficulty among the
officers, as to the right of commanding the army on the homeward march.
Don Alonzo de Vargas, as chief of the cavalry, was appointed to the post
by the Governor, but Valdez, Romero, and other veterans, indignantly
refused to serve under one whom they declared their inferior officer.
There was much altercation and heartburning, and an attempt was made to
compromise the matter by the appointment of Count Mansfeld to the chief
command. This was, however, only adding fuel to the flames. All were
dissatisfied with the superiority accorded to a foreigner, and Alonzo de
Vargas, especially offended, addressed most insolent language to the
Governor. Nevertheless, the arrangement was maintained, and the troops
finally took their departure from the country, in the latter days of
April. A vast concourse of citizens witnessed their departure, and could
hardly believe their eyes, as they saw this incubus at last rolling off,
by which the land had so many years been crushed. Their joy, although
extravagant, was, however, limited by the reflection that ten thousand
Germans still remained in the provinces, attached to the royal service,
and that there was even yet a possibility that the departure of the
Spaniards was a feint. In truth, Escovedo, although seconding the orders
of Don John, to procure the removal of these troops, did not scruple to
express his regret to the King, and his doubts as to the result. He had
been ever in hopes that an excuse might be found in the condition of
affairs in France, to justify the retention of the forces near that
frontier. He assured the King that he felt very doubtful as to what turn
matters might take, after the soldiers were gone, seeing the great
unruliness which even their presence had been insufficient completely to
check. He had hoped that they might be retained in the neighbourhood,
ready to seize the islands at the first opportunity. "For my part," he
wrote, "I care nothing for the occupation of places within the interior,
but the islands must be secured. To do this," he continued, with a
deceitful allusion to the secret projects of Don John, "is, in my
opinion, more difficult than to effect the scheme upon England. If the
one were accomplished, the other would be easily enough managed, and
would require but moderate means. Let not your Majesty suppose that I say
this as favoring the plan of Don John, for this I put entirely behind

Notwithstanding these suspicions on the part of the people, this
reluctance on the part of then government, the troops readily took up
their line of march, and never paused till they reached Lombardy. Don
John wrote repeatedly to the King, warmly urging the claims of these
veterans, and of their distinguished officers, Romero, Avila, Valdez,
Montesdocca, Verdugo, Mondragon, and others, to his bountiful
consideration. They had departed in very ill humour, not having received
any recompense for their long and arduous services. Certainly, if
unflinching endurance, desperate valor, and congenial cruelty, could
atone in the monarch's eyes for the mutiny, which had at last compelled
their withdrawal, then were these laborers worthy of their hire. Don John
had pacified them by assurances that they should receive adequate rewards
on their arrival in Lombardy, and had urged the full satisfaction of
their claims and his promises in the strongest language. Although Don
Alonzo de Vargas had abused him "with-flying colors," as he expressed
himself, yet he hastened to intercede for him with the King in the most
affectionate terms. "His impatience has not surprised me," said the
Governor, "although I regret that he has been offended, far I love and
esteem him much. He has served many years with great distinction, and I
can certify that his character for purity and religion is something

The first scene in the withdrawal of the troops had been the evacuation
of the citadel of Antwerp, and it had been decided that the command of
this most important fortress should be conferred upon the Duke of
Aerschot. His claims as commander-in-chief, under the authority of the
State Council, and as chief of the Catholic nobility, could hardly be
passed over, yet he was a man whom neither party trusted. He was too
visibly governed by interested motives. Arrogant where he felt secure of
his own, or doubtful as to another's position, he could be supple and
cringing when the relations changed. He refused an interview with William
of Orange before consulting with Don John, and solicited one afterwards
when he found that every effort was to be made to conciliate the Prince.
He was insolent to the Governor-General himself in February, and
respectful in March. He usurped the first place in the church, before Don
John had been acknowledged Governor, and was the first to go forth to
welcome him after the matter had been arranged. He made a scene of
virtuous indignation in the State Council, because he was accused of
place-hunting, but was diligent to secure an office of the highest
dignity which the Governor could bestow. Whatever may have been his
merits, it is certain that he inspired confidence neither in the
adherents of the King nor of the Prince; while he by turns professed the
warmest regard both to the one party and the other. Spaniards and
patriots, Protestants and Catholics, suspected the man at the same
moment, and ever attributed to his conduct a meaning which was the
reverse of the apparent. Such is often the judgment passed upon those who
fish in troubled waters only to fill their own nets.

The Duke, however, was appointed Governor of the citadel. Sancho d'Avila,
the former constable, refused, with Castillian haughtiness, to surrender
the place to his successor, but appointed his lieutenant, Martin d'Oyo,
to perform that ceremony. Escovedo, standing upon the drawbridge with
Aerschot, administered the oath: "I, Philip, Duke of Aerschot," said the
new constable, "solemnly swear to hold this castle for the King, and for
no others." To which Escovedo added, "God help you, with all his angels,
if you keep your oath; if not, may the Devil carry you away, body and
soul." The few bystanders cried Amen; and with this hasty ceremony, the
keys were delivered, the prisoners, Egmont, Capres, Goignies, and others,
liberated, and the Spaniards ordered to march forth.


     A terrible animal, indeed, is an unbridled woman
     Agreements were valid only until he should repent
     All Protestants were beheaded, burned, or buried alive
     Arrive at their end by fraud, when violence will not avail them
     Attachment to a half-drowned land and to a despised religion
     Barbara Blomberg, washerwoman of Ratisbon
     Believed in the blessed advent of peace
     Compassing a country's emancipation through a series of defeats
     Don John of Austria
     Don John was at liberty to be King of England and Scotland
     Ferocity which even Christians could not have surpassed
     Happy to glass themselves in so brilliant a mirror
     His personal graces, for the moment, took the rank of virtues
     Necessary to make a virtue of necessity
     One-half to Philip and one-half to the Pope and Venice (slaves)
     Quite mistaken: in supposing himself the Emperor's child
     Sentimentality that seems highly apocryphal
     She knew too well how women were treated in that country
     Those who fish in troubled waters only to fill their own nets
     Worn crescents in their caps at Leyden

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 27


By John Lothrop Motley
1577  [CHAPTER II.]

   Triumphal entrance of Don John into Brussels--Reverse of the picture
   --Analysis of the secret correspondence of Don John and Escovedo
   with Antonio Perez--Plots against the Governor's liberty--His
   desponding language and gloomy anticipations--Recommendation of
   severe measures--Position and principles of Orange and his family--
   His private views on the question of peace and war--His toleration
   to Catholics and Anabaptists censured by his friends--Death of
   Viglius--New mission from the Governor to Orange--Details of the
   Gertruydenberg conferences--Nature and results of these
   negotiations--Papers exchanged between the envoys and Orange--Peter
   Panis executed for heresy--Three parties in the Netherlands--
   Dissimulation of Don John--His dread of capture.

As already narrated, the soldiery had retired definitely from the country
at the end of April, after which Don John made his triumphal entrance
into Brussels on the 1st of May. It was long since so festive a May-day
had gladdened the hearts of Brabant. So much holiday magnificence had not
been seen in the Netherlands for years. A solemn procession of burghers,
preceded by six thousand troops, and garnished by the free companies of
archers and musketeers, in their picturesque costumes, escorted the young
prince along the streets of the capital. Don John was on horseback,
wrapped in a long green cloak, riding between the Bishop of Liege and the
Papal nuncio. He passed beneath countless triumphal arches. Banners waved
before him, on which the battle of Lepanto, and other striking scenes in
his life, were emblazoned. Minstrels sang verses, poets recited odes,
rhetoric clubs enacted fantastic dramas in his honor, as he rode along.
Young virgins crowned him with laurels. Fair women innumerable were
clustered at every window, roof, and balcony, their bright robes floating
like summer clouds above him. "Softly from those lovely clouds," says a
gallant chronicler, "descended the gentle rain of flowers." Garlands were
strewed before his feet, laurelled victory sat upon his brow. The same
conventional enthusiasm and decoration which had characterized the
holiday marches of a thousand conventional heroes were successfully
produced. The proceedings began with the church, and ended with the
banquet, the day was propitious, the populace pleased, and after a
brilliant festival, Don John of Austria saw himself Governor-General of
the provinces.

Three days afterwards, the customary oaths, to be kept with the customary
conscientiousness, were rendered at the Town House, and for a brief
moment all seemed smiling and serene.

There was a reverse to the picture. In truth, no language can describe
the hatred which Don John entertained for the Netherlands and all the
inhabitants. He had come to the country only as a stepping-stone to the
English throne, and he never spoke, in his private letters, of the
provinces or the people but in terms of abhorrence. He was in a "Babylon
of disgust," in a "Hell," surrounded by "drunkards," "wineskins,"
"scoundrels," and the like. From the moment of his arrival he had
strained every nerve to retain the Spanish troops, and to send them away
by sea when it should be no longer feasible to keep them. Escovedo shared
in the sentiments and entered fully into the schemes of his chief. The
plot, the secret enterprise, was the great cause of the advent of Don
John in the uncongenial clime of Flanders. It had been, therefore, highly
important, in his estimation, to set, as soon as possible, about the
accomplishment of this important business. He accordingly entered into
correspondence with Antonio Perez, the King's most confidential Secretary
of State at that period. That the Governor was plotting no treason is
sufficiently obvious from the context of his letters: At the same time,
with the expansiveness of his character, when he was dealing with one
whom he deemed has close and trusty friend, he occasionally made use of
expressions which might be made to seem equivocal. This was still more
the case with poor Escovedo. Devoted to his master, and depending most
implicitly upon the honor of Perez, he indulged in language which might
be tortured into a still more suspicious shape when the devilish arts of
Perez and the universal distrust of Philip were tending steadily to that
end. For Perez--on the whole, the boldest, deepest, and most unscrupulous
villain in that pit of duplicity, the Spanish court--was engaged at that
moment with Philip, in a plot to draw from Don John and Escovedo, by
means of this correspondence, the proofs of a treason which the King and
minister both desired to find. The letters from Spain were written with
this view--those from Flanders were interpreted to that end. Every
confidential letter received by Perez was immediately laid by him before
the King, every letter which the artful demon wrote was filled with hints
as to the danger of the King's learning the existence of the
correspondence, and with promises of profound secrecy upon his own part,
and was then immediately placed in Philip's hands, to receive his
comments and criticisms, before being copied and despatched to the
Netherlands. The minister was playing a bold, murderous, and treacherous
game, and played it in a masterly manner. Escovedo was lured to his
destruction, Don John was made to fret his heart away, and Philip--more
deceived than all--was betrayed in what he considered his affections, and
made the mere tool of a man as false as himself and infinitely more

Almost immediately after the arrival of Don John in the Netherlands; he
had begun to express the greatest impatience for Escovedo, who had not
been able to accompany his master upon his journey, but without whose
assistance the Governor could accomplish none of his undertakings. "Being
a man, not an angel, I cannot do all which I have to do," said he to
Perez, "without a single person in whom I can confide." He protested that
he could do no more than he was then doing. He went to bed at twelve and
rose at seven, without having an hour in the day in which to take his
food regularly; in consequence of all which he had already had three
fevers. He was plunged into a world of distrust. Every man suspected him,
and he had himself no confidence in a single individual throughout that
whole Babylon of disgusts. He observed to Perez that he was at liberty to
show his letters to the King, or to read them in the Council, as he meant
always to speak the truth in whatever he should write. He was sure that
Perez would do all for the best; and there is something touching in these
expressions of an honest purpose towards Philip, and of generous
confidence in Perez, while the two were thus artfully attempting to
inveigle him into damaging revelations. The Netherlanders certainly had
small cause to love or trust their new Governor, who very sincerely
detested and suspected them, but Philip had little reason to complain of
his brother. "Tell me if my letters are read in Council, and what his
Majesty says about them," he wrote; "and, above all, send money. I am
driven to desperation at finding myself sold to this people, utterly
unprovided as I am, and knowing the slow manner in which all affairs are
conducted in Spain."

He informed the King that there was but one man in the Netherlands, and
that he was called the Prince of Orange. To him everything was
communicated, with him everything was negotiated, opinions expressed by
him were implicitly followed. The Governor vividly described the
misgivings with which he had placed himself in the power of the states by
going to Louvain, and the reluctance with which he had consented to send
away the troops. After this concession, he complained that the insolence
of the states had increased. "They think that they can do and undo what
they like, now that I am at their mercy," he wrote to Philip.
"Nevertheless, I do what you command without regarding that I am sold,
and that I am in great danger of losing, my liberty, a loss which I dread
more than anything in the world, for I wish to remain justified before
God and men." He expressed, however, no hopes as to the result.
Disrespect and rudeness could be pushed no further than it had already
gone, while the Prince of Orange, the actual governor of the country,
considered his own preservation dependent upon maintaining things as they
then were. Don John, therefore, advised the King steadily to make
preparations for "a rude and terrible war," which was not to be avoided,
save by a miracle, and which ought not--to find him in this unprepared
state. He protested that it was impossible to exaggerate the boldness
which the people felt at seeing him thus defenseless. "They say
publicly," he continued, "that your Majesty is not to be feared, not
being capable of carrying on a war, and having consumed and exhausted
every resource. One of the greatest injuries ever inflicted upon us was
by Marquis Havre, who, after his return from Spain, went about publishing
everywhere the poverty of the royal exchequer. This has emboldened them
to rise, for they believe that, whatever the disposition, there is no
strength to chastise them. They see a proof of the correctness of their
reasoning in the absence of new levies, and in the heavy arrearages due
to the old troops."

He protested that he desired, at least, to be equal to the enemy, without
asking, as others had usually done, for double the amount of the hostile
force. He gave a glance at the foreign complications of the Netherlands,
telling Philip that the estates were intriguing both with France and
England. The English envoy had expressed much uneasiness at the possible
departure of the Spanish troops from the Netherlands by sea, coupling it
with a probable attempt to liberate the Queen of Scots. Don John, who had
come to the provinces for no other purpose, and whose soul had been full
of that romantic scheme, of course stoutly denied and ridiculed the idea.
"Such notions," he had said to the envoy, "were subjects for laughter. If
the troops were removed from the country, it was to strengthen his
Majesty's force in the Levant." Mr. Rogers, much comforted, had expressed
the warm friendship which Elizabeth entertained both for his Majesty and
his Majesty's representative; protestations which could hardly seem very
sincere, after the series of attempts at the Queen's life, undertaken so
recently by his Majesty and his Majesty's former representative.
Nevertheless, Don John had responded with great cordiality, had begged
for Elizabeth's portrait, and had expressed the intention, if affairs
went as he hoped, to go privately to England for the purpose of kissing
her royal hand. Don John further informed the King, upon the envoy's
authority, that Elizabeth had refused assistance to the estates, saying,
if she stirred it would be to render aid to Philip, especially if France
should meddle in the matter. As to France, the Governor advised Philip to
hold out hopes to Alencon of espousing the Infanta, but by no means ever
to fulfil such a promise, as the Duke, "besides being the shield of
heretics, was unscrupulously addicted to infamous vices."

A month later, Escovedo described the downfall of Don John's hopes and
his own in dismal language.--"You are aware," he wrote to Perez, "that a
throne--a chair with a canopy--is our intention and our appetite, and all
the rest is good for nothing. Having failed in our scheme, we are
desperate and like madmen. All is now weariness and death." Having
expressed himself in such desponding accents, he continued, a few days
afterwards, in the same lugubrious vein, "I am ready to hang myself,"
said he, "and I would have done it already, if it were not for keeping
myself as executioner for those who have done us so much harm. Ah, Senor
Antonio Perez!" he added, "what terrible pertinacity have those devils
shown in making us give up our plot. It seems as though Hell were opened
and had sent forth heaps of demons to oppose our schemes." After these
vigorous ejaculations he proceeded to inform his friend that the English
envoy and the estates, governed by the Prince of Orange, in whose power
were the much-coveted ships, had prevented the departure of the troops by
sea. "These devils complain of the expense," said he; "but we would
willingly swallow the cost if we could only get the ships." He then
described Don John as so cast down by his disappointment as to be fit for
nothing, and most desirous of quitting the Netherlands as soon as
possible. He had no disposition to govern these wineskins. Any one who
ruled in the provinces was obliged to do exactly what they ordered him to
do. Such rule was not to the taste of Don John. Without any comparison, a
woman would answer the purpose better than any man, and Escovedo
accordingly suggested the Empress Dowager, or Madame de Parma, or even
Madame de Lorraine. He further recommended that the Spanish troops, thus
forced to leave the Netherlands by land, should be employed against the
heretics in France. This would be a salve for the disgrace of removing
them. "It would be read in history," continued the Secretary, "that the
troops went to France in order to render assistance in a great religious
necessity; while, at the same time, they will be on hand to chastise
these drunkards, if necessary. To have the troops in France is almost as
well as to keep them here." He begged to be forgiven if he spoke
incoherently. 'T was no wonder that he should do so, for his reason had
been disordered by the blow which had been received. As for Don John, he
was dying to leave the country, and although the force was small for so
great a general, yet it would be well for him to lead these troops to
France in person. "It would sound well in history," said poor Escovedo,
who always thought of posterity, without ever dreaming that his own
private letters would be destined, after three centuries, to comment and
earnest investigation; "it would sound well in history, that Don John
went to restore, the French kingdom and to extirpate heretics, with six
thousand foot and two thousand horse. 'Tis a better employment, too, than
to govern such vile creatures as these."

If, however, all their plans should fail, the Secretary suggested to his
friend Antonio, that he must see and make courtiers of them. He suggested
that a strong administration might be formed in Spain, with Don John, the
Marquis de Los Velez, and the Duke of Sesa. "With such chiefs, and with
Anthony and John--[Viz., John of Escovedo and Antony Perez.]--for
acolytes," he was of opinion that much good work might be done, and that
Don John might become "the staff for his Majesty's old age." He implored
Perez, in the most urgent language, to procure Philip's consent that his
brother should leave the provinces. "Otherwise," said he, "we shall see
the destruction of the friend whom we so much love! He will become
seriously ill, and if so, good night to him! His body is too delicate."
Escovedo protested that he would rather die himself. "In the catastrophe
of Don John's death," he continued, "adieu the court, adieu the world!"
He would incontinently bury himself among the mountains of San Sebastian,
"preferring to dwell among wild animals than among courtiers." Escovedo,
accordingly, not urged by the most disinterested motives certainly, but
with as warm a friendship for his master as princes usually inspire,
proceeded to urge upon Perez the necessity of, aiding the man who was
able to help them. The first step was to get him out of the Netherlands.
That was his constant thought, by day and night. As it would hardly be
desirable for him to go alone, it seemed proper that Escovedo should,
upon some pretext, be first sent to Spain. Such a pretext would be easily
found, because, as Don John had accepted the government, "it would be
necessary for him to do all which the rascals bade him." After these
minute statements, the Secretary warned his correspondent of the
necessity of secrecy, adding that he especially feared "all the court
ladies, great and small, but that he in everything confided entirely in

Nearly at the same time, Don John wrote to Perez in a similar tone. "Ah,
Senor Antonio," he exclaimed, "how certain is my disgrace and my
misfortune. Ruined is our enterprise, after so much labor and such
skilful management." He was to have commenced the work with the very
Spanish soldiers who were now to be sent off by land, and he had nothing
for it but to let them go, or to come to an open rupture with the states.
"The last, his conscience, his duty, and the time, alike forbade." He was
therefore obliged to submit to the ruin of his plans, and "could think of
nothing save to turn hermit, a condition in which a man's labors, being
spiritual, might not be entirely in vain." He was so overwhelmed by the
blow, he said, that he was constantly thinking of an anchorite's life.
That which he had been leading had become intolerable. He was not fitted
for the people of the Netherlands, nor they for him. Rather than stay
longer than was necessary in order to appoint his successor, there was no
resolution he might not take, even to leaving everything and coming upon
them when they least expected him, although he were to receive a bloody
punishment in consequence. He, too, suggested the Empress, who had all
the qualities which he lacked himself, or Madame de Parma, or Madame de
Lorraine, as each of them was more fit to govern the provinces than he
pretended to be. "The people," said he, plainly, "are beginning to abhor
me, and I abhor them already." He entreated Perez to get him out of the
country by fair means or foul, "per fas aut per nefas." His friends ought
to procure his liberation, if they wished to save him from the sin of
disobedience, and even of infamy. He expressed the most unbounded
confidence in the honor of his correspondent, adding that if nothing else
could procure his release, the letter might be shown to the King. In
general, the Governor was always willing that Perez should make what
changes he thought advisable in the letters for his Majesty, altering or
softening whatever seemed crude or harsh, provided always the main
point--that of procuring his recal--were steadily kept in view, in this,
said the Governor, vehemently, my life, my honor, and my soul are all at
stake; for as to the two first, I shall forfeit them both certainly, and,
in my desperate condition, I shall run great risk of losing the last.

On the other hand, Perez was profuse in his professions of friendship
both to Don John and to Escovedo; dilating in all his letters upon the
difficulty of approaching the King upon the subject of his brother's
recal, but giving occasional information that an incidental hint had been
ventured which might not remain without effect. All these letters, were,
however, laid before Philip, for his approval, before being despatched,
and the whole subject thoroughly and perpetually discussed between them,
about which Perez pretended that he hardly dared breathe a syllable to
his Majesty. He had done what he could, he said, while reading, piece by
piece, to the King, during a fit of the gout, the official despatches
from the Netherlands, to insinuate such of the arguments used by the
Governor and Escovedo as might seem admissible, but it was soon obvious
that no impression could be made upon the royal mind. Perez did not urge
the matter, therefore, "because," said he, "if the King should suspect
that we had any other object than his interests, we should all be lost."
Every effort should be made by Don John and all his friends to secure his
Majesty's entire confidence, since by that course more progress would be
made in their secret plans, than by proceedings concerning which the
Governor wrote "with such fury and anxiety of heart." Perez warned his
correspondent, therefore, most solemnly, against the danger of "striking
the blow without hitting the mark," and tried to persuade him that his
best interests required him to protract his residence in the provinces
for a longer period. He informed Don John that his disappointment as to
the English scheme had met with the warmest sympathy of the King, who had
wished his brother success. "I have sold to him, at as high a price as I
could," said Perez, "the magnanimity with which your Highness had
sacrificed, on that occasion, a private object to his service."

The minister held the same language, when writing, in a still more
intimate and expansive style, to Escovedo. "We must avoid, by a
thousand--leagues, the possibility of the King's thinking us influenced
by private motives," he observed; "for we know the King and the delicacy
of these matters. The only way to gain the good-will of the man is
carefully to accommodate ourselves to his tastes, and to have the
appearance of being occupied solely with his interests." The letter, like
all the rest, being submitted to "the man" in question before being sent,
was underlined by him at this paragraph and furnished with the following
annotation: "but you must enlarge upon the passage which I have
marked--say more, even if you are obliged to copy the letter, in order
that we may see the nature of the reply."

In another letter to Escovedo, Perez enlarged upon the impropriety, the
impossibility of Don John's leaving the Netherlands at that time. The
King was so resolute upon that point, he said, that 'twas out of the
question to suggest the matter. "We should, by so doing, only lose all
credit with him in other things. You know what a terrible man he is; if
he should once suspect us of having a private end in view, we should
entirely miss our mark." Especially the secretary was made acquainted
with the enormous error which would be committed by Don John in leaving
his post.

Perez "had ventured into the water" upon the subject, he said, by
praising the Governor warmly to his Majesty. The King had responded by a
hearty eulogium, adding that the greatest comfort in having such a
brother was, that he might be where his Majesty could not be. Therefore,
it was out of the question for Don John to leave the provinces. The
greatest tact was necessary, urged Perez, in dealing with the King. If he
should once "suspect that we have a private purpose, we are lost, and no
Demosthenes or Cicero would be able to influence him afterwards." Perez
begged that his ardent attachment to Don John might be represented in the
strongest colors to that high personage, who was to be assured that every
effort would be made to place him at the head of affairs in Spain,
according to the suggestion of Escovedo. "It would never do, however," he
continued, "to let our man see that we desire it, for then we should
never succeed. The only way to conquer him is to make him believe that
things are going on as he wishes, not as his Highness may desire, and
that we have none of us any will but the King's." Upon this passage the
"terrible man" made a brief annotation: "this paragraph does admirably,"
he said, adding, with characteristic tautology, "and what you say in it
is also excellent."

"Therefore," continued the minister, "God forbid, Master Escovedo, that
you should come hither now; for we should all be lost. In the English
matter, I assure you that his Majesty was extremely anxious that the plan
should succeed, either through the Pope, or otherwise. That puts me in
mind," added Perez, "to say, body of God! Senor Escovedo! how the devil
came you to send that courier to Rome about the English plot without
giving me warning?" He then proceeded to state that the papal nuncio in
Spain had been much troubled in mind upon the subject, and had sent for
him. "I went," said Perez, "and after he, had closed the door, and looked
through the keyhole to see that there were no listeners, he informed me
that he had received intelligence from the Pope as to the demands made by
Don John upon his Holiness for bulls, briefs, and money to assist him in
his English scheme, and that eighty thousand ducats had already been sent
to him in consequence." Perez added that the nuncio was very anxious to
know how the affair should best be communicated to the King, without
prejudice to his Highness. He had given him the requisite advice, he
continued, and had himself subsequently told the King that, no doubt,
letters had been written by Don John to his Majesty, communicating these
negotiations at Rome, but that probably the despatches had been
forgotten. Thus, giving himself the appearance of having smoothed the
matter with the King, Perez concluded with a practical suggestion of much
importance--the necessity, namely, of procuring the assassination of the
Prince of Orange as soon as possible. "Let it never be absent from your
mind," said he, "that a good occasion must be found for finishing Orange,
since, besides the service which will thus be rendered to our master, and
to the states, it will be worth something to ourselves."

No apology is necessary for laying a somewhat extensive analysis of this
secret correspondence before the reader. If there be any value in the
examples of history, certainly few chronicles can furnish a more
instructive moral. Here are a despotic king and his confidential minister
laying their heads together in one cabinet; the viceroy of the most
important provinces of the realm, with his secretary, deeply conferring
in another, not as to the manner of advancing the great interests, moral
or material, of the people over whom God has permitted them to rule, but
as to the best means of arranging conspiracies against the throne and
life of a neighboring sovereign, with the connivance and subsidies of the
Pope. In this scheme, and in this only, the high conspirators are agreed.
In every other respect, mutual suspicion and profound deceit characterize
the scene. The Governor is filled with inexpressible loathing for the
whole nation of "drunkards and wineskins" who are at the very moment
strewing flowers in his path, and deafening his ears with shouts of
welcome; the king, while expressing unbounded confidence in the viceroy,
is doing his utmost, through the agency of the subtlest intriguer in the
world, to inveigle him into confessions of treasonable schemes, and the
minister is filling reams of paper with protestations of affection for
the governor and secretary, with sneers at the character of the King, and
with instructions as to the best method of deceiving him, and then laying
the despatches before his Majesty for correction and enlargement. To
complete the picture, the monarch and his minister are seen urging the
necessity of murdering the foremost man of the age upon the very dupe
who, within a twelvemonth, was himself to be assassinated by the
self-same pair; while the arch-plotter who controls the strings of all
these complicated projects is equally false to King, Governor, and
Secretary, and is engaging all the others in these blind and tortuous
paths, for the accomplishment of his own secret and most ignoble aims.

In reply to the letters of Perez, Don John constantly expressed the
satisfaction and comfort which he derived from them in the midst of his
annoyances. "He was very disconsolate," he said, "to be in that hell, and
to be obliged to remain in it," now that the English plot had fallen to
the ground, but he would nevertheless take patience, and wait for a more
favorable conjuncture.

Escovedo expressed the opinion, however, notwithstanding all the
suggestions of Perez, that the presence of Don John in the provinces had
become entirely superfluous. "An old woman with her distaff," suggested
the Secretary, "would be more appropriate; for there would be nothing to
do, if the states had their way, save to sign everything which they
should command." If there should be war, his Highness would, of course,
not abandon his post; even if permitted to do so; but otherwise, nothing
could be gained by a prolonged residence. As to the scheme of
assassinating the Prince of Orange, Escovedo prayed Perez to believe him
incapable of negligence on the subject. "You know that the finishing of
Orange is very near my heart," wrote the poor dupe to the man by whom he
was himself so soon to be finished. "You may believe that I have never
forgotten it, and never will forget it, until it be done. Much, and very
much artifice is, however, necessary to accomplish this object. A proper
person to undertake a task fraught with such well-known danger, is hard
to find. Nevertheless, I will not withdraw my attention from the subject
till such a person be procured, and the deed be done."

A month later, Escovedo wrote that he was about to visit Spain. He
complained that he required rest in his old age, but that Perez could
judge how much rest he could get in such a condition of affairs. He was,
unfortunately, not aware, when he wrote, how soon his correspondent was
to give him a long repose. He said, too, that the pleasure of visiting
his home was counterbalanced by the necessity of travelling back to the
Netherlands; but he did not know that Perez was to spare him that
trouble, and to send him forth upon a much longer journey.

The Governor-General, had, in truth, not inspired the popular party or
its leader with confidence, nor did he place the least reliance upon
them. While at Louvain, he had complained that a conspiracy had been
formed against his life and liberty. Two French gentlemen, Bonnivet and
Bellangreville, had been arrested on suspicion of a conspiracy to secure
his person, and to carry him off a prisoner to Rochelle. Nothing came of
the examination which followed; the prisoners were released, and an
apology was sent by the states-general to the Duke of Alencon, as well
for the indignity which had been offered to two of his servants, as for
the suspicion which had been cast upon himself, Don John, however, was
not satisfied. He persisted in asserting the existence of the conspiracy,
and made no secret of his belief that the Prince of Orange was acquainted
with the arrangement. As may be supposed, nothing was discovered in the
course of the investigation to implicate that astute politician. The
Prince had indeed secretly recommended that the Governor should be taken
into custody on his first arrival, not for the purpose of assassination
or personal injury, but in order to extort better terms from Philip,
through the affection or respect which he might be supposed to entertain
for his brother. It will be remembered that unsuccessful attempts had
also been made to capture the Duke of Alva and the Commander Requesens.
Such achievements comported with the spirit of the age, and although it
is doubtful whether any well-concerted plot existed against the liberty
of the Governor, it is certain that he entertained no doubt on the
subject himself. In addition to these real or suspected designs, there
was an ever-present consciousness in the mind of Don John that the
enthusiasm which greeted his presence was hollow, that no real attachment
was felt for his person, that his fate was leading him into a false
position, that the hearts of the people were fixed upon another, and that
they were never to be won by himself. Instinctively he seemed to feel a
multitude of invisible threads twining into a snare around him, and the
courageous heart and the bounding strength became uneasily conscious of
the act in which they were to be held captive till life should be wasted
quite away.

The universal affection for the rebel Prince, and the hopeless
abandonment of the people to that deadliest of sins, the liberty of
conscience, were alike unquestionable. "They mean to remain free, sire,"
wrote Escovedo to Philip, "and to live as they please. To that end they
would be willing that the Turk should come to be master of the country.
By the road which they are travelling, however, it will be the Prince of
Orange--which comes to quite the same thing." At the same time, however,
it was hoped that something might be made of this liberty of conscience.
All were not equally sunk in the horrible superstition, and those who
were yet faithful to Church and King might be set against their besotted
brethren. Liberty of conscience might thus be turned to account. While
two great parties were "by the ears, and pulling out each other's hair,
all might perhaps be reduced together." His Majesty was warned,
nevertheless, to expect the worst, and to believe that the country could
only be cared with fire and blood. The position of the Governor was
painful and perplexing. "Don John," said Escovedo, "is thirty years old.
I promise your Majesty nothing, save that if he finds himself without
requisite assistance, he will take himself off when your Majesty is least
thinking of such a thing."

Nothing could be more melancholy than the tone of the Governor's letters.
He believed himself disliked, even in the midst of affectionate
demonstrations. He felt compelled to use moderate counsels, although he
considered moderation of no avail. He was chained to his post, even
though the post could, in his opinion, be more advantageously filled by
another. He would still endeavour to gain the affections of the people,
although he believed them hopelessly alienated. If patience would cure
the malady of the country, he professed himself capable of applying the
remedy, although the medicine had so far done but little good, and
although he had no very strong hopes as to its future effects. "Thus far,
however," said he, "I am but as one crying in the wilderness." He took
occasion to impress upon his Majesty, in very strong language, the
necessity of money. Secret agents, spies, and spies upon spies, were more
necessary than ever, and were very expensive portions of government
machinery. Never was money more wanted. Nothing could be more important
than, to attend faithfully to the financial suggestions of Escovedo, and
Don John, therefore, urged his Majesty, again and again, not to dishonor
their drafts. "Money is the gruel," said he, "with which we must cure
this sick man;" and he therefore prayed all those who wished well to his
efforts, to see that his Majesty did not fail him in this important
matter. Notwithstanding, however, the vigor of his efforts, and the
earnestness of his intentions, he gave but little hope to his Majesty of
any valuable fruit from the pacification just concluded. He saw the
Prince of Orange strengthening himself, "with great fury," in Holland and
Zealand; he knew that the Prince was backed by the Queen of England, who,
notwithstanding her promises to Philip and himself, had offered her
support to the rebels in case the proposed terms of peace were rejected
in Holland, and he felt that "nearly the whole people was at the devotion
of the Prince."

Don John felt more and more convinced, too, that a conspiracy was on foot
against his liberty. There were so many of the one party, and so few of
the other, that if he were once fairly "trussed," he affirmed that not a
man among the faithful would dare to budge an inch. He therefore informed
his Majesty that he was secretly meditating a retreat to some place of
security; judging very properly that, if he were still his own master, he
should be able to exert more influence over those who were still well
disposed, than if he should suffer himself to be taken captive. A
suppressed conviction that he could effect nothing, except with his
sword, pierced through all his more prudent reflections. He maintained
that, after all, there was no remedy for the body but to cut off the
diseased parts at once, and he therefore begged his Majesty for the means
of performing the operation handsomely. The general expressions which he
had previously used in favor of broths and mild treatment hardly tallied
with the severe amputation thus recommended. There was, in truth, a
constant struggle going on between the fierceness of his inclinations and
the shackles which had been imposed upon him. He already felt entirely
out of place, and although he scorned to fly from his post so long as it
seemed the post of danger, he was most anxious that the King should grant
him his dismissal, so soon as his presence should no longer be
imperiously required. He was sure that the people would never believe in
his Majesty's forgiveness until the man concerning whom they entertained
so much suspicion should be removed; for they saw in him only the
"thunderbolt of his Majesty's wrath." Orange and England confirmed their
suspicions, and sustained their malice. Should he be compelled, against
his will, to remain, he gave warning that he might do something which
would be matter of astonishment to everybody.

Meantime, the man in whose hands really lay the question of war and
peace, sat at Middelburg, watching the deep current of events as it
slowly flowed towards the precipice. The whole population of Holland and
Zealand hung on his words. In approaching the realms of William the
Silent, Don John felt that he had entered a charmed, circle, where the
talisman of his own illustrious name lost its power, where his valor was
paralyzed, and his sword rusted irrevocably in its sheath. "The people
here," he wrote, "are bewitched by the Prince of Orange. They love him,
they fear him, and wish to have him for their master. They inform him of
everything, and take no resolution without consulting him."

While William was thus directing and animating the whole nation with his
spirit, his immediate friends became more and more anxious concerning the
perils to which he was exposed. His mother, who had already seen her
youngest-born, Henry, her Adolphus, her chivalrous Louis, laid in their
bloody graves for the cause of conscience, was most solicitous for the
welfare of her "heart's-beloved lord and son," the Prince of Orange.
Nevertheless, the high-spirited old dame was even more alarmed at the
possibility of a peace in which that religious liberty for which so much
dear blood had been, poured forth should be inadequately secured. "My
heart longs for certain tidings from my lord," she wrote to William, "for
methinks the peace now in prospect will prove but an oppression for soul
and conscience. I trust my heart's dearly-beloved lord and son will be
supported by Divine grace to do nothing against God and his own soul's
salvation. 'Tis better to lose the temporal than the eternal." Thus wrote
the mother of William, and we can feel the sympathetic thrill which such
tender and lofty words awoke in his breast. His son, the ill-starred
Philip, now for ten years long a compulsory sojourner in Spain, was not
yet weaned from his affection for his noble parent, but sent messages of
affection to him whenever occasion offered, while a less commendable
proof of his filial affection he had lately afforded, at the expense of
the luckless captain of his Spanish guard. That officer having dared in
his presence to speak disrespectfully of his father, was suddenly seized
about the waist by the enraged young Count, hurled out of the window, and
killed stone-dead upon the spot. After this exhibition of his natural
feelings, the Spanish government thought it necessary to take more subtle
means to tame so turbulent a spirit. Unfortunately they proved

Count John of Nassau, too, was sorely pressed for money. Six hundred
thousand florins; at least, had been advanced by himself and brothers to
aid the cause of Netherland freedom. Louis and himself had,
unhesitatingly and immediately, turned into that sacred fund the hundred
thousand crowns which the King of France had presented them for their
personal use, for it was not the Prince of Orange alone who had
consecrated his wealth and his life to the cause, but the members of his
family, less immediately interested in the country, had thus furnished
what may well be called an enormous subsidy, and one most disproportioned
to their means. Not only had they given all the cash which they could
command by mortgaging their lands and rents, their plate and furniture,
but, in the words of Count John himself, "they had taken the chains and
jewels from the necks of their wives, their children, and their mother,
and had hawked them about, as if they had themselves been traders and
hucksters." And yet, even now, while stooping under this prodigious debt,
Count John asked not for present repayment. He only wrote to the Prince
to signify his extreme embarrassment, and to request some obligation or
recognition from the cities of Holland and Zealand, whence hitherto no
expression of gratitude or acknowledgment had proceeded.

The Prince consoled and assured, as best he could, his mother, son, wife,
and brother, even at the same moment that he comforted his people. He
also received at this time a second and more solemn embassy from Don
John. No sooner had the Governor exchanged oaths at Brussels, and been
acknowledged as the representative of his Majesty, than he hastened to
make another effort to conciliate the Prince. Don John saw before him
only a grand seignior of lofty birth and boundless influence, who had
placed himself towards the Crown in a false position, from which he might
even yet be rescued; for to sacrifice the whims of a reforming and
transitory religious fanaticism, which had spun itself for a moment about
so clear a brain, would, he thought, prove but a trifling task for so
experienced a politician as the Prince. William of Orange, on the other
hand, looked upon his young antagonist as the most brilliant
impersonation which had yet been seen of the foul spirit of persecution.

It will be necessary to follow, somewhat more in detail than is usually
desirable, the interchange of conversations, letters, and protocols, out
of which the brief but important administration of Don John was composed;
for it was exactly in such manifestations that the great fight was really
proceeding. Don John meant peace, wise William meant war, for he knew
that no other issue was possible. Peace, in reality, was war in its worst
shape. Peace would unchain every priestly tongue, and unsheath every
knightly sword in the fifteen provinces against little Holland and
Zealand. He had been able to bind all the provinces together by the
hastily forged chain of the Ghent treaty, and had done what he could to
strengthen that union by the principle of mutual religious respect. By
the arrival of Don John that work had been deranged. It had, however,
been impossible for the Prince thoroughly to infuse his own ideas on the
subject of toleration into the hearts of his nearest associates. He could
not hope to inspire his deadly enemies with a deeper sympathy. Was he not
himself the mark of obloquy among the Reformers, because of his leniency
to Catholics? Nay more, was not his intimate councillor, the accomplished
Saint Aldegonde, in despair because the Prince refused to exclude the
Anabaptists of Holland from the rights of citizenship? At the very moment
when William was straining every nerve to unite warring sects, and to
persuade men's hearts into a system by which their consciences were to be
laid open to God alone--at the moment when it was most necessary for the
very existence of the fatherland that Catholic and Protestant should
mingle their social and political relations, it was indeed a bitter
disappointment for him to see wise statesmen of his own creed unable to
rise to the idea of toleration. "The affair of the Anabaptists," wrote
Saint Aldegonde, "has been renewed. The Prince objects to exclude them
from citizenship. He answered me sharply, that their yea was equal to our
oath, and that we should not press this matter, unless we were willing to
confess that it was just for the Papists to compel us to a divine service
which was against our conscience." It seems hardly credible that this
sentence, containing so sublime a tribute to the character of the Prince,
should have been indited as a bitter censure, and that, too, by an
enlightened and accomplished Protestant. "In short," continued Saint
Aldegonde, with increasing vexation, "I don't see how we can accomplish
our wish in this matter. The Prince has uttered reproaches to me that our
clergy are striving to obtain a mastery over consciences. He praised
lately the saying of a monk who was not long ago here, that our pot had
not gone to the fire as often as that of our antagonists, but that when
the time came it would be black enough. In short, the Prince fears that
after a few centuries the clerical tyranny on both sides will stand in
this respect on the same footing."

Early in the month of May, Doctor Leoninus and Caspar Schetz, Seigneur de
Grobbendonck, had been sent on a mission from the states-general to the
Prince of Orange. While their negotiations were still pending, four
special envoys from Don John arrived at Middelburg. To this commission
was informally adjoined Leoninus, who had succeeded to the general
position of Viglius. Viglius was dead. Since the memorable arrest of the
State Council, he had not appeared on the scene of public affairs. The
house-arrest, to which he had been compelled by a revolutionary
committee, had been indefinitely prolonged by a higher power, and after a
protracted illness he had noiselessly disappeared from the stage of life.
There had been few more learned doctors of both laws than he. There had
been few more adroit politicians, considered from his point of view. His
punning device was "Vita mortalium vigilia," and he acted accordingly,
but with a narrow interpretation. His life had indeed been a vigil, but
it must be confessed that the vigils had been for Viglius.

   [Bor, x. 812. Meteren, vi. 120.--Another motto of his was, "En
   groot Jurist een booser Christ;" that is to say, A good lawyer is a
   bad Christian.--Unfortunately his own character did not give the lie
   satisfactorily to the device.]

The weatherbeaten Palinurus, as he loved to call himself, had conducted
his own argosy so warily that he had saved his whole cargo; and perished
in port at last, while others, not sailing by his compass, were still
tossed by the tempest.

The agents of Don John were the Duke of Aerschot, the Seigneur de
Hierges, Seigneur de Willerval, and Doctor Meetkercke, accompanied by
Doctor Andrew Gaill, one of the imperial commissioners. The two envoys
from the states-general, Leoninus and Schetz, being present at
Gertruydenberg were added to the deputation. An important conference took
place, the details of which have been somewhat minutely preserved. The
Prince of Orange, accompanied by Saint Aldegonde and four other
councillors, encountered the seven champions from Brussels in a long
debate, which was more like a passage of arms or a trial of skill than a
friendly colloquy with a pacific result in prospect; for it must be
remembered that the Prince of Orange did not mean peace. He had devised
the Pacification of Ghent as a union of the other provinces with Holland
and Zealand, against Philip. He did not intend that it should be
converted into a union of the other provinces with Philip, against
Holland and Zealand.

Meetkercke was the first to speak. He said that the Governor had
despatched them to the Prince, to express his good intentions, to
represent the fidelity with which his promises had thus far been
executed, and to entreat the Prince, together with the provinces of
Holland and Zealand, to unite with their sister provinces in common
allegiance to his Majesty. His Highness also proposed to advise with them
concerning the proper method of convoking the states-general. As soon as
Meetkercke had finished his observations, the Prince demanded that the
points and articles should be communicated to him in writing. Now this
was precisely what the envoys preferred to omit. It was easier, and far
more agreeable to expatiate in a general field of controversy,--than to
remain tethered to distinct points. It was particularly in these confused
conferences, where neither party was entirely sincere, that the volatile
word was thought preferable to the permanent letter. Already so many
watery lines had been traced, in the course of these fluctuating
negotiations, that a few additional records would be if necessary, as
rapidly effaced as the rest.

The commissioners, after whispering in each other's, ears for a few
minutes, refused to put down anything in writing. Protocols, they said,
only engendered confusion.

"No, no," said the .Prince, in reply, "we will have nothing except in
black and white. Otherwise things will be said on both sides, which will
afterwards be interpreted in different ways. Nay, it will be denied that
some important points have been discussed at all. We know that by
experience. Witness the solemn treaty of Ghent, which ye have tried to
make fruitless, under pretence that some points, arranged by word of
mouth, and not stated particularly in writing, had been intended in a
different sense from the obvious one. Governments given by royal
commission, for example; what point could be clearer? Nevertheless, ye
have hunted up glosses and cavils to obscure the intention of the
contracting parties. Ye have denied my authority over Utrecht, because
not mentioned expressly in the treaty of Ghent."

"But," said one of the envoys, interrupting at this point, "neither the
Council of State nor the Court of Mechlin consider Utrecht as belonging
to your Excellency's government."

"Neither the Council of State," replied the Prince, "nor the Court of
Mechlin have anything to do with the matter. 'Tis in my commission, and
all the world knows it." He added that instead of affairs being thrown
into confusion by being reduced to writing, he was of opinion, on the
contrary, that it was by that means alone they could be made perfectly

Leoninus replied, good naturedly, that there should be no difficulty upon
that score, and that writings should be exchanged. In the meantime,
however, he expressed the hope that the Prince would honor them with some
preliminary information as to the points in which he felt aggrieved, as
well as to the pledges which he and the states were inclined to demand.

"And what reason have we to hope," cried the Prince, "that your pledges,
if made; will be redeemed? That which was promised so solemnly at Ghent,
and ratified by Don John and his Majesty, has not been fulfilled."

"Of what particular point do you complain?" asked Schetz. "Wherein has
the Pacification been violated?"

Hereupon the Prince launched forth upon a flowing stream of invective. He
spoke to them of his son detained in distant captivity--of his own
property at Breda withheld--of a thousand confiscated estates--of
garrisons of German mercenaries--of ancient constitutions annihilated--of
the infamous edicts nominally suspended, but actually in full vigor. He
complained bitterly that the citadels, those nests and dens of tyranny,
were not yet demolished. "Ye accuse me of distrust," he cried; "but while
the castles of Antwerp, Ghent, Namur, and so many more are standing, 'tis
yourselves who show how utterly ye are without confidence in any
permanent and peaceful arrangement."

"And what," asked a deputy, smoothly, "is the point which touches you
most nearly? What is it that your Excellency most desires? By what means
will it be possible for the government fully to give you contentment?"

"I wish," he answered, simply, "the full execution of the Ghent
Pacification. If you regard the general welfare of the land, it is well,
and I thank you. If not, 'tis idle to make propositions, for I regard my
country's profit, not my own."

Afterwards, the Prince simply repeated his demand that the Ghent treaty
should be executed; adding, that after the states-general should have
been assembled, it would be time to propose the necessary articles for
mutual security.

Hereupon Doctor Leoninus observed that the assembly of the states-general
could hardly be without danger. He alluded to the vast number of persons
who would thus be convoked, to the great discrepancy of humors which
would thus be manifested. Many men would be present neither discreet nor
experienced. He therefore somewhat coolly suggested that it might be
better to obviate the necessity of holding any general assembly at all.
An amicable conference, for the sake of settling doubtful questions,
would render the convocation superfluous, and save the country from the
dangers by which the step would be attended. The Doctor concluded by
referring to the recent assemblies of France, the only result of which
had been fresh dissensions. It thus appeared that the proposition on the
part of Don John meant something very different from its apparent
signification. To advise with the Prince as to the proper method of
assembling the estates really meant, to advise with him as to the best
means of preventing any such assembly. Here, certainly, was a good reason
for the preference expressed by the deputies, in favor of amicable
discussions over formal protocols. It might not be so easy in a written
document to make the assembly, and the prevention of the assembly, appear
exactly the same thing.

The Prince replied that there was a wide difference between the condition
of France and of the Netherlands. Here, was one will and one intention.
There, were many factions, many partialities, many family intrigues.
Since it had been agreed by the Ghent treaty that certain points should
be provisionally maintained and others settled by a speedy convocation of
the states-general, the plainest course was to maintain the provisional
points, and to summon the states-general at once. This certainly was
concise and logical. It is doubtful, however, whether he were really as
anxious for the assembly-general as he appeared to be. Both parties were
fencing at each other, without any real intention of carrying their
points, for neither wished the convocation, while both affected an
eagerness for that event. The conversation proceeded.

"At least," said an envoy, "you can tell beforehand in what you are
aggrieved, and what you have to propose."

"We are aggrieved in nothing, and we have nothing to propose," answered
the Prince, "so long as you maintain the Pacification. We demand no other
pledge, and are willing to refer everything afterwards to the assembly."

"But," asked Schetz, "what security do you offer us that you will
yourselves maintain the Pacification?"

"We are not bound to give assurances," answered the Prince. "The
Pacification is itself an assurance. 'Tis a provisional arrangement, to
be maintained by both parties, until after the decision of the assembly.
The Pacification must therefore be maintained or disavowed. Choose
between the two. Only, if you mean still to acknowledge it, you must keep
its articles. This we mean to do, and if up to the present time you have
any complaint to make of our conduct, as we trust you have not, we are
ready to give you satisfaction."

"In short," said an envoy, "you mean, after we shall have placed in your
hands the government of Utrecht, Amsterdam: and other places, to deny us
any pledges on your part to maintain the Pacification."

"But," replied the Prince, "if we are already accomplishing the
Pacification, what more do you wish?"

"In this fashion," cried the others, "after having got all that you ask,
and having thus fortified yourselves more than you were ever fortified
before, you will make war upon us."

"War?" cried the Prince, "what are you afraid of? We are but a handful of
people; a worm compared to the King of Spain. Moreover, ye are fifteen
provinces to two. What have you to fear?"

"Ah," said Meetkercke, "we have seen what you could do, when you were
masters of the sea. Don't make yourselves out quite so little."

"But," said the Prince, "the Pacification of Ghent provides for all this.
Your deputies were perfectly satisfied with the guarantees it furnished.
As to making war upon you, 'tis a thing without foundation or appearance
of probability. Had you believed then that you had anything to fear, you
world not have forgotten to demand pledges enough. On the contrary, you
saw how roundly we were dealing with you then, honestly disgarnishing the
country, even before the peace had been concluded. For ourselves,
although we felt the right to demand guarantees, we would not do it, for
we were treating with you on terms of confidence. We declared expressly
that had we been dealing with the King, we should have exacted stricter
pledges. As to demanding them of us at the moment, 'tis nonsense. We have
neither the means of assailing you, nor do we deem it expedient to do

"To say the truth," replied Schetz, "we are really confident that you
will not make war upon us. On the other hand, however, we see you
spreading your religion daily, instead of keeping it confined within your
provinces. What assurance do you give us that, after all your demand
shall have been accorded, you will make no innovation in religion."

"The assurance which we give you," answered the Prince, "is that we will
really accomplish the Pacification."

"But," persisted Schetz, "do you fairly, promise to submit to all which
the states-general shall ordain, as well on this point of religious
exercise in Holland and Zealand, as on all the others?"

This was a home thrust. The Prince parried it for a while. In his secret
thoughts he had no expectation or desire that the states-general,
summoned in a solemn manner by the Governor-General, on the basis of the
memorable assembly before which was enacted the grand ceremony of the
imperial abdication, would ever hold their session, and although he did
not anticipate the prohibition by such assembly, should it take place, of
the Reformed worship in Holland and Zealand, he did not intend to submit
to it, even should it be made.

"I cannot tell," said he, accordingly, in reply to the last question,
"for ye have yourselves already broken and violated the Pacification;
having made an accord with Don John without our consent, and having
already received him as Governor."

"So that you don't mean," replied Schetz, "to accept the decision of the

"I don't say that," returned the Prince, continuing to parry; "it is
possible that we might accept it; it is possible that we might not. We
are no longer in our entire rights, as we were at the time of our first
submission at Ghent."

"But we will make you whole," said Schetz.

"That you cannot do," replied the Prince, "for you have broken the
Pacification all to pieces. We have nothing, therefore, to expect from
the states, but to be condemned off-hand.

"You don't mean, then," repeated Schetz, "to submit to the estates
touching the exercise of religion?"

"No, we do not!" replied the Prince, driven into a corner at last, and
striking out in his turn. "We certainly do not. To tell you the truth, we
see that you intend our extirpation, and we don't mean to be extirpated."

"Ho!" said the Duke of Aerschot, "there is nobody who wishes that."

"Indeed, but you do," said the Prince. "We have submitted ourselves to
you in good faith, and you now would compel us and all the world to
maintain exclusively the Catholic religion. This cannot be done except by
extirpating us."

A long, learned, vehement discussion upon abstract points, between Saint
Aldegonde, Leoninus, and Doctor Gaill, then ensued, during which the
Prince, who had satisfied himself as to the result of the conference,
retired from the apartment. He afterwards had a private convention with
Schetz and Leoninus, in which he reproached them with their inclination
to reduce their fatherland to slavery. He also took occasion to remark to
Hiergea, that it was a duty to content the people; that whatever might be
accomplished for them was durable, whereas the will of kings was
perishing. He told the Duke of Aerschot that if Utrecht were not
restored, he would take it by force. He warned the Duke that to trust the
King was to risk his head. He, at least, would never repose confidence in
him, having been deceived too often. The King cherished the maxim,
'hereticis non est servanda fides;' as for himself he was 'calbo y
calbanista,' and meant to die so.

The formal interchange of documents soon afterwards took place. The
conversation thus held between the different parties shows, however, the
exact position of, affairs. There was no change in the intentions of
either; Reformers or Royalists. Philip and his representatives still
contended for two points, and claimed the praise of moderation that their
demands were so few in number. They were willing to concede everything,
save the unlimited authority of the King and the exclusive maintenance of
the Catholic religion. The Prince of Orange, on his side, claimed two
points also--the ancient constitutions of the country and religious
freedom. It was obvious enough that the contest was, the same in reality,
as it had ever been. No approximation had been made towards reconciling
absolutism with national liberty, persecution with toleration. The
Pacification of Ghent had been a step in advance. That Treaty opened the
door to civil and religious liberty, but it was an agreement among the
provinces, not a compact between the people and the monarch. By the
casuists of Brussels and the licentiates of Louvain, it had, to be sure,
been dogmatically pronounced orthodox, and had been confirmed by royal
edict. To believe, however, that his Catholic Majesty had faith in the
dogmas propounded, was as absurd as to believe in the dogmas themselves.
If the Ghent Pacification really had made no breach in royal and Roman
infallibility, then the efforts of Orange and the exultation of the
Reformers had indeed been idle.

The envoys accordingly, in obedience to their instructions, made a formal
statement to the Prince of Orange and the states of Holland and Zealand,
on the part of Don John. They alluded to the departure of the Spaniards,
as if that alone had fulfilled every duty and authorized every claim.
They therefore demanded the immediate publication in Holland and Zealand
of the Perpetual Edict. They insisted on the immediate discontinuance of
all hostile attempts to reduce Amsterdam to the jurisdiction of Orange;
required the Prince to abandon his pretensions to Utrecht, and denounced
the efforts making by him and his partisans to diffuse their heretical
doctrines through the other provinces. They observed, in conclusion, that
the general question of religion was not to be handled, because reserved
for the consideration of the states-general, according to the treaty of

The reply, delivered on the following day by the Prince of Orange and the
deputies, maintained that the Perpetual Edict was widely different from
the Pacification of Ghent, which it affected to uphold; that the promises
to abstain from all violation of the ancient constitutions had not been
kept; that the German troops had not been dismissed, that the property of
the Prince in the Netherlands and Burgundy had not been restored, that
his son was detained in captivity, that the government of Utrecht was
withheld from him, that the charters and constitution of the country,
instead of being extended, had been contracted, and that the Governor had
claimed the right to convoke the states-general at his pleasure, in
violation of the ancient right to assemble at their own. The document
further complained that the adherents of the Reformed religion were not
allowed to frequent the different provinces in freedom, according to the
stipulations of Ghent; that Don John, notwithstanding all these
short-comings, had been acknowledged as Governor-General, without the
consent of the Prince; that he was surrounded with a train of Spaniards
Italians, and other foreigners--Gonzaga, Escovedo, and the like--as well
as by renegade Netherlanders like Tassis, by whom he was unduly
influenced against the country and the people, and by whom a "back door
was held constantly open" to the admission of evils innumerable. Finally,
it was asserted that, by means of this last act of union, a new form of
inquisition had been introduced, and one which was much more cruel than
the old system; inasmuch as the Spanish Inquisition did not take
information against men: except upon suspicion, whereas, by the new
process, all the world would be examined as to their conscience and
religion, under pretence of maintaining the union.

Such was the result of this second mission to the Prince of Orange on the
part of the Governor-General. Don John never sent another. The swords
were now fairly measured between the antagonists, and the scabbard was
soon to be thrown away. A few weeks afterwards, the Governor wrote to
Philip that there was nothing in the world which William of Orange so
much abhorred as his Majesty; adding, with Castillian exaggeration, that
if the Prince could drink the King's blood he would do so with great

Don John, being thus seated in the saddle, had a moment's leisure to look
around him. It was but a moment, for he had small confidence in the
aspect of affairs, but one of his first acts after assuming the
government afforded a proof of the interpretation which he had adopted of
the Ghent Pacification. An edict was issued, addressed to all bishops,
"heretic-masters," and provincial councils, commanding the strict
enforcement of the Canons of Trent, and other ecclesiastical decrees.
These authorities were summoned instantly to take increased heed, of the
flocks under their charge, "and to protect them from the ravening wolves
which were seeking to devour them."

The measure bore instant fruit. A wretched tailor of Mechlin, Peter Penis
by name, an honest man, but a heretic, was arrested upon the charge of
having preached or exhorted at a meeting in that city. He confessed that
he had been present at the meeting, but denied that he had preached. He
was then required to denounce the others who had been present, and the
men who had actually officiated. He refused, and was condemned to death.
The Prince of Orange, while the process was pending, wrote an earnest
letter to the Council of Mechlin, imploring them not now to rekindle the
fires of religious persecution. His appeal was in vain. The poor tailor
was beheaded at Mechlin on the 15th of June, the Conqueror of Lepanto
being present at the execution, and adding dignity to the scene. Thus, at
the moment when William of Orange was protecting the Anabaptists of
Middelburg in their rights of citizenship, even while they refused its
obligations, the son of the Emperor was dipping his hands in the blood of
a poor wretch who had done no harm but to listen to a prayer without
denouncing the preacher. The most intimate friends of the Prince were
offended with his liberality. The imperial shade of Don John's father
might have risen to approve the son who had so dutifully revived his
bloody edicts and his ruthless policy.

Three parties were now fairly in existence: the nobles, who hated the
Spaniards, but who were disposed to hold themselves aloof from the
people; the adherents of Don John, commonly called "Johanists;" and the
partisans of the Prince of Orange--for William the Silent had always felt
the necessity of leaning for support on something more substantial than
the court party, a reed shaken by the wind, and failing always when most
relied upon. His efforts were constant to elevate the middle class, to
build up a strong third party which should unite much of the substantial
wealth and intelligence of the land, drawing constantly from the people,
and deriving strength from national enthusiasm--a party which should
include nearly all the political capacity of the country; and his efforts
were successful. No doubt the Governor and his Secretary were right when
they said the people of the Netherlands were inclined to brook the Turk
as easily as the Spaniard for their master, and that their hearts were in
reality devoted to the Prince of Orange.

As to the grandees, they were mostly of those who "sought to swim between
two waters," according to the Prince's expression. There were but few
unswerving supporters of the Spanish rule, like the Berlaymont and the
Tassis families. The rest veered daily with the veering wind. Aerschot,
the great chief of the Catholic party, was but a cringing courtier, false
and fawning both to Don John and the Prince. He sought to play a leading
part in a great epoch; he only distinguished himself by courting and
betraying all parties, and being thrown away by all. His son and brother
were hardly more respectable. The Prince knew how little dependence could
be placed on such allies, even although they had signed and sworn the
Ghent Pacification. He was also aware how little it was the intention of
the Governor to be bound by that famous Treaty. The Spanish troops had
been, indeed, disbanded, but there were still, between ten and fifteen
thousand German mercenaries in the service of the King; these were
stationed in different important places, and held firm possession of the
citadels. The great keys of the country were still in the hands of the
Spaniards. Aerschot, indeed, governed the castle of Antwerp, in room of
Sancho d'Avila, but how much more friendly would Aerschot be than Avila,
when interest prompted him to sustain Don John against the Prince?

Meanwhile; the estates, according to their contract, were straining every
nerve to raise the requisite sum for the payment of the German troops.
Equitable offers were made, by which the soldiers were to receive a
certain proportion of the arrears due to them in merchandize, and the
remainder in cash. The arrangement was rejected, at the secret instance
of Don John. While the Governor affected an ingenuous desire to aid the
estates in their efforts to free themselves from the remaining portion of
this incumbrance, he was secretly tampering with the leading German
officers, in order to prevent their acceptance of any offered terms. He
persuaded these military chiefs that a conspiracy existed, by which they
were not only to be deprived of their wages but of their lives. He warned
them to heed no promises, to accept no terms. Convincing them that he,
and he only, was their friend, he arranged secret plans by which they
should assist him in taking the fortresses of the country into still more
secure possession, for he was not more inclined to trust to the Aerschots
and the Havres than was the Prince himself.

The Governor lived in considerable danger, and in still greater dread of
capture, if not of assassination. His imagination, excited by endless
tales of ambush and half-discovered conspiracies, saw armed soldiers
behind every bush; a pitfall in every street. Had not the redoubtable
Alva been nearly made a captive? Did not Louis of Nassau nearly entrap
the Grand Commander? No doubt the Prince of Orange was desirous of
accomplishing a feat by which he would be placed in regard to Philip on
the vantage ground which the King had obtained by his seizure of Count
Van Buren, nor did Don John need for warnings coming from sources far
from obscure. In May, the Viscount De Gand had forced his way to his
bedside in the dead of night; and wakening him from his sleep, had
assured him, with great solemnity, that his life was not worth a pin's
purchase if he remained in Brussels. He was aware, he said, of a
conspiracy by which both his liberty and his life were endangered, and
assured him that in immediate flight lay his only safety.

The Governor fled to Mechlin, where the same warnings were soon
afterwards renewed, for the solemn sacrifice of Peter Panis, the poor
preaching tailor of that city, had not been enough to strike terror to
the hearts of all the Netherlanders. One day, toward the end of June, the
Duke of Aerschot, riding out with Don John, gave him a circumstantial
account of plots, old and new, whose existence he had discovered or
invented, and he showed a copy of a secret letter, written by the Prince
of Orange to the estates, recommending the forcible seizure of his
Highness. It is true that the Duke was, at that period and for long
after, upon terms of the most "fraternal friendship" with the Prince, and
was in the habit of signing himself "his very affectionate brother and
cordial friend to serve him," yet this did not prevent him from
accomplishing what he deemed his duty, in secretly denouncing his plans,
It is also true that he, at the same time, gave the Prince private
information concerning the government, and sent him intercepted letters
from his enemies, thus easing his conscience on both sides, and trimming
his sails to every wind which might blow. The Duke now, however, reminded
his Highness of the contumely with which he had been treated at Brussels,
of the insolent threats with which the citizens had pursued his servants
and secretaries even to the very door of his palace. He assured him that
the same feeling existed at Mechlin, and that neither himself nor family
were much safer there than in the capital, a plot being fully organized
for securing his person. The conspirators, he said, were openly supported
by a large political party who called themselves anti-Johanists, and who
clothed themselves in symbolic costume, as had been done by the
disaffected in the days of Cardinal Granvelle. He assured the Governor
that nearly all the members of the states-general were implicated in
these schemes. "And what becomes, then, of their promises?" asked Don
John. "That for their promises!" cried the Duke, snapping his fingers;
"no man in the land feels bound by engagements now." The Governor
demanded the object of the states in thus seeking to deprive him of his
liberty. The Duke informed him that it was to hold him in captivity until
they had compelled him to sign every paper which they chose to lay before
him. Such things had been done in the Netherlands in former days, the
Duke observed, as he proceeded to narrate how a predecessor of his
Highness and a prince of the land, after having been compelled to sign
innumerable documents, had been, in conclusion, tossed out of the windows
of his own palace, with all his retinue, to perish upon the pikes of an
insurgent mob below. The Governor protested that it did not become the
son of Charles the Fifth and the representative of his Catholic Majesty
to hear such intimations a second time. After his return, he brooded over
what had been said to him for a few days, and he then broke up his
establishment at Mechlin, selling off his superfluous furniture and even
the wine in his cellars. Thus showing that his absence, both from
Brussels and Mechlin, was to be a prolonged one, he took advantage of an
unforeseen occurrence again to remove his residence.


     A good lawyer is a bad Christian
     Claimed the praise of moderation that their demands were so few
     Confused conferences, where neither party was entirely sincere
     Customary oaths, to be kept with the customary conscientiousness
     Deadliest of sins, the liberty of conscience
     I regard my country's profit, not my own
     Made no breach in royal and Roman infallibility
     Neither wished the convocation, while both affected an eagerness
     Our pot had not gone to the fire as often
     Peace, in reality, was war in its worst shape
     Those who "sought to swim between two waters"
     Volatile word was thought preferable to the permanent letter

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 28


By John Lothrop Motley


   The city of Namur--Margaret of Valois--Her intrigues in Hainault in
   favour of Alencon--Her reception by Don John at Namur--Festivities
   in her, honor--Seizure of Namur citadel by Don John--Plan for
   seizing that of Antwerp--Letter of the estates to Philip, sent by
   Escovedo--Fortunes and fate of Escovedo in Madrid--Repairing of
   dykes--The Prince's visit to Holland--His letter to the estates--
   general on the subject of Namur citadel--His visit to Utrecht--
   Correspondence and commissioners between Don John and the estates--
   Acrimonious and passionate character of these colloquies--Attempt of
   Treslong upon Antwerp citadel frustrated by De Bourse--Fortunate
   panic of the German mercenaries--Antwerp evacuated by the foreign
   troops--Renewed correspondence--Audacity of the Governor's demands--
   Letters of Escovedo and others intercepted--Private schemes of Don
   John not understood by the estates--His letter to the Empress
   Dowager--More correspondence with the estates--Painful and false
   position of the Governor--Demolition, in part, of Antwerp citadel,
   and of other fortresses by the patriots Statue of Alva--Letter of
   estates-general to the King.

There were few cities of the Netherlands more picturesque in situation,
more trimly built, and more opulent of aspect than the little city of
Namur. Seated at the confluence of the Sombre with the Meuse, and
throwing over each river a bridge of solid but graceful structure, it lay
in the lap of a most fruitful valley. Abroad crescent-shaped plain,
fringed by the rapid Meuse, and enclosed by gently rolling hills
cultivated to their crests, or by abrupt precipices of limestone crowned
with verdure, was divided by numerous hedgerows, and dotted all over with
corn-fields, vineyards, and flower gardens. Many eyes have gazed with
delight upon that well-known and most lovely valley, and many torrents of
blood have mingled with those glancing waters since that long buried and
most sanguinary age which forms our theme; and still placid as ever is
the valley, brightly as ever flows the stream. Even now, as in that
vanished, but never-forgotten time, nestles the little city in the angle
of the two rivers; still directly over its head seems to hang in mid-air
the massive and frowning fortress, like the gigantic helmet-in the
fiction, as if ready to crush the pigmy town below.

It was this famous citadel, crowning an abrupt precipice five hundred
feet above the river's bed, and placed near the frontier of France, which
made the city so important, and which had now attracted Don John's
attention in this hour of his perplexity. The unexpected visit of a
celebrated personage, furnished him with the pretext which he desired.
The beautiful Margaret of Valois, Queen of Navarre, was proceeding to the
baths of Spa, to drink the waters. Her health was as perfect as her
beauty, but she was flying from a husband whom she hated, to advance the
interest of a brother whom she loved with a more than sisterly
fondness--for the worthless Duke of Alencon was one of the many
competitors for the Netherland government; the correspondence between
himself and his brother with Orange and his agents being still continued.
The hollow truce with the Huguenots in France had, however, been again
succeeded by war. Henry of Valois had already commenced operations in
Gascony against Henry of Navarre, whom he hated, almost as cordially as
Margaret herself could do, and the Duke of Alencon was besieging Issoire.
Meantime, the beautiful Queen came to mingle he golden thread of her
feminine intrigues with the dark woof of the Netherland destinies.

Few spirits have been more subtle, few faces so fatal as hers. True child
of the Medicean mother, worthy sister of Charles, Henry; and
Francis--princes for ever infamous in the annals of France--she possessed
more beauty and wit than Mary of Scotland, more learning and
accomplishments than Elizabeth of England. In the blaze of her beauty,
according to the inflated language of her most determined worshiper, the
wings of all rivals were melted. Heaven required to be raised higher and
earth made wider, before a full sweep could be given to her own majestic
flight. We are further informed that she was a Minerva for eloquence,
that she composed matchless poems which she sang most exquisitely to the
sound of her lute, and that her familiar letters were so full of genius,
that "poor Cicero" was but a fool to her in the same branch of
composition. The world has shuddered for ages at the dark tragedy of her
nuptials. Was it strange that hatred, incest, murder, should follow in
the train of a wedding thus hideously solemnized?

Don John, as in his Moorish disguise he had looked upon her perfections,
had felt in danger of becoming really the slave he personated--"her
beauty is more divine than human," he had cried, "but fitter to destroy
men's souls than to bless them;" and now the enchantress was on her way
to his dominions. Her road led through Namur to Liege, and gallantry
required that he should meet her as she passed. Attended by a select band
of gentlemen and a few horsemen of his body-guard, the Governor came to

Meantime the Queen crossed the frontier, and was courteously received at
Cambray. The bishop-of the loyal house of Berlaymont--was a stanch
supporter of the King, and although a Fleming, was Spanish to the core.
On him the cajolery of the beautiful Queen was first essayed, but was
found powerless. The prelate gave her a magnificent ball, but resisted
her blandishments. He retired with the appearance of the confections, but
the governor of the citadel, the Seigneur d'Inchy remained, with whom
Margaret was more successful. She found him a cordial hater of Spain, a
favorer of France, and very impatient under the authority of the bishop.
He obtained permission to accompany the royal visitor a few stages of her
journey, and returned to Cambray, her willing slave; holding the castle
in future, neither for king nor bishop, but for Margaret's brother,
Alencon, alone. At Mons she was received with great state by the Count
Lalain, who was governor of Hainault, while his Countess governed him. A
week of festivities graced the advent of the Queen, during which period
the hearts of both Lalain and his wife were completely subjugated. They
agreed that Flanders had been too long separated from the parental France
to which it of right belonged. The Count was a stanch Catholic, but he
hated Spain. He was a relative of Egmont, and anxious to avenge his
death, but he was no lover of the people, and was jealous of Orange.
Moreover, his wife had become entirely fascinated by the designing.
Queen. So warm a friendship had sprung up between the two fair ladies as
to make it indispensable that Flanders and Hainault should be annexed to
France. The Count promised to hold his whole government at the service of
Alencon, and recommended that an attempt should be made to gain over the
incorruptible Governor of Cambray. Margaret did not inform him that she
had already turned that functionary round her finger, but she urged
Lalain and his wife to seduce him from his allegiance, if possible.

The Count, with a retinue of mounted men, then accompanied her on her way
towards Namur, but turned as the distant tramp of Don John's cavalcade
was heard approaching, for it was not desirable for Lalain, at that
moment, to find himself face to face with the Governor. Don John stood a
moment awaiting the arrival of the Queen. He did not dream of her
political intrigues, nor see in the fair form approaching him one mortal
enemy the more. Margaret travelled in a splendid litter with gilt
pillars, lined with scarlet velvet, and entirely enclosed in glass, which
was followed by those of the Princess de la Roche sur Yon, and of Madame
de Tournon. After these came ten ladies of honor on horseback, and six
chariots filled with female domestics. These, with the guards and other
attendants, made up the retinue. On meeting the Queen's litter, Don John
sprang from his horse and presented his greetings. The Queen returned his
salutation, in the French fashion, by offering her cheek to his embrace,
extending the same favor to the Duke of Aerschot and the Marquis of
Havre. The cavaliers then remounted and escorted the Queen to Namur, Don
John riding by the side of the litter and conversing with her all the
way. It was late in the evening when the procession arrived in the city.
The streets had, however, been brilliantly illuminated; houses and shops,
though it was near midnight, being in a blaze of light. Don John
believing that no attentions could be so acceptable at that hour as to
provide for the repose of his guest, conducted the Queen at once to the
lodgings prepared for her. Margaret was astonished at the magnificence of
the apartments into which she was ushered. A spacious and stately hall,
most gorgeously furnished, opened into a series of chambers and cabinets,
worthy, in their appointments, of a royal palace. The tent and bed
coverings prepared for the Queen were exquisitely embroidered in
needlework with scenes representing the battle of Lepanto. The great hall
was hung with gorgeous tapestry of satin and velvet, ornamented with
columns of raised silver work, and with many figures in antique costume,
of the same massive embroidery. The rest of the furniture was also of
satin, velvet, cloth of gold, and brocade. The Queen was dazzled with so
much magnificence, and one of the courtiers could not help expressing
astonishment at the splendor of the apartments and decorations, which, as
he observed to the Duke of Aerschot; seemed more appropriate to the
palace of a powerful monarch than to the apartments of a young bachelor
prince. The Duke replied by explaining that the expensive embroidery
which they saw was the result, not of extravagance, but of valor and
generosity. After the battle of Lepanto, Don John had restored the two
sons, who had been taken prisoners, of a powerful Turkish bashaw. The
father; in gratitude had sent this magnificent tapestry as a present to
the conqueror, and Don John had received it, at Milan; in which city,
celebrated for the taste of its upholsterers; it had been arranged for

The next morning a grand mass with military music was performed, followed
by a sumptuous banquet in the grand hall. Don John and the Queen sat at a
table three feet apart from the rest, and Ottavio Gonzaga served them
wine upon his knees. After the banquet came, as usual; the ball, the
festivities continuing till late in the night, and Don John scarcely
quitting his fair guest for a moment. The next afternoon, a festival had
been arranged upon an island in the river. The company embarked upon the
Meuse, in a fleet of gaily-scarfed; and painted vessels, many of which
were filled with musicians. Margaret reclined in her gilded barge, under
a richly embroidered canopy. A fairer and falser Queen than "Egypt," had
bewitched the famous youth who had triumphed not, lost the world, beneath
the heights of Actium. The revellers landed on the island, where the
banquet was already spread within a spacious bower of ivy, and beneath
umbrageous elms. The dance upon the sward was protracted to a late hour,
and the summer stars had been long in the sky when the company returned
to their barges.

Don John, more than ever enthralled by the bride of St. Bartholomew, knew
not that her sole purpose in visiting his dominion had been to corrupt
his servants and to undermine his authority. His own purpose, however,
had been less to pay court to the Queen than to make, use of her presence
to cover his own designs. That purpose he proceeded instantly to execute.
The Queen next morning pursued her voyage by the river to Liege, and
scarcely had she floated out of his sight than he sprang upon his horse
and, accompanied by a few trusty attendants, galloped out of the gate and
across the bridge which led to the citadel. He had already despatched the
loyal Berlaymont, with his four equally loyal sons, the Seigneurs de
Meghen, Floyon, Hierges, and Haultepenne to that fortress. These
gentlemen had informed the castellan that the Governor was about to ride
forth hunting, and that it would be proper to offer him the hospitalities
of the castle as he passed on his way. A considerable number of armed men
had been concealed in the woods and thickets of the neighbourhood. The
Seigneur de Froymont, suspecting nothing, acceded to the propriety of the
suggestion made by the Berlaymonts. Meantime, with a blast of his horn,
Don John appeared at the castle gate. He entered the fortress with the
castellan, while one of the gentlemen watched outside, as the ambushed
soldiers came toiling up the precipice. When all was ready the gentleman
returned to the hall, and made a signal to Don John, as he sat at
breakfast with the constable. The Governor sprang from the table and drew
his sword; Berlaymont and his four sons drew their pistols, while at the
same instant, the soldiers entered. Don John, exclaiming that this was
the first day of his government, commanded the castellan to surrender. De
Froymont, taken by surprise, and hardly understanding this very
melo-dramatic attack upon a citadel by its own lawful governor, made not
much difficulty in complying. He was then turned out of doors, along with
his garrison, mostly feeble old men and invalids. The newly arrived
soldiers took their places, at command of the Governor, and the
stronghold of Namur was his own.

There was little doubt that the representative of Philip had a perfect
right to possess himself of any fortress within his government; there
could be as little that the sudden stratagem by which he had thus made
himself master of this citadel would prove offensive to the estates,
while it could hardly be agreeable to the King; and yet it is not certain
that he could have accomplished his purpose in any other way. Moreover,
the achievement was one of a projected series by which he meant to
re-vindicate his dwindling authority. He was weary of playing the
hypocrite, and convinced that he and his monarch were both abhorred by
the Netherlanders. Peace was impossible--war was forbidden him. Reduced
almost to a nullity by the Prince of Orange, it was time for him to make
a stand, and in this impregnable fastness his position at least was a
good one. Many months before, the Prince of Orange had expressed his
anxious desire that this most important town and citadel should be
secured-for the estates. "You know," he had written to Bossu in December,
"the evil and the dismay which the loss of the city and fortress of Namur
would occasion to us. Let me beseech you that all possible care be taken
to preserve them." Nevertheless, their preservation had been entrusted to
a feeble-minded old constable, at the head of a handful of cripples.

We know how intense had been the solicitude of the Prince, not only to
secure but to destroy these citadels, "nests of tyranny," which had been
built by despots to crush, not protect, the towns at their feet. These
precautions had been neglected, and the consequences were displaying
themselves, for the castle of Namur was not the only one of which Don
John felt himself secure. Although the Duke of Aerschot seemed so very
much his humble servant, the Governor did not trust him, and wished to
see the citadel of Antwerp in more unquestionable keeping. He had
therefore withdrawn, not only the Duke, but his son, the Prince of
Chimay, commander of the castle in his father's absence, from that
important post, and insisted upon their accompanying him to Namur. So
gallant a courtier as Aerschot could hardly refuse to pay his homage to
so illustrious a princess as Margaret of Valois, while during the absence
of the Duke and Prince the keys of Antwerp-citadel had been, at the
command of Don John, placed in the keeping of the Seigneur de Treslong,
an unscrupulous and devoted royalist. The celebrated Colonel Van Ende,
whose participation, at the head of his German cavalry, in the terrible
sack of that city, which he had been ordered to defend, has been
narrated, was commanded to return to Antwerp. He was to present himself
openly to the city authorities, but he was secretly directed by the
Governor-General to act in co-operation with the Colonels Fugger,
Frondsberger, and Polwiller, who commanded the forces already stationed
in the city. These distinguished officers had been all summer in secret
correspondence with Don John, for they were the instruments with which he
meant by a bold stroke to recover his almost lost authority. While he had
seemed to be seconding the efforts of the states-general to pay off and
disband these mercenaries, nothing had in reality been farther from his
thoughts; and the time had now come when his secret plans were to be
executed, according to the agreement between himself and the German
colonels. He wrote to them, accordingly, to delay no longer the
accomplishment of the deed--that deed being the seizure of Antwerp
citadel, as he had already successfully mastered that of Namur. The Duke
of Aerschot, his brother, and son, were in his power, and could do
nothing to prevent the co-operation of the colonels in the city with
Treslong in the castle; so that the Governor would thus be enabled,
laying his head tranquilly upon "the pillow of the Antwerp citadel,"
according to the reproachful expression subsequently used by the estates,
to await the progress of events.

The current of his adventurous career was not, however, destined to run
thus smoothly. It is true that the estates had not yet entirely lost
their confidence in his character; but the seizure of Namur, and the
attempt upon Antwerp, together with the contents of the intercepted
letters written by himself and Escovedo to Philip, to Perez, to the
Empress, to the Colonels Frondsberger and Fugger, were soon destined to
open their eyes. In the meantime, almost exactly at the moment when Don
John was executing his enterprise against Namur, Escovedo had taken an
affectionate farewell of the estates at Brussels for it had been thought
necessary, as already intimated, both for the apparent interests and the
secret projects of Don John; that the Secretary should make a visit to
Spain. At the command of the Governor-General he had offered to take
charge of any communication for his Majesty which the estates might be
disposed to entrust to him, and they had accordingly addressed a long
epistle to the King, in which they gave ample expression to their
indignation and their woe. They remonstrated with the King concerning the
continued presence of the German mercenaries, whose knives were ever at
their throats, whose plunder and insolence impoverished and tortured the
people. They reminded him of the vast sums which the provinces had
contributed in times past to the support of government, and they begged
assistance from his bounty now. They recalled to his vision the
melancholy spectacle of Antwerp, but lately the "nurse of Europe, the
fairest flower in his royal garland, the foremost and noblest city of the
earth, now quite desolate and forlorn," and with additional instructions
to Escovedo, that he should not fail, in his verbal communications, to
represent the evil consequences of the course hitherto pursued by his
Majesty's governors in the Netherlands, they dismissed him with good
wishes, and with "crowns for convoy" in his purse to the amount of a
revenue of two thousand yearly. His secret correspondence was intercepted
and made known a few weeks after his departure for that terrible Spain
whence so few travellers returned.

For a moment we follow him thither. With a single word in anticipation,
concerning the causes and the consummation of this celebrated murder,
which was delayed till the following year, the unfortunate Escovedo may
be dismissed from these pages. It has been seen how artfully Antonio
Perez, Secretary of State, paramour of Princess Eboli, and ruling
councillor at that day of Philip, had fostered in the King's mind the
most extravagant suspicions as to the schemes of Don John, and of his
confidential secretary. He had represented it as their fixed and secret
intention, after Don John should be finally established on the throne of
England, to attack Philip himself in Spain, and to deprive him of his
crown, Escovedo being represented as the prime instigator and controller
of this astounding plot, which lunatics only could have engendered, and
which probably never had existence.

No proof of the wild design was offered. The language which Escovedo was
accused by Perez of having held previously to his departure for
Flanders--that it was the intention of Don John and himself to fortify
the rock of Mogio, with which, and with the command of the city of
Santander, they could make themselves masters of Spain after having
obtained possession of England,--is too absurd to have been uttered by a
man of Escovedo's capacity. Certainly, had Perez been provided with the
least scrap of writing from the hands of Don John or Escovedo which could
be tortured into evidence upon this point, it would have been
forthcoming, and would have rendered such fictitious hearsay superfluous.
Perez in connivance with Philip, had been systematically conducting his
correspondence with Don John and Escovedo, in order to elicit some
evidence of the imputed scheme. "'T was the only way," said Perez to
Philip, "to make them unbare their bosoms to the sword."--"I am quite of
the same opinion," replied Philip to Perez, "for, according to my
theology, you would do your duty neither to God nor the world, unless you
did as you are doing." Yet the excellent pair of conspirators at Madrid
could wring no damning proofs from the lips of the supposititious
conspirators in Flanders, save that Don John, after Escovedo's arrival in
Madrid, wrote, impatiently and frequently, to demand that he should be
sent back, together with the money which he had gone to Spain to procure.
"Money, more money, and Escovedo," wrote the Governor, and Philip was
quite willing to accept this most natural exclamation as evidence of his
brother's designs against his crown. Out of these shreds and patches--the
plot against England, the Pope's bull, the desire expressed by Don John
to march into France as a simple adventurer, with a few thousand men at
his back--Perez, according to his own statement, drew up a protocol,
afterwards formally approved by Philip, which concluded with the
necessity of taking Escovedo's life, instantly but privately, and by
poison. The Marquis de Los Velos, to whom the memorial was submitted for
his advice, averred that if the death-bed wafer were in his own lips, he
should vote for the death of the culprit. Philip had already jumped to
the same conclusion; Perez joyfully undertook the business, having
received carte blanche from the King, and thus the unfortunate secretary
was doomed. Immediately after the arrival of Escovedo in Madrid, he
addressed a letter to the King. Philip filed it away among other
despatches, with this annotation: "the 'avant courier' has arrived--it is
necessary to make great haste, and to despatch him before he murders us."

The King, having been thus artfully inflamed against his brother and his
unfortunate secretary, became clamorous for the blood of Escovedo. At the
same time, that personage, soon after his return to Spain, was shocked by
the discovery of the amour of Perez with the Princess Eboli. He
considered it his duty, both towards the deceased Prince and the living
King, to protest against this perfidy. He threatened to denounce to the
King, who seemed the only person about the court ignorant of the affair,
this double treason of his mistress and his minister. Perez and Anna of
Eboli, furious at Escovedo's insolence, and anxious lest he should
execute his menace determined to disembarrass themselves of so meddlesome
a person. Philip's rage against Don John was accordingly turned to
account, and Perez received the King's secret orders to procure
Escovedo's assassination. Thus an imaginary conspiracy of Don John
against, the crown of Philip was the pretext, the fears and rage of Eboli
and her paramour were the substantial reason, for the crime now

The details of the murder were arranged and executed by Perez, but it
must be confessed in justice to Philip, with much inferior nicety to that
of his, own performances in the same field. Many persons were privy to
the plot. There was much blundering, there was great public scandal in
Madrid, and no one ever had a reasonable doubt as to the instigators and
the actual perpetrators of the crime. Two attempts to poison Escovedo
were made by Perez, at his own table, through the agency of Antonio
Enriquez, a confidential servant or page. Both were unsuccessful. A third
was equally so, but suspicions were aroused. A female slave in the
household of Escovedo, was in consequence arrested, and immediately
hanged in the public square, for a pretended attempt to murder her
master. A few days afterwards (on the 31st of March, 1578) the deed was
accomplished at nightfall in the streets of Madrid, by six conspirators.
They consisted of the majordomo of Perez, a page in his household, the
page's brother from the country, an ex-scullion from the royal kitchens,
Juan Rubio by name, who had been the unsuccessful agent in the poisoning
scheme, together with two professional bravos, hired for the occasion. It
was Insausti, one of this last-mentioned couple, who despatched Escovedo
with a single stab, the others aiding and abetting, or keeping watch in
the neighbourhood.

The murderers effected their escape, and made their report to Perez, who
for the sake of appearances, was upon a visit in the country. Suspicion
soon tracked the real culprits, who were above the reach of justice; nor,
as to the motives which had prompted the murders, were many ignorant,
save only the murderer himself. Philip had ordered the assassination;
but he was profoundly deceived as to the causes of its accomplishment. He
was the dupe of a subtler villain than himself, and thought himself
sacrificing a conspirator against his crown, while he had really only
crushed a poor creature who had been but too solicitous for what he
thought his master's honor.

The assassins were, of course, protected from prosecution, and duly
recompensed. Miguel Bosque, the country boy, received one hundred crowns
in gold, paid by a clerk of Perez. Mesa, one of the bravos, was rewarded
with a gold chain, fifty doubloons of eight, and a silver cup, besides
receiving from the fair hand of Princess Eboli herself a certificate as
under-steward upon her estates. The second bravo, Insausti, who had done
the deed, the page Enriquez, and the scullion, were all appointed ensigns
in his Majesty's army, with twenty gold crowns of annual pension besides.
Their commissions were signed by Philip on the 19th of April, 1578. Such
were the wages of murder at that day in Spain; gold chains, silver cups,
doubloons, annuities, and commissions in the army! The reward of
fidelity, as in poor Escovedo's case, was oftener the stiletto. Was it
astonishing that murder was more common than fidelity?

With the subsequent career of Antonio Perez--his famous process, his
banishment, his intrigues, his innuendos, his long exile, and his
miserable death, this history has no concern. We return from our brief

Before narrating the issue of the plot against Antwerp citadel, it is
necessary to recur for a moment to the Prince of Orange. In the deeds and
the written words of that one man are comprised nearly all the history of
the Reformation in the Netherlands--nearly the whole progress of the
infant Republic. The rest, during this period, is made up of the
plottings and counter-plottings, the mutual wranglings and recriminations
of Don John and the estates.

In the brief breathing-space now afforded them, the inhabitants of
Holland and Zealand had been employing themselves in the extensive
repairs of their vast system of dykes. These barriers, which protected
their country against the ocean, but which their own hands had destroyed
to preserve themselves against tyranny, were now thoroughly
reconstructed, at a great expense, the Prince everywhere encouraging the
people with his presence, directing them by his experience, inspiring
them with his energy. The task accomplished was stupendous and worthy,
says a contemporary, of eternal memory.

At the popular request, the Prince afterwards made a tour through the
little provinces, honoring every city with a brief visit. The spontaneous
homage which went up to him from every heart was pathetic and simple.
There were no triumphal arches, no martial music, no banners, no
theatrical pageantry nothing but the choral anthem from thousands of
grateful hearts. "Father William has come! Father William has come!"
cried men, women, and children to each other, when the news of his
arrival in town or village was announced. He was a patriarch visiting his
children, not a conqueror, nor a vulgar potentate displaying himself to
his admirers. Happy were they who heard his voice, happier they who
touched his hands, for his words were full of tenderness, his hand was
offered to all. There were none so humble as to be forbidden to approach
him, none so ignorant as not to know his deeds. All knew that to combat
in their cause he had descended from princely station, from luxurious
ease, to the position of a proscribed and almost beggared outlaw. For
them he had impoverished himself and his family, mortgaged his estates,
stripped himself of jewels, furniture, almost of food and raiment.
Through his exertions the Spaniards had been banished from their little
territory, the Inquisition crushed within their borders, nearly all the
sister provinces but yesterday banded into a common cause.

He found time, notwithstanding congratulating crowds who thronged his
footsteps, to direct the labors of the states-general, who still looked
more than ever to his guidance, as their relations with Don John became
more complicated and unsatisfactory. In a letter addressed to them, on
the 20th of June from Harlem, he warned them most eloquently to hold to
the Ghent Pacification as to their anchor in the storm. He assured them,
if it was, torn from them, that their destruction was inevitable. He
reminded them that hitherto they had got but the shadow, not the
substance of the Treaty; that they had been robbed of that which was to
have been its chief fruit--union among themselves. He and his brothers,
with their labor, their wealth, and their blood, had laid down the bridge
over which the country had stepped to the Pacification of Ghent. It was
for the nation to maintain what had been so painfully won; yet he
proclaimed to them that the government were not acting in good faith,
that secret, preparations were making to annihilate the authority of the
states; to restore the edicts, to put strangers into high places, and to
set up again the scaffold and the whole machinery of persecution.

In consequence of the seizure of Namur Castle, and the accusations made
by Don John against Orange, in order to justify that act, the Prince had
already despatched Taffin and Saint Aldegonde to the states-general with
a commission to declare his sentiments upon the subject. He addressed,
moreover, to the same body a letter full of sincere and simple eloquence.
"The Seigneur Don John," said he, "has accused me of violating the peace,
and of countenancing attempts against his life, and in endeavouring to
persuade you into joining him in a declaration of war against me and
against Holland and Zealand; but I pray you, most affectionately, to
remember our mutual and solemn obligations to maintain the treaty of
Ghent." He entreated the states, therefore, to beware of the artifices
employed to seduce them from the only path which led to the tranquillity
of their common country, and her true splendor and prosperity. "I believe
there is not one of you," he continued, "who can doubt me, if he will
weigh carefully all my actions, and consider closely the course which I
am pursuing and have always pursued. Let all these be confronted with the
conduct of Don John, and any man will perceive that all my views of
happiness, both for my country and myself, imply a peaceable enjoyment of
the union, joined with the legitimate restoration of our liberties, to
which all good patriots aspire, and towards which all my designs have
ever tended. As all the grandeur of Don John, on the contrary, consists
in war, as there is nothing which he so much abhors as repose, as he has
given ample proof of these inclinations in all his designs and
enterprises, both before and after the Treaty of Marche en Famine, both
within the country and beyond its borders, as it is most manifest that
his purpose is, and ever has been, to embroil us with our neighbours of
England and Scotland in new dissensions, as it must be evident to every
one of you that his pretended accusations against me are but colors and
shadows to embellish and to shroud his own desire for war, his appetite
for vengeance, and his hatred not only to me but to yourselves, and as
his determination is, in the words of Escovedo, to chastise some of us by
means of the rest, and to excite the jealousy of one portion of the
country against the other--therefore, gentlemen, do I most affectionately
exhort you to found your decision, as to these matters, not upon words
but upon actions. Examine carefully my conduct in the points concerning
which the charges are made; listen attentively to what my envoys will
communicate to you in my behalf; and then, having compared it with all
the proceedings of Seigneur Don John, you will be able to form a
resolution worthy the rank which you occupy, and befitting your
obligations to the whole people, of whom you have been chosen chiefs and
protectors, by God and by men. Put away all considerations which might
obscure your clear eye-sight; maintain with magnanimity, and like men,
the safety of yourselves, your wives, your children, your estates, your
liberties; see that this poor people, whose eyes are fixed upon you, does
not perish; preserve them from the greediness of those who would grow
great at your expense; guard them from the yoke of miserable servitude;
let not all our posterity lament that, by our pusillanimity, they have
lost the liberties which our ancestors had conquered for them, and
bequeathed to them as well as to us, and that they have been subjugated
by the proud tyranny of strangers.

"Trusting," said the Prince, in conclusion, "that you will accord faith
and attention to my envoys, I will only add an expression of my sincere
determination to employ myself incessantly in your service, and for the
welfare of the whole people, without sparing any means in my power, nor
my life itself."

The vigilant Prince was indeed not slow to take advantage of the
Governor's false move. While in reality intending peace, if it were
possible, Don John had thrown down the gauntlet; while affecting to deal
openly and manfully, like a warrior and an emperor's son, he had involved
himself in petty stratagems and transparent intrigues, by all which he
had gained nothing but the character of a plotter, whose word could not
be trusted. Saint Aldegonde expressed the hope that the seizure of Namur
Castle would open the eyes of the people, and certainly the Prince did
his best to sharpen their vision.

While in North Holland, William of Orange received an urgent invitation
from the magistracy and community of Utrecht to visit that city. His
authority, belonging to him under his ancient commission, had not yet
been recognized over that province, but there was no doubt that the
contemplated convention of "satisfaction" was soon to be; arranged, for
his friends there were numerous and influential. His princess, Charlotte
de Bourbon, who accompanied him on his tour, trembled at the danger to
which her husband would expose himself by venturing thus boldly into a
territory which might be full of his enemies, but the Prince determined
to trust the loyalty of a province which he hoped would be soon his own.
With anxious forebodings, the Princess followed her husband to the
ancient episcopal city. As they entered its gates, where an immense
concourse was waiting to receive him, a shot passed through the carriage
window, and struck the Prince upon the breast. The affrighted lady threw
her arms about his neck; shrieking that they were betrayed, but the
Prince, perceiving that the supposed shot was but a wad from one of the
cannon, which were still roaring their welcome to him, soon succeeded in
calming her fears. The carriage passed lowly through the streets,
attended by the vociferous greetings of the multitude; for the whole
population had come forth to do him honor. Women and children clustered
upon every roof and balcony, but a painful incident again marred the
tranquillity of the occasion. An apothecary's child, a little girl of ten
years, leaning eagerly from a lofty balcony, lost her balance and fell to
the ground, directly before the horses of the Prince's carriage. She was
killed stone dead by the fall. The procession stopped; the Prince
alighted, lifted the little corpse in his arms, and delivered it, with
gentle words and looks of consolation, to the unhappy parents. The day
seemed marked with evil omens, which were fortunately destined to prove
fallacious. The citizens of Utrecht became more than ever inclined to
accept the dominion of the Prince, whom they honored and whom they
already regarded as their natural chief. They entertained him with
banquets and festivities during his brief visit, and it was certain
before he took his departure that the treaty of "Satisfaction" would not
be long delayed. It was drawn up, accordingly, in the autumn of the same
year, upon the basis of that accepted by Harlem and Amsterdam--a basis
wide enough to support both religions, with a nominal supremacy to the
ancient Church.

Meantime, much fruitless correspondence had taken place between Don John
and the states Envoys; despatched by the two parties to each other, had
indulged in bitterness and recrimination. As soon as the Governor, had
taken: possession of Namur Castle, he had sent the Seigneur, de
Rassinghem to the states-general. That gentleman carried with him copies
of two anonymous letters, received by Don John upon the 19th and 21st of
July, 1577, in which a conspiracy against his life and liberty was
revealed. It was believed by the Governor that Count Lalain, who had
secretly invited him to a conference, had laid an ambush for him. It was
known that the country was full of disbanded soldiers, and the Governor
asserted confidently that numbers of desperadoes were lying in wait for
him in every village alehouse of Hainault and Flanders. He called on the
states to ferret out these conspirators, and to inflict condign
punishment upon their more guilty chiefs; he required that the soldiers,
as well as the citizens, should be disarmed at Brussels and throughout
Brabant, and he justified his seizure of Namur, upon the general ground
that his life was no longer safe, except in a fortress.

In reply to the letter of the Governor, which was dated the 24th of July,
the states despatched Marolles, Archdeacon of Ypres, and the Seigneur de
Bresse, to Namur, with a special mission to enter into the whole subject
of these grievances. These gentlemen, professing the utmost devotion to
the cause of his Majesty's authority and the Catholic religion, expressed
doubts as to the existence of the supposed conspiracy. They demanded that
Don John should denounce the culprits, if any such were known, in order
that proper chastisement might be instantly inflicted. The conversation
which ensued was certainly unsatisfactory. The Governor used lofty and
somewhat threatening language, assuring Marolles that he was at that
moment in possession, not only of Namur but of Antwerp citadel; and the
deputies accordingly departed, having accomplished very little by their
journey. Their backs were scarcely turned, when Don John, on his part,
immediately appointed another commission, consisting of Rassinghem and
Grobbendonck, to travel from Namur to Brussels. These envoys carried a
long letter of grievances, enclosing a short list of demands. The letter
reiterated his complaints about conspiracies, and his protestations of
sincerity. It was full of censure upon the Prince of Orange; stigmatized
his intrigues to obtain possession of Amsterdam without a proper
"Satisfaction," and of Utrecht, to which he had no claim at all. It
maintained that the Hollanders and Zealanders were bent upon utterly
exterminating the Catholic religion, and that they avowed publicly their
intention to refuse obedience to the assembly-general, should it decree
the maintenance of the ancient worship only. His chief demands were that
the states should send him a list of persons qualified to be members of
the general assembly, that he might see whether there were not
individuals among them whom he might choose to reject. He further
required that, if the Prince of Orange did not instantly fulfil the
treaty of Ghent, the states should cease to hold any communication with
him. He also summoned the states to provide him forthwith with a suitable

To these demands and complaints, the estates replied by a string of
resolutions. They made their usual protestations of attachment to his
Majesty and the Catholic faith, and they granted willingly a foot-guard
of three hundred archers. They, however, stoutly denied the Governor's
right to make eliminations in their lists of deputies, because, from time
immemorial, these representatives had been chosen by the clergy, nobles,
cities, and boroughs. The names might change daily, nor were there any
suspicious ones among them, but it was a matter with which the Governor
had no concern. They promised that every effort should be made to bring
about the execution of the treaty by the Prince of Orange. They begged
Don John; however, to abandon the citadel of Namur, and gave him to
understand that his secret practices had been discovered, a large packet
of letters having recently been intercepted in the neighbourhood of
Bourdeaux, and sent to the Prince of Orange. Among them were some of the
despatches of Don John and Escovedo, to his Majesty and to Antonio Perez,
to which allusion has already been made.

Count Bossu, De Bresse, and Meetkercke were the envoys deputed to convey
these resolutions to Namur. They had a long and bitter conversation with
Don John, who complained, more furiously than ever of the conspiracies
against his person, and of the intrigues of Orange. He insisted that this
arch-traitor had been sowing the seed of his damnable doctrines broadcast
through the Netherlands; that the earth was groaning with a daily
ripening harvest of rebellion and heresy. It was time, he cried, for the
states to abandon the Prince, and rally round their King. Patience had
been exhausted. He had himself done all, and more than could have been
demanded. He had faithfully executed the Ghent Pacification, but his
conduct had neither elicited gratitude nor inspired confidence.

The deputies replied, that to the due execution of the Ghent treaty it
was necessary that he should disband the German troops, assemble the
states-general, and carry out their resolutions. Until these things, now
undone, had been accomplished, he had no right to plead his faithful
fulfilment of the Pacification. After much conversation--in which the
same grievances were repeated, the same statements produced and
contradicted, the same demands urged and evaded, and the same menaces
exchanged as upon former occasions--the deputies returned to Brussels.

Immediately after their departure, Don John learned the result of his
project upon Antwerp Castle. It will be remembered that he had withdrawn
Aerschot, under pretext of requiring his company on the visit to Queen
Margaret, and that he had substituted Treslong, an unscrupulous partisan
of his own, in the government of the citadel. The temporary commander
soon found, however, that he had undertaken more than he could perform.
The troops under Van Ende were refused admittance into the town, although
permission to quarter them there had been requested by the
Governor-General. The 'authorities had been assured that the troops were
necessary for the protection of their city, but the magistrates had
learned, but too recently, the nature of the protection which Van Ende,
with his mercenaries, would afford. A detachment of states troops under
De Yers, Champagny's nephew, encountered the regiment of Van Ende, and
put it to flight with considerable loss. At the same time, an officer in
the garrison of the citadel itself, Captain De Bours, undertook secretly
to carry the fortress for the estates. His operations were secret and
rapid. The Seigneur de Liedekerke had succeeded Champagny in the
government of the city. This appointment had been brought about by the
agency of the Greffier Martini, a warm partisan of Orange. The new
Governor was known to be very much the Prince's friend, and believed to
be at heart a convert to the Reformed religion. With Martini and
Liedekerke, De Bours arranged his plot. He was supplied with a large sum
of money, readily furnished in secret by the leading mercantile houses of
the city. These funds were successfully invested in gaining over the
garrison, only one company holding firm for Treslong. The rest, as that
officer himself informed Don John, were ready at any moment "to take him
by the throat."

On the 1st of August, the day firmed upon in concert with the Governor
and Greffier, he was, in fact, taken by the throat. There was but a brief
combat, the issue of which became accidentally doubtful in the city. The
white-plumed hat of De Bours had been struck from his head in the
struggle, and had fallen into the foss. Floating out into the river, it
had been recognized by the scouts sent out by the personages most
interested, and the information was quickly brought to Liedekerke, who
was lying concealed in the house of Martini, awaiting the result. Their
dismay was great, but Martini, having more confidence than the Governor,
sallied forth to learn the whole truth. Scarcely had he got into the
streets than he heard a welcome cry, "The Beggars have the castle! the
Beggars have the castle!" shouted a hundred voices. He soon met a
lieutenant coming straight from the fortress, who related to him the
whole affair. Learning that De Bours was completely victorious, and that
Treslong was a prisoner, Martini hastened with the important intelligence
to his own home, where Liedekerke lay concealed. That functionary now
repaired to the citadel, whither the magistrates, the leading citizens,
and the chief merchants were instantly summoned. The castle was carried,
but the city was already trembling with apprehension lest the German
mercenaries quartered within its walls, should rise with indignation or
panic, and repeat the horrid tragedy of The Antwerp Fury.

In truth, there seemed danger of such a catastrophe. The secret
correspondence of Don John with the colonels was already discovered, and
it was seen how warmly he had impressed upon the men with whom he had
been tampering, "that the die was cast," and that all their art was
necessary to make it turn up successfully. The castle was carried, but
what would become of the city? A brief and eager consultation terminated
in an immediate offer of three hundred thousand crowns by the leading
merchants. This money was to be employed in amicably satisfying, if
possible, the German soldiers, who had meanwhile actually come to arms,
and were assembled in the Place de Meer. Feeling unsafe; however, in this
locality, their colonels had led them into the new town. Here, having
barricaded themselves with gun-carriages, bales, and boxes, they awaited,
instead of initiating, the events which the day might bring forth. A
deputation soon arrived with a white flag from the castle, and
commissioners were appointed by the commanding officers of the soldiery.
The offer was made to pay over the arrears of their wages, at least to a
very large amount, on condition that the troops should forthwith and for
ever evacuate the city. One hundred and fifty thousand crowns were
offered on the nail. The merchants stood on the bridge leading from the
old town-to the new, in full sight of the soldiers. They held in their
hands their purses, filled with the glittering gold. The soldiers were
frantic with the opportunity, and swore that they would have their
officers' lives, if the tempting and unexpected offer should be declined.
Nevertheless, the commissioners went to and fro, ever finding something
to alter or arrange. In truth, the merchants had agreed to furnish; if
necessary, three hundred thousand Browns; but the thrifty negotiators
were disposed, if diplomacy could do it, to save the moiety of that sum.
Day began to sink, ere the bargain was completed, when suddenly sails
were descried in the distance, and presently a large fleet of war
vessels, with, banner and pennon flying before a favoring breeze; came
sailing up the Scheld. It was a squadron of the Prince's ships, under
command of Admiral Haultain. He had been sent against Tholen, but, having
received secret intelligence, had, with happy audacity, seized the
opportunity of striking a blow in the cause which he had served so
faithfully. A shot or two fired from the vessels among the barricades had
a quickening effect. A sudden and astounding panic seized the soldiers.
"The Beggars are coming! the Beggars are coming!" they yelled in dismay;
for the deeds of the ocean-beggars had not become less appalling since
the memorable siege of Leyden. The merchants still stood on the bridge
with their purses in their hand. The envoys from the castle still waved
their white flags. It was too late. The horror inspired by the wild
Zealanders overpowered the hope of wages, extinguished all confidence in
the friendship of the citizens. The mercenaries, yielding to a violent
paroxysm of fear, fled hither and thither, panting, doubling, skulking,
like wolves before the hounds. Their flight was ludicrous. Without
staying to accept the money which the merchants were actually offering,
without packing up their own property, in many cases even throwing away
their arms, they fled, helter skelter, some plunging into the Scheid,
some skimming along the dykes, some rushing across the open fields. A
portion of them under Colonel Fugger, afterwards shut themselves up in
Bergen op Zoom, where they were at once besieged by Champagny, and were
soon glad to compromise the matter by surrendering their colonel and
laying down their arms. The remainder retreated to Breda, where they held
out for two months, and were at length overcome by a neat stratagem of
Orange. A captain, being known to be in the employment of Don John, was
arrested on his way to Breda. Carefully sewed up in his waistband was
found a letter, of a finger's breadth, written in cipher, and sealed with
the Governor-General's seal. Colonel Frondsberger, commanding in Breda,
was in this missive earnestly solicited to hold out two months longer,
within which time a certain relief was promised. In place of this letter,
deciphered with much difficulty, a new one was substituted, which the
celebrated printer, William Sylvius, of Antwerp, prepared with great
adroitness, adding the signature and seal of Don John. In this
counterfeit epistle; the Colonel was directed to do the best he could for
himself, by reason that Don John was himself besieged, and unable to
render him assistance. The same captain who had brought the real letter
was bribed to deliver the counterfeit. This task he faithfully performed,
spreading the fictitious intelligence besides, with such ardor through
the town, that the troops rose upon their leader, and surrendered him
with the city and their own arms, into the custody of the estates. Such
was the result of the attempt by Don John to secure the citadel--of
Antwerp. Not only was the fortress carried for the estates, but the city
itself, for the first time in twelve years, was relieved from a foreign

The rage and disappointment of the Governor-General were excessive. He
had boasted to Marolles a day too soon. The prize which he thought
already in his grasp had slipped through his fingers, while an
interminable list of demands which he dreamed not of, and which were
likely to make him bankrupt, were brought to his door. To the states, not
himself, the triumph seemed for the moment decreed. The "dice" had taken
a run against him, notwithstanding his pains in loading and throwing.
Nevertheless, he did not yet despair of revenge. "These rebels," he wrote
to the Empress-dowager, his sister, "think that fortune is all smiles for
them now, and that all is ruin for me. The wretches are growing proud
enough, and forget that their chastisement, some fine morning, will yet

On the 7th of August he addressed another long letter to the estates.
This document was accompanied, as usual, by certain demands, drawn up
categorically in twenty-three articles. The estates considered his terms
hard and strange, for in their opinion it was themselves, not the
Governor, who were masters of the situation. Nevertheless, he seemed
inclined to treat as if he had gained, not missed, the citadel of
Antwerp; as if the troops with whom he had tampered were mustered in the
field, not shut up in distant towns, and already at the mercy of the
states party. The Governor demanded that all the forces of the country
should be placed under his own immediate control; that Count Bossu, or
some other person nominated by himself, should be appointed to the
government of Friesland; that the people of Brabant and Flanders should
set themselves instantly to hunting, catching, and chastising all vagrant
heretics and preachers. He required, in particular, that Saint Aldegonde
and Theron, those most mischievous rebels, should be prohibited from
setting their foot in any city of the Netherlands. He insisted that the
community of Brussels should lay down their arms, and resume their
ordinary handicrafts. He demanded that the Prince of Orange should be
made to execute the Ghent treaty; to suppress the exercise of the
Reformed religion in Harlem, Schoonhoven, and other places; to withdraw
his armed vessels from their threatening stations, and to restore
Nieuport, unjustly detained by him. Should the Prince persist in his
obstinacy, Don John summoned them to take arms against him, and to
support their lawful Governor. He, moreover, required the immediate
restitution of Antwerp citadel, and the release of Treslong from prison.

Although, regarded from the Spanish point of view, such demands might
seem reasonable, it was also natural that their audacity should astonish
the estates. That the man who had violated so openly the Ghent treaty
should rebuke the Prince for his default--that the man who had tampered
with the German mercenaries until they were on the point of making
another Antwerp Fury, should now claim the command over them and all
other troops--that the man who had attempted to gain Antwerp citadel by a
base stratagem should now coolly demand its restoration, seemed to them
the perfection of insolence. The baffled conspirator boldly claimed the
prize which was to have rewarded a successful perfidy. At the very moment
when the Escovedo letters and the correspondence with the German colonels
had been laid before their eyes, it was a little too much that the
double-dealing bastard of the double-dealing Emperor should read them a
lecture upon sincerity. It was certain that the perplexed, and outwitted
warrior had placed himself at last in a very false position. The Prince
of Orange, with his usual adroitness, made the most of his adversary's
false moves. Don John had only succeeded in digging a pitfall for
himself. His stratagems against Namur and Antwerp had produced him no
fruit, saving the character, which his antagonist now fully succeeded in
establishing for him, of an unscrupulous and artful schemer. This
reputation was enhanced by the discovery of the intercepted letters, and
by the ingenuity and eagerness with which they were turned to account
against him by the Prince, by Saint Aldegonde, and all the anti-Catholic
party. The true key to his reluctance against despatching the troops by
land, the states had not obtained. They did not dream of his romantic
designs upon England, and were therefore excusable in attributing a still
deeper perfidy to his arrangements.

Even had he been sent to the Netherlands in the full possession of his
faculties, he would have been no match in political combinations for his
powerful antagonists. Hoodwinked and fettered, suspected by his master,
baffled, bewildered, irritated by his adversary, what could he do but
plunge from one difficulty to another and oscillate between extravagant
menace, and desponding concession, until his hopes and life were wasted
quite away. His instructions came from Philip through Perez, and that
most profound dissembler, as we have seen, systematically deceived the
Governor, with the view of eliciting treasonable matters, Philip wishing,
if possible, to obtain proofs of Don John's secret designs against his
own crown. Thus every letter from Spain was filled with false information
and with lying persuasions. No doubt the Governor considered himself
entitled to wear a crown, and meant to win it, if not in Africa, then in
England, or wherever fate might look propitiously upon him. He was of the
stuff of which crusaders and dynasty founders had been made, at a
somewhat earlier epoch. Who could have conquered the holy sepulchre, or
wrested a crown from its lawful wearer, whether in Italy, Muscovy, the
Orient, or in the British Ultima Thule, more bravely than this imperial
bastard, this valiant and romantic adventurer? Unfortunately, he came a
few centuries too late. The days when dynasties were founded, and
European thrones appropriated by a few foreign freebooters, had passed,
and had not yet returned. He had come to the Netherlands desirous of
smoothing over difficulties and of making a peaceful termination to that
rebellion a steppingstone to his English throne. He was doomed to a
profound disappointment, a broken heart, and a premature grave, instead
of the glittering baubles which he pursued. Already he found himself
bitterly deceived in his hopes. The obstinate Netherlanders would not
love him, notwithstanding the good wishes he had manifested. They would
not even love the King of Spain, notwithstanding the blessings which his
Majesty was declared to have heaped upon them. On the contrary, they
persisted in wasting their perverse affections upon the pestilent Prince
of Orange. That heretic was leading them to destruction, for he was
showing them the road to liberty, and nothing, in the eyes of the
Governor, could be more pitiable than to behold an innocent people
setting forth upon such a journey. "In truth," said he, bitterly, in his
memorable letter to his sister the Empress, "they are willing to
recognize neither God nor king. They pretend to liberty in all things: so
that 'tis a great pity to see how they are going on; to see the impudence
and disrespect with which they repay his Majesty for the favors which he
has shown them, and me for the labors, indignities, and dangers which I
have undergone for their sakes."

Nothing, indeed, in the Governor's opinion, could surpass the insolence
of the Netherlanders, save their ingratitude. That was the serpent's
tooth which was ever wounding the clement King and his indignant brother.
It seemed so bitter to meet with thanklessness, after seven years of Alva
and three of Requesens; after the labors of the Blood Council, the
massacres of Naarden, Zutphen, and Harlem, the siege of Leyden, and the
Fury of Antwerp. "Little profit there has been," said the Governor to his
sister, "or is like to be from all the good which we have done to these
bad people. In short, they love and obey in all things the most perverse
and heretic tyrant and rebel in the whole world, which is this damned
Prince of Orange, while, on the contrary, without fear of God or shame
before men, they abhor and dishonor the name and commandments of their
natural sovereign." Therefore, with a doubting spirit, and almost with a
broken heart, had the warrior shut himself up in Namur Castle, to await
the progress of events, and to escape from the snares of his enemies.
"God knows how much I desire to avoid extremities," said he, "but I know
not what to do with men who show themselves so obstinately rebellious."

Thus pathetically Don John bewailed his fate. The nation had turned from
God, from Philip, from himself; yet he still sat in his castle,
determined to save them from destruction and his own hands from
bloodshed, if such an issue were yet possible. Nor was he entirely
deserted, for among the faithless a few were faithful still. Although the
people were in open revolt, there was still a handful of nobles resolved
to do their duty towards their God and King. "This little band," said the
Governor, "has accompanied me hither, like gentlemen and chevaliers of
honor." Brave Berlaymont and his four sons were loyal to the last, but
others of this limited number of gentlemen and chevaliers of honor were
already deserting him. As soon as the result of the enterprise against
Antwerp citadel was known, and the storm was gathering most darkly over
the royal cause, Aerschot and Havre were first to spread their wings and
flutter away in search of a more congenial atmosphere. In September, the
Duke was again as he had always professed himself to be, with some
important interval of exception--"the affectionate brother and cordial
friend of the Prince of Orange."

The letter addressed by Don John to the states upon the 7th of August,
had not yet been answered. Feeling, soon afterwards, more sensible of his
position, and perhaps less inflamed with indignation; he addressed
another communication to them, upon the 13th of the same month. In this
epistle he expressed an extreme desire for peace, and a hearty desire to
be relieved, if possible, from his most painful situation. He protested,
before God and man, that his intentions were most honest, and that he
abhorred war more than anything else in the world. He averred that, if
his person was as odious to them as it seemed, he was only too ready to
leave the land, as soon as the King should appoint his successor. He
reminded them that the question of peace or war lay not with himself, but
with them; and that the world would denounce as guilty those with whom
rested the responsibility. He concluded with an observation which, in its
humility, seemed sufficiently ironical, that if they had quite finished
the perusal of the despatches from Madrid to his address, which they had
intercepted, he should be thankful for an opportunity of reading them
himself. He expressed a hope, therefore, that they would be forwarded to

This letter was answered at considerable length, upon the second day. The
states made their customary protestations of attachment to his Majesty,
their fidelity to the Catholic church, their determination to maintain
both the Ghent treaty and the Perpetual Edict. They denied all
responsibility for the present disastrous condition of the relations
between themselves and government, having disbanded nearly all their own
troops, while the Governor had been strengthening his forces up to the
period of his retreat into Namur. He protested, indeed, friendship and a
sincere desire for peace, but the intercepted letters of Escovedo and his
own had revealed to them the evil counsels to which he had been
listening, and the intrigues which he had been conducting. They left it
to his conscience whether they could reasonably believe, after the
perusal of these documents, that it was his intention to maintain the
Ghent treaty, or any treaty; and whether they were not justified in their
resort to the natural right of self-defence.

Don John was already fully aware of the desperate error which he had
committed. In seizing Namur and attempting Antwerp, he had thrown down
the gauntlet. Wishing peace, he had, in a panic of rage and anxiety;
declared and enacted war. The bridge was broken behind him, the ships
burned, a gulf opened, a return to peace rendered almost impossible. Yet
it is painful to observe the almost passionate longings which at times
seemed to possess him for accommodating the quarrel, together with his
absolute incapacity to appreciate his position. The Prince was
triumphant; the Governor in a trap. Moreover, it was a trap which he had
not only entered voluntarily, but which he had set himself; he had played
into the Prince's hands, and was frantic to see his adversary tranquilly
winning the game. It was almost melancholy to observe the gradation of
his tone from haughty indignation to dismal concession. In an elaborate
letter which he addressed "to the particular states, bishops,
councillors, and cities of the Netherlands," he protested as to the
innocence of his intentions, and complained bitterly of the calumnies
circulated to his discredit by the Prince of Orange. He denied any
intention of recalling the troops which he had dismissed, except in case
of absolute necessity: He affirmed that his Majesty sincerely desired
peace. He averred that the country was either against the King, against
the Catholic religion, against himself, or against all three together. He
bitterly asked what further concessions were required. Had he not done
all he had ever promised? Had he not discharged the Spaniards, placed the
castles in the hands of natives, restored the privileges, submitted to
insults and indecencies? Yet, in spite of all which had passed, he
declared his readiness to resign, if another prince or princess of the
blood more acceptable to them could be appointed. The letter to the
states was followed by a proposition for a cessation of hostilities, and
for the appointment of a commission to devise means for faithfully
executing the Ghent treaty. This proposition was renewed, a few days
later, together with an offer for an exchange of hostages.

It was not difficult for the estates to answer the letters of the
Governor. Indeed, there was but little lack of argument on either side
throughout this unhappy controversy. It is dismal to contemplate the
interminable exchange of protocols, declarations, demands, apostilles,
replications and rejoinders, which made up the substance of Don John's
administration. Never was chivalrous crusader so out of place. It was not
a soldier that was then required for Philip's exigency, but a scribe.
Instead of the famous sword of Lepanto, the "barbarous pen" of Hopperus
had been much more suitable for the work required. Scribbling Joachim in
a war-galley, yard-arm and yard-arm with the Turkish capitan pacha, could
have hardly felt less at ease than did the brilliant warrior thus
condemned to scrawl and dissemble. While marching from concession to
concession, he found the states conceiving daily more distrust, and
making daily deeper encroachments. Moreover, his deeds up to the time
when he seemed desirous to retrace his steps had certainly been, at the
least, equivocal. Therefore, it was natural for the estates, in reply to
the questions in his letter, to observe that he had indeed dismissed the
Spaniards, but that he had tampered with and retained the Germans; that
he had indeed placed the citadels in the hands of natives, but that he
had tried his best to wrest them away again; that he had indeed professed
anxiety for peace, but that his intercepted letters proved his
preparations for war. Already there were rumors of Spanish troops
returning in small detachments out of France. Already the Governor was
known to be enrolling fresh mercenaries to supply the place of those whom
he had unsuccessfully endeavoured to gain to his standard. As early as
the 26th of July, in fact, the Marquis d'Ayamonte in Milan, and Don Juan
de Idiaquez in Genoa, had received letters from Don John of Austria,
stating that, as the provinces had proved false to their engagements, he
would no longer be held by his own, and intimating his desire that the
veteran troops which had but so recently been dismissed from Flanders,
should forthwith return. Soon afterwards, Alexander Farnese, Prince of
Parma, received instructions from the King to superintend these
movements, and to carry the aid of his own already distinguished military
genius to his uncle in the Netherlands.

On the other hand, the states felt their strength daily more sensibly.
Guided, as usual, by Orange, they had already assumed a tone in their
correspondence which must have seemed often disloyal, and sometimes
positively insulting, to the Governor. They even answered his hints of
resignation in favor of some other prince of the blood, by expressing
their hopes that his successor, if a member of the royal house at all,
would at least be a legitimate one. This was a severe thrust at the
haughty chieftain, whose imperial airs rarely betrayed any consciousness
of Barbara Blomberg and the bend sinister on his shield. He was made to
understand, through the medium of Brabantine bluntness, that more
importance was attached to the marriage, ceremony in the Netherlands than
he seemed to imagine. The categorical demands made by the estates seemed
even more indigestible than such collateral affronts; for they had now
formally affirmed the views of Orange as to the constitutional government
of the provinces. In their letter of 26th August, they expressed their
willingness, notwithstanding the past delinquencies of the Governor, to
yield him their confidence again; but at the same time; they enumerated
conditions which, with his education and views, could hardly seem to him
admissible. They required him to disband all the soldiers in his service,
to send the Germans instantly out of the country, to dismiss every
foreigner from office, whether civil or military, and to renounce his
secret league with the Duke of Guise. They insisted that he should
thenceforth govern only with the advice and consent of the State Council,
that he should execute that which should by a majority of votes be
ordained there, that neither measures nor despatches should be binding or
authentic unless drawn up at that board. These certainly were views of
administration which, even if consonant with a sound historical view of
the Netherland constitutions, hardly tallied with his monarch's
instructions, his own opinions, or the practice under Alva and Requesens,
but the country was still in a state of revolution, and the party of the
Prince was gaining the upper hand.

It was the determination of that great statesman, according to that which
he considered the legitimate practice of the government, to restore the
administration to the State Council, which executive body ought of right
to be appointed by the states-general. In the states-general, as in the
states-particular, a constant care was to be taken towards strengthening
the most popular element, the "community" of each city, the aggregate,
that is to say, of its guild-representatives and its admitted burghers.
This was, in the opinion of the Prince, the true theory of the
government--republican in all but form--under the hereditary protection,
not the despotic authority, of a family, whose rights were now nearly
forfeited. It was a great step in advance that these views should come to
be thus formally announced, not in Holland and Zealand only, but by the
deputies of the states-general, although such a doctrine, to the proud
stomach of Don John, seemed sufficiently repulsive. Not less so was the
cool intimation with which the paper concluded, that if he should execute
his threat of resigning, the country would bear his loss with fortitude,
coupled as was that statement with a declaration that, until his
successor should be appointed, the State Council would consider itself
charged ad interim with the government. In the meantime, the Governor was
requested not to calumniate the estates to foreign governments, as he had
so recently done in his intercepted letter to the Empress-dowager.

Upon receiving this letter, "Don John," says a faithful old chronicler,
"found that the cranes had invited the frog to dinner." In truth, the
illustrious soldier was never very successful in his efforts, for which
his enemies gave him credit, to piece out the skin of the lion with that
of the fox. He now felt himself exposed and outwitted, while he did not
feel conscious of any very dark design. He answered the letter of the
states by a long communication, dated from Namur Castle, 28th of August.
In style, he was comparatively temperate, but the justification which he
attempted of his past conduct was not very happy. He noticed the three
different points which formed the leading articles of the accusation
brought against him, the matter, namely, of the intercepted letters, of
the intrigues with the German colonels, and the seizure of Namur. He did
not deny the authorship of the letters, but contented himself with a
reference to their date, as if its priority to his installation as
Governor furnished a sufficient palliation of the bad faith which the
letters revealed. As to the despatches of Escovedo, he denied
responsibility for any statements or opinions which they might contain.
As the Secretary, however, was known to be his most confidential friend,
this attempt to shuffle off his own complicity was held to be both lame
and unhandsome. As for the correspondence with the colonels, his defence
was hardly more successful, and rested upon a general recrimination upon
the Prince of Orange. As that personage was agitating and turbulent, it
was not possible, the Governor urged, that he should himself remain
quiet. It was out of his power to execute the treaty and the edict, in
the face of a notorious omission on the part of his adversary to enforce
the one or to publish the other. It comported neither with his dignity
nor his safety to lay down his weapons while the Prince and his adherents
were arming. He should have placed himself "in a very foolish position,"
had he allowed himself unarmed to be dictated to by the armed. In defence
of himself on the third point, the seizure of Namur Castle, he recounted
the various circumstances with which the reader is already acquainted. He
laid particular stress upon the dramatic manner in which the Vicomte De
Gand had drawn his curtains at the dead of night; he narrated at great
length the ominous warning which he had likewise received from the Duke
of Aerschot in Brussels, and concluded with a circumstantial account of
the ambush which he believed to have been laid for him by Count De
Lalain. The letter concluded with a hope for an arrangement of
difficulties, not yet admitted by the Governor to be insurmountable, and
with a request for a formal conference, accompanied by an exchange of

While this correspondence was proceeding between Namur and Brussels, an
event was occurring in Antwerp which gave much satisfaction to Orange.
The Spanish Fury, and the recent unsuccessful attempt of Don John to
master the famous citadel, had determined the authorities to take the
counsel which the Prince had so often given in vain, and the fortress of
Antwerp was at length razed to the ground, on the side towards the
city.--It would be more correct to say that it was not the authorities,
but the city itself which rose at last and threw off the saddle by which
it had so long been galled. More than ten thousand persons were
constantly at work, morning, noon, and night, until the demolition was
accomplished. Grave magistrates, great nobles, fair ladies, citizens and
their wives, beggars and their children, all wrought together pell-mell.
All were anxious to have a hand in destroying the nest where so many
murders had been hatched, whence so much desolation had flown. The task
was not a long one for workmen so much in earnest, and the fortress was
soon laid low in the quarter where it could be injurious to the
inhabitants. As the work proceeded, the old statue of Alva was discovered
in a forgotten crypt, where it had lain since it had been thrown down by
the order of Requesens. Amid the destruction of the fortress, the
gigantic phantom of its founder seemed to start suddenly from the gloom,
but the apparition added fresh fuel to the rage of the people. The image
of the execrated Governor was fastened upon with as much fierceness as if
the bronze effigy could feel their blows, or comprehend their wrath. It
was brought forth from its dark hiding-place into the daylight. Thousands
of hands were ready to drag it through the streets for universal
inspection and outrage. A thousand sledge-hammers were ready to dash it
to pieces, with a slight portion, at least, of the satisfaction with
which those who wielded them would have dealt the same blows upon the
head of the tyrant himself. It was soon reduced to a shapeless mass.
Small portions were carried away and preserved for generations in
families as heirlooms of hatred. The bulk was melted again and
reconverted, by a most natural metamorphosis, into the cannon from which
it had originally sprung.

The razing of the Antwerp citadel set an example which was followed in
other places; the castle of Ghent, in particular, being immediately
levelled, amid demonstrations of universal enthusiasm. Meantime, the
correspondence between Don John and the estates at Brussels dragged its
slow length along, while at the same time, two elaborate letters were
addressed to the King, on the 24th of August and the 8th of September, by
the estates-general of the Netherlands. These documents, which were long
and able, gave a vigorous representation of past evils and of the present
complication of disorders under which the commonwealth was laboring. They
asked, as usual, for a royal remedy; and expressed their doubts whether
there could be any sincere reconciliation so long as the present
Governor, whose duplicity and insolence they represented in a very strong
light, should remain in office. Should his Majesty, however, prefer to
continue Don John in the government, they signified their willingness, in
consideration of his natural good qualities, to make the best of the
matter. Should, however, the estrangement between themselves and the
Governor seem irremediable, they begged that another and a legitimate
prince of the blood might be appointed in his place.


     Country would bear his loss with fortitude
     Its humility, seemed sufficiently ironical
     Not upon words but upon actions
     Perfection of insolence
     Was it astonishing that murder was more common than fidelity?

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 29


By John Lothrop Motley


   Orange invited to visit Brussels--His correspondence upon the
   subject with the estates--general--Triumphant journey of the Prince
   to the capital----Stop put by him to the negotiations with Don John
   --New and stringent demands made upon the Governor--His indignation
   --Open rupture--Intrigue of Netherland grandees with Archduke
   Matthias--Policy of Orange--Attitude of Queen Elizabeth--Flight of
   Matthias from Vienna--Anxiety of Elizabeth--Adroitness of the
   Prince--The office of Reward--Election of Orange to that dignity--
   His complaints against the great nobles--Aerschot Governor of
   Flanders--A storm brewing in Ghent--Ryhove and Imbize--Blood-
   Councillor Hessels--Arrogance of the aristocratic party in Flanders
   --Ryhove's secret interview with Orange--Outbreak at Ghent--Arrest
   of Aerschot, Hessels, and others of the reactionary party--The Duke
   liberated at demand of Orange--The Prince's visit to Ghent--
   Rhetorical demonstrations--The new Brussels Union characterized--
   Treaty with England--Articles by which Matthias is nominally
   constituted Governor-General--His inauguration at Brussels--
   Brilliant and fantastic ceremonies--Letter of Don John to the
   Emperor--His anger with England--An army collecting--Arrival of
   Alexander Farnese--Injudicious distribution of offices in the
   States' army--The States' army fall back upon Gemblours, followed by
   Don John--Tremendous overthrow of the patriots--Wonderful disparity
   in the respective losses of the two armies.

While these matters were in progress, an important movement was made by
the estates-general. The Prince of Orange was formally and urgently
invited to come to Brussels to aid them with his counsel and presence.
The condemned traitor had not set foot in the capital for eleven years.
We have narrated the circumstance of his departure, while the advancing
trumpets of Alva's army were almost heard in the distance. His memorable
and warning interview with Egmont has been described. Since that period,
although his spirit had always been manifesting itself in the capital
like an actual presence; although he had been the magnet towards which
the states throughout all their oscillations had involuntarily vibrated,
yet he had been ever invisible. He had been summoned by the Blood Council
to stand his trial, and had been condemned to death by default. He
answered the summons by a defiance, and the condemnation by two
campaigns, unsuccessful in appearance, but which had in reality
prostrated the authority of the sovereign.

Since that period, the representative of royalty had sued the condemned
traitor for forgiveness. The haughty brother of Philip had almost gone
upon his knees, that the Prince might name his terms, and accept the
proffered hand of majesty.

The Prince had refused, not from contumely, but from distrust. He had
spurned the supplications, as he had defied the proscription of the King.
There could be no friendship between the destroyer and the protector of a
people. Had the Prince desired only the reversal of his death-sentence,
and the infinite aggrandizement of his family, we have seen how
completely he had held these issues in his power. Never had it been more
easy, plausible, tempting, for a proscribed patriot to turn his back upon
an almost sinking cause. We have seen how his brave and subtle Batavian
prototype, Civilis, dealt with the representative of Roman despotism. The
possible or impossible Netherland Republic of the first century of our
era had been reluctantly abandoned, but the modern Civilis had justly
more confidence in his people.

And now again the scene was changed. The son of the Emperor, the King's
brother, was virtually beleaguered; the proscribed rebel had arrived at
victory through a long series of defeats. The nation everywhere
acknowledged him master, and was in undisguised revolt against the
anointed sovereign. The great nobles, who hated Philip on the one hand,
and the Reformed religion on the other, were obliged, in obedience to the
dictates of a people with whom they had little sympathy, to accept the
ascendency of the Calvinist Prince, of whom they were profoundly jealous.
Even the fleeting and incapable Aerschot was obliged to simulate
adhesion; even the brave Champagny, cordial hater of Spaniards, but most
devotedly Catholic, "the chiefest man of wysedome and stomach at that
tyme in Brussels," so envoy Wilson wrote to Burghley, had become
"Brabantized," as his brother Granvelle expressed himself, and was one of
the commissioners to invite the great rebel to Brussels. The other envoys
were the Abbot of Saint Gertrude, Dr. Leoninus, and the Seigneur de
Liesvelt. These gentlemen, on arriving at Gertruydenberg, presented a
brief but very important memorial to the Prince. In that document they
informed him that the states-general, knowing how efficacious would be
his presence, by reason of his singular prudence, experience, and love
for the welfare and repose of the country, had unanimously united in a
supplication that he would incontinently transport himself to the city of
Brussels, there to advise with them concerning the necessities of the
land; but, as the principal calumny employed by their adversaries was
that all the provinces and leading personages intended to change both
sovereign and religion, at the instigation of his Excellency, it was
desirable to disprove such fictions. They therefore very earnestly
requested the Prince to make some contrary demonstration, by which it
might be manifest to all that his Excellency, together with the estates
of Holland and Zealand, intended faithfully to keep what they had
promised. They prayed, therefore, that the Prince, permitting the
exercise of the Roman Catholic religion in the places which had recently
accepted his authority, would also allow its exercise in Holland and
Zealand. They begged, further, that he would promise by a new and
authentic act, that the provinces of Holland and Zealand, would not
suffer the said exercise to be impugned, or any new worship to be
introduced, in the other provinces of the Netherlands.

This letter might almost be regarded as a trap, set by the Catholic
nobles. Certainly the Ghent Pacification forbade the Reformed religion in
form, and as certainly, winked at its exercise in fact. The proof was,
that the new worship was spreading everywhere, that the exiles for
conscience' sake were returning in swarms, and that the synod of the
Reformed churches, lately held at Dort, had been, publicly attended by
the ministers and deacons of numerous dissenting churches established in
many different, places throughout all the provinces. The pressure of the
edicts, the horror of the inquisition being removed, the down-trodden
religion had sprung from the earth more freshly than ever.

The Prince was not likely to fall into the trap, if a trap had really
been intended. He answered the envoys loyally, but with distinct
reservations. He did not even accept the invitation, save on condition
that his visit to Brussels should be expressly authorized by Holland and
Zealand. Notwithstanding his desire once more to behold his dear country,
and to enjoy the good company of his best friends and brothers, he felt
it his duty to communicate beforehand with the states of those two
provinces, between which, and himself there had been such close and
reciprocal obligations, such long-tried and faithful affection. He
therefore begged to refer the question to the assembly of the said
provinces about to be held at Gouda, where, in point of fact, the
permission for his journey was, not without considerable difficulty, a
few days afterwards obtained.

With regard to the more difficult requests addressed to him in the
memorial, he professed generally his intention to execute the treaty of
Ghent. He observed, however, that the point of permitting the exercise of
the Roman Catholic religion in Holland and Zealand regarded principally
the estates of these provinces, which had contracted for no innovation in
this matter, at least till the assembling of the states-general. He
therefore suggested that he neither could, nor ought to, permit any
innovation, without the knowledge and consent of those estates. As to
promising by authentic act, that neither he nor the two provinces would
suffer the exercise of the Catholic religion to be in any wise impugned
in the rest of the Netherlands, the Prince expressed himself content to
promise that, according to the said Ghent Pacification, they would suffer
no attempt to be made against the public repose or against the Catholic
worship. He added that, as he had no intention of usurping any
superiority over the states-general assembled at Brussels, he was content
to leave the settlement of this point to their free-will and wisdom,
engaging himself neither to offer nor permit any hindrance to their

With this answer the deputies are said to have been well pleased. If they
were so, it must be confessed that they were thankful for small favors.
They had asked to have the Catholic religion introduced into Holland and
Zealand. The Prince had simply referred them to the estates of these
provinces. They had asked him to guarantee that the exercise of the
Reformed religion should not be "procured" in the rest of the country. He
had merely promised that the Catholic worship should not be prevented.
The difference between the terms of the request and the reply was
sufficiently wide.

The consent to his journey was with difficulty accorded by the estates of
Holland and Zealand, and his wife, with many tears and anxious
forebodings, beheld him depart for a capital where the heads of his brave
and powerful friends had fallen, and where still lurked so many of his
deadly foes. During his absence, prayers were offered daily for his
safety in all the churches of Holland and Zealand, by command of the

He arrived at Antwerp on the 17th of September, and was received with
extraordinary enthusiasm. The Prince, who had gone forth alone, without
even a bodyguard, had the whole population of the great city for his
buckler. Here he spent five days, observing, with many a sigh, the
melancholy changes which had taken place in the long interval of his
absence. The recent traces of the horrible "Fury," the blackened walls of
the Hotel de Ville, the prostrate ruins of the marble streets, which he
had known as the most imposing in Europe, could be hardly atoned for in
his eyes even by the more grateful spectacle of the dismantled fortress.

On the 23rd of September he was attended by a vast concourse of citizens
to the new canal which led to Brussels, where three barges were in
waiting for himself and suite. In one a banquet was spread; in the
second, adorned with emblematic devices and draped with the banners of
the seventeen provinces, he was to perform the brief journey; while the
third had been filled by the inevitable rhetoric societies, with all the
wonders of their dramatic and plastic ingenuity. Rarely had such a
complication of vices and virtues, of crushed dragons, victorious
archangels, broken fetters, and resurgent nationalities, been seen
before, within the limits of a single canal boat. The affection was,
however, sincere, and the spirit noble, even though the taste which
presided at these remonstrations may have been somewhat pedantic.

The Prince was met several miles before the gates of Brussels by a
procession of nearly half the inhabitants of the city, and thus escorted,
he entered the capital in the afternoon of the 23rd of September. It was
the proudest day of his life. The representatives of all the provinces,
supported by the most undeniable fervor of the united Netherland people,
greeted "Father William." Perplexed, discordant, hating, fearing,
doubting, they could believe nothing, respect nothing, love nothing, save
the "tranquil" Prince. His presence at that moment in Brussels was the
triumph of the people and of religious toleration. He meant to make use
of the crisis to extend and to secure popular rights, and to establish
the supremacy of the states-general under the nominal sovereignty of some
Prince, who was yet to be selected, while the executive body was to be a
state-council, appointed by the states-general. So far as appears, he had
not decided as to the future protector, but he had resolved that it
should be neither himself nor Philip of Spain. The outlaw came to
Brussels prepared at last to trample out a sovereignty which had worked
its own forfeiture. So far as he had made any election within his breast,
his choice inclined to the miserable Duke of Anjou; a prince whom he
never came to know as posterity has known him, but whom he at least
learned to despise. Thus far the worthless and paltry intriguer still
wore the heroic mask, deceiving even such far seeing politicians as Saint
Aldegonde and the Prince.

William's first act was to put a stop to the negotiations already on foot
with Don John. He intended that they should lead to war, because peace
was impossible, except a peace for which civil and religious liberty
would be bartered, for it was idle, in his opinion, to expect the
maintenance by the Spanish Governor of the Ghent Pacification, whatever
promises might be extorted from his fears. A deputation, in the name of
the states, had already been sent with fresh propositions to Don John, at
Namur. The envoys were Caspar Schetz and the Bishop of Bruges. They had
nearly come to an amicable convention with the Governor, the terms of
which had been sent to the states-general for approval, at the very
moment of the Prince's arrival in Brussels. Orange, with great
promptness, prevented the ratification of these terms, which the estates
had in reality already voted to accept. New articles were added to those
which had originally been laid before Don John. It was now stipulated
that the Ghent treaty and the Perpetual Edict should be maintained. The
Governor was required forthwith to abandon Namur Castle, and to dismiss
the German troops. He was to give up the other citadels and strong
places, and to disband all the soldiers in his service. He was to command
the governors of every province to prohibit the entrance of all foreign
levies. He was forthwith to release captives, restore confiscated
property, and reinstate officers who had been removed; leaving the
details of such restorations to the council of Mechlin and the other
provincial tribunals. He was to engage that the Count Van Buren should be
set free within two months. He was himself, while waiting for the
appointment of his successor, to take up his residence in Luxemburg, and
while there, he was to be governed entirely by the decision of the State
Council, expressed by a majority of its members. Furthermore, and as not
the least stinging of these sharp requisitions, the Queen of England--she
who had been the secret ally of Orange, and whose crown the Governor had
secretly meant to appropriate--was to be included in the treaty.

It could hardly excite surprise that Don John, receiving these insolent
propositions at the very moment in which he heard of the triumphant
entrance into Brussels of the Prince, should be filled with rage and
mortification. Never was champion of the Cross thus braved by infidels
before. The Ghent treaty, according to the Orange interpretation, that is
to say, heresy made legitimate, was to be the law of the land. His
Majesty was to surrender--colors and cannon--to his revolted subjects.
The royal authority was to be superseded by that of a State Council,
appointed by the states-general, at the dictation of the Prince. The
Governor-General himself, brother of his Catholic Majesty, was to sit
quietly with folded arms in Luxemburg, while the arch-heretic and rebel
reigned supreme in Brussels. It was too much to expect that the choleric
soldier would be content with what he could not help regarding as a
dishonorable capitulation. The arrangement seemed to him about as
reasonable as it would have been to invite Sultan Selim to the Escorial,
and to send Philip to reside at Bayonne. He could not but regard the
whole proposition as an insolent declaration of war. He was right. It was
a declaration of war; as much so as if proclaimed by trump of herald. How
could Don John refuse the wager of battle thus haughtily proffered?

Smooth Schetz, Lord of Grobbendonck, and his episcopal colleague, in vain
attempted to calm the Governor's wrath, which now flamed forth, in
defiance of all considerations.

They endeavored, without success, to palliate the presence of Orange, and
the circumstances of his reception, for it was not probable that their
eloquence would bring the Governor to look at the subject with their
eyes. Three days were agreed upon for the suspension of hostilities, and
Don John was highly indignant that the estates would grant no longer a
truce. The refusal was, however, reasonable enough on their part, for
they were aware that veteran Spaniards and Italians were constantly
returning to him, and that he was daily strengthening his position. The
envoys returned to Brussels, to give an account of the Governor's rage,
which they could not declare to be unnatural, and to assist in
preparations for the war, which was now deemed inevitable. Don John,
leaving a strong garrison in the citadel of Namur, from which place he,
despatched a final communication to the estates-general, dated the 2nd of
October, retired to Luxemburg. In this letter, without exactly uttering
defiance, he unequivocally accepted the hostilities which had been
pressed upon him, and answered their hollow professions of attachment to
the Catholic religion and his Majesty's authority, by denouncing their
obvious intentions to trample upon both. He gave them, in short, to
understand that he perceived their intentions, and meant them to
comprehend his own.

Thus the quarrel was brought to an issue, and Don John saw with grim
complacency, that the pen was at last to be superseded by the sword. A
remarkable pamphlet was now published, in seven different languages,
Latin, French, Flemish, German, Italian, Spanish; and English, containing
a succinct account of the proceedings between the Governor and the
estates, together with copies of the intercepted letters of Don John and
Escovedo to the King, to Perez, to the German colonels, and to the
Empress. This work, composed and published by order of the
estates-general, was transmitted with an accompanying address to every
potentate in Christendom. It was soon afterwards followed by a
counter-statement, prepared by order of Don John, and containing his
account of the same matters, with his recriminations against the conduct
of the estates.

Another important movement had, meanwhile, been made by the third party
in this complicated game. The Catholic nobles, jealous of the growing
influence of Orange, and indignant at the expanding power of the people,
had opened secret negotiations with the Archduke Matthias, then a mild,
easy-tempered youth of twenty, brother of the reigning emperor, Rudolph.
After the matter had been discussed some time in secret, it was resolved,
towards the end of September, to send a messenger to Vienna, privately
inviting the young Prince to Brussels, but much to the surprise of these
nobles, it was discovered that some fifteen or sixteen of the grandees of
the land, among them Aerschot, Havre, Champagny, De Ville, Lalain, De
Heze, and others, had already taken the initiative in the matter. On the
26th of August, the Seigneur de Maalsteede had set forth, by their
appointment, for Vienna. There is no doubt that this step originated in
jealousy felt towards Orange, but at the same time it is certain that
several of the leaders in the enterprise were still his friends. Some,
like Champagny, and De Heze, were honestly so; others, like Aerschot,
Havrd, and De Ville, always traitors in heart to the national cause,
loyal to nothing but their own advancement, were still apparently upon
the best terms with him. Moreover, it is certain that he had been made
aware of the scheme, at least, before the arrival of the Archduke in the
Netherlands, for the Marquis Havre, on his way to England, as special
envoy from the estates, had a conference with him at Gertruydenberg. This
was in the middle of September, and before his departure for Brussels.
Naturally, the proposition seemed, at first, anything but agreeable; but
the Marquis represented himself afterwards as having at last induced the
Prince to look upon it with more favorable eyes. Nevertheless, the step
had been taken before the consultation was held; nor was it the first
time that the advice, of Orange had been asked concerning the adoption of
a measure after the measure had been adopted.

Whatever may have been his original sentiments upon the subject; however,
he was always less apt to complain of irrevocable events than quick to
reconcile them with his own combinations, and it was soon to be
discovered that the new stumbling-block which his opponents had placed in
his path, could be converted into an additional stepping-stone towards
his goal. Meanwhile, the secret invitation to the Archduke was regarded
by the people and by foreign spectators as a plot devised by his enemies.
Davison, envoy from Queen Elizabeth, was then in Brussels, and informed
his royal mistress, whose sentiments and sympathies were unequivocally in
favor of Orange, of the intrigues against the Prince. The efforts of
England were naturally to counteract the schemes of all who interfered
with his policy, the Queen especially, with her customary sagacity,
foreseeing the probable inclination of the Catholic nobles towards the
protectorate of Alencon. She did not feel certain as to the precise plans
of Orange, and there was no course better adapted to draw her from barren
coquetry into positive engagements; than to arouse her jealousy of the
French influence in the provinces. At this moment, she manifested the
warmest friendship for the Prince.

Costly presents were transmitted by her to his wife; among others, an
ornament, of which a sculptured lizard formed a part. The Princess, in a
graceful letter to her husband, desiring that her acknowledgments should
be presented to her English Majesty, accepted the present as
significative. "Tis the fabled virtue of the lizard (she said) to awaken
sleepers whom a serpent is about to sting. You are the lizard, and the
Netherlands the sleepers,--pray Heaven they may escape the serpent's
bite." The Prince was well aware, therefore, of the plots which were
weaving against him. He had small faith in the great nobles, whom he
trusted "as he would adders fanged," and relied only upon the
communities, upon the mass of burghers. They deserved his confidence, and
watched over his safety with jealous care. On one occasion, when he was
engaged at the State Council till a late hour, the citizens conceived so
much alarm, that a large number of them spontaneously armed themselves,
and repaired to the palace. The Prince, informed of the circumstance,
threw open a window and addressed them, thanking them for their
friendship and assuring them of his safety. They were not satisfied,
however, to leave him alone, but remained under arms below till the
session was terminated, when they escorted him with affectionate respect
to his own hotel.

The secret envoy arrived in Vienna, and excited the ambition of the
youthful Matthias. It must be confessed that the offer could hardly be a
very tempting one, and it excites our surprise that the Archduke should
have thought the adventure worth the seeking. A most anomalous position
in the Netherlands was offered to him by a slender and irresponsible
faction of Netherlanders. There was a triple prospect before him: that of
a hopeless intrigue against the first politician in Europe, a mortal
combat with the most renowned conqueror of the age, a deadly feud with
the most powerful and revengeful monarch in the world. Into this
threefold enterprise he was about to plunge without any adequate
resources, for the Archduke possessed no experience, power, or wealth. He
brought, therefore, no strength to a cause which was itself feeble. He
could hope for no protection, nor inspire any confidence. Nevertheless,
he had courage, pliability, and a turn for political adventure. Visions
of the discomfited Philip conferring the hand of his daughter, with the
Netherlands as her dowry, upon the enterprising youth who, at this
juncture, should succeed in overturning the Spanish authority in that
country, were conjured up by those who originated the plot, and he was
weak enough to consider such absurdities plausible, and to set forth at
once to take possession of this castle in the air.

On the evening of October 3rd, 1577, he retired to rest at eight o'clock
feigning extreme drowsiness. After waiting till his brother, Maximilian,
who slept in another bed in the same chamber, was asleep, he slipped from
his couch and from the room in his night apparel, without even putting on
his slippers. He was soon after provided by the companions of his flight
with the disguise of a servant, arrayed in which, with his face
blackened, he made his escape by midnight from Vienna, but it is doubtful
whether Rudolph were as ignorant as he affected to be of the scheme.

   [It was the opinion of Languet that the Emperor affected ignorance
   of the plot at its commencement, that he afterwards affected an
   original connivance, and that he was equally disingenuous in both

The Archduke arrived at Cologne, attended only by two gentlemen and a few
servants. The Governor was beside himself with fury; the Queen of England
was indignant; the Prince only, against whom the measure was mainly
directed, preserved his usual tranquillity.

Secretary Walsingham, as soon as the news reached England, sent for
Meetkercke, colleague of Marquis Havre in the mission from the estates.
He informed that functionary of the great perplexity and excitement
which, according to information received from the English resident,
Davison, were then prevailing in Brussels, on account of the approach of
the Archduke. Some, he said, were for receiving him at one place, some at
another; others were in favor of forbidding his entrance altogether.
Things had been sufficiently complicated before, without this additional
cause of confusion. Don John was strengthening himself daily, through the
secret agency of the Duke of Guise and his party. His warlike genius was
well known, as well as the experience of the soldiers who were fast
rallying under his banner. On the other hand, the Duke of Alencon had
come to La Fere, and was also raising troops, while to oppose this crowd
of rival enemies, to deal with this host of impending disasters, there
was but one man in the Netherlands. On the Prince of Orange alone could
the distracted states rely. To his prudence and valor only could the
Queen look with hopeful eyes. The Secretary proceeded to inform the
envoy, therefore, that her Majesty would feel herself compelled to
withdraw all succor from the states if the Prince of Orange were deprived
of his leadership; for it was upon that leadership only that she had
relied for obtaining a successful result. She was quite indisposed to
encounter indefinite risk with an impossibility of profit.

Meetkercke replied to the Secretary by observing, that the great nobles
of the land had been unanimous in desiring a new Governor-General at this
juncture. They had thought Matthias, with a strong Council of State,
composed of native Netherlanders, to control him, likely to prove a
serviceable candidate for the post. They had reason to believe that,
after he should be received, the Emperor would be reconciled to the
measure, and that by his intercession the King of Spain would be likewise
induced to acquiesce. He alluded, moreover, to the conference between the
Marquis of Havre and Orange at Gertruydenberg, and quoted the opinion of
the Prince that it would be unwise, after the invitation had been given,
to insult the Archduke and his whole imperial house, by beating him with
indignity upon his arrival. It was inevitable, said the envoy, that
differences of opinion should exist in large assemblies, but according to
information which he had recently received from Marquis Havre, then in
Brussels, affairs had already become smooth again. At the conclusion of
the conference, Walsingham repeated emphatically that the only condition
upon which the Queen would continue her succor to the Netherlands was,
that the Prince should be forthwith appointed Lieutenant-General for the

The immediate result of this movement was, that Matthias was received at
Antwerp by Orange at the head of two thousand cavalry, and attended by a
vast concourse of inhabitants. Had the Prince chosen a contrary course,
the Archduke might have been compelled to return, somewhat ridiculously,
to Vienna; but, at the same time, the anger of the Emperor and of all
Germany would have been aroused against Orange and the cause he served.
Had the Prince, on the contrary, abandoned the field himself, and
returned to Holland, he would have left the game in the hands of his
adversaries. Ever since he had made what his brother John called that
"dangerous gallows journey" to Brussels, his influence had been
culminating daily, and the jealousy of the great nobles rising as
rapidly. Had he now allowed himself to be driven from his post, he would
have exactly fulfilled their object. By remaining, he counteracted their

By taking Matthias wholly into his own possession, he obtained one piece
the more in the great game which he was playing against his antagonist in
the Escorial. By making adroit use of events as they arose, he made the
very waves which were to sink him, carry his great cause triumphantly

The first result of the invitation to Matthias was the election of Orange
as Ruward of Brabant. This office was one of great historical dignity,
but somewhat anomalous in its functions. The province of Brabant, having
no special governor, was usually considered under the immediate
superintendence of the Governor-General. As the capital of Brabant was
the residence of that functionary, no inconvenience from this course had
been felt since the accession of the house of Burgundy. At present,
however, the condition of affairs was so peculiar--the seat of government
being empty without having been permanently vacated--that a special
opportunity was offered for conferring both honor and power on the
Prince. A Ruward was not exactly dictator, although his authority was
universal. He was not exactly protector, nor governor, nor stadholder.
His functions were unlimited as to time--therefore superior to those of
an ancient dictator; they were commonly conferred on the natural heir to
the sovereignty--therefore more lofty than those of ordinary stadholders.
The individuals who had previously held the office in the Netherlands had
usually reigned afterwards in their own right. Duke Albert, of the
Bavarian line; for example, had been Ruward of Hainault and Holland, for
thirty years, during the insanity of his brother, and on the death of
Duke William had succeeded to his title. Philip of Burgundy had declared
himself Ruward of Brabant in 1425, and had shortly afterwards deprived
Jacqueline of all her titles and appropriated them to himself. In the one
case the regent, in the second case the usurper, had become reigning
prince. Thus the movement of the jealous nobles against the Prince had
for its first effect his immediate appointment to an office whose chief
characteristic was, that it conducted to sovereignty.

The election was accomplished thus. The "members," or estates of
Brussels, together with the deans, guilds, and other of the principal
citizens of Antwerp, addressed a request to the states of Brabant, that
William of Orange should be appointed Ruward, and after long deliberation
the measure was carried. The unsolicited honor was then solemnly offered
to him. He refused, and was only, after repeated and urgent entreaties,
induced to accept the office. The matter was then referred to the
states-general, who confirmed the dignity, after some demur, and with the
condition that it might be superseded by the appointment of a
governor-general. He was finally confirmed as Ruward on the 22d of
October, to the boundless satisfaction of the people, who celebrated the
event by a solemn holiday in Antwerp, Brussels, and other cities. His
friends, inspired by the intrigues of his enemies, had thus elevated the
Prince to almost unlimited power; while a strong expression in favor of
his government had been elicited from the most important ally of the
Netherlands-England. It soon rested with himself only to assume the
government of Flanders, having been elected stadholder, not once only,
but many times, by the four estates of that important province, and
having as constantly refused the dignity. With Holland and Zealand
devoted to him, Brabant and Flanders formally under his government, the
Netherland capital lavishing testimonials of affection upon him, and the
mass of the people almost worshipping him, it would not have been
difficult for the Prince to play a game as selfish as it had hitherto
been close and skilful. He might have proved to the grand seigniors that
their suspicions were just, by assuming a crown which they had been
intriguing to push from his brows. Certainly the nobles deserved their
defeat. They had done their best to circumvent Orange, in all ways and at
all times. They had paid their court to power when it was most powerful,
and had sought to swim on the popular tide when it was rising. He avenged
himself upon their perfidy only by serving his country more faithfully
than ever, but it was natural that he should be indignant at the conduct
of these gentlemen, "children of good houses," (in his own words,) "issue
of worthy, sires," whose fathers, at least, he had ever loved and

"They serve the Duke of Alva and the Grand Commander like varlets," he
cried; "they make war upon me to the knife. Afterwards they treat with
me, they reconcile themselves with me, they are sworn foes of the
Spaniard. Don John arrives, and they follow him; they intrigue for my
ruin. Don John fails in his enterprise upon Antwerp citadel; they quit
him incontinently and call upon me. No sooner do I come than, against
their oath and without previous communication with the states or myself,
they call upon the Archduke Matthias. Are the waves of the sea more
inconstant--is Euripus more uncertain than the counsels of such men?"

While these events were occurring at Brussels and Antwerp, a scene of a
different nature was enacting at Ghent. The Duke of Aerschot had recently
been appointed to the government of Flanders by the State Council, but
the choice was exceedingly distasteful to a large number of the
inhabitants. Although, since the defeat of Don John's party in Antwerp,
Aerschot had again become "the affectionate brother" of Orange, yet he
was known to be the head of the cabal which had brought Matthias from
Vienna. Flanders, moreover, swarmed with converts to the Reformed
religion, and the Duke's strict Romanism was well known. The people,
therefore, who hated the Pope and adored the Prince, were furious at the
appointment of the new governor, but by dint of profuse promises
regarding the instant restoration of privileges and charters which had
long lain dormant, the friends of Aerschot succeeded in preparing the way
for his installation.

On the 20th of October, attended by twenty-three companies of infantry
and three hundred horse, he came to Ghent. That famous place was still
one of the most powerful and turbulent towns in Europe. Although
diminished in importance since the commercial decline which had been the
inevitable result of Philip's bloody government, it, was still swarming
with a vigorous and dangerous population and it had not forgotten the
days when the iron tongue of Roland could call eighty thousand fighting
men to the city banner. Even now, twenty thousand were secretly pledged
to rise at the bidding of certain chieftains resident among them; noble
by birth, warmly attached to the Reformed religion, and devoted to
Orange. These gentlemen were perfectly conscious that a reaction was to
be attempted in favor of Don John and of Catholicism, through the agency
of the newly-appointed governor of Flanders. Aerschot was trusted or
respected by neither party. The only difference in the estimates formed
of him was, that some considered him a deep and dangerous traitor; others
that he was rather foolish than malicious, and more likely to ruin a good
cause than to advance the interests of a bad one. The leaders of the
popular party at Ghent believed him dangerous. They felt certain that it
was the deeply laid design of the Catholic nobles foiled as they had been
in the objects with which they had brought Matthias from Vienna, and
enraged as they were that the only result of that movement had been to
establish the power of Orange upon a firmer basis--to set up an opposing
influence in Ghent. Flanders, in the possession of the Catholics, was to
weigh up Brabant, with its recent tendencies to toleration. Aerschot was
to counteract the schemes of Orange. Matthias was to be withdrawn from
the influence of the great heretic, and be yet compelled to play the part
set down for him by those who had placed him upon the stage. A large
portion, no doubt, of the schemes here suggested, was in agitation, but
the actors were hardly equal to the drama which they were attempting. The
intrigue was, however, to be frustrated at once by the hand of Orange,
acting as it often did from beneath a cloud.

Of all the chieftains possessing influence with the inhabitants of Ghent,
two young nobles, named Ryhove and Imbize, were the most conspicuous.
Both were of ancient descent and broken fortunes, both were passionately
attached to the Prince, both were inspired with an intense hatred for all
that was Catholic or Spanish. They had travelled further on the reforming
path than many had done in that day, and might even be called democratic
in their notions. Their heads were filled with visions of Greece and
Rome; the praise of republics was ever on their lips; and they avowed to
their intimate associates that it was already feasible to compose a
commonwealth like that of the Swiss Cantons out of the seventeen
Netherlands. They were regarded as dreamers by some, as desperadoes by
others. Few had confidence in their capacity or their purity; but Orange,
who knew mankind, recognized in them useful instruments for any hazardous
enterprise. They delighted in stratagems and sudden feats of arms.
Audacious and cruel by temperament, they were ever most happy in becoming
a portion of the desolation which popular tumults engender.

There were several excited meetings of the four estates of Flanders
immediately after the arrival of the Duke of Aerschot in Ghent. His
coming had been preceded by extensive promises, but it soon became
obvious that their fulfilment was to be indefinitely deferred. There was
a stormy session on the 27th of October, many of the clergy and nobility
being present, and comparatively few members of the third estate. Very
violent speeches were made, and threats openly uttered, that the
privileges, about which so much noise had been heard, would be rather
curtailed than enlarged under the new administration. At the same
session, the commission of Aerschot was formally presented by Champagny
and Sweveghem, deputed by the State Council for that purpose. Champagny
was in a somewhat anomalous position. There was much doubt in men's minds
concerning him. He had seemed lately the friend of Orange, but he was
certainly the brother of Granvelle. His splendid but fruitless services
during the Antwerp Fury had not been forgotten, but he was known to be a
determined Catholic. He was a hater of Spaniards, but no lover of popular
liberty. The nature of his sentiments towards Orange was perhaps unjustly
suspected. At any rate, two or three days after the events which now
occupy our attention, he wrote him a private letter, in which he assured
him of his attachment. In reference to the complaints, of the Prince,
that he had not been seconded as he ought to have been, he said,
moreover, that he could solemnly swear never to have seen a single
individual who did not hold the Prince in admiration, and who was not
affectionately devoted to him, not only, by public profession, but by
private sentiment.

There was little doubt entertained as to the opinions held by the rest of
the aristocratic party, then commencing their manoeuvres in Ghent. Their
sentiments were uttered with sufficient distinctness in this remarkable

Hessels, the old Blood Councillor, was then resident in Ghent; where he
discharged high governmental functions. It was he, as it will be
remembered, who habitually fell asleep at that horrible council board,
and could only start from his naps to-shout "ad patibulum," while the
other murderers had found their work less narcotic. A letter from Hessels
to Count de Reux, late royal governor of Flanders, was at the present
juncture intercepted. Perhaps it was invented, but genuine or fictitious,
it was circulated extensively among the popular leaders, and had the
effect of proving Madame de Hessels a true prophet. It precipitated the
revolution in Flanders, and soon afterwards cost the Councillor his life.
"We have already brought many notable magistrates of Flanders over to the
aide of his Highness Don John," wrote Hessels. "We hope, after the Duke
of Aerschot is governor; that we shall fully carry out the intentions of
his Majesty and the plans of his Highness. We shall also know how to
circumvent the scandalous heretic with all his adherents and followers."

Certainly, if this letter were true, it was high time for the friends of
the "scandalous heretic" to look about them. If it were a forgery, which
is highly probable, it was ingeniously imagined, and did the work of
truth. The revolutionary party, being in a small minority in the
assembly, were advised by their leaders to bow before the storm. They did
so, and the bluster of the reactionary party grew louder as they marked
the apparent discomfiture of their foes. They openly asserted that the
men who were clamoring for privileges should obtain nothing but halters.
The buried charters should never be resuscitated; but the spirit of the
dead Emperor, who had once put a rope around the necks of the insolent
Ghenters, still lived in that of his son. There was no lack of
denunciation. Don John and the Duke of Aerschot would soon bring the
turbulent burghers to their senses, and there would then be an end to
this renewed clamor about musty parchments. Much indignation was secretly
excited in the assembly by such menaces. Without doors the subterranean
flames spread rapidly, but no tumult occurred that night. Before the
session was over, Ryhove left the city, pretending a visit to Tournay. No
sooner had he left the gates, however, than he turned his horse's head in
the opposite direction, and rode off post haste to Antwerp. There he had
a conference with William of Orange, and painted in lively colors the
alarming position of affairs. "And what do you mean to do in the matter?"
asked the Prince, rather drily. Ryhove was somewhat disconcerted. He had
expected a violent explosion; well as he knew the tranquil personage whom
he was addressing. "I know no better counsel," he replied, at length,
"than to take the Duke, with his bishops, councillors, lords, and the
whole nest of them, by the throat, and thrust them all out together."

"Rather a desperate undertaking, however?" said the Prince; carelessly,
but interrogatively.

"I know no other remedy," answered Ryhove; "I would rather make the
attempt, relying upon God alone, and die like a man if needful, than live
in eternal slavery. Like an ancient Roman," continued the young
republican noble, in somewhat bombastic vein, "I am ready to wager my
life, where my fatherland's welfare is at stake."

"Bold words!" said the Prince, looking gravely at Ryhove; "but upon what
force do you rely for your undertaking?"

"If I can obtain no assistance from your Excellency," was the reply, "I
shall throw myself on the mass of the citizens. I can arouse them in the
name of their ancient liberties, which must be redeemed now or never."

The Prince, believing probably that the scheme, if scheme there were, was
but a wild one, felt little inclination to compromise himself with the
young conspirator. He told him he could do nothing at present, and saying
that he must at least sleep upon the matter, dismissed him for the night.
Next morning, at daybreak, Ryhove was again closeted with him. The Prince
asked his sanguine partisan if he were still determined to carry out his
project, with no more definite support than he had indicated? Ryhove
assured him, in reply, that he meant to do so; or to die in the attempt.
The Prince shrugged his shoulders, and soon afterwards seemed to fall
into a reverie. Ryhove continued talking, but it was soon obvious that
his Highness was not listening; and he therefore took his leave somewhat
abruptly. Hardly had he left the house, however, when the Prince
despatched Saint Aldegonde in search of him. That gentleman, proceeding
to his hotel, walked straight into the apartment of Ryhove, and commenced
a conversation with a person whom he found there, but to his surprise he
soon discovered, experienced politician though he was, that he had made
an egregious blunder. He had opened a dangerous secret to an entire
stranger, and Ryhove coming into the apartment a few minutes afterwards,
was naturally surprised to find the Prince's chief councillor in close
conversation about the plot with Van Rooyen, the burgomaster of
Denremonde. The Flemish noble, however, always prompt in emergencies,
drew his rapier, and assured the astonished burgomaster that he would
either have his life on the instant, or his oath never to reveal a
syllable of what he had heard. That functionary, who had neither desired
the young noble's confidence, nor contemplated the honor of being run
through the body as a consequence of receiving it, was somewhat aghast at
the rapid manner in which these gentlemen transacted business. He
willingly gave the required pledge, and was permitted to depart.

The effect of the conference between Saint Aldegonde and Ryhove was to
convince the young partisan that the Prince would neither openly
countenance his project, nor be extremely vexed should it prove
successful. In short, while, as in the case of the arrest of the State
Council, the subordinates were left to appear the principals in the
transactions, the persons most intimate with William of Orange were
allowed to form satisfactory opinions as to his wishes, and to serve as
instruments to his ends. "Vive qui vince!" cried Saint-Aldegonde,
encouragingly, to Ryhove, shaking hands with him at parting. The
conspirator immediately mounted, and rode off towards Ghent. During his
absence there had been much turbulence, but no decided outbreak, in that
city. Imbize had accosted the Duke of Aerschot in the street, and
demanded when and how he intended to proclaim the restoration of the
ancient charters. The haughty Duke had endeavoured to shake off his
importunate questioner, while Imbize persisted, with increasing audacity,
till Aerschot lost his temper at last: "Charters, charters!" he cried in
a rage; "you shall learn soon, ye that are thus howling for charters,
that we have still the old means of making you dumb, with a rope on your
throats. I tell you this--were you ever so much hounded on by the Prince
of Orange."

The violence of the new governor excited the wrath of Imbize. He broke
from him abruptly, and rushed to a rendezvous of his confederates, every
man of whom was ready for a desperate venture. Groups of excited people
were seen vociferating in different places. A drum was heard to rattle
from time to time. Nevertheless, the rising tumult seemed to subside
again after a season, owing partly to the exertions of the magistrates,
partly to the absence of Ryhove. At four in the afternoon that gentleman
entered the town, and riding directly to the head-quarters of the
conspiracy, was incensed to hear that the work, which had begun so
bravely, had been allowed to cool. "Tis a time," he cried, "for
vigilance. If we sleep now, we shall be dead in our beds before morning.
Better to fan the fire which has begun to blaze in the people's heart.
Better to gather the fruit while it is ripe. Let us go forward, each with
his followers, and I pledge myself to lead the way. Let us scuttle the
old ship of slavery; let us hunt the Spanish Inquisition, once for all,
to the hell from whence it came!"

"There spoke the voice of a man!" cried the Flemish captain, Mieghem, one
of the chief conspirators; "lead on, Ryhove, I swear to follow you as far
as our legs will carry us." Thus encouraged, Ryhove, rushed about the
city, calling upon the people everywhere to rise. They rose almost to a
man. Arming and mustering at different points, according to previous
arrangements, a vast number assembled by toll of bell, after nightfall,
on the public square, whence, under command of Ryhove, they swept to the
residence of Aerschot at Saint Bavon. The guards, seeing the fierce mob
approaching, brandishing spears and waving, torches, had scarce time to
close the gates; as the people loudly demanded entrance and the delivery
to them of the Governor. Both claims were refused. "Let us burn the birds
in their nests," cried Ryhove, without hesitation. Pitch, light wood, and
other combustibles, were brought at his command, and in a few moments the
palace would have been in flames, had not Aerschot, seeing that the
insurgents were in earnest, capitulated. As soon as the gates were open,
the foremost of the mob rushed upon him, and would have torn him limb
from limb, had not Ryhove resolutely interfered, and twice protected the
life of the governor, at the peril of his own. The Duke was then made a
prisoner, and, under a strong guard, was conveyed, still in his
night-gown, and bare-footed, to the mansion of Ryhove. All the other
leading members of the Catholic party were captured, the arrests
proceeding till a late hour in the night. Rassinghem, Sweveghem, Fisch,
De la Porta, and other prominent members of the Flemish estates or
council, were secured, but Champagny was allowed to make his escape. The
Bishops of Bruges and Ypres were less fortunate. Blood-councillor
Hessels, whose letter--genuine or counterfeited--had been so instrumental
in hastening this outbreak, was most carefully guarded, and to him and to
Senator Fisch the personal consequences of that night's work were to be
very tragic.

Thus audaciously, successfully, and hitherto without bloodshed, was the
anti-Catholic revolution commenced in Flanders. The event was the first
of a long and most signal series. The deed was done. The provisional
government was established, at the head of which was placed Ryhove, to
whom oaths of allegiance were rendered, subject to the future
arrangements of the states-general and Orange: On the 9th of November,
the nobles, notables, and community of Ghent published an address, in
which they elaborately defended the revolution which had been effected
and the arrests which had taken place; while the Catholic party, with
Aerschot at its head, was declared to be secretly in league with Don John
to bring back the Spanish troops, to overthrow the Prince of Orange, to
deprive him of the protectorate of Brabant, to set at nought the Ghent
treaty, and to suppress the Reformed religion.

The effect of this sudden rising of the popular party was prodigious
throughout the Netherlands. At the same time, the audacity of such
extreme proceedings could hardly be countenanced by any considerable
party in the states-general. Champagny wrote to the Prince of Orange
that, even if the letter of Hessels were genuine, it proved nothing
against Aerschot, and he urged the necessity of suppressing such scene of
licence immediately, through the influence of those who could command the
passions of the mob. Otherwise, he affirmed that all legitimate forms of
justice would disappear, and that it would be easy to set the bloodhounds
upon any game whatever. Saint Aldegonde wrote to the Prince, that it
would be a great point, but a very difficult one, to justify the Ghent
transaction; for there was little doubt that the Hessels letter was a
forgery. It was therefore as well, no doubt, that the Prince had not
decidedly committed himself to Ryhove's plot; and thus deprived himself
of the right to interfere afterwards, according to what seemed the claims
of justice and sound policy.

He now sent Arend Van Dorp to Ghent, to remonstrate with the leaders of
the insurrection upon the violence of their measures, and to demand the
liberation of the prisoners--a request which was only complied with in
the case of Aerschot. That nobleman was liberated on the 14th of
November, under the condition that he would solemnly pledge himself to
forget and forgive the treatment which he had received, but the other
prisoners were retained in custody for a much longer period. A few weeks
afterwards, the Prince of Orange visited Ghent, at the earnest request of
the four estates of Flanders, and it was hoped that his presence would
contribute to the restoration of tranquillity.

This visit was naturally honored by a brilliant display of "rhetorical"
spectacles and tableaux vivants; for nothing could exceed the passion of
the Netherlanders of that century for apologues and charades. In allegory
they found an ever-present comforter in their deepest afflictions. The
prince was escorted from the Town-gate to the Jacob's church amid a blaze
of tar-barrels and torches, although it was mid-day, where a splendid
exhibition had been arranged by that sovereign guild of rhetoric, "Jesus
with the Balsam Flower." The drama was called Judas Maccabaeus, in
compliment to the Prince. In the centre of the stage stood the Hebrew
patriot, in full armor, symbolizing the illustrious guest doing battle
for his country. He was attended by the three estates of the country,
ingeniously personified by a single individual, who wore the velvet
bonnet of a noble, the cassock of a priest, end the breeches of a
burgher. Groups of allegorical personages were drawn up on the right and
left;--Courage, Patriotism, Freedom, Mercy, Diligence, and other
estimable qualities upon one side, were balanced by Murder, Rapine,
Treason, and the rest of the sisterhood of Crime on the other. The
Inquisition was represented as a lean and hungry hag. The "Ghent
Pacification" was dressed in cramoisy satin, and wore a city on her head
for a turban; while; tied to her apron-strings were Catholicism and
Protestantism, bound in a loving embrace by a chain of seventeen links,
which she was forging upon an anvil. Under the anvil was an individual in
complete harness, engaged in eating his heart; this was Discord. In front
of the scene stood History and Rhetoric, attired as "triumphant maidens,
in white garments," each with a laurel crown and a burning torch. These
personages, after holding a rhymed dialogue between themselves, filled
with wonderful conceits and quibbles, addressed the Prince of Orange and
Maccabaeus, one after the other, in a great quantity of very detestable

After much changing of scenes and groups, and an enormous quantity of
Flemish-woven poetry, the "Ghent Peace" came forward, leading a lion in
one hand, and holding a heart of pure gold in the other. The heart, upon
which was inscribed Sinceritas, was then presented to the real Prince, as
he sat "reposing after the spectacle," and perhaps slightly yawning, the
gift being accompanied by another tremendous discharge of complimentary
verses. After this, William of Orange was permitted to proceed towards
the lodgings provided for him, but the magistrates and notables met him
upon the threshold, and the pensionary made him a long oration. Even
after the Prince was fairly housed, he had not escaped the fangs of
allegory; for, while he sat at supper refreshing his exhausted frame
after so much personification and metaphor, a symbolical personage,
attired to represent the town corporation made his appearance, and poured
upon him a long and particularly dull heroic poem. Fortunately, this
episode closed the labors of the day.

On the 7th of December, 1577, the states-general formally declared that
Don John was no longer Stadholder, Governor, nor Captain-General, but an
infractor of the peace which he had sworn to maintain, and an enemy of
the fatherland. All natives of the country who should show him favor or
assistance were declared rebels and traitors; and by a separate edict,
issued the same day, it was ordained that an inventory of the estates of
such persons should forthwith be taken.

Thus the war, which had for a brief period been suspended during the
angry, tortuous, and hopeless negotiations which succeeded the arrival of
Don John, was once more to be let loose. To this point had tended all the
policy of Orange-faithful as ever to the proverb with which he had broken
off the Breda conferences, "that war was preferable to a doubtful peace."
Even, however, as his policy had pointed to a war as the necessary
forerunner of a solid peace with Spain, so had his efforts already
advanced the cause of internal religious concord within the provinces
themselves. On the 10th of December, a new act of union was signed at
Brussels, by which those of the Roman Church and those who had retired
from that communion bound themselves to respect and to protect each other
with mutual guarantees against all enemies whatsoever. Here was a step
beyond the Ghent Pacification, and in the same direction. The first
treaty tacitly introduced toleration by suppressing the right of
persecution, but the new union placed the Reformed religion on a level
with the old. This was the result of the Prince's efforts; and, in truth,
there was no lack of eagerness among these professors of a faith which
had been so long under ban, to take advantage of his presence. Out of
dark alleys, remote thickets, subterranean conventicles, where the
dissenters had so long been trembling for their lives, the oppressed now
came forth into the light of day. They indulged openly in those forms of
worship which persecution had affected to regard with as much holy horror
as the Badahuennan or Hercynian mysteries of Celtic ages could inspire,
and they worshipped boldly the common God of Catholic and Puritan, in the
words most consonant to their tastes, without dreading the gibbet as an
inevitable result of their audacity.

In truth, the time had arrived for bringing the northern and southern,
the Celtic and German, the Protestant and Catholic, hearts together, or
else for acquiescing in their perpetual divorce. If the sentiment of
nationality, the cause of a common fatherland, could now overcome the
attachment to a particular form of worship--if a common danger and a
common destiny could now teach the great lesson of mutual toleration, it
might yet be possible to create a united Netherland, and defy for ever
the power of Spain. Since the Union of Brussels, of January, 1577, the
internal cancer of religious discord had again begun to corrode the body
politic. The Pacification of Ghent had found the door open to religious
toleration. It had not opened, but had left it open. The union of
Brussels had closed the door again. Contrary to the hopes of the Prince
of Orange and of the patriots who followed in his track, the sanction
given to the Roman religion had animated the Catholics to fresh arrogance
and fresh persecution. In the course of a few months, the only fruits of
the new union, from which so much had been hoped, were to be seen in
imprisonments, confiscations, banishments, executions. The Perpetual
Edict, by which the fifteen provinces had united in acknowledging Don
John while the Protestant stronghold of Holland and Zealand had been
placed in a state of isolation by the wise distrust of Orange, had
widened the breach between Catholics and Protestants. The subsequent
conduct of Don John had confirmed the suspicions and demonstrated the
sagacity of the Prince. The seizure of Namur and the open hostility
avowed by the Governor once more forced the provinces together. The
suppressed flames of nationality burst forth again. Catholic and
Protestant, Fleming and Hollander, instinctively approached each other,
and felt the necessity of standing once more shoulder to shoulder in
defence of their common rights. The Prince of Orange was called for by
the unanimous cry of the whole country. He came to Brussels. His first
step, as already narrated, was to break off negotiations which had been
already ratified by the votes of the states-general. The measure was
reconsidered, under pretence of adding certain amendments. Those
amendments were the unconditional articles of surrender proposed for Don
John's signature on the 25th of September--articles which could only
elicit words of defiance from his lips.

Thus far the Prince's object was accomplished. A treacherous peace, which
would have ensured destruction, was averted, but a new obstacle to the
development of his broad and energetic schemes arose in the intrigue
which brought the Archduke from Vienna. The cabals of Orange's secret
enemies were again thwarted with the same adroitness to which his avowed
antagonists were forced to succumb. Matthias was made the exponent of the
new policy, the standard-bearer of the new union which the Prince now
succeeded in establishing; for his next step was immediately to impress
upon the provinces which had thus united in casting down the gauntlet to
a common enemy the necessity of uniting in a permanent league. One
province was already lost by the fall of Namur. The bonds of a permanent
union for the other sixteen could be constructed of but one
material--religious toleration, and for a moment, the genius of Orange,
always so far beyond his age, succeeded in raising the mass of his
countrymen to the elevation upon which he had so long stood alone.

The "new or nearer Union of Brussels" was signed on the 10th of December,
eleven months after the formation of the first union. This was the third
and, unfortunately, the last confederation of all the Netherlands. The
original records have been lost, but it is known that the measure was
accepted unanimously in the estates-general as soon as presented. The
leading Catholic nobles were with the army, but a deputation, sent to the
camp, returned with their signatures and hearty approval; with the
signatures and approval of such determined Catholics as the Lalains,
Meluns, Egmont, and La Motte. If such men could unite for the sake of the
fatherland in an act of religious toleration, what lofty hopes for the
future was not the Prince justified in forming; for it was the Prince
alone who accomplished this victory of reason over passion. As a
monument, not only of his genius, but of the elevated aspirations of a
whole people in an age of intolerance, the "closer Union of Brussels"
deserves especial place in the history of human progress. Unfortunately,
it was destined to a brief existence. The battle of Gemblours was its
death-blow, and before the end of a month, the union thus hopefully
constructed was shattered for ever. The Netherland people was never
united again. By the Union of Utrecht, seven states subsequently rescued
their existence, and lived to construct a powerful republic. The rest
were destined to remain for centuries in the condition of provinces to a
distant metropolis, to be shifted about as make-weights in political
balances, and only in our own age to come into the honorable rank of
independent constitutional states.

The Prince had, moreover, strengthened himself for the coming struggle by
an alliance with England. The thrifty but politic Queen, fearing the
result of the secret practices of Alencon--whom Orange, as she suspected,
still kept in reserve to be played off, in case of need, against Matthias
and Don John--had at last consented to a treaty of alliance and subsidy.
On the 7th of January, 1578, the Marquis Havre, envoy from the estates,
concluded an arrangement in London, by which the Queen was to lend them
her credit--in other words, to endorse their obligations, to the amount
of one hundred thousand pounds sterling. The money was to be raised
wherever the states might be able to negotiate the bills, and her
liability was to cease within a year. She was likewise to be collaterally
secured by pledges from certain cities in the Netherlands. This amount
was certainly not colossal, while the conditions were sufficiently
parsimonious. At the same time a beginning was made, and the principle of
subsidy was established. The Queen, furthermore, agreed to send five
thousand infantry and one thousand cavalry to the provinces, under the
command of an officer of high rank, who was to have a seat and vote in
the Netherland Council of State. These troops were to be paid by the
provinces, but furnished by the Queen. The estates were to form no treaty
without her knowledge, nor undertake any movement of importance without
her consent. In case she should be herself attacked by any foreign power,
the provinces were to assist her to the same extent as the amount of aid
now afforded to themselves; and in case of a naval war, with a fleet of
at least forty ships. It had already been arranged that the appointment
of the Prince of Orange as Lieutenant-General for Matthias was a 'sine
qua non' in any treaty of assistance with England. Soon after the
conclusion of this convention, Sir Thomas Wilkes was despatched on a
special mission to Spain, and Mr. Leyton sent to confer privately with
Don John. It was not probable, however, that the diplomatic skill of
either would make this new arrangement palatable to Philip or his

Within a few days after their signature of this important treaty, the
Prince had, at length, wholly succeeded in conquering the conflicting
passions in the states-general, and in reconciling them, to a certain
extent, with each other. The closer union had been accepted, and now
thirty articles, which had been prepared under his superintendence, and
had already on the 17th of December been accepted by Matthias, were
established as the fundamental terms, according to which the Archduke was
to be received as Governor-General. No power whatever was accorded to the
young man, who had come so far with eager and ambitious views. As the
Prince had neither solicited nor desired a visit which had, on the
contrary, been the result of hostile machinations, the Archduke could
hardly complain that the power accorded him was but shadowy, and that his
presence was rendered superfluous. It was not surprising that the common
people gave him the name of Greffier, or registering clerk to the Prince;
for his functions were almost limited to the signing of acts which were
countersigned by Orange. According to the stipulations of the Queen of
England, and the views of the whole popular party, the Prince remained
Ruward of Brabant, notwithstanding the appointment of a nominal
Governor-General, by whom his own duties were to be superseded.

The articles which were laid down as the basis upon which the Archduke
was to be accepted; composed an ample representative constitution, by
which all the legislative and many of the executive powers of government
were bestowed upon the states-general or upon the council by them to be
elected. To avoid remaining in the condition of a people thus left
without a head, the states declared themselves willing to accept Matthias
as Governor-General, on condition of the King's subsequent approbation,
and upon the general basis of the Ghent treaty. The Archduke, moreover,
was to take an oath of allegiance to the King and to the states-general
at the same time. He was to govern the land by the advice of a state
council, the members of which were to be appointed by the states-general,
and were "to be native Netherlanders, true patriots; and neither
ambitious nor greedy." In all matters discussed before the state council,
a majority of votes was to decide. The Governor-General, with his Council
of State, should conclude nothing concerning the common affairs of the
nation--such as requests, loans, treaties of peace or declarations of
war, alliances or confederacies with foreign nations--without the consent
of the states-general. He was to issue no edict or ordinance, and
introduce no law, without the consent of the same body duly assembled,
and representing each individual province. A majority of the members was
declared necessary to a quorum of the council. All acts and despatches
were to be drawn up by a member of the board. The states-general were to
assemble when, where, and as often as, and remain in session as long as,
they might think it expedient. At the request of any individual province,
concerning matters about which a convention of the generality was
customary, the other states should be bound to assemble without waiting
for directions from the Governor-General. The estates of each particular
province were to assemble at their pleasure. The governor and council,
with advice of the states-general, were to appoint all the principal
military officers. Troops were to be enrolled and garrisons established
by and with the consent of the states. Governors of provinces were to be
appointed by the Governor-General, with advice of his council, and with
the consent of the estates of the province interested. All military
affairs were to be conducted during war by the governor, with advice of
his council, while the estates were to have absolute control over the
levying and expenditure of the common funds of the country.

It is sufficiently plain from this brief summary, that the powers thus
conferred upon Matthias alone, were absolutely null, while those which he
might exercise in conjunction with the state council, were not much more
extensive. The actual force of the government--legislative, executive,
and, administrative--was lodged in the general assembly, while no
authority was left to the King, except the nominal right to approve these
revolutionary proceedings, according to the statement in the preamble.
Such a reservation in favor of his Majesty seemed a superfluous sarcasm.
It was furthermore resolved that the Prince of Orange should be appointed
Lieutenant-General for Matthias, and be continued in his office of
Ruward. This constitution, drawn up under the superintendence of the
Prince, had been already accepted by Matthias, while still at Antwerp,
and upon the 18th of January, 1578, the ceremony of his inauguration took

It was the third triumphal procession which Brussels had witnessed within
nine months. It was also the most brilliant of all; for the burghers, as
if to make amends to the Archduke for the actual nullity to which he had
been reduced, seemed resolved to raise him to the seventh heaven of
allegory. By the rhetorical guilds he was regarded as the most brilliant
constellation of virtues which had yet shone above the Flemish horizon. A
brilliant cavalcade, headed by Orange, accompanied by Count John of
Nassau, the Prince de Chimay and other notables, met him at Vilvoorde,
and escorted him to the city gate. On an open field, outside the town,
Count Bossu had arranged a review of troops, concluding with a
sham-fight, which, in the words of a classical contemporary, seemed as
"bloody a rencontre as that between Duke Miltiades of Athens and King
Darius upon the plains of Attics." The procession entered the Louvain
gate, through a splendid triumphal arch, filled with a band of invisible
musicians. "I believe that Orpheus had never played so melodiously on his
harp," says the same authority, "nor Apollo on his lyre, nor Pan on his
lute, as the city waits then performed." On entering the gates, Matthias
was at once delivered over to the hands of mythology, the burghers and
rhetoricians taking possession of their illustrious captive, and being
determined to outdo themselves in demonstrations of welcome. The
representatives of the "nine nations" of Brussels met him in the
Ritter-street, followed by a gorgeous retinue. Although it was mid-day,
all bore flaming torches. Although it was January, the streets were
strewed with flowers. The houses were festooned with garlands, and hung
with brilliant silks and velvets. The streets were thronged with
spectators, and encumbered with triumphal arches. On the Grande Place
always the central scene in Brussels, whether for comedies, or
tournaments, or executions, the principal dramatic effects had been
accumulated. The splendid front of the Hotel de Ville was wreathed with
scarfs and banners; its windows and balconies, as well as those of the
picturesque houses which formed the square, were crowded with
gaily-dressed women. Upon the area of the place, twenty-four theatres had
been erected, where a aeries of magnificent living pictures were
represented by the most beautiful young females that could be found in
the city. All were attired in brocades, embroideries, and cloth of gold.
The subjects of the tableaux vivants were, of course, most classic, for
the Netherlanders were nothing, if not allegorical; yet, as spectacles,
provided by burghers and artisans for the amusement of their
fellow-citizens, they certainly proved a considerable culture in the
people who could thus be amused. All the groups were artistically
arranged. Upon one theatre stood Juno with her peacock, presenting
Matthias with the city of Brussels, which she held, beautifully modelled,
in her hand. Upon another, Cybele gave him the keys, Reason handed him a
bridle, Hebe a basket of flowers, Wisdom a looking-glass and two law
books, Diligence a pair of spurs; while Constancy, Magnanimity, Prudence,
and other virtues, furnished him with a helmet; corslet, spear, and
shield. Upon other theatres, Bellona presented him with several
men-at-arms, tied in a bundle; Fame gave him her trumpet, and Glory her
crown. Upon one stage Quintus Curtius, on horseback, was seen plunging
into the yawning abyss; upon six others Scipio Africanus was exhibited,
as he appeared in the most picturesque moments of his career. The
beardless Archduke had never achieved anything, save his nocturnal escape
from Vienna in his night-gown; but the honest Flemings chose to regard
him as a re-incarnation of those two eminent Romans. Carried away by
their own learning, they already looked upon him as a myth; and such
indeed he was destined to remain throughout his Netherland career. After
surveying all these wonders, Matthias was led up the hill again to the
ducal palace, where, after hearing speeches and odes till he was
exhausted, he was at last allowed to eat his supper and go to bed.

Meantime the citizens feasted in the streets. Bonfires were blazing
everywhere, at which the people roasted "geese, pigs, capons, partridges,
and chickens," while upon all sides were the merriest piping and dancing.
Of a sudden, a fiery dragon was seen flying through the air. It poised
for a while over the heads of the revelling crowd in the Grande Place,
and then burst with a prodigious explosion, sending forth rockets and
other fireworks in every direction. This exhibition, then a new one, so
frightened the people, that they all took to their heels, "as if a
thousand soldiers had assaulted them," tumbling over each other in great
confusion, and so dispersing to their homes.

The next day Matthias took the oaths as Governor-General, to support the
new constitution, while the Prince of Orange was sworn in as
Lieutenant-General and Governor of Brabant. Upon the next a splendid
banquet was given them in the grand ball of the Hotel de Ville, by the
states-general, and when the cloth was removed, Rhetoric made her last
and most ingenious demonstration, through the famous guild of "Mary with
the Flower Garland."

Two individuals--the one attired as a respectable burgher; the other as a
clerical personage in gown and bands-made their appearance upon a stage,
opposite the seats of their Highnesses, and pronounced a long dialogue in
rhyme. One of the speakers rejoiced in the appellation of the "Desiring
Heart," the other was called "Common Comfort." Common Sense might have
been more to the purpose, but appeared to have no part in the play.
Desiring Heart, being of an inquisitive disposition, propounded a series
of puzzling questions, mythological in their nature, which seemed like
classical conundrums, having reference, mainly, to the proceedings of
Venus, Neptune, Juno, and other divinities. They appeared to have little
to do with Matthias or the matter in hand, but Common Comfort knew
better. That clerical personage, accordingly, in a handsome allowance of
rhymes, informed his despairing colleague that everything would end well;
that Jupiter, Diana, Venus, and the rest of them would all do their duty,
and that Belgica would be relieved from all her woes, at the advent of a
certain individual. Whereupon cried Desiring Heart,

          Oh Common Comfort who is he?
          His name, and of what family?

To which Comfort responded by mentioning the Archduke, in a poetical and
highly-complimentary strain, with handsome allusions to the inevitable
Quintus Curtius and Scipio Africanus. The concluding words of the speech
were not spoken, but were taken as the cue for a splendid charade; the
long-suffering Scipio again making his appearance, in company with
Alexander and Hannibal; the group typifying the future government of
Matthias. After each of these, heroic individuals had spouted a hundred
lines or so, the play was terminated, and Rhetoric took her departure.
The company had remained at table during this long representation, and
now the dessert was served, consisting of a "richly triumphant banquet of
confectionary, marmalade, and all kinds of genteelnesses in sugar."

Meanwhile, Don John sat chafing and almost frenzied with rage at Namur.
Certainly he had reasons enough for losing his temper. Never since the
days of Maximilian had king's brother been so bearded by rebels. The
Cross was humbled in the dust, the royal authority openly derided, his
Majesty's representative locked up in a fortress, while "the accursed
Prince of Orange" reigned supreme in Brussels, with an imperial Archduke
for his private secretary.

The Governor addressed a long, private, and most bitter letter to the
Emperor, for the purpose of setting himself right in the opinion of that
potentate, and of giving him certain hints as to what was expected of the
imperial court by Philip and himself. He expressed confidence that the
imperial commissioners would have some effect in bringing about the
pacification of the Netherlands, and protested his own strong desire for
such a result, provided always that the two great points of the Catholic
religion and his Majesty's authority were preserved intact. "In the hope
that those articles would be maintained," said he, "I have emptied cities
and important places of their garrisons, when I might easily have kept
the soldiers, and with the soldiers the places, against all the world,
instead of consigning them to the care of men who at this hour have arms
in their hand against their natural prince." He declared vehemently that
in all his conduct, since his arrival in the provinces, he had been
governed exclusively by the interests of Philip, an object which he
should steadily pursue to the end. He urged, too, that the Emperor, being
of the same house as Philip, and therefore more obliged than all others
to sustain his quarrel, would do well to espouse his cause with all the
warmth possible. "The forgetfulness by vassals," said Don John, "of the
obedience due to their sovereign is so dangerous, that all princes and
potentates, even those at the moment exempt from trouble; should assist
in preparing the remedy, in order that their subjects also may not take
it into their heads to do the like, liberty being a contagious disease,
which goes on infecting one neighbour after another, if the cure be not
promptly applied." It was, he averred, a desperate state of things for
monarchs, when subjects having obtained such concessions as the
Netherlanders had obtained, nevertheless loved him and obeyed him so
little. They showed, but too clearly, that the causes alleged by them had
been but pretexts, in order to effect designs, long ago conceived, to
overthrow the ancient constitution of the country, and to live
thenceforward in unbridled liberty. So many indecent acts had been
committed prejudicial to religion and to his Majesty's grandeur, that the
Governor avowed his, determination to have no farther communication with
the provinces without fresh commands to that effect. He begged the
Emperor to pay no heed to what the states said, but to observe what they
did. He assured him that nothing could be more senseless than the reports
that Philip and his Governor-General in the Netherlands were negotiating
with France, for the purpose of alienating the provinces from the
Austrian crown. Philip, being chief of the family, and sovereign of the
Netherlands, could not commit the absurdity of giving away his own
property to other people, nor would Don John choose to be an instrument
in so foolish a transaction. The Governor entreated the Emperor,
therefore, to consider such fables as the invention of malcontents and
traitors, of whom there were no lack at his court, and to remember that
nothing was more necessary for the preservation of the greatness of his
family than to cultivate the best relations with all its members.
"Therefore," said he, with an absurd affectation of candor, "although I
make no doubt whatever that the expedition hitherwards of the Archduke
Matthias has been made with the best intentions; nevertheless, many are
of opinion that it would have been better altogether omitted. If the
Archduke," he continued, with hardly dissembled irony, "be desirous of
taking charge of his Majesty's affairs, it would be preferable to employ
himself in the customary manner. Your Majesty would do a laudable action
by recalling him from this place, according to your Majesty's promise to
me to that effect." In conclusion, Don John complained that difficulties
had been placed in his way for making levies of troops in the Empire,
while every facility had been afforded to the rebels. He therefore
urgently insisted that so unnatural and unjust a condition of affairs
should be remedied.

Don John was not sorry in his heart that the crisis was at last come. His
chain was broken. His wrath exploded in his first interview with Leyton,
the English envoy, whom Queen Elizabeth had despatched to calm, if
possible, his inevitable anger at her recent treaty with the states. He
knew nothing of England, he said, nor of France, nor of the Emperor. His
Catholic Majesty had commissioned him now to make war upon these
rebellious provinces. He would do it with all his heart. As for the
Emperor, he would unchain the Turks upon him for his perfidy. As for the
burghers of Brussels, they would soon feel his vengeance.

It was very obvious that these were not idle threats. War had again
broken loose throughout these doomed provinces. A small but
well-appointed army had been rapidly collecting under the banner of Don
John at Luxemburg, Peter Ernest Mansfeld had brought many well-trained
troops from France, and Prince Alexander of Parma had arrived with
several choice and veteran regiments of Italy and Spain. The old
schoolfellow, playmate and comrade of Don John, was shocked-on his
arrival, to witness the attenuated frame and care-worn features of his
uncle. The son of Charles the Fifth, the hero of Lepanto, seemed even to
have lost the air of majesty which was so natural to him, for petty
insults, perpetual crosses, seemed to have left their squalid traces upon
his features. Nevertheless, the crusader was alive again, at the notes of
warlike preparations which now resounded throughout the land.

On the 25th of January he issued a proclamation, couched in three
languages--French, German, and Flemish. He declared in this document that
he had not come to enslave the provinces, but to protect them. At the
same time he meant to re-establish his Majesty's authority, and the
down-trod religion of Rome. He summoned all citizens and all soldiers
throughout the provinces to join his banners, offering them pardon for
their past offences, and protection against heretics and rebels. This
declaration was the natural consequence of the exchange of defiances
which had already taken place, and it was evident also that the angry
manifesto was soon to be followed up by vigorous blows. The army of Don
John already numbered more than twenty thousand well-seasoned and
disciplined veterans. He was himself the most illustrious chieftain in
Europe. He was surrounded by lieutenants cf the most brilliant
reputation. Alexander of Parma, who had fought with distinction at
Lepanto, was already recognised as possessing that signal military genius
which was soon to stamp him as the first soldier of his age, while
Mansfeld, Mondragon, Mendoza, and other distinguished officers, who had
already won so much fame in the Netherlands, had now returned to the
scene of their former achievements.

On the other hand, the military affairs of the states were in confusion.
Troops in nearly equal numbers to those of the royal army had been
assembled, but the chief offices had been bestowed, by a mistaken policy,
upon the great nobles. Already the jealousy of Orange, entertained by
their whole order was painfully apparent. Notwithstanding the signal
popularity which had made his appointment as Lieutenant-general
inevitable it was not easy for him always to vindicate his authority over
captious and rival magnates. He had every wish to conciliate the
affections of men whom he could not in his heart respect, and he went as
far in gratifying their ambition as comported with his own dignity;
perhaps farther than was consistent with the national interests. He was
still willing to trust Lalain, of whose good affection to the country he
felt sure. Re had even been desirous of declining the office of
Lieutenant-General, in order to avoid giving that nobleman the least
occasion to think "that he would do him, or any other gentleman of the
army, prejudice in any single matter in the world." This magnanimity had,
not been repaid with corresponding confidence. We have already seen that
Lalain had been secretly in the interest of Anjou ever since his wife and
himself had lost their hearts to Margaret of Navarre; yet the Count was
chief commander of the infantry in the states' army then assembled.
Robert Melun, Vicomte de Gand, was commander of the cavalry, but he had
recently been private envoy from Don John to the English Queen. Both
these gentlemen, together with Pardieu De la Motte, general of the
artillery, were voluntarily absent from the forces, under pretext of
celebrating the wedding of the Seigneur De Bersel with the niece and
heiress of the unfortunate Marquis of Bergen. The ghost of that
ill-starred noble might almost have seemed to rise at the nuptial banquet
of his heiress, to warn the traitors of the signal and bloody massacre
which their treachery was soon to occasion. Philip Egmont, eldest son of
the famous Lamoral, was with the army, as was the Seigneur de Heze, hero
of the State Council's arrest, and the unstable Havre. But little was to
be hoped from such leaders. Indeed, the affairs of the states continued
to be in as perplexed a condition as that which honest John of Nassau had
described some weeks before. "There were very few patriots," he had said,
"but plenty of priests, with no lack of inexperienced lads--some looking
for distinction, and others for pelf."

The two armies had been mustered in the latter days of January. The Pope
had issued a bull for the benefit of Don John, precisely similar to those
formerly employed in the crusades against the Saracens. Authority was
given him to levy contributions upon ecclesiastical property, while full
absolution, at the hour of death, for all crimes committed during a whole
lifetime, was proclaimed to those who should now join the standard of the
Cross. There was at least no concealment. The Crescent-wearing Zealanders
had been taken at their word, and the whole nation of Netherlanders were
formally banned as unbelievers. The forces of Don John were mustered at
Marche in Luxemburg; those of the states in a plain within a few miles of
Namur. Both armies were nearly equal in number, amounting to nearly
twenty thousand each, including a force of two thousand cavalry on each
side. It had been the original intention of the patriots to attack Don
John in Namur. Having learned, however, that he purposed marching forth
himself to offer battle, they decided to fall back upon Gemblours, which
was nine miles distant from that city. On the last day of January, they
accordingly broke up their camp at Saint Martius, before dawn, and
marched towards Gemblours. The chief commander was De Goignies, an old
soldier of Charles the Fifth, who had also fought at Saint Quintin. The
states' army was disposed in three divisions. The van consisted of the
infantry regiments of De Heze and Montigny, flanked by a protective body
of light horse. The centre, composed of the Walloon and German regiments,
with a few companies of French, and thirteen companies of Scotch and
English under Colonel Balfour, was commanded by two most distinguished
officers, Bossu and Champagny. The rear, which, of course, was the post
of responsibility and honor, comprised all the heavy cavalry, and was
commanded by Philip Egmont and Lumey de la Marck. The Marquis Havre and
the General-in-chief, Goignies, rode to and fro, as the army proceeded,
each attended by his staff. The troops of Don John broke up from before
Namur with the earliest dawn, and marched in pursuit of the retiring foe.
In front was nearly the whole of the cavalry-carabineers, lancers, and
heavy dragoons. The centre, arranged in two squares, consisted chiefly of
Spanish infantry, with a lesser number of Germans. In the rear came the
Walloons, marching also in a square, and protecting the baggage and
ammunition. Charles Mansfeld had been left behind with a reserved force,
stationed on the Meuse; Ottavio Gonzaga commanded in front, Ernest
Mansfeld brought up the rear; while in the centre rode Don John himself,
attended by the Prince of Parma. Over his head streamed the
crucifix-emblazoned banner, with its memorable inscription--In hoc signo
vici Turcos, in hoc Haereticos vincam.

Small detachments of cavalry had been sent forward; under Olivera and
Acosta, to scour the roads and forests, and to disturb all ambuscades
which might have been prepared. From some stragglers captured by these
officers, the plans of the retreating generals were learned. The winter's
day was not far advanced, when the rearward columns of the states' army
were descried in the distance. Don John, making a selection of some six
hundred cavalry, all picked men, with a thousand infantry, divided the
whole into two bodies, which he placed under command of Gonzaga and the
famous old Christopher Mondragon. These officers received orders to hang
on the rear of the enemy, to harass him, and to do him all possible
damage consistent with the possibility of avoiding a general engagement,
until the main army under Parma and Don John should arrive. The orders
were at first strictly obeyed. As the skirmishing grew hotter, however,
Goazaga observed that a spirited cavalry officer, named Perotti, had
already advanced, with a handful of men, much further within the reach of
the hostile forces than was deemed expedient. He sent hastily to recal
the too eager chieftain. The order, delivered in a tone more peremptory
than agreeable, was flatly disobeyed. "Tell Ottavio Gonzaga," said
Perotti, "that I never yet turned my back on the enemy, nor shall I now
begin. Moreover, were I ever so much inclined to do so, retreat is
impossible." The retiring army was then proceeding along the borders of a
deep ravine, filled with mire and water, and as broad and more dangerous
than a river. In the midst of the skirmishing, Alexander of Parma rode up
to reconnoitre. He saw at once that the columns of the enemy were
marching unsteadily to avoid being precipitated into this creek. He
observed the waving of their spears, the general confusion of their
ranks, and was quick to take advantage of the fortunate moment. Pointing
out to the officers about him the opportunity thus offered of attacking
the retiring army unawares in flank, he assembled, with great rapidity,
the foremost companies of cavalry already detached from the main body.
Mounting a fresh and powerful horse, which Camillo Monte held in
readiness for him, he signified his intention of dashing through the
dangerous ravine, and dealing a stroke where it was least expected, "Tell
Don John of Austria," he cried to an officer whom he sent back to the
Commander-in-chief, "that Alexander of Parma has plunged into the abyss,
to perish there, or to come-forth again victorious."

The sudden thought was executed with lightning-like celerity. In an
instant the bold rider was already struggling through the dangerous
swamp; in another, his powerful charger had carried him across. Halting
for a few minutes, lance in rest, till his troops had also forced their
passage, gained the level ground unperceived, and sufficiently breathed
their horses, he drew up his little force in a compact column. Then, with
a few words of encouragement, he launched them at the foe. The violent
and entirely unexpected shock was even more successful than the Prince
had anticipated. The hostile cavalry reeled and fell into hopeless
confusion, Egmont in vain striving to rally them to resistance. That name
had lost its magic. Goignies also attempted, without success, to restore
order among the panic-struck ranks. The sudden conception of Parma,
executed as suddenly and in so brilliant a manner, had been decisive.
Assaulted in flank and rear at the same moment, and already in temporary
confusion, the cavalry of the enemy turned their backs and fled. The
centre of the states' army thus left exposed, was now warmly attacked by
Parma. It had, moreover, been already thrown into disorder by the retreat
of its own horse, as they charged through them in rapid and disgraceful
panic. The whole army bloke to pieces at once, and so great was the
trepidation, that the conquered troops had hardly courage to run away.
They were utterly incapable of combat. Not a blow was struck by the
fugitives. Hardly a man in the Spanish ranks was wounded; while, in the
course of an hour and a half, the whole force of the enemy was
exterminated. It is impossible to state with accuracy the exact numbers
slain. Some accounts spoke of ten thousand killed, or captive, with
absolutely no loss on the royal side. Moreover, this slaughter was
effected, not by the army under Don John, but by so small a fragment of
it, that some historians have even set down the whole number of royalists
engaged at the commencement of the action, at six hundred, increased
afterwards to twelve hundred. By this calculation, each Spaniard engaged
must have killed ten enemies with his own hand; and that within an hour
and a half's space! Other historians more wisely omit the exact
statistics of the massacre, and allow that a very few--ten or eleven, at
most--were slain within the Spanish ranks. This, however, is the utmost
that is claimed by even the Netherland historians, and it is, at any
rate, certain that the whole states' army was annihilated.

Rarely had a more brilliant exploit been performed by a handful of
cavalry. To the distinguished Alexander of Parma, who improvised so
striking and complete a victory out of a fortuitous circumstance,
belonged the whole credit of the day, for his quick eye detected a
passing weakness of the enemy, and turned it to terrible account with the
promptness which comes from genius alone. A whole army was overthrown.
Everything belonging to the enemy fell into the hands of the Spaniards.
Thirty-four standards, many field-pieces, much camp equipage, and
ammunition, besides some seven or eight thousand dead bodies, and six
hundred living prisoners, were the spoils of that winter's day. Of the
captives, some were soon afterwards hurled off the bridge at Namur, and
drowned like dogs in the Meuse, while the rest were all hanged, none
escaping with life. Don John's clemency was not superior to that of his
sanguinary predecessors.

And so another proof was added--if proofs were still necessary of Spanish
prowess. The Netherlanders may be pardoned if their foes seemed to them
supernatural, and almost invulnerable. How else could these enormous
successes be accounted for? How else could thousands fall before the
Spanish swords, while hardly a single Spanish corpse told of effectual
resistance? At Jemmingen, Alva had lost seven soldiers, and slain seven
thousand; in the Antwerp Fury, two hundred Spaniards, at most, had
fallen, while eight thousand burghers and states' troops had been
butchered; and now at Gemblours, six, seven, eight, ten--Heaven knew how
many--thousand had been exterminated, and hardly a single Spaniard had
been slain! Undoubtedly, the first reason for this result was the
superiority of the Spanish soldiers. They were the boldest, the best
disciplined, the most experienced in the world. Their audacity,
promptness, and ferocity made them almost invincible. In this particular
action, at least half the army of Don John was composed of Spanish or
Spanish-Italian veterans. Moreover, they were commanded by the most
renowned captains of the age--by Don John himself, and Alexander of
Parma, sustained by such veterans as Mondragon, the hero of the memorable
submarine expeditions; Mendoza, the accomplished cavalry officer,
diplomatist, and historian; and Mansfeld, of whom Don John had himself
written to the King that his Majesty had not another officer of such
account in all the Netherlands. Such officers as these, besides Gonzaga,
Camillo Monte, Mucio Pagano, at the head of such troops as fought that
day under the banner of the Cross, might go far in accounting for this
last and most tremendous victory of the Inquisition. On the other hand,
although Bossu and Champagny were with the states' army, yet their hearts
were hardly with the cause. Both had long been loyal, and had earned many
laurels against the rebels, while Champagny was still devoutly a Papist,
and wavered painfully between his hatred to heresy and to Spain. Egmont
and De Heze were raw, unpractised lads, in whom genius did not come to
supply the place of experience. The Commander, De Goignies, was a
veteran, but a veteran who had never gained much glory, and the chiefs of
the cavalry, infantry, and artillery, were absent at the Brussels
wedding. The news of this additional massacre inflicted upon a nation,
for which Berghen and Montigny had laid down their lives, was the nuptial
benediction for Berghen's heiress; for it was to the chief wedding guests
upon, that occasion that the disaster was justly attributed. The rank and
file of the states' army were mainly mercenaries, with whom the hope of
plunder was the prevailing motive; the chief commanders were absent;
while those officers who were with the troops were neither heartily
friendly to their own flag nor sufficiently experienced to make it


     Absurd affectation of candor
     Always less apt to complain of irrevocable events
     Imagined, and did the work of truth
     Judas Maccabaeus
     Neither ambitious nor greedy
     Superfluous sarcasm

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 30


By John Lothrop Motley


   Towns taken by Don John--Wrath excited against the aristocratic
   party by the recent defeat--Attempts upon Amsterdam--"Satisfaction"
   of Amsterdam and its effects--De Selles sent with royal letters from
   Spain--Terms offered by Philip--Proclamation of Don John--
   Correspondence between de Selles and the States-General--Between the
   King and the Governor-General--New forces raised by the States--St.
   Aldegonde at the Diet--Municipal revolution in Amsterdam--The
   Prince's letter on the subject of the Anabaptists of Middelburg--
   The two armies inactive--De la None--Action at Rijnemants--John
   Casimir--Perverse politics of Queen Elizabeth--Alencon in the
   Netherlands--Portrait of the Duke--Orange's position in regard to
   him--Avowed and supposed policy of the French court--Anger of
   Elizabeth--Terms arranged between Alencon and the Estates--Renewed
   negotiations with Don John--Severe terms offered him--Interview of
   the English envoys with the Governor--Despondency of Don John--
   Orange's attempts to enforce a religious peace--His isolation in
   sentiment--The malcontent party--Count John Governor of Gelderland
   --Proposed form of religious peace--Proclamation to that effect by
   Orange, in Antwerp--A petition in favor of the Roman Church
   presented by Champagny and other Catholic nobles to the States--
   General--Consequent commotion in Brussels--Champagny and others
   imprisoned--Indolence and poverty of the two armies--Illness and
   melancholy of Don John--His letters to Doria, to Mendoza, and to the
   King--Death of Don John--Suspicions of poison--Pompous burial--
   Removal of his body to Spain--Concluding remarks upon his character.

Don John having thus vindicated his own military fame and the amazing
superiority of the Spanish arms, followed up his victory by the rapid
reduction of many towns of second-rate importance Louvain, Judoigne,
Tirlemont, Aerschot, Bauvignes, Sichem, Nivelle, Roeux, Soignies, Binch,
Beaumont, Walcourt, Tviaubeuge, and Chimay, either submitted to their
conqueror, or were taken after short sieges. The usual atrocities were
inflicted upon the unfortunate inhabitants of towns where resistance was
attempted. The commandant of Sichem was hanged out of his own window,
along with several chief burghers and officers, while the garrison was
put to the sword, and the bodies cast into the Denver. The only crime
committed by these unfortunates was to have ventured a blow or two in
behalf of the firesides which they were employed to protect.

In Brussels, on the other hand, there was less consternation excited by
these events than boundless rage against the aristocratic party, for the
defeat of Gemblours was attributed, with justice, to the intrigues and
the incapacity of the Catholic magnates. It was with difficulty that
Orange, going about by night from house to house, from street to street,
succeeded in calming the indignation of the people, and in preventing
them from sweeping in a mass to the residence of the leading nobles, in
order to inflict summary vengeance on the traitors. All looked to the
Prince as their only saviour, not a thought nor a word being wasted upon
Matthias. Not a voice was raised in the assembly to vindicate the secret
proceedings of the Catholic party, nor to oppose the measures which the
Prince might suggest. The terrible disaster had taught the necessity of
union. All parties heartily joined in the necessary steps to place the
capital in a state of complete defence, and to assemble forthwith new
troops to take the place of the army just annihilated. The victor gained
nothing by his victory, in comparison with the profit acquired by the
states through their common misfortune. Nor were all the towns which had
recently fallen into the hands of Don John at all comparable in
importance to the city of Amsterdam, which now, by a most timely
arrangement, furnished a rich compensation to the national party for the
disaster of Gemblours.

Since the conclusion of the Ghent Pacification, it had been the most
earnest wish of the Prince, and of Holland and Zealand, to recover
possession of this most important city. The wish was naturally shared by
every true patriot in the states-general. It had, however, been extremely
difficult to arrange the terms of the "Satisfaction." Every fresh attempt
at an amicable compromise was wrecked upon the obstinate bigotry of the
leading civic authorities. They would make no agreement to accept the
authority of Orange, except, as Saint Aldegonde expressed himself; upon
terms which would enable them "to govern their governor." The influence
of the monks, who were resident in large numbers within the city, and of
the magistrates, who were all stanch Catholics, had been hitherto
sufficient to outweigh the efforts made by the large masses of the
Reformed religionists composing the bulk of the population. It was,
however, impossible to allow Amsterdam to remain in this isolated and
hostile attitude to the rest of Holland. The Prince, having promised to
use no coercion, and loyally adhering to his pledge, had only with
extreme difficulty restrained the violence of the Hollanders and
Zealanders, who were determined, by fair means or foul, to restore the
capital city to its natural place within his stadholderate. He had been
obliged, on various occasions, particularly on the 21st of October of the
preceding year, to address a most decided and peremptory letter to the
estates of Holland and Zealand, forbidding the employment of hostile
measures against Amsterdam. His commands had been reluctantly, partially,
and only temporarily obeyed. The states desisted from their scheme of
reducing the city by famine, but they did not the less encourage the
secret and unofficial expeditions which were daily set on foot to
accomplish the annexation by a sudden enterprise.

Late in November, a desperate attempt had been made by Colonel Helling,
in conjunction with Governor Sonoy, to carry the city by surprise. The
force which the adventurer collected for the purpose was inadequate, and
his plans were unskilfully arranged. He was himself slain in the streets,
at the very commencement of the action; whereupon, in the quaint language
of the contemporary chronicler, "the hearts of his soldiers sank in their
shoes," and they evacuated the city with much greater rapidity than they
had entered it. The Prince was indignant at these violent measures, which
retarded rather than advanced the desired consummation. At the same time
it was an evil of immense magnitude--this anomalous condition of his
capital. Ceaseless schemes were concerted by the municipal and clerical
conspirators within its walls, and various attempts were known, at
different times, to have been contemplated by Don John, to inflict a
home-thrust upon the provinces of Holland and Zealand at the most
vulnerable and vital point. The "Satisfaction" accepted by Utrecht, in
the autumn of 1577, had, however, paved the way for the recovery of
Amsterdam; so that upon February the 8th, 1578, certain deputies from
Utrecht succeeded at last in arranging terms, which were accepted by the
sister city. The basis of the treaty was, as usual, the nominal supremacy
of the Catholic religion, with toleration for the Reformed worship. The
necessary effect would be, as in Harlem, Utrecht, and other places, to
establish the new religion upon an entire equality with the old. It was
arranged that no congregations were to be disturbed in their religious
exercises in the places respectively assigned to them. Those of the
Reformed faith were to celebrate their worship without the walls. They
were, however, to enjoy the right of burying their dead within these
precincts, and it is singular how much importance was attached at that
day to a custom, at which the common sentiment and the common sense of
modern times revolt. "To bury our dead within our own cities is a right
hardly to be denied to a dog," said the Prince of Orange; and accordingly
this right was amply secured by the new Satisfaction of Amsterdam. It
was, however, stipulated that the funerals should be modest, and attended
by no more than twenty-four persons at once. The treaty was hailed with
boundless joy in Holland and Zealand, while countless benedictions were
invoked upon the "blessed peace-makers," as the Utrecht deputies walked
through the streets of Amsterdam. There is no doubt that the triumph thus
achieved by the national party far counterbalanced the Governor-General's
victory at Gemblours.

Meantime, the Seigneur de Selles, brother of the deceased Noircarmes, had
arrived from Spain. He was the special bearer of a letter from the King
to the states-general, written in reply to their communications of the
24th of August and 8th of September of the previous year. The tone of the
royal despatch was very affectionate, the substance such as entirely to
justify the whole policy of Orange. It was obvious that the penetrating
and steadfast statesman had been correct in refusing to be moved to the
right or the left by the specious language of Philip's former letters, or
by the apparent frankness of Don John. No doubt the Governor had been
sincere in his desire for peace, but the Prince knew very well his
incapacity to confer that blessing. The Prince knew--what no man else
appeared fully to comprehend at that epoch--that the mortal combat
between the Inquisition and the Reformation was already fully engaged.
The great battle between divine reason and right divine, on which the
interests of unborn generations were hanging, was to be fought out,
before the eyes of all Christendom, on the plain of the Netherlands.

Orange was willing to lay down his arms if he could receive security for
the Reformed worship. He had no desire to exterminate the ancient
religion, but he meant also to protect the new against extermination.
Such security, he felt, would never be granted, and he had therefore
resolutely refused to hearken to Don John, for he was sure that peace
with him was impossible. The letters now produced by De Selles confirmed
his positions completely. The King said not a word concerning the
appointment of a new governor-general, but boldly insisted upon the
necessity of maintaining the two cardinal points--his royal supremacy,
and the Catholic religion upon the basis adopted by his father, the
Emperor Charles the Fifth.

This was the whole substance of his communication: the supremacy of
royalty and of papacy as in the time of Charles the Fifth. These
cabalistic words were repeated twice in the brief letter to the estates.
They were repeated five times in the instructions furnished by his
Majesty to De Selles. The letter and the instructions indeed contained
nothing else. Two simples were offered for the cure of the body politic,
racked by the fever and convulsion of ten horrible years--two simples
which the patient could hardly be so unreasonable as to reject--unlimited
despotism and religious persecution. The whole matter lay in a nut-shell,
but it was a nut-shell which enclosed the flaming edicts of Charles the
Fifth, with their scaffolds, gibbets, racks, and funeral piles. The
Prince and the states-general spurned such pacific overtures, and
preferred rather to gird themselves for the combat.

That there might be no mistake about the matter, Don John, immediately
after receiving the letter, issued a proclamation to enforce the King's
command. He mentioned it as an acknowledged fact that the states-general
had long ago sworn the maintenance of the two points of royal and
Catholic supremacy, according to the practice under the Emperor Charles.
The states instantly published an indignant rejoinder, affirming the
indisputable truth, that they had sworn to the maintenance of the Ghent
Pacification, and proclaiming the assertion of Don John an infamous
falsehood. It was an outrage upon common sense, they said, that the Ghent
treaty could be tortured into sanctioning the placards and the
Inquisition, evils which that sacred instrument had been expressly
intended to crush.

A letter was then formally addressed to his Majesty, in the name of the
Archduke Matthias--and of the estates, demanding the recal of Don John
and the maintenance of the Ghent Pacification. De Seller, in reply, sent
a brief, deprecatory paper, enclosing a note from Don John, which the
envoy acknowledged might seem somewhat harsh in its expressions. The
letter contained, indeed, a sufficiently fierce and peremptory summons to
the states to obey the King's commands with regard to the system of
Charles the Fifth, according to their previous agreement, together with a
violent declaration of the Governor's displeasure that they had dared to
solicit the aid of foreign princes. On the 18th of February came a
proposition from De Seller that the Prince, of Orange should place
himself in the hands of Don John, while the Prince of Parma, alone and
without arms, would come before the assembly, to negotiate with them upon
these matters. The reply returned by the states-general to this absurd
suggestion expressed their regret that the son of the Duchess Margaret
should have taken part with the enemy of the Netherlanders, complained of
the bull by which the Pope had invited war against them as if they had
been Saracens, repeated their most unanswerable argument--that the Ghent
Pacification had established a system directly the reverse of that which
existed under Charles the Fifth--and affirmed their resolution never more
to submit to Spanish armies, executioners, edicts, or inquisitions, and
never more to return to the principles of the Emperor and of Alva. To
this diplomatic correspondence succeeded a war of words and of pamphlets,
some of them very inflammatory and very eloquent. Meantime, the
preparations for active hostilities were proceeding daily. The Prince of
Orange, through his envoys in England, had arranged for subsidies in the
coming campaign, and for troops which were to be led to the Netherlands,
under Duke Casimir of the palatinate. He sent commissioners through the
provinces to raise the respective contributions agreed upon, besides an
extraordinary quota of four hundred thousand guilders monthly. He also
negotiated a loan of a hundred and twenty thousand guilders from the
citizens of Antwerp. Many new taxes were imposed by his direction, both
upon income and upon consumption. By his advice, however, and with the
consent of the states-general, the provinces of Holland and Zealand held
no community of burthens with the other provinces, but of their own free
will contributed more than the sums for which they would have been
assessed. Mr. Leyton, who was about to return from his unsuccessful
mission from Elizabeth to Don John, was requested by the states-general
to convey to her Majesty a faithful report of the recent correspondence,
and especially of the language held by the Governor-General. He was also
urged to use his influence with the Queen, to the end that her promises
of assistance might be speedily fulfilled.

Troops were rapidly enrolled, and again, by the same honest but mistaken
policy, the chief offices were conferred upon the great nobles--Aerschot,
Champagny, Bossu, Egmont, Lalain, the Viscount of Ghent, Baron de Ville,
and many others, most of whom were to desert the cause in the hour of its
need. On the other hand, Don John was proceeding with his military
preparations upon an extensive scale. The King had recently furnished him
with one million nine hundred thousand dollars, and had promised to
provide him with two hundred thousand more, monthly. With these funds his
Majesty estimated that an army of thirty thousand foot, sixteen thousand
cavalry, and thirty pieces of artillery, could be levied and kept on
foot. If more remittances should prove to be necessary, it was promised
that they should be forthcoming.

This was the result of many earnest remonstrances made by the Governor
concerning the dilatory policy of the King. Wearied with being constantly
ordered "to blow hot and cold with the same, breath," he had insisted
that his Majesty should select the hot or the cold, and furnish him with
the means of enforcing the choice. For himself, Don John assured his
brother that the hottest measures were most to his taste, and most
suitable to the occasion. Fire and sword could alone save the royal
authority, for all the provinces had "abandoned themselves, body and
soul, to the greatest heretic and tyrant that prince ever had for
vassal." Unceasing had been the complaints and entreaties of the
Captain-General, called forth by the apathy or irresolution of Philip. It
was--only by assuring him that the Netherlands actually belonged to
Orange, that the monarch could be aroused. "His they are; and none
other's," said the Governor, dolefully. The King had accordingly sent
back De Billy, Don John's envoy; with decided injunctions to use force
and energy to put down the revolt at once, and with an intimation that
funds might be henceforth more regularly depended upon, as the Indian
fleets were expected in July. Philip also advised his brother to employ a
portion of his money in purchasing the governors and principal persons
who controlled the cities and other strong places belonging to the

Meantime, Don John thundered forth a manifesto which had been recently
prepared in Madrid, by which the estates, both general and particular,
were ordered forthwith to separate, and forbidden to assemble again,
except by especial licence. All commissions, civil or military, granted
by states' authority, were moreover annulled, together with a general
prohibition of any act of obedience to such functionaries, and of
contribution to any imposts which might be levied by their authority.
Such thunders were now comparatively harmless, for the states had taken
their course, and were busily engaged, both at home and abroad, in arming
for the conflict. Saint Aldegonde was deputed to attend the Imperial
diet, then in session at Worms, where he delivered an oration, which was
very celebrated in its day as a composition, but, which can hardly be
said to have produced much practical effect. The current was setting hard
in Germany against the Reformed religion and against the Netherland
cause, the Augsburg Confessionists showing hardly more sympathy with
Dutch Calvinists than with Spanish Papists.

Envoys from Don John also attended the diet, and requested Saint
Aldegonde to furnish them with a copy of his oration. This he declined to
do. While in Germany, Saint Aldegonde was informed by John Casimir that
Duke Charles of Sweden, had been solicited to furnish certain ships of
war for a contemplated operation against Amsterdam. The Duke had himself
given information of this plot to the Prince Palatine. It was therefore
natural that Saint Aldegonde should forthwith despatch the intelligence
to his friends in the Netherlands, warning them of the dangers still to
be apprehended from the machinations of the Catholic agents and
functionaries in Amsterdam; for although the Reformation had made rapid
progress in that important city since the conclusion of the Satisfaction,
yet the magistracy remained Catholic.

William Bardez, son of a former high-sheriff, a warm partisan of Orange
and of the "religion," had already determined to overthrow that
magistracy and to expel the friars who infested the city. The recent
information despatched by Saint Aldegonde confirmed him in his purpose.
There had been much wrangling between the Popish functionaries and those
of the Reformed religion concerning the constitution of the burgher
guard. The Calvinists could feel no security for their own lives, or the
repose of the commonwealth of Holland, unless they were themselves
allowed a full participation in the government of those important bands.
They were, moreover, dissatisfied with the assignment which had been made
of the churchyards to the members of their communion. These causes of
discord had maintained a general irritation among the body of the
inhabitants, and were now used as pretexts by Bardez for his design. He
knew the city to be ripe for the overthrow of the magistracy, and he had
arranged with Governor Sonoy to be furnished with a sufficient number of
well-tried soldiers, who were to be concealed in the houses of the
confederates. A large number of citizens were also ready to appear at his
bidding with arms in their hands.

On the 24th of May, he wrote to Sonoy, begging him to hold himself in
readiness, as all was prepared within the city. At the same time, he
requested the governor to send him forthwith a "morion and a buckler of
proof;" for, he intended to see the matter fairly through. Sonoy answered
encouragingly, and sent him the armor, as directed. On the 28th of May,
Bardez, with four confederates, went to the council-room, to remonstrate
with the senate concerning the grievances which had been so often
discussed. At about mid-day, one of the confederates, upon leaving the
council-room, stepped out for a moment upon the balcony, which looked
towards the public square. Standing there for a moment, he gravely
removed his hat, and then as gravely replaced it upon his head. This was
a preconcerted signal. At the next instant a sailor was seen to rush
across the square, waving a flag in both hands. "All ye who love the
Prince of Orange, take heart and follow me!" he shouted. In a moment the
square was alive. Soldiers and armed citizens suddenly sprang forth, as
if from the bowels of the earth. Bardez led a strong force directly into
the council-chamber, and arrested every one of the astonished
magistrates. At the same time, his confederates had scoured the town and
taken every friar in the city into custody. Monks and senators were then
marched solemnly down towards the quay, where a vessel was in readiness
to receive them. "To the gallows with them--to the gallows with them!"
shouted the populace, as they passed along. "To the gibbet, whither they
have brought many a good fellow before his time!" Such were the openly,
expressed desires of their fellow-citizens, as these dignitaries and holy
men proceeded to what they believed their doom. Although treated
respectfully by those who guarded them, they were filled with
trepidation, for they believed the execrations of the populace the
harbingers of their fate. As they entered the vessel, they felt convinced
that a watery death had been substituted for the gibbet. Poor old
Heinrich Dirckzoon, ex-burgomaster, pathetically rejected a couple of
clean shirts which his careful wife had sent him by the hands of the
housemaid. "Take them away; take them home again," said the rueful
burgomaster; "I shall never need clean shirts again in this world." He
entertained no doubt that it was the intention of his captors to scuttle
the vessel as soon as they had put a little out to sea, and so to leave
them to their fate. No such tragic end was contemplated, however, and, in
fact, never was a complete municipal revolution accomplished in so
good-natured and jocose a manner. The Catholic magistrates and friars
escaped with their fright. They were simply turned out of town, and
forbidden, for their lives, ever to come back again. After the vessel had
proceeded a little distance from the city, they were all landed high and
dry upon a dyke, and so left unharmed within the open country.

A new board of magistrates, of which stout William Bardez was one, was
soon appointed; the train-bands were reorganized, and the churches thrown
open to the Reformed worship--to the exclusion, at first, of the
Catholics. This was certainly contrary to the Ghent treaty, and to the
recent Satisfaction; it was also highly repugnant to the opinions of
Orange. After a short time, accordingly, the Catholics were again allowed
access to the churches, but the tables had now been turned for ever in
the capital of Holland, and the Reformation was an established fact
throughout that little province.

Similar events occurring upon the following day at Harlem, accompanied
with some bloodshed--for which, however, the perpetrator was punished
with death--opened the great church of that city to the Reformed
congregations, and closed them for a time to the Catholics.

Thus, the cause of the new religion was triumphant in Holland and
Zealand, while it was advancing with rapid strides through the other
provinces. Public preaching was of daily occurrence everywhere. On a
single Sunday; fifteen different ministers of the Reformed religion
preached in different places in Antwerp. "Do you think this can be put
down?" said Orange to the remonstrating burgomaster of that city. "'Tis
for you to repress it," said the functionary, "I grant your Highness full
power to do so." "And do you think," replied the Prince, "that I can do
at this late moment, what the Duke of Alva was unable to accomplish in
the very plenitude of his power?" At the same time, the Prince of Orange
was more than ever disposed to rebuke his own Church for practising
persecution in her turn. Again he lifted his commanding voice in behalf
of the Anabaptists of Middelburg. He reminded the magistrates of that
city that these peaceful burghers were always perfectly willing to bear
their part in all the common burthens, that their word was as good as
their oath, and that as to the matter of military service, although their
principles forbade them to bear arms, they had ever been ready to provide
and pay for substitutes. "We declare to you therefore," said he, "that
you have no right to trouble yourselves with any man's conscience, so
long as nothing is done to cause private harm or public scandal. We
therefore expressly ordain that you desist from molesting these Baptists,
from offering hindrance to their handicraft and daily trade, by which
they can earn bread for their wives and children, and that you permit
them henceforth to open their shops and to do their work, according to
the custom of former days. Beware, therefore, of disobedience and of
resistance to the ordinance which we now establish."

Meantime, the armies on both sides had been assembled, and had been
moving towards each other. Don John was at the head of nearly thirty
thousand troops, including a large proportion of Spanish and Italian
veterans. The states' army hardly numbered eighteen thousand foot and two
thousand cavalry, under the famous Francois de la None, surnamed Bras de
Fer, who had been recently appointed Marechal de Camp, and, under Count
Bossu, commander-in-chief. The muster-place of the provincial forces was
in the plains between Herenthals and Lier. At this point they expected to
be reinforced by Duke Casimir, who had been, since the early part of the
summer, in the country of Zutfen, but who was still remaining there
inglorious and inactive, until he could be furnished with the requisite
advance-money to his troops. Don John was determined if possible, to
defeat the states army, before Duke Casimir, with his twelve thousand
Germans, should effect his juncture with Bossu. The Governor therefore
crossed the Demer, near Aerschot, towards the end of July, and offered
battle, day after day, to the enemy. A series of indecisive skirmishes
was the result, in the last of which, near Rijnemants, on the first day
of August, the royalists were worsted and obliged to retire, after a
desultory action of nearly eight hours, leaving a thousand dead upon the
field.  Their offer of "double or quits," the following morning was
steadily refused by Bossu, who, secure within his intrenchments, was not
to be induced at that moment to encounter the chances of a general
engagement. For this he was severely blamed by the more violent of the
national party.

His patriotism, which was of such recent origin, was vehemently
suspected; and his death, which occurred not long afterwards, was
supposed to have alone prevented his deserting the states to fight again
under Spanish colours. These suspicions were probably unjust. Bossu's
truth of character had been as universally recognized as was his signal
bravery. If he refused upon this occasion a general battle, those who
reflected upon the usual results to the patriot banner of such
engagements, might confess, perhaps, that one disaster the more had been
avoided. Don John, finding it impossible to accomplish his purpose, and
to achieve another Gemblours victory, fell back again to the
neighbourhood of Namur.

The states' forces remained waiting for the long-promised succor of John
Casimir. It was the 26th of August, however, before the Duke led his
twelve thousand men to the neighbourhood of Mechlin, where Bossu was
encamped. This young prince possessed neither the ability nor the
generosity which were requisite for the heroic part which he was
ambitious to perform in the Netherland drama. He was inspired by a vague
idea of personal aggrandizement, although he professed at the same time
the utmost deference to William of Orange. He expressed the hope that he
and the Prince "should be but two heads under one hat;" but he would have
done well to ask himself whether his own contribution to this partnership
of brains would very much enrich the silent statesman. Orange himself
regarded him with respectful contempt, and considered his interference
with Netherland matters but as an additional element of mischief. The
Duke's right hand man, however, Peter Peutterich, the "equestrian
doctor"--as Sir Philip Sydney called him--equally skilful with the sword
as with the pen, had succeeded, while on a mission to England, in
acquiring the Queen's favor for his master. To Casimir, therefore, had
been entrusted the command of the levies, and the principal expenditure
of the subsidies which she had placed at the disposition of the states.
Upon Casimir she relied, as a counterweight to the Duke of Alencon, who,
as she knew, had already entered the provinces at the secret solicitation
of a large faction among the nobles. She had as much confidence as ever
in Orange, but she imagined herself to be strengthening his cause by
providing him with such a lieutenant. Casimir's immediate friends had but
little respect for his abilities. His father-in-law, Augustus of Saxony,
did not approve his expedition. The Landgrave William, to whom he wrote
for counsel, answered, in his quaint manner, that it was always difficult
for one friend to advise another in three matters--to wit, in taking a
wife, going to sea, and going to war; but that, nevertheless, despite the
ancient proverb, he would assume the responsibility of warning Casimir
not to plunge into what he was pleased to call the "'confusum chaos' of
Netherland politics." The Duke felt no inclination, however, to take the
advice which he had solicited. He had been stung by the sarcasm which
Alva had once uttered, that the German potentates carried plenty of
lions, dragons, eagles, and griffins on their shields; but that these
ferocious animals were not given to biting or scratching. He was
therefore disposed, once for all, to show that the teeth and claws of
German princes could still be dangerous. Unfortunately, he was destined
to add a fresh element of confusion to the chaos, and to furnish rather a
proof than a refutation of the correctness of Alva's gibe.

This was the hero who was now thrust, head and shoulders as it were, into
the entangled affairs of the Netherlanders, and it was Elizabeth of
England, more than ever alarmed at the schemes of Alencon, who had pushed
forward this Protestant champion, notwithstanding the disinclination of

The Queen was right in her uneasiness respecting the French prince. The
Catholic nobles, relying upon the strong feeling still rife throughout
the Walloon country against the Reformed religion, and inflamed more than
ever by their repugnance to Orange, whose genius threw them so completely
into the shade, had already drawn closer to the Duke. The same influences
were at work to introduce Alencon, which had formerly been employed to
bring Matthias from Vienna. Now that the Archduke, who was to have been
the rival, had become the dependent of William, they turned their
attention to the son of Catherine de Medici, Orange himself having always
kept the Duke in reserve, as an instrument to overcome the political
coquetry of Elizabeth. That great Princess never manifested less
greatness than in her earlier and most tormenting connexion with the
Netherlands. Having allured them for years with bright but changeful
face, she still looked coldly down upon the desolate sea where they were
drifting She had promised much; her performance had been nothing. Her
jealousy of French influence had at length been turned to account; a
subsidy and a levy extorted from her fears. Her ministers and prominent
advisers were one and all in favor of an open and generous support to the
provinces. Walsingham, Burleigh, Knollys, Davidson, Sidney, Leicester,
Fleetwood, Wilson, all desired that she should frankly espouse their
cause. A bold policy they believed to be the only prudent one in this
case; yet the Queen considered it sagacious to despatch envoys both to
Philip and to Don John, as if after what they knew of her secret
practices, such missions could effect any useful purpose. Better,
therefore, in the opinion of the honest and intrepid statesmen of
England, to throw down the gauntlet at once in the cause of the oppressed
than to shuffle and palter until the dreaded rival should cross the
frontier. A French Netherlands they considered even mere dangerous than a
Spanish, and Elizabeth partook of their sentiments, although incapable of
their promptness. With the perverseness which was the chief blot upon her
character, she was pleased that the Duke should be still a dangler for
her hand, even while she was intriguing against his political hopes. She
listened with undisguised rapture to his proposal of love, while she was
secretly thwarting the plans of his ambition.

Meanwhile, Alencon had arrived at Mons, and we have seen already the
feminine adroitness with which his sister of Navarre had prepared his
entrance. Not in vain had she cajoled the commandant of Cambray citadel;
not idly had she led captive the hearts of Lalain and his Countess, thus
securing the important province of Hainault for the Duke. Don John might,
indeed, gnash his teeth with rage, as he marked the result of all the
feasting and flattery, the piping and dancing at Namur.

Francis Duke of Alencon, and since the accession of his brother Henry to
the French throne--Duke of Anjou was, upon the whole, the most despicable
personage who had ever entered the Netherlands. His previous career at
home had, been so flagrantly false that he had forfeited the esteem of
every honest man in Europe, Catholic or Lutheran, Huguenot or Malcontent.
The world has long known his character. History will always retain him as
an example, to show mankind the amount of mischief which may be
perpetrated by a prince, ferocious without courage, ambitious without
talent, and bigoted without opinions. Incapable of religious convictions
himself, he had alternately aspired to be a commander of Catholic and of
Huguenot zealots, and he had acquired nothing by his vacillating course,
save the entire contempt of all parties and of both religions. Scared
from the aide of Navarre and Conde by the menacing attitude of the
"league," fearing to forfeit the succession to the throne, unless he made
his peace with the court, he had recently resumed his place among the
Catholic commanders. Nothing was easier for him than to return
shamelessly to a party which he had shamelessly deserted, save perhaps to
betray it again, should his interest prompt him to do so, on the morrow.
Since the peace of 1576, it had been evident that the Protestants could
not count upon his friendship, and he had soon afterwards been placed at
the head of the army which was besieging the Huguenots of Issoire. He
sought to atone for having commanded the troops of the new religion by
the barbarity with which he now persecuted its votaries. When Issoire
fell into his hands, the luckless city was spared none of the misery
which can be inflicted by a brutal and frenzied soldiery. Its men were
butchered, its females outraged; its property plundered with a
thoroughness which rivalled the Netherland practice of Alva, or Frederic
Toledo, or Julian Romero. The town was sacked and burned to ashes by
furious Catholics, under the command of Francis Alencon,--almost at the
very moment when his fair sister, Margaret, was preparing the way in the
Netherlands for the fresh treason--which he already meditated to the
Catholic cause. The treaty of Bergerac, signed in the autumn of 1577,
again restored a semblance of repose to France, and again afforded an
opportunity for Alencon to change his politics, and what he called his
religion. Reeking with the blood of the Protestants of Issoire, he was
now at leisure to renew his dalliance with the Queen of Protestant
England, and to resume his correspondence with the great-chieftain of the
Reformation in the Netherlands.

It is perhaps an impeachment upon the perspicacity of Orange, that he
could tolerate this mischievous and worthless "son of France," even for
the grave reasons which influenced him. Nevertheless, it must be
remembered that he only intended to keep him in reserve, for the purpose
of irritating the jealousy and quickening the friendship of the English
Queen. Those who see anything tortuous in such politics must beware of
judging the intriguing age of Philip and Catherine de' Medici by the
higher standard of later, and possibly more candid times. It would have
been puerile for a man of William the Silent's resources, to allow
himself to be outwitted by the intrigues of all the courts and cabinets
in Europe. Moreover, it must be remembered that, if he alone could guide
himself and his country through the perplexing labyrinth in which they
were involved; it was because he held in his hand the clue of an honest
purpose. His position in regard to the Duke of Alencon, had now become
sufficiently complicated, for the tiger that he had led in a chain had
been secretly unloosed by those who meant mischief. In the autumn of the
previous year, the aristocratic and Catholic party in the states-general
had opened their communications with a prince, by whom they hoped to be
indemnified for their previous defeat.

The ill effects of Elizabeth's coquetry too plainly manifested themselves
at last, and Alencon had now a foothold in the Netherlands. Precipitated
by the intrigues of the party which had always been either openly or
secretly hostile to Orange, his advent could no longer be delayed. It
only remained for the Prince to make himself his master, as he had
already subdued each previous rival. This he accomplished with his
customary adroitness. It was soon obvious, even to so dull and so base a
nature as that of the Duke, that it was his best policy to continue to
cultivate so powerful a friendship. It cost him little to crouch, but
events were fatally, to prove at a later day, that there are natures too
malignant to be trusted or to be tamed. For the present, however, Alencon
professed the most friendly sentiments towards the Prince. Solicited by
so ardent and considerable a faction, the Duke was no longer to be
withheld from trying the venture, and if, he could not effect his
entrance by fair means, was determined to do so by force.--He would
obtrude his assistance, if it were declined. He would do his best to
dismember the provinces, if only a portion of them would accept his
proffered friendship. Under these circumstances, as the Prince could no
longer exclude him from the country, it became necessary to accept his
friendship, and to hold him in control. The Duke had formally offered his
assistance to the states-general, directly after the defeat of Gemblours,
and early in July had made his appearance in Mons. Hence he despatched
his envoys, Des Pruneaux and Rochefort, to deal with the States-general
and with Orange, while he treated Matthias with contempt, and declared
that he had no intention to negotiate with him. The Archduke burst into
tears when informed of this slight; and feebly expressed a wish that
succor might be found in Germany which would render this French alliance
unnecessary. It was not the first nor the last mortification which the
future Emperor was to undergo. The Prince was addressed with
distinguished consideration; Des Pruneaux protesting that he desired but
three things--the glory of his master, the glory of God, and the glory of
William of Orange.

The French King was naturally supposed to be privy to his brother's
schemes, for it was thought ridiculous to suggest that Henry's own troops
could be led by his own brother, on this foreign expedition, without his
connivance. At the same time, private letters, written by him at this
epoch, expressed disapprobation of the schemes of Alencon, and jealousy
of his aggrandizement. It was, perhaps, difficult to decide as to the
precise views of a monarch who was too weak to form opinions for himself,
and too false to maintain those with which he had been furnished by
others. With the Medicean mother it was different, and it was she who was
believed to be at the bottom of the intrigue. There was even a vague idea
that the Spanish Sovereign himself might be privy to the plot, and that a
possible marriage between Alencon and the Infanta might be on the cards.
In truth, however, Philip felt himself outraged by the whole proceedings.
He resolutely refused to accept the excuses proffered by the French
court, or to doubt the complicity of the Queen Dowager, who, it was well
known, governed all her sons. She had, to be sure, thought proper to read
the envoys of the states-general a lecture upon the impropriety of
subjects opposing the commands of their lawful Prince, but such artifices
were thought too transparent to deceive. Granvelle scouted the idea of
her being ignorant of Anjou's scheme, or opposed to its success. As for
William of Hesse, while he bewailed more than ever the luckless plunge
into "confusum chaos" which Casimir had taken, he unhesitatingly
expressed his conviction that the invasion of Alencon was a master-piece
of Catherine. The whole responsibility of the transaction he divided, in
truth, between the Dowager and the comet, which just then hung over the
world, filling the soul of the excellent Landgrave with dismal

The Queen of England was highly incensed by the actual occurrence of the
invasion which she had so long dreaded. She was loud in her denunciations
of the danger and dishonor which would be the result to the provinces of
this French alliance. She threatened not only to withdraw herself from
their cause, but even to take arms against a commonwealth which had dared
to accept Alencon for its master. She had originally agreed to furnish
one hundred thousand pounds by way of loan. This assistance had been
afterwards commuted into a levy of three thousand foot and-two thousand
horse, to be added to the forces of John Casimir, and to be placed under
his command. It had been stipulated; also, that the Palatine should have
the rank and pay of an English general-in-chief, and be considered as the
Queen's lieutenant. The money had been furnished and the troops enrolled.
So much had been already bestowed, and could not be recalled, but it was
not probable that, in her present humor, the Queen would be induced to
add to her favors.

The Prince, obliged by the necessity of the case, had prescribed the
terms and the title under which Alencon should be accepted. Upon the 13th
of August the Duke's envoy concluded a convention in twenty-three
articles; which were afterwards subscribed by the Duke himself, at Mons,
upon the twentieth of the same month. The substance of this arrangement
was that Alencon should lend his assistance to the provinces against the
intolerable tyranny of the Spaniards and the unjustifiable military
invasion of Don John. He was, moreover, to bring into the field ten
thousand foot and two thousand horse for three months. After the
expiration of this term, his forces might be reduced to three thousand
foot and five hundred horse. The states were to confer upon him the title
of "Defender of the Liberty of the Netherlands against the Tyranny of the
Spaniards and their adherents." He was to undertake no hostilities
against Queen Elizabeth. The states were to aid him, whenever it should
become necessary, with the same amount of force with which he now
assisted them. He was to submit himself contentedly to the civil
government of the country, in everything regarding its internal polity.
He was to make no special contracts or treaties with any cities or
provinces of the Netherlands. Should the states-general accept another
prince as sovereign, the Duke was to be preferred to all others, upon
conditions afterwards to be arranged. All cities which might be conquered
within the territory of the united provinces were to belong to the
states. Such places not in that territory, as should voluntarily
surrender, were to be apportioned, by equal division, between the Duke
and the states. The Duke was to bring no foreign troops but French into
the provinces. The month of August was reserved, during which the states
were, if possible, to make a composition with Don John.

These articles were certainly drawn up with skill. A high-sounding but
barren title, which gratified the Duke's vanity and signified nothing,
had been conferred upon him, while at the same time he was forbidden to
make conquests or contracts, and was obliged to submit himself to the
civil government of the country: in short, he was to obey the Prince of
Orange in all things--and so here was another plot of the Prince's
enemies neutralized. Thus, for the present at least, had the position of
Anjou been defined.

As the month of August, during which it was agreed that negotiations with
the Governor-General should remain open, had already half expired,
certain articles, drawn up by the states-general, were at once laid
before Don John. Lord Cobham and Sir Francis Walsingham were then in the
Netherlands, having been sent by Elizabeth for the purpose of effecting a
pacification of the estates with the Governor, if possible. They had also
explained--so far as an explanation was possible--the assistance which
the English government had rendered to the rebels, upon the ground that
the French invasion could be prevented in no other way. This somewhat
lame apology had been passed over in silence rather than accepted by Don
John. In the same interview the envoys made an equally unsuccessful
effort to induce the acceptance by the Governor of the terms offered by
the states. A further proposition, on their part, for an "Interim," upon
the plan attempted by Charles the Fifth in Germany, previously to the
Peace of Passau, met with no more favor than it merited, for certainly
that name--which became so odious in Germany that cats and dogs were
called "Interim" by the common people, in derision--was hardly a potent
word to conjure with, at that moment, in the Netherlands. They then
expressed their intention of retiring to England, much grieved at the
result of their mission. The Governor replied that they might do as they
liked, but that he, at least, had done all in his power to bring about a
peace, and that the King had been equally pacific in his intentions. He
then asked the envoys what they themselves thought of the terms proposed.
"Indeed, they are too hard, your Highness," answered Walsingham, "but
'tis only by pure menace that we have extorted them from the states,
unfavorable though they, seem."

"Then you may tell them," replied the Governor, "to keep their offers to
themselves. Such terms will go but little way in any negotiation with

The envoys shrugged their shoulders.

"What is your own opinion on the whole affair?" resumed Don John.
"Perhaps your advice may yet help me to a better conclusion."

The envoys continued silent and pensive.

"We can only answer," said Walsingham, at length, "by imitating the
physician, who would prescribe no medicine until he was quite sure that
the patient was ready to swallow it. 'Tis no use wasting counsel or

The reply was not satisfactory, but the envoys had convinced themselves
that the sword was the only surgical instrument likely to find favor at
that juncture. Don John referred, in vague terms, to his peaceable
inclinations, but protested that there was no treating with so unbridled
a people as the Netherlanders. The ambassadors soon afterwards took their
leave. After this conference, which was on the 24th of August, 1578,
Walsingham and Cobham addressed a letter to the states-general, deploring
the disingenuous and procrastinating conduct of the Governor, and begging
that the failure to effect a pacification might not be imputed to them.
They then returned to England.

The Imperial envoy, Count Schwartzburg, at whose urgent solicitation this
renewed attempt at a composition had been made, was most desirous that
the Governor should accept the articles. They formed, indeed, the basis
of a liberal, constitutional, representative government, in which the
Spanish monarch was to retain only a strictly limited sovereignty. The
proposed convention required Don John, with all his troops and adherents,
forthwith to leave the land after giving up all strongholds and cities in
his possession. It provided that the Archduke Matthias should remain as
Governor general, under the conditions according to which he had been
originally accepted. It left the question of religious worship to the
decision of the states-general. It provided for the release of all
prisoners, the return of all exiles, the restoration of all confiscated
property. It stipulated that upon the death or departure of Matthias, his
Majesty was not to appoint a governor-general without the consent of the

When Count Schwartzburg waited upon the Governor with these astonishing
propositions--which Walsingham might well call somewhat hard--he found
him less disposed to explode with wrath than he had been in previous
conferences. Already the spirit of the impetuous young soldier was
broken, both by the ill health which was rapidly undermining his
constitution and by the helpless condition in which he had been left
while contending with the great rebellion. He had soldiers, but no money
to pay them withal; he had no means of upholding that supremacy of crown
and church which he was so vigorously instructed to maintain; and he was
heartily wearied of fulminating edicts which he had no power to enforce.
He had repeatedly solicited his recal, and was growing daily more
impatient that his dismissal did not arrive. Moreover, the horrible news
of Escovedo's assassination had sickened him to the soul. The deed had
flashed a sudden light into the abyss of dark duplicity in which his own
fate was suspended. His most intimate and confidential friend had been
murdered by royal command, while he was himself abandoned by Philip,
exposed to insult, left destitute of defence. No money was forthcoming,
in spite of constant importunities and perpetual promises. Plenty of
words were sent him; he complained, as if he possessed the art of
extracting gold from them, or as if war could be carried on with words

Being in so desponding a mood, he declined entering into any controversy
with regard to the new propositions, which, however, he characterized as
most iniquitous. He stated merely that his Majesty had determined to
refer the Netherland matters to the arbitration of the Emperor; that the
Duke de Terra Nova would soon be empowered to treat upon the subject at
the imperial court; and that, in the meantime, he was himself most
anxiously awaiting his recal.

A synod of the Reformed churches had been held, during the month of June,
at Dort. There they had laid down a platform of their principles of
church government in one hundred and one articles. In the same month, the
leading members of the Reformed Church had drawn up an ably reasoned
address to Matthias and the Council of State on the subject of a general
peace of religion for the provinces.

William of Orange did his utmost to improve the opportunity. He sketched
a system of provisional toleration, which he caused to be signed by the
Archduke Matthias, and which, at least for a season, was to establish
religious freedom. The brave; tranquil, solitary man still held his track
across the raging waves, shedding as much light as one clear human soul
could dispense; yet the dim lantern, so far in advance, was swallowed in
the mist, ere those who sailed in his wake could shape their course by
his example. No man understood him. Not even his nearest friends
comprehended his views, nor saw that he strove to establish not freedom
for Calvinism, but freedom for conscience. Saint Aldegonde complained
that the Prince would not persecute the Anabaptists, Peter Dathenus
denounced him as an atheist, while even Count John; the only one left of
his valiant and generous brothers, opposed the religious peace--except
where the advantage was on the side of the new religion. Where the
Catholics had been effectually put down, as in Holland and Zealand,
honest John saw so reason for allowing them to lift themselves up again.
In the Popish provinces, on the other hand, he was for a religious peace.
In this bigoted spirit he was followed by too many of the Reforming mass,
while, on their part, the Walloons were already banding themselves
together in the more southern provinces, under the name of Malcontents.
Stigmatized by the Calvinists as "Paternoster Jacks," they were daily
drawing closer their alliance with Alencon; and weakening the bands which
united them with their Protestant brethren. Count John had at length
become a permanent functionary in the Netherlands. Urgently solicited by
the leaders and the great multitude of the Reformers, he had long been
unwilling to abandon his home, and to neglect the private affairs which
his devotion to the Netherland cause had thrown into great confusion. The
Landgrave, too, whose advice he had asked, had strongly urged him not to
"dip his fingers into the olla podrida." The future of the provinces was,
in his opinion, so big with disaster, that the past, with all its
horrors; under Alva and Requesens, had only furnished the "preludia" of
that which was to ensue. For these desperate views his main reason, as
usual, was the comet; that mischievous luminary still continuing to cast
a lurid glare across the Landgrave's path. Notwithstanding these direful
warnings from a prince of the Reformation, notwithstanding the "olla
podrida" and the "comet," Count John had nevertheless accepted the office
of Governor of Gelderland, to which he had been elected by the estates of
that province on the 11th of March. That important bulwark of Holland,
Zealand, and Utrecht on the one side, and of Groningen and Friesland on
the other--the main buttress, in short, of the nascent republic, was now
in hands which would defend it to the last.

As soon as the discussion came up in the states-general on the subject of
the Dort petitions, Orange requested that every member who had formed his
opinions should express them fully and frankly. All wished, however, to
be guided and governed by the sentiments of the Prince. Not a man spoke,
save to demand their leader's views, and to express adhesion in advance
to the course which his wisdom might suggest. The result was a projected
convention, a draft for a religious peace, which, if definitely
established, would have healed many wounds and averted much calamity. It
was not, however, destined to be accepted at that time by the states of
the different provinces where it was brought up for discussion; and
several changes were made, both of form and substance, before the system
was adopted at all. Meantime, for the important city of Antwerp, where
religious broils were again on the point of breaking out, the Prince
preferred a provisional arrangement, which he forthwith carried into
execution. A proclamation, in the name of the Archduke Matthias and of
the State Council, assigned five special places in the city where the
members of the "pretended Reformed religion" should have liberty to
exercise their religious worship, with preaching, singing, and the
sacraments. The churchyards of the parochial churches were to be opened
for the burial of their dead, but the funerals were to be unaccompanied
with exhortation, or any public demonstration which might excite
disturbance. The adherents of one religion were forbidden to disturb, to
insult, or in any way to interfere with the solemnities of the other.
All were to abstain from mutual jeerings--by pictures, ballads, books, or
otherwise--and from all injuries to ecclesiastical property. Every man,
of whatever religion, was to be permitted entrance to the churches of
either religion, and when there, all were to conform to the regulations
of the church with modesty and respect. Those of the new religion were to
take oaths of obedience to the authorities, and to abstain from meddling
with the secular administration of affairs. Preachers of both religions
were forbidden to preach out of doors, or to make use of language tending
to sedition. All were to bind themselves to assist the magistrates in
quelling riots, and in sustaining the civil government.

This example of religious peace, together with the active correspondence
thus occasioned with the different state assemblies, excited the jealousy
of the Catholic leaders and of the Walloon population. Champagny, who
despite his admirable qualities and brilliant services, was still unable
to place himself on the same platform of toleration with Orange, now
undertook a decided movement against the policy of the Prince. Catholic
to the core, he drew up a petition, remonstrating most vigorously against
the draft for a religions peace, then in circulation through the
provinces. To this petition he procured many signatures among the more
ardent Catholic nobles. De Heze, De Glimes, and others of the same stamp,
were willing enough to follow the lead of so distinguished a chieftain.
The remonstrance was addressed to the Archduke, the Prince of Orange, the
State Council, and the States-general, and called upon them all to abide
by their solemn promises to permit no schism in the ancient Church.
Should the exercise of the new religion be allowed, the petitioners
insisted that the godless licentiousness of the Netherlands would excite
the contempt of all peoples and potentates. They suggested, in
conclusion, that all the principal cities of France--and in particular
the city of Paris--had kept themselves clear of the exercise of the new
religion, and that repose and prosperity had been the result.

This petition was carried with considerable solemnity by Champagny,
attended by many of his confederates, to the Hotel-de Ville, and
presented to the magistracy of Brussels. These functionaries were
requested to deliver it forthwith to the Archduke and Council. The
magistrates demurred. A discussion ensued, which grew warmer and warmer
as it proceeded. The younger nobles permitted themselves abusive
language, which the civic dignitaries would not brook. The session was
dissolved, and the magistrates, still followed by the petitioners, came
forth into the street. The confederates, more inflamed than ever,
continued to vociferate and to threaten. A crowd soon collected in the
square. The citizens were naturally curious to know why their senators
were thus browbeaten and insulted by a party of insolent young Catholic
nobles. The old politician at their head, who, in spite of many services,
was not considered a friend to the nation, inspired them with distrust.
Being informed of the presentation of the petition, the multitude loudly
demanded that the document should be read. This was immediately done. The
general drift of the remonstrance was anything but acceptable, but the
allusion to Paris, at the close, excited a tempest of indignation.
"Paris! Paris! Saint Bartholomew! Saint Bartholomew! Are we to have Paris
weddings in Brussels also?" howled the mob, as is often the case,
extracting but a single idea, and that a wrong one; from the public
lecture which had just been made. "Are we to have a Paris massacre, a
Paris blood-bath here in the Netherland capital? God forbid! God forbid!
Away with the conspirators! Down with the Papists!"

It was easily represented to the inflamed imaginations of the populace
that a Brussels Saint Bartholomew had been organized, and that Champagny,
who stood there before them, was its originator and manager. The
ungrateful Netherlanders forgot the heroism with which the old soldier
had arranged the defence of Antwerp against the "Spanish Fury" but two
years before. They heard only the instigations of his enemies; they
remembered only that he was the hated Granvelle's brother; they believed
only that there was a plot by which, in some utterly incomprehensible
manner, they were all to be immediately engaged in cutting each others
throats and throwing each other out of the windows, as had been done half
a dozen years before in Paris. Such was the mischievous intention
ascribed to a petition, which Champagny and his friends had as much right
to offer--however narrow and mistaken their opinions might now be
considered--as had the synod of Dort to present their remonstrances.
Never was a more malignant or more stupid perversion of a simple and not
very alarming phrase. No allusion had been made to Saint Bartholomew, but
all its horrors were supposed to be concealed in the sentence which
referred to Paris. The nobles were arrested on the spot and hurried to
prison, with the exception of Champagny, who made his escape at first,
and lay concealed for several days. He was, however, finally ferreted out
of his hiding-place and carried off to Ghent. There he was thrown into
strict confinement, being treated in all respects as the accomplice of
Aerschot and the other nobles who had been arrested in the time of
Ryhove's revolution. Certainly, this conduct towards a brave and generous
gentleman was ill calculated to increase general sympathy for the cause,
or to merit the approbation of Orange. There was, however, a strong
prejudice against Champagny. His brother Granvelle had never been
forgotten by the Netherlanders, and, was still regarded as their most
untiring foe, while Champagny was supposed to be in close league with the
Cardinal. In these views the people were entirely wrong.

While these events were taking place in Brussels and Antwerp, the two
armies of the states and of Don John were indolently watching each other.
The sinews of war had been cut upon both sides. Both parties were cramped
by the most abject poverty. The troops under Bossu and Casimir, in the
camp sear Mechlin, were already discontented, for want of pay. The one
hundred thousand pounds of Elizabeth had already been spent, and it was
not probable that the offended Queen would soon furnish another subsidy.
The states could with difficulty extort anything like the assessed quotas
from the different provinces. The Duke of Alencon was still at Mons, from
which place he had issued a violent proclamation of war against Don
John--a manifesto which had, however, not been followed up by very
vigorous demonstrations. Don John himself was in his fortified camp at
Bouge, within a league of Namur, but the here was consuming with mental
and with bodily fever. He was, as it were, besieged. He was left entirely
without funds, while his royal brother obstinately refused compliance
with his earnest demands to be recalled, and coldly neglected his
importunities for pecuniary assistance.

Compelled to carry on a war against an armed rebellion with such gold
only as could be extracted from loyal swords; stung to the heart by the
suspicion of which he felt himself the object at home, and by the hatred
with which he was regarded in the provinces; outraged in his inmost
feelings by the murder of Escovedo; foiled, outwitted, reduced to a
political nullity by the masterly tactics of the "odious heretic of
heretics" to whom he had originally offered his patronage and the royal
forgiveness, the high-spirited soldier was an object to excite the
tenderness even of religious and political opponents. Wearied with the
turmoil of camps without battle and of cabinets without counsel, he
sighed for repose, even if it could be found only in a cloister or the
grave. "I rejoice to see by your letter," he wrote, pathetically, to John
Andrew Doria, at Genoa, "that your life is flowing on with such calmness,
while the world around me is so tumultuously agitated. I consider you
most fortunate that you are passing the remainder of your days for God
and yourself; that you are not forced to put yourself perpetually in the
scales of the world's events, nor to venture yourself daily on its
hazardous games." He proceeded to inform his friend of his own painful
situation, surrounded by innumerable enemies, without means of holding
out more than three months, and cut off from all assistance by a
government which could not see that if the present chance were lost all
was lost. He declared it impossible for him to fight in the position to
which he was reduced, pressed as he was within half a mile of the point
which he had always considered as his last refuge. He stated also that
the French were strengthening themselves in Hainault, under Alencon, and
that the King of France was in readiness to break in through Burgundy,
should his brother obtain a firm foothold in the provinces. "I have
besought his Majesty over and over again," he continued, "to send to me
his orders; if they come they shall be executed, unless they arrive too
late. They have cut of our hands and we have now nothing for it but to
stretch forth our heads also to the axe. I grieve to trouble you with my
sorrows, but I trust to your sympathy as a man and a friend. I hope that
you will remember me in your prayers, for you can put your trust where,
in former days, I never could place my own."

The dying crusader wrote another letter, in the same mournful strain, to
another intimate friend, Don Pedro Mendoza, Spanish envoy in Genoa. It
was dated upon the same day from his camp near Namur, and repeated the
statement that the King of France was ready to invade the Netherlands, so
soon as Alencon should prepare an opening. "His Majesty," continued Don
John, "is resolved upon nothing; at least, I am kept in ignorance of his
intentions. Our life is doled out to us here by moments. I cry aloud, but
it profits me little. Matters will soon be disposed, through our
negligence, exactly as the Devil would best wish them. It is plain that
we are left here to pine away till our last breath. God direct us all as
He may see fit; in His hands are all things."

Four days later he wrote to the King, stating that he was confined to his
chamber with a fever, by which he was already as much reduced as if he
had been ill for a month. "I assure your Majesty," said he "that the work
here is enough to destroy any constitution and any life." He reminded
Philip how often he had been warned by him as to the insidious practices
of the French. Those prophecies had now become facts. The French had
entered the country, while some of the inhabitants were frightened,
others disaffected. Don John declared himself in a dilemma. With his
small force, hardly enough to make head against the enemy immediately in
front, and to protect the places which required guarding, 'twas
impossible for him to leave his position to attack the enemy in Burgundy.
If he remained stationary, the communications were cut off through which
his money and supplies reached him. "Thus I remain," said he, "perplexed
and confused, desiring, more than life, some decision on your Majesty's
part, for which I have implored so many times." He urged the King most
vehemently to send him instructions as to the course to be pursued,
adding that it wounded him to the soul to find them so long delayed. He
begged to be informed whether he was to attack the enemy in Burgundy,
whether he should await where he then was the succor of his Majesty, or
whether he was to fight, and if so with which of his enemies: in fine,
what he was to do; because, losing or winning, he meant to conform to his
Majesty's will. He felt deeply pained, he said, at being disgraced and
abandoned by the King, having served him, both as a brother, and a man,
with love and faith and heartiness. "Our lives," said he, "are at stake
upon this game, and all we wish is to lose them honorably." He begged the
King to send a special envoy to France, with remonstrances on the subject
of Alencon, and another to the Pope to ask for the Duke's
excommunication. He protested that he would give his blood rather than
occasion so much annoyance to the King, but that he felt it his duty to
tell the naked truth. The pest was ravaging his little army. Twelve
hundred were now in hospital, besides those nursed in private houses, and
he had no means or money to remedy the evil. Moreover, the enemy, seeing
that they were not opposed in the open field, had cut off the passage
into Liege by the Meuse, and had advanced to Nivelles and Chimay for the
sake of communications with France, by the same river.

Ten days after these pathetic passages had been written, the writer was
dead. Since the assassination of Escovedo, a consuming melancholy had
settled upon his spirits, and a burning fever came, in the month of
September, to destroy his physical strength. The house where he lay was a
hovel, the only chamber of which had been long used as a pigeon-house.
This wretched garret was cleansed, as well as it could be of its filth,
and hung with tapestry emblazoned with armorial bearings. In that dovecot
the hero of Lepanto was destined to expire. During the last few, days of
his illness, he was delirious. Tossing upon his uneasy couch, he again
arranged in imagination, the combinations of great battles, again shouted
his orders to rushing squadrons, and listened with brightening eye to the
trumpet of victory. Reason returned, however, before the hour of death,
and permitted him, the opportunity to make the dispositions rendered
necessary by his condition. He appointed his nephew, Alexander of Parma,
who had been watching assiduously over his deathbed, to succeed him,
provisionally, in the command of the army and in his other dignities,
received the last sacraments with composure, and tranquilly breathed his
last upon the first day of October, the month which, since the battle of
Lepanto, he had always considered a festive and a fortunate one.

It was inevitable that suspicion of poison should be at once excited by
his decease. Those suspicions have been never set at rest, and never
proved. Two Englishmen, Ratcliff and Gray by name, had been arrested and
executed on a charge of having been employed by Secretary Walsingham to
assassinate the Governor. The charge was doubtless an infamous falsehood;
but had Philip, who was suspected of being the real criminal, really
compassed the death of his brother, it was none the less probable that an
innocent victim or two would be executed, to save appearances. Now that
time has unveiled to us many mysteries, now that we have learned from
Philip's own lips and those of his accomplices the exact manner in which
Montigny and Escovedo were put to death, the world will hardly be very
charitable with regard to other imputations. It was vehemently suspected
that Don John had been murdered by the command of Philip; but no such
fact was ever proved.

The body, when opened that it might be embalmed, was supposed to offer
evidence of poison. The heart was dry, the other internal organs were
likewise so desiccated as to crumble when touched, and the general color
of the interior was of a blackish brown, as if it had been singed.
Various persona were mentioned as the probable criminals; various motives
assigned for the commission of the deed. Nevertheless, it must be
admitted that there were causes, which were undisputed, for his death,
sufficient to render a search for the more mysterious ones comparatively
superfluous. A disorder called the pest was raging in his camp, and had
carried off a thousand of his soldiers within a few days, while his
mental sufferings had been acute enough to turn his heart to ashes.
Disappointed, tormented by friend and foe, suspected, insulted, broken
spirited, it was not strange that he should prove an easy victim to a
pestilent disorder before which many stronger men were daily falling.

On the third day after his decease, the funeral rites were celebrated. A
dispute between the Spaniards, Germans, and Netherlanders in the army
arose, each claiming precedence in the ceremony, on account of superior
national propinquity to the illustrious deceased. All were, in truth,
equally near to him, for different reasons, and it was arranged that all
should share equally in the obsequies. The corpse disembowelled and
embalmed, was laid upon a couch of state. The hero was clad in complete
armor; his swords helmet, and steel gauntlets lying at his feet, a
coronet, blazing with precious stones, upon his head, the jewelled chain
and insignia of the Golden Fleece about his neck, and perfumed gloves
upon his hands. Thus royally and martially arrayed, he was placed upon
his bier and borne forth from the house where he had died, by the
gentlemen of his bedchamber. From them he was received by the colonels of
the regiments stationed next his own quarters. These chiefs, followed by
their troops with inverted arms and mined drums, escorted the body to the
next station, where it was received by the commanding officers of other
national regiments, to be again transmitted to those of the third. Thus
by soldiers of the three nations, it was successively conducted to the
gates of Namur, where it was received by the civic authorities. The
pall-bearers, old Peter Ernest Mansfeld, Ottavio Gonzaga, the Marquis de
Villa Franca, and the Count de Reux, then bore it to the church, where it
was deposited until the royal orders should be received from Spain. The
heart of the hero was permanently buried beneath the pavement of the
little church, and a monumental inscription, prepared by Alexander
Farnese, still indicates the spot where that lion heart returned to dust.

It had been Don John's dying request to Philip that his remains might be
buried in the Escorial by the side of his imperial father, and the prayer
being granted, the royal order in due time arrived for the transportation
of the corpse to Spain. Permission had been asked and given for the
passage of a small number of Spanish troops through France. The thrifty
king had, however, made no allusion to the fact that those soldiers were
to bear with them the mortal remains of Lepanto's hero, for he was
disposed to save the expense which a public transportation of the body
and the exchange of pompous courtesies with the authorities of every town
upon the long journey would occasion. The corpse was accordingly divided
into three parts, and packed in three separate bags; and thus the
different portions, to save weight, being suspended at the saddle-bows of
different troopers, the body of the conqueror was conveyed to its distant

     "Expende Hannibalem: quot libras in duce summo
     Invenies?". . . . . . . . . .

Thus irreverently, almost blasphemously, the disjointed relics of the
great warrior were hurried through France; France, which the romantic
Saracen slave had traversed but two short years before, filled with high
hopes, and pursuing extravagant visions. It has been recorded by classic
historians, that the different fragments, after their arrival in Spain,
were re-united, and fastened together with wire; that the body was then
stuffed, attired in magnificent habiliments, placed upon its feet, and
supported by a martial staff, and that thus prepared for a royal
interview, the mortal remains of Don John were presented to his Most
Catholic Majesty. Philip is said to have manifested emotion at sight of
the hideous spectre--for hideous and spectral, despite of jewels,
balsams, and brocades, must have been that unburied corpse, aping life in
attitude and vestment, but standing there only to assert its privilege of
descending into the tomb. The claim was granted, and Don John of Austria
at last found repose by the side of his imperial father.

A sufficient estimate of his character has been apparent in the course of
the narrative. Dying before he had quite completed his thirty-third year,
he excites pity and admiration almost as much as censure. His military
career was a blaze of glory. Commanding in the Moorish wars at
twenty-three, and in the Turkish campaigns at twenty-six, he had achieved
a matchless renown before he had emerged from early youth; but his sun
was destined to go down at noon. He found neither splendor nor power in
the Netherlands, where he was deserted by his king and crushed by the
superior genius of the Prince of Orange. Although he vindicated his
martial skill at Gemblours, the victory was fruitless. It was but the
solitary sprig of the tiger from his jungle, and after that striking
conflict his life was ended in darkness and obscurity. Possessing
military genius of a high order, with extraordinary personal bravery, he
was the last of the paladins and the crusaders. His accomplishments were
also considerable, and he spoke Italian, German, French, and Spanish with
fluency. His beauty was remarkable; his personal fascinations
acknowledged by either sex; but as a commander of men, excepting upon the
battle-field, he possessed little genius. His ambition was the ambition
of a knight-errant, an adventurer, a Norman pirate; it was a personal and
tawdry ambition. Vague and contradictory dreams of crowns, of royal
marriages, of extemporized dynasties, floated ever before him; but he was
himself always the hero of his own romance. He sought a throne in Africa
or in Britain; he dreamed of espousing Mary of Scotland at the expense of
Elizabeth, and was even thought to aspire secretly to the hand of the
great English Queen herself. Thus, crusader and bigot as he was, he was
willing to be reconciled with heresy, if heresy could furnish him with a

It is superfluous to state that he was no match, by mental endowments,
for William of Orange; but even had he been so, the moral standard by
which each measured himself placed the Conqueror far below the Father of
a people. It must be admitted that Don John is entitled to but small
credit for his political achievements in the Netherlands. He was
incapable of perceiving that the great contest between the Reformation
and the Inquisition could never be amicably arranged in those provinces,
and that the character of William of Orange was neither to be softened by
royal smiles, nor perverted by appeals to sordid interests. It would have
been perhaps impossible for him, with his education and temperament, to
have embraced what seems to us the right cause, but it ought, at least,
to have been in his power to read the character of his antagonist, and to
estimate his own position with something like accuracy. He may be
forgiven that he did not succeed in reconciling hostile parties, when his
only plan to accomplish such a purpose was the extermination of the most
considerable faction; but although it was not to be expected that he
would look on the provinces with the eyes of William the Silent, he might
have comprehended that the Netherland chieftain was neither to be
purchased nor cajoled. The only system by which the two religions could
live together in peace had been discovered by the Prince; but toleration,
in the eyes of Catholics, and of many Protestants, was still thought the
deadliest heresy of all.


     Difficult for one friend to advise another in three matters
     Establish not freedom for Calvinism, but freedom for conscience
     Taxes upon income and upon consumption
     Toleration thought the deadliest heresy of all

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 31


By John Lothrop Motley




   Birth, education, marriage, and youthful character of Alexander
   Farnese--His private adventures--Exploits at Lepanto and at
   Gemblours--He succeeds to the government--Personal appearance and
   characteristics--Aspect of affairs--Internal dissensions--Anjou at
   Mons--John Casimir's intrigues at Ghent--Anjou disbands his
   soldiers--The Netherlands ravaged by various foreign troops--Anarchy
   and confusion in Ghent--Imbize and Ryhove--Fate of Hessels and
   Visch--New Pacification drawn up by Orange--Representations of Queen
   Elizabeth--Remonstrance of Brussels Riots and image-breaking in
   Ghent--Displeasure of Orange--His presence implored at Ghent, where
   he establishes a Religious Peace--Painful situation of John Casimir
   --Sharp rebukes of Elizabeth--He takes his departure--His troops
   apply to Farnese, who allows them to leave the country--Anjou's
   departure and manifesto--Elizabeth's letters to the states-general
   with regard to him--Complimentary addresses by the Estates to the
   Duke--Death of Bossu--Calumnies against Orange--Venality of the
   malcontent grandees--La Motte's treason--Intrigues of the Prior of
   Renty--Saint Aldegonde at Arras--The Prior of St. Vaast's exertions
   --Opposition of the clergy in the Walloon provinces to the taxation
   of the general government--Triangular contest--Municipal revolution
   in Arras led by Gosson and others--Counter-revolution--Rapid trials
   and executions--"Reconciliation" of the malcontent chieftains--
   Secret treaty of Mount St. Eloi: Mischief made by the Prior of
   Renty--His accusations against the reconciled lords--Vengeance taken
   upon him--Counter movement by the liberal party--Union of Utrecht--
   The Act analyzed and characterized.

A fifth governor now stood in the place which had been successively
vacated by Margaret of Parma, by Alva, by the Grand Commander, and by Don
John of Austria. Of all the eminent personages to whom Philip had
confided the reins of that most difficult and dangerous administration,
the man who was now to rule was by far the ablest and the best fitted for
his post. If there were living charioteer skilful enough to guide the
wheels of state, whirling now more dizzily than ever through "confusum
chaos," Alexander Farnese was the charioteer to guide--his hand the only
one which could control.

He was now in his thirty-third year--his uncle Don John, his cousin Don
Carlos, and himself, having all been born within a few months of each
other. His father was Ottavio Farnese, the faithful lieutenant of Charles
the Fifth, and grandson of Pope Paul the Third; his mother was Margaret
of Parma, first Regent of the Netherlands after the departure of Philip
from the provinces. He was one of the twins by which the reunion of
Margaret and her youthful husband had been blessed, and the only one that
survived. His great-grandfather, Paul, whose secular name of Alexander he
had received, had placed his hand upon the new-born infant's head, and
prophesied that he would grow up to become a mighty warrior. The boy,
from his earliest years, seemed destined to verify the prediction. Though
apt enough at his studies, he turned with impatience from his literary
tutors to military exercises and the hardiest sports. The din of arms
surrounded his cradle. The trophies of Ottavio, returning victorious from
beyond the Alps, had dazzled the eyes of his infancy, and when but six
years of age he had witnessed the siege of his native Parma, and its
vigorous defence by his martial father. When Philip was in the
Netherlands--in the years immediately succeeding the abdication of the
Emperor--he had received the boy from his parents as a hostage for their
friendship. Although but eleven years of age, Alexander had begged
earnestly to be allowed to serve as a volunteer on the memorable day of
Saint Quentin, and had wept bitterly when the amazed monarch refused his
request.--His education had been, completed at Alcala, and at Madrid,
under the immediate supervision of his royal uncle, and in the
companionship of the Infante Carlos and the brilliant Don John. The
imperial bastard was alone able to surpass, or even to equal the Italian
prince in all martial and manly pursuits. Both were equally devoted to
the chase and to the tournay; both longed impatiently for the period when
the irksome routine of monkish pedantry, and the fictitious combats which
formed their main recreation, should be exchanged for the substantial
delights of war. At the age of twenty he had been affianced to Maria of
Portugal; daughter of Prince Edward, granddaughter of King Emanuel, and
his nuptials with that peerless princess were; as we have seen,
celebrated soon afterwards with much pomp in Brussels. Sons and daughters
were born to him in due time, during his subsequent residence in Parma.
Here, however, the fiery and impatient spirit of the future illustrious
commander was doomed for a time to fret under restraint, and to corrode
in distasteful repose. His father, still in the vigor of his years,
governing the family duchies of Parma and Piacenza, Alexander had no
occupation in the brief period of peace which then existed. The martial
spirit, pining for a wide and lofty sphere of action, in which alone its
energies could be fitly exercised, now sought delight in the pursuits of
the duellist and gladiator. Nightly did the hereditary prince of the land
perambulate the streets of his capital, disguised, well armed, alone, or
with a single confidential attendant. Every chance passenger of martial
aspect whom he encountered in the midnight streets was forced to stand
and measure swords with an unknown, almost unseen but most redoubtable
foe, and many were the single combats which he thus enjoyed, so long as
his incognito was preserved. Especially, it was his wont to seek and defy
every gentleman whose skill or bravery had ever been commended in his
hearing: At last, upon one occasion it was his fortune to encounter a
certain Count Torelli, whose reputation as a swordsman and duellist was
well established in Parma. The blades were joined, and the fierce combat
had already been engaged in the darkness, when the torch of an accidental
passenger gashed full in the face of Alexander. Torelli, recognising thus
suddenly his antagonist, dropped his sword and implored forgiveness, for
the wily Italian was too keen not to perceive that even if the death of
neither combatant should be the result of the fray, his own position was,
in every event, a false one. Victory would ensure him the hatred, defeat
the contempt of his future sovereign. The unsatisfactory issue and
subsequent notoriety of this encounter put a termination to these
midnight joys of Alexander, and for a season he felt obliged to assume
more pacific habits, and to solace himself with the society of that
"phoenix of Portugal," who had so long sat brooding on his domestic

At last the holy league was formed, the new and last crusade proclaimed,
his uncle and bosom friend appointed to the command of the united troops
of Rome, Spain, and Venice. He could no longer be restrained. Disdaining
the pleadings of his mother and of his spouse, he extorted permission
from Philip, and flew to the seat of war in the Levant. Don John received
him with open arms, just before the famous action of Lepanto, and gave
him an excellent position in the very front of the battle, with the
command of several Genoese galleys. Alexander's exploits on that eventful
day seemed those of a fabulous hero of romance. He laid his galley
alongside of the treasure-ship of the Turkish fleet, a vessel, on account
of its importance, doubly manned and armed. Impatient that the Crescent
was not lowered, after a few broadsides, he sprang on board the enemy
alone, waving an immense two-handed sword--his usual weapon--and mowing a
passage right and left through the hostile ranks for the warriors who
tardily followed the footsteps of their vehement chief. Mustapha Bey, the
treasurer and commander of the ship, fell before his sword, besides many
others, whom he hardly saw or counted. The galley was soon his own, as
well as another, which came to the rescue of the treasure-ship only to
share its defeat. The booty which Alexander's crew secured was
prodigious, individual soldiers obtaining two and three thousand ducats
each. Don John received his nephew after the battle with commendations,
not, however, unmingled with censure. The successful result alone had
justified such insane and desperate conduct, for had he been slain or
overcome, said the commander-in-chief, there would have been few to
applaud his temerity. Alexander gaily replied by assuring his uncle that
he had felt sustained by a more than mortal confidence, the prayers which
his saintly wife was incessantly offering in his behalf since he went to
the wars being a sufficient support and shield in even greater danger
than he had yet confronted.

This was Alexander's first campaign, nor was he permitted to reap any
more glory for a few succeeding years. At last, Philip was disposed to
send both his mother and himself to the Netherlands; removing Don John
from the rack where he had been enduring such slow torture. Granvelle's
intercession proved fruitless with the Duchess, but Alexander was all
eagerness to go where blows were passing current, and he gladly led the
reinforcements which were sent to Don John at the close of the year 1577.
He had reached Luxemburg, on the 18th of December of that year, in time,
as we have seen, to participate, and, in fact, to take the lead in the
signal victory of Gemblours. He had been struck with the fatal change
which disappointment and anxiety had wrought upon the beautiful and
haughty features of his illustrious kinsman. He had since closed his eyes
in the camp, and erected a marble tablet over his heart in the little
church. He now governed in his stead.

His personal appearance corresponded with his character. He had the head
of a gladiator, round; compact, combative, with something alert and
snake-like in its movements. The black, closely-shorn hair was erect and
bristling. The forehead was lofty and narrow. The features were,
handsome, the nose regularly aquiline, the eyes well opened, dark
piercing, but with something dangerous and sinister in their expression.
There was an habitual look askance; as of a man seeking to parry or
inflict a mortal blow--the look of a swordsman and professional fighter.
The lower part of the face was swallowed in a bushy beard; the mouth and
chin being quite invisible. He was of middle stature, well formed, and
graceful in person, princely in demeanor, sumptuous and stately in
apparel. His high ruff of point lace, his badge of the Golden Fleece, his
gold-inlaid Milan armor, marked him at once as one of high degree. On the
field of battle he possessed the rare gift of inspiring his soldiers with
his own impetuous and chivalrous courage. He ever led the way upon the
most dangerous and desperate ventures, and, like his uncle and his
imperial grandfather, well knew how to reward the devotion of his
readiest followers with a poniard, a feather, a riband, a jewel, taken
with his own hands from his own attire.

His military, abilities--now for the first time to be largely called into
employment--were unquestionably superior to those of Don John; whose name
had been surrounded with such splendor by the World-renowned battle of
Lepanto. Moreover, he possessed far greater power for governing men,
whether in camp or cabinet. Less attractive and fascinating, he was more
commanding than his kinsman. Decorous and self-poised, he was only
passionate before the enemy, but he rarely permitted a disrespectful look
or word to escape condign and deliberate chastisement. He was no schemer
or dreamer. He was no knight errant. He would not have crossed seas and
mountains to rescue a captive queen, nor have sought to place her crown
on his own head as a reward for his heroism. He had a single and
concentrated kind of character. He knew precisely the work which Philip
required, and felt himself to be precisely the workman that had so long
been wanted. Cool, incisive, fearless, artful, he united the unscrupulous
audacity of a condottiere with the wily patience of a Jesuit. He could
coil unperceived through unsuspected paths, could strike suddenly, sting
mortally. He came prepared, not only to smite the Netherlanders in the
open field, but to cope with them in tortuous policy; to outwatch and
outweary them in the game to which his impatient predecessor had fallen a
baked victim. He possessed the art and the patience--as time was to
prove--not only to undermine their most impregnable cities, but to delve
below the intrigues of their most accomplished politicians. To circumvent
at once both their negotiators and their men-at-arms was his appointed
task. Had it not been for the courage, the vigilance, and the superior
intellect of a single antagonist, the whole of the Netherlands would have
shared the fate which was reserved for the more southern portion. Had the
life of William of Orange been prolonged, perhaps the evil genius of the
Netherlands might have still been exorcised throughout the whole extent
of the country. As for religion, Alexander Farnese was, of course,
strictly Catholic, regarding all seceders from Romanism as mere heathen
dogs. Not that he practically troubled himself much with sacred
matters--for, during the life-time of his wife, he had cavalierly thrown
the whole burden of his personal salvation upon her saintly shoulders.
She had now flown to higher spheres, but Alexander was, perhaps, willing
to rely upon her continued intercessions in his behalf. The life of a
bravo in time of peace--the deliberate project in war to exterminate
whole cities full of innocent people, who had different notions on the
subject of image-worship and ecclesiastical ceremonies from those
entertained at Rome, did not seem to him at all incompatible with the
precepts of Jesus. Hanging, drowning, burning and butchering heretics
were the legitimate deductions of his theology. He was no casuist nor
pretender to holiness: but in those days every man was devout, and
Alexander looked with honest horror upon the impiety of the heretics,
whom he persecuted and massacred. He attended mass regularly--in the
winter mornings by torch-light--and would as soon have foregone his daily
tennis as his religious exercises. Romanism was the creed of his caste.
It was the religion of princes and gentlemen of high degree. As for
Lutheranism, Zwinglism, Calvinism, and similar systems, they were but the
fantastic rites of weavers, brewers, and the like--an ignoble herd whose
presumption in entitling themselves Christian, while rejecting the Pope;
called for their instant extermination. His personal habits were
extremely temperate. He was accustomed to say that he ate only to support
life; and he rarely finished a dinner without having risen three or four
times from table to attend to some public business which, in his opinion,
ought not to be deferred.

His previous connections in the Netherlands were of use to him, and he
knew how to turn them to immediate account. The great nobles, who had
been uniformly actuated by jealousy of the Prince of Orange, who had been
baffled in their intrigue with Matthias, whose half-blown designs upon
Anjou had already been nipped in the bud, were now peculiarly in a
position to listen to the wily tongue of Alexander Farnese. The
Montignys, the La Mottes, the Meluns, the Egmonts, the Aerschots, the
Havres, foiled and doubly foiled in all their small intrigues and their
base ambition, were ready to sacrifice their country to the man they
hated, and to the ancient religion which they thought that they loved.
The Malcontents ravaging the land of Hainault and threatening Ghent, the
"Paternoster Jacks" who were only waiting for a favorable opportunity and
a good bargain to make their peace with Spain, were the very instruments
which Parma most desired to use at this opening stage of his career. The
position of affairs was far more favorable for him than it had been for
Don John when he first succeeded to power. On the whole, there seemed a
bright prospect of success. It seemed quite possible that it would be in
Parma's power to reduce, at last, this chronic rebellion, and to
reestablish the absolute supremacy of Church and King. The pledges of the
Ghent treaty had been broken, while in the unions of Brussels which had
succeeded, the fatal religious cause had turned the instrument of peace
into a sword. The "religion-peace" which had been proclaimed at Antwerp
had hardly found favor anywhere. As the provinces, for an instant, had
seemingly got the better of their foe, they turned madly upon each other,
and the fires of religious discord, which had been extinguished by the
common exertions of a whole race trembling for the destruction of their
fatherland, were now re-lighted with a thousand brands plucked from the
sacred domestic hearth. Fathers and children, brothers and sisters,
husbands and wives, were beginning to wrangle, and were prepared to
persecute. Catholic and Protestant, during the momentary relief from
pressure, forgot their voluntary and most blessed Pacification, to renew
their internecine feuds. The banished Reformers, who had swarmed back in
droves at the tidings of peace and good-will to all men, found themselves
bitterly disappointed. They were exposed in the Walloon provinces to the
persecutions of the Malcontents, in the Frisian regions to the still
powerful coercion of the royal stadholders.

Persecution begat counter-persecution. The city of Ghent became the
centre of a system of insurrection, by which all the laws of God and man
were outraged under the pretence of establishing a larger liberty in
civil and religious matters. It was at Ghent that the opening scenes, in
Parma's administration took place. Of the high-born suitors for the
Netherland bride, two were still watching each other with jealous eyes.
Anjou was at Mons, which city he had secretly but unsuccessfully
attempted to master for, his, own purposes. John Casimir was at Ghent,
fomenting an insurrection which he had neither skill to guide, nor
intelligence to comprehend. There was a talk of making him Count of
Flanders,--and his paltry ambition was dazzled by the glittering prize.
Anjou, who meant to be Count of Flanders himself, as well as Duke or
Count of all the other Netherlands, was highly indignant at this report,
which he chose to consider true. He wrote to the estates to express his
indignation. He wrote to Ghent to offer his mediation between the
burghers and the Malcontents. Casimir wanted money for his troops. He
obtained a liberal supply, but he wanted more. Meantime, the mercenaries
were expatiating on their own account throughout the southern provinces;
eating up every green leaf, robbing and pillaging, where robbery and
pillage had gone so often that hardly anything was left for rapine. Thus
dealt the soldiers in the open country, while their master at Ghent was
plunging into the complicated intrigues spread over that unfortunate city
by the most mischievous demagogues that ever polluted a sacred cause.
Well had Cardinal Granvelle, his enemy, William of Hesse, his friend and
kinsman, understood the character of John Casimir. Robbery and pillage
were his achievements, to make chaos more confounded was his destiny.
Anjou--disgusted with the temporary favor accorded to a rival whom he
affected to despise--disbanded his troops in dudgeon, and prepared to
retire to France. Several thousand of these mercenaries took service
immediately with the Malcontents under Montigny, thus swelling the ranks
of the deadliest foes to that land over which Anjou had assumed the title
of protector. The states' army, meanwhile, had been rapidly dissolving.
There were hardly men enough left to make a demonstration in the field,
or properly to garrison the more important towns. The unhappy provinces,
torn by civil and religious dissensions, were overrun by hordes of unpaid
soldiers of all nations, creeds, and tongues-Spaniards, Italians,
Burgundians, Walloons, Germans, Scotch and English; some who came to
attack and others to protect, but who all achieved nothing and agreed in
nothing save to maltreat and to outrage the defenceless peasantry and
denizens of the smaller towns. The contemporary chronicles are full of
harrowing domestic tragedies, in which the actors are always the insolent
foreign soldiery and their desperate victims.

Ghent energetic, opulent, powerful, passionate, unruly Ghent--was now the
focus of discord, the centre from whence radiated not the light and
warmth of reasonable and intelligent liberty, but the bale-fires of
murderous licence and savage anarchy. The second city of the Netherlands,
one of the wealthiest and most powerful cities of Christendom, it had
been its fate so often to overstep the bounds of reason and moderation in
its devotion to freedom, so often to incur ignominious chastisement from
power which its own excesses had made more powerful, that its name was
already becoming a bye-word. It now, most fatally and for ever, was to
misunderstand its true position. The Prince of Orange, the great
architect of his country's fortunes, would have made it the keystone of
the arch which he was laboring to construct. Had he been allowed to
perfect his plan, the structure might have endured for ages, a perpetual
bulwark against, tyranny and wrong. The temporary and slender frame by
which the great artist had supported his arch while still unfinished, was
plucked away by rude and ribald hands; the keystone plunged into the
abyss, to be lost for ever, and the great work of Orange remained a
fragment from its commencement. The acts of demagogues, the conservative
disgust at licence, the jealousy of rival nobles, the venality of
military leaders, threw daily fresh stumbling-blocks in his heroic path.
It was not six months after the advent of Farnese to power, before that
bold and subtle chieftain had seized the double-edged sword of religious
dissension as firmly as he had grasped his celebrated brand when he
boarded the galley of Muatapha Bey, and the Netherlands were cut in
twain, to be re-united nevermore. The separate treaty of the Walloon
provinces was soon destined to separate the Celtic and Romanesque
elements from the Batavian and Frisian portion of a nationality, which;
thoroughly fused in all its parts, would have formed as admirable a
compound of fire and endurance as history has ever seen.

Meantime, the grass was growing and the cattle were grazing in the
streets of Ghent, where once the tramp of workmen going to and from their
labor was like the movement of a mighty army. The great majority of the
burghers were of the Reformed religion, and disposed to make effectual
resistance to the Malcontents, led by the disaffected nobles. The city,
considering itself the natural head of all the southern country, was
indignant that the Walloon provinces should dare to reassert that
supremacy of Romanism which had been so effectually suppressed, and to
admit the possibility of friendly relations with a sovereign who had been
virtually disowned. There were two parties, however, in Ghent. Both were
led by men of abandoned and dangerous character. Imbize, the worse of the
two demagogues, was inconstant, cruel, cowardly, and treacherous, but
possessed of eloquence and a talent for intrigue. Ryhove was a bolder
ruffian--wrathful, bitter, and unscrupulous. Imbize was at the time
opposed to Orange, disliking his moderation, and trembling at his
firmness. Ryhove considered himself the friend of the Prince. We have
seen that he had consulted him previously to his memorable attack upon
Aerschot, in the autumn of the preceding year, and we know the result of
that conference.

The Prince, with the slight dissimulation which belonged less to his
character than to his theory of politics, and which was perhaps not to be
avoided, in that age of intrigue, by any man who would govern his
fellow-men, whether for good or evil, had winked at a project which he
would not openly approve. He was not thoroughly acquainted, however, with
the desperate character of the man, for he would have scorned an
instrument so thoroughly base as Ryhove subsequently proved. The violence
of that personage on the occasion of the arrest of Aerschot and his
colleagues was mildness compared with the deed with which he now
disgraced the cause of freedom. He had been ordered out from Ghent to
oppose a force of Malcontents which was gathering in the neighbourhood of
Courtray; but he swore that he would not leave the gates so long as two
of the gentlemen whom he had arrested on the twenty-eighth of the
previous October, and who yet remained in captivity, were still alive.
These two prisoners were ex-procurator Visch and Blood-Councillor
Hessels. Hessels, it seemed, had avowed undying hostility to Ryhove for
the injury sustained at his hands, and he had sworn, "by his grey beard,"
that the ruffian should yet hang for the outrage. Ryhove, not feeling
very safe in the position of affairs which then existed, and knowing that
he could neither trust Imbize, who had formerly been his friend, nor the
imprisoned nobles, who had ever been his implacable enemies, was resolved
to make himself safe in one quarter at least, before he set forth against
the Malcontents. Accordingly, Hessels and Visch, as they sat together in
their prison, at chess, upon the 4th of October, 1578, were suddenly
summoned to leave the house, and to enter a carriage which stood at the
door. A force of armed men brought the order, and were sufficiently
strong to enforce it. The prisoners obeyed, and the coach soon rolled
slowly through the streets, left the Courtray gate, and proceeded a short
distance along the road towards that city.

After a few minutes a halt was made. Ryhove then made his appearance at
the carriage-window, and announced to the astonished prisoners that, they
were forthwith to be hanged upon a tree which stood by the road-side. He
proceeded to taunt the aged Hessels with his threat against himself, and
with his vow "by his grey beard." "Such grey beard shalt thou never live
thyself to wear, ruffian," cried Hessels, stoutly-furious rather than
terrified at the suddenness of his doom. "There thou liest, false
traitor!" roared Ryhove in reply; and to prove the falsehood, he
straightway tore out a handful of the old man's beard, and fastened it
upon his own cap like a plume. His action was imitated by several of his
companions, who cut for themselves locks from the same grey beard, and
decorated themselves as their leader had done. This preliminary ceremony
having been concluded, the two aged prisoners were forthwith hanged on a
tree, without-the least pretence of trial or even sentence.

Such was the end of the famous councillor who had been wont to shout "ad
patibulum" in his sleep. It was cruel that the fair face of civil liberty
showing itself after years of total eclipse, should be insulted by such
bloody deeds on the part of her votaries. It was sad that the crimes of
men like Imbize and Ryhove should have cost more to the cause of
religious and political freedom than the lives of twenty thousand such
ruffians were worth. But for the influence of demagogues like these,
counteracting the lofty efforts and pure life of Orange, the separation
might never have occurred between the two portions of the Netherlands.
The Prince had not power enough, however, nor the nascent commonwealth
sufficient consistency, to repress the disorganizing tendency of a
fanatical Romanism on the one side, and a retaliatory and cruel
ochlocracy on the other.

Such events, with the hatred growing daily more intense between the
Walloons and the Ghenters, made it highly important that some kind of an
accord should be concluded, if possible. In the country, the Malcontents,
under pretence of protecting the Catholic clergy, were daily abusing and
plundering the people, while in Ghent the clergy were maltreated, the
cloisters pillaged, under the pretence of maintaining liberty. In this
emergency the eyes of all honest men turned naturally to Orange.

Deputies went to and fro between Antwerp and Ghent, Three points were
laid down by the Prince as indispensable to any arrangement--firstly,
that the Catholic clergy should be allowed the free use of their
property; secondly, that they should not be disturbed in the exercise of
their religion; thirdly, that the gentlemen kept in prison since the
memorable twenty-eighth of October should be released. If these points
should be granted, the Archduke Matthias, the states-general, and the
Prince of Orange would agree to drive off the Walloon soldiery, and to
defend Ghent against all injury. The two first points were granted, upon
condition that sufficient guarantees should be established for the safety
of the Reformed religion. The third was rejected, but it was agreed that
the prisoners, Champagny, Sweveghem, and the rest--who, after the horrid
fate of Hessels and Visch, might be supposed to be sufficiently anxious
as to their own doom--should have legal trial, and be defended in the
meantime from outrage.

On the 3rd of November, 1578, a formal act of acceptance of these terms
was signed at Antwerp. At the same time, there was murmuring at Ghent,
the extravagant portion of the liberal party averring that they had no
intention of establishing the "religious peace" when they agreed not to
molest the Catholics. On the 11th of November, the Prince of Orange sent
messengers to Ghent in the name of the Archduke and the states-general,
summoning the authorities to a faithful execution of the act of
acceptance. Upon the same day the English envoy, Davidson, made an
energetic representation to the same magistrates, declaring that the
conduct of the Ghenters was exciting regret throughout the world, and
affording a proof that it was their object to protract, not suppress, the
civil war which had so long been raging. Such proceedings, he observed,
created doubts whether they were willing to obey any law or any
magistracy. As, however, it might be supposed that the presence of John
Casimir in Ghent at that juncture was authorized by Queen
Elizabeth--inasmuch as it was known that he had received a subsidy from
her--the envoy took occasion to declare that her Majesty entirely
disavowed his proceedings. He observed further that, in the opinion of
her Majesty, it was still possible to maintain peace by conforming to the
counsels of the Prince of Orange and of the states-general. This,
however, could be done only by establishing the three points which he had
laid down. Her Majesty likewise warned the Ghenters that their conduct
would soon compel her to abandon the country's cause altogether, and, in
conclusion, she requested, with characteristic thriftiness, to be
immediately furnished with a city bond for forty-five thousand pounds

Two days afterwards, envoys arrived from Brussels to remonstrate, in
their turn, with the sister city, and to save her, if possible, from the
madness which had seized upon her. They recalled to the memory of the
magistrates the frequent and wise counsels of the Prince of Orange. He
had declared that he knew of no means to avert the impending desolation
of the fatherland save union of all the provinces and obedience to the
general government. His own reputation, and the honor of his house, he
felt now to be at stake; for, by reason of the offices which he now held,
he had been ceaselessly calumniated as the author of all the crimes which
had been committed at Ghent. Against these calumnies he had avowed his
intention of publishing his defence. After thus citing the opinion of the
Prince, the envoys implored the magistrates to accept the religious peace
which he had proposed, and to liberate the prisoners as he had demanded.
For their own part, they declared that the inhabitants of Brussels would
never desert him; for, next to God, there was no one who understood their
cause so entirely, or who could point out the remedy so intelligently.

Thus reasoned the envoys from the states-general and from Brussels, but
even while they were reasoning, a fresh tumult occurred at Ghent. The
people had been inflamed by demagogues, and by the insane howlings of
Peter Dathenus, the unfrocked monk of Poperingen, who had been the
servant and minister both of the Pope and of Orange, and who now hated
each with equal fervor. The populace, under these influences, rose in its
wrath upon the Catholics, smote all their images into fragments,
destroyed all their altar pictures, robbed them of much valuable
property, and turned all the Papists themselves out of the city. The riot
was so furious that it seemed, says a chronicler, as if all the
inhabitants had gone raving mad. The drums beat the alarm, the
magistrates went forth to expostulate, but no commands were heeded till
the work of destruction had been accomplished, when the tumult expired at
last by its own limitation.

Affairs seemed more threatening than ever. Nothing more excited the
indignation of the Prince of Orange than such senseless iconomachy. In
fact, he had at one time procured an enactment by the Ghent authorities,
making it a crime punishable with death. He was of Luther's opinion, that
idol-worship was to be eradicated from the heart, and that then the idols
in the churches would fall of themselves. He felt too with Landgrave
William, that "the destruction of such worthless idols was ever avenged
by torrents of good human blood." Therefore it may be well supposed that
this fresh act of senseless violence, in the very teeth of his
remonstrances, in the very presence of his envoys, met with his stern
disapprobation. He was on the point of publishing his defence against the
calumnies which his toleration had drawn upon him from both Catholic and
Calvinist. He was deeply revolving the question, whether it were not
better to turn his back at once upon a country which seemed so incapable
of comprehending his high purposes, or seconding his virtuous efforts.
From both projects he was dissuaded; and although bitterly wronged by
both friend and foe, although, feeling that even in his own Holland,
there were whispers against his purity, since his favorable inclinations
towards Anjou had become the general topic, yet he still preserved his
majestic tranquillity, and smiled at the arrows which fell harmless at
his feet. "I admire his wisdom, daily more and more," cried Hubert
Languet; "I see those who profess themselves his friends causing him more
annoyance than his foes; while, nevertheless, he ever remains true to
himself, is driven by no tempests from his equanimity, nor provoked by
repeated injuries to immoderate action."

The Prince had that year been chosen unanimously by the four "members" of
Flanders to be governor of that province, but had again declined the
office. The inhabitants, notwithstanding the furious transactions at
Ghent, professed attachment to his person, and respect for his authority.
He was implored to go to the city. His presence, and that alone, would
restore the burghers to their reason, but the task was not a grateful
one. It was also not unattended with danger; although this was a
consideration which never influenced him, from the commencement of his
career to its close. Imbize and his crew were capable of resorting to any
extremity or any ambush; to destroy the man whom they feared and hated.
The presence of John Casimir was an additional complication; for Orange,
while he despised the man, was unwilling to offend his friends. Moreover,
Casimir had professed a willingness to assist the cause, and to, defer to
the better judgment of the Prince: He had brought an army into the field,
with which, however, he had accomplished nothing except a thorough
pillaging of the peasantry, while, at the same time, he was loud in his
demands upon the states to pay his soldiers' wages. The soldiers of the
different armies who now overran the country, indeed, vied with each
other in extravagant insolence. "Their outrages are most execrable,"
wrote Marquis Havre; "they demand the most exquisite food, and drink
Champagne and Burgundy by the bucketfull." Nevertheless, on the 4th of
December, the Prince came to Ghent. He held constant and anxious
conferences with the magistrates. He was closeted daily with John
Casimir, whose vanity and extravagance of temper he managed with his
usual skill. He even dined with Imbue, and thus, by smoothing
difficulties and reconciling angry passions, he succeeded at last in
obtaining the consent of all to a religious peace, which was published on
the 27th of December, 1578. It contained the same provisions as those of
the project prepared and proposed during the previous summer throughout
the Netherlands. Exercise of both religions was established; mutual
insults and irritations--whether by word, book, picture, song, or
gesture--were prohibited, under severe penalties, while all persons were
sworn to protect the common tranquillity by blood, purse, and life. The
Catholics, by virtue of this accord, re-entered into possession of their
churches and cloisters, but nothing could be obtained in favor of the
imprisoned gentlemen.

The Walloons and Malcontents were now summoned to lay down their arms;
but, as might be supposed, they expressed dissatisfaction with the
religious peace, proclaiming it hostile to the Ghent treaty and the
Brussels union. In short, nothing would satisfy them but total
suppression of the Reformed religion; as nothing would content Imbize and
his faction but the absolute extermination of Romanism. A strong man
might well seem powerless in the midst of such obstinate and worthless

The arrival of the Prince in Ghent was, on the whole, a relief to John
Casimir. As usual, this addle-brained individual had plunged headlong
into difficulties, out of which he was unable to extricate himself. He
knew not what to do, or which way to turn. He had tampered with Imbue and
his crew, but he had found that they were not the men for a person of his
quality to deal with. He had brought a large army into the field, and had
not a stiver in his coffers. He felt bitterly the truth of the
Landgrave's warning--"that 'twas better to have thirty thousand devils at
one's back than thirty thousand German troopers, with no money to give
them;" it being possible to pay the devils with the sign of the cross,
while the soldiers could be discharged only with money or hard knocks.
Queen Elizabeth, too, under whose patronage he had made this most
inglorious campaign, was incessant in her reproofs, and importunate in
her demands for reimbursement. She wrote to him personally, upbraiding
him with his high pretensions and his shortcomings. His visit to Ghent,
so entirely unjustified and mischievous; his failure to effect that
junction of his army with the states' force under Bossu, by which the
royal army was to have been surprised and annihilated; his having given
reason to the common people to suspect her Majesty and the Prince of
Orange of collusion with his designs, and of a disposition to seek their
private advantage and not the general good of the whole Netherlands; the
imminent danger, which he had aggravated, that the Walloon provinces,
actuated by such suspicions, would fall away from the "generality" and
seek a private accord with Parma; these and similar sins of omission and
commission were sharply and shrewishly set forth in the Queen's epistle.
'Twas not for such marauding and intriguing work that she had appointed
him her lieutenant, and furnished him with troops and subsidies. She
begged him forthwith to amend his ways, for the sake of his name and
fame, which were sufficiently soiled in the places where his soldiers had
been plundering the country which they came to protect.

The Queen sent Daniel Rogers with instructions of similar import to the
states-general, repeatedly and expressly disavowing Casimir's proceedings
and censuring his character. She also warmly insisted on her bonds. In
short, never was unlucky prince more soundly berated by his superiors,
more thoroughly disgraced by his followers. In this contemptible
situation had Casimir placed himself by his rash ambition to prove before
the world that German princes could bite and scratch like griffins and
tigers as well as carry them in their shields. From this position Orange
partly rescued him. He made his peace with the states-general. He
smoothed matters with the extravagant Reformers, and he even extorted
from the authorities of Ghent the forty-five thousand pounds bond, on
which Elizabeth had insisted with such obduracy. Casimir repaid these
favors of the Prince in the coin with which narrow minds and jealous
tempers are apt to discharge such obligations--ingratitude. The
friendship which he openly manifested at first grew almost immediately
cool. Soon afterwards he left Ghent and departed for Germany, leaving
behind him a long and tedious remonstrance, addressed to the
states-general, in which document he narrated the history of his
exploits, and endeavored to vindicate the purity of his character. He
concluded this very tedious and superfluous manifesto by observing
that--for reasons which he thought proper to give at considerable
length--he felt himself "neither too useful nor too agreeable to the
provinces." As he had been informed, he said, that the states-general had
requested the Queen of England to procure his departure, he had resolved,
in order to spare her and them inconvenience, to return of his own
accord, "leaving the issue of the war in the high and mighty hand of

The estates answered this remonstrance with words of unlimited courtesy;
expressing themselves "obliged to all eternity" for his services, and
holding out vague hopes that the monies which he demanded on behalf of
his troops should ere long be forthcoming.

Casimir having already answered Queen Elizabeth's reproachful letter by
throwing the blame of his apparent misconduct upon the states-general,
and having promised soon to appear before her Majesty in person, tarried
accordingly but a brief season in Germany, and then repaired to England.
Here he was feasted, flattered, caressed, and invested with the order of
the Garter. Pleased with royal blandishments, and highly enjoying the
splendid hospitalities of England he quite forgot the "thirty thousand
devils" whom he had left running loose in the Netherlands, while these
wild soldiers, on their part, being absolutely in a starving
condition--for there was little left for booty in a land which had been
so often plundered--now had the effrontery to apply to the Prince of
Parma for payment of their wages. Alexander Farnese laughed heartily at
the proposition, which he considered an excellent jest. It seemed in
truth, a jest, although but a sorry one. Parma replied to the messenger
of Maurice of Saxony who had made the proposition, that the Germans must
be mad to ask him for money, instead of offering to pay him, a heavy sum
for permission to leave the country. Nevertheless, he was willing to be
so far indulgent as to furnish them with passports, provided they
departed from the Netherlands instantly. Should they interpose the least
delay, he would set upon them without further preface, and he gave them
notice, with the arrogance becoming a Spanish general; that the courier
was already waiting to report to Spain the number of them left alive
after the encounter. Thus deserted by their chief, and hectored by the
enemy, the mercenaries, who had little stomach for fight without wages,
accepted the passports proffered by Parma. They revenged themselves for
the harsh treatment which they had received from Casimir and from the
states-general, by singing, everywhere as they retreated, a doggerel
ballad--half Flemish, half German--in which their wrongs were expressed
with uncouth vigor.

Casimir received the news of the departure of his ragged soldiery on the
very day which witnessed his investment with the Garter by the fair hands
of Elizabeth herself.  A few days afterwards he left England, accompanied
by an escort of lords and gentlemen, especially appointed for that
purpose by the Queen. He landed in Flushing, where he was received with
distinguished hospitality, by order of the Prince of Orange, and on the
14th of February, 1579, he passed through Utrecht. Here he conversed
freely at his lodgings in the "German House" on the subject of his
vagabond troops, whose final adventures and departure seemed to afford
him considerable amusement; and he, moreover, diverted his company by
singing, after supper, a few verses of the ballad already mentioned.

   O, have you been in Brabant, fighting for the states?
   O, have you brought back anything except your broken pates?
   O, I have been in Brabant, myself and all my mates.
   We'll go no more to Brabant, unless our brains were addle,
   We're coming home on foot, we went there in the saddle;
   For there's neither gold nor glory got, in fighting for the states.

The Duke of Anjou, meantime, after disbanding his troops, had lingered
for a while near the frontier. Upon taking his final departure, he sent
his resident minister, Des Pruneaux, with a long communication to the
states-general, complaining that they had not published their contract
with himself, nor fulfilled its conditions. He excused, as well as he
could, the awkward fact that his disbanded troops had taken refuge with
the Walloons, and he affected to place his own departure upon the ground
of urgent political business in France, to arrange which his royal
brother had required his immediate attendance. He furthermore most
hypocritically expressed a desire for a speedy reconciliation of the
provinces with their sovereign, and a resolution that--although for their
sake he had made himself a foe to his Catholic Majesty--he would still
interpose no obstacle to so desirable a result.

To such shallow discourse the states answered with infinite urbanity, for
it was the determination of Orange not to make enemies, at that juncture,
of France and England in the same breath. They had foes enough already,
and it seemed obvious at that moment, to all persons most observant of
the course of affairs, that a matrimonial alliance was soon to unite the
two crowns. The probability of Anjou's marriage with Elizabeth was, in
truth, a leading motive with Orange for his close alliance with the Duke.
The political structure, according to which he had selected the French
Prince as protector of the Netherlands, was sagaciously planned; but
unfortunately its foundation was the shifting sandbank of female and
royal coquetry. Those who judge only by the result, will be quick to
censure a policy which might have had very different issue. They who
place themselves in the period anterior to Anjou's visit to England, will
admit that it was hardly human not to be deceived by the apolitical
aspects of that moment. The Queen, moreover, took pains to upbraid the
states-general, by letter, with their disrespect and ingratitude towards
the Duke of Anjou--behaviour with which he had been "justly scandalized."
For her own part, she assured them of her extreme displeasure at learning
that such a course of conduct had been held with a view to her especial
contentment--"as if the person of Monsieur, son of France, brother of the
King, were disagreeable to her, or as if she wished him ill;" whereas, on
the contrary, they would best satisfy her wishes by showing him all the
courtesy to which his high degree and his eminent services entitled him.

The estates, even before receiving this letter, had, however, acted in
its spirit. They had addressed elaborate apologies and unlimited
professions to the Duke. They thanked him heartily for his achievements,
expressed unbounded regret at his departure, with sincere hopes for his
speedy return, and promised "eternal remembrance" of his heroic virtues.
They assured him, moreover, that should the first of the following March
arrive without bringing with it an honorable peace with his Catholic
Majesty, they should then feel themselves compelled to declare that the
King had forfeited his right to the sovereignty of these provinces. In
this case they concluded that, as the inhabitants would be then absolved
from their allegiance to the Spanish monarch, it would then be in their
power to treat with his Highness of Anjou concerning the sovereignty,
according to the contract already existing.

These assurances were ample, but the states, knowing the vanity of the
man, offered other inducements, some of which seemed sufficiently
puerile. They promised that "his statue, in copper, should be placed in
the public squares of Antwerp and Brussels, for the eternal admiration of
posterity," and that a "crown of olive-leaves should be presented to him
every year." The Duke--not inexorable to such courteous
solicitations--was willing to achieve both immortality and power by
continuing his friendly relations with the states, and he answered
accordingly in the most courteous terms. The result of this interchange
of civilities it will be soon our duty to narrate.

At the close of the year the Count of Bossu died, much to the regret of
the Prince of Orange, whose party--since his release from prison by
virtue of the Ghent treaty--he had warmly espoused. "We are in the
deepest distress in the world," wrote the Prince to his brother, three
days before the Count's death, "for the dangerous malady of M. de Bossu.
Certainly, the country has much to lose in his death, but I hope that God
will not so much afflict us." Yet the calumniators of the day did not
scruple to circulate, nor the royalist chroniclers to perpetuate, the
most senseless and infamous fables on the subject of this nobleman's
death. He died of poison, they said, administered to him "in oysters," by
command of the Prince of Orange, who had likewise made a point of
standing over him on his death-bed, for the express purpose of sneering
at the Catholic ceremonies by which his dying agonies were solaced. Such
were the tales which grave historians have recorded concerning the death
of Maximilian of Bossu, who owed so much to the Prince. The command of
the states' army, a yearly pension of five thousand florins, granted at
the especial request of Orange but a few months before, and the profound
words of regret in the private letter jest cited, are a sufficient answer
to such slanders.

The personal courage and profound military science of Parma were
invaluable to the royal cause; but his subtle, unscrupulous, and
subterranean combinations of policy were even more fruitful at this
period. No man ever understood the art of bribery more thoroughly or
practised it more skillfully. He bought a politician, or a general, or a
grandee, or a regiment of infantry, usually at the cheapest price at
which those articles could be purchased, and always with the utmost
delicacy with which such traffic could be conducted. Men conveyed
themselves to government for a definite price--fixed accurately in
florins and groats, in places and pensions--while a decent gossamer of
conventional phraseology was ever allowed to float over the nakedness of
unblushing treason. Men high in station, illustrious by ancestry,
brilliant in valor, huckstered themselves, and swindled a confiding
country for as ignoble motives as ever led counterfeiters or bravoes to
the gallows, but they were dealt with in public as if actuated only by
the loftiest principles. Behind their ancient shields, ostentatiously
emblazoned with fidelity to church and king, they thrust forth their
itching palms with the mendicity which would be hardly credible, were it
not attested by the monuments more perennial than brass, of their own
letters and recorded conversations.

Already, before the accession of Parma to power, the true way to dissever
the provinces had been indicated by the famous treason of the Seigneur de
la Motte. This nobleman commanded a regiment in the service of the
states-general, and was Governor of Gravelines. On promise of forgiveness
for all past disloyalty, of being continued in the same military posts
under Philip which he then held for the patriots, and of a "merced" large
enough to satisfy his most avaricious dreams, he went over to the royal
government. The negotiation was conducted by Alonzo Curiel, financial
agent of the King, and was not very nicely handled. The paymaster,
looking at the affair purely as a money transaction--which in truth it
was--had been disposed to drive rather too hard a bargain. He offered
only fifty thousand crowns for La Motte and his friend Baron Montigny,
and assured his government that those gentlemen, with the soldiers under
their command, were very dear at the price. La Motte higgled very hard
for more, and talked pathetically of his services and his wounds--for he
had been a most distinguished and courageous campaigner--but Alonzo was
implacable. Moreover, one Robert Bien-Aime, Prior of Renty, was present
at all the conferences. This ecclesiastic was a busy intriguer, but not
very adroit. He was disposed to make himself useful to government, for he
had set his heart upon putting the mitre of Saint Omer upon his head, and
he had accordingly composed a very ingenious libel upon the Prince of
Orange, in which production, "although the Prior did not pretend to be
Apelles or Lysippus," he hoped that the Governor-General would recognize
a portrait colored to the life. This accomplished artist was, however,
not so successful as he was picturesque and industrious. He was
inordinately vain of his services, thinking himself, said Alonzo,
splenetically, worthy to be carried in a procession like a little saint,
and as he had a busy brain, but an unruly tongue, it will be seen that he
possessed a remarkable faculty of making himself unpleasant. This was not
the way to earn his bishopric. La Motte, through the candid
communications of the Prior, found himself the subject of mockery in
Parma's camp and cabinet, where treachery to one's country and party was
not, it seemed, regarded as one of the loftier virtues, however
convenient it might be at the moment to the royal cause. The Prior
intimated especially that Ottavio Gonzaga had indulged in many sarcastic
remarks at La Motte's expense. The brave but venal warrior, highly
incensed at thus learning the manner in which his conduct was estimated
by men of such high rank in the royal service, was near breaking off the
bargain. He was eventually secured, however, by still larger offers--Don
John allowing him three hundred florins a month, presenting him with the
two best horses in his stable, and sending him an open form, which he was
to fill out in the most stringent language which he could devise, binding
the government to the payment of an ample and entirely satisfactory
"merced." Thus La Motte's bargain was completed a crime which, if it had
only entailed the loss of the troops under his command, and the
possession of Gravelines, would have been of no great historic
importance. It was, however, the first blow of a vast and carefully
sharpened treason, by which the country was soon to be cut in twain for
ever--the first in a series of bargains by which the noblest names of the
Netherlands were to be contaminated with bribery and fraud.

While the negotiations with La Notte were in progress, the government of
the states-general at Brussels had sent Saint Aldegonde to Arras. The
states of Artois, then assembled in that city, had made much difficulty
in acceding to an assessment of seven thousand florins laid upon them by
the central authority. The occasion was skillfully made use of by the
agents of the royal party to weaken the allegiance of the province, and
of its sister Walloon provinces, to the patriot cause. Saint Aldegonde
made his speech before the assembly, taking the ground boldly, that the
war was made for liberty of conscience and of fatherland, and that all
were bound, whether Catholic or Protestant, to contribute to the sacred
fund. The vote passed, but it was provided that a moiety of the
assessment should be paid by the ecclesiastical branch, and the
stipulation excited a tremendous uproar. The clerical bench regarded the
tax as both a robbery and an affront. "We came nearly to knife-playing,"
said the most distinguished priest in the assembly, "and if we had done
so, the ecclesiastics would not have been the first to cry enough." They
all withdrew in a rage, and held a private consultation upon "these
exorbitant and more than Turkish demands." John Sarrasin, Prior of Saint
Yaast, the keenest, boldest, and most indefatigable of the royal
partisans of that epoch, made them an artful harangue. This man--a better
politician than the other prior--was playing for a mitre too, and could
use his cards better. He was soon to become the most invaluable agent in
the great treason preparing. No one could, be more delicate, noiseless,
or unscrupulous, and he was soon recognized both by Governor-General and
King as the individual above all others to whom the re-establishment of
the royal authority over the Walloon provinces was owing. With the shoes
of swiftness on his feet, the coat of darkness on his back, and the
wishing purse in his hand, he sped silently and invisibly from one great
Malcontent chieftain to another, buying up centurions, and captains, and
common soldiers; circumventing Orangists, Ghent democrats, Anjou
partisans; weaving a thousand intrigues, ventilating a hundred hostile
mines, and passing unharmed through the most serious dangers and the most
formidable obstacles. Eloquent, too, at a pinch, he always understood his
audience, and upon this occasion unsheathed the most incisive, if not the
most brilliant weapon which could be used in the debate. It was most
expensive to be patriotic, he said, while silver was to be saved, and
gold to be earned by being loyal. They ought to keep their money to
defend themselves, not give it to the Prince of Orange, who would only
put it into his private pocket on pretence of public necessities. The
Ruward would soon be slinking back to his lair, he observed, and leave
them all in the fangs of their enemies. Meantime, it was better to rush
into the embrace of a bountiful king, who was still holding forth his
arms to them. They were approaching a precipice, said the Prior; they
were entering a labyrinth; and not only was the "sempiternal loss of body
and soul impending over them, but their property was to be taken also,
and the cat to be thrown against their legs." By this sudden descent into
a very common proverbial expression, Sarrasin meant to intimate that they
were getting themselves into a difficult position, in which they were
sure to reap both danger and responsibility.

The harangue had much effect upon his hearers, who were now more than
ever determined to rebel against the government which they had so
recently accepted, preferring, in the words of the Prior, "to be
maltreated by their prince, rather than to be barbarously tyrannized over
by a heretic." So much anger had been excited in celestial minds by a
demand of thirty-five hundred florins.

Saint Aldegonde was entertained in the evening at a great banquet,
followed by a theological controversy, in which John Sarrasin complained
that "he had been attacked upon his own dunghill." Next day the
distinguished patriot departed on a canvassing tour among the principal
cities; the indefatigable monk employing the interval of his absence in
aggravating the hostility of the Artesian orders to the pecuniary demands
of the general government. He was assisted in his task by a peremptory
order which came down from Brussels, ordering, in the name of Matthias, a
levy upon the ecclesiastical property, "rings, jewels, and reliquaries,"
unless the clerical contribution should be forthcoming. The rage of the
bench was now intense, and by the time of Saint Aldegonde's return a
general opposition had been organized. The envoy met with a chilling
reception; there were no banquets anymore--no discussions of any kind. To
his demands for money, "he got a fine nihil," said Saint Vaast; and as
for polemics, the only conclusive argument for the country would be, as
he was informed on the same authority, the "finishing of Orange and of
his minister along with him." More than once had the Prior intimated to
government--as so many had done before him--that to "despatch Orange,
author of all the troubles," was the best preliminary to any political
arrangement. From Philip and his Governor-General, down to the humblest
partisan, this conviction had been daily strengthening. The knife or
bullet of an assassin was the one thing needful to put an end to this
incarnated rebellion.

Thus matters grew worse and worse in Artois. The Prior, busier than ever
in his schemes, was one day arrested along with other royal emissaries,
kept fifteen days "in a stinking cellar, where the scullion washed the
dishes," and then sent to Antwerp to be examined by the states-general.
He behaved with great firmness, although he had good reason to tremble
for his neck. Interrogated by Leoninus on the part of the central
government, he boldly avowed that these pecuniary demands upon the
Walloon estates, and particularly upon their ecclesiastical branches,
would never be tolerated. "In Alva's time," said Sarrasin, "men were
flayed, but not shorn." Those who were more attached to their skin than
their fleece might have thought the practice in the good old times of the
Duke still more objectionable. Such was not the opinion of the Prior and
the rest of his order. After an unsatisfactory examination and a brief
duresse, the busy ecclesiastic was released; and as his secret labors had
not been detected, he resumed them after his return more ardently than

A triangular intrigue was now fairly established in the Walloon country.
The Duke of Alencon's head-quarters were at Mons; the rallying-point of
the royalist faction was with La Motte at Gravelines; while the
ostensible leader of the states' party, Viscount Ghent, was governor of
Artois, and supposed to be supreme in Arras. La Motte was provided by
government with a large fund of secret-service money, and was instructed
to be very liberal in his bribes to men of distinction; having a tender
regard, however, to the excessive demands of this nature now daily made
upon the royal purse. The "little Count," as the Prior called Lalain,
together with his brother, Baron Montigny, were considered highly
desirable acquisitions for government, if they could be gained. It was
thought, however, that they had the "fleur-de-lys imprinted too deeply
upon their hearts," for the effect produced upon Lalain, governor of
Hainault, by Margaret of Valois, had not yet been effaced. His brother
also had been disposed to favor the French prince, but his mind was more
open to conviction. A few private conferences with La Motte, and a course
of ecclesiastical tuition from the Prior--whose golden opinions had
irresistible resonance--soon wrought a change in the Malcontent
chieftain's mind. Other leading seigniors were secretly dealt with in the
same manner. Lalain, Heze, Havre, Capres, Egmont, and even the Viscount
of Ghent, all seriously inclined their ears to the charmer, and looked
longingly and lovingly as the wily Prior rolled in his tangles before
them--"to mischief swift." Few had yet declared themselves; but of the
grandees who commanded large bodies of troops, and whose influence with
their order was paramount, none were safe for the patriot cause
throughout the Walloon country.

The nobles and ecclesiastics were ready to join hands in support of
church and king, but in the city of Arras, the capital of the whole
country, there was a strong Orange and liberal party. Gosson, a man of
great wealth, one of the most distinguished advocates in the Netherlands,
and possessing the gift of popular eloquence to a remarkable degree, was
the leader of this burgess faction. In the earlier days of Parma's
administration, just as a thorough union of the Walloon provinces in
favor of the royal government had nearly been formed, these Orangists of
Arras risked a daring stroke. Inflamed by the harangues of Gosson, and
supported by five hundred foot soldiers and fifty troopers under one
Captain Ambrose, they rose against the city magistracy, whose sentiments
were unequivocally for Parma, and thrust them all into prison. They then
constituted a new board of fifteen, some Catholics and some Protestants,
but all patriots, of whom Gosson was chief. The stroke took the town by
surprise; and was for a moment successful. Meantime, they depended upon
assistance from Brussels. The royal and ecclesiastical party was,
however, not so easily defeated, and an old soldier, named Bourgeois,
loudly denounced Captain Ambrose, the general of the revolutionary
movement, as a vile coward, and affirmed that with thirty good
men-at-arms he would undertake to pound the whole rebel army to powder--
"a pack of scarecrows," he said, "who were not worth as many owls for
military purposes."

Three days after the imprisonment of the magistracy, a strong Catholic
rally was made in their behalf in the Fishmarket, the ubiquitous Prior of
Saint Vaast flitting about among the Malcontents, blithe and busy as
usual when storms were brewing. Matthew Doucet, of the revolutionary
faction--a man both martial and pacific in his pursuits, being eminent
both as a gingerbread baker and a swordplayer--swore he would have the
little monk's life if he had to take him from the very horns of the
altar; but the Prior had braved sharper threats than these. Moreover, the
grand altar would have been the last place to look fox him on that
occasion. While Gosson was making a tremendous speech in favor of
conscience and fatherland at the Hotel de Ville, practical John Sarrasin,
purse in hand, had challenged the rebel general, Ambrose to private
combat. In half an hour, that warrior was routed, and fled from the field
at the head of his scarecrows, for there was no resisting the power
before which the Montignys and the La Mottes had succumbed. Eloquent
Gosson was left to his fate. Having the Catholic magistracy in durance,
and with nobody to guard them, he felt, as was well observed by an
ill-natured contemporary, like a man holding a wolf by the ears, equally
afraid to let go or to retain his grasp.

His dilemma was soon terminated. While he was deliberating with his
colleagues--Mordacq, an old campaigner, Crugeot, Bertoul, and
others--whether to stand or, fly, the drums and trumpets of the advancing
royalists were heard. In another instant the Hotel de Ville was swarming
with men-at-arms, headed by Bourgeois, the veteran who had expressed so
alighting an opinion as to the prowess of Captain Ambrose. The tables
were turned, the miniature revolution was at an end, the
counter-revolution effected. Gosson and his confederates escaped out of a
back door, but were soon afterwards arrested. Next morning, Baron Capres,
the great Malcontent seignior, who was stationed with his regiment in the
neighbourhood, and who had long been secretly coquetting with the Prior
and Parma, marched into the city at the head of a strong detachment, and
straightway proceeded to erect a very tall gibbet in front of the Hotel
de Ville. This looked practical in the eyes of the liberated and
reinstated magistrates, and Gosson, Crugeot, and the rest were summoned
at once before them. The advocate thought, perhaps, with a sigh, that his
judges, so recently his prisoners, might have been the fruit for another
gallowstree, had he planted it when the ground was his own; but taking
heart of grace, he encouraged his colleagues--now his fellow-culprits.
Crugeot, undismayed, made his appearance before the tribunal, arrayed in
a corslet of proof, with a golden hilted sword, a scarf embroidered with
pearls and gold, and a hat bravely plumaged with white, blue, and, orange
feathers--the colors of William the Silent--of all which finery he was
stripped, however, as soon as he entered the court.

The process was rapid. A summons from Brussels was expected every hour
from the general government, ordering the cases to be brought before the
federal tribunal; and as the Walloon provinces were not yet ready for
open revolt, the order would be an inconvenient one. Hence the necessity
for haste. The superior court of Artois, to which an appeal from the
magistrates lay, immediately held a session in another chamber of the
Hotel de Ville while the lower court was trying the prisoners, and
Bertoul, Crugeot, Mordacq, with several others, were condemned in a few
hours to the gibbet. They were invited to appeal, if they chose, to the
council of Artois, but hearing that the court was sitting next door, so
that there was no chance of a rescue in the streets, they declared
themselves satisfied with the sentence. Gosson had not been tried, his
case being reserved for the morrow.

Meantime, the short autumnal day had drawn to a close. A wild, stormy,
rainy night then set in, but still the royalist party--citizens and
soldiers intermingled--all armed to the teeth, and uttering fierce cries,
while the whole scene was fitfully illuminated with the glare of
flambeaux and blazing tar-barrels, kept watch in the open square around
the city hall. A series of terrible Rembrandt-like nightpieces
succeeded--grim, fantastic, and gory. Bertoul, an old man, who for years
had so surely felt himself predestined to his present doom that he had
kept a gibbet in his own house to accustom himself to the sight of the
machine, was led forth the first, and hanged at ten in the evening. He
was a good man, of perfectly blameless life, a sincere Catholic, but a
warm partisan of Orange.

Valentine de Mordacq, an old soldier, came from the Hotel de Ville to the
gallows at midnight. As he stood on the ladder, amid the flaming torches,
he broke forth into furious execrations, wagging his long white beard to
and fro, making hideous grimaces, and cursing the hard fate which, after
many dangers on the battle-field and in beleaguered cities, had left him
to such a death. The cord strangled his curses. Crugeot was executed at
three in the morning, having obtained a few hours' respite in order to
make his preparations, which he accordingly occupied himself in doing as
tranquilly as if he had been setting forth upon an agreeable journey. He
looked like a phantom, according to eye-witnesses, as he stood under the
gibbet, making a most pious and, Catholic address to the crowd.

The whole of the following day was devoted to the trial of Gosson. He was
condemned at nightfall, and heard by appeal before the superior court
directly afterwards. At midnight, of the 25th of October, 1578, he was
condemned to lose his head, the execution to take place without delay.
The city guards and the infantry under Capres still bivouacked upon the
square; the howling storm still continued, but the glare of fagots and
torches made the place as light as day. The ancient advocate, with
haggard eyes and features distorted by wrath, walking between the sheriff
and a Franciscan monk, advanced through the long lane of halberdiers, in
the grand hall of the Town House, and thence emerged upon the scaffold
erected before the door. He shook his fists with rage at the released
magistrates, so lately his prisoners, exclaiming that to his misplaced
mercy it was owing that his head, instead of their own, was to be placed
upon the block. He bitterly reproached the citizens for their cowardice
in shrinking from dealing a blow for their fatherland, and in behalf of
one who had so faithfully served them. The clerk of the court then read
the sentence amid a silence so profound that every syllable he uttered,
and, every sigh and ejaculation of the victim were distinctly heard in
the most remote corner of the square. Gosson then, exclaiming that he was
murdered without cause, knelt upon the scaffold. His head fell while an
angry imprecation was still upon his lips.

Several other persons of lesser note were hanged daring the week-among
others, Matthew Doucet, the truculent man of gingerbread, whose rage had
been so judiciously but so unsuccessfully directed against the Prior of
Saint Vaast. Captain Ambrose, too, did not live long to enjoy the price
of his treachery. He was arrested very soon afterwards by the states'
government in Antwerp, put to the torture, hanged and quartered. In
troublous times like those, when honest men found it difficult to keep
their heads upon their shoulders, rogues were apt to meet their deserts,
unless they had the advantage of lofty lineage and elevated position.

     "Ille crucem sceleris pretium tulit, hic diadema."

This municipal revolution and counter-revolution, obscure though they
seem, were in reality of very grave importance. This was the last blow
struck for freedom in the Walloon country. The failure of the movement
made that scission of the Netherlands certain, which has endured till our
days, for the influence of the ecclesiastics in the states of Artois and
Hainault, together with the military power of the Malcontent grandees,
whom Parma and John Sarrasin had purchased, could no longer be resisted.
The liberty of the Celtic provinces was sold, and a few high-born
traitors received the price. Before the end of the year (1578) Montigny
had signified to the Duke of Alencon that a prince who avowed himself too
poor to pay for soldiers was no master for him. The Baron, therefore,
came, to an understanding with La Motte and Sarrasin, acting for
Alexander Farnese, and received the command of the infantry in the
Walloon provinces, a merced of four thousand crowns a year, together with
as large a slice of La Motte's hundred thousand florins for himself and
soldiers, as that officer could be induced to part with.

Baron Capres, whom Sarrasin--being especially enjoined to purchase
him--had, in his own language, "sweated blood and water" to secure, at
last agreed to reconcile himself with the King's party upon condition of
receiving the government-general of Artois, together with the particular
government of Hesdin--very lucrative offices, which the Viscount of Ghent
then held by commission of the states-general. That politic personage,
however, whose disinclination to desert the liberty party which had
clothed him with such high functions, was apparently so marked that the
Prior had caused an ambush to be laid both for him and the Marquis Havre,
in-order to obtain bodily possession of two such powerful enemies, now,
at the last moment, displayed his true colors. He consented to reconcile
himself also, on condition of receiving the royal appointment to the same
government which he then held from the patriot authorities, together with
the title of Marquis de Richebourg, the command of all the cavalry in the
royalist provinces, and certain rewards in money besides. By holding
himself at a high mark, and keeping at a distance, he had obtained his
price. Capres, for whom Philip, at Parma's suggestion, had sent the
commission as governor of Artois and of Hesdin, was obliged to renounce
those offices, notwithstanding his earlier "reconciliation," and the
"blood and water" of John Sarrasin. Ghent was not even contented with
these guerdons, but insisted upon the command of all the cavalry,
including the band of ordnance which, with handsome salary, had been
assigned to Lalain as a part of the wages for his treason, while the
"little Count"--fiery as his small and belligerent cousin whose exploits
have been recorded in the earlier pages of this history--boldly taxed
Parma and the King with cheating him out of his promised reward, in order
to please a noble whose services had been less valuable than those of the
Lalain family. Having thus obtained the lion's share, due, as he thought,
to his well known courage and military talents, as well as to the
powerful family influence, which he wielded--his brother, the Prince of
Espinoy, hereditary seneschal of Hainault, having likewise rallied to the
King's party--Ghent jocosely intimated to Parma his intention of helping
himself to the two best horses in the Prince's stables in exchange for
those lost at Gemblours, in which disastrous action he had commanded the
cavalry for the states. He also sent two terriers to Farnese, hoping that
they would "prove more useful than beautiful." The Prince might have
thought, perhaps, as much of the Viscount's treason.

John Sarrasin, the all-accomplished Prior, as the reward of his
exertions, received from Philip the abbey of Saint Vaast, the richest and
most powerful ecclesiastical establishment in the Netherlands. At a
subsequent period his grateful Sovereign created him Archbishop of

Thus the "troubles of Arras"--as they were called--terminated. Gosson the
respected, wealthy, eloquent, and virtuous advocate; together with his
colleagues--all Catholics, but at the same time patriots and
liberals--died the death of felons for their unfortunate attempt to save
their fatherland from an ecclesiastical and venal conspiracy; while the
actors in the plot, having all performed well their parts, received their
full meed of prizes and applause.

The private treaty by which the Walloon provinces of Artois, Hainault,
Lille, Douay, and Orchies, united themselves in a separate league was
signed upon the 6th of January, 1579; but the final arrangements for the
reconciliation of the Malcontent nobles and their soldiers were not
completed until April 6th, upon which day a secret paper was signed at
Mount Saint Eloi.

The secret current of the intrigue had not, however, flowed on with
perfect smoothness until this placid termination. On the contrary, here
had been much bickering, heart-burning, and mutual suspicions and
recriminations. There had been violent wranglings among the claimants of
the royal rewards. Lalain and Capres were not the only Malcontents who
had cause to complain of being cheated of the promised largess. Montigny,
in whose favor Parma had distinctly commanded La Motte to be liberal of
the King's secret-service money, furiously charged the Governor of
Gravelines with having received a large supply of gold from Spain, and of
"locking the rascal counters from his friends," so that Parma was obliged
to quiet the Baron, and many other barons in the same predicament, out of
his own purse. All complained bitterly, too, that the King, whose
promises had been so profuse to the nobles while the reconciliation was
pending, turned a deaf ear to their petitions and left their letters
unanswered; after the deed was accomplished.

The unlucky Prior of Renty, whose disclosures to La Motte concerning the
Spanish sarcasms upon his venality, had so nearly caused the preliminary
negotiation with that seignior to fail, was the cause of still further
mischief through the interception of Alonzo Curiel's private letters.
Such revelations of corruption, and of contempt on the part of the
corrupters, were eagerly turned to account by the states' government. A
special messenger was despatched to Montigny with the intercepted
correspondence, accompanied by an earnest prayer that he would not
contaminate his sword and his noble name by subserviency to men who
despised even while they purchased traitors. That noble, both confounded
and exasperated, was for a moment inclined to listen to the voice of
honor and patriotism, but reflection and solitude induced him to pocket
up his wrongs and his "merced" together. The states-general also sent the
correspondence to the Walloon provincial authorities, with an eloquent
address, begging them to study well the pitiful part which La Motte had
enacted in the private comedy then performing, and to behold as in a
mirror their own position, if they did not recede ere it was too late.

The only important effect produced by the discovery was upon the Prior of
Renty himself. Ottavio Gonzaga, the intimate friend of Don John, and now
high in the confidence of Parma, wrote to La Motte, indignantly denying
the truth of Bien Aime's tattle, and affirming that not a word had ever
been uttered by himself or by any gentleman in his presence to the
disparagement of the Governor of Gravelines. He added that if the Prior
had worn another coat, and were of quality equal to his own, he would
have made him eat his words or a few inches of steel. In the same
vehement terms he addressed a letter to Bien Aime himself. Very soon
afterwards, notwithstanding his coat and his quality, that unfortunate
ecclesiastic found himself beset one dark night by two soldiers, who left
him, severely wounded and bleeding nearly to death upon the high road,
but escaping with life, he wrote to Parma, recounting his wrongs and the
"sword-thrust in his left thigh," and made a demand for a merced.

The Prior recovered from this difficulty only to fall into another, by
publishing what he called an apologue, in which he charged that the
reconciled nobles were equally false to the royal and to the rebel
government, and that, although "the fatted calf had been killed for them,
after they had so long been feeding with perverse heretical pigs," they
were, in truth, as mutinous as ever, being bent upon establishing an
oligarchy in the Netherlands, and dividing the territory among
themselves, to the exclusion of the sovereign. This naturally excited the
wrath of the Viscount and others. The Seigneur d'Auberlieu, in a letter
written in what the writer himself called the "gross style of a
gendarme," charged the Prior with maligning honorable lords and--in the
favorite colloquial phrase of the day--with attempting "to throw the cat
against their legs." The real crime of the meddling priest, however, was
to have let that troublesome animal out of the bag. He was accordingly
waylaid again, and thrown into prison by Count Lalain. While in durance
he published an abject apology for his apologue, explaining that his
allusions to "returned prodigals," "heretic swine," and to "Sodom and
Gomorrah," had been entirely misconstrued. He was, however, retained in
custody until Parma ordered his release on the ground that the punishment
had been already sufficient for the offence. He then requested to be
appointed Bishop of Saint Omer, that see being vacant. Parma advised the
King by no means to grant the request--the Prior being neither endowed
with the proper age nor discretion for such a dignity--but to bestow some
lesser reward, in money or otherwise, upon the discomfited ecclesiastic,
who had rendered so many services and incurred so many dangers.

The states-general and the whole national party regarded, with prophetic
dismay, the approaching dismemberment of their common country. They sent
deputation on deputation to the Walloon states, to warn them of their
danger, and to avert, if possible, the fatal measure. Meantime, as by the
already accomplished movement, the "generality" was fast disappearing,
and was indeed but the shadow of its former self, it seemed necessary to
make a vigorous effort to restore something like unity to the struggling
country. The Ghent Pacification had been their outer wall, ample enough
and strong enough to enclose and to protect all the provinces. Treachery
and religious fanaticism had undermined the bulwark almost as soon as
reared. The whole beleaguered country was in danger of becoming utterly
exposed to a foe who grew daily more threatening. As in besieged cities,
a sudden breastwork is thrown up internally, when the outward defences
are crumbling--so the energy of Orange had been silently preparing the
Union of Utrecht, as a temporary defence until the foe should be beaten
back, and there should be time to decide on their future course of

During the whole month of December, an active correspondence had been
carried on by the Prince and his brother John with various agents in
Gelderland, Friesland, and Groningen, as well as with influential
personages in the more central provinces and cities. Gelderland, the
natural bulwark to Holland and Zealand, commanding the four great rivers
of the country, had been fortunately placed under the government of the
trusty John of Nassau, that province being warmly in favor of a closer
union with its sister provinces, and particularly with those more nearly
allied to itself in religion and in language.

Already, in December (1578), Count John, in behalf of his brother, had
laid before the states of Holland and Zealand, assembled at Gorcum, the
project of a new union with "Gelderland, Ghent, Friesland, Utrecht,
Overyssel, and Groningen." The proposition had been favorably
entertained, and commissioners had been appointed to confer with other
commissioners at Utrecht, whenever they should be summoned by Count John.
The Prince, with the silence and caution which belonged to his whole
policy, chose not to be the ostensible mover in the plan himself. He did
not choose to startle unnecessarily the Archduke Matthias--the cipher who
had been placed by his side, whose sudden subtraction would occasion more
loss than his presence had conferred benefit. He did not choose to be
cried out upon as infringing the Ghent Pacification, although the whole
world knew that treaty to be hopelessly annulled. For these and many
other weighty motives, he proposed that the new Union should be the
apparent work of other hands, and only offered to him and to the country,
when nearly completed. January, the deputies of Gelderland and Zutfelt,
with Count John, stadholder of these provinces, at their head, met with
the deputies of Holland, Zealand, and the provinces between the Ems and
the Lauwers, early in January, 1579, and on the 23rd of that month,
without waiting longer for the deputies of the other provinces, they
agreed provisionally upon a treaty of union which was published
afterwards on the 29th, from the Town House of Utrecht.

This memorable document--which is ever regarded as the foundation of the
Netherland Republic--contained twenty-six articles.

The preamble stated the object of the union. It was to strengthen, not to
forsake the Ghent Pacification, already nearly annihilated by the force
of foreign soldiery. For this purpose, and in order more conveniently to
defend themselves against their foes, the deputies of Gelderland, Zutfen,
Holland, Zealand, Utrecht, and the Frisian provinces, thought it
desirable to form a still closer union. The contracting provinces agreed
to remain eternally united, as if they were but one province. At the same
time, it was understood that each was to retain its particular
privileges, liberties, laudable and traditionary customs, and other laws.
The cities, corporations, and inhabitants of every province were to be
guaranteed as to their ancient constitutions. Disputes concerning these
various statutes and customs were to be decided by the usual tribunals,
by "good men," or by amicable compromise. The provinces, by virtue of the
Union, were to defend each other "with life, goods, and blood," against
all force brought against them in the King's name or behalf. They were
also to defend each other against all foreign or domestic potentates,
provinces, or cities, provided such defence were controlled by the
"generality" of the union. For the expense occasioned by the protection
of the provinces, certain imposts and excises were to be equally assessed
and collected. No truce or peace was to be concluded, no war commenced,
no impost established affecting the "generality," but by unanimous advice
and consent of the provinces. Upon other matters the majority was to
decide; the votes being taken in the manner then customary in the
assembly of states-general. In case of difficulty in coming to a
unanimous vote when required, the matter was to be referred to the
stadholders then in office. In case cf their inability to agree, they
were to appoint arbitrators, by whose decision the parties were to be
governed. None of the united provinces, or of their cities or
corporations, were to make treaties with other potentates or states,
without consent of their confederates. If neighbouring princes,
provinces, or cities, wished to enter into this confederacy, they were to
be received by the unanimous consent of the united provinces. A common
currency was to be established for the confederacy. In the matter of
divine worship, Holland and Zealand were to conduct themselves as they
should think proper. The other provinces of the union, however, were
either to conform to the religious peace already laid down by Archduke
Matthias and his council, or to make such other arrangements as each
province should for itself consider appropriate for the maintenance of
its internal tranquillity--provided always that every individual should
remain free in his religion, and that no man should be molested or
questioned on the subject of divine worship, as had been already
established by the Ghent Pacification. As a certain dispute arose
concerning the meaning of this important clause, an additional paragraph
was inserted a few days afterwards. In this it was stated that there was
no intention of excluding from the confederacy any province or city which
was wholly Catholic, or in which the number of the Reformed was not
sufficiently large to entitle them, by the religious peace, to public
worship. On the contrary, the intention was to admit them, provided they
obeyed the articles of union, and conducted themselves as good patriots;
it being intended that no province or city should interfere with another
in the matter of divine service. Disputes between two provinces were to
be decided by the others, or--in case the generality were concerned--by
the provisions of the ninth article.

The confederates were to assemble at Utrecht whenever summoned by those
commissioned for that purpose. A majority of votes was to decide on
matters then brought before them, even in case of the absence of some
members of the confederacy, who might, however, send written proxies.
Additions or amendments to these articles could only be made by unanimous
consent. The articles were to be signed by the stadholders, magistrates,
and principal officers of each province and city, and by all the
train-bands, fraternities, and sodalities which might exist in the cities
or villages of the union.

Such were the simple provisions of that instrument which became the
foundation of the powerful Commonwealth of the United Netherlands. On the
day when it was concluded, there were present deputies from five
provinces only. Count John of Nassau signed first, as stadholder of
Gelderland and Zutfen. His signature was followed by those of four
deputies from that double province; and the envoys of Holland, Zealand,
Utrecht and the Frisian provinces, then signed the document.

The Prince himself, although in reality the principal director of the
movement, delayed appending his signature until May the 3rd, 1579. Herein
he was actuated by the reasons already stated, and by the hope which he
still entertained that a wider union might be established, with Matthias
for its nominal chief. His enemies, as usual, attributed this patriotic
delay to baser motives. They accused him of a desire to assume the
governor-generalship himself, to the exclusion of the Archduke--an
insinuation which the states of Holland took occasion formally to
denounce as a calumny. For those who have studied the character and
history of the man, a defence against such slander is superfluous.
Matthias was but the shadow, Orange the substance. The Archduke had been
accepted only to obviate the evil effects of a political intrigue, and
with the express condition that the Prince should be his
lieutenant-general in name, his master in fact. Directly after his
departure in the following year, the Prince's authority, which nominally
departed also, was re-established in his own person, and by express act
of the states-general.

The Union of Utrecht was the foundation-stone of the Netherland Republic;
but the framers of the confederacy did not intend the establishment of a
Republic, or of an independent commonwealth of any kind. They had not
forsworn the Spanish monarch. It was not yet their intention to forswear
him. Certainly the act of union contained no allusion to such an
important step. On the contrary, in the brief preamble they expressly
stated their intention to strengthen the Ghent Pacification, and the
Ghent Pacification acknowledged obedience to the King. They intended no
political innovation of any kind. They expressly accepted matters as they
were. All statutes, charters, and privileges of provinces, cities, or
corporations were to remain untouched. They intended to form neither an
independent state nor an independent federal system. No doubt the formal
renunciation of allegiance, which was to follow within two years, was
contemplated by many as a future probability; but it could not be
foreseen with certainty.

The simple act of union was not regarded as the constitution of a
commonwealth. Its object was a single one--defence against a foreign
oppressor. The contracting parties bound themselves together to spend all
their treasure and all their blood in expelling the foreign soldiery from
their soil. To accomplish this purpose, they carefully abstained from
intermeddling with internal politics and with religion. Every man was to
worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. Every
combination of citizens, from the provincial states down to the humblest
rhetoric club, was to retain its ancient constitution. The establishment
of a Republic, which lasted two centuries, which threw a girdle of rich
dependencies entirely round the globe, and which attained so remarkable a
height of commercial prosperity and political influence, was the result
of the Utrecht Union; but, it was not a premeditated result. A state,
single towards the rest of the world, a unit in its external relations,
while permitting internally a variety of sovereignties and
institutions--in many respects the prototype of our own much more
extensive and powerful union--was destined to spring from the act thus
signed by the envoys of five provinces. Those envoys were acting,
however, under the pressure of extreme necessity, and for what was
believed an evanescent purpose. The future confederacy was not to
resemble the system of the German empire, for it was to acknowledge no
single head. It was to differ from the Achaian league, in the far
inferior amount of power which it permitted to its general assembly, and
in the consequently greater proportion of sovereign attributes which were
retained by the individual states. It was, on the other hand, to furnish
a closer and more intimate bond than that of the Swiss confederacy, which
was only a union for defence and external purposes, of cantons otherwise
independent. It was, finally, to differ from the American federal
commonwealth in the great feature that it was to be merely a confederacy
of sovereignties, not a representative Republic. Its foundation was a
compact, not a constitution. The contracting parties were states and
corporations, who considered themselves as representing small
nationalities 'dejure et de facto', and as succeeding to the supreme
power at the very instant in which allegiance to the Spanish monarch was
renounced. The general assembly was a collection of diplomatic envoys,
bound by instructions from independent states. The voting was not by
heads, but by states. The deputies were not representatives of the
people, but of the states; for the people of the United States of the
Netherlands never assembled--as did the people of the United States of
America two centuries later--to lay down a constitution, by which they
granted a generous amount of power to the union, while they reserved
enough of sovereign attributes to secure that local self-government which
is the life-blood of liberty.

The Union of Utrecht; narrowed as it was to the nether portion of that
country which, as a whole, might have formed a commonwealth so much more
powerful, was in origin a proof of this lamentable want of patriotism.
Could the jealousy of great nobles, the rancour of religious differences,
the Catholic bigotry of the Walloon population, on the one side,
contending with the democratic insanity of the Ghent populace on the
other, have been restrained within bounds by the moderate counsels of
William of Orange, it would have been possible to unite seventeen
provinces instead of seven, and to save many long and blighting years of
civil war.

The Utrecht Union was, however, of inestimable value. It was time for
some step to be taken, if anarchy were not to reign until the inquisition
and absolutism were restored. Already, out of Chaos and Night, the coming
Republic was assuming substance and form. The union, if it created
nothing else, at least constructed a league against a foreign foe whose
armed masses were pouring faster and faster into the territory of the
provinces. Farther than this it did not propose to go. It maintained what
it found. It guaranteed religious liberty, and accepted the civil and
political constitutions already in existence. Meantime, the defects of
those constitutions, although visible and sensible, had not grown to the
large proportions which they were destined to attain.

Thus by the Union of Utrecht on the one hand, and the fast approaching
reconciliation of the Walloon provinces on the other, the work of
decomposition and of construction went Land in hand.


     Are apt to discharge such obligations--(by) ingratitude
     Like a man holding a wolf by the ears
     Local self-government which is the life-blood of liberty
     No man ever understood the art of bribery more thoroughly
     Not so successful as he was picturesque
     Plundering the country which they came to protect
     Presumption in entitling themselves Christian
     Protect the common tranquillity by blood, purse, and life
     Republic, which lasted two centuries
     Throw the cat against their legs
     Worship God according to the dictates of his conscience

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 32


By John Lothrop Motley


   Parma's feint upon Antwerp--He invests Maestricht--Deputation and
   letters from the states-general, from Brussels, and from Parma, to
   the Walloon provinces--Active negotiations by Orange and by Farnese
   --Walloon envoys in Parma's camp before Maestricht--Festivities--The
   Treaty of Reconciliation--Rejoicings of the royalist party--Comedy
   enacted at the Paris theatres--Religious tumults in Antwerp,
   Utrecht, and other cities--Religious Peace enforced by Orange--
   Philip Egmont's unsuccessful attempt upon Brussels--Siege of
   Maestricht--Failure at the Tongres gate--Mining and countermining--
   Partial destruction of the Tongres ravelin--Simultaneous attack upon
   the Tongres and Bolls-le-Duo gates--The Spaniards repulsed with
   great loss--Gradual encroachments of the besiegers--Bloody contests
   --The town taken--Horrible massacre--Triumphal entrance and solemn
   thanksgiving--Calumnious attacks upon Orange--Renewed troubles in
   Ghent--Imbue and Dathenus--The presence of the Prince solicited--
   Coup d'etat of Imbue--Order restored, and Imbue expelled by Orange

The political movements in both directions were to be hastened by the
military operations of the opening season. On the night of the 2nd of
March, 1579, the Prince of Parma made a demonstration against Antwerp. A
body of three thousand Scotch and English, lying at Borgerhout, was
rapidly driven in, and a warm skirmish ensued, directly under the walls
of the city. The Prince of Orange, with the Archduke Matthias, being in
Antwerp at the time, remained on the fortifications; superintending the
action, and Parma was obliged to retire after an hour or two of sharp
fighting, with a loss of four hundred men. This demonstration was,
however, only a feint. His real design was upon Maestricht; before which
important city he appeared in great force, ten days afterwards, when he
was least expected.

Well fortified, surrounded by a broad and deep moat; built upon both
sides of the Meuse, upon the right bank of which river, however, the
portion of the town was so inconsiderable that it was merely called the
village of Wyk, this key to the German gate of the Netherlands was,
unfortunately, in brave but feeble hands. The garrison was hardly one
thousand strong; the trained bands of burghers amounted to twelve hundred
more; while between three and four thousand peasants; who had taken
refuge within the city walls, did excellent service as sappers and
miners. Parma, on the other hand, had appeared before the walls with
twenty thousand men; to which number he received constant reinforcements.
The Bishop of Liege, too, had sent him four thousand pioneers--a most
important service; for mining and countermining was to decide the fate of

Early in January the royalists had surprised the strong chateau of
Carpen, in the neighbourhood of the city, upon which occasion the
garrison were all hanged by moonlight on the trees in the orchard. The
commandant shared their fate; and it is a curious fact that he had,
precisely a year previously, hanged the royalist captain, Blomaert, on
the same spot, who, with the rope around his neck, had foretold a like
doom to his destroyer.

The Prince of Orange, feeling the danger of Maestricht, lost no time in
warning the states to the necessary measures, imploring them "not to fall
asleep in the shade of a peace negotiation," while meantime Parma threw
two bridges over the Meuse, above and below the city, and then invested
the place so closely that all communication was absolutely suspended.
Letters could pass to and fro only at extreme peril to the messengers,
and all possibility of reinforcing the city at the moment was cut off.

While this eventful siege was proceeding, the negotiations with the
Walloons were ripening. The siege and the conferences went hand in hand.
Besides the secret arrangements already described for the separation of
the Walloon provinces, there had been much earnest and eloquent
remonstrance on the part of the states-general and of Orange--many solemn
embassies and public appeals. As usual, the Pacification of Ghent was the
two-sided shield which hung between the parties to cover or to justify
the blows which each dealt at the other. There is no doubt as to the real
opinion entertained concerning that famous treaty by the royal party.
"Through the peace of Ghent," said Saint Vaast, "all our woes have been
brought upon us." La Motte informed Parma that it was necessary to
pretend a respect for the Pacification, however, on account of its
popularity, but that it was well understood by the leaders of the Walloon
movement, that the intention was to restore the system of Charles the
Fifth. Parma signified his consent to make use of that treaty as a basis,
"provided always it were interpreted healthily, and not dislocated by
cavillations and sinister interpolations, as had been done by the Prince
of Orange." The Malcontent generals of the Walloon troops were
inexpressibly anxious lest the cause of religion should be endangered;
but the arguments by which Parma convinced those military casuists as to
the compatibility of the Ghent peace with sound doctrine have already
been exhibited. The influence of the reconciled nobles was brought to
bear with fatal effect upon the states of Artois, Hainault, and of a
portion of French Flanders. The Gallic element in their blood, and an
intense attachment to the Roman ceremonial, which distinguished the
Walloon population from their Batavian brethren, were used successfully
by the wily Parma to destroy the unity of the revolted Netherlands.
Moreover, the King offered good terms. The monarch, feeling safe on the
religious point, was willing to make liberal promises upon the political
questions. In truth, the great grievance of which the Walloons complained
was the insolence and intolerable outrages of the foreign soldiers. This,
they said, had alone made them malcontent. It was; therefore, obviously
the cue of Parma to promise the immediate departure of the troops. This
could be done the more easily, as he had no intention of keeping the

Meantime the efforts of Orange, and of the states-general, where his
influence was still paramount, were unceasing to counteract the policy of
Parma. A deputation was appointed by the generality to visit the estates
of the Walloon provinces. Another was sent by the authorities of
Brussels. The Marquis of Havre, with several colleagues on behalf of the
states-general, waited upon the Viscount of Ghent, by whom they were
received with extreme insolence. He glared upon them, without moving, as
they were admitted to his presence; "looking like a dead man, from whom
the soul had entirely departed." Recovering afterwards from this stony
trance of indignation, he demanded a sight of their instructions. This
they courteously refused, as they were accredited not to him, but to the
states of Artois. At this he fell into a violent passion, and threatened
them with signal chastisement for daring to come thither with so
treasonable a purpose. In short, according to their own expression; he
treated them "as if they had been rogues and vagabonds." The Marquis of
Havre, high-born though he was, had been sufficiently used to such
conduct. The man who had successively served and betrayed every party,
who had been the obsequious friend and the avowed enemy of Don John
within the same fortnight, and who had been able to swallow and inwardly
digest many an insult from that fiery warrior, was even fain to brook the
insolence of Robert Melun.

The papers which the deputation had brought were finally laid before the
states of Artois, and received replies as prompt and bitter as the
addresses were earnest and eloquent. The Walloons, when summoned to hold
to that aegis of national unity, the Ghent peace, replied that it was not
they, but the heretic portion of the states-general, who were for dashing
it to the ground. The Ghent treaty was never intended to impair the
supremacy of the Catholic religion, said those provinces, which were
already on the point of separating for ever from the rest. The Ghent
treaty was intended expressly to destroy the inquisition and the
placards, answered the national-party. Moreover, the "very marrow of that
treaty" was the-departure of the foreign soldiers, who were even then
overrunning the land. The Walloons answered that Alexander had expressly
conceded the withdrawal of the troops. "Believe not the fluting and the
piping of the crafty foe," urged the patriots. "Promises are made
profusely enough--but only to lure you to perdition. Your enemies allow
you to slake your hunger and thirst with this idle hope of the troops'
departure, but you are still in fetters, although the chain be of Spanish
pinchbeck, which you mistake for gold." "'Tis not we," cried the
Walloons, "who wish to separate from the generality; 'tis the generality
which separates from us. We had rather die the death than not maintain
the union. In the very same breath, however, they boasted of the
excellent terms which the monarch was offering, and of their strong
inclination to accept them." "Kings, struggling to recover a lost
authority, always promise golden mountains and every sort of miracles,"
replied the patriots; but the warning was uttered in vain.

Meantime the deputation from the city of Brussels arrived on the 28th of
March at Mons, in Hainault, where they were received with great courtesy
by Count de Lalain, governor of the province. The enthusiasm with which
he had espoused the cause of Queen Margaret and her brother Anjou had
cooled, but the Count received the Brussels envoys with a kindness in
marked contrast with the brutality of Melun. He made many fine
speeches--protesting his attachment to, the union, for which he was ready
to shed the last drop of his blood--entertained the deputies at dinner,
proposed toasts to the prosperity of the united provinces, and dismissed
his guests at last with many flowery professions. After dancing
attendance for a few days, however, upon the estates of the Walloon
provinces, both sets of deputies were warned to take their instant
departure as mischief-makers and rebels. They returned, accordingly, to
Brussels, bringing the written answers which the estates had vouchsafed
to send.

The states-general, too, inspired by William of Orange, addressed a
solemn appeal to their sister provinces, thus about to abjure the bonds
of relationship for ever. It seemed right, once for all, to grapple with
the Ghent Pacification for the last time, and to strike a final blow in
defence of that large statesmanlike interpretation, which alone could
make the treaty live. This was done eloquently and logically. The
Walloons were reminded that at the epoch of the Ghent peace the number of
Reformers outside of Holland and Zealand was supposed small. Now the new
religion had spread its roots through the whole land, and innumerable
multitudes desired its exercise. If Holland and Zealand chose to
reestablish the Catholic worship within their borders, they could
manifestly do so without violating the treaty of Ghent. Why then was it
not competent to other provinces, with equal allegiance to the treaty, to
sanction the Reformed religion within their limits?

Parma, on his part, publicly invited the states-general, by letter, to
sustain the Ghent treaty by accepting the terms offered to the Walloons,
and by restoring the system of the Emperor Charles, of very lofty memory.
To this superfluous invitation the states-general replied, on the 19th of
March, that it had been the system of the Emperor Charles; of lofty
memory, to maintain the supremacy of Catholicism and of Majesty in the
Netherlands by burning Netherlanders--a custom which the states, with
common accord, had thought it desirable to do away with.

In various fervently-written appeals by Orange, by the states-general,
and by other bodies, the wavering provinces were warned against
seduction. They were reminded that the Prince of Parma was using this
minor negotiation "as a second string to his bow;" that nothing could be
more puerile than to suppose the Spaniards capable, after securing
Maestricht, of sending away their troops thus "deserting the bride in the
midst of the honeymoon." They expressed astonishment at being invited to
abandon the great and general treaty which had been made upon the theatre
of the whole world by the intervention of the principal princes of
Christendom, in order to partake in underhand negotiation with the
commissioners of Parma-men, "who, it would not be denied, were felons and
traitors." They warned their brethren not to embark on the enemy's ships
in the dark, for that, while chaffering as to the price of the voyage,
they would find that the false pilots had hoisted sail and borne them
away in the night. In vain would they then seek to reach the shore again.
The example of La Motte and others, "bird-limed with Spanish gold,"
should be salutary for all-men who were now driven forward with a whip,
laughed to scorn by their new masters, and forced to drink the bitter
draught of humiliation along with the sweet poison of bribery. They were
warned to study well the intercepted letters of Curiel, in order fully to
fathom the deep designs and secret contempt of the enemy.

Such having been the result of the negotiations between the
states-general and the Walloon provinces, a strong deputation now went
forth from those provinces, towards the end of April, to hold a final
colloquy with Parma, then already busied with the investment of
Maestricht. They were met upon the road with great ceremony, and escorted
into the presence of Farnese with drum, trumpet, and flaunting banners.
He received them with stately affability, in a magnificently decorated
pavilion, carelessly inviting them to a repast, which he called an
afternoon's lunch, but which proved a most sumptuous and splendidly
appointed entertainment. This "trifling foolish banquet" finished, the
deputies were escorted, with great military parade, to the lodgings which
had been provided for them in a neighbouring village. During the period
of their visit, all the chief officers of the army and the household were
directed to entertain the Walloons with showy festivals, dinners,
suppers, dances, and carousals of all kinds. At one of the most brilliant
of these revels--a magnificent ball, to which all the matrons and maids
of the whole country round had been bidden--the Prince of Parma himself
unexpectedly made his appearance. He gently rebuked the entertainers for
indulging in such splendid hospitality without, at least, permitting him
to partake of it. Charmingly affable to the ladies assembled in the
ball-room, courteous, but slightly reserved, towards the Walloon envoys,
he excited the admiration of all by the splendid decorum of his manners.
As he moved through the halls, modulating his steps in grave cadence to
the music, the dignity and grace of his deportment seemed truly majestic;
but when he actually danced a measure himself the enthusiasm was at its
height. They should, indeed, be rustics, cried the Walloon envoys in a
breath, not to give the hand of fellowship at once to a Prince so
condescending and amiable. The exclamation seemed to embody the general
wish, and to foreshadow a speedy conclusion.

Very soon afterwards a preliminary accord was signed between the King's
government and the Walloon provinces. The provisions on his Majesty's
part were sufficiently liberal. The religious question furnishing no
obstacle, it was comparatively easy for Philip to appear benignant. It
was stipulated that the provincial privileges should be respected; that a
member of the King's own family, legitimately born, should always be
Governor-General, and that the foreign troops should be immediately
withdrawn. The official exchange and ratification of this treaty were
delayed till the 4th of the following September, but the news that, the
reconciliation had been definitely settled soon spread through the
country. The Catholics were elated, the patriots dismayed. Orange-the
"Prince of Darkness," as the Walloons of the day were fond of calling
him--still unwilling to despair, reluctant to accept this dismemberment,
which he foresaw was to be a perpetual one, of his beloved country,
addressed the most passionate and solemn adjurations to the Walloon
provinces, and to their military chieftains. He offered all his children
as hostages for his good faith in keeping sacredly any covenant which his
Catholic countrymen might be willing to close with him. It was in vain.
The step was irretrievably taken; religious bigotry, patrician jealousy,
and wholesale bribery, had severed the Netherlands in twain for ever. The
friends of Romanism, the enemies of civil and religious liberty, exulted
from one end of Christendom to the other, and it was recognized that
Parma had, indeed, achieved a victory which although bloodless, was as
important to the cause of absolutism as any which even his sword was
likely to achieve.

The joy of the Catholic party in Paris manifested itself in a variety of
ways. At the principal theatre an uncouth pantomime was exhibited, in
which his Catholic Majesty was introduced upon the stage, leading by a
halter a sleek cow, typifying the Netherlands. The animal by a sudden
effort, broke the cord, and capered wildly about. Alexander of Parma
hastened to fasten the fragments together, while sundry personages,
representing the states-general, seized her by the horns, some leaping
upon her back, others calling upon the bystanders to assist in holding
the restive beast. The Emperor, the King of France, and the Queen of
England--which last personage was observed now to smile upon one party,
now to affect deep sympathy with the other--remained stationary; but the
Duke of Alencon rushed upon the stage, and caught the cow by the tail.
The Prince of Orange and Hans Casimir then appeared with a bucket, and
set themselves busily to milk her, when Alexander again seized the
halter. The cow gave a plunge, upset the pail, prostrated Casimir with
one kick and Orange with another, and then followed Parma with docility
as he led her back to Philip. This seems not very "admirable fooling,"
but it was highly relished by the polite Parisians of the sixteenth
century, and has been thought worthy of record by classical historians.

The Walloon accord was an auspicious prelude, in the eyes of the friends
of absolutism, to the negotiations which were opened in the month of May,
at Cologne. Before sketching, as rapidly as possible, those celebrated
but barren conferences, it is necessary, for the sake of unity in the
narrative, to cast a glance at certain synchronical events in different
parts of the Netherlands.

The success attained by the Catholic party in the Walloon negotiations
had caused a corresponding bitterness in the hearts of the Reformers
throughout the country. As usual, bitterness had begot bitterness;
intolerance engendered intolerance. On the 28th of May, 1579, as the
Catholics of Antwerp were celebrating the Ommegang--the same festival
which had been the exciting cause of the memorable tumults of the year
sixty-five--the irritation of the populace could not be repressed. The
mob rose in its wrath to put down these demonstrations--which, taken in
connection with recent events, seemed ill-timed and insolent--of a
religion whose votaries then formed but a small minority of the Antwerp
citizens. There was a great tumult. Two persons were killed. The Archduke
Matthias, who was himself in the Cathedral of Notre Dame assisting at the
ceremony, was in danger of his life. The well known cry of "paapen uit"
(out with the papists) resounded through the streets, and the priests and
monks were all hustled out of town amid a tempest of execrations. Orange
did his utmost to quell the mutiny, nor were his efforts fruitless--for
the uproar, although seditious and disgraceful, was hardly sanguinary.
Next day the Prince summoned the magistracy, the Monday council, the
guild officers, with all the chief municipal functionaries, and expressed
his indignation in decided terms. He protested that if such tumults,
originating in that very spirit of intolerance which he most deplored,
could not be repressed for the future, he was determined to resign his
offices, and no longer to affect authority in a city where his counsels
were derided. The magistrates, alarmed at his threats, and sympathizing
with his anger, implored him not to desert them, protesting that if he
should resign his offices, they would instantly lay down their own. An
ordinance was then drawn up and immediately, proclaimed at the Town
House, permitting the Catholics to re-enter the city, and to enjoy the
privileges of religious worship. At the same time, it was announced that
a new draft of a religious peace would be forthwith issued for the
adoption of every city.

A similar tumult, arising from the same cause, at Utrecht, was attended
with the like result. On the other hand, the city of Brussels was
astonished by a feeble and unsuccessful attempts at treason, made by a
youth who bore an illustrious name. Philip, Count of Egmont, eldest son
of the unfortunate Lamoral, had command of a regiment in the service of
the states. He had, besides, a small body of cavalry in immediate
attendance upon his person. He had for some time felt inclined--like the
Lalains, Meluns, La Mottes, and others to reconcile himself with the
Crown, and he wisely thought that the terms accorded to him would be more
liberal if he could bring the capital of Brabant with him as a peace
offering to his Majesty. His residence was in Brussels. His regiment was
stationed outside the gates, but in the immediate neighbourhood of the
city. On the morning of the 4th of June he despatched his troopers--as
had been frequently his custom--on various errands into the country. On
their return, after having summoned the regiment, they easily mastered
and butchered the guard at the gate through which they had re-entered,
supplying their place with men from their own ranks. The Egmont regiment
then came marching through the gate in good order--Count Philip at their
head--and proceeded to station themselves upon the Grande Place in the
centre of the city. All this was at dawn of day. The burghers, who looked
forth from their houses, were astounded and perplexed by this movement at
so unwonted an hour, and hastened to seize their weapons. Egmont sent a
detachment to take possession of the palace. He was too late. Colonel Van
der Tympel, commandant of the city, had been beforehand with him, had got
his troops under arms, and now secured the rebellious detachment.
Meantime, the alarm had spread. Armed burghers came from every house, and
barricades were hastily thrown up across every one of the narrow streets
leading to the square. Every issue was closed. Not a man of Egmont's
adherents--if he indeed had adherents among the townsmen--dared to show
his face. The young traitor and his whole regiment, drawn up on the
Grande Place, were completely entrapped. He had not taken Brussels, but
assuredly Brussels had taken him. All day long he was kept in his
self-elected prison and pillory, bursting with rage and shame. His
soldiers, who were without meat or drink, became insolent and uproarious,
and he was doomed also to hear the bitter and well-merited taunts of the
towns-people. A thousand stinging gibes, suggested by his name and the
locality, were mercilessly launched upon him. He was asked if he came
thither to seek his father's head. He was reminded that the morrow was
the anniversary of that father's murder upon that very spot--by those
with whom the son would now make his treasonable peace. He was bidden to
tear up but a few stones from the pavement beneath his feet, that the
hero's blood might cry out against him from the very ground.

Tears of shame and fury sprang from the young man's eyes as he listened
to these biting sarcasms, but the night closed upon that memorable
square, and still the Count was a prisoner. Eleven years before, the
summer stars had looked down upon a more dense array of armed men within
that place. The preparations for the pompous and dramatic execution,
which on the morrow was to startle all Europe, had been carried out in
the midst of a hushed and overawed population; and now, on the very
anniversary of the midnight in which that scaffold had risen, should not
the grand spectre of the victim have started from the grave to chide his
traitorous son?

Thus for a whole day and night was the baffled conspirator compelled to
remain in the ignominious position which he had selected for himself. On
the morning of the 5th of June he was permitted to depart, by a somewhat
inexplicable indulgence, together with all his followers. He rode out of
the gate at early dawn, contemptible and crest-fallen, at the head of his
regiment of traitors, and shortly afterwards--pillaging and levying black
mail as he went--made his way to Montigny's quarters.

It might have seemed natural, after such an exhibition, that Philip
Egmont should accept his character of renegade, and confess his intention
of reconciling himself with the murderers of his father. On the contrary,
he addressed a letter to the magistracy of Brussels, denying with
vehemence "any intention of joining the party of the pernicious
Spaniards," warmly protesting his zeal and affection for the states, and
denouncing the "perverse inventors of these calumnies against him as the
worst enemies of the poor afflicted country." The magistrates replied by
expressing their inability to comprehend how the Count, who had suffered
villainous wrongs from the Spaniards, such as he could never sufficiently
deplore or avenge, should ever be willing to enslave himself, to those
tyrants. Nevertheless, exactly at the moment of this correspondence,
Egmont was in close negotiation with Spain, having fifteen days before
the date of his letter to the Brussels senate, conveyed to Parma his
resolution to "embrace the cause of his Majesty and the ancient
religion"--an intention which he vaunted himself to have proved "by
cutting the throats of three companies of states' soldiers at Nivelle,
Grandmont, and Ninove." Parma had already written to communicate the
intelligence to the King, and to beg encouragement for the Count. In
September, the monarch wrote a letter to Egmont, full of gratitude and
promises, to which the Count replied by expressing lively gratification
that his Majesty was pleased with his little services, by avowing
profound attachment to Church and King, and by asking eagerly for money,
together with the government of Alost. He soon became singularly
importunate for rewards and promotion, demanding, among other posts, the
command of the "band of ordnance," which had been his father's. Parma, in
reply, was prodigal of promises, reminding the young noble "that he was
serving a sovereign who well knew how to reward the distinguished
exploits of his subjects." Such was the language of Philip the Second and
his Governor to the son of the headless hero of Saint Quentin; such was
the fawning obsequiousness with which Egmont could kiss that royal hand
reeking with his father's blood.

Meanwhile the siege of Maestricht had been advancing with steady
precision. To military minds of that epoch--perhaps of later ages--this
achievement of Parma seemed a masterpiece of art. The city commanded the
Upper Meuse, and was the gate into Germany. It contained thirty-four
thousand inhabitants. An army, numbering almost as many Souls, was
brought against it; and the number of deaths by which its capture was at
last effected, was probably equal to that of a moiety of the population.
To the technical mind, the siege no doubt seemed a beautiful creation of
human intelligence. To the honest student of history, to the lover of
human progress, such a manifestation of intellect seems a sufficiently
sad exhibition. Given, a city with strong walls and towers, a slender
garrison and a devoted population on one side; a consummate chieftain on
the other, with an army of veterans at his back, no interruption to fear,
and a long season to work in; it would not seem to an unsophisticated
mind a very lofty exploit for the soldier to carry the city at the end of
four months' hard labor.

The investment of Maestricht was commenced upon the 12th of March, 1579.
In the city, besides the population, there were two thousand peasants,
both men and women, a garrison of one thousand soldiers; and a trained
burgher guard; numbering about twelve hundred. The name of the military
commandant was Melchior. Sebastian Tappin, a Lorraine officer of much
experience and bravery, was next in command, and was, in truth, the
principal director of the operations. He had been despatched thither by
the Prince of Orange, to serve under La None, who was to have commanded
in Maestricht, but had been unable to enter the city. Feeling that the
siege was to be a close one, and knowing how much depended upon the
issue, Sebastian lost no time in making every needful preparation for
coming events. The walls were strengthened everywhere; shafts were sunk,
preparatory to the countermining operations which were soon to become
necessary; the moat was deepened and cleared, and the forts near the
gates were put in thorough repair. On the other hand, Alexander had
encircled the city, and had thrown two bridges, well fortified, across
the river. There were six gates to the town, each provided with ravelins,
and there was a doubt in what direction the first attack should be made.
Opinions wavered between the gate of Bois-le-Duc, next the river, and
that of Tongres on the south-western side, but it was finally decided to
attempt the gate of Tongres.

Over against that point the platforms were accordingly constructed, and
after a heavy cannonade from forty-six great guns continued for several
days, it was thought, by the 25th of March, that an impression had been
made upon the city. A portion of the brick curtain had crumbled, but
through the breach was seen a massive terreplein, well moated, which,
after six thousand shots already delivered on the outer wall--still
remained uninjured. It was recognized that the gate of Tongres was not
the most assailable, but rather the strongest portion of the defences,
and Alexander therefore determined to shift his batteries to the gate of
Bois-le-Duc. At the same time, the attempt upon that of Tongres was to be
varied, but not abandoned. Four thousand miners, who had passed half
their lives in burrowing for coal in that anthracite region, had been
furnished by the Bishop of Liege, and this force was now set to their
subterranean work. A mine having been opened at a distance, the besiegers
slowly worked their way towards the Tongres gate, while at the same time
the more ostensible operations were in the opposite direction. The
besieged had their miners also, for the peasants in the city had been
used to work with mattock and pickaxe. The women, too, enrolled
themselves into companies, chose their officers--or "mine-mistresses," as
they were called--and did good service daily in the caverns of the earth.
Thus a whole army of gnomes were noiselessly at work to destroy and
defend the beleaguered city. The mine advanced towards the gate; the
besieged delved deeper, and intersected it with a transverse excavation,
and the contending forces met daily, in deadly encounter, within these
sepulchral gangways. Many stratagems were, mutually employed. The
citizens secretly constructed a dam across the Spanish mine, and then
deluged their foe with hogsheads of boiling water. Hundreds were thus
scalded to death. They heaped branches and light fagots in the hostile
mine, set fire to the pile, and blew thick volumes of smoke along the
passage with organ-bellows brought from the churches for the purpose.
Many were thus suffocated. The discomfited besiegers abandoned the mine
where they had met with such able countermining, and sunk another shaft,
at midnight, in secret, at a long distance from the Tongres gate. Still
towards that point, however, they burrowed in the darkness; guiding
themselves to their destination with magnet, plumbline and level, as the
mariner crosses the trackless ocean with compass and chart. They worked
their way, unobstructed, till they arrived at their subterranean port,
directly beneath the doomed ravelin. Here they constructed a spacious
chamber, supporting it with columns, and making all their architectural
arrangements with as much precision and elegance as if their object had
been purely esthetic. Coffers full of powder, to an enormous amount, were
then placed in every direction across the floor, the train was laid, and
Parma informed that all was ready. Alexander, having already arrayed the
troops destined for the assault, then proceeded in person to the mouth of
the shaft, and gave orders to spring the mine. The explosion was
prodigious; a part of the tower fell with the concussion, and the moat
was choked with heaps of rubbish. The assailants sprang across the
passage thus afforded, and mastered the ruined portion of the fort. They
were met in the breach, however, by the unflinching defenders of the
city, and, after a fierce combat of some hours, were obliged to retire;
remaining masters, however, of the moat, and of the ruined portion of the
ravelin. This was upon the 3rd of April.

Five days afterwards, a general assault was ordered. A new mine having
been already constructed towards the Tongres ravelin, and a faithful
cannonade having been kept up for a fortnight against the Bois-le-Duc
gate, it was thought advisable to attack at both points at once. On the
8th of April, accordingly, after uniting in prayer, and listening to a
speech from Alexander Farnese, the great mass of the Spanish army
advanced to the breach. The moat had been rendered practicable in many
places by the heaps of rubbish with which it had been encumbered, and by
the fagots and earth with which it had been filled by the besiegers. The
action at the Bois-le-Duc gate was exceedingly warm. The tried veterans
of Spain, Italy, and Burgundy, were met face to face by the burghers of
Maestricht, together with their wives and children. All were armed to the
teeth, and fought with what seemed superhuman valor. The women, fierce as
tigresses defending their young, swarmed to the walls, and fought in the
foremost rank. They threw pails of boiling water on the besiegers, they
hurled firebrands in their faces; they quoited blazing pitch-hoops with,
unerring dexterity about their necks. The rustics too, armed with their
ponderous flails, worked as cheerfully at this bloody harvesting as if
thrashing their corn at home. Heartily did they winnow the ranks of the
royalists who came to butcher them, and thick and fast fell the invaders,
fighting bravely, but baffled by these novel weapons used by peasant and
woman, coming to the aid of the sword; spear, and musket of trained
soldiery. More than a thousand had fallen at the Bois-le-Duc gate, and
still fresh besiegers mounted the breach, only to be beaten back, or to
add to the mangled heap of the slain. At the Tongres gate, meanwhile, the
assault had fared no better. A herald had been despatched thither in hot
haste, to shout at the top of his lungs, "Santiago! Santiago! the
Lombards have the gate of Bois-le-Duc!" while the same stratagem was
employed to persuade the invaders on the other side of the town that
their comrades had forced the gate of Tongres. The soldiers, animated by
this fiction, and advancing with fury against the famous ravelin; which
had been but partly destroyed, were received with a broadside from the
great guns of the unshattered portion, and by a rattling discharge of
musketry from the walls. They wavered a little. At the same instant the
new mine--which was to have been sprung between the ravelin and the gate,
but which had been secretly countermined by the townspeople, exploded
with a horrible concussion, at a moment least expected by the besiegers.
Five hundred royalists were blown into the air. Ortiz, a Spanish captain
of engineers, who had been inspecting the excavations, was thrown up
bodily from the subterranean depth. He fell back again instantly into the
same cavern, and was buried by the returning shower of earth which had
spouted from the mine. Forty-five years afterwards, in digging for the
foundations of a new wall, his skeleton was found. Clad in complete
armor, the helmet and cuirass still sound, with his gold chain around his
neck, and his mattock and pickaxe at his feet, the soldier lay
unmutilated, seeming almost capable of resuming his part in the same war
which--even after his half century's sleep--was still ravaging the land.

Five hundred of the Spaniards, perished by the explosion, but none of the
defenders were injured, for they, had been prepared. Recovering from the
momentary panic, the besiegers again rushed to the attack. The battle
raged. Six hundred and seventy officers, commissioned or
non-commissioned, had already fallen, more than half mortally wounded.
Four thousand royalists, horribly mutilated, lay on the ground. It was
time that the day's work should be finished, for Maastricht was not to be
carried upon that occasion. The best and bravest of the surviving
officers besought Parma to put an end to the carnage by recalling the
troops; but the gladiator heart of the commander was heated, not
softened, by the savage spectacle. "Go back to the breach," he cried,
"and tell the soldiers that Alexander is coming to lead them into the
city in triumph, or to perish with his comrades." He rushed forward with
the fury which had marked him when he boarded Mustapha's galley at
Lepanto; but all the generals who were near him threw themselves upon his
path, and implored him to desist from such insensate rashness. Their
expostulations would have probably been in vain, had not his confidential
friend, Serbelloni, interposed with something like paternal authority,
reminding him of the strict commands contained in his Majesty's recent
letters, that the Governor-General, to whom so much was entrusted, should
refrain, on pain of the royal displeasure, from exposing his life like a
common fighter.

Alexander reluctantly gave the signal of recal at last, and accepted the
defeat. For the future he determined to rely more upon the sapper and
miner, and less upon the superiority of veterans to townsmen and rustics
in open fight. Sure to carry the city at last, according to line and
rule, determined to pass the whole summer beneath the walls, rather than
abandon his purpose, he calmly proceeded to complete his
circumvallations. A chain of eleven forts upon the left, and five upon
the right side of the Meuse, the whole connected by a continuous wall,
afforded him perfect security against interruptions, and allowed him to
continue the siege at leisure. His numerous army was well housed and
amply supplied, and he had built a strong and populous city in order to
destroy another. Relief was impossible. But a few thousand men were now
required to defend Farnese's improvised town, while the bulk of his army
could be marched at any moment against an advancing foe. A force of seven
thousand, painfully collected by the Prince of Orange, moved towards the
place, under command of Hohenlo and John of Nassau, but struck with
wonder at what they saw, the leaders recognized the hopelessness of
attempting relief. Maestricht was surrounded by a second Maestricht.

The efforts of Orange were now necessarily directed towards obtaining, if
possible, a truce of a few weeks from the negotiators at Cologne. Parma
was too crafty, however, to allow Terranova to consent, and as the Duke
disclaimed any power over the direct question of peace and war, the siege
proceeded. The gates of Bois-le-Duc and Tongres having thus far resisted
the force brought against them, the scene was changed to the gate of
Brussels. This adjoined that of Tongres, was farthest from the river, and
faced westwardly towards the open country. Here the besieged had
constructed an additional ravelin, which they had christened, in
derision, "Parma," and against which the batteries of Parma were now
brought to bear. Alexander erected a platform of great extent and
strength directly opposite the new work, and after a severe and constant
cannonade from this elevation, followed by a bloody action, the "Parma"
fort was carried. One thousand, at least, of the defenders fell, as,
forced gradually from one defence to another, they saw the triple walls
of their ravelin crumble successively before their eyes. The tower was
absolutely annihilated before they abandoned its ruins, and retired
within their last defences. Alexander being now master of the fosa and
the defences of the Brussels gate, drew up a large force on both aides of
that portal, along the margin of the moat, and began mining beneath the
inner wall of the city.

Meantime, the garrison had been reduced to four hundred soldiers, nearly
all of whom were wounded: wearied and driven to despair, these soldiers
were willing to treat. The townspeople, however, answered the proposition
with a shout of fury, and protested that they would destroy the garrison
with their own hands if such an insinuation were repeated. Sebastian
Tappin, too, encouraged them with the hope of speedy relief, and held out
to them the wretched consequences of trusting to the mercy of their foes.
The garrison took heart again, while that of the burghers and their wives
had, never faltered. Their main hope now was in a fortification which
they had been constructing inside the Brussels gate--a demilune of
considerable strength. Behind it was a breastwork of turf and masonry, to
serve as a last bulwark when every other defence should be forced. The
whole had been surrounded by a foss thirty feet in depth, and the
besiegers, as they mounted upon the breaches which they had at last
effected in the outer curtain, near the Brussels gate, saw for the first
time this new fortification.

The general condition of the defences, and the disposition of the
inhabitants, had been revealed to Alexander by a deserter from the town.
Against this last fortress the last efforts of the foe were now directed.
Alexander ordered a bridge to be thrown across the city moat. As it was
sixty feet wide and as many deep, and lay directly beneath the guns of
the new demilune, the enterprise was sufficiently hazardous. Alexander
led the way in person, with a mallet in one hand and a mattockin the
other. Two men fell dead instantly, one on his right hand and his left,
while he calmly commenced, in his own person, the driving of the first
piles for the bridge. His soldiers fell fast around him. Count Berlaymont
was shot dead, many officers of distinction were killed or wounded, but
no soldier dared recoil while their chieftain wrought amid the bullets
like a common pioneer. Alexander, unharmed, as by a miracle, never left
the spot till the bridge had been constructed, and till ten great guns
had been carried across it, and pointed against the demilune. The battery
was opened, the mines previously excavated were sprung, a part of the
demilune was blown into the air, and the assailants sprang into the
breach. Again a furious hand-to-hand conflict succeeded; again, after an
obstinate resistance, the townspeople were forced to yield. Slowly
abandoning the shattered fort, they retired behind the breastwork in its
rear--their innermost and last defence. To this barrier they clung as to
a spar in shipwreck, and here at last they stood at bay, prepared dearly
to sell their lives.

The breastwork, being still strong, was not attempted upon that day. The
assailants were recalled, and in the mean time a herald was sent by
Parma, highly applauding the courage of the defenders, and begging them
to surrender at discretion. They answered the messenger with words of
haughty defiance, and, rushing in a mass to the breastwork, began with
spade, pickax, and trowel, to add to its strength. Here all the
able-bodied men of the town took up their permanent position, and here
they ate, drank, and slept upon their posts, while their food was brought
to them by the women and children.

A little letter, "written in a fine neat handwriting," now mysteriously
arrived in the city, encouraging them in the name of the Archduke and the
Prince of Orange, and assuring them of relief within fourteen days. A
brief animation was thus produced, attended by a corresponding languor
upon the part of the besiegers, for Alexander had been lying ill with a
fever since the day when the demilune had been carried. From his sick bed
he rebuked his officers severely that a temporary breastwork, huddled
together by boors and burghers in the midst of a siege, should prove an
insurmountable obstacle to men who had carried everything before them.
The morrow was the festival of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and it was
meet that so sacred a day should be hallowed by a Christian and Apostolic
victory. Saint Peter would be there with, his keys to open the gate;
Saint Paul would lead them to battle with his invincible sword. Orders
were given accordingly, and the assault was assigned for the following

Meantime, the guards were strengthened and commanded to be more than
usually watchful. The injunction had a remarkable effect. At the dead of
night, a soldier of the watch was going his rounds on the outside of the
breastwork, listening, if perchance he might catch, as was not unusual, a
portion of the conversation among the beleaguered burghers within. Prying
about on every side, he at last discovered a chink in the wall, the
result, doubtless, of the last cannonade, and hitherto overlooked. He
enlarged the gap with his fingers, and finally made an opening wide
enough to admit his person. He crept boldly through, and looked around in
the clear starlight. The sentinels were all slumbering at their posts. He
advanced stealthily in the dusky streets. Not a watchman was going his
rounds. Soldiers, burghers, children, women, exhausted by incessant
fatigue, were all asleep. Not a footfall was heard; not a whisper broke
the silence; it seemed a city of the dead. The soldier crept back through
the crevice, and hastened to apprise his superiors of his adventure.

Alexander, forthwith instructed as to the condition of the city, at once
ordered the assault, and the last wall was suddenly stormed before the
morning broke. The soldiers forced their way through the breach or sprang
over the breastwork, and surprised at last--in its sleep--the city which
had so long and vigorously defended itself. The burghers, startled from
their slumber, bewildered, unprepared, found themselves engaged in
unequal conflict with alert and savage foes. The battle, as usual when
Netherland towns were surprised by Philip's soldiers, soon changed to a
massacre. The townspeople rushed hither and thither, but there was
neither escape, nor means of resisting an enemy who now poured into the
town by thousands upon thousands. An indiscriminate slaughter succeeded:
Women, old men, and children, had all been combatants; and all,
therefore, had incurred the vengeance of the conquerors. A cry of agony
arose which was distinctly heard at the distance of a league. Mothers
took their infants in their arms, and threw themselves by hundreds into
the Meuse--and against women the blood-thirst of the assailants was
especially directed. Females who had fought daily in the trenches, who
had delved in mines and mustered on the battlements, had unsexed
themselves in the opinion of those whose comrades they had helped to
destroy. It was nothing that they had laid aside the weakness of women in
order to defend all that was holy and dear to them on earth. It was
sufficient that many a Spanish, Burgundian, or Italian mercenary had died
by their hands. Women were pursued from house to house, and hurled from
roof and window. They were hunted into the river; they were torn limb
from limb in the streets. Men and children fared no better; but the heart
sickens at the oft-repeated tale. Horrors, alas, were commonplaces in the
Netherlands. Cruelty too monstrous for description, too vast to be
believed by a mind not familiar with the outrages practised by the
soldiers of Spain and Italy upon their heretic fellow-creatures, were now
committed afresh in the streets of Maestricht.

On the first day four thousand men and women were slaughtered. The
massacre lasted two days longer; nor would it be an exaggerated estimate,
if we assume that the amount of victims upon the two last days was equal
to half the number sacrificed on the first. It was said that not four
hundred citizens were left alive after the termination of the siege.
These soon wandered away, their places being supplied by a rabble rout of
Walloon sutlers and vagabonds. Maestricht was depopulated as well as
captured. The booty obtained after the massacre was very large, for the
city had been very thriving, its cloth manufacture extensive and
important. Sebastian Tappin, the heroic defender of the place, had been
shot through the shoulder at the taking of the Parma ravelin, and had
been afterwards severely injured at the capture of the demilune. At the
fall of the city he was mortally wounded, and carried a prisoner to the
hostile camp, only to expire. The governor, Swartsenberg, also lost his

Alexander, on the contrary, was raised from his sick bed with the joyful
tidings of victory, and as soon as he could be moved, made his appearance
in the city. Seated in a splendid chair of state, borne aloft on the
shoulders of his veterans, with a golden canopy above his head to protect
him from the summer's sun, attended by the officers of his staff, who
were decked by his special command in, their gayest trappings, escorted
by his body-guard, followed by his "plumed troops," to the number of
twenty thousand, surrounded by all the vanities of war, the hero made his
stately entrance into the town. His way led through deserted streets of
shattered houses. The pavement ran red with blood. Headless corpses,
mangled limbs--an obscene mass of wretchedness and corruption, were
spread on every side, and tainted the summer air. Through the thriving
city which, in the course of four months Alexander had converted into a
slaughter-house and a solitude, the pompous procession took its course to
the church of Saint Servais. Here humble thanks were offered to the God
of Love, and to Jesus of Nazareth, for this new victory. Especially was
gratitude expressed to the Apostles Paul and Peter; upon whose festival,
and by whose sword and key the crowning mercy had been accomplished,--and
by whose special agency eight thousand heretics now lay unburied in the
streets. These acts of piety performed, the triumphal procession returned
to the camp, where, soon afterwards, the joyful news of Alexander
Farnese's entire convalescence was proclaimed.

The Prince of Orange, as usual, was blamed for the tragical termination
to this long drama. All that one man could do, he had done to awaken his
countrymen to the importance of the siege. He had repeatedly brought the
subject solemnly before the assembly, and implored for Maestricht, almost
upon his knees. Lukewarm and parsimonious, the states had responded to
his eloquent appeals with wrangling addressee and insufficient votes.
With a special subsidy obtained in April and May, he had organized the
slight attempt at relief, which was all which he had been empowered to
make, but which proved entirely unsuccessful. Now that the massacre to be
averted was accomplished, men were loud in reproof, who had been silent,
and passive while there was yet time to speak and to work. It was the
Prince, they said, who had delivered so many thousands of his
fellow-countrymen to, butchery. To save himself, they insinuated he was
now plotting to deliver the land into the power of the treacherous
Frenchman, and he alone, they asserted, was the insuperable obstacle to
an honorable peace with Spain.

A letter, brought by an unknown messenger, was laid before the states'
assembly, in full session, and sent to the clerk's table, to be read
aloud. After the first few sentences, that functionary faltered in his
recital. Several members also peremptorily ordered him to stop; for the
letter proved to be a violent and calumnious libel upon Orange, together
with a strong appeal in favor of the peace propositions then under debate
at Cologne. The Prince alone, of all the assembly, preserving his
tranquillity, ordered the document to be brought to him, and forthwith
read it aloud himself, from beginning to end. Afterwards, he took
occasion to express his mind concerning the ceaseless calumnies of which
he was the mark. He especially alluded to the oft-repeated accusation
that he was the only obstacle to peace, and repeated that he was ready at
that moment to leave the land, and to close his lips for ever, if by so
doing he could benefit his country, and restore her to honorable repose.
The outcry, with the protestations of attachment and confidence which at
once broke from the assembly, convinced him, however, that he was deeply
rooted in the hearts of all patriotic Netherlanders, and that it was
beyond the power of slanderers to loosen his hold upon their affection.

Meantime, his efforts had again and again been demanded to restore order
in that abode of anarchy, the city of Ghent. After his visit during the
previous winter, and the consequent departure of John Casimir to the
palatinate, the pacific arrangements made by the Prince had for a short
time held good. Early in March, however, that master of misrule, John van
Imbize, had once more excited the populace to sedition. Again the
property of Catholics, clerical and lay, was plundered; again the persons
of Catholics, of every degree, were maltreated. The magistrates, with
first senator Imbize at their head, rather encouraged than rebuked the
disorder; but Orange, as soon as he received official intelligence of the
event, hastened to address them in the words of earnest warning and
wisdom. He allowed that the inhabitants of the province had reason to be
discontented with the presence and the misconduct of the Walloon
soldiery. He granted that violence and the menaces of a foreign tyranny
made it difficult for honest burghers to gain a livelihood. At the same
time he expressed astonishment that reasonable men should seek a remedy
for such evils in tumults which would necessarily bring utter destruction
upon the land. "It was," he observed, "as if a patient should from
impatience, tear the bandages from his wounds, and, like a maniac,
instead of allowing himself to be cured, plunge a dagger into his own

These exhortations exerted a wholesome effect for a moment, but matters
soon went from bad to worse. Imbize, fearing the influence of the Prince,
indulged in open-mouthed abuse of a man whose character he was unable
even to comprehend, He accused him of intriguing with France for his own
benefit, of being a Papist in disguise, of desiring to establish what he
called a "religious peace," merely to restore Roman idolatry. In all
these insane ravings, the demagogue was most ably seconded by the
ex-monk. Incessant and unlicensed were the invectives hurled by Peter
Dathenus from his pulpit upon William the Silent's head. He denounced
him--as he had often done before--as an atheist in heart; as a man who
changed his religion as easily as his garments; as a man who knew no God
but state expediency, which was the idol of his worship; a mere
politician who would tear his shirt from his back and throw it in the
fire, if he thought it were tainted with religion.

Such witless but vehement denunciation from a preacher who was both
popular and comparatively sincere, could, not but affect the imagination
of the weaker portion of his, healers. The faction of Imbize became
triumphant. Ryhove--the ruffian whose hands were stained with the recent
blood of Visch and Hessels--rather did damage than service to the cause
of order. He opposed himself to the demagogue who was prating daily of
Greece, Rome, and Geneva, while his clerical associate was denouncing
William of Orange, but he opposed himself in vain. An attempt to secure
the person of Imbize failed, but by the influence of Ryhove, however, a
messenger was despatched to Antwerp in the name of a considerable portion
of the community of Ghent. The counsel and the presence of the man to
whom all hearts in every part of the Netherlands instinctively turned in
the hour of need, were once more invoked.

The Prince again addressed them in language which none but he could
employ with such effect. He told them that his life, passed in service
and sacrifice, ought to witness sufficiently for his fidelity.
Nevertheless, he thought it necessary--in view of the calumnies which
were circulated--to repeat once more his sentiment that no treaty of
peace, war, or alliance, ought to be negotiated, save with the consent of
the people. His course in Holland and Zealand had proved, he said, his
willingness always to consult the wishes of his countrymen. As for the
matter of religion it was almost incredible that there should be any who
doubted the zeal which he bore the religion for which he had suffered so
much. "I desire," he continued, fervently, "that men should compare that
which has been done by my accusers during ten years past with that which
I have done. In that which touches the true advancement of religion, I
will yield to no man. They who so boldly accuse me have no liberty of
speech, save that which has been acquired for them by the blood of my
kindred, by my labors, and my excessive expenditures. To me they owe it
that they dare speak at all." This letter, (which was dated on the 24th
of July, 1579) contained an assurance that the writer was about to visit

On the following day, Imbize executed a coup d'etat. Having a body of
near two thousand soldiers at his disposal, he suddenly secured the
persons of all the magistrates and other notable individuals not friendly
to his policy, and then, in violation of all law, set up a new board of
eighteen irresponsible functionaries, according to a list prepared by
himself alone. This was his way of enforcing the democratic liberty of
Greece, Rome, and Geneva, which was so near to his heart. A proclamation,
in fourteen articles, was forthwith issued, justifying this arbitrary
proceeding. It was declared that the object of the somewhat irregular
measure "was to prevent the establishment of the religious peace, which
was merely a method of replanting uprooted papistry and the extirpated
tyranny of Spain." Although the arrangement's had not been made in strict
accordance with formal usage and ceremony, yet they were defended upon
the ground that it had been impossible, by other means, to maintain their
ancient liberties and their religious freedom. At the same time a
pamphlet, already prepared for the occasion by Dathenus, was extensively
circulated. In this production the arbitrary revolution effected by a
demagogue was defended with effrontery, while the character, of Orange,
was loaded with customary abuse. To prevent the traitor from coming to
Ghent, and establishing what he called his religious peace, these
irregular measures, it was urged, had been wisely taken.

Such were the efforts of John Imbize--such the calumnies of Peter
Dathenus--in order to counteract the patriotic endeavors of the Prince;
but neither the ruffianism of John nor the libels of Peter were destined
upon this occasion to be successful. William the Silent treated the
slanders of the scolding monk with dignified contempt. "Having been
informed," said he to the magistrates of Ghent, "that Master Peter
Dathenns has been denouncing me as a man without religion or fidelity,
and full of ambition, with other propositions hardly becoming his cloth;
I do not think it worth while to answer more at this time than that I
willingly refer myself to the judgment of all who know me."

The Prince came to Ghent, great as had been the efforts of Imbize and his
partisans to prevent his coming. His presence was like magic. The
demagogue and his whole flock vanished like unclean birds at the first
rays of the sun. Imbize dared not look the Father of his country in the
face. Orange rebuked the populace in the strong and indignant language
that public and private virtue, energy, and a high purpose enabled such a
leader of the people to use. He at once set aside the board of
eighteen--the Grecian-Roman-Genevese establishment of Imbize--and
remained in the city until the regular election, in conformity with the
privileges, had taken place. Imbize, who had shrunk at his approach, was
meantime discovered by his own companions. He had stolen forth secretly
on the night before the Prince's arrival, and was found cowering in the
cabin of a vessel, half dead with fear, by an ale-house keeper who had
been his warm partisan. "No Skulking," cried the honest friend; seizing
the tribune of the people by the shoulder; "no sailing away in the
night-time. You have got us all into this bog, and must come back, and
abide the issue with your supporters."

In this collapsed state was the windy demagogue, who had filled half
Flanders with his sound and fury, conveyed before the patriot Prince. He
met with grave and bitter rebukes, but felt sufficiently relieved when
allowed to depart unharmed. Judging of his probable doom by the usual
practice of himself and his fellows in similar cases, he had anticipated
nothing short of the gibbet. That punishment, however, was to be
inflicted at a later period, by other hands, and not until he had added
treason to his country and a shameless recantation of all his violent
professions in favor of civil and religious liberty to the list of his
crimes. On the present occasion he was permitted to go free. In company
with his clerical companion, Peter Dathenus, he fled to the abode of his
excellent friend, John Casimir, who received both with open arms, and
allowed them each a pension.

Order being thus again restored in Ghent by the exertions of the Prince,
when no other human hand could have dispelled the anarchy which seemed to
reign supreme, William the Silent, having accepted the government of
Flanders, which had again and again been urged upon him, now returned to


   The Cologne conferences--Intentions of the parties--Preliminary
   attempt by government to purchase the Prince of Orange--Offer and
   rejection of various articles among the plenipotentiaries--Departure
   of the imperial commissionere--Ultimatum of the States compared with
   that of the royal government--Barren negotiations terminated--
   Treason of De Bours, Governor of Mechlin--Liberal theories
   concerning the nature of government--Abjuration of Philip imminent--
   Self-denial of Orange--Attitude of Germany--of England--Marriage
   negotiations between Elizabeth and Anjou--Orange favors the election
   of the Duke as sovereign--Address and speeches of the Prince--
   Parsimony and interprovincial jealousy rebuked----Secret
   correspondence of Count Renneberg with the royal government--
   His treason at Groningen.

Since the beginning of May, the Cologne negotiations had been dragging
their slow length along. Few persons believed that any good was likely to
result from these stately and ponderous conferences; yet men were so
weary of war, so desirous that a termination might be put to the atrophy
under which the country was languishing, that many an eager glance was
turned towards the place where the august assembly was holding its
protracted session. Certainly, if wisdom were to be found in mitred
heads--if the power to heal angry passions and to settle the conflicting
claims of prerogative and conscience were to be looked for among men of
lofty station, then the Cologne conferences ought to have made the rough
places smooth and the crooked paths straight throughout all Christendom.
There was the Archbishop of Rossano, afterwards Pope Urban VII, as
plenipotentiary from Rome; there was Charles of Aragon, Duke of
Terranova, supported by five councillors, as ambassador from his Catholic
Majesty; there were the Duke of Aerschot, the Abbot of Saint Gertrude,
the Abbot of Marolles, Doctor Bucho Aytta, Caspar Schetz, Lord of
Grobbendonck, that learned Frisian, Aggeus van Albada, with seven other
wise men, as envoys from the states-general: There were their Serene
Highnesses the Elector and Archbishops of Cologne and Treves, with the
Bishop of Wurtzburg. There was also a numerous embassy from his Imperial
Majesty, with Count Otto de Schwartzenburg at its head.

Here then were holiness, serenity, dignity, law, and learning in
abundance. Here was a pope 'in posse', with archbishops, princes, dukes,
jurisconsults, and doctors of divinity 'in esse', sufficient to remodel a
world, if worlds were to be remodelled by such instruments. If protocols,
replications, annotations, apostilles, could heal a bleeding country,
here were the physicians to furnish those drugs in unlimited profusion.
If reams of paper, scrawled over with barbarous technicalities, could
smother and bury a quarrel which had its origin in the mutual antagonism
of human elements, here were the men to scribble unflinchingly, till the
reams were piled to a pyramid. If the same idea presented in many aspects
could acquire additional life, here were the word-mongers who, could
clothe one shivering thought in a hundred thousand garments, till it
attained all the majesty which decoration could impart. In truth, the
envoys came from Spain, Rome, and Vienna, provided with but two ideas.
Was it not a diplomatic masterpiece, that from this frugal store they
could contrive to eke out seven mortal months of negotiation? Two
ideas--the supremacy of his Majesty's prerogative, the exclusive exercise
of the Roman Catholic religion--these were the be-all and the end-all of
their commission. Upon these two strings they were to harp, at least till
the walls of Maestricht had fallen. The envoys did their duty well; they
were sent to enact a solemn comedy, and in the most stately manner did
they walk through their several parts. Not that the King was belligerent;
on, the contrary, he was heartily weary of the war. Prerogative was
weary--Romanism was weary--Conscience was weary--the Spirit of Freedom
was weary but the Prince of Orange was not weary. Blood and treasure had
been pouring forth so profusely during twelve flaming years, that all but
that one tranquil spirit were beginning to flag.

At the same time, neither party had more disposition to concede than
stomach to fight. Certainly the royal party had no inclination to yield.
The King had granted easy terms to the Walloons, because upon the one
great point of religion there was, no dispute, and upon the others there
was no intention of keeping faith. With regard to the present
negotiation, it was desirable to gain a little time. It was thought
probable that the religious difference, judiciously managed at this
juncture, might be used to effect a permanent severance of the provinces
so lately banded together in a common union. "To, divide them," wrote
Tassis, in a very confidential letter, "no better method can be found
than to amuse them with this peace negotiation. Some are ready for a
pacification from their desire of repose, some from their fear of war,
some from the differences which exist among themselves, and which it is
especially important to keep alive." Above all things, it was desirable
to maintain the religious distraction till Maestricht had been taken.
That siege was the key to the whole situation. If the separate Walloon
accord could be quietly made in a corner, while Parma was battering that
stronghold on the Meuse, and while decorous negotiation was smoothly
holding its course on the Rhine, much disorganization, it was hoped,
would be handsomely accomplished before the end of the year.

"As for a suspension of arms," wrote Alexander to Terranova, on the 21st
of May, "the longer 'tis deferred the better. With regard to Maestricht,
everything depends upon it that we possess, or desire to possess. Truly,
if the Prince of Orange can relieve the city he will do it. If he does
so, neither will this expedition of ours, nor any other expedition, be
brought to a good end. As soon as men are aware that our affairs are
looking badly, they will come again to a true union, and all will join
together, in hope to accomplish their boasts." Therefore, it was natural
that the peace-wrights of Cologne should industriously ply their task.

It is not desirable to disturb much of that learned dust, after its three
centuries' repose. A rapid sketch of the course of the proceedings, with
an indication of the spirit which animated the contending parties, will
be all that is necessary. They came and they separated with precisely
opposite views. "The desires of Terranova and of the estates," says the
royalist, Tassis, "were diametrically contrary, to each other. The King
wished that the exercise of the Roman Catholic religion should be
exclusively established, and the absolute prerogative preserved in its
integrity." On the other hand, the provinces desired their charters and a
religious' peace. In these perpetual lines and curves ran the
asymptotical negotiation from beginning to end--and so it might have run
for two centuries, without hope of coincidence. Neither party was yet
vanquished. The freshly united provinces were no readier now than before
to admit that the Holy Office formed part of their national institutions.
The despotic faction was not prepared to renounce that establishment.
Foiled, but not disheartened, sat the Inquisition, like a beldame, upon
the border, impotently threatening the land whence she had been for ever
excluded; while industrious as the Parcae, distaff in hand, sat, in
Cologne, the inexorable three--Spain, the Empire, and Rome--grimly,
spinning and severing the web of mortal destinies.

The first step in the proceedings had been a secret one. If by any means
the Prince of Orange could be detached from his party--if by bribery,
however enormous, he could be induced--to abandon a tottering cause, and
depart for the land of his birth--he was distinctly but indirectly given
to understand that he had but to name his terms. We have seen the issue
of similar propositions made by Don John of Austria. Probably there was
no man living who would care to make distinct application of this
dishonorable nature to the Father of his country. The Aerschots, the
Meluns, the Lalains, and a swarm of other nobles, had their price, and
were easily transferable from one to another, but it was not easy to make
a direct offer to William of Orange. They knew--as he said shortly
afterwards in his famous Apology--that "neither for property nor for
life, neither for wife nor for children, would he mix in his cup a single
drop of treason." Nevertheless, he was distinctly given to understand
that "there was nothing he could demand for himself personally that would
not be granted." All his confiscated property, restoration of his
imprisoned son, liberty of worship for himself, payment of all his debts,
reimbursement of all his past expenses, and anything else which he could
desire, were all placed within his reach. If he chose to retire into
another land, his son might be placed in possession of all his cities,
estates, and dignities, and himself indemnified in Germany; with a
million of money over and above as a gratuity. The imperial envoy, Count
Schwartzenburg, pledged his personal honor and reputation that every
promise which might be made to the Prince should be most sacredly

It was all in vain. The indirect applications of the imperial
commissioners made to his servants and his nearest relations were
entirely unsuccessful. The Prince was not to be drawn into a negotiation
in his own name or for his own benefit. If the estates were satisfied, he
was satisfied. He wanted no conditions but theirs; "nor would he
directly, or indirectly," he said, "separate himself from the cause on
which hung all his evil or felicity." He knew that it was the object of
the enemy to deprive the country of its head, and no inducements were
sufficient to make him a party to the plot. At the same time, he was
unwilling to be an obstacle, in his own person, to the conclusion of an
honorable peace. He would resign his offices which he held at the
solicitation of the whole country, if thus a negotiation were likely to
be more successful. "The Prince of Parma and the disunited provinces,"
said he to the states-general, "affect to consider this war as one waged
against me and in my name--as if the question alone concerned the name
and person of the general. If it be so, I beg you to consider whether it
is not because I have been ever faithful to the land. Nevertheless, if I
am an obstacle, I am ready to remove it. If you, therefore, in order to
deprive the enemy of every right to inculpate us, think proper to choose
another head and conductor of your affairs, I promise you to serve and to
be obedient to him with all my heart. Thus shall we leave the enemy no
standing-place to work dissensions among us." Such was his language to
friend and foe, and here, at least, was one man in history whom kings
were not rich enough to purchase.

On the 18th of May, the states' envoys at Cologne presented fourteen
articles, demanding freedom of religion and the ancient political
charters. Religion, they said, was to be referred; not to man, but to
God. To him the King was subject as well as the people. Both King and
people--"and by people was meant every individual in the land"--were
bound to serve God according to their conscience.

The imperial envoys found such language extremely reprehensible, and
promptly refused, as umpires, to entertain the fourteen articles. Others
drawn up by Terranova and colleagues, embodying the claims of the royal
and Roman party, were then solemnly presented, and as promptly rejected.
Then the imperial umpires came forward with two bundles of
proposisitions--approved beforehand by the Spanish plenipotentiaries. In
the political bundle; obedience due to the King was insisted upon, "as in
the time of the Emperor Charles." The religious category declared that
"the Roman religion--all others excluded--should thenceforth be exercised
in all the provinces." Both these categories were considered more
objectionable by the states' envoys than the terms of Terranova, and
astonishment was expressed that "mention should again be made of the
edicts--as if blood enough had not been shed already in the cause of

The Netherland envoys likewise gave the imperial commissioners distinctly
to understand that--in case peace were not soon made--"the states would
forthwith declare the King fallen from his sovereignty;" would for ever
dispense the people from their oaths of allegiance to him, and would
probably accept the Duke of Anjou in his place. The states-general, to
which body the imperial propositions had been sent, also rejected the
articles in a logical and historical argument of unmerciful length.

An appeal secretly made by the imperial and Spanish commissioners, from
the states' envoys to the states themselves, and even to the people of
the various provinces, had excited the anger of the plenipotentiaries.
They complained loudly of this violation of all diplomatic etiquette, and
the answer of the states-general, fully confirming the views of their
ambassadors, did not diminish their wrath.

On the 13th of November, 1579, the states' envoys were invited into the
council chamber of the imperial commissioners, to hear the last solemn
commonplaces of those departing, functionaries. Seven months long they
had been waiting in vain, they said, for the states' envoys to accede to
moderate demands. Patience was now exhausted. Moreover, their mediatory
views had been the subject of bitter lampooning throughout the country,
while the authorities of many cities had publicly declared that all the
inhabitants would rather, die the death than accept such terms. The
peace-makers, accordingly, with endless protestations as to, their own
purity, wisdom, and benevolence, left the whole "in the hands of God and
the parties concerned."

The reply to this elaborate farewell was curt and somewhat crusty. "Had
they known," said the states' envoys, "that their transparencies and
worthinesses had no better intention, and the Duke of Terranova no ampler
commission, the whole matter might have been despatched, not in six
months, but in six days."

Thus ended the conferences, and the imperial commissioners departed.
Nevertheless, Schwartzenburg remained yet a little time at Cologne, while
five of the states' envoys also protracted their stay, in order to make
their private peace with the King. It is hardly necessary to observe that
the chief of these penitents was the Duke of Aerschot. The ultimatum of
the states was deposited by the departing envoys with Schwartzenburg, and
a comparison of its terms with those offered by the imperial mediators,
as the best which could be obtained from Spain, shows the hopelessness of
the pretended negotiation. Departure of the foreign troops, restitution
of all confiscated property, unequivocal recognition of the Ghent treaty
and the perpetual edict, appointment to office of none but natives, oaths
of allegiance to the King and the states-general, exercise of the
Reformed religion and of the Confession of Augsburg in all places where
it was then publicly practised: such were the main demands of the patriot

In the secret instructions furnished by the states to their envoys, they
were told to urge upon his Majesty the absolute necessity, if he wished
to retain the provinces, of winking at the exercise of the Reformed and
the Augsburg creeds. "The new religion had taken too deep root," it was
urged, "ever to be torn forth, save with the destruction of the whole

Thus, after seven dreary months of negotiation, after protocols and
memoranda in ten thousand folia, the august diplomatists had travelled
round to the points from which they had severally started. On the one
side, unlimited prerogative and exclusive Catholicism; on the other,
constitutional liberty, with freedom of conscience for Catholic and
Protestant alike: these were the claims which each party announced at the
commencement, and to which they held with equal firmness at the close of
the conferences.

The congress had been expensive. Though not much had been accomplished
for the political or religious advancement of mankind, there had been
much excellent eating and drinking at Cologne during the seven months.
Those drouthy deliberations had needed moistening. The Bishop of
Wurtzburg had consumed "eighty hogsheads of Rhenish wine and twenty great
casks of beer." The expense of the states' envoys were twenty-four
thousand guldens. The Archbishop of Cologne had expended forty thousand
thalers. The deliberations were, on the whole, excessively detrimental to
the cause of the provinces, "and a great personage" wrote to the
states-general, that the King had been influenced by no motive save to
cause dissension. This was an exaggeration, for his Majesty would have
been well pleased to receive the whole of the country on the same terms
which had been accepted by the Walloons. Meantime, those southern
provinces had made their separate treaty, and the Netherlands were
permanently dissevered. Maestricht had fallen. Disunion and dismay had
taken possession of the country.

During the course of the year other severe misfortunes had happened to
the states. Treachery, even among the men who had done good service to
the cause of freedom, was daily showing her hateful visage. Not only the
great chieftains who had led the Malcontent Walloon party, with the
fickle Aerschot and the wavering Havre besides, had made their separate
reconciliation with Parma, but the epidemic treason had mastered such
bold partisans as the Seigneur de Bours, the man whose services in
rescuing the citadel of Antwerp had been so courageous and valuable. He
was governor of Mechlin; Count Renneberg was governor of Friesland. Both
were trusted implicitly by Orange and by the estates; both were on the
eve of repaying the confidence reposed in them by the most venal treason.

It was already known that Parma had tampered with De Bours; but Renneberg
was still unsuspected. "The Prince," wrote Count John, "is deserted by
all the noblemen; save the stadholder of Friesland and myself, and has no
man else in whom he can repose confidence." The brothers were doomed to
be rudely awakened from the repose with regard to Renneberg, but
previously the treason of a less important functionary was to cause a
considerable but less lasting injury to the national party.

In Mechlin was a Carmelite friar, of audacious character and great
eloquence; a man who, "with his sweet, poisonous tongue, could ever
persuade the people to do his bidding." This dangerous monk, Peter Lupus,
or Peter Wolf, by name, had formed the design of restoring Mechlin to the
Prince of Parma, and of obtaining the bishopric of Namur as the reward of
his services. To this end he had obtained a complete mastery over the
intellect of the bold but unprincipled De Bours. A correspondence was
immediately opened between Parma and the governor, and troops were
secretly admitted into the city. The Prince of Orange, in the name of the
Archduke and the estates, in vain endeavoured to recal the infatuated
governor to his duty. In vain he conjured him, by letter after letter, to
be true to his own bright fame so nobly earned. An old friend of De
Bours, and like himself a Catholic, was also employed to remonstrate with
him. This gentleman, De Fromont by name, wrote him many letters; but De
Bours expressed his surprise that Fromont, whom he had always considered
a good Catholic and a virtuous gentleman, should wish to force him into a
connection with the Prince of Orange and his heretic supporters. He
protested that his mind was quite made up, and that he had been
guaranteed by Parma not only the post which he now held, but even still
farther advancement.

De Fromont reminded him, in reply, of the frequent revolutions of
fortune's wheel, and warned him that the advancement of which he boasted
would probably be an entire degradation. He bitterly recalled to the
remembrance of the new zealot for Romanism his former earnest efforts to
establish Calvinism. He reproached him, too, with having melted up the
silver images of the Mechlin churches, including even the renowned shrine
of Saint Rombout, which the Prince of Orange had always respected. "I
don't say how much you took of that plunder for your own share,"
continued the indignant De Fromont, "for the very children cry it in your
ears as you walk the streets. 'Tis known that if God himself had been
changed into gold you would have put him in your pocket."

This was plain language, but as just as it was plain. The famous shrine
of Saint Rombout--valued at seventy thousand guldens, of silver gilt, and
enriched with precious stones--had been held sacred alike by the
fanatical iconoclasts and the greedy Spaniards who had successively held
the city. It had now been melted up, and appropriated by Peter Lupin; the
Carmelite, and De Bours, the Catholic convert, whose mouths were full of
devotion to the ancient Church and of horror for heresy.

The efforts of Orange and of the states were unavailing. De Bours
surrendered the city, and fled to Parma, who received him with
cordiality, gave him five thousand florins--the price promised for his
treason, besides a regiment of infantry--but expressed surprise that he
should have reached the camp alive. His subsequent career was short, and
he met his death two years afterwards, in the trenches before Tournay.
The archiepiscopal city was thus transferred to the royal party, but the
gallant Van der Tympel, governor of Brussels, retook it by surprise
within six months of its acquisition by Parma, and once more restored it
to the jurisdiction of the states. Peter Lupus, the Carmelite, armed to
the teeth, and fighting fiercely at the head of the royalists, was slain
in the street, and thus forfeited his chance for the mitre of Namur.

During the weary progress of the Cologne negotiations, the Prince had not
been idle, and should this august and slow-moving congress be
unsuccessful in restoring peace, the provinces were pledged to an act of
abjuration. They would then be entirely without a head. The idea of a
nominal Republic was broached by none. The contest had not been one of
theory, but of facts; for the war had not been for revolution, but for
conservation, so far as political rights were concerned. In religion, the
provinces had advanced from one step to another, till they now claimed
the largest liberty--freedom of conscience--for all. Religion, they held,
was God's affair, not man's, in which neither people nor king had power
over each other, but in which both were subject to God alone. In politics
it was different. Hereditary sovereignty was acknowledged as a fact, but
at the same time, the spirit of freedom was already learning its
appropriate language. It already claimed boldly the natural right of
mankind to be governed according to the laws of reason and of divine
justice. If a prince were a shepherd, it was at least lawful to deprive
him of his crook when he butchered the flock which he had been appointed
to protect.

"What reason is there," said the states-general, "why the provinces
should suffer themselves to be continually oppressed by their sovereign,
with robbings, burnings, stranglings, and murderings? Why, being thus
oppressed, should they still give their sovereign--exactly as if he were
well conducting himself--the honor and title of lord of the land?" On the
other hand, if hereditary rule were an established fact, so also were
ancient charters. To maintain, not to overthrow, the political compact,
was the purpose of the states. "Je maintiendrai" was the motto of
Orange's escutcheon. That a compact existed between prince and people,
and that the sovereign held office only on condition of doing his duty,
were startling truths which men were beginning, not to whisper to each
other in secret, but to proclaim in the market-place. "'Tis well known to
all," said the famous Declaration of Independence, two years afterwards,
"that if a prince is appointed by God over the land, 'tis to protect them
from harm, even as a shepherd to the guardianship of his flock. The
subjects are not appointed by God for the behoof of the prince, but the
prince for his subjects, without whom he is no prince. Should he violate
the laws, he is to be forsaken by his meanest subject, and to be
recognized no longer as prince."

William of Orange always recognized these truths, but his scheme of
government contemplated a permanent chief, and as it was becoming obvious
that the Spanish sovereign would soon be abjured, it was necessary to fix
upon a substitute. "As to governing these provinces in the form of a
republic," said he, speaking for the states-general, "those who know the
condition, privileges, and ordinances of the country, can easily
understand that 'tis hardly possible to dispense with a head or
superintendent." At the same time, he plainly intimated that this "head
or superintendent" was to be, not a monarch--a one-ruler--but merely the
hereditary chief magistrate of a free commonwealth.

Where was this hereditary chief magistrate to be found? His own claims he
absolutely withdrew. The office was within his grasp, and he might easily
have constituted himself sovereign of all the Netherlands. Perhaps it
would have been better at that time had he advanced his claims and
accepted the sovereignty which Philip had forfeited. As he did not
believe in the possibility of a republic, he might honestly have taken
into his own hands the sceptre which he considered indispensable. His
self-abnegation was, however, absolute. Not only did he decline
sovereignty, but he repeatedly avowed his readiness to, lay down all the
offices which he held, if a more useful substitute could be found. "Let
no man think," said he, in a remarkable speech to the states-general,
"that my good-will is in any degree changed or diminished. I agree to
obey--as the least of the lords or gentlemen of the land could
do--whatever person it may, please you to select. You have but to command
my services wheresoever they are most wanted; to guard a province or a
single city, or in any capacity in which I may be found most useful. I
promise to do my duty, with all my strength and skill, as God and my
conscience are witnesses that I have done it hitherto."

The negotiations pointed to a speedy abjuration of Philip; the Republic
was contemplated by none; the Prince of Orange absolutely refused to
stretch forth his own hand; who then was to receive the sceptre which was
so soon to be bestowed? A German Prince--had been tried--in a somewhat
abnormal position--but had certainly manifested small capacity for aiding
the provinces. Nothing could well be more insignificant than the figure
of Matthias; and, moreover, his imperial brother was anything but
favorably disposed. It was necessary to manage Rudolph. To treat the
Archduke with indignity, now that he had been partly established in the
Netherlands, would be to incur the Emperor's enmity. His friendship,
however, could hardly be secured by any advancement bestowed upon his
brother; for Rudolph's services against prerogative and the Pope were in
no case to be expected. Nor was there much hope from the Protestant
princes of Germany. The day had passed for generous sympathy with those
engaged in the great struggle which Martin Luther had commenced. The
present generation of German Protestants were more inclined to put down
the Calvinistic schism at home than to save it from oppression abroad.
Men were more disposed to wrangle over the thrice-gnawed bones of
ecclesiastical casuistry, than to assist their brethren in the field. "I
know not," said Gaultherus, "whether the calamity of the Netherlands, or
the more than bestial stupidity of the Germans, be most deplorable. To
the insane contests on theological abstractions we owe it that many are
ready to breathe blood and slaughter against their own brethren. The
hatred of the Lutherans has reached that point that they can rather
tolerate Papists than ourselves."

In England, there was much sympathy for the provinces and there--although
the form of government was still arbitrary--the instincts for civil and
religious freedom, which have ever characterized the Anglo-Saxon race,
were not to be repressed. Upon many a battle-field for liberty in the
Netherlands, "men whose limbs were made in England" were found contending
for the right. The blood and treasure of Englishmen flowed freely in the
cause of their relatives by religion and race, but these were the efforts
of individuals. Hitherto but little assistance had been rendered by the
English Queen, who had, on the contrary, almost distracted the provinces
by her fast-and-loose policy, both towards them and towards Anjou. The
political rivalry between that Prince and herself in the Netherlands had,
however, now given place to the memorable love-passage from which
important results were expected, and it was thought certain that
Elizabeth would view with satisfaction any dignity conferred upon her

Orange had a right to form this opinion. At the same time, it is well
known that the chief councillors of Elizabeth--while they were all in
favor of assisting the provinces--looked with anything but satisfaction
upon the Anjou marriage. "The Duke," wrote Davidson to Walsingham in
July, 1579, "seeks, forsooth, under a pretext of marriage with her
Highness, the rather to espouse the Low Countries--the chief ground and
object of his pretended love, howsoever it be disguised." The envoy
believed both Elizabeth and the provinces in danger of taking unto
themselves a very bad master. "Is there any means," he added, "so apt to
sound the very bottom of our estate, and to hinder and breake the neck of
all such good purpose as the necessity of the tyme shall set abroch?"

The provinces of Holland and Zealand, notwithstanding the love they bore
to William of Orange, could never be persuaded by his arguments into
favoring Anjou. Indeed, it was rather on account of the love they bore
the Prince--whom they were determined to have for their sovereign--that
they refused to listen to any persuasion in favor of his rival, although
coming from his own lips. The states-general, in a report to the states
of Holland, drawn up under the superintendence of the Prince, brought
forward all the usual arguments for accepting the French duke, in case
the abjuration should take place. They urged the contract with Anjou (of
August 13th, 1578), the great expenses he had already incurred in their
behalf; the danger of offending him; the possibility that in such case he
would ally himself with Spain; the prospect that, in consequence of such
a result, there would be three enemies in the field against them--the
Walloons, the Spaniards, and the French, all whose forces would
eventually be turned upon Holland and Zealand alone. It was represented
that the selection of Anjou would, on the other hand, secure the
friendship of France--an alliance which would inspire both the Emperor
and the Spanish monarch with fear; for they could not contemplate without
jealousy a possible incorporation of the provinces with that kingdom.
Moreover, the geographical situation of France made its friendship
inexpressibly desirable. The states of Holland and Zealand were,
therefore, earnestly invited to send deputies to an assembly of the
states-general, in order to conclude measures touching the declaration of
independence to be made against the King, and concerning the election of
the Duke of Anjou.

The official communications by speech or writing of Orange to the
different corporations and assemblies, were at this period of enormous
extent. He was moved to frequent anger by the parsimony, the
inter-provincial jealousy, the dull perception of the different estates,
and he often expressed his wrath in unequivocal language. He dealt
roundly with all public bodies. His eloquence was distinguished by a
bold, uncompromising, truth-telling spirit, whether the words might prove
palatable or bitter to his audience. His language rebuked his hearers
more frequently than it caressed them, for he felt it impossible, at all
times, to consult both the humors and the high interests of the people,
and he had no hesitation, as guardian of popular liberty, in denouncing
the popular vices by which it was endangered.

By both great parties, he complained, his shortcomings were all noted,
the good which he had accomplished passed over in silence.

   [Letter to the States-general, August, 1579, apud Bor, xiv. 97,
   sqq. This was the opinion frequently expressed by Languet: "Cherish
   the friendship of the Prince, I beseech you," he writes to Sir
   Philip Sydney, "for there is no man like him in all Christendom.
   Nevertheless, his is the lot of all men of prudence--to be censured
   by all parties. The people complain that he despises them; the
   nobility declare that it is their order which he hates; and this is
   as sensible as if you were to tell me that you were the son of a

He solemnly protested that he desired, out of his whole heart, the
advancement of that religion which he publicly professed, and with God's
blessing, hoped to profess to the end of his life, but nevertheless, he
reminded the states that he had sworn, upon taking office as
Lieutenant-General, to keep "all the subjects of the land equally under
his protection," and that he had kept his oath. He rebuked the parsimony
which placed the accepted chief of the provinces in a sordid and
contemptible position. "The Archduke has been compelled," said he, in
August, to the states-general, "to break up housekeeping, for want of
means. How shameful and disreputable for the country, if he should be
compelled, for very poverty, to leave the land!" He offered to lay down
all the power with which he had himself been clothed, but insisted, if he
were to continue in office, upon being provided with, larger means of
being useful. "'Twas impossible," he said, "for him to serve longer on
the same footing as heretofore; finding himself without power or
authority, without means, without troops, without money, without
obedience." He reminded the states-general that the enemy--under pretext
of peace negotiations--were ever circulating calumnious statements to the
effect that he was personally the only obstacle to peace. The real object
of these hopeless conferences was to sow dissension through the land, to
set burgher against burgher, house against house. As in Italy, Guelphs
and Ghibellines--as in Florence, the Neri and Bianchi--as in Holland, the
Hooks and Cabbeljaws had, by their unfortunate quarrels, armed fellow
countrymen and families against each other--so also, nothing was so
powerful as religious difference to set friend against friend, father
against son, husband against wife.

He warned the States against the peace propositions of the enemy. Spain
had no intention to concede, but was resolved to extirpate. For himself;
he had certainly everything to lose by continued war. His magnificent
estates were withheld, and--added he with simplicity--there is no man who
does not desire to enjoy his own. The liberation of his son, too, from
his foreign captivity, was, after the glory of God and the welfare of the
fatherland, the dearest object of his heart. Moreover, he was himself
approaching the decline of life. Twelve years he had spent in perpetual
anxiety and labor for the cause. As he approached old age, he had
sufficient reason to desire repose. Nevertheless, considering the great
multitude of people who were leaning upon him, he should account himself
disgraced if, for the sake of his own private advantage, he were to
recommend a peace which was not perfectly secure. As regarded his own
personal interests, he could easily place himself beyond danger--yet it
would be otherwise with the people. The existence of the religion which,
through the mercy of God he professed, would be sacrificed, and countless
multitudes of innocent men would, by his act, be thrown bodily into the
hands of the blood-thirsty inquisitors who, in times past, had murdered
so many persons, and so utterly desolated the land. In regard to the
ceaseless insinuations against his character which men uttered "over
their tables and in the streets," he observed philosophically, that
"mankind were naturally inclined to calumny, particularly against those
who exercised government over them. His life was the best answer to those
slanders. Being overwhelmed with debt, he should doubtless do better in a
personal point of view to accept the excellent and profitable offers
which were daily made to him by the enemy." He might be justified in such
a course, when it was remembered how many had deserted him and forsworn
their religion. Nevertheless, he had ever refused, and should ever refuse
to listen to offers by which only his own personal interests were
secured. As to the defence of the country, he had thus far done all in
his power, with the small resources placed at his command. He was urged
by the "nearer-united states" to retain the poet of Lieutenant-General.
He was ready to consent. He was, however, not willing to hold office a
moment, unless he had power to compel cities to accept garrisons, to
enforce the collection of needful supplies throughout the provinces, and
in general to do everything which he judged necessary for the best
interests of the country.

Three councils were now established--one to be in attendance upon the
Archduke and the Prince of Orange, the two others to reside respectively
in Flanders and in Utrecht. They were to be appointed by Matthias and the
Prince, upon a double nomination from the estates of the united
provinces. Their decisions were to be made according to a majority of
votes,--and there was to be no secret cabinet behind and above their
deliberations. It was long, however, before these councils were put into
working order. The fatal jealousy of the provincial authorities, the
small ambition of local magistrates, interposed daily obstacles to the
vigorous march of the generality. Never was jealousy more mischievous,
never circumspection more misapplied. It was not a land nor a crisis in
which there was peril of centralization: Local municipal government was
in truth the only force left. There was no possibility of its being
merged in a central authority which did not exist. The country was
without a centre. There was small chance of apoplexy where there was no
head. The danger lay in the mutual repulsiveness of these atoms of
sovereignty--in the centrifugal tendencies which were fast resolving a
nebulous commonwealth into chaos. Disunion and dissension would soon
bring about a more fatal centralization--that of absorption in a distant

At the end of November, 1579, Orange made another remarkable speech in
the states-general at Antwerp. He handled the usual topics with his
customary vigor, and with that grace and warmth of delivery which always
made his eloquence so persuasive and impressive. He spoke of the
countless calumnies against himself, the chaffering niggardliness of the
provinces, the slender result produced by his repeated warnings. He told
them bluntly the great cause of all their troubles. It was the absence of
a broad patriotism; it was the narrow power grudged rather than given to
the deputies who sat in the general assembly. They were mere envoys, tied
by instructions. They were powerless to act, except after tedious
reference to the will of their masters, the provincial boards. The
deputies of the Union came thither, he said, as advocates of their
provinces or their cities, not as councillors of a commonwealth--and
sought to further those narrow interests, even at the risk of destruction
to their sister states. The contributions, he complained, were assessed
unequally, and expended selfishly. Upon this occasion, as upon all
occasions, he again challenged inquiry into the purity of his government,
demanded chastisement, if any act of mal-administration on his part could
be found, and repeated his anxious desire either to be relieved from his
functions, or to be furnished with the means of discharging them with

On the 12th of December, 1579, he again made a powerful speech in the
states-general. Upon the 9th of January 1580, following, he made an
elaborate address upon the state of the country, urging the necessity of
raising instantly a considerable army of good and experienced soldiers.
He fixed the indispensable number of such a force at twelve thousand
foot, four thousand horse, and at least twelve hundred pioneers. "Weigh
well the matters," said he, in conclusion; "which I have thus urged, and
which are of the most extreme necessity. Men in their utmost need are
daily coming to me for refuge, as if I held power over all things in my
hand." At the same time he complained that by reason of the dilatoriness
of the states, he was prevented from alleviating misery when he knew the
remedy to be within reach. "I beg you, however, my masters," he
continued, "to believe that this address of mine is no simple discourse.
'Tis a faithful presentment of matters which, if not reformed, will cause
the speedy and absolute ruin of the land. Whatever betide, however, I
pray you to hold yourselves assured, that with God's help, I am
determined to live with you or to die with you."

Early in the year 1580, the Prince was doomed to a bitter disappointment,
and the provinces to a severe loss, in the treason of Count Renneberg,
governor of Friesland. This young noble was of the great Lalain family.
He was a younger brother of: Anthony, Count of Hoogstraaten--the
unwavering friend of Orange. He had been brought up in the family of his
cousin, the Count de Lalain, governor of Hainault, and had inherited the
title of Renneberg from an uncle, who was a dignitary of the church. For
more than a year there had been suspicions of his fidelity. He was
supposed to have been tampered with by the Duke of Terranova, on the
first arrival of that functionary in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, the
Prince of Orange was unwilling to listen to the whispers against him.
Being himself the mark of calumny, and having a tender remembrance of the
elder brother, he persisted in reposing confidence in a man who was in
reality unworthy of his friendship. George Lalain, therefore, remained
stadholder of Friesland and Drenthe, and in possession of the capital
city, Groningen.

The rumors concerning him proved correct. In November, 1579, he entered
into a formal treaty with Terranova, by which he was to receive--as the
price of "the virtuous resolution which he contemplated"--the sum of ten
thousand crowns in hand, a further sum of ten thousand crowns within
three months, and a yearly pension of ten thousand florins. Moreover, his
barony of Ville was to be erected into a marquisate, and he was to
receive the order of the Golden Fleece at the first vacancy. He was
likewise to be continued in the same offices under the King which he now
held from the estates. The bill of sale, by which he agreed with a
certain Quislain le Bailly to transfer himself to Spain, fixed these
terms with the technical scrupulousness of any other mercantile
transaction. Renneberg sold himself as one would sell a yoke of oxen, and
his motives were no whit nobler than the cynical contract would indicate.
"See you not," said he in a private letter to a friend, "that this whole
work is brewed by the Nassaus for the sake of their own greatness, and
that they are everywhere provided with the very best crumbs. They are to
be stadholders of the principal provinces; we are to content ourselves
with Overyssel and Drente. Therefore I have thought it best to make my
peace with the King, from whom more benefits are to be got."

Jealousy and selfishness; then, were the motives of his "virtuous
resolution." He had another, perhaps a nobler incentive. He was in love
with the Countess Meghen, widow of Lancelot Berlaymont, and it was
privately stipulated that the influence of his Majesty's government
should be employed to bring about his marriage with the lady. The treaty,
however, which Renneberg had made with Quislain le Bailly was not
immediately carried out. Early in February, 1580, his sister and evil
genius, Cornelia Lalain, wife of Baron Monceau, made him a visit at
Groningen. She implored him not to give over his soul to perdition by
oppressing the Holy Church. She also appealed to his family pride, which
should keep him, she said, from the contamination of companionship with
"base-born weavers and furriers." She was of opinion that to contaminate
his high-born fingers with base bribes were a lower degradation. The
pension, the crowns in hand, the marquisate, the collar of the Golden
Fleece, were all held before his eyes again. He was persuaded, moreover,
that the fair hand of the wealthy widow would be the crowning prize of
his treason, but in this he was destined to disappointment. The Countess
was reserved for a more brilliant and a more bitter fate. She was to
espouse a man of higher rank, but more worthless character, also a
traitor to the cause of freedom, to which she was herself devoted, and
who was even accused of attempting her life in her old age, in order to
supply her place with a younger rival.

The artful eloquence of Cornelia de Lalain did its work, and Renneberg
entered into correspondence with Parma. It is singular with how much
indulgence his conduct and character were regarded both before and
subsequently to his treason. There was something attractive about the
man. In an age when many German and Netherland nobles were given to
drunkenness and debauchery, and were distinguished rather for coarseness
of manner and brutality of intellect than for refinement or learning,
Count Renneberg, on the contrary, was an elegant and accomplished
gentleman--the Sydney of his country in all but loyalty of character. He
was a classical scholar, a votary of music and poetry, a graceful
troubadour, and a valiant knight. He was "sweet and lovely of
conversation," generous and bountiful by nature. With so many good gifts,
it was a thousand pities that the gift of truth had been denied him.
Never did treason look more amiable, but it was treason of the blackest
die. He was treacherous, in the hour of her utmost need, to the country
which had trusted him. He was treacherous to the great man who had leaned
upon his truth, when all others had abandoned him. He was treacherous
from the most sordid of motives jealousy of his friend and love of place
and pelf; but his subsequent remorse and his early death have cast a veil
over the blackness of his crime.

While Cornelia de Lalain was in Groningen, Orange was in Holland.
Intercepted letters left no doubt of the plot, and it was agreed that the
Prince, then on his way to Amsterdam, should summon the Count to an
interview. Renneberg's trouble at the proximity of Orange could not be
suppressed. He felt that he could never look his friend in the face
again. His plans were not ripe; it was desirable to dissemble for a
season longer; but how could he meet that tranquil eye which "looked
quite through the deeds of men?" It was obvious to Renneberg that his
deed was to be done forthwith, if he would escape discomfiture. The
Prince would soon be in Groningen, and his presence would dispel the
plots which had been secretly constructed.

On the evening of March the 3rd, 1580, the Count entertained a large
number of the most distinguished families of the place at a ball and
banquet. At the supper-table, Hildebrand, chief burgomaster of the city,
bluntly interrogated his host concerning the calumnious reports which
were in circulation, expressing the hope that there was no truth in these
inventions of his enemies. Thus summoned, Renneberg, seizing the hands of
Hildebrand in both his own, exclaimed, "Oh; my father! you whom I esteem
as my father, can you suspect me of such guilt? I pray you, trust me, and
fear me not!"

With this he restored the burgomaster and all the other guests to
confidence. The feast and dance proceeded, while Renneberg was quietly
arranging his plot. During the night all the leading patriots were taken
out of their beds, and carried to prison, notice being at the same time
given to the secret adherents of Renneberg. Before dawn, a numerous mob
of boatmen and vagrants, well armed, appeared upon the public square.
They bore torches and standards, and amazed the quiet little city with
their shouts. The place was formally taken into possession, cannon were
planted in front of the Town House to command the principal streets, and
barricades erected at various important points. Just at daylight,
Renneberg himself, in complete armor, rode into the square, and it was
observed that he looked ghastly as a corpse. He was followed by thirty
troopers, armed like himself, from head to foot. "Stand by me now," he
cried to the assembled throng; "fail me not at this moment, for now I am
for the first time your stadholder."

While he was speaking, a few citizens of the highest class forced their
way through the throng and addressed the mob in tones of authority. They
were evidently magisterial persons endeavoring to quell the riot. As they
advanced, one of Renneberg's men-at-arms discharged his carabine at the
foremost gentleman, who was no other than burgomaster Hildebrand. He fell
dead at the feet of the stadholder--of the man who had clasped his hands
a few hours before, called him father, and implored him to entertain no
suspicions of his honor. The death of this distinguished gentleman
created a panic, during which Renneberg addressed his adherents, and
stimulated them to atone by their future zeal in the King's service for
their former delinquency. A few days afterwards the city was formally
reunited to the royal government; but the Count's measures had been
precipitated to such an extent, that he was unable to carry the province
with him, as he had hoped. On the contrary, although he had secured the
city, he had secured nothing else. He was immediately beleaguered by the
states' force in the province under the command of Barthold Entes,
Hohenlo, and Philip Louis Nassau, and it was necessary to send for
immediate assistance from Parma.

The Prince of Orange, being thus bitterly disappointed by the treachery
of his friend, and foiled in his attempt to avert the immediate
consequences, continued his interrupted journey to Amsterdam. Here he was
received with unbounded enthusiasm.


     All the majesty which decoration could impart
     Amuse them with this peace negotiation
     Conflicting claims of prerogative and conscience
     It is not desirable to disturb much of that learned dust
     Logical and historical argument of unmerciful length
     Mankind were naturally inclined to calumny
     Men were loud in reproof, who had been silent
     More easily, as he had no intention of keeping the promise
     Not to fall asleep in the shade of a peace negotiation
     Nothing was so powerful as religious difference
     On the first day four thousand men and women were slaughtered
     Power grudged rather than given to the deputies
     The disunited provinces
     There is no man who does not desire to enjoy his own
     To hear the last solemn commonplaces
     Word-mongers who, could clothe one shivering thought

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 33


By John Lothrop Motley


   Captivity of La Noue--Cruel propositions of Philip--Siege of
   Groningen--Death of Barthold Enter--His character--Hohenlo commands
   in the north--His incompetence--He is defeated on Hardenberg Heath--
   Petty operations--Isolation of Orange--Dissatisfaction and departure
   of Count John--Remonstrance of Archduke Matthias--Embassy to Anjou--
   Holland and Zealand offer the sovereignty to Orange--Conquest of
   Portugal--Granvelle proposes the Ban against the Prince--It is
   published--The document analyzed--The Apology of Orange analyzed and
   characterized--Siege of Steenwyk by Renneberg--Forgeries--Siege
   relieved--Death of Renneberg--Institution of the "land-Council"--
   Duchess of Parma sent to the Netherlands--Anger of Alexander--
   Prohibition of Catholic worship in Antwerp, Utrecht, and elsewhere--
   Declaration of Independence by the United Provinces--Negotiations
   with Anjou--The sovereignty of Holland and Zealand provisionally
   accepted by Orange--Tripartition of the Netherlands--Power of the
   Prince described--Act of Abjuration analyzed--Philosophy of
   Netherland politics.--Views of the government compact--Acquiescence
   by the people in the action of the estates--Departure of Archduke

The war continued in a languid and desultory manner in different parts of
the country. At an action near Ingelmunster, the brave and accomplished
De la Noue was made prisoner. This was a severe loss to the states, a
cruel blow to Orange, for he was not only one of the most experienced
soldiers, but one of the most accomplished writers of his age. His pen
was as celebrated as his sword. In exchange for the illustrious Frenchman
the states in vain offered Count Egmont, who had been made prisoner a few
weeks before, and De Belles, who was captured shortly afterwards. Parma
answered contemptuously, that he would not give a lion for two sheep.
Even Champagny was offered in addition, but without success.  Parma had
written to Philip, immediately upon the capture, that, were it not for
Egmont, Seller, and others, then in the power of Oranges he should order
the execution of La Noue. Under the circumstances, however, he had begged
to be in formed as to his Majesty's pleasure, and in the meantime had
placed the prisoner in the castle of Limburg, under charge of De Billy.

   [Strada, d. 2, iii. 155, 156. Parma is said to have hinted to
   Philip that De Billy would willingly undertake, the private
   assassination of La Noue.--Popeliniere, Hist. des Pays Bas; 1556-

His Majesty, of course, never signified his pleasure, and the illustrious
soldier remained for five years in a loathsome dungeon more befitting a
condemned malefactor than a prisoner of war. It was in the donjon keep of
the castle, lighted only by an aperture in the roof, and was therefore
exposed to the rain and all inclemencies of the sky, while rats, toads,
and other vermin housed in the miry floor. Here this distinguished
personage, Francis with the Iron Arm, whom all Frenchmen, Catholic or
Huguenot, admired far his genius, bravery, and purity of character,
passed five years of close confinement. The government was most anxious
to take his life, but the captivity of Egmont and others prevented the
accomplishment of their wishes. During this long period, the wife and
numerous friends of La Noue were unwearied in, their efforts to effect
his ransom or exchange, but none of the prisoners in the hands of the
patriots were considered a fair equivalent. The hideous proposition was
even made by Philip the Second to La Noue, that he should receive his
liberty if he would permit his eyes to be put out, as a preliminary
condition. The fact is attested by several letters written by La Noue to
his wife. The prisoner, wearied, shattered in health, and sighing for air
and liberty, was disposed and even anxious to accept the infamous offer,
and discussed the matter philosophically in his letters. That lady,
however, horror-struck at the suggestion, implored him to reject the
condition, which he accordingly consented to do. At last, in June, 1585,
he was exchanged, on extremely rigorous terms, for Egmont. During his
captivity in this vile dungeon, he composed not only his famous political
and military discourses, but several other works, among the rest;
Annotations upon Plutarch and upon the Histories of Guicciardini.

The siege of Groningen proceeded, and Parma ordered some forces under
Martin Schenck to advance to its relief. On the other hand, the meagre
states' forces under Sonoy, Hohenlo, Entes, and Count John of Nassau's
young son, William Louis, had not yet made much impression upon the city.
There was little military skill to atone for the feebleness of the
assailing army, although there was plenty of rude valor. Barthold Entes,
a man of desperate character, was impatient at the dilatoriness of the
proceedings. After having been in disgrace with the states, since the
downfall of his friend and patron, the Count De la Marck, he had recently
succeeded to a regiment in place of Colonel Ysselstein, "dismissed for a
homicide or two." On the 17th of May, he had been dining at Rolda, in
company with Hohenlo and the young Count of Nassau. Returning to the
trenches in a state of wild intoxication, he accosted a knot of superior
officers, informing them that they were but boys, and that he would show
them how to carry the faubourg of Groningen on the instant. He was
answered that the faubourg, being walled and moated, could be taken only
by escalade or battery. Laughing loudly, he rushed forward toward the
counterscarp, waving his sword, and brandishing on his left arm the cover
of a butter firkin, which he had taken instead of his buckler. He had
advanced, however, but a step, when a bullet from the faubourg pierced
his brain, and he fell dead without a word.

So perished one of the wild founders of the Netherland commonwealth--one
of the little band of reckless adventurers who had captured the town of
Brill in 1572, and thus laid the foundation stone of a great republic,
which was to dictate its laws to the empire of Charles the Fifth. He was
in some sort a type. His character was emblematical of the worst side of
the liberating movement. Desperate, lawless, ferocious--a robber on land,
a pirate by sea--he had rendered great service in the cause of his
fatherland, and had done it much disgrace. By the evil deeds of men like
himself, the fair face of liberty had been profaned at its first
appearance. Born of a respectable family, he had been noted, when a
student in this very Groningen where he had now found his grave, for the
youthful profligacy of his character. After dissipating his partrimony,
he had taken to the sea, the legalized piracy of the mortal struggle with
Spain offering a welcome refuge to spendthrifts like himself. In common
with many a banished noble of ancient birth and broken fortunes, the
riotous student became a successful corsair, and it is probable that his
prizes were made as well among the friends as the enemies of his country.
He amassed in a short time one hundred thousand crowns--no contemptible
fortune in those days. He assisted La Marck in the memorable attack upon
Brill, but behaved badly and took to flight when Mondragon made his
memorable expedition to relieve Tergoes. He had subsequently been
imprisoned, with La Marck for insubordination, and during his confinement
had dissipated a large part of his fortune. In 1574, after the violation
of the Ghent treaty, he had returned to, his piratical pursuits, and
having prospered again as rapidly as he had done during his former
cruises, had been glad to exchange the ocean for more honorable service
on shore. The result was the tragic yet almost ludicrous termination
which we have narrated. He left a handsome property, the result of his
various piracies, or, according to the usual euphemism, prizes. He often
expressed regret at the number of traders whom he had cast into the sea,
complaining, in particular, of one victim whom he had thrown overboard,
who would never sink, but who for years long ever floated in his wake,
and stared him in the face whenever he looked over his vessel's side. A
gambler, a profligate, a pirate, he had yet rendered service to the cause
of freedom, and his name--sullying the purer and nobler ones of other
founders of the commonwealth--"is enrolled in the capitol."

Count Philip Hohenlo, upon whom now, devolved the entire responsibility
of the Groningen siege and of the Friesland operations, was only a few
degrees superior to this northern corsair. A noble of high degree, nearly
connected with the Nassau family, sprung of the best blood in Germany,
handsome and dignified in appearance, he was, in reality only a debauchee
and a drunkard. Personal bravery was his main qualification for a
general; a virtue which he shared with many of his meanest soldiers. He
had never learned the art of war, nor had he the least ambition to
acquire it. Devoted to his pleasures, he depraved those under his
command, and injured the cause for which he was contending. Nothing but
defeat and disgrace were expected by the purer patriots from such
guidance. "The benediction of God," wrote Albada, "cannot be hoped for
under this chieftain, who by life and manners is fitter to drive swine
than to govern pious and honorable men."

The event justified the prophecy. After a few trifling operations before
Groningen, Hohenlo was summoned to the neighbourhood of Coewerden, by the
reported arrival of Martin Schenck, at the head of a considerable force.
On the 15th of June, the Count marched all night and a part of the follow
morning, in search of the enemy. He came up with them upon Hardenberg
Heath, in a broiling summer forenoon. His men were jaded by the forced
march, overcame with the heat, tormented with thirst, and unable to
procure even a drop of water. The royalists were fresh so that the result
of the contest was easily to be foreseen. Hohenlo's army was annihilated
in an hour's time, the whole population fled out of Coewerden, the siege
of Groningen was raised; Renneberg was set free to resume his operations
on a larger scale, and the fate of all the north-eastern provinces was
once more swinging in the wind. The boors of Drenthe and Friesland rose
again. They had already mustered in the field at an earlier season of the
year, in considerable force. Calling themselves "the desperates," and
bearing on their standard an eggshell with the yolk running out--to
indicate that, having lost the meat they were yet ready to fight for the
shell--they had swept through the open country, pillaging and burning.
Hohenlo had defeated them in two enchanters, slain a large number of
their forces, and reduced them for a time to tranquillity. His late
overthrow once more set them loose. Renneberg, always apt to be
over-elated in prosperity, as he was unduly dejected in adversity, now
assumed all the airs of a conqueror. He had hardly eight thousand men
under his orders, but his strength lay in the weakness of his
adversaries. A small war now succeeded, with small generals, small
armies, small campaigns, small sieges. For the time, the Prince of Orange
was even obliged to content himself with such a general as Hohenlo. As
usual, he was almost alone. "Donec eris felix," said he, emphatically--

             "multos numerabis amicos,
        Tempera cum erunt nubila, nullus erit,"

and he was this summer doomed to a still harder deprivation by the final
departure of his brother John from the Netherlands.

The Count had been wearied out by petty miseries. His stadholderate of
Gelderland had overwhelmed him with annoyance, for throughout the
north-eastern provinces there was neither system nor subordination. The
magistrates could exercise no authority over an army which they did not
pay, or a people whom they did not protect. There were endless
quarrels between the various boards of municipal and provincial
government--particularly concerning contributions and expenditures.

   [When the extraordinary generosity of the Count himself; and the
   altogether unexampled sacrifices of the Prince are taken into
   account, it may well be supposed that the patience of the brothers
   would be sorely tried by the parsimony of the states. It appears by
   a document laid before the states-general in the winter of 1580-
   1581, that the Count had himself advanced to Orange 570,000 florins
   in the cause. The total of money spent by the Prince himself for
   the sake of Netherland liberty was 2,200,000. These vast sums had
   been raised in various ways and from various personages. His
   estates were deeply hypothecated, and his creditors so troublesome,
   that, in his own language, he was unable to attend properly to
   public affairs, so frequent and so threatening were the applications
   made upon him for payment. Day by day he felt the necessity
   advancing more closely upon him of placing himself personally in the
   hands of his creditors and making over his estates to their mercy
   until the uttermost farthing should be paid. In his two campaigns
   against Alva (1568 and 1572) he had spent 1,050,000 florins. He
   owed the Elector Palatine 150,000 florins, the Landgrave 60,000,
   Count John 670,000, and other sums to other individuals.]

During this wrangling, the country was exposed to the forces of Parma, to
the private efforts of the Malcontents, to the unpaid soldiery of the
states, to the armed and rebellious peasantry. Little heed was paid to
the admonitions of Count John, who was of a hotter temper than was the
tranquil Prince. The stadholder gave way to fits of passion at the
meanness and the insolence to which he was constantly exposed. He readily
recognized his infirmity, and confessed himself unable to accommodate his
irascibility to the "humores" of the inhabitants. There was often
sufficient cause for his petulance. Never had praetor of a province a
more penurious civil list. "The baker has given notice," wrote Count
John, in November, "that he will supply no more bread after to-morrow,
unless he is paid." The states would furnish no money to pay the bill.
It was no better with the butcher. "The cook has often no meat to roast,"
said the Count, in the same letter, "so that we are often obliged to go
supperless to bed." His lodgings were a half-roofed, half-finished,
unfurnished barrack, where the stadholder passed his winter days and
evenings in a small, dark, freezing-cold chamber, often without
fire-wood. Such circumstances were certainly not calculated to excite
envy. When in addition to such wretched parsimony, it is remembered that
the Count was perpetually worried by the quarrels of the provincial
authorities with each other and with himself, he may be forgiven for
becoming thoroughly exhausted at last. He was growing "grey and grizzled"
with perpetual perplexity. He had been fed with annoyance, as if--to use
his own homely expression--"he had eaten it with a spoon." Having already
loaded himself with a debt of six hundred thousand florins, which he had
spent in the states' service, and having struggled manfully against the
petty tortures of his situation, he cannot be severely censured for
relinquishing his post. The affairs of his own Countship were in great
confusion. His children--boys and girls--were many, and needed their
fathers' guidance, while the eldest, William Louis, was already in arms
for the-Netherlands, following the instincts of his race. Distinguished
for a rash valor, which had already gained the rebuke of his father and
the applause of his comrades, he had commenced his long and glorious
career by receiving a severe wound at Coewerden, which caused him to halt
for life. Leaving so worthy a representative, the Count was more
justified in his departure.

His wife, too, had died in his absence, and household affairs required
his attention. It must be confessed, however, that if the memory of his
deceased spouse had its claims, the selection of her successor was still
more prominent among his anxieties. The worthy gentleman had been
supernaturally directed as to his second choice, ere that choice seemed
necessary, for before the news of his wife's death had reached him, the
Count dreamed that he was already united in second nuptials to the fair
Cunigunda, daughter of the deceased Elector Palatine--a vision which was
repeated many times. On the morrow he learned, to his amazement, that he
was a widower, and entertained no doubt that he had been specially
directed towards the princess seen in his slumbers, whom he had never
seen in life. His friends were in favor of his marrying the Electress
Dowager, rather than her daughter, whose years numbered less than half
his own. The honest Count, however, "after ripe consideration," decidedly
preferred the maid to the widow. "I confess," he said, with much gravity,
"that the marriage with the old Electress, in respect of her God-fearing
disposition, her piety, her virtue, and the like, would be much more
advisable. Moreover, as she hath borne her cross, and knows how to deal
with gentlemen, so much the better would it be for me. Nevertheless,
inasmuch as she has already had two husbands, is of a tolerable age, and
is taller of stature than myself, my inclination is less towards her than
towards her daughter."

For these various considerations, Count John, notwithstanding the
remonstrances of his brother, definitely laid down his government of
Gelderland, and quitted the Netherlands about midsummer. Enough had not
been done, in the opinion of the Prince, so long as aught remained to do,
and he could not bear that his brother should desert the country in the
hour of its darkness, or doubt the Almighty when his hand was veiled in
clouds. "One must do one's best," said he, "and believe that when such
misfortunes happen, God desires to prove us. If He sees that we do not
lose our courage, He will assuredly help us. Had we thought otherwise, we
should never have pierced the dykes on a memorable occasion, for it was
an uncertain thing and a great sorrow for the poor people; yet did God
bless the undertaking. He will bless us still, for his arm hath not been

On the 22nd of July, 1580, the Archduke Matthias, being fully aware of
the general tendency of affairs, summoned a meeting of the generality in
Antwerp. He did not make his appearance before the assembly, but
requested that a deputation might wait upon him at his lodgings, and to
this committee he unfolded his griefs. He expressed his hope that the
states were not--in violation of the laws of God and man--about to throw
themselves into the arms of a foreign prince. He reminded them of their
duty to the holy Catholic religion to the illustrious house of Austria,
while he also pathetically called their attention to the necessities of
his own household, and hoped that they would, at least, provide for the
arrears due to his domestics.

The states-general replied with courtesy as to the personal claims of the
Archduke. For the rest, they took higher grounds, and the coming
declaration of independence already pierced through the studied decorum
of their language. They defended their negotiation with Anjou on the
ground of necessity, averring that the King of Spain had proved
inexorable to all intercession, while, through the intrigues of their
bitterest enemies, they had been entirely forsaken by the Empire.

Soon afterwards, a special legation, with Saint Aldegonde at its head,
was despatched to France to consult with the Duke of Anjou, and settled
terms of agreement with him by the treaty of Plessis les Tours (on the
29th of September, 1580), afterwards definitely ratified by the
convention of Bordeaux, signed on the 23rd of the following January.

The states of Holland and Zealand, however, kept entirely aloof from this
transaction, being from the beginning opposed to the choice of Anjou.
From the first to the last, they would have no master but Orange, and to
him, therefore, this year they formally offered the sovereignty of their
provinces; but they offered it in vain.

The conquest of Portugal had effected a diversion in the affairs of the
Netherlands. It was but a transitory one. The provinces found the hopes
which they had built upon the necessity of Spain for large supplies in
the peninsula--to their own consequent relief--soon changed into fears,
for the rapid success of Alva in Portugal gave his master additional
power to oppress the heretics of the north. Henry, the Cardinal King, had
died in 1580, after succeeding to the youthful adventurer, Don Sebastian,
slain during his chivalrous African campaign (4th of August, 1578). The
contest for the succession which opened upon the death of the aged
monarch was brief, and in fifty-eight days, the bastard Antonio, Philip's
only formidable competitor, had been utterly defeated and driven forth to
lurk, like 'a hunted wild beast, among rugged mountain caverns, with a
price of a hundred thousand crowns upon his head. In the course of the
succeeding year, Philip received homage at Lisbon as King of Portugal.
From the moment of this conquest, he was more disposed, and more at
leisure than ever, to vent his wrath against the Netherlands, and against
the man whom he considered the incarnation of their revolt.

Cardinal Granvelle had ever whispered in the King's ear the expediency of
taking off the Prince by assassination. It has been seen how subtly
distilled, and how patiently hoarded, was this priest's venom against
individuals, until the time arrived when he could administer the poison
with effect. His hatred of Orange was intense and of ancient date. He was
of opinion, too, that the Prince might be scared from the post of duty,
even if the assassin's hand were not able to reach his heart. He was in
favor of publicly setting a price upon his head-thinking that if the
attention of all the murderers in the world were thus directed towards
the illustrious victim, the Prince would tremble at the dangers which
surrounded him. "A sum of money would be well employed in this way," said
the Cardinal, "and, as the Prince of Orange is a vile coward, fear alone
will throw him into confusion." Again, a few months later, renewing the
subject, he observed, "'twould be well to offer a reward of thirty or
forty thousand crowns to any one who will deliver the Prince, dead or
alive; since from very fear of it--as he is pusillanimous--it would not
be unlikely that he should die of his own accord."

It was insulting even to Philip's intelligence to insinuate that the
Prince would shrink before danger, or die of fear. Had Orange ever been
inclined to bombast, he might have answered the churchman's calumny, as
Caesar the soothsayer's warning:--

       "-----------------Danger knows full well
        That Caesar is more dangerous than he--"

and in truth, Philip had long trembled on his throne before the genius of
the man who had foiled Spain's boldest generals and wiliest statesmen.
The King, accepting the priest's advice, resolved to fulminate a ban
against the Prince, and to set a price upon his head. "It will be well,"
wrote Philip to Parma, "to offer thirty thousand crowns or so to any one
who will deliver him dead or alive. Thus the country may be rid of a man
so pernicious; or at any rate he will be held in perpetual fear, and
therefore prevented from executing leisurely his designs."

In accordance with these suggestions and these hopes, the famous ban was
accordingly drawn up, and dated on the 15th of March, 1580. It was,
however, not formally published in the Netherlands until the month of
June of the same year.

This edict will remain the most lasting monument to the memory of
Cardinal Granvelle. It will be read when all his other state-papers and
epistles--able as they incontestably are--shall have passed into
oblivion. No panegyric of friend, no palliating magnanimity of foe, can
roll away this rock of infamy from his tomb. It was by Cardinal Granvelle
and by Philip that a price was set upon the head of the foremost man of
his age, as if he had been a savage beast, and that admission into the
ranks of Spain's haughty nobility was made the additional bribe to tempt
the assassin.

The ban consisted of a preliminary narrative to justify the penalty with
which it was concluded. It referred to the favors conferred by Philip and
his father upon the Prince; to his-signal ingratitude and dissimulation.
It accused him of originating the Request, the image-breaking, and the
public preaching. It censured his marriage with an abbess--even during
the lifetime of his wife; alluded to his campaigns against Alva, to his
rebellion in Holland, and to the horrible massacres committed by
Spaniards in that province--the necessary consequences of his treason. It
accused him of introducing liberty of conscience, of procuring his own
appointment as Ruward, of violating the Ghent treaty, of foiling the
efforts of Don John, and of frustrating the counsels of the Cologne
commissioners by his perpetual distrust. It charged him with a
newly-organized conspiracy, in the erection of the Utrecht Union; and for
these and similar crimes--set forth, with involutions, slow, spiral, and
cautious as the head and front of the indictment was direct and
deadly--it denounced the chastisement due to the "wretched hypocrite" who
had committed such offences.

"For these causes," concluded the ban, "we declare him traitor and
miscreant, enemy of ourselves and of the country. As such we banish him
perpetually from all our realms, forbidding all our subjects, of whatever
quality, to communicate with him openly or privately--to administer to
him victuals, drink, fire, or other necessaries. We allow all to injure
him in property or life. We expose the said William Nassau, as an enemy
of the human-race--giving his property to all who may; seize it. And if
anyone of our subjects or any stranger should be found sufficiently
generous of heart to rid us of this pest, delivering him to us, alive or
dead, or taking his life, we will cause to be furnished to him
immediately after the deed shall have been done, the sum of twenty-five
thousand crowns; in gold. If he have committed any crime, however
heinous, we promise to pardon him; and if he be not already noble, we
will ennoble him for his valor."

Such was the celebrated ban against the Prince of Orange. It was answered
before the end of the year by the memorable "Apology of the Prince of
Orange" one of the moat startling documents in history. No defiance was
ever thundered forth in the face of a despot in more terrible tones. It
had become sufficiently manifest to the royal party that the Prince was
not to be purchased by "millions of money," or by unlimited family
advancement--not to be cajoled by flattery or offers of illustrious
friendship. It had been decided, therefore, to terrify him into retreat,
or to remove him by murder. The Government had been thoroughly convinced
that the only way to finish the revolt, was to "finish Orange," according
to the ancient advice of Antonio Perez. The mask was thrown off. It had
been decided to forbid the Prince bread, water, fire, and shelter; to
give his wealth to the fisc, his heart to the assassin, his soul, as it
was hoped, to the Father of Evil. The rupture being thus complete, it was
right that the "wretched hypocrite" should answer ban with ban, royal
denunciation with sublime scorn. He had ill-deserved, however, the title
of hypocrite, he said. When the friend of government, he had warned them
that by their complicated and perpetual persecutions they were twisting
the rope of their own ruin. Was that hypocrisy? Since becoming their
enemy, there had likewise been little hypocrisy found in him--unless it
were hypocrisy to make open war upon government, to take their cities, to
expel their armies from the country.

The proscribed rebel, towering to a moral and even social superiority
over the man who affected to be his master by right divine, swept down
upon his antagonist with crushing effect. He repudiated the idea of a
king in the Netherlands. The word might be legitimate in Castillo, or
Naples, or the Indies, but the provinces knew no such title. Philip had
inherited in those countries only the power of Duke or Count--a power
closely limited by constitutions more ancient than his birthright. Orange
was no rebel then--Philip no legitimate monarch. Even were the Prince
rebellious, it was no more than Philip's ancestor, Albert of Austria, had
been towards his anointed sovereign, Emperor Adolphus of Nassau, ancestor
of William. The ties of allegiance and conventional authority being,
severed, it had become idle for the King to affect superiority of lineage
to the man whose family had occupied illustrious stations when the
Habsburgs were obscure squires in Switzerland, and had ruled as sovereign
in the Netherlands before that overshadowing house had ever been named.

But whatever the hereditary claims of Philip in the country, he had
forfeited them by the violation of his oaths, by his tyrannical
suppression of the charters of the land; while by his personal crimes he
had lost all pretension to sit in judgment upon his fellow man. Was a
people not justified in rising against authority when all their laws had
been trodden under foot, "not once only, but a million of times?"--and
was William of Orange, lawful husband of the virtuous Charlotte de
Bourbon, to be denounced for moral delinquency by a lascivious,
incestuous, adulterous, and murderous king? With horrible distinctness he
laid before the monarch all the crimes of which he believed him guilty,
and having thus told Philip to his beard, "thus diddest thou," he had a
withering word for the priest who stood at his back. "Tell me," he cried,
"by whose command Cardinal Granvelle administered poison to the Emperor
Maximilian? I know what the Emperor told me, and how much fear he felt
afterwards for the King and for all Spaniards."

He ridiculed the effrontery of men like Philip and Granvelle; in charging
"distrust" upon others, when it was the very atmosphere of their own
existence. He proclaimed that sentiment to be the only salvation for the
country. He reminded Philip of the words which his namesake of Macedon--a
schoolboy in tyranny, compared to himself--had heard from the lips of
Demosthenes--that the strongest fortress of a free people against a
tyrant was distrust. That sentiment, worthy of eternal memory, the Prince
declared that he had taken from the "divine philippic," to engrave upon
the heart, of the nation, and he prayed God that he might be more readily
believed than the great orator had been by his people.

He treated with scorn the price set upon his head, ridiculing this
project to terrify him, for its want of novelty, and asking the monarch
if he supposed the rebel ignorant of the various bargains which had
frequently been made before with cutthroats and poisoners to take away
his life. "I am in the hand of God," said William of Orange; "my worldly
goods and my life have been long since dedicated to His service. He will
dispose of them as seems best for His glory and my salvation."

On the contrary, however, if it could be demonstrated, or even hoped,
that his absence would benefit the cause of the country, he proclaimed
himself ready to go into exile.

"Would to God," said he, in conclusion, "that my perpetual banishment, or
even my death, could bring you a true deliverance from so many
calamities. Oh, how consoling would be such banishment--how sweet such a
death! For why have I exposed my property? Was it that I might enrich
myself? Why have I lost my brothers? Was it that I might find new; ones?
Why have I left my son so long a prisoner? Can you give me another? Why
have I put my life so often in, danger? What reward, can I hope after my
long services, and the almost total wreck, of my earthly fortunes, if not
the prize, of having acquired, perhaps at the expense of my life, your
liberty?--If then, my masters, if you judge that my absence or my death
can serve you, behold me ready to obey. Command me--send me to the ends
of the earth--I will obey. Here is my head, over which no prince, no
monarch, has power but yourselves. Dispose of it for your good, for the
preservation of your Republic, but if you judge that the moderate amount
of experience and industry which is in me, if you judge that the
remainder of my property and of my life can yet be of service to you, I
dedicate them afresh to you and to the country."

His motto--most appropriate to his life and character--"Je maintiendrai,"
was the concluding phrase of the document. His arms and signature were
also formally appended, and the Apology, translated into most modern
languages, was sent, to nearly every potentate in Christendom. It had
been previously, on the 13th of December, 1580, read before the assembly
of the united states at Delft, and approved as cordially as the ban was
indignantly denounced.

During the remainder of the year 1580, and the half of the following
year, the seat of hostilities was mainly in the northeast-Parma, while
waiting the arrival of fresh troops, being inactive. The operations, like
the armies and the generals, were petty. Hohenlo was opposed to
Renneberg. After a few insignificant victories, the latter laid siege to
Steenwyk, a city in itself of no great importance, but the key to the
province of Drenthe. The garrison consisted of six hundred soldiers, and
half as many trained burghers. Renneberg, having six thousand foot and
twelve hundred horse, summoned the place to surrender, but was answered
with defiance. Captain Cornput, who had escaped from Groningen, after
unsuccessfully warning the citizens of Renneberg's meditated treason,
commanded in Steenwyk, and his courage and cheerfulness sustained the
population of the city during a close winter siege. Tumultuous mobs in
the streets demanding that the place should be given over ere it was too
late, he denounced to their faces as "flocks of gabbling geese," unworthy
the attention of brave men. To a butcher who, with the instinct of his
craft, begged to be informed what the population were to eat when the
meat was all gone, he coolly observed, "We will eat you, villain, first
of all, when the time comes; so go home and rest assured that you, at
least, are not to die of starvation."

With such rough but cheerful admonitions did the honest soldier, at the
head of his little handful, sustain the courage of the beleaguered city.
Meantime Renneberg pressed it hard. He bombarded it with red-hot balls, a
new invention introduced five years before by Stephen Bathor, King of
Poland, at the siege of Dantzig. Many houses were consumed, but still
Cornput and the citizens held firm. As the winter advanced, and the
succor which had been promised still remained in the distance, Renneberg
began to pelt the city with sarcasms, which, it was hoped, might prove
more effective than the red-hot balls. He sent a herald to know if the
citizens had eaten all their horses yet; a question which was answered by
an ostentatious display of sixty starving hacks--all that could be
mustered-upon the heights. He sent them on another occasion, a short
letter, which ran as follows:

"MOST HONORABLE, MOST STEADFAST,--As, during the present frost, you have
but little exercise in the trenches--as you cannot pass your time in
twirling your finger-rings, seeing that they have all been sold to pay
your soldiers' wages--as you have nothing to rub your teeth upon, nor to
scour your stomachs withal, and as, nevertheless, you require something
if only to occupy your minds, I send you the enclosed letter, in hope it
may yield amusement.--January 15, 1581."

The enclosure was a letter from the Prince of Orange to the Duke of
Anjou, which, as it was pretended, had been intercepted. It was a clumsy
forgery, but it answered the purpose of more skilful counterfeiting, at a
period when political and religious enmity obscured men's judgment. "As
to the point of religion," the Prince was made to observe, for example,
to his illustrious correspondent, "that is all plain and clear. No
sovereign who hopes to come to any great advancement ought to consider
religion, or hold it in regard. Your Highness, by means of the garrisons,
and fortresses, will be easily master of the principal cities in Flanders
and Brabant, even if the citizens were opposed to you. Afterwards you
will compel them without difficulty to any religion which may seem most
conducive to the interests of your Highness."

Odious and cynical as was the whole tone of the letter, it was
extensively circulated. There were always natures base and brutal enough
to accept the calumny and to make it current among kindred souls. It may
be doubted whether Renneberg attached faith to the document; but it was
natural that he should take a malicious satisfaction in spreading this
libel against the man whose perpetual scorn he had so recently earned.
Nothing was more common than such forgeries, and at that very moment a
letter, executed with equal grossness, was passing from hand to hand,
which purported to be from the Count himself to Parma. History has less
interest in contradicting the calumnies against a man like Renneberg. The
fictitious epistle of Orange, however, was so often republished, and the
copies so carefully distributed, that the Prince had thought it important
to add an express repudiation of its authorship, by way of appendix to
his famous Apology. He took the occasion to say, that if a particle of
proof could be brought that he had written the letter, or any letter
resembling it, he would forthwith leave the Netherlands, never to show
his face there again.

Notwithstanding this well known denial, however, Renneberg thought it
facetious to send the letter into Steenvayk, where it produced but small
effect upon the minds' of the burghers. Meantime, they had received
intimation that succor was on its way. Hollow balls containing letters
were shot into the town, bringing the welcome intelligence that the
English colonel, John Norris, with six thousand states' troops, would
soon make his appearance for their relief, and the brave Cornput added
his cheerful exhortations to heighten the satisfaction thus produced. A
day or two afterwards, three quails were caught in the public square, and
the commandant improved the circumstance by many quaint homilies. The
number three, he observed, was typical of the Holy Trinity, which had
thus come symbolically to their relief. The Lord had sustained the
fainting Israelites with quails. The number three indicated three weeks,
within which time the promised succor was sure to arrive. Accordingly,
upon the 22nd of February, 1581, at the expiration of the third week,
Norris succeeded in victualling the town, the merry and steadfast Cornput
was established as a true prophet, and Count Renneberg abandoned the
siege in despair.

The subsequent career of that unhappy nobleman was brief. On the 19th of
July his troops were signally defeated by Sonny--and Norris, the fugitive
royalists retreating into Groningen at the very moment when their
general, who had been prevented by illness from commanding them, was
receiving the last sacraments. Remorse, shame, and disappointment had
literally brought Renneberg to his grave.

"His treason," says a contemporary, "was a nail in his coffin, and on his
deathbed he bitterly bemoaned his crime. 'Groningen! Groningen!' would
that I had never seen thy walls!" he cried repeatedly in his last hours.
He refused to see his sister, whose insidious counsels had combined with
his own evil passions to make him a traitor; and he died on the 23rd of
July, 1581, repentant and submissive. His heart, after his decease, was
found "shrivelled to the dimensions of a walnut," a circumstance
attributed to poison by some, to remorse by others. His regrets; his
early death, and his many attractive qualities, combined to: save his
character from universal denunciation, and his name, although indelibly
stained by treason, was ever mentioned with pity rather than with rancor.

Great changes, destined to be perpetual, were steadily preparing in the
internal condition of the provinces. A preliminary measure of an
important character had been taken early this year by the assembly of the
united provinces held in the month of January at Delft. This was the
establishment of a general executive council. The constitution of the
board was arranged on the 13th of the month, and was embraced in eighteen
articles. The number of councillors was fixed at thirty, all to be native
Netherlanders; a certain proportion to be appointed from each province by
its estates. The advice and consent of this body as to treaties with
foreign powers were to be indispensable, but they were not to interfere
with the rights and duties of the states-general, nor to interpose any
obstacle to the arrangements with the Duke of Anjou.

While this additional machine for the self-government of the provinces
was in the course of creation; the Spanish monarch, on the other hand,
had made another effort to recover the authority which he felt slipping
from his grasp. Philip was in Portugal, preparing for his coronation in,
that, new kingdom--an event to be nearly contemporaneous with his
deposition from the Netherland sovereignty, so solemnly conferred upon
him a quarter of a century before in Brussels; but although thus distant,
he was confident that he could more wisely govern the Netherlands than
the inhabitants could do, and unwilling as ever to confide in the
abilities of those to whom he had delegated his authority. Provided; as
he unquestionably was at that moment, with a more energetic
representative than any who had before exercised the functions of royal
governor in the provinces, he was still disposed to harass, to doubt, and
to interfere. With the additional cares of the Portuguese Conquest upon
his hands, he felt as irresistibly impelled as ever to superintend the
minute details of provincial administration. To do this was impossible.
It was, however, not impossible, by attempting to do it, to produce much
mischief. "It gives me pain," wrote Granvelle, "to see his Majesty
working as before--choosing to understand everything and to do
everything. By this course, as I have often said before, he really
accomplishes much less." The King had, moreover, recently committed the
profound error of sending the Duchess Margaret of Parma to the
Netherlands again. He had the fatuity to believe her memory so tenderly
cherished in the provinces as to ensure a burst of loyalty at her
reappearance, while the irritation which he thus created in the breast of
her son he affected to disregard. The event was what might have been
foreseen. The Netherlanders were very moderately excited by the arrival
of their former regent, but the Prince of Parma was furious. His mother
actually arrived at Namur in the month of August, 1580, to assume the
civil administration of the provinces,--and he was himself, according to
the King's request, to continue in the command of the army. Any one who
had known human nature at all, would have recognized that Alexander
Farnese was not the man to be put into leading strings. A sovereign who
was possessed of any administrative sagacity, would have seen the
absurdity of taking the reins of government at that crisis from the hands
of a most determined and energetic man, to confide them to the keeping of
a woman. A king who was willing to reflect upon the consequences of his
own acts, must have foreseen the scandal likely to result from an open
quarrel for precedence between such a mother and son. Margaret of Parma
was instantly informed, however, by Alexander, that a divided authority
like that proposed was entirely out of the question. Both offered to
resign; but Alexander was unflinching in his determination to retain all
the power or none. The Duchess, as docile to her son after her arrival as
she had been to the King on undertaking the journey, and feeling herself
unequal to the task imposed upon her, implored Philip's permission to
withdraw, almost as soon as she had reached her destination. Granvelle's
opinion was likewise opposed to this interference with the administration
of Alexander, and the King at last suffered himself to be overruled. By
the end of the year 1581, letters arrived confirming the Prince of Parma
in his government, but requesting the Duchess of Parma to remain,
privately in the Netherlands. She accordingly continued to reside there
under an assumed name until the autumn of 1583, when she was at last
permitted to return to Italy.

During the summer of 1581, the same spirit of persecution which had
inspired the Catholics to inflict such infinite misery upon those of the
Reformed faith in the Netherlands, began to manifest itself in overt acts
against the Papists by those who had at last obtained political.
ascendency over them. Edicts were published in Antwerp, in Utrecht, and
in different cities of Holland, suspending the exercise of the Roman
worship. These statutes were certainly a long way removed in horror from
those memorable placards which sentenced the Reformers by thousands to
the axe; the cord, and the stake, but it was still melancholy to see the
persecuted becoming persecutors in their turn. They were excited to these
stringent measures by the noisy zeal of certain Dominican monks in
Brussels, whose extravagant discourses were daily inflaming the passions
of the Catholics to a dangerous degree. The authorities of the city
accordingly thought it necessary to suspend, by proclamation, the public
exercise of the ancient religion, assigning, as their principal reason
for this prohibition, the shocking jugglery by which simple-minded
persons were constantly deceived. They alluded particularly to the
practice of working miracles by means of relics, pieces of the holy
cross, bones of saints, and the perspiration of statues. They charged
that bits of lath were daily exhibited as fragments of the cross; that
the bones of dogs and monkeys were held up for adoration as those of
saints; and that oil was poured habitually into holes drilled in the
heads of statues, that the populace might believe in their miraculous
sweating. For these reasons, and to avoid the tumult and possible
bloodshed to which the disgust excited by such charlatanry might give
rise, the Roman Catholic worship was suspended until the country should
be restored to greater tranquillity. Similar causes led to similar
proclamations in other cities. The Prince of Orange lamented the
intolerant spirit thus showing itself among those who had been its
martyrs, but it was not possible at that moment to keep it absolutely
under control.

A most important change was now to take place in his condition, a most
vital measure was to be consummated by the provinces. The step, which
could never be retraced was, after long hesitation, finally taken upon
the 26th of July, 1581, upon which day the united provinces, assembled at
the Hague, solemnly declared their independence of Philip, and renounced
their allegiance for ever.

This act was accomplished with the deliberation due to its gravity. At
the same time it left the country in a very divided condition. This was
inevitable. The Prince had done all that one man could do to hold the
Netherlands together and unite them perpetually into one body politic,
and perhaps, if he had been inspired by a keener personal ambition, this
task might have been accomplished.--The seventeen provinces might have
accepted his dominion, but they would agree to that of no other
sovereign. Providence had not decreed that the country, after its long
agony, should give birth to a single and perfect commonwealth. The
Walloon provinces had already fallen off from the cause, notwithstanding
the entreaties of the Prince. The other Netherlands, after long and
tedious negotiation with Anjou, had at last consented to his supremacy,
but from this arrangement Holland and Zealand held themselves aloof. By a
somewhat anomalous proceeding, they sent deputies along with those of the
other provinces, to the conferences with the Duke, but it was expressly
understood that they would never accept him as sovereign. They were
willing to contract with him and with their sister provinces--over which
he was soon to exercise authority--a firm and perpetual league, but as to
their own chief, their hearts were fixed. The Prince of Orange should be
their lord and master, and none other. It lay only in his self-denying
character that he had not been clothed with this dignity long before. He
had, however, persisted in the hope that all the provinces might be
brought to acknowledge the Duke of Anjou as their sovereign, under
conditions which constituted a free commonwealth with an hereditary
chief, and in this hope he had constantly refused concession to the
wishes of the northern provinces. He in reality exercised sovereign power
over nearly the whole population, of the Netherlands. Already in 1580, at
the assembly held in April, the states of Holland had formally requested
him to assume the full sovereignty over them, with the title of Count of
Holland and Zealand forfeited by Philip. He had not consented, and the
proceedings had been kept comparatively secret. As the negotiations with
Anjou advanced, and as the corresponding abjuration of Philip was more
decisively indicated, the consent of the Prince to this request was more
warmly urged. As it was evident that the provinces thus bent upon placing
him at their head, could by no possibility be induced to accept the
sovereignty of Anjou--as, moreover; the act of renunciation of Philip
could no longer be deferred, the Prince of Orange reluctantly and
provisionally accepted the supreme power over Holland and Zealand. This
arrangement was finally accomplished upon the 24th of July, 1581, and the
act of abjuration took place two days afterwards. The offer of the
sovereignty over the other united provinces had been accepted by Anjou
six months before.

Thus, the Netherlands were divided into three portions--the reconciled
provinces, the united provinces under Anjou, and the northern provinces
under Orange; the last division forming the germ, already nearly
developed, of the coming republic. The constitution, or catalogue of
conditions, by which the sovereignty accorded to Anjou was reduced to
such narrow limits as to be little more than a nominal authority, while
the power remained in the hands of the representative body of the
provinces, will be described, somewhat later, together with the
inauguration of the Duke. For the present it is necessary that the reader
should fully understand the relative position of the Prince and of the
northern provinces. The memorable act of renunciation--the Netherland
declaration of independence--will then be briefly explained.

On the 29th of March, 1580, a resolution passed the assembly of Holland
and Zealand never to make peace or enter into any negotiations with the
King of Spain on the basis of his sovereignty. The same resolution
provided that his name--hitherto used in all public acts--should be for
ever discarded, that his seal should be broken, and that the name and
seal of the Prince of Orange should be substituted in all commissions and
public documents. At almost the same time the states of Utrecht passed a
similar resolution. These offers were, however, not accepted, and the
affair was preserved profoundly secret. On the 5th of July, 1581, "the
knights, nobles, and cities of Holland and Zealand," again, in an urgent
and solemn manner, requested the Prince to accept the "entire authority
as sovereign and chief of the land, as long as the war should continue."
This limitation as to time was inserted most reluctantly by the states,
and because it was perfectly well understood that without it the Prince
would not accept the sovereignty at all. The act by which this dignity
was offered, conferred full power to command all forces by land and sea,
to appoint all military officers, and to conduct all warlike operations,
without the control or advice of any person whatsoever. It authorized
him, with consent of the states, to appoint all financial and judicial
officers, created him the supreme executive chief, and fountain of
justice and pardon, and directed him "to maintain the exercise only of
the Reformed evangelical religion, without, however, permitting that
inquiries should be made into any man's belief or conscience, or that any
injury or hindrance should be offered to any man on account of his

The sovereignty thus pressingly offered, and thus limited as to time, was
finally accepted by William of Orange, according to a formal act dated at
the Hague, 5th of July, 1581, but it will be perceived that no powers
were conferred by this new instrument beyond those already exercised by
the Prince. It was, as it were, a formal continuance of the functions
which he had exercised since 1576 as the King's stadholder, according to
his old commission of 1555, although a vast, difference existed in
reality. The King's name was now discarded and his sovereignty disowned,
while the proscribed rebel stood in his place, exercising supreme
functions, not vicariously, but in his own name. The limitation as to
time was, moreover, soon afterwards secretly, and without the knowledge
of Orange, cancelled by the states. They were determined that the Prince
should be their sovereign--if they could make him so--for the term of his

The offer having thus been made and accepted upon the 5th of July, oaths
of allegiance and fidelity were exchanged between the Prince and the
estates upon the 24th of the same month. In these solemnities, the
states, as representing the provinces, declared that because the King of
Spain, contrary to his oath as Count of Holland and Zealand, had not only
not protected these provinces, but had sought with all his might to
reduce them to eternal slavery, it had been found necessary to forsake
him. They therefore proclaimed every inhabitant absolved from allegiance,
while at the same time, in the name of the population, they swore
fidelity to the Prince of Orange, as representing the supreme authority.

Two days afterwards, upon the 26th of July, 1581, the memorable
declaration of independence was issued by the deputies of the united
provinces, then solemnly assembled at the Hague. It was called the Act of
Abjuration. It deposed Philip from his sovereignty, but was not the
proclamation of a new form of government, for the united provinces were
not ready to dispense with an hereditary chief. Unluckily, they had
already provided themselves with a very bad one to succeed Philip in the
dominion over most of their territory, while the northern provinces were
fortunate enough and wise enough to take the Father of the country for
their supreme magistrate.

The document by which the provinces renounced their allegiance was not
the most felicitous of their state papers. It was too prolix and
technical. Its style had more of the formal phraseology of legal
documents than befitted this great appeal to the whole world and to all
time. Nevertheless, this is but matter of taste. The Netherlanders were
so eminently a law-abiding people, that, like the American patriots of
the eighteenth century, they on most occasions preferred punctilious
precision to florid declamation. They chose to conduct their revolt
according to law. At the same time, while thus decently wrapping herself
in conventional garments, the spirit of Liberty revealed none the less
her majestic proportions.

At the very outset of the Abjuration, these fathers of the Republic laid
down wholesome truths, which at that time seemed startling blasphemies in
the ears of Christendom. "All mankind know," said the preamble, "that a
prince is appointed by God to cherish his subjects, even as a shepherd to
guard his sheep. When, therefore, the prince--does not fulfil his duty as
protector; when he oppresses his subjects, destroys their ancient
liberties, and treats them as slaves, he is to be considered, not a
prince, but a tyrant. As such, the estates of the land may lawfully and
reasonably depose him, and elect another in his room."

Having enunciated these maxims, the estates proceeded to apply them to
their own case, and certainly never was an ampler justification for
renouncing a prince since princes were first instituted. The states ran
through the history of the past quarter of a century, patiently
accumulating a load of charges against the monarch, a tithe of which
would have furnished cause for his dethronement. Without passion or
exaggeration, they told the world their wrongs. The picture was not
highly colored. On the contrary, it was rather a feeble than a striking
portrait of the monstrous iniquity which had so long been established
over them. Nevertheless, they went through the narrative conscientiously
and earnestly. They spoke of the King's early determination to govern the
Netherlands, not by natives but by Spaniards; to treat them not as
constitutional countries, but as conquered provinces; to regard the
inhabitants not as liege subjects, but as enemies; above all, to
supersede their ancient liberty by the Spanish Inquisition, and they
alluded to the first great step in this scheme--the creation of the new
bishoprics, each with its staff of inquisitors.

They noticed the memorable Petition, the mission of Berghen and Montigny,
their imprisonment and taking off, in violation of all national law, even
that which had ever been held sacred by the most cruel and tyrannical
princes. They sketched the history of Alva's administration; his
entrapping the most eminent nobles by false promises, and delivering them
to the executioner; his countless sentences of death, outlawry, and
confiscation; his erection of citadels to curb, his imposition of the
tenth and twentieth penny to exhaust the land; his Blood Council and its
achievements; and the immeasurable, woe produced by hanging, burning,
banishing, and plundering, during his seven years of residence. They
adverted to the Grand Commander, as having been sent, not to improve the
condition of the country, but to pursue the same course of tyranny by
more concealed ways. They spoke of the horrible mutiny which broke forth
at his death; of the Antwerp Fury; of the express approbation rendered to
that great outrage by the King, who had not only praised the crime, but
promised to recompense the criminals. They alluded to Don John of Austria
and his duplicity; to his pretended confirmation of the Ghent treaty; to
his attempts to divide the country against itself; to the Escovedo
policy; to the intrigues with the German regiments. They touched upon the
Cologne negotiations, and the fruitless attempt of the patriots upon that
occasion to procure freedom of religion, while the object of the
royalists was only to distract and divide the nation. Finally, they
commented with sorrow and despair upon that last and crowning measure of
tyranny--the ban against the Prince of Orange.

They calmly observed, after this recital, that they were sufficiently
justified in forsaking a sovereign who for more than twenty years had
forsaken them. Obeying the law of nature--desirous of maintaining the
rights, charters, and liberties of their fatherland--determined to escape
from slavery to Spaniards--and making known their decision to the world,
they declared the King of Spain deposed from his sovereignty, and
proclaimed that they should recognize thenceforth neither his title nor
jurisdiction. Three days afterwards, on the 29th of July, the assembly
adopted a formula, by which all persons were to be required to signify
their abjuration.

Such were the forms by which the united provinces threw off their
allegiance to Spain, and ipso facto established a republic, which was to
flourish for two centuries. This result, however, was not exactly
foreseen by the congress which deposed Philip. The fathers of the
commonwealth did not baptize it by the name of Republic. They did not
contemplate a change in their form of government. They had neither an
aristocracy nor a democracy in their thoughts. Like the actors in our own
great national drama, these Netherland patriots were struggling to
sustain, not to overthrow; unlike them, they claimed no theoretical
freedom for humanity--promulgated no doctrine of popular sovereignty:
they insisted merely on the fulfilment of actual contracts, signed
sealed, and sworn to by many successive sovereigns. Acting, upon the
principle that government should be for the benefit of the governed, and
in conformity to the dictates of reason and justice, they examined the
facts by those divine lights, and discovered cause to discard their
ruler. They did not object to being ruled. They were satisfied with their
historical institutions, and preferred the mixture of hereditary
sovereignty with popular representation, to which they were accustomed.
They did not devise an a priori constitution. Philip having violated the
law of reason and the statutes of the land, was deposed, and a new chief
magistrate was to be elected in his stead. This was popular sovereignty
in fact, but not in words. The deposition and election could be legally
justified only by the inherent right of the people to depose and to
elect; yet the provinces, in their Declaration of Independence, spoke of
the divine right of kings, even while dethroning, by popular right, their
own King!

So also, in the instructions given by the states to their envoys charged
to justify the abjuration before the Imperial diet held at Augsburg,
twelve months later, the highest ground was claimed for the popular right
to elect or depose the sovereign, while at the same time, kings were
spoken of as "appointed by God." It is true that they were described, in
the same clause, as "chosen by the people"--which was, perhaps, as exact
a concurrence in the maxim of Vox populi, vox Dei, as the boldest
democrat of the day could demand. In truth, a more democratic course
would have defeated its own ends. The murderous and mischievous pranks of
Imbize, Ryhove, and such demagogues, at Ghent and elsewhere, with their
wild theories of what they called Grecian, Roman, and Helvetian
republicanism, had inflicted damage enough on the cause of freedom, and
had paved the road for the return of royal despotism. The senators
assembled at the Hague gave more moderate instructions to their delegates
at Augsburg. They were to place the King's tenure upon contract--not an
implied one, but a contract as literal as the lease of a farm. The house
of Austria, they were to maintain, had come into the possession of the
seventeen Netherlands upon certain express conditions, and with the
understanding that its possession was to cease with the first condition
broken. It was a question of law and fact, not of royal or popular right.
They were to take the ground, not only that the contract had been
violated, but that the foundation of perpetual justice upon which it
rested; had likewise been undermined. It was time to vindicate both
written charters and general principles. "God has given absolute power to
no mortal man," said Saint Aldegonde, "to do his own will against all
laws and all reason." "The contracts which the King has broken are no
pedantic fantasies," said the estates, "but laws planted by nature in the
universal heart of mankind, and expressly acquiesced in by prince and
people." All men, at least, who speak the English tongue, will accept the
conclusion of the provinces, that when laws which protected the citizen
against arbitrary imprisonment and guaranteed him a trial in his own
province--which forbade the appointment of foreigners to high
office--which secured the property of the citizen from taxation, except
by the representative body--which forbade intermeddling on the part of
the sovereign with the conscience of the subject in religious
matters--when such laws had been subverted by blood tribunals, where
drowsy judges sentenced thousands to stake and scaffold without a hearing
by excommunication, confiscation, banishment-by hanging, beheading,
burning, to such enormous extent and with such terrible monotony that the
executioner's sword came to be looked upon as the only symbol of
justice--then surely it might be said, without exaggeration, that the
complaints of the Netherlanders were "no pedantic fantasies," and that
the King had ceased to perform his functions as dispenser of God's

The Netherlanders dealt with facts. They possessed a body of laws,
monuments of their national progress, by which as good a share of
individual liberty was secured to the citizen as was then enjoyed in any
country of the world. Their institutions admitted of great improvement,
no doubt; but it was natural that a people so circumstanced should be
unwilling to exchange their condition for the vassalage of "Moors or

At the same time it may be doubted whether the instinct for political
freedom only would have sustained them in the long contest, and whether
the bonds which united them to the Spanish Crown would have been broken,
had it not been for the stronger passion for religious liberty, by which
so large a portion of the people was animated. Boldly as the united
states of the Netherlands laid down their political maxima, the quarrel
might perhaps have been healed if the religious question had admitted of
a peaceable solution. Philip's bigotry amounting to frenzy, and the
Netherlanders of "the religion" being willing, in their own words, "to
die the death" rather than abandon the Reformed faith, there was upon
this point no longer room for hope. In the act of abjuration, however, it
was thought necessary to give offence to no class of the inhabitants, but
to lay down such principles only as enlightened Catholics would not
oppose. All parties abhorred the Inquisition, and hatred to that
institution is ever prominent among the causes assigned for the
deposition of the monarch. "Under pretence of maintaining the Roman
religion," said the estates, "the King has sought by evil means to bring
into operation the whole strength of the placards and of the
Inquisition--the first and true cause of all our miseries."

Without making any assault upon the Roman Catholic faith, the authors of
the great act by which Philip was for ever expelled from the Netherlands
showed plainly enough that religious persecution had driven them at last
to extremity. At the same time, they were willing--for the sake of
conciliating all classes of their countrymen--to bring the political
causes of discontent into the foreground, and to use discreet language
upon the religious question.

Such, then, being the spirit which prompted the provinces upon this great
occasion, it may be asked who were the men who signed a document of such
importance? In whose-name and by what authority did they act against the
sovereign? The signers of the declaration of independence acted in the
name and by the authority of the Netherlands people. The estates were the
constitutional representatives of that people. The statesmen of that day
discovering, upon cold analysis of facts, that Philip's sovereignty was,
legally forfeited; formally proclaimed that forfeiture. Then inquiring
what had become of the sovereignty, they found it not in the mass of the
people, but in the representative body, which actually personated the
people. The estates of the different provinces--consisting of the
knights, nobles, and burgesses of each--sent, accordingly, their deputies
to the general assembly at the Hague; and by this congress the decree of
abjuration was issued. It did, not occur to any one to summon the people
in their primary assemblies, nor would the people of that day, have
comprehended the objects of such a summons. They were accustomed to the
action of the estates, and those bodies represented as large a number of
political capacities as could be expected of assemblies chosen then upon
general principles. The hour had not arrived for more profound analysis
of the social compact. Philip was accordingly deposed justly, legally
formally justly, because it had become necessary to abjur a monarch who
was determined not only to oppress; but to exterminate his people;
legally, because he had habitually violated the constitutions which he
had sworn to support; formally, because the act was done in the name of
the people, by the body historically representing the people.

What, then, was the condition of the nation, after this great step had
been taken? It stood, as it were, with its sovereignty in its hand,
dividing it into two portions, and offering it, thus separated, to two
distinct individuals. The sovereignty of Holland and Zealand had been
reluctantly accepted by Orange. The sovereignty of the united provinces
had been offered to Anjou, but the terms of agreement with that Duke had
not yet been ratified. The movement was therefore triple, consisting of
an abjuration and of two separate elections of hereditary chiefs; these
two elections being accomplished in the same manner, by the
representative bodies respectively of the united provinces, and of
Holland and Zealand. Neither the abjuration nor the elections were acted
upon beforehand by the communities, the train-bands, or the guilds of the
cities--all represented, in fact, by the magistrates and councils of
each; nor by the peasantry of the open country--all supposed to be
represented by the knights and nobles. All classes of individuals,
however; arranged in various political or military combinations, gave
their acquiescence afterwards, together with their oaths of allegiance.
The people approved the important steps taken by their representatives.

Without a direct intention on the part of the people or its leaders to
establish a republic, the Republic established itself. Providence did not
permit the whole country, so full of wealth intelligence, healthy
political action--so stocked with powerful cities and an energetic
population, to be combined into one free and prosperous commonwealth. The
factious ambition of a few grandees, the cynical venality of many nobles,
the frenzy of the Ghent democracy, the spirit of religious intolerance,
the consummate military and political genius of Alexander Farnese, the
exaggerated self-abnegation and the tragic fate of Orange, all united to
dissever this group of flourishing and kindred provinces.

The want of personal ambition on the part of William the Silent inflicted
perhaps a serious damage upon his country. He believed a single chief
requisite for the united states; he might have been, but always refused
to become that chief; and yet he has been held up for centuries by many
writers as a conspirator and a self-seeking intriguer. "It seems to me,"
said he, with equal pathos and truth, upon one occasion, "that I was born
in this bad planet that all which I do might be misinterpreted." The
people worshipped him, and there was many an occasion when his election
would have been carried with enthusiasm. "These provinces," said John of
Nassau, "are coming very unwillingly into the arrangement with the Duke
of Alencon, The majority feel much more inclined to elect the Prince, who
is daily, and without intermission, implored to give his consent. His
Grace, however, will in no wise agree to this; not because he fears the
consequences, such as loss of property or increased danger, for therein
he is plunged as deeply as he ever could be;--on the contrary, if he
considered only the interests of his race and the grandeur of his house,
he could expect nothing but increase of honor, gold, and gear, with all
other prosperity. He refuses only on this account that it may not be
thought that, instead of religious freedom for the country, he has been
seeking a kingdom for himself and his own private advancement. Moreover,
he believes that the connexion with France will be of more benefit to the
country and to Christianity than if a peace should be made with Spain, or
than if he should himself accept the sovereignty, as he is desired to

The unfortunate negotiations with Anjou, to which no man was more opposed
than Count John, proceeded therefore. In the meantime, the sovereignty
over the united provinces was provisionally held by the national council,
and, at the urgent solicitation of the states-general, by the Prince. The
Archduke Matthias, whose functions were most unceremoniously brought to
an end by the transactions which we have been recording, took his leave
of the states, and departed in the month of October. Brought to the
country a beardless boy, by the intrigues of a faction who wished to use
him as a tool against William of Orange, he had quietly submitted, on the
contrary, to serve as the instrument of that great statesman. His
personality during his residence was null, and he had to expiate, by many
a petty mortification, by many a bitter tear, the boyish ambition which
brought him to the Netherlands. He had certainly had ample leisure to
repent the haste with which he had got out of his warm bed in Vienna to
take his bootless journey to Brussels. Nevertheless, in a country where
so much baseness, cruelty, and treachery was habitually practised by men
of high position, as was the case in the Netherlands; it is something in
favor of Matthias that he had not been base, or cruel, or treacherous.
The states voted him, on his departure, a pension of fifty thousand
guldens annually, which was probably not paid with exemplary regularity.


   Policy of electing Anjou as sovereign--Commode et incommode--Views
   of Orange--Opinions at the French Court,--Anjou relieves Cambray--
   Parma besieges Tourney--Brave defence by the Princess of Espinoy--
   Honorable capitulation--Anjou's courtship in England--The Duke's
   arrival in the Netherlands--Portrait of Anjou--Festivities in
   Flushing--Inauguration at Antwerp--The conditions or articles
   subscribed to by the Duke--Attempt upon the life of Orange--The
   assassin's papers--Confession of Venero--Gaspar Anastro--His escape
   --Execution of Venero and Zimmermann--Precarious condition of the
   Prince--His recovery--Death of the Princess--Premature letters of
   Parma--Further negotiations with Orange as to the sovereignty of
   Holland and Zealand--Character of the revised Constitution--
   Comparison of the positions of the Prince before and after his
   acceptance of the countship.

Thus it was arranged that, for the--present, at least, the Prince should
exercise sovereignty over Holland and Zealand; although he had himself
used his utmost exertions to induce those provinces to join the rest of
the United Netherlands in the proposed election of Anjou. This, however,
they sternly refused to do. There was also a great disinclination felt by
many in the other states to this hazardous offer of their allegiance, and
it was the personal influence of Orange that eventually carried the
measure through. Looking at the position of affairs and at the character
of Anjou, as they appear to us now, it seems difficult to account for the
Prince's policy. It is so natural to judge only by the result, that we
are ready to censure statesmen for consequences which beforehand might
seem utterly incredible, and for reading falsely human characters whose
entire development only a late posterity has had full opportunity to
appreciate. Still, one would think that Anjou had been sufficiently known
to inspire distrust.

There was but little, too, in the aspect of the French court to encourage
hopes of valuable assistance from that quarter. It was urged, not without
reason, that the French were as likely to become as dangerous as the
Spaniards; that they would prove nearer and more troublesome masters;
that France intended the incorporation of the Netherlands into her own
kingdom; that the provinces would therefore be dispersed for ever from
the German Empire; and that it was as well to hold to the tyrant under
whom they had been born, as to give themselves voluntarily to another of
their own making. In short, it was maintained, in homely language, that
"France and Spain were both under one coverlid." It might have been added
that only extreme misery could make the provinces take either bedfellow.
Moreover, it was asserted, with reason, that Anjou would be a very
expensive master, for his luxurious and extravagant habits were
notorious--that he was a man in whom no confidence could be placed, and
one who would grasp at arbitrary power by any means which might present
themselves. Above all, it was urged that he was not of the true religion,
that he hated the professors of that faith in his heart, and that it was
extremely unwise for men whose dearest interests were their religious
ones, to elect a sovereign of opposite creed to their own. To these
plausible views the Prince of Orange and those who acted with him, had,
however; sufficient answers. The Netherlands had waited long enough for
assistance from other quarters. Germany would not lift a finger in the
cause; on the contrary, the whole of Germany, whether Protestant or
Catholic, was either openly or covertly hostile. It was madness to wait
till assistance came to them from unseen sources. It was time for them to
assist themselves, and to take the best they could get; for when men were
starving they could not afford to be dainty. They might be bound, hand
and foot, they might be overwhelmed a thousand times before they would
receive succor from Germany, or from any land but France. Under the
circumstances in which they found themselves, hope delayed was but a cold
and meagre consolation.

"To speak plainly," said Orange, "asking us to wait is very much as if
you should keep a man three days without any food in the expectation of a
magnificent banquet, should persuade him to refuse bread, and at the end
of three days should tell him that the banquet was not ready, but that a
still better one was in preparation. Would it not be better, then, that
the poor man, to avoid starvation, should wait no longer, but accept
bread wherever he might find it? Such is our case at present."

It was in this vein that he ever wrote and spoke: The Netherlands were to
rely upon their own exertions, and to procure the best alliance, together
with the most efficient protection possible. They were not strong enough
to cope singlehanded with their powerful tyrant, but they were strong
enough if they used the instruments which Heaven offered. It was not
trusting but tempting Providence to wait supinely, instead of grasping
boldly at the means of rescue within reach. It became the character of
brave men to act, not to expect. "Otherwise," said the Prince, "we may
climb to the top of trees, like the Anabaptists of Munster, and expect
God's assistance to drop from the clouds." It is only by listening to
these arguments so often repeated, that we can comprehend the policy of
Orange at thin period. "God has said that he would furnish the ravens
with food, and the lions with their prey," said he; "but the birds and
the lions do not, therefore, sit in their nests and their lairs waiting
for their food to descend from heaven, but they seek it where it is to be
found." So also, at a later day, when events seemed to have justified the
distrust so, generally felt in Anjou, the Prince; nevertheless, held
similar language. "I do not," said he, calumniate those who tell us to
put our trust in God. That is my opinion also. But it is trusting God to
use the means which he places in our hands, and to ask that his blessings
may come upon them.

There was a feeling entertained by the more sanguine that the French King
would heartily assist the Netherlands, after his brother should be fairly
installed. He had expressly written to that effect, assuring Anjou that
he would help him with all his strength, and would enter into close
alliance with those Netherlands which should accept him as prince and
sovereign. In another and more private letter to the Duke, the King
promised to assist his brother, "even to his last shirt." There is no
doubt that it was the policy of the statesmen of France to assist the
Netherlands, while the "mignons" of the worthless King were of a contrary
opinion. Many of them were secret partizans of Spain; and found it more
agreeable to receive the secret pay of Philip than to assist his revolted
provinces. They found it easy to excite the jealousy of the monarch
against his brother--a passion which proved more effective than the more
lofty ambition of annexing the Low Countries, according to the secret
promptings of many French politicians. As for the Queen Mother, she was
fierce in her determination to see fulfilled in this way the famous
prediction of Nostradamus. Three of her sons had successively worn the
crown of France. That she might be "the mother of four kings," without
laying a third child in the tomb, she was greedy for this proffered
sovereignty to her youngest and favorite son. This well-known desire of
Catherine de Medici was duly insisted upon by the advocates of the
election; for her influence, it was urged, would bring the whole power of
France to support the Netherlands.

At any rate, France could not be worse--could hardly be so bad--as their
present tyranny. "Better the government of the Gaul, though suspect and
dangerous," said Everard Reyd, "than the truculent dominion of the
Spaniard. Even thus will the partridge fly to the hand of man, to escape
the talons of the hawk." As for the individual character of Anjou, proper
means would be taken, urged the advocates of his sovereignty, to keep him
in check, for it was intended so closely to limit the power conferred
upon him, that it would be only supreme in name. The Netherlands were to
be, in reality, a republic, of which Anjou was to be a kind of Italian or
Frisian podesta. "The Duke is not to act according to his pleasure," said
one of the negotiators, in a private letter to Count John; "we shall take
care to provide a good muzzle for him." How conscientiously the "muzzle"
was prepared, will appear from the articles by which the states soon
afterwards accepted the new sovereign. How basely he contrived to slip
the muzzle--in what cruel and cowardly fashion he bathed his fangs in the
blood of the flock committed to him, will also but too soon appear.

As for the religious objection to Anjou, on which more stress was laid
than upon any other, the answer was equally ready. Orange professed
himself "not theologian enough" to go into the subtleties brought
forward. As it was intended to establish most firmly a religious peace,
with entire tolerance for all creeds, he did not think it absolutely
essential to require a prince of the Reformed faith. It was bigotry to
dictate to the sovereign, when full liberty in religious matters was
claimed for the subject. Orange was known to be a zealous professor of
the Reformed worship himself; but he did not therefore reject political
assistance, even though offered by a not very enthusiastic member of the
ancient Church.

"If the priest and the Levite pass us by when we are fallen among
thieves," said he, with much aptness and some bitterness, "shall we
reject the aid proffered by the Samaritan, because he is of a different
faith from the worthy fathers who have left us to perish?" In short, it
was observed with perfect truth that Philip had been removed, not because
he was a Catholic, but because he was a tyrant; not because his faith was
different from that of his subjects, but because he was resolved to
exterminate all men whose religion differed from his own. It was not,
therefore, inconsistent to choose another Catholic for a sovereign, if
proper guarantees could be obtained that he would protect and not oppress
the Reformed churches. "If the Duke have the same designs as the King,"
said Saint Aldegonde, "it would be a great piece of folly to change one
tyrant and persecutor for another. If, on the contrary, instead of
oppressing our liberties, he will maintain them, and in place of
extirpating the disciples of the true religion, he will protect them,
then are all the reasons of our opponents without vigor."

By midsummer the Duke of Anjou made his appearance in the western part of
the Netherlands. The Prince of Parma had recently come before Cambray
with the intention of reducing that important city. On the arrival of
Anjou, however, at the head of five thousand cavalry--nearly all of them
gentlemen of high degree, serving as volunteers--and of twelve thousand
infantry, Alexander raised the siege precipitately, and retired towards
Tournay. Anjou victualled the city, strengthened the garrison, and then,
as his cavalry had only enlisted for a summer's amusement, and could no
longer be held together, he disbanded his forces. The bulk of the
infantry took service for the states under the Prince of Espinoy,
governor of Tournay. The Duke himself, finding that, notwithstanding the
treaty of Plessis les Tours and the present showy demonstration upon his
part, the states were not yet prepared to render him formal allegiance,
and being, moreover, in the heyday of what was universally considered his
prosperous courtship of Queen Elizabeth, soon afterwards took his
departure for England.

Parma; being thus relieved of his interference, soon afterwards laid
siege to the important city of Tournay. The Prince of Espinoy was absent
with the army in the north, but the Princess commanded in his absence.
She fulfilled her duty in a manner worthy of the house from which she
sprang, for the blood of Count Horn was in her veins. The daughter of
Mary, de Montmorency, the admiral's sister, answered the summons of Parma
to surrender at discretion with defiance. The garrison was encouraged by
her steadfastness. The Princess appeared daily among her troops,
superintending the defences, and personally directing the officers.
During one of the assaults, she is said, but perhaps erroneously; to have
been wounded in the arm, notwithstanding which she refused to retire.

The siege lasted two months. Meantime, it became impossible for Orange
and the estates, notwithstanding their efforts, to raise a sufficient
force to drive Parma from his entrenchments. The city was becoming
gradually and surely undermined from without, while at the same time the
insidious art of a Dominican friar, Father Gery by name, had been as
surely sapping the fidelity of the garrison from within. An open revolt
of the Catholic population being on the point of taking place, it became
impossible any longer to hold the city. Those of the Reformed faith
insisted that the place should be surrendered; and the Princess, being
thus deserted by all parties, made an honorable capitulation with Parma.
She herself, with all her garrison, was allowed to retire with personal
property, and with all the honors of war, while the sack of the city was
commuted for one hundred thousand crowns, levied upon the inhabitants:
The Princess, on leaving the gates, was received with such a shout of
applause from the royal army that she seemed less like a defeated
commander than a conqueror. Upon the 30th November, Parma accordingly
entered the place which he had been besieging since the 1st of October.

By the end of the autumn, the Prince of Orange, more than ever
dissatisfied with the anarchical condition of affairs, and with the
obstinate jealousy and parsimony of the different provinces, again
summoned the country in the most earnest language to provide for the
general defence, and to take measures for the inauguration of Anjou. He
painted in sombre colors the prospect which lay before them, if nothing
was done to arrest the progress of the internal disorders and of the
external foe, whose forces were steadily augmenting: Had the provinces
followed his advice, instead of quarreling among themselves, they would
have had a powerful army on foot to second the efforts of Anjou, and
subsequently to save Tournay. They had remained supine and stolid, even
while the cannonading against these beautiful cities was in their very
ears. No man seemed to think himself interested in public affair, save
when his own province or village was directly attacked. The general
interests of the commonwealth were forgotten, in local jealousy. Had it
been otherwise, the enemy would have long since been driven over the
Meuse. "When money," continued the Prince, "is asked for to carry on the
war, men answer as if they were talking with the dead Emperor. To say,
however, that they will pay no more, is as much as to declare that they
will give up their land and their religion both. I say this, not because
I have any desire to put my hands into the common purse. You well know
that I have never touched the public money, but it is important that you
should feel that there is no war in the country except the one which
concerns you all."

The states, thus shamed and stimulated, set themselves in earnest to obey
the mandates of the Prince, and sent a special mission to England, to
arrange with the Duke of Anjou for his formal installation as sovereign.
Saint Aldegonde and other commissioners were already there. It was the
memorable epoch in the Anjou wooing, when the rings were exchanged
between Elizabeth and the Duke, and when the world thought that the
nuptials were on the point of being celebrated. Saint Aldegonde wrote to
the Prince of Orange on the 22nd of November, that the marriage had been
finally settled upon that day. Throughout the Netherlands, the auspicious
tidings were greeted with bonfires, illuminations, and cannonading, and
the measures for hailing the Prince, thus highly favored by so great a
Queen, as sovereign master of the provinces, were pushed forward with
great energy.

Nevertheless, the marriage ended in smoke. There were plenty of tournays,
pageants, and banquets; a profusion of nuptial festivities, in short,
where nothing was omitted but the nuptials. By the end of January, 1582,
the Duke was no nearer the goal than upon his arrival three months
before. Acceding, therefore, to the wishes of the Netherland envoys, he
prepared for a visit to their country, where the ceremony of his joyful
entrance as Duke of Brabant and sovereign of the other provinces was to
take place. No open rupture with Elizabeth occurred. On the contrary, the
Queen accompanied the Duke, with a numerous and stately retinue, as far
as Canterbury, and sent a most brilliant train of her greatest nobles and
gentlemen to escort him to the Netherlands, communicating at the same
time, by special letter, her wishes to the estates-general, that he
should be treated with as much honor "as if he were her second self."

On the 10th of February, fifteen large vessels cast anchor at Flushing.
The Duke of Anjou, attended by the Earl of Leicester, the Lords Hunsdon,
Willoughby, Sheffield, Howard, Sir Philip Sidney, and many other
personages of high rank and reputation, landed from this fleet. He was
greeted on his arrival by the Prince of Orange, who, with the Prince of
Espinoy and a large deputation of the states-general, had been for some
days waiting to welcome him. The man whom the Netherlands had chosen for
their new master stood on the shores of Zealand. Francis Hercules, Son of
France, Duke of Alencon and Anjou, was at that time just twenty-eight
years of age; yet not even his flatterers, or his "minions," of whom he
had as regular a train as his royal brother, could claim for him the
external graces of youth or of princely dignity. He was below the middle
height, puny and ill-shaped. His hair and eyes were brown, his face was
seamed with the small-pox, his skin covered with blotches, his nose so
swollen and distorted that it seemed to be double. This prominent feature
did not escape the sarcasms of his countrymen, who, among other gibes,
were wont to observe that the man who always wore two faces, might be
expected to have two noses also. It was thought that his revolting
appearance was the principal reason for the rupture of the English
marriage, and it was in vain that his supporters maintained that if he
could forgive her age, she might, in return, excuse his ugliness. It
seemed that there was a point of hideousness beyond which even royal
princes could not descend with impunity, and the only wonder seemed that
Elizabeth, with the handsome Robert Dudley ever at her feet, could even
tolerate the addresses of Francis Valois.

His intellect was by no means contemptible. He was not without a certain
quickness of apprehension and vivacity of expression which passed
current, among his admirers for wit and wisdom. Even the experienced.
Saint Aldegonde was deceived in his character, and described him after an
hour and half's interview, as a Prince overflowing with bounty,
intelligence, and sincerity. That such men as Saint Aldegonde and the
Prince of Orange should be at fault in their judgment, is evidence not so
much of their want of discernment, as of the difference between the
general reputation of the Duke at that period, and that which has been
eventually established for him in history. Moreover, subsequent events
were to exhibit the utter baseness of his character more signally than it
had been displayed during his previous career, however vacillating. No
more ignoble yet more dangerous creature had yet been loosed upon the
devoted soil of the Netherlands. Not one of the personages who had
hitherto figured in the long drama of the revolt had enacted so sorry a
part. Ambitious but trivial, enterprising but cowardly, an intriguer and
a dupe, without religious convictions or political principles, save that
he was willing to accept any creed or any system which might advance his
own schemes, he was the most unfit protector for a people who, whether
wrong or right; were at least in earnest, and who were accustomed to
regard truth as one of the virtues. He was certainly not deficient in
self-esteem. With a figure which was insignificant, and a countenance
which was repulsive, he had hoped to efface the impression made upon
Elizabeth's imagination by the handsomest man in Europe. With a
commonplace capacity, and with a narrow political education, he intended
to circumvent the most profound statesman of his age. And there, upon the
pier at Flushing, he stood between them both; between the magnificent
Leicester, whom he had thought to outshine, and the silent Prince of
Orange, whom he was determined to outwit. Posterity has long been aware
how far he succeeded in the one and the other attempt.

The Duke's arrival was greeted with the roar of artillery, the ringing of
bells, and the acclamations of a large concourse of the inhabitants;
suitable speeches were made by the magistrates of the town, the deputies
of Zealand, and other functionaries, and a stately banquet was provided,
so remarkable "for its sugar-work and other delicacies, as to entirely
astonish the French and English lords who partook thereof." The Duke
visited Middelburg, where he was received with great state, and to the
authorities of which he expressed his gratification at finding two such
stately cities situate so close to each other on one little island.

On the 17th of February, he set sail for Antwerp. A fleet of fifty-four
vessels, covered with flags and streamers, conveyed him and his retinue,
together with the large deputation which had welcomed him at Flushing, to
the great commercial metropolis. He stepped on shore at Kiel within a
bowshot of the city--for, like other Dukes of Brabant, he was not to
enter Antwerp until he had taken the oaths to respect the
constitution--and the ceremony of inauguration was to take place outside
the walls. A large platform had been erected for this purpose, commanding
a view of the stately city, with its bristling fortifications and shady
groves. A throne, covered with velvet and gold, was prepared, and here
the Duke took his seat, surrounded by a brilliant throng, including many
of the most distinguished personages in Europe.

It was a bright winter's morning. The gaily bannered fleet lay
conspicuous in the river, while an enormous concourse of people were
thronging from all sides to greet the new sovereign. Twenty thousand
burgher troops, in bright uniforms, surrounded the platform, upon the
tapestried floor of which stood the magistrates of Antwerp, the leading
members of the Brabant estates, with the Prince of Orange at their head,
together with many other great functionaries. The magnificence everywhere
displayed, and especially the splendid costumes of the military
companies, excited the profound astonishment of the French, who exclaimed
that every soldier seemed a captain, and who regarded with vexation their
own inferior equipments.

Andrew Hesaels, 'doctor utriusque juris', delivered a salutatory oration,
in which, among other flights of eloquence, he expressed the hope of the
provinces that the Duke, with the beams of his greatness, wisdom, and
magnanimity, would disipate all the mists, fogs, and other exhalations
which were pernicious to their national prosperity, and that he would
bring back the sunlight of their ancient glory.

Anjou answered these compliments with equal courtesy, and had much to say
of his willingness to shed every drop of his blood in defence of the
Brabant liberties; but it might have damped the enthusiasm of the moment
could the curtain of the not very distant future have been lifted. The
audience, listening to these promises, might have seen that it was not so
much his blood as theirs which he was disposed to shed, and less, too, in
defence than in violation of those same liberties which he was swearing
to protect.

Orator Hessels then read aloud the articles of the Joyous Entry, in the
Flemish language, and the Duke was asked if he required any explanations
of that celebrated constitution. He replied that he had thoroughly
studied its provisions, with the assistance of the Prince of Orange,
during his voyage from Flushing, and was quite prepared to swear to
maintain them. The oaths, according to the antique custom, were then
administered. Afterwards, the ducal hat and the velvet mantle, lined with
ermine, were brought, the Prince of Orange assisting his Highness to
assume this historical costume of the Brabant dukes, and saying to him,
as he fastened the button at the throat, "I must secure this robe so
firmly, my lord, that no man may ever tear it from your shoulders."

Thus arrayed in his garment of sovereignty, Anjou was compelled to listen
to another oration from, the pensionary of Antwerp, John Van der Werken.
He then exchanged oaths with the magistrates of the city, and received
the keys, which he returned for safe-keeping to the burgomaster.
Meanwhile the trumpets sounded, largess of gold and silver coins was
scattered among the people, and the heralds cried aloud, "Long live the
Duke of Brabant."

A procession was then formed to escort the new Duke to his commercial
capital. A stately and striking procession it was. The Hanseatic
merchants in ancient German attires the English merchants in long velvet
cassocks, the heralds is their quaint costume, the long train of civic
militia with full, bands of music, the chief functionaries of city and
province in their black mantles and gold chains, all marching under
emblematical standards or time-honored blazons, followed each other in
dignified order. Then came the Duke himself on a white Barbary horse,
caparisoned with cloth of gold. He was surrounded with English, French,
and Netherland grandees, many of them of world-wide reputation. There was
the stately Leicester; Sir Philip Sidney, the mirror of chivalry; the
gaunt and imposing form of William the Silent; his son; Count Maurice of
Nassau, destined to be the first captain of his age, then a handsome,
dark-eyed lad of fifteen; the Dauphin of Auvergne; the Marechal de Biron
and his sons; the Prince of Espinoy; the Lords Sheffield; Willoughby,
Howard; Hunsdon, and many others of high degree and distinguished
reputation. The ancient guilds of the crossbow-men; and archers of
Brabant, splendidly accoutred; formed the bodyguard of the Duke, while
his French cavaliers, the life-guardsmen of the Prince of Orange, and the
troops of they line; followed in great numbers, their glittering uniforms
all, gaily intermingled, "like the flowers de luce upon a royal mantle!"
The procession, thus gorgeous and gay, was terminated by, a dismal group
of three hundred malefactors, marching in fetters, and imploring pardon
of the Duke, a boon which was to be granted at evening. Great torches,
although it was high noon were burning along the road, at intervals of
four or five feet, in a continuous line reaching from the platform at
Kiel to the portal of Saint Joris, through which the entrance to the city
was to be made.

Inside the gate a stupendous allegory was awaiting the approach of the
new sovereign. A huge gilded car, crowded with those emblematical and
highly bedizened personages so dear to the Netherlanders, obstructed the
advance of the procession. All the virtues seemed to have come out for an
airing in one chariot, and were now waiting to offer their homage to
Francis Hercules Valois. Religion in "red satin," holding the gospel in
her hand, was supported by Justice, "in orange velvet," armed with blade
and beam. Prudence and Fortitude embraced each other near a column
enwreathed by serpents "with their tails in their ears to typify deafness
to flattery," while Patriotism as a pelican, and Patience as a brooding
hen, looked benignantly upon the scene. This greeting duly acknowledged,
the procession advanced into the city. The streets were lined with troops
and with citizens; the balconies were filled with fair women; "the very
gables," says an enthusiastic contemporary, "seemed to laugh with ladies'
eyes." The market-place was filled with waxen torches and with blazing
tar barrels, while in its centre stood the giant Antigonus--founder of
the city thirteen hundred years before the Christian era--the fabulous
personage who was accustomed to throw the right hands of all smuggling
merchants into the Scheld. This colossal individual, attired in a
"surcoat of sky-blue," and holding a banner emblazoned with the arms of
Spain, turned its head as the Duke entered the square, saluted the new
sovereign, and then dropping the Spanish scutcheon upon the ground,
raised aloft another bearing the arms of Anjou.

And thus, amid exuberant outpouring of confidence, another lord and
master had made his triumphal entrance into the Netherlands. Alas how
often had this sanguine people greeted with similar acclamations the
advent of their betrayers and their tyrants! How soon were they to
discover that the man whom they were thus receiving with the warmest
enthusiasm was the most treacherous tyrant of all.

It was nightfall before the procession at last reached the palace of
Saint Michael, which had been fitted up for the temporary reception of
the Duke. The next day was devoted to speech-making; various deputations
waiting upon the new Duke of Brabant with congratulatory addresses. The
Grand Pensionary delivered a pompous oration upon a platform hung with
sky-blue silk, and carpeted with cloth of gold. A committee of the German
and French Reformed Churches made a long harangue, in which they
expressed the hope that the Lord would make the Duke "as valiant as
David, as wise as Solomon, and as pious as Hezekiah." A Roman Catholic
deputation informed his Highness that for eight months the members of the
Ancient Church had been forbidden all religious exercises, saving
baptism, marriage, visitation of the sick, and burials. A promise was
therefore made that this prohibition, which had been the result of the
disturbances recorded in a preceding chapter, should be immediately
modified, and on the 15th of March, accordingly, it was arranged, by
command of the magistrates, that all Catholics should have permission to
attend public worship, according to the ancient ceremonial, in the church
of Saint Michael, which had been originally designated for the use of the
new Duke of Brabant. It was, however, stipulated that all who desired to
partake of this privilege should take the oath of abjuration beforehand,
and go to the church without arms.

Here then had been oaths enough, orations enough, compliments enough, to
make any agreement steadfast, so far as windy suspirations could furnish
a solid foundation for the social compact. Bells, trumpets, and the
brazen throats of men and of cannons had made a sufficient din, torches
and tar-barrels had made a sufficient glare, to confirm--so far as noise
and blazing pitch could confirm--the decorous proceedings of church and
town-house, but time was soon to show the value of such demonstrations.
Meantime, the "muzzle" had been fastened with solemnity and accepted with
docility. The terms of the treaty concluded at Plessis lea Tours and
Bordeaux were made public. The Duke had subscribed to twenty-seven
articles; which made as stringent and sensible a constitutional compact
as could be desired by any Netherland patriot. These articles, taken in
connection with the ancient charters which they expressly upheld, left to
the new sovereign no vestige of arbitrary power. He was merely the
hereditary president of a representative republic. He was to be Duke,
Count, Margrave, or Seignior of the different provinces on the same terms
which his predecessors had accepted. He was to transmit the dignities to
his children. If there were more than one child, the provinces were to
select one of the number for their sovereign. He was to maintain all the
ancient privileges, charters, statutes, and customs, and to forfeit his
sovereignty at the first violation. He was to assemble the states-general
at least once a year. He was always to reside in the Netherlands. He was
to permit none but natives to hold office. His right of appointment to
all important posts was limited to a selection from three candidates, to
be proposed by the estates of the province concerned, at each vacancy. He
was to maintain "the Religion" and the religious peace in the same state
in which they then were, or as should afterwards be ordained by the
estates of each province, without making any innovation on his own part.
Holland and Zealand were to remain as they were, both in the matter of
religion and otherwise. His Highness was not to permit that any one
should be examined or molested in his house, or otherwise, in the matter
or under pretext of religion. He was to procure the assistance of the
King of France for the Netherlands. He was to maintain a perfect and a
perpetual league, offensive and defensive, between that kingdom and the
provinces; without; however, permitting any incorporation of territory.
He was to carry on the war against Spain with his own means and those
furnished by his royal brother, in addition to a yearly, contribution by
the estates of two million four hundred thousand guldens. He was to
dismiss all troops at command of the states-general. He was to make no
treaty with Spain without their consent.

It would be superfluous to point out the great difference between the
notions entertained upon international law in the sixteenth century and
in our own. A state of nominal peace existed between Spain, France and
England; yet here was the brother of the French monarch, at the head of
French troops, and attended by the grandees of England solemnly accepting
the sovereignty over the revolted provinces of Spain. It is also curious
to observe that the constitutional compact, by which the new sovereign of
the Netherlands was admitted to the government, would have been
repudiated as revolutionary and republican by the monarchs of France or
England, if an attempt had been made to apply it to their own realms, for
the ancient charters--which in reality constituted a republican form of
government--had all been re-established by the agreement with Anjou. The
first-fruits of the ban now began to display themselves. Sunday, 18th of
March, 1582, was the birthday of the Duke of Anjou, and a great festival
had been arranged, accordingly, for the evening, at the palace of Saint
Michael, the Prince of Orange as well as all the great French lords being
of course invited. The Prince dined, as usual, at his house in the
neighbourhood of the citadel, in company with the Counts Hohenlo and
Laval, and the two distinguished French commissioners, Bonnivet and Des
Pruneaux. Young Maurice of Nassau, and two nephews of the Prince, sons of
his brother John, were also present at table. During dinner the
conversation was animated, many stories being related of the cruelties
which had been practised by the Spaniards in the provinces. On rising
from the table, Orange led the way from the dining room to his own
apartments, showing the noblemen in his company as he passed along, a
piece of tapestry upon which some Spanish soldiers were represented. At
this moment, as he stood upon the threshold of the ante-chamber, a youth
of small stature, vulgar mien, and pale dark complexion, appeared from
among the servants and offered him a petition. He took the paper, and as
he did so, the stranger suddenly drew a pistol and discharged it at the
head of the Prince. The ball entered the neck under the right ear, passed
through the roof of the mouth, and came out under the left jaw-bone,
carrying with it two teeth. The pistol had been held so near, that the
hair and beard of the Prince were set on fire by the discharge. He
remained standing, but blinded, stunned, and for a moment entirely
ignorant of what had occurred. As he afterwards observed, he thought
perhaps that a part of the house had suddenly fallen. Finding very soon
that his hair and beard were burning, he comprehended what had occurred;
and called out quickly, "Do not kill him--I forgive him my death!" and
turning to the French noblemen present, he added, "Alas! what a faithful
servant does his Highness lose in me!"

These were his first words, spoken when, as all believed, he had been
mortally wounded. The message of mercy came, however, too late; for two
of the gentlemen present, by an irresistible impulse, had run the
assassin through with their rapiers. The halberdiers rushed upon him
immediately after wards, so that he fell pierced in thirty-two vital
places. The Prince, supported by his friends, walked to his chamber,
where he was put to bed, while the surgeons examined and bandaged the
wound. It was most dangerous in appearance, but a very strange
circumstance gave more hope than could otherwise have been entertained.
The flame from the pistol had been so close that it had actually
cauterized the wound inflicted by the ball. But for this, it was supposed
that the flow of blood from the veins which had been shot through would
have proved fatal before the wound could be dressed. The Prince, after
the first shock, had recovered full possession of his senses, and
believing himself to be dying, he expressed the most unaffected sympathy
for the condition in which the Duke of Anjou would be placed by his
death. "Alas, poor Prince!" he cried frequently; "alas, what troubles
will now beset thee!" The surgeons enjoined and implored his silence, as
speaking might cause the wound to prove immediately fatal. He complied,
but wrote incessantly. As long as his heart could beat, it was impossible
for him not to be occupied with his country.

Lion Petit, a trusty Captain of the city guard, forced his way to the
chamber, it being, absolutely necessary, said the honest burgher, for him
to see with his own eyes that the Prince was living, and report the fact
to the townspeople otherwise, so great was the excitement, it was
impossible to say what might be the result. It was in fact believed that
the Prince was already dead, and it was whispered that he had been
assassinated by the order of Anjou. This horrible suspicion was flying
through the city, and producing a fierce exasperation, as men talked of
the murder of Coligny, of Saint Bartholomew, of the murderous
propensities of the Valois race. Had the attempt taken place in the
evening, at the birth-night banquet of Anjou, a horrible massacre would
have been the inevitable issue. As it happened, however, circumstances
soon, occurred to remove, the suspicion from the French, and to indicate
the origin of the crime. Meantime, Captain Petit was urged by the Prince,
in writing, to go forth instantly with the news that he yet survived, but
to implore the people, in case God should call him to Himself, to hold
him in kind remembrance, to make no tumult, and to serve the Duke
obediently and faithfully.

Meantime, the youthful Maurice of Nassau was giving proof of that cool
determination which already marked his character. It was natural that a
boy of fifteen should be somewhat agitated at seeing such a father shot
through the head before his eyes. His situation was rendered doubly grave
by the suspicions which were instantly engendered as to the probable
origin of the attempt. It was already whispered in the hall that the
gentlemen who had been so officious in slaying the assassin, were his
accomplices, who--upon the principle that dead men would tell no
tales--were disposed, now that the deed was done, to preclude
inconvenient revelations as to their own share in the crime. Maurice,
notwithstanding these causes for perturbation, and despite his grief at
his father's probable death, remained steadily by the body of the
murderer. He was determined, if possible, to unravel the plot, and he
waited to possess himself of all papers and other articles which might be
found upon the person of the deceased.

A scrupulous search was at once made by the attendants, and everything
placed in the young Count's own hands. This done, Maurice expressed a
doubt lest some of the villain's accomplices might attempt to take the
articles from him, whereupon a faithful old servant of his father came
forward, who with an emphatic expression of the importance of securing
such important documents, took his young master under his cloak, and led
him to a retired apartment of the house. Here, after a rapid examination,
it was found that the papers were all in Spanish, written by Spaniards to
Spaniards, so that it was obvious that the conspiracy, if one there were,
was not a French conspiracy. The servant, therefore, advised Maurice to
go to his father, while he would himself instantly descend to the hall
with this important intelligence. Count Hohenlo had, from the instant of
the murder, ordered the doors to be fastened, and had permitted no one to
enter or to leave the apartment without his permission. The information
now brought by the servant as to the character of the papers caused great
relief to the minds of all; for, till that moment, suspicion had even
lighted upon men who were the firm friends of the Prince.

Saint Aldegonde, who had meantime arrived, now proceeded, in company of
the other gentlemen, to examine the papers and other articles taken from
the assassin. The pistol with which he had done the deed was lying upon
the floor; a naked poniard, which he would probably have used also, had
his thumb not been blown off by the discharge of the pistol, was found in
his trunk hose. In his pockets were an Agnus Dei, a taper of green wax,
two bits of hareskin, two dried toads--which were supposed to be
sorcerer's charms--a crucifix, a Jesuit catechism, a prayer-book, a
pocket-book containing two Spanish bills of exchange--one for two
thousand, and one for eight hundred and seventy-seven crowns--and a set
of writing tablets. These last were covered with vows and pious
invocations, in reference to the murderous affair which the writer had in
hand. He had addressed fervent prayers to the "Virgin Mary, to the Angel
Gabriel, to the Saviour, and to the Saviour's Son as if," says the
Antwerp chronicler, with simplicity, "the Lord Jesus had a son"--that
they might all use their intercession with the Almighty towards the
certain and safe accomplishment of the contemplated deed. Should he come
off successful and unharmed, he solemnly vowed to fast a week on bread
and water. Furthermore, he promised to Christ a "new coat of costly
pattern;" to the Mother of God, at Guadalupe, a new gown; to Our Lady of
Montserrat, a crown, a gown, and a lamp; and so on through along list of
similar presents thus contemplated for various Shrines. The poor
fanatical fool had been taught by deeper villains than himself that his
pistol was to rid the world of a tyrant, and to open his own pathway to
Heaven, if his career should be cut short on earth. To prevent so
undesirable a catastrophe to himself, however, his most natural
conception had been to bribe the whole heavenly host, from the Virgin
Mary downwards, for he had been taught that absolution for murder was to
be bought and sold like other merchandise. He had also been persuaded
that, after accomplishing the deed, he would become invisible.

Saint Aldegonde hastened to lay the result of this examination before the
Duke of Anjou. Information was likewise instantly conveyed to the
magistrates at the Town House, and these measures were successful in
restoring confidence throughout the city as to the intentions of the new
government. Anjou immediately convened the State Council, issued a
summons for an early meeting of the states-general, and published a
proclamation that all persons having information to give concerning the
crime which had just been committed, should come instantly forward, upon
pain of death. The body of the assassin was forthwith exposed upon the
public square, and was soon recognized as that of one Juan Jaureguy, a
servant in the employ of Gaspar d'Anastro, a Spanish merchant of Antwerp.
The letters and bills of exchange had also, on nearer examination at the
Town House, implicated Anastro in the affair. His house was immediately
searched, but the merchant had taken his departure, upon the previous
Tuesday, under pretext of pressing affairs at Calais. His cashier,
Venero, and a Dominican friar, named Antony Zimmermann, both inmates of
his family, were, however, arrested upon suspicion. On the following day
the watch stationed at the gate carried the foreign post-bags, as soon as
they arrived, to the magistracy, when letters were found from Anastro to
Venero, which made the affair quite plain. After they had been thoroughly
studied, they were shown to Venero, who, seeing himself thus completely
ruined, asked for pen and ink, and wrote a full confession.

It appeared that the crime was purely a commercial speculation on the
part of Anastro. That merchant, being on the verge of bankruptcy, had
entered with Philip into a mutual contract, which the King had signed
with his hand and sealed with his seal, and according to which Anastro,
within a certain period, was to take the life of William of Orange, and
for so doing was to receive eighty thousand ducats, and the cross of
Santiago. To be a knight companion of Spain's proudest order of chivalry
was the guerdon, over and above the eighty thousand pieces of silver,
which Spain's monarch promised the murderer, if he should succeed. As for
Anastro himself, he was too frugal and too wary to risk his own life, or
to lose much of the premium. With, tears streaming down his cheeks, he
painted to his faithful cashier the picture which his master would
present, when men should point at him and say, "Behold yon bankrupt!"
protesting, therefore, that he would murder Orange and secure the reward,
or perish in the attempt. Saying this, he again shed many tears. Venero,
seeing his master thus disconsolate, wept bitterly likewise; and begged
him not to risk his own precious life. After this pathetic commingling of
their grief, the merchant and his book-keeper became more composed, and
it was at last concerted between them that John Jaureguy should be
entrusted with the job. Anastro had intended--as he said in a letter
afterwards intercepted--"to accomplish the deed with his own hand; but,
as God had probably reserved him for other things, and particularly to be
of service to his very affectionate friends, he had thought best to
entrust the execution of the design to his servant." The price paid by
the master to the man, for the work, seems to have been but two thousand
eight hundred and seventy-seven crowns. The cowardly and crafty principal
escaped. He had gone post haste to Dunkirk, pretending that the sudden
death of his agent in Calais required his immediate presence in that
city. Governor Sweveseel, of Dunkirk, sent an orderly to get a passport
for him from La Motte, commanding at Gravelingen. Anastro being on
tenter-hooks lest the news should arrive that the projected murder had
been consummated before he had crossed the border, testified extravagant
joy on the arrival of the passport, and gave the messenger who brought it
thirty pistoles. Such conduct naturally excited a vague suspicion in the
mind of the governor, but the merchant's character was good, and he had
brought pressing letters from Admiral Treslong. Sweveseel did not dare to
arrest him without cause, and he neither knew that any crime had been
committed; nor that the man before him was the criminal. Two hours after
the traveller's departure, the news arrived of the deed, together with
orders to arrest Anastro, but it was too late. The merchant had found
refuge within the lines of Parma.

Meanwhile, the Prince lay in a most critical condition. Believing that
his end was fast approaching; he dictated letters to the states-general,
entreating them to continue in their obedience to the Duke, than whom he
affirmed that he knew no better prince for the government of the
provinces. These letters were despatched by Saint Aldegonde to the
assembly, from which body a deputation, in obedience to the wishes of
Orange, was sent to Anjou, with expressions of condolence and fidelity.

On Wednesday a solemn fast was held, according to proclamation, in
Antwerp, all work and all amusements being prohibited, and special
prayers commanded in all the churches for the recovery of the Prince.
"Never, within men's memory," says an account published at the moment, in
Antwerp, "had such crowds been seen in the churches, nor so many tears
been shed."

The process against Venero and Zimmermann was rapidly carried through,
for both had made a full confession of their share in the crime. The
Prince had enjoined from his sick bed, however, that the case should be
conducted with strict regard to justice, and, when the execution could no
longer be deferred, he had sent a written request, by the hands of Saint
Aldegonde, that they should be put to death in the least painful manner.
The request was complied with, but there can be no doubt that the
criminals, had it not been made, would have expiated their offence by the
most lingering tortures. Owing to the intercession of the man who was to
have been their victim, they were strangled, before being quartered, upon
a scaffold erected in the market-place, opposite the Town House. This
execution took place on Wednesday, the 28th of March.

The Prince, meanwhile, was thought to be mending, and thanksgivings began
to be mingled with the prayers offered almost every hour in the churches;
but for eighteen days he lay in a most precarious state. His wife hardly
left his bedside, and his sister, Catharine Countess of Schwartzburg, was
indefatigable in her attentions. The Duke of Anjou visited him daily, and
expressed the most filial anxiety for his recovery, but the hopes, which
had been gradually growing stronger, were on the 5th of April exchanged
for the deepest apprehensions. Upon that day the cicatrix by which the
flow of blood from the neck had been prevented, almost from the first
infliction of the wound, fell off.  The veins poured forth a vast
quantity of blood; it seemed impossible to check the haemorrhage, and all
hope appeared to vanish. The Prince resigned himself to his fate, and
bade his children "good night for ever," saying calmly, "it is now all
over with me."

It was difficult, without suffocating the patient, to fasten a bandage
tightly enough to staunch the wound, but Leonardo Botalli, of Asti, body
physician of Anjou, was nevertheless fortunate enough to devise a simple
mechanical expedient, which proved successful. By his advice; a
succession of attendants, relieving each other day and night, prevented
the flow of blood by keeping the orifice of the wound slightly but firmly
compressed with the thumb. After a period of anxious expectation, the
wound again closed; and by the end of the month the Prince was
convalescent. On the 2nd of May he went to offer thanksgiving in the
Great Cathedral, amid the joyful sobs of a vast and most earnest throng.

The Prince, was saved, but unhappily the murderer had yet found an
illustrious victim. The Princess of Orange; Charlotte de Bourbon--the
devoted wife who for seven years, had so faithfully shared his joys and
sorrows--lay already on her death-bed. Exhausted by anxiety, long
watching; and the alternations of hope and fear during the first eighteen
days, she had been prostrated by despair at the renewed haemorrhage. A
violent fever seized her, under which she sank on the 5th of May, three
days after the solemn thanksgiving for her husband's recovery. The
Prince, who loved her tenderly, was in great danger of relapse upon the
sad event, which, although not sudden, had not been anticipated. She was
laid in her grave on the 9th of May, amid the lamentations of the whole
country, for her virtues were universally known and cherished. She was a
woman of rare intelligence, accomplishment, and gentleness of
disposition; whose only offence had been to break, by her marriage, the
Church vows to which she had been forced in her childhood, but which had
been pronounced illegal by competent authority, both ecclesiastical and
lay. For this, and for the contrast which her virtues afforded to the
vices of her predecessor, she was the mark of calumny and insult. These
attacks, however, had cast no shadow upon the serenity of her married
life, and so long as she lived she was the trusted companion and consoler
of her husband. "His Highness," wrote Count John in 1580, "is in
excellent health, and, in spite of adversity, incredible labor,
perplexity, and dangers, is in such good spirits that, it makes me happy
to witness it. No doubt a chief reason is the consolation he derives from
the pious and highly-intelligent wife whom, the Lord has given him--a
woman who ever conforms to his wishes, and is inexpressibly dear to him."

The Princess left six daughters--Louisa Juliana, Elizabeth, Catharina
Belgica, Flandrina, Charlotta Brabantica, and Emilia Secunda.

Parma received the first intelligence of the attempt from the mouth of
Anastro himself, who assured him that the deed had been entirely
successful, and claimed the promised reward.

Alexander, in consequence, addressed circular letters to the authorities
of Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges, and other cities, calling upon them, now
that they had been relieved of their tyrant and their betrayer, to return
again to the path of their duty and to the ever open arms of their lawful
monarch. These letters were premature. On the other hand, the states of
Holland and Zealand remained in permanent session, awaiting with extreme
anxiety the result of the Prince's wound. "With the death of his
Excellency, if God should please to take him to himself," said the
magistracy of Leyden, "in the death of the Prince we all foresee our own
death." It was, in truth, an anxious moment, and the revulsion of feeling
consequent on his recovery was proportionately intense.

In consequence of the excitement produced by this event, it was no longer
possible for the Prince to decline accepting the countship of Holland and
Zealand, which he had refused absolutely two years before, and which he
had again rejected, except for a limited period, in the year 1581. It was
well understood, as appears by the treaty with Anjou, and afterwards
formally arranged, "that the Duke was never, to claim sovereignty over
Holland and Zealand," and the offer of the sovereign countship of Holland
was again made to the Prince of Orange in most urgent terms. It will be
recollected that he had accepted the sovereignty on the 5th of July,
1581, only for the term of the war. In a letter, dated Bruges, 14th of
August, 1582, he accepted the dignity without limitation. This offer and
acceptance, however, constituted but the preliminaries, for it was
further necessary that the letters of "Renversal" should be drawn up,
that they should be formally delivered, and that a new constitution
should be laid down, and confirmed by mutual oaths. After these steps had
been taken, the ceremonious inauguration or rendering of homage was to be

All these measures were duly arranged, except the last. The installation
of the new Count of Holland was prevented by his death, and the northern
provinces remained a Republic, not only in fact but in name.

In political matters; the basis of the new constitution was the "Great
Privilege" of the Lady Mary, the Magna Charta of the country. That
memorable monument in the history of the Netherlands and of municipal
progress had, been overthrown by Mary's son, with the forced acquiescence
of the states, and it was therefore stipulated by the new article, that
even such laws and privileges as had fallen into disuse should be
revived. It was furthermore provided that the little state should be a
free Countship, and should thus silently sever its connexion with the

With regard to the position of the Prince, as hereditary chief of the
little commonwealth, his actual power was rather diminished than
increased by his new dignity. What was his position at the moment? He was
sovereign during the war, on the general basis of the authority
originally bestowed upon him by the King's commission of stadholder. In
1581, his Majesty had been abjured and the stadholder had become
sovereign. He held in his hands the supreme power, legislative, judicial,
executive. The Counts of Holland--and Philip as their successor--were the
great fountains of that triple stream. Concessions and exceptions had
become so extensive; no doubt, that the provincial charters constituted a
vast body of "liberties" by which the whole country was reasonably well
supplied. At the same time, all the power not expressly granted away
remained in the breast of the Count. If ambition, then, had been
William's ruling principle, he had exchanged substance for shadow, for
the new state now constituted was a free commonwealth--a republic in all
but name.

By the new constitution he ceased to be the source of governmental life,
or to derive his own authority from above by right divine. The sacred oil
which had flowed from Charles the Simple's beard was dried up. Orange's
sovereignty was from the estates; as legal representatives of the people;
and, instead of exercising all the powers not otherwise granted away, he
was content with those especially conferred upon him. He could neither
declare war nor conclude peace without the co-operation of the
representative body. The appointing power was scrupulously limited.
Judges, magistrates, governors, sheriffs, provincial and municipal
officers, were to be nominated by the local authorities or by the
estates, on the triple principle. From these triple nominations he had
only the right of selection by advice and consent of his council. He was
expressly enjoined to see that the law was carried to every man's door,
without any distinction of persons; to submit himself to its behests, to
watch against all impedimenta to the even flow of justice, to prevent
false imprisonments, and to secure trials for every accused person by the
local tribunals. This was certainly little in accordance with the
arbitrary practice of the past quarter of a century.

With respect to the great principle of taxation, stricter bonds even were
provided than those which already existed. Not only the right of taxation
remained with the states, but the Count was to see that, except for war
purposes, every impost was levied by a unanimous vote. He was expressly
forbidden to tamper with the currency. As executive head, save in his
capacity as Commander-in-chief by land or sea, the new sovereign was, in
short, strictly limited by self-imposed laws. It had rested with him to
dictate or to accept a constitution. He had in his memorable letter of
August, 1582, from Bruges, laid down generally the articles prepared at
Plessia and Bourdeaux, for Anjou-together with all applicable provisions
of the Joyous Entry of Brabant--as the outlines of the constitution for
the little commonwealth then forming in the north. To these provisions he
was willing to add any others which, after ripe deliberation, might be
thought beneficial to the country.

Thus limited were his executive functions. As to his judicial authority
it had ceased to exist. The Count of Holland was now the guardian of the
laws, but the judges were to administer them. He held the sword of
justice to protect and to execute, while the scales were left in the
hands which had learned to weigh and to measure.

As to the Count's legislative authority, it had become coordinate with,
if not subordinate to, that of the representative body. He was strictly
prohibited from interfering with the right of the separate or the general
states to assemble as often as they should think proper; and he was also
forbidden to summon them outside their own territory. This was one
immense step in the progress of representative liberty, and the next was
equally important. It was now formally stipulated that the estates were
to deliberate upon all measures which "concerned justice and polity," and
that no change was to be made--that is to say, no new law was to pass
without their consent as well as that of the council. Thus, the principle
was established of two legislative chambers, with the right, but not the
exclusive right, of initiation on the part of government, and in the
sixteenth century one would hardly look for broader views of civil
liberty and representative government. The foundation of a free
commonwealth was thus securely laid, which had William lived, would have
been a representative monarchy, but which his death converted into a
federal republic. It was necessary for the sake of unity to give a
connected outline of these proceedings with regard to the sovereignty of
Orange. The formal inauguration, only remained, and this, as will be
seen, was for ever interrupted.


     Character of brave men to act, not to expect
     Colonel Ysselstein, "dismissed for a homicide or two"
     God has given absolute power to no mortal man
     Hope delayed was but a cold and meagre consolation
     Natural to judge only by the result
     No authority over an army which they did not pay
     Unduly dejected in adversity

MOTLEY'S HISTORY OF THE NETHERLANDS, Doctrine Publishing Corporation Edition, Vol. 34


By John Lothrop Motley


   Parma recals the foreign troops--Siege of Oudenarde--Coolness of
   Alexander--Capture of the city and of Nineve--Inauguration of Anjou
   at Ghent--Attempt upon his life and that of Orange--Lamoral Egmont's
   implication in the plot--Parma's unsuccessful attack upon Ghent--
   Secret plans of Anjou--Dunkirk, Ostend, and other towns surprised by
   his adherents--Failure at Bruges--Suspicions at Antwerp--Duplicity
   of Anjou--The "French Fury"--Details of that transaction--
   Discomfiture and disgrace of the Duke--His subsequent effrontery--
   His letters to the magistracy of Antwerp, to, the Estates, and to
   Orange--Extensive correspondence between Anjou and the French Court
   with Orange and the Estates--Difficult position of the Prince--His
   policy--Remarkable letter to the States-general--Provisional
   arrangement with Anjou--Marriage of the Archbishop of Cologne--
   Marriage of Orange with Louisa de Coligny--Movements in Holland,
   Brabant, Flanders, and other provinces, to induce the Prince to
   accept sovereignty over the whole country--His steady refusal--
   Treason of Van den Berg in Gueldres--Intrigues of Prince Chimay and
   Imbize in Flanders--Counter efforts of Orange and the patriot party
   --Fate of Imbize--Reconciliation of Bruges--Death of Anjou

During the course of the year 1582, the military operations on both sides
had been languid and desultory, the Prince of Parma, not having a large
force at his command, being comparatively inactive. In consequence,
however, of the treaty concluded between the United states and Anjou,
Parma had persuaded the Walloon provinces that it had now become
absolutely necessary for them to permit the entrance of fresh Italian and
Spanish troops. This, then, was the end of the famous provision against
foreign soldiery in the Walloon treaty of reconciliation. The Abbot of
Saint Vaast was immediately despatched on a special mission to Spain, and
the troops, by midsummer, had already begun to pour, into the

In the meantime, Farnese, while awaiting these reinforcements, had not
been idle, but had been quietly picking up several important cities.
Early in the spring he had laid siege to Oudenarde, a place of
considerable importance upon the Scheld, and celebrated as the birthplace
of his grandmother, Margaret van Geest. The burghers were obstinate; the
defence was protracted; the sorties were bold; the skirmishes frequent
and sanguinary: Alexander commanded personally in the trenches,
encouraging his men by his example, and often working with the mattock,
or handling a spear in the assault, Like a private pioneer or soldier.
Towards the end of the siege, he scarcely ever left the scene of
operation, and he took his meals near the outer defences, that he might
lose no opportunity of superintending the labors of his troops. One day
his dinner was laid for himself and staff in the open air, close to the
entrenchment. He was himself engaged in planting a battery against a weak
point in the city wall, and would on no account withdraw for all instant.
The tablecloth was stretched over a number of drum-heads, placed close
together, and several, nobles of distinction--Aremberg, Montigny,
Richebourg, La Motte, and others, were his guests at dinner. Hardly had
the repast commenced, when a ball came flying over the table, taking off
the head of a young Walloon officer who was sitting near Parma, and, who
was earnestly requesting a foremost place in the morrow's assault. A
portion of his skull struck out the eye of another gentleman present. A
second ball from the town fortifications, equally well directed,
destroyed two more of the guests as they sat at the banquet--one a German
captain, the other the Judge-Advocate-General. The blood and brains of
these unfortunate individuals were strewn over the festive board, and the
others all started to their feet, having little appetite left for their
dinner. Alexander alone remained in his seat, manifesting no
discomposure. Quietly ordering the attendants to remove the dead bodies,
and to bring a clean tablecloth, he insisted that his guests should
resume their places at the banquet which had been interrupted in such
ghastly fashion. He stated with very determined aspect that he could not
allow the heretic burghers of Oudenarde the triumph of frightening him
from his dinner, or from the post of danger. The other gentlemen could,
of course, do no less than imitate the impassibility of their chief, and
the repast was accordingly concluded without further interruption. Not
long afterwards, the city, close pressed by so determined a commander,
accepted terms, which were more favorable by reason of the respect which
Alexander chose to render to his mother's birthplace. The pillage was
commuted for thirty thousand, crowns, and on the 5th of July the place
was surrendered to Parma almost under the very eyes of Anjou, who was
making a demonstration of relieving the siege.

Ninove, a citadel then belonging to the Egmont family, was next reduced.
Here, too, the defence was more obstinate than could have been expected
from the importance of the place, and as the autumn advanced, Parma's
troops were nearly starved in their trenches, from the insufficient
supplies furnished them. They had eaten no meat but horseflesh for weeks,
and even that was gone. The cavalry horses were all consumed, and even
the chargers of the officers were not respected. An aid-de-camp of Parma
fastened his steed one day at the door of the Prince's tent, while he
entered to receive his commander's instructions. When he came out again,
a few minutes afterwards, he found nothing but the saddle and bridle
hanging where he had fastened the horse. Remonstrance was useless, for
the animal had already been cut into quarters, and the only satisfaction
offered to the aid-de-camp was in the shape of a steak. The famine was
long familiarly known as the "Ninove starvation," but notwithstanding
this obstacle, the place was eventu